Sunday, May 31, 2009

Road Trip Sunday ~ Terra Bella

We continued our road trip weekend with a trip to the beautiful organic farm near Hatton, Missouri ~ Terra Bella. The owners of the farm are our long-time friends Howard Marshall and Margot McMillen. This lovely farm is dedicated to preserving the land and practicing sustainable farming. Howard and Margot were kind enough to host a “CD Release Party” for our son, John (the fiddler) during their open house at Terra Bella today.
When we first arrived, we were greeted by this beautiful Barn Quilt -
The barn quilts are distributed across the state in an effort to keep this wonderful tradition going. If you'd like more information about the Barn Quilt Project, please contact Margot ~ her contact info is listed toward the end of this post.

Mr. W brought his wares (railroad spike garden trowels & more) to sell --
We toured the farm, taking in lovely scenes like this greenhouse garden with rows and rows of beautiful tomatoes, chard and more.
There were beautiful rows of grapes, a lovely vineyard.
Here is the pretty Terra Bella Farmhouse.
Here’s our fiddler, John. He wore this cool shirt that said, “I arm wrestled Johnny Cash at the 1987 Montana State Fair.” Such a big Cash fan, he is.
A fun day ~ the old-time music was enjoyed by all. Also, it was wonderful to see a farm like Terra Bella thriving. Here is a collage of our fun day.

Thank you, Margot and Howard, for hosting such a fun event at your farm! If you have any questions about Terra Bella, please contact Margot at margotmcm (at) socket (dot) net. Or call 573-642-6226. There are numerous fun activities going on at the farm this summer. For instance, Tuesdays in June (starting June 2) from 6-8 pm artist Corinne Williams will offer ART LESSONS for all ages. The class will utilize recycled materials, and will focus on "low-cost strategies to pump up your ability without pumping up the costs"! Cost is $10 for one meeting, $8 for each additional. Contact Margot if you're interested!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Road Trip Saturday ~ Blacksmithing and More

After a less-than-fun week, Mr. W and I traveled to Hams Prairie, Missouri today for a Blacksmith Association of Missouri meeting. This proved to be a good ending for our difficult week (more on this later). I don’t usually go along for the blacksmithing meetings, but it was my chance to meet the famous Patti of Osage Bluff Quilter. This is the same Patti who made this adorable wall quilt for me a few weeks ago, and I’m still trying to figure out how in the world to ever get even with her. Is it even possible?


Below ---
This is the wonderful Patti on the right, and don’t look at me on the left :) PT looks great! I was blinded by the sun (that’s my excuse for looking like a dork, and I’m sticking to it).


Here is Mr. W in a typical pose (mouth open) with Patti’s hubby, BT, the Osage Bluff Blacksmith.  (I love this picture).


And Mr. W with another blacksmith friend, Ed. What a pair, that’s all I can say… the picture says it all. What troublemakers :)


There were some demonstrations throughout the day. I had a little trouble getting close enough for a decent picture. This is what I ended up with (please pardon the cap). I did find it interesting that this particular BAM blacksmith is a surgeon in his real job. Wow.


On our trip home we saw hundreds of flags flying over a local cemetery. Just beautiful.


This week – we found out that our 11 year old fox terrier, Roxy, does indeed have mammary cancer. The vet says it appears to be external, but she won’t know for sure of course until she explores further. We’re hoping she can remove what has blossomed into a huge tumor on her lower belly with no complications. The tumor went from very small to very large within two weeks’ time. Her surgery will be Monday. Here’s our dear little Roxy:


Also, we’ve been searching for and setting live traps for our neighbor lady’s missing Silver Persian cat. We spotted her here early this week, and haven’t seen her since. Her mama is SO very worried, and we’re hoping for a safe return home for “Callie” soon.

This could be my longest blog post so far! Are you tired of reading yet?? Since I’ve been absent here since last Sunday, I’ll add on a couple of hummingbird pictures for good measure.



Hope everyone is having a great weekend!


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

Our battle-fields, safe in the keeping
Of Nature's kind, fostering care,
Are blooming, - our heroes are sleeping, -
And peace broods perennial there.
~John H. Jewett

flag1 Flag photo credit: John P. Williams



Thursday, May 21, 2009

Evening Walkabout ~ Lawn & Gardens & Porch

You see, this way I don’t have to show you my weeds, tall grass, or the larger-than-life dust bunnies in the house :)

walkabout 5-21-09 lawn_garden_porch

The wisteria is starting to bloom. As are the sugarsnap peas in the garden, and the blackberries in the woods north of the house. We’ve had a bumper crop of lettuce. The broccoli and kale are ready to harvest. The purple beans are completely up. There are baby grapes hanging on the vines.

The hummingbird in the mosaic was created by Mr. W.

What plans do you have for the Memorial Day Weekend? We are working on the Barn/Cottage. How did you guess???

Have a fabulous Friday!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

In the Trenches

Today we dug a 200 foot trench, laid sewer pipe, and covered it all up. Anyone who knows us personally will be surprised to hear that we actually rented a piece of equipment (just call us “frugal” please :)).  Mr. W is a fast, excellent hand-digger, however we decided this method was the best for his back. And what a handy gadget this trencher was. Within a couple of hours the entire trench was dug, and then returned to the equipment rental place.

The trencher beast…


…dug this nice trench…


…which pipe was laid in, and everything connected, then covered  up with the dirt piles. Here are the Long-Eared Girls checking out freshly covered trenches that ran through a portion of their pen.


A busy day, especially for Mr. W, but this is one more big thing checked off the “Barn/Cottage List”. Oh my gosh, I think we might actually be almost ready to install bathroom fixtures.  Yay!!

Hope your week is going well!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Birthday Girls, Part II

We had a fun, exciting party today! Both girls were dressed up in their party hats, and ready to party…. when it was discovered that somebody (me) had left the gate open. Ruby escaped into the yard briefly, kicking up her heels and showing off a bit (very funny, Miss Ruby). Gave me a little scare. Thankfully, these two gals are inseparable, and when she heard Gracie’s brays…. she was more than ready to go back inside the pen. We had baby carrots and graham crackers (their favorites) and lots of romping around the pen. Then the hat-eating began….


At that point, it was time to say “Happy 2nd Birthday, Gracie & Ruby!” Party over!


Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Trapped Hummingbird, and Birthday Girls!

Wow, what a day it has been. The highlight of our day was when Mr. W caught a hummingbird in the barn/cottage. I fretted for two hours while the poor little hummer was trying his best to escape. He just couldn’t figure out he had to move down just a bit to go out the doors. I made various unsuccessful attempts at luring him close to any of the three doors. Finally, we used a long dip net and safely rescued him… moving him outside to freedom and safety. Whew. Now I really wish I would have caught the whole process on film. Three people tried their hand at the capture, but it was Mr. W who managed the feat.

Today is miniature donkey Gracie’s birthday. She is now a whole two years old! Tomorrow is Ruby’s second birthday as well. They are half-sisters, and yes, born just one day apart. A few years ago I decided I must have a miniature donkey of my own. The more I researched the matter, the more it became apparent that a donkey on our farm was simply meant to be . As well, I discovered that “a lone donkey is a lonely donkey.” A lonely donkey is not a good thing. They are sad, lonesome, and continually bray. Even if they have other buddies, i.e., sheep, goats, horses -- many times they are not content unless they have a donkey buddy. Therefore, I knew I was looking for two lovable long ears, and not just one.

I searched far and wide, or at least across the state of Missouri. One day I received a message from my sister that she had seen some pregnant miniature donkeys on a farm that was along her hour-long commute to her teaching job. Lucky for me, this donkey farm was only about twelve miles away from me! The people who owned them were actually from my hometown, and I knew who they were (somehow I never knew they raised Little Long Ears). Yee Haw! Hee Haw! Immediately we called, and then we visited the farm as soon as the first two jennets were born. It was love at first sight. Their initial coloring is what inspired their names. Gracie was gray, Ruby was a dark red.  The four months I had to wait to bring them home went really slow, and of course I had to visit them a few times in between.

This is what the girls looked like on their first day at home. I will probably never catch such a perfect photo of them again (they even won a ‘photo of the day’ contest on an equine site). Head to head, almost like they were saying “what the heck is going on? who is this crazy lady? and why did she already put these things on our heads?” Ruby has her ears held back (this happens a lot with my Ruby), and would you just look at Gracie’s ears?! I am happy to report that she has finally grown into those beautiful ears.


Here is a video I put together for their first birthday (with our son’s fiddling as the background music). I plan to have a carrot cake party again sometime this weekend to celebrate birthday #2. If I do, I’ll post pictures of the wild and crazy barnyard bash.


Happy Birthday, Dear Donkey Girls!!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Barn/Cottage Update ~ We now have a modern convenience…

It’s called… Electricity!!! Thanks to Mr. W and his blacksmithing/retired electrical expert friend Melvin, we have 6 working lights and 3 double outlets. And even 3-way switches in my area of the barn for my convenience per Mr. W. Why, I feel just plain spoiled. Woo hoo!



We also were given this comfy, stinky, stained, 3-legged couch… but hey, it was FREE! And a 6x6 fixed the 3-legged problem for now. So now we have an official relaxation station inside the barn (just be sure to hold your nose).


Our county is also under a tornado watch tonight. I will drive Mr. W even crazier than usual tonight. Tornado watches and warnings make me twirl around in a circle, turn on every possible source of weather information, plot potential tornado survival scenarios, and babble incessantly. Boy, is he in for a fun evening! This is the only thing I do not love about living here in the great Midwest. Here’s a look at our current sky:


A tufted titmouse is grabbing some sunflower seeds before the storm sets in. I just love their big eyes and chattiness.


Off to batten down the hatches for the outside critters!!


Friday, May 8, 2009

TGIF ~ Evening

Don’t you love a good Friday evening? Especially when the weather is gorgeous. A great night for sitting out in the yard and relaxing.

Chloe says ‘hey’ and ‘pleased to meet ya’! She is our rescue dog (thanks to Mr. W). She has been a part of our family for about 3 years now. Part Corgi, part Red Heeler… maybe? Or she could actually be a Cardigan Corgi (she does have a tail). Chloe is also known as “Big Eye, Little Eye” around here. We love her to pieces. Not sure what happened in her past to cause the small eye, but she is also blind in that eye. The vet agrees with us that it may have been a head trauma at one point in her past. She seems fine in every way, although a bit skittish until she gets to know you. And what a sweetheart! She’s just a huggy teddy bear…

Hummingbirds! I’m SO glad to have my little buddies back. I miss them all winter long.

Hope the weather is warm and sunny where you are. Have a wonderful weekend!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Concrete, Herbs, Bloomers, and a Blacksmith Shop

Today was a busy day for both of us. We traveled to Macon, Missouri and purchased some “Euco Diamond Hard” Concrete Sealer for the inside and outside pads of the Barn/Cottage. Upon return, we cleaned the concrete, and then applied the sealer first with a sprayer, then brushed and rolled it out. Mr. W handled most of this task while I supervised, and also cleaned out my herb garden.

The herbs were being taken over by mint (tip: never plant mint in anything but a container). Lots of cleaning out was done, then I replaced the rocks and lights. I also planted some orange-scented thyme. So now I have: Sage, Oregano, Lemon Balm, Catnip, Chives and the new Thyme. I plan to add some annuals such as Rosemary, and also some more Pineapple Sage. This herb garden has been here for about 20 years. Some of the older plants have died out, and I do need to replace some.

Here’s the before, with rampant mint:


Here’s the after, and some potted hen and chicks, and mint in container added:


Ahhh, better! Not perfect, but much better. Here’s an interesting tidbit of history about this area of our old house (where the herb garden now is). Many years ago the previous occupants had the brilliant idea to remove several feet of this section of the house to…. make a chicken coop. Can you believe it?

Here is a little collage of a few things that are blooming here now ~
clockwise from top left: Chives (with wasp), Malva (mini hollyhock), White Columbine, Giant Allium.


Finally, I just took a trip out to the Blacksmith’s Shop for a quick photo tour.

The sign on entrance to the shop (Mr. W has more signage, some of which are not so politically correct):


Anvil – hammer and “Bick Iron”  --- these two items (NOT the anvil) were made by Mr. W:


Finally, a Treadle Hammer made with recycled materials, completely manufactured by Mr. W. I am told this piece of machinery also makes a killer beer can smasher:


Now, off to do evening chores, and cook supper…. and collapse! Hope your week is going great!


Monday, May 4, 2009

Barn Raising, Day 8

(NOTE: for background on this project, please refer to the last half of "Rainy Day Thoughts")
It’s complete! Well, actually, far from it. But the builders did finish their part today. We now have concrete on the porch too. Yippee!!

day 8 - picI
Here’s a view across the length of the porch. Lots of room for rockers, flowers, etc. Eventually. In the meantime while we’re drying completely… hopefully raccoons, possums, deer and other furry critters will stay at bay.

day 8 - picII

Banjo had to leave her mark.

day 8 - picIII

I’ll still post updates on our progress. I think the next thing we’re doing is sealing the concrete. Then electricity, plumbing, more windows and at least one more walk-thru door. Wall for the “cottage” area. Finish the walls in the cottage, add ceiling, trim, etc. Put up work benches, etc in the “barn” area. Much to do!

Thanks for sharing our Barn Raising journey! Stay tuned for more fun and games!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin