Good bye city life! Our family designed and built an industrial but old fashioned farmhouse on nine acres. Now we are building our homestead ~ or is it building us? Grab your boots and join us on our journey to country living.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 22 years

New Year's Eve ~ Our Wedding Anniversary
Today we celebrate 22.
Where have the years gone?
And still, he's the first person I want to see in the morning and the last I want to see at night.
My best friend.  My true love.
Happy 22.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

End of the island

Anyone else tired of cooking from the holidays?  Let's just say that I'm going to be using this a lot this week.  And since I am, I thought I would show it to you.  When we built we decided to put the range in the island which meant a cabinet mounted microwave wouldn't work.  So, we put it in the end of the island on a shelf.  This allowed us to purchase a counter top model that was hundreds of $$ cheaper too.  Under that is a basket with cookbooks close at hand.  My DH actually designed the space under the microwave for a networked printer but we still haven't bought one. 

Behind the skinny door on the side is storage for cookie sheets and pizza pans and a little drawer for knives.  It really has been convenient to have the microwave down there.  So... warm it up, boys.  I'm not cooking tonight.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Present of pretty petals

I just have to share with you a very special gift that I received on Christmas morning.  Many of you know how my boy's built a cottage garden for me in the spring and how I loved planting flowers in it.  Of course, I had favorites ~ too many to count.  Flowers are all so different and lovely.  But my husband knew just which ones I loved the most. 
purple coneflower, gallardia, & verbena on a stick
And he had original artwork drawn of my favorite flowers.  Unbelievable!  I was soooo surprised!  They are absolutely gorgeous!  The artist is a blogging friend, HollyHox, who lives in Montana.  We have never met but have enjoyed getting to know each other in the blog world.  I have admired her work for some time and was so disappointed recently when she had a contest and I didn't win one of her prints. 

And then I got three of my very own originals.  Being a fellow artist, I know how hard it is to part with originals.  Thank you, Holly!  I really love them~

The funny thing is they have been scheming for months to the point that he got an additional email address and she sent him secret messages in her blog.  I even saw a picture on her blog of the creative package that my gift was wrapped in for shipping.  Wayne knew this so he wrapped my gift in a box in layers. 

First, the cute little "thank you" tag framed.  I knew I had seen it before but didn't know where.

Then the black cardboard painted with whimsical blue swirls.  "It's from Holly!" I could never forget cute packaging like that. 

Then the lovely colored pencil artwork:

Pretty Purple Coneflower

Graceful Gallardia

Statuesque Verbena on a Stick

And at the bottom the very entertaining correspondence between the two of them over the past few months.  I really enjoyed reading it.

Yep, that husband of mine is a keeper.  It was an very special Christmas gift.  One that I will never forget.  Thank you, Honey.  And thank you, Holly.  If you haven't seen Holly's work, head on over and visit her etsy shop.  I bet her prints will look great in your home.  I'm going to hang my pretty petals in the master bedroom.

Update ~ And here they are framed...







Love 'em!


Friday, December 24, 2010

The boots are by the stove with care...

in hope that St. Nick soon will be there.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Blessed Christmas

Cocoa, Jonah, Red, Jake, Bobbie, & Jared
 All creatures great and small at the Red Farmhouse, 
 wish you a blessed Christmas!

"She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus,
 for he will save his people from their sins."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Train on

Even though life is busy with Christmas right now, training with the horses goes on.


Isn't D beautiful?


She's really making good progress and looking to Wayne for leadership.


Jonah is waiting with Cocoa for their turn in the pen.

Bobbie always enjoys scratching.

In reality, the training is more about training us to work with the horses and less about training them.  They will follow if we are strong enough to lead.  And of course we have to learn to "speak" their language.  Although mentally and physically challenging, we are starting to see progress and are excited about it.  It's those small steps down a long path that will get us where we want to go.  So... train on.

Thanks to our friend, Alice, for taking these great photos!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Homemade dog treats

shaped like cowboys, of course!


They were really easy and fun to make.  Just like rolled out cookies only they smelled, well, different.  Not bad actually but not appetizing.  Some will go as gifts for a friend's pups.


The rest will be special Christmas Day treats for all the animals on the farm.  I think they will go over well with the horses because a visit out to the pasture after making them became a sniffing contest to see if I had anything.  And since the pigs like cookies, they should love these. Here's the recipe so you can make treats for your furry friends.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Letter stickers on presents


If you are like me, you have a stash of assorted scrapbooking letter stickers.  I decided to put some to use on presents as gift tags.


  Some I spelled out the names and others I just used initals.


I thought they turned out cute.


Do you have any clever gift wrapping ideas?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Jam jar hats

Need to dress up some jam jars to give as gifts?
I top mine a little differently than most so I thought I would share it with you.

This is what you need: fabric ~ about 1/3 yd will make 3 jar toppers & ribbon ~ 1 ft. per jar.

Now you need a circle template about 12 inches wide.  When I need to cut circles I always go to the cupboard.  Usually I can find just the right size.  This time it was my biggest mixing bowl.
Trace around it on the wrong side of the fabric.

Cut on the line with pinking shears so it won't unravel.

Now, remove the jar ring but not the sealed jar lid.  Lay the fabric wrong side down on top of the lid.  Even it up all around and screw on the jar lid.  

Gather up the fabric over the jar lid and tie with a ribbon bow.

Yep, it's that easy.

Aren't they cute?  All dressed up and ready to go.

But wait, we need labels.  I hate the stickers because they are hard to remove later if you want to reuse the jars.  Here's another idea ~ make some out of a paper sack.  First, cut rectangles and snip two corners off.  Then hole punch them and add hole reinforcers.  Tie on some string and write what kind of jam it is.
Now, they are ready to give away!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Red light for chickens

When it started getting cold a few weeks ago, I decided to give the girls (& boy) some extra warmth.  We haven't had chickens through the winter before and I didn't want any of them freezing.  I know they probably wouldn't but I lost two to the heat this summer so I'm not taking any chances.

I installed a red heat lamp in one side of the coop.  It seems to really help.  The red light is supposed to discourage them from picking on each other.  I guess with plain bulbs on 24/7 they get unhappy.  The chicken wire is to keep them from getting too close to it.

Hattie preparing to add her green egg to the pile.

The bonus is that the warmer coop has increased egg production.  I'm getting about 15 per day now, up from 10-12.   Love that red light!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Our little guy working a horse

We have all been working with our horse trainer for 3 weeks now.  Everyone is participating in the daily exercises, even J3.  He's 11.  Here he is working with Bobbie, our 10 yr old paint. 
First, we establish direction and speed by pointing, clucking, and then if no response swing the stick.  After they have worked for a while, we step in front of the drive line (front shoulder) and ask them to stop.  Turning to face you is the ultimate submissive response when doing this.  Jared has it down with Bobbie.  I wish she were doing that good with me.  I'm still only getting a turned head or occasionally a halfway turn.

Look at that ~ just beautiful!  When she turns, Jared freezes with relaxed body language.  As long as she stands there, she gets to catch her breath.  She likes breath because she really is lazy.  It's nice for us to breath too since it is hard work.

That smile says it all.  He's going to be a great horseman someday.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Festive, not fancy, wreaths

Every room needs just a touch of Christmas.  I had these two artificial evergreen wreaths that I couldn't justify leaving in a box. 

So I got out some red ribbon with just a touch of silver sparkle and looped it around the tops  Added a felt embroidered ornament and hung them in front of a couple of windows.

One in the master above the bed and one in the dining room bay window.
Festive, but not fancy.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Heirloom quilt tree skirt

Our tree skirt has a special history.  I had a special great grandmother with whom I was very close.  One of the last times I saw her before she went to heaven, she gave me three quilt tops that her mother had made.  She pointed out fabrics that were scraps from her dresses as young girl along with patches of cloth from her brother's and sister's clothes.  The hand stiched pieces had never been made into quilts and somewhere along the way had the misfortune of being machine washed.  Needless to say, they needed help.  I brought them home in a paper sack and stored them away.  Years later I dug them out to make a baby quilt for our first child from one with lots of pastel colors.  I also made Christmas stockings and just happened to make 5 not knowing that would be the perfect number for our family.  And the biggest one with lots of red that needed the least amount of mending, I put under the Christmas tree as it was.  Last year, I decided it was time make it into a proper tree skirt, so I bought pretty dark red velvet and sewed a band of it around the edge.  Then I added batting and a white cotton lining underneath.  I may hand quilt it someday but for now, I like it just the way it is. Christmas things with a history are more special, don't you think?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Holly Bells

The first year we were married, we were given a silver bell ornament from a local jewelry store. 
It was so beautiful and looked quite out of place with our other dollar store tree trimmings.  But since it was for our first Christmas together, we decided to get one every year.  So no matter what else is purchased for Christmas, even if it is the only thing (and there have been some years like that), we add a bell to our tree.


 They are Reed and Barton silver plated bells.  Each one has the year and "Holly Bell" engraved on it.  And the pattern is always holly but always different, as is each year they represent.

I love looking at the dates and remembering the joys and struggles of each year as I add them to the tree.

This year we will add our 22nd Holly Bell to the tree on Christmas morning.

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