Thursday, January 14
It’s been a good, productive day. AND… it’s my Friday – yay!!! There’s nothing like a day full of sunshine during the winter months to lift one’s spirits even if I only got to enjoy it by glancing out my office window. I think a sunshiny day during the gray winter months automatically makes it a good day.
Now for the productive part… CountryBoy dropped me off at work again today then he did the errands. I don’t mind getting a break from waiting in line at the bank or pushing the cart through Save-a-Lot to pick up a few grocery items. Once at home he got the much-anticipated phone call from the shop saying that the side-by-side was ready. Hallelujah! We have guests coming Saturday that will need to use it. While in the big town CountryBoy stopped at the recommended eyeglass place and they happily filled his prescription with the glasses he bought at the other place. Yay! They didn’t say when they would be ready but hopefully they’ll be ready when mine are.
Now that the side-by-side was back at the farm CountryBoy went up to the cabin to try and figure out how to utilize the hole in the wall from the wood stove pipe as a vent for the gas fireplace. We definitely need to vent it somehow to help eliminate the humidity and condensation created from the gas fireplace. He’s going to try to cut a short piece of the pipe from the wood stove and stick it straight out the wall and cover it with a screen. We’re hoping that in doing so it will cut down on the humidity and condensation build up in the cabin. I guess the cabin is pretty air-tight after all.
Work was steady today up until mid-afternoon and then nothing. I did help one lady in the lobby but that was it. I ordered two seed catalogs and spent some time researching veggie and flower garden designs and came up with a plan for the first phase of our garden makeover. This phase involves building an arbor and relocating the Concord grapes by it. Then I want to build two levels of raised beds that will extend from the arbor. In the taller beds we’ll plant various lettuces and pansies on one side and on the other will be tomatoes, basil, marigolds, and peppers. In the lower beds we will relocate the asparagus. As with anything, gardening is a learning process and I have learned that grapes and asparagus do much better in full sunlight. Where they are currently located is dappled sun throughout the day and apparently it’s not enough for them to flourish so we will relocate them. That will be enough for this year. We will still utilize the existing garden plot for the bulk of the garden. I’m also hoping to work on a little piece of a shade garden in the general area where the grapes and asparagus currently reside. This year that garden will be mostly comprised of more relocated plants already at the farm – hostas & ferns. January is the perfect month for dreaming about flowers and vegetables and garden ideas. It helps with the winter doldrums.
After tucking the chickens and Mabel in for the night I brewed a hot cuppa Dandelion tea and read about the benefits of keeping a garden journal. It truly would be beneficial because every year we make a new discovery of what works and what doesn’t work and we just know we’ll remember it come next planting season. I’m here to tell ya’ – nope. Don’t remember a thing, ha! I found a free printable garden journal from ‘On Sutton Place’ that I’m going to print out and start filling out in hopes that we will be better prepared from year to year.
Farm news: 11 eggs. Mabel escaped her pen again to sunbathe in the paddock. I’m so glad she knows how to get out if she wants to. We’re still tossing ideas around for a chicken-proof-Mabel-approved door that allows her to come and go but keeps the chickens out of her pen.
Friday, January 15
It’s yogurt making day! I’ve been waiting all week for my day off so that I could test out my new yogurt machine. Right after breakfast I started slowly heating up the milk per the directions. It took quite a while for it to reach the desired temperature of 180 degrees. Once the milk reached that temperature I removed it from the heat and let it cool down to 115 degrees before adding the yogurt starter. After mixing it well I filled the jars, put them in the yogurt machine and turned it on. It takes about eight hours to solidify. Once they are the consistency I like then I put the lids on the jars and let them cool for another two hours. It will be 9 o’clock before the whole process is complete provided it has solidified. I like all types of yogurt, thick or thin, so I don’t think I’ll be too bothered one way or the other. I’m just curious to see the consistency after eight hours. This time I made plain yogurt and I will add some honey and maybe a splash of vanilla right before eating. Next time I’ll probably try making it with some homemade jam or jelly. I’ve been peeking at them all day.
Once I had the yogurt in the machine I went out to the barn and worked on rearranging the Dremel shop to make room for the wood stove. This morning CountryBoy had dismantled the stove pipe outside the cabin which left a gaping hole. He ended up cutting a louvered door to size, covered it with screen, and then screwed it onto the outside of the cabin. We’ll hang a picture on the inside that will cover the hole. We’re hoping that there will be enough gap between the wall and the picture to act as a vent for the gas fireplace yet not allow too much cold air in. We have guests this weekend so we’ll soon find out.
Meanwhile I swept and shuffled a few things around and managed to make some space in a corner for the wood stove. It’s a great little room to work on smaller projects especially in the winter. The center of the barn is a wind tunnel and will chill you to the bone rather quickly. It’s going to be nice to have a warm place to work or even a place to go warm up if we’re working outside for any length of time.
All afternoon I wanted to create something but didn’t have a clue what it was, exactly, that I wanted to create so I spent most of the afternoon browsing through Pinterest trying to spark an idea. I really want to change up my wardrobe and start trying to refashion a few things I already own but I don’t have a clue where to start. I don’t really know anything about sewing clothes so I think I’m holding myself back from even starting. One of these days I’ll find that spark and just start. It’s usually not as hard as my mind makes it out to be. It’s just that whole getting started part!
Tonight I made breakfast tacos for supper…
… corn tortillas, black beans, eggs with cheese, scallions, avocados, cabbage and salsa verde. You’re supposed to eat them like a taco but as soon as we picked up the tortilla it crumbled and fell apart. It was pretty good but towards the end I began to tire of the flavor combination. CountryBoy, however, thought they were delicious!
Farm news: 12 eggs. I spent some time loving on Speckles and Mable while I was at the barn. Mabel got some belly rubs and Speckles some head rubbing.
Saturday, January 16
We woke up to a light layer of snow on the ground and snow still falling. We had our second cup of coffee in the sunroom – me and LizzieBelle wrapped up in a blanket and CountryBoy with a beanie on his head – and watched the snow flurry and fall to the ground. I snapped a few photos from the sunroom before sitting down…
The snow covered Rose of Sharon’s remind me of cotton…
A cotton tree in Kentucky, ha!
I’m sitting at my desk behind the laptop this morning staring out the window and watching the snow fall. It’s beautiful! I like my computer by a window because the outdoors gives me inspiration. On the flip side, I find I’m easily distracted by the outdoors as well – watching snow fall, or the birds, or the cats, or just staring out towards Pine Knoll, the knoll by the barn chock full of pine trees so thusly named.
Yesterday’s attempt at yogurt making was a bust. After eight hours in the yogurt maker there was no change except for the formation of a little cream on top. sigh. I emptied all the jars into a quart size measuring cup and put it in the fridge then sat down to watch the movie ‘Little Italy‘ with CountryBoy thinking tomorrow’s another day.
First thing this morning I started troubleshooting the botched yogurt attempt. I learned that this can happen on first attempts. I also learned that I did not have to waste that batch and that I could use some of it to start another batch and use the rest for smoothies. Sounds good to me. I was having a hard time thinking about having to throw that batch out. I also learned that I did not need to heat the milk to 180 and that more of the beneficial bacteria remains when heated to only 110. Live and learn. So this morning I heated a quart of new milk with 6 ounces of yesterday’s milk with the starter to 110, poured it into the jars and started the yogurt maker. Finger crossed in eight hours that this batch turns out. If not, I will try again but not with fresh milk. I want all the benefits of raw, fresh milk but I don’t want to keep using it if it won’t set up. That stuff is too hard to come by!
Farm news: 12 eggs
Sunday, January 17
It’s an ‘I don’t wanna day’. I don’t wanna go to church. I don’t wanna go to work. I don’t wanna leave my chair in front of the fireplace. In other words, I just don’t wanna leave the house. I’d rather enjoy this cold, dreary day from indoors. But, alas, being the responsible adult that I am it cannot be. So, I shall head upstairs and get dressed and prepare my mind for the good day that it’s going to be.
Church was good and I always get uplifted from not only the sermon but seeing our church family. And afterwards? I’m always glad I went. It’s just the whole making myself get dressed and out the door thing that’s the biggest hurdle! Now, more than ever before, we need to attend church and be on our knees and praying.
16 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19 Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesying. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. 23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. I Thessalonians 5:16-23 KJV
Work was also good and I was able to work on the big ‘ Contacts’ project for about an hour before heading home. It’s going to be quite the job to get the Contacts list cleaned up by deleting email addresses that are no longer valid. Bit by bit I’m determined to get it done.
My second attempt at making yogurt was another bust so I will now have to find a source of pasteurized milk only (not homogenized). It’s ridiculous how difficult it has become to find clean, unadulterated, untampered with food. Since we grow and put up much of our own organic vegetables I guess my mission this year is to seek out whatever local sources I can for meat and dairy. Wish me luck!
I spent part of yesterday afternoon and evening in the sewing room. As I mentioned a few days ago I have been wanting to create/make something and I finally decided to make another mask. Since these things are going to be a necessity for a while I searched for and found a pattern that has a slightly different nose piece and is supposed to be great for people who wear glasses (stays put with no fogging). I have yet to wear a mask that actually fits me and stays where it’s supposed to. I’m hoping this one will fit the bill, er face! I got it cut out and some of it sewn together. (You can see the pieces above the shirt.) Believe it or not, I’m waiting on CountryBoy to eat a can of Sardines so that I can have the lid. Wait, what? Apparently you can cut the lid into thin strips and adhere one to the nose piece to help keep the mask in place. Who knew?! It’s also supposed to hold up better than a pipe cleaner. While I’m waiting for the lid (he’ll eat them tomorrow for lunch) I started refashioning a man’s denim short sleeve shirt…
I had picked the shirt up at a thrift store years ago but only wore it a few times because it just didn’t look good on me – too boxy and definitely not flattering. I decided today was the day to just give it a go and I tapered the sides. It came out OK. After finding a couple tutorials on Pinterest this morning I think I’ll give the tapering another go and include the sleeves which are also too big. I also had a piece of a skirt (also bought at a thrift store and worn for years until it had holes in it) that I saved after tossing the rest. I really like the beadwork patch so I’ve hung onto this piece waiting to use it somehow…
I’ve decided I want to try and add it to the bottom of the shirt. I want the entire piece to be long and loose enough to wear with leggings which, for me, must cover the buttocks and my hips. I’ve got it pinned where I think I want it but I need to ponder how to actually attach it to the shirt. That’s when I decided to end my creating/making session for the day. It felt good to get the creative juices flowing!
Wellness news: We were not as diligent this week about our food intake and it showed on the scales. CountryBoy gained one pound and I lost 0.2 pounds. Not what we had hoped for however, we still feel good and are sleeping well at night.
Farm news: 12 eggs. While I was at work CountryBoy spent the afternoon working on a door for Mabel’s pen. I haven’t seen it yet but it’s made out of wood which is sturdy enough to keep the chickens out but Mabel is able to push it to go in and out whenever she wants. He’s going to feed the chickens first tomorrow morning to see if Mabel can work the door because we know she’ll be grumpin’ around and coming out of her pen to tell him a thing or two about feeding those pests before her. We know she’ll also eat some of their cracked corn before going back in to eat her breakfast so we figured that would be a good test of her new door.