sadie & santa’s workshop

img_2066-e1535148049488.jpgOn Wednesday, Sadie turned four and a half. The concept for an all-in adventure (but neither presents nor party) half-way through each grand’s year is new but they have quickly caught on. Sadie has eagerly anticipated her turn since we launched celebrations with Oliver’s five and a half in July.  Rosie is already on record with a request for February!

Sadie agreed on the destination: Santa’s Workshop at North Pole, NY. She doesn’t like car rides but was sold by the website depicting mechanical rides. The Hubs and I were somewhat apprehensive about a long drive with six preschoolers.  Continue reading sadie & santa’s workshop

dill pickle proud

I had no intention of canning dill pickles last week. I was looking for raspberries at the Amish farm stand. I was at least a week too late. But they had several bags of small cucumbers and a couple bags of itty-bitty cukes perfect for baby dills. I couldn’t resist!

Homemade dill pickles are a thing around here. A jar of of my mother-in-law’s (MIL’s) pickles was a highly prized possession. Nothing was more often stolen in the Santa gift exchange game or more fiercely guarded in the pantry!  Continue reading dill pickle proud

second sleep

There’s one major hitch with my she-farmer gig: sleep. More accurately, lack thereof. Women about my age often empathize with my challenge of getting a good night’s sleep. I’m too hot. Too cold. I toss and I turn. Midnight to 4:00 a.m. is no-man’s land. If I get stranded there, I count on 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. to redeem the night.

Well, that’s doggone inconvenient as a she-farmer. I’ve often just settled into my “second sleep” when the Hubs nudges me awake with gentle peck. I stumble out of bed with only one thought: I need more sleep. The mere hope of resuming sleep after I finish chores propels me forward.

The concept of second sleep was introduced some years ago on an urgent trek to locate an Amish midwife. Continue reading second sleep

five and a half

On Monday our eldest grandchild turned five and a half. That gives me pause. “Slow down,” I plead silently. “Don’t grow so fast.” I should know how chids grow, having raised three of them. Even faster now, with so many activities and more intense schedules. I don’t like it one bit.

A few weeks ago I was thinking about this phenomena and lit on the concept of “half birthdays.” Frankly, I never really got it. Suddenly it made perfect sense. Take time to celebrate mid-year, just because. Winter in the North Country sets some limits. It’s cool that two of our six grands can enjoy a summer “birthday” this way. Oliver is first up!

Continue reading five and a half

she farms

#SheFarms Series
she farms | refining firemilk bath morning | silos away!
second sleep | big cows|


One of my greatest joys as “GiGi” has been helping our grandchildren learn to appreciate the farm. Even as preschoolers, they are eager to help out when given a chance. One by one, they’ve found their way to the calf barn in the last few weeks to lend a hand.

Henry and Sadie proudly show the others what is what in calf feeding protocol. Rosie and Oliver join in the action. Anna “Beasy” uses the same voice as with her baby sister, “Hello, baby moo-cow!” She crinkles her nose and meets them eye-to-eye with her beguiling smile. They are so adorable; it’s almost too much cuteness to contain. Their great-grandparents and dairy farm founders, Lloyd and Betty, would be proud.

Continue reading she farms

stepping stones

IMG_1545This summer I resolved to take advantage of newfound flexibility and spare time to Get. Stuff. Done. What a list of projects! I’ve been putting most off since we moved into our new home two years ago. I wasn’t looking forward to the work. Ugh. Staining treated lumber is my least favorite chore. But one project I was enthused about: mosaic stepping stones.

Even so, I procrastinated, not sure how to accomplish my vision. There are at least dozen different ways you might create stepping stones, as a bit of research will reveal. I’m not going to try to fool you. I didn’t know what I was doing. Inching along, step by step and hardware store by store, I figured it out.

Continue reading stepping stones

aunt rita’s baked beans

 

I read recently about “Blue Zones” — places of the world where people live remarkably longer and better. It’s all quite fascinating.  The highlands of Sardinia, Italy; a Greek island, Ikaria; Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California, all boast healthy elderly populations that stand out among all others in the world.

I’m intrigued by distinctions among the Blue Zones. For example, Sardinia harbors the most long-lived male population on the planet and Okinawa the oldest females. Elders in Ikaria not only live longer but suffer dramatically less with Alzheimer’s disease. Costa Rica spends a small fraction on health care by comparison to U.S. yet Nicoya residents are 2.5 times more likely to reach a healthy age 90. Loma Linda boasts the most highly concentrated population of Seventh Day Adventists in the world, known for keeping a strict Sabbath and biblical diet.
Continue reading aunt rita’s baked beans