Tuesday, January 29, 2013

from the top . . .

The girl's room did not have wallpaper so it made it easier for me to finish.  There was a band of cork around the room, which made a nice separation from the top of the wall to the bottom.
 The walls were white and were a blank canvas for me to work with.
 I painted the bottom portion a buckwheat color (Khaki) and wrote the first chapter of James around the top of the cork.  The girl's added the pinned details like leaves, seeds, weeds, and bugs.  There are also a couple of real nests in the corners.
 I ordered the curtains from IKEA and had them shipped here.  Couldn't imagine driving three hours to go to the closest IKEA!
 When it is cleaned up, it makes for a large, pretty room.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

finished rooms . . .

After we moved in, and I painted almost all the rooms, I updated some pictures of the rooms that I had finished.  Since that post, the rooms I did not get to now have the final touches to make them "finished."  This is the before/after of the upstairs hallways that leads to 3 bedrooms, a sewing room, and the upstairs bath.  (which I am currently repainting)
Not much difference except some paint, a couple of old world maps, and a mirror at the end of the hall to make it seem larger.
And on the way down the stairs I have a quilt displayed that has all the reminant fabrics that my mother kept from her childhood.  There are old pieces of my aunts dresses, my mom' clothes, and some of the fabric my mom used to make us clothes when I was young.  The blue and red patch used to be one of the shirts I used to wear!  My mom made the design years ago, and had some of my Amish friends quilt it for her last year.  She asked me if I wanted it now knowing that I had the intention of haning a quilt in the hallway one day.  How nice that it has my OWN history involved in it.  I found the hanging quilt/plate rack at a Goodwill for only $4.00 and it was a excellent fit for the space.
This is the Foyer, also functioning as a dining room.  On the listing of the home, it is considered the dining room.  But since we have a addition kitchen and family room, it is too far from the kitchen for us to use as a dining room.  We just use it as a pass through to get upstairs and a place to do studies or projects.  I kept the embossed wallpaper on the bottom and just painted over the color.  The top was stripped and painted, and a new ceiling fan installed.  One that matched the BEAUTIFUL/original woodwork.
I removed the broken radiators, added the furniture, and just awhile ago, added the wooden curtain rods and curtains.  I bought discount curtain rods and finials from the ReStore for an outrageously low price.  In fact, I only spent only $100.00 for rods/brackets/finials for the WHOLE house! And I got brown curtains from IKEA.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

cleaning the stove grates . . .

Last weekend we had some friends over for a mid day meal.  Sort of like a lunch, dinner, and supper all in one.  He and his wife brought some salad, a vegetable tray, and some cupcakes for dessert.  I grilled some of the steaks we had just butchered and also roasted a whole chicken from the freezer. 
 
While we were waiting on the chicken to finish cooking, he and I did a little OCD cleaning.  We are both like that.  We are very similar in that both of us LIKE to clean, and also get out tools to do the job.
 It's funny how satisfying it is to clean something so thouroughly.  My stove top had not been COMPLETLEY cleaned since we bought the home.  The surface had been wiped down many times, but the caked/burnt grime still remained.  Now, it does not exist! 
 And now I am in the process of cleaning the grates from all of their residue as well. They are enamel painted metal, so I first boiled them to loosen the grime, and now am scrubbing them with a cleaner and a scratch pad.

And this late morning, I am sitting here on the sofa in my family room, looking out the back of the house to our new, beautiful blanket of snow we got yesterday.  Wood burning in the stove, relaxing on the sofa, drinking some coffee, and planning what I am going to do today.  I think I am going to finish painting the upstairs bathroom and put it back together.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

mini marathon . . .

Yesterday was Amory's 17th birthday.  Happy Birthday to her!  Most of the day was spent doing normal daily chores and activities.  Milking, cutting wood, dishes . . .   And last night we did a couple of special activities to celebrate.

First we went bowling at one of the local bowling lanes.  Since it was Monday night, we were able to bowl along side the local Elks club league.  What that entailed was a whole bunch of older men drinking beer and showing us farm folks how to bowl.

Second, we came home and had some DELICIOUS raspberry topped, chocolate cake that Macy made.  


And after cake and a few presents, we all watched several episodes of the BBC TV Series of Robin Hood.

Robin Hood Poster

Since we don't have television, we get a series of older, and newer programs and watch the seasons of it like a television marathon.  And last night was a mini marathon.  We finished watching the last episode at 2:00 am!  I was happy this morning when I checked online and found out school was cancelled for the day.  I slept in a bit, and have the whole day to rest, and do a little bit of work.  I suspect that the children will be sleeping in a little longer than usual today.


Monday, January 21, 2013

separate the cream . . .

The final result of our butchering weekend.  A WHOLE freezer (and half of another) filled with beef.
 And still a WHOLE freezer (and half of another) filled with chicken.
 As a father, providing for my family is UTMOST important.  And especially my family's food needs.  I certainly do not trust in the freezer, but it sure does make me feel good to have 6 months to a year's worth of food available for the family to eat.  And now that butchering season is over for this year, it is time to get caught up on some of the other work that I do here on the farm.  One job in particular is making butter.  First I use the food processor to separate the cream into butter and buttermilk.
 Next the butter gets rinsed to get all the buttermilk out of it.  Here is starts to clump up and feel like butter.
 Then I form it into small paties to store in the freezer.
And this is what the finished product looks like.
And from the freezer, we thaw and put our butter in our new Butter Crock for use on the counter.  It is a crock that stores exactly 1/4 pound of butter and can be left on the counter up to 30 days without the butter spoiling.  The secret is the cold water!  You fill the bottom of the crock with a little cold water, then turn the lid over into the crock.  Since the butter is submerged in water, oxygen does not reach it keeping it fresh for a long period of time.  Not that it stays in there very long in our home!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

off the bone . . .

Today we finished butchering the heifer.  We didn't get started until late, and by the time we got over to the butcher shop, all the steaks had been cut up.  Then all of us started cutting the meat off the bone to be ground into hamburger and sausage.
 Macy, Asher, Maine and I spent most of the time cutting meat and fat off the bones.We kept all the bones to bring home to the dogs.

 Amory and Ruth spent the whole time packaging up the meat.  When we were finished, we ended up with approximately 20 T bone steaks BEAUTIFULLY marbled, about 15 sirloins, 15 or so roasts, 10 or so of some other cuts, 15 or so chucks, and around 150 pounds of ground beef; about a third of which we turned into sausage.
 And after last night, I have a couple of jars of tallow already for use in cooking!

Friday, January 18, 2013

beef in the freezer . . .

Tonight when I got home from school it was "butcher the heifer" time at the farm.  A friend of mine came over to teach me how it was done, NW Ohio style.  :)

After it was shot and bled out a bit, he loaded it on the trailer with the tractor.
 Inside his shop, which is only a few miles from the farm, it was hoisted up so the skin could be removed.
 Asher has skinned many small animals this year so it was easy for him to work with this large animal.
And this was the beast without all the fur.
After the internal organs were removed, the carcass was cut down the center to hang and cool for the night.  Tomorrow we do all the cutting up and packaging the near 300 pounds of meat that will be going in our freezer that night.
 And tonight I brought home the tallow and started rendering it on the wood cook stove.  It smells a little beefy in the family room just now!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

metallic paint . . .

Another great Christmas break project we all got into.  Painting tile.

When I bought the place, I was forced to live with this hideous green tile that looked like it has been drug out from the back shelves of a third rate tile store.  In an old, desolate town.  Somewhere in the middle of nowhere.  I had plans of doing something with it, either replace it, or re-surface it, and this break time was the perfect time to get part of it done.

I purchased some hammered metallic paint (which is a new fascination for me now) and thought that it might work nicely in covering up the green tile, relatively cheaply.  I first masked off the green tiles, then had the younger children put an X on any other tile they wanted to paint.  I wanted to break up the pattern that had been "going on" in the mud hall.
 
Each of the children got a different metallic color and painted whichever squares they wanted to.  I did not care if they painted the same color next to each other, knowing that it would look great when it was finished anyway.
 After two coats of the paint, we peeled off the tape and gingerly walked on the tile for a day or two until it was permanently hardened.
 We used Dark Bronze, Brown, Copper, and Silver metallic paint for the project.
This summer we will paint the rest of the tiles, and then I will go back over them with each of the other colors to give them a slate/stone patina for under $50.00!  I'll post the final pictures of the tiel when we finish them.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

other Christmas time activities . . .

In addition to Macy's choir concert this past Christmas, the other children had a piano solo to perform at a Senior Living center located in town.  This was Gresham's FIRST public piece that he played.  His arrangement for the day was Jingle Bells.  He asked me several times how he was supposed to bow when he finished his performance.  ")  It was AWESOME!
 And Christmas day was a great day here for us.  We all slept in, and leisurely opened the gifts that we either made, or purchased for each other.  This year I bought gifts for the children instead of making things for them.  (The older they get, the harder it is for me to make them things they want)

All of the children got electric mattress pads for their beds, and several of them got new night clothes to wear as well.   And this year, I decided to get them one BIG item that they REALLY wanted.  And I couldn't skip on the handmade items, so I made them each the first letter of their name, with the intention of each year making them one more letter to spell out their name.


It was a really casual day filled with lots of laughter, and I whole lot of eating sweets!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

concert . . .


This past December, just a few short weeks ago, Ayersville High School Choir had their annual night Christmas concert.  All of us attended, as well as some friends of ours (the Miehls), to watch Macy sing.  We all thought (maybe it was just our minds tricking us) that we could hear HER voice distinctly even with so many students singing.  It was hard for me not to cry since this is the FIRST school function that any of my children have been involved in.