Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Homesteading in Paradise February 2019 Highlights

Here is our monthly "Homesteading in Paradise" video series. This one is about February, where snowzilla hit, with storms and snow and absolute winter wonderland beauty. Watch this one and stick to the end, because one of my sons might have you in stitches.

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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Snow-zilla, and it's time to plant onion seeds

First things first. The snow: the reason our state's governor declared a state of emergency.  Parts of Washington got three feet in the span of 48 hours, and although our neck of the woods didn't get that much, it was plenty for cross-country skiing.

We also got several power outages, one right after the other, lasting multiple days at a time...

I thought I'd take you along with me on various skiing excursions or walks in the neighborhood, since it's so darn pretty with all the snow.

We live a mile up an unmaintained forest service road, so when the snow dumps, we're on our own.  Good thing we have a great community, where we all pitch in clearing snow (hurray for neighbors with a tractor!), or cutting up fallen trees with chainsaws.  It takes a village, especially in such crazy weather conditions.

School started late or was cancelled for almost a week, so our kids took full advantage of our backyard, building snow forts and bombarding each other with snow balls.

My poor potted herbs, hidden under a blanket of snow...

And the goat barn and greenhouse are wearing snowy hats as well...

Despite the weather and treacherous road conditions, plenty of people showed up at a workshop my man Steve taught at the Rockport State Park.  

He taught and demonstrated wilderness skills for a day, and our son Luke helped by giving a flint knapping demonstration.  Luke was taught by a flint knapping master, and he's quite good himself.

Lastly, I want to remind you that it's time to start your onion seeds if you want them to be big enough to be transplanted by the time spring actually shows up, because it will, I promise.

I have a free tutorial series on how to start onions by seed on my youtube channel, and you are welcome to follow along and do it yourself!

---> Click here to watch the first tutorial (and while you're on my channel, make sure to subscribe, of course!) <---

Friday, February 8, 2019

Ice sculptures in the creek, and homeschooling

I'm writing this just as a big snow storm hits the Pacific Northwest. So far, we've been spared, but the white stuff is going to pile on big time, if we are to believe the godzilla-like weather forecast.

They are predicting high winds as well, so we are bracing for yet another power outage.  Another storm knocked our power out for two days last week, and in its aftermath Steve and our neighbor had to clean up our road with chainsaws.  There's a downside to living one mile up an unmaintained forest service road...

Considering we live surrounded by a variety of huge trees, we're lucky nothing fell on any of our buildings!

Yesterday I walked up the mountain behind our house, and I encountered creeks with frozen sculptures in them.  I was so enchanted I had to stop for a while, and upon returning home, I grabbed my son and his bike and drove up to the spot to take pictures.  Luke was impressed by the ice, too, but couldn't wait to book it down the mountain on his bike after taking a picture of me.

There ya go.  That's about all the ice and creek pictures you can take, huh?  

The first part of February has been full.

Luke's homeschooling is going great.  My readers have asked me lots of questions about the program we're using, so I'm going to tell you here: It's called Washington Virtual Academy (Wava).  We're happy with it so far.  

There's no goofing off, it's definitely like school, and something happens online every day.  Luke has been spending between two and four hours on the course work a day.  But there's also some flexibility.  Today, he went to work with Steve and will try to connect to the online classroom at noon for half an hour.  

Most days, he's done after lunch and spends hours afterwards building mountain bike trails.  That takes care of PE and then some.  I can tell you, the fresh air and exercise makes for a happy boy.

I know Luke has been in the spotlight on the blog a lot, and his older brother is not getting much attention here, so let me shine a light on Kai, who is flourishing as well.

He still goes to public school, but next year will participate in Skagit Valley College's Running Start program.  That means he will take classes at the college, which is one hour and 15 minutes away from us.  I feel pretty anxious about the whole driving thing, but one step at a time...

Here's Kai helping us bottle all the hard apple cider we made.  He looks super happy there, but I assure you we didn't let him sample the alcoholic cider.

Eva, the littlest, is also excelling at public school.  She has a great teacher and a good group of kids.  A few days ago, Eva and I gave a presentation about Germany in her class, and it was so fun to teach the kids some German words that I will come back and help out in the class every week.

That's all for now.  Let me go stoke the wood stove.  I want to bake muffins before the power goes out, and also fill up the bathtub with water, so we have extra for flushing toilets or doing dishes.

How is winter treating you?  Leave me a comment below and let's share experiences of our godzilla winter!

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