Friday, July 31, 2009

OOOH LA LA! Country Living's NEW LINE!

This farmhouse chick is SUPER EXCITED! I thought I was going to trip over that little kitty, June Bug, to get to the computer to post about this!!

I mowed the lawn tonight and after my shower, I was leafing through my new COUNTRY LIVING magazine while watching a movie in the easy chair in my bedroom when I turned the page and saw something about a new line of goods COUNTRY LIVING will be releasing during the COUNTRY LIVING FAIR in Columbus, Ohio in September on this page, below in their SEPTEMBER ISSUE.
I think it is also going to be available in Sears and in Kmart and of course, online.

Bad photo, (no daylight!) but do you see that rooster plate in the middle of the bottom row? How about the quilt to the left of it? The quilt on the top row! YIKES!!
(click on photo for a slightly better view.)

Those of you who love cottage, country, or the farmhouse look are going to LOVE IT! Ya'll...they have the most gorgeous CHICKEN CHINA! It has a cream background and a red border, with a red rooster in the middle, that's PERFECT for my new kitchen!!!!

They have done a good job with this line and I'll consider myself lucky to get my hands on these plates (4/$19.99!) because I think all us farm/country/cottage "chickies" are going to snatch it all up!

(I just couldn't wait to show you and give you the heads-up! It's the issue with a purple bedroom on the cover.)

Now I will skedaddle back to my room and watch the movie and SCHEME about how I can get myself to that fair! I may have to order online instead, but for anybody near Columbus, Ohio that has been to previous fairs, please let me know, if you would, what you think about COUNTRY LIVING'S FAIR and how easy it is to find and if it's worth going to!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

To Celebrate ONE YEAR of Bloggin'!

Dear Readers:

I would like to share a pint of my seedless RASPBERRY jam with one of you, my faithful, friendly, fun readers!

I started my blog on August 3, 2008 and it's been quite a FUN year! I am so happy to have met so many new friends and garnered readers from around the world. I am amazed every time I take a look at the widget that shows all the places from which people take a peek into this little old blog!

I would love it if ALL of my readers would enter this drawing! I will be drawing a winner on AUGUST 3 to celebrate my FIRST BIRTHDAY AS A BLOGGER! (I would love it even more if ALL of you could win, but I didn't make that much jam!)

YOU ONLY HAVE THIS WEEKEND TO REGISTER....I'll draw late Monday night, the day of my blog birthday.

If you do not have a blog, you can enter as anonymous and put your name and put your email address in your comment like this:

old centennial farmhouse at g mail dot com

Please enter...I think you'll LOVE this sweet little pint of RASPBERRY jam....lovingly made by me in my (old) farmhouse kitchen!

Your bloggy friend,

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Garage Sale Goodness!

I have not had the time to do any garage sales in the last several weeks, but about a month ago, I stopped at one and spotted this framed needlework. It's all I found at that sale. Good enough! I thought the cross stitch would be great made into a pillow for the rockers on the front porch. I picked it up for $1 and left. When I got home, I took the needlework out of the frame (it had been duct-taped!) to wash some of the grime away and discovered that the frame, while ugly now, would be great spray painted to use for a chalkboard and it fit perfectly the 16 x 12 board the cross stitch was mounted on. BUT WAIT!

Underneath the needlework, there was a original oil painting. While it doesn't match any of my interiors, I thought it was pretty and especially liked the aqua bowlful of grapes and the chippy aqua table that the fruit sits upon. You just never know what you're going to get. I am trying to find this painting a home...but meanwhile, here's the stitchery that I got...I'm lovin' those bluebirds!

When I get it made into a pillow I'll show you...
There's no sewing going on right now in the farmhouse but maybe in the fall or the winter!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Christmas in July

I just had to do it before July ends....I went back and dug out some Christmas tree five months I'll be taking one down again...can you believe that?

What I Know about Knockdown

Click on photo for a better view of the texture of this "knockdown".

Since some of you have asked, I'd like to tell you about knockdown (what I know) and why we chose it.

Our whole house except this kitchen has been re-drywalled. It was a huge job, we just went room by room. I think high ceilings are especially difficult for the do-it-yourselfer. We actually drywalled OVER all the old plaster in our lower level rooms with the high ceilings, then we drywalled one 12" piece (shown below in this picture) down onto the wall and trimmed out the raw lower edge with the wooden trim shown here in the dark red...

For all the horsehair plaster walls we tore down all the plaster and re drywalled all of them. Upstairs, we did walls AND ceilings because the ceilings were lower and therefore easier (but still not a piece of cake!) plus we needed to install ceiling lights (there were none!) and light switches and outlets (there were no light switches and one outlet per room!!).

Had we known this method, we could have gotten all the ceilings done this way and saved ourselves some major time and trouble. If your plaster is sound, you can do this. This will not work for falling down plaster that's pulling away from the lathe.

It saves you KNOCKDOWN....maybe that's why they named it that? Anyway, from what I could tell (the man had plastic over both doors, and I couldn't see through very well, but from what I know this is what happens.)

1. Wallpaper comes off. (We didn't have that.)

2. Loose paint, chips and cracks need to be scraped off/fixed.

3. He scrapes, patches, removes hooks in the ceilings, anything that gets in the way.

4. He can go around existing light fixtures, but you'd want to remove the globe or tape over anything that you didn't want splattered.

5. After patching, the patching material dries for a bit and then he gets out his machine and sprays on a very thick coating of DRYWALL MUD.

6. He lets that dry a bit and does the first layer of texturizing.

7. Then he lets it dry a little longer and comes in and does his final texturizing. (Knockdown will have to have primer and paint and for this surface he recommended flat paint.)

8. He picks up all the tarps and plastic and he's done. It needs to cure for 24 hours before you prime and paint.

I paid $175 and he got started around eight and was done by noon. I have heard that an advantage is that in these old houses, if you need to have insulation sprayed in, you can cut holes in the wall to do that, get them patched, and then this can be done and your holes will not be visible.

It all looks wonderful when it's done and will look even better painted. I learned about it after a neighboring farmhouse had a furnace fire and soot was all throughout their home. The restoration company did this in the whole upper level of their farmhouse, walls and ceilings and I was so impressed by it, I filed away the information on it in case we needed it. I'm so glad I learned about it because this particular ceiling would have been a nightmare for us. Like I said, this is just what I know about it, I could have missed a step or two and be wrong, but it was fast and easy and like I said, saved us DAYS of work and looks nice and crisp, too.

For a bonus, you get to see photos of "daddy's little helper" who could not stop the curiosity no matter WHAT and Duke seemed to be totally enthralled with the drain pipes and supply lines under the sink, especially when they were sticking up out of the floors all by themselves. Then, when the cabinet was set and the door shut, he kept staring at the door! So we opened the door to show him the pipes were still there. Tonight, when Lem started to plumb under there for a temporary sink until the counter top man gets done, Duke had to "help" by watching the whole procedure. (He actually got on daddy's nerves by being underfoot and in the way but I had to take a picture before we took him outside for awhile until the job was done).

DOGS! The little dog has shown his disdain for kitchen remodeling jobs by choosing to tinkle on things like daddy's ladder, his tools or his basketful of items from the hardware store. He is NOT daddy's little helper!!!!

Tomorrow, my poor husband will get a vacation when he GOES BACK TO WORK!!!!!

I know this man has given his best in time, talent and SWEAT to get the most he could possibly get done in one week, and I am SO GRATEFUL!

Ceiling Before and After Knockdown

Our nasty old plaster ceiling was not a good candidate for a re-do. Due to the way the house was built (in sections, over time) the kitchen has an unusual ceiling sloped at one end. With plaster, making that curve was possible. With drywall? Not so much.

There were two options: tear it all down and take days to re-drywall it, or hire a man for under $200 to come in and do what's called a "knockdown". We chose the knockdown route with the look of old plaster. Here's some before photos where you can see the old cupboards had been taken all the way to the ceiling....

paint peeled away from the plaster from an old roof leak...

And now...this. MUCH better and saved DAYS of work. This is the base, it has not been primed or painted and it's still a huge improvement!

I wish we'd known about this method for all the rest of the rooms in this old house. Drywalling ceilings was HORRIBLE. At some point, I wouldn't mind having this look for ALL the ceilings in the house, but right now we're just working on this one project.

And in twenty four hours, we can prime and paint it and it should look even better. YAHOO!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Countertops? Anyone?

Now this farmhouse kitchen ain't fancy.

This farmhouse kitchen has to fit us, and we ain't fancy!

We don't ride around in a Caddy (not that anythin's wrong with that, it's just that we're Chevy people!) and we don't have aspirations to look as if we're tryin' to be on LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS....(is that on television now or am I dating myself here!?) we're just plain old people, not the granite or travertine sort of people. Not that I don't like those; they're decidedly gorgeous. They just don't fit this house or us.

All this is to say that I'll be having Formica countertops. The question is: solid color or a pattern?

My reason for wanting a solid color? So that my accent color will POP.

Is that a good enough reason?

I found the most gorgeous solid color that's the right color and I wonder: will it drive me nuts to have every crumb and every scratch stand out? I've never had solid color countertops before.!

I need your help with three questions:
1.) Will solid color counter tops drive me nuts with showing every little thing?

2.) Back splash of Formica from the counter top level up to the base of the upper cabinets or just partial back splashes?

3.) Or, should I get partial back splashes on counter top areas, but a full back splash behind and above the stove? (There is no vent hood in this old house.)

What say YOU?

The to-do list is still quite lengthy...but here's our progress so far:

And tomorrow morning bright and early, the ceiling guy is going to show up and I hope to have you some good before and after pictures of that tomorrow night. (You have no idea how the sight of that dishwasher makes my heart sing!) He should be done around lunch time and then we can get back to the plumbing, resetting a heat vent, and leveling and installing the lower cabinets (they're just sitting in their places right now). It's coming along! I'm so grateful for the progress.

Then, when the "business end" is done, the other end of the kitchen will get a big pantry installed on the large wall with a small desk area next to it. That pantry is something else with flip-out racks for canned goods and shelves behind each for boxed goods and overhead doors for larger items. I cannot wait to use it! The little desk area will be a place for recipe books, laptop, a small television and drawers below it for bills and pens and stamps.

Modern cabinets have their advantages!

Black & White Sundays

Today I will be an unofficial participant with Anne Marie (of NADA FARM) in BLACK & WHITE SUNDAYS....there are always gorgeous photos to look at and you should skip on over to Anne Marie's blog and see all the photos that she and her friends are sharing today! Have a wonderful SUNDAY! And may your world be anything BUT black and white...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Kitchen Update: Some Cabinets are Up!

We're still trippin' over cords and dodging odd things sitting everywhere. But we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak!

The doggies are VERY irritated by our work in the main room of the house. Of course, their food and water dishes were in the kitchen. So, since those have been moved, their whole world has been turned upside down! They are underfoot most of the time, checking out the drill, barking at the shop vac...generally amusing themselves any way they can. So I know they will be so happy when everything is all done.

Here the mini-daschund is napping in the sun...he can't stand not being able to SIT WITH someone....

Duke has developed a fascination with the water pipes that are sticking up out of the floor...and watches them and barks at them. Don't ask me why....I just cannot wait until they are hidden beneath a cabinet so he can turn his attention to something else!

This morning, Lem and our oldest son Mark started hauling all of the cabinets from the pole barn where they've been stored and into the house. There were so many we couldn't fit them all in! So we started scootin' them around, figuring out where they all went. We finally got it all figured out...and then they started placing them around the room and then started by hanging the upper cabinets.

So tonight, before my sister Anne popped in for a visit, we had almost all the upper cabinets mounted and tomorrow the work on the plumbing for the dishwasher and icemaker starts and when that's all finished then the lower cabinets will be set into place and mounted. But in between, we are going to attend a benefit dinner for one of my friend's grandson: I've been looking forward to that.

It will be a busy day but we're going to try to get as many of the items checked off the list before the ceiling has to be done. Monday is our last day to work on this before he goes back to work Tuesday morning. I am so proud of him and all he's done in one week. More than likely, the drywall will be finished in the evenings and on days off, but the main part of the remodel was finished in a week. It's amazing and I am so thankful.

This morning, the man who will put the knock-down finish on the ceiling came by to give us an estimate and he's coming either Monday morning or Tuesday morning. I'm crossing my fingers for Tuesday so we can get the other end of the kitchen done Monday; there's a big huge pantry and a desk area to put in, and then we can clean up.

I. Am. Tired.
But, I know HE is EXTRA TIRED.
I love that hard-workin' man.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Do You Mow the Grass or Cut the Lawn?

The hostas are HUGE this summer!

I mowed again today. I love mowing. It's a mind-numbing job, and that's why I like it. And as I was mowing for a couple hours this afternoon, I got curious: do you MOW THE LAWN or do you CUT THE GRASS? My southern relation say "cut the grass". Perhaps you have another term for it?

Our "lawn" is just an old farmhouse yard that is not planned, wasn't sodded or hydro-seeded, has no sprinkler system but God's; nor is it maintained on a regular basis. I guess it's kind of a poor little yard. It is spotty in places, very bumpy, a weedy yard, that looks halfway decent in the spring before the dandelions take over, then it looks nice awhile again until the clover blooms....and then along about the rainy time in the fall it looks well once again when the rain and cool weather make it look like it's really a lawn of GRASS instead of a mixture of weeds that make me sneeze when I mow and their stuff and fluff flies up my nose.

Occasionally, instead of being distracted at the sight of my thighs jiggling, I will just listen to the iTouch and hum, maybe sing along, too, but not too loud, I don't want the neighbors' dogs to run away. The most difficult thing about mowing, besides gassing it up and getting the mower in and out of the barn is deciding which way to mow today: horizontally, vertically, or diagonally?! I change the pattern of my cut each time I mow. Once I cut everything in and get the ditches done, my mind can wander, or I can be thankful, think some things over and solve the world's problems, or let the brain go completely into neutral and do nothing with it except absorb the music in my earbuds and wish that summer would last forever. (Or maybe not, if that happened, I might HATE mowing!)

Which makes me ask: for those of you who live in states like sunny California and you have to mow all year long or do your lawns have a dormant season? Just curious!

There's a satisfaction to me to see the lines and the lawn looking clean cut again, getting the weeds whacked, the debris on the driveway blown off and putting everything away and heading to the house for a good shower. Hard work always feels better after a shower.

(Oh, and while I mowed, I noticed that I really, really need to pick raspberries, I stopped and picked handfuls of them as I went by them on the mower...yum! So headin' out with buckets to pick some! They're as big as the end of my thumb!)


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kitchen Update: GOT LIGHTS!

We have some new light fixtures. It's so strange: you dream of and look through magazines for months, looking and choosing all the goodies for your newly remodeled space and then......

You go to the store.

What a nightmare!

I had to have three, similar but in different configurations. It took me a while, but I found them.

You just do the best you can. You choose your second or third or even your fifth option. WHY do I look at magazines, anyway? Oh well, I won't stop looking at magazines, what I will stop is thinking that I can get my house to look like one! Heh!

I'm tellin' ya...the best fun has got to be "finding" all the cool stuff in your own house or at a garage sale to decorate your newly remodeled space with! Spending $300 on light fixtures cannot compare to the $5 pile of good stuff found at someone's garage sale and that you just LOVE TO PIECES!

YAY! Here's to garage sales!

BOO! To retail prices for light fixtures!

Oh, how dark and dreary things looked today. It started out this morning just pouring. I was thankful, we really did need the rain. The garden has been looking very thirsty and it just isn't the same when you water it with the hose. It rained pretty steady until around noon, and the sun came out a few hours later. I will spend part of tomorrow mowing the lawn.

He did disconnect and tear down the sink and last remaining now we are without water completely out there until our new sink gets installed. That may be more than a week. SO...tonight, I did the supper dishes (we used as few as possible!) in my claw foot tub! I just scrubbed it out, and with a couple of plastic dishpans and some lemon Joy we were all set! It worked out okay, I felt like I was campin', sorta!

Can't say I'd want to do this for a month or anything, but it was fine...I just saved all of the dishes for one washing. He has a couple sheets of drywall left to hang, then it's plumbing to install tomorrow for the new dishwasher (haven't had one in eighteen years!!) and for the ice maker. I'm prayin' that plumbin' goes those with old homes know, sometimes in these old places it can be a challenge!

After that, we should be good to start installing cabinets, and perhaps install some of those light fixtures!

Of course, I'm most looking forward the most to the usefulness of the kitchen coming back again, and then of course the fun part of putting everything up and decorating in my new color scheme!

Summertime Bridal Shower Gift

I recently went to a bridal shower and had to pick a gift out without the benefit of the wish list the bride had made. This picnic set wasn't on her list, but what red-blooded American bride could resist the lure of a perfectly country picnic basket and picnic blanket/tablecloth to match?

It's all from Target in their seasonal section up front. Be careful when you go in there, so much cuteness is on the shelves it's hard to resist getting something for yourself! But what if you don't have a Target? Try finding picnic baskets at garage sales and fix them up and then line them and make a tablecloth to match and you'll have gifts on hand for a wedding or shower gift.

Well, I tried my darndest to make this one irresistible to this summertime bride. I would have liked to have foofed and fussed with it more, but I walked out of the store at 3:06 and the shower was to begin at 3:30.

This set is fine all by itself. But it's fun to put inside: some fun colored napkins and paper plates, and glasses. It would be cute, too if you could slip in a picnic-sized set of mustard/catsup/relish. And for a gift tag you could attach a couple recipe cards with great recipes for picnics: like deviled eggs or brownies, or anything that YOU like to take on picnics! I made a gift tag with a cute 3-D strawberry sticker on it and used curly ribbon to match the colors on the liner and blanket. On the tag I wrote my best wishes and this note:

No matter where you live, always take the time for the simple things: like a picnic with your sweetheart!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Kitchen Update

Our whiskey barrels full of impatiens

Well...the drywall went kind of slow because there was a lot of reinforcement work to do inside those crooked old I would say about HALF the walls have drywall hung. Tomorrow, the sink and the remaining cabinet come out, and the rest of the drywall will be hung, then taped and mudded. We may get to start some plumbing tomorrow, but more than likely, that will be done Friday.

By Saturday, we hope to start to hang some cabinets. God willing and the creek don't rise, the cabinets and light fixtures will all be hung when he heads back to work Monday. After that, the jobs are small in comparison to all that's been done this week...the counter tops and the knockdown ceiling will more than likely be done late next week. I have to get the light fixtures, faucet, and paint all decided upon and bought. The weather today was cloudy and pretty cool and there was a breeze. We've been blessed with no downpours as we carrried drywall from the pole barn to the house. There was rain on the forecast, but all we saw here were sprinkles.

I'm off to get a shower then go to bed. I'm TARD.


The impatiens are loving this cool weather we've been having in Michigan.

Here's a link to a list of the Blue Dog Democrats. If you have some extra time and flat-rate long-distance or free minutes on your cell phone, you might want to call some of them or all of them and expressing your views on the Health Care plan that's working its way through the halls of Congress.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hardware Man...

What does this picture have to do with my post? Nothing. But I do like pickups, and I wanted to give a progress report on the kitchen, and I don't like to post without a picture. get the high privelege to see here a picture of the latest addition to my husband's collection of hardware related collector's edition trucks. (He works for a man that owns a bunch of DO-It Best Hardware stores). Someday I'll show you the rest of the cute lil' buggers.

I would just love to have a REAL pickup that is this old, can you imagine the picnics from the tailgate or the fun we could have going to garage sales in a sweet ride like this one? So cute, the little side racks made of wood, remember those? Those were to allow a load a little deeper without the stuff falling out all over the road. I like pickups. Oh, I said that already.

Sometime I'll have to tell the story about a pickup truck (very similar to this one) landing on top of the middle of my dad. Accidentally of course. He took a hard corner with a heavy load, and at the same time, his driver's door flew open, out he went, and the truck came over on top of him. His noggin landed on a broken beer bottle and cut him from the outside of the jugular vein all the way around to the back of the opposite ear. it squished a lot of the insides of him. Things ruptured and his pelvis was crushed, but he was back to his old self in a few months bein' ornery full-time again.

I'm even old enough to remember when riding in the back of a pickup wasn't illegal and the fun we had when we could ride on the edge of the tailgate when it was open, that was mainly done around our property at home. There were forty acres and about half of it was wooded. We had tractors and usually a spare pickup truck to use in our chores we did. Sometimes the chores included cutting and hauling firewood. That is still one of the things I remember as one of the most pleasant of tasks we were assigned. (Running the sewer tape was one of the least favorite. LONG STORY.)

Something about cutting wood was just so pleasant, even though it was hard work. I never had the privelege of running the chain saw, which was probably a good thing. But I did have the privelege of the smell of the freshly fallen wood chips, the crunch of the leaves underfoot, the fun of throwing the wood in the bed of the pickup....then unloading and stacking it all when we got back to the yard. And the hope of a cup of hot chocolate when we got back into the house!

We didn't know how dangerous riding in the open beds of pickup trucks was then! There were a lot of things that we did then that were stupid. Like when my brother would take us back to the woods on the trails in the pickup and us girls would lay down in the bed of the pickup and he would floor it over the big holes in the trail and we'd see how far in the air we could bounce! DUMB! I know! But man--would we laugh, and so would he! That's not all of our dumb adventures but I should save my stories for another time....all that talk and I haven't given you a "what we did today on the kitchen" report yet! (I think I shall start a new category: "dumb adventures".)

Hubby did electrical ALL DAY. Someone sound a trumpet! I have more than TWO electrical plugs in my kitchen!!!!!! Unreal. And he worked it out so that I won't trip a breaker when I run the toaster AND the electric fry pan at the same time. I won't know how to act! He rewired everything else. It's so nice to not have to wait for an electrician. I will kiss him extra well tonight.

I, on the other hand, ran all day to different home improvement stores checking things like faucets, light fixtures (we need three different kinds that all are similar...a pretty tall order!) and ceiling tiles...(we will NOT be getting stamped tin ceiling tiles! Those things are OUTRAGEOUS!).

Needless to say, I did a lot of looking but not a lot of buying. I did find a Restoration Hardware outlet in a mall nearby and may end up buying light fixtures from there. The bad thing about that store is that NONE of the light fixtures are out on display and that makes it hard to buy when you can't actually SEE the light lit, or how it's put together.

Not to bore you with all the details, but old houses are decidedly hard to deal with when you try to update them. There are so many odd circumstances to work around. Let's just hope it all looks decent in the end. GAH! Ornery old house!

Tonight, we went and bought a bunch of drywall, and that starts tomorrow. Once that's up, and finished, then I imagine we can hire the guy to do what's called "knock down" which is a dumb name for a process by which a spray on finish is added to the existing ceiling--with a texture that looks like plaster--to make it look decent again.

We can perhaps get the cupboards set by the time the weekend comes. I am thankful for things going smoothly so far (knock on wood!). He goes back to work Monday, so we have just under a week left to get as much done as we can. Then after that it's evenings and days off and the progress will slow considerably.

Hubby works with a man who does counter tops on the side and I have to call and get him out here to measure and show the materials he can use.

I hope to have more good reports in the coming days, but until then...

I'll be 'round to visit you again soon....sometime next week, perhaps, I'll be able to catch up again! I miss all of your stories and adventures!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Destruction Hath Begun....

So, this is how we started our twenty-ninth year of marriage: tearing out a kitchen.

Yesterday morning I took a few pictures before we got started. My husband was kind enough to let me take my time. He knew I was having a hard time with it. I don't know what it is: this house does that to you. I remember the woman who lived here before us crying as she unloaded all her items from this kitchen, and having to say goodbye to the house when it came time to pack up THAT room. A mom spends a lot of time in the kitchen. And she thinks a lot while she works in there, too. So I guess we all bond with our kitchens! And if the kitchen is the heart of the home, that's what tugged at my heart yesterday morning was that bond I feel with the kitchen.

Thinking on her feet, my daughter reminded me on the phone that morning that I would want some pictures to keep. So.... I got out the camera, took the different views, then started to unload the contents of my whole kitchen into boxes and totes.

I said my good-byes. (I'm serious. I never start a project out in this house without some sentimentality. I'm getting teary now!) I remembered how I watched my oldest two kids catch the bus (or get home) from the window here, watched my husband pull in with the truck after a day at work.

After she became a driver, I watched my daughter pull into her "parking spot" right in front of the window over the sink, relieved that she made it home safely once again.

As I cleaned out the drawer that held the dishtowels, I found a couple of my youngest son's bibs from his babyhood. The hot tears fell again. I remember spooning the food in that hungry little mouth while his chubby fists slapped the tray of his high chair. Those days were such happy ones, caring for an innocent little guy. Those then turned into the ones where we sat on the floor and played with his Fisher-Price ABC magnets on the fridge and those changed into the kind of sunny days that found me setting him up to coloring in a coloring book with beginner crayons in a "big-boy" chair at the table.

My mind went back to more warm memories, the days that I home schooled my son from kindergarten through fifth grade here at this table; that alone is reason enough to cry: we had some wonderful times together learning, both of us.

There are sweet memories of me on the floor with the kids as we played with the dogs, all of them loved very much, most of them long gone, now. We celebrated holidays, birthdays, carved pumpkins all together on top of newspapers spread on that table, frosted hundreds of cut out sugar cookies, did dishes at the sink while I watched the snow fall, watched deer cross the road as I peeled potatoes, heard the call of a pheasant through the screen on a gentle fall day, watched as the farmers around us worked their fields with the excitement that only harvest can bring. I remember cool fall nights as we all worked together to package the venison from a deer that one of the guys was thrilled to have gotten out behind the house.

Yes, there's been lots of living in this kitchen.

But times change. Things go bad, get crooked, are worn out. Drawers stick and become impossible to open, doors become irreparable and won't stay shut, paint peels, and electrical outlets become out of date and dangerous. Lighting becomes too dim and impractical. It's time, past time, really to make it all new again. And so we began what will be a big project here at the farmhouse.

We ripped out the heart of our house, so that we can transplant it and make it better.

The first bang of the hammer on the old plaster began the mess of taking it all down that would last for two days...and it ain't over yet, but I thought I'd take plenty of pictures to show you our progress, and hopefully one day soon, you will see a metamorphosis: the result in a new "farmhouse kitchen" because of of lots of hard work by my husband, mostly, (sainted man that he is) and with our help he can get this turned into a farmhouse kitchen with all the modern amenities. Today he/we deconstructed all the stick-built cabinets and then worked on getting all the rest of the plaster off the walls.

We set up a makeshift sort of kitchen in our attached garage, with an electric grill and fry pan, dishpans, my pie safe with the basic dishes inside and crates and totes full of the rest sitting in stacks for when it's all finished and we can move back in. Mealtimes will be VERY basic for awhile. If it cannot be done in an electric fry pan or grill, or cooked outside on the grill...guess we won't be having it!

Let me just say this about my long-suffering husband. Owning an old farmhouse was NOT ever his dream. It was mine. We both wanted to live in the country, but he never has said "OOhhhhh!" when he saw a pretty old farmhouse.

But I can tell you that if it were not for THIS man, I would not be able to live this dream. Men who know how to DO THINGS on a house are a marvel to me. This man doesn't let much get to him. He works diligently and is not as in love with this house as I am, and yet does it all anyway. He only turns the air blue every now and then, and I can't say that I blame him. NOTHING is level. NOTHING goes smoothly. NOTHING ever turns out like we think it will. We have to accept compromises on what we THOUGHT we could or would do. We have to make do sometimes instead of making it like we want it.

But I enjoy working with this man I call my husband very much, and we have made a lot of memories working as a team in each and every room we've redone. It's been eighteen years...and we've had something going on almost all the time.

And, thankfully, this kitchen is the last room this poor man will have to totally break down and start over on in this old house. He has my undying respect and thanks for putting up with me and this old house for so long. I am so glad that he isn't afraid of hard work and that he loves me enough to help me make a dream come true. If it were up to him, we'd be in a new build that didn't require this sort of work!

He remembered a doo-rag he had, and got that out to wear because the dust was just a-flyin'! The weather was very pleasant, and we only had to open the window for a nice, cool breeze. Unreal for the middle of July!

Here he's standing on what's left of the old counter to get the plaster off up near the ceiling over the sink. I helped with cleanup of the cupboards as he ripped them out and hauled the pieces outside...and got to help a little bit with the ripping down of the old plaster. He's like an old pro at it, and I am as bad about handling a crow bar and hammer as I am about properly throwing a baseball: I do it like a GIRL.

Tomorrow I have some shopping to do: I need to get a faucet, light fixtures and stamped tin for the ceiling. I also have to stop in at the countertop shop and look at materials and get someone scheduled to come out and measure for countertops.

My long-suffering husband took a week of vacation to get this going. We have a bet going about how long it will take. He says it will be done before the tomatoes are ready to can. I hope so!

It sure looks pretty sad right now! Doesn't this make YOU want an old farmhouse?