Saturday, August 9, 2014

Vintage finds: treasure hunting

One of the best things about having booth space in a consignment store is that on an almost weekly basis, you have an excuse to shop for great vintage items.

This week we reset and expanded our space in Eclectic Charm in Manhattan.  After we had been drenched in a surprise (and much needed) rain shower and loaded and unpacked and set items and moved them and moved them again, we finally felt happy with the arrangement.

Then, it was time to browse!  We found some great item - my favorite might be the giant cloth American flag.  It is a little bigger than what we needed for a project for my brother and sister-in-law, but we might have another idea.  Our other finds were two small industrial tool caddies, a pressed tin box, cast iron fence finials, two costume jewelry pins, a wooden slat piece that is screaming to be a jewelry organizer and the really neat wooden etched Indian profile.

This week was hectic and stressful and I was short on sleep.  But, our time together on Wednesday night - setting up and shopping - was a definite high point.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A new addition to Prairie School Farms

 Welcome our newest alpaca, Javier!

A few days ago we heard from a student who lives a few miles away from us.  He had a baby alpaca that was an "add on" to his purchase of some guard llamas for his goat herd.  He wanted to know if we wanted to buy the alpaca.

We thought about it and decided he would be a good addition to our little farm.  We were leaving for vacation and asked if they would hold him for us.

Our vacation was in Canada which meant we had a long drive there and back.  We drove the last five hours of the trip this morning and then found out that we needed to pick up the alpaca today - change of plans!  Our original plan was to catch up around the house.

Because of the change of plans, we decided to cut some corners.  Instead of going to borrow the trailer, we planned to transport him home in the extended cab of our pick up.  Armed with a layer of old towels and a blanket, we thought we could make it work.  Some of our alpaca friends have told us they have used their minivan to transport alpacas, so we could make it work, right?

When we arrived at the farm, we found out that he was a little bigger than we thought and not halter broke.  In fact, we found out that the last time they caught him, they had to rope him.  Let the rodeo begin!

After a little bit of running around, we were able to catch him and fit him with a halter.  We made a halting, running and jumping walk to the truck and then loaded up.  We said a few prayers that he would cush into a sitting position as we had been told alpacas typically do in moving vehicles.  Thankfully, after the first half mile, he found a comfortable sitting position and we made it safely home.
Once we got unloaded, we made another running, jumping and halting trip to the pen.  All of the other alpacas were very curious about the new guy.
 We got Javier settled in with some water,  hay and food.  His companion in the small pen is Blue - our ambassador animal.  They were getting along great after a few minutes of getting used to each other.
We think he is going to fit in very well here.  Our goal is to have him halter broke within the week.  Can we do it?
All the other boys are still really curious. We will introduce him to the bigger pen after a little more time in the small pen.  I am also thinking it will be easier to catch him in the small pen for halter training. Or, we can put him in the big pen and just chalk the catching time up to our cardio workout for the night.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Checking things off of lists

There is nothing better than checking something off of a list.

We stumbled onto a cowboy oil painting at Rerun Consignment in our favorite vendor's booth.  The painting was perfect for the kitchen and I loved the colors.  It was a beautifully painted canvas wrapped around cardboard!

Even though life was busy, it seemed like framing the painting before it was damaged was a good idea.

I took it to our new favorite frame shop, Candlewood Frame Shop. Once again, the experience was really wonderful.  First, they had a sale on their frames which allowed me to bring in a few extra items to take advantage of the discount.  Second, it was a delightful experience in picking out the frames and mats.  It can be really stressful to think about picking the "right" combination - perfectionist on overload.  However, I have only had good experiences and love the suggestions, often combinations or finishes that I would never consider.

So, in the end, I was able to frame the oil painting and that inspired me to frame the two western themed fruit labels we picked up in Oregon this spring.  I also had an Andrew Wyeth print that we framed.  The Wyeth print was part of a collection we picked up at a vintage store this winter.

Actually framing our purchases - check
Getting (most of) the framed art on the wall - check

The Wyeth print is still propped against a chair and I have a prairie photo we purchased in April that is also propped against a chair, so the list continues.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Plant geek: garden update

 Our garden is looking beautiful!  The recent rainfall has helped everything stay green.  The moisture has also caused the weeds to grow like crazy and we have been putting in a little extra time to try to pull weeds when the temperatures are a little cooler. 

I guess we always have plenty of "therapy" to keep us on track.  The best therapy is pulling a bucket of weeds - at least that is what I tell myself.  If you agree, we have plenty of "therapy" to go around (and extra gardening gloves).
 Our cucumbers are really taking off and because of my husband's diligence, they are growing up the fence like we had planned.  I am always amazed at the tendrils on a cucumber plant - beautiful and amazing how something in the natural world works so well.
 While this is a dragon fly, I want to joke that it is the same size as the mosquitoes in the yard.  One of the downfalls of all of the rain is the chiggers and mosquitoes...not fun!  I am trying a new insect repellant from LuLu and Max.  I am a big fan so far.
 We try to grow new things in the garden each year. This year's grand experiment is the tomatillo!  I am super excited to try to can some salsa verde.  I am doing some reading to make sure that I know what I am doing, but I am pretty sure that we'll just take it one day at a time and see how it works out.  The plant has set on some small fruit - a good sign.

I planted these on a whim and sort of forgot what I had planted.  They almost got yanked out of the ground when we thought it was a weed.  Thankfully, I put two and two together and remembered they were part of the actual garden plan.
 The plant also has some blossoms, so we must not be messing up too bad.
We also pulled a bunch of onions tonight.  We have some giants in the harvest.  My husband thinks we should enter them in the fair and I keep threatening to put him in open class.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

What is in bloom

 This afternoon was a great chance to see what was blooming in the yard and garden. 

I was surprised to discover the pink geraniums on the planters on the east side of the house. 

You see, we stumbled into a great deal with our local FFA chapter.  At the end of the school year, the students offered all of the leftover plants in their greenhouse for a free will donation.  We selected several flats to help round our the flowers gardens and containers and to replace some of the plants that were damaged with a late frost.

So, our purchases were a little bit of a leap of faith.  We didn't necessarily know the color of blooms.  This was such a pleasant surprise - the delicate pink with the darker pink edge of the petals.

Beautiful.
 I am also reminding myself of the simple beauty of the classic combination of spike, asparagus fern and red geraniums.  This grouping never disappoints.
The garden is starting to bloom, too.  These blossoms are on our cucumbers - the bright yellow is so wonderful!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Asheville in the spring - unleash the plant geek

 We are still sorting through pictures from our spring adventures and I came across some of my favorites from our trip to Asheville this spring.  We returned because we loved our trip in December and we had a free hotel night to use.

We did so much in the short weekend.  Some of my favorite stops had plants at the center.  In fact, I think that my husband actually said, "unleash the plant geek" when I started to go crazy about something.

We decided to make an afternoon of the Asheville Botanical Gardens because we could tour the gardens and do some hiking.

One of my favorite "rooms" was this quilt garden.  The pansies were planted so perfectly.  You couldn't really get the full effect until you went to the higher level to view it.
 See what I mean!?  Beautiful and precise. 
Wisteria.  Cool, right?
 And then you figure out it is in the bonsai garden!  A miniature....really lovely!
 We also hiked some of the trails.  I loved the tall trees.  The weather was great so we could take our time and just enjoy the day.
 This container was at Sunny Point Cafe - one of our favorite restaurants of both trips. I am a big fan of succulents and loved the plants and the contrast of the different colors of green against the white container.  Cool
One of the best things about Sunny Point is the garden in the back.  The restaurant has a farm-to-table approach and you can see that they grow some of their ingredients right next door!  We finished our late lunch and then went to just relax in the garden.  We selected a couple of chairs in the shade and took in the whole place. (I mean, they have bowling balls as garden accents.  Love it!)
Here was our view from our chairs.  Check out the garden boxes on the fence - what a great idea for maximizing a small space!
 We were also inspired by the various ways they created vertical gardens with hog and cattle panels.  Loved the sunshine arch. 

We were inspired in so many ways...maybe it was because we had just enjoyed such delicious food.