Saturday, January 31, 2009

Our Pet Catfish "Shredder"

This is Shredder. We got him from our pond about three years ago. At that time he was about 3/4 of an inch long. We put him in the 55 gallon fish tank with all of our other fish. Over the next couple of years he grew and ate all of his tank-mates except for our platy. When we first got him we called him "Kitty." This name ceased to be appropriate when we saw how he attacked and ate all of the feeder fish that we gave him. He also eats frogs, worms, and pond fish pellets. He never did eat the platy. The platy died of natural causes and Shredder did not even eat him then. Shredder is currently living with some snails that help keep his tank clean. He is about 13 inches long now! My husband's hand is near him in the top picture for a size reference. We don't know for sure if he'll keep growing or be limited by the size of the tank. Whenever my husband goes near the tank, Shredder comes to the top lookng for food.
If anyone else approaches the tank, Shredder hides behind his log. I guess he's my husband's pet!

Getting Steel for our Products

When we buy steel for our metal products, we usually buy sheets that are 4 feet by 8 feet. We could use sheets as large as 5 feet by 10 feet, but they are difficult for one person to handle. We order steel from a company in Plattsburgh, NY. They are delivered on a big flatbed truck. My husband and the driver unload them onto our tractor and my husband places them on boards in the garage. He then moves each one by hand and places it in the upright steel rack that he built. He has the rack placed near our plasma cutting table which allows for easier placement of a sheet on the table when he is ready for it. I think it's really interesting how he can turn a blank piece of metal into so many interesting items!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Sandblasting our Metal Products

This is my husband Eddie using his sandblasting cabinet to work on one of our Welcome signs. This sandblasting set-up allows him to clean metal. He can get rid of rust and paint on pieces before refinishing them.

AJ Kayaking on Brant Lake

This past summer we went to visit cousins for the day at their camp on Brant Lake in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. It was a cloudy day and the skies opened up for a while, but AJ was able to try his hand at kayaking for the first time before the rain hit. He loved it! He wants one now. I don't think we'll be getting him one, but we would love to let him do this sport more when we go to places that rent them for the day.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's Basketball Season

Freshman Basketball 2008-2009

AJ is playing Basketball this season. He is number 44. His true love is football and he decided to play basketball just to keep in shape over the winter. As the season has gone on, he has liked it more and now talks about playing JV next year. This season he has scored one 3 point basket and two 2 point baskets for the team. With four games left to play, his team has a undefeated losing streak. They came close once, but didn't pull it off. He's having fun and staying in shape for football.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lonely Autumn Bench

The lonely autumn bench
sits waiting for spring
when couples will return
to enjoy its welcoming arms


This is Bob. Bob has been standing guard in front of our shop since 2006. He is almost 8 feet tall. He is always happy and doesn't mind even the coldest days. He is visited by birds throughout the spring and summer. Some bees have also been known to find him inviting. He has a gun in each hand, ready to run off the bad guys. We think he's blind though. He did let unknown men into our home after his first few months on duty. They ran off with our safe full of valuable papers and collectibles. Well, at least we have nothing left for anyone else to take. My husband enjoys making sculptures out of scrap metal. Bob was one of our first yard sculptures. You met Rex already!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My Mom's Etsy Shop

Items in my mom's etsy shop ForeverFavorites

My mom also has an etsy shop. It is full of her knitted and crocheted items. As far back as I can remember, my mom has been knitting and crocheting. She was always making something. I remember ceramics, liquid embroidery painting, plastic canvas and a variety of crafts-of-the-year! I got my love for crafting from her. I did not, however, inherit any talent for knitting or crocheting. Luckily things like scrapbooking, photography and kiddie crafts exist for me. Check out her shop at

Gold Prospecting in North Carolina

My husband and I became interested in gold prospecting more than 10 years ago when we started watching Gold Fever on the Outdoor Channel. We lived in Florida at the time. When we moved to New York, I bought him a metal detector but it still wasn't gold. We started buying gold panning gear and a sluice box. We found a place in Vermont that lets you pan for gold in Buffalo Creek. It's called Camp Plymouth State Park. We found a few tiny specks and wanted to go somewhere that had more. Our dream is to go to Alaska on a Gold Prospecting outing, but that will be in the future. We are slowly working up to that.
During the summer of 2007 we took a vacation to North Carolina. The primary goal was to go gold prospecting. We stayed at Lucky Strike Campground in Marion, North Carolina for 8 nights. Total cost of that lodging was $100! We tented for the entire week, which was quite the adventure in itself. The torrential rainfall one of the afternoons made the creek behind us rise quite a bit. You could not look for gold for two days after that. We took advantage of that time to visit local attractions like Grandfather Mountain and the North Carolina Zoo. We went to the Natural museum and out to dinner to a great barbeque place. The campground lets campers prospect in the creek for free...all day if you choose. AJ had a great time lounging in the creek in a tube or sitting in a chair with his feet in the creek playing gameboy. He did some gold prospecting, but at 12 he didn't have the patience for it! We bought buckets of dirt at the
camp store and sifted for gemstones. AJ liked this better because of the immediate payoff.
This was one of the most relaxing and fun vacations we have ever taken. We found some gold,learned a lot, made some friends that we still keep in touch with, and would love to go back and try again.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Forging a Leaf

Hand Forged Leaves and Letter Opener
This is my husband hand forging leaves out of rods of steel. He has made them from large to very small. The small ones have been made into earrings. Medium leaves are made into key chains and necklaces and the larger leaves are for home decor. The letter opener was his first project. He is just getting going in this hobby. I can't wait to see the projects he makes in the spring. Since this is a coal forge and not propane, he needs to be outside. The middle of the winter in upstate NY is not a good time for him to do this hobby.

Homemade Coal Forge

Homemade Coal Forge
My husband made his own coal forge when he became interested in blacksmithing. His fabricating and welding skills allowed him to customize the forge with accessories and features that he wanted. He has made letter openers, and leaves of various sizes for decor and jewelry. I will do my next entries with pictures of him making a leaf and some pictures of his letter openers and leaves.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

South for the Winter

South for the Winter
I just wanted to share this picture. The birds have abandoned their summer home for warmer winter lodgings.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


My husband,Eddie, made this dinosaur out of scrap metal last year. His backbone is a long chain and the rest of his body is other scrap metal. This year he made a small cave man and put him in front of rex. The caveman is holding up a club and a stone to defend himself against Rex's attack. At Halloween time, my son stuck a bone in Rex's mouth. We have moved him around the yard for variety.

My New Outhouse

My Husband built this New Outhouse for my birthday

I have always thought that outhouses were an interesting piece of history. I remember using a two seater outhouse when I was a very young child. My grandparents had a camp on Lake Nancy in New York. My memories from that camp include picking fresh blueberries, pumping water, and using the outhouse. I have purchased calendars and books about them and decorated one of my bathrooms with an Outhouse theme. My husband decided to give me my own outhouse for my birthday this past year. It is covering an old well on our property. It is for decoration only. The bench in it does not have a hole. This coming spring I plan to add my touch to it and give it some inside and outside decor. It makes an interesting addition to our yard!

Our new Generator

We have been trying to come up with ways to not be so dependent on things. We hated the fact that when the power goes out we are at the mercy of the electric company. With the big storms and long power outages in areas near us this winter, we bit the bullet and got a generator that is bigger than something to power a few lights. We are not able to afford the expensive generators, so for under $2000 we were able to get this one that is powered by our tractor. My husband has it hooked to the back of the tractor and can raise it to drive the tractor and move it to use it or to store it. It attaches by a drive shaft to the part of the tractor that you attach a mower to. When the power goes out, we just flip the house breaker off, plug the generator into the garage and turn the tractor on. It will be away from the house and backfeed electric to the house. It will operate the necessities with no problem: the hot water heater, sump pump, refridgerator, microwave, reptile lights, tv and lights. Hopefully we never have to use it, but we have piece of mind now that we have it.

My Mosaic Table

This was my first attempt at a mosaic project. There was an etsy seller that was giving away one rate boxes of broken pottery shards. I just had to pay postage. The pieces were beautiful! I had this old table and thought it would be a great starter project. It was more difficult than I expected. My husband helped me with the grouting...he worked as a plasterer and has excellent grouting skills. It is finished and I love it. The top is uneven, so I'm not sure yet what I will do with it, but I feel good that I recycled the pottery!

Our Corn Crop 2008

Some of our 2008 Corn Crop

The Neighbor's Miniature Donkey and Some of the Cows
AJ in the Cornfield
We have tried to grow corn for a few years. This year we had a really good crop of very sweet corn. We still have some frozen that we have every few weeks. Since this is one of the few vegetables my husband and son like, we always try to grow this! Nothing goes to waste, we threw all of the husks to the neighbor's cows, we used the dried stalks to decorate for fall and then when we were done with those, the cows also got them for a snack. The neighbor's donkey liked them as well.

Our Water Garden 2008

Our Water Garden
This year we decided to make use of an empty spot in our yard and use an old pump that my husband found to make a water feature in it. The little boy sculpture reminds me so much of my son. The boy is holding a frog. AJ has chased reptiles and amphibians since he was two years old. He still has a love for critters and is already a self proclaimed herpetologist...which is someone who studies reptiles and amphibians. The windmill in the background is one of my husband's metal designs that is not for sale. Our yard has several of his unique creations. I should post pictures of them next!

Pumpkin Harvest 2008

Some of our Pumpkin Harvest 2008

One of the advantages of owning nine acres is that we can grow a garden as big as we can handle. This year we wanted to try growing pumpkins. These are a few of what we harvested. We loved being able to have friends over for a fall campfire cookout and let everyone pick a pumpkin right from our pumpkin patch to take home for Halloween. Even though it's January, I haven't been spending a lot of time blogging about personal things while I was worried more about marketing our business. I do like being able to put things on here about my other interests. I am going to go back through photos from last year...or even before that, to highlight our family activities and my interests. I hope you enjoy learning about us.