Looking for Luck, Using Salvaged Barnwood, Digging for Treasure in the Woods, New Adventures in Landscaping, Fresh Asparagus, Fishing Contest
Looking for Luck, Using Salvaged Barnwood, Digging for Treasure in the Woods, New Adventures in Landscaping, Fresh Asparagus, Fishing Contest

Looking for Luck, Using Salvaged Barnwood, Digging for Treasure in the Woods, New Adventures in Landscaping, Fresh Asparagus, Fishing Contest

We are indeed living in strange times. After two months of quarantine, we are told to expect a new normal. There have been zero cases of COVID-19 in Barton County as of May 14. Casey went back to work on April 7. The warehouse he works at is on lockdown, with temperature readings upon entry of the building. I’ve been staying close to the farm and our home, working on garden and farm tasks, as much as possible anyway, as it has rained so much and some days it’s so windy we have to wear ear protection. I did not devote daily time to writing like I had been, and I wasn’t as good about taking pictures of everything we accomplished, but I still came out with a LOT of pictures of fun times, of the girls learning, of our creations and of our accomplishments to share with you.

Monday, April 6-Wednesday, May 14

FAMILY EXPEDITION TO DIG BLACKBERRY STARTS TURNS INTO CONTEST OVER WHO CAN FIND THE CLOVER WITH THE MOST LEAVES {I WON WITH 6}
STAINING BARN WOOD FOR A KITCHEN TABLE & SUNNING ON THE CEMENT {IT HAS BEEN COOL AND BREEZY WITH LOTS OF RAIN FOR WEEKS AND WEEKS}
TABLE IN PROGRESS. ADDING TURQUOISE INLACE TO THE CRACKS AND KNOTHOLES
LEGS AFTER PAINT AND STAIN. IN NEED OF A GOOD SANDING.
13 NAILS AND A WAD OF BALING WIRE. THAT’S ONLY WHAT’S VISIBLE ON THE TOP SIDE. WE GO TO SOME LENGTHS TO CLEAN UP THE OLD BARN TIMBERS AND ACCENTUATE THE HOLES AND SCARS IN THE FURNITURE WE TURN OUT.
DRYING MULLEIN LEAVES ON MY IMPROVISED DRYING RACK. I USED TWO IDENTICAL RACKS TO FABRICATE THIS ONE WITH WHEELS AND MANY SHELVES. IT NEEDS A FINER MESH LAID ON IT. AND I’M WORKING ON A PLAN FOR A COVER , A COUPLE FILTERS AND A LITTLE FAN TO KEEP THE WOOD SHOP DUST OFF. I DRIED THESE IN THE MIDDLE OF A FLURRY OF OUTDOOR ACTIVITY, SO THERE WAS NO DUST BEING DISTURBED OR GENERATED IN THERE. I EVENTUALLY GAVE UP BECAUSE OF THE HUMID WEATHER AND WHEN I HAD A FEW HOURS OF TIME TO BE RIGHT THERE AROUND THE HOUSE, I GOT THE DEHYDRATOR OUT AND FINISHED IT OFF. I CAN SEE ADVANTAGES TO USING BOTH. THIS COULD BE A GREAT HOLDING SPOT BETWEEN BOUTS OF RUNNING THE DEHYDRATOR, AFTER THE IMPROVEMENTS ARE MADE.
NEV IS INSPECTING OUR HOLDING AREA FOR BLACKBERRY STARTS. WE SOLD APPROXIMATELY 200 STARTS. I HOPE TO HEAR STORIES OF THE BLACKBERRY BOUNTIES TO BE HAD IN A FEW YEARS.
OYSTER MUSHROOMS CREEK FOUND ON A WATER OAK ON THE CREEK BANK, AND A POT SHE FOUND STICKING OUT OF THE GROUND: A GREY ENAMEL CHAMBER POT.
LOVES THE WIND, THIS ONE.
OYSTER MUSHROOMS. THEY WERE DELICIOUS IN A STOCK POT I BREWED USING THE HAM BONE FROM EASTER DINNER AT MOM AND DAD’S.
WE HAVE SEEN MORE WILDLIFE THIS YEAR THAN EVER, BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN INTENTIONALLY STUDYING IT EVERYWHERE WE GO. THERE ARE TEACHING MOMENTS EVERYWHERE, WHICH I ADORE ABOUT HOMESCHOOLING, BECAUSE BEFORE, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN “YEP, IT’S A GREEN SNAKE.” NOW IT’S “MOM, LET’S GET A PIC AND LOOK IT UP WHEN WE GET HOME.”
SOCIAL DISTANCING FISHING TOURNAMENT. GREV WAS ON MY TEAM. WE LOST AND I ENDED UP CLEANING LIKE 60 FISH.
I’M SORRY IF STAINED HANDS BOTHER YOU. THEY BOTHER ME, BUT I CAN’T GET AWAY WITHOUT SOAKING UP THE DIRT OR WOOD STAIN, SO THIS IS WHAT YA GET. I SPEND A LOT OF TIME IN MY PERENNIAL BORDER IN MY BACK YARD, WHERE I HAVE A LOT OF HEIRLOOM FLOWERS THAT I RECEIVED YEARS AGO AND DUG ‘N LUGGED FROM HOME TO HOME BEFORE FINALLY FINDING OUR FOREVER SPOT TO TAKE ROOT. ONE MORNING, I GRABBED ONE OF LAST YEAR’S LANTANA BY THE STEM, AND JUST BELOW THE SURFACE, THE BIGGEST YELLOW JACKET I HAVE EVER SEEN STUNG THE CRAP OUT OF MY FINGER. I HAVE A LITTLE PATCH OF RIBWORT PLANTAIN THAT I ALLOW TO GROW SO THAT I HAVE A HANDY SPOT TO HARVEST FRESH TENDER LEAVES FOR SALAD AND FOR FIRST AID. I GRABBED A COUPLE, SMASHED THEM BETWEEN MY TEETH, THEN WADDED THEM UP AND HELD IN PLACE UNTIL THE STINGING SUBSIDED CRAZY QUICK.
CRAPPIE OF THE DAY FROM OUR LITTLE POND HERE AT THE HOMESTEAD. I’VE TAKEN TO WEARING A CARPENTER’S APRON, AS IT’S TOO WARM TO WEAR MY FAVORITE VEST ALL THE TIME. IT KEEPS MY PHONE, CHAPSTICK, POCKET KNIFE AND CHILDREN’S TREASURES HANDY WHEN I’M WEARING PANTS WITHOUT POCKETS.
A HATCH OF SNAKE EGGS IN THE MULCH PILE.
THE REST OF THE PATH THAT I STARTED HEAVY MULCHING LAST YEAR. EVERYONE USES THE PATH, AS IT GOES FROM THE REAR CENTER DOOR ON THE HOUSE TO THE CLOTHESLINE, THE WOOD SHED, AND THE ROUND PEN AND CHICKEN COOP, SO IT GETS HEAVY TRAFFIC. I DID THE FIRST HALF OF IT LAST YEAR USING THE OLD MAGAZINES FROM MOM AND DAD’S HOUSE. I LAID THEM DOWN, OVERLAPPING, THEN COVERED THEM WITH 4 INCHES OF MULCH. THIS PAST YEAR, I KEPT ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING PAPER THAT I COULD USE FOR THIS ONGOING PROJECT, AND REGULARLY PICKED UP THE DISCARDED MAGAZINES FROM MOM AND DAD’S, AND KEPT IT ALL IN A BIG STORAGE TUB IN THE SUN ROOM. FARM JOURNALS, LIVESTOCK REPORTS, EXCHANGER 2’S, EXPENSIVE ADVERTISING FLYERS, BEER BOXES, CAPRI SUN PACKAGING, BANANA BOXES, DOTERRA BOXES.
THIS IS LOOKING UP THE PATH TOWARD THE AREA THAT I DID IN SPRING 2019. AFTER I LAID THE MAGAZINES DOWN ON THE NEW AREA, I TOOK A BROOM AND LITERALLY SWEPT OUT THE LEAVES THAT HAD GATHERED UP THERE UNDERNEATH THE POTTING BENCH AND ALONG THE CEDAR TIMBERS. IT WAS SO EASY TO CLEAN UP! I JUST SWEPT IT ALL DOWN OVER THE MAGAZINES, AND YOU CAN SEE IT WENT OVER 10 FEET DOWN THE PATH IN A THICK LAYER. I STARTED CARTING NEW MULCH AT THIS POINT.
HERE IS IS FINISHED LOOKING DOWN FROM THE TOP OF THE PATH. THE DOGS DON’T LIKE THE NEW, SOFT, SPONGY, POINTY MULCH, SO THEY’RE BALANCING ON THE ROCKS AND TIMBERS.
OYSTER MUSHROOMS IN THE EASTER HAM BONE STOCK POT WITH 2019 FROZEN PEPPERS AND 2020 FRESH ASPARAGUS. WE ALSO GOT AHOLD OF SOME ZUCCHINI FROM A TRUCK DRIVER. HE HAD BEEN TO A PRODUCE STATE TO PICK UP, AND THEY OVERFILLED HIS TRUCK BECAUSE THEY NEEDED TO SEND THE STUFF OUT. RESTAURANTS CLOSING HAS CLOSED DOWN THE OUTLET FOR THE PRODUCE FARMS, SO THEY GAVE THE GUY MORE THAN HIS DELIVERY POINT ORDERED. THE DELIVERY POINT ONLY TOOK WHAT THEY HAD ORDERED, STICKING THE DRIVER WITH A LOT OF CASES OF FRESH ZUCCHINI. WE MADE TACOS WITH SAUTEED ZUCCHINI AND DID OTHER CREATIVE COOKING WITH IT ALL.
I REACHED UP AND GOT A SHOT OF THE ROBIN’S EGGS IN THE NEST INSIDE OUR BINZEBO.
THE GIRLS HAVE A FAIRY GARDEN UNDER MY JAPANESE MAPLE. SOMEDAY I’LL DIG UP THE LITTLE BICYCLE IN FRONT OF ‘TOAD’S HOUSE’ AND CRY AND CRY. I PLAY IN THERE WITH THEM A LOT.
HOSTA ‘MOUSE EARS’ UNFURLING IN THE FAIRY GARDEN.
POACHING ROCKS. FARMER AND I WERE ABLE TO CATCH THE EXCAVATOR WHEN THEY WERE CLEANING UP THIS OVERGROWN FARMSTEAD. THE CELLAR WAS COVERED WITH NICE FLAT SANDSTONE, WHICH WE USE ALL THE TIME IN OUR LANDSCAPING. THIS IS GOING TO SOUND WEIRD, BUT A GOOD STASH OF FREE ROCKS WITHIN A MILE OF HOME IS A PRETTY BIG WINDFALL TO US.
SOCIAL DISTANCING WHILE FINISHING OFF A SALVAGE PROJECT.
MY FIRST LOAF OF SOURDOUGH READY TO GO IN THE OVEN.
DELICIOUS. THE OLDER MY STARTER GETS, THE BETTER THE BREAD TASTES.
WILD WIND BLOWN HAIR. ABOUT 6 WEEKS OVERDUE FOR A TRIM.
MULLEIN TRANSPLANTS. IT’S ILLEGAL TO DIG WILDFLOWERS OUT OF DITCHES, SO WE FOUND THE SEEDLINGS GROWING IN CROP FIELDS, WHERE THEY WOULD EITHER BE SPRAYED OR DISKED UNDER. THIS PLANT LOVES COMPACT, WASTY SOILS, AND WE SEE IT GROWING IN IMPOSSIBLE ROCKY, STEEP PLACES. IT WILL LOVE MY BACK YARD.
BEAUTIFUL WORN TEETH ON A COW SKULL FOUND WHILE MUSHROOM HUNTING. RECEDING WATER LEFT IT UPSIDE DOWN IN A STAND OF TREES. IT CAPTIVATED ME…HOW PERFECTLY WE ARE ALL MADE.
THE REMAINS OF A HOMESTEAD, PUSHED INTO THE BRUSH. I WANT TO GO BACK AND LOOK MORE CLOSELY AT THE JARS.
FARMGIRL TREASURE! BALING WIRE STASH FROM FARMERS PAST. I HAD CALE PUT IT IN A BUCKET TO TAKE HOME.
THE PRETTIEST PRIVY I’VE EVER SEEN.
FUNKY RED FUNGUS GROWING ON PINE BARN TIMBERS.
PICKING UP SHINGLES TO RAISE MONEY FOR A ROKU FOR THEIR BEDROOM. THE SHINGLES MAKE GREAT LITTLE SIGNS AND OTHER CRAFTS. THEY’RE WORN BY WATER AND WEATHER.
A FULL BATCH OF CONVENTIONAL BREAD. 2 LOAVES, OVER 2 DOZEN ROLLS AND 8 HAMBURGER BUNS.
MAKING MIMI’S BIRTHDAY PRESENT. I PICKED THESE CARCASSES OF LAST YEAR’S FLOWERS WHEN OUT FORAGING FOR ASPARAGUS BY MYSELF ONE DAY. I THOUGHT THEY WOULD BE FUN TO PAINT SOMETIME, AND I STUCK THEM ON A SHELF UNTIL THE RIGHT CHANCE CAME ALONG. I TAPED WRAPPING PAPER TO MY TABLE, THEN LAID EVERYTHING OUT FOR THE GIRLS TO PAINT. PUTTING 6 COLORS OF PAINT IN A LITTLE EGG CARTON REDUCED CHOICES AND MADE THINGS GO PRETTY SMOOTHLY.
ONE OF FARMER’S MANY PROJECTS: RE-SEASONING CAST IRON PIECES FOR US TO USE IN OUR KITCHEN.
THIS PEDAL GRIP KEEPS MY SEWING MACHINE PEDAL FROM SLIDING UNDERNEATH THE TABLE. I WAS FOREVER ALWAYS DIGGING MY PEDAL OUT UNTIL I MADE ONE FOR MYSELF!
SO MANY RAINY DAYS!
MY KIDS ARE RARELY BORED OUTDOORS. THANK GOODNESS THEY’RE TOTALLY WASHABLE.
I’VE TRIED SEVERAL PLACES ON MY KITCHEN COUNTER TO KEEP MY SOURDOUGH STARTER. IT’S HAPPIEST TUCKED HERE ON THE EDGE OF THE COUNTER, WHERE THE SMALL AMOUNT OF HEAT FROM THE REFRIGERATOR KEEPS IT HAPPY AND GROWING AND BUBBLING AND DOUBLING.
I SCABBED TOGETHER A STAND FOR MY COOKBOOKS TO SAVE SOME ROOM ON THE COUNTER. IT FOLDS UP AND STOWS AWAY ON THE SHELF WITH MY BOOKS.
EXPLORING AND POKING THINGS WITH A STICK.
PICKING WEEDS AND MAKING WREATHS.
FRESH ASPARAGUS WRAPPED IN BACON, FRIED IN THE AIR FRYER I GOT FOR MY BIRTHDAY. PEPPERS PICKLED LAST FALL. FRESH SALAD WITH BACON TRIMMINGS.
PROTOTYPE CHAIR. I USED SHIPLAP FROM THE 37 BARN FOR THE SEAT. THIS SHIPLAP IS SPECIAL. IT IS COVERED IN BEE PROPOLIS, THE THICK SUBSTANCE THE BEES USE TO CHINK CRACKS AND COAT THE WALLS OF THEIR HIVE. SEE THE GROOVES THEY MADE IN THE WOOD TO ATTACH THEIR COMBS? IT’S REALLY BEAUTIFUL.
THIS DOESN’T LOOK TOTALLY SINCERE….
THE NEW WIND FARM IN THE WESTERN PART OF THE COUNTY IS ABOUT 15 MILES AWAY. THE ROCK USED FOR THE ACCESS ROADS AND FOR THE CEMENT FOR THE TOWER BASES WAS HAULED RIGHT BY THE HOMESTEAD FROM A NEIGHBORING QUARRY.
FRESH SOURDOUGH LOAF AND FRESH GREENS FROM THE GARDEN. THE LOAF DOESN’T LOOK QUITE RIGHT BECAUSE I FORGOT TO SLASH THE CRUST BEFORE PUTTING IT IN THE OVEN. I CAUGHT IT WHEN I REMOVED THE DUTCH OVEN LID AT 2O MINS.
MY NEW KITCHEN HERB GARDEN, COVERED TO PROTECT FROM LATE FROST.
TEACHING CREEK HOW TO CLEAN OUT CATTLE WATERERS.
ONE STUPID CALF GOT HIS HEAD STUCK IN THE FENCE ABOUT HALF A DOZEN TIMES. HE HASN’T DONE IT IN ABOUT A WEEK; MAYBE HIS HEAD DOESN’T FIT ANYMORE!
CORAL BELLS IN MOM’S BACK YARD. NEV IS DRINKING RAIN WATER FROM A SUPER OLD CEMENT HOG WATER TROUGH.
COMFY. RIGHT UP IN THE MIDDLE OF SISTER DOING DISHES AND MOM MAKING DINNER.
TURKEY TALK
SLAYIN’ CRAPPIE WITH M’BESTIE. WE WERE DOWN TO ONE GOOD POLE BETWIXT THE TWO OF US, SO WE POOLED OUR MINNOWS AND TOOK TURNS TILL WE RAN OUT OF MINNOWS. WE WERE JUST TOSSING THE BOBBER AND MINNOW OUT A FEW FEET, THEN LETTING THE WIND DRIFT IT INTO CRAPPIE COUNTRY UP UNDERNEATH TREE BRANCHES AND STUMPS. IT WAS A BLAST.
FAMILY WORK DAY AT MY JACKSON CREEK FARM. WE CLEANED UP THE BLACKBERRY PATCH AND HAD DINNER. FARMER BROUGHT THE TRACTOR OVER TO HELP CLEAN UP.
EXCUSE THE DEEP MULCH IN THE COOP. I MADE SOME IMPROVEMENTS TO THE COOP WITH ZIP TIES AND SCRAP LUMBER. MY HENS TOOK A FEW DAYS TO CATCH ON, BUT THEY LOVE ROOSTING IN FRONT OF THE BOXES NOW.
LOAVES FOR DAYS, UNTIL YOU GIVE THEM AWAY TO YOUR FRIENDS!
MY COUSIN KATIE SCORED ME A HIVE BOX AT AN AUCTION. I JUST HAD TO PAINT IT UP FRESH. I DESIGNED THIS LITTLE GRAPHIC TO PUT ON MY HIVE BOXES. I’LL COME UP WITH ANOTHER DESIGN FOR THE HONEY SUPERS. WE PUT A NUC IN THIS BOX ON APRIL 30. WITH HER HELP, I WAS ABLE TO INSTALL MY FIRST COLONY THIS YEAR. I HAD SET IT ASIDE FOR NEXT YEAR, SO I AM SO EXCITED TO BE IN BEESNESS!
CREEK IS USING THE PLASMA CUTTER TO HELP ME FABRICATE OUR CHICKEN TRACTOR.
THESE TWO WILL TURN ANYTHING INTO A HORSE.
WOOD EAR MUSHROOMS GOING INTO THE DEHYDRATOR.
OUR GO-TO BOOK COLLECTION. MISSING: OUR BUG BOOK, THE NATIONAL AUDOBON SOCIETY GUIDE TO NORTH AMERICAN INSECTS AND SPIDERS.
I OPENED UP THE TRUCK DOOR AND MIDGE WAS TAKING A NAP, NESTLED ATOP MY BEE SUIT.
MIDGE WAS UNHAPPY WHEN I USED HER SUNNIN’ STRAW BALE TO MULCH THE ELDERBERRIES.
BARN SWALLOWS WILL SWOOP AT THE CHANCE TO FLY INTO THE HOUSE. I CAUGHT THIS ONE ON THE WINDOW SILL. IT WAS A BIT PANICKY. I DIDN’T REALIZE THEY WERE SO SMALL. THEY’RE BASICALLY WINGS WITH A TINY MOTOR.
CASEY WELDED A STAND ON MY TRAILER SO IT WILL HOLD THE SPARE TIRE.
SOURDOUGH BISCUITS ARE DELISH. THE GIRLS LOVE THEM.
ROUND PUPILS=WATER SNAKE. HARMLESS.
WE GOT THIS SWEET STUB-TAILED CALICO KITTEN. CALE WANTS IT TO LOVE HER SO BAD. I TOOK THIS PIC TO SHOW HER THAT THE KITTY LOVES HER.
AMAZING FLAT-BOTTOM CLOUD-FILLED SKY.
IRIS WITH COORDINATING TONKA GRAVEYARD.
A WALK WITH KIDS AND COWS.
SPOUTING WISDOM FROM THE BUG BOOK.
AFTER 2 MONTHS OF MAKING BREAD, I HAVE FIGURED OUT HOW TO BAKE A WEEK’S WORTH OF BREAD AND ROLLS IN ONE MORNING: A SOURDOUGH LOAF, A BATCH OF SOURDOUGH BISCUITS (I’LL DOUBLE IT NEXT TIME), TWO PANS OF CINNAMON RAISIN ROLLS, TWO PANS OF REGULAR ROLLS (WITH A RANDOM RAISIN HERE AND THERE THANKS TO CALE), AND A 5X9 LOAF.
SIGNAGE FOR WEST BOTTOMS. I’M STARTING MY SETUP THERE NEXT WEEK. THE ADVANTAGE OF WEST BOTTOMS IS THAT I CAN STOCK MY SETUP EARLY IN THE WEEK WHILE NO ONE IS AROUND, THE STORE IS OPEN EVERY WEEKEND, AND I AM NOT REQUIRED TO BE THERE TO MAKE SALES. I NEED TO BE THERE ON FIRST FRIDAY WEEKENDS, SO WATCH FOR ME THERE.
MY NEIGHBOR ASKED ME TO MAKE A VERY SPECIFIC GIFT: KITCHEN TOWELS WITH CHEESY SAYINGS ABOUT CHEESE. I USED WHITE FLOUR SACK MATERIAL THAT WE GOT IN A STORAGE UNIT CLEANOUT {IT WAS THE HOLY GRAIL, THE MOTHER OF ALL CRAFT MATERIAL STASHES, WHICH IS A STORY FOR ANOTHER TIME} FOR THE WHITE SIDE, AND THE BACKING IS BOTH NEW CIVIL WAR REPRODUCTION AND VINTAGE FLOUR SACK MATERIAL.
I WENT JUNKIN’ AT BUBS HOHULIN’S BUILDING ON THE SQUARE, AND AMONG MY TREASURES WAS A BOX OF OLD OLD OLD CALENDARS. I WISH THE CALENDAR PORTION HADN’T BEEN CUT OFF OF THIS ONE, BUT THE ILLUSTRATIONS AND INFORMATIVE DESCRIPTIONS INSIDE ARE WORTHY OF SAVING FOR EDUCATIONAL MATERIAL.
I DUNNO HOW NEV FITS IN THERE, BUT IT’S WHERE SHE GOES WHEN THINGS IN QUARANTINE GET TOO WILD AND CRAZY.
WORKING BEES ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON. KATIE BROUGHT CREEK A SUIT TO WEAR SO SHE COULD SEE WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT. I SPOTTED THE QUEEN IN ONE OF THE HIVES! MY FIRST QUEEN SIGHTING!

The end of week nine means loosening of restrictions on the quarantine.

Casey has been back at work since May 6, but I have been staying near home with the girls, trying to get a load of junk ready to haul to Kansas City, while attempting to complete custom orders. Some days feel like they unfold in 5-minute chapters that go something like this: I work on something for 5 minutes, then someone needs a snack. I spend 15 minutes getting the snack, redirecting attention, and figuring out what I was doing before I got interrupted. I work on the project for 5 minutes, then someone hit someone else in the face with a stick. I spend 15 minutes nursing the wound, lecturing the perpatrator, finding the stick, hiding it/breaking it into pieces, and looking for the paint brush I had in my hand when this new drama unfolded. I spend 5 minutes painting, then I’m needed to get the things to do the thing they want to do, and I spend 15 minutes washing out the paint brush, getting the things, setting the things up, and now I need a snack too. And so on and so forth. Tedium, I tell ya.

Do ya feel me here?

It’s all great though. Most days are fun and interesting and the girls are helpful and they still fight but not to the point of driving me insane.

I’m looking forward to next week and going to KC to begin setup on my booths in the West Bottoms. I hope loosening the restrictions doesn’t reflect a spike in two weeks time. My little biz needs to move some junk. I usually move a lot of raw material and product in the spring, which I was prepared to do, but haven’t had an outlet for any of it since my March and May junk shows were canceled. I have plenty of salvaged materials on hand; maybe I’ll turn into the repurposer’s hardware store up there!

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