Waiting for a thaw

Sorry I’ve been pretty quiet around here lately. We’ve gotten three heavy snows in the past month and as much as I enjoyed the snow we got in December, getting 5-6 inches in March is a little depressing. We’ve mostly been busy shoveling ourselves out. Blech. I haven’t done much around the house other than general cleaning – it’s hard to work up motivation to finish up some inside projects when you’re struggling with feeling cooped up already. I would love to be out digging in my garden but it’s currently buried under a foot of snow!

One of the snowstorms was really wet, heavy snow. We lost quite a few branches off of the birch tree in our front yard. One fell on the roof but thankfully didn’t do any damage. Our neighbor Ben came over to help Jason pull it off the roof. It was pretty fun to watch the whole thing out the front window – two bearded Milwaukee men being manly, ha.

Sadly, Jason and I decided that we should probably cut the whole tree down soon. After trimming off the broken branches there really wasn’t much left. While it’s always sad to have to cut down an established tree, we’ve had fun researching and dreaming about different trees to replace this one with. I would love a crab apple or some other type of flowering tree.

We have two Box Alder trees in our backyard, one of which is enormous. I don’t really consider these trees anything more than an overgrown weed, and we’ve been talking about cutting them down ever since we moved in. The big one lost a huge branch during the snowstorm, so it’s a good excuse for us to borrow or purchase a chainsaw and get rid of them. We’ve been dreaming about replacing the biggest tree with an oak, which is our favorite deciduous tree. While we know it will take a long time for it to reach any significant height, it’s nice to think of being an old, grey couple and sitting under a giant oak tree in our backyard.

It is kind of nice to have a big pile of birch branches and logs. I’d like to use the thinner branches to make some more trellises for the garden, and maybe build some furniture out of the thicker branches/logs.

The cabbage and broccoli seedlings are doing really, really well. I’ll be transplanting them into larger containers this weekend, and I’m hoping to move them outside into the poly house before the end of the month so they can start hardening off and acclimating to the outdoors. The onions, however, are germinating very, very slowly and sporadically. I’m thinking it’s because I used seeds packed for 2012. This doesn’t always make a huge difference with other seeds, but I did some research and noticed that onion seeds have a very short shelf life. I ordered two new varieties from Baker Creek that were packed for this year, and I’ll be seeding those over the weekend as well.

I’ve also been doing a fair amount of food making – homemade hummus, bread, and soups. I’ve been trying to eat less processed food (enriched flours, sugars, etc) and dairy, so this weekend I’m going to attempt homemade English Muffins and coconut milk yogurt. I’ve never had much success making cow milk yogurt, so I’m hoping the whole experiment isn’t a terrible waste of time. I’m a pretty good bread baker, though, so I’m confident the English Muffins will be tasty.

So, that’s what we’ve been up to around here lately. I need to make some curtains for our bedroom and dining room, and work up the nerve to tackle the sofa covers before the ground thaws and all of my free time is spent outside. With the amount of snow left to melt, I probably have a good long month left to get these things done!

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