In February of 2009, my husband and I bought our first home located on a few acres in Johnson, Vermont. We live here with our dog, Ollie, two cats: Elvis and Atticus, six Nigerian Dwarf goats: May, Chutney, Poppy, Juniper, Willow, and Jokers Wild, and about fifteen laying hens. And to top it all off we welcomed our daughter, Isabel, into the world on January 11th, 2011.

We're slowly updating our 1850's farmhouse while steadily working towards a healthy, meaningful, self-sufficient life together.

This blog details our endeavors along with our successes and failures- all in good fun. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!


May and I enjoying some sunshine


Forcing Spring

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ok, I just can't stand it anymore.  I mean, I love winter, the snow is gorgeous, it helps keep the house warmer, and it's fun.  But seriously, I can't stand the cold anymore.  Kyle's truck has died and we've spent too much time freezing in the sub-zero wind gusts trying to figure out why (more than likely something related to the cold).  We've lost too many eggs to the frigid temperatures and I'm sick of having to supplement feed with so much grain.  Our kids need grass.  I am ready for Spring!!!!!! 

I know today is Groundhog Day...and Phil has officially proclaimed six more weeks of winter...but I've got a news flash: I DON'T CARE!!  Mwah ha haaa (maniacal laugh inserted here)!   Spring never comes early up here so even if he had forecast an early spring, it wouldn't apply to us folks up here in Northern VT anyways.  Best case scenario: we won't really see Spring until May, we need get through mud-season first.  Regardless, I'm determined to hurry this season along.  It was a welcomed guest, but its time to show it the door.

This past weekend, Kyle and I made a run to Gardener's Supply Company, an awesome, employee-owned, local gardening supply store.  We thought we'd grab some house plants (they're having a sale: buy two, get one free) and while we were there we picked up a handful of seed packets to start inside the house.  I was planning on just doing one big order on High Mowing Seeds website, but I just couldn't wait any longer.  I'll order the rest of our seeds online, probably later this month, but I wanted something in-hand to start right off.  We came home with paste tomatoes, Ring-of-Fire hot peppers, basil, parsley, rosemary, and lavender.  We also grabbed some Provider bush beans, Chamomile and Echinacea that we'll start later next month.

I'm planning the garden alot more than I did last year.  I'm reading more about companion planting and non-tilling, non-weeding options.  The garden was the biggest disappointment of last year.  I make no claims that I am a good gardener- I'm actually pretty terrible at it.  I'm more interested in animal husbandry and I think it shows: my livestock is thriving.  But it also shows in the garden: it's always overrun by weeds and I don't harvest what little there is to harvest in time so some things end up going to seed (which I don't realize until things start sprouting after we've turned everything under for the year).

We've also spent quite a bit of time working on our pig shelter.  Its relatively large, too big really for the size the pigs will be when we buy them.  So unless we really pack it with mulch hay these little piggies will probably spend the first month or two in the barn where it will be a little warmer.  We're planning on picking up the new additions to the farm this Saturday.  I'm pretty excited about it.  I know they're going to be meat for our table, but until then they can till our garden and enjoy the dappled sunshine in the little grove behind our house.  They will be happy, which makes me happy.

This is going to be a big, busy year.  It will be the first time keeping bees and raising turkeys and pigs.  It will be the first time our goats will kid, so it will be the first time bottle-feeding babies and milking goats.  I've worked at a dairy before, so I've done the twice-a-day milking, but never in conjunction with raising so many other animals, gardening, and beekeeping.  And of course, on top of that we're still renovating our house and working full time jobs.

Do I feel overwelmed?  Nope.  Well, not yet, give it some time.  Spring is rejuvenating after waking up from a long winter slumber.  I'm ready to wake up.  How about you?


  1. EcoLife Says:
  2. I AM READY TO WAKE UP!!!!!! Our winter here has been pretty mild and we are currently 15* warmer than we should be. I have spring fever like a crazy woman!

    I know February will just smack us down and it'll probably be much colder in March than it is right now. I am just itching to get outside and garden, start my bee hives too, and rebuild are chicken coop. It's going to be a busy spring. Isn't it lovely though? Never a dull moment.

  3. Melissa Says:
  4. Agreed- it IS lovely, what would we do with all that spare time if we didn't do all this? Life is for living!