Pioneering & Pictures

Have you ever read The Pioneer Woman?  This blog (along with Young House Love) single handedly (is that a word?) sometimes get me through my lunch hour at work.  My very favorite part of The Pioneer Goddess Woman is her Confessions. Frankly, I feel like I’m reading into my future (small scale – I only wish we had a full on ranch). I always find myself smirking and laughing out loud at her materials. She’s just so honest about everything that it’s a hoot.

She essentially sums up what I picture as the perfect life: a farm, a maybe not so clean house all the time but one that is lovingly and well lived in, livestock, poultry, a gaggle of dogs and maybe some geese, Mr. A’s God given backside in chaps, being smart enough to home-school (that one really is a dream, I’m confident but not that confident) and a hot cup of tea on the porch on a fall day. The fact is, we’re a long way from that. Hopefully within a year chickens will come, maybe a goat or two. The chaps, chainsaw as they might be, are bound to be broken out again come spring leading to one of my favorite views, and I’m not referring to a timbering tree.

If there is one thing I have down, right now as I write this it’s the “…maybe not so clean house all the time but one that is lovingly and well lived in…” part.

Where was I going with this? Side note: Mr. A will tell you that I am notorious for forgetting things. It’s really, really, really pathetic. I should have my head examined. If I could remember to.

Right – things that are important to me. I was going through my phone the other day and came across many pictures that made me smile and remind me how blessed I feel to have a simple, quiet out of the way lifestyle. There truly is nothing as sweet as loving the life you live, and going through it with your best bud by your side (or three best buds if you count the furry ones).  So here they are – in no particular order…except the last one, because really – it is the most important.

Camp

The love bugs.

The crotchety Old Lady who is not longer with us

Our first “home”

Mr. A at work

Tulips

Having the girls pull stunts like this when I’m feeling frumped. It’s impossible to feel frumped while they look like this.

Trust me. Country dogs are the best.

 

Painting. I didn’t say I was awesome. I just like painting.

Flea Markets

The Bovinest Women Around

This face

 

Enjoying the fruits of our garden, for months to come

 

Enjoying the fruits of nature, immediately (apples as it may be)

the feeling of freedom this gives me, and it’s only steps away from my door

and finally, for now -Mr. A. Seeing him in his element & happy is by far one of my favorite pleasures in life

 

Much love, happiness, homesteading and joy,

Heather

Home Brewed Aphid Control

Every year right around this time, when the garden is in the beginning stages, my annual arch nemesis comes out:

The Aphid.

These little bugs love to lay their tiny black eggs all over your sweet plants, curling the leaves and then hatch and eat the plants, so you can’t. It’s pretty annoying, and this year they have decided to lay their eggs on my brand new fruit trees, especially my pear.

There are a few things you can do to help control these buggers, but most of the time it involves chemicals. I grow my food not only to save money, but because frankly I specifically don’t want synthetic chemically treated plants and thus food.

So there was the dilemma: how to take care of these terrors without caving, and without paying with my firstborn for organic chemicals (and let me tell you, Aphids are not going to wait the shipping time it takes for them to get to you). Thankfully, after much research I found a recipe that seems to be popular across the board. I’ve read about it working on fruit trees as well as vegetables. Short of buying ladybugs or wasps to release into my yard (yes, there are indeed one alternative), I’ve decided to go the home brew route. I didn’t use exact measurements, I just used my spray bottle as a guide.

Aphid Control Home Brew: (approximate)

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • a few small cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • a teaspoon of dish soap
  • a teaspoon of vegetable oil

Mix the first three ingredients together with hot water and let steep for an hour or so. If you prefer, puree them all together first and then put in water to steep. Strain through cheesecloth or light dishcloth and put into a spray bottle with the dish soap and vegetable oil. About oil – know what it does to your skin on a sunny day? It will do the same to your plants, so be careful not to go overboard. Toasted plants might take care of aphids, but you certainly won’t get anything yummy to eat from them.

The other thing I threw into mine, which is also known to help with aphids, is some citrus. Do NOT add items with sugar, this is going to attract other unwanted pests (like ants) to your plants. I used straight lime juice and only a little bit, maybe a teaspoon or less.

Here’s a few other things you should do as well:

  • Clean the leaves each morning to get off any eggs
  • If your plant can tolerate it (i.e. not a new seedling) give the plants a good spray of water, and make sure to get underneath, this will knock the aphids off.
  • After cleaning and spraying with regular water, spray your plants with the mix above. Note that you’ll probably have to re-apply it throughout the season, this isn’t a one shot deal.

That’s all for now, go to town with that spray bottle and get rid of those buggers! I am determined to not let them have my crop this year, if blight doesn’t get some of it first again – but that’s another post for another day.

Inspector Out,

Heather


Bringing Down The Barn

This weekend we hit near perfect inexplicable weather to welcome spring to the countryside of Maine. The air brought birds, the occasional early mosquito – and the drive to get renovations started. The blue barn on our property used to serve as housing for pigs and chickens, but when we moved in it had long been vacant of any farm life, with the foundation in rough shape. We did find some cool things in the barn however, like old pipe which we saved, as well as some old rusted toys.

We nursed some storage use out of it for a few years but, in the end, with some of the outer wood rotting, it was time to come down. Though we’re building a new barn for our equipment on another part of the property, there will *something* odd about not seeing that old piece on our property.

Mr. A was able to salvage almost all of the wood from this barn for our future equipment shed we’ll be building on a different part of our property. It will be great to keep a little of the “old barn” in with the new one. My favorite part to salvage was the old rooster topped weather-vane. Though it’s long past it’s prime, I look forward to putting it my home as a display piece when we finish the house.

If there’s one thing I can say, now that the barn is officially down and the site is cleared, the view is absolutely stunning!

Mr. A gives two thumbs up for a completed demolition and reclaiming of materials

 

Happy Homesteading,

Heather