Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Drywalling Weekend

This weekend was spent drywalling walls. The ceiling is all done. First we put up a plastic vapor barrier since we were working on the outside walls.
Then we hung the top sheets. (Not a good idea with previous neck injuries. Holding up the drywall has caused both of us sore necks for a couple days :-().

Right after I took this picture, I started sawing out the cutouts around the windows.
Good arm exercise if you ever want to try it :-).
The bottom sheet was next and more cutting around the windows while Steve was attaching the drywall with 3 1/2" screws. The screws needed to be long to go through 2" of rigid insulation and the 1/2" drywall. We finished the south & west wall.
The woodstove will be in the corner left of the window. We plan on installing a river rock wall behind it. The walls will be knotty pine. We still have the north and east walls in the bedroom
to drywall and also the foyer but then we will be ready to mud & tape. We will also be calling the electrician to come & test all the electrical connections to make sure we didn't put a screw through anything before we mud & tape. It was not a typical installation of drywall due to the wires being covered up with the pink rigid insulation first.
We didn't work all weekend. We took time to go out to eat at the local Mexican restaurant and shopped at the food co-op before leaving.
Tomorrow I have the day off & plan on cleaning house, looking at the seed catalogs for weed barriers and cover crop ideas, and making son Shane dinner. It is supposed to be in the 70's but really windy. I may go up in the attic & get more stuff down to move to the farm too. I always run out of time...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Liver Cleanse Done

Last night I got a late start on the liver cleanse. I stayed at the shower a lot longer than I thought I would. I was a lot of fun. Amy's friend Leanna did a great job. They got a lot of nice presents and it was fun having everyone together.
 Anyway...home a little later than the 6pm I though I was going to start it at. I learned about this cleanse through my naturapathic doctor. It was right after I started my "living food" way of life. Some of you have expressed an interest in doing a liver cleanse. It is not just taking a pill or two. It is pretty involved but not hard to do. It just means freeing up a weekend to do it. There are other cleanses you should do before the liver cleanse though. A kidney & parasite cleanse. Instead of writing about it all (which would take forever :-),  here is a link to a website which uses the same liver cleanse I did last night. Please note that there are a few claims that Hulda Clark made originally that have been proven to be not true in all cases.
It is an interesting process to do this cleanse.  You must have Epsom Salts, organic grapefruit (not bottled juice), olive oil (some other oils can be used) and water. Other supplies are a pint jar with a lid and a straw to help you drink it all down. Scared yet? Oh yes, you will be making faces. It is ok to get some Emergen'C (vitamin C powder sold in drug stores) and add it to the epsom salt and water mixture. I did this for the first time last night. It helps a lot! Then there is the oil & grapefruit mixture. The only way to get that down is a straw. It really doesn't taste that bad it is just that you are drinking a diluted oil. Not the texture we are used to. So all of this starts in the afternnon or early evening, continues through the night and into the next morning. After you are done, you might feel weaker than normal (I do) but as soon as you start eating lightly the feeling goes away.
So you ask, is this worth it? I would say definitely "yes". Why? you ask. Here is a link to why your liver is so important to keep healthly. Yes it's Wikipedia, but it does seem to be very thorough.
Another good thing will come from this too. Something you have probably never seen come from your body. Little, beautiful, fluorescent green bile stones. No there won't be a picture of mine (you can find them on Hulda's site though.)Every time I've done the cleanse, they are there.
There. Are you going to do one? Don't do it because I said to do it. I can only do what I think is right for me through the knowledge I have learned in my studies. Totally your decision. Read through all the info provided and make your decision.

Steve is on his way home now. I'll write about his weekend later...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Welcome Spring!

It is snowing like crazy out right now. Actually, it's not bad when you know by Monday it'll be back in the 50's. I do hope it lets up before I drive to Amy's shower. Every time it snows, I wish I had an all- wheel drive Subaru instead of a Mini Cooper. Maybe someday. It never bothered me until the accident. Now when people follow to close I kind of freak out inside. Just knowing how it feels to get injured makes my "flight or fight" response kick in. Oh well...I'll just pop my book on tape in the DVD player and cruise down the road.
Everyone is showing interest in my liver cleanse planned for later today. I will post after the shower how to do it. It is not a kit bought at the store, but the ingredients are common and found easily. I can't say I look forward to the actual cleanse, but I do look forward to the feeling after the cleanse. The liver gets sluggish with toxins and really drags you down energy-wise. Even though my diet is mostly made up of fresh organic ingredients, I still feel the need to do a cleanse. Environmental toxins abound in this world. A healthy liver obviously works better to clean out those toxins.
Last night I broke out the books and tried studying for a while. Then I watched the movie "The Informant" with Matt Damon. It was pretty good. Then off to bed to read. Steve emailed me when he got up this morning to say "hi" which I appreciate because I slept in later than him :-). I don't get the chance to sleep in much so he didn't ruin it for me. He said the sun is out up there and he was going to start working on the drywall. I miss being up there with him, Mia sitting in front of the woodstove, the Amish going to town in their buggies, Brutus, the neighbor's dog, coming to visit. Oh well. Next weekend.
Jaelyn "milk drunk" after nursing :-)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tick Tock Tick Tock...the Nice Weather is Going Away...

Here I sit typing while Steve is driving up to the farm. I am staying home to attend Amy's wedding shower tomorrow. Right now it is sunny & in the 60's, but tomorrow....SNOW! Yuck! After a beautiful spring-like week...it is not welcome. Hopefully it is the last of it for the year. Right now it is snowing up at the farm so I hope Steve is having a safe trip. I'm heading out for a walk after I finish this post. Earlier I went out to lunch with Steve & his dad in Sycamore which is on the way for Steve to the farm. His dad seems to be doing good after Hilda's death. He got her ashes the other day and we will be planning a short trip to Canada to scatter her ashes. After that I met my brother to visit my mom at the nursing home where she is recovering from a broken hip. She was in good spirits and has started reading books again which is back to normal for her. The last time I visited she said she just stared out the window all the time & wasn't reading or watching TV.
So tonight it is movie night for me. I'll have to see what is available to rent. Tomorrow after the shower, I am planning on doing a liver cleanse. I'll fill you in on that later. I've done them before and it something almost everyone should do.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Back Home

What a great weekend with Kristin, Tim & Jaelyn! I got a lot of quality "holding time" in and so did Steve. She is such a sweet baby. When she smiles, it's like a full body smile. We all went out to eat Saturday night & she slept through it like a good girl. That is their first time out to eat as a family. We rented "Up in the Air" with George Clooney after dinner. Have you seen it? What did you think?
I am sitting on the couch with the other baby (no, not Steve) Mia. She has a new pet sitter now. Our neighbor Michelle has her own business and it worked out great. She sits with her for a 1/2 hour or more twice a day so Mia has company. Nice!
We are now getting out the calendar to see when we will have time to plant the garden this spring. We have a lot of things coming up. Two wedding showers, two weddings, three wedding receptions and a stay in April at Kristin's while Tim is in Germany for work. I think I will be going to the farm during the week when it gets closer to planting time to get things ready. No starting my own plants this year due to selling (and hopefully showing) the house. Things have changed on that front. We don't have it on the market right now due to refinancing our loan in case it doesn't sell. We have a loan currently that would reset in 2012. So if we end up having to rent it out, we want a fixed rate. We close in the next week or two and then we will try to sell by owner. It will give us more leeway on price due to not paying a realtor commision on the sale. I did find a great website that tells you what houses have sold for in your area & how many days & pricing info. They also have the current listing info on there too. It is redfin.com. Since there are so many houses for sale in our area, putting up our own sign with a blog about our townhome might work. I hope so.
This next weekend is Amy's shower. Steve will probably head to the farm to get more drywall done. I think the weekends are open for farm time after that until mid-April.

I'm sure all the snow is gone now. It was 63 degrees today up there.

Friday, March 12, 2010

More Seeds Arrived

Here is a list of the last (maybe :-)) seeds I ordered this Spring. I wanted to try different kinds, to be adventurous. Here they are with the description from the Seeds Savers website.

Garlic Chives-Nice mild garlic-flavored flattened leaves. Beautiful, white, star-shaped flower clusters are a pleasant surprise in late August. Good ornamental value. Perennial in zones 4-8.

Summer Crookneck Squash- Semi-open bush plants produce extended heavy crops of smooth light yellow fruits with curved necks, bumps develop after edible stage. Best eaten when 5-6" long. Creamy white, sweet mild flesh has excellent flavor. Keep picked clean to enjoy all season. 55-60 days.

Long Island Cheese Squash-I've grown this before. Excellent for pies. East Coast heirloom long remembered as a great pie squash by people in the New York and New Jersey areas. Named for its resemblance to a wheel of cheese. Flattened fruits are buff-colored with deep orange flesh, 6-10 pounds and a good keeper. 90-100 days.

Radish, French Breakfast-Oblong and blunt, rose-scarlet with a white tip. White, crisp flesh, mildly pungent flavor, top quality. Sow in the spring or fall, pick when small. A garden standard since the 1880s. 30 days.

Turnip, Purple Top White-Widely used since before 1880. Uniform 6" smooth white globes are best for eating when 3-4" in diameter. Sweet mild fine-grained white flesh. Excellent quality, stores extremely well. 45-65 days.

Soybean, Envy-Great short-season variety. Developed by Professor Elwyn Meader at the Univ. of NH. Upright 24" plants produce an abundance of all-green beans, excellent quality. 75-85 days.

Soybean, Fiskeby-Swedish variety bred by Sven Holmberg that thrives in northern climates. Use fresh or dried, highly nutritious, up to 40% protein, high in calcium, iron, and vitamins (particularly A, B1, B12 and C). 75-80 days.

Cucumber, Poona Kheera-Originally from India, this very unusual cucumber matures into what looks like a large russet potato. Tender, crisp, and delicious, smooth-skinned fruits turn from white to golden yellow to russet brown and may be eaten at any stage, skin and all. Hardy, disease resistant vines produce early with good yields. 55 days.

Beet, Chioggia- First introduced to American gardeners in the lat 1840s from Italy. Uniquely beautiful flesh has alternating red and white concentric rings that resemble a bull's-eye. Very tender, nice for eating and pickling. Retains markings if baked whole and sliced just before serving. A spectacular variety. 50 days.

Carrot,Dragon-The finest, most refined purple carrot available. Sure to be the best selling carrot at specialty and farmers’ markets. The beautiful reddish-purple exterior provides an amazing contrast with the yellowish-orange interior when peeled or sliced. Sweet, almost spicy flavor. 90 days.

Flower, Ladybird Nasturtium (edible)-Beautiful, unique, eye-catching orange-yellow flowers with bright red central markings. Edible flowers, like all other nasturtiums. Extremely dwarf plants are ideal for container gardening and pots, where space is limited, but will also thrive in normal garden conditions. Hardy annual, 8–10" tall
Flower, Black Velvet Nasturtium (edible)-Intense velvety-black flower, another completely unique color within this genus. Dwarf 10–12" plants are ideal for containers. For a great contrast, try adding blossoms to your fresh spring salads. Hardy annual.

This afternoon, I plan to spend some time trying to decide what kind of weed contol to use between rows of veggies and also which kind of floating row cover to get. There are different weights & transparencies. Any ideas? What has worked for you?

We are headed down to see Kristin, Tim & Jaelyn Saturday. So excited to see them! Jaelyn is 2 months old now. Time is flying by!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A New Week Starts

We are glad to have the ordeal over with of Hilda's death. Looking forward now to some normalcy in our lives.  We will also be extra observant as far as Steve's dad is concerned. He has diabetes and some trouble getting around due to circulation problems. Iwas able to meet a couple people from the family that I hadn't met yet at the wake Sunday.  It is good to put a face to the name. Too bad that a lot of times people don't get together except at funerals or weddings. Steve & his brother Bill stood up & talked about their mom at the service. It was a really nice touch. Then a bag piper played Amazing Grace at the end of the service and everyone was in tears. That was one of her wishes for the service. They had a bag piper at their wedding too. Here is a great 1950's picture of Steve's family.

Steve with sister Wendy & Mom & Dad

Hope everyone has a great week!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Apple Scion Order

Yesterday I emailed Mark Shepard, our friend and proprietor of New Forest Farms, an apple scion order. Last year we grafted apple trees but most of them didn't take. I don't think that we did them wrong (or maybe we did :-). The cuttings were still on the trees but leaning over or missing. I thought maybe the deer pushed on them & Mark thought maybe the birds landing on them did it. This year, most of the trees have wire around them & over the top so it shouldn't be a problem. So we will be at it again soon. We won't be going to the farm for a few weeks again. This Sunday is the wake for Steve's mom, next weekend we are visiting Kristin, Tim & Jaelyn and the week after is Amy's wedding shower.
I am also trying to decide whether or not to order more fruiting bushes. I've been thinking about aronia, ligonberry, gooseberry, paw paw, kiwi, mulberry and plumcot. (I'll write more about aronia when I'm not so tired.)
Here is the apple scions I ordered...

Tollman Sweet
Rhode Island Greening
Golden Russett
Sweet Alford

Each scion will do 2-3 trees.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Long Wait is Over

Yesterday morning Steve's mom passed away. I have been too busy & tired to write anything till now. It is a blessing that she is not suffering anymore. The years of dementia took there toll on her and the family. She was a strong-willed person all her life and she was the same in the process of dying. Rest in peace Hilda.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

No Change

Thanks so much for all the caring comments. She is still holding on. She is very strong willed and it looks like she will fight this until the end. Steve's dad is doing as well as can be expected. It has been a long ordeal for all of us. We stayed there last night as long as we could. Everyone is tired but we really don't want her to be alone. His dad is a diabetic and needs to take care of himself too. He is getting confused about the days & what is going on sometimes.  He has been going home at night so maybe a schedule needs to be worked out between the kids.
She seems very peaceful. They started to give her morphine yesterday in case there is any pain. Her lungs are filling with fluid so they have her on an oxygen mask . It just a matter of when she is ready.
My dad died over twenty years ago of a heart attack. Looking at her lying there reminds me of what we went through then. Medical technolgy has come a long way since then. Still, we aren't on this earth forever. Like it or not. And life does go on without us. I am hoping that being a caring, loving person is the memory that people will have of me when I am gone.
Yesterday as a distraction, I ordered more seeds from Seed Savers in Iowa. Also some transplants of peppers & tomatoes. When I get the chance I'll list the kinds I ordered...

Here are some pics from the weekend.
Eli & Lizzie's dog
Their sign at the end of the driveway
The first egg of theirs I cracked open

Monday, March 1, 2010

Back at the Farm Again...sigh

Friday we headed back to the farm. It's been a long time since we last set eyes on it. Tension gone, worries subside and the enjoyment of the country life begins, if even for a short time. We caught up with some of the neighbors, went to our favorite restaurant, slept in and didn't get much done. Steve worked on the drywall a little and I went through seed packets to see what else I might need. Eli & Lizzie are selling eggs now from their 43 chickens so we now have 2 dozen wonderful looking & tasting eggs. The first one I cracked open yesterday was a double yolker. Saturday morning Jim came over with 2 goose eggs for us. So fresh eggs all weekend. We talked with Jim about cover crops, the garden and fencing among other things. Spring is just around the corner. My new thought on the existing garden is to grow oats this spring & follow with a cover crop of winter rye. Having it fallow will help the soil replenish nutrients. A new garden would be added behind the existing one for this years veggies and herbs. Still in the thought process...
As good of a weekend we had, it ended with a phone call from Steve's brother about his mom. She has been in a nursing home for several years with vascular dementia. She has been shutting down in the last week and they thought that she was dying yesterday. Her breathing was labored, lungs filling with fluid and blood pressure dropping. We packed up everything as fast as we could & headed back. She is still with us but probably not for long. It has been very hard for the family to watch her go through this process since being diagnosed. We can only hope that she is at peace now, waiting to join her loved ones.