Monday, February 28, 2011

for the guinea pigs - here's a look!

While on a popular 'social network site' I spotted a new idea, though the idea is not mine, the product in this picture is. It's a simple lotion bar that when comes into contact with warm hands melts off just enough of the bar to rub into your skin. Feels great and is not greasy at all! I'm sending out a few of these to guinea pigs, I mean friends, to see what they think. I'm anxious to hear back from them as to what they think, because we love it here!

a beautiful winter sunset

Saturday, February 26, 2011

so beautiful

One of the roses Ron brought home for me the night we lost Hyacinth. So beautiful. So thoughtful.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ice fishing 2011

Three years ago Faith and Andrew were invited to go ice fishing for the first time with by my dad and a friend of his who has an ice shack on a nearby lake. Thinking it would be the last thing Faith would want to do I was surprised when she said she was really looking forward to it. Andrew enjoys at least trying new things was really excited about this as well. I brought them to the lake (and walked out to the ice shack with them) then left not having any appropriate winter gear. They had a blast! Last year it became a tradition and I did not participate again due to lack of winter gear. This year having winter gear I had no excuse when they asked if I'd go too, dang it! So I drove them out to the lake, donned on my winter gear, grabbed the camera and headed out with them. Mind you there was a windchill factor of minus 15, yes, that's right -15 degrees which was crazy cold!! I was so thankful for the huge glasses I'd grabbed as I left the truck, they blocked a lot of wind as they covered a lot of skin! I pulled my hat way down and put the hood up and was thankful I'd had the foresight to buy hand and toe warmers before we left town. Oh. My. God it was c.o.l.d.!!!

Mr. Harold came to meet us and give the kids a ride out, they loved that!

One of the several traps the group had out.
Several baskets for carrying traps and gear.
Making sure the bait was still on the hook as they weren't getting many flags.

Sick of waiting on flags Faith started 'jigging.'
As did Andrew.
Finally a flag with another small pickerel, they were happy.
My nephew thought he needed a picture taken with the fish as well. Won't his mother be proud?! After this shot was snapped he sent the fish back down the hole from whence it came.
In all honestly I had a nice enough time, but will also add that ice fishing is one of those things I've done as an adult that I can cross off never need to do again list. Just not my thing, but I'm glad my kids enjoy it and hopefully next year will have one of their own traps and a chance to go more than once.

busy bakers

Faith and Andrew have been some very busy little bakers lately. Faith made this delicious quiche' the other night for dinner, actually she made two! Guess what we had for lunch the next day?

Andrew wanted to get in on the action and decided he'd try his hand at a pumpkin pie. This was his first one and Ron said, "Andrew did a pretty damn good job on this pie!" I'm so happy my children enjoy cooking.

Why I love blogging...

I've been canning and 'putting up food' for several years not but not once have ever attempted making marmalade. The fine ladies over at Harvest Kitchen Sister's made a batch last year and I just had to try it, it looked delicious! So I decided to wait until the fruit was in season this winter and then give it a go, here's my attempt!

Oh my word the smell if this cooking down was over the top! A sheer delight for the nose!

The finished product! My first attempt at marmalade turned out runny, but I asked for their help and with it re-batched it and it came out delicious! In case you're interested in the recipe or checking out their wonderful blog I suggest you do, there are some great recipes there!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

70-75% sure

I had Katie up on the milking stand tonight eating her grain and I was palpating her stomach and I'm pretty sure I felt movement! If she is pregnant she's just past the stage where I should be able to feel movement up in the front of where her udder will be. Now mind you I'm not expecting Katie to be 'with kid', but there are more signs that she is than isn't despite the fact she would not cooperate with the buck. But we all know 'those things' sometimes have a mind of their own and will go where they want... So for now I'm treating her like she is and hoping for a duo kidding in the beginning of April.

What am I making?

hmm, a jar sitting on my windowsill filled with calendula and olive oil. Any guesses?

Monday, February 21, 2011

vanilla update

We're just over a week into the vanilla and thought I'd give you an update as to it's flavorful and aromatic progress. The flavor is weak at this point, but a gazillion times better than the 'other stuff' but still has 7 weeks to go we we're good! The aroma is out of this world! Really, seriously, every day when I shake it, I take the cover off and take a whiff, it's really that good. Have you made yours yet? What are you waiting for?!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"Thank you Mommy for spoiling me!"

It's a statement I'm sure you're familiar with; "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach," never have I found it to be more true than with Andrew. This past summer he mentioned to me that he thought his best friend (his cousin) was spoiled because his mother (my sister) made him waffles and doughnuts for breakfast. Not both on the same day mind you, but more frequently than Andrew eats them. It's no secret that I'm not a morning person, and in all honesty it would be dangerous for me to be dealing with nearly 400 degree oil that early in the morning! Andrew has had homemade waffles before and occasionally make them himself, but on a recent overnight visit to my sister's house she set a precident - waffles and doughnuts for breakfast two days in a row, and sent some home with him. Little did I know that her doing that would mean more work for me. I knew he'd be thrilled if I attempted that so I tried this morning, keeping it a secret in case it failed. I used the recipe from Pioneer Woman but added a bit if fresh nutmeg like my grandmother used to. In between making homemade pizza for dinner and family movie night last night I secretly made the dough for the doughnuts and made the waffle batter after he went to bed. This morning I woke up early, made myself a tall glass if iced chai tea and set about making the doughnuts. This is not something I'd attempt without caffeine or on a school day and we home school! After rolling out the dough and cutting the doughnuts you need to let them rise for over an hour, which allowed time for barn chores and waffle making. It's a very long process. I'd hoped to have some of this special breakfast done before he woke up, but it was not to be. He walked into the kitchen, saw what I was doing and a mile wide grin spread across his face and his eyes lit up. He ran and gave me a big hug and said "I'm going to be a spoiled boy today!"

A huge stack of waffles! Andrew finished up making the last one for me.





Thursday, February 17, 2011

thank you Hyacinth for sharing your life with us

This has been one of those weeks that I don't ever care to endure again. So much pain and sorrow and not just here on the farm and in others lives as well. I've heard the expression through pain comes growth but I'd just as soon grow without the pain, thank you. Yesterday when I went out to the barn I saw a horrible sight, our eldest doe (Faith's favorite girl) was down and screaming in pain, I called the vet and had her come out, we put a stomach tube in to release the excess pressure in her rumen. She gave her a shot of bantamine for her pain and said lets give her some supportive care and see if that helps and I'll check on her tomorrow.

We went to the barn this morning, I with a dose of bantamine in hand and the kids with a wing and a prayer. It was not good. She was double the size she was yesterday and still not up. I told the kids that it was highly likely we would have to put her down and Faith was so visibly upset and cried. Andrew tried to hold it in but some great big tears slipped beyond his control and rolled down his cheeks. I called the vet again and explained the situation and she came right out. Today she inserted a rather large needle into the rumen through the side of her stomach and it sounded like the air being released from a balloon, not to mention the stink and then the 'juices' that came spurting out and unfortunately onto the vet. Gross! It did seem that Hyacinth's pain was eased but not alleviated. It was our thought that if she felt better she'd be inclined to get up and maybe walk about, that was not the case. We made a sling from the baby blanket Andrew brought to the barn; the one he'd been using to put over Harley at night, and we were able to get her up. Now mind you it was clear that Hyacinth had some issues with her back end and what seemed to be arthritis, not knowing her age but knowing some of her history. See, Hyacinth has had a rough life. The woman I got her from, Elaine, got her from a local equine rescue group where she'd been placed from an abusive situation. Elaine told me that she'd been beaten and that it was quite a long time before she could walk in the barn anywhere near Hyacinth with anything long and skinny, you know like a muck fork handle or what have you. But Elaine took her time, built her trust and eventually the issue subsided. And they were happy.

Hyacinth came to live here just over a year ago and let me tell you we were happy to have her here, she instantly bonded with our patient old gelding Garlic. They were never more than about 15 feet from each other and they were happy. Who'd of thought that an abused old goat and an (formerly) emaciated old horse would have formed such a tight bond.

We got her to bare weight on her legs and supported her when we tried to have her walk, but seeing her struggle so nearly killed me. I'm not exactly considered a 'warm and fuzzy' person, and I know I'd make a terrible vet because when I see and animal in pain and not being able to vocalize it in a way we can understand it hurts. I consider myself to be a caretaker of creation and sometimes that means making really hard decisions, decisions that have a lasting effect and and occasionally literally life and death decisions. It's a job I hope I am doing well and so far, the decisions I've had to make I've been comfortable with and can live with. My poor goat was in obvious severe pain and this happened in the matter of overnight, the vet wasn't sure exactly what had caused this but it was obvious what had to be done.

The vet that help us through this was exactly the kind of vet I want to treat my animals. Kind. Caring. Compassionate. Concerned. She wanted to heal my doe, but when it was obvious that was just not going to work we decided that it was the humane thing to. Hyacinth would always greet us with a joyful expression and a happy little nicker. She'd not done that in two days. She even refused a peppermint candy this morning and that is not her. She loved her peppermint treats!

She asked us if we'd like a few minutes, we did. I asked the kids if they wanted to stay or to leave. At first Andrew said he didn't want to be there, but then Faith said she did, so Andrew decided if Faith would be there then he needed to be too. We said our good-byes, cried, collected ourselves and Andrew went out to get the vet. She explained what was going to happen and we headed into the barn. Hyacinth's head was resting in Faith's lap. The vet shaved part of her neck to place the iv in, she didn't fight it or even seem to mind. The vet administered the drug, her eyes got really heavy, her head dropped, she let out a sigh, rolled to her side and it was over. Other than Faith sobbing you could have heard a pin drop in the barnyard. Whereas when we went out this morning, everybody was on screech! Even the normally docile alpacas were stirred up, but when Hyacinth passed from this world it was the most calm and peaceful sunny day and it seemed all the other animals just knew and it was beautiful.

We had to scramble this afternoon to figure out what to do with her now and I'll be quite honest I was freaking out a bit. It's the middle of February in Maine and we've got frozen ground a lot of snow. One good thing about living in a small town is that people know each other and are willing to help out a neighbor. I called a guy I knew would have an idea of who might have a backhoe. I was in a bind and I couldn't bare the thought of placing her in a manure pile on a dairy farm, but would have done that if it was to be that way. I called a gentleman up the road and he was willing to help me out, tomorrow. Low and behold he knocked on my door late this afternoon! It ended up working out better for him (and me) to bury her today. He made quick work of it, we got her into the hole and he covered her up. So she's buried here on the farm as it should be and I am happy.

Doing the chores in the barn tonight was sad, there is a void where she used to be and I miss her cheerful nicker and her searching for and anticipating treats.

These are some of my favorite pictures of her. She was a sweet and gentle spirit and is greatly missed.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

go forth ye and make this! *taco seasoning*

My grandmother is a frugal woman, which is to say she knows at least 18 different ways to squeeze a nickle until the buffalo poops! I've learned a lot from her and I have applied some of her teaching to my life, some, not all. One of the things she has taught me is it generally cheaper to make your own... whatever the case may be. One of those things is taco seasoning. In the town where she lives is a health food store that sells bulk spices in small serve yourself quantities. I encourage you to seek out one of these places in your area as they are wonderful and the spices are SO much fresher and less expensive! So I went there this past Thursday while visiting her and stocked up!

This is the recipe she gave me for taco seasoning, I don't know if it is originally her recipe or one she found somewhere, but here it is:

2 Tbsp chili powder
5 tsp paprika
4 1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp onion powder
3 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 - 1/4 cayenne pepper depending on your taste buds, if you like a little heat go for the 1/4 tsp, less heat , not so much.

Measure out all ingredients.
Place in a bowl...
...mix well and store in an airtight container. That's it, that's all there is, no ingredients you don't know, that you cannot pronounce or added 'natural flavor.'
Then there is the other reason I make my own seasoning mix... have you ever looked at the back of the package or the ingredient list?!
The bottom of the package lists a number to call to ask questions or give comments, think they'd mind if I called and asked what is maltodextrin, modified foodstarch, autolyzed yeast extract and why is in the seasoning mix. Or isn't the 'natural flavor' of paprika, chili powder or cumin enough? Why are you adding mystery 'natural flavor' to this packet and why aren't you telling us what it is? Hmm, I'm thinking I'd hear a click at the other end of the line. I think if you actually made this and tried it you'd be delighted at the difference in flavor and wonder why you didn't do it earlier. It's delicious and full of flavor, so go forth ye and make this too!

go forth ye and make this! * homemade vanilla*

Something I've been wanting to do for a while is make my own vanilla as part of the whole opting out of the conventional food system. Then after reading the ingredients and finding corn syrup as an ingredient that was even more motivation to give it a go! So here's how I did it...

First I gathered my ingredients, a bottle of unflavored vodka, providing it is about 40% alcohol; brandy can also be used, and 6-8 vanilla beans. If you use a variety of vanilla beans from places such a Tahiti, Madagascar, Mexico, etc the end product will result in a really floral flavor with lots of subtle notes, but I only had one variety to start with. I plan on adding more beans later and will get a different variety, but for now I am happy with what I have.

All you do is run a sharp knife down the length of the bean to open it and expose all the luscious flavorful vanilla bean seeds. That is what is on the end of my knife there.
Then plop them into your bottle of vodka.

Give the bottle a good shimmy shake! Can you see those orbs of vanilla goodness floating around and doing their part to infuse the vodka with their goodness?

Then place this bottle of future yumminess in a dark place and let it get happy remembering to shake daily for about two weeks or so then whenever you think of it. Should be ready in about 8 weeks. That's it, that's all there is to it really, not go forth ye and make this!
* And to inspire you further to give this a try... Tonight when I took the bottle out to give it a shake, I being the ever patient woman I am, had to open the bottle and smell it. Truthfully I was not expecting much as this bottle has just been started about 3 days ago, well I'll just say that I was delightfully surprised! I was met with the most pleasant warm vanilla aroma! I wanted to jump into the bottle and bathe in this stuff it smelled to good! I had the kids and then Ron smell and we all agreed it was nice! Andrew wasn't crazy about the smell at first until I pulled the 'other' bottle out, you know, the conventional, ready made, off the shelf stuff, and had him smell that. Now I'll admit I'd never had anything to compare it to so I always thought it smelled nice, nothing I'd want to bathe in, but nice enough, but compared to this homemade vanilla the other stuff just smelled chemically. I don't know if that is an actual word, but I think you know what I mean. It was awful! So there you have it, so easy to do, nothing artificial, no corn syrup, just goodness waiting to be unleashed!
On another note, I've been asked to post some of my recipes here so from now on when I post a recipe it will be under this title so it'll be easier to find.

Friday, February 11, 2011

good quote

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

-Thomas Edison

*Got this from another blog, but loved it so I had to post it here!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Move over Rosie!

Rosie the Riveter that is and make way for Twistie the Tackler - as in job tackler! The other day after I'd come in from shoveling and snow blowing and barn chores I noticed a stream of water across my kitchen floor, clearly coming from under the sink. "Oh great!" I thought, so I grabbed a towel and cleaned up the water and looked under the sink to see what had happened. Let me back up a bit, a few days prior to that I noticed the sink wasn't draining well when the dishwasher was running, so I grabbed the plunger from the bathroom and tried to fix it that way, it worked, or so I thought... meaning that it went on draining and seemingly didn't have any additional problems after that.

Needless to say I was surprised to see the water on the floor but needed to figure out what was happening. I looked under the sink and was horrified, I never look under the sink and it was obvious there had been a problem brewing for a while and it had just gone unnoticed. Being the frugal woman I am, alright in this instance just plain cheap, I opted not to call a plumber right then, as it was the weekend and I didn't want to have to pay extra for a weekend emergency if I could find one that would even come out. Ron took yesterday off which completely threw me off and I was thinking most of the day it was Sunday, so I didn't call yesterday either. Duh..... Anyway I was pacing in the kitchen this morning and decided that I was definitely going to need a plumber but that he or she'd need room to work. My kitchen is a galley kitchen and I can place both hands on opposite counters easily. It's very small! So I would need to make space for the plumber to work and that meant doing all the dishes by hand! Augh! Oh the horrors! So the kids and I made an assembly line and got it done. We could use one side of the sink if we just used a little water at a time for rinsing, the other was clearly off limits. So I found a plastic container and filled it up washed dishes then emptied it in the toilet and repeated until we were done. We had a bucket under the sink to catch whatever may leak out there and just trudged through.

After that was done I figured I should take a peek to see what all it looked like it and what might need to be replaced, fixed or what have you in order to relay that to the plumber, a slightly educated guess I think. So I poked around and it became clear to me one problem was fairly obvious, the sink drain was not connected to the tail pipe! Half of the nut was missing! That didn't explain the drain issue though, so figuring I had nothing to loose I took the other half of the nut off and took the tail pipe out. OK so this wasn't so bad.. Then I thought that possibly the trap might be clogged, so I brought the laptop into the kitchen and did some poking around online and figured out how to open that up and see. I also searched for how to fix the sink and found several websites to show me, fortunately I'm very visual and a hands on type of learner. Also fortunately for me (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it I guess.) I have the "fix-it gene" and I'm not afraid to try something and fail, I feel better having tried and know I can always call for help. Oh but does it chap my a$$ to have to ask for help! I figure there's no shame in trying even if I fail, but the satisfaction if I'm successful! Everything looked fairly straightforward online and matched what I was looking at under my sink so I headed to the hardware store parts in hand!

Now this is not the first time I've dealt with this hardware store and I cannot say enough good things about them. It's locally owned by two brothers who'd bought out their retiring father. If that doesn't just make you all warm and fuzzy then.... well, I just don't know about you! I like dealing with these brothers because never once have I ever felt disrespected by them because I'm a woman. What I mean is I've been other places and gotten the pat answers like ''you're husband would know that" or "why are you doing this?" Things like that, the sexist crap that says because I'm a woman I shouldn't be in that store trying to do what ever it was. I don't take kindly to that which just fuels the flame. But not once have I ever been treated like that here, and I'm so happy to support a business like that. I do ask questions and they talk to me about it and help me make purchases and don't try to sell me junk I don't need. Just plain respect! I love it!

I made my purchases and headed home. Ron had beaten us home from work by a few minutes, dang, I'd hoped to have it all repaired by the time he got home! I headed into the kitchen and set the stuff out on the countertop and went to work. I opened the package for the drain snake and stuck it into the pipe, wiggled it around and heard it working but couldn't get it to go any further than the trap... crap! I guess I need to open the trap! In all the pictures online the trap was positioned the other way, so it looked like mine was upside down but I was still able to open it. Once opened I could see part of the problem then promptly started gagging. Oh. my. God! The smell, it was enough to knock a buzzard off a poop wagon! Looking at all that disgustingness I said to Ron,
"I think I've found at least part of the problem! Come check it out!"
He said, " Is it disgusting?"
Me, "Uh, yeah..."
Him, "No thanks, I'm all set."
Then the kids came back upstairs, I'd sent them to the basement to fetch the wrench and they were quite disgusted by the new aroma in the kitchen but not enough to go to another room, oh no they had to get right in there and see it up close too! Sick! Just plain sick! I blame it on their father. ;-) I got a spoon and scooped out what I could then ran the snake through again, then tried it from the top and pushed through another whole huge clog of.....?? Gagging and holding my breath for most of this. This was by far one of the most disgusting things I've had to do for a long time and I realize now why plumbers tend to charge so much money - they're worth it!

So after the clog was cleared I set about the task of cleaning all the threads for the pipes and reconnecting all the pieces, it took me a couple tried to get it so that it doesn't leak, but I got it and couldn't be more pleased. I'd not be telling the entire story if I didn't mention the fact that my kids were right there helping me do this, fetching a wrench, emptying the bucket, handing me a paper towel, or running to the bathroom to wash off something. I'm so thankful for my children and their willingness to always at least try to help me and usually without being asked. I cannot imagine what I'd do without them. Now to tackle some other things around the house and in life that need to be fixed... like the heater in the truck, nah, I know my limits (sometimes) and will call a mechanic!

*Sorry about the dorky picture of me, I was on a high having just conquered the sink, I'll use better judgement next time I think about posting a pic of me...

anxiously awaiting

the arrival of my Michael Grimm cd's! I ordered them last night, think they'll be here today?

Monday, February 7, 2011

running out of space!

I'm really hoping that Spring is on it's way, as I'm very quickly running out of places to put all this snow! I got an email this morning that showed some places in South Dakota that had a lot of snow, and maybe it was real maybe it wasn't I don't know, never been there nor have the desire to go there especially if in fact they did get all that snow! But it got me to thinking about posting these pics...

Most sections of our rock wall have been covered and are no longer visible!

Coreah, (the white dog) is a fairly large dog, like 85 pounds! She's dwarfed by this snowbank!

The actual view from the school room door! I'm not making this up! Yes, part of this snow is what I spent over 5 hours shoveling off the roof the other day and 2 hours I spent shoveling today after Ron came home, just in case.... Who needs a gym membership?! Nearly 8 hours shoveling in three days plus all the time I spent snowblowing yesterday, I'm thankful I have the time and ability to do this and don't have a "job!" We don't use this door in winters like this, for obvious reasons, but just had to take a picture.
So do you think we've got enough snow here? Would you like some? If we do end up getting more snow, like they are predicting, I'll just have to think creatively as to where I'll put it!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

a gentle reminder

So my mother calls me this morning, knowing we don't have cable and it's likely we haven't seen the latest weather forecast to share with me what I consider to be really bad news, yet what she calls 'sharing the wealth' keep reading I think you'll agree with me...

I watched the forecast yesterday online and the weather girl said we were in for a dusting to maybe 2 inches. I said to myself, "good, shoveling the roof can wait until I feel better and can breathe." So I went about my business. This morning started off with a bang and went down hill from there, then mom calls, ugh, picking up steam as we roll downhill! I'll spare you the details. She informs me that the latest weather forecast is for about 1 foot of "roof buckling snow" to arrive in my neighborhood this afternoon. The weather station she watches was urging us to get out and shovel off the snow currently as we were going to get really heavy wet snow, and lots of it! In all fairness to mom she did offer to come down and help me. Read:: have the ambulance on speed dial in case I fell off the roof again:: I declined as it's not mom's job to help me clear the snow off my roof, and I didn't want her to feel trapped here in case the storm magically descended upon us. Mom is claustrophobic... So she went on her merry way and I headed into town to get dog food. I paid through the nose for it as I went to a convenience store instead of where I usually get it but I knew I had a long day ahead of me so I needed to get home and get to work. I ate a bowl of pasta for lunch and headed out.

I grabbed the roof rake and got what I could from the ground, then hoisted a step ladder onto the top of the snowbank and wiggled it around to get it secure. *I'm not a professional, do not try this at home, someone could get hurt!* Away I went. I'd thrown the roof rake up onto the roof as well as the shovel, but couldn't manage to get the snow scoop up there. After I'd climbed up I asked Ron to hand it to me while he was letting the dogs out. The shovel works well for some aspects of it, the scoop works really well for some, if it's a sticky snow, but not in the powder, only because it's slippery when you get close to the edge in the powdery snow. As long as the roof rake stays together it works great! I bought it for myself as a present to make my life easier last year, yes, I know it was a selfish thing, and it would have been great if it had had the replacement nuts and bolts come with it. I cannot tell you how many nuts and bolts I've replaced on that thing! (the price for my selfishness I guess.) So I've gotten to the point now when I replace a nut/bolt combo I duct tape the damn thing in place, because this was to make life easier and if I'm constantly running up and down the basement stairs, how does that make it easier?! Anyway, you should see it, all duct taped up, it's real purty!

Well I spent over 5 hours clearing the roof today! As I was coming down off the ladder Ron came out with a mug of hot chocolate, and I mean HOT, I took a sip burned my tongue and he says "It was just boiling, so it's hot!" It was hot, but oh so chocolaty, YUM! After I was done pulling the snow off the roof I needed to fire up the snow blower and remove it from in front of the garage door. Thankfully this time I had the snow blower to use. So I hear that Maine is 'Vacationland' Lord only knows why, it certainly didn't feel that way to me today, which makes me ask the question, who came up with that and vacationland? seriously? for who?! I'm in a bad mood in case you cannot tell. I think I'll make a new slogan for this state, 'Taxed to death and still has to deal with winter!" I will say though, in my bad attitude afternoon I was gently reminded of why I was up on the roof working my butt off. My children came back out after having gone inside to warm up a bit, looked up at me and said, "Keep up the good work Mommy!" "You're doing a great job!" And that my dear readers is why I do what I do.

Ok, so obviously this is the before picture, and the snow is thigh high, granted I'm not super tall, but still, thigh high is thigh high and hard to walk through...on a rooftop!
And here we have the after shot, this is just one of the 7 sections of rooftop I did.
I'm pretty sure between the aching body, the day outside in the cold and fighting a head cold that I'll sleep pretty well tonight and if you hear a rumbling off in the distance, no worries, it's just me, snoring! Night all! Sleep well!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

one thing I do well

is make fried chicken! I'm too tired to blog about it tonight, but will tomorrow. For now, just enjoy the picture and just wish you had smell-a-puter!
*2-1-2011 headed to bed. head cold. kicking. my. butt

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

couldn't stand it a minute longer!

I HAD to get some seeds planted! So the other day I popped some lettuce seeds in this beautiful little pot and look what popped up today! The peas I planted have still not sprouted but I have faith they will soon. Looking forward to a salad made with lettuce I grew in Maine in February!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

when we call in and he asks

We're well on our way to becoming debt free and unbelievably motivated now even more than before! So much so that as of today we've given up our land line and cable! We're keeping the internet so no worries you'll still get updates from the farm and you'll still be able to order soap. :-) I think that the internet is almost a staple in most homes now kind of like bread, milk and eggs. I'm not all that jacked up about giving up cable, I don't watch much t.v. but what I do allow myself to watch I really enjoy. I say allow myself to watch and I mean that, I was watching a program on some channel a long time ago and at the end of the show/documentary/what have you my immediate thought was "well, there's an hour of my life I'll never get back!" I was so disgusted at the show and mad at myself for watching it and the fact I'd essentially wasted an hour of my life and had nothing to show for it nor did I gain anything from it, and I didn't want that to ever happen again. I thought about it and came to the realization that before watching t.v. I'd decide if it would really matter if in a year watching or not watching this program would effect my life to be worth investing my time in it. My time is far too valuable to waste, so is yours.

When we are able to call into the Dave Ramsey show and scream "I'M DEBT FREEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!" (Yes, people actually do this every Friday on the debt free Friday show and soon we'll be some of those people.) and he asks me what the hardest part was I'll say, " Different things at different times." At first it was getting me to say no to me. I'm not a shopper, I'm fairly thrifty, but there are things that I like to have and do, places I'd like to visit, etc. Then it was the guilt of having Garlic, a "toy" I am thankful for every day and get such pleasure from and the fulfilment of a life long dream. But Ron didn't have his "toy" and has been waiting patiently. I see a 4-wheeler in our future and when he takes it out for a ride I'll be happy as will he. Then there is the guilt of having to tell the kids no when they ask if we can go to funtown splashtown, (a local water park type place) it's quite costly (for all of us to go) and just not in the budget right now. However, after Ron gets the 4-wheeler, next on the agenda is one heck of a trip to funtown! The kids know this and understand what and why we're doing this and are satisfied with knowing we're headed there, soon. We're all living like no one else so that later we get to LIVE like no one else! (Sorry, Dave Ramsey-ism and right now I'm his biggest fan!) Then oddly enough it was giving up the cable and phone for a period of time, which I'm sure will be a blessing in many ways, but right this minute really kinda sucks. Then I'll tell him that all of it, all the beans and rice, rice and beans, sacrifice, and teasing were worth it.

because of the bulkiness

One of the reasons winter is not my favorite season is because of the bulkiness of it. It takes up too much space in the yard with all the snowbanks, shoveled paths and several feet of snow piled up on the lawn, ugh! The animals have less room to run and one of my greatest fears in the winter is that Garlic will slip on the ice and... I don't even want to go there! But all that aside it not only takes up all that room outside, but it takes up far too much room inside as well. I've got to soak beet pulp and alfalfa for Garlic and that takes several hours so I prepare it in the morning for the evening feeding. Those are 50lb bags that are used twice a day and have to be stored somewhere, and since the water is inside, it kinda makes sense to keep it in the house, as much a pain in the butt that might be.* Then there are the frozen water buckets. The waterline in the barn is not one of those frost free ones - yet, and because it freezes when it gets cold outside and this year it was early December, I'm lugging water at least twice a day, 4 5 gallon water water buckets. The good news is my arms are getting really strong! Then there is the clothing, the hats, gloves, jackets, carharts, scarves and boots. It's just a big bulky mess and really makes me appreciate the beauty and simplicity of spring especially when the pipes thaw.
*It also helps to have a kind and patient husband who despite the bulkiness of that stuff knows how incredibly gloriously happy the barn makes me and has learned how to deal with it and for that it makes me appreciate him even more.