Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Power is Back On!


It's party time at the Richards Household - we have power and consequently, heat! Woot! Woot!

Which means I'll write that long awaited ::snort:: post after work today.

Until then, y'all stay warm.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Sunk Costs Fallacy

Have you guys heard about this?

My cousin posted the below video on his FB page:

Um, wow! That's what I'm struggling with right now.  I am, according to my Kindle, 19% and 12% of the way through The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and These Is My Words respectively.

I don't like either of them.  

It is just not happening.  I'm tired of trying to read these books and I have SOOOO MMAAANNNYY books, ten on my Kindle alone, that I am anxiously waiting to read.  It's actually making me cranky.   

I've sunk weeks into trying to plow through them thinking "maybe it will pick up in the next chapter!", "It had good reviews!", "Maybe I'm missing something here?"  Dagnabbit, I want these books to be good and worth my time/money.

Anyway, I think for the first time ever, I am going to give up on a book, or in this case books, and walk away.  I am going to call it a day and admit that just because I have sunk time and money into these books they aren't worth it any longer.  Especially since I have so many others that I am chomping at the bit to get to! (You can't tell that I am trying to make a case for myself, can you?)

Has this ever happened to you? Have you had to give up on something even though you've sunk your valuable resources into it?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Weekly Round-Up: 3 days behind schedule

I was supposed to write this post on Sunday - but instead did chores out in the yard.
I was supposed to write this post on Monday - but instead took my mom to the hospital for a procedure.
I was supposed to write this post on Tuesday - but instead after work did a multitude of things I had been neglecting (luckily the guy at the oil change place didn't scold me like last time).

But, whatevs.  I'm writing this post now! Aren't you the luckiest ducks ever!?

On Saturday my Beloved and I went and helped his grandmother move.  She's moved into a Senior Living Apartment and so has been whittling away at her possessions.  She's lived half her life in this one house.  You accumulate a lot in a lifetime.  Even more when you haven't moved in 41 years!

We scored some super awesome stuff - my Beloved got a lot of his grandfathers tools and a fire in his belly for organizing our pole barn.  His grandfather, who I never had the chance to meet, had everything organized and labeled which has inspired my hubby.

I spotted this bad boy when we were doing the actual moving a month ago.  Yes! Yesyesyesyesyes! It's her wrought iron bed from her childhood.  The only, wee bitty issue is that it's missing one of the side rails.  However investigation on Ebay has turned up quite a few, even some with, what I believe, is the right end! It'll be perfect in a guest room!

Also, scored from Grandma is this beaut! Isn't it fabulous? I had never seen a ceramic canning funnel.  Searching the intergooglewebz I found out that it is from the late 1800's.


At one point her and I were sitting around taking a rest and chatting when she said "Don't anybody tell me about the "good old days" - there was nothing good about them!"  She told me about growing up in the midst of the Depression.  And many stories including one about how her and her mother would can green beans using a large copper cauldron to process the freshly picked beans.  She said they would have to boil the jars for six hours to stave off the botulism (don't try this at home, kids!).

On Sunday I did some tea dyeing.  I've had this on my nightstand for eons and in the move, in its box it somehow got a stain on it.  I tried and tried to get the stain out but it wasn't budging.  So I decided to dye it. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

It came out perfect! (Yeah, I know, no picture.  But I will get one.)  All of the "recipes" that I found on the internet were for dyeing large things, or vast quantities of things so I made up my own.  I used hot water that I nuked (do people still use that term?) in the microwave and three teabags.  There are two English Breakfast Tea bags - from England and a Chamomile one because I like the way it smells.  

Not that after the soaking, rinsing, washing, air-drying you would be able to smell it...

And lastly - Biscoff Cookie Spread

I have had to pray for help in avoiding eating the whole jar by myself, in one sitting.

I've been eating it straight off the spoon however, I briefly did consider eating it on something like toast or an apple.  But have decided that they would alter the heavenly perfection that it already is.  

I bought a second jar and hid it in the house in case my Beloved decided he needed to help me eat more than I think he should eat.

Also, I need to buy more spoons.  Because even though I am in my own house, I haven't been double dipping (?).  Maybe if I run out of spoons it'll help temporarily curb my addiction.

Or not.  There's always my fingers.

This post shared at New Life On A Homestead

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Theme Thursday: Thumb

Linking up with Cari for today's Theme Thursday which, because you're astute and read the title of the post you know, is thumb.  

Three weeks ago while I was going through the 9,721,895 boxes that are still clogging up the house and driving me crazy I found this picture that I took in 1990 in photography class.  We had to take a series of Black and White photos, develop the film ourselves and make prints.

From L to R: My thumb, My sister Ali, Michelle and Cari
However much I would like to blame age and abuse, I didn't do so well with the developing and printing. Nonetheless it's a great picture of a great time!

Head over to Clan Donaldson for more thumbs than you ever thought you would see in a days time!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

This Week in Instagram

A round up of my week in Instagram photos - quite possibly a way for me to keep up on my blogging?

I heard your thoughts, mom...

It was great! Wonderful! Spectacular!  I lovedy, love, love, love Halloween and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow in particular. The town we live in now, Howell, has this Halloween party where they close off downtown and have a big ol' party so my sister, brother-in-law, Handsome Face McGee, my Beloved and I went downtown for the festivities.  

My sister Cassie (Skunkbait) and I decided we're going to to do the 5k next year (if the Humira is still kickin')!

Until Sunday I wasn't able to figure out what the two large trees in orchard that flowered so prettily in the spring were.  They're quince! 

We have two quince trees! However there were only 3 quince that I was able to find and the best one, that one there in the picture, was way, way, way up high.  Next year though? Quince jelly!

This year though? We have apples.  A plethora of apples.  A. Ton. Of. Apples.  The deer have been making pigs of themselves - only taking one bite and moving on to the next, jerks.  That is our second trailer load and third 5 gallon bucket.  And we aren't going to talk about the six crabapple trees with golf ball sized apples.

I have made apple pies, apple cakes, apple sauce and last weekend, as evidenced below, apple jelly and apple butter.

I hope everyone wants apple stuff for Christmas!

One of the docs I work with told me about the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sactuary where, at this time of year, you can go and watch the Sandhill Cranes where they gather/roost on their migratory journey.  I've been told, and have consequently read up on, that they come by the hundreds and thousands!

So yesterday, without warning to my Beloved, I decided that we would drive out there to see it.  Except I was expecting to stay in the car and snap pics out the window.  Instead, once we got there we realized that you ought to get out and walk the trails.  And we did, but we were so woefully unprepared - I was wearing my Dansko's, it was raining to beat the band & I had no umbrella, no gloves, but I did manage to scrounge up a wool hat that I had knit "for emergencies" in the trunk and y'all know I don't, won't, can't wear hats. 

Long story short.  We only saw about 50 because I was cold, soaking wet and getting crankier by the second.  Next year though, It's on like Donkey Kong!

Today's excitement is more apples.  Apple scrap jelly and something I came up with all by myself, which I am calling, Apple Pie Jam.  Which is soooo freaking unbelievably divine.  I'll share the recipe once I actually make it more than once.  And get the actual ingredients down.

Oh! And that's my Salvation Army $3 apple peeler find! Yippee!

While I was slaving away in the kitchen with all. those. dang. apples. my Beloved decided that the roof on the pole barn needed some maintenance before the winter.  He's slowly turning the loft into his (and don't tell him I called it this) Man Cave.  Of course he didn't tell me what he was doing, only said "Peek your head out in a little bit and make sure I'm not laying on the ground broken" before he exited the building rather quickly.

Trying to not be a Mother Hen I waited nearly 20 minutes before I grabbed my cell phone, dialed 9-1 and had my thumb hovering over the 1 when I walked out to this....

I guess I can just be glad it wasn't the big barn.  Right?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Room with Many Names and the Kitchen

Unless we're friends on Facebook you haven't seen any pictures of work we've been doing to 'round the Farmhouse.  Mostly because of the fact that in the chaos I still, to this day, haven't exactly found my computer.  I'm pretty sure it's in the Library but I can't be sure - because as of last night it looks like this:

I see the printer there on the love seat which leads me to believe that the computer is in there somewhere.  Ergh.  Things I can find in the room include: the door that goes from the kitchen to the mudroom - which we decided to leave off in the summer to there's more breeze in our unairconditioned house, the doors to the mudroom cabinet, a VCR/DVD combo - just in case my Beloved gets a hankerin' for watching a VHS (?), an Instapot that my mother bought me for Christmas last year that I haven't used for various and sundry reason and felt criminal while transporting from the condo to the Farmhouse because of that horribleness in Boston last year.

When the listing agent showed us the house he called it the "Moron Room" and explained that with these old houses over the years they continually kept adding "more on" as space was needed.

I got the feeling that my cherished Farmhouse didn't like the Moron nickname so I decided we should start calling it the den.  Which, after a few months, I decided I didn't like.  So in order to get some fancy up here I recently christened it The Library.

But, let me show you some pics of a non-disorganized, filthy, forgotten room (that I took with my phone which does not require a computer to download)!

When my Beloved and I first looked at this house the kitchen looked like this:

And after a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of work (done mostly by my Beloved's aunt and uncle and my mother, MommaBean & Mother-in-Law while we were off enjoying ourselves at our jobs) now looks like this:

The Finished Product!
I used Rust-o-Leum Cabinet transformations to paint all of the cabinets a bright, clean white and replaced all of the hardware and hinges.

I painted many a cramp into my hand painting all of the cabinets

Don't tell but we still haven't put the glass back in the cabinet
The new range and a glimpse of the flooring
The 1950's Thermador cooktop that was here when we bought the house and still works
The excellent kitchen sink that for the first time ever I got to pick out
The excellent sink complete with Icky
So there you have it! A for-real-sy update about the Farmhouse! More to come - promise.  Girl Scouts honor and all that.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Farewell Icky

I was able to hold him in my arms and comfort him as I said goodbye.

I Love This Face
Icky was the baby that I never did have. 
A birthday nap

He was a sweet, funny, loving, bad ass (because he was tatted), quirky cat. 

Finding an odd place to squeeze into
I got Icky when he was 6 weeks old (about a month before I married my first husband) and he was with me through everything for 15 beautiful years. He tolerated many moves, a rambunctious puppy and Nike as a kitten with style. We are very thankful that he wasn't sick for a long time and he was a trooper through to the end.

His birthday last year
Nike is taking it pretty hard, she'd lived her whole entire life with Icky as her big brother and every day she looks for him - especially when it's treat time or on "Wet Food Days". 

Miss Nike
I will miss his constant sitting on my neck/shoulder, grooming my eyebrows and my beloved's goatee, his cute, talkative face, his bolting into the bathroom ahead of you in hopes that you'd turn on the faucet for him to drink from, his sleeping on my hip every night (which was nice in the winter but not so nice when a nighttime hot flash reared its ugly head), his opening dresser drawers & cabinets and his insistence on rolling on any dark clothes laid out on the bed.

Sinks.  He loved them all equally.

Whenever you couldn't immediately find him all you had to do was start looking in the sinks.
Thank you Icky for picking me that day at the Humane Society - I am honored to have been your mom.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Struggle: Pt. III - An update

First, I have had a problem lately wherein I think that all of my posts have to be epic.  So, I just haven't been writing any 'cause they weren't insightful, full of gorgeous pictures, hilarious and you know, legendary.


That and we have flat out been working our arses off.
Also, it would help if I found my computer.
And cleaned out the library so that we can set up said computer.

Annnnywaayy - so, this is going to happen so there will be no more struggles:

They even send you a little Sharps container!
There were two things that happened this summer that were the catalyst for my decision:
The Ood & bow tie that Lotus made for me!
1.  When Cari Donaldson came a visitin' with her passel of children, her daughter Lotus was telling me of the great and wonderful things we could do if my Beloved and I should happened to make it to Connecticut one day.  I found myself telling her "That sounds great! But, we will have to wait and see, my feet don't work so well anymore".  Wow.  Depressing.

Krang pinata
2.  My nephew Handsome Face McGee's birthday party.   Do you see that Krang pinata?! My sister Skunk Bait and brother-in-law Waldo made that! Ah-may-zing! It was a super, awesome, cool TMNT themed party where the kids had to do "Ninja Training". So the kids were running around, adults were running around with the kids, and me? I was looking for a place to sit because my feet were hurting and H.F. McGee shouted "Come on Thea Poppy!".  My soul? Crushed.

I started to get truthful with myself after that.  I admitted that I was coping.  I wasn't living.

I'll be ding-danged if I let RA run my life.  So, I am taking it back.

I got my first shot at the doctors office a few weeks ago and until yesterday I was on the phone with my insurance company, the pharmacy and the doctor's office daily working on getting this filled - it was a nightmare.  But I was diligent because the price per shot if I were to pay out of pocket? $1,000.00!

I get one shot, which my beloved will have to administer - 'cause I'm feelin' wimpy, every other week.

Oh, and a third reason -

If there is a zombie apocalypse I would like at least a chance.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Theme Thursday: Faith

Today is the Dormition of the Theotokos which means its my name day!

I'm sneaking my way back into the bloggy world by linking up with my friend Cari over at Clan Donaldson for her Theme Thursday.

My favorite icon

Monday, April 22, 2013

Paint, Treasures & Toys

4:35 a.m. and I'm blogging and having my second cup of coffee.  Just a quick post to let you know where we're at with The Farmhouse!  The electrician said he should be done by the end of this week rewiring the whole house - w00t!

1.  Questionable Paint.  

Because we went with the renovation mortgage "they" got to tell us all of the things they require that we do to receive our certificate of occupancy.  One of the things was scraping any chipping/flaking paint on the window frames and painting.  We don't have to get down to bare wood be just have to get the chippy stuff off.  
Eye wear, gloves and mask required
So I spent half the day on Saturday scraping probable toxic lead based paint.  It's not as fun as it sounds.  Those masks a) pull your hair out, b) immediately fog your eye glasses and c) muffle your voice enough that your Beloved can't hear you 10 steps away from you so you have to take the mask off which pulls out half of the hair on your head and knocks your glasses off.  Good times, good times.

2. Treasure

Found this on the back of the main floor bathroom! Never noticed it the 8,764 other times we have been at the house.

I love little things like this!
3. I (okay we) got a new and necessary toy!

I watched hours of DIY network on Friday night and a couple of the hosts were women.  And they were using a Sawzall.  Right then and there I decided I needed one and if they could do it, so could I.  

Ain't it puurrdy?!
The best part? I used it.  Twice.  And all of my digits are still attached!

Well, I'm off to work so I can make some money in order to buy more light fixtures (which are NOT cheap)!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

It's Official!

It has been an insane few weeks but, but, but...

It is official! We are the proud new owners of a 150 year old farmhouse!

We went out to the house yesterday to get some measurements, take some fundamentals (like T.P, hand soap, a couple of towels, etc.) and to hopefully start in on the things that we can do to check off the FHA requirement list.  

This happened:

It started snowing tiny snowballs and the wind was blowing at 22 mph with gusts in the 30 mph range.  It was a typical horrible Michigan spring day so we went to both Lowe's and Home Depot to look around for ideas and because the plumber, my cousin, said that the kitchen sink and our faaaabulous country blue toilet needs to be replaced, oh darn! Shopping! 

Oh, and buy a bucket because we discovered a wee drippy-drip in the basement from a skinny copper pipe.  Today we'll look for the leak and slap a temporary fix on it until Jody (my cousin) can come out.

I'll do my best to remember the ding-dang camera today too.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Earth Hour!

So, it's Earth Hour right now and I am blogging in the dark with the laptop unplugged.

The screen seems unnaturally bright...

My Beloved and I spent Earth Hour two years ago playing scrabble by candlelight which you can see a picture of  here.  I won that last game!

Next year I'll do more than just commit to spending an hour in the dark.

No, from this day forward we, our little family, will commit to do even more to save our little corner of the planet.  

Now to just figure out what that'll be...

Blurbing: True Story

I totally forgot about Blurbing!

So, I'm going to start Blurbing again on those days when I have a little something to say but not a whole posts worth of coherent thoughts (which seems to be the case more often than not).

Today's blurb is a true story.

So, after working a million 55 hours this week, I, immediately upon walking in the door and dropping my bags, got into my jammies.

By 6:30 p.m. I was firmly ensconced on the couch.  And with a bowl of chocolate ice cream for dinner in my hand I finished both my library book (which is due back today) and another I had pre-ordered a long time ago and received earlier this week.

I know, I know... way cool, right? (okay, maybe not.)

Anyway, if y'all are looking for a good couple of good books to read try:

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

The premise is that the rotation of the Earth begins to slow and both the days and nights are growing longer affecting all life on Earth.  

The other is Once Upon a Flock by Lauren Scheuer

This delightful little gem was written by a blogger whose blog (Scratch and Peck) I have been lurkily (that's a word, right?) following for a few years.   I laughed and I cried and I fortified my resolve to have chickens at The Farmhouse.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Theme Thursday: Mud

Day 923 of snow and cold and bitter, biting winds.

And? It's been snowing for the last three days. So there ain't no mud 'round here! Just frozen Earth under a blanket of snow.

So this will have to suffice:

My brand spanking new "Wellies" ('cause I'm British now) that I plan to wear when there is actually mud -sitting in the single sunny spot in our whole house.  

And, because it is cause for celebration - my geranium, which lives there on the floor by the one sunny spot in the house.  I re-potted it (a first!) from a larger planter that was on the front porch this summer and have miraculously managed NOT to kill it! Hallelujah!

Do me a favor if you would and try to ignore the 3 inches of dust on the lid of the box.

Anyway, go and check out Cari's blog Clan Donaldson for some real pictures of mud!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Counter, Counter, Counter, Counter, Nap

The past two weeks since meeting the contractor have been more than a little hectic 'round here.

The Monday after the inspection we sent off an addendum/counter offer.
This past Monday they countered our offer with a ridiculous offer.
To which we countered with our own offer.
And they countered it again on Friday!

I think a picture is in order after all the shenanigans.

Upstairs Bath
Would you look at that?!? It is blue.  Super awesome blue!

And even better than it having that amazing country blue toilet is the fact that you can't stand up straight in the shower because it was built into the eaves of the house.  Which means it'll be relegated to a bathing only tub and showering will have to happen elsewhere.

Okay, back to the meat of the post.  And I'll get right down to it, we accepted their counter to our counter, etc., etc.

The Farmhouse is ours Precious!!

So after all of this emotional turmoil I allowed myself a nap today.  Double yaay! 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Theme Thursday (or Friday, whatevs): Piles

When I found out that this weeks theme was piles, my twisted mind immediately went to medical definition.

Argh! Gah! Eww! Geck!

Then after a thorough brain washing with bleach I tried to come up with something not horrifying or too horrifyingly embarrassing (who wants to see me thumbing my nose at tidiness!) I came up with this:

A pile o' freshly pressed napkins
Whiiiiiiiich is an okay picture, there's plenty of red in my kitchen to satisfy the "put some red in it", but you can't really tell how towering this mountain of napkins are.  On the one hand having a crap ton of napkins is good 'cause you don't have to wash them every two days.  The flip side though is that when you're out and you go downstairs to iron them you realize that there are a quadrillion and you spend a half hour just pressing napkins.  Vicious cycle.

Here's another one I took to see if I could get the height:

Meh.  S'okay.  My problem was the dang heckin' sun/lack of natural light.  Oh well.  Not sure how exciting napkins are anyway...

Oh! Guess what I found in the garage this morning? A pie pumpkin.

So I butchered it.  And gutted it.  And had a pile of innards.
Pumpkin! In March!
Not wanting to tempt the Fates by making anything pumpkiny at the beginning of Spring I decided to roast, puree and freeze it for some Autumnal Goodness in the Fall.

At some point this weekend I'll give y'all an update on The Farmhouse.  Hopefully by the end of today we'll have some sort of news to share!

Until then head on over to Cari's blog Clan Donaldson and see other peoples pics!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Theme Thursday: Happiness or Joy

Without fail there is one picture that no matter what always, always makes me smile.

I present to you joy:

Greek Easter 2010

My nephew, Handsome Face McGee, enjoying his very first taste of a banana.

Head on over to Clan Donaldson for more happiness than you can shake a stick at!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Farmhouse Update: Feelin' Good!

Before we met with the contractor yesterday I was feeling pretty down and out about the whole house.  Bad enough that gazing at the pictures, imagining how I was going to decorate and coming up with the names of our various farm animals couldn't even get me outta' my funk.

Within 20 minutes of meeting the contractor, I was ecstatic again! He had experience with old farm houses, he's a local, and while he didn't sugar coat anything - he said it was doable.  

Everything was doable! Our house wasn't going to fall into the basement at any second and we weren't going to have to replace the entire I-Beam and this isn't like the house in the movie The Money Pit.  Sure we had to shore up that beam at the ends where the damage was and we would have to get the pest control guys out to mitigate any further damage (ewwy) and such but structurally, we're sound.  

Electrically speaking? We're screwed.  The entire house needs to be rewired including a new service panel.  That is going to cost us four times as much as shoring up the I-Beam and nearly twice as much as having to potentially repair/replace the well & pump.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaah!

But, but, but it's going to be all good.  I just know it is.  He said it is.  And my Beloved and I are confident and happy with our decision to move forward.  Now all we have to do is to go back to Fannie Mae and present them with our latest and greatest addendum/offer/whatchamacallit.

Hey you know what? It's picture time!

Mud  room doorknob
There are a couple of rooms that have this type of doorknob, however as you can plainly see this doorknob does not belong on this door, there's no keyhole in the door itself.

Here's the other side of the same doorknob:

Cool beans, right?

And one last thing for today - are there any budding Dendrologists or Arborists out there? 'Cause we have a wicked cool tree in the front yard that looks like it's been there for the whole 150 years.  

I want to know what it is but I haven't got the patience or knowledge to even begin Googling this bad boy.

My next post, I'll show you some of the not so awesomeness that is my (soon-to-be) house!