These Two Months On The Homestead: October Apple Cider and November Snow

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October and November 2021

Fall on our pond path

These are the tipping level months. The months that descend into true, deep, orange fall and coast by a tough define of winter. Leaves are loud in October–they modify, they fall, they take up all of the area, they’re superb. November brings a extra reserved magnificence, forcing us to note the contours of denuded bushes, to listen to the tingle of ice-encased branches tapping their nearest neighbors, squeaking out the soundtrack of chilly.

As I look again on these two months, in an early December already shrouded in full snow, I understand I as soon as once more rushed by the latent heat of fall. I took it with no consideration, as I at all times do, and now my insulated boots are my closest associates.

Welcome to my collection documenting life on our 66-acre Vermont homestead, which we moved to in Might 2016 from city Cambridge, MA. Wondering concerning the monetary points of rural life? Take a look at: Metropolis vs. Nation: Which Is Cheaper? The Final Price Of Dwelling Showdown in addition to my month-to-month expense reviews

Considering going rural? Right here ya go: Need To Transfer To The Nation? 15 Issues To Think about.

Apple Cider!


It’s unimaginable for me to designate a “greatest” of Vermont fall, as a result of all the factor is a sequence of nostalgia-inducing actions, every extra pastoral and idyllic than the final. However making our personal apple cider ranks excessive. We’re the proud inheritors of ten apple bushes in our fast yard and numerous cider apple bushes in our woods.

These apple bushes bear effectively each different yr and so we’ve settled into one thing of a routine of every-other-year cider making. Within the off-years, I nonetheless have sufficient apples to make applesauce, apple butter, apple crisps and dried apples. However I would like the complete apple manufacturing scenario for cider urgent. And this was a cider urgent yr.

We as soon as once more dragooned invited family and friends over to assist us press cider. And we had been even barely smarter about it this yr. In previous years, we’ve tried to run all the operation in sooner or later: from choosing the apples to establishing the press to urgent to canning. Not this yr. After a number of years of Nate and I going again exterior within the chilly, darkish night time–after placing the youngsters to mattress–to complete the urgent, we did some stuff forward of time.


I picked alllllll of the apples prematurely. Nate picked some too. We saved them in buckets and tubs in our kitchen. This as a result of the primary yr I saved them exterior on the again porch and a varmint ate them. This yr, they had been subjected solely to the nibbles of my two home varmints.

Nate arrange the cider press prematurely. A key choice since we found we had been lacking a couple of items. Additionally, it needed to be drilled into the wooden of the porch to stop it from tipping over. Nate additionally cleaned and prepped all of our cider receptacles beforehand: food-grade 5-gallon buckets, funnels, lids and our glass carboys, the place the cider goes to ferment.

We then had a proper outdated shindig full with a bonfire, scorching canine, 2019’s arduous cider on faucet and loads of associates to assist flip the press. We ended up with 15 gallons of cider, which is presently fermenting. I saved a couple of gallons of sentimental (non-alcoholic) cider within the fridge, however these are lengthy drunk up by now. Many due to everybody who got here out to press apples!! We’ll see you once more in 2023 and we’ll crack open the 2021 classic to get pleasure from. We’ll see you lengthy earlier than then, however make your October 2023 weekend plans accordingly.


My mini pumpkins!

I had one other (principally) profitable pumpkin harvest. None of them grew to the dimensions they had been speculated to–that of correct jack o’lantern–however they had been lovable and orange. In all probability would’ve helped if I’d watered them extra usually… there have been some actually dry patches this summer time.

Undaunted, my gourd-lets made for excellent fall decor. Many due to Littlewoods for her aggressive hose-down wash of the squash. And due to Kidwoods for serving to me line little pumpkins up for his or her glamour shot. Is it well worth the months of planting, re-planting, weeding and watering? In all probability not. However will I hold doing it? Completely.

We had to purchase two jack o’lantern-sized pumpkins from our neighbor’s farm to carve into Halloween representatives. We did the carving exterior on a day of unseasonable heat, a stereotypical Vermont October blue sky, with predictable pumpkin guts smeared in youngsters’s hair. The chickens feasted on the pumpkin particles and we individuals feasted on roasted pumpkin seeds. Kids had been bathed, pumpkin combed out of their hair, and solely one among them ran away in concern after we lit the jack-o’-lanterns that night time.

A Carrot Shock

Shock, it’s… carrots!

I forgot I’d planted carrots till I went out to take away bolted herbs from the raised beds. And there, interspersed with the dill, I noticed carrot tops! For some unknown purpose, I planted carrots alternating with dill, which was tremendous dumb as a result of they give the impression of being A LOT alike till they’re grown. A cheerful discovery! Perhaps subsequent yr I ought to return to labeling my rows…

The Gardens Went to Mattress

I put the entire gardens to mattress final month. That is the primary yr I’ve accomplished this within the fall (whenever you’re speculated to… ). I often put it off so lengthy that it snows and I say, “whoops, guess I’ll should do it within the spring.” Nope, I used to be ON IT this yr. We do no-till mounds in our large veggie backyard so I left up the cattle panels and reduce all of the vegetation off at floor degree. I go away the roots in to nourish the soil. I additionally reduce down all of the teensy tangles of twine we used to tie up the tomato vegetation. After slicing every thing down, I loaded it into the wheelbarrow and both fed it to the chickens or threw it within the compost.

I additionally pulled all of the vegetation out of my salad inexperienced/herb backyard raised beds. This I fed to the chickens, who had been THRILLED with the bounty. It’s good to be a rooster within the fall. I left the sage and oregano within the floor as a result of they each appear to overwinter simply advantageous and can pop again up subsequent yr. I meant to weed the blueberry and currant bushes earlier than it snowed, however, whoops…

Witches In My Woods!

A wee witch I noticed in our woods

In October, I noticed a wee witch in my woods. I adopted alongside on her investigations of beech leaves, gnome properties, milkweed pods and dirt. What glory it’s to be 5 years outdated, free to roam the wilderness, with the data that tea time and cookies await you at house each afternoon.

Halloween was a delight though a tough ending for these of us who’re three and introduced, “I’ll NOT smile!” whereas placing arms on hips and pointedly remaining within the body, with turned again. I wish to take this second to personally thank everybody in my in-laws’ neighborhood who handed out Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Particular shout-out to whoever did the pumpkin Reese’s. Not that I ate all of them or something… I imply, what Reese’s? I actually didn’t rifle by my youngsters’s sweet after they went to mattress. What sort of an individual would DO that?!

We made it one other hand-me-down vacation with each women carrying costumes we’d acquired as hand-me-downs in earlier years. I hold all of our storage sale, thrift retailer, and hand-me-down costumes in bins, prepared for dress-up play and, in fact, Halloween!!! I pulled out all of the costumes that match them and allow them to select what they wished to be. Then, I did some minor stitching to repair rips, washed them, and made any wanted equipment with stuff I’ve round the home: a witch wand for Kidwoods and a princess headband for Littlewoods. Voila! A free Halloween.

Hike Dates

Hike date!

My husband and I’ve began happening REAL hikes whereas the youngsters are at college! The final time we summited a “actual” mountain collectively was again after we lived in Boston and I used to be 6 months pregnant with our now-Kindergartener. However our new Hike-Whereas-They’re-At-College program exemplifies what we at all times hoped we might do collectively.

THIS is what we had been working in direction of all these years. The power to spend the day collectively, in nature, after which have afternoon tea with our youngsters. The time, the area, the liberty to hike a mountain on a random Wednesday in October. And one other random Tuesday in October. And in November.

I’m so grateful and so humbled. FIRE is superb, people. Additionally, we made it to highschool pick-up with 5 minutes to spare, though that wasn’t assured as we quickly descended that mountain, in barely much less athletic situation than six years in the past…

I’m fairly certain there may be nothing higher than climbing mountains and touring trails with my husband. And I’m NOT SORRY that I’m nonetheless carrying the identical fleece, hat and pack from 10 years in the past. I had a nightmare the opposite night time that I misplaced this hat and…. my head was chilly. Unhealthy occasions, people, unhealthy occasions.

First Little Snow: November 14th

Snow chickens: UNSURE

We awoke to actual dwell snow that morning! The children scampered out earlier than breakfast to reacquaint themselves with the optimum sledding begin factors, I ran round photographing each snow-encrusted tree department, the chickens had been not sure and my husband cooked our breakfast. An ideal first snow morning.

Second Much less-Little Snow: November

This was snow SNOW, our first actual snow! The children report that it tasted nice, the chickens appeared mad and Glamour Shed managed to not fall over.

Chickens in The Snow: They Are Uncertain

Chickens: not sure about snow. We cleared a patch of grass for them inside their fenced-in space they usually do appear to scratch round in there a bit, however I wouldn’t say they’re glad about it. Fortunately they’ve the under-coop run, which is snow-less. We moved the coop in November for the ultimate time this season. It’s now located subsequent to the barn so we will plug of their water-warmer and winter night time mild. We’re not turning their mild on but as they’re nonetheless laying and we don’t need to stress them an excessive amount of. However the water-warmer is good! In any other case, the entire waterer can be frozen.

Hen on prime of coop

Notes from Chickens, courtesy of Millie Fluff-a-Puff, Spokeschicken:

  • Snow: unhealthy.
  • Pumpkins: we likes them.
  • Stale bread: extra, plz.
  • Snuggles: no. Simply no.

Blissful Thanksgiving!!!

The wee niblets stirred and whisked and I have to say I used to be most happy with my pie crusts this yr. Along with our conventional Shoo Fly pies and pumpkin crisp, I made a brand new pie–maple pecan from King Arthur Baking–utilizing our selfmade maple syrup. Scrumptious. It is going to be added to the Thanksgiving cannon.

The chickens loved a beast feast of 1 complete uncooked pumpkin (ably cut up in half by my sister-in-law). And we people relished being inside the identical home collectively. Three generations across the desk, grateful for one another and our not-at-all-dry turkey, sourced from a farm down the street. All due to my husband the cook dinner and his beneficiant functions of selfmade sage butter.

Photo voltaic Replace

After transferring right here, we had photo voltaic panels mounted on our barn roof. My full write-up on the panels is right here and I embrace a photo voltaic replace on this collection.

Glamour Shed’s first actual snow!

That is the one means for me to keep in mind that: a) I’ve photo voltaic; b) you all wish to be up to date on it.

  • In October, we generated 418 kWh
  • November introduced in 328 kWh

For context, in January 2021 our panels generated 95 kWh and in June 2021, we raked in 830 kWh.

Since our electrical firm presents internet metering, we’re capable of financial institution our summer time and fall sunshine to be used within the winter, which retains our electrical invoice low year-round, even when the solar isn’t shining.

This has been your photo voltaic manufacturing replace. You’re welcome.

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