Welcome to our 1864 farmhouse…life is good!


Saturday, January 16

delicious multi-grain, seeded bread recipe...


A short & sweet post today - if you’re looking for a new bread recipe,
put this one on your must-try list. It came together so quickly & easily,
and baked up beautifully.

Because I didn't have oat groats or amaranth, I tossed in pepitas, oats, and 
sunflower kernels...not a problem; it came out great.

Ready to bake? Just visit this link!

Thursday, December 31

happy new year!

This morning we woke up to find the windows frosted, snow drifted against the barns, and the wind whistling as if it's celebrating and welcoming in the New Year. Although brisk, it was a great way to begin the day. Bailey was bouncing through the snow, goats were anxious for their morning treats, and chickens seemed ready to explore outside the coop, only to come back quickly and have a little breakfast before committing to the snowy morning. 


 

We were blessed with a beautiful white Christmas...almost as if by magic, snow began falling Christmas Eve and continued giving us 4 inches. It felt like the perfect Christmas for this unforgettable year...we were all together, sneaking off to finish wrapping secret surprises, a fire was crackling, Christmas music in the background, and Bailey was curled up...all was well.

Today, as always, our New Year's Eve is filled with traditions...there will be a movie marathon during the day and everyone's favorite snacks to munch on. At midnight, we'll grab pots, pans, & spoons, step outside and bang loudly as we greet the new year. (it's a good thing our nearest neighbors aren't too close!)

As we launch into a new year, dinner is always pork and sauerkraut, two foods said to assure good fortune in the coming year, we'll be determined and make resolutions, and be sure to take quiet time and think about this past year...how fortunate we are to be healthy and to be together. In a world that seems to sometimes spin faster than we can keep up with, I'm grateful for a quiet life in the country and it's steady pace. 

As we jump into 2021, the unknown is ahead of us, just waiting to be filled with whatever we dream of...may we all have a new year filled with blessings, good health, and love.


Ending 2020 with a few snapshots of our winter on the farm...


looking out the front doors at the Christmas Eve snow...



someone asked me how Mae was doing 
(our 1950 Hotpoint stove), 
she's doing great and baking all our favorites!



The kids couldn't resist building mini snowmen on the car hood!



This made me laugh...a local ag store had "Rudolph" pulling a spreader.



A new delivery of hay...always a good feeling going into winter,



along with cozy fires,


glowing candles,


and curling up for a long winter's nap. 



And me? Well, I'm dreaming!




Thursday, December 24

merry Christmas...

As I sat down to ponder what I'd write now that Christmas is here, as well as the end of an unforgettable year, I happened to be listening to a favorite old radio show. 

The words and message seemed perfect, and I typed as quickly as I could to record the thoughts spoken by Harold Peary.

I'm sharing them with you, and wishing you a peaceful, joyful Christmas. 




“Children all over the world are eagerly awaiting midnight
 and the arrival of Santa Claus.

In a few hours from now, many of you will attend midnight
services in the church of your faith.

It is the Silent Night, the Holy Night, it is the solemn, thought
provoking night that precedes the dawn of another joyful Christmas.

Of the many gifts men cherish most this Christmas Eve,
surely the one all spirits yearn for is the illusive gift of peace.

Peace on earth good will toward men, so it was eloquently
phrased in ages past.

May each and every one of you find that abiding peace in
your own hearts this Christmas Eve.

And if enough of us, in enough places, earnestly and bravely
seek out such peace, the world cannot help but heed this
growing desire for lasting good.

So amid all your holiday rejoicing, pause for just a moment,
won’t you? To add your silent prayer to the fulfillment
of that great promise:
peace on earth, good will toward men.”

 

Harold Peary,
“The Great Gildersleeve” radio show, 1940-1954 

 


Tuesday, December 8

'tis the season...

This year has been like no other...each passing day we anticipate the holidays, while closely watching the news. As a parent, I'm filled with complicated emotions...should our son be back in classes at school? Should our daughter return to in-person college classes? After months of limiting our exposure to others, and feeling the uncertainly of the weeks to come, at times I feel heart-wrenched at the decisions to be made. 

However; no matter what is swirling around us, I feel the need to count our blessings. We are healthy and settled in for winter...wood pile stacked, goat & chicken houses buttoned up against the winter winds, hay delivery on its way. The days are brisk and blue-skied, with a bit of snow to cheer the season. As we anticipate the days to come, let's remember all there is to be thankful for, and say a prayer for those who have lost loved ones. 



This year, more than ever, I wanted to make our Thanksgiving special. I did my best to fill it with everyone's favorites while old-fashioned Christmas music was playing in the background. The four of us made a day of it...watching the Macy's parade, eating, laughing, and enjoying the National Dog show. Naps were a must!




We decided to get our Christmas tree on Friday...we headed out to our favorite tree farm, walked through the woods, and soon found the tree for us. And if we're going to lay on the ground to cut down a tree (no chain saws here) it was one of those "just right" days...not snowy, muddy, rainy, or below zero.



However; even with all this fun, realities of living on a farm can still happen. Saturday we noticed one of our goats, Bud, wasn't his usual self. He had separated from the other goats, and while he was eating, he continued to distance himself throughout the day. A few years ago he had a bout with listeriosis so we always keep a close eye on our little herd. As the day went on, we decided we needed to call the vet...Bud was pacing and I couldn't help him get comfortable. Our vet was on another farm call and rushed as quickly as he could (even being pulled over by the State Patrol for speeding while on his way). Sadly, there was nothing we could do for Bud and we lost him. 



While many will say, "It's only a goat," I've always felt differently.  Of course he's a goat, but when we brought him to our farm, like all of the animals that find their way here, he became part of the family. Goats get treats and chin rubs, chickens get warm mash on chilly days, cats and dogs get snuggles on fuzzy blankets...to us, it's the right thing to do. We'll miss Bud...he was a sweet, friendly soul.




All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small.
All things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.
Cecil F. Alexander, 1848


 

Saturday, November 21

this and that...



Time flies...days turn into weeks, and it passes so quickly. Lately our autumn days teeter between blustery and balmy...as if Mother Nature can't quite make up her mind. 

We've had heavy frosts followed by the tiniest of delicate snowflakes, 




only to be followed with days of strong winds and heavy rains. And yet today, it was blue-skied and 60 degrees.


 

But no matter how warm it gets, the calendar still says November and winter can't be far behind. I've spent the last few weeks harvesting the end of the garden veggies, buttoning up the coop so the girls and their bachelor will stay cozy, filling shelves with food storage, ordering wood, and stacking hay.

 


Good things come in 3's as the saying goes, and that's proven true for us this week.

Monday, our family had a small, socially-distanced, mask-wearing "celebration." While our son had his board-of-review and became an Eagle Scout a year ago, we wanted to wait for his official court-of honor until his sister came home from college in the spring.

Well we all know how the spring of 2020 began, and so we waited.  
And waited.
And then, waited some more. 





But because it had been a year, with careful thought and planning, we decided to move forward with the Eagle Scout court-of-honor...we kept the ceremony small, inviting only a few of our favorite people to join us. It was short & sweet, but still heartfelt (yep, I'm a cryer.) His Dad had the honor of pinning on his Eagle badge, and then our new Eagle gifted me with the mom and mentor pins. We took photos, had grab & go snacks for guests, then headed home. I'm so glad our daughter was home and we were all together. 

Tuesday the school honored students with their National Honor Society induction...again, it was safely distanced and kept to a minimum amount of time, but still a wonderful night for our family.

And lastly, today our son passed his driving and maneuverability test...I'm not sure how other states are handing these tests, but our BMV kept me in the car with him (no talking allowed!) while the examiner stood outside watching as he drove through a marked driving course. He's excited and we're happy for him!

It's true...good things do come in 3's!






Now with the week at an end, it's time to settle in and relax. My daughter and I love Saturday nights so we can catch up on our favorite British shows while Bailey curls up next to us.

Just in case you're wondering, she's doing great!





While we're settled in tonight, I'll pull out my notebook...filled with sketches, color samples, and brainstorming notes. Oh yes, I'm a list-maker.

My brainstorming began when our local indoor farmers' market closed for renovations a couple of years ago, then it didn't open again. Which is sad...it was a terrific opportunity for so many local farmers to share their goods with the community once the summertime farmers' market was over. I had fun by joining in selling some home-baked breads and sweet treats of my own.

After reading about Poorhouse Pies (what a story, you can read it here) and then making some calls, I found that I can still sell my cottage foods from home...that's where the plotting & planning began on the milkhouse. 

Built in the 1950's, our milkhouse needed a lot of love.  So over the past few weeks the cleaning, paint scraping, and tinkering began. While I thought originally I might give it a retro feel, I decided on keeping it what it is...a farm milkhouse. 





I had our local hardware store match paint from flaking chips I'd taken from the walls so I could recreate the original colors. I'm not smoothing the walls, I'm not striving for perfection, I'm leaving it exactly what it is...filled with history. I have a good friend who's father is a dairy farmer...she's a wonderful source of knowledge and inspiration!

There were plans to rewire for electricity, but that turned out to be much more involved than we wanted to do right now, so in keeping with the homespun feel, we'll simply add a few oil lamps.  

I was gifted with a large, roomy corner cupboard that will hold oodles of jams & jellies, honey, and sweet treats...I just need to decide what color to paint it (that's the fun part).  

I found a little wood burning stove for a song that will be perfect beside a couple of rocking chairs, then I pulled out wonderful old finds that were discovered tucked away in the barns...vintage screen doors, original house windows, and wooden ladders, I think it will be just right. I'll keep you posted on the progress.





And to end this long post, I wanted to share two photos of the good I see in the world now...people sharing and giving what they can.


 

The cupboard on the left says "Community Pantry" on the other side, and is found in the tiniest of towns not far from here.

The one on the right is outside a busy store in a much larger community. 

It touches my heart to see them...each filled to the brim with canned goods, free for anyone who needs a little extra right now. 


"By becoming the answer to someone's prayer,
we often find the answer to our own."
-Dieter F. Uchdorf





Friday, October 16

campers, campers, everywhere!

 

As you probably know, I LOVE our little 1963 Yellowstone camper named Maizy...the story of how she came to be ours is here We laugh every time we read her owners manual that says she
"will sleep 4-8 comfortably."

13 feet long, 6'6" wide and about 6'3" tall...and that's without the cab-over!


courtesy of: Tin Can Tourists



Really...4-8 comfortably? Even 4-6 is a a bit of a stretch (okay, more than a bit)

I'm just saying, in my mind, she's a 2-person camper. Maybe if there were littles to tuck in one of the beds or the crow's nest, but honestly, nope...she's a 2-person gal. We did squeeze my daughter in the crow's nest for one sleepover and my 6'3" son on the larger back bed and it was, um, well, cozy might be the best word.


Maizy

So anyway, as I've been out & about, I've noticed lots of fun vintage campers, and I thought you might like to see them. Clever, classic, retro designs that make me smile..


I passed this shiny little Airstream today...



and saw this vintage lady peeking out of a barn...



a little Casita looks ready for a road trip...

 


while this camper was doing double-duty as a traveling food "truck" at a
favorite farm show.



Lastly, we spied this on the way to school one day..oh-so tiny, but look, it has
an airconditioner!




While reading a blog by MaryJane's Farmgirl Blogger Nicole...aka the Suburban Farm Girl, she wrote a great post about vintage radios (click here to read) and she inspired me. 

She shows snapshots of tabletop vintage radios that no longer work, and how she "hides" a smart speaker behind it...the look of vintage charm that "works"; how clever!

When we bought Maizy, she came with lots of goodies, one was a turquoise Zenith tabletop radio...the fun, colorful plastic version. A little sleuthing and I found out it's a 1961 Art Deco Tabletop Tube Radio. Because it didn't pick up anything more that just static, it has been stored away.

But after reading Nicole's post, I pulled out the radio, dusted it off, and tucked our tiny bluetooth speaker behind it. Soon I was on Pandora searching for the top hits from 1963...


and like magic, it's as if the radio was playing...as Nicole says, instant charm and atmosphere!  



There will only be a short time to enjoy Maizy...soon enough she'll be covered and safely tucked away for winter. In the meantime, she's just perfect for quiet, mother-daughter time.

My mother-in-law always said, these will be the best days of your life.

She was right...





Friday, October 9

zumpkin reveal!

Remember this? 

So...the questions is,  is it a pumpkin-shaped zucchini,
or a zucchini-skinned pumpkin?




The great reveal...


I'm saying a pumpkin-shaped zucchini...while it's not hollow to carve, it does smell like a pumpkin and those seeds, well they look like pumpkin seeds to me! Yep...saving them to plant next year!

Lately, the days have been ideal...mornings that start off chilly (38 degrees today) then end with brilliant golden shadows and a flurry of dust as farmers harvest corn and soybeans. We had a bonfire Wednesday; roasting hot dogs and enjoying ooey-gooey s'mores...one of my favorite ways to celebrate October.

And so my calendar tells me tomorrow is "I Love Yarn Day", I think it's time to whip up a little something cozy for winter!

Happy Friday; below are a few of my favorite pictures from this week.

cheery blooms...




















        smiling goats...










morning shadows...



my favorite farmers' market!


harvest-time...















a forgotten apron that was tucked away...

now washed & pressed, the colors are perfect for Maizy...
she's just inside the camper door alongside a vintage
gingham apron and a new apron made from
glamping fabric. They make me smile!
 













 
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