Common Sense Home Good News Letter 10/15/23

“They walked and talked their way through the brisk morning breeze, exploring the area around the pond, the Badlands, and the back hill. Every time they went for a walk, there was something new to discover. The late season apples still clung to the trees, and the maples, walnuts, chestnut, and butternut had put on good growth this year in spite of the dry conditions.

Sitting under the canopy of the autumberries protecting the trees on the back hill was like being in a separate world. The winds quieted, and it was easy to understand how the trees appreciated the shelter. With some of the strongest winds in the state, it was tough getting plants established without protection, especially on high ground.”

Duncan and I were out exploring this morning, and it was good to see things doing well in spite of the less than stellar growing year. The back hill has changed so much over the years. Where we started with abandoned pasture, we now have some trees over 20 feet tall. We used the shrubs to block the wind (and fenced and wrapped trunks to keep the deer and voles from noshing on them), and now we have a sugar maple and nuttery area in progress.

A conversation came up in our Telegram group where a member pointed out that ​each person needs around 2000 pounds of food per year​. If you’re buying and storing that food, that is a lot to cram into house. If you can grow some perennial crops on trees and shrubs, and raise animals that eat those crops, then you don’t need to attempt to store all of it all at once. Right now we feed some of what we raise to the ducks and chickens, but we’re also considering larger animals at some point in the future as more plants start producing. It’s not for everyone, but if you have the space and are truly looking at being more self-reliant, it’s something to consider.

With more unrest brewing, there’s increased potential for supply chain disruptions, so keep that in mind for essential items like food, winter clothing, and medication. Check in on friends and neighbors as temps drop. Lots of budgets are stretched tight this year, so we need to watch out for each other.

We have another full week ahead, so I’d best sign off.

All our best to you and yours,

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

This week’s featured articles…

The next article in the home apothecary series is ready. It’s all about ​white willow bark, the natural pain reliever​. We’ll look at harvesting, processing, usage and contraindications.

The neighbors called again today, and the walnut trees are still going strong, so they wanted to know if we could use some more nuts. Not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, I said okay, so we’re going picking tomorrow. Not quite sure where I’ll find room, but we’ll figure it out. The nuts don’t just feed us, but get passed along to other friends, too.

It’s important to remember that after harvesting, the nuts ​must be cured before storage​. Once cured, they last for several years in the shell.

Whether you harvest your own nuts or take advantage of the holiday sales, be sure to check out these recipes for ​maple candied walnuts​ and ​plum jam with walnuts and rum​.

Winter will be here before you know it, so now’s the time to get your home in prepped for cold temps. Check out ​25 Cheap Ways to Keep Your House Warm​ for ideas.

Popular on Instagram this week – ​our unexpected guest​ and ​why we switched the open house from October to July​.

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