This Month On The Homestead: January 2021

We have been blessed with more beautiful snow this month coating the trees like frosting.  I'm so happy we kept our outbuildings red.  The contrast with the winter white is quite beautiful.

Have you started planning your 2021 garden yet?  This is a favorite time of year for many gardeners, myself included, as we are inundated with seed catalogs which are quickly thumbed through and marked up to indicate all we would love to plant.  Of course, I mark enough to plant 10 acres of garden instead of the small plot I actually have.  So I have to go back through a couple more times and look with a bit of realism in order to narrow down my choices to what I plan to purchase.  

This year, however, is a bit different for me.  I'm actually in a really good spot with seeds.  I was fortunate to have ordered most of them last year prior to the pandemic and therefore, before seeds were suddenly scooped up at a record pace.  We had really good success last year using organic potatoes and sweet potatoes purchased from our local health food store instead of seed potatoes, so I will likely do that again this year.

Coop Girls - the girls are producing a decent amount of eggs so Jay is happy.  He's even getting so smug that he's eating them every morning.  We are now up to an average of 6 per day!  The Coop Girls are not fond of winter, as you know, so they aren't too terribly happy about chilly days and even less so about snow and frozen ground.  Without the ability to peck and forage in the ground for goodies they decide it's not fun to be out and about.

Needless to say, they spend a LOT of time inside their coop this time of the year.  We lure them out with goodies (leftovers, cooked rice with milk or yogurt, oatmeal, etc.) but as soon as they've gobbled down what we've brought, back in they usually go.  Occasionally we go in and shoo them out while the sun is shining, trying to encourage them to spend time outdoors but it only lasts a few minutes.

Jackson - This is the chair he sits in to receive his treats so he's patiently waiting for them....


Oliver & Jackson - they are both doing well.  Jackson has his cardiology appointment this month and we don't see any signs of him having issues with his heart so, fingers crossed, all is well.  

Oliver is 11!!!!

And guess who turned 11 in January????  Our little man Oliver did.  He has some bad days/moments but mostly good, all things considered, and is generally doing well.  I suspect bad moments are partly due to the ice in our yard.  It doesn't take much to tweak your back and particularly when you've got the damage he has, so we are limiting him to where he can/can't walk to try and keep him safe.

What I've Been Reading - I read a few good books this month, three autobiographies and a novel, including one that I loved.  I would recommend them all!  (affiliate links)
  • Go North, Young Man: Modern Homesteading In Alaska, by Gordon Stoddard - I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did but Gordon really did a nice job writing about his experience of his first 4 years on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska.  This book is from the 50's when you could actually acquire land by homesteading on a parcel.  Gordon shares his experience of leaving his family in California, arriving in Alaska, and building a home and life in the rugged wilderness.  He shares stories of the characters he met and befriended as well as many of the challenges to living an off-grid homesteading lifestyle.  I only wished he'd written a sequel!
  • We Took To The Woods, by Louise Dickinson Rich - Another autobiography, originally published in 1942, where Louise writes about her life in the remote backwoods of Maine.  I found this book to be candid, witty, simple yet sophisticated as she describes her absolute love of living and raising a family off-grid.
  • The Secret To Hummingbird Cake: A Novel, by Celeste Fletcher McHale - this book brought me through all of the emotions.  I laughed out loud, I cried, I chuckled, I sobbed, you get the idea - it was, in my opinion, a great read.  This book touches on friendship, marriage, death, life, community, and gratitude for the one precious life we have on earth.  It is the story of 3 lifelong friends who are now in adulthood and all the trials and tribulations that come with it.  Some of the criticism I read noted frustration with both the immaturity of the friends as well as one of the main characters very poor decisions that was easily excused by her friends and family.  I can understand the points but I still thought it was very well written and have added it to my re-read list.
  • A Year And A Day On Just A Few Acres by Peter Larson - this was recommended by a friend and I honestly wasn't so sure it was for me.  I've seen Peter's website and watched one of his YouTube videos (regarding farmers markets during the pandemic) and liked and appreciated them but I still had doubts.  I was wrong.  It was a good read and I would recommend it.  Here's the excerpt from the back because I think it sums it up well:   When Peter Larson, a 44 year old principal at an architectural firm decides to leave his job to restart his family's seventh generation farm near Ithaca, NY, he encounters doubting ghosts of his former self, hundreds of frankenchickens, fifty personable turkeys, three pigs, one enduring friendship, and the true self he has searched for his whole life.  Filled with the psychology of change and down-to-earth stories of farming and homesteading, this is a true story of making the leap so many wish for but dare not.

Hoping you had a wonderful January! 


  1. I agree the stunning red barns with the snow is doesn't snow where I live so it's so foreign to me in terms of living with it day to day. Enjoy your rest, reading, crafting and getting the garden ready, I'll be here when you get back whenever that is. Have a great day, week, month etc. Kathy

  2. Such a pretty snow picture of your land and buildings. Our girls egg laying is picking up too, thank goodness. I always appreciate your book shares, and found one of them at my local library. Happy Birthday to Oliver!

  3. Jackson gets treats? But he is so naughty! ;0D

    Happy Birthday Ollie! He's holding up just fine.

    I will be sure to check with the library and see if they have those books. I am always in search of homesteading books. Thanks.

    The snow looks beautiful. Still hoping for some here soon.

    Best wishes on your new projects. We'll be ready to hear all about it when you're ready to share.
    Be Blissed!

  4. I have loved your posts and learned a lot of things from you (how to build a chicken coop, how to make laundry soap...) You will definitely be missed on the blog. But I wish you luck and success in your writing endeavors. Have a good spring!

  5. Will miss your newsletters/blog!!! But commend you for following what your heart & mind are telling you to do. Will still be able to enjoy your soap, tho��! God Bless!

  6. It's good for the soul to take time for yourself...enjoy doing some things you never seem to have time for; especially now when there's no garden to tend! I'll be reading your older posts I've missed out on, and I look forward to seeing your name pop up with a new post in the future. Rest, unwind, and enjoy the simple things. Mary

  7. Well, I just found your blog so I'm sorry to hear that you'll be away for a while! But good for you.

    My chickens don't like the snow or cold either. They're happy to spend time in the run as long as it isn't super cold out. I do shovel paths for them and they'll venture out occasionally.

    Love the book recommendations. I am always looking for tales of homesteading. I'm going to put the book on my goodreads list.

    Enjoy your time away!


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