And so another springtime begins.
Yipppeeeee! I love winter, but I love spring too!
And March 21 means—SPRING IS HERE!
For me, spring means:
(yes, that’s a fire in the background. Baby, it’s cold outside!)
(no, this year I won’t be getting any baby chicks, but they are SOOOO cute. And tempting. One of my friends wants to get some fertilized eggs from my batch. My rooster is incredible and I do have some beauties. In any event, I do not want any baby chicks myself. I’m good.)
Frisky horses. And green pastures.
(well, here they are just standing and eating, other than Merlin who is resting. But lately they have been running like the wind and in the wind. From left to right is Jessi, Cowboy Dan, Merlin and visiting horse Andre.)
(you should have seen my 4 horses galloping through the meadow yesterday. It’s so funny, because I worry about my Merlin. He’s 19 and has some arthritis. I give him all kinds of vitamins. He was leading the herd! Wide open galloping. 5th gear. I need to stop worrying about that boy. He’s obviously feeling grand.)
(Lush, beautiful, delicious grass. After a long winter, you really appreciate seeing GREEN again. I never felt that way when I lived in the city. But here you notice things like that. I have to be careful with the sugars in the grass with two of my horses. I’m getting their pen ready to keep them off the luscious grass full time.)
(oh yeah, I’m buying them already, are you?)
But not this one. I’ve always heard of this watermelon, but I’ve never seen a seed package with a picture of a rattlesnake on it. No thanks!)
A new to-do list.
(even though the old to-do list still looms.)
Cats you’ve never seen before. And can’t photograph.
(a new grey striped feral cat in hanging out in the barn. Welcome!—as long as you get along with everyone else who lives on the Farm. S/He scampers every time I try to get close enough to take her/his pic. One day. S/He’ll love me like my other cats: Mustache Cat (who was also feral) and Hoshi and Jude and Anna Belle.)
(at last. Eggs again. I see quiche, and egg custard, and egg salad in my immediate future.)
Plans for camping.
(oh my gosh, guess what, I keep eyeing those old tiny campers so any of you have fixed up and made so super cute. Pinterest is killing me. But in the meantime, I love my pup tent! First camping trip is planned for May. I already have reservations at one of the campgrounds on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Can’t wait!)
Here’s an old favorite crazy good and crazy easy coconut pie recipe. You don’t even need a crust!
Put 2 cups milk, ¾ cup sugar, ½ cup Bisquick or other baking mix, 4 eggs, ¼ cup butter, 1 ½ tsp vanilla in a blender. Mix on low speed for about 3 minutes. Pour it into a greased pie plate. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then, sprinkle 1 cup shredded coconut on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
Springtime means time to go visit some schools with my little lamb puppet, Tilly!
(When I come into the classroom or library room, I always holler, “It’s me! It’s me! It’s Farmer T!” Does that sound familiar to anyone? Yep, I stole it from Ernest T Bass in The Andy Griffith Show!)
Now to the subject of the blog post! My OLD WASH HOUSE! I’m asking your advice on how to fix it up and make it cute.
On this, the first day of Spring, 2016, I am actually sitting in the Old Wash House. This is an old shack behind my house. When I first toured this property, I peeked in this door and it was filled from floor to ceiling with broken-down old junk. I think it was the place that, after something lost its usefulness, you drug it out to the Old Wash House. (If I’ve learned one thing about the folks who built this farm from the rich dirt in a mountain valley—they never parted with anything. I think I have found every pail of rusty nails, every feed sack, every single hay rope ever removed from a bale of hay on this farm. Ever.)
Anyway, the thing I noticed, as I looked up was the posts up there. You know what was dangling from them, right? Long snake skins! My own skin flinches as I write that. I am sitting here, under the posts that used to have long dangly snake skins.
Anyway, I didn’t know what this old shed was originally built for. I wanted it to be the “Old Spring House” so bad. But it wasn’t. It had a rusty faucet in the back and a drain, but no troughs and it was too far from the house to be a spring house. I asked my neighbor. And she told me it was the Old Wash House. They would do laundry in here and canning.
It’s on a hill behind the house, beneath the great black walnut trees, behind the boxwoods and forsythia.
I’ve eyed this building since we moved here. I wanted it for my very own. It drew me, dangling snake skins and all.
“For what!?” my husband would ask repeatedly.
“I don’t know…something….,” I’d always reply, “My studio or my office or my retreat or ….something.”
Finally, the last few weeks, I’ve been able to make some progress.
So, let’s go see my…um…oh, I don’t know, office or studio or shed.
But first. Here’s what it looked like a few weeks ago. Mustache Cat stayed in there for awhile. I can’t seem to find a photo of what it looked like when we toured the farm. But it was a million times worse than this and had snake skins dangling from those rafters.
And here it is as we were working on it. A friend came to help and put wood slats over the cracks in the walls. He told me that most of this wood in here is wormy chestnut. I had no idea.
And let me show you where we are in the process. Let’s start at the door.
Old and new. The latches that keep the door closed.
We put old siding on the interior of the door. The siding came from the house when we added a room and cut a hole in the house. I love the way it turned out.
So, I cleaned and painted the cracked concrete floor a crazy turquoise blue.
We ran an electric line to it so I could have some lights.
Check out this light fixture.
I was in the home improvement store one day and a elderly woman called me over and said, “Could you tell me what that sign says the price is on this light?” “It says $7.50!” I said, completely amazed at the price. “I thought so,” she said and then walked away. “Ma’m?” I asked, “Are you not going to get this $7.50 light? It’s a deal!” “I don’t have any place for it,” she said. “I don’t either! But I’m getting it if you’re not,” I told her. “You go ahead,” she said. So I did! $7.50! Yes, $7.50! It has been just waiting for a place to BE for a couple of years now. Boom! Found it!
Ages ago, I wrote a column about finding “True Grit.” After that, my farmgirl friend, Teresa, sent me this. Isn’t it grand? I need me some of that again. Tank is kinda empty.
I’ve had this screen door forever. When my daughter was an iddle-biddle, we painted words and sayings on it. It’s been looking for a home! Any ideas of how to make this useful in a studio/office setting?
And that table to the left of the screen door is from one of my grandmother’s rental houses. It has an old enamel top and has been with me for a long long time now. Wobbly and missing the drawer, but sentimental and stellar. I’ve also had the cabinet above it for a zillion years, but don’t remember where I got it. Probably a flea market.
I’ll show you some of the other things on the walls. Here’s the old faucet in the back of the house.
My Mom gave me this. Perfect!
I hung these two things on long rusty nails that were already in the wall. I made the egg chart in 2013, the first year I had chickens. I wanted to keep track of how many eggs I was getting. I remember when I found my first egg in nest box. It was Sept. 22 and some how I knew the chicken that laid it. Incredibly exciting! Now? Well, after a while of keeping chickens, the details no longer matter. I just collect eggs and eat them. I don’t concern myself with who laid what or when.
I am planning to work some in here, so need a spot for files.
And here’s the way it looks today!
I “stole” the bench that was on my porch and added some pillows and a small rug. But as you can see, I’m no decorator. What needs to be done in here to give it that final OOOMPH?? Ideas?
Would you weather the strips of wood so that they are the same color as the wall?
Would you white wash any of the wood?
What would you hang from those rafters? Can you think of anything cute and cheap?
Should I hang curtains?
A larger rug?
Any and all suggestions appreciated! I look at this photo now and it actually looks pretty good! Much better than it does in person.
It is so quiet here.
It is so noisy in my house.
I can think here. I’m away from dogs barking, cats wanting in and out, people talking, music playing, phones ringing, televisions going, hammers pounding, etc.
I guess it is not correct to say it is quiet here. It’s just a different kind of noise. Out here I hear farm sound. Outdoor sound. Nature sound.
The wind whipping through the trees.
There is a tall wooded ridge behind our house. And, actually, it is rather famous as the old books say that Daniel Boone walked that ridge. When the wind picks up and blows through those woods, the sound is amplified as it makes it way down to our house. It always stops me in my tracks. I hear the wind blowing today. It is a blustery, windy day here. I feel some wind coming in my Old Wash House, between the cracks. I guess I have a bit more work to do on sealing up the holes. You know what I’m thinking! If wind can get through, snakes can. ha.
The animals at the pond.
I hear geese honking down at the pond and later this evening I’ll hear bullfrogs. They have been noisy for weeks. I’ve been sleeping with my window open just so I can hear them. The only time they go silent is when the temperatures drop below freezing at night. The other evening before dark I went down to the pond as they sang and croaked and carried on. Until. They realized I was there. Then they stopped suddenly. Silent. When I left they started back up.
Horses snicker and neigh. It’s wonderful to hear. I’ve also heard a few times…
The thunder of hoof beats.
The first time I heard a group of horses running down the old farm road close to our house I didn’t know what it was. The ground shook. The noise was intense. It makes your heart skip a beat and quicken. I could tell the direction it was coming from and stopped what I was doing to look. Suddenly, 4 horses appeared galloping at full speed. (They weren’t mine. They just came to visit, I guess.)
I think I can work and create in this space. It has a real good feel and spirit to it. I’ve now written the longest blog post in the history of the world, so that should tell me something. The well has struck water again? Maybe, just maybe.
Spring offers hope for tomorrow.
Until next time, Savor the Flavor of Life!
Lots of love, The City Farmgirl in the Country, Rebekah