Sunday, October 12, 2014


WELL... it has been a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGG time since I posted anything.  Time has gotten away from me, as life was happening and I was unable to wrap my fingers around a computer to type anything.

Let me try to catch up.

My last post was... (I can't believe it)... August of 2013!!!  Over a year ago!!! DANG!!!  Sure am glad I don't make a living off this!!!

Anyway, we got the house finished enough and moved in in January of this year (2014).  It's been chaos at best to get things unpacked, PLUS... we moved the remainder of Karl's stuff (A few pieces of furniture, but mostly household items... LOTS of primitive stuff) from MA during our Christmas vacation of 2013.

Before we moved the stuff down to Virginia from Mass, we had an Antique Sale.  It took us days to clean out the semi-trailer where everything was stored.  Mice had gotten into everything and so much of it got ruined.  We cleaned and bleached and polished furniture during an snow-storm!!!  Talk about cold!!!  We had to use propane heaters to try to keep ourselves from freezing to death, but hey... we are tough old birds... LOL!!!

Here are some pics from the sell:

Lots of cool stuff...

And more cool stuff...

and more cool stuff....
and even MORE cool stuff!!!  Whew!!!

We had a really good turnout for the sale, and was able to keep the stuff we really wanted.  We also got to spend a fabulous Christmas with Karl's children and grandchildren.  So... a most successful trip.

Okay, so that was Christmas.  Then on January 13th, 2014 (the day after my birthday), we moved into the house.  FINALLY!!!  We have been working on it for 41/2 years!!!  What a celebration!!!

Still lots to do, but we certainly are enjoying the place.

We moved His, Mine and Our stuff into the rooms and spent the next couple of months getting everything into its rightful place.  I will post more in the future to show each room furnished.  However, aside from the furnishings... one of the best things about moving into the house is the fireplace. 

Here's a perfect picture of Karl on a cold day:

He's still in his pj's... wearing his favorite sweater... with a cup of coffee... his hand-held Yahtzee in hand... and Max (one of our cats) on his lap, all in front of a roaring fire.  What more could one ask for!!!

This was taken on a snowy day in January.  There was so much snow!!!

Here's what it looked like from our back door... looking towards the camper, where we spent many a frozen day wishing we had a fireplace to keep us warm!!!

I am SOOOOO grateful we are in the house... and it was SOOOOO worth the wait!!! And...I am SOOOOO THANKFUL to NOT being in the camper!

However... my younger brother John, moved into the camper when we moved out.  He had been living in Pennsylvania and came down to help Karl and I with the farm.  Here's a picture of him shoveling a walkway.  THANK YOU, John!

He is also a big kid at heart, and he and my grandson Garrett took advantage of the snow...

Anyway... more on that later as well.

Now that it is getting cold again (forcing me to be inside more), and we have finished the summer traveling and getting the garden put away, hopefully I can work on the blog more and get everyone updated on "what's happening on the funny farm"!!!  Thanks for your patience!

Well... so goes the best laid plans... blah... blah... blah!!!

Instead of posting, I've been caught up with holidays and weather and trying to stay WARM!!!  I haven't even THOUGHT about my "Good Intentions" of keeping up this blog.  Sigh!  Okay... maybe tomorrow?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A "Rosy" Day

I am LOVING my clothesline!!!  The sheets came in smelling exactly as I remembered.  Ahhhhh!!!  AND... the timing of getting it put up is amazing.  The afternoon after I had hung out my sheets, my next load of laundry, which I had decided to dry in the dryer, had to be hung out as well.  Yup... our dryer went KAPUT!!!  Now we knew its days were limited, as it has been making a funky sound for a couple of months.  And it is quite old, having been in Karl's house in Massachusetts for about 15-20 years before its move to Floyd.  And the 3+ years we have been using it put it well past its prime. We will have it repaired and see how many more years it will go, but until then, my clothes will waft in the breezes and fresh sunshine.  LOVE IT!!!  God is Good!!!

It rained yesterday and I happened to notice during a lull in the showers, just how beautiful my roses are this year.  We have had lots of rain and they filled out beautifully.  And what a glorious aroma!!!  They are the heirloom variety called Don Juan!  I will have to plant more eventually.  I know there is a God, not only in my heart, but just looking around at all the beauty he has bestowed upon us. I mean... how beautiful is this!!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


This past weekend when my brother Johnny came to visit, he and Karl put in my clothesline posts.  Karl got the wires strung and today was my first day of hanging out clothes.  Oh am I thrilled!!!  There is something special about seeing sheets and dishtowels wafting in the breeze on a glorious day!!!

Growing up in on a farm in Indiana, my mother worked so hard to keep us clean and fed. With 9 children, there were LOTS of clothes on the clotheslines!!!  And we had LONG clotheslines!!!  Mine are only 22 ft, with 4 strands, but that will be more than enough for our purposes.

Tonight when I go to bed and climb between those crisp cotton sheets, it will be a wonderful reminder of how blessed I am.

I read a poem years ago about clotheslines  and thought I would share.  Enjoy!

by Marilyn K. Walker 

A clothesline was a news forecast
To neighbors passing by,
There were no secrets you could keep
When clothes were hung to dry.

It also was a friendly link
For neighbors always knew
If company had stopped on by
To spend a night or two.

For then you'd see the "fancy sheets"
And towels upon the line;
You'd see the "company table cloths"
With intricate designs.

The line announced a baby's birth
From folks who lived inside -
As brand new infant clothes were hung,
So carefully with pride!

The ages of the children could
So readily be known
By watching how the sizes changed,
You'd know how much they'd grown!

It also told when illness struck,
As extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too,
Haphazardly were strung.

It also said, "Gone on vacation now"
When lines hung limp and bare.
It told, "We're back!" when full lines sagged
With not an inch to spare!

New folks in town were scorned upon
If wash was dingy and gray,
As neighbors carefully raised their brows,
And looked the other way .. . .

But clotheslines now are of the past,
For dryers make work much less.
Now what goes on inside a home
Is anybody's guess!

I really miss that way of life.
It was a friendly sign
When neighbors knew each other best
By what hung on the line.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Today is Palm Sunday.  Sadly I am missing worship services this morning, because we are in the middle of an ice/snow storm.  So... since I am home bound for the day, I decided I would let the world know about what we did this weekend (besides freeze!).

About 3 years ago, when we first began to demolish the inside of the house and had just discovered the hidden fireplace, we made a decision to purchase a wood-burning cooking stove.

It just made sense. We live in the country and sometimes the utilities go out during ice or wind storms.  Plus, old farm houses used to have them and we wanted to keep our little piece of heaven authentic.

Later that spring, on one of our trips up north, we decided to go to the Bryant Stove & Music, Inc., in Thorndike, ME (27 Stovepipe Alley, Thorndike, ME  04986, 207.568.3665/ and check out the store.   Karl had an old built-in coal burning stove that we were not going to be able to use (HUGE) and we decided to sell it. After contacting the owners of Bryant, we loaded it up and made a road trip (which in reality, was only 3 hours from Wrentham, MA).  I have to tell you:  SO WORTH OUR TIME!!!

Now Bryant Stove & Music, Inc. is not just a regular stove place.  It is more like this interesting, historical place that every child (including adult children) should visit once in their life.  Joe Bryant has a sweet collection of all stoves, including many of the Rolls Royce' of stoves. Even toy stoves and salesman samples!  Beautifully restored and ready to be purchased or simply on display.  I was fascinated.  However... it only got better!

Not only do they "have the largest display of antique wood, coal, gas & wood/gas combinations you will ever see under one roof"... they have a MARVELOUS doll circus!!!  Now... once Joe flips on the wall switch, the circus begins!!!  The room is filled with miniature animated units that Joe designed and built himself.  When that switch is flipped,  the whole room comes to life. Everywhere you look, the room is filled with dolls and animals and toys and a little of everything... dancing and whirling and twirling and promenading for all to enjoy, accompanied by a "Band Organ". There are stuffed animals and toys of all kinds.  It's simply MAGICAL (Needless to say,  it took Karl quite a while to get me out of there.)!!!

Before we left, not only were we the owners of a beautiful wood stove, but we purchased some stove black and a manual for our stove.  Also, we picked up a couple of cookbooks that had recipes and information for cooking on a wood burning stove.

Well... fast forward 3 years to March of 2013.

We had the floors refinished in January (more of that on another post) and we are now trying to finish up the bottom floor of the house, anticipating that we will move in next month.  One of the things that needed to be done was the kitchen island secured to the floor.  However, we couldn't do that until we moved in the wood cooking stove, so as not to place the island too close and risk someone getting burned.  The stove itself was too heavy for us to move ourselves, so our neighbors came down (we do live in a valley) and helped Karl move the stove out of the shed and into our house. Now came the time to clean it.

Because of my limited dexterity, I took on the task of putting on the stove black.  We laid all the loose pieces of the stove on our table, which we had covered with a felt, moving blanket.  I initially wore gloves, but they soon deteriorated.  So... guess what happens to your hands when you are using stove black?

Nice and dirty!  It's a good thing that I purchased some hand cleaner from a local auto-parts store.  Works like a charm, except my nails and cuticles look like I am a "grease monkey"... LOL!!!  Oh well... all a part of country life.

So, after the stove black dried (about 10-15 minutes), we went through and rubbed it until it was all polished.  Karl is very good at things like that. 

It was then time to clean the chrome.  I went online and found several suggestions for using aluminum foil to clean the chrome.  What I found was "Rust is basically oxidized metal or another word for metal that has taken on extra oxygen atoms. As heat is generated by the friction of rubbing the aluminum foil on the chrome, a portion of the aluminum will oxidize to produce aluminum oxide. Aluminum has a higher reduction potential (i.e a tendency to take on electrons and in the process reduce or break itself down) than the chrome, and will therefore leech oxygen atoms away from any rust on the chrome surface which changes the chemical properties of the rust and breaks it down. Aluminum oxide is harder than steel, and the microscopic grains of aluminum oxide produced during the cleaning process creates a fine metal polishing compound which, mixed with the water you added, creates a paste that smooths and polishes the chrome surface."  In a nutshell: You take the foil and make a wad, dip it in water, then scrub the chrome with it.  This does requires a little elbow grease so Karl did this task as well.  And you know what...

 It works like a charm!!!  Seriously!  The chrome came out looking WONDERFUL!  Here are some pics of the stove, after we got it all clean and shiny!

Now all we have to do is purchase the stove pipe and get it installed.  Come next fall, I can just imagine how nice it will be to not only enjoy the warmth and aesthetics of the stove,  but to also be able to partake of perhaps some stew that has been simmering for hours on it.  Yummy!  We have a rather large selection of seasoned cast-iron cookware, and I can hardly wait to learn how to cook on this beauty!

Finally, while blackening the stove, we also decided to use the stove black on the fireplace back that we had incorporated into the side of our fireplace, visible from the dining/library area.

This also came out beautifully, and all of the details of the piece just pop out!

 So... was it worth all of the elbow grease it took to get it all where it is right now?  You betcha!!!


Wonder if chickens ever get hemorrhoids?  IF they do... I am sure one of mine will have them.  When we gathered the eggs this morning, we found one that was a WHOPPER!!!

The size of a goose egg!!!  Seriously!  We get large eggs from our chickens, but this is ridiculous!!!  The smaller of the eggs in the pictures are our large eggs.  The giant one is the anomaly.  It has a ring around it that looks as though it were two eggs that melded into one.

Karl has large hands, and you can see how they compare.  Geeeeez!!!  Bet that old girl's pud-whacket (as my mother always called it) or "pope's nose" is hurting today!!!  LOL!!!

Saturday, January 26, 2013


I thought I would update you on our chickens (aforementioned in the critters section).  These little ladies are absolutely wonderful and such a part of our lives.  I never appreciated them so much when I was growing up, except when my mother would make her DELICIOUS fried chicken or chicken and dumplings.  We always had eggs, but watching those birds run around our farm chasing June bugs, well... just wasn't quite as endearing to me then as it does now.  As a child, I still remember the horrors of having to reach under a nesting hen to pull out the eggs.  I was petrified that she would peck me!  Also, you never knew when a snake might be hiding under there, just waiting to devour an egg or better yet, a baby chick.  That in itself is enough to scar even a young Freddy Kruger!  However, i think the worst part was finding a nest of eggs that some rogue hen had hidden beneath weeds, and finding out (sometimes the hard way) that they were all rotted.  UGH!  I will never forget that sulfur smell.

But... times has passed and I am older and now I am thoroughly enjoying my own little biddies.

If you remember, we originally purchased a dozen little 3 day old chicks from our local farm store.

We kept them in a box in the camper, under a heat lamp and the watchful eyes of our dogs...

Maya especially was intrigued with the little ones, but Bella thought them interesting as well.  The below photo shows us tucking them in before bed one night.

Now it is well and good for baby chicks to enjoy being in the camper while little.  However, our camper is only 34' long and space is limited.  We knew it was time to move them when we were awakened in the middle of the night by Maya as she tried to herd an escapee back into the flock.  So... Karl made a screen door of sorts and moved the chicks into the bathtub in the house until we could finish a chicken house and yard for them.  We simply put the screened door over the tub.

This worked out perfectly.  It was warm and safe and even our two cats had entertainment, sitting on top and watching the little birds chirp and move around.  We knew we couldn't keep them in there for long though, as they were getting bigger and would poke their little heads out of the holes in the screen.

Now the building we selected to house our little girls (and at that time... 2 little boys), was an old corn crib that sat in back of the house with some other outbuildings. It was the right size and we had room to make a yard off of it so they could enjoy the outside world, and still be safe.

Karl had to haul more than 30 loads of corn out of the crib (which is the right side of the building pictured above).  We then had to repair the flooring, and took OSB (oriented strand board) and lined the entire crib with it, as well as lowered the ceiling (helps keep the heat in).  We built a door for the little ones to walk out, as well as used an old door we had removed when garnering materials from the old store that was torn down.  I drew a little rooster for the screen door that we added (only because we decided we didn't need a rooster), and Karl cut out the design.  Additionally, we put in a window with screen, so that the little girls would have light and air.  

We moved the little girls in and they set up housekeeping.  Since they were too young to go out yet, it gave us plenty of time to build a fence for them.   We put the posts into the ground with concrete, and then secured the chicken wire.  Atop each post we put a blue bird house.

Our chicks love their home.  They have gotten bigger and we enjoy the eggs they give.  We gave 3 of the hens to Karl's brother and his wife, and as before, our two roosters no longer reside here.  But the 8 little girls we have are just fabulous.  They love to talk to you and enjoy you holding them.

We get nice, large, brown eggs every day, at first just 4, but now all 8 of the girls do their best to keep us supplied with fresh eggs. We have so many, my neighbors are also enjoying the fruits of "their" labor.

Since the middle of the shed tends to hold water and created a mud pit, we decided to build a porch to connect both parts of the shed, as well as to be a place to keep the lawn mower.
 It also has the added benefit of being a great place to sit and have a cup of coffee on a warm day.  We put in a small table with chairs, and decided to "doll it up" a little.  The large, round yellow object that looks like the sun, is a large saw blade that we painted and hung up.

I made a sign that reads "Rise and Shine" and we hung it overhead.  It is quite the place to sit a spell on a warm summer day.

This summer the blue-bird houses got 3 tenants.  We decided to spruce up the yard a little and so we planted blue Morning Glory vines around each post, as well as climbing green beans.  It turned out to be not only beautiful...


but we also had the bonus of getting to enjoy (and freeze) lots of fresh green beans.  

We planted 4 blueberry bushes at the end of the fence.  These were dug up from Karl's old house in Wrentham, MA, and produce an excellent fruit. Additionally, we planted heirloom hollyhocks in front of the building, as well as a snowball bush.

Eventually the LEFT side of the building will become my pottery studio.  This is a project for "down the road", but I look forward to spending days at the wheel again.  But let's get this farmhouse finished first!!!


Sorry I have been away for a while.  We had visitors and I took a break. THEN my laptop went on the blink!  UGH!  SO... let me try to do some more catching up with this.

So... now I will try in this post to finish detailing the work Karl and I did to finish the library wall in the Dining area, as well as the finishing touches to the walls.

The photos below show the walls of the dining area from different perspectives, showing first the "bare bones" of just the studs and outside siding, and then the transformation (not totally completed in these photos, but you get a fairly good idea at what the finished product will be).  The first set of photos were taken from the kitchen, looking towards the dining area.

The below photos shows the dining area from the living room.  Again, showing first the "bare bones" of just the studs and outside siding, and then the transformation (Note the old fireplace in one photo, the new fireplace in the second).

NOTE:  I will discuss the table later.

The new walls cover the new wiring and insulation we put in.  

Now... how about showing the process.

These photos show Karl tearing apart solid oak partitions that were brought from his shop in MA.  These too came from and old library in Boston that he renovated (throw nothing away). He carefully pulled them apart, and then cut each of the boards to the size needed to make our bookcases that would be the showcase of our dining area.

He then sanded each of them and so began the construction part.

We laying out the bookcases and credenzas.

The area underneath the window house window seats and the two leaded glass cabinet doors go in a small cabinet in the center of the bookcases.

During this part of the construction, our friends Lisa and Ray came to visit.  Karl welcomed the chance to have some help with some of the heavier construction (Lisa and I found other ways to entertain ourselves... I was grateful for the chance to have a break!).  Karl again recycled some materials to make the center cabinet for our bookcases, Including some cool columns.

Lots of sanding and "tweaking".  The credenza tops are also made from the same oak boards as the sides of the bookcases.

Karl used his "magic" and made some small apothecary-type drawers for the cabinet above the credenza, allowing me a space to store candles, napkins and placemats.

I primed everything and then painted everything (except the counter tops) with a semi-gloss ultra-white paint,

and Karl put polyurethane over the counter tops, followed by his "special" Swedish Polish", which resulted in beautiful smooth tops and clean shelves.

I will make cushions for the window seats, and we will order the doors for the cabinets below the bookshelves later.  Also, still have to finish the floors.

And what goes better in a Dining/Library room than a 12' table from the old Boston Public Latin School in Boston, MA

Karl has two of these and we brought one down to put in our home.  They still have the original holes (plugged on the top, still open on the stretchers) where a couple hundred years ago, gas lights were used to help with reading.  We refinished the table and plan to use it as our dining table.

The way I see it, with my large family, we can always throw a couple of sleeping bags on top and use it for extra sleeping space!!!  I think it will also make a great space for putting together puzzles, one of my favorite winter pastimes.

Now that that was done, it was time for the final touches:  like adding accessories to an outfit. 

The photos below shows the what we did with the space where the walls were torn down and LAM support beams put up between the living room and dining room, as well as the kitchen and dining room.  Karl had removed these during a re-modelling project years before, and they had been in his workshop for years.  A great time and place to use them.

Me staining and finishing while talking on the phone.  Hey... who says I cannot multi-task?

The photos above shows the finished column, before being added to the wall.  
The below photos show the finished product,  complete with the fretwork and detailing.

... and now how they finish out the dining/living area.

I think it most attractive.  We still have a ways to go... but it is getting there.
Hope you enjoy.