the most wonderful time of the year {spring ephemerals}

Nothing helps to lift me up at the end of a stressful week like spending some time outdoors.

This time of the year in particular is one of my absolute favorites for geeking out with  plants — the ephemeral wildflowers only show up for a short time each year, and it thrills me to find them! As soon as the leaves branch out completely, the forest floor is too dark to support these beauties.

I was worried that I might miss them this year being about to have a baby any day, but I waddled my 39+ week pregnant body to the woods yesterday and was happy to see how much is already in bloom.

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Red trilliums…

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Trout lily after trout lily…

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Spring beauties…

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And the chicken pox queen finding spring beauties, too…She’s getting to be quite good at plant identification!

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Hepatica…

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Virginia bluebells…

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Squirrel corn…

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Cut-leaved toothwort and spring beauties…

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Blue cohosh…

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And of course ramps…

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What spring wildflowers are showing up where you live?

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Spring updates from the farm

I apologize.  It’s been awhile.

Spring is always this crescendo of activity and energy that can feel overwhelming at times.  There’s so much momentum, growth, doing.

Add to that a family illness nearing its end, a stay in the hospital with little LF, typical spring farm growth, and you have a tiny piece of the puzzle explaining my absence.

However, we’ve still had so much going on around here.  We manage to squeeze projects into any spare moments we can find.

I’d love to share some glimmers of our life around the farm with you!

Continue reading

Win a Winter Wellness Box! Celebrate Imbolc!

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I’m so happy to share our updated main page for our farm and small business.  It’s a great launching place for people to find this blog, my shop, and learn about upcoming classes.  Please check it out and let me know what you think!

To celebrate, I’m hosting a giveaway where you can win one of the last Winter Wellness Boxes that remain.  (In general, there are very few left, so if you’d like to try one, learn more here.)

If you’d like to try to win one (why not?!), just follow this link to my Facebook page and leave a comment on the pinned post at the top.  I’ll be choosing a winner tomorrow (Wednesday, January 27).

Also, we’ll be having a gathering to celebrate the Earth-based holiday of Imbolc at our farm this Saturday.

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Photo by Joanna Powell Colbert

Imbolc is the halfway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox.  For our ancestors, this would have been a time of great celebration as the signs that spring would indeed return begin to show up now — baby lambs are born, snowdrops might poke their heads up from the snow, and the days are starting to get noticeably longer.

We’ll be discussing the history of Imbolc while doing some traditional crafts and eating seasonal snacks.  I’d like to use this time to gather feedback from the community to see how we can continue celebrating the Wheel of the Year in the future.

Let me know if you can come on this events page.  I hope to see you there!

You can also read what I wrote about Imbolc in a past blog post.

 

Spring Foraging Favorite: Ramp Pesto!

The season for one of my favorite wild edibles will soon be coming to an end.  Ramps, or wild leeks, are a favorite spring green that has a very unique onion-garlic-like flavor I’ve come to crave in the spring.

Although I would like to say that I’ve harvested several times already this year, I missed out on much of ramp season, but just HAD to get out there to make some ramp pesto.

I spotted a huge patch awhile back and finally returned there to harvest some ramps.

In the spirit of the latest consensus about sustainable harvesting, I only took the ramp leaves which are very flavorful indeed. I left the bulbs alone so that they can develop into new plants next year. Overharvesting can very quickly decimate a ramp patch (even one as big as this!), and when you can get away with using just the leaves, why not do that and ensure that this species continues to grace the plates of future generations? Continue reading

Perma-Blitz in Chardon, OH! We need your help!

Light Footsteps and Resilient Health cordially invite you to a PERMA-BLITZ!

We’re having people over this weekend Saturday, May 9 and the following weekend Sunday, May 17.  Come any time after 11 AM and stay as long as you’d like!  If you’d like to plan around mealtimes, we’ll be having pizza at 6:00 on Saturday and a potluck at 6:00 on Sunday. We even have plenty of space for camping in our field or the woods.  Bring your friends and come have some fun!

What the heck is a perma-blitz?! It’s a convergence of people who get together for a short time to make a BIG project come together.  It’s also about meeting and networking with like-minded individuals, learning about permaculture, sharing what you know, and having fun outdoors.

Here at our homestead we have some BIG ideas for the future, and we’re trying to make a lot of headway this spring.

Some of the projects we’d like help on are our:

  • 2500 sq ft Keyhole garden
  • Kitchen garden
  • Herb spiral
  • Orchard swales
  • Medicine wheel garden
  • Sun garden

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We’ve done a lot of the design and prep work:

  • We sheet mulched a space for the medicine wheel garden in the fall, added more mulch this spring, and it is ready to be planted.
  • In order to turn our lawn into garden beds and orchards, we cut paths by hand with shovels, and rented a sod-cutter to establish the keyhole beds and to prep the swales and sun garden
  • We’ve stockpiled cardboard to be applied to some of the keyhole garden beds that will be covered with soil and planted with nitrogen fixing plants until next season
  • We’ve imported a couple tons of soil and mulch, which need to be applied to the beds

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We need your help, and there are a number of things you might do:

  • Move soil and mulch
  • Plant fruit/nut trees, herbs, vegetables
  • Help to design a forthcoming sun trap, pond, and food forest
  • Occupy our 18 month old

If nothing else, stop by to meet our chickens and new bees!

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Please CLICK HERE to find our address and telephone number to call for more info/help finding us (I prefer not to place them here so I can avoid spam calls and the like!).  Email us at christine (at) lightfootsteps (dot) com.  Please bring shovels and rakes if you can!

Can’t attend, but still interested in helping?  You can donate to our fiscally-sponsored non-profit HERE (it is tax-deductible). Please, also feel free to contact us about volunteering at another time.

The Bee Bus Arrived!

Mr. LF and I have planned to add bees to our homestead for quite some time.  In our permaculture design, bees are an important part of how our plants will be pollinated, and we use a lot of raw honey in our herbal medicines.  Bees have always been a must-have!

We are happy to announce that they recently arrived and we are now beekeepers!

Mr. LF went to a local garden store where he previously took a beekeeping class and picked up the Bee Bus.

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Continue reading

Three Ways to Feel More Connected with Nature

Today you can find a guest post about my three favorite ways to feel more connected with nature on Dawn Gettig’s blog.  She’s an amazing and inspirational yogini, artist, and feng shui practitioner who will be sharing some of her favorite feng shui tips with us here in a few days.

Please hop on over to my article on her blog: Three Ways to Feel More Connected with Nature.

We also love to connect with nature by visiting some of our favorite natural places.  Holden Arboretum had its annual Arbor Day Festivities over the weekend and we had a wonderful time searching for wildflowers (I found some gorgeous bloodroot and twin leaf!) and playing in Buckeye Bud’s adventure area for kids.  Continue reading

The most wonderful time of year….(spring!)

Each season has its highlights, but I don’t think there’s anything quite so wonderful as Spring.
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Everything has me speaking in exclamation points.

Did you HEAR the spring peepers?!?!” I bound through the house asking Mr. Light Footsteps while doing a few twirls.

“You wouldn’t BELIEVE the plants we saw on our walk today!” I exclaim as I fail to contain my enthusiasm and speak through jumps.

I doubt everyone gets quite so excited about such spring-things, but these are the finer points in life that I believe in celebrating.  Continue reading

Scenes from (Early) Spring

It’s starting to feel more and more like Spring on the farm!

…And it’s starting to feel more and more like we actually live on a farm!

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Maple production has continued.  We finished our 3rd batch this past weekend and it was the best one yet.  This week we’re in the midst of the fastest rushing sap we’ve seen so there will be at least a 4th (and probably a 5th) installment of our syrup!

We’ve tried boiling the sap down a number of ways – a grill, a rocket stove, and this last time we used a portable electric cooktop that we placed outside.

I think the rocket stove was the most fun, but we had a hard time keeping the sap boiling and it took a lot longer than it should have (like, 10 hours!).  We finished the last bit of sap on the kitchen stove and ended up with a decent amount of syrup.

The electric cooktop definitely won the contest for the most efficient way to boil down the amount of sap we collected. Continue reading

The Flooded Forest and Unkempt Garden

Yesterday was a wonderful spring day to enjoy nature.  We took a walk along Big Creek and you can tell from all the leaves, trees, and random children’s playground equipment scattered throughout the forest that last week’s rains caused the creek to swell quite a few feet above the banks.      IMG_0067 Continue reading