Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Silly Kitties

My last post was about two new additions to our little farm family, Creamsicle and Oreo.  We have decided to 'transport' them to their new house in the fifth wheel along with Precious and Hunter, who are slowly warming up to the newcomers.  So, to hopefully make the move less of a traumatic experience for them I have been letting them in so they can get used to the space.  (We're still working on the cat-box issue though.)

I have to say, they've made themselves 'at home'.  Check this out...

here's Oreo relaxing on the recliner with his tongue sticking out...

Hahaha!  So cute!

Then yesterday, Creamsicle was sleeping in LizzieBelle's bed until I startled him.  He jumped up and stepped out of the bed then decided everything was OK.  This is how he fell back asleep...

Is that funny or what?!  Hahaha!  Cracks me up!

And, I think he likes the afghan I'm working on.

Speaking of afghan, I'm about two-thirds done with it.  I bought some more yarn yesterday (since it was on sale) but they didn't have all that I needed.  I am guessing that I will need about 4 more skeins of the Woods print, which is the lightest color that has flecks of both the sage and taupe in it.  I'm really liking how it is turning out.  It is so soft and I love the texture that this simple pattern makes.  I hope to have most of it finished by the time we move cuz we're going to need it up there!

And, speaking of moving, we think it will be soon.  But, in this industry, we really never know.  The day CountryBoy comes home from work with his tool and gang boxes in the back of the truck is when we will know we are moving, ha!

So, stay tuned.  Hopefully it won't be long now!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Farmhands

Let me introduce you to two soon-to-be new farmhands...

this is Creamsicle

and this is Oreo

Such sweeties!

Let me fill you in on how these two came into our family...

Oreo and his Mom, Callie, were wandering around the RV park, hiding under cars and hanging around whoever would feed them.  One of our neighbors kept food out for them so they hung around there quite a bit.  Then, the neighbors left for a while so there was no food being put down.

Callie, a super-sweet, friendly and highly energetic bob-tailed Calico came out to greet me one day when I was walking LizzieBelle.  Her baby, Oreo, was very shy and simply hung back and watched.
After another day or two and the neighbors still hadn't returned I felt bad so I put some some food out for them.  They gobbled it up.

Eventually, the neighbors returned so Callie and Oreo went back and forth between the two of us and before long they were both putting on some weight and for Oreo, gaining our trust.  Eventually, they stopped going over to the other camper.  Better food?  More attention?  Combination?  Who knows.

Meanwhile, another neighbor enjoyed Callie's antics so when he finished the job and headed home he took Callie with him.  Yay! Now I am feeding only one stray.

During the time I was feeding Callie and Oreo I would occasionally see an orange cat with a terrible limp hanging around the park and fence.  It was always cautious and never let anyone get too close.

Until one day... I stepped outside to feed Oreo and the orange cat was sitting by the fence watching.  I could literally see him sitting there trying to decide whether or not he should take the chance of adopting us.  Directly, he was limping his way over to me and meowing.  Almost as if he was asking if it was OK.  Seriously.  For weeks, this cat was so leery of people and wanted nothing to do with them and then in one instant he changed his mind.  I still shake my head over witnessing that.

He lets me pet him, hold him up, check out his bum leg (which, I believe is dislocated), pick ticks off him (yuck) and now he curls up in the crate I have outside that is stuffed with blankets and contentedly goes to sleep.

We will be taking both of them with us when he head to Kentucky.

Part of their job at the farm will be keeping the mice population down.  I know Oreo will be a good mouser (since he was playing with a dead one right outside our door) and hopefully Creamsicle will be as well.

Honestly, I do not go in search of stray animals.  They just find me.  And it breaks my heart.  And I can't resist.  And my poor husband who knows I'm such a softy.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Bursting With Excitement!

Happy 2015 y'all!l

It's the fifth day of the new year and I'm already about to explode with excitement!

But first, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that your new year is starting off on the right foot.

CountryBoy and I had a wonderfully fun-filled, food-filled, Nertz-filled, visiting-filled, travel-filled and productive Christmas and New Years!

It's been two years since we have been able to spend Christmas with family and this year, thanks to a closer proximity and CountryBoy's job, we were able to travel back to Florida to visit with family and friends for Christmas.  AND, we were even able to make use of some extra time off to load a rental truck and our truck with the bulk of our belongings and take them up to the farmstead. Yay!  That is one huge to-do crossed off our mental list of things to do.  We even spent the first day of 2015 at our new farm.  What a blessing (even though we spent it unloading a rental truck).  Nevertheless, a blessing indeed!

We still have some things like photo albums, pictures, lamps and some miscellaneous items that wouldn't fit or wouldn't bode well in storage so family members will bring what they can when they come up to visit and check out the new place.  We are already excited about having company even though the place will be a disaster for a while, wink!

As I mentioned above, we had to put all of our belonging in a storage building at the new property.  See, there was a domino effect after our closing.  The seller needed our money to buy her new place and the seller of her new place needed her money to finish some remodeling of their new place.  Therefore, our seller was unable to move into her new place and all of her stuff was still in our house.  sigh.  But, it will actually work out quite well.  We will be able to work on the house without anything being in the way and it will allow me to sort through the boxes and bring in only the stuff we want in the house.  The rest will be tossed or donated.

We only brought a few pieces of furniture with us; the rest were either sold or given away to family and friends.  We swapped our sectional sofa with some friends who let us 'shop' in their storage unit.  We scored an antique rocker, trunk and desk as well as a compressor and chain saw.  (Guess who wanted the last two items, ha!)  Even though they say they are enjoying the couch I think we came out on the better end of the deal, wink!

I have to admit that it was not easy parting with some of the furniture that we spent our hard-earned money on but when the pieces just won't work in your new space then you have to disregard your losses and move on.  We've decided it will be fun looking for just the right pieces (at the right price) to fit each space!

We are also excited that in less than a month (hopefully) we will be able to travel up to the new farmstead Clampett style with truck, fifth wheel and cargo trailer in tow and start reclaiming this hobby farm.  So many ideas!  So many possibilities!  I can't wait to get to work.

Also coming up in a few months is a sewing expo and my first quilt retreat!  I will be attending with my quilting/sewing/crafting cohort and friend.  There's travel plans to be made, a hotel to be booked, classes to choose and sign up for, a mug rug to be made for swapping and probably something else that I've forgotten, ha!  Exciting and fun!

Needless to say, 2015 is bursting with excitement and possibilities and we can't wait to see what this year will bring forth!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Farmstead Plans - Upstairs Landing

Since it's going to be a while before we can get to the farm and actually start reclaiming it I thought I'd fill y'all in on some of the plans we have in mind for the place.

As the house stands now, it is liveable and fully functional for two people but, it has SO much more potential and we fully intend to tap into that potential and bring this farmhouse to life!

Our plan is to start upstairs and work our way down.

The current layout of the upstairs is a nice size landing with a non-functioning, decorative fireplace and three rooms.

(Please note:  photos are courtesy of Joyce Marcum Realty and Pinterest)

This is the landing.  It's a fairly good size space so I intend to use this as my sewing and craft storage area.

First up will be removing the border then adding a fresh coat of paint.  I haven't chosen a paint color yet but it will most likely be a pale, warm color in the yellow family or a creamy off-white to help lighten the space.

Then, we will decide on the best way to organize the space so that it is functional and practical yet inviting and inspiring.

Here are some storage and organizing ideas I've pinned on Pinterest...

I like the idea of the fabric enclosed in a glass cabinet.  The fabric is protected from the elements but since it can be seen it provides color and visual interest to the space while inspiring creativity.

The above space is very practical and the island of cabinets could serve a dual purpose; as storage as well as a cutting table.  Something similar to this would serve me well in my space.

Wow!  That's a LOT of fabric.  AND sewing machines!  I doubt I will ever have that many of either but it is great way to store and display all those beautiful cuts of fabric!

Speaking of sewing machines, one of these days I would like to own a Singer Featherweight such as this...

They're portable, lightweight, great for piecing quilts or taking to a class and they're old and would be a classic addition in the farmhouse!

Also in the landing is a decorative fireplace...

I believe this was a fully functioning wood fireplace at one time but since the chimney has been removed it is now just for decoration.

That will need to be remedied since there is no central heat in the house therefore no way of heating the upstairs during the winter months.  So, rather than hauling wood up the stairs we are planning on having a gas heater installed.  I hope to find something similar in style as the existing fireplace so that we won't stray too much from the originality of the house.

As you can see in the first photo there is no natural light source in the landing.  We are going to have some Solatube's installed that will bring in natural light in the space and will help cut down on the need for having to use lights/lamps which we would need to use even during the day since there are no windows in the space.

In case you're not familiar with Solatubes here's how they work and what they look like...

We had these installed in our bathroom and living room of our previous house and they are awesome!  (And, no, I am not being compensated for mentioning them.  Too bad, ha!)

I'm thinking maybe two small, possibly medium, size Solatube's in the landing should bring in plenty of natural light.  We'll see what the installer recommends for that size space.

We will also beef up the railing around the staircase and make it a little more rustic looking by using sanded and shellacked tree limbs or some salvaged/reclaimed wood.

Those are the plans for the landing for now.  Most likely those plans will change and evolve but ya gotta start somewhere!

I'd love to hear any ideas or suggestions you may have regarding this space.  Don't be shy, let's hear 'em!


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Practicing & Pinky Promises

Although we have closed on our new farmstead it will be several weeks, possibly a month or two, before we will be able to head to Kentucky and step foot on our new farm. See, a few months back, CountryBoy's bosses asked him if he would stay to the end of the job and he said he would.  (In this industry, it is common for the guys to 'drag up' near the end of a job and move on to another job just to make sure they are not without work for very long.)  We joke around that he made a pinky promise, ha!  But, since CountryBoy is a man of his word, he will stay and see this job through to the end.  The bitter end, wink!

Thankfully, several awesome people from Kentucky (that we hardly know or haven't even met yet) have said that they would keep an eye out on the place.  Love Kentucky already!

In the meantime, in anticipation of primarily eating things that we grow on the new farm or can get from other local farmers, I have decided that now is a good time to start thinking about, finding and/or coming up with recipes that use only farm fresh ingredients.  And, I am going to practice not buying anything at the grocery store that is man-made just for convenience sake.  Things like salad dressing and bread to name a few.

I know there will be a few things that we will have to buy such as flour, sugar (gotta feed those hummingbirds!) and spices but hopefully we can find some that have been minimally processed and won't have to buy them too often.

We stopped buying bread a long time ago and since I have a love/hate relationship with bread dough I am not in the habit of baking bread.  And, since I'm not much of a bread-eater it doesn't usually cross my mind that we don't have any bread in the house, er, fifth wheel.  Kind of like green peas.  I don't like green peas so we never have peas for supper.  I don't even think to buy any, ha!  (Poor CountryBoy who loves both of them!)  But, every now and then I get a hankerin' for some bread especially this time of year when I make a lot of soup or chili.  Gotta have bread for that!

So yesterday I wanted to try my hand at baking bread.  Again.  I've made bread in the past but it usually turns out too dense.  Tasty, but dense. 

I found a simple recipe for no-knead artisan bread.  I had all the ingredients... flour, yeast, kosher salt and water.  Sweet!  Let's do this!

I mixed it all up in my big ol' Pyrex bowl, covered it and waited.

The recipe said the rising period was 8 - 24 hours.  It wasn't rising very quickly and I thought maybe my yeast was too old.  But, it was also cool in the morning which could've had something to do with it.  Then, the sun came up and started warming it up and directly the dough was doubled in size.  That's a good sign!

 I let it rise for about nine hours before popping it into the oven.

I used a cast iron dutch oven and it came out just like the recipe said.  Yay!

Super simple and tasty!  I can't wait to add some other ingredients to it next time I make some, like maybe some Parmesan and Rosemary, or some olive oil and olives.  Mmmm, the possibilities are endless.

To go with the bread, I decided on a Crust-less Broccoli & Cheddar Cheese Quiche for supper.  With ingredients like eggs, milk, garlic, cheese and broccoli this dish is made up of things we will have available at the farm or farmers market.  

Purposefully cooking and eating this way will probably be a challenge in today's world of convenience and getting it done quickly but I am up for the challenge.  We want to purposefully live, eat, slow down, enjoy our farm and each other.  And, if you ever come for a visit then you can look forward to some farm, fresh, wholesome goodness and some down-home hospitality!

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