Escaping…

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Wrinkles running happily along

In these past few months I have tried to find happy places to escape to.  These woods are always my greatest escape.

Since I was 6, I have walked in these woods.  That’s 44 years (but who’s counting!!)  There were no trails, less neighbors, and tons of wildlife.  Over the years that has slowly changed, but luckily the “4 mile loop” we have created is land locked.

If I am not walking I am 4 wheeling, horseback riding, or snowmobiling!  I have shared these trails with many animals, most of them gone now, through the years.  My first dog, Daisy.  My first horse, Sugar. My next dogs through the years as a child, Princess, Sheba, Jeopardy, Ginger.  Our second horse, Mandy.

My parents liked to take us 4 kids on Sunday walks.  My dad would always have a big walking stick and I remember being scared we would get lost and he would always say not to worry, the dogs know the way home.

These past few months I have been finding myself wanting to escape this crazy world more and more and enjoy what we have without all of the negativity being thrown at us from every angle in the media, on the internet, in the magazines, etc.

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Even little Sissy has had enough and wants to join us on a walk!!

Coming back up the trails after a nice long walk, the sun has set and the moon is beginning to peak out, I feel refreshed.  img_8597

The snow is glistening and the world is a perfect place again.

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Snow glistens with the moonlight

 

 

Summer Vacation

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Designing Fort Snrub

A few weeks back a neighbor was throwing out an old privacy fence and their trampoline.  Now mind you, they considered this garbage.  As soon as the kids were aware of what was happening, they considered it finding gold and exactly what they needed for a new fort in the woods.

 

They carefully loaded all of the panels onto a trailer and drove them back to their “work” area.

They cleared the perfect area for their fort by driving 4-wheelers and doing donuts in a small area to break down the brush.  Then it was time to drag the trampoline with the 4-wheelers into place.  This is the roof of the fort which is underneath.  The top will be used to place a pop up tent when they want to sleep out there.

They collected old materials from our farm and our neighbors and laid them out so they knew what they had to work with.  They could hardly contain themselves on the eve of our trash night and rode the golf cart down our street to collect more treasures.  They found a few balls, an old hose reel that has been rigged to raise and lower a flag, chairs, old tires and most recently they picked a huge deck umbrella.

It was time to begin construction.  They nailed some boards around the frame.  This is holding the tarp in place which covers the trampoline.  Even the little ones were helping clear brush and design the area.

Some bamboo flooring and old throw rugs have been collected and added as a floor until they can garbage pick another tarp.  The tires are perfect as extra seating!

The name was chosen for the fort using the name of the family who donated the fencing and trampoline spelled backwards.  I thought that was a great choice and very imaginative.

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This picture was Sunday night as they were driving the two and a half miles down our street looking for more treasures for their fort before garbage day. They wear their bathing suits as it’s been so hot here and they can work on the fort, drive up and jump in the pool and head right back out.

These kids have had very little television or computer time as they are up and out the door to work on the fort, swim, and play in the woods!  It’s hard to force them to work on mandatory book reports for the upcoming school year as they are so busy planning, building and having fun.

This is what summer vacation is all about in our world!! 🙂

Camping on the Farm

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Last fall we purchased a small cabin to put on our property.  It was made by the Amish as a “shed”.  We finished the ceilings, floors and insulated it to make it into a cabin our family can use year round!

Living on the farm, it is difficult for us to be away very often.  There are animals to tend to, gardens to be worked, grounds to be maintained, canning of foods etc.  This little cabin is our way of having a vacation feeling while on our own land.

Here is a glimpse into our little Cabin in the Woods now that it is in full swing and being used every day!!

Let’s start with a look inside:

I wanted a total rustic feeling experience.  I love how the exposed wood looks!  The ceiling has been insulated and installed.  We have 2 comfortable chairs on the one side and a kitchenette area on the other.  This cabinet was made by the Man using our old pasture fencing and leftover slate from our woodburner area in the house.  The fabric was from a friend of my mothers who made them for us.  The table pulls into a 5 foot table when fully opened and the loveseat converts into our bed.  The loft has featherbeds on top of foam cushion for extra comfort for the kids and their friends to sleep on.  There is no electricity but a few battery operated fixtures work perfectly.  We have electricity across at the ice shanty, but I don’t want to add it to the cabin!

 

A fire area is set up so we can cook our meals.  We kick it up to get some nice coals to cook over.

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A bug free dining area is also set up to eat under.  While I love the outdoors, I am not a person who likes to eat outdoors with bugs around so this is a perfect solution!

A badminton set and cornhole game has been added for some great family fun.

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A golf cart was added for “faster” access to the main house when needed and for bringing back supplies.  This is the parking area.

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My early morning view with coffee.  I love the horse pasture right behind us.  I can hear the horses softly nuzzle at night.

And while we are on our staycation vacation, we are close enough for our animals to interact with us as normal, I can enjoy my fast paced walks along the river, we can grill at the house if wanted and we can attend local events with the kids and their close friends!

We can drive one street over to where our boat is docked, jump on and enjoy a full day including lunch on the river and head in with a sunset tube ride.

We will do the nightly feeding of the animals and head back under the moonlight to the cabin for some smores or popcorn.

And at the end of a full day we retire into the cabin, play a few card games before getting a great nights rest.

We are beyond blessed and thankful every day for our camping area!!

 

 

 

 

 

Life Happenings

Oh the busy hustle and bustle of May.  Gardens need tending, animals need more care with bug protection and heat protection, the yards require time, the kids sports and end of the year testing and parties.  It seems to be a blur!

We have had some downtime and these pictures walk you through how you have to find the blessings in the busyness!

The man and I worked on getting the boat ready for the season.  We put it at the dock after launching it and watching the sun set!

My sister and her husband came to visit.  The kids had a great time dipping their legs in the Niagara River and chatting with Auntie Ann after a family cruise.  Even Gram and her hat had fun!

We had some extremely warm temperatures for a few days.  The animals were set up in their houses with fans and frozen water bottles to lay against.  Bailey did venture out for a bit of grass in the shade but preferred the comfort of the fans in the cooler barn.

The hummingbird tree is set up and some beautiful flower baskets were purchased!

The pool was opened and used immediately even though it was very cold, meals were cooked on the open fire and some night swimming and tightrope walking ended an evening or two.

The Teen Queen celebrated her 14th birthday with a full face snorkel she wanted!  She and 2 close friends are saying goodbye to junior high and were welcomed into the Class of 2020 at their new Catholic High School of choice.  She received the highest scholarship rewarding all of her hard work for the past 3 years.

Gardens were planted and a few things were harvested.

My little great nephew and my Godson are buddies even though they live miles apart.  They love spending time collecting eggs for breakfast, frogging in the pond, playing fort and just being farm boys!

On the sports front softball was put on hold for a few weeks due to a break to the fingers from a hit by the ball on a swing from the Teen Queen.  Never fear, she’s back in the game. The boy’s team won medals for their hockey tournament and he is enjoying being able to play for his jv soccer team at school.

And some big bonfires and smores have been enjoyed before sleeping in the cabin which is set up for it’s first summer season on the farm!  More of the cabin in the next post…..

 

 

 

Traditions

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Recently someone asked me why we have a family Facebook page and a blog.  The answer was quick to me.  My blog is a place where I can share more in depth my thoughts and feelings of why we work so hard to carry on our lifestyle as well as share a bit about our family history.  Facebook users (myself included) are normally scanning quick in their spare time to possibly learn or see something new, share in the pages they follow, and keep a brief running of their life happenings.

As an example, on our facebook page today I posted a few pictures of things we will have on our Easter table.  All of the items are homegrown, hand picked, or made by our family.  To me they signify a tradition passed down from my family starting from my great grandmother, grandparents, mother and aunts.

Our ancestors were “doers”.  They had no other choice but to provide for themselves.  Today’s world is more about “consumers”.  Not many take the time to even think about where their food comes from much less contribute, except monetarily, to their own existence.  I am not implying this is a wrong way to live, but it’s important to me for my children to know how their ancestors lived and to be able to provide a bit for themselves.  Maybe I was born in the wrong era 🙂

Our Easter lunch table will be filled with food and decor our family has grown or made.

It’s a tradition and one I hope my children will carry on into their futures!

 

 

 

 

Beaver Dam

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Rohan looking for the beaver

This is a creek that eventually meets up with the Niagara River.  Last summer a beaver made this little area his home.  Every few days the kids would go down and check his progress on building his dam.  Yesterday we took our little nephew there as he wanted to check for the beaver and collect more of the chewed wood for his collection.

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pile of sticks that were once the beaver dam

The town got sight of the dam in the fall and came and removed the dam with a backhoe.  This is all that is left of the dam today.  The kids were very sad but understand the importance of keeping this creek flowing.

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It’s amazing to see how hard this little beaver worked even taking down quite large trees all along this area. These are things you can’t teach in a classroom and so valuable to share with the kids in my mind.

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He is missed but the kids will keep looking for signs of him throughout the next few months to see if he returns.