Just Another Year

We’re over halfway into the first month of a new year. It’s hard to believe.

It’s also been a while since I’ve taken the time to write a blog post. I really enjoy blogging & taking photos but for a while now I’ve just not had the motivation or even the clarity of mind to come up with a topic to blog about.

I’ve been out of sorts for the better part of last year and it has taken me a while to figure out why. Menopause? Maybe. But I think it’s more because life, for me, is not as I had envisioned it upon moving to the farm and I am having to adjust and learn to be content with each day.

My ideal was to renovate the ‘ol farmhouse; have more farm animals; be debt free; be primarily self-sufficient; discover my true passion while making money creating and selling handmade/homemade & farm goodies.

My reality? An ‘ol farmhouse that rains inside with each storm from the south and numerous projects that won’t get done because there is no money; no additional farm animals because there is no money to buy/feed them and we don’t have the proper fencing in place to contain them; we renovated too much too soon but we are closer to having the credit cards paid off (thanks to my two part-time jobs) which will allow for some relief each month; we are nowhere near being self-sufficient nor do I know that we will be any closer any time in the near future; at one time I believed my true passion was to help people get healthy but, most times they don’t want to hear it and it just upsets me. We have had fun selling eggs, produce and some of my crafts at our local farmers market but I wouldn’t call it making a living. So, I wake up four, five, sometimes six days a week to go work for someone else. While I enjoy my jobs and I love all my co-workers working outside the farm is not my dream. It’s not what I had envisioned after moving here.

So this year I have not made any grandiose plans and I am determined to change my perception, my ideals, my way of thinking. Each day I have to start anew with these thoughts. It’s the only way that I will be able to appreciate what I truly have and not what I think we should have!

I have also had to make some tough decisions like foregoing my annual trip to Florida to attend a quilt retreat and visit family, as well as an upcoming family function. Those decisions were not made lightly and caused me much angst until the decision was made but in order to stay on track to get the credit cards paid off it was a decision that made sense.

Also this year I am decluttering. Several bags of clothes, evening gowns, my wedding dress, CountryBoy’s tuxedo and craft supplies have been donated to our local thrift store. I gave my great-niece the treadle sewing machine I bought shortly after moving here as well as about two-thirds of my fabric stash. My Dad’s cousin gave me her treadle sewing machine so I didn’t need two of them and I would never, in my lifetime, use all the fabric I had so why keep it? And that’s just the beginning of my decluttering plans!

CountryBoy tackled his workshop a few weeks ago. It had become a catch-all for everything that had been stored in our cistern room before we enclosed it for more pantry space & canning storage. When it looked like we would have a few days without rain he completely emptied his workshop then sorted through, tossed or relocated everything. He now has room to actually work on a project and it’s easy to find things!

We woke up to a covering of snow this morning. It wasn’t much but it was pretty.

The other day we woke up to barely any snow…

We’ve had some warmish weather for winter and I think my poor irises are confused!

I mentioned earlier about wanting to find my true passion and I think I may have discovered it in the form of a vintage loom found at our local antique & vendor mall. It was dirt cheap and begged to come home with me!

Although it didn’t have the hardware or the instructions with it CountryBoy and I managed to figure out how it went together (never mind that a clear diagram was on the BACK of the box as I discovered after the fact, ha!). I watched some YouTube videos, checked out a couple of books at the library and set about working on my first weaving project…

It’s a plain weave table runner. I was pleased with the results even though it ended up shorter than originally planned. (I did not know how much loom waste (yarn) there would be but, that’s why I’m practicing.)

I started planning another project over the weekend – a scarf using more leftover yarn…

and actually started weaving today…

I enjoy every step of the weaving process – from creating the project to planning to measuring and cutting the yarn (I’m using our stair railing to measure the warp ends)…

to setting the warp (the vertical yarn) to weaving and seeing it come to fruition. It’s quite fun and, well, I’ve always had a yarn fetish! We’ll see where it takes me. With sewing and quilting I enjoyed some parts of it and detested the rest. Not what I would categorize as a passion.

On my needles are two different brands of ‘scrubby’ yarn…

I’m whipping up some dish scrubbies to sell at the farmers market this summer. These are easy to make, don’t require any thought and are portable so I can sit at the table in front of the fireplace while I work on them – perfect!

I guess that’s about it. I spilled my guts at the beginning but I hope you don’t think I was complaining or being negative. I’ve always said I would be transparent with our readers and I wanted y’all to know why I have been so quiet and unable to blog. I had many ‘whoa-is-me’ days last year but as I choose each day to be grateful for this life I’m living I hope to have much more to blog about in the upcoming year!


New Old Stuff at the Farmhouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Two Walls Get a Face Lift

I’m sitting on the front porch this evening after a long, productive day.

Last night I had made up my mind to finally tackle the only two drywall walls downstairs today.  I have procrastinated long enough.  After all, three years is long enough, right?!

I dreaded getting started on them because I knew it would be a lot of work.  Lots of prep work and then several coats of paint to get good coverage.

Here’s one of the walls before I painted…

This wall is in our dining room and took most of the morning to prep.  It’s hard to tell in the photos but this wall was not appealing especially in a dining room.

There was a wallpaper border at the top of the wall that I had removed some time ago but did not take the time, then, to remove the remaining paste.  I spent a good amount of time this morning scrubbing and removing the paste and then giving the wall a thorough washing.

There were holes in the wall below the electrical box when we moved in that we repaired with new drywall.  The repair was done three years ago and the drywall was still bare!

Last, but not least, was scrubbing the baseboards and putting down some painters tape.

Here are the after photos…

It looks much the same except the hunter green baseboards are now a crisp white, the drywall patches are concealed and it just looks fresh and clean. The electrical box needs  to dry completely then I’ll paint another coat (or two) to help hide it and I am still deciding what to hang on the wall.

The other drywall wall that needed some TLC was the stair wall which is across from the fireplace.

Here’s a before photo…

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This is our winter setup.  We basically live in this spot directly in front of the fireplace during the winter months so I move our chairs here.

There is very little natural light in this area so I wanted everything to be white to help brighten the space.

I scrubbed the wall, the hunter green baseboards and the hunter green side of the stairs then painted it all.

Here is an after photo with our custom table CountryBoy purchased in Arkansas a long time ago now in front of the fireplace…

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It’s amazing what a fresh coat of white paint will do!

LizzieBelle is, apparently, not impressed and heading up the stairs to her other bed!

There are still tons of hunter green baseboard to tackle but that’s another day. or days.

After cleaning up the paint mess I walked around the farm and took a few more flower photos…

The yellow irises are beginning to open up and I just had to get another shot of the purple iris.  I have no idea what the white powder puff flowers are but they’re pretty cool.

While I was meandering, CountryBoy was raking up some fresh cut grass for the chicken coop…

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He stayed busy today working on the mower, mowing the paddock, bush hogging and tons of other stuff.  You’da thought I had the vacuum cleaner going all day.  He disappears quick when I pull that thing out of the closet, ha!  But, it was a gorgeous and perfect day to be working outside and that’s what he did.

Another few items that got a face lift today were some Ball jars that we were given some time ago.  Last summer I pulled out the fairly clean ones to sterilize and use immediately and I left the others in the box because they were really dirty and I wasn’t sure it was worth my time to clean them up…

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The other day I happened to pick a few of them up and noticed the Ball logo was that of the years 1923-1933 and from 1933-1962.  I have a good collection of blue Ball jars from those eras but was thrilled to find some clear Ball jars from those same eras.

They are currently on our bathroom counter soaking in some vinegar water with baking soda…

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Can you see the two different logos?  The middle jar does not have a line under the Ball name and is the jar from 1923-1933.  The others are from 1933-1962.  I plan on using these for cut flowers or storage.  Now to dig through the other jars and see what’s there!



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…


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!


And the machine?


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


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…


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.


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!



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


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…


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 🙂




The Search

Have you ever searched for something in particular only to never find it until you’ve purchased its replacement? or, when you gave up looking for it then you find it?

Not too long ago, CountryBoy and I were in search of some soup bowls.  Not just any soup bowls but bowls that could be put in the oven.  See, we had a hankerin’ for some French Onion Soup with the melted and slightly browned cheese on top and dripping down the sides of the bowl.  Yum!

My brother makes THEE BEST French Onion Soup (when you can get him to make it, ha!) and even then, we live eleven hours apart so it’s not likely to get a bowl or two even if he did make it.  So, we decided it was time to find a recipe, find some soup bowls and try our hand at making our own French Onion Soup.

We searched and searched our local antique and vendor malls only to find one bowl here and one bowl there.  We began to think that finding a ‘set’ of bowls would be impossible and, well, we pretty much gave up looking and eventually, the hankerin’ went away.

Then, it happened.  We went to town to do some errands the other day and we stopped in the antique/vendor mini mall on our way back home.

I came across one soup bowl and decided that maybe we should buy them one at a time and eventually we would have a set if we were lucky.

While the thought is running through my head I hear dishes clattering in another area of the shop.  I figured it was CountryBoy so I headed towards the sound with the one soup bowl in my hand.

Upon finding him, I see that he has found a set of four of the very same bowl I had in my hand AND they came with sandwich platters.  How cool is that?!


Needless to say, I put the one back in the booth where I found it and he straightaway took the set to the counter just in case someone else was interested in a set of soup bowls!  (We lost out on a deep cast iron frying pan because we hem-hawed around on deciding whether or not to buy it. sigh.  Lesson learned!)

These are Hull dishes of which we already have several platters and serving bowls so it was an extra-special find.  Now to try our hand at some French Onion Soup!

Another search I recently did was online looking for dairy cows for sale nearby.  I finished my search disappointed.

It wasn’t that I didn’t find any, it was the realization of the cost of said dairy cows.

I had heard that they were costly but I was hoping to find something that was fairly reasonable and doable for us in the near future.  But, it looks like that addition to the farm will have to wait a bit.

Now that the major renovations to the farmhouse are complete (for now) and the gardens are put to rest for the winter (for the most part) I am longing to have some life in the barn and the paddock.


In due time.  In due time.  (Yes, that is what I keep telling myself.)

So, for now, I will concentrate on educating myself about beekeeping and will focus on doing what I can to obtain and start a hive come next Spring.  Lord willing and the creek don’t rise that will be the next addition to the farm.

I mentioned the garden earlier that is resting for the winter.  Well, at least most of it is.


This is all that’s left… a few heads of cabbage that aren’t ready for harvesting.  They seem to be really slow at forming so I’m not sure if they’ll be ready before the dead of winter.

Meanwhile, the other heads are fermenting away in the pantry and will, hopefully, be delicious sauerkraut in a week or so.


This is my first attempt at fermenting vegetables and I’m really hoping that it turns out.  Sauerkraut is an excellent source of natural probiotics to aid in digestion and immune health as well as lots of beneficial enzymes. It is best when eaten raw as cooking the kraut causes it to lose some of its nutritional benefits.  I’ve never had raw, uncooked kraut but I am willing to give this batch a taste.  I’m hoping it’s tasty in the raw form.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

On The Hunt and a New Blog Platform

It seems the phrase ‘it’s always something’ is spoken quite often ’round here on the farm.

Well, the same can be said even for blogging.

I was having problems getting and answering your comments in the other blog platform.  I was also having problems leaving comments on other blogs that I read.

While that was very frustrating the last straw was when I tried to write a blog post, using the other blog platform and a recent upgrade to Windows 10, and was unable to upload any photos.  Those of you that have been reading my blog for a while know that I like to post lots of photos.  Sometimes lots and lots, ha!  So, it was time to find a new blogging platform.

But that’s neither here nor there for y’all, but, what you WILL need to do, if you want to get notified of new blog posts, is either sign up for email notifications, Like the farm’s Facebook page or sign up to follow the blog via WordPress.  You will find all these options in the column to the right.

OK, now that THAT’s out of the way let’s get on with the good stuff!

For the past several months we have been focused on harvesting and preserving the harvest, obtaining wood for winter and creating a pantry to store all the homegrown canned goodness.

During all that, we have had health issues to deal with; heart, a severe case of poison ivy and horrible allergies that have been going on for over a month.  It makes one stop and think how the true pioneers and homesteaders endured during illness.  It makes me grateful for the ease of our modern homesteading lifestyle.  Ease you might ask?  Yes, ease.  Running water, indoor toilets, electricity, washing machines, hospitals, medicine, etc, etc.  Very.Grateful!

Anyhoo, I digress.
We were talking about health issues.  The other morning CountryBoy had a doctors appointment – just a routine checkup and some blood work drawn.  After the appointment, he took me hunting.  MY kind of hunting…  hunting for anything for the farm and/or farmhouse.  We stopped at two of our favorite local vendor and antique stores and found some awesome deals!
 First, we found an old cane chair for use in our bedroom…


This will be very useful to sit down and put our shoes on.

At the same store, CountryBoy found some beautiful sewing machines drawers…

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Can you see the details in the wood?  So pretty!

I will use them in the sewing room somehow.  Maybe mounted under a shelf for scissors or notions or maybe leave them as is to be placed wherever convenient.  I’ll figure out their use and place once we tackle the sewing room.

We went to another local antique shop where we scored a bunch of quart jars before we even entered the store.  And I mean a bunch!  There was even a 1/2 gallon jar in there.


Once inside, I found the perfect, antique wash stand that was in way better condition than the others in the store and for a way better price!


I love the turned wood legs and the itty, bitty candle holders!  I planned on putting my Mom’s wash basin and pitcher in it but after I got home I realized that it was more of an oval shape rather than round.  Luckily, the bowl and pitcher came with the stand so I will find something to put Mom’s pitcher and basin in eventually.

As I was heading to check out I found this set of Pyrex nesting bowls…


One can never have too many Pyrex bowls!

We got all that for just over $100.  I think we scored!

It’s always a fun time hunting for useful stuff for the farm and/or farmhouse.

Thanks for stopping by!  Now don’t forget to scroll back up and check out the column on the right and select how you want to get notifications of new blog posts.

Till next time friends!