Friday, December 31, 2010

A Safe & Happy New Year to You!

Mia on the way to the farm.
We just got to the farm & thankfully it was just foggy, no freezing rain like they were predicting. We are heading into town soon for pizza and then home to watch a new DVD we got for Christmas, the Northern Exposure series, and maybe The Great Outdoors if we can last that long. :-). Party animals we're not, nor want to be. I am feeling better today. No sinus pressure, finally. Every day a little better, I hope. Completely better by next weekend which is Jaelyn's first birthday & party. Can't believe it's been a year.

This morning we went out to eat with Amy & Rob for Steve's birthday at a great new restaurant in St Charles, IL. called Prazino which means "green" in Greek. The food was excellent and they are organic for the most part. They have fresh-squeezed juices and wheat grass shots....our kind of place.
Foggy day, but at least we could make it into the driveway this time :-)

 We want to wish all of you a very happy new year! May this new year be even better than the last!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sick (again)

So really, body, what's up with this? I can't believe I'm sick again.  But I guess that's not totally true. Since we have moved from the townhouse last spring, exercise has been at a minimum, if at all. Also, our healthy diet, pretty much out the window. No, we are still vegetarian, but other than that, the diet has suffered. I went for years without getting a cold or flu. Now this year, first the flu, then this cold. I guess this body really needs a good detoxing, which is what I consider this to be. Steve & I have been talking over our lack of exercise & more crappy diet a lot. We have decided to start ordering fresh, organic veggies & fruits from a place called Timber Creek Farms Organics here in Illinois. They also deliver to other states, too if you are interested. We had this service in the past (pre-farm ownership) and loved it! They deliver right to your door. I don't know about you, but I hate to waste food, so I will use what they deliver. They have a produce box called the Picky Produce Box. They put in 5 items that they choose & you pick from a long list of just about any item you could want, to complete the box. I know it's not local, but we really need to start juicing to start feeling better. Steve has what we call his "winter cough" (chronic bronchitis) again. The only time it has completely gone away is when we were juicing fresh fruits & veggies. So we will be making our first order next week. Yesterday Jaelyn went home sick from daycare with a fever. Feel better my sweet baby Jae! Just the other day, Kristin got her webcam going & we got to see a video of Jaelyn almost live. We have the "live" thing figured out now, so maybe this weekend we can talk to her & see what her reaction is.

Since I was taking naps on & off all day yesterday, I didn't get the chance to post that it was Steve's birthday! It's that last birthday before the big 6-0 & I feel bad that I was sick for it. He did go out to eat with his dad though & we will be having breakfast with daughter Amy & her husband Rob tomorrow morning before heading to the farm. I hope to feel better this weekend so we can have a pizza at The Driftless Cafe in Viroqua.

Steve is out buying the paint for the bathroom right now. I guess even if it wasn't No VOC paint, I wouldn't be able to smell it with this cold. :-)

There are a few more things I wanted to post that I have just forgotten to do. One is, my niece Lindsay got accepted into Vanderbilt University in Tennessee! This is a great accomplishment! She wants to be a veterinarian so this is a great college to go to. Congrats Lindsay! Another niece Kellie's husband had a video and print interview with Yahoo about his photography. Here it is...
Congrats again Eric!  My nephew Andy (Lindsay's brother) just came back from studying in Lebanon for the semester and took some amazing photos that we got to see before Christmas. He also told us quite a bit about the culture, food, etc. Thanks Andy!
So many good family things going on now. Some day I will sit down & write about our many family members who have been on commercials or had a brush with fame. Fun!
Ok...Steve's back & it's time for my nap :-).
If I don't write again before New Year's, have a happy one!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Another Gift & Monday Afternoon at the Farm

Doll Beret & Scarf sets
Noelle & Addie with their American Girl Dolls
This is the gift I couldn't show a picture of last week because my great-nieces hadn't seen it yet. So glad they liked them! I got the idea off of a blog I love to read called Resweater.  She has such good ideas. It's funny because I have been reading her blog since I started collecting wool for projects and she and my niece sat by each other at a local craft show this fall. Until then, I didn't realize that we lived so close to each other. One of the next projects I want to make is longies. They are baby or toddler pants made from the sleeves of felted sweaters. Thanks Kris for the ideas!

We finished the day at the farm yesterday by priming the bathroom. I didn't think we would get to it until next weekend so we are ahead of schedule. Now I need to get the low VOC paint so we can finish that this coming weekend.
Next week the medicine cabinet & mirror
Not too happy to be away from the farm again, but we will be back there in a few days. Have a lot to do at home so maybe it will go by fast. :-)

Mia in her favorite spot

Monday, December 27, 2010

I Know I've Said it Before....

I guess I can't say it enough. We have great neighbors here at the farm. Yesterday Jim knocked on the door and offered to help us load up firewood he had waiting for us at his house & bring it over. Steve went with him & they loaded up a pickup truck full, brought it back & stacked it. They Jim offered to plow the driveway. So they went back & got his tractor and he plowed the driveway up to the barn.

Jim told us to email him whenever we are coming up & he will make sure the driveway is plowed for us. Between them & the Amish next door, we feel very fortunate. This morning before breakfast, Lavina (one of the Amish girls), brought us some cookies and visited for a while. Life is good at the farm :-)
 Steve is mudding & sanding in the bathroom again today.  It will be ready to prime & paint this coming weekend. We will be driving up on New Year's Eve & staying until Monday afternoon so that will give us plenty of time to paint & maybe put in the medicine cabinet & mirror. We also have some ceiling lights we can put in too. After all the snow we have gotten lately, it is supposed to be in the 40's and rain this Thursday & Friday. Don't think we'll be snowshoeing New Year's weekend.

I really should get busy here instead of writing...only a few hours until we head back to Illinois.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas at the Farm

So good to be back at the farm! We hadn't planned on being gone so long, but a snowstorm kept us away the last time we were planning a trip here. We left yesterday morning at 8am after an all day snow on Christmas Eve. We drove on the main roads instead of the back way & they were fine. The worst road was the country road that we live on in Wisconsin and that wasn't bad. The driveway always seems longer after a snow though :-).
We started up the hill & didn't quite make it to the barn. The county plows the long country driveways in case of emergencies but had plowed in the part going to the barn. So we stopped and trudged to the barn with the cat and her litter box & started to shovel.
Road to the farm.

So good to be at the farm again.
Snow was deeper than it looks in the picture.
After shoveling for a few minutes, Eli & the boys came down with a couple shovels.
Our Amish helpers.
That was a good Christmas greeting! After they were done they brought out their sleds and had a great time sledding down the driveway.
Kids getting ready to sled.

We got the wood stoves going and took a nap for an hour or so. It was snowing big puffy flakes when we woke up and was so beautiful. I had planned to make a Christmas dinner but we decided to watch a movie (Scrooged) and snack instead. What a great Christmas day. So relaxing once we got settled in at the farm.
This morning is sunny and in the teens. I went out after breakfast to take pics of the frosty trees. They are shimmering in the sunlight.
The long, steep driveway. Fun for sledding though.

I think I will go make some cinnamon rolls & coffee now. Later I'm going to inventory the seeds from last year and start planning the order for next year's garden and maybe start crocheting an afghan. Hope you all had a joyous Christmas!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas! Hope you have a day filled with love & joy.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Exciting News to Share!

Last week, my niece Trisha who writes the blog Roundabout, was interviewed by someone from the Associated Press. She has been selling wreaths on her Etsy site and they got the attention of a really nice hotel in San Francisco who bought a bunch of them. Then the reporter called her. This is the link to the article. She is written about near the end of the article & tells how to make the wreath.
I am so excited for her! She just started the Etsy shop & blog late this summer & she is already making it big! We are so proud of you Trisha :-)
Check out her blog. She is so creative...

here is the link to the article...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm Back

I really took a vacation from posting this time! Not intentionally, though. We have been so busy with making gifts that I just haven't had the time. On Sunday, we had our Christmas celebration with the kids. This was to allow Kristin, Tim & Jaelyn to spend Christmas morning with Jaelyn at their own house. It really was a great way to do it considering it didn't matter to us what day we celebrate the holiday, just that we could be together at some point. We do have one more celebration at my brother's house on Christmas Eve and then we will leave for the farm Christmas morning. We have Monday off, so it will be like a normal weekend.
Rob, Amy, Steve, Tim, Jaelyn, Kristin, Shane & Joe (Steve's dad), eating delicious food that Amy & Rob made.
 It was a great time at Amy & Rob's. The food was so good. Every time we eat there, I want the recipes they use. After eating, we opened the gifts. If you have read any previous posts, you know that Steve & I were making snowman benches for gifts. Steve cut out the straight pieces and painted them  & I cut out the snowmen & painted them. Then he put it all together. Here is a pic of the finished benches...
Jaelyn sitting on the bench

After the benches were made, we launched into making the rest of the gifts. This is what Steve made...
Rob plays the guitar, so he really liked cutting board.
This is for Tim's sports equipment. It will hold three basketballs on top plus misc stuff on the shelf.

 Next, I'll show you what I made...
Jaelyn's stocking made from repurposed felted wool sweaters & the lining is from her daddy's old suit jacket.
These are Shane's curtains for his Scamp trailer.

Bears throw
Laptop sleeve out of repurposed sweaters & leather jacket
Purse ( I forgot to take a picture of it finished :-( ) made out of repurposed a sweater then lined with a cotton fabric & new bamboo purse handle.
"Minky" blanket for Jaelyn
Wool gingerbread person for Jaelyn

Four pairs of fingerless gloves made out of repurposed wool sweaters. (forgot to take a pic of the fourth)
Felt food. Eggs, pancakes, syrup & butter for Jaelyn.

We also gave knitted washcloths & raspberry jam. There is one more gift for my nieces that they haven't been given yet, so I'll post that after Christmas.
I have been reading all my favorite blogs, but hardly ever commenting on them lately. Now things should get back to normal so I have more time to relax.
I really enjoyed making all the gifts. Have you made gifts this year? If so, what are you making?
There are other things going on too. I'll try to post about that later this week...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Relaxing Yet Productive Weekend

We are driving through Madison right now after our usual stop in Middleton at the Mobil. Now that it is dark  on the drive home, it’s harder to sew or knit like I do when it is light. I still need something to keep me occupied while Steve is driving the busy roads home, so I thought blogging might work. Mia (our cat) has decided to sit on the laptop and but is now settled in my lap. Everyone seems to be heading home from the holiday weekend tonight. I hope you all had a great weekend with family & friends or just relaxing at home.

We are still recovering from our colds but feel much better than last week. I really didn’t expect to get much done but we did accomplish a few things. Steve hung drywall on the low wall in the kitchen where the sink & cook top will be. I hope to post a drawing of those cabinets, etc. soon.

Kitchen wall. The 2 pex lines in floor is the location of the sink.
Cooktop will be in the area behind the bucket.

While he worked on that, I was in the attic & the basement looking for misc. items to take back home in preparation for Christmas. Things like cookie cutters, the kid’s stockings, and felted wool to make presents. I seriously have a wool obsession.  I shop at Goodwill and garage sales for wool sweaters. At first I was making dryer balls (which I still do) and water bottle covers, but now I’m adding other items. So far a trivet and reading glasses  holder.  I can’t tell you the other items yet or it will ruin the surprise for the kids.

When Steve was finished with the drywall, he put up a temporary door at the base of the attic stairs.  We will still keep the Styrofoam at the top of the stairs. That should keep the space even warmer. I worked on putting up the last bit of blue jean insulation on the workshop wall that backs up to the new living area.
The last of the insulating on the main floor.

It got down to fourteen degrees Friday night but today was in the forties. That was very comfortable for bringing in more firewood for our next visit which I worked on while Steve went on to the next project, putting another coat of mud on the bathroom drywall. One more coat & we should be painting.
Second coat of mud.

The Subaru looks right at home at the farm :-)
At the shop, we’ve been working on  a medicine chest & mirror frame made of the same hickory wood as the vanity. We will begin working on the cabinets & counter top for the low wall in the kitchen soon. Then we can have a working sink upstairs for washing dishes. Yippee!!! Washing dishes in the basement in the utility sink works but it is hard on the back. Just not the right height.
So this was the maiden voyage for the Subaru. So far so good. I put a few bumper stickers in the windows today. One is for the local radio station WDRT and the other says “Driftless. Slower is better” . Steve’s brother Joe called the Subaru our “hippiemobile”.  We just laughed. I guess it’s better than a “conservativemobile“.  I think a lot of people think of us as old hippies. We aren’t “mainstream” that’s for sure. But who wants to be like everyone else?
We are home now, so I am copying, pasting  & adding pictures to this post. Time for bed now & dreams of the new kitchen...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Steve & I are both feeling better now. Not completely, but well enough to be able to taste the food tomorrow :-). We will be going to Steve's brother's house not far from here. Then Friday morning we will drive (in the "new to us" Subaru) up to the farm. Looking forward to getting up there, seeing the neighbors, buying my cookies making supplies at the co-op and relaxing in front of the fire. Speaking of cookie making....I am driving to Kristin's in a couple weeks to spent a few days making cookies. Not only will I have help baking cookies, I get to play with Jaelyn. Here is a video from our visit a couple weeks ago. You'll have to excuse my choice of music. I was looking for a good beat & forgot about the lyrics. Good thing she is too young to pick up on that:-)
She loves to dance! A few of her toys play music & whenever they start playing, she starts rocking back & forth. So cute!
Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving with family & friends.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Still Hanging in There

It's been a long week. Today is the first day I've felt like myself. Steve now has a sinus headache, so we figure he's behind me by a couple days. It wasn't too hard of a decision to stay home from the farm this weekend. As much as we love to be there, driving four hours each way didn't seem like a good idea with sore throats, chills,  runny noses & sinus headaches. It has been so long since we've been sick that we forgot what it was like to get the flu. I slept as much as I could all week & Steve has been doing that this weekend. He did convince me to wake up for a while & go to Restore, a  40,000 sq. ft. building materials reuse center benefiting Habitat for Humanity on Saturday. We went looking for three doors for the inside of the barn. Didn't get lucky this time. On the way back home, we stopped at Fruitful Yield (a health food store) and ran into two women that I used to have classes with. One is the manager of the store & the other is a doctor now. It was really good to see them. I did have this feeling of sadness afterword, though. All the plans of graduating & opening up a practice up at the farm came back as I looked over the pamphlet about her practice. It is still really hard to face the fact that my dreams of being a naturopathic doctor will not be realized. If any good can come out of having PTSD, it's that my mind lets things go fairly quickly. ( I am being sarcastic.) When I think about losing such an important part of my life, I start to cry, but then other things pop into my brain. This was one of the main reasons I started to write this blog. Keeping focused is a good brain exercise for me.
Today I woke up without a sinus headache, so I felt 95% better than before. After breakfast, I went to the grocery store while Steve went down for his morning nap :-). Later this afternoon, we went to the shop & Steve finished up spraying finish on a job for tomorrow while I worked on the snowman bench pieces. That's about it. So thankful for We don't have TV, so watching Hulu was our entertainment while laying around.
I almost forgot...Steve did his deposition on Thursday. It lasted a couple hours. I stayed home & slept. No hard, probing questions. Nothing he didn't expect. He figures they are saving that for my deposition since I have more injuries.
Tonight is the blue moon. It's pretty mild temp-wise (53 degrees now)  but it will be dropping tomorrow night to 23. Thanksgiving might reach 32 degrees during the day.
 Hope everyone had a much more fun weekend than we did. What are your plans for Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Little Under the Weather

It is a cloudy, foggy fall day here. The first day it has really felt like fall to me this year.  The last few days I've had a sore throat which is now easing but congestion is making it's way up to my head. Hope this is over soon. I can't even remember the last time I was sick. It's had to have been at least 5 years ago or more. We haven't been exercising at all lately, and I think that has a lot to do with it. Steve is feeling sick now, too. I'll try to catch up with what we've been up to before the colds took hold.
Last Thursday, my friend Pat & I took the day & went resale store shopping. It was so much fun! We went to six places, five of which we had never been before. We also stopped at Little Traveler in Geneva so Pat could pick up some dishes & I found a doll for Jaelyn.  The first stop of the resale shops was Goodwill. I go there once every couple weeks to look for wool sweaters for felting but I couldn't believe what I found. It was a Fiestaware pitcher in yellow for $1.99 minus a 15% discount for Veteran's Day. It's so funny because that morning, I picked up my first Fiestaware from a lady I found selling it on Craigslist. I love the colors & want to mix & match them for our farm dishes. The pieces I got from Craigslist are pretty old. Not sure if I will use them. Maybe just display them.
Large pitcher is from Goodwill. Other pieces are from Craiglist.
At a different shop, I found a tea pot with a wooden lid and handle. It is very heavy duty, so it should hold the heat well.
I always find such nice things at garage sales, Craigslist or Goodwill. My daughter Kristin says how hard it will be for me to move away from this area because I probably won't be able to find all these great buys in Viroqua since it is a smaller town and not as affluent. That's ok. Maybe when I move up there, I'll decide to purge all my "stuff" and live a more simple, uncluttered life :-)
 Back to shopping...we stopped and ate lunch at the Moveable Feast. We've ate there before, but this is the first time I've had their Fairy Cookies. Thanks Pat for turning me on to them :-). If you are ever in Geneva, go there & try these cookies. And have a few Deeply Fudgey Brownies. After all, Oprah loves them. Just writing about those cookies, makes me want to get in my car (by the way, we bought a "new to me" Subaru Outback yesterday) and go get some. Steve should try them after all. It might make him feel better :-)
The "new" car.

We also had an appointment at our lawyer's yesterday to prepare us for the deposition tomorrow. Almost 2 1/2 years since the accident and we are finally making some progress. We were both supposed to be deposed tomorrow, but while we were there, the opposing lawyer called & said there would only be time for one of us. So Steve is going to do his. I get to sit in on it so I can see what it is like. Then I'll be more prepared for mine. Hope mine is soon. I would like to get this over with.

Last weekend we went to my daughter Kristin's to watch Jaelyn while she worked & Tim was out of town. It was so much fun! I will do a separate post about that...

We have started on Christmas presents for the kids. We are making snowman benches for their front porches along with a felted wool stocking for Jaelyn & hopefully some other things. Shane is asking for curtains and bench cushion covers for his Scamp trailer, so I will be getting measurements for that soon.

That white line is a fold mark on the pic. I will post a pic when they are done.

I really need to get busy!
In other news, my niece Trisha had her drawing for the cake plate over at her blog Roundabout. Nancy from A Rural Journal won. Congrats!
Hmmm....thinking about going to Moveable Feast to pick up some carryout & cookies...
Have a great night!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Almost Time for the Drawing

Make sure you check out my niece's blog. She is having a drawing for a beautiful cake plate when she gets 25 followers. She has 23 now...but besides that, she always has great crafty ideas, so check it out anyway :-)
In her latest post, she put some great "upcycled" gift ideas for Christmas. Either click on the link on the right side of my page or here to see them.
Here is a picture of the cake plate
Wouldn't this look great on your holiday table?
 She is doing a craft show in Geneva, IL on Saturday if you are in the area. It is sponsored by The Geneva Mother's Club and is held at the high school.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Weekend at the Farm

We had a nice weekend at the farm. Not too busy, but got a few things done. Steve went on a tour of two  area sawmills Saturday morning while I went to the co-op & then sorted through some things in the attic. After lunch we headed up to Eli & Lizzie's to drop off a couple barrels of scrap wood from the shop. Lizzie was in town at the farmer's market so I went in & talked to Lavina (one of the twins). She was working on the quilt they had started the day of the barn frolic. It is a beautiful quilt. Mostly black with a deep purple border. Very intricate stitching. They call it a "Sunday " quilt because they put it on the bed when they have church at their house to make things look nicer. They will be working on a baby quilt next. I also asked about the recipe for the pickled beets they gave us a few weeks ago. It has clove, sugar & vinegar in it. I will ask for the specific recipe again in the summer when I have some beets growing, so I can start making it then.
Eli was working on one of the wagons that was damaged in the tornado. Trying to get the cover back on & the frame straigtened up. The barn is "getting there". Still a lot of work to be done & not enough time to do it. Eli works off the farm doing construction so it leaves little time for his own projects.

For about a year, we have been talking about the kitchen plans. Here is a drawing of what the east wall will probably look like...

The plan for the east wall of the kitchen.

Steve did a little drywalling on Sunday morning. He finished the wall between the foyer & the kitchen & started working on the half wall leading into the kitchen.
This is the half wall looking into the kitchen area. In the background you can see part of the yellow scaffolding. That is the east wall.
 Since I needed to help him with some bigger sheets of drywall, I decided to stay inside and sew  instead of getting all the stakes out of the garden. I did go out & check on the garlic though. There are little sprouts poking out of the ground. So happy to see that. It was so dry after I planted that I was worried about how they would fair without rain. I guess all the straw I put on top after the initial watering worked fine.

It is getting harder & harder to leave the farm. I am so looking forward to spring.
Saturday's sunset over the woods.

Mia enjoying one of the wood stoves.

Monday, November 8, 2010

"So Long" to the Mini

After a year or more of talking about selling the Mini Cooper, we have decided to do it. With winter fast approaching, having a vehicle that sits so low has never been a good idea for Wisconsin country weather. We have a station wagon (and the work van) that we have been using (neither one of them make it up the farm driveway very well) and the Mini has been stored at the farm for a while. We brought it home this weekend to get ready to sell. It has been my vehicle to drive around since we bought it in the fall of 2005 new. Steve has always loved Mini's (esp. the old ones from the 60's), and that is why we bought it. I fell in love with it when we test drove it. The kids were never that crazy about me driving such a "mini" car and I have to say that after the accident, I never have "loved" it the same. Still, we will be sad the day it sells. What to replace it with? Hopefully, a Subaru Outback wagon. They are all wheel drive and sit up a lot higher. Same gas mileage too. We are looking for a used model, probably around 2005 or 2006. (Not the kind that looks like an SUV) We really like the two-toned green the best, like the ones below. We can't be too picky with a used car color though.

Here's the mini the day after we bought it.

So now I will start detailing it and buy a couple signs to throw in the windows. Hopefully it won't take too long. Snow is not far off...