Saturday, October 29, 2011

Stone Piles In The Forest

A Stone Or Rock Pile

I have been reading some other blogs recently about the "stone piles" that are on various areas of the state forest. We were fortunate to have a couple here. I can't tell you much about them. Various reasons they were built are mentioned in discussions about them. I guess I don't really care why they were built. I just like them. For whatever reason they were built, they remain.

The Other One

The two we have here are pretty close together. Since it has been so wet here, we seem to have a lot of that green moss all over the rocks. I have seen stone piles in the state forest and some spots around here, that are not like our piles at all. So maybe different styles, represent different reasons for them being built. I know our house was built in 1850, so not sure if the stone piles were already here or not.

Walking through the forest...........

We also have old foundations in our area, as this was once a populated community. Old roads have gone into disuse. My husband and our dog have hiked all through these woods around us. He has ridden his horse in areas that knew better days. Old farms that have been gone for a very long time. The only signs besides the crumbling foundations, are the old lilacs and roses, still budding each year. 

Not far from each other

Researching the history of our area has proved to be one of my favorite hobbies. I love trying to find the history of my home and the area around us. There are signs of a civilization that has since disappeared. Discovering the old watering troughs along these state forest roads, has been a source of enjoyment too. One is not far from us, in fact walking distance. Nobody even sees them or knows they are there, I think.

Rocks are various sizes

Most of the farms in our area, have sold their stone fences. It is a shame when they do that. I love the look of them. And the history! The men who toiled in the fields building those fences. I wonder about those men. Like the man who built my house. I think about him often and wonder about his life. He was a part of this community that is all gone now. Our house being the only one left. How does one house out of a whole community survive, and the others have all disappeared?  


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

Friday, October 28, 2011

Light Snowfall Last Night

Our first snowfall!

We got up this morning to a white lawn. It wasn't bad, but one of our truck doors was frozen shut. So my husband had to work on it to get it thawed. We had to go to town to run some errands. We like to get an early and out, before the stores are crowded.

Our backyard covered with that white stuff!

I knew it would make Nikita, our dog happy to see the snow this morning. Though she usually likes it deeper than this. At least it brightened her day, to know more snow will be on the way soon. She made her rounds in the yard checking out what critter had visited during the night. Mostly, a stray cat that I put food out for because he seems to live here. He is not our cat. He doesn't seem to want to know us up close. Of course, he does watch the house a lot from a distance. Hobo is his friend and hangs out with him. I wonder what she has told him about us?

On Our Way To Town!

Our drive to town takes us through a few miles of state forest land. It was a beautiful drive this morning. The sun was shining and it was bright. But then when we got out of the state forest, started up Tyner Hill, this is what was at the top......what a difference!

Foggy in Oxford this morning!

Oxford was very dismal this morning! Only six miles from our house........but what a contrast it was. I was glad to get our errands done and be on the way back. I know many people, even after coming to our homestead, think we live really remote and secluded. But we are only six miles from Oxford. About the same from McDonough. Nine miles from Smithville Flats, and ten miles from Greene. Norwich, which is a small city is about thirteen miles away. Binghamton and Oneonta, which are in opposite directions from each other are both about 35 miles or so from us. I'd say we are centrally located.

Almost home!

Even so, we order much of our supplies online these days. Using Alice, Netrition, Swanson's and of course, Amazon. It has made our household run so much more smoothly by shopping that way. Has cut our driving down a lot and now it seems that we hardly ever run out of things. One thing I really like about shopping that way is that we always find exactly what we want and do not have to go from store to store looking for something. So our errand time is cut in half. I like that.

Have a wonderful fall week-end!

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

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Next Gardening Season Plans

Butternuts Stored!

As I take stock of our pantry for the winter, I see big holes in areas of my prepping. There are many items that need to be stocked up more. My goal is to strive for at least two years worth of food and supplies. Once you have that stocked, your monthly budget would be for just replacing what you have used that month. Or putting that money aside to save for bulk buying in six months or so. But do not use that money for anything else no matter what!

Green Hubbard Squash

I took a look at my garden and saw the space I wasted on too many winter squash type plants. They don't really produce a lot for each plant. It is easier for me to purchase them from local market gardens. Our garden is small and when one plant takes up a lot of space and produces only one or two squash, then it is time to evaluate that plant. I am not talking about all winter squash. The butternuts I grow always produce plenty.

Boothbys Blonde Cucumber

The cucumbers, yellow summer squash and zucchini take up extra space as they spread out. They produce a lot of food, so I don't mind how much space they want. I was very happy with my Boothbys Blonde cucumber and will be planting more of them next year. The squash, I can't say enough good things about that. I managed to can 73 quarts and it will be giving us something to eat in the winter.

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

In The Middle Of The Forest!

Not much traffic!

We have been in the process these last two years of adding some conveniences to our off-the-grid homestead. Now for any new people that have just come to my blog, off-the-grid may need a little explanation. Off-the-grid means that our home is not connected to the electrical utility grid. We have to generate our own electricity or live without it.

Road to our homestead!

Has it been hard? Not really any harder than paying the bills to the local electric company would be. Why do we do it? Most people naturally think it is just because it is cheaper. That is not really why. It is for the independence and freedom it gives us. Nobody has the right to tell us what we can do or not do with our

Our first solar panel!

We have always planned to grow the system. And we have. Starting out with one solar panel that we used mainly for lights, and at the time, our small tv that had a VHS tape player in it.We used kerosene lights for lighting and still use a couple on and off. Even though we now have some electric lights in the house, sometimes we have to limit using them due to how much power is coming in.

Directly across the road from our house!

So many people contact me saying they want to live off-the-grid and how can they do this? They seem to think they can buy a cheap solar panel and hook it up to their refrigerator or water pump. It is not that simple. There are components you need in the hook up as well as wiring and batteries.

Solar panels are on the barn roof now!

Spend some time learning about off-the-grid systems first before buying a solar panel or wind turbine. There are a lot of good sites on the internet that are full of information. Many forums have people who are more than happy to give you their opinion on what you need or what they do. Remember to do your research as there is no one way to do it. I do it differently than most people, but it may not be right for you.

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

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Win Free Dog Food For A Year!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hills Pet Nutrition for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Nikita in 1998

 Dogs are more fussy eaters nowadays than they used to be. I know my husband and I were just talking about this. When we were children, our parents just put a dish of table scraps in a dish and our dogs loved it. I don't remember ever having store bought dog or cat food in our house. My husband's grandmother even fed her barn cats what he calls "slop." Now I am not totally sure of what that was but he said the cats came running and they loved it.

Nikita will eat dog food if forced by Callie!

Our dog is the fussiest eater either of us have ever seen. She really does hate any dog food I buy for her. Only if I refuse to bend for her, will she eat it. She wants raw meat. She likes turkey cooked, but all other meat she prefers raw. I recently signed up for the  Hill's Healthy Mobility Coupon. When you enter you are automatically entered and can receive up to $30. in Hills coupons for dog and cat food. Plus, and this is the best part, 30 winners will receive FREE dog food for a year! Wow! Can't beat that. It is definitely worth signing up for the chance to win that. Maybe she needs a better quality dog food and that is why I want to win this.

 Nikita 2010

Hill's Pet Nutrition can improve mobility in just 30 days. I plan on getting more information about Hill’s Science Diet dog food. In fact, my dog, Nikita, who is thirteen years old does have trouble with mobility. So far she manages on her own. But she is overweight and hates dog food. So maybe she needs something different. I would like to give this a try.

Be sure to check out Hill's Pet Nutrition on Facebook and you may be the first to know if you win the Free dog and cat food for a year. I will be keeping my fingers crossed that I will be one of the lucky winners too!



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

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole
Artwork by Hazel Dran © 1991

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Progress Made Using Freecycle

 Tried to sell my books online!

 I am excited today! We just cleared out about 10 boxes of books out of our upstairs. I was trying to sell them online but that didn't work out so well. Takes too long and I need and want the space. So I posted them on Freecycle and have had a lot of people wanting them. A woman is coming this morning for them. I only posted one box yesterday and then asked her if she would take more than one. She said yes. Well, she might not want all of them! If not, I had other people request them. While I was writing this she came and she took them all!

 Utility Trailer

Last week I posted our little utility trailer on Freecycle too. I was swamped with emails about that! It seemed everyone wanted it. Two men came and got it and now that is out of our driveway. It had been setting out back by the woods and I wanted it gone. I hate seeing old things not being used sitting around outside. So my husband moved it to the driveway because his son wanted it. Well, it sat here all summer. So I offered it to my Freecycle group. It is gone.....

Supplies from Alice!

Now I order from Alice every month all our household supplies. It is just so much easier for me than to spend my time trying to walk through the stores. Looking for the brands or products I want. Well, Alice usually has it and I keep my products on a list and it takes me about ten minutes to place the order. The prices are comparable to Walmart and I am happy with this arrangement. If I don't place my order, I am always sorry when I run out of something. Anyway, Alice ships everything in these awesome boxes. I did not have the heart to throw them away. I offered them on Freecycle and now I have a nice man who will take them off my hands anytime they build up.

So now I am all done with selling books and used products online. I will only sell our strings, my own eBooks and photos. On Lupe Shop, I sell for a few distributors, but am working on those products. I am not happy with the products I have on there at the moment. I have made room upstairs to better organize our area for the guitar strings. I think I will work up there today.

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

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Embracing Other Cultures

 Daybreak at Peaceful Forest this morning!

Yesterday for some reason, I started reading some sites online that portray us Americans in quite a different light than I know us to be. The comments on the site were things like, "I hate Americans." "I hate them because of their attitude." "Americans are wasteful." Now I ask you, how can someone group us all together, and make a statement like that? One thing that comes to mind, is they don't know any Americans, or met the wrong ones. We are not cookie cutter Americans. Not anymore than whatever country you are from. They seem to imply that we are ALL wasteful, have a lot of money and live on fast food (due to so many being overweight). Well, international just ain't so!

Never waste garden produce!

Now are we ALL wasteful? No. I belong to a few homesteading forums, and one of the topics that generates a lot of discussion is how to recycle, frugal cooking, growing your own food, sewing, preserving your own food, raising livestock for food and dairy products............even how to build your own home and generate your own utilities. So how can you group us in a lump, and say this is what we are ALL like? The writer, like so many other people, make assumptions based on some Americans, but not ALL Americans!

Animals are expected to go after each other!

To me, this is just an example of why people of all races, nationalities, religions and economic classes cannot get along. Someone always has to be the top dog. The better one. Why does that have to be? The Bible says we are supposed to not judge each other, and love each other unconditionally. I know for me, one of the best things that has happened as a result of the internet interaction with people worldwide, is that I have come to know people in other other countries. People from different backgrounds than me. People with other points of view on many things, such as customs, lifestyle, religion and politics. I love it! And especially them! 

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

I have some friends that I have never met face to face, but consider them my closest friends. In fact, I talk to my online friends more than to my own family. From California, Hawaii, Alaska, to Texas, Virginia, all the way to the state of the world! It is endless. Such special people to get to know in a way that was never possible before. A way to make friends, beyond our governments. To know what they are really like, instead of as a tourist, throwing down some bucks for an overpriced vacation. Or reading propaganda written about them.

 My grandparents came from Poland

What about you? Do you embrace the world? Or judge them by what you were taught in school or your parents told you? I was lucky in that way. My own family came from other countries. My grandparents all spoke other languages at home. So it has been easy for me to accept everyone and not judge them. In fact, I find I want to know them more. I have been studying two countries lately due to two of my treasured friends, one from Germany, and the other from Australia. I love both of them! They inspired me to want to know more about their countries. I spent some time yesterday reading about the German people and customs. Very interesting! I am learning something new and I love it. I may not be able to travel in person anymore, but I can travel across the internet anytime.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole