The Perfect Day

If I had to summarize the day in one word I would have to use the word perfect.

It was a beautiful, warm day.

I did not have to go to work.

I got to do some rearranging and organizing.

I did some sewing and laundry.  (Yes, I love laundry!  It was only one load but, hey, it still counts!)

I went for a hike up our hillside taking photos and looking for morel mushrooms.

I visited with my great-niece who stopped by as I was coming back from my hike.

I took an extremely hot-bath with epsom salts and Young Living’s PanAway (which is great for sore muscles.)

I spent some time on the front porch chatting with CountryBoy and am still on the porch trying to blog without getting distracted by the birds flocking to the feeder for their evening snack before their bedtime.

The day was spent doing lots of things that I enjoy making it the perfect day.

Here’s how it started…

After our morning coffee in front of the fireplace CountryBoy went fishing before the winds kicked up this afternoon.  While he was away, I decided to switch our dining tables around.  We have a handmade, one-of-a-kind octagon table CountryBoy bought from a gentleman in Arkansas that we love and we have a tiled farmhouse table that we also love that we bought at a thrift store when living in Florida.

We spend our days in a tiny space in front of the fireplace during the winter months and, until recently, the white farmhouse table occupied that space until I decided to move two chairs in front of the fireplace because they were much more comfortable than the dining chairs.  In so doing, I simply moved the white table to the edge of the living room because the octagon wood table was in the dining room.

I decided that the white table needed to go in the dining room because it was better suited for company and it matched the white and natural wood pieces I have in there.

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Once the table was in place I set out to hem a curtain for work…

The most time consuming part was the prep work – pressing it enough to get it to lay flat, pinning, measuring, then cutting and measuring again for the hem.  The actual sewing part was lickety-split.

I also acquired a sweet little table cloth from work that had several holes in it…

So sad!  I was told I could have it and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.  I cut off the section with the holes and hemmed the raw edge that was left then I washed and dried it.  As you saw in the farmhouse table photo I am using it as a runner.  It goes perfectly in our dining room.  I am so happy I was able to salvage this sweet little tablecloth.  Here’s a close-up shot of it…

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Not too long after Countryboy came home LizzieBelle and I headed out for our hike.  I walked down the path that runs along the side of the barn and chickens’ paddock…

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and came out to the secondary paddock adjacent to the chickens’ paddock.  This paddock is not currently fenced in (I don’t know what happened to the fencing, it was gone when we moved in) but many of the metal posts are still there.

I decided to walk to the creek’s edge to show you a different view of the barn…

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This is the backside and the green roof beyond the barn is the farmhouse.

Here’s another view from the peninsula our creek forms…

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Can you see the barn?  It’s camouflaged pretty well.  Come summer you won’t be able to see it at all from this viewpoint.

From there, LizzieBelle and I headed up the mountain…

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She ended up not being in the mood for an adventure and eventually headed back to the house.  She was quite funny though… I kept encouraging her to come on; she would look at me, take a few steps and then turn around and look longingly towards the house.  This continued halfway up the mountain until I finally told her she could go on back to the house.  She didn’t have to be told twice and she was gone!  Phfftt, I guess I’m on my own.

I continued to meander up the mountain and tried to snap a few photos of the beautiful terrain and look for shrooms.  I did not find any morel mushroom nor did the photos I took do the mountainside justice.  I did find some tiny flowers emerging from the forest floor that was a joy to see after such a long winter…

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The rest of the day flew by.  It was wonderful to be able to do so many things I enjoy doing all in a single, lovely day and, as soon as I press the ‘Publish’ button I am calling it the end of my perfect day.

Till next time my friends!

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The Warmth of Plants

I don’t think Spring has looked at the calendar nor did it get the memo that it is supposed to be here!

Yesterday it was snowing.

This morning there was frost on the ground.

Each week it seems we may have one or two warmish days and then, BAM, it’s cold again!

We’re trying to figure out when to start sowing some seeds in the garden but no sooner do we get a couple nice days in a row then the forecast is calling for either more rain (it’s been a very wet and cold winter) or frosty temps.

Meanwhile, as we wait for the frosty nights to come to an end CountryBoy has several starts growing in the greenhouse such as tomatoes, brussel sprouts, green peppers and squash in hopes that we won’t be too far behind in the growing season.

Speaking of greenhouse, we recently had to repair a rather large section of the roof in between all the rain…

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For once, duct tape did not fix the problem.  What was the problem you ask?  Multiple cracks in the panels due to being walked on.  CountryBoy was removing a storm gutter and the easiest point of access was in front of the greenhouse.  These panels have been through the summer’s sun and were on the brittle side so when he stepped on them they cracked and the greenhouse has leaked ever since.  We ordered enough panels to replace them and on a rare warm day after I got home from work we jumped up there and replaced them before the rains came that evening…

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It’s so nice not to have a leaky greenhouse now!

Our local farmer’s market is starting earlier this year and I’m afraid all we’ll have to offer for the first few weeks will be our country eggs.  Lots and lots of country eggs!  In fact, we have SO many eggs right now that we sent 9 dozen to New York with my brother and sister-in-law who stopped by for a visit on their way up from Florida and yet we STILL have oodles of eggs!

Speaking of the market, we are more involved this year and it’s been a lot of fun being a part of the planning for this years market and getting to know the other vendors a little better.  Since the beginning of the year we’ve had a meeting each month to discuss and make plans for the market.  During several of the meetings we have been trained on how to create an enticing display at our booth as well as training on accepting senior vouchers (offered to local senior citizens) and WIC.  I spent some time creating several drafts of possible logos for our market and, as a group, we made suggestions and tweaked them until we came up with one that we’re all happy with.  That was a fun process and threw me back to my days as a Graphic Designer.  CountryBoy and I have also applied to be ‘Kentucky Proud’ vendors and are waiting to hear if we’ve been accepted.  What is ‘Kentucky Proud’?  It’s the official state marketing program for agricultural products.  I am especially excited about this certification!  I may have only lived in Kentucky for three years but I am happy to be here and proud to be a part of the agricultural community.  My hope in the years ahead is to be able to offer more Kentucky Proud products grown and/or made right here on the farm.  That’s what it’s all about!

Now that I’ve been getting a handle on where to place our furniture (it’s a trial-and-error process!) and finding creative ways to decorate with dual-purpose or well-loved items I have slowly been adding some greenery indoors.  I think indoor plants help warm and soften the space and can help ease the long winter months.

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My favorite plants?  Free ones!  I’ve been splitting and repotting plants that have outgrown their container such as the one above and have propagated several others such as the one below…

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that came from this one…

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If you follow our Dream Valley Farmstead Facebook page then you’ve already seen the previous photo with the jute plant hanger.  But for those that aren’t on Facebook that was a fun, easy DIY project using stuff I already had on hand.  I really like the way it turned out and I’ll definitely be making a few more using some of the glass bottles I’ve saved.  If there’s one thing I have a weakness for hoarding it’s glass bottles and containers.  Colored ones, old ones, unique ones, big or small ones, etc.  This bottle was a soap dispenser we had while traveling and the metal dispenser broke and quit working.  I saved the bottle because I liked the color and the shape (and because I have a thing for bottles as you now know, ha!)

Spring is trying its hardest to push Winter out of the way as is evident by the new growth that is bursting out of the ground…

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Peonies (and who knows what else) given to me from a friend.  More free plants, yay!  I can’t wait for these to be chock full of beautiful Peonies!

Seeing the trees begin to produce tiny leaves or buds and plants emerging from a long winters rest brings warmth to my soul and puts a smile on my face!

Till next time my friends!

 

A New Dress For My Vintage Treadle

Three years ago, when CountryBoy and I were walking through the farmhouse with the realtor, the seller had an old Singer treadle machine sitting on one side of the double-sided fireplace.  I fell in love with it and its reminder of times past and decided, then and there, that I wanted to decorate our farmhouse with dual-purpose items from the past.  Dual-Purpose as in both decorative and functional or decorative and sentimental.  I half-jokingly asked her if she was going to leave it!  Her reply was “maybe, if I was good”. Apparently, I was not good.  Go figure, ha!

Shortly after moving in, we started discovering where the local antique and vendor malls were and we frequented them whenever we were out and about and time permitted.  Most times we weren’t really looking for anything in particular yet at every shop I found myself looking for a vintage treadle sewing machine in decent shape.  After striking out shop after shop I asked one of the shop clerks if they ever got any in the store.  I was told that I just missed out on a couple of them and that a fella would snatch them up as quick as they came in.  No wonder I never saw any since we didn’t leave the farm very often!

Not too long after that encounter, we were in another antique and vendor mall and there they were… in a room behind the counter with a sign on it that said something along the lines of it being a workroom.  WHAAAAT?!  A workroom?  But, there are vintage sewing machines in there!

As we were peering into the room and my head was swimming with the knowledge that I have found some vintage machines but they weren’t for sale (at least not in their current state) a fella asked if he could help us.  Then it hit me – THIS was probably the fella that was snatching up all the vintage machines right before I entered any of the shop doors.  GASP!

Sure enough, he bought old sewing machines in cabinets mainly for the bases and he would repurpose them into other useful things.  Sometimes, even the machine itself would be turned into a lamp or some other decorative item.

While I’m all for repurposing items that are beyond their original function the very thought of doing such a thing to a vintage sewing machine left a pit in my stomach. Especially if the machine(s) were in good shape and still worked.  Sacrilege!

I quickly recovered and asked him about all the machines in this workroom and were any of them for sale.  He said none were for sale and then he explained how he repurposed them.  sigh.

I’m not sure whether it was the deflated look on my face or the fact that I teased him about being the one that always snatched up old machines before I could get to them but after a few minutes he had a change of heart and offered me one of the machines saying it wasn’t really the style he was looking for at the moment.  I looked at CountryBoy with my hopes up so he asked how much.  $60 bucks.  SOLD!

Here it is looking how she did when we brought her to the farmhouse…

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Isn’t the cabinet gorgeous?  We love its curves and the ornamentation on the drawers.  I couldn’t believe my luck that this was the one he didn’t want!

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And the machine?

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It was in decent shape and looked like it would function properly it was just a little dusty and grimy…

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See the original wood around the machine?  I figured one day I would get around to restoring the rest of it back to the original wood.  Three years later I haven’t done a thing with it.  sigh.

Well, after sewing my heart out earlier in the month at the annual quilt retreat I attend in Florida my sewing space has been on my mind.  It’s been needing some TLC so I figured while I was still in the sewing frame of mind I thought it was time to tackle the treadle.  I figured this would up the wow-factor of my sewing space and provide me with some inspiration every time I saw it.  Plus, this project has been one of my ‘just get it done this year’ goals!

Another source of motivation for working on it was our last snow storm where we were without power for several days.  Since then, my thoughts have been consumed with getting this machine cleaned up, something done with the cabinet and ordering the parts needed to get the machine up and running.  You know, just in case we’re ever without power again I could at least do some sewing in the light of the hurricane lamps.  (Remember my decision to decorate with dual-purpose items? Hurricane lamps (and lots of them!) and a treadle = able to do something without electricity!)

After mentioning my idea of restoring the cabinet to its original wood CountryBoy reminded me of the work involved in that process and that I would have difficulty getting all the black paint off from around the ornamentation on the drawers and from around the drawer pulls.  After closer inspection I knew he was right and it had me wondering if I really DID want to restore it back to the original wood.

At first I didn’t mind it being painted black but after looking at it in the sewing space for three years and not really being able to see it since there is no natural light source in there (making it rather dark) I thought maybe I should do something different.  Something that would showcase the beauty of it which got me to thinking (I know, right!)… why don’t I just paint it.  WHAAAT?  I know, I know.  I am the first one to want to restore something to its originality but in this case… it was already painted and as I’ve mentioned before, I could never paint original wood unless it was severely damaged, already painted or cheap wood.  So, since someone else already painted over that fine wood I figured I’d add another layer.

The last two days I spent chalk-painting and waxing my vintage treadle sewing machine cabinet and I’m really pleased with how it turned out…

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Look at the tiny drawer in the middle!  Before it was hard to see its unique shape.  I also love the simple black and white palette, how the sewing machine is featured now and the whole thing is noticeable in the space.

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I still have the lid to do.  It needs a bit of gluing and TLC and the weather has not been suitable for working on it out in the shop.

I ‘distressed’ it a tiny bit to feature the ornamentation on the drawers and tried to give it a ‘used’ look… after all, it is vintage!

 

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I also spent some time on the machine.  It had a little ‘spa day’ yesterday…

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It’s hard to see the difference but the dirt and grime are gone and the metal shines  once again.  The clear coat is mostly gone and the decals are showing wear but that’s OK.  She’s old and, as they say, just adds character!

This is a Minnesota A model treadle sewing machine and from what I’ve found in my research it was made in the very early 1900’s, probably 1910ish, and sold by Sears via their catalogue.  It was made to rival the Singer models and was mentioned as a ‘top of the line’ sewing machine.  I’m glad to have found her!

I need to find the correct bobbins and shuttle for this machine, the right needles and it needs a belt then I imagine she will purr like a kitten.  That is, if I can figure out how to sew using my feet! It will probably be a test of my coordination or maybe lack thereof, ha!

This is what I now see as I head up the stairs…

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A bit of inspiration for hanging out in my sewing/craft space whenever time permits!

The lid that still needs some TLC is leaning against a storage cabinet CountryBoy made that holds my small fabric stash behind the glass doors as well as some crochet thread, scrapbooking stuff, cross stitch patterns and who-knows-what-other-crafty-type-stuff!  The wicker basket is home to all the partial skeins of cotton yarn I’ve ever used.  Anyone know of a good scrappy project for all that yarn?!  For now I see tons of knitted dishcloths in my future, ha!

So, that’s a portion of my sewing space featuring my newly ‘dressed’ vintage treadle sewing machine.  I really like how it turned out and can’t wait until she’s got all her parts so I can learn how to use it.  You just never know when we’ll be without power again!

Till next time 🙂

 

 

 

It’s Been Quite the Year

Oh, two thousand eighteen, what a year you have been already.

You have not been very kind to me.

In January, I was diagnosed with Bronchitis.  It lingered and seemed to dive deeper into my chest.  I continued to go to work but did very little when I got home.

In February, I was still coughing uncontrollably and had such terrible pain in my right rib cage.  It was so unbearable at times that I couldn’t breath.   I  went back to the doctor and was diagnosed with Pneumonia.  When I agree to go to the doctor CountryBoy knows I am not doing well.

I had zero energy.  I would cough so hard it made me gag and whatever I had recently eaten came right back up.  (Sorry, but it’s true.)  I did not go to work for two weeks.  (Thankfully, I have a very understanding boss who truly cares about the people that work for her and all she wanted was for me to get well.  Gotta love a boss like that!)

I lost weight.  That part was good!  It’s not the weight loss plan I would recommend to anyone but I’m not going to complain and am grateful to be twelve pounds lighter.

By the end of February I decided enough was enough so I stepped up my natural remedies since the conventional western medicines were not working for me.

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Lots of hot tea.  Sometimes with dried herbs, other times with essential oils (don’t worry, they were food grade essential oils!) and always with raw honey.  And water.  I could not drink enough plain ‘ol water to satisfy my thirst.

Also, on my list of natural remedies were essential oils known for respiratory and immune support.  I diffused them constantly and applied them topically throughout the day and before bed time.  I also took immune boosting natural supplements infused with essential oils.  And, after researching colloidal silver, I added that to my daily regimen as well.

By now, I was no longer on any prescription medication but I started feeling better and began seeing signs that my symptoms were easing up and disappearing altogether.  I’m continuing my daily ‘natural’ regimen and I’m doing well.  Whew!

You may be shaking your head at my non-traditional/natural ways and that’s OK.  I’ve bucked mainstream ideals for many years so I’m used to the head-shakes, ha!

So here we are… the first day of Spring!  We’ve had some other minor issues with our 100+ year old farmhouse this year but I am hoping that we can now get on with our regularly scheduled plans for 2018!

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We had some unusually warm days earlier in the month and the daffodils began to show their lovely faces a little before the official Spring date.  Thankfully, they have survived some frosty nights and even a terrible snow storm that knocked the power and phone lines out in our area for several days.

My newly planted tulips I bought last year on clearance have started peeking through the mulch…

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I love tulips and can’t wait to see my very own open up.  I have no idea what colors they are so I am not-so-anxiously awaiting their blooms!

While I was under the weather this beautiful amaryllis (given to me by my boss several months ago) opened up…

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It is still in the original pot so when the night time temps plummeted below freezing even in the greenhouse I put it in our bedroom.  It started to grow and eventually four beautiful flowers emerged.  It was a lovely reminder that ‘this too shall pass’.  I will be planting it in a new garden spot once Spring is officially here – the warm weather days of Spring, not the calendar days of Spring!

With Spring comes garden planting.  CountryBoy has started several seeds… tomatoes, green peppers, sweet banana peppers, cayenne peppers, jalapeños, okra, nasturtiums, marigolds, and who knows what else!  He is anxiously anticipating getting the garden going.

Shortly after the gardens get going it will be market time.  I have been working on an up-cycled project using the chickens’ feed bags and turning them into market tote bags…

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I found the tutorial on the Fresh Eggs Daily blog and will be cranking these out as the feed bags are emptied and will have them for sale at our local farmers market for dirt cheap.  I think they turned out great and are super cute!

Speaking of cute and chicken feed, here are a few of our newest girls hanging out in the mud…

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The lighter color girls (Ameracaunas) lay pretty green eggs and Cotton Top, our little Polish Crested bantam, lays small white eggs.  (My brother will be happy about the white eggs!)  It will be fun to offer green eggs at the market!

While waiting for the warmer months, I decided to tackle a bucket list item… to officially learn how to knit.  I’ve tried it here and there but it never really clicked.  I asked my niece to show me how with this simple little dishcloth…

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It’s called Grandmother’s Favorite Dishcloth and the pattern can be found online.  I was given several dishcloths of this pattern a long time ago and I’ve used them quite a bit.  To the point of no return really so it was definitely time to replace them.  It really helped having someone show me what to do and especially how to fix a mistake.  I enjoyed making this dishcloth and have whipped up several more since then.  Maybe some day I’ll tackle a larger knitting project!

We’ve had quite a bit of rain this winter.  In fact, it’s raining as I type this.    The Farmers Almanac predicted we would have a cold and wet winter and they were right.  Thankfully, we occasionally receive reminders that there will never be as much rain as in Noah’s day…

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Here’s hoping for a good, healthy rest of the year.  How is your year going?

Till next time…

 

 

 

 

Brrrr!

Baby, it’s cold outside is an understatement!

When your meat won’t thaw…

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you know it’s cold!

We are day five into the new year and ‘ol man winter is officially kicking our butts, not only here at the farm but all up the East Coast.

At the farm, we are still having issues with water.  This time it’s something with our plumbing.  The kitchen sink will not drain.  We’ve snaked it and even resorted to pouring a commercial grade sink declogger down it and it still won’t drain.  We’re not sure if there’s a frozen chunk of ice way down the pipe still there from when our water froze or what the problem is.

Since it’s not a good time of year to be tearing into the house and tackling the plumbing we are resorting to this for the time being…

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At least we have a sink and are not having to wash the dishes in the bathtub like the first year we lived here.  Good times!

We are also having electrical issues at the barn, which means the heated base for the chickens’ waterer won’t work which results in the water freezing.  CountryBoy brings the waterer in each night but has to break the ice or thaw the water throughout the day.

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Today he added a heavy duty extension cord and so far, so good.  Water and food are very important in the winter time to maintain a chickens’ health so we’re hoping this continues to work until we can run proper electric out to the barn.  Just another project we did not want to tackle this year but looks like we will have to.

We are also having electrical issues in the greenhouse.  The space heater we had in there originally worked well without any problems.  Then one night, unbeknownst to us, it threw a breaker and we lost some plants.  Now, all of a sudden, it throws a breaker every time we turn it on which means the cat’s water also freezes as well as the plants. We’ve had to bring the surviving plants indoors and each morning and throughout the day I pour warm water in their bowl to thaw it.  Thankfully, the cats have an insulated house in the greenhouse which keeps them warm.  Even if they decide to lounge in one of the chairs in there instead of their insulated house at least they are out of the wind and elements.

At the moment, we are feeling defeated and as though we haven’t made much progress in getting the upper hand on this farm.  I know we are having these issues because of the extreme temperatures we are dealing with right now and that we have, indeed, made quite a bit of progress since moving in so, this too shall pass and we will continue with the necessary improvements for survival and, some day, maybe even comfort!

Speaking of comfort…

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Our sweet LizzieBelle spends her days on the couch wrapped up in a warm, fleece blanket.  Lucky dog!

How are you faring during this winter chill?

 

The Painted Hutch

If y’all remember a few days ago when our water was frozen I mentioned I was wanting to start a painting project that day.  I postponed that project and ended up finally tackling a wall hanging that was in need of being re-basted and quilted.

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I have many UFO’s (unfinished objects!) piled on a chair in my sewing room so it felt good to get started on at least one of them!  I still need to finish it up but I am over halfway with the quilting process.

Thankfully, our water unthawed late that same day and has stayed unthawed despite our below freezing  daytime temperatures.  So yesterday I jumped on my painting project…

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our dining room hutch that practically disappears into the wall.

Normally, I am opposed to painting any piece of fine furniture and especially antiques that is, unless they are beyond salvaging but in this case, well, let’s just say that sometimes we feel like we live in a cave and I feel the need to do whatever necessary to make it lighter and brighter.

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Hutch?  What hutch?  Oh, that hutch in the corner!

The interior walls of the ‘ol house are rough-cut lumber that has been stained a dark color.  Add to that, windows that are smaller than the original windows in the old farmhouse and it makes for a very dark house.

I’m slowly repainting the hunter green trim that was around all the windows and on the baseboards.  Doing that has helped break all the darkness quite a bit .

I love natural light and we often wonder what Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper fame would say if she ever darkened the doors of our old farmhouse!  Get it?  Darkened the doors – hahaha!  Sorry, I couldn’t resist…

Anyhoo, a few people have mentioned painting our walls but I just can’t.  For starters, rough cut wood is difficult to paint and well, you know how I struggle with painting wood so painting the walls is out.  Besides, I think it would lose that cozy cabin-feel if we did.

In pondering my options and perusing Pinterest I found some really great hutches that have been painted with chalk paint and I decided to go for it.

I saved up some extra money I’ve earned at work and bought some Annie Sloan chalk paint, wax and the recommended brush and finally, I could start on my painting project.

That first swipe of paint was difficult but once I got started there was no turning back.  I finished it up today and have to say, that I-love-it and am super pleased with how it turned out!

I left the slats on the doors the original color to tie in with a small bookshelf CountryBoy made using some shutters.  I painted it white but left the shutter slats raw.  Our dining chairs are also white and natural as you can see below which makes them all come together nicely.

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I think the painted hutch did a lot to lighten up that corner and the light coming in the window also reflects off it and helps lighten the whole dining room.

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I did not want the solid white brand-new look so I did some light distressing after I waxed it which adds to the character of this piece and ties in better with our rustic farmhouse style.

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I also like how much better our collection of pink and green Cherry Blossom depression glass shows up against the white.

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So pretty!  I can’t stop looking at it, hahaha!  I guess that means it was worth it.

 

Quite the New Year

It’s only two days into January and what a year it’s been already.

I had to work for a few hours yesterday morning and on my way out of the driveway I noticed that someone had run or slid into our mailbox.  It was spun around and facing the wrong way and it was dented up pretty bad.

On my way home I saw the stray cat that we have been feeding at the end of our neighbors driveway.  (We believe it was an offspring of a stray cat that we brought with us from Texas but had drowned in another neighbors pool.)  It was caught in a small trap and dead.  As upset as I was at the news of the drowning I know it was an accident.  But this.  This intentional cruelty has me outraged.  This is not the first time this neighbor has trapped and killed an innocent animal, even neighbors pets.  Trust me when I say I had to do some praying last night because, in all honesty, I want to ring his neck and wish bad things upon him.

Then, last night, CountryBoy woke up in the middle night to find our water pipes were frozen.  We’ve had a week of below freezing temperatures but it was minus two when we got up today and it was just too much for our pipes.

It is after noon, the sun is shining and we are still without water.  And, from the looks of the forecast we won’t get above freezing until Sunday.  We are praying that none of the pipes burst.  sigh.

Thankfully, the outside water faucet in front of the house is operable.  (Whoever came up with these non-freezing, upright faucets is a genius!)  We are able to get water to boil and wash dishes with and flush the toilet.

I had plans to start a painting project today but without water to clean the brushes it has been put on hold.  Also on my to-do list for the day was to clean the paste residue from a wallpaper border I removed in the dining room.  That will also have to wait until we have water.  So, instead, I will go upstairs and see what project I can work on in my sewing room.  There are plenty!

My plans of not tackling anything major this year was short-lived.

With the major freezing of our pipes this year it has become apparent that we must tackle this problem sooner rather than later.  We were hoping for later because of the cost that will be involved.

It’s become obvious that all of our water lines need to be in the house and not underneath.  (They currently run from the hot water heater – underneath the pantry in the crawl space – up into the walls of the pantry and into the walls behind the stove and kitchen sink.)  We have come up with a plan that will involve closing in the cistern room (an open space that flanks both the previously mentioned kitchen and pantry walls), relocating the hot water heater and all the plumbing and electric into the newly enclosed and insulated cistern room.  We will then add a small door or just leave an opening from the pantry into the new room.

It’s a big job, a big expense, and a big mess that we really didn’t want this year.  Maybe I should start a GoFundMe site.  Ha!  We know, in the long run, this will give us peace of mind during the frigid days of winter as well as giving us some much more needed pantry and storage space for the canned goods and even the empty jars.  It’s just that hurdle of getting started.  And dreading the mess!

Those of you that have been reading my blog for a while know that my posts are usually chock full of photos but yesterday’s post had none.  My Uncle asked where the light dusting of snow picture was?!  Well, I rushed off to work yesterday and did not take one.  So, I took one of what is left of the light dusting since the content of this post is not photo worthy.

new years snow

We only had about an inch of accumulation so much of it has already disappeared.

See the bird feeder?  There is a constant swarm of birds on it making it difficult to keep it full.  In fact, it’s empty again!

I trust y’all are having a much better start to the new year.  My apologies for the nature of this post but I promised transparency to you, our readers, and not to glorify our farmsteading life in a 100 year old farmhouse.  However, we are grateful for our health, a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and for being (somewhat) warm on these bitter cold days.  It’s all good!

Now it’s time to fill the bird feeder then head upstairs to the sewing room.  Toodles!

 

 

A Brand New Slate

Here we are in another brand new year already.

Honestly,  I don’t know where last year went.  One minute we were facing a total knee replacement, undergoing a rough recovery, attending an annual quilt retreat in Florida, surviving the winter months, gardening, canning, starting a new venture at our local Farmers Market, starting a new job, enjoying loads of company and the next minute, we’re ringing in a New Year.  Of course, we rang it in in our typical fashion  – behind closed eyelids.  Ha!  We did have several friends come over after church on New Years Eve. We played Uno and Nertz and snacked on all sorts of goodies then we devoured some of CountryBoy’s delicious homemade French bread and stew.  Fun times!  By 7:00 p.m. we all just KNEW it was late and close to the new year.  Ha!  It wasn’t even close but we had a great time nonetheless and everyone went their separate ways.

This morning, we woke up to a surprise dusting of snow. It was beautiful!  It reminded me, on this first day of a brand new year, that we all have the opportunity to start the year fresh with new dreams, plans, ideas, and goals.  A brand new slate, if you will.

By nature, I’m a planner, a dreamer and a goal-setter so the start of a brand new year excites me – 365 days to fulfill my plans, dreams and goals!

I’ve been busy praying and filling out my 2018 Life & Business Planner.

My words and phrases for the new year are… SIMPLICITY, WRITE, GROW, and DISCOVER MY PASSION.

I have lots of plans, goals and projects in mind for the year but they are simple in nature.  Nothing grandiose or complex.  Simplicity at its finest.  And, lucky you, you’ll get to see them fulfilled right here!

I also plan on living and thriving in 2018 and not merely existing.  I want to find my niche here in the mountains of Kentucky and share more of Dream Valley Farmstead, in some fashion, with others!

How ’bout you?  Do you have big plans, dreams or goals for 2018 that you care to share in the comments?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

 

Window Project & Ramblings

Our 100 year old farmhouse has had several additions to it over the years from evidence seen in the attic and a from few pictures we’ve received from previous owners and tenants.  The most recent one being a bedroom added over the bath and laundry room that is also not original to the ‘ol farmhouse.

Originally, there was a window over the stairwell which helped illuminate the upstairs landing as well as the stairwell.  With the addition of the bedroom, the window was removed for the obvious reason of privacy for the occupant in the bedroom.

I might’ve been OK with it except that what I saw every time I went upstairs (which is several times a day because all the bedrooms are up there as well as my sewing and craft space) well, it drove me nuts because it literally looked like a window had been removed and boarded up on one side.

window demo n misc 1

I tried making it tolerable by adding a pretty hand-painted indoor barn quilt that was given to me by a friend.  It certainly helped but it still drove me nuts.  (Short drive, I know.  And, hush up those of you who know me, ha!)

After CountryBoy demoed the well-house…

 

well house 2

yikes!!!

 

I saw the window from the front of it leaning against a tree and got the brilliant idea of putting a window back where there was originally a window.

Now, in true Dream Valley Farmstead fashion, we reuse whatever we can on whatever we’re working on so I went to work on cleaning up the well-house window…

window demo n misc 3

The whole well-house had been swallowed up by a red trumpet vine so there were bits of roots of the vine stuck to the window.  I simply sanded the window down a bit, washed it then handed it off.

Poor CountryBoy, as usual, had to figure out how to turn my vision into reality.  He pondered it briefly then went to work…

yikes

He made quick work of the demo and set about determining where to cut into the paneling on the bedroom side…

window demo n misc 2

(Please ignore the discoloration of the walls.  We have done nothing to this room short of removing the closet where the head of the bed is and building a bed frame and headboard.  It’s on the to-do list one day!)

After some careful measuring and cutting we now had a hole in the wall and, a big mess on the floors.  Too late to change my mind now!

Before long the window was installed and the mess cleaned up…

I really like how it turned out even though it may seem kinda strange to be able to look into a bedroom from another room.  (See my sewing machine in the picture on the right?)  Since the décor of this room is our ‘ode to Florida’ and all things beachy my plan is to add working shutters in the bedroom.  They will be left open to allow the light to come through but can be closed when we have guests.  Meanwhile, until we actually tackle this room, my plan is to hang a quilt over the window if we have guests.

The stair side of the window still is not finished.  I need to get a piece of drywall next time we’re in town…

window demo n misc 11

The drywall installation will be up to me as CountryBoy would prefer to have nothing to do with drywall if at all possible.  I don’t blame him, really, as I’m not a big fan either but it’s the cheapest solution to finishing this project and finally, finishing this wall.  As you can see from the stains on the wall, I’ve done nothing to this wall either, short of removing a shelf that was over the window-less window and partially removing a wallpaper border.

I will be thrilled to have this wall finished one day but I am really enjoying the daylight that is helping lighten up my sewing and craft space as well as the stairway.  Yay!

Now for some rambling…

I have the day off so along with plans to write a blog post I decided to whip up a couple of things in the kitchen.  First up, was a batch of oil-pulling discs.

window demo n misc 5

My mouth and gums have been bothering me lately, as in feeling raw, so I decided to do something about it.  If you’ve never heard of oil-pulling then I suggest you Google it as there are much better sources out there than can explain the benefits of it far better than I could ever attempt to do so.

Anyhoo, it’s very simple to make some ready-to-use oil pulling discs by simply melting some coconut oil, letting it cool a bit and then dropping just less than a tablespoonful into the silicon candy molds.  I chose to add about ten drops of Thieves essential oil to the cooled coconut oil since the clove in this Thieves blend is beneficial for oral care.

window demo n misc 7

These silicon candy molds are awesome!  I popped out the discs and will store them in the fridge just to be sure the coconut oil doesn’t melt.  Using one a day this batch will last a little over three weeks.

window demo n misc 8

I also decided I wanted to have a hot chocolate mix on hand.  Some days and/or nights just beg for a cuppa hot cocoa!  Since I don’t like all the ingredients added to store-bought mixes I knew I needed to make my own so I checked Pinterest (what did we ever do before Google and Pinterest?!) and found a dairy-free hot chocolate mix recipe.

Why dairy free?  Well, I don’t have any powdered milk on hand nor do I usually keep it in my pantry.  We also like our hot chocolate made with whole milk rather than water so I didn’t see the need in having powdered milk already in the mix.  Thankfully, I found a recipe that didn’t call for powdered milk and I had all the ingredients in my pantry.

window demo n misc 6

I did substitute some white chocolate instead of the whole chocolate chips the recipe called for.  I also mixed all of it in my food processor, white chocolate and all, to make for a smooth and powdery mix.  I can’t wait to taste it as it smells so yummy!

Living 30 minutes from anywhere (as my brother likes to say!) it’s important to me to keep a well-stocked pantry.  I have spent the last several years learning what items are handy to have on hand and what, for us, makes a well-stocked pantry.  And, I’m not talking about having a pantry or freezer full of boxed or man-made foods (which really isn’t food but don’t get me going on that…)  It’s things like flours, sugars, home-canned veggies, coffee, tea, unsweetened cocoa, baking goods, yeast, etc.  It’s a good feeling being able to make things, even on a whim, because of my well-stocked pantry.  Yay!

And, in other news, my first column was published the week of Thanksgiving…

window demo n misc 12

Now that the stress and learning curve of my first article is done I’m excited to write some more.  I’ve had quite a few compliments to the point where I literally felt my cheeks turning red.  In fact, they’re turning red as I type this.  Mercy!  I guess that’s what happens when a shy girl that would rather be behind the scenes and definitely behind the camera is now in the spotlight.  As I often say around here, YIKES!

 

Piddled & Foraged

I had the day off today.

I stayed in my house clothes the.entire.day. and it was awesome!!!  I have come to treasure these kinda days since I am now back in the workforce.

I didn’t have anything in particular that I wanted to get done so I just started piddling.

I wandered into the greenhouse and started straightening it up a bit.  It seems I am forever finding permanent homes for all our stuff.  And, it doesn’t seem to matter that I have tried to eliminate unnecessary stuff.  There’s still lots.of.stuff.

But, I digress.

I ended up rearranging a few of the plants that were brought indoors for the winter months; cleaned up the dusty, dirty heater CountryBoy brought in to the greenhouse for use on the below freezing nights; and I repotted one of my mint plants.

Piddled n foraged 1

It smelled so good and minty fresh!

I also spent some time foraging around the farm.  Not the typical kind of foraging for herbs and shrooms and such, but foraging for items that were here when we moved in that could be used as décor or other purposeful items.

One such thing was a beat up galvanized bucket that I had thrown a bunch of broken glass and metal bits in when we were cleaning up the small garden.  I decided I wanted to use it to hold a hanging plant from a pulley so I grabbed the bucket from the garden, cleaned it out and CountryBoy hung it up for me.

Piddled n foraged 2

I told ya it was beat up!  This plant normally hangs on a shepherds hook outside the greenhouse so I wanted to leave the original container in tack but wanted to put it in something more decorative and this did the trick.

Here’s another plant I put in another galvanized bucket that was left here…

Piddled n foraged 3

This plant is usually on the front porch on a plant stand.  I think I have a thing for plants in galvanized buckets (wink!).

It was pleasantly warm working in the greenhouse – out of the wind and cold.  I even had some company…

greenhouse interior 5

Creamsicle and…

greenhouse interior 4

Greyfus – also known as ‘the boys’!  They enjoy the greenhouse both day and night, that is, when they’re not out hunting for something a little more tasty than dry cat food!

CountryBoy had to remove Greyfus from his ‘bed’ so that he could get our old work jackets to put back in the truck.  (It never hurts to have something warm in your vehicle during the winter months, you know, just in case.)

Another item I found in the tack room while I was looking for greenhouse stuff was a small wooden shelf.  My mind immediately saw it being used as a spice rack.  But would it fit the space I wanted to put it?  After I finished up in the greenhouse I went back to the tack room in the barn and grabbed it. Mercy was it ever dirty!  I scrubbed it down and brought it in to see if it would fit.  It did, woohoo!

Piddled n foraged 4

I can’t remember whether this shelf was in one of the guestrooms or the loft that is now my sewing room but we took everything down so that we could paint the walls.  Wherever it was originally it ended up in the barn but is now back in the house being used as my spice rack.  And, it’s perfect!

Piddled n foraged 5

The spice rack I was using was custom made by CountryBoy for the fifth wheel but it was too small for the house and I had spices everywhere – to the right of the stove, to the left of the stove on a shelf and in the pantry.  Now, I have all my spices in one area.  Sweet!

I really love foraging and finding items that I already have and being able to put them to use maybe even in a completely different fashion than they were originally intended.  And, the price is always right!

(By the way, I am still trying to figure out where my missing photo files are.  sigh.)