Common Sense Home Good News Letter 10/1/23

“The songbird nest boxes stood empty, while the trees and shrubs echoed with the chatter of the migrating flocks. There were so many birds that at times it seemed the trees themselves might take flight. The little homestead offered a safe haven amidst the factory farms that stretched for miles in every direction, with protection in the evergreen wind break trees and berries from the autumn olive shrubs.”

When we bought this land, a neighbor had been carefully mowing the abandoned pasture where we ended up placing our home.

One of the first things we planted was a windbreak of mixed evergreen trees, which now protects the home and yard. It’s amazing how much of a difference it makes in the microclimate of our homestead.

Another thing we did was to stop mowing the entire pasture. The land has a lot of autumn olive shrubs, which produce edible fruit that has many times the lycopene of tomatoes. Now, we do some selective mowing for access paths, and controlled burns. There’s a lot more biodiversity in both plants and animals. The autumn olives are acting as nurse plants on the south hill, protecting our sugar maples and other young trees from the wind. (The hill is above the protection zone of the windbreak trees.)

I’ll be writing more about autumn olives next week (ran out of time this week between processing chickens, garden harvest processing, helping grandma and grandpa to move, and working on the outbuilding). We’re also going to have the first article in a series about building your home apothecary – without breaking the bank buying exotic herbs.

I just finished reading the book “Honey Sapiens”. I was disappointed that a book that was theoretically about honey had less than 30 pages on honey (most of it was about the problems with refined sugar) – BUT – it did mention hundreds of studies on health benefits of honey. Now I have more areas to explore.

“Traditionally, honey is used in the treatment of eye diseases, bronchial asthma, throat infections, tuberculosis, thirst, hiccups, fatigue, dizziness, hepatitis, constipation, worm infestation, piles, eczema, healing of ulcers, and wounds.”

Fall is usually a good time to stock up on local honey, as beekeepers have the surplus summer production available. Stored properly, real honey will last for years and years.

We’re on the home stretch for the harvest season here in northeast Wisconsin, but there’s still plenty to do. Today our high temp was in the 80s, but the forecast for next weekend calls for a 30 degree drop in the high temp and lows in the 30s.

All our best to you and yours,

Laurie (and August IV, August V, and Duncan)

This week’s featured articles…

If you have room, windbreaks offer many benefits for the homestead.

We share:

​Windbreak Benefits ​– what they do

​Windbreak design​ – the right way to plant

​Best Windbreak trees​

One of the easiest ways to take advantage of the benefits of honey is to use it topically for wound care.

The article ​Honey as Medicine​ explains how and why to use honey for wound care.

For tips on storage and dealing with crystallized honey, see ​How to Store Honey Long Term​.

Around here the roadside stands are overflowing with pumpkins and winter squash, as is our garden. I usually prefer squash for baking, though pie pumpkins can work well, too. These ​pumpkin oatmeal cookies​ are one of my “go to” fall recipes.

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