Review: The Backyard Homestead Seasonal Planner

The Backyard Homestead Seasonal Planner is the book every novice homesteader should be seeking. Anne Larkin Hansen divides each of the four seasons into an early, middle and late stage. She then takes the myriad tasks that a small homesteader faces in the garden, field, pasture, orchard, beeyard, barn, coop, shed, woodlot, and wildlife habitat and provides a workable schedule to tackle what should be addressed in each stage of each season. Furthermore, interspersed throughout the planner are useful articles and tables of information on various topics, along with charming pencil illustrations. To make matters even easier, each section opens with a summary page of seasonal priorities that includes space for the homesteader’s own notes. The genius of this book is that it brings together and organizes so many possible aspects of homesteading in one volume. Indeed, Hansen makes what at times feels overwhelming seem very workable. And, who knows? The backyard homesteader might even discover some new endeavors to try.

(Reviewed via Netgalley.)

Review: Upstream

Product Details

Sometimes, books arrive just when they are needed most. For many, the past few weeks since our Presidential election have been anxious ones filled with uncertainty about the future. Published before the election and without thought to its outcome, Oliver’s essays in Upstream could not have come at a better time. Inside this small book, Oliver shows the reader her world. For a brief moment, the reader walks the forest and coast with Oliver and hears the terrifying cries of the horned owl, marvels at beauty in a fish’s entrails, becomes absorbed in a spider’s life, and chuckles at the prospect of a resident bear. Oliver speaks with eloquence about Emerson, Wordsworth and Whitman, reminding the reader of these troves of wisdom. Maybe most importantly, Oliver embraces with equanimity less pleasant aspects of life: predators eat the turtle’s eggs, the injured gull dies, the town transforms when the economy alters, and Oliver changes with age, but the beauty and strength Oliver finds does not diminish despite those realities. And the same will remain for the reader, whatever the future may bring.

(I received a copy of this book through Netgalley.com.)

Feeling Hawkish?

I have to preface this post with an apology about the quality of the photography. It is clearly awful, but I was shooting fast across several acres with my zoom lens, and I will readily admit that I will take an grainy photo over no photo at all, if that is my only option.

Yesterday, we had what I believe were two hawks hunting in our goat pasture. I couldn’t see enough to identify either definitely. I know that one got a good meal, though.

Hawk on fence.

Hawk on fence.

Nicer view of top portion of hawk with snake.

Nicer view of top portion of hawk with snake.

Hawk with snake.

Hawk with snake.

You just never what you may see here on a given day!

Creative Every Day Challenge

Once again, I’ve decided to join the Creative Every Day Challenge. I’m late, but what’s new? I realize this probably sounds like a pretty futile task for someone who never seems to finish any creative project. However, I like this challenge for a couple of reasons. First, creativity is defined broadly. It can include a photograph, recipe, poem or whatever I feel required my creativity. Second, I do not have to post every single day. I need to try to be creative every day, but I wont feel like a failure if I don’t get a post up here. Third, even if I’m only creative a few times in a week, the challenge reminds me of my goal to take more time for creativity. Finally, I think I will enjoy looking back on a long list of posts at the end of the year, evidencing how far I’ve come in my goal!

So, let’s see where the 2014 Challenge takes me.