Saturday, February 28, 2009

Independence Days- week 12

Plant Something: The naughty kittens destroyed the lettuce & basil I planted a few weeks ago. The only thing I have started is 4 sweet potatoes. We were successful growing them last year so I figured we'd try it again this year.

Harvest Something: The dill and cilantro are almost ready. We harvest sprouts weekly. I bought a bio-set sprouter from Johnny's last year after seeing it on Angie's blog, Children in the Corn.

Store Something: 50lbs of bread flour, 5 lbs dry kidney beans, 5 lbs Maine shrimp, 2 lbs elk meat.

Manage Reserves: Reserves are getting depleted. I will be consolidating 2 freezers into 1.

Poultry: I cooked up the last turkey but I was able to cut up and store several bags for upcoming meals. We have several chickens left but no worry more chicks will be arriving soon.

Beef: We are almost out deer meat. This is the first time ever that our supply is this low so early into the year. I admit I took for granted having deer meat so readily available in past years. Maybe next season I will put in a bit more time in the woods....I say that every year.

Pork: We are almost out. We have two sows that we plan to breed in the next month or so.

Canned goods: Mustard pickles and pickled beets are all we have left. This year I plan to put up more goods. I am shopping for a pressure canner. What do you all use? Any and all suggestions welcome.

Root vegetables: Remaining are 2 spaghetti squash, 3 lbs carrots, 3-4lbs potatoes, plenty of onions and garlic.

Frozen vegetables/fruit: Blueberries, tomatoes (which I will not freeze again next year), edamame beans, corn on the cob.

Cook something new: The last two experiments I attempted ended up in the pig trough. I made a crock pot lemon cake that came out soupy. I then attempted to make a sourdough starter and my first loaf was like a brick and I chucked my "mother sponge" because I neglected to feed her.

Prep Something: Slowly working at getting a pantry stocked up...I have cleaned and organized the area FINALLY (today). Now I just need to decide what I want to stock it with. Ideas welcome here too for those of you have well stocked pantries.

Reduce Wastes: I have been picking recyclables out of the trash that MM throws away...ARGGGG! Saving glass jars and reusing them in the pantry to-be. Using my reusable shopping bags whenever I remember them.

Learn a new skill: No new skills aquired.

Work on communiy food security: After much research on co-ops I have opted not to start one up. Much of the food that is provided is what we grow or raise. It is not worth the added resposibility I would have. This place alone is more than enough work for me.

I have also been buying much more from local business owners.

Regeneate what is lost: We put our wood ashes into the garden.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hare Today......Gone Tomorrow

Today MM picked up our 1st ever meat rabbits, New Zealand/Californian crosses. Interestingly they are not as available in Maine as we expected. We have 3 does and a buck. The does are 2 months old so we need to wait until the end of June before we can breed them. Their gestation period is approximately 1 month and rabbits are best to eat between 4-6lbs so we have a ways to go.

Any suggestions for a name for our buck?

Then we had a early delivery...

102 Khaki Campbell's (egg laying ducks) Can you believe these little babies made it all the way from Pennsylvania in this box? No fatalities thus far. They are hardy birds! The kids have enjoyed having these little peeps in the wood stove room. So have the cats...

At all times there has been at least 1 cat standing guard. Just waiting for the kids to leave the cover open.

We will keep a dozen for ourselves and the rest are for sale. Any Mainers interested leave me a comment or you know my number!

P.S. Maine Man's idea for the title...not mine!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Stills ~Architecture~

Another week of Sunday Stills Photo Challenge with Architecture as the theme. I thought about taking a cruise by an old church and some barns but that never happened. I always seem to be LAST minute preparing for my Sunday post so once again today was the day. We were on the lake ice fishing (John & the kids fishing, me just playing photographer) so the only architecture around were camps. When is the last time you come across a round camp? I was excited to find this unique structure.
An antique boat house. Maine law prevents people from building new boat houses.

Not quite a camp!
Red neck chalet
This was a cool little shack. Somehow I cut the skis out of this picture.
Hunting blind by fall and ice shack come winter.

Running for a flag.


Thursday, February 19, 2009


........have a brother that is a carpenter (miracle worker). Just when he had it working on our century old home we went ahead and bought a 200 year old farmhouse.
If only I had taken more pictures (or could find them) when we bought this place you could appreciate the work that has been done.

The only picture I could find of the kitchen before we moved in is this.....

Isn't that wall paper sweet? Most people would have taken one look at this place and RAN the OTHER WAY but NOT us. Thanks to John's know how to fix anything and my brother's fine carpentry skills, and my can do attitude we pulled it off!

I took this picture below of my kitchen windows when my brother, Steve started working out here last week hence the makings of a shelf below the sills. I should have take a shot of the whole room.
We have been here 2 years and I finally (not complaining) have trim work throughout my downstairs. We will progress to the upstairs eventually but we need to #1 save up more $ and #2 replace the windows #3 beg & bribe brother Stevie to return.
I have not had a great desire to decorate the house or put up curtains because everything has been so unfinished up until NOW......

DOESN'T IT LOOK AWESOME? Honestly, I am not a big decorator. I like it Plain and Simple. Easier to keep clean and clean around. I did not come into this relationship like that I have slowly become that way THANKS to Maine Man! I do not like lots on knick knacks although my Mom seems to think I do. I literally have garbage bags full of stuff she brings me. She COLLECTS and SAVES EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!! That could be a post (or blog for that matter) on it's own. There is a store nearby that sells Primitive House Decor and I am thinking that may look nice in here, what do you think?
What should I do for window coverings? I had cheap plastic shades up in my windows before but now that they look SO pretty I want to spice it up!


Monday, February 16, 2009

Gone Smelting

Last night 8 of us piled into the suburban and headed south to go smelting. The neighbors & John had been in previous years but the kids and I had not.
For those of you have not been.... it's on the river, they have 2, 4 & 6 man shacks lined up. On each side of the shack there are holes (below) with multiple fishing lines hanging horizontally across a pole.

Yes the holes are big enough for a small child to fall into. Don't think Momma didn't warn the kids that they would be fish bait if they fell in.

We did not go out until 7pm because it goes according to high tide. John was functioning on 3 hours sleep, he had worked night shift Saturday. We had the shack until 1 am but we headed home around 10:30. Had the fish been biting we would have probably stayed later.

This is what you use for bait, blood worms. Nasty....and they bite. Initially I would not handle them until it was dissected . I know my cyber name is Country Girl but I admit I am spleeny about certain things .
Unfortunately the fish were not running. We only caught 6 fish. A couple smelts and a few cod (I think?). One man that came over to chat with us said he had caught 100 on Friday night.
Regardless, we still had a good time. The kids got all sugared up and went back and forth between our shack and our neighbors.
Then we ended our night with a brief photo shoot. Thanks for joining us neighbors, Maybe next time we'll have better luck!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

~Sunday Stills ~ Reflections

It is that time of the week again for Sunday Stills photo challenge. It always creeps up on me and here I sit trying to get my post in before I head off to bed. This was a hard one for me. I took a bunch of shots in the mirror, none that I liked. This would be have been perfect one for Spring when the ponds begin to open up. I took a quick peak at some of the other submissions and there are some real cool ones like this horse eye. I am amazed by the creativeness (not in me) that this challenge sparked in others. This is by far my favorite one and as the warm weather comes I will be looking for more opportunities to take pictures of reflections. Next week theme is the moon.

Did you see my Harvest 2009 update on my side bar? Egg count thus far is up to a whopping 500. That is because MM put a timer and a light out in the barn for them. We were averaging 8 eggs a day for quite sometime and now we are up to 2 dozen a day....back to what we were getting over the summer and fall.
I was fooling with some angle shots as that was last weeks photo challenge but I goofed. This is one of our 2 maple trees that we plan to tap for a first time real soon.

Answering a few questions from my last post:

Kyfarmlife, I did not make the bird feeder my dad did. It is just a can painted with wood sides hanging by a chain. That would be a good project to do with the kids this summer.

Farmgirl DK, my brother and I were raised separately because our parents divorced and my brother decided to live with my dad and I stayed with my mother. Not too much of a story, seems like an everyday occurrence in this day and age.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

25 things about me

Since I have been tagged several times on Face book I have finally decided to play along. I am a multi-purpose kinda gal so I figured I'd post here as well.

Here Goes.....
1. I am a recovering Catholic. I went to a french catholic private school for 7 years (too long) and I can barely recite my prayers nor can I parle vous francois.

2. I love the outdoors. No matter what the temperature is I am out in the elements tending the critters, bringing in wood, or out exploring the back forty which I do often.

3. My life revolves around my kids, they are my greatest accomplishment!

4. I am fortunate to have such an amazing husband!

5. I like being physically fit and I TRY to eat healthy.

6. I NEVER watch TV unless it is a movie. If it was up to me we would not have cable.

7. I am a bit of a computer junkie. My kids even say google it when I have a question about something.

8. I am addicted to diet Pepsi

9. I was a WILD child throughout high school into my early 20's. (you know what they say about those catholic school girls)

10. I am proud that we raise/grow a lot of the food we eat. There is nothing like sitting down to a meal that was prepared from start to finish by the members of your family.

11. I am not nasty neat but not a slob. I like to start my day with a clean house and end it with a clean house but it is ok if it gets dirty in between. I am ok with clean laundry piles as long as the stack is not too big and as long as it is tucked in the corner a bit.

12. I HATE folding socks!

13. I am not materialistic. I do not get rid of things until they are worn out. I am ok with hand me downs.

14. I still have the old square Nokia cell phone.

15. I am hard on equipment. I love to mow the lawn, snowblow, rototill but 9 out of 10 times John has to repair them after I use them. I learned how to use a chain saw last year, scary thought ay!

16. I am LOW maintenance. (John may disagree)

17. I use little make up and it takes me 5 minutes to do my hair unless I try and fight these curls out with a straightener then I have to put my time in.

18. I am not a big shopper, I am most comfortable in a pair of jeans or yoga pants.

19. I am not much into jewelry although I do like funky earrings.

20. I rarely wear my wedding ring.

21. When I die I do not want the typical funeral service. I want to be cremated placed in a homemade wooden box, buried on my farm with an outdoor ceremony (pig roast would be cool) to celebrate my life.

22. I've never flown on a plane.

23. I have one brother but we were raised separately from the time I was 6 and he was 11.

24. He would be there for me through ANYTHING!

25. I am a conscientious person.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Dreaming of Spring!

SO glad it is February! I have not whined all season so I am entitled, right? For me this month is usually the toughest to get through. At least in March you get the warm thaws and the longer days and you know April is right around the corner. MM and I have been talking lots about our animal plans come spring and what new items we plan to have in the garden. We would like to plant several berries patches and put in an aspargus bed. Things we had on last years agenda but never happened. As far as animals he has already placed an order for ducks, I think he said khaki campbells. We will also get some more broilers & freezer supply is dwindling. We are looking into breeding the 2 pigs we have. I did not breed my goat because I am really not set up to have a buck here, maybe next year. MM has done lots of reseach on meat rabbits and it currently looking to buy 3 does and 1 buck(Californians and/or New Zealands). We would also like to get some cows but the fencing must go up first. I am looking forward to that because the goats will have a big area to run.

This weeks Sunday Stills theme is Zoo/Museum pictures. Since I have previously posted the only zoo pictures I have I will just put the link here when went to Rhode Island this past summer. The picture I love the best is one that MM took of Leah up against the glass with the bear.

I am off to bake some bread and start working on that pantry project I previously mentioned.

I will leave you with a dry mix recipe for chili that I recently made. We are big chili people and I use to buy the packets but now I make my own, much cheaper!
Chili Seasoning Mix

2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano
Mix all ingredients; store in a small airtight jar in a cool, dry place. Makes about 1/4 cup.
I used 1 Tablespoon of mix w/ 1 lb of deer, 1 can of kidney beans (once my pantry is set up I am going to start buying dry beans in large quantities), and 1 can of chopped tomatoes.