Being Intentional

With each passing day I am discovering that the days, weeks, months and years are flying by with what almost seems the speed of light.  Now, I know that’s stretching it a bit but, for real, am I the only one that has no idea where October went let alone this year?!

October is one of my favorites months.  There’s no specific reason why it’s my favorite.  It just is.  The leaves are changing; the days are still somewhat long; the temperatures are cooler; and, the atmosphere just seems to be so vibrant.

During October and the first few days of November we welcomed various family and friends to the farmhouse.  We love having guests and find it a joy to entertain.  CountryBoy outdid himself feeding everyone and making his signature cinnamon rolls.  Well, for everyone except his buddy and former EMS working partner, that is.  I hear he’s still pretty miffed about it!  I’m thinking there were too many ‘Scooby’ snacks (tons of chocolate!) available and CountryBoy’s sweet tooth was happy so the thought of cinnamon rolls didn’t even cross his mind.  oops!!!

The first morning of November began with a spectacular sunrise…

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It was such a beautiful sight to witness.  Photographing it and realizing that it was the first day of a brand new month made me realize how quickly time passes.

As of late, I have come to realize that I am my own worst enemy when it comes to the passing of time.

My multi-tasking abilities have me rushing from one thing (or things) to the next and not really enjoying much of anything.  Before I know it the days, weeks and months are gone.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a LOT of hobbies and I enjoy each and every one of them.  That’s why it’s a hobby, right?!  But, I am finding that I am rushing through a project or hobby so that I can start the next project or hobby and not really enjoying what I am working on at that moment.

So, with that discovery, I am doing my best to be more intentional in everything that I set out to do.  No matter if it’s a hobby or a necessary chore/task I intend to slow down and enjoy the process of the task at hand.

For instance, I have a couple large orders for my machine embroidered bar mop towels.  Since I had the day off I decided to work on finishing up the largest order today.  Rather than rushing through the process of making them I chose to take my time and enjoy each of the many steps involved in making these.  Before I knew it, I was done with the order and everything went smooth.

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Aren’t they cute?!

Anyhoo, even though I was focused on working on these today I also had to get Saturday’s chores done.  Mind you, I wanted to get this large order done but, with my new-found goal of being intentional in all things and enjoying the process of each task I chose to take my time.  I did not rush through any of the steps and before I knew it I was on the last towel and had even gotten all the chores done.  The day ended up being extremely productive as well as enjoyable.

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Being intentional is going to be a process for me because there are always a million and one things going through my head that I want to do.  I will have to constantly remind myself to slow down and enjoy whatever I am doing or working on at the moment.  I can still plan ahead but I no longer want the future to overshadow the present.  Some days will be easier than others but eventually I believe it will become a habit.  A good habit!  And maybe, just maybe, my days, weeks, months and years will slow down a bit and I will have many more enjoyable, intentional moments rather than a rushed, where in the world did the time go kinda feeling! 🙂

Speaking of slowing down, doesn’t this just melt your heart…

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Creamsicle and the babies.  I love seeing them snuggle up together – so sweet!

 

 

 

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Autumn Beauty & Kitties

Have you ever stopped doing something, for whatever reason, that you really enjoy doing only to find it difficult to start up again later on?

That is where I’m at when it comes to blogging.

I thoroughly enjoy the whole process of blogging… from taking the photos and editing them to sitting down and writing stories that match the photos and sharing my thoughts.  But, I have found that the longer I am away from the blogging process the harder it is for me to get back in the groove – seeking out photo subject/topics and starting the creative flow of words.

Take this blog post, for instance… I have some beautiful Autumn photos of views from the farm and some cute kitty pics but the words?  they’re just not flowing.  I guess the ‘ol saying is true – ‘practice makes perfect’!  I don’t know about perfect but I know that practicing sure makes it easier (wink!).

So, as I bumble around with the words in this blog post here’s a pretty picture to get things rolling…

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The leaves have started to change colors creating a colorful backdrop everywhere you look.

My drive to and from work has me slowing down and enjoying the beauty that surrounds me because I know that the beautiful colors are temporary and all too soon the leaves will be gone and the trees will be dormant for the winter.

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Our beautiful backyard.  Sadly, I don’t get outside much these days to enjoy it.  I hope that changes next year.

Speaking of changes, these girls, or babies as we call them are changing and growing like weeds now!

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We got these two from another Farmers Market vendor when they were about six weeks old.  It’s been a couple months and they are starting to look more like cats rather than kittens.

We have yet to officially name them as we have not been able to tell them apart.  There are a few differences between the two such as one’s a bit darker and one has a slightly narrower face but if they are not together than it’s not easy to tell them apart so they continue to be unnamed.  Poor girls!  Any ideas on names?  We’re leaning toward Ginger & Snap or Snappy.

Greyfus (or Smokey as a recent guest called her) has been great with all the kitties we’ve had.  She has been very gentle and has even shown them the ropes.

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I hope she’ll continue to be sweet to them and not pull the alpha-kitty moves on them like she does to Creamsicle.  Time will tell.

Well, folks, I’ve managed to squeak out another blog post!

Enjoy each moment for the moments equal a lifetime.

 

 

Cistern Room Progress

Once again the space we call the ‘cistern room’ is undergoing a transformation.

When we first moved in it was enclosed at the back of the house with screen, plastic lattice and a screen door.  It was dark and a haven for spiders and a place that any sort of country varmint or reptile might like to hang out.  I hated to go in there to get anything so we didn’t use it for much other than a place for the garbage cans.

We decided we would utilize it more if we removed the screen ‘wall’ and open it up to make it brighter and less inviting for who-knows-what.  Now it became a space filled with all sorts of stuff that we didn’t know where to put yet, the recycling stuff, garbage cans, even the lawn mower was in there all last winter.  It was a great storage space but with it being open to the elements we were limited as to what we could store in there.

We were also tired of dealing with frozen pipes (the ones directly behind the kitchen wall) each winter so we decided this was the year that we would officially close up the back wall of the ‘cistern room’, make any necessary repairs and insulate it well.

This has been a slow process all summer because early on we decided to purchase the materials only when we had the extra money.  Well, enter an 18 month, same as cash, coupon from Lowe’s!  Our last same as cash Lowe’s purchase will be paid off in December so we decided to go for it and purchase the bulk of the necessary materials so that we could finish this project before winter sets in and be able to easily pay it off before the 18 month period ends.

So, let’s see some photos shall we?

Here’s a reminder of what we started with after removing the vinyl siding…

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Yikes!

That was all torn off, plumbing was relocated, repairs made to any rotten studs, insulation put back and/or added and then covered up with barn wood siding.

Here’s that wall in progress…

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That wall is now finished and the patchwork ceiling has been replaced as well.

CountryBoy added a light switch for the existing light and another outlet on the wall to the left.

After a long days’ work yesterday here’s what it now looks like.

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Straight ahead is the wall behind the kitchen.  You can see at the bottom of the photo the plumbing that runs into the house from outside.  These are the pipes that would freeze whenever the temperature was in the teens.  By enclosing this space we are hoping that the days of waking up to frozen pipes will be gone.  Oh, we did find a leaky shut-off valve which very well may have been the problem or at least added to it.  We will add a removable wall or some sort of trap door to cover the pipes but be able to access them if need be without tearing anything up to get to them.  To the right of the photo are the studs for the exterior wall.

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Above shows the last thing that was done yesterday – framing out and adding the window that you saw in the first photo into the new exterior wall.

I talk as though I have worked right along side CountryBoy but the only thing I’ve done is occasionally hand him some stuff and I held the window in place until he could secure it.  I can now say ‘we’ enclosed the cistern room, can’t I?  Haha!

We are anxious and excited to finish this project.  This space will provide some much-needed indoor storage and will fill up quickly with beekeeping paraphernalia, empty canning jars and canning equipment, our chest freezer, recyclables, root vegetables and so on and so forth.  It’s amazing how much equipment and space one needs to homestead.  How in the world did our ancestors do it without all this stuff?!

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Here’s really what I was doing while CountryBoy has been working on the cistern room (well, besides working at one of my jobs!)…

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I made this market bag out of a discounted remnant I picked up at Hobby Lobby.  I have been coveting this printed duck cloth ever since I first saw it in another Hobby Lobby while in Florida for the annual quilt retreat I attend.  When I found a piece of it on the clearance rack I snatched it up.

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Other clearance items I like to look for are plants…

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I picked these sad little houseplants up at Lowe’s.  Everything was drastically marked down – even the ceramic container but all these plants needed was a little bit of TLC.

Dead leaves plucked off, the Spath repotted in the new pot and some MiracleGrow…

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I think it likes its new planter!

As I was purchasing these plants it dawned on me that I love to rescue things… animals, plants, remnants, antiques, furniture, appliances, etc.  It gives me great joy to provide a good home for something or to refurbish something to its former glory.  I wonder if there’s a business in there for me somewhere.  Although, I would imagine I’d have a hard time parting with most of it after all the hard work, ha!

Front Porch Sittin’

It has been a great summer (with the exception of a few too hot days to do much of anything) for doin’ some front porch sittin’.

Working two part time jobs (three, if you count my essential oil training & building of team members ‘job’) I have been making a concerted effort to take some time to just be.  To relax.  To enjoy the wildlife of the farm.  To play with the new kitties.  To just sit.

Simply sitting is not always easy for me but I know the importance and value of downtime so I make the time to do it and what better place than a front porch.

A little over a year ago we expanded our front porch to the front of the house.  (The side porch was turned into the greenhouse.)

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It’s a very roomy porch now but it just did not feel very welcoming to me.

During porch construction I had envisioned a conversation-style seating arrangement in the center of the porch with appropriate furniture to accomplish that with lots of plants.  But, porch furniture is crazy expensive and it just wasn’t going to happen anytime in the near future, so I set our two rocking chairs in the center of the porch underneath the ceiling fan then set about creating little welcoming spaces but where conversations could be held across the porch.

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I’ve been repotting and rearranging plants to fill spaces both on the porch deck and in hanging planters.

This was my morning view during coffee…

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and our morning entertainment…

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The young’uns are getting big.

A week or so after we got them we discovered that we didn’t have an Amos & Andy but an Amos & Andie.

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We thought we got two males but soon discovered that Andie (the one with the white spot on her neck) was missing a few ‘parts’.  Hahaha!  It’s all good though.  They’re both just as sweet as can be and they are quite entertaining.

Are you wondering about the birdbath on the porch?  The cats like to drink out of it.  Don’t ask.  They’re cats!

During my downtime on the front porch I have been fortunate to witness a few of these beauties…

We have lots of volunteer sunflowers surrounding our bird feeders.  I just so happen to catch this Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail butterfly enjoying them also…

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It was a beautiful site to see and one that I would have missed had I not taken the time to just be!  Sometimes I think we get so caught up in the busy-ness of life – whether it be self-inflicted (such as myself – always needing to be doing something) or from others or organizations, jobs, etc., that we miss out on the simple joys and beauty of life.  It’s everywhere if we just take the time to see it.

There are times, though, when I do ‘take the time’ that my mind wars with itself.  I feel like I should be doing something.  That I’m wasting time.  Yet at the same time I know I need this time in order to stay balanced.  In my opinion, we are an unbalanced society.  Some people just work.  Some just play.  But what I’ve learned from the OolaGuys (awesome fellas who I had the privilege of meeting and attending one of their seminars) is the importance of balance in one’s life.  In order to achieve balance in an unbalanced world the seven F’s of life must be addressed – Faith, Family, Friends, Finances, Fun, Fitness and Field (your job).  (How many of you just counted to make sure there were seven?  Ha!)  In other words, if all you do is work (Field) but don’t make time for Fun then you’re not balanced.  If all you do is have Fun but don’t have time for Family – you’re not balanced.  If your Finances are good but maybe your Faith is lacking – you’re not balanced.  Make sense?  It only takes one area to be ‘off’ to make you unbalanced.

I had never really thought about the combination of all these areas of life and how too much of one or not enough of the other would throw me out of whack making me unbalanced and actually quite unhappy or stressed.  I now realize the importance of keeping these areas balanced in order to help me feel less stressed and, in turn, allowing me to enjoy this life I live.

My weaker areas?  Fitness (bleh!), Finances (is there ever enough money?!) and Fun.  Yes, fun.  I don’t take enough time to do fun things.  I’m working on improving all those areas a day at a time. Except for Fitness.  ugh.  I just… ugh. Does going up and down stairs count?  Occasionally pulling weeds?  Anyway, click HERE for the OolaLife link.  (I’m not selling anything nor do I get any commission – just thought y’all would be interested in checking it out.)

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I’m off to join CountryBoy on the front porch.  I’ll leave you with this…

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Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

 

Random Thoughts

Friday afternoons are spent at our local Farmer’s Market.

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Last year we had the small table at the far end and only sold eggs and maybe a few extra veggies from our garden.

You can see we’ve expanded our ‘goods’ this year!

Last Friday we had fresh picked beets & basil, our unique Corn Cob Jelly, eggs, and CountryBoy’s awesome (if I do say so myself!) homemade Cinnamon Buns.

I did not have to work Friday morning so I got the embroidery machine humming and churning out some cute bar mop towels.  While the machine was chugging away I made some items for a local Spa Basket…

I love the stuff in the Spa Basket!  I picked up some items from a couple of the other market vendors such as Lavender Goat Milk soap and Honey & Oatmeal Goat Milk lotion both made from the milk of goats at a local farm and a jar of Citrus Body Scrub made locally; I made some Lavender Bath Salts and Lavender Linen Spray and added a dragonfly washcloth I knitted and put them all in a woven fabric basket made by me as well.  I am hoping that someone will snatch this up and fall in love with all of the products and will hopefully help grow the businesses of all the artisans of these products.

We also offer a lot of other craft items made by myself and a friend of mine so with all that our tables fill up fast with goodies.

Last Friday, we sold out of Cinnamon Buns, basil, eggs and the bar mop towels and we sold a few other goodies so, overall, it was a good day at the market.


We only sold a few beets at the market so yesterday we pickled and canned them…

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Ten half-pint jars.  I’m still deciding whether to keep these or sell them.  I do know several locals (and non-locals) that love them!  There are still lots of beets in the garden so, we’ll see (wink!).


Yesterday was also a nice warm day.  OK, it was hot.  There, I said it.  Ha!

Since it was laundry day and it was warm (OK hot!) outside I decided to hang the laundry on the line to dry…

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I enjoy doing laundry anyway but when I get to hang them on the line to dry?  I enjoy it even more!

Last night I posted a cute, old-fashioned picture on Facebook of a lady hanging clothes on the line all dressed up and in her heels.  It was cute but so far from the way I looked hanging clothes on the line – shorts, t-shirt, clothespin apron and bare feet.  I love walking around the yard in my bare feet.  Our grass is so soft and I get some good grounding time in.  Love it!  As far as heels?  I don’t even own any.  If I have to wear shoes it’s cowboy boots, flip flops or sandals for me!


And for those of you who have resisted the mindless temptation that is called Facebook (wink!) here is a photo I posted earlier today with the status ‘And so it begins…’

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We are starting to harvest bits and pieces of produce.  Each day there will be something to harvest from now until the end of summer.

We’re hoping to have a mess of okra to take to market next week and maybe some banana peppers as well and I’m hoping to keep up with it all while working two jobs.  Thankfully, CountryBoy has offered to help and learn the ‘putting up’ process which will make it a lot easier and go much quicker.


And, last but not least, is an update on the ‘cistern room’ project…

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The plumbing has been moved; insulation has been added; original clapboard siding has been put back on what will be our feature wall with recessed storage for root crops; window has been removed and barn wood-look panels have been installed; three more panels and some studs have been purchased; and we are in the process of finding a reasonable solution for covering the piece-mealed ceiling.  It’s a slow process as we try to figure out the best solutions and the best order to tackle this project so that the work is a bit easier and we don’t have to redo something because we did it too soon.  Any of you who have ever done a renovation project I know you know what I’m talking about!

Anyway, I think it will be a great addition to the farmhouse when it’s finished.

Bee Hive Fail

I’ve always promised to share with y’all the good, the bad AND the ugly because the last thing I want to do is glamorize the farm and homesteading lifestyle.  With that being said I am about to share with y’all our beekeeping and bee hive fail.

It’s a sad tale and the photos are downright ugly.  Disgusting, actually, if you ask me but maybe our fail will help another new beekeeper some day.

Now that you have been fairly warned about the nature of this post feel free to hit that X and read no further if you’d rather not read about our blunder (but, by now, I’m sure your interest is piqued!).

OK, for those of you still with me here goes…

Last Spring we drove a couple hours one way and picked up our 3 lb. package of bees and a queen.

We installed them into their new home and were fairly hands-off beekeepers only checking on them occasionally.  Our feeling was to allow the bees to do their thing naturally without us interfering too often.  They did well; even practically filling up several frames with honey.  We did end up with hive beetles but in talking with other beekeepers in the area we found out we were not alone as they had them too.  For the most part, though, all was well and the hive was functioning as it should.  That is, until winter came.

We had created a wind block for the hive but each time we checked the hive during the winter months we found a lot of dead bees which left us a little unsettled.  Since there was plenty of honey in the supers to eat we decided to insulate the hive a little better thinking that maybe it was just too cold and they were freezing.  When we opened up the hive again they were dead. Every.last.one.  Upon further investigation regarding hives and bees during the winter I’m thinking that we insulated them a little too well.    And to think, we only had two more months of cold weather.  Maybe, just maybe, they would have survived had we simply left them alone.  sniff.

We will never know for sure what it was that killed them all but I was so upset to think that it might have been our fault and that we had failed them.

So now we have an empty hive.

A 3 lb. package of bees is not cheap so we decided not to replace them this year.  Instead, CountryBoy set about trying to attract a colony of bees to the hive by using Lemon oil and a bit of the honey we harvested last Fall.

We had some visiting bees eating the honey but none of them decided to stay.

Of course, with the sweet smelling honey we also drew ants.

When the honey was gone and the Lemon oil had evaporated we simply left the hive untouched.

The other day CountryBoy decided it was time to do something with it and this is what we found when we opened it up…

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Gross.  Just gross.

As we were pulling out the frames a silk-like substance was spanning the two frames.

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Yuck.

I knocked the ants off the frames then CountryBoy began scraping the yuck and the honeycomb off…

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We did salvage the nice parts of the honeycomb which will help the future bees get a head start.  Here’s one of the better looking frames where we were able to keep quite a bit of the honeycomb…

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Once all the frames were removed he had to scrape the interior of the box as well…

Worms.  Worm pods or whatever they are.  Bleh.

The hive and frames are all clean now and are sitting outside being bleached by the sun.

Eventually, they’ll be stored with the rest of the beekeeping paraphernalia until we get more bees.

The whole ordeal of losing the bees and then having to deal with the above mess is one of the harder parts of homesteading.  Much harder than physical work for sure.  Physical work is good for the mind, body and soul but this disaster?  It’s simply a reality of homesteading; the ugly part of it and, quite frankly, one I would rather do without as would any homesteader yet we keep plugging away.

My hats off to you if you made it through this ugly blog post!

Since you survived I’ll end it with a prettier photo I shared on Facebook today…

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I picked these on my way back from the mailbox the other day.  It’s always nice to have fresh flowers indoors.

 

 

 

Sightseeing Trip to the Rock Bridge Arch

One of the perks when we were traveling and working out west were the opportunities to go sightseeing.  Since moving to Kentucky just over three years now we have spent so much time reclaiming the farmhouse and grounds that we have yet to do a whole lot of sightseeing.  And, quite frankly, we felt as if we were getting burned out on the constant work and upkeep.

As we were relaxing on the front porch one evening we decided that we needed to start making time to get out and about and to do some sightseeing.

Last Monday I had off work from the paper so we decided to spend the day doing some hiking in the Red River Gorge area.  So, with my camera in hand and the directions in my head, we set out for a short drive to a trail that led to the Rock Bridge Arch.

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We parked the truck and headed counter-clockwise on the trail loop.

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It was an overcast day with bouts of drizzle off and on so we kept our eye out for rock shelters in case we needed one…

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It’s a good thing we didn’t need this one since it would’ve been awfully tight.  And, more than likely, if we had to sit down for any length of time we probably wouldn’t have been able to get back up.  At least very easily, ha!

It was an easy trail with lots of natural ‘steps’ and lush foliage…

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Around the curve in the above photo was a rock shelter that we probably could’ve set up house in…

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It was huge and quite deep.  I think we would have been protected from the rain save a few drips here and there from water seeping through the rock.

The trail was well kept up with natural steps, wooden bridges or cut-outs in fallen trees making it an easy trail…

Many parts of the trail looked down-right tropical…

During much of the trail we had followed a small creek and then all of a sudden you walk up on a lovely waterfall…

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At this point, CountryBoy got excited seeing the water and knowing he could get in it!

So, we quickly moved on in search of a way to get to the waterfall…

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down some stairs, around the rock overhang…

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and viola…

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the feet are in!!!

We spent a good amount of time at this lovely spot before moving on.  But, before we do how ’bout one more look from above…

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As we were following the water’s edge we came across some stacked rocks…

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To some this may seem strange but while we were sightseeing out west we came across stacked rocks all the time so when we saw these we were immediately reminded of our enjoyment of all our sightseeing adventures while traveling and they put a smile on our faces.

Around another curve along the water’s edge was the Rock Bridge Arch…

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Now it was my turn to put my feet in the water so I could get this shot!

And this one…

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The beauty of nature!

We finally decided to move on and get on the trail again…

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Since the Rock Bridge Arch is about halfway along the trail we knew the rest of the trail would be climbing up out of the Gorge…

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It really wasn’t that bad a climb as it was gradual but the humidity was high and it was quite warm so we paced ourselves and stopped along the way to catch our breath but it was before we made it to this bench…

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Good to know for next time!

Here we are back at the top…

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It was a lovely hike and an awesome day!  We will definitely go again but next time I know someone who will have his swimming trunks on!

 

New Old Stuff at the Farmhouse

Last Saturday we drove a couple hours north of us to meet some family on my Dad’s side.

But, before that, I got a phone call earlier in the week from my Dad’s cousin.  They are moving further north, back to Ohio where their children and family currently live and she had some items that she thought I would enjoy and that would be perfect for the farmhouse.

One such item is this Florence Rotary treadle sewing machine made by the A. G. Mason Manufacturing Company in 1916…

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That was the last year the Mason Company made treadle sewing machines before selling the company to the Domestic Sewing Machine Company the same  year.

What’s really cool about this machine (Florence Rotary) is that we picked it up in Florence, Kentucky where my Dad’s cousin currently lives and the manufacturer of these machines was based in Cleveland, Ohio where my Dad was born and raised.  Pretty cool, huh?  Or am I the only one that thinks the correlation is pretty awesome!

It’s in great shape and it didn’t take much to polish it up…

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Since it actually works I guess I need to start watching some YouTube videos on how to work it.

Inside the drawers were all sorts of goodies and attachments and there were lots of needles in the little wooden holder…

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I have no idea what half the attachments are for or how they are used but it will be fun figuring them out!

Another item we brought home with us was an antique wash stand…

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I had a wash stand in one of the guest rooms but it was dark wood and didn’t really match anything in there so I put this one in there and put the other one in our room where it matches our furniture much better.

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We brought home a few other goodies but we spent several hours that day getting to know each other, talking about our family history, and eating one of our faves – pizza!  We thoroughly enjoyed the visit and time flew by way too fast.  Before we knew it we had to load the truck and head on back to the farm to gather some eggs and check on all the animals.  Fun times!

 

Short & Sweet

I spent some time today customizing this here little ‘ol blog.

After discovering that the places where y’all can sign up to receive the blog posts via email or the link to our Facebook page was waaaaayyyyyy down at the bottom of several blog posts I decided it was time to change the blog up a bit.  If you’ll glance to the right you can easily find where you can sign up to get an email when a new blog post has been published, you can click to check out and Like our Facebook page, you can search for previous blog posts and, if you read or write blogs with WordPress then you can simple hit the Follow button next to the WordPress symbol.  I hope this helps you keep up with all our shenanigans!

I’m also thinking of starting a regular Saturday blog post and keeping it short and sweet thus the title, haha!  We’ll see how this goes with my somewhat crazy schedule.

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I wanted to share our morning coffee with y’all…

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On mornings where the weather is comfortable and simply beckons you outdoors we sit on our front porch and sip our coffee.  There are, now, four cats that want attention during this time and LizzeBelle tries to be the first to claim my lap.

Over the years I have become more of a morning person.  I prefer getting up when the rooster crows (as they say cuz we can’t hear ours when in the house!) but, I also prefer a slow start to the day rather than jumping out of bed and hitting the floor running.  It’s just not a good day when I have to do that.  So, it’s a good amount of time that we are sitting out here enjoying the view, the antics of the animals and thoroughly soaking in the peace and quiet.  This world can be so noisy at times and I find myself not handling it very well anymore.  Chalk it up to our quiet and peaceful surroundings and probably old age!

Since I had the day off I spent the day doing small tasks here and there.  I love these kind of days!  Days where I can move from one task to the next doing whatever I feel motivated and inspired to tackle.

While sitting on the porch reading a magazine a friend of mine let me borrow, I came across an article on SCOBY’s (Symbiotic Cultures Of Bacteria and Yeast) and Kombucha.

For the past several months I have been getting up the nerve to try making my own Kombucha.  Since the beginning of the year I have been lurking in a group on Facebook where tons of information is shared about their Kombucha-making experiences and  I have yet to start a batch of my own.  I even got a SCOBY and some starter tea from a fellow farmer’s market vendor about a month ago and it is still in my fridge patiently waiting for me to just-do-it.

So, after reading the article in a past issue of Mary Jane’s Farm magazine I am going to DO it!  I aired and fed my SCOBY (which I didn’t know I needed to do, oops!) and in the next few days I will actually start a batch working around my work schedule.

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That’s the SCOBY and the starter I was given.  The SCOBY is squished in the jar but it resembles a pancake and, over time, will grow more layers which I can split apart and gift to someone and share the Kombucha love!

What IS Kombucha?  It’s basically fermented sweet tea which can be flavored to your liking.  What is Kombucha good for?  Your health!  According to the article the health benefit claims of Kombucha are: – eliminates toxins, – improves liver and digestive, immune, and excretory systems’ health, – prevents/treats cancer and arthritis, – reduces/eliminates fibromyalgia and depression, – improves energy levels, – combats hardening of arteries, kidneys, brain capillaries, and cardiac vessels, – combats candida, gout, hemorrhoids, and diabetes, – decreases anxiety, irritability, headaches, and dizziness.  Now who doesn’t need one or all of those benefits!  Upon reading all that I am ready to make my own and start taking advantage of these health benefits.

I also spent some time in the greenhouse tidying it up and starting some seeds…

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I started some Marigolds and to the right you’ll see a piece of Christmas Cactus that had been broken off accidentally so I stuck it in some Cactus dirt.  It looks like it will take as there are tiny new pieces of cactus forming at the tip.  Yay!  Fingers cross for the Marigolds.  I have not had much luck starting flowers from seeds but it is something that I want to figure out because who doesn’t love some color in the form of a flower in their life?!

Tidying the greenhouse seems to be a constant thing.  It should probably be an every day thing because it ends up being a dumping zone for all sorts of various and sundry items.  At the moment there are things being temporarily stored in there, such as our honey extractor and miscellaneous bee-keeping paraphernalia as well as some Farmer’s Market stuff that all needs to stay in there until the cistern room is enclosed where these things will have a permanent home.  But, closing in the cistern room will be a while since we are working on it as the funds allow.  So, with that, I periodically tidy up as best I can so that we can walk around in there and it can function as a greenhouse and look pretty at the same time.  (My goal for every project!)

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My B&B boss gave me this awesome wooden beverage crate.  Ale 8 is a Kentucky-made soda, not far from us, that we occasionally enjoy.  (We rarely drink soda or pop but when we do it will usually be an Ale 8!  Not to mention we love supporting locally made stuff!)  So, needless to say, I was thrilled when she gave it to me!  It holds all of our vegetable and flower seeds.

One of my favorite spots in the greenhouse is this sweet little spot…

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It’s a great place to have a bite to eat, enjoy the rain, or read a book.  One of these days I may even write a blog post while sitting there!

We tackled several other small tasks throughout the day in between bouts of relaxing on the porch.  Did I mention I just love these kind of days?

Well, this ended up being more of a somewhat short & sweet post rather than the original short & sweet as planned…  I’m not sure I can do a short and sweet one, ha!

 

 

 

 

Twenty Eighteen Garden

This year’s garden is getting off to a slow start.  A veeeeerrrryyy slow start.  sigh.

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It’s the middle of June and the rows in our garden are just beginning to fill out and actually look like a garden and not just a patch of dirt in the yard.

We have been attending our local Farmer’s Market for over a month now and we have nothing to offer except eggs, jams & jellies and various handmade goods I’ve made over the years and haven’t sold yet.  To fill out our table and attract some customers CountryBoy has started making from-scratch Cinnamon Buns.  And, let me tell ya… he has perfected the recipe and boy-oh-boy are they yummy!

A few of the other vendors have started to pick some things from their gardens for the market but it’s been slim-pickins so far for everyone.  We’re all hoping to be able to offer more produce for the customers that stop by the market in the next couple of weeks.

I plan on putting up (or canning) enough of our yield to get us through the winter and the rest we will take to the market to sell.

What’s in the garden this year?  Red and white onions, sunflowers, lima beans, pinto beans, green beans, green peppers, sweet banana peppers, jalapeños, beets, okra, yellow squash, potatoes, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and basil.  The asparagus has already been harvested and eaten!

So far, it appears the garden may be successful again this year but it’s still early so we can only hope and pray that it continues to grow and do well and, that the coons, bunnies and deer don’t get it before we do!

That statement makes me stop and think about our ancestors who lived before grocery stores were common.  (Although, sadly, the majority of items that are within modern grocery stores really is not food.  I could definitely get on a soapbox right now but I won’t.  I will simply leave you with the thought that if there is a list of ingredients then, more than likely, it’s not really food.  Real food will not have a list of ingredients.  If an item does have a list of ingredients then, more than likely, it has been processed in some fashion where much of the nutrients have been taken away leaving a by-product, or non-food, which becomes a foreign matter when ingested leaving our bodies the job of trying to eliminate it.  Our bodies were designed to eliminate foreign matter but it can only eliminate so much and in today’s preservative and chemical-filled ‘everything’ the foreign matter adds up quickly.  (This includes the chemicals we put ON our bodies as well.  Remember your skin is the largest organ in your body so whatever you put on it gets absorbed into your system.)  What happens to the foreign matter that remains in our bodies?  The result is various chronic illnesses depending upon the individuals genetic makeup.  OK, stepping off the soapbox now but, please, my friends, be aware of what you are eating.  Do your own research for your bodies sake.  And a quick rule-of-thumb to keep it simple if this is all new to you – if you can’t pronounce it you probably shouldn’t eat it or wear it!)  Anyhoo, gardens were seen at every home and were necessary in order to survive.  If one’s garden did not do well that year then food for the family would be limited and possibly even scarce.  Realizing that makes me very grateful that I have the option to shop for produce year-round at the grocery store or a produce stand if our garden does not do well.  Gone are the days of a family going hungry because their garden does not do well, thank goodness!  Now, I do realize there are hungry families today due to various reasons and we should all do our part to see they have something to eat whether it’s taking them a meal or two, giving them a gift card to a grocery store or maybe even teaching them how to start a garden of their own, even if it’s a few vegetable plants in containers.  Love thy neighbor as thyself and help one another.

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The past week I’ve enjoyed the Tiger Lily’s showing off their vibrant orange colors…

Today I even brought a few in the house to enjoy.

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If you’re wondering how the baby boys are doing they are doing great!  Here they are enjoying some front porch time with us and meeting the big boys.

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And after a bout of roughhousing and play time, here they are taking an afternoon nap in LizzieBelle’s bed…

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They could care less that it’s pink.  Sweet silly boys!