spring homestead notes……

Spring garden


Welsummer hen

Easter egger hen

Plum tree buds

Bee hive

Lost hive

Queen bee

Kids bees


Mud season has begun. Not that it really ended this winter, I'm pretty sure the ground never really froze, so it's been on the muddy side since October. The chickens are glad the last snow we got has melted. We clear a little spot and open up their door when the snow is on the ground…. but they won't venture past it. They just stay on their straw and squawk at us. I wish I could make a summer snow barrier to keep them out of the neighbor's yard. I'll be coming up with some alternatives this summer to try and let them free range but still keep them in our yard. Especially since we're adding to the flock. (we have eggs incubating right now!)

Our fruit trees are thinking about budding out. Luckily they have not yet, this warm winter hasn't fooled them and I'm glad. It's fooled a few magnolia trees around and I'm so sad to think I might not get to swoon at their pink flowers this spring. We'll see… I'm debating on wether I should move our fruit trees to the farm or not. There is one apple tree for sure up there, and I look forward to seeing it in bloom this spring… and looking for more!

On a sad note, we lost one of our hives. This was a first for us. I can't help but assume we did something wrong, it's only our second winter as beekeepers. This hive was configured differently, so maybe moisture was an issue for them? I know they didn't run out of food. It's frustrating, and sad. This was the large swarm I caught last year for those of you who saw it on instagram

Luke was following me around outside while I snapped these pictures and asked to open the hive up and look inside. I showed him the small cluster of bees and the queen. He carefully picked a few bees up and examined them and ever so carefully put them back down. 

They're so tiny, and beautiful. He whispered. 

I think that in the sadness of losing them, there is a great learning experience had by my boy, to be able to see honeybees up close like this. So I guess there's that.

And before I get this whole post too dark and dreary, we do still have two other hives that are doing well. In fact, I was greeted by bubbling good sized clusters in each hive as I slipped food under the cover on a warm day earlier this week. So there is hope! Luke of course thought we should open up the other hives too. After all, 48 degrees feels balmy this time of year. I told him we couldn't yet, but that I had a trick for checking on them. We wandered over to each of the other hives and I told him to press his ear against the side and gently slap it with his hand. (They'll buzz up – this is my ultra not fancy way of checking on them throughout the winter…)

His eyes widened, I hear them mom! It sounds like they are walking around on little tiny leaves.

Just a few more weeks little bees, the groundhog said spring was coming early….

Happy weekending friends.




winter beach wandering……

Gooseberry island

Frozen sea spray

Frozen sea

Sand & boy

Sea kelp

Winter beach walk


I've lived near the ocean since I was twelve. Well, aside from that quick two year tour in the midwest… but even then we lived on Lake Superior…. which will fool you a bit as trying to be an ocean. I know the smell and sound of her by heart. And while sitting at the beach in the sun is lovely, my true love is walking along the shore. Even better, standing at her edge before a storm. Watching the waves pick up… hearing the wind whip around… the sound of the water crashing onto the rocks and then the sudden sucking noise as it quickly returns to the sea. It's powerful. And since becoming a mother, it always reminds me a bit of birth.

We drove to our favorite beach this week after a good snowstorm. I made the kids wear their new long underwear and packed us all snacks for the way home. We had to park outside the gate and walk in. The cold wind almost surprising after a car ride in a toasty warm car. We huff and puff down the trail and then slip off the side to get a break from the wind. As soon as their boots touch the sand the kids are off. Their usual squabble is replaced by a combination of vast space between them or the two of them shoulder to shoulder looking at creatures in tide pools. Ebb and flow….

They must be so cold, Sophie says. Quickly putting a hermit crab back into the water.

Dad, tell me again why the ocean doesn't freeze, Luke asks. 

We walk and walk. Our bodies warm. The gloves come off and jackets get unzipped. The salty air fills my lungs and kisses my skin.

The kids wander ahead of Joe & I, and we begin to talk. About our plans. The farm. How to get from here to there. How long will it take to save enough money to begin building. Can't we really just build a tiny house and rough it? Would the kids hate us forever? Will there be for four or six of us  by then, how can our big kids be turning 18 & 20 this fall? Is he sure he is opposed to goats? (I'm slowly winning him over on the last one.) I'm a planner, a dreamer. I need details and goals to motivate me. Joe is pragmatic, steady. I'm thinking of what dairy goats would suit us best and he's thinking about fixing up his parent's old tractor so he can keep the front part of our property cleared until we build. I like to think we make a good pair though.

Will you miss this? I ask him. Will you miss being able to hop in the car and drive thirty minutes to one of the most beautiful beaches in New England?

He is slow to answer. I think about all the years he has spent on a ship at sea. His entire career interwoven with boats and salty air. My sailor boy. And then I think about all the reasons we chose the woods over the ocean. It wasn't an easy decision, but it feels right. It feels like us. Still, I wonder, will I miss it more than I think?

I look forward to visiting, he answers. 

And then Luke yells to us, something about icicles at the beach being salty. I am eating the ocean! He shouts. I have a taste. Cold. Salty. Me too, I tell him. 





shawl knitting slow & steady…..

Yarning along with Ginny today….

Color affection shawl

The shawl is coming along slowly now. I'm at the last big block/section, short rows and stripes. It's almost up to 300 stitches…. so it's getting close. Over halfway for sure. Of course, every now and then I lose count of what row I am on and I'm sure I've goofed up a couple of increases. I think It won't matter much in the end anyhow (I hope). The colors look like spring…. and they go together pretty well even though I purchased them on two separate occasions (all the same yarn though). And then there is blocking to think about…. I've never blocked a thing, and this shawl is going to need it. All of my sweaters and other knits so far were just worn as is. Any easy tips? Tools that make it easy? I'm all ears knitterly friends….

And the book – gasp – it's the really the sweetest. Luke has been reading it on his own, and sometimes to me. I've been encouraging him to read a chapter each day and tell me about it. It's slow going, like the shawl I guess, but we're getting there….