Winter does not suit our family. The dark gloomy days seem to drown our spirits and if I had to describe the season in just one word it would be: difficult. As you can imagine we haven’t spent a lot of time outside working on our urban homestead. Actually the kids and I don’t mind getting a little wet and muddy, but the wrench in our plans this rainy winter was been sweet baby Alder. Just trying to get out and do a thing with her and poor weather has been a challenge I frankly have not found a way around. However I saw the January At A Glance guide from Northwest Edible and it ignited something in me to get the ball rolling on our plans for 2016.
We took advantage of a break in the weather in late January to builds a quick and dirty new raised bed along the fence line and plant it with garlic we never got in the ground last fall. In a month or so I plan on planting some shelling and sugar snap peas along this fence also to use the existing support for a trellis. It was a good thing we added a little bed for planting; my list of things to plant in the garden is impossibly long. I have been wearing the pages of my seed catalogs determining just which varieties will be worth planting now that we have experienced a whole growing season here. My goal is to have all my seed orders placed by 2/15 and begin planting out in the garden 3/15. It looks like most of the seeds will be purchased from Uprising Seeds, High Mowing Seeds, and Territorial Seed Company. I used up most of my seed stores last year and then my stash got damp so I think I will be starting completely from scratch on seeds. Seed purchasing is dangerous; I collect seeds like most women collect shoes! The important thing I keep in mind is that I am buying seeds suited to our climate and growing conditions and choosing to go with transplants (purchase plants) for crops like tomatoes which need more of a head start. I do have our greenhouse set up to start seeds, but those warm weather crops would really benefit from grow lights indoors and a heated greenhouse, neither of which we have currently.
I am getting excited just writing about this! Being outside and in the garden, smelling the earth and feeling the grass under my feet really is my happy place. I have been reminded that our homestead goals are like mountains. We can not expect to climb the mountain all at once, but have to take steps to get there. By writing down our big projects and goals, then breaking them down in to individual goals and steps, we can take one step at a time and move forward. That is how progress happens and the pace we take is just the one that works for us at this season in our life. Projects we are contemplating right now include: a covered back porch and seating area for taking off and storing muddy shoes, completing the back corner of our pallet fence in the chicken garden, pruning and planting new fruit trees/fruiting bushes, working on our chicken coop inside design, drawing our vegetable garden planting chart, designing/building a pallet clubhouse for the kids, creating an upcycled music play sculpture for the children’s garden, structural maintenance of our garage and garage roof replacement, and subsequent garage shelving and organization. It is a lot to tackle. I adon’t expect we will complete everything…but in order to complete anything we will need to set up a solid plan and start with those baby steps.
In other news, we made a homeschool field trip to the mouth of the Columbia River to complete our studies of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. We read the excellent book Streams to Rivers, Rivers to Seas and supplemented with a few other children’s books about Lewis and Clark and Sacagawea, as well as doing a few drawings and looking at maps. Visiting some of the places mentioned really brought the history alive, for all of us. We also started going to a local homeschool get together, The Family Learning Program in South Seattle. They have classes the kids can take or you can just hang out and play, which is what we have been doing. Avery has made good friends with two girls who we met at our local library in the first place and told us about the program. It has been such a joy watching her light up at the prospect of having friends to play with just down the street. Besides play and socializing, we have also been learning more life skills and Avery has cooked/made/baked several things for us. I am really trying to embrace a more relaxed homeschooling outlook and I am seeing the benefits for our family almost immediately.
So that is what is happening around the Brundage Homestead this January. Have you ordered or purchased any seeds for this year? I would love to hear in the comments.
Thanks for joining me again this month for an update on our life and adventures around the Brundage Homestead. Catch up on what has been happening the past few months here.