I know what you think.

A blog post about summertime must be about tomato juice dripping down your chin, fresh corn on the cob, and lightning bugs. That would be a lovely post, wouldn’t it?

But that is not this one.

No. This post doesn’t even mention the ambrosia of summer: tomatoes.

Okay. Wait. I’ll mention them.

You know how I brag about the weather here? Snow in May. Cool summer nights. Frequent rain showers. Early September frosts. All of that means that I can’t grow a decent tomato here. The growing season is too short. It’s just not hot and dry enough. My tomatoes this year are all small tomatoes. Roma. Cherry. Pear. I have decided that the only way I can grow a Beefsteak Tomato is to build a greenhouse.

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No. This summertime post doesn’t even mention corn on the cob.

Okay. Wait. I’ll mention it.

I gave up growing corn too. Not because of the weather, but because of the crows. My corn has been an epic failure since I moved here. However, I have to say. Some guys grow silage down on our old tobacco field and they have grand success. Maybe it is the scale. In the years we’ve been here, I’ve planted about 10 corn seeds each year in my small garden. That doesn’t produce enough for the hundreds of crows AND me.

No. This summertime post doesn’t even mention lightning bugs.

Okay. Wait. I’ll mention them.

This year I tried to get tickets to this very special event in the Smoky Mountains. The tickets to the Synchronous Firefly Event are by lottery only. I didn’t win. (This is a hint that my luck has indeed changed for the worse. I’ve suspected it for a while now. You see, I have always led a charmed life and win things. I’ve been losing lately. I’m taking notes. Hmmm.) But rest assured. I have a firefly show in my very own front yard every night. I’ts beautiful.

This summertime post does indeed mention haying. I can’t tell you how fabulous it feels to already have enough hay in my barn for all of my horses for the whole winter. Such a relief. And the sweet sweet aroma of freshly cut hay is divine.


This summertime post also mentions mowing. If you look at our grass closely you can see it grow. We have such abundant rain and mild temperatures that its seems like the grass needs to be cut every other day. Come with me as I mow one of my favorite paths I like to walk on our farm.

It’s always cool on this path because of the shade from the overhanging trees and bushes.


Random wild flowers.


A few of the overhanging trees are apple trees.


There are fruit trees up here because folks used to live up this path.

There is a falling down one-room cabin that was lived in 60 years ago or so.


The rock chimney is still standing.

This is the view once I turn around and come back down the path.

IMG_1240 This path also includes some Christmas Trees.


What is happening on a family Christmas Tree farm in the summer? Hand trimming and weed control.

This summertime post does mention snakes. Y’all. I am doing better with my snake phobia. As I mowed the path, I saw ahead of me in the grass a thick black stick. Now I learned (THE HARD WAY) my first year living on a farm that not all sticks are sticks. Some sticks are snakes. So I stopped the lawn mower to look more closely and sure enough, up came a black head to look back at me. It just lay there in my path looking at me. I finally remembered that my phone was in my pocket and got it out to take a photo. Of course, that is when he decided to get out of the way of the mower. The important thing here is that I was okay. I didn’t freak out. I attribute this to my “desensitization experiment” in the springtime. There was a ginormous snake skin on some wood right beside my chicken house. I saw it one day and totally wigged out. I asked my husband to please move it so I didn’t have to look at the ugly thing and freak out every day. Before he had the chance to move it, I changed my mind. Leave it there. Several times every day I’d walk by the snake skin and I’d make sure to look at it. I’d mutter under my breath, “I’m not afraid of you…” It was good because I knew it was just a skin and I knew it was there. No surprises. This process helped me. It sounds stupid, but it helped me.

I also believe that this snake is living under my bridge this summer. It is a harmless Northern Water Snake. I have been able to look down at him from my bridge and just quietly watch him. No stress or adrenaline. He’s rather large (what I personally consider large anyway–5 feet probably) and there’s no way I would ever get in the water here and tube down the creek again. EVER. But from the bridge I can appreciate him. Kinda.

He’s very well camouflaged, but can you see him?

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This summertime post also mentions my horses. My Soul-Horse Merlin hates flies. Wake up, Merlin, and tell them how much you detest flies. No? Okay, I’ll tell them for you. You just keep dreaming those sweet dreams.


Summertime on a farm means flies.  He is bothered by their bites much more than my other horses. It must be all that dreamy beautiful white fur. I have tried lots of fly sprays. The organic ones don’t do much, so I even tried the ones chock full of chemicals. They don’t do much either! I finally made my own fly spray.  I named it Merlin’s Magical Fly Spray. Unfortunately, it’s not magic. You need to keep applying it to keep the flies away.

Merlin’s Magical Fly Spray

Mix together:

  • 1 cup Avon Skin So Soft Oil
  • 1 cup Braggs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon eucalyptus essential oil
  • 1/2 tsp citronella oil
  • 1/2 tsp tea tree oil
  • 1 tsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 TBSP dish soap

Add 3 cups water to the mixture and pour into spray bottle.

Shake before use and keep out of direct sun.

This summertime blog post also mentions Barn Quilts. And that I need your help with mine!

I have wanted to make a Barn Quilt for our barn since we moved here. But, just couldn’t figure out how to design it and get it done. I finally took a class and am almost finished with my Barn Quilt.

I showed up with a quilt block pattern I had found online. It had Christmas trees and hearts.


Drawing out the grid and then my design on the grid was very labor intensive for me. I needed lots of help and advice from the teacher and the other students.


AND. Even though I intended to use the traditional Christmas colors of just red and green, when I saw all the other pretty colors available at the class, I couldn’t resist.

Here’s where I am now. I have to add the dark green border on the top and bottom and then I’m to the background.

My dilemma is what to do with the background color. I originally was going to paint all the background a crisp white. BUT.

FullSizeRender (8) I need your help to decide background colors. I have the turquoise center taped off ready to paint the background. Should I use that bright pink? Or white? Or the lime green? Or introduce another color? Or I could paint it four different colors. Or two. I’M STUMPED!

And how about behind the Christmas trees? White or something else?

And the hearts? What background color should I use?

Thanks in advance for your sweet and helpful comments! I cherish every one.

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!
Lots of love, Rebekah, The City Farmgirl in the Country

  1. Dori Troutman says:

    Hi Rebekah! We have a problem growing corn too… those pesky things called raccoons just tear the place apart. I gave up last summer and said NO.MORE. NEVER.AGAIN. But my husband is a little stubborn and said, “I can do it”. Ha Ha Ha!!! Corn has been destroyed again! And I actually had to laugh!

    As for your wooden barn quilt. It’s gorgeous!!! I made one a few years ago for my daughter to hang in her house and it was so much fun. I plan to make one for our barn (when we build it) too! How fun that you could take a class. I would love that!

    So, my thoughts on the colors. This comes strictly from a sewing quilter, not a barn quilter. But I know that fabric blocks that have as much bold color as your barn quilt has, usually look best with a “low volume” color in the background. It really makes the brights stand out. So, if you didn’t want to go with bright white or cream how about a nice grey? But my opinion, for what it’s worth, is to stay away from any more bright colors. You really want your hearts and trees to stand out. And your turquoise center and corners will stand out really well with a low volume color for the background. I would choose a beautiful grey – that is what I would do! 🙂 No matter what it will be beautiful and I can’t wait to see pictures of it on your barn!

    Happy Summer!

    – Dori, the Ranch Farmgirl –

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Thank you, Dori! I am so thrilled to finally get this done. My thought on it as it is currently is that the white corners all blend together and you can’t tell they are individual blocks? I wonder if I used a couple of different background colors? IDK….Happy Summer to you too, Gurl!

  2. Mary Rauch says:

    Not sure where you got the recipe for Merlin’s fly spray, but in MY LIMITED thoughts, could you LEAVE OUT the one ingredient that attracts some flies?…the
    1 cup Braggs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar?
    I have no idea how that would affect the mix, but at least it would leave out one thing that attracts flies…….just a thought…..
    I know you want to make him comfortable and I wish you well.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      attracts flies?!?! OH DEAR!!! I’ll make a new batch today and leave that out. Maybe plain vinegar? or no vinegar? thanks so much, Mary, for letting me know!!!! I guess I could call it Merlin’s Magical Fly Juice…

      • ginny says:

        I agree. A bowl of apple cider vinegar is the best fruit fly killer I know of. Just set the bowl out, cover with plastic wrap and poke some holes in it for access. The flies are drawn to the vinegar and can’t get back out for some reason.

        P.S. Love, love, love your barn quilt.

        • Rebekah Teal says:

          I wonder if it is just apple cider vinegar I should avoid? regular vinegar is okay? Someone told me to try using peppermint mouthwash in it too. I might try that this batch.

  3. Liz Olson says:

    Hi! I think you should leave it white because it allows the other colors to really pop out where adding another color may “dim” the colors already there! Okay so much for my opinion! One question – what are you painting on? I’ve wanted to do something similar to a shed wall but thought the wood might be to rough. Help! Liz

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Liz, this class was great because they provided EVERYTHING for us. The board is a 3×3 M.D.O. She said that some places call it sign board, but is made for exterior applications. I had purchased a piece of heavy plywood (several years ago!) to make a barn quilt and thought the same thing….too rough. I guess the wood could be sanded, but not sure how it will weather. Look for M.D.O. in your area. It was smooth and easy to paint on. First, prime it with “Kilz.” The instructor had already done that for us. GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR PROJECT! Let me know if you have any more questions.

  4. Sheena says:

    I would paint the back drop a Royal Blue if you want the other colors to POP. If your wanting a more traditional look go with white. Whatever you choose it will be beautiful!!!

  5. Jerry Adams says:

    Only you could find a “carpet-bagging” snake.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Judge, LOL! Yes, I attract ALL the snakes. The thing I fear most. Snakes come from near and far just to see the snake show I put on. But, truly, I am DOING BETTER. My phobia is waning…so the carpet-bagger can stay.

  6. Brenda Towsley says:

    I like the thought of using the pink again in the center background. I love the look of black the Amish use in their quilts with bright solids. Can you repricate on computer and try the options out? A barn quilt class, that is just awesome I would take that for sure. I am a quilted but have wanted to make a barn quilt to put on the side of the red chicken coup. Merlin looks so peaceful, makes me want sleep in the sun!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Brenda, I wish I could do that on the computer~~but no way I have those skills. However, I have a 15 year old daughter who FOR SURE can! what a great idea! I’ll help you along with your barn quilt when you decide. Since you are quilter, you’ve got the hard part down. My Merlin…I know, I just adore him….

      • Brenda Towsley says:

        Yes what is not to adore, he is the type of horse I had dreams about when I was a girl in love with horses. Never would dream of black stallions only white. lol Now I dream of a camper so I can travel in my retirement years.

  7. Diane Van Horn says:

    Yeah! You are making a barn quilt! I love the Christmas trees and hearts design. I will put my two cents in on the background colors. I think that the white really makes the colors pop! Maybe an ivory or soft butter yellow instead of white. I wouldn’t paint different background colors because it would be too busy and the trees and hearts wouldn’t stand out. Remember it is going on a barn and will be viewed from a distance. If you want to do the background behind the center diamond a different color, I would do the pink. You can also add painted stitches for quilt lines if you want to differentiate the blocks. Looks fantastic! Can’t wait to see it done. Do you coat it with UV blocking polyurethane when you are done?

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Diane, soft yellow sounds beautiful. the painted stitches too! awesome idea! Yes, I have some poly I am planning to put on when I’m done. Doing Barn Quilt has been on my list for so long! I’m pretty sure you put it there in the first place! Now that I know how I want to do one for the milk house and my shed studio!

      • Diane Van Horn says:

        So glad that you braved the brush and are making your barn quilt. Now that I have a barn I need to get going on mine! Maybe you should do an outline drawing of yours and try out the colors on the background before charging ahead. I agree with the soft butter cream and something (like the pink) behind the center square. Can’t wait to see it!

        • Rebekah Teal says:

          my thinking SO FAR based on the feedback: pink background with turquoise center. soft butter cream behind Christmas trees. white behind hearts.

  8. Wendy Curling says:

    Hey farmgirl friend!
    Love the post and the joining you on your walk down the cool, shady farm path!! Love your barn quilt, too! I see a happy shade of yellow for the background to compliment and add contrast:) I love making them, too❤️ Have a blessed day!

  9. I share your feelings about the snakes. For years I had such a phobia that if I even saw one up close I would have a panic attack. Then a few years ago I was at a fairy festival with my grandkids and a lady had a large snake that she was holding and letting folks pet. At first I kept my distance, but then I told myself, “you’ll never get over this if you don’t put on your big girl pants and do something about it.” So I walked up to the lady and asked her if I could pet her snake. It wasn’t cold and slimy as we have been led to believe, but was warm and dry and felt like a leather belt I once had. I still don’t like them but I do respect their right to live in peace. I give them a wide berth when I see one and send it my regards. Peace on earth, good will towards snakes!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Barb, I touched (more like poked) one once too and felt the same way. I couldn’t believe how soft and warm it was. Good will towards snakes indeed! They just need to stay out of my chicken house and out of my barn. I hate to be surprised by them.

  10. Kimberly Diener says:

    How about yellow, can’t decide a creamy light buttery yellow or a bright yellow.
    I can’t grow onions, potatoes or tulips! They get eaten by groundhogs! I provide a nice healthy diet for critters living underground!

  11. Jeretta says:

    I no just what you mean about snakes. We live in a small country town called Cornville AZ. We have Diamond back snakes and other kinds. The Diamondback are really dangerous. We had 3 on our front porch last year. My husband got some snake granules and put around the house and garage. So far we saw only one, but not on our front porch! I don’t scream when I see one, I just say, OH my God , help me to stay
    strong. It is very hard , very hard to get used to them. It is against the Law to kill a Diamondback in AZ. So we put them in a bucket and our friend Rick, takes them out far awaaaaaaaay, from our houses and lets them out. I think the blue or yellow would be good for your quilt.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Jeretta, I can’t imagine encountering a diamond back. I think I’d die right then and there. you can’t kill them? even though they are a danger to you and your animals? I don’t understand that. Not that I could ever kill anything…EVER.

  12. Denise Ross says:

    Hi Rebekah,
    Your barn quilt looks really cool. Hiw wonderful to do a class. I would do a half strength sky blue to allow the other colours to pop, but contrast I too. You could do differing strengths of the same colour so you would get your variations on your blocks but not bring in any other colours, allowing the ones to have to tell the story. I saw the snake too. He does hide well there for sure. I must say you are brave meeting your fears head on like this. I’m working on doing things like this too. I don’t wan to live I. Fear of things anymore either. It’s a horrible place to be. Can’t wait to see your barn quilt up. Happy summer days to you, and winter to me.

    • Denise Ross says:

      The yellow would work just as well in the differing strengths as well. Maybe the brighter/stronger colours near the pin and red block and the lighter colours around your greens and blues. Yellow is a such a happy colour. Good luck with it

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      lovely idea, Denise! differing strengths of the same color!
      I just don’t have a choice here with facing my fears. We have a snake issue on the farm. None are poisonous. Just lots of “harmless” ones. Even in the house. So, I have no choice. Either learn to deal with it or move. lol! oh lordy, my cat just rubbed on my leg while I was typing about snakes and I freaked out. LOL!
      Good luck with yours. I love winter!! Enjoy yours!

      • Denise Ross says:

        That would seriously scare the pants off me. You must have a strong heart by now with all these frights lol. I’m loving winter here, we only have a short winter here, but long summer, I think anyway. Love all the home down comfort cooking and carb consumption. Cosy nights and snuggling temps. This the best.

  13. Rebecca says:

    I love barn quilts, but I don’t have a barn, so I’ll just have to admire yours. I can’t wait to see the finished product. Your Merlin looks so peaceful; he looks like a unicorn for sure in that picture!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      I’ll have time this weekend to work on the Barn Quilt again. So I’ll post a photo next week. And I’m not sure how to get it hung! But when I figure it out I’ll take a photo of it hanging. And YES, Merlin is definitely a unicorn. 🙂

  14. Claudia says:

    Love the barn quilt. I would look at a yellow as the background. Then the colors that you have painted will pop out and it will make you smile.

  15. Dianne says:

    Rebekah: I think I would leave it white, so the other colors POP. Also with a white background it can be seen from afar better.

  16. Mary Rauch says:

    NO vinegar of any kind in the mix for your fly chaser for Merlin.

  17. Krista says:

    I completely understand your snake phobia! At our very first house we had a snake get inside. I remember screaming and grabbing my dogs to “save” them from this viscous snake. I locked the dogs in the other room and called my husband to come home from work to get it. The whole time I’m watching from a distance to make sure it didn’t disappear. Once he got home to fix my problem he couldn’t stop laughing. It was a baby snake that was completely harmless. He picked it up with his hands and took it back outside. Needless to say, after the large amount of spiders on steroids and snakes that came inside the house ( and I swear there was a ghost too) we moved after only being there 6 months!
    Your horse is absolutely beautiful. I hope your new fly spray helps give him some relief. Your barn quilt is looking really nice. I’m not much help in telling you what colors to do. I know absolutely nothing about fancy quilting of any type!
    Good luck!

  18. Nanette Boots says:

    My quilter’s eye saw navy blue right away when I saw this. Try laying out different colored paper or fabric if you have it. Then take a picture. I find that to be very helpful when I’m unsure of color choice as I’m selecting fabrics. Good luck and please post a finished pic. Thanks.

  19. Sherri says:

    I’m thinking a warmer background color, country gold? Deep cream?

  20. Monica says:

    Gorgeous barn quilt! Love the garden trials & triumphs

  21. Pamela deMarrais says:

    Hey Rebekah, I love your barn quilt! I like the intense color. I would set it off with a traditional Amish background color, black. Try it on a practice sheet first. I think that it will make the bright colors pop.
    As always, I love your blog. I proud of how you are mellowing out a bit about the snakes. I still quiver when I see one. Do you have a Farmers Market close to you where you can get your fresh veggies? I don’t grow my own, so I guess that I am not much of a farm girl, but I know where to get them!

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