Ranch life update: the garden

Good morning! While winter was a time of planning, and resting, spring however, has been off to a busy start! We are finishing up our chicken coop and run, planting our garden and building a shop/garage. In this post, I’de love to share with you all that’s going in the garden.

Before spring began, we planted seeds to grow inside until warmer days came. They lined our kitchen windows and got lots of spritzing and encouraging words from us until last weekend where they got their place in our garden.

While the seedlings grew their roots indoors, Brian set up some irrigation for the gardens and he, and C planted potatoes and onions outside.

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While I was away on a girl’s trip, Brian and the kids pulled up A LOT of weeds and built up some rows behind the raised beds. We are planting some of the same things both in the ground rows, and in the raised beds. We’re interested in seeing where the plants thrive most. All our soil has some of our homemade compost added (read about how we made our compost bins, and some other projects here), with homemade cedar mulch (read about how we made our mulch here) on top.

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Here are the seedling babies, all grown up and ready to go outside. Most of them are tomatoes-cherry, 4th of July, and roma- and some are jalapenos. The seeds we have going directly in the ground are: okra, squash, cucumbers, green beans and melons.

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In another bed, we tilled up the soil, added compost, manure and some fresh dirt. We planted: basil, cilantro, strawberries, catnip, rosemary, dill and garlic chives. The strawberries were sampled, and the cilantro was sampled/eaten to the ground by the cows. Ugh. Our fence is easily compromised. But, the strawberry plants have recovered, and now they’re just being sampled by us. We have plans for a permanant fence -coming soon. (Read about how the cows convinced us to put up a fence)

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This is in the backyard, right below the porch.

Something we keep learning, like death and taxes, your plans WILL change. The weather will force you to delay, your tools will be broken, you don’t have that one thing you need, you measured twice but still didn’t get it quite right. It’s difficult sometimes (especially for two type A people …ahem) to roll with these punches. As a parent, it’s been important to model that that’s. just. life. (I am not always a great model for this, or for many of my other faults for that matter.) We are thankful to have these opportunities to improve this place for our family and hopefully instill the values we hold dear.

I recently found a list of “ranch goals” in a large binder of my grandma’s things. She passed away almost 14 years ago, and here we are on this ranch, trying to be good stewards and leave it better than we found it, and here are her words inspiring me, from maybe 20 years ago? 25? It’s typed on a typewriter for goodness’ sake. There were several, but here’s one that really got me:

“Quality of life…Our Earth, ranch and community to be better for our having been here.”

I have chills. In this season of hard work here at the yellow house, and on this ranch, these words from the past have been a beautiful and inspiring reminder of our purpose. It is our great pleasure to be here. To work hard and leave it, “better for our having been here.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I hope your spring is off to a great start! Are y’all planting gardens? What are you growing?

Posts coming soon about the progress on the coop, raising the chicks and ducklings and the building of our shop/garage! See you then, I hope!

Thanks for reading!  -Steph

 

 

 

What I learned from the Spring 10×10 Challenge

I did it! I wore only ten items (including shoes!) for 10 days. (See what I picked and more info about the challenge in this post)

I mixed and matched, added accessories and have 10 awkward photos of myself to prove it. See??

 

I appreciated the experience and it helped me realize some things about the way I should keep my closet year round:

First of all, I need no new clothes. I have enough. With only 8 clothing pieces and 2 pairs of shoes to choose from, getting dressed everyday was a cinch. No pacing my closet and sighing, before finally deciding on something. All my outfits were put together, and honestly, having less pieces to work with made it less pressure. I packed for a weekend trip and it was the easiest packing a bag has ever been. One day, to avoid wearing almost the exact same thing a second time, I added an old belt of my gramdmother’s. I’ve had it for years and never wear it. I got several compliments on it, and it changed up wearing the same shirt and jeans for the second time in 10 days. I was encouraged to get creative with what I already have and if you’ve read any of my posts before, you know the joy I get from using what I already have. (I did that for my Fall Decorating Challenge, and for Carolynn’s Office)

Secondly, keep what realistically works for you. I guess I’m not a skirt person. In theory, yes, I like skirts a lot. I think they’re cute and springy and can keep be versatile enough to be casual or dressy. BUT, I wore mine twice only, one of which was Easter Sunday and the other I MADE myself because I knew I needed to work it in. My day to day life just isn’t too skirt friendly, so it just didn’t seem to make sense most days. It was cute, but not that practical for me.

I’m fine wearing jeans everyday. They fit my lifestyle and darnit, I just like them. For the challenge, I chose a pair of boot cut jeans, but I wished I had picked my skinny jeans. The skinnies would have been more classic and I just like the fit better.

If overalls are wrong, I don’t want to be right. I did choose overalls as one of my pieces, maybe not the most practical choice, but I actually have no regrets. I like them, and they went with more than one top so I got two wears out of them. It’s only been two days since the challenge ended, and I’ve already worn them again.

Birkenstocks are still my favorite shoe of all time. I wore them 9/10 of the challenge days and probably would have anyway. I’m not a “shoe person”, but I LOVE these shoes.

Lastly, go with neutrals. one of the tops I chose had embroirdered shoulders and a tie front. It is less of a neutral, which I chose intentionally, to keep boredom at bay. In hindsight, another neutral top would have been a better choice. I only wore my embroirdered tee (It’s SO cute, you can find the link in this post) once. It didn’t lend itself to the whole idea of the 10×10, which is, creatively mixing and matching. It would have been too obvious if I wore it twice because it just isn’t neutral enough.

Overall, I didn’t find it too difficult to wear the same things for 10 days, and no one ever said, “didn’t you just wear that?” Which was actually something I wondered about. Turns out, no one probably noticed, and much more likely, no one actually cares.

Did anyone else take the 10×10 challenge? What do you think about a minimalist stlye wardrobe? Are you a person who needs lots of options, or do you prefer the simplicity of fewer clothes?

Thanks for reading!! Steph

How-To Make a Quick, Easy, Springy Lemon Tree!

Happy Monday! It is gloomy, wet and dreary here at our sweet, yellow house this morning.
But no worries, because I’m cleaning, crock pot cooking, laundering, and blogging. So it’s shaping up to be a productive day, filled with the oh-so-gratifying to-do list checking.
I did an easy and super fun project Friday while the kids were at school and I have been looking forward to sharing it! It cost me less than $10 and took me about 15 minutes. Like, maybe 15 minutes. That only adds to my love for it, because it’s just so pretty, and springy…and yellow. I give you….the Lemon Tree-piary.

I’m calling it a Tree-piary because it’s really a hybrid between a topiary tree, and a tree tree. I also just think it’s fun to smoosh words together. I do this often in my “speaking life” and continue to be amused by it. I can laugh at my own jokes, I have no problem with that. 😂

Here’s my inspiration, from Instagram:
If you’re on Instagram, Erin shares lots of beautiful photos of her amazing home and her amazing style. She also has a blog: http://www.cottonstem.com/blog/
Also, Alicia, @vintageporch. She also shares lots of inspirational photos of all her vintage treasures, and has impeccable taste.
She also has a blog: http://www.myvintageporch.com/
Blog goals, people. I dream big.
Also, this:
In my mind, that awesome lemon tree, and the topiary tree had a beautiful baby, and here is her “birth” story:
That pot was on promotion for 60% off at Michael’s. Total: $2.39. I used coupons for the lemon stem, and the bag of small lemons. They are regularly priced at $7. I actually didn’t end up using those mini lemons for this gig, but bought them just in case I needed some filler. Nothing worse than being mid-inspirational project and not having something you need.

That being said, here’s your complete list of materials:

  • pot of your choice
  • lemon stem, I got mine from Michael’s
  • moss
  • jute
  • floral foam, or styrofoam
  • sturdy paper strips, or bendable cardboard
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun
I already had roll of  jute, and some floral foam but if you don’t have these things,  they can be found at most craft stores and  on Amazon. They aren’t very expensive, and can be used in other projects. (Let me give a little PSA about the floral foam: it’s obnoxious. It leaves little foamy pieces everywhere that are difficult to wipe up.  And somehow, as an extra irritating charascteristic, it feels simultaneously gritty and slimy. Touching it gives me the willies. blech. 😝)I cut the foam to fit into my pot. I centered the stem into the foam, and then very tightly wrapped the jute around the stem.

I used some recycled newspaper ads to make a prop inside my pot. This way, I use less of my moss to fill in the top.

I filled in the pot with the moss. A little bit goes a long way. The moss was also something I already had, from previous projects. It can also be found at a craft store. They usually sell it in bags.

Next, I used my hot glue gun to secure the lemons to each other, and ensure that topiary look.

I just love how it turned out and wish I had made two! I tried it out all over the house: my sofa table, my mantel, next to my sink:
I had fun moving it around, and loved the way it looked everywhere I put it. But, since my mantel is where I mostly struggle to “get settled”, that’s where it ended up.
What do y’all think? I would love to know what y’all think! Let me know if you make your own Lemon Tree-piary, and send me a picture! Get it ready this week, in time for your Easter tablescape!
This Easter tablescape created by Carolynn. Didn’t she do a good job?! She also had an idea for the mini lemons, and begged me not to return them. More on that another day.
Thank you so much for reading! I love your comments, questions and shares, so bring ’em on. Have a great week!
XO, Steph
(Originally Published April 10, 2017)