Welcome to our 1864 farmhouse…life is good!

Saturday, May 20

spring in the country


Spring cleaning here,

I'm sorry to say,

Was not in March,

And here it is May!

And April too fine

To sweep remote corners

And polish and shine.

But in this fair month,

I have motivation.

If I don't clean house now,

I'll miss summer vacation!


Shared with me by a friend, the above poem is spot on for my days right now!  Yes, I began early...sorted & organized, dusted & donated, but still, there's much to do. 

However; once the air becomes warmer and the sunlight dazzles as the days become longer, it's time to shift focus...weeding, pruning, trimming, mowing, and mulching fill the days. Animal sheds get cleaned, barns begin to be repaired, and paint is touched up. 

On rainy days, with a dustpan in hand and renewed determination, I'm back to the inside. This week, a wise friend reminded me that to every thing there is a season...we've decided that goes for spring cleaning, too.


So beyond my Domestic Goddess chores, as I like to call them, there's been excitement...my daughter graduated from university with her BS in Psychology, magna cum laude, so proud of her! It was a beautiful sunshiny day for graduation followed by a family dinner out to celebrate. A week earlier, my son came home for summer from his freshman year at college...as the designated comic relief here, it's good to have him back home - both celebrations made Mothers' Day a treat!

In my last post I said I'd let you know about a mini greenhouse that makes my heart happy...here's the story.

For years, and by years, I mean decades, I've had my eye on the lovely Little Cottage Company greenhouses. While a large one would be a dream, I was even enchanted by the mini one.  Go take a look...aren't they sweet? Then, click on the link to see the details...blink as you look over the prices, and then read the fine print to see that those prices are for KITS...UNPAINTED AND UNASSEMBLED. Yikes!

I kept looking online, searching for second-hand greenhouses that were for sale. Yes, I found them...again, for thousands of dollars. Resolved that yet again, this spring the mudroom would be filled with a few trays of seeds, because any more than a just few trays makes it impossible to get in and out of the mudroom. Sigh...

Then one evening while looking online again, I came across this for sale:

Wait, that looks like the Little Cottage Company mini one. 

Nah, it couldn't be...below is the "real" Little Cottage Company greenhouse...back & forth I bounced comparing photos.

It was the Little Cottage Company mini for sale...and because they'd had it for 20 years, it was being sold for a reasonable price. The family who owned it has decided to start a flower farm, and they need a much larger, commercial-size greenhouse. This one was only being used for storage.

Oh joy, rapture! Okay...a little over an hour away - I'm thinking this is doable. I let my family know this would be my birthday and Mothers' Day gift for the year!

The owners wouldn't deliver, but if I could rent a truck, they would help me load it. My daughter and I drove up to look it over, and struck a deal...yay! And you know what, as we chatted, they offered to deliver it that same day - it was perfect. They decided they could look at wholesale flower growers in the area, and when I compared the cost of renting a truck and the price of gas, the additional charge seemed fair.

So here she is after being dropped off - Azreal is giving her a quick inspection. 

I can't tell you how many oodles of flower seeds I was able to tuck inside, while too small for them, it is just right for me. 

This week, as we had freeze warnings and icy winds blowing from the North, I was so glad that everything growing inside stayed warm and safe. In another week or two, we'll be past our usual frost date, and it'll be time to do some planting. 

As for today, quilts & sheets are on the clothesline, and one of my very favorite things to do is watch them billow, then wait and listen to them snap smartly in the wind. While sweatshirt weather today, I know soon summer will creep up and land on us with a blast of heat and humidity.

Hmmm, I'd better get back to that to-do list!

Wednesday, May 3

springtime, plus a couple "steals" and deals!

Since my last post, Spring has turned her back on our part of the Midwest. The mornings are now filled with quick bursts of cold air, icy rain, and slate gray clouds continue to hide any blue that's surely hidden behind them.  

The lilac bush by the garden has given us just a few blooms. Monday I snipped several of them to enjoy indoors, fearing that once again temperatures would dip below freezing and they would be gone for another year.

I found some vintage aerial photos and it looks like the lilac is about 50 years old...does anyone have tips or hints for helping lilacs produce more blooms each year?

In the few days that were actually spring-like, it was wonderful to be outdoors enjoying fresh air and dazzling sunlight. Compulsive activity had me starting with the chicken coop - which, I have to say, I don't recall ever being so messy! I put on my headphones and an apron, found the broom, shovel, and wheel barrow, and then filled a bucket with hot, soapy water. When I was finally done, I felt the need to get a little creative, so I rearranged the run to give them a little dust bath area, along with some logs and branches for a "playground." Clever ideas can be found online, but I decided to skip hanging a chandelier...which truly was in so many coops. What do you think, am I dismissing it too quickly... I have an old one...maybe I should reconsider?

Well, that's the springtime in my post, now for the "steals" and deals...

My cold frames are alongside the chicken run and I've found it's just the right spot for a couple of those old, springy, metal chairs. There's a simple pleasure in sitting there as the day ends, with the twinkle of fairy lights and sounds of nature. 

Each year I pull out those retro chairs, with their chippy layers of multicolored paint from all of the owners before me. They were a steal at a flea market ages ago, just a few dollars each. Every spring I look at them and try to decide if I should sand and paint them...maybe even sandblast them so they look new. And then each year I decide not to...there's just something about them I love. They're still springy, and the layers of paint just seem to tell a mid-century story.


I thought I'd take a look online and see if I could find a couple more to add to the little seating area, and so:

Look what I found...better yet


$4,320 for the pair...chippy paint and all.

Hmmm, I'm thinking I won't ever sand or paint mine (I wonder if they found a buyer?)

A few days later, at a sweet little shop in a nearby town, I found two more retro metal chairs for $8.50 each! The lady was anxious to get rid of them because of their rust, and asked me what color I was going to paint them. 

My reply?

"I'm not afraid of a little rust!"

My last "steal" for today, a zinc-topped table I've had my eye on. When the time comes, I'd like to re-do the kitchen in the old "unfitted" style, using freestanding cupboards instead of built in cabinets. I love the look of the dark blue-gray zinc patina and I learned that zinc has anti-bacterial properties making it a great surface for food prep - it was ideal for my kitchen dream!

A few days later I was back at the same little shop the yellow chairs came from, and decided to ask the price - it was unmarked. Because it had been there a long time she wanted to get rid of it...she asked me if $30 dollars was too much. 

I brought it home - happy dance!

On-line I found similar tables ranging anywhere from:

$295 - $800

The stars were aligned...what luck, and I couldn't be happier.

Soon I'll show you what I did with a freebie chair and old window box, and then tell you the story of a mini greenhouse that makes my heart happy.

Enjoy the week friends...

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