Welcome to our 1864 farmhouse…life is good!

Thursday, December 23, 2021

here comes Christmas!

Today a cold, steady wind from the north has been whistling around the old farmhouse, meaning outdoor chores are done quickly! The heat lamp was on last night for the girls and their beau in the coop, and goats were tucked in with an extra portion of hay and some apple slices...after all, everyone needs a little treat.

I've been baking cookies, sending out cards, and making secret shopping trips to gather stocking stuffers. Tomorrow we'll have snacks and appetizers to enjoy all afternoon, then at night we'll take our annual Christmas walk around the town square and past the shop windows. It's always fun to see the small town lights and decorations...we've been doing this for about 15 years and it just wouldn't be Christmas without it. 

If you've been reading here for awhile, you know I love old things...old houses, homespun traditions, simpler ways, and I've wondered how Christmases past were spent in 1864, when this old house was built. How did they stay warm when those frosty winter winds blew across the open fields? Burning wood and coal were the most common ways to heat a house back then...hmmm, so why am I bringing this up?

Could there be any worse time than the week of Christmas for a furnace to break? And while we wait for the parts to arrive, we're getting a small taste of an old-fashioned 1864 winter. Oh-so grateful for plenty of firewood as well as modern conveniences such as space heaters and kerosene heat. The kitchen has drawn us together like a magnet...heat from Mae, our stove, along with mugs of hot chocolate, plates of warm cookies, and a crackling fire.  (Now I know why ladies of the time wore numerous layers of clothing!)

Oh, we'll be just fine...Christmas morning we'll have cinnamon rolls, monkey bread, open gifts, and enjoy the day. Sunday the little ones I teach at church will sing "Away in a Manger" and my son is giving a talk about Christmas...a sweet way to enjoy the holiday.

From our house to yours, wishing a merry and blessed holiday season to you all!

Friday, December 10, 2021

'tis the season...

 It seems that each passing day raises our anticipation and joy in planning for Christmas...secret surprises, a visit to the tree farm, and a kitchen filled with the aroma of spicy gingersnap cookies. 

Mae, our 1950 oven (why yes, every vintage oven does needs a name!) has been going the extra mile...two ovens, two broilers, 4 burners, and room for a griddle (which I need to find) she warms the kitchen with her magical self. I often think of the past 71 Christmases she's seen...truly, the heart of our kitchen. 

I know your days are filled with busyness...the exciting kind! December is a month filled with cooking, tree-trimming, and singing. Enjoy every minute...the glow of the fire, the twinkling tree, the sound of church bells, the gathering of snowbirds.

Some snapshots of our December, from the old farmhouse...

our tree waiting for decorations

a yellow-ware bowl filled with old-fashioned potpourri

the Hoosier cupboard greets us as we come home

a tree in the window for passersby and woodland creatures

one of my favorite Santas

more of the jolly men on the mantel

such pretty pink clouds (no filter, I promise!)

an old wagon by the lamp post

a special Christmas cactus given to me
by a dear friend when my son was born.
Every year it blooms near his birthday...and while
they usually bloom for only 1-2 weeks, 
last year, it bloomed for 5 months..

inspiration...a  handmade sign in a local shop

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

happy Thanksgiving!

A morning low of 17 degrees and surfaces tinged with silver make me certain that winter can't be far behind. Reading through The Old Farmers' Almanac, it tells us to get ready for a long, snowy winter, one of the coldest in years. (And you know what, getting snowed in wouldn't bother me one, little bit!)

Autumn has found me stepping lively to get ready for the approaching winter...cords of wood are stacked in the barn and by the back door, goats and chickens have been tucked in with extra bedding, bales of hay have been delivered and put in place, food and water stores have been checked. Now, all we can do is wait and see what Old Man Winter brings us.

A brisk walk around the farm in this frosty November air clears my head as I make sure I've not forgotten anything for our family Thanksgiving. Our day starts by watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and right afterward is The National Dog Show...always fun!  We'll settle in for dinner, enjoying our traditional favorites, then we may not be able to resist a nap...followed by a movie later in the day.

Planning Thanksgiving day is one of those simple pleasures...remembering loved ones as we prepare recipes that have stood the test of time.

November also signals a settling-in time...flannel sheets are on the beds, extra quilts are freshly washed, candles are glowing, a fire is crackling. Oh-so grateful for November's blessings.

Wherever you may be, wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest home!
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin.

-Henry Alford, 1844

Thursday, November 04, 2021


Cool, crisp November weather has inspired a flurry of seasonal projects, but I'm stealing a few minutes today for a quick "Hello" between cleaning the barn and prepping for winter.

What's been happening in our corner of the world?

Well, with below freezing temperatures predicted, a few days ago I gathered the last of summer's sage and chives for drying, and took every last jalapeno from the plants in the garden (cowboy candy is addictive for me...I'll share the recipe next time!)

Sage that I missed went from this...


to this, as temperatures dropped down to 27 degrees.

For Senior Night we bundled up under blankets and brought a thermos of hot chocolate to enjoy the last football game for the year (our son plays the trumpet in the marching band).

And for Halloween, when we sat down to carve pumpkins, we discovered a little mishap. Our local farmers' market was out of orange pumpkins, so I picked some plump, yellow-ish ones. Well as the carving began, we found it impossible to cut into the pumpkins. I don't know the variety, but evidently they were not for carving, so we pulled out paints and markers in every color and set out to create our pumpkins.

You know, in the end it was much more fun, and definitely something to remember!

Early November has brought sunrises that are simply beautiful...what a way to begin the day.

Well, it's time I was back outside...I just can't seem to  successfully stifle the urge to get outdoor projects done.

This weekend, it's supposed to be near 60 degrees, and that sounds like the perfect time for a little bonfire and an evening spent enjoying the fall season.


Saturday, October 23, 2021

sweet October days...

Golden filtered light, a cat or two for company, and a smiling goat...so many simple pleasures this time of year. One of the best, is being outdoors. 

Mornings are crisp and still dark when Bailey and I go outside, and like clockwork, we're sure to hear a loud greeting from our rooster Bandito...most likely telling us it's time to start the day and he'd like a little breakfast!

Rains have been continuous all summer, making the grass thick and green...this morning it looks as though it was sprinkled with little diamonds. 

The sinking sun has given evenings a fiery glow...

as it dips below the horizon. 

Corn has been harvested...using two combines when the day is long and rain is in the forecast. 

The farmers were working so long to beat the rain, that they had pizza delivered...no time to stop for dinner. And it made me laugh...

it is just me, or does this look like the famous Big Foot photo?!


And before those predicted rains come, Maizy is covered to protect her from the leaks vintage campers are prone to...getting that tarp on is a two, or sometimes three, person job. Hoping to enjoy her a little bit longer before tucking her away for winter.

This morning the fields were covered with mist, while rays of sun peeked through the Magnolia tree...

in a minute, it was gone.

Which got me to thinking...

(Source: here)

Senior pictures have been taken and last night the marching band performed at the final high school football game...don't get me started: time is flying. 

I'm trying hard to remember that the days can easily become full of "things to do" ...  but time with each other isn't endless. 

Enjoy the season you are in...

Thursday, October 07, 2021

autumn frenzy...

In October, I'm like a squirrel preparing for winter...frenetic, some might say. And oh, how the dictionary definition makes me laugh: 

"Frenetic - fast and energetic in a rather wild and uncontrolled way."

I wouldn't say I'm particularly fast or energetic, and I'm definitely not wild and uncontrolled! However, I am determined. I keep a notebook handy with my to-do list (which is way too long) and I try to mark something off each day. Some days, a project gets shuffled to another day, but I keep plugging away. 

It's what I call Autumn Frenzy. The dash to try and outwit Mother Nature by wrapping up outdoor projects and chores...all that needs doing before the snow, ice, and brutal temperatures of Winter are upon us. Now, don't get me wrong, I love sitting next to a cozy fire while the snow piles up outside. It's a wonderful time to take a step back from the daily garden chores that are so hard to keep up with in the summer heat & humidity. But in autumn, it's hurry up time!

Farmers are busy...while corn still stands in the fields, the beans have been harvested,

and although the garden has wrapped up, the zinnias and geraniums still greet us with cheery blooms.

What's on today's list? Cleaning the chicken coop and prepping it for winter, putting the last of the garden to bed, and trimming fruit trees. it's cool and cloudy, making it a great day to dig in and get the work done!

From my little corner of the world, sending you good thoughts wherever you are, on the beautiful October day! 

(PS...if you're wondering how to make the pumpkins, it's oh-so easy. Just use a permanent Sharpie marker...it'll hold up great in the outdoor weather.)

Thursday, September 23, 2021

a change in the weather...

Last week I was wearing a broad-brimmed straw hat and trying to beat the heat & humidity.
No make-up, old gardening clothes, and giving in to the irresistible urge to spray my face and head with cold water from the garden hose (it's days like these that you hope no one drops in for an unexpected visit!)  


It's a balancing act between summer and fall...a time when the garden begins to slow down (except for the grape tomatoes and jalapeno peppers, which are non-stop), and the days are spent picking the last of the tomatoes, zucchini, and watermelon. The garden was tilled, and soon I'll add compost and put it to bed for the winter.

Saturday my goal was to pick all the Fuji apples. Apples were so abundant this year, that the limbs were bending...so after filling a wheel barrow to overflowing, I'm now whipping up apple butter and apple pie filling as quickly as I can.

True, they look nothing like store-bought apples...but that's okay, we don't spray them. And while they may not look perfectly, perfect on the outside, inside they look, and taste, terrific. 

Yesterday brought a big change in the weather...storms blew in and filled the day with rain. Today, we woke up to a breezy, brisk 48 degrees.


The leaves are changing,

the sunrises are spectacular,

as are the sunsets. 

It's time to prepare for the winter days ahead. We've stored our first order of hay with another delivery to come, and there's a little firewood left to split and stack. Soon we'll be buttoning up the chicken coop and run along with the goat shed to keep everyone cozy. 

That was a quick peek at our week, now it's time for me to get back and tackle the mountain of apples waiting for me. There's chili simmering on the stove and plans for hot chocolate later...it just seems like the perfect day for them.

My favorite time of year!

Thursday, September 09, 2021

favorite country things...

The wind is picking up and blowing across the fields surrounding the old farmhouse. Even though the weather is still warm, I can see it...that unmistakable glint of gold, you know it: a coppery glow that comes just before the sun sets. I can hear it...the rustling of drying field corn as the towering 8-foot tall stalks sway back and forth bumping into one another. The seasons are changing, and it's time to stack wood, put the garden to bed, and do all that needs "doing" before winter arrives. There's a cozy feeling that comes from knowing "all is well" before the snow flies and the temperatures drop.

However; before that snow flies, there's still much to do...and these cooler, breezy days with no humidity are perfect for trying to check off as many jobs as possible on my (seemingly endless) to-do list. 

And because I know wherever you are, your days are full, this post is short on words and instead filled with snapshots of our days on the farm.

Savor it all friends, the winding down of summer and preparing for autumn...gathering, harvesting, putting-by. Ahhh, the lingering days of summer's pleasures.   

Oh this one? Nah, it's not on the farm.
But wouldn't it be great pulling Maizy?
 A 1953 Packard...
I think I'd name her Lilly-Mae or Ida-Belle.

Must. Have. Vintage. Car.
Truck...I'm not picky!

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