Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Christmas Surprise

After brunch Christmas day the kids, my niece, and I headed up country to surprise my Dad.  We rented a cabin just a few miles away from his house. The picture above was our front yard.

We stayed at Beaver Cove Camps.  The log cabin we stayed in was built in the early 1900′s, it was rustic, clean, and comfy.  It was PERFECT!  A place we will definitely return to.  The owners also accommodated us despite my last minute call for reservations.  That I am VERY thankful for!

The kids with their sweet cousin M.  We had a blast reminiscing and we laughed until tears. A trip we will forever remember!

After we unpacked our goods we headed towards my Dad’s house.  We parked on the camp road so they did not see or hear us coming.

We all snuck around the house……

…..and the kids peeped into their front window.  SURPRISE!!!  Our plan worked out perfectly as my dad and step-mom were sitting not far from the window.  We hung out for a few then we headed back to our cabin to eat dinner.

I cooked up a lobster feast, meanwhile my dad kicked butt at cards.  First he won candy from the kids and the next morning he won all our dollar bills.  He always creams us at cards yet we always return for more.

It was so much fun to surprise my parents with a visit.

It made for a very special Christmas for ALL!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Food for Thought…

Last night as I laid in bed I browsed through a copy of Organic Gardening & Farming magazine from back in February 1973. (60 cents a copy)   I have enjoyed reading it and below is a tid bit I’d like to share….

“The genuine horticulturist is not merely an organic gardener or farmer, he lives whole life in the organic manner.  The organic principles must be felt deep in one’s heart, and in everything he does.  It is not organic to grow a carrot organically, and to always eat it in the cooked form, or cooked with the addition of white sugar…..What would it be if a man eats dinner grown completely by organic method, and then he arises from the table to do an unkindness to a neighbor?”

“The organic way is the golden rule way.  It means that we must be kind to the soil, to ourselves and to our fellowman.  Organic means goodness.  A heart that is full of benevolence will create in the body a spirit of physical and mental well-being that will enable it to better absorb all the nutritional elements from organically-grown food.”

~J.L. Rodale

Friday, December 14, 2012


I apologize for my absence here but I just haven’t been feeling it.  I have lots to share both pictures and adventures but I’m so easily distracted and honestly have not cared to write as of lately….so I’ll keep it short and sweet.

I’m not sure that I’ve posted much about these gals but they were given to me last Spring….  4 does

They are Toggenburgs, a dairy goat.  All 4 does have been breed in addition to my Alpine goat “Dolly” in hopes for Spring-time babies.

I’m thinking come next summer I’ll be rich in goat milk and I’ll be struggling to be keep lots of naughty baby goats inside of the fencing….lol

Sunday, November 25, 2012

This Moment

I am sitting in a new area which I set up today.  A perfect spot for reading, surfing, or writing.  Nothing special just a quiet warm area, close to a window, a lamp, lap blanket, pillow and an apple crate covered with a lambskin as a foot rest.

I am looking at the barn cat that has not been in the house for a year until lately.  Suddenly  she’s decided to move back in.  She only allows the kids to get close.  We’ve renamed her  ”Pretty Eagle” based on a book we read recently.

I am thinking about my bees which thrive from neglect.  I have not written much about them this year. At the beginning of the year I found the queen for the very first time.  I was ECSTATIC!   Shortly after I found the queen they swarmed and I was unable to capture them.  No honey again this year from my bees.  However, I did barter for some.  Tomorrow I will winterize their hive as the cold days are upon us.  Flower Girl made honey throat lozenges this morning for a first.  We sucked on it like candy until they were all gone… LOL

I am listening to Mac Gyver playing on the TV from a distance.  (Actually now that I proofread my house is quiet = priceless!)

I am sipping water that I have by my side 24/7 but earlier tonight I had a glass of apple cider and vodka….it was delicious.  I will definitely have again!

I am regretting not taking pictures on Thanksgiving, whatever was I thinking?  We had a great day filled with some of my family in the morning and Maine Man’s family in the afternoon.

I am planning on making homemade gifts for Christmas.  I am good at peeping on Pinterest for ideas.  Now I just need to lock myself in my sewing room for a while.  First on the list is cotton bread bags.  I’ve never made them before.  It shouldn’t be too hard with the help of You Tube.  Then I’d like to make the kids each a blanket and maybe we will make Christmas ornaments too.  I hope to capture pictures of the gifts we give so I can share here.  Each year I try to make changes in effort to cut back on the expenses, create less stress, and  to SIMPLIFY and ENJOY the season.  A couple of years ago I told a few people lets stop swapping unless it is homemade.  Last year I stopped sending out picture Christmas cards, and this year I am going to distribute my gifts throughout the month of December instead of all in one weekend.  What are you doing differently to make this season less stressful?

Friday, November 23, 2012

A day in the life….

As I spent the day cooking, cleaning, organizing, and minimizing the kids spent the day setting up the cabin.  Well the boys did, the girls just hung out in there intermittently throughout the day.
I was impressed by the progress that they made.  Country Boy spent the last few months accumulating goods to fill his “cabin” with.  Today he did just that.
Since firing up the wood cook-stove for the first time this afternoon they already cooked up some hot cocoa, mac & cheese, and deer steak.  Yeah… no dishes or clean-up for me!
Maine Man has spent endless hours helping CB get this together before Winter.  They still have a few more things to do before moving it to the final destination.

Squirrel hide…
They even decorated the loft with Christmas lights.
A game of war….
It is still a work in progress.  But it was great to see the kids take such pride and work together to make it a usable space today.  I have no doubt that they will have many good times in the cabin.  Some of my fondest childhood memories were in cabins we built, lake-side lean-to’s and moss houses we constructed.

Monday, November 12, 2012

:~day 24

Two pigs went to be processed at the end of last week  There were no problems loading our pigs but our friends pigs were a completely different scenario…..there is an interesting story behind it.  All I will say today is that Country Boy said if I had been there with a video camera we could have won $100,00 on home funniest videos.

We have lots to do in order to finish getting buttoned up for winter.  We have seven bushels of apples in the walk-in cooler waiting to be made of.  We also have 20+ meat birds ready for processing.  With that said I am feeling the need to step away from the blog for a bit…. it may be a few days, it may be a week.

30 post in a row is more work then I thought.  With that said, the next 5 posts (day 25-30) will come over time, not on a daily basis.  It has been fun to see the numbers of visitors on my blog go up.  On Bangor Daily News I observed my daily visitor count go up as high as 419 and on Blogspot it went up as high as 398 visitors in a day.  I appreciate all the feedback I get…. random comments, private messages on Facebook, and sweet words of encouragement when I run into friends and family in the community   That is why I’ve carried on since 2008 sharing tid bits of our life.  There are times that have been challenging that I have seriously considered throwing the towel in but for all those reasons above I continue this journey.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Making yogurt:~day 23

Prior to the last couple weeks I’ve made yogurt a few times successfully and I even  posted a how-to last year.  I’ve also goofed making it on a handful of occasions.   It’s kind of like bread making.  You make a few good loaves and you get all cocky then you screw up a few and your back to being humble.

My friend recently shared how she makes it and I like her method best.  I have yet to screw it up!  I’ve been making it weekly for the past month from raw organic jersey milk.  One of my other friends delivers to me weekly.  How lucky am I?  Fresh, raw milk in a glass jug delivered to my house every week.  The milk is good for about a week and I usually try and make the yogurt with it just before it is about to turn but not always.

Initially I bought a small container of plain Greek yogurt for a starter. After the first time making yogurt I used the previous week’s yogurt as a starter.  I make a quart at a time but it would be easy enough to double the recipe if you wanted.

  1. Bring 1 quart of milk to a gentle bubbling for approximately 10 minutes.
  2. Turn off heat, let stand for a couple minutes.
  3. Take out approximately 1 cup of warm liquid and place in jar of choice.
  4. Add 2 Tablespoons of dry milk & 2 Tablespoons of yogurt.
  5. Shake in jar.
  6. 15 minutes later or so add remaining liquid to jar, shake, wrap in towel and place in dark area overnight.
  7. Refrigerate in the morning.

THAT’S it!  This recipe is very forgiving so if you mess one step up it may still come out.  (I’m talking from experience here)  Last batch I flavored with vanilla extract and honey, next batch I plan to add maple syrup.

Give it a try, it beats buying it in the store and you know exactly what the ingredients are.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

For those who wonder….:~day 22

CB preparing to make squirrel stew all on his own.  He never asked me for a bit of help.  He brought it over to his cousin’s to share with a loaf of fresh bread.  Tonight when I came home from work he was making pumpkin chocolate chip whoppie pies and he even cooked up the pumpkins rather then grabbing a can from the cupboard.


“I’m curious, how do your kids feel about being such major providers for the family larder? Is it just business as usual or do they have a sense of pride that they helped put meat on the table? Was it hard for your daughter to shoot a deer for the first time or is she more of a practical person about it? Are they so used to life and death on the farm that hunting is sort of an extension on that? I know that’s a lot of questions, but my kids are talking about learning to hunt and I guess I’m wondering about the psychological aspect of it. I never went hunting with my father, just fishing, so I don’t have my own experiences to fall back on.”

FG cooking deer steak.  We’ve been eating in nearly every day.


GREAT QUESTIONS!! My kids take much pride in providing for our family. They are actively involved in many aspects of putting food on the table from picking eggs, feeding and watering animals, hunting and foraging, and helping my husband process some of the livestock we raise. It is normal life for them. Our children thrive in this homesteading environment. My daughter did cry after shooting the deer but mostly out of excitement. I think she was unsure of herself, unsure that she could kill a deer so she was overwhelmed with emotion. I also think anytime you take the life of another there is a humbling moment and damn there should be. Hunting I guess is an extension of what we do and it is something my husband is passionate about therefore my kids are. It is sad that as a society we have taken the faces of the animals away from meat in the supermarket. In my eyes children of today should all learn these basic survival skills as someday they made need to know them.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Better Late then Never:~day 21

Flower Girl the crazy Red Riding Hood along with her cousin the Lumber Jack.  Love their costumes!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Never Say Never:~day 20

A couple years ago I received and e-mail asking me what I thought about getting goats.  I wrote my friend back with a rather extensive list on why NOT to get goats and I believe I told her I would NEVER own another goat in my life.  This past summer the goat count went as high as 9, now we are holding steady at 6.  I milked 2 does throughout the summer but they are all dry now and in the process of being breed.  Moral of the story….Never Say Never cause you may just eat your words as I did….

Sunday, November 4, 2012

:~day 19

I swear I warned them all!  No more babies, winter is coming.  Defiant bunnies and ducks.  Muscovies anyone?  We have just a handful left.  Attempting to minimize before winter!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Outdoor Fitness:~day 18

I’ve just started reading Outdoor Fitness by Tina Vindum. I am really liking it and hoping to get some new ideas from it. My days in the gym are done (as of now, anyway). Of course now that I have a free membership through my workplace to several gyms I feel that way. LOL….Anyone have any suggestions for good reads about outdoor fitness?

Friday, November 2, 2012

What was I thinking:~day 17

Not sure whatever possessed me to say I would post 30 days in a row. (on a somewhat daily basis)

Regardless I am sticking to it, so here is some RANDOM pics from our life as of lately.

Anatomy & Physiology as Mother Nature intended. Lucky kids to have such a fine dad that teaches them everything he knows.

My friend’s sheep. A few weeks back we took a stroll out back on her land to a babbling brook and waterfall. There we sat and talked. Moments like that make me feel blessed for my friends that I spend time with regularly and those I just get to visit with from time to time.

Nothing like home-grown chicken! The kids and Maine Man processed 20 of our meat birds last week. We have more that they plan to do in the next week or two. Some we bartered with and the rest will feed our family until Spring.

With Thanksgiving approaching and cranberries in season I have made cranberry sauce twice and plan to make it this weekend for a friend. I figured I would post the link in case anyone wanted to give it a try.

The kids just after Flower Girl shot her deer. Always a humbling moment when you take the life of another in order to sustain your own.

Gingerbread cookies in October, why not?

The kids used cookie cutters on the pumpkins, they came out pretty good.

School is going good for the most part. I have much more confidence this year then our first year homeschooling. It is not without its moments but we surely will have no regrets with this commitment. It has been fun to learn along with the kids for both Maine Man and I. We each have our strength and weaknesses. We are all really liking the book series Dear America. We just finished reading My Heart is on the Ground. I cannot wait to start the next book in the series. My Name is America is also being enjoyed by the kids.

Anyone else still battling to fill the barn, garage, woodshed before snow flies?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Great White Hunter

It’s not even November and both kids have tagged out. Very proud to say the least! I am looking forward to having full freezers coming into winter. Tonight for dinner we ate some of FG’s deer. Nothing like it… pan fried in a little butter & salt!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A man is not where he lives, but where he loves:~day 15

Today would have been my farmer friend’s 77th birthday.  The picture above was taken back in April at a Celebration of Life we had for him.  I miss him each and every day but it is especially painful on dates of remembrance and celebration.  Just after Flower Girl shot her first deer I mentioned how proud he would have been of her.  He was one of the first people we called when Country Boy shot his first and second deer.  On both occasions he was at our house within minutes to share in their joy and excitement.  I couldn’t help but cry, not so much for his loss but for hers.

I visited his grave today as I do every Monday.  Today wishing him a happy birthday and I even threw out a few crackers for the birds, hoping they would come pay a visit. How he loved his birds!  He also loved kids and this song I’m linking to…. Amazing Grace was his absolute favorite.  The girl who sings it reminds me of FG.   Myron loved to hear FG play the piano.  This past Christmas day she even brought her keyboard down to their house  and played it for him and his wife.  Now she takes voice lessons, how he’d love to hear her sing……


(This was actually posted yesterday over at Bangor Daily News…a day late here on blogger)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

“My First Deer”

In her words……”We were sitting in the tree stand and then all the sudden I could hear a sound in the woods.  I didn’t think anything of it because I thought it was a squirrel or a chipmunk.  Then my brother whispered in my ear that there was a deer in the field almost right below us.  Then two more came behind it.  My dad asked me if I wanted to shot and I said yes.  It walked for a very long ways before it turned broadside.  I flipped my gun off safety, I looked in the crosshairs and aimed above the leg and slowly squeezed the trigger.  That instant I saw it drop right in front of me.  I  began to cry tears of happiness.”

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Apple Wine Making:~day 13

Last month Maine Man and I listened to a presentation on wine making at the Common Ground Fair.  The guy that spoke was completely down to earth.  I did not catch his name but he was a tall, burly, long bearded gentleman.  His first words were “I’m gonna keep this real simple…..” and that is exactly what he did.  Here are the notes I took from the CGF.  The ending part I really did not catch so for anyone with wine making experience please feel free to pick up where I left off.  I will add your advice to my notebook.


  • 5 gallon bucket with cover
  • airlock
  • 5 gallons of cider
  • sugar
  • yeast (regular bread yeast is ok, you do not need any fancy wine yeast)


1.5 lbs sugar to 1 gallon of cider

1 teaspoon of yeast to 1 gallon of cider

Mix, keep at 70-85 degrees for fermentation

4-6 weeks alcohol will made

3-6 months wine will be clear

We did not have enough cider to fill the carboy so MM found a way to improvise as always.  He truly is my MacGyver!  He laughed when I showed him this picture and said “don’t use this technique at home.”

We plan to make a big batch next week  so any advice is welcomed!