Monday, July 26, 2010

A day in the Bluegrass...

This past weekend I was not feeling that great and I sat around at the farm while Bob worked. It was about 95 degrees with matching humidity, so I felt justified in not working. The thing is, while I was walking back to the outhouse I heard a horrible noise and looked up to see Scrappy flush out about 8 or 10 turkeys from a little copse of brush and cedar. Scrappy was so proud and the turkeys were kind of traumatized. It was the first time I have seen turkeys at the farm.

Bob said he saw a quail and a bunny and I saw a bunch of vultures circling. [No, they were not coming for me. They always circle when Bob mows as I think more than a few field mice bite the biscuit every time.]

We have also seen deer,  racoon, squirrels, skinks, 2 garden snakes [I hate snakes!], hawks and one very large owl during our ownership of the farm.

We have not seen any coyotes, but I know they are out there someplace.

I think most folks think of the Bluegrass area as horses, tobacco and farm fence--and there are a lot of those.

But we do have a very diverse wildlife here too and I love that aspect of it. I love that Scrappy can scare up turkeys and not just robins. I love the millions of butterflys that flutter around and the goldfinches that inhabit our thistle infested fields.

Skink--I know they are pretty ugly, but they are kind of cool looking too, with their florescent blue tails. I think only the young ones are so bright.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Painting is about done, kitchen tile is down...

Things have been going slow at the cottage and I am very anxious for it to be done. Today some more progress was made and I am glad for it. There is still a LOT to be done, but things are coming along, little by little.
The paint is Shaker Blue

The rooms are painted white with the doors painted blue. You can see the side door and the bathroom, bedroom and closet door painted here.

Kitchen tile, it has more blue tones than this picture shows

This hole is cut into our bedroom floor, right by the window seat. It will be a laundry chute so we can drop our clothes right into the laundry room. There will be a box-like window seat over it, so that the window seat will come out into the room with a hinged lid. When we open the lid, we can toss our clothes downstairs. I am going to love that!

Today the kitchen tile was down. It still needs grout, but I really LOVE the way it looks. It is sort of blue and gray. I thought it might be too loud, but it looks just right on the floor.
It has a lot of colors in the pattern, so it should not show spills or dirt. I am all about camouflage. :)

This is the bedroom and you can see that the trim and the door are painted. It looks black but it is really Shaker Blue. It will be great when the deck is done outside this door.

So, it is coming along. Bob mowed today for a while but it was over 90 degrees and humid, so he quit around noon. I sat in the shade after I picked a few cups of cultivated blackberries-it was just too hot to do anything else. The breeze was nice, but even Scrappy mostly just laid in the shade and watched Bob on the tractor.

Take care,

Monday, July 12, 2010

Getting closer...

Scrappy looking out Bedroom window--it really needs a wash!
My friend Linda and I went out to pick wild blackberries yesterday and to see the progress on the cottage. It is coming along, slowly, but surely.

The grading is done, which really makes the place look more inviting. Some blackberry bushes lost their lives in this process, but there are still tons of bushes and millions of berries.
Cottage from back, notice the view!

Cottage from the front, grading done.

Here is the cottage from the back. I LOVE the bay window/window seat on the right side.

Here it is from the front. It looks much better with the dirt smoothed down and sloping. Once the siding and wrap around deck and porch get on, this is going to look awesome!

The painter should paint early this week, then I guess the ceramic tile goes down, then the rest of the molding and trim. Still lots to do, but things are coming along.

Take care,

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Blackberry Jam...

Hot and Humid--this is the perfect weather for blackberries. The Bluegrass Area, and in particular our farm has the best wild blackberry crop in recent memory. Our farm has maybe an acre or two of blackberries and they are dense, sweet and delicious this year.

Bob and I picked about 1.5 gallons the other day and I am going out again tomorrow.

The trouble with wild blackberries is that since we don't plant, water, fertilize or do anything at all to them, we do have to pay our due somehow. And, with blackberries, they extract a pound of flesh. This is not a metaphor, they do extract a pound [or less] of flesh.
The are picky beyond imagining and they actually grab at you and pull your hair, scratch your arms and other parts of your body even if they are covered with clothes.

But, it is a small price to pay for blackberry pie, blackberry jam, blackberry muffins, blackberries on your Cheerios and fresh blackberries that stain your hands and teeth and burst forth amazing flavor.
We have some cultivated, thornless blackberries too, but they ripen a bit later.

So, for your eating enjoyment, here is a great new recipe I found for blackberry jam without using pectin. It is THE BEST jam I have ever eaten and is the perfect consistency, not too thin or too thick.


Combine in a 4 quart sauce pan:
2 cups mashed blackberries
2 Cups white sugar
2 tsp lemon juice

Heat over med-high heat till boiling and boil hard for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn heat down and simmer for 15 minutes. Put in jars and enjoy. If you want to can it, just put in hot sterile jars [you can wash them in the dishwasher and then keep them warm by filling with hot water while you wait for jam to finish boiling]. Heat canning lids in hot water for 10 minutes while jam is boiling, no need to boil water, but you should have them on the stove, in a pan in very hot, nearly boiling water.

Fill jars with boiling jam, put on lid and screw on ring. Quickly turn upside down to kill any bacteria that might be in jar, and set on a towel on the counter to let it cool. The caps will "ping" when the jam is sealed. This makes about 2 1/2-3 cups of amazing jam.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Interior Doors and Trim...

When we got to the cottage today, I opened the door and the neighbor dog ran out! Oh, no. We were hoping he wasn't stuck in there since Friday night. Bob and I gingerly inspected the floors--no smell, no mess! What a relief, but we still wondered how long he had been trapped in there.

Well, we figure only a couple of hours. Milton [our builder] had been working in the cottage today. We could tell because of all the trim that was on the floor and around some doors.
Your can see the almost finished bay window here.

The interior of the bay window and the finished dry wall job.

The loft, dry-walled and ready to paint.

See the trim along the floor and going up the wall?

Ahh, two doors. One on the left to the bedroom the one on the right to the bath.

After releasing "Bo" from the house and taking some photos, we cleaned up the mess that was left from our Independence Day Picnic on Friday night [lots of fireworks rubble], then Bob and I picked close to 2 gallons of wild blackberries. There is a bumper crop at the farm this year and they are especially sweet.

I made 2 jars of jam, ate some, left some fresh and am quick-freezing the rest. Bob wants a pie--but my favorite way to eat them is on Cheerios with milk and sugar.

Take care,