Morning Mist

This was the beautiful morning sky and mist over the cabin and back pastures this morning when I headed out to feed the animals.

It was 63 degrees in Buffalo, NY today.  Last year at this time, I was trying to blaze trails in the snow to get to the pastures.  Not sure I like this warm weather but the skies make up for it!

Little Cabin in the woods

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Our new cabin in our woods

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I have always wanted a cabin in the woods since I was a little girl.

My uncle and his wife had a small cabin that we would visit with our family a few times a year.  It was nestled way up on a hill and in the winter we would spend the day there with our entire extended family and sled down the hill, drink hot cocoa and have chili or soup for dinner.  In the summer we would play in the open fields and fish for catfish in their small stocked pond.  It was always such a cozy place to visit with the woodstove heating the house surrounded by family and full of fun!

We built a camping area behind our horse pastures a few years ago.  You can see how we enjoyed it in my past posts here:  Camp out visitors  and Staycation Vacation

This year the man decided it was time to make a more permanent addition to the camping area so we can literally stay back there all summer, fall and even winter with the addition of propane heat!  At our local county fair we designed a small “shell” of the cabin we dreamed of and had the Amish build and deliver it.

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Slowly we are finishing the inside to our vision. We started by building and painting a ladder for the kids to use to get into the loft which will be their sleeping area with feather beds to lay on and nice warm down comforters to snuggle in.  We designed it so it is large enough to fit 4 adults so they can have friends sleep over comfortably.  I found foam pad pieces in a hardwood design and we lined the floor of the loft with it.  There is also a full size window so they can see the horses and enjoy a summer breeze.  The railing comes from a garbage pick I found and we sanded and rounded it and cut it to size.  It’s perfect!

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Next came insulation inside and a rustic wonderful ceiling to keep it warm and cozy in the winter and cool in the summer.  I was thankful for the man’s brother coming to finish it off as it was hard work and I was tired of holding boards up with my hand and head while the man nailed them in! Thanks Uncle Tom!!!!

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Outside a new fire pit has been constructed so we can cook our meals and enjoy family and friend time around a bonfire.  The horses love being close by.  The man and teen planted a few beautiful pine trees we can watch grow over the years.  Wrinkles is already enjoying her new spot on the porch to relax while we work.

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The views of the ice pond, warming shanty, woods and sunsets are stunning from the porch!  Even though we are cleaning up and burning the leaves, the weather is so mild I am not sure when we will be able to ice skate on the pond.

Next up we will be building a small kitchen area and purchasing some multi-functional furniture for sitting and sleeping.

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This is our new little piece of Heaven right here on Earth 🙂

 

 

Hand and Heel Scrub

This scrub is perfect for buffing your heels and keeping your hands moisturized for the winter months.

You can make this in about 5 minutes total.  Very economical and a little goes a LONG way.

I posted how we make ours on my Facebook page and see my step by step pictures of the Teen making a batch last night here:  Hand and Heel Scrub

It’s literally 3 ingredients:

1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar

1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil

Honey (until your desired consistency)

Mix all together, store in an air tight container.  Use in the shower by scrubbing on heels and hands and rinse.  Apply a daily moisturizing lotion and you can keep the dryness at bay!

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Sunflowers turned to seed

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We have bird feeders we use throughout the winter and fill them with sunflower seeds for the birds.  This year we planted a sunflower garden to grow our own seeds.

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The first picture is the patch 2 weeks ago in full bloom.  The other 2 pictures are when we planted the garden in June and 3 weeks after the first planting.

We shared this patch with our pumpkins.

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As you can see this worked very well.  The pumpkin picture is just one row and we have 8 rows with pumpkins.

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The beautiful sunflowers are now turning to seed so tonight we took the time to cut all of the heads off to use to feed the birds throughout the winter.  Some of the heads are loaded with seeds while others have already been worked on by the birds.

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In the end we have 2 very large bags filled with flower heads and seeds.

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We will hang these from trees throughout the winter for the birds to pick at.  They will also be used as a treat for the chickens.

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You can see how they enjoy picking at it once it’s hung in their run!

Harvesting

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Fresh lettuce daily

It’s a special time of year when you are finally “eating” what you’ve sown.  A few of our garden items have been producing very well in this wet summer we are having.  Here is a peek into some of our harvested meals.

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We are growing head lettuce, romaine lettuce, and purple leaf lettuce.  Every day it’s great to have a choice of which fresh lettuce you are going to eat.  We grow most of this to feed the rabbits, goats and chickens as well as ourselves.

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Kale chips

With our lettuce we have our kale planted.  We have 5 huge plants full of thick heavy leaves perfect for kale chips, soups, and kale salads (the teen’s favorite).  She uses just the kale with apple cider vinegar and some taco shredded cheese.

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The pea plants are producing in one spot only.  Some of them have become molded from the rain.  We have a second planting of 18 plants almost ready to go into the ground.  We are still getting about 7 pea pods from each plant but we need WAY more for my kids!

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These were the only strawberries we collected this year from our plants. We lost quite a few plants to rabbits/voles this spring.  They have been replaced but won’t produce until next year.

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Beans and basil are doing well.  This is a store bought tomato as ours are not ready yet but with fresh basil, this caprese salad was awesome!  The beans did not make it past washing them.  The kids ate them immediately.  Luckily I have a previous harvest already blanched and frozen!

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One of the last 3 jars of peaches left from last summers canning.  Still a sweet treat.

Looking forward to the many more items to come!

Summer Vacation

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The past two weeks have been a blur.  The kids finished the school year with a spring concert and the graduation of the 8th grade class leaving the school for High School.  I am going to be one of those parents next year and I’m already getting Kleenex out!!  The kids kicked off the first day of summer vacation visiting with some of their cousins who live locally as well as some who were here visiting from Hawaii!

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I was even able to sneak in a ride with my cousin who lives in Hawaii.  It was great!!

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The daughter/step daughter is planning a HUGE move to Colorado next weekend.  It’s going to be very hard for all of us as we will miss her.  But this is the next step into another phase of her life and we are happy for her!  She was here to visit and made a batch of homemade ice cream with the teen.

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The Teen has been working on her riding skills and enjoying her horse time with Bailey.

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My niece even stopped by for a cousin ride.  I love how the “boys” love each other while the girls spend their bonding time.

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A visit from the horse shoer (Farrier) for a trim to the horses hooves.

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The boy had the opportunity to spend some time with his cousins from Hawaii again before they left.  He of course had to introduce them to all his chickens.

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Our first batches of strawberry jam have been made and are stored in the cellar.

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And a new homey touch with a small curtain has been added to the chicken coop.

It’s been a strange weather pattern so far this spring and kick off of summer.  It’s cold, wet, and overly buggy and the weeks forecast does not look like it will be improving much.  At least we are keeping busy 🙂

Farm Kids

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This picture really captures the essence of “farm kids” in my mind.  I love how they still at 13 and 10 appreciate their farm animals and remain the little “farm kids” we have raised them to be.

We built a larger run for the chickens tonight so they have more room to free range safely when we are not home.

You can see more cute chicken pictures on our Facebook page here:  Cute chickens

Painted Clouds

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Yesterday evening the clouds with the sun behind them were so beautiful it looked like they were painted in a perfect sky.  Sitting on our back deck chatting with my mother and watching the kids jump on the trampoline after a very long day of housework, barn chores, and gardening, it was the perfect scene to relax with especially with one of my favorite beautiful trees coming back to life after the winter.  I love that weeping willow tree!

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