Welcome to our 1864 farmhouse…life is good!

Saturday, May 20

spring in the country


Spring cleaning here,

I'm sorry to say,

Was not in March,

And here it is May!

And April too fine

To sweep remote corners

And polish and shine.

But in this fair month,

I have motivation.

If I don't clean house now,

I'll miss summer vacation!


Shared with me by a friend, the above poem is spot on for my days right now!  Yes, I began early...sorted & organized, dusted & donated, but still, there's much to do. 

However; once the air becomes warmer and the sunlight dazzles as the days become longer, it's time to shift focus...weeding, pruning, trimming, mowing, and mulching fill the days. Animal sheds get cleaned, barns begin to be repaired, and paint is touched up. 

On rainy days, with a dustpan in hand and renewed determination, I'm back to the inside. This week, a wise friend reminded me that to every thing there is a season...we've decided that goes for spring cleaning, too.


So beyond my Domestic Goddess chores, as I like to call them, there's been excitement...my daughter graduated from university with her BS in Psychology, magna cum laude, so proud of her! It was a beautiful sunshiny day for graduation followed by a family dinner out to celebrate. A week earlier, my son came home for summer from his freshman year at college...as the designated comic relief here, it's good to have him back home - both celebrations made Mothers' Day a treat!

In my last post I said I'd let you know about a mini greenhouse that makes my heart happy...here's the story.

For years, and by years, I mean decades, I've had my eye on the lovely Little Cottage Company greenhouses. While a large one would be a dream, I was even enchanted by the mini one.  Go take a look...aren't they sweet? Then, click on the link to see the details...blink as you look over the prices, and then read the fine print to see that those prices are for KITS...UNPAINTED AND UNASSEMBLED. Yikes!

I kept looking online, searching for second-hand greenhouses that were for sale. Yes, I found them...again, for thousands of dollars. Resolved that yet again, this spring the mudroom would be filled with a few trays of seeds, because any more than a just few trays makes it impossible to get in and out of the mudroom. Sigh...

Then one evening while looking online again, I came across this for sale:

Wait, that looks like the Little Cottage Company mini one. 

Nah, it couldn't be...below is the "real" Little Cottage Company greenhouse...back & forth I bounced comparing photos.

It was the Little Cottage Company mini for sale...and because they'd had it for 20 years, it was being sold for a reasonable price. The family who owned it has decided to start a flower farm, and they need a much larger, commercial-size greenhouse. This one was only being used for storage.

Oh joy, rapture! Okay...a little over an hour away - I'm thinking this is doable. I let my family know this would be my birthday and Mothers' Day gift for the year!

The owners wouldn't deliver, but if I could rent a truck, they would help me load it. My daughter and I drove up to look it over, and struck a deal...yay! And you know what, as we chatted, they offered to deliver it that same day - it was perfect. They decided they could look at wholesale flower growers in the area, and when I compared the cost of renting a truck and the price of gas, the additional charge seemed fair.

So here she is after being dropped off - Azreal is giving her a quick inspection. 

I can't tell you how many oodles of flower seeds I was able to tuck inside, while too small for them, it is just right for me. 

This week, as we had freeze warnings and icy winds blowing from the North, I was so glad that everything growing inside stayed warm and safe. In another week or two, we'll be past our usual frost date, and it'll be time to do some planting. 

As for today, quilts & sheets are on the clothesline, and one of my very favorite things to do is watch them billow, then wait and listen to them snap smartly in the wind. While sweatshirt weather today, I know soon summer will creep up and land on us with a blast of heat and humidity.

Hmmm, I'd better get back to that to-do list!

Wednesday, May 3

springtime, plus a couple "steals" and deals!

Since my last post, Spring has turned her back on our part of the Midwest. The mornings are now filled with quick bursts of cold air, icy rain, and slate gray clouds continue to hide any blue that's surely hidden behind them.  

The lilac bush by the garden has given us just a few blooms. Monday I snipped several of them to enjoy indoors, fearing that once again temperatures would dip below freezing and they would be gone for another year.

I found some vintage aerial photos and it looks like the lilac is about 50 years old...does anyone have tips or hints for helping lilacs produce more blooms each year?

In the few days that were actually spring-like, it was wonderful to be outdoors enjoying fresh air and dazzling sunlight. Compulsive activity had me starting with the chicken coop - which, I have to say, I don't recall ever being so messy! I put on my headphones and an apron, found the broom, shovel, and wheel barrow, and then filled a bucket with hot, soapy water. When I was finally done, I felt the need to get a little creative, so I rearranged the run to give them a little dust bath area, along with some logs and branches for a "playground." Clever ideas can be found online, but I decided to skip hanging a chandelier...which truly was in so many coops. What do you think, am I dismissing it too quickly... I have an old one...maybe I should reconsider?

Well, that's the springtime in my post, now for the "steals" and deals...

My cold frames are alongside the chicken run and I've found it's just the right spot for a couple of those old, springy, metal chairs. There's a simple pleasure in sitting there as the day ends, with the twinkle of fairy lights and sounds of nature. 

Each year I pull out those retro chairs, with their chippy layers of multicolored paint from all of the owners before me. They were a steal at a flea market ages ago, just a few dollars each. Every spring I look at them and try to decide if I should sand and paint them...maybe even sandblast them so they look new. And then each year I decide not to...there's just something about them I love. They're still springy, and the layers of paint just seem to tell a mid-century story.


I thought I'd take a look online and see if I could find a couple more to add to the little seating area, and so:

Look what I found...better yet


$4,320 for the pair...chippy paint and all.

Hmmm, I'm thinking I won't ever sand or paint mine (I wonder if they found a buyer?)

A few days later, at a sweet little shop in a nearby town, I found two more retro metal chairs for $8.50 each! The lady was anxious to get rid of them because of their rust, and asked me what color I was going to paint them. 

My reply?

"I'm not afraid of a little rust!"

My last "steal" for today, a zinc-topped table I've had my eye on. When the time comes, I'd like to re-do the kitchen in the old "unfitted" style, using freestanding cupboards instead of built in cabinets. I love the look of the dark blue-gray zinc patina and I learned that zinc has anti-bacterial properties making it a great surface for food prep - it was ideal for my kitchen dream!

A few days later I was back at the same little shop the yellow chairs came from, and decided to ask the price - it was unmarked. Because it had been there a long time she wanted to get rid of it...she asked me if $30 dollars was too much. 

I brought it home - happy dance!

On-line I found similar tables ranging anywhere from:

$295 - $800

The stars were aligned...what luck, and I couldn't be happier.

Soon I'll show you what I did with a freebie chair and old window box, and then tell you the story of a mini greenhouse that makes my heart happy.

Enjoy the week friends...

Friday, April 21

spring is here...

I think I've said it before, but I always feel as if Spring has its own way of saying,
"Look at me, I'm here, I'm here!"  

Filled with sweet aromas, familiar sounds, and a rainbow of colors, soon we know the seasons have turned.

Fragrant hyacinths, freshly-cut grass, and the earthy smell of just-plowed fields are paired with the cheery sound of peepers in the creek, songbirds greeting the sunrise, and tractors humming in the distance. 

Bright yellow daffodils, golden dandelions, and beautiful fruit trees are blossoming by the garden. There are no traces left of snow, the breezes are warm, and the yard and fields are no longer wet and muddy. 

Some of my favorites are now in bloom...bleeding hearts and red bud trees, and bird baths are filled and waiting for visitors. 

A rainy afternoon kept my daughter and I from taking our planned trip to hike the Butternut Trail (another day!), but while driving down country roads, we were greeted with some stunning silhouettes and then fiery sunsets...

One day, we even found ourselves in a surprise snowstorm!

And so that's a little look at what's happening in my corner of the world...just wanted to pop in, catch up, and say, "Hi".

Next time, I'll show you a couple of "steals" I found for my garden, along with a birthday/Mothers' Day/Christmas giftie I can now cross off my wish list!

Enjoy your weekend, friends.

Monday, April 3

A note to say...


for taking the time to visit and comment on the comings & goings in my small-town corner of the world. I know your days are full, the to-do list long, your adventures numerous, and each day seems to pass by at warp speed.  

Also, thank you for posting on your own blogs...I'm always so happy to read what you've been up to and I truly learn so much from each of you! Again, heartfelt thanks for the time you take - whether you're across the country, or on the other side of the world, I so appreciate you.

beautiful artwork by Susan Branch...run, don't walk, to visit her blog!
Click here

Snapshots of what's happening here on the farm...


Wind, wind, and more wind...so grateful to have been spared damage from the storms that passed through. Stepping outside, this is what I see around me...

North & South

East & West

with no tall buildings or homes to block winds whipping across acres of open fields, (and don't get me wrong, I LOVE that) there's always prayers that trees will stand strong, along with a rush to secure anything that might fly away!


glorious...truly, no filter here. It's as if the sky was on fire.

Easter Decorations:

It's just me...never a fan of pastels, Spring seems hard to decorate for, but here's a peek at what you'd see if you stopped by to visit:

Beautiful Blooms:

Amid the windy, rainy, up & down temperatures of March, I spied a single, beautiful, blooming rose peeking through an old gate.

How it survived this topsy-turvy month is beyond me, and yet, I thought it was absolutely perfect.

And lastly, my Christmas Cactus is blooming again. A gift from a friend when my son was born, for the last 19 years it has always bloomed around his birthday in mid-November. In 2021 it bloomed from November through March, which was amazing to me. Now, after blooming in November, it's blooming once more...

Thank you again for visiting, sending you warm wishes, across the miles...

There is no season such delight can bring,
as Summer, Winter, Autumn, Spring.

~ William Browne, 1630

Saturday, March 18

spring break...

 As my daughter said...

"The balance has been restored!"

Both kids are free from workload of college classes as their Spring breaks lined up this week. And yes, balance indeed...4 place settings at the table, Wordle at midnight, dusting off of favorite movies, and food, food, food. They've met up with friends, stayed up, slept in, had all variety of pies on Pi Day, and in honor of Saint Patrick, we whipped up some traditional recipes and enjoyed Shamrock shakes. 

Today is a catch up day - laundry and shopping, as well as anything else that needs doing before classes begin again. Monday I'm back to the grind...there's still much take care of on my To-Do List. 

Always inspired by lovely places that Along the Way blogger Jules visits (see her blog here), I've made up my mind to do the same each week. As long as the weather cooperates, there are so many easy day-trips I could be taking to see new places...why am I not doing it?!

And so this week we visited a nearby 123-acre park - even though the skies were gray and the trees bare, there was still a beauty to it:

flowers were popping up,


and we found secret gardens, 

along with vignettes from the past.

There was even a perfect little farmhouse and barn
(I could easily feel right at home!)

And look at the fun weather vane!

Ahhh, March...up to her usual antics. Yes, the sun is shining, but the wind from the north is strong and icy-cold; rattling windows and sending anything outside that's not weighted down, dancing across the yard and into the surrounding fields. I'd best remember the advice I read years ago...

"March days should be lived one day at a time,
as it's likely early gardeners will meet with disappointment."


That's okay, I have dust bunnies to chase, papers to sort, and phone calls to make, there's no need to fret about gardening just yet. Oh yes, I'm sketching garden plans and looking at seed catalogs; if only I had a greenhouse. Sigh...

Happy weekend friends!

Monday, March 6

a catch up and the "real" me...

March...spring hasn't officially arrived, but somehow, I can tell it's coming - it's a wet, grassy smell that means the seasons are changing. Spots in the yard and fields are soggy, but still, the warming sun and brisk breezes are beginning to dry them out. I can hear cardinals and robins singing in the distance, I'm sure they're busily doing a little spring housekeeping and mending their nests. 

Fields and trees these early March days are filled with crows, but one day last week, my daughter and I were amazed to spot two Bald Eagles...honestly, what a thrill to see these majestic birds. One sitting high in a tree observing the world around him, while the other was in flight. 

However; not as thrilling was our close encounter with a large owl a couple of weeks earlier...we spotted him alongside the road as we drove by, when suddenly he took flight and flew right at us, just grazing the windshield. Either a Barred Owl or a Great Horned Owl with his tufts laid back, we can't be sure which, but what we are sure of, there's nothing quite like that experience to begin the day!

As promised, following Billie Jo's fun post over at her blog, I thought I'd share some odds & ends about me that you may find interesting...

Here goes!

I have a BA in Design, and my favorite job was being a Senior Cookbook Editor (the story is here) writing, brainstorming, layout, and yes, it included taste-testing recipes - yum! 

I am truly a homebody...taking an unknown adventure road or a day trip suits me fine, but I have no desire to "see the world."  Gladys Taber said it best: "I would be willing to go around the world, if I came back in time to light the candles and set the table for supper." 

I really enjoy gardening, both flowers and veggies. And, if you stopped by while I was gardening, you just might find me outside dancing or singing...good thing the neighbors aren't very close!

Autumn, for me, is perfect...there just seems to be a wisdom to it.

I'm smitten with my 1963 vintage camper named Maizy!

I love traditions...pumpkin carving, decorating the Christmas tree, and coloring Easter eggs

I cry easily...as you know if you've been reading about recent high school graduations; those emotions are at the surface.

I like very simple things...county fairs, a big field on the 4th of July with a picnic basket, curling up to re-read a book, family movie marathons, small towns, twinkling fireflies, barn sales, porch swings, and picket fences. 

Favorite music? give me the 1940's, I'll choose Glenn Miller any day!
Favorite color? Blue
Favorite food? spicy anything
Least Favorite food? rosemary anything

Growing up, I was convinced being a vet in the Yorkshire Dales was the calling for me. I've read and re-read the James Herriot books so many times I've lost count. However; the realities that high school chemistry and physics were not my strong areas meant it was time to shift focus.

I love old things...houses, barns, furniture, quilts, old-fashioned values, and simple ways. 

A wrap up? wife, mom, goat wrangler, chicken whisperer, farmers' market baker, renovating an 1864 farmhouse...I live in an apron. Welcome to my world!

Friday, February 17

February and a girls' weekend away...

February often finds us with icy temperatures and heavy snow drifts that make it difficult to get in and out of the driveway - sometimes requiring a shovel and hard work, while other times needing the help of something a bit bigger.

A look outside will find birds of all shapes & sizes gathered around the feeders, the glow of a heat lamp through the frosted windows of the chicken coop, and a stack of firewood by the back door. 

Winter is always a reminder of how powerful the elements can be, and yet, for 159 years this old farmhouse has withstood those elements. Oh yes, we can count on a chilly draft sneaking in wherever it can find a little spot around doors and windows, but when there's a fire in the kitchen fireplace and a sleeping cat and dog to curl up with, they always seem to warm even the coldest winter days. 

Like it often is, this week has been a roller coaster of weather...Wednesday it was 72 degrees and now it's 20 with a light snow.  Not a snowfall of glittering, drifting flakes, but the tiniest balls of snow that look like they belong inside of a pinball machine as they bounce off of everything they land on. We shrug our shoulders...and so it goes; it's all a part of living with the splendor of the seasons. 


In un-weather related news...

my daughter and I took a little road trip to Louisville, Kentucky where she auditioned for several ballet companies. If you read here from time-to-time, you may know that she's a college senior - she has her degree in Dance and will be graduating in May with a BS in Psychology. Ballet dancing is her passion, and while she dances with a ballet company now, this is the time of year there are auditions for summer programs across the country. 

Sunday's blue-skied and sunny weather was perfect for traveling, and with my daughter as Navigator, Music Coordinator, and Snack Distributor we were on our way early. The time flew by with our back & forth chatter and a determination to listen to every single song, on every single album, in order, from a favorite singer/songwriter (10 albums plus any unreleased bonus tracks - thank you, Ms. Swift...we did it!)

I'm a firm believer in taking the scenic route (oh yes, I do take some ribbing about it because it's longer - whatever) My daughter and I love to travel "the road less taken" and turn off at a moment's notice on an adventure road just to see what lies ahead...that can't be done on a super-highway. 

Oh, the things we would have missed: stunning southern farms, a 17th century inn and tavern, off-the-beaten-path names such as Billy Goat Strut, Spanish Fly, Spooky Nook, and Fish-worm Road. Come on...the laughter over those names alone was worth the extra travel time!

Once there, the city had a charm all it's own...

The quick road trip was over before we knew it...so with a chocolate-filled croissant to begin Monday's drive home, we were on our way. We stopped just long enough to visit an amazing 11-acre dog park that Bailey would surely have loved and to take a walk through the shop at a 220 year-old Tavern.  

Now I'm back to my to-do list before those 70-degree days are here to stay. Next time, I'll follow Billie Jo's suggestion at Afternoon Coffee and Evening Tea both here and here...with a little "get to know you" post - it was really fun reading about both her and all of her readers! 

Enjoy the weekend friends...stay safe & warm.

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