Fall In Upstate New York

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Forest Across the Road


Fall is here in upstate New York! It is a beautiful time of year. For some people, me especially, the cooler temperatures are a welcome relief. No matter how much I try, I just don’t care for hot weather. Hard to believe I lived in Florida and loved it back then. Of course, air conditioning was constant the years I lived there as an adult. Now that I am older, I definitely cannot take the heat. There will be no “snowbirding” or retiring to a warmer climate for me! I plan to stay right here in New York state, and quite happily.

wheel_1000
Fall for me usually is a time of gardening and canning. This year the garden didn’t do so well, so not much work to speak of. I didn’t go the local produce market either, which I usually do. Not enough time this year. I will get back to canning, besides I’d rather get some meat to can and that is something I do all year long. Especially during the winter. This year I am planning on making a variety of fast meals in a jar that are low carbs only. No potatoes, rice or pasta! After the potatoes I have in my pantry are gone, I won’t be buying any more. My husband can eat the last of them as I am not touching them.

Purple flowers

Purple Flowers!


Finding fresh greens outside for a our pet house rabbit, “Rabbit” is almost over with. He has been loving the big variety we find for him every morning and evening. I am hoping to find a source of organic carrot tops for him. They are one of his favorite foods and we had a huge amount growing all summer. He gobbled them up heartily. In the future, we plan to rebuild our deck into a sun room and can hopefully, grow greens all winter for all of us. I will miss the cucumbers too. We do not buy cucumbers in the store very often. We just give them up when the garden is done. This year I didn’t start them inside, which is probably why our garden wasn’t as good as usual. Lesson learned!

Planter

Empty now!


This bed in the picture has our guy wires from the wind turbine inside. These beds were finished early this fall. I have two of these beds and I have written about them in a previous post or two. This one had cucumbers and cilantro growing in it. They did very well. I have considered planting some cold weather greens in these beds and covering them with some heavy plastic. One year we had kale in the garden and left it over the winter. I dug down under the deep snow to harvest some and it was good. Not ruined at all. So I believe I could do that again. If you dig down deep in the snow it is warmer than you think. One year when I was cleaning the outhouse roof off, my feet were deep down in the snow and they were hot. If you walk out into the forest behind us in the cold winter months, you will find little deer beds all over the place. They just scrunch down into the snow and sleep, the mothers with their tiny fawn beds right next to them. Loved seeing that! 

Fall in NY state

Beautiful Fall Days!

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole


Our Little Piece Of Land

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Our house in 1999

Finding our little piece of land in the forest was not easy, but was well worth it. Most people who have never been to New York state associate the rest of the state with New York City. Many times they think we haven’t even seen a cow or a tree. New York state is a big dairy state and has lots of farmland all over the whole state. New York City actually makes up a very small part of the state as a whole. New York state also has acres and acres of state forest and state parks. Trees and mountains make up much of our Empire state. I always thought we should have been called the Forest State. I have traveled all over the whole country  and I have not seen such a welcoming sight, as the green mountains of Pennsylvania and New York. Taxes may be high here, but we get plenty of rain and our beautiful forests in return. Our little piece of land doesn’t have high taxes, but that is probably because we are in an area of hunting camps.

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Our road in 1999

Our  little piece of land, I named Peaceful Forest Homestead. It is in the middle of the state forest. I used to say our only neighbors, are the wild kind and hunting camps, but we have a neighbor up the road, walking distance now. Our home was originally a farm and in 1924 became a hunting camp. Then later it became a snowmobile camp too, until we purchased it in 1999. The house is called a Greek Revival style house and was built in 1850. In fact, when my husband was working on digging out a room connected to our cellar, he found an 1848 penny. It may have belonged to the man who built our home. I have always wondered about the man who built this house on this little piece of land.

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Horses’ paddock before they came to live here.

Our little piece of land is bordered by forest and state forest on two sides. That means many large trees. The forest is very thick and every now and then it is logged to thin it out. At first we didn’t like it when they did that, but now we see the value of it, and we have done that on our land ourselves. The woods came right up to our house and had to be cleared for gardens. All the roads leading to our house are dirt, but are well taken care of. Our road looks to me, like a trail through the woods. Sometimes the grass grows in the middle of it, and I like that. The forest keeps it cool out here so when everyone else is sweating the summer weather, our home is usually about 10 degrees cooler.

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Land was cleared for the paddock.

We had searched for over four years for our little piece of land. Both of us loved the forest and used to drive through state forest in both New York and Pennsylvania. We would see homes in the middle of the state forest and say, “How did they get a house in the middle of the state forest?” Now people ask me that question. My answer is “Keep searching! They are out there.”

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Our Front Yard in 1999

At first, I did not realize that the house was off the grid. Or that it did not have plumbing. No running water! No bathroom! It had an outhouse quite a distance from the house though. Before we moved here we purchased a claw foot bath tub and a SunMar composting toilet. The bath tub my husband found at an antique store when he was out driving a truck for his company making deliveries. He stopped and put a deposit on it. Exactly what we wanted. I love it to this day! The SunMar I found in our local Pennysaver for sale, used for $200. I called about it and they said someone else had called and whoever got there first with the money could have it. We drove right there and came home with our new composting toilet.

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Garden In front yard in 2000.

The day we moved in we found out that the previous owners had left all their furniture in the house. We had a moving van full of our stuff which would not fit with their stuff. To top it off, we had to move in during the middle of a downpour. My son, Jeffrey helped us, and stayed with us for a few weeks which was a big help. We had to unload the van and take it back the next day, so he had to put our things in the house with all that excess of stuff. Not an easy job.  So the first thing after returning the truck, was to haul things to the dump. It wasn’t easy getting our little piece of land organized and everything in place, but we did it.

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Peaceful Forest Homestead 2013

But throughout it all, our little piece of land has turned out to be a good homestead and we have made it our happy home.

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Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole


My Forest Homestead – Homesteading in the Forest

Peaceful Forest Path
My forest homestead is small, but can be very productive if efficiently run. I see many areas that are open to improvement. We do not raise animals for food. I have not ruled that out completely. Sometime, I may add a small laying flock of hens. Other than that, I do not even want to add others. At our ages, early sixties, my husband and I do not want to increase our work load. Presently we are in the process of lessening it. I am becoming a minimalist homesteader. Getting rid of everything I don’t use or need and living simply. 

Rainbow Over Homestead                                                         
I read quite often, on my favorite forum, Homesteading Today how others recommend new homesteaders should buy large acreages. Many people think that is the only way to homestead. Actually, they are more like farms than homesteads. In the old days, I believe they’d refer to these small farmers as being “gentlemen farmers,” and that is what people called my husband’s grandfather. I would call him a homesteader now. You do not need to go by other people’s rules or conditions to be a homesteader. You can do it anywhere you want, and on however much land you can get. It doesn’t matter one bit what someone on a forum says! 

Resident Snake                                                                                        
Gardening in raised beds is easier. I can work out there without the assistance of  a tractor or rototiller. Our beds only need to be plowed up in the spring and fall with a wheel hoe. A wheel hoe uses no fuel except your own. I can even do it and I have really bad knees and have to use a cane to walk. Intensive gardening is really the key. Filling the beds with as much food as possible. Drown out the weeds with plants for food! Depending on what they are built of, watering is easier and so is the maintenance on the beds themselves. My rock beds hold the warmth from the sun throughout the cool night. 

Hobo
It is good to grow your own food and try to supply all your family’s needs. Sometimes it is easier than others. If you are young and just starting out, talk to the older homesteaders and find out how it will be when you are in their shoes. Time passes quicker than you think! 

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Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole


Our Forest Homestead In New York State

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Forest makes up much of NY state

Most people who have never been to New York state associate the rest of the state with New York City. Many times they think we haven’t even seen a cow or a tree! New York state is a big dairy state and has lots of farmland all over the whole state. New York City actually makes up a very small part of the state as a whole. New York state also has acres and acres of state forest and state parks. Trees and mountains make up much of our Empire state. I always thought we should have been called the Forest State! I have traveled all over the whole country, and believe me, have not seen such a welcoming sight as the green mountains of Pennsylvania and New York! Taxes may be high, but we get plenty of rain and our beautiful forests in return.

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New York farm land!

Our Peaceful Forest Homestead is in the middle of the state forest in upstate New York. Our only neighbors, besides the wild kind are hunting camps. Our home was originally a farm and in 1924 became a hunting camp, until we purchased it in 1999. The house is what is called a Greek Revival style house and was built in 1850. In fact, when my husband was working on digging out a room connected to our cellar, he found a 1848 penny! My treasure! It may have belonged to the smart man who built our home. I have wondered about him many times through out our years here.

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In 1999

Our small piece of land is totally surrounded by the state forest. That means there are many large trees around us. The forest is very thick, and every now and then it is logged to thin it out. At first we didn’t like it when they did that, but now we see the value of it. We have done that on our land ourselves. The woods came right up to our house and had to be cleared for gardens. All the roads leading to our house are dirt but are well taken care of. Our road looks like a trail through the woods. Sometimes the grass grows in the middle of it and I like that. The forest keeps it cool out here, so when everyone else is sweating the summer weather, our home is usually about 10 degrees cooler.

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Over the bridge and through the woods…….

We had searched for over four years for our place. Both of us loved the forest, and used to drive through state forests in both New York and Pennsylvania. We would see homes in the middle of the state forest, and say, “How did they get a house in the middle of the state forest?” Now people ask me that question! My answer is “Keep searching!” They are out there.

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Nikita in front yard and paddock in 1999.

At first, I did not realize that the house was off the grid. Then I did not realize from looking at the listing that it did not have plumbing. No running water! No bathroom! It had an outhouse quite a distance from the house though. Before we moved here we purchased a claw foot bath tub. Then a Sun-Mar composting toilet. The bath tub, my husband found at an antique store when he was out driving a truck for his company making deliveries. He stopped and put a deposit on it. Exactly what we wanted! The Sun-Mar I found in our local Pennysaver for sale, used for $200. I called about it and they said someone else had called, and whoever got there first with the money could have it. We drove right there and came home with our new composting toilet.

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State Forest

The day we moved in we found out that the previous owners had left all their furniture in the house. We had a moving van full of our stuff which would not fit with their stuff. We were trying to move in during a downpour, because we had to get the rental moving truck back. My son, Jeffrey helped us and stayed with us for a few weeks which was a big help. We had to unload the van and take it back the next day. So we had to put our things in the house with all that extra stuff. Not an easy job! So the first thing after returning the truck was to haul things to the landfill, that we had to pay for! Not what we were expecting to do. We managed to get all moved in and were happy to be in our new off-the-grid homestead!

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Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole


Horses On The Homestead

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My lil’ red pony, Tawny!

I always tell people, you don’t have to raise livestock to be a homesteader. That is true. I don’t raise any livestock for food. Though someday, I may add a small flock of laying hens. Other than that, I really don’t want a lot of animals to take care of. We do have horses though. It was a dream of mine to have horses and when we moved here, we first bought two, then added one more two years later.

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Georgie Girl napping in the barn

Georgie Girl won my heart. I was helping my husband at his job where he worked with and trained racehorses. Georgie Girl was a horse that had been banned from the track and was kind of crazy at times. So her stall was kept covered so she could not stick her head out. When I first saw her, I thought she was the most beautiful horse I had ever seen.

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Dark Shadow

Dark Shadow is my husband’s horse. She bonded with him at the horse farm where he worked. Nobody else could ride her, train her, doctor her or trim her hooves. She developed a sort of crush on my husband. Yes! She really did! I could see her watching him constantly. If she had any sort of problem she would always look to him to take care of it. She still does that. 

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The Boss Mare, “Georgie Girl”

 Many people think the stallion is the head of the horse herd. It is really the alpha or boss mare. She is the one who turns other horses out of the herd, even a stallion. The herd will depend on a stallion for protection, but he is not the boss of the herd. Our horse, Georgie Girl was the boss mare at the farm we worked. No horse ever stood up to her, and she took over the herd on her own from another horse. 

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Tawny laying down in the snow.

Tawny is a Thoroughbred/Shetland cross. I love her look! And her personality. She is a hugger and will greet visitors here, hoping they have a treat for her. As for a little worker, she is quite lazy, but when made to do something will do it. She could be used for work, such as hauling stuff, or pulling a plow or wagon. My husband rode her into our state forest a few years ago, looking for a missing man. 

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Firewood Work!

One valuable reason for having horses is the precious manure they give us. Yes, I am serious! Our garden produces a lot of healthy vegetables. That is directly related to our rich compost, that we mix into our dirt every year in the garden. The compost comes from our horses’ manure. So they contribute to our food supply!

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Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole

 

 


Fall In New York

Paddock in Fall

 Our horses’ paddock in fall!

Fall is here. The trees have turned color and are falling from the trees. I imagine they will all fall in the next heavy rain or wind. We have been enjoying the beauty of our state in fall for weeks now.  The maples have turned vivid red over the week-end now. I keep saying they can’t get much prettier or more vivid. But they do!

Fall Road

 Our road in the fall!

It’s not so much the leaves turning and falling that affect me. It is the smell of fall! I love the smell of the leaves. We do not have to rake our leaves as some people do. We leave them on the lawn as I believe it is good for it. I also spread leaves on my raised beds for the winter.

Fall 2012 On TrucktrailTruck trail, the road through the state forest

Fall is a time of scurrying around to ready your homestead for the winter. The time to make sure you have enough food and heat (wood for us), enough warm clothing and things to keep you busy during the cold winter.

Hay Field

Long cold winter nights, eating stews, soups and chili or other comforting foods that warm your body. Curled up in front of a blazing wood stove, reading a good book aloud to your family or maybe playing a game or someone playing a guitar or other instrument. Passing time with your family, with thoughts of the spring to come. What do you do or think of during fall?

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Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole