June 30, 2010

hello strangers

I'm still here!

I've been painting, weeding, planting...

Cleaning, sprucing, tidying.....

My hubby asked me the other day if I thought we were slaves to our place.

It was his birthday, so I said, "Why yes my love, I definitely think we are slaves to our place. What an insightful observation."

Had it not been his birthday, I would have rolled my eyes and said, "Duh....ya think????"

However, we came to the conclusion that we have no clue what we'd do if we weren't working on our place. We are not really sit around and do nothing people. Except in the wintertime. Then we are couch potato, lazy good for nothings. It's a seasonal thing. We have Seasonal Affective Lazy Good For Nothing Disorder. I would imagine it all balances out as we certainly make up for lost time when the sun is shining.

And I should clarify that I have a much more severe case of the disorder, as The Farmer braves the elements daily in the winter to care for the cows and actually runs a business as well. And he puts in much longer summertime hours to counterbalance any winter lack of activity. Can you tell I'm backpedaling? Pretty much, he doesn't have the disorder at all.

It's just me.

The weather has been beautiful. Literally sunshine and roses.

Until last night. Last night, the most amazing thunderstorm rolled through. We all sat under the protection of our back porch and watched the show.

Constant lightning in all directions, pouring rain and freight train wind. It was awesome. Loved it.

The only downside....the hay. Our field is/was full of the tallest, most beautiful grass ever. Until last night.


...is now laying flat. I'd go take a picture, but I don't want to. Our internet connection has been horrible lately, and I need to strike while the internet iron is hot.

For the last week, I haven't been able to upload photos, get blogger to save my drafts, or get my email on any sort of regular basis. This morning though, it's all working like a charm. Apparently the thunderstorm gave the internet a swift kick in the pants.

While we're on the subject of technology, I got a new laptop. A MacBook Pro. I know not a single thing about it, nor does anyone in my household. Usually, I can go to any of my people for techno help, but not in this case. It's a bit frustrating trying to learn a whole new system, but once I have time to devote to it, I'm hoping we'll be great friends. If anyone has suggestions for an awesome get to know your Mac resource, please let me know.

Dear New MacBook Pro,
Why are you so very different from Windows?
I need to know.
Hoping to love you soon,

Okay invisible friends, the first workshop starts a week from Friday, so I'd best get the show on the road!

June 14, 2010

breaking news - it's not raining!


After weeks....perhaps months....seemingly years of rain, the sun came out! We had a beautiful weekend and today should be lovely as well. Yes, the rain will be back in a day or two, but the reprieve has been glorious.

I've been in a bit of a panic wondering if there is any chance I'd be able to get things done by the time the photography workshops roll around, but I'm seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

As always, I'm hoping the light is not a freight train coming my way. One freak hail storm, and I'm toast.

The Meadowbrook Farmer is my absolute favorite person these days. He's plowing through my honey-do list like a trooper, and while I'm known to take him for granted on occasion, his current above and beyond behavior is making it impossible to forget how happy I am that he's mine.

Thanks hon! I'll bake you cookies when this is all over in July! Right after I come out of my coma.

On a side note, my Pizza Delivery Boy, (junior number three, my baby, who as of Friday is now a Junior in high school - say it ain't so!), made sixty dollars in tips last night. Seriously? Sixty dollars? I'm in the wrong line of work.

Yet another side note.

One bean almost destroyed the interior of my car.

Last weekend while in Spokane for the Farm Chicks show (fabulous, btw - you must go if you ever have the chance), one of my friends placed her Mexican left overs in my cooler. Un-noticed by me, a lone pinto bean stayed in said cooler for four days - four measly days, and a new bio-weapon was created. When I opened the cooler, an explosion of noxious fumes spewed forth and apparently plastered themselves all over the interior of my car. The smell lingered for days, and I was starting to wonder if my car was going to smell like the open market in Mazatlan forever. I know this is not really blog worthy information, but I was impressed/appalled by the power of the bean and had to tell someone.

I'm hoping to do a greenhouse post very soon. I'm waiting, (and waiting - my contractor has forsaken me), for the finishing touches to be put on the exterior of the greenhouse and then it will be ready for a show and tell. Fingers crossed that it will be this week. This little greenhouse is going on month sixteen of construction. Let's wrap this puppy up, people! It is time.

Well, it is 6:18 a.m. Time to get outside!

Have a great day!

June 8, 2010

hanging with the cool kids

Back when I was just dipping my toe in the blog pool....as in just learning about the blog world (I was a late blog bloomer - took me quite a while to even realize they exist) the very first photography blog I came across was JinkyArt, the blog of amazing Australian photographer, Barb Uil.

I was also just dipping my toe (other foot) in the photography pool, and was led to Barb's Itty Bitty Actions site as I was learning about Photoshop actions.

I was immediately hooked by her style.

Barb's photos are magical.

They immediately transport you to a place where make-believe is reality.

Where boys can be boys.

Where whimsy is the norm.

A place where color sings.

And black and white tells its own beautiful story.

Barb's photos make you feel like a kid again.

Each time I visit her blog, I find myself wondering how such magic is created.

In an amazing turn of events, I'm going to get a chance to find out for myself.

This summer, Barb is going to be holding workshops in the U.S.

Now here's the truly amazing part. Not only do I get the opportunity to attend a Jinkyart workshop, I get the unbelievable privilege to actually host several of Barb's workshops right here at Meadowbrook Farm.

I know. I still can't quite believe it myself.

It will truly be the opportunity of a lifetime for me to be able to learn from someone with such talent. I'm so thankful that Barb chose my little corner of the world as one of her U.S. locations. I'm extremely excited, and at the moment a bit overwhelmed with all that needs to be done before July.

I know I sound like a broken record, but it's still raining here, and my gardens are a soggy, weedy mess. But the time has come, rain or shine, to tackle the beast, free the little plant prisoners from the greenhouse, and pretend summer is on its way. I have exactly one month to get this place in tip-top shape and I'm not quite sure how that's going to happen.

I'll keep you posted!

If you have a moment, pop over to the Jinkyart website and make sure you watch the movie of a Jinkyart photoshoot. Very sweet. And if you'd like to join us for a workshop, there are a few seats left.

It's going to be fun!

(All photos are used with permission. Thanks Barb!)

June 4, 2010

homemade refried beans

I am on my way out the door to The Farm Chicks show - yay! - but wanted to quickly share one of my current favorite recipes. I actually meant to share it on Cinco de Mayo, but it seems I'm about a month late for that.

Or eleven months early. Take your pick.

I make these often, they are easy-peasy, and if you give them a try, I promise you'll never buy canned refried beans again.


I use canned beans, which I know makes these only sorta homemade, but it also makes the recipe lightning quick to make.

1 cup chopped onion
2 cans rinsed pinto beans
2 cups water
2 tsp chicken bouillon

In a saute pan, cook the onions in a little bit of olive oil for a few minutes, until they begin to soften. Add water, bouillon and beans. Cover and simmer for about five minutes, then use a potato masher to smash the beans. I leave mine pretty chunky.

Sometimes, I smash a clove of garlic and let it simmer with the beans and then pull it out before the mashing commences.

From there, I leave the lid off and keep stirring the beans, scraping the bottom of the pan with a spatula, until enough liquid evaporates to make them the consistency I like....not too thin, not too thick. Total cooking time is usually about ten minutes or so.

My favorite way to eat them is over Tostitos Multigrain chips with melted cheese (in the oven, never the microwave), and a generous dollop of sour cream.

Bean heaven.

Any other Farm Chickers out there? This will be my third time at the show. I'm meeting three of my best girlfriends, and I can't wait!

Have a great weekend!

June 1, 2010

zailey rae

Remember these two?

Just a few days after these pictures were taken, they became three.

Meet Miss Zailey Rae.

She is an absolute doll.

Perfect in every way.

Our plans for Zailey's first photo shoot took a detour courtesy of Mother Nature, so we just brought the outdoors into my dining room.

My hubby helped me haul furniture around, gathered flowering branches for me, and soon we brought my dream of baby swing in the crabapple tree to life.

I'm always up for a good Plan B.

Her mom and dad are absolutely head over heels in love with this darling thing, and it's easy to see why.

Sweet baby toes, just waiting to be nibbled.

A perfect swirl of gorgeous baby hair.

We had the heat turned up to August in the Tropics temperatures, but even so, girlfriend was not a fan of being naked.

This was her "don't touch my blankie" look.

Little Miss was barely, barely asleep, but inch by inch we pulled it back, and we were finally able to score a few shots of her in her birthday suit.

After she was finally allowed the dignity of having her clothes back on, she happily relaxed in front of the fireplace while I snapped just a few shots of the new mom and dad.

Oh, was this fun!

Dear Baby Zailey,

You. Are. Sweet.

Will you be my friend?