Monday, September 1, 2014

Fort Popham and Reid State Parks

Today starts a series on all the State Parks we visited over the summer. Most days we hit more than one in a day. Most of the park are on the coast and since we live in western Maine it is a full days trip to go anywhere on the coast, hence we squeeze in as much as we can.

Reid State Park




We went there first to swim. There is a nice, sandy, long beach at Reid State. They also have rinse off showers and flush toilet. Out by the parking lot there is picnic tables and charcoal grills. The really neat feature of Reid State is that there is a tidal, shallow, bay/inlet/not sure what the term is pool for the little ones to splash in. Plus, if your little on is terrified of waves it is a good place to take them.

Stomper and Jason were able to do a little exploring on rocks, I think we need to explore tide pools closer to when high tide is leaving so that they can find some creatures.

Fort Popham



Yes, his lips are blue. The ice cream truck came by and we got him a treat



The parking can be terrible, but it is worth it if you like to explore forts. Most of the fort is accessible to walk through and the stairs are open so that you can go up to the second floor. It really amazes me the construction of the forts and how they were built to withstand attack.

The Fort would be a good place to have a picnic. There is a lot of grass on the inside, lots or room for little ones to run!

Sometimes you can seals out the windows of the forts. There are a few picnic tables, benches, and a small beach there too. The toilet is a chemical/out house and was terrible. Bring some hand sanitizer!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

We've had a good summer. It's been filled with adventure, long car rides, and tenting! Last year I wrote up a little review of the campgrounds we visited. This year we went to three different campgrounds, so I thought I would sum up our adventures in a little review. All of the following sites were in the $30-40 a night. One of them had water, but the other two did not.

Cascade Campground

If we were to choose a campground we wouldn't have picked this one. It is the campground my aunt stays at all summer. This was our first camping trip as a foursome and there are some things I would have done differently. My uncles told my Mom that there is a better spot to camp than where we did, right at the edge of the playground. If we were to return, we would stay out in the "boondocks" at the edge of the campground. The campground was more for RV's than for tents. The other thing that we thought was odd was that no one walked, they took golf carts everywhere. 

Playground
Affordable Boat Rentals  -no boats
Shallow Beach - it was a slow moving river and icky. We didn't stay long there. There was a nice pool though, but the rinse of shower didn't work.
Grassy Areas at Beach
Picnic Tables and Grills at Beach
Free Shower 
Cooking Fire Pit
Shade
Sun
Dog Friendly
Camping Atmosphere .. not touristy - it didn't feel touristy, but it didn't feel "tenty". There was a lot of RV's.
Spacious Tent Site
Pool
Space Between Sites

Clean bathrooms/Chemical Toilets There really is no good excuse for not up keeping your bathrooms.

Crawford Notch Campground

I didn't do my research very well on this one. I thought I had. There wasn't a playground or grassy area to play on. I also missed that the showers were metered so I wasn't prepared in the morning when it was shower time. My parents went with us (they got their own site) and my sister and cousin. We spent a lot of time playing in the Saco River. It is an excellent place to tent. No RV's can fit down into the camping area, so it is all tents, and they are spaced far apart. I think it is more of a campground for people making use of the white mountains: hiking, kayaking, ect then a young family looking for fun and relaxation.

Playground
Affordable Boat Rentals  -no boats
Shallow Beach 
Grassy Areas at Beach
Picnic Tables and Grills at Beach
Free Shower 
Cooking Fire Pit
Shade
Sun
Dog Friendly
Camping Atmosphere .. not touristy 
Spacious Tent Site
Pool
Space Between Sites

Clean bathrooms/Chemical Toilets Again, there is no excuse for being able to smell the chemical toilet from 20 yards away! Also, bathrooms should be cleaned at least daily. And people need to be more responsible with their trash.


Earlier this spring we went on a little adventure to check out this campground. I am happy to say that it met and exceeded our expectations! We will be going back next year. We decided to not try and get Stomper a nap (after the first afternoon of crying and fussing) at the campground, but in the van. Luckily we have a State Park Pass so we made good use of it and visited 6 State Parks in four days! The bathrooms were pristine, the chemical toilets cleaned and cleaned out daily, and the playground was tons of fun. The dog even had a playground for him and was allowed where ever we went. The ocean is literally ten steps away, ok, maybe a little more, but if you get an ocean site you can watch the sunrise. Next year we hope to get an ocean site.

Playground
Affordable Boat Rentals (kayaks $35-50)
Shallow Beach - tidal Ocean
Grassy Areas at Beach - not at the beach area, but there was some nice grass to play in.
Picnic Tables and Grills at Beach
Free Shower 
Cooking Fire Pit - We could have requested a grill top for our fire, but we didn't.  Jason was a little disappointed in the size of the pit
Shade
Sun
Dog Friendly
Camping Atmosphere .. not touristy 
Spacious Tent Site
Pool
Space Between Sites  - We were off the beaten path so our site was large, but it had close neighbors. At the ocean they are even closer.
Clean bathrooms/Chemical Toilets - there is a note on the shower door to clean up your trash, mop the floor, leave your shoes outside. When people did as the note asked, the shower stall stayed so very clean even during the busy times!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Lego My Cake


Elle turned Eight! 
She requested a Lego cake so I went to my usual source of inspiration: pinterest. You can check out the different Lego cakes I found on my Kids Stuff Board. The following three cakes were my inspiration: Lego Brick Birthday Cake, Easy Lego Brick Cake, Building Blocks Cake, and Walmart's lack of availability of bricks because I really wanted to make a cake that looked like a Cake Construction Site

Even though it didn't come out exactly like I wanted I still think it came out just fine. She was thrilled when I revealed it to her, so I guess I did all right.






Sunday, June 1, 2014

My Knitting Bag

One of the blogs I follow recently posted about her Knitting Bag, so I thought I might follow in suit. I am quite jealous of her magnetic tin and her small scale. I have been wanting a small scale for sometime, it would be so useful! 

First off my bag is a handmade one that my hubby bought for me at a festival in town. I have seen and owned a lot of purses and bags in my life, but nothing compares to this bag. It isn't very large, but it holds a lot. I think it's storage capacity has something to do with the interior pockets (which is what drew me to it in the first place). All the small items are out of the bottom of the bag and stored neatly against the sides. In case you are wondering; yes, those are pill bottles, more on them in a bit.
Here are my "essentials" clockwise starting on the left with the...
  • Measuring Tape :: I have a nice sturdy plastic one. My son loves to carry it around and measure things. It has held up to a lot of abuse. I have no idea how old it is or where I got it, but my advice if you have littles, get an indestructible one! 
  • Container with Locking Cover :: My two year old figured out how to open it at around a year old so I don't keep much in it any more. In it right now is a few buttons, a pair of scissors and a ball band (I need to figure out a way to keep track of those better). Sometimes I keep a small ball of yarn in there to use as emergency stitch holders or markers, and the ends after weaving in ends.
  • Hand Sanitizer :: You never know when you might need it
  • Hand Lotion :: Dry skin and knitting don't mix!
  • Needles of Various Sizes :: I have yarn needles and sewing needs, pointy needles and blunt needles.
  • Stitch Markers :: I am currently using ones the hubby bought for me from KnitPicks, but I am not in love with them. 
  • Crayons :: For those times when Stomper needs to be entertained.
  • Note Pad :: Also from KnitPicks they are all sticky notes and have various sizes. However, they don't stick quite long enough. I don't think I'd recommend this brand of sticky notes, but having them around has been very useful
  • Not Pictured :: A pen and my Nook where I keep patterns


 

I know you are wondering: "What is with the pill bottles?" My son is very clever. He can open containers with lids. Thankfully he does not know how to open a pill bottle so anything that he could hurt him self on; by ingesting or sticking himself with, I try to keep under wraps.

To remove the label I use very hot water to get the paper off and then olive oil to remove the sticky. 

How about you? How do you keep your bag organized?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

On Knitting and Campfires



I am positively terrible at taking my own photo either with a self timer or one handed. But I've done my best. I knit myself a hat. It's a bit too small, but I think it will work running to and from the car this winter and when it's a bit chilly around the campfire this summer. 

On my needles now is a scarf that I will loop together with kitchener stitch to make a cowl. This is the third attempt to make a cowl. The first two ended being rewound into a ball. The problem was me, not the patterns. The cowl is also for the summer for the above mentioned chilly nights. I have a pair of fingerless gloves that I test knitted and those too will come with me to the fire.

Do I plan on sitting around a lot of campfires? Yes. Often during the summer we are "Upta" camp or camping (tenting) and I find that the summer night can be quite chilly sometimes. More than once I have wished for something more to wear while we enjoyed the flames.

I supposed if we did most of our camping during the hottest months it would be a problem for me, but we don't do that. My husband doesn't enjoy crowds or tourists so we try to camp when most people aren't camping as heavily. Like last year when we went camping in September on the coast. This summer we have four trips already planned and hope to camp even more than that! 

We will be making our campfire in New Hampshire twice. Once at Cascade and once at Crawford Notch, then closer to home we will return to Mount Blue State Park and to the coast to Searsport. We also hope to try out a campground run by one of the families of the daycare called Silverlake.

I promise that this year I will stay away from the axe. (if you have a weak tummy, don't look)



Sunday, May 25, 2014

Fishing





Papa has taken him fishing a couple of times already this year. But, this is the first time I was able to go and take photos. Stomper's concentration is still a little lacking, but he enjoys the togetherness. Papa will try and take him brook fishing if he can find a brook that isn't too full of thorns and brambles. Papa likes to walk the brook as he fishes. I think Stomper would enjoy fishing like that, he loves to be on the move.

This year Stomper has his own fishing pole. He is slowly learning how to cast, but his favorite part is to reel in the line as fast as he can! 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Puddle








Had to have the "talk" with the boy. No, not the one about the "birds and bees", but the one from Uncle Ben's childhood.

"Stomper, we don't drink out of puddles."
"Why?"
"Well, when your Uncle Ben was a little boy he was very sick, he had a bug inside him."
"Why?"
"He drank out of puddles that the dog had peed and pooped in."
"Why?"
"He wanted to."
"Me want to."
"You may go in the puddle. You may not put your nose and mouth in the puddle. Do you understand?"
"Stand, Mommy."
"Ok, go play."

Yes, one winter my brother had a parasite. My Mom took him to the doctor because he had been pooping, a lot. The doctor ran a test and said, "Your son has a parasite that comes from drinking dirty water. Has he been drinking dirty water?" My Mom, not knowing the whole story said, "No."

Later my Mom learned that my brother had been dunking snowballs in a puddle down the hill from the dogs run and then sucking out the water. He reasoned, logically, that the snowball acted like a filter. So, therefore, he was not drinking out of a puddle.

Around here we don't eat snow or drink out of puddles.

But stomping in them, rolling in them, and dunking your head in them, that's ok!

Friday, May 16, 2014

PayPal Button


Last night I added a PayPal button to the left hand side of the blog post. Here is a rundown of how purchasing a bird from us works.

1. Deposit
We cannot guarantee that we won't run out of birds. Last year we ran out of turkeys, we could have sold a lot more than we raised. With that in mind if you want a bird, your best chance to ensure that you get one is to put a deposit down, today.

2. Shipping
We don't ship. If you live local and are willing to come fetch your bird, then go ahead and put your deposit down.

3. Poultry Types
We sell two types of birds: Turkeys and Broiler Chickens. Broiler Chickens are fat balls of feathers and muscle. We are Free Ranging them for half their life so the leg meat will be a little larger this year than last year. The turkeys we raise are Mammoth Bronze and because we Free Range/Pasture them for the bulk of their life they will have equal amounts of dark and white meat.

4. Ready Dates
The Broiler Chickens will be ready mid to late June. It all depends on when my husband has time to process them. We will be doing a second batch of Broiler Chickens to be ready closer to fall so if you miss out this first time you will have a second chance. The turkeys will be ready before Thanksgiving. We will call you when we know an exact day and when you can pick them up.

5. Pricing

  • Broiler Chickens (before deposit) are a flat rate of $15, unless it is larger than 6lbs and then it is $3/per pound
  • Turkeys (before deposit) are $3/per pound. Last year the turkeys ranged from 14-22lbs (maybe some were  a little heavier too). When you come pick up your turkey, you also may choose which one you take home.
  • The deposit amount is credited to you when you pick up your bird. So for a Broiler Chicken on pick up day your bird will cost you $5 (or more if your bird is huge) if you have put down a $10 deposit.
6. Taste
We did a taste test during our open house in March. I was nervous about it, what if our chicken didn't taste better? I will have a whole blog post dedicated to that experiment by the end of May 2014.



Friday, May 9, 2014

My Eczema Relief


I have allergies. All sorts of environmental allergies. Most of the time I don't notice them, accept when I do and I can't breathe. Thankfully there are medications I can take so that I can breathe every day just like the average person. Unfortunately allergies and asthma are often joined with eczema, which I also have.

My eczema is strange. It is only on two fingers of my right hand: the pointer and the ring finger. That's it. Do you know how much you use your pointer finger for? A lot. My finger will crack, peel, bleed, and itch like a demon. I have a steroid cream I can use, but I don't like using it around my kids. The steroid cream strips my finger of skin and it sometimes takes a long time for my skin to grow back. I tried lotions, but they made my eczema weap. I tried coconut oil, but it would only work for a short time and it was so greasy. I was pretty miserable.

A few months ago my loving MIL bought each of her daughters a little surprise gift package from Julie of Stitch Pray Love. Lotions and lip balms came right to our door. My MIL told me that people have had amazing results with Julies lotions. I was skeptical, but desperate. I tried it, and to my delight my eczema didn't weep. In fact it got better and eventually healed! Imagine my delight!

Recently I ran out and I had to buy some more (of course I was also foolish during this time and put my hands in soapy dishwasher which made my eczema freak out). I was several days with out a lotion stick (my fault not Julies) and I was becoming miserable. Then the mail came with my order. I quickly ripped open the package and put it on. 

In hours my skin was already feeling better. Hours! 

If you were like me and are searching for some miracle, natural cure for your eczema, check out Julie's shop. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

6AM






These are the images I wanted to have accompany my last blog post, but the day I wrote the post it was cloudy and yucky. The next day, the day of these images the sun was perfect. When I getup and do chores, it is my favorite part of the morning. The sun is so warm, the air so clean, and all the poultry so happy to greet the morning. 

If you are wondering how our flocks are doing, they are growing. We have twelve new chicks in the kitchen. The library hatched chicks for the second year and I told the librarian that we were interested in taking a few. She called me and asked if I'd take all twelve. They camp from a farm, laid naturally, and kept in an incubator. My Dad read that we have a 50/50 chance of them being roosters. If they are roosters then they will probably end up in the crock pot. I'm hoping that at least half are layers, they are going to be so pretty. 

The ducklings are growing so fast! They are huge! The broilers are nearing the end of their growth. It looks like we won't get a chance to get this batch outside. Hopefully the next batch will go out. We have fences to move and poles to place. And turkeys are coming next month! The chickens in the photo are the "Sixers" they are so fast! We are looking forward to putting all of our chickens together in a month. Our flock will be huge then!


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