Welcome to our farmhouse…life is good!

Saturday, January 19

making ready for the snowstorm...

Maple, oak, and spruce trees surrounding the farmhouse are holding steady as the wind howls across the empty fields. Fields that are so lovely in summer filled with tall corn swaying in the breeze, but fields that when harvested and empty allow the wind to blow ferociously against us with a mighty strength.

For our part of the Midwest, we're expecting 8 to 12 inches of snow today... and that's just fine with me. I love the idea of a good old-fashioned snowstorm...there's just something about it that brings out my Laura Ingalls pioneer spirit! 

We're ready...wood is stacked by the kitchen door, the pantry is full, animals have cozy spots to snuggle in and will enjoy treats at bedtime...apples for the goats, scratch for the hens. Outdoor chores are done and now I'm sitting inside, safe in the warmth of a country kitchen. Everything everywhere is cancelled...it's a day of good books, old movies, and yes, the occasional nap.

Today is also the perfect time for hot soup and homemade bread. I was gifted with a slow-cooker trio this past Christmas (three 1-1/2 quart slow cookers that share a base), and each mini cooker is filled with a different soup, so a bowl can be enjoyed whenever someone needs warming up. The kids are wanting to know if I'll make cookies. Of course! Nothing else goes so well on a frosty day with a favorite movie...add mugs of chocolaty cocoa and buttery popcorn and it's sure to be a long cozy day at home. Choosing the movie will be the hardest part: will it be an old classic like North by Northwest, The Great Race, or Father Goose? Or maybe something newer, say Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings?

It doesn't really matter...as I've heard said:

"Home means more than where we hang our hat."

Sunday, January 13

Is there anyone who actually enjoys taking down the Christmas tree?

I've asked that question in the past...and I'll hear, "Yes! I can't wait to get things back to normal." While I'm sure that's true for many of you, that's never been the case for me. Taking down the tree is January's melancholy moment.

In December, opening up boxes of ornaments is like uncovering treasures!  Handmade decorations made from Popsicle sticks, outlines of little feet or hands, and colorful glass balls collected from favorite vacation spots...a little bell that reads, "Zion National Park", a Mark Twain Steamboat, the Chicago skyline and Navy Pier, and the sand dollar from Hawaii with a cheerful "Mele Kalikimaka" written on it.

Now it's true, at least for us, ornaments multiply when no one is watching. Don't ask me how, but I know we have enough ornaments for several trees! And somehow, the ornament boxes I have tucked away in a trunk never seem to haven enough spaces when it's time to fill them again.

I suppose this could be the reason...I found a few ornaments this year that seemed just right for our family.

Like this one...
our daughter had her braces removed, yay!
Now she can enjoy popcorn again!

One of our favorite places to eat always has bags of
cotton candy...I have to come home with at least 2 bags!
(hey, they're small bags!)

Our son is working on his Eagle Scout Project...
he wants to build Barn Owl nest boxes
(they're endangered in our area)
so this caught my eye.

He has also joined me in my love of hot peppers...
and this ornament came home, too!

And while this ornament isn't new,
now there's actually a sweet little camper
to enjoy...and Maizy is her name!

This ornament is from last year too;
however on Christmas I was gifted with a Candy Apple Red mixer!
(Such a sassy color for me!) My old Kitchenaid has been around
for nearly 30 years 
and works without a hitch, but does get
warm while 
mixing bread dough. This new one is much bigger, 
so now I can have both mixing up goodies at once...
perfect for the baking I do to sell at the farmers' market!

To make a long story short; no, our decorations are not packed away just yet...there's still one tradition that needs to happen...a camp-out under the tree. It really is beautiful falling asleep under all the twinkling lights.

When the time comes to pack away all the sweet memories, it will be a Blue Willow Society moment...I'll tell you more about that soon. It involves 2 dear friends, vintage Blue Willow teacups, and a steaming pot of herbal tea.

Monday, December 31

happy new year!

On this New Year's Eve, I can hear church bells ringing in the distance...
I'd say 2019 is off to a good start.

From our family to yours, we wish you a happy new year...

a clean slate
fresh beginnings
memories waiting to be made and
dreams waiting to come true.

as the clock strikes midnight,
count your blessings &
hug your dear ones tight!

Monday, December 24

Monday, December 17

last Christmas...

Today's post is short & sweet...

for far too long I've sadly counted down to our daughter's last Christmas at home.  And here it is...she's a senior now, and you know too well, how time does fly.

Days have been spent trying to make the "perfect" Christmas, wrapped around juggling admissions paperwork, calendering deadlines for college applications, planning college visits,
and general wear & tear on the heart.

And so today my thoughts went back to possibly the best post I've ever read about Christmas.
If you haven't read "Just. Stop." by City Farmgirl Rebekah Teal, do it now. 

Hop over to this link and I'll just bet after you've read it, you will give a sigh of relief. 

We all know what to do...keep it simple, be there, enjoy every moment.
Time flies...whether we're having fun or not.  Let's choose fun!


Tuesday, December 4

one last Glamp-Out!

Why yes, a camp out in December! And no, our farm is not located somewhere balmy...we're in the Heartland of the USA and already we've had our share of ice, snow, mud, rain, and temperatures as low as 18.

However, this past Sunday...

64 degrees!

No kidding...it's been a whirlwind of weather ups & downs!  Our son participated in a Boy Scout camp out a couple weeks ago...brrr, those boys were cold!  But Sunday it was like spring.

And that meant just a little more time for glamping! I can't begin to tell you how much fun we've had with our camper, Maizy. Sadly, she spent way too many weeks (nearly all summer) in a camper "spa" while many layers of asphalt were painstakingly scraped from her roof, repairs made to her original aluminum roof, and water lines mended. By the time she came home it was Labor Day weekend. 

And with school beginning in August, there was no time for a get-away...so glamping became a backyard thing for my daughter and me. Even the boys joined in from time-to-time. 

I'm pretty confident that we won't have any more 60-degree days, so now it's time to tuck Maizy into the barn for a cozy winter's nap. But before she was all nestled in, I couldn't resist taking just a few more photos to share. You've already had a peek at her here, but I added a little more since those photos were taken.

Here's what greets me at the door...
(remember that the paint, seating & window fabric were already in place...
I had the fun part!)

Off to the right is the dining table, which turns into a bed.
And the crow's nest up high becomes more (teeny, tiny) room for sleeping.

 Board games are a must and tucked inside this bright red metal picnic basket I found at our local feed store...

are oodles of pint-size games, tiny versions that are just right!

Straight ahead is the kitchen...I can see why folks love tiny houses! I added some retro cookbooks I had on hand, along with a vintage thermos and a night-light I bought years ago (dreams can come true!)

Take a close look at the apron the gal is wearing on the cover of the cookbook...
it's a perfect match for the vintage cherry fabric I found (I'm telling you, this was meant to be!)

Another feed store find...who would have thought I'd find this cake carrier on a trip to get chicken feed and goat treats?  It's just the right shade of red and with cherries, too...I'm pretty sure I was squealing when I saw this!

Here's the sink, complete with pop bottle opener 
(do kids even know what those are?)

More seating that turns into a comfy bed. The cherry fabric was paired with vintage chenille and stitched into my favorite 9-patch pattern for pillows.

 and possibly the world's smallest closet.

I was so in love with this fabric...I had just enough leftover for a little curtain on the door.

And a look in my button box turned up 3 retro buttons that were a match...a little glue, a little elastic and call it done.

And as the end of the day came, I knew it was time to nestle Maizy into a
warm & dry spot for the winter.

But oh, what fun it's been...she just makes me smile!

Monday, November 19

be glad of life...

For a crackling fire and family to share it,
for bittersweet and plump pumpkins,
for a wood-bin filled with logs,
and for time to dream while staring into the flames.
I am thankful.

For quilts and trunks and weathered barns,
for fields now dusted with snow,
and the distant sound of an owl.
I am thankful.

For purring cats and smiling goats
for hens and dogs and bees,
I am thankful.

For time to live and the laughter of children,
for creaky old floors, glowing candles, and soft flannel sheets.

I am thankful.

This year, no matter where we find ourselves,
let us try to make every day
a day of thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 15

things that make my heart happy...

Truly, it is the simple things in life that are the best.  

Yesterday, I was wishing I had some bittersweet to decorate with...a little to dress up the pumpkins on the front porch and wrap around the dinner bell post.  A few sprigs to tuck alongside the chartreuse hedge apples and leaves I'd added to the old laundry stand by the back door and some to fill the speckled enamelware pail that's in the mudroom.

Those bunches of cheery orange and red berries are just one of the simple things that are oh-so pretty and say "Fall" to me!

So off I went into the woods...surely there must be bittersweet growing somewhere. I walked and walked...


It was getting cold and the wind was picking up, so back to the house I started. But this time I took a different path, and along the fence I saw a tall blaze of orange and off I went! The closer I got yes, it WAS bittersweet!  And tall... probably 15 feet of glorious vines filled to overflowing.  So I gathered armfuls and put them in the back of the truck...then I went back and gathered more. Once home,  I had a ball wrapping them here and there...as my daughter says, it was something that, "makes my heart happy!"

However; mother nature had a trick up her sleeve.  While we slept, freezing rain and ice visited the old farmhouse. School was cancelled (yay!) but a peek outside found all my bittersweet covered in an icy glaze. 

But you know, that delicate ice has a beauty all its own. And that's just fine with me.  It's a quiet day here...reading, crackling fire, and homemade cocoa. 

I am thankful for the simple country pleasures.

Tuesday, November 13

fall magic...

This time of year, the grassy paths I take to greet chickens and goats are covered with leaves. Leaves that break the morning quiet with their "crunch, crunch"  and leaves that look as if I'm walking on a vintage paisley carpet. The bright cherry red and mustard yellow colors of October have been replaced with browns and golds, and the trees are bare, but that's okay...it signals a time to stack wood, fill the pantry, and snuggle in for the winter to come.

Early November always reminds me of my first college Design class...the instructor took us outside in November to teach us about Shibui ... designing with the colors of late fall. Along with the colors there are 7 design elements...simplicity, implicity, modesty, naturalness, everydayness, imperfection, and silence.  To me, those sum up autumn perfectly.

Last night we had our first fire in the fireplace, and today the flannel sheets go on the beds...two sure signs the weather has turned and it's time to get cozy! Autumn in our part of the country has been unusual this year...truly, temperatures were in the 90's one week, then dipped down into the 50's with no going back. Daytime temperatures are hovering around 40 and and our lowest night has been 18.  Brrr!

But before the winter winds blow and we're doing a happy dance because of snow days from school, I wanted to share one of my "never stop making wishes" moments.

No, this isn't about Maizy, but about tinkering with the idea of a farm stand. When fall came and it was time to prepare the garden for it's winter nap, I gathered all the final veggies and decided to make a little roadside stand. 

I pulled together an old window I found tucked in the barn along with retro chalkboards and paired them with a cheery tablecloth, honor box, and signs.  My first customer stopped before I could finish setting up!

Paper bags were filled with Brandywine and Amish paste tomatoes, jalapeƱo, banana, bell, and salsa peppers, small red and yellow potatoes, and a little recipe card.

While I don't want to commit right now to every Saturday at the Farmers' Market on the town square, this was a simple way to offer extra goodies from our garden. It was nothing big, but fun to do!

I'm already making plans for next year...how about Mason jars of sunflowers or cottage garden bouquets? Herbs...fresh and dried?  And jars of raw honey as well!

But that's next summer...for now we'll enjoy the season we are in. Time to watch the full moon rise while the fire crackles, listen to the owl in the white pine, and enjoy every minute of harvest and home.

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