Monday, June 27

Quiz for Readers

Is there anyone out there who can tell, by the picture below, the gender of the new baby?

Any luck?

I am asking because I still can not believe the ultrasound lady and I am looking for second opinions. So while I can not show you pictures of the inside of my tummy, I can show you the items that were purchased at yard sales this past weekend.

Point being that I can't use the clothes I already had saved from the little MAN.

And I refuse to get the really pink stuff, as you can see below by this wonderful farm-themed sleeper.

I am still in shock. I spent 5 months just absolutely knowing that it was going to be another little boy. I just KNEW it. I had the most wonderful named picked out and everything.

Then, just as in the 1500's, my solid foundation of how the world worked was turned upside down. In the late 1500's, Giordano Bruno's cosmological theories identified the Sun as just one of an infinite number of independently moving heavenly bodies. For these ideas he was burned at the stake in 1600 after the Roman Inquisition found him guilty of heresy.

This poor guy tried to explain that the Earth was not the center of things and they burned him at the stake.

The ultrasound lady told me we were having a girl, which is my equivalent of someone telling me the sun was in fact the middle of things, not the Earth. I was just so sure we were having another boy.

I had her check 4 times.

She was getting rather annoyed with me but I just could not believe it.

At least I didn't burn her at the stake.

Sunday, June 26

Who Has a Kitchen Upstairs??!!??!

We do.

At least this house did when we moved it. Built in 1916, the upstairs was turned into an in law apartment sometime in the 1970s. For six years we have used it as a misc. room to store everything from genealogy files to dirty laundry to exercise equipment.

But now that we will have baby #2 this coming October, it will now be Roy's home office. In our "free" days before we had the little man, we each had an office upstairs in the two smaller bedrooms. Mine was a hodge-podge of genealogy, art supplies, nick-knacks and just stuff. Roy's was for use on days when he worked from home and a place to store all of his decor that I did not think fit with the "scheme" of our home. (IE. - stuff he had before we were married).

When the little man came, my office was the one to go. deemed "unnecessary" by Roy, I moved into the upstirs kitchen and my old office was painted a nice shade of light green. Add a crib and a changing table and you have a room for a baby.

Now it is Roy's turn. My office has been severely downsized with most of my things being stored int he attic and the rest taking up half of the laundry room. Roy will now take over the kitchen but apparently he needs more space and is not crazy about having a sink near his computer.

So this past couple of weeks we have been removing cabinets and counter tops and a big, heavy, white cast iron sink. The cabinets on the top half are going to stay for storage and this will be no means be a room that will end up in the pages of Better Homes and Gardens. It is purely functional.

The up-side is that this required him to do what I had to do - a massive clean-out - which fits in with my ideas for a more simple, clutter-free life.

If I can get every room in this house cleaned out, organized, and functional then it will be much easier to prioritize and have a working schedule. And it may leave open a little more free time to devote to exploring more areas of homesteading that we are interested in like bee keeping, medicinal herbs and wind power.

All this can come of getting rid of an old sink and some musty cabinets.

Saturday, June 25

I Dream of Demo

Some people have day dreams about taking an exotic vacation or what they would buy if they won the lottery.

While travel and lottery winning are good things, (hey, I won $2 on a scratch-off yesterday) I tend to dream about something else entirely.

House renovations.

(More on why I allowed myself to buy a lottery scratch-off while in the middle of a budget crunch later).

I dream of house renovations. More specifically, finding a really beat up piece of property, gutting it and making it my own. I go right down to paint color and what type of insulation I want. I am making my perfect homestead in my head. This is what makes me happy.

Not that I don't have a wonderful old home - I do - and I am lucky for it. Our old farmhouse and 2 acres are perfect for us.

But in fueling my dreaming, I still browse real estate listings. For instance, when I was 7 months pregnant with the little guy we went to an open house near where I grew up of a property in desperate need of some TCL. I saw it in an ad for local auctions and I decided that i wanted to go to the open house, just for fun. What this does to the state of mind of my husband, I really do not know. He is probably stressing over loans and lead paint. We did not bid on the house. Too much demo for a pregnant lady.

This past Father's Day we had a small family BBQ here at the house where my Grandmother mentioned the auction of a property only 1 mile from their home in Steuben County, NY.

For people who have been reading this blog for awhile, you know that my Grandparents farm is like my mecca. Way out in the middle of nowhere, not a sound to be heard, and maybe you see 3 cars go by on the dirt road all day long.

This property is: "Original condition 1850's farmhouse, 2 stories app. 2000 sq. ft. with 4-5 bedrooms, 1 bath, full basement. Gamble roof 36 x 80 wooden dairy barn in excellent condition! 40 ft. x 80 ft. 5 bay open metal pole barn. Various farm type outbuildings. Total of app. 153 acres more or less with app. 65-70 good tillable acres."

Are we all drooling right now? This could be the perfect homestead. You could be totally off the grid, grow a ton of food, have enough space to raise the livestock you would need - you could probably even put an outhouse in the front yard if you wanted to because NO ONE WOULD CARE! Wonderful, blissful, peace and quiet. (OK, Grandma would care since she would most likely be stopping over every day, but, really, WHO CARES!!!!)

Why does this always happen when I am pregnant? But if ever there was a property to SERIOUSLY consider moving to, this would be the one.

And yes, we ARE going to the open house and household auction in July. They are selling the following: "old kitchen wood cook stove with cast iron top and top warming oven; refrigerator/washer/upright freezer; chrome 5 pc. breakfast set; mahogany depr. Era dining room suite; mahogany kneehole desk; bookcases; upholstered livingroom furniture; wooden wardrobes; Depr. Era double bedroom suite; single and double beds; stands; chests; truck; box lots of general household goods; cuckoo clock; treadle sewing machine; etc.!"

One of many views from my potential yard:

Photos and info from Pirrung Auctions

Friday, June 24

Crested Moss

One of my personal favorites, the Crested Moss rose, or Chapeau de Napoleon.

"This rose has a remarkable history. It seems that by all accounts, this is a found rose, having been discovered growing on a convent wall in Fribourg, Switzerland in 1820, or thereabouts. Most accounts suggest that Vibert was the one who introduced it into commerce.

It is certainly one of the best of it's group, and not just a curiosity grown for it's odd sepals. The bloom is an exceptional clear pink color, well formed with a tidy button eye at the center. It also offers one of the best fragrances of any rose; an exquisite pure damask type fragrance, with slightly spicy or acrid undertones....very pleasant."

Thursday, June 23

Daily Ramble

The poppies are out in full force now with more coming every day. I always say that you can never have enough poppies in your garden.

They are loving all the hot, dry weather we have been getting lately, unlike some of the roses that are slightly droopy. Storms are predicted for tomorrow which I will welcome so the tomatoes and other veggies trying to grow can get a good long drink. It will also make it easier to pull up the weeds that have been trying to take over and crowd out the peas and the beans.

Although hot, we took our "nature ride" today and saw two deer. Young bucks with fuzzy covered horns resting in the cool woods from the mid-day heat. They stared at us as we drove slowly by, and I am surprised that they did not run. The little guy was amazed by them, this being the closest he has ever been to a deer. Also making the list today were two grey herons and a chipmunk. Of course, he fell asleep on the way back to the house and took a good two hour nap on the couch with the fan going.

As far as the days here at our little homestead, that is just as about as exciting as it gets. We have mostly slow days here which is what I like best. Filled up with house chores and yard and garden work, meal planning, child entertainment, and constant fixing-up of the house. Not to say that we do not use our modern conveniences daily. I am typed right now on my HP and the little guy is currently enjoying the latest installment of Curious George. Why they put on an episode where it is it the middle of winter, I really do not know.

Later we will have a simple meal of leftovers with nothing, unfortunately, from the garden yet. I am expecting some peas in the next few days but most of what i have planted this season will not be ready for a few more weeks. The small strawberry harvest we had this season was just that - small. and short. Since i only have a handful of plants and the trip to the house from the plants is sometimes a little much for the little man. He drops them and then accidentally steps on them.


Wednesday, June 22

No Chickens Were Harmed in the Taking of These Pictures

My homestead help is very much underpaid. He works for peanuts. Or I should say, goldfish crackers and a bedtime story.

Although only two and a few months old, he is actually a good garden and chicken helper. He enjoys being outside digging in the dirt and help spray out the nest boxes on coop cleaning day. Yes, he does have a tendency to drop a task in the middle and wander to the other side of yard. But all in all, he is a help with the outdoor tasks.

And he loves the ladies. He likes feeding them and watching them and helping me move them from their permanent shelter attached to the coop into their portable grass-pen for a fresh salad. He chases down wayward girls that escape the confines of the wire and he is pretty good at catching them.

I do remind him every time that chicken, or any animal for that matter, are NOT toys and that they are living creatures. He is not allowed to be alone with the ladies - not because I think he would intentionally hurt them, but because, well, he is only two.

He loves to pick them up, which they actually tolerate well, and set them back down. We have a strictly enforced "always be gentle" rule which he follows.

I am hoping that this shows that I have been able to instill in him a love of and respect for animals, which I think is one of the most important things you can teach a child. Logic states that compassion in one area leads to compassion in others so I hope I have given him a good understanding.

This being just one of the things I want to make sure I pass down to my children - the others being a love of nature, the skills to grow your own food, and basic homesteading skills in general. They may not always be a chance to go to the grocery store.

Tuesday, June 21


The Damage

Something has been sneaking in my garden at night and making a salad bar out of my young vegetables. Instead of taking this as a compliment to my gardening skills, I am a little annoyed that the peas and beans that I was relieved to see made it through the horrible dirt are now a midnight snack.

My broccoli, as pictures below, fared the worst as it was eaten right down to the ground with only a faint stub to let me know that it was indeed actually planted there at one point. All of the broccoli is gone. I have a little hope that it might come back as I see small growth on a few of the plants, but I am not holding my breath.

What bothers me the most is the cheeky audacity of how the plants were eaten. (except the broccoli). A nice clean cut, just a sample here and there. What? - are my peas not pleasing to your palate? Are you upset that my beans are purple instead of the usual green variety? Is this strange that I am upset that animals stealing away for nibbles in my garden don't seem to want to enjoy what they are sampling?

If you are going to eat it, then eat the whole thing and like it! If not, then you can move on down the road to the neighbors.

I know HE grows GREEN beans.

Monday, June 20


On a recent trip to the Strong Museum of Play, we toured the small outdoor garden.

So many nice ideas......

Tuesday, June 14

Mystery Track (and more turtles)

Can anyone tell me what this track comes from? A goose?

We also saw more turtles lounging on a log in the very green pond area. They hung around just long enough for me to take a picture, then they disappeared into the slimy stuff.

Sunday, June 12

Broody Hen (?)

I think we have a broody hen. Since I have never had one before, I am asking for any advice in order to make sure she is truely broody and that there is nothing wrong with her.

She sits in the nest box all day and what I assume to be all night. When I try to touch her she makes all sorts of noises ranging from cooing to clucking to some sort of combination of both.

Roy picked her up and moved her out of the nest box yesterday to look her over and make sure there was nothing wrong. Nothing presented itself but she is acting strange.

Advice from fellow chicken owners please!!

The Smallest Egg I Ever Got

Thursday, June 9

Tracks and a Turtle

On our "nature rides" on the lawn mower through our neighbors 60 acres of woods and fields, we don't see a lot of actual "nature". Turns out that most wildlife think a lawnmower sound is disturbing in some way.

We do happen to see the occasional pair of ducks, numerous birds and bugs, and once we managed to sneak up on a gray heron in the creek. Must have been a very hard-of-hearing heron. The little guy loves looking at all the flowers and birds and things and he likes the "tractor", as he calls it. The fact that this activity wastes gas in not lost on me but 15 minutes of putting around the back 40 gives him so much enjoyment that I can't say no.

Today we saw two things worth pointing out - tracks and a turtle. Deer tracks are so nice - they look like little hearts.

I am thinking these are raccoon tracks:

And then, the turtle - I can only guess how old this guy is. He looks totally prehistoric to me. The picture did not turn out well but his tail was about 8 inches long with a row of pointy ridges along the top of it. Very dinosaur-like. If anyone knows what kind of turtle this is, I would really like to know.

Wednesday, June 8

In The Nip

Buffin, in a rare show if playfullness and attention begging, has turned his attentions to some catnip that I placed on the laundry room floor. He will be like this for at least 45 minutes.

Tuesday, June 7

Fairport Canal Days

This past Sunday we spent a few hours at Fairport Canal Days. It was the first time we had actually gone - normally we just go to Fairport for the farmers market, but this year the weather was nice and I knew that one of my favorite jewelry makers would have a tent there.

Before I forget, does anyone else besides me think that charging $5 to park somewhere might be a little excessive? But then again i am on a budget, so everything seems expensive to me.

There were over 200 vendors and food tents all located on the main village street in Fairport which they had closed down for the weekend. And in every little parking lot and public area there were more vendors, people playing music, families hanging out and everyone just generally having a great time.

Like I mentioned before, there were so many vendors it was hard to know where to look first. Generally, I try to look for things that are homemade with interesting materials, or things that are generally useful to me around the house. One lady was selling homemade braided rugs, a few were selling woodworking decorations, and there were a lot of jewelry and artist tents. I wanted a rug but with the smallest being $45, that was a little out of our price range for right now.

There were things for the little man too - bounce houses which we did not go on because he, surprisingly, had no interest, and a train ride in which he showed tremendous interest.

The jewelry maker which I mentioned earlier is Little Green Apple, locally owned and operated in Fairport. I discovered her at the farmers market and her unique designs using old odds and ends had me hooked. I have three of her pieces so far and I wear them just about every day. Trust me, it is something I save my birthday money for.

While I was drooling over the selection of creations an older woman in the next tent started getting very worked up about someone "stealing her design." She was venting this to her husband and then started pacing back and forth up and down this particular row of vendors voicing her disapproval and repeating "stole my design" loudly and often. I never did learn what she was taking about but I can only guess that ideas at craft and artisan fairs are, well, public.

Not that I condone buying something that someone made, taking it apart to figure it out, making more, and then selling them as something you came up with. I do think however, that people are creative and if something catches their eye, they might try to duplicate it. For instance, if there is something that I really like but can not afford, I try to remember what it was that I liked about that particular item. Then when I come across something in the house, garden, barn of flea market that reminds me of the item, I might try to come up with something similar on my own for my own home.

Side note: that is part of the reason that I only have a few vendor photos here. I try not to stand around taking pictures on peoples creations and then not buying anything.

What are your thoughts on this? Are ideas fair game once they are put out there or is there some kind of moral obligation to limit the idea borrowing? Does it matter if it is just for personal use, or if you plan to make money off of it?

Flying the Coop

Our robins took off yesterday and there is now another empty nest with a big pile of poo under it on the barn floor. This last little guy, or girl, was taking a break on top of the shopvac before testing his/her wings again. I have noticed that they like to hang around inside of the barn for a few days even after they are flying. It is probably some sort of comfort thing - it's a big world out there......

Is it just me or does this bird look a little annoyed that I am taking this picture?

Monday, June 6


"June 6, 1944, 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which 'we will accept nothing less than full victory.'

More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end on June 6, the Allies gained a foot- hold in Normandy. The D-Day cost was high -more than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded -- but more than 100,000 Soldiers began the march across Europe."

I have always felt that this day deserves a special remembrance. Never have I felt such a presence than when we visited these beaches and surrounding areas a few years ago. It is haunting and promising at the same time. So many lives lost on these beaches and so much freedom gained in the end. Below are some pictures we took on our trip.

Saturday, June 4

If a Girl Can Have a Favorite...... would have to be the poppy.

My favorite flower in the garden and the one I look forward to the most each season. Mine bloomed right on Memorial Day this year.

Friday, June 3

Memorial Day Weekend Round-Up

This past Memorial Day weekend was a good one here. Despite the weather which was all over the place with temperature and precipitation, we had a good time. My brother made a long overdue visit from his home in Nevada and he brought his dog along on the plane, which was not the fiasco he was anticipating.

BBQ's with family and watching parades was highlights with a lot of relaxing in between.

Point of Pride - that's my Dad carrying the American flag this year. And, I used to carry that "Ionia" banner in the parades when I was a little kid. That exact same banner.

The old trucks are my favorite.

We also used this time to get a few long-standing projects done, since Roy had some time off. I don't care how tough you think you are, being 5 months pregnant definitely means that you can not re-tar a barn roof. Roy also took care of tilling, painting, and cleaning out the chicken coop.

The little man even got in on things and used the hose to spray out all the nest boxes that we put in the yard to air out. Yes, he got soaked, and he managed to water just about every tree in sight, but once he got the hang of it, he was spraying out nest box "build up" like a pro. The little guy loves water. His first real farm chore - I like I will write that in his baby book.