Thursday, December 04, 2014

My End of the Year Rituals

Snowfall at Peaceful Forest


This time of the year is when I take stock of all I have done through out the year. I make a list of all I accomplished. The many projects my husband worked on and completed. The success or failure of my garden (this year it was a success). Added to that is how much food I was able to can or put away for our winter time meals. Since there is only the two of us here now, we will definitely have enough for a couple more years.


Raised beds hidden in the snow


I keep a notebook on all these things to remember for next year. Constantly, I am adding new goals for our garden, as well as for projects to work on. Homesteading is an on-going thing. It is never completed. That is not something to be sad about. I like it that way. It keeps everything new and moving along. I like to see changes and improvements.

Home Canned Winter Squash

One big success was the addition of many jars of vegetables and apples to our pantry. This year, I will not have to purchase any vegetables at all unless I want to make salads. Every year it is important to me to eliminate a food category if I can grow it. My ultimate goal is to buy in bulk all our ingredients, such as baking supplies and some others that are NON-GMO verified.

Snow covered Pine tree


I will be spending the next couple of months studying my new seed catalogs. I know that all the seeds I buy now, will be heirlooms and NON-GMO seeds. I feel good knowing I can do this for us and then save our seeds for the future. Have a very Merry Christmas and a happy shopping season!



Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Finishing Homestead Projects



Do you ever become anxious about things or projects you want to complete? Seems like it takes forever to get the money to buy the materials or have the time to do what needs to be done. You or your spouse or other family members keep whining about what needs to be done, but can't be worked on for whatever reason. Usually for us, it has been the money. Time passes. Then one day, you notice those projects are done or almost done. How did that happen? It seemed like you were just wondering if it'd EVER be finished. Now you are on to another project. It has been that way on our little homestead the whole time we have lived here.



Then I look back through my pictures and say, "Wow, I remember I thought we'd never get this finished or that started." Some of those projects we were working on were:

1. Adding a wind turbine to our alternative energy system.

2. Increasing our solar panels from 5 to 15.

3. Taking out some trees in the backyard and re-building the raised beds.

4. Rebuilding the foundation on our house.

5. Re-designing and building the gray water system.

6. Building a new battery box for the batteries in our energy system.



I am happy to say all of these projects are finished or almost finished. We now have other projects to do, that we are already beginning to work on. I think it will be a constant ongoing process on this homestead. We both keep getting new ideas. It is a good thing that we agree on almost everything and have a vision that we share for our homestead. How are your projects coming along?




Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole


Friday, October 03, 2014

Taking Stock of our Homestead


Every year after summer is over, I take stock of our homestead. I try to figure out what I did wrong and how I could have done that different. For the garden, I make a list on my computer of things to remember for next year. Otherwise, I fear I will forget by then. One of the biggest mistakes I made this year was mixing up my squash and pumpkin plants. I had them labeled in the house when I started them, but they got mixed up when I was moving them around inside the house. Next year, I will put a label on each plant's container. Not a group in a tray.


I can't complain about this past summer. It was a nice summer and our garden did very well. I was able to can a good amount of food for winter time future meals. I try not to open even one jar of newly canned foods until it snows. That is my rule. Every year I write out a weekly food plan/budget. It includes 7 days of  menus made up of main dishes, sides, starches & desserts. We do not eat desserts for every meal. I try to keep them a rare treat, so they will always be special. Starches can be left off if you are eating low carbs. Or make your own substitution for them out of low carb foods.


An old house takes a lot of work to keep it in good condition. As various things break down, they take money, time and work. When that happens it puts the projects we want to work on, on hold. So we wait, till we can move on to the projects we really want to do. Patience pays off when they are all completed. Last year my husband worked on adding more solar panels, and a wind turbine to our energy system. It definitely paid off. After living for six years without refrigeration, we were able to add a solar refrigerator, and that has really improved my life.



My favorite part of  fall and winter is cooking on our wood stoves. We use our wood cook stove just about every day, even in summer. Our wood heating stove has an unusually large top, and is often covered with stock pots of water for our hot water supply. I cook on it on those cold winter days, putting a Dutch oven on to simmer until supper. For me, every season has it's perks. I enjoy them all.








Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole


I write this blog based on my experience living an off-the-grid life as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.


Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Reflections of katlupe




As you may have noticed, I have changed the name of this blog from Homesteading on the Internet, to Reflections of katlupe. The reason is that I am now publishing Homesteading on the Internet on my self-hosted blog in another location. If you are looking for homesteading information it is here. I still write that and Solar Baby on a regular basis. This blog I have sadly neglected. I plan to remedy that starting right now. This blog will now reflect my thoughts and views on a variety of subjects. I wanted a place to express myself more.



This morning we heard the sounds of coyotes very near our property. Now we don't usually hear them that close and definitely not in the morning. We heard the whole pack not long after the first howling. Next sound, I am sorry to say that I heard, was a coyote in distress. My husband thought it sounded like it may have gotten caught in a trap. After that, we heard some sounds from the others, then a definite growling. Then nothing. Not a sound since. The hunters? Don't know where they went or where they came from. When you live in the state forest, you are always on the alert due to hunters. Some are good and know what they are doing. Others are just learning or don't really care.



I am not against hunting, even though it is something I would never do, nor my husband. I grew up in a hunting and fishing family. My father did not hunt coyotes and he wouldn't just kill an animal to kill it. I know many people just love the hunt. To them, killing is like winning the game. I feel hunting for fun is about as senseless as fishing, and throwing the fish back, because you weren't going to keep them to start with. Just for the sport of it. How would you like someone to put a hook through your mouth, cause you a lot of stress and fear, and then tell you they were just kidding? Doesn't sound like fun to me.




Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer At Peaceful Forest

Peaceful Forest Road
Summer at Peaceful Forest  is never easy for some reason. At least not for us here. The projects we hope to work on always take money and that is always hard to come by. It seems that summer should not be more expensive than winter, but it is always a difficult time. Here it is the middle of July and we have just started getting some vegetables from the garden. Our first vegetables, which we ate for supper the last two nights, was yellow summer squash. It was good to finally have super fresh, organic vegetables. Yes, I said organic, even though we are not certified by the so called "government."

Organic Homegrown Yellow Squash
We have bush bean plants that are loaded with blossoms. Our cucumber plants have tiny cucumbers coming soon. My mouth is watering thinking about them all! Our garden is organic in all ways. We never use any type of chemicals on it. Our fertilizer is our own compost made from our horses' manure, which is all organic, as they do not consume any type of chemicals. Even their hay comes from fields that has nothing added to it.

No fumes EVER is deposited on our garden!
Since it has been a cooler summer this year, with plenty of rain, our raised beds have not needed watering. They get hot in the sun, but not like normal for this time of year. We have been removing trees that shade parts of our garden, and that has made a big difference. I count about seven more trees that need to be taken out. That adds to our firewood pile for winter. Always thinking of winter!

Bush Beans
Hope your summer is going well and your garden is producing a lot of food for your winter stores. I will be getting my canner out soon. I can everything I grow for winter meals. Even the summer squash, which I know everyone will say you can't. I do. It is good and fresh when I take the lid off!

 I hope you have a happy homesteading day! 




Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, June 20, 2014

Facebook Fights Are Getting Old Real Fast

Raised Bed with Bush Beans


I must annoy a lot of people. I am here at home minding my own business. But it is Facebook that is the culprit. One person who was a Facebook friend got mad at me and deleted me, because my husband made a remark about wanting pot legalized. It wasn't me. I don't even smoke nor do I drink or smoke cigarettes either. I agree with legalizing it, but what's that to her? But she got mad at me. Fine, I didn't really have anything in common with her anyway.

When my father passed away in 2012, my husband and I had the burden of dealing with my niece who had stolen everything of value out of my father's home. Her family had lived off my 94 year old father and stripped his bank account and did all sorts of things while he was in the hospital. He worried the whole time about them being in his house alone, even though he knew he'd never go back there. She burned her bridges with her family, including my brother who is her father.

Not too long ago, I joined a prepping group which is located in our area. They seemed like a nice bunch of people. I am not a prepper by any means. I am a modern homesteader and that is a whole different thing. So one of the guys saw a picture my husband posted that was about using solar for energy. It said something like the sun has been providing energy for billions of years and this guy took offence to that. He thought the world was only about 6000 years old (where has he been living? Under a rock?)! He actually made a bunch of religious comments on my husband's page. Then he said he was being persecuted for being a Christian! He was the one who started this argument on my husband's Facebook page! Keep your mouth shut, or write on your page, buddy. And just for the record: I AM a Christian, but I am not a follower of organized religion. I do not believe that the earth is only 6000 years old though. They have been saying that for hundreds of years now, I guess it never gets any older.

Now this month, a girl who I knew quite well, in fact, she lived with my son in the early nineties. They fought like cats and dogs then, and they still fight like that now. Only now she says it is all my fault. She put her nose in my business while I am trying to keep my son in his own apartment. So she slanders me. Accuses me of all sorts of REALLY bad things. She implied I was saying bad things about her, give me a break, she has not been on my mind at all. All I did was to remind my son to stay away from her because she causes trouble, which she does, and did. Of course she now has a job that she thinks puts her in a power position. Shoot, she is just a Medicaid Service Coordinator at the Handicapped Children's Association. So she should know better than fighting back and forth with my son who is a handicapped adult. It is, and was a very stressful situation to say the least, because of my son's girlfriend who is friends with the old girlfriend. What a mess!

I am distancing myself from these types of people. One thing is that Facebook does make it easy for people you have nothing in common with to become friends with you. It seems to me that it is rude to not accept them as a friend. But if I can't write what I want on my timeline, because of them, then I can't be friends with them. If they want to argue, do it on your own page.

So I have thought about trying to make my page even more private than it is.I have it set pretty strictly, I think. But I am looking to see if there is more that I can do with it. I hate fighting with anyone, and that is why I live this type of life to begin with. I just wish I lived further out than this, and maybe I will think about doing just that in the near future. So if you'd like to be friends with me on Facebook, go to my Homesteading On The Internet page or my Solar Baby page. I am on both of those pages quite often.




Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Choosing Flooring for Homes with Cats and Dogs

Most rural homes include pets!

Remodeling an old house takes not only time and skill, but money too. Our house is an ongoing project and is nowhere near finished yet. One of the major parts will be new floors and walls. I have been trying to envision what it is I want to live with. At our ages, in our early sixties, I figure this will be what we will live with for the rest of our lives. I like to do most of my shopping online and now that I have discovered through  BuildDirect reviews  that I can buy the building supplies that way too. The world has come to my door in the middle of the forest! I like that.


Tired out after playing!

Most of the readers of this blog are pet owners. We have cats and dogs in our homes and probably always will. I can't be worried that the flooring I put down today will be ruined by my pets. Pets that go in and out get your floors dirty. There is no way to prevent that since they get into dirt, mud, snow and water. I don't want to worry about them constantly. Do you? Puppies and kittens inside the house too, run and chase and drag things across your floor. Finding flooring that can take that abuse is the answer. BuildDirect, sells a variety of flooring that can withstand the lives of your pets. The convenience of choosing the style and colors of the materials is right on your computer.





In this video you will learn about choosing the best flooring for your house and your pets. There are several varieties mentioned. The one that gets my interest is the Evora cork. I see that it is produced from a renewable resource, from the cork oak tree and from by-products of wine cork production. It seems like that would be a very good choice. There are others mentioned though. Choose the one you would feel comfortable with and that would be good for your pet environment. Which kind do you like? Why? Would you make your purchase based on your cat or dog?

*This blog post was written for payment as explained in the FTC Blogging Disclosure.*






Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Planning Where I Will Plant Each Vegetable In My Garden


Before the beds were remodeled

This morning while I had my coffee in my garden, I made my plans for this year's garden. Last year my husband enlarged the beds in the backyard that are built of rocks. Since he took down a couple of trees that had small beds built around them, he combined those beds all into one big one. It is really nice. I can't wait to plant it. Making a plan for your new garden is the most important thing. To know where each plant is going to go when you plant, means that you are not just throwing a bunch of plants here and there. It will be a more productive garden this way.


Taking down a couple of the trees.

It was hard work for my husband to rebuild these beds. But he did a great job and I love the way it looks now. I was out there this morning, envisioning what it will look like full of plants. My beans will definitely be planted here. Bush beans come up real fast for me, so it won't be long after I plant the seeds before I will have plants. Have to wait for our weather to cooperate though before I can do any planting outside.

The raised beds today!

The closest bed in this photo, the round bed, will have Wax (yellow) beans planted in it this year. The next bed you see, I call that the L bed (since it is shaped as an L), will have Blue Lake Bush beans in it. The very last bed, where you see the two trees, the snake bed (not because it has a lot of snakes, but due to it's shape, it does have some snakes in it though.), will have the Contender Bush beans planted in it. We can many jars of beans and eat them all winter. Mostly because it is my best crop.

Bush Beans planted in the first four beds here, 2013

I have always planted our green beans in the wood beds on the other side of the house. They say you shouldn't plant them in the same area year after year. So I will see if they are right. A whole different area for them. I am looking forward to having different plants in these beds this year. Spice up things a bit around Peaceful Forest Homestead! Maybe it will confuse the garden pests.






Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole


Sunday, April 13, 2014

After the Winter at Peaceful Forest Homestead



After so many days of below zero temperatures, it felt like spring would never get here. Even the robins who usually are here by the fifteenth of March. Some years they are here as early as the 7th (last year). It was past spring before I saw even one. They were out in the forest because we could hear them. I guess staying within the shelter of the forest is easier then being out in the open of our yard when it is still cold. Now they are here all the time.


It finally feels like spring here! We are all enjoying it. Our horse love it before the hot weather gets here. They will lay down several times a day out in the paddock. As for me, I have been starting my seeds as I told you on my previous blog posts. This year I have more room since my son now has his own place. It gives me more room to spread out the seeds that I am starting in the house.The reason I start so many is that I want to be able to eat them during the summer too. There are some that just won't give us anything till later in August or September.



Yesterday was such a beautiful day that my cat, Hobo, and I went for a walk. I am trying to do that every day. After being cooped up all winter in the house, I need to get outside. It has been hard for me to walk in this last year, but I think I am doing better. I was able to walk all the way past the paddock. It was great to see all the signs of life coming up. We still have some patches of snow, but in a few days, that will be all gone too.

Hobo


Happy Spring to all my readers! 









Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole


Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Saturday, April 05, 2014

My Seed Starting Process Has Begun



Seed Starting

Yesterday I started planting my seed starting planters, that I only use for this purpose. I bought three bags of seed starter from Lowe's. If a planter is too big, I add small rocks to the bottom for drainage. These little planters though, do not need it. I only fill them part way, then dampen the mix. Not too much. Just to feel it. Then put my heirloom seeds in place. Then I spray a little more water on the top with a spray bottle.

Seeds

I save many of my seeds from year to year. I buy heirlooms most of the time. Though I have bought hybrids also. Just not a lot. I make sure the seeds I buy are covered by the safe seed pledge that are non-GMO seeds. I want to grow REAL food in my garden. This is the Safe Seed Pledge if you do not know what it is:

The Safe Seed Pledge
"Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend.  We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations.  For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants.  The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural methods and between genera, families or kingdoms, poses great biological risks as well as economicc, political, and cultural threats..."
This pledge was signed by us (whatever seed company you are buying from) & other companies that are concerned about this issue.  For more information on this project, contact:
The Safe Seed Initiative
C/O Council for Responsible Genetics
5 Upland Road, Suite 3
Cambridge, MA 02140
www.gene-watch.org


Seeds Planted & Covered

This one is all done. Now is the part I dread..........having to keep them warm at night in my house and away from my cats. Our house is cool at night when we bank the wood stove back so it is not really that warm. I am trying a few different methods to keep them warm. As for the cats, I am keeping my fingers crossed that they won't be interested in them.


63 Seeds Started


Yesterday I started 63 seeds. I am planning on starting more, maybe tomorrow. How many will survive to be put in the garden? I don't know. Some will come up and some won't. Time will tell. I have a large area for the garden so I can start a lot of plants. There are some, like the bush beans that I don't start, and they will be the first ones up and producing. That is the plant I grow best, besides potatoes.

Patches, my helper today!










Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole