Wow, delivery afternoons are getting dark early these days. This picture of a neighboring farm was taken at only 3:30 in the afternoon!
This is a busy time of year with holidays and family gatherings bumping up against each other all at once. Each one is enjoyable and fun, but requires preparation and planning. It is now Christmas time, and my perspective is quite a bit different this year. I’ve lost the notion to purchase a gift for each person on my list. Although I have purchased some very practical and useful items for some, most people this year will be receiving gifts I have made, much of it from my summer bounty of food preservation that I so enjoyed doing this past summer. Gifts include pickled items, jams, bbq sauce, dried tomatoes, salsas, hot cocoa mix, chocolate chip cookie recipes in a jar to be made at home on a snowy day, and even pork, which to the right recipient is more appreciated than any purchase from a store! My nephew couldn’t have been happier with his bacon and bbq sauce package! I’ve also added to the long list of “what I don’t buy at the store anymore”. I’m done with gift wrap. Wow, an entire business built on making something to throw away! Trees come down, ideas get designed, rolls and rolls of paper get printed, and then it’s boxed and shipped all over the place so we can go into a store and buy it so that someone can tear it off and throw it away, ugh. I just can not do it anymore. I’m giving gifts in leftover boxes from my business, and apart from that pillow cases or pieces of fabric work well, or in some cases I will just ask the recipient to close their eyes and put out their hands! Of course also on the gift list was granola from my business. I’ve yet to put the name of my business on this blog, as my focus on the blog is Homesteading, however, it’s my granola business that has allowed me to be able to break a trail into homesteading so here you go little business, time to introduce you to each other. Blog, it’s time to meet really granola
I’ve been busy meeting orders for Winter Gift Giving Jars for the business, as well as keeping stores supplied with bags. It’s taken me a bit back from the homesteading activities but being that it is winter there is less I can do towards homesteading, with the exception of collecting eggs, feeding chickens, baking bread and snack items, and keeping the fire going. It’s also been a time to really take in, and enjoy the bounty of last summer as our meals at this point are all within about 1/4 mile of our home! Between our fresh eggs, chickens in the freezer, the items I canned, a freezer full of fruits and vegetables, with another freezer filled with pork, and my winter’s share of potatoes, carrots and onions from our organic farmer neighbor, we relish in each meal as we account for where each item on our plate has come from. Another awesome part about Winter is that it is all about hot coffee in hand, a good fire heating the house and settling in with notes from the past year and seed catalogs for next year. More of this, less of that, plant this earlier, things I should have planted but didn’t, etc. Also a time to be doing the same with notes from livestock raising this year. How many chickens next year…do we have the infrastructure and pasture enough for more pigs…learning more about marketing the pigs such as selling “on the hoof”, which is a much easier way to sell large amounts, but certainly requires more knowledge and connections. There is so much to learn, and Winter is the perfect time for this. There will be more time for all of this after the first of the year. So yes there have been distractions which can be a negative word, but it doesn’t have to be at all, holidays and family are wonderful distractions! In January things will settle into the long part of Winter, which is also a nice time of year, and very quiet.
Last night I tried making a double batch of no knead bread, it turned out great. The house smelled awesome, the bread was delicious, and the snowy scene out the kitchen windows was quiet and beautiful.