A Hoophouse Spring

Spring is in the hoophouse! It may have snowed today but we are moving full speed ahead with spring here at House in the Woods Farm. The hoophouse is chock full of seedling trays–heirloom tomatoes, chard, cabbage, kohlrabi, onions, scallions, lettuce, peppers, eggplants, chives, oregano, lemongrass, chinese cabbage, spinach, peas, sweet white turnips, beets, kale, and more…

We’re busy preparing for a full season of produce and first CSA harvests in May. We will continue to seed trays weekly through April. We will plant seedlings from the trays into the garden all of April and May, beginning this week with the turnip seedlings. Our turnips, eaten raw like a sweet mild radish, will surprise you in May!

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Spice beauty


Spice beauty…freshly ground mint from the jar of dried garden mint. The kids had fun grinding it and grinding it, but that killed the coffee-herb grinder…our ancient coffee-herb grinder is retired now.

Also ground mint, nutmeg and cinnamon together with bentonite clay and baking soda. Making tooth powder.

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Garlic as Medicine

As the weather transitions from winter to spring, you might find yourself needing an immune booster to keep your body strong. As we shed our winter coats a little too soon, and spring allergies begin to lower our immunity, we need an immune booster to keep the common cold at bay.

What’s your natural wellness aid? At the first sign of a cold, a sore throat, fatigue that hints of fighting illness, a pain in my ear … I take some raw garlic.

To read the rest of this blog, click here to go to my Mother Earth News blog:


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A midwinter homesteaders holiday


In early February (February 2, to be exact), there is an ancient holiday called Candlemas. It is celebrated between the winter solstice (December 21) and the spring equinox (March 20). On Candlemas, people would gather wax and all the half-used candles around the house and make more candles from old wax or dip fresh beeswax candles to get them through the second half of winter. February means you’re half way to spring (guess this depends where you live!). It’s a half-way-through-winter and let’s make sure we’ll stay cozy and well-fed kind of celebration.

To read the rest of the blog, go to my blog at Mother Earth News: http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/candlemas-midwinter-holiday-zbcz1402.aspx



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Benefits of getting dirty






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Sheep come to the homestead-warming party


Back in July, I went blueberry picking right near my friends Shannon and BJ’s new property where they are renovating a dilapidated house on some nice land. It’s the kind of house that people in their right mind would tear down and build something new. It was valued accordingly in the purchase. A new house would take less time and less money than BJ’s plan. But BJ often does the unthinkable, building high quality timber-frame structures that are made to last with beauty, strength and artfulness. And he’s done crazy renovation projects before.  BJ couldn’t resist this one after he found a log cabin with a stone kitchen underneath layers of drywall and plaster.

Go to my blog at Mother Earth News to keep reading:  http://www.motherearthnews.com/Editorial/Blogs/Homesteading%20and%20Livestock/Sheep%20come%20to%20the%20homesteadwarming%20party.aspx



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Farm visit

One of our Virginia CSA families came to visit the farm this week. Here are some of Rachel’s pictures. Thanks for helping on the field and coming to learn where your food comes from, Rachel and family!


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Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes!

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Nothing says summertime more than watermelon. Our kids are in charge of growing watermelons on our farm. They get more involved in the production of the melons each year. This year, one or both of the kids were involved in each step of the way, from seeding to selling. CSA members are enjoying the chance to buy their delicious watermelons! They almost sold out today, and all the melons were very big. We brought home a 24 pounder! They will harvest and sell melons for the next couple weeks. Welcome August in with watermelon!

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Homegrown Shiitakes

We spent one early spring day last year with our neighbors and my dad, drilling holes into logs for shiitake mushroom logs. With a hammer its easy to tap the spore-laden dowel pieces into the holes. Our neighbor’s five year old took to this job well and hammered in lots of dowel pieces. We each took home some logs, watered them each week for a bit, and kept them in a shady spot. This summer, after a good rain, we got a nice crop of shiitakes from the logs. You can get the spores and all the instructional details from The Mushroom People.

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