The house that John built

This is the house that John built. John was a commercial airline pilot who’s passion was the meticulous reproduction of an 18th century house. This is the wood, these are the nails and this is the glass that lay in the house that John built. John was a purist.  It took him 10 years to build this house along a country roadside, nestled in a clearing, behind a fieldstone wall.  He started in 1984 and it was completed in 1994. He hand cut the boards out of green timbers of native red oak using an antique broadaxe.  Every nail was handmade by a nearby blacksmith costing John $12,000.00 at the time.  Each nail was a 4 headed nail made to period even though John could have used the less costly 3 headed nails that are mass produced.  He used 700 panes of glass, which he cut by hand… only breaking…

Simple, Easy Goat cheese, once you get the milk!

I think our two little goats are going to be a wonderful addition to our ever-growing farm family.  I admit we did have a bumpy start but once we got everything worked out the rest is just falling right into place. Are these not the cutest most sweetest goats you ever saw? These little girls are so different from each other.  My little Nigerian Dwarf Dutchess, is very timid and shy.  She likes to watch from a safe distance, is very chatty and gives me a run for my money.  She does not like to be milked, at all so I haven’t been able to milk her completely, I get just enough to make her comfortable and that’s it.  Every single time I get my container filled with milk from her she gives it a kick and we spill the whole thing.  I swear she knows and she waits and…

Firing your bake oven

If you have been following along with me you know by now that our house has a beautiful fireplace in the dining area that was built for cooking.  It even has a bake oven or bread oven, pizza oven as they are sometimes called. Cooking fireplace  Last winter I tried to make a pizza inside of this oven but I had no idea how to do it.  I read whatever I could find on the internet, which isn’t much and gave it a shot.  Needless to say my pizza was a flop, half of the dough was cooked and burnt while the other half was still raw.  So this year I decided that I would do my best to find out more information and keep trying until I got it right.  Luckily for me one of the previous owners stopped by awhile back to introduce herself and see what we…

The day the goats came to stay Part 2

I was on a mission.  Nothing was going to stop me from milking these goats.  I put on my jacket and headed into town to our local farm supply store.  I was hoping they would have milking stands that I could possibly rent or maybe I could sweet talk them into letting me borrow one?  The hubs promised me that by the end of tomorrow he would make me a milking stand so I didn’t want to actually buy one.  Strike one – no milking stand to borrow, rent or buy.  So I did the next best thing and stopped at a gas station to pick up my secret weapon.  Something no goat can resist.  Something that turns them to putty in your hands. Animal Crackers!!  I was thinking I would bribe them into letting me milk them.  Then on the way home I had a brilliant idea.  Why didn’t I…

The day the goats came to stay

For those of you that don’t know last year my hubs and I bought a new house.  It came with over 5 acres of land.  For some reason, which I still haven’t quite figured out, we felt the need to fill it with farm animals.  I wanted bees.  We ended up with 9 chickens, then came Frank our rooster.  We toyed with the idea of getting Alpacas, imagining an Alpaca farm, hosting petting parties and shearing their wool to spin into gold. This time we ended up with goats.  Two beautiful little does that are in milk so I can begin the joy of milking and turning all that farm fresh milk into cheese and soap.  Can you hear the violins playing?  Well you should because I am living in a dream world.  I pictured these little goats would arrive on our make-shift farm and everything would be peaches and…

Forcing Spring Bulbs for Winter

If you are like me you probably start to go a little stir crazy after the holidays and find yourself dreaming about when you can get back out into your garden come spring.  Well with a little bit of planning and work now you will be able to enjoy some cheerful spring flowers indoors through the dead of winter.  October is the perfect month to start your indoor garden.  So pretty! You will need: Good quality bulbs.  Look for larger bulbs that are firm and don’t show any signs of bruising.  Hardy bulbs that are good for forcing include crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths, tulips and snowdrops. Clean flower pots, coffee cans or sturdy containers can also be used as long as they have drainage holes in them. Potting mixture of equal parts sand, soil and peat moss. Fine pebbles, gravel or chips to provide good drainage You will want to start…

The art of building a fire

Building a good fire takes skill and know-how.  Believe me, it isn’t as easy as you think, especially if you want a cooking fire.  Building a fire is an art and even a tradition.  Historically laying a fire differed in various areas of America.  A typical New England fire was built on top of andirons, where more central colonies like Pennsylvania simply used the hearth floor. To make a good fire you first need to do one extremely important thing.  Open your flue!!  If your flue is not open your house will soon fill with smoke which will set off the smoke detectors, thereby alerting the fire department to a fire in your house and well, you can figure out the rest (ok, I may have done that once or twice, maybe even 4 times but my local fire department is really friendly and I just sent them on the…

Autumn in New England

My cousin came to visit from Germany this past week and I thought it would be nice to take a ride and show her the countryside.  It was a picture perfect day, the sun was bright and the sky was clear.  I want to share some of the pictures we took that day with you.   I hope you can feel the sun on your face, smell the crispness in the air, hear the leaves crunch under your feet and feel a peacefulness in your heart.  Enjoy. On Golden Pond The swans glide gracefully The ducks play To stand above The water still, reflecting like a mirror A stop at the winery An old red barn A house hidden among the trees Antique Shops everywhere Old New England streets A taste of pizza! White Churches In every town Autumn Wreaths Pumpkin Patches Fallen leaves One last sign of summer Cheers!…

Swissie Family Reunion

Our dog Dutch is a Swiss Mountain Dog.  He comes from a great line of Swissies and just recently we hosted a family reunion. Not easy to get these pups to sit for a group photo! Dutch is one of 9 puppies that was born to Noka and Shea, and the first litter for them both.  Noka was 3 years old and Shea was 5 by the time they had Dutch.  They were one of those power couples who had things to do before settling down to raise a family.  Shea, specifically was busy being a show dog.  He was ranked the #1 Swissie in the country for 2010 and in 2011 he won the Top 20 Competition at the National. Daddy Shea and Momma K.  I have no idea who the fox is!! The litter was conceived outside of Detroit through artificial insemination at a repo vet clinic.  Nine weeks…

Planting Garlic

If you like garlic (and who doesn’t) then you would love The Garlic and Harvest Festival that my hometown has every year.  It is a pretty big event in my area with live entertainment, amusements, garlic cooking demonstrations, garlic growing lectures, crafts, fresh garlic and farm produce, garlic specialty food vendors and a garlic food court.  All the vendors have samples for your to try so basically you start at one end of the fair and eat your way to the other end.  Yumma! Lots and lots of garlic Every year they have a few booths that sell hot sauce and every year my son has to try it.  The hot sauce comes in different varieties and different heat levels.  My son always goes for the hottest one there is. I really don’t know how he does it (or why?).  I am amazed at how anyone can eat something so…