Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New beginnings

Somehow over Christmas break I was hit with a wave of inspiration and motivation. I've gotten a sourdough starter going, made yogurt regularly, begun brewing water kefir, soaked nuts and beans and brown rice. Ive fermented several jars of pickles and relish. Looking to find both meat and veggie CSAs to join. Looking for the money to join them.......
J. has been listing things on eBay and making some extra cash. I've been clearing more kitchen items and replacing them with glass, cast iron and stainless steel.
We're down to 10 hens and want to get probably 4 new hicks this spring, probably more Buff Orpingtons and Dominiques, although some among us think a few more Easter angers would be cool.
The goats have not been bred, and probably won't be due to issues with the neighbors. We love them. They'll stay as long as nothing changes in our relationship with neighbors. Or you know, we win the lottery and move....
Off to find more traditional recipes to try!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Rainy days and birthdays

Rainy days and birthdays usually get me down, but we need this rain and there's nothing I can do about the birthday! So, I'm puttering around the house with the boys. The little guy is in a good mood, listening to music on his Kindle Fire, that he purchased with money he earned. Mr. Caprini is watching Ebay auctions to see how much he's made on some obscure Cadillac part he's had for 20 years, despite never owning a Cadillac, not planning to ever own one! It's got a $100 bid on it and I believe he's hoping for a sniping war near the end. 7 minutes to go.
The plan had been to head to the shore for lobster and then to the beach after dinner but the rain is not making the second part of that plan very appealing. I still want lobster though! We had lobster for our anniversary and it was not good at all. Tough, probably over cooked, with very little flavor. I think this time I'm just going to order a hot lobster roll and not eat the bun.
So as I enter the 50th year of my life, having made it through 49 of them so far, I realize I'm completing a half century of life. Most people might not mark this milestone until they actually reach 50. I've got a year to go. Guess I just want to make this one count. I plan to do that by working to improve my health, changing the way I eat more thoroughly, and basically just feeling better.
My birthday present so far has been the installation of a light in the pantry that comes on automatically when I open the door. It is really very cool! After 23 years of searching in there with a flashlight I can now see every dusty, grimy nook and cranny! It's okay though. I'm going to do a thorough cleaning in there (starting tomorrow......) and reclaim it! I might even feel motivated to PAINT in there. I saw this cute idea to use a vintage potato masher, hung upside down, as a hook to hang things from. I though it would look nice in the pantry to hang shopping bags or aprons from. I'll have to keep my eyes open for one!
That's all I've got for now because I want to get out and enjoy this beautiful rainy day. We had been needed rain so badly, like much of the country, that I can't get upset about it. The sound of the rain on the trees is so pretty and restful. We're going to head for the shore and a late lunch and see where we end up with no agenda other than buying toilet paper. And maybe a new Pyrex glass measuring cup because I learned on America's Test Kitchen yesterday that they've changed the design. I have no idea where my old one ended up, but I've been using "read from the top" Pampered Chef ones I got talked into buying and I'm not fond of them at all. Time to go back to the classic. Amazon has them but I want to look locally first.
Update-no sniping war. The part sold for $100, which is nothing to sneeze at, I suppose!

Saturday, June 30, 2012


So far this summer I've made strawberry jam, raspberry jam, all from berries we picked locally, plus strawberry vodka, strawberry vinegar and raspberry vinegar. I've also got a batch of limoncello started. Today we picked cherries. 16.5 pounds of cherries. I've made one batch of jam, a couple of jars of Black Forest sauce, and several pints of sour cherries in light syrup. I've barely made a dent! Back to pitting. I think I'll be pitting cherries for days....

But no, we're off to Mystic Monday for an overnight anniversary trip. Today is our actual anniversary. 22 years! Hard to believe. It won't be long before I've been married to James for more than half my life! Now that's a milestone.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Plan

Here goes!

The Summer Plan  2012



1.   Paint cabinets

2.   Clean and organize all cabinets

3.   Clean under sink and get rid of toxic cleansers

4.   Staple oil cloth to kitchen table

5.   Repaint table legs

6.   Store microwave as test

7.   Get rid of all aluminum cookware

8.   Get new stainless cookware and more cast iron


1.   Clean out closet

2.   Fix shower faucet and head

3.   Paint over toilet shelves

4.   New curtain for window and shelves

5.   Fix window or replace

6.   Paint doors white

Master Bedroom

1.   Paint walls and trim

2.   Clean windows and sills

3.   New curtains

4.   Purge clothes in dressers and closets

5.   Find storage for yarn elsewhere

Alex’s Bedroom

1.   Paint walls and trim (Camp Washington week)

2.   Purge clothes from dresser and closet

3.   Sort and organize toys. Purge.

Computer Room

1.   Organize by category.

2.   Purge junk

3.   Clean

Living Room

1.   Clean closet

2.   Summer drapes?

3.   Redecorate mantle for summer



1.   Repair all existing perimeter fencing

2.   Expand goat pen

3.   New chicken pen

4.   Fence garden behind garage

5.   Fence future strawberry corner

Barn and coop

1.   New coop for chickens only?

2.   Duck house underneath?

3.   Expand duck condo?

4.   Interior redo of barn for three rooms for goats

5.   Insulate ceiling

6.   Screen windows for summer

Garden Shed

1.   Purge and organize

2.   Get hay into hoop shed


1.   Plant strawberries

2.   Two more raised beds in square garden

3.   Garden near back fence next to neighbors’ yard

4.   Shade garden next to driveway

5.   Clean out front gardens

6.   Cut down hydrangea

7.   Move lilacs?


1.   Build gates for both staircases

2.   Repair all floor boards

3.   Stain

4.   New table and chairs

5.   Milk can side table for porch swing

6.   Containers of flowers, herbs and vegetables

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer plans

Ha! I'm going to attempt a plan of what I hope to accomplish this summer....  I keep putting it off. I think I may want to create it elsewhere, tweak it, and post in the future! Everytime I try I end rabbit trailing all over the place. New plan! I will plan to plan out a plan,THEN I'll blog about it!
One more day of 4th grade. I've had every day off this week, but because of special events at school and food allergies, I've had to go in to bring treats. Tomorrow will be no different. After putting him on the bus I will go back home to make GF pizza for him then bring it in at 11:00 since his teacher is treating them "all" to a pizza party. At noon we are DONE! Poor James finishes with students tomorrow but then has three professional days to make up after this fall's lousy weather caused 10 "snow days" before Thanksgiving! Another late start to our family summer!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


In many ways, it's not my favorite seasons. I really dislike the heat, humidity, bugs, snakes...  however, as much as I love my job, I do love my summers off! Especially with a fun 10 year old to enjoy them with. My husband is also off this summer, meaning we'll be stretching his balloon check through August, and won't be taking big, exciting vacations. The trade-offs are totally worth it.
Today was the last day for students in my schools. We have to go in tomorrow for an all day in-service and then I'm off until late August. I will spend some time soon making a list of what I hope to do this summer. Soon. Not tonight. I can barely keep my eyes open!
The little guy and husband are in school through next Wednesday so I will have three mornings to myself. There is a pedicure in my future! Okay, not very frugal, but one at the beginning of the summer will get me through and I don't do them all year. In fact I've only ever had three in total!

On a sad note, we found one of the ducks dead in the barn this morning. It was one of the runner/Blue Swedish crosses. Not a friendly bunch but I hate losing one of my animals, especially mysteriously. My mom saw a hawk in the area this morning but this duck had no visible wounds or injuries and was inside. No feathers indicating an attack and later death. We'll keep an eye on everyone else closely.

Really looking forward to days for cleaning, organizing, simplifying and cooking!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Almost summer

I have less than 2 weeks left to my school year. I'm feeling very motivated to turn this house upside down. So many thoughts and plans swirling in my head. I'm so thankful to my online and real life friends who inspire me with these ideas!
We were lucky enough to make it to the Coventry Regional Farmers' Market for opening day on Sunday. There we met author Kate Payne and I've been spending many spare moments reading her book The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking and her blog http://hipgirlshome.com/ . I'm currently in the mode of wanting to DO IT ALL NOW! I want to start a new batch of limoncello and kombucha and make fresh limeade and can something! Last weekend we went to the flea market and there I found a cute little wooden cabinet with hears cut out of the door. It's a nice size for storing jelly jars! We haven't quite worked out a permanent home for it. Right now it's resting on the floor next to the cabinets. It's not all that stable so something will have to be done to make it permanent. I kind of want it on the wall at eye level, but wall space in our kitchen is hard to come by. The one free wall has display shelves that would have to be altered to make room. It could be done. Not sure yet though. The only other option is to the right of the cookbook shelves. (Yes, shelves, plural, I don't have a problem, really, I don't!) That would involve moving the phone jack. Also doable. Basically I have to make a decision so we can go ahead and do something.
At Kate's table at the market she had coupons for canning jars and one for a small batch canning kit from Ball. We went right to Big Y afterwards and got it! It was only $9.99 and the coupon was for $3 off. It holds three jars and works in a regular stockpot. I already love it and I'm craving time to use it soon. Brandied cherries are high on my list of must can soon items! I also got more pint jars. Don't know what it is about that size. I just love them.
Here is the new berry patch in progress:
The pillow beckons. Tomorrow will be a busy day since the little guy starts fencing lessons. My farming friends all think that's awesome, and while it would be a handy skill, he will actually be taking up a foil or epee or whatever. So en guarde!

The girls say hello! And do you have any sunflower seeds or raisins?