Here on our little hillside, in WV, we try to live a simple life. One where we can try to make the best decisions in regards to what we feed our family, and where we source our foods. We try to make green decision that are not only good for our family but for our community and planet as well. There is no place I would rather raise a family, than these WV hills! So I guess it is our responsibility to preserve them, and our heritage.

Friday, January 4, 2013

looking ahead

As we start down the journey which will be 2013, I look back at 2012 and all that it had to offer.  Our greatest achievement was the birth of our first daughter, in April.  :)  After this, my contributions to the garden and remodeling this old house, halted for the most part.  My other half, however, managed to harvest almost everything by himself, put up new fence, and the majority of the other household tasks.  Our 16 year old is now a licensed driver. I mean Seriously?!?  There have been a great deal of changes over the last few years, (first time mom, new house, left job, etc) and I feel we are finally getting settled into this old house and the land is starting to head in the direction we would like.  As everything else seems to be working itself out too.

There are so many thing that need to be accomplished once spring arrives and we can start working.  Winter will be for finishing the last of the remodeling in this old 1911 house. Since winter has technically just begun, I was looking for a way to get a jump start on some of the outside tasks I am anxiously awaiting to start.  Since the move, our main focus was on starting a vegetable garden, so we would still have the ability to preserve our own food these last two years, even though the harvest was smaller than usual.  The one thing I have missed the most is my herb garden.  I sorely missed it when canning pickles and I didn't have fresh dill.  So I decided to start some plants indoors for the winter and transplant them outside when the weather breaks.
basil, thyme, catnip, cumin, lemon grass & sage
I like to use seed starting soil.  Follow directions for planting each type of seed.  Water lightly, and then place them in about a 1/2 an inch of dechlorinated water.  In this take along container, you can even fit the lid over top and make a mini greenhouse for your seedlings.  I plan on transplanting them to clay pots after their roots get strong.  I can keep them in the kitchen window until it is warm enough to keep them outside.  Then, hopefully after I get the patch tilled up for the herb garden, this will help give me a nice jump start.

This is a small start, but I somehow feel better having seeds in the dirt.  Next lettuce!  When the snow melts, we need to prune the apple trees.  They need pruned when they are dormant, but thanks to hurricane Sandy, we are going to have to trim them completely back.  One tree even got split in half.  I hope we can save it!   Also the weight from the almost three feet of snow that Sandy produced, along with her winds, also destroyed the majority of trees and bushes in front of the garden.  These now get to be cut out and the land tilled up so we can extend the garden plot about another 30 feet.  This should almost double the square footage.  YAY!!

I hope to get elderberries transplanted onto the property this year.  We also need to plant a peach and pear tree, start the strawberry garden up here, plant more blueberries and work on the grape arbor.  Also, if we can find good cherry and plum trees, we need to plant them.  Not to mention I would like to plant another nut tree, to add to the black walnut., if possible.  All this in addition to the changes that need made to the old landscaping.  As well as the clean up should keep us busy.  Our daughter will be around a year old when the outside work really starts.  She will be walking everywhere and exploring everything, this is going to be so exciting.  I wonder how much we will actually accomplish with our curious little adventurer on the go?  I can not wait!!

We now have the ability to get birds.  We have discussed meat chickens, egg chickens, and turkeys.  I would love any suggestions and advice on coops or breeds.  We are planning on raising them as naturally as possible, so I would love to hear any feedback on the most effective way to raise them.  Also advice on predator protection.  (raccoon, opossums, coyotes, etc.)  Please leave comments with advice or links, or share the info to our Facebook page.  Any advice would be appreciated!  :)  We harvest our own venison, split a cow that my cousin raises a 1/2  mile down the road, and buy pork and eggs from a local 4-Her.  We do not know a local supplier of meat chickens, so we plan on doing this ourselves.  We can always harvest wild turkey when in season, but we would love to raise about 6 for cooking each year.  So again, any info would be great!

For now, I will impatiently await the arrival of spring, while getting my hands in the dirt as much as possible.  We will try to finish the interior of this house, which consists of trim, fixing a few closets, running duct work, and waterproofing the basement.   Seeing as we started with framing in studs, I feel good that we are almost done, for now anyhow. A thought I am going to keep in mind , is that from here out, the days are only getting longer and the warmth of summer is getting closer every day. Guess we will try to stay warm and cozy inside and out of the cold for a few more weeks.