Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

We're staying home's all been lovely...but I'm tuckered out.
Last night was the last hurrah of the holidays, and a big hurrah it was!
Fab friends, fab food...oh my.
I stole this photo of hubby and I off of my pal Tami's blog.
Pop on over to her place to get all the lovely details...bliss!

Back on track with the wrecking bars and drywall.
Wishing you all a Happy and safe New Year...
Cheers to a New Year full of never ending projects!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from this old farm.
In this holiday season may we celebrate our blessings
and share our joy.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Somebody's Gotta Do It!

So it might as well be me.
Tough duty, I know...testing the holiday cocktails.
My new favorite?
Champagne with a healthy splash of St. Germain...oh goodness gracious, I like it.
I've always had a fondness for champagne and a new version of a champagne cocktail was offered to me by my pal Lynne, thank you my dear friend...this is definitely a are you.

Lynne added some of her hand foraged huckleberries, they literally danced in the glass! I don't know how she got them to do that but I intend to find out.

Just so you know, this champagne cocktail goes well with everything...
especially a selection of fabulous desserts.
Yes was a very good week.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Garden of De-Lights!

If you love Christmas lights as much as I do and you live in the Seattle area, the Bellevue Botanical Gardens has a display that just gets better every year.
Last night it was brrrrr cold but we bundled up and walked through the was so much fun.

This is a shot of the mixed border, every year they add something new...I can spot sunflowers, daylillies, hyacinth, tulips...the details are amazing - can you imagine the effort that goes into this?

This spider and the fly cracked me up.

This arbor was yellow wisteria, there was another one done in pretty.

This walkway leads down to a tropical garden, my photos of that area are a little sad...chilly girl = shaky camera.

Maybe someday I can have a little display in my own garden like this one...
I'll add it to the list of "stuff I wanna do".
Oh dear me...that list is getting long.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Peeling Back the Layers

While everyone else I know is decorating for Christmas...I'm demo-ing for the holidays.
The whole house is covered in a layer of plaster dust...I'm pretending it's snow, remodeling is like that...if you pretend it's really fun - then it is ;)
Oh yeah..and I haven't even started on the kitchen yet.
I'm in the office - doing demo.
Because the new kitchen plan doesn't include the washer and dryer in full view,
they have to move to the office.
The office has to move to the living room.
The office is also our dressing room - because old houses have teensy closets.
So my dresser is in the dining room, hubby's is in the living room.
Chaos...but fun chaos. I keep telling myself that.

Buckets and buckets of chaos.

Unexpected water a lake under the house - set up the pump and spray down the driveway. Funny how nobody wants to crawl under the house to move wires and pipes, a little bit of standing freezing water never hurt anybody!

Of course I have lots of helpers.
Official "plaster catcher"

Wallpaper I've never seen.
Pretty...buh bye.

Last week I was at the grocery store and I saw Caroline, she lived on this old farm before my in-laws. She told me that her kids were playing in her jewelry box one day and her wedding ring got lost., while I'm smashing and peeling and scooping up buckets of cracked plaster - I'm looking for Carolines ring.
Oh, how I want to find that ring.
I want to drive down to Caroline's house (she lives at the end of the road now), and give her back her ring, on Christmas morning.
That's the kind of stuff I dream about while I'm smashing old plaster.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

From this old farm to you...
We're thankful and blessed.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tunnel Vision, The Remodel Saga

Goodness...I didn't think that lighting would be where I would get stuck. So many choices - and I like them all!
This one is Limoges, it's one of my favorites but I don't really like the cord, it seems a bit cheapy-creepy. It seems to me that Limoges and exposed cords shouldn't go hand in hand. Yes, I'm an opinionated farmgirl indeed.

Is there light at the end of the lighting tunnel?

Don't you love this? It's a photo of my girlfriends driveway.

My posts lately have been quickies, or... um...nonexistent.
The kitchen thing is fun, but it's where all of my creative energy is going...blogging is taking a back seat for sure. I haven't been visiting other blogs much but hopefully I'll be able to click around and see what's shakin' the blogosphere soon.
I'm finally wrapping up the materials gathering phase, I haven't smashed a single thing yet. A friend advised me to make sure I have all of my decisions made and my materials chosen before I start demo, and since we'll be doing a good portion of the work ourselves it's not like I can go out shopping while the carpenters are doing the labor...this old farmgirl is the laborer. Woohooo!
The one thing I didn't have definite opinions about was lighting. Now I know's because I like it all! Well...except for that look where there are fifteen pot lights scattered all over the ceiling - not a big fan of that.
Come along...go light shopping with me..and please, opinions are most welcome!

Cool, I like this one. Oh...wait a minute - it's a whole lot like the fixture I've had in my kitchen for the last 25 years...
moving on.

Bling? In my kitchen? It could be fun, I saw something like this last year on a holiday home tour and loved it. Oh wait, I'm not a bling girl, more of a barn boots and hair out of the way kinda gal. Oh...and this one was a spendy little number.

Totally love the shape, but yikes...wayyy too shiny and bright. I like dull, well... I like dull surfaces - not dull parties or friends.

Industrial meets schoolhouse, would I get sick of it?

I like the lines, it just seems a bit heavy for the space.

This one is pretty dang cool, it looks blown glass. I sure wish the folks that make my favorite Limoge fixture would take lessons on cords from this manufacturer, this is beautifully done.

So, I think these are my choices...until I go to another lighting store, or Home Store, or junk shop.

Don't worry, it's not all work and no play around here. I finally made it to the city to take my darling niece for her 21st birthday lunch....delightful and truly lovely...oh yeah...the food was good too.

I'd love a comment or two, help me choose....because I really do like them all ;)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Five Minutes, Five Bucks

Oh yikes...the front porch was looking nasty last weekend.
Even though I live in the boonies and trick or treaters are rare, I like to be prepared. I had a giant bowl of candy ready to go but...oh yikes, the porch.
The planters were filled with summer annuals that didn't have an ounce of lovely left in them.
Ta Daaaa....
Found these mums at the garden center for $4.99 and plunked the whole thing into the planter, garden center pot and all.
Why on earth do I wait so long to do this?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sink, Sunk, Sank

Shopping and researching sinks.
Thanks goodness for cousin Mary, the girl is a fountain of information. She told me about Houzer sinks and I just got off the website....after running around all day yesterday and not coming up with a single thing - here we go.
The whole sink thing has been a bit confusing for me. I think I know what I don't want - but I'm not sure what I do want.
The groovy new kitchen will have two sinks! After having a washer and dryer in the kitchen for almost thirty years I'm getting ritzy. Since the water pipes are already in the wall on that side of the kitchen I figured I should take advantage of the situation and have a designated clean-up zone.
So...I like this one.
Does anybody have any advice for me? I hand wash my wine glasses and delicate china and crystal...thought the built-in drainboard was a cool feature.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spring Bulb Reminder

Since I have kitchen remodeling stuff on the brain the garden is pretty much on the back burner. I hadn't even thought about buying tulip or daffodil bulbs this year...until I started looking at the pictures from the garden tours we went on this year.
Uh oh...I gotta go!
I neeeeeed some of these.
Allium giganteum...they make me crazy.
Now I just have to decide where to plant them.

Doesn't this make you want to plant some too?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Time to DIY

The never-ending saga of the kitchen remodel...continues.

There is a little part of me that would like to have a section of my kitchen counter done in wood...not butcher block but face grain.
I've been doing a lot of online research and surfing through my kitchen books, boy have I seen some beauties...
Love the look!
I went to see a few people, talked about the pros and a rough idea on pricing from one guy - a thousand bucks for ten feet of kitchen counter.
Until today...when another guy called back with his bid,
drum roll please....
$2230.00 for a ten foot counter, no back splash... a hole cut for an under mount sink.
I think it's time to do a little more research, and perhaps it's time for this old farmgirl to get out her power tools.

I found this.
My recycle maniac is shifting into high gear.
Old maple gym flooring in 4' x 12' sections.
$108 bucks in materials...
plus some elbow grease and sandpaper...maybe a little molding, some tung oil.
If I hate it I'm sure I can find a home for it around here someplace.

Maybe I can sell it to some fool for two thousand bucks...

***materials the flooring for 30 bucks!!!
Yippieeee ;)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Well Helloooo There...

Wanna come live at my house?
How do you feel about living on a farm?
We promise to be nice to you.
We'll let you hang out with our friends in the kitchen,
you'll get to be a big part of every party.'s gonna be fun.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dead Salmon on the Wall?

My little vice is magazines...always has been. Last week I was cruising through a shelter mag and I saw an article on paint colors. Oh dear, I found a color that I really liked...Farrow and Ball "Dead Salmon".
What the ????
No way.
Sorry Farrow and Ball.
I just can't.
Paint names matter to me, call me a sissy-girl.
My house is Edelweiss with Stonewall trim.
The studio is Sunshine, office / Buckskin, cabin cupboards / Heartsmere, dining room / Providence Olive...I gotta love the name to buy the paint.
Even though I love the color...I just can't smear dead salmon on my walls.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Turn Back the Calendar!

That's right...turn it back.
Back to June...I want a do-over.
Not because it wasn't right the first time, but because it was so sweet -
great weather,
great houseguests,
fun parties,
things got DONE!
The garden...oh the garden - the best year ever. The freezer is filling up fast with organic fruits and I'll pick-shuck-blanch-cut-freeze another 50 ears of corn. I think that will get me close to the 200 mark, 200+ ears of corn, beans, raspberries, squash and goal this year was to focus on not letting my garden produce get away from me and go to waste - it happens too often.
My only garden regret is rhubarb, I didn't get one single stalk into the freezer, oh well...there is always next spring.
And speaking of next spring...maybe we could just turn the calendar FORWARD!
The kitchen remodel is freaking me out, can't turn the calendar back on that one, the cabinets have been ordered and should be finished pretty soon. Yiiiikes.
I've been in the garden, hiding from the decision making process.
I haven't started demo,
I haven't decided on countertop.
Hey...I have an idea ;) pick.
Hubby and my BIL picked the exact same one - I think it's too busy.
What say you?

While you're making up your mind I think I'll go make a giant batch of applesauce and put it in the freezer.
Happy choosing!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Making Marinara

There are a whole lot of cherry tomatoes in my garden. This year I'm trying really hard not to waste any of my garden produce. The tomato plants I bought this year were miss-marked so I ended up with four cherry tomato plants, two golden and two red...hubby doesn't really care for tomatoes and the yield of four plants is a bit much for just lil' ol me.
I decided to try to make marinara, what the heck...never done it before - thought I'd give it a whirl. I'm two batches in, the first one was a little bitter, the second is a bit too sweet...this weekend I should have more ripe tomatoes so I think the third batch should be just right...sounds a little bit "Three Bears" doesn't it?

I looked online for marinara recipes that I could freeze, I combined three different ones and thought I'd post the recipe just in case there is anyone else out there with a garden full of tomatoes and a little bit of time to putter in the kitchen.

This Old Farm Marinara
10 cups cherry tomatoes, a mix of gold and red
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup dried parsley flakes
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 bay leaves

Heat the olive oil in a large pan, I use an 8 qt Belgique...add the onions and saute for about five minutes, add the garlic and saute for another 4-5 minutes.
While you saute the onions and garlic, put the washed uncooked tomatoes into a blender in batches - blend on medium speed for a minute. When you have blended all of your tomatoes strain out the seeds with a piece of cheesecloth. Add the blended tomatoes to the sauteed onions and garlic, add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for a couple of hours, stirring every fifteen minutes or so - just make sure it doesn't scorch. I simmered mine for about three hours because I wanted to reduce it a bit to make a thicker sauce.
Cool and freeze!
In a couple of weeks my spaghetti squash should be ready ;)
Spahgetti squash, homemade marinara and fresh parmesan.

****If I was using regular size tomatoes I would have peeled and seeded the tomatoes, a ridiculous task with cherry tomatoes. The first batch of marinara I made I just quartered the tomatoes and threw them in the pot...the seeds in the sauce made it quite bitter - there is a remarkable difference in taste when you strain out the seeds... do it, it's worth the little bit of effort it takes.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Home Again

This little birdie had lunch with us on Catalina Island. My goodness...such a charming island, I found another fantasy place where I would like to live someday...guess I better get busy and buy lottery tickets.

All six little birdies in the family are home safe from a wonderful vacation.
I'd never been on a cruise, never had a strong desire to go on one...but now I understand why some people are so fond of them. A cruise ship is a little crowded for this farm girl, but our service was fantastic...the staff on the ship was charming and attentive.

I haven't unpacked, haven't started the laundry...but I've spent several hours in my garden, I've made two batches of marinara with my home grown tomatoes, garlic, onions and herbs.
Nothing helps me settle back in like playing in the dirt and stirring up something in the kitchen.

Now...about that laundry.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

How Grandma Stimulated the Economy

Here's where I'm going tomorrow night.

And here's where I'm going on back on Saturday.

Mom gave us kids a money gift last Christmas. I asked my baby sister what she was going to do with hers and she said she wanted to go on a cheap four day cruise with mom. I told her that sounded like fun to me...count me in!
We took our Christmas money and bought tickets for a cruise.
Then we needed to find air fare to San Diego.
Of course we all needed to buy a few new things to wear, ya know a girl has to dress up for dinner on those cruises....don't forget accessories...and cute shoes!
Maybe a new bra for that cocktail dress that dips a bit too low in the front.
Sunblock...4,8,15 & 30.
Sunglasses, readers for hanging out by the pool and reading a book.
Spanks...duh...remember that cocktail dress? Mandatory.
Maybe some new flip-flops.
Tank tops are on sale right now!
Does my sundress look too shabby? Oh look...there's one on sale.
Assorted toiletries in those oh-so-handy travel sizes...keeps the weight down on the luggage - I'm all over lightening the load when I don't have hubby with me.
Of course we can't fly down there and get on and off the boat and then fly back! We have to add a day at the beginning of the trip and at the end...wouldn't want to rush too much ;)

So...multiply these purchases by six. Mom, me, baby sister, middle sister, sister-in-law and darling niece.

That's how grandma stimulated the economy!


I know the stories will all be worth that big Visa bill next month.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I know I'm not the only one

It's a little out of control.
Just a little.
It's not something that bothers me, or my husband.
But I know it's a little over the top.
I've heard it tagged a few different ways.
A friend openly calls herself a dish wh*re.
I'm right there with her.
It's time to clear out the kitchen and dining room to get ready for the big smash-up in the they call it.
I started with the stemware. There's a lot of it, I'm just moving it out to a cabinet in the party barn so it's safe and easy to get to if I want a champagne flute while I'm sweeping up sawdust, plastic cups just don't do it for me...especially with champagne.
I giggle when I go out to the party barn and see all of the stems lined up.
Looks like we should have a party...pick a glass and we can make a beverage to coordinate with the stemware.

Moving on to dishes...and china...and teacups.
Guess there should be a tea party too...
And maybe a girls coffee time.

It can't be all's not like there's a twelve step program for it or anything.

Is there?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Surfing for Surfaces

So...I've finally tweaked the kitchen cabinet design for the last time - they're ordered! Yikes.
New dishwasher and fridge - chosen and ordered.
Next up?
Floors and counters...
Plain Jane, practical and economical farm girl that I am ...I'm seriously leaning toward Formica.
I don't drive a foreign car, don't have any fancy high heels like Manolo's or Jimmy Choos...never has a fancy handbag caught my fancy.
Since I've never done this before I'm trying to challenge my own thought process. Will I be sorry I didn't take the big leap and go for the granite?

I'd love some advice, Formica? Granite? Tile? Composite?

Next week...flooring...oh, I'm going to miss my curling 70's linoleum...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Party's Over

Oh...I suppose.
That's as good a blog title as any.
It was an unintentional month long blogging break....I guess we could also call it
*And she lived to tell about it!
*Are you still here?
Fifty ways to hit fifty.'s true. This old gal at this old farm hit the big five-oh, and it didn't hurt even a teensy bit.
Somewhere in that month I
got a job
quit that job
got rehired
quit again
had some wonderful house guests
had a not-party birthday celebration
went to a few outdoor concerts with fabulous friends
got invited to some really great parties
nailed down the design for the kitchen remodel
freaked out about kitchen remodel costs
moved the fridge to discover rotting floor
decided kitchen remodel isn't optional, it's mandatory...
unless I wanna fall through the floor

I was a whirlwind month, several times I tried to sit down and blog...but the words
just didn't flow...yup...the girl who can hardly talk today because she wore out her voice last week can't pull together enough words to write a paragraph or two.
Odd..I know.

So, if I find more words I'll be back..if not...I'll pop in now and then and read what the rest of you are doing out there in blogger land.

I'm off to the lumberyard and then it's time to sit down and plan the kitchen demolition...
I just love the feel of a properly balanced wrecking bar ;)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Boursin, Boating and Best Buddies

Ahhh...summer. I love it...but there are days when I wish I could hit the "pause" button. The garden is growing like crazy, I made a few batches of raspberry jam, the peas are about done for...pretty soon we should have beans coming out of our ears.
There is more than enough work here on the farm to keep me busy every day, oh yeah...and then there is that j.o.b.! Hokey pokeys kids my head's a-spinnin!
Lest you think it's all work and no play around here I must confess that I had an incredible 7 hour lunch with dear old friends on Monday aboard my friend Sheryl's boat. We didn't go anywhere, which was just fine with the girls.
posted this week all about the day so if you want to see a few more fun pics pop on on over to visit her... but right now I think I had better get this recipe posted..pronto!

Tami and the end of a really fun day.

Now for the recipe that I promised Tam I would post...

For my contribution to the luncheon I made a trio of spreads, a Boursin...a Shrimp Paste/Pate, and Red Onion Marmalade.
I really like the Boursin that you can get in the cheese section of the grocery store, although it's rather expensive. This tastes almost exactly the same and I think I prefer the consistency of this one.
This one's for you Tam!

Boursin Cheese Spread

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon pressed garlic
1/4 teaspoon dried dillweed
1/8 teaspoon thyme
Cracked black pepper

Whip the cream cheese and the butter with an electric mixer until it's fluffy, add the remaining ingredients and whip until blended. Chill, covered, until ready to use.
I made it the night before to give the flavors a chance to blend. I served it with rice crackers and a loaf of crusty garlic sourdough bread.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Berry Breath

The mystery has been solved.
There isn't a fence around the garden so we have to share.
The bunnies got all the basil...I was cranky but got over it.
I've been stalking slugs so that they don't cut down my beans again, I had to replant because of those slimy creatures.
The raspberries aren't netted so we lose quite a few of them to birds, but birds don't usually go for berries at the lower end of the bush...we just couldn't figure it out.
But then we caught this little dear out in the raspberries, snacking away. sweet little Bergie has berry breath, guess I should offer her a bowl and some ice cream.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Little Party for One

My apologies.
I know I said I would post garden party recipes.
They're going to have to about some pretty flowers and a little update on this groovy thing called life.'s been fun.
My little fairytale life here on the farm. For two lovely years I've been unemployed, happily. There hasn't been one day of boredom. So many things to do here on the farm, from gardening, to painting, to dreaming and planning my next project. I've spent time at the library, learned about solar power for the cabin, I've framed walls, hung drywall, built rock walls and even built a cocktail bar in the barn.

Fast forward to a lousy economy, dairy farming is in a world of hurt right now - we don't milk our own cows anymore but hubby is a herdsman for another farm and things are more than a little unpleasant in the dairy economy.
I haven't been blogging much, I've been getting things in order and oh yes...searching for a job.
I finally got the start at 2, going to fill out the new employee paperwork.
Tomorrow it's eight to five.
Thanks to my fabulous friends and former employers for those glowing references.
Gotta get my game on so I don't make liars out of you guys.
Oh yeah... and a big thank you to my new employer, for taking a bit of a chance on an (almost) fifty year old woman with skills that are a little rusty.
Signing off now -
Gotta go find something to wear - don't think jeans and a tool belt are going to work for this one.

One more thing. Tami did a lovely post today on Saturday nights dinner here at this old farm, pop on over there and take a peek!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Favorite Evening

I'm exhausted...but it was all worth it.
Last night was one of my favorite evenings of the whole year, it was our annual progressive dinner / garden party.
When I get overwhelmed with how much time and energy my yard and garden's all worth it when I can go out with a clippers and a bucket of water and pull together an arrangement for a party. Yesterday I grabbed a couple of slips of scrap paper leftover from making my menus for the party...and ta daaa...the arrangement came together in no time flat - there is just so much to "pick from" here at the farm.
The really great part was that the arrangement perfectly picked up the colors of the drinks I served, sangria with slices of orange and lemons.
The funny thing is I was trying to pull out the colors of the menu and table settings, such a happy coincidence that I ended up with a drinkie matchy matchy, wish I could say I planned it that way ;)

Here is a little peek at the menus from each home...oh goodness gracious it was all so good - there are no words.

The menu for main course here at the farm.

Tami's menu for the appetizer course.

and Karen's menu for the dessert course.

I'm going to try to post recipes later on this week, Tami made a special request for a couple of them and I'm happy to share.

Good food, good friends...good times.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Messies

Dark cabinets...

Or light painted cabinets.

I love the cream colored kitchen...hubby likes it too.
But I think we have to go with a wood stained cabinet look.
I found these pictures online cruising real estate listings...these condos have the same layout but different color schemes.
The layout is quite similar to the layout of the kitchen upgrade we need to do here at the farm. When I look at the two photos side by side I really prefer the cream colored cabinets.
But I don't think I can have them, it's just not practical.

We're messy... plain and simple. Call us Mr. and Mrs. McMessie.
Hubby farms, he's dirty. I garden...I'm dirty.
We eat almost all of our meals at home. I cook a lot, and I don't mean popping something out of a cardboard box and shoving it into the microwave.
I chop, slice, dice, saute, fry, bake, and kitchen gets a serious workout. That means splatters and spills, hubby opens cabinets with sticky fingers and no amount of whining from his lovely wifey will change this behavior.
So...I think dark cabinets are our only option - to hide some of those splatters and sticky finger smears until they get cleaned up by yours truly.
If anybody has any advice for me on kitchen remodels I'd be more than happy to hear it, all I know how to do is dream about a new kitchen...never really done more than that.

For my irl friends, looks like it's going to happen.
I'm getting that kitchen upgrade that this old farmhouse is sorely in need of.
Guess we better plan a little farewell party for those nasty 60's cabinets and the lovely 70's linoleum.
Maybe it should be a demolition party.
Champagne and crowbars ...
I just love a good theme party.