Saturday, October 9, 2010

Our Maple tree beginning to change colorsI love Dad's windmill
Bees are a buzzin'!
Hickory (Dickory) Trees!
Allison's 1st Place prize on her spinning! We are soooo proud.

Friday, October 8, 2010

List of things to do.

My list of things to do seems to get longer and longer and longer...
The weekend begins tonight with a home football game and working the concession stand for the band. Meanwhile my swim team moms will be selling pompoms at the game for the swim team fundraiser! See my multitasking abilities?

Tomorrow I need to take the car for some TLC... so off to the garage at 8am! Then I need to stop by the feed store to get some chicken feed, bedding, straw and maybe a mum plant or two or three! ;)

Next off to the AWESOMETOWN event at the Austintown Township Park. Allison is performing with the Fitch Pep Band to kick off the festivities at 11am. Then she needs to work the robotics booth for FALCOTECH #3193 team from the High School.

Where is Emily, you ask? She will be holding down the couch again as she has been home sick for 3 days. She doesn't have strep... thank goodness! But she is run down and achey... so she is on forced R&R!

Now... what I would like to do later in the day is to get some apples to make applesauce and buy some local pears to make some canned pears. (hmmm... I think I can...I think I can....)

Sunday is my turn to "read" in church and Emily's turn to Acolyte. She also has to go to her confirmation classes.

Now... somewhere in that restful(?) weekend I'll have to retrieve my car from the maintenance garage, visit my mother in physical therapy rehab, and clean my house.

I think I need a plan to get the house clean though. We are expecting some visitors for Thanksgiving and we need to do a thorough cleaning. Time to start list making!

Time now to ask your forgiveness in my rambling post. Hope your weekend is pleasant and sunny!

Living the Frugal Life: Potatoes in Buckets 2.0 (Finally!)

Living the Frugal Life: Potatoes in Buckets 2.0 (Finally!) Something to try next year!!!... Oh dear... where did I put all those plastic buckets???

Growing Shiitake Mushrooms

Growing Shiitake Mushrooms
I just put Shiitake Mushroom growing on my wish list.... now I'm off to find some hardwood trees! Oh, honey, can you bring your chain saw on a walk with me??? LOL! ;)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Happy Fall!

Fall is my favorite time of year. This past weekend the girls and I, along with their friends went to a corn maze. We had a great time deciphering the map,finding some clues to the game and of course, eating french fries and ice cream!

Then on Sunday, I made some Sausage and Sauerkraut, German Potato Salad and Apple Cake! I'm definitely in my autumnal mode.

I'm hoping to start a craft/sew group with my daughters and their friends on Sundays as our time permits. First up....tied blankies. We'll see how it goes.

Until next time.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Wow, I can't believe I haven't updated since shearing day! Where did my summer go? The bookmobile was busy this summer as were our daughters. We planted a garden, however my darling husband will have to "kick it up a notch" for next year. Our tomatoes didn't do so well. I harvested enough to make a couple batches of salsa, but that was about it. I canned dill pickles, kosher dill pickles (I know, I know), bread and butter pickles, pickled beets(red, striped and gold)dilled green beans, canned peaches and am looking forward to the fall harvest. I would like to put up some applesauce and can some pears.

Apiary update: our purchased bees from North Carolina did not survive. Now we have two swarms in our hives... one we adopted on Father's Day and another adopted on the 4th of July. We have been nurturing them, feeding them and now we are preparing them for the winter to come. They have been pollinating the goldenrod and ragweed and the front of the hives have a yellow deposit on them from where the bees land to get into the hive. It is rather fascinating to watch this.

Alpaca update: They survived the shearing, and this past weekend was PEDICURE weekend. We harnessed, led, cajoled, and yes, wrangled our Alpacas to clip their nails. They haven't looked our way since! LOL!

Chicken update: We now have 10 ladies left. The rooster was attacking Allison and Emily so.... Soup time for you! One lady never returned after we let them out one evening. There you go... circle of life and all that. We continue to get 8 to 9 eggs a day. Our plan is to purchase more chicks this spring and begin again.

Canfield Fair update:
Emily and I didn't enter many categories this year. Allison entered a few more.
Emily entered Pecan Tassies and won 1st place. And she entered her basket we made in our weaving guild and placed 3rd.
Allison's spinning won 1st place this year! We were thrilled. This is our own Alpaca fiber that she dyed herself, then spun herself. (Sounds like the LITTLE RED HEN huh?) She did a wonderful job! She decorated a cake that looks like the Tartis on Dr. Who and won 3rd place. And she also took third place on her woven basket.
My snickerdoodles won 1st place as did my Elderberry jelly. My pickled beets took 2nd place. All in all it was a good year.

Allison and Emily update:
These two are keeping us so busy I don't have time to post here! They both swam for the Firestone Area Swim Team this summer. Meanwhile, Allison was practicing daily for the Flagline for the awesome Austintown Fitch Marching Band. The band participated in 3 band nights (one was our own) the Canfield Fair, the Carnation parade in Alliance, Ohio and of course... all our football games.
Now we are also into volleyball season. Emily earned a place on the 8th grade red team this year. Most nights we aren't home until after 8pm!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Catching up.

The hummingbirds have returned and are visiting our hummingbird feeders. A nesting pair of blue birds found one of bird houses to their liking and are now busily building a blue bird family.

The lily of the valley blooms are almost done, the irises have started to bloom and now that the rain has stopped the grass is GROWING. We think by Wednesday the ground should be dry enough to begin planting our garden. On Sunday I stopped by Park's Garden center in Canfield and bought some flowers for our outdoor pots and some peppers and tomatoes for the vegetable garden. Emily busily attended the planting of our flower pots and they look awesome. Thanks for a wonderful job, Emily. I need to prepare a little space for my sunflower garden. Sunflowers are important to our honeybees and the birds. I encourage everyone to make a little space for some sunflowers.

The alpacas were sheared over the weekend and we contributed our shearing 'ends' to the Gulf oil clean up efforts. Allison is working on uploading a video of the shearing. I can't wait until she is done, then I can post it here. Emily created a nice display explaining about our animals and about alpacas in general. Allison had her spinning wheel out, but lacked the time to spin due to her video project.

The rooster is getting 'cocky' and has attacked both Allison and Emily. I fear for him if he should attack me... if his attitude doesn't improve, I think I'll be making some soup soon.

The middle of last week found our bee hives covered in black ants and our poor honeybees fighting for their lives. To top that off one hive was hosting a nest of yellow jackets! We initiated a cleanup effort and removed the unwanted yellow jacket nest. I checked the hive thoroughly to ensure that there weren't any more unwanted visitors down in the comb area. Now the honeybees can go about gathering nectar and pollen in peace. Blooming for our ladies this week is the blackberries and strawberries.

I will post a few photos soon and hopefully Allison's video.
Until next time...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Farmers solving the BP Oil Spill disaster!

Please watch this video about farmers solving the BP Oil Spill Disaster! They even have an idea of what to do with the used up hay. Whoo Hooo. You guys need to be on O'Reilly!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Agland Fiber Day

Agland in Canfield,Ohio hosted a fiber day. They welcome some critters,spinners and weavers to show the fiber process from animal to yarn! Enjoy the photos below.




The ladies from the local spinning guild.

The shearer...shearing the sheep.

Allison leaves for Myrtle Beach

Allison left this past Thursday with the band for a competition and trip to Myrtle Beach. Good luck Allison and return to us safe.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ginger Ale - Part Two

Wikipedia has this to say about ginger ale. So I learned that there are two types of ginger ale: golden and dry. Hmmm... I never thought about it like that before.
Making Ginger Ale at home. Didn't know it needed to ferment!
This Ginger ale recipe looks more my speed.
OOO... I like this recipe, it includes step by step photos!

Where is the Ginger?

No, not Ginger Grant from Gilligan's Island, but the Ginger in Ginger Ale. For upset tummies my husband and I like to keep ginger ale in the house. So I went up to my local store this morning to get some. For giggles, I read the ingredient labels. Know what I found? NO GINGER in the ginger ale!
I had Canada Dry and Vernors to choose from. Reputable and National brands. Hmmm... lets see. Canada Dry is claiming it is made with REAL Ginger. However, the label does NOT list ginger as an ingredient. In the US the FDA or some government agency requires manufacturers to list ingredients on labels in order that they to speak. So water, that makes sense. High Fructose Corn Syrup, again the sweetener needs to be there. Citric Acid and Sodium Benzoate as preservatives and finally natural flavors. Oh... by the way they claim that the natural flavors includes real ginger! However (me thinks)a significant amount of ginger must not be in the product because it didn't make the label. Vernors is the same way. I'm confused, baffled and befuddled! I don't want a generic post of natural flavors, whatever that is. Just GINGER!
I have tried the ginger candy from the health food stores, but have found it to be extremely strong. Our household prefers ginger ale. I guess, I need to look into some home made alternatives using REAL GINGER... and not some natural flavors.
If you know of a home made option, please post in the comments. Thank you.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Some new books to ponder

The Town the Saved Food by Ben Hewitt.
Over the past 3 years, Hardwick, Vermont, a typical hardscrabble farming community of 3,000 residents, has jump-started its economy and redefined its self-image through a local, self-sustaining food system unlike anything else in America. Even as the recent financial downturn threatens to cripple small businesses and privately owned farms, a stunning number of food-based businesses have grown in the region—Vermont Soy, Jasper Hill Farm, Pete's Greens, Patchwork Farm & Bakery, Apple Cheek Farm, Claire's Restaurant and Bar, and Bonnieview Farm, to name only a few. The mostly young entrepreneurs have created a network of community support; they meet regularly to share advice, equipment, and business plans, and to loan each other capital. Hardwick is fast becoming a model for other communities to replicate its success. The captivating story of a small town coming back to life, The Town That Food Saved is narrative nonfiction at its best: full of colorful characters and grounded in an idea that will revolutionize the way we eat.

I can't wait to read it... I'm on hold for this title with my library.

Warm Bread and Honey Cake by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra.
Containing a mix of familiar family favorites and unusual, exotic delicacies, this comprehensive collection of recipes for breads, cakes, biscuits and pastries is also a well-researched exploration of home-baking techniques and global ethnic history. Inspired by her multicultural background the author has drawn inspiration from all over the world, including Europe, the Middle East, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America.

Nice book. I've had a chance to peruse her recipes. Yum, Yum. I am concerned however, that if I have difficulties with the Pioneer Woman's cookbook, that this book is a bit out of my league.

And for the children and children at heart. Feeding the Sheep by Leda Schubert. Narrated in a chatty, question-and-answer rhyming text, this warm story describes work throughout the seasons on a farm. A little girl repeatedly asks her mother, “What are you doing?” and Mom’s step-by-step answers describe how she feeds the sheep; shears, washes, dries, and cards the wool; spins and dyes the yarn; and, finally, knits a sweater (“Knit and purl, needles whirl”). A closing scene, “Sweater hug, woolly hug,” shows perfect bliss between mother and daughter, and in a final reversal, the mother asks the questions, while the little girl dives into work. The physicality of the words (“Soft and deep, sheepy heap”), the fascinating facts, and the action-filled, brightly colored illustrations will capture kids’ attention, as will the cozy family bond between parent and child, working together and caring for their free-range animals. Preschool-Kindergarten. --Hazel Rochman .

I think all my fiber friends need this book. You can read it when you display your spinning/weaving/knitting etc. at shows or simply to any child in your life. This is one of the best books out there to describe how fiber is processed from critter to sweater. LOVE IT!

Friday, April 23, 2010

I spy...

Our Rooster

Sammy, Aunt Janet's horse

Two bee hives

Alot of bees!!!

Some Violets

Our nesting ducks

The ducks again

A bunny!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Planting trees - Earth Day!

Our trees were delivered via UPS from Miller Nurseries last night. We opened our package and found healthy trees and bushes. So after supper we went out to plan and plant our 'orchard'.
First off Jim planted his raspberries. He planted Gold Raspberries and 2 types of Black Raspberries.
Then with the help of our resident hole digger (AKA - Allison) we moved onto the trees. We needed to plant them near the Alpaca they seem to keep the deer away. We will find out soon if our strategy works. My job was to instruct the hole digger where to dig the holes. We planted 2 Yellow Transparent Apple trees, 2 Spitzenberg Apple Trees, 2 Northern Pecan Trees and 2 Carpathian Walnut Trees. We also planted 2 elderberry bushes. We hope the Lorax would be proud! Happy Earth Day everyone!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

This and That

Emily is the 4-H beekeeper for the Loghurst farm this year. Here she is getting ready to install some package bees.

Emily and her Loghust farm mentor, Barb Loewit.

Welcome to your new home honey....bees! ;)

Emily and Barb working together.

Its Turkey Season! Run! Those are real wild turkeys, not lawn ornaments. Any yes, that is our backyard.

Ol Wiley E... Coyote that is. This guy was right behind our beagle Cookie thinking she may make a good dinner. (located right behind our back door!)Dad to the rescue!

Look at the chompers on that thing! Amazing.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Drawn Out Comb

One of our new bee hives had a drawn out comb on the inner cover. Wow! We're new at this so we called our mentor and asked what do we do now. You see the comb is supposed to be down in the hive box on the frames... not on the inner cover. He said that the bees had a bad project manager! I love his sense of humor. We were instructed to remove the comb, lower the inner cover to the bottom super(hive box) then place the feeder over the inner cover, place another hive box (super) over the feeder then the top cover to fix this construction glitch. So that is what we did. Emily and I are concerned about the queen. We couldn't find her and hope that she was down in the frames when we were stirring up the hive. We'll check back tomorrow...maybe.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring Planting

Brrr... it is COLD today. We have been spoiled lately by nice weather and then mother nature sends us a chilly reminder of who is in charge!
So I tucked in today and order some plants! I ordered our apple trees and threw in some nut trees, raspberry bushes and some elderberry bushes too. They should arrive in a week.
Then I went online to a farm that sells heirloom seeds. He wasn't very expensive so I thought I'd give him a try. I ordered beets and carrots. We'll see how good his seeds are.
Now I am planning the garden. Since I ran out of my pickled beets this year, I ordered plenty of seeds(see order above). Zucchini, carrots, beans, tomatoes (out of salsa too!) and peppers will all be going in. Then, we'll see what else we feel like throwing in... maybe more dill, and basil.
I'll try to keep everyone updated.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Honey Bees are Here!!!

Emily and I are so excited! Allison told me as I was driving home tonight that Don called and our bees are here! Around 5pm we went to Don's brother...Frank's house to watch our mentor "download" or rather install his new bees into an empty hive. He showed us where to put the queen, where to place the food and most importantly how to place the worker bees into the hive. We came home with our new bees and began our beekeeping journey. We prepared the hives by inserting screen in the entrance. We don't want the bees to leave just yet. According to the instructions we received, this screen needs to stay in place for 2 days for the worker bees to get to know their queen! We needed to place little wood pieces for the box of bees and the food. We placed the queen in her cage in the center of the hive and placed her workers over top. We hope they like her! We covered them up and hope for the best! I also made some more food for them and will replace the food either Friday Night or Saturday morning.
It is quite cool today after a beautiful week. It was around 50 degrees with drizzly overcast skies. We hope that the bees will be warm and happy on their new farm.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone!
It has been some time since I last posted. Allison and Emily have had busy schedules. First Emily qualified for "Zones" competition with the YMCA swim league. We traveled to Bowling Green State University in Mid March to compete with other wickedly fast swimmers from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia. She competed with her buddies on both the Free Relay and the Medley Relay teams. They competed respectfully. She had a lot of fun and enjoyed the competition. Congratulations Emily.
Next Allison has been competing with the High School Robotics Team. I'm hooked! This is a fantastic team and they learn everything in this competition...programming computers, designing robots, building robots, competing with the robots, then troubleshooting. They are judged not only on the robot and all its functions, but the functions of the team... eg. do they perform community service? what about fundraisers? how do they let the community know about their team? etc.. It is a terrific program and well worth the time and effort. For more about her team go to Allison has tried out for and made the symphonic band for the high school which is the elite band in the school. Congratulations Allison!
We are winding down now and coasting in both swimming and robotics. This summer we will probably swim for the Firestone Area Swim Team in Columbiana, Ohio. Allison will be busy with the Marching Band and Emily with babysitting. They both will finish some 4H projects (new to us this year).
In Farm News....its onto our garden. Our raspberries (red and black) have come through the winter and are sprouting up everywhere! As far as planting goes, I want to plant more beets as my pickled beets were eaten up quickly this winter. We will also plant peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and lots more. We are looking forward to our bees. They should be arriving in about 2 weeks time. We hope the trees begin to blossom around the same time too! In the meantime Emily and I are attending beginner beekeeping classes and are excited about our latest adventure. I am scheduling in the shearers for the Alpacas...probably in May. Allison continues to "spin" and enjoys her fine Alpaca fiber! Our next big decision will be what to compete in for the Canfield Fair!
So if I forget to post for a while... you'll understand.

Monday, February 22, 2010

What's at your bird feeder?

What's at your bird feeder?
Turkeys are visiting our bird feeders this winter. Jim counted 23 of these huge birds over the weekend. Enjoy.