Art and Expression

Cottage Core vs. Reality

Cottage on Mackinac

This week was a bit interesting, in that I both interviewed someone for MY podcast and was the guest on another. (Look for that on The Homestead Journey in a little while). And, in both cases, the trend of “Cottage Core” came up.

What is “Cottage Core”? you may reasonably ask, gentle reader? I’ll give you a quote here from a piece Good Housekeeping did on the trend:

Baking and Food

Delicious Disappointment: Homemade Jam with Flawed Fruit

I used my day off on Friday to drive an hour to my favorite U-pick berry farm. And my morning was filled with disappointment. First, I found the owners had pulled out all the gooseberry and currant plants – which was my major motivation for visiting that specific farm. Second, I usually try to bring home a flat of raspberries, as it’s usually a couple hours’ of easy picking to fill all 8 quarts. Wrong again. After two hours of hunting for berries with the drive and dedication of the Swamp Fox looking for Redcoats (Is that red a ripe berry? No, dang it. The other side of it is orange), I managed two bare quarts, hoping for enough to make homemade jam. And many of the berries I did find were sporting significant damage.

Baking and Food

Fireworks and Cherry Bombs

Happy Independence Day! I’ve laid out my thoughts on celebrating and how important it is to do so in this week’s podcast episode. (Head over to the podcast website, or listen to the Vintage Americana podcast on your favorite app).

For a lot of reasons, we’re staying closer to home this year. Our small-town fireworks were canceled – since no one knew if they would be permitted to take place back when the City had to commit to their purchase. But I do still have some good pictures from a few years ago, when I set up my camera and tripod. I’ll share.

Baking and Food

Jam Session

Last weekend I braved a rather cold, rainy Summer afternoon to go berry picking – because I’d never had honeyberries OR Saskatoon berries and I wanted to give them a try. The season for both is pretty short, and I was afraid I might miss them entirely if I waited another week. That turned out to be a wise decision, since this weekend has been even soggier!

An hour and a half or so of picking got me 5 very full pints of each kind of berry. Also a job offer as a berry-picker. The Saskatoons were much easier picking than the honeyberries. Then, I made jam. And pie.

Since scrolling down for an hour before the recipe/instructions is a blog trope I’m very unfond of, let’s do that part first. And the pretty pictures afterward.


Summer Sewing

It strikes me that sewing during the summer is never something I’ve done a lot of. Back in the hoary mists of time, my 4H group tackled sewing projects in the Fall, aiming to complete them before “Spring Achievement” – then moved on to cooking and baking for Summer. Those sessions were usually shorter and had the bonus of leaving enough time to play in the pool at our leader’s house. We didn’t have AC at the time, and fussing around with piles of fabric was just too hot.

Art and Expression

Side Projects

I’ve been something of a busy little bee lately. I’ve started a podcast, as a way to try to communicate my thoughts on the idea of good stewardship and to push back against the societal pressure to eradicate the values and world of rural America.

We view the world through the stories in our heads, so it’s time for me to tell some new ones. Or, rather, some old ones as the case may be. In this case, some of the stories I’ve found while exploring my family geneaology. It seems my mother’s family were once members of the Old Dutch Church in Sleepy Hollow. Yep. That Sleepy Hollow. There are a few good tales about them, including one by Washington Irving.

Baking and Food, Handcrafts

Hunkering Down

It has decided (finally) to be winter.

I admit to being a wee bit salty last night, when both of my daughters’ schools pre-emptively canceled class for today. Even moreso this morning, when I got up to scrape a mere four inches of snow off the front steps. What, did we move to Atlanta?

But by 10 AM, the snow squalls were rolling in off the Lake in their unpredictable glory. My husband went out to get a few groceries, and declared on his return that he wasn’t leaving the house, again.

Homestead Hopes

Resisting the Flattening

I read a long, and somewhat depressing article in Tablet not long ago. I encourage you to go read it, too. It’s worth it, I promise.

Back now? Good. Resist the flattening. With all your heart and strength. One way to resist it is to preserve and celebrate those things that make us NOT like everybody else. Maybe your hometown was settled by Dutch immigrants and celebrates that history. Maybe it was a stop on an old coach road, with coaching inns that still stand. If you live in, or are from, rural America then one of those things that makes you and your place part of the texture of life is the culture unique to you and your place. Which brings us to my motivation for launching into an effort to hang on to it that I talked about in my last post.


In the Bleak Mid Winter

Grey Winter Day on the meadow

Well. It’s been quite a year. Like most folks, I have been trying to keep on an even keel as the world spins through events none of us saw coming. I have been more fortunate than most, with continued steady employment, health, housing, and the like. But the disruption has been wearing.

And now that disruption has increased its reach. As the largest social media platforms have decided to engage in behavior that would make the Stasi blush (seriously, when you’ve lost German Chancellor Merkel…) and the alternative platforms are a swill of conspiracy theories, I think the best course may be to revive the blog.

Home, Uncategorized


As we navigate all the snags we’ve hit in our development of our homestead, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about purpose, integration, and stewardship. First, it was, “Let’s get sheep!” But sheep do not graze in a vacuum. They’ll be useful for brush control and clearing land, but they can’t do it all. And, of course, we’ll need eggs anyway PLUS chickens can follow the sheep across pasture and help scratch the manure into the ground while taking care of parasites. While we can graze sheep amongst the walnut trees, they’re unlikely to get a lot out of the dropped buts. Pigs would be a better choice for that, wouldn’t they?