Subtle September Blooms

I love my job. I get to wander around  amazing landscapes taking in breathtaking views of  both  forest and sea. Today I was surrounded by a subtle palette of muted late summer hydrangeas.


A lavender delight


Calm and green

Old fashioned blue



Amazing aubergine

It was a beautiful day, and a Friday to boot. Doesn’t get much better than this.


Pairing Down at SideHill Farm

Yard sale at SideHill Farm

Yard sale at SideHill Farm

One of my goals for the summer was to pare down the clutter around the farm. I have way too much stuff because of my tendency to go to the niffty thrifty and buy things that are “just my style” or “would be co cool if I just fixed it or painted it”. It’s hard for me to pass up a great deal. There is a fear of not getting something and later realizing that it was the exact thing I needed after all. Silly, I know. Fortunately, it does not cost a whole lot of money. Unfortunately, it creates clutter, because at 58 I already have plenty of stuff. On to the paring down.

I decided to have a yard sale so I gathered up things that I liked but did not necessarily love.  I also gathered things that I absolutely loved, but have not used enough to keep them around. Like a set of pretty bowls that make me smile. Ouch, even now thinking about them, I really want to keep them, but how many dishes do I really need? I encouraged the mister to gather things also, but he has more of a problem with hanging on to things then me, so he did not contribute much. With boxes of treasures gathered, I priced them with bright colored stickers and set them out on tables made of saw horses and old plywood. I went through the house and gathered more stuff. If I was going to have a sale, I was going to do it right!

When the morning of the sale arrived, I put up big signs on the side of the road and waited for the buyers to come. People like me, who can’t resist the thrill of finding that “just right” treasure. The one that they know they will need…someday. I must admit, I was not looking forward to the selling part. I am not shy or timid, but I like being with just me at home.  Now the mister is a different story. He is perfect for the selling part. He LOVES being around people and LOVES talking. Lots. Perfect. Except that he had to work. Darn. So it was all me. Surprisingly,  I had a great time. There were so many interesting people who came by.

One was a gal about my age who’s grandparents lived in this house way back when. It was fun talking about what the house was like when she visited them. There was couple heading to my favorite beach, who knew some distant cousins of mine. There was a young couple who wanted to see how my chicken coop was built and ended walking through the garden with me, tasting the sweet tomatoes and discussing the different brands of seeds planted. I don’t think they bought anything, but they went away with arms loaded with produce and an invitation to bring their kids down to get pumpkins. There were several people who wanted to know what the vines were covering our fence. I told them they were hops and showed them how to break the flowers open and smell the sweet sap. There was a neighbor lady I hadn’t met before. As she left, she told me if I ever needed anything I was welcome at her home.

When there were no people around, I sat in my lawn chair, shaded by a worn out umbrella, and read. Total bliss, because I was reading totally free from guilt and free from thoughts of other tasks needing to be done. After all, I HAD to be sitting there. It was my JOB. I could not go do projects, because I HAD to be ready when more people came. Ahhh. What a unexpected, glorious day!

The yard sale went great.  Though I didn’t get rid of everything, I did make a bit of money. Most of the leftover stuff will be boxed up and taken to the niffty thrifty.  But not the pretty dishes. Nobody bought them and the more I think about it, the more I think they belong with me. Surely I can figure out a menu that only needs serving bowls and soup bowls. OR I can start looking for plates and cups to match! Oh, that’s right. This is all about me paring down, darn.


Looking back and moving forward


This was our house a little over a year ago. It was our diamond in the rough, and the answer to our hopes and dreams. We had been renting for a long time and both of us were used to being home owners. We’d actually pretty much given up on getting something before I retired, but deep down longed for a bit of ground and a few chickens. We found our little house on the prairie and after a long, long, long not so “short sale” we were able to claim it as our own. The day the deed was recorded at the court house the “Bearded One” started on the outside and sister sandy and I started demolition on the inside.


The” Bearded One” has done an amazing job this past year. What a transformation!

We tore out walls, and completely rearranged the kitchen. I say we. I mean she.


Tore through the wall to bring the sunny part of the house into the dark living room… Notice the somewhat shocked look on the “Bearded One’s” Face


We tossed the ugly press board upper cabinets


Moved the stove and recycled the maple cabinets, and decided to turn an old buffet into an island

But I digress. My sister Sandy has been working on getting her kitchen done. She has had to completely sand the ceilings, paint and wallpaper and will even be sanding her wood floors. I have been sitting around all year with a kitchen ceiling that needed a coat of paint, the flooring replaced, and trim boards that needed to be installed. All pretty minor. It suddenly occurred to me that she was going to do a major overhaul in less time than it was taking me to putz a little. Not happening! It could be the extra energy that I’m experiencing from this ketogenic thing I’m doing but a fire has been lit. We found an amazing floor tile and “The Bearded One” began to install it box by box as our budget allowed. Once he got that done I had no excuses. I dusted off the chop saw and got busy.  The house was built in the late 90’s so had the typical faux  wood moldings around the base and trimless window casings. I really like 1920’s style craftsman  moulding, I think it makes a house feel warm and cozy.


Loving the new floor with the new mop boards.


The window looks much better now. I copied sister Sandy’s trim from her farmhouse. Simple but I think it adds a lot.


Close up of the detail


The cabinet above the stove so far

So here we are thus far. I need to give the trim another coat of paint and finish the sink base and then it’s on to another room. Thanks for the inspiration sis!


Summer’s End at Sidehill Farm

Flying South - Angela Davis

Flying South – Angela Davis

What a summer we’ve had, but it will soon be over. The flocks of geese flying overhead with their honking remind me that there is not much time left before the cold, wet weather is here. That means that all of things on our  summer to do list (who am I kidding, the mister doesn’t do lists, it is really mine) need to be done.

Little things like finish putting the screws in the deck around our hot tub, building the short bridge to the hot tub from the deck, and fixing the steps on the front porch. Big jobs like getting on a new roof and filling in all the gaps on the house that let in the cold. It would be nice to have the last big step to our barn finished. Also the retaining wall by our fire pit at least started to use up the blocks we already have for it. And of course our kitchen project.  It is coming along, but I am ready to have the messy parts over.

So, outside I go, to do the things on the list that I can take care of myself.  But  wait. First I think I will throw away that wrinkled old list and make myself a brand new one, color coded with boxes to check off and maybe a nice clip art picture to make it look good. Gee,  I wonder why my projects don’t get done!



Tea Time at Grandma’s


The girls having tea on the porch

Last week my granddaughter and grand niece came to our farm for a couple of days.  They played outside most of the time pretending to be Barbies, Pegasus’ and fairies. I set up a table with an umbrella on the deck and had lots of markers, colored pictures, glue, scissors and paper available.  The mister set up a tent by our waterfall that they could use as a fort. They kept me busy with questions about everything under the sun. On the last afternoon they picked flowers to put on a couple of my hats and chose dresses and accessories to dress up in for afternoon tea on the porch. The mister escorted them to their table and they had fun calling “madam”  (me) to come meet their every need.


sitting under the pear tree

I enjoyed them, but I must admit they wore me out!  Having them here brought back memories of my sister Rhondi and I going to Grandma and Grandpa’s farm.  Pictures of Grandma sitting on her stool peeling apples and smells of perking coffee, bacon and pancakes come to my mind.  There was always lots of paper to draw on and the barn full of loose hay to play in. We were constantly busy and I’m sure full of questions, but she never once acted like she was tired of us.


Miss Madelynn


Miss Alexis

I hope that my grandkids and grand nieces and nephews  always feel welcome at our place like I did at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s. I hope that they  don’t notice that I sometimes wish I could just sit down and not answer so many questions. I hope, like me, they just remember all the fun things they did on the farm.





An ode to the Sunflower

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow.
It’s what sunflowers do.”
~Helen Keller
I love sunflowers. They  show up towards the end of summer and remind me of the fall days ahead. Here are a few I’ve found along the way.
BusyBee copy

Busy bees on a dinner plate sized sunflower

Very tall sunflowers


Bright red ones

dramatic sunflowers

Dramatic sunflowers


A tired old sunflower I found drooping over a fence

Foggy mornings, hot afternoons, and a movie



Fall is in the air. September is right around the corner and our pumpkin, is turning into a fine specimen that will grace our front porch for the  upcoming season. The mornings have been amazingly foggy and the afternoons muggy hot. The fog reminded me of this delightful movie now available on  Netflix. I highly recommend it. If your looking for a fast paced adventure move along, this isn’t it. This is more of a cup of tea, knitting along, wistful journey for the soul.




‘Strangers in Good Company’ (PG)

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
July 13, 1991

An enchanting reverie by Canadian director Cynthia Scott, “Strangers in Good Company” sneaks up on you like your first gray hair. It’s a small, unlikely treasure featuring a cast of eight mostly elderly nonprofessional actresses. It fairly shimmers with their memories and cheers us with their resilience.

The screenplay, written by Gloria Demers with improvisation from the cast, is as unambitious as it can be. Something of an Outward Bound on Golden Pond, it sets seven great gray ladies on a journey and leaves them to fend for themselves when their sightseeing bus breaks down in rural Quebec. The robust younger driver (Michelle Sweeney) twists her ankle when she steps out to check the engine, so the frail 70- and 80-year-olds have to do the heavy lifting. [Read more…]

“Wow! What a Ride!”

A little rust along the way

I love this quote.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
― Hunter S. Thompson

Each day is a gift. Let’s try to remember to drink every drop with great abandon.


Tenino. Who would’ve thought.


Our new favorite place to be

Tenino is only about a ten minute drive from my house. It’s actually quicker for me to go to the grocery store there then to the one in Rochester which is my home address. I have gone through Tenino many, many times and though I’ve noticed a few shops on the main drag I had never stopped. That is until  Sandy and I thought we might do a little thrift shopping before we were to meet some friends for an early dinner on Saturday. We thought we’d go the back way through Yelm via Tenino. We ended up stopping at a great little place called Iron Works Home and Garden Decor. We were immediately  smitten. [Read more…]

A Bit of a Blunder


Okay so maybe not a “big blunder after all, eh sis?

On my last post I told about the big project that I was starting. I emptied out our kitchen to get ready for the work. This took all day since I have a bit of a gimp. I just took it easy and rested whenever I started to feel pain. No problem. I can pace myself. TA DA! The kitchen was empty. You don’t realize how cluttered things get until there’s nothing there. It’s kind of nice empty.

On to the next part of the project: Sanding down the ceiling. I thought it would be easy.  This is the blunder. Thinking it would be easy and quick. Actually I lied. It was not a bit of a blunder. It was a REALLY BIG BLUNDER . It was not easy at all. I had not considered that #1: I have a hurt ankle and #2: I AM 59 YEARS OLD FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE!!!  I was so frustrated. I could not do it.  Me, who  could always do anything. Me, who does not ask for help.  But now I had to ask for help  because the project had to get finished.

The mister was not real happy. HE would not have started this project now. But it is started and until the ceiling gets sanded down, the walls painted and the floor refinished we will have a hard time getting meals around here.  So here I am having to be the “helper” instead of the main do-er.  It’s a hard pill for me to swallow. But swallow it I will and I will learn how to live with this older me and enjoy the things I can do.