big plans

I had big plans for this weekend! Having chosen to ignore my father’s (good) advice when initially installing the electric fence in the bee yard, and put landscaping cloth down below so the hives weren’t covered in weeds (‘oh, it’ll be fine…’), predictably the bee yard is now covered in weeds and shorting out the electric fence I have protecting my bees.

So I had big plans to cut strips of landscaping cloth under the fence to deter weeds from shorting out the electric charge (fingers crossed this will work!), check in on the ladies and hopefully add a second level to their home and of course mow the lawn (as I wasn’t able to last weekend and with all this rain it’s become a bit of a jungle). And I was going to accomplish all of this before noon when I had to take off to head down to my aunt’s house for a surprise 25th wedding anniversary party.

Well (predictably), that didn’t all happen. But I did my best, got about 2/3rds of the ground cloth laid (fingers crossed the bears keep out just one more week!), added the bees new level (might have been a bit soon…) and got the lawn finished… and I was only 2 hours late for the party! I’ve come to realize that everything takes longer than you expect it to. But that’s just life and there will always be a growing to do list in the background. You just gotta keep plugging away at your goals, but at the same time you also have to know when it’s time to call it a day and just enjoy the party!

knitting

A few months ago, when I found out my good friend Shilpa was pregnant (okay, more than a few- last fall perhaps), I immediately began to think what could I make for her little one and I decided on a beautiful baby blanket pattern that my mom had shared with me with some delicate baby-type yarn. Last year, as a thank you and birthday gift to some friends, I went cowl crazy with my knitting from a lovely seed-stitch pattern. When my mother’s birthday came up last year, I made her a pair of ballet flat slipper shoes.

So needless to say, a lot of my knitting to this point has been trying to come up with creative gifts for friends and family. With each new pattern comes new challenges I haven’t faced before, frustrations with my own mistakes, and pride when I’ve (hopefully) figured things out and it all turns out okay. I’m also very lucky that I have my mother, my knitting guru, to give me advice and help me through trouble spots, as well as the wonderful tutorials and videos available on youtube!

After my fast and frantic knitting over the last week, and a few hours of lost sleep, I was able to finish the baby elephant for Betsy’s baby shower just in the nick of time! (Right ear looks a little wonky in this photo for some reason, but in person looked more normal. I think. Makes it unique in any case, eh?! 😉 Am very pleased with the outcome and hope her soon-to-be-little-bambino or bambina will enjoy it!

Had grand plans of bring a couple of my friend up to my house in NH after the baby shower but unfortunately landed in a bit of car trouble so ended up having to spend the weekend at my parents house while the car is in the shop. Was nice to catch up on a bit of sleep though, work out in the garden, keep the chickens company and pay a visit my friend Shilpa who was in town visiting her parents with her brand new baby girl. Cutie pie!

thank you to the troops!

Hope that everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! It was a wonderful weekend here, full of a bit of everything. LJ came into town for a flying visit (literally just a few days) so it was great to spend time with him and my parents threw an engagement party for us at their house. It was a lovely, laid back, BBQ style event and just so great to celebrate this exciting moment of our lives with family and friends!

Oh and the excitement doesn’t end there, we’ve had a fox visit the house two days in a row (no doubt checking out our chickens) and he’s run away pretty quickly when we go out after him but I just worry about when no one is around at home to chase him off. The coop/run is very sturdy, so I’m not worried about that, but it does have an open floor (so the chickens can scratch and eat the grass) so I’m just hoping he doesn’t manage to dig his way underneath. Will have to think up some new defenses…

Aside from that LJ and I kept very busy this weekend taking care of little projects around the house. Well lots of little projects and one large one I guess- we painted the entire backside of the house, which took a good 2 days to accomplish. But it wasn’t all work, we also took time to enjoy our new space that we will call home together shortly. We took a dunk in the river behind our house, sat out back and drank some champagne to celebrate and plot future dreams, and explored the nearby town center that we will come to know well in the coming years. It was a truly a whirlwind, but wonderful, weekend!

england / wales

So, my chicks have been home for about a week and I’ve already taken off for a week and a half to pay my boyfriend LJ a visit (bad chick mama! Although LJ did buy me the chicken workshop as a Christmas present, so I’m sure the ladies will understand)!  I knew that I would be taking this week out in advance, however, and my parents so graciously offered to handle chicken duty for while I was away.

Well it turned out to be quite an exciting eventful trip!  LJ had planned out an excellent week of hiking in stunning Snowdonia National Park in Wales (LJ is from England and a fellow lover of hiking and the outdoors.  We actually met while doing a thru hike of the Appalachian trail a few years back which I wrote about here http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=10009) which was incredible.  Lots of rain and fog (even snow at some high peaks), craggy rocks and walks through sheep pastures (and many, many lamb photos taken by yours truly).  And most exciting of all, we became engaged during our trip!  And so the nobohomestead will soon be one more..  🙂 Though to be fair, LJ has always been there creating the nobohomestead with me from the beginning. A shared dream and I can’t wait to see where it will take us!

kitchen DIY

before

during

after

Being a new homeowner, there’s a whole list of fun projects floating around in my head that I’d eventually like to tackle.  And of course, then there is reality, where you actually need to finance said projects and attempt to rank these many ideas in order of importance and the free time that you have to work on them.  Now that spring is here, I’m ready to dig in (figuratively and literally) on some of the things I’ve been hoping to get done.  Up until now, I’ve only done a few maintenance fixes that needed to be taken care of- minor septic repair, replacing some rotting wood on the exterior and some clearing up of leftover materials around the shed.

Last weekend, my (very handy with home repair jobs!) friend Betsy came up with my to teach me how to tile my kitchen backsplash (as it was bare).  It turned out to be a VERY long couple days of working flat out with a couple of hiccups (couldn’t fnd enough sheets of the same tile at home depot so had to mix and matched patterns and ‘create’ our own design, backboard wasn’t plywood like we had originally thought, and tiles ended up being different thicknesses so we had to grout everything by hand mostly).  Betsy was SUCH a great sport (particularly being nearly 5 months pregnant!) and we got it done in the end.  Just barely.  These things always take longer than you’d think, don’t they?  Anyways, I’m very please with the outcome (see picture) and so far it has stayed up on the wall- so that’s always a good sign!

Aside from that, am nearly finished building my beehive!!  All the chambers are made and the painting is done.  I’ve finished all my framed for the supers, but still have 20 frames to complete for the broad chambers… piece by piece it’s getting there.  Next week will actually be my last session of bee school so that’s exciting and slightly terrifying all at the same time.  Am I really coming home with 3,000 bees in a few weeks?! (Mostly exciting!)

AND, as if that weren’t all exciting enough, this is the weekend of the chickens!  So I suppose when it rains, it pours.  But I am so excited to finally be diving into all of these projects that I have thought about for so long.  I can’t wait to meet the members of my first flock and I hope that I’ll be able to keep them alive and happy!  I head back over to Cold Antler Farm on Saturday to learn all about chickens and meet my new girls!

girls trip

I’m off this weekend down the Cape on are annual ‘girl’s trip’.  Every year, a few of my local high school friends and I make a point to go away together for a few days.  In our mid-20s, we used to make it a bit more of an extravagant affair (Houston, TX; San Fran, CA) but as the years progressed and we’ve all experienced changes (marital, financial and one of us has their first little bambino on the way this year..) we have toned it down a bit and have made it more of a local affair (New Hampshire; Cape Cod, etc).  It doesn’t really matter where we go, the point is to just spend some quality time together and catch up on where each of our lives have taken us.

Thinking about this upcoming trip got me reflecting a bit about our trip last year, and how life has changed since then.   I’ve bounced between a few different dreams over the years, and having just finished a long-distance hike, I was at a bit of a crossroads in my life.  Although I knew the constant factors in life that have always been important to me and the kind of future I was hoping to have (incorporating my love of the outdoors and living a simpler, more pared down life with a future that was sustainable- ie I couldn’t expect to live out of my backpack forever, as much as I might want to), I was still pretty clueless about how to get there.  On the ride home from our trip to Crotched Mtn last year, I have a vague memory of a conversation I had with my friend Betsy.  I remember mentioning to her that I would love to someday live somewhere like that area and raise some animals on my little patch of land.

So here we are nearly a year later, and I have in fact purchased a home in that general area and am working towards make my dreams a reality.  Slowly but surely of course!  But I feel that even little steps towards achieving your goals are all steps in the right direction nonetheless.  Myself from one year ago would never have thought this possible.  In fact, I still have to pinch myself every now and then just to be sure this has actually happened.  It’s amazing the difference a year can make…