January 31, 2010

january snapshot

1. I think the pond might be making an appearance in every month end collage. I'm getting quite partial to the tree as well. 2. A sweet little face. 3. A gorgeous sunrise. 4. Snow dusted crab apples. 5. Snow Bunny's mama wanted to wait for snowfall to take her Christmas pictures, so here's Christmas in January.

I found a really cute Christmas frame at Target and a plan immediately hatched in my head to create a photo that matched. I have an alarming number of plans that hatch in my head. Amazingly enough, the weather cooperated perfectly with high clouds as a light filter, and the mountains beautifully showcased in the background. I worked with the photo a little bit, first with my still favorite action, "seventies" from The Pioneer Woman's action set.

I love this one, the pink tint with the pink loving subject, but it's not what I was looking for in this particular scenario.

So, I tweaked the sky and blanket to match the colors in the frame.

With that, you have taken a little ride on the crazy train in my head. And while most of my ideas never make it across the finish line, this one did.

Kinda fun.

January 29, 2010

snow bunny

Most of my photography efforts this week have focused on documenting the mayhem in the greenhouse, but I was very happy to take a break from all the glorious aphid death, and play in the snow with my little niece.

A good time was had by all, with special emphasis on the adults being entertained at little missy's expense as she tried valiantly to walk in the snow in a snowsuit and boots. It's harder than it looks, but she was a trooper and quite proud of herself.

I love snow bunnies.

January 28, 2010

an update and cheese

Here's a little before and after.

Within twenty four hours, this is what the ladybugs have accomplished.

Ladybugs are my new best friend.

On a different food for pests note, my sister sent me an email last night regarding a little sound heard under her floorboards. She is also a country dweller, and as such the occasional mouse visits her. We have a special misery loves company bonding moment whenever either of us is graced with a furry friend. (I have been mouse free for quite some time now, but the very act of uttering those words pretty much guarantees that I'll have someone under my sink by tomorrow.)

Sister mentioned that she had no cheese for the trap.

How can that be? How can someone related to me by blood, not have cheese? Say it ain't so.

I immediately rattled off ten kinds of cheese I knew I had in my refrigerator. It required no mental effort at all. That prompted my son to instigate a full cheese inventory.

Swiss and cottage cheese are hiding behind the sharp cheddar, and if you count two types of cream cheese, Velveeta (I know it's hard to count Velveeta as cheese, but it's a must for the chili cheese dip), two different types of Parmesan, and that pathetic little partial slice of provolone, we total twenty one.

My current fave is the Pecorino Romano.

Any recommendations for a must try?

Ladybugs and cheese make the world go round.

January 27, 2010

the invasion

About this time last year, we began the process of building a greenhouse.

(photo is before paint...we do not have a striped greenhouse.)

Our hope was to over winter many of our annual plants that usually end up on the compost pile each year.

Construction took forever, but with much begging and pleading on my part, our contractor was able to get it done enough to put the plants inside the day of the big freeze, and then construction continued with my little plants covered in sawdust. Actually, construction is still not complete, but we all know the best projects are the ones that take over a year to finish. Right?

Sorry for the construction rabbit trail, I'll get back to the greenhouse. And if I ever start talking about a new construction related project, will you please remind me that I have filled my quota for a lifetime and am not allowed any more? Because I seem to easily forget how much I hate having a construction related project at or in my home.

I don't understand how quickly I can forget how much I hate construction.

I hate construction.

Okay, now back to the greenhouse for real this time.

There's been a bit of a learning curve, but so far, almost everyone has survived.

Some plants have really thrived.

We also saved a couple tomato plants.

This is the first of many times I will rave about Sun Sugar tomatoes. Not to be confused with it's much more common cousin, Sun Gold. I have grown every cherry tomato known to man, but this one, in my humble opinion, outshines them all by a mile. So unbelievably sweet.

Sun Sugar....get you one...or ten.

So, the greenhouse is plugging along, it's a nice place to visit on a cold winter day, and a reminder that spring is right around the corner. What could be more wonderful, right?

But....all is not as it seems.

Evil lurks within.


Aphids are a very common greenhouse problem. This particular flower was under all out attack. Most of the plants are not nearly this popular with the green guys. We tried a few natural remedies that kind of beat back the little buggers, but never got rid of them all the way. A friend recommended "beneficial insects", and thank goodness ladybugs were at the top of the aphid predator list. I'm not much of a bug person, but I do adore ladybugs. And dragonflies. But that's about it.

Today, the FedEx man delivered....

He also told a story about his buddy who delivered ladybugs last week, but the box broke and he had 1500 ladybugs all over his FedEx truck. He thought that was pretty darn funny.

So, this afternoon, we set our new friends free, with high predatory hopes and dreams.

And, the icing on the aphid cake, this little guy, within seconds of being released, made straight for the first perp he came across.

Go forth and devour, my little polka dotted friends.

January 25, 2010

on the cheap

Wish you were here....

Wish I was there, too!

When our two older boys left home, it was time for our youngest to move into the coveted big bedroom.

From very early days, his goal in life was to be a waiter in Hawaii and live in a hotel. And climb palm trees.

As his parents, we were totally supportive of this plan. His father, because he would need to visit his son for extended periods of time in the winter. And me - because it sounds a tad bit safer than rescuing people lost at sea in wild storms like his oldest brother, or ridding the world of terrorists like his middle brother. (Job descriptions may or may not be highly dramatized - mama's a little neurotic.)

Back to the actual point of this post, Junior has always had a Hawaiian theme for his room decor. His old room was Pottery Barn Kids, but he had outgrown that and was ready for something more teen appropriate. He had received a Hawaiian calendar each year for Christmas, so we decided to make a wall collage of the pictures.

That wall collage grew and grew, and soon went around his entire room.

It was sometime after the new year, when calendars were on clearance, so I went to one of the online calendar stores and purchased every one I found.

The possibilities are endless. A favorite sport, animal or destination. There seems to be a calendar for almost everything, even vampires, and the online place I shopped had calendars from years past for dirt cheap.

It was very fun, very easy and a very inexpensive way to give a room a makeover.

And just in case you need reminding on this fine Monday morning, Island Boy says....

January 22, 2010

sweet baby girl



Going home Sunday.

I will miss her.


January 18, 2010

the purge.....part two

So, the sorting continues. I'm in a ruthless frame of mind.

For anyone popping in for the first time, read this to hear about my little hoarding problem. It's not a big problem, just a little one. Not the "save every candy wrapper" kind of hoarding problem, but it's a problem just the same, and I'm extremely motivated to deal with it now.

Here are a few more goodies that have never found a place in my home.

These things all look like they should fit perfectly, but you all know how it is when something just doesn't work. These things just don't work. I love pink, but too much in my house makes it feel like a baby nursery. And as I don't currently have a baby, there ya go.

Chenille. This is one of two bedspreads I have.....I still haven't decided about the other one, but this one's going for sure.

And chenille cuts for pillows. We all know how the pillow thing turned out.


One of my boys had a very cool vintage baseball room when he was young.

I don't remember where this came from, but isn't it the coolest thing for my home office? Only, I don't have a home office. And never will.

Lots of bits of china that aren't displayed in the cabinet, and I know will never be pulled out even on the very rare occasion that I set the table with my vintage china.

I have four different piles going. Ebay/Etsy, a local antique store, the flea market, and a charity garage sale. Things too large to ship will stay local.

I've never sold anything, and I'm always intimidated by things I know nothing about. I'm leaning toward Ebay over Etsy, mainly because I want a definite ending date and an auction will serve that purpose, and also because I would find it quite difficult to actually set prices. I think I'll start fairly low and see where things go from there.

Every penny I make is going to Compassion International's Disaster Relief Fund. I cannot possibly say anything about Haiti that could speak louder or better than the images we are all seeing on TV. They speak for themselves.

If you have a desire to give, and have not yet found the right place, you can read about Compassion's financial integrity here.

I'm getting closer, but it's probably going to be February before I'm ready to start selling.

If you have any Ebay selling tips, I'd love to hear them.....if you need any Ebay buying tips, I'm your girl!

January 15, 2010

a few of my favorite things

A sleeping baby....

A case of pillow hair....

A snack....

A tub of bubbles....

Nice warm water....

And a fluffy towel....

My niece and her sweet baby girl came over for a visit yesterday.

It was a perfect day.

January 13, 2010

greek guacamole

For the last week or so, I have been obsessing over this sandwich. I went to the store and bought all the ingredients. Or at least the Montana version of the suggested/required ingredients. I could not find the right hummus, or the correct pita. My pita refused to make a pocket, and would just tear/shred every time I attempted to force it into pocket submission. I ranted about a pita conspiracy, false advertising, and Montana grocery suppliers. Then I read the package and discovered I had Pita flat bread, not pita pockets.

My bad.

So, since my dream sandwich was no longer an immediate possibility I had to find something to do with two packages of pita flat bread. And two containers of feta cheese, which is never a bad thing to have a lot of, and tomato and avocado too. Yesterday at lunch time, a new idea crept into my head. I make guacamole all the time, so why not put a different twist on an old friend. Turn the pitas into chips and mix all the other ingredients together to make a dip. It sounded promising.

I started with the pita, made triangles and lightly brushed them with olive oil, and sprinkled on some Kosher salt. Bake till they have your desired amount of crunch. Mine went a little long, as I was taking approximately four hundred and eighty pictures of the rest of the ingredients while they baked.

I used avocado, tomato, feta and Greek olives for the dip. I wasn't sure how hummus would work with the mix, so I left it out this time.

Just dice, crumble, mash and mix.

It was easy and it was good. And I'm pretty sure it was somewhat healthy.

p.s. Please don't think that I am under the impression that Greek Guacamole has never been done before. I'm sure it's been out there for eons. It just hasn't crossed my path. So for today, it is my very own creation...and it will probably be my lunch for the foreseeable future!

January 11, 2010

the junk house - outbuilding edition

It has been a week since the lovely and well loved Farm Chick, Serena, featured this little blog as her link of the week. How stinkin fun for me. I have so enjoyed meeting all of you and can't thank Serena enough! I'll try though....Serena, you are the best and the original. Thanks for introducing me to your wonderful Farm Chick following!

So, after that little bit of sweetness, are you ready for some ugly?

It's been a while since we visited the Junk House, so perhaps a recap is in order.

Ten years ago, back when I was regularly taking hallucinogenic drugs (there's no other logical explanation) we bought the Junk House. The house was in bad shape, but it really wasn't that hard to see it had potential.

The outbuildings had potential too.

Potential to induce nightmares.

Individually, and aside from the extreme neglect they had suffered, the buildings are not the worst thing we could have dealt with. While there wasn't a lot of charm there, they could have been spruced up and made to work. However, they were grouped too close together, and had structural damage issues from a former resident who really, really liked fire. They needed to go.



Other side....

And back....

360 degrees of architecture gone bad.

Our farm actually used to be a dairy back in the day. Not far enough back for the buildings to have been really cool and old. Just far enough back for them to be really ugly and old.

This is what was left of the milking parlor, and I suppose I should be quite happy that all we had to deal with was four hundred million yards of concrete. I think it's safe to assume the buildings that used to be there probably made your eyes bleed as well.

It's hard to see, but there is another pad of concrete beyond this one. Lots and lots of concrete.

Here is the far end of that second concrete pad.

I suppose now would be the appropriate time to tell you that our pond started out as a manure pit for the dairy. Yum.

After all the concrete was broken up and disposed of, we planted grass in it's place. Lots and lots of grass. And my last resident mower only has a couple years left at home.

Eventually, that group of buildings was demolished and a new barn was built.

Much better.

We still have two more buildings to deal with. One has major cute potential - it's a hexagon shape and when it's done it will be very cool.
The other one, while not as bad as those showcased above, still needs to pretty much go to the great metal siding scrapyard in the sky and be reborn of barn wood. As the new barn totally blocks it from daily sight, it's not a super high priority.

I have to say that while I certainly err on the drama/whining side of Junk House story telling, going back through the pictures from those early days reminds me of how glad I am we took our sad little farm and helped it become the happy place it is today. Hallucinogenic drugs or not, and while I might not choose to do it all again, I'm so glad we saw a glimpse of what this little patch of country land could be, and dove in.