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Sonlit Acres

Encouraging sustainable living


The snow is almost gone and the mud has arrived, another mud season on the homestead marks the start of another season. We are still waiting on our new calf to be born, we have made arrangements to borrow a bull this summer since our new one was lost this past winter. What we can do around the yard is limited since even the grass areas will get mucked if we work them to much so we wait. 

I did go to the lumber store, something I really don't like to do. but since I told my wife I would build her a new counter top I decided to wait for lumber to dry enough wouldn't get me to many brownie points so I decided I would use plywood. Now that was an experience I wasn't ready for, it appears the cost of lumber has gone threw the roof and wish now I would have waited for some lumber to dry. A friend that works at the yard told me the prices have been jumping every week since oil prices started to climb and they would be even higher at the end of the week.  Now I may be a bit sheltered in some ways here, but I was even shocked to find that even 1/2 inch plywood was $41.00 for the cheap stuff. I certainly wouldn't want to be building a house right now. I guess I won't be building my new chick brooder from plywood in the coming weeks. It looks as though my band mill will get as busy as I can keep it this summer for some of the things I would like to finish and start.

Like most of you we are seeing fuel prices head toward $3.00 a gallon again. And that no doubt is driving prices up at the moment, with the green movement pushing so hard for more green energy and electric vehicles I'm afraid the price of fuel for those of us that can't afford these new electric machines or prefer our internal combustion engines are going to be in for a major expense. I don't want anyone to think that I am against green energy, my house is a hybrid, our lights are solar operated most of the time, I personally feel that's what should be happening with solar and wind, those panels and turbines should be charging your batteries for your own power consumption. To me using the grid to store my energy doesn't make sense, if the grid power goes down in the night time your power goes out as well, at least when the power is out for us, the lights work, yes I may have to run the gen set to power my freezer and fridge but we always do a 2 hours on and 2 hours off rotation during our warm seasons, in the winter it all goes outside. I am working on the concept of using our wells overflow as a way to keep food chilled. (More on that at a later time.) 

High prices in many cases can be influenced to some degree, to combat fuel prices one must be on the road less so we're not driving demand, food prices seem to have been going up since covid came around and I can't say I know why the shortage that has caused such a rise. I don't believe it was all impulse buying as much as it could have been the shutting down of food production facilities because of the whole virus thing. I feel it has gotten a little out of hand and maybe those that stand to profit the most are the ones pushing the fear. The best way we have found around all of this is to be on the homestead and doing what homesteaders do, it was reported in the news that more people are growing garden than have in many decades. 

The winter machines are put up for the season, I started my band mill a couple of days ago and as soon as the mud is gone I'll be hauling logs to the mill a making as much lumber as I can. Our piglets came and are comfortably settling into their starter shed and yes, they are cute and getting used to their new home, the snow around the homestead is near gone with the exception of a few places and the woods. Snow in the woods takes a bit longer our maples are about to bud which will mark and end to sugaring season. Though we haven't boiled our own in several years, instead we get it from my brother who has a sugaring operation which makes it easier for us, I would however like to do some of our own again and just may be able to as we get more area in the woods open to get through to have a good sugar line. We never used to do more than we could use and I have no desire to do more than that in the future. Now that I stand to loose my last full time helper to his summer job the chores here will take a little longer, in one way I look forward to it as it will keep me as busy, but offer some challenges where that extra pair of hands would be nice. 

Like me, the homestead has matured, however the work of the homestead remains, I was telling  my wife this morning how my parents came to homesteading, though it wasn't called that in those days. It has to be a little over 50 years ago, something my mother heard on the news I suppose got her worried she wouldn't be able to buy beef to put on the table, so she arranged through a friend that had a farm to purchase her first cow. It was a beautiful Holstein cow with one ear the flopped down, thus her name was droopy. Well Droopy never went to the freezer but instead went on to be the family milk cow, and meat producer, Then came the chickens and some pigs. And a large garden came out of that and the cellar pantry just like Topsy grew, until all the shelves were full along with the crocks of  salt pork and eggs with water glass to store them. All this came out of a parents love because she feared she wouldn't be able to feed her children. I guess maybe that's why I am the same way, not being able to shrink the garden or raise less chickens or pigs, because I may still have a big family to provide for and even bigger, because we have Grandson number 2 on the way. Yes our dream of having the grandchildren coming and playing in the yard while we sit and watch them is coming true.

The years of labor, raising and putting up so much has taken its toll, the knees are worn out, the hips and shoulders now hurt and the back is stiff every morning when we get out of bed. But we continue because it is still part of the adventure Kelly and I started 31 years ago as a young couple with our first baby girl and we wanted to be able to feed her at a time that all our manufacturing jobs had left and all that remained were jobs that wouldn't pay the bills. We eventually found our way here and the adventure began anew in a new place and it has been an adventure I wouldn't trade  all the money in the world for anything else. Kelly and I have had the most amazing life here and as we get older it becomes more amazing with more challenges to add to an already exciting adventure.




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