Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Small Accomplishments

Late afternoon sun peeks around the edge of the house, bathing the corner of the porch 
in a warm glow.

There was wispy fog hanging over the soybean field to the east when I opened the 
dining room blinds at 6:45.
Crossing to the living room I noted that the cattle pasture across the road had that softened look which is part of autumn light.
Early morning mist is not as pronounced here as when we lived just above Big Creek.

I made repotting the rosemary and thyme seedlings my first priority today.
With breakfast out of the way and laundry chugging in the washer downstairs, I began gathering small tools, pots, a stool [since I'm not supposed to be working in a bending position until my eye heals] a watering can.
My seedlings have had rather haphazard attention during the moving uproar--watered sometimes when the sun was hitting them too directly--other times remembered when they had gotten too dry.
I lost several of the largest of my rosemary seedlings.  I considered putting them aside to cosset and then got sensible about the matter. I did take four which looked less than thrifty and put them together in one large pot. If any of them revive I shall be pleased.
The ones in the smaller pots had grown good roots.  They should have larger pots before winter.
For now I resettled them in fresh soil mix and arranged the clay pots in a large planter left behind by the previous owners. 

Although I can't/shouldn't use a garden spade or fork just now, I decided that kneeling to weed along the front porch border would be safe. You can see how dry it is.
I tucked in thyme along the outer edge and some at the left against the concrete barrier.
I still don't know where I can establish an herb garden here.
The peonies and lilies which I brought over in May are looking unhealthy--it will be a challenge to save them
The area of established perennials in the front yard is heavily shaded and I found that roots of the so-called water maples have been very invasive making digging difficult.
A truly desperate measure will be to plunk the unhappy plants at the end of the annual strip in the back garden--letting them take their chances of rooting in before severe cold weather.

Over the weekend this mantis appeared on the screening of the dining room window, moving from the center window to the one at the left. Her slow progress was followed by Nellie and Bobby who sat on the edge of the table--sometimes jumping down to pat at the window with inquiring paws. 
Monday evening we noticed that the mantis was producing an egg sack.
She remained upside down most of today.
Tonight she has gone away, her work done in assuring posterity.
I suppose we must leave the egg sack glued to the screen!

Tonight I made bread--just out of the oven at nearly 10 P.M. 
I also replied to the comments left on my most recent blog posts--a treat to have that bit of time.

Monday, September 29, 2014

I Make Lists

I have been making lists for weeks. At the farm I jotted down things which needed to be  in the earlier loads of household goods hauled to the 'other house.'
Now the farmhouse has become the 'other place'--and I make lists of cupboards there to be emptied, items to be searched out and put in the van. 
Mostly I make 'to do' lists of things to be accomplished here in the faint hope of creating order.
Today's list went something like this:

Paint front door
Seal the small walnut shelf that I sanded more than a month ago
Finish emptying the boxes ranged along the dining area wall
Re-pot the rosemarys which are suddenly looking poorly

The day wound down without any of the tasks accomplished.
Jim put up the house numbers that we bought on Friday.
Yesterday he spray-painted the mailbox--a task I planned to do.
Sometimes I feel mildly chastised when he does a job which I've decided to tackle.
Admittedly he is probably better with spray paint than I am.

We inherited a mailbox in a crumbling stonework 'tower'--doubtless quite upscale when the house was built in 1969.
The mortar has come out of the base in spots leaving blocks of stone dislodged.
Weeds grow in the planters flanking the 'tower'--sad and unkempt.
I have felt unreasonably annoyed that the name of the original owner of the property was still visible beneath a faded and scabby scrim of paint.
[We have found that the people from whom we bought the house were apparently not blessed with maintenance skills!]
Jim's paint [Massey Ferguson grey] covered the scrawling letters, and he resettled the little flag in its slot and gave it a shot of red paint.
It was left for me merely to apply the stick-on numbers this morning, tuck a birthday card and the utility payments into the box and raise the flag.
I went online to order new address labels; when I attempted to open my email to check had the order been confirmed, I found that access even to web mail was blocked.

A tangle of goldenrod near the east boundary of our acre.

The email glitch has been annoying me for some time.
I tackled the issue with grim determination, following various suggested 'fixes' without success.
After about 3 hours of fussing I was able to access a security code by opening an alternate email on my laptop.
I changed the password, entered it on the sign-in form and almost literally held my breath while the great wizard of cyberspace mulled over my credentials, then suddenly mail was loading--86 messages which had accumulated over the past week.
I scarcely dare state that the problem is 'cured' for fear of jinxing the whole show.

Jim has been burning out two huge locust stumps in the back yard.
He jabs at them, gathers brush and paper debris around the base of each and  sets them 
alight each day.
While monitoring his smudge he decided to harvest carrots, sort apples, and set up the juicer which we haven't used in months.
He demanded various containers to hold juice--a request which had me opening cupboards, poking into cartons, feeling the dismay of misplaced items which has haunted recent days.         

Coneflower staging a late bud.

With the email seemingly sorted I decided it might be wise to balance the checking account --after a fashion. Nellie, bored with his indoor existence, hopped onto the table, prodded helpfully at the keys of the calculator, batted petals from the roses in the vase beside me.

Hawkeye Belle transplanted from an offshoot in May.

Teasel and Mima, spending the warm afternoon in bed.

Somehow the day had dwindled away in small frustrations, several tasks started and almost immediately abandoned for something else.
I prepared a chicken for roasting, decided that the cover to the roasting pan had not made it here.
I pawed through cartons for jars of herbs and spices, seasoned the chicken, tucked some of our garden carrots alongside, made a cover of aluminum foil.
I carried in cartons of books, bins of fabric, oddments, that I had sorted yesterday at the farm and 
loaded into the van.

This is one view of my 'study'--disheartening--overwhelming.

 I announced that I was headed to town to purchase a bag of potting soil--still hoping to resuscitate the small rosemary plants.
Jim suggested that I try the farm supply store a few miles away--not a place we have often shopped.
[I drove there--my first outing as driver since the cataract removal last Wednesday.]
I bought a sack of soil mix, but realized there was no time to start the potting project before supper.

I washed dishes, put away food, took out scraps to tip at the edge of the soybean field for the feral cats. The soybean field adjoins our acre to the east.
We are in near drought conditions again, the grass of the back yard crisp underfoot.
Jim set up his sprinklers again today to water what we have of a fall garden.

A sickle moon hung in the sky.
To the west, toward the neighboring dairy farm, the sky was pink-streaked.

A day ended with none of the tasks ticked off my list.
I long for a bit of settled space!
'Tomorrow--and tomorrow--and tomorrow ?'

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Trying To Bridge the Gap

Autumn in the garden

We spent the first night in the 'new house' on September 17.
I didn't sleep well--over-tired, feeling dislocated.
We moved 5 cats with us [!] which is a story in itself.
The cats were not particularly happy, but several crept onto the bed in the wee hours to join us. [Two more cats were moved on successive days.  Willis, Charlie and Willow are currently staying at the little farm with our son, Howard.]

During the Wyoming years [1998-2010] we lived in several houses that we built and then put on the market.  With each move I learned that there is a time of adjustment--days or weeks when I reach for a light switch in a familiar place only to find that it is on the opposite wall. Waking in the dim hours of the night, I turn instinctively to the faint light which should mark a window, then sleepily remember that I am in a different bedroom.
I stand in the middle of the kitchen, wondering which drawer or cupboard holds the items I need. 

A technician from our new phone/internet provider installed a line on Wednesday, running it across the ground from a wildly overgrown thicket of locust saplings. 
We have yet to see the crew that are meant to put the line underground!
The new line was run to the old entry box in a corner of the master bedroom and the router 
plugged in there.
We discovered that the cord furnished wasn't long enough to reach my desk in the 'study' next door.
Howard bought a longer cord and he and Devin came over yesterday morning to drill a small hole and thread the cord through to my desk.
Thus ended several days of perching with my laptop at the dining area table.
The laptop and I are not on a friendly basis.  I use it mainly if we are traveling and usually feel that I am fiddling and fumbling with it. 

A transplanted rose holding its own in a forest of sunflowers.

The tomatoes we purchased needed to be canned.
I slogged through that on Thursday and  Friday while Jim moved still more boxes from the farm which in a reversal of roles, has now become 'the other house.'
Late on Friday afternoon I made a batch of oatmeal bread--paring down my recipe of many years from 4 loaves to the 3 that will fit--barely--into the smaller wall oven in this house.

The sunflowers in a final moment of glory.

To complicate life just a bit I had an appointment with an eye clinic to evaluate my cataracts--they've been there for a number of years, quietly forming, but in the past 6 months have made my vision problematic. An eye exam in late February at a local clinic confirmed that the time had come to deal with them.
Unfortunately, the optometrist there prescribed new lenses which have been of no benefit.
I was urged by friends to made the 45 minute drive to a larger and more reputable clinic.
I was a bit disconcerted to find that they could schedule the first procedure in a weeks time. 
Jim and I decided to accept the appointment although we are very much in the midst of moving upheaval.

I keep flowers on the dining table for encouragement.  

I scrabbled through as much housework as I could on Wednesday morning [yesterday] before Jim drove me to the clinic.
I was passed from one nurse's station to another, receiving drops in my left eye at each stop; I was also asked by each nurse why my 'medications' record contained no listings.
It is apparently unheard of that a woman  my age is not on any medication!

I was directed back to the waiting area where Jim was alternately staring at a TV set with the volume turned low or restlessly riffling through the magazines on offer.
By this time my vision was so blurred that I removed my glasses and tucked them into an 
inside pocket.

Eventually I was led to a final prep area where I was invited to climb onto a gurney.
Paper 'booties' were slipped over my shoes and I was asked to tuck my long hair into a paper 'shower cap.'  I was given a Tylenol and a Valium to swallow .More eye drops, an IV port slipped into my right arm,[more Valium]  an oxygen line draped across my chest.
I was offered a blanket with the explanation that the procedure area would be colder than 
the prep area.
I said 'Yes' to the blanket, and was tenderly tucked into one that had been pre-warmed.
The procedure itself was painlessly swift.
I was positioned under the laser unit, told to gaze into the circle of bright light--and not move.
The surgeon's soft, Kentucky-cadenced voice, "I'm removing a big cataract--you'll feel a
 bit of pressure."
Splashes of brilliant light--yellow, green, deep pink, then a view of dark particles--sort of like pixels resolving and disappearing on a screen. A sensation of something cold flooding my eye.
I was whisked to another machine where the new artificial lens was inserted, and suddenly it was over. The nurse at my side inquired, 'Sharon, are you awake?"
I was, of course.
I was wheeled to an adjoining area and discovered as I was cranked to a sitting position, that Jim was there waiting for me.
I was offered a choice of something to drink--longing for hot tea, but it wasn't available.
I was handed a can of Coca Cola, assisted into a wheel chair.
I was instructed to put on a pair of huge dark glasses, then trundled off to our car!

Valium, which I've had in tiny infrequent doses for the aches of fibromyaliga, makes me stupid!
I knew Jim was ready for a meal and I was hungry as well.  I also knew that I could not navigate without bumping into things, couldn't manage to eat without spilling.
We compromised on a Dairy Queen drive-through--with Jim handing over chicken fingers and fries, one by one.
Back home, still stumbling and bumbling.
I don't do daytime naps, so changed into a soft pair of pants, my slippers, made the longed-for mug of tea and flopped into the wing chair with my feet on a hassock.
I was visited by several sympathetic cats, while nodding away the remainder of the afternoon, trying to convince myself that I was alert and perfectly capable of managing with one eye.
I found I couldn't focus to read.
Vision in my left eye was reduced to a grey blur and my right eye seemed to be doing much less than its share.
The surgeon phoned at 7:30 P. M. to inquire if I was doing well; he explained that the grey blur was to be expected.
I blundered off to the bathroom to put in eye drops and tape a small plastic shield over my left eye per instructions, tumbled resignedly into bed.
Thanks to the lingering effects of Valium I slept soundly.

Blooms of Hawkeye Belle--precious.

A new morning and the effects of the drug finally out of my system.
A cautious opening of my left eye was disconcerting--still grey blurry shapes.

Howard phoned as we ate breakfast [I had been slicing potatoes and had the knife taken away by Jim who apparently expected me to cut off a finger] to state that the Amish man who had expressed interest in our farm was bringing his wife to view the house.

Howard, like his sister Gina, is a fanatically tidy person.
He has been mopping and hoovering behind us with a vengeance that leaves me somewhat ashamed of my more casual housekeeping.

By the time we turned into the driveway the Amish couple had arrived an hour early.  Their 'driver' waited in the yard and they were exploring the garden site.
Howard was in the basement, vacuum cleaner roaring as he dusted down the floor joists [!] and hadn't heard them knocking at the door!

I invited Mrs. M. inside to view the house, taking special pride in demonstrating the fittings of my [much missed] Kraftmade cabinetry.
Jim and Mr. M. eventually joined us to view the basement area.
Mr. M. was much taken with the basement shower area--which Howard had just mopped.
H. was persuaded to turn off the roaring shop vac [he was attacking the caned goods shelf] so that we could hear ourselves talk.
They want the farm.
There are contingencies, of course--they own considerable land and buildings in the other end of the county. Two of their sons have recently moved into the neighborhood;
amongst them they operate a thriving harness making business. 

This Amish couple rather restored my interest in this sect.
Although traditionally garbed, they were immaculately clean--a feature lacking in most of the neighborhood Amish whom we have met.
Mr. M. is well-spoken, obviously a man of business and shrewd transactions.
We can only wait to see how this turns out.

I have a few mis-givings as Howard has so recently moved in his belongings, although he knew that the farm was on the market when he decided to come to Kentucky while he waits for his damaged wrist to heal.

I have moments of feeling over-whelmed by so much change and upheaval.
I'm having to come to terms with the reality that I can't 'settle' this house, unpack, sort, make curtains, in a matter of days or even weeks.

The blurred vision in my left eye is starting to clear.  I have a post-op appointment tomorrow.
If all goes well with this healing process surgery on my right eye will likely be scheduled  within the next month.
Our daughter, our grandson, our son, have been generous in their help to pack, move, organize, clean, in both houses.
We came home today with a basket of lunch beautifully prepared and presented by Gina.
My hasty photo doesn't do the contents justice: sandwiches on hoagie rolls with pickles and chips on the side. Empanadas--new to me, but similar to pasties stuffed with chicken, onion and mashed potato; 'dessert-in-a jar'--a sort of trifle with chunks of cake, strawberry preserves, crumbles of chocolate.
We are tired, encumbered with more worldly goods than we need to be moving, a bit confounded by the possibilities and challenges of the immediate future.
We are also blessed!

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Bedlam of Moving

Howard used his well-organized tool/job trailer to move his belongings from Wyoming to Kentucky.
His boxes and furniture have come out so that Jim's tools can be conveyed to the 'other house.'

Our bedroom dressers going into the trailer drawer by drawer.

The living room is an uproar of our belongings and Howard's.
I have decided that I won't remove pictures, quilt racks and such until we have [somewhat] organized the heaps of 'stuff' which have landed at the other house.
I have not been there for several days and can only imagine the jumble which awaits sorting.

Bobby naps on our bed minutes prior to it being dismantled.
He refused to be dislodged from the bedspread, rolling himself up in it.
As each successive layer of bedding was removed he inserted himself in the folds.
Finally he stood on the bare pillow-top mattress, happily kneading the fabric.
The king-sized box spring comes apart in two sections.
Devin carried out the first section.  On picking up the second half, he realized that it felt heavier in a lop-sided way. Turning it up he discovered three frightened cats lodged inside, clinging to the wooden slats. 
The cats have been, according to their various natures, appalled/frightened by the shuffling of furniture, [Teasel, Mima, Chester, Edward] or intrigued and underfoot [Charlie, Nellie, Bobby, Raisin.] Willis has declined to grace the operation with his supervision.

By the end of the afternoon we had decided that trying to set up our bedroom at the other house and stay there tonight was not a working plan. 
H. set up his bed in the master bedroom, brought in one of his dressers, a nightstand, various boxes.
Our clothing remains in the closet, our bedside tables against the wall by the windows, my shoe rack shedding shoes near the door.
The cats have come out of hiding but are obviously confused.
Jim and I spending the night in the guest room.
Moving the guest room bed to the other house needs to wait until I have cleared the small bedroom there.  I have been using the floor and the closets as a landing place for books, baskets, various oddments.

Meanwhile [!] I am canning tomatoes!
We have yet to harvest enough tomatoes for the amount that I like to put up.
No matter how well we start out, blight and high heat put an end to tomato productivity.
Accordingly, we attended the Casey County Produce Auction on Friday, coming home with 14 boxes of tomatoes--half of them for Gina.
These are the best quality we've had from there--and the best price.

We are puzzled as to the variety of the tomatoes. 
They are very firm and 'meaty' with shiny, smooth skins.--the appearance of hot-house tomatoes.
I put up 15 1/2 quarts on Sunday afternoon. Gina popped in as I tipped the first colander of scalded tomatoes into the sink.  She peeled and cut up tomatoes into the kettles for simmering [we hot pack our tomatoes] while I tended the scalding and eventually the ladling of  hot tomatoes into the jars.
This evening I processed 7 quarts and 2 pints.
Most of my empty canning jars were conveyed to the other house in an early move--not sure why.  
I will now have to haul the remaining tomatoes to my 'other' kitchen--more sensible than bringing jars back here, then packing filled jars to the shelves in the other house.
[Why does my life get this complicated?]
I need to be at the other house on Wednesday as a serviceman is meant to install the phone and internet line.
The familiar task of processing tomatoes seems preferable to attempting to organize the house!
I very much want to be sorted and settled.
This is obviously going to require more time [and energy] than I optimistically projected!
The cats will need to be gently transferred in batches, and I don't want to do that while doors are being left open to haul in furniture and boxes.
I tell myself it will all get done, we will survive the upheaval one more [last!] time!
Posting here, reading, commenting, will likely be a bit sparse for a few days.
I am looking forward to setting up my 'study' in the sunny room with the soft yellow walls.
Perhaps I will place my desk in front of the window which looks out to the front lawn.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cupboard Love

 Gina has fallen in love with my re-purposed cupboard.
As we unpacked the items she had carefully wrapped for their short journey to the other house, she began experimenting with arrangements.

She is pleased with this gathering of teapots, accented with a large McCoy vase [which she covets] a bud vase I have had since childhood and a lemon reamer of vintage green glass--with a tiny chip on the rim. The chocolate pot with the Oriental decoration was one of my maternal grandmother's wedding gifts.

She is not yet satisfied with her efforts on the two bottom shelves, declaring that the lower gathering is 'short and dumpy' and the middle shelf needing items with more height and color.
She rejected several offerings which I had previously unpacked and stowed in the kitchen cabinets.
My concern is for the safety of my little treasures once the cats move in.
I'm going to suggest that Howard fashion a door for the cupboard with a hardware cloth insert.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Flowers of Autumn

One of the delights of autumn is the small flurry of bloom from plants that have been trimmed back in the exhausting heat of summer, resting awhile, then rewarding us with a few exquisite final flowers.

Hawkeye Belle, fresh and lovely, and totally free from the scourge of Japanese Beetles which each season ravage the earlier roses.

Wise Portia, a David Austin rose which grew slowly after the January freeze killed it to ground level.

Michaelmas Daisies [aka New England Asters] are at the height of their beauty.
I am coveting some of the variety known as Harrington Pink.  These are a soft clear pink--maybe I can order them for the new garden at the 'other house.' 
I transplanted dwarf asters there which have done well.

Hummingbird moth on an aster.

Nearly the last bloom for the daylilies. 

 Rugosa Rose, Hansa.

Blanc Double de Coubert

 Pale pink achillea 

There is more than the usual end of summer nostalgia as I walk around the dooryard and gardens, knowing that this is likely the last season we will be living at this address.
I note that the perennial strip laboriously weeded at the beginning of August is again spiked with clumps of Johnson grass and clusters of yellow wood sorrel.
The butterfly bush, so devastated by the harsh winter, has managed a few fragrant heads of purple bloom. Salvia has thrust up coarse hardy leaves and its flowers are intensely blue. 
The flower strips at both homes are in need of a final weeding and an application of mulch before winter. I'm not sure what would be both effective and affordable in quantity.
At such times I almost wish I could settle for a prim and tidy small strip of low-maintenance plants--when my nature craves the luxuriant jumble of a barely controlled 'cottage garden.'
I have at least achieved a jumble!

Notice of an Email Virus

I am feeling that I should cautiously poke my head around a figurative corner, admit that my PC sent out a virus-laden email, and duck back out of sight.
It has been a long time since one of those emails got the better of me.
This one, appearing to be a file attachment from a trusted source, lured me into opening it and unwittingly spreading the problem
In spite of several frustrating hours I can't access my usual email program and can only use a web-based email.  I think that my nearly new PC will need a visit to the local shop.
Since this sort of thing trolls through the address book and sends junk to everyone I've ever emailed, I can only hope that most recipients were quicker on the uptake than I was.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Progress [of a Sort]

The process of moving to the 'other house' has begun in earnest.
HLW and I were scheduled to see the chiropractor this morning, so I first loaded my vintage kitchen ware into the van and then went with H. in his truck.

Behind the quilt is a 'display niche' with horrid narrow shelves, which I disliked on sight.
Gina suggested that I hang a quilt to cover the area.
H. put up the brackets and rod so that I could fold a quilt over it.
This was hand-quilted for me by the local Amish women. 
Later I may create one exactly sized for the area; for now I can enjoy the colors of the quilt which complement our paint choices.

As I finished tucking the quilt in place, Jim appeared with the van laden with oddments, followed by Devin and his friend, Chris, primed to help shift furniture.
We returned 'home' in a convoy--Jim with old 'Snort'n Nort'n the flatbed Dodge, me driving the van, Devin driving Howard's truck--D. being on the very short list of drivers who are allowed to touch a vehicle owned by H!
Howard stayed behind to install towel rods in the bathroom--probably glad to work for an
 hour in peace. 

I try not to cringe or hover or give advise as furniture is wrestled out of the house, heaved onto a truck, strapped down for the 10 mile trip to the other house.
Smaller items which I regard as precious ride with me in the van!

Our vintage kitchen collectibles made the move intact and have been lined up a-top the cupboards.
Probably not the final arrangement, but there they are.
We can only hope the cabinetry was properly installed and won't crash off the wall.

By the end of the day, Jim's recliner, a large bookcase/hutch, several wooden chests, my favorite rocking chair, and the drop-leaf table had all made the trip. 

Our over-sized washer and dryer are there--up one flight of basement steps here  and onto the truck--down the steps from garage to basement at the other house. 
This maneuver was not without incident: the washer had to be balanced on its side to descend the stairway, the heavy lid flew open and caught H. smartly above the eye, leaving him with a bloody gash in his eyebrow.
[H. is not meant to be moving/lifting anything heavy until his shattered wrist has fully healed--it has been marvelously reconstructed with titanium plates and screws!]

The washer and dryer which H. purchased on Friday are now installed in our present house, [which H. will occupy until it sells] likewise his bedroom dressers and recliner. 

We went on Friday to Campbellsville to troll through Peddlers' Mall, hoping to find dressers for H.
At any given time the booths there may offer anything from items which should have been consigned to the landfill, to antiques and good vintage pieces--and everything in between. This time there was nothing that caught our eyes.

We accomplished several other errands and were heading home when H. braked to gaze at items offered at a yard sale.
He wheeled the truck around and pulled in to inquire about the washer and dryer sitting in a trailer with other items of furniture. 
Katy and I sat in the truck while H. and J. conducted the usual 'wheeling and dealing.'
They came back quite jubilant.
The seller had explained that he was newly married and after combining households he and his wife were needing to unload duplicate items.
It being late in the day he was happy to offer a 'package deal' if H. would take everything 
on his trailer.
This, in addition to the washer and dryer, included two acceptable dressers, a tall mirror for one dresser, a bedside stand, a table with 4 chairs, and a TV!  For $10 extra he would follow on to our 'other house' with the things which didn't fit in the back of Howard's truck.

Now sorted, we have gained 4 sturdy chairs which go well with our refinished round oak table. Howard has what he needs and Devin has made off with the TV!  This leaves a dis-placed table--which will likely be utilized somewhere--eventually!

As promised, the repurposing project which claimed part of several days just before
 J. and H. arrived home.
Gina plopped herself in the living room one day and considered the spaces of the other house and the possibilities and problems posed by our existing furniture. 
She concluded that a tall cupboard was needed beside the fridge.
She pointed at one of a pair of tall dark bookcases which Jim bought at auction for me 
several years ago.
They have held books and sewing supplies in the finished basement room here.
Moved to the other house early on they have loomed unhappily one on either side of 
the front windows.
We emptied one of the cupboards, removed  the glass shelves and wrestled the thing onto a length of cardboard to drag it into the kitchen.
G. eyed it critically and decided it would work.
I declared that it was much too dark for the room which has a north aspect.

Next day I sanded it lightly and applied an undercoat of dark green paint.
Since much of my creativity involves using what I have--I remembered two cans of Old Century simulated 'milk paint' which were languishing in the garage.
One color, Dark Hunter Green, was almost too dark.  The other, Holly Green, had proved much too bright for my taste on a prior project. 
I dribbled and stirred Holly Green into the darker paint until I had a pleasing shade.

At home that evening I did a bit of online research on various specialty furniture paints. 
Friends have praised the effects achieved with Annie Sloan Chalk Paints--usually used with glaze or wax as a final coat to achieve a vintage effect.  The paints are pricey and not locally available.
I didn't want the flat effect of the milk paint for a kitchen piece, so in the morning I pulled out my folder of paint sample cards and chose a soft green called 'Apple Grove' which I 
purchased in semi-gloss.
My original intent was to apply a coat of this and sand back to expose the darker under layer.

When I began applying the lighter glossier paint I discovered that the milk paint base lent itself to using a sparsely loaded brush for a slightly streaky vintage effect. 
The darker green shows through a bit more than is visible in my photo.
I think I will use this technique--maybe in a different color--on the 'blond' bookcase acquired at the same auction--it has been landed, with great physical effort, in the room designated as my study!
I am tired enough to howl--and there is SO MUCH more to be done, that another repurposing project must wait--but my creative wheels are turning!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Willis and Katy

Katy Dog arrived Tuesday evening with HLW in convoy with Jim.
I was on the front porch to welcome them, having heard the two pickup trucks roaring along the road.
H. let down the rear window of his truck and called out, "Look, Katy, there's Meme--we're home!"
I could hear Katy's joyous barking as the trucks lumbered up the drive.

Willis, in his capacity as monitor of all things indoors and out, has decided that he needs to keep Katy in line.  
There have been several staring matches which are hilarious to watch--Willis with flattened ears and those owlish eyes, blocking the hallway when Katy wants to walk to the bedroom; Katy crouched in typical herding dog pose a few feet from Willis who just 'happens to be' in her path.
Katy attempts to walk around Willis, who shoots out a paw to whack her as she skitters past.
These encounters are replayed several times each day.

Katy is H.'s constant companion.
Willis has decided to be companionable--after a fashion.

Katy would prefer that H. does not notice Willis.

Katy asserts her claim on H. and his attention.

H. has scolded both Katy and Willis for interfering with his laptop.
[Observe the tell-tale flattened ears on both.]

Peace, of a sort, has been restored.