Sunday, November 12, 2017

Two Saws Are Better Than One

You know your husband really loves you when he buys you a chainsaw for your birthday. What girl wouldn't want her very own 14" cordless chainsaw, powered by a 40V lithium battery?
Expertly adorned with a single red bow, of course!
Following a week of gray, cold weather, today (November 12) was 54 degrees and sunny - the perfect opportunity to test out my new toy. 
Scott loaded the Ranger with his Stihl Farm Boss and my new Ryobi for an afternoon of fun. 
Our first subject tree was a long-dead tree of unidentified species near the east end of the driveway, just one of several that should be culled.
My cheesy smile tells you that I was excited to give the new saw a try! 
For the last few years, the green leaves on this tree were actually part of a huge grapevine. The vine was twisted all over and around the tree which made removing the whole thing a tangled, unwieldy mess. 
Scott used the Ranger's winch to drag several big bundles of gnarly branches to the east burn pile - plus we pulled four loads on the trailer. Trees always seem to be bigger once they're on the ground! In addition to this tree, we took out a couple along the fencerow facing the street and four cedars on the north side of the east pasture. We certainly got a good day's work done before quitting time.
All that's left is that little stump...
As weather permits, we'll continue to clean up dead and otherwise undesireable trees. My new saw worked great, and I'm really happy that I've been promoted from my previous position of branch-picker-upper. Of course, the best part was just getting to hang out in the sunshine with my Scotty.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

noTTafarm Visitors Keep Us Hoppin'

While we haven't had any big projects to work on of late, we have kept busy with visits by friends and family. I would be remiss if I didn't notify our vast readership and remind each of you that We Love Visitors!
Since moving to Denver in May, we have missed noTTafarm Super Friends, the Brummets. What a treat to have Monte, Amy, Brenna and Tripp visit for a few hours on Sunday, October 22nd. It was a  perfectly beautiful autumn afternoon so we had a small bonfire and roasted hot dogs and s'mores.
Bibbers just had to climb all over everyone, even Monte. Silly cat.
Amy helping Brenna with her marshmallows. I can't believe our little buddy just turned 9 years old! 
Tripp was happiest when taking rides in the Ranger. Scott was happy to oblige! Tripp is really enjoying kindergarten.
My buddy, Amy, and I will be together the first weekend of December. I'm heading to Denver so we can go to an appearance by Joe Biden. While I'm there, we're going to bake some sugar cookies and blueberry pancakes. It will be awesome!
Never leave your phone unattended . . . 
Brenna and Tripp took plenty of entertaining selfies.

Shortly after the Brummets left, my baby brother Tim stopped by. He was in Omaha with Teresa for a few days and since she needed to get some work done, he came over to sit and watch me do housework and entertain me with stories of his exciting life in Sioux Falls.
Hi, Timmy!
Tim was supposed to bring me two pieces of Fiesta that he bought at my behest. . .but since he left it at the house, Karli and DJ were kind enough to drop it off on their way out of town. Bonus! I got to chat with them for a few minutes before they hit the road for Vermillion. It's just under a year until their "Big Day!"

Speaking of Big Days. . .Jeff & Tanya chose to tie the knot on Saturday, October 21. The thunderstorms threatened but stayed clear of their front yard nuptials. It was a lovely ceremony and we're glad to have an "official" sister-in-law.
Congratulations, Jeff & Tanya!

All hands were on deck to get noTTafarm in order for a rather impromptu reunion of my sorority. I responded to a post with a casual "we can do it at my house" comment on Facebook -- and the next thing I knew, 15 alumni of Kappa Delta (Pi Chapter) made plans to meet two weeks later on Sunday, October 29. 
Many of us hadn't seen each other for over 30 years but when each girl walked in the door, it was like time had never moved past 1986. What a joy to welcome these amazing women to noTTafarm! (And of course, Bibbers had to get in the group photo.)
I had this vision of a facsimile of our sorority crest, created of twigs, and serving as a "welcome wreath" at the front door. Scott went above and beyond the call and not only helped me harvest appropriate branches but figured out the orientation of each section and used the chop saw to trim to just the right size. I served as the glue-gunner and overall stylist. It was a big hit with the girls - and now Scott and I are going to go into the fake Greek crest business. Probably be millionaires in a year or so.

Whew! That's a lot of activities for one month! Now as we gear up for the holidays . . .you should
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Updated Color for Kitchen

After more than a few months of thinking and pondering then pondering and thinking, I finally pulled the trigger on Friday. I stopped at Sherwin-Williams after work and picked up a gallon of Super Paint tinted in SW9170 (Acier).  There would be no going back this time; the kitchen would be re-painted.
It felt good to call the ol' paint roller tray into action again.
Scott was hesitant at first. He still has some plans to add some steel trim in the area around the brick chimney. I convinced him that any damage done to the paint could easily be touched up. He was also pleased with the color of gray I selected - so that was a "win!" 
When we built the addition, the kitchen, dining area and great room were all painted with SW6133 Muslin. While this light neutral was a good choice, it didn't do much to enhance the kitchen's cabinetry or stainless steel elements. 
First step:  move the Fiesta off the shelves and onto the dining table.
I was so happy when Scott volunteered to help, cutting in all of the edges. I followed behind him with the little roller.
We got creative when it came time to reach the highest peak. Scott straddled two of the shelves across the sink then placed the ladder on top. Those 1-inch-thick oak shelves offered great support!

We were able to get the paint about 90% done on Saturday, working through the Nebraska football game (which was such a slaughter, it was better watched from across the room, atop a ladder.) We did take a few hours out of our day to celebrate the 5th birthday of our buddy, Bennett. Can you believe it's been five years since "The New People" had their first baby -- and six years since we sold them our house on Grant Street? Bennett knows how to throw a party; he requested a grilled cheese bar as the main course for his guests. Happy Birthday, Bennett!
Sunday afternoon, Scott finished up the skinny space above the peninsula to wrap up the project. We are very happy with the result! What do you think?
You're welcome to stop by noTTafarm and judge the new color for yourself!

Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

ISO: Black Walnut Recipes

My maternal grandmother was an excellent cook and a wonderful baker. Many of her holiday specialties included black walnuts that she and my grandpa hulled themselves. I remember stories of them sitting at a card table lined with newspaper, wearing cotton work gloves, using a hammer and pick to get all the delicious nutmeats out of those stain-making shells.

My two brothers, my sister and me with my Grandpa and Grandma Spohn, 1966

When I figured out that we had a black walnut tree in our backyard, I was pretty excited - but mostly because I was thinking about all of the great woodworking projects my daddy has made over the years. His family land in Saline County is a great place to harvest a black walnut tree (especially when it's in the way of some corn or beans that need to be planted.)

So here we are, seven years into our noTTafarm adventure, and our black walnut tree is going nuts - literally. Scott noticed the limbs were sagging, and a few weeks ago, the nuts started to rain down with deep thuds. He's spent quite a few hours raking and gathering the walnuts so I'm thinking this is the year to process a few. Let's see if the baking-with-walnuts gene was passed along.

 Scott raked the leaves and walnuts into a neat row.
I don't know much but I do know that the green outer layer of the walnut needs to dry before being rubbed off to reveal the hard shell. And, if you don't wear gloves, your hands will be stained. I'll have to do some research on the best techniques!  
My Nutty noTTafarmer
So far, Scott has filled two five-gallon buckets, a ten-gallon trash can, and about a third of the wagon but many more walnuts are on the ground and attached to the tree. This ought to keep me occupied for a few months. Be sure to send your favorite black walnut recipes my way, just in case I'm successful.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure! 

Who's the Boss?

I think it's pretty obvious . . . Bibbers is the boss of noTTafarm! That little yellow (ok, "orange") former barn cat keeps every one (including the four-legged members of the family) under control.

Come on over and get some love! Bibbers is always happy to rub his damp nose on your bare arms and shed his golden fur on your black t-shirt. 
Stay Tuned for More Bibbers News!

Indian Summer & Harvest

Fall is nearly here and the garden will soon breathe its final breath. Sounds like the perfect time to offer an updated crop report. 

  • The beans were doing super well UNTIL I saw a freakin' SNAKE amongst the leaves. So - no more beans for us! (No one else is willing to pick up where I left off so they're going to seed.) I know it was just one of those skinny brown snakes that hang around noTTafarm and he was just eating bugs that were attacking the beans but I DON'T CARE. A snake is a snake. End of story.🐍👎😒
  • Our eight tomato plants keep on producing; in fact, they're going a bit overboard. I've enjoyed lots of fresh tomatoes and taken two big containers of them to work to share with my co-workers. The volunteer plants (mostly seem to be of the cherry variety) that returned this year have also been fruitful. 

  • Scott is pretty proud of his ornamental gourds, too. I counted about 20 set-on with many blossoms still showing promise. They will make a great autumnal display!

  • My ornamental miniature corn was relatively successful. Let's call it a "learning year." I planted the seeds too thick, didn't thin out the seedlings enough, and didn't prevent worms from attacking. When we harvested it all this past Sunday, many of the husks we opened revealed powdery worm poop instead of colorful kernels. Still, we had about 20 useable ears that will add some color to my fall decorating. 

For our 2018 garden, we'll naturally have tomatoes and basil and peppers and beans (no snakes allowed, of course.) What else should we plant? I'd like to expand our "ornamental" offerings to include more varieties of corn and maybe even some pumpkins. Who knows: we may end up with a real pumpkin patch one of these years.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Did You See It?

This past Monday, August 21, was the big day . . . the day of The Great American Eclipse! It was all a "certain someone" around the house could talk about - and all I could do to just smile sweetly and say "oh, really? How fascinating!" over and over again. The best part was that we were able to take time away from the office, enjoy lunch with Carl and Marita, and watch the moon pass in front of the sun. It was actually pretty neat!
Setting up for the watch party was an all-paws-on-deck situation. Bibbers led the troops down the slope, north of the garage (where we were sheltered from the breezey conditions.)
 Bibbers and Wilson took up preliminary postions behind our row of chairs.
I don't know, Marita - he's your son.
Scott tested the idea of using his welder's helmet to view the eclipse but chose to use the regulation paper glasses for safe viewing.
It was a beautiful day to watch! Omaha was not in the path of totality but we did experience nearly 99% (Scott can tell you the exact percentage.) It didn't get very dark; it just looked like a storm was coming. We didn't experience any odd animal behavior (we thought maybe the turkeys would fly up to their usual cottonwood roost) but the crickets started chirping. So - all in all - an interesting experience and a free pass for a few hours away from work. 
We Hope You Enjoyed this Special Event!