Friday, March 7, 2014
So, I've been trying hard to embrace my spring inclinations. I've got the garden planned out, there will be much work ahead for Music Man and I as we build and prepare a lot of raised beds, I have a plan for the vast scope of landscape work that will need to be done. The landscaping is well overgrown here and needs much love and attention. I'm trying to line up a delivery of some firewood to get us through next winter while ours, which will be cut this summer, has time to season. I've got the seeds ordered and delivered, have the plan for the chicken order and are gearing up for the eventual arrival of spring. Now, we just need to to peek it's shy little head for us to start on this long list of work. We also have a very long list if items that will need to be done to the house and barn also, starting with improved insulation in the house itself.
What plans have you made to welcome spring in? Farmer's Almanac called for a long, cold and above average snowy winter here in New England. So far, they've been right on the money. For summer, they are wanting hotter and more humid then ordinary (not two of this woman's favorite things, either!) here in New England, so it's going to be an interesting year here on our little farm. I'm just waiting for that first day that I can open the windows, let in the sunshine and fresh air and hear the birds serenading me. It's coming...can you feel it?
Wishing you warm breezes and spring blooms, ~Peacemom
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
As I sit here writing this, I'm looking out the window of my office/guest room. Watching yet another snow fall and feeling stressed that my husband has to drive home in another bad snow storm. It feels as if winter will never end this year. We're about out of wood, keeping a few sticks in order to have heat should the power go out, and we moved in with about 2 cords total. We keep the heat set at 51 degrees because otherwise we have to refill the oil tank about every three weeks, and at $770 a pop, you can see how that can't sustain itself. So, I sit in a blanket writing, while my kids are huddled under blankets on the couch doing their homework and wish upon wish that we hadn't moved into this house at the onset of the coldest, snowiest winter we've seen in a long time. We didn't know just how underinsulated the house was, but we sure are learning it now. First on the long list of stuff to do around here is beefing up the insulation, starting with the attic. I'm still loving this old homestead, but the honeymoon has worn off a bit, quicker then we would have liked. I know I will feel differently once we are into spring and can finally get outside to enjoy the surroundings without having to worry about shoveling, freezing chicken water and snowblowing. Really feeling the length of this winter in particular this year.
Music Man decided a bit ago that he wanted to make some fried chicken. Now, we tried it about 6 years ago, my first time ever frying it, and it was not good. That might be an understatement reallly because it was downright bad. A serious disservice to the poor chicken that sacrificed its very life for it. So, when he said he wanted to make it, I was, well, skeptical. He saw an episode of Cooking Illustrated's show on PBS and they made excellent fried chicken, showing all the steps involved. Music Man is not a practiced cook. Since we've been married and I'm home, he's been kind of spoiled with not having to do the cooking. I'm a decent cook and honestly mostly just don't like people in my kitchen mucking about in my spices and pots and pans. But, I do like good fried chicken in moderation, so was happy to encourage him to have a go at it. He watched the episode a time or two, made some detailed notes and a grocery list and set about his own little winter adventure. I was basically kicked out of my kitchen (oh, that was okay with me honestly!) and let him have at it, helping only when asked where something was or how to use something. You could smell the good scents wafting all through the house and we all had powerfully growling stomachs by the time it was done. And it did take a while, let me tell you!
But, it was worth the wait in all it's honey glazed goodness. This recipe had an end roll in some warm honey. But, he just used a brush to apply some so as not to waste it and also, I thought a whole dip would be too much. It was just perfect, and it didn't take long at all for it to be gobbled up! Sweet, crunchy heavenly chicken, damned fine stuff. And now that I know Music Man is capable of doing something so complicated in the kitchen, he's gonna be stepping up with more then just grilled cheese from time to time!
I feel like so much goes on here all the time with keeping up with the boys sports and cub scouting schedules as Music Man is the den leader for Little Red's scout den, I'm treasurer for the pack and we're both on the planning committe for their troop. It's a lot of time dedicated to the boys and their activities, but we want them to be able to have the fun that we'd have wanted when we were kids. And we feel its important to be involved in their activities to some extent. But, as they get older, we weigh how much is too involved, and when do you grant them more freedom and responsibility?
When I was Maestro's age, I was working at a 60+ horse barn doing chores all day on the days I was not in school. I was not paid for all the work I did, but would get to ride very occasionally until one of the other people that boarded there took pity on me and let me use her pony that she had outgrown. Horses were always my passion as a kid, and I never did outgrow it, just got to the point that I understood how impossible it was for me to have them in my adult life. They just cost too much, especially if you don't own your own farm. Now that I have my own farm finally and I could have room for them, I don't want my own any more. Too much responsibility and I've already got two kids that need all my love and attention. I like to be able to go camping for a week and not have to worry about who is going to take care of my horse while I'm gone. They are like having another child, in essence. Besides, we're homesteaders and having an animal that eats that much around that doesn't earn their keep is not good sense. Now, if I could get a pony that could twitch wood, well, that might be another story entirely...
I guess its time to sign off now, gotta go shovel some more snow. They are wanting 4-9 inches from this storm, and more tomorrow dumping another 3-5 inches. I can't wait for those first spring days in the 50's so I can feel like there's hope of seeing some green grass.
Dreaming of tulips peeking through the snow, ~Peacemom
Monday, February 17, 2014
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
There are a few things that I have discovered about buying a home at the onset of winter. One is that, when it's a home of this age, you can't have any idea how little insulation is in the house until that first zero degree night hits and the furnace won't turn off and that's with the woodstove roaring. We are also outdoors people, and we bought this house when we were going to have a difficult and cold winter. Not much outdoors time going on 'round here. I've been enjoying the new house and the time indoors has motivated me to do a few things. I sanded down the butcher block countertop next to the sink because it was black with water and (gulp!) possibly mold. No, gross, can't have it. So, that was a bit labor intensive, but the end result is much better and I don't feel like I need to bleach it now.
We also were not aware that we had some other little critters occupying our home that weren't just our boys. One morning, I came around the corner to find two rats in my steel cut oats. WHA!!!??? So, after freaking out because they are one of my worst fears, I threw away a big bag of oats. I think I may have been tortured with rats in another lifetime or something. So, after losing my mind, I called the exterminator and he came and spent an hour and a half with me going over everything in the house that could be either an access point or where they might be nesting. And, his advice was to use bait to get rid of them because we found that there were more then we thought originally. I hated to do that because I know it's not the most humane way to get rid of them, but we tried the electronic shock traps and they weren't working. We caught some mice in them, but no rats. They are actually quite smart and figured that out pretty quickly that they didn't want anything to do with that nonsense. So, I baited the house very well and we also put some in the barn away from the chickens because we had many more out there, and the exterminator explained that was where our issue was starting. They were running out of territory out there and making their way into the house because of it. After a week, we are hearing no noise in the walls anymore, and the kitchen has no signs of them now. I have continue to clean my kitchen with a bleach solution thoroughly in an attempt to rid the place of any germs left by those nasty stow aways. Mission accomplished...at least for the time being! Once the weather is warm enough to set the mortar, we'll be plugging as many of the ways into the basement they have managed to find, and that will be a big step in not having this repeated next year.
My roo, Snowball (or Snowy as we call him) is also having issues with the new, cold coop. He has a tall comb and long waddles and they are very subject to frost bite. The girls all have smaller combs and waddles and are not suffering the same issues he is. I tried to catch him to put some Vaseline on them, but he's not too keen on that idea at all. Not. at. all. We put a heat lamp in the coop, but it's not really working well because the coop is quite large and it's not much help. We did get a heater for their waterer also, which has been working great. That's a big relief because I was needing to change the water a couple times a day before and if it froze and I was not home, they were very thirsty when I did manage to bring in a thawed bucket.
I'm ready for the spring to arrive this year in a way I've never been before. I actually enjoy the rest and creative time of winter. This year, because we moved into our home at the onset of winter, we didn't have a chance to enjoy the outside areas. I'm very much looking forward to building the gardens, working in the barn, hiking on the trails adjacent to our home, raising new chicks, and all the fun of spring time. It's been a great time to get inside projects done, I also painted the living room walls from a dark sage to a nice cream color and it has brightened the space enormously. It was dark and depressing before, and now feels bigger and more airy. Loving it! But, I'm definitely ready to flap my wings outside in the warm breeze now...just a few more months to go...I can make it...I think I can...I think I can...I think I can...
Hope you don't have the winter blues...if you're feeling them, order the spring seeds! I placed my order yesterday from High Mowing and it's got me looking forward to that first turn of the soil. Enjoy the period of rest and create something. I'm starting to think about curtains for the house and dusting off the old sewing machine.
Enjoying my visions of spring, ~Peacemom
Sunday, January 26, 2014
won't my blog let me upload pictures. It's such a bummer to me, it's just not the same without the pictures...my stories aren't complete without the photos. Until I can figure out why it's not working, I'll probably not post. Hopefully, I can figure it out quickly. Please check back soon!
Friday, January 10, 2014
Because our fireplace hearth does not have a mantel, we had a challenging time coming up with where to hang the stockings. As the wood in this house is 258 years old without many holes, we didn't want to add any, so....
One of the highlights was being able to host my whole side of the family for the holiday this year. It was a bit stressful trying to get all the boxes and bins that haven't been unpacked yet put away (or hidden away!), as we've not been here very long. But we had a great time gathering together, and it was the first time we've all been able to eat in one room in a long time. Our dining room comfortably hosted every one, and thanks to tables and chairs lent to us by our friend, we were able to enjoy it together.
The meal was very good, everyone contributing an item or two. As always, my favorite part of the meal was the clam casserole. I could eat a whole pan of it, I fear! There were lots of great things to partake of. We also decided to use the cauldron in the kitchen for a unique purpose, it worked great filled with snow!
Another highlight of our new home is having our very own little skating pond. We're very fortunate enough to have a variety of hockey skates in great shape handed down from "The Cousins", which is what the boys call my in law's children, our nieces and nephews on Music Man's side of the family. So, we shoveled the pond off from the snow that fell before some rain and a streak of warm temps for a couple of days to get a nice solid surface on the pond for skating when it refroze. The boys have been having a great time on it. It's great to see the electronics left behind to have a fun time outdoors!
I'm going to try to find more time to update a bit more often now that we're settling in. We've started the long list of things that we'd like to either renovate or fix in this old home (part of which needs to be the lack of insulation! It's freezing in here!), so I'll have more updates on that as things progress. Happy New Year to you all and stay well!
Hoping for happy in your new year, ~Peacemom
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Once renovations get ramped up, I'll be posting more on that process, plus the additional farming we'll be able to do with so much more space and a big barn. Stay tuned, it's gonna get good 'round here!
In the meantime, here are a couple of photos of the interior for your viewing pleasure!
So much else to share with you, come on back and check in!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours...we're feeling very blessed and thankful right now!