Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What Happened To January???????????????

Georgie waiting for the lean to being built in 2000

Today is the last day of January. Usually, January is so cold and snowy that my husband tears the page off the calendar before the month is over. Then February is never much better. Some years back, we used to have what was called a "January thaw", where the weather would warm a bit, and the snow would thaw. Then February would come in with a vengence. But we hadn't had one of those in years in the area of which I live. Now, I am completely perplexed at what the future of our weather will be.

If I knew the weather would hold out, I would try to get some seeds started for my garden. But I can't put them in the ground anyway till May at least. Usually. My ground is usually still frozen rock hard in March. Carla Emery used to put her peas in early, I'm thinking maybe in April. But usually, I don't get anything in that early. But this year, I will be planting in my new raised beds (that I told you about when my husband was building them), and I am trying to implement Ruth Stout's method of gardening. That should make the whole process so much easier for me.

There is so many things you have to do to prepare for the months ahead. You are either trying to get through the winter or it is spring, summer and fall when you are trying to prepare for the upcoming winter. Whew! So much work and so little time. Tires you up but you cannot give in to it. Keep prodding along and you will be finished.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Barbie Dolls And Mothers

This is a book that I have for sale in my ebay store.

Last week, I sold three Barbie doll dresses that I had in my ebay store. I felt good about it since, the buyer seemed like she really cared about her purchase. You see, I did not make these myself, I wish I could say that I did. But my mother made these. She could crochet for hours. Her stitches were always perfect. I can look at other people's crocheted items and they just never compare to her's.

When she became pregnant with me, she wanted a girl so badly, that she started crocheting fancy dresses. She figured that if she had another boy, she would give the dresses to one of the family members that were pregnant at the same time. It turned out that three of my aunts and one cousin, were also pregnant at the same time. She told me that she thought someone would possibly have a girl. Well, that year, 1952 must have been a good year for girls! As they all had a girl! But I got all the dresses.

This is a jumpsuit that I have listed in my store. There are more items available there.

All my years at home, she crocheted all my dolls' clothes. Especially, the Barbie dolls, as they were my favorites. I still have the dolls and the clothes. I haven't sold any of them. The doll clothes that I am selling are ones she had made for me to sell. She also crocheted over fifty baby sweaters that I will be selling also. The best part of that is that she was bedridden the last few years of her life, suffering from Cushing's Syndrome. But this gave her something to do, and she did beautiful work, even with her hands shaking and living on pain medication.

When I was a teen ager, she sewed all my clothes. Back then, Cher was my idol. So she made me those bell bottom outfits just like Cher's. My clothes were different from everyone else's and back then, that was a good thing. It meant you were an individual and you stood out from the crowd.

She died in November of 2002. I miss her dearly, and she will always live on in me and my brother. She was a great mother and when I see the kind of mothers there are now, I thank my lucky stars I was born to her. She did work out, but we lived in small town areas and most of the time in the country. We were not glued to a television, and sometimes when she came home from working, her and my father would just take us swimming or some other fun thing.

Anyway, if you have time to check out my store in the next day or so, you will be able to see some of her doll clothes. They are beautiful, and I do wish I could find some more, after these sell. I was never good at handiwork myself. These will make some little girl a wonderful gift, as they can be played with and washed in a machine safely.

Copyright © 2005  Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Back To Work Today

Georgie Girl and Dark Shadow Relaxing!

Today, I finally got my power system back! I am like a addict getting her fix. I can't help it and I do not apologize for the fact that I love working on my computer. It is what I do. I remember very well, those days of going to a job and doing what someone else told me to do for a few lousy bucks in my pocket, that barely paid for my gas to get there! Who wants that kind of life anyway? It's true if you ask around, that most people hate their jobs, and especially hate it when they have to go to work.

So this morning, my wonderful husband fixed our system and got me back online! My work is way behind. I have my eBay store and I was trying to list enough things to get it up to 1000. But now I am far behind my goal. I had 560, but people kept buying things! I guess I shouldn't be complaining about that, and I'm not. That's what I want.

Today, was a rainy rainy day in upstate New York. Our horses hate rain. But they love snow. They would rather have snow any day. Even summer weather doesn't please our girls as much as a heavy snow fall! They hate bugs, storms, hot days, etc. But when it snows, they are running and rearing up and playing like young fillies. They love rolling in the snow! Two of our girls, Georgie Girl and Dark Shadow, want to eat their grain with the snow. So I end up looking for snow and putting it next to their grain so they can eat happily. Right now, the rain washes away the snow, but this is January and I know it won't last. Not here. In New York state.

I will be back tomorrow so till then...... have a great day!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Cold Days Of January

This is Patches!

The last few days have gotten cold again so I am busy trying to stay warm. We have two wood stoves in our house. One is a big Alasksa wood heating stove. It is a big sheet metal stove, with two big cooking surfaces on it. I love it. I heat all my water on that stove and since it's right next to my bathroom, it's pretty easy to carry the water to the bath tub. Some day, we will have the gravity fed water system in, maybe this coming summer. But for now this is what we use and I am quite happy with it.

Our other wood stove is a Jewel wood cookstove, made by The Detroit Stove Company. It is black cast iron and has Zinc fancy work on it. It is old and has some cracks and broken spots on it. But I am able to cook and bake with it. In fact, I cook my Thanksgiving dinner on it every year, and it comes out looking like the dinners you see in the pictures. I cook the best meals on that stove! My breakfasts can't be beat!

Since my system is down right now, (I am working off my battery, and right now I am charging my computer battery off the little bit of power that I can get from the sun today) I am trying to do little bits of work, as I can. I think we are going to plan on purchasing a wind turbine this year. I wanted to add more solar panels, but think the wind turbine would be a good addition for the winter months, when we do not get much sun. Our system keeps changing it's design as we live with it and see what we need.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Sun Is Shining In New York Today!!!!!!!

Georgie Girl and Dark Shadow

Today is a warm day for January in New York state. Usually our Januarys are pretty cold and snowy. Our woodstove has been banked back most of the night. I do have two kerosene heaters that I can usually use when it's too warm for the woodstove. But with the price of kerosene I have really cut back on using it. Our lighting in our house is mostly kerosene lamps, and I have cut back on how many of those I light presently. That's the nice part of using solar, that is when you have sunshine, is that you can use the electric lights and the cost is free. I mean, six years without paying a electric bill really adds up.

I am waiting for my control box to come from Backwoods Solar. We bought quite a few parts of our system from them, as they cater to the off the grid home. I also purchased my gas cooking range from them. It is a stove that does not have the glow bar in the oven that doesn't work without the electricity. Doesn't make sense why they put that on the newer stoves. Mine doesn't even have a timer or a clock or a light inside. I don't waste power on the little things. And I love the stove, but I also have a wood cookstove (and that doesn't have those little "yuppie" things either!).

I have to work fast on my computer today, as our system is down. I just come on to check my website and then get my packages ready to mail out. My feedback on eBay is up to 472 and I am dying to get to that 500th feedback! Then I get a new star! But it is my own goal to get there by the end of this month. I just set my own goals and then try to accomplish them. I do the same with our homestead.

There's a picture of my horses, Georgie Girl and Dark Shadow at the top of this page. They are completely devoted to each other. Georgie Girl is the boss mare and very intelligent. They both had the same father. But they weren't close until we bought them, and it seemed like they knew they were going to be leaving that farm together. They bonded then, and have stayed that way all these years. We have had them here for almost six years now, it'll be six in May. Tawny, who is their niece, came two years later. She is the low horse on the totem pole, but she is tough and can take it.

I'll be back tomorrow as long as the sun shines in New York!

Copyright © 2005 Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Power System On The Blink!

Today, I must do a short blog as my power system has gone on the blink. I am waiting for the part to come from Backwoods Solar. Our generator is the type that is DC power only, and it has a control box that has quit working. So we are trying to keep busy on our homestead with other jobs instead of working on the computer. Not easy when you have a online business! 

This is not a problem with solar it is a problem with one of our components that makes up our system. Not solar. It shouldn't be a problem that will happen very often. I have a feeling that someone who helped my husband install the system did something wrong while he was helping and my husband did not check his work. So as soon as we figure it out and can repair it we will be back up with power.

Copyright © 2005  Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, January 09, 2006

Find the horse in this picture!

Today, I have written on two different sites about not being accepted by family and friends for doing certain things different from the norm - or what is considered norm today. On my Homesteading Today forum, we were discussing the fact, of how others treat you because you chose to live without television and other such things in your life. Like I told them. when we moved here six years ago, we had a big screen television and I felt it would be out of place in our home. For one thing, our home is off the grid, so we would not have even considered wasting our power on a big power hog such as that. Another is that the center point of our living room is a big Alaska woodstove that sits on a big hearth. I did not think the tv would belong in that room. So we gave it to my step daughter, Hollie.

But I am not saying we do not have a smaller television. We do, but what we watch on it, is video or dvd movies. And not that often. It's more of a treat. And it is upstairs in our bedroom, so it's not just sitting there waiting for someone to turn it on. But you go to other people's houses and they have them on all the time. They never turn them off unless they go somewhere. Even when they have visitors they sit and watch it. Watching television is boring to me. I'd rather be on my computer doing something constructive with my time.

My husband's family, especially puts us down for living this lifestyle. And not only because we want to be homesteaders and raise our own food, but also, because I am an online retailer. They just don't take it seriously. It's not a real job to them and it's like having a hobby or something. I realize it is because they do not know the first thing about computers. They like to brag that they do not even know how to turn one on! Like that is something to brag about!!!! I figure they will all be left behind.

My question is this, why do people feel that they have the right to say derogatory things about someone else's lifestyle? And when their lifestyle leaves much to be desired? I mean, it's not like we are breaking the law or anything. I have a legal business lisence and file my sales tax every three or four months. So I am going to start telling these people to keep their opinions to themselves. And maybe I will start telling them what's wrong with their lifestyles. They are the ones who are all stressed out and running to the doctors all the time. Not us! Maybe, that's a sign that this lifestyle is good for your health and your peace of mind.
I'll never give it up.....
Here is a link to some really great looking tee shirts. You will also be helping a wonderful cause. You see, the USDA is doing it's best to make regulations state by state that all our homestead's animals have to be I.D.ed. And what that means, is that they can control the small farmer. It's suppose to be for meat animals, yet I understand, that horses are being included. We are definitely living in a goverment state. People, we are loosing our American rights, the word FREEDOM does not apply to the USA anymore. So check out this site and buy a shirt or two. Here is the link:

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Living Without Motor Vehicles

I am a member of a Homesteading forum. Those people there, pretty much know what I am about. Because they are of the same kind as I am. I lived for over eight months last year without a motor vehicle. I still wish I was. The motor vehicle has pretty much ruined our earth. We live out in the country in a secluded area, but we are only 6 miles from the nearest town. This summer, I plan on training my horse, Tawny how to drive. Then I want to get a buckboard to drive her to town. She is a little powerhouse. The other two horses are a tad too spirited for me to drive anywhere. If I hitched them up and took them to town, the town better look out!

I have friends who have a 90 acre homestead, where they raised their 12 children, and they never drove a motor vehicle. They live 7 miles from town, and most of the time they walk, but they do use a horse and wagon too. They are well known all over the country, and probably world wide too, as The Christian Homesteading Movement, but have changed the name to The Catholic Homesteading Movement. Their focus is really on homesteading, so you can be any religion to attend their classes. You can only imagine a homestead as peaceable as their's! It feels like it's back in the 1700's.

Anyway, last year, my husband rode his bicycle with one of those carts that you carry children in, to town. He bought all our supplies, and brought them home. The only problem he had was that the big hill on the way took him a hour to walk to the top pushing the bike (couldn't ride it up it and he's in great shape!). Of course, our supplies included a 5 gallon can of kerosene for our lamps and a 5 gallon can of gas for the generator, plus groceries. So it can be done.

The county we live has a bus transit system that you can call ahead and make arrangements for them to come to your house and pick you up. It's called Dial-A-Ride and it would cost me $36. to and from Norwich, which is about 14 miles away. So I can always use that if need be. 

Copyright © 2005  Kathleen G. Lupole

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Nikita's Birthday!

Today is a special day at our homestead - it is Nikita Blackwolf Lupole's 8th birthday. She is the smartest dog I have ever come across. I was never a dog person, always preferred cats. But when we moved to the country, we decided we needed a dog. We didn't live here at the time. And Larry was driving a over the road truck so he wasn't home too much during the week. He was afraid that she wouldn't even know him and would really be my dog. But he was so wrong! She bonded with him immediately, and would get so excited when she'd hear the big truck back in the driveway. I wouldn't let her out until I heard the truck turn off.

She is so smart, she always knows what we are talking about. Sometimes, I'll just tell her that something is on the coffee table, and she will look right at the table. Or if I mention one of our others animals by name, she will look right at that animals. If I see her out in the road, and I'm talking to someone, I'll just motion to her to get out of the road and she does. She is not a barker, unless there is some reason to bark. And even though she has Lab in her, (her mother was a registered Yellow Lab), she does not wander away from our property. The most she will do is to sneak down to the creek, which is just a tiny bit down our road, and grab a piece of deer, some hunter might have left there when he gutted his deer. She loves to do that.

She goes with my husband when he walks to the mailbox to mail my packages for my eBay buyers. It is one mile there and one mile back. Nikita loves those walks. She'll get so excited when he gets the packages ready to go! When the horses go out for a ride, Nikita always goes right along with them. She has always been around horses and is good with them.

If anyone gets mad in our house or raises their voice, Nikita goes right upstairs to her bed. She is always afraid of getting in trouble. And if she ever did anything wrong and got in trouble for it, she will never do it again. Unless, it is when my husband is trying to put a halter on the horses and they don't want him to. So he ends up chasing them, and they always give before he does. But Nikita will run out there to help him, and I am always afraid of her getting hurt. She always feels like she has to protect him and sometimes will put her own life in jeopardy. If someone comes to our door, she will stand between me and the door and will not let me let them in or go out the door.

She is a fantastic dog and I love her dearly. I hope I can keep her around for a long time. My pet chicken, Lil' Red died last April and she was Nikita's playmate. They hung out together all the time. And if another dog came over, she would stand between them to make sure that Lil' Red was safe.

Talk to you tomorrow!

Copyright © 2005  Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, January 06, 2006

Homesteading On The Internet

Today looks like another one of those dreary days in upstate New York! Using solar panels to generate our power isn't easy this time of the year. During the summer, we only run our generator about once a week, now it's being run about every other day. Since I work on my computer every day for about 12 hours a day, it's essential for me to have power. If I add more solar panels and more batteries, I would have more power. I hope to have my solar panels on my barn roof this summer. That's where we get the most sun. A friend of ours, who thinks he is a solar expert, had us put our panels in the spot where they are now. Boy, he's no expert! It's been a bad decision all year!

Well, this morning, I couldn't even get onto eBay. That always drives me crazy. And I especially couldn't get signed into my Seller's Resource Group! That is where I like to go every morning. This group has done more for me than anyone. I have been improving my store and my business since hooking up with them. This month I did 15 different things to improve it! If you sit down and start working from a list, you can usually get some business accomplished. Maybe most people think that selling on eBay is like having a garage sale, that's not true. It is more like owning a store and having to do all the jobs yourself. No secretary, no janitor, no stock boy, no clerks, no sales people, no accountant, just me. So from no on, every night I have to make my list for the next day of everything I have to do and then be sure to do it. Working that way, you actually get the things done that need to be done.

Copyright © 2005 Kathleen G. Lupole

Thursday, January 05, 2006

My Horse, Georgie Girl

Good Morning! Today it's snowing, but not real cold. Our pitcher pump is not even frozen. That's always a good sign. But it is only January and we have a few months of this white stuff and the cold to get through. Snow is pretty. Can't say it's not. But living in the country, snow is different for us. People who live in the cities aren't really that much concerned with the weather. If it snows, the city plows their streets. Some of them have snowblowers and use them to clean out their driveways and sidewalks. Usually, their driveways and paths are pretty short. Out here in the country, paths are long and usually you have a few to clean out. Driveways can be long, our's isn't very. We have to shovel out to the barn, to the pitcher pump, to the generator, to the compost pile, to the wood pile and to the manure pile. Quite a lot of shoveling, but snowblowers is more like a "yuppie" tool. We do it by hand. The way the original homesteaders did it, I guess.

Our horses love the snow! They run, roll and jump in it. They rear up and play with each other. My two Thoroughbreds, Georgie Girl and Dark Shadow, are very spirited, They are half sisters, both having the same father. Both are very devoted to each other. Georgie is the boss mare and very much in control. I don't remember if I told this or not on here before, but she was a race horse and raced at The Fingerlakes Track. They said she was the perfect race horse. But there was one thing they forgot to check - whether she wanted to be a race horse or not. She didn't. 

What I know about this horse of mine is, that if she don't want to do something - she won't. She'd rather die than give. So she showed them that she was the fastest on all the breezes. But come race day, she went over twice in the starting gate! Then if she actually got on the track, she'd go real slow - 50 horse lengths behind the others! So the track banned her. Bill, the guy who owned her, got behind her and tried to push her into the horse trailer, she kicked him with both back feet. He thought she killed him, he was knocked out on the floor of the trailer! Well.... that's my horse! What can I say? Except that she is the most beautiful horse I have ever seen! And extremely smart! Her and I have a very good relationship and I do think she loves me.

Copyright © 2005  Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Hungering For Spring

My little girl Nutmeg

My cat, Nutmeg is 16 years old. She has been with me longer than my husband. She went with us when my husband was a driving a over the road truck. We went all over the country, and she went too. Her favorite spot was on the bottom bunk, where the heat vent blew out. She loves to be as hot as possible. Her favorite spot now is on the pedestal of our big wood heating stove in the living room. Sometimes, she gets so hot, she just flops down on the floor like she was drugged. Every year, I try to get myself ready to lose her, but she makes it another year. I hope she does that again this year. This is her picture that I have posted for you to see. She was younger in this picture though.

Today was a pretty busy day for me. I have been so busy working on my eBay store that I haven't had much time for anything else. I joined a group there, called The Seller Resouce Group and they really get you motivated! So, I end up working all the time trying to improve it and make more sales. After all, I have to have sales to make money, and I have to have money to be able to live the homesteading lifestyle, now don't I?

This is the time of year that makes me just hunger for Spring. I am lucky, in that I have many birds that come to my bird feeders. I just love the Chickadees and the Blue Jays. But I am anxiously awaiting the first Robin!!! Last summer, we sat in our back yard watching a family of Robins in the tree in our yard. They were teaching the little ones how to eat and fly. We worried about our cats getting the babies. Then, one day we noticed the nest was gone and so were they. And so were all the Robins. Then it was fall...

But tonight when I was feeding our horses, I heard something squeeking. I thought the cat, Hobo had a mouse and I was yelling to her to kill it. She likes to play with them first, torture them awhile and sometimes they manage to get away. But when I got closer, I saw it was one of the birds. Not a Chickadee, but one of their friends, who hangs out with them. So I grabbed Hobo and put her in the truck till I got done with the horses. Then took her in the house for the night. She can't understand why I get mad at her for killing birds. And praise her for killing mice! How do I get through to her? Kill the mice, Save the birds!!!

I am beginning to look through my seed catalogs. I have those raised beds that I told you about in the Spring. They were great. I love them and plan on having my husband build me more of them. I need at least one, maybe two for strawberries. And I need about three for potatoes alone, and who knows how many for tomatoes. I will also have vegetables growing in pots and bare spots all over our property. And bit of ground is good for a edible plant. I have many wild fruits that grow here. But I still plan on adding some domestic ones too. I love the wild blueberries, but they are so tiny. So I plan on getting a pretty good supply of bushes. And grapes. We have wild grapes all over the state forest land where we live. But I want a variety. I try to grow as much as I can, and can or dry it for the winter.

Copyright © 2005  Kathleen G. Lupole

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Shopping In Junk Shops

Here is a picture of my little red pony, Tawny! She is half Thoroughbred and half Shetland Pony. She is a character. Her mother is over 35 years old.

Today we had to take a drive to Oneonta to get our chainsaw fixed. It was a nice drive. But my favorite second hand store, P.D.'s was not open. How disappointing! I always find tons of stuff there to bring back and sell in my eBay store. They sell people's old junk mail by the bags! Who would ever think that someday somebody might want to buy your old outdated junk mail? People do! Some people collect everything they can get on a certain company or a certain type of item, like stocks, banks or something like that.

P.D.'s is well known in this area and in May they put out these big tents for the summer, and everything under those tents is dirt cheap. I love them. I found this little black metal oven with glass in the door out there. It was only $12.00, and it had been stuck in a area of things that nobody seemed to want. I knew what it was though. My grandmother used one on her kerosene stove, that she used during the hot summer months, instead of heating her kitchen up with a wood stove. So I got that oven home and cleaned it up. And what do you think I found? Why the Griswold logo, of course! But this is one of those things that I bought to use. And use it, I do. I bake all kinds of things right in my living room on my wood heating stove, like cookies, pies, baked puddings, bread, and more.

Today, we also went to our local Mennonite store. It has new owners and they were there today. I buy in bulk there quite often. Today, it wasn't too busy. But on the weekends that place is packed. I needed whipped cream mix. I stopped using the Cool Whip, that most people use, for the convenience. And started using the whipped cream mix for the taste. Much better and cheaper too.

I had my eBay packages to mail out today. So I took them to the post office in Guilford, NY, which is a quiet little town. The postal clerk there is so nice and friendly! I should go to my local post office which is in Oxford, NY, but they are not very nice there. They love to reject your packages for any little reason! One of the problems I have with them ,is that they reject my first class cd boxes as being too thin for delivery confirmation. But what I read on their website, is that would be ok as long as it is rigid. And boxes are regid! But that post office will still reject them every chance they get. So I guess, I will get some smaller sizes of bubble mailers for them.

Hope to post some items on here that I am selling. As soon as I figure out the photo posting I will do that on a regular basis. Talk to you tomorrow!

Copyright © 2005  Kathleen G. Lupole