Brrrr!

Baby, it’s cold outside is an understatement!

When your meat won’t thaw…

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you know it’s cold!

We are day five into the new year and ‘ol man winter is officially kicking our butts, not only here at the farm but all up the East Coast.

At the farm, we are still having issues with water.  This time it’s something with our plumbing.  The kitchen sink will not drain.  We’ve snaked it and even resorted to pouring a commercial grade sink declogger down it and it still won’t drain.  We’re not sure if there’s a frozen chunk of ice way down the pipe still there from when our water froze or what the problem is.

Since it’s not a good time of year to be tearing into the house and tackling the plumbing we are resorting to this for the time being…

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At least we have a sink and are not having to wash the dishes in the bathtub like the first year we lived here.  Good times!

We are also having electrical issues at the barn, which means the heated base for the chickens’ waterer won’t work which results in the water freezing.  CountryBoy brings the waterer in each night but has to break the ice or thaw the water throughout the day.

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Today he added a heavy duty extension cord and so far, so good.  Water and food are very important in the winter time to maintain a chickens’ health so we’re hoping this continues to work until we can run proper electric out to the barn.  Just another project we did not want to tackle this year but looks like we will have to.

We are also having electrical issues in the greenhouse.  The space heater we had in there originally worked well without any problems.  Then one night, unbeknownst to us, it threw a breaker and we lost some plants.  Now, all of a sudden, it throws a breaker every time we turn it on which means the cat’s water also freezes as well as the plants. We’ve had to bring the surviving plants indoors and each morning and throughout the day I pour warm water in their bowl to thaw it.  Thankfully, the cats have an insulated house in the greenhouse which keeps them warm.  Even if they decide to lounge in one of the chairs in there instead of their insulated house at least they are out of the wind and elements.

At the moment, we are feeling defeated and as though we haven’t made much progress in getting the upper hand on this farm.  I know we are having these issues because of the extreme temperatures we are dealing with right now and that we have, indeed, made quite a bit of progress since moving in so, this too shall pass and we will continue with the necessary improvements for survival and, some day, maybe even comfort!

Speaking of comfort…

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Our sweet LizzieBelle spends her days on the couch wrapped up in a warm, fleece blanket.  Lucky dog!

How are you faring during this winter chill?

 

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The Painted Hutch

If y’all remember a few days ago when our water was frozen I mentioned I was wanting to start a painting project that day.  I postponed that project and ended up finally tackling a wall hanging that was in need of being re-basted and quilted.

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I have many UFO’s (unfinished objects!) piled on a chair in my sewing room so it felt good to get started on at least one of them!  I still need to finish it up but I am over halfway with the quilting process.

Thankfully, our water unthawed late that same day and has stayed unthawed despite our below freezing  daytime temperatures.  So yesterday I jumped on my painting project…

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our dining room hutch that practically disappears into the wall.

Normally, I am opposed to painting any piece of fine furniture and especially antiques that is, unless they are beyond salvaging but in this case, well, let’s just say that sometimes we feel like we live in a cave and I feel the need to do whatever necessary to make it lighter and brighter.

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Hutch?  What hutch?  Oh, that hutch in the corner!

The interior walls of the ‘ol house are rough-cut lumber that has been stained a dark color.  Add to that, windows that are smaller than the original windows in the old farmhouse and it makes for a very dark house.

I’m slowly repainting the hunter green trim that was around all the windows and on the baseboards.  Doing that has helped break all the darkness quite a bit .

I love natural light and we often wonder what Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper fame would say if she ever darkened the doors of our old farmhouse!  Get it?  Darkened the doors – hahaha!  Sorry, I couldn’t resist…

Anyhoo, a few people have mentioned painting our walls but I just can’t.  For starters, rough cut wood is difficult to paint and well, you know how I struggle with painting wood so painting the walls is out.  Besides, I think it would lose that cozy cabin-feel if we did.

In pondering my options and perusing Pinterest I found some really great hutches that have been painted with chalk paint and I decided to go for it.

I saved up some extra money I’ve earned at work and bought some Annie Sloan chalk paint, wax and the recommended brush and finally, I could start on my painting project.

That first swipe of paint was difficult but once I got started there was no turning back.  I finished it up today and have to say, that I-love-it and am super pleased with how it turned out!

I left the slats on the doors the original color to tie in with a small bookshelf CountryBoy made using some shutters.  I painted it white but left the shutter slats raw.  Our dining chairs are also white and natural as you can see below which makes them all come together nicely.

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I think the painted hutch did a lot to lighten up that corner and the light coming in the window also reflects off it and helps lighten the whole dining room.

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I did not want the solid white brand-new look so I did some light distressing after I waxed it which adds to the character of this piece and ties in better with our rustic farmhouse style.

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I also like how much better our collection of pink and green Cherry Blossom depression glass shows up against the white.

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So pretty!  I can’t stop looking at it, hahaha!  I guess that means it was worth it.

 

Quite the New Year

It’s only two days into January and what a year it’s been already.

I had to work for a few hours yesterday morning and on my way out of the driveway I noticed that someone had run or slid into our mailbox.  It was spun around and facing the wrong way and it was dented up pretty bad.

On my way home I saw the stray cat that we have been feeding at the end of our neighbors driveway.  (We believe it was an offspring of a stray cat that we brought with us from Texas but had drowned in another neighbors pool.)  It was caught in a small trap and dead.  As upset as I was at the news of the drowning I know it was an accident.  But this.  This intentional cruelty has me outraged.  This is not the first time this neighbor has trapped and killed an innocent animal, even neighbors pets.  Trust me when I say I had to do some praying last night because, in all honesty, I want to ring his neck and wish bad things upon him.

Then, last night, CountryBoy woke up in the middle night to find our water pipes were frozen.  We’ve had a week of below freezing temperatures but it was minus two when we got up today and it was just too much for our pipes.

It is after noon, the sun is shining and we are still without water.  And, from the looks of the forecast we won’t get above freezing until Sunday.  We are praying that none of the pipes burst.  sigh.

Thankfully, the outside water faucet in front of the house is operable.  (Whoever came up with these non-freezing, upright faucets is a genius!)  We are able to get water to boil and wash dishes with and flush the toilet.

I had plans to start a painting project today but without water to clean the brushes it has been put on hold.  Also on my to-do list for the day was to clean the paste residue from a wallpaper border I removed in the dining room.  That will also have to wait until we have water.  So, instead, I will go upstairs and see what project I can work on in my sewing room.  There are plenty!

My plans of not tackling anything major this year was short-lived.

With the major freezing of our pipes this year it has become apparent that we must tackle this problem sooner rather than later.  We were hoping for later because of the cost that will be involved.

It’s become obvious that all of our water lines need to be in the house and not underneath.  (They currently run from the hot water heater – underneath the pantry in the crawl space – up into the walls of the pantry and into the walls behind the stove and kitchen sink.)  We have come up with a plan that will involve closing in the cistern room (an open space that flanks both the previously mentioned kitchen and pantry walls), relocating the hot water heater and all the plumbing and electric into the newly enclosed and insulated cistern room.  We will then add a small door or just leave an opening from the pantry into the new room.

It’s a big job, a big expense, and a big mess that we really didn’t want this year.  Maybe I should start a GoFundMe site.  Ha!  We know, in the long run, this will give us peace of mind during the frigid days of winter as well as giving us some much more needed pantry and storage space for the canned goods and even the empty jars.  It’s just that hurdle of getting started.  And dreading the mess!

Those of you that have been reading my blog for a while know that my posts are usually chock full of photos but yesterday’s post had none.  My Uncle asked where the light dusting of snow picture was?!  Well, I rushed off to work yesterday and did not take one.  So, I took one of what is left of the light dusting since the content of this post is not photo worthy.

new years snow

We only had about an inch of accumulation so much of it has already disappeared.

See the bird feeder?  There is a constant swarm of birds on it making it difficult to keep it full.  In fact, it’s empty again!

I trust y’all are having a much better start to the new year.  My apologies for the nature of this post but I promised transparency to you, our readers, and not to glorify our farmsteading life in a 100 year old farmhouse.  However, we are grateful for our health, a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and for being (somewhat) warm on these bitter cold days.  It’s all good!

Now it’s time to fill the bird feeder then head upstairs to the sewing room.  Toodles!

 

 

A Brand New Slate

Here we are in another brand new year already.

Honestly,  I don’t know where last year went.  One minute we were facing a total knee replacement, undergoing a rough recovery, attending an annual quilt retreat in Florida, surviving the winter months, gardening, canning, starting a new venture at our local Farmers Market, starting a new job, enjoying loads of company and the next minute, we’re ringing in a New Year.  Of course, we rang it in in our typical fashion  – behind closed eyelids.  Ha!  We did have several friends come over after church on New Years Eve. We played Uno and Nertz and snacked on all sorts of goodies then we devoured some of CountryBoy’s delicious homemade French bread and stew.  Fun times!  By 7:00 p.m. we all just KNEW it was late and close to the new year.  Ha!  It wasn’t even close but we had a great time nonetheless and everyone went their separate ways.

This morning, we woke up to a surprise dusting of snow. It was beautiful!  It reminded me, on this first day of a brand new year, that we all have the opportunity to start the year fresh with new dreams, plans, ideas, and goals.  A brand new slate, if you will.

By nature, I’m a planner, a dreamer and a goal-setter so the start of a brand new year excites me – 365 days to fulfill my plans, dreams and goals!

I’ve been busy praying and filling out my 2018 Life & Business Planner.

My words and phrases for the new year are… SIMPLICITY, WRITE, GROW, and DISCOVER MY PASSION.

I have lots of plans, goals and projects in mind for the year but they are simple in nature.  Nothing grandiose or complex.  Simplicity at its finest.  And, lucky you, you’ll get to see them fulfilled right here!

I also plan on living and thriving in 2018 and not merely existing.  I want to find my niche here in the mountains of Kentucky and share more of Dream Valley Farmstead, in some fashion, with others!

How ’bout you?  Do you have big plans, dreams or goals for 2018 that you care to share in the comments?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

 

Window Project & Ramblings

Our 100 year old farmhouse has had several additions to it over the years from evidence seen in the attic and a from few pictures we’ve received from previous owners and tenants.  The most recent one being a bedroom added over the bath and laundry room that is also not original to the ‘ol farmhouse.

Originally, there was a window over the stairwell which helped illuminate the upstairs landing as well as the stairwell.  With the addition of the bedroom, the window was removed for the obvious reason of privacy for the occupant in the bedroom.

I might’ve been OK with it except that what I saw every time I went upstairs (which is several times a day because all the bedrooms are up there as well as my sewing and craft space) well, it drove me nuts because it literally looked like a window had been removed and boarded up on one side.

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I tried making it tolerable by adding a pretty hand-painted indoor barn quilt that was given to me by a friend.  It certainly helped but it still drove me nuts.  (Short drive, I know.  And, hush up those of you who know me, ha!)

After CountryBoy demoed the well-house…

 

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yikes!!!

 

I saw the window from the front of it leaning against a tree and got the brilliant idea of putting a window back where there was originally a window.

Now, in true Dream Valley Farmstead fashion, we reuse whatever we can on whatever we’re working on so I went to work on cleaning up the well-house window…

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The whole well-house had been swallowed up by a red trumpet vine so there were bits of roots of the vine stuck to the window.  I simply sanded the window down a bit, washed it then handed it off.

Poor CountryBoy, as usual, had to figure out how to turn my vision into reality.  He pondered it briefly then went to work…

yikes

He made quick work of the demo and set about determining where to cut into the paneling on the bedroom side…

window demo n misc 2

(Please ignore the discoloration of the walls.  We have done nothing to this room short of removing the closet where the head of the bed is and building a bed frame and headboard.  It’s on the to-do list one day!)

After some careful measuring and cutting we now had a hole in the wall and, a big mess on the floors.  Too late to change my mind now!

Before long the window was installed and the mess cleaned up…

I really like how it turned out even though it may seem kinda strange to be able to look into a bedroom from another room.  (See my sewing machine in the picture on the right?)  Since the décor of this room is our ‘ode to Florida’ and all things beachy my plan is to add working shutters in the bedroom.  They will be left open to allow the light to come through but can be closed when we have guests.  Meanwhile, until we actually tackle this room, my plan is to hang a quilt over the window if we have guests.

The stair side of the window still is not finished.  I need to get a piece of drywall next time we’re in town…

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The drywall installation will be up to me as CountryBoy would prefer to have nothing to do with drywall if at all possible.  I don’t blame him, really, as I’m not a big fan either but it’s the cheapest solution to finishing this project and finally, finishing this wall.  As you can see from the stains on the wall, I’ve done nothing to this wall either, short of removing a shelf that was over the window-less window and partially removing a wallpaper border.

I will be thrilled to have this wall finished one day but I am really enjoying the daylight that is helping lighten up my sewing and craft space as well as the stairway.  Yay!

Now for some rambling…

I have the day off so along with plans to write a blog post I decided to whip up a couple of things in the kitchen.  First up, was a batch of oil-pulling discs.

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My mouth and gums have been bothering me lately, as in feeling raw, so I decided to do something about it.  If you’ve never heard of oil-pulling then I suggest you Google it as there are much better sources out there than can explain the benefits of it far better than I could ever attempt to do so.

Anyhoo, it’s very simple to make some ready-to-use oil pulling discs by simply melting some coconut oil, letting it cool a bit and then dropping just less than a tablespoonful into the silicon candy molds.  I chose to add about ten drops of Thieves essential oil to the cooled coconut oil since the clove in this Thieves blend is beneficial for oral care.

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These silicon candy molds are awesome!  I popped out the discs and will store them in the fridge just to be sure the coconut oil doesn’t melt.  Using one a day this batch will last a little over three weeks.

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I also decided I wanted to have a hot chocolate mix on hand.  Some days and/or nights just beg for a cuppa hot cocoa!  Since I don’t like all the ingredients added to store-bought mixes I knew I needed to make my own so I checked Pinterest (what did we ever do before Google and Pinterest?!) and found a dairy-free hot chocolate mix recipe.

Why dairy free?  Well, I don’t have any powdered milk on hand nor do I usually keep it in my pantry.  We also like our hot chocolate made with whole milk rather than water so I didn’t see the need in having powdered milk already in the mix.  Thankfully, I found a recipe that didn’t call for powdered milk and I had all the ingredients in my pantry.

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I did substitute some white chocolate instead of the whole chocolate chips the recipe called for.  I also mixed all of it in my food processor, white chocolate and all, to make for a smooth and powdery mix.  I can’t wait to taste it as it smells so yummy!

Living 30 minutes from anywhere (as my brother likes to say!) it’s important to me to keep a well-stocked pantry.  I have spent the last several years learning what items are handy to have on hand and what, for us, makes a well-stocked pantry.  And, I’m not talking about having a pantry or freezer full of boxed or man-made foods (which really isn’t food but don’t get me going on that…)  It’s things like flours, sugars, home-canned veggies, coffee, tea, unsweetened cocoa, baking goods, yeast, etc.  It’s a good feeling being able to make things, even on a whim, because of my well-stocked pantry.  Yay!

And, in other news, my first column was published the week of Thanksgiving…

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Now that the stress and learning curve of my first article is done I’m excited to write some more.  I’ve had quite a few compliments to the point where I literally felt my cheeks turning red.  In fact, they’re turning red as I type this.  Mercy!  I guess that’s what happens when a shy girl that would rather be behind the scenes and definitely behind the camera is now in the spotlight.  As I often say around here, YIKES!

 

Piddled & Foraged

I had the day off today.

I stayed in my house clothes the.entire.day. and it was awesome!!!  I have come to treasure these kinda days since I am now back in the workforce.

I didn’t have anything in particular that I wanted to get done so I just started piddling.

I wandered into the greenhouse and started straightening it up a bit.  It seems I am forever finding permanent homes for all our stuff.  And, it doesn’t seem to matter that I have tried to eliminate unnecessary stuff.  There’s still lots.of.stuff.

But, I digress.

I ended up rearranging a few of the plants that were brought indoors for the winter months; cleaned up the dusty, dirty heater CountryBoy brought in to the greenhouse for use on the below freezing nights; and I repotted one of my mint plants.

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It smelled so good and minty fresh!

I also spent some time foraging around the farm.  Not the typical kind of foraging for herbs and shrooms and such, but foraging for items that were here when we moved in that could be used as décor or other purposeful items.

One such thing was a beat up galvanized bucket that I had thrown a bunch of broken glass and metal bits in when we were cleaning up the small garden.  I decided I wanted to use it to hold a hanging plant from a pulley so I grabbed the bucket from the garden, cleaned it out and CountryBoy hung it up for me.

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I told ya it was beat up!  This plant normally hangs on a shepherds hook outside the greenhouse so I wanted to leave the original container in tack but wanted to put it in something more decorative and this did the trick.

Here’s another plant I put in another galvanized bucket that was left here…

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This plant is usually on the front porch on a plant stand.  I think I have a thing for plants in galvanized buckets (wink!).

It was pleasantly warm working in the greenhouse – out of the wind and cold.  I even had some company…

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Creamsicle and…

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Greyfus – also known as ‘the boys’!  They enjoy the greenhouse both day and night, that is, when they’re not out hunting for something a little more tasty than dry cat food!

CountryBoy had to remove Greyfus from his ‘bed’ so that he could get our old work jackets to put back in the truck.  (It never hurts to have something warm in your vehicle during the winter months, you know, just in case.)

Another item I found in the tack room while I was looking for greenhouse stuff was a small wooden shelf.  My mind immediately saw it being used as a spice rack.  But would it fit the space I wanted to put it?  After I finished up in the greenhouse I went back to the tack room in the barn and grabbed it. Mercy was it ever dirty!  I scrubbed it down and brought it in to see if it would fit.  It did, woohoo!

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I can’t remember whether this shelf was in one of the guestrooms or the loft that is now my sewing room but we took everything down so that we could paint the walls.  Wherever it was originally it ended up in the barn but is now back in the house being used as my spice rack.  And, it’s perfect!

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The spice rack I was using was custom made by CountryBoy for the fifth wheel but it was too small for the house and I had spices everywhere – to the right of the stove, to the left of the stove on a shelf and in the pantry.  Now, I have all my spices in one area.  Sweet!

I really love foraging and finding items that I already have and being able to put them to use maybe even in a completely different fashion than they were originally intended.  And, the price is always right!

(By the way, I am still trying to figure out where my missing photo files are.  sigh.)

 

Squirrel! and Some News

This blog post originally started out with the intention of revealing the interior of the greenhouse but as I was digging back through my mountains of photos squirrel!

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If you’ve ever watched the animated movie ‘Up’ then you know exactly what that means.  If not, well, it refers to a pack of dogs that are easily distracted by a squirrel and stop mid-sentence (again, you’ll have to watch the movie!) and say ‘squirrel’.

So, as I was saying… I was looking through my mountains of images for photos of the progression of the greenhouse and all the work that was involved when I ran into a glitch and was getting an error message that my program couldn’t find the image.  sigh.  I know you don’t really have a clue what I’m talking about but, as I was searching for the correct catalog and files I came across some photos I had taken several years ago when we were traveling and working out West.

In fact, the above photo of the squirrel was taken when we visited the Grand Canyon.   I won’t bore you with a bunch of pictures but here’s one of my favorite shots of the canyon showcasing the Colorado River…

grand canyon 2 CountryBoy and I had the privilege of swimming in the Colorado River several times when we were in Nevada.  The water is crystal clear and was a much-needed relief from the triple-digit weather in the summer months.

CountryBoy’s trade as a Millwright allowed us the opportunity to travel and work.  We traveled for three years working and saving money to buy what is now Dream Valley Farmstead.  Most of our three years was spent in Idaho, Nevada, and Arizona with the last job being in Texas which is where we were working when we saw our future farm for sale on the Internet.

He worked ten or twelve hour days, six sometimes seven days a week but when he had some time off or was in between jobs we got to do some sight-seeing which we loved.

One of those off-times we headed to Yellowstone and the Tetons.

tetons 1 It was a dreary day when we were there but I think it just adds to the ‘Wow’ factor of the Grand Tetons.

tetons 2

So beautiful!

The green grass, trees and water was a nice reprieve from the Mojave Dessert where our fifth wheel was parked in Nevada.

In some ways we miss our traveling days but we traveled to fulfill a dream and along the way we reaped the benefits of seeing some beautiful countryside.

Now we live in our own little piece of beautiful countryside and we couldn’t be happier!

We are slowly reclaiming our rundown farm, meeting awesome people and making ourselves right at home here in the Appalachians.

Speaking of meeting people, I met a sweet lady at the Farmer’s Market last summer where we both were vendors.  She reads this here little blog o’ mine and, come to find out, she is the editor of our local newspaper and, (here’s the ‘some news’ part of this blog post) she has asked if I would write a column for the Citizens Voice & Times!  What?!  I’ve never, in my fifty some years of life, done anything like this before but, I said I’d give it a go since the subject of the column will be very similar to my blog.  Now to try and get that first article written and have a decent head shot of me taken.  I think the head shot will be the hardest of the two since I’d rather be BEHIND the camera as you witnessed in the above photos.  Not in front of it!  But, besides the photo-of-me-bit, I’m very excited about this opportunity and am looking forward to growing as a writer and seeing where it may lead.

Now if I can just find those other photos so I can finish my original blog post…

Honey Harvest and a Dream

I mentioned in my last blog post about our decision to remove the honey super from the hive in order to reduce the size of the hive to make it more manageable for the bees to maintain and to help keep them warm during the winter months.  Yesterday, I had a few hours before I had to go in to work so we decided to try to harvest the honey.

We only had four partially capped frames so we didn’t think it was worth using the extractor and then having to clean it up.  Well, after uncapping one side of the frame and letting it drain for an hour or so we decided that method wasn’t going to cut it.

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Not much honey, huh?  It would take a month of Sundays to extract our four partially capped frames!  So, we broke down and got out the extractor.

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It can hold two frames at a time so we uncapped both sides of two frames and put them in the extractor.

CountryBoy set himself up in front of the TV and started cranking.

For this extractor, each set of frames needs to be cranked for ten to fifteen minutes per side then you flip the frames over and do the same for the other side.

We didn’t think we would get much honey since none of the four frames were completely capped and filled with honey but what a pleasant surprise when our first pint jar filled up and there was still some honey left in the extractor.  I grabbed a quart size jar and, lo and behold, THAT jar filled up!

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To say we were pleasantly surprised and ecstatic is an understatement!

It was totally worth breaking out the extractor because it did a mighty fine job of getting the honey out of the comb in a timely manner.

Now, while all this is going on, I was also putting up the pinto beans we harvested during the summer months and had stored in the freezer.

honey harvest n beans 1

I wanted to have beans that were ready to use at a moments notice so keeping them in their frozen state would not suffice.  (I was also tired of seeing the shelled beans we harvested right before the first frost and put in the fridge staring at me every time I opened the fridge door!)  So, since I had a few hours that morning why not put all of ’em up!

I now have eight pint jars of pinto beans canned and ready for use.  Yay!

These eight jars were the results of a couple dozen plants.  We’ll see how long these jars last us but, next year, I’d like to double that.  Not having to buy canned beans during the winter would be a good thing!

On my way in to work later that morning, I had this overwhelming feeling of excitement and accomplishment.  It’s difficult to explain the feeling but those four hours we spent harvesting honey from our bees and putting up our homegrown pinto beans is precisely why we bought this farm – to become more self-sufficient, to know where our food comes from, to be less-reliant on outside food sources, to meet like-minded people, etc.  And, as I look at my jars of honey being proudly displayed on my coffee bar, they remind me of the dream we had before buying this farm and that we are now living that dream.  Now, I’m not saying living the dream is all peaches and cream because life is just not that way.  There are ups and downs as in anything so, be a dreamer and make strides towards accomplishing that dream but be realistic as well because it’s worth it.

I am reminded of a retirement meeting that CountryBoy and I attended while we were working in EMS (Emergency Medical Services) in Florida.  The speaker asked everyone to state what they wanted to do when they retired.  Many mentioned wanting to retire to a condo on the beach or have a cabin in the mountains.  Then, it came our turn… we both stated we wanted a farm!  The response from the instructor… “a farm?!  Don’t you know that’s a lot of work?”  Hahaha!  Yes, we know it’s a lot of work but, let me tell ya’, it’s fulfilling and rewarding work and we wouldn’t change a thing!

 

Another Day Off

Two days off in a row with nothing pressing to do.  Wow!  For a second, I was overwhelmed, again, with deciding what I should accomplish today.  It literally only lasted for a second though!

While CountryBoy was whipping up some breakfast I decided to pay a few of the ever-growing pile of bills.

another day off 1

That pile may not seem very large to some people but to me, it’s WAY more than I wanted when we moved here two and a half years ago.  Add in house insurance, vehicle insurance, health insurance and property taxes throughout the year and there you have my whole reason for going back to work outside the home.  The sum is just too much.

My ideal when we moved was to simplify our lifestyle and keep it simple but the reality of it all is very difficult to do in this modern age that we live.  Everything is expensive.  From food to fuel to fashion.  We have managed to conquer simplicity and savings in some areas of our life such as growing much of our food and, fashion?  we shop thrift stores, but fuel? it’s something we have no control over and it’s a necessity.  Not only is it needed to go to and from work but also fuel is necessary to keep the farm mowed, weed-whacked and bush-hogged.  And, short of going completely off-grid, there will always be bills to be paid.  I am, however, working on a plan towards a debt-free lifestyle within the next five years.  Vehicle, mortgage and all.  It’s definitely a goal and one that I am working hard to accomplish.

Enough about that.  It’s depressing.

Let’s talk about BEES!!!

One of my bosses has bees so at our party last night (which was so much fun!) I asked her what she was planning on doing or had already done to winterize her bees.

She said she will put the reducer on, treat for varroa mites, reduce the size of the hive and she’s pondering insulating three sides.

We were thinking along the same lines so while I had the whole day off today I thought it would be a good time to tackle the hive.

I added the reducer this morning then when the sun came out we pulled the cover off and removed the honey super.

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LOTS of bees just hanging out!

I suited up (what little suit I have) and started the process of closing it back up without squishing any bees.

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After a few minutes of sliding the inner cover on and over the bees and brushing the rest of them off the edge I managed to get it all put back together.  And, I might add, without getting stung this time.  Yay!

The smaller hive is now more manageable for the bees during the winter months and will help keep them warm.

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We had left the honey super sitting on a dolly near the hive for the rest of the day.  Eventually the bees left it and just before nightfall I brought it up to the house and put it in the greenhouse for the night.

Upon inspection of the supers I found some capped honey on a few of the frames!  Tomorrow, before heading in to work, I plan on uncapping it and extracting the honey.  This will be our first honey harvest and definitely another learning experience.  I’ll let ya know how it goes!

 

 

 

 

 

A Rainy Day Off

It’s a wonderfully cool, rainy day today and I have no place I have to be until this evening.  I’m lounging around in my comfy house clothes, doing whatever I feel like doing and I’m lovin’ it!

I woke up this morning with nothing pressing to do.  It was almost overwhelming deciding what I should accomplish today as I have many unfinished projects but I quickly decided to write a blog post and just chill.

Originally, I wanted to spend some time in my sewing room working on the many unfinished quilts I have draped over a rocking chair.  Quilts such as this one…

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It’s a wall-hanging that I quickly basted to get it off the guestroom floor before our first batch of company came last week.  Unfortunately, when I picked it up, the backing had a huge folded crease smack-dab in the center of it.  Talk about a let-down (sniff!).  Now, I have to un-baste half of it and re-do it before I can quilt it.   So, I decided to work on another unfinished project that stares at me every time I’m sitting in the living room…

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a stamped cross-stitch table topper with, of course, chickens on it!  This is the last set of chickens to be stitched then it’s on to the back-stitching and it’s done.  So, since I’m so close to being done I’ve decided to work on it today and forego doing anything in the sewing room.  Winter is fast approaching where I’ll have time aplenty to be up there working on my many projects.

Other than a staff party this evening at one of the girls’ house, there is nothing scribbled on my planner.   There hasn’t been a blank day in months so, to say that I am enjoying this cool, rainy day immensely is an understatement!

I’m also looking forward to the party tonight.  We’ve had a busy month at the B&B and tonight we’re all going to eat, laugh and chill out.  Last night, I cut up some fruit and dropped them into some orange juice, apple juice and NingXia Red (a delicious fruit juice and essential oils beverage full of anti-oxidants from Young Living) for an alcohol-free Sangria to which I’ll add sparkling white grape and cranberry juices before serving and this morning I made a Mexican Layer Dip to take to the party.

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MMMmmm!  I can’t wait to dig in to all the goodies everyone brings.

This morning there was a mist over the mountain-top across the street.

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The foliage has been beautiful this Fall!  They were late in turning but it was worth the delay.  This year has been the brightest and prettiest since we’ve moved here.  I don’t know if this ‘raised in Florida’ gal will ever tire of Fall and its colors, cool air and all its beauty!

Speaking of beauty, this Clematis bloomed last week.

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It has survived several cold nights and even a frosty night or two.  I’ve planted these at the base of the arbor.  I’m looking forward to the day when it is covered with these beauties and welcoming guests to the front porch!