Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Getting Our Garden Planted

Rebuilding the second bed.  

Since I loved the first raised bed after my husband rebuilt it, he did another one since he still had some lumber left. It hardly took him any time at all. They are easier to plant in since they are 4" higher than the old ones.

Most of these are planted now!  

The first two beds have green beans, the next two have wax beans and the other beds have a variety of squashes, cucumbers and some other plants. It looks like a big garden for two people, I know. I can everything and we eat it over time. I like knowing we have food to eat in the future. That way if you have a bad year for one or two vegetables you will have it in your pantry from the years before. It seems to balance out this way. Two years of having the tomatoes destroyed by the dreaded Late Blight, but used my last jar of canned tomatoes a couple weeks ago.

Green beans already coming up!

Imagine my joy this morning when I saw my first bed of green bean plants already showing their faces! These are bush beans, not pole beans. Pole beans need supports and at this time it is just easier for me not having to worry about that. We had so much rain that I was concerned that my seeds would rot. Not worried now! We are getting plenty of sunshine for the moment.

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

Monday, May 30, 2011

Thank You To All Veterans!

Ed Deyo and Mike Dran, Army Air Base, IN

Memorial Day is not only the start of the summer season, though it is officially not summer yet, but the celebration of the memories and sacrifices made by the men and women who died in military service. Men and women who fought for our freedom and rights. It began as Decoration Day for the men who died in the Civil War. Later it evolved into Memorial Day to honor all Americans who had died fighting for our country.

Aunt Frances Neer Harding

In my family, my uncles, one of my aunts, my father, my husband, all his uncles and both of his parents were all veterans. My father and his friend, Pete used to sit and talk for hours reliving their time in the service. My father and mother were first married during that time, and lived in Orlando, FL as that was where he was stationed. They told awesome stories of that time of their lives.

Mike and Hazel Dran, Orlando, FL 1942

My mother-in-law, who was a World War II Army veteran also, loved all patriotic holidays and decorated for them all. She loved red, white and blue and symbols such as The Statue of Liberty. Every Memorial Day her and my father-in-law would take flowers and travel to all the graves of deceased relatives. Always. Even after she had lost her legs, she was sitting in their van while her husband delivered the flowers to the graves.

Mike Dran

Thank you to all, and God bless all including our military who are still fighting for our country. Praying for you and your families. Praying you will come home safely and quickly. 

Back of this photo says, "You will probably see this in all the papers."

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

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Sights Along The Way To Town

NY is sooooo green!

 Driving to town from our home is not too far. We have many pretty sights along the way. One thing that many people seem to think is that if you live in NY you have never seen a tree. Well you know, even New York City has many trees......and even horses! 

Lots of hills, trees and grass.

I have lived here for most of my life. I actually grew up in Florida. But this is where my roots are. My relatives are all here or are from here. I love the forest, the hilly land and the farms that cover our landscapes almost everywhere you go.

One of the farms along the way home. 

Taking part in an online discussion about living in various parts of the country, it was amazing how different people felt about different areas of the country. I think it is a good thing. Since I love a rural area and want it to stay that way, I am so glad when people say they hate it. Cities are full for a reason. That is so those people can live there and be happy. And I can live in a rural area and be happy too.

Roads need work after the winter! 

I love the freedom in the country that you don't have in the cities or suburbs. Having many neighbors, laws or people just passing through. In my area of the country, people are friendlier than other people think they are. I know, I get tired of waving to everyone as they drive by!

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

Friday, May 27, 2011

I Am Already Thinking About Winter! Are You?

 Path from the forest.

Spring, summer and fall are the three seasons of the year that we do our hardest work. We need to make our winters easier around here. Winter this year was very stressful for us. Not that it hasn't been before. It is always stressful for my husband and that makes it the same for me. So I am working from a list this year to get many things done that will make our winter much easier.

Outdoor fireplace area and raised beds 

One area that I am working on which I always do anyway, is our food supply. Growing food. Buying food in bulk. Buying locally what I can not grow here for whatever reason. Stocking up the pantry with not only food to eat, but our supplies. Supplies for every day living. Not having to run to a store in winter is one of the ways to make our winter easier.

Outside at last! 

My husband is working on getting our wind turbine set up so that will give us more power in the winter. NY does not have much sun to speak of during the winter months. This project also includes the finishing of our battery room and bringing the water into the house. It will be cold water for now, but just having it inside will make a big difference to me. The hot water heater will only be working when the charge coming in is more than we need. Meaning the batteries are at full charge, and instead of dumping it, the charge controller will divert it to the hot water heater.

 Pump and solar shower!

Having the water coming into the house means that my washing machine will be able to be used. I will not have to wash laundry by hand any longer. That will be a real convenience for me and I look forward to that. I will still hang the laundry, but during the winter I use a wooden drying rack, and dry it in my bath tub. When it is not dripping anymore, I move the clothes to the upstairs line. Dries great that way. I am happy with it.

Snowfall 2011

One thing that my husband has had trouble with is shoveling the driveways and paths during the winter. He shovels it immediately so it is done for the day. But it is a lot of work! I am not sure what we can do about that. Unless we got a plow for our truck. That may be a thought. I plan on buying the Wovel in August when it becomes available. It is a shovel that looks strange but makes shoveling easier.

I will be posting on these topics as I work on them. What summer projects do you have planned? Do you do anything now to prepare for winter? Or doesn't winter affect you that much? I know when I lived in the suburbs it wasn't such a big deal. But things are changing and everyone needs to prepare no matter where you live.......on a homestead in the Cariboo Valley..........or in a penthouse on Fifth Avenue! Everyone!

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

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rebuilding Our Raised Beds

Hubby hauling compost to the new bed!
Yesterday while I was taking a bath, my husband was working on filling the rest of our wooden raised beds with fresh compost. This is what I was waiting for to be able to plant our garden. When he was filling one, it had fallen apart. The wood beds are not treated wood, just rough cut from the sawmill. So eventually they would all have to be replaced. We knew that, but will not use any type of treated wood on our garden.

It took many loads of compost to fill!
He had wood for finishing the battery room so he used that for the raised bed. He said he figured he needed this immediately. He will buy more wood for the battery room next time he goes to Lowes.

You can see the difference in size here.
It was a nice surprise me! I love this bed. The old ones are 6" and this new one is 10". What a difference that makes! I planted the whole bed in a minute. Planted green beans in it. This bed has always been one that I grew tomatoes in. This year I am not planting any tomatoes, except for a few container planters. Because of the Late Blight I got two years in a row on my tomatoes. Too much work for nothing.

See how great it looks?  

We grow a lot of green and wax beans. Last year was the first for the wax beans. I canned them together with the green beans and we loved them that way. So this year, I am planting a few beds of both. We eat a couple quarts a week all year long so I like to grow plenty. It is an easy plant to grow and take care of. And if you keep up with it, you get a big harvest every year. What about you? Do you plant them?

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


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Our Neighborhood On Wordless Wednesday

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cut Your House Payment Now

One thing that is puzzling to many people who really want to live a self-sufficient lifestyle is how to get their own house in the country. Or how to hang onto the one they presently own. It is hard these days with the cost of our necessities being priced out of our budgets. What can you do?

If you already own your own home, but have a high mortgage payment, that is the first place to start.  FHA Streamline Refinance is offered to people who already have a FHA or VA loan. It is the best option to cutting your high interest rate to make the payment more affordable. You will be approved immediately because you already qualify. It is fast and easy, as you do not have to fill out more paperwork and submit more documents. They will use your original paperwork from your present mortgage loan. This type of refinance will cut your interest and payment both!

Military VA Loan may be another option for you if you are a veteran or your spouse is. VA loans are at an all time low. Taking a VA refinance loan will give you the opportunity to change from an adjustable rate to a low interest permanent fixed rate mortgage. This could save you hundreds of dollars. There are many pluses to refinancing that VA loan you already have. Talk to someone about it and see what they can do. It doesn't hurt to check it out. Just may save you a lot of money every month!

I hope I have given you a couple of ideas that just may help you decide on a way to cut down some of your present expenses. As we all know, this is a depression we are presently in. To get through it, you need to do what you can now. If you had to move from your present home, that would be a lot more expenses. Just cutting your payments could be the option you are looking for!

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

Monday, May 23, 2011

Perennials In The Garden

My strawberry plants.
When setting up your homestead, take into consideration the many plants that you put in your garden, and around your property, can be perennials. Plants such as strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, asparagus and rhubarb will get you started. And most of them are fruits! Most of my berries are wild, but I have planted some strawberries in the last few years. Adding blueberries this year, as well. We have wild ones but I want those bigger, plumper berries.

Rhubarb will take over if allowed!
Our rhubarb has been growing quickly and soon we will be harvesting it. As soon as the snow was gone, some of these plants were poking their sleepy heads up, as if to say, "Ah, spring!"

Chives, Lemon Balm, and Oregano!
Chives, lemon balm and oregano grow in this bed. They come up every year on their own. That is one of the reasons why I love them so much. They go by their own schedule! This is why I recommend adding perennials to your garden. Less work. If you want to work, wait until harvest time! Then you can work at harvesting and preserving your produce.

Asparagus bed *
I am planning on putting in an asparagus bed sometime. That is a plant that will give you plenty to harvest and you can freeze or can it. Looking at the prices in the stores, your best bet is to grow your own. I am eager to do this and think I have a little time to put it in yet. Our garden weather is cool and wet this year. So I will get them planted in a few weeks. You don't harvest them in the first year anyway.


This is just a few of the perennials I have growing. Some such as the berries are wild but they give us plenty of food too. So if you can get your planting and work down, as you get older you may find your gardening becoming easier. Do you have any perennials growing in your garden? Are there any you would like to grow? Tell me about them! I love to hear how my readers are gardening to build up their food supplies! Please leave a comment and I will share it on this blog in a future post.

* Photo Source: Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this image under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.

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


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Growing Something!

I realize now, after all these years of being as self-sufficient as I possibly can, that I could have lived this way wherever I lived in the past. You do not have to wait to start living a "modern homesteading" life until you live in the country. Or have bought your piece of land. You REALLY can do it anywhere.

Photo Source: Free Clip Art Now

Back in those days, I would have had the money to do more of what I want to do now. If all you do is plan and read books, you may have wasted much of your time waiting. If it is what you desire, you need to start now. Start by reading, but by doing also.

Lettuce and salad greens on the deck.

A small garden even if it only some containers on your deck or in your yard is a good start. If you already do that, add more so you can harvest some food for the winter.

Canned Chicken and Beef

When you go to the store, stock up on items you use a lot. If you can get some during a sale, buy as much as you can. If they have a sale on meat, buy as much as you can afford and can or freeze it. If you get where you are replenishing your pantry (and freezer) with your weekly grocery money instead of buying the food you will eat that week, then you are on the right track.

Eventually, you will look around and say, "Wow, I am doing it." You will be in control of your own food supply. Maybe not all of it, but most it. At the very least, you will have food to eat. Then if bad times happen, as they do to everyone at some point in their lives, you will have a full pantry.

I even store some food that we do not eat. Like dried beans. That can be like cash in the future. Something to barter with.

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


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Should Cats Be Allowed To Go Outside?

 Patches LOVES being outside!

Do you own a cat or a number of cats? I was reading on a forum I belong to yesterday. They were having quite a heated discussion about my favorite little critters. I mean, some of the members were downright angry that the others were not agreeing with their opinions. It was a bit comical to me. I could picture one  member with his face all red with sweat dripping, because he could not make the others change their mind! I wonder how he would feel if he was not allowed to go  outside his whole life?

Hobo lives to be outside! 

"What was the discussion about?"

 Callie is an inside cat by her choice!

About something as simple as whether cats should be allowed to go outside. If you allowed them to go outside, then according to some of the members, you did not care about your cat. And it would not survive very long outside. Now I know a thing or two about cats. I have had one every year of my life since I was ten years old. Some years, I had a number of them. Once when I was a teen, I had twelve!

 Nutmeg liked going in and out on her own!
RIP 05/12/89 - 07/27/06 

When I lived in the suburbs, I had two cats, Peanut and Popcorn. They were indoor cats. I didn't feel comfortable with letting them outside there. We weren't too far from a heavily traveled four lane highway. So it was best for them. When I moved there, a cat came with the house, Sissy. She was used to being outside. She wouldn't sleep in the house, and didn't seem to care for my other two cats. So she slept in the garage on my husband's work bench. Even being an outdoor cat, she lived to be 22 years old. So it didn't affect her being an outside cat in a populated area.

 Callie, doing what she does best!

My cats are all over ten years of age now. They can come and go as they like. Always have. Believe me they do that! Patches sleeps most of the day upstairs, then goes out in the afternoon. If it is really nice out, she may go out in the morning for awhile, then come back for her nap. Nobody can say that they shouldn't be allowed outside because every living thing needs the oxygen that comes from the fresh air. The sunshine! Running and rolling in the grass! They love the freshly mowed grass. Maybe indoor cats are safe from bad things happening to them, but bad things happen inside houses too. My friend lost her pets when her house caught fire and she was at work. So you can't keep anyone safe from everything no matter what you do. Cats included. 

 Patches on her favorite spot, the railing of the deck!

There is no right answer for this question. It depends on where you live and your cats. One of our cats, Callie was born in the same barn our horses were. She is very used to horses and not afraid of them in the least. But she prefers to be in the house. I will put her outside when it is nice because I believe it is better for their health to be outside in the fresh air. She will get outside and run. I think it is good for her. Sometimes she curls up in a chair and sleeps in the sun.

 Hobo loves to watch me work in the kitchen!

Hobo came to us hurt with a hole in her head after being thrown off the little bridge near our house. She is a petite little cat and has no teeth. My best hunter though! She would just die of a broken heart if she could not be outside. Even in the cold winter, she is outside. Follows my husband all over the place. None of our cats wander. Maybe because they are female? Maybe because I had them spade so they would not want to attract the male cats to our house? And end up with an endless supply of kittens? Maybe because our closest neighbor is half a mile away and our cats don't leave our immediate area. We are in and out all day long, so we interact with them constantly all day long. Like I said...........there is no right answer!

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

Updated 2018