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?




14 Pints & A Post

I have 35 minutes from the time I popped the SD card into my computer to download and edit photos to the time I need to leave for work.  So, this is going to be a short post believe it or not!

Yesterday was market day.  We took our usual – fresh eggs and tomatoes.  We only sold a couple dozen eggs this week but we sold quite a few tomatoes.  Even so, we came home with LOTS of ripe ones that needed something done with them.

I decided to put up diced tomatoes this time.  As with canning any tomato product it’s time consuming but these were super simple – wash, dice, can.  No cooking which cut the time in half!

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I was able to get 14 pints and had a few of the ripe tomatoes left over.  We won’t discuss the ones that aren’t quite ripe yet as I watch CountryBoy carry another pail of tomatoes in from the garden!

The other night we started digging up potatoes.

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This is only a partial row.  Today, I wiped the dirt off and put them in an extra laundry basket to store.  We’re still trying to find the best way and place to keep our potatoes over winter.  For now, they’ll go in the pantry.  Some day, we’d love to build a root cellar.

CountryBoy has also pulled most of the onions.  Some are hanging in the pantry and the latest ones ended up here…

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I will chop and freeze the majority of the onions to use in cooking and the ones that dry nicely will be saved for fresh onions.

Also pictured are some cabbage we just bought the other day and some mint a fellow market vendor gave us.  We will be planting the cabbage soon and the mint – well, I need to figure out where I want them.  They will spread so I want to give them the space to do so.  I do know I want them in the small garden; it’s exactly WHERE in the small garden that I haven’t decided!

And now for some lovelies…

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I have no idea what plant this is.  It looks like a giant weed but the butterflies sure do love it!

Here’s a closeup…

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Any ideas?

Well, as soon as I hit Publish I am off to work.  Here’s hoping y’all have a lovely weekend!

A Mini Makeover For The Living Room

Our living room is small.  And, although there are two windows it is also dark because of the surrounding porch roof.

The previous owner used this space as a dining room so the darkness probably didn’t matter much but we chose to use it as our living room because, well, it had a heat source.  Or, at least the space for a sufficient heat source.  And, it had the potential of being cozy.  What was previously used as a living room (and is now our dining room) is larger but there was no heat source in there  and meant we would’ve had to add one somewhere because, let me tell ya, it gets mighty cold in there during the winter.  brrr!

With the days getting increasingly shorter I decided it was time to try and lighten up the living room a bit and make it a bit more warm and inviting since we’ll spending more time in there during the winter.

Here is the before…

Dark walls, dark ceiling, dark floor, dark window trim and neutral furniture not arranged very well.

My first project was painting the window trim and the trim around the shelves.  I had to use three coats of Kilz to cover up the hunter green.

Then, I rearranged the furniture pieces, moved the existing picture, hung another one up, relocated the wooden ‘ladder’ from our bedroom down to the living room and hung an off-white quilt on it, relocated the milk can and brought in a crib that was left here to use as extra seating.  I also moved the curio cabinet that holds my antique glass ‘hens on a nest’ pieces and my Lilliput Lane houses I started collecting every time I went to England (many years ago!).

Here’s what the living room looks like now…

The crib bottom was in pretty rough shape.

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CountryBoy took the grinder to it then I primed it with Rustoleum metal primer then spray painted it.

It was also missing the back and front pieces so CountryBoy made a back for me out of some scrap wood.

We did have to buy a mattress and a few throw pillows for it but I really like how it turned out and it will provide extra seating and a place for any young’ns to sleep should we ever get some young visitors!

I still need to make a slipcover for the mattress but I have plenty of this striped fabric from when I recovered my patio furniture in Florida.

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Also, still left to do is remove the border on this wall and choose a paint color.  But, I’m in no hurry to tackle those right now as I really don’t have any idea what color I want to use.

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For now, I am enjoying the coziness and the few warm touches.  When a paint color hits me then I’ll get to removing the border and painting!

Here  are the before’s and after’s again…

It’s nothing fancy and still dark but the white window trim, light pillows and quilt help give the space the appearance of being brighter.

Several people suggested painting the wood walls.  Gasp, I just don’t think I could do it.  These are rough cut boards with the gorgeous saw marks on them and I just don’t want to cover those up.  We also like the ‘cabin-look’ they have. One thought we had was to paint the ceiling in between the rafters.  That’s quite an undertaking and the jury is still out on that idea.  I’ll let you know if that happens!


A Simple Bathroom Project

Yea, right!

We have been in the farmhouse for a year and a half now.  I know, right?!  Where did the time go?

Anyhoo, during that year and a half I had turned a blind eye to our one and only bathroom because, well, it was gross.  Clean, but gross, if that makes any sense!  I mean, I would clean the toilet, sink, tub, etc. but… it was just ick, cosmetically speaking.

I had hoped that we would be able to add the half bath upstairs shortly after moving in but too many other things needed our attention first.  So, my hopes of the upstairs half bath being done went out the window. We were now short of m&m’s.  M&m’s?  Yep, money and manpower, ha!

After acknowledging our m&m shortage I decided I needed to do SOMETHING to the bathroom.  I mean, it was time.  My blind eye was gone and I could no longer ignore it. Or maybe it was because I got glasses and could really see it now, ha!  But, nonetheless, it IS currently part of the pantry and the laundry nook and something needed to be done.

Here, let me show you and tell me what you think…

bathroom project 02

The wallpaper border was half on half off.  I’m not really sure why it was like that but it’s been that way since we moved in.

The walls were stained yellow.  I won’t say anymore about that but every room in the house has been like that.

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The existing shelves, hooks, cabinet… just wasn’t working out in there current positions.  (See my beautiful pantry in the mirror?!  And then you see the bathroom.  ugh. Especially if you look up.  YIKES!!!

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Oh my word.  Just disgusting.

The fan didn’t even work.  THAT definitely had to go. eeeyyyuuu.

And this is what you saw when brushing your teeth…

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when you’re in the shower (and yes, you showered with the towels)…

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Aw, my sweet LizzieBelle!

And although she purdied up the bathroom she’s not in there very much so it was time to do something.  I had reached my limit of turning a blind eye.

So, I thought I’d do a simple bathroom project that would only take a couple of days and would be cheap.

The cheap part turned out great but the simple and few days part? Yea, not so much!

I started by removing what was left of the wallpaper border.

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And that is when simple went out the window.

The border came off fairly easily but so did the paint.  Right down to the bare drywall.  sigh.

So now I had to remove ALL the paint because new paint over existing paint in some spots and bare drywall in others just wouldn’t work out without being noticeable or causing problems in the future.

It actually started out being kind of fun.  It was like peeling sunburned skin!  You know, when you try to see how big a sheet you can peel off before it tears?  OK, maybe that’s a Florida thing, ha!

Anyhoo, this is what I was left with…

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And holes.  Big holes from the shelves and cabinet.  And torn drywall.

So, I smeared drywall mud over the tears and filled all the holes and waited for it to dry then sanded it all down.

Now I could get back to my simple bathroom project.

I picked up a can of white paint & primer for $15 and went to work painting the walls.

Ah, much better!  Bright, clean and crisp!

Then it was on to the accessories.  Since none of the existing shelves or hooks matched and I needed to reuse them I decided to paint them all white.  I also spray painted over the gold hooks and gave the ceramic knobs a thorough cleaning.

Since our budget was slim I asked CountryBoy if he would make a frame for the three pieces of mirror that had made up an unsalvageable medicine cabinet as well as adding trim around the ceiling.  They turned out great and no more icky medicine cabinet!

So, without further ado, let me show you our simple but clean and  crisp bathroom…

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TADA!  Much better don’t ya think?!

Let me show you around.

My salvaged mirror using reclaimed fence boards…

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and the trim around the ceiling to match the mirror frame and the pantry…

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and notice the nasty fan is GONE!  We reused one of the old fixtures we took down from the mudroom (we used the whitest one we had).

I kept the galvanized bucket we were previously using as a trash can and we no longer have to shower with the towels!

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I didn’t show a ‘before’ photo of the vanity but it had something in a few spots that just would not come off no matter what I used to try and remove it.  So, my answer was to get my trusty sandpaper out and sand it off!  It also gave the vanity a more distressed look and since there was white paint underneath the green I thought it tied in nicely with the new white walls.  And, the un-cleanable gunk is gone!

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I also kept the apple basket we were using to hold the extra toilet paper.

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I’m sure you noticed the three different types of flooring.  Yes, this disturbs me but will have to be something I turn a blind eye on for now.  See, we have to redo the subfloor.  It’s currently 1/2″ plywood with a 1/4″ sheet on top.  The installers did not do the previous owner right and she was none the wiser.  We could tell it wasn’t 3/4″ just by walking on it (lots of give in some places if you know what I mean).  But, I digress… when the time comes and we can seriously tackle this room then we will completely remove the floor, add 3/4″ plywood then continue the wood-look vinyl that is in the pantry and laundry nook into the bathroom.

What are our plans for this bathroom you ask?  Well, we have a cast-iron claw foot tub that was on the property (but outside and in rough shape) that we want to have re-glazed and brought back to its original splendor.  We have an old kitchen sink with a wall-mounted faucet that was also on the property that we intend to use.  (That one is in decent shape and shouldn’t take much to make it shine again.)  We will custom build the vanity for it.  We will buy a new toilet and we will change the floor plan.  Easy-peasy!  (See why we need more m&m’s, hahaha!)  So, that is why I will turn a blind eye to the flooring until we can seriously tackle this bathroom.

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And, for now, I intend to leave this wall blank.

I had fun looking around the house to find things I already had to decorate the bathroom.  I wanted simple yet farm and vintage related things…

I think I found a few!

CountryBoy has plans to build a temporary wall by the toilet; one that is easily removed when the time comes to tackle the bathroom but for now…

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I moved my ‘linen closet’ over there!  This somewhat separates the bathroom from the pantry and will work until winter time then it will have to be moved as it stands in front of the gas wall heater.

I thought I was going to get by with a $15 dollar bathroom project but after washing our vinyl shower liner, the piece that reinforces the liner holes came off.  After several showers, the liner was barely hanging on as many of the holes had torn.  I wanted a fabric liner and found one on sale for less than $10.  Yay!

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One last before and after…

So, there ya have it…  for less than $25, my not-so-simple but cheap bathroom project!

Garden Update

This year of gardening has been much different than last year.

Last year, in the midst of a kitchen gut and remodel we decided to throw some seeds in the ground and see what happened.

Then we had lots and lots of rain making it difficult to stay on top of the weeds.

In spite of the weed takeover and limited time spent in the garden we still ended up with quite a harvest and were able to put up a lot of it for winter.

Since the kitchen is finished (and no major projects in the works) and we haven’t had the amount of rain we had last year we have been able to keep up with the gardens much better.

garden update July 8

With the exception of the corn we tried to leave ample room between the rows this year.  It makes it much easier to walk between the rows when checking the plants or harvesting and it’s also easier to run the tiller between them to help with weed removal.

Pictured below are corn, beets, onions and lima beans.

garden update July 13

We’ll be picking beets soon…

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Mmmmm, I can’t wait to pickle them!

Soon, we should have some onions about ready…

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Many will be put in a tomato, cucumber and onion salad and the rest dried for later use.

The corn is shooting on up…

garden update July 9

with skinny ears of corn on the stalks…

garden update July 10

The lima beans have a loooong way to go before they’ll be ready for harvesting…

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I love, love, love home grown lima beans!  So naturally buttery tasting with just a tiny bit of salt needed as seasoning. mmmmm!

The potato and sweet potato plants look good so hopefully the potatoes are getting bigger as the days go on…

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And, of course, the sweet potato vines want to head into the walkway rather then spreading out within the row so I nudge them along and encourage them to grow in the row.  yea, right!

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Above, in the right corner, you can see a few of our many tomato plants.  These were some of 75 plus tomato starts gifted to us that were already a foot tall and looking kinda bleh.  We planted all of them thinking they wouldn’t amount to much if they survived at all and guess what?  Yea, all but a couple didn’t make it.  Woot!  (Gotta love neighbors that can get free plants from the feed store!  And, ya gotta love a store owner that gave them away because customers weren’t buying any more so he stopped watering them. They planted all they had room for and that’s how we ended up with the rest.  I’m thrilled that all this ‘food’ didn’t end up in the trash simply because they didn’t ‘look’ all that good.)

Oh, you’re wondering how we planted the tall, leggy things?  We dug a trench, laid the stem part and the roots in the trench and buried them almost up to the leaves.  Shortly after we planted them we had a nice rain which gave them a real boost.  And, today, they have grown to the point of needing to be staked.

The tomatoes I started from seeds are in the small garden and already have tomatoes on them…

garden update July 6

We staked these up several weeks ago and just this week we needed to add another string to tie them to since they’ve grown so much.

I wanted to try the deep mulch method in the small garden and I have to say that I am pleased with the results.  It was a lot of work gathering it from the hillside there and spreading it but it was worth it.  I like the look of it and the few weeds (morning glories actually) that worked their way through the mulch were easy to pull up.  A few of them were relocated around the obelisk.  Over time, the mulch will break down further enriching the soil.  win-win!

garden update July 1-3

On the trellises are the cucumbers…

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We have a couple nice size ones that will be ready for picking soon…

garden update July 5

Also, in this garden we planted jalapenos, green peppers, cantaloupe, Roma tomatoes and asparagus.  This is our first time growing asparagus and let me tell ya, it looks like dill!  It will be fun to watch them throughout the year and to see what they do next year.  Asparagus is a perennial and we have to wait a year before the first harvest.  We’ll see what happens!

More perennials are the grapes…

garden update July 2

and the super tough rhubarb…

garden update July 1

These rhubarbs came up last year out of the ashes of an old burn pile.  Can you believe it?!  I dug it up last Fall, split it into two plants, stuck them each in gallon pots then ‘ol man Winter came and buried them under snow.

These survivors came back once again and now they have a permanent place in the garden where they can do their thing!

That’s about it for the garden update.  Picture overload, I know, but I’d thought you’d enjoy looking at a bunch of photos rather than me droning on and on. Ha!

What’s in your garden?

Oh, by the way, I changed the size of the photos when I saved them so if you would be so kind to let me know if you are having any trouble viewing them or are they coming up too slow.  I tend to use a lot of photos in my posts and I want to make your viewing experience enjoyable rather than time consuming or frustrating.  So, if you’d let me know how they’re loading for you I’d really appreciate it!


We have so much to be thankful for as a country and as individuals.

On this Veterans Day, I am reminded of all the benefits and opportunities we have today because of those who have served their country in the past and because of those currently serving.  Benefits such as freedom to worship and opportunities such as owning your own land and education.  For most of us that’s all we’ve ever known and we take it for granted.

In our younger years, CountryBoy and I had the privilege to travel to Honduras and Nicaragua several times on mission trips.  We built churches in several primitive areas where entire families, and sometimes even several generations, all lived in a house the size of some of our storage sheds with no electricity, no running water, not even an indoor toilet.

Often, they ate one meal a day and were grateful for it.

They smiled even though they had very little.

Those trips made a lasting impression on us to be thankful for all we have, to be aware of why we have the opportunities we have today and to never take them for granted.

So today, as I sit on a comfortable couch in a house that has electricity, running water, with a hot cup of coffee in my hand and a fire in the fireplace to keep me warm I am thankful for all the men and women who fought for what we have today and are still fighting so we can maintain the lifestyles we have become accustomed to.

Words cannot express our gratitude but


May we NEVER take all we have for granted and may we ALWAYS remember and thank our Veterans for their sacrifice and their service.

Perfect Gifts for the Farmhouse

It’s been far too long, folks, since my last blog post.  Far.Too.Long.

Just yesterday I vowed to make time for more blogging.  I miss it.  I miss YOU!

And now that the demands of the farm and farmhouse have slowed down it should be easier to find a chunk of time to take and edit some photos and sit down and write.  yay!

For now, I wanted to share with y’all some awesome gifts that we recently received from friends and family for the ‘ol farmhouse…

Several months ago we received a package from a friend and former co-worker of ours from our EMT days.

Inside the package were lots of goodies that were perfect for the farmhouse!


Some items were very near and dear to her heart, such as the aprons her Grandma made, the crochet doilies and figurine that were in her Grandma’s farmhouse.  I’m so touched that she wanted them to be part of our little farmhouse now!

Curtains that are perfect for the living room…


The door hanger (which I’m told started the whole box of goodies!) displaying a cross stitch bow I made years ago…


Beautiful crochet doilies in a unique triangle design…


All the items have found a place in the farmhouse and are beautiful reminders of our friend!

Last month, we received many wonderful farmhouse gifts from a new member of the family by marriage.

The list is long but to name a few items:  country themed pictures, copper oil lamps, a wall-mounted plate rack, fabric, a quilt wall hanging, some completed quilt tops and quilt blocks, a couple mini quilts and quilt racks, and an Ott floor lamp for use when sewing or hand-quilting.

Speaking of quilts and quilting there were some adorable items perfect for decorations in the sewing room…  this cute, metal container with J & P Coats (a popular thread maker that’s been around for a long time) on it…


and this lovely hand-painted slate heart…


Also, there were two sets of curtains that are perfect for the dining room and, unbelievably, match the red-checked seat cushions we already had on our dining chairs.  The small table was also a gift and is an antique with a fold-down top.  (It’s currently holding my pot of parsley and oregano that is indoors due to frosty nights.)


The hand-painted barnwood pictures framing the window like shutters and the queen-size quilt frame were gifts as well.


Also in the mix were three enamelware pots such as this one where I put some pine cones and one of the small copper & glass oil lamps for a simple fall decoration.


The two copper wall-mounted oil lamps were placed on either side of our bedroom door.  (We were given another one years ago and although it’s not copper in color it is the same style and is being used downstairs.  How perfect is that?!)


Although there was no room for these items in their new home many of them have already found their place in the farmhouse and will be put to use and cherished.  The rest of the items will wait in the wings until I find the perfect spot for them.

Among the other gifts we’ve received were some antique furniture and an old military trunk from dear friends and several gift cards from family.

I must say, the ‘ol farmhouse is looking pretty awesome thanks to such thoughtful and generous friends and family.  We are so touched, so humbled and so grateful that so many people have gifted us with such treasures and have taken an interest in seeing the farm and farmhouse come to life.  Words cannot express our gratitude but thank you!  Thank you all SO much from the bottom of our hearts!  You have blessed us beyond measure!

Feeling Inspired

Yesterday, after church, we headed to The Spoonbread Festival in the nearby town of Berea.

We enjoy going to these festivals, checking out what the vendors have to offer, buying a thing or two to help support the local artists, farmers and economy, and sometimes, eating something we shouldn’t be eating.  At least not eating too often, ha!  But, yesterday, we were good.  We bought some Kettle corn cuz the sample was just too good to pass up and I bought a Mango Bubble Tea which this particular ‘tea’ was more like a smoothie with balls of mango juice that burst when you bit them.  That was the first time I’ve had Bubble Tea – quite yummy and refreshing!

We had no idea what Spoonbread was.  Yet another ‘Kentucky thang’ that we were unfamiliar with just like morel mushrooms, beer cheese and Ale 8 One.  We are slowly discovering the local happenings and culture by attending these festivals.

We ended up not trying the Spoonbread ($3.00 for a small bowl) but it’s basically corn meal, milk and eggs with more of a savory pudding consistency.  Maybe someday we’ll try it.

We did manage to find some ‘somewhat local’ honey from Lancaster which is closer than the Lexington honey we got at the Morel Mushroom festival back in March.  Their honey is seasonal honey.  We sampled and purchased the Wildflower Honey which is their Fall honey and is honey made from the pollen of goldenrod, ragweed and whatever else is pollinating this time of year.  Yea!  Maybe next year the ragweed won’t stir up my allergies quite so much.

Since we decided not to eat at the festival we enjoyed a delicious lunch at Cracker Barrel.  You just can’t go wrong there!

On the way home, we decided to stop by Tater Knob Pottery & Farm, a local tourist attraction just down the road from us.  We weren’t sure if they would be open on Sunday but we thought we could, at least, find out what their hours were.  Although they weren’t officially open, there were a couple of people in the shop working on some pottery and they kindly told us to come on in and have a look around.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me but what an inspiring shop!  Lots and lots of beautiful and functional pottery from dishes and coffee mugs to hurricane lamps to decorative pumpkins.  I ended up buying a beautiful honey pot to put my delicious local honey in!


After seeing all the handmade crafts at the festival and the gorgeous pottery at Tater Knob Pottery and the beautiful Fall weather we are having I am feeling inspired.  Inspired to create, to make things, to find my ‘niche’ in this very creative and artistic community.

So, until I have the time to create and make or find my ‘niche’ I walked around the farm and took some photos to share with you.

This is a female hummingbird…


We still have quite a few hummingbirds hanging around so I cleaned the feeder, filled it and hung it back out.


The okra plants are taller than we are now.  We call them okra ‘trees’ since they are so tall and their base is several inches in diameter.


The blooms are so pretty even before they open!  They are still blooming and still putting out okra.

I have stopped pickling them since we have so many jars  We are giving them to a fellow at church and hope to barter with him for some fire wood he wants to give us.  He wants to pay us for all the okra and just give us the wood. I think bartering (or trading) would be a win-win for all of us since he loves our okra and it’s food on his table and we could really use the wood he wants to give us to keep warm this winter.

I wish bartering would come back.  It’s done around here for many things and we really like that.

But, back to being inspired… I have many ideas floating around my head and I enjoy several various hobbies so we’ll just see where it all takes me.

For now, there’s lots of canning to do so making and creating will have to wait a bit.

Till next time friends!