Saturday, December 28, 2013

Bees were out today!!!

The bees were outside enjoying the 50 degree weather. It looked like they were cleaning out the dead bees and basically cleaning out the hive.




Can you see them??? They were busy little bees buzzing around stretching their wings! 

They will have to batten down the hatch - Winter is not over yet. Another snowy day is predicted for tomorrow. But it was nice to see them surviving the cold Winter. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Homemade Barn Door and Metal Hardware

 
Below is the new barn door that my husband and Uncle built and installed.  I ABSOLUTELY love it!  Behind the barn door is the bathroom. 
 


Monday, October 14, 2013

ONE STEP CLOSER....

Once again - sorry for my absence.  LOL

We have been SO busy it's unbelievable!  I am happy to report that we are one step closer to moving to the country.  Our master suite addition is being built as I type - and I think we are within 2 weeks of a finish date.  We have also begun the process of preparing for our house sale out of the city.  (Fingers crossed that we can sell our house!) :-)

Below will sum it up and I will have to give more details later.

 
 

Here's a couple of sneak peeks on the inside:




Oh phooey - sorry so few photos - I'm having a problem with uploading photos.

Have a great day - I'll figure this out!  I'll be back...

Friday, August 2, 2013

Garden Issues



Well since my garden has been somewhat of a disappointment this year, I have been focusing in other areas. This crazy weather this summer has wrecked havoc on just about everything in the garden. One week extreme hot, one week too much rain, three weeks cold, one or two weeks of lack of rain etc. etc.

However, there are a few notable mentions. Asparagus, rhubarb and a plethora of strawberries...and wait for it...blackberries galore!!! We are just beginning to pick LOADS of blackberries!  I think it's considered a bumper crop! I'm planning on making some blackberry jam, blackberry pies, and freeze some berries for or wine production.  Did I tell you guys about the wine making station my husband built?  I don't think I did - I will have to share that in a future post.  It's awesome!

Also on our 3 year old fruit trees we have about a dozen apples or so (Gala and Macintosh)!!! Our blueberries started producing this year too - they are about 2 year old plants now. I also saw about 6-8 big bunches or grapes.  So I truly cannot complain...just one of those years.

So take that squash bugs that destroyed my zucchini...and blight...and Mother Nature - LOL - perhaps my Fall gardens will do better.

Here's a couple of other photos of things going on at the farm:
 

Honeybees are buzzing around and busy making honey!

 

My husband made the front of his barn beautiful!  Added some cosmos, shasta daisies, cone flowers, black eyed susans, and he has been diligently transferring flowers from the city to the country.  On the right of the window we have our gigantic sunflowers.  To the extreme right is a butterfly bush in memory of my belated mother-in-law.  In the middle we plan on adding some cold frames to help beat some of the weather issues.

Our new chickens are doing well too...see how much they've grown below.  Pretty soon we will mix the girls in with the older ladies and hopefully if all goes well, they should start producing some eggs.

 
Hope everyone has a nice weekend.  We are heading to the farm to check out our new bedroom suite addition to the farmhouse!  It is in the early stage but still very exciting!
 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Old Dresser Converted to a Bathroom Vanity

Well - I'm sorry I have been away for so long.  No excuses...I did get bombarded with anonymous posts and some of them got very vicious!  I changed my settings and I think we are back in business.

So anyway - we are progressing along and getting closer and closer to moving to the country.  In fact, we are just about ready to start our bedroom addition to the farmhouse.  Construction is supposed to start this week!

So that being said - below is a project we did this past weekend.  We converted an old dresser into a bathroom vanity.  We are so excited and thrilled with the results.  Check it out. 

 
DRESSER BEFORE (ABOVE) (sorry a little blurry)


VANITY AFTER SINK INSTALLATION.
 
VANITY CLOSE-UP
 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pallet Art

Check out what my husband and Uncle made this past weekend. I absolutely LOVE it!! 

Its a Pallet wine rack with a shelf on top. They did such a great job. Inside are two homemade bottles of apple and blackberry wine...and a few wine glasses. 

I didn't have time to embellish it yet but I will get there!


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Beautiful Window Box


Photo courtesy of Dean Fosdick.

I saw this photo this morning and thought it was absolutely BEAUTIFUL.  The window box includes primroses and daffodils and I think african violet - perfect addition to an old shed or barn. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Down On The Farm - Current Happenings

There is SO much happening on our quest to move to the country - I'm not even sure where to begin.  If everything goes as planned, tentatively, we are about one year away from making this big change.  We are trying to get all of our ducks in a row...and it hasn't all been easy - trying to prep the farmhouse for our arrival and still maintain and repair our city place.

So where do I begin in my updates on things happening around the farm.  Well to start, we were FINALLY able to start tilling up the ground in preparation for the gardens.  Spring has sprung!  Me and my Uncle Tom tilled, disced up and raked out the East side this past weekend.  We were able to plant two 60 foot rows of seed potatoes and one row of onion sets (purple, white and yellow).  Now I just heard that one of my other cousins dropped off another bushel load of seed potatoes to be planted - wowee - we are going to get a lot of potatoes! 

We (my hubby) cleaned out and prepared our beehive for our "delayed" arrival of our new bees.  The weather has not cooperated at all so everyone in our area has been waiting patiently for the bees.  Hopefully we will get a call this week!

The 10 new Buff Orpington chicks are getting big.  One did not make it - but the remaining 9 are holding their own...getting pin feathers already.




Rock was delivered and is waiting for us to move it around to help with leveling out the interior of the new pole barn.  Once this is done we should be able to rearrange our barn configurations and really get ourselves organized.



Let's see - horseradish plants are doing awesome!  I have three separate plants they are growing like crazy!  Rhubarb is doing fantastic as well...almost ready to harvest a little! 





In the West garden we started to see our sugar snaps poking up out of the ground.  We also have a few radishes too.

My elephant garlic is doing fantastic in my herb garden area.  I relocated my garlic last Fall to section it away from some of my other garden plants so that we could monitor the water a little better.  Garlic does not like a lot of water - they like it drier.

Have not seen the asparagus poking up out of the ground yet.  We are expecting a pretty good week of weather this week - and hopefully - they will burst and start producing!

I did so much this weekend - and I am looking forward to doing more soon!  Have a great day/week!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

CHICKS!! CHICKS!!! CHICKS!!!

The new chicks are here! The new chicks are here!  It is SO EGGCITING...LOL -




The new chickens are Buff Orpington's and they are supposed to be a very friendly variety. After being attacked by the rooster a couple of times last year - I am all about FRIENDLY!  This variety is also an excellent egg layer with good quality meat. Since we have lost a few of our hens and our rooster it was time to start incorporating new hens.  We will be using these birds as egg layers exclusively.

Buff Orpington's are supposed to make very good backyard birds. They go broody frequently and make great mothers. Due to their build they do very good in colder climates - which is good where we live since Spring will never get here! LOL :-)

Last weekend a new chicken coop was built separate from the older birds (KUDOS to my husband and Uncle).  Below are the older hens (look how chubby they are) in their chicken coop - happy campers in the freshly cleaned coop.



And below is the newly constructed coop for our new chickens.  Eventually they will be big enough to go in there and down the road we will use this area as our meat chicken pen.



Sunday, March 31, 2013

NEW BEEHIVE FOR LEASE

Got the new beehive set up this weekend. Its an 8 frame Langstroth garden hive.  My husband put it all together and stained it. He did a really nice job!


New Italian carnolian bees will arrive in 2-3 weeks! Successfully harvested 12 pints of honey and it is delicious! We used the crush and strain method. Hopefully in 2013 I will be able to start selling honey! Wish me luck!





Wednesday, March 27, 2013

1st Honey Harvest

Here is a photo of my first honey harvest. Unfortunately my bees did not survive the winter but the new bees are ordered!

I've learned a ton of stuff on beekeeping and I am looking forward to learning much much more this year!



Sunday, March 17, 2013

Growing Celery and Romaine Lettuce in Windowsill

Yes, it CAN be done!

Just take your celery stalk base and/or your romaine lettuce stalk and place them in a pan of warm water. I change the water daily. I have this in my window sill. Within a few days you will see new celery and/or lettuce growing!

After you get good growth from the celery you can then plant the entire base in a planter!

Enjoy!





Sunday, March 10, 2013

Progress on Vegetable Starts

Yes! Pepper plants are doing fabulous! Cayenne, sweet reds, sweet orange, sweet yellow, bananas and California Wonders. Today I started my second batch - sweethearts, jalapeƱos, and heirloom hot peppers. Started double sweethearts!!

Hopefully spacing out my plants will help spread out my yield. For some reason I always expect a lot of plant failure and I over plant but - knock on wood - everything is thriving.

I also started my tomatoes today:  Black Krim, romas, black cherry, beefsteak (all heirloom).

I've got my early spring cabbage, broccoli, and some herbs going crazy too.

Can't wait for all this snow to melt so we can start doing some outdoor prep work.





Sunday, February 17, 2013

Garden 2013

Very exciting to see your Seed starts doing well. Started peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, herbs and indoor lettuce bowls! Yum.

Second greenhouse will be started in a week or so with tomatoes and more peppers.



Wednesday, January 30, 2013

BLOG HOP

JOIN THE BLOG HOP -   Click Here to see Tilly's Nest Blog.  This Blog is one of my favorites!

Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

INTERACTIVE GROWING CALENDAR

Here is a SUPER handy tool for all you gardeners out there (newbies and seasoned) - it's a Growing Calendar based on your location and growing zone.  It shows you when to sow your seeds, when to transplant and/or when to direct sow.  Check it out - all you have to do is click the link below and enter your zip code...

CLICK TO SEE BURPEE GROWING CALENDAR

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Friday, January 25, 2013

UPCYCLE IDEA

I thought this was such a great idea that I had to share it (see below).  Great idea for
organizing all that left-over holiday wrapping paper until next year! 
 
Oh vey - why didn't I think of that??? 


Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Moving On Over is Getting CLOSER...

Well, realization of the dream has kicked in.  I was discussing something with my husband recently when I said "when we move to the farm next year"....wa wa wa wait WHAT did I just say???  We both just looked at each other.  NEXT YEAR - holy mackeral!?!  It can't be so - why YES  - we will be relocating to the old farm next summer!  I cannot believe how fast time is approaching.  This is a very exciting time for our family...and instead of getting stressed out about how we are going to make this happen - I am going to try and relax and let it all fall into place....bit by bit.

 


As you can imagine though, we are trying to get all of our ducks in a row.  We have a lot of prep work to do in the city to make this thing happen.  Ready or not - it's REALLY going to happen.

I haven't mentioned to very many "city" people (besides family and close friends) that we are planning to move to the country.  But strangely enough when I have mentioned it to some people I am met with a steely gaze and a question such as "why would you want to move to the country?" or "won't you get bored out there, there is so much more to do in the city?"

I guess it is understandable that people may think that country life is "boring," after all most city people have grown up with traffic, noise, rushing and long days in the office.  -- I'm definitely one of them --

In reality though, life does not have to be like that at all. I'm determined that there is so much more to life than working/commuting 12 hours a day then coming home to eat dinner, talk to family, and sit in front of the TV all night.

As I'm discovering almost every time I go out to the farm, country living brings benefits such as better health, beautiful scenery, a better lifestyle, lovely environments to bring up your children in and of course a drastic slow down of your life in general.  A place where you can set your own pace on a daily basis.

I do not plan on living without electricity, toilets or hot water but I do plan to be more self-sufficient by growing and preserving my own food (vegetables and fruits), raising chickens and other livestock, and beekeeping. I have many of these self-sufficient ideas in place and will continue to grow and expand these ideas.  I also would like to add fishing and hunting to my list of self-sufficiency ideas and know of a lot of people in my family that will guide me in this process.

Stay tuned - lots more to come.  Have a great day!






Monday, January 21, 2013

Jump Start on my Seeds and Creating your Own TP Seed Starter Pots

I started my first batch of seeds today.  Is that exciting or what?  Where I live pepper and herb plants seem to take FOREVER to grow and need that extra time! 

I used my peat pots that I had leftover from last year and arranged them on a tray (shown below on the left).  Added some warm water to expand the peat pots.  The peat pots get about 1 1/2 - 2 inches high and then I planted one or two seeds in each pot (shown below on right).  Last year I planted too many seeds in each peat pot and had a LOT of thinning to do - so this year I carefully put 1 or 2 seeds in each peat pot.


To start, I planted 4 California wonder green peppers; 12 cayenne peppers; 4 plants of sweet banana peppers; 2 red sweet peppers; 3 orange sweet peppers; and 3 yellow sweet peppers. 

I was able to save some cayenne and sweet pepper seeds from last year - so I hope they will germinate ok.  The rest are heirloom seeds leftover from last year.

I also started some herbs - cilantro, sage, basil and parsley and fennel.

For the time being, I have a grow light on them just to heat up the greenhouse a little bit.  I will shut the lights off and let the magic happen.  Once they germinate I will put the lights back on.  Keep your fingers crossed that this works!




Is this considered upcycling or recycling - I say both.  See below.  Upcycling for seed starter pots and then recycling once planted in the ground.  :-)  Below is the start of my homemade empty toilet paper roll seed starter pots.  That was a mouthful!  I just cut the rolls in half and then made four 1/2 inch equally spaced slits on the bottom, overlapped the folds and folded them like a box to close the ends off.  I still need to purchase the dirt but I think these will work perfect for my tomatoes.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

NEW Open Shelves in Farmhouse Kitchen

We tackled a couple of small projects at the farm today.

We added a couple of open display shelves over the refrigerator for our nesting bowls and our bee teapot and honey pot. I just love that teapot!

We also added some additional lighting in our open shelf pantry and boy is it ever bright! In the future I might be able to grow some herbs.

Last little addition was my antique/vintage kerosene stove that I found - it's authentic but of course we can't use it indoors. We could use it out in one of the barns in the winter.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.













Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Decorative Garden Ladder Planter Experiment

Look at this great upcycling idea made from pallets.  I think it would be a beautiful addition to my garden. 

Last year I tried growing luffas for the first time in the hopes of making my own luffa sponges.  The plants were planted along a trellis, facing two different directions along the corner of our chicken coop barn - one on the South side and one on the East side. 

They did grow quite well and were approximately 6 feet high or so.  They also flowered but unfortunately, they never produced any fruit.  I think the reason might be because of the fact that they did not get sunlight all day long. 

So my experimental plan this year is to plant the luffas out in the open where they will get sunlight 100% of the day in all directions.  I can do this by building a ladder from pallets about 5-6 feet to resemble the planter shown below.  The boots are an addorable addition to be more decorative until the luffas grow to the height of the ladder.  I think it just might work.  I also plan on upcycling some of my grapevine cuttings too for some grapevine wreaths.  Fun, fun, fun!

Who do you think? 





Monday, January 14, 2013

Seeds, Seeds, and SEEDS for Garden 2013



So far I have received six seed catalogs.  I get REALLY excited when the seed catalogs come in the door.  Of course, I have been checking each and every one out as they get in the door.  Trying to develop the garden plan this year...  :-)

I think I have noticed something alarming though - the amount of hybrid seeds have increased tremendously this year.  Or perhaps I am noticing it more because I am focused more on heirloom seeds.  But it seems a real shame that there is so much emphasis on hybrids.  Have you guys noticed the same thing? 

The only catalog I did not receive this year was the one from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds that I am so interested in.  So I sent them a request this morning for their catalog - just in case you would like a free catalog too - here's the link HERE.  Their seeds are comparable to Burpee and Gurneys and various others.

Last year was my first attempt at saving seeds.  I hope that the process I went through to save heirloom tomato seeds works!  I soaked them in a glass jar (covered) for 3-4 days until the white film covered the top.  Then rinsed them off and dried them for saving.  Just in case it did not work I thought I better have a back-up plan!  haha

Blogger seems to be having issues this morning with uploading photos so this is sort of a boring blog with photos!  Sorry about that!  Have a great day!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chalkboard Canisters

These are my new find - chalkboard canisters by Martha Stewart. They are available at Target.

It's nice that they have the chalkboard labels recessed on the fronts. They are also air tight so you can use them with a variety of products.

Right now I am using them for tea. They will be a nice addition to the farm eventually - for right now they are in the city :-( LOL

Hope you all had a great weekend - it's snowing here!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Garden PREP 2013!!!!!

And the fun begins!!! Seed catalogs galore have arrived and I'm getting antsy!!!

I know it's Winter but I had to do something garden related - otherwise - I might burst!!

So set up the greenhouse, and I'm checking my grow lights! Unfortunately my seeds that I saved are out at the farm. Oh well I've got lots of time!!

Don't mind my son working out on the Wii in the background!  (oops)...LOL


Kitchen Update

Here are a couple of photos after we installed our new floor out at the farm. It's exciting to see things coming together nicely.

We have to stain the cabinets yet but that will wait until we can open up the house for ventilation.

So for right now...kitchen DONE! :-)