Friday, January 11, 2013

Winter Garden Inspections

A garden may SEEM to sleep during the winter, but something is always happening out there. Even if a blanket of snow has covered it. Growing slows down tremendously, but life does remain as it quietly observes shorter days and longer nights.

A warm fire seems much more inviting than trudging around in the snow with below freezing temps, but if one will bundle up and brave the elements, it's actually quite invigorating. And if you live someplace where daylight hours are exceptionally short, you need every bit of Vitamin D from the sun you can possible absorb!

Believe me... I know. With the sun only beginning to rise over the eastern mountain at Sweetwater Farm around 8:45 in the morning in the deepest part of winter, and then setting behind the western mountain around 2:45, by February I've been known to have a substantial case of cabin fever if I don't get outside enough.

But back to the garden... doing daily inspection is a REALLY wise habit to develop. I confess, I don't do it every day, but I try to get out there often because stuff happens.

Wind whips through and pulls off covers that I thought were secure or snow causes a collapse...

Wild animals attempt to break and enter...

The snow is great for discovering who your unwanted visitors might be! Certainly a good reason to keep a lock on coop doors.

My hive nearly met it's demise, but thankfully, a garden inspection saved it. Before this snow, the ground had become so soft from the rain that the pipe footings were sinking into the soil on one side. It had nearly toppled over! I didn't even take time to get a photo... I just rushed in, got my husband to quickly construct a platform (that I had put off getting done), and four of us went out to the yard and strapped the hive well before slipping it up on the new stand. You can barely see it underneath the snow poking through. A couple of bricks were added for stability and since this photo, I've surrounded the hive with hay bales on 3 sides up to the top.

A very quick inspection on a warm day revealed the hive was still alive with plenty of sugar on the candy board. I'm really hoping these girls make it!

One other thing I often check are tree branches. When we get a wet snow, the load can be so heavy that branches on evergreens can break, so I take a stick and walk around the property knocking the snow off.

If you have a drip system or some kind of plumbing and you haven't drained the pipes (because you have animals that need water or something like that), be sure to check for signs of broken lines. Extra soggy ground, pooling or running water, or large amounts of ice that indicate a leak where water has frozen is a good indication that something's amiss.

Just think... only 67 more days until Spring is officially here (March 20, 2013), so hang in there... we can do this!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Catching Up

First... I'm still here! It may look like I've abandoned ship, but I'm just below deck getting things in order. Seriously, it's just that I'm trying to get caught up on a few things from Christmas while getting the kids launched back into school this week. Add to that a few changes we've made for one of the girls, another one taking off to care for her grandmother for a couple of months, constant snow to contend with enjoy, completing the annual household purging... I'm sure you can imagine how busy things have been!

I know that all of you are just as busy. You're mostly moms, grandmas, college students, wives, sisters, employees, domestic engineers... Can I just say "HOORAY FOR THE GIRLS!". Guys are pretty awesome, too, but I just wanted to give a shout out on behalf of the women today for the hard work they do day after day, and all because of L.O.V.E.

Second... I want to thank all of you who took the time to leave a comment of encouragement as I make this change. You have made it so much easier for me to transition... THANK YOU! I'll admit, once I really made the decision in my mind, I knew it was the right choice and I had a great peace about it, but it could have gone the other way if it weren't for such an awesome community of friends cheering me on.

I hope those of you who are new will take a few minutes to read some archived posts... there should be a few. {*smile*} And for all of you, I'd love to hear what God has put on your heart for 2013...

What is your number one goal for the new year on your homestead?

For me... I want to finish my Family Herbalist course from Vintage Remedies. Lord willing, this is going to be the year of Herbs and Healing! Despite living fairly close to the land, we've had some health issues that need a little more care and attention. I'm sure the problems would have been worse if we didn't eat as well as we do, but some additional TLC is needed and I'm excited to explore the world of herbs that God has given us for our benefit.

So... now it's your turn. Type away... I'm all ears!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Priorities for Homestead Revival

"There is an appointed time for everything. 
And there is a time for every event under the heaven..."
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Every year as the calendar changes, I take time to pray and evaluate my life and how I spend my time walking this earth. Let me restate that... I re-evaluate how I believe GOD wants me to spend my time walking this earth.

Sometimes I hear Him loud and clear while at other times, I must be really still and quiet... listening so close... waiting....

I've found the latter to be the case at this point in time. I'm having trouble hearing. Not because I'm not in His Word... but because my life has become a bit too cluttered. Unbalanced. I'm too busy to hear well.

It's time to make some changes.

A few things that you may notice...

1) Homestead Revival WILL CONTINUE but at a slower pace. I'll only be posting as time and commitments allow. I'm removing any obligations that would force me to write on a time schedule, so you'll see some changes, but as the Lord allows, I'll continue to write and post. (I hope that this includes more opportunity for heart felt, spirit lead content, too.)

2) I will no longer be advertising, maintain affiliate links, host the Barn Hop or host the Preparedness Challenge. Please know this is not for any reason other than time constraints! The Barn Hop hostesses are graciously holding my place for me, should time allow me to rejoin them. Thank you, dear Jill and Kendra! You're the best!

3) I will continue to do product reviews and an occasional give-away, but I will be VERY selective in which items to promote since these take a LOT of time to research, write, and host. As a result, these will be products I have personally selected (not items where vendors approach me first).

4) I will not be accepting any guests posts here, nor will I be writing guest posts for other blogs at this time (however I will continue to write for our local magazine). Blogging will happen when it happens. But the good news is... I tend to write better that way anyhow!

5) I will keep my email open and respond only as I'm able. (If it gets to be too much, then that will go as well.)

There will be other changes at home, but those things are of importance to my family more than anyone else. If it seems appropriate, I'll write about it. But one thing I can share... lest I disqualify myself in the message I seek to promote (see "The Homestead Revival Mission" on the sidebar), then I must be diligent about living it first. By cutting back on the blog, I can continue to do that best.

While some of my encouragement comes from writing the blog, reading the posts/comments of others, and the "cyber relationships" that have been forged as a result of blogging, it is highly important that I keep building and nurturing the relationships in my own family, neighborhood, and community.

I hope you'll do the same.

May your 2013 year be full of sweet memories and few regrets!


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