Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Things Change.....

I have decided to put Little Cottage In the Country on the back burner. I am starting fresh with a fresh new blog: Cöpse Clearing Farm.

You can find it at  www.copseclearingfarm.blogspot.com. (Please note that there is no diaeresis over the o in copse.)

I want to thank all my followers of Little Cottage,and I hope that you find your way to Cöpse Clearing Farm!

Have a fabulous day on this Fabulous Planet!!

                 Thanks again for joining us on our journey-Donna,Rick,and Zach


Thursday, July 18, 2013

First Green Beans Of The Year

It seems like the green beans just popped out this week! These are Tenderpod Heirlooms....10 oz worth :)




After a cooler weekend,the heat is back in full force. 90 degree temps plus humidity. It's going to be like this all week. Thankfully,the beginning of next week is going to see cooler temps.

Stay cool if you are having a heat wave!!!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

It's A Wee Bit Hot Out There

The week that The Boy was gone started a cycle of rain that we were in for another week. It also included high humidity.Needless to say,it put a damper ( no pun intended!) on the outdoor plans. It put us a couple of weeks behind in laying down the loam and seeding. Last week,the chance of rain lessened as the week went on,but the temps have been in the 90's,with over 70% humidity-which put the actual temperature around 100 degrees. Rick has been out there,determined to get the loam spread as best as he can. Scoop up a load with the tractor,dump it in the area,and spread it out manually. I have been telling him to come inside where the AC keeps the house nice and cool every so often to rest a bit.He has been drinking plenty of water. We have also been fighting with the pool. We bought Green to Blue from HTH. Unfortunately,it didn't say on the bottle that it's not for use for a cartridge filter system,and that you need a material vacuum system for your pool. It broke down the metals,etc in the water and made them settle,but because our filter is not designed to pick up this sort of material well,when we vacuum the sediment spews back out of the outtake into the pool again. I finally looked this issue up last night,and found out that we have been using the wrong chemicals. Sigh. So we blasted the pool with chlorine,and have to start all over. I joked that by the time we can use the pool,the weather will turn to cold and rainy. Live and learn. I am hopeful that we can get the pool functioning for this coming weekend. We are having our Boy Scout Troop to the house for their Year Planning Weekend. It would be nice for them to use it.If not,then we do have the beach down at Sunrise Lake.

I think The Boy came back a carrier from NYLT,because on Monday at Yoga,My Dear Friend Michelle mentioned that her son,Ethan,who was at NYLT was sick with a cold. That night,I started having a scratchy throat,and by Tuesday AM I felt like I was swallowing glass. I was in bed for three days,even most of the Fourth,so it didn't feel much like a holiday for me. I did make some potato salad,and we had chicken ka bobs and corn  on the cob with the salad. We set off some fireworks (no ordinances here in town,though anything after 11:00 PM is noise nuisance)which is our yearly thing. Each day I do a bit more,not to over do it. My poor garden was so sad and full of weeds-Friday I got out there and weeded,finally. The Girls loved the weeds. The mornings are a bit rough.It takes a while for my head to clear,and I am bit stuffy,Mostly I just feel tired all the time,but I just putter along and yesterday was the first day I didn't nap or lay down.

The broilers have all been processed. Rick vacuum sealed them,some whole as roasters,some cut up. It took him over 6 hours to do it. We had about 28 broilers,give or take. We did lose a few over the course of time. That seems to be normal. Michelle and her hubby  were kind enough to lend us their homemade chicken plucker,and it was a time saver. The plucker is all clean and under cover. We just need to return it,I think it will be sometime this week.

In between rainstorms,I have been able to pick a couple few things.......

Some German Chamomile . I used my tea infusers to dry out the flowers. You can see the dried ones on the right, and the freshly picked ones waiting to be dried on the left. I am going to try some Chamomile tea this year.


This has been the best year for our strawberries so far. I have made it point,no matter what the weather or how I feel,to go out and pick the ones that are ready.I wash them,pluck the stems (which I then compost) and put them freezer bags.I am hopeful that I will have enough of my own berries this year to make jam with them.If not,I will have to go to the local farm and get some to combine them with. We have three harvests,and this was a sample of what I was gathering during our first.It has since gone down to just four or five berries at a time,but now we are getting some new blossoms for the second harvest.


We have invested in a roadside sign. We put it out on on the Fourth. Folks have been slowing down when they pass,which is good. Yesterday I sold three dozen eggs.We will have a regular sign by the road with our farm name,and this sign will be used just for what we are selling,which will increase with time.

Hopefully everyone out there is staying cool...if you work outside, please don't over do!!

Have a fabulous day on this Fabulous Planet!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Back Home


The Boy is back home!

We went to Camp Bell Saturday for 8:00 AM to pick him up. All the Scouts how participated in NYLT came down the mountain together,in their respective patrols.They formed a rather long line of three or four across. The leaders were yelling chants and the Scouts would yell back,a la the movie Stripes. It was quite impressive.We didn't see Zach at first. Each patrol would then line up,and they waited to be dismissed... "NYLT disssmissssed!!!"  It took a minute to find Zach,because there were 80+ boys there,plus the parents picking them up. I kept saying,"Where's The Boy? Where's My Boy?" and scanning the crowd for him. I was so anxious to see him. Finally,I spied him coming towards us,and I went up to him and gave him a huge hug,backpack and all. I admit that I cried a bit. I couldn't help it,I was just so happy and relieved all at once. 

I took this quick photo after Rick and I had hugged and kissed him. "My shoulders are killing me," he said before this photo was taken. "My backpack is heavy."
When we got home,we saw his wound.He still has a very faint spider web line on his left heel,and raw area where the blister was.He said it didn't bother him all week,he kept a Band Aid on it. Overall,he said he had a great week,and though it rained for most of the week and there were more thunderstorms,it didn't dispel anybody's spirits.He learned a
lot about leading patrols,how to deal with difficult Scouts/adults,how to plan meetings,etc. He seemed older and filled with more confidence.

When he arrived,they gave him a NYLT hat,three NYLT shirts,and a NYLT notebook that had certain exercises in it for the week.

At the end of the week,they gave him a certificate and a patch:



He does have project that he needs to complete. Each Scout had to come up with an idea to help better their respective Troops,and to create a step by step plan to implement it. Zach's is to have the Troop do more fun activities.He needs to complete the plan by Dec,and if he does,he received a completion pin.

I am so glad he's back!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Close Call

Zach was picked to attend the Boy Scouts National Youth Leadership Training program (NYLT). The boy applies,the Scoutmaster gives a recommendation,and then he is either chosen or not. The program is for 6 days,and the boys are taught various things such as how to run a patrol,leadership skills,etc. NH's NYLT takes place at Camp Bell,in Gilmanton  Iron Works (GIW,incidentally,is the setting for the famous novel Peyton Place. The author based it on people she knew).

We dropped Zach off on Sunday for noontime.Once everyone in his particular patrol arrived,they hiked two miles into woods,up a mountain for their week long training. The only buildings are the shower houses. They do have tents on platforms with cots for the boys to sleep in.

I had to take this photo of Zach when we dropped him off. I am so proud of him being chosen. You can tell how excited he was to have his Mumma take his photo in front of everyone. :)


The weather forecast for this week is thunderstorms off and on all week long. My Dear Friend Michelle and I were saying at yoga class Monday that we hoped they had some sort of shelter in case a bad storm came up. Her son Ethan,is at NYLT with Zach. They wound up being in the same patrol.

Monday night around 11:30 the phone rang,and it was the ER at Lakes Region Hospital in Laconia,NH. Zach was in the ER,and he had been in a lightning strike. He had a burn on his heel,but he was OK,and she told me to hold while she connected me to Zach.

When Zach got on the phone,he told me what happened. Apparently,a storm came up quickly,and it was a bad one. The only had time to get under a staging area. It looks like they may have used it for some classes or for meals. I got the photo from the WMUR (Channel 9) webpage:


Lightning hit a nearby tree,and the electric current traveled through the root system,coming out to where they boys were. There were approx. 30 boys and leaders under the tarp. Zach said everything was bright white,then a very loud clap of thunder followed. There was pandemonium,of course,with yelling and screaming. Zach says he yelled for everyone to "shut up" because "they were hurting my ears".

No one felt any effects until 30-40 minutes later. Some boys complained of tingling sensations in their arms,legs,or down their sides. One boy had blurry vision and his left side was numb. Some, like Zach,felt burning and spider web like markings started to show. Because the storm was still going on,they could not go down to the main building at the base of the mountain. Adults and older boys who had experience and training did first aid on the boys as best they could until the storm passed and they were able to go down to the main building,where most of the boys were put into buses. Six boys who had burns on their chests were driven by truck. They all went to the Belmont fire station (23 boys,3 adults) where they were assessed and then they were all sent to various local hospitals depending on their injuries. Some boys were just shaken up,but those like Zach who had burns, etc,were brought to Lakes Region. Zach had a burn on his heel,and a blister that popped. He said on a pain scale of 1-10,it was a 15,but when he spoke with us,it no longer hurt. His ears had rung for a brief period,but that,too,went away. Michelle's son has a burn on his back. 

Zach sounded fine,but tired. He complained that he didn't get a chance to finish his dinner,because as soon as he started eating,that's when everyone was brought to the hospital. He joked that they all should get a "I Survived a Lightning Strike" merit badge. I knew he was fine. 

This is the tree that got hit. Again,the photo is from WMUR Channel 9 in Manchester,NH.




Zach is back at camp,and everything seems to be fine. I have been a bit of a wreck,just thinking about how close he came to getting either seriously hurt or killed. A lightning expert was on the news discussing this and he said that it is very rare that so many people  get hurt from one bolt,and that there must've been a very large charge of electricity.He was shocked that no one was killed. Usually someone is in that circumstance.

This week just happens to be Lightning Awareness Week.

Oh,the irony!

We are so very grateful that he is OK.



Saturday, June 22, 2013

It's In The Genes!

I think many folks in my family are a bit surprised at the turn my life has taken. Chickens? Goats? Sheep? Making my own soap? Composting?

Considering that I grew up with only a cat,never had a garden,and would much rather purchase food than grow it,I can understand why some are surprised.

Part of why this path has been chosen is because...well...since Rick cannot work,and I stay at home as his caregiver,we had to find something to do. Something worthwhile,that gave us (especially Rick) a sense of purpose. He needs to feel useful. Not being able to work really bothers him.He's worked since he was a teenager. Hanging around doing nothing has never been his style. 

I talked to him one day a few years ago about maybe doing more here,for ourselves. Let's start a garden,I said. Let's get some chickens and eat our own eggs. I was inspired by friends and websites. We have the time,let's do the most with it.

He was all excited about the idea. A reason to get up and at 'em in the morning! Something to look forward to! A goal!

We started with a garden,and chickens. We expanded to turkeys for a few years,and last year decided that we didn't want to do turkeys anymore. We have herbs,strawberries,blueberries,blackberries,and raspberries.Next Spring,we will have three Nigerian Dwarf Goats,and,hopefully,a couple of sheep. The goal with these is make goat milk soap,raw milk cheese,have raw milk,and spin my own yarn.All these are with the intention of selling what we don't need. Right now,we are planning our barn and milking area. 

Rick is very excited. He says he's always wanted a farm of his own. Now,he has one,even though it's only on .68 acres of land.

Going through our family genealogy,it's really no surprise that we have chosen ( or fallen into) this path of life. My ancestors were all farmers in Canada,or agriculteurs. When they immigrated down to NH,however,they started working in the cotton mills.My grandfather Charrette (my Mom's father) did grow up on a farm eventually had his own. My oldest brother,Valmore,is an agronomist. Rick's ancestors were some of the original settlers of this country,so farming has always been in his blood.One of his ancestors owned the biggest fruit farm in Stratham,NH at one point.

One never knows where life will bring you,or what path you may follow. When a door closes,a window opens. Rick suffered a brain injury,which was our closed door. Our little Cöpse Clearing Farm is our open window,with sunshine and a lovely breeze coming through.

Monday, June 17, 2013

It's Official!

After several attempts at registering a legal trade name for the farm (mainly so no one else could use it)we finally came up with a name that wasn't taken. It's amazing how many names were similar to the ones we wanted. We would've had to add more descriptive words or received permission from the person(s) to whom the name is already registered.
We tried:
-The Little Yellow Farm (nope,there's already a Yellow House Farm)
-Humble Beginnings Farm (nope,there's already a Humble Beginnings store)
-Shaw Family Farm (nope,there's already a Brian Shaw Family Farm)

Needless to say,this was a tad aggravating. We wanted to name our farm and sell any products under that name. Was that too much to ask?

After the last rejection letter came from the state,I sat and thought. It had to be something different. Hmmm.I thought of our last names,Shaw and Lessard. Maybe the meaning of our names could offer an idea:

Shaw: one who dwells by a cöpse or thicket,dweller by the wood
Lessard :someone who dwells in a clearing;to grub up or weed out

That was interesting,I thought. A cöpse (pronounced cops),I discovered,is a small group of trees. Well,we have a small group of trees right on the corner of our property. We also live in a clearing. Hmmm. A homage to our ancestral names,and the perfect description of where we live. Cöpse Clearing Farm! It was unique. It was personal. It was perfect. It was catchy. It had to go through!

And,voila',it did!

We got the paperwork in the mail today from the Secretary of State of NH. Our trade name is officially Cöpse Clearing Farm,and I am the proprietor.

Now to design a sign........

Have a fabulous day on this Fabulous Planet!!!


Sunday, June 9, 2013

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Built In Closet!!!

I seem to have a bit of a fire lit under me now that things in the bedroom are getting more organized. I am back to looking at things and wondering 1)what can be done to make this a better space and 2)how can this be achieved in the easiest way possible?

One thing that needs to be done (still) is the kitchen and dining area. We still need new mopboards,window frames,a closet,and fresh paint .The main thing to me has been the lack of closet,because I have had to put the ironing board,the little electric sweeper,extra food,paper towels,bucket,etc on the stairs to the attic. The other day I was trying to get something from the stairs and the ironing board fell down and hit me in the head. After yelling a few choice words,I had had enough. We had an open space next the fridge where we were going to put the closet,and for the time being we had our dog bowls and water there. I didn't care what it looked like-I was tired of things falling on me so I moved the ironing board and sweeper into this little space,and just moved the dog bowls up a bit.It's the first thing you see as you come into the house,which bugged me,but at least I didn't have to worry about concussions anymore.


 I was mulling this space over earlier in the week,and realized that it is rather small-just slightly bigger than 32" across from the edge of the fridge to the brick.We had originally planned building a regular closet-framing,drywall,the whole nine yards,with shelving on the back. Looking at this area with fresh eyes,I realized that doing this would take away some precious width.Even with a curtain in place of a door,going in and out of the closet might prove awkward if any more width was taken out.The more I looked at it,the smaller and smaller it looked for what we had wanted to do.

I stared at the space and thought...what could we use...then it hit me. A divider! A divider would work. We could just pull it forward when we wanted to get into the closet. We wouldn't lose any width.It would save time and work-we would only need shelving put up. And I knew just the divider I wanted,if it would fit. 

Volia'!



It is a three panel divider,but the two fit perfectly,with the third bent back into the closet. We did try it couple of different ways,but the third panel only bends back,not forward I absolutely fell in love with it when I saw it. The colors are perfect for our kitchen. I think it adds a lot to the space. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Inner and Outer Peace

Many things have been going on lately...here at home,and in my head.

I have begun yoga. My Dear Friend Michelle told me that she is enjoying her class,and I should give it a try. I love it. I told our instructor,Laurie on Monday that it has helped me tremendously in finding inner peace and relaxation. I practice lyengar yoga,which focuses on posture and breath control. I can get very sore after our classes,but I love it.I look forward to our twice a week class. Granted, I can find relaxation going outside and listening to the birds singing,seeing the blue of the sky and the white of clouds,and watching the green leaves moving in the breeze,but this gives me a bit more of a foundation,as it were. I seem to be more relaxed,and I use breathing techniques that I have learned when things start getting stressful for me. I send my breath to the parts of my  body that need it,I get rid of the negative thoughts,and I feel so happy and one with all that is around me. This has been a big help in my quest to be a better,more positive person. I catch negative thoughts or bad feelings and turn them around.Such a wonder!

Rick has been working on the yard,grading,etc,and we are planning how to set up new walkways. We have areas that just don't seem to like to grow grass,no matter who much seed we  have put down in the past,so,instead of fighting against the nature of our land,we have decided to embrace it and work with it.Plans are underway for our next project,the mud room. The windows are all screened-they are more or less screens with wood framed around them-and we have to cover them with plastic each winter. We are going to put in real windows,a real door,dry wall,and flooring,as well as electrical outlets and make it a year round mud room. We are going to put new porch steps as well. After that is done,our next big project is painting the house. Then it's getting the basics of the goat/sheep barn set up before the snow flies.

Yesterday we went down to my Mom's a picked up dresser that she is getting rid of to use in our bedroom.Her house is sold,as long as the loan goes through.It only took a week and half on the market to find not one,but two buyers.She is going to move in with my sister and brother in law until they all move to TN in the fall of 2014,so she is getting rid of everything that she can. We are redoing the bedroom,so the dresser comes in handy. We had a dresser,once,but it was a big old dress that took up too much space,so we got rid of it and we used the two closets for all our clothes,putting the clothing that we would normally put in the dresser on the shelves in our respective closets.Then we wanted to switch things up again ,downsize and use one closet for our clothes,and one closet for storage (blankets,etc).

I have mentioned before that our bedroom is one of,if not the,most neglected room(s) in the house. It hasn't been painted 2006.Things get thrown in there. The elliptical machine,which took up a lot of space in front of Rick's closet (which is another reason we wanted to combine into my closet)was nothing more than a place to hang clothes. I always had the best of intentions to use it,but Rick finally put his size 12 foot down-we either use it,or we sell it. I had to decide. After much hemming and hawing I finally came to the reality that if I have only used it perhaps a grand total of 20 times in over four years,then we should probably get rid of it. Out came the elliptical. We packed away any winter clothes we wanted to keep and donated the rest.( Remember, we only have two closets right now. When the mud room is finished and a closet is put out there,then that can serve as our winter coat storage).The winter clothes are going up in the attic today. The big old gun safe,which is also in our room because we have no other place for it,is going to go into Rick's old closet. The shelves,etc are going to get ripped out and revamped. The room is going to be a haven,not a  confused mess. It's been an embarrassment for years,which is why I always keep the door closed!

Here's a sample of the hideousness of it....
I needed a table for the DVD player and the cable box after we took the bureau out. (Yes, I know it is not considered a good thing to have a TV in the bedroom,but I enjoy watching it in bed at night. Plus,when the Menfolk have their hunting/fishing shows going in the living room and I want to watch a home improvement show,I can go into this room for refuge!) I had this little table so I used that. Note the lamp on the floor that I still haven't rewired after three years. So lovely...NOT!!!!

Here is the area now.The walls are going to be repainted. The color is going to be very similar to the jewelry box on the bureau,and the bureau it's self is going to to painted and I am going to put new knobs on it. I am still mulling what kind to get. The floor lamp that is next to it will probably go into the mud room when it's finished. The teddy bear was a gift from Zach a few years ago.You can see just a bit of the old table to the left. That is going into the garage.If I use it in the house I will put a nice cloth over it so it will look pretty.


So,as you can see,I have been working on inner and outer peace. What are you working on?

Have a Fabulous Day on this Fabulous Planet!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Around The Farm

Yes, it's been forever and a day since I posted last. I have been reading,planning,and doing a lot of thinking...as well as planting,etc.

Our big project of late was fixing our leach field. It died on us. There is nothing like sitting out on the deck with raw sewage bubbling up from the septic tank a few feet away. Ah,the fragrance!!

We had to rent a couple of pieces of equipment for the job,and happily,our neighbor  Kelly is licensed to do such work. So,even though it rained all day on Saturday,he and Brother B were out there digging away. We had to buy a few truckloads of gravel and sand,plus the french drainage pipes for the job.



This is what the leach field area looks like now.

The front yard after the machines went back and forth in the rain:

The corner. the gravel and sand were in our driveway,and this was the only way to get to it. Looks like some loam and reseeding will be in our future!

Even though the yard got tore up,it's A-OK. It needed to be done. Of course,if the weather was cooperative,it wouldn't have been so bad.

There are some great signs of spring:

The green beans are coming up:

The broilers are getting big:

The leaves are out!

The strawberries are flowering:

The lilacs are in bloom and their fragrance flows on the breeze:

We have a little bird's nest on the rafter of our wood shelter. The bird flew away just as I was taking the picture!

Have a fabulous day on this Fabulous Planet!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all Mom's out there!  I hope it's lovely!!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Goats,Chickens,and Leaves,Oh My!

Well,whatever the issue was that I had with Blogger,it's been fixed,and I can now download photos again :)

Here are some pics taken over the week:

First up,the adorable little Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats at Tiny Hill Farm!


All three of us fell in love with this sweet little beige guy. He was so cute,and had such a "please take me home look!" 

They were so very friendly,and enjoyed chomping on our sweatshirts. They especially liked Zach's. I was so glad that we were able to arrange our visit during his school vacation week.



I took this pic to show how small the babies are. Rick is 6'1". The little beige guy really liked him. Larissa,one of the owners of the farm,is on the right of the pic. She was wonderful and very helpful.

Friday our 30 broilers came in. Zach had to pick a few up because they are so cute...but he knows they are food,not pets.

I know...how could we think of eating such cute little things?

Spring has finally sprung in NH! We have leaves popping out on trees....


And the maples will soon follow suit. It seems like the green takes a long time to take over,but then,one day,we wake up and all the leaves are out.


The Girls have been enjoying some free range time,now that the weather is nice. They take care of the bugs and ticks...

....and some of the weeds that I haven't pulled out of my garden boxes yet.


Have a fabulous day on this Fabulous Planet!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Lots Going On!!!!

For some reason,I can't post any photos today. Either Blogger or my computer is being ornery.

Let's see...I guess the first thing is that I have been laid low lately. I tripped going up our bedroom stairs and fell on the edge of the top step,landing just below my left wrist. It hurt so much that I was sick to my stomach,and couldn't talk when Rick came running to me because he heard me cry out. I sat there for a few minutes until the nausea wore off. My wrist stung,and I thought I had scraped it,but no. The next morning,it was a whole assortment of colors,and terribly swollen. I put an ice pack on it,but that didn't help,and I had pain going up my arm. Rick insisted on taking me to the ER for some xrays,because he thought I had fractured it. The Dr in the ER took a look,and his first assessment was that I had indeed broken it,but the xrays determined that I didn't,I just have a big old nasty hematoma. I have a bandage wrap for my lower arm,been alternating ice and heat on it,and been taking 800 mg of ibuprofen every six hours. This was last Saturday. The bruise is now a yellowish purple color,but it still hurts. It doesn't help that I also have tendinitis in my left elbow,and actually had to go to the Drs for that few weeks ago. Sigh. Needless to say,my activities have been somewhat curtailed.

The weather here in NH has finally started to feel like Spring. The leaves are coming out on the trees,and the weather has been nice. This week the temps are suppose to be in the 60's to the low 70's. Yesterday I sat out on the deck after I took the hay off our garlic and strawberry plants. They are coming up nicely.

The Girls enjoyed the afternoon free ranging around the backyard and ate lots of bugs. They also dug up some of the weeds in my garden boxes.This week I must weed the boxes and get fresh compost in them. I have some Rutgers tomato seedlings that I have started. I am not starting my cukes and pumpkins yet,they sprout so quickly that I don't see the necessity.

One thing awesome thing we did last week during Zach's Spring vacation was visit Tiny Hill Farm in Milton Mills,which is just a couple of towns over from us. Rick got their business card from our local feed store,Longmeadow. We are looking to get Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goats,and Tiny Hill sells them. I got in contact with one of the owners,Larissa,and we went for a visit.One of the things that she said that impressed me was that she was willing to work with new goat owners,and that she didn't care if we called at 2:00 AM with a question. She also said they bred their goats for milk quality,and that they are all registered and vaccinated. Also,the fact that the farm is local was an added bonus for us. She was so kind and wonderful,and was quite pleased that we had actually done some research on the goats,so we understood most of what she was talking about! We chatted for an hour. We saw the adult goats,and the babies. We have three does ordered for next Spring.

Rick and I have been working on a plan to move our little farm forward,in stages. More about that later :) My arm hurts,so I am going to end this now.

Have a fabulous day on this Fabulous Planet!





Saturday, April 20, 2013

Blackboard Door Project

One of the things that Rick has to deal with on a daily basis is his memory.We have a dry erase calender on our fridge,and Rick has an IPOD with alarms to help remind him when he needs to take meds,etc.We have used lists and post- it notes. He also has me to help with reminders :)

The problem with the calender is it's only so big,and with Dr appts,Boy Scout events and meetings,as well as Zach's after school activities and my various things,it tends to leave very little room. Post- its tend to get overlooked,because they are small. Lists,even though they only have a couple of things on them,don't necessarily get looked at on a daily basis. And,I admit,some days my thoughts are other places and I fail with reminders.

I was trying to think of something that everyone could use,and that Rick would notice,even enjoy using. One day,I realized that I had a great space that was not being used to it's potential-the door to our attic. All I had on here was a bill holder,which held bills (obviously),stamps,the check book,and address labels. Well, I could certainly clear out a drawer in our sewing table for that,so that's what I did.



The next step was figuring out exactly how to do it. I didn't want the space between the boards as part of the blackboard,because it would 1) be a pain when writing, and 2) I didn't like the way it would look. So we decided to buy a board and blackboard paint.

When we went to the store,we discovered that they already sold prepainted blackboards,and that they were actually cheaper than buying a plain board. The problem was they weren't in the best shape. We decided to buy the prepainted board,and just go over it with blackboard paint. We still saved money,and I can use the blackboard paint for other projects.

Rick measured the door,and cut off the appropriate amount off the long side of the board.I wanted it big enough so we could write day a whole days schedule,and it would be in writing that we could read! We also bought nice bright chalk colors. Rick used screws to screw the board onto the door,and he found some longer screws for the door handle,since the old ones weren't long enough to go through the new thickness. I used one coat of blackboard paint,and covered the screws as well.

Voila' !

So Rick knows what day it is at a glance,we have "Today Is" with the day of the week posted. Any activities or chores that are to be accomplished that day are listed. As you can see from above,the only thing that was mandatory the day this board was made was wishing Rick congrats on his retirement!

It wipes off simply with water and a rag. Rick loves it,and likes using it. The space is now used for good purpose!

I would be remiss if I did not mention how grateful and happy we are that the final suspect in the Boston Marathon Bombing was caught alive so we can know why this horrendous act was done and there can be some justice. We have much thanks to law enforcement,who worked hard to bring this to an end. We are also proud of our own Nashua NH SWAT team who helped down in Watertown,MA. Our heart goes out to the family of the MIT officer who lost his life,and we are praying that the MBTA officer who was shot heals quickly.

Justice will be served.

Have a fabulous day on this Fabulous Planet!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Boston And The 24 Hour Tabloids

I want to take a moment to express our anger and sadness at the bombing in Boston.

The Boston Marathon is over a century old,and it's a very big day in the city,because it falls on Patriot's Day,which is a MA holiday.The kids get the day off from school,and the city is in a very festive atmosphere.

I had brought Zach to the dentist,and the TV was on the news. The bombing had just occurred,and no one knew for sure what had happened. Then,things unfolded.

I must say that the news channels,more specifically the 24 hour ones (some more than others), seem to be more interested in  ratings and getting the story first than they are in facts. Any tidbit of info,mostly not checked for accuracy,is aired. Journalism is not suppose to be speculation.  It's suppose to be fact. Sadly,in this day and age,these channels are usually nothing more political propaganda machines,trying to scare people into believing ridiculous things.The internet is no better.Sadly,many fall for it,hook,line,and sinker. I am constantly amazed and saddened when I hear people-good people-repeat things as if it is fact.Hate, fear,and paranoia seem to rule the day.

I, at one point,wanted to be a journalist. I admired Walter Cronkite,Barbara Walters,Peter Jennings,etc.Today,I mourn for the industry that I once revered,as it has descended into nothing better than a supermarket tabloid.

I remember the sad day when President Reagan was shot. I was watching ABC news,and Frank Reynolds was anchor. At first,it was reported that the President had been been harmed,but then it was confirmed that he was. This info was given to Reynolds through his earpiece,and I can still hear his words and the emotion in his voice..." What?  Oh my God...we have just confirmed that the President WAS shot..." He then voiced his anger at the news staff in no uncertain terms-"LET"S GET IT RIGHT,PEOPLE!"

Yes,please,let's!

Until the public starts demanding truth in broadcasting,and stops watching the 24 hour fear machines,we will continue to be misinformed.

I am going to go outside and enjoy Nature, Nature never has a bias.

Have a fabulous day on this Fabulous Planet!



Friday, April 12, 2013

Bad Weather Won't Dampen Good News!!!

Today we are having freezing rain. I was sitting on the deck just the other day enjoying the weather,and now,we have ice on our cars.

However,that will not squash the good news of the day.


Rick has finally been retired by the military. We got the call earlier today. After being wounded 8 years ago,four med boards,running to Dr's appts in Boston and Norwood MA,as well as Gilford NH,filling out hundreds of pages of repetitive paperwork,and three years of temporary retirement,it's finally over.

They gave him 100% disability. Like he said,he's not happy about being considered completely disabled,but he is glad it's finally over. Apparently they finally decided that his PTSD and TBI are not going to get better.

We are going to celebrate!!!

It pays to hang in,I guess.

Have a fabulous day on this Fabulous Planet!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Still Here

Yep,I'm still here,just fighting another sinus infection. This is the second one in 6 months. Apparently I can no longer get a normal cold,it has to morph into this hideous head swimmy thing.I went to the Dr's on Monday and she gave me antibiotics and an inhaler for my chest congestion/wheezing.

Yesterday I cleaned the fridge and wiped down the front of my cabinets after doing the dishes and sweeping.It was the most I had done in a week. I felt tired,so I laid down...only to wake up four hours later. Yep. This is kicking my butt. I even missed a Muffin Date this week! 

I haven't even been reading blogs much. My brain doesn't the have attention span  it seems.

Hope your'e all well!

Have a fabulous day on this Fabulous Planet!


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

It's Easter Sunday,and though this AM has bit of a cold wind,it's suppose to go up into the upper 50's.Yesterday was gorgeous,and we lost quite a bit of snow. I didn't enjoy it,however-I was in bed with a horrible migraine.

Friday night Rick and I went out for the Dance For A Cure. It was a fundraiser for Cancer. Our friend,Sue,who is in Scouts with us does the Relay For a Cure each year,since her husband passed away from cancer and her team helped sponsor the dance. I actually talked Rick into going,because,as those who know about PTSD are aware,going into unfamiliar places is very difficult. Sue had a table set aside for us in the back of the room,where she knows that Rick is more comfortable. There were some faces we knew,folks who are in Scouting with us,and we all sat together. One of our friends,Jessie,even grabbed Rick for a fast dance on the floor! (He did dance a few dances with me,too!) We used to go out a lot,but now it's rarity. After Rick assessed the room,he felt a bit more at ease,but I know going there was still very hard for him.I thanked him for taking me out,and he told me he did have a good time.

We clean up pretty good,don't we? :)


I have a cold. Colds and flu have been going around,and I had a scratchy throat for most of the week. Yesterday,I woke up with a migraine,and at first I thought I had a hangover ( I did have four mudslides,but I ate as well-I don't drink that often anymore,but man,they went down very well!)but hangover headaches are dull,not a sharp pain that goes all around the head. I figured it was  the alcohol (sometimes even a drink of wine will trigger them), the cold coming on,or both. Probably both. So I was in bed all day,coughing,sneezing,blowing my nose,and trying to find a good spot to press the pillow against on my head to help alleviate the pain. I get the migraines that travel. They start in one spot,then move to another,then another,then another. Thankfully,the Excedrin Migraine did work eventually, but between the cold coming on and the migraine,I was wiped out for the day.I had my bedroom windows open,because the fresh air felt wonderful,but every time I started to fall asleep,the neighbors would come over to talk to Rick outside the window,or a dog would bark causing Samson to bark,or the neighbor would rev his Harley,etc. I was to the point where I was overtired,and I couldn't fall asleep last until after 1:00 AM. Sigh.

Today I feel lousy,but I had to make sure that Zach got his Easter treats.Apparently,his Easter basket finally bit the dust,because I couldn't find it,but I thought of something else that would work:


A Jar O'Candy! At 15,he is getting a bit big for a basket,so this works out.

Tonight is the Season 3 premiere of "Game Of Thrones"-I can't wait!!!!

Have a fabulous day on this Fabulous Planet...and Happy Easter!


Friday, March 22, 2013

Orange Scented Vinegar Cleaner

A few posts back,I talked about trying to jazz up my vinegar and water cleaner with some orange scent.

I filled some mason jars with orange peel,and then vinegar. I let them sit for a few weeks.

It was time to try it. Would it smell like oranges? Or would the vinegar scent prevail?

I took my jars down from the shelf:



I lined the strainer with cheesecloth. The first time I did it,I only doubled the cheesecloth and  had some sediment on the bottom of the bowl. I re strained it,tripling the cheesecloth,and it came out fine.




I use a 1:1 ratio-one cup of vinegar for one cup of water.

You can still smell the vinegar,but it does have  a mild orange citrus scent to it. So I would say it does work. Next time I will try it with lemons.

Have a fabulous day on this Fabulous Planet!!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Damn That Groundhog!!!

Here we are,in the midst of yet another snowstorm! The snow had started to melt,and the paths made from the snow blower were getting wider and wider,showing grass...dead grass,but still grass. Now we are expected to get 8"-14" of the white stuff.

Damn that groundhog!!!


Some of you may be scratching your heads wondering what in the wide-wide- world of sports I'm talking about. What does a ground hog have to do with a snow storm?

Let me introduce you to Punxsutawney Phil. 

February 2,here in the States ( and Canada!),is known as Groundhog Day. In Punxsutawney PA,there is a big celebration before the dawn hours on this day,with music and food. At sunrise,Phil emerges from his home,which is actually located in Gobblers Knob ( I kid you not) which is just outside of Punxsutawney. If Phil sees his shadow,he goes back into his home,which means another 6 weeks of Winter - like weather . If he doesn't see his shadow,he stays out and it means Spring weather will come early.  If he stays out,they hold him aloft,for all to see,and apparently put a jaunty top hat on his head.

While Phil tends to be pretty much on the ball,the last two years he has slipped. Last year,he saw his shadow,which meant no early Spring. At this time last year,we had almost a whole a week of temps in the 80's. People went to the beach. In March in NH. Again,I kid you not. This year,we are suppose to have an early Spring,yet we have had more snow in the last month and half than we did all winter last year. So much for that.

 Phil has an easy life, however,and lives in the library during the rest of the year. He even has a wife! He also has his own handlers,a couple of gentlemen who plan this event every year.

This has been a tradition for over a 100 years. It originated from Celtic belief that if a hibernating animal comes out and sees it's shadow on Feb 2 (which was a Pagan holiday),it meant six more weeks of Winter;if they didn't see it,it meant an early Spring. German folks who immigrated to PA had their own beliefs.Clear skies on Feb 2 meant cold weather. Eventually this all morphed together,and now we have the present holiday.

Some of you may have seen the movie,"Groundhog Day," with Bill Murray which used Phil as part of it's story line.

Damn that groundhog!

Have a fabulous day on this Fabulous Planet!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St.Patrick's Day...and Happy Birthday,Sasha!

Today is St.Patrick's Day. Everyone,even if they have no Irish ancestry,is Irish today. I think it might have something to do with history of drinking on St.Patrick's Day to celebrate :)

Both Rick and I have Irish cred. Rick's fourth great grandfather,William McQuilkin, his wife,Annie Watson,and their son,Rick's third great grandfather,Henry McQuilkin and his wife,Betsey Kennedy,give him his Irish roots. My third great grandfather,George McDale,a his wife,Mary Maguire,and their daughter,my second great grandmother,Mary McDale,give me mine. Rick's third great grandfather Henry went to Maine from Ireland. I have yet to discover if  Betsey was born in Ireland or if her parents were immigrants. On my side,I have read that George Mc Dale and Mary Maguire immigrated from Ireland or  that they were born in Canada. I'm still looking to find out what exactly is true. At any rate, they were all either first generation Irish American or immigrated right from Ireland.

Naturally,we celebrate today with some crockpot corned beef and cabbage. No green beer,though.

Today is also our chocolate lab's 63rd birthday. Sasha,in dog years, is now 9.



Erin Go Bragh!

Have a fabulous day on this Fabulous Planet!!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Comment Moderation

Good afternoon all!

Just a heads up that all the comments I receive here from now on will be moderated. It's not because I have been receiving nasty or rude comments,but because of the number of "Anonymous" comments that have been appearing of late. One post had approx 8 "Anonymous" comments,some from the same place three times. I assume that's because they were trying to advertise their site. I appreciate folks trying to get the word out about their blog/product,but please do not use my comment section to do so.

While I enjoy seeing new readers find my little blog, and I love comments,I ask that in the future you leave a  name with your post. Otherwise,your comment will not be posted and will be deleted.

Thank ye kindly,folks!

Have a fabulous day on this Fabulous Planet!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Making A Pot Rack From A Wooden Ladder

The pot rack is finished! 




 We measured the space, picked the best end of the ladder,and sawed it off.  Since we have strapping that runs across our joists,we screwed the ceiling hooks into those (we used a stud finder and climbed up into the attic to make sure we were on the right path). To help him remember,Rick drew lines on the ceiling that were the width of the strapping.You can barely see the lines in the photo. We couldn't center it over the window because of our cabinet doors-we would like to still open them!


We bought two 24" lengths of chain,and four screw hooks to put in the ladder. Rick started the screw holes with a drill,and was careful not to split the wood. We bought large S hooks.They didn't quite fit over the ladder rungs,so Rick made them wider. 

Voila' !

Now I have a bit more space in my cabinet for storing things we don't use all the time. I can't wait for the kitchen closet to be built!

Have a fabulous day on this Fabulous Planet!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Paper Can Weigh You Down

Our file cabinet was at the point where if I opened the top drawer to access some of Rick's paperwork,the cabinet would pitch forward. Guess that means it's time weed out some documents!

A good portion of what I pulled out were duplicates of Rick's TDRL ( Temporary Disability Retirement List) appointment reports.Anyone in the military who has been diagnosed with PTSD is automatically put on this list for up to 5 years.They have to see a Dr when the military asks to see if the PTSD is better or not. Well,at this point,going on 8 years of being wounded and things staying the same,I would hope that the military would see that Rick should be fully retired.He has had three appts over the last two years,which my regular readers probably remember. Each time he has an appt,we have to wait for the Dr's report to be sent to a specific company who is handling the TDRL,and they send the hard copy to us.Rick has to sign a paper saying he agrees with the findings,a release of info form,and send a copy of what medications he's taking from the VA. Each time they send a new report,they also send copies of the old ones. We had over 240 pages of reports total,including the duplicates. Today I went through those reports and threw out the extras,so we only have one copy of each. I also went through some other old paperwork that we no longer need. I think the pile of paper weighed at least 5 lbs. It certainly freed up some space! At least the file cabinet no longer wants fall on top me when I open the top drawer.

Rick had been having a hard time lately. He has kept busy,to a point,but his confusion keeps him frustrated and his speech has been dragging,which adds to his frustration.A couple of times he broke down and cried. I don't blame him. No one can hold all that in indefinitely. You have to release it. I myself had a bad day yesterday.

 We did begin making a pot rack out of an old ladder that My Dear Friend Michelle found for me ( Do I still owe you for that ladder,Michelle?). It only took two years,but hey, it's getting done. We do have to move it over slightly to the right,and we have to see if Rick can make the opening on one end of the "S" hooks we bought a bit bigger. I don't want to post a photo of it until it's completed,though.

 Zach just celebrated his 15th birthday on March 3. We are so very proud of him. Zach and I went down to Somersworth to visit my Mom on his birthday and it was nice. We finally ( I say finally because Zach has been asking since 4th grade) bought him a phone. He is involved in different activities,so it's good to have his own line of communication. It's a very basic pay as you go phone,and we told him that he will have to pay for the minutes. We did buy him a new IPOD as well. 

I went through my seeds and discovered that I have to get more corn seed. It's almost time to start some of my seedlings!

Have a fabulous day on this Fabulous Planet!