It feels like forever since I posted anything. I spent a week in Florida and came home with a head cold. I wasn’t sick enough to stay in bed but my head felt like I had a wad of cotton where my brain used to live. Today is the first day I feel back to myself.

There’s a lot to catch up on. Our piggies are here. We have 4 of them but we could use 2 more. Our neighbor, Tom, will be on the look out for a heritage breed pair that won’t cost as much a good used car. The turkeys will be here next week. I hope that we can convince some neighbors to become interested in Bourbons as well. I’m learning a bit about the ins and outs of genetic diversity in both plants and animals. If we keep a tom and 4 hens and three other neighbors do the same, there would be enough diversity to keep us in healthy poultry for several generations. The new bees are here too. Bruce is taking a class right now on raising his own nucs. We really aren’t happy to continue to rely on inputs from Georgia to keeps us in bees. Top bar management is an entirely new method for bee raising but seems a healthier way to do it. On a side note, I just read that Monsanto has purchased the company that was doing research into colony collapse. Can you say fox and hen house? I think I’ll be picking up the Oiko’s order next week. I do wish I could remember what I ordered. I’m very disappointed the Carol Deppe order has not arrived. I did score a few squash seeds from a friend but I am waiting none too patiently for the rest

I’m hoping we’ve seen the last freeze. The trees appear to have made it through unscathed but this weird weather has got me to thinking about a few things. While in Florida I learned that a lot of orange farmers have sold their smudge pots on Ebay. I never thought of smudge pots here but why not. If we continue to have spells of early, hot weather followed by freezes we’ll need to do something and you can’t put row covers on trees. The strawberries are flowered out and we’ll be eating asparagus for dinner tonight. Yipee! Root crops are in and starting to pop small green heads out of the soil.. I spent the afternoon fighting the May flies while I completed the work on the expanded herb garden. It looks barren right now. It’s nearly 3 times as large as the old one and it will take time to get it filled in. Do any of have any “gotta get em herbs”? I love lemon verbena and lemon grass. I have a lot of mints and yarrow. Chamomile is such a pain but I do love chamomile tea. I have the common culinary herbs. It’s more the medicinals I want suggestions on.

We have some family news. Nate and family will be moving in just a couple of weeks. I’m doing a big clean and reorganize in preparation for the move. It’s astounding just how much stuff I seem to accumulate. Oldest son, Bruce Jr. is buying a house about 4 miles from here. It’s a dandy little doomstead with over 13 acres, a house and a guest house plus a couple of studios and out buildings. He had planned to build a house but prices are still falling and this one was a steal. It’s in move-in condition so he will probably be in within the next couple of months.

I had planned to post pictures today but neglected to put the card in the camera so that’s it. I’ll try to get to it tomorrow. I’m preparing to do a workshop with Jim Kunstler up at Cold Antler Farm. I’m quite excited about this. I do a lot of food preservation classes but not as many focused on family preparedness. Many things are going on that make me anxious to get back to talking about this. I read today that 20 of the big Nat Gas companies are under cyber attack. This is a huge threat and deserves more attention than it gets. The climate change models continue to look worrisome. I hope you are all prepared for big storms again this summer. The news out of Europe is an ongoing concern as are the Middle East conflicts. As we plan for the future around Barefoot Farm we always ask these questions. What do we need to add that will enhance our ability to manage without outside help for a period of time? How can we work to help our friends, neighbors and family withstand economic, geopolitical or geological dislocation? What purchases provide bang for the buck rather than temporary fun?

The windows are ordered and every one will be replaced before the end of the summer. We have an appointment with the chimney man to replace the old chimney on the end of the house. The roof on that side of the house is being replaced as well. We’re adding insulation to the places we can reach and replacing the old knob and tube wiring in the attic. This will make it possible to add more insulation up there too. The summer kitchen needs a few finishing touches and we have some further work to do on the second greenhouse. This may sound like a lot of work but the pay off could be huge. The more efficiently I can keep this place warm in the winter and cool in the summer the better I’ll feel. I want to face our latter years with the house in need of no major repairs.

I’ll be posting more about the Hilltown Seed Saving Guild in the next few weeks. One thing I’ve learned is that there is an awful lot I don’t know.

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