Preparing for 2018

As usual come winter here in North Pole, Alaska we turn inwards and spend time relaxing; learning new skills; reading books; and just as of this past Autumn I started attending college for my certification in Herbal Retail Management with the American College of Healthcare Sciences in Portland, Oregon.  So while we're not working non stop outside, we still stay relatively busy, all within close proximity to the lit wood stove. 
As we get closer to what can be considered Break up or what is called Spring in the lower 48, we begin to set up our plans for the next growing season or summer. 

For some time now, actually before we started raising meat rabbits we wanted to have laying hens.  To us it just seemed to be the easier option.  Rabbits, in the beginning, actually were not even on our radar!  To us the eggs seemed much more desirable then the meat we would get from the rabbits.  Now that all being said, the rabbits have been rather good to have on the property as now we have a n…

This is the day that never ends and it goes on and on my friends......

Today was rabbit day. 23.5 lbs of rabbit harvested today. We have now moved all the babies that were in the temporary grow outs into the nicer grow outs to give them better accommodations. Our team of three (Edward, Nick and I) did great today! Nick did two of his own, almost completely by himself. It was a bit rocky starting off but before you know it we started picking up speed. And it was honeybee day. 1 gallon, 2 pints of honey harvested. Between the chicken we purchased as a chicken share from a friend, the rabbits, the berries I've picked this summer and all the other miscellaneous frozen bits I have stored away, our freezer is a bit full. Oh and never before have I had such a run on mason jars. Note to self, buy more mason jars. And soon. I still very badly need to make a batch of Apple Walnut bread. The apples that we picked are fermenting in the corner. Hhmm, maybe I should see if Edward wants to make hard cider with them? It's a thought! The house is …

We DID IT! The wood shed is built!

A year ago we began to walk our property to figure out what we wanted to do with all of this land.  We've never had so much land to work with, being a military family who has most of our lives lived in military quarters.
Once we had dreamed a bit, we started taking apart our "dream" list and started looking at what was a necessity vs what was just something we wanted.
Our woodshed was one of those "necessary" items.  We knew we both did not like the wood sitting in the ground.  The bottom layer of wood always ends up rotting and the pile dries slowly under the tarps we use to cover it.  Wood that has not dried or "seasoned" sufficiently does not produce as much heat and it produces more smoke.  Wood that has not been seasoned also produces more creosote which is harmful to our chimneys as it can encourage house fires when it builds up too much.  The Fairbanks/North Pole area is also being watched currently by the EPA as the level of particulates in t…

Here's what has been going on at the homestead, week of 24Jul17


Cutting & Splitting wood and a tour of the garden in North Pole Alaska

I do apologize! Some of my descriptions got cut off! My son is going to start editing my videos from now on so let me (and him) know how well he does!

Oh and by the way, it was the ASPARAGUS that came back this year!

Caring for our small water garden

Never before have I been responsible for caring for a outdoor water garden.  I mean, really, in Military housing, such a thing would be considered to be an extreme luxury so when we moved into our new home and I found myself the owner of a lovely, 1500 gallon pond, complete with a water fall, I found myself a little overwhelmed.  What do I do with such a thing?
At one point we thought about raising trout in the pond, but we felt already so overwhelmed by the garden and the amount of work we now had that we threw our hands up and said "get to it later".
Turns out immediately after break up, we discovered we had some work that was very much required.  We knew from the years we have been keeping indoor fish that agitating the water is always good.  It's always good to ensure your water isn't stagnate, so we plugged in our lovely waterfall and found our pond stunk.  Badly stunk.  It stunk enough that we all even hesitated to walk near it.
So one weekend, mid May, when …

Snow, snow, go away

T-minus 19 days till April 15th.  19 days till our honeybees arrive.  22 days till April 18th, the day we get about 20 to 25 trees removed from the front of our property by BlackHawk Works, a local company that has expertise in taking down trees in tricky locations.  The tree removal will help us with our future potential project; solar panels which will allow our house to be a bit more self sufficient as well as get rid of the moss on our roof and reduce the fire danger.

Whenever, the daytime temperatures start staying above 50 the birch sap will be flowing and we will then be collecting the sap to be boiled down into syrup.  See this article about that.

Meanwhile, at just about the same time we will be hiving our brand new Italian honeybees, direct from California.  As long as our daytime temperatures stay above 50.  If you're curious about our new beekeeping undertaking, see this article. 

Within the next weekend or two we also have a large, brand new rabbit hutch to build whic…