Actually, I lie, it’s been over a year. It’s been about a year and a month. We closed on our house last year on June 13th. It’s amazing the things that change in over a year.
Not only have we added two more children to our mix (Belle, a border collie mix, and Jacks, a mini-rex), but we also said goodbye to our beloved Guepo (common goldfish of 9.5 inches). Thankfully, his sister, Kitana, is doing well. Aside from the loss, the family as a whole has really bonded into one that I’ve always dreamed of. While some may not think of animals as kids or family, we do. This is our family, part of what makes us multifarious.
We also had a few visitors. One of which I really felt needed to be acknowledge because he’s just so cute! I give to you Steve the Snake:
He’s a cute little garter snake that accidentally got nicked on the head with the lawn mower. We brought him in and cleaned up the cut. We used the extra fish tank as a temp home for him for a few days to make sure he healed alright. I’m happy to say that we were able to let him go a couple days ago. Since the cut wasn’t very deep, and he got very lucky, he made a full recovery.
This past year has also brought us more of a want to be self-sufficient. We’re slowly working towards having an outdoor woodboiler. Right now we have our new-to-us, used-to-someone-else oil tank that needs to go into the basement this summer. The previous one is a bit old and is a little untrustworthy. The “new” one is only 150 gallons, which is just the right size as the most we ever have delievered is 125 at a time. Plus, this means that once we have the outdoor woodboiler there is no need to fret about having too much oil just sitting there.
This past winter we only used 600 gallons of heating oil, which compared to many is nothing at all. If I remember hearing right, I think the average amount of oil a single-family household consumes a winter is 800 gallons, which puts us roughly 200 less than that. But, that’s a national statistic. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Maine or New England average is much higher.
Last year we only had one small garden bed that contained some peas, beans, and tomatoes. This year, we increased by far! Total, we have:
- 8 silver fir tomatoes
- 5 sunrise cherry tomatoes
- 6 buttercup squash plants
- 6 pie pumpkin plants
- 8 bell pepper plants
- 12 sugar snap pea plants
- 6 – 8 string bean plants
- ~ 40 potato plants
I also went strawberry picking this past season. I currently have three cups frozen in the freezer that I hope to make strawberry-rhubarb jam with in the near future. I’m also planning on going blueberry picking.
As you can tell, part of being self-sufficient comes into learning new trades as well. For me, the big one this year will be canning. My mom was wonderful enough to bequeath to me the canning jars her and my grandmother used.
So far, I have 42 jars. Some may be used for making Yule gifts, I’m not sure yet. Mom says that she has even more jars somewhere! Here’s hoping that I can find enough things to fill them with!