Thursday, April 9, 2015


The sun is starting to shine now but we woke up to snow. SNOW. It is April! I am obviously less than thrilled with this recent development since we are still trying to get rid of all the snow from this winter.  It is slowly (very slowly) melting away but temps have not gone much above 40 degrees in the last few week.  And the maple syrup season is winding down without even winding up which is a huge bummer.  My father usually shares the syrup from the maples he taps but I fear it was be extremely coveted this year. 

Luckily there is an end in sight. It has to warm up sometime!  Looks like we will have higher temps (the 50s, oh my!) this weekend and even rain coming up on Friday. Anything, ANYTHING, than this white stuff.

All right; that's enough whining for one day.

happy Thursday!

shelby g

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

2nd Birthday

Happy Early Birthday Audrey! This last weekend we celebrated Audrey's 2nd birthday with family.  This meant that I had to clean (which was horrible) but also have a houseful of people; which we rarely do.  This was the last hurrah! in our kitchen and hopefully by Audrey's birthday next year we'll have a shiny new one.  Let's see, for her 2nd birthday Audrey seemed to really love running around with balloons, playing with A.J. (seems to be the only name she can say and remember), and enjoyed having "Happy Birthday" sung to her.  After we finished singing she repeated "Happy, Happy, Happy" over and over again... safe to say that she is a happy kid.

I made a Crazy Cake (made with vinegar and no eggs) and topped it with boiled frosting. It ended up looking like "mud season" especially with the animals on the top which is fitting for this time of year. I remembered this cake from Pinterest and used it as inspiration.

We also celebrated Easter the next day with Audrey's cousins Cami and A.J.  We found eggs in the house and baskets in the living room that the Easter bunny left.  Audrey loves hanging out with the big kids and mostly just follows them around or sits on A.J. I had them all for the weekend and A.J. would constantly call me in the living room complaining that Audrey was sitting on her.  I told her that Audrey just loves her a lot! 

Hope your holiday weekend went well!  We have had snow on and off for the last few days which is a real bummer. I'm looking forward to spring still!

shelby g

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Sill

This is a pretty big deal. Check it out! Mr. Meanie's first beam joint which connects one of the sill beams together that will run the entire 40 feet of the kitchen "L" project. He is doing everything by hand; chiseling away with antique chisels that he found in our barn (one of which made a very fine chicken poop scraper until Jeff sharpened it up and replaced the handle) and chisels inherited from his grandparents. All ends of the beams have to be chiseled with a special joint that allow for them to fit together like a puzzle; horizontal and perpendicular beams. This is the first sill and he still has one more end to finish. He figures once he becomes more familiar with the tools each joint will take an hour or 2 to complete. 

So we are beyond excited over here. We have finalized our kitchen cabinetry and counters (switching from EBS to a local Viking store because of poor service... long story!), windows, and have hired someone to tear down our "L". We have about a month to go before the "L" is torn down... that will be a surreal moment indeed! Then another month for our basement to cure and by July we should be able to host a timberframe raising party. Fun Times!

Happy Friday!

shelby g

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring someday?!

I remember when last year spring came on time (or close enough). I remember the warm summery days, mowing the grass, planting and weeding the garden, dodging black flies/mosquitoes, running in the evening, and taking family bike rides. I am not sure if we'll get to enjoy many of the wonderful spring activities this year. Easter is in two weeks and we still have mountains of snow on the ground. Today is Maple Syrup Sunday and it is around 2 degrees with the wind chill. (Whine warning) I just want to go outside and run! And clean the chicken coop.   If you can't tell I have CABIN FEVER! We had a few days 2 weeks ago where the temps reached 40s/50s and I ran and took walks, cleaned up a bit, and now it is below freezing again and it is really bumming me out.

Here are some lovely photos from summer 2014. How wonderful!

someday?! I hope someday soon! Have a great day; stay warm.

shelby g

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Chickens

This winter has been difficult for the chickens. Since mid December the chickens have left the coop a handful of times.  The poor babes.  They just don't like the cold snow on their feet. Cleaning the coop is challenging and we are using the "deep litter method". Basically the bedding is frozen to the floor and we can't remove it so we have been adding more shavings on top of that. This is suppose to provide additional insulation for the coop and also as the shavings break down it should give off some heat... but that's not happening! Much too cold. 

But these ladies (and gent) have hunkered down for the winter. We are pleased to have a nice large coop for them. We leave a red heat lamp on for them; not sure how much heat it provides since many of them have frostbitten combs. But it kept them laying at least 4-6 eggs a day up until a few weeks ago. Now we are getting one egg every few days but I suppose they need to take a break to gear up for spring! Which should be just around the corner. We also added a dust box made of diatomaceous earth, wood ash, garden dirt, grit, oyster shells, and dried meal worms.  They love bathing in the dust and it should help keep the mites down if there are any.

And in May we will have 10 more chicks to add to the flock during the summer. Our older ladies will be 3 years and the others 2 and their laying has dropped off so we figured it would be best to add more chickens to the flock since we sell our eggs and haven't been able to for a few months.  Can't wait for the arrival of the new chicks since I am sure Audrey will love them.

have a good day!

shelby g

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Setting Sun

Notice anything different?

The images are from 2 different angles and one looks much, much warmer than the other. But our ash trees are gone! These trees were planted by the previous owner when he was a kid; 80 years ago or so.  Why did we cut them down?  Well I wanted to keep them and Mr. Meanie wanted to cut them down. One of the ash trees was way too close the the house and rubbed up against the roof and made it difficult for the roof to dry (and so there was a lot of moss breaking down asphalt shingles) and the other ash tree would have hindered our kitchen rebuild. 

So what happened to the trees?  Well the branches became this giant pile to burn in the spring:

And some of the larger branch/trunk pieces will become tool and axe handles.  Large trunk rounds will become the pegs used to hold the timbers together for the kitchen frame (I am in charge of pegs!), and the rest became fire wood! Giving Trees indeed!

Today was a lovely day, in the 30s (only in Maine is this considered warm!). It snowed about 4 inches of wet snow last night but the sun managed to burn through by midday.  Audrey, Carlie, and I took a walk around the plowed parts of our property, visited the chickens, attempted to make a snowman, and watched Carlie chase a black cat around the barn (I guess we have a winter visitor).  The days are much longer now, sun setting around 5:30pm, and the sun has more heat to it.  The forecast calls for cold weather and more snow but the last 2 storms have felt more like spring storms so I am hopeful.

Here's our sunset today:

have a good night!

shelby g

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

My Valentine

This post is a little late but Audrey figured out how to pull the SD card out of the computer and hide it. I have found one (and then lost it) and am still missing another one. But I managed to glean some photos off FB to share!  This is my Valentine.

Mr. Meanie spent the last 25 days busting butt, literally through blizzards and below zero temperatures to cut 16 beams, 20+ feet long. He rigged up an Alaskan Chainsaw Mill (since in the first picture) and cut spruce and hackamatack logs down to size. With the weather, the stomach flu (yes, we all got it), and breaking chainsaw blades my husband continued to push through the project. These beams will become the timberframe supports for our new kitchen L.  Based on his progress we will clear out our old kitchen L, dig and pour the foundation, and raise the frame by May!  Weather permitting, of course. 

For this upcoming month we will order our kitchen cabinets, counter tops, range, and windows.  I suppose we'll also order doors as well. Jeff will finish up the shorter 10 foot beams on a portable saw mill along with make all the rough boards to use as the subfloor, along the walls, and ceiling.  He will also notch the beams and I am in charge of making ash pegs. 

And spring is hopefully just around the corner!

shelby g