Saturday, February 25, 2012

Long day...

J's grandad died last night. J flew back home today to be with his family and attend the services. I'm glad he can go, and sad that I am not going with him.

I stayed back to take care of the dogs, chickens and to keep things moving on the farm. We got notice yesterday that our house is rented. We need to be out before April 1.

I painted the cabinets yesterday. They look great. And today I worked on the floors after bringing J to the airport. He showed me how to set up the sander into the shop vac so I could finish up the edges of the rooms. All the rooms are now sanded with the exception of the kitchen. We were lucky that there is a stain the same color/name as the wood we bought for the living room. It is a gorgeous rich red called "gunstock". I put the first coat on in the bedroom, hallway and laundry room. It immediately warmed the place right up. It is a nice rich color that brings a depth to the rooms that was lacking. I am in love with the floors. I think when taking on a project like this it is the floors that give such a sense of accomplishment.

That whole nesting thing. Yeah. It's not going away. I keep picturing what the reading room will look like with the big fat chair and the antique mission desk I found a couple years ago in a store out on the eastern plains. The living room with the large table J and I built. Where do I hang the pictures. I was told that I need to refrain from A) buying anything new (used counts as new for this directive) and B) I can't start hanging things or decorating until we are moved in. It is killing me, but I get it. Knocking down the watercolor our friend painted for our wedding gift when we move the mattress in is not such a good thing, right? Still, the patience thing is eluding me right now.

But, it is time for sleep, so I can get up early and head back to finish the floors and painting trim. I actually think I can accomplish my to do list this week. Feels lovely.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Taking a day...

Today I took the day off. It feels good to have a day in the home stretch to finish all the painting that needs to be done. Wednesday night I painted all but two windows, and with second coats today they will be complete. Then, on to the cabinets. I don't want to move in without them painted. We will be making the butcher block counter top at a later date, but at least the cabinets will look nice.

J will finish sanding the floors and will lay the living room hardwood tomorrow. The we stain the old floor and for two to three nights we swing by an lay a coat of clear poly on top. I am confident they will look amazing. And then, we begin moving in next weekend, once the floors have had some days to cure.

We decided to take the plunge and buy the tractor. We will wait until we pay for everything else. We came out of the remodel with only really owing the mortgage. What a relief. We will eventually be the owners of a beautiful Massey Ferguson.

I also will be heading to the nursery to buy a couple seedling heat mats. This year I am going to take seeding real serious and do it right. At least I will try like hell. We also put the tree order on hold in an effort to look for some reasonably priced larger trees to start the wind break. Otherwise we won't have any substantial size to the trees for several years, if purchased through the forest dept. We will get some from them as well, like the fruit shrubs.

Well, off to run some quick errands and then up to the farm. Feels good.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Simple things...

It's the little touches that I think makes a home. J's Mom and I went shopping for fabric for the kitchen and living room curtains. I am not usually much for curtains, but some little cafe curtains will be just the right touch for the farmhouse. Not too dressy or showy, but classy. I found some fabrics that are reproductions of Morris' arts and crafts period. I am in love with it.

I don't sew. It is on the list of things to learn. Instead, I will be enlisting several of my friends to create the finished product. I can't wait to see how they look.
J is off looking at tractors. I am confident he will just look. But one can never be too sure. The Massey's are pretty appealing and the John Deere green is quite the looker. We'll see where we end up. I'd love to find a nice gently used one from some sweet old farmer in the area. One can hope.

We watched Small Farm Rising with J's mom. It's probably the fourth time I've watched it. I love that documentary. I think it was the push that sent J back to the tractor dealer. He was already there this morning while I was picking up dog food and chicken feed.

The girls have had a long winter and look like they are surviving a war. I have a bit of an extreme pecking problem. When we move they will have much more freedom to roam and a larger house when it's cold. They are a bit stir crazy. I can relate.

Well off to dinner and then to the airport with a goodbye to J's mom in the morning on the way to work. It's been a nice visit. Far too short, but I am sure she can't wait to get home to her pups and the lake.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Countdown begins...

Let's just say the kitchen floor was much easier to remove than the bathroom. We put everything away, as we have been staying at the farm the last couple weekends, and began prepping the floors to be refinished. Last week the wood for the living room floor arrived. J is finishing up by sanding the edges of the rooms, and we will be refinishing them this week. A coat on the floor each night and we will be done by the weekend. Then we will spend the weekend laying the living room floor.
I had painted the kitchen a couple weeks ago what I thought was going to be a lovely light french country yellow. Well, my peepers must not be what they used to be as this was not the color that was on the wall. It had a neon glow and a limey tint to it. Sooo, it was a redo with with "sandpiper", a nice muted tone ala Martha Stewart. While the picture does not do it justice, believe me it was not pretty in the evening under the lights.
I am close to having the painting complete. It would be easier if I was left alone to crank along quietly. Doesn't always happen that way, so lots of distractions, etc. Also doesn't help when the husband decides he can't fix the leaning barn in a snow storm and decides he must sand the floors in the space you are working in. And then asks why you didn't get the painting done and don't I know we have a deadline coming up. The wonders of home improvement with your spouse.

However, he is right, in that we will begin moving in in about two weeks. We put our house in town up for lease for April 1 and we already have two folks interested (in just two days). They were the first two couples to view it. We have three more lined up for showings. It seems like good timing for us, and a 2% vacancy rate in town doesn't exactly hurt.

Garden planning has begun. My seed order from Baker Creek came in. It was like Christmas, but better. When it comes to seeds I may actually be prepared for eternity. I needed a good place to store my seeds, one that is mouse proof. So I went to the local army surplus store and bought some vintage ammo boxes. They are the best and all the packets fit perfect and upright so you can sift through them quickly.
I am in the market now for a lighted grow rack. My one light will not be enough to start all the starters we are planning on. The longing for spring has begun. And, with perfect timing, winter in Colorado has finally decided to come pay us a visit. Snowing heavily two weekends in a row.

A couple weeks ago we came to the farm to find a "hello neighbor" note on the door. It seems there is a community group here that brings together all the far flung folks. They purchased an old school in the 70's, that was built in 1925. They host the local 4H there and also have a potluck once a month. Membership is an extremely modest fee and all you have to do is host the potluck once a year and participate in some cleaning/fix up days. So, we decided to check it out on a very snowy night, and meet the neighbors. In our new neck of the woods neighbors could live 20+ miles away.

We were welcomed warmly and met some great characters. J whispered that this was a glimpse of our future. No bake cherry cheese cake and ranchers teasing each other over home cooked meals and what not. That evening they invited a speaker. He was from one of the local railroads and he did a presentation on railroad safety. While not something I would have chosen for a Saturday night out, it was actually pretty interesting. Especially living in an area with regular in town train traffic. Even with the snow it was a good crowd that ventured out in the cold, and we anticipate meeting even more folks at the next one. I also met some potential livestock mentors as well. Very excited about that.

Thursday night J's mom came in from the east coast to visit, see the farm and stay with us while we still have a guest room. Today we went to the farm after hitting the vintage store (found the perfect bathroom mirror), and painted some trim. She likes the house, which is appreciated. I know it isn't easy to readily see the vision we have for the place. But the view sucks everyone in.

Tonight, I am sleepy, and happy that Monday is a holiday for me. I may actually get all the window trim and doors painted. Then it's just the kitchen cabinets left.

I can't believe it is so close. When we are there I never want to leave. It already feels like home. Like a sanctuary.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Snow day...

Sorta. I have many files to review for work, however, the office was closed due to snow. Let's hope the barn at the farm doesn't fall and the roofs on the grain bins are intact.

J says that means I need to go to the farm to paint. Well, sorry to be a buzz kill, but work first.

J went to order the hardwood for the floor the other night and they were closed. He has this streak about him that is very lucky. He went back last night and the wood had just been put on sale. YAY! So now we have enough to buy both exterior doors for the house, rather than just one. See, frustration is just a distraction to seeing the better side of delays and obstacles. (Pardon my zen moment. The patience practice is working me thinks.) And, being quite chatty helps. Direct TV allowed us to keep our account in suspension a bit longer until we move, unless we decide life without tv is better (close). Life is good.

I am absolutely excited to have the seed order in. While there are a couple other packets I will pick up along the way, the majority will be in the mail shortly.

I did go a little nuts. Nearly $150 in seeds. Our weakness is fruit. And Colorado isn't exactly New England with it's orchards and berry patches every five hundred feet. With the short season and likeliness for July hail storms, local fruit takes some hunting and planning. With that in mind I ordered several short season melons and watermelons. I am searching for various fruit trees and fruit shrubs that can thrive in our arid and unpredictable climate. In the end, we will likely be inundated with fruit, which is part of the master plan. Pies, frozen fruit for smoothies, preserves and canned fruit for winter days when you just need a lift to get yourself through to Spring.

J says I tend to plant too much squash, so I am branching to things he will actually entertain eating. I am the rare person that is glad to find rogue zucchini stashed in my car from some person who thought two plants is better than one and is now left with a plethora of squash the size of baseball bats. (Note to all of you, I will have planted tons, so keep this in mind.) Of course, with all that extra I can share the wealth with my chickens and future bacon producers (results are still out on the name your dinner thing).

I would like to try my hand at growing dried beans, which do well here. I have yet to successfully start my own seeds since moving here. So this year, while we create plans to build a proper greenhouse, it will be tomato and pepper starts from the nursery. Let's limit things to one hundred things at a time, rather than try planting the whole elephant at once (someone gets that sentence right?)

I also think, with the winter weather here for a brief visit, it may be the weekend to stay at the farm for the first time. I will be packing the blowup mattress and pillows and blankets in preparation and head to the grocery store for the weekend meals this afternoon. I can't stop envisioning sitting in my Amish rocker in the window with a cup of tea looking over the snow covered pastures and the white caps on the mountains.

Another thing I am excited for is landscaping around the house. Think chaotic English/cottage garden. I have not let go of the dream that I can create a lush spot in this front range desert. Just need to keep a lookout for the snakes when we do this.

J went up to the house this week for our last inspection. We passed, and now we are done with the loan requirements and are just awaiting final payout. He did not anticipate receiving a lesson on the local snake population from the local inspector, an older woman who lives just down the road a bit. I am not a fan of the slithery set. I recently googled pig housing, and came up with a picture of a python swallowing a pig (who is the programmer, really, under "pig housing"). Ugh. Anyway, we are apparently close enough to the foothills for rattle snakes (not welcome) and bullhead snakes (apparently welcome). They like tall grass, so mowing is definitely part of my future, and they like spring when they come out of their hobbit holes and fall, when they are preparing to return. We have an open space area of trails about thirteen miles from the house. I am told the parking lot is built on top of a rattle snake den where they winter over. Folks who have gone out for a day of hiking on the warmer spring days have come back to find the ground surrounding their cars littered with rattle snakes. I am hoping this story is quite exaggerated for the benefit of totally freaking me out. One can hope right? Ahh, the wild wild west.

Well, work is calling me. I best get back to the payer of dreams.