Saturday, February 26, 2011


I have been collecting these intriguing pins for years...
many represent the IOOF -
Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
A bit about the IOOF:
In 17th century England, it was odd to find people organized for the purpose of giving aid to those in need and of pursuing projects for the benefit of all mankind. Those who belonged to such an organization were called "Odd Fellows." Odd Fellows are also known as "The Three Link Fraternity" which stands for Friendship, Love and Truth. 
In Wisconsin, the IOOF dates to 1835.

Besides the fabulous pins (many with hands), we found this marker from the IOOF.
It is dated "57" --- from 1857.
We loved it because that was the year our house was built.

Have you started a collection just because an item intrigued you?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

a wee bit of news...

I tend to share very little about my day-to-day work life
on this blog -- preferring it to be about life on our farm
or antiquing adventures.

However, I have a wee bit of news.
Back in 2003/2004 I had the opportunity to be part of a 21 member
Governor's Task Force
 that wrote a Quality Rating System for Child Care in Wisconsin.

Beginning in March --
I will help to lead the roll out of this system: YoungStar
in 10 counties in Western Wisconsin.

Wish me luck --
if we can first dodge any funding or budgetary issues...
this will be a big endeavor.

My mantra: 
 "May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back..."
Here we go!

P.S. I did ask that "Young" and "Star" be in my Job Title.
Wishes do come true --- Dream with your eyes open!

Sunday, February 20, 2011


soon. soon. soon.

I am a teacher...

In 1980, I graduated from Carroll College with a degree in
Nursery-Eighth Grade Education.
I hold a Life License to teach in Wisconsin.

Although I have been in administration for many years --
I will always be a teacher first.
It is my vocation, my heart's song...
to teach, to touch a life.

I am a teacher...
and I stand today with my colleagues, calling for equity & justice.
I am a teacher...

If I could hold up a sign it would say:
"Maybe I have touched your life, your child's life....
I am a teacher, I am not the enemy."

Here I am in D.C. on behalf of Head Start & Early Head Start.

I am a teacher, and I am proud of that.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


With or Without Patience, these are the days of waiting.

We can feel that we are on the downward slope.
We are crossing the bridge.
The brass ring is within reach.

We wait.

Come on Spring...
we are waiting.

P.S. -- snow arriving this weekend -- kind of feel like,
"Don't pay attention to the man behind the curtain"...
want to just ignore it.

Sigh -- Waiting...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Augusta is a farming community.  It is also an Amish community.
So, waking to the sound of a buggy is not unheard it was this past weekend.
Clip Clop Clip memories of Mackinac Island return.
Then -- as the buggy nears the next farm -- I hear the dogs...
And that is where this story begins.

Farms often have dogs -- generally not just one.
They serve as pets and protectors.
But, as with any animal -- there are rules of the road -- mainly, keep control of your animals.

So -- Monday as I looked out on our backyard, I was not totally surprised to see a neighbor's dog.
Miffed as I was -- I did my usual -- walk out, clap my hands, growl loud, scare it off home.  This was not the first time.  Then I look out to our pasture & I see my little Chestnut, tiniest of all my kittens, up in the height of a tree.  Good for you, I think, you knew to climb to safety.  Good for you. little one.  Then I went back to get the water, kitty milk and head out to the barn -- knowing quite well I would need to help my little Nutsky down from the tree.

And that is where the story changed. 

As I approached the pasture, I realize another one of the neighbor's dogs is in the pasture -- next to the entrance to the barn.  I free my hands, and quickly get into the barn thru the milk house, hoping the animals are not hurt.  Little Moo -- our patriarch goat has the goats huddled in a corner and is standing between them and the intruder.  I grab a lead -- and head out to the pasture to try to corral this X?!#@ dog.  Yea, you read that right -- Seriously?  The dog bares his teeth.

Back into the barn to barricade the door, Nutsky still hovering in the tree.  With an ice covered driveway, I run to the house.  Dave is sick and still waking, I holler for him to come and help.  He arrives with rifle in hand.  Once more we try to approach the dog -- growls & bares teeth.  Off Dave heads to the neighbor's farm -- "come and get your dog" is the message he will deliver.  "We'll stop by later on our way to work" is the message he returns with.  Seriously??

I now head to the neighboring farm.  One thing you don't want to EVER deal with is the wrath of Kari --especially when I am protecting my flock.  No buggy, no gentle approach...with horn blaring I announce "You have 5 minutes to come get your dog, or we'll shoot it".  This is just too much.  See, life in the country does have it's moments.  This dog was meaning to do harm to my animals -- and has harassed them once too often.  Seriously???  (*Now, seriously, we are humane, wouldn't do harm to another animal unless it was life or death for one of our animals --- but that being said, humans need to be responsible for their animals -- "shoot it" was meant to make the people actually respond.)

Finally, mad neighbor arrives,  Seething, he shares how his dog is just so scared by us.  He gathers his dog, says a few choice words, and steams off, mad because we bothered him & scared his dog -- that happened to be in our fenced pasture.  Seriously????

We do what any fair minded person would.  We call our township's Animal Control to document what just happened (not the first time for these dogs & other farms) and find out what indeed the ordinances are & what our rights are.  We contact the Sheriff and document.  'Cause at the end of the day -- our farm is our property, our animals are our responsibility and no one has the right to create their own laws ----- not even in the country.  *And we do end the day with a civil conversation with the neighbor -- but, with a "Control your dogs, or else."....not a threat -- just a reality and a right.

This is why:

Then we bring out the extension ladder, I climb up and get little Chestnut, with heart beating so, out of the tree.  We award Little Moo the Medal of Honor for standing between the goats and the dog  (and do note...Moo is a fainting goat, so he done extra good).  We count all the little heads, stand with our feet planted firmly, looking towards the neighbor's farm, hearing the barks, and say with no uncertainty, "Thus far, and no further."  Yes, we are serious.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Surround yourself with loveliness - Bathroom -- home tour moves on...

So, we all face that morning wake up --
why not do so in a sweet place that says,
"Hello, good morning
- I have been waiting for you!"

So, borrowing from the words of one my most favorite artists,
Tracy Porter:
"Surround yourself with loveliness".

And why not tuck another special wish in a family heirloom...
this Ironstone platter is from my mom...greets me every day.

Put it all together, and what do you have?
A sweet bathroom...

The mirror over the sink is from Dave's grandma.
Postcards trim the edge of a stock sink...
also sweetened up with glass nobs.

Charming chair found at the Elkhorn Flea Market.
A pair of matching hooked rugs - one at sink, one at tub.

Vintage wire soap holder over the edge of the chair back
holds seasonal messages & antique millinery.

T.P. storage...

Speaking of storage...this fabulous blue cupboard is poised & ready.

And, my daily dose of my boy...

Even a bathroom should be sweet & lovely.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hearts & Stars & a Rainbow or two...Thanks Flea Market Style -- You have made my day!

If I could reach up and hold a star
for every time you've made me smile,
the entire evening sky
would be in the palm of my hand.
Author Unknown
Happy Valentines Day!

And yea...took a quick look at my favorite blogs --
and I won at the Flea Market Style Count Down Giveaway --
announced, extra special!
Find this great blog by clicking on the link below:
Flea Market Style Blog

Thanks Flea Market Style Team!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Doodle Doo!

At a recent Auction...
three of these sweet Rooster Cannisters went up for bid.

Two experienced antique dealers & I were the bidders.
The auction was of another antique dealer's wares.
Based upon all this -- knew they were special.

I have only seen these once before -- and drooled over them at
Barb C. @ Simply Iowa's blog (click below, see last post):
Barb C. knows her stuff -- and deals in unique, cool things...
So, again, knew they were special.

So, of course, I lifted my number up in the air -
set my chin -
determined to bring them home.

And home they came....
They were simply meant for a farm kitchen!!

I know these are old -- I know they are fairly rare.
Does anyone know anything else about these?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Our dining room - home tour continues...

Bridging the space between our kitchen & living room is a large, long dining room.
It is our pass thru, our place for holiday meals, our spot for a game of Clue or Scrabble with Ian.

The color theme for this room:
yellow & white striped wallpaper on 3 walls

maroon wallpaper on the end wall, just because
and green.

Our first order of business in this room was to remove an added closet -
which included the home's electrical box on the outside of it
(dropped that to the basement with haste)
and tear down a wall that separated the space into two rooms.
We also removed paneling and
sanded & scraped layers & layers of original wallpaper.
The many layers of wallpaper provided me with clues
that our greens & fun colors were not too far removed
from the colors this home had lived with over the 150 years...
do believe they were decorating soul mates here before me.

When we still lived in Sun Prairie, I found the wonderful
table at a shop called Prairie House -- it came with 4 leaves.

The light fixture was a discontinued Menards model.
Dale, our electrician, had wondered aloud prior to
installing this fixture about the project we had undertaken in breathing life back into this farm.
His exact words, "Have you ever thought about a bulldozer?"
After installing this light fixture through access from the study above
& a square nail constructed floor & subfloor,
Dale actually answered his own question
"A tank wouldn't take this place down."

Looking into the dining room from the other end...
the wall we removed went across the room where
the blue wing chair sits.  The closet we removed was
to the left where a farm cupboard now stands.

This is the only room we carpeted.
The original wood flooring was in very rough shape in this room --
too large an undertaking,
and with my penchant for barefooting --
one more cushiony wonderful texture to walk on was in order.

Here is a detail of one of the dining room chairs - purchased at
the Columbus Antique Mall for a song. 
Re-upholstered in vintage fabric with a sweet postcard decoupaged on the back.

Sitting next to the window is the original 154 year old screen door.
It was still on the front of the house when we arrived --
wrapped in plastic.
We quickly retired it to the dining room...
and it actually helped establish our color scheme --
it matches the maroon wallpaper.
The chair is a favorite napping place for our cats...
cushion is covered in a hooked rug.

To the right of the window stands this pie safe...purchased at
the now closed Broadway Antique Mall in Madison -
as a final gift from my mom from her estate.
On top sits two Watt pitchers -- from my childhood home.
Inside this beauty is all my vintage fabric.

On the wall next to the pie safe is a xstitch I did years
before finding this home.  Think it says it all....

Our study is on second floor --
so I added this wonderful vintage bag near the stairs---
any paperwork that needs to go upstairs waits here.

Sweet trellis -- place to tuck a postcard or two
as well as a vintage hat & mirror.

A final dining room note...
this cupboard was our first ever antique furniture purchase.
We found this at the Antique Mall of Madison years ago. 
 It wasn't the "colonial" we originally sought
(yea, our taste was in refinement back then) 
-- but it did set the tone for all our finds to follow. 
This wonderful pine farm cupboard is likely the same vintage as our farm.

Here she is all decked out for Valentine's Day.

Have a great weekend --
and I better say, "Go Pack Go!"
...after all, green & yellow -- great colors!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thank You Matthew Mead & Team Holiday!

With a roll of the dice,
I entered Holiday with Matthew Mead's latest most wonderful give-away
And WON!

Find this charming site at the link below:

Thank you so much!

P.S. I have purchased a case of the upcoming issue: 
 "Holiday with Matthew Mead - Summer"
I wonder which Barn Sale these might be a special part of?? 
(hint:  May!)

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