2011: Year In Review, Part 4

The rest of our year mainly revolved around settling into our new home. I decided to stay with Clarity Consulting and work from home, a decision that is working out fairly well so far.  It’s definitely a bit of an adjustment, but it’s great having no commute, eating lunch with my wife and now having time to spend with our little one here and there throughout the day.

When we got here, there were still some parts of the garden going from stuff the previous tenant had planted.  However, most of the garden was overgrown with weeds and about half the garden had nothing in it.  There was one raised bed already in place.  We like raised beds, particularly for square foot gardening, so we threw together another one with some scrap wood that was lying around.  The soil in the garden is amazing, due to years of amendments done by our landlords of compost and manure.  We gradually got all the weeds pulled out and planted some stuff for fall.  Our landlord let us borrow a tiller and I worked up all of the garden that didn’t have plants.  We planted buckwheat and winter rye as cover crops in the tilled areas.  I built some low hoop houses with some PVC pipe, rebar to anchor it and Agribon 19+ row cover over the raised beds.  We planted a bunch of cool weather crops, such as greens (lettuce, arugula, Asian greens, mizuna, spinach), broccoli, kale, radishes and turnips.  Unfortunately, we had a lot of trouble with slugs that we didn’t catch in time, probably partly due to the weed cover that allowed the soil to remain overly wet.  So we lost a lot of plants, but a few things took off.  We harvested radishes and kale into December.

We did some painting when we first got here and it took a bit longer than expected, but the place looks great.  Kristin did the majority of the unpacking.  It’s great to have so much room here, we have three bedrooms, an unheated attic, a cold pantry and a small barn out back that we can use.

We visited a few churches and eventually landed at the Middlebury episcopal church, St. Stephens on the Green. Really great people, including a few farmers we’ve been getting to know.  Kristin has made the acquaintance of some fiber folks (spinning, weaving, etc.) and joined a fiber guild. We’ve also met a lot of local artistic people (writers, potters, musicians, etc.)  So we are gradually building a community.  Everyone in Bristol has been very welcoming and we are starting to make some local friends.

We didn’t travel for the holidays, due to Kristin’s pregnancy. Kristin’s parents came to visit for Thanksgiving and we made a local turkey and fired up the antique wood kitchen stove to make some of the dishes. Some fits and starts, but I finally figured it out with our landlord’s help.  Our baby was due on December 6th.  Kristin went to yoga on December 1st and had her water break in class at around 12:30PM.  She made it home by about 2:30, after a stop at the hospital to get checked out.  We were ready to settle in for awhile, since everyone had told us early labor usually takes a bit.  But it seemed the contractions were coming pretty frequently and Kristin was already in a bit of pain.  Turned out the baby hadn’t heard about the early labor taking awhile, so we headed to the hospital and by 5:45PM we welcomed Ezra Geiger Swartzentruber to the world.

The rest of December was a bit of a blur, as the first few weeks of having a newborn typically is. Kristin’s mom came up to help a bit the second week.  Then Kristin’s parents and brother came for Christmas and my mom came for New Year’s for a few days.  So we had a bit of help.  It really made the holiday season special and was a great way to end a year of many changes.

This is a four part series, check out the other posts here: