Welcome to our 1864 farmhouse…life is good!

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.

Monday, January 30

winter...the time for home


January seems to have flown by, and I feel like each day's weather brought something new. One day would be cold with chilly winds & rain, then the next morning we'd wake up to pretty spirals of falling snow that called to mind lace curtains dancing in the breeze. We've had gray mornings with snow piled up against the house & barns, and then afternoons with bright sunshine & blue skies. This week, they say we'll have single digit temperatures at night...there's nothing we can do but prepare; it is January after all. And that's okay with me, I think there's a certain warmth that comes to an old house in wintertime...candlelight paired with firelight always seems to me a cozy sight.

Like so many of you, January's found me keeping busy with "Winter Cleaning" as I've heard it called. No time for Spring Cleaning's traditional dust bunny chasing here...Spring is all about being outside. And so being the list-maker that I am, I've whipped up a lengthy To-Do...a room-by-room deep cleaning, sorting, organizing, and donating list. Off to the recycler went Tupperware lids with no bottoms and bottoms with no lids (does this only happen to me?) while magazines,  books, DVD's, and CD's we no longer enjoy have been passed along to a wonderful Friends of the Library shop our local library operates. We're lucky to have an environmental center that recycles worn tennis/athletic shoes, and I'm thinking about having a spring vintage-themed sale to pass on old glassware that seems to be taking over shelves and spilling out of boxes. Why not let someone else enjoy it and add to their collection? Oh I still have oodles to do, but it feels good to get a jump on some things. 

I love the rest that winter brings...time to plot & plan, scheme & dream. Time to put my feet up and settle in with a favorite book or good movie by 7 o'clock, and not feel guilty - because before I know it, outside work will call until nearly dark each day. And that's as it should be. Now we can do things that get put on the back-burner in warmer weather. Mother Nature needs time to rest, as do we. Winter isn't a season to get through...it has a beauty all its own. And for that, I am truly grateful.

Enjoy every day friends...

"Winter is the time for comfort,
for good food and warmth, 
for the touch of a friendly hand
and for a talk beside the fire:
it is the time for home."

-Edith Sitwell

Monday, January 9

new year, new goals...

Slipping into winter for our part of the Midwest has been gradual, except for the few days before Christmas when the "bomb cyclone" caused temperatures to suddenly drop and bring a wind was breathtakingly cold. Now, winter seems hardly noticeable with temperatures during the day in the 30's. And yet, stepping outside I'm greeted by the wisp of a chilly wind, and it reminds me yes, it's January, and snow and ice storms are most likely in the future.

This week my son went back to college...and believe me, while he was here we stuffed as much into every minute as possible - cooking favorite meals, baking non-stop, watching movies, and staying up way too late. It was good that he spent time catching up with high school friends for lunch or a movie, but for me, the best part was hearing the laughter between him and his sister...I'm always so grateful the kids are close. My daughter will be back at the ballet company next week, so her days will be long, and she's taking her last college classes, oh my time flies. So grateful she's here...we enjoy and laugh at so many of the same things!

If you remember the Grinch cookie cutters that were the pickle ornament gift, here's a look at some of their creations, and yes, they've named it a Blinch - a blue Grinch! 


Now it's time for me to get moving on a new year...working on my to-do list and ready to jump in. For me, this is the time of year for "Spring" cleaning...if I don't do it now, it'll never get done in Spring...that's the time for picking up fallen limbs from winter storms, giving the coop a deep clean, moving spent hay to the garden, and other odds & ends that come along with warmer weather and sunshine.

I love the sweet twinkle of tiny lights in winter...and I've asked the question before:

Does anyone truly enjoy taking down the Christmas tree?

Something that's so fun to put up, can be a bit melancholy to take down. Ours is always up through January, but this year, the tree is unusually dry and dropping needles, so I'll be un-decorating it (slowly) this week.

And whether the ornaments are very old,

or very new,


or hot & spicy
(my son and I LOVE peppers!),

of furry friends, 

baby feet,

or future plans,
(I'll share photos soon of the milk house
spruce-up for my cottage foods baking business)

This is always one of my very favorites...
(somewhat hard to read, but it says: Bless This Farm)

Now it's time to put my feet up and have another hot cocoa...even though it's a new year with new hopes & dreams, it's still important to enjoy the simple things: the quiet, the twinkle lights, the warmth, and the hush that is winter.

Monday, January 2

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year friends near and far...welcome to 2023! Sending you my wishes for the happiest, healthiest, loveliest year ever! 

And before we begin, if you'd like a little wintertime tune, Lindsay Stirling's Ice Storm is just right.

I stumbled upon this quote and thought it described me perfectly...it's taken from The Murmuring Cottage, which you can visit here (oh, the most beautiful photos...)

That sums me up to a T in winter. I live by the seasons, and time here just seems to have a flow to it. Perhaps it's seeing the months pass on a farm: planting, growing, harvesting, then welcome hibernation. It's an easy flow where the days slip one into another.

And with that flow of time, like so many, we were greeted with the "Bomb Cyclone" that came our way Friday December 23 when the high for the day was -4 F.  Space heaters were doing their best, along with a roaring fire, furnace, blankets, hot chocolate, warming tea, slow cooker of soup...whatever it took to stay cozy for 3 days.

Today as I write, it is 62 degrees warmer than it was on our coldest days before Christmas...it was a frosty -8 F with a bone-chilling wind making it feel as if it was -30 F. There's nothing much that can be done except bundle up and move quickly when going outdoors. Goats & chickens were kept safe & cozy with extra everything, birds of every color visited the feeders, and when Bailey and I went outside, she was oh-so speedy!

the kitchen garden under snow, 

Bailey & Azzie snuggle,

For Christmas, I always hide 3 pickle ornaments for the kids to find
on the small tree. When they find them, there's an extra little family present.
This year it was Grinch cookie cutters - more sweets to bake and eat!

Decorations will stay up for the month of January; however, I've tucked away the Santas. I always hate to put this fella away, he's one of my favorites.

now in his spot are a snowman & snowflake. 

Well, now it's time to make those Grinch cookies! I'll be back soon, with more
from the farm!

01 09 10