The last week has presented a bit of a challenge with a late-season snow and ice storm. Thankfully, we haven’t lost power yesterday or today, so I have the ability to keep working without any noticible downtime. Other friends to the East are not so lucky. My friend Jaye, has been without power and internet the few days, and just now has gotten up and running again.
Folks who live in the Midwest, and especially here in Iowa, should know that we always get a bit of warm weather, then all of a sudden, Old Man Winter, or the Snow Queen decides to give us one more healthy dose of the white stuff! This can happen anytime from March through May. There have been years when I have seen my beautifully blooming apple tree get hit with a late snow and freeze the first week in May! That left us with absolutely no apples that year to harvest. I confess, this is the aspect of homesteading in the winter that I like the least. I don’t mind being hunkered down – it’s just that time period where we have wild fluctuations in temperature that causes confusion in nature and in people.
A couple of our neighbors – a nesting pair of bald eagles, has not been fooled by the warmer temperatures of the last week-and-a-half. They more than likely know that we have a bit of winter left to go. Of course, this particular pair stayed in the area all through the year, which is slightly unusual, but I suspect it may have been that the younger of the pair, an immature male, wasn’t too keen on heading North and wanted to stay close to where he was born. Like the other neighbors we see driving along our somewhat isolated road, seeing these two and knowing that they’re OK is rather reassuring.
In a recent correspondence, I was asked about what kinds of homesteading subjects I was interested in and why. I explained that my passion was helping others to become more self-empowered. My areas of expertise are herbalism and making medicine, but there seems to be an endless array of homesteading topics that fascinate me. I have the intention of learning as I go. Isn’t that really what homesteading is about?
One of the things that we have been blessed with around here are a lot of people who are or who have long been farming and homesteading themselves. There are lots of neighbors around who are elderly who are living treasures and I firmly believe it’s important to learn the skills that they have before we lose them and what the knowledge that they hold forever. Maybe take the time to share a cup of coffee at the corner diner with them or drive on over with some homemade goodies, or go and pick their brain regarding a problem you’re having. More often than not, these folks are happy to help. For me, having them there, kind of reminds me of the Foxfire Books, which I gave my dad the first 6 volumes when I worked at Waldenbooks. Now I think that there are a total of 12 volumes plus 40th and 45th Anniversary Editions – and some spinoff books for toys, recipes, etc. My advice is if you find one of the volumes in a thrift or used bookstore, snap ’em up! In the meantime, it’s great to make those connections and find out more along the way of your homesteading journey.