Monday, June 27, 2011

Before and After

This post was the result of the last week's projects.  I was going to post a few pictures on Facebook with before and after shots of a few projects going on around here and then stopped myself and said, "Wait....this would make a good blog post!  Why use it up on Facebook?  The thousands, hundreds, tens of people who regularly read my blog deserve this more!"  Sorry Facebook friends but you had to come here to experience the latest transformations around the farmhouse.  I will probably post way too many pictures on FB soon enough and you will be able to see more than you ever wanted, but thanks for stopping by the blog!

You may have gathered that the weather around here has not been "ideal" during the month of June.  If you did not know that, then let me be the first to inform you, it has been lousy!  As for me, I have not minded... much, I am not in the 100+ degree Houston summer weather and that is awesome in my book!  One thing about the dreary weather around here is that you must find ways to entertain yourself, or you will go crazy, or develop a serious drinking problem. 

On with the projects!
The stairs.....
Oh, stop...they aren't that bad!  Well, maybe they are!  But they are coming out....some day.
After a few days, months, years of looking at these ugly stairs I decided, one dreary day, to do something.  What the heck?  I can't ruin them, right?!   So I found some Flexrock paint/texture I used to cover up some ugly wallpaper in a bathroom one year and thought....hmmmm, maybe it would cover up ugly stairs too.  Could not ruin them, right?  You be the judge.
After!  Good way to spend a day and a half!  It worked!

My peonies have been teasing me all month!  Those buds have been getting bigger, and Bigger and BIGGER, but no flowers....

Before.... almost there!

AFTER...Three peonies from the garden today! 

We built a sun room this year, but we have not had much sun.  I told our builder that next year I'm building.... a mudroom!  Still, there has been the odd sunny day and when I sit in the sun room, this has been my view.

I thought, one dreary day, "I know someone who can do something about those bushes in the way of my view!"  All it took was a phone call and a few days and my view has improved significantly!  I must include a few pictures of the process though!  Indulge me...
First you need an excavator!

Then you need someone who knows how to work an excavator.  Not me!

After....much better!

There is only one thing that would make this post better.  What's that you ask?  It would be a picture of an amazing sunset, taken from my sun room with it's new view!  If you insist.....

Through the screen window, it's going down....

AFTER, yes same camera, same sunset, amazing!  Pink sky at night....sailor's (and I) delight!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

You've Got Mail?!

Yeah, the check is in the mail!

Canada Post workers along with Air Canada workers are/were (Air Canada settled) on strike up here.  I think the sun has also decided to join them and go on strike as it has not made an appearance in a week!  I guess the saying, "Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the postmen from their appointed rounds" has no meaning up here!  Every day I pass my idle mailbox and wonder if there are cards and letters just sitting somewhere waiting to be delivered.  I was very excited when I got my first personal mail up here this year!  Now it looks like that one day delivery was a fluke.  No mail for me....or anyone else in Canada until "they" settle the strike.

I cannot imagine the US Postal Service shutting down!  (But I guess it could happen)  I know the days of snail mail are closing but there is still a need for the postal service.  You cannot "virtually" mail a package.  There are many small businesses that depend on the postal service to provide a low cost means of sending their products.  Even if you order something online, it still needs to be delivered and private couriers are not the most cost effective delivery option, although they do get the job done.  But I want my birthday cards people!  Get talking and let me get my mail before it is time for me to go home. 

I've seen two picket lines so far, one at the Moncton airport, Air Canada workers and today at the post office in town.  Don't see too many picket lines in Houston or Sugar Land, Texas.  At first I thought the strikers in front of the post office was a group of friends meeting for lunch!  oops!  My bad!

This strike gives a whole new meaning to the words, "the check is in the mail".  People who have never paid a bill online are now forced to get with the program and pay bills online.  The crafty postal workers could just be striking their way right out of a job if they are not careful. 

In other cause the fact that there is no mail being delivered in Canada is not enough news, it RAINED in Houston today and it was SUNNY all day here!  Yes, the weather tide is turning and the sun has found Amherst Shore and the dried and cracked earth in Houston is finally getting rain.    I think my little summer solstice party made all the difference.  We dressed up in traditional dress and did our best sun dance and chanted for a sunny summer!  Well, we did wear clothes and we talked about the weather, does that count?  Regardless, the sun was shining today up here and the rain was falling in Houston, I think I need to have another party!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Clouds and Crafts

If you read blogs regularly then you know there are about a trillion craft blogs out there.  This is not one of them.  So, if you are looking for that awesome craft blog to find great ideas for using recycled garbage to make beautiful and useful art, you won't find them here, sorry.  If you are looking for a great way to enjoy three or four cloudy, dreary days with your daughter in a remote rural farmhouse then it is your lucky day!  You have hit the big time!!! 

Kelly was here for five days and six nights, it was much too short a time.  We managed to fit in some of the classic Nova Scotia "must do" list in that short time though.  We "must" walk on the sandbars with our dog.  We "must" eat lobster.  We "must" have at least one or two dreary, rainy days in which we find interesting ways to entertain ourselves.  We "must" have beautiful days and amazing sunsets at which to marvel and vow to return again next year.  DONE!

The arts and crafts part of this post started on one of those perfectly sunny, amazing, Nova Scotia days that we all love when we are here.  Kelly wanted to make a mosaic.  OK, no problem.  First, find something on which to craft the mosaic.  We had many old pieces of furntiture just jumping up and getting in line for their make-over.  This end table, made out of a door, was the lucky winner.
Kelly sanding the winning table on one of "those" days!

After Kelly sanded the table she decided it needed to be painted to coordinate with the planned mosaic.  So, she painted and she painted and she painted.  It took several coats of paint to turn this brown door into the palate she wanted.

The formerly brown and old table is now white and navy.....

I got the most awesome job of breaking all the tiles into mosaic size pieces.  We bought ceramic plates for the brighter colors because the hardware store in town did not have any tiles in the bright colors we wanted.  I loved my job breaking the tiles into pieces, talk about a great way to work out any stress, smash, smash, smash!  I did wear safety glasses so don't worry, my eyes are fine!

Kelly was in charge of all creative aspects.  First she drew the picture to scale, then she layed the tiles on the drawing so she would know where everything belonged.  Then, she put down the glue on the table, placed the tiles to make the design and waited......for the glue to dry.  The next day was grout day. 
Grouting is a messy job!  Halfway there, hope this stuff comes off where we want and stays on where we want!

Kelly managed to do the entire job before she left.  It came out really cute and will be perfect for our new sun porch.  I am in charge of sealing the grout because you never know when someone might use this table at one of our wild parties and accidentally spill a beer, or a glass of milk....hahahaha!  I am waiting the perscribed seven days before I seal the grout but I would say the formerly boring table has been transformed into a very Nova Scotia piece of art, signed and dated by none other than our LG
A great way to spend some of "those" days and some cloudy days!

Friday, June 10, 2011

It's All About the Food, Isn't It?

Yummy lobster roll in Freeport, ME

As I sit here eating my breakfast and start thinking about what I'm going to make for dinner tonight I am struck by the fact that life around here revolves around food!  I just returned from a trip to the States to pick up my daughter and our dog and was treated to 3 days of eating out!  This was a nice little break in the farmhouse life of no eating out!  I did not have to think about what I was going to cook, or how I was going to cook it and I did not have to do dishes...the old fashioned way!  It was a lovely break.  I think we still started thinking about what we were going to eat for dinner while we were eating breakfast though!  Yes, it is all about the food!

One day last week I was struck by how different meals are up here compared to home.  When we sit down to eat, and often there are many of us at the table, we are not distracted by the TV being on or by the events that we have to rush off to after dinner or by people at the table texting and are seldom even interrupted by the phone ringing.  Meals are also often a  communal event.  Since there are no restaurants around we take turns inviting each other over for dinner.  It gives us an excuse to  cook a great meal and in return we get a night off later in the week! 

The conversations at the dinner table up here are far different than those back home.  When was the last time you just lingered at your dinner table and chatted about....  current global events?  Local issues such as when the bridge down the road, which has been under construction for over a year, will be finished?  Whether the local organic farmers are going to make it and how we can support them?  Your long lost relatives and where they are and how they were back in their day?  When will the sun shine again?  We have good conversations around our tables, without distraction most of the time.  It is  a lovely way to spend a couple of hours!  Is it all about the food.....or is it about the meal? 

How long before this can be on my dinner menu? Although I don't even know what it is, I'm just babysitting the garden.

As much as I enjoyed eating out for a few days,  I am really looking forward to the days that I can just go outside to the garden, pick whatever is ripe and create a meal.  This month will be a month of patience as we weed and watch the garden.  The faces around the table will be an ever changing cast of characters and I anticipate the conversations will be as varied as the faces.  The dinner table is one of life's simple pleasures and should be enjoyed, even if you do have to wash the dishes....the old fashioned way!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Happy Anniversary to Us

Yesterday was TJ and my 33rd anniversary.  We spent the entire day alone together.  We did not go out to a fancy restaurant for dinner, we did not take a long walk barefoot on a white sandy beach or stroll the city streets in some far off country.  We did walk 4 miles on a rural country road in the drizzle, not as romantic as it might sound.  We were perfectly content to just hang out together at the farmhouse and do our fixing up and organizing.  The sun did not shine all day, very much like our wedding day 33 years ago! 

We were not in Italy like we were on our 30th anniversary.....

When I think back 33 years ago, we spent our first night in our very small, old, apartment before heading out on our honeymoon.  You could fit four of that apartment in this farmhouse!  We started out with not much more than a hope and a dream....some common sense, a good work ethic, an education, good families behind us, a sense of humor ( which has probably been one of the more useful tools in our marriage!) and love and respect for each other.  We still have all of these things and so much more!

TJ and I never came up here to the shore before we got married.  As a summer shore person for my entire life, I knew I could never marry someone who did not love it up here.  A trip to Amherst Shore is one of the tests when considering marrying someone, if they don't like it here, they are out!  But then again, who does not like it here?  I guess there have been a few.  Our first trip up here came at the end of our first year of marriage and I was pregnant with our first child.  We were nuts (naive)!  We flew to Boston from Baton Rouge, then got on a bus for the 18 hour (11 by car) ride through every small town and village between Boston and Amherst, Nova Scotia.  I still swear we were delivering the mail because we stopped at every outpost on the way.  My back was never the same after that ride for the rest of my pregnancy. 

The best part of the trip was when we arrived in Amherst and TJ looked at me and asked how we were getting out to the shore.  Oops, I forgot to make any arrangements to be picked up in town!  My bad.  This was in the dark ages before cell phones, or even telephones in cottages....what to do?  I called the corner store by our cottage and asked it they could go and get my cousin and give them a message to call us back or just come to town and pick us up!  The pony express!  My cousin got the message and called us back and came out to town to pick us up!  I have only found out recently what TJ was thinking during that long wait at the bus station in Amherst all those years ago.  First would be...."my wife is an idiot!"  second might be "What am I getting myself into?"  and finally might be "I have entered a time warp!".

I was a bit nervous on that trip.  It was my first time to come up here without my family, I was a married woman (yikes!) now and on my own.  I was also wondering if TJ would love this place that was so important to me.  Well.....he took to it like a duck takes to water, literally, because it rained 9 out of 11 days we were here!  And he loved the place!  If you can love this place in the rain you will really love it on those breezy, sunny, warm days.   So yesterday when we had the same weather we had all those years ago, TJ was as happy as ever.  He was doing the same thing he did that first rainy summer.  He worked on an old house, this time he owns the old house instead of working on someone else's house.  A lot has changed but a lot has stayed the same.  I'm glad he loves it here as much as "I do".  
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