Photo: Great grandparents at their farm in Blandinsville, IL, with five of their six children .. my grandpa was yet a twinkle in grandma's eye. Stable boy and governess also pictured. Hodges farm, circa 1903-4

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Planning For New Year's Day

Another opportunity to gather as a family on New Year's Day.  Hoping to have everyone under one roof .. play board games, go sledding, sit by the fire sipping hot cocoa.  Homemade pizza and salad to grace the dinner table.  Relaxing .. memory making kind of day.  What's planned for your New Year welcome?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cleaning Wool Rugs and Blankets with Snow

This is too cool not to share.  I'm posting this so I can reference this method of cleaning when we get a spell of 20F degree weather.

Granny Miller's method of cleaning wool rugs and blankets with snow

Gardening Is:

Dream away Mrs. Mac!
  1. a learning curve
  2. evolving
  3. fun
  4. rewarding
  5. a late winter project to break up the doldrums by plotting, planning and planting seed starts
  6. good exercise
  7. a good dose of vitamin D
  8. full of fresh air
  9. an endorphin producer
It's early winter and rush of Christmas is over.  Time to start thinking about the garden.  In one month I'll check on my saved seeds and order any new varieties worth trying.  In two months my portable greenhouse will be pulled from the basement, dusted off, grow lights installed and we will have the start to our sixth year of gardening.  Thank goodness for this cycle ... it really pulls me along to get me out of the winter funk.

Are you dreaming about your garden just yet? 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Post Christmas Greetings

Ann and her beau
Jake and Ruby
The Mac family really raised the roof .. er 'ruff/meow' this Christmas.  There were nine of us (people) for Christmas Eve dinner at home followed by a candle light service at our church.  Our guest suite was occupied by our daughter, Elizabeth, and her family .. plus their two dogs.  The newly acquired kitty (that showed up at my back door during a snow storm 12/21) took refuge in the laundry room for two days.

Hold still Miss Kitty
Today is a day of recuperation.  Cleaning.  Getting creative with leftovers. Being thankful.  Purging some of the old to make room for the new.  Staying in jammies til noon.

Nathan and Mr. Mac

sign for new baby's room
The new year holds much promise with the upcoming birth of our newest grandson early April.  

Snow fell Christmas Eve to blanket the area in a winter wonderland.  Christmas Day was mostly sunny. 

What's up in your neck of the woods?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Farm Subsidies

Here's a 'dated' video portraying how food subsidies work.  Last night the news reported that milk could possibly go up to $6.00 a gallon with the pending 'fiscal cliff' in the United States.  That is considered a 'fair' price if there were not government subsidies.  Watch this video to see how subsidies hurt small farms AND line the pockets of the rich.

BTW .. that is the price I pay for local fresh milk.  If we were able to keep more of our tax $ that would free up our food money to pay a fair price to the farmer .. without the middle (meddle) man (Uncle Sam .. and Big Ag).

$6.00 a gallon milk  

New Zealand abolishes farm subsidies 

History of the U.S. Farm Bill

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Potato Peels

I don't know the science behind this .. and I wouldn't substitute the use of burning potato peels instead of cleaning out the wood stove's pipe ... but whenever I burn potato peels, I do notice flakes of creosote on the patio or snow near the back door just adjacent and below the stove pipe.  My friend from Norway said her mom would put potato and carrot peels in her fire and when it came time to have the stove pipe cleaned it was always fairly clean; we shall see when it comes time to clean ours next year.

Here's a link saying to use dried potato peels.  I've used damp .. and even burned dry bean pods with success.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Early December

... and spring like weather.  Our grass is snow free and starting to green up.  So is the area surrounding the garden.  It's just chilly outside .. during the day .. and the night temps are above freezing. Humm .. I'm liking this weather.