It is noon – so far I have…

1. Sewn a pair of curtains out of an old sheet that came from my grandmothers house in preparation for River’s mom coming to stay with us for an undetermined amount of time (she has been in the hospital for over two weeks and can’t go home by herself yet) I have had the sheets for about seven years and they still smell like my grandmothers laundry I don’t know what she used in the laundry – but every time I smell the sheets I think of my Nanny.

2. Put a new elastic in a pair of hammy down pajama pants for Trace.

3. Patched two pairs of Trace’s pants – they boy manages to get holes in all his pants at the moment I think he has one pair of jeans with no holes and a couple of pairs of sweatpants that he wears as a last resort because they have no pockets. All his other pants – holes.

4. Picked a bag of greens for some friends that came over today to help River move the chicken coop to a shadier place in the backyard – we think the chicks will be far more comfortable in the new spot under the trees.

Now I am ready for a good book, a nap and some food – fresh greens anyone? Yum!

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We ate the first greens from our garden the other day and they were delicious! I am so glad we decided to have a garden and I am really glad we went with the square foot gardening plan because there is so much less to weed. Seriously – we barely have to weed. At all. Which has always been my biggest nemeses when I have had small gardens in the past. They turn into weed gardens – great if you are a weed looking to take over the world – not so great if you are a tiny little vegetable trying to grow into food.

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We have planted almost everything outside at this point only a couple of things remain in the house as seedlings and they will be planted shortly. We spent about $76 on seeds that should pay for itself many times over in produce – especially if we end up with all the tomatoes we are hoping for! We have 20 tomato plants in the ground with 15 for round two to go in a little later to keep the growing season longer – come on BLT’s and spaghetti sauce! Each plant should produce about 25 tomatoes each – yum, yum, delicious!

River did a great job starting all the plants and keeping it all straight – next year might be my turn for that – yikes – I hope I do as well as he did!

I bought a really nice couch about 10 years ago, I can’t remember if it was from Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn at this point – but I saw it I fell in love with it and paid way too much for it even though it was on sale.

Half the cushions are missing – but you get the idea – a large sectional – that is the old living room by the way.

When we were building our new space, River built-in a couch frame and we reused the couch cushions – reduce, reuse, recycle. My plan is to eventually recover them in a pretty dark brown – but for right now they are a faded (very faded) blue jean color – honestly – they look kind of ugly.

The down cushions are very comfortable.

But they are not very practical.

Because they slouch.

Constantly.

NO MATTER WHAT WE DO TO THEM!

Consequently they always look like this:

We end up piling up throw pillows on top of the back to make it comfortable to lean against – which leads to way too many throw pillows in the living room.

This is what is under the throw pillows – so comfortable looking isn’t it.

Isn’t that pretty.

Does anyone have any suggestions for keeping the cushions upright and useful rather than falling down and messy looking? I don’t want to replace them if I don’t have to.

We have thought of a piece of the foam padding put into the back of each cushion to give it some shape – but we aren’t crazy about the off gassing.

We got baby chicks about a week ago – they are really cute but growing fast. They are meat chickens so we (or mostly River with possibly my assistance with the packaging up – not sure I am ready to do the kill part myself) will be slaughtering them in about six weeks. Needless to say we will not be naming them.

River built a really great house for them in the hopes that we will have laying hens in a year or so – these lucky little guys get first shot at living there.

The new chicken coop! The boys really enjoy checking on the chicks – I am not sure which one enjoys it more…

Trace is getting a real kick out of it (you can see his little chair in the picture – he likes to hang out watch them play) – he loves to go check on the chicks with us and make sure they are the right temperature – he thinks they are fun to watch and shows everyone that comes over the chicks. Hopefully he will be able to eat them when the time comes. I don’t see him having a problem with it as we eat wild game that River gets like turkey, geese and ducks and he has seen River dress them out – but something he has helped nurture could be a different experience.

We decided to get the chickens because of all the information that we had been reading about how animals were treated and slaughtered in the big meat business. It seems safer to grow our own – we know what they are eating and frankly we are nicer to them – in there short lives they will not have their little beaks cut off and will get to explore the outside world a little when they get larger (usually about 4 weeks old) and they have a lot more space in our coop per bird then the traditional poultry houses.

I can’t say I don’t eat meat unless it was humanly treated in life – but I have been trying to be more contentious about where my food comes from and what my family fuels our bodies with. We have several local sources for meat the farm my dad works at in Dresden, Goranson Farm they grow and sell chickens, turkey at thanksgiving and portions of pigs that are raised on some grain and lots of veggies, www.goransonfarm.me; my aunt and uncle’s farm, Partridge Hill Farm right down the road, they sell grass-fed lamb and beef as well as pork (not grass-fed – but well fed); and our friends the Wright’s have Three Little Pigs Family Farm and raise pork, they have a great website at www.trustyourpork.com with really cute pictures of the piggies!

Piggies at Partridge Hill Farm – they are so cute at this stage – Trace always wants to take one home

These Partridge Hill Farm alpacas are not for eating – but they make very soft fiber for knitting and the babies are as cute as can be – who wouldn’t fall in love with those big brown eyes!

Baby boy alpaca born on 5/14/2012 – he is very curious – mama isn’t sure I should be this close to him though at Partridge Hill Farm.

Another curious alpaca on the farm – we don’t eat ’em – but their fiber is lovely for knitting!

Trace and I made spring rolls for dinner last night – delicious! I love making spring rolls for several reasons:

1. Trace loves to eat them

2. Trace loves to help me make them – I like to involve him in making our food when I can and this is an easy one to have him help with

3. It is a different and delicious way to serve root vegetables

For last nights dinner I used carrots, sweet potato, kale, duck, brown rice that had been cooked in turkey  broth and chives. The carrots and sweet potato were from the grocery store, the Kale was from Dig Deep Farm, the wood duck was one that River had gotten during duck hunting season and the turkey broth for the rice was from the turkey River got last week during turkey season. I like to use local food as much as possible!

Sometimes I add parsnips to the carrots and sweet potato for a sweet flavor and if I have cabbage I will use that too.

First I julianed the carrots and sweet potato – it doesn’t have to be perfect – but it works best because it cooks quickly and if the pieces are about an inch or so long and nice and skinny it is easier to eat. I saute them in a little olive oil and let them soften up a bit – after they have cooked about five minutes I move them all over to half of my large cast iron skillet and put in the kale – it always looks like so much till it is all cooked down – add some water and put the cover on the pan so the kale can steam away for a couple of minutes.

I took the kale out and put in the rice and the duck that I had cut up into small pieces – in the pan to warm up.

Trace and his little buddy picked a handful of chives from our yard and I chopped it up.

So we set it up – kale in a bowl – the skillet of veggies, rice and meat and the chives.

In front of that we put our cake pan full of warm water to soften the spring roll wrapper which are available at most grocery stores – and two plates – one for fabricating the spring rolls and one for the finished product.

Trace only likes the meat and the carrots and sweet potato mixture and the chives in his – and he likes to make them first (of course).

River and I like ours with sweet & sour sauce and soy sauce – Trace eats his straight up – no condiments necessary!

A yummy, fun dinner was enjoyed by all and I had fun putting it together with Trace.

I had made pumpkin bars earlier in the day but had not had time to make the frosting so after dinner River and Trace made cream cheese frosting for it – yum, yum, yum – a delicious end to a delicious meal!

I wish I had thought to take photos at the time because dinner was so pretty – but I didn’t think to – hopefully next time.

In our effort to simplify our lives, we, of course, made it more complicated first. We decided to divide our house in half going from a little over 2100 square feet to about 1100 square feet of living space.

We had this big playroom,

that Trace never played in.

It is now our main living space: kitchen, living room & dining room – and it is just right – we love hanging out in here – anyone who is on the couch is still part of what is going on in the kitchen – because  – everyone always wants to be in the kitchen!

Trace’s bedroom is closer so he plays upstairs or brings a bin of cars down and plays in the living room.

 

It is a really bright, cheerful space and it feels comfortable, warm and just right for our family.

We are making the other half of the house – with the original kitchen into a two bedroom rental unit – income baby! I still have some things to remove from the other side of the house – pictures hanging on the wall mostly, they will slowly make there way to the new space if I think they are necessary, but so far – we are all so happy with our space and couldn’t imagine anything better!

Or maybe I should rephrase that: River has been busy –  I have been lazy.

River has finished our raised garden beds – with the exception of one that we need a little more vermiculite for. They look great! The trellis’ are on them where necessary and they have some fresh seaweed on top of them that will leach nutrients into the gardens as they dry up and get mixed with everything else.  River gathered the seaweed from the river by our house the other day – he took the canoe out and filled it up – filling the back of the truck with the rich seaweed to grow our veggies!

The faucet came in for our new kitchen and it has been installed, but the water is not hitched up yet.

We have been doing a lot of cooking on the wood stove since it has been cool and the wood stove has been going anyway. It is really fun to cook in our new space, another fun aspect of cooking in here is that Trace can reach the top of the wood stove without standing on a chair (which always scares me a little how they have to lean in a little to reach – balance not always being perfect) so he is learning how to flip pancakes with the best of ’em! We have made pancakes (many of them), crepes, mashed potatoes, grilled cheese, stir fry, and more spaghetti sauce for pizza (yum)!

We finished reading the book Hatchet by Gary Paulsen as a family – it was fun to read together and it gave Trace many opportunities to tell us how he would do things if he were in that situation (and he had a LOT of ideas!) One of my favorite things to do is to read together whether we are all reading our own books or reading and listening to each other it is a calm restful thing to do.

So now – onto other things – I will keep you posted on our garden progress – it is almost time to plant spinach and other cold weather crops outdoors – I can’t wait!

 

Trace has been having a lot of stomach problems related to food sensitivities so we have to keep several things out of his diet for awhile one of which is yeast – so he can’t eat regular bread.

I had forgotten last night that we did not have anything to put in his lunch today so it was cornbread muffins for breakfast!

They were steamy hot with butter and strawberry, sumac or blackberry jam – yummy!

Trace choose to have his lunch ones with blueberry jam I hope they are just as good at lunch time!

(I took a photo to go with this post and I did not check it at the time – ug – I made a lovely shadow – so no photo of the yummy muffins!)

I just planted rosemary and thyme from seed in the house. We will see how they do. All the things I read on the internet said start from a cutting or a plant starting from seeds will produce poor results. Too bad – we bought the seeds – we are starting them from seeds. I am hoping for success if only to prove to all the doubters out there that they can be started from seed for the garden without too much pain and suffering!

Cross your fingers…

This past weekend was great! I organized my new pantry – it looks very pretty with all our canned goods lined up and pretty.  We got a table that we bought from a friend home and it fits our new space perfectly! Our new living space is so perfect for us – none of us want to spend time on the other side of the house because this side of the house is so comfortable!

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We also transplanted our rhubarb plants and River has been doing a lot of seed starting. We can’t wait for green things to grow in the garden!

Enjoy the week!

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