Friday, April 30, 2010
Today will be a busy one. Rick has an appt at the VA Outpatient Center in Somersworth with Ken,his PTSD counselor. Then it's off to buy vermiculite,peat moss,and some dried cow poo. Hopefully we have enough compost here to mix and fill the boxes with what we buy.We are also going to pick up our chicks. This year we will have Buff Orphingtons,Rhode Island Reds,Silver Lace Wynadottes,and Cornish Game Hens.This will be our first time having Game Hens,so I'm curious to see how they do. Those will be for eating. We have had the others in the past,and were pleased with their egg production. We went with the Rhode Island instead of the NH Reds this year because they do lay more eggs. It's always a fun day when they chicks arrive.
We also need to build our garden boxes,plant our blueberry bushes,strawberry plants,onion sets,and I need to start my Straight Eight and pickling cucumbers.The Paradiso Mix coneflowers arrived,so those need to go in the ground very soon as well.
This should keep us pretty busy over the weekend. Zach will be camping our with his Boy Scout Troop. They help out each year with Fish and Run,which is a Cub Scout event. The cubbies fish in the morning and prizes are given out for the biggest and the smallest. Then there are stations that they can do throughout the day. Some are geared for the younger scouts and some for the older,Webleo scouts. The Webelos are graded and awards are given out on Sunday morning. The Boy Scouts help run the stations,measure the fish,etc. They also run the campfire on Saturday night,where all the units can do skits and songs. It's a good time. We drop Zach off this evening,and the event is only about 15 minutes from our house,so it works out well. He will be pooped out on Sunday,that I am sure of.
We have not started on our chicken coop yet,but the plans have been drawn up. We have some time before the chicks are big enough,anyway.
I must go and start my day.......and what a beautiful day it is!
Thursday, April 29, 2010
I was up and at em once Zach got on the bus,because I was going to accompany My Dear Friend Michelle on her errands to Concord. She had asked me if I would like to tag along,and even though I wanted to go,I felt guilty about doing so. We have lots to do here. However,Rick told me I should go and enjoy the time with my friend. We couldn't do much outside,since it was cold and rainy,but we had planned to clear out the garage so we could have a space for our chicks. Rick insisted on doing it himself. He does have this thing about the garage. Whenever we clean it out and organize it,he likes to do it without help. It's his thing,I guess. So with that,I agreed to go .
I went to her house for a muffin and a cup of tea first. After that went to Tractor Supply Company,so she could return a post digger that was not made correctly. I looked at the poultry supplies,and bought a feeder and waterer for the baby chicks,a waterer for the turkeys and one for the chickens,and a feeder for the chickens. Rick mentioned he wanted to build a trough for the turkeys,so I didn't bother picking them up a feeder. Michelle made some purchases as well (such as food for her goats) and then we were off to Sam's Club. We had a slice of pizza and some soda,then picked up what she had on her list. When she put a mondo sized bag of chocolate chips in the cart,I laughed,because it was BIG. However, it makes sense because she bakes for the family,and it's more cost efficient than buying the small regular sized bags that I buy. Very smart indeed.
After that,we headed over to Jenness Farm so she could buy immunizations for her goats.( I don't know what kind,since I know nothing about goats. Rick would like to get a couple in the future,though,so I might have to learn!) I have heard of Jenness Farm,because they are not only a goat farm ,make and sell goat milk soap. When I was trying to learn about soapmaking,I kept coming across their website. So I was intrigued.
We pulled up and the first thing we see is (what else) goats. Then we saw some guinea hens come running out,and we heard turkeys.Pretty cool. When we went inside,the first thing that struck me was the smell. It wasn't bad,but for a gal with allergies,it was overwhelming. They had soaps,bug spray,lip balms,cuticle creams,shampoo...you name,they make it. The set up was quite quaint. Michelle wasn't able to get her immunizations,because the co owner who takes care of that was off on a trip. The visit wasn't wasted,however,because Michelle purchased a few things,including gifts for her mom for Mother's Day.
Once I got home,Rick was finishing up in the garage and he was pleased with what I had bought. The day was so raw that he started up the wood stove for the second day in a row.
It was a nice day visiting with my Dear Friend.
Monday, April 26, 2010
The sun is shining right now,but the forecast calls for some clouds and some showers later on in the day. The leaves on the trees are popping out everywhere,and before we know it,all the trees will be full of them. I love looking out my kitchen window and seeing the transformation each day-just a tiny thin mist of green at first,then overnight the whole forest is a sea of green. Gorgeous.
The weekend was beautiful,and we got most of the turkey cage done. Rick,true to form,pushed himself so he could barely walk each night. We could only work a bit before he had to take a break,and we probably put in about an average of 3 hours each day,give or take. It depended on Rick's tolerance. We got the upper cross supports on,and the attached the top row of chicken wire to it. Today we are going to put the wire across the top so the turkeys don't fly out and flying predators can't get in. Then we just need to put one more roost in ( we use cut down decent size saplings and run them between trees) and a shelter for them and it will be done. Our friend,CJ,is selling us turkeys that will be big enough to go right in the pen.Then we have to organize the garage and redo a small cage for the chicks when they come in later this week. Then we need to build the coop,and make our garden beds. All this as soon as we can. Our rush is twofold. First,we need to get them done,because we need to get them done! The second,is Rick is finally getting his knees replaced! His surgery date is June 7. They are going to set him up for both knees at once,but if the anetheseologist says it's too risky,they will do one then the other about a month and a half later.The VA cleared it and he will be getting his surgery done at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. We are very excited and happy that he will finally get this portion of his life back!!! Pain free. Imagine the concept!
Zach had his Boy Scout Camporee this past weekend,and the troop did well-two first places and a third. He had a great time,and was quite tired. He and I redid our fire ring,and I thought he was going to fall asleep right on the ground. Later in the afternoon we watched "Avatar",and he fell asleep. Poor little guy. He had vacation last week,and was such a big help to Rick and myself outside. We didn't even have to ask! He was more than happy to help his Dad. He's such a great kid.
Yesterday was a sad day for me. It was the one year anniversary death of my dear friend,Alexandra O'Rourke. She passed away from lung cancer. I was going to say something about it to My Dear Friend Michelle while we were picking up the boys at Camporee,but I had a feeling we would both cry,so I didn't say anything. I didn't need to remind her. Alex was her best friend. We both knew,though I did mention it in an email to her later and I posted a remembrance to Alex on Facebook. It was then I started to cry,and went outside to help Rick. He gave me a hug while I wiped my tears. I haven't cried over Alex in a long time,though I think about her alot, and miss her,especially this time of year when she would out in the garden. Rick told me he thought Alex would be proud of me for starting to live this kind of life,and I like to think that she would be. It still feels strange and hurts a bit when I see her sons,especially her oldest boy who is in Zach's troop. He is the spitting image of Alex,and she loved the scouting program so much. A whole year. It has gone by so very fast. It seems like yesterday.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Rick and Zach starting the assembly.
Zach putting some of our yard waste in
After we put the kitchen scraps,and the yard waste in so it filled about up to the top of the tumbler,we closed the lid and gave it a few turns. I put a bit of water in it to keep it moist. In 2-3 weeks,we should have some nice compost.
Let the black gold creation begin!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I know we have a lot of projects outside that we need to do. I also know that not all of them will get done this year. For instance,painting the house. That will probably be done next year,as we need to get our little farm up and running this year,and that will eat up some money.It still goes on the list,however.
I sat down and wrote this list. It kept growing longer and longer,and when I reached the end of it,I looked at it in dismay.
Outdoor To Do List
1) Build turkey cage
2)Build chicken coop
3)Build raised beds
4)Rake and clean the yard
5)Get rid of all the junk wood
6)Install the dog fence
7)Have septic pumped
10) Rebuild the deck
11)Rebuild the walkway
12)Plant flowers,put in granite slabs around, and install walkway to our flagpole
13)Clean out the garage
14)Repaint and plant flowers around the well
15) Sand and repaint the bulkhead
16)Get rid of the misc concrete blocks
17)Rick make a sign for the house ("The Little Yellow Farm")
18) Replace rotted house boards
19)Paint the house
20) Plant the garden
21) Set up the pool
22) Set up the rainbarrels
Hmm..how many hours in the day,and how much money do we have????? Answer: Not that much!!!
It seems very overwhelming when it is written down. I didn't realize how much there was to do until I did so. Now I feel like we are up against alot and will never complete half of what we need to do. So...what does one do when one looks at all this?
Priorities are important. Like I said earlier,we can forgo certain projects,but others (turkey cage,chicken coop,raised beds,planting the garden,etc) are mandatory. These are things that HAVE to get done,if we are to establish the kind of life we want. Next year we won't have to build so many things,so we will have more time. Rick will also be better physically,so the work will get done faster. Do we really need to plant flowers around the well and flagpole? No. That can wait.
When one is starting out on a path to self reliance,the list can be long,because there is more work than just regular maintenance. Starting out is when one feels overwhelmed. You think it's too much.
That's when you look at your list,and you do the essentials first,then the rest will fall into place.
We are on the end tail of our turkey cage now. The one thing we do have to get more of is lumber. There are no cross supports on the top of the cage,so the chicken wire is a bit loose and on the warped side. It is not nice and tight as on the bottom half,because there is a bottom and a middle cross support. Now ,we could get away with it,but Rick wants it to look right.
Your best bet when starting your journey is to make a list,determine what is mandatory,and take it from there. Remember, you are not alone! We are in this together!!!
Monday, April 19, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Then she asked if I would join her.
Rick has been after me to learn how to shoot since I have been with him. Being up here,it's not just about burglar defense,but bears,etc who wander into the yard who go after the livestock. I have always said sometime,with not much enthusiasm.
I have nothing against guns,though the thought of what someone can do with them makes me nervous.I do think there are alot of idiots out there who shouldn't have them. There are also alot of intelligent,reasonable people who I have no problem with. The power one holds in their hands when they are holding loaded weapon is not something anyone should take in stride. Accidents happen as well.
However, in light of recent events,and since my Dear Friend was doing it,I figured I might as well.
Rick has permission to use someones pit on their private property,so that is where we went. He made a wooden stand for his Osama Bin Laden targets,packed up the pistol and the semi automatic,the rounds and some spray paint,and we were off.
There was an old door already out there that we stapled the target to,so we didn't need his wooden stand. He used spray paint to show the area that we wanted to concentrate on:center mass. He first went through the pros and cons of each weapon. His personal opinion was the revolver would be best,and after loading and shooting both,Michelle and I agreed with him. He then said we don't shoot to kill,or to maim,but we shoot to "stop the immediate threat." He went over all the safety measures. He then showed us how to shoot. We each took a turn,and Michelle did great. She has some really nice groupings ( or as Rick calls them,"groupage") at heart level.She took her target home to show her hubby. I wouldn't want to break into her house! I had some good shots at heart level and one right in the chin! I was still nervous,but I would've stopped a threat. I wouldn't want to have to do it,but I would do what I had to do to protect my family.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
1) A stone wall
2) An oak tree in the front that drops TONS of acorns
3) Seasonal view of the Moose Mtns
4) Many birch trees in the back
So we tried various names based on these factors: Stonewall Farm,Acorn Hill Farm,White Birch Farm,Oak and Maple Farm,and Mountain View Farm. None of them hit their mark. Then I thought of it: The Little Yellow Farm. It' s obvious! " Where do we get the eggs?" " Down the road at the Little Yellow Farm on the left." The house is little,and yellow. No missing it. I like the vibe the name gives off, a nice,small,quaint.cozy place.
Rick is going to make a sign to hang off our tree. We hope to sell some eggs,and some extra produce ( if we have lots of luck with our garden this year!)Extra pocket money never hurt! Our neighbor has already told us she wants to buy eggs from us. Kind to oblige!
Still working on the turkey cage....with Rick's limitations,it takes awhile,and Brother B is now working,so we only have him on the weekends. No problem. Slow and steady wins the race!
Saturday, April 10, 2010
We knew it was too good to last. Our stretch of summer like weather has left us and now we are back to typical April showers and temperatures. However, that did not deter us. Thursday Rick and I put up the chicken wire around the bottom of the turkey cage. We also cut down some saplings that were in the way. It took about an hour,and that was all that Rick could do. Then yesterday it rained all day,so there was no outdoor work.
My seedlings are coming along nicely. I just went into the basement to check on them,and I now have three more pepper plants. So now I have 10 in total. Yesterday I planted 20 tomatoes,because I know not all of them will take.I put the cells that did not have their seeds sprout yet in the same tray with the tomatoes,and kept the sprouted ones under the light. I use regular heating pads for the seeds. I have heard that you should not use heating pads,that regular plant pads are the way to go,but so far it's worked fine. I did make one error,however-when I first bought the heating pads,I bought ones with an automatic shut off. After an hour,it would shut off and I would have to manually turn it back on. Not an option. Fortunately, I had an old heating pad and it worked, though it didn't get quite as hot as it used to. I checked at Rite Aid,and they had the heating pads without the automatic shut off,so I bought two for about $30. It sure beats one plant pad for over $50. You do not need expensive items to get your garden going. I have an basic shop light and cool fluorescent bulbs,for which I think I spent no more than $14. Plant lights are not necessary. I do make sure the soil stays moist,as that is very important.
Rick and his brother Brian are off to pick up the supplies for our square foot garden boxes. We are going to have 9 boxes this year. This is our first attempt at square foot gardening, and starting seeds,and while it does seem pretty straight forward,it's like anything else one tries for the first time-we feel a bit overwhelmed at what needs to be done.We can only do our best and learn from any mistakes we make. Hopefully we will have enough to can and maybe sell a bit by the roadside for a bit of pocket money.We didn't want to go too over board our first year.
Today I am going hiking with My Dear Friend Michelle and her two boys. Zach is best friends with her son,Ethan,and he spent the night there last night. We are going over to Strafford to hike Parker Mountain. It has been quite a while since I have done any hiking,but Michelle promised to go slow. The sun is shining,the air is brisk,so it it great hiking weather. Tonight Rick and I are going to the Abnaki District dinner.This is for registered adults in our Boy Scout district,where leaders can receive awards. Rick did not go last year. They had spaghetti for dinner,and Rick did not want to pay $10 just to eat a salad (he can't have regular spaghetti because of the gluten).This year they are having roast beef,so he can eat that and feel like he's getting his money's worth. :)
Enjoy your day!
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
We didn't even realize that we had worked through lunch until I asked Rick what time it was and he replied that it was 2:35. Jeez! Almost time to get Zach off the bus! Poor Rick was quite the hurting unit,his poor knees were in agony. He is stubborn,however,and will what he can for as long as he can. Most of the time he can't do much for long,maybe an hour or two.
After the laundry was done, I ironed the clothes,including our scout uniforms,because we had Boy Scouts last night .I think by the time I actually sat down it was after 5:00 PM,and let me tell you, I didn't want to get back up. I hurt,especially my back and hips. I have bouts sometimes with my sciatic nerve. I wrenched it a long time ago lifting a TV from the floor to the top of a table by myself ( I should've used my legs!). So sometimes when I move a certain way it bothers me. Last night I was standing during our Troop Committee meeting and OW! It was quite uncomfortable. When I went to bed last night my back and hips hurt so bad I could barely walk. I can only imagine how much Rick hurt. He could hardly walk as it was.
Today is a gray day,warm,but with passing showers. I went grocery shopping this morning,and after a quick lunch of chicken strips and coleslaw,I made oatmeal-walnut-butterscotch cookies. I don't buy store bought cookies anymore. Soon I must go pick up Zach for his dentist appointment. Tonight we are having broiled haddock,baked potatoes and peas. We try to have fish at least once a week,but it doesn't always work out that way. We let Zach pick either haddock or salmon.He likes both. Thankfully,Zach is not a fussy child. There are very few things he does not like.Then again,we all have things we don't care for!
Monday, April 5, 2010
This weekend I cleaned up our screen porch. That poor porch has seen better days. It sorely needs a fresh coat of paint and some new screens. It hasn't been painted since 2005,so I would say it's time. A porch should always look somewhat decent,especially since it's the first thing people see when they come to your house. It's your greeting to friends and family. Right now, that greeting is not very cheerful looking here!
I also took advantage of the weather and did some raking. The boys started putting up the new turkey cage. They seated the lumber posts with some quick-crete,but didn't get as far as they would've liked,because they picked up the free speed boat we were given. So that took a chunk out of the day on Saturday. Then of course, some of the men neighbors had to come down to check it out,which took more time. By the time the boys came back from Home Depot,it was already 3:00 PM. They did work on it some yesterday morning,but of course stopped around noon time since it was Easter. They did get the lights for the seedlings hung,and I had an interesting time trying to figure out the timer...which I finally did,I think !
Today is laundry and ironing day.I will be going outside and helping Rick with the turkey cage and doing some raking in between loads. Tonight is Boy Scouts and we have a Troop Committee meeting,so I not only have to wash and iron Zach's uniform,but ours as well.
It's nice to see Rhonda Jean from Down To Earth posting again. She has a fabulous blog,with great advice. I think she is probably the standard bearer for self reliant blogs. You can't go wrong when you follow Rhonda Jean!
I suppose I should go do what I have to do -start some laundry and hit the great outdoors. I hope you and your families all had a great Easter,and if you don't celebrate it,I hope you all had a great Sunday!!!!
Thursday, April 1, 2010
We live in an area with a high water table,so every spring when the snow melts,or when there is alot of rain we get water in the basement. Our sub pump has been running since Monday. Our basement has puddles here and there and a good portion of the floor is wet. We are very lucky,however. Some people have had their homes flooded. Rhode Island has borne the brunt of this last system. I feel bad for everyone who had major damage. It seems like the Springs are getting wetter and wetter,global warming or not.( My personal belief is that the pollution in the air is making the natural cycle of the planet's temperature move along faster. If we were more careful,we could at least slow it down a tad).
Yesterday we went to Concord,the state capital,and the home to the NH National Guard Headquarters. Rick was finally retired yesterday (or, should I say,he signed his paperwork...it's all official on the 23rd) We all had our retirement ID's taken. Zach was excited because this was his first official ID,since he is now 12.He was funny. He was sitting there with his "Sniper-Don't run,you'll only die tired" Tshirt on,and was worried about if he should smile or not for his ID. I told him to do whatever he felt like. He wound up giving a big grin,no teeth showing. We went to Ruby Tuesday's after for a celebratory lunch. It still has not sunk in that he will be retired. I suppose that will take a while,like anything else one waits for that takes a long time. Once it happens,it doesn't sink in for a bit.
We had a couple of appointments in Manchester today. We saw Rick's TBI Dr,and the sleep clinic read his chip in his sleep apnea machine. We mentioned that we have not heard anything about Rick's knees yet,and the TBI Dr had us go talk to Rick's TBI case worker,Lisa. Lisa was Rick's PTSD social worker for a year until she got promoted and moved into the TBI unit. Lisa was in a meeting,so we chatted with Gordon,an intern. We told him that we really needed to get Rick's knees fixed,because they have gotten worse since our appt to Dartmouth in Feb. He said he would relay the info to Lisa,and she would get in touch with whoever she needed to talk to. On the way home,Gordon called Rick's cell and told him that he had spoken to Lisa,and that it looked like all his paperwork was in order,it just needed to be sent to the right place,and she would make sure that it was. So things are starting to roll right along again.