Goodbye August

Even before the end of August, we could feel the summer fading. The nights are cool enough to cook indoors, and the mornings are cold. We wear sweaters in the morning while eating oatmeal sprinkled with cinnamon and dotted with new apples. The first morning of September dawned colder than any morning since May. Despite…

Making Soup

It’s hot again today. The flies are making us all crabby and the little trickles of sweat creeping down everyone’s backs feel like more intrusive flies. The goats are all pregnant, lounging in the heat, chewing cud and looking disdain at the sheep. I’m cooking barszcz on the stove, despite the heat. It needs to…

My Favorite Books for Homesteading & Homemaking

Picky doesn’t even begin to describe my attitude toward homestead and natural living books. I’m definitely discerning; some people might say ‘harsh’. And honestly, they’d be right. I want books that are useful, beautiful, enjoyable, and lasting. As I mentioned in my review of The Grace of Enough, I’m just not interested in owning printed…

Bee Keeper’s Wife

Most of the animals on the homestead are mine. Or as much mine as animals can be in a family anyway. I have ducklings, goslings, tiny chicks, and guinea keets, and scraggly teenage pullets. I have goats, and Luba. Each summer, I have pigs. I’ve picked them all out, raised them up. I feed them…

Storms

The other day, the winds picked up and snow came tumbling down to cover the whole world. It was bitterly cold, the snow was icy and hard, like little frozen pellet that beat on the roof. It sounded like rain and we spent the day in the house. The fire burned hot all day against…

Selling Mediocrity: Sustainability in an age of transience

I bought insulated work gloves in mid-November. They were leather, with fleece lining and oh-so-warm. The first day we used them out in the yard they tore, and we’ve been patching them ever since. At Christmas, my parents gave my husband insulated work gloves from the Army Surplus. Gloves that should have lasted more than…

End of Advent Devotions

We’re nearing the end of the O Antiphons, the nights are at their longest, and the days are all too brief. I’ve been praying the St. Andrew Novena this month, and it’s become a part of the season. I pray it when I’m driving, when I’m washing dishes, when I’m feeding the stove. I end…

Vintage Tables and Houseplants: Winterizing the Yurt

The maples around us are bright red and yellow; Even the oaks are starting to change. The ferns are rusty gold all down the path to the beaver pond. We’re stacking wood and planning for winter’s bacon. The whole world smells of October. Inside the house, we’re shifting furniture and hanging curtains – getting ready…

Changing Habits in July

This month, I said ‘good-bye’ to Facebook. Seth and I joined together (with a joint account) when we were married in 2008. Over the years, we’ve had a careless, shifting level of engagement there, but I’ve seen it creep up slowly in the last few years to become a real distraction. And I don’t want…

How We Pared Down Our Belongs to Fit in 460 Square Feet!

When Seth and I were first married we rented a two bedroom apartment in town with a lot of space and a tiny yard. It was such a pretty place! And we filled it with all our things. The second bedroom became a pottery studio, we had a dining room with a little writing nook…