Friday, February 13, 2015

Homestead Happiness and Progress (HAP) This Week

We've noticed in past years that we start to develop some symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), of a sort.  The weird thing is, it seems to be out of phase with the time of year that it's supposed to crop up, that being the winter doldrums when sunshine is in short supply.  For us, and we wonder if also for many other part-time homesteaders, the winter isn't so bad because there's not a ton of stuff to do homesteading-wise (except dream and plan), so our off-farm responsibilities don't really get in the way of anything.

But then,  the air starts to get warmer, the ground starts to dry out, and the days start to get longer, but are still short enough that daylight hours are in precious short supply.  That's when it hits us--when we want to get out in the yard and do stuff, but it's already dark (or nearly so) when we get home from work.  So, to combat the worst effects of our out-of-phase SAD, we're starting a new (hopefully weekly) series featuring simple things that 'made our day' around the homestead. It'll remind us that even if we can't spend as much time on homesteady stuff as we'd like, there's still plenty to be happy about and progress is still being made.  That is, we're going to combat SAD with HAP.

This is a schematic representation of our out-of-phase SAD.  For full-time homesteaders, we imagine a flat line right at the top.  Another way to interpret the graph is to imagine the red line as homestead responsibilities and the blue line as how caught up with them we are.

Happy thing #1: The bees are still alive!  Even after adding a big ol' candy board, we hadn't seen the cluster for a few weeks and couldn't hear much buzzing in the hive.  But on warm days, there's plenty of activity and usually a few dead bees pushed out the bottom entrance (which is good because it means there are still housekeeping activities going on inside).

The Meyer lemon tree finally has flowers again!  It had struggled through several years, and not even put out flowers the last couple, so hopefully we'll actually get some lemons this year!  Maybe we should put it out by the bees and hope they pollinate it!

Rapidly growing avocado tree.  It's now taller than an avocado!  If we can keep it alive, we might even start to see fruit in a mere 5-13+ years.

The Swiss chard is still alive and starting to pick up again.  We didn't have much insulation on it, just a closed in row cover, and hit -10 °F multiple times.  But the chard is a real trooper!

A new bag-drying configuration.  We finally figured out what to do with that kitchen window opening, those two eyelet hooks, and that piece of string we didn't want to throw out!  [Katie rolls her eyes.]  They dry way faster here than standing inverted on the counter or in the dishwasher Murphy-style drying rack.

Right now they drip dry into a couple plant pots...water conservation at it's finest!  In the future we'll put in a planter there that looks like it actually fits there.  With the bags hung symmetrically, and the light coming through the window just right, this setup looks almost...decorative. [Katie rolls her eyes again.]

What made you happy on your homestead this week?

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