Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Good Bye June...

Behind our barn is this magical place where the sky always seems to be blue and goes on forever.  You can walk for miles without meeting another.  There stands the tree line hung with chimes given to me by my friends at Meeting House in remembrance of my mother -- June Wind.  Chimes Dave walked up the hill and hung in the tree, the eagle tree.  Chimes placed there to protect my cat, Hope, from harm.  June, Hope, chimes in the breeze, days that last and last.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Only on a Tuesday...

Tonight I was sitting on the deck, pruning the pansies.  There had been this trilling sound coming from the cottonwood tree along the driveway since supper time -- enough to cause a stir in the house cats and to bring Hope, the barn cat over.  I had gone over to the tree once with binoculars in hand (this is one big tree) and figured it was just some baby bird making a new sound I hadn't heard before.

Anyway, as I am sitting out back, minding my own pruning business -- along drives Dave down our driveway -- and there suddenly appears to be little critters under his car.  My first thought:  kittens!!!!  I hollered for him to stop.  Well, they were kits -- but not of the barn variety...rather of the "get into the trash" variety....raccoon babies to be exact.  That was the origin of all that shrilling noise. 

I now understand why raccoons so often end up along the edge of roads -- they have a thing for cars -- and these babes were not coming out from under Dave's car.  They had run out to it and were not leaving this blue "momma".

So, Dave grabbed a long rubber hose to do "some convincing" ... and the next thing I know, he is leading one of the raccoon babies down the driveway back to the tree.  One raccoon remains behind, crying.  I grab a long grape vine I had just pruned from along the back of the house...and led the other baby down the driveway.  Literally we dragged, they followed. 

So, I am not quite as eloquent as Sterling North -- our wonderful Edgerton, Wisconsin author that wrote about a young boy's adventures with Rascal the raccoon.  But perhaps you can get the picture: Dave with a long rubber hose leading a baby raccoon, and me with a long grape vine doing the same thing.  Cross that off my Bucket List.


Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm a "cat person"...

So there it is, that age old question: 
Are you a cat person or a dog person?

Pardon me as I step up, clear my throat
 and announce my allegiance to cats.
Now please don't get me wrong
-- some of my VERY favorite people are "dog people".

Above, in the white basket, laying on a vintage quilt is my McCoy.  McCoy is one of two house cats - both brothers, now in their eleventh year.  McCoy definitely wears the pants in this family -- he is President, CEO, King -- clearly maker of all rules.  He likes to boss us all about -- but especially his brother, Shawnee.
McCoy, however, has found his purr since arriving at the farm -- and we call him the "miracle of Meadowview Farm" as he once was a very sick cat -- and became a sturdy, healthy cat after arriving here.

Then there is Shawnee -- a bit of a big boy...but oh so sweet.  When McCoy has the basket near the heater on a cold winter's night...Shawnee makes do, fitting snugly in the cat toy basket.  Shawnee is joyful and has no problem being a follower.  Shawnee lives for "bunny time" -- when the porch door is propped open with a large concrete rabbit and he can sleep on the screened porch all day.

So -- what is it for you, are you a cat person or a dog person?? 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Keeping Cool, Laying Low.

Just keeping cool & laying low today...this vignette in my living room is how I want to feel.  In a house without air conditioning...we have a rhythm to keeping the place cool.  Open up windows at night, turn on the ceiling fans...and then close up the house during the day.  It is actually quite cool -- that is what a well built brick house does...stay cool when you want it to.  And the 100 year old trees & great amount of shade helps.  So, feet up, good movie or magazine...staying cool. 

What does your weekend hold for you?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Collecting comes easy!

A collection of perfume bottles...

When asked, "what do you collect?" -- The answer is never easy.  What does come easy is Collecting!
What do they say - three makes a collection.  Well then, I guess I collect quite a lot of stuff.  Just scanning the area around my computer table in the kitchen, I see the following collections:
  • children's brooms with red, green & blue handles
  • yellow McCoy pottery -- am especially loving the polka dot pattern these days
  • round graters (try them with a candle)
  • spice tins
  • Ironstone pitchers
  • Enamelware
  • blue bird dishes
  • frogs
  • Wooden German figures:  little ladybug holding an umbrella, girl with a bird...
Oops, just spotted a Pie Bird -- hmm...just one right now.  A new collection?

Yes, collecting comes easy.  Editing my collections every now and again -- a bit harder, but necessary.

What do you collect?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

At my sewing table...

Even sewing supplies can be sweet! 
Such utilitarian objects as vintage tape measures, thread, rag balls and pin cushions always tug at my heart strings.  And, look, a little mohair Steiff owl has tucked himself right into the mix.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Just a few of my favorite things...

I love the color green, painted furniture, painted baskets,
pottery bowls, vintage trim, floral fabric, and bunnies - especially when they are pulling carts!

What are some of your favorite things?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A belated Father's Day wish...

My father, Randall Beryl Wind was a gentle man.  One of my favorite stories is how he once tried to put a young blue jay back into its nest -- the parent kept diving at him out of fear he was going to hurt the little bird.  My dad, undaunted, went into the house, put a pan on his head and proceeded to put the bird back into the nest.  That was who he was...a gentle man.

I thought of him this past February when I had a chance to visit the WWII Memorial in Washington D.C.  He had served in the Asia-Pacific Theatre -- an airplane mechanic.  His uniforms had been lost upon his return -- but not his memories or the stories he told us of this time in his life.   We were all captivated by the paintings on the airplanes and the names and the pictures of this young man when he served in the Jolly Rodgers. 

My dad has been gone for 14 years this month...but so much of him creates who I am .  And though I am a pacifist at heart -- in me is the courage to defend what is mine...and to honor what he & others like him gave...their youth, often their lives, for an honorable cause. 

So, this past Sunday,  Bill L., a gentle man I have gotten to know at the Hixton Antique Mall arrived with a gift for me.  Wrapped up in a bag was his Eisenhower Jacket from WWII.  He had served in the Asia-Pacific Theatre -- a Technician.  He wanted me to have it.  For once, I am without words...

At Auction...

I am not the best at auctions...Dave & I have been known to be on opposite sides of the room bidding against each other.   And, if I want something, I will generally hold my number up, set my chin and take it to the matter what the cost.

So, several years ago I was at an auction when I eyed this sweet cupboard.  Kind of a funky green, very chippy, charming details ---- just sweet.  Figured it would be an "it is mine" moment and I decided what price I would take it to, which likely was going to be a set my stance and take it to the end  & win, of course.

So, it came up on the auction block -- a point was made to the back of the room where it stood and the bidding started and ended with my $5.00.  Folks looked a little sad for me that I had won it -- so now I wondered if I had actually won the old worn 70's couch sitting in front of it.  Oh my, would have to just sneak out.  In a rather careful manner, I made my way back to see what I had really just bought for $5.00....and there was my bidding number on the sweet cupboard.  It was mine.  It was mine.  It was mine.

Monday, June 21, 2010


The longest day of the year...when 9:00 p.m. feels as if it is 6:00 p.m.   When the sun sets through my window as I fall asleep.  When time seems to stand still -- for a moment.  Happy Summer! Get out the watermelon & ready a bowl full -- waiting & uncovered in the fridge.  Shoes - why?  Ceiling fans running & light crisp sheets.  A quilt on the clothesline.  Grab the last of the clearance geraniums to replace the pansies.  Marvel at the straight rows of corn working to be knee high soon.  The lists of projects set aside for summer is pulled out again:  Ready the barn for the fall sale.  Paint the trim on the house.  Cut down the two trees that have said "good bye".  Weed the gardens.  But for today -- celebrate the solstice -- summer. sigh.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

They are off....

They were born right around Mother's Day.  Hope was so wise to find a safe area under the hay loft stairs -- a box she had to climb into.  There they safely grew.  Several weeks ago Hope & I began to take them out, carrying them in this bushel basket -- usually to play in the barn, sometimes to the yard.  Today, the "training wheels" came off -- Pumpkin was the first to climb out of the nesting box - just like they had learned to climb out of this basket -- and tonight will be their first night in the big barn -- outside of their snug & safe nest. 

Dave & I spent the morning "child proofing" the barn.  Chicken wire around areas to stay out of, closing off all but the goat's exit (which they would have to get to through the pen).  I know kittens survive big barns and farms all the time......but these are OUR kittens -- and we expect no less than giving our all to their safe & happy little lives.  And when Pumpkin slept in my arms today -- finding his purr for the first time, I felt such a thankfulness for these babies, this gift from this cat, Hope, that arrived at our farm last fall.

Friday, June 18, 2010

After the rain...

Big storm last night, perhaps another this late afternoon.  A moment of sun & dry tomorrow.  Hope to take the kittens outside.  Hope to see the goats grazing, content.  Hope to grab a magazine & sit a spell.  Hope to maybe visit a thrift sale.  Hope to get out some July 4th decorations...

What are you doing this weekend?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Calling Cards

Way before Facebook & Blogs & Emails, there was this sweet custom of leaving a calling card at a visit. 

Precious cards with just a name - usually in beautiful calligraphy or script.  The graphics on the card -- lovely -- birds, flowers with charming details.

Sweet as can be tucked into the corner of a mirror, gathered on a tray, set under a piece of glass on a desk...I love to let these cards from the past call out to our present.

Thanks for let me know you stopped by -- leave me a calling card.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

On doves & peace & kindness...

In this McCoy Pot sits a vintage spun cotton dove.  It rests on a metal lamp holder given with kindness by my friend, Nan, from her mother's estate.  It is a simple statement of peace & hope.

On my wish list for our world is that people would be nice, that they would reserve blame & offer kindness.  That we each would set our bar high & hold our own self accountable.  That we would remember that gentleness is a worthy attribute, as is compassion & empathy. 

Last night my son, Ian, stopped by to meet the kittens.  We ran together through a down pour of rain to get to the barn.  Wet, side by side... it was pure joy on his face as I lifted Pumpkin up from the nesting box.  He wondered if Hope, the mom cat, would be O.K. if he held the kitten.  He had stopped on an almost 3 hour journey to his summer job to meet these kittens --- with pride I watched this kind 22 year old hold little Chippewa, rain pouring off the tin roof just outside the door.  And in that moment...all was at peace, all was right in my world.

So - to remind me of this spirit of peace, I think of doves.  I remember a visitor arriving at my roof...tired from a journey, resting for hours in the shade.  No matter if it was a pigeon or a dove -- it was white & beautiful and a gift when I needed it.

And on a table I keep this basket of a candy jar.  Take two -- pass one on..."peace".

In what recent moment did you feel at peace, that all was right in your world?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The "Sweet" Shop

"Sweet"   "Charming"  .... here are a few of my favorite things. 
A composition chick & millinery flowers...and the cutest little picture.

A cup of vintage candles - of course...

A peak into my "white on white" cabinet....just one of many shelves of treasures.

A basket filled with a vintage feather garland, and there is the sweetest stack of vintage ribbon...

All my gems...Odd Fellow Pins too!

Precious Frog & Little Steiff Chick...

Oh, that was fun --- I think a Sweet Shop Tour may need to be a regular feature! 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Curtains in the Breeze...Vintage with a Purpose #3

My good friend, Sarah, once reminded me to make sure to have curtains that billowed in the breeze.  She has given me lots of good information to ponder over the years -- and this is definitely on the top ten list!
So -- what to use on our almost door size windows?

Why, vintage tablecloths, of course!  Lacey & time worn and even a bit tea stained. Vintage with a purpose.

First the guest bedroom...two different lace cloths, mellowed with age!  Here is one of the windows...(I will tell you about the amazing wallpaper on a different day---came with the house)!

The bathroom needed just one beautiful vintage cloth -- bought for a dollar at the Kane County Flea Market.  Fits like it was a "meant to be".

(All are hung with ring hooks bought at Menards -- simply slip on a curtain rod and you clip the table cloth on the clips -- simple, simple, simple.)

In the living room - I actually lucked out and had tucked away two vintage lace panels bought for a song (less than $5) at that same Kane County Flea Market shopping day. 

Their billowing would make Sarah proud!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

And the Kitchen Sink - Vintage with a Purpose #2

When we first walked into our house about 4 years ago - vacant, yet hopeful -- there was the original kitchen sink. It looks much smaller in the picture than the 4 foot across width it actually is.  I remember this glimmer of possibilities that stirred at one of the first glimpses of the treasures this house held for us.  So -- this is pure "Vintage with a purpose"!

What to note here:
  • Notice the matching rug in front of the sink & under the cat dishes -- the large one is vintage, the smaller a place mat I found that matched fairly well.
  • The sink skirt is polka dots -- and below we store enamelware buckets of just about every size -- all for use.
  • The dish drainer is vintage & wire & used every day!
  • The window is covered with an old lace tablecloth -- hung with clothespins.
  • The ice cream parlor chair in front of the window is a favorite place for our cats -- perfect view of the apple orchard or meadow.
  • The sunflower picture was made by my 22 year old son when he was in first grade -- almost vintage!
This little handy shelf is above the sink -- found it for a couple of dollars in the basement of an antique shop.  It now holds our soaps, with an ironstone bowl for the kitchen sponge.  The light fixture was here when we purchased -- a bit more retro than my taste -- but yet it felt right to leave it alone, at least for now.

On a separate note -- and not to imply you are vintage....I send a purposeful Happy Birthday wish to Jeff in Canada.  Hope your day provides you with everything you wish & the kitchen sink!!

McCoy in the window...

What is your favorite use of a vintage item in your kitchen?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

June Rose Wind

There are wild roses on the fence line...I anticipate their scent on the breeze. 

I will "while away" this June day -- no plans for the weekend.

 My biggest questions: 
  • Which spot on my porch shall I sit?
  • What shall I read?
Rain is coming again -- can also feel that in the wind.  I might need a kitty boy to keep me warm. 

Today I will take a moment to be thankful.  I will sit and ponder...and remember my mom, June Rose Wind, on this, her birthday.  Wish you were sittng with me...we would talk about curtains on the barn windows and daisy necklaces on every cow.

From your Kari....xxoo

Where do you "while away" a summer day?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sun Rise, Sun Set...

If we are lucky...we find people in our lives that are there, each day, every day.  They accept us for who we are -- no need for explanation.  We easily laugh together & work together & set goals and plans together.  At the start of a journey, they encourage us.  At the end of a long day, they celebrate our arrival home. 

So, Dave -- today I thank the stars & the sun & the moon that you were born.

Love, Kari

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dog Shakers - Vintage with a Purpose #1

I shall be a starting a series I like to call "Vintage with a Purpose".  Now mind you, I really don't quite believe that any vintage item has to have a purpose beyond sitting and looking adorable -- but every now & again, I like to put my pieces to work.

This is a view of one open shelf in my kitchen -- a compote now serves as a napkin holder and dog spice containers are our salt & pepper shakers.  Vintage with a purpose.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

An Ode to Peter Rabbit

"Stay out of Dave's garden" - I think to our rabbit -- but I know she nibbles on my strawberries, and I figure there are enough to share.  So, today, instead I think of the story she & her distant relative, Peter, inspired.  I think of him hidden away in the watering can -- keeping a distance from Mr. McGregor & his rake. 

Perhaps that is what draws me to German rabbits -- from the candy container that now sits on my kitchen table above to all the others that now live in my home....this sense of sweet adventure.  And the story, told to children of all ages - a story likely in our own childhood.  Perhaps it is the distant nursery school teacher in me that draws me back -- or perhaps it is still that little girl playing in the yard at Healy Lane, making "salad" for the bunnies from the sweet clover. 

I must also share a fond "Happy Birthday" today to my friend, Pam --- I met her in Kindergarten, and for all these years since, we have remained just a smile away...  We have shared many an adventure--- and I am certain Mr. McGregor has shoo-ed us out of a garden or two.  Pamerella - this one is for you!

Love, Kari

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Have a seat!

Not only did signs arrive at our farm last summer -- but so did "new" kitchen chairs.  Again -- amazing work by an amazing artist in our neighboring state, Minnesota.  We shared our farm story - from barn swallows to apple pies to daisies -- and she rendered them all with extra charm on these four chairs. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bidding a Welcome...

We had a wonderful artist from Minnesota paint several signs and kitchen chairs (I will share these later).  This sign is made from an old door panel and has a different painting on each side.  We shared what was special about our farm -- she did the rest!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sitting on the dock of the bay -- well, kind of...

Several years ago, we had tried our hand at a flag stone patio off the summer kitchen at the back of the house.  Let's just say one needed to balance just so on the rocks to enjoy the view.  So, this spring, we had a deck built -- wanted it low to the ground, no rails -- just this great platform.  Perhaps some day gardens will enclose it - or perhaps not.  The stain color was a bit of a mistake -- but we have grown to like how it plays off the brick color...and add a bit of a contemporary feel.  And the view to our barn & outbuildings & pasture....what words would I ever pick!  We stop every now and again as we approach the house and see this deck waiting -- it is just so sweet & inviting & charming.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Home is where the heart is...

Built in 1857 by Joseph Strader,  this home was a gift to his wife.  Having once owned so many acres where this house sits -- early maps show the "Town of Strader" between Osseo and Augusta.

When we found this home in 2006, it was on a whim -- a Saturday drive looking at homes in northwest Wisconsin.  It was empty & open...and in need of some TLC --- actually in need of LOTS of TLC.  We owned it on Tuesday -- deciding to "take a jump off this cliff". 

We spent the next 9 months literally camping in the house every weekend -- as our other home was about 2 hours away -- and we worked.  We painted or wallpapered every surface.  From the roof to the well -- from the windows to tuck pointing the bricks -- from electrical to heating --- the house kind of arrived at the Emerald City.

I do remember tears rolling down my face just after dark on our first night in the house wondering what I had gotten us into.  Could we really bring this farm back to life?  What ever were we thinking?  Was this just a combination of empty nesting and mid life crisis?  Our friends, Jani & Norm, visited in one of those first weeks -- and kindly waited until they left to also wonder aloud (Jani I think you may have mentioned shuddering in disbelief) at the task that lay ahead for us.

And, so here we are today --- 4 years ago this June we signed the papers as curators of this farm.  Four years ago this month was that evening of tears.....and now I look about in awe at this farm.  I feel in so many ways that she was just waiting for us to arrive.  She embraces us every day.  Thank you, Joseph, for this gift.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Last November our twin goats, Ralphie & Charlie, arrived at the farm.  We had adopted them from a neighboring farm in Eleva.  After a day of acclimating to the older goats, we left them for the night.  As we turned off the barn lights, a meowing began.  Dave & I searched until we found this little cat wedged in fear between the milk house and the pasture.  She wouldn't let us near.  So, not only were we leaving the twins to fend for themselves for the first time that night -- but we were also leaving a small frightened kitten that had found her way to our farm.

The next morning we opened the barn door to find not only Ralphie & Charlie asleep in the hay -- but there was the little cat.  We called her "Hope".  She remained all winter with the goat family in the barn....they kept her warm.  It took us over 2 months to gain her trust. 

Today, she calls the barn home-- and we are certain she believes she is a goat.  And, how surprised we were when she presented us with this present tucked under the stair case...4 little kittens.    From the left in the picture is Chippewa, Shadow (tucked down), Pumpkin and Whisper. 

(Randi -- this picture is for you!)

More is More...

When it comes to gathering - more is more. 

What statement can just one rolling pin or croquet marker make?
Group them -- and, there you go.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I dream of chickens...

Today is my birthday...and I find myself waking with a dream of chickens.  They run about the farm with abandon.  Childhood is every day for these guys.  Think I will name them Randi, Lori...and Jeff.

I dream of chickens at a party just for us!

Am I wiser today?  Not so much...
Have I found the meaning of life?  Hmmm, getting there...

All I know is that I awoke with feathers all around.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Little Moo

Our black and white goat patriarch is Little Moo...  He leads the family of goats into the barn at night - and we are certain he would protect this group from any predator.  When Hope, the barn cat, arrived last fall, she slowly made her way into the heart of this most timid goat --- we often catch them snuggled up together.  And, so it makes me so sad to think that Little Moo is sick.  He is losing fur and is having trouble walking. 

How animals do tuck themselves into your heart if you let them - each with their very own personality.  And although Little Moo has been too reluctant in his years at the farm to let us get too near, we know that this quiet gentle soul could teach us all a lesson or two about character.  Oh Little well old fellow.

Every farm needs at least one rake!

One rake, two rake, red rake, blue rake!

Growing along the back of the chicken coop/potting shed are rakes - and a nice little garden of them.

This spring, we had several carpenters from our Amish community put a tin roof on the corn crib.  They pulled a rake or two right off this wall to use in their clean up.  I know this farm made them it should.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Wild Rose...

And everywhere the flowers bloomed, and the people laughed and there was peace in the world.
Home is where I return to at the end of the day when I am tired and need to replenish my spirit.

Where is your peace?
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