The New Year 2016

May 2016 bring you health and joy.  In spite of all my good intentions, I didn’t post nearly as much as I would have liked last year.  We were in the thick of a very massive renovation at Country Mouse House, and we moved Town Mouse House TWICE!

All things considered, we are holding up well.  I’m still vegan.  Our Holiday season was joyful.  All of my children were home for Christmas, and I don’t think there is much else in this world that makes me happier than having everyone home and together.  It was relaxing and so much fun.

A significant thing that Farmer Joel and I did last year – we both became Certified Permaculture Designers.  We took a course and met some pretty cool people.  We received our certificates upon completion.  We are hoping to use our knowledge to create a more efficient and beautiful farm.  I will expand on that more in a future post.  Meanwhile, some photos:

If you’ll recall, last year, this is what the back of the Country Mouse House looked like:

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Then, it began its transformation:

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And now, nearing completion, from a different angle:

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Finally, with a back porch:

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Here’s some winter beauty for you:

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I also wanted to share some seemingly random things.  It’s been so long since I’ve shared anything that I feel the need to catch up a little bit.  Here is Finn in a new sweater:

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This is Rocket, my “Grand-dog,” dressed as a reindeer for Christmas:

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An edible wreath for a New Year’s Day party over at Lisa’s(I added the vegan ranch dressing when I got there):

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Now, for the gardening portion of our program…..It’s time to start pruning.  I have a wisteria, and it’s a little out of control.  I found out the times of year to prune are January-February AND July-August.  I will be pruning soon!  Meanwhile, here is what it looks like right now:

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The roses shall be pruned when the forsythia blooms.  The weather is so unpredictable, I’m not sure when that will be.  Here are the roses:

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A little wild and crazy, yes?

I wasn’t wearing the proper footwear when I was taking pictures:

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Oh well.  May you stay warm, safe, and dry this weekend.  Avoid going out if there are heavy snows in your area.  Enjoy!

Wendy

Renovations

Yes, I have been off the radar a couple of months.  I have been working as a Gardener for a Nature Preserve and Educational Center.  This has been wonderful as I am learning so much about Native plants.  I am spending a lot of time there because there is no end to what needs to be done.  My job puts me in charge of the decorative and educational gardens.  They have a summer day camp there as well, and it is delightful listening to the sounds of children enjoying the great outdoors! (Along with the birds and other wildlife, too…)

Farmer Joel and I are attending a monthly Permaculture class, which has been an amazing experience.  Our final project is to come up with a plan to re-design a local, organic farm.  This is keeping us quite busy.  We have met some very nice people who have so many types of knowledge and expertise.  It is  inspiring – makes me want to take more classes!

We have also been renovating our beloved Country Mouse House.  Here are some things that have changed thus far:

The back of the house with the siding taken off:

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The new extension on  the left side with French-look doors:

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The new extension from the side view with siding and roof – They did such a good job matching everything up:

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There is still much to do, but we are getting there – “Slow and steady wins the race!”

And have a look at the garden:

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Somehow we are managing to grow things in the midst of all the chaos.  The extension is nearing the finish line, but then the kitchen adventure will begin.  I’m very glad we are able to do this.  We are fortunate to have a very good contractor and team of builders.  They are not just skilled, they are polite and tidy, too.

It is another brilliant, sunny day!  Off to the Nature Center I must go to do what I love best- be the caretaker of a small portion of Mother Earth.  I am honored to have this awesome responsibility.

Have a lovely, happy day!

Wendy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wenz Day

Finally the snow begins to melt at Country Mouse House!

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We have had one heck of a winter.  And I don’t believe it is quite finished yet.  Today, however, the sun shines.  See the rose garden in the foreground, below, and the vegetable garden in the background:

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This past weekend, Farmer Joel and I took the first module of a class in Permaculture Design.  It was offered by the Hancock Permaculture Center.   This has been a dream of mine for a few years now.  Permaculture is a Design Science, and is based on 3 Ethics:  1- Care for the Earth, 2- Care for People, and 3- Sharing the Surplus.  How wonderful!

Here is my herb garden, which will be changing as I learn more in my class:

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Do you see how it is a straight, old feeding trough?  As you know, we are renovating the house, so this herb garden will not be configured into the new design.  I will be looking to build, as per Permaculture, an Herb Spiral.  I recommend Googling the term “Herb Spiral, Image,” and take a look at the numerous ways to design and build them.  This straight 15 feet of trough can be curled, enabling not only a more efficient use of space, but a very lovely-looking garden as well.  Spiral shapes occur in nature, and nature is what Permaculture strives to mimic.

My little bed of rhubarb, asparagus, horseradish, primroses, columbines, lambs’ ears, and hosta looks about ready to awaken as well(all beside and beneath my hemlock tree):

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Upon closer inspection, I see the rhubarb just beginning to peek through:

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See the little red nubs?  Notice, also, the natural mulch created by the nearby tree.  Unbeknownst to me, I had already begun what Permaculture calls a “Guild,” by planting certain plants harmoniously which will benefit each other, as well as benefit the soil.

If you’d like to see a short (less than one minute) video of the property from a different perspective, I invite you to this link:

In our class, we met so many interesting, knowledgeable people.  One person keeps bees, and is very involved in helping others learn about them.  I have a strong interest in learning about bees.  We need to help the bees- now more than ever.  See my previous post, Yellow Flowers and Bees.

What are your plans for this Spring?  Have things begun to awaken in your natural surroundings?

Wendy

 

Back-to-Healthy-Vegan-Basics

After a lovely Passover and Easter weekend spent at Country Mouse House with family, it’s time to reduce the carbohydrate intake once again!  Today’s breakfast:

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I started with some baby romaine, a sliced banana, and a small portion of a raw beet, chopped.  In a bowl I stirred together a tablespoon of cashew butter with a tablespoon of almond milk.  This made a lovely dressing:

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I have to say, it was quite tasty!  Lunch was very filling and delicious as well.  Might I recommend:

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The ingredients for this salad are:

Handful of baby spinach

1/2 avocado

1-2 small carrots, sliced

1/2 apple, chopped

1/2 Cup soaked, cooked kidney beans

Very small piece of raw beet, chopped

1 portobello mushroom cap(previously grilled, leftover), chopped

1 Tablespoon roasted pepitas

Dressing:

Juice from 1/2 lime

1 Tablespoon sesame seeds

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 minced garlic cloves

Lemon pepper Mrs. Dash seasoning to taste

Water to thin, if needed

—-Arrange the vegetables, seeds, apples, and beans on a plate, toss.  Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over top.  Toss again.  Enjoy!

Wendy

Friday with Finn

Hello again!  We have been swallowing plaster dust due to a repair that has been ongoing at Town Mouse House.  A leaky roof caused a bubbly ceiling and wall, which led to ripping out wallboard, etc.  The roof needs to be repaired, but no one can get up there while there are ice dams forming everyday.  What a winter!

Since this is a rental apartment, we have no say in the order of how things are done.  They just sealed up the ceiling without having repaired the roof.  The good news is, since we don’t own it, it isn’t our financial headache.  We just have to eat the dust for awhile.

Since it’s Friday, though, I thought I would post a smiling dog photo or two:

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And here is one where you can see his eyes a little better:

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Finn lights up our lives every day!  I didn’t want to post the ceiling photos because they just are not very much fun.  Besides, wouldn’t you rather look at photos of a very sweet, cute pup?  I know I would!

Have a great weekend!

Wendy

Happy Monday

Happy Monday!  If you are in my part of the world, I hope you are warm and cozy.

I thought I would share a bit of closet organization.  When it is this cold, inspiration strikes and I like to work on putting things in order.  I have a bit of costume jewelry and some scarves.  My new closet at our new Town Mouse residence is not nearly as big as my old one, so I have to be clever.

Farmer Joel attached some window screen to the back of an old window frame we found in the barn.  It makes a perfect earring-hanger!  I borrowed this idea from a friend, Pauline, who hand-crafts and sells her very own line of jewelry.  Her company is the “Pearls of Pauline.”  Isn’t that cute?

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See the necklaces to the left and the top of the hanger below?  Here they are a little closer:

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You can find the scarf hanger here.

Just for fun, I thought I’d include a view from my Country Mouse House kitchen window:

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When the sun shines, the chickadees come around chirping and singing.  This is a lilac bush, which a favorite nest-building spot!

Wendy

 

Friday with Finn

Happy Friday!  It’s almost Valentine’s Day!  Woo hoo!  In addition to Joel, I love to give Valentines to my kids and my doggie.  Speaking of said doggie, I was trying to get artistic as the sunlight was pouring in today:

FullSizeRender (3)Here is a close-up which keeps the sunlight from altering the photo too much:

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And now for a final, “artistic” photo of my beloved Finn(note his messy toys in the background):

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I may just have to come up with a heart-shaped dog treat for him!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!  Enjoy your weekend, and do something loving for yourself as well as for others.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Wendy

Thurz Day Recipe

Hello there!  And Happy Thurz Day!  Today I am featuring a recipe that I created for a breakfast beverage.  My goal was to pack a lot of nutrition in a drink.  Have a look at the main ingredients:

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The small chunk of root is fresh turmeric.  It is expensive, so I use it sparingly.  The larger root is ginger.  I try to get a little turmeric and ginger every day, usually by putting a small amount of the dried spices in some hot water in the morning.  There is also an assortment of leafy greens – spinach plus two types of kale – blackberries, and a Meyer lemon.  I added a little aloe vera juice and coconut water as well.  Here it is ready to go:

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The color was kind of strange, but here it is blended:

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I tried to get a little artistic.  I like the open blinds in the background and the waving flag.

The recipe:

6 large blackberries

1 Meyer lemon

3/4 cup baby spinach

1 leaf each – curly kale and Tuscan kale

1/4 inch each – peeled, chopped ginger and turmeric roots

1/4 cup aloe vera juice

1/4 cup coconut water

Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth and drinkable.  You will feel energized!

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As a P.S. – I wanted to share last night’s dinner plate:

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This includes a falafel burger, tahini sauce, hummus, and babaganoush, and a whole wheat pita – all from Mrs. Green’s Market.  I put the mixed salad together, and the dressing is a simple, home-made lemony dijon vinaigrette.  The cauliflower is oven-roasted with a little olive oil, Mrs. Dash seasoning, and salt and pepper.

It doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming to put together a well-balanced, nourishing, vegan meal!

Enjoy your day!

Wendy

 

Wenz Day

Good day to all!  Here at Town Mouse House, we seem to have sprung a leak.  The good news is, it’s a rental, so we don’t have the added headache of fixing it ourselves.  The bad news is, it takes time to fix, because it has to dry out plus a roof expert has to come repair it. Considering how snowy and icy the roof is at the moment, we definitely have to be patient with the repair process.  Here is what our 18-year-old’s room looks like right now:

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Check out the upper right corner in this one:

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Let’s get closer to that hole in the ceiling:

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And now how about a little closer than that:

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I don’t envy the people who will, eventually, have to climb up on the roof.  I do look forward to getting it fixed, though, as there is now quite a draft.

Stay warm!

Wendy