Things You Will Need as a Volunteer đŸ˜‡

Often some of our newer volunteers come in not really prepared for a stay. While we make sure you stay warm and safe, it is easier if you do bring some basics with you.

PLEASE do not go broke buying stuff! We can fill in the blanks.But a little preparation will make you experience better, whichever host you end up staying with â˜ș

Things we feel are basic for you to have:

A good sleeping bag – it can get very cold here! You also may want to bring A favorite pillow.

A headlamp for walking at night…the house is a ways from the main cabin…and we often go on hikes that last after dark..one of our favorites is moonrise at Hawksbill Crag!

A water bottle..we’d like to discourage bottled water being brought in ….that’s A lot of packaging to recycle!

A good battery powered lamp for your tent or cabin is nice comfort to have.

Batteries! We are on limited funds, so unexpected requests for batteries can end up in whoops sorry😕

Loads of socks, Arkansas weather can be humid..and things don’t dry fast.

A warm hat..beanies work well

.Raingear!

A warm jacket and sweatshirt. Layering clothing is good here. Mornings can be below freezing in winter, and then warm up into the 60’s.

Creek shoes..we hike our creek a lot…

Good hiking boots/work boots..you need good ankle support here..lots of rocks and ankle turners.

Be sure you have any prescriptions up to date..there are times when we don’t get out to town for over a week..our hill is very dangerous in bad weather.

Other things that are nice to have:

Chargers for your electronic gadgets…

Camera

Notebook and pencils

Swimwear and big towel in the warmer months.

Hope this helps you get ready for a visit

Seasonal Almanac

I had a moment of awareness hit today. Much of what we do is seasonal. We live close to the earth  and the seasons have a great influence on what we are doing on the homestead.

I have always known this. Yet I am doing a lot of “When this happens then it is time to do this…” I think it is time to have a special section set up this way – follow the process for a year and see how it all begins to align.

Fall-October

This month is time to set out bulbs- Daffodils go into the ground, Amaryllis, Iris= it is time to set out and mulch all the wonderful Mums that we’ve been decorating with.. If you get them out now , they will establish deep enough roots to survive the winter freezes.

How do you like to use your Daffodils? I like to naturalize them – the effect suits me… Some people like more formal arrangements and they can be very stunning that way –

Narcissus  (Paper whites) are lovely- we always used to bring them in and force them for Christmas to go with the Poinsettia’s-

Now is the time to give your perennial herbs a haircut- harvesting about two thirds of the growth – I tend to make a lot of tinctures now- getting my home remedies ready for the winter. Made goldenrod, plantain, basil  and several others just the other day.

I prefer to use a tea or decoction over tincture, but a tincture is a safe and effective way to store many of the herbs. I dry and then store a lot of herbs – have a nice garden cabinet friend Sue gave me – it creates a nice dark shelf unit to store my harvested herbs. These beautiful fall days I carry a pocket full of wally world bags with me and my pocket knife and forage as I hike – the biggest issue is to be sure you clearly label you harvest- date gathered , where , what and the preparation- I also add other info – like the moons phase it was gathered in – important to me for research purposes.

Be sure to keep your herbs well watered unless it actually freezing – they are building a strong root system for the winter months- even though you may not see leaf growth.

Herbs tend to take longer to germinate than veggies- instead of two weeks they can take 5-6 weeks.

I plant seeds that need stratification  (several months of cold weather ) now and be sure to set up id markers – my old lady brain forgets where I planted things and we also have a lot of helpers come through with our volunteers 🙂

Now is a great time to id trees – the leaves make the ones like sugar maples easy to find- take the time to learn the bark and leaves of two or three you are interested in.

I like to advise that students follow three herbs throughout a whole year- what does it look like in  the winter months – how does it look when it first comes up in spring- what plants or trees does it grow nearby- what of type of soil does it like- how much sun hits it? How much water  does it use. does the color change as it grows larger?

Are there insects that live in it? Can you learn what the job insect does for that plant?

All these things help find the plant colony through different times of the year.

Livestock is coming into heat now as well- goaties are a good example- now folks who want to hit the Easter buckling market will breed earlier.. it just depends on what your need is. I like to dry up my does to be sure they are very healthy when it is time to kid. As a small farmer I have that advantage.. that intensive management is my market advantage.

Now is also the time to be planning for which plants to start from seed in last winter- what plants do you want ready to set out in the Spring- how long does it take them to be large enough to set out?

What plants are in bloom now?  Here are a few – White Snakeroot,  Heal-All, Wild Indigo,most of the Aster Family are still in bloom. My Spearmint, Peppermint , Catnip are all blooming still.

The Honeyoye Strawberries are sending out runners. My mouth is watering all over again !

“To DO” Lists-What’s YOURS like?

Got one? That dreaded “to do” list?

Mine actually helps me 🙂

Making lists didn’t used to be productive for me. Then I read something in a Womans Day magazine some years back that really made it work  by putting a new perspective on it.

A “to do ” list is a memory aid filled with SUGGESTIONS not a MUST  do thing.

How is it helping ?

Well, – we have a big scribble board -with four columns

We keep a NEED list- if one of us wants something or needs something the next trip to town it goes up here . The understanding si that these are budget dependent , of curse.

Then there is the one with the Day of the week and the Date up there for us old folks whose memories aren’t functioning well til there is a pot of coffee on board LOL- this is where the TODAY’S WORK is listed- We try to keep it down to three major items- that way it is not too overwhelming. If one doesn’t get done – it just stays up the nest day-IF it is super important on the priority list it gets a time frame set out-  this means – get that one done ASAP!

The third one is for  Neill’s reminders-his things he wants to remember

and the fourth is MINE – things I need to do in town – or business calls to make – orders to fill etc.

It is surprising how much this helps- also, when we have volunteers it let’s them know what next , if we are out of pocket for some reason.

We do keep a separate chore board – the everyday stuff spelled out for our volunteers- or us , if we happen to be in a time with no volunteers here.

The board is also a place to scribble where you are going if you hike- not intended as an intrusion, but a safety feature- if it gets dark -are you upstream or downstream – were you headed to town?

It truly  has helped us get a load more accomplished to keep our lists.