Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rainy and Raw

That describes our weather right now. Rainy and raw. Not to mention foggy as well. The front moved in yesterday,and it seems we will have this weather up until Thursday or Friday. Yep,Fall is here!

Saturday Rick and I went out for our 13th anniversary,which was yesterday( We had Zach's Boy Scout Court of Honor last night,so we celebrated over the weekend).We went out for dinner in Portsmouth.Our first stop was the Dolphin Striker,as Rick wanted some oysters from the raw bar. I tried one with cocktail sauce,and it wasn't bad,but still not something I could order. We then went to the River House just up the street for dinner. They have gluten free options,which is not easy to find in a restaurant. Rick and I have not been in Portsmouth on a Saturday night since before he left for Iraq.We used to go out somewhat often,whether for drinks,dinner,or just walking around.We wanted to sit on the deck,overlooking the Piscataqua River ( which feeds into the Atlantic ocean,there are tugboats,fishing boats,etc docked out there).There was a 30 minute wait,so we left our name and went and sat on a bench and watched people. I asked Rick a couple of times if he was OK,because there was soooo many people,either milling around or sitting outside at the various restaurants.He said he was fine. People had money to spend,that is for sure. We had a lovely dinner and enjoyed being out on a nice romantic evening.

Sunday we split and stacked wood from our log pile. I thought I would be more sore that night and into Monday,but I wasn't. We were going to continue with the wood yesterday,but it was drizzling starting in the morning,and continued to do so off and on all day.I washed floors,made crock pot beef stew,and made a batch of hand soap.It was a good day for beef stew. We wound up waiting an extra 20 minutes for Zach's bus. It wound up smoking from the back,and our bus driver Audrey called in another bus to bring the kids the rest of the way home. She said that all her gauges were fine,so she had no idea what was wrong,but didn't want to take any chances. He didn't get home until almost 3:30. I felt chilled,so I made myself a nice cup of Apple Cider Tea ( from Bigelow).

Rick did not have good day yesterday.He is down to 1 morphine pill now,and is feeling the effects of having last week's dose cut in half. To make things worse,an elderly gentleman pulled out of a side street without looking and almost hit our truck.Rick and Brother B were running errands. They slammed on the brakes and narrowly missed hitting this man's car. I can only imagine how that sent Rick's hypervigilence up. When he got home,he was not feeling well,and when he handed me the ATM card,his hand was shaking badly. He went to bed around 12:30 and slept until 5:00. He went with us to the Court of Honor,and sat in back,but he chatted with the other adults. He still was not feeling well last night,and had a hard time falling asleep. In fact, he is asleep in his recliner now,so I know he didn't sleep well last night.

Zach did well at Court of Honor. He earned four merit badges at summer camp-First Aid,Wilderness Survival,Carpentry,and Pathfinding.All the boys did well,and many merit badges were given out. Zach only has a couple requirements left before he can earn his First Class Rank. He loves scouts!

Today I am off to grocery shop and I am going to make some homemade pumpkin puree,maybe even an apple pie.

Enjoy your day,where ever you might be!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Man of the Place

Sue,from Living The Good Life,had inquired how Rick is doing,and I realized that I haven't given any updates for a while. So,for those of you who are wondering how The Man of the Place is doing,here is the scoop.

Rick's knees are doing great. His muscles still get stiff,so sometimes he has to stretch two or three times a day.He does his stretching,exercises,and elliptical bike each day,and he feels great after.Some days his muscles are sore,and other days he feels nothing at all.This is nothing compared to the pain he was in before. He does have days where he feels more comfortable with a cane,but for the most part,he doesn't use it.He does have to pay attention to his walk,though,because he is used to limping when he walked,so he has to get out of that habit.

He is now down to 30 mg of morphine a day,which,considering he was taking 120 mg per day,is wonderful. Next week he will be only taking 15 mg,then the following week,he will be off it completely. While this is good news,it's also bringing his PTSD issues to the forefront again.(We were aware that this would happen) The morphine helped deaden it. Now he is more hyper vigilant,and yesterday was a bad day. We went to his TBI Dr,Dr Whitlock at the Manchester VA. Rick told him he still has long term and short term memory issues,he forgets who people are if he hasn't seen them for a while,his speech still drags sometimes,etc.He also mentioned his PTSD is more pronounced. We decided to stop for breakfast on the way home,and when we were in the restaurant,Rick told me he felt shaky and real anxious,and he didn't know why,but he would be OK. When we got in the truck,it was too much for him and he broke down. "I thought I was past all this,"he said. " It's like it was when I first got back. There's too much coming at me and I can't handle it.I'm on sensory overload." I felt terrible. There was nothing I could do to help him.He sat there crying and all I could say was,"It's OK...it will get better...you are going to start a new PTSD program next week,so that will help....it will be OK..." Rick has a real problem with hyper vigilance-he is on guard all the time,and has to observe everything and everyone.Now that he is more clearheaded without the morphine,the hyper vigilance is more pronounced. He was wiped out by time we got back and took a nap. Today,though,he is in much better spirits,and he and Brother B are off running some errands before they begin splitting wood. PTSD is a roller coaster.Some days, he gives no indication that he has any issues. There are days,though they rarely happen,where everything builds up and he breaks down. It's like any of us-sometimes you just have to vent and get it out of your system...even The Man of the Place.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Cozy Feel of Fall

I have posted about this before,but there is something special about Fall in New England. I don't think I am going out on limb when I say that Fall and New England go hand and hand. To me,the sight of brightly colored leaves, crisp apples, stone walls,and a slight chill in the air is New England. Of course, I am biased towards NH. :)

I am starting to get the cozy Fall feel. It's almost like a nesting thing. Time to put the AC's away,tidy up the garden,and the yard. I like to bake this time of the year. For some reason,it seems more enjoyable to smell a fresh apple pie when one comes in from the outside this time of year.I like to make candles.Chili,stews,and crock pot meals move to the forefront. The final element is when we start the wood stove for the first time. So far,we have not had to start it,but I don't think it will be very long.The nights are getting cooler,and the days as well. There is such simple pleasure in relaxing at the kitchen table and watching the fire through the glass in the wood stove door,and feeling the warmth creates contentment. It makes me want to start the stove up right now! ( But I won't....it's too early)

Today I need to dry up my herbs,and finally take down my poor cornstalks and make bundles out of them for decoration.

Yep,it's the Cozy Feel of Fall.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fall Is Here

Well,officially,Fall is not here for a few more days yet,but the fact that one could see their breath a tad this AM at the bus stop tells me it is here now!The leaves are changing faster,and Tuesday when I was coming back from grocery shopping, I saw a flock of geese flying south,in their V formation. It was the first flock I have seen of the season. When I see them going to warmer climates,that means ( to me) that Fall is here.

Another thing that tells me Fall is here is we take stock of our woodpile. Though we have plenty for the season,we still wanted to get more for the future.Wood needs to be seasoned in order to burn properly ( ever try to burn fresh cut wood?). This year, instead of ordering pre cut,we got tree length,which,though it requires the extra work to cut and split it,winds up costing less in the long run. Pre cut wood can run upwards of $200 a cord.

We were pleased that they delivered our wood within a few days of ordering. It was neat to watch the truck operator lower the arm,the claw pick up a few logs,then place them on the ground. He left a few minutes before Zach got out of school,which was a bummer. He would've loved to have seen it.

We made sure to tell Zach not to climb on the woodpile,but Rick wanted a picture of Zach on top of it to give an idea of how big the pile is. Rick carefully checked each log to make sure it was sturdy enough,and he helped Zach climb on up.There are oak,maple,black cherry,and several other hardwoods. Hardwoods are best for burning,because they burn longer and hotter than soft woods,such as pine. Out of this pile we should get at least 7 cords of wood,possibly more. Another sign of Fall is apple picking. We have just started apple picking in the last two years. Last year I went with My Dear Friend Michelle during the week,and I do admit I enjoyed that because it wasn't busy.This year,the apples are earlier due to the hot dry summer we had,and I really wanted Zach to go.He doesn't have any days off from school until Columbus Day,and I was concerned that the apples we wanted to pick would be either past prime or gone by then,so we went on Saturday. Rick has never been apple picking,before, so it was a nice family activity.
We picked McIntosh and Honey Crisps ( Honey Crisps are my favorite!)
Zach picked the lower apples and could squeeze into the branches. Rick could pick the ones higher up.I picked a few,but wanted the boys to have most of the fun. ( You can see Rick having a good time!)Though Zach's expression doesn't show it,he had a grand old time. He was so excited to walk up and down the rows,trying to find the right kind of apple. Each row is marked with a sign,so one knows which type of apple is in the row.
If you haven't tried apple picking,you should. It's a great way to kick off the Fall season...plus... the pies are wonderful!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010


All our encouraging words to our dear hens finally paid off :) I was in the house on Weds when Zach came running in and said breathlessly,"Daddy says to come outside and bring the camera."

I had a feeling that we finally had an egg or two. We had just been talking about how it was getting to be near time for the hens to start laying.I couldn't think of what else would cause The Man of The Place to beckon me outside with my camera.

He and Brother B were standing outside the coop,and I could tell by their expressions my feeling was right.

"Go into the coop,"Rick urged.

Zach and I opened the door,and, resting in the very first nesting box,sat this little guy:

Our first egg of the season! Naturally,it was on the small side. Somewhere in between a medium sized egg and a quail egg. It was very cute. Having had chickens in the past,we know that they will get bigger with time.

Zach picked it up,rinsed it off,and put it with our store bought eggs. Yesterday we got another egg. It has been pouring out this morning,so we have not been outside yet to check if we have more. Apparently the second one was laid sometime during the afternoon,because the coop was checked late yesterday morning,and there wasn't a second egg yet.

Once the laying is in full swing,we are going to start selling them. Here in NH,nighttime is starting to fall earlier ,so we are going to have to put a solar light into the coop soon.The shortest day of the year in Dec means it is dark by 4:30 in our neck of the woods. Chickens like 8-12 hours of light to lay,so we will help them along with some fake light.

I look forward to not having to put eggs on my grocery list. Good job,girls!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Handmade Wheat Bread

One of things that I have wanted to do in my quest to be more "self reliant" is to make my own bread. It took a few years,but I finally did it!

What made me finally decide on making my own bread is unclear. I wanted to to try it for a long time. I think I was intimidated,pure and simple.

I don't have a bread maker,so I went online to find a handmade recipe. I don't want to invest in a bread maker if this is a flash in the pan idea. So I went with handmade. The recipe is found is on allrecipes.com.It was submitted by Nita Crabb. It received 5 out of 5 stars. I hope I am not infringing on any copy laws here.

Simple Whole Wheat Bread
3 cups warm water ( 110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 ( .25 oz) pkgs active dry yeast
1/3 cup honey
5 cups of white bread flour
3 tablespoons butter,melted
1/3 cup honey (yes,another one)
1 tablespoon salt
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons butter,melted

1.In a large bowl,mix warm water,yeast,and 1/3 cup honey. Add 5 cups white bread flour and stir to combine. Let set for 30 minutes,or until big and bubbly.
2.Mix in 3 tablespoons melted butter,1/3 cup honey,and salt.Stir in 2 cups whole wheat flour.Flour a flat surface and knead with whole wheat flour until not real sticky-just pulling away from the counter but still sticky to touch. This may take an additional 2-4 cups of whole wheat flour.Place in a greased bowl,turning once to coat the surface of the dough.Cover with a dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled.
3.Punch down,and divide into 3 loaves.Place in greased 9 x 5 loaf pans,and allow to rise until dough has topped the pans by one inch.
Bake at 350 degrees F/175 degrees C for 25-30 minutes, do not over bake. 4.Lightly brush the tops of loaves with 2 tablespoons of melted butter when done to prevent crust from getting hard.Cool completely.

The first thing I had to figure out was step 1. It didn't say to cover the bowl,so I didn't. It didn't seem like much was happening,though the mix did appear to be getting larger,but bubbly? I covered it with a towel,and it did take longer than 30 minutes,maybe closer to 45 minutes. I was expecting big old bubbles like some scientific stew,but it wound up being pinholes-like when one makes pancakes. I assumed that was the bubbles,and went on to step 2.

Since I have never kneaded before,I had to refer to my Red and White Plaid Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. I sprinkled wheat flour on the dough,folded it in half,then pressed down with the heel of my palm ( do palms have heels?).Folded over,turn,repeat. I even flipped the whole thing over a few times. I may have used 2 cups of wheat flour,but no more than that.
I put a small bowl of warm water on the lowest rack in the oven,then the dough in a big bowl covered with a towel near the top rack. I left enough space so the dough could rise. It took about an hour for the dough to rise. Onto step 3.

OK,so I had to punch the dough down. How did I know when it was ready? it was up pretty high,but was it considered "doubled"? Better Homes said to take two fingers and poke them into the dough about 1/2 ". If your fingers leave an indentation,it's ready to punch down. One doesn't actually haul off and punch the dough,but you take your fist and push it into the dough,which causes the dough to go down. I used my fingers to loosen the dough from the sides of the bowl,which was very easy,then after I took the dough out of the bowl I tore it up into three sections,made those sections into loaf shapes,put them in the pans,and put the pans in the oven.

Step 4-I checked the bread after 25 minutes,and flicked the tops with my finger to see if they sounded hollow. They did,so they were done. They slid out of the pans very easily,and I brushed the melted butter on the tops.

Now comes the important part:taste. How did my first endeavor in bread making come out? Did you really think I could wait until the bread was cooled? What is better than hot bread with butter melting into it? Not much! The loaves sure smelled wonderful.

The taste was marvelous! You have noticeable but not overwhelming honey taste,followed by a subtle nutty wheat taste. Delicious! Add bread to the list of things I will no longer purchase at the store!!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Signs of Fall and Edible Apples

I spent yesterday in bed with one of the worst migraines I have had in a very long time-pain so sharp that it made me get sick. So I popped Excedrin Migraine,rested my poor head,and in the evening watched a couple 9/11 doctumentaries.

Friday,on the other hand,was a much better day. I felt great,for the first time in a week. I went grocery shopping,and when I got back,decided to take a few pictures of the first signs that Fall was indeed creeping into our beautiful Granite State.

First,my lovely Nico Blue ( or is it Nikki Blue? I can't remember) Hydrangeas have now turned a very pretty shade of purple:

They would make a pretty centerpiece on the dining table. I have noticed my next door neighbor has some really pretty foliage. The tops of a couple of his maples are a pretty red. We,on the other hand, are just starting to show some colors around the edges:
This is the maple in the front of the house.Directly in front of it is a large oak.You can see the signs of Fall are just starting.
One of the good things that happened Friday was what was finally happened with our Jonathan apple tree that we planted right before Rick left for Iraq in Spring of 2005. This is a self pollinating tree:

As you can see,we do need to give a nice pruning. We started getting tiny apples about 3 years ago,and when I say tiny,I mean roughly crab apple size. We also have only had one -three each year,and they would fall off before they would ripen ( at such a small size,it didn't really matter,but still....) This year,we have the most apples we have ever had:8. And these apples are far from crab apple size:
Isn't that pretty? We actually have apples that look like...well...real apples! I was eyeing them as we brought the groceries into the house.I went back out for a better look,and was very excited to see how great they looked. Rick and I decided to try one,so he picked it,and....it was good! The inside was just like any old apple,no strange things growing (or living) in it! It was a bit too crisp for me,so it probably could've stayed on the tree a wee bit longer,but it was delicious none the less.So...we now have edible apples. Only a few,but now we look forward to more apples next year. We do want to get another couple of trees. I would like to just be able to pick them from my yard when I would like to make a pie.
I was so excited I jumped up and down. " We need a press!" I exclaimed. " We can make our own cider,and applesauce..." " We also need more than one tree to make all that,"Brother B chuckled. "Well.....yes," I replied,"someday. But we can always pick apples at an orchard till then!"
Our own apples!!! YAY!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Odds and Ends

Since I haven't been feeling well this last week,not much as been going on,aside from the basic everyday things:dishes,dusting,sweeping,feeding the poultry,etc. Today I actually feel better than I have since last Friday. Last night I was running a low grade fever of 99.6.maybe that was helping purge whatever was going on,because even though I still feel fuzzy in the head,I do feel better,though tired. Right now I am in the middle of straightening out the kitchen.Things are piling up on the butcher block and the dining table,so since I feel better,that is my project for today.I always tend to overdue the first day I start to feel better,so I will limit myself to that one project.

Sunday I decided to take some photos outside since I haven't done that in a while. I poked around in our potato bed and found this little guy staring up at me:
Holy smokes,a potato! We didn't plant many. I think we only have 5 plants total. It was more or less an experiment to see how well they would do. I proceeded to pick 5 potatoes all together,and they were quite good. Next year we are going to dedicate a whole bed to just potatoes.

Next I took a look at our turkeys:

They have grown quite a bit,and we discovered we have 6 males and 6 females. You can tell the males because the waddle under their necks is bigger than the females,and it turns more red.They also wind up growing a beard.Males also fan their tail feathers out and puff themselves out,making huffing noises. I tried to get our boys to do it for me,but they were not interested in the least.
Now on to the rooster and his harem:

Here is Runt ( the beige Buff Orphington) in all his glory.Runt is the cock of the walk! He was so small for so long we thought he was a female ( remember?) Then once the Cornish Game Hen Crosses were gone,he was able to get more food and he grew. We got rid of the other couple roosters,but we have grown attached to Runt,so he will stay. I love hearing him crow,but his crows always sound like a question. He has an upward inflection at the end of his crows.The boys keep telling Runt that he needs to have a firm,decisive crow,but so far he is not listening to them.

I have one pumpkin left on the vine.The rest I have picked. They are sitting on my porch,with my old ironing board and a box full of canning jars.The ironing board is waiting to be picked up by our friend,Paul,who collects scrap metal to help pay for his mortgage.It no longer opens up. The canning jars were given to us by our neighbors.
I want to attempt making fresh pumpkin pie,but of course,this has not been the week for it. Our local apple orchards have apples that are ready to pick as well. Everything is so early this year! My cozy content Fall feeling is not quite out yet. The leaves have been turning for weeks,although slowly.Our maples have just started,though. The foliage experts say this is not going to be a very pretty foliage year,and it is not going to last long.The summer was too hot and dry. Last year was gorgeous!
I am off to finish up my kitchen.Have a great day in your neck of the world!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Homemade Brown Sugar

I am not half clever enough to come up with ideas on my own. I get them from blogs,friends,or family.So the day that My Dear Friend Michelle told me she had to make more brown sugar (or was it that she had made more brown sugar?) my ears perked up. "How do you make brown sugar?" I asked,intrigued. "You can make brown sugar?" My Dear Friend assured me that yes,one could make brown sugar,and not only was it easy,it tasted much better than store bought.

Wow. Homemade brown sugar! I don't know where she learned this little bit of homemade goodness-I didn't ask. My head was still reeling. Imagine making your own brown sugar! It was something I never thought of. I figured it was one of those things that you had to buy in the store,sitting for God knows how long in a plastic bag. What a great idea.One less plastic product to buy. And once could either make a batch ahead of time,or make it as needed. I think we have all experienced what happens when a bag of brown sugar is not closed up properly....you wind up with a brown sugar rock-yuck.

So yesterday,since I wasn't feeling the best,and feeling the need to do something constructive, I decided to give brown sugar whirl. It was quick, it was easy,and I will never EVER buy store bought brown sugar again. This beats it hands down. This is what you need:

white sugar

Yep.That's it.White sugar and molasses. 1 cup of white sugar and two tablespoons of molasses. You put the molasses in the sugar,and mix it up until the molasses is completely combined with the sugar.I used a fork to help things along. I made two cups. The sugar turns a lovely light brown color,just like you would buy in the store.And the taste! Much better,not as sweet. But it tastes just like light brown sugar. I would assume if you wanted dark brown sugar that you would add more molasses,maybe two more tablespoons,or to taste.

How would've thought it would be that easy?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Laying Low

This past weekend I have been laying low.My allergies kicked into full gear making me stuffy,my head swimmy,and I have been left overall lethargic.Completely drained. I was suppose to can tomatoes-well,that didn't happen.I didn't have the drive to do it at all. Saturday I did poke around in the garden,and pulled up the plants past their prime-the cantaloupes,lettuce,most of the cucumbers,some of pumpkin vines.I left my corn stalks (which are a lovely shade of tan) because I didn't have the energy to tie them up into groups for decoration. I spent all day in bed yesterday,popping Benedryl and sleeping,and today my head still feels off and I have no energy. So the tomatoes will not get canned yet again. I wanted to make sauce,but I don' t have the 40 lbs of tomatoes called for in the Blue Book,so I was going to content myself with canning them in water. I don't have the drive to do it,though. Maybe tomorrow. I have been saying that since this started on Friday! I feel very guilty for it,but there is no way I can do it. I already feel like going back to bed,and it's only 8:50 AM.I feel like I am letting my family down.I don't like feeling sick,when there is so much to do.

Today is Labor Day,and Zach has had a long four day weekend.His Cousin Brody came up over the weekend,and all the menfolk went hunting.It's squirrel and bear season,as well as coyote and other small critters. Alas,things were rather elusive,but Brody enjoyed his first hunting excursion.

We did have a special visitor this AM. Brother B had made a store run and on the way back,he saw a bull moose lumbering down the treeline that separates our yard and the neighbors. Mr Moose then crossed the road and went into the woods . If we had the blinds on our french doors open,we would've seen him. Drat! Rick said that he has noticed deer tracks in our yard,more than he has seen since we moved up here in 2003.This is the second moose we have had in that amount of time. We haven't had any bears yet this year,but I did see one about two miles south,crossing Rt 153 a couple weeks ago on my way back from Farmington. I am surprised that we didn't get one in the yard this year,like we did last year,especially since we have more bird feeders and our garden is bigger.

I should go attempt to do something.....have a great day!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fresh Air

Thankfully,Hurricane Earl just seemed to cough it's way up the coast here.It has been a long time since NH has seen a good size hurricane,and we like it like that. We have our share of winter hurricanes (otherwise known as Northeasters) so we can do without them in the Fall. We did get some rain and a bit of wind,but nothing to write home about. We are about 30 minutes from the coast,so anything they get is far less up here.

This last week has found us with yet another stretch of oppressive heat,coupled with humidity. Records were broken as the many parts of the state (including ours)found themselves in the mid to upper 90's. Our AC has been going nonstop for days,which has meant our windows have been closed.Now the heat is over! A cool front has finally moved in. This morning I have shut down the AC and flung open every window in the house (except for the ones which have an air conditioner in it-we have two).Finally! Some fresh air in the house! The sun is out,the wind is blowing,and the air smells lovely. One of the wonderful things about having windows open is you can hear and smell the outside. Instead of the steady noise of the air conditioner,we can hear birds,feel the breeze,smell how fresh it is after the rain,hear the leaves rustling on the trees,and hear our beloved rooster,Runt crowing at the day.It's wonderful and relaxing.

Today I need to can tomatoes.Our tomatoes have finally started ripening,and our neighbor gave us a bunch of them.I do need to pull out my cuke plants.They are finally dead and have served us well.The pickles and relish I canned came out great,if I do say so myself! :) I have two or three pumpkins left on the vine,but they should be pretty well ripe by now. I picked 5 of them about 2-3 weeks ago.Everything so early this year.My corn didn't turn out very well.The stalks all died within the last three weeks,so even though we propped them up and extended their lives by a bit,it didn't have the desired effect. At least I can use the stalks for fall decoration.As Ma Ingalls used to say,"There's no great loss without some small gain."

I am still getting some summer squash and zucchini,though the leaves have white on them.I have a few green beans that need picking,and my green peppers are doing OK. I need to check my potatoes.The herbs did great,and we are still getting strawberries.This last strawberry harvest has been our best all summer,so next year I am sure all three harvests will be very bountiful.(fingers crossed!!!)

The girls should be laying very soon,so we are anxious for that. The turkeys are getting big,and it's funny to see the males strut around and make their huffing noises.

Yep,it's a good day!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Gardening Is a Common Thread

I have joined a local Gardener's Roundtable. We meet at the library in Farmington. I believe I started going in March or April. I had not heard of the group until My Dear Friend Michelle asked me if I wanted to join. I think I only missed one or two meetings.

The group is a cross section of ages and abilities. Some folks have been gardening for years and have massive gardens.Some have only gardened for a few years,and there are others like myself,who have only done it for a couple of years and have small gardens. The purpose is to exchange ideas and knowledge. You can imagine I don't say much! But I listen carefully. We have had visits from Dr Tomato,a couple who has and sells geodesic greenhouses,a food canning discussion with a representative from the UNH Cooperative Extension Service,a seed swap,garden tour,and My Dear Friend Michelle gave a demonstration on how to build worm bins and discussed worm composting ( she loves her worms! Hi Michelle!!!!). A couple weeks ago,we had a potluck dinner. Everything had to be made from something we grew. At first,I was going to make a zucchini/summer squash casserole,but since I have never made one before,thought better of it. I didn't want to make this poor group my guinea pigs! So I made Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots. All the food was great! I never thought of getting filled by vegetables,but there were so many different kinds of dishes that it wasn't difficult. One of the nice things about our little group is learning from others. Michelle and I sat across from this older couple,Carl and Kay. I guess that they are in their late 60's to early 70's. They live on this wonderful piece of property,over 50 acres,that one has to drive down a long driveway to get to.They are in the middle of nowhere,yet not far from anyone,really. They haul water for their many massive gardens from a pond on their property,and work all day outside.Their gardens are so large that they would drain their well water. We discovered that they spin their own yarn,and weave their own napkins,dish cloths,etc. They are such a fascinating couple.

The folks in the group vary,but the thing that brings us together is our interest in gardening and being more self sufficient. We mentioned possibly in the winter months expanding the agenda to include candle making,soap making,etc...things that folks can do for themselves. Next month,we will discuss problems we had with our gardens,and see if anyone has had the same issues and what they did to resolve it.We are also going to watch "Food Inc" at our November meeting, I believe.

It is wonderful to connect with people in groups such as this.Not only can you exchange ideas and learn new things,but you can also find new friends, sources for bartering,getting veggies,eggs,or other homemade goods. Everyone wins!