Rainy Day Ramblings

It’s Monday.  It’s raining.  And, both are just fine with me.

The rain is nourishing the gardens. The onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and potatoes are coming along nicely and the recently planted watermelon, okra, turnips, beets and corn will all love this rain!

Also coming up much quicker than the crops are weeds.  Lots and lots of weeds!  One could hoe 24/7 and still not keep up with the weeds.  We are doing our best, though, to not get overrun with them this year.  We’ll see how that goes!

My flowers are also loving this rain…

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It’s been a nice, gentle rain which is perfect for newly planted seeds.

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It’s also good for all my potted plants.

Prior to this rainy Monday, I spent several hours over the weekend re-locating my ‘office’.  Again!  Originally, it was in my sewing and craft room but there are no windows in there and I found myself lacking any desire to get in there to do any blog writing or computer work in general.  So, I moved my ‘office’ (which consists of a laptop, printer, computer software, paper & card stuffs, and files and stuff for Young Living) into one of the guest rooms.  Ah, windows!  I suddenly found myself a bit more motivated!  But, it still wasn’t the perfect location.  When we do have guests, I am hesitant to do any blogging or computer work as I feel like I am intruding on our guests space.  And, I felt ostracized from the goings-on downstairs.  I don’t know if that makes sense or not but it was just how I felt.

So, I decided to move my ‘office’ downstairs.

The only somewhat suitable spot was in the dining room.

My overly-large roll-top desk was already in there so I decided that was where my ‘office’ would be. But first, I had to tackle the mounds of paperwork that covered the top of the desk so that I could put my laptop on it and yesterday morning was the day I felt as if I could conquer it.  Ha!  Please tell me I’m not the only one that lets paperwork get out of control!!!  I love to be organized but if anything is going to whip me in the organizing department it will be paperwork.  sigh.

Anyway, after moving the desk to anther wall so that I could look out the window while I worked I set about sorting, filing and tossing and eventually I saw the top of my desk.  Yay!  So, I started bringing stuff down from upstairs and getting it set up.

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It still needs a little bit of tweaking here and there.  I will finalize the space as I figure out what works and what doesn’t.  But, for now, I’m happy to be downstairs writing this here blog post, happy to be out of the guest room and happy to be able to see outside.  Happy, happy, happy!

I also spent a few hours over the weekend working on an old window that was left behind when we moved in…

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I knew I wanted to do something with this window but I didn’t know what so it’s been moved around from one storage shed to another waiting for me to be inspired.

As I was looking for a wooden box that I wanted to use in my new ‘office’ space (later to remember that I was already using it in another guest room to store bedding) I came across the window and a lightbulb went off!  I was going to clean it up and hang it on wall in the ‘office’/dining room.

It required lots and lots of elbow grease to get the paint off the windows…

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and while I was at it, I cleaned up the backside and ran a bead of clear silicone around each pane to help secure them…

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There was a pane missing so I tried to cut a piece of glass I had leftover from a water-damaged picture frame but I didn’t have the right tools.   So, to avoid a potential disaster I let it be.

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For the window frame itself, I simply scraped off any loose paint which exposed the original white paint and, in some spots, the wood itself.  I love the character that is left behind!

This wall, which is the only wall in there with drywall, is in need of a coat of paint.  I’m hoping that the window will be the focus and not the badly needed-paint job.

Also on this wall is a built-in shelf.  This shelf was originally a window but when, what is now the mudroom was enclosed the window was removed and, I’m assuming, this shelf was built…

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I’ve not known what to do with this built-in. At one time, I was thinking about removing it to have a solid wall and not have to try and ‘decorate’ around it.  But, since this shelf is near my ‘office’ I’ve decided to store some extra Young Living goodies on it…

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as well as a few things that remind me of the farm…

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I pulled that honey comb off the bottom of one of the medium supers I temporarily had in the large brood box.  It’s so cool and the handy work of the bees just amaze me!  It’s also a reminder of my ‘why’ for growing my Young Living business as well as my handmade/homemade farm goods business.

Speaking of handmade goods, I was asked by a friend of mine to make a quilted wall-hanging for her dining room.  She and I both like traditional quilts so I spent some time searching for just the right pattern.  After finding the pattern the next challenge was finding the perfect fabric.  I finally found some and, as you saw in my last post, I started cutting it.  I finished the quilt-top last Friday.  I love it!

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Simple nine patches around a double star.  Here’s a closer look at the gorgeous colors…

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Now to decide how I want to quilt it.  I find piecing the top is the easy part – quilting it, not so much.   I’m starting to come up with a plan.  I’m wanting to keep the quilting fairly traditional and I want it to add to, not take away, from the quilt top.

I did a second one with completely different fabrics which gave the quilt a completely different look…

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The sun was shining bright when I took this photo so it’s hard to see the colors but here’s a closeup…

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This pattern was so much fun!.  I will definitely be making more of them.

I also had some fun with the embroidery machine…

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I decided to make a pillow with this one.  I want to do another one but will use different colors.  SEW fun!

Earlier in the week, we decided it was time to let the chicks out of the grow-out cage during the day…

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CountryBoy cut two openings in the cage just large enough so that the littles could go in and out but the big girls couldn’t get in to eat all the food.  Cuz, you know, the chicks are getting better food than they get.  smirk!  We close the openings each night once they are all in safe and sound.

Occasionally, the big girls throw their weight around trying to tell the littles who’s boss but, for the most part, all is well.  Fuzzy Foot is really the boss but he just keeps thinking about the fact that he’s got even MORE girls to watch out for!  Poor Fuzzy Foot!

The rain has stopped for now so I will end my ramblings.

Thanks to all of you who faithfully read my ramblings and for the sweet comments letting me know that you actually enjoy reading my ramblings.  Y’all are too kind!

Farm Realities & Ramblings

Hey everyone!  I trust y’all had a nice Memorial Day weekend and took some time to remember the men and women that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

We enjoyed a quiet Memorial Day and even managed to get a few tasks done.

But, first, let me talk about some farm realities…

First up, this thing…

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sigh.

Every.time.we.mow. now SOMETHING happens to the riding mower.

One time when CountryBoy was mowing the chicken’s paddock I witnessed both front wheels turning in the OPPOSITE direction!  Another time (several actually) it was the belt.  This time it’s something with one of the blades.  I’m done nickling and diming this thing so we took advantage of a sale and 18 month zero financing at Lowe’s and bought another one (ouch!).  We bought a slightly larger Husqvarna and we plan on using our current one for parts.  At least whatever parts are salvageable, ha!

We took advantage of their free delivery offer which, it seems, so did everyone else!  Thank goodness, it is scheduled for delivery tomorrow.  Meanwhile, we’ve had LOTS of rain last week and no mower for almost two weeks so you can imagine what the grounds look like right about now.

Speaking of the grounds, CountryBoy is still not able to work the tractor due to his knee surgery so the upper and lower 40 and around the barn and garden are a bit high.  Almost waist high.

Thankfully, his brother bush-hogged all but the upper 40 when he was here mid-April otherwise it would be ridiculously high.  I’ve offered to jump on the tractor but CountryBoy is concerned about all the natural obstacles I might run into.  He’s also afraid I’ll end up, tractor and all, in the creek!  Fine.  Whatever.  I offered.  Ha!

So, needless to say, the farm is looking pretty shabby right now.  And, not the kind of shabby that’s in style these days (wink!).  What’re ya gonna do?!  This, too, shall pass and we’ll be back on top of things soon enough.

Another unfortunate reality is the closing of my recently re-opened Etsy shop.  sigh.

Do y’all remember a recent post about me FINALLY reopening the shop?  I spent a weekend taking photos, writing up descriptions, determining pricing and paying the fee to list my items for sale.  A week or so later I get an email from Etsy stating that I HAVE to sign up for Etsy Payments in order to keep my shop open and if I don’t?  Well, my shop will be suspended and I can no longer sell items.  sigh.

quilt top all about me

most recent crib size quilt top waiting to be quilted

What’s the big deal about signing up for Etsy Payments you ask?  Well, in order to do so, I would have to link a bank account to their system and I’m just not comfortable doing that.  I briefly thought about opening another account just for the Etsy business but a) I don’t have enough business to warrant any fees that may be involved and b) adding another account goes against my efforts of simplifying our life and c) there are just too many hackers that have nothing better to do and I’m not willing, nor can I afford, to open ourselves up to the possibility of a financial wipe out.

But, what eats me up is I had no idea prior to re-opening the shop that I would be forced into doing something against my will and better judgement just to keep my shop open.  If I had known, I wouldn’t have wasted my time and money on re-opening the shop in the first place.  I may be a little extreme in my thought-process of linking a bank account but in these days… I’d rather just be safe than sorry.

So, at the end of this month, my shop will be suspended  and I will be looking for another platform to sell my handmade items.  sigh.

Enough about the realities and on to some ramblings!

Last Friday we had a break in the rain and  I decided it was time to get into the hive for an inspection.

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These bees are amazing little creatures!  I get mesmerized just watching them.

But, I had a job to do so I made myself focus on the task at hand.

First up was psyching myself up to open the hive.  I had no idea what to expect once it was open and I think the unknown was what made me a little nervous.  Once I got into the mindset of ‘just do it’ and I had my mental checklist in order it really was no big deal.

CountryBoy was in charge of the smoker.  He did a fine job.  Even smoking me out a time or two, ha!

Once the bees had been smoked, I removed the two honey supers.  There were a few frames in the lower super where the comb was under construction and there was even a small spot that had some honey in it.  When I pulled the two frames apart to check them it opened up the caps and some honey dripped out.  Wow, was it tasty!

Next up was checking the brood box.  I had a time pulling the frames out due to the sticky propolis but I managed.  I pulled each frame, one at a time, and checked for eggs, larvae and pupa.  I never spotted any eggs but I saw larvae and even witnessed the ‘birth’ of several bees.  Also, several frames in the center were almost completely capped. These are all good signs of a functional queen.

Speaking of queen, we actually SAW the queen on the next to the last frame I inspected.  Yay!

We also have a LOT more bees than we came home with so the colony is growing.  We just might get to harvest a small amount of honey this year.

On the gardening front we have a few things planted and coming up nicely…

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One row of onions, two rows of potatoes and a row comprised of tomatoes, pickling cucumbers and pinto beans.

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Hopefully, this evening, we can till up some more ground and get some corn, okra, turnips, beets and maybe even some watermelon seeds planted.

During the break in the rain, we also managed to set up a grapevine trellis and get a couple of Muscadines planted.

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Hopefully you can see the muscadines amongst our unruly grass!

Yesterday was a beautiful Memorial Day here.

After spending the morning clearing the fridge of science projects (yuck) and giving it a good cleaning both inside and out I went outside and hoed and weeded the garden.  CountryBoy came out and took over while I went inside to put cooler clothes on.  We rested a few minutes on the front porch then tackled a much-dreaded project… moving rocks that were tossed IN the yard from an old flower bed in front of the old porch OUT of the yard so that we could mow when the new mower arrives.

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These are some heavy rocks!  They will reside here until we find another use or place for them but at least they are out of the way.

After all that, I decided it was time to relax and do something I enjoy like taking pictures!

I sat for a few minutes in my rocking chair on the front porch and captured these beauties…

a female hummingbird on the feeder and a male buzzing around it…

realities n ramblings 04here’s another female…

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These girls are tough and stand their ground on the feeder while the males fight each other and try to run everyone off the feeder.  You go girls!

I also snapped a shot of some pretty impatiens that I got from our Pastors wife…

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They hang from a shepherd’s hook in front of the porch.

Speaking of porch… it’s coming along.  There is still a lot to do which is why I haven’t done a ‘reveal’ but you’ll see a bit of it in this next photo…

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The arbor is up, yay!  But, that’s another post!

Back to relaxing yesterday afternoon… I decided to cut some fabric for an upcoming quilt project.

Since I’m not a big fan of cutting fabric (it’s SEW expensive one definitely has to measure twice and cut once.  Oh, and TRIPLE read the instructions!) I decided to do it outdoors where I love being on such beautiful days.

That was a good move on my part because I actually got fabric cut for two different quilt projects…

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All ready for the fun part of sewing the quilt top!

Last, but not least, I have to show you yesterday’s egg haul…

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That’s a typical daily haul except for the one egg on the bottom.  Can you see it?

Here it is next to some other eggs…

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Mercy that had to have hurt!  I bet she was glad when it finally came out!  Poor girl!

That’s about all the realities and ramblings I have for now.  Give it a day or two and I’m sure I’ll have more, haha!

Chicks, Bees & Peonies

Yesterday was graduation day for the chicks.

It was a week sooner than we originally planned but after seeing the mudroom under an inch layer of dust and the house starting to stink no matter how often I cleaned their cage it was time.

We dug out the grow-out cage that CountryBoy made last year from the depths of the side barn and set it up in the breezeway of the main barn.  Then, it was time for the graduation ceremony.

We put their current cage on the dolly and wheeled them down the drive.

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These poor girls were awfully quiet after their bumpy trek down the gravel drive and from all the fresh air!

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One by one we moved them into the grow-out cage.

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They were somewhat shocked from the move, the bigger cage, new surroundings, big things staring at them and some awful loud noise in their ear every now and then (good ‘ol Fuzzy Foot crowing) but, by nightfall they were doing better and were eating and drinking and running around their new digs.

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Of course, several of the big girls had to check these tiny things out!

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It’s been 24 hours since their graduation ceremony and they are doing just fine.

We will leave them in the grow-out cage for a few weeks until they get a little bigger.  By then everyone should be acquainted and used to each other.  The pecking order will still need to be established but, by then, the young’uns will be big enough to not get pushed around by the older ones too much.

The bees are busy, busy little bees.

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I could sit and watch them for hours.  OK, maybe not hours.  I don’t sit for any length of time very well, ha!  But, seriously, the bees fascinate me.  I can not WAIT to open the hive to see what they have accomplished.  I will, not-so-patiently wait, though, as opening the hive disrupts their rhythm and they would have to spend precious time re-sealing the stacks of boxes rather than making delicious honey.  So, I wait.  And watch.  By simply watching the goings-on around the hive entrance one can learn a lot about the health of the colony.

A really cool thing that has happened this year is a holly tree at the side of the house has bloomed!  It has never had any sort of flowers or berries on it since we’ve moved here.  THIS year, it is loaded with tiny white flowers and the tree sounds like it is humming!  It is alive with busy little bees!

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Isn’t that awesome! I just think it’s so cool that the year we get bees is the year that this tree blooms!

Today, I identified one of the plants that resides under several Rose of Sharons and gets swallowed up by weeds every year… they are Peonies!

Some friends of ours from church brought me some flowers that were in their yard and they said they were peonies.  They also gave me a good-size piece of one of their white peony plants to plant in my new flower bed in front of the porch.  As I got to looking at them it dawned on me that I thought I had seen some similar flowers in the weed-filled side yard that we have yet to tackle.

Sure enough!  Pink peonies!

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Aren’t they pretty!  I was wanting some pink ones after seeing them so I’m excited to already have them and now, I’ll have white ones, too!

Got Rain?

It’s another rainy afternoon here.

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This is the porch roof and part of what I see when I’m at the computer.

I am, most definitely, not complaining about another rainy day.  Many parts of the country are dry and battling drought and fires.  Other parts of the country are getting too much rain and are dealing with flood waters.  Such is the case with family members in Arkansas.  Thankfully, they are safe but it’s still a cause for concern for many in the water’s path.  Be safe.  Be smart folks.  And, make sure you always have a well-stocked pantry because you just never know.  (My PSA for the day, wink!)

We managed to get a good part of the underpinning around the porch done and blocked off from the cats the other day.  The rest of the porch is currently blocked off by rocks.  We plan on continuing the underpinning (for continuities sake) across the rest of the porch which will eventually be the greenhouse.

I am excited for the finished product but Mother Nature (and CountryBoy!) says ‘give it a rest’ for a bit!

So, I am working on my Etsy shop for part of the day before heading to town for a doctor’s appointment.

  • Pictures taken and edited – check
  • Prices compared and determined – check

Still to do is writing the product descriptions and adding the photos to the site.

The re-opening of the shop has been a bit tedious but I’m hoping once it’s open that it will be easier to simply add new items as they are made.  I’m hoping to ‘open’ the shop this weekend if all goes as planned.

Want a sneak peak at some of the handmade items that I’ll be listing?  Here ya go…

Crochet baby blankets, quilted baby blankets, a woven fabric basket and some Bible or book totes.  I hope to be adding some embroidered flour sack towels and some homemade serums and balms in the near future.

I mentioned having to go to town and here’s why we’re heading out on this rainy afternoon… It has been a little over ten weeks since CountryBoy’s total left knee replacement.  It has been a long ten weeks of dealing with a scary blood clot, scar tissue, physical therapy, swelling, stiff and sore muscles and pain.  Continuous pain. After six weeks of recovery he should’ve had full range of motion and use of his leg with some swelling.  That was not the case.  When the therapists were not able to get full rotation, let alone any more increase in rotation, a knee manipulation was scheduled last week.  Physical therapy started again the same day and every day thereafter.  After a couple of days they were able to get 100 degrees but there was bruising and swelling all over the thigh and knee with even more pain.  After two weeks of therapy the rotation is decreasing and the leg is stiffening again.   After hearing the therapists concern for the bruising (and the comments “we’ve never seen this happen after knee surgery”) we called to move up his follow-up appointment which was still two weeks away.  They are getting us in this afternoon.  Thank God!  Some times you have to be your own advocate.  This is obviously not your typical case so we are going to push that more aggressive measures be taken in his recovery and answers be found as to why this is happening and why he is not healing as he should.  A DVT Study (for the blood clot) is scheduled in a couple of weeks.  It will be a huge load off our minds to know the status of the blood clot.

Bless his heart, he continues to try and work on the house and around the farm and do his therapy at home to avoid the stiffness but he can only do so much before he’s engulfed in pain and comes in to ice and elevate his leg.

We would covet any and all prayers for answers, pain relief and full recovery.

Hugs to all our faithful followers!

Farm Life Musings

What I love about life on a fixer-upper farm is that no two days are alike.

I have always loved variety.  From whatever job I had outside the home to crafts the more variety involved the more I enjoyed it.

We are only half-way through the day and here are just a few things that have taken place…

CountryBoy and I worked on underpinning the front porch this morning.

We used some old, original metal roofing from the farmhouse that we found in the barn and began custom-cutting each piece to fit the uneven ground.

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We had to use the backside of the metal because there was black tar on the other side.

I love it!  It’s kinda rough looking right now but with the addition of some plants and the finishing touches on the porch it’s going to look awesome!

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The BEST part about the under-pinning?  It will keep the cats from using that area as a toilet.  Peeeeuuuu!

We’ve also come up with a solution for this wall.

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Say Hi to Creamsicle posing on the concrete step!

It’s going to take some work but at least we have a plan now.  I know.  What a mess!  But, we are going to add some structural support which means we can also add some insulation.

Tonight is our monthly business meeting and potluck at church.  I had no idea what to bring so I am making a favorite of many that attend – soup beans.  I had never heard of soup beans before moving here.  Of course, I’ve heard of bean soup, you know, with navy beans and ham or a 9 or 15 bean soup but not soup beans which is really nothing but pinto beans ’round here.  I found a recipe online from an Eastern Kentucky gal so it oughta be pretty close to the way the locals make it.  At least I hope it is!  (Trying to get an actual recipe from anyone, phhhttt!  It’s a pinch of this or some of that but an actual recipe?  Fah-getta ’bout it!)

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The secret ingredient?  Bacon grease!  And, thankfully, a farm kitchen always has a jar of bacon grease!

Later on I’ll make some cornbread to go with it and maybe even some sugar cookies.  I love having a well-stocked pantry for occasions like this especially since town is thirty minutes away.  (Just ask my brother about that, ha!)

I checked on my bees since I knew they would need some water.

There was lots of action in and out of the entrance.

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I tried to get a shot of the bees coming back with huge pollen sacks on their legs but they were too fast and my camera is having issues.  Seeing those bees so active and bringing the pollen back is a good sign of a healthy and productive hive.  Maybe I’ll get a bit of honey this year!

While I was checking on the bees I took in the beauty of the blooming irises.

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These are near one of the garden entrances by the grapevine arbor.

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The purple and yellow irises are so pretty together.

Speaking of grapes, I’m hoping for a few clusters this year.

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One of the grapevines shows a lot of promise with lots of teeny tiny grape clusters on it.  The second grapevine has a few but not near as many as this one.

I am purposefully walking to the mailbox each day for a bit of exercise.  (If you read my last post then you know how much I loathe exercise, ha!)  On my way back, I stopped at the barn to check on the girls’ egg-laying progress and FuzzyFoot posed for the camera so I obliged!

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Such a handsome and good rooster!  And, it looks like we’ll have a dozen or more eggs today.

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My days can quickly fill up with all things farm-related but I am conscientiously making time in the afternoons and/or evenings to work on business ventures such as my Etsy shop and oily care packages for my Young Living team members.

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Each day is a different scenario, a different set of tasks but all too soon the day is gone and it’s time to lock the chickens up for the night.

Life on the farm.  I love it!

Finding Balance

This post is not going to be my usual picture-filled ramblings about life on the farm.

Nope.

This post is going to go much deeper.  I am going to share with y’all some innermost thoughts and struggles in my quest for finding balance in this journey called life.

I recently received a free copy of the book “Oola For Women: Find Balance in an Unbalanced World” by Dave Braun and Troy Amdahl in exchange for my honest opinion regarding the book.  So, yes, this post will be a book review but it will also be about my plans and goals for achieving an Oola Life at the farm and making dreams come true.

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What the heck is Oola you ask?  Well, simply put, “it’s a state of awesomeness.  It’s when your life is balanced and growing in the seven key areas of life: fitness, finance, family, field (career), faith, friends and fun.  It’s living an inspired life – one that you define.”  (You will hear me referring to the seven key areas as the 7 F’s of Oola.)  It’s pursuing your dreams and becoming the best YOU can be.  It’s finding the greatness within you.

This book is not the first time I’ve heard of Oola.  I was privileged to attend an OolaPalooza event last year with fellow oilers from Young Living.  Wow!  What a weekend!  Dr. Dave and Dr. Troy (the OolaGuys) were amazing!  They were so real, so down-to-earth, so inspiring and they walked us through two hard and emotional days of soul-searching for ways to find balance in our lives.  By the end of the second day we all walked out of there with goals written down in each of the 7 F’s.  Goals to help us reach a balance in this crazy, unbalanced thing we call life!

One of my goals for OolaField (remember I’m a homesteading housewife so that is my career) was to get bees this year.  Well, two weeks ago I got BEES!

Those of you who follow this blog regularly will remember this picture from a previous blog post…

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Becoming a beekeeper has been a dream of mine for many years but writing it down during OolaPalooza and coming up with a plan over the next several months to make it happen was what I needed to actually MAKE it happen.

Dream Valley Farmstead is also a dream CountryBoy and I had and we worked to make it happen.  I am all about pursuing dreams!

So let’s talk about ‘Oola For Women’.

In my humble opinion… it is a MUST-READ for all women.  Young or old, new Mom or Grandmother, career woman or housewife, this book will be an inspiration to each and every one to find the greatness within them.  Seriously.  It seems that everyone I talk to or come in contact with struggles with balancing all the demands of life these days.  ESPECIALLY women.  Wow, the juggling act that most women do ev-er-y single day, is mind-boggling.  Kids, spouse or single-Mom, housework, career, special events, sports, whew, I’m exhausted just typing all that!  How does one find the balance in their every day life?

Here at the farm, my daily goal is to live simply and focus on finding ways to achieve simplicity in this modern world.  Most days, though, I find it extremely difficult to do.  I find myself doing thirty-thousand things; 90% of them being things that don’t have anything to do with living simply.  sigh.  Nor do these thirty-thousand things help me achieve a balanced life.  They’re just ‘things’ that occupy my day but don’t help me define my purpose or make life less -stressful.

It takes a balance of each of the 7 areas to achieve the OolaLife.  I find that most people are strong in a couple of areas but weak in others which causes an unbalanced life.  It sounds difficult to achieve but ‘Oola For Women’ breaks it all down and gives you tips to strengthen the weak areas.  ‘Oola For Women’  has inspired me to continue pursuing my dreams and achieving a balanced OolaLife.

Which of the 7 F’s do I need to work on?  Most of them.

  • Fitness:  ugh.  phhtt.  hate it.  period.  I am going to have to make myself do some sort of physical activity.  Probably walking.  For now.
  • Finance:  ugh.  There never seems to be enough money especially when trying to reclaim a run-down farm and farmhouse. I need to keep up with the budget – not just sporadically and save money somehow
  • Field:  I need to set aside specific times to work on my Young Living business and farm ‘business/goals’.  I also need to define and be more specific on farm goals and how to achieve them.
  • Fun:  my idea of fun is different than CountryBoy’s.  Fun, to me, is doing things that I enjoy and are productive such as crocheting, quilting or refinishing a piece of furniture. Fun, to him, is fishing or sightseeing.  While he fishes I crochet, read or cross-stitch, heehee.  I need to consciously tell myself that it’s OK to take a day to do some sightseeing and that it’s not going to kill me to NOT be doing something productive.

Areas that I am stronger and more balanced (but could always use some improving) are:

  • Faith:  this is one of my stronger areas but I can always have more faith, pray more and serve more.
  • Family:  I am so thankful to have an awesome family!
  • Friends:  I have a lot of acquaintances but I am thankful to have a true best friend that loves me for who I am and wants nothing from me but my friendship.  I try to be that same kind of friend in return.

So there you see how the 7 F’s of Oola relate to my personal life.

But, wait, there’s more!

“In addition to the 7 F’s of Oola, there are habits, beliefs, and attitudes that will either hold you back or propel you forward.  We call these OolaBlockers and OolaAccelerators.”

You will have to get the book to find out what all the OolaBlockers are but let’s talk about a huge OolaBlocker for me… OK, there’s two actually…

  • Fear.  Yep.  Fear of what people might think.  Fear of failing.  “There are only two innate fears that all human beings are born with:  the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises.  Every other fear is learned.  And what can be learned can be unlearned.”  Oh boy.  I’ve got some un-learning to do.
  • Self-Sabotage. wow.  That’s a tough one to realize about oneself.  But, I am my own worst critic. I am going to tell myself daily that I am designed by God for greatness!

There are several more OolaBlockers: things that will hinder you from finding balance and achieving an OolaLife but, like I said, you’ll have to buy the book to see what they are.

On the flip side of the OolaBlockers are OolaAccelerators.  Let me just give you a sneak peak at the intro to Section Four of the book which are the OolaAccelerators… “OolaAccelerators, the next seven chapters, are where the real fun begins.  You’ll learn new daily practices and proven success behaviors like gratitude, discipline, integrity, and wisdom that will help bring your life into balance – and lead to stunning personal growth – faster than almost any other way.  You’ll not only get tips to help you incorporate these daily practices into your life, you’ll also discover new insights from women who relied on these Accelerators at different points along their journey.  What do they say worked for them as they learned lessons and created new behaviors on their way to the OolaLife?  You’ll find out in this section.”

What an awesome, inspiring section!

The last section of the book is the nitty gritty – the 3 Simple Steps to Oola.  You will be able to determine where you are today in your OolaLife, where you want to be and how you are going to get there.

What I love about this book is that the authors don’t tell you what to do.  Instead, they give you tips, pointers if you will, on how to achieve balance in each area but you have to do the soul-searching and you have to do the work.  There are also stories from real women about real situations who did the soul-searching and the work to achieve balance.  I had my highlighter in hand throughout the whole book!

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I can’t say enough positive things about this book.  It truly is a life-changer if you’re willing and ready.  Again, I highly recommend this book to any and all women who want to pursue dreams and find balance and achieve greatness in their lives.

Are you ready to find balance in an unbalanced world?

Are you ready to make dreams come true?

You can pre-order a discounted copy from

Barnes & Noble

or Amazon

before tomorrow, May 2nd.  You will save up to 40% by pre-ordering and you will soon be on your way to an OolaLife.  WIN-WIN!

Bees and Butterflies

A week ago today, CountryBoy and I drove 2 1/2 hours one way to pick up my bees.

The place was busier than a beehive.  Seriously!  People were buying beekeeping supplies, picking up bees and basically buzzing around the store front like a bunch of busy bees!

Me?  I was taking it all in.  Not having a clue about what was going on or what I was about to get myself into. hahaha!

I watched the continuously looping video on how to install the bees into their new hive making mental notes and I bought a pair of extra small vented cowhide gloves that actually fit me, a beekeeping logbook and a t-shirt.

Then it was time to drive around the building to pick up my 3 lbs. of bees.

The lady checked my order, went and got my package of bees, checked the queen and then loaded them into the truck (behind CountryBoy’s seat!).

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That’s a LOT of bees!  I read that there are approximately 10,000 bees in a 3 lb. package of bees!

It was mid-afternoon by the time we got back home so I decided to wait until late in the evening to do the installation in hopes that they would be calm and ready for ‘bed’.

I donned my new gloves, gave CountryBoy the large gloves that came in the beginner’s beekeeping kit as well as the hat and veil (I did not want him to possibly have a bad experience right off the bat) and we went about the installation process.

In the following photo I’m opening it up to remove the box with the queen in it…

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You can see in the bottom left of the photo several of the frames that I had already removed to allow room to ‘pour’ the bees.

Here is the box with the queen in it (and several other bees that got in there somehow)…

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If you look closely towards the left of the box you’ll notice a bee with a yellow mark on it.  That’s the queen.

I removed the cork on one end of the box where there is a ‘candy’ like substance that the bees are supposed to eat through to free her.  I then poked the end of a paperclip in the other cork at the opposite end and it pushed into the box itself.  Oops!  I was going to use this cork to ‘hang’ the box on one of the frames until she was freed.  So, I ended up sticking the paperclip into the ‘candy’, hung it on a frame then started ‘pouring’ the bees into the hive and hoped this was going to be OK and that the queen could still get out.

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I was fairly calm and relaxed throughout the whole process but it was a little nerve-wracking hearing the loud hum of the bees and seeing them flying all over the place.

There were quite a few bees that didn’t ‘pour’ out so after several failed attempts to get them out I decided I would leave them be and started putting the frames back in so I could close up the hive.

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I left the package of remaining bees in front of the hive so they could come out at their leisure.

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Me and my bees!  Oh, and no stings!

CountryBoy took the historical photos and lent a helping hand here and there.  He actually enjoyed the process for which I am thankful!  I’m sure I will need his help pulling the frames filled with honey as they can be quite heavy.

Last Wednesday we were working on the never-ending porch project (smirk) when I noticed a vast amount of butterflies everywhere.  It was beautiful!

For some reason, several of them were ‘clumping’ in this one spot on the driveway.  I couldn’t see anything that would attract them but they stayed there for quite some time.  Long enough, even, for me to go back in the house, slip my shoes off, go up the stairs to grab my camera, slip my shoes back on and then back outside.

I could not choose a favorite so I will bombard you with several similar shots of the butterfly clump!

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Isn’t that cool?  Butterflies were coming and going while I was taking the photos.  So pretty!

There ya have it.  Lots of stuff happening at the farm this month, another being picking up sixteen chicks at the post office yesterday morning.  Stay tuned for some cuteness overload!

The Birds and the Bees

OK, so technically it’s the CHICKENS and the bees.

And maybe that’s not even correct.  It’s more like the chicken’s EGGS and the bees.

Nonetheless, we’ve been wanting to open up an ‘egg-stand’ so to speak here at the farm but, we’ve never had enough extra eggs left over after our regular customers have gotten theirs to do so.  Since the girls have been steadily laying throughout the winter months we now have an excess of farm fresh eggs.  So, what better time to do a bit of advertising and get the ‘egg-stand’ open!

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CountryBoy made the post and sign out of salvaged material then I painted them.

The sign is double-sided…

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Hello Dream Valley Farmstead!

I love how it turned out!  Although, I’m thinking about adding a second sign underneath that lists the price per dozen.  We’ll see if we get anyone stopping in or not then go from there.  We would love for this to be the only advertising we need to do and the rest be word of mouth.

Another exciting happening is the arrival of our bees!  OK, so maybe I’M the one that’s the most excited, heehee!

Next weekend we will drive a couple of hours one way to pick up 3 lbs. of bees and a queen.  I.can’t.wait!

I’ve got the brooder box we purchased from a beekeeping friend painted and set up for their arrival.

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I will ‘pour’ the bees into this brooder box that already has the honeycomb and a little bit of honey on the ten frames and leave them be (get it? ha!) for two weeks.  It is going to be hard for me to NOT check on them but during that time they will be busy ‘cleaning and tidying up’ their new house and the queen will then start laying some eggs.  Having frames with the honeycomb already on them will allow the colony to grow quicker and I should have some honey this first year.  Otherwise, if the bees had to start from scratch honey production would be low.  I am SO grateful for our beekeeping friend who was willing to part with one of his boxes with honeycomb-filled frames so that we could have this jump start!

After the two weeks I will add two medium supers to the top of the brooder box and the bees can start building the honeycomb and making delicious honey.  A dream coming true for me!

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The hive is nestled under the sour cherry trees in the small fenced in garden which, I hope, is a great spot.

I’ve added a water source for the bees on top of the hive but may move it later on after observing the bees for a bit.

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I mentioned on Facebook the other day that I had laid a tarp over the top part of the garden.

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My plan is to plant a bunch of lavender in this area as I think the bees will really enjoy it when it’s in bloom.  Lavender infused honey?  Yes, please!

Here you can see the proximity of the intended lavender ‘field’ and the beehive…

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I will eventually turn the lower part of the garden into an herb garden for both cooking and medical purposes.  I need to think it through and plan it out, though, so this section will be a work in progress for several years to come.

But, for now, the upper section will be all about the BEES!

We’re Still Here!

My apologies for being absent for so long.  I was politely scolded by my best friend for my lack of blog posts (she loves me!) and then CountryBoy jumped on the bandwagon and scolded me, too, telling me I’m going to lose all our followers.  sigh.  And, they’re right.  This year I am going to make more time for blogging to keep y’all abreast of what’s going on ’round here.  Sound good?  Okay.

In my mind I do have good reasons for not blogging… one of those being our efforts to gather wood to fill our wood shed for the winter months.  Many of y’all remember the year we moved here that we were without any good heat sources and it was very, very cold in the ‘ol farmhouse.  I mean, see your breath kinda cold.  Brrr!  (My previously mentioned best friend threatened to call the National Guard she was so worried about us, ha!  I told her she’d better not and that we were fine.  Cold, but fine. wink.)  Anyhoo, I am glad I took that time helping CountryBoy cut and split wood since we have had to use the fireplace quite a bit already and as I type this it is snowing outside.  Yay!

We love the snow!  It is so beautiful and the snowy days don’t seem quite as cold as non-snowy days.

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We are only expected to get a couple of inches this go ’round.  This ‘born in upstate New York but raised in Florida’ girl has loved experiencing all four seasons since moving to Kentucky! Each and every season is special in its own way.

One of the things I’ll be doing on this snowy afternoon (right after I finish blogging!) is getting back to assembling something new this year at the farm…

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Any guesses?  If you guessed frames for a beehive you guessed right!  (Can you tell by CountryBoy’s body language that he’s thinking ‘oh good grief’ and is not thrilled, heehee!)

Two big boxes arrived yesterday with all sorts of wood bundles in them and some bee paraphernalia.  I couldn’t wait to start putting them together so we sat on the floor yesterday afternoon and spent more time trying to decipher the poorly, or almost non-existent, instructions than it did for us to put ten frames together.  That is, once we figured out how to do it.

I mentioned to CountryBoy that I probably should’ve spent the extra money to buy it already assembled but a) where is the fun in that? ha! and b) I’m cheap frugal.  I figure that extra money will go towards something else we’ll end up needing to get the hives up and running.  Oh yea, he said he would’ve spent the extra money, haha, but again, where is the fun in that?!

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We have thirty more frames to put together.  It’s pretty simple now that we figured it out (thank goodness for the beekeeping books we have and their good diagrams!) but it is time consuming.    There are specific places where they are to be nailed which is tedious.  Once we get those done we’ll start putting the boxes together.  We picked up some resin glue (see, I KNEW we would need to get something else before it was all said and done (wink)) while in town this morning.  They recommend gluing the boxes at the dove tails even though they are nailed together for extra support since they will be handled often.

We are buying a deep box and frames with a honey start on them from a beekeeper friend in New York.  This will give the bees a head start and will allow us to have a bit of honey this first year.  Yay!

Along with the hive kit I had to buy a beginners beekeeping kit…

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hat with veil, smoker, hive tool, feeding caps, goatskin gloves and book on raising bees and selling honey.

Speaking of honey, the store owner where we bought the glue heard me mention what the glue was for and he seriously wants to buy a quart of honey already!  As he said, local honey is hard to come by as I know all too well.  We just may have a market here.  I see more hives in our future!

For now, the one hive will have to do.  As with any new venture it’s a huge investment to get started.  Down the line we’ll purchase another deep box, bottom board and top, split the medium boxes we already have and hopefully be able to split the bees and then we’ll have another hive.  Bit by bit!

And, speaking of bees, I ordered the bees and queen along with the boxes.  It’s a first come first serve basis when it comes to bees so I wanted to make sure I was nearer to the top of the list rather than the bottom.  On April 15th, we will drive two hours one way to pick up 3 lbs. of Italian bees and a marked queen and we will be official beekeepers!

This is all so very exciting!  It’s another dream come true for me.  CountryBoy is helping me get set up and reading up on the bees but this is my baby.  I will be the one going in and out of the beehive – he’ll be the one with the smoker and stepping aside.  Teamwork!

Another new venture for the farm and one that has consumed a bit of time will be the opening up of a new Etsy shop.  I had an Etsy shop years ago with a few things I’ve made here and there but things have changed so it’s time for a new shop with a new name and a new focus.  I am still working on the farm logo; coming up with items to make and sell; then there’s the actual job of creating the new Etsy shop; making products; photographing products; editing the photos; pricing the products; listing the products; advertising; etc. etc.  It’s no wonder I have no idea where the time goes each day!

Here’s a few of the products I have in mind so far…

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homemade balms & serums using therapeutic grade essential oils, upcycled tinted jars for decorative purposes, handmade afghans & quilts and who knows what else!  We would love to have a physical shop here at the farm one day where we could sell all the above plus some extra home-canned goodies but, for now, an online shop will have to do until we can afford the shop building.  Bit by bit!

And, speaking of essential oils, that has been another thing that has consumed some of my time.  I am purposefully focusing on growing my Young Living business this year.  I love their products and they have done wonders for boosting our health and wellness over the past several months so I want to share that with others who are interested.

There is at least one more venture currently planned for the farm that I will share with you after things are firmed up.  You know, cuz I love to keep y’all wondering (wink!)!

So that’s what’s been going on ’round here and what’s about to go on.

Thank you for bearing with me and for still being here.  Y’all are the best!

Till next time our farm friends!

Projects Galore

OK, maybe not galore but we did manage to get quite a few projects done in the past two weeks.

But first, I want to share with you this morning’s foggy sunrise over the mountain…

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It was magical!

I can’t believe today is the last day of September.  This year has really flown by.  Soon, we will be buried under quilts, stoking the fire, eating the fruits of our labor and relaxing.  I, myself, am also looking forward to doing some sewing and quilting.  My sweet LizzieBelle is already buried under her blanket…

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So cute!

But, back to the past two weeks…  after discovering that our chickens were still not safe even in the fenced in paddock we decided to close off a portion of the paddock and make a chicken run directly off the barn.

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We purchase 150 feet of chicken wire, re-used some metal fence posts from around the farm and got to work.

After a long days’ work we had two sides done.

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Still to do was add the chicken wire to the outside of the fence by the driveway but, at least, they were safe from predators stalking them from the mountain side of the paddock.

While we were purchasing the chicken wire I, of course, had to check out the clearance aisle where I found some lovely perennials marked down to $3.  Score!  So, we took a break from the chicken run to work on some curb appeal.

Our driveway actually ends at the side of the house.  There were a few Hostas and some wild Lemon Balm along the front of the porch and nothing along the back of the house where we and everyone else enters the house.

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I decided to move two of the Hostas, divide them and plant them along the back of the house from the corner of the porch to the door.

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Hopefully, they will fill out again but we’re liking where they are now.

CountryBoy tilled the ground at the far corner of the porch and then I planted my clearance plants.  He added some stones for me to help keep the weeds down.

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It’s easy to mow around and helps show off the flowers.

All of my lovely clearance plants!

Once that project was over we got back to work on finishing up the chicken run.  The girls, and Fuzzy Foot the rooster, are happy and we feel good again about their safety.

The next project was installing a temporary wall to close off the bathroom from the laundry nook and pantry.

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I say temporary because, one day, we have plans to renovate the bathroom after we get a half bath put in upstairs.  We’re not sure when that will happen so in the meantime we decided that we needed to go ahead and close off and separate the bathroom from the pantry.

Continuing the reclaimed fence boards we used in the pantry CountryBoy got to work on sanding the remaining boards down, putting up 2×4’s and cutting the boards to size to create the wall.

He also relocated the door into the pantry/laundry nook/bathroom and used it as the bathroom door.

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SO much better!

Since the wall is temporary I simply tucked the metal rack we’ve been using for towel storage in the wall alcove but removed several shelves to accommodate the wall mounted gas heater.  CountryBoy added some small shelves by the tub/shower for a little bit of extra storage space.

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I can’t tell you how nice it is to NOT see the bathroom when I walk into the pantry for something or when I’m doing laundry.  It’s the little things, haha!

Yesterday, while CountryBoy was re-working our winter dining table (it sits directly across from the wood burning stove!) I got to work on the cover for the crib-bench in the living room.

After mustering up the courage to cut the fabric, I washed it and finished cutting out the pieces that I needed.  If there’s one thing that will make me procrastinate on starting a sewing project is the cutting of the fabric.  You know, that whole fear of messing it up and then what do I do?!  Once that’s done, it’s a piece of cake!

I didn’t quite think the whole thing through when I started but it went together fairly easy and I’m pleased with how it turned out.

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I made it like a pillowcase with snaps on the one end so that it can be removed if it needs to be washed.

Once CountryBoy was finished stiffening up and sanding down the winter dining table I did a final sand and put a couple of coats of polyurethane on it.

I love how the polyurethane brings out the grain of the wood.

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CountryBoy made this table last year out of boards that were salvaged from right here on the farm.

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So pretty and ready for winter!

I’ve also been removing Lavender seeds and flowers from a box of Lavender that we were gifted with as well as working on the ever-present need to get organized and find permanent homes for everything.  Happily, I am finding those permanent homes and feeling a bit more settled in.

I’m sure I’ve missed something else that we’ve done over the past two weeks but those projects were the bigger ones.  Which one was your favorite?