Tuesday, May 26, 2015

this moment...

 This moment.

One (or maybe two?) photos that captures a moment from our days. A single, special, everyday moment to savor and appreciate in it's simplicity.

Hens settled in the coop during the last light of evening...

 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

*~*daybook*~*

simple-woman-daybook-small




FOR TODAY

May 10, 2015

Outside my window... it's dark, and cold, but it's not snowing heavily the way it was last night at this time. I'm happy for the calm weather and the promise of sun tomorrow.

I am thinking... about this next week, trying to prioritize what has to get done versus what would be nice to get done.

I am thankful... for my lovely Mother's Day, gifts, dinner out with almost the whole family (K is still in Ghana) and then some time to visit with B at home after dinner. It was such a nice day...

In the kitchen...no cooking today, for sure. I'll be starting a crock pot full of spaghetti sauce in the morning for tomorrow's dinner.

I am reading...I'm just finishing Alaska by James Michener (only 10 pages left!)... what a great read it's been!

I am hoping... the pain relief M's getting from the steroid injection he got last week continues, it's wonderful to see him comfortable and struggling with pain.

I am looking forward to... a concert the kids and I are going to on Sunday at the Pace Center... it should be very good. 

Around the house... I've been working on the back porch, which was sadly in need of attention. I cleaned and sanded the floor boards, then strained and treated them with wood preservative. Now I'm replacing the top rail on the south side of the porch... it was so old and weathered that I decided it was time for it to go.  

In the garden... everything is looking a bit battered and beat down. We had a wet heavy snow yesterday through this morning, and a good freeze last night. I haven't planted much, knowing we're still at risk for cold weather, but the fruit trees were all in bloom and my peonies were heavy with buds... I do hope they still open.

One of my favorite things...spending time with my "big" girls... they are all such lovely young women.

A few plans for the rest of the week... I need to finalize R's graduation ceremony and get the announcements out, and get all the paperwork ready for her transition into adult DD services, both she and M have volunteering commitments this week, and I really would like to get the back porch done. (I've been working on it for two weeks... the rain keeps interrupting me!)  

A peek into my day...

A baby bunny I found hiding in the garden shed...



...is there anything cuter?







______________________________

Visit Peggy's blog for more about The Simple Woman's Daybook

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

extreme cleaning... (sanding the bedroom mantle)

I intended to post again last week with an update about how everything was crossed of my list and I was moving on to the little building project I had planned...

But then it snowed and I wasn't able to get the last bag of cedar shreds put down around the flagstone pathway through the kitchen garden, so that couldn't be crossed off the list.

And then there was the happy surprise of my cousin coming for a visit... which meant I didn't get any else crossed off the list either because we were busy visiting and thrifting, and not thinking about to-do lists...

I really should have finished the last two unfinished bits of projects yesterday... but instead I started on a new one.

Yes, my attention span is very short.

But this was something that had been bugging me for years, and yesterday was the day I just couldn't stand it one. more. minute.

It was the mantle in the master bedroom. The mantle that Annie and Carl (the original owners and builders of our house) decided to use a huge piece of rough sawn lumber for.

I imagine it was beautiful when it was new...

But we live on a dirt road, and that bedroom is in the front of the house and gets dusty (DUSTY!)... and it's impossible to dust rough sawn lumber. It holds onto the dust and dirt, tearing up my rag (adding little fibers of rag to the dirt that's already there) when I try to wipe it down and vacuuming it does little to nothing to clean it.

As I started cleaning that room yesterday morning, I decided it was time to fix that mantle... to sand it down.

I pulled out the big belt sander (that I rarely use because it's so powerful it feels like it's going to run away with me) and got started.

("Before" on the left, with stripes from my trying to vacuum it...)


It was a huge mess...





A HUGE mess.




Did I mention I pretty much trashed the room?





It took a LOT of sanding... starting with the big belt sander to take off the super rough surface (and all the surface dirt!) and then moving to the orbital sander as I started smoothing it.





As the decades of dirt and grime came off, I saw that Annie and Carl had picked a special piece of wood for the mantle... one with the dark streaks that are found in beetle kill wood. The decades of dirt had completely hidden the true look and grain of the wood... It was amazing to watch it being revealed again.

I sanded until it was silky smooth to my fingers.. (that crack is just "checking" in the wood... it happens in logs, and log homes, as the wood dries and ages.. it's nothing that needs to be repaired)



... and then I sanded a little more.



I did not remove all traces of the saw marks from the wood (the diagonal streaks you can see in the wood), I think they add interest to the mantle and show a little of it's history... I did give it a light coat of Ipswich Pine stain, and several coats of polyurethane.

Until, finally, it looked like this...




It was a super messy project (it's funny how the whole rest of the room had to get so dirty to get the mantle clean!) but it was so worth it. I'm loving how it turned out.






(An now I should really start thinking again about finishing those last two little things on my to-do list!)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

working down the list...

I seem to have somehow ended up with several projects that were "almost" finished, but for one reason or another need just one or two more things to be complete...

Like the potting bench that still, after two weeks, didn't have a finished top...




Or the little glove crate in the mudroom that after a month, still didn't have a handle...



But despite the several mostly finished projects, the other evening I found myself sketching plans for yet another little something I'd like to build. (Apparently my attention span isn't long enough these days to completely finish what I start before wanting to move on to something else...)

When I thought about all the little bits and pieces of things I needed to finish up, I decided I wouldn't let myself start one more thing until I'd completed all the "almost finished" ones. So that's what I've been working on...

Yesterday I finished the top of the potting bench. I ended up covering it with tin...



... and adding a handle to each bin door.



I like how it turned out... and that the plywood I used for the lids is now protected from the elements.


Cross that one off the list.


Today I'll be adding the handle to the glove crate (cross another off the list!)...




... and freecycling the old metal patio table that ended up homeless when I cleaned off our little flagstone patio.

Little by little I'll get that list knocked down to nothing...





... because I really want to start that new project!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

kitchen garden spruce up (making the beds)

I woke up this morning to a light dusting of snow on the ground and cold, gray skies... Such a change from the beautiful sunny weather we've had so far this week.



I took advantage of all that beautiful weather to work out in my little kitchen garden... getting it spruced up and ready for another gardening season.



My kitchen garden is so tiny (just 10' x 12') that it's easy to "rearrange" and "remodel" and each spring I do a little of that... changing things around, making it fresh and new again.

I'd been thinking about adding a couple of small raised beds out there this year, and the raised beds that E is putting in at her house inspired me to buy some lumber and get going on that idea...

I bought BIG lumber for a change... usually I buy the smaller stuff... and came home with some 2x12's and 2x8's) for my beds. I decided to put the taller bed next to the house and the smaller one closer to the yard for a step-down look.



The beds were easy to build... just a couple of cuts, a few holes pre-drilled, and a few screws. Easy.








I bought some bags of garden soil and hauled some dirt from the pumpkin patch to mix with, to fill the beds.

Then I did a little more rearranging... moving the big pot to the other side of the garden (it's currently holding chives that had to be relocated to put in the raised beds... the ones that survive will be given away, as I don't need them), transplanting some sweet william around the pot, and adding a stone border. Once the weather warms more the pot will hold a cherry tomato plant...







I'd already moved the compost bin that used to be next to the rhubarb plants, which opens up that space (to the left of the rhubarb) for planting...



I think I'm going to put in something flowering there, possibly a dwarf lilac or something similar, that will give me blooms without spreading beyond the small space available, or shading the rhubarb too much.

The last step is to finish adding more cedar mulch to the walkway between the beds and maybe build a cucumber frame for the smaller bed... something like this:

 

This morning's snow is melting quickly from the yard and pastures and it's supposed to start warming up again tomorrow. I can't wait to get back out in the garden and finish up... and then it's only a few more weeks (ok... maybe 5 more weeks) to planting!





Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Happy Anniversary...

...to us.

Today is the 10th anniversary of our move into this house. (If you haven't heard the story of our move in a blizzard, you can read about it here.)



It's been a wild 10 years starting with the fixing up of this poor neglected house we bought...










... and continuing through storms and sunshine....














.... an education every step of the way.





Here are a few more of my favorite blast-from-the-past photos of the past 10 years...

The goat days... how much hay CAN you fit into an Isuzu Trooper?






The day we realized M should probably not plan on getting a driver's license...



Got mud?




R and Grant...



The ever present deer...



... and even a rare albino one!



The day the circus came and painted our house gray and ran off with the kids...



... thanks to my brother's extreme photoshopping skills.

And, of course, the years of homeschooling...





It's been an amazing 10 years.

Here's the house before we moved in....



... and this morning... shrouded by fog from a cold front that blew in last night.



The barn back in 2006...





... and last summer.



If you like before and afters, there are a few more here...