Welcome to our 1864 farmhouse…life is good!

Tuesday, May 29

a small town parade...

Some glimpses from our town's Memorial Day parade...

A day spent...

~honoring our hometown heroes
~remembering the past
~tapping our toes to the marching band
~standing, hats removed and hands over hearts, as the flag passes by
~cheering and clapping as our kids lead their llamas in the parade
~adoring the next generation

"Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier.
We do not have to become heroes over night. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing
that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared,
discovering we have the strength to stare it down."
 -Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, May 24

May in all its splendor...

Some country pleasures never seem to change. With the windows are open, the sweet scent of freshly-cut grass drifts in, a woodpecker can be heard in the big maples surrounding our front yard, and a cherry-red cardinal is perched on a windowsill.  Now that summer is on its way, we’re rediscovering the joys she brings with her.

I was gifted with a fountain for Mothers’ Day, and it seems many of the honeybees from a neighboring farm have found it irresistible. They too can be heard buzzing happily as they move from flower-to-flower, then pause to take a little drink. Tractors rumble in the fields, and peepers sing loudly each evening.

The farmer’s market is now open on our town square…what a joy each spring! Walkways are scattered with tables that are filled to overflowing. We can find vegetable plants for our gardens, home-baked pies, bags of crisp lettuce, plump red radishes, and bundles of green onions. A corner stand can be found selling farm-fresh eggs, honey, and the prettiest bouquets of wildflowers tucked inside Mason jars. The chatter of friends catching up and farmers giving tips on how to best prepare their just-picked produce is everywhere, as is the laughter of children as they play hide-and-seek between the large shade trees.

A continuous string of warm days here in the Midwest means we’re enjoying sun-dried sheets as well. It’s a simple pleasure to hang sheets and quilts on the clothesline and then watch them snapping smartly in the breeze. By early afternoon, they’ll be dry and brought indoors, then tonight, our family will sink into sheets that smell faintly of sunshine and clover…sure to bring pleasant dreams.

Our last frost date has officially passed, so today we’ll be planting tomatoes, potatoes, beans, cucumbers, squash, corn, and other family favorites. A visit to the local nursery found the kids choosing fragrant herbs to tuck into the fairy garden. Cinnamon basil, German thyme, spearmint, and apple mint will surround a little house, table & chairs, and a tire swing…all fairy-size, of course. Then we’ll wait, and if we are patient, maybe shimmering fairies will come to visit and stay for the summer.

This time of year we find so many things filling up our calendar…weddings, graduations, picnics, and school activities. Kids are looking forward to a summer of sleeping in, staying up late, chasing fireflies, and as much unplugged fun as we can have. Each day is honey-gold, full of anticipation, and will pass all too soon. Let’s enjoy every minute!

Thursday, May 17

another old barn...

"Barns are landmarks,
the symbols of rural life that spark our curiosity
and fan the flames of the American spirit."

-Laura Brooks, "American Landmarks: The Barn"

This is another old barn I passed a few weeks ago. Red, like most of the barns in the Midwest,
and with one lightning rod leaning a bit, it's still standing strong and put to good use on a nearby farm...
that always makes me smile.

After I placed the photo, I noticed a little "halo" over the barn...see it?
It's not a special effect I added, it just appeared when I dropped the photo in place.
Seems like a sign to me...yes, in my mind, barns are heavenly.

Monday, May 14

springtime iris...

This iris has a history all its own.

Each day when I drove to work, I'd pass an abandoned old homestead. Even though the house had been neglected for years, it was still full of 19th century character and charm. I used to drive by it and think, "With a little love, and yes, a lot of money, it could be such a pretty home once again." 

It had all those characteristics we don't see in newer homes...quaint zig-zag trim, a large beautifully carved front door, and a wide front porch that was just perfect for a row of rocking chairs. It sat on a
small hill, and I could see in my mind's eye the lovely views it must have offered the families that once lived there.

Then, while driving home one day, I could see black smoke in the distance. As I drove closer, I saw that the house I found so charming had been burned down. To me, this was just too sad. Didn't anyone want to claim it?

A few days later, I went by again, and on a whim pulled into the gravel drive. I stood there and looked around...nothing was left. However, in a corner of the yard, an iris was struggling to bloom. And yes, without thinking twice, I dug it up and brought it home with me. I felt like something of the homestead should remain and be cared for.

It's taken several years for the iris to bounce back, but this year, it seems in all its glory.

Sunday, May 13

Wednesday, May 9

old barns...

In this fast-paced, newer-is-better world, I have a soft spot in my heart for things that are old.
Old houses, old barns, old ways of doing things.

I understand that "old" oftentimes means more work. We've found our house has "charming" slanted floors & doorways, and finding someone to plaster walls is next to impossible. All these things make renovating challenging, and yes, I've thrown my hands in the air many times thinking it would be better to start new.

But after all, houses from 1864 have seen a lot of laughter, tears, and love. It's comforting to walk on the floors and look through the rooms and out the windows where so many generations before us have done the same.

I feel the same about barns. You'll see a bit of the old construction of our small barn here. And while it needs a little love...that's exactly what it will get.

So when I saw this old barn down the road with all the boards gone, I understood. Wood rots over time and it would be nice to put fresh, strong boards on the outside. The frame stood straight and strong...what a fine barn it will be again.

However; a few days later, I drove by only to see this...

Yes, the frame had been removed...I'm hoping it found a home on a new farm. What you see burning was only some remaining wood; however, there was still a sadness to it all.

I'm going to keep a file and photograph old homes and barns as I find them, and perhaps I'll add them to a weekly post. There's just something captivating in their age and character. And, sadly, I feel that most of these vanishing landmarks will soon exist only through photography.

These words seem so true...

"Those who seek the spirit of America might do well to look first in the countryside."

-Eric Sloane, "An Age of Barns"

Thursday, May 3

just for fun!

Life on the farm doesn't always mean cleaning the hen house, wondering if the latest frost harmed the fruit trees, asking myself if this is the year to become beekeepers, or tackling a seemingly endless to-do list.

Sometimes, something just plain FUN comes along on the farm!

This past weekend Sweet Girl had the opportunity to be in the high school musical, Seussical. There were so many characters needed, that auditions were held at the elementary schools. And so in January, thrilled to make the elementary cut, Sweet Girl began rehearsals.

The last few weeks most rehearsals were 4 hours, 4 nights a week. The days were long, and the mornings came much too early, but she was having a ball trying something new and loving every minute of it.

And so, here's our FUN...Sweet Girl, the tightrope walker in Seussical!

posing for a cast photo...

singing with the Circus...
with the sweet little Elephant Bird...

Now the makeup (which was beautifully done) did make Sweet Girl look a bit older...gulp.

And I did tell her..
"Now if anyone should ask,
tell them you are still in elementary school, 
and yes, you are tall for your age; 
however, you won't be dating for 5 more years, 
and then it will only be double dates!"

Sigh...what's a mom to do?

Mom worries aside, we all had a terrific time making sweet memories!

01 09 10