Monday, April 29, 2013

Through The Woods We Go

Saturday was a beautiful day here in upstate New York. So my husband and I went out for breakfast. Then took a ride to check out a property that was for sale. It sounded promising, as our future homestead home. Thirty acres of land with a beautiful home. The directions from Google Maps turned out to be the long way to this property. It took us through thick forest land.

We didn't really care about that so much, since we have always driven through forest land. But that was not the easiest way to find a piece of property. Turned out the house was on the other side of this seasonal road. It was a pretty drive, but I kept worrying about the truck getting stuck or puncturing a new tire. We made it though.

There was a big pond in the  middle of this forest. It was just beautiful. It'd be nice in the summer when everything is green. All those woods and we didn't see one wild animal other than deer. I always wish to see a bear in this type of setting, but never have.

We found the property that wasn't even a mile off the main road. If we did not have horses, it'd have been perfect for us. Low price too! We are trying to make our life easier, and that means not buying a property that my husband would have to clear again. Which he would have. It was a fun trip, but is crossed off our list now. 

Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013  Kathleen G. Lupole

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Wind Farm In Madison County

Wind Farm In Madison County, NY

Today my husband and I went on a road trip. Drove up through Hamilton, NY, after we had breakfast in Norwich. I have always wanted to find the famous wind farm out past Sherburne, NY, but wasn't sure exactly how to find it. Then all of a sudden, we saw them! Or at least we saw one of the turbines. As we got closer, we saw more than one. Then we saw even more! As you looked at these, way out across the area on the other side was two or three more wind farms. They dotted the whole area! Beautiful!

They are BIG!

We stopped along the side of the road so I could take some pictures. Since we are in the process of installing our own wind turbine, which is no where near this size, my husband was getting excited about seeing these babies up close. So on we drove, hoping to get a closer view. We got up as close as we could and I took pictures like crazy. They are silent and move slow. Today these turbines were not moving. The other ones on the other wind farms were moving. Slowly, silently.

Wind turbines all in a row!

We located the farm where they now reside. And this was as close as we could get. What is pretty awesome, is that the wind turbines are beautiful to look at, as well as provide power to a lot of homes and businesses. And maybe even the nearby Colgate University in Hamilton, NY. I'd be proud to have this farm in my backyard! I loved it that my husband and I shared the excitement of this adventure, finding this wind farm in the middle of a farm area, among tractors, barns and hay wagons.

Generating power slowly!

Now before anyone makes a comment about the wind turbines killing all those birds.........first and foremost, I AM a bird lover myself, some reading on the subject yourself BEFORE you make a judgement. Read; Common Eco-Myth: Wind Turbines Kill Birds or Do Wind Turbines Kill Birds? What I have learned is that my own 3 cats are more a hazard to the birds than the wind turbine will ever be. I can't tell you how many birds have flown right into my glass sliding doors and one bird death we had here was when a dove slammed into the side of our house. Not just cats, but cars, as well as airplanes and pesticides kill more of them than a turbine. So don't go blaming the wind turbines for killing the wild birds unless you are willing to give up cats as pets (the biggest killer of birds), motor vehicles or airline trips. They are much worse by major statistics.

Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013  Kathleen G. Lupole

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Planted My First Garden Crop This Year

First Crop In!

In my favorite book, The Encyclopedia of Country Living, written by homesteader, Carla Emery, she tells of planting the first seeds in the early spring, which were peas. Since she was in Idaho, her spring was probably much colder than mine here in upstate New York. I always read that part when spring is here and I can't start planting yet. Peas are a cold weather crop. She said you could plant them in the fall and they will come up in the spring on their own. Just remember they are there, and don't plow them up in the spring.

First Bed Is In!

My husband had plowed up a couple of my raised beds already on one of our nicer days. So I planted a whole raised bed of peas. Just had to poke the seed down an inch and cover it back up. Took me all of 20 minutes. We are still having cold nights, but cold weather crops should survive those nights.

More beds to do!

As you can see, the beds that haven't been worked on yet, look terrible. I am embarrassed to admit, I did not put them to bed for the winter properly last year. My father's death, and working on putting his house in order to sell, left us totally exhausted. We lost all our harvest and wore ourselves out. We aren't twenty anymore! We will make up for that this year!

Another bed ready to plant!

Our spring has been very cold, the temperature is in the twenties in the morning. Yesterday morning, we had frost. I hear our weather is supposed to be nice for the next five days. If that turns out to be right, I hope to get more beds in shape and ready to plant. Memorial Day is the day in our area, when most people get their gardens in. I try to beat that, but many times end up starting my plants in containers and transplanting them. I will keep some in containers though,  in case I need to take them with me when we move from here. Happy planting!

Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013  Kathleen G. Lupole

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Heat And Eat Meals For The Home Canner

I have been canning my garden produce for many years now. But I don't stop there. Canning meat or produce that I didn't grow myself is something I do often too. Canning for me is essential to the life of being a "modern homesteader." Do not limit it to only the food you produce on your homestead. Canning opens up a whole new world of food to a homesteader or anyone else. Even if you are not interested in being a homesteader, canning is a frugal activity.

Now when I plan my garden I make a list of what I need to replace in my pantry of canned foods. Grow what you can and then shop at local farms and farmers' markets to increase your food supplies. If you have a good source of farm raised meats, by all means can it. Canning it will be the best way to store it for longer periods. Freezers do not store the food for as long of a period as canning does. Not only that, but you will be able to store what we refer to around here as, "fast food." Heat and eat meals are great when they come from your garden and local food sources. 

Here are some ideas for you based on our heat and eat meals:

1. Chili - I like to can about 3 different varieties, no beans, with beans and one with sausage.

2. Stew - Try making beef, venison and turkey stews. 

3. Broth - I always keep a variety of broths canned so I have them handy for whatever I am making.

4. Soups - Canned soup is awesome for a quick lunch in the cold winter! Can a variety of it too.

5. Sauces - Any kind of sauce you use, can a good supply for future meals.

6.Meat & Poultry - Canned meat can be turned into a million different meals. I can cubes and ground, of a variety of meats and poultry. 

7. Desserts - Canned fruits is an easy dessert to have on hand. But don't forget to can some "pie fillings" that can be used for pies, cobblers, crisps, etc. 

8. Side Dishes - Canning vegetables, including dried beans, makes it easy to make a side dish to go with your meals. Try combining a few to make mixed vegetable dishes. I don't usually can them that way, but mix them when I am preparing them for the meal.

9. Fish - Now this is something I have not done yet. I hope to get to canning seafood in the future. Here is an idea of Canning Salmon and how easy it can be. 

10. Dairy Products - Milk can be canned quite easily. So if you have a milk supply, can it up for the times when your dairy animals are dry. I have, and still do, can butter and cheese, as well. That is a fairly new thing to can so make sure you research it online and find a reputable instructor for your recipe. I use Jackie Clay's information on it.

Canned meat, poultry and broths!

What are some of your favorite quick and eat meals? What would you like to learn to can that you have never canned before? 

For anyone that has never canned meats before, here is a book that I have used myself. There are many others available too, including the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving (this is a link to the 2013 book. It is good to have the newest version when canning.). The book below is the current one on Amazon.

Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated July 2016

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tom Cats Are Hard To Control!

Nose is all scratched up!

Spots came here at the end of August last year. He is a tomcat and I had every intention of having him neutered. The biggest problem was that he is not the kind of cat to be in a house or contained in any way. I had won his trust and he was seeding into our family. But as an outside cat. Around the end of December, he just was gone. We looked and looked for him but he never came back.

He is different than when he was here before.

About two weeks ago, I got up early to turn the coffee on and who do you think was sitting on the raised bed out back? Yes! It was Spots! I was so excited to see him that I ran outside and never thought he'd be scared of me. He ran into the woods and was gone. I was bummed out to say the least. So was my son, Jeff. He had really gotten attached to Spots when he was here before. As you can see in their photo on my blog post here.

I won him over with food!

A day or so later, he showed up again. But he acted like he didn't know us. He was very timid around us and I had to win him over again. Now he goes away, and when he comes back he is battled scarred. As soon as I can, I will get him to a vet to get him neutered, and hope he will stay around here after that. But I am not sure. He might not trust me after that!

He doesn't look too timid here, now does he?

Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013  Kathleen G. Lupole

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Cool Spring In New York

Patches checking out the lilies!

I finally did get my seeds started. I only started about half of them. Without a greenhouse or proper place to put them, it makes our already crowded house, hard to get around in. Now I have to worry about them not making it, as our house gets pretty cold during the night. We bank our wood stove back for the night just before we go to bed, and about four or five in the morning, it is really cold. Where is our spring?

Day lilies are a sign that spring is really here!

The grass is turning green and the lilies along the road are popping out. But it is COLD! Not fair! The robins and other birds have been back for a month at least, and looking for some warm weather to build their nests in. Yesterday it seemed to warm up a bit, but today I am freezing. I think we may have to start our big wood stove. We still have wood stacked and ready to burn. Not that warm yet that we'd not be ready. This morning though, we even had a little bit of thunder.

Enjoying the sun!

Our horses though, seen to love spring the best. It is cool enough that the bugs have not arrived yet. They can be outside all day with no pests. As soon as it warms up and the bugs are back, they will hole up in the barn all day, and only come out to grab a bite of hay. At night  is when they spend their time outside. They really are house horses!

Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013  Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, April 01, 2013

Facebook Issues

Hobo keeping a look-out!

Do you ever just get tired of people on Facebook who are always judging you? Always making comments on your posts because they don't agree with it, but have to put their two cents on your page? Why don't they just mind their own business or post their view on their own page and leave mine alone?

Facebook is a huge network of people from all over the whole world. I am friends with more people there than I have ever met in person. For the most part, I enjoy my friends there. Especially my homesteading friends from Homesteading Today! And of course, my special blogging friends (and they know who they are!).

Seeing as we are all different, having been raised in different areas and have our own views on various subjects, that means we are not going to all agree on everything, all the time. So what is the sense of being friends with people who are not like yourself? Maybe it is to learn about others? Learn about their views and why they feel that way about an issue. That is what makes traveling to other countries interesting. To see what others do and how they live and maybe even what they think. It doesn't mean you have to change your views.

Or do you have a closed mind? One that sees only your way and no other? Or maybe you are a follower and just get in line to whatever is the supposedly "right" side of an issue? I'd say there are many oppressed people on Facebook. They get the wrong idea if someone makes a comment they don't understand. Many just want a chance to start an argument. Many people talk about issues that they support, and may not be doing.

I have to laugh at a Facebook friend who deleted me last night. All because my husband used the term "puff" in his comment, about a photo and statement about Monsanto on my timeline. She declared us drug users on my timeline! Big time slander on my reputation! I did not appreciate that at all! Especially since I do NOT smoke anything (or drink either for that matter) and probably take less drugs than she does. The reason it made me laugh, is that he said it in jest. He is not a drug user and does not even use aspirin! But maybe if pot becomes legal in my state, then she would all of a sudden say, "Oh, its not a drug after all." Or will she stick to her guns as she guzzles her beer and smokes her cigarettes? Which I feel is a much worse "DRUG." My husband doesn't do either!

Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013  Kathleen G. Lupole