Welcome to our 1864 farmhouse…life is good!

Wednesday, June 16

plump strawberries & sun-dried sheets...the joys of June

In our little corner of the world, the recent weather has been just perfect: partly sunny with a cool, almost chilly, breeze from the north. It has made gardening, weeding, and outdoor chores so much easier than they are in the dreaded heat and humidity we usually experience. 

What are we up to? Well, I'm tackling my To-Do list (does it ever end?),  our son is working on 4H projects; he's taking two cooking projects this last year and we've been treated to some terrific meals and sweet treats!  Our daughter is preparing to go to a month-long ballet intensive with a ballet company 3 hours away...her dancing is filled with such power, grace, stamina, speed, & heart. And hubby is mowing, mowing, mowing. 

Today's post is simply lots of snapshots...things you might see if you stopped in to visit.

fresh strawberries are here!

lupines have been replaced by baby's breath and rose campion

amazing clouds, 

colorful skies, 

the day's end at a nearby farm, 

and another sky I just had to remember. 

taking a side road home, we were blessed to see a mama and newborn calf!

oodles of these pretty Japanese Parasol mushrooms in the backyard,
but take a closer look:

tiny droplets on a spider's web

fields of winter wheat,

and corn that's already knee high.

So here we are, taking it all in. Now is a good time to stop, look around, and remember that time is fleeting. Yes, there's much to do, but let's remember the value of relaxing...balance is the key.

Wednesday, May 26

May...always a whirlwind!

For us, it always seems like May is a whirlwind of activity...I'm sure it is for many of you as well. School is wrapping up, which means the normal schedule is higgledy-piggledy, then there's the itch to finish up cleaning and organizing indoors before the flurry of outdoor activity begins. You know the drill: flowerbeds need weeding, the garden needs tilling, and the grass continues to grow and grow.

But in my effort to enjoy the simple pleasures, I've tried to slow down the May frenzy to look around me. I've found that this year, the perennial flowers seem to be bigger and more colorful than ever...maybe it was:

the late snow...

frosty mornnigs...

foggy days...

or summer-like heat. 

Whatever it was, they are overflowing with color and have never looked so pretty.

May also means my favorite little farmers' market opens, and now it's bursting with strawberries and rhubarb...so jam-making time is also at hand. Homemade jam is oh-so easy, and in mid-winter, when the snow flies, there's nothing like the taste of summer that can be found when opening a little jar of jam you've made yourself.

And where better to let those little jars of berry goodness cool, than on a Hoosier cupboard? If you've been visiting here for awhile, you know I LOVE old things, and a Hoosier-style cupboard is something that's been on my wish list for ages. I really haven't seen many locally, until one popped up in an antique shop off the town square. I took a close look, but you know what? It was just too perfectly, perfect. It didn't look like it had any history or that it had been worn from the daily use of a farm wife, so I put it out of my mind. 

Then, a few weeks later, I thought I'd search online; I was surprised to find one. It was about an hour away and the price was just too good not to look it over. So, on a Saturday morning, my daughter and I made the trip to see the cupboard...I'm so thankful for GPS maps! Oh my, we were driving through beautiful winding roads, over hills, and through valleys...and I had only a rough idea of where we were. 

When we finally arrived, I knew instantly it was coming home with me. It had been loved...it was not "perfectly, perfect", but had the signs of times past...a chip here, a worn spot there. Just my style. I'm not sure of the maker...looking at the hardware, it seems to match maybe a Boone, Kitchen Maid, or a Marsh brand. The numbers 9050 are stamped on the back. Anyone who might know, your thoughts are welcome! 

The woman selling it was like a kindred spirit...we had the same love for old things. Then, before we left, the price was dropped...by one-third of the asking price! She was anxious to make room for a Sellers cupboard she'd discovered...the cabinet of her dreams. This was just too good to be true!


Oodles of storage room...

and she has her original sifter...

a perfect spot for summertime canning, the enamel top pulls out another 12 inches, it'll be great for making noodles or cooling cookies.

a closer look at the handwritten cookbook...I found this years ago, and it's so sweet. This page features Apple Dumplings and Huckleberry Pudding.

My grandmother's handwritten recipe cards are tucked under the cookie cutter...Bread & Butter Pickles, Green Tomato Relish, and other old-fashioned favorites.

It makes me smile every time I walk by...the simple things in life are the best.

I suppose I am a sparrow, a stay-at-home bird.

-Gladys Taber


Thursday, May 6

Today it was 32 degrees when Bailey and I took our first walk outside. There was a foggy mist across the fields paired with a glittering frost on the grass. In our part of the Midwest we continue to swing between t-shirt weather and sweatshirt weather...the latter making spring chores so much easier. I am most definitely a sweatshirt gal...the heat and humidity of summer make me cranky, even when I start garden chores early in the morning, I'm often stopping to splash my face, or sometimes dunk my entire head, into a cold spray of water from the hose. While it certainly cools me off, it's not a pretty sight...luckily for me, the animals don't mind and I've had no early morning visitors!

Today's post is a short one; just a little walk around the farm on this fine day.

grateful for perennials returning, 


and for candy onions popping up.


grateful for a shady spot to rest,  

and a wagon-full of hostas shared by a neighbor.

Lastly, had for a song (and some may say, "I can see why!" because not everyone loves old and worn) a little picket fencing by the chicken coop. I've been wanting a little section here for ages and this just makes me smile.

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by.
And that has made all the difference."
-Robert Frost, 
The Road Not Taken

Thursday, April 29

thoughts on the weather, and more about the month of April...

Under the April sky we've heard the call of the mockingbirds during the day, and the "yip" of coyotes at night. On days the weather was fine, flowerbeds were weeded, the vegetable garden tilled, and the chicken coop cleaned top-to-bottom (happy hens, indeed!)  Many, many tree limbs have been split and stacked for firewood (the result of a late winter wind storm), and we've started our warm-weather ritual of: mow, trim, repeat. I've decided my perfect temperature is 65 degrees...cool enough that outdoor chores can be done comfortably, but warm enough to chase off the chill.

But all too soon the lovely promise of spring...

was met with a trick by Mother Nature...4 inches of snow!

For 3 nights in a row I used every spare blanket and sheet I could find to try and protect the tender perennials. Somehow, they seem to be doing just fine. And too tall to try and cover, only time will tell if the fruit trees and their tender blossoms will bring fruit this summer. 

However; even with the cold and snow, April has given us many glorious backdrops...

and we know that neither snow, nor showers can dampen our love of a quiet life and the simple pleasure of springtime in the country.

April, sweet April...

(for Janice: who shared her wonderful crock collection here, this is the crock pattern I mentioned...any thoughts on the name? It's hard to see, but there are 9 of those little lines on the right.)

Thursday, April 1

April dreams...

Stepping outside today I'm greeted with the smell of freshly turned earth from the fields around the old farmhouse. It's a rich fragrance, and when paired with the sweet-scent of pine needles and damp leaves, it lets me know that spring is here. A time for planting seeds, making plans and tidying up. 

Under the April sky, I can hear hear a cardinal in the distance, and a friendly mockingbird perches on the dinner bell by our back door...a springtime ritual I look forward to each year. I like to think Molly (as I've named her) has come to wish me happy spring, but I have a feeling her true motive is to sneak a little cat food that's sitting close by!

We're preparing for Easter; there's a lemon cakepop candle burning, colorful eggs drying, hyacinths dressing up the table, and favorite recipes being prepared.  If you're still planning Easter dinner, here's a salad recipe I love...it was given to me when I started my first job. We'd had a company potluck and I just couldn't get enough of this!

Broccoli Salad

1 head broccoli, chopped
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
1 red onion, diced
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
6-8 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar

Combine first 5 salad ingredients together; set aside. Whisk mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar; drizzle over salad. Toss to blend; serve.

You can definitely make this your own...add more, or less of the salad ingredients, toss in some dried cranberries or raisins, even some slivered almonds or walnuts.

Last week I passed an old home in a nearby small town...the front and side yards were filled to overflowing with the most lovely blue Forget-Me-Not blooms. I couldn't help but find a spot to park and take pictures. A neighbor, sitting on a nearby porch, commented: "Aren't they beautiful...I know spring is coming." Then went on to tell me the owners of the home are in their 90's and that the flowers have been blooming for decades. 

I think I'll scatter some seeds around this old house. The blooms will have faded before it's time to mow and it would be so pretty...yes, plans for next spring.

Last night a soft, rosy glow with a touch of purple streaked across the sky as the sun was setting...a perfect springtime sky. Wherever you are, wishing you a happy spring, Easter, and time to savor the beauty of each day.

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