Babies, Puppies, Flowers and Bees

Hi Everyone,

Yes, I went MIA last week. I believe I mentioned that we would be keeping one of our grandkids over the weekend. What I did not know until Thursday (when I normally write my posts) is that their new puppy would be coming along too. Now, I can usually juggle normal chores with a baby, but a baby and a puppy is a whole different thing. Add to the list that the puppy has some health issues and requires medication and baby + puppy = full time job. So last Thursday I went into high gear to finish any major projects/chores before Friday evening.

Even with DH and DN to help out, we had our hands full because the puppy kept us up several hours Friday night. Saturday we were exhausted all day but you can’t rest much with a baby and a puppy. Luckily both got a nap or two in. The baby was easy peasy the whole weekend. She was just the normal active 9 month old cruising the furniture and crawling around. The puppy on the other hand was cruising around trying to find more things to get into than the baby. He especially seemed to like chewing on our kitchen cabinet pulls! If you have ever had a baby/toddler and/or a puppy you know that if you can’t see them or hear them then you better be finding them ASAP!

Saturday night was slightly better. DH and I were out walking puppy and our dog at 3:30 am, but we got some sleep. Sunday night there were three people and one old dog that slept like the dead after baby and puppy left. Our dog, Odie, was a trooper the whole weekend. He tolerated the baby pulling his ears and poking her fingers up his nose and the puppy not only sat down on him, but took his bed part of the time. Odie just gave me a look that said “I didn’t sign up for this!”.

This week I am in gardening mode, attic work and beekeeping. I really think the months between April – October I need to call this blog “Bees, Babies and Blooms”. That pretty much covers most of what I am doing instead of artwork. I have a list I am trying to get to, but it’s a challenge right now. Next weekend we have another grandkid coming to stay so if I’m MIA next week then you know why.

Yes, it is really this purple!

The photos are of many of the lovely blooms happening here. We have spent almost a year and a half of uncovering flower beds and shrubs and trees from layers and layers of ivy (poison and English!), honeysuckle, and wild grapevines. Under all these vines have been so many lovely plants and flowers. This Spring has been more surprising than last Spring as we have uncovered more irises, lilies and old roses. We still have more to go and I have lots of thinning to do because these plants are so excited to see daylight again that they are bursting at the seams in places.

Have a great week and I plan to be back next week, but you know…babies, blooms and bees are happening here.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace

Christel

Impatience

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is well with you and yours this week. Anyone else sick of winter yet? Here in North Carolina we had one of those Spring teaser days this week. I spent the entire day outside working on projects. It was a glorious 60 degrees with sunshine and too good to waste inside. No regrets for thowing all my indoor projects aside. We are back to grey and gloomy with impending rain now. Typical February weather for us and extremely depressing.

Today I started on the fox painting above. In case any of you wonder how and why I pick my subjects, they are almost completely random right now. I have many personal photos that sometimes become paintings, but in the case of the fox, I used a website called Paint My Photo. Photographers upload their photographs and give permission for artists to use them as reference material. I have several files of images that I like saved and when I need a subject I just go and look through them until one them says, “paint me, paint me!”

Eventually I plan on doing more series and maybe have some deeper thoughts added in, but for now, under my current situation, I just paint random things that make my heart sing a little. I am drawn to the non-human creatures. You get direct and honest feedback from animals as long as you learn their language. Laid back ears on a horse, a donkey or a llama is a warning that they are not happy. A certain twitch of a tail will tell you the same thing about a cat.

I will digress a moment and tell you a quick story. Our horse Cinder is an absolute sweetie and everyone who meets him loves him, BUT he quickly gets bored and finds mischief. Day before yesterday I watched him pester our horse, Asher. Asher is the Alpha here and was trying to nap, but Cinder wouldn’t let him. Everytime Asher dosed off, Cinder poked him with his nose or nipped at him. Asher finally got fed up and chased him off. I thought that was the end of it.

Yesterday morning I was walking the dog before dawn and noticed Cinder standing in the pasture alone while the other equine were in a group by the barn. I told DH that it looked like Cinder had been excommunicated. He said, “funny you should mention that, something happened between Asher and Cinder last night after feeding.” He went on to explain that when he let them out of their stalls after their supper there was no usual calm strolling out of the barn. Instead Asher immediately threw his head (dominate posturing) and chased Cinder out of the barn, nipping at his rear.

It seems that Cinder’s antics had gotten on everyone’s last nerve and he was temporarily kicked out of the heard for a day. I was in the barn last night for feeding and Cinder wouldn’t even come into the barn. He’s usually the first one in. It took some persuading on DH’s part to herd Cinder into his stall and those big, brown eyes were very sad and confused. Things seem to be better today. Like I said, animals keep it honest and direct. Cinder will probably behave better now…for a while anyway.

Now back to the fox. I’m painting this fox today and I kept getting a glare from the overhead light on my reference photo. Then I couldn’t get my canvas to stay still. Did I mention that I’m now painting on our guest bed? Only slightly better than trying to paint on my lap in the living room. I can only use acrylics right now because I have no where to let paintings dry if I use oils. I have a love/hate relationship with acrylics and after using oils this summer I am finding the fast drying time of acrylics very irritating. All those feathers and fur I’ve been painting lately would probably be easier with oils.

Attic studio in progress

I am SO ready to get to work in my attic. I daydream of having my easel set up ALL THE TIME. Lighting that I can control. Tables I can leave my mess on and not have to clean up to eat dinner or have a guest over. Supplies that I know where they are and not have to hunt through a dozen mystery boxes.

“When will your attic be done?” you ask. I have no idea. This is where we are right now. I started priming the drywall last week, but I haven’t quite finished and I can’t set up my easel until that overhead piece goes in, then the lighting. It’s a little bit of torture having to work one bit at a time. No, it’s a lot of torture. I have the vision, but we are no where near it yet. Sigh.

I am not going to stop doing what I’m doing. It’s taken me a lifetime to squeeze out the small amount of time I have right now to do this. I ain’t gettin’ any younger here! I will admit though that this is the most impatient I have been over something, maybe ever. You might want to say a prayer or two for DH. He has to live with me.

Have a great week!

Christel

Wintering

Hi Everyone,

Yes, I missed last week.  No super excuse other than I was still digging out of boxes and we were getting ready for a cold spell.  New Readers, my long time readers will tell you that this is my whining season. I am not cold tolerant. You have been warned.

I did spend Halloween with my favorite grandson.  It was a quick (if you consider 4.5 hours quick) drive down, spent the night and back on the road the next day.  We have an annual family get together and of course it was that Saturday. Anyway, my daughter’s neighborhood goes all out for Halloween and we had a great time teaching Buzz how to score some candy.  He figured it out in the end, but got Goldfish crackers instead of candy. He’s a work in progress.

Our family chicken stew (for more info on that very local pot of glory go back into the October archives) was fun and relaxing thanks to one very beautiful Fall day.  Perfect for eating outside and catching up by the fire pit. It was nice to have the new place come with a ready made fire pit!

This week has been COLD, COLD, COLD by Southern standards. Lows in the 20’s don’t normally hit us until January and February.  So D. and I had to spend last week getting the four leggers situated for the cold.  We also got our FOUR chimney flues inspected and luckily one was clean enough to start using.  The rest are getting cleaned this coming week.  We are wood burning folk. No gas logs for us. Thus chimneys must be cleaned every few years.

We also found out that our frost free outdoor faucet is NOT frost free. The dang thing froze up.  Hauling water from the bathtub all the way to the barn in a five gallon bucket is not my idea of winter fun on a 20 degree morning. Then there is the fun of waiting for the water hose to thaw so you can fill the water trough or breaking the ice on the water trough. Yes, I’m officially winter whining.  Eventually there will be a water line to the barn, but it’s a toss up on whether that happens first or the automatic gate opener.  Getting in and out of the car in the cold and rain is not fun either. Whine #2.

The good news is that most of the boxes are out of the dining room…again…for the third time.  Yes, it has been filled three times and three times I have opened and sorted all those boxes.  Some just went upstairs (more on that to come). Now I just have to tackle the ones in the sunroom and pack house.  Lordy.

More good new…I FOUND MY ART SUPPLIES!!.  They have been packed up since January I think. I made a makeshift studio in the newly cleaned out dining room. Here is a photo of the future official studio.  Ain’t it purty!?  Ok, so not yet.  Imagine white bead board walls and built in shelves. That’s where we are heading…after the horses have stalls built in the barn.  Yes, I rank below the horses.  I can’t say much because the pups got this cushy new bed while our bed springs and mattress are on the floor until I get our room remodeled and buy a new bed. The last one broke in the first move of the year.

That’s the news from Lake Wobegone. Oh, wait. Wrong place, but almost as cold. Have a great week and stay warm!

Snow = mud

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are well and for those that had the snow bomb dropped on them, I hope you have shoveled your way out. In a few hours I am going to attempt freedom with my little car.

We survived the storm pretty well. I suspect we ended with 16-18 inches of snow, but we had so much wind that it was hard to tell. Some flat areas had 11 inches but we also had drifts that were 24+ inches. Higher than the tops of my tall rubber boots. Great fun when walking the dogs. Not!  The power stayed on and we were cozy and well fed. Maybe too well fed with all the snowmaggedon goodies I had made. 


The animals were some comic relief. D. left the horses and donkey in the barn Saturday night so they would be out of the worst of the storm. Midday on Sunday he let them out so he could clean and restock their food and hay. I was watching as they came from behind the barn, trotting through the snow, tossing their manes. Then they stopped, looked around, looked at each other, then turned in unison and trotted back to the barn. 

The chickens were just as bad or worse. D. opened their house door when he let the horses out. Five hens poked their heads out the door and refused to come out…FOR THREE DAYS! They would make a quick run for water and the bread crumbs that I tried to bribe them out with, then hightail it right back in the house. The only creature around here that doesn’t seem to have an issue with snow is fat Sweetie Pie. She put on her winter blubber last month and has been happily playing in the snow. Sweetie Pie loves her life in every season. 

Sunday was the perfect snow day. With careful planning we only had to take care of the animals, then we were free to read, sleep, watch TV, eat, while staying cozy next to the wood stove. It was wonderful! Monday we knew school would be out but there were daily chores to do and D. got the truck out and went to work. I had time to start a new drawing. Tuesday, no school, chores, food is getting low. Wednesday, no school, Danny’s day off but Miss L. and I were getting cabin fever so we required a trip to the Dollar General to see other human beings. Today, Thursday, NO SCHOOL. Miss L. is running out of reading material and I’m running out of ways to keep her busy. We are getting my car out today if I have to hitch it to a horse! 


Oh yeah, all that lovely snow is slowly turning to MUD. Lots and lots of mud. Muddy horses and donkey. Muddy dog prints and boot prints on the floor. Constant mopping. Soon there will be muddy chickens. Sweetie Pie is the only one who manages to stay pristine. Rain starts tomorrow. The mud will last until about July. 


So next week begins the influx of family for Christmas. If you don’t hear from me it’s because I’m cooking and cleaning like a wild woman so I can have some quality time with my kids while they are here. Let’s just say there is a good chance I won’t be back until the first week of January 2019! 

Stay safe, warm and have a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year!

Fixed. Ready. Waiting.

Hi Everyone!

Hope you are well. I’m moving slow today. Last night was another one of THOSE nights where I slept fine at the beginning, was awake in the middle, fell asleep again just in time to have to get up and start my day. Ugh. I’m beginning to think my sleep may be affected by incoming weather fronts just like my sinuses. A dull sinus headache started during the sleepless hours and I know there is a big winter weather front heading our way. I should come up with some sort of weather and moon chart to track this stuff. I will add that to my next lifetime To Do list. It’s not very likely to make it on this one.

This week has been focused on that big weather event heading our way. Lots of wood gathering and splitting (D. and Miss L. handle most of that) for heat and possible power outage.  We all have been taking steps to make sure the animals have warm places and unfrozen water. I have been making sure to keep plenty of sugar water out for the bees so they can get through what’s coming. I have the hives insulated for the storm and the 11 degree night on Monday. They won’t be showing up in Better Homes & Gardens but it’s done. The chickens will either be getting a complete coop clean out or a new layer of bedding depending on my time and energy. They have finally begun to pull out of molting season and need some extra nutrition. If you have never seen chickens during molting, just imagine semi naked hens and feathers everywhere. Not a chicken’s most handsome time of the year. 


I have also been planning winter condition meals. Food that can be heated on our wood stove should the power go out. There will be a big pot of veggie soup ready and I thought some oatmeal dark chocolate chip cookies would be in order as well. Personally I LOVE a good snow day (no more than two though) where, after the animals are taken care of, there isn’t much to be done except settle in with a good book, hot chocolate (I made some of that too) and cookies. Fabulous! 


Most of the Christmas shopping is done and I plan to wrap gifts this weekend. I’m starting on a certain baby shower plan as well and that is on the weekend To Do list. I have not been showing any artwork lately, but I am getting some done. There is some experimenting going on and that is an awkward stage sort of like adolescence so I’m kind of embarrassed to throw it out in the world yet. Hopefully something more refined will begin to show up soon and then I will add them back into these posts.

If you have been reading here for awhile you might remember that back in May I made it a goal to start fixing some much loved and often used items. Anyway, to finally update you on my progress, I have fixed the stone necklace in the first post, repaired a necklace that my bonus daughter brought me back from Italy that had a broken clasp, cleaned out a pile of old jewelry and replaced some buttons on several garments. After a few decades of being missing, my charm bracelet from high school reappeared. Since it went missing before I could add many charms to it, I am slowly adding some now as I find bits and pieces that hold memories for me such as one of the earrings I wore when D. and I got married. The other was lost and the survivor was just hanging out in my jewelry box. 


Two major practical fixes happened this week. The binder of Favorite Recipes finally got reorganized! Years ago I got tired of trying to remember what cookbook those favorite recipes resided in and started writing them down or cutting and pasting them into a binder. The binder has been a hot mess for several years and it was beginning to take me almost as long to find them in the binder as it did in the cookbooks. Thanks to winter (I’m trying to be positive about this season) I have a couple of unclaimed hours most evenings right now and made use of one of them to fix the binder. Eventually I plan to make a nice cover for it, but for now it is reorganized and no longer stressing me out. 


My other major fix was my fallen apart and out of control password book. Yes, I write them down. My memory cannot hold them and yes, I realize that if the book falls into the wrong hands our life will be a total mess for a long time. It’s either waste hours of my time trying to figure out passwords or put them in a book. I do not trust online password storage so don’t even mention it. I have a few hiding places that even the most determined robber would have to be very brave to enter. So, I am almost finished with categorizing the current passwords and eliminating the defunct ones. I am feeling very accomplished and organized right now! 


So yours truly has been a busy girl. Next week I will update you on our first winter snow and how we all fared.

Stay safe  and warm out there. Fix a few things then give yourself a big pat on the back!

Thankful 

Hi Everyone!

I hope my U.S. readers had a wonderful Thankgiving and that the rest of you had a lovely week. Our Thanksgiving was nice though a few were missing from the table. My uncle who normally joins us, is not in great health and did not come this year. His always funny stories were missed as well as the brother banter between him and my Dad as they compare and argue over childhood misadventures. 

We had much to be thankful for this year. My daughter and son-in-law were with his family for Thanksgiving and though they were missed we are very thankful that the miscombobulated mess with my SIL’s job got sorted out and they were able to finally close on their house right before the holiday and host his family for Thanksgiving in their new home without a cloud of worry hanging over them. 

My son got home for a brief visit and is doing well. I will report later if he will be home for Christmas or off on another travel adventure. 

On Wednesday we welcomed our former trainee, Walker, back to our herd. His owners decided that their daughter had lost interest in riding. When we took him back to them in August after training we told them we would take him back should they decide to get rid of him. Let’s just say that when he came to us last Spring he was not in good condition and we were concerned to be taking him back to them. When he left us he was at full body weight. Though not as bad this time, he will be getting some extra food to cover those ribs and hip bones again.

When Miss L. came to live with us we asked her if she would be interested in riding and eventually having a horse of her own. Of course she said yes, but having a horse comes with much work and responsibility. So she has had daily barn chores for the horses for over a year now. She has learned them and done the work without too much grumbling (I have yet to meet a middle schooler that doesn’t have some complaints) so we have now given her Walker (who has been renamed Cinder) as her own horse. Of course the responsibility level went up as she will now be in charge of cleaning his stall (D. has been taking care of stall cleaning for all the horses) and Cinder comes with a full flowing mane and tail that will require as much upkeep as her own long hair. 

Cinder is a Tennessee Walker (thus the so-lacking-in-creativity former name) with a super gentle and friendly personality. We think he will be a good fit for her and since D. trained him we know the areas where he needs extra work as she becomes more proficient in her riding skills. I’m just happy to know he is going to be taken care of now. I fell hard for his sweet nature and couldn’t stand the thought of him alone in that pasture without his friends or proper food. 


We had to take Sweetie Pie the cat to the vet yesterday. The vet thinks she just has a virus so she is confined to her crate (which seriously cuts into her gypsy lifestyle) with meds for the next week. With it as cold and nasty as it is, she is not complaining too loudly about her time in the barn with a big warm blanket. We are thankful she doesn’t seem to have anything worse than a cold. We have gotten pretty attached to her as well. 

It’s a cold, rainy/icy day here today, but the wood stove is going and there will be Christmas decorating happening to add some cheer to this super gloomy day. I hope you all have a great week. Stay warm and safe. 

Percolating 

Hi Everyone! 

It has been a few weeks, but I finally made it back. Brace yourselves, this is probably going to be a long one. I hope all is well in your world! For my own well being I limit the amount of news that I let into my life, but I know that the turmoil and tragedies seem to be running rampant right now. More and more of my prayers are for healing and peace for our world and  earth as well as individuals. 

So on to fun stuff. Even though our crowd was smaller and the weather a bit damper than last year, we still had an enjoyable family gathering at our annual chicken stew.  Our menagerie of animals is always a draw and the highlight of the day (other than good food) is horseback rides for the kids and any willing adults.  We alway enjoy watching the kids who have never been on a horse before. Often they start out with a level of fear that quickly turns to sheer delight. We had that experience with three of the young cousins this time. So. Much. Fun.  


Spark Plug the donkey surprised me immensely. Normally he is a bit standoffish with new people, but he was absolutely Mr. Friendly with the kids. 


The following weekend we headed South to attend my daughter and son-in-law’s gender reveal party. Normally we stay with them when we visit, but with boatloads of family in town we rented the cutest little Airbnb Tiny House. I have been in love with the tiny house movement since it started and have often tried to imagine if I could live in one. I think they are one of the most creative ways people have come up with to avoid outrageous mortgage debt as well as have a very portable living space. These are pictures of where we stayed. The wooded lot made it feel like we were secluded from all the city around us. The huge window…I NEED one!


To answer the question of whether I could live in a tiny house, well, that is a yes and a no. Could I live in a 256 square foot space with a husband and a 12 year old?  Only in a survival situation!  The husband has long legs that get in the way and the 12 year old has too much energy as well as the family trait of loving to climb in high places. Could I live in a tiny house alone or with a dog? Absolutely! I might need a separate one for my art supplies though. 

The gender reveal revealed that it’s a GRANDSON on the way! I didn’t care one way or the other. And though I worry about this crazy world he’s entering, I am still looking forward to meeting him and finally getting to spoil a kid instead of the often difficult job of parenting. 


Behind the scene of all these events, something has been percolating since mid-summer, but was not defined or solidified enough for me to reveal. Hopefully the rudimentary plans have us going in the right direction and will eventually come together and hopefully on time. 

D. and I began to realize that our house really isn’t big enough now that we have another person living here full time and that I really need a work space. We aren’t in a tiny house but our house is smaller than most. We had talked about adding on, but there were some problems with that. Then we started talking about selling our place and buying another one nearby with more house, but more and more often I have been spending hours and hours on the road driving family members to appointments and the distance that we are away from everything was taking a toll.  I’m looking a several more years of taxi driving. Then my daughter announced her pregnancy and I began to remember how hard it was traveling from Virginia to North Carolina with babies in tow and knew it would be an ordeal for them to get up here to visit when most of the other family was in another area. 

To make months of discussions short, we have decided to move back to the community that D., myself and Miss L. are all from and build a house on my family’s farm. Yes, evidently my gypsy soul has one more move in her (this will be move #4 in 6 years when it’s all said and done). 

When we finally circled around to the idea, we realized that it solves several problems. We can get the size house we need, I will cut half of my taxi travel time, we will be closer to our church, we will be right there to help my family with maintaining the farm, there to help my parents, MUCH closer to all our kids and grandkids and Miss L. should be able to start high school with friends she had to leave. Whew!

Now the logistics of pulling this off are pretty daunting to me right now. I hate selling a house, much less a small farm. Trying to deal with showing a house and keep it spotless in our situation honestly makes me nauseous. It was bad enough when I did it with two kids and a dog in a suburban neighborhood. I’m wondering if we could actually live in a tiny house or RV long enough to sell the place so that it would stay show worthy clean. 

We also have to clear a good bit of land on the farm for a house, barn and minimum of three acres of pasture for the horses and donkey. Folks, where we are seriously considering has a good covering of kudzu. If you know about that %#*& stuff then you know what we are facing. Let’s just say that a herd of goats is in our very near future.  We have road frontage and hopefully a usable well already there. Our other option would require a driveway that would cost almost as much as the house and drill a well. Not easy options.  

That is our big news. Our intended timeline is the summer of 2020. I am simultaneously looking forward to this and dreading it.  Expect to see pictures of me wielding a chainsaw soon! It’s a beautiful place as these pictures I took Sunday on our walk around the place will show and it’s where I played and worked my entire childhood. Many memories bubbled up during our recent walks and I look forward to showing that new grandson this special place. 


Have an awesome week!

A new season

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a lovely week. As usual mine seemed to fly past me in the blink of an eye. There were three soccer matches this week and one half day of organizing and cleaning one of our three storage units. I am trying very hard to get down to two as fast as possible. More doctor appointments. For a bunch of healthy people we seem to have a ridiculous amount of check ups. Lots of computer work and the usual yard, animal and house keeping. I’m pretty over mowing yards for the year!

We officially slid into Fall this week. I can’t say it feels like it yet. The air has been slightly cooler, but that is about the only real change. I have noticed an odd phenomenon though. Normally by now the leaves are beginning to change color, but this year they seem to just be dropping off. They just turn brown and fall. I don’t know if it’s because of all the rain we have had or what. I’m not wild about Fall anyway, but at least the color change is pretty while it lasts. It’s going to be very depressing if we don’t have some color. We are surrounded by mountains and I am not seeing color on the higher elevations yet either. It all feels very odd. I spend so much time outside now that my body seems to be more tuned into rhythm of the seasons and something is off right now. 

I had hoped to bring you some links to new items in my Etsy shop, but I’m doing some major updates to it and as usual, everything is taking longer than expected. It’s time for anyone selling anything to get ready for 4th quarter holiday shopping so I’m doing my part. Maybe next week. We only have two soccer matches this coming week. 

Now that the garden is done (and unfortunately the hurricane drowned most of our baby Fall plants) D. and I have been able to decide and narrow down future plans and projects. We have simplified many of them and decided against some others altogether, like restoring the tobacco barn that sits in our front yard. We have had mixed feeling about it, but the time and money involved doesn’t seem to be worth the effort when it will only get used for storage and heaven knows we are trying our best to get rid of stuff to store. We have more pressing projects that will improve life around here but it will be sad to watch the deterioration of a piece of history. 

Along with the physical change in season I am also feeling a mental and emotional change as well. Life with Miss L. has settled into a nice groove as we watch her become more confident and mature. Last year was tremendously difficult for all of us, but especially her and the adjustments in all our lives took some big highs and lows. Now life feels more solid and smooth. 

As 2018 winds down I am also having to make the mental switch from being a parent to adding “grandparent” as a title. The reality has not completely sunk in yet. I am excited yet at the same time wondering once again how time got by me so fast.  Maybe because I am still parenting a middle schooler it seems like a strange time warp thing. 

We have other plans and projects in the works that will eventually make it here, but in the immediate future we have our annual chicken stew to plan and get ready for (this includes major yard and garden cleaning and house projects to finish), then the following week we will be traveling to Charleston for the grandbaby gender reveal party. Today I have chicken coop cleaning duty.  I know, I know. You are all jealous and wish you were me. 😉

Have a great week and enjoy the Fall!

Almost there

Hi Everyone,

I hope you have had a good week. It has been pleasantly uneventful here. Oh, other than an escaped chicken (one of our young ones) that got eaten by a hawk. It’s a full time job keeping chickens alive around here! We thought we had all the holes covered that the little ones could escape from, but two found a way out. Luckily we arrived back home in time to rescue one of them, but the hawk had already gotten the other one. It’s depressing when these things happen. 

I’m going to keep it short and sweet this week. I have a pile of veggies to freeze and tomorrow is a major tomato canning day. Tonight is open house at the school and Thursday is “finish school shopping” day as well as some medical appointments. Friday is a major grocery shopping day. In other words, time is short this week.

If you read last week’s post you know I have been setting up routines and doing a now, three week long over the top, home and yard cleanup. All this has been in prep for next week when school starts back. I’m trying to lay the groundwork for a real schedule this year. A much needed scheduled. A “the housework isn’t done” guilt free schedule! 

I think my hard work has paid off.  There isn’t much left on the house other than some big remodeling projects and repairs that will happen in small increments. The yard will be getting a major overhaul this coming month for our annual family chicken stew, so I will have help with that. My goal is to finally have 20-25 hours a week to get back to my artwork and a little side job that brings in some cash flow.  I am also preparing those people that I live with to NOT find projects in my coveted time slot. In all the hours available in a week, I don’t think 25 hours is too much to ask especially considering I am a much more pleasant person to live with if you DON’T mess with my time. I will keep you updated on how this goes. 

Have a great week and stay on schedule!

Pickle Power

Hi Everyone, 

I’m going to write this as fast as I can so I can say that I finally finished a blog post this week.  It’s raining here so I have a little reprieve from cucumber picking. 

We have had a super abundance of cucumbers that I have been pickling as fast as I can. Sweet pickles, dill pickles, refrigerator pickles, bread and butter pickles. We have eaten cucumber sandwiches at least once a day for a month. I have given away cucumbers by the bag full. I am beginning to consider leaving them in my mail box for our mail lady and making anonymous cucumber drops at every church and doorstep in the surrounding area. Currently there are three bushels in my laundry room! 


Thank goodness D. ends his extra work hours this week because now the tomatoes are coming in (all 84 plants!). Pickling ends this week and tomato canning starts next week! I’m already running out of storage for all this so at some point I have to stop the canning to shuffle stuff around for more room. I’m seriously wondering if the canned food would be safe in our storage unit over the winter.

In other news, we have been spending a ridiculous amount of time securing animals. We had to get creative and tie feed bags along the perimeter of the new chickens’ run because they were so small they could get out through the fencing. We have redneck ingenuity down to a fine art around here. It’s not pretty, but it’s cheap and effective. Hopefully it won’t be there too long. 


Big Bad Bob kept escaping from the pasture and taking our donkey and the trainee horse with him. We couldn’t find where they were getting out so we spent the past weekend, including our Sunday, walking the fence line, moving fence post and running more wire. Well, D. did most of it.  We also made the hard decision (though not nearly as hard as before all the escapes) to sell Bob. He was seriously upping his mischief level lately and we were worried about the safety of the other horses and well as mine and Miss L.’s. He’s a big ‘ole horse and sometimes was not patient about waiting for us to open his stall door.  I was envisioning myself as a greasy spot after Bob plowed over me on his way to catch up with his buddies. We miss his handsome goofy self, but he is with a co-worker of D.’s who also trains horses and is in good hands. 


No real artwork happening at all. The kitchen table (aka my studio) is currently covered with dehydrators. Oh yeah, we are making cucumber chips too and my herbs are coming in as well, so I’m drying them.  I have a sweater on the knitting needles but it’s a pretty boring pattern. I did start some embroidery/textile art because I HAD to do somethings creative. I get cranky when I don’t have somethings artsy to do. This is small and easily tucked away but also easy for me to pick up and put down in my spare few minutes. 


The only other thing I want to mention this week is for those of you who read this crazy blog to keep up with Miss L.  She has been with us for over a year now and is doing very well. She is in pre-teen mode and if you have survived that stage yourself or that of your kids, you know that it’s, uh, challenging at times.  I have decided that it is time to limit what I put out on social media about her life now.  She will soon be of age to decide how much she wants to share on her own and it’s not my place to tell about her life.  If we do something as a family she will be mentioned, but otherwise I will be keeping her life private. If you are a member of the community that helped look after her, you are welcome to message me for an update. I just feel it’s best to protect her privacy. 

Next week my daughter and son-in-law will be in for a visit. I seriously doubt I will be able to work in a post. Bear with me. I should be back on schedule once school starts!

Go eat a pickle and have a great week!