Friday, September 30, 2016

Evolution of a Porch

There's just something about a country home with a front porch... don't you think?
There's a certain romance and sweetness that speaks to our hearts of a peaceful life, rocking chairs and sippin' lemonade, being neighborly, and a longing to bring back a bygone era.

It's all very dreamy... 

and then there's our porch!

Don't get me wrong, I am VERY thankful for what we do have.
Country life is WONDERFUL!

But not all of us have an amazing Chip & Joanna Gaines-showplace farmhouse.  Even if one does live in the country and does have a front porch, life happens -- dirt, pets, people... it's like another room in the house to keep clean.  Our house is just a builder-grade 90's modified 2-story, not to mention that we live in Minnesota where there is winter five months of the year and mosquitoes all summer, leaving us with only a couple of months where we can truly enjoy an outdoor living space.  It's not practical, but it is what it is.

I love a lot of home styles, so it has taken nearly 20 years for me to finally realize my most favoritest home & decorating style is farmhouse/cottage; and now that I know... I also know that I'm never going to get it perfectly as I envision it only because that would require a move or a total tear down and start over --
my husband would have a heart attack!

And although I'm always up for the adventure, my Mr. Steady is my rock [or shall we say, leash] (he is nodding he head on that one) and would never agree to such an undertaking. There is also the little fact that hubs & I are not getting any younger... our girls are growing up and we are already looking into the future to a pared-down one-story cottage [on a lake, she says] -- any major remodeling of our current house just seems like a waste of money & energy at this point, and I'm okay with just a few minor updates and daydreaming about what my next house will be like, whether here or in heaven. :)

So, without further ado, here is a little peek at how our front porch has evolved these past 20 years....

My Loves: Jeff with baby Anna, big sister Amber, and puppy Peanut.
Cool!  We have a (unfinished) front porch!
We built our humble home (via contractor) in 1996 and was able to move in that fall.  Coming from a very modest small home, this seemed HUGE.

c. 1998-2015
I couldn't readily find any great pictures of our multi-colored porch, so please excuse the neglected look, it was semi-buttoned up for fall/winter.   The bags probably contain newly harvested onions.
We kept the Victorian-like multi-color look for 17 years.  Sage, Beige, and Barn Red were all the go for many years, and our house was certainly that -- inside & out.  Various pieces of furniture came & went, but porch decor was not a priority.  Besides, curb appeal is optional as you really can't see the porch from the road.

Our Bright Porch for 16 months.
Just prior to Anna's graduation open house, I decided it was time to spiff up the porch.  After so many years of it being beige, sage, & barn red, it was time for a color update... besides, my favorite color is BLUE!  With the girls help, we painted the posts & spindles white; the floor espresso; and the door and shutters went to this bright blue.  Actually, I didn't mean for it be to so bright -- I was aiming for my favorite, Robin's Egg Blue, but lost focus somewhere in the paint selection, and this is what happened.  It's a beautiful blue, if I was painting it on my imaginary Key West oceanfront cottage, but I thought it was a bit too bright for what I wanted and it didn't stay long.
  Oh, and lest we forget, there was the free-range chicken years which meant daily clean-up and wear & tear on the porch.  I love my babies being near me, but it is better that they are now in their limited free-range area and the porch's primary use is for human enjoyment (although the cats may disagree).

So I cleaned.  And painted.
My makeshift paint studio where it was warm & bug-free.
Former blue was Sherwin Williams (SW) Federated Blue
Lighter, near Robin's Egg Blue is BEHR Summer Dragonfly

This is what it looks like today!
Now my Shutters & Front Door are a color I just love!  I still need to do something about the yard just in front of the porch where the dog likes to dig tunnels to China.  Our porch faces north, so it's a very shady area most of the day and most shade plants are toxic to dogs & cats... and I get kind of tired of hostas everywhere.   
Trees block the view, but here you can see the upper shutters.
The Behr Summer Dragonfly really looks Robin's Egg Blue in the darker shaded areas, but a lighter cottage blue when it's sunny.

  I would like to add a Cracker Barrel rocking chair on the far left side of the porch (where I'm standing).  There are several for sale on Craigslist and I like how big & sturdy they are; and a rocking chair is a must for a porch, right?  The porch is 6' x 24', minus 6" each way for posts/railing, so that would pretty much fill up the space.  I have already put away the folding table tray.

I hope to make new cushion slipcovers (winter project) as I never intended to have a brown/rust color theme, but it works for the fall.  Also, I will paint the table lantern, and maybe make a foot stool, otherwise I'm pretty happy with how it's turned out, finally.

I have three denim rag rugs that I bought from Fleet Farm and a larger cheap blue rug from Walmart for high traffic in front of the door (we go through rugs pretty quickly with muddy doggy paws and Sprinkles cat bringing her latest hunt to eat there (rolling eyes) so it's no sense spending big bucks in that area).

A little fall decor near the front door.  Basket was from Walmart last year and mixed fall arrangement from Michaels.
Front door arrangement.  Amish- made basket I bought years ago & I keep switching out flowers for each season.

In addition to the above arrangements, I switch out the candles on the tables to seasonal colors.

  I don't decorate for the seasons as much as I probably should, but really, we live kind of tucked away, so no one sees it.  Typically, fall porch decor often includes mums & pumpkins, which is lovely, but mums make me sneeze; and pumpkins (love pumpkin pie, pumpkin bars, pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin spice)... I just have an issue with their connection to halloween, so I skip using them.  I may still add some Indian corn, pine cones, acorns, bittersweet, gourds, leaves & moss, and tiny lights.

There's one other item on my porch that I haven't mentioned yet...

my 1890's bistro set.

but I will... next time.

Happy Fall!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Early Fall Photo Journal

 August thru Early September
(daybook style)

Inky & Dorie observing Shabbat (random)

How are we?
 Fine.  Anna & I have seasonal allergy congestion that sometimes makes us feel light headed, but otherwise we are just dandy.  We have A LOT of goldenrod all around our house.  Jeff says it's not the goldenrod that people are allergic to, but it must be something that is cropping up at the same time.  When we are away from home, I feel better, but as soon as we turn on to our road, I can feel it (so at least it's not our animals).

Mentally, "I've been on pins & needles" as the idiom goes.  My 87 yr. old mom's chronic heart failure is progressing for the worse with a heart function now at 20% (down from 30% a yr. ago).  The drs. & I are not telling her this as it wouldn't be of any benefit.  She had a series of "cardiac events" daily the first week in August which culminated into another trip by ambulance August 6th.  She is still living on her own and occasionally has a good day where she insists on driving herself to the store or somewhere, but is now having more bad days than good.  Her heart is unable to keep up, making her very weak & tired (she calls it "lazy").  I call her daily and almost weekly come to visit and get her groceries/whatever she wants.  It has gotten to the point now where I feel anxious whenever the phone rings, and pray when I'm overly tired that that won't be the night of another middle-of-the-night ER call.  In instances like this, it would be nice to know somewhat of the future so we could better help her.  I would like her to move closer to us, but she will have none of it.

Looking out our window
      On a brighter note, we are blessed with an abundance of wildlife.  Yearly, we have at least one family of wild turkeys that cross our field a couple of times a day, but this year we have two family groups (30 turkeys) that seem to prefer hanging out here most of the day.
Our horses couldn't care less.

It's hard to get them all in one picture (this isn't quite all of them)
We also have this cute little mourning dove that likes the top of the swing set or the peak of our roof.  I know dove populations can get out of hand, but around here, hawk & eagles find them an easy prey and I am saddened when a lone dove is on our roof calling out for it's mate (for life) that was swooped away.      
What We Have Been Doing
About this time of year I suddenly realize that there is much I want to get done before snowfall, and a frenzy ensues.

Garage Sale!
Grandma (MIL) brought over some stuff & kindly loaned us some tables.  We had plenty to sell.
Unfortunately, we are too far out to have super-successful sales.
I sold a TON of homeschool material for pennies on the dollar.  Some of it was hard to part with (yes, I cried), but I had to face reality that since our children are now grown, much of it will just never be used or read again and making room was more important.  #ThinkingAheadToOurRetirementCottageShouldTheLORDTarry      
All in all, quite a bit sold.  Much of the $$$'s and unsold items are donated to a couple of ministries.

Our annual waterpark resort vacation is always fun.
My favorite, the wave pool.
Jeff & Amber always like the BIG waves and the fast/dark/scary water slides.
Anna & I prefer the lazy river and milder stuff.

We had perfect weather and I finally got caught up on a much needed tan and finished reading a book... 
"The Bridge" by Tyler Dawn Rosenquist.  Perhaps some of my Torah observant friends recognize the title or author.  To tell you the truth, and not that I'm any expert, but the numerous flaws in the format and writing style drove me crazy.  I didn't agree with all of the author's doctrine, but the book wasn't without merit and had some very good points.  On as scale from 1 to 10, I would probably rate it a 6.   
We just wrapped up the end of our 2016 rodeo season.  Our youngest daughter, Anna, is a cowgirl thru & thru and we went to a total of EIGHT rodeos this year.  In one way, it doesn't seem like that many, but if I really think about it, it really was a lot!  haha  Already looking forward to next year!

So now fun & games are over and being we didn't put in a garden that needs harvesting, that leaves us with time to do house projects, and hopefully finish before cold weather sets in & while I can still have windows and doors open!  
We had painted the front door & shutters May, 2015, just before Anna's grad open house, but it ended up a bit bold (lower right), which would look great on my imaginary conch cottage on Key West, but it wasn't the Robin's Egg Blue I initially intended. (It was nice on a small color swatch, but more like a calypso blue in real life). 
Those that know me, know I LOVE PAINT COLORS!!!  Oh my, I could just choose paint swatches all day long.  Why I like to agonize & torture myself with 50 different choices is something to analyze in depth another day, but it's very important to me to pick out thee perfect color... not just the almost perfect or good enough color.  Have you ever tried to pick out the PERFECT Robin Egg Blue?  It's quite the ordeal.  And if a paint swatch says, "Robin Egg Blue" (REB), don't believe it, it's lying.  I thought I had found thee perfect color (top right), but then when I was finally ready to paint, I couldn't find it.  So I went with choice #2 (top left), UNFORTUNATELY, both of them are Ralph Lauren (I love RL paint and have used it several times before, but not until recent did I discover that RL only comes in INTERIOR paint!)  AUGH!  So after all that narrowing down of the perfect swatches, I was back to square one for my EXTERIOR front door and shutters and had to scramble for a third choice -- I wasn't leaving Home Depot empty handed!!!  Then Anna spied out #3 (front) which was a nice in between color to #1 & #2.  It's Behr's Summer Dragonfly M440B/M440-4M.  So I bought a sample 7.5 oz. jar (1st coat is on door picture).  Hmm, it's not bad.  It seems a little lighter in real life, but maybe the PERFECT REB doesn't exist in exterior paint.  I've lived with it a few days with 2 coats on the door and I think I'm ready to commit to a full can for the rest.  BTW, one of those little sample jars is enough for 2 full coats on one side of a standard door -- a pretty inexpensive (under $4) paint job.

I think me picking out paint slows down pretty much anything around here (sigh).  
The door & shutters aren't my only to-do items... 
Here's the short list (in no particular order):
  • Finish two hooks/back boards for a couple lanterns I want to hang in our entry nook & find a perfect rug that incorporates my colors & farmhouse style. (reveal in a future post)
  • Jeff is working on finally finishing off the changing area of the sauna haus.
  • Repaint the front door & shutters
  • Redecorate the main floor powder room (inc. re-staining the wainscoting)
  • List a few items for sale on Craigslist 
  • Make a couple home repairs (replace a broken window latch and broken glass on a barrister bookcase) 
A woopsie kick by a guest.

  •     Finish Front Porch Redecorating (buying the perfect bistro set, rocking chair, rugs)

if I get all that done, I'll be ecstatic!!!

So, that is about it around here.
You know, if I would post more often, my posts wouldn't get so long, but I fear I'll never learn.

Above: The radar this morning, we are under the red/orange in east central MN.  We have had a lot of rain making me very glad we live high and dry.  I'm surprised the sun is shining now!

A good day to get something done!

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

For Amber Waves of Grain

Today, I am so excited to share with you our 

(This isn't it, teehe)

Just Kidding!

Now those of you that know us well, know that this is a Sabbatical year for us...

Leviticus 25: 3-6"Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; but in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for Yahweh: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.  That which groweth of its own accord for thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.  And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee," (also Exodus 23:10-11)

Side Note: Israel just had their Sabbatical Year (called "Shemittah") last year.  They count every 7-yr. cycle from Creation, but from the time we started planting on our land, it doesn't quite match up with Israel, so we just observe a 7-yr. cycle as it pertains to our property.    

...therefore, we planted NOTHING, NADA, ZILCH, ZIPPO, NOTHING!

But, we were blessed with a fun surprise -- wheat!

That's right!  Despite the closest wheat field about a half mile from us, and us NOT being wheat farmers, the birds must have decided to plant a little gift for us this year, right in our little herb garden.

Now look close or you'll miss it!
THIS IS our wheat "field", all 13 stalks/heads.

Sorry to disappoint you.

 And it looks like it's ready to harvest! :)
Okay, maybe not like this.

I have decided to harvest it and keep it for Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles, mid-October) and Jeff had the great idea that we will grind the grain and make unleavened bread (it will be either a very tiny loaf or I will have to add some of it's cousins. :) 
I'm very excited!!  Our first (and maybe last) wheat!!! haha

Although I hate seeing summer winding down, this is getting me excited for the fall feasts!
(I always wait until the last minute, but not this year!)

Sukkot (a harvest/thanksgiving feast) will be extra special with this little added blessing.

One more picture...
somewhat off-topic.
Stepping back, here is a photo of our entire herb garden (+ wheat).  It's just a little triangle behind/South of our back deck.   In addition to the wheat, I was pretty surprised that so many of the herbs sprang back on their own this year.

Yes, some herbs never die and are almost impossible to kill, like the oregano, mint, & thyme (see how the thyme has taken over part of the surrounding yard?  It has a heavenly aroma, but a bit pokey on the bare feet); and the bumble bees are lovin' the oregano flowers right now!  Note: If you are thinking about planting oregano, thyme, peppermint or spearmint, they spread!  You've been warned.

And some herbs make it some winters and other times not, like the chives & lavender -- they survived!

But this year our rosemary and parsley also survived!  Hooray!  Although the wheat sprang up in the middle of the parsley, so I should go out and pick the parsley now as it's not lookin' so good. 

  I just love driving past green or golden wheat fields on a windy day when the stalks are fluid with motion, don't you?
But alas, my little wheat field will never quite look like this.

A fun surprise at any rate.

Thankful for God's little Surprise Blessings

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Darkness of Pokemon

A sad commentary of today's society. 

I just saw a news clip last evening; perhaps taken outdoors at a Japanese college campus (?), showing 99% of the young adults intently looking down at their smartphones while the newsman talks about the new "Pokemon Go" craze.


As if all that is going on in our country/world -- socialism, terrorism, Islam, sodomites, feminists, abortionists, division, and all things evil, weren't enough of an attack on our society, now comes a huge resurgence of a "game" to a whole new generation -- "Pokemon Go"
("Pokemon" is derived from 2 Japanese words meaning "pocket monster").

Pokemon, with it's little monster & demonic characters, was first created in 1996 and enjoyed an occult-like following for quite a while. And while some may have heard "a rumor" that it was a satanic game, sadly most parents (including Christians) thought it was "just a game" and didn't bother to learn about it's very dark side. I remember children buying (or parents buying for their children) the trading cards and children bring them to church and VBS with great pride-of-ownership to entertain themselves during boring church.

So now, as if with all that is wrong in the world, we need to escape into a little fantasy and occultism, here comes the game again -- same game/higher tech.

It's all the craze! People are excited and the media is touting it's (few) merits; after all, it's getting people out for some fresh air and exercise. Hum. Well, that might be it's only redeeming quality. However, if one with a discerning mind takes only a few minutes to actually research or read a little about what this game is all about, it is easy to find several undesirable and even dangerous problems with this "harmless" game:

  • First, and arguably somewhat less alarming as here I am speaking of young adults and not children, the game tends to propagate the extreme immaturity and irresponsibility of today's young adults (and elders too). When a child is entering their later high school and college years, we rightfully should expect a higher degree of maturity, becoming productive, responsible adults who are capable of carrying on intelligent conversations at a higher level with peers and adults alike -- NOT regressing into a fantasy world of no redeeming value; NOT preferring to be endlessly face down in their smartphones over real life; unaware of anyone or anything around them (even more so than before the game came out). Even secular ABC News did an interesting article on how the game is "Warping Real Life". (<click for article) It furthers the dumbing-down of this generation and a distraction from books or anything beneficial.

  • Additional issues that I won't go into detail here, but real concerns are:

the expense -- as the game progresses, lures (that cost real dollars) increase the chance that rare Pokemon characters turn up;
the Pokemon Go app is a huge security risk and requires overly broad permission for those using a Google account to sign-in.
Additionally, in the very short time that Pokemon Go has been out, there have been many (police) reports of players becoming so engrossed in the game they end up trespassing on other persons' properties, falling upon danger, and some creating danger to others while not looking where they are going. Common courtesy seems to vanish.
And how many times has this happened? -- there is always a few who are unstable or fall into the occult so deep that they are unable to differentiate between reality and fantasy and begin to live out this very violent "game".

  • For children who's developing minds are even more pliable, Pokemon desensitizes and conditions them in accepting the occult and evolutionary principles. Pokemon Characters -- monsters & demons, possess "special (demonic) powers" & demon possession, there's colored energy, hypnosis, mind bending, negative or psychic energy that harms others, poison fights, pagan philosophies & practices, channeling, ghosts, warlocks, wizards, and basically all-things associated with the "underworld".

  • Additional concerns with children are comparable with points mentioned above with role play dangers and enabling of immaturity as well as tuning out real life and real people and the disrespect that goes along with it.

  • And the most alarming of all is the general public and followers of God alike approving of such a game let alone participating in it. It wasn't all that many years ago (during my lifetime) that most everybody shunned the Devil and blatant sin. There would have been no such game 40 - 50 yrs. ago. People knew what darkness was. It was shameful. Those who participated in murders, thefts, channeling, witchcraft, and the like did it at night, in the dark, where they hoped they would not get caught. Those were the bad people. But today! Everybody does it and excuses it as "just an innocent game". Well sorry, I don't buy that. Shall we participate in or be entertained by ANYTHING that God calls an ABOMINATION or sin? The Bible says NO! And don't say, "well, it's good vs. evil". It's still witchcraft, and murders, and fighting... all things that are an abomination and as Christians, something we ought to shun as we are to be "set apart" and holy. There is nothing about this game that is holy or draws us to holiness or God. This same applies to oh so many things that are common place today, whether it be books, movies, tv shows, music -- being "set apart" does not mean being the same as everybody else!
I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. ~ Psalms 101:3

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, thing on these things. ~ Philippians 4:8

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.   Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. ~ II Corinthians 6:14-17

I recommend a good article on Pokemon, "Truth Behind Pokemon". The article was written in 2005, so of course, it's not talking about Pokemon Go, but it gives a good introduction to the whole concept of the "game/cards" which would still apply to the new high-tech version.

I know, I know, it's popular, trendy, and "everybody" (not everybody) is doing it. And I agree, it is a fun concept -- the whole technology and grown-up scavenger-type hunt idea is brilliant. BUT, why does it have to be with demonic monsters vs. "good" spirits? And really, if "everybody" is so preoccupied with a fantasy world, who is going to care about a real world that is going to hell? Is it a good use of our God-given time and money? Perhaps it would be great if someone could come up with the same thing, but it promoted service to others, helping the elderly, loving God and His Word, and being someone? But instead, we fall for Satan's distractions that keep us from doing what is good and needed.  

It seems like the world is going deeper and deeper in it's tolerance and acceptance of sin and the church body is following close behind. May we all pray for wisdom & discernment in our own lives and homes as we train up our children in the way they should go and as we see the Day of the LORD approaching.

Much Love,

Monday, July 4, 2016

Independence Day

An early morning view from the front porch to our flag on the sauna haus.

Happy Independence Day!!!

I hope you all are enjoying the day (or long weekend) -- a great time for family and friends and especially to thank our God for blessing our nation these past 240 years with the freedoms we still enjoy and praying fervently for our future.

Once again, it's been a while since I last posted and so I thought I would just share a little pictorial tour of a few homestead happenings...

First the flowers & berries!  

Our hardy heirloom rose bush flanked by two of our yellow lily plants.
The rose bush was in full bloom earlier this year.  It's getting old
and I think I'm going to have prune it down for a fresh restart.
We did not put in a vegetable garden this year as it is our Sabbatical Year (every 7th year) while we are give the land a rest.  But the flowers (and weeds) still continue to pop up on their own without any effort on my part. :)  Between my post-surgery restrictions that lasted until mid-June and now a sinus infection, I'm way behind on the weeding (ie, please excuse the weeds). 

A couple of my roses (I have 4 rose plants but would eventually like more)
(Sorry, early morning sun makes the one rose look silver)
  Our outdoor cat, Sprinkles, inspecting the flowers.

Some of my tiger lilies.

These sprang up pretty tall, I'm going to have to move them
towards the back of the flower bed.

 Lilies, lilies, and more lilies!

My Baby's Breath in the hosta glade.  I think I need more of these!
I love bluebells!  We use to have several of these
plants spring up wild every year.  This year I only have
the one that I transplanted to the hosta glade.

Our raspberry plants border just outside the garden plot where the Barred Rocks (hens) are able to run this year.
Boy, would they love to get at those raspberries!

Our variety of raspberries are called "Autumn Bliss" and these are near peak ripeness.  Don't let their yellow color fool you, they are perhaps sweeter than the red raspberries we are all accustomed to.  The girls (Amber & Anna) and I have been munching on these for a while now.

The Front Porch
Now we move on to the front porch!  I was hoping to do a big make-over reveal today, but alas, between sinus infection putting me behind schedule and having some difficulties in getting the paint I wanted, maybe I'll have this done by Labor Day (sigh).

I am very excited about this porch chair.  I bought the chair a number of years ago at a friend's garage sale.  It was in perfect shape & a blond/natural rattan in color.  And as with all wicker furniture, as it ages, it starts falling apart a bit.  For the most part, I had kept a quilt over the chair to hide the dirt & unraveling -- not to mention that it was a favorite roost for our former free-range chickens!  So now that the girls (hens) are penned in a limited free-range area and off the porch (yeah), I am sprucing up the porch and this chair was my first project!!  I tacked the unraveling chair legs and tucked in some of the weave that was... unweaving.  Then I cleaned it up a bit with soap and water and spray painted it "espresso brown" (3 cans of Krylon spray paint for wicker at $4.89/can) and finally bought it a real cushion that matches the settee (more on that following).  I LOVE how it turned out!  Oh, and what's a porch without a Boston Fern?!  Too bad our MN summers are so short as it's an annual, but I love the look so much that I think this will become a yearly investment (only about $9.95 at Walmart) (the pedestal planter I had before).

And here is the rest of our front porch.  I did put a fresh coat of paint on the floor, the same brown color as before, but it needed a tidying up after the chickens this past year.  I bought the settee this spring which has become a very nice place to do devotions (although Sprinkles cat thinks we bought it for her as her personal napping spot).  I did throw away an old rocker that was a hand-me-down and not worth restoring.  My intent is to buy a new rocker (what porch is complete without one?) and maybe a bistro set or similar.  I also want a better table cover for my little side table and  the bright plastic adirondack chairs are going in back with their other bright friends around our firepit.  I also want to make slipcovers (sorta, with my limited sewing skills) for the settee, chair, & pillow in another color as I never intended to have a brown & rust color theme going, it was just what was easily available at the time without me doing major shopping.  I also intend on repainting the shutters & door a calmer Robin's Egg Blue soon.  I have the color picked out, but it's from a Ralph Lauren swatch that I picked up a year ago and now I have found out that RL doesn't make exterior paint, so with fear and trepidation, I either have to pick out another similar paint from a different brand or ask our local Menards to color match my swatch - wish me well on that.

And porches are for reading!
 Here is some good reading this Independence Day!  I hope all your children know the real reason we celebrate such a day.  This would be a great time to remind them.  (Amber is currently reading "Dear Abigail").

Oh, and although I'm not one to do a lot of holiday decor (and when I do, I steer clear of the cheezy kind), I was hoping to do a better job of decorating the porch for Independence Day.  As it stands, I was lucky to get my flag tray out (covered with American reads) and put a red candle in my blue porch lantern (not shown unfortunately).  Maybe next year, LORD willing.

and lastly, a couple closing photos of other homestead happenings...
Despite Jeff being very busy at work, he comes home and mows our four horse pastures (about 7- 8 acres) -- a much-needed thing as something very devious springs up yearly in our field.  See all those little white flowers?  They are called "hoary alyssum" and TOXIC to horses.  Horses will generally leave them alone as long is there is other good grass to eat, but the alyssum tends to take over and needs to be gone!  Jeff is so good about caring for our pastures, ridding them of gopher mounds and unwanted weeds. ♥    
Our happy horseys grazing on Jeff's fresh mowed pasture. :)

That's all!

It's July 4th, and Anna has to work, but once she gets home, we will join Jeff's side of the family (an annual tradition) for food & fellowship and maybe catch some local fireworks later.  Although it is only suppose to reach 82° today, we will probably shut up the house and turn on the AC to keep things as comfortable and quiet as possible for our poor dog & cats (a scary time of year for them with all the fireworks).  In the meantime, I have ironing & dishes to do, and some blueberry bars to make.

Have a Blessed Independence Day!
Happy Birthday America!

With Love,