Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summer Projects

It has been fun turning our attention to some outdoor projects this summer that make our old farmhouse appear to be "loved" by its inhabitants.

I (Joy) found these weather-worn wicker chairs at a thrift store and thought we'd make an attempt at restoring them to their former beauty.

The fabric-covered cushions were faded and torn so it wasn't surprising that Oliver asked if I had paid good money for something headed to the burn pile.

I assured him he'd be pleased with the make-over.

Harrison and Sheridan were eager to help with the project.

We bought a couple cans of white spray paint for $1 each and sprayed until the ugly disappeared.

We found blue gingham fabric for $1 a yard and made new covers for the cushions.

I've had some wrought iron deco pieces that have made the many moves over the last few years and decided to hang one in the newly created seating area under the crepe myrtles.

When we moved in a year ago, there were rusty metal awnings on some of the windows.

The bigger guys were so nice to get rid of them for me.

Once gone, the neglected kitchen side of the house looked even worse though.

So the kids helped me make a small sitting area outlined by rocks we collected.

Oliver, also know as the "Hour of Power Man" because of his willingness to cheerfully give me one hour of manpower each day to complete a variety of tasks, was so helpful in this project.

He brought in the heavy, concrete bench, hung window planters, and even found an old tree limb for displaying the birdhouse just like I requested.

Then we turned our attention to the eye-sore, gray, cinder block pump house in the back yard.

The younger guys were eager to give it a paint job.

We found the coffee table, now serving as a bench, in one of the old barns and painted it black.

The fabric cushion and pillows were all made inexpensively from thrift store sheets and pillow cases.

This was my second attempt at fencing that would keep the chickens out of the herb garden.

We even ran an electric shocking wire temporarily but the only ones trained by it were the humans.


Don't let your ankle touch the fence when entering the back porch or you'll regret it for sure!

When the chickens learned to fly over the wire, I unplugged the shocker and gave up.

My mom, who knows how to bring beauty to any yard, has kept me well stocked with foliage in planters and pots as she thinks this might actually be a way to outsmart the chickens.

So far, so good!

Having never been characterized as a "collector" during our marriage, Timmy has shown noticeable concern as I've suddenly turned into a real observer of others' trash.

Such was the case when we were on a date at Outback Steakhouse one evening and I saw they were throwing away all of their tables while remodeling.

After getting permission from the proprietor, I made arrangements to gather up all those tables and give them a new home on the farm.

Now we have an outdoor eating area when people come for a tour and picnic.

Since I use regular fabric in outdoor settings, it only lasts for a couple of seasons before it needs replacing.

This summer's porch re-do was inspired by some grandmama's afghan that I saw at a thrift store for 99 cents.

Originally I had planned on patriotic-themed colors for the porch but when I saw the afghan in perfect condition with so much time obviously invested in the intricate flowers, my heart was warmed and I just couldn't leave the granny's treasure there unappreciated in the thrift store.

In an instant I decided the afghan would be the centerpiece in this season's porch re-do.

I found blue sheets, yellow gingham pillow cases, and an organza curtain with daisies that were all recreated to make pillows, cushions, and table cloths.

I even found a couple of rugs that I thought would encourage Sammie, our farm dog, to leave my things alone by sleeping on them instead.

It didn't work - each night she pulls the cushion off the old trunk and onto the floor and sleeps on it.

"At least," I holler to Sammie each morning, "you could put the cushion back during the day so the porch will look nice!"

She thinks the porch does look nice with my trunk cushion on the floor.

The wind inspired the tea cups and saucers on this table.

I couldn't find a way to keep the tablecloth from blowing away but figured it wouldn't hurt for some of my thrift store plates and cups to live outside on the table.

The pink-edged overlay cloth was made by sewing together 4 cloth napkins.

I was so glad that I ended up driving a pick up truck instead of the little Dodge to the thrift store the day I spied this wonderful pale yellow coffee table with all the quaint drawers for less than $15.

You can see on the left corner of the table's edge evidence that Sammie's puppy, Dakota, also loved the new porch deco item.

I curbed his appetite with some unsavory spices on the now exposed wood.

Regarding the missing drawer knob, until Dakota's older, I've hidden it to discourage its use as a teething toy.

I remind myself that this is why I get things from thrift stores - it's okay if it gets broken (or bitten!).

We enjoy eating lunch on the porch most every day.

It sure makes for easy clean-up after meals.

Off to another project.....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Family Vacation

For the first time since the beginning of the farm three years ago, we took a real, extended vacation! Our summer intern and several willing neighbors took great care of the farm while we were away for a week. We loaded up and left VA early one morning and arrived the following morning/early afternoon in San Antonio, TX, stopping only for dinner at our aunt's (Mama's sister's) house in Pensacola, FL. Aunt Sissy and Mama...
Cousins visiting together...
We had a very nice visit and a delicious dinner.
Aunt Sissy and me...
We slept in the van as Daddy drove through the night. We arrived at our destination in San Antonio around noon the following day. We stayed in a hotel on the River Walk.
I loved having Stephen with us!
The conference was primarily about promoting life and families. It gave Stephen and me many opportunities to discuss our opinions regarding the subjects expounded upon in the sessions. Sullivan, Harrison, and Sheridan did a great job sitting quietly during the many sessions throughout the weekend.
The highlight for most of our family was getting to hear Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar (parents of nineteen children with the TV show, "19 Kids and Counting") speak in a few of the sessions. Mama loves the Duggar family's show and rarely misses an episode! Walking back to the hotel one evening...
Stephen and me leaving the Alamo...
Sheridan and her baby, Josie, in their matching dresses...
After a church service on Sunday morning, we began the long drive home, stopping only for dinner at Stephen's parents' home. Stephen's mother prepared a wonderful meal and Stephen showed us pictures, awards, and school projects from his childhood and played his saxophone for us. It was a very nice visit, but it was also sad because it marked the end of Stephen's nearly two week stay!
We drove through the night and all of the following day and arrived back at the farm that night. It was such a delightful trip and we are so thankful for the hard work of our intern and neighbors while we were away!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Washington D.C.

Stephen and I (Meredith) took Sullivan and Harrison on a field trip to Washington D.C. a couple weeks ago. Sullivan and Harrison had never been to D.C. so I thought Stephen would be a perfect tour guide since he knows about everything.
At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery:
We made Sullivan get his picture taken in front of his "hero", Abraham Lincoln, even though as a die-hard Civil War history buff and true southerner, he was not very happy about this (as his face shows)!
I am in love with our tour guide. We had a wonderful, educational day.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ice Skating

Our good friends, the Pruietts, invited us to go ice skating with them a couple weeks ago. We had so much fun!
Although Oliver was quite confident in his ice skating skills prior to hitting the ice (literally), he quickly found that his ice skating abilities left much to be desired:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Harrison's 9th Birthday

For Harrison's 9th birthday, he celebrated by going out with Elliott, Oliver, and Sullivan. It was a special treat for him to get to go on an afternoon outing with his big brothers. Lunch with the weekly free meal tickets Mama, Daddy, Elliott, and Oliver recently won (due to their arrival at a local Denny's when it had its grand opening at midnight several weeks ago... They each get one free meal ticket each week for a solid year!) :
At the movie theater before Toy Story 3 began:
Everyone is making their final birthday cake request for me (Meredith) this year. Harrison chose the popular ice cream cake. We love you Harrison!