Thursday, March 26, 2009

Maple Widow

Six o'clock a.m. comes awfully fast doesn't it? Why is it that the best sleep is that half hour before the alarm goes off, when you're conscious of imminent wake up, but couldn't be more comfy cozy and sleepy? That sucks, when the alarm goes off. Jake and Bailey were both up with me this morning. Unusual. Jake usually waits for Jerry, but I guess his needs were early too. Bailey is always with me, so that was normal. They both came outside, did their stuff, and came right back in. I have been training with biscuits, and it is working like a charm. I reward every good behavior with a biscuit. Now when I say "come here" everyone does. They know there is a treat in it for them. We're all motivated by positive reinforcement aren't we? The dogs are no different. It is so nice now to not have to chain up Bailey in his choke collar, as he is now coming on command and staying in the yard. I open the door and out we go. A herd of dogs scrambling to get out first. I would never trust Daphne like that. She does what she wants. Even though the morning is frosted still, things are melting back.
Jerry keeps running down the road to check out Dave's Maple Syrup operation. I think that it has become like the General Store. A bunch of men standing around talking about nothing. They stand around the syrup boiler and chat for hours. About what? I don't know. How much can you discuss maple syrup? But it has become like a daily ritual. The boiler is there in the middle and they are happy just being there and doing what men do. I find that when Jerry is plowing through his chores, the next words out of his mouth will be "would you mind if I ran down the road for a bit?" There is a draw there that I don't understand. We have a gallon of sap at our house, waiting to be boiled. I don't see anyone running over here. What's that about? Is it the boiler? We don't have one. Yet. I was always so glad that I was not a "football widow" because it's just not his thing. He would enjoy those occasional games whenever someone was around who was into it (translate: not me) but for the most part, he could leave it. But now, "maple widow" is becoming a condition that I'm not sure I'm happy about. At least the season is shorter than football. Just as long as the sap is running. Cold nights, warm days. How long can that last? Now I see that I will have to buy a Farmer's Almanac. So I can find out when Jerry will be home.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nicole's Wedding Veil

This is why we bought an Styrofoam head because I was not going to be the model while Jen worked on it. If you look close you can see the little bits of glitter that Jen put on it, it's hard to see in this shot but it looks fabulous. Some grip she has.....
Some being placed
Goes on with a hot iron
Well I know that a load off Jen's head to completed it. Jen also dyed it a little using tea bags or coffee not sure so that it came closer to Nicole's dress. The veil that you see has already been ever so slight change from the Very White it was. Was a quiet day here in Caroga Lake, we did a little shopping and a visit for me to the doctors, a follow up visit after my Polyp was removed a couple of weeks ago.
the Dr. showed us the internal photo's taken while she was inside removing the Colon Polyp.
After that being found and removed ....I am no longer a "Perfect A$$Hole" any more!
I make myself laugh!!!!
Anyhow with each passing day it's warming up, 58 degrees here at 4:45 pm
The snow is really backing down but of course that brings mud and more uncovered construction garbage.
Going out to Bar-B-Q ( we retired people eat earlier)
Til Next time Gang.........Jerry

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Whats Going On In Caroga thru" My Rear Window "

Well Gang...., A great time was had yesterday on my birthday, Jen & Ali took me out for dinner to a Chinese Buffet, "All You Can Eat!" I like Chinese food but no matter if it's Chinese or your normal all you can eat buffet, I always seem to eat less then my normal portion. I'll explain, When I am doing my survey of what they have to offer at the buffet before I put anything on my plate I make sure I walk around all of the warming trays before I take anything. Then I walk around the cold trays and the salad bar......just so I have a mental idea of what they have to offer and to adjust my portions between all of the choices . Last night I did not seem to like what they had as far as the salad bar was looking so I just passed on it all together. Wandering around the two hot islands that they had, which I think comes in total to about 45 choices to pick from. I saw some stuff that was just out of the question and others that are I just gotta have! Not wanting to be that person we all have seen at buffets with the HUGE pile on his or her plate, I just picked a couple things and way less then I believed I was going to eat.....Walking back to my table with Jen and Ali. I am looking at my plate...their plate and plates of others walking around and I am not a P.I.G. /HOG, I am good! I am though ,looking over my shoulder at the stuff left behind ,eyeing up what I might of missed and what I'm going to head back for. Cause what I have on my plate is surely not going to be enough , and I don't look like a P.I.G walking back to the table because I did that portion control thing. Definitely going back cause no salad. We had already ordered or drinks , in my case , unsweetened Ice tea , which are waiting for us at the table. I had little samples of this and that on the plate, some dumplings(2), small ribs (2) an a couple of chicken nuggets with some sort of Chinese glaze on it...oh and one small baked clam. No Bread, no salad. Well we ate and talked and sipped on our drinks and we all finished our plates at about the same time. Dam........, I am feeling full, but not too full and return with the rest of the family to the hot trays and just touring them.......not committing to anything yet!!! A couple of the things that I put on my plate the 1st time where very good and thinking I am wanting them again and others not going to make a return visit with me to the table on the second round. Well that full feeling is growing on me and I just pass on the hot trays all together. I start to turn my attention to a long cold table of deserts , cakes, puddings and self serve ice cream. All the time looking at those missed items on the hot table and then noticing they have a third table that I totally missed on the 1st go round....Dam!!! I ended up just having a cup with a little ice cream and topped with red jello. I know I had way less because it was that "All You Can eat" and just too many choices . I almost did not finish my iced tea. The meal was Good and I enjoyed the company. Thanks Jen and Ali! Back to Whats Going On In Caroga thru My" Rear Window. This has been a quite day here at the cabin, I did some of the morning chores , Jen re -cooping from her drive home from the island, the driving hurts her shoulder after her operation. Visited with a guy in Caroga who is making log trim for me . Trim not ready yet as he has not been able to get into the woods to cut down the 4 inch trees that he uses for my trim, does promise to get in there today and get it inside of his shop so it can dry. Gave him a jar of honey to help grease the wheels and he puts me and my trim at the top of the list. Stopped down to see Dave and how the maple syrup boiling was going today. Dave had a 55 gal drum of sap that he wanted to boil today but it was frozen inside of the drum and cant get it out to boil. Waiting for the sun to warm it and he will try later. I stopped down to East Caroga Lake and checked on a house for one of the seasonal people as he and his family coming up in April and they have not seem or been to the house since September when they closed up his camp. All seemed ok , lake still frozen , saw somebody walking on the lake yesterday. It wont be long now and this little town will be swelling with people. So Gang, "That's the View from My Rear Window!" Thanks to all that called or sent cards and/ or gifts for my Birthday. (P.S . Pam K., I got your phone message wishing me a HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Thanks!)
We went out to dinner to an "all you can eat" and we ate all we could. I think Jerry enjoyed his birthday, as well he should. Birthdays are a big deal in our house, they always have been. Once a year, you get to be top dog, king, winner, mighty and spoiled. It works for us.
The weather has again reverted to winter - frigging cold. But at this time of year, even arctic blasts are temporary - they will be gone soon. No matter how cold it gets, I know that tomorrow may be 50 degrees. It's bearable. We're keeping ourselves busy and getting things done. But the anticipation of spring is palpable. Every day a little more grass peeks through, and the roads are widening as the snow recedes. It's good stuff.
Since last Thursday we have been drinking farm fresh home delivery milk. It is delicious. Allison took a little coaxing. She asked me yesterday if we could get "regular" milk. Not having tried the farm milk, she was definitely fearful of the differences. I explained that it is regular "pasteurized, sterilized" and perfectly normal milk. She drank it then and was satisfied that it tasted fine and wouldn't kill her. Isn't it funny how we are convinced that anything from the farm is "dirty?" We have become so used to packaged and processed food that we are mistrustful of natural and fresh products. How sad for us. Even though the porch is not finished. We are starting to use it more and more. The bar-b-que is there, and little by little decorative items are making their way out - it is also an extension of the kitchen. I placed Jerry's cake out there to cool when it was finished. This is as we intended. The porch will be an extension of the house and give us a larger living area in the summer - when overflow is at a maximum. There is nothing like sleeping on a screened porch in the summertime. There I go again, wishful thinking for warm weather. I had a touch of spring last weekend when I was down to the island. It felt like Florida! I actually was outside in a sweater and was warm enough. Warm enough in a sweater! Remarkable. People are heading to Florida for spring break - we just have to head to Long Island to feel the difference. Spring! Yahoo!

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Birthday!!

Well Gang , Once a year it comes around....That happening, the special day. My Birthday, 53 years Old or Young , depending on how you look at it. I awoke this morning and Jen was doing the right thing for her hubby..............,The coffee was brewing. Most of the time I'm not a Breakfast kinda guy and today even though it was offered I did not take her up on it . Just Black coffee. The kitchen table had wrapped gifts for the birthday boy. I had already opened the gift that Brian had delivered, A gift from Brian ,Ashley, Nicole and Mike......My own Hot Dog warmer, counter top device. It holds in three different compartments, what ever you would want kept warm, Hot dogs , meat sauce , onions, chilly and or the buns..... Just great and I have wanted one for a long time. Thanks guys. I am a hot dog lover and can give you the locations of 20 hot dog trucks in the area. Jen Had gone down to the Island for the weekend and Brian came up so that's why I opened That gift 1st,,,,Brian could not wait until this morning. Jen and Ali's gift to me a 3 ft standing bear holding a" Welcome" sign as you come to the house and a "Good bye" sign as you are leaving. He is in his spot now on the front porch and those of you who come to visit will run into him... , Thanks Guys. Jackie and Jessie sent up with Jen from the Island a lovely new wine opening kit with numerous bottle closers so that the wine does not go bad after being opened and stored. I'm sure I will be using the new" opener" in the kit, the storage tops to keep the wine fresh, not so much.....Wine never seems to have to be stored around here after being opened, I wonder why? Thanks guys! The phone has rung off the hook with many birthday wishes and I love that. Brian as I said was here from Friday afternoon through this morning (Monday). Jen left here Friday afternoon for the island and they passed each other on the road, one going , one coming I'm not sure if Jen and Brian worked that out so that this old guy was not here alone. Any how it appears from Jen's stories of her weekend she had a great time staying with Jackie and visiting with Walter at his apt. I'll let her tell those adventures, here are some of mine with Brian and the dogs. Brian and me hit a sportsman show with Dan in Albany. The show was underground by "The Egg"...looks more like a bowl to me. Anyhow seems money is tight and not many vender's showing up, not many people at the show either. We tried during the weekend to do some Maple Syrup boiling but just too cold to do that outside, we did gather some for the warmer weather. Made a few in woods visits to Dave's setups so that Brian could get a better handle on how it's done as he has only seen what I have posted in this blog. We made it out to the bee hives , did a little Bar-b -Qing on the front porch and visited a couple restaurants here in Caroga lake for dinner and breakfast. As I said we visited the bee hives in the Bee Yard and not much honey being made but as you can see below, the "Locals are Willing to Wait" until honey is ready. No fear here, looks very much at home and thinking maybe I could eat something else while waiting for that honey to be ready!!! Here is Brian the picky...only healthy eater......Whats that in his hand? Busted!!!!!
Can this stuff be good for you?
Brian also brought up his dog, Cojo. Cojo not use to having other dogs around and being master of his own domain
Thanks Brian...... Had a great visit! Come again! To those others who we hold Dear, come and visit, we miss you!
"THANK GUYS" to all that remembered my birthday.
Til next time Gang..........., Jerry

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Mice Will Play

It is officially spring. No way? way. Although it was snowing this morning and even if the sky dumped 10 inches on us, we know that it will all be gone really soon. That is what keeps us moving forward. It's easy to feel the heat of the sun on your face. And the dogs keep trying to find that sunny spot in the living room - just under the skylight and in the line of the sliding glass doors. The sunny spot. We're up one dog again - and one person. Brian is here for a visit with his dog Kujo, and we are so glad to see them both. He and I are crossing paths this weekend - I will be traveling to LI with Allison, and having my own slumber party with Jackie. Nicole's veil made the trip north with Brian, and will be completed this week. I'll be bringing it back down next weekend, just one week away from the nuptuals! How intertwined our lives have become, it's so great. Slowly as the snow melts, the construction debris is showing its presence. Since it is Friday and the dump is open at 12:00 noon, Jerry and Brian are doing the pickup thing and taking some of our yard trash away. What a relief! Our bar-b-que sent up some pretty nice pork chops last night, with a little help from Jerry. Hard to believe that the thing survived a winter encased in a snow pile, but it did. Just like the ice-man. Thawed it out and off it went! Next year, we'll know better. I'll be doing the Audio book thing on the trip down. That's one way to get them read. The Best audio book was Angela's Ashes, read by Frank McCourt himself. It was great. Well, more chores waiting for us - have a great weekend and stay outta trouble! If you see Brian and Jerry getting INTO trouble, just send 'em home. While the cats away. . .

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It's Melting!....It's Melting!!

Well Gang , today is the last day of winter.. We are awaiting the 1st day of spring, arriving Friday . Looking out the back door , seems more and more ground is appearing. With that snow melting away, I am starting to see more of that left over construction garbage from under. Yesterday I found enough garbage to fill up the back of the pickup. Checking on the bee hives it appears that of the five live hives that I wintered over , two appear to have made it so far. I opened the other three and it appears that in some cases the cold killed them and in other cases they ran out of honey to get them through the winter. Yesterday I started feeding the two remaining hives, not much yet for them to get food from, no blooms as of yet . It would be a shame to lose them because they starved in the spring, so I feed. Here is a picture of Jen hitting the spinning wheel the other day. I don't really know how it works but she does some amazing things with that wheel. Bailey's interest level...........Not so much. As I said It's Melting and I also dug out the Bar-B-Q that you saw posted a few ago. So far it's looking like it's going to work... Today we try and fire it up. The other day Jen spoke about visiting a Dairy Farm , well she contacted them and today the Duncraven Farms Dairy , in Fort Plain will be delivering milk to our home. Jen also ordered Chocolate milk and I hear that is like drinking a chocolate milk shake.., Everyone raves about it. Do they have chocolate cows for that? Milk comes in glass bottles too, not sure if it's a good or bad thing. chocolate milk comes from brown cows Pictures, Images and Photos Ok , Brown cows, it comes from. Yesterday after getting some of my chores done I headed down to Dave's and checked on how the maple syrup boiling is going. Well it was working like a fine made watch. I also met Fred the maker of "The Wood Burning, Wood Stove", Fred of Albany. It appears that Fred made some fine tuning to the stove door and it's venting properly.. like I said running like a fine Swiss watch. Appears Fred is a reader of this blog and a discussion board that I moderate here in Caroga Lake. Seems he gets a good laugh from some of the posts. Hey if any of you would like to learn more about Caroga Lake here is a "Way Excellent" site about Caroga Lake.... Here is the link, turn up the sound and enjoy. It will take a few days to get through all of the history. That's it for today from this chicken pecking on a key board. Til next time gang......Jerry

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Blue Line - aka Maple Syrup Tubing

A successful and pleasant St. Patrick's Day was had by all. Although we didn't get over to Latham to see our dance school perform, we did get out with Dan and Jennie for corned beef and cabbage. We had a nice time and the weather outside was remarkably warm. I went out in a sweatshirt! It was green of course, but more importantly it was a sweatshirt! We must be getting close to spring!
Jerry has been spending alot of time down the road at Daves, helping with the miles of blue tubing and enjoying his time in the great outdoors. It's maple syrup time and if you haven't been paying attention, I can tell you that we've spent alot of time diving into the facts and fantasy of tapping maple syrup. As Dave predicted, we have become hooked. As of yesterday, our property is now hosting three maple buckets on three separate trees. More will follow. We are hoping to get just a few gallons of maple syrup for our own use this year. We don't have alot of maple trees on our property, but once fall hits, we'll probably find we have more than we realize. We will mark them clearly at that time, because you can really recognize a maple tree in the fall when the leaves are turning. It's the bright orange, red and gold tree out amongst the evergreens. An easy mark. By spring time next year I'm sure you will see more trees being tapped. And if you're here for breakfast anytime, you'll have our fresh picked blueberries in the pancakes with our own maple syrup on top. We'll never get you outta here! I draw the line at churning butter, but it's why we're here too. Jerry will blog today, sharing some of his maple tapping pictures - from Dave's house to our house - it's just one big maple tapping festival! Actually, maybe the blue line of the Adirondack Park is referring to the blue tubing that is popping up everywhere. Any short drive will find a maple grove somewhere with lines of tubing criss-crossing back and forth and leading you to some type of tank system. It's alot of fun, so keep in touch!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Trying to Tap Our Own Trees !

Well Gang, I'm back , WOW Jen sure can write! Been reading Jen's stuff , I'm just a chicken pecking at a key board. Question....after reading Jen's blog, Is she moving in with that Amish guy? Any how We tasted some of Dave's Maple syrup and decided.....What the Heck!!! Lets try it ourselves on a smaller scale. Here we are tapping 3 trees on our property, Dave thinks we are hooked and by neck year running tree tubing and buying boiler from Fred , Fred from Albany, the maker of the wood burning, wood stove," made out of wood". You will see that invention coming up later in this post. Bet you did not know that Jen was good with a tool ! We sure hope that this is a maple tree
Those shoes are the Wellies
Wearing my Irish Woolen cap for the Holiday. This bucket had about 3 inches after about 5 hours
This is part of the pasture which has a couple trees in it or on the edge
This is some of Dave's 1st syrup , lighter then you thought it would be!
Syrup coming out of the boiler that Fred made for Dave, darker then the other stuff above.
This is sap being boiled off , using the wood made, wood burning stove invented by Fred of Albany......he is taking orders if you need one
Keeping a eye on the temperature!!
The "Wood Burning , Wood Stove"
Til next time Gang.....Jerry

Hay You!

Saturday Afternoon: After making our lumber decision, we left Dan's sawmill and drove into Johnstown for milk, intending to get right home and measure twice! (And cut once). Passing by this sign on Route 29, we remembered discussing how to stop the mud in the driveway during this much appreciated thaw. Sidetracked again! A quick turn into the driveway brought us to the farm from hell.
There was actually a goat in this little cage (below). How horrible. I wanted to break him outta there, but we are maxed out here with animals (for now - we'll renegotiate that when Eli's barn arrives). Poor guy. . .
One thing we do agree on is that dragging mud into the house is losing its charm. Until this little piece of paradise gets a paved driveway (shameful but necessary) we decided that hay was the perfect solution, as this is used in and around the barns we have been to (and we have been to alot of barns). There is just no avoiding the mud, so placing the hay on top keeps the sludge from being absorbed into your shoes, and the tires from sinking into trenches. At $2.50 a bale, this is an immediate, cheap and common solution. We had driven by this "farm" in the past, and each time we pass by there, my self esteem rises dramatically. This is the poster child for "just get rid of it". After spending the morning at the Amish farms which were noticeably sparse and clean, this farm shows exactly why "having it all" may become a problem. I don't know how they find anything, or even take care of it. My housekeeping skills are suddenly raised to the level of fantastic. This farm is the opposite of Amish. This is CHAOS. Remarkably, they found the hay and we were on our way again.
In total, we purchased three bales. We got our milk and headed home. Once there, we were able to find the pitchfork and get started pitching hay and covering the mud in driveway. Although it may not look like it while we're under construction, we can still find our things. The pitchfork was right where we put it in the shed in the fall. See why my opinion of myself soars after visiting the hay farm? We actually have a plan here! It's all coming together. The hay smelled great and was a definite improvement over the mud. The dogs are loving it, and the floors in the house are staying cleaner. Mission accomplished!
Jake supervising:
Smells great and no mud!
He just buried his nose in it - he couldn't help himself!
Double clicking on any of these pictures will enlarge the detail. It was an easy job and we both enjoyed being outside and working up a sweat on a glorious spring day.
If you could only smell it - It is delicious!
We took our lumber measurements and headed back to Amish Dan's sawmill to fill him in on our requirements. We stopped by Stewart's (the upstate equivalent of 7-11) and picked up some bags of candy for Dan's kids. They don't get alot of treats and so we were happy to add to the tooth decay. It was worth it to see the happy faces diving into a bag of candy. For .99 cents we were heroes. We took the scenic route and were rewarded with a picture perfect trip with livestock, maple syrup and amish buggies tucked into the woods.
This is a maple syrup contraption that uses a solar powered pump to extract the sap quickly out of the tubes. This is way more efficient than just dripping, which explains the huge collection tank. These folks are serious about their maple syrup. A parked buggy with no one in sight. Hmmmmmm. . . ?
Knowing that the pork roast in the crockpot was getting near done, our goal was to swing by Duncraven Dairy Farm to place our order for home delivery - a Milkman! In this case, it is a milk woman, as it is the wife who delivers the milk in our neck of the woods. We were given their name by Dave the landscaper, who gets milk delivered every Thursday. He said it is the best milk around - fresh and local with no chemical enhancements. We're getting into this eating healthy thing, and fresh milk tops the list! It is a family run farm, and after speaking with the wife on the phone (they are NOT Amish and enjoy all the electronic technologies that we do!) I am looking forward to meeting her when she makes the delivery. We missed them on Saturday, but driving in their neighborhood we enjoyed more scenic moments. Cue the deer!: Heading home after passing by the Duncraven farm, we almost missed the Hickory Furniture sign. Fortunately, we slammed on the breaks and backed up. This brings us back to our first entry of Saturday's Travels - the Hickory Furniture/Shed builder. It was an unbelievably busy day. We had found all sorts of interesting people and their crafts and products. The furniture we purchased is shown here:
We placed our order with Sam, the Amish Hickory Furniture maker (now we have TWO furniture makers - incredible variety don't you think?) We will be putting this furniture set on our porch, just as soon as our porch has a roof on it. As I said, it's starting to all come together, and a few more saturdays like this will bring us incredible progress. I am loving retirement and I think Jerry feels the same way. We have a new and different attitude about taking the road less traveled, and it is bringing us a variety of rich experiences.
We do know how fortunate we are to have this opportunity - And we're glad that you want to share it too. Today is St. Patrick's Day, and our own traditions are enjoying their moment in the sun. It's only 8:30 and already the Erin is going Braless joke has been worn to a frazzle (he hasn't lost his sick sense of humor!) It's going to be a full day! Enjoy your corned beef and cabbage and maybe take the road less traveled while you're on your way. It's worth your time! We miss you all, and wish you were here!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Eggstraordinary Day

On Saturday, we decided in the morning to head out to see Noah, the Amish cabinetmaker, with Richard and Ulla (of Dolgeville/Alpaca fame). We arrived about 10:45 and were disappointed to find that Noah was not at home. But his young son was there and was able to give us some limited information. Most helpful was that Noah would be back around 3:30 (4:30 our time, as the Amish do not participate in Daylight Savings Time). Richard and Ulla decided to come back when Noah could answer their questions. So Richard and Ulla and Jerry and I split off, all to finish our separate errands.
What we could see at Noah's farm was that spring is definitely on its way. The grass (grass!!!!) is peeking through the fields and the smell of mulch, manure and earth is everywhere. It was a glorious day - not a cloud in the sky. We spent a little time inside Noah's greenhouse, just to see what is sprouting and what will be available in a few weeks. It is a wood framed structure with double plastic sheathing. The air channel between the two layers of plastic is about 5", which keeps it quite warm. I found that there was a wood burning stove in the back. The heat and sun was fabulous! Inside the greenhouse were rows and rows of seedlings, with growth about four weeks along. Ready to go! Tomatoes, flowers, hydrangia, lilac, pansies, etc. This is a stop I will be making in three or four weeks, when OUR snow is melted and we can get the ground tilled. In the meantime, it was a great way to spend the morning. As we were leaving Noah's we looked across the fields and saw the farm next door. Another Amish family in the valley. See the chicken coop on the left? So did we.
As we pulled out onto the main road, we saw also that the next door neighbor was selling eggs, and decided to drop in and get some. (Chicken Coop = Eggs - Jackpot!)
It was a beautiful and well-kept farm. The Amish are not big on unnecessary decoration, everything is functional and simple. Not for decor but for functionality. This in itself is beautiful. There are lessons to be learned here.
The wife came out of the farm house and Jerry told her we wanted some eggs. She came back out with water for the chickens (why make two trips?) and two dozen egg crates. (Not two dozen - but (2) dozen. We didn't want THAT many eggs!). Jerry helped carry the water over to the chicken coop and we watched as she scooped the eggs from the hen's laying beds, right in among the chickens. Now THAT's fresh!
The Corn Barn where chicken feed is stored:
The chicken coop:
Jerry taking it all in.
I don't want to be a pie!
When I asked the Amish woman if it was OK to take pictures of the chickens, she responded "yes, but not of me", which is why you see no Amish photos up close and personal. These chickens apparently are not Amish, therefore, they can have their photos taken.
So, to clarify, these are not Amish chickens, they are just Chickens on an Amish Farm. Got it? As an aside, I will tell you that our first egg-cellent breakfast was a little scary for me, because when I opened the egg carton I saw not the bleached white eggs that we are used to from the grocery store (probably at least 2 weeks old and chemically enhanced) but fresh brown eggs with chicken schmegma on them. CHICKEN SCHMEGMA! I was terrified. Before we ate them (cooked of course) I did soak them in a bleach solution for a few moments, and washed them off in the sink before returning them to the egg carton - now our eggs are clean. But really, why was I so afraid of egg schmegma on the shells (which is just a slang for yukky farm stuff) when chemically enhanced, week-old eggs that had been transported from God knows where for however many days under who knows what conditions doesn't cause me any concern at all? What is wrong with me? Are we all this de-sensitized to rural living? I'm trying to change that. But man, I was scared eating those eggs. They were delicious - But I was scared.
As you can see, this family is also collecting sap for Maple Syrup. No high-tech miles of tubing for the Amish! They simply hang a galvanized bucket onto the side of a tapped-tree and carry it over to wherever they are boiling it, one gallon at a time. See the melting snow? ME TOO!
More sap collecting.
They make it look pretty simple. Actually, they make everything look pretty simple. They find the simplest, cheapest way to do something, and do it that way forever.
Kinda makes you think doesn't it?
On our way out of Palatine (heading home) we decided to stop by Dan's and say Hello. Dan is the Amish guy who cut down and removed the trees for our pasture. He has his own saw mill and operates right down the road from Noah. This is his sawmill (the pickup truck belongs to a customer, not to Dan - he uses Morgans)
Now that Dan and his family (the older boys who work with him - he has 15 kids!) have spent so much time at OUR property, we feel like old friends. I think he may have been just as glad to see us as we were to see him. He gets a chuckle out of us and our projects. Anyway, we talked about the best type of boards to use for wall-siding on the interior of our bedroom, and decided also to use rough lumber on the floor. This will give a solid and sturdy feel to the room, and provide a nice backdrop for our wall hangings and rugs. We like this "rustic" look, and will be using more of Dan's wood in the living room too. After establishing what type of wood we wanted we headed home to measure exactly so that Dan could get started. I would have liked to get a picture of Dan with his kids, because they were cute as buttons. But that is not respectful of their traditions, and so you get only pictures of Dan's house and property. The sawmill is getting quite busy. Dan said that he had been real slow when the snow was really deep, and probably could have gotten more done inside, but didn't. I guess he is also guilty of enjoying a little down time in the winter. Aren't we all?Now that the weather is breaking, everyone is thinking ahead towards construction projects and outdoor enhancements. Wood is back in style! These wood piles could be some of our old trees! You never know! The buggy barn: Tomorrow: How to solve a muddy driveway for $2.50