Monday, February 01, 2016

Planning Our 2016 Garden



We are having a beautiful February first here in New York state. I am amazed that our weather is so spring like in February! It is not normal at all, and I expect it to take a turn for the worse any day now. My husband likes it because he is not having to do so much shoveling this year. Of course, this year he bought the new Snow Wolf, which is a new type of shovel. He hasn't had the chance to use it in a really heavy snowfall yet this year. I figure though, that day will come.



Today I am studying my seed catalogs over. I have plans for our homestead garden this year. During the fall my husband took down four trees. One was our heirloom apple tree that was really old, but gave us a good yield every year. Last year was its best. The apples even tasted better than previous years. One whole branch was dead and had dried up leaves on it. The rest of the tree was covered with apples and we had plenty for us and our horses. One morning we looked outside and it was on the ground!



After it was gone, I was liking the openness of the area without it. We had just been talking about taking down the dead branch and the cherry tree next to it. So Larry took down the cherry tree but it was a complex chore. The tree was huge and had two parts, almost like having two separate trees. The roots of the tree had grown under our house and since we fixed that, didn't want it to damage it again. Besides we were afraid it might grow toward the well and damage that. If that happened, we'd be in BIG trouble! So down it came.



Once that tree was down, the backyard had a whole new look to it. I loved it! Now the garden would get a lot more sun. We discussed how we can make changes back there to improve our garden. Soon Larry took down the clothesline so he could take down two other trees back there. Both of them were in the raised bed I call the "snake bed" (due to its shape not the snakes). It is more open now, not only allowing more sun on the raised beds, but the big trees were blocking wind from reaching our wind turbine. The turbine is now producing even more power for us. We can really see a difference.








Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Getting On With Life



I am dreaming of this life,
on the other side of the fence.
As they say, the grass is always
greener on the other side of it.
Thinking life will be better,
in another place beyond, the place
I am in right now.



When I get to that new place,
how come I miss the old place?
Instead of being happy here, I miss
the old familiar rituals, people and ways.
Now it is too late to return and I am stuck,
forever in this new place.



Time to put the past behind,
get on with the new...
New routines, new friends, new ways,
after a period, this becomes my life.
Soon I start dreaming of a new life,
somewhere on the other side of the fence,
where the grass will be greener.......always.





Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Once A Month Income


The Binghamton Press, January 5, 1939
Look at those prices! 


It sure seems like life goes by in a flash. One day you are a young man or woman, the next thing you know, you are at retirement age. I remember my father always saying that it seemed like he had just graduated from high school. "Where did the time go?" he'd ask. Indeed, that is how I feel now. Right now my business isn't making enough that it affects my Social Security check. Some day it may. That is okay with me, because that means I'd have more money to live on. For now though, times are tight.



How do you stretch the money when you get paid once a month? Actually it is not once a month, but some months it is will be four weeks until your next check, and then some, five. Those are the killers. The months that you have to wait to get your check after five weeks is really hard. I don't know how we'd do it if I did not grow a garden. In the summer we have fresh vegetables that are basically free, if you do not include our hard work. The seeds are heirlooms that I save every year.




Our grocery bill is basically dairy products, meat, some fruit (bananas for Hubby and Rabbit, our house pet and berries for me in the off season that I can't pick them) and vegetables we like that we do not grow. I stock up on bulk buys often. Meat especially. I can it and the broth from it. Part of our supply is ingredients like oils, nuts, flax seed meal, almond meal and butter, seeds, baking supplies from a low carb perspective. I buy organic NON-GMO as much as possible.

The coffee we buy and love!

We also buy organic fair trade coffees and teas online. Items that we had no way to buy before are available online now. That has helped me a lot in changing over to an organic diet. Do you think it is a lot more expensive? Not at all. Do you know why? Because when I stopped eating high carb and processed foods, I started using that money to buy the organic foods. I buy what we eat at meals and don't spend a lot on snacks or things like.



I am not saying it is easy to stretch that money. It isn't. When you live with your own electric system though, that is a big help. Electric bills are a big part of those pay checks. I don't know how people do it anymore. There are so many bills that others have to pay that we do not. I am glad for us, but feel bad for everyone else. Now Christmas is almost here and everyone will be scrambling to buy presents. We don't celebrate it any more than just having a bigger dinner than usual that day. If I had to buy presents though, I' d be giving everyone gift cards to their local grocery stores. Our life in the forest, somehow just seems easier when compared to what most people living on once a month income must be going through.





Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole

All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Decluttering The Homestead Means Progress

Rabbit enjoying the wood stove heat!


The cooler weather is definitely on the way, our wood stoves have been fired up. Not at full capacity yet though. Mostly banked back. Which meant my husband had to clean our chimney already! Messy job, but he does it at least once a month, when it is banked back. Our pet rabbit, "Rabbit" has taken a real liking to the wood stove. Just like our cats have always hung out around the pedestal during the night, when it banked back in the cold of winter.



Fall is here!

Today I have been spending some time organizing upstairs in my house. It is so strange how it gets so cluttered so quickly when I am not looking! "How did all that stuff get here?" I ask myself. Can't blame it on my husband, as it all my stuff. It is amazing how when you throw stuff out, that you have been collecting for whatever reason, it frees you. Yes, that is what the minimalist write about and you think, "what are they talking about?" Well, it is true and it does. I feel so much better when I go back upstairs and all that stuff is GONE. Not just put in another box, but gone out of my house for good.

  Can't you just smell the fall leaves? Love that smell!

We are making plans for fixing our chimney, hopefully in the very near future. So it will be more efficient. Right now it has an adapter on the hole from the stove, where it connects to the chimney. The adapter changes it from  8" to 6". It was on it when we moved in here in 1999. Now we want to get rid of the adapter and the 6" pipe and make it 8". That is what the stove was designed and built for. We believe it would be much more efficient than it is presently.

Freshly Harvested Heirloom Carrots & Tomatoes

That is why I want to clean out the upstairs. More room to work while my husband is changing the chimney, since it goes right through the bedroom and out the roof. Then he can put insulation into the ceiling to keep the warm air in the house. Little by little, we need to get this work done. I am encouraged by the plans we have made recently to get this house into better shape. We can get a lot of work done inside the house during the winter. I hope to show you some progress soon!





Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole

All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Homesteading Income From Home

Our solar and wind systems

Living the homesteading life does not mean you have to isolate yourself or family from the modern world. People tend to think that. My husband and I have blended our off the grid, homestead lifestyle with the modern world for many years now. We both embrace technology since that is what allows us to live this way. To tell you the truth, it isn't all that hard once you have organized your life and everything is working. I am speaking of the solar panels, the wind turbine and all their components that makes up our alternative energy system.

Some of our raised beds

It affords you the option of working from home. You can be growing your own food, generating your own electric, supplying your own heating and cooking fuel by cutting wood and you can make your income right from your computer in your home. What could be better than that?

Satellite Dish at Peaceful Forest

Many people like the option of working for a company from home. Being a virtual assistant, telemarketing representative or working for an answering service, etc. is all available to people who like to work from home. That has never been something I wanted to do. I really like working for myself. In the beginning I was just writing. Writing blogs and eBooks because I have always loved writing my thoughts down. On and off during the years though, I have sold on my own websites, String Baby and Larry Lupole, which is now my husband's personal page.  Both of those sites are in the process of being redesigned and my husband will be working those.

Making a living from a secluded location

My favorite selling avenue has always been eBay. I used to sell there and would get mad that I wasn't making any money and I'd quit. Now I have learned to go with the flow and when sales are slow, just list more. The sales will always come again. I have been working on my store, katlupe's Shop day and night. I am really into it and it does take up most of my time. This year was not a good gardening year so I didn't get a lot of food to can. Usually that would send me to my local produce market to purchase more. Not this year. I just worked on my store all summer and fall. Now it is paying off!

Part of our home canned food supply

I had so much food canned from previous gardens that I really felt no need to buy more. I am planning on some big canning jobs after the end of the year. That will be meat, soups, stews, chilies and stocks. By then my store will be able to survive a few days of nonstop canning in my kitchen. For me, all of this ties together as being self-sufficient in these times we live in. I do not think of it as living "old fashioned," as many people believe. It is a matter of taking care of yourself and family.




Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer 2015


Summer 2015 at Peaceful Forest Homestead

Summers at Peaceful Forest are always nice. Even if the weather is not cooperating with my idea of summer time weather. It has been pretty cool at night. With our temperatures going down to the forties. Not real good for the garden. I made a big mistake and didn't plant as many green and wax beans as usual. I figured I would plant other vegetables, since my shelves are packed with various winter squashes and beans. At least those plants would be producing, even if it is not as much as normal.

Georgie Girl is not crazy about bugs either.

What has been abundant is the bugs! It is hard to even take the laundry down from the clotheslines. My poor husband has chores to do outside most of the day. He is pretty strong to put up with them all day long. I start to do something outside and I chicken out and come back inside. I have found that putting some peppermint essential oil diluted down in a carrier oil, keeps them away from me. I use that when I must be out in the garden. It works every time.

Stairs from root cellar to the pantry.

Since I am not working outside too much, I am getting a lot of work done on my root cellar. It is finally ready to be used again! I have waited something like five years for the foundation to be repaired and back together. You know us, we do our projects little by little, so that we pay for them instead of taking out a loan. Now it is fixed. I worked down there cleaning it out real good last week.

Containers of canned foods, as well as others.

All of my canned foods and empty jars have been in Rubbermaid ™ containers upstairs. That keeps the mice and bugs from getting on them. It might not look as pretty as other homesteaders' pantries, but I like it better that way. I had read about soda cans that were stored, spreading diseases from mice urine being on the tops of the cans. Yuck! I don't want to take that kind of chance, after all the work I do growing and canning it.

Original bin for apple storage built in 1850 in root cellar.

I hope to get the root cellar, pantry, kitchen and upstairs organized before winter. It is a long hard job for me since my knees cause me so much pain. I am doing a Candida cleanse diet and hoping it will take care of some of the health issues I have been having. It does make you feel better, if you can stay off ice cream during the summer!





Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole