Thursday, February 5, 2015

More than roses

Mushroom from Trader Joe's float --
Lima beans (white) and cranberries.. 
Did you know there is a "pretty" end to the cranberries??

My gal pal Donna and I had an amazing trip to Los Angeles for this year's Tournament of Roses Parade. We signed up as volunteers to work on a float while there. We were assigned the "Trader Joe's" float for the day. What fun! We learned about how the floats are designed, the natural products used on them, and the variety of glues used to stick it all together for the big day! And, we learned how 500 volunteers in one building are all kept busy AND fed!

Trader Joe tire -- cranberries,rice, flower pedals, tea leaves

Flowers, stems removed, glued and awaiting placement

Flower building -- everything divided by float!
Nearly done!
The "Trader Joe's" float with scaffolding and workers all around.

The float building was a wonder in organization and planning! Everyone had a job; no one was more or less important or useful. And, everyone we met was just as happy at the end of the long, hard working day as they were at the beginning. 

What fun to see all the floats two days later in the parade. And, while it snowed and there was record cold, we had a marvelous time. After all, life is a party, isn't it? 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

First Day Musings: Finding Beauty

Whitetop Mountain

We live where it is beautiful all year round. Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Every season has something terrific to offer and dazzle the hungry eye and heart.

Creek apples we discovered on the far side of our creek. 
They make delicious applesauce.

Beauty surrounds us; however, isn't it so easy to overlook it? We see it every day. It grows familiar and, before we know it, we no longer see the beauty around us.

Coming home from Los Angeles, January 2,
after attending the Tournament of Roses Parade. 

It only takes leaving home, though, to bring that beauty fresh to our minds when we return to the place where we are loved. We are home.

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. -- Confucious

Look for beauty this week!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Buttoned Up...

Buttoned Up Valentine
Recently, the Mister's mother gifted me with about 5000 buttons she has saved over the past 60 years.

She had sorted them by color and size. 
They were stored in a screw / nail box. 

Looking at all these buttons, I was overwhelmed with what to do with them. After all, how many generations do you think these buttons would serve. Then, I remembered seeing something similar on Pinterest.

I pulled out my cross stitch fabric scraps and found a lovely piece of linen that was perfect. I drew a freehand heart and then started selecting buttons, previewing them as I went. Several hours and many miles of white thread later, I had this dear little guy. Click on the picture to embiggen the picture and see all the buttons. They are mah vo lous!

Just look at all the colors!
Aren't they terrific? 

Now, all I need to do is give it a little press, stretch it in the frame, viola! Custom Valentine's Day art!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Banks Away!

I love big trucks! 

Here on the farm we have been involved in a very interesting project -- stream bank remediation. Our creek flows into the New River (which has been designated a historical river) and has been designated as a priority stream for restoration. The project is quite involved.

First, we had to make application to the Soil and Water Conservation office to have our stream studied to determine if the project would be useful. The goal is to keep farm animals out and off the stream banks to reduce pollution and to retain them to prevent erosion, thus protecting the New. Our project is quite unique in that we find artifacts frequently on our farm -- mostly Native arrowheads and tools. So, we had to have not only the Army Corp of Engineers study the potential wetlands and indigenous plants, but also the State Archeologist had to sign off that we did not have any Native burial mounds in our bottom pasture where the creek runs through. If we had, the Nations would have been notified and made the final determination about the project. The mound could be relocated or the project could have been stopped.

These rocks are the size of motorcycles!

After all that was approved, an engineer created a multi-step plan, we approved it, signed the contracts, and the project was underway. As I write this, it sounds so easy. Actually, it was more than a year in the works... and there were times we really thought nothing was going to happen.

But, the big day came and huge equipment arrived; rocks were rolled in; loads of gravel were dumped; and all kinds of interesting landscape material arrived! How exciting!

I am standing in the bucket!

And, eight weeks later... we have gone from this... 

Wild, beautiful and floods every single rain storm.
Check out the debris!

To this... 

Flood-free, easy to mow along, fenced to keep the cows out --
heaven to walk every night! 
There are still a few things to complete: more fencing, a well for the animals to drink from, and more native plantings. But, isn't it a lovely thing? And, YOU helped to do this! Won't you come for a walk sometime soon, say, around twilight?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Being home creates a sort of rhythm for me; and, it is never tiring or boring. I cannot imagine ever feeling as if there were nothing to do. Days are simple and each has its unique flavor.


 my flour container is an old coffee jar

Is bread day... Since I have broken two joints on my right hand (yes, I am right-handed!), I am using my bread machine. The Mister loves plain bread, so that is what will be waiting when he gets in tonight. 

 Cooky, please?
Babies everywhere! We have 16 right now of which 11 are bucks. I go out and sit on the rocks in the pasture with the girls in the afternoon. They sun and search my apron pockets for animal cookies. They are such pigs! 

Working on the garden. the white posts mark the berries; the yellow mark the end of the asparagus rows; and, the rest is tilled and ready for planting. We are going to build a pallet fence around the garden this year to keep the deer out. I have  found a neat product called "PlotSaver" that we will use, too. My friend Arwen and I have been stalking the pallet fences on Pinterest. Her's is up and can be seen here. While you are there, check out her aprons and repurposed items! She is so talented! 

And, in the afternoons, while having tea, I watch this: 

 hello, Ms. Phoebe

oh, waitress!! more, please!

I can't keep this filled! We have hummers from April 17 - ?? every year. This year I have four feeders up and they are not enough! 

 aren't you done, yet??

And that's my cue. Miss Annie-Bananie has something of great urgency --- she hasn't been kissed or petted in five whole minutes.... So I am off to get some stellar kitty love and see what the day brings! 

Have a marvelous week!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Babeeeeee Bottles

On the farm there are many chores that I love to do. One of them is this:

 Making ba-BEE bottles. We lost a lot of hives last year because of the excessive rain and cool temps. Then, with winter's brutal advent, we lost many more -- a total of 10 hives gone! Sigh. We are left with three, so we are going to pet them along and hope to split them in June to double our hives. 

This means I will be giving them lots of TLC this spring by feeding them every day. The formula is easy -- 1:1 sugar and water mixed. The feeders go in the "hive door" so the ladies can help themselves to a sip when they want (and that is a lot of sips --- about a quart a day or more!). This honey is used ONLY for the gals. We don't take it at all. We only take the honey made from pollen. 

This little black blob is Miss Annie. She came to me last summer after Wookie died. In fact, I think he sent her to me. She is playing with a hair band. All the stuffed animals next to the Victrola are ones that she has found in the house and piled in the corner. If I am gone "too long" she will leave a trail of them from the door to the bed to welcome me home. She makes me laugh and I am so happy she choose me. In the background is The New Front Door That Took Ten Months To Get! Finally! It is going to be purple! Can't wait! 
 The violets are having a contest to see who can be most lovely. I have kept violets since I was 16 and got my first one from Grandmother. They bloom at Christmas, Easter, and through the summer. The north window in the dining room makes them happy which means I am happy, too! 

Still loving this guy from Christmas... all hand blown bird ornaments from Germany. Once Annie learned they were NOT toys, we have both been happier! 

We discovered these unfinished maple bow back chairs in the Mister's parents' garage when we were cleaning their house. They were so mildew stained that there was no refinishing them. However, I have been dying to try chalk paint. I tried making some, but wasn't pleased with the finish. So, I bit the bullet and picked up some Annie Sloan. Oh my! If you haven't tried it, let me just say, you get what you pay for! Goes on "like buttah!" and has the nicest finish. For the "distressed look" I mixed some dark with clear wax. I love the texture it gives the chairs and makes them seem much older and more used than they are. The chair pad is half of a pair I found at the antique mall. They are hooked in cotton; I suspect they are from the 70s when all the Bicentennial decorating was hot!

We are sinking under rain today. So... I am off to make some soap, clean a little, and, then, feeding time! Have a super week!

Monday, February 10, 2014


Dancing Stars!

Courtney at Sassafras and Winterberry sent me this cutie patootie
when I admired her rug hooking. 
I have worked to learn the art of this new needlework and 
feel that the result is well worth it. 
Next up..
Darling honey bee inspired chair pads for the dining room. 

Duck tape.. 
Have you seen what they have developed now?? 

Too cute or what? 
 I thought Duck Tape was only for patching. 
Heck, no! 
This is the "smooth top" variety. 
Can you believe there are four other styles
all for the care and comfort 
of your cabinets? 
It is padded and washable with a cloth. 
In heaven! 
I am doing a roll a day until all the kitchen cabinets 
are wiped and tidied for spring. 

Annie is sitting next to me and being a dor a ble. 
Supper time! 

Meanwhile, it is snowing... 
How about you?