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Mid-March

Poof! And just like that, we’re half-way through the third month of the year. The sun is starting to come out, the temperature is on the rise, the snow is melting, and the sap is finally starting to flow. It’s going to be a very short Maple Syrup Season this year. I’m feeling a little out of it today, and yet this is the clearest my mind has been in months!

The last couple of weeks, and especially the last few days, I have been a bundle of nerves, wanting to know if there is one baby or two growing inside of me. I finally had my first check up yesterday. They did an ultrasound, and it’s one, healthy baby. A baby girl! I’m thrilled to be having another girl, but honestly, I was more interested in whether or not it’s one baby or two, as that’s what would pose actual issues for me! I would have been happy to have a boy, too.

Twins, on the other hand, meant changing EVERYTHING. The way I need to eat and exercise through this pregnancy, the things we would do around the homestead, our normal summertime commitments… It would have been fine to change it all, but I wanted answers before I started to work on anything. One baby means we can proceed as planned, and that I can power through some of the pregnancy symptoms I’ve been dealing with, rather than focusing more on resting like twins would likely require. One baby is definitely easier on us in the long run. So today, my mind can rest a little easier, simply because I have answers. Answers mean I know what direction to head. I don’t deal well with too many unknowns. I didn’t want to get too far into our plans for the year only to find we have to abandon them all.

It’s a baby girl!

Being able to find out that it’s a girl was a nice bonus to the questions weighing on my mind. I didn’t need to know, but it was nice to be able to find out! Everyone is very excited, especially Adeline. After 10 years, she’s finally going to get a sister! It’s been 7 years since a girl was born in my side of the family, and 8, almost 9 years on Scott’s side.

So today I feel like I can actually begin the rest of this pregnancy, if that makes any sense. I know how I can approach my eating habits for the duration for a healthy pregnancy, I know I can pick up my usual warm-weather daily walking, I can proceed with the garden in whatever way I feel most compelled and should definitely be able to work on seed saving. We can get the animals we planned for, plant the orchard we discussed, host the Tea Party and our usual Independence Day shindig, and while I know it will be a busy year filled with LOTS of activity, I know I can handle the plan, physically.

This morning, I kicked off the day with a walk, though I had to do it indoors. It was foggy this morning, but I woke up early, walked, stretched, and prayed, all before getting the kids up for the day. I might even take a short walk on the road later, now that the sun is fully shining.

After my walk, I flipped through the new cookbook I got as a belated birthday present from one of my friends. It’s a Lenten cookbook, which I’m looking forward to testing out. However, after flipping through the recipes, I found that I’ll mostly only be able to make the breads and potato dishes until my aversion to onions and garlic has disappeared. It’s unfortunate, but oh well. Next year! And I can still do some of the recipes. I have only started reading through cookbook, but there are essays by Scott Hahn on Lent and fasting in the beginning of the book, and quotes from saints and from the church scattered throughout the book.

The two cookbooks I was given as a belated birthday gift from a friend.

My friend also got me a Feast Day Cookbook with recipes for many of the different feasts throughout the church year that we can try out. We might try making the Irish Soda Bread and the Colcannon on Thursday for the feast of St. Patrick.

Yes, sadly, my morning sickness is not completely gone, mostly, thanks to certain smells. And now my motion sickness is beginning to kick in! I normally LOVE garlic and onions, but I simply cannot stomach them right now. I can smell them first thing when I go anywhere near the produce section of the grocery store. There are other smells that are troublesome, but I haven’t been able to totally identify them.

On a final note about the pregnancy for this post, I decided to make myself a new maternity dress for church. I have mixed feelings about the results, but it serves the purpose I intended! And now I’ll have something that should hopefully get me through the last 5 months of this journey. It’s the first sewing I’ve been able to do in awhile, so it was nice to sit down at the machine and hear it hum again. I wanted to sew a lot this winter, but this baby had other plans for me. On the bright side, I’ve now got motivation to sew all kinds of pretty baby clothes! I haven’t done that since Adeline was a baby!

Maternity dress in progress. I made several adjustments to it after this. Some flounces on the sleeves, a tighter neckline, darts in the sides, and the ribbon secured in place. Maybe I’ll let someone take another picture of me with it on some day.

In other news, things are moving along well around the homestead, despite my lack of participation. Scott and the boys have been splitting and stacking wood. Scott and I were discussing where to store all of the wood we’ll need for the wood burner, and he came up with a good solution. He ordered a bunch of used pallets from somebody in the area, and his dad is turning them into crates for us to put the wood in. That way, we can just move the pallets closer to the stove as need be, without having a massive pile of wood right in the back yard.

We got forks for the Bobcat, in part for this wood project, but also because we borrowed somebody else’s for a while last fall to work on the new building we are putting up, and because we know there will be quite a few other things we will want to have them for. They arrived a little over a week ago and have already been used quite a few times.

Over the weekend, Scott and Aaron built a new sap boiler out of cinder blocks and chafing pans. It’s a simple design Scott found online and didn’t take too long to build. We were starting to wonder if we’d be able to use it at all, but the sap finally started to flow yesterday. We’d tapped a while ago when the weather forecast was showing it was going to be warm enough, but we got hit by another cold front instead. And the days it was warm enough, it was overcast and windy which meant we had no sap flow on those days either.

The new sap boiler might not get a lot of use, but I hope we can get some syrup out of it!

It will be a very short season this year, maybe a week if we’re lucky. I’m praying for massive sap flow so that we can still make plenty of syrup. Last year’s supply just ran out! Today, Adeline and Aaron placed a few more taps for me, and they’re working on getting the boiler set up so we can start cooking down as soon as possible.

There is a steady drip-drip-drip today!

Sometime last week, I decided to order wheat for trying my hand at planting and also to attempt grinding. That should be here in the next week or so. Some of my friends and I were talking about what areas we need to fill gaps in our sustainability, and we decided to try out a few things we’re lacking. For me this year, it’s going to be growing (and potentially harvesting) wheat. My main goal is to learn how to save seeds well, but this is something that I felt was important enough to try my hand at.

We’ve been working a little less diligently at schooling this past week, as I needed some time to just catch up on my deep cleaning goals for the winter. I managed to get through most of the kitchen clean-up, though I’m a little over half-way done. I still need to clean the stove, clean and organize the canning supplies in the room, and clean out the cabinets, but for the most part, it looks clean exteriorly!

This might not look fantastic, but it’s a massive improvement on how this corner of the kitchen looked before!

I did manage to clean out the refrigerator yesterday. I had to clean everything with a bleach cleaner, because to me, it just reeked every time I opened the door. Adam was the only other person who complained about it, and the other kids said it didn’t smell, but I just could not handle having it opened. It smells better than it did before, but it still has a weird odor to me.

I spent a little time straightening up in the sewing room, the younger boys cleaned out the closet in the dining room, and I’ve tackled a few smaller clean up tasks here and there. It’s been incredibly difficult for me to remain focused on anything lately, and that makes deep cleaning very difficult, especially when there are constant interruptions. I may just need to keep tweaking my schedule the next few weeks to make sure I can get in my daily walk, work on cleaning the house, get through schoolwork with the kids, and do any work outdoors that needs to get done. It will be a challenge to be sure, especially as I’m still lacking in the energy department, but I’m hoping that my energy levels will continue to improve!

We have been babysitting regularly, which so far hasn’t been too big of a time obligation since our charge still naps quite a bit. We’ve settled into more of a regular routine with watching her now that some schedule stuff has been ironed out. It’ll be interesting to see how some of that changes once she’s napping a little less and moving about a little more. For now, she can roll over, but that’s about it.

The kids have been spending a lot of time outdoors the last two weeks. We finally got snow after having very little all winter, so they were taking advantage of that while it lasted. And now it’s warm and there are dirt piles, streams, and mud puddles to play in. I love spring, but it is SO messy!

Well, I think that’s all I have to report on for now! Pretty soon, there will be a flurry of activity around here as we make a more complete transition to outdoor work, and I’m sure there will be lots more to share with you!

Love and Blessings~ Danielle

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