Just popping in to wish you a peaceful ending to 2023, as this will be the last we chat until 2024. 

 As for us - the mud continues.  It's downright mucky outside.  If any of you are holding the sun hostage, please send it our way - we need a little!

Today... a little year-end housekeeping and some answers to a couple of yesterday's questions.  A few have expressed a concern regarding our dear Forrest and the pond during the winter time. 

 The good news is... because we have aerators in the pond, it doesn't completely freeze.  Also, one end of our pond... the end that Forrest typically enters is very shallow (it begins at 1 inch deep and gets deeper gradually).  Also, he's a pretty good boy when it comes to listening, so if we feel there is any danger, we will not allow him to go into the pond.  Lately, the temperatures have been in the 50's - unseasonably warm.  Also, I feel that if it is cold enough for the pond to freeze, Forrest will feel no need to swim.  He does so to cool off, most times.  He has a very thick coat and gets overheated easily.  I think he'll be happy as a clam at high tide if we experience any polar vortices this year.

Second question concerned what we do with all of the manure that our animals make.  We compost it.  After sitting on a compost pile for anywhere from 12 to 24 months, the manure, and everything else that goes into the compost pile turns into rich, black, worm-rich, dirt.  We then use it to fertilize our gardens and hayfields... the perfect recycling.  Grass ➢ hay ➢ manure ➢ grass

Third question... how I make my herbed sea salt.  Every batch I make is different.  Generally, I use a food processor to pulverize the Mediterranean Sea salt, fresh rosemary leaves, and a couple of large fresh garlic cloves.  Once everything is chopped finely and blended, I spread it on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 200 degrees F. for 30-60 minutes depending upon the volume of salt I am drying.  When it is done in the oven, it should be completely dry.  I also threw some already dried from this past summer parsley in this batch.  You can do this with whatever herbs you like.  I just happen to love Rosemary on just about everything!

Sourdough baking was the first task of the day, yesterday... a dozen English muffins and a loaf of bread.

I spent a good deal of time cleaning house - one last deep clean for 2023.  I used orange oil on all of my kitchen cabinets to condition the wood...

and put away most of the Christmas decor. 

The tree and the train platform remains up and decorated, but those will be coming down today or tomorrow.  Yes, I am one of those people who is ready to say goodbye to Christmas when it is over.  I don't love clutter, and Christmas decor (though I do love it for the month of December) soon starts to feel like clutter by the end of the month.  I love starting the New Year with a fresh slate!

We continue to keep finding little green frogs just about everywhere!  If this is a mystery to you, check Tuesday's blog.

As for my 2024 plans... I will soon order seeds for next summer's veggie garden.  I hope to plant a tea garden next season.  I am going to repaint my she shed a much cheerier color.  And the big goal for 2024 is to teach myself to make butter croissants and improve my pastry skills.  (You might remember that I checked soap making off of my 2023 list.  I am going to continue to hone this skill). Flaky pastry is next on the skills-to-learn list.  Craft-wise, I hope to dabble in some embroidery and continue knitting in the coming year.   

I don't think I will run out of things to do in 2024!  How about you?  What are your goals for the coming year?


jaz@octoberfarm said…
i've been studying gypsy wagon painting. my goal is to do some sort of rosemaling on my potting shed. i'm not sure what it will morph into yet but i am excited! dogs are so smart. forrest will surely let you know if he gets cold.
daisy g said…
I feel the same way you do about the Christmas clutter. It feels so good to put those things away and have so much more space! Great way to start out the new year.

My mom was French, and when she went home to visit, she would always come back with a suitcase full of croissants. Oh, we were mighty happy to see her come home! I'm sure you'll master the craft in no time.

Blessings in the new year to everyone at BHA and all of your devoted readers!
Anonymous said…
I'm with you on putting away the Christmas decorations after late husband I were known to take down the tree et al on Christmas Day after the family had left! I do find, however, each year my decorating has decreased. I no longer put up a tree as I am in a different home and have no way to close it off from my three cats! Unfortunately this year my daughter and her family have been down with the flu and we haven't had our "Christmas Eve - gift giving" yet, so what few decorations I do have up will stay until all are healthy again!
Thanks for your sharing with us and blessings be in 2024
Junebug said…
I usually wait until New Years day to take decorations down. I enjoy the extra light they provide.
If you find the sun send it my way also. Our weather sounds exactly like yours, dreay!
I wished I lived next door so all your talent and ambition would rub off! Can't wait to see the new color of the she shed! Here's to the New Year!
Mary said…
THANK YOU for another year of blogging. I SO enjoy the news.

As many of you have said; once Christmas is over Santa needs to be stored away for another year! So, I will begin today and continue through next week.

Our biggest goal for next year is to find a new Old English Sheepdog to LOVE. We had to say "good by" to wonderful Ruby Tuesday this year and GOSH do we miss her!! But with travel plans bringing a new doggy into our lives won't happen until summer.
I also want to continue to learn more about "container" gardening. It is so nice to have fresh herbs and of course flowers!!

It is interesting to see everyone’s take on Christmas decorations. I am one who LOVES Christmas and each month count the months until it rolls around again. My decorations stay up till the middle of January, past 3 Kings Day and beyond. AND I play Christmas music year round from time to time. I just told some friends this a.m. that if you get down, play Jingle Bells and other wonderful Christmas songs. Your heart can’t help but be lighter with many of those happy, joyful tunes!
Happy New Year to everyone. My goal is to get too much stuff sorted out and my house in better order. Some health issues the past 3 years has put me behind and I am hoping to get back to me!
This N That said…
I'm with you about Christmas decorations..I usually wait til the 1st but it is so nice out today , I took everything down except my wreath..
Inside may be done this evening if I have the energy..
Hope the sun found you today..It found me!!
No real plans for 2024..more of the same, I guess..
Does the orange oil penetrate the varnish on the cabinets??
May all your 2024 dreams come true..Hugs
Happy end of 2023 to you and yours there on the farm....and Happy New Year when it comes around on Monday. If you're here posting your wonderful posts in 2024.....I'll be here too along with the rest of your readers, I'm sure.
Have a wonderful New Year's celebration. God bless you all as we head into 2024!
Oh and I forgot to mention that we keep all our Christmas decorations up past Epiphany and sometimes into the twenties of January. Love all the color and lights in dark January!