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!

 

An Apron Wearing Day

After struggling with allergies all last week from the dreaded ragweed infestation we have on the farm I was feeling better today with a bit more energy so I decided it was time to tackle some of the apples we were given a couple weeks ago.  I mean, after all, they don’t know I’m not up to dealing with them and, therefore, will keep from rotting until I feel better (wink).

So, this morning, I donned my apron and got to work at washing the first bag of apples.  Thankfully, when CountryBoy finished up his project outside he came in and asked if I needed any help.  Well, yea!  He ended up peeling while I quartered and cored the apples.

Two bags later, we had 12 pounds of apples ready to be cooked and softened to be made into applesauce.

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Much like painting, the most tedious part of canning is the prep-work.

Once these softened I worked in small batches pureeing them in the food processor.  Once they were all pulverized and back in the pan I added sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon.   MMMmmm!  Then processed them for 20 minutes in a water bath.

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Yum!  With the sugar and cinnamon added it’s like dessert in a jar!

We peeled a few too many apples so CountryBoy chopped them up for me so I could make my Apple Crisp.

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I left them sit in some water with lemon juice until I could get to them.

Meanwhile, while I was waiting for the first batch of applesauce to process I started working on a bag of hot banana peppers that we were given last week.

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I decided to chop them and freeze them for later use.

I got the ends all cut off and cut in half and maybe about 1/4 of them de-seeded when CountryBoy came back from a quick trip to town.  Again, he asked if I needed any help.  Well, yea!  So, he finished de-seeding them and chopped them up.  (And, no, he didn’t wear gloves either!)  We ended up with almost 3 quart size freezer baggies full.

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I will add these to some of the Mexican-style dishes we love to eat and anything else I think they might go well in.

After the last batch of applesauce was in the canner I got started on the Apple Crisp.

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I added pecans this time, put the topping on and popped it in the oven.

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Mmm!

While the Apple Crisp was cooling I started on my last kitchen project of the day… DIY VapoRub.

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We’ve both been under the weather, CountryBoy with a cold and me with my allergies, so I thought some VapoRub would be nice for night time.

It’s pretty easy to make.  Melt your oils and beeswax, let it cool a bit then add your essential oils.

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I added Young Living’s Peppermint, Lemon, Eucalyptus Globulus and RC (Respiratory Comfort) blend essential oils.

It has a little softer consistency then I thought it would have but it turned out OK.  I did go back and add more drops of each essential oil because my coconut oil was overpowering everything.  The added drops helped tremendously.

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Ah, nice!  I love being able to make my own remedies at home.  It’s actually quite fun too!

I didn’t have to think about making anything for lunch/supper because we brought home some delicious leftovers from our church’s Homecoming celebration yesterday.  Is there such a thing as a lunch/supper combo?  You know, like brunch, only you eat mid-afternoon?  We do that a lot ’round here since we usually have brunch then we’re hungry again mid-afternoon.  Maybe we should come up with a name for it.  Any ideas?

Anyhoo, all the stuff that I was able to make today was only possible because my awesome Hubby offered to help.  Otherwise, I’d probably still be peeling apples!

So, after a day spent in my apron and in the kitchen this was our reward…

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A bowl of yummy Apple Crisp!

I Should Be In The Kitchen

We are still harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers, jalapenos and okra.

The lima beans seem to have halted their growth at the moment.

And, still in the ground are the other half of the gold potatoes and all the sweet potatoes.

We were gifted with a BUNCH more apples and a bag full of hot and sweet banana peppers.

Today, my intentions were to make and put up some salsa using up some of the tomatoes, the jalapenos and some of the hot banana peppers.  That is, until I discovered that I didn’t have enough garlic on hand to make the salsa.  And, probably not quite enough lemon juice either. sigh.

Then I thought, I oughta make and put up some applesauce or apple pie filling.  But, I just wasn’t in the mood to peel apples all morning.

I went outside to hang up a load of laundry and saw the trunk project I am working on.  Of course, I meandered over there to check it out and, well, the morning was history (wink!).

So far, a lot of time has been spent gently scraping the canvas off the outside of the trunk.  I even had to pull out the paint stripper to remove the black paint that was on three sides and the top of the trunk.

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It’s coming along slowly but I can already envision what this ‘ol trunk is going to look like when I’m finished!

I stopped working on it today when the sweat started running down my legs.  Here’s where I’m at on the top of the trunk…

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I still have a long way to go on the whole thing but I’m making progress.

When my hands needed a break from all the scraping I decided to pot my two $1 plants I got the other day from the clearance rack at Lowe’s.  They were already marked down to $3 then they were marked down to $1.  Score!

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There was no tag in the containers but I believe these are trailing Verbena.  Don’t quote me on that though!

I am slowly working on some curb appeal so I put these in my plastic, half barrel-looking pot and put them in front of the ‘ol wagon wheel leaning on the front (actually side) porch rail.

Can you add curb appeal even though you don’t have a curb?  Ha!

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This is the side of the porch that is seen when you come up the drive.  It is looking a little better and more inviting.

See all the chippy paint on the porch railing and the floor?  Our porch definitely needs some TLC.  In time.

Tomorrow, I will get in the kitchen.  That is, after a quick trip to town to get more jars, lemon juice and garlic.  Then, I will be psyched and ready to spend the day putting up food for winter!

Barnyard Chickens

After losing our third chicken in a two and a half to three month time period to a predator during daylight hours we knew we had a major decision on our hands.  Somehow we had to restrict the girls free ranging to a limited area.  The predator was consistent in its attacks –  coming up from the ditch/creek in the same general area, grabbing a chicken and taking it back down the same way it came up.  How did we know this without ever witnessing it?  A trail of feathers was left behind.

We tossed the idea around of putting up a fence around the existing coop and creating a run for them.  That would cost us a lot of money and a lot of sweat equity.  The sweat equity would’ve been fine but we did not want to go in debt to purchase fencing nor did we want half the yard fenced off so we needed another plan.

We walked down to the barn and that’s when we made the decision to house the chickens in the barn.  They would have protection from the elements and full use of the paddock as a run where they would still be able to dig, scratch, play and free range a bit but have the added protection of a fence.  Now we know this is not fool-proof from predators such as hawks but we’re hoping this solution will deter any four-footed predator from attacking.

Our first thought was to use one of the larger stalls at the end of the barn.

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As you can see, this room needed a lot of work.  It was the stall we originally chose to store our reclaimed wood and other paraphernalia in.

We began by relocating the wood.

Once that was done we began the assessment of what all needed to be done before it was safe from night time predators.  whew, the list was quickly becoming long… a roof of some sort was needed, blocks or rocks around the base, chicken wire on the sides… yikes!

So after taking a short break and assessing the situation again we chose a different location but still in the barn.

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Facing the barn, this room is on the left at the front of the barn and had a ramp in it to load and offload animals.

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It also had a metal roof over it and sturdy goat fencing above the three quarter wall and the other three sides are wood.  It seemed like a much better and more immediate solution.

It also had lots of cobwebs…

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and even a dead chicken (not one of ours) was found under the ramp.  Don’t look at the following photo too close or you’ll see it :(.

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But before any work began in this room we relocated a gate from the center of the barn to the front of the barn.

The older girls love to be around us when we’re working so since they were already in the barn we simply closed the gate thinking it would be somewhat easier on us when it came time to relocate the girls come evening.  phffft, were we wrong!

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Now that we had the gate in place and the ramp removed it was time to add some roosts…

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While CountryBoy reworked the ramp door I started removing the chicken wire behind the windows.  They served no purpose since the windows were there and just collected cobwebs and encouraged wasps to build nests in between the two.  I’m thinking the windows were added after the chicken wire.  I also started cleaning the paint off the windows.

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After I finished that it was time to bring the feed and feeders over and get them hung…

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There was already a box in one of the corners.  The girls that hadn’t already laid an egg decided it looked like a good nest box.  So, I added some hay to it and, lo and behold, we got a couple of eggs in there shortly after…

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We really wanted to have the nest boxes in the center of the barn so CountryBoy hung the cabinet that was in our bathroom out there and put some hay in it but the girls didn’t like that idea.  They would jump up, check it out but then go back to the box in the corner and go to fussing if another girl was already in there.

So, today, he cut the cabinet in half, added some sides and hung them in the new coop.  We’ll see if they approve.

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Throughout the day, yesterday, I managed to grab a few of the young’uns and take them to their new digs.  They were happy to find those feeders!

Each time I was able to grab a chicken I was thinking, ‘yay, one less chicken to relocate come evening’.  Boy, was I WRONG!

Come evening, all those chickens knew was that they needed to get back to the coop before nightfall.  What a ruckus!  They started jumping over the gate (even though we added wire well above the top of the gate), squeezing under and through the sides of the gate and generally just freaking out!

What started out as only needing to relocate six chickens ended up being more like a bakers dozen.  I would be carrying a chicken or two from the old coop to the new and another chicken was passing me on the road headed the opposite way.  sigh.  What a fiasco!

CountryBoy ended up snatching them up at the gate and putting them in the coop then shutting the door each time while I went back and forth from the old coop to the new coop carrying chickens.  After several trips we finally had all 24 of them in the new coop and they were vying for their spot on the roosts.  whew!

Needless to say, we were thoroughly exhausted by then!

Today, we did a few more things to the new coop and added their light.  We’re hoping that it will draw them into the coop making for a smoother night.  We also plan on sitting in front of the gate to ward off any escapees.  We’ll probably have to do this for a few nights until they get used to where they are supposed to go at night.

Thankfully, they seem to be very content today.  They’ve spent a lot of time in the barn checking out all the stalls and some have even ventured into the paddock.

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Our beautiful Buff Cochin, aka Fuzzy Foot, spent a little time this morning on the roost.  I think she was picking her spot for the night!

barnyard chickens Fuzzy Foot

Overall, I’m pleased with the solution we came up with.  Not only did it save us a lot of money but we were also able to get the girls a little more protected much quicker and they still have lots of room to roam around yet be protected by the elements.  It’s also a little bit cooler in the barn which is great during the summer and it is well ventilated for the winter months.

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Not only that, there is now LIFE in the barn!  I’m thrilled about that!  After we finished up today we sat on the front porch facing the barn and I said to CountryBoy that I thought the barn looked like it was standing straighter.  He looked and said he agreed.  Buildings, and even barns, seem to know if they’re abandoned or not.  Don’t ya think?

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While I do miss seeing the chickens running all over the place it will be nice to NOT have chicken poop all over the yard, heehee.  I also have more peace of mind knowing they’re a tad bit safer and, I’m thrilled that there is life in the barn now!  Yay for barnyard chickens!

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…

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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.

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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.

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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…

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with skinny ears of corn on the stalks…

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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…

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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!

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On the trellises are the cucumbers…

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

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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…

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and the super tough rhubarb…

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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!

Sanding, Staining, Sealing

If you’ve been following our renovation journey then you know that we completely gutted the farmhouse kitchen shortly after moving in.

Here’s what it looked like at the beginning of demo (I forgot to get a before)…

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I am standing in a doorway and taking this shot.  In pure Joanna Gaines (Fixer Upper) style we removed this wall (and everything else!), added our version of shiplap and started building the cabinets and putting everything back.

When it came to the countertops, in order to save a ton of money we chose to use 2×6’s.  CountryBoy and his brother secured the boards from underneath then I went at them with the sander then stained and sealed them.

I chose a Summer Oak to help keep the kitchen light…

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and they turned out great!

But, as time went on and the wood began to dry out the boards started shrinking and twisting leaving large gaps between each board.  We ended up with all kinds of crumbs in the drawers below.

So, last March, while I was away at the annual quilt retreat, CountryBoy dismantled the countertop, took it outside and began the process of gluing, sanding and putting it all back together.

He did a great job and there were no more ginormous cracks!  Yay!  But… the wood was almost raw and was beginning to show wear and tear and stains.  Think pink from strawberry juice (wink!).

So, one day I got a wild hair and removed everything from the countertop and got my trusty orbital sander out and lots and lots of sandpaper.  (Making for lots and lots of dust in the house.  sigh.  oh well – had to be done eventually.)

I started with 80 grit to remove the stains and the marks from the belt sander CountryBoy used.  Next was 120 grit and lastly was 220.

While the countertop was drying after removing the dust I made the decision to use a dark stain this time.  I thought the kitchen could use a nice ‘pop’ to break up all the light colors.

I used a wood conditioner then Espresso stain.  It was looking good.  whew.

After the stain dried I applied two coats of polyurethane and here is how they turned out…

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Swoon!

I never thought I would ever want dark countertops but I really LOVE the dark stain!  I think it ties in with the hardware and faucet, brings out the color of the cabinets and it’s definitely the ‘pop’ that I was looking for.

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That, right there, is where lots of goodies are made.

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It may not be magazine-worthy and it’s definitely NOT staged but this is our fully functional and practical farmhouse kitchen for everyday use.  And I love it!

My next sanding project was the coffee table CountryBoy made.

We’ve been using it for a while now and liked its rustic look but it was never fully sanded down or sealed so it was difficult to dust and was easily susceptible to stains in its raw state.

Of course I forgot to get a before photo but here is a shot of the end tables he made and is what the coffee table looked like…

table-before

Rough barn wood with an overall gray tone.

So yesterday, while CountryBoy was out fishing with a neighbor, I took the coffee table outside and started my sanding process using the three different grits.

I didn’t want to sand off too much because there was so much character in the wood – saw marks, knots, and a beautiful grain.

After removing the dust I, again, used the wood conditioner but skipped the stain and went straight to sealing it with three coats of polyurethane.

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Pardon the light spot, I had the overhead light on but it really turned out great!  These photos really don’t do it any justice.

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We were afraid it would turn out too dark and disappear in our dark living room but, thankfully, it stayed on the lighter side.

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Now to see if I can keep from piling my books, magazines and projects on it, ha!

Still to do are the two end tables he made.

I think we make an awesome team… he makes/builds whatever project we’re working on and I do the finishing work to show off his handiwork and usually end up with all the compliments (wink!).

Till next time friends!

Garden Growth and Chicks

It’s been a weird year for planting the gardens.

It’s been raining a lot.  We’ve had cold snaps; even some temps back in the 30’s at night and had to bring the tomato starts back in the house.

We don’t have everything planted yet but a few things are already coming up…

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Five rows of potatoes have come up. Yay!  Six more rows have recently been planted.  Good thing I LOVE potatoes!

Another thing that is coming up that I am thrilled about are the lima beans…

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We had to replant them as the previous ones rotted in the ground.  Whether it was because the seeds were old or if it was too much rain but seeing these pop up out of the ground makes me extremely happy.  There is nothing quite like fresh lima beans… so buttery and yummy even when seasoned with only a bit of salt!  Now if we can just get a good harvest.  It seems every time I’ve grown limas that it takes them a long time to form and the harvest is few.  Fingers crossed we get a mess of them this year so I can put some up to enjoy the rest of the year.

Also coming up in the big garden so far are the beets, onions, and corn.  In the little garden we have two cucumbers coming up, three asparagus and some chives.  The jalapenos are showing promise as are some of the basil.  Struggling, because of all the rain, are the beefsteak tomato starts.

Still to plant are the Roma tomato and green pepper starts.  I’m also going to plant more cucumbers and probably start some more tomato seeds, just in case these don’t make it or do well.  It’s also good to stagger the planting so that they don’t all ripen at once.  Besides, can you ever have TOO many farm fresh tomatoes?  I don’t think so (wink!).

Like I said, it’s been a weird planting season.

Speaking of gardens, we’ve been letting the young’uns out in the little garden since we don’t have much planted in there yet.

It is fenced off so they can’t roam too far and are easier to round up in the evening to be put back in the grow-out coop for the night.  Believe it or not, they actually come to me to be put back in the little cage that we transport them to and fro.  It’s so cute!  CountryBoy calls me MamaHen, ha!

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They are getting so big and actually look like miniature chickens now!

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Aren’t they gorgeous?  This little one is a Silver Laced Wyandotte.

They have finally ventured away from this corner (and my grapes and rhubarb, thank goodness) and have discovered the rest of the garden getting lots of exercise and sunshine.

Several times Hunter has taken on the job of babysitting the young’uns while they’re out.

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This babysitting is hard work…

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and makes ya thirsty!

It’s raining again today so the young’uns didn’t get to go outside and play.  Maybe tomorrow.

I found this beauty the other day in the side yard…

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I’m assuming it’s a rose of some sort.  Does anyone know what kind it is?

Till next time my friends

 

 

It’s Been A While

It’s been, what, three months since my last blog post?  Mercy, time flies!

We’ve been busy doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that during that time.

Things like surviving winter; working on my sewing space/office; attending a quilt retreat while CountryBoy held down the farm; tearing down a pole shed; sealing the fireplace rocks; rearranging the second guest room; relocating the salvaged wood in the barn to make way for CountryBoy’s shop; tidying up the grounds; walling off a portion of the shed/guest house for storage; etc., etc.

In early April we added sixteen chicks to our current flock of ten chickens.  We lost five in the first couple of weeks (it was a very emotional few weeks) and bought six more during a trip to Tractor Supply giving us a total of seventeen chicks.

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They have graduated to the grow-out coop in the big girls’ coop and are all doing well, thank goodness.

So far, the big girls aren’t too concerned about the young’uns.

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We’ll see how it goes when we start integrating them.  Fingers crossed all goes well!

Does anyone know what happened to Spring?

We had a few Spring-like days and the flowers started blooming.

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Now it’s cold again.  We’ve had a fire going the last few days to keep the chill out of the house.

And rain.  Lots and lots of rain.

We’re not sure how the gardens will turn out this year.  We’ve managed to plant a few things such as corn, beets, onions, potatoes, lima beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, jalapenos, basil and marigolds but then it rained and the temps dropped.

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This was a few days ago.  sigh.

I’ve seen two cucumbers so far.  Looks like I’ll be planting some more.  The corn, onions, beets and potatoes seem to be doing OK.  The other stuff?  We’ll have to wait and see.  If they make it through all the rain and cold temps they’ll be some pretty hardy plants!

I’m hearing the weather is crazy all over the place.  How is it where you are?  Have you been able to get anything planted in your garden?

Till next time!

Some Farmhouse Kitchen History & Seed Germination Test

After moving into the farmhouse we decided, rather quickly, to completely gut the kitchen.  Had we known that in a few weeks we would have a massive snow storm we might’ve considered waiting a bit but, that’s neither here nor there.  We gutted it clear to the exterior wall exposing the house to some very chilly temperatures.

During the demo process we removed the drywall and discovered layer upon layer of wallpaper and even some newspaper covering the rough cut wood walls.

We saved a section of them knowing we wanted to display them somehow.

When I was in Florida back in January I had purchased a shadowbox that was 50% off and it has been taking up floor space in the pantry ever since.

The weather today is cold with snow flurries off and on.  Not a good day to be working outdoors if one doesn’t have to.  So, it seemed like a good day to finally do something with the ancient wallpaper.

CountryBoy took on this project and enjoyed sifting through the layers and creating the display.

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Fourteen layers!  The newest is on the left with the oldest, the newsprint, on the right.  He even used the original tacks which were used to hang the wallpaper.  (Yes, we saved a bunch of those, too!)

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Pretty cool!

I’m happy we kept it and now some of the history of the farmhouse kitchen is on display.

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A couple of weeks ago I started a seed germination test on beefsteak & roma tomatoes, green peppers and jalapeno seeds.

The green pepper seeds did nothing and appeared to be molding up so I tossed them and all the seeds as well.  Who knows how old they were.  They were some I had saved a few years back, so, not a huge loss but disappointing nonetheless.  I started another germination test using some seeds I saved a few weeks ago from a pepper I used.  We’ll see how they do and if nothing then I’ll buy a pack of seeds.

The jalapeno seeds also did nothing but they were not moldy so I will let them go a bit longer.  We’ve not had very many sunny days so that may be part of the germination problem.

Both the beefsteak and roma tomato seeds did well with 7 out of 10 seeds sprouting with nice roots.

I went ahead and planted all of them since the remaining seeds appeared to have a root starting to emerge from the seed.  If those seeds end up sprouting then I will have a germination rate of 100% of the tomato seeds.  Currently, the germination rate is 70% which is pretty good.  The beefsteak seeds were purchased last year and the roma’s are from seeds I saved and are, at least, over a year old so I’m happy they did so well.  If the rate remains at 70% I will simply start a few extra seeds to make up for the ones that may not germinate.

CountryBoy saw where someone had used toilet paper tubes to start their seeds in then you simply put the tube in the ground when ready.  Sounds easy enough so we’ve been saving them.

I put ten tubes each in two shoebox size plastic totes, added seed starter soil and placed the tiny sprouts one per tube.

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I think they’re happy to be out of the cramped quarters of the paper towel and baggy!

Now if we could get some sunshiny days to help these guys along.

Have you started any seeds yet?  Are you planning on it?  If so, what are your garden plans this year?  I’d love to hear about it!