{Life Lately} The Farm

We have been blessed with the ability to escape our house and small town for my parents' farm. They've been in quarantine with us, as they were watching Nate before it all happened, and we only see each other. I truly feel for those people who can't visit with their parents/grandparents. 

We rode their side by side (we call it the buggy), enjoyed the woods, and visited their pond, where we attempted to catch fish but had no luck. We did see a bunch of bullfrogs that were very loud. 

And while in the woods, we were driving through on the buggy and my mom says "I think that's a bat!" so we stopped and looked - and yep, a little bat was hanging out on the tree limb. I believe it's an Eastern Red Bat, a solitary bat known for living in trees. I was able to get up close and personal with it so I could take a few pictures and a video. After others looked too, it decided to fly away. 

How are you handling this crazy time? As a teacher and a mom, our days have been busy with online meetings and a lot of online work. I participated in a great Zoom yesterday with the creators The Spark File. I am not normally a podcast listener, but I will look into this one - the two ladies were amazing. 

{Life Lately} Self Care and Pelicans

Before Nate was cleared from his post-op restrictions, it took two people to move him at all times. My mom was at my house most of the time with me, and a lot of times, my dad was too. He was here working on my house (the back bedroom). So as we made the switch to working at home due to the quarantine, I had some time in the mornings that allowed for a walk. I really enjoyed the time to myself to start the day, knowing that the exercise was good for me, and just enjoying nature as the world continues to go crazy. I ended up walking almost every day for two weeks straight which was great for both me and Rex. I would end up going on an hour long walk or longer and one of my favorite spots was down in the river bottoms where a flock of pelicans were visiting. I know the photos aren't the highest quality due to the zoom, but it was still an amazing sight!

{Art} Lotus Painting

I've had this large canvas for years and could never settle on it. I had started something on it twice but never was pleased. Then it finally hit me the other day - paint a giant lotus on it. So I worked on it over the weekend. It's done in acrylic and the photos are from when it was still wet. I'll finish it soon (hopefully) but I'm liking it more and more the way it is. I may hang it up just to see if I still like it. My problem is I can't figure out where to hang it - maybe in my living room on an empty wall? Or upstairs in my bedroom on a very empty stairwell wall (tall and wide). 

Lots of colors are in this painting. I thought of it as a true under painting, with hints of these colors showing through as I layered. But then some stayed, so I don't know. It felt good to paint again and I need to use up some canvases that I've been collecting. I also have a few that are painted with other things that will probably get covered up. No one needs a still life from art school 20 years ago.  

{Back Yard} Bug Hotel

Hello again friends!

I posted about my Back Yard Garden Refresh and how I moved some things around. In the middle of moving the actual garden bed areas, I wanted an area to set up a bug hotel. For the past couple years, as they are becoming more popular, I'd see them all over the place and knew that I wanted one. Well, I had this old metal dog crate that was missing the top (or bottom, whatever), and so I decided to repurpose it. It's definitely a work in progress as I need a lot of the "extras" but I was using what I had on hand. 

I started by placing a divider, which some random thing in my shed. I don't think it went to this dog crate, but it was something I've always had at the house. 

I added the terracotta pots as they both have cracks in them and I don't use them for actual planters. I figured that if they continued to break down more, the small pieces could fall through the bottom of the crate. The metal piece leaning next to the planters is something weird from my shed. I honestly have no clue what is is but I thought I'd throw that in there too. 

I moved the two plastic terracotta pots from the South Side Garden as the plants inside had died so I can redo that this summer. They may have flowers, they may have raspberries or herbs, who knows!?

The thing sitting on top of the crate are dried loofahs that stayed outside all winter. I figured that their little holes would be good for bugs. I shoved a small one in the small terracotta pot. 

I stole the U shaped log from my parents' farm and added some random wood pieces from my shed. The little bricks in the back are old stepping stones that broke, and I'd like to add a shelf tower on top using small pieces of wood. 

And above is what I've stopped at. I'll add more twigs and wood from my yard, plus I need to grab things like pine cones and other natural elements. Mulch and broken pots are underneath to fill the space as I put the crate on bricks to create a space under it. 

What do you think? Have you made a bug hotel? If so, what have you put in it? I have a little bee hotel that was bought and hung on a fence in another part of the yard. I wonder if I should move it above this area and make a little collection, or leave it where it is? 

{Back Yard} Garden Refresh

Hello Friends!

Way before Corona hit the world, I've been planning on doing a little makeover to my backyard garden. It was expanded last year after finding a ton of free rocks on the curb nearby the house. After three trips home with them, two beds were created. The garden soon took over and it was out of control, especially the loofah plants. But it always looked bad. The grass died, luckily, and it was just needing some help.

Before, looking towards the garage. I had everything but the mulch on hand, so it was just a day's worth of labor and $20 worth of mulch. The day was on the chillier side but look at that bright, blue sky! 

Before, looking towards the shed (kind of). The galvanized container got shifted to the far right and I had moved the cattle panel, not pictured, away from the fence to put somewhere else. All the rocks near the fence were also moved by yours truly. It was a nice arm workout. 

And because I hate working with gloves, although I probably need to get some, my hands got dirty. 

 And after, looking at the garage. Some day maybe the garage will be fixed up with different siding. The front and sides are brick but this extension was wrapped in this weird fake brick junk that looks like shingles. It works for the time being and may just be covered up with a trellis or something. Suggestions welcomed! It's West facing but gets a lot of South afternoon light. 

So, with the help of about 10 bags of mulch (the $2 kind from Walmart), and reusing all the stepping stones that I had been piling up as other parts of the yard were being changed, I created the above photos. I moved the galvanized rectangular raised bed form and loaded it up with compost and dirt that had settled from the first time it was back there. It now houses a blackberry or raspberry plant (it was new last year and never produced so I can't remember). It's spiky as can be though, so who knows if it'll stay here or get some trellis help or something. Gardens are always changing here. I may still move the rocks that run parallel to the fence to a different area of my yard, but time will tell.

I then moved two terracotta pots back next to my new bug hotel that I'm working on as the plants that were in them on the South Side Garden died. I thought they looked nice by the fence. I then moved a terracotta succulent (or strawberry?) planter to the bug hotel as it's never grows anything on one side and would be a nice way to block some chunky chickens from devouring all the bugs. 

I'll be back to post about the bug hotel as it's a work in progress. I think it's a good start and after some more additions, it'll be a great space for our buggy friends. 

{Life Lately} Teacher and Mom Life

Obviously life has gone crazy for all of us and I know I'm not the exception. Between my school being closed for three weeks (now five, one being our Spring Break), teaching online with pretty much no experience (to no one's fault, I'm not blaming anyone), and being a mom to two kiddos at home going through their own online schooling, life is crazy - as is the everything else in the world. 

But, I'll try to stay optimistic and so I will be enjoying the time home with my littles as we navigate our new norm. 

I have "office hours" for work, which means that I will be updating lesson plans, reaching out to students, and creating virtual projects for kids. I honestly am not sure how I will do this for the whole month of April but I'll figure it out this week as we have off. I also have some extra time to myself, so that's been nice. I've gone for morning walks with our dog, Rex, and doing extra yoga at night.

Lily both loves and hates the online education piece but will be the one who misses her friends more than anyone. I honestly feel that she's doing more work now than when in school but maybe that's just my perspective as it switches to learning and doing online vs learning verbally from her teacher. 

Someone is happy that everyone is home and tries to sit on us. 

Nate was already doing homeschooling due to his Perthes Disease. He is supposed to get his cast off on April 1st so we aren't sure how that will be. The doctor did say that he wants him there to be seen at some point but the date may change. 

How are you making it through this quarantine? Doing ok? 

{Home} Back Bedroom, Part 2

 Hello again friends! Two posts in two days - the perks of being at home! 

Did you check out my first blog post about our "Back Bedroom". I'm going to call it that until I figure out it's real purpose in life. But technically it is a bedroom and in order of our rooms, it's the back room. Lily's is the front, Nate's in the middle, and then there's this. 

My dad painted it a beautiful gray color that's slightly on the warmer side which works great with the beautiful floors that he uncovered. These floors weren't even sealed before the carpet and pad were GLUED DOWN EVERYWHERE! He literally hand scraped these babies after putting a glue adhesive remover on them. I truly don't know what I'd do without him. I know I'd be stuck with ugly, gross, shag gray carpet that was flattened down over the years decades. 

And then there's the transition to the kitchen... which is a totally different issue and we'll get to it later. Let's just say that my dad and I have been curious about this room for YEARS. 13 years almost. And guys, side note - the kitchen is getting GUTTED this summer. More on that later. 

But look at those crappy, ugly floors. Eye roll... 

This post got off topic after all the pictures of the layers and layers of crap in the kitchen. We may decide to NOT pull up everything (umm...asbestos) and call it a semi loss - a loss as to not exposing the hardwoods that we are 99% sure are under there (it's all level with the other rooms so it would make sense) and leave the plywood you see in the photos and then tile the whole kitchen like the bathroom (wood look tile). 

It may honestly just be up to my dad if he's into ripping it all up and all the chaos that it'll include, or not. I'm honestly ok with both ways and know that both would look amazing in MY NEW KITCHEN (again, more to come in the summer). 


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