Relaxing evening

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Outer side of marina facing where Lake Erie and the Niagara River meet

Friday morning I had a major dental procedure done on two of my teeth.  On Saturday I spent most of the day in pain and felt bad for the kids as it was a beautiful evening and they were stuck in the house with me. The man of the house took my mother to her FIRST Buffalo Sabres game.  This was supposed to be her and I, but I was in too much pain and my face was swollen like the elephant man so he offered to take her.

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You can see she had a great time!

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Entrance to Spaulding Trail

I decided instead of sitting at home being in pain, I could just as easily take a walk and be in pain.  So the kids, our dog and I headed to a trail on the Island that leads through the woods, around a marina inlet, through Beaver Island State Park and loops back to the beginning where we parked. It’s about a 4 1/2 mile loop.

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The entrance of the marina after coming out of the wooded trail has a beautiful tree perfect for posing for pictures.

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These rocks circle the marina.  In the warmer weather there are floating docks with kayak launches built in.  Poor Wrinkles wanted to run with the kids on the rocks so badly but there is a leash law at the marina and the park.

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Across from the marina is the Huntley Power Plant.  It’s such a cool building but it is the largest polluter in all of our county.

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There are a few areas that are perfect for having a family picnic so the kids can play at the marina.  I love the area by this tree looking to the East of the marina.

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Looking to the West is the Fisherman’s Club and their docks where we had the man’s birthday party last year.

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And on the shore of the river side of the inlet there are also rocks and a nice area for the kids to collect shells and “sea” glass.

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The sun was starting to set at the marina and we still had about 2 miles to go to head back to the car so we set off through Beaver Island Park.

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When woods washes up or any of the trees fall in the State owned park, they drag it up to store back by a practice driving range for golf.  Of course the kids could not resist climbing the rock area and on the large logs.

And after our 4 1/2 mile trek we headed back home to do the evening barn chores and feed the animals.  We headed in with just enough time to catch two periods of the Buffalo Sabres final game of the season!!

And while it really didn’t help the pain and actually caused my face to swell more the next day, it was worth it to spend the time with the kids 🙂

Candles

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I always have candles lit in my house.  In the evening with the candles lit all around the house, I feel cozy and the house feels warm and comforting.

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Two years ago I bought my first set of battery operated candles that have a timer on them.  They go on at dusk and shut off after 6 hours. I bought them from a Christmas section in the store for the Holidays.  I have never taken them down.

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I love the soft yellow glow they have all year round.  I replace the batteries about every month or sometimes a little longer.  It’s well worth it to not have to worry about turning them on or off and they look so nice when you drive by the house at night.  It looks like a true country home.

It’s the little things sometimes that mean the most.

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Western New York Weekend

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This weekend has been frigid.  I am not a complainer and I still will not complain today in -2 F temperatures and getting the 4 wheeler stuck about 1/8 mile away from the house and having to walk back to tell the man of the house (who had told me not to try and get it back there which made it MUCH worse!).

The kids were upset school was closed on Friday as they missed their Valentines parties but that lasted about 45 seconds and they realized it was great to be home and headed out to snowmobile.

Saturday morning we were hit with a snowy blustery day.  In the morning you can see how much it snowed by the snow on the bird feeder and trees.

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This railing is waist high showing how much snow we have and drifting which made it a challenging walk to the barn for sure.

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The new hens adjusted fine to their move and already are earning their keep!

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In the afternoon the boy had a hockey game at a new outdoor hockey arena called Buffalo Riverworks .  It was snowing and blowing like crazy and the temperatures were around 17F but with the wind it was much colder.

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The new facility is fabulous and the boys had a blast even though they lost the game and we all bundled up, even Grandma, and stood out there to cheer them on.

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The drive home was quite the challenge but it was heavenly coming home to a roaring fire in the woodburner and a nice hot dinner of Turkey Chowder made with the leftover turkey and stock from Thanksgiving.

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And tonight we will end the evening with a mom and dad night heading out to dinner at 716

followed by checking out our new Buffalo Sabres player at the game!

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.

Farm life in the Fall

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Martha on top roost and Cherry below all nestled in from the wind and rain

Fall is my favorite season.  But with fall comes cold temperatures, windy days, less daylight and MUD everywhere.  The chickens stop laying eggs consistently, the goats only roam out of their house for short periods and will spend time in their outdoor hut which offers protection from the wind and a full view of the house and yard, and the horses spend many days in their stalls and walkout areas as wet mud is not good for their feet and legs all day.

I like to keep things as natural as possible for our animals.  The goats have a hill and rocks to climb in their pen.  They have grass and trees as well.  The horses have 12×12 stalls and outside the stalls are walkout areas made of stone and rubber matting so they can walk and stretch their legs all day and night.  The chickens free range so get to be in their natural habitat all day.  Some farmers keep a light on in their coops to “trick” their chickens into thinking it’s daylight longer and they will produce more eggs.  I prefer to only use a red heat lamp and let their bodies act naturally during the winter months.

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This is our hen Grrr having a drink of water that contains apple cider vinegar to keep her healthy all winter long

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This is our hen Catness. She likes to roost on the highest part of the house

Some days I will let the horses out when the ground is slightly frozen in the morning.  However as the day progresses and the ground warms up, this is what you get:

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Our paint mare, Mysty decided to enjoy the mud!! Bad horse!

And this week I am dog and chicken sitting for a neighbor.  Her chickens are full of personality.

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They are spoiled like our chickens and enjoy hot oatmeal, fresh salad, tomatoes and some nice yogurt during the cold days.  These are all young hens born in the spring and they are still laying eggs.  The perk of this job is the eggs I get to bring home every day!

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And while it’s much more work it’s also great to spend some “me” time on a nice ride through the bare trails on my oldest horse Bailey.

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Wet and muddy on those trails but worth it!!

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Mud, water, and ice spots line the trail

And about now I am ready for the change of season with its snow and frozen ground!!

Change of Seasons

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I do not complain at the change of seasons because I like it.  I like the changes that take place all around me.  I enjoy seeing what the next season brings.

This week has been pretty much all 4 seasons in a week.  On Monday it was like a nice spring day here in Buffalo, NY.  Temperatures were moderate and the sun was out.  Tuesday was like an early summer day.  The temps were warm enough for a t-shirt and short sleeves.  The man of the house and I took a wonderful trail ride in the early evening.

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Wednesday we were back to fall weather with cool Northerly winds blowing.  I took advantage of the weather to finish preparing all the animal houses for the winter.  The horses heated water buckets were set up and plugged in.

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And today, Thursday we were into winter.  The snow fell on and off all day.  The horses didn’t mind and were happy to be in the big pasture getting a tummy full of good hay.

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The picture looks blurry because of the snow blowing.  But it wasn’t sticking to the ground yet as it’s too warm and still good for bug hunting for the chickens who did not seem to mind the snow either.

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And in the house the wonderful comforting smell of a big pot of chicken noodle soup filled the kitchen with a nice warm fire going in the woodburner.

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There was even a jar saved to give to Grandma tomorrow

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Farm Living

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Goat house and pasture

Sometimes there are little projects that nag at you.  We have had a horse fence that needed mending for almost 2 months and we have some chickens who have taken up rooming in the goat house and needed a place of their own if they are to stay there for the winter.

Both of the projects were completed this weekend along with getting the snowmobiles out and tuned up, cheer practice, and 3 hockey games.  Add to that 2 trips to the mall to buy jeans and then exchange jeans, regular farm work with the animals, and some great burgers for dinner.  All in all a productive weekend!!

Here is a recap of our work.  I have a few little things to do like decorate!!!  But other than that, it’s now perfect for all animals to reside in for the winter.

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Farm helpers Chance and his buddy Graer with the man fixing the horse pasture

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Gutting the goat house to redesign

The goats were anxiously awaiting to see what was taking place in their home

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A new wall was designed to let chickens pass but not goats

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A cool old piece of cupboard that was a garbage pick was designed for a door into the chicken area

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The chickens were getting worried so decided to huddle under cover waiting to see their home while others decided to keep scratching for some lunch

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And inside the roosting area, feeding, area and natural nesting boxes were being put in place.  We will look for decorations as the days go on and find some fitting pieces to decorate their area.  So far they love their new home.

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Next up was cleaning out the snowmobile trailer and priming the sleds for the upcoming season followed with 2 wins of hockey games!!

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And now while everyone is asleep, I am having a night cap to end a great weekend

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1955 Prestige Silverware Set

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Today we had lunch with the man of the houses parents.  We then stopped at their house to pick up a silverware set his mother purchased before her graduation day from High School in 1955!!!

Every year “grandma Ruth” (the man’s mother) always asks us for Christmas gift ideas.  It was hard for her at first to understand my requests at Christmas.  I am a very practical person.  Sure, I love the finer things, but when someone is willing to spend money on me, I will choose something practical that I want and that I would love to save the money on buying for myself.  Some things I have requested are:  muck boots, black dress socks, leather driving gloves, a toaster and last year I asked for a toolbox with a few tools and different size nails I could use in my barn.  The first few years she would beg me to pick something different and now 16 years later, I think she knows me well enough to realize these are “gifts” to me.  Awesome gifts!!

So when she asked me the other day what I would like I was quick to tell her “silverware”.  Our set is now missing many things (I am sure the kids removed them at some point to dig outside or to take fishing in the creek).  I would like to have service for 8 again on all pieces.  Ruth then said to me, “you know I have a set I purchased before graduation from high school sitting in the basement” and before she could finish I said YES!!

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You see these are not just silverware pieces.  These are special pieces she purchased as a young girl to take into her future with whoever her husband to be was and for the family she was certain to have.  These pieces were hope of a wonderful life and future.  These pieces were part of the mans childhood.  Through the years she has kept this set perfect.  This set means more to me than she will probably ever know.

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The box has been carefully stored through the many years only making an appearance at a few very special family gatherings.  In my 16 years, I had never seen them.  Yet today opening the beautiful box they were delivered in so many years ago, these pieces are in perfect condition.

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The certificate of registration of this hand picked set is in the box.  All the original paperwork and receipts are gently folded inside.

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The silver etiquette book with complete instructions and pictures for the use and care of the silver is included laying gently on top.

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There are many different serving pieces included.

I can hardly wait to use these at Thanksgiving when Ruth will be here to enjoy the future she chose and purchased so many years ago.  I will cherish this set and we will use it often with the same hope Ruth had for it so long ago.  I will save the paperwork and pass this set onto my children who I can only hope will cherish it as much as I do.