Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Boys are Back in Town

A successful father-son fishing adventure at Main Camp of the Juniper Club. A quiet, snowy week at home. Glad my boys went away together, but really glad to have them back home with me.

Look Maggie! A manatee in the glen

My boys: after hours

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Step Back in Time

Upon downloading the photos taken today with an antiquated camera, out popped images from an earlier day on our farm. It was kind of eerie – especially given that it is so cold and snowy today.  The photo below was taken early this summer when we were trying to figure out the site for our house.

Our house site was once just an empty ex-corn field.

Walking the property with the surveyor that 98-degree summer day, I stumbled upon a box turtle who seemed very content to live on our farm.

If dogs, goats, chickens or horses don't materialize, at least we'll have a turtle.

Proof is in the Pictures

I found an old digital camera buried in a drawer, recharged it, and took it with me to the farm today. It's a cold, gray day and snow is falling, but even so, I hope these photos give you something of an idea of how the exterior of the farmhouse is shaping up. Too bad a dumpster and truck are in the front yard. Just use your imagination to add green grass, natural landscaping and blue skies. Can't wait for Spring...

The siding has perked up the house considerably.

 The room in front is our study; behind it is our bedroom.
An outdoor shower goes on the far right side

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Transformed: But You Will Have to Wait to See It

If you are a faithful reader of this blog, you might have noticed that it doesn't feature many photos of the front of our house. Like a teenager with acne, I was hesitant to photograph it. It just didn't look right – but, like that teenager, I loved it all the same. We needed to rework the front entrance because of the way the stairway inside fell -- not exactly to plan – but that's what happens when two sisters get together without an architect to design a house.

We tried to fix it. We added a shuttered window, where a window made sense to be (but couldn't really because of the stairs). We're adding some brackets to the overhang. We found a bench that will fit just under the window and I told myself that landscaping will surely help. We agreed to paint the front door a fun color, maybe aubergine or curry. Still I was unsure. This was my one chance to design a house that was charming on the outside, welcoming on the inside. I tried not to dwell on it.

Then the siding went up and overnight the house changed from an ugly duckling to the incredible modern farmhouse of my dreams. The siding is a pretty dark sage-y green and is applied vertically board-and-batten style on the two ends of the house and horizontally in between. The siding makes the house look cozy and not nearly as large as it did with the white Tyvek paper coating – a bit like a woman-of-a-certain-size's trick of wearing a dark color to make herself look more svelte.

As excited as I am about it, I can't show you a photo. Our camera is out on a mission to capture proof of exceeding large bass caught by Ed and Jack this week at Juniper and my phone is not equipped to take photos. So, you will just have to trust me that it looks great. I promise to post photos next week. Until then...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What Are You Afraid Of? - Part 2

I feel very, very blessed. I consider every day that Ed, the kids, and I are happy and healthy a true gift. I also recognize that 2010 was a difficult year for a number of people I know and care about, and for them, I hope 2011 shines brighter.

The fact that this year is bringing some big changes to our lives is a bit scary -- but mostly it is so exciting I can hardly stand it. While my learning curve for building the house was fairly steep, I suspect this whole idea of country living will pose challenges in the extreme for me.

Aunt Gladys is worried that we won't know how to make lye soap and my dad is worried that I'll drive off the shoulder of the road, but I'm more concerned with the simple concepts of homesteading: vegetable gardening, pond management, canning, animal husbandry, chain saw operation, pick-up truck maintenance, sock knitting, etc. For all these things, I have NO experience and I don't think Ed's is any more robust. And, we can count the number of people we know in the whole county on one hand, so it's not like I can simply ask Larry, his brother Darryl or his other brother Darryl my silly questions.

Mary has nailed the art of knitting socks: see above.
Maggie is tackling mittens. Perhaps my girls will teach me....
I'm looking forward to small success and even small failures (so long as I don't repeat them). I feel like our whole world is expanding with this move and I can't wait to see where it takes us.

What Are You Afraid Of?

When Ed and I talked about what our next blog post would be about he said: I've been thinking about writing one on change. That's funny, I responded because I was thinking the same. (That's what happens when you've been married for 25 years: you start to look and think alike.)

So, from Ed, some thoughts on change...

Welcome to 2011 and all that may entail. Every new year promises its own special changes, but this year will bring a real one for us. We're definitely headed in a different direction.

As they used to say in Guffie: If you don't change your direction, you're liable to end up where you're headed.  So we've changed our direction and are headed to the country.

2010: Goodbye "coat and tie." 2011: Hello "muck boots and overalls."
Debbie and I have fantasized and joked about going to the country for years.  In two months we'll be taking a right turn down a gravel road. This promises a profound change in our lives, some of which I'm sure we can't imagine. I expect that not all will be pleasant. But the fat's in the fire now and we're going. Any way, Bill and Judy want their house back.

It's the fear of change, not the change itself that gets you – I hope. Check in next year and see how we did.

And so on and so forth!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hunkering Down

I love the New Year's holiday. Lots of lazy time to hunker down, cook and read Christmas-gift books. Just finished Maggie's gift of Made from Scratch by Jenna Woginrich. I feel like I know the author already as I am a fan of her website: Cold Antler Farm. Jenna is a 20-something woman who documents the pleasures of a handmade life. Her book and her website are part memoir, part how-to manual. She covers everything from planting a vegetable garden to beekeeping, to sheep herding to knitting to fiddle playing. I admire her spunk and her willingness to take on new tasks. I hope I can muster the same.

Thought you might enjoy seeing signs of progress at the farm.

Recent rains are slowing filling up the ice rink pond.
The covered-porch fireplace stonework is now complete.
The heat is on (literally). Trim carpenters are starting on the inside bookshelves and bunk beds next week. And it won't be too long before the oak floors are laid. Progress!