Sunday, July 25, 2021


 IF you are back into the swing of entertaining, or simply hosting family gatherings, then you may be one of some, that love putting out a lot of cold meats, sliced fruits, pickles, olives, cheese and crackers for your guests.

We have always loved doing this and used a plastic platter for all of the yummies to be displayed on, but a charcuterie board just adds a special look imho.

I did an Amazon search and couldn't find exactly the look I wanted, although they would probably be a great buy for someone seeking out those particular styles.  I did find this large size at Target, which also comes in a shorter and narrower size.

For now it's home is under an old dough bowl that holds dried flowers, that is until I clean out a few un-needed and unwanted items from the cabinet where we currently keep overflow kitchen items such as holiday plates, platters, and cake pedestals.

If charcuterie is your thing, as it is ours, check out Target for this great looking board by Magnolia.

Party on, Dudes!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

FFS It's Not ALWAYS about YOU!


Summertime and it's dreary, hot and humid days tend to make people spend too much time indoors in front of the screen of their choice.  Desktop, iPad, Phone.  They tend to turn inwards and make each and every little thing about themselves, perhaps because they are feeling sad that they can't get out and do the activities they would rather be doing.  They mope and feel sorry for themselves when the temperatures rise near, and sometimes over the 100 degree mark. 

I have multiple cases where I could point out specific instances to you, but why name people and not only make them considerably more mopey, but possibly cry.

Most of you know that I am not a flowery speaker, so I don't use words like 'lovely', or 'sweetie', 'perfect day', or 'splendid'.  To me these are similar to the Southern phrase 'bless your heart'.  They reek of insincerity and phoniness, something I am not, and I spot the insincere usage of these words and do a HUGE eye roll on this side of the computer screen.

I am much more apt to speak with clear precision and not pretense, and if you see that as harsh, then you are just wrong.  If you think that I am always talking about you or dissing on you simply because I don't use flowery language, then it's really your problem to deal with, and perhaps you should be the one who learns to communicate more clearly rather than in your flowery, phony way.

See the  photo of my hosta from last week?  Weren't they simply lovely?


Saturday, July 17, 2021

A Long Awaited Completed Project

 This project, the remodeling of our laundry room, is finally, after a year and a half, completed! Except for getting rid of the boob light and adding one shelf and some artwork.

I had a vision for it for a few years, after purchasing the home in 2013, when it had a dark and uninspiring laundry room; a room where the mundane task of sorting, washing, drying and hanging of clothes, and YES, sometimes even ironing a piece or two.  

First up on the 'must haves' was getting rid of the dark cabinets that hung over the washer and dryer, and also the inexpensive particle board cabinets in the area that the previous owner had used for a crafting area. I wanted white cabinets, with brushed nickel handles, a place to hang freshly laundered clothing, a cabinet for the sink, and a tall cabinet that the vacuum cleaner could stand inside and be hidden from view, under cabinet task lighting, as well as plenty of room for whatever else we chose to keep in the laundry/utility room.  

Once choosing our cabinets at Lowes, we then chose a light colored granite for our countertops, bead board on the lower portion of each wall in order to break up the monotony of the paint, and then a neutral tile for the backsplash areas.  We kept our tile floors in order to keep down cost, and also because they were neutral enough to support the look that I wanted in this room.  

The only part of this remodel that was farmed out as far as the labor was the installation of the granite, and due to not being able to get any of the companies we had received quotes from on the rest of the work to show up,  my husband and two neighbors who were kind enough to help, did all of the work.  

These photos are the before, and also the end results of their hard work and kindness.

The above photo is from the house listing online when we first saw the laundry room.  It's a great sized room and is an 'L' shape, turning to the right at the far end of the room.  Dark cabinets at the front and particle board white cabinets at the back in the 'L' of the room, which had a small countertop that was not at all convenient for folding clothes.  We chose not to keep the washer and dryer, so the previous owners took them when they moved, and we didn't keep the stand alone freezer either.  The paint on the walls was a chocolate brown, and since the only window in the room is located back in the 'L' of the room, this room was dark and cave-like.  

This photo was the back 'L' shaped area of the room, with a small upright cabinet, an open cubby area on the wall, an opening for a chair to sit and do crafting, and because there was not enough cabinets for storage, you can see the vacuum attachments were on the floor.  

So, what did we do to change things in this room?

This is where the upright freezer stood.  We now have a cabinet with a countertop for folding clothes, and a hanging rod for shirts and pants.  This addition has certainly changed laundry day!  

This is where a free standing sink once stood, but once again we added the cabinetry with a small countertop surround and a cabinet above; places to hide cleaning things.

Previously there were only two upper cabinets on this wall, directly above the washer and dryer, and no lower cabinets.

This area, the 'L' of the room, where the previous owner did crafts, now has added cabinets above as well as under the countertop, and the tall cupboard at the back houses our vacuum cleaner and above our extra paper towels and detergents.  

This long walkway goes from the garage into the rest of the house, and bead board helped to break up the wall which we painted a light gray, which sometimes appears blue.

Over time we will be adding a few pegs for hanging coats, some artwork on the walls, replace the boob light, and perhaps different curtains, but for now, here is a list of what we used and where they were purchased as well.

Cabinets were custom ordered, and they are white with a pewter trim
Bead Board - Lowes lumber department

Home Depot:
Behr Paint - Marquee One Coat, Color is Platinum (PPU26-11)

This all makes for a very neutral colored room that is bright, welcoming, and easy on the eyes.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Gone With The Wind

It's the last day of April so I thought I'd catch you up on what little news there is.

We've bought everything we want for the garden, but of course had two overnight freezes not too many days ago, so potted tomatoes and bell peppers spent their evenings inside the house and by day they would be moved out to a sunny back deck.  Today it's far too windy to set them out on the deck, since they would be knocked over for certain, so they are inside the screened porch.  Not a lot of sunshine there, but temperatures are in the 50's at the moment, so the plants will do fine.  

The porch furniture has been set in place.  My plan was to have bought all new furniture for the porch this year, but instead those dollars are being spent on completing the backsplash, painting walls, and also doing a bit of wainscoting.  Covid kept us from completing it last year, and this year the prices have skyrocketed so that it's taking much more of the money that the porch furniture would have.  There's always next year for the furniture, and I know we'll be happy to have the laundry room done, because there's nothing more unnerving to me to walk into a room with an uncompleted dream.  The new backsplash will really liven things up.

We have both had our Covid shots, so we do venture away from our home a bit more these days.  The most frightening days of the pandemic are behind us, although we do still choose to wear face masks when around other people.  Safety first for sure!!

As many of you already may know, we lost both of our pups, Izzy last June, and Rowdy this past March. Life has been quieter around the house and yard, and we are learning to live with this new norm since we won't be replacing them.  They were in face irreplaceable in our hearts.
I dedicate these springtime photos to the two of them as they romp some where far away over that renowned Rainbow Bridge.

Now I'm going to step outside on this extremely windy spring day and enjoy all of the blossoms before they disappear into the wind for another year.

Be well.


Monday, March 22, 2021

Just Another Day On Three Acres


So, we bought a tractor this year.  Not the huge $40,000 kind of tractor, and yet quite a bit larger than our lawn tractor.

We finally had to face up to the fact that we are now older, let's just say around the 70's when it comes to birthdays, and our muscles simply won't cooperate when it comes to arm strength as it has in the past.  The small lawnmower sized tractor works well for small jobs, but if you want to move a large boulder, or a tree stump, it just doesn't cut it.  

We have a snow blower for the lawn tractor and that's great for the upper driveway which is flat, but our back driveway .... it just wouldn't make it up the hill when there was snow coverage, even with weights and chains.  So it was time to break out into something a bit larger.  Not with bells, whistles, a cab, or any other fancy stuff.  Just a Plain Jane tractor that will do the work that we need it to.

My husband is elated since he's the drive of this green machine. 

I wish him years of happiness with his new green mistress.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, my Dear!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Our Brother's Obituary - John David Poppen


John David Poppen

October 22, 1952 - February 4, 2021

John David Poppen was the second of four children born to Harold W. Poppen and Elaine Ellen Green Poppen.  John was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa on October 22, 1952.  The family lived on a few different farmsteads where John and his siblings played outdoors with family pets and climbed to the top of barns where the hay lofts provided much room for fun swinging from ropes and landing in the bales of hay below.  Sundays were often spent at his grandparents' homes for dinner followed by afternoons of laughter playing with his many cousins.  

In 1959 John's parents purchased a feed store in Whittemore, Iowa, and a home on 7th Street.  An idyllic small town childhood when it came to always having neighborhood friends and classmates to play with.  At the age of 10 John and his siblings lost their oldest brother to Hodgkins Lymphoma, a huge loss to John especially due to sharing a bedroom with his older brother.

John was a good student throughout his grade school years, even taking a few weeks of classes from his hospital bed which had been set up in the family's living room.  He would connect to the classroom over a radio system so that he did not fall behind on his learning during his days at home recovering from rheumatic fever.  John transferred to the Algona School District in 4th grade attending Lucia Wallace and then Algona Jr. High and High School where he graduated in 1971.  John moved to Arizona in the late 1970's and then on to Long Beach, California, where he fell in love with sailing and fishing while working for cabinet companies finishing kitchen cabinets as well as cabinets on boats.  It kept him near the ocean that he loved so dearly.

John never married, but for the past 20 years enjoyed life with his partner, Sharon Brushwiller.  They retired and moved out of the city in 2019, to Cedar Glen, California.  He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2019 cutting the enjoyment of his retirement years short.

John is preceded in death by both his father and his mother and his brother Gary.  He is survived by his two sisters, Diane Cayton-Hakey and brother in law David Hakey of Fincastle, Virginia, and his sister Denise Groom and her partner, Erik Hanson of Templeton, California; niece Kelly Cayton of Garner, Iowa,  and grand nieces and nephew Anthony Hinz, Meredith Hinz and Malia Hinz also of Garner, Iowa; and grand niece Madeline Hinz of Cedar Falls, Iowa.  Also step-mother Janet Schlesselman (Rich) of Casa Grande, Arizona, and step-sisters Carrie (Eric) Oblinger of Texas, and Angela Worthley (Lee) of Orange City, Iowa.  

Our forever-loved brother John's ashes will remain in California with his partner Sharon, and freed at an undisclosed site of her choosing.  Thank you to those who loved our brother as much as we did.  May he rest in peace.

Monday, June 22, 2020

The Heat Of Summer Has Arrived

It's that time of year when sultry skies break into afternoon thunderstorms and my husband can sometimes find it difficult to find just an hour or two of time when the lawn is dry enough for mowing. It's always a mad dash for him to get out there and git-er done before another storm pops up. I appreciate his tenacity.
 This summer seems to be a bit difficult for our dear Rowdy who had his tenth birthday on the tenth of June.  His breathing just seems for labored and I worry about him no only because of his breathing issue, but because he has suffered two seizures this year.  Horribly painful for us to watch, and when the seizure is over he is confused and stumbles around for nearly an hour afterwards.  Please keep him in your thoughts as he ages.  He's such a dear heart.

We put a trail cam on one of our trees in the front yard a few weeks ago and have had some fun visitors.  LOTS of deer, a possum, this raccoon,
and a somewhat young bear.
I look forward to seeing what's on the cam's card every morning.
My husband has placed two bird feeders in the front yard which has drawn numerous species of birds, some of which have become very territorial of this area of the yard.  The house finches.  There are many times 10-20 of them on the feeders not leaving much room for the other songbirds, although they are not shy about eating any seeds that have been tossed to the ground by the finches. The birds are fun to watch and it usually sends me Googling for information on each species.
Recently this red-bellied woodpecker has been paying us a visit and he tosses so many seeds to the ground that we have to shoo him away.  Woodpeckers generally prefer eating suet, but so do bears, so we will not be putting any suet out for him, he'll just have to rely on finding bugs on dead trees in our forest.
The cardinals enjoy the rusty bench beneath our arbor where they wait to snag seeds from the ground now that the woodpecker is hogging their share at the feeders.
 I could only find three African Blue Basil this year.  They are getting harder and harder to come by since they are a 100% propagated basil due to being a non-seeding plant.  Some years the businesses that propagate them either don't do enough for sale or are having a difficult time getting propagation to work well.  We may try to propagate a few ourselves this fall and see if we can do better than the businesses.

 Sunset on the solstice was pretty awesome, and by 9:15pm we were still awaiting the sun to completely disappear. Mother Nature, Science, Astronomy, the Earth, it can all be quite breathtaking.

 The following morning the sunrise was blocked out by fog.  Such a significant change from last night.
 This is the deer that will not and would not go away.  She showed up in the front yard and began nibbling at my wisteria, so I opened the door and she bolted up the berm and into the wood.... but I watched her closely as she snuck around to the other side of the house......
 and she thought I couldn't see her behind this butterfly bush.  BUT, when she realized that I am smarter than the average bear and I raised my arms into the air to make myself appear quite large, she once again disappeared into the woods. 
 So the butterfly bushes are in bloom and with that event comes the appearance of butterflies in the yard.
The heat of summer has truly arrived, and we are spending it for the most part here at home unless groceries or doctor appointments require us to don a mask and head to town.  
Life is simple and sweet for us here in the Virginia countryside.
Thanks for stopping by today.
We wish you well.