Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Autumn Harvest


         We are finally moved into our farm!  This morning I took my first country walk with our dog up the hill to see the baby cows.  The mothers were very protective and started walking away from us the moment they saw the dog.  

       These cows belong to my neighbor, Patti, who is also putting in a small vineyard and hopes to produce wine in a year or two.  

         You'll notice our trees are mostly green, just starting to turn yellow. 

        But I'm celebrating green right now, because I finally have grass!  Trust me, you don't appreciate grass until you only have dirt and mud around your house.

         Here are some before and after pictures.

Back yard





















And front yard . . .



       We, I mean they (GKI Groundskeepers) put down a small amount of sod and seeded the rest and within a few weeks it was beautiful!

        If you were to come visit me, this is the road you would come down to my farmhouse.

       Because it's a dirt road, there is always dust flying when someone drives by or mud if it has rained.  Lately, semi-trucks have been driving down our road. . . a lot!  This is not normal, but something that happens at harvest time.  


       Because fields are all around us now, harvest time and dust are going to part of our new country life.  So . . . we decided to add these privet bushes to create a hedge to protect our house from the dust.



       The landscapers also put in plants on the south side of our house..... crepe myrtle, boxwoods and others whose names I can't  remember. 



         

       These short fuzzy-tailed prairie grasses were planted along the back deck.  I love these because they remind me of Kansas wheat.

        A tree was put in our Raindrop Garden that will give me beautiful fall colors and become the focal point. 

      The above picture is the view I see from my kitchen window.  Right now the field is planted with soybeans which have not been harvested yet.   There is a bridge over a river just past this field, (shown in the second picture above).

      One of the first things we noticed about living here in the country is the quiet.  It truly is peaceful and we love that.  The drive into town and the lack of stores conveniently five minutes away will take some getting used to and better planning.  

      Last Saturday we had to listen to our favorite college football team (Go Buckeyes!) on the radio because we don't have television yet.  It kinda felt like we were "The Walton's" sitting by the radio listening to the outside world.  So far we haven't yelled, "Goodnight, Jordan-boy", but  he wouldn't get that anyway. 

      Happy Autumn wherever you are!  We're still waiting for these beauties to show their colors.



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Saying Goodbye

          Saying goodbye is not easy.  I lived the first 18 years of my life in my parent's home.  After leaving there,  I've moved 17 times including this move to our farmhouse.  Our most unusual living quarters were in an old Catholic church shaped in a cross in Cincinnati, Ohio.  It used to be a school so we lived in a few dorm rooms while we waited for our apartment to become available.  I still remember the lump in my throat as my dad drove away.

      Our worst apartment,  also in Cincinnati, came complete with cockroaches for roommates and air conditioning only in the bedroom.  

       I have been packing up all week and taking loads of boxes to the farmhouse.  We are almost ready to leave our city house and head for the country.  I have been enjoying my backyard knowing that it will soon be ending and wondering where my favorite spot will be in my new yard.


Our yellow lab has already found his favorite spot on the front porch.
           
         Sometimes saying goodbye to the gardens and yard we worked hard on are as difficult for us gardeners as saying goodbye to the house.  Maybe it's because we can't take our plants with us like we can all the furniture and decorations we love.

Butterflies in my kitchen garden.
Autumn clematis blooming on our fences.

      When I was living in apartments during my husband's medical training, my older sister gave me some great advice.  She said, "Don't wait for your someday house.  Make every place you live as special and beautiful as you can afford."  I took that to heart and did just that, wallpapering and painting and making each place a home.  I always wanted to be content with whatever God gave me even when that was hard.  Making our apartments feel like our special retreat helped with that longing to have our own place.  

        After many, many years we built a custom home in Washington state  with a view of the Olympic mountains.   I thought I'd never have a home I loved that much again.  But I was wrong. We never know what's ahead, do we?  



       I've lived in the inner city, suburbs and the country.   Dorm rooms, apartments, duplexes, and houses, but never in a 120 year old farmhouse surrounded by farmland.


My son's new kitten, "Minnie" hanging out with me as I work.

      I don't want to think about all the boxes I've packed and unpacked and all the precious friends I've said goodbye to.  I am thankful that The Noah Farm will be our place of rest for now. I can't wait to share more photos of our home with you once we get settled.   

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Summer School


        My summer plans were to be moved into our farmhouse and relaxing by the pool with a good book and a drink.  But God put me in summer school. Just like our kids fight us about attending school in the summer, I wasn't too happy about it either. My class was called "Learning from Disappointments".



           My disappointment came from scheduling movers and then realizing our farmhouse wasn't going to be ready.  Our move-in date got pushed back again and again, until finally I just stopped trying to schedule a date.  The question,  "So when are you moving in?",  was one I had to learn to be comfortable answering, "I don't know."

                 “Life's disappointments 
                   are God's  appointments”.                                                                                   -Kay Arthur

       I've thought about that statement a lot over the summer and slowly began to understand how my  disappointments could be teaching moments. 

       Instead of looking at what I wanted. . .

I started being thankful for what I already had.

      I stopped fussing like a child belted into a car seat on a long journey and began enjoying the scenery.  I stopped trying to get my way, control outcomes and people and just rested.  



    "Refusing to release often means refusing to have peace." 
                                                                 -Lysa Terkeurst


      When I finally hung up the phone with the moving company and we couldn't find a date that worked with their schedule and my husband's, . . . I let it go.  We had no move in date.  A peace settled over me.    I finally accepted that God's timing was best even when I was frustrated and didn't understand.  I stopped fussing.



        Summer school  taught me  I don't have to know the answers. My heavenly Father knew how long the trip was and when we would reach the destination.  Isn't that what faith is anyway?  Trusting that God truly does love you and has it under control even when you don't understand.


       While I was trying to hurry up the building of our farmhouse, maybe God was more concerned about what he was building in my character. 


     I am a goal oriented gal.  I like checking things off my list.  Building patience, contentment, and trust where not on my summer goals list.  


        But summer has come and almost gone and our house is almost done.  Only one room is left to complete on the main floor - the sun room. 

Sun room 
      Our  move in date is finally set for  mid September. I think this time the date will stick and hopefully so will the lessons I've learned in summer school.  

      What has God taught you this summer?
         

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The outside stuff!

While the farmhouse kitchen has been receiving her new look . . . 

The Original Kitchen


    
The New Kitchen

. . . here's  what's been happening on the land around the house.  

The back deck has been completed.  This deck can be accessed from the french doors off the dining room and a door from the sun room. 















Inside view of french doors that lead to deck and pool.
       

        The backyard has been fenced.  A privacy fence was installed along the road and to cover the pool equipment.  


        Open fencing was installed along the back side of the yard so we can see the view of the fields and hopefully sunflowers next summer.  

       Here is a closer look at the open fencing and the gate made for the tractor to go through if needed.  

       The front porch has also received a face-lift.




        
And finally I have my front door painted and my house number up! (street name is written in white lettering with black background - but blocked in this picture).

       After making flower beds along the front porch using the original limestones that made up the farmhouse foundation, we still has some leftover.  So we decided to use them to make another bed around our circle driveway. I am going to call this the Raindrop Garden since it is shaped like a water drop.






       Once the cement steps are put in to reach the front and side doors, our landscaper will be able to finish the walk way to the front door from the driveway.  And shortly after that the grass will start being put in.  After months of a wooden walkway, weeds and a muddy yard, I can hardly wait to see how beautiful it will look.   

         What  projects have you done in your house/yard this summer?  


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

How to Decorate a Room You'll Love

My Farmhouse Kitchen Reveal

       Changing the way a room looks is exciting but also a little frightening.  We want to be sure that it turns out the way we dreamed, don't waste our money, and enjoy the new look for years to come. 

      I know the feelings of not knowing where to start or being so afraid I'll make a mistake that its hard to take the first step. 

       In this reveal of my new farmhouse kitchen, I'll give you 5 tips on where to start and how to have faith in your abilities to create a room you'll love.  

      It helps of course, when the room you are working with looks so bad you don't want to live in it. That takes away some of the fear. Here is the original farmhouse kitchen. 

Tip #1 - Find your inspiration! 
                This can be a picture of a room you like or the colors in a flower or some other object.  You may not like everything in the picture or object, but think about what you do like and why it appeals to you. What colors and styles are you drawn to?

I have always loved white kitchens and thought I would have a white farmhouse kitchen, until I saw this picture: 


        I loved the black background walls,  the rustic wood hood-top, the open shelves, and the large pendant lights.  The rest of the kitchen was too modern for me, so I took from it what I liked. Here's our farmhouse kitchen:


Tip #2 -  Think about the atmosphere you want to create.  For me, going with black walls was quite a risk.  What if I hated it?  What if it felt like a cave?   Then I thought about my favorite environment to eat or drink in and a coffee shop came to mind.  Old wood,  metal walls,  small hanging lights, eclectic artwork. I finally saw a restaurant at the Charlotte, NC airport  with a big blackboard wall which convinced me this was the look I wanted. 


Tip#3 - Start small, go slow. 
               If you're not sure where to begin in decorating a room, start with a small project (maybe a half bath).  Paint is easily changed if you don't like it.   Use the small sample color paint jars and paint up  large cardboard pieces and hang them on the wall with painter's tape before you paint the whole room.   The color will change depending upon which wall it is hung and the time of day.  Make sure you love it!  Make a small change or begin collecting your ideas until you have the confidence to take the next step. Gain confidence with a small room before you start a major renovation.


Tip #4 - Don't be afraid of mistakes, because you will make some along the way.  There are already things we wish we had done differently in our farmhouse.  The important thing is  you will learn from each mistake and  have more confidence for the next room you tackle.

          Failure is a friend dressed up like an enemy.       - Jeff Goins.  

Don't be afraid to fail or make mistakes, just don't let them be wasted - learn from them.   

Tip#5 -  Go with your gut.   It's always helpful to get advice from friends, decorators, or your contractor, but in the end, listen to your gut and you won't regret it.  You are the one who will be living with the decision.  If you know what you want, don't let anyone talk you out of it.  I'm glad we stuck with our kitchen plans.  I like our black walls and knowing we can always paint over it takes the fear away.














































          
        Just a little more lighting and an intercom system installed and this room will be done! Can't wait to decorate these wooden shelves with pretty white dishes.

        What room would you like to decorate in your home and where are you stuck?  Find your inspiration and don't be afraid to start.  

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Finish Line

        Imagine you're running a marathon and just as you see the finish line and dream of resting your weary feet, someone moves the ribbon another mile down the road.

        This is how I felt during my husband's last year in residency. I remember thinking he would NEVER get done with his medical training. Then we finally hit his chief year of residency. The clouds were parting, angels were singing , and I could see the finish line. And then he applied to do an additional year of training called a fellowship, in trauma and critical care, at the University of Cincinnati. I didn't think I could face it. I cried. I whined. I wanted to quit. The finish line got pushed another year out. A normal, maybe a little less stressful life, settling down in a home and community would all have to wait. We moved one more time and plodded on.

      Our farmhouse  also has a finish line that keeps being moved out. It has been a long two and a half years of remodeling this 1897 farmhouse, but we can see the ribbon getting closer. We are both tired and ready to put our feet up and start the next phase of enjoy our new old home.

      Some landscaping has started on the outside but unfortunately with July coming and 90-100 degree temperatures hitting here in Kansas, we will have to wait until fall or next Spring to put in some beautiful plants. 















       The limestone being used to make beds around the front porch are the original stones used to create the foundation of the house 120 years ago.  So glad we could repurpose them.

      I can't wait to share with you our farmhouse kitchen.  Sometimes when I see a room in my head, it doesn't always turn out the way I had imagined.  I took what I consider a big risk with color in our kitchen, but I love the way it is turning out.  But our move is almost here so I am going to take a break for a month or so this summer to get us packed, moved, and settled into our farmhouse. 

       Here's a little peek at our wood burning stove in the dining room.


        I have never forgotten the words Tom Hanks said in the  movie “ A League of Their Own." He played the role of  the coach to a professional women's baseball team during World War II.  One of the female players  was whining about how difficult it was being on the  team. His reply?  

If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it.
It's the hard that makes it great. 


         Looking back, that extra year of training my husband did was one of the best decisions he ever made. It gave him the ability to choose between doing general surgery or trauma surgery. It turns out he is truly gifted at  handling life and death crisis situations. He says time even slows down and he can think more clearly when someone is crashing before him in the ER.  Even though it was a sacrifice, it was worth it all.


       We've all heard words like "the joy is in the journey and not reaching the destination." Sometimes this is hard to hear when we're in the middle of the race and just want it to end.   But we do grow and change during our journey and that is often just as important as  reaching our goal.  Frodo was not the same Hobbit when he ended his journey and neither am I.


     I have learned to have more patience,  less anxiety, and to accept things out of my control. Problems will always come in life.  Accepting this truth and not letting them tweak me out comes a little easier.   Usually any project we tackle will take longer than we think, cost more than we want, and leave us  exhausted.  As we finish one goal, or climb one hill, another one always appears. 


Emotion might drive us to make a decision,
      but character, or discipline,
 is what keeps us going when the journey gets hard.
                                                                             -John Maxwell 

        Would I want to go through medical school, internship, residency and a fellowship again with my husband?  No way!  Nor would I want to start remodeling this old farmhouse over again, but I am glad we did both.   

        Wherever you are on your journey, plod on dear friends, one step at a time.   You can always do more than you think you can.    The goal is reachable and what happens within you is the true treasure.