Saturday, June 30, 2012

our woods

It is hard to understand how rain can overextend in some places...and be the answer to prayers in other areas.

Our property in northern Wisconsin has received rain. The woods could not be more lush, needing a small mower "haircut" to tidy it up. So Dave mows as I type...with me typing in constant motion as I try to escape this pesky deer fly.

Birch, many variety of evergreen, an apple tree or two, daisies, fern....but no visible bear...even though I am certain I snuck onto the property quietly. Oh, if these woods could talk.

Stopped by Barber Lake...the frogs sang to us like a rubberband band....and Dave skipped stones.

Wishing you all a relaxing weekend...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Finally broke down.....central air it is - installation just in time before today's heat advisory.

Feeling pretty "polar beary" right now.

How about you-surviving the heat?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

my style

Of one thing I am certain, my personal decorating style is a bit tricky to pin down. I love shades of white....but I also adore color. I believe "less is more", but I'm also quite certain "more is more". I have a growing penchant for primitives, but most certainly have a thing for charm & whimsy. I think removing layers might be a good thing, then recant that idea as I think adding layers makes a house a home. I admire pristine, but live in a world of cat fur & farm dirt. I would like to be practical, but dang....need my nothing but adorable around me. I understand the duty of white walls so your things "pop"-but haven't the heart to not share a "round of wonderful" with the walls of my home. I try my hardest to diverge from green......then run home to it with open arms. And to throw a cherry on top, I get bored very it is not in my wiring to ever ever ever say, "and this is now finished". I am a home decorating mess! My style is simply no style. True.

But, maybe the little glimmer of hope is that what I admire the mostest of the most is independent, critical thinking.......and making your own path, one that is yours & yours alone. So, that path less traveled is where these bare feet will always take me. And if it is "the thing to do" -- then it won't be on my "to do list", just won't. And that applies to my home & my style. Years ago, I came across these words in a children's book: "my home is me and I am it, it is everything I want to be, and it looks like all my dreams". I like that style quite a lot.

This patchwork is from my grandmother - seems she also liked a little of this and a little of that. I imagine she was quite stylish - in an independent, road less traveled kind of way.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

farm life

We have officially owned our farm for six years this month. It was nothing less then an uphill battle to buy her. A fight to convince our bank that we could breathe life back into a house deemed uninhabitable. A fight to find an insurance company that would take on what they saw as a liability & a risk...from the thought that a brick might fall out of a wall, that a rabid animal might leap from the tall grass, that the roof would cave in, and on & on. A fight with zoning, that required purchasing more acreage, that we in turn rent right back to a neighboring farmer. From a 2 day turn around purchase offer to a 2 month fight to make this farm was a battle.

So in June of 2006 when we finally took ownership, with haste we arrived to begin the work of renovation. As I was the one to convince Dave to "jump off this cliff with me"--I knew I had to put on my brave face. As we had bought the farm with no contingencies (that reads as NO inspection) we were fairly naive to the work that awaited. I waited until well after dark that first night to cry myself to sleep with total self doubt....what had I gotten us into? We now owned two homes 3 hours apart, had wonderful jobs in Madison-again 3 hours away-with no prospect of work near the farm, and at 50ish-we had taken on a property that was not for the faint at heart.

But we would do it, we did it. We set up a key club...with a carpenter, electrician, plumber, heating contractor all stopping by to work on our farm during the week. The bank and insurance company had both provided "must fix" lists as contingency of their contract with us. And we had a list of our own that was challenging at best. Dave & I arrived each weekend to camp out and work. My mantra was "one window at a time" - meaning, hunker down and take this house & farm on one step at a time. We learned to celebrate each success from knocking down walls that had been added over the years to filling dumpster #3 to seeing a room come back to life.

What we gave to this 1857 farm was being returned to us ten fold. Within weeks of beginning our work, I would find myself in tears when we left her on Sunday night. It took us almost a year of steady work before we were ready to uproot and make the move to the farm. Even so, we moved in while a new well was being dug.

Today I look at this farm, truly with my blood, sweat & tears in her walls and it makes me really proud, see we did it. Two city folk stepped out of our comfort zone.....way out of our comfort zone--and here I sit, on the steps of my farm, barefoot & content. Life is good!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

at dusk

I love these long is 9 p.m., and sweet daylight still beckons us. So I took these final pictures of the day - the field across from our home, my Shawnee in the window. Soon dark will fall - but for now it is dusk, the day is long...and summer is here.

Welcome summer!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

my boy

Ian is home...for a few days.

He & I spent last night tooling around IKEA & The Mall of America....this from two non-shoppers. But we had such fun, such fun. Frozen yogurt topped with berries of every kind at Freeziac, wandering thru the Lego store, trying to out-think the elevator & the big carts at IKEA, moving one level to the next on the hunt for a certain baseball cap at the mall, dinner at Ruby Tuesday.

I am at that place where my boy is a young man, on his own...with all these wonderful traits that make me not only love him, but like him a whole lot. He always offers a kind word or a thanks, his smile comes easily, and he makes me laugh so - (and his first choice in food includes vegetables of every sort).

My only regret last night was that we didn't board the Ninja ride-oh to ride the skies of the Mall of America with a turtle shell at my back, flying with my son at my side.......another day.

Here, for a repeat performance is my Ian's Memory Jar: Legos, hockey puck, Ninja Turtle, his first boy!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

from my vantage point

So wish I might capture the bird song, gentle breezes through porch windows, and the smell of happy rain fed gardens. As I sit here on our porch, this moment is a sweet moment. If I could, I would bottle this up.

Spent a good part of Saturday cleaning up from Thursday's storm. Lost a tree, many branches, and our deck furnishing to the winds that night. This storm had me shaking, nothing even on our weather radio to predict the punch we took. 7 trailers to the burn pile, chain saw noises, clean up we have become far too accustomed to.

Then twice when we attempted a "feet up" moment, we look out into the farmyard to see a black & white goat come trotting around the barn....not in his pasture. Twice I walked out and led Ralphie back in through the gate (thank goodness our menagerie trust us). Twice we checked the fence line..that is what the tree fell on Thursday night. We ended our Saturday mending the fence in the dark. The sound of a sledge hammer to stake, working around wire barbs, kittens & goats at our side.

From my vantage point, such is life, we take the perfect with the imperfect. We pick up after the storm, we safeguard our flock, and we breathe in the blessings given to us. We are given the tools we need, just have to wash them off, pick them up and walk out into the day or night with confidence. I have learned so much about myself at this farm, lessons that each day brings forth.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


it feels ever so fitting to follow a post titled "work" with the opposite end of the spectrum, so I shall -- 'cause it is the weekend after all...

So, perhaps if I really did win a big bucks lottery I would simply buy us all a round of Weekend! Cheers...and drink up on that.

In all honesty, this is exactly how far I have gotten today (see picture). It is almost 8:30 a.m. and I am pleased to have checked off the following from my Saturday "to do" list:
1. Lay around with ceiling fan whirring
2. Read all my fav blogs
3. Pin (you know what I mean here)
4. Look out window
5. Wonder how lazy this must appear
6. Decide to just not care

Have a wonderful Saturday, lazy or not.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


This morning, listening to news about the latest lottery winner (something in the millions yet to be claimed in Iowa), I did that little, "what would I do with all that money?". I thought about the usual -- family, friends & philanthropic uses....then thought how wonderful it might be to just sell vintage finds - and have that be my only work. See, I have worked a full time job in education since finishing college (which was many years ago) so it is my norm...and rarely do I let my mind travel to not working.

Upon arriving at my office in Eau Claire, the day unfolded with the usual: meetings, computer time, conference call, and so on. But it also included this team of coworkers that truly make very challenging work O.K.-- even enjoyable. So as certain as I am that if I won a lottery I would work less, I am not certain if I could walk away.

Here are some candid shots of my little work space....including my inspiration board. As you might notice, there is no lottery ticket, no stack of money...just work that can be rewarding enough to keep me coming back for more.

How about you - truth be told -- if you won the lottery...what would you do?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

vintage garden

My gardens are farm gardens....nothing fancy: day lilies, hydrangea, and a sunflower or two. First rule is, if you grow here- you must be hardy. Second rule, the plants must learn to coexist with metal chairs, a milk can or two, and any other chippy, rusty item that may just decide to call a garden a home.

And pansies absolutely call this farm home. Anyone that attended the spring barn sale might just attest to that little fact.

So, how does your garden grow?

Monday, June 11, 2012


At 2 pounds, 2 months the new kittens are getting bigger. Last week marked their first trip to the vet. Today marked the first evening when I saw all three playing in the straw outside the barn. And I assume that Sunday, Meadow might have one upped fate....finding his way into the tall grass along side the pasture. Good thing he knows his name AND has me wrapped around a little paw....cause I searched until I could lift him out to the security of the barn. I am certain that they will rescue themselves 100 times over, but it did make me feel just a tad heroic....and I will take that however I get it.

The vet believes we have 2 girls & a boy....but I am told that they won't commit to that until the July appointment-- who knew it could take so long for a definitive gender answer. If Meadow remains a boy....he will be adopted by my Ian. Only one tommy can settle into a farm without upsetting the universe...and Cinnamon has won that right (for goodness sake, he lived in a hollow log when his brother, Marmalade, was king). The girls, Pearl & Luna, will stay on the farm to keep me company.

Here's my little Luna waking as I arrived home today. They do fill my heart, they do....and who could ask for more.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

each day

I sit at my kitchen table, birds sing at the back door, the fan whirs overhead, Whisper sleeps on the porch, & Dave has left me a voice mail with a report from the barn. I have left deadlines & to do lists neatly packed in my work bag, "later" I say.

Today I just find a smile waits at each turn, and I accept. Even my little cupboard says "hey you" when I open the door for my coffee cup.

Sending out a friendly " hey you" your way....accept what awaits.

Friday, June 8, 2012

porch-ing it

I have been off from work this week.... first full, unplanned week in a long time. Had been to that place where I was just bone tired, drained physically & emotionally. The wonders of time off, phone off, no even peaking at office email--waking each morning with a "let the day unfold" attitude.

So here is where I sit, two barn cats (Whisper & Chestnut) asleep on the wicker chair, and a gentle rain falling.

They call this a "stay-cation"....I just call it bliss.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

a chick chick here

and a chick chick there....

I really think a lot about chickens-love seeing their antics in farmyards (and heard they can really deter ticks). Love the thought of fresh eggs-- and am certain my chicken's egg colors would top Martha's any day.

But I also think way too much it seems to bring any to the farm. If they are free range, will it bring unwanted predators & more worries then this little old heart can handle. What about the free range neighbor dogs that have harassed our goats? If I contain them to a pen, will that also bring unwanted egg eaters (talking snakes here)? How ever would I keep them warm & happy in the winter? - this from the gal that sets up playscapes for barn cats when the snow flies.

So each time my friend, Jani, offers up the chicks she has hatched with her kiddos......I reluctantly say "no thanks". I even have a school in Eau Claire that has promised to just leave their chickens at my door in a "drive by" like chicken drop. For now, I am gathering my own little coop of tin feathered friends--their armor will fend off all my worries.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

excuse me for a moment

Sometimes the only question that comes to my mind is "hmmm?" - - a wondering aloud kind of sound. See if there is anything that I am, it is sensitive.....for goodness sakes I still kind of sort of think still believe that all my precious German Steiff animals have feelings. And, I don't ever want to lose that and not care, not take it to heart. So, today my feelings are hurt, pretty bad I might add....but I know it will get better- always does. So don't mind me if I just hang out with my guys here at the farm for a bit...hug on a kitten, sit on the porch & maybe even talk this all out with a little stuffed rabbit.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Soon I will travel to our little town hall in Otter Creek. Three ladies sit waiting. I will take my ballot and vote. I live in Wisconsin....and integrity calls.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Open....Farmhouse Style

I was at the Hixton Schoolhouse Antique Mall late last night and early this morning. I am done for now.... Lots more to move in, but feeling good about my start. At auction all day Saturday.... question before each bid: "is this Farmhouse Style"? Stop by if you are in the area & let me know what you think.

As always, for all the details about Hixton--see "Vintage Finds" under Chapters to the right.
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