Market Season is Here

It’s Farmer’s Market season!

This time of year, as you’re out and about, you may start seeing signs around your town advertising a local farmer’s market.  Our little county-wide market officially opened a couple of weeks ago and we were set up there with our farm fresh brown and green country eggs, some jams & jellies and several of my craft items.

Market days are busy for the vendors.  I never realized the work and effort a vendor puts in to their product and booth until we started participating in our local farmer’s market.  Things to consider such as table display, signage, pricing, loading tables & chairs, having change for larger bills, bags, and let’s not forget about packing up and loading and unloading the product! Whether it’s a craft show, farmer’s market or any other type of temporary venue, there is a lot of thought and work involved prior to the event just to hopefully appeal to potential buyers.

Since we don’t have any produce to sell yet (due to a late frost) I decided, at the last minute last week, to make a few cutesy things for one’s kitchen…

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Bar mop towels!  I dusted off my embroidery machine and whipped out nine of these little towels each with a different kitchen-themed design.  (I think they’re adorable and if they don’t sell… oh well, ha!)

We only sold one dozen eggs last week but that’s OK because we had a great time visiting with fellow vendors and talking with the market-goers.  It’s always a fun time!  Each week more and more people will find out the market is open for the season and it will get busier.

If there is a local market near you I encourage you to check it out.  You will meet some wonderful people and you will be helping support your local farmers.

In other news, this girl right here…

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our sweet LizzieBelle (staring intently at something in the garden), gave us quite the scare Saturday morning.

She woke up with a swollen neck, didn’t want any breakfast and made a horrible hollering sound any time we tried to pet her or check her out to see what was wrong.

She let me carry her down the stairs but we could tell she was in pain but, from what, we  had no idea.  And, of course, it’s Saturday.  I googled her symptoms and read that with a sudden onset of a swollen neck to seek immediate help from a veterinarian.

As soon as I thought someone might be in the vet’s office I called and got the answering machine.  I hung up and called another local vet and, thankfully, they were having a rabies clinic that day which is why they were in the office.  They graciously said to bring her in.  (I am SO grateful they were working that Saturday.  They took such good care of LizzieBelle and were very reasonable.)

CountryBoy was in the middle of cooking breakfast but he turned the burner off and out the door we went with our sweet but hurting little girl.  I was some upset and nervous hoping it wouldn’t be bad news.

We were seen right away and after a thorough exam it was determined that LizzieBelle had, somehow, pulled a muscle and strained her neck.  I have no idea how or when she could have done that but after a laser treatment on her neck she was already looking more at ease.  We went home with a few pain pills and muscle relaxers for her.  After three doses she is feeling better, eating and back to her old self.  I’m definitely going to keep an eye on her, though, in case it flares up again.  That girl sure did scare her humans!

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Days Like Today

It’s days like today that remind me why we chose to find and move to a farm in Kentucky and attempt to live a simpler life.

(Notice I didn’t say easier; I said simpler.  There certainly is a difference as the homesteading lifestyle actually entails lots of hard work but it’s fulfilling and rewarding leaving very little time for many modern-day frivolities and conveniences (which usually wind up stressing me out, ha!) and that’s OK with us.)

Beautiful days like today where I can hang the clothes on the line to dry and listen to the birds sing their song while doing so..

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When CountryBoy can jump on the tractor to bush-hog the ‘lower 40’ keeping the farm looking good…

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To go from one project to the next without being in a hurry…

(Leftover jute string was used to make this miniature modern plant hanger and leftover scrap wood was used to make a recessed bowl stand for the cat’s food.  Greyfus insists on raking food out of the bowl wasting a lot of food and enticing the ants to find it.)

And things like gathering two dozen eggs; taking a few minutes here and there to catch up with friends and family on Facebook; and getting to do one of our favorite things…

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relaxing on the front porch, watching the birds and soaking in the peacefulness of our little piece of property…

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Yes, it’s days like today that remind us that no matter what may come our way, good or bad, we are living our dream and we are thankful we are able to do so.

What kind of day is rewarding and/or memorable to you?

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 Much Anticipated Time of Year

After a long, cold, wet winter we are finally enjoying some beautiful warm Spring weather during the days and cool, crisp nights here in Kentucky.  Nights without frost so you know what that means?  It’s time to get the garden tilled and planted!

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CountryBoy borrowed a friends tractor and tiller which made short work of getting the ground ready.  (He also fixed our washed-out road while he had the tractor making good use of the bucket on the front.)

Once that was done he staked out the rows…

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and we spent a couple of days planting seeds and several of the plants we started in the greenhouse.

Planted so far are corn, potatoes, okra, cucumbers, several types of tomatoes, lima beans, pinto beans, green beans, brussels sprouts, squash, onions, and sunflowers.

Still to plant are green peppers, cayenne peppers, sweet banana peppers, beets, more squash and brussels sprouts, and more tomatoes once they are big enough to transplant. We will direct sow watermelon in the next couple of days.

I am thankful for my greenhouse that we recently added on the side porch.  It is accessible from the mudroom and does a great job of creating a hothouse effect.  A few more small projects and it will be completely finished.

A few days after we finished planting we had a nourishing rain that gave the seeds and plants a good start.  When the rain quit I meandered around the farm with my camera looking for spring flowers.  Here’s what I found…

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The passionflower vines are coming back and are climbing their way up the arbor leading onto our front porch.

The purple irises are beginning to open up…

such beauty…

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After reveling in their beauty I meandered over to the sour cherry trees…

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We may just get some sour cherries this year which we’ll make into jam (or maybe I’ll crush up a few and put into some Kombucha!).

From there I wandered over to the asparagus bed…

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YIKES!  Here is where I had a squirrel moment… I thought after the good rain we had that the weeds would pull up rather easy so I set my camera down and started pulling.  These weeds were not going anywhere without a fight.  Well no weed is going to get the better of me so I trotted off to the greenhouse to get some backup.  My hand shovel could barely break through the thick weeds but I did find some asparagus…

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YUM!  This is our third year since it has been planted so we are free to harvest it this year.  CountryBoy has picked several already and, boy, are they yummy sautéed in some butter, balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with some salt and pepper.  Good stuff!

As I was pulling the weeds I came across some poison ivy.  Oi!  Since CountryBoy can almost just look at it and break out in a rash I started yanking and pulling on it trying to remove it from the root so that it wouldn’t come back.  I got all of it except for a thick root which we’ll pour either some white vinegar or the salt water from homemade ice cream on it or both.  (Good excuse to churn some ice cream!)

When I came in I scrubbed and showered and thought I was good-to-go but the following day I woke up in the middle of the night with a burning, itchy arm.  I now have a rash on my face, both arms, chest and stomach.  sigh.  Apparently, I too, am now allergic to poison ivy.  This too, shall pass.  I’m just thankful for warm weather and for being able to help get the garden planted.

Have you got anything planted in a garden or containers?

The Perfect Day

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

It was a beautiful, warm day.

I did not have to go to work.

I got to do some rearranging and organizing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s how it started…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From there, LizzieBelle and I headed up the mountain…

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

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

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

Till next time my friends!

The Warmth of Plants

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

Yesterday it was snowing.

This morning there was frost on the ground.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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that came from this one…

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

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

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

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

Till next time my friends!

 

A New Dress For My Vintage Treadle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And the machine?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next time 🙂

 

 

 

It’s Been Quite the Year

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

You have not been very kind to me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next time…

 

 

 

 

Brrrr!

Baby, it’s cold outside is an understatement!

When your meat won’t thaw…

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you know it’s cold!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speaking of comfort…

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

How are you faring during this winter chill?

 

The Painted Hutch

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

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

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

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our dining room hutch that practically disappears into the wall.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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