The best of 2015
I finally sat down with our blog archive
on New Year's Day to reflect upon the twelve months past. I was shocked
at how much we'd accomplished when my memory of the year mostly
consists of lounging in the summer woods with the goats, weeding with
Kayla, and making huge pots of soup to freeze for winter. The blog
doesn't lie, though. So, without further ado, here's the best of 2015 in
case you missed it the first time around.
Goats top the list again for the second year running. In 2015, Abigail gave birth to our farm's first four-footed baby, Lamb Chop. We played with him and loved him...then ate him.
Despite all of that
education and homegrown deliciousness, though, the most wonderful part
of the goat year was simply remembering how to relax outside at the end
of a long summer day without worrying about any of the items on my to-do
list. It was truly a joyful season!
Meanwhile, we plugged some new shiitake logs
and (more importantly) created a better home for the fungi to live in.
That project included an IBC-tank rain barrel, which not only provided
water to the logs but also helped dry up an extremely soggy spot. And,
speaking of mushrooms, we added a new wildcrafted fungal species to our
repertoire as well --- chicken of the woods. Yum!
In the garden, Kayla and I redug the a very soggy area to create a series of very high raised beds,
bringing the root zone up out of the groundwater. The results were so
much better than I could have predicted! Years of soil-building that
largely went to waste due to waterlogging paid off with huge cabbages,
massive numbers of butternut squash, and a pretty good crop of tomatoes
(despite our usual blights). An inspiring success that I wrote about in
the book I spent much of the year researching and writing --- The Ultimate Guide to Soil.
There are always positive
and negative sides of the harvest, but this year was a
particularly fine one for brussels sprouts, hazelnuts, and the crops
mentioned in the previous paragraph. That makes for a great 2015 since
brussels sprouts are Mark's favorite vegetables and I'm a nut I love nuts!
It was also a pretty sweet year because we spent the late winter tapping box-elders, sugar maples, and black birches.
In the process, we decided that the last species (although the most
painstaking to boil down) provides by far the best product.
The garden was mostly on
an even keel in our ninth season of growing most or all of our own
vegetables, so there's not much to say there. But I did try out solarization and fell in love with this no-till weed-control technique. I can tell solarization will be a major time saver in the future.
When I let him loose from helping me keep the outdoors in line, Mark significantly improved our kitchen. He added a range hood (for safety and utility), better shelving, an oscillating fan on the ceiling, and a magnetic door latch. This winter, he plans to hit the opposite side of the room and continue bringing us closer to modern living here on the trailerstead.
Mark would also be the first to tell you that one of the year's highlights came almost twelve moths ago today when our movie-star neighbor helped us pull out the truck that had been stuck in our driveway for about half of the previous year. Such a huge relief!
I'll end by saying that (by my standards) this was also a very social year. Mom and I took a ride behind a steam locomotive and Mark and I hosted a big Thanksgiving celebration for the whole family. Mark took a film class that inspired and rejuvenated him
and the two of us explored several fascinating local attractions with
or without friends. Finally, the year's firewood harvest turned into a
fun treat when we hired Kayla and Andy to join us in the task and Kayla and I enjoyed a grafting workshop, multiple dance workshops, and lots of wonderful days together on the farm.
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