Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thar She Blows!

Well now, we knew it couldn't all be perfect...

The not so good side of living up on the ridge:

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Learning Curve

I love learning. There is so much out there to do and experience that I never want to be complacent or too set in my ways not to experience something wondrous every day. I am always on the lookout for a fun class to take...floral arranging, better accounting skills, drawing, software training and of course needle crafts come quickly to mind.  I went back to college well in to my 40's just to pursue a passion for history and preservation that had always lurked around in my being. I have been able to put a few of those skills learned during that stint to good use at my farm house project, but at each turn, I am discovering just how much room there is in my noggin for more information.
Refinishing doors for example.
 I thought I had done a great job until I met Dave the guy that is refinishing our hardwood floors (...a task we had initially planned to do ourselves, but smartly opted for a speedier approach). Just listening to and watching Dave and his helpers talk to each other about sanding, grits, scraping, grain, wood varieties and various clear coat finishes, caused me to re-examine my process of door revitalization.
So armed with some new tools and LOTS of sandpaper, back to work I went.

We were limited in what we could do inside the house because of the flooring project going on so it made for a very short work weekend. That and the fact that some of the toys have arrived at the homestead and my husband just had to spend some time playing with them.

He tells me that the front yard is perfect for a dirt bike track.
We will see about that.
With some spare time at hand we took the opportunity to get out and about. Farmer Fritz looked at tractors,

while I attempted to get caught up on some long neglected knitting.

We capped the day off with a visit to a winery...another long neglected favorite pass time. Veritas has one of the nicest tasting rooms I have ever been in.

On that day, we opted to enjoy the warmth of the sunshine and enjoy our Chardonnay outside.

 Us and the chickens roaming around.

And so began the discussion of growing grapes and/or raising poultry on our land.

Something new to learn about...
 ...but first I am going to see about taking a photography class!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tread Lightly

...and carry a big sander!


Floor refinishing is underway at the farm house.

Directly above is the space that will become my craft room. Lots of bright light for painting, sewing and the all important yarn storage. 

In it's previouse life it was a dining room.

Have a Happy Day!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What's in a Name?

I've been part of a great deal of discussions recently concerning names. Grandmas reeling over unconventional names their offspring have placed upon the grandchildren, what in-law children should call their spouse's parents, confusion when a person goes by both a given name and a nick name, folks in ire when their names are not spelled or pronounced right, and generalizations over a person's personality based on a name. It seems everyone, including me, has an opinion on both sides of the issues.
I have always liked my given name. Joan. It suits me. Short. Simple No nonsense. I love the grandma name my daughter picked for me. Marme. I like to think that suits me as well. Marme is the strong, steadfast, nurturing, loving mother from Louisa May Allcott's 'Little Woman', but I fear I have a way to go to be on that pedestal. I have always loved when my children's friends call me Mrs. K or better yet Momma K. I love the names we chose for each of our children. Josef, Katherine, Andrew and Thomas. As with all parents, so much time and discussion had gone into choosing each name yet when revealed to others sometimes met a rolling of the eyes (and I am guilty of that on the other end as well!). I had wanted a Kevin in there somewhere too, but came up a child short...that is until my daughter married her Kevin. Wonder if there's any chance I'll get a Mary Claire as a daughter-in-law?
The naming of place is fascinating to me as well. My new country hometown is Luray. Pronounced 'laray' by newcomers (defined as anyone living there less than 5 generations) and 'looooooray' by the natives. It is common in Virginia as elsewhere to name one's homestead. I often wondered how the old Plantations  like Woodlawn, Aldie, Evergreen, Liberia and Berkeley got their names. I've had the pleasure of spending some time on modern day farms such as Stoney Lonesome , Belvedere, Willow Hawk Farm, and Saville Hill.
So now I need a name for our little farm.

I'd love to see your suggestions!

Friday, March 11, 2011

The sunrises at my little piece of heaven here in the Shenandoah Valley still amaze me. This morning it was especially inspiring as I woke from my first night sleeping in the farm house alone. Yesterday we had heavy rains which must have made the rolling pastures very happy. This morning as the sun came out, some of the fields seemed to green  up instantly. So pretty.

The inside of the farm house is experiencing glimpses of re-birth as well.

 All the bathrooms in the home really do need a complete functional remodel, but until we get that sorted out, I needed to make the powder room on the main floor a little brighter. The room is in the older part of the home and is very small and tight. It may even have started out life as a storage area. For now, it is amazing what a little paint and elbow grease can do.

and the before

We painted the cabinetry a creamy white (a test really to see if this look would work for the kitchen) and spray painted the hardware black. A quart of pale blue on the upper wall and I am happy with the fix. No doubt my daughter will be on a hunt for new sconces, but I don't even mind these fixtures at the moment. They speak to the history of the home as does the vintage counter top and mirror. The country way of life is to make do with what you have...hence the empty juice jug for a vase. Oh, how I am looking forward to getting my pretty vases out of storage!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Productive Weekend

A tender first sign of Spring,

Previous shelf paper on steroids,

and my mother there to fix it all (a hair dryer is great for heating up the contact paper enough to peel it off!).

More door stripping,

(Sorry Mother Earth. The environmentally friendly strippers were a disaster, I had to go with the high test stuff, hence the respirator)

More mowing,

(or is he just having fun?)

and of course more painting.

And after all that work we sent Joey and Fritz out to get style


A first before-and-after coming up soon...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Welcome to 1978

I'm sure this kitchen at the farm house was all the rage and the envy of the valley in when it was added onto and remodeled 1978. It's appliances were state of the art at the time. And all that cabinetry! W-o-w. I had the same fake butcher block Formica and copper hardware in my first home.

It is all in really good shape and totally functional, so a ccomplete gut and remodel would not make economic nor environmental sense at this point. Maybe in a few years when the college tuition payments become a thing of the past, I could go that route. For now I just need to make the space look a bit happier. Much Happier.
Any thoughts, ideas, comments, suggestions?