Monday, January 31, 2011

warm and toasty!

These boots are AWESOME!!!!!!!!! As you may have read before that I had a bit of a hard time finding a pair of winter boots that were not only warm but that work for my life, and just when I thought I'd figured out what pair I was going to buy I received a comment on here about a boot I'd never heard of before. Naturally I had to check it out because I'm a discriminating buyer. I poked around on a few sites that mentioned them and read reviews, I do that. I read a couple of each, the good, the bad, and the ugly just so I know. So when the weather was good and I had a day where I could take a road trip I headed out. I went to a place where I believed they had both of what I narrowed my choices to. Suffice it to say that because the sales clerk was rude and annoyed that I was not interested in camo boots and made a snide remark to my son about 'girls being different' I didn't buy the boots from him. Not the mention I was not able to compare the two pairs of boots as this particular store didn't have the tall boots I was looking for and the shorter style was not my size. To them women's feet only come in two sizes, 6 or 8 and the eights were gone. Bummed I walked out of the store and took my son out to lunch. I just happened to glance out the window while we were eating and saw another store that carried one of the two boots so after lunch we popped over to that store and went directly to the shoe department, found the boots and within .07 seconds of trying them on I decided they were coming home with me. The sales lady was super sweet and helpful and didn't make snide remarks to me or my son. The fact that they were on clearance (only like the best word ever! I was tempted to name one of my children that at one point!) was just icing on the cake!
I decided on these because they are so comfortable that I've actually worn them all day inside the house! They are tall enough to walk through the deep snow in and snug enough fitting at the calf to not allow the snow to enter the boot. The fact they mold to my feet and are so lightweight is heavenly! I love the fact they can be hosed off when needed and there is no ridiculous fuzz anywhere in sight! I've been wearing them a while and in a variety of temps and my feet have been over the top warm and toasty! I love my Bogs!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

good quote

" It doesn't matter where you are you know, just hold on, just keep going, 'cause something huge could happen."

Aarti Sequeira

More good news!!

Following the Dave Ramsey plan we paid off a credit card last night! We're really rolling the debt snowball now!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Our Nubian Herd - for now

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this picture! Was out enjoying the sunshine, my kids and my barnyard this afternoon, camera in hand, and just happened to get this shot and I'm so pleased!! This is our Nubian dairy herd, until the spring when we should have at least one doe kid! Have I mentioned I'm excited about that?! Or that I'm really looking forward to Spring?!

and the winners are......

Thank you to all my followers! Welcome to all the new followers! I made it! I've got the minimum requirement met now to polish my writing! Yeah right, I am who I am take it or leave it! And now for the best part! The winners, in case you were wondering, I took all the commenters names and placed them in a bowl and had my son draw them out. Real technical huh? Now on to the winners! Duh da da da daaaaaa.......

Congratulations to: doglady, Sandy and thatlittlehouse!! Please email me at fromthecountryfarm@gmail.com with you address and it'll be sent out shortly.

Who'da thunk?

That this beautiful, tasty oil with MANY health benefits would come from...

...these beautiful flowers!

One of the farmers here in town grow acres and acres of sunflowers and when the time is just right and they are all in full bloom I'd say it's probably as beautiful as the tulips in the Netherlands! It's magnificent! Anyway, one of the reasons these farmers grow this quantity of sunflowers is to use in their tractors and another is to make that beautiful sunflower oil. While at one of those farmers home this weekend I inquired about it and he sent me home with a sample, he's a wise business man, he knew once I tried it I'd be back for more, this stuff is awesome and I'm thinking about trying to incorporate it into my soap as it's great for skin!

just a few more hours to enter!!

It's been a week since I asked for your help (and hello where did the time go?!) and for you to enter the contest. I've gotten a few more "official (trackable) followers" but I still need 25!! I'm counting on you guys! And don't forget to leave a comment on the other post to enter the contest, just a few more hours and I'll be announcing the winners!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

oven roasted bbq pork ribs

Last night I made ribs for Ron, I'll admit, I was nervous about it as I'm not all that great a cook, I've only ever made pork ribs one other time and Ron grilled them and I really didn't want to screw this up. This recipe was an oven baked recipe with a homemade BBQ sauce. I think I'm going to tweak the recipe for BBQ sauce, more like the one my mom used to make when I was a kid, I could have eaten that with a spoon! I did in fact if I recall correctly. But anyway, this particular recipe was rubbed down with a mixture of spices and love, set on a rack on pan and placed in the oven to cook, I think next time I'll just place them on the pan because the pork is really lean and what little fat there was dripped out and may have caused them to be dryer than they could have been. They didn't appear to be shoe leather tough, and Ron enjoyed them. Now it's hard for me to say, as I don't eat it and I'm no Ree Drummond, so maybe I should stick to the recipe and leave the tweaking to the pros.

Soap of the Month Club - reviews are in

Soap of the Month Club members are pleased with the soap! Dark Amethyst seems to be a hit! For those of you who are members would you care to leave a comment? For those of you who are not yet members, not to worry, there's still a few spaces left for you!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

test pictures from the new camera


Alright, I admit, I like to take pictures! The poor little camera was just about worn out from all the pictures I've taken in the nearly 6 years I've used it, having used it nearly every day. This I blame on Ron, as he said to me in conversation a long time ago that "you can never have too many pictures of your kids." I think I took it to an extreme. Oh well, when I am old I can look back and see what a wonderful life we had and I'll get to see my children grow up all over again and it will be wonderful! All that being said it was time for a new camera, this new one has a longer life battery (I assume they mean under normal conditions) and nearly 4 times the mega pixels and a heck of a zoom! It arrived this afternoon and I promptly got the battery charged so tonight I could just goof off with it and took like 79 pictures checking out the different settings, options and lighting, and only slightly blinded the family. Here are just a few I popped off... It's AWESOME!!! And we paid cash for it which makes it even better!




Monday, January 24, 2011

redneck s'mores

The only thing that make this recent cold snap tolerable is the fact that because our woodstove is roaring we get to make redneck s'mores!


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Family Fun Day!

Once again this year the land stewards of a land trust hosted a family fun day, an afternoon of skiing, snowshoeing, friends, neighbors, hot chocolate and good times. The kids and I had been looking forward to this since last year and were excited to see it posted in our local town newspaper. Once we saw it in there we marked it on the calendar and were thankful for the sunny day. It was not warm by any stretch of the imagination be we bundled up and headed out. In fact I'd raced into town to get a pair of snowshoes that I could comfortable walk in in order to go. This is such a nice parcel of land and lots of different trails to poke around with lots of history too. We spent a few hours outside in the fresh (and freezing cold) air and sunshine. Upon returning to the trail head we were offered hot chocolate and warmed ourselves by the bonfire, I chatted with some friends and our children played together. We were invited to their home after the family fun day was over and Andrew pleaded for me to go as he could help them with the evening barn chores and the milking. I obliged and made him very happy. It's a nice thing when helping a friend do the barn chores makes my son happy.



That is some might delicious hot chocolate!

question - followers

A few of you have said that you're followers but are not showing up in the followers section of the blog. I'm wondering; since I'm not all that technosaavy is there another way to follow? I ask only because I'm really close to the required number of trackable followers (to apply for the reviewer position) but not quite there yet. Thanks for your help.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sam I am!

How cool is this? I'm a Dr. Seuss character! Green eggs and ham produced here on the farm! This is actually a smoked and nitrate free ham steak, but it is ham just the same. When cooking meat that I've raised I feel like I need to be more careful with is and make sure it all gets used/eaten, especially the pork. I know that sounds crazy, but I don't like to think that these girls died only to be overcooked, cooked badly, or tossed out with the garbage because the meat wasn't all consumed. Raising my own meat has certainly made me think differently about cooking it for sure!

I CANNOT wait!

video

I simply cannot wait for the little pitter patter of hoofbeats around the farm again, it's been nearly two years and I am ready! I was playing with the kids in the yard yesterday and brought Katie and Buckley out to play with us too, Katie decided while I was sitting on the ground to walk by me and stuck her butt in my face. Ordinarily I would not have been impressed, however in this case I was able to see her teats. She would not stand for the buck when I took her to be bred, but in all fairness Katie never stands still, she's always acted like a hyperactive kid on Redbull, but he did mount her. I've not been watching her for signs of pregnancy since I didn't think 'it' happened but after seeing a change in her teats I've got my doubts that 'it' didn't happen. This might explain when she never seemed to come back into heat! I may have met my breeding goal this year after all! I'm hopeful that 'it' happened, but not sure one way or the other, so I'll be watching her more closely now and will keep you posted! This is exciting! We may just have two momma goats kidding here this spring after all! I know Strawberry is due either the 4th or 5 of April, I cannot remember right this minute, but I'm really hoping she goes early, like on the first so I can call one Foolish!




I love love love this video, it was taken early in the morning the day after the kids were born and Andrew had just woken and wanted to help feed the goats. I love his sleepy eyed, scratchy voiced, bed headed, toothless delight! And Buckley is pretty cute too.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Help needed please and a giveaway!

I wondered if I could ask for some help from those of you who a followers and those who don't officially follow, but follow and/or comment regularly. I'm thinking about trying out to be a reviewer for homeschooling curriculum (not that I really have a chance to make the cut, but it forces me to put myself out there and try it.)one requirement is I need a minimum of 25 "followers." The fact that I have any 'followers' at all astounds me, complete strangers care about me crazy life! Really?! When I started this blog I had no idea where it would take me and honestly never though people would read it or comment and I'm flattered. But here's where the help needed part comes in. I need a few more followers in order to be able to try out, so if you enjoy this blog or you think a friend might enjoy it enough to become a follower would you please be so kind as to forward it to them and ask them to check it out?

To thank you for your help I'm going to have a giveaway to three lucky winners. What will you win? How about a bar of our wonderful goat's milk soap?! Sound good?

All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me how you found my blog, what you like about it or don't like, and if you're a new follower or have been one for a while now. Anything else you might want to say is up to you. The three lucky winners will be chosen at random and will be drawn here in one week. Thank you all for your support and love and kind words through the years, I really appreciate it!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How did it happen?

How did it happen to be that I was blessed with wonderful amazing children? I don't what I did or if it even had anything to do with me, but I'm pretty damn proud of my children tonight and wanted to share that with y'all.

It's been snowing here all day and Ron's car is what I call an itty bitty matchbox car, but he says it's "midsized sedan!!!!" He doesn't like it when I pick on his car apparently... but I digress. Either way, it doesn't have much snow bank clearance, especially Maine winter snowbanks, yes, this is one of those things we learned the hard way. In an attempt to avoid the car being stuck in the snow at the end of the driveway he called on the way home from work and asked if the snowplow had been on our road yet if we could clear the end of the driveway. No problem! The kids and I bundled up and I donned on my fancy new WARM boots and headed out. I started the snow blower and headed to the end of the driveway. This storm produced lots of light fluffy powder so it was taken care of quickly. While the kids were helping me clear our driveway I glanced over at the neighbors driveway and saw that it had the same huge pile of snow at the end of it also, this is unusual for them as they are usually out there early and often. I figured since it was going so quickly with ours that I'd send the kids over to the neighbors and asked them to just clear their end too and then to come right back.

It's not fun having to shovel your way into the driveway immediately after getting home from work, trust me, I've done it. One time while we were moving in the winter I had to walk through snow over my knees to get to the house, unlock the door grab a shovel and start digging so I could park in the driveway, then I had to do some packing load the truck and drive home. I was not a happy woman that night.

Since it was light and fluffy and they used a snow scoop and shovel and they worked together they got it done quickly and were back in a flash. Andrew came up to me and asked if he could go back and shovel the entire thing for them, "just to be a nice Christian boy." At that moment I was certain my heart would pop right through my chest I was so proud of him. I smiled at his eager willingness and said "yes, go grab your head lamp and zip up your jacket." So he and Faith walked back over and quietly went about the task of shoveling the driveway. Come to find out their snow blower wouldn't start, according to Andrew. It's not as long as our driveway, but it's lengthy. Our neighbor was appreciative of the effort and gave them a bag of homemade cookies to take with them when they left. My kids came home tired and hungry and felt good that they had done something to love their neighbor.

think it'll drive differently?

I just paid off my truck 4 months early! Thank you Dave Ramsey!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A happy and spoiled woman!

I've been bitching about the desktop computer and the fact that it's dying and it was stroke inducing to use for a while now. My only solice was that it was paid for and that made it tolerable, but just barely. Ron is a computer geek and has been advocating a new for sometime, but we're trying (and succeeding) to do the Dave Ramsey plan and didn't just having the extra cash laying around with no job to do. I don't know about you but I use the computer almost daily so when Ron is at work I would use his laptop for what I could and avoid what had to be done on the other because it was torture to use. Well last week he got a nice bonus and tonight on the way home from work, he picked one up! That's right baby, I'm typing this post from a brand spankin' new laptop!! I'm so excited, my biggest fear about the other one was that it would just up and die and all the pictures I have on it would be lost forever. I would be devastated, just devastated! Once he transfers all my files over to this computer I'll be in business. It's good to be married to a computer geek, especially since I'm only slightly techno savvy, though I'm more savvy than my techno Amish mother. Thank you Ron, you're a good man!

have a good laugh

Friday, January 14, 2011

GREAT News!!!

I took the cat to the vet for the dreaded task and steeled myself for it but it turns out that what happened to her might be just a one time freak accident and should make a full recovery without much fuss! So I'm happy to report that she's home with us and hopefully on the mend!

It's time to put on the big girl panties

Call it what you will; a test, a lesson, a trial or what have you but sometimes the things that need doing still suck! Sometimes they still hurt! Sometimes you want to avoid the whole situation because it's not going to be pleasant and occasionally it turns out that the experience wasn't at all as bad as you thought it would be. That will not be the case today. We have to have a cat put down today. It's not what I planned to do today, but that's how life goes sometimes. I'm not going to go into the unpleasant details, but suffice it to say, there is nothing that can be done. In a while I'll take her in, just mentally preparing right now.

This is just another layer of the story, another reason to prepare. A couple weeks ago I lost my uncle unexpectedly. He left behind a wonderful legacy and it was a true testament to the man he was, but the real shock of it was that nobody saw it coming. But then the reality is that nobody knows when their ticket expires. My aunt and the family they created were stunned but able to pull it together and do what needed to be done, obviously, but the journey I'm on today, the suddenness of my uncle's passing and with the words of a dear friend and Dave Ramsey, "You're going to die, get a will!" I think it's time to put the big girl panties on and do it. I'd like to have a plan or maybe a general direction to take in the event my life changed in an instant, I'd like to have the peace that they say comes after making tough decisions. But then where do you start? Who gets what? Where do you want your final resting place to be? Will your laundry be done? Dishes in the sink? Will the project you're working on be finished? What happens to the stuff you leave behind? But most importantly the kids, oh. my. God. my. children! Where do I find a suitable replacement for me? For Ron? Who knows my children like I do and who will raise them the way I want them to be raised and will it happen after I'm gone? Will they do it for a week? A month, a year or two? At all? Will I ever actually need this? I hope not, but as Hallmark-y as my life seems to some, myself included occasionally, this would not make a Hallmark moment. What do you do? When someone I know is having a hard time and the odds are seemingly stacked against them my advice is often, "Just breathe." Advice I sometimes give myself. Would I be able to remember that?

I've been really looking forward to 2011 and I'm enjoying it thus far, I know lots of people who are hurting and I feel so blessed. I know some very big things are coming this year for my family and I look forward to that, but I think that 2011 will also be a year of tough decisions and growth as I've never made a tough decision yet where I didn't grow in some way. That said, it's time to put the big girl panties on and deal with it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

they're not made with women in mind

We've lived at this address for just a hair over 4 years, it does not in any way seem possible! Garlic has been here almost as long and every winter I trudge to the barn to do chores and nearly freeze to death, so when it's really cold I work really fast! Now mind you this is all my doing, I'm the one who wants animals in the barn to have to go out to take care of, I'm the one who is super picky about clothes or rather outer gear but for valid (at least in my mind) reason. You see, outer gear; coats, boots, hats etc. tend to be expensive and I'm really a more frugal person, I don't want to spend gobs of money on something if it doesn't work for me. Makes sense, right? Well take for example boots, I had winter boots when we moved here, well I should say that I had the same pair of winter boots that I'd begged my parents for back in high school. They worked for a bit, but were not barn boots, not for a Maine winter on a farm, so I got rid of them. Then I wore hiking shoes for a while and believe it or not they were warmer than the boots! However, when I had to climb up onto the roof to shovel several feet of snow off I figured I'd better have something that would work better... Oh crap! I don't have anything! I knew what type of boot I wanted and they just don't make them for women! I'm not sure why, but I've just never been able to find them and I've looked EVERYWHERE!! I even tried boots that would have worked, despite the fact that they had that girly fuzz around the top. Ugh! Who wears that anyway? Fuzzy topped boots for shoveling manure??!! really!?! So after one trip to a 4-H meeting in them I took them back because I couldn't feel my feet in them after the meeting was done, and they were 'winter' boots. But the roof was not shoveling itself and I was out of options. I grabbed a pair of thick wool socks and put Ron's boots on and went to work. They worked despite the fact that they were huge!



Now I had another problem, no snow pants and the wind just whips right through jeans and wind through wet jeans pierces the skin and bites to the bone! Since the snow on the roof was thigh high it made for some very cold legs! Thermals will work in a pinch, but every time I bent over to shovel or what have you my underwear kept falling down and we all know how pleasant underwear (or "skibbies" as they're called here) issues are... and going commando while out shoveling snow is just not an option! I need all the layers I can get!



This year all that has changed! Yea! I got a couple gift certificates to a favorite place of mine to shop, Tractor Supply!!!! Yea! :: insert angelic aaaaaaaa here:: I was SO happy about that I mean c'mon really I can shop there without guilt! :: more angelic noise here:: A few days after Christmas I headed into town on a mission with gift cards in hand! I walked in and headed straight for the winter coverall section. I looked around thinking I'd get a one piece snowsuit thingy, hearing they are really warm and long lasting. See a pattern here, I'll spend money on something that works for me and bonus if it wears well. Not seeing anything like that in the women's section I ventured to the men's rack. I grabbed a couple off the rack and headed to the fitting room. I tried the smaller of the two on and went to zip it up, got about chest high and the zipper stopped, damn! Clearly men's clothing was not made with women in mind, especially not a large chested woman. I adjusted the girls and tried again, I managed to get it zipped up but could not breath never mind bend over, damn! So I took it off and tried the other one, I cinched in the waist and rolled the legs and arms up and was able to zip it, but the crotch hung down almost to my knees and I pondered this for a minute and thought can I live with this? I walked around in the fitting room, (finally a place to try on clothes that's bigger than a coffin!) and the whole combo of rolled sleeves and legs and low crotch which incidentally was starting to chafe my thighs was more than I could deal with so in frustration I took it off.

I walked back over to the rack and hung them up feeling a bit defeated. Just for sheer curiosity I looked again through the women's section. One thing I knew for sure is that I was not about to buy pink coveralls to wear in the barn. My option was a bib type pant in a plum color or brown. So I tried those on and to my surprise everything was where it was supposed to be and I had room in places I need room, no chafing, and there were lots of pockets for treats, and if (ha ha ha yeah right!) when I get them covered from the barn it won't show as much, bonus! At first I didn't think this would work, as I'd really had my heart set on a one piece, but the more I thought about it the more that this seemed like a better idea after all, I mean when I'm up on the roof shoveling or snow blowing I tend to get hot and this way I could take the jacket off and just wear the coveralls, and not have frozen legs! Hey this might actually work! So I decided on the brown pair and walked out the store a very happy woman!

**I really look like a dork, but I'm warm and will stay that way, and besides now I have snow pants to play in the snow with my kids so I'm a happy dork with happy kids!

I got home, put on my new winter gear; including the hand knit socks that my sister gave me for Christmas that actually come up to my knees, but so warm and kept my toes so toasty, Ron's boots, my barn jacket and gloves. Then in the midst of this Andrew says to me Mommy, you need to put this hat on too! So to humor him I did, I think these are the ugliest hats and have no intention of getting one, but he thought I looked "cute." That said one night last February I'd have given just about anything for one while I was out in the barn milking in below zero weather.

I went to the barn and did what needed to be done and all this outer wear worked great, it was bulky and took a bit of getting used to but I was warm so I got used to it really quickly! When I returned to the house and shed all my layers I felt like I was floating, all that winter gear is heavy! Now for the boots, yup! I've figured out what I want, I think, and three other hardworking farming women I know and trust wear this type of boot, my only hang up is that they're about $80.00! Yikes! All three women when I asked about this particular boot sang it's praises, and no fuzzy tops, so I'm headed in the right direction I think, now if I can just find my size...

question

What is it about the descriptions in a seed catalog that makes us feel like we can grow anything?

I'm ready for Spring how about you?



**I say this but I'm really enjoying the snowstorm we're getting right now, (and the restful, quiet, downtime that winter provides) as it's the first real snow we've had this winter. Tomorrow however I'll not be so happy about it as that's when the real cleanup happens, and it requires more than a pig trail to the barn! All this being said if Spring were to arrive tomorrow I'd be a happy woman!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

you know you want some


Ahhhh there, that's better. I've been without a camera, mouse and computer for far too long! To make a long story short, problem fixed, thanks to a computer savvy husband and a new mouse, er well two new mice(?) but anyway, I'm back!
So, back to this post, well as you can see we've got alpacas and that means fiber, loads of it! (Not til spring obviously, as it's still on the hoof!) In addition to the alpacas, the llama, the two fiber goats (and the angora bunny I've been asked to take in...) I'd say we'll likely have enough to share. Ya interested? Details on the way.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Soap of the Month Club - enrollment now open!

I've finally got the details worked out for the soap of the month club, so if you're interested please email me at:

fromthecountryfarm@gmail.com

Space is limited!

Monday, January 3, 2011

good quote

"It isn't sufficient just to want - you've got to ask yourself what you are going to do to get the things you want."

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Seemed fitting to post this for the new year. Love love love this quote!