A week in review

Last weekend we finally had a one day break in the frigid temperatures to get outdoors and enjoy the winter.  The boy and his friend begged me to get the snowman kit together so they could build and decorate a really cool snowman.  This is what happened:

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The excitement to “make” the snowman faded as the snow paint was more fun to spray all over and make designs with.

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The tween queen and the man of the house had the opportunity to take a ride around our Island.  The trails were perfect and they had a great time on the 26 mile trek.

A few things happening on the homestead were:

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Kitchen Tip:  Always using scissors to cut scallions and other vegetables.  Scissors are a kitchen must in my world! I use them to cut scallions right onto the plates, make diced onions from sliced onions, cutting lettuce and kale for salads, etc.

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Homemade pudding was made for a lunch treat at the request (or possibly nagging) of the kids.  You see it’s been about two weeks since I have made it and you know…they are deprived in their eyes!  Here is the recipe:  Chocolate Pudding

And tonight I am making a “magic” cake for a bake sale tomorrow at school.  If all turns out well, I will share that recipe tomorrow.  Hope the magic happens!

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Oh yeah…I hate to admit this but I got the 4 wheeler stuck again!  Thank God for good neighbors who came and dug me out so I didn’t have to tell the man of the house 🙂

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We took a rare family trip to Cleveland this weekend for 4 hockey games for the boy.  I say “rare” because it’s not very often we take these trips as a family as one of us will stay home to care for the animals especially in the winter when everything is more work because of the cold and snow.  We were only gone for 1 night.

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I took these pictures of the things I had packed for an overnight stay and the “baggage” the tween queen packed.  She had more packed for one night then the rest of the family combined.  This picture does not include her purse, blanket, pillow and 2 favorite stuffed animals.

I remember those days being a teen and into my 20’s and early 30’s thinking I needed all of my “stuff”, yearning for more stuff that others had, and always thinking this stuff is good, but I need a few more things for my “stuff” collection to be complete.

Funny how as you get older the needs and desires for more stuff starts to fade away.  The stuff I need now does not store in bags or drawers.  My stuff consists of my family, clothing, and a good book.

I no longer yearn for better stuff.  I am content with the stuff I have.  I think I am growing up 🙂

Mom and Tween Queen Afternoon

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Today was an awesome day to spend with just mommy and daughter.

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We headed to downtown Buffalo Canalside and ate lunch in the First Niagara Center Lexus Club before the Buffalo Sabres game.  We had a Buffalo Chicken Flatbread Pizza.  Of course she had to have Dippin Dots ice cream during the game.

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We did a little shopping, watched the Sabres warm up, and enjoyed the game. Love being able to have a little one on one time!

Car Wash Terror

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Winter in Buffalo means buying car wash books to keep the salt off your cars. After a morning car wash today, by nightfall it’s all back.

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I remember when my daughter was old enough to realize she was terrified of the car wash. We pulled in and she was excited waiting to go through the “Octopus” wash.

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And then the “Octopus” hit the car and she let out a whimper and asked to hold my hand.

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And then came the red spinner.  The whimper grew a bit louder and she let go to plug her ears.

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I told her to look at the pretty lights outside the soap suds but soon the window was covered and she said “hurry mommy turn on the car lights so it’s not dark in here”.

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A quick rinse and hot dryers and she could see the day light in her near future and she very sternly stated “I never wanna go in there again”.

I think at the age of 12 she is finally getting over her traumatic car wash fear 🙂

It’s a family affair

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Loading wood before the storm

Recently I read a fellow bloggers post explaining how to balance working full time and homesteading.  This is a question I hear often also.  How do you do it with work, school, sports, animals, gardening, property to upkeep, etc.?

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Teamwork stacking

Homesteading is a choice in this day and age and the definition has changed over the years.  It used to be referred to as Pioneering (finding land, building your home, hunting, gardening, sewing, total self sufficiency).  Unless you live in the remotest areas of the world, that is no longer possible.  Even the remote areas are starting to lose their ability to stay “remote” and you are not able to hunt the food you need to survive because of laws.

So what does it mean today to be pioneering or homesteading?  Basically it’s a lifestyle choice trying to be as self sufficient as is allowed in this world, living simply, passing on the traditions of our ancestors to try and keep the history of our world relevant in today’s world.  This is where I created my tag line “Pioneer Living the New World Way”.

Pioneer living the new world way is actually a time balancing act.  It also includes sacrifice.  Sacrifice in the way of missing out on a friend gathering as the gardens need to be planted, weeded, land worked up, watered, trees moved off trails, fruit plants pruned and so on.  When you work full time these chores may take you into the late hours during the week but you do it because it’s the choice you made when you decided to homestead.  But the rewards of growing your own vegetables to carry you well into the winter months, canning your goods to provide your family food that is clean and simple with no chemicals, making food from scratch because it’s healthier and fresh, make every sacrifice worth it.

Because it’s no longer a necessity to live this way, you have to include the new world into your life.  Our ancestors did not have this fine line to walk to live their life.  Every homesteading family does this in their own way.  There are no books in history to help you figure out an equation of old world versus new world.  So each day you try to factor in what you can accomplish on your own contributing to your self sufficiency while enjoying all the conveniences available today.

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Skies before the storm

Another huge factor in homesteading is if you have a spouse, they have to want to live that life also.  When I met the man of the house he was a hard working professional living in the city, driving a state of the art car, traveling, and enjoying the finer things in life.  I also was/am a hard working professional living in a 100+ year old farmhouse.  Together we made the choice to homestead, keeping my childhood house I was fixing up to sell for my parents, and building barns, gardens, trails, and fruit orchards.

Living the homesteading life in the new world way allows us to enjoy boating, traveling, sporting events, County Fairs, fabulous restaurants and many other luxuries while keeping up with farm work using modern machines (tractors, chain saws).

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Storm rolling in and dad moving truck to shovel driveway

Today, watching my family work together load wood before a storm hit, I was smiling at them thinking how blessed and thankful I am to be living the life we are living and hoping they will choose this lifestyle when they have families.

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All cozy in the house after chores when the storm rolled in

Reflections and Beginnings

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This was the sky this morning reflecting on the ice pond on a day that many use to reflect. We have had a pretty great year in our home with many many things to reflect upon and be thankful for.

I don’t make resolutions on this night.  There are basically two things I try to remember and work towards with the beginning of a fresh new year.  The first is to keep negativity out of my life be it with people, situations, and mindsets.  I don’t like to let negativity in.  The second is to be content.  Being content with what you have, who you are, who your children are and where you are going in life leads to a certain calmness and peacefulness in your days.

So with the beginning of this New Year, I would like to say thank you to all my followers for being a part of our journey in life and wish you all much happiness, peace, and a content mind in 2015!!!!!

Happy New Year

The Special Room

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Since 1972 I have celebrated Christmas with a tree in this room.  The room has changed slightly over the years with a hardwood floor we put in, a bay window, new ceiling, and narrowing of the entrance, but the structure is the same.  I could not imagine a Christmas without this room.

This was in the early 1980’s with my siblings.  My dad always handed out the gifts while my mother directed him who it belonged to.

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Our trees have always been decorated with many handmade ornaments.  As kids we painted wooden ornaments or made pasta ornaments in school to hang on our trees.  My children have carried on that tradition and most of the decorations on our tree are made by them and some from our friends and family.

This picture was from 1990 after my sister married and I had moved out.  That is my niece enjoying the tradition of my dad playing guitar with my mom singing Christmas carols in front of the tree.  This is how we celebrated Christmas every year until adulthood.

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This room has a special place in my memory and I love that my children will have the memory of their childhood in this room with their special trees.

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And the aftermath of opening their gifts just as I did

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And at night when all is calm and everyone is asleep, I get to enjoy our beautiful tree with the simple ornaments in the special room filled with memories.

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Little Red Farmhouse

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This is our home. I took this picture last evening.  I love our house in the snow!!

Some people long for the big, modern, majestic homes, but I am not one of them.  I can drive through a modern neighborhood and not notice a single thing about a house.  I feel nothing.  Put me on a country road with 100+ year old homes and I can tell you the character I feel from each house.  These houses have a history, they are a part of a different time; a time I wish to have known.

We have kept the cedar shake shingles on our home as true to the country red it was when it was first painted.  I could never picture any other color on this house.  The red is a statement to me boasting of the farming homestead it was created for so long ago. (You can see pictures of updates to our home here:  Little Red House)

We planted a burm of blue spruce trees in front of our property.  When they are snow covered they make the house even more beautiful!  It’s like a Christmas card scene to me.

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Here are some of the other pictures I took Thursday before the snow came and again last night while we were getting a nice dusting of snow.

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We place 6 fake Christmas trees throughout the property and enjoy looking out at night at the sparkling lights in the open.  Thursday was the day to set them up as the ground was not frozen and the temperatures were moderate.  The night picture is 4 of the trees in the back.

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And last night the snow came and the trees were beautifully lit.

We had a nice amount of snow falling throughout the day and night yesterday.  After barn chores were done, I decided to pay a visit to the cute little snow bunnies all cozy in their house for the night.

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This is our home.

Generation to Generation

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This picture speaks volumes to the lifestyle we are trying to lead and the traditions we hope to pass on.

During my childhood I spent time collecting wood and helping stack it for my family.  This is my daughter working with her 2nd cousin (my nephews son), Rohan.  Rohan is 3 and spends as much time as we can have him at our house.  He came over the other day and saw I had let the fire burn out as it was warmer outside and I wanted to clean the stove. We also needed to restock the wood storage on the porch from the woodshed.  The first thing he did after coming into the house was ask where the fire was. For all of his 3 little years he has become accustomed to the wood heat like the rest of us and it’s expected.  I told him I was cleaning the stove and we needed wood.

The tween queen said she would load the 4 -wheeler and start bringing up the wood.  She too has been doing this all of her childhood with us (helping her dad this fall stock the porch).

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Rohan could not get his boots and coat back on fast enough!!  He knew exactly what needed to be done as he has helped in the process since he was old enough to walk and hold a small piece of wood.  So they set off to the woodshed

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It was not long before they were back with the logs and kindling and Rohan was happily helping stock the porch.

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The first load was finished

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And after a few more loads a fire was started and the world was right again.

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Someday he will share the stories of helping his cousins and great aunt and uncle at their farm!

First 2014 Snow Storm

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We have had our first blast of snow for the 2014 Winter season and it was/is a doozy.  It is still going on all around us.  It has stayed a little to the south of our little Island so we only have about 3 inches so far.  We are supposed to get more later tonight and into tomorrow morning.

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It started coming down and picked up speed covering many areas all over Buffalo, NY.

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Plow crews from all over are dedicating their time to different towns and areas.  This is Lancaster, NY and the photo is courtesy of a Grand Island town employee who traveled the 25 minutes to help dig this area out.

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In other areas sadly people are snowed in (the man of the house’s parents are one of them).  They can’t get out their doors to even begin the shoveling process.  But they are much better off than the people who are dealing with the weight of the snow crashing through their windows and collapsing their roof.

Here is a link to more snow pictures:  Buffalo, NY snow

And while this is a huge nuisance, I can’t complain as we are toasty with our woodburner, stocked with animal feed for the farm, have a pantry filled with canned goods and a freezer jam packed with meats, frozen fruits, and homemade pies just in case we get hit like the other areas!