Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Happy Birthday, noTTafarm!

July 30th is noTTafarm's birthday!
It has been four full years of work, bonfires, cats, home improvement, and fun. We know for sure that, for us at least, there's no better place on Earth to call home. 
. . . and Many More!

Monday, July 28, 2014

New Job Girl!

This announcement isn't exactly noTTafarm-related but it is Kristin-related so that should count for something. As of July 25, I no longer work at Alvine Engineering. I have accepted a new marketing coordinator position at Intersystems, a manufacturer and engineer of bulk material handling products and industrial sampling systems. After 10 years, I felt the need for a career change. I'm very excited to start the next chapter! The added bonus is that I don't start my new job until August 4th so maybe I'll actually complete a project at noTTafarm this week!
After the final day wrapped, some of my favorite, and now former, co-workers joined me for a drink. Marie and Amy are very happy that I am happy but they're sad that I won't be a part of their daily lives. I'm sure we'll see them both around noTTafarm quite often!
We had quite a nice gathering to say "goodbye." I really appreciate the kind send-off!
Wish Me Luck!

Burn, Baby, Burn!

Since day one of our noTTafarm Adventure, we've said that "someday" we'll be able to burn the big pile of brush and assorted junk at the bottom of the hill, east of the barn. The pile held much more than downed tree limbs. We could see tires, window frames, and a variety of rusty auto parts. Scott's research told him that a pond had been converted into a landfill in this spot probably more than 50 years ago. There was no telling who put what, where! An additional pile closer to the barn (and visible from the house) was growing larger with every weed pulled and branch trimmed. And so, with the upcoming wedding and our need for noTTafarm to look as lovely as possible, it was time for action.

Since our neighbors are beginning a construction project with our old friends from T. Hurt Construction, Scott contacted our former Project Manager, Darin, and arranged for the T. Hurt bobcat crew to pay a visit. Tuesday morning, July 22, the crew pushed the pile close to the barn down the hill to join the larger pile at the bottom. They did a bit of grading, too.
By the time I got home from work Tuesday, the east side of the barn was cleared of brush. Amazing how large of a space this is when you don't have to navigate around a giant pile of brush.
The pile in the foreground is the recently-relocated mess. I wondered if it would burn with all the dirt that came with it down the hill.
When Scott arrived home Tuesday, he hooked the harrow to the Ranger for a bit of fine tuning. We'll have to get this area seeded soon or risk a messy run-off problem should it decide to rain.
Fast forward to Saturday, July 26: we invited my brother Tim to noTTafarm for a day of manly activity. He was happy to join us in the 90-degree/90% humidity weather.
The first order of business was picking out any identifiable metal or other non-combustibles.
We found three or four large pieces of carpeting in a variety of colors.
Tires and metal were pulled out before the fire was lit. We'll recycle what we can and dispose of the rest.
The boys started a fire on the west side first. After it was burning well, Scott lit the east end of the big pile. I should also note that Scott did obtain a burn permit from the Irvington Fire Department so please, no need to call and complain to your local law enforcement.
 A view from the far east side of the area.
Since the Ranger was already out, Scott and Tim hooked the winch to a big branch lodged in a Chinese elm. The branch and its little friends were dragged down the hill to their final demise.
It didn't take too long for the smoldering fire to pretty much eliminate the smaller of the two piles.
By 3:30, we were filthy, smoky, and ready to quit. Tim considered driving home in his underwear due to his dirty clothes but quickly reconsidered.
Bonus!  Not only did we get to have a big fire day, we also had a short visit from our folks, Ray and Jolene! They were on their way to Chicago for a Soil and Water Conservation Society conference and stopped by to have lunch.
Great Job, Scott and Tim!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Saturday Field Trip

noTTafarm Super Friend Amy B. was itching to get out of town so she convinced me that this past Saturday would be a good day for a road trip. We headed west, picking up my niece Chelsie in Kearney for a fun jaunt. We drove north out of town to our first stop:  Mason City for a visit to The French Table (www.frenchtableroad.com.) This wonderful shop of antiques and art is housed in a renovated 1907 church. A beautiful spot in an otherwise tiny village!
 I made one impulse purchase: an ebonized decorative spire.
We hopped in the car and headed south to Overton, home of our favorite second-hand/antique/vintage/chock-full of stuff store, Tiede's. You may recall we made a trip out back in February but this was Chelsie's first time visiting. We had such fun, and I made some fabulous finds:
I found this precious oil painting of two calves, appropriately inscribed "T-Bone Special," for about $12. I think I'll paint the frame and hang this in the upstairs guest bath. So cute!
Everywhere I looked, I found more neat stuff (or actually, Amy and Chelsie forced me to buy things!) I kept the upcoming wedding in mind and picked up a lace tablecloth, spools of ribbon, an assortment of bottle openers for the bar, and a cake server. One unique thing was a set of 8 aluminum casseroles or bowls with lids, each with a wicker basket cozy. Perhaps used to serve rice? Again - too adorable to pass by for only $15! I found some inexpensive wood crates and a bushel basket for $3.
Back in February, I purchased several chromium and teak serving pieces. This week, I found two more! An ice bucket (complete with tongs) and a 3-bowl caddy. I'm ready for another girls-only wine night!
The star of the day:  Pyrex mixing bowls! I've always wanted a set and I picked these up for about $40 (which is much less expensive that I typically see.)

After a really late lunch in Kearney at the world-famous Cellar, we were back on the road home by 4:30. A whirlwind trip but a big day of fun!
Anyone Wanna Go Shopping Saturday?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cedars Called into Duty

In addition to the bar Scott and Pat are building for the upcoming wedding, the boys need to create an arch to serve as the altar. They were planning on using three of the pine logs we saved from clearing out dead trees last year. Those were eliminated from use, however, when the bark fell off as the boys tried to move them. Turns out that the logs had dried out over the past year! So - into the forest to find suitable trees.
In his never-ending quest to eliminate cedars from the west slope, Scott had discovered three large trees, each about 25 feet tall. Before the chainsaw brought them down, the boys worked on trimming off all the branches.
The first few loads of branches were eliminated the fun way . . . with a little bonfire! noTTafarm was visited by the Polar Vortex this past week, so the cool temperatures and low humidity created perfect fire weather.
The majority of the branches were loaded onto the trailer and transported to the big dump pile east of the barn. Pat says he's having fun - but he sure is working hard! The three cedar logs are now ready for the next step . . . so you know what to do:
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July is . . .

. . . nearly a third over and I haven't posted anything! Let's see what the camera has captured over the past few days:
Pat and Kathleen continue to spend a few evenings a week with us, working on wedding prep. The bar is coming together nicely!
The bar is being constructed in the basement but sections are bolted together for ease in transporting upstairs and outside.
Meanwhile, outside, Scott continues working on his brick project along the driveway. He has mapped out a curve to bring a walkway toward the barn. Bibbers helped him, of course!
The pavers are now "in" all the way down the driveway. We worked pretty hard on outside projects during our extended 4th of July weekend.
Scott's learned that hopping onto the shovel, it does a great job of slicing through the turf.  
He cut out little slices of sod to transfer to grass-impaired areas. 
He even rolled up the slices like a pro! 
While Scott worked on his pavers-grass project, I spent a day clearing the north end of the cottonwood garden. After four years of thinking I should clean this up, I finally got it done. Next step:  plants!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Bricks Begin (Another) New Life

Remember this? 
http://nottafarm.blogspot.com/2010/10/dig-tote-stack-repeat.html
I can't believe it's been 3 1/2 years since I found, dug-up, and stacked all of these bricks. We've known all along that we wanted to use them for a variety of landscaping projects - and we are finally underway! Last week during our mini vacation, Scott had 4 yards (translation:  a big ol' pile) of sand delivered then he began his a long-awaited project: adding two rows of pavers to extend the apron of the concrete driveway. Check out the progress!
Extending the driveway like this will make it easier to back out of the north garage stalls. The process began by digging out the dirt with a hoe, then layering in about 2 inches of sand.
Scott is using the heavier pavers for this project, leaving the lighter-weight bricks for a different use. The bricks were brought to noTTafarm from their former home in Omaha's Jobbers Canyon, a warehouse district torn out of downtown in the 1980s to make room for ConAgra's headquarters. These pavers would have interesting stories to tell about the early development of Omaha!
It took a little time to get started but once a few bricks were placed, it became easier to add more and keep them straight and flat.
Many of the pavers are stamped "Purington Paver," or "Purington Block" but we did discover one brick that is stamped "Des Moines" and another stamped "Buffalo."
After the bricks went down, Scott tamped down the soil on the outer edge. The leftover dirt is being used to fill some holes and trenches made from recent rain.
A dusting of sand fills the spaces between the bricks. After the rain we had Saturday night, we'll need to repeat this step.
To keep the curve neat, Scott used a more narrow paver - stamped "Capitol." Looking good so far!
Stay Tuned for More Progress!