Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wind Is Blowing Outside and in My Head

Designing, decorating and maintaining an old 1920's Arts and Craft house AND  having a farming business requires lots of time management and $$$ management. Lucky for me, my husband Frank is a retired contractor so when I have an idea to change something or have something built, he makes it happen.  Unfortunately for him, I have LOTS OF IDEAS.This time of year is so confusing to me because normally I am up early, have my list of things I need to do in the gardens and vegetable fields; customer orders to fill; classes to schedule; phone calls; the list is always long.  October and November are in-between times; apples are finished and we are waiting for pomegranates, persimmons and citrus to be ripen;  where most people would be happy to have a break from work outside to being able to stay inside to read or relax, but not Frank and I.  My head is swirling like the winds with ideas, more lists; plans; too many projects that I want to do with less daylight to do them or weather keeping me inside or dollar costs keep them from being completed.
Two days ago, Frank and I got our hedger going and trimmed all the privet hedges around the house; cut back the wisteria; mowed back the front ivy; trimmed roses; shut off all the sprinkler timers; and got the blower out and blew off all the clippings that Frank picked up with his tractor from around the front of the house. We felt like we were in a tornado of yard projects that had been neglected all summer but at the end of the day, I took 3 Advil and admired how nice and trim everything looked, at least for one day.
I have 5 knitting projects sitting by my chair that I am trying to work on for Christmas presents.  Alligator and dragon scarves for the grandkids; I have pictures of some projects I want to do for the
  Holiday Ladiesburlap  give away bags..Paperwhites in Silver w/ Glass Ballsdiy christmas decor christmasHang packages for each month before Christmas Frank is working on building the new chicken house and trying to keep up with all my lists!!!
And today I have decided to tear all the slip covers off my furniture, wash them and to make new pillows in some spunky new fabrics. Pinned Image But then I see all the dust on the furniture and the chips in the paint so I have added some more items on my list of things to do.  Since I had everything else a mess, I moved on to change the bedding so it could hang on the line to dry in the wind. clothes lineWhile in the bedroom, I was looking around the room and thought-it needs a change; I am thinking wallpaper like this bedroom!!! Hopefully tomorrow the tornado in my brain will die down and I can get my house back in order.  My dogs Annie and Bella are exhausted from following me around all day.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Re-Inventing Our Lives

I was recently reading a blog "My French Country Home" and she brought up an interesting topic-re-inventing.  We are seeing it every place, most noticeably on Pinterest.  I have seen many items being built with the use of a wooden pallet. 
I have seen knitted items being made from old sweaters - either the yarn being re-used or the actual knitted garments being cut up and reshaped into stuffed toys, jewelry, even Christmas stockings. 

I recently went to an open house of a new antique store in Willows called Gatherings Market Place, a coop of dealers.  The store was filled with new uses of old farm items.  Light fixtures were previously chicken brooders;
   antique industrial storage and manufacturing items are now coffee tables or book cases. 
Then there is the new jewelry being made using anything and everything from the inside of a watch; to a scrabble puzzle letter; to old typewriter keys; buttons; that are now hanging off a necklace or bracelet.
 But what I am enjoying the most is seeing people re-inventing themselves.  Particularly women who are stay-at-home Moms making and selling painted furniture; knitted items; jewelry; sewn items; on Facebook and Etsy.  I so much love how Etsy has taken off and made some very talented Moms into having successful business careers.  And it has given men and women the outlet to make some extra money for their families and still stay home to raise their kids; I am seeing more and more writers of blogs selling objects on Etsy that morphed from their blogs. 
Re-inventing yourself doesn't mean to me that a person is being dishonest.  It means that one door may have closed on a successful office job where you were called an Clerical Assistant; to open up to a boundless opportunity on the Internet as a Graphic Designer; or a children's clothing designer; or a jewelry maker; or a soap maker; or a maker of re-invented pet beds-Pet FurnishingsYou take what abilities, skills, knowledge that you have, throw them up into the the air and see where they have re-arranged themselves and landed.
I wasn't always a farmer - just a re-invented office worker/Mom/interior designer/gardener//painter/sewer/knitter/writer/accountant/grant writer/need I say more!!!  I am going to go out to the kitchen and re-invent a piece of meat into a gourmet dinner.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Here at Windmill Farm it has been so hot and with all the farmers either harvesting walnuts or discing their fields, there is dust in my house everyplace.  When you walk around in the gardens the dirt is like powder it has been so dry and hot.  I am actually looking forward to some rain.
We have been working like crazy to use up the last of our vegetables and fruits by either drying them or canning them.  We have had such an abundance of peppers, tomatoes and my flowers have just bloomed and bloomed their little hearts out.
Our canning classes have been a great success and I can't believe how many interesting and fabulous people we have met.  There is such a new interest in the 20s-30s age group of young women who want to learn about foods, canning and generally anything about homemaking.
This week at our applesauce canning class, we had 9 women of all ages talking away around a big table in our sorting/outdoor kitchen laughing and joking as if they were old friends yet had only met at the class.  By the end, emails and text numbers were exchanged all around.  One girl purchased a table from another person who we all learned re-furbishes old furniture and paints them; one person was going to yard sales on the weekend to look for a dresser with another person saying she had one she would gladly give to her.  Young mothers talking about their children, it was so delightful to experience such common good will and friendships.  All while working away peeling, chopping and cooking applesauce!! As I checked my texts and emails before going to bed, I had 6 new Facebook members and loads of new messages all saying how much fun they had at our class.  Today's busy women, connecting and learning.
We are planning a future bread making class.  It seems that with the bread making machines that came out a few years ago, people went crazy making bread, but I don't hear much about it now.  With the cooler weather coming up, I was thinking maybe people would be interested in learning how to make bread without using a bread machine.  I am also going to be giving a class on making the Farmer's Market bags using the recycled feed sacks.  People can re-use/re-cycle bags; create their own; and learn some simple sewing skills and maybe make some to give away as gifts for the holidays.  Last year I made several and put gifts specific to certain friends and family members inside the bags I made for them.  One family member has horses so I made a bag that had a horse picture on the front of the feed sack; one friend loves rabbits, so I made a bag using rabbit feed.  One friend loves birds, so I made a market bag using a wild bird seed sack.  It is amazing how beautiful many of the feed sack graphics are on the front, or even sometimes on the back side of bags.
This is the time of year when Frank and I finally relax a little and not feel so much pressure to keep our crops, yard, and business going.  It is nice to just sit and chat about what we will be planting next year!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Chicken Things Make Me Laugh

I can't help it, when I see my chickens do weird stuff, they make me laugh.  When I see pictures of chickens doing silly things, they make me laugh.  If you don't like chickens, you won't think they are cute or funny. Doesn't this picture look like girl friends having a great chat, who cares that there is snow on the ground.
Doesn't this make you smile seeing baby chick getting as close to Mom as he can.
And where did he come from or, I just don't have any more room on my lap to hold one more-
I can picture this too, chickens are very curious. What's for dinner?
And the winner is:
The funniest thing I have ever seen anyone do for a chicken, knit them a sweater.  Now that would really make me laugh.
Have a great Wednesday, from Windmill Farm-