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?"