Sunday, June 28, 2015

June Wrap-up

I'm sure you've noticed the blog has been a bit quiet this month. With only three articles published (plus the one you're reading) June has turned into one of the blog's slowest. Our noTTafarm-centric activities this month have included mowing, weeding, and cleaning - none of which are very exciting to take photos of, to write descriptions of, or - for you - read about. So, what have we been up to?

Here's the skinny:

The weekend of June 14, we went to Kearney to see my folks. The big celebration in town was the Princess Party for our great nieces' birthdays. Allie turned 4 on the 16th, and her little sister Maggie turned 2 on the 26th. Their cousin, 18-month-old Kitra made the trip up from Wamego to attend.
The highlight of the party was the appearance by Snow White, 
beautifully played by our niece Karli.
Mom and Dad's house is undergoing some renovations. Saturday morning, a crew removed most of the deck. The siding is also going to be replaced.
Kitra is such a doll! She is always on the go, and always has a smile. It is Great Aunt Kristin's goal in life to hide that pacifier, however. ( Sorry, Monica ;) )
Gramma LuAnn with the beautiful birthday girls. 

On Thursday, June 18, Mom underwent a hip replacement in Omaha at Nebraska Medical Center. Mom and Dad, along with our niece Chelsie stayed at noTTafarm the night before. We arrived at the Med Center at 5:30 A.M., and Mom was resting comfortably by 11. 
Pre-surgery:  Mom was excited to hopefully get relief from her deteriorated left hip. It's been especially problematic since Christmas.
Post-surgery: prior to her release at Sunday noon, Mom entertained all the nurses, and hosted a steady stream of visitors including my brother Tim. And, even though they were in town for a serious reason, it was such fun to have Daddy and Chelsie stay with us for four days!

Mom's recovery hit a bump-in-the-road this weekend, suffering from a flare-up of painful bursitis in her shoulder and swelling in her leg. When you read this, please offer your prayers for relief from pain and patience with healing. I'm looking forward to having her back on her feet and up to her usual shenanigans soon!

Back at home, Summer has arrived in a burst of color. We've been blessed with plenty of rain and plenty of sunshine, so our flowers have really put on a show.
The planter boxes in the Gleaner are coming along nicely! The lantana and marigolds were great choices.
The daylilies are are blooming in the south yard in two huge patches of happy orange blossoms.

Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Sod Buster

Ever since the "Great Water Line Rupture of November," Scott has been planning to add fill dirt to the major areas affected by the backhoe. Lucky for us, we have neighbors that just happened to have an extra pile of dirt from a recent construction project. Scott chatted with Jody who agreed to deliver the dirt last week.
Before we had a chance to plant grass, it rained on the clay soil. After just a couple of sunny days, the top crust of dirt was almost as hard as concrete.
Scott first attacked it with a hoe . . .
. . . then used the tiller. I helped out, too, if you can believe it. We took turns using the hoe, tiller, and rake.
With the dirt finally tilled, Scott did some fine-tuning on the grade with the rake.
First, he added the new-grass-starter-fertilizer . . .
. . . then tossed on some grass seed . . .
. . . then used the garden weasel to work the seed down a bit. We finished with a nice sprinkling of water. We also worked on a smaller patch closer to the house, following this same sequence. Now all we need is some sunshine, water, and time and we'll have some nice grass. 
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

More Garage Progress

It's a rainy Saturday (again) so Scott planned a good indoor activity: creating counter tops for the garage cabinets.
Counter tops are important. Where else would we stack junk? The cabinets have nice drawers which are kinda silly without a top covering their contents.
Lucky for us, we have a seemingly never-ending supply of tongue-in-groove pine, remnants from our great room ceiling. Scott hauled them from the barn to the garage for processing.
This was a pretty easy process, started by measuring and marking the final length.
The chop saw did the hard work. 
As each piece was cut, Scott handed it to me for placement on the cabinet.
The rubber mallet helped create a snug fit between the individual boards.
Ta Da!
That was easy! Now, of course, he's trying to decide how to permanently affix the boards to each other and to the cabinet below. Then he wants to add a backsplash of sorts. Then he's toying with the idea of sanding, staining, and finishing. Then we've got to stain and finish the window trim, stairwell, door trim . . .etc., etc.!  The to-do list never seems to get shorter. 
We'll worry all about those details another day. For now, the little remnants were hauled back to their place in the barn.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure! 

East End Fire

All the rain we've had this spring has offered excellent protection against grass fires. With a burn permit in hand and a calm weather forecast, Scott decided to light up the big pile of branches we created in the former landfill site east of the barn. The stack had grown over the past months to be about 20 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 8 feet tall (method of measurement = my guess (+/- 95% error). Once word got out that a big fire was to be lit on Saturday, May 30th, people beat a path to our door to help and to watch.
Well, Hello, Bennett!
Kevin, Sara and Bennett arrived an hour or so after Scott and his dad (Carl) got the fire started.
A little lighter fluid is all it takes . . . 
Kevin brought along his mom and her boyfriend who were visiting Omaha from their home in Colorado. What better way to entertain your folks by taking them to a stranger's home to watch a fire burn?
While the rest of us simply observed, Kevin and Scott dragged more dead limbs from the nearby woods and added them to the pile.
They also used the Ranger to load logs from a more organized but long-abandoned pile of logs. The grass is getting so tall in the non-maintained areas of the property,  finding and loading burnable limbs is getting tricky.
Making Progress by 11 o'clock  
Do you think there's any competition between these two, to see who can toss the heavier log?
Later in the afternoon, Scott cut and hauled several cedar and ameer honeysuckle trees from the west slope. By the end of the day, his arms were covered with a rash brought on by contact with the prickly branches.
Ta Da!
The big pile is gone for now . . . at least until we start building it back up. There's always brush, limbs, logs, and trees to burn at noTTafarm!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend Memories

Did you enjoy the long holiday weekend? Wouldn't it be great if 3-day weekends were mandatory during summer months? We had a few cloudy days to deal with but we still managed to get a lot done and have some fun. Check out the progress:
We both took Friday as vacation days so we could get a jumpstart on the weekend. After blueberry pancakes and smokies for breakfast, my first task was to head to Home Depot for a load of plants.
After a cloudy month full of rain, Bibbers was ready for the flowers on the patio.
While I potted plants, Scott took the Ranger to the north edge of the west yard. He loaded the trailer with a bunch of limbs that we had piled up earlier this spring before the undergrowth took over.
This spring has had its share of rainy and windy weekends so it was nice to have a day calm enough to start a fire - which made quick work of the trailer load. Later in the day, Scott found a few odd pieces of junk wood in the barn which he agreed to take to the fire. Good job, Scotty!
Later in the afternoon, Scott took the Ranger up to the Gleaner to collect the flower boxes. Doesn't he look like a real farmer, walking out there in the tall grass?
This year, I'm trying verbena, lantana, and marigolds. Let's keep our fingers crossed that we'll have a pretty display!
 Sometimes, Bibbers just needs to be cuddled.
I've tried something different at the south end of the front flower bed, too:  dwarf spruce trees and coleus. Will they thrive? Stay tuned to find out!
Saturday was rainy and cold but Scott and I worked up a sweat with an afternoon task. For three years, windows removed from the 1920 and 1972 portions of the house were collecting dust (and spiders, and who knows what else) in the barn, waiting for the day that they would be recycled. The day finally arrived! We pulled them out of the barn, brushed off the dirt, and removed a bunch of nails and old trim. We loaded the trailer and took the load to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, where they were happy to take them off our hands.
Rejuvenated by the window disposal task, Scott took the chainsaw-on-a-stick out to the driveway. Some branches from a elm tree were hanging just a little too low for his liking. We hauled the branches down to the big pile on the east side. (We've got to get a burn permit one of these days to eliminate that pile!)
After another cloudy/cold/rainy day (Sunday) when we accomplished not much more than napping and snacking, Monday was welcome relief.  Sunshine!! A full day of sun was the perfect ending to our 4-day weekend. While I took care of more planting (Thanks, Lowe's!), Scott pulled the power washer out and his waterproof boots on. The courtyard, northwest stoop, and driveway - plus all three cars - got a good rinsing.
noTTafarm is now officially ready for Summer! 
When will you be visiting?
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

All Because of Bibbs

Because Bibbers is an important member of the noTTafarm family, Scott takes great care to make the life of our little feline friend as comfortable as possible. For several years, Bibbers has received a daily ration of Kit'n Kaboodle but much of it has been consumed by turkeys and raccoons who rudely leave trails of poo and dirty footprints. A few weeks ago, in an effort to foil the attempts by turkey and 'coon to steal the food, Scott designed and constructed what he likes to call the "feeding pavilion."
Ta Da!
This bottomless crystalline box is covered with pieces of polycarbonate leftover from the connector's stair project. The frame was created from the metal tubing of a long-abandoned laundry sorter. (These tubes are the type of thing we don't throw away because 20 years later, you may find yourself building a feeding pavilion and need just that type of tube to complete your design.)

Scott's design inspiration was the Mies van der Rohe Farnsworth House which was constructed of glass on an all-white steel frame. He considered painting the tubes black to more closely copy Philip Johnson's Glass House, an iteration of the Farnsworth House. All told, it's an architectural feature that noTTafarm was  lacking. . .and Bibbers demanded for his discerning dining needs.

The pavilion has been relocated the the northwest stoop for the summer so that we can try and keep the courtyard free of the aforementioned poo and prints. The food continues to be eaten by unknown creatures - unknown until Scott recently put the trail camera on the stoop. The photos tell the story of the disappearing food:
The pavilion was created with a five-inch gap on the sides to allow a nice-sized kitty in but deny access to a tall turkey. Here, Bibbers emerged after a snack.
Wait a minute...that orange guy isn't Bibbs. It's Leo! He just left the house where there's a full bowl of food but headed straight for the food bowl on the stoop.
Well, geez. Does Wilson really need more food? The five-inch gap is apparently wide enough for our 20-pounder.
Trail Cam Selfie!
Wilson got an up-close shot. 
Trail Cam Selfie II!
Being this close to the lens gave a "fun house" look to our Leo. 
Aha! The Culprit!
After the parade of kitties finally passed by, our ol' friend "Scarsdale" paid a visit to the pavilion. This scrawny raccoon has been around noTTafarm long enough to earn a nickname. He enjoys free reign over the food (after all, look how Bibbers "watches" his every move.)  I guess even raccoons appreciate good architecture!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!