Planning — Winter 2019

Autumn Recap:

  • Wardrobe — I found that two of my 2nd layers aren’t warm enough for late Autumn and Winter, so they got put in the tote and I bought a sweatshirt. It is casual, but it suits my lifestyle and looks sporty and tidy when I wear it out in public. I switched out most of my t-shirts for long-sleeved t-shirts.
  • Weather — We had far more wet days than the average and are on track to have one of the wettest years on record (Since I post this seasonally, there are still some days of the year left.)
  • Activities — I did not go to Florida this year. There were too many things going on and I couldn’t justify the expense.
  • Budget — We kept current with any new medical bills and paid off medical debt of $400. We had a total loss claim on our vehicle. Hannah bought a 2019 to replace the 2013.

Winter Plans —

Wardrobe Plans:

  • Bottoms:  4 (1 black slim trousers, 3 jeans)
  • Dress:  1 (black knit rib) and denim skirt
  • Shirts:  5 (sage, navy, white, green, black)
  • 2nd Layers: 3 (moss, black, blue sweatshirt)
  • Weather related: 4 (black jacket, vest, winter coat +scarf, hat, and mittens)
  • Accessories:
    • Shoes: 5 (black bootie, black flat, brown boots, black boots, insulated snow boots)
    • Purse/Tote: 2 (green purse, black tote)
    • Scarves: 3 (monet, red plaid, rust/purple)
    • Jewelry: 3 (earrings), 1 necklace
  • Underwear, bras, socks, long underwear, and pjs
  • Exercise clothes: leggings, t-shirt, bike jacket, safety yellow puffer vest

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Weather:

Month.     High / Low(°F).     Rain
Dec.          46° / 27°.                 7 days
Jan.           42° / 23°.                5 days
Feb.          48° / 27°.                5 days
Mar.         57° / 34°.                8 days
Activities:
  • church
  • Spiritual Companion Group
  • Celtic service team
  • Errand running days
  • Christmas Eve service
  • Christmas party
  • CK’s birthday
  • Igniting the Fire class (1 year course)
  • Permaculture Class
  • Welsh lessons
Home Activities:
  • exercise
  • housekeeping
  • prepping seed trays for early greens
  • tax prep and filing
  • research tillers (?)
  • order supplies for shade house / rabbit house
  • order organic soil for garden extension
  • Build first tall raised bed (will be 2 1/2 feet tall x 50 square feet)
Budget Goals:
  • Make progress or medical pay off ($3200)
  • Next up: credit card pay off ($4000)
  • Use tax money for raised beds and shade house/rabbit house

 

Advent Observations 2

Advent week 2 passed quickly and quietly. All gifts are purchased and wrapped. We wrap all our gifts in wool tartan fabric or canvas bags (depending on the size).

As we continue this season, I find I truly love our rustic and eco-minded Advent wreath. The beeswax leaves such a delicious scent in the air. So far the first tealight candle is still going strong.

#Rough — Kelly cut this nice round of wood for me to use as the base of our wreath.
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#Wild — Our parish practiced stenciling on t-shirts and canvas bags for a big upcoming project. This beautiful heart reminds me that faith can be a wild ride at times. It also reminds me of the line “Let my soul rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun.”

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#Grow — As I grow in faith, simplicity becomes more meaningful.
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#Smooth — My inflammation buster tea. I’m seeing benefits and enjoying the tangy taste.
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#Cry — Happy tears as our son turns 30. He taught me motherhood, unconditional love, and a fierceness.
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Advent Observations 1

Watch: Deleted my FB account. Watching drops of water fall from the branches. One at a time. Slowly. Peacefully.
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Focus: Deep breaths. Self-care. Gratitude
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Night: I love watching the flames dance in the wood stove at night. The crackling is almost hypnotic.

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Light: Morning has broken like the first morning 🎼  I have a truly awful singing voice, but I’m singing some old favorites this morning anyway.
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Sprout: I start my days, lately, with a mug of Casablanca Twist tea from Adagio Teas.

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rabbits

 

I am very excited that rabbits will be returning to our little farm this coming year. We’ve had rabbits most years, but gave them to a neighbor last year because the houses we had were very difficult for me to give the rabbits proper care. They were all metal, sat about 18 inches off the ground, and had a fussy door closing system.

Part of living small and regenerative is to think not just about right now, but how will I do this in 5, 10, 20 years, but also to think about the plant or animal.  How do they grow best? What makes them happy? What do they need to be their best at all times?

So off I went in search of rabbit information.

  • First I created a chart where I could list the inputs and outputs of rabbits.
  • Then I read Beyond the Pellet and created a list of homegrown food possibilities for where we live.
  • Then I read Food Web  and Practical Permaculture and figured out what animals/plants support and depend on rabbits along with housing ideas.

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Housing — My research has led us to a multi-housing system. We will put the wire cages in the slat house over manure collectors (which will have a 2 layer worm bin).  The wire cage will be connected by a pipe to a concrete/brick burrow area (which will have a door on top, so we can clean it, That in turn will be connected by a pipe (that can be closed off at night, in cold weather or during kindling) to a rabbit yard. I’m calling the yard “hobbiton” because it will have hills made of partially buried buckets, small trees, rocks, a watering system, and be surrounded by a thicket of willow trees.

Feeding — 

  • 75%  = willow, hay, clover, grass, wheat grass
  • 25% =
    • comfrey, crown vetch, dandelion, honeysuckle vines, trumpet vines,
    • sage, lettuce, spinach, kale,
    • parsnip, pumpkin, berries, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, peas radish, summer squash, turnip
    • trimmings from apple, peach, grape, lilac, and maple trees
  • Supplement
    • mineral block / salt stone
    • clear, clean water  — always
    • commercial pellets available during transition from other homes to here. Our kits will be fed homegrown their entire lives and we will provide educational materials for anyone who buys a kit that will help them continue the homegrown feed or will provide help for transitioning them to a pellet based diet.

Nature/Yard/Hobbiton —

  • Year 1: Plant scrub willows 6 inches apart and in the fall trim back to 2 feet tall
  • Year 1: Bury 2×6 all around perimeter with rabbit fencing attached. create slopes/mini-swales for drainage, create shelters (buckets half buried then covered with dirt, cream dirt bath area, plant with grass + clover mix, add some rocks for climbing and nail scraping.
  • Year 2 -3: Feed 1 small branch per rabbit per day, circling the yard so each tree has plenty of time to recover, and prune back each Fall.
  • Year 2-3: Each late Autumn sow grass+clover seed and cover with straw/hay
  • Year 4: continue to feed to rabbits. Attach 2nd layer of fencing to the willows for extra protection.
  • Year 4 and on — continue to reseed and cover each winter.

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What I’m reading:  The Celtic Way of Prayer, New York 2140, A Celtic Advent

What I’m listening to: The Last Star and Harry Potter 1

What I’m watching:  Doctor Who

What I’m learning in Welsh:  Lots of vocabulary, a bit of grammar.

  • animals
  • months
  • seasons
  • numbers
  • days
  • plus a ton of review

What I’m thinking about:  The practical bits of putting lots of theory into place on our little farm.

Advent 2018

Advent —   Here is last year’s blog post on Advent. It is much more my philosophy and this year’s post is more pragmatic.

Since renewing my commitment to live a small and regenerative life I notice areas where we are doing ok, but could definitely make some improvements. This year, Advent is getting a slight makeover.

Last year: Advent wreath with paraffin candles, and plastic bits and bobs attached to a wreath frame.

Not too bad, but I wanted to look at how the candles of Advent could be carried forward through the year, how we could use non-paraffin candles, and how the wreath itself could be changed for one that could reflect the seasons.

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What I’ve come up with is a wreath made from our grapevines, sitting on cardboard, with glass candle holders, beeswax candles, and seasonal decor filling up the spaces between the candles. Ideally (and ultimately), I want Kelly to bring in a round of wood just the size of the wreath so that it becomes its own little table/stool/home altar.

I melt beeswax into little plastic tea light cups (that I use over and over again). I do have to buy the wicks, but I try to find the hemp ones. About 4 years ago I bought 2 pounds of beeswax and we are still using it for candles and salves. Bees are hopefully getting added to our little farm sometime in the next few Springs. That should make the beeswax even better!

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Each evening of Advent, we light the candle(s) and this year we are reading David Cole’s A Celtic Advent..It is a quiet, peaceful transition into the darker evenings. It lends itself to less television and more reading.  Just the way I like it!

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What I’m reading:  The Celtic Way of Prayer, New York 2140, A Celtic Advent

What I’m listening to: The Last Star and Harry Potter 1 (Sad, but true fact: When we first got Jasper we listened to HP audiobooks every night as a family. Jasper always fell asleep and I would carry him to his bed and then go to bed. Now, he sleeps best if Jim Dale is reading in the background.)

What I’m watching:  Nothing this week

What I’m learning in Welsh:  Lots of vocabulary, a bit of grammar.

  • animals
  • months
  • seasons
  • numbers
  • days
  • plus a ton of review

What I’m thinking about:  Rainwater collection systems, gravity fed household water supply, designing a “sustainable village” for an author, and Advent.

transitioning land use 1

When we first moved to our little piece of earth it was a corn field with a half acre of woods smack in the middle. You could actually see the corn stalks for almost a whole year after we purchased it. We decided early on not to use any chemicals on the property. I bought bag after bag of grass seed (all different types), clover seeds, and a hay mix.We put up fences and bought goats and even a Jersey cow. We bought hay from a neighbor to feed them. Gradually a mix of green things began to grow.

At some point in the first few years we decided to stop mowing the back acre and a half. For time we let the goats roam and graze back there, but it was hard to keep track of them and they ended up outside the fence as much as they were inside the fence. So we fenced it off and just let it go wild.

Now, 15 years later it is a young woods. There are probably over a hundred sycamore, maple, oak, and cedar. It is a beautiful area. This year, for the first time, we are creating paths around the perimeter and into the center of this young woods. It would be a lovely place to build a tiny off-grid house for either Hannah or Michael.

In front of the old woods was another 3 acres of field. We’ve used it as livestock pasture, chicken house and pen, and for the past 6 years, since the big tornado, we’ve let it go wild too. We maintain paths through it and try not to encroach beyond the paths — except where Michael is digging the new cistern/small pond and a ditch system to help the land drain better. We have about 25 new little trees in this area.

Into this area I plan to plant willow trees around the cistern,  nut trees along the paths, fruit trees hidden among all the others, and some trees intended to be firewood in years to come. If I figured properly, we will need almost 100 trees. It will take a few years to be able to afford and plant them all. We’ll be building a new chicken coop and several chicken yards close to the house, but protected by the trees.

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What I’m reading:  Harry Potter 3 in German, The Celtic Way of Prayer, Becoming

What I’m listening to: Ghost Hawk

What I’m watching:  Doctor Who, The Good Place

What I’m learning in Welsh:

  • a / ac
  • y /yr / ‘r
  • ond
  • yma
  • ar
  • fferm
  • di-waith
  • ysgrifennyddes
  • peintio
  • wal, bref, llong, llawr, nenfwd
  • dweud
  • rhywbeth
  • yn y Gymraeg
  • beth
  • rwan
  • o’n I isio
  • well i mi
  • had yn hyn

What I’m thinking about:  

coffee or tea?

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I’m usually a hot tea kind of girl, but once in a while I’ll go through a latte’ phase.  I like simple tools no matter which I choose. My little brown teapot has brewed many many cups of tea. My favorite is Ginseng Peppermint (although the shop where I purchase it won’t be carrying it any longer… ) followed closely by green tea with mint. Now that my stash has to last indefinitely, I am drinking green tea every morning and saving the GP for a special Sunday treat.

Warning!!  Rant coming!!  We have reached that time of year where I can’t get out in public spaces. The poinsettias are already out in the grocery stores and mall.  I’ve been working on compiling a master grocery list for Kelly and Hannah so that I can just copy and paste the things we need etc week. I really do NOT like how early this stuff starts.  I remember when I could go grocery shopping until early December, then until Thanksgiving, and now I cat even spend my birthday money in a real store.

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What I’m reading:  Harry Potter 3 in German, The Celtic Way of Prayer, Becoming

What I’m listening to: Ghost Hawk

What I’m watching:  Doctor Who, The Good Place

What I’m learning in Welsh:

  • bwyta: lemon, orenau, llsiau, menyn
  • smwddio
  • gweithio: swyddfa, garej, siop, siopwr, sinema, hedduas, trydanur, gwraig ty, drama, theatr
  • mewn
  • rhifo
  • nofio
  • yma
  • gwneud
  • cerdded

What I’m thinking about:  

52

Another year older, hopefully a bit wiser, hopefully much kinder, and definitely more grey — in essence the same.

I’m still pondering the song “What kind of world do you want?” and still singing “Crazy Horses”. I still love Matt Smith as the Doctor (Doctor Who). My favorite kind of veg-out book is still post-apocalypse.

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What I’m reading:  Harry Potter 3 in German, The Celtic Way of Prayer, Becoming

What I’m listening to: The Ghost Hawk

What I’m watching:  Doctor Who, The Good Place

What I’m learning in Welsh:

  • Dillad: cot law, jîns, teits, crys chyws, fest
  • golch
  • brecwast, cinco, swmper
  • Bwyta: caws, mefus, cig,
  • tegan // teganau
  • ond
  • gwylio
  • prynu
  • ffermwr, nyrs, athro, meddyg, mecanic, actor, athrawes
  • trio, cofio, mynd, mynd i, ymarfer, sut, sut i, angen, dal, gwella
  • fedra I ddim

What I’m thinking about:  Raised garden bed logistics, seed orders, tree orders, and finishing up Christmas gifts.

take-out box

 

These are two of our take-out boxes / lunch packing containers.

My personal favorite is the stainless steel one on top. I prefer it because it is rigid and the top locks on pretty tight. It is not leak proof and it does get pretty hot. However, with arthritic thumbs that rigidness comes in handy when I drop it.

My daughter and husband prefer the softer silicone containers. They fill up nicely, hold more food, can be microwaved, and then pack down tiny when they are empty.  They are also easier to tuck clean & empty into your purse or backpack when you are heading out to eat and want to bring home leftovers.

Ideally, I’d like a round, shallow, stainless steel tin to add to my rotation.

As far as reducing your plastic use, styrofoam use, and low-waste lifestyle goals, these are pretty easy. They don’t cost much and last forever. Our silicone ones are about five years old and the stainless steel one is seven.

 

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What I’m reading:  Harry Potter 3 in German, Cherringham #12, The Celtic Way of Prayer

What I’m listening to: The Grey KIng

What I’m watching:  Doctor Who, The Good Place

What I’m learning in Welsh:

  • Geaef
  • Ysgol
  • Dillad: gwregys, esgidiau, esgidiau rhedeg, sanau, hosan, hosanau, sgarff, crys-t,
  • gwerthu
  • Cymru
  • Cymraeg
  • Dw i isio dysgu siarad Cymraeg achos dw i’n caru Cymru a dw i isio yr iaith Cymraeg parhau.

What I’m thinking about:  Working through plans to add layers of regenerative agriculture to our little farm. Rabbits are coming back with a redesigned home. Chickens will be back the next year. Raised beds (2 1/2 feet raised) are being designed. Paths are being laid out for the final bit of our woods, and I have a tree/bush/plant/seed list started.