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Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.


On the Homestead Under January's Coppice Moon

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It's just past the winter solstice, and we can begin to feel the light expanding on the horizon. Where it once was ditch black night, there is now a lingering glow illuminating the evening skyline. Here in the Appalachian Mountains, the subtle shift signals the slow lengthening of days.

Like the pace of the sun swelling in the sky, we move slowly in this season. More than "doing", this is a time to turn inward, to draw and map your garden beds, to sip chaga chai, to read, to order seeds, to envision, and dream.

But that doesn't mean there's nothing to do to nurture the needs of the homestead. January is a time for trimming trees, coppicing shrubs, and removing suckers in anticipation of the fruit and season to come. Here at Wild Abundance, a permaculture and primitive skills school in Barnardsville, North Carolina (pictured below), we offer this advice: Move slow, coppice mindfully, sleep in, read, and relish this cold and introverted time.

Here is our guide to homesteading beneath January's cold and brilliant "Coppice Moon." This guide was written and created by Natalie Bogwalker, the founder and director of Wild Abundance, with contributions from Chloe Lieberman and Zev Friedman. This guide to permaculture through the seasons was created with the southeastern bio-region in mind.

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Woodland Maintenance 

• Coppice mulberries, red maple, locust and willow
• Cut and stack wood for next year
• Thin forest where necessary and appropriate
• Garden preparation and orcharding
• Work on garden plan and explore seed sourcing
• Prune fruit trees for form and remove suckers
• Pick up leaves to mulch berries
• Take cuttings of successful elderberries, pot
•Take divisions and pot: hazelnuts, autumn olive, thyme, sage

Other Homesteading Projects

• Sleep in
• Make maple taps from sumac or order metal ones
• Carve spoons
• Make sassafras, chaga, reishi, wild ginger root, spicebush berry chai and be cozy
• Inventory maple syrup equipment, repair or get more stuff if needed
• Write, read, sing
• Sharpen and repair tools
• Move SLOWLY & enjoy this time of rest and restoration.

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For more information about Wild Abundance, and to check out the upcoming spring, summer and fall 2017 weekend intensives offered, go to wildabundance.net. Intensives and hands-on workshops include The Essentials of Permaculture Design (PDC), a Spring Garden School, a Wild Edibles Foraging Adventure in the Appalachian Mountains, Women's Basic Carpentry, a Tiny House and Natural Building Workshop and more! Wild Abundance also hosts an annual primitive skills festival called the Firefly Gathering. Learn more at fireflygathering.org.

Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt is a student with Wild Abundance, a writer, gardener and beekeeper in Asheville, North Carolina. Check out her other posts written for Mother Earth News here.


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