Saturday, December 31, 2011


Image courtesy of the now out of print "Cottage Living Magazine"
This is a picture from my collection of decorating ideas that I found as I was cleaning out some stuff.  Pretty neat idea/use for an old coat rack type hanger.  I'm still planning for the Julia Child style pegboard wall I blogged about HERE of course, but I could see us finding a place for something like this as well.

Just one of my random finds that I saved for future inspiration and I thought I'd share with others.


With New Years here, I figured, this week's poll would be an easy one.  

Do you make New Year's Resolutions or not?

Do you make a list of them?  Do you follow them?  Do they really help?  I think we always make them but not sure we always follow them.  One of our dearest friends in the world told us that it's better to set goals instead of calling them resolutions.  She asked us tonight what ours were.  We had to say that we hadn't thought too much of it.  Definitely need to work on the exercise thing, but we also want to get the farmhouse finished and up and running, and get the gardens going too.  I sometimes have this want to have it all finished as soon as  possible, but we have lots of time.

SO...Do you make resolutions for the New Year or not?

As always, vote below and, if you want, feel free to comment!

Friday, December 30, 2011


How neat is this?  Recently, one of you awesome readers referred me to the always great website, Mother Earth News.

I was directed to THIS ARTICLE.  The article is by John Seymour and is about how to start a self sufficient homestead on just one acre of land.
Drawing by: Dorling Kindersley
She said it might help give us ideas on where to start at our farm.  Boy did it ever.  I just love this picture.  Now to be fair, the article that goes with this illustration doesn't show you how to make this plan exactly, but it has all the information on the why and how of doing something like this.

I found myself looking at this and imagining our piece of property from this perspective.  Granted, we have a large plot of land, much more than one acre, but the vast majority of it is undeveloped at the moment and so we need to concentrate on the area around the house first and this illustration at least gives us an idea of what we could do if we wanted to go "all out" in the immediate area around the house.

Sure, we don't have a house like the one above.  Sure our land isn't laid out so perfectly square.  Sure we have existing trees in places that wouldn't work so well with this layout.  But the thing we like about this is the fact that it shows you how it COULD be done.  Notice in this drawing, there are of course  several gardens, fruit trees, a bit of a lawn in the backyard, chickens, a place for a cow, pigs, pasture land, even 2 beehives at the back of the property.  It reminds us how we could fit a lot into the space we have.  So I'm going to go to Google satellite views and see if I can print out an overhead view of our property and maybe I can start planning for the future.

In the short term/near term, I need to work on the spot we decided for some raised bed gardens, and I need to get the fruit trees I bought earlier this Fall in the ground in the next month so I'll have to find a place for those, and of course I'd still like those bees in the next couple of months too.  This picture also reminds me that some trees along the back of the property might be a good idea, for wind break and for privacy.

With this as a guide, of sorts, I think we can draw a road map for the future of our farm...of course it might just have to be a multi year plan, but hey, whatever works, right?


With New Years right around the corner, it's time for resolutions, and most of the time, getting in shape applies for a lot of us (us included).  I saw this online while looking for some info on getting in shape and it made me laugh.

I figured with this weekend being New Year's Day, it was perfect timing.


Thursday, December 29, 2011


Flower Garden and Wicker Chair
For today's inspiration photo, I found this photo of a yard/garden that we really like.  We like the more wild nature, for lack of a better word, of the yard and flower beds.  Less formal and more natural. 

And besides, how can you go wrong with a place to sit like this?  Love the white wicker chair (hey, it's not a blue bench, LOL!).

It's my blog day off, see you back here tomorrow!
Have a good day!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Old Doorknobs
As we had the the work done at the house, these were the old "non functioning" doorknobs around the house.  None were original to the house, they had been replaced and added over the years and they didn't work.  They didn't fit most of the doors either.  So as we removed them, I put them aside.  I call it a collection for a future DIY project, but 2nd Man calls it borderline hoarding, LOL.

I don't know what I'm going to do with these, but I just can't bring myself to throw them away.  I think they would make a pretty awesome future project and would be a great way to re-purpose something that was in the house for decades already.  They just need to be cleaned up a bit.

 I'm thinking of some sort of long board, with these used as knobs to hang things on.  Perhaps as a towel rack for either the kitchen or the bathroom, or maybe a coat rack for the entryway?

Either way I'm keeping them, hoarder or not...ha.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Last spring, in the midst of my spring cleaning of the property at the farm (which has now turned all to weeds, but THAT'S another story), I found this vase/urn that "Ma" left behind when she moved.  It had a small tree in it that died in the previous Winter's freeze.  I was thinking of turning it into a fountain, which I blogged about HERE.  Of course, that would have had to be later on so until then, we just put it on the porch and left it alone, sort of forgot about it during all the remodeling stuff.

Flash forward to last week when I was out there waiting for the appliances, I decided that this corner of the porch, which is different now because of the new stairs, needed something.  The whole porch needs stuff of course, but I saw this sitting on the other end of the porch and moved it over there to just fill the space...and I think i like it there!  I could still make it a fountain, just run the cord underneath, but I'd worry about water possibly splashing all the time on the railings and porch floor.  It would probably be best if it ended up being a nice flower or plant of some sort.  Even though the porch isn't painted yet (we have to let the pressure treated wood "cure"), it still needs some curb appeal (even though the "curb" is 1/4 mile down the driveway, ha).

Of course, the middle of Winter isn't the best time to be plant shopping so this will have to be a Spring project.  Until then, it can sit there and look pretty, ha.


The Day After Christmas (not our mess but similar, ha)
So we trust everyone had an awesome Christmas?  Did you get everything you wanted?  We had a nice, quiet weekend.  Alas, the weather down here was rainy and cold and damp, ALL weekend long.  It started raining Friday afternoon, and didn't stop until Monday afternoon.  It wasn't a torrential downpour, just one of those dreary, slow, rains that keeps it kind of dark all day long.  We didn't even get to make a trip out to the farm.  With no central heat out there, the inside would have been uncomfortable, and with the rain, there was nothing I could do we spent Christmas in town.

Remember when I posted about opening presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?  Well, we waited until close to midnight and started.  We combined the two.  After all, 12:01am IS Christmas morning, right?  LOL!

Lots of "farm related" gifts exchanged, though we kept ourselves to a limited budget this season since we did buy the property and house this year.

My "big" gift was this:

It's the "Jaw Saw" by Worx.  Also got the long pole extension for trimming branches way up high.  I can't wait to try it out!  There is a lot of tree trimming that needs to be done and this should work well.  The first thing I'm going to do is try and eliminate THIS TREE that we lost a few weeks ago.  It still lays in that spot, me not having the tools to deal with it.  I know we own a farm when my gifts have now shifted from high tech electronics and computer toys, to tools and machines to use outside.  There's nothing wrong with that at all.  Somewhere though, Santa missed the beekeeping equipment, hmm, I'm going to have to have a talk with him about that

2nd Man's gifts were the same as always, cool cooking tools and equipment, only now I get to buy them for him to use out at the farm!

We spent the day after Christmas looking at our gifts and cleaning up the paper and empty boxes...once, of course, the cats had tired of their "playground".

All in all, it was a great weekend, and we hope that you all got everything you wanted and more!

Monday, December 26, 2011


White Mountain Ice Cream Freezer
Sometimes it's the little things.  Ha.  Sure it's almost Winter (and lately it's felt like it down this way), and it's wet and rainy, but when we were carrying stuff out there to the farm recently, I just grabbed this from the pantry and put it in the back of the car.  Of course 2nd Man had to chime in, "why do we we need this out there now?  It's Winter?"

"Why NOT?" I replied.  "It all has to go out there anyway, it's as good a day as any I suppose."  He mumbled something and we kept loading the car, ha. 

We love homemade ice cream.  I have a vanilla recipe I'll share later that was my Grandmother's.  It's the kind you have to cook on the stove top and boy, was it ever good.  This ice cream freezer was my Grandfathers and as you can tell, it barely looks used, even though they used it quite often.  He was fastidious in cleaning and keeping all his stuff looking like new.  I will only hope that I can do the same.

I'll admit though that our ice cream making adventures so far, when we do it, leads more toward taking the easy way out, i.e. this:

Kitchenaid Ice Cream Mixer
...but I'm feeling that it will be pretty fun to sit on the porch and crank out some ice cream the old fashioned way.  No electricity, nothing to plug in, just good old manual labor like my Grandfather use to do.

Do you have a manual ice cream freezer?

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Vintage Christmas Poster
Usually, every Sunday, I post the image of a really cool vintage gardening/canning/food related poster. Since today is actually Christmas Day, I thought it would nice to find something that fits...and I think this one does.

Peace on Earth, goodwill to all...we wish you all the very best on this Christmas Day.  May it be merry and bright!

Best wishes from 1st Man and 2nd Man!

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Probably one of the biggest debates of the holiday season:

When do you open your presents?

Christmas Eve?  Christmas Morning?
As usual, split household around here.  I grew up opening presents Christmas Eve, after I grew up a bit, and that was our tradition always.  Mom would make a wonderful lasagna dinner, we'd sit around for a bit after dinner and dessert and then we'd open gifts.  2nd Man grew up with always opening on Christmas morning.  Our tradition is sort of evolving.  Over the years we've done one way and then another.  Not sure what will happen this weekend, I'll let you know, ha.

SO...Christmas Eve presents or Christmas Morning presents?
Of course, this is not necessarily counting "Santa's presents", when that time is appropriate with the kids.

And as always, vote and if you want, feel free to comment below!

Friday, December 23, 2011


Unknown Tree
There are several trees on the property that I don't know what they are.  I've never been a good "tree identifier".  Most of the trees are mesquite, small, medium and large.  Then there are a couple of pines, an oak and a few others I know.  But now that we have the blog, I figured if I can't identify one, I'll just snap some pics and ask you all if you know what it is.

Here are some closeups.  As you can see, the Fall weather has turned some of the leaves a bright red, others are yellow and yet others are still bright green.  The tree needs a good pruning (when the time is right) but I'm not sure what else I need to do in preparation for Spring since I don't know what the tree is.  I have never seen flowers or any sort of fruit/berry/seed pod.  

It would be nice to know what they are so that I can research how best to care for them, including pruning, fertilizing, etc.

So, anyone look at this and go "oh, that's a ____ tree"?

Thank you in advance!


Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  We'll be celebrating our first Christmas as owners of the farm.  We have appliances now, so we just might have to cook a meal out there!

I saw this and thought you might like it as a Friday Funny.  Hope it makes you laugh like it did for me.

I'll be posting sporadically over the long weekend, hope to get some stuff done out there (as usual).

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Outdoor Christmas Tree made of lights
For today's inspiration picture, I figured I'd find something that was holiday inspired, since we are in the midst of the holiday season. 

When I saw this, my first thought was "this would be so cool to do outside at the farm next year."  It's very simple, but SO pretty and just seems to fit being outside in the country.  I could see this next to a table at an outdoor Christmas dinner.  Ah, maybe definitely next year.

See you back here tomorrow!


BRRRR!  Bring on the cold.  It's time for 
fireplaces and heaters and quilts and hot cocoa!

For some of you, it's already BEEN that, ha.

Enjoy, let's all stay warm and before we know it, Spring will
be just around the corner with it's sprouts and blooms and new plants popping up everywhere.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


 The appliances came!  The appliances came!

We finally have a refrigerator, and it fit perfectly in its new spot in the mudroom.  When we decided to get a refrigerator, we measured carefully to find one that fit the spot the space and this one was the best and as you can see, it's about as good as it could be.  Side note, don't you just love a brand new refrigerator?  All the potential, it's clean, it's empty, it's shiny and new, just waiting to be filled up with food, including the bounty of the garden!

Here is the new stove in its home.  The house is all electric so we had to get an electric range.  I'm sure 2nd Man will have a "electric burner learning curve" as we have a gas stove in the city.  The oven is electric at both places.  An electric oven allows for "convection" baking and that's what this one is, a convection oven.  He loves that aspect of it.

So now the appliances are in and we are excited, as we now have a means of storing food, keeping drinks cold (and having ICE for drinks), and, of course, cooking meals and baking some great things.
One more major step...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Occasionally, I want to send you to a neat website that I found either on my own or one of you great readers found and I got hooked on.

In this case today, it was one of you that directed me there.  The other day, I was visiting Dani's wonderful blog, Eco Footprint South Africa, CLICK HERE to visit her website, and she had posted a link to a really cool website and I'm sharing that with you here.

It's a website that has pictures, hundreds and hundreds, of interesting and amazing ways that people have re purposed, or reused everyday products.

The website is

As she did at her site, here are a few of my favorite ideas:
Cork Plant Label - I am SO doing this, time to start saving corks
Old Rolling Pin Wall Hooks - I could do this with some old rolling pins we have
Cheese Grater Wall Storage - I could see MANY uses for something like this
Now, they don't give you instructions, it's more just for inspiration, but wow, what inspiration there is.  There are some that have links to websites or blogs with more information on how it was made, and some have links to where they are selling the item shown (Etsy for example).  Some are funky and cool and would be easy to make, while others are over the top and would require lots of work to accomplish.  Best of all, there are plenty of ideas for everyone.

So before you throw away that object that you didn't think you had a use for, check out this website and see if there is another use you can find for it, you just might be surprised.


Monday, December 19, 2011


Hard to tell in this picture but these were dark storm clouds that were moving in today when I was at the farm.  We ended up getting some more rain, almost an inch, so we'll take it.  I still can't wait for us to be able to sit on the porch and watch a storm come through.


Quilt over end of bed frame

Got the bed linens to the house this past weekend, though without mattresses, for now, they are just stored away in closets.  We took the pale pink matelasse bedspread for the guest room and the yellow sheet set out there, that will be the focal point of that room.  We also took the new blue stuff for the master bedroom, including the quilt I scored at the thrift store a couple of weeks ago.
I couldn't resist putting the quilt over the end of the bed frame just to give us a bit of a sneak preview.  I think it helps us "see" what the color palette will look like in the room, and we like it!

More steps along the path...and y'all will have a front row seat!


I'm always fascinated by how people rethink something so iconic as a Christmas tree.  So I figured in the Christmas spirit, I'd share some of my faves I've found online over the years.  All of these are not credited because the pictures have been repeated over and over on various sites, I'm not sure of the original source.   So without further ado, here are some crazy "trees":
Stacked Book Christmas Tree
Books anyone?  Someone at a college library made a tree using stacked green books.  Too cute...and if you had enough books around your house, you might just be able to recreate this.
Green Glass Bottle Christmas Tree
This is really cool, and very pretty, it's a tree made out of glass bottles (beer bottles maybe?).  I can honestly say I don't think I'd have the patience for something like this.  Looks like a LOT of work.
Necktie Christmas Tree
OK, this is really nicely done as well.  You'd need a LOT of ties to make this tree, and I'm not sure what the underlying structure is that made this work, but it's pretty fun, that's for sure.  Love the colors the ties create together.
Tire Christmas Tree
I think this one could be fairly easily done, and is the ultimate in recycling.  This tree comes courtesy of a tire manufacturing company, they put this in their lobby.  If you had the right size tires, it could be done pretty simply.

Ladder Christmas Tree 

And last but not least, this is one of my all time favorites.  I spotted this online a few years ago.  Of all the "trees" I posted, THIS would be very easily done.  A tall ladder, strung up with lights and ornaments and lit up for the world to see.  I think it's pretty awesome!

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Another cool Victory Garden poster from WWII.  This was a state issued poster, done by the state of Pennsylvania.  They are reminding "civilians" that there are things they can do to help in the war effort and of course, part of that is
"Victory Gardening".

We could all use a little service on the home front these days, let's plant a garden and grow our own food.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Baby Donkey
How cute is this?

This little guy is a very young donkey, probably not too long after he was born.  Adorable isn't he?  Just gotta love baby animals!
Especially those around a farm...



Mmmm...almost everyone loves chocolate.  It's one of the most ubiquitous tastes on the planet.  So the big question is, what is your favorite?

White Chocolate?  Milk Chocolate?  Dark Chocolate?
What's Your Flavor of Chocolate?
We are a split household around here.  I mean, who are we kidding, we love all chocolate, but I'll admit that my favorite is white chocolate.  2nd Man is partial to dark chocolate, the darker the better.  I am not as big a fan of dark, between that and milk, I'd choose the milk chocolate.

SO...what flavor are you?

...and if you want to comment, please do so below!

Friday, December 16, 2011


Clothespin Jar
We finally did our own 'canning jar' type storage, I took one that we had laying around (a large size) and filled it with clothespins.  We use clothespins for many things other than the obvious.  And trust me, living in the city, we don't use them for THAT since the neighbors would think we lost our minds.

They can be used for clipping chip bags closed, in place of twist ties on loaves of bread, or as a quick substitute for paperclips on a stack of paper.  You can use them to clip to a stain on a shirt or piece of clothing so you remember where it is or use one to identify a cord or two behind a TV or computer.  Use another to hold a screw or nail in place while you drive it in (my Dad taught me that one), or to clip photos or papers onto a wire display.  Of course, you can always decorate them with any number of things, paint, glitter, pieces of stuff and make them "your own" style.  Or write on them to make them into labels or glue magnets on them and keep notes and things on the fridge etc.
There are lots of uses, and when you have them out and in a jar, easily accessible, you might just find even more uses for them.

What about you?  Any other ideas you use clothespins for?


The other day, I blogged HERE about all the seed catalogs we got in the mail (and more have come!)

As I perused the catalogs, it did cross my mind "I wonder if mine will come out like this?" and so when I saw this garden sign, I had to laugh.  I'm sure this happens more often than we realize, still it's funny.  As gardeners, we can probably all say we've been there done that, ha.


Thursday, December 15, 2011


Flower Bed
What's not to love about this.  Wow, so much color, it's just beautiful.

I know it's the middle of Winter, for most of us here in the states anyway, but what better time to be inspired?  I saved this one because I just found it so amazingly pretty and figured if we could come up with something even remotely close to this, we'd be very happy.

Have a nice day and I'll chat with you tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Those of you that are regular readers might remember this open pantry when I blogged about it HERE and HERE.

Now we're using it for the storage of misc stuff we are bringing out there.  We can't figure out what to use this space for.  I fear if we aren't careful, it will become what I didn't want it to become, a sort of "catch all" for the stuff we can't find a home for elsewhere.  I lean toward a place to put all the big appliances like toaster, blender, food processor (which is already there) and just stuff like that.  Still not sure what it will become when it grows up, but we'll figure it out and I'll gladly take your suggestions.  If it does end up as a junk closet, I guess I'll just hang a curtain over the opening and pretend it's not there!


Baking area taking shape
2nd Man's favorite way to relax is to bake.  Bread and cakes mostly, but he'll try just about anything.  Cooking in general is his go to hobby.  So of course, the first thing he wanted out there was his Kitchenaid mixer...and of course we had to figure out where to put it.  You may wonder "well what about a Kitchenaid mixer in the city?"  That was his early Christmas present, a new one, so that this one could go out there, but more on that in another post.

Sadly, the open shelves we had put in during the remodel, were just a bit too low for the mixer to slide under.  Sigh.  They were built to be even with the top of the window, which is good and probably looks best, but now we wished we had thought about this first.  Oh well, he made the best of it by saying that at least he won't have to pull it out to use it, it's just right there, ready to go.  I guess we have to see the bright side of things right?  So this area is where he is going to start putting all of his most used baking stuff in the kitchen.  We have a similar area at home now, all the beaters and whisks and attachments and sifters and all the things like that, together in one spot.

All I know is this is all making it start to look more like home, and that's ultimately all that matters...