Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Winter, Winter and more Winter

I finally figured out that the pictures are uploading, they are just taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R to do it! 

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

Why, oh why??

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

Holidays And Such

Holidays in the new house were great!  Exhausting, but it was so nice to have them in our new home. I think it's funny that in our new house, which is so much larger then our old one, we still needed to have a little tree.  Which worked out really well actually because the tree farm that we found, had only little trees available.
Here the boys are measuring their height on our little tree.  It was little, but very cute and fit right into the spot we chose for it.

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....
I used the hat and mitten drying rack!  It worked perfectly and looked great next to the tree.  Santa had no problem finding them!  There are two little stockings on the top of this collection.  They belong to Little Red's fire bellied toads Ribbit & Rebecca.  Santa didn't leave anything in their stockings because meal worms don't like the warm wood stove!

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.
At one point during the meal, I stopped and just took a moment to look around and see all of us enjoying each other's company and sharing a good meal together and was deeply thankful that we were all there in our new home.  Having lost my mother-in-law this year, I don't take those moments for granted any more.

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!
My parents have a very large dog that was a wonderful addition to our holiday.  She's an older dog, but still has plenty of spunk left in her.  The previous owners of our home had a dog and so had a zip line in the back yard for their dog which we left up in the event that Ellie would come for a visit.  Thing about Ellie is, she'll bolt right out the door past you if she gets the chance and she's a BIG dog, so it's easy for her to do.  We found that the dutch doors in most of our doorways worked great to let her have run of the house except for the back entry room where everyone was coming in and out of.
Presents followed and a delicious assortment of desserts prepared by my sister. We very much enjoyed our time spent with loved ones.

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