Niagara River

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As you know if you follow my blog, we live on an Island surrounded by the Niagara River.  The river is fed by Lake Erie and eventually goes over Niagara Falls.

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This is an aerial view of our Island, Grand Island.  The little Island up in the left hand corner is Navy Island which is owned by Canada and is an uninhabited island.  The white spot in the left corner is Niagara Falls.

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You can see why I love where we live.

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This morning I took an early morning walk before heading into work.  I walked in the city of Tonawanda, which is across the bridges from our island.

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This is the large hotel located on Grand Island.  It’s a pretty view if you stay on the side facing the river.  The towers in the background are for a local TV station located on the island.

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At one point I came across this funny little decorated post.  It gave me a morning laugh for sure!  Whoever took the time to decorate it did a great job!

There are informative pieces of information scattered about the walkway which share a bit of the history of Grand Island and the Niagara River.

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There are little walkways built over the water where you can really appreciate the beauty of the river.

On the way back these seagulls lined the bridge as I walked over.  Only one was brave enough to stay and watch me without flying off!  Only one pole I saw marked and ironically it had one of my favorite numbers on it!  #28 is my son’s hockey number and our favorite player #Zemgus Girgensons from the Buffalo Sabres!!!

This bridge and walking trail is beautiful any season for walking!

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It was a very chilly walk along the river today.  I love being surrounded by the water and when the weather is warm this is my favorite spot to be, floating on our boat watching the sun set!

 

Avocado Chia Seed Chocolate Pudding

 

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This is a delicious healthy way to indulge a little!  The benefits from the avocado and chia seed are plentiful and good for your body!  So go ahead and enjoy!

2 ripe avocados peeled and chopped
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3 TBSP Chia Seeds
1/4 cup honey or agave (I use our homemade maple syrup too)
2/3 cup almond milk, coconut milk, or regular milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Place all in a blender and blend until somewhat smooth. (you may have to scrape the sides of the blender here and there).

**this will not be as smooth as a regular pudding with the Chia Seeds. If you want a smooth pudding omit the seeds and reduce the milk to 1/2 cup

 

 

 

 

The Book is Released!

Cynthia’s blog was one of the first ones I found a few years ago when I entered the blogging world. Her posts and pictures are always full of knowledge, inspiration and truth. Her memoir “A Good Home” was the highlight of my summer reading last year. I have ordered her new book and can hardly wait to dive into it.

I am sharing her page and her new book in the hopes you will have the time to check it out as I know you will not be disappointed in her writings! Congratulations Cynthia!!

Cynthia Reyes

An Honest House

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Dear Friends:

The long wait is finally over.

My new book, An Honest House, is on sale online today – earlier than I expected. 

An Honest House by Cynthia ReyesAn Honest House will be available in some bookstores in June and later, though any store worth its salt will bring it in for you before that.  Just ask.

Here are the Amazon links:

Amazon USA

http://www.amazon.com/Honest-House-Memoir-Continued/dp/1772360368/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1462851324&sr=8-1&keywords=cynthia+reyes+an+honest+house

Amazon Canada

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/1772360368/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_asp_kTXAL.Q9M9HBE

Amazon UK
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Honest-House-Memoir-Continued/dp/1772360368/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1462921393&sr=1-10&keywords=an+honest+house
 ~~
When you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Meantime, please help me spread the word.
Thank you for your wonderful support,
Cynthia.
Book image An Honest House 1

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A Walk in the Woods

Saturday morning was beautiful for a quick 4 mile walk through the woods on our property and some neighbors.  Below are some pictures to share….

Heading down our main dirt trail and took a trail heading to the west.  It’s a twisty turning trail that heads directly down to the creek.

Heading up the trail from the creek I see a neighbor has put up a new tree stand.  There are make shift bridges along the creek like the one above.  This bridge actually gets moved every year by the creek and they have to reset it, as you can see they have done.  Another neighbors trail that we have helped to maintain for years is in a low spot and is always full of water.  It’s a great spot for polywogs!

After the long low spot you head down to their bridge that is build out of railroad ties.  Perfect for the weight of horses and four wheelers.  Up the hill from the bridge is an old tire marking a property stake.  You can see the spring rains have kept these trails wet!  You continue on this trail and it leads you in a circle back to our property connecting to the open field.

Look closely and you can see the Man and Boy’s double tree stand for hunting.  It’s a special spot where a little boy has gone with his dad to share in a hunting trip!  Just past the stand I saw this poor broken robins egg on the ground on the trail heading back to the middle of our property and the arch where you know to turn.

The old pool deck serves as Grandpa’s tree stand as he can no longer climb into a tree.  We moved it back to an area he can drive to on the 4 wheeler and still enjoy time hunting.  Turning from there to the watery trail leading up to our bridge.  Once across the bridge turning to the east the creek overflows and when it dries up, lush grasses grow.  The bridges in the lush grass serve for 4 wheeler or walking access to the east trails.

Heading up the east trail towards the house completes the “loop” we call it.  There are many little trails that run off the main trail but if you follow the main trail you will come to the opening of our back pasture.  There is an old farm implement that was abandoned back in these woods and when we cleared for the new pasture, I insisted on leaving it where it was put to rest.  I wonder how much work it did and who left it back there in the middle of an over grown field.

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And we have come full circle to the back of our little cabin in the woods heading home.

I’ve walked these trails and woods since 1972 and I was 6 years old.  Each trip is a new adventure with downed trees, new sites, water and animals.  I will never outgrow the excitement of walking in the woods!!

Italian Sausage Pasta

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This is another easy, hearty delicious meal.

This is a dish I created a while back trying to come up with a different use for Italian Sausage instead of the usual meals.

4 Italian Sausage Links
16 oz box of pasta (I use large shells) cooked
1/2 onion
1/4 slice of pepper (2 colors or 1/2 of one color)
1 medium clove of garlic
3 TBSP butter
4 TBSP olive oil
2 cups beef bouillon with 1 heaping TBSP cornstarch stirred in until dissolved
Fresh grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Par-boil the sausage for 25 minutes and then finish cooking in micro (about 3 minutes) or pan fry until cooked through. Set aside to cool a bit to slice

Dice the onion and peppers (I like to use 2 colors to keep it colorful)

Mince the garlic clove or dice very small

Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the onions and peppers. Cook until soft (about 5 minutes).

Add the oil and garlic and stir gently heating it on medium heat for 2 minutes.

Turn the heat up and pour in the bouillon and cornstarch mixture stirring frequently until starting to thicken and turn down heat.

Add in the sliced Italian Sausage and heat it through.

Serve over pasta and sprinkle with grated cheese!

Farm Happenings

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Blue and Oreo finally enjoying a sunny day

Spring on the farm is one of the busiest seasons.  It is the time for cleaning up the winter mess, prepping the gardens for planting, fixing up all of the animal pastures/enclosures that have weathered the winter snow and ice, starting all the seedlings in the greenhouse, spring hockey, jv soccer, varsity softball, work, meals, and trying to have a bit of fun inbetween.

Here are some of the things we have managed over the last week (not including meals which will come in a later post:-) :

If you have followed along with my Facebook Page…Chasenchanceranch, Disco foundered in January and has had a rough road over the last 2 months.  With aggressive treatments he is on the mend thankfully and even had his mane trimmed as he always has for riding and showing.  Even if he never makes it on the trails again, we are beyond grateful to have him comfortable and not in pain.

The baby chickens coop has been completely netted over the fencing and roof so there is never another hawk issue and they can be free and go in and out of their coop at will.  We have owned this property in my family since 1972 and have never had an animal lost to a hawk until this year.  It was a very hard life lesson for the kids to handle, but we are doing all we can to ensure the safety of all the animals!

The bunnies have a new run attached to their house so they can get some exercise and play during the day.  Meanwhile the “Chicken Brigade” travels the yard making sure to keep the bugs to a minimum!

Pops of color from the spring perennials are starting to liven up the grounds while some plantings are thriving in the portable greenhouse.  If you do not have primrose in your garden, I suggest you invest in some.  They are a very hardy spring plant and have beautiful green leaves during the summer when not in bloom.  They bloom in early fall as well and add great color.

Spring sports are underway.  The boy (in red) at his first jv soccer practice, the Teen Queen practicing catching and throwing for Varsity softball, and the boy playing in a jv hockey game.  Our nights are busy after work for sure!

The cabin is being set up for the summer to live in, the awning is up on the house for some outdoor dinners, morning coffee when not sleeping in the cabin, and rainy days when we play board games under it.

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This robins nest is in the eave of the cabin.  We have to leave it as it contains these cute little eggs and a hopeful robin mommy!

And with the nicer weather comes our weekend bonfires to end the nights.  This was the “big one” as we burned up all the branches from around the yard and a few pallets.

And that’s part of the week in review!  Tonight is the first Varsity softball game…Go Lady Eagles!!!

 

Life Lessons on a farm…

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Living on a farm offers so many benefits. But for every benefit there is always a hardship.

Farming teaches your children responsibility with helping them learn how to plant, hunt, cook, and can their own food.  They learn many tricks of the trade for getting the right vegetables to grow along with making a little money selling those things at a roadside stand.

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The Boy and his friend after a hockey game playing with the chicks

Caring for animals is a huge responsibility.  It teaches compassion, love, nurturing, along with the commitment to the well being of the animal and loss.  There are sacrifices to be made such as leaving a birthday party early to get home to feed the animals.  Many other times you race home because the weather has changed and those animals need to be brought in.

This weekend was a very hard lesson at our farm and that was learning to understand that no matter how responsible you are, things still happen that are hard to accept.

We purchased 6 baby chickens about 7 weeks ago to compensate for 4 of our older girls who will soon stop laying eggs and live out their golden years with us.  The kids hand selected each baby.  We have had them living in a huge bin in our basement until old enough to go outside.  Over the past 7 weeks they have held them, cleaned them, taken care of them and loved them.

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Putting the babies from their travel bin into the outside house for the day

Yesterday was the day we decided they had outgrown their bin and were ready to move into the “baby” chicken coop and pasture.  This is a special area for the babies to grow into a full size chicken.  There is fencing that is 6 feet high on one side and 4 feet on the other.  There is also a baby gate before the 4 foot fencing.  Long story short, 2 of the babies are gone.  After being out there for 2 hours we went in for 20 minutes and came back out to find one of the babies outside of the fencing dead and one is missing.  The other 4 are ok.  The kids are devastated!

We have come up with 1000 theories on what happened but may never fully know.    UGH….so hard to accept!

As much as I want to grieve, I have to be strong for the kids who were still having tears slide down their cheeks getting ready for school today.  Sometimes the farm life is harder than you imagine!