Thursday, July 31, 2008

Stocking up




I made some zucchini relish. I had a great recipe for some last year and I misplaced. I found the recipe for this batch on -line, I hope it comes out as well. It seemed like it called for a lot of sugar. Anyone have any good zucchini relish recipes to share?

John brought the remaining meat birds to the butcher, he did the first batch himself. He said our birds were the nicest cared for there and even the butcher made a comment .
These birds weighed in at 7-9 lbs.
Our first beans of the season. I am looking to borrow a pressure canner to do some up. If not I will freeze and sell all we harvest.
First buttercup squash of the season, one of my favorite vegetables.
Pickled eggs, John loved them! We are up to approximately 18 eggs/day

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Missing Maggie

video
The other night we went up the road to our friends that have a nice little gathering place on the river. There we met a dog named Maisey. She reminded us so much of Maggie. Check the video, it's a hoot!
After that night I have no doubt that we will some day be owners of a sweet little lab again. I wipe tears away as I write this. If you are a new reader click here to read about our beloved dog Mag of 15 years.

Conversation overheard a couple days after our trip to the river.

Leah: Let's do the wish bone
crack
Leah: What did you wish for Luke
Luke: To get another dog like Mag again

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We are open for business



We finally have enough produce to get the stand up and running

It took me all day painting signs but by 5 pm we were ready to go


We are doing the honor system method for now. The kids have had good luck selling crawlers and cornstalks last year doing this.

I have yet to see anyone around with fresh corn so I bet we sell out. Last night was our first meal with it and I must say it was Delicious!
Garlic, mint, cabbage, and I only have a few red tomatoes but we will have many more to follow!
All you locals come on over for some farm eggs & veggies!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I've been tagged

I have been tagged for a first by YD @ YD's A Little Bit of Everything Place to share six random things about myself and then tag six people.

In order to do this, I will have to follow some Tag Rules:
1) Link to the person who tagged you.
2) Post the rules on the blog.
3) Write six random things about yourself.
4) Tag six people at the end of your post.
5) Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6) Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Here goes:

1. I went to a catholic school from K - 7, I took French classes 6 of the 7 years. I barely can speak or understand French and I do not practice religion all though I do believe there is a God.
I could go on and on about this topic but I will spare you.

2. I only have one sibling, a brother who is 5 years older. We lived together until I was 6 and then we grew up in separate households he lived with my dad and I lived with my mother. My brother holds a special place in my heart and has always been by my side in good and bad times. I love ya Steve!

3. I was a WILD child from age 13 until about 23. I started slowing down when I was in nursing school and the kids surely put a halt on my wild side. I had lots of fun but I do not miss that lifestyle. Now I' m a party pooper and I get a headache after 2 drinks.

4. My home is rather simple. I do not spend much on home decor, kitchen goods, bedding etc. It does not take much to make me happy. I rather have hand picked wildflowers than a bouquet of flowers from the florist.

6. John and I are high school sweethearts.

Ok, so here goes tag you it:

Angie at Children In The Corn

Pie at Wicked Awesome Parenting

Farm Chick Paula at Fraker Farm

Nita at Throwback from Trapper Creek

Don at A View from the Green Barn

Amy at Twelve Acres





Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Changing Times


The time has come where we all must start thinking about changing our ways. With the talk of gas being $10/ gallon in a few years and the electric companies warning of blackouts lasting several days John and I are seriously considering alternate ways. Above is a picture of a wood cook stove I would love to own. Something that is definitely on my "I want" list. I would be happy to get one from a camp or maybe I can get one at an antique shop. I'm in no hurry on this one but eventually I'd like one. So any of you Mainers reading this, if you see a good deal somewheres let me know. With the weather in Maine a wood cook stove could be run 9 months out of the year.

The two big investments that John and I are considering and researching are a wind mill and an outdoor wood furnace. I work with a man that has a windmill that makes 900kw/month. On average that is about what we'd use. Depending on the time of year we consume 550-1200.
He said installed his cost $15k but the actually windmill was about $5-7K, it was the installation that costs so much. Well you all know how handy dandy John is so we could do at a reasonable price I think if he did the installation.

Some may object to the thought of an outdoor wood furnace because they are known to be pollutants but I think what contributes to that is what some people burn in them. We have plenty of wood to burn so that would be what we are burning, not trash. And I cannot see that it is any worse than a wood stove. Regardless, I do have more research to do on this matter and maybe I can find an eco-friendly version. If we had a outdoor wood burner I could heat my house, my shed or a portion of the barn keeping my critters warmer, a greenhouse, and my hot water. I figure between gas for hot water and electricity with those two items alone we'd be saving about $300/ month and we would be less dependent on others to provide for us.
What do you think?

Amy at Twelve Acres and Don at A View From The Green Barn had some posts regarding what people are doing in these changing times. I did not respond on their posts because I knew that I planned to make a post about what we are doing so here goes? What are you doing?
I must say I do regret that I was not more mindful about the environment, reducing wastes, conservation, and self sufficiency in my twenties. I can say that buying this farm has been life changing for me and the rising prices of everything and maturing as I age has certainly contributed to me finally seeing the light.

*We recycle cans and glass bottles by reusing here on the farm, there are a million uses for them. I seem to never have enough now.

*Egg cartons we save and reuse.

* Scrap paper/newspaper when I buy it is reused for starting fires outdoors or in or is cut up as note paper.

* When I cook a meat (chicken/beef...whatever) I reuse the broth into soups.

* Save plastic bags and reuse as trash bags for bathroom trash can and for our compost bucket. John also is making a bow target out of the rest of the excess bags.

* We compost all vegetable/fruit scraps, coffegrinds, and egg shells

* After John bush hogs we rake up and pitch fork the downed hay for bedding/composting/mulch

* Give all the kids clothes/shoes that out grown to friends for their kids.

* Reduce electricity consumption by turning the lights off as much as possible and unplugging unused items. Also I've been hanging towels and blankets to dry i/o using the dryer. We use the A/C as little as possible and run only the one in the bedroom when someone is working nights and needs to get some daytime zzz's.

* I no longer grocery shop all in one store. I am more aware of the prices of items and buy more when things are on sale.

* We are raising some of our own meats, hope to get pigs next and we grow lots of vegetables and I am learning to do more food preservation. Next summer w will be getting milk from our goat Annabelle.

* John usually shots 2 deer/year. One with a bow and one with a rifle. That saves us a ton of money in beef. I am going to try harder this year to get one because we really do utilize the meat. We just ran out of hamburg from last fall.

* We are buying more products locally then from the big box stores.

* John saves us a TON of cash because he is such a handy man.

* We rarely eat out and I am making a lot more homemade goodies.

* We stay home often, there is plenty of fun and entertainment right here.

* I am sure there is more but I need to get a move on around the house this morning. The last thing I will mention is the gas preservation piece. We have 3 vehicles, all older and paid off thankfully. We rarely use our suburban, only if we have to haul something like the boat/shaving/farm supplies. We do not just run to town to pick one thing up, we make our trips worthwhile even though we are not far out. I work more locally now and if the kids are not with us with travel with our smallest vehicle that gets near 30mp gal.

To end with a big thanks to Farm Mom at Children in the Corn for the Awesome Blog award.
It means a lot especially for the Newbie to both the blogging and farming world. She too has an awesome blog that I learn so much from, thanks again!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Harvest Time


The gardens have really taken off, if you click here you can see how much they have progressed over the last month. It has been a great growing season in Maine, lots of sunny days followed by rainy nights. Too bad the season is so short. I have been doing some research on 4 season gardening and I am trying to talk John into building me a cold frame.

Interestingly, if you didn't know the difference between the tomato plants we started in January compared to the ones started in March you could never pick them out. Although there was about a 2-3 ft difference when we transplanted the late starters caught right up in size. However, January's tomato plants are the only ones that have produced ripe tomatoes, about 10 so far to date.


Ok, here are some aerial photos taken from the hay loft. No sure why but our corn is really short this year. John just planted spinach and more onion in that row that looks empty.
I have yet to open up my garden stand that I have previously talked about because I do not have enough produce or eggs yet. We have been averaging a dozen eggs/day and believe it or not I still had to buy a dozen the other day. Between Leah's omelets, John's infamous egg salad and my baking we use them right up. The garden vegetables I have been able to utilize and have had enough to share with my friends and neighbors. John assures me that we will soon be overwhelmed with garden veggies within a couple weeks so next time I go to town I will buy the canopy I plan to use for my stand and sell whatever extra I may have.




Aerial photo of the pool..it's a bit cloudy, were working on it!


Photo by Leah


Last year I made zucchini pickles and zucchini relish and it was a real hit so I decided to do the pickles today.


I had 3 lbs and this is what it made.

Here is the recipe in case anyone wants. I had posted it previously but now that it is that time of year I thought I'd put it out there again.

Zucchini Pickles

  • 2 lbs. sliced zucchini
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1-2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seed
Place zucchini in a large pot. Add salt and enough water, cover and let stand for 2 hours then drain well. Combine remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Have glass jars prepared filled with the zucchini and onion then fill jars with boiled liquid, seal jars and boil jars for 10 minutes.
I hung some mint to dry. Not sure yet what I'll do with it. I have used it in lemonade this summer and that's about it. Do any of you grow mint, if so what are some of the things you do with it?



The rest of our meat birds are going to the butcher on Tuesday. John decided to leave the dirty work to someone else this time.




These Dalia bulbs came from my grandmother who passed away a few years ago, we dig them up in the fall and plant them every spring. They are very special to me!



John has been busy in the woods cutting for a while now but today he brought the first load into the barn. That will keep us warm for a few weeks. We are very thankful to have a wood lot on our land!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

He Thinks His Tractor's Sexy


I do too! We are very excited to have this. It is not your traditional "John Deere", it is called a Nortrac. Something we could afford, it came at a fraction of the cost of the big name tractors that we would have loved to purchase. For attachments we have a rototiller, a bush hog, and a box blade and it came with a bucket. We really found that it was impossible to maintain this land without it and we needed equipment a little hardier than the 4 wheelers to haul wood with since it is mostly all on the back forty.

Gardens are coming along as you can see on the side bar of my blog. So far I've been able to keep up and I have given some garden goods away. Yesterday I made several jars of refrigerator cukes but with zucchinis since my cukes have yet to sprout. A few jars of dill and a couple sweet and the last jar was my own concoction. The last jar will probably be the best and you know I'll never be able to recreate them. I also made pesto for a first with garlic and basil from the garden. John and I liked it but the kids were not impressed. I've used up all my herbs so last night I planted some more cilantro and dill along with more lettuce and lavender which I've never grown before. I'm hoping to open up my garden stand by the end of July when things are coming faster than I can preserve and the egg production is up. We are up to 10-12 eggs per day.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island

Yes that is my little muffin nearly hugging that bear. All I could think is, what if that glass broke? This bear put on quite a little show for us. John caught a small video I may post in the future.Looks like they were trying to catch the rooster


This past weekend we went to Rhode Island for a wedding and we also went to the zoo and met up with some of our cousins that live down there. The zoo was amazing, more animals than I expected, many which I had never seen in real life. Besides Canada & Quebec Rhode Island is the farthest I've EVER traveled from Maine in my 33 years...sad isn't it. I have never even been on a plane, sheltered life you see.

John took most of these photos. I think I may enlarge this eagle one for the house.








Unpacking from 2 nights in a hotel compared to camping was a piece of cake. 2 loads of laundry compared to 10, few cooler foods to put away and a quick car cleanup (which I've yet to do).
I like camping but I sure do like the conveniences of a hotel. This is our last trip of the season other than day trips. Thanks goes out to Sarah and Chantal who tended the critters, without you we could have never gone away.
Another OMG is that I've only slept in a hotel like 6 times that I can think of.
Cute story- When John and I were in our late teens or early 20's we were up North on a snowmobile trip and the weather was horrible so we packed up and began to head home. After some time on the treacherous roads we decided to stop and get a hotel room even though we barely had enough cash. We gathered up our money and John went in and rented us a room. We parked the vehicle and went up to the room and I had a complete meltdown. I had NEVER stayed in a hotel before in my life and this place was less then I expected. John was like, what do you want me to do? I said go back and get your money! And so he did. He went up and said his wife is pregnant and sick and we needed to continue going home and they gave him his money back. Hours later we made it home safe and sound but to this day we still laugh about his clever story to get a refund.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Can you guess who got skunked?

Yes...Callie the Naughty at 9:30 tonight after I had just walked through the door after a long day of work and errands. First thing I did was call my neighbor even though it was after 9, that is usually my cut off for night time calls. They have a kennel with a self- service pet wash but....after 4 rings I assumed they were in bed. Sorry Dawn I was desperate. Then I googled "skunked dog". Lots of info popped up and they all had a similar recipe as the one below and they unanimously said tomato juice is an old wives tale.

Mix one quart of Hydrogen Peroxide (3% solution) with a ¼ cup of baking soda and a squirt of dish soap.

I thought great, I have all the ingredients then I read this one article that said use only fresh hydrogen peroxide because old stuff turns to water. I pulled out two "old" bottles and sure enough they had turned to water. I never knew that, you learn something new every day.
Note to self, always have fresh hydrogen peroxide in the house!

Regardless, I donned my gloves, pants, and boots, and hose and went at her with some stuff John suggested that he had out in the barn. Then I used a washcloth with baking soda and detergent when I finally let her in. Thankfully the little devil only got her head so it was not too hard of a job.


Ok, next topic. I need some advice on growing herbs, this year is a first. I have cilantro, basil, dill, parsley, and mint. I have used a good share of it cooking but a bunch went to seed before I knew it. What do you do to keep up with it, cut and dry, but will it grow back?...I just have no idea! I know I am going to need LOTS of cilantro when my tomatoes ripen for salsa making so I planned on planting more.....HELP!

Laying chicken are up to 8 - 10 eggs/day. It has been over a week since I bought any. We consume quite a few. Leah makes a 6 egg omelet in the skillet almost every morning.
Even one of the "injured" chickens laid one for a first today.

Lastly, I wanted to mention some sick ER excitement I had today. Electricity....a wonderful thing. Kinda wacko but I love defibrillating people. Well today we had a middle aged gent code not once but four times...we got to juice him 4 times. That is what I like most about the ED....things that get you adrenalin pumping. About 1 hour later I felt suddenly exhausted, my high had worn off.




Sunday, July 6, 2008

Award Time



I've won an award!
Its called the Arte y Pico Award. It was given to me from Tasha @ Comical Coupon Cents.
She said:
"Country Girl at Achorn Farm (I don't know her name). I recently came across her blog and love it! She has a 200 year old farm house and 100 acres of land that they raise all kinds of critters on! She and her husband work so hard and its amazing. Makes me realize if the world goes to pot, I wouldn't know how to clean a chicken or be able to "live off the land". Her blog is inspiring and entertaining."

Thank you Tasha!


These are the rules to accept the award:

1. You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also contribute to the blogging community, no matter what language.

2. Each award has to have the name of the author and a link to his/her blog to be visited by everyone.

3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that presented her/him with the award.

4.The award winner and one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte y Pico" blog so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5. To show these rules


Ok so here goes. I love all the blogs I read but here are the 5 that I will present with this award.

1. Danielle at Touch The Earth Farm
Danielle homeschools, has a small CSA, and produces most of the food her family eats. Her shopping list for the week is so small it just amazes me. I am inspired by all she does!

2. Tammie at The Unusually Unusual Farmchick
Tammie's style is "Unusually Unusual", she is unique, she is crafty as ever and I get some great ideas from the posts she shares.

3. Lacy at Razor Family Farm
Lacy and her husband are a wonderful couple that are in the midst of the adoption process. They live on a farm and are always busy doing projects and caring for their animals. Lacy make lots of food/products from scratch. She writes warm and loving posts about her hubby and about life.

4. Amy at Twelve Acres
Amy writes pleasant posts about nature and her surroundings at Twelve Acres. She plants lots of trees, has a bunch of chickens which are due to start laying soon and she also has a orphaned squirrel, Rocky that they raised and released but so far he comes back to visit on a regular basis. She is really knows her stuff when it comes to flower identification.

5. Nita at Throwback at Trapper Creek
I have just started reading Nita's blog as a result of a comment left on my blog. She writes in detail about many things I am interested in, gardening, raising animals, hay fed cattle. I look forward to learning from her!

Lastly, I just want to say you all deserve lots of awards but the rule was just 5. I will not be offended if any of the above do not want to pass this award along, it is a little time consuming but I thought it would be fun so here it is. Have a good week all! ~Kim



Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy 4th Weekend!


This is what we did on the 4th. We woke a little later than usual. John is usually up at the crack of dawn so we were off to a late start for getting a water delivery at 3pm...yikes will we make it?
The kids wanted to go to the parade, I contemplated but after last years I was not looking forward to it. Then I realized what it was they were really after, CANDY. So we compromised I offered to buy them some candy if we skip and just do the fireworks, they were all over that. Bribery...I mean compromise is a wonderful thing when necessary.
Our friend Shawn called that morning called and offered to help. He came over with his girls and gave us a hand, we were very thankful!


And Gary, our friendly neighbor was also right here for us! Thanks so much Gary, we could not have done it without you.


Anna Belle also joined in on the excitement. She thought that paper was quite tasty!


At 4:30 the water man came, he was a little behind schedule, thankfully because so were we.
We only had one load delivered which filled the pool about 1/2- 3/4. The water guy said his truck gets 3 miles/gallon when filled, I could not believe it.




I will have more pictures to follow, I forgot to take one of it up. John still needs to hook up the pump so we can fill it the rest of the way with out well. The kids did not mind, they were in and out all day today.

At 9pm we all headed to the fireworks!