Thursday, December 12, 2013

That Time of Year....

The kids have already made two batches of maple syrup candy…
Bandit the bad-ass bunny thinks he is king of the house…
Chezwick made his way to the dinner table.  Maine Man cooked him on his smoker.  Some liked how he tasted I did not.  I though he tasted very much like a wild game bird.
Second one to the left, Bubba will soon be processed.  MM has been mentally preparing himself to do the dreaded deed. We are hoping Lily May is pregnant (3rd one in) so that Ole Blue can be relocated.  It will be nice to tend two cows rather then four, especially this time of year.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Putting Up Food

Last year I barely canned at all. I ran into a few people that just couldn’t believe it.  One can only do so much and I totally know my breaking point.    I was care-taking and honestly that took all I had.  Life is all about prioritizing.   I did manage to put up several jars of spaghetti  sauce which was a bonus but not much else last summer.  IMG_7858r
This season I was in a different space,  with time to put some food by.  Not a ton but enough to keep me satisfied…dill pickles, zucchini relish, jam, spaghetti sauce, chicken broth, apple butter and apple sauce.  There is also lots of maple syrup on the shelf as well.  I even grew some of the vegetables.  Yeah me!  Maine Man has always been the master gardener until last Spring when he proclaimed he wasn’t planting a garden.  This choice was based partially of the fact that he had several other projects he needed to accomplish.  Also subconsciously he did it to make me get out there and put more effort in the growing process which would then result in less waste.  I know how he rolls!  Anyway, it worked.  I grew two small gardens and he helped me with a third.  I utilized much of what we grew and our wastes were much less then previous years. He guided me through the process and I learned and I grew but I won’t deny that taking direction from MM did not always come easy.  He frequently tells me “you don’t like being told what to do.”  I of course disagree reminding him that it is all about his approach.  Newsflash….we DON’T work well together, on manual labor that is.  Ha, what don’t kill you makes you stronger!   You should see us haying together.  That could be a reality TV show!  A few of my friends would attest to that.
Recently we dusted off our 1800′s dehydrator and dried a couple batches of apples and even some jerky.  Both were eaten up almost instantaneously allowing for no time to be put up.
This summer and fall I also visited the farmer’s market and local roadside stands on a regular basis to supplement our diets with local fruits and vegetables we did not grow.  I was  inspired to make that a weekly routine after reading Bringing Food Home by Merry Stetson Hall.  A book I very much enjoyed and will someday do a review on.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


No joke Maine Man is the MOST resourceful person I know!  Earlier this week he made deer sausage.  He then used his pig cooker to smoke it.  It has been rapidly disappearing from the fridge since.IMG_8029r
In addition to sausage making he has been right into wine making as of likely.  BTW….if your on our Christmas list this year that is what you will be getting!  Maybe some sausage too…

3 ingredient teriyaki sauce

  • 1 cup of pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
Quick & easy….my favorite kind meal.  I’ve thrown this mixture in my crockpot with frozen chicken breasts twice in the last month and the whole family enjoyed!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Missing the Farm…

Originally posted October 11th on Bangor Daily News from a hotel room in Boston…

(Red Rangers, a new type of meat bird Maine Man raised this fall. In the past we have always grown Cornish Rocks.  MM and the kids processed 40 of them yesterday.)

Finally I take time to update my much neglected blog!  A few of my friends and family have harassed me lately so seeing I have a bunch of time on my hands, here goes….

I am far from home in the big city of Boston.  Not for pleasure but on a medical trip for one of my family members.  By the time I return home it will be about a week….the longest I have EVER been away from home!  Thankfully a piece of my home will join me tomorrow, my sweet girl.  I CAN’T wait!

I was also blessed to have my best friend join me for a couple days.  Something I will be forever grateful for!

(My boy and his pup.  How I miss the smell of his hair after he has been outside all day, hearing about his exciting hunting adventures and oh so much more.  Love that boy!)

It has been an interesting experience to say the least.  I don’t think I will EVER visit this city again for pleasure.  We’ve only been here a couple times for pleasure doing the aquarium/Quincy market thing.  This is my third trip in a month for medical reasons and we probably have at least 2 more trips down here….YUK.  You could not pay me enough to live in this madness!

(Beefallo…. but a lady that drives by my house calls him Carl.  She writes to me on my Achorn Farm Facebook page and says she has even brought out of state relatives on drive-bys to see just who “Carl” is…lol.  Thankfully he will be sticking around until next fall!  Bubba however will be processed shortly.  MM is talking about doing that himself.  A big task but he is rather ambitious and surely capable.)

The only plus to this trip is Massachusetts General Hospital!  The facility is impressive and the care has been phenomenal!   Heck the nurses have even taught me to be street smart: limiting my eye contact, walking with confidence, and putting my bitch face on.  We had some good laughs as she demonstrated her “don’t f#$% with me face”.

(Elderberries we found on our land.  I did nothing with them this year but but next year we may try and make wine or juice out of them.  MM has been a wine making machine this summer!)

These trips have given me a greater appreciation for so many things I so easily take for granted.  Grass, plants, fresh air, drinkable water, smiling folks without ear buds in their ears, stores that aren’t atrociously priced and crowded, crossing the street without chancing your life, drivers who are patient and courteous, home cooked food, my bed, my family.  What I wouldn’t give to be back in Maine!

Despite the given situation I can say I am comfortable in my new little room I moved into today.  Not as close to the hospital but still a walkable distance  at  1/4th of the price I paid for the first few nights here thanks to the suggestion from the hospital social workers.  I now even have a little kitchenette so I can prepare some meals rather then take-out…wooo hooo!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Red Rangers

(Originally posted 8/30 on my blog at Bangor Daily News…little behind on getting it here…sorry)

I will make no excuses for my absence here except to say it has been a crazy busy summer and I am so looking forward to fall!  My FAVORITE time of year!

This summer Maine Man decided to raise a different type of meat bird, red rangers.  For the last several years we have raised cornish rocks.  The red rangers are definitely slower growing but they actually forage some of their own food.  Something the cornish rocks never seemed to do much of.  We have also been able to let them free range now that they are older.  They are much more enjoyable to watch grow then the cornish rocks, that seem to only care about eating large amounts,  followed by lots of poo, and sleeping.  Not to mention they stay a lot cleaner because they are much more mobile.

I am will try and do a follow-up post about the after parts of their life on the farm such as how the butchering goes and their taste in comparison.  Maybe I could even talk MM into doing a post!  He did build a pig cooker this summer, maybe he would blog about that too.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Today was a beautiful day in Maine but the last week or so it has been scorching hot.  I am not a fan of the heat but I don’t complain because it won’t be long and we will be running the wood stove 24/7.  As I was cooking lunch one day earlier this week I glanced out the kitchen window to the scene pictured above.  My first thought was PUNKS but then I grabbed my camera and my phone to capture the moment before giving them heck.  Who’d a thought….chickens float and if you didn’t already know rabbits swim.  The kids had them in the pool the day before.  HEATHENS!

We planted the above bok choy on the SAME day in the same garden as the bok choy pictured below only difference is we covered the above bok choy with a row crop cover.  Unbelievable difference, huh?  Guess you know we are sold on that method of organic gardening!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

I couldn’t resist the title since that is one of the most common questions I get when people find out that we home school.  I really want to say “are you for freakin’ real?”  But, generally I keep my cool and ask them how they “socialize” their children in the summer?

We are going into our 3rd year as home-schoolers and I get a lot of questions from people regarding our approach and how we got to where we are today.  So here it is in a nutshell… I posted briefly about it back in 2011 but I will recap it below.

When my daughter was in 3rd grade she did not have the best year in public school.  She did great socially and academically but she did not form a good bond with her teacher.  It made for a long school year.  About half way through she asked to be home-schooled.  We thought it over, discussed it decided to give it a try the following year.  Just before the school year started our son who was about  to go into 6th grade decided to give homeschooling a chance too.

The kids now have NO desire to return to school and honestly I am ok with that.  Well….most days I am!  My biggest threat when they are being heathens is to make them hitch a ride on the yellow bus that drives by the house daily. LOL.  On a daily basis I read the paper, glance at the news, talk to friends and I find GREAT comfort that we have chosen the route we have.  These kids thrive learning at home in the comfort of their pj’s with minimal distractions.

Country Boy and his cousin yesterday after spending a week at Camp Roosevelt.  They had an AMAZING time!

Year 1 of homeschooling I bought curriculum grade based packages through timberdoodle for their core studies and altered as I needed to meet the kids needs through the year.  I would not take that approach again but they are still a great resource for books!

Upon completion of year 1 I consulted with a homeschool coach out of southern Maine.  It was well worth our time and money!  She did our portfolio review and advised us as we prepared for year 2.

Year 2

We pieced together our core curriculum using Teaching Textbooks for math as we did in Year 1.  LOVE that program!  For writing they took an on-line class through Write-Guide throughout the entire school year corresponding with a teacher from Florida.  I can’t say enough about the one on one instruction they got through this experience.  For history we used a plethora of borrowed texts on Greek history, historical fictions, and documentaries.  For science we used Apologia.  The books are filled with amazing pictures and great information but they are ultra religious hence why I have sleeked out different texts for this coming school year.  In addition to these main texts the kids had other supplemental texts that I am too lazy to go downstairs and retrieve.  They also did lots of reading and some  field trips.  We really had a great year and I am looking forward to what this next year will bring.

We will be meeting with our home school coach in about a month.  Both the kids and I are excited to get their portfolios together and share all we did this past year.  I also have lots of questions regarding high school which will be upon as before we know it.

Flower Girl and one of her BF’s from New Hampshire.  She just left today after spending the last 11 days together.  Hard to even imagine these poor unsocialized children have friends, isn’t it?  In a week and a half we have a fresh air child visiting for 2 weeks.  She has been here twice before, we are so looking forward to her return!

Boston field trip this spring

Year 3 (grades 6 & 8) - We will once again use Teaching Textbooks for math and Write-Guide for writing.  However, for history and science we will use Oak Meadow.  I have already received FG’s science text and I really like what I see.  It is a non-religious based text with great info and graphics.  My only regret here is that I did not use these texts earlier on.  In addition to their core programs they will also have supplemental books, such as Easy Grammar texts, Math Olympiads, and more.

In reality there are so many different approaches you can take.  Kids are like sponges and given the right learning environment it is unbelievable how much they take in.  I have a good many friends and relatives that home school and we all take a different approach.  Do what works for your family…that is the beauty of it.  Foster what your children love and they will blossom!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Wordless Weekend

My next post will be on …..HOMESCHOOLING