Saturday, October 30

Taylor & Bella

Our nieces, Taylor and Bella, spent a few days at the farm while their parents were on vacation.
Ty usually provides tons of entertainment for cousins but Taylor wasn't much interested in cruising down the steps on blankets.

The other kicker was that it rained and stormed (even a Tornado Watch to keep things interesting) so there was no opportunities to go outside!  

So we dug deep in our 'to do' bag of tricks and the biggest hit was painting!
 Ty decided to paint on canvas... subject matter was his all-time favorite pastime, BASEBALL!
 Taylor preferred painting in coloring books.
 Bella is a 'wanderer'.  She is so unbelievable easy to care for... she literally just strolls around and investigates thing after thing, never stays in one place long but moves to the next thing that catches her eye and you rarely hear a peep out of her.
 I have this large magnetic board that I use with my nursery calling.
We drug out everything that had magnets on it and I told Taylor to create a beautiful picture for me.
 I cracked up when she called me in to see what she had created... less is NOT more in Taylor's artistic eye.  There literally was not ONE magnetic item that she did not find a place for.  She said her favorite was the turtle.  I like him too!
 BUT we found out later that night that Taylor does not find frogs appealing.
Funny story:  We get these little frogs (pictured below) that hang out, literally, on our doors and windows.  We find them amazing, little suction cups and all....Taylor, not so much.  When Savannah went outside to get the frog so Taylor could take a closer look, Taylor bolted!  She did not want a closer look at all.  In fact, the whole rest of the evening she checked in on the frog.  I think she felt safe as long as she knew where it was.  The moment she went to see the frog and it was gone, she totally panicked.  We had to reassure her that the frog just went away and in NO WAY was able to get into the house.  Funny! 
Wednesday night was our Ward's Trunk or Treat.
Not sure it was their intention but their parents sent them as the mascots for the #1 and #2 college football teams: AU tiger and Oregon duck.  They were adorable!

 Girls were so not interested in the candy part of trunk or treating but loved all the little kids and the fun decorations.
They were excited to get home after the party because I had promised them that they could 'swim' in Aunt Dawn's bath tub... 
Have to document one of the funniest conversations Taylor and I had in the truck coming home from Noah's house.
I originally had the windows down on the truck leaving Noah's but shortly after getting on the main road it got way to windy.  It literally was taking Bella's breath away... so I rolled up the windows.  Taylor was not happy and asked why I rolled the windows up.  I told her the wind was getting too crazy.  She exclaimed, "I like crazy!"  I started laughing and she made her point again, "I really, really do like crazy!"  Love it!  and I love these two gals!

Wednesday, October 27

beaks and feathers....hebejebees!

Birds kinda weird me out, I've always been nervous around them.
I think having the chickens is helping me grow more tolerant.
At least I better be getting more tolerant as I keep adding birdhouses to the farm!

When we were in Amish Country earlier this summer, I would not leave without a couple Amish made birdhouses.  I was thrilled to find the exact style I wanted too.
Here they are after we got them home.
I needed to stain/paint them and then get Shawn to help place them.
Remarkably this project didn't take me forever... just about 3 months :)
I stained the roofs a charcoal grey and painted the bases white.  The posts will grey with time.  Thrilled with the results.
The smaller of the two birdhouses was put in the center of our circular drive.  I went back and forth on height, trying to remember that there will be plantings at its base eventually... those planting will 'ground' the birdhouses... so I think we got it placed perfectly!
The big birdhouse is in the planting bed (using the term planting bed very loosely as there are yet plantings actually there, grin) in front of the old barn.
I look forward to when we start planting this huge area, it will look amazing!
 We had some friends that had to have a huge pinetree cut down and I had Shawn and Christian haul 9 of these gigantic slices home.  I had them plop three here and the rest are near our entrance.  They will look so beautiful as they age.  
I think our friends thought we were kooks when we asked if it was OK to haul off this wood.
Won't be the last time I ask dear husband to bring home something off the side of the road,
poor guy!

Monday, October 25

effort? minimum!

I usually decorate for Fall... usually.
Truth is I have been knocking out other projects and so I have gone with the more lazy pathetic  understated fall decor.  You buying that lame-O jibberish.  Me neither.

But see?  I did do some strategic placement of cuteness.
 And I almost broke a sweat as I pointed to this collection of pumpkins and ordered my oldest son to put them in the cart at the Farmer's Market.
 Oh how I love our stairs... and the pumpkins are adorably placed, yep... you guessed it, by child labor.
So lets get to the real enthusiasts of the family.
The artists!
Because only an artistic sort would revel in the task of scooping out slimey pumpkin guts, snicker!
Werewolf by Christian.  Bat by Savannah.  Skulls by Ty.
 And this little ditty was also by Christian.
And where is Shawn's masterfully carved Pumpkin?  Afterall he grabbed a p'kin at the market.  
I think in the end, my laziness rubbed off on him.  Way to take a stand sweetie.  
Who likes artistic over-achievers anyway!  Show offs!

Saturday, October 23

Tall and Skinny

In our Family Room / Kitchen, we don't have any open space on our back wall because of the wonderful casement windows along the whole space.
But as the wall makes this turn around our table... I have wanted a little something in these little tall and skinny sections.
Finally I found a solution... so happy with the end result!

On the left side, I placed these cream plates I found at a local antique store.  They are almost flat, which was important as I hope to one day have boothlike seating under the windows for this table and I didn't want to hang anything there that would get bumped or be in the way.
On the right side I made this little menu board.
Literally chalkboard painted a piece of wood and whalaaah!
I actually made the menu board with no forethought on how I would hang it.
In the end I literally drilled two big holes and hung it on two nails... so easy to slip on and off these nails when I want to doodle on it.
I took an extra pull leftover from our kitchen cabinets and just turned it upside down to hold the chalk.
So glad I finally came up with something for this space, yay!!!
Maybe some time in the next 10 years I will finish the roman shades I want for all these windows.  I have resigned myself to the fact that I would never spend the money required to buy shades for these NON-standard sized windows.  Someday....

Thursday, October 21

Savannah Rocks!

Our daughter is a wonderful blend of opposites.
She is feminine, but no one would call her girly.
She is soft hearted and sweet, but tough as nails and gutsy.
She can be timid in some situation and then the bravest person I know in others.
I not only love her dearly... but I really like her too!

She is currently finishing the last couple projects for her Personal Progress Program.
This is a very important Program for her and she will be finished no later than years end.

One of her projects was to pick a personal space and organize it and determine what would make the space function more efficiently and then budget/shop for/ and transform the space.  Each of her projects require a minimum of 10 hours to complete.  This project was well over 10 hours logged but she is thrilled with the final results.

Savannah's primary chores consist of taking care of the animals.
The current count is 3 horses, 2 donkeys, 4 goats, 2 cats, 1 puppy, and 16 chickens.
So it was no surprise to me that she chose to organize the 'tack' room in the new barn.
 She graphed the 6x12' space and listed all the functions and storage that needed to take place in the cramped quarters. No floor space, wall space, or even rafters were left unused.
 No.1... she needed a hay loft.  We have found that purchasing hay in bales works best for us and we have less waste.  But we buy in bulk and we needed storage.  We could only go up for that kind of storage so she and her dad made this loft.  Complete with a ladder that hooks safely onto the loft and then can be hung on the wall out of the way when she is not using it.
 Shelves and hooks galore!
 Milking station for the goats.
 Also notice the 'out of the way' storage of hay loft ladder... that ladder would take up much needed real estate if this alternative had not been used.
 This is the best little invention!
She needed a safe, contained area for baby goats after they are born.
We were stumped on this because we did not have floor space to devote to a goat 'playpen'.  Especially because this is only needed for a few months out of the year when the goats are birthing.
 So the ingenious resolution was to have swinging gates that could be opened against the walls and hooked into place and completely out of the way for the majority of the time.
Yet could be pulled out and latched together and create a goat pen when the 'kids' are small and need to be contained and safe.  Perfect solution!
 Add in storage for tools, like shovels and pitch forks, and containers for all the different feeds...
Job well done!
 Huge project.  Tons of time, tons of forethought, tons of power tools!
The only thing left on Savannah's tack room wishlist is a saddle and blanket rack.
She has a few babysitting jobs lined up so those will be on order and hung real soon.
Bravo Sweet Girl!  You never cease to amaze me!

Wednesday, October 20

The dictionary should be more clear...

So I wonder if many of the items I own fall under the innocent title of 'collections':
noun; an accumulation of objects gathered for study, comparison, or exhibition
have I, not so innocently, crossed over into something else all together, 'addiction':
noun; to devote or surrender oneself to something habitually or obsessively
 I could probably look up obsessive next.
So... I have a few ladders in and around my home.  A few.  a couple.  SIX!
With 10+ feet ceilings throughout my home they visually are incredible and draw the eye up.

My latest ladder I stalked for many years.  It quietly sat in my favorite antique store located in Destin, FL.  Year after year as we return there, I would hold my breath to see if my ladder was still there waiting for me.  Never mind that I could not afford it.  Never mind that I was quite sure we could not get it all the way back home.  Never mind! Year after year, as if to taunt me... the ladder would be there waiting for me... often the price dropped in small increments.  If I did not love this ladder so, I would say it was mocking me.

But then the final straw.  September 2010.  Me standing in front of MY ladder in my favorite antique store and the price is slashed drastically.  Instant feelings of absolute excitement and dread.  Now the price was more than reasonable, but... I still had the itty bitty technicality of getting it home.  Because... see... I didn't even know how long this ladder even was... it started out on the floor and slanted up... way up... and the top disappeared into the rafters and insulation of the building.  For sure, it was taller than 10feet.  So what was I to do?  SOLD.

Have I stated how patient and mellow my dear husband is.  I guess I should throw in forgiving and long suffering to paint a more accurate picture.
Shawn went to the antique store with Christian, loaded the beast in our trailer, which by the way it did not even begin to fit in to it was too long, got it safely back to our rental house, and then proceeded to strap this ladder to the top of our SUV for the 6 hour drive home. 
By the way... it is a few inches short of 17 feet.
I dreamed of putting it in this exact location!  We have this weird ledge (necessary for certain supports, etc, blah, blah, blah... was never thrilled with the final look of that darn ledge).  But now that we have the ladder... I think I am going to create the illusion of an old library shelf.
You know... the tall book shelves that you have to have a ladder to reach the tallest books?!
I have been collecting old books... some for their content, most of them for their colors.
My most expensive book?  Country Mouse.  Love it!
We don't have cable or satellite TV, so the kids only watch movies.  Savannah has loved watching all the old Little House on the Prairie series.  I found this old book and it is my second favorite.
So now I am on the hunt for more books, thats a long ledge afterall... one collection leading to another.
Or is that 'one addiction leading to another'.
Collection!  right?
Or how's this for another wonderful word looked up in the dictionary...

noun; refusal to admit the truth or reality