Like A Cup Of Tea http://www.likeacupoftea.com Homesteading and A Handy Husband Thu, 29 Jan 2015 13:49:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Chirp Chirp http://www.likeacupoftea.com/chirp-chirp/ http://www.likeacupoftea.com/chirp-chirp/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 17:00:18 +0000 http://www.likeacupoftea.com/?p=4762 The birds are not chirping, but I’m sticking my head out from my little hibernation hole and chirping, hence the title of this post.

This break has been wonderful, and has been much needed. I’ve had some time to think about things, and realized my renewal of “Like A Cup of Tea” was coming up. That’s when it hit me – this blog is staying put. Here’s what I’m toying with right now:

  • Writing? Your guess is as good as mine for frequency. I’m still very busy and all the same reasons in the last post still hold. Time is simply limited.
  • Instagram? I post as I see fit. It’s fairly regular, except when it’s not.
  • Comments? HEYO. THEY ARE BACK. I don’t think it was fair to write my last post and then completely shut down comments. As well, I’ve been receiving emails about certain posts and how-to’s. I think it would be a lot more fair for these to be comments where everyone could access them, versus emails directly to me that don’t help the general population. So, comments are back on. Plus, if I do end up writing sporadically again I’d like them to be available. I’ll do my best to respond to comments in a timely manner and hopefully this will be a good thing for everyone.

I hope you’re all having a nice New Year and the holidays were kind to you. 

Until next time,

Heather

P.S. We no longer have the third dog mentioned this post from the autumn. Bella went to her forever home at the beginning of the year, but is close enough that we might get to watch her when her owner travels, etc. Three dogs ended up not being for us, and Bella has an (awesome) new owner and a buddy she gets to hang out with. We’re very very happy how it turned out. No more fosters though (famous last words).

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A Quiet Winter http://www.likeacupoftea.com/a-quiet-winter/ http://www.likeacupoftea.com/a-quiet-winter/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 16:56:13 +0000 http://www.likeacupoftea.com/?p=4759 read more »]]> Hey guys. I haven’t written in a month which is far less than I ever hoped for this blog. It’s time, at least for a long while, for me to walk away from writing. I don’t have much time I’m willing to dedicate to the blog anymore between work, family, regular life, taking time for myself, graduate school and managing other aspects of my life which need focus right now. I’m working on not needing certainty in life on things, and so I can’t give any certainty on the future of this blog. I’ve decided to disengage from social media as much as possible except for managing accounts I need for my professional career. This means I am no longer, at this time, posting to Instagram or Facebook. I need to step away from the barrage of posts about my life, live my life and spend the time I would normally spend posting photos about my life, checking what everyone else is up to all the time, seeing if I “connected” with people through likes, etc. and refocus on what really matters – my relationship with God and those around me in a very real way.

I’ve mentioned this once before, but rarely discussed it because I refused to let it lead my life. That said, for anyone who is dealing with anxiety, OCD or any other disorder like I do – please just remember to turn to God. It’s hard to trust intuition and your heart, which everyone says to, when the disorder you have makes you doubt everything. That said, please remember to pray your way through. Worrying and compulsions only makes everything worst. Get help. It works. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6. And remember, your thoughts are not God’s thoughts. Your ways are not God’s ways. God loves you and cares about you. Worry hinders our relationship and is a great way to doubt to sneak in and ruin it.

Open your hearts. Find your peace and work on letting go of uncertainty and not needing to “fix” things. For those of us with OCD, uncertainty about situations is the hardest pill to swallow. Remember to laugh at life including the ridiculousness that is OCD. 

That said, I’m leaving this blog up so people can continue to read the past, and so I can have an archive of items. I will however be shutting down comments. Thank you for your comments and reading over the last few years.

I feel like I should put a joke in here to lighten things up, but instead I’ll encourage you to log off your computer, your social media, all of it – and go find a real laugh with a real human in real life. Get that belly hurting from laughing and share a moment.

 

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Autumn in Maine and Other Great Things http://www.likeacupoftea.com/autumn-in-maine-and-other-great-things/ http://www.likeacupoftea.com/autumn-in-maine-and-other-great-things/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 14:00:50 +0000 http://www.likeacupoftea.com/?p=4752 read more »]]> I feel like a bear coming out of hibernation. I miss you guys like woah, and I miss writing here for you. Alas graduate school and other life happenings are still taking most all of my time, but I’ve been doing my best to keep you guys updated on Instagram. Things are going good in the class and so far I’ve been doing really well, which is a huge relief to me. I’m taking two more classes in a row after this one but I HAD to stop in here and tell you about some exciting things that have been going on. This is going to be a long post because I don’t know when I’ll get to write again.

First, it’s fall in Maine. So that in and of itself is pretty exciting. It’s the most beautiful time of the year around here. Until spring and then I proclaim “Spring is the most beautiful time of the year around here” because duh, after a super long freezing cold goodness-gracious-do-I-have-any-feeling-left kind of winter, a 50 degree day is THE MOST GLORIOUS thing in the entire world. That won’t be for another handful of months though, so while my amnesia of what the end of winter is like is in full effect, I am just excited for the crunchy leaves, the wood stove starting to rip more often, and the anticipation of the first fall.

AutumMaineSecond, it’s my birthday month. I turn 31 this month. THIRTY ONE. Turning thirty had no bearing on me. Turning thirty one is screwing with me just a little bit. I am not longer TURNING thirty, I am IN my thirties. I don’t know why this makes me feel old, considering logically it’s not, and that most of the time I’m acting like an old lady anyway. I always had this sort of life plan of things that would happen, but they stopped at 30. Now I guess the fun begins. If by fun I mean anxiety at ripping the rug out from under myself and trying to embrace uncertainty. That’s totally my favorite thing to do in the same way accidentally bumping my hand on a hot stove is my favorite thing to do. You learn to deal with it and move on. That said, I thought I’d have a kid when I was 30. Not IN my 30’s, but 30. Life has a funny way of going “HAHA NICE PLAN.” I’ve been getting into running though a bit more again, which helps with everything.

Running

That’s okay though, because there is a new member of our house and she’s pretty great…which leads me into…

Third, we have a third dog. Surprise, it’s another six year old female yellow lab. We were fostering her part-time this summer, but we started fostering her full-time a few weeks ago. I get way too attached way too fast which is why I have never fostered. We’re fostering her from an older woman who could no longer care for her and was heartbroken about it, but it was the right thing to do. What this means is that we’re not fostering her through anyone but we’re trying to find an awesome home for her ourselves. What this REALLY means is that anytime Andy mentions a possible home for her I plug my ears and go “LA LA LA LA LA I CAN’T DISCUSS THIS RIGHT NOW” and then snuggle Bella and remind Andy that we are NEVER GETTING RID OF HER EVER. Unless the perfect home comes along. I mean, more perfect than ours and ours is pretty perfect so….

We have a third dog and I’m not discussing any alternative options to that right now.

Bella

Fourth, the master bathroom has drywall! We started working on it this spring and then didn’t touch it again until last week for the most part. I wasn’t neglecting on updating you, we were just neglecting to work on the bathroom at all. So many other things needed to be done, like gardening, fixing a free boat, etc.

BathroomDrywall

Fifth, FREE BOAT. Sort of. Well, my neighbor got a free boat. Then Andy worked his ridiculous magic (I still believe he is a government experiment in talent and ability) and all of the sudden this boat that sank to the bottom of a lake works again. It works really well. So we now have a 1989 Bayliner at our disposal to use whenever we want in the summers. Requirements include Duran Duran, Whitesnake, and bikini’s that go up and over the hips.

80sBikinis(From DoYouRemember.com)

Sixth…okay there are a lot of other things. Let me sum them up so this isn’t much longer, and it will give me something to HOPEFULLY strive to find time to write about later. We pressed 20 gallons of apple cider from wild apple trees. After giving some away and drinking some, 11 gallons remain in our freezer. I intend on making some of this into hard cider. I haven’t ventured into that though so I expect that will be coming up shortly. We also turned under the garden for the year with the exception of the cabbage and carrots. Everything else is done. We’ll need to harvest those items, bush hog, and lay black plastic down soon so we can get our garlic planted. Andy has done a heck of a lot of firewood this year, and a few nice saw logs ended up out at the sawmill. Our neighbors bought their own large sawmill up at the farm and are building a shed over it. We have fire wood stacked under the porch this year to keep it dry and easy to access *deep breath* annnnnndd that’s about it right now.

Does that sum up well enough?

Like I said, follow me on Instagram in the mean time at @likeacupoftea. I update there pretty frequently with dog photos and other on goings. Hopefully I can get back onto here more, but you know, I’m turning 31 and I can officially predict NOTHING that will be happening.

All for now.

xo,

Heather

 

 

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Upcoming Schedule http://www.likeacupoftea.com/upcoming-schedule/ http://www.likeacupoftea.com/upcoming-schedule/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 16:58:18 +0000 http://www.likeacupoftea.com/?p=4749 read more »]]> Hey everyone. It’s been a long while since I wrote, so I figured I’d give you guys a heads up on a few things. As you know from earlier this summer (if you read then), I am in graduate school. Graduate school means unfortunately having to step away from other things I love. That means writing consistently for this blog. I’m not planning on walking away entirely, but I can’t commit to a schedule at this point. There may be weeks I write multiple times, there may be radio silence. I don’t want to create content just for the sake of creating content, especially when my time is limited. As you can imagine, working full time, graduate school and living life in general takes up quite a bit of time. That often means in the little downtime I have the last thing I want to do is edit photos and write a blog post when I could be exercising, playing with the dogs, spending time with family, etc.

You can still follow me on Instagram (www.instagram.com/likeacupoftea) or @likeacupoftea. I still post snippits of life there. I guess I’m more of an “instagrammer” these days than a blogger. I’m not sure if that trend will continue, or what will happen.

Since I can’t give you a set schedule to check back on the website, I highly recommend looking over on the right sidebar and typing in your email under  where it says “Your Personal Cup of Tea”. This will send you an email each time I post.

I hope you’re all having a nice summer, and you have a beautiful fall. Don’t hesitate to read back through archives and comment, I’ll get email notifications of comments so I should be able to respond quickly to those.

Take Care,

Heather

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Letting The Garden Fallow http://www.likeacupoftea.com/letting-the-garden-fallow/ http://www.likeacupoftea.com/letting-the-garden-fallow/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 14:00:29 +0000 http://www.likeacupoftea.com/?p=4735 I thought this post was scheduled to go up last week, but it wasn’t. This is what happens when vacation brain kicks in. Without further ado, a new post.

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August is a big month for us around the house. It’s my last full month before another graduate class starts, but it’s also the month we harvest a significant portion of produce from our gardens and start planning next summers garden.

2014BlueberriesExcept, next year, there won’t be a garden. At least not in the same format that we’ve had our six gardens in the last seven years we’ve lived here. Here’s why: the soil. I’ve found the most important part of gardening is learning to read the soil. This is something I’m still learning every year with every garden we have. It’s a science and an art. The soil tells me just about everything I need to know about my garden, and this year it’s screaming for mercy. We do crop rotations (i.e. planting a nitrogen fixer where the previous year was a nitrogen feeder) for both insect infestation control and soil management. I care a lot about our soil as it’s own living structure and don’t believe in perpetually placing synthetic petroleum based amendments, or even organic, to force it to continue to produce when it’s so clearly needing some rest.

This year we’ve had a pretty intense weed struggle, more so than any other year to date. The weeds are OUT OF HAND.

DSC_1249-01This is the same side of the garden we had the worst trouble getting anything to grow before the weeds announced themselves. Take a look in the bottom left corner. Those are basil plants. It’s the one area I’ve managed to keep a little bit weed free. Those basil plants should be double the size they are, and they almost haven’t changed size at all since being planted. The other side of the garden also has basil plants which are doing fabulous. Along with the better basil, the rest of the garden is growing healthy and with minimal soil pests, so we’re happy about that. Still, the weeds need some serious control throughout, not just in the horrendous “I give up” patch above.

DSC_1247-01After six gardens in the same (but slightly expanding every year) plot, we’re going to do a controlled fallow of the garden. Our plan is to use black plastic to starve most of the weeds, but we’re still going to plant some items through the black plastic like garlic and potentially tomatoes. We’ll be building a bean fence or tent somewhere else in the yard, and we’ll use another 2×40 ft bed we have to grow squash, cuc’s and some greens in. We’ll figure out the rest for the things like cabbage, radishes, broccoli, basil, etc. Perhaps raised beds somewhere else, perhaps another garden plot, who knows.

Here is, more or less, the proposed fallow plan:

  1. Prior to tilling the garden this fall, take soil core samples and send them to the University of Maine for soil testing to get an accurate reading. This has needed to be done for years. It’s about time.
  2. Spread manure and compost on the garden and till the entire plot.
  3. Cover the entire garden in black plastic.
  4. Cut slits in the black plastic and plant garlic in the side of the garden with the least weed damage.
  5. Early spring pull up the black plastic over the asparagus patch and heavily mulch with mulch straw or second cutting hay from the previous year.
  6. Hope for a hot spring and cook the garden until late May, early June.
  7. Repeat for a second year if needed.

There’s nothing quite like seeing a large beautiful garden filled with food in the back yard. However, taking care of the soil is vitally important or there won’t ever be food growing there again in any kind of quality or quantity. It will be nice to get more of our land into production anyway, and this is the perfect issue to force us into it. As for right now though, this beautiful August month in Maine, we’re going to keep harvesting, weeding, and enjoying the fruits of our labor.

DSC_1228-01Heck, worst comes to worst, we join a CSA for the summer to supplement our smaller garden. We’ll get to try veggies that we potentially don’t grow yet while also supporting a local farm. I’ll call this a win-win.

xo,

Heather

 

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