it’s me again!

Posted on June 1st, 2018 by mountain girl  |  No Comments »

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Wow-I’ve been gone from this space for almost three months! I’m not sure where the time went, but our days have been chock-full. I’ll just work my way back here slowly, because if I try to do more than that, I’ll never get anything posted. Or, I’ll end up with a novel. Actually, I might anyway.

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First of all, we’re loving our farm, and all the abundance that comes with it–sun, rain, work, play, veggies, flowers, rashy plants, creepy creatures, and this grass that nevvvverrrr stops growing.

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We’ve been eating sugar snap peas, brand-new carrots, spicy radishes, and all the leaf lettuce and kale we can chow down. Yesterday we harvested a huge pile of the tallest bolted lettuce I’ve ever seen and hauled it to our neighbors’ pigs. Just look how cute this farmer boy is.

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Today we picked our first ripe tomato! Pretty soon we’ll be overrun with more of them than even a born tomato lover can handle.

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Cucumbers, zucchini, garlic, onions, potatoes, beets, pumpkins, watermelon, cabbage, and broccoli are growing like weeds, grapes are budding, and blueberries and wild blackberries have begun ripening. Next year we should have elderberries from the canes we planted.

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Early in the spring, I planted one of our raised beds with carrots, and now it’s also thick with tomato plants I never planted. We also have mystery potato plants springing up everywhere, and two entire half-barrels of some kind of flowering squash vines which I also did not plant. Things just grow here.

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Especially kids! And turtles.

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Our pond is home to a giant bumpy old turtle (Zia stepped on it once and got a quick nip in the boot) and countless smooth-shelled turtles that sun themselves on the rocks and slip off when we come near.

The five hens are doing fine and we get 3 or 4 blue eggs every day. ¬†We’ve had two large rat snakes curled up in the chicken coop, each with an egg in its belly, and another extra-large one down at the pond.

The great blue heron still makes his visits to the pond, and several groups of Canada geese have stopped to rest for days at a time. We’ve had voles in the garden, guineas and deer running through our fields, and a mystery attacker that crept through one night and snatched a little fawn we spotted earlier in the day–leaving one tiny hind leg lying in the field.

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David got a crazy case of poison ivy that lasted a month, and we’ve taught the kids to identify all the poisonous plants we know of on the property. I found a wolf spider crawling in my bed the other night, and caught a tick scuttling up my ribs a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully, we haven’t encountered any venomous snakes or spiders yet.

Every cloud has a silver lining, and in this case, it’s more like a golden one. We didn’t have any of these pests in the mountains, but neither could we grow our food. (Especially without seeds:)

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Our flowers are blooming so profusely that we catch glimpses of new varieties all the time. We have a row of newly planted lily trees in the garden from bulbs David’s mom sent, which I think will become a high hedge by next year. The magnolias went through their wilty season, are blooming, and new leaves are beginning to pop up among the old ones.

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To end this novel, here’s a lovely pic that sums it all up–chickens, grapevines, raised beds, lightning, and a rainbow. Full of promise and unpredictability–like this amazing crazy place we moved to.

home sweet farm

Posted on March 7th, 2018 by mountain girl  |  4 Comments »

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It’s March! And I’m just getting around to posting some pics of what we did in February.

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I found this sheep fabric from France at a local shop and re-covered my old pillows–ooo la la! The slip covers on the couches are holding up pretty good, too, and I finally finished the third one.

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We have six chickens! They have free run of the land. Some days we find six eggs, some days a little less. We’re spoiled with our blue and green eggs and turn up our noses at Costco now. :)

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A valentine from David. <3

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The garden is coming to life, little by little. David planted a row of elderberry canes, and I’ve got snap peas, carrots, beets, onions, garlic, kale, romaine, leaf lettuce, spinach, broccoli, and cabbage in the ground, cold frames, and egg cartons.

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Seed potatoes are sprouting in the pantry, and there’s also a jar of kombucha tea fermenting–my first batch since Kansas City. I couldn’t get kombucha to work in the mountains, but I have high hopes here.

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We had a wood stove installed, which is one of the best things we ever did. It made this room–and the whole house–100% cozier. Especially when it’s lit!

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Ornamental pear tree.

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Some days my kids feed me hard plastic McDonald’s food for breakfast. Yum!

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I found these beautiful remains of some yummy snack in the owl house. Poor little birdies. :(

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The pond is an endless source of delight. We have a Great Blue heron in the winter, and today a pair of Canada geese landed!

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We hung these two wrought iron-looking chandeliers in the kitchen and one in the dining room. David also changed all the cabinet door handles from brushed nicked to black. Both rooms look so much better.

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We have lots of perennial flower bushes, herbs, and flowering trees around the land. David burned several piles of stalk cuttings and leaves from last year’s glory (see the smoke?)

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Last week I made 40+ illustrations for a new sewing pattern, the Arenite Pants, for Sew Liberated.

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David went to fell a beetle kill tree for the neighbors, and we went along to watch. What a man.

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Our master bedroom is big, simple, white, and mostly empty–just the way we love it. I painted those horses to put over our bed a few years ago–but never had the right wall in our Colorado bedroom, so it ended up in the dining room. Here, it finally found its perfect resting place.

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Zia went to a Valentine’s dance–her very first. I even curled her hair for it. I guess a little dance for the chickens is the best way to practice? ;)

petite little artworks

Posted on February 12th, 2018 by mountain girl  |  5 Comments »

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Here’s an old piece of work I dug out the other day. I made it in college for one of my illustration classes…you know, back in the late 1900′s.

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I created it as a 3-d miniature of Norman Rockwell’s Triple Self Portrait, and titled it Rockwell Remembered. I still remember how much fun I had working on it, day and night, night and day. It only took me about 50 hours! Mr. Godlewski graded it with a AAA+, haha.

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The materials include wood, canvas, clay, wire, tape, paper, burlap, mirror, cotton fabric, paint, charcoal pencil, colored pencil, wood stain, cardboard, glue, waxed paper, paint, and clippings of paintbrush bristles.

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Well, that’s enough of the past:) It was fun to fix it up and show the kids, and we put it on a shelf in the living room.

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Here are some recent artworks–a few animal necklaces I’ve been carving.

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And HERE is what happens when I eat avocados for breakfast…

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First this.

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Then this.

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Then this! And finally…

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Ta-da. An avocado pit fox necklace. Have a great day!

oil portraits

Posted on February 8th, 2018 by mountain girl  |  4 Comments »

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I’m finally posting the oil portraits I finished in January. Karl is the trucker who moved us from Colorado, and he commissioned this portrait of his mom from her passport photo, and also a painting of his grandparents from the photo below.

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Here is the painting of the grandparents.

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This one came first, and took me nine months. It was a labor of blood, sweat, and tears (well, sweat and tears, anyway!) as I wrestled to create skin tones from a black and white photo. I can’t say I’m exactly good at it yet, but I learned quite a bit in the process.

Once I finished the grandparents, the portrait of Karl’s mom was a breeze. I whipped it up in a couple of weeks, bouffant and all. Actually, I’m just now realizing that I may have skimped on the bouffant a little…it was probably my brain screaming to make her hair just a little more natural, hehe.

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Looking forward to painting more portraits! Hopefully from color next time. :)

halloo from the snowy south

Posted on January 20th, 2018 by mountain girl  |  4 Comments »

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It’s feeling a lot like home on our new farm–especially with the blanket of snow we got Wednesday. It was over 12″ here, and people are saying it is more than NC has had in a decade or so. When I ran out to take pictures in the morning, it was 11 degrees and so cold my camera shut down. Just a little reminder of Colorado, ha.

Our three painters were snowed in with us, and they made soup, pulled out sleeping bags, and finished painting our rooms. Everything is white, in case you couldn’t tell (you can see the old beige color in the photo above, through the doorway).

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We picked Benjamin Moore Mountain Peak White for the entire house, and we’re so happy we did. Walls, trim, and ceilings are the same color, just different finishes. These first two pics show our southeast-facing living room, which is flooded with light in the mornings. Mountain Peak White feels perfect–the warm undertones really help the room not to feel too stark. Besides, it has a such a great name.

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This is the dining room. MPW also feels good in this north-facing light–it warms it up and brings it to life. The old color was Wool Skein by Sherwin Williams, and I couldn’t help feeling a little dismal in this room. No more abysmal dismal now.

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I took all the old pots that were left on the front porch and washed them and painted them white. I re-potted all my plants, which were too big for their old pots anyway. These jades are just a few of the ones I’ve raised from branches and stems that broke off. When Cash was younger, he knew how much I loved my jade plant, and would break a piece off whenever he was mad at me. Now he just punches me.

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My friend Linda worked all day a couple of weeks ago to help me make a slip cover for this couch. It took me another whole day to make more adjustments. Slip covers are trickier than I thought!

Poor Cashy hasn’t been feeling well and took a nap in the middle of the day, which is unheard of for him. It was a nice break from the punches.

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I made a slip cover for our chair and one for the ottoman. They’re not exactly perfect, but I’m happy with them.

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I’ll finish up with a few pics of the farm at sunrise after the snow. I really love this land, and the snow gives it a whole new dimension.

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Stay cozy!