Sunday, January 31, 2016

Wintertime Blahs

Now that January is just hours from ending, I thought I'd better get something on the blog. I apologize for making you wait a month between posts. No worries, though! We're still kickin'.

We haven't worked on any home projects but we've been keeping busy with work and watching TV with the kitties. Up until Friday, it had been a lazy month!

On Friday the 29th, we traveled to Kearney for our long-awaited Ward Family Christmas. Getting an extended family of 20-ish adults to squeeze in a gathering around the actual holidays can be a challenge so this was our weekend to finally get together. Saturday was the 21st birthday of nephew Joe so we had even more to celebrate! The unseasonably warm weather gave us all a break from a relatively brutal (so far) winter which made the weekend even better.

Now on to the rest of 2016!

We really don't have any excuses why we shouldn't be working on something . . . especially when I got this certificate in my stocking on Christmas Day. Scott has promised to work on five home improvements this year.  So far, I've narrowed the list to four but would love your feedback. How do these projects sound?

1.) Master Bath Finish: clean up the grout, hang towel bars, add crown molding
2.) Build bookshelf for the pantry
3.) Create a raised-bed, deer-proof-fenced vegetable garden
4.) Add deck outside the master bedroom (over 3rd garage bay)

Any other suggestions? We always have more to do; we are only limited by time and money (but aren't we all?) I'll keep you apprised of any progress made, of course!

Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

And Now for a REAL Adventure

Our regular readers know that I most always sign off with "Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure." It's my little way to let you know that we're always up to something here at noTTafarm. However, I may have to change my signature. Our niece Katie and her beau Alessio have begun their very own adventure; they left their home in Portland on Christmas Day for an 8-month long hike around the world!
After a 12-hour layover in Hawaii, their first stop is New Zealand. They will be there about a month before moving on to Sydney, Australia. India, Cambodia and Thailand are all on their list before ending their journey at Alessio's ancestral home in Italy this coming summer.

You can follow their adventures by reading their blog: They've promised to make regular updates (or as many as possible given the wilderness's lack of wireless.) Please keep them in your prayers that they may have a safe and wonderful adventure!

Stay Tuned for Our Next (Local) Adventure!

Monday, December 28, 2015

White Christmas

Merry Christmas!
noTTafarm - along with the rest of the Omaha area - was caught off guard Christmas Eve when the predicted dusting turned into eight inches of snow. The weathermen may have gotten it wrong but we didn't mind. With the day off from work, it was quite relaxing enjoying the morning watching the snow fall from inside our snug home. When it tapered off after lunchtime, Scott's clean-up tasks began.
The courtyard wall gives a good indication of the snow's depth. 
Pine tree in the south yard.
A view of the barnyard. 
Scott began by clearing the courtyard with the help of the snow shovel.
Views worthy of a Christmas card! 

This snow was sticky! The Ranger and its plow did the heavy lifting. We had a day or more of rain prior to the 24th, leaving a slippery coating on the ground under the snow. 
Finally, the snowblower was called into action. Great job, Scotty! 
The Camp family, including Andrew, Jeff and Pete, gathered at noTTafarm on Christmas Day for brunch. 
Scott passed out the presents with help from Andrew. 
And, yes, it was Bibbers' first Christmas as an Inside Cat! He made the rounds, letting everyone have time with a lap cat (including his Gramma Marita.) 
We hope your Christmas celebration was spent with the people you love!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Is This Yours?

This kitty cat has been hanging around noTTafarm off-and-on for a few months. We've started calling him "Rocket."

He's so cute:  white with big patches of striped tabby and a raccoon-like tail. He lets us pet him so he can't be very wild but he is aggressive and our three cats do NOT like him! When he's hungry, he stands on the stoop and meows so loudly, we can hear him throughout the house. I just hope that he's figured out that there's a nice heated condo in the barn for him to use now that winter has got a grip on us. 

If he's your kitty, let us know by leaving a comment below. Otherwise, as we say around here . . . 
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas Tradition: Baking With Friends!

When it comes to Christmas, baking cookies is a must. And who better to bake with than noTTafarm superfriend Amy B. and daughter Brenna?* With the plan in place for a few extra girls hanging around inside the house on a Saturday, Scott decided it would be the perfect day to rent a log splitter. He called Kevin for reinforcement and I got a Sara, a Bennett, and an Elliot in return! The Kupzyks and the Brummets arrived at noTTafarm bright and shiny Saturday morning to get to work. 
First on the to-do list was mixing up some cinnamon rolls. Brenna and Bennett each measured four cups of flour for me. Such good helpers! 
I rolled out and baked a batch of sugar cookies earlier in the morning so Bennett and Brenna were excited to get started with the frosting. Amy and Sara did a fine job, too, of course. 
Amy showed Brenna how to use the piping bag and she took to it like a pro.
Bennett frosted and ate two Christmas tree-shaped cookies before turning his attention to piping the letters (one for each member of the family: K, S, B & E)
If Amy ever gets bored being an engineer, she could quickly rebound as a professional froster.
Brenna is an expert big sister to Tripp so it was easy for her to play with Bennett. They put some puzzles together and drew pictures for us. She even carried him around the house to protect him from the cats.
Meanwhile out in the sunny but cold north yard, Scott and Kevin toiled away. Scott discovered that kicking/rolling the big logs toward the splitter was easier than carrying them.
Something tells me that Kevin got the raw end of the deal; he lifted the logs onto the splitter and Scott pushed the little button to make it go. But they had fun and filled the southwest corner of the corn crib with ready-to-use firewood.

I just realized that I didn't take any photos of 4-month old Elliot. You're really missing out - what a cutie! Amy was on Cloud 9, getting to cuddle such a sweet boy. 

After a pulled pork sandwich lunch, the baked goods were divvied up and my baking buddies left for the day. I really hope these two special families enjoy their Christmas (and visit noTTafarm again soon!)

*This was the first Christmas in more years that I can count that my buddy Leigh Anne and I didn't frost cookies together. No worries, though! She and Meredith have promised a make-up-date in late January. Still, I missed having L.A. join in on the fun!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Pre-Christmas Catch-up

It's been nearly one month since my last post but it's not because we've been lazy. It's because we've been busy! We hosted Thanksgiving for the Camp family and then headed straight into getting ready for Christmas. First stop:  Home Depot for a beautiful tree.
We found the perfect Frazier fir. H.D. staffer Gaylord (who sold Scott his big snow blower five years ago) trimmed the trunk and helped load it on the trailer.
Scott prepared the tree stand with the help of Bibbers. This will be his first Christmas as an "inside" cat!
The tree is tall but narrow. The very tippy top of the tree nearly touches the track lights above it which I think makes it nearly 12-ft. tall.
Wilson and Leo observed Scott as he strung lights on the tree. . .
. . . and placed the kittycat tree topper.
Ta Da!
A couple hours of ladder-climbing and ornament-placing and we've got ourselves a Christmas tree.
In addition to the tree, several other spaces are decorated, including the powder room.
The garland over the colonnade is decorated with kitchen-themed ornaments.  
The flat-bucket we've had for years is hung on the brick chimney next to the range.
The open shelves are for "Christmas only" for the next few weeks. All the Fiesta - except for items in the green and red families - is stored in the pantry, and the Christmas Pfaltzgraff is available for daily use.
The silly plaid deer that I put up for Lumberjack days has become a seasonal highlight with the addition of a red ribbon and a red pom pinned to his nose.
New for 2015: this piece hanging in the entryway. The base is a steel tray from an incubator that I bought in Dannebrog during Junk Jaunt this past September. My mom gave me a set of chalkboard placemats about 25 years ago so I attached one to the back. I trimmed it out with faux greenery, floral berry picks, and a precious deer (from Target, of course.)
New for 2015: taking a little inspiration from Pinterest. Scott has had this toboggan since he was an 8th grader. It's been in storage either in the basement or in the barn since we've been married. Now it's the centerpiece of the courtyard, decked out with a wreath and tiny skis (from Target's dollar section.) It's pretty cute if I do say so myself!

It's reasonable to say that noTTafarm is ready for the holidays!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rub-a-dub-dub . . . You Can Use the Tub!

Most of you know that the clawfoot tub in the 1920 bathroom is one of the best features of the original house. We had it repainted, had it carried up the stairs, and pushed it up and down the hallway a few times before finally getting it into position in the remodeled bath. And there it has sat, unused for more than three years. 

The Victorian-style supply lines we purchased to match the new hardware would not work with the limited amount of space available between the tub and the wall; we needed to purchase flexible supply lines with the right size of connectors. Sadly, this task fell way to the bottom of the "To Do" list . . . until Saturday, November 14. After a consultation with Scott and a written list of details, I ventured to Ideal Hardware (on my own!) Once I arrived at this midtown treasure, I was certain that the parts we needed were available. The store's shelves are stacked high with every kind of widget imaginable. One of the nice staff members helped me find the exact parts necessary - and $26 later, we were in business.
"Ta Da!"
Two 20"-long braided stainless hoses and two stainless elbows are all that we needed.
The original set of supply lines are rigid pipes, rather than flexible hoses.
Here's the original Victorian supply lines packing slip - proving that three years have gone by rather quickly!
The space between the tub and the wall is really limited. Scott had to bend and stretch and contort and...
 ...bend and stretch some more to get the elbows and hoses hooked to the tub and to the valves on the floor.
When we had this bathroom re-plumbed, the plumber set the drain too close to the wall - but only because we didn't account for how thick the wall would be once it had a layer of cement board and a layer of tile attached. The good news is that - it works!
Woo Hoo!
A little work and a few bucks - and the tub is now available for your bathing needs! I have plans to get some bubble bath soon and take the tub for a test drive. 
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!