Relaxing the Mind

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Yesterday was a day I needed a little “me” time and let my mind relax.  So I headed out with our dog and her BFF dog friend from next door for an early evening walk.

I love the woods.  I can walk in our woods every day and wander on to neighboring trails and always find something different or interesting.  It truly does soothe the soul.

Here are some of the interesting finds I happened upon yesterday.

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This is a make shift bridge we have at the edge of our property over the creek.  In a month this bridge will be under water and not usable until next summer as the creek will fill with rain/snow.

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Looking up in the hardwoods you see nothing but nature.  I love how the sky peeks in.

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I cut off the trail and picked through an area I don’t normally walk on a neighbors property and found this make shift hunting stand.

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Another neighbor has a picnic table set up on the brim of the creek on his property.


And after an hour workout and journey, all was right in the world again 🙂

My Home at the age of 12

This is in reply to Writing 101: Size Matters writing challenge.

The home I live in now is the same home I lived in at age 12.  We moved to this home in 1972 when I was 6.  It was a dream home for our family.  It was your typical old farmhouse with land to build your homesteading dream.  The original structure of our home was first listed in the Holland Register in New York in 1838.  This home is located on an island between Buffalo and Niagara Falls, NY.  Our island is 26 miles around.  The only way on and off are via bridges.


view of Grand Island


Original structure with back addition and front porch addition

All of my memories include this house.  Family, Holidays, traditions, gardening, farm animals, learning to ride a horse, falling off a horse, friends, first boyfriend, first love, miles of trails through the woods, open meadows filled with beautiful flowers, and a small creek running through.  It was/is our own “Little House on the Prairie”.

My parents decided to sell and move to Florida in 1992.  I sold my house to move into this house to fix up to sell.  I met someone (the man of the house now) and we decided to purchase it and raise our family here.  We have updated the house quite a bit starting with the foundation and the additions.

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The house was put on support beams and a new foundation was poured to replace the original cellar which was made of dirt.  It now holds our family room, extra bathroom and shower, and storage area.

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Gardens were added, lots were cleared for a bigger lawn, 34 acres purchased and a porch to relax all were added.

The inside has been completely updated with keeping the character and country feel of the home.




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sons ceiling


tweens room

faux painting

faux paint to cover blemishes


our house mural on kitchen wall

new windows

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kitchen into livingroom

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kitchen finished

We have added a new barn, lots of animals, a pond and camping area you can see in my post here:  Camp out

This house and land were a dream for my parents.  It was a house and we made it a home.  My father’s ashes are buried on this land.  Every day I wake up and head outside still feeling like that excited 6 year old child moving into a farm house.

My dream is to keep this little country paradise in our family for the next generation and generations to come 🙂


Sharing the tradition


These beautiful mums on our kitchen table were a thank you gift from a young friend of mine.  (Lulu’s Musings should be proud of my decorated table inspired by her posts!!)   She had asked me to teach her how to can.  She made apple butter and brought it over to can at our house.


Canning gets such a bad rap.  I hear all the time about why people don’t can because it’s so much work.  The truth is canning is not the work, it’s preparing what is going into the jars that is SO much work.

When we were finished, which took all of 25 minutes as the apple butter had been prepared ahead of time, she was pleasantly surprised how easy canning truly is.  She is going to make another batch for Christmas gifts and can them on her own.

And another canner is born 🙂

Grape Juice

This is the best grape juice you can have.  All natural, naturally sweet and full of the health benefits of purple grapes.


To make our grape juice I use 12 cups of grape juice extracted (see how to do that here.)

12 cups pure grape juice

3 cups water

1 cup sugar (adjust to your taste if your grapes are sweet or tart)  There is no exact measurement as each batch of juice is different depending on the grapes.  I don’t even use sugar half of the time as the grapes are so sweet themselves.

Bring all to a boil and place into prepared jars.  Process for 10 minutes and store in dark cool place after cooled for up to 10 months (it won’t last that long 🙂 )

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Look what we have here!!

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Meet the newest members to the ranch.  I don’t know what it is when someone says “hey Tina, we are getting a few more chickens, want any?”  Something happens before my brain even thinks and it says yes, yes, you need those chickens.  And this is what you get!!

These cuties are Pablo (the little black one), Sid (the yellow one) and Road Runner (the big one in back).  The kids named them before we even had them out of the box.

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The two little ones are bantam chickens (small chickens in size) and the larger one will be a medium sized hen.  Hopefully they are all egg layers and earn their keep!!

Either way, they are adorable and hopefully our chickens will welcome them shortly and show them the ropes around the ranch!!

Heating with Wood

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The woodpile is now stored and ready for winter.  Growing up with a wood stove, to me there is no better warmth.  I love the heat of the stove, the glow in a dim lit room of the flames dancing all around, and the smell.  I can relax just thinking about it!

Sadly, the cost of wood has now reached the point that the money spent is about the same as using gas to heat your house.  With the cost of gas prices (think chainsaws, 4 wheelers to tow the cut wood, tractors to haul down the trees and a truck to deliver) the days of saving money heating with wood are disappearing.

We live on 30 acres of land full of trees and dead wood.  Our schedules with work and life do not allow for all the homesteading dreams I have in my head and lumbering our own wood just does not fit into the schedule for a full winters heat.  We do enough for our bonfires and fires outdoors in the burn barrel at our ice skating rink and that takes a good amount of time.  So we have to purchase our wood.  I am not sure this will be an option much longer for us with the high price of split wood in our area now.

We burn 13-16 cord of wood from October through March.  Some months our gas bills are less than $50 because we do not use the furnace as much as possible.  I am hoping next year prices will remain the same but I’m not banking on it.

My kids have never known a winter without a woodburner heating the house.  They run to it in the morning and warm their clothes by it before putting them on for school.  They stack wood on the porch so we can “kick it up” when they want it warmer.  They spend the time in the house in the winter in shorts and t-shirts and God forbid they have to put on a pair of socks!!

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I am already picturing the stove all stocked up, the smell outside of the wood, and the glowing games of Yahtzee on a snowy night!

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Melville Reuben Bissell


Melville Reuben Bissell was born today, September 25, 1843.  Melville Bissell created the first carpet sweeper.

Following a financial breakdown which caused the Depression (Panic of 1873), Melville realized inventing something would offer financial security and set to work on creating the carpet sweeper.  He patented his product in 1876.

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In 1884, a fire destroyed his plant.  But he rebuilt and actually expanded his business.  Sadly in 1889 Melville died from pneumonia.

The Bissell name and business was carried on by his wife Anna.  Anna Bissell became the first woman to hold the position of Chief Executive Officer in America.

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