Thursday, December 29, 2011

Moving Ahead in the New Year


For the last four years I have maintained a blog about our farm here on blog spot. The feedback that I have received from my peers, family, and on-line community is what has kept it alive.  Recently I was asked to join the bloggers at Bangor Daily News. I am excited to say I accepted the offer and will embrace in this change reaching out to more like-minded fellow Mainers.  Cheers to a New Year!

I will continue to do a couple posts here linking to my new site but it would be best if you bookmarked this new link:

Friday, December 23, 2011


IMG_9944rA couple weeks ago the whole gang including Dolly went on a mission to cut a Christmas tree off the back forty.IMG_9960rWe spotted the perfect one for us!IMG_9963rThen our hero, Maine Man cut it down!IMG_9964rIMG_9965rIMG_9967rIMG_9970rIMG_9975rIMG_9979r

Much more fun then going to buy one. The remains will be used as firewood. 

Thankful for the land we have and all that it provides for us.

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year to all!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Making beef stock


I have been making chicken stock for quite some time.  There is no comparison to the store bought watered down stock that you can purchase at the supermarket.  Like anything homemade is always best.  Since we just butchered out first beef critters I had them save me some bone for soup stock….and I made some.  Easy Peasy!

Place bones in a crockpot  (soon I hope to be cooking it on my wood cook stove….HINT, HINT Maine Man), fill with water, add a large onion, couple carrots & celery stocks, couple bay leaves, several peppercorns, salt, and dried or fresh herbs.  In the summer I use what I have fresh and in the winter I often use an italian blend that my cousin made me.

I let it cook all day or night on low, let it cool, strain with strainer and cheesecloth into a half gallon canning jar, refrigerate.  Skim the fat off the top and either use immediately or freeze in gallon size bags.  You can also can it as I’ve done before with chicken stock.  But, I’m a lazy food preserver and prefer to freeze anything I can.

Makes the BEST soup EVER!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My girl’s thoughts on the animals


Each week the kids are expected to do a writing prompt.  We started out the year following the directions in the book.  It assigned the kids a given topic and they wrote about that specific subject in their journals.  Then the kids talked me into giving them  prompts that I came up with.  That worked for a while but know we’ve evolved to something I think works best.   The kids make up their own prompts.  They write about things they are most interested in sharing at that given moment.  Their writings are longer and fueled with more passion.  The sweet thing about homeschooling is that as my kids say “you can break the rules” in order to do what you works best. 

I couldn’t resist sharing this one.  Written verbatim(spelling and all)

What are the animals you have?  Why do you enjoy them?  And out of all your animals wich five Do you enjoy Best?  And what do you Dislike about them?

I have tons of animals.  I have Ducks, chickens, Dogs, Pigs, rabbits, cats, a goat, and………..a lizard!  I enjoy the ducks Because they swim, they have very cute Ducklings, sometimes they will walk in staright lines, they Don’t eat the garden, and they eat a lot of Bugs.  I Dislike the Ducks beause when  they have Duckling they really won’t let you get withen 5 or 10 feet of them but if you Do she  will chase you like a mad woman.

I enjoy the chickens beause they lay eggs to eat or hach.  I Dislike the chickens Beause they eatthe garden, most rosters are mean and ours it pretty mean so when you get near his heans and he is loss you better run!

I like the Dogs beause they will lick you, they will let you pat them, they will scare of a lot of things like racons, skunks, and more that are in your front yard at night, they will run with you, and they will play with you.  I Dislike the Dogs or should I say Dog beause 1 of my Dogs will shake nonstop for hours and hours on end when it tunders and lighnings and will keep you up at night.

I enjoy the pigs Beause 1 I caught at my last pig scrable I could every do, they root up places for gardens.  they eat leftover food that we Don’t eat, and they are very organised if they are inside (wich only my pig is inside).  I Dislike the pigs well I should say the two outside beause they litterly live to be feed and are very sloopy. 

I like my rabbits beause they are sooooo cute, they live like…….on there on there own meaning they find there food and water, and they are so fluffy!  I Dislike the Bunnys beause they bit, scratch, and they won’t let you pick them up.  I like the cats beause there nice, beautiful, And the will catch rodents.  Dislike the cats beause they kill flying squils wich are pretty rare in Maine. 

I like our goat AKA Dolly beause she will eat anything(littly). she’s furry, and fun to play with.  I Dislike Dolly AKA the goat beause she is hard to walk beause sometims she won’t follow you. 

And I love our lizard AKA levi beause he is wonderful, nice, will just hang on you, he eats a lot of things, he’s friendly, and……………….theres nothing to Dislike about him! 

That is what I think of all the animal but the five I really love are………………………………………………………………………………………………………The cats!  The Dogs!  The Goat! The Rabbits!  And The…………………….LIZARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And that’s all!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Farm Happenings


Winter is near yet we still seem to find ourselves with an endless to-do list.  We have almost all the wood in the barn before the cold weather is upon us.  We’ve rendered all the lard from our cow.  My crockpot ran for 3 days straight but now I have plenty of fat for soap making.  I’m attempting to make apple cider vinegar for the first time.  It will be months before I know if it was a success.  I’ve  also located a  a temporary boyfriend for Dolly, a Nubian buck. We will be picking him up at the end of the week.  You know what that means?….spring babies and a goat back in milk….Yeah!


What I haven’t been doing….dusting, folding laundry.

Maybe in my next life my house will be clean Winking smile

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Confessions of a Bad Beekeeper

IMG_7440rOne cool, winter evening last year as I thumbed through an adult education flyer I got this bright idea of taking a bee keeping class.  IMG_7441rBy June I was an official beekeeper…that honestly didn’t have a clue how complex these little creatures really were. 

I thought medical terminology was challenging in nursing school but at this point I think bee terminology has it beat.  How many lay people have ever heard of bee space, capped brood, propolis, nukes, & varroa mites?

Heck spell check doesn’t even recognize these words.IMG_7446rHere’s County Boy, remember the child who wanted NO part of my bees!  I’ll never let him live that one down! 

Several weeks back he helped me winterize them.  IMG_7449r

Here’s the deal, when I first started  bee keeping I checked them  every week as instructed.   Despite my frequent checks I was never able to identify the queen.  Towards fall I checked them less and less with a span of over of month going by.  I remembered I was suppose to treat them for mites but according to the place I get my supplies I was “too late”.   Ugggg….so I dusted them with a little powdered sugar for good measures and treated them preventively for Nosema  (aka bee diarrhea). 

With this being the first year I did not harvest any honey from them.  I question if they have enough honey for themselves to make it through a long Maine winter.  As pictured above I have given them some sugar water but that won’t be enough.  I will have to do a little more research on winter feeding.

Last night I went out by flashlight to put there top cover on and be sure the foam insulation was still in place before the storm.  On the way out the door Maine Man  called me a “bad beekeeper”, hence the title.  He’s right!  Beekeeping isn’t really a fly by the seat of your pants project but that unfortunately is how I roll. Hopefully they’ll survive this winter despite the neglect. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Tree


Inspired by a friend on FB!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Where’s the beef?


Recently Maine Man processed Sir Loin & T-Bone….not an easy task after tending them morning & night for the last couple years.  Above is a picture of part of a liver in comparison to Country Boy’s hand.  IMG_7397rWhat an anatomy lesson for the kids!  CB said in school they dissect frogs, we dissect cows, pigs, & chickens… IMG_7419rrFlower Girl helped process & package part of one of the cows and the rest went to the butchers.IMG_7427rrIMG_7409rr

Here is the front quarter of one of the cows in a walk-in cooler that MM just built.  We are thinking it will serve with a dual purpose for cool crop storage.  We will monitor the temperatures in it closely this winter. 

MM and CB also just processed 50 chickens a couple weeks back and CB’s deer.  Soon they will process the pigs and some ducks.  Nice to have full freezers coming into winter!  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Greens into November


These pictures were taken in the greenhouse a few days after our first snowfall.  The tomato plants died off but we left the tomatoes on to ripen.  We were eating them up until about 1 week ago. …til the frost made them mush.  My Dad ate some tomatoes from the greenhouse from the 3rd week of October.  He said “those were the best tomatoes I ‘ve ever eaten in my life” ….and he is no Spring chicken. 

Thankful for the power of solar heat and Maine Man, my garden hero!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Scenes from the farm October 30th



I don’t ever remember snowfall this early in the season.  I wasn’t quite prepared but Mother Nature didn’t care. 

It’s all gone now, the snow only lasted a few days around here.  More to follow but that’s ok because I look forward to winter.  A time to be lazy, read books, cuddle and watch movies, and cook.  Hell ya! 

Coming next ….a post on the greenhouse. It was fun to go in and see all the green stuff growing the day it snowed. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Can’t hide my pride!


Country Boy is living up to his name! 

140 lbs, 5 pointer

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oktoberfest Dinner


A couple of weekends back my SIL brought over a DELICIOUS crockpot to share at our cider party called Oktoberfest Dinner.  It is a must try and great idea for a pot luck.  Definitely check it out!  I have never really liked sauerkraut but I loved it with this recipe.  Click on the cider party link if your interested in seeing more pictures.  She did a better job taking pictures of the press then I.

Now I want to make sauerkraut.  See how one thing leads to another.  That is the beauty of being a foodie, homesteader, or whatever you may call us. (CRAZY)  The possibilities are endless!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cider Pressing Party

IMG_7229rI am finally sitting down to write this post after an eventful day to say the least.  More about today in a future post.  Some days I am sure we could bring some cash in as reality show.  Regardless, the house is finally QUIET & clean! Well, for the most part.  I have certain criteria that must be met before bed …dishes, counters, floors washed.  Notice folding laundry and clean kids rooms are not on this list. LOL 

IMG_7210rBack to my original story….last weekend we hosted our first annual cider pressing party.  The weather was beautiful and it was well attended by friends & family. 

Please excuse the shadowing of the pictures.  The sun was nice & warm but made picture taking a bit challenging.  Kind of entertaining to look back at these pictures from last Sunday because today we received about 6 inches of snow and the conditions were brisk & windy.  Kids will be wearing boots and snowsuits out trick or treating tomorrow night.  I do not ever remember seeing snow this early in the season.  IMG_7216rIMG_7228rFor the last couple years I have pressed apples at my friend’s house just across the river.  Here are posts from 2009 and 2010 if you have any desire to look back.  Last year my farmer friend attended so he could  check out her operation….this year he made me my very own cider press.

IMG_7234rIsn’t it a BEAUTY?

This is definitely one of the nicest things I have ever received. I will FOREVER cherish this gift!

Not only did he make this without plans, he sawed the lumber with his mill.

IMG_7235rMy farmer friend…one AMAZING man!IMG_7236rDolly & my nieceIMG_7253rBiker Stacy, Dolly & Country BoyIMG_7243rMaine Man’s baby begging for food.  It’s about the ONLY time you’ll see her sitting still when she is outside.  IMG_7259rMy SIL’s cool jug full over cider.  It’s perfect!IMG_7263rIMG_7265rIMG_7269rAunt JIMG_7270rQuite a crowdIMG_7287Friend of the family …but now I’d dare say she’s  becoming more and more like family.IMG_7290rCousins at play…..LOVE these shotsIMG_7294rIMG_7295rIMG_7305rIMG_7306rIMG_7307rIMG_7308rIMG_7309rIMG_7311rIMG_7312r

Mission Accomplished!