Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cleanings....and growth.

It has been pretty peaceful, yet productive, on the homestead for the last couple of days.  It has been nice, but such rhythm lets one day roll into the other, until you sudden realize that it is Sunday already.

Yesterday was spent cleaning.  Our house, like many others, have been run over by all things 'kid' for the last several years or so...  We have purposely had hand-me-downs and upcycled furniture to get us through these growing years, as we know that many things will go to ruin by basic wear and tear of two active children before their growing is done.

We are finally trying to move past this, and yesterday was a great step in that direction.  Yesterday morning, the kids went off to a day with their grandparents, and the husband and I tore much of the house apart.  We are overrun with the outgrown toys and clothes that the kids had no use or need for anymore.  At the end of our work, we had a minivan full of contributions to the local GoodWill and 1 lone bag of trash.  That bag was mostly filled with broken items that would have no second use...but I still hate the thought ot it.  Joel Salatin's words ring in my ears, saying there is no "away"...but I am glad that the reuseables far out weighed those items headed for the landfill.

Today will hopefully bring a new-to-us dining room table and chairs.  Since we moved to this house, we have been using a table and chairs set that has taken quite the beating.  They have been used for every possible doh...and some eating, of course, and they are showing their wear.  The table leaf was crafted by my husband in the hours before a long ago Thankgiving dinner when seating expansion was needed, and the chairs are especially on their last legs.  The seats have been replaced by wooden boards and covered with seat cushions, and the legs are held in place by lots of spare wood screws.  I am looking forward to chairs that do not arc and threaten to tumble each time we sit on them. 

The rest of the possible future happenings are quiet.  The dog frenzy has calmed down to a mere whisper, and my search for bees this spring has led me to point of reconsideration.  But, for now I will table those items to the back of my mind and just look forward to a day home with my children.  The rest may unfold as it may.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


So, there might be dogs on the horizon on this homestead.  And not just any dogs, but 100 plus pound purebreed German Shepards to be precise.  Oh yes.  Two of them.

See, its kind of a long rambling story.  My husband has to take a trip next year - a fairly long trip.  He has done this kind of long trip before, having gone to Texas several years ago, so that kids are familiar with the idea.

My son, however, now thinks that everyone going on a long trip must be going to Texas.  'Cause that were people go, right?  Hmmm....sounds good to me - bet its warmer than Vermont right now...

But anyways, I come home two days ago to learn that the kids now know about the pending trip.  Or rather, I come home to hear "MOM!  DAD IS GOING ON A TRIP TO TEXAS AND WE ARE GETTING A DOG!!".

Well, I think, a good evening to you too!

A dog had been a discussion point, but had been tabled until after the husband had returned from the trip.  Now it was past the table, and flying straight to reality.

So, the discussion moves on.

It is my daughter who is most excited.  "Mom, Dad said we are getting a dog!  I want to name it Watcher or Hunter, or Ranger...or Princess!  Yes!  Princess!"

Giggles..."OK darl'in, go tell that to your Dad...."

Then the discussion ensues..."This can be my dog, right?  The rest of you can get your own dog.  Right?"

Then I worry about the dog not having a canine friend.  'Cause I am just that crazy.

So, I ask my son "Do you want a dog?".

My son answers "No.  I want a movie"

Oh, well that is easier...

My daughter carries on "I am going to get a dog named Princess and I will enter him (yes, HIM) into a dog show, and with all of my winning, I will buy my dog toys".

Now, that spurs an idea with my son. 

He follows with "Yes!  I need a dog too!  I will enter him in a dog show and with all of my winnings, I will buy my dog a MOVIE!!".

Oh my goodness, I love the way he thinks.

So, stay posted....time can only tell how this turn out!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fiber updates...

Good morning everyone!  It is Wednesday, and we are Yarning Along with Ginny and joining in with Tami's Amis' Work in Progress  and Ambassador Crochet today!

As you can see from the pic, I am still working on the same sweater, which is looking oddly like a tube skirt that this point....but I have gone through my bag 'o projects and found a nearly forgotten one WIP.  The colorful friend above is the start of a shawl done up in a woolen Paton's fiber.

And since I can think of several shirts to match, I hope to finish that one soon! 

Is it normal to feel like I am 'cheating' on my sweater-in-process?  *giggles*

Any who - that's all on this end.  My cats are sending me dagger eyes, waiting to be fed, so I must get moving!

  Head on over to Ginny's, Tami's, and Ambassador's Crochet other interesting ventures of fiber fun.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Blessings of independence....

Joining in today with He Sows and She Sews today, for "I'm Blessed"

I am blessed with kids that are growing and becoming more responsible and independent each day.

Today, as I was hiding away in the bathroom, covertly putting on my makeup, I heard the bang of dishes falling into the sink. 

My kids had finished their breakfast and cleared their dishes without any reminders or prompting.

A huge blessing, for sure!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Big happenings....

Such happenings on the homestead these days!

As you know, we were hoping to get bees this year.  Yesterday, I finally took the steps to email a company in southern Vermont who sells bees and bee equipment.  They are a solid 3+ hours away, but well worth the travels I think.  As long as we get our names on the list, we can reserve a bundle of bees for pick up in May.  Something tells me we will be taking the truck for that trip ;).

On other news, we are seriously considering installing a wood burning fireplace in the homestead.  Currently, we do not have any secondary heating source, but if we ever want to begin to step away from even part of the grid, we will have to start somewhere.  And, with our forested land across town, we should have plenty of food for the fire.  I am very excited, as I envision cosy warm nights, crocheting by the light of the flame.

Big happening down on the homestead!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

House rules...

I am realizing that we have some weird rules in our house.  Most families have rules for their kids like, "Don't jump on the furniture", or "Wash your hands before dinner".  You know, things that make sense.

In our house, our rules are much more specific.  We have to be.  These kids are creative, and they try to out think us at every turn. 

You want some examples?  Hmmm...let's see.

Well, for starters, we have, "No Candy Canes in the Bathtub",

And "No Stockpiling Water Balloons in Your Bedroom".

There is also "No Climbing into Chicken Coops",

"No Watergun Standoffs in the Bathroom When Your Mother is Trying to Get You Out of the Water."

And "No Climbing Up the Front of the Refridgerator".

Necessary rules include "No Drawing on Your Brother"

And "No Sitting on Your Sister's Head".

I really think that I shouldn't have to say these things....but, in this house, we do. We have learned from experience, if we don't make a rule for it, it will happen.  And these kids have limitless energy and creativity....

I, on the other hand, am running out of energy... ;)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Technical difficulties....

I have tech issues.

This dang old computer is positively refusing to let me navigate to more than two web screen before it is freezing up.  This ole guy is slowing me down!

I am beginning to wonder if it is trying to send me a message.

Each morning, I am in a battle to do quite a bit. 

I get up way before the roosters (not that we have any...nasty old buggar), to make my husband's breakfast and pack his lunch.  Once he is on his way to work, it is a mad dash to care for all of the pets (including the chickens, 'cause, in our house, those ladies are never going to be dinner....), start some wash, deal with dishes, consider vaccuuming (and then settle on sweeping, since it doesn't require lugging a big machine around), and getting dressed.  Then it is time for the kids to get up. 

And I am sure you can imagine what that entails. 

And the end of it all, I can't wait to finally land at the office, 'cause they let me sit down there.  And I do so appreciate sitting down.  It is a good place to be.

Once the work day is done, it is the 45 minute drive home (longer, of course, when the Vermont weather decides to act up), during which I eat popcorn, which in turn is considered dinner, and land home just in time to get the kids to bed.

Once they are tucked away, it is off to the treadmill for 30 minutes, then a quick shower, and back to bed.

Then we get up the next time and do it again!

My life has become a race from morning to night.

Why is that?

And could the computer be telling me something?  By freezing up, is it telling me to slow down, enjoy the moments, exist in each second of each day instead of constantly planning the next one?

Or is the dang old computer breaking?  'Cause that would really mess up my rhythm! ;)

Just a thought.... ;)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

No real changes...a fiber and literary non-update....

Good morning everyone!  It is Wednesday, and we are Yarning Along with Ginny and joining in with Tami's Amis' Work in Progress  and Ambassador Crochet today!

And I feel a bit silly joining in.  See, I am working on the same sweater, and reading the same book.  Nothing new here....

Except for a really bad photo....sorry about that!
But both are going well, and the book especially is eye opening.  This is one that I would love to see introduced to some high school reading lists....Even if you don't agree with Joel Salatin, his style is bluntly honest and refreshing.

Very, very thought provoking.

Well, that is all that I have for now.  The morning hours are coming upon me, and I have some lunches to pack...and kids to drag out of their beds to get ready for a day at school

  Head on over to Ginny's, Tami's, and Ambassador's Crochet other interesting ventures into literary and fiber fun.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 update - Day 3

Just an early morning update on the home brew excitement.

The balloons filled with gas from the fermentation about 1 hour after they were capped on the bottles on Saturday.  Since then, they have remained filled.  I know that some of the gas is leaking through the pin pricks in the balloons, but those holes are so very small that I can't find them...oh well....details, details... ;)

In a close look at the bottles, you can really see that the fermentation is still in process, as tiny bubbles are in a constant race to the surface.

Homebrew, here we come!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The run to no going somewhere!

So, it just occured to me that I haven't updated on the run to no where is ages!

Well, I am happy to report that it is back on and better than imagined.

After a week of no activity, and another week of slloowwwlllllyyyyy getting back in the groove, I am back to my daily dates with the treadmill.  And after a delicious dinner with friends, a plan has been made. 

We are doing a 5K!

Or, actually, we are doing 2 of them.

Now, I know that a 5K isn't all that daunting, and it isn't a marathon or anything, but this is brand new territory.  Organized anything is really not my scene....

But, with my friend by my side, we are going to tackle them.

So, we are in training. 'Course, this being the middle of winter, we have plenty of time for training (the runs taking place in the summer and all...) but such great motivation it is!

So, this is a Hurray!  We are IN!  And very excited!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Adventures in homebrewing...

OK - the Day is Here!

No, I am not speaking of the Broncos v. Patroits (aka Tebow v. Brady).  While that game may dominate my house at the moment (Go Tebow!  Let 'Em Go!), this is not what we are speaking of today.

Today for the big homebrewing event!

Now, first to give proper credit - the recipe I based my brew on can be found here, but I will recap my fun below. 

And as you all know from my post earlier in the week, the recipe I used called for glass bottles.  And, as you all know, glass bottles are hard to find these days.  Plastic has taken over our world, and that is not all good.

So, where do we turn, you ask?  The trusty natural foods store, of course.  This was the only place that I could find glass bottles bigger than a beer bottle.  And what were these bottles holding?  Why, Vermont Organic Milk, of course! 

Feel free to cue angels singing...Now!

OK, but to be serious, and get now to business, the first course of action was to free up 2 of those glass bottles.  And my family can only drink so much milk.  So, into holding tanks they went (more about that later) and the now empty bottles had to be cleaned and sanitized.  I know that there was probably fancy ways to sanitize bottles for brewing and I found plenty of products on homebrewing sites, but here, we gotta work with what we got.  Which was bleach.


A small amount went into each bottle, and then we rinsed, rinsed, rinsed...and then rinsed again.  When absolutely no trace of bleach could be smelled, it was time to move forward.

The ingredients for this brew were very simple.  A gallon of unfiltered apple cider, four to six cups of sugar (white and/or brown), bread yeast, and some party balloons (more about that later, too).  The rule of thumb, as I read it, was that the more sugar, the sweeter the brew and the higher the alcohol content.  Now, as a complete novice, I can't vouch for this, but this is what I read.  So, to stick with a middle ground, I decided on 5 cups of brown sugar.

To start, you pour the sugar into a large sauce pan and then add about half of the cider.  Set another cup of cider aside for later.  On a low heat on the stove top, you mix the sugary solution until all of the sugar is dissolved.  This, of course, involves near constant stirring - burning would not be so good.
When the sugar is dissolved, turn off the heat and let it cool a moment.  Then take the other half of the cider and split it between to the two clean 1/2 gallon containers.  You, of course, do all of this with 1 full gallon container, but I am just working with what I have.

Once the clean containers are each about 1/2 full with the cold cider, add equal parts of the warm ultra sweetened cider to each.  You want to leave about  2-3 inches open at the top, so if you fall short, this is when you use the cider you set aside to top it off. 

And then, it is time to add the yeast.  Just 1/4 teaspoon of yeast into each and it is set. 

All that is left is to get the balloons, rinse them out (cause of the non stick stuff inside), and put a pin prick into each.  The stretch one over the mouth of each balloon.  Now, as the yeast is working its magic, the fermentation will happen, and then the balloon will blow up.  As this happens, gas will be able to escape the pin prick, but no bacteria will get back in.  Simple enough.

And now the work for today is done.  I will just keep an eye on the fermenting brew for the next two to three weeks, making sure that the balloon remains secure.  Then we will "rack" it, and sent aside for another couple of weeks.  Come summer or early fall, we will have our own brew to enjoy!

And, before I forget...we did find a home for all of that milk.  How, you ask?  Well, for cheese, of course!!

Quiet contemplation ...

The morning has quietly come upon us.  I closed my eyes last night and 7 am raced to the forefront.  With snow....

Lots of snow...

Other years, pre-wanna-be-farmer years, this wouldn't have bothered me.  I would have simply creeped downstairs, brewed some coffee and poured juice into cups for the kids, laid on the couch, awaiting wakefulness.

Not anymore.

We still have strict rules regarding our coffee-first approach around here, but if daylight has broken, the chickens have gotta come first.

So, it was out to the garage for me, to don my winter wear and grab a shovel.  Although I shoveled a great amount (twice!) last night, Vermont come upon us during the sleeping hours, and there are still more to go before I could out the coop door.

But now, the work is done for the moment, and I can enjoy these moments of quiet comtemplation - my coffee by my side and my cat by my feet.

It is a good way to be.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Homebrew planning...

So, first let me say that I am not a big drinker.  I don't like beer, can't stand most wine, and straight liquor might as well be rubbing alcohal to my taste buds.

But, I love hard cider. 

Truely, truely love.

So, inspired by another blogger, I am going to try my own home brew of the good ole stuff. 

The ingredients are pretty simple.  Unfiltered apple juice (aka apple cider), bread yeast (!!) and sugar.  And glass bottles.

Ah yes, the glass bottles.

Until I started looking around, I didn't realize just home much plastic has taken over.  Hardly anything larger than a bottle of beer is in glass.  And I needed big containers.  Like gallon or half gallon size.

But, after much racking of the brain, I found a solution.

Vermont Organic Milk!

It is still packaged and sold in glass bottles!  So, I headed to the local natural foods store and bought four of these breakable babies. 

And due to their precious cargo status, I proceeded to secure their safety by buckling them up in my daughter's booster seat.  Fitting, don't you think?

Just don't tell her....

I am hoping to get down to the nitty gritty of the homebrewing this weekend, and will post some updates them.  Until then, wish me luck.

I think I will need it....

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

On the fiber, and literary, front...

Good morning everyone!  It is Wednesday, and we are Yarning Along with Ginny and joining in with Tami's Amis' Work in Progress  and Ambassador Crochet today!

Once I finished my son's blanket last week, I was a bit at odds.  But, that didn't last long.  I am now working on a sweater - for myself!  I am using Lion Brand Yarn Fisherman's Wool which has been lovely to work with.

Now, this is my first time working on a sweater, and I am taking a bottoms up approach, so we will have to see how it goes.  But, I am hoping to finish it before the end of winter.

Wearing wool in summer isn't so much fun.

On the literary side, I have a few books going.  I read and finished Barnheart by Jenna Woginrich (check out her blog Cold Antler Farm - love it) and it inspired me to move on to Joel Salatin's Folks, This Ain't Normal.  It is wonderfully thought provoking, making me reconsider quite a few things in my day to day practices.  I appreciate his absolute blunt honesty about how he sees the world. 

I would easily put both of these books up with Barbara Kingssolver's Animal Vegetable Miracle, a book that I found to be completely life changing.

Well, that is all that I have for now.  The morning hours are coming upon me, and I have chickens to let out of their coop :)
  Head on over to Ginny's, Tami's, and Ambassador's Crochet other interesting ventures into literary and fiber fun.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


It is 6am.

The calm before the storm.

Does everyone else have this period of time?  You know, that small matter of minutes between when you finish your morning chores and the kids wake up?  That tiny period of time when you can sneak just one more cup of coffee before it all takes off at a flying leap?

I love this moment.  It never lasts long, and frankly, some mornings, it doesn't exist at all, but it is beautiful when it is here.  The time is yours, and is only halted by the sound of feet hitting floor up above you.  That's when the mad dash to be the first to get down stairs, the first for the biggest blanket, the ONE who gets the blue cup...when it all begins.

I know that I should fill this time for productive events.  Or at least eat breakfast.  But the cup of coffee and banana from 4:30 will have to do for now.  'Cause I am not getting off this couch until the house wakes up.  The kids are sleeping and the animals are cared for.  And for now, that is enough.

All is quiet.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I'm Blessed.

Joining in for the first time with He Sows and She Sews today, for "I'm Blessed"

Such a wonderful way to remember our blessings today, on a weekday that can get oh-so-crazy.

And I have so many blessings to be thank for for.

I am blessed by the extraodinary people in my life. 

My husband who understands that it is tax season, and that the brunt of the home and family responsibilities fall to him - and he jumps in without complaint. 

My children that are constantly questioning all facts of life and making me look deeper into my own assumptions and actions.

My co-workers who truly *get* the need for a work-home balance, in even the craziness of times, and are so very understanding of the many directions we are all pulled in everyday.  Such an positive environment makes your office space like a second home and your co-workers like family.

Oh yes, I am very blessed.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Today is a day for puttering and getting stuff done.

The morning started a bit later than normal, with everyone arising at 6am instead of 4 or 5am.  I rather quite enjoyed it.  4am always comes way to early and is often unavoidable.  The husband is off for his 'one weekend a month' commitment, so it is just me and the kids at home.  An oddly quiet setting, with short loud bursts of kid noises...I am sure it will get much louder later, when the husband returns....

First up was the letting the chicken out in their yard.  The warmish temps have been to melting some of the snow fall, so we can begin to see some dirt again.  That may not sound too exciting, but to a chicken?  Oh yeah - its the good stuff.  You should see the crazy rolling, squacking, jostling as they all try for a turn at the best dirt patch.  I know, I don't really get it either, but I have had many a garden bed fall at the feet of a rolling chicken.

I know that this sounds a bit odd for a Vermonter, but, frankly, I am OK with the lack of snow.

However, it is with the aid of the snow that is still on the ground that I am able to see the stalking of *something* around the yard again last night.  I don't know what's been hanging around, but I feel confident in saying that it is up to no good.  The husband plans to set up his trail camera in the back yard, so I hope we will find out soon.  Based on the paw print, it looks to be a very large feral dog or a coyote.  Not so good.

After the chickens were freed and running around, I took some time to indulge.  The kids were catching up on their TV programing from last night (mommy yawn....), so I had a few moments to myself to gather the computer and log into High Mowing seed catalog online.  I am slowly building my wish list for the next growing season.  There are so many choices, and for once, I am excited to let loose a bit.  Imagine, green and PURPLE bush beans.  Oh yeah.  It's gonna be good....

Once I had to withdrawn from the computer, it was time to wash up, and clean up the abode, and then head to the dreaded grocery store.  It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great.  I can't help it - I just don't like to grocery shop.  And no matter how great my list is, I alway forget something important.  Like dinner.  You know how it goes....

And now we are home.  The house is chill and not being able to decide what to do next, I am multitasking.  Many birds, one 30 minute time period...Riding the exercise bike (the knee is thankfully much, much better!), while taking turns writing and crocheting a a sweater that I really want to wear this winter.  I only hope that I can finish it this winter....

That, only time will tell.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Chickens in the winter? Not so much fun.... ;)

Let me first say, I love my chickens.

I know that they are technically livestock, but they have become pets in a sense.  My kids talk with them, we pet them, in the summer months, we can be found gardening with them.  They are curious creatures and surprisingly funny in their antics.

But, serious, in the dead of winter, it can be hard to remember this.

Yesterday, the temps fell below zero, but I still needed to go out, open coop doors, give them food and water, and plug in their heat lamp.  And it was quite the process.

Food and water - no problem, easy-peasy.  We can handle that.

Opening up the coop and turning on the light?

Well, that is another story.

The coop is basically a big cube on stilts that my husband built.  The body of the creation itself is about 3 or 4 ft cubed.  A great amount of space - more than enough room for our feathered ladies.

But it is a difficult space to crack into.  It goes like this.

- Get bundled up, and trudge out into the early morning, very dark back yard. 

- Hope quickly not to surprise any coyotes in the yard.

- Find coop surrounded by snow.

- Shovel said snow.

- Try to open large access door to coop.

- Fail as hinges are frozen.

- Trudge back to the garage, get trusty screwdriver.

- Trudge back outside, use trusty screwdriver to open door.

- Loosen door, but notice that door is swollen and jammed shut.

- Grab edges of door and yank fiercely.

- On sixth yank, door finally opens to a dark coop.

- Chickens squack in annoyance at self and cold air.  Tell chickens to knock it off.

- Fumble in darkness to try and plug in coop light.

- Fail as the coop is dark and I am not tall enough to reach, well, anything of use.

- Trudge back to garage for flashlight.

- Realize that kids took flashlight into the house for use as a night light.

- Trudge back outside and go to hay shed.

- Find step ladder in darkness and set by coop.

- Climb said step ladder and climb into coop.

- Pray that a)Muck Boots do not crush chickens under foot and b) coop does not collapse under the weight of self.

- Realize that I don't normally pray, and that I may be wasting time.

- Reach past chickens and plug in coop light.

- Am blinded, as intense light turns on directly in eyes.

- Stumble back and try not to fall out of coop.

- Shut large coop access door, open small chicken door, and go back inside.

- Look down, realize I did all of this in my pajamas, and feel thankful that a) it was dark out and the neighbors *hopefully* didn't see me and b) I did not ruin my work clothes.

- Get dressed, wake up kids, and start the day.

Fun, right? ;)

'Course...I could circumvent most of the above by being more organized...but we won't go there right yet...;)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Orange blanket is done!

Good morning everyone!  It is Wednesday, and we are Yarning Along with Ginny and joining in with Tami's Amis' Work in Progress  and Ambassador Crochet today!

And I finished my son's blanket!!

As you can see, as per his choosing, it was made from a Red Heart fiber called "Pumpkin".  Frankly, to me, it looks at whole lot closer to "Vermont Deer Season Hunter Orange".

My son loves it ;)

I wish I had more "irons in the fire", but with the ending of the holiday season and that start of tax season, I just don't have it in me right now.  So....I am off to do some blog hopping for some inspiration!

Want to join me?  Head on over to Ginny's, Tami's, and Ambassador's Crochet other interesting ventures into fiber fun.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

This just in....

Well, it is official.

I have gone to the doctors (just happened to have a routine visit scheduled for this morning, as luck may have it), and I now know that I have sprained my knee.



After all of TWO days of my run to no where.

A six week recovery time.



Wait for it...wait for it....drum roll please.....

I may have even TORN some ligaments!!

We will have to wait for the swelling to come down before that can be determined.


Just fantastic.


The run to no 2

Yesterday was the first official day of tax season, and so the system has begun.

And within that system is my daily run to no where.  And yesterday was a great improvement over Sunday (I ran the whole 30 minutes!!)...until, that is, the last few moments.

In the last few moments, I did something to my knee that is now causing sickening shocks of pain to reverberate all over, and the surprising strength of such pain has already send me to the floor a few times.  Needless to say, it was not a restful night of sleep.

So, I ask, what the heck did I do?  And how am I supposed to start the morning - the first kids' back-to-school morning - like this?


Sunday, January 1, 2012



I like the sound of that...2012.  Maybe it is the evenness of it, or the perceived safety of pairs and numbers.  I don't know....but it makes me smile a bit.

I have big plans for this year.  The most important of these began today.  2012 will be the year that I finally get in shape, and stay in shape.  I mean, I know that I am not horridly out of shape, and I can wield a pitchfork for a time with the best of them, but this year, I want something better.  Sometime more.  We have a huge garden out back to manifest into huge degrees of edible, and I don't want to be the one coming up short.

Pair this goal up with the start of tax season (oh yes, starting tomorrow!), and we have quite the scene.  But, it is going to work.  'Cause, I have a plan.  Starting tomorrow, I will be working longer days, and be arriving home just in time to join my husband in tucking the kids into bed.  And, once their heads hit their pillows, I will be heading down for a daily meet and greet with my new BFF, the treadmill.  30 minutes of running to nowhere, 10 minutes in a hot, hot, shower, and the day will be done.  Each day.

And having started this running journey today, I am well on my way. 

All this talk leads to my next goal of our expanding our homestead this year.  Luckily, the seasonality of the bulk of our homesteading tail feathers well with my day job as a tax accountant.  So, just as tax season is ending, the real work on the homestead will be just beginning.

New Hampshire Red
So, start with the most fun, we will be increasing our flock this spring.  We only have 12 chickens for the winter months (and yes, I could name them all for you...but will spare you for now) and plan to add another 4 by summer. 

I am in the process of picking a breed (really liking the New Hampshire Reds), and then will be deciding when to place an order.  I have heard very good things about the Murray McMurray Hatchery, and am considering ordering from them.  Not positive, but am considering...and if we do so, we will be placing an order for 25 (the minimum order allowed, since, as in many other things, there is safety in numbers) of the tiny feathered ladies, and then finding adoptive homes for many of them. 
Next, as you know, the garden is already on its way to a 400% expansion.  Rows have been raised and a seed wish-list has begun.  I have canning jars waiting in the wings and a freezer chest sitting on the sidelines. 

This year, we are prepared, and will be growing vegetables (and some fruit of the berry variety) to last our family for the the following year, and some for our friends and family as well.  To say I am excited would be an understatement.

I plan to utilize some of the acreage on our property across town as well.  While the land is mostly being fostered as a wildlife preserve and my husband's *great escape*, I am also planning to harvest plenty of the blackberries and elderberries that are growing with great abandon, and to raise some bees.  I know nothing about bees, but I am planning to start my education very soon...

I am sure that there are many more items that I could be adding to this list, but these are my top personal goals.  To be fit, healthy, and continue on our path to a more self sustaining future with healthy home grown vegetables, fruit, honey, and, of course, eggs. 

For 2012, this sounds just right.