Thursday, September 29, 2011

Laundry 101 at Framboise Manor

my dear friend Jennifer has been doing laundry by hand for years - AND for 6 people!!! it was from reading and re-reading her posts about her laundry set-up that i knew how to set us up here at Framboise Manor with a "by-hand" system that works for us.

so here is our laundry set-up:

first off are the necessary tools of the trade! below is the tool kit containing a washboard, 2 plungers, a bottle of vinegar and a bottle of home-made laundry soap. the other bottle is one quarter bleach and the rest filled with water. i use if for whites although we have learned to get rid of whites - bahahaha!

next up is what we, here at the Manor, refer to as the "washing area". otherwise known as four big bins out in the backyard.

the first 3 bins are for actual washing up, while the fourth bin is the rinse bin. on a normal wash day we only use 2 wash bins and the rinse bin but i always like to have a fourth bin handy in case i mis-count my loads of laundry. never mind.

on to the next necessary piece of equipment: the wringing machine. otherwise known as an old drafting table.

i put our homemade laundry soap in the bottom of a clean bin and start filling the bin with the hose. the pressure from the hose makes the water nice and bubbly-ish. once the bin is half full i add our laundry. and then do the same with the other bin.

once a bin is 3/4 full, we move the hose to the other bin and start plunging. we are really good at plunging and agitation. wait no pun intended.

when a bin is full, we move the hose over to the other bin and plunge the other bin. or the other one. i have confused myself. here is a full bin still being plunged.

next up - time to get the old washboard out. we got this from jambaloney's Dad's wife, Sandy. thanks so much Sandy!

i only use the washboard on heavily-soiled items - the two plungers do well on clothes and other items that have just been worn or used once or twice.

while scrubbing on the washboard - time to fill the rinse bin. i put in a cup of vinegar, drop the hose in and go back to plunging and the scrubboard.

once the rinse bin is almost full, we start wringing the soap out the clothes in the washbin and put them in the rinse bin. we leave the clothes soak in the rinse bin for a good 10-20 minutes depending on what the items are. we also plunge and agitate the clothes in the rinse bin to ensure that they are rinsed out well.

next it's off to the wringing station. small things can be wrung out using my hands, medium-sized things can be wrung out by jambaloney's hands and larger items get wrung out here.

once each item is wrung out, it gets dropped in the "to be hung on the line" bin.

and there's the solar drying station!

we plan on getting a washer in the next month or so as soon it will be too cold to wash clothes by hand. but only a washer. we will still hang the clothes out to dry.

imagine i left a brand new whirpool duet washer and dryer with matching stands back in the city. oh well...i used to hate doing laundry. and now - for some weird reason - we love doing laundry! and we have so much fun doing it!

one last big thanks to Jennifer to teaching me how to do laundry by hand, many years ago!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

hunting post #1 - thanks dad!

my father is originally from cape breton. he was born in the same town that kymber was born and raised in - weird twist of fate eh? so i am half cape bretoner at the very least, and being married to a cape bretoner gives me full-on status. having the name MacKenzie doesn't hurt either.

My dad grew up in cape breton until he left for college on a scholarship. he now lives on a beautiful farm outside of ottawa with a big garden and horses. oh yeah - and he taught me a lot about fishing while i was growing up.

i spent a couple of summers at my grandmother's place (round island) in cape breton when i was a kid and loved it. We have a beach called morrison's beach near framboise manor that is exactly like round island.

And this is what we saw when we arrived here in cape breton for out first visit in Aug 2009:

recently, my dad gave me a great addition to our homestead.. a powerful short barreled rifle for hunting in the presenting the marlin .444 s:

this is a beast and i will have no problems bringing down deer:

i looked up the best kind of scope for this type of rifle and got this weaver V22 on ebay for only $30.00 - including shipping!

so i have perfect kit for big game hunting in these parts. i can take it to northern cape breton for moose without worrying at all about having enough firepower. dad gave me 60 rounds with the rifle which will be plenty for now, one shot will do with this baby.

i won't be hunting this year, sadly enough. i need to practice. although i took weapons lessons last year and am a great shot, hunting isn't something to be rushed. kymber, Arsenius and Stephen have all commented somewhere about how practice is so necessary. and there is too much to do around framboise manor in order to get ready for the winter, so the logistics don't allow for hunting this year. however, i will practice this fall and winter ... next year there will be a lot of meat in the freezer - and dad, thank you for such a great gift!!


one thing that we really like around here is food. and we have some good eats. a few years ago we made the jump to eating as organically and seasonally as possible. now that we are here in framboise it is even easier as we are surrounded by small farms, the majority of which are organic. oh and the dairy here is to die for!

anyway - one thing that we really love to eat is PEEEEZA!!! have a look below at some of the gorgeous specimens of peeeeeza that we have created. oh yes, i forgot to mention that we live an hour and a half from the nearest pizza shop...and no, they do not guarantee delivery in under 30 mins!!! so all of our pizza is hand-made....i have the best pizza dough recipe known to man. and i will share it. below. first a few pics to make your mouth water!

this one is mine. it's what i call a mediterranean. i use olive oil and garlic as the sauce and it has fresh sliced tomatoes, artichoke hearts, black olives, mozzarella and goat's cheese - divine!

this is one of jambaloney's. he likes to make half and half pizza - one half has some stuff and the other half has other stuff. this one is half made with tomatoe, homemade sauce, pepperoni and hot banana peppers. the other side is homemade sauce, chorizo sausage and hot banana peppers. the whole thing is smothered with mozzarella and as you can tell we like our mozzarella! but did i mention that we have awesome dairy here?

anyway, here's a little tutorial. i don't have any pics of making the dough but i promise to take some soon - it's been almost four days since we had a pizza so i am sure that we will be making some soon.

we make our own sauce while letting the dough rest. we use pureed tomatoes and add a ton of garlic, a small shot of vinegar with the mother in it, a small shot of honey and a ton of oregano. (garlic, vinegar with the mother and honey are all natural antibiotics and all 3 help to boost the immune system. i add garlic, honey and vinegar to just about everything!)

so here is the sauce spread on the dough:

when we make combination pizzas (pepperoni, green pepper and mushrooms), i always put a little mozzarella on the sauce - it gives it a nice little bit of cheesiness!

next is the pepperoni - yum!

and of course your green peppers and mushroom!

pile on the mozzarella and:

voila! that's some good eats right there and tastes a thousand times better than pizza from a restaraunt!

yep - that's my plate right there with 2 big slices! the really awesome thing about this pizza dough is that it keeps really well - we always have some left over for the next day and we just re-heat it in the oven. it's delish!

here's another way that we make peeeeeza if we are being pigs. instead of sharing one pizza, we make two on a bigger tray! both of these started with our own sauce, jambaloney's on the left has chorizo, mine has tomatoe.

next are jambaloney's hot banana peppers and mine gets green pepper.

jambaloney adds the mozzarella and i add the mushrooms - oh i love mushrooms on pizza!

jambaloney likes his tomatoes on top, i like mine underneath the cheese.

and there you go - 2 deeelishous peeezas!

that's mine cut into strips.

and that's jambaloney's - you can see how much cheese he puts on his pizza!

ok so now - off to the recipe for the pizza dough. i have no idea where i found the original recipe, but like with all recipes, i tweak them to suit our own needs.

Pizza Dough Recipe


2 and 1/4 teaspoons of traditional rise yeast (we use fleischman's)
1 teaspoon of sugar (we use organic)
1 cup of warm water (110 degrees - use a thermometer - it really matters!)
2 and 1/2 cups of flour
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt

1. preheat the oven to 450 degrees. in your bread bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in the warm water. let it stand, out of any drafts, until creamy - roughly about 10 minutes.
2. stir in the salt, oil and flour. add the flour a bit at a time. stir the dough until smooth and elastic-y. let it rest for 5 minutes.
3. turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (we use the kitchen table - it's our only counterspace!) and pat and roll out with your hands and then use a rolling pin. once desired thickness is achieved, place dough on to a pizza pan and top with whatever toppings you like. bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes (keep your eye on it at about 12 mins) and remove when pizza is golden brown. let the pizza sit for 5 minutes before cutting into it (this is the Hardest step!)

so there you have it. the best pizza dough recipe in the world - i kid you not! this dough is delicious rolled out super thin, it is just as delicious when it is not rolled out so thin and left a little cakey and thick.

if you love pizza give this dough a try. we love it!

Monday, September 26, 2011

if seeing our naked butts wasn't enough -

you can see our naked butts in our last post. i guess we are selling out to the MSM or something.

BUT - if THAT wasn't enough to titillate (or scare the living beejeezuz out of you) - our dear friend, Modern Day Redneck has a post up about when he sold Avon (yes - i just said that he sold Avon) up at the MDR blog.

oh my goodness - i laughed my fool head off. go check it out. i promise it will take all of the pains in your knees, or hips, or any problems that you have away. yes, it is THAT good. do yourself a favour. go and read.

bahahahahahah! MDR - yer mah new hee-roe!

and he really is!

thanks for such an honest and gut-wrenching, good, 'ol fashioned giggle before bed. i needed that buddy!

September 26th - and we are still swimming in the river!

we have been having some gorgeous weather this september. and we have needed it. our spring sucked. so did our early summer - just ask jambaloney's parents who visited us in mid-june. it was gray all around.

but the last few weeks of august and this past few weeks in september - the weather has felt like balm to our souls. we are swimmers. we love water. and we have finally been able to enjoy the water for the past 2 months. here's hoping we can still enjoy the river in october. it will be cold. it HAS been cold. but we love it!

and here we are swimming on September 26th - can you believe it? that river is backed up because 6 mountain streams drain into it (jambaloney will have some posts with pics to explain all of this) and because the river itself can not drain into the ocean. normally the river is very salty due to the ocean tides coming into it as far up as we are - but because the ocean flow-out is blocked - the river is being backed up by all of the mountain streams. and mountain streams make for some cold, delicious, cold water. the sun was so bright today that it didn't matter how cold the water was. we love the water. and we love getting out into the hot bright sun to dry off. here's hoping that i will be able to post "Sept 27th - and we are still swimming in the river" and a whole pile of other posts leading into mid-October. we love our river. we hope that you love it too!

Stephen, Arsenius, MDR, Mudbug, CC, CZ, Matt, PP, Max, Tango, MM, Jennifer and Tom buddy - and a whole pile of our other internet friends - y'all should start planning for a visit up here next summer!

we'll welcome y'all with open arms!

here's a pic of me going in ....uh-oh - i think you can see my bum. we don't wear clothes. ever. unless we leave framboise manor.

here's me swimming back. that water is freezing. but sooo refreshing!

here's jambaloney.

EDIT: i think that's jambaloney's bum too! thanks to MDR for pointing it out!

he loves the water too!

and here we are laying on the blanket. that's the sky that we look at when we look up.

there are millions of jobs that need to be done at framboise manor. but on days like this - our most important job is to soak up the beautiful cape breton sun and swim in the river. cross your fingers for us that tomorrow will be like today!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Presenting Framboise Manor

ahhh...Framboise Manor...the name itself has such a nice ring to it.

however, after you see the following pics, i am sure that you will agree that we should have named it Framboise Estate.

wait, a little history before the pics. i found Framboise Manor online. it was 1,000 miles away from where we were. and after several emails back and forth with the real estate agent who really did not want to sell this place to us sight unseen - we made an offer. we paid full asking price as the price had kept dropping over almost a year. when you see the pics you will understand why the price kept dropping.

we got this place at a steal. the cottage itself is definitely "manor"-like in that it has a kitchen, living room, two small bedrooms and a bathroom. that's it. we moved from a sprawling, huge, open-concept bungalow with a huge basement AND a sunroom. moving to this cramped little place has been a challenge.

back to buying the place. again, the real estate agent did not seem to want to sell it. we asked her to take honest pictures of the place for us. she did. her pictures follow.

she called this pic "the driveway needs grading". uh huh.

she called this pic "the roof needs fixing". uh huh.

this pic was called "back of house needs to be cleaned up". yep.

this was called "the backyard". yep - that's the backyard. and somewhere almost 1000ft down there is our 200ft of waterfront on the river. sure. i think i can almost see the river from this pic. nope that's just the sky.

here's the fancy kitchen cupboards - in all fairness they actually look pretty nice in the pic. they look much worse in real life. and i had left a huge kitchen with custom-designed bird's eye maple cabinetry that went from floor to ceiling. oh how i miss my cupboards!

THIS beauty is the previous owner's attempt at some kind of weird art. he smashed up a variety of tiles and then poured concrete or something. i can see what he was trying to do but it just doesn't work. the concrete stays wet all day soaking up all kinds of bacteria - thank god it has been replaced - but for several months we couldn't put a glass on the counter or it would tip over. ya - cuz the tiles and concrete weren't even a tiny bit even.

here's the other side of the counter and the stove that didn't work.

this is the hallway between the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. please note the horrible peach walls and god-awful blue in the bedroom. are in for a real treat now. bathroom is coming up soon!

don't jump the gun - we'll get to the bathroom in due time. just wanted to share a pic of the "carpeted" stairs that lead from the kitchen to the living room. yep - we ripped up that carpet toute suite. it had been there for about 20 years and had never been cleaned. yum.

oh and i don't know if i mentioned this already or not - but all of the furniture came with the place! imagine - Framboise Manor came furnished! i kid you not!

the real estate agent called this pic "bad paint job". how about bad building job?

and as promised - here is the "ensuite" bathroom to our master bedroom. wait until you see the master bedroom. there is nothing master about it. nor is there anything ensuite about the bathroom. have a look-see for yourselves.

i must admit that the 20yr old duck shower curtain was a definite selling point!

and here is the "vanity". 'nuff said.

the red siding tape in the shower was a design inspiration that i had never seen before. the previous owner was a real artist. i think the shower looks very "arty". what do you think?

and i like the way that the shower head dangles from the wall - makes it easier to move it this way or that.

and, if i were a real estate agent and wanted to sell an albatross property that had been hanging over my head for a year - i would definitely take a pic of the flooded basement for prospective clients - flooded basements were the "in" thing that year!

oh and all of the junk in the basement came with the property too..what a deal!

this pic she called "bad wiring throughout the house". umm...ya.

this pic is up the carpeted *cough-bleck* stairs and part of the living room. sadly the computer did not come with the rest of the furnishings.

this pic she labelled "more stucco". yep. our whole living room and back bedroom were stucco-ed. very artsy. oh and classy.

this pic she called "living room window needs to be replaced". need i say more?

this is the hallway ceiling between the kitchen and the bathroom. appropriately entitled "no ceiling in the hallway".

this is the little storage closet. unfinished and not quite as artsy as the rest of the place.

this pic was called "you need a new front step". her powers of observation are mind-blowing.

here's the "master bedroom". yep. and a sickly shade of blue. oh, if you are curious, that box sticking off the wall is our electric panel. and you really don't want to see the inside of that!

so we bought the place sight-unseen. why you ask? it came with almost 10 acres, 200ft of riverfront (once we found it) and it is in a beautiful and remote area of cape breton. people called us crazy - the real estate agent who tried very hard not to sell this place to us called us crazy.

but we have been at Framboise Manner for 10 months now. it has been a lot of work. thank goodness for our friends Jimmy and Barb, who put some real hard work into the place so that when we landed here for good - everything looked different. they weren't able to get everything done - but they got a lot of this place fixed up for us. and we have been working like dogs since we got here, just trying to put this little crappy cottage - i mean, Manor -together.

and we are loving every minute of it. right now - jambaloney is halfway in one side of the attic and halfway in the other side. i will explain later. this house is nuts. but we love it. and we love being here.

stay tuned for updates on all of the work that Jimmy and Barb did, and the changes that we have made.