Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wowie! You won't believe this. You just won't.

On our way home from the county fair, we found this chandelier on the curb! Well, I spied it and Tom was surprised that he totally missed it. Usually he's the one who spies curb finds with radar eyes.

Anyway, can you believe it? It's very heavy, made in Spain and perhaps around 30 - 40 years old (Tom guesses because of the wiring). One of the little dish things with its light is broken off at the base (we'll just face that part toward a wall. heh), but otherwise it looks fine.

For now, though, I will have to carry the whole thing up our (rickety) barn steps and place it upstairs in the loft, for that's the absolutely only place we have for it.

Hmmm... wouldn't it be nifty to someday have that whole barn floor up there filled with old treasures for our guests to poke through? Not junk--no!--but nice finds like this chandelier, ones which feel as though they dropped down from Heaven, itself.

And well, perhaps that's just where this chandelier fell from, crystals and all.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Just A Peek...

... of a corner of our guest room upstairs. I'm going for the shabby chic look, I think. (Hey, I heard that groan.) :)

And here's the other side of the room and what I've had to work with (against?). Anyone wonder why I haven't shown you this room sooner? Heh.

But seriously, it's a Good Thing to share the bad, too, with the good, lest everyone think our lives are running more smoothly/ without glitches than they are in reality. There's a type of dishonesty and unreality in that (she reminds herself often....because she forgets often...)...

Wednesday a.m.... And here is the tweaked version, below :)

Click photos to enlarge.

Still here down on the farm!

You can tell when Tom takes time off from his job. How? By my absence from this blog. The guy is so distracting and he hogs the computer a lot, too. :)

We're accomplishing some things on this two-week working vacation. In fact, Grace led me upstairs to the brown, cave-like walls of the guest room and I painted two of those walls, white. I keep my clothes in the closet of that room and I'd begun dreading dressing up there inside that dust-covered darkness. It's hot working up there. It's taking longer than I thought. But Grace is up there with me holding up my paintbrush hand, keeping me painting when I'd otherwise quit if I was working alone.

What a difference some paint makes! And in the past, I've been known to (secretly) criticize people for resorting to white walls. "Fraidy-cats of color," I'd say. But lately I've admired gorgeous white rooms in magazines, and well, white just seems to fit up in our guest room. Just one more lesson to watch what I say-- to realize I'm still changing. Never say never, and all that... to not, unknowingly, make myself a liar. Or a hypocrite.

Our county fair starts tomorrow! Years past during our visits to the fair I've caught myself, well, mostly yearning. Yearning through the goat and chicken and bunny exhibits. Yearning in the garden produce building. Yearning while watching kids on horses in the ring. Yearning for the whole Country Life Thing.

But this year? This year I will feel a downright kinship. Accepted. Part of all those country folk. And extremely, extremely grateful.


The first photo and this one, above, are from the back of our lot. Does anyone know what these are called? The flowers are actually a more intense shade in-person. At first, they were a bright pink.

And for the final time this year, the hydrangea bush. :)

I appreciate your congratulatory comments and emails so much! They make me want to continue another four years....

Friday, July 25, 2008

Happy Blogiversary to Me

Four whole years of blogging as of today! Who would have thought...?
This morning, Tom and I drove to one of our area's amazing estate sales, the type where you feel you're stepping through history, rather than a family's home. It must have been 140 years old, filled with simple (inexpensive) furnishings and there was even a huge original oak ice box on the back porch, 50-year-old wallpaper in the living room and ancient farm tools in the decrepit red barn.
Happy sigh... Would have been perfect if we'd been allowed to wander around upstairs. Oh well.
Anyway, I found the above sign there (click to enlarge) for just $1. Couldn't pass it up, of course, for it says, "Welcome to Our Country Home."
From one country home to another--I have so many pieces of lives and families here inside my own walls. There's just something cozy, redemptive and unifying about that. I'm carrying on traditions, of sorts, for those women, homemakers mostly, who have gone on ahead...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

See what Tom and I found on the curb today? Poor things must have been hanging in a covered patio because they were bone dry--and we've had gobs of rain this week. So I brought them home and soaked them, sat them in the rain and then in the sun (when the clouds finally blew away).

Already they are looking happier than they did while sitting on top of two trash cans. :)

And here's another 'photo progress report' of our hydrangeas.

Did anyone else watch Super Nanny last night? I felt so sorry for the oldest daughter (being an oldest daughter, myself). The detachment of the mom was scary, but I could understand parts of it, having had a daughter who's visited all stages of growth, myself. I asked God for compassion for the mom for the parts which made me want to, well, scream.

And of course, I reminded myself I've never had six children, never will, so I zipped my lip and just watched the show and tried to stay calm. And then prayed that things have continued to improve to this day with that family. (And of course, praying a special blessing over Nanny Jo who is amazing and faithful to do exactly what's she's called to do in this life.)

For after all, praying gets way, way better results than judging, complaining and yelling at the tv.

Lately when other people--or I--start sentences with, "In myyyy opinion...........," I cringe. If I say those words myself, I sometimes stop before adding onto them. If I fail to stop myself, nearly always I later regret whatever words I added. My goal is no longer to share my opinion, but truth, instead. Not truth as I see it, either. No, just plain truth-truth. And that, I'm noticing, requires much silence before speaking any words at all.

"Be slow to speak, quick to hear...." from James 1

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A corner of our dining room. Probably I will paint the post, white.

One of the original downstairs doors.

One of the original doorknobs.

All along I've been telling Tom that, most likely, poor farmers have lived in this house for nearly 130 years. I've said that because so few changes have been made to the rooms and barn. Then yesterday I found this quote in a house restoration book and said, "Yes! That's what I'm talking about." :

"Lack of money is often the best preserver of buildings..."

In our case, in our farmhouse, lack of money has been a Good Thing. Mostly. It means all the less for us to tear out and do over.

So just photos for now... The kitchen is calling me to paint another wall, and too, Tom and I are driving into our old town this afternoon for appointments and errands. Busy, busy...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I love your comments!

And I love learning from them. In fact, Kristi's comment was both enlightening at face value and other values as well. Here it is, in part:

"Do, do, rest! Not only are you doing all this unaccustomed work, but EVERYTHING you are seeing and thinking about is NEW. This is tiring. Your mind/brain needs down time to process it..."

Wow. That stuck to me like these pesky mosquitoes here on the farm. :)

There are so many different things filling my head out here. No wonder I often forget stuff, like where I placed important papers, the day of the week or when was the last time I changed the litter box. No wonder I can't seem to keep up with the cooking or the unpacking or the decorating or---

And no wonder Tom and I have been disagreeing a whole heck of a lot, too.

I mean, the past few years Tom and I have gotten along amazingly well. But hey! Probably that's because we'd wandered into such a well-worn, boring rut where we had every step memorized. Big surprise there--we'd taken those same ol', same ol' Life steps a kazillion times over. You'd have to be a moron not to have memorized the way.

But here in farmland! New decisions must be made every single day and whoa... our personality differences are gleaming through. They're waging a battle. Whose decision will be the chosen one? Whose decision is the wisest/most cost-efficient/most sensible one? (And where's all that money gonna come from??)

Man, we might as well be newlyweds, what with all the learning to live together in this new place. Though, ok, it's not as rough as when we were kids who got married young. We've grown-up a tad since then (I enjoy believing, anyway).

And perhaps portions of the problem stem from Tom's being left-handed and my being right-handed and this land's being a very physical place. You should see us try to lift and move furniture (or anything) around together. He grips it one way, I grip it another... he heads off in one direction, I head in the other.....

Well, sometimes whole days have felt like that.

But all this bickering is beginning to make major sense. We're fresh outside of our boringly safe, memorized rut! And out of that zombie mode, where you don't even really think, you just react like you always did before. But here--here--we must think clearly and we must think ahead, one reason being we don't wish to undo next year what we built (and paid for) this year.

And simultaneously, this new life is better, though tougher. This life is richer and more peaceful, though way more challenging. Some days are rougher than ever, some days are even more amazing than we dreamed when buying this place.

Yet thank-goodness--somewhere in our old rut we did learn to apologize quicker.... to crave peace and unity over being right... and to give in to the other person at least some of the time.

Thank God. Thank Heaven. For growing-up. For wisdom. For a whole lot of things.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Oh. My. Goodness.

Our new windows arrived today! The upstairs windows are all installed and I can't even describe the difference between 100-year-old rickety, chipped, dirty brown-painted windows and brand new gleaming white ones. In fact, I don't even want to hang the curtains back up. Who needs curtains anyway? :)

That's how amazing these windows are... (as I sit here surrounded by workmen, heaped-together furniture, loud machines and big holes in our bay window where windows will soon go).

Just wanted to let you know about this latest enormous beyond-belief blessing.... How wonderful to have windows which close all the way.... ones which don't have to be yanked, heaved and propped open with sticks... ones you don't have to get down on your knees to open (the upstairs ones were like that)... ones which don't crash down with a bang or open with a piercing shreeek.

Later in the day....

Here's a close-up of the valance I made for the kitchen window. Reminds me of stained glass when I glance up there.

And a close-up of the baking pantry valance, though I stimply could not get the lighting right. sigh. As with all my photos they look better in-person. Oh, and I just used my collection of close-out dinner linen napkins to make these. No sewing!

God is good... (but then, He was good even when we still had junky old windows).

Oh, and has anyone seen the movie, Under the Piano? Tom and I Netflixed it and enjoyed it much, though he kept getting wildly mad at the mother. :) Megan Follows, as an autistic sevant, was amazing, but then, isn't she always?
P.S. It would be a miracle if you noticed, but the screen on the kitchen window is too short. The only mistake in the whole bunch--it's been reordered. Turns out this present one will be an extra for an upstairs window in case (heaven forbid) something should happen later.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tuesday and Wednesday are, well, mostly blurs. I was so tired! Sleepy, actually, and I kept snatching naps and falling asleep at 7:15 p.m... and not getting much accomplished. In fact, last night after Tom left for work I did the laundry, but rather than take it upstairs to hang on our dryer rack, I wearily dumped the wet stuff in my wicker basket, hauled it up to the kitchen table--then let it sit there. All night. I didn't care.

For those two days I felt like I usually do upon the departure of guests who've stayed seven or more days. As though a train hit me. Yes, I was that T-I-R-E-D.

And at first, equally frustrated. I mean, how about my eternal To Do List? What about painting and wallpapering the whole rest of the house? What about the huge weed patch at the end of my garden which must be suffocated with tarps and cardboard and dirt and stuff?

On Tuesday I kept complaining to myself and God and Tom about my tiredness. But by Wednesday I began to get a clue. Not only was my body crying, "For Pete's Sake! You've been working harder than you have in years. Lay down!" But the Holy Spirit was saying the same thing.

In fact, yesterday I watched a couple minutes of Oprah and what did her female doctor guest say during those two minutes? She said, "Sometimes you just need to sleep 12 or even 15 hours. Sometimes that's exactly what your body needs, especially after a time of busyness or a big project."

I love confirmation, especially when it's so in your face obvious like that.

I try always to stay open to confirmation--and it's everywhere. Yet, it's up to me to stay aware--and awake--to it when it crosses my path. It's up to me to always be listening.

And today? Today I feel marvelous. I even walked the mile-and-a-quarter to the town library in the muggy heat, stopping on the way home at the Malt Shoppe with it's 50's and 60's music and a BLT and a coke.

I needed that. To get out and away from this place, even though it's pretty dreamy here. But just as much, I needed those two days of rest. They were ordained by God and woe unto me if I fight against days like those and condemn myself for being lazy, when in reality, it was obedience. What matters is that I follow Grace--even if it means following her to the couch for a long afternoon nap.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Isn't this cute? We have lots of scrap wood inside our barn so Tom made this bench for me right after I told him I needed one. He's a sweetie. He told me to paint it soon or else it will crumble, but I prefer its natural appearance. Maybe I can find some clear finish stuff around this place.

I've never told you outright that Tom is not a yard person--never has been. So guess whose responsibility it is to care for these 3.8 acres? Yes, mine.

Now, before you hyperventilate and ask, "What were you thinking?", let me add something quickly... Tom may not be a yard person, but he is a tractor person. All these 30 years I've watched him drool over various forms of hauling equipment and he's ridden certain types at his workplace and come home exclaiming how much he enjoyed it.

So. Tom is longing for a tractor and when he gets one he'll help me mow the lawn. But alas, that will have to be next year because--barring finding a free tractor on the curb--we simply can't afford one this year. But it's on the list for next year--trust me. Right there at the top.

Now, before you comment that 'riding mowers' are lots cheaper than small tractors, let me save you the time. Tom won't even consider a riding mower. No. Nope. No way. They don't have enough power nor enough attachments.

The guy wants all the attachments. Says we neeeeeed all those attachments on this place. And well, you know men once they've made up their minds...

But my point is this. Tom may not be a yard person, but I am. And I may not be the bread-winner type, but he is. And I am not a phone person, but he doesn't mind making Life's important calls. And he's not the homemaker-type, but I am ... I would dread taking our car into the shop for maintenance, yet he doesn't mind at all...

... he can make a bench and I can't.

I think with any couple there's always a balance, but oh my... Unless both people are willing to search for the balance, submit to it and faithfully keep it going, well, then there will be trouble.

My favorite couples are those who accept each others strengths and weaknesses and live in harmony. They are a joy to watch and spend time with... and to learn from.

So did you spy my sun tea jar in the garden? In a previous post I told you that sun tea is great for plants, especially for shade plants, so that's the jar I use. Even has cows on it... how appropriate for us here in Farmville.

Oh and I should add this... Two of our neighbors with riding mowers have been helping me keep our side lawns mowed. What a blessing, indeed. I used to mow Nancy's lawn nextdoor to our old house for lots of years so perhaps I'm reaping from that. I'm a great believer in the sowing and reaping thing... so who (besides God) knows for sure?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I told you there was nothing like a country morning and well, there's nothing like a country afternoon, either.

That countryside silence! A yellow, warm type of Quiet surrounded by the flittings of birds and butterflies and bees. I was just out there pitching more hay and thinking of you who have written that you're enjoying my adventure. Trust me, I'd love each of you to be here with rake in hand beside me...

Above, I'm showing you the (sorry, warped) side of our barn again because I've forgotten to share our plans with you, plans which--hopefully--will come to fruition in August. The wall will be torn off, then we'll have smaller "arbor windows" (the push-out kinds, with grids) across the top, then another lean-to will be built to match the one on the opposite side. Except that this new one will be enclosed on the outside (open to the barn inside) to become a garage and it will have French doors on the side which will open to a curvy white concrete patio.

I hope you can picture that (in spite of my architectural descriptions). In fact, even before Tom told me about the new lean-to part, I kept picturing a patio out there like one you'd see around a swimming pool, just minus the pool. Amazingly? Tom said he'd been picturing that, too, all along, which is saying something because we're usually not on the same page concerning the barn (insert scenes of us butting heads like goats here).

But here's what Tom didn't picture all along (probably because he is sane...heh).... You know the movie, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House? And d0 you know how, in the final scene, Cary Grant and Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas are lounging in their back yard with drinks and snacks and just relaxing? Well, I keep picturing 1940's folks like them sitting on our (imaginary) patio lounging just the same way. I stand at our kitchen window and delight in imagining them all out there in their 40's clothing, laughing and staring up at the trees while drinking tall glasses of lemonade.

But then, who amongst us old-fashioned souls wouldn't have fun imagining Cary Grant and Myrna Loy in their backyard? :)

Like I said, I'm enjoying this....

... and learning as I go and from my own mistakes. Reading from my two favorite gardening books (Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots.... and... Panty Hose, Hot Peppers, Tea Bags and More for the Garden), then skipping outside to try what I've just read. Farming by the book... wouldn't our neighbors hoot at that?

Oh, not all of this is one grand party. Uh, no. There's been stress in deciding what we should do first... and in dealing with the ^&%$ insurance company (we wonder what our insurance agent gets paid to do because it seems Tom is doing all the work regarding the car accident...)... and I still---six weeks later--have driven up town just once by myself--and now only Tom is signed-up to drive the rental car (and often it's too sizzling to walk far). So I don't get out much.

Yet I remind myself to think upon what is going right--and there's much more of that, anyway. Almost always in anyone's life there's much more of that.


"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things..." Philippians 4:8

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The past three days I've done something for the first time in all my 49 years. See that opened door at the top of the barn? Well, I've been pitching hay from there. Can you imagine? Right on down to my wheelbarrow (one of the niftiest inventions ever, by the way).

I'm using the hay for this:
If , two years ago, you would have said, "Debra, soon you will be pitching hay from a barn loft," well, I would have (unfortunately) laughed at you. The lesson? Never assume your life will always be the way it is now. God is very into variety, creativity, movement, flow, change, growth and living.

So never say never.... For you never know. :)

We've owned this house for six weeks yet not until yesterday did I step into Bunny Meadow (so named for the Bunny family frolicking out there.)
I don't blame them--what a peaceful place! The grass is sweeter out here and grows more slowly and the cutest, tiny fuchsia wild flowers grow here, along with white and yellow flowers, too (I tried not to mow them all down). I'm tempted to put our someday-screened-gazebo out here instead of in the back meadow. Hmm... We'll see.

Remember how I wanted more bird feeders? Well, I think we have enough now.
This one was here at the house already.

Our realtor gave us this yellow finch bird feeder as a housewarming gift.
A woman at a yard sale gave this to us for free this week.
This was $1 at a yard sale.

Plus, there are the three I made from candle holders which I already showed you. That's enough. I love it when Tom and I can stop searching for certain items for this new life, cross them off our list and move on...

Knowing when enough is enough is important because we are only given Grace to care for the things God means for us to have. Well, that's what I've found, anyway.

Everyone tells us our hydrangea bush will be gorgeous when it's in full-bloom.
The flowers are deeper purple in real-life.

And remember the 'so far' photo of our front porch? Well, it's changed again. I'd been wanting to make it a sleeping porch, so I did.

We bought a bed and I painted it yesterday morning, then rearranged this room. Usually you don't need a lot of money to go after what you want--you just need a lot of imagination.

My mom will be staying with us for the month of October so now we have a place for her to stay -- or for me to stay if she would prefer our bedroom (Tom can have the recliner which he likes to sleep in, anyway, and we have those pocket doors to make the living room private). But whatever, I do not want my mom climbing up and down those steps I showed you to the guest room I'll be making up there. That guestroom will be for our spry-er, er, less-vintage guests.

This whole 'free bed-and-breakfast' thing keeps returning to me. I tell our city friends, "If you ever need a place to get away from it all, please come out here and stay. Anytime." It's important to me to provide a resting place for the weary. I remember how many years I longed for such a place... a place, especially to experience morning in the country.

And now I know for certain, from experience--there is nothing in all of Life and this world like an early country morning...

..and I want to share that with everyone.

Friday, July 11, 2008

So yesterday, friends of ours from the city came out to see our tiny farm and they "got it!" They understood completely why we've moved our belongings and our lives out to the boonies. In fact, the husband said he'd told his wife upon first hearing the news something like, "Finally! In my mind I've always seen Tom and Debra living on a farm."

How sweet are kindred spirits.

We took them out to the old-fashioned malt shoppe for an early dinner, checked out the Thursday night auction items (just viewed them), then they left for home. A wonderful time was had by all.

But afterward... hmmm... Tom and I walked over to our neighbors' house and they showed us their gorgeous backyard which they've been working on, for like, more than twenty years. Garden beds everywhere... trellises... arbors... beautiful, tall flowers, a fountain-type waterfall, a deck, two raised gardens, a patio. All perfectly placed and arranged. She is a master gardener and he's a hard working man who once created the whole stone patio and waterfall for her during a few days she was away.

Me? I felt like such a greenie. A newbie to gardening life, even though I've gardened upon city lots for 25 years. And well, I don't think this woman has trusted me ever since, last week, she introduced herself and then pointed to my garden and said "Your tomato plant cages are standing upside down."

Sigh. She must think I'm a moron, but like I told her, I've grown tomatoes tons of years but I've always staked them, never caged them. The cages were here beside the barn so I decided to use them. (And truth be told, I preferred their appearance when they were upside down, but of course, I did eventually turn them over).

Anyway, so there Tom and I were over in their amazing yard and he was asking such basic quesions, one I could've answered easily, but let her answer and I, instead, found myself feeling all sulky and out of sorts. (Yes, me...!). :) I stood there thinking, "Argh... That cinches it. Thanks to Tom, they think for certain we are both gardening idiots." (Pride, pride, pride...) "Well, just wait! Just wait till I've had some time to work on our yard. I'll show them I know what I'm doing. And I won't make our yard anything like this one--it's gonna be totally different and I'm gonna do it all my own way!"

Well, they walked back over here with us and right beside our flower bed she pointed out a weed... I told her I knew it was a weed, but I liked to see it growing there. (Hey, it was the truth. Stop laughing.) We stepped more around the flowers Anna had planted and I tried to throw in some names of flowers I've grown in the past--not to impress her (an impossibility)--just to keep my prideful head above water.

Mostly? Mostly I felt like an idiot and very untrue to myself.

And oh my goodness... the Holy Spirit was hopping up and down, convicting me like crazy... Especially during any of my thoughts which began with the line, "I'll show them..."

That's when He would say, "No, you will not show anyone, anything. You will just keep puttering along, at a sane, peaceful, enjoyable pace all for the pleasure of you and Tom. Because motives matter to Me. The "why" behind what you do greatly colors the "what" --and affects the person you become. Never forget that."

I know, I know... we all know that. But sometimes we all forget in an instant of old-fashioned insecurity. And how good of Him to remind us of the important stuff... and to save us from ourselves. How good of Him to show us the difference between creating a Life from joy and one from strife.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

On Moving Day we asked the movers to put the vast majority of our boxes on our front porch so to save time (and $$$$). And for these past few weeks it's been a hot mess (as Niecey Nash would say) out there.

But finally the boxes are gone, except for some near the door, and in the mornings my cats and I can sit out here and relax and wake-up and recharge for the new day.

So rather than calling this a 'before' or 'after photo,' let's just say this is a 'so far photo.' Our front porch so far. Soon I hope to repaint the white parts, white, and the short oh-so-rough wall, a nice shade of green... and I'd like to paint the floor, white. (Click to enlarge for a closer look.)

This is a lovely place in the early morning and evening (a blazing oven during late morning) and always, a respite from the mosquitoes.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Okay... moving on from my last post...
I'd been meaning to do an online search for bird feeders you can make yourself. Lately Tom has become an almost hysterical bird watcher--he even talks to them in a kind of baby talk (hmmm...). And too, we'd like tons of birds on our property so they can eat more of these @#$%@ mosquitoes.

Well, I found some bird feeder ideas, but mostly they involved using milk cartons, egg cartons, onion mesh, pop bottles and the like. I thought, "Uh, I hadn't really pictured hanging garbage from our trees. I wanted to go a bit more classy than that." (I hope that doesn't offend anyone. It's me, not you. heh).

But each of the sites said to use your imagination and just about anything around the house could be used to create a bird feeder. So I ran upstairs, turned the light on in my Decorating Closet (crammed with knick-knacks we have zero room for here) and gazed around. I discovered these three candle holders, ones we used in our (fake)fireplace in the old house. I turned them over and found they would hold more birdseed that way, then I ran them downstairs and outside into one of my flower beds beside the house, buried them a tad then added seed.

I think they look kinda spiffy. Be sure to notice our cobblestone foundation wall, too.

So there's your lesson for the day--when you can't spend money (and your car has been wrecked and you can't go anywhere, anyway) well, just use what you already have. Your imagination will amaze you. Try it and see.

And here's what I did last night... I hung these towel bars all by myself in our bathroom:

And this tissue holder, too:

Believe it or not, our bathroom had none of these modern features when we moved in. :) And guess what? We got the racks, the holder, two matching switch plates and an old-fashioned medicine cabinet for upstairs (a large wooden one) for only $10 total. All heavy duty stuff and all like new. A true blessing, one which made us feel like God was doing us a favor... and providing for us--again.

Oh and this was your first peek at our bathroom. I really like the color in there--kind of a 1940's dusty rose but with more of a peach tone and there's some nice ivy stenciling all along the top. I painted our last bathroom at least six times searching for the right color, but this one's gonna stay just as it is.

Arghhh! Our bit of Shangri-la has taken a hit.

Sigh... Tom was driving home from work this morning along peaceful country roads, just counting his blessings, actually, when someone crossed over into his lane and hit him.

He's ok--and that's the main thing, yes! (We realize that.)

But still....arghhh...

"This is just a test... this is just a test..." we mutter to each other.

He called the sheriff who arrived quickly and said that accidents happen there all the time. Then he said, "There's no question what happened here..." And the other guy told the sheriff, "Yeah, I screwed up."

He certainly did! He crossed wayyy over the double line, ran Tom off the road, didn't even see him and didn't even slow down.

It could have been worse. We know that. But oh my goodness... Our nice car which we've had for six whole years and has never, ever given us one bit of trouble. Not one. Poor ol' car... she has been so good to us, so faithful and now this...

And I felt sad standing there in the driveway, looking at Tom with this tired, worked-all-night eyes all teary. You know, men and their cars and how there's just something about that.

And now comes dealing with the insurance companies, which can often be worse than the accident, itself. (Sigh.... Even Pollyanna has a hard time staying positive when it comes to insurance companies.) And here lately Tom's had to make a bazillion phone calls to get everything switched over here to this house... all that hassle and now more phone calls, more paperwork... and living out here in the boonies.... and needing a rental car... and possibly paying a deductible, even though it was not Tom's fault at all, when we're trying to save up for windows...

This is just a test..... this is just a test.....

We just did not need this right now...

(But then, is there ever a good time for an accident?)

And here early, early this morning I listened to my favorite teacher who said what matters most is how we go through trials.... so I'm glad I tuned her in today, because I needed to hear that, especially since the temptation is so strong to just sit here and sulk and mope and get nothing accomplished. But alas, that would mean a big, fat F on this test!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Bob is coming this afternoon. Bob The Milkman, that is.

Oh, this still feels like a dream. See the box in the picture? That's the milk box Bob gave us for the empty bottles of milk and lemonade and juice. The index card on top is my list of food and milk for Bob to bring back with him next Monday afternoon. Bob's a great guy... has been delivering around our countryside for lots of years and he even used to deliver here at our house ten years ago.

I love to write out that list while wearing an apron and listening to Glenn Miller on the record player. I feel a kindship with all those 1920's and 30's housewives long gone. Stuff like that zooms me back to the Past and you all know how much I love living there. :)

What a continuing miracle to live on this old tiny farm! How strange that I almost gave-up on this dream years past, or more likely, how odd that for eons I couldn't muster the faith to believe for this life.

And now here it is.

So again, for those of you who are believing for a heart's desire--hang in there and keep believing. And if you are afraid to believe for something--fear not. It just may be the exact thing God wants to give you someday. He delights in giving perfect gifts and it's not a hard thing for Him to do since He knows us inside and out.

But I've noticed one thing--God is really into the perfect timing. And isn't it wild that most often we think He is late?

Oh, and you will love this. Look what I found yesterday in our basement near the sump pump after Anna told me to look there:

It says, "Bev + Ed 8/26/57."

Is that sweet, or what? How fun to know that Bev and Ed patched the cement in a corner of our basement 51 years ago. Of course, now I'm, like, crazy out of my mind to discover who Bev and Ed were and what became of them. :)

Anyone know what I mean?

Oh, and if you're wondering about the (dreadfullly rough-and-old-looking) room where the milk box is, that's our mud room at the back of the house. You step in there and you definitely feel as though you've traveled back in Time--right on back to the days of the Wild West! :)

Just one more thing, I promise!

This afternoon I discovered a list of around a hundred country life and farming blogs (!) so I simply had to share it with you. Here you go.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

So what do you do if your kitchen has no drawers? You make your own, of course! :) I am amazed at how those boxes work just fine as drawers. At least for me. At least for now. heh.

And what do you do if you are saving nickles to afford the new windows which are arriving in a month when you'd much rather buy one of those nifty black entertainment centers you saw at Target? You simply remove a couple drawers in a dresser you already own, drill holes in the back for cords and then paint the whole thing black. Not as cool as the Target one I stood in front of and coveted, but we're happy with it... and if you'd like to see the pink 'before photo' again, it's here:

A couple people told me they hope I have the stamina for this little farm. Well, I believe I do, but I also think I have something even better. Grace. Grace is all over me out here. She whispers the best and smartest ways and times to do things (like work in the yard in the cool mornings and save housework for later)... she gives me creative ideas and leads me to necessary information and instruction (especially for out in the yard).... and she gives me strength, courage and patience. All of which I require above and beyond just the stamina part.

Grace. She truly is amazing.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

This post just might make you think of something you'd not thought of before.

In my last post I mentioned the blog of the previous owner of our house, and well, I was about to dash out the door this morning and weed and fertilize yet another grapevine, when I thought, "Hey! I wonder if Anna has any older posts about their little farm here? This place Tom and I call Healing Acres." Yesterday I'd only read posts regarding her new farm in New England.

So I zipped over to her blog and yes! I found posts about Anna's and Mark's farm life here, beginning in 2006. I'd planned just to sit a few minutes, but I got hooked reading Anna's stories about what is now my own home place, stories mostly which happened out in the barn and the pastures with the sheep and chickens.

Oh my goodness! I felt as though I'd discovered a dusty, leather-covered diary in our floorboards (ala the show, If These Walls Could Talk). What fun to read about the births of lambs, slaughterings of chickens, improvements made to the barn and winter snow. And the story of the injured bird inside the bathroom.

There weren't too many mentions of inside the house... Anna is a real-live farm woman who cares deeply for the land and farm animals and is mainly to be found outside. Me? I'm still mostly the inside decorator wanna-be at heart, though as I've mentioned, I'm becoming a woman of the land, as well. .. one heartbeat at a time

I giggled over a few of Anna's mentions of our neighbors. Mostly she spoke well of them, but a couple thoughts were written of her annoyance (rightfully so) and she used their real names. I'm thinking I'll change the names in my blog of my neighbors... for perhaps someday new owners will read my I'd not really thought of that before.

Anyway, I mention all this for you who also write about your home and yard in a blog. You, too, are creating a history of your home place and your life there, a history for the next people who will dwell inside your home to read and treasure. Perhaps your blog someday will feel like the discovery of a dusty old diary. Who knows?
And I would suggest throwing in all sorts of details. The wallpaper you put up--or took down. The day the paint spilled or when you had house guests and the name of the local restaurant where you dined. The room you added, the flower garden you put in, the place you buried the dog. Note the name of the tree you trimmed or the rose bush you planted. All of it makes for fascinating reading to new inhabitants of a home.
And add photos if you can! Lots of 'em.

And here you probably thought the days of the findings of lost diaries were over... They're not. No, even recent history is still history... and reading recent history about a person's own home still feels like old-time history, as well. Take it from me.
If you can't guess, the stairs at the top of this post are our own (scary) stairs, ones I call 'closet stairs' at the back of our kitchen. The only stairs in the house...
...and can you believe it? There was no railing on these stairs when we first saw the house. We asked the sellers to put them in. I think all the earlier owners of this home were rugged, simple folk... There are almost no improvements anywhere. Oh, Anna and Mark renovated the bathroom (nicely, for which I'm thankful) and the downstairs bedroom closet has adjustable shelving, yet there were not even any shelves out in the barn--and that barn is o-o-o-old! (Tom has already added many.) And no railings on any of the stairs out there or indoors here, either. We find this sort of thing odd, but then, we're not true-blue farm folk and do not yet understand all the ways of country living.

Friday, July 04, 2008

So there I was this afternoon in our back meadow, clipping dead branches from young trees when I saw a car pull into our driveway. "Visitors? But who would drop in on us?", I wondered. (I know, it's the Fourth of July and everything, but Tom is sleeping this afternoon because he'll work tonight, all night, while everyone enjoys fireworks--and beyond... so we're not having a barbeque like the rest of the world.)

So I picked up my walking stick, (one I've affectionally named The Snake Poker, lest any branches I'm picking up from the ground turns out to be a garter snake, instead) and walked toward the couple getting out of their car. Turns out it was the parents of the woman (Anna...not her real name) who, along with her husband, sold us this house... Tom and I had both spoken with her father on the phone because he was helpful in doing the little repairs we'd asked to be made before the sale went through. In one of those conversations, Tom discovered that Anna's parents were Christians and attend a church our own church often shared services with in the 90's.

Anyway, what a lovely surprise on my quiet Fourth afternoon. We stood beneath our shade tree while they told of improvements Anna and her husband made on the acreage and then I invited them in to see our dining room, about the only room where I've created any noticeable changes so far. We kept our voices down so not to wake Tom and they both admired the blue upon the walls and my white-painted chandelier and even the hutch top we sat up on the counter top in the kitchen.

Such encouraging people! I invited them to come again to see more changes later and the visit made for one pleasant break in my day. And something nifty? They gave me the address of Anna's blog, one in which she shares her daily adventures on her new little farm in New England. In fact, I just know some of you would love her blog--Anna really is a great photographer and writer and I'm enjoying reading about her adventures. But alas... she shares the name of our town in some earlier posts, and well, being the wary former city girl that I am (I apologize...and this subject is a whole other post), I can't share the address of her blog here.

But! If you already know where I live, well, please feel free to email me for Anna's blog address, especially if you yearn for farm life and farm animals and if country photography thrills your heart.

Or--if you and I have been acquainted online for a year or more and have written or commented back and forth, then email me and I'll send you the blog address, also.

And well, a very happy Fourth of July to each of you!