Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Make Hay While The Sun Shines!

 

Having lived my entire life "out West" where hay was something you drove a long ways to buy (and paid a premium price for) it is still a novelty to me to live here in the South where we have a field with our own hay! 
 
We've been watching our lower hay pasture just grow and grow.  We have a few steers turned out in that pasture to fatten them up and in a few places the grass was so tall all you could see was the tops of the steers heads!

 
Maybe it won't interest you - but I still find the whole hay harvesting thing very interesting.  We are lucky to have a couple - Robert and Debbie - that cut, tether, rake, bale, and stack our hay.  Probably one of the most awesome things is that we don't have to worry about when its ready - they actually keep an eye on the hay (and the weather) and give us a call when they are going to start.  They have a man that helps them out; in the pictures above he is cutting.   It looks a bit different than if you were to mow the pasture... I guess it has to do with the kind of mower you use and obviously this one is for cutting hay.


These are the blades up close.  Looks a whole lot different than our bush hog!
 

When the field is cut, it looks like this.  It is rather interesting as it cuts the grass hay and then just lays it over.
 

Then, Debbie comes along with her pretty red tractor pulling this tether machine.  It picks up the hay and throws it around til it lands on the ground in a sporadic manner.  This allows it to get better air circulation which helps in the curing or drying of the hay.  Its fun to watch her when she does this - she really moves fast (which is why I have no picture)!
 
 
At this point it is really important that the hay doesn't get wet - hence the reason they watch the weather forecast.  After it is properly dried then Debbie comes back with her pretty red tractor again and she rakes the hay into nice long parallell rows called windrows.  I honestly don't know how she does this.  She moves at a really fast clip and she is pretty much constantly looking behind.  I wondered once why she had to look behind so much and when I was taking these pictures I realized it is because she is constantly adjusting the level of the rake.   She's not just out there leisurly pulling the rake and enjoying sitting on the tractor!  I bet its an art to get it raked just right.  And I bet her neck hurts at night.


There's her nice, uniform windrows.


This is the hay rake!  I think it is an awesome looking piece of equipment.
 

Then behind her along comes Robert with the baler just gobbling up those perfect windrows of hay.  He has to look behind also.  I bet his neck hurts at night too!  Actually, I bet they hurt all over!


There must be some electronic device that lets him know when the bale is finished as he stops his tractor and sits a few seconds (maybe it is wrapping the baling string around it?) and then all of a sudden the door opens and the bale rolls out.

 
I love how the field looks with all the bales sitting where they dropped!  Right now everyone is haying so wherever you go there are fields of hay bales.  It is really pretty.


Once the whole field is baled they put these hay spears on both the front and back of the tractor.  This allows them to pick up and carry two bales at a time.  They take them up out of the field where they stack them next to the tree line for us. 
 

And there you have it!  Over 100 big beautiful rolls of hay and two more cuttings to go this summer. 
 
 
 
It is hot and sunny here this week and my garden is happily growing!  And, the news on the house progress is that we installed our cabinets today!  We've still got the huge island and custom range hood to install.  I should have some pictures to post on cabinets soon!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Little Red Stool (ready for its new home!)


About a year ago, I bought this awesome vintage kitchen stool from my friend Amy (at All Things Home) when she had her barn sale.  I brought it home and immediately took it to our building where we have all our belongings in storage til we finish our house.   Its been sitting there waiting for me....
 
 
Every time I stop by our storage building, I look at the stool!  Finally, I brought it back with me to the house and in between laying tile in the bathrooms, painting on the stair risers, and helping Eldon with things I decided to redo this little stool. 
 
 
I used my awesome Frog Tape (yes, they should pay me for all the plugs I've given them this year!) to tape off all the places I didn't want the silver spray paint to hit.  I also sanded some of the rust spots a bit before spraying it with Rustoleum Silver Metallic. 
 
 
I removed all the tape and then prepped it to tape up the silver legs so that I didn't get the red on the silver.  Yes, red.  Bet you didn't have to think that one through too long huh? 
 
I guess you're not too surprised to know that my very all-time favorite paint is the Annie Sloan Emporers Silk with the clear wax!  I love that look.  Here it is all spiffed up in red!
 
 
I scrubbed and scrubbed on the black rubber foot pads and they are shiny and new looking now too. 
 
I absolutely adore it.    I have a feeling my grand-daughters are going to be fighting over who gets to sit on it!  I'm so anxious to find a perfect little spot for it in my kitchen.
 
Oh, speaking of my kitchen.....
 
 
I stopped by the cabinet shop on Tuesday and my cabinets were painted!  They are supposed to be delivered first thing tomorrow morning.  I'm beyond excited!
 


So, can't you just see this darling red stool in my white cabinet kitchen with my pretty red pendant barn lights?!  Its all coming together - in my mind at least!
 


 
 This week I'm partying at:
 

Furniture Feature Fridays

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Candy Bar Greeting!


Have you ever made one of these before?  If not, you really need to!  They are fun to make and fun to give! I've made many of these through the years.  I loved making them for my kids, my neices and nephews, my kids friends, my parents, teachers.... and on and on!   
 
They are simple to make.  This is how you do it.
 
 
Gather your supplies:
 
Poster Board (the heavy styrofoam kind)
All colors of Sharpie Markers
All kinds of candy - about 10 to 12 different ones
(You can figure up your "story" before you buy your candy, or you can just buy all kinds of candy and then write your story to fit - thats what I do.)
Heavy two-sided poster tape
 
 
Lay your candy out in front of you, take a pad of paper and start writing your story to fit the occassion.  The one I was making was for a graduation gift, so I was focusing on that.  Have fun and make it silly!
 
 
After you have it written out on paper, you can get very particular and measure out your sentences and words on your poster board.  I don't get that particular.  However, I do write everything out in pencil first, so that I can erase if it gets too sloppy.  Usually I just kind of wing it.  Then take your black sharpie and start writing!
 
 
I like to do the words in black so that they really stand out.  Once you have all your sentences written out in black, take your color markers and do some embellishing!
 
 
I'm not very artistic - but I do like to doodle, so I like to add that sort of thing.  Basically anything that adds color and excitement! 
 
Then tape on your candy with the double sided poster tape and you are done!  You can spend hours on this project.... or you can spend 30 minutes like I did. 
 
 
Here is the finished poster!
 
This one (below) is a blast from the past.  My son and his wife had a destination wedding on the beach in Florida three years ago, and so we all met there for a week.  I made them one of these the night before their wedding.  They were going on a cruise for their honeymoon - I figured candy would be a bit hit.  More than that it was a special memory for my son of when he was litle and I made them for fun occassions.  They loved the poster - here they are smiling as they read it. 
 
 
Next time you're not sure what to do for someone for a gift, or just a fun pick-me-up, choose to make a candy bar greeting poster!  And have fun.  (Incidentally, I think its time to make one for my five year old grand-daughter.  When I pulled this out of the car at the gradutation dinner we attended this evening her eyes bulged out and she said, "Wow Gram.  Look at all that candy"!)
 
Hope your week is sweet!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Strawberry Kind of Day!

 
My daughter and I took the girls to the strawberry farm today to pick berries.  It was such a beautiful day.  This picture was taken before we got started - you can tell because our faces and hands are still clean!
 
We go to Browns Farm in Alabama - it is close and very family friendly, with public bathrooms and a huge pavilion with picnic tables.  We've been going since before Jillian was born - back in the days when I flew from out West to visit Andrea and her husband.  Now I get to just drive 30 minutes to pick strawberries!
 
 
Jillian was old enough this year to really help with the picking! 
 
 
Rosetta?  She ate more than she picked!!  This evening when I dumped one of my buckets in the sink to wash the berries there were a lot of half eaten ones!
 
 
I love strawberries right off the vine.  As a matter of fact, I can hardly stand to eat a strawberry from the store - they don't even taste like the same fruit.
 
 
It was such a perfect day.  You know its fun when everyone had red sticky faces and fingers!
 
 
Andrea and I each bought three buckets of these awesome things!

 I came home and made 8 half pints of jam. I love these little half pint jars.  I don't like having huge jelly jars in the refrigerator and they are perfect for giving as gifts too.  Hopefully we'll get back to pick one more time before the season is over. 

 
 
I guess my favorite part of the day is that it is still a novelty to go and pick strawberries.  Where we lived in the Southwest desert there was no such thing as a strawberry farm.  Things (besides tumbleweeds) just don't grow too well in pink sand!  I am thankful that I now live where things grow in abundance and I want to cherish that. 
 
Hope your week is wonderful.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

House on The Hilltop - Part Twelve (and other things!)

 

We've had rain for three entire days (and nights) so yesterday evening when the sun came out I grabbed my camera to try to catch some pictures of the evening light.  I walked around the house and this was what greeted me!  These calves really love trying to prove who is the strongest!
 
 
And who is the fastest!

 
Can you see the little black calf on the left that has a white speck on his belly?  He and the white calf are best friends.  They chase each other, nap together, and just hang out together.  You didn't think calves had best friends did you? 
 
 
So, as for our house progress?  We started to feel like we were spinning our wheels, so we sat down and wrote down everything left to complete in each room.  There were lots of little (and big) things.  But, the great news is that it all fit on one big poster board which is posted up in the house and we get to check things off every day!  It seemed like it got us back on track and also gives a bit better visual of what we've got left to do.

 
We installed the flooring in the kitchen...
 
 
... and the dining room.  Its so hard to see it in a picture, but it is really lovely.  We are ready for the cabinets to be delivered.
 
 
And speaking of cabinets.  The cabinet shop is letting me come and take pictures of their process.  Its pretty fun to see how it all works.  Here I am with the owner of the shop and his assistant as we discuss a few details.
 
 
Andrea brought the girls up the other day and I was wearing my knee pads and Rosey went crazy trying to pull them off of me to put on her so she could match her Gramps!  She walked all over with my knee pads on! 

 
Installing vanity lights in the bathrooms...


...wall lights in the Barn Room (upstairs)

 
... all window trim up, sanded, caulked and painted.

Bathtub in master bath, shower in guest bath installed and plumbed, electrical outlets and switches complete in all but the kitchen (waiting on cabinets and back splash).  Ceiling lights in bedrooms, hall, and laundry room going in today and chandeleir in the dining room. 

One step (and check mark!) at a time.
 
 
And in the middle of building a house, mowing the rapidly growing grass, taking care of cows, new calves being born, and continual rain, I've been trying to get my garden fully planted.  Jillian helped me one day - her favorite thing to do while I'm in the garden is pretend the bars on the Ranger are her Monkey Bars!
 
I hope your week is off to a great start!  Thanks for reading and thanks to all of you for your encouraging comments on our house!  We're really been needing the positive feedback lately!!