Thursday, December 30, 2010

what do you do?

What do you do when a moment comes in your life that punches you in the stomach, and knocks the wind out of you? How do you react? What do you say to the person that gave you the news is someone you know and love? What if the news is about the kids?
What if the words are I have breast cancer from your mother in law? Your very dear friend has had a miscarriage, and you have never had to go through that? Your brother and sister in law tell you they are pregnant, but the baby is not going to live much longer after she is born because her brain never formed correctly? A family member wants children, but it could possibly kill her if she has children? You read on your friends blog, that you have never met, but have been pen pals with for about 8 years, and are certain that if you do meet in this life you would be friends, finds out their 5 year old son has stage four cancer, and they are now fighting for his life? What if someone you love had been raped?
What do you do? How do you react?
My mind is a changing range of emotion this season. All of these things have happened in my life. The words "I'm sorry." Sound so hollow and impersonal. "I'm praying for you." Do you mean it? Do you actually pray for them? Who are you praying to? Do you believe in the power of praying?
When your child is sick and their little heads are heaving over the toilet, or their body is being ravaged by a high fever, and just lay on you all day, don't you wish you were the one that was sick? Don't we all try to keep them safe and healthy? Don't we try to do what is best for them?
Are you thankful that it's not you or your kids, and then are filled with guilt because you thought that? Do you hold your kids closer and kiss them and love on them a little more, and let little things that maybe bothered you, like that loud annoying toy, go?  Do you get down on your knees and bury your face in your hands and cry out to God to bring your loved one comfort and healing? The words to say to try to give comfort to the hurting one? A warm meal to the family in need? Sit quietly with them as you both cry? Clean their house, watch the kids? Does it ever feel like it's enough, or that there should be something more that you could do? Do you hurt when your loved ones or friends hurt? Do you pray for them all day every time you think of them? Are you there for them no matter what?
What do you do? How do you react when life punches you in the stomach and leaves you breathless?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

how 'bout some country livin...

Alright, so all day yesterday it snowed. And the wind blew and I mean it was angry wind. I wondered if the roof would blow off. hahah, no really I did! Thankfully it didn't! In the evening after barn chores Matthew comes in the house and wanted me to go outside for a minute so he could show me something. So silly me, I grab a coat and throw it on, in my sneakers no less, no mittens, or hat even, and trudge outside. I couldn't see Matthew, and as I walk out of the shed he grabs me and throws me over his shoulder and throws me into a nice soft snow bank, oops rather snow drift. I shrieked and laughed at the same time as I landed in the snow! Oh it was cold, soft snow! Matthew laughed and helped me up and we went in the house together. I love it when he plays with me like that!
Then this morning is the clean up after the storm! It's chill you to the bone cold this morning with the wind still howling abound the buildings. Your hands freeze the minute you step out into the cold, as do your feet and nose. The animals need to eat and the cow needs to be milked, so you trudge out and do it! I went out to snap some pictures and help feed the animals as Matthew starts plowing the yard. Before I did I put on my oh so feminine carhart suit, OK so it's really Matthews but I wear one too I like to be as warm as possible on a morning like this, hat, gloves and rubber boots, and  go feed the horses. As I start out to the barn it's bare ground, then I hit the snow drift, and it's a whooper of one too! Glad I didn't have the water buckets in hand yet, 10 gallons of water down my legs, and a face full of snow, in this weather would NOT be fun! Been there done that, and will probably happen again too! I fed the horses and the sheep then made my way back into the house caring their frozen solid water buckets, 10 gallons of frozen water! Now the buckets are sitting by the fire place thawing so I can go back out. FUN! Hopefully by then there will be a path to the barn and no snow drifts! Our snow blower would not do the job of snow blowing the drifts. It's like trying to move a rock they get so hard, so Matthew pulled out the big boy! Our tractor! Oh they are so much fun to drive! Our neighbors driveway is very long (I have a picture), and the man that plows his drive is a man that lives over the river and through the woods from us, and he had to get another neighbor to come over with his tractor to go in front of him to plow a path! Oh I just LOVE country living. Neighbors helping out, snow drifts the size of SUVs, my man on our tractor, the fire going to get out that bone chilling coldness! After coming in and warming up with a warm cup of tea Matthew goes back out and finishes up with the snow. All the animals fed, and watered and done until lunch time when they need more food and water, then supper and so on!
Looking out back. I think it looks cold, and it was! burrrrr

This is right out front of our shed. I was on my knees to get this picture. You can see our snow covered  sap house, and buried truck in the drift!

Our neighbors driveway. The man that  plows decided after this and got stuck he better go get a tractor  to finish this job!

The tractor in front, and the plow truck behind! Gotta love country living with a driveway like that!

When is it going to stop?! You can see part of a drift there too! Ever feel like this?

She thinks my tractors sexy...!!! Yup I do! My man!!

I went in Abby's stall and took this picture. That snow drift is right in front of her door!!You can see her hoof marks in the snow! Yikes! Shes happily munching on hay beside me, thats her head! Time Out is still in her stall beside Abby's.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas face????

Well, now that Christmas is over I'm glad. I love Christmas, but at the same time, it's tiring. I feel like I'm in a brain fog, and the past week is kinda a blurrrrr. I'm glad that we are on home school break. The kids are exhausted and have what my family refers to as "Christmas face". I wanted a nice family picture at my parents, but it didn't happen. Are you kidding me?? The kids are all in a daze and I don't know how it would have turned out! Funny thing I guess that is why people have their picture before Christmas, before all the... you fill in the blanks! My living room looks like Santa's work shop gifts everywhere, no furniture to sit on, and well basically a mess! Tomorrow it's time to get things back in order! The kids love all their new stuff, and have been enjoying them today, after church. I don't think they ate very much today, I think they are still full of all the "food" they ate yesterday. Emma and Rachel have the sniffles, and lets hope that it doesn't get any worse. I bought some more of the worlds best orange juice (it's Florida Natural No Pulp, if you were wondering) today and need to stock up on some vitamin c! Every once in a while I'll call my sister (OK, so almost everyday) and say hey, have you ever tried..... and she'll say no and I'll tell her to go get some next time she goes shopping, and then a few days later she'll call me back and say thank you very much for my new obsession. I giggle and say your welcome. But in all fairness she now returns the favor to me!! We enjoy increasing each others grocery budget! Matthew, myself and a brother in law went to Massachusetts last January to see Joel Salatin at a conference (totally worth EVERY penny we spent to go) and on the way back I wanted to stop at the Cracker Barrel, well it was late and I saw they had Florida Natural OJ on the menu. I ordered a glass and as I gulped some down I almost spit it out in my brother in laws face! It was all pulp! In case you haven't guessed I hate the pulp. Oh I was sooooo disappointed. Matthew tried it and he couldn't even drink it. It must have been most pulp. Sigh. Needless to say when I got home I had a big tall glass of it, no pulp and was a happy girl again! I usually always have oj in my fridge! I know that was kinda "ping" on my part, but that is where my brain is tonight.....
My grandmother gave me some nice yarn and some new knitting needles for a gift this year! I was pleased, now I can maybe try my hand at following a pattern, and have some yarn to do it with. Maybe. You know those winter projects I want to do? I'll carve out some time and make myself do it. I'll have to get some face time with my grandmother and have her show me. I think I might stress her out though! We'll see!
I was a little surprised when Matthew came flying in the house and said I needed to milk Maggie tonight, because he was going to help someone get out of the field, (yup some smuck drove their car into the field and got stuck. Big surprise!)  I got all the stuff together and went out, feeling rushed, and when I  sat down on the stool to milk, Maggie sensed I was tense, and she proceeded to step on my foot and flick her tail in my face. She turned her head back and looked at me with her big brown doe eyes and blinked. Then we both sighed. I needed to chill out and Maggie knew it. I guess that is why she stepped on my freezing foot and hit me in the face with her tail. I started milking and got into the rhythm of it and felt my body relax and the tension leave my body. By the time I was done milking I was enjoying the sounds I was hearing in the cold winter night. Matthew and some other neighbors got the person out of the field and all was well, again.
Well, I've put up some pictures and maybe your mouth will water, or not. Maybe you'll be thankful it's at my house instead of yours. Sometimes while I'm in the midst of all this cooking and baking I wonder why do I do this to myself? Lets call it tradition, and I love it!

My second attempt at fudge. It came out smooth and creamy the way fudge is supposed to be! Yay!

These are the donuts I usually make. More of a cake donut.  Love this recipe, they are so good! I got the recipe from my mother in law. Makes my mouth water just looking at them! 

Some of the holiday treats. Cheesecake, pumpkin bread, fudge,  Reese squares, peanut butter balls, and needhams!

New donuts I tried for Christmas breakfast! Gasp! I broke a long time family  tradition of sticky buns and had yeast donuts, with a glaze instead!! They were a big hit!  I'd never made a yeast donut before and found out just how much they rise, all down the side of the bowl and onto the shelf in the fridge! They popped the cover right off the container! Oops, guess I better split the recipe before I put it in the fridge, or get a bigger bowl!! Oh well, chalk it up to a lesson learned, and a laugh!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

aahhh some chocolate fun...






DaLaney adding some peanut butter to the mixture. Emma making sure she got it all!

Packing down the Reese squares!


Some silly fun on the floor!

Matthew adding some more peanut butter! Emma peeking again. She tried her hand at getting the peanut butter out of the cup, and decided she didn't like that job!
Emma adding some powdered sugar to the bowl! DaLaney looking on!

DaLaney getting chocolate on the peanut butter balls!
The kiddos mixing!
Rachel getting chocolate on the Needhams!
Every Christmas season we make chocolates. I've let the kids help me too, lets call it a tradition in our family. They love to be in the kitchen with me, helping me cook. It's good practice for them so when they get older they will feel comfortable in the kitchen, and be confident chefs! Sometimes they argue about who gets to help wipe the dishes! Ah to have such a problem! I got these recipes from my Grandmother who still makes chocolates for everyone in the family. That's a lot of chocolate! She does it throughout the though. She always asks me on Christmas if I've made chocolates.Then wonders how I find the time with all the other stuff going on in my life! I have tried to do different ones every year and some of the same, but this year I've only made our favorites. So far we have had a blast making them. I managed to get a large blob of chocolate on my finger and Emma said "Mommy, I would really love to lick your finger right now!" I laughed and let her have the chocolate blob off my finger! She smacked her lips and smiled as she swallowed it, savoring the taste! I'll have some more pictures to share later on and the end result. Can't wait! And the dreaded fudge too. I'm gonna try it, again!  The kids are wanting to finish up and so am I!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

hahahahahahahaha.....

Beware of the sheep! If you look close you can see the black sheep, Daisy, inside the shed! Not to mention the kids bikes in front of the doorway and a displaced dog peaking around the truck!
What's wrong with this picture???


OK, so I couldn't resist the urge to put up a couple funny pictures! The guard sheep in the shed, and our Christmas tree with half the lights out! I noticed that this afternoon when I turned the lights on and the tree didn't look as bright! Will be fun taking them off and putting up new ones, lets see how many decorations I can knock off in the meantime! 

random thoughts or soapbox?

As I sit here and munch on chex party mix, drinking some yummy blueberry lemonade, and watching the fire burn out of the corner of my eye, the house is quiet, the kids are in bed and happily snoring in their dream worlds getting a good night sleep I find myself thinking about Christmas. I think that sometimes people get too caught up on the gifts, and not the thought of what they are giving. "Oh lets just get something because it's a good deal", ie (black Friday). One of my many sister in laws went shopping on that particular day and told me some pretty funny, err crazy stories about what she saw. I wonder if any got put on you tube, haha. All the hype, and what a let down. I've never been shopping on black Friday, and don't think I will either. Personally I'd rather not get caught up in all the hype.  I'd rather buy someone, that I love, something nice, that I put thought into, and actually thought about the person I bought the gift for. If someone is to buy me a gift, and I don't expect any, I want thought put into it, not a price tag. To me that is what matters when buying a gift, the thought, not the cost.

I went shopping the other day, Saturday actually, was not looking forward to it because it was the last Saturday before Christmas, and well, it was Saturday. I was actually surprised it wasn't that bad. The traffic was heavy, but I think overall the people were not screaming at each other! I was able to get my shopping done, but the line for the checkout was very long. I only got one dirty look from a woman in front of me about how long it was taking. The cashier was not very friendly, but neither was she rude, ( you know, like I was interrupting her). I overheard someone in front of me ask if it was OK to say Merry Christmas in that store to their customers. How sad.

I bought some stuff to make fudge, and actually made it, and it was a disaster! I've only made fudge a few times, and  I followed the recipe, something I don't always do, to the letter, and it was not a good result. It didn't come out smooth and creamy, but rather clumpy and flaky. The marshmallows didn't melt, and the chocolate must have burnt! I'm not really sure, but it's not good. Guess I'll toss it and try again. Chalk it up to a fudge learning experience!! Oh well!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas tree o Christmas tree!!

With the lights on. OK so not the best pictures, but you get the idea. See all the Christmas books to the left of the tree? Great books! The craziness of the ornaments, and the carousel horses under the tree. Emma always asks for the carousel, and she sets it up under the tree!

With the lights off... wonder who knocked off the lights on the bottom??
Yesterday Matthew and Little Matt went out in the woods and cut down our  tree! I wish I had a picture of Little Matt's face when he dragged that big 'ol tree through the front door, and the huge grin on his face his blue eyes sparkling with excitement! What a wonderful surprise for the end of the day!  It's big and full and I love it! For a wild tree it really looks nice, and with the lights and decorations the kids put on, it's great! Matthew and I put the lights on it first. Every time we put the lights on I think of that very funny song that I love about the lights on the tree. Not sure what it's called, but the man is trying to get the lights on his house and then he's yelling by the end of it "Oh when one blinks they all blink, if your so smart, do it yourself!" I laugh and holler at Matthew, in a teasing way, every year those lines as we untangle the lights! We both laugh, and the kids think I'm crazy! It's moments like that, that I enjoy being able to be silly with my family, and just enjoy their company. Every year we buy a new ornament for the kids to put on the tree. Then when they have their own trees in their own homes they will have some decorations to put on it, and maybe carry on that family tradition. My parents did that for us girls, and now that we are grown and have kids of our own we all do it for our kids. Actually Mom still gets us a tree ornament.

My Christmas blanket. I'd like to knit this well, someday!
I love the Christmas season! It's such a joy even more so with the kids getting older and really feeling the excitement of the holiday and the true meaning of Christmas. My grandmother made me a Christmas blanket that I put over the couch, and it's so pretty, and festive. It keeps me warm as I sit on the couch curled up with it, hot coco in hand, the fire going in the wood stove, and my favorite Christmas movie on, Irving Berlins White Christmas! Oh I just love that movie! Or with the kids piled on me reading one of our wonderful Christmas books! Just to name a few, Rocking Horse Christmas, The Crippled Lamb, The Legend of the Candy Cane, Stranger in the Woods, I could list more, but I think you get the picture! We all look forward to digging out the holiday movies, books and music, to enjoy all month!

Monday, December 13, 2010

fellow canners!!!

I was very pleased the other day when Matthew put an envelope in front of me and I opened it up and found some Tattler canning lids! BPA (Bisphenol A) FREE!! A sample and some information about them and an order form!



This past summer we went to the MOFGA fair to a root cellering discussion and the woman mentioned that BPA was in the canner lids. Honestly I never thought about it. Horrors! I thought! Not that I was surprised, disgusted more like it. So that set us on a new hunt, no, we did not get any BPA free lids this year, but next year we hope to get some. The woman also mentioned she had not used them, but some people she knew had, and they had mentioned that they had, had a hard time getting them to seal. Well, now I was wondering if any of you had used BPA free lids and what your opinion of them was, and if there were other brands that you liked better or what have you! Being what some would say an avid canner, I would hate to have to re-can my stuff, it's a lot of work, but on the flip side, the health of my family is worth the effort. Even if it means canning all my goods, again! 

This rain is making a mess of everything here. The kids were so disappointed this morning when they woke up and the snow was gone, along with the little forts they had built, and spent hours playing in! We can't get the tractor in the fields to spread some horse manure, or we could but that is one adventure I would rather not try! Imagine the pictures! Seeings how I'm on the subject of, no not manure, but the farm, Maggie is in heat. We may have missed it by morning. The AI  tech never called us back, so now that would set us back even more. But we have been keeping a very close eye on her and looking for "the signs" and she was bellowing this afternoon, hanging out where the meat birds chicken tractor is. Gotta tell you Matthew and I were out in the horse barn this afternoon fixing Time Outs stall and he was singing and whistling away, and Maggie started bellowing at him! She was standing at the edge of the fence looking at the barn!! Oh my was that funny! I guess they were having a duet! Matthew thought that was funny too and kept on singing! Anyways now we shall see about tomorrow and maybe the AI tech will get back to us and we can get her bred, again. I know we only have an 18 hour window, so... 


Friday, December 10, 2010

ahh garden work...

Do you remember when I blogged about all my tomatoes? Well here they are, a few pictures anyways! We had 18 tomato plants this year and they produced lots of tomatoes! I think I had 5-6 bushels of them over the course of the summer! I was very pleased with that too. I had to buy spaghetti sauce last winter when my supply ran out, boy I hated to do that! If I can do it myself, I'd rather do it, and with the food we eat, I like to know where it's coming from. Besides, my husband loves my sauce, and he hates pasta! So I get to eat pasta and he likes the flavor of it!! Win win for both I think! My mouth just waters looking at these beautiful tomatoes, all warm and juicy from the summer heat, just begging to be picked and turned into a tomato sandwich, grilled cheese and tomato,  mozzarella cheese, oh the list goes on and on!! I think you get the picture! We had enough tomatoes for pasta sauce, pizza sauce, and some stewed tomatoes for soups this winter! I'd like to try ketchup, and salsa next year. I think my supply will last until next summer too! I like that, knowing I have a beautiful cubbord, made by my husband, filled with our canned goods to eat and enjoy the fruit of our hands this winter! I find something very satisfying about working in the garden, getting my hands brown with dirt, sweat dripping down my back, the kids happily picking right along beside me. Knowing all the hard work of gardening and canning will be worth it come winter. Something in Maine we are always preparing for! Speaking of winter I better go and get some wood on the fire before it goes out!
One of 18 tomato plants loaded with tomatoes! If you look close you can see the green ones!

I love the way the sun was hitting this tomato cluster! 
This is one of the many bushels of tomatoes I canned this summer!

The final products! The small one is pizza sauce, then pasta sauce, then stewed tomatoes! Yummy!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

winter projects...

Well I guess now that the snow is now here, probably to stay I have a little more time to do some other non-farm projects. No hay to get in before it rains, you know the typical farm things. I am working on a baby blanket for a friend of mine, who is having a girl, in case you couldn't tell from the wonderful color of the blanket. I don't think the camera did the color justice, it's called strawberry, by Simply Soft and I love it! The stitch is a seed stitch, what a pain, but I love the way the patten comes out. One of my sisters tells me I'm crazy to make another blanket in the seed stitch, but... what can I say I'm a glutton for punishment!! haha!! I think maybe I'll step outside my comfort zone of my limited ability of knitting and actually get and follow a pattern! (There is one that I want to try, and was going to for this blanket, but procrastinated, and didn't get it done). My grandmother would be proud to here that. She shutters every time I call with a knitting question, and she asks what pattern I'm using, and I say "Oh I'm just winging it!" I can see her shuddering now as I type that! So I think I'll try a pattern with some left over yarn, this winter and count the stitches and all!! Yeah! Maybe I'll keep you posted, if I actually do that. I  know of a few more friends that are expecting babies next year so maybe..... I should go and finish the blanket, the baby shower is on Saturday, and I have some knitting left to do to finish her gift!! But before you go check out the blanket!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

check out my view!

I can see the flickering of the fire in our wood stove, yellow and red out of the corner of my eye and feel it's warmth spreading all over me and the house keeping out the cold, almost winter night air. I though of the beautiful sunsets that I get to enjoy almost all year long here on the farm, and wanted to share two of the sunsets we had this year. They are all different and breathtakingly beautiful, like a painter that turns the plain white canvas into something spectacular with the colors coming off the canvas and screaming "here I am!" I never tire of looking at the sunsets. Even when we are crazy busy on the farm I am sometimes shocked to see the time slipping into darkness and the sun peeks out from behind a cloud and sets it on fire with it's beauty. Both of these pictures were taken from across the street from our farm. I can see the sunset from my large kitchen window, but sometimes wonder outside with the camera to try to capture it's beauty, or just enjoy watching the sun fade down behind the mountains. I feel blessed with such a view and have enjoyed it for 11 years! Matthew and I have often said that one of the hardest things to leave behind when we settle our own land will be the sunsets that we have enjoyed here! We hopefully will have a spectacular view from our farm and will become native to that land! I hope you enjoy them too! 
This has to be my favorite picture of the sunset! I never get tired of looking at it.  It reminds me of my Creator that His art work is timeless.

Ahhh the beauty of life!




Tuesday, December 7, 2010

meet the crew...

Well this is us!!
Abby & Time Out
 
                                                                 Minty, DaLaney & Daisy
                                      DaLaney loves her sheep, and as you can see they love her too!
The great mousers Laural and Hardy! They are great cats and are fun to watch too. We are very pleased that they are such good hunters and best buddies!

Back Row: Little Matt, & DaLaney
Front Row: Emma & Rachel 
Amy & Matthew
Magnolia aka Maggie
This is not at our farm, it is where we bought her. She was dry and going to calve in the middle of July!
Welcome high speed!! Very excited to have it, now I can share pictures! I don't have any pictures of the chickens that we have left, so I'll have to get one!! We put a heat light in the chicken coop, on a timer, so maybe they will lay eggs. I hate buying eggs at the store. I only use them for cooking, and I have a craving for egg mcmuffins and bacon too!! Oh well, we'll see!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

update on time out...

We have been continuing Time Outs driving training. Say that fast! It's a mouthful! She's doing well with it too. She still gags and chews on the bit, but it gives her something to think about. We put the driving reins on her this afternoon, and I was the lucky one to walk behind her. Matthew walked beside her, and would signal me when he wanted me to gently pull back on the reins to get her to "whoa." Matthew would say whoa and I would gently put pressure on her mouth, to get her used to the feel of pressure on her mouth and link that to stopping. She did well. Abby was in the barn eating hay, and didn't seem to care, this time. Last time we worked with Time Out, Abby threw a fit! Running around bucking, kicking and neighing with great effort!  (I think she was wanting to be part of it too. I used to drive her.) We will continue to work with Time Out with the driving reins and see how she goes.  She once in a while she will dance sideways and throw her head, but with a quick snap of the lead and a firm "no" she settles down .She's very willing to learn and work. She is still young and there is still a good space in her knees, so we can't work her too hard, or we could damage her legs, and we don't want to do that. We are just taking it slow and easy, Time Out likes it like that. Matthew has a comforting voice and is slow and quiet with her, and she responds well to him.
We have acquired a "new" sleigh, and Matthew and some friends are out getting it now, and now we hope to be literally singing "oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh!!!" this winter! We had a delivery to make earlier this summer to a farm, and we saw it out and thought hhuuummmm... Well anyone that knows Matthew knows he's not one to let that sort of thing just go. He looked at me, looked at the sleigh, looked at me again, and got back out of the van. The kids and I just sat in the van and waited. Well, the owner of said sleigh was not home but the people that worked there said call him, so that night Matthew called him. The man never got back to him, so we figured it was a no go, but yesterday he (Matthew) ran into him and the guy was like just come get it, and get it outta there!! OK! So that is where he is now! Very excited about that. Now with the fore cart, and the sleigh we are all set to go for rides. And with Time Out in training we are praying things continue to go well and can enjoy it all!! I will keep you posted in our progress, and any rides we take, good or bad!

good quote

"Take the time to enjoy the humor of the farm. Watch the calves run across the field, kicking up their heels. Tussle with your children in the hay mow after the last bale is in. Enjoy the sunset." Joel Salatin, Family Friendly Farming (book)
Reminds me of the day Time Out jumped over a 3 foot snow drift last year! She was feeling frisky after the snow storm, her first winter and she loved it! Just running, jumping, kicking and rolling around in the snow, being a baby in her first winter here on the farm!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

testing...

The sap evaporator, "saperator" is home and almost all set up for this spring! In with the new, out with the old, it's in the sap house and looks good. Matthew, Little Matt and one of Matthew's brothers came over to help set it up. Needs a few tweaks and a few more things and it will be finished and will be ready for boiling! Can't wait!
The rest of Thanksgiving week was well, horrible to say the least. I found out that something on the sawmill broke as well. Not sure if it's been fixed or not. The insurance company still has not even looked at the van, and we've been using my in-laws cars, and then last Sunday we lost the heater core, again! So it's back at the garage. The garage that has fixed it has been great to deal with too. Hopefully they will continue to be that way! And today Matthew found a hole in the tractor tent! And if it continues it will rip out the top and the tractor will not be covered! Aaaaaahhhhghggg. But the good news is it can be fixed. Called the company and it's only 20$ to get a patch kit, and he'll eat the shipping charge. Maggie should be coming into heat in the next few weeks as well.

The other day we went up into the back field, behind our neighbors house and cut some hay, that would have been second crop had we gotten to it, and piled it on the hay wagon loose and are feeding it to the horses. They like it and have been eating it right up! Little Matt drove the tractor, I pitched it on the wagon, Matthew tromped it down on the wagon, and the girls ran around giggling. DaLaney wanted to drive the tractor, but Daddy said not yet. Maybe next summer. Was fun!

Friday, November 26, 2010

ever wonder???

So I'm not going to bore you with all the details of our Thanksgiving. It went well, and the turkey came out well too. I was surprised that it was good. I'm not a fan of turkey, but I actually liked it. I found a new recipe in my Taste of Home Magazine for Champagne Basted Turkey, so I tried it. Everyone said it was good, so we'll go with that. Everything was on the table and still hot and thankfully we did not have much leftovers. My sister threw it all in a bowl mixed it up and we had a turkey pot pie for supper tonight. What a great idea, no peas or carrots thrown in a small container just to be found in a week and thrown away, no turkey for weeks on end either. I took my grandmothers advice and boiled the bones and made a broth to make turkey soup for supper tomorrow. That pretty much takes care of the leftover questions. Just throw on some squash or squash soup for a side and bingo! Done! Clean up went well too, not too many dishes to do, we kept them clean as we cooked, and we used paper plates as well! What a great thing paper plates! Just eat and throw them!! I don't have a "dish washer", but my two hands. I did enjoy the day and the visit with my family, the kids loved having Tiny come over and see and climb all over Nana and Fumfa too!!

Ever wonder what a Mom with young children finds in the washing machine and uumm, sometimes the dryer? Well the other day I was putting clothes in the dryer and something fell on the floor. I picked it up and it was an acorn! Where on earth did that come from? We have no trees, so they didn't find it here! I also found a small bag, a crayon (thankfully that didn't go in the dryer. Had that happen before too, crayon doesn't come out) two hair clips, a dime, a penny, pink flagging tape, and a small piece of paper. Just some of Rachel's treasures. I know they were Rachel's because her pants wound up in the towel basket. I've found money, rocks, lots of rocks, little toys, big toys, paper, markers, you name it, I've probably washed it!

I'm thankful for flowers. I love flowers! Lots can be said with flowers. They just seem to brighten up my day, and make the house look nice. On a dreary day they make me smile. Any kind of flower in nice, rode side flowers, store flowers, tons and tons of dandelions from the kids. I love it when they go outside in the field and pick me handfuls of dandelions, daisy's or whatever they can find. The look on their faces when they are out there picking them, and don't know I'm watching them, and when they hide them behind their backs to surprise me, or when I go in my room or the bathroom and find a cupful of flowers sitting there. I love that! I don't have an eye for arranging flowers the way one of my sisters can, she was a pro, literally! I just cut and stick them in the vase and hope for the best. I did buy some flowers for the table for Thanksgiving, and I'm glad I did. It just added something extra to the table.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

almost here!!!

Well tomorrow is THE day!! Thanksgiving, that is! All the things that are done, are done, and the things that did not get done will just have to slide. Besides I'm not aiming for perfection. That is unattainable in this life, I'm striving for my best. As long as everyone is safe, has a good time, and the turkey is not burnt or dried out it should go fine! No pressure, there is always dessert! I don't want to reveal too much tonight about the things I've planned and am working on because I'll blog about our first Thanksgiving at our house tomorrow, or the next day and see how it turns out. I'm not even stressed out about it. I've gotten all of my baking done today, because I have to cook the turkey tomorrow, and I got some other prep work done today to keep things low key tomorrow.  Matthew and Little Matt are planning on going hunting in the morning, and I'll be milking.  I bought a special breakfast so I don't have to think about that meal, and the girls can eat while I milk. I even stopped my busy work this evening milked, because the boys were out cutting up the deer Matthew hit the other night. I enjoyed that because I could just sit and think and listen to the wind howl around the farm. It brought the bible verse to mind about  how the wild winds that do His will, and I took comfort in that. Well it's late and I'm tired and I have a busy day ahead tomorrow.

Today I'm thankful for good music!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

turkey day countdown

This year we are having Thanksgiving at our house! I am super excited about that too! I have planned and planned some more. I know, I have a plan, and hope it works out, so far it has. One of my sisters is not coming, she's headed to the in laws, and we will miss them. I have invited them to come for dessert, we have cheesecake!! My other sister, her son, my parents and grandmother will be coming. Small, but our place is small, so it works. I've been cleaning like a mad woman and shopping like one too!! Love it!! I'm trying to get things done so I can enjoy the fellowship with my family on Thanksgiving. It's Matthew's favorite, so I hope to make it special for him, as well as everyone else. I'm cooking the turkey too. Little nervous because I've only ever cooked 2 in my life. I've only been a real chef for 11 years. Yup I like to consider myself a chef, sounds better then cook. (kinda like filling out a doctor form when they ask my employers, I like to put Matthew Sr, Little Matt, DaLaney, Emma & Rachel. Or chief executive in charge. Haha, that one gets some questions!!!) My brother in law would shake his head and say "Oh, there goes a bunny!" with that little side bar there. Anyways, back to the turkey, I have my Mom's turkey cooker, a turkey cooking bag, (that is supposed to keep it nice and juicy, and easier clean up, just throw the bag and presto, done) and I have a fresh, all natural, local turkey too. I picked it up today. The kids were sitting on the couch this evening and I heard them making turkey noises, and Little Matt jumps up and runs for the fridge and says "Mommy the turkey is still alive!" haha funny, I grin at him. I asked my mother in law how long to cook it and she gave me some good advice, and I have a recipe that I've never tried before to try on the turkey. I know that is not what a hostess is supposed to do, but I'm gonna break the rules and do it anyways!! Thanksgiving is also my Mom's birthday, so I told her she's not allowed in the kitchen. She thought that was a good idea!:)
Today nothing outrageous happened, so I am thankful for a "normal" day at the farm, and shopping wasn't as horrible as I had thought it would be being so close to Thanksgiving, and I got to go shopping and have a date with DaLaney.

Monday, November 22, 2010

it's only monday?!?!

Oh it's already been one of those weeks, and it's only Monday! 
Yesterday morning Matthew came in from milking rather discouraged. He told us Maggie had aborted. What?! Oh no I thought. I asked if she was ok, and he said yes. Guess it's God's way of taking care of things if the calf wasn't right. I'm thankful Maggie is ok, and today she seemed fine as well. So now we wait until next month and try the AI again.
Then today Matthew had a delivery to make, all went well, then he went up to see a dairy farmer to see about buying a 6 month old heifer calf. Well that was fine and good, but decided not to buy the calf, because the farm was not that nice, and he didn't feel it would be a good move to get the calf. Ok that's fine too. Then on his way home he hit a deer. What?! Yup! He's fine thankfully, and the van is ok. We don't have any lights on it, but it still runs and he came home to us safely. He got to bring the deer home too, so now we will have some deer burg.
When he got home we headed out for a date. Just the two of us, to a meeting about farming. Well that wasn't all it was cracked up to be either, we were expecting it to be more then it was, but it wasn't. Oh well. I'm thankful for the date with my husband and the opportunity to spend some time with him alone! We shall see what the rest of the week has in store for us as it plays out. 
I guess this would be the time I call upon the grace He gave me to make it through my life that I am thankful for.

Friday, November 19, 2010

maple syrup

Now why would I be talking about maple syrup in November? Well today we got our loan to buy a commercial sap evaporator, or "saperator"!  We prayed for Gods guidance and took wise counsel from a wonderful man, my Dad, thank you Dad, and prayed more, and were blessed with the finances. The man we bought it from even knocked $250 off the price of it!  What a blessing! We started making our own maple syrup when Little Matt was 1ish, and I was huge pregnant with DaLaney, that is why the evaporator is referred to as the saperator. He dubbed it that, and we thought it was cute, and it kinda stuck. We have gotten better at making maple syrup over the years too, lots of trial and error, lots of wise counsel from others who do it, and tons of fun!  I'll admit the first stuff we made was not fit for human consumption, it was thick, black and tasted like smoke!  but we had a blast making it!  We were outside, in the wind (did I ever mention we have lots of wind up here on the farm)? We boiled it down in a homemade sap pan that we paid for with some of our savings, and on an old wood stove!! That is why it tasted like smoke! Yup, I've got pictures too, maybe soon I'll be able to share them, but for now just picture that in your mind!! We wanted to sell it, but had a long way to go, and in the state of Maine it has to be boiled down inside a building and in a stainless steal pan. Well, we had the stainless steal pan, but not the building. So began our hunt for a building and a place to put it. Matthew had on order to fill at the mill and the man that wanted the order owned a small shed down the road from us in a hay field!  See it coming? Well, Matthew being the man he is asked for a barter, the order for the shed! Bingo! Now where to put it? In comes our wonderful neighbors that share a driveway with us. They are truly some of the nicest people we've ever met!  They own the10 acre hay field next to us, and we asked if we could put it in the corner of the field, and pay the extra taxes that would incur from the building. They said yes! Now we have our sap building!  So over the course of 7 years we have a good product to enjoy and to sell! We had to admit that the last two years we had out grown our little saperator, but were still not ready to get a bigger one, so we started looking, and pricing them. Now the time is right, and the time to buy is now, before another sap season. We will be so much more efficient, time wise, and can add some more taps comfortably, and it will cut our boiling time down, and can do more gallons per hour! Now we can go get our new saperator and get it ready for the spring!  I can almost smell the wonderful, sticky aroma of the sap boiling down now!!

thankful

I'm thankful for the life God has given me and the grace to live it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

come for a fun ride with me!!

I've been very busy. I'm not really a big planner, but I can plan, and do try, sometimes. Well I did try and life got in the way of my plan, as it often does. It's nothing earth shattering or life altering, my plans, or what happens, but it is maddening at times too. The other day I planned on home school, and it was a success, and in the afternoon I was going to dust. No big deal you say?? Well.... let me tell you what happened to my plan. Just hang on for the ride and see if you can keep up. We needed a dryer, ours was not working again, and not worth putting more money into, so we got a new one. I had some towels in the wash that needed to be dried too. In comes this huge monster of a dryer, that is a blessing because it works and we got a good deal on it. Well it needed the cords changed on it to plug it in, 3 prongs verses 4 prongs. So it sat in my, shall we say small living room by the phone shelf, for a day or so, and Matthew was able to change the cord, after speaking with an electrician. So with this huge dryer is in my living room I now had a new obstacle to dust around. I picked a corner and started the dusting, had to skip things around the dryer because I couldn't move the beast, and I got to a window. I looked at it and it needed some serious cleaning. I went into the kitchen to get a drink and wanted some more iced coffee, but decided that some warm tea would be good to warm me up. I put the water in the microwave and got the tea started. I put the tea bags in it and left it to steep, and started cleaning my window, which led me to the other windows in the house, all needing to be washed. Not an easy task either. I forgot about finishing my dusting at that time, in case you hadn't guessed. I went back in the kitchen to check on my tea and it was luke warm. Yuck. So iced tea it was, I put some ice in it and milk and a touch of sugar. I glanced at the clock, plenty of time, or so I thought. I knew what I had planned on for supper, stuffed shells, something that takes time to do, well I put the water on to boil, and cut up the onion for the hamburg, took care of the children's needs, answered the phone, and then  I glanced at the clock, again, almost time to bring the cow in to eat and the horses in before it was too dark. No problem, or so I thought. I've abandoned my window washing now too. I dumped the shells in the water and went outside to get Maggie in to eat. She decided to come running to the gate and stop. She stood there looking at me as I called her, then she mooed and started to munch on grass. So 10 minutes later she comes in the barn and puts her head to the side of the head lock and eats. No point in fighting with her to move her head. After she eats her grain I bribe her with an apple to get her head in the head lock. I run back in the house hoping the shells are not over cooked, and thankfully they were not too bad. I looked at my tea, a lost cause at this point. Watered down, luke warm again, tea. Yuck.  I drank some and dumped the rest opting for cold water instead. I ran back outside to get the horses in before I started cooking the hamburg, and of course Abby, who always comes to me took off running to the other side of the pasture Time Out right behind her! Sigh. I need the exercise anyways and proceeded to chase them around the huge paddock. (It seemed huge in the almost dark, cold, and tall grass I was running in, praying I wouldn't fall)! After awhile Abby came back to me and we went in the barn, and got them put to bed. Yup I put the animals to bed. Returning to the house, and if your wondering about the kids I had put in a movie for them and told them to stay in the house. They were happy to watch a movie and stay in where it is warm. I got supper made and put in the oven, and went back outside to milk Maggie because Matthew was going to be late getting home.  His week at the mill has been, challenging at best. Everything seemed to go wrong over there, and that was one last thing he needed to come home to do, and I was glad to help. I like to milk. The milking chores done, and all the critters "in bed" for the night we finally sat down together and ate.
So I had a plan, but as you can see it didn't turn out the way I planned, but I got the dusting done today, the monster dryer is where it belongs, and I can play catch up on the laundry.  I still haven't finished the windows, but there is always tomorrow, and with all this going on, I again thought to myself, "man some chocolate chip cookies would be real good right now!"

Sunday, November 14, 2010

good quote

"Look Mommy! I see a buggle bee! I don't like buggle bees!"
"Rachel", age 3

Friday, November 12, 2010

sunny days

I'm thankful for my sister, who stopped by late this afternoon with some Garelick Farms Egg Nog, and a wonderful fall tablecloth for me. Had a very nice visit, and good conversation. We don't get to see each other often, due to, well, life and her job, but I don love the visits.

It's been real nice here the past few days. The sun has been out and been real warm and is wonderfully refreshing after the rain. Everything is drying out nicely. Even me!! haha!! I've been too busy running around town, and going to the bank, forgetting it was closed due to Veteran's Day, so I had to go back today, along with the other stores, again, trying to get things done to really enjoy the nice weather. Two mornings, and a good portion of the afternoon have been gone in a flash. I went to a baby shower, yesterday too. Oh the cute little boy things, all soft and cuddly!
 My mornings usually start at 7am, and don't end, eerrr, stop until 8-9pm, then I can sit down and relax, until I decide to do something else, like make bread at 8pm, like tonight. It's cooking in the oven right now. Smells wonderful!
 I hope tomorrow we can get some stuff done on the farm, like moving pastures, mowing the lawn, cleaning the barns, laundry, maybe one last time on the line if it's 60 degrees they should dry, I like to push it to see how late in the year I can hang clothes on the line... the list goes on! Guess it won't be a slow day:-)
Enjoy the warmth of the sun all!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

it stopped raining!

I'm thankful for four children who keep me on my toes and one step ahead of them!

With all this rain everything is water logged, even myself. I found myself running out to the barn this morning in my sneakers, my first mistake, to feed the horses. Abby, has a bad habit of opening her door and eating all the hay. The only reason Time Out didn't get out was because we have a bungee cord to lock her in. I think Abby will soon find out how to get her out of her stall too. She's Houdini when it comes to doors! She had managed to get one bale of hay in her stall and then get it outside in her pasture, which with all the rain is like a muddy, water lagoon. I let Time Out out, and shut the door, again.I don't know why I bothered to shut the door! I figured they had enough hay to last them a good while in the barn and the water lagoon. WRONG. They managed to destroy the barn, knocking down just about everything in their path and a second bale of hay was, well you guessed it, gone. Oh well, two bales of hay gone, in a morning, and a barn to clean up. Just another day on the farm!

I milked the cow tonight. She insisted on continually slapping me in the face with her tail, thankfully it was not wet, so it wasn't too bad. She would look back at me and blink and I just stared back at her and told her to cool it with the tail. She didn't. Still no real good signs of her being in heat, and the window to breed her is gone. I spoke to the AI Tech, and she said the last thing you want to do is put your hand in there and knock the baby off. She would be what is called short bred. We agreed that we would let it go, and continue that she settled. We don't want to take a chance, and at 6 months you can "bump" her to see if you can feel the calf's  head. I did that the last time and that was so neat to feel the calf bump you back! So we are going to continue that she settled! I think we'll still watch her next month, just to be sure though! Very exciting!

Monday, November 8, 2010

maggie

I'm thankful that it is raining and NOT snowing!! That is what I'm thankful for!

Well Maggie should be in heat today, and so far she has not been "flirting" with us. Ever been flirted with by a cow? Well it's funny. With those big brown doe like eyes, and a tail that while you milk her, just wraps around your neck, and she just looks at you and blinks those eyes. She hasn't been mooing like crazy at the other cattle across the road either. We no longer have the broilers for her to charge at and sleep with, so, hopefully she settled.  We are keeping a close eye on her.  If she did settle then her estimated due date is July 27, 2011!! But if she goes like last time she will be 9 days late. We would really like a heifer calf this time too. You know not to be picky or anything! Haha.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

time out!

No, we do not "do" time out for the kids. I don't think that is effective. The name of my quarter horse that is 1 year old is named Time Out. Being a stay at home wife and mom, she is MY time out. Get it?! People that know what it's like to loose themselves in the barn for hours at a time and love horses understand that best I guess. As Time Out gets older and I can saddle her up and go for a gallop in the fields I'll love my "time out" more! That was rambling I know, but hang on I'm getting there. We bought a fore cart this fall, we saved our money and bought one! A fore cart is like a sulky, you know for race horses, only more sturdy. So today a friend of ours who trains and races standard bred horses came over and helped us start training Time Out. Both Matthew and I were wondering how she would do, at times Time Out has a mind and will of her own and doesn't want to cooperate! Typical baby! Well today she did very well indeed. We took her away from Abby (her mother and buddy, Abby didn't care that she was taken away either), tied her in the barn, put a bit in her mouth for the first time, and put part of the driving harness on her! I laughed as she seemed to gag and roll her eyes and tongue around the bit. She was too busy chewing and trying to get the bit out of her mouth and didn't even flinch when we put the crouper, the piece that goes around her tail, or cinch up the girth! We took our time doing all this too, just slow and easy, and let her smell and eye all the equipment before we put it on her. We stood around in the barn for a while to see if she would do something stupid, because some horses do, but she continued to chew and gag on her bit, and just looked at us wondering what was coming next. Then we decided it was time to take her out and see what she would do, she was wonderful! She trotted abound Matthew still chewing on the bit, and then pranced around as he led her around the fields to get her used to the harness. She didn't once try to do anything wild and crazy either. Our friend was impressed and said that she was taking all of the new stuff we were doing very well. She also went on to tell us some horror stories about horses not taking it well, so I was thankful Time Out was being so good! We ended on a good note, petted and praised her well! All and all it was about half an hour, then we took the harness and bridle off and put her back out in the pasture with Abby. She shook her pretty head and cantered off to go see "mama." They greeted one another by smelling noses, then happily went on to eat grass. I know we still have a long way to go, but hopefully things will continue to go well! We are very pleased and excited about this process and pray it continues. We have many trails out here and hope to enjoy them in the fore cart together!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

hello!

Hello!
 I've been very busy the past few days, seems like the days are flying by! The weekend we spent a great deal of time with our church family, and had a blast! Met some new folks from New York and Oregon. It was very nice to meet new people and talk with them about our very different lives, and some similarities as well. The kids got to meet and play with new kids and had a blast as well! Had lots of food, candy, sugar, laughs, music (mostly blues type) some guys got together and "jammed!" Awesome! Or as some of us ladies like to say "sswweeet!!"
Anyways,
Farm chores are slowing down,  almost done winterizing. Today was beautiful so we worked on winterizing the cow barn. We had snow on Reformation Day (most know it as halloween), and that little bit of snow was well, a touch of reality!  Did some laundry and hung it on the line, but had to put it in the dryer to get the rest of the dampness out, I fear I won't be able to hang them out anymore.  The "boys" went down to a neighboring farm and combined some corn with him. Little Matt sat inside it, and thought that was really fun, while Matthew sat on the outside deck. He said he could see Little Matt asking lots of questions too. Apparently there are lots of buttons on the inside of this combine, and he wanted to know about them. The combine was a John Deere, his favorite!
Supper was cooking in the oven so I milked Maggie while Matthew and Little Matt worked more on the barn this evening. The girls decided they had enough outdoors and asked if they could watch a movie, and I thought that was fine. I'm still working on the applesauce. Hopefully will finish it tomorrow, along with making butter and if I plan, haha, maybe some yogurt!  Tomorrow might bring a new set of challenges as well. We shall see.
So over at From The Country Farm, she's doing a gratitude challenge. So today I'm thankful for a husband who works hard for his family, and a church family that can get together and have loads of fun!

Friday, October 29, 2010

apples, apples, apples!!!

Now I have lots of apples to process! Five buckets of apples! Hopefully I'll get lots of applesauce from them, and maybe a few pies too!! The house will smell wonderful! I love applesauce and the kids do too. Matthew likes it on ice cream warmed up, kind of an imitation apple pie!! Me, not so much. Due to time constraint Matthew went and got them. Would have been fun to go pick together, but like I said time seems to be an issue this week, just not enough of it, and it was now or never! I have tried canning apples in a pie mixture, but yuck. So I buy apples for pie, and just make applesauce, and cider, we've even made hard cider, and that was very good! Now Rachel is in fruit heaven with all the apples in the house. Makes me wonder how many apples she'll eat before I get them all done! One day last year she asked for an apple, and I said of course, a little while later she held up what was left of her apple and asked if she had to finish it, all that was left was the hard core part of the apple, maybe a seed of two and the stem! She had eaten just about all of it, literally! I told her that was fine and tried to hide my smile of amusement and told her she did a good job! Now let the applesauce making begin, tomorrow!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

the noises of my life

This week has been a bit of a blur for me.
 Little Matt had a Cub Scouting award thing this week. He got multiple awards, and both sets of grandparents were  there to see him get his new awards! He's already gotten his Tiger, Bobcat, Wolf and Bear badges. Now begins the 2 year process of getting his WEBLOS badge. He enjoys cub scouting, is learning a lot,  and has met several other boys in town who do it as well.
I've managed to make 8 pounds of butter, clean the house, bring in more of the harvest, (pumpkins and squash, that are sitting in my living room) get the meat birds killed, um or harvested if you don't like the word kill, packaged and frozen. Not to mention sloshing around in the rain in the middle of the night to get the cow in, to no avail. I also got caught up on the laundry and hung it on the line instead of using the dryer! Been to town a few times and still have not done any grocery shopping! Oh well.
The weather today was wonderful. So I took advantage of the warm weather, and sat in it for a while as the kids played outside.The sun was out and there was no chill in the air. We all ran around outside this afternoon in t-shirts! It has been rainy the past few days so it was nice for them to be able to get out and get some exercise and run off that extra energy! The horses were feeling frisky today as well. They put their tails in the air and ran round the pasture bucking and kicking and blowing out their noses. That was nice to watch!
I've been milking Maggie a lot this week, so it seems like I have. I'm finally getting the knack of it too, and my hands don't hurt, as bad, when I'm done either. I do enjoy milking her. She just stands there and falls asleep. I like the quietness of milking, just me and the cow. I listen to her stomach, the sound of her chewing her hay, the slight clanking of her bell on the stanchen , the kittens mewing as they wait for some milk in their dish, the hens clucking happily as the eat bugs, the sounds the kids make running around laughing and playing together. Their excited voices when Matthew, "Daddy", pulls  in the yard!  I love it! All of it!
 I love the sounds of my life. They are wonderful noises, and  milking the cow has made me stop and listen to the sounds of my life on the farm. I cherish them, and look forward to more noises on the farm as it grows and the seasons of life change.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2:30... am

I woke to the sound of rain. Heavy rain.  My eyes wouldn't focus on the bleary red numbers on the clock. I sat up and thought  "Oh no, the cow is out!" Never did I think I would wake up and think about my cow in the middle of the night, getting rained on. I poked Matthew and asked if she was out, and his sleepy response was yes. He also informed me she would not come in. I glanced at the clock. 2:30ish,  the numbers were still not clear.  I didn't listen. I proceeded to get dressed and put on my knee high rubber boots, stumbled outside with no flashlight because "Mr. Nobody" didn't put it away, anybody else have one of those? stumbled around in the dark, got some grain, after more fumbling around with the cover of the bin, to bribe Maggie, sloshed around in ankle high water and called for Maggie. I couldn't see anything, it was dark and cloudy, I was not fully awake and the rain was pelting my face. I couldn't find her. Good thing she has a bell on or if she had come up to me she would have scared my half to death. When she walks, she walks slowly, and without that bell I never would have seen her coming or heard her. That would make for a good post!! Haha! Never know what would have happened. I think we both would have jumped! I called and called and shook the grain can. She didn't come. I gave up, after wondering around in the dark, wet pasture, feeling guilty about not getting her in. I went back to bed, it was almost 3am, but didn't sleep. It wasn't cold last night, a balmy 40 degrees. I still felt bad. Come to find out she was at the very top of the pasture in the corner, just as happy as could be in the morning. It took some convincing for her to come in the barn and get milked too. Stubborn cow!! Oh well. Maybe next time I won't be in such a pucker to get her in. Probably not.
"Mr. Nobody" is a wonderful poem the kids memorize for language arts, along with many others, it's a great poem. Maybe sometime I'll write it up. I know I have at least one in my house!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

wonderful!

Today was a great day! The sun was out and there was that chill in the air letting you know it was fall in Maine.
We got some "winterizing" done around the farm. The dreaded tasks you have to do before snow comes, along with things you have just put off and put off until you stop and say alright let's just do it and get it done! Well, we got some done. Not all of it, but at least a start. Then we left the rest of the chores and went to my families for lunch and "family bonding!"  I love the fellowship we get by eating together as a family. Wonderful things can happen as you cook, talk and laugh with your parents and siblings. Sharing stresses of life and making jokes at yourself go a long way in making it seem better. Whatever it may be, and help you to cope and know your extended family has your back. No matter your mood. We had good food, lots of laughing, at each other, and the kids had a blast playing with their cousins.
On another note...
I think that traditions are something to be made from the life experiences that you have. Taking what each one likes and combining them and making your own. I don't think they need to be set in stone, but rather made as you go through life. Don't get me wrong, I like some of the "normal" traditions like turkey on Thanksgiving, but I'm not opposed to having, lets say a Mexican taco dip and chips on the same day too! That is what I'm talking about! Why not shake things up a bit and create new traditions as well as enjoying the "old" traditions!! Isn't that how traditions become traditions?!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

life and death...

Today we had both on our farm. Isn't that the way of it? I'll start with the death. We, well actually Matthew harvested our old laying hens. We were not able to save any of the meat from them, because they were 3 years old and too skinny for some reason. So, note to selves next time around we will only go 2 years with them. Oh well, we are still learning as we go. We, yes we both buried them out in the manure pile, dug a hole with our tractor, it has a front end loader on it, and in they went. Matthew said it was a mass burial. I kinda laughed at that, kinda gross I know, but that is farm life. We still have our 1 year old New Hampshire reds, only 5 of them though. Will be nice if they are all laying... I wonder though. Hard to tell, will find out soon enough.
Now to the fun part! Life...
We knew Maggie was going to be coming into heat soon, so we have been keeping an eye on her, and well, all the signs are there. We called the AI tech, and let them know to come and check her. Well she did, and said that she is definitely coming into heat, and that we should breed her now, because  of the way she felt, she could be in a full standing heat by the afternoon. "Oh no" was my first thought. Matthew was at work, at the mill, and I had no idea what bull he had picked, so I called him and thankfully he came right home. We chatted with the AI tech and decided on a bull, and I'm not joking, his name is Denali! Yup! Our daughter is DaLaney, and we had tossed the name Denali around for her while I was pregnant! Oh that was too much. But he is a nice bull, he's young, and he has some good qualities too. With all four children out in the barn, Maggie was AI'd. They had a few questions, and we told them enough to answer their questions, and they were happy with that. Hopefully now there is a calf growing inside her! Now, in about 21 days we should know weather or not she settled! Oh we are so excited! Having missed her last 2 heat cycles, we didn't want to miss another one. Now we wait...

daniel boone

Now what does Daniel Boone have to do with farming? Well, not much. But hang around with me for a minute and I'll tell you a funny little story.
As I've said before our son is a fan of the movie, and often acts like Daniel Boone and his sisters play and hunt  right along with him. I have to say I'd rather have them act like that then, well some of the other "role models" that are out there, if you can call them that. Anyways...
Yesterday I walked by his room, (I just happened to notice out of the corner of my eye as I sped  by, with a handful of wet, dirty, towels) and saw that his room was all dark and his window was covered up. I turned back and looked in and saw he taken some Boone looking clothes, his coon skin hat, drew a face on a paper plate (not sure where he got the paper plate),  hair and all, and cap gun, and put them up on his window with my clothes pins!  I got a good laugh over that, just seeing it hanging in his window. How wonderful an imagination is that?! Later he proudly came up to me and asked to go in his room, and see what wonderful thing he had created for me to see. He told me "That's Daniel Boone"! I smiled and tussled his dirty blonde hair and looked at his handsome, young face and those wonderful blue eyes. I am so very thankful for such wonderful, creative children! I told him that that was great, and wait until he showed Daddy. He grinned and couldn't wait to show him either.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

good quote...

Think about it...
"Life's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away..." George Strait
What are some of your moments?

Monday, October 18, 2010

apple picking

There was a crispness in the air this morning as I went to hang out my first load of laundry on the clothes line. I love to hang my clothes out, even this time of year the earth smells wonderful and the clothes pick up that wonderful scent. I don't even mind the typical "scratchy" towels from the line. The cool air made me want to dig out my heavy sweaters, hoodies, and my hand made socks to keep my freezing feet warm. It made me want to start the fire, sit and enjoy it's warmth as I drink some hot chocolate!  The trees are still holding on to the last of their leaves not quite willing to let them all go as the rain and wind demands that they come off. I'm thankful for the seemingly stubbornness of them, because I'm not ready for them to all be gone. We load the kids and buckets into the van and off we go to pick the apples. The kids talk and giggle as we head out. Rachel is in the back happily singing "Apples, apples, apples. We are going to get apples." She is always making up little songs and singing them to us. The kids happily grabbed the buckets and headed for the trees. They climbed up in them and tried to shake them to get more apples off the trees, I snapped a few pictures, and they all were only too glad to stop and pose to get their pictures taken!  Even with the chill in the air that makes you know that winter is coming, we had fun, knowing that we will enjoy this apple cider we plan to make with these apples this winter!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

carrots

All the carrots are now done!! I think they look pretty in their jars, but they do kinda have a smell while you are canning them. The kids came in the house this afternoon and said it smells like carrots.  They will taste really yummy in soups this winter, or just by themselves. Our youngest LOVES carrots. Always has. She sees all the carrots lined up on the counter waiting to go in the canner and she walks by them saying and pointing with her chubby little finger "mine, mine, mine" with a cute little smile on her face and her beautiful, blue eyes twinkling as she goes. She also likes to sample them while they are waiting as well. When the carrots are still in the ground the kids ask if they can go pick a carrot and eat it. I love that they like most of their fruits and vegetables, and will often go out and pick something from the garden and eat it!
Tomorrow it's apple picking time! We are looking forward to picking them and making apple cider! We have a small apple cider press and enjoy making cider, and drinking it too! Yummy! Should have a great opportunity to take some great pictures too!

Friday, October 15, 2010

tomatoes

Ahhh ! What is a farmer to do on a wet, rainy, windy day in the fall?? Me? I choose to can spaghetti sauce, wash, dry, and fold laundry after home school was done for the day!
 Finally I have the last of the tomatoes done! I threw out a dozen or so for the pigs, that were still green or orange and not ready, and not enough to bother saving. All day the house was filled with the wonderful aroma of spaghetti sauce, or at least I think it was. We've all got this miserable head cold going around and I can't smell anything. So very thankful for all the homemade spaghetti sauce. I think it's the best ever, so does my husband, who is not a pasta fan. Now I can get the carrots done, before I start on apple sauce and apple cider! Yummy! Can't wait!
Went to my Mom and Dads yesterday to play in the leaves. They have huge maple trees and tons of leaves for the grand kids to jump in. Mom will call me and let me know when the leaves are just right for jumping in, and the kids are always wanting to go and play in them. They start asking in the spring when the leaves are just coming out! Needless to say they love to play in the leaves! Such wonderful memories from my girlhood, playing in leaves and building leaf houses, barns, and all the silly fun you have in the fall with leaves. We live in hay fields and have no trees, so therefore we have no leaves to play in. Besides it's more fun to play with family! Oh they had so much fun playing with Nana, Fumfa, and their cousins! They made a leaf house and big piles to jump in, and even stuffed themselves full of leaves like a scarecrow. Along with another, who will remain nameless!! You know who you are!! Hahaha!!! Not to mention a wonderfully, delish cake my sister made!!
Got some great pictures I'd love to share, but can't... dial up.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

chocolate chip cookies

Have you ever had so many things to do you stop and think in the midst of the chaos called life and think "Oh chocolate chip cookies would be great right now!" So you start the process of making them, with a large load of dishes in the sink to be washed, evening barn chores and dinner looming in the very near future, not to mention clothes on the line to be brought in and a bed to be made...
This afternoon Little Matt and DaLaney were playing outside when they came charging in the house and exclaimed "It smells like the ocean Mommy!" Then they proceed to tell me how they can make their whistles sound like seagulls! They even demonstrated their new found talent to me!  And maybe in a weird sort of way it did sound like a seagull?! Well to begin we live in the country, and have a vast amount of hay fields around us, and the owners of the said fields had some seaweed, lime and something else delivered to fertilize their fields, and they began spreading it today. I went outside and could smell it. It really did smell like the Maine oceans! Much better then the ummmm chicken poo we spread! Matthew commented on the smell when he got home too. He came home to find me out in the barn milking Maggie. I knew he would be home soon, and that he could take over if I needed help. We hand milk for the time being, with one cow, who needs the expense of all that "stuff"! I milked her (Maggie) this morning too. My hands were burning by the time I milked all four quarters let me tell you!! He sat in the barn and we chatted about our days, while the kids ran around outside. DaLaney wanted to help milk, so I let her, and she did a great job. I managed to squirt her in the face too!! She giggled and tried to get me back! It was nice!
We had an unexpected blessing today! The man that owns the field beside us said we could use that field to pasture the horses! That pasture is wonderfully green, thick and lush. He also gave us permission to hay it. Not sure if we will have time to hay it, but just being able to put the horses out on it will be great so we don't have to feed them winter hay!!
...back to the cookies. Yup I got them done very late, but done and they taste wonderful all warm and gooey with a tall glass of fresh cold milk!! Along with all the other various things I had to do today!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

good book

We at Sweetland Farm are big fans of Joel Salatin. So that said I recommend his book "Family Friendly Farming"
A wonderful book full of great ideas and information on multi generational farming. Something that we are striving for.

harvest days

Life on a farm has many harvest days. The fall seems to have more because we are busy putting the gardens and fields to bed for winter. The last of the chicken manure is spread on the fields, after a minor brake down with the spreader, the boys fixed it, and now there is again the stench of chicken manure in the air. I'm afraid it will last until it rains again. One hay field is in great need of fertilizer, so hopefully next hay season we will reap a better harvest from it!
  I decided that it was too nice to stay in the house this afternoon, and with the children outside playing I decided to mow the lawn.  I like to mow the lawn, but occasionally am guilty of letting it get ahead of me and then putting up a temporary fence and letting our hay burners (aka Abby & Time Out, my beloved Quarter horses) do the heavy "mowing" for me. They love the lush green grass and I enjoy watching them eat it! A win win situation! Once in a while this year Little Matt has mowed parts of the lawn too. He loves it, and often asks to mow the lawn. After the mowing was done, Matthew was home, the cow was milked, the milk was put away, the horses put to bed, and supper finishing off in the crock pot, roast beef, carrots and potatoes with homemade bread and butter, Matthew tilled the garden with the tractor, the kids pulled the carrots out of the other garden. Now I need to can the carrots. Now, both gardens are ready for the long winter and a good rest after a wonderful and bountiful harvest that we can enjoy throughout the winter! I hope it's not too late to plant some garlic though.
We planted three kinds of squash , but only one kind, butternut, came up for some reason. We had buttercup, butternut, and blue hubbard.  We ended up with all butternut squash. Thankfully I have found a wonderful recipe for butternut squash soup, and everyone loves it! Our neighbor gave us some buttercup squash, that we are thankful for. Not really sure what happened to the seeds of the our squash, but there is always next year...
We also harvested our pie pumpkins too. Ohhh they are so good as pie, pumpkin rolls, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin.., well I think you get the idea! They did really well this year too. Not sure how many we got, I'll have to count them, last year I stopped counting after 63 pumpkins. Ate a lot, and gave some away.
 Gotta love fall harvest days!!