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


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


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


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!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

movie or rather a documentary...

So my head is still spinning at how fast the weekend went. Almost as fast as the beautiful leaves are coming off the trees!! A fun filled weekend, with Little Matt and Matthew off to an all day Boy Scouting event, the girls and I cooking all day, to a family supper, church, and a birthday party! And a few tentative plans for a Thanksgiving meal with family. We love Thanksgiving, and look forward to it! The harvest, the feasting with family! Love it!
Speaking of feasting, our broilers are almost done growing, and will be ready to be harvested,  probably this weekend. They are about the same size as our spring batch, maybe a little smaller. I think it's the cooler weather. These guys and gals caught on a lot quicker about being moved every morning in their chicken tractor, they move right along with us as we pull the "tractor" along. They love the new patch of grass we put them on and start peeping happily as they eat the fresh grass and bugs, while doing a wonderful job of fertilizing the pasture as they are moved!  Ahh the way a happy chickens life should be! We were also thrilled when we found a medication free and GMO free grain for the broilers.
Sadly our laying hens are not doing so well, and will be harvested soon as well. I've already decided what kind of hens or "girls" I'd like next. We enjoy our GMO free, free range, fresh eggs!
Matthew and I had an at home "date" Friday and we watched a movie, or rather a documentary (I know, I know! I watched a documentary!) called What's Organic about Organic? Along the same lines as two other excellent movie-documentaries Fresh and Food Inc. I highly recommend it, all three actually.  Had some different information on it that I found well, disturbing and just plain gross, as well as good information!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

flying by the seat of my pants...

Ok, so I accidentally posted without writing anything. My computer was having a moment. Um... or I was having a computer moment. Anyways..
My husband is always telling me I fly by the seat of my pants.Ok I think, I call it multi tasking. I'm not offended by his statement either. I think he's probably right. But like the blog says random thoughts, I think that is true of how my brain works. When you put all that I do together it's a lot and it needs to get done, and usually I do get it done. It's hard to plan out my days, usually they all run together! I told Matthew one day when he walked into the kitchen that my multi tasking had caught up with me. The kitchen was a mess! He smiled and said I guess so! Too funny!
Just to give you a glimpse of my multi taking, or flying by the seat of my pants, which ever you prefer, here it goes...
Currently I am smelling the wonderful aroma of homemade spaghetti sauce, making butter, in a butter churn, policing the girls as they are having a moment, thinking about what to cook for supper, contemplating when to put the home school books away for the day, waiting for the dryer to be done with the clothes because it's raining, again, thinking about the mountain of clean laundry to be folded and put away and blogging! Granted I think there is more thinking then doing, but I will get it all done today before I crash in bed tonight. Everyday is different, but some things never change.
Matthew is at a conference about dairy farms, in general. We are a small dairy, and would like to have about 10-12 jersey milking cows. Sell raw milk and other products, off the farm and maybe a store or two. Depends on how we grow as a farm, and what God allows for our lives.
I guess I better go and get some flying done!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

field work

For the most part the chicken manure we got yesterday is spread on the hay field, and tomorrow they are calling for rain, oh and a 1% chance of snow!? Snow?! I hope that was a typo! But it is Maine, and it could happen. I remember one year a few years ago we had some snow on October 10th! It made a mess of things, and didn't last long but... I'm not ready for that yet. We borrowed a neighbors tractor that didn't have a bucket on it so we didn't have ho hitch and unhitch our tractor. Our son got to put a load on the manure spreader  and he was pleased as punch. Matthew was right there making sure everything was fine, and it was. Little Matt did a great job too! He loves to drive the tractor and help in any way he can. Hopefully the rain kills the smell and speeds up the composting of it! The girls were busy playing and running around having fun.
We sold the straw today. Glad to have that gone, before the rain comes. The Amish man we sold it to does the deep, pack bedding for his cows in the winter. A great idea indeed!
I hung some laundry out on the clothes line today, was a great day for it, and no it doesn't smell! I love to hang clothes on the line, free solar power and the crisp smell of fall air. Not too much longer and I'll be using the dryer.With 6 people in our family there is always laundry to do!

Monday, October 4, 2010


We are in the process of trying to get our cow bred. We have a 3yo Jersey cow named Magnolia, we call her Maggie for short, along with a bunch of other names of endearment. All our cows (that we are yet to get) will be named after flowers. Well, we had the AI tech come out this morning, and we literally just missed our window of breeding time. There is only a short amount to time, 18 hours, to get them bred. Darn it all. Now we will have to wait another 18-21 days to try again.We didn't know that the AI techs would come out on the weekend, or she would be bred as of yesterday. That means she will be dry all summer long. So Matthew said we need another cow. Oh no I thought! A summer calving cow and a winter calving cow!! Cows must be like bunnies, they quickly multiply!!
 On that note about the cow in heat, last night Maggie was running and leaping in the air after we got done milking her and turned her out. She was acting like a heifer turned out on fresh grass in the spring, not a mature milking cow!  She charged at the broilers who are in her pasture, in a pen, and they made quite a racket as this large, brown cow came barreling down on them! They ran, and for broilers to run is not easy at almost 6 weeks old, for cover! Eventually she calmed down and started eating grass. We were glad she didn't hurt herself with her antics, but had a good laugh over watching her!
This afternoon we had some chicken manure come to spread on the hay field, and boy does it stink! Down wind of it and all. I don't think our neighbors will like us for a few days until it rains and the smell goes away! It's not the wet stuff, it's the dry chicken manure, I think the wet manure would be worse. But it still sinks. Thankfully it's cold enough to keep the windows closed!  The horses keep sniffing the air and looking out in the field for the source of the smell. I don't think they like it either!
Well I need to go and make some bread, yummy smells for the house!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

fall days

Well, for the time being my computer will not allow me to upload pictures on to this blog. Well, it ,will, but it will take forever. I have dial up. Probably  one of the only people in the world who has it, but for now, that's what it is.
Today was a beautiful day. It was warm and sunny, with a crisp to the air when the wind would blow. A very nice fall day in Maine indeed. I hope we have more days like today! The trees have unfortunately lost a number of their beautiful leaves due to all the wind and rain we had, but there are still a number  left and they are spectacular! We started putting the garden to rest for the winter. We pulled the tomatoes and the corn. Well actually our son decided to take the scissors and cut them down. He's a big Danial Boone fan and was hacking away at them. He had a blast doing to too. Was fun to watch him cut and I found myself wondering what he was thinking as I stood and watched him, without him knowing it. We left the carrots, because I'm not ready to can them yet, and that is all that is left of our garden. We had a great harvest this year and are very thankful for it. I've canned a number of green beans, (one of our favorites), pizza sauce,spaghetti sauce, jams and jellies. Not all today mind you, over the summer. My husband tilled the garden, then went up into the field to ted, rake, and then bale the straw we plan to sell. The girls played outside while I mowed the lawn, the horses were out  on the side lawn eating, and our son was in the field, after cutting down the corn, the cow was out eating grass and I could hear her bell clanking in the distance.The laying hens were happily clucking and eating bugs and worms in the garden, while the kittens ran around like crazy little ones do, the sheep were out eating grass, and the broilers were well, eating. When I was done mowing the lawn I sat down out back, by the garden, with the sun beating down on my back, and watched my family while they were busy doing their things and I watched them. The girls were giggling as little girls do, my husband and son were in the field working together, the animals were being animals, and all was right in my world. I smiled happily as I came in the house to make pizza for supper, and butter for the freezer to sell. After all that was cleaned up and the cow was milked and the animals put to bed, Matthew (my husband) and I went to the field and brought in the straw from the field.
Now all our chores are done for the day and we can relax and enjoy our evening. It was a great day!!!