Tour Tuesday

I have been invited to do Tour Tuesday on More Than Survival, Choosing a Simple Life’s blog from Indiana. Here it is and I will post the link on her site as well. Sorry it took me a couple weeks to sit down and do it. Eventually, I will do a tour of the inside as we complete it with before and after pictures. We have done a bulk of the inside remodeling but we are still lacking on trim work which makes it look very unfinished (although we have some in the shed ready to go) and decorations etc. My plan is to put trim work up and complete each room one by one decorating as we go. Right now we have soooo much outdoor work it has taken the back seat for a bit. This is a 200 year old farm house we purchased 12/07 along with 93 acres. It is a work in progress!

There is always a long hose running across the yard to the garden. John plans to hook it up through the barn eventually to avoid this but for now…

Side view of the house and crocked shed. In that shed just to the left of the house John put a liner in the existing chimney and hooked up a wood stove my mother had and was not using. He saved us thousands, we burned 100 gal of oil and that was mostly because we had not cut enough wood. John is incredibly handy man, like no other. He literally can fix ANYTHING! We could have never bought this place with out his know how of being an electrician, plummer, builder, sheet rocker, painter, mechanic and the list could go on and on. He truly is the man!! I have a feeling that Luke will follow his footsteps and someday make some lucky girl one heck of a hubby!

Below the lawn is just growing in, we had a blow up pool there last year. That is being recycled to the neighbor back yard this summer because we will have our big one up within the next 2 weeks.

Side view of the old crocked barn. Needs lots of maintenance to say the least along with some clean up of spider webs, sparrow nests, and the window wash job from last fall has not held up. We moved here in the dead of winter last year so there are lots of dust bunnies in their that need to be captured. We were so focused on making the house livable the barn was a little neglected.

I’d been wanting one of these for a while for my barn door. I was being cheap and held out. Found this for $6 the other day, I had to buy it!

Below is a tour of our gardens. They are just in the beginning stages so bare with the dirt pictures. We hope to preserve a fair share of our goods. Share with our family and friends as we always have along with having a small help-yourself garden stand on our land. John can take most of the credit for the creation of these gardens. The kids and I are his helpers but he definitely is the primary caretaker of the gardens. John is a true green thumb! The kids and I are the main pickers. John helps me with some of the canning and preservation. This will be out 2nd year with canning since BK. (before kids)

The Front Garden
All the other gardens are behind the barn, this one is on the front lawn.
Planted here: garlic, onions, 3 kinds of lettuce, 4-5 types of tomatoes, green peppers, red & green cabbage, broccoli, peas, pumpkins

Vine Garden
Planted here: hubbard, buttercup, butternut, and acorn squash, 4 varieties of pumpkins and sunflowers to the right I planted a patch of mint my neighbor gave me last night. It spreads and comes back year after year so I did not dare put into the garden.

One of the 4 tomato plants we started in January. Amazingly they all survived the transplant. 3 ripe tomatoes so far this season.

Sweet potato, isn’t that pretty. I read today that it is from the morning glory family.

I have never heard of anyone that has grown it in Maine so I guess we will see, we only have 3.

I cannot wait to fill up our root cellar. It was our first winter here last year and we under utilized our dark, cold, dirt basement. We stored a bunch of squash and some potatoes but not enough. This year I will try and stash as much as I can. We have one spaghetti squash left from last fall.

Potato plant

The Assorted Garden

Planted here: basil, dill, parsley, chives, cilantro, hot peppers, egg plant, zucchini, summer squash, carrots, beans, turnip, beets, sweet potatoes, corn, gladiolas, dahlias, and 2 blueberry bushes

Potato Garden – a work in progress. When we rented the sod cutter we used it also to extend our gardens. We still need to take care of the sod rolls and till up the ground. John says he is not doing that until we get a tractor, not sure when that will be?? He swore he was going to buy the one he wanted this morning but then…he slept on it.
For those of you that don’t know the story behind that, John is VERY frugal and shops stuff to death to get the best deal for his buck. He is very smart in that way and many other ways for that matter but it is an on-going joke between us because I’m quite impulsive in comparison.

Cucumber Garden – not to impressive to look at now but it will be all green before long.

I have discovered a local market/farm stand. It is in the next town over not far from the grain store we frequently go to. They buy as much produce as they can locally, they have a local meat supplier, and in off seasons they buy their goods from the Boston market. The prices are reasonable and the family that runs it are very friendly & welcoming. So far I have made 3 trips there and I am so excited to be buying more food locally. Yesterday as I was walking out I caught a glimpse of a corn cob, it’s popcorn. You put it is a paper bag for 1 1/2 minutes in the microwave and presto you have a good size bowl of fresh, homegrown, yummy popcorn. Very exciting!! Guess what we are going to plant next. I wonder how long it stores for. The kids loved it!

I found the recipe below on-line and as I write this it is in the oven cooking so I cannot tell you how it is but it sounds and smells good. The recipe call for 4 cups of milk and I know a few of you that visit by blog have milking cows and look for ways to utilize your excess milk. If you have chickens your all set, just need a few other ingredients that you cannot get on the farm. The only item I had from the homestead was bantam eggs and I had to use 8 to count for the 4 the recipe calls for. Looking forward to getting milk from Annabelle next summer and eggs from the big birds!

Grape-Nuts Pudding

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SERVES 6 – 8

Grape-Nuts cereal, the main ingredient in this dessert, was introduced in 1897 at the height of a health craze inspired by dietary reformer Sylvester Graham. In this recipe, based on one first published in Yankee magazine, the cereal settles in the pan to create a tasty bottom layer.

1 cup Grape-Nuts cereal
1 quart milk
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. fine salt
Grated nutmeg

1. Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 2-quart glass loaf pan with 1 tsp. butter; set aside. Put cereal into a bowl; set aside.

2. Bring milk just to a boil over medium heat; pour over cereal and set aside to let soak for 5 minutes.

3. Beat together eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Slowly pour egg mixture into milk mixture while whisking constantly. Transfer to reserved pan; set in a deep roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan that it reaches halfway up pudding pan. Bake until just set, about 1 1/4 hours. Let cool; sprinkle with grated nutmeg.

Ok it came out of the oven before I finished this looooong post, it is very good, I bet it would be good cool too.