November 30, 2013

I'm dreaming of a white... Thanksgiving?

Last weekend, I was ready (like most of the country) to skip directly to Christmas, and bypass poor Thanksgiving. However, I put off the decorating, making me more satisfied in the long run. You see, I love seasons, and I like to get every last drop of a season while I can. That means, fall does not end until Thanksgiving is over (in my mind). Yet, I was still in a decorating mood and had nothing to decorate except this chalkboard on our cottage porch. So, that's what I did to satisfy myself. (Yes, the design came from Pinterest.)

This year has been full of hard times for my family, but this verse helps remind me
despite the circumstances to be thankful.

However, the fall season did not make it all the way to Thanksgiving this year. Much to every one's happiness, Thanksgiving was beginning to look a lot like Christmas, thus justifying the Christmas trees in people's living rooms across the county. We were given a winter storm threat, which like most threats can't be taken seriously because it left us with just a light layer of snow on the ground. So for those dreaming of a white Thanksgiving, they got it.

Winter began.
The snow was beautiful and up here in our little cottage it felt as if we were snowed in in the middle of nowhere. So the decorating fever hit and I wanted to make the whole place warm and cozy in case of another snow (which it looks very possible we will have more this winter). So while many were out shopping for others on the biggest holiday of the year, Black Friday, my mom and I were shopping for ourselves for Christmas decor.

Time to go decorate.

November 3, 2013

Trying Transformation

Saturday, we began taking down some walls that would no longer be used when we build our new bathroom, closet, and dining room. I wanted to show the transformation to remind (mainly myself) just how far we are getting for two people who work full time and remodel on the side.

The room used to be a bedroom with a tiny closet. (I want to kick myself for not getting a good full room shot.)

Back in the spring, we tore out the drywall, and removed the door frames.

 This was the result. You can see the bathroom walls are still in tact. The duct work and wiring is still in as well.

Then, we went to work on the bathroom. This is what the bathroom looked like before:

We gutted it as well.

Walter removed the duct work. Since we finally decided on a floor plan, we went to work on removing unnecessary walls. 

The walls are down, but we still have to clean up.
Taking a break after the hard work.
The bedroom wall, closet wall, and bathroom wall no longer exist.

This poor tub has been used by us in all the wrong ways. 

I started taking up the rotten wood flooring. But with the tub still in, it made it a little difficult.
On the bottom of every board was a stamp saying it was made in Barbourville, KY U.S.A. We act like buying local is a new concept nowadays. 
 The demolition process never seems to end. However, we are closer to getting the old and making room for the new.

November 1, 2013

Fall on the Farm

October started with eighty degree weather. In fact, our annual Daniel Boone Festival had most of us longing for shade. You could catch people in tanks, tees, and shorts. Then, temperatures dropped just like they were Wyle E. Coyote chasing the Road Runner off a cliff in a Looney Toon.  Suddenly, it was rainy and cold. Then, everyone around me began sniffling and coughing. Pretty soon I found myself doing the same. In fact, I've had a head cold for two and a half weeks now which really hasn't allowed me to do much of anything.

Yet, the weather warmed up a little. And even though my head still feels like I'm living underwater, if I can work I can play right? So, we had our first bonfire on the farm. A group of teens from a camp I work at during the summer (and during the year when there is no class) came up and we had devotions around a fire. It was nice singing songs and spending time together.

During some of our cool nights, the two of us roasted marshmallows, ate smores, and watched the sparks fly. It was kind of romantic. Walter also taught me how to shoot a rifle and a handgun. When I blew the cap off a buttermilk bottle we were using as a target, he looked at me and told me, "If we're ever in a zombie apocalypse, I wanna be on your team." Oddly, I found that sweet and possibly even more romantic than sitting around the fire together. This can only mean two things: 1. I've been watching too much Walking Dead. and 2. I'm becoming more of a redneck each and every day.

Through all of our "adventures" I would look around and wonder, "Are the leaves ever going to change colors? Are we ever going to see visual proof of fall?" I was very curious to see the colors our new landscape could conjure up. And much to my disappointment, I hadn't seen any. Last week, I looked out my window and saw all the colors I had been waiting so (un)patiently to see.

And just as quickly as it came, it was gone. In fact, today our beautiful red tree was bare thanks to the fifty mile per hour wind we experienced last night. Well, fall, it was nice while it lasted.

As far as construction goes, Walter has cleared lots of  brush and made lots of brush fires. We had someone cut our hay for us and that cleared much of our land. We've also finally drawn up  plans for our renovation! It's a much longer process than I ever imagined. And honestly, I had no clue what we were getting into, but I think know that it will be worth it.

The tractor that cut our hay. I want one just like it.

October 13, 2013

Keep Out!

Another outside project we've been working on is putting up a gate to block access to our property. While we do love company, we were growing tired of the numerous people pulling up asking us if our houses were for rent or peeking in the windows of the houses to see what was going on inside.

Oh, and people asking if they could take their four-wheeler up the mountain and hunt.

So, the first thing Walter did was post that  private property sign. You know, in case the gate doesn't give enough of a hint.

A cattle gate mounted to a cut telephone pole guards our driveway.
Then came project #2: the gate. Cutting, digging, and setting the poles was a (easy) job. After two weekends, we finally have a bright red gate that adds to our farm land.

While we waited for the concrete to dry, I had a little time to work on a project for the gate. I found a piece of scrap wood, mixed some creamy paint and water and "white washed" the wood. Then, I just painted the name of our lane out on the board and roughed it up a bit with some sand paper. I put another watery coat of paint over the letters once it had dried.

It was a fun, easy sign to make. Still not sure how I feel about my penmanship though...
The sign before we hung it on the gate.
 The board already had some nail wholes so we just laced some wire through and wrapped it around the pole of the gate. Project 2 is complete!
The finished gate.

October 12, 2013

We've Got Mail!

October has brought us the most beautiful weather here in southeast KY. We've had warm temperatures, and the clearest blue skies. (Skies we missed dearly during our rainy summer.) Temperatures have been hanging in the seventies and eighties.

Walter and I have been taking advantage of the warm weather and doing some outdoor projects (besides mowing and bush hogging.)  The housework is on hiatus for a few weekends now so we could accomplish some much needed projects outdoors, while the weather still permits.

Project 1: Mailbox.
While a mailbox is one of the first things we probably should of worked on, most of our mail is sent to my parents house, so we thought it could wait.

However, when our garbage bills was floating around in the mail and caused us to be late on our payment. We decided we must have a mailbox.

 Last weekend, Walter cut the pole, and glued the boards it's mounted to together. Together we dug the hole and concreted it down.  A simple project? Yes. Yet, we are learning that even the simplest of projects takes up most of our weekends. After a couple weekends of work, we finally put up our mail box (one of two).

We used on old telephone pole for a post. Walter is leveling it off.

The mailbox is on the small property we own across the road from our house. It stops at the railroad tracks. 

September 28, 2013

Apple Pickin'

Today, we took a break from pouring concrete when my mammaw and my great aunt came by to pick some apples off our tree. They carried away three big bags.

The apples getting much bigger and taste much better (this weekend's recipe was a cobbler). I guess late September- early October is when they are truly ripe for the picking.  I'm still trying to figure out what type of apple tree we have.

I'll be posting some pictures of our outdoor projects soon. For now, just enjoy these apples.

September 22, 2013

Helping strays along their journey.

So, you probably don't remember this from way back in an early post, but I had said living here made me feel like a pioneer woman who would offer food and comfort to straggling strangers who were lost, worn, or just needed a rest stop on their way to another place. Well, those weren't my exact words, but those are close.

Little did I realize I would become this woman. Little by little, I'm learning how to make real meals and keep a home in order  a step above chaos.  I am, however, helping weary wanderers find rest and a good meal. They just happen to be dogs and not humans. Last weekend, a little dog we called Chico came to stay. He was a friendly little guy, who was dying to be loved and to live in our house. Unfortunately, we couldn't keep him, but we did find him a home with Walter's dad.

The past few weeks, we've been a refuge for this guy:

Meet Ole Roy.

We met him about three weeks ago. He was on a trail howling and would not stop for anyone or anything. For almost two weeks, we could hear him howling, but he would never stop or respond to us. It was as if he were a dog on a mission and couldn't be bothered.

Last weekend, he found me out at the apple tree picking apples. He wasn't howling anymore. His nose was chapped and he was skin and bones. I fed him. Then, a few hours later he was gone. The next day, he came back. I fed him again. He stayed around for a few hours, then, went back on his way.

We hadn't seen him for a week, when he appeared yesterday in the rain soaked to the bone. What could I do, but feed him again? (Just look at those eyes.)
When I bought the welcome mat, I never realized dogs would take it seriously.

 He stayed all day curled up on our porch with our other dog, Ruth. Ruth and Roy. Makes a cute pair.

Don't get too attached, Ruth. He's a drifter.

September 21, 2013

Anyway, like I was sayin', apples are the fruit of the tree.

You can put 'em in a pie. Boil 'em. Can 'em. They's apple butter, apple crisp, apple jelly...

And it's apple season at Roundtree Lane.  Now, I've begun to realize how Bubba felt in the shrimp business. You can do almost anything with apples. And thanks to the world wide web, I am managing to try a few new things.
Plenty of these beautiful apples hanging patiently waiting to be picked.
About the end of August, Walter saw that the apples on the tree were looking ripe. My sister in law was our first "customer" picking as many as she could reach. She made a few stops and filled up a few bags to take on the road with her. 

By labor day weekend, she requested some more apples to use at a camp retreat. We picked three Walmart bags full of apples and sent them on their way. 

Now, in mid September the branches are weighed down with these delicious apples (not sure what kind they are). 

Feeling guilty about not using the resources at my fingertips (literally), I decided to go apple picking.

Thinking of the possibilities.

Just a small amount.

Apple Pie Quinoa Breakfast Casserole (11)-2
Apple Pie Quinoa Breakfast Casserole
from Healthful Pursuit.
There's something about this season (and living here in general) that makes even a non-domesticated girl want to slow down and pretend she is living on a prairie.  The past few years, we haven't had a real kitchen and I've relied on Ronald, Wendy, and a Colonel for food. It feels so nice to step back and actually cook meals again. Now, I wish I had time to grow more food, and learn how to can. Not to mention, milk cows and gather eggs. Maybe someday.

Picking apples lets me live out a snippet of this dream. So last weekend, I decided to hone in on my domestic skills. (Although they are so limited, the target was very, very small.) My first try was a breakfast recipe. Another one of my sister in laws (who finds lots of delicious recipes) made a pumpkin pie quinoa breakfast casserole which I loved. I decided to try it with apple. [Find the recipe here.]

Later that afternoon, I filled my crock-pot up with apples and made two jars of apple butter. [Recipe here.] We had some of the apple butter for breakfast this morning with homemade biscuits, scrambled eggs, and bacon. (Yes, I'm tootin' my own horn now for actually making breakfast.)

After breakfast, Walter and I watched a few of our friends eating the apples that fell to the ground and realized that it was time to try another recipe.

We don't have to worry about rotten apples with these four around.

So tonight, following a bowl of chicken n' dumplings. I made apple crisp. I topped mine with ice cream and drizzled it with caramel syrup.

Now, my stomach almost hurts, I am so full. I probably need to just eat them the way the deer do.