Grit Blogs > Forever Wild

Winter Updates and a New Year

Erin BaldwinThe last couple of months have been a wonderful fog as we welcomed our daughter into the world in early November. She is an absolute delight and completes our small family.

As winter hits full steam, things around the homestead have quieted, but nonetheless, many of us are busy with our day jobs working in the local ski tourism industry. Mother Nature has brought a weird mix of weather, from blinding snow and unrelenting wind to several balmy days in the high 50s.

West Virginia Winter

We have made progress on many of our smaller endeavors over the last few months. After curing for weeks, we are now enjoying our first batch of handmade lye soap. The idea of making soap from scratch was a bit daunting, but once Amy and I dove into the project it was as simple as following a recipe. The result was a delightful smelling batch of gardener’s soap with an exceptional lather and fresh citrus and patchouli fragrance.

Lye Soap

Our homemade apple cider vinegar has completed its fermentation, leaving a pungent vinegar with a sharp taste and lovely deep caramel color. Bottled in recycled glass apple cider jugs, it now adorns the larder waiting to be used.

We recently purchased a young purebred, registered buck with good bloodlines named Rufus Moose. He is a beautiful chocolate-brown buck with a wonderfully contrasting black dorsal strip, partial white band and frosted ears. He has a friendly disposition and has been a great addition the herd. Our herd is bred, and we are anxiously anticipated kids in early spring. 

Rufus Moose

Rufus was not the only addition the goat yard, as we were able to take in a nanny from a neighbor who was having issues with it being aggressive towards her other small goat. Named Jill, she is more at home in our herd. Already bred when we got her, we are expecting her to kid any day now.

I am already looking ahead to spring. I get a tinge of excitement every time I see the seed catalog setting on my desk and can almost smell the scent of rain on the soil and taste the first bite from a freshly picked heirloom tomato. Packaged bees have been ordered, as we plan to rebuild our hives after last season’s winter losses. And we have a delightful mix of chickens set to ship this spring to complement our current flock of seven Australorps.

It has been a wonderful 2013, and I cannot wait to kick off a fresh, new year. From our homestead to yours, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and wish you a wonderful New Year!

1/5/2014 11:05:32 AM

Erin, New Years are always filled with the anticipation of what the year will bring. All the resolutions and plans for the year are laid out with hopes that this will be the year for great strides on the goals of life. It's the same for me as well. I have plans left from last year that will be continued into this year. All the best laid plans can get slowed down with unexpected life events. ***** Looks like your barnyard life will be expanding this spring. Spring is a great time to, as you say, smell the rain on the earth and enjoy the warm sun on the face. ***** Have a great Winter homestead day.