Winter Time in Vermont

Winter Time in Vermont

Brrrrrrr! Not sure if you have heard but we got a Nor’easter this weekend and now it is -10 degrees with wind chills at -40 and it definably feels like is -30!!!! I ask myself why do I put myself through these crazy, cold temperatures? And I don’t have a clue what I am doing in winter on the homestead, besides accidently freezing eggs (hopefully not the chickens too!)…. that are cracked and no good. Then the fact of snow blowing 12 inches or more of snow in some locations of my driveway. How do people homestead in the winter; what is there to do on the homestead besides tending to the animals? I feel like I am at a loss.

The coop is impossible to clean out during the winter because everything is always frozen. I check on the eggs daily but seem to miss them when they are not frozen. Sadly, we have thrown away so many eggs that are cracked and no good. I am not sure how to stop having them crack. I have an awesome heated water dish that my uncle gave me for Christmas and that is a lifesaver. It hangs and heats the bottom of the bucket so that the water doesn’t freeze. The chickens seem to love it; it holds about 2 gallons of water, which is nice because it doesn’t need to be filled every day. However, if I needed to go out every day, perhaps I’d catch more good eggs….food for thought!!

My husband and I bought a new snow blower this past fall because our last one was a hand-me-down and would only start in the summer time, go figure! The snow blower was so big it made it so hard to use the few times when we could even get it started. Well, you may need to sit for this one, my husband is not one who likes to snow blow leaving me to do it. Lucky me! But hey, one of my New Year renewals was to be more active, so…guess I can’t grumble too much! He’s technically helping me meet my goals! The last time I did it before this storm, it was crazy windy and I could only walk in one direction so the snow would not blow right into my face. After that I told myself that I would never ever do that again without a ski mask or ski goggles. I got to try out my new fashion accessories this weekend! See crazy picture below. It took just about 3 hours to snow blow my entire drive way and around the garden so I can get from my front door to chicken coop, and to the shed from either spot.

I just feel like during the winter I am stuck. These chores that I do regularly are not enough for someone who is homesteading. Does anyone have suggestions on what else I should be doing or books I can read in the dead of the winter to be homesteading, besides trying to stay dry and warm?!

Happy homesteading!! And stay warm…!

Spoiled Co-Workers!

This week I am working my last week at my current job. I wanted to leave by spoiling my co-workers! Ever since I started working at Spaulding High School 5 years ago, I have always brought in homemade (not always from scratch!) treats in for them. They loooove my brownies….and my father love my brownies. This past Monday I brought my brownies and the blueberry muffins that I bake. (Spoiler alert: the muffins are nothing special! It’s all out of a box because I don’t know how to make them from scratch! However, one of my goals as stated from my last blog is to learn more from-scratch recipes, check it out!) But last week, because of the occasion, I treated (aka, spoiled) my fellow co-workers with a dish I make only once a year.

I don’t have a name for it, but it is so yummy that one of the assistant principals insisted that he keep the big one all to himself. I gave him the little one! Ha!  It is made of chocolate cake, chocolate pudding, Cool Whip, and mint Oreos crushed up and then layer it all again. Everyone goes crazy for it.

I posted the picture above on Facebook and some of my new co-workers said they better see this in the employee room….and since I want to make a good impression…Guess I’ll need to bake more this weekend! Maybe you all could help me think of a name for this delicious treat?

I love to bake and do some cooking.  I feel relaxed, less stressed and confident when I use recipes that I know really well. The only downfall is that my husband doesn’t enjoy eating baked goods….so it looks like my new co-workers are the ones getting spoiled now!

New Year Goals!

Today Vermont is getting a snow storm; some schools closed but a lot actually stayed open. The school that I work at closed, but my daughter’s stayed open! Woohoo! I get a Mommy day at home! Edit: they ended up closing early 😦
What do I do with my Mommy time?!?! Well it’s the new year and that calls for New Year’s Resolutions….however, I am going to make goals instead. I think if I look at it as goals they might be easier for me to succeed at them. Some of my goals this year are:
1. Bake breads, cookies, and learn to bake from scratch
2. Take time to read
3. Exercise—but this should be playing outside with my girls, hiking, mowing the lawn (with a push mower— no cheating for me!) I don’t want my exercising to be getting on the elliptical everyday or going for a walks because I know I won’t do that. That gets burning! So I need to disguise my exercise; trick myself into being active.
4. Prep for weekly meals
5. Expanding my homestead!
The list could go on but thats a good starting place for me. Getting back to my question for today’s Mommy time….. I think I am going to bake and take time to read!
What is something you like to do when you have time to yourself with out a laundry list of stuff you must do? What are some of your New Year’s Goals? I’d like to hear from you.
Happy Homesteading,
Emily

My hero!

Happy New Year everyone! Thank you for subscribing to my blog! I hope that you all had a great holiday season.

As I said before my hero is Laura Ingllas Wilder from Little House on the Prairie. She is my inspiration to homesteading and having my “lady layers” aka, chickens!

You may ask why I would want to be alive in her time period and the answer is simple, much like living during those times! Even though life was more demanding physically, life in general was so much more simpler and not complex. Everyone had knowledge of how everything worked because you could not pick up the phone and call the wagon man or the roofers when something broke or leaked. You had to fix it yourself! And if you didn’t know, you figured it out. People were not always in a rush to go here or there. They took their time to cook meals, make their own clothing; they hunted and gathered their own food and didn’t take anything for granted…along with helping neighbors out when there was a need. They grew self sufficient homes and relied on the land.

This brings me to Homesteading (my favorite part!) “What is homesteading?” You might ask. Homesteading is “a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of food, and may also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale” according to Wikipedia. I think this definition pretty much sums it up! Like Laura Ingllas and everyone alive during that time, I want to grow my own food and preserve it. Having my chickens is a start to that. Gardening is another way, but that is a tad difficult under 6feet of snow all winter! I love to knit and sew (quilts mostly, but hoping to make some clothes for my girls one day). I also enjoy learning to build and taking care of my own tools and machines.

Sound interesting yet?! There are two books I have purchased that I like to use as resources; the first one is The Homesteading Handbook by Abigail R. Gehring and the other book by Abigail is called The Ultimate Self-Sufficiency Handbook. If you’re looking to get started or learn more about homesteading yourself, aside from my blog, I recommend those books to start.

As for starting my blog, my hope is to have a new blog published every Sunday and a few shorter posts during the week. I will also start an Instagram soon! I want to stay engaged and share all of my homesteading secrets with you! So thank you for reading and stay tuned!!

Happy Survivng Homesteading in the dead of winter!

Emily

The Crazy Chicken Lady

Meeting Emily the Homesteader!

New Years, 2018

Hello All,

Thank you for reading my blog! I am new to blogging but really wanted to share my passion with the world. Let me introduce myself; my name is Emily and I live in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont in a very small town called Danville–the most beautiful town I have ever seen. I moved to Danville when I started dating my (now) husband. He grew up in the neighboring town of North Danville, even smaller than Danville! We have two amazing daughters; one is 8 years old and the other is 4 years old.

While growing up I loved Little House on the Prairie. My idol was Laura Ingllas Wilder, a teacher during the 1880’s who lived on a farm. The idea of working for my food intrigued me! The closest I have come to that is working in a local school as a paraeducator full time and growing my very own homestead in the I-generation we live in now. However, it didn’t come easy! When we bought our house in Danville, I asked the hubs if I could get pigs to raise for food; he promptly told me “NO!”, but I didn’t give up so easily! The next year I asked for chickens. Now at this time everyone around me was getting chickens so I wanted them badly, but again he said “NO!” (What was his DEAL, for real!?) I still didn’t give up! (Happy wife, happy life, right?!) About 3 or 4 years passed and I started begging again. Wouldn’t you know it, this year for Easter the Easter bunny gave the four of us money to go buy some chicks. I couldn’t get out the door with the girls fast enough!. During April vacation we welcomed 6 chicks to our family. Truth be told, we went from 2 chicks to 4 to 6 chickens and today we have 8! (A blog later about our chicken losses and gains).

Now here I am starting this blog, BakeButter&Roost! The name of my blog may be self-explanatory; it describes me to a “T”. For starters, I love to bake. Currently I don’t do much from scratch. I am starting to dabble in it and learn more. Raising 2 young girls doesn’t allow me much time to bake lengthy recipes. I am getting better at making it into bonding time with my girls to teach them! Now on to ‘Butter”. Recently, my oldest had a “Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls” themed birthday party where we churned homemade butter (because why not?!) My cousins could not believe how good it was and how easy it was to make. In fact, one cousin told me that she wasn’t going to have any other butter again… ever! (Hey Debbie, are you churning your butter weekly?) And last is ‘Roost’. That should be easy by now; you know I have 8 chickens.

I am excited about starting this blog thing to share thoughts, experiences, how-to’s, and stories about my chickens, baking and other homestead related things. I hope that you will all share some of your own thoughts and teach me some new tricks! If you have any questions or ideas about topics you want me to talk about, feel free to comment! Thank you for reading my very first post! Off we go!

Happy Homesteading,

Emily