Musings from a Homestead Kitchen, Woodshed Remodel Project, and a Cheeky Stellar Jay

Musings from a Homestead Kitchen Woodshed Remodel Project, and a Cheeky Stella Jay

Chocolate Box Cottage Diary Vol. 2

Week 23: June 10, 2021

Saturdays are generally for projects. Sam and I enjoy working together, whenever we can, on tasks large and small, such as gardening, getting firewood, and pressing apples in our vintage cider press, but we often work on individual projects on Saturdays. Sam always has some sort of building/ maintenance/ repair project in the works, and I usually have baking/ housekeeping/ light gardening this time of year. 

I LOVE to bake, and over the years have baked multiple thousands of loaves of bread for our family. We have 5 children, 3 sons and 2 daughters, and when the boys were in what we call the sandwich years, ages 10-18, they could (and did) go through a loaf of bread a day. I used to bake 8 loaves at a time, along with a batch of cookies or a cake on weekends when the kids were living at home, and freeze the extras. Keeping the family in bread felt like a losing battle at times. I’m not too proud to buy bread from the store, when needed! 

Sam’s current project is the woodshed. Our hundred-year-old house came with a hundred-year-old woodshed. Remarkably, it is still standing, but the roof is in sorry shape. Whoever built it long ago was wise to use yew posts. Yew is an excellent choice for posts because it is tight-grained and resists rot.

Sam is planning to reuse whatever wood is salvageable for the “new” woodshed, which will be turned 90 degrees from its present footprint and have a taller roof so that Sam will not have to hunch down to get firewood. I’ll keep you updated on the progress of the woodshed. One of the traits I greatly admire about my husband is the way he thoughtfully plans out a project before he begins. It is always fun for me to watch his projects take shape.

Oh! We received six-tenths of an inch (1.5 cm) of rain this week! It was glorious! 

Unfortunately, it fell in the form of a thundershower within a few hours of the County Road Department finally spraying our gravel road with lignin for dust abatement. The lignin had not set up, so it washed out and ended up in our duck pond. The County is sending the crew back to redo our road next week after the weather passes, thankfully. With half a dozen log trucks and many hemp-workers making multiple trips up and down the road daily, the dust is awful.

All kinds of seeds popped up in the garden in the last 2 weeks, from pumpkins to beans. The comfrey (above) is flowering and the bees are loving it!

This cheeky bird, a Stellar Jay, is a maddening nuisance, albeit a handsome one. He ruthlessly uproots pumpkin, butternut squash, and zucchini seedlings and snips the stems of bean seedlings off!
I’ve nicknamed the Stellar Jay Albert. He single handedly (beakedly?) snipped off all but about a dozen Dragon Tongue bean seedlings this week. A couple of weeks ago it was the Butternut squash, zucchini, and pumpkins.

And today is Cameo’s birthday! Happy birthday, Darling!

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