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!!


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


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


 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!!"
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!