Tuesday, 16 December 2014


Four more days to the holidays!!  We were chanting this last night and clapping.  Two weeks off with my wonderful girls, I can hardly wait.  It's been dark and dreary when I leave in the morning and when I come home at night.  We all need some more sleep and a rest from our routine.  The last time we had a good chunk of time off together was July and while it will be a busy time over the holidays we will be together and that's all that matters.

This is 6pm in our backyard.  Snowman building by exterior illumination.

The clean eating diet has been going well ... with a few exceptions.  I am not feeling guilty about having the odd cookie and I refuse to call it "cheating" the important thing is to keep exercising!  I'm feeling great.

Lots and lots of veggies.

Do you have an elf on the shelf?  One of my girls friends told her about it last year.  I knew about them but did not want to give in to the hype...and then she felt she was missing out on something very important and I had to give in and get one.  So how is your elf magic doing?  It's become part of my morning routine...get up at 5:30, have a shower, brush teeth, move elf.  The things we do.  

Hanging from a snowflake in the kitchen window.

I'll be back after the holiday's.  Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014


Hello to the 15 people that read my blog - welcome!  Well it's December 10 and it's cold outside.  We are ramping up to Christmas at our house, I can hardly believe Christmas Eve is two weeks away from today.  I've bought two gifts and I've decorated and made 5 dozen sugar cookies and a dozen peanut butter chocolate chip shortbread.  It has been an extremely busy time on the farm for us.  We had a door blow right off the top part of the barn 2 weeks ago and we are in the process of re-building it.  The horses have been coming in at night from time to time.  I know they don't need to come in at night but we bring them in when it's going to be really cold or if we are expecting a lot of snow overnight.  My husband chopped down our Christmas tree last week oh it's an original.  He offered to find another one but I thought that would be wasteful so this is our tree.  It's uneven and sticks out all over the place but we love it anyway.
Next year the girls and I will go to a tree farm and pick one out.  

I'm happy to report that this winter so far has been MILD.  Yes I'm still wearing slippers and layers in the house to keep warm even with the furnace blowing at 68 degrees, and the heaters on in the mudroom, bathroom and upstairs hallway.  (Note to self:  get hubby to put that extra insulation in the attic)  I say it's been mild but it is just December and last year we got that unexpected ice storm on December 22nd.  So I'm not holding out for an entirely mild winter but fingers crossed for no ice storm and an early spring this year.  Amen!

So as things get busier I wanted to take the time to say Happy Holiday's!  All the best to you wherever you are.

Monday, 1 December 2014


This is not a word that frightens me.  I went through so many changes up to the age of 12, I don't feel content unless there is a big change going on and turning everything upside down.  Funny though, it too me years to figure that out.  I bought my first house, got married, had a baby and completely renovated the house all in 5 years.  I left my full time, permanent job to take on a 6 month contract that had me working closer to home.  I turned down a full time, permanent job offer to work contract for a year with the promise that a permanent job would be mine in the end (it was).  I moved my family twice in one year so we could live on this lovely farm.  I know I can embrace change.  And things have been become a bit too day to day lately.  Not mundane (Danny nearly knocked me unconscious on the weekend swinging his head toward his oats bucket as I walked by with it - rookie move) but everyday I wake up and know what the day will bring.  My husband and I have gotten settled nicely into our new fall / winter routines so I'm about to shake it up.  I'm on a 28 day clean eating program.  It's also a pretty hard core exercise schedule - 6 days a week.  What's life without a little challenge?  Today is my first day and I know it's going to be one of the hardest things I've ever done.  Most of the food on the program is stuff I eat anyway, I only had to buy greek yogurt!  And I steamed kale instead of roasting it - delicious!  It's the exercise part that scares me a bit - I haven't done a proper push up in years and tonight I have to do 15.  And I am going to miss my processed food, I'm not going to lie.  This will not become a fitness blog but I will post updates.  Please send me your positive vibes and wishes.  

Tuesday, 25 November 2014


There has been a lot of these - roasted meats and veggies.

And chicken stock.
And snow
And cake this month (2 birthdays!)

Happy November!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Snow doubt

Oh hi there!  Sorry it's been a while.  Between work and a mini vacation in Niagara Falls I haven't had time to read my favorite blogs - never mind write my own!  Last week I took a 4 day weekend to celebrate my 40th birthday and at the same time treated my daughters to 3 days and 2 nights away from the farm and the computer and the cold.  I have to admit, I'm having a little trouble getting back into the winter chores when it's so bitterly cold outside.  My work schedule has me away from the farm for 48 hours this week and when I finally do drag myself through the doors all I want to do is put on cozy clothes, catch up with my girls and sit down a bit.  My wonderful husband has been picking up the slack by keeping the horses and chickens happy and I've been doing my best to make wholesome meals in the crock pot or in advance.

On turning 40...I have a few things to say.  It is very liberating to be this confident in myself at this age.  To not care about what people think of me, my weight, my hair or my clothes.  To say what I mean and feel instead of what I think people want to hear.  Am I obnoxious or is that what 40 is all about?  I've got enough grey hair for everyone over here...why not opinions too.

On it being hard to get out there and work...after working all day and still having more work to do in the house and a family to care for...and a dog and external obligations.  Someone suggested to me at work that it was too much.  Too much work for us, how are we handling it all?  How do we ever rest, go to the gym, find time to play???  I had never really thought about it before.  I knew this would be more work and I welcomed it.  Along with that work comes exercise and sometimes play and always more time together.  We work together and we make it work like we always have.  The most amazing thing to me is that we are the happiest we've ever been with this arrangement.  To think I actually doubted we could handle it all.  Yes it's hard at times and my house is often messy but we are happy and that's all that matters.

Friday, 7 November 2014


I write today from my kitchen table.  I'm in jeans, socks, a long sleeve shirt with a t-shirt on top.  Warmth is something I do not associate with a big drafty farm house in winter.  I go to bed with a duvet and a comforter and when I wake up I put on slippers, grab my clothes and make a dash to the bathroom for a hot shower.  We've worked out ways of staying warm in this house - taking your clothes with you to the bathroom is one of them!  Thankfully the house has all new windows and that does seem to help keep the warmth in.  Last year we didn't heat the mud room that joins the outside to the kitchen.  It's a 10'x12' room and it was so cold all last winter that we had to shovel off it's roof.  This year there is a little heater blowing in the mud room and it's making a nice difference.  And we have the electric fireplace going in the living room as well.  We don't have a wood stove so we heat our house with an oil furnace.  It's not the most economical ways to heat but it's what we have.  There are other ways to stay warm - lots of home cooking, a walk with the dog, warm slippers, wool sweaters, hot chocolate, layers of clothing and lets not forget all the work that needs to get done around here.  Only 6 more months of this to go!  So until the snow melts, stay warm my friends.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

This week in my kitchen

This is one meal done two ways.  First, a cottage roll - very Canadian and essentially it's cured meat - like a very fatty ham.  Slow cooked in the crock pot for several hours.  And the squash cut sideways - which is just so pretty.  Then the leftover sandwiches my husband made with coleslaw, pork and squash.  YUM.  This week there was also pumpkin seeds, chili and  pea soup made from the boiling of the ham hock.  Linking up with www.beautythatmoves.typepad.com

The Horses

We moved to this property in September 2013 knowing nothing about horses.  Part of the agreement of our tenancy was to board 2 beautiful horses for the winter.  We spent most of last September watching them saunter from pasture to pasture, always amazed at their beauty and grace.  And when Danny would run...the thunder of his hooves pounding the ground.  Then finally the time came where they were put into our care - they were "our horses" now.  They came from the neighbors pastures to ours for their stay with us through the winter.  We made big beds of straw in their stalls, learned to pick their feet, gave them oats each morning and combed the burs out of their manes.  They are like big dogs these horses, you have to show them who is boss or they will push you around.  They are always lured by carrots and Danny is somewhat saucy, which both of us have learned being bopped on the head by him with his chin on one occasion each.
Last winter.

Our instructions for winter care were simple....bring them in every night once the temperatures hit below zero and put their coats on them if temperatures are below -10.  Feed them oats in the morning and a bale of straw in their stalls at night.  Keep the breezeway covered in manure so it doesn't ice up.
This fall.

  The first couple of times we brought them in with the lure of carrots and were amazed as they walked right into their stalls and waited while we closed the doors.  That was easy!  The next morning we fed them oats and let them out and they dutifully walked back outside and off into the pasture.  The next night they wouldn't come in.  We found them at the bottom of the pasture and no carrots or calling would bring them in.  So my husband got Rosie's halter and led her to the barn and Danny followed.  The night after that was the same story.  Then one night, after chasing them through the pasture - as they were wise to our methods by now - we just left them out.  And they survived!  But the weather was indeed getting colder and we certainly couldn't allow them to stay out overnight when it hit -10 and colder at night so we decided to switch their oats to a night time feeding.  And guess what - no more chasing horses.  We've learned a lot from these two along the way.  When I open the barn door there is a good chance Danny's face will pop down over the wall of his stall - and while it is startling I no longer scream when  he does it.  And that I really don't mind cleaning up horse manure...which is one that really surprised me.  And that when we lead them from pasture to pasture to keep the silly dog inside because he will make Rosie buck and scare the little girl leading her.  It's really all about the confidence with horses, they could easily pull us off our feet and drag us or mow us over with their size but a firm, confident grip on their lead and they will follow you anywhere.  And I'm so thankful for the experience.
Last night - Danny waiting for his evening oats.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Almost there....

The farm is almost ready for winter - and good thing too.  It's November and we had our first bit of snow on the weekend.  Last weekend we scrubbed out the chicken coop.  Our chicken coop is inside the barn in a room that is 15'x15'.  We usually use wood chips for the floor and straw in the nesting box but my husband wanted to try out a new product called flax stock.  It's a bit more expensive that wood chips but it's better for the chicken's and us, it repels water and it spread very nicely.  Not to mention is smelled really nice and is keeping the chicken coop fresh smelling longer.  I should note that fresh smelling and chicken coop are not something I would ever put in the same sentence but it's all relative people.  lol.

We also cleaned the windows and swept down the cobwebs in the stables.  The only thing left to do is rake up all the leaves.  ALL THE LEAVES.  Our driveway and side yard is bordered by 6 gorgeous maple trees.  So far I've filled 10 bags with leaves and my husband thinks we'll need to fill another 30.  We've been mowing and blowing and the tree's pictured below?  Still full of leaves waiting to fall.

I've been making soups, using up all the kale and making stock.  Big trays of roasted veggies and crock pots full of meat are on the menu lately.  My big wool sweater has been pulled out and I'm off tonight to hunt for new winter boots and warm socks for my girls.  I'll be back Thursday to post all the food I've been making.  

Friday, 24 October 2014

Anticipation and leaves

My oldest said the other day that she can't wait for winter to come so she can play in the snow and for how pretty it is and how cozy it gets inside.  This astounded me because last year anytime we tried to get her out of the house she said it was "too cold."  But I do understand the anticipation of winter.  The wearing of mittens, scarfs and hats this time of year.  Cozying up next to the fireplace.  Being snuggley warm in layers of clothing while outside in the howling wind.  I remember last winter quite clearly.  Early morning leaving for work in the dark and evenings coming home in the dark too.  That I'm not looking forward too.  But pretty?  Yes.  Pretty.
Before it was pretty it was pretty too.  All the colorful leaves, yes they are pretty.  When you have a property in the country though?  Leaves = work.  Lots of work.  And exercise - almost win win.
Have a nice weekend everyone, I think I know what I'll be doing.  

Thursday, 23 October 2014

In my kitchen

Linking up with Heather from http://beautythatmoves.typepad.com/

Pasta with sausage, kale, onions, mushrooms and peppers.  Covered in melted parm.  

Pork chops on a bed of kale with brussel sprouts, sweet potato, carrot, red potatoes and bacon (not pictured).

Chocolate chip cookies - 7 dozen!

And a guilty pleasure, ramen noodles - but I added kale!  Oh what to do with all the kale we have in the garden.  I hope it freezes well.  

Friday, 17 October 2014


October has been a lovely month, especially this week when the temperatures soared to a very lovely 18-22 degrees during the day and above 10 overnight.  As usual we have been busy with visitors and cooking meals.  For thanksgiving I had 12 people over and it was a fun afternoon with family.  The turkey was gorgeous and ready on time and I managed to time it so the veggies were ready when the turkey was ready to carve.  Don't you just love when that happens?  We had roasted acorn squash with Parmesan, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, roasted carrots, gravy, cranberries and stuffing.  A very delicious meal that I didn't get one single picture of.  It was a gorgeous Saturday and we spent most of it outdoors.
This was Saturday.  
 A doe and her calf(?) in the fields behind our house.

I've had the absolute pleasure of working from home quite a bit the last couple of weeks.  More time at home is a blessing for me.  When I do have to be in the office it's a 12 hour day away from this wonderful place.  Not to mention that my husband and I get a lot more time to talk and I get more time with my girls.  We have lots to do and are getting ready and making our plans for the winter like the other farm blogs I read.  Fixing this fence, adjusting that gate, getting the hoses put away, servicing the vehicles, fixing holes in the barn, cleaning out the eaves and worming the horses.  This year we are putting up a snow fence next to the driveway so we don't get snow drifts from the fields like we did last year.  The barn is full of hay and straw.  In the next month we'll load up on cedar shavings, horse and chicken food, candles, gas for the generator and chainsaw and buy new winter boots for everyone.  Winter in Canada is no joke...and last winter was the worst in 20 years.  There were ice quakes that sounded like a car had run into the side of our house.  Ok no more talk about winter, it will be here soon enough.

Let's talk about food again!  Having the extra time at home for me means good meals and time for baked goods.  This week I made squash soup with sage, turkey soup with kale, spaghetti sauce, orange rolls, peanut butter cookies, pork roasts and an entire turkey dinner!  I only have some pics below...the orange rolls - YUM.  I got the recipe from Pinterest.

I realise this post is a bit all over the place.  I created it over a few days and I had so many pictures I wanted to share.  Have a lovely weekend.  

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Fall at the Farm

We are enjoying our second fall at the farm tremendously.  Especially now that we have the added benefit of using our own home grown food.  Last fall and winter you may remember me lamenting about not having a growing season to save up stores in our larder.  Well our first garden year wasn't all we expected it would be.  I didn't plant early enough or heartily enough and therefore our biggest success has been the squash.  We ended up with a volunteer spaghetti squash plant, a very hearty acorn squash plant, a shy butternut squash plant (only 3 so far), an overshadowed zucchini plant, a lost - then found - then mowed over cucumber plant...and one that did survive.  Not nearly enough green beans, no carrots (what was I thinking??), not nearly enough beets or onions.  The kale was abundant and the celery is still growing and we had 5 pumpkins grow that we didn't even plant.  The raspberry bushes have been very generous.  We are already talking about our garden next year and what we will change and add.

As usual I've been doing a lot of cooking and bread making.  The focaccia bread I made I would not recommend - was tasty fresh out of the oven but hard as a rock an hour later.  I've made butternut squash soup and roasted squash and cakes that were eaten so fast I forgot to get a picture.  

We worked really hard this last weekend to get the barn ready for winter...major clean up, chicken coop scrubbed, hay re-stacked, straw swept up.

It's been drizzly and dark and I am actually looking forward to winter and the snugness it brings.  But first we have Thanksgiving - which is this weekend for us - and one more bon fire I hope... at least.  

Tuesday, 30 September 2014


I was inspired to write about this topic after reading the comments on one of my favorite blogs - soulemama.  Folks were asking her how she "does it all" and does it well...and does so much.  I have to admit, I've often wondered that about Amanda but I find it inspiring, not discouraging which is what I think was happening for a few others.  We have to look at all she does objectively I think.  Of course you are only going to see the beauty and perfection of her days, her life is her business.  I only have 2 kids and everyday is a balance of need, want and necessity.  I need to make lunches, go grocery shopping, work and eat.  I have to feed the animals.  I want to shower and shop and the weather doesn't always cooperate with the work that needs to get done at the farm.  But it is always fun.  And even if you are bone tired and un-showered the rest of the day - it's worth it.  So after working from home today I helped cover a neighbors pool with a leaf guard, moved the horses over to our pasture, made and ate dinner, pulled out my dying tomato plants and sun flowers, loaded hay into the back of the truck and brought it down to the garden to cover the strawberries, fed the chickens and collected the eggs, did dishes, collected the blankets off the line, showered the kids, filled out forms for school, put the kids to bed and then sat down to write this post on my iphone before bed.  Usually (always?) we have dirty dishes next to the sink and the laundry is never completely done.  TV?  Nope.  Up at 5:30 am to start again.  If this farm has taught me anything it's how to make the most of your time and energy.  Which is why I get how Amanda does it.  It's not easy but if you like a good, honest day of work - it is a good life.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Page views and followers

Hello to everyone who took a look at my blog in the last 24 hours...a record number for me.  I'm fairly new to this space, deciding to start a blog after moving to a farm last fall.  I love it here.  It's my dream to be surrounded by trees and stars with the added perk of boarding horses in the winter.  I'm learning all the time and it's hard work!  I follow Jenna at Cold Antler Farm and Soulemama and get my inspiration from them.  Since I'm just figuring out this blogging thing and making time for it when I can, I appreciate that people are taking the time to read it and comment on it...that makes me feel good.  So welcome to my little piece of the internet.  Please feel free to follow me, apparently having followers is a good thing.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

In my kitchen

A bit more canning - this time spicy green beans.  Up next when I can find the time - carrots!  My "work from home lunch" of spinach, zucchini (from my garden), mushrooms and lots of ranch dressing.  Fresh baked bread is a staple around here every week.  I found a simple recipe for butter tarts that worked out well.....they lasted 2 days in my house.  And a little obsession I had for a week when my friend brought me fresh grape tomatoes and basil...add feta and voila a nice light snack.  This week I'm making focaccia bread for the first time.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

A life in pictures

I don't know about you, but I often look through my camera roll for inspiration to write a post.  Sometimes I take a picture and it inspires an entire post but you've probably noticed that my posts are usually filled with pictures.  You want to know something though?  I never print the pictures.  Ever.  The last time I had pictures printed was when my youngest noticed that she didn't have her very own photo album of baby pictures like her sister did.  So I went on a special mission to ensure she felt just as special with her own album.  And I have so many pictures I would frame...so many wonderful faces and special moments that I've captured.  I'm going to make it my mission to print some of these pictures this year..and have them framed and given to some of the special people in the pictures.  Here are some of my favorites from the last week:

The horses are back for their stay with us over the winter

 More pickled green beans - spicy this time
 Spider web in the morning light
The sun burning off the fog this morning

Monday, 15 September 2014

Country fairs and fall gardens

My oldest daughter and I went to our local fair on the last day of it's run.  I missed the farmers market and only saw a few animals so I promised next year we would go on the Saturday from start to finish.  We did see our first smash up derby, some calf's, had fresh lemonade a beaver tail and french fries.  We also looked at all of the winning vegetables, quilts, baked goods, art, photography and preserves.  There was a blacksmith there and chain saw competitions.  My girl won 4th place for her art work and we talked about submitting our best vegetables for next year's fair.  It was a great day.
Tractors - pic taken from ferris wheel

My garden is almost done for the season...just the sunflowers, raspberries, kale, pumpkins, celery and squash to go.  On the weekend I swept out the bottom of the barn and cleared up the cobwebs.  Cleared all the weeds out of my perennial gardens, hacked down some weeds around the raspberry bushes and mowed the lawn.  Our weekends are so busy right now and they are about to get busier when the leaves start falling.  I'm happy to report that I can't see any of the leaves changing yet and the weather report says it is getting warmer next week.  Just when we thought fall had settled in we get another little dose of summer, just the way it should be!

Have a great week!