Welcome to our 1864 farmhouse…life is good!

Thursday, July 27

bottles in the barn...

Living in a house built in 1864 has its challenges...easy-to-crack plaster walls, tiny closets, and the occasional slanted floor (drop a pencil and watch it roll!)

It also has its delightful positives...fireplaces in the kitchen, dining room, and what was probably a front parlor at one time. There's wood wainscoting and floor to ceiling windows...old houses have character, and that's what I love. For as long as I can remember, I've loved old things and been interested in them...old houses, old music, old movies, old ways, and I've always loved history. It's just how I am wired, as they say.

While this was originally a working farm with horses, milk cows, sheep, and pigs, over the years it moved on to become a dairy farm, and lastly a horse farm. It's not unusual to find horse shoes, square head nails, even an old cross-cut saw when going through the barns. Recently I decided it was time to tidy up the smaller barn. This one tends to store the garden tools, outdoor holiday decorations, and any other assortment of "things" that just don't seem to belong anywhere else.

So with renewed determination, I set out to organize and sort. I never know what I'll find when I begin digging in these old buildings...this one in particular has the farmers handwriting on the wall along with phone numbers, wooden pegs, and beams that look as if they were chiseled with an axe.

On a dusty shelf, I found a collection of bottles, so I carefully washed them, did some research, and enjoyed a little history lesson from my own homestead.

Here they are before a sudsy, warm bath...

A little digging told me this bottle, which warns...

"Federal law forbids sale or reuse of this bottle"

was on all liquor bottles between 1935 and 1964 and was meant to discourage the use of the empty bottles being filled with homemade "moonshine" which would then be sold. Evidently very common during Prohibition!


The large, clear bottle on the right is a vintage Arkansas Glass jug - I'm not sure what might have been inside, I like to think it was something wholesome like apple cider!

The amber bottle in the center was made by Illinois glass...1915 to 1929, and the smaller clear jar is a Hazel-Atlas canning jar, probably dating from 1915.

All washed and cleaned, I put them together, I just felt like they needed to be safe inside:

I also found a 1945 Pepsi bottle, a 1947 Coke bottle, and a fun, polka-dot Cotton Club creme soda bottle, but I can't pin down the year on it. Lots of fun, the soda bottles will be filled with cheery flowers for a summertime centerpiece.

Now, this bottle was NOT brought inside...the markings are:


I soon found out that marking meant it was a chemist apothecary bottle..and yes, I should have had gloves on...the photo was taken before I realized there was liquid inside.  YES liquid!

Back to the barn, in a safe spot, it went...hmmm, what to do?

And that's my tale from the farm today...vintage bottles once filled with soda, "moonshine", hopefully apple cider, and well, who knows about that last one! 

source: Susan Branch


Friday, July 21


Rainbows & rainstorms, heat & humidity, flowers & fruit...July on the farm is brimming with much to do...but also much to enjoy. 

While reading Billie Jo's blog this morning, I felt inspired to follow her lead...why not take today to share some of the photos from my phone? Oh they add up quickly! 

Happy Friday, friends, enjoy your weekend!

4th of July fireworks 

storm clouds moving in, 

but clearing in time to enjoy July's Hay (or Blueberry) Moon.

Zucchini, squash, & watermelon in the garden...

so excited because they are the first plants grown from seed
in my little greenhouse! 

blooms in my Friendship Garden
(I shared the same seeds with a good friend that I don't see often...
it makes my heart happy to know she's seeing the same flowers)

These sprinklers make me smile!
They're fun to look at, but really do a great job as well.

I've had this scarecrow for ages, and this year I
tucked him inside an old water trough - why not have
a little fun in the garden?

mare & foal on a nearby farm,

and flowers, flowers, flowers
(also started in that mini greenhouse!)

I'll end with a snapshot of this little Bandit bravely looking for a snack.
We really do have the most polite 
raccoons...they keep their distance
and never get into any mischief! 

Monday, July 10

Monday musing...


"Knee High by the 4th of July!"

I'm guessing this old saying is one that most of you have heard hundreds of times...but, if it's new to you, here's a little background.

It's said the first time farmers began using this phrase was in 1846...

"It has been considered that if corn was knee high
by the Fourth of July that the crop was sure and safe."

~Iowa Sumner Gazette, 1846 

And so for the last 177 years, it's been a ruler to measure just how bountiful the harvest will be...the corn crop should reach the height of a farmer's knee by Independence Day, July 4.


As a Midwesterner, the phrase "knee-high by the fourth of July" is one I have heard all my life. However, (and we're a tall family) I have just one question...

7 feet, 11 inches

Just exactly whose knee is this tall?!


Saturday, July 1

rabbit, rabbit!

Happy July 1st...how can that be?! And like I do the first of every month (or at least try to),
I welcomed the day by saying:

"Rabbit, Rabbit!"

No, I didn't see a rabbit, but ages ago I read about an old superstition where if a person says the words "rabbit, rabbit" out loud when they first wake up, it brings them good luck for the rest of that month.

And what if we forget to say it? Well, we're covered there, too! It's said we're in the clear if we say:

"Tibbar, Tibbar" (rabbit spelled backwards)  

Silly? Maybe, but why take chances...I can always use some good luck!

Just like yours, the days here are busy...I think I'm done tinkering outside. Yes, tinkering...maybe it's the design degree, or just how I'm wired, but I can't pop the flower & veggie plants in place in and move on...they always seem to need a little "something."

While cleaning out barns, I've been keeping my eyes open for those little "somethings." What to do with watering cans that leak, old metal rakes, broken dishes, or rusty utensils? Yes, I could recycle them...we have a great company that takes most items, but why not recycle them in my own yard?

Here's a peek: 

A broken rake head helps support a climbing clematis,

and a rusty flour sifter is home to some old-fashioned hens & chicks,

Shame on me...the bottom came out of a heavy box of Fiesta-ware plates and so many were broken, but I couldn't just throw them away. So, into the garden they went, filling in empty spots and adding a pop of color.

My favorite color of blue! this little bucket is filled with mis-matched old silverware, a tiny spring, tart pans, and a little ceramic bird that needed a home.

Freebie chairs seem to be my "thing" lately...remember when I found this wicker chair? Well, this one was alongside the road as a giveaway and I couldn't pass it up! With a hole cut out of the seat, it is just right for holding summer flowers.

These goodies were found in the barn ages ago, and for years I've loved filling the wash tubs with flowers in summer, pumpkins in fall, and then greenery at Chrismas. This year I attached a couple of stakes to the back of the old window frame and tucked it behind the flowers. 

A watering can with a hole in the side still finds a spot,

while a broken rake helps hold up the window in a cold frame. 

That's my little garden tour for today....who knew that "junk" could be so much fun?

And while I'm gardening, like many of you, we're seeing the smoke from Canadian wildfires in our skies. I just read that there are 500 active fires, with 257 classified as "out of control." 

Our thoughts are with all of those affected by the wildfires and hoping that relief will come quickly and that the skies will once again be blue and full of promise.

Wishing you a quiet weekend, filled with dancing butterflies and the flash of a hummingbird...simple pleasures that are ours for the taking.

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