Homeland Farm

Homeland Farm

Sunday, July 14, 2019

A Day in the Life at Homeland Farm, Part two


 (Computers, man....Grrr)

4PM...A drive around the farm checking out the pretty stuff...
Pole Beans!

Acres of clover!

"Look Vance! The Tiger lillies are in bloom again..."

4 PM....Pea shelling time! Supper is cooking, and smelling good!

430...Cocktails on the glider!

Couple of tired farmers

Chicken and Dumplings, fresh peas and cukes, homemade biscuits and strawberry jam! YUM


Ahhhh! Glorious Summer time! (or as we say here in Maine..A wicked nice Summah!)

          Good Afternoon from Beautiful Bridgton, Maine! After a terrible, wet and cold and LONG Spring, we are finally enjoying a warm, sunny stretch of summer weather. The flowers are blossoming, butterflies are flitting about and the garden is in. Time to get out and enjoy the season, although we have plenty to do here at Homeland Farm.
           Today, I am doing a blog post called A DAY IN THE LIFE AT HOMELAND FARM.
It could easily be called "A day in the life of Carmie and Cliffy," or "Watch Carmie and Cliffy work", but I will go with my original title.
          Anddddd Here we GO!
PS..Doing this in two parts since my computer is being a pain!


     6AM...wake up to the Peke snoring on my head.

     7AM... Coffee and we make plans for the day. The dogs are clearly awaiting instructions.
  9 AM....It is time to start making strawberry jam. Three batches later, we were done!
Cliffy helping wiping the rims.

Under the careful eye of three ladies that were once captured on film, right at this sink. Aunt Esther, Aunt Fern and Nanny.

Three Batches later and we have 15 pints! Will be very tasty in January!

Noon time! Quick lobster roll break...Yum!

Onions and radishes
1230 PM...A Hoe-ing we will go! The raised beds are looking great and the other garden is till wet, but coming along slowly. The heat has been helpful with all the plants. I think it will work out!

Looking Good, Farmer Daigle


3PM...LOTS AND LOTS of apples on our trees this year. We are going to get a good crop this year, if the varmints behave.
 We have several different varieties of apples, from Macintosh to Granny Smiths. I can't wait...I need to make applesauce!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

"Spring has Sprung..Fooled ya!" says Mother Nature


Before the new snow...
        One thing I love about a Maine Spring is that you never know what to expect. For example, Cliffy and I had been watching the snow recede at a fairly quick rate over the last couple weeks. Watching and waiting and smiling. Spring was here and that old ground hog was right...winter was leaving and an early spring was right on our doorstep.
       Heck, we even commenced to raking last weekend, it was so nice. Yep, we were out raking in just tee shirts, it was so warm. We got almost half the front lawn done,and we also started on the lawn where the pine trees are located. Then we sat on the glider, and soaked up the warm rays. Ahhh spring..We love ya!
        BAM! Ole Mother Nature pulled a fast one. Three days of snow. Wet, heavy spring snow that once again has turned our driveway into a wet bog, and caused accidents for lots of folks who clearly forgot how to drive in the stuff. On the trip to Auburn on Monday, we saw 4 cars off the road, and heard reports of many more. Friendly reminder for one and all....SLUSH is bad, will pull you right off the road in a blink. Slush would always win  in a game of rock, paper scissors. ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS, SLUSH! SLUSH WINS!
         We prepared our seed catalog orders over the weekend, as well as  getting the raking underway. Cliffy is making plans for pole beans and Sweet potatoes, carrots and rutabegas. Can't wait as I love planting and picking. Not a huge fan of weeding, but it is a necessary evil. We are expanding a bit this year and hope to put in strawberries as well. Yum...can't wait until I can feature our home grown veggies in a tasty summer supper, followed by rhubarb pie. Come on summer! Be nicer to us then spring has been, okay?

Cliffy with some long eaten veggies
           We are getting wallpaper ordered too for a spruce up this spring. I have to do our living room over, and have started the tedious process of wallpaper removal. Oh, how I hate that job, not that I am a huge fan of demolition either. But, demo we must, as we are going to take down the old living room ceiling and put up a new shiny, flat sheet rock ceiling. The current ceiling has a big bulge where we had an unexpected  leak, so before I paint and repaper the room, I guess the ceiling needs to be repaired. Cliffy is gonna LOVE ME!! (in case you were wondering what was dripping off those two capitalized words...it was sarcasm..yep, dripping with sarcasm.) Once it is all done however, its gonna be GREAT!! Nothing says welcome spring, like a new coat of paint and a good cleaning. SO, once the demo is done, I will start my spring cleaning and will get papering and painting. I will take lots of photos so you can see the before and after..its gonna be great!
My sweetie is no stranger to my "time for a change" mood
             We did a lot of painting outside over the last couple years so there isn't too much work that needs to be done. Well, except the back of the barn. We need to get that vinyl sided and a new door built for insurance purposes. Apparently, the homeowners insurance policy makes you keep everything painted in order to cover you. Kinda odd, if you ask me, but I had planned on it anyway, so it will just  light a fire under us to get it done faster.
Time for new Vinyl

  So, now I have to wrap it up for today. I'm off to work at the 207 Trading Co, as I need to earn money to support my "habit"..redecorating and painting. See you soon, and don't forget to stop by the booth at the 207 that Cam and I both share. You will know which one is ours when you see the sign that says "all sales benefit an autistic young man and his gimpy mom." 

Thursday, February 28, 2019

My Uncle was right..It's hell to get old!

Don't even get me started on the gray hair..
           My Uncle Billy used to lament about getting old. I thought he was being over dramatic or whiny. I thought Geez, how bad can it be?? But, then I hit my 50's!
           Everyday I wake up and think WHEW! Made it! Another night of restful sleep...ummm maybe not. It seems my dreams get crazier and more detailed all the time. Sometimes they are scary, and I wake up with my heart racing. Crazy CRAZY I tell you! Snakes..roses..earthquakes..weird houses..some of which I think oh yeah..saw that on Facebook. BUT..most make no sense at all.
           I roll over and cuddle next to Cliffy, who I figure probably wants to wake up and hear all about it. Well...maybe in the morning. At least I can cuddle with him until I get the nonsense outta my brain and doze back off. Or not, and I just lay there..changing positions 50 times..leg in..leg out...blankets on, blankets off..window up..window down..electric blanket on, well...you get the picture. A solid 8 hours sleep is clearly a luxury now and I have to get used to that fact.
           So..rise and shine I do, ' cuz, I'm nothing if not cheerful. However, the rate of the aforementioned "rising and shining" has dropped dramatically. First, I have to extract my legs from between the warm dog bodies framing my body. Big Doob in the middle, and Molly on the outer edge. So, I have to pull my knees clear up to my chest and roll out to the edge of my bed. Just like that, my morning leg lifts are done. Always glad to get the exercise out of the way!
           I plunk my feet on the floor and do my assessment. How do the ankles feel? Knees? I sit there and ponder a few minutes, and I'd like to say I'm deep in meditation or praying or something profound like that. However, it is much more likely that I am stalling until I hear the fire started in the kitchen stove and the coffee perking away. I'm old..not stupid!
           You've heard of Custer's last stand?? Well, it is now time for Carmen's first stand. Often, for whatever reason, my first stand of the day is accompanied by my mind singing a line from the old sea chantey "Drunken Sailor". ( Didn't I tell you my mind has been doing it's own thing lately?)
Yep, as I stand up and stretch, that little voice in my brain chimes in with a rousing "WEIGH HEY AND UP SHE RISES, EARLY IN THE MORNING!!" My mind can be so obnoxious, I swear.
           So, I stretch, head for the bathroom, clothes in hand. My activity level of the day before has a direct bearing on how fast a trip I make. If I was busy and active, I am like a granny nightgown clad snail, dunked in molasses. Now that's slow. If I am not particularly stiff, I am like a granny clad 100 year old Galapagos tortoise, speeding along. You get the picture..not fast.
           I get dressed, wash up, and head out to the kitchen, where Cliffy is having a coffee and patiently awaiting my arrival. We have our daily coffee and write in the diary, while the previous days events are still fresh in our minds, and then we start the days work.
That wood ain't stacking itself..
  Now, I have always worked hard and actually, I read back in my old diaries at the amount of physical labor I have done and it is no wonder I am dragging. Farm life is very hard work and I never hesitated to do what had to be done.Haying, shoveling manure, spreading it, wood cutting and stacking, fencing, raking, mowing, pruning, gardening etc etc. I was in my element and truly loved it.
There I am taking down old fence...oh wait..
           Today, now that I'm...dare I say it..closer to 60 then 50, I still help, but alas, at a much slower pace. Luckily, my two sons and nephew are still around so I can do what I can, and you know..."guide them" thru the more difficult things. I say guide..they say boss..but I do it with affection. We "share" in the work..like for example..
            We had an old pellet stove out here in the barn that weighed a bloody ton. I was all for getting it to the dump already, and everyone else likely to be involved seemed to think it was "fine" where it was. One day I commandeered the crew  to clean the barn..the crew being Cameron, Liam, Nolan and Cliff. I said "lets get that thing loaded and out of here". They looked at me like I had three heads but at the ages of 14, 18, 26 and 76, they have learned I can be stubborn.
            So, Cliff backed his truck up, and the four of them muscled it with lots of "guidance" from me, and got it up into the back of the truck. Then I did my "share" of the job..I grabbed the broom and swept up where it had been. SEE! Many hands make light work..an expression I use often and frankly, I think everyone hates.
There I am cleaning attic..oh wait..
There I am polishing the stove..oh wait...
 I still do all my housecleaning, with spring housecleaning being the big event of the spring.  I go through the whole house from attic to cellar, cleaning away all the dirt and cobwebs from the last year. I am looking at a big job this year, as we need a mess of work inside done. Our bedroom needs a serious paint job, and I plan on doing the living room over with a new ceiling, fresh paint, wallpaper, carpet and couch. SO, I better get these knees ready to go. Cliffy and I both worked together and got the apartment all papered and painted and are,amazingly still together, so I say let's do it! He can't wait. He loves papering with me. OK, not so much, but it will be a "good job done", as my Uncle Billy used to say whenever we completed a task.
There I am painting in the bedroom..oh, wait..
             Yep..the old body has slowed me down, but thankfully I am still sharp as a tack in the old mind. (well, other then the sea chantey songs..and well the snake dreams..and the fact I can't get the "shallow" song out of my brain for love nor money.) Yessirreee...sharp. Nothing gets by this old gal..I've got it all going on upstairs for sure. But perhaps you can explain why I went to pay the eye doctor this morning and pulled three dog biscuits out of my pocket, instead of my wallet...

Sunday, January 27, 2019

What do you think? A potential book? Or just things the author would find amusing...

Homeland Farm

         I have kept a diary for 25 years. Yes, for almost half my life,  I have kept a diary of the life and times of a crazy, Maine farm gal. I have chronicled the good, bad and ugly, mostly with a sense of humor which managed to help me get through the aforementioned "ugly." Every now and then, I get the urge to go back through and read them again, and let me tell you, they are pretty darn interesting. Oh, and often very amusing. I have read Cliffy a bit here and there, and he seems to think..and I quote..." THERE'S A BOOK IN THERE SOMEWHERE!" Perhaps, or maybe it is just funny to those that know me. SO, I am conducting a poll. Yay, or Nay...a book in this foolishness??
Here are a couple examples of true stories from 1995, written as I wrote it in my dairy.
        February 8, 1995...
         I took some birthday money and went to Waterford to buy two calves. One was a black whitehead and the other was a Jersey/Holstein cross. I wheeled and dealed the old farmer down to a good deal..$150 for both. When he helped me take them out to the station wagon to load them, I slammed the back station wagon door down and bopped him right on the head. Down he went! I felt really bad..He'd lived up on that hill in peace for 80+years, and then I came along. I called the next day to make sure he was ok and his wife said he was. (" Oh! That's what that mark was!")

       October 29, 1995...

A young Cameron
          I bought a new calf off Wade, so I loaded Cameron (age 3) into the truck and off we went to Waterford. She is a nice half Angus, half Holstein heifer, and looks as bright as a dollar. We tied her in the back of the truck, and headed home. We pulled in the yard, and I unloaded Cameron. We walked back to lower the tail gate, and...THE CALF WAS GONE!!! Cameron's  eyes bugged right out of his head as I yelled "SHIT!! CAMERON! BACK IN THE TRUCK!!!" We tore up the road, and retraced our steps, but no calf. I went back home to call the police, and got a message from my mother that someone had found her  on Bridgton Academy hill, and had loaded her into a neighbors trailer. We went right over to get her, and thank god she was fine. She did have a few scrapes here and there on her legs, and I doctored those once I got her home. No more calves tied in truck bodies!

        So, that is a small sample of the daily activity that I lived, wow...almost 20 years ago now. Holy Smoke! Now it is time to vote! Yay..you would be interested in reading more...Nay..ummm not so much! There was lots of good times and unfortunately, lots of not so good, as one would expect. I am always amazed at how much work I did ..every day all day. Working nights..taking care of a toddler..taking care of my grandmother...chores...kids..marriages coming and going...cooking and more cooking! 3 pies PLUS cookies in one day! . Now I understand my current physical shape...I busted my butt..mostly too stubborn to ask for help. I'm sure you all find that hard to believe...
Yum..Pineapple upside down cake

 Over and Out from all of us here down on the farm! Have a great week!


Saturday, January 19, 2019

Batten Down the Hatches!!

Snow fall a few years ago
          THERE'S A STORM A' BREWIN'! Or, so they say. We have been busy today, doing all the usual last minute storm preparations. I did some cooking, making homemade raspberry turnovers and an apple strudel. Cliffy put extra fuel in the tanks, and we hauled some furniture to the booth at the 207 Trading Co. We parked the car inside the barn, and closed up the doors. Good to go!
          Then, Cameron and I went to fight the throngs of folks stocking up on booze, milk, toilet paper, and Allens Coffee Brandy. Here in New England, you just can NOT have a good nor'easter without the aforementioned items. And a good, one it is shaping up to be.
           So far, this winter has been wicked odd. (said in a deep Maine accent.)(In my mind..)(I'll stop now).We had very early snow and quite a bit of it, back in November. So this year, we had not only a white Christmas, but a white Thanksgiving. Then it has frozen and thawed, icy then bare ground. Not the normal winter season. So, the snow lovers are very excited to see the potential for 2 plus feet of snow. I am not a snow lover, so I could do without a mess of the white stuff, but this is Maine, and I don't have to leave the house tomorrow, so I guess I don't mind. BRING IT ON, MOTHER NATURE!
            I will post some photos tomorrow of the big mess..will see how it looks by the morning light!


Monday, December 31, 2018

My blog is seasonal...

          Good New Years Eve to one and all! I have discovered I am apparently a seasonal blogger. Once a quarter is about all I can muster, and I'm not sure why. Not like I have a farm to maintain...a booth to stock at the local 207 Trading Co...a cute granddaughter to pal around with..dialysis to put up with (although the alternative is pretty unappealing..:)...and a whole host of family fun and activities. But seriously...my resolution this new years is MORE BLOGGING. Wish me luck!
          So..lets see where we left off. Liam was at basic training, Cliffy and I were headed to Oklahoma, and we were in the throes of summer and all it's hectic fun. I will start from there.
Love, Love Love Lilacs..(apple pie too, really)
Nice looking garden going in
Zuchinni relish..wicked good
          Cliffy had a dandy garden in this year and we did well with lots of greens, broccoli, beans and tomatoes. We had less luck with squash, eggplant, peppers and cukes, although we did have enough to eat. It was a dry year so we were happy to get as much as we did.  Plus, we had plenty of tomatoes to can, with a few pounds from my parents next door. Yum...I love opening a can of home stewed tomatoes come a cold day in February. Just like opening a can of summer, I always say.
Summer in a jar..and the first squash pie of the season
          I made a mess of strawberry jam, raspberry jam, grape jelly and sweet green tomato marmalade, all pretty darn good. Love freshly made jam on one of my hot biscuits, Boy Howdy, them's good eats. (anyone else hear that in their mind said by Sheriff Taylor of Mayberry?? Anyone?? No??? Oh..ok....)
oh so good
          Anyway, I digress. Cameron, my oldest son turned 26 this summer, and is always a willing hand should I need one. He helps me manage the booth of goods at the 207 Trading Co. We had a couple storage lockers donated to us this summer, which we were very thankful to get. We also partially cleaned out a local garage, which had lots of cool stuff. We were very blessed, and have a few months worth of things to stock our shelves with.
This guy will do anything to help dear old mom..:)

Bro giving Chum and friend a ride
       Brogan, Milly and Cass were very busy this summer as well. Lots going on with young folks these days it seems all the time. Bro got in some horse riding while Cass and Cliff managed to do some fishing. Milly was always ready to talk Granny's ear off and help cook, sweep, swing, shovel..whatever is happening, she is ready to participate!
Homeland's youngest pooper scooper!
          Then, Carmie and Cliffy went off on our big adventure! Liam was graduating from Fort Sill, where he completed basic training. We wanted to go, so were trying to scrimp and save for the trip. We bought the plane tickets, but didn't have the cash for the car rental so my brother Zak was nice enough to rent it for us, and all we had to do was pick it up.
so cool
          So, August 31, off we went into the wild, blue yonder! The plane ride went well, and we managed fine. We got in later then we wanted, since I had hoped to be there before dark, just to make it easier to get our bearings. We caught the shuttle to the car rental place and marched in with our confirmation number in hand.
          Mind you, we are "shoe string travelers" having it all planned out and carefully budgeted.
I thought it was all paid for, so when the guy at the counter passed us the paper work and proclaimed.." That will be 475.00", I almost died!! I was like..."WHAT?? WHY???HOW??"
          "All you did was reserve it..." the dude exclaimed. Now, before we went, I had called to verify that we were all set on the reservation. I asked them if the car rental place was right at the air port. They said no, it was in a neighboring town. I said.."what? Well that won't work..we have no way to get there." They said" oh ok, we will change the location to the airport rental office". Done.
          So, now here we were, and he was saying it was going to be almost 500, which was our entire budget for the 4 day excursion. The unconcerned agent said it was because we had changed the location, and that was why it was more money.
          I told the guy we needed to discuss this, and we walked to the benches across the room, and sat down to 'discuss". We decided to pay the cash we had and would call home for cash the next day. So, we went back up to the guy and said..."here is the money."
          He looked at it, and said...."we don't accept cash." OMG.
          I knew it was time to bust out the big guns.
          Gesturing behind me, I said " We have to figure this out, or we are going to be sleeping on those benches back there all night, and you reallllyyyyyy don't want to see me in my granny nightgown..."
           Long story short, he made calls...got us a 300 dollar deal, and we were off. Big guns work every time. Pays to travel with flannel....
BIG guns, I tell ya...
     We made it to the hotel at midnight after the dang GPS took us on some scenic, dark as the ace of spades country road. We were exhausted but there safely..WITH A CAR and the shower and bed felt good.
Welcome to Fort Sill
         The next day dawned bright and sunny, and we had a great time watching as my "little fella" Liam graduated from basic. A very proud moment for us all...glad we were there to see it...and hadn't had to walk there.
Here they come!!
On the grounds of The Museum of the Great Plains
Pawhuska, Ok
Cowboy Cliffy
       We spent two days traveling around the area with Liam, then he flew home and we went north to Pawhuska, OK, to go visit The Pioneer Woman's store. On the way back to Oklahoma City, Cliffy stopped for a horse back ride, and I sat in the AC. We flew out the next day and were reunited with the pooches, who were so happy to have "mom and dad" back.
Can't you feel the warmth
        Summer came to an end, and on to fall. We did lots of outside work and wood stacking, getting ready for winter. I mowed the lawn and Nolie, Cam, and Liam raked, and the very next day, it snowed. This was early November, mind you. Winter was off to a roaring start. We had a white Thanksgiving, and kept the snow, despite off and on rain, right through Christmas. It was been weird weather the last few weeks..as warm as 50...as cold as single numbers. No huge storms, just small amounts of occasional  snow. January last year was bitter with 30+ below zero, so I am in hopes we don't repeat that.
Cutest turkey ever!
             Christmas was awesome, with Milly being the bright spot. She loves Santa and was so excited this year. We had lots of fun singing and dancing with the jazzy singing Santa in my dining room. She got lots of fun presents and enjoyed every minute of it. We did too, actually. I love Christmas every year, and it always makes me happy. No BAH HUMBUG here..just lots of fudge, homemade popcorn balls and hectic activity, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
             So, now on to 2019. Holy smoke! It seems it was just 2000, and I was having a baby..who is now a Private in the US Army. How and when did that happen? And...there is the crazy fact Cliffy is turning 77 next month, and I'm about to hit 56 in February. When did that happen? As that country song says...100 years goes faster then you think. I wholeheartedly agree. 56?? But then I see the forehead that looks like a road map, and the white(!!!) hair in my eyebrows, to say nothing about the white hair on my head or gulp...on my CHIN! The reality sets in like ...whoa... But, I'm really not one of those folks that sweat the small stuff and therefore I am not worried about it. As my Uncle Bill would say "I'll live 'til I die.." But..not JUST yet... Might have to take another trip sometime this year..but..I will make my own rental car arrangements.