Sometimes I get so distracted by the overwhelming and seemingly insurmountable amount of work I have ahead of me in terms of home and land restoration, raising animals, and general life, that I forget to stop and look how far everything has come. I look at my newly opened pockets of land wishing and dreaming for wide open spaces, and have completely forgotten that only a year and a half ago there was nothing but woods. Granted, we have only cleared about 3% of our land, but it's something and we are making progress.
Then there's the kitchen. Ohhhh my kitchen. I love it. It's old, beautiful, oozes character that few have, and I dare you to find a single level surface or square corner in it! But the old girl didn't always look that way. Ohhhhhhh no. She used to have painted teal floors, deep dark red painted brick, unsealed cabinets, and raw skimmed walls. Whaaaat? Yes, it was beyond horrific...and dirty. But, I saw the potential and started plugging away the second we stepped in the door. Now, it is the gem of the house and if I could, I'd sleep in it. To appreciate truly how far it's come, we need a starting point. So let's see where it all began shall we?
These photos are straight from the Zillow listing, and this is what I saw when I went to look at it the first time.
So I'm going to come right out and say it... I am not a fan of grass. That perfectly manicured lawn look is not for me. First of all, it wouldn't look perfect because I have oodles of animals and animals poop. I live on a small subsistence farm, and the last thing that I have time for is mowing grass. And for what? For looks? Sure, it can be fed out to the animals, but they don't eat it all so it ends up being a waste. A waste of time, and a waste of space. I don't want to spend hours mowing, or use what could be valuable garden space to feed my family on an aesthetic monoculture.
Last year I came across a French style of gardening that I wasn't all that familiar with. Potager Gardens, also known as kitchen gardens consist of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers woven into a beautiful yet functional space. I was immediately intrigued, and began googling my heart out. Results yielded photos of beautiful raised beds made of wood and rocks, with natural walkways woven in between bursts of pollinator loving colors. This was the solution I was searching for to transform the grassy area out my back door and kitchen (it was meant to be) into a useful and beautiful space.
There is something to be said about old houses. They have character that cannot be bought at Home Goods, and there is an undeniable appreciation for the craftsmanship that went into these historic beauties. Although everyone has a certain level of admiration for them, not everyone is equipped to or willing to live in one. Yes, I have hardwood floors and exposed beams that Joanna Gaines only wishes she could get her hands on. And I have a fully functional beehive oven in my kitchen that makes the most insanely delicious food. But, I don't have a square or level surface in my house resulting in shims under every stitch of furniture. Central air? Garbage disposal? What's that!? Antique houses are a constant project, and not something to take on on a whim. So why would I choose to live in a 1700's home? I didn't seem to have much of a choice. Both of my parent's grew up in homes built in the 1800's, and when I was just a young child they took on an 1840's house to renovate which was a reeeaaalll project. I grew up in a constant state of remodel. Dry wall, insulation, you name it, something was always being ripped down and installed. After college, I settled into my great-grandparent's early 1900's farmhouse that I planned on staying in forever. I have always lived in old houses, and didn't know any different. So when life took me in a different direction and led me to New England, it seemed only fitting that I again settle in an old house in the most historically dense area of our country.
Since I made the decision last spring that I was going to breed Karen I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of breeding season. I have been biding my time, "prepping her" for her upcoming pregnancy by making sure her selenium, copper, and other vitamin levels are where they should be. Deficiency in such nutrients can not only affect her ability to be bred, but also the size and health of her litter. I also started paying attention to her heat cycle to know her signs, so I could track it and anticipate when she may potentially go into heat as the time got closer to arrange a date with her boyfriend. Animals certainly are unpredictable, and despite my best efforts to track her cycle and know her signs of heat, it proved to be more of a challenge than I thought.
There is no denying the laundry list of health benefits to raw, unfiltered, apple cider vinegar. Whether it be used for cosmetic or internal purposes, a simple google search will yield millions of reasons why you should add it to your diet or beauty regimen. I personally have used it for years on my hair and face, as well as a substitute (in most cases) for plain white vinegar in recipes. The stuff is just plain ole' good, and good for you. I always bought Bragg's with "the mother", because if you're going to buy it, in my opinion it really is the best. But this fall during apple season I thought shoot I can just make it myself no problem! So, I did! And it really is as easy as I detail below. All it takes is some patience and you can have homemade, raw, unfiltered, apple cider vinegar with that wonderful "mother" at your fingertips! Give it a try and see for yourself.
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