Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring someday?!

I remember when last year spring came on time (or close enough). I remember the warm summery days, mowing the grass, planting and weeding the garden, dodging black flies/mosquitoes, running in the evening, and taking family bike rides. I am not sure if we'll get to enjoy many of the wonderful spring activities this year. Easter is in two weeks and we still have mountains of snow on the ground. Today is Maple Syrup Sunday and it is around 2 degrees with the wind chill. (Whine warning) I just want to go outside and run! And clean the chicken coop.   If you can't tell I have CABIN FEVER! We had a few days 2 weeks ago where the temps reached 40s/50s and I ran and took walks, cleaned up a bit, and now it is below freezing again and it is really bumming me out.

Here are some lovely photos from summer 2014. How wonderful!

someday?! I hope someday soon! Have a great day; stay warm.

shelby g

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Chickens

This winter has been difficult for the chickens. Since mid December the chickens have left the coop a handful of times.  The poor babes.  They just don't like the cold snow on their feet. Cleaning the coop is challenging and we are using the "deep litter method". Basically the bedding is frozen to the floor and we can't remove it so we have been adding more shavings on top of that. This is suppose to provide additional insulation for the coop and also as the shavings break down it should give off some heat... but that's not happening! Much too cold. 

But these ladies (and gent) have hunkered down for the winter. We are pleased to have a nice large coop for them. We leave a red heat lamp on for them; not sure how much heat it provides since many of them have frostbitten combs. But it kept them laying at least 4-6 eggs a day up until a few weeks ago. Now we are getting one egg every few days but I suppose they need to take a break to gear up for spring! Which should be just around the corner. We also added a dust box made of diatomaceous earth, wood ash, garden dirt, grit, oyster shells, and dried meal worms.  They love bathing in the dust and it should help keep the mites down if there are any.

And in May we will have 10 more chicks to add to the flock during the summer. Our older ladies will be 3 years and the others 2 and their laying has dropped off so we figured it would be best to add more chickens to the flock since we sell our eggs and haven't been able to for a few months.  Can't wait for the arrival of the new chicks since I am sure Audrey will love them.

have a good day!

shelby g

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Setting Sun

Notice anything different?

The images are from 2 different angles and one looks much, much warmer than the other. But our ash trees are gone! These trees were planted by the previous owner when he was a kid; 80 years ago or so.  Why did we cut them down?  Well I wanted to keep them and Mr. Meanie wanted to cut them down. One of the ash trees was way too close the the house and rubbed up against the roof and made it difficult for the roof to dry (and so there was a lot of moss breaking down asphalt shingles) and the other ash tree would have hindered our kitchen rebuild. 

So what happened to the trees?  Well the branches became this giant pile to burn in the spring:

And some of the larger branch/trunk pieces will become tool and axe handles.  Large trunk rounds will become the pegs used to hold the timbers together for the kitchen frame (I am in charge of pegs!), and the rest became fire wood! Giving Trees indeed!

Today was a lovely day, in the 30s (only in Maine is this considered warm!). It snowed about 4 inches of wet snow last night but the sun managed to burn through by midday.  Audrey, Carlie, and I took a walk around the plowed parts of our property, visited the chickens, attempted to make a snowman, and watched Carlie chase a black cat around the barn (I guess we have a winter visitor).  The days are much longer now, sun setting around 5:30pm, and the sun has more heat to it.  The forecast calls for cold weather and more snow but the last 2 storms have felt more like spring storms so I am hopeful.

Here's our sunset today:

have a good night!

shelby g

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

My Valentine

This post is a little late but Audrey figured out how to pull the SD card out of the computer and hide it. I have found one (and then lost it) and am still missing another one. But I managed to glean some photos off FB to share!  This is my Valentine.

Mr. Meanie spent the last 25 days busting butt, literally through blizzards and below zero temperatures to cut 16 beams, 20+ feet long. He rigged up an Alaskan Chainsaw Mill (since in the first picture) and cut spruce and hackamatack logs down to size. With the weather, the stomach flu (yes, we all got it), and breaking chainsaw blades my husband continued to push through the project. These beams will become the timberframe supports for our new kitchen L.  Based on his progress we will clear out our old kitchen L, dig and pour the foundation, and raise the frame by May!  Weather permitting, of course. 

For this upcoming month we will order our kitchen cabinets, counter tops, range, and windows.  I suppose we'll also order doors as well. Jeff will finish up the shorter 10 foot beams on a portable saw mill along with make all the rough boards to use as the subfloor, along the walls, and ceiling.  He will also notch the beams and I am in charge of making ash pegs. 

And spring is hopefully just around the corner!

shelby g

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Last of January

The last of January brings another blizzard and a sick babe. After "Juno" earlier this week that dumped around 18 inches of snow and drifted up to 5 feet we all felt that we'd had enough of snow and winter! But, no, it's not done.  Although this storm came in slowly it has gained force through out today. Mr. Meanie spent the morning snow blowing to just clear out the bad drifts and I fear he'll have to go out again tomorrow. Not the best beam making weather either so he's stuck in the barn planning out the house all day.

And we have a sick toddler. Oh so sick!  She came into bed with us this morning and she seemed to feel ok until she threw up on us. The joys of parenting!  She can't seem to keep solid food down at the moment but she has been sipping at water all day and is interested in food just can't eat it. 

Well I am off to snuggle with Audrey... see you in February!

shelby g

Monday, January 26, 2015

Snow Dyeing

Well, we have plenty of snow.  Plus sub-zero temperatures. The chickens, cats, dog, and humans won't go outside (other than my husband... he's cutting up beams!). A few weeks ago I decided to bring a little snow inside to do a dyeing project for the January Meanie Greene diaper store stocking. Snow dyeing works similarly to ice dyeing and although the effects aren't exactly the same I was able to get 3 unique color combinations for the hybrid diapers I made.

I started with this lovely lycra/cotton custom printed fabric "Cupid's Arrow" from Sew Opulent by Opulent Monsters. I am addicted to purchasing custom fabric online and it is a wee bit expensive but worth it for the quality and uniqueness of the prints.

I followed this snow dyeing tutorial I found on Pinterest. What I love about ice/snow dyeing is the fact I don't have to mix the procion dye powders, I can just sprinkle them on top of the snow and they mix/melt with the water created.  I did treat the fabric first in soda ash so the most dye was able to absorb into the fabric.  Don't skip the soda ash step and don't substitute with baking soda. They are not the same thing! I cut each hybrid pattern out instead of dyeing the entire yard of fabric. I wanted to have a little left over to play with later on that wasn't dyed.  I also added a wire rack to the bottom of the plastic tote instead of using a screen.

Fabric dye primary colors are a wee bit different than normal primary colors.  For fabric dyeing you use Magenta (instead of red), Turquoise (instead of blue) and yellow.  These colors will allow you to find purple, orange, green, etc.  In my batch I added Magenta, Turquoise and Crimson to give it a Valentine's feel. After I added the dyes I had to wait 24 hours to wash and dry the fabric. I loved watching the snow melt down to "reveal" more of the fabric.

After 24 hours I rinsed the dye out in cold and washed in my top load washer with synthrapol, which is a detergent made for fabric dyeing, then washed in a little regular detergent, and then rinsed. Since these are diapers that will go through many, many, wash cycles I wanted to make sure the dyes were fixed. Then I dried and sewed them up!  I love the results. They all sold at my stocking but I have a little bit of fabric left and may make Audrey an outfit or something, we'll see!

Happy Monday!  Blizzard tonight, stay safe and warm :)

shelby g

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Snow, snow, snow! And more on the way.  Audrey seems to love eating all things snow and ice and has been enjoying the extra fluff outside.  The storm moving in should hit tomorrow afternoon leaving us, supposedly, with over a foot of snow!  Which means snowshoeing (finally)!  Mr. Meanie is busy snow blowing his lumber yard so he can continue to make beams for our kitchen.  He's up to 7 so far with many more to go and they are looking beautiful. More to share later this week.

Have fun in the snow!

shelby g