Saturday, April 30, 2011

Unauthorized Charges On The Phone Bill!

Along the road on the way home.
 I have been very busy the last few days working on our new website. So I may miss a post or two in the future. But I am still right on for posting every day so far this year. My husband is designing it and I am listing categories and products. I haven't done that in a very long time. Our other sites where we sell guitar strings have been pretty well set up. This one is completely different. A new concept and I am VERY excited about it! I'll tell you more after I get it up and running.

Same day, same trip, different road.
 Today I found out that a company that does Search Engine Optimization, Velocity Marketing Concepts has charged our telephone bill $39.00! Even though we never ordered it or even heard of it before. My husband is a SEO person and does it very well. We would have never paid someone to do it for us! I went to their site and found that my company was not listed. So I remembered someone kept calling us about listing my husband's old publishing company in their yellow pages. We kept saying no and hanging up. Now I think they signed it up without us even knowing it.

I find it interesting that someone can charge a phone bill like it is credit card. That is reason enough to get rid of it. I have a Tracfone and I have complete control over that. No extra charges that I can see on that. Or even that they can do that without my knowing it. We should keep our phone number private so they can't call it. I don't know if it will make a difference or not, but I am going to file a report against them with the BBB (Better Business Bureau). It is not right that they can do this. We are also registered with the Do Not Call Registry and we still get swamped with calls from investment companies. Like we are going to do an investment over the phone with someone we have never met. Right!

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, April 29, 2011

Flood Watch In Oxford, NY!

Bridge In Oxford, NY

Yesterday, we had to go to Oxford to pick up our horses' feed and so I could mail some packages from some sales I had. So with all this rain and storms we have been getting, I was wondering if the river had flooded. It floods pretty often there, but I have never seen it over the road. I am sure it probably has gone over the road at some point in time, but not when I was driving through.

The Chenango River In Oxford, NY

As you can see the river is up pretty high. The current is strong. I saw a lot of tree branches floating by. With the winds we have been getting also, the trees are falling over, roots and all. So quite a bit of debris floating by.

Two ducks who lost their nest!
I don't know if you can see them or not, but in the middle of this photo are two ducks, who were swimming around near the other shore. I tried to crop it so I could get a better shot of them. They lost their nest when the water came up so high. Ever since, they have been looking for it. The people at the feed store pointed it out to me.

Farmer's cornfield flooded!

This cornfield is flooded pretty much every year. So I guess it doesn't make a difference. They grow corn here and make it into livestock feed and sell it right here in town.
A field between the road and the river!

This field is right next to the road. It is not the river. But it is next to the river. And you can see it looks like the river. Pretty full right now. This poor tree has survived the flooding many times over.

On the river bank!
This area is directly behind the convenience store where we buy our gas. I stood right on the bank snapping pictures. It looks pretty, but the river can be pretty deadly. It is not always so dirty. That is due to the rain stirring up the dirt on the bottom.

Rivers get muddy with so much rain!  

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thunderstorms On The Rampage

Ludlow Creek Is Raging This Morning!

 Storms were raging everywhere last night. On FaceBook many of my friends from different areas of the country were posting that it was coming. We got it, but it didn't seem as bad as it was a couple of nights ago. Many people are without power around here as power lines are down. Trees are across the road.

Our backyard full of standing water!

In fact, the New York State Electric And Gas man just stopped here because power lines are across the road by our neighbor's house. When he came to the door he said, "I think I am lost." I said, "I figured that, since you stopped here as we aren't hooked up to the power lines." Then he was really interested in the fact that we were using solar and adding wind. He did say we were better off than everyone else today.

Our road this morning...

I took a walk down to our little creek since it was roaring. My cat Hobo likes to walk with me, but she sat on the hill watching me go down to the bridge and she didn't dare venture any closer today. It was not the sweet little creek this morning. In fact, it looked pretty scary. Hope you are safe and all is well with everyone today! Prayers to all who have been hit with this storm.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Raised Beds Make Gardening Easier!

Raised beds look bare presently!
I have been so busy lately I can hardly keep up. My seedlings grew so much I had to transplant them. Today, I am going to try to transplant them yet again! Then start some more seeds. In our climate here in upstate NY, we can keep starting seeds right up the June or even later. I can start seeds inside all summer and when the plants outside are finished producing, I can transfer these out there.

Can't wait to plant in them!
Eventually, we plan on changing these beds over to rock beds. But when we built these back in 2005, it did not cross our minds that we would eventually build any out of rock. These we did together. My husband built them and I filled them with compost, as at that time my knees were fine. When my husband rebuilds these, he is planning on making them higher. That way I don't have squat down to work in them. Last year, I started using a stool from the house to sit on when working in them.

No bending! 

These beds are what I use for lettuce and salad greens. There is no bending involved. You can use just about anything for a raised bed if you find something that might work. Just as long as it has good drainage. When I plant my salad greens, I buy a bunch of different varieties of anything that can be used in your salads. Then I mix all the seeds into one container. And plant! They are awesome and you have the greens and lettuce that you like or want to try. Include some spicy types for a variety of tastes. What a tossed salad you will have!

A bed made of rocks!
I cannot understand why everybody does not grow most of their own vegetables during gardening season. My father, at almost 92, is probably outside today working on his garden. He has always had one and still does. Every year he tells me that next year he is going to have a smaller one, or not one at all. Then I go up to see him, and he shows me what he planted. It is usually the same size. Look at the prices in the store of lettuce alone! Then bring it home and see how quickly you have to use it. If it was growing in your own garden, you could leave it out there until you use it. If you have never had a garden, go buy one packet of seeds today. Then plant one container and eat it all summer. You will love it!

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Life Around Peaceful Forest Homestead

Tiger lilies along our road!

It is a sure sign that spring is here when the tiger lilies start showing their little heads. I love to see them knowing that in July they will be full and thick, and showing off their beautiful orange flowers. But this is how they look when they first start out.

What many people don't know about them is that you can eat them. Yes, especially these little shoots in spring. They can be added to salad or cooked like asparagus. In the summer you can eat the flowers. They can also be dipped in batter and fried.

For the past week the paddock is very muddy. The horses have not been coming in to the barn except for a drink and then heading back out. It is very hard for my husband feeding them out there as he has to walk through deep mud. They find little islands and stand there hoping he will bring their food to them. He scatters the hay around though, so they do have to move to get to that.

The lawn is very green and trees are budding. But the lawn is very soft so I try not to walk on it too much. Soon it will be all soaked in and and I will be planting my plants in my garden. I can't wait for that. It is my favorite thing to do.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It Is Easter!

 Happy Easter to all my readers and followers! 

This week I have added a Salvation Message to my blog pages. It will be there for anyone who needs it. It is a permanent page so it will always be there. 

Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

(The Ascension) And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen. Luke 24:46-53

Praise God!

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Changes In A Forest Homestead

Living surrounded by the state forest makes you aware of the life of the forest. Not just the wildlife that lives there, but the plants, the rocks and of course, the trees. Trees have become very important to me since I moved here. I have been buying books that teach me about the life of trees and the forest they make up. One of my favorite books is a Peterson Field Guide called Eastern Forests. I read it and study it all the time. There is so much more to the forests than just a bunch of trees and plants.

My favorite book!  

If you want to learn about something, you must research and learn about it. Even living in the forest, I didn't understand it and the way it works until I started studying it. A forest homestead is wonderful, but it is different than a homestead in the middle of a flat, treeless plain.

By watching the forest every year, you see the changes taking place. Every number of years, a different variety of tree takes over the majority of your forest. When we first moved here, cherry trees were plentiful. Now it seems the elm is more noticeable and is in the lead.

Elm trees in fall, they don't lose all their leaves.  

 If you need firewood from your forest, it is best to cut only the standing dead or dying trees. Or if you have trees that are overcrowded, thin them out. That is why the state forest service has loggers come in and thin an area. They are not allowed to cut them all. Even though it seems horrible to us for them to be logging these areas, it is not. It is for the good of the forest.

Logging going on this spring.

The forest surrounding our homestead provides us with protection from the elements. It protects our home from storms. The wind will be blowing very hard. I'll go outside and it is not hitting us as hard, as it hits the tops of the trees around us. That is why our wind turbine will be up above, where it will catch the wind. But that is also why our snow sticks around so long, we are cushioned from the elements by the forest.


 Once you understand your forest, you will be able to live with the changes as it comes. Nature makes its own rules and you have to be the one to adapt to it. Not the other way around! Trees give you life. They are nature's purifiers. The trees cool the air in the summer and I know this to be so true. If it is hot, I head out to our forest, where it is really much cooler. The leaves of the trees remove dust and soot particles from the air, as well as sulfur and nitrogen. Then they break down the ozone, and metabolizes other compounds so the tree can use those. Then it gives off water and oxygen. What a creation!

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day 2011

Since I started living here almost twelve years ago, we have been living what is referred to as "green." It is not something I did intentionally at the time. Seems it has evolved to that status. At that time I just wanted to live off-the-grid and be a modern homesteader. But what has happened is that as time goes by, the things that have made this easy and independent is the same things that make it "green" or "living gently" on our earth.

As I wrote about in my post last year, Earth Day At Peaceful Forest, we have been composting ever since we came here. Especially since we got our horses. They generate a lot of compost that has blessed our garden beyond my expectations. Our garden is always bountiful with fresh, organic food every year.

Generating our own electricity has forced me to use things that are not what I call "energy hogs". I have lived for over three years now with no refrigeration. It has not been easy, especially in the summer. But we have done it and are still doing it. So all electric appliances I will be adding to our homestead will be as energy efficient as possible. If they are costly, then we will wait till we can afford them.

So what are my goals for changing my household over to even more earth saving tactics for the future? This is my list:

  • Rid our house of plastic dishes and containers.
  • Really, study packaging on items when you purchase them.
  • Make as much food from scratch as possible so I do not accumulate lots of plastic containers from them. (condiment bottles comes to mind!)
  • Do all my cooking in cast iron pans that never wear out or have a man made coating on the cooking surface.
  • Replace those plastic dishes with dishes made of organic materials such as bamboo and hemp.
  • Use rechargeable batteries in the mouse on our laptops and buy a solar battery charger for that purpose.
  • Buy energy efficient electric appliances to use with our alternative energy system (solar & wind) to help us cut out the use of our propane cooking range. 
  • I am ridding my house of all excess stuff. In the future I want all my music, photographs, important papers to be on an external hard drive that I can use on my computer at any time. None of that stuff.........Recycle & sell. 
  • In the future I do want to have an electric car that we can charge with our own alternative energy system. Like we do with our lawn mower and garden cart.
  • Every trip to town must be an errand run. Try to limit our trips to about two a week.

So I hope everyone will make Earth Day a day of really making changes in their lives for real. Not just one day of turning off their lights or televisions. But for real. Really giving up those things they don't really need but use just for conveniences. Remember the earth that you leave behind will be affected by what each and every one of us do while we are here. It will affect future generations. Care about and protect our's the only one we've got.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Cool Spring This Year

Yesterday afternoon
 For me, I love spring! It is the time of everything becoming new again. To see the new plants poking their heads out of the ground. To hear the birds singing. Last night the peepers were singing to each other. My husband always says that when he hears them, then he knows spring is really here!

Snow is gone on both sides of the road!
 We have a lot of things going on here this spring. Or we would have, if the weather would warm up a bit and stop raining so much. I know I shouldn't be complaining so much about the rain. I usually like it because I know rain is good for our well, our plants and our forest around us.

The lawn is green!
My seedlings are growing and will need to go in the ground as soon as possible. But I don't believe that will be until at least the end of May, if then. So I am on hold with them. I'd like to start more plants but I have no more room. As it is, I am moving them from here to there constantly. Trying to catch what sunshine I can. Which isn't much!

The secret to a great garden is Compost!
If I get a decent day, I will try to work on some of the raised beds. My garden cart's battery is charged up and ready to go to work. I can carry compost from the compost pile to the raised beds with that. I am sure though that my husband will haul more than a few loads with the wheelbarrow. He said he wants to empty the compost pile that we will be using, so he can start a new one there. It is on a three year cycle. We have four to use now, one that is composting for next year, one that is composting for the year after that, and the new pile that we empty our manure into now.

Steel pipe and parts for the wind turbine tower!
We bought our materials to build our tower for our wind turbine. That job is taking priority over most things right now for my husband. He is going to be taking some of the pipe down to his brother's this week-end to do some welding on it. Then wait for the rain to stop, and the hole he dug for it to dry up. The tower is running more money than the actual turbine! But steel is expensive, and it has to be sturdy and weather hardy. I'll keep posting on the progress we make on that project.

Have a great homesteading day and hope you are having a warm spring! 

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole