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July 17, 2015

Vintage Beach Chairs

In anticipation of our recent trip to the coast, Hubby mentioned wanting to bring comfy beach chairs. After taking a peek at what the local stores offered and not being entirely impressed with the prices or the options, I remembered a pair of vintage beach chairs that we had stored in our shed, waiting for me to find the time to refurbish them. One no longer had its cloth seat, and the other seat was so brittle it disintegrated in my hands while taking it off the wood frame. Hubby did some light repairs to the frames, and I sewed two seats from brightly patterned decorator's fabric that I purchased rather inexpensively, a modern floral/paisley print for one chair, and a beachy stripe for the other.  I sanded the wooden frames and freshened them up with a couple coats of paint, a color quite reminiscent of drift wood...perfect for beach chairs, I would say. 
The whole process really didn't take long, and the cost to repair both chairs was less than the cost of purchasing one beach chair at a retail store.  I am delighted with our "new" old chairs, and, like I have said before, it was so rewarding to breath new life into something we already had.

July 15, 2015

July Garden

Oh, the garden this time of year; it flourishes so!  I think July is my favorite garden month with everything so lush and green.  The potatoes are over Little #10's head and setting on little white blossoms.  I hope the jungle of green is indicative of the amount of potatoes growing under the ground.
We have been enjoying kale, chard, beet greens, lettuce and radishes at almost every supper-time meal, and we have had a few snacks of sugar snap peas (looking forward to picking more this afternoon).  The green beans are covered in delicate purple blossoms, and I've spied baby zucchinis and tiny broccoli heads, so hopefully we will be adding more of a variety to our table very soon.

The garlic and onions are looking much more robust than last year (which I am very excited about), and the herbs, oh, the herbs, they are growing like weeds.  I have already begun dehydrating basil, cilantro, and parsley, and the oregano is starting to set blossoms, so I will begin picking that as well (I have read for the best flavor that oregano is best picked while it is blossoming).

I'm a bit disappointed with the tomatoes.  I planted them in a different spot this year, in a completely different garden, in fact, in an attempt to avoid the blight that has plagued my tomatoes the past three years. The thought being that the disease may be in the soil where the tomatoes were previously planted.  The plants are growing rather slowly and look a bit weak, and I can barely bring myself to even mention this, but I have noticed signs of blight on the bottom-most leaves on a few of the plants. I'm not sure if the slow growth is due to less sun than they desire (this garden being a bit more shady than the other), or maybe the soil where they are planted is lacking something they need.  I just don't know.  I have begun feeding them and watering at the base daily and removing the infected leaves in hopes that they will make a recovery. We shall see.

The garden overall is doing well, and I am so pleased.  I look forward to harvesting and putting away lots of veggies to feed our family over the winter.  How is your garden growing?

July 10, 2015

The Seashore

We recently spent a lovely day at the beach...the sand, the sun, the waves, the salty air, and even the seagulls...ahhhhhh...summer is good!  I hope you are having a good week and are enjoying a bit of summer goodness wherever you may be.

Thank you for all the prayers and well-wishes for Little #6.  They are truly appreciated.

July 2, 2015

Hello, July!

Good morning!  It feels like it has been forever since I last posted, and, wow, have I missed you all.  I hope you are all enjoying a lovely start to your summer...hard to believe June is already behind us. All is well at Front Forty Farm; it has just been a super busy place these past few weeks.  When I sat down to write this morning, I was overwhelmed with the thought of where to begin.  There is so much to catch up on.  I decided to simplify the task, and make a list of the goings on here on the farm.

1.  The garden is growing, growing, growing with fresh greens on the table almost every night...chard, kale, lettuce, arugula, and radishes with fresh herb dressing.  I'm looking forward to taking photos and posting a more in depth garden post for July very soon (I can't believe I missed posting the whole month of June).

2.  The apple trees, elderberry bushes, and raspberries that we planted a month ago are thriving. Some of the plants were a bit shocked and took some time settling in, and we were afraid that a few would not survive the transplant, but all is good now.  Every single plant is green and flourishing. One of our established apple trees, however, has taken an unfortunate hit.  It blossomed beautifully this spring (the first time for this apple tree), but shortly after blossoming the leaves stopped growing and started turning brown and dry.  We aren't sure exactly what happened...still trying to investigate and keeping our eyes out for signs of new life.

3.  Work continues on the new addition, and with summer here, the work moves from the inside to the outside.  Siding and trim are in order, and the porch wall is the first to get a fresh layer of cedar shingles...and, oh, it is beginning to look so nice.

4.  Little #6 underwent a cardiac catheterization a few weeks ago, and we are now in the process of making decisions regarding treatment for confirmed for pulmonary hypertension. We are thankful that the procedure went well, as it was quite concerning to all since our little fighter is more fragile than she would ever let on.

5.  Summer soccer and camps have begun.  

6. The school books have been laid aside for the next few months, and we are all enjoying a much needed break (I think Mama is enjoying it as much as the Littles).  A summer reading program has begun, however, and it is such a joy to walk to the porch and see three little boys engrossed in their mysteries, 

7.  Trips to the coast, visits with a childhood friend, sipping iced tea and coffee on the porch, eating has begun!  Summer is here!

June 3, 2015

Apple Blossoms and Bargain Posies

Two years ago, in my first blog post, I expressed excitement over our very first apple blossoms, and, although we only harvested a handful of apples that year, we were over-joyed that our trees finally produced apples. This year the branches of our apples trees were covered in masses of delicate, highly aromatic, pink and white blossoms.  We were delighted with the abundance of flowers, but were a bit concerned by the fact that neither Hubby nor I had seen any bees on the property (we simply must move forward with our dream of getting bee hives).  All those blossoms and nothing to pollinate them...until one afternoon, when I was walking past the trees to my garden, I heard the beautiful buzzing sound of bees hard at work.  After that, we also noticed the hummingbirds flitting among the branches, tasting of the lovely apple blossom nectar. We do hope that all those blossoms develop into many, many apples.
If you came to visit me right now, you would find our porch full of flowers, both annuals and perennials, waiting to be planted in various flower gardens around the yard.  Little #3 and I went flower shopping last weekend and fell upon some amazing deals.  You know how I love finding a bargain.
We found two hanging pots of petunias marked down to $3.00 each, 75% off their original price because of broken pots. No problem!  We purchased them both, and I am simply going to re-pot them, or find a spot in one of the flower gardens for these lovely posies.
We also found six packs of yellow pansies for $.45 each, so we piled ten packs into our cart, but when we got to the check-out we found out that they were only $.25 each.  We grabbed four more packs.  Front Forty Farm is going to be swimming in a sea of yellow this summer!  We also picked up a few perennials that had been marked way azalea bush for $3.50, six hyacinths for $.50 each, creeping phlox and a few others.  Little #3 and I felt like children in a candy store as we piled the bargain plants into our cart.  (Our excitment was a bit dampened when we arrived home to find that Hubby and the older boys had tramped through poison ivy while checking out a potential swimming spot at the river, but that is another story for another day).

These colorful posies have been calling to me to plant them, but the vegetable garden has taken priority the past few weeks. Only a few vegetables remain that need planting, so I am going to reward myself this weekend with a bit of flower gardening.  After a few days of cold, rainy weather, sun is predicted for the end of the week, and I am very excited to plant my bargain posies.

May 29, 2015

This Moment

I have been inspired by SouleMama to take a moment ...

{this moment}

"A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see."


May 27, 2015

Don't you just love a playhouse?

I have such fond memories of the playhouse in the barn at my grandparent's little mailbox (with a daily letter from Grandma in it), the braided rug and rocking chair, the spice tins (with small amounts of spices and herbs left in the bottom of each), oatmeal boxes, the doll cradle...oh, the memories! Even the smell of that little playhouse remains burned in my memory.  It was such a happy place, and many, many childhood days were spent in there.  I have always wanted to create a space like that for my little ones, and the opportunity finally presented itself.  A little, unused shed, next to my gardening shed, was just begging to be turned into a playhouse, so this past weekend, spider webs were brushed down; the floor was swept; curtains were hung, and bits and bobs were added to roughly furnish a kitchen. Hubby hung an old mailbox that he found, and a window box with nasturtiums and marigolds added a bit of cottage charm.  It is a work in progress, and I will continue to search for and save things to be added to the "pantry" shelf.  The Littles, I know, will be more than willing to add touches of their own as well. I do hope that they grow to love this little space, create many memories, and find as much solace and contentment in it as I did in mine.
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