Monday, December 30, 2013

Looking Back...And Foward

The clock is ticking away on 2013,and I must say,overall,it was a very good year for us.

The most wonderful that happened this year is that Rick finally got his assistance dog,Richie. Not only that,but he got it from the best training facility in the US,NEADS. While Rick's PTSD/TBI will not go away,Richie offers him great support in situations and helps to calm him down .

We also finally set our little farm in motion,buying three Romney ewes and being put on the top of the list for three Nigerian Dwarf Dairy does for this coming Spring. Through this we also met lovely people who are more than willing to share their knowledge with us whenever we have a question or situation arise. It's like becoming part of a small farming family!  

I discovered yoga,and though I have been remiss these last few weeks,I am going to begin my classes again. I had to find a way to calm my anxiety. Sometimes living with someone with PTSD/TBI can be very trying,and even though I love my husband more than life it's self,he can frustrate me. He has to do things in certain ways,even if it's more difficult or make no sense  -it's just the way his brain works now. The job gets done,but not in a timely manner. The barn is an example. I kept telling him that we needed to start on it-but he kept saying we had time. Well,the holes are dug,and that is as far as it got before the ground froze up. Rick has no sense/concept of time anymore,and even though I tell him there won't be enough time to accomplish something,he won't listen to me. Yoga helps me  greatly- it centers me,and I do find calm and inner peace. Plus I have some me time,which is very important for my own well being. Yoga has been a huge positive this year.

The scariest thing that happened this year is when Zach got struck by lightening at National Youth Leadership Training at  Camp Bell,in Gilmanton. Those of you here in the States may remember hearing about 23 Scouts getting struck by lightening this past summer in NH. The charge went through Zach's heel,and he has a tiny scar left,but that is all.Some of the boys minor suffered burns,one boy had his heart beat turn irregular for a while,but no one was killed,thankfully. Now,after "10 years of red tape" a storm shelter is going to be built up on the mountain. It only took 23 boys almost getting killed to make it happen. It seems like tragedies or near tragedies have to happen before things can move forward in many cases!

2014 looks like it's going to be a great year-our barn will be finished,we will have our goats,and we are currently deciding exactly what to grow in the garden. We had to pull up our square beds to make room for the barn area,so I will need to decide where the beds are going to go,and what we are going to continue to grow. There are a few things we have not had great luck on,such as corn and pumpkins,so I would rather focus on what grows well for the time being. I want to grow a dye garden (plants and flowers that I can use to dye the sheep's wool with) and we do want to plant plenty of clover for the sheep and goats to nibble on.

I am working on a new home management binder-our old one was too heavy. I have actually created two new binders out of the one large one-one for household information,the other for farming. This time of year it's easier to take the time to be more creative and do more organizing,so I enjoy it more!

Thanks to all of you who have continued to follow me from my old blog,Little Cottage In the Country. I am still hopeful that some of the other followers will find their way here,and I look forward to getting new readers!!

Have a lovely New Years!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Snowy Day At The Farm

As I mentioned,we got a few inches of snow yesterday. It was very pretty watching the snow fall,so I decided to take a few photos to share with you.

This was the view from the kitchen window over the sink:

I had to visit the ladies,of course.Being new sheep owners,we still get a chuckle out of the fact that they don't mind the snow or rain because their wool is so thick:

 Violet,as always,is quite the proper lady,never any hay on her face,and always looks calm,cool,and collected:

Starlight is like her twin,Woolsey. They are more tomboyish,always have hay on their faces,and tend to be more skittish. Notice how she is giving me the woolly eyeball!

This truck is not on our property,it is on our next door neighbors,but I loved the way it looked in the field:

Our door bell-an actual bell with a chicken on the top:

Today I am taking down a some of the Christmas decorations. I do leave up the tree until after New Years,but the Santa's,etc,have come down.

Enjoy your day!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Lovely Christmas!

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas! We sure did. Christmas Eve my Mom and sister Linda come up for our French tradition of pork pies,and then on Christmas we went down to my sister's for Christmas dinner. My Mom now lives with her and her husband,and this may be the last Christmas we spend together since they are moving to TN next Fall. One never knows what life will bring,of course,and we may get down there for Christmas some day,but my Mom is 88 years old, understand what I am saying.

Today we are getting bit of snow,and that's fine,since we are going nowhere,and Zach has school vacation. Rick and I slept in a bit this AM and it's going to be a laid back day. The only thing we have to do is make sure the sheep and chickens have enough food and water and are comfortable. After that,it's doing whatever we feel like doing. Nothing is planned,nothing needs to be made,wrapped,no schedule needs to be kept. It's a good day to just BE and enjoy each other's company. A lazy day,as it were.

Rick took the dogs out,and he enjoyed chatting with our neighbor across the way,Patty. I liked the way he,Richie,and Samson looked  talking in the lightly falling snow,so I took a quick photo:

Thanks to everyone for following us on our journey this past year! I think of you as friends and I appreciated your support.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Cashew Brittle

I found a very quick and easy recipe for Peanut Brittle on Instead of peanuts, I used raw cashews-it's delicious!

1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of light corn syrup
1 cup raw cashews
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda

Combine first four ingredients in a 2 qt microwavable dish/bowl,and microwave on high on for 4 minutes. Stir and microwave on high for 4 more minutes. Add butter,and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla and baking soda until light and foamy.

Pour onto a parchment covered baking sheet (you can use a buttered sheet instead if you wish) and spread mixture as thin as possible. It will harden as it cools. Break into pieces and enjoy!

Friday, December 20, 2013

An Early Christmas Present

Rick was mighty curious as to which day I was going grocery shopping this week.Normally I try to go on Tuesdays,but sometimes I do it on Wednesdays. This week was a Tuesday. He told me to make sure I had my cell phone on me,because I couldn't come home until he told me. He had been working on my Christmas gift,he explained,and I wasn't allowed home until it was set. I did have some errands to run after grocery shopping,so that wasn't a bad deal.My curiosity was getting the better of me,and I kept wondering what in the wide wide world of sports he had planned and what he was bringing.

Sure enough,a couple hours after I left the house,he called to tell me to give him "another half an hour" and I could come home. I actually gave him a bit more than that,and as I pulled up to the house I was looking around to see if anything was different. Nope. Everything looked the same. He helped me with the groceries,then told me that I had to close my eyes. I did,and he led me through the back yard.(Thank goodness for snow blown paths!!) He kept saying,"I wanted to get you something that you will like." Since he was leading me towards the sheep,I thought maybe he had bought them coats to help keep their fleece clean."It's something that is very useful," he told me,as he led me into the pen. I heard him opening the wooden gate,and then he said,"Open your eyes!"

There stood a third sheep!!

Rick had bought another sheep,the twin of Lady Woosley. This sheep was a bit lighter,with more coloring,had red ears and a spot on her nose. The spot reminded me of the book Farmer Boy,when Almanzo names his colt Starlight because of the mark on it's nose,so she became Lady Starlight.

Now we officially have a flock of sheep! When we go out to feed,water,or just visit them,they bleat their hello.
It was a real cool present...

Friday, December 13, 2013

Finds I Love!

We have a spot over our kitchen sink for a light fixture,like most homes. And,like many homes (ours especially,since it started out as a camp)nothing is square and many things were poorly installed. When we moved in,there was a generic white globe fixture over the sink. It was ugly,and it was crooked,but I lived with it. I had far more important things on my agenda (Rick in Iraq and his readjustment into life in World,plus being a Mom of a little boy) than worrying about a slightly lopsided ugly light.

When we decided to redo the kitchen,I gleefully rubbed my hands together at the thought of picking out a new fixture. One that I liked! I wanted everything to reflect who we are. We realized that the reason why the fixture was crooked was that the outlet was so close to the wall that any fixtures didn't quite fit. A light bulb could fit,but no glass fixtures to make it pretty. We would have to go into the attic and see if we could pull the electrical lines a bit further from the wall,which we discovered was a no go. We didn't have enough lead to do it. 

Hmm. I didn't want a bare light bulb just hanging there,though we did do that for a bit. It looked half finished.And the only glass fixtures that I could possible squeeze in there was-you guessed it-the ugly white globe that would have to be slightly crooked so it would fit.

I then remembered seeing in an a magazine an old style lightbulb,the clear kind where you can see the filaments glow when it's lit. Now,that would be cool exposed without a glass fixture. It would look old school. I had to have one. However,I didn't want to spend tens of dollars for one bulb. Ten,maybe,but not tens! It would be worth it to splurge a little.

As luck would have it,I was in Home Depot one day,and decided to check out their light section. Low and behold,I found what I was looking for. A vintage light bulb,for $9.97.

I found the light bulb,but I needed an pull chain so I could turn it off and on. ( Did I mention that the light above the sink had to be a pull chain light? I guess I forgot).Happily,they also had some pretty attachments for the pull chain. I picked a pretty multi-colored glass bead attachment. Here is the full length view:

Here is the close up-a bit blurry,sorry!

I LOVE the way it looks! It adds to the room and helps create the feel that I want.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Christmas Spirit Is Here!

We are gearing up for Christmas. Our house is filled with the Christmas Spirit-the happiness,love,and general good feeling that this time of the year is about. While I try to maintain that year round,this time of year it seems to be more on the forefront. There is nothing like a warm fire and Christmas carols playing while you decorate your house,and the fun of picking out the right Christmas cards to send. I love wishing folks a "Merry Christmas"-to me,it's about wishing them happiness more than anything else. Folks can wish me "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays"-to me the sentiment is the same.

One thing we do as a family each year is go to a local tree farm and get a Christmas tree. Some years we haven't had money to buy a tree and have gone out to the woods to get a tree. We have been fortunate the last few years that we can buy a tree from a farm. It costs a bit more than getting one from a box store,but I like supporting local folks and I know that the trees aren't a few months old. The family that runs this tree farm has been farmers in the area for over 200 years.

It was Richie's first Christmas Tree excursion!

We get some hot chocolate and walk around looking for the tree that will best fit in our space. It can't be too tall ( our ceilings are only 8 ft) and it can't be too wide ( it goes in a corner next to our couch). When we finally find it,we motion to the folks on on the four wheelers, and one of them rides over,cuts down the tree,puts in the trailer in the back of the four wheeler,and zips it up to the parking lot. We are usually in and out of there within half an hour.

We let the tree sit in the house for a couple of days to acclimate ,then we decorate it. Since last night and tonight we  are busy with Scout meetings,we will decorate it tomorrow night.

The weather here has turned quite chilly-down into the teens. I am thankful for the wood stove,because we don't have our furnace installed yet. Our neighbor is going to do it for us,as he used to do this for a living.We just have to wait for him to be able to do it,which is suppose to be by Sunday. No problem,we have plenty of wood!

The chickens don't seem to mind the snow too much,but I know they are not fans of real cold weather:

The ewes have no issue with the cold,rain,or snow.Their fleece is so very thick that they will stand in the rain or in the falling snow and not be bothered.

I have finally named the white sheep. I named her Lady Violet after Dame Maggie Smith's character on Downton Abbey. She has her attitude,is very ladylike and does things her way. I haven't come up with a good name for the other one,though. She is tomboyish and shy.

We spend time in the pen with them to help them get used to us. Yesterday we were putting more straw down for their bedding. They pack it down,and we add a bit more so they will have a good bed under them to help keep them warm. We muck out the areas of poop if it's really bad and put it in our compost pile,and make sure they have feed hay and fresh water each day.

One of the ways we try and get them used to us is get them to eat out of our hand. Lady Violet is more brave than her sister:

In the outdoor enclosed area,we do throw down a bit straw and put out some feed hay so they can eat outside.

We have certainly seen their flock mentality in action. If one bolts from us,the other bolts from us. They stick together. The one thing I haven't heard is them talk. No bleating so far. I have spoken  and have bleated to them,but they have not responded yet. Maybe it will just take some time.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Snow and Sheep

We had a lovely Thanksgiving.My brother Dennis and his wife Lynette came out from Wisconsin for a visit,so I was able to spend time with them on Thanksgiving day.

Today we are having a bit of snow. We are scheduled to 2"-4",with maybe a touch of freezing rain later in the day. It sure feel good to have the wood stove going today! We are finally going to get our new furnace installed this week. We burn K1,because our tank is outside,and while wood is our main source,we do like to have a back up source to run during the night. when the temperatures get really bitter. We use it a little as possible because K1 is more expensive than regular oil,and I hate using it,anyway.

Barn news: we haven't moved much further than my last update. Our weather turned colder than normal,and the dirt piles froze,then we had rain,which defrosted the dirt but made it heavy to lift because of the rain. Rick had managed to fill the holes to where they sonitubes should be stable,and he hopes to at least get the holes filled the rest of the way and the foundation beam in,but I don't think it's going to even get to that point. I have tried to explain that to him,but he is determined to do what he can. Now that we have snow on the ground and the temperatures are going to be quite cold this week, think any barn building will have to be postponed until Spring. I knew we had started late,and it probably wouldn't get far,but the way Rick's brain works now it can be difficult to for him to see the reality of a situation,especially since his concept of time is not the way we see it. He has finally agreed with me,however. 

Thankfully,we do have a shelter that we can use for the sheep-the green hoop house we kept the boat in. We moved it to the back corner where we used to keep the turkeys,built a pen in it,and placed Richie's metal exercise pen against it,removing one of the panels so the when the sheep pen's door is open,they can walk out into the metal enclosed area, ,and we can get access it via the panel with the entrance door. Sheep really only need shelter,since their wool is so thick,so this works out quite well. We put plenty of hay and straw down for their bedding,and put their feed hey on the outside of their pen,so when they are inside they can just reach through the slots and eat the hay without wasting it.

We picked the girls up the Saturday after Thanksgiving,and we built a temporary crate to haul them back in. They bleated a bit,but really didn't seem to mind. It took a bit trying to get them from the crate across the yard into their pen. The black one is a bit shy,and we had one person at the head,and one pushing lightly on her bottom. The white one was much easier,as she could smell where the black one went,so she was quite eager to be reunited!

This is what the pen looked like before we placed the metal fenced in area against it.

This is the white sheep. She is larger of the two,and is a bit more inquisitive and outgoing. She is also a bit more dainty,and never has hay all over her face.

This is the smaller one,who is mostly black but some great variations in her wool. She is more shy of the two,and as you can see,she tends to be a bit messy. I think of her as the tomboy.

They seem to have settled in nicely. When Rick goes out to check on their food and water,he usually has music playing from is Ipod,and the white one comes running up to the front of the fence,so we know she likes music. She checks me out as well,but is still a bit reserved. The black faced one tends to stay behind.It will take a while for them to get used to us,so we go into their pen,get down to their level,hold hay out for them,and talk to them.The other day they were standing out in the rain,not a care in the world. I suppose since their wood is so thick they don't even get wet!

Time to go out and see how they are doing this morning.I wonder if I could get Santa hats on their heads for a picture....

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Today here in the States it's Thanksgiving Day,when we count our blessings and enjoy a wonderful feast with family and friends.

As I have gotten older ( I just had my 46th birthday) I find myself being grateful for things not just one day,but everyday. I know what it's like living paycheck to paycheck,deciding which bill to pay so I can have food that week. I know what it's like to have to swallow my pride and go down to the food pantry,or live on Ramen noodles and baloney( both of which I can no longer stomach to eat).

I am so very grateful for a warm house,clothes on my back,and food on my plate. I am very grateful that I have a husband who loves me,a son who is wonderful,loving family and friends,and that I can wake up everyday and feel like the richest woman on Earth.

Happy Thanksgiving,and Happy Hanukkah!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Put Some Zest In Your Fridge!

One of the jobs around the house that I am less than enamored with is cleaning out the fridge. If I cleaned it out every week like I always intend on doing,it would be a quick job,but,as always,I have marvelous plans in my head that never seem to come to fruition. Sometimes things get lost in the back of the fridge that once resembled something edible,but now look like some sort of fuzzy mold experiment,or there are leftovers in containers that we swore we would eat,but we don't even remember eating as a meal anymore because it's been so long. I personally love the free form art that the Crystal Light makes when some how it gets splashed onto the shelf .  How it gets there is a  mystery I have yet to solve.

The job needed a bit of...shall we say,jazzing up...or maybe I needed something to jazz me up!

I pulled out all the food and drink,threw out what was past expiration (thankfully there was very little),and wiped down the inside with hot water,a sponge,and dish soap (I use either Planet or Seventh Generation,which ever is less expensive that week). I dry off the inside of the fridge with a towel,and I usually take out the bins to hand wash them in the sink so I can clean under the bins where drips and dribbles seems to collect.It looked brand new,but I wasn't done yet.

I took a small spray bottle,filled it with water,and took out my essential oils. I wanted a nice citrus scent. I had lemon,grapefruit,lime,and lemon grass. I opted for lemongrass.

I put a few drops of lemongrass in the bottle,shook it up,and sprayed it in the air make sure it was the strength I wanted. I then sprayed in all over the inside of the fridge and let it sit for a few seconds,then wiped it off.

The fridge smelled great and it was a great pick me up too! It makes a nice air freshener as well.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Changes In The Weather

The weather has been a tad funky the last few days.We were able to pour the concrete into the sonitubes and instead of hurricane straps we used large bolts:

Rick filling up the tubes:

Then, we had to wait for the concrete to cure. As soon as it cured,we had a heavy rainstorm and the rain lasted into the next day,when the lumber to build the barn was delivered. Then,the temperatures took a huge nose dive,going down into the single digits with the windchill factor. The wind was howling all day yesterday,and last night it was so bad that hundreds of people in our town and the surrounding areas lost power,and many trees came down. A couple of the streets in our town were blocked because of fallen trees and electrical wires. We have kept our power,but we did lose a big tree.

During Hurricane Irene we lost the top of one of the big pine trees in the front yard,and it came very close to smashing into the front of the house. This big wind storm decided to take the rest of it down.Rick and Brother B heard a big noise and went outside to investigate. Suddenly they came rushing in,with Rick yelling: "Move out of the room! Get back!" We all ran back into the kitchen. Apparently when the tree started to fall,it looked like it was going to come through the roof in the living room. The wind must've moved it a bit further back. Our deck was even saved! I took some photos this AM because all this happened after the sun went down:

We had another near miss! It was amazing the way the tree landed-branches were around the bird feeder stand and the bird bath-neither were hit. You can see them in this photo:

You can't tell in this photo,but our outdoor grill in under all that,and it wasn't hit,nor was the hammock. 

It just grazed the steps:

On the way down,it took off the top of another pine tree,and split the top of one of our maples.

Today on the agenda is tree removal and filling the holes where the sonitubes are. Even if the temps are going to be in the single digits.

Stay warm!

Thursday, November 21, 2013


 Sunday it wound up raining,so no leveling of the holes could take place. Our neighbor said he was going to help when got out of work Monday,so work on the mudroom commenced instead.


Now all the windows are in,and the doors need to be installed. Then we have to decide-drywall or shall we use the tongue and groove boards for the walls? I admit that I like the look of the tongue and groove,which we used on the outside of the room.

Our neighbor wound up getting home very late on Monday,so Tuesday Brother B did the work making sure the holes were all level and where they were supposed to be. We then had to call the building inspector,and by the time that the holes were done,it was late in the afternoon,so we could only leave a message.

Rick called him again on Wednesday morning,and 20 minutes later  Mr Inspector arrived. Rick explained that some of the holes weren't 4 ft down because of ledge-to which Mr Inspector replied that it's very common in our town and it is taken into consideration. After examining the area,he said everything looked good and we had the A-OK to place the sonitubes and get cracking on building.

We are still getting the sheep next week,and we do have a temporary shelter for them while the barn is being built. I had a feeling that it wouldn't be up in time. It should've been started weeks ago,but one thing I have learned when living with someone with a brain injury ( or at least Rick and his brain injury) is that there is no concept of time. When I would say,"We need to get started on this," I would hear,"Oh,it takes nothing to do it,we can slap it up." Brother B had been working,so Rick didn't have anyone to help him,and he was under the impression that Brother B was only working when he was needed,but apparently it was more steady employment,which also set things back a bit. It is what it is,and it's getting started,thank goodness.

I leave you with this cute photo of Richie:

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Doing Two Things At Once

Now that the holes have been dug for the sonitubes,and they have been placed in the holes,the next step is to level them,fill the holes around them,and tamp down that dirt.  The holes,according to town building regulations,have to be at least 4 ft deep,which,where we live,can be a bit tricky,because our land sits on granite ledge. However, if ledge is the issue,it provides a sturdy foundation for the sonitube to rest on,so the support of the building is not an issue.
This is what sonitubes look like:

The sonitubes once levelled and dirt filled in,have to be approved by the town building inspector to make sure that they are up to code as far as how many per feet,etc. Then,once that clears,we pour cement into the tubes,and place hurricane strapping into the tubes and cement. The exposed strapping will then wrap around the pressure treated 6 x 6 that we are going to use as a foundation. Only so much of the board is going to to be above ground level. The barn will then be built with regular lumber,shiplap boards,sliding barn doors,and a metal roof.

Our neighbor works putting in new homes,so he has a laser level and a dirt tamper (stamper?). He is coming over this AM to help us get the sonitubes situated. Since Rick and Brother B had time Friday and Saturday ,they worked some more on the mudroom.

The final goal is to make the mudroom into a regular four season room.Right now it is just an enclosed porch,with wide screened windows which are made with boards and screen. I bought three regular windows,a screen door and a front door that have been waiting to be installed!

The boards around the windows were rotted,so those had to be taken. Zach helped out with the demolition. We decided to place each window in the center of the old screen window area,so those needed to be built out:

When those built outs were done,the outside boards needed to be replaced:

Those are done,and today the sonitubes get seated. That will not take long,and I should have two windows installed in the mud room by nightfall.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Happiness In A Mailbox

Apparently the Plague has hit our home. Zach got sick in the nurses office yesterday,and even though his stomach is not upset today,he looks very pale and is wiped out,so we kept him home. I have been fighting a cold-I started with a mild scratchy throat a couple days ago,and was so wiped out that I slept all afternoon. Yesterday I felt a bit better,though my throat was still scratchy,and last night my body began to ache and I couldn't fall asleep until 3:00 AM. Today I hurt all over,my throat is still scratchy,my stomach is a bit unsettled and my head feels stuffy. Lovely.

Today is opening day of rifle season for deer here in NH,and for 2 or 3 days,one can hunt either sex,then it's bucks only.Rick was going to go out this AM but decided to stay home and get the sonitubes placed into the ground.He will go out later this afternoon for a while.

I love when I have ordered something and am anxious to receive it. It's almost like a mini Christmas morning. I had to refill some of my essential oils,Stress Relief and Lavender,so I placed an order with Eden's Garden,and also ordered some new scents. This time around I did try the French Lavender as opposed to the plain Lavender. When I opened up the mailbox,there was the package,just waiting for me to rip into it:

I don't have the wherewithal today to try anything with these today. I am still waiting for my lye to come in so I can make more soap.I do need to make more linen spray and air freshener as well.

Do you use essential oils,and if you do,what do you use them for?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Barn Begins!

Over the weekend,we prepped the area for the barn and dug holes to place the sonitubes. 

The first thing to be done was to move the chicken coop and tear down the fencing. We rented a mini excavator and it was a big help in tearing down the fencing,since we used sonitubes and cement to help stabilize the fence. We had to dig around the fence,then tear it down. Next was figuring out how to move the hen house. The chickens will be inside the barn,and the hen house will be cleaned out and used to store hay and feed. It will be located outside the barn,but we will be able to access it from a door that will go from the barn into the hen house. We put long saplings under the hen house,put a chain around it,and pulled it out of the way. Then we used the excavator to dig 16 holes,each 4 ft deep. Each hole needs to be one every ten feet,but we also had to put them where the doors to barn were going to be.


The hen house will be equal with the  end of the wood shelter. You can see in the photo above the door faces at 6:00,it will now face at 3:00.

Zach had to get in on the action,of course!

Well,at least I will be able to paint and scrub down the garage next year. The barn is going to be 5 ft off this area. I wanted to get the house and garage painted this year,but no such luck.

Temporary home for the hens.

The digging begins!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Easy Venison Breakfast Sausage

It's that time of the year again...deer hunting season. Here in NH,it opens with archery season for both sexes,then muzzle loader season opens. You can hunt both sexes for three days,then it's bucks only. Muzzle loader season ends,then rifle/shotgun season begins. In rifle/shotgun season,one can hunt both sexes for only two days,then it's bucks only.Rifle/shotgun season opens on Wednesday,Nov 15 and lasts into the middle of Dec,when archery season ends.

So...the hunter in your family has been successful and now you have all this venison staring you in face. You can't just have steaks and tenderloin,right?

I was trying to find a recipe for venison sausage a few years ago,and stumbled across this easy one for Venison Breakfast Sausage on It makes a nice change from steaks!

                                                 Venison Breakfast Sausage

1 lb. ground venison (no suet)
1 lb ground pork
2 tsp ground sage
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Put ground venison and pork in a large bowl. Mix spices together and sprinkle over the meat. Mix the meat and spices together with your hands until thoroughly combined. Shape into a roll,wrap in plastic or foil,and chill overnight the fridge. Slice and fry as regular sausage.

Simple and delicious! Enjoy :)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The End Of A 381 Year Era

One of the wonderful things about living in NH is that we are part of a rich historical heritage. It's amazing to think that our little state was part of the beginning of the US.Even more amazing is knowing that my son gets to claim some of this heritage as his own-Rick's 10th great grandfather Rev Stephen Bachiler was the founder of Hampton,NH,and his 10th great grandfather Edward Hilton founded the town of Dover,as well as some various cousins who founded the towns of Deerfield and Loudon. His 10th great grandfather Joshua Pratt came over on the Anne,the third ship after the Mayflower. Needless to say, NH roots run deep in Rick's ( and now Zach's) family. 1620 something makes for mighty long roots.

I cannot claim such a lineage,since my ancestors arrived here from Canada starting in the 1870's,and I am a third generation America on both sides of the family. However,I have always had a deep love of NH and it's history. We were born here,and here we will die.

This brings me to the story behind my post today. One of the oldest families in NH,the Tuttles,arrived in Dover sometime in the late 1620's-early 30's.John Tuttle arrived in this country with a land grant from King Charles II and in 1632 began the oldest continuously operated family farm in America ( this has been challenged,but I stand by the Tuttles). I have driven by the Tuttle farm many times,seen it's large corn field green and waving in the breeze,stopped at the farm stand and purchased delicious fresh produce. It is a wonderful part of our state heritage,and a great example of the family farm.

Sadly,three years ago the family decided to put it up for sale. I cannot imagine that this was an easy decision to make. It would've been up to the new generation of Tuttles to run the farm,and it would've required all hands on deck. A farm of this scale ( now 197 acres,at peak 240) is a massive undertaking and if all hearts are not into it,it would not work. I personally don't know if I could have borne the thought of selling something that was in the family for 10 or so generations,and all the sweat and hard work that each generation put into that land.The very thought makes me sick to my stomach and I am sure that they have had many,many sleepless nights.I don't envy having to make such a decision. 

The farm has been sold to a gentleman from MA who has run a successful farm for about 30 years and who wishes to keep it a farm. I was very happy and grateful to hear that the land cannot be broken up and sold off into condos,etc,which was what I automatically thought of when I first started reading about the sale. It seems like many family farms tend to be sold off and then dismantled,which I find incredibly sad. I am very glad that if the Tuttles had to sell it,at least they sold it to someone who understands the importance and value of this farm to the community.

You can read more about the Tuttle Farm here. It's a quick Wikipedia article but it's current and the facts are indeed correct.( If you wish to read more articles,just type in Tuttles Farm,Dover NH into your search box.)

Do you have any local farms that have been sold? Have they been kept going,or have they been put aside for "progress?"

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Freezing Rain

I finally made a batch of soap with my new soap mold:

I don't think I let it sit long enough in the mold,even though 24 hours was the suggested time frame on the directions the company sent. When I tried to pull the sides and dividers out,it was a bit sticky,even though I put the mold into the oven at 170 degrees for 10 minutes as was suggested "because some soap recipes are stickier than others." I was able to get my soap out,but some of the edges came off with the dividers. Next time I will let it sit for 48 hours. I use essential oils from Edens' Garden ( you can find their website here) and in this case, I used their Stress Relief oil,which is a combo of Bergamot,Blood Orange,Grapefruit,Patchouli, and Yling Ylang. The smell is very soothing. I have the bars on a cooling rack in the closet in our bedroom,curing.

Yesterday Rick wanted to go for drive down an area where he has gone hunting. He asked if I wanted to go,and I jumped at the the chance. I haven't been driving down an unfamiliar dirt road in a long time,and it was a pretty day,even though the wind was quite chilly. I always enjoy exploring with Rick.He brought his rifle in case we saw any game that is in season.

I thought they way the sun was coming through this patch of trees was pretty:

I would love to live way out these woods:

Some of the brilliance of our foliage:

Light at the end of the tunnel!

I love birch trees,even if they are pretty bare:


Fairly fresh deer tracks:

The sky started clouding up as we were on our way home.  As we were pulling back onto the main road,I commented to Rick,"It looks like snow." This time of year,when the air is chilly and the dark clouds roll in,the sky just has a look. The look of snow. Those of you who live in snowy area know what I mean. I stepped out on the front deck to take a picture of sky didn't start snowing,but it did start freezing rain.

Thankfully,our wood stove was going and the house was nice and warm. I worked a bit more on the pair of mittens that I had started knitting,and ran a few errands for our Boys Scout Halloween party on Monday.  I picked up some treats for the boys,some decorations,and the ingredients for Pumpkin Whoopie Pies and a couple mixes for some gluten free brownies.

I have to leave you with one more photo:

Last night we had ham for dinner,and this AM Rick made eggs and ham for breakfast. He was cutting pieces up and I noticed the dogs were all standing in back of him. I told him that he had an audience,and he turned around with the piece of ham and said,"Is this what you want? You're not getting it!"

Enjoy your day!