Thursday, April 29, 2010

To Florida and Back

April 15th, right after school, we packed up the van and took our two younger to Florida. dan, our 20 year old stayed behind to look for a job and to enjoy a whole week alone in the house. His fear was that he would starve even though I left lots in the freezer and cupboards and Dad gave him some money for contingencies.

We arrived at our hotel in Daytona Shores Friday 6pm. So you may ask how does a "homesteading attitude" fit in with a beach vacation ? (We don't eat out very often, we don't replace appliances and things we own with a newer, better model, we repair if possible and replace only when we have to. WE have cell phone ( a necessity with our work and family life) but all the phones we own we have obtained for free or almost so. We both drive older vehicles etc. When we do splurge it's something that has real value. ) We don't vacation often, and I feel that travel, if done correctly is a great educational tool.

By spending time online I found a small hotel on the beach For $99 a night, we got a living-room/kitchen with 2-bedrooms 2 bathroom suite. It was In Daytona shores away from the crowds at Daytona Beach. Most important although the place was modest it was charming and CLEAN. staff was wonderful but amenities were few. Hey as long as its clean and I can get as many clean towels as I need an maybe an extra pillow for reading in bed I'm happy. We spend QUALITY time together as a family. Kids alternated between pool and beach. Walt and I found a used book sore. He bought a WWII book and I collection of Letters from Thomas Jefferson. WE rested, read our books, found a farmers market and bout lots of fresh fruit and veggies. A many meals in our room. When we did eat out it was sea food and gator.

We woke up early to watch the Space Shuttle DISCOVERY land, then we toured the space center. As a bonus, our shuttle bus was forced to stop so that DISCOVERY could get towed across the road. We were able to get a good close up view as it rolled past our bus.


We also toured Angell and Phelps chocolate factory. They give free tours (with samples). It is fantastic chocolate.

We hired Captain Pete of Turtle Mound Tours to give us a fishing/sightseeing trip in his pontoon boat. The fishing was great. Everyone caught something. We also saw dolphins and went hunting for hermit crabs (Yes, we relseased them)


Daytona Beach Shores is not as crowded as Daytona Beach. We enjoyed going out looking for shells.

PhotobucketHere is Katie and David taking a walk on the beach at dawn.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I found the Simple Woman's Daybook online and enjoyed reading about other woman's daily lives. Photobucket

FOR TODAY - Tuesday April 13, 2010

Outside my window... Blue Sky and spring flowers blooming.

I am thinking... About our upcomming trip to Florida. We will be leaving in a few days and there is so much to do. Select the new preowed car to buy, make a hotel reservations,Get rid of laundry mountain, buy food and sunscreen, pack.

I am thankful for... A beautiful crisp cold February day with a blue sky. That we have a good contract with RA. That I did put away food for the slow months ( Feb, Mar. etc) my freezer is full, I have jars of veggies, meat , and fruits that I canned and I have extra cans, boxes and packages of things that we use often.

From the kitchen... seasoned with sea salt, some peppercorns, two bay leaves and some fresh lemon thyme and parsley sprigs I found i Photobucket

I am wearing...My only pair of jeans, my favorite old sweater with 3/4 length sleeves, maroon slippers and my silver "special" necklace that I wear most of the time.

I am creating... Still working on making a Scrappy Flannel Quilt. I may also take some time to make a Valentines day decoration or treat. Also working on photoshopping "botanical prints" from the wild flower photos I took last year.

I am going... to the hot tub with Walt soon. We don't get into the hot tub too often and certainly not much during the day. But Walt has been working hard long hours on the Security System installation at R.A. - today is an "at the office" day for him an we have blue skys which is not very common in the Mohawk Valley. Time to enjoy one of the simple pleasure of life. Then off to spend time at the office to finish the books and to learn how to use the recorder that we bought for our client's new security system.

I am reading... too many things... other blogs, seed catalogs, Mother Earth News, the local paper and The Adirondack Almanac.

I am hoping... That the economy won't be as bad as I think it may get.

I am hearing... not much, the normal hous humming and the sound of cars driving by ... all else is quiet.

Around the house... Katie is sick, David is off to school , Danny and Walt are still sleeping.I'm planning my day and menu.

One of my favorite things... watching birds at the feeders.

A few plans for the rest of the week: I hope to can 20 lbs. of dry pinto beans ( I found them for 50¢ a lb. at Hannaford. Planning on working on the company books and helping Walt with the security system.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...Photobucket Taken on a trip to Boonville NY with my daughter Katie.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Independence Day Challenge - APRIL 11

What is an independence day? You can read about it here : Independence Day Challenge

Plant Something: Peas, spinach, parsnips, beets

Harvest Something: Horseradish, some potatoes I missed last fall, some parsley, onion tops and sweet violets

Preserve Something: - Violet jelly - Springtime in a jar

Waste Not: Saving newspaper for the garden, egg boxes to offer to someone who is selling eggs, composting egg shells, coffee grounds, etc.

Want Not: I'm going to be hosting a plant exchange on May 1st. Will trade my extras for things I don't have.

Build Community Food Systems: Member of several on line garden forums. Sharing my knowledge with others

Eat the Food: Using up meat from my freezer. Lets see:
London Broil with rustic garlic potatoes.
Chicken breast marinated in teriyaki,and garlic tops served with angel hair pasta dressed with butter andherbs
Left over Easter ham w/ bone simmered with dried beans for a big pot of beans and rice.


Two cups fresh picked violets.


Pour 2 cups boiling water over clean petals. Cover and steep in refrigerator for 24 hours.


Add strained juice of 1 lemon. Look at the lovely color now. Add 4 cups sugar, boil 1 min, add 1 pouch liquid pectin, bring to full boil for 2 minutes. Stir and skim off foam. Pour into sterilized jelly jars. Cover and process in HWB 10 minutes.


This is a delicate jelly enjoyed with a scone, or pound cake or maybe with Brie. What do you think?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April Chores

Last week saw a few days of wonderful weather. We had a few days when the temperature reached into the 80s That is unusual for the begin of April here in the Mohawk Valley. However, I was not able to get out very much to work in the garden. I was distracted by my new camera, a Nikon D5000. I just had to practice taking pictures of my early spring flowers,

Walt just finished the upstairs bathroom. This was a project that keep growing. At first he was just planning on painting the ceiling. The paint was peeling from the humidity. He did the ceiling and went on the repaint the walls. But he didn't settle for the off white that was on the walls. He wanted to do something "with more depth " so because we have a old tub/shower that is avocado green ( how 1960's), I had decorated the small bathroom in a ocean theme. Walt picked up on this and selected a bamboo, a grass green and garnet red. The effect looks like sandstone. Lovely. This is what my wall looks like now. Photobucket

He also ripped of the old ranch molding and put in colonial crown-molding, door and window casements and put in baseboard. He stained the medicine cabinet that was a light maple wood with a walnut stain to match the rest of the wood shelving and vanity . Do you want to see more of the bathroom ?



I actually did get out into the garden. My neighbor Brad lent me his small Mantis tiller and I tilled one of the beds. I appreciated that since Walt was busy finishing up the bathroom and I had to take care of the garden myself

I planted 3 beds of Alaska Peas (9 rows total)
transplanted the winter-sown spinach and lettuce
planted a few beet seeds and a small area of parsnip

Harvested a few potatoes

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My Garden Still Surprises Me

I finally got a new camera. I had been wanting a DSLR for a long time, but it wasn't in the budget. Well, finally we were able to get one. It's a Nikon D5000. SWEET! I've only had it for 2 or 3 days and since Spring is here and my small woodland garden has wildflowers and some bulbs in bloom, I keep going there with my camera and have been doing some botanical photography. All the flowers that I'm shooting are only an inch or two or three high so I've been looking down low so I guess thats how I missed seeing a small pink flowering shrub. So this morning, as I was taking a break from shooting and walking down the woodland path, I saw a small shrub in bloom. Really, it's more like a flowering twig. I don't know where it came from and I don't recall seeing it flower before, although I do remember almost pruning the twig but I stopped because I did not know what it was. You have to understand, I lave a L O N G history with this garden. It belonged to my grandparents, then my mother and now it's mine. I grew up here and learned to garden and love gardening here.

My heart skipped a beat. It's called Daphne. ( Yes, that's the botanical name of this plant) It's a native shrub that blooms early spring and smells heavenly. It does not transplant well in to home gardens. I had wanted to photograph Daphne but I only know of one place that it blooms, off a trail through Kirkland woods and I'm not so sure that I could find it again. Now here it is and it's mine.