Monday, June 29, 2009

kitchen renovations.

It's been a long and dusty journey, fixing up this old farm. And we aren't even close to the finish line yet. In the house, the master bathroom and walk-in closet, the attic, the office, and the mudroom/laundry room still need lots of TLC, and there's baseboard and window trim to restore and a wrap-around porch to be built. But we are really beginning to enjoy the place and feel truly blessed to call it home. And God is already using it to host overnight Mayo Clinic guests, a youth group event, a baby shower, and a wedding. And this past weekend we showed a big-screen movie in the barn, complete with popcorn and surround sound.

After many requests for photos, I'll try to be more diligent about posting our progress. So here's a peek at the first room...

Before:



After:
North Wall

South Wall

East Wall (with new bay window and eat-in kitchen area)


Favorites:
Great, Great Grandma's hutch

View of Big Red out the window

Butler's Pantry

Apron farm sink

Cabinet Embellishment (1/2 price at Hobby Lobby)

Potfiller

Saturday, June 20, 2009

a saturday all to ourselves.

This morning I woke up to the sun, lifted my head to see the red 7:30 on the clock, and almost chuckled out loud when I realized the big event was over and it was the first Saturday in months where there would be no scheduled workday to get our farm wedding-ready. It was like Christmas morning. Or the first day of vacation. I rolled over and closed my eyes, the warm summer air made bearable, even pleasant, by the ceiling fan rotating above our heads.

We slept for a while longer and then chatted between the chocolate-colored sheets for a couple hours, finally making our way down to the kitchen around 10:30. Winn made German pancakes and coffee while I challenged my sisters (online) to a few games of Wordtwist. We went outside around noon. Winn mowed the yard (a three-hour task out here), and I weeded the garden, painted the railing for the barn steps, and watered the flowers.

By mid-afternoon we were getting hungry again, and I picked some more lettuce from the garden and made a large salad, adding cucumbers, cheese, and crunchy bagel crisps to the mix. After eating, we dug our forgotten bicycles out of the shed, dusted them off, and rode the three miles to the Rock Dell Creamery for an ice cream treat. When we pedaled in, the nice man next-door said they closed at noon. Better luck next time.

We came indoors, slightly sunburned, around 7:30 and showered. I made Lemon-Berry Freezes (2 cups of lemonade and 1 cup of frozen strawberries liquefied in the blender) and sliced up some potatoes and seasoned and baked them for homemade fries (a favorite of ours). Now we're having laptop time on the couch and feeling relaxed and happy and tired and blessed.

Meanwhile, The Ladies went for a stroll around Circle Drive...


I love this one of Nora, so intrigued by the camera...


And little Whiskers, half their size, pretending she's a master chicken-tracker...




Thursday, June 18, 2009

first harvest of the year.


Now, I'm no green thumb, but I have to say that my garden is looking mighty impressive for the likes of Minnesota this time of year. I guess all the loads of goat droppings and straw that we hauled from the barn and tilled into it really paid off. I picked the first salad greens this evening and can't wait to set them between some oat nut bread with a slice of tomato and a slab of turkey for lunch tomorrow. And we've got to finish the bag of potatoes in the pantry because the Pontiac Reds are going to be blooming in another week or two. The sweet corn is getting a slow start, but what it's lacking in zeal the pumpkins and cucumbers are more than making up for.

Right next to Veggie Square on Orchard Lane, the Honeycrisp apple trees that we planted last year already have dozens of buds on them. I had to give them a snip-snipping so the branches wouldn't get weary from the weight at their young age. Sajak must be doing his job because there doesn't seem to be any sign of ruminant invasion so far.

For the record, I have been thoroughly enjoying this time of not doing much of anything, the calm after the storm. But I think I will get bored if I don't get out of the sun and set down my crossword puzzle book by the end of the week. I did get a bit of work done today, as well as make a savory hotdish for our overnight guests. That's right, folks...a hotdish. Winn expressed his pride at dinner tonight that I'm a true Minnesotan because I can throw together a little of this from the cupboard and a bit of that from the freezer, and voila, a hotdish. Never thought I'd see the day.

Taters...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

a country wedding.

Just call us Mr. and Mrs. Overcommit. We said we wouldn't do it to ourselves again. But then my brother and his fiance had this idea of an outdoor wedding and a barn reception on our farm, and it was too tantalizing to resist. It was a test of our health and sanity and stamina and marriage. But as always, we came out on the other side. Not unscarred, but unbeaten. Months of mowing and trimming and weed-pulling and seeding and watering and sodding and barn-painting and garage-building and roofing and late-night to-do lists later, we're basking in the satisfaction of having accomplished an unreal amount of work in a very short time and reveling in the fact that our nights and weekends belong to us once again.

The wedding was on Saturday. And it was just right. Simple and fun and right. And Bob and Sarah were glowing. And the weather was perfect and the barn was handsome and the food was tasty and the string quartet was grand and the guests (approximately 200 of them) were smiling.

Now trips to Fleet Farm or Lowe's or Menard's no longer need to be a daily occurrence, and our friends can come for a visit without expecting to pick up a hammer or a paintbrush. And this place we've called home for barely a year, the place that was deserted and coming apart at the seams when we bought it, is shining these days.