Year’s End

2015 is nearly over, and what a year it has been! My husband and I have accomplished many of the goals we have set for ourselves, from finding our dream home, paying of debt, learning news skills, etc., as well as welcomed our daughter into the world.

The homestead has been buzzing with activity over the past few weeks, although I know my postings have been sparce. Among the usual Thanksgiving and then Christmas preparations, we have been taking advantage of the unusually warm temperatures by getting a head start on some land clearing for next year. I am excited to have another garden space prepared for planting in 2016, although now I am a flurry of lists, diagrams and seed packets as I rearrange my previous designs. The addition of a large bed near our chicken coop means I can plant much more corn than I originally anticipate, frees up space in the main vegetable garden, and also realizes my hope of planting oats!

We’ve been cooking and baking delightful meals and treats as well, from cookies and fresh pasta to heavy stews and curried meats. I discovered an excellent recipe for no-bake granola bars that we quickly gobbled up.  We created our own cocktail using homemade acorn bitters, named the Winter Woodford, after our beloved property. It’s a warming drink that features acorn bitters made from acorns off our own property. This year was a very heavy acorn year! We are hoping to continue the tradition by creating more and more products from our own garden harvests and foraging adventures in the coming year. IMG_1893

We also enjoyed our first roasted chestnuts, toasting them on the wood stove with some cinnamon in a cast iron pan. They were delicious,
and the aroma that filled the house was warming and sweet.

Wildlife sightings have been plentiful, with deer, fox, a coyote who appears becoming a regular, song birds and the never ending parade of turkeys. Tuesday we had our “first snow”, although it was truly just an icy-slushy mess. IMG_3614.JPGThat afternoon our yard looked like a turkey farm as over 45 turkeys made their way through! I believe that the vibrant green of our grass amidst all the ice and dead plants is an attractant to them, we have a handful of turkeys in the yard almost every day.

With so many new experiences and accomplishments under our belt for 2015, I am excited and energized for what 2016 will bring. We have big dreams, plans and ideas to continue transforming our home into our ideal homestead: “renovating” and setting up my basement craft room, the wine “cellar” (OK, it’s a basement closet, lol), and designing a space for our “root cellar” as well, updating our half bathroom; planting our first real garden on the property and continuing the massive land-clearing project, including making room for fruit trees and grape vines. 2016 will bring new adventures, with the delight of watching our daughter grow and change more every day.

So with the hours ticking away until 2016 gets underway, I find myself looking back on 2015 with a smile. What a wonderful year! =)

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