Weekend Links & Updates (with Spring Inspiration!)

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"May my teaching drop like the rain,  my speech condense like the dew; like gentle rain on grass, like showers on new growth. For I will proclaim the name of the Lord;  ascribe greatness to our God!"

Deuteronomy 32:2 - 3


When you live in the woods, spring cleaning is not something you can overlook. Yet that's exactly what I did last year; when my mom died., pretty much everything in my life dropped to the wayside. So this year, spring cleaning has been a bigger job than usual!

The combination of living on a gravel road, living in the woods (the cobwebs, people!), having a dog in and out of the house, having a wood stove for heat, and just plain farm living, means dust and debris build up quickly! I'm thankful our house is pretty small, because that means there is less to clean. (Haha!)Anyhow, I'm nearly done, but if you want some guidelines and checklists for getting through your spring cleaning, check out this series of posts.

In addition to spring cleaning, I'm caring for all the critters, of course, including baby rabbits and some quail chicks we recently hatched. Thankfully the quail chicks are out of the brooder (which is in our house) and living outside now. Their dander definitely contributes to a dusty house!

All the kits are still in their nests, but Fiona's kits (shown here) should be hopping out any day now!

A freshly-hatched quail chick.

My husband and I are nearing the completion of our new vegetable garden. Although I don't have as many beds as I eventually will, I have enough to start planting. We hope to put up the deer fence this weekend; then we'll need to fence the asparagus bed. Sadly, we haven't harvested much asparagus yet because the deer get to the delicious sprigs before we do. (Once the main garden bed is finished, I'll post a step-by-step guide on how we did it. We chose the EASY route!)

My winter sown veggies are doing well.

The new veggie garden...so far.

We're also prepping for a barn. My husband cut down a tree or two, and now he's harvesting them for firewood. Then he'll prep the ground for a foundation before we put up a pole barn where we hope to house the rabbits, quail, and eventually some pigs and sheep or goats.

In my spare time, I've been loving quilting - something I just didn't have time for last year.

An all-scrap spider web quilt I just finished.

A sunflower table-topper I made as a reminder to pray for the people of Ukraine...and in remembrance of my husband's grandparents who fled Ukraine when the Bolsheviks were taking over.

My Diamond Patch quilt. I started this just before my mom died. I made a point to finish it just before the one-year anniversary of her death.

I started cutting out this vintage-inspired apron before my mom died. I finished it last month.

I've also been enjoying learning a lot about farming and cooking during World War II. I'm a bit of a history buff, but even if you're not, there's a lot homesteaders can learn by studying this topic. I came into this journey by finding the BBC series Wartime Kitchen & Garden on YouTube. I found the English techniques for dealing with shortages and food demand interesting and learned some things I didn't know. This inspired me to buy the book by the same name; the book has a LOT of different information, like stories by people who lived through the war (including the presenters Ruth Mott and Harry Dodson) and actual cooking and baking recipes. I recommend it! (Admittedly, it's expensive on Amazon, so I purchased a used copy of eBay. HINT: Search for the book, then save the search. eBay will send you an email whenever a listing that fits your search term comes up, making it easy to shop by price. Just bear in mind that authors earn nothing when you buy books used.)

This in turn led me to watch The Wartime Farm on YouTube. I'd watched The Victorian Farm (on Amazon streaming), The Edwardian Farm (on Amazon), and The Tudor Monastary Farm (on Amazon) previously; they are all well worth watching both from a historical point of view and as a modern homesteader wanting to learn from the past. But The Wartime Farm is probably my favorite because I learned SO MUCH I didn't know! This series also has a book, which I've ordered, but haven't yet received.

Finally, I discovered a fun podcast called Victory Kitchen. This focuses on rationing and wartime cooking in the U.S. (whereas the other sources I've mentioned are all British) and not only has interesting historical facts but includes the host trying and sharing wartime recipes.

Speaking of excellent reads, if you've never read a novel by Sandra Byrd, you're really missing out. I haven't read one yet that wasn't excellent - and her newest book, Heirlooms is no exception. This is a beautiful, multi-generational story about hope, perseverance, love, making our way in this world, and making a difference in this world. I laughed, I cried, I closed the book feeling better about life. I highly recommend this read! (I was blessed with an advanced copy, but I recommend advance ordering a copy so you can read it as soon as it's available.)

Other Stuff

* How to REALLY save the bees:  "The needs of wild bees are so different that, as some experts say, raising honeybees to save pollinators is like raising chickens to help birds. Though many homeowners respond to 'save a bee' campaigns by purchasing hives, the practice is unlikely to improve honeybee health and may harm other bees by increasing competition for floral resources and exacerbating the risk of disease transmission."

* Testing older seeds to see if they are still viable 

* Creating a deep pantry to hedge against inflation and shortages.

* Make your own jerky!

* Make your own pectin. 

* Freeze drying vs. dehydrating: What's the difference? 

* 9 Ways to Preserve Eggs. 

* How to Stretch Your Meat Budget. 

* How to Plan a Medicinal Herb Garden. 

* Foraging for wild food: Finding & Eating Miner's Lettuce  

* The dandelions are coming (if you don't have them already)! Don't forget to grab your copies of my popular books The Ultimate Dandelion Cookbook and The Ultimate Dandelion Medicine Book!

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