Saturday, March 21, 2015

Planning Our Garden Now

Summer 2014

Spring has started here in New York with a fury of cold weather and snow. That is not unheard of. Though most people forget that. I take this time to get some chores and projects finished in my house since soon I will be into gardening season. I am making a lot of plans for our new garden. We are adding some fruit sources to our homestead this year. I regret doing it so late, but better late than never, as the saying goes.

Some of our raised beds

This morning I took the time to make a list of the herbs and flowers I need to add to our garden. I have spent so much time cultivating the vegetables that I don't have any area devoted strictly to the medicinal and culinary plants we need. One stone raised bed has two trees in it and I am hoping my husband sees it in his heart (with all the other projects he is waiting for the weather to warm up so he can tackle)  to take those trees down. One tree has my clothesline attached to it. He wants to change that set up so that is no problem.

The Snake Bed

That raised bed we refer to as the snake bed, not because it has snakes (though it does), but because of the shape. Long and curling. I think it would be a good spot for the medicinal and culinary plants. And one section for the asparagus bed. This year I plan on increasing our greens and salad vegetables. I don't even know if I will bother with squashes as I have a huge amount canned. If I do, I will plant only one or two plants of winter and summer varieties. Probably zucchini and one winter type.

Nutmeg's Garden

I have a special bed (called Nutmeg's Garden) for lemon balm because it takes over the whole bed. Last year it got plowed under by mistake and I didn't have much of a crop. That was okay though, as the years before it was too much for me to harvest or handle. I am thinking that if I have it growing that much again, I will offer it for sale. It is a good medicinal plant. The leaves can used fresh or dried for fevers, period cramps, headaches, colds, insomnia and other uses to many to mention here. I wrote about it in a past post, Lemon Balm: Food or Medicine. What special plans are you making for your 2015 garden? Don't forget the herbs!

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

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rabbit Loves A Challenge


I wrote in my previous posts about our pet rabbit. I learn from him (and all my pets actually) every day (I call it  Pet Lessons.). He loves a challenge! He will keep at something over and over until he accomplishes it. Many people don't do that. Rabbit hated the bathroom being blocked off from him. I had put a board in front of the door (that I thought he couldn't jump over.......silly me!) and he kept sizing it up for a jump. Soon he was over it and I took the board down. One challenge over, time for a new one.

Working with Rabbit

Our stairs are pretty steep in our house. Sometimes, I can't go up them due to my bad knees. I never pictured Rabbit going up and down the stairs. Soon he was halfway up. A few days later, he was all the way up. He hasn't gone back up there, but I think when my husband moves his studio up there, Rabbit will up there a lot more. He likes to lay near my husband's feet (like a dog does) when he is on the computer. The thing I learned is to never give up. This little guy has been through a lot in his short life. Does it hold him back? Nope. He does what he must to accomplish whatever he is trying to do.

Jumping Down

The day before yesterday, Rabbit had a new goal. He wanted to jump onto my husband's lap while he was on the computer. He tried twice, but fell. Both times my husband wasn't paying attention to him and wasn't able to help him. Rabbit kept at it until he jumped right up on his lap. He bumped his head on the desk, but he was very happy to have made it. After that, he concentrated on the jump down. He didn't want my husband to put him down. He had to do it himself. Then it was up and down a few times that day. His day yesterday, was a whole other story which I will share soon.

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

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A House Rabbit? Yes!

I shared my story of our newest pet, Rabbit, in my last post. Since that post, that was back in January, he has become a house rabbit. It was way too cold for him out there by himself. If he lived with other rabbits he could have cuddled up for warmth. It got where 10 and 20 below zero was the normal temperature here. Not just one night, but for a number of days in a row. The daytime temperatures weren't much better. Very cold for this little guy.

I was worried how he'd handle the change from running free outside to being confined in the house. Not to worry. He took to it fine. I bought him a  special rabbit cage on Amazon. He doesn't seem to mind being in it. At first, I only took him out to clean it and he didn't seem to like being held. Instead of putting him in a box while I cleaned it, I set him on some paper nearby. While I cleaned, he seemed happy being out of the cage. Really stretching his legs. The funny thing is that he would not step off that paper. Later I told my husband about it and he suggested letting him out of the cage and see what he does.

We made a little litter box for him out of a cardboard box. He loved it! Soon he was running and jumping through out the house. Both of us were enjoying the antics of our little man. I researched online and found out that many people have house rabbits. I am learning little by little on how to take good care of him. The one thing I didn't realize is that him being a male, means that he will be marking his territory. Always near my husband! Not a good situation.

Needless to say, next week Rabbit has an appointment with a vet. I dread it and look forward to it at the same time. The reason I dread it is having to put him in the kitty carrier and take him in the car for a long ride. I tried to find a local vet, but they don't know how to treat rabbits yet. I worry about the procedure and hope he comes through it fine. I look forward to having this step behind us soon!

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

Monday, January 26, 2015

Our New Pet at Peaceful Forest

Georgie Girl, "boss" horse talking to her friend, Rabbit. 

Georgie Girl is not some mild mannered elderly horse. Even though she will be 20 years old in March, she is very spirited, and does not take to everyone like she has taken to our little rabbit. She really is attached to him. I think she protects him from getting stepped on by the other two horses.


Imagine my husband's surprise, back in September, when he went out to clean our barn and he heard something or someone, banging around in the back where he stores our tools. He came in the house and said, "You'll never guess what I found in the barn!" It is not often you find a white rabbit in your barn. From his wounds, I believe he was dropped here by an owl. I tried to get close to him so I could doctor his wounds. Never could.

"Oh, boy, Hay!"

He just stayed in the barn and slept under a big wood box we have for kindling. Pretty much hidden. As long as he had hay, he was happy. During the day, he'd be outside eating grass on the lawn. He never bothered anything in the garden at all. Every night, he'd be back in the barn.

Eating grass around the ramp!

As he got better and recovered from his wounds, he started coming closer to the house. He put on more weight and started filling out. Soon his wounds were completely healed and gone. No sign of them anywhere now. I truly believe animals can heal themselves better than humans can. My animals have all had instances where most people would have rushed them to the vet. By not doing so, my animals have recovered quicker and more fully. In fact, my animals live long active lives.

Rabbit telling Larry good morning!

Soon he was running toward my husband on the path, circling his feet and acting excited to see him. I checked my Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery, for foods we could feed him. She mentioned carrots, greens and oats. Well, I can tell you he really loves oats! I was scared our cats would try to attack him. Especially Spots, who is a tomcat, and half wild. Nope! Instead I saw them playing together. Rabbit was chasing after the cats, instead of the other way around! He is very social.

Rabbit enjoying a meal of carrots!

I never thought we'd have a pet rabbit. Now I am glad we do. He is a free spirit, like all our other animals.

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

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Making Memories With People and Pets You Love

The Heart of the Homestead! The Barn!

When we first moved here in 1999, the forest grew almost up to our house. There was a little bit of yard, but not too much. It had never been taken care of as a lawn. This was a hunting camp, so no need to do that. In the summer, the owners did not use it that often. It was a mess. None of the hunters over the years who had owned it, cared about it enough to take of it. Once we moved in my husband made a lot of changes around here. One of the first was to remove the brush and blackberry bushes that surrounded the back yard. Then he built an outside campfire area with benches, for us to have outside fires in the evenings.

Hollie Sunshine with her baby, Angel Sunshine

One of my favorite memories was when my stepdaughter, Hollie and her baby, Angel, would spend a few days with us. We'd spend most of the evening out at the campfire talking, cooking food and roasting marshmallows. My husband would start playing his guitar, while he and Hollie sang songs he had written, and some that he hadn't. Hollie knew all the words to his songs, and had a beautiful voice. She was his biggest fan! Her and my husband were a lot alike in many ways.

Our Campfire

My son, Jeff was living with us here at that time too. One morning, we were all sitting out there cooking breakfast on the campfire. We were drinking coffee and talking, when our friends, Jim and Jessica, arrived for a visit. It was such a nice morning, because there we all were outside. Nikita was still a puppy and Angel, my husband's granddaughter was still a baby. Nikita would watch her if Hollie went inside for anything, by sitting close to her and not moving. Guarding her!

Peaceful Forest in earlier years

We offered them coffee and sat around talking. It always gives me a good feeling remembering times like that, because most people sit around inside their houses when visitors arrive. Hollie loved our house as much as we did. She loved the idea of living in the forest. She tried her best to buy a trailer, to move out on a piece of property nearby. Unfortunately, she was never able to attain that dream she had. She got the trailer, but never got to buy the property, to move it to. She had too many obstacles in her way. I think if she had, she may have found a new direction to take her life, and would still be with us.

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

Friday, January 16, 2015

Low Carb Breakfasts Can Be Whatever You Desire

One aspect of low carb eating that I really like is that I can eat bacon, ham or sausage with my morning eggs. Do I miss toast? Not at all! I'd rather have more bacon or cheese on my eggs. Omelets are easy and you can add whatever you want to them. Peppers, onions, mushrooms, celery, etc. It makes it easy when you go out to a restaurant. Just be sure to have them hold the toast and potatoes!

One of my readers asked for some ideas of low carb breakfasts that do not consist of bacon and eggs. I know for myself, I get tired of scrambled eggs every morning. In fact, I don't usually eat them that way. At the present time, I am detoxing myself from Candida, so my food choices are limited. No bacon, sausage or ham. No cheddar or Swiss cheese either, which are my favorites.

The one thing I want to mention is that I used sugar-free syrup previously on my low carb food plan. Now I am trying to limit myself to using Stevia, and maybe a bit of Erythritol, though I am still experimenting with it. It doesn't seem to effect me in any way. The other sweetener I have on hand, but haven't used yet is Xylitol. Some of my recipes include Splenda, as the sweetener, but I won't be using that. It is up to you which you choose.

When I began this post, I thought I had photos of my low carb meals in my computer, but no. I will be taking pictures of all the food I make from now on, so I can share it. Some of the foods I eat for breakfast are not breakfast foods at all. I eat leftovers quite a lot for breakfast. Here are some other breakfast ideas that I make:

Omelets with cheese, bacon, sausage, ham, onions, peppers, celery, mushrooms, etc. - you can make an omelet with just about anything, even cream cheese!

The One-Minute Muffin or one of the variations of it, which there are thousands of ways to eat this thing.

The Mock Danish is absolutely my favorite. I love it! This can be varied also.

Chicken, turkey, ham or salmon salad - I keep at least one of these in my refrigerator for snacks or breakfast.

Deviled Eggs - Yes, I know it is another egg dish, but you can vary these too. Check out Dana Carpender's books and see how she makes deviled eggs seem new.

Low Carb Cereals are common too, though I have never tried any of them. They are basically made with almond meal, flax seed meal and sweeteners and added nuts or seeds or berries, of some sort.

Smoothies - I use organic yogurt or cream. Add some berries, sweetener and almond meal or flax seed or coconut and maybe some type of flavoring extracts.

Cream Cheese Pancakes - Click for the recipe on the "I Breathe, I'm Hungry" blog. They sound really good and the ingredients are so simple: cream cheese, 2 eggs, sweetener and cinnamon.

Once you start exploring the world of low carb food on Pinterest, you will be making breakfasts that are out of this world. I love trying new ideas and experimenting! I like to make the recipe for my taste, so that means I will eat it more often. I will be posting more low carb recipes and photos in the near future.

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