I recently attended, and then hosted, an Upper Case Living party.  My daughter is a new consultant for the vinyl lettering products company, and I have fallen in love with the products and all the creative ways to use them.

When I spied the quote, ‘together is a wonderful place to be’, I knew I had the perfect spot for it; it also made me realize how much the walls needed a fresh coat of paint!  Don’t you love when one little project turns into three major projects?

Here is the finished ‘Family’ photo wall; his family, my family, our family – five generations on display  – together is a wonderful place to be.  I love how it turned out!

Have you been inspired to decorate with vinyl lettering?

I love, love, LOVE coffee!  Oh, have I mentioned the fact that I love coffee? And I love the fact that recently coffee has moved from the ‘bad’ list to the ‘might be good for you’ list; I swear it makes each cup taste better.  While some cups are better than others, I have noticed that there are certain times when coffee tastes absolutely delectable –

1.  The first cup of coffee in the morning

2.  Coffee made from freshly ground organic coffee beans

3.  Having coffee with a friend

4.  Coffee in an adorable cup

5.  Strolling through my gardens with a fresh cup of coffee

How do you enjoy your coffee?

Wind powered kid fun

June 21, 2010

Country kids are good at entertaining themselves, and we are NOT talking electronics here.

So kids – on a REALLY windy day take a bed sheet and let the wind pull you across the yard.  Be careful though; if you let go right in the middle of a strong gust of wind the sheet could end up high in the tree tops, and mom might think your fun and clever idea was not quite so clever!

My gardens on canvas

June 13, 2010

One year ago, on my 50th birthday, my children gave me one of the most special gifts I have ever received.  The kids commissioned a local, talented artist, Lynda Peterson, to paint a picture of my gardens as a birthday gift.

Lynda wanted to know when my favorite time in the gardens was, and I mentioned that I love to stroll through the gardens at dusk, after all my work is done for the day.  She came one evening to take photos of the gardens before dusk, to help her capture the light and mood that she wanted to portray on the canvas.

So here I am, strolling through the gardens with a cup of coffee, taking time to enjoy the flowers one last time before the dark chases me inside.  I believe she captured the mood and the light just perfect; she truly created a masterpiece.

Dandelion Tea

April 28, 2010

Spring on the farm brings an abundance of work, hope, and dandelions. I like to make dandelion tea when the dandelion leaves are young and full of nourishment, before they have reached blossom stage. Because we live on an organic farm and don’t use chemicals, I don’t have to worry about my dandelion tea being flavored with Weed-B-Gone or Round Up.

Making dandelion tea is easy-peasy.  Wash a handful of dandelion leaves, and chop into small pieces.  Use one tablespoon of fresh, chopped leaves to one mug of boiling water.  Steep and enjoy!  (Use only dandelions that are free from chemicals.)

Though dandelions might be viewed as a pesky weed to a lot of folks, I treasure each beautiful bouquet picked with care by the small hands of a grandchild, and handed to me with a grinning smile. Ah, the simple pleasures!

Yesterday we had the wonderful fortune to hear in person, farmer and author, Joel Salatin.  The author of many sustainable farming related books, Joel was on a lecture circuit promoting his newest, soon to be published book, ‘The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer’, along with the movie ‘Fresh’, a film that focuses on new thinking about what we’re eating.

His message to farmers was inspiring and simple –

We can heal the land with sustainable and organic farming practices

Be proud of who you are and your farming profession

Love and embrace what you are doing

We appreciated hearing his encouragement and success story; we left feeling younger and more excited about farming, and inspired to follow more of our dreams.  It confirmed our belief that we can make a difference, and are making a difference, one acre at a time.

We DO love what we are doing; it is the reason we have made sacrifices in our lives to stay here on the land.  We love being connected with nature through the soil and the seasons, and feeling blessed by heavenly sunshine or rain.

We love farming with organic practices that are enriching the soil; watching the worms and beneficial bugs increase in number, feeling the soil grow ‘softer’ each year, and witnessing green, healthy crops during summers of drought.

We love the opportunity to grow our own food, to preserve and harvest the food, and sharing the work and the bounty with extended family.  We love that our children are raised as ‘farm kids’, enjoying a simple lifestyle that embraces faith, family, hard work, country sunshine and wide open spaces.

Yes, we love being lunatic farmers, every single day!

Chasing butterflies

February 27, 2010

Right now these pictures are a feast for my eyes and they whisper a promise to my ears of warm days to come.  The words I hear softly wafting by are promises of Spring and summer; sunshine and flowers, birds and butterflies, children exploring the outdoors.  Maybe not tomorrow, but soon.

Sometimes, I get these great ideas….  Well, I always think they are great ideas, but my family might disagree and call them crazy ideas, I’m not sure why.  I don’t know where they come from, but they always hit me with a wham, and somehow it never crosses my mind that these great ideas might be, perhaps, a bit difficult to carry out.

I get different reactions from various family members when I blurt these famous lines of mine – “I had a great idea….!”  Or “Wouldn’t it be fun….!”.  A few deadbeats will roll their eyes and moan and groan, as if I had just sentenced them to hard labor on a chain gang, but thankfully a few creative and ambitious souls will perk right up and gleefully rub their hands in anticipation of my latest notion.

So …. I had another one a few weeks back.  I had this great idea of hosting a candlelit walk through our snow covered woods.  Make a few ice candles and invite a few friends to stroll down the candle lit path to enjoy the solitude and serenity of our winter wonderland.  I mentioned it to hubby and didn’t even get the eye roll, so I decided it was a go ahead and proceeded to make plans.  And like plenty of other great ideas I’ve had, this one began to grow a bit beyond the first illumination.  Well, kind of picked up a momentum of it’s own and snowballed, you could say.

You see, once the vision of the candlelit woods was firmly established in my mind, it didn’t take much more to also envision a candlelit walk out to the woods, never mind that it is a half mile walk stroll across the field to reach the woods.  I’ll admit I did have to stop and ponder the feasibility of ice candles stretching out for one and half miles around the field and through the woods; it seemed it could be, well, a bit difficult, maybe.  Then, viola!. Someone suggested Mason jars, and that got me to thinking about all the vases I have laying around …….  And just like that I knew we were in business – the “Mile and half long romantic candlelit walk around the farm” business.

I learned how to make ice candle luminaries, and got pretty accomplished at it by number 100.  I borrowed and begged canning jars from family and friends, and we visited the candle aisle of the local General Dollar Store a dozen times or so.  We packed and groomed the trail for walking and skiing with a snowmobile, then paced it out to figure out the spacing of the candles.  The trail was a complete loop around a thirty acre field, with a detour through the woods at the halfway point; well, to be exact it was 1200 paces out to the woods, 650 paces through the woods, and 1200 paces back to the starting point.  About one and half miles start to finish.

On Friday we set out 90 ice candle luminaries in the woods (ten broke while transporting), and on Saturday we set out 140 jars and vases that illuminated the trail around the field.  Our guests were set to arrive at dusk, and the weather was perfect, about 25 degrees, with not a breath of wind present.

And it was perfect, just perfect.

As I stood on Steep Hill, from where I could see lines of twinkling candles for a quarter mile or more in every direction, I could hardly believe how beautiful it was, and how blessed I am to live here.  And how fortunate I am to see my crazy ideas come to life.

Garden Moments

January 27, 2010

Ethan checking out the birdbath.