Tuesday, July 20


No doubt about it,
even though we enjoyed ourselves while on a well needed vacation...
traveling by car 2500 miles... Ohio, NewYork, Pennsylvania...
5star hotels (Shawn is an online bargain hunter extraordinaire) and the cutest Bed & Breakfast...
yet, it is so wonderful to be home.

VERY photo heavy posts to follow but for now I will jump straight to the items that make me smile after the vacation.
My antique treasures.
Anyone surprised?  No?  Keep in mind we did not take our tow behind trailer.  So I had to be very good cause there was very little room, but we got creative, and truth be told, the kids were massively cramped cozy tucked amongst my 'goods' on the way home.  But OH did I find some cheap, fabulous happies!!

Got this white kitchen scale and the below black scale in New York.  Thought they would be precious in the kitchen... and I was right.  I am on a crock 'kick' right now so this bowl was SOLD the second I saw it.
More wonderful crocks... I'm quite loyal to my collections!
Ummm, when does a collection become an obsession... here's another cutey!
These baskets are EVERYWHERE up north, which thankfully makes their price tiny compared to what we pay here.  I found this large one...
and this small one in the same place, so fun.
And yes, that blue trunk was a find in New York too... see why I had to be creative to get this stuff home.
These blue jars were a dime a dozen in Amish Country.
I store so many items in jars and use them as vases too... so I gathered a few (Shawn would debate me using the word 'few') that were my favorite shapes and they will now hang out in my laundry room window sill.
The above blue jar is the one I paid the most for... but I just couldn't leave it in the basement of the store, in a box with old hats and boots... it needed me... and it needs a beautiful flower in it... I will take care of that immediately!

I told Shawn 2.2 seconds into this trek... "I am going to buy 2 big, honking, humungo birdhouses from the Amish."
Yep.  This farm needs big scale birdhouses and I am NOT paying $300 for one which is the going price for this size.  I trusted I would find a little Amish shop in PA and they would have what I needed.
I'm going to paint these white and one will go in the berm by the old Barn and the smaller (relative term cause even the small one is l.a.r.g.e.) will go in the circular planted bed.
They are going to be amazing, tickled pink, seriously.  Big SCORE!!
And I have saved the best for last.
Found this blue cuteness the first day in New York.
It is a little paperboy's bike.  It is sized for a child no older than 6 or 7 years old, but that is how old little boys were way back in the day when they would deliver the newspaper.
Awwwww!  I saw it, loved it, Shawn was hesitant, I went back to hotel and dreamed about it, next morning convinced Shawn it would do fine strapped to the top of the truck, Shawn surrendered, shop owner grinned when I re-entered his shop, and I left with a little blue paperboy's bike.
It makes me smile!
So I'll warn you, the next posts are going to be doozies... we took a lot of pictures and I'm sure to be extra 'wordy' so you can fast forward for the next few posts if your sanity just can't take it.  I'll understand and not judge you a bit.

Thursday, July 8

a green field PHOTOGRAPHY

a friend... a talented photographer... came to photograph the farm.
I had asked her to come out and roam the acreage, wander through the woods, analyze nooks and crannies, and many farming implements and buildings in varying phases of aging.

She probably thought me odd, when she arrived and I did not step outside my house with her.

I know how I see my beloved farm.  I wanted to see it through her eyes, through her lenses.

I pointed her toward the old barn, mentioned the old hollow oak tree in the back pasture, and I think I may have said something like... 'feel free to zoom in on a fabulous rusty nail'... and sent her off to work.

Kim, from a green field PHOTOGRAPHY, posted just a few of her glimpses into my love... 
our farm.

I cried.
I just knew if I stayed out of her way... if I kept my mouth tightly sealed... she would not disappoint.

So please, go see what Kim has given me.
I wonder if she thinks each time she clicks a photo, what a gift she is giving.

Tuesday, July 6

4th of July Party

Our July 4th Barbeque and Fireworks Gathering is the 2nd largest Party we have on the farm  (Barn Tree Trimming being our largest).
This year we had 52 family and friends join us for the chaos festivities.

The cuteness started arriving at 6pm.

This is Noah.  He kept teasing his Aunt Dawn and covering his face when I tried to take his picture... but I won!!  Look at the cute tee his mom made him.

And his baby sister, Eden, was not exempt of the red, white, and blue.
Check out those firecrackers, adorable.

Eden caused quite a stir when she showed on the scene with those booty ruffles, Oh DEAR... I think she was just wishing everyone would quit staring at her ;)

Kenadie was her usually cutey patoot self although she wasn't much interested in posing for a photo opt because she caught sight of her older sister, Carden, whom she adores....

...and the fact that Carden, at that very moment, was on a 4wheeler made Kena neeeeed her big sis even more!!

4 wheelers are always the main attraction.

Where ever a cluster of Mayfields are gathered, you will always find a soccer ball.

Nate brought a new game too.  I have no idea what it is called but it looks like two sets of ladders and you toss roped balls at the ladders trying to wrap a rung.  I never quite figured out the details of the game but it took the kids 1.2 seconds to figure it all out and it was a hit!

I had to set my camera down shortly after everyone arrived because there was a Grill Master, aka Shawn, to assist in feeding this huge crowd.
Hot Dogs
Beef & Bean Nachos
Grilled Chicken Nachos
and all the sides and desserts were
provided by family and it was so plentiful it more than covered
5 serving tables that I had, AMAZING.
The biggest hits were fresh fruit and dip, pasta salad, potato salads, banana pudding,
and icecream.

Fireworks were done by the dads and children.
The names of different fireworks make me laugh... my favorite this year?  
"The Nagging Housewife"

And what's a family gathering without some drama at the end?
We had thought we were thorough in taking care of the animals knowing that we were doing fireworks.
Barn animals were safely tucked in the barn where they would feel protected.

But we had forgotten about the possible effect the fireworks would have on our puppy, Cooper.
After all our family and friends had left, we could not find Cooper.
When he was frightened in the past he had always gone on the house back porch in the corner.  
But he was not there.  Savannah was terrified.  
Her first dog, a beagle called Bella, and a stray beagle that had adopted us, Shiloh, suddenly came up missing last December.  They were never found.
Shawn and Savannah went out in the truck looking for Cooper, up and down the road, looking around nearby farms.
Shawn later even went out on the 4wheeler so he could go in the woods and ravine.
After hours of looking for Cooper with no sighting, we were all very upset.
Poor Savannah made herself physically sick, I've never witnessed swollen eyes like she had the next morning.
We prayed our hearts out that Cooper would find his way home and that loosing another pet would not be a trial we had to face right now.

The next morning, I was the first one up and outside to see if Cooper was there.  No.  He wasn't on the back porch where he always is.

So I called his name like we did hundreds of times the night before...
and there he was, trotting towards me from the back pasture.

Poor pup, I think he was startled by the reaction he got... is there such a thing as toooooo much lovin'?
I screamed upstairs for Savannah, startled a tad at her swollen eyes, bless her... and got out of the way of the reunion of a gal and her pup.
Next night when the surrounding neighbors lit fireworks since it was the actual 4th, we were sure to let Cooper in the house garage.  Even then it was shocking how very scared he was.
He herds fiesty hens, huge horses, kicking donkeys, and billy goats with huge horns... but the sound of fireworks is just too much for him to handle, now we know!!

Monday, July 5

So we will remember the journey...

We long ago surrendered to the fact that it gets too hot, too fast down here.
Early spring we start our dream 'getter done' lists that we hope to finish by July 4th holiday.  Trying to do anything extensive outside after that date is just miserable.  From July 4th til after labor day weekend, we do the bare minimums like mowing and edging... and spend all other free time at the lake or INSIDE.

So since I create a blog book each year as a family journal... I want to document the items we accomplished this Spring and how some of our past projects are progressing.

This spring we finally got shutters for the house, Yay!  They really add to the exterior and I splurged and got the authentic hardware.
And shortly after getting the shutters, I decided that these two windows on the porch would look great with a set of shutters too.  So they should arrive in about 2 weeks and I am so excited.
Our porches are 10 feet deep and I always pictured a table here at the back of the front porch where I could display some fun items.  I found this perfect table at Restoration Hardware and had been saving for it for months and it has finally arrived and looks perfect. 
I had originally purchased some unique adirondack chairs for this porch.  But the truth is that I love to sit on this porch often and for long periods of time and they just weren't comfortable enough to really cozy in to.  So I relocated them and I have some classic wicker chairs with cushions ordered and can't wait for them to arrive.

Each Spring I love to fill up pots for the porches.  The ever present ferns and hostas, and I tossed in some tropicals for different texture and height this year.

I took a risk and planted lots of perennials in my window box last year, hoping they would survive the winter.  We had a very cold winter, lots of snow, and yet all the perennials in my boxes did indeed come back.  So easy that way.  Although I let the Japanese Beetles devour my sweet potato vine and so they are looking scraggly at the moment... I repented of my laziness and now will have to trim them often till they come back to their original beauty.

I talked Shawn into a second window box.  It was a doozy to hang.  I can fill and plant it by simply leaning out of Ty's windows.  Again, please ignore the sad state of the beetle eaten plants... in a few weeks they will improve, ugh!

We stoned this planter last year and this year Savannah and I added two more layers to the wall, it was just too short, now I am really pleased with the results!

The lone planting in this bed was the gorgeous Cherry Tree.  Now I have added a Japanese Maple, Quinces, Hawthorne bushes, and more.  So excited with this composition!

Here is where I moved the porch adirondacks.  I still plan on painting them black eventually.

The Ginko trees had a rough Spring.  Lots of thunderstorms.  I usually stake a tree (depending on its size) for the first year or two at the most.  Then I have found that they seem to develop a much stronger root system if the stakes are removed and they are allowed to weather the wind and storms.  But this is the exception to my own rule, ugh!  Because in a extra nasty thunderstorm, one of my ginkos was snapped right off, do you see the little stub?  Whimper.  So very sad.  I will be replanting another in its place in the fall because I have grand visions of this tri-pod of ginkos at this curve in the circular drive.

And our future Loblolly pine forest.  I grew up on an Army base that had tons of Loblolly pines around the park we played at.  We would build pine needle forts and throw the pinecones as grenades.  Loblollies are so Southern, love them.

Completing the chicken fence was a huge success, just need to stain it... which will happen this fall.

I have wanted my very own Dappled Willow tree ever since my sister bought one.  I found one at our local Lowes... I actually bought two but one of them looked so very sad... and it ended up not making it.  Good thing for Lowes' generous return policy on plants, snicker.

The jury is still OUT on my three White Redbud trees.  I bought these at a greenery with no return policy and I have been holding my breath about them since I planted them this Spring.  They have struggled since day ONE.  I am not convinced they have the hardiness that they need out here on the farm.  I can be a tad ruthless on that point... I just can't pamper plants on 15 acres... but I have been spoiling these 3... to which they are not showing much appreciation and still looking quite whimpy.  Oh I sure hope they hang in there though!!

Loving our new shed.  Still needs to be stained, a skirting of stone built, stairs, and a ramp made for the side doors.  But we are already using it a lot for needed storage.  Never mind the current clutter... we are just getting ready for 50+ people to arrive in a few hours for our 4th of July Barbeque.

I also got these white adirondacks this Spring for the large firering.  Normally they are closer together around the ring and look so quaint... but 14 year old son had to mow and didn't place them back around the ring just as I like them, snort... He don't much care for precise, cute, placement of chairs... oh well.

I did tons of pruning and pine needle mulching too.  SO NOT FUN... but it looks so nice when its done!

This little stone bed at the old barn is one of the first projects we ever did on the property.  It is still on my to do list to add at least one more layer of rocks to it.  I just slowly add hostas and groundcovers here, very natural arrangement.

This old logging wagon is slowly deteriorating... soon it will be wheels and axles only... but that is the natural process of things and I find beauty even in that!

Shawn spends an enormous amount of time on the entrance fence and drive.  The woods and vines are constantly trying to reclaim this space.  Every passing year the entrance looks more and more amazing to me!

Some day I hope to have two stoned columns on either side where the fence ends with a large white gate... it will be gorgeous... someday :)
There is a story behind that tallest tree on the left in the below photo.  It was completely consumed with vines when we originally bought this land.  I just thought it would have to be chopped down.  But Shawn worked so hard and wore his shoulders plumb out pulling vines off this tree.  I still thought it would have to come down but we decided to leave it and evaluate it.  I even planted a maple right next to it thinking it could replace it when it had to finally be removed.  But it came through... I have loved when we have been able to preserve original trees.

Below is yet another example of a tree that was being strangled by vines.  It leans slightly over the entrance drive and I love it there.  I sure hope now that Shawn has once again removed the majority of the vines that the strangulation was not irreversible and it will make it.

This little curved bench found a new home here in the shade.  It is amazing to sit here in the evenings... and when the entire curve of this stoned path is dripping with annabelle and nikko hydrangeas... this shady nook is breathtaking.

Slowly but surely things are getting completed... another Spring is done... now we shall play all summer and return to our outside 'to do' lists in the Fall.