Posts tagged ‘married life’

May 16, 2012

meet emily

…a gift from my husband for my birthday last month.

    

if you happened to read my post last year about my smart phone then you know husbie and i are not techies.  this is hard for most people to believe especially since my husband works with computers for a living.

the truth of the matter is though that we are very old fashioned and for a long time i didn’t think i wanted anything to do with a kindle.  i like books.  there is something to be said about the ink, the paper, and the cover art.  i love used books, especially if they have been written in or have a date and a name on the inside cover.  they are just special. and in holding the book and turning the pages you form a relationship with it.   i’ve also been proud to display our books on the shelf in the living room.  the titles have a lot to say about who we are.  i have all my favorites by du maurier, and jane austen.  my husband has his poetry and theology.

then we decided to move.

and one of the first things i began to pack up were our bookshelves.

and i began to think.

how convenient to have all of these items loaded onto a single device that could fit in my purse.

hmmmmm…..

HMMMmmm….

then i realized that once we accomplish this move, i will be about 3o miles away from my favorite library.

hmmmmm…..

HMMMmmm….

i began to sneak a look at kindles.  i looked some more, and announced to my husband that i was looking at kindles.

then i did some comparison shopping, settled on a model, and announced to my husband that i *wanted* a kindle.

don’t get me wrong.  i still love books, and after a general sort through i plan to keep those most special to us, and will still proudly display them on our shelves in our new office.  but i am very happy with the convenience of this little gadget named for, (in case you were wondering) emily dickenson.

~as i said before, it fits nicely in my purse so i can read wherever i go without lugging a book (or books) around.

~when reading in bed, it is much easier to hold on to than a large volume.

~i can stand it up on the coffee table and read while folding the laundry.

~i love being able to hi-light without actually marking up a page.

~i love that i will be able to share those hi-lighted passages with  my husband when he gets his kindle too (he’s sold on them now and wants one himself)

~i love that at the touch of a button, i can own a new book almost instantaneously and begin reading within minutes – not to mention some of the other features i have yet to access such as downloading audio books and music to listen to in the background. (how lovely to read austen while listening to rachel portman)

~i also love the public domain freebees, and the sites like pixel of ink that deliver free titles to my inbox each day.  i’ve gone a little crazy with those as mentioned previously.

some favorites (free and otherwise) that i’ve picked up so far:

*the distant hours by kate morton.  ok. this… really wasn’t free. at all.  but i had started it and wanted to finish it. on my kindle.  what can i say.  i had a new toy and really wanted to play with it.

*because of winn-dixie.  yes. this is a children’s book, but i love dogs and this was a very sweet story.  not free but “used book store price” from kindle’s daily deal.

*weekend homesteader.  this is a monthly series and once a week or so they are offered for free.  each issue contains approximately 4-5 “homestead” projects.  the idea is to choose one and choose a weekend to complete it, hence avoiding burnout.  pretty cool little concept and just glancing through it seems that most projects would work for urban homesteading as well as rural.

*a single thread. a contemporary fiction story about a quilting circle.  i’m currently reading this one.  if it wasn’t free it was pretty close to it.  very light, easy, and enjoyable.

some other freebees i’ve downloaded and am looking forward to: willa cather’s o pioneers! jane’s fame: how jane austen conquered the world, and raising chickens in your backyard a no fluff guide to chicken breeds, coops, runs, tractors, and more. 

do you have a kindle or other similar device/app?  what are you currently reading?

May 8, 2012

a series of truly random thoughts and confessions

1. in the past ten days i have learned all i ever wanted to know about trailer hitches, trailers, and the like.  we now own one, purchased for the purpose of hauling a lawn tractor back and forth to our farmette-to-be that now has grass growing knee-high.  post about said lawn tractor complete with a photo forthcoming.

2. if the weather holds, we should break ground on our farmette by the end of this month.  for this reason i have started packing up the scary upstairs: the place that started out as a cool sitting room we never used so it now houses anything we don’t know what to do with but do not want to pitch.  anything from mason jars to a tapestry wall hanging.  in order not to overwhelm myself, i pack two boxes a day.  well, i am supposed to.  i started this project a month ago and i have a total of…..thrrreee…boxes packed.  post about said boxes complete with a photo forthcoming.

3. i am now the proud owner of a kindle named emily.  i have gone from watching drivel on netflix to reading, a much more wholesome past time.  i even gave christian amish romance fiction a try…..and promptly gave it up.  it reads about as well as it sounds.   i have discovered the blogs/websites/fb pages that offer free kindle books by the virtual boatload.  i anxiously await their posts on a daily basis and have been known to download something stupid, something i know i will never read, simply for the thrill of getting something for free and watching its title magically appear on emily’s home page.   post about said kindle named emily complete with a photo forthcoming.

4. last weekend my husband and i taught ourselves to play canasta.  i won every hand.  i won playing with my deck of pink playing cards.  it was a blast.  i…don’t really plan to publish a post about canasta with photos.  sorry.

5. yesterday i went shopping for a spare tire for our new trailer.  i ended up at a ranch supply store and discovered a series of 3′ high metal troughs containing…………baby chicks!!! and baby turkeys, and baby geese, and baby ducks, and baby something elses i don’t at the moment recall.  i guess i should flaunt my limited knowledge of poultry and say that these were pullets being offered for sale (did i get that right?) but i’m still confused as to what it means when the sign says that they are “sexed”.  still need to read the how-to book but we need to read it pretty durn quick because i want me some chickens.  post about said chickens complete with numerous photos when we get them.

6. speaking of living things: our pond has turtles.  i discovered one in the grass last week when i was mowing, and in order to avoid a terrible accident, i picked him up and moved him to the edge of the pond to see what he would do.  he happily dove right on in.  we need a log, or a rock of some sort so the turtles can sun themselves and all be named appropriately.  would publish a post about said turtle complete with photo if only i could find him again…

random illustration for random post:

April 23, 2012

with tuppence, for paper, and string…

…you can have your own set of wings

with your feet on the ground you’re a bird in flight…

with your fist holding tight…

to the string of your kite.

let’s go fly a kite

up to the highest height

let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring

up to the atmosphere, up where the air is clear,

oh let’s go fly a kite!

(can we go home already?)

April 11, 2012

zeke

my husband and i had just been talking that morning about how it was just a matter of time.  i had been saying that i felt much more comfortable with our “plan b” in inola, than the “plan a” in skiatook.  among other reasons,  it seemed less likely to me that we’d encounter a venomous snake on our grassy acreage, than in the woodsy, rocky terrain we had looked at previously.  nevertheless, we do have a pond; and the pond is home to frogs.  we also have tall grass, and the grass, i’m sure is home to rodents. since snakes eat frogs and mice,  it was just a matter of time before we encountered an unwelcome reptile.

i hate snakes.

i hate them with a passion.   they terrify me, and i, for some strange reason seem to attract them.   i ended up with one in my lap once.  i was preparing to  demonstrate the use of a pedal sewing machine to a group of central american ladies, when the little fella who’d been sleeping down in the well of the machine, crawled out onto my lap.  that experience wasn’t what gave me a mortal fear of snakes.  i had it before then.

so last weekend we took a drive out to the property to see how the water tap was coming along and we decided to explore the perimeter of the pond.

when all of a sudden husby exclaims: SSSNNNNAAAAKE!

to which i responded: omgomgomgomg.

but for some unexplained reason, instead of heading to the car, i had to have a look at it myself.  so i proceeded to omg over to where sweetie was standing.

sure enough, there curled up in the grass was a snake.

perhaps it was because it was just sitting there, nonchalantly, not seeming to really give a care that we were there that i decided to leave it alone. it didn’t budge, it didn’t bat an eye.  it just contentedly napped in the sun. under normal circumstances i’d have sought out the nearest blunt object and proceeded to hack it into a million pieces (i’ve actually done this to a large grass snake.  much, much easier said than done, in case you were wondering.)

to the best of my limited knowledge (the snakes of OK website) he is a graham’s crayfish snake (who is graham?), called so because he eats, well, crayfish as well as frogs.  and as far as i can tell he is not poisonous.  i know this, not because i looked at his pupils, but because he didn’t seem to match any of the “venomous snake” photos on the snakes of OK website.

so we’ve christened him “zeke” and for the time being, i’ve decided he can stay.  we feel he probably contributes to the natural ecosystem and that system is best left undisturbed.  should, however, zeke decide to explore my garden some afternoon, contentedly sleeping or not, he’ll meet the sharp edge of a garden hoe.

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April 2, 2012

my travel diary

as i have said before my husband travels extensively with his job.  i knew this when i married him.  it was part of the deal.  normally though he would just travel once or twice a month, so the time away was manageable especially since he offices from our home; so when he is home, he’s home.  lately though,  his time away has increased to every single week.  this isn’t as doable for us so every so often i  tag along in order to spend more time together.   i love tagging along.  it gives me the chance to see where he stays, where he works, and the restaurants he frequents so that when he comes home and talks about these things,  i can better visualize where he has been.

last week i tagged along.   i had the wonderful privilege of spending five days in hurst, tx with my sweetie.  hurst, in case you didn’t know (i didn’t), is a suburb of dallas. now, i’ve already done the dallas thing the last time i tagged along: neiman marcus, sixth floor museum, and all that.  so this week was a bit more, how can i say, low key.  which was lovely because, truth be told: i’m not really into shopping and sight seeing.  i hate to shop unless it is for groceries or plants; and my idea of sight-seeing is to look at restored older homes.

so without further ado: these are the hilights of my trip; i present to you my humble  travel diary:

day 1:  arrived at hotel.  i then ummmm….took a bubble bath and finished my book.   had dinner at my husband’s monday night haunt.

 

 

 

day 2:  ran moday night’s dinner (veal parmesan) off while on the treadmill.  decided i love the convenience of a treadmill.  began figuring out how we can have a treadmill on our farm…battled the dallas traffic to get to central market where i had lunch outside while reading up on keeping chickens.  shopped.  bought, mushroom flavored finishing salt and tea biscuits, among many other fabulous foodie things.  battled the traffic to get home, and was nearly caught in a wreck.  was so traumatized i spent the afternoon at the hotel watching tv.  we don’t own a tv, so we don’t obviously watch much.  it was the first time i’ve ever seen paula deen in action.  i was mesmerized by this woman with big eyes and a molasses thick southern accent, using prolific amounts of butter.  i still……can’t get over it.   had an absolutely beautiful candlelit dinner with my sweetie at a french bistro: complete with escargot and floating island for dessert.

day 3: ran tuesday  night’s dinner off while on the treadmill.  still want a treadmill.  still traumatized by dallas traffic.  so much so that i seriously considered skipping the dallas arboretum.  gathered my courage, and my gps, and mapquest directions, prayed hard, and went to the arboretum.  i. was. floored.  it was amazing.  took dozens of photos and decided that we will not keep chickens and plant vegetables, we will have ten acres of amazing gardens instead.  now to figure out how to assemble a staff….. purchased some texas wildflower seeds to see how they will do here in oklahoma.  had barbeque for dinner at another one of husbie’s weekly haunts.

day 4: ran wednesday night’s dinner off while on the treadmill.  come hell or high water we are getting a treadmill.  and a tv. and cable.  so i can watch the food network while burning calories.  spent the entire day “off” working on my cross stitch while watching (you guessed it) paula deen.  and occasionally ina garten whom i am coming to admire almost as much as julia child.  made a brief excursion out to a cupcake bar where i ordered nothing more than one chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream and one vanilla with chocolate buttercream.  my only adventurous ingredient was reeces pieces sprinkled on top which i regretted.  what can i say?  i’m a purist.  had a lovely dinner sitting outside where i discovered blackberry mojitos. omg ya’ll (said with a southern crack like paula deen).  i now have a new favorite cocktail.  move over pomegranate martinis….

day 5: ran thursday night’s dinner and mojitos off while on the treadmill.  contemplated where to shop for our new treadmill and where to put it in my tiny barn-cottage.   showered, packed, crammed my central market groceries into my suitcase.  decided on one final fling: lunch at the new in and out burger across the street.  in and out was closed: not to open for another eight days, so i spent an hour trying to find something else, getting lost, panicking, battling traffic, and getting lost again.  ended up very frazzled at starbucks where i settled for a “bistro box”.   met up with husbie and made our way to the airport for home.  uneventful flight where i caught up on my chicken garden book.  spent the evening on the back porch, looking at our overgrown yard,  and planning the upcoming week.

March 12, 2012

am i the only one…

who owns potholders that look like they have been through a war?

who purchases packages of chocolate chips that never quite make it into cookies?

who adds items to a list –  items already accomplished just for the sheer thrill of being able to cross them off?

who laments about her weight while shoveling that fourth cookie into her mouth?

whose library books are always overdue?

who, upon entering the house, makes a mad dash to turn off the beeping security system even though it is only 50 feet from the door, and you have a full 60 seconds to get to the key pad?

who spends the week lecturing one’s self on portion control only to purchase a package of cheese puffs without guilt simply because they are labeled “organic”?

who rinses a single dish and then feels a facebook break is well deserved?

…please tell me i am not.

March 5, 2012

land shopping part 2

this is a continuation of land shopping part 1

this particular spot wasn’t what one thinks of when one thinks of a farm.  the only real place to put a small home and a garden was on a flat, narrow “ridge” situated between two “vallies” each containing a pond.  it didn’t fit the image we’d had of a flat grassy plain, but it was beautiful. and standing on the ridge that fall afternoon, looking at the trees just starting to turn, i was swept off my feet.  within a few weeks we had a contract on the place.

and then, almost as soon as we’d signed on the dotted line, a very uneasy feeling began to settle in.  something felt wrong.  we couldn’t articulate or figure out what it might be.  there was a deed restriction on the land.  i had never seen one before and in my opinion, the wording was very harsh.  while we made our intention of a hobby farm clear and put  in writing, i still feared that our ducks, goats and chickens, and our “temporary” home (even though it wasn’t a mobile) might get us into trouble.  we kept asking questions hoping to stumble across whatever it might be that was causing our apprehension.   when all of our questions were answered satisfactorily we chocked it all up to “prenuptial jitters” of sorts and moved to closing.

then, within just days of sealing the deal we were given the final survey of the land.

it soon became clear that our apprehension was there for a reason.  the survey showed a significant number easements on the place.  the easements could not be lifted, and the  majority of them centered around  and on the one and only spot to build: the ridge. as far as building a farmette,  the land was pretty much worthless.   the deal bottomed out the day before we were to close.

as soon as we were released from the contract we both knew where we wanted to be.  we wanted to go back to to our original plan.  if we had gleaned anything from our previous experience it was this: go with your gut.  learning that the ten acres with a pond was still on the market, we took another sunday afternoon drive, and this time we managed to drive right to it.  when we got out of the car and stood in the middle of a grassy field we both knew without even saying to each other that this. was. IT.

within six weeks it was ours.

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February 27, 2012

why folding the laundry is so terribly difficult…

because i no longer get started when i am joined by this little guy who wants to help:

he jumps into the basket,

situates himself comfortably,

then burroughs down…

down…

until he falls asleep.

…and he looks so cute and cuddly, that i just don’t have the heart to remove him.

February 24, 2012

land shopping part 1

i don’t remember the first time the idea of a farm hit.  one of the first that comes to mind was when we moved to our first home on a quarter of an acre.  we had such a big yard.  i could have chickens just like martha stewart.  we could have a huge garden.  i could put up our own food.  i could have a clothes line.  we’d live off the land.  how. cool.  but then, the home owners association was formed barring everything from chickens to clothes lines.  we also learned that we didn’t (at that time) really have the tools or skill to garden or landscape a yard of that size.  even if we had,  a septic  had been installed in such a way that the prime area for a large garden really couldn’t be used as such.   we also longed for the charm and character of an older home.

when we moved to our older home, i became a master gardener and refined my gardening skills.  my husband began to get involved with me, and in a few seasons we grew enough to supplement our grocery bill.  our tiny yard was slowly being taken over by our growing garden.  we also became more interested in our food, and loved the concept of a small, self-sustaining operation where the table was supplied with meat, milk, cheese, etc.  provided by livestock lovingly fed and cared for.

we would sit out on the back porch in the evenings and speculate.

what if?

maybe someday we’d have what i liked to call a charlotte’s web farm.  i’ve since learned it is called a hobby farm: a white clapboard house with a red gambrel roof barn housing chickens, goats, sheep, geese, ducks, a pig, and a cow.  add the token barn cat, and a sheep dog – picture perfect.

it was last fall that we decided it was time to  move and we began to wonder:  how realistic was “the place in the country”?  after some research, and scratching out some figures on paper, we were delighted to discover it was within reach.  our first step then  was to decide – how big?

we were so naive.

remembering how overwhelmed i felt when i tried to mow our quarter acre lot i decided that anything over three acres would be way too big.  i had also begun to read up on homesteading and noted that much could be done in a reasonably small area.  however we also wanted a place that felt secluded.  we didn’t really want any neighbors too close by.

we were invited by our realtor to come out and visit a five acre lot to get a feel for size.  we both imagined driving way out into the country, turning off onto a dirt road, and standing in the middle of a wheat field: the wind whipping through our hair, nary a soul to be seen for miles around.  we were shocked to find ourselves instead  in a neighborhood, houses on either side and across the street, the five acres just a very large lot in a nice development.  five may have been much larger than a quarter, but it wasn’t quite large enough to give the secluded feeling we were looking for.  7-10 acres was more like it.

now that we knew what size,  we needed to settle on a location.  since my husband travels frequently with his job, we didn’t want to be any further than half an hour from the airport.  it was suggested we take a look at a small agricultural community about twenty miles east of where we live.  one beautiful fall afternoon we went for a sunday drive and we loved what we saw.

it was small.

it  was quiet.

it was very unassuming.

we had seen an online listing for ten acres and a pond and set out to look for it.  after driving around for nearly two hours we never found it but we did decide that we liked the community and the location.  the gently rolling,  grassy stretches of sparsely populated  land were exactly what we had in mind.

however, in discussing all this with our realtor, it was suggested we look instead at another place about 20 miles north.  this particular area didn’t have the flat, grassy stretches .  it was more rocky and woodsy, but it was beautiful in its own way.   it had a larger town with a wal-mart super center, restaurants, a library, and park with a beautifully flat jogging trail.  in spite of how we felt about the small town we looked at first, we decided we should be practical and settle instead somewhere a bit closer to some amenities.  the fact that it was situated close to a lovely lake was a perk.

one afternoon, i found what i thought would be The Spot.

February 20, 2012

good morning

so i just put my husby on a plane for the week.  normally he comes home on thursday evenings ad we have a long weekend, but recently his client asked that for the next four weeks he stay through friday.  those additional twenty-four hours make for a very long stretch so we squeeze as much as we possibly can out of our weekends.  to us this means scheduling very little except for our customary date night, catching each other up on what happened during the week, and doing some projects together around the house.  since our time together is so limited these days, i don’t do much house work over the weekends, meaning that monday is a major clean-up-and-get-it-all-back-together day.  not exactly fun, especially after an airport run.

i will however, set aside some time this afternoon for more important things such as catching the downton abbey season finale.  speaking of which, i came across this article this morning.

puts my current feelings on housekeeping in a totally different perspective.(highclere castle by the way is the real downton)