Friday, May 31, 2013

Midnight musings...

It's weird the thoughts that run through my mind when I can't sleep.  Since I can't, I thought I'd share:
  • It's been a week.  I mean A WEEK.  It's quite late for me, but I can't sleep.    
  • It's quiet-ish in the house at this time of night, but not total silence.  I can hear my husband snoring and the cat psuedo-snoring.  The dog is dreaming and must be running because her legs are twitching and her tags are jingling.
  • I woke up the night of the awful-ness, possibly because I heard something, but at the time I didn't hear anything else and thought I must have been dreaming.  But, in the nights since, I'm struggling to go to sleep.  I feel guilty.  The chickens were in our care and it is beyond upsetting.  Guilt is among the worst, most destructive emotions.  
  • I have a new mop.  I'm working on a post about it, but who knows when that'll be published.
  • We have the loveliest, best tasting water fresh from our tap.  We have a spring fed well and the water is delicious.
  • I really can't find any clarity about the situation with the chickens.  As you can tell by the mish-mash and incoherent thoughts I've managed to put into this post.  
  • They were our chickens and my heart is aching.  Little Jill, a tiny little Old English Bantam would run over to say hi every time I came out the back door.  I will miss that.
  • I love my new wedding band!  It's beautiful and meaningful and feels good.
  • When I'm upset, my face breaks out.  Which, given the fact that I will be turning 50 this year, is really quite annoying.  I'm well past the age of breakouts, dog gone it.
  • Clearly I'm not really a farmer, since I name my chickens and cry at their passing.  
  • I planted some really fun gourds this week.  I hope they grow like crazy!  I've always wanted to try turning the dried gourds into something beautiful and artsy.
  • I started making a new nightgown tonight from a sheet.  I have a pattern I made some time ago and I use the serger to finish all the edges, which I leave exposed.  More on this later, after I have it finished, and can post picutres.
  • I know that time will heal and eventually I will be able to set down the guilt.  It's not helpful or healthy to hold on to such destructive feelings.  I know this and I'm figuring out how to handle it.  I just need a little time. 
Well this post has worked it's magic.  I've had three yawns in a row, so it must be time for bed.  

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A New Day...

It's a new day.  Yesterday was very hard.  I am grateful for this new day and am setting aside trying to understand chaos.  It's a new day and I'm doing the best I can, where I am.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tragedy of a feathered kind...

Something got into the coop last night and we lost half of our chickens.  I'm sad.  Sad.  Sad.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sights from around the gardens

Just some random snaps from around the gardens...  

These are the kitchen herbs right outside the kitchen door.  My husband came up with the configuration, which keeps the chickens at bay.

These are the flower pots that those rotten chickens tried to eat within the first 20 minutes.  Hence the chicken wire tent.  I like it, though.  Has a weirdly artsy feel to it.  And the blooms are safe from the cluckers.

These little frogs hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil.  My mom collected frogs and I have a few scattered here and there just to keep her memory close.  ♥

Volunteer cilantro from last year's kitchen pots is sprouting.  Lucky for me, too, because I made pico de gallo yesterday and didn't have any fresh cilantro in the fridge.  Dried just isn't the same and the new batch in the pot lost quite a bit to the frost we had this past week and I'm reluctant to use any that's left, just yet, because I don't want to stunt it.  When low and behold, right at my feet are these little toadstools (which were a Mother's Day gift a couple of years ago) surrounded by volunteer cilantro.  Don't you just love the wonder of it all?!

Today is Sunday, which has a special magic all it's own.  We have a rare day all to ourselves, my best guy and I.  We plan to change some oil and clip the overgrown magnolia, and take a stand against the weeds in the flower beds.  Pretty romantic, I know, but it's perfect for me.

I hope the magic of this Sunday brings you something perfect, too.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Unveiling of the Garden

My favorite husband and I have been reworking our garden.  There are loads and loads of pictures (after) but no before.  So you'll just have to trust me that it looks 1000% better.

My husband spent hours and hours building, leveling, and securing the raised bed boxes.  They define the space for what's planted and add a level of artistry, too.

We mulched the whole thing with the help of one very strong son!

In the garden are: Tomatoes, parsnips, radishes, okra, green beans, blackberries, brussel sprouts. garlic, two kinds of cucumbers, 6 kinds of peppers (3 hot, 3 sweet), yellow squash, zucchini, celery, herbs and a tomatillo.

This lean to is for all the vine-y things to grow on.  Cucumbers, zucchini, squash. I found a similar idea on Pinterest and my husband created these.  I'll let you know how they work.


This is garlic, next to the watering can.  Have you ever grown it?  We used a head from the grocery, broke it into cloves and planted last year.  We'll see what we have come the fall.


This is the same celery I started in water in my kitchen after cutting the root end of a bunch of celery purchased at the grocery.  Seriously.  It is actually much taller in person, but I mulched it pretty heavily.

Pretty, pretty boxes.

I'm thrilled with this garden.  It's just another example of the Wonder of God's Creation.  From one tiny seed will come a plant that gives over and over something delicious.  Abundance truly is all around us just waiting for us to see it.  There is plenty for all and come August, stop on over and I'll share with you.

Here's the best part:  It is all planted, mulched, watered, and fertilized.  I am worn out!  Worn out.  My thighs are reassuring me that they've worked hard and are pretty insistent that they be allowed to go to bed.  So this post is finished.

Happy Saturday one and all.


Okay...  Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Really have no idea what I'm doing.  Why oh why Google Reader?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

It's Our Anniversary - - - Happy 25th!

Today is my 25th Wedding Anniversary.  Woo!

It sounds like so many years and while I am very, very young, it's true.  We've been married 25 years today. We decided to buy new wedding bands and (sniff) they are not quite ready for today.  Such a bummer.  But, as my son said, it's just a ring and you still get to spend the day with this guy.

Isn't he adorable?!!  And he's smart and creative and can fix just about anything and funny and aggravating and challenging and I love him with a depth and breadth that I could not fathom 25 years ago.

The other day my girlfriend was telling me she ran into someone we went to school with and this is how she responded when the friend asked about us:  Oh, Mark and Marsha.  They're smack dab in the middle of happily ever after.

And we are.

Good relationships don't just happen.  They take time, patience and two people who truly want to be together.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

New Layout

This is the winner.  I had no idea Blogger had so much to offer.  It pays to look around some.  Hope you like it.

It's Saturday and I'm enjoying the drizzly morning.  We are working on the garden today.  The vegetable garden that is.  We are doing a complete overhaul.  I mentioned to my favorite husband that if we could make some simple 2x4 box frames and fill them in with the extra dirt from the garage extension (have I ever mentioned that before?) they'd be little raised beds and we could make a pathway from the free mulch to help keep the weeds at bay.  I said do you think that would be too much?

To which he said not at all.  He then proceeded to use two computer programs to design the new garden space.   It's color coded.  Squares and rectangles with a white walkway.   It's beautiful.  Like a Mondrian.

Just before this I was out shoveling dirt into some of the finished boxes and he says "I might have taken it too far.  Like usual, you said could we make simple and I..." he trailed off a little sheepishly.  "Built the Taj Mahal" I said.  Which it's true in the best possible way.  I have these simple ideas and he creates masterpieces.  I totally love that guy!

Anyway, I came in because my arms were hurting from the shoveling, but I think I've recovered enough to shovel a little more.  I just can't even tell you how much I like playing in the dirt.  :)

Happy Saturday to you.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Testing Layouts...

It's time for a refresh on this blog I think.  So this is a test.  Let me know what you think.  I've run out of time right now, so be prepared for some tweaking.

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.” ― Charles M. Schulz

Oh geez.  Maybe it's because it's late, but I'm digging these circles.  Circles have become a kind of theme for me this year.  Interesting, very interesting.  Think I'll sleep on it and see how I feel tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dr. Seuss to the rescue...

“Nonsense wakes up the brain cells. And it helps develop a sense of humor, which is awfully important in this day and age. Humor has a tremendous place in this sordid world. It's more than just a matter of laughing. If you can see things out of whack, then you can see how things can be in whack.” ~ Dr. Seuss

Let's get out and enjoy the day, find some nonsense and share it with others.  ♥♥♥

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else's happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you're not sure what the right thing is...and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.”  Donna Ball

Kitchen Update!

OMGosh. It's really coming together now!  Here is the pic of the grout I promised.  It makes the tile look even better.  It's weird to say that, but it does.  Which is what grout is supposed to do I suppose, but it does.  It makes the tile look even better.

I also finished the new glitter switch plates.  With all the new electrics, came new plates, too.  I like them even better with the tile!

I will say our first tiling job is a success and won't be our last.  We've lived in this house for 15 years and some of the rooms really need a sprucing up.  Given how the kitchen refresh became a full on remodel, I hesitate to think about the next room.  But, no thinking of other rooms when there are still four items left in the Kitchen, which include new floor, light over stove, undercabinet lights, stainless steel behind stove.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

We are grouting!

Well, as you can imagine in a hundred year old house, we ran into a couple of snags with the back splash project.  So...  We put tile on the two sections without issues (see picture here) and we've been in a period of discernment (that's my 25 cent word of the day) waiting for the solution to appear.  Which it did, in the form of a friend who recommended forgoing trying to tile the tricky area and put up a stainless steel panel instead.  OhMyGoodness, don't you love a friend who shares!

Well I mentioned it to my hubby and we were off to the races!  Lucky for us, two country blocks away, is a metal fabricating company.  The tricky area is behind the stove, which is under a window, which lines up with nothing.  It (the window) also has a protruding piece of wood - could be part of the sill, could be they used whatever they had and tough noogies that it sticks out about 3/8" from the drywall. Wow this is boring.  Anyway, there are some other totally uninteresting quirks about that stretch of wall that make tiling it tricky.

But now we havve a plan!  So today we grouted the tile we have.  AND IT LOOKS BEAUTEOUS!

Have I mentioned before we've never tiled anything before?  True story.  I thought the kitchen would be a good test site as it's a small area.  Then, if it goes well, we are moving on to the bathrooms.  Well it's gone well.  We've learned a lot (like buy more than 1 sponge) and it was fairly easy, and there were virtually no unhappy words.

I'm just about the give the grout a final clean and then I'll post a pic!  Woot!!!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Fabulous Friday!

I am always off on Friday's, but what makes this day fabulous is yesterday's activities.  Because I was so busy yesterday, today has a much slower, do what you want pace to it.  Woo!

I have discovered some new favorite things and wanted to share:

Microfiber towels:  Not new to the market, but new to me.  Here are my thoughts.
  1. They clean fingerprints off the fridge without any sort of cleaner.  Dry.  
  2. Amazing duster.  Again Dry & no cleaner.
  3. Soaks up an amazing amount of water.
  4. Bright vibrant color that doesn't dim in the wash.
  5. Super soft.
  6. When dirty or dusty, goes right into washer.  Don't use fabric softener as it reduces the fibers ability to collect oil and dust and dirt.  (to the microfiber, the oil in fabric softener is the same as fingerprint oil - it's collected and trapped there til the next wash.) 
  7. I have both dish towel and dish cloth size.  As I've mentioned before I like the dish cloth size for a lot of different things and I find them perfect for dusting.  But I like having both.

Corelle Dishes:  Not new to market, but I've never owned a set.  I've been thinking about new dishes for a long time. I've owned and used: Pfatzgraff, heirloom china, hand made pottery and some vintage glass dishes.  Some were priceless and some were bargain priced finds.  Some were gifted to me.  What's different about these dishes is I picked them out myself.  They reflect who I am and where I want to dedicate my time.  They also remind me of the dishes I liked the best, which were the vintage glass set (a very incomplete set).  Why did I go with Corelle?
  1. Durabilty
  2. Availability
  3. Selection
  4. Mix and Match
  5. Dishwasher safe
  6. No pressure. God bless the people who can use heirloom china without worry or breakage and happily hand wash it all.  I cannot.  These are readily available, easily replaced, reasonably priced.  
  7. They make everything in Corelle - serving dishes, dessert bowls, ramekins, etc.  
  8. It looks great with the French White pieces I've owned and loved for years.  
I picked out 4 sets of black and white dishes.  I'm only picturing 3 here because the 4th one is larger (be sure to read the dimensions before purchasing - - which I did not.) and it's going back.  I really like to have 12 plates.  It's a lot, but we've had 12 in both the china and hand made pottery and I discovered how handy it is.  Having 12 means that we can have people over and not have to wash dishes if we've (gasp) used plates for lunch! ;-) (oh geez, I crack myself up).  The patterns don't match, but because they are black and white, they 'go'.  Corelle has everything you can imagine to go with your dinner set, so I cleaned out all the hodgepodge bowls and platters and now everything is white or black and white.

I love these dishes.  I shopped at multiple sites because some patterns are exclusive to different merchants.  

Some people say it's wrong to 'love' objects.  I disagree.  I think that objects can enhance our lives and feeling positive emotion about a better life is natural.  Maybe it's the word love that people object to.  Since I am not Gollum and haven't started calling anything My Precious, I think I'm all right.  But if you find loving dishes objectionable substitute like-like or appreciate.  

Since it's Fabulous Friday, think I'll go and dig in the dirt!  Enjoy! 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Day off... Very Thankful!

I decided to take the day off.  Actually, on Tuesday when every other word I said was 'freaking' I knew I needed a day to detox.  Today was that day.  It has been great.

Here are a few things I did:  dropped a package @UPS; made a return @TJMaxx; purchased new kitchen towels; made a futile trip into JoAnn's for soapmaking supplies (what the heck JoAnn's?); went to the tire place to fix a slow leak (which they did gratis & rotated the tires, too); bought some soap making supplies @Michael's; bought some new shorts (4 pairs actually); stopped for lunch; came home to pick up one of my favorite guys, went back out searching for veggies to plant in the garden; found veggies and some flowers for pots (which is a tricky proposition since last year the freaking chickens systematically moved from pot to pot eating every single bloom, bud and leaf); did a quick turn through the grocery and then an even quicker turn through the liquor store.
Pineapple Margarita

Good grief!  It's no wonder I'm beat.

And then when we got home, we worked to make this little beauty, which I found on Pinterest.  Geez I love that site.  Anyway, here's a link to the creator's website, which has the recipe.  It was delicious.  These are 8 ounce glasses and it made 4 plus.  We put crushed and regular ice in the glass and just used the lime wedge for garnish.  We also had some delicious Tequilla Lime Chicken Tacos.  Fabulous.

Not much of a day off if I were going for relaxing, but to be able to cross all these items off my list is amazing and I feel lighter, and more relaxed than if I'd lounged all day.  Think I might take a power nap!  Try a Pineapple Margarita - they are tart and crisp and sweet all at the same time :)

What's with that...

Okay, have you noticed that people will post things that are shocking or surprising or cryptic or sad, but just enough to make you react, but then never post the rest of the story?  Never respond to questions or act coy about it.  Happens everywhere, Facebook, blogs, twitter.  What's with that?  

I mean if you are going to put it out, put it out there.  If it's truly private, keep it to yourself.  

The thing is, if you put it out there and people actually care about you, they are going to be concerned and want to help.  Have the decency, the common courtesy, the humanity to respond.  

I've had my fill of it today.  You'd never call everyone you know and say "Please pray for me.  I am in desperate need of your prayers." and then not tell them why or let them know when things change.  So why is it okay to text or write it?  

So, you know who you are.  Cut it out.  Act like a grown up.  Everybody has troubles.  Everybody.  Yours are no better, no bigger, no more awful than anyone else's.  Thinking that they are is a sure and fast way to more troubles.  Clearly people care about you.  It's time to care about them, too.  

(rant complete)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space...

This is a good guideline to live by.  I was faced, no confronted, no assaulted today by a co-worker who came bearing attitude and rudeness.  It's tough, when someone else is intentionally rude to try to understand, to not respond in kind, and to not take it personally.

So, I'm sitting here trying to figure out just exactly what to say or not say to this freaking rude person tomorrow.  I'd like to say nothing, but it's a pretty small office space.  I'm not really ticked.  Though I'm not too thrilled with it either.  I realize that the FRP (freaking rude person) isn't my responsibility and since I didn't do anything to provoke the situation I am not taking it personally.  That being said, I won't be treated like that.  I'm a person and therefore deserving of respect.  I give it and I expect it.  Period.

Yet another day to be a bigger person.  Woot.  But if it's okay, tomorrow I'd like to just coast.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Let there be backsplash

Here is the first picture of the penny rounds we chose for our back splash.  We were tiling pretty late last night, so it isn't grouted and probably won't be today.  But I couldn't wait to share.  
What do you think?  

It's variegated and warm and looks lovely with the counter and looks lovely with the cabinets and is perfect and we love it.  Here's what's really interesting is that 1 &1/2 tiles fit in the space between the counter and cabinets perfectly. The only cutting we've done is tucking into corners and around the light switches.  Woot!

Here is why we chose this tile:  
One: the color.  It's warm and the variation in color just draws your eye along it.
Two: the shape.  The roundness is in contrast to the sharp lines in the counter and really the entire kitchen which is filled with straight lines, rectangles, etc.  
Three: We both liked it.  It took my hubby a while, but once he saw a demo of this at the tile place we were both on board. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Duck, Duck, Goose

We have a large pond on our property and some time in April a pair of Canadian geese stopped and have never left.  Last weekend, I noticed a pair of ducks arrive and when they did the geese ran for the corn fields.  Hmmm...

It's happened a couple of times since. The ducks come and go. The geese are in the pond, the ducks arrive, the geese immediately vacate the pond, only to slip back in when the coast is clear.  

The goose is easily 5 times bigger than the duck. Maybe the duck has special powers ;-)

Today I'm hearing the geese honking and I look out the window and notice the ducks are back.  The geese are at the edge of the corn field and one of them is giving the duck what for.  Mind you the corn field is a good 50 feet from the edge of the pond, so he is giving the duck what for from a very safe distance.   

And what is the duck doing?  Swimming, dunking under to eat whatever yumminess the pond is growing and completely ignoring the goose chatter.

This is what is really meant by water off a ducks back.  The duck is having a lovely swim and probably wouldn't give two figs if the geese were in the pond.  But the geese won't share and are being such whiners about it.  

Life is fascinating. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Work and growing pains and finding a new path

Last September I went from working 3 part time days to 4 full time days.  Not a big deal right? Added another day.  No biggie.  But, surprisingly it is...

It's not just that it's one more day.  Each of the other days are longer now and I'm noticing the adjustment is still going on.  It's trying to get the laundry done, cleaning, shopping, etc., which I always used to do on one of my weekday days off.  And trying to get some kind of dinner on the table before bedtime is turning out to be the toughest transition.

And yes, I realize other people do this, 5 days a week or more.  I'm not saying that I'm sooo much more deserving of sympathy or have it worse or in any way comparing myself to anyone other than me as I've been operating the last 7 years.

I enjoy cooking.  I like trying out new recipes.  I enjoy it and I'm a pretty good cook.  Trying to enjoy it when you are starved, tired, stressed, and it's way later than you want to eat is challenging.  Then by the time I get dinner together I'm so tired I'm not enjoying eating it either.

And here's the thing, I like working.  I like where I work.  I like the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a job and the reward of a paycheck.  So going back is not an option.

I'm going to have to come up with a different plan of attack.  It will mean changing the way I shop I think and will most likely involve some kind of menu planning.  Arrrgh.  I much prefer to look at the foods we have and come up with something from there.  It's a very creative outlet for me.  But, I can always continue to do that on my days off.

Ah, this blog is therapeutic. Willing to share a quick and easy weeknight menu?  I'll share what I come up with, too.

Have a great day, one and all!