Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A Little Hallowe'en Tale

The big night has come and gone and all eleven children, who came trick or treating, were duly impressed that I believed they really were what they were pretending to be.  One little boy felt he had to explain that he wasn't really a zombie, just dressed as one.

Maeve gave the town something to talk about by posing as the perfect Hallowe'en cat.  Perched on the back of a chair, back arched and tail puffed, she held her stance until the kids left.  She's not fond of kids and really hates kids in costumes.  I wish I'd had my camera handy!

But this isn't the kind of tail I'm telling. ~

Right beside my house is an old graveyard. ~

When my daughters were little, they cooked up a plan with my sister's boys to walk to the back of the graveyard, on Hallowe'en night, and touch the the farthest stone.

The two dads cooked up their own plan.  Scaring kids witless is almost as much fun as blowing things up to men!

So, my brother in law dressed up as one of these and hid behind a tombstone. ~

My girl's dad hid in the church ready to play some scary music on the old pump organ. ~

As the kids headed back, the music started and the mummy rose up, moaning and flailing it's arms.  Three kids ran for the sidewalk.  The fourth, my nephew, tore off toward the back.

At the back is a thirty foot drop into the river. ~

The faster the mummy ran to save his son, the faster the kid ran to escape certain death from the mummy!  Daddy/Mummy did catch him, spurred on I think by my sister's angry screams.

The moral of this tale, and all good tales must have one, is NEVER let men plan Hallowe'en activities for children!

Happy (and safe) Hallowe'en to all!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Storm Has Passed!

It's been a crazy few days around here!  There I was with the kitchen all torn apart to redecorate and primed cabinet doors drying all over the living room, when my brother in law decides to use the warm, sunny weather to convert my garden shed into a chicken coop.  The plan was to bring their three chickens over here to vacation with Gert and Maude for the winter.

We've been worried about keeping them warm enough in a cold Canadian winter in these flimsy coops we bought. ~

He and my sister knew I was busy with the kitchen and were doing most of the work themselves.  Of course, I had to help empty the shed and strew my stuff all over the yard.  ~

It was all taking a little longer than expected.  A window was installed, a leak in the wall was repaired and an area was fenced off for a bit of storage.  A girl has to have somewhere to keep her off season tires and chain saw! ~

By Sunday, we realized Sandy was really going to hit here and we were nowhere near ready to move the girls into their new coop.  A quick phone conference and we decide to brave the rain and cold and finish the job.  With only two breaks to wrap our frozen hands around mugs of hot coffee, we sawed and drilled to make perches and nesting boxes.  The raccoon repelling dog cage was dismantled and moved over to the shed.  The back wall was cut to make an entry from the cage to the shed door and the whole thing was bolted in place.

Then, we had a chicken rodeo to gather all the girls up.  Gert was easy because she basically just jumps up into my arms.  Maude got loose and made quite the run for it.  You'd have died laughing at three soaking wet and frozen idiots chasing that chicken around and around the yard.  I was not finding her all that amusing!  On to my sister's house and start the round up all over again!

Cool new digs! ~

Gert doesn't like the visitors and she's not coming off that nesting shelf that I put her on! ~

That box is the infamous microwave shelf that started the whole kitchen fiasco!

Evening is coming and I still had to get all the stuff we pulled out of the shed stowed away somewhere and the patio furniture secured.  

Oh, and all this stuff has to come off the porch! Yikes. ~

The very last thing to do was snip these last rose blooms so Sandy doesn't get them.  I'm not giving them up! ~

The storm arrived and the ladies were snug as a bug in their new home.  This village sits in a hollow and the wind wasn't too extreme but there was the strangest roaring sound overhead for the night.  I guess the wind was higher up.

The only fallout I have to deal with is this downed tree on my rental property. ~

Well, that and a very bad head cold!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Connection Between Music And Damaged Walls

I had a million things to do this week and my stupid back went out.  I don't have a back problem.  This is just something that happened twice in two months.  Really, I DON'T HAVE A BACK PROBLEM!

Sooo, I'm lying on the couch looking around at the room I planned on redecorating and feeling really peeved! By day two, I'm feeling like I can tackle some small jobs and wander into the kitchen.  I know, I'll take down that old, giant microwave shelf and replace it with a cute vintage one I painted.  Simple, right?  Wrong!

Whaaa! ~

Who puts a few pieces of Masonite around the edges and leaves the rest blank?  And how about the lovely crack?  Looks like there are a few layers of wallpaper to deal with, too. ~

I'm not ready to replace the counter and backsplash.  That's a nice way of saying I can't afford it right now.  So, whatever I do (and I certainly can't leave it like this!) has to be a cheap, temp fix.  Some plaster and paint are going to be in order.  Since I'm painting the walls, I might as well do the cupboards at the same time.

Haul the cupboard doors outside and scrub them down with TSP. ~

Get ready to prime them and have the weather turn to rain for two days.  Push back the furniture in the living room (the room I planned on decorating) and roll up the carpets.  Now, I hate prep work so I decide to entertain myself with a DVD set from the 1985 Live Aid concert that I borrowed from my friend Wendy.

The day just flew by!  I saw old friends perform and artists that just felt like friends because their music was such a big part of our lives.

This guy was a groomsman at a friends wedding.  For this concert he does a riveting performance of All You Need Is Love.

You know I'm breaking every copyright law in the world by showing these pics. The lawsuits are going to be crippling! 

A highschool friend of mine is the producer for U2.  When they first came to my studio, they weren't very well known.  This was during the Unforgettable Fire days. ~

This is for those of you who keep asking for music stories.  Right after the release of Joshua Tree, U2 did a concert in Toronto.  My husband and I had All Show passes, which meant we could enter any Joshua Tree concert worldwide, for free, and had full backstage entry.  It worked fine in NYC.  The Toronto concert was outdoors and it was absolutely freezing.  We had no problem entering and going to the VIP section (which really means where the press people are).  A CPI security guy ran up, in a big flap, and demanded we give him the passes. NOT!  Then, he starts begging us to give them up and come with him.  He says the band has their own security, there are tons of forgeries of the passes and they are throwing out anyone who has one.  His boss has told him to find us and get us safely away.  You see, his boss is another old friend from high school.  I look over and see the producer's girlfriend being literally tossed over the fence, while she's screaming that someone is going to pay for this.

I'll probably get tossed somewhere for showing the U2 security guys in the yellow shirts. ~

Off we go, as hostages, to the security trailer where the mean, yellow shirt Irish guys are all yelling and carrying on.  That gets my Irish up!  I'm wearing cowboy boots to be cool, my feet are frozen and I can't  feel my toes.  I start yelling back (I didn't used to be as sweet and mellow as I am now), "I'm supposed to be meeting friends backstage but you'll be doing me a bloody favour if you throw me out!  What kind of Irish idiots plan an outdoor concert, in Canada, in October!".  The biggest, meanest one looks at me and says, "She can stay.". I replied, "Well, I'll be staying in this warm trailer with you guys."  And I did!  There, you have your story.

I should add that the guys in this band are all great people.  The Edge is one of the smartest, most thoughtful men in the biz.  That same year, he and his wife Aislinn sent me this confusing gift for Christmas. ~

Yup, it's a squeaky, rubber Ronald Reagan head! (ignore the dust, I'm sanding walls)

Now, I have to leave memory lane and get back to fixing that wall!  

Thanks to everyone who has passed on the button in support of Malala!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Some Burning Birthday Questions!

As if turning 60 this year isn't bad enough, my daughter turned 40 yesterday!  Ekes!

While going through old photos to put some then and now shots on her Facebook birthday page, I developed some burning questions!  Maybe, you can help me out with these.

Is it EVER all right to let your toddler dress themselves? ~

What's it like to be forced to dress like Laura Ingalls for a prolonged period of time? ~

Is she old enough at 40 to be told that, the Prince Charming who proposed to her this day in Disneyworld, was paid $5 by her granddad to do it? ~

Should Mommy's dress ever be shorter than the preschooler's? ~

The biggest question of all is what kind of voodoo pact has Farm Girl made, to look so unchanged from 16 to 40?  Tell me there isn't some Dorian Grey thing going on here! ~

16 & 40

Does any of it matter if she grew up to give generously of time and money to charities, works to save abused animals and is loved and respected by all her friends and family?

Best of all, she's a great mom to these guys! ~

Uh huh, you're counting right.  There's six of them!

To my knowledge, she has never worn a shorter dress than her daughters or made them dress in period costume.  I'm sure she is doing something else that will make her cringe when she sees the pictures forty years later!

Thanks for forty wonderful years Farm Girl!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Indoor Gardening

As much as I love the colours of autumn, I'm sad to see the gardening season end.

The ornamental grass has gone to seed and the subtle shades of green, white and brown are beautiful against the backdrop of fallen leaves and white, board and batten church. ~

But, the grey days of November are looming and I know I'll want a little something to nurture along in the house.

At the grocery today, I spied this sad little sell off. ~

"And, you would be doing what with a wilted Boston lettuce?", you say.

Ah, but it has these.  Teeny, tiny roots! ~

I potted one of these up last year, the roots took and I was picking peppery tasting Boston lettuce leaves for months!  I've given this baby a second chance and it will bring a nice bit of green to my kitchen windowsill. ~

You can't find a cheaper way to add some greenery to the house AND spice up your salads with home grown produce.  If your are lucky enough to live where your growing season is just starting or, better yet, is all year round, these do very well in outdoor planters.

It won't even hurt Maeve when she climbs up to the window and nibbles on the leaves.  The shamrock will be thanking me for the respite from kitty teeth!

Feel free to copy this badge in support of Malala

Thursday, 11 October 2012

There's A Nip In The Air

There's a nip in the air for the last few days and a hard frost is coming tonight.  The wind has whipped around the house today and swirled masses of fallen leaves across the windows.  My youngest cat has spent hours running from window to window, batting at the elusive things!

I'm shutting down the yard and hunkering down in the house with comfort foods.  Today, I made some 'to die for' potato soup.  I'm not very good at following recipes but the inspiration came from Posed Perfection and you can find it here.

Could I get any more bacon, chives and cheese on this soup? ~

Yesterday, I made beef and root veggie stew.  A little round steak, carrots, onions, squash, potatoes and celery root, simmering in the pan for a couple of hours is the most heavenly smell wafting through the house!  I add a little fresh garden kale, while the gravy thickens in the last half hour.

Look at all this swirly gravy goodness! ~

My next post better be about the yummy diet meals I'm making!

The garden is yielding a couple of surprises this October.  A $5 sell off rose bush I planted a couple of weeks ago, has given me one perfect, pink bloom. ~

An older rose bush has gone berserk this year and shot up to the eave, in spite of all my pruning! ~

She refuses to follow her sister bushes and go to sleep and is giving 15 or 20 huge blooms a day!  I have them in vases all over the house. ~

It's a good night to snuggle up with a charming, little kitty. ~

If only Maeve were either charming or snuggly, that's exactly what I would do on this chilly autumn eve!

My heartfelt thanks to all of you, who so graciously passed on this button in support of Malala!

My readers are very special people and I'm humbled and grateful to have you in my life!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

I'm Standing Up For Malala Yousafzai!

I planned on writing a lovely Thanksgiving post, full of pictures of rose bouquets and scarlet leaves.  I couldn't write it because I was so enraged over the attempted murder of a fourteen year old girl in Pakistan.

I don't discuss my political leanings or religious beliefs on this blog.  I'm not qualified to discuss either area.  This is a lifestyle blog and it's entertainment value lies in sharing my thoughts on home, family, pets and all the little areas of life that make me happy.

Malala Yousafzai, on the other hand, began a blog at the age of eleven to document her life after the Taliban took control of her region in Pakistan.  Her blog was published, under an assumed name, by BBC urdu.  What did she write about?  She wrote about schooling for girls being outlawed and how she wanted to study to be a doctor.  She wrote about holidays and shopping for bracelets.  She wrote about hiding text books under her shawl and her fear of being killed if she was caught.  She wrote about her girlfriends and about gunfire and atrocities.  Aren't those the things every little girl writes in her diary?

The photo is courtesy of
I have added the frame and text

A few years later, the Taliban was ousted from her region and Malala was acknowledged as the author of the posts.  She received the International Children's Peace Prize.  She was honoured for bravery that surpassed that of most of the adults and authority figures around her.  She was honoured for speaking the truth and fighting for women's equality.

On Tuesday, as fourteen year old Malala left her school to board the bus, she was shot in the head and neck by Taliban militants. They have stated that they were assassinating her for her support of Western culture.

I was appalled that two cowardly men would shoot down an unarmed girl, just for wanting to go to school.  You can read the news story here.  I felt powerless to change this evil in the world.  Then, I began thinking about the extremists being so afraid of her blog voice that they felt they had to silence her.

If being denounced on a child's blog frightened them so much, what if I spoke out next?  They silenced one person but picked up another.  What if even one of you clicked on the I'm Standing Up For Malala Yousafzai picture on this blog and posted it to fb, tweeted it or added it to your next blog post.  They would have silenced one, but picked up two.  Can we get it on Pinterest?

We are not immune to what happens in a far off country.  It is no longer inconceivable that denying girls education in one country can spread to other countries.  Our daughters and granddaughters are not safe from gender persecution while it thrives anywhere on this planet.

Malala is a 21st century Anne Frank.  She is fighting for her life as you read this.  I won't let another brave, little girl down.

If just one of you will pick up the image and pass it on, Malala's voice will rise above the Taliban terror tactics and they may think twice before they turn any more of our girls into martyrs.  There is no link back to this post on the image and I'm not setting myself up as a spokesperson.  I'm just one woman who is standing up for women all over this beautiful world.

For a link to the BBC excerpts from her blog click here.


Please right click on Malala's pic and pass it on!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Add Impact With Repetition

They say we have to hear something seven times for it to really sink in.  Decorators know you need to repeat an accent colour three times in a room for it to register in the mind as THE accent colour.  In my years of decorating show homes in seasonal themes, I found repetition gave the most impact.

When I decorated the little 28" long mantel in my library for Hallowe'en, I stuck with the witches and crows theme that was on the bookcases.

Dollarama had 8" tall crows for $2 each and I bought three of them. That's a lot of crow for a 28" space! ~

They are identical but setting them at different angles makes them seem different.  They're big enough to catch the eye.  I feel it has more presence that having a crow, a pumpkin and a ghost.  I tend to lean toward using uneven numbers in this kind of grouping, as well.

In the last post, I showed you how I made this print of a witch from an image I found on The Graphics Fairy. ~ 

I went back to her site for my lovely witch's baby picture, printed it out and tucked it in a silver, Georgian era frame.  Just so you don't think I'm super stingy, I will tell you that I pay dearly for the things that are pre Victorian.  If it comes from the era of one of Jane Austen's heroines, no price is too high for me!  Well, almost no price. ~

The toile wallpaper in this room is so busy that I have to be careful with accessories.  The electric fireplace gets a simple notebook and the paper wand I made last fall.  ~

To see how I made the wand click here.

Here it is all together. ~

I've used repetition in the dining room as well.  When Michael's put these tin buckets, with numbered burlap embellishments, on half price, I bought all nine they had left.  They add some interest to the reclaimed door lintel I hung above the pass through to the kitchen.  Again there is an uneven number and I avoided it being too linear by tucking a pair of Fitz & Floyd pig salt and peppers into the grouping. ~

I guess this is my sneaky way of having clutter that doesn't quite look like clutter.

If I say it seven times, you'll believe me!