Best Present EVER!

This week is my birthday and yesterday I got the most amazing gift I have ever received. We have a tradition of handmade gifts here on the homestead.  Money is always tight and gifts are usually better when thought and effort create them, rather than a factory somewhere out there. I had to work but when I came home all…

Memorial Pillows

This summer has been one of the most tumultuous seasons in recent years and that’s saying something!  I thought it right to spend some time on simple things.  Like our couch. No, wait.  I know how that sounds and it’s not like that.

Meanwhile- Back At The Ranch

This spring was interesting to say the least.  We leaned a lot about ourselves, each other, and people in general. – and (most importantly) managed to come out on the other side just as happy as before.  Adaptability always has been one of our greatest assets as a couple and I am more grateful than ever…

Candy Boards And Frostbite. Ah, January In Maine.

Since the bees had such a hard time storing honey this summer and given the collapse of last year’s supper strong hive in February I think it is safe to say that I am dubious about these new hives making it to spring. We had to start feeding with sugar syrup during the fall and a few…

Pyramids- The Snowman’s Angular Cousins.

Last week’s pre-Thansgiving snow storm left us with over a foot of frozen clouds in our yard. I thought to myself- “self, I bet we could make a snow pyramid.  WAIT!!! I bet I could get the boys to help me make the whole Giza Plateau.” Since I have been blessed with the two coolest…

Foul! Guinea Fowl That Is…

When we left for my sister’s wedding we had 11 eggs going in the incubator.  For the first time this summer they were not chicken eggs. I declared my desire for guiena fowl one night this past winter.  Thanks to the magic of the internet I was able to have fertile eggs sent to us. Our local feed…

The Loose Ends…

 Devoid of purpose, I wandered. Making my way down the worn path to that old familiar place of fire and metal. The overgrown jungle of iron and found “treasures” from years of my dad’s ramblings. It was as he left it- when he left us. The spiders now sewing everything in their place. High on a shelf I saw…

Is There Such A Thing As ‘Gardener’s Anonymous?’

What felt like the shortest week ever in California looks like it was the longest seven days back in Maine.  We knew it would be fun to see how much our garden had grown while we were away but neither of us was ready for the greeting we received upon our return to the homestead. The…

A Marmot’s Tale.

My sister requested I make her a rice crispy treat mountain for her wedding.   Preferable, this confectionary mountain would have marmots fighting dragons on it. Fine.  My little sister wants a breakfast cereal mountain adorned with rodents fighting mythical beings- whatever. This request resulted in a late-night-marshmallow-covered adventure of epic proportions. I decided that the cereal…

Soup! Made easy.

We have a few patches of wild asparagus that grow in our yard.  Yesterday was so cold and dreary I decided it was time for some soup. I haven’t written much  about cooking on this blog and for those who know me, this might seem a little odd. First of all- I have been cooking since I…

Home Again, Home Again.

Five years ago, back in California- I would have said that a 50 degree day with rain was the worst possible weather for an outdoor market. Now I know better.  There are things like sleet and snow that could make the day way worse. Yes, we were chilly but we were surrounded by hot soup, coffee,…

Your Free Range Days Are Over!

Last year we learned an important homesteading math lesson. (Chickens + planting a garden) x (no fence)= fat chickens/no plants. The chickens have been contained! It was time. I constantly worried about predators and neighborhood dogs (not to mention Isis) having free access to the flock.  We knew that we would have to build an enclosure…

Are You Checking Out My Package?

Well You Should. Actually it’s packages. Filled with bees.  Are you impressed yet?! No, fine. I was pretty pleased yesterday when I got to pick up my bee packages from Sparky’s honey and syrup.  In contrast to a nuclease- a package of bees contains only bees and a mated queen, no comb or brood like…

Oh the Bee-manity!

Well… The bees did not make it through the winter.  I am not really surprised and neither are my bee mentors who have lost a few hive themselves this year. A bee can only preform cleansing flights when the outside temp is above 50 or so and this winter full of -20 degree days did no…

Koi Pillows and Emu Eggs

I started quilting last winter and while I only managed one full sized quilt this season I have done a bunch of other smaller sillier projects.   For instance-I was messing around with overlapping progressions of fabric and decided that they looked like fish scales, so I made a koi. The mouth is actually a…

My Little Indoor Hair Garden

The snow is still falling but I have decided to grow some flowers anyway.  Clay flowers that is, no danger of snow or frost impeding my progress. I started making roses out of clay when I was pretty young.  I have always given them aways as gifts and used them myself.  Other’s reaction to them…

Multitasking, laziness or genius? You decide.

The snow and the eggs  keep piling up! Looks like today will be another day of being homebound for me.  I’m not sure if it’s a good sign that I am totally OK with this.  I have only left the house once or twice a week for months now and I don’t think I have…

Hang the little buggers!

Eggs, people I’m talking about eggs. Boy do you need help! Through my adventures in egg decorating I  discovered an incredable simple way to hang the finished product, which is good since I seem to be unable to stop making them.  You can do it too, all you need is some wire and fishing line. Here goes:

Golden cabin fever brain farts.

OK, brace yourselves.  Are you sitting down? Yesterday it snowed, again (or is it still?) You are shocked I’m sure. Good thing you were sitting down! Our yard now looks like this: There is still one person here who is beside herself. Please do not tell her she could now easily jump the fence, it’s…

Never buy chap stick again!

Even if you don’t have bees you can still make your own chap stick.   It is one of the simplest things ever, I promise.  You can find all the supplies you need at Bulk Apothecary or your local health food store and it doesn’t take much money to get started. Unfilled tubes go from $.0 7-$.12…

It’s all fun and games till someone calls “NIYDEK!”

I have often heard people talking about activities and situations that they “could never do with a spouse without killing them.”  My husband and I have done so many of the things others recommend not to I have lost count.  For example, we have: -Worked together in a high stress industry (running the front and…

My hands…

Have never known a manicure or file. And they are bitten rather than clipped. They have been painted less times than there are fingers to paint. In many places they are more scar than skin. The fingers on the right appear to have been badly broken long ago, though they never were. They often spend…