Monday, September 29, 2014

Indian Summer Field Trip

Autumn has officially arrived! We are enjoying clear blue skies and the golden glow the sun casts on the trees. This time of year also offers a wide range of fun things to do (not that cleaning the house or mowing the yard isn't "fun".) Field trips this past weekend were welcome breaks from our normal routine - check out the fun!

Saturday, I ventured out on the open road to join in the central Nebraska fun that is Junk Jaunt. I met my mom, niece Chelsie, and her friend Amanda in Grand Island. Chelsie had our route all figured out so that we would hit a good variety of junk, rummage, and antique sales plus get a good ol' dose of Nebraska tourism.
Chelsie, Amanda, and Jolene ham it up for the photographer at our stop near Cairo.
Did you know that Elba is Nebraska's Bee Capitol? They also have a reputation for being wonderful Kolache bakers! We loaded up on delicious pastries (apricot was delish; rhubarb was a new one!)
Near Arcadia, we passed a field of sunflowers which was a nice break from all the corn and soybeans.
Classic water tower in North Loup - where I bought a super cute apron for only $3.
Chelsie's mommy was never far from her thoughts. . .as it should be, right Pooh?
I'm officially an antique! In Broken Bow, mom found a University of Nebraska yearbook and I noticed something looked familiar. Two Greek yearbooks from my era in school (and both with my picture included) were for sale ($6 each.)
Every where we went, we found evidence of the turning seasons. This pretty tree was in Danebrog.

Junk Jaunt was really fun - not only for the camaraderie and bargains but for the chance to explore parts of the state I don't often see.

Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hackberry Blues

Now that The Big Day has come and gone, we were looking forward to having a quiet Saturday. Maybe we'd watch a movie. Maybe we'd clean the garage. You know - something easy. But mother nature had other plans. Sometime during the week, a thunderstorm rolled through and dealt a blow to the large hackberry tree in the south yard. The resulting split in a big branch gave us just the thing to fill our Saturday.

The branch that was damaged is one of three large "trunks" that form the tree. The leafy canopy landed on the roof but didn't cause any damage. Prior to Saturday, Scott called and made an appointment for a tree service to visit and give an estimate for clean-up. Since they didn't show up or call, we proceeded with Plan B:  "let Scotty do it!"
The first step was to reach what he could with the chainsaw-on-a-stick. My job was to pick the branches up as they fell and drag them to a pile.
Scott then climbed up on the roof to access the bulk of the branches. Yes, he was very cautious and yes, I had my cell phone ready in case of emergency.
Scott was able to reach all of the leafy parts, leaving just a skeleton of branches behind.
Branches are always bigger on the ground than up in the air. We filled the trailer with what Scott trimmed.
Now for the fun . . . figuring out how to pull the split trunk-sized branch out of the way of the house. We needed to be careful since one bad move could send a giant branch and/or a giant ladder through a window.
Scott's plan involved the extension ladder, a rope, and The Ranger. He propped up the branch with the ladder, tied one end of the rope to the top rung, and tied the other to the Ranger's winch.
Then, he floored the Ranger in reverse, pulling the ladder and branch along with it til both were safely on the ground. No windows or houses (or people, vehicles or cats) were damaged with this daring move!
After the bending . . .we were left with an arched half-trunk which was quickly dispatched with the chainsaw. We'll probably still get a professional to assess this damage. Can a trunk survive if it's been sheared in half?
The larger branches were cut into convenient firewood-sized chunks. . .
. . . and hauled to the firewood pile in the trailer. Good job, Scotty! What kind of fun will we have this coming weekend?
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Finally! The Big Day Arrives!

Kathleen and Patrick
September 6, 2014
Surely the presence of the Lord was in this place! How else could we have been blessed with such gorgeous weather? With a perfect blue sky, very light winds, and a sunny 74 degrees, the day was blessed from beginning to end. I have never felt so much love in one place, and Scott and I were overwhelmed by the kind words and enthusiasm the wedding guests had for our home. noTTafarm is truly a magical place! You've been patiently reading and waiting for news of The Big Day . . . so here it is!
Before leaving for their hair and makeup appointments, Sophie, Kathleen and Kate took a selfie on the patio.
Scott helped dress the arch with a 9-yard long drape. He added jute rope at the corners to secure the fabric and lend a rustic touch.
The floral accents on the left side were designed and created by yours truly. I used a couple of slices of floral foam, some cedar from the back yard, some artificial flowers, a couple of ribbons, a whole bunch of floral pins and a big stick of hot glue to get it all together.
These three ladies were superstar helpers! Two friends of Kathleen's mom (Liz), Sue and Sharon plus Liz's sister placed the linens and centerpieces then turned their attention to hanging lights in the trees. I had to apologize repeatedly for my chainsaw-happy husband and his need to eliminate all the easily-accessed lower branches. Luckily, Sharon was willing to climb up and down the big step ladder a few dozen times. The effort was worth it! As the sun set, the yard took on quite a magical appearance. Thank you, Ladies!
The groomsmen helped set all 180 chairs in place, with a nice wide aisle creating two arched sections. The hay bales were positioned on the outside of each section and across the back.
All the hustle and bustle didn't deter two fawns from stopping by to take a peek.
The dining tables were set end-to-end in two long rows, out from the tent.
As the time drew closer, I took fewer photos. . .so once I was finally dressed, I was able to take a few more photos of some of the unique design elements. I dusted off the garden wagon, lined it with a piece of burlap, and added a pennant banner to use as a gift caddy. The guest book table (you can see it at the far right) had a card box created from an old doll suitcase, a leather-bound guest book, and a canvas upon which guests were encouraged to leave an inked thumbprint. (Sadly, all of that was not photographed by me . . . by this time, I was a getting a bit frazzled.)
Kathleen rescued a door from our barn storage to utilize as sort of a "bulletin board." A dry erase marker was used to list the day's agenda and the dinner's menu on the glass. The photos below are Polaroids taken of each member of the bridal party, held onto a jute string with a clothespin. So cute! (To think we found that door in the corn crib four years ago . . . and here it is, looking beautiful under a hackberry tree.)
Pete (Patrick's older brother) was happy to introduce us to his friend Karly - and I was so happy to meet her! Not only is she beautiful and intelligent but she also was a huge help to me on both Friday and Saturday. She volunteered to arrange silverware for the buffet table, arranged cupcakes on the cake table, decorated the wedding cake with real flowers AND she puts up with my nephew . . . so she's a pretty cool cat!  Thank you, Karly!
The photographer did a wonderful job. Here, Allie takes a photo of the unity candle prior to the ceremony. One of the bar tables Scott created from a wedge-shaped piece of locust was called into duty to serve as a candle stand.
Allie and Anna, ready for the processional to begin.
The groom ushered his mother, Anne, and grandmother, Marita, to their seats. Patrick and his groomsmen wore lavender shirts, gray bowties, and gray slacks with suspenders. Very dapper!
Sophie did a wonderful job as flower girl! She had her hair done up in pigtails with tiny yellow flowers woven into the braids at the crown of her head. She tossed orange and lavender rose petals which coordinated perfectly with her floral dress. Beautiful!
Here comes the bride!
Dad Tim escorted Kathleen down the aisle as a recording of The Beatles "Here Comes The Sun" played. It was the perfect entrance for this beautiful bride!
After the ceremony, the couple and their parents formed a receiving line.
While cocktail hour began, the photographer was using the corn crib (of all places!) as the backdrop for bridal portraits. I didn't witness the groom and his groomsmen being photographed but Patrick told me they posed on the east side of the barn (of all places!) I am very anxious to see Allie's photography, to see how noTTafarm looks through a professional's lens.
The bridesmaids were dressed in their choice of beautiful shades of green. They designed and assembled their bouquets at the dining room table just before the ceremony began.
Here's our Sophie with Kate's boyfriend, Alessio. She thinks he's awesome . . . and so do we!
Kathleen wore her mother's wedding dress, taking a 1983 gown and adding a modern twist by eliminating the high neck, shortening the sleeves, and removing the stiff crinoline underneath. She was so happy with the result, and I know it meant the world to Liz to share the dress with her beautiful daughter.
Patrick's mom, Anne, wore a beautiful gray and yellow lace dress - but I couldn't believe she was brave enough to kick off her sandals and opt for bare feet! I don't have that much faith in our grounds-keeping skills, I guess (or maybe I'm just a wimp.)
Prior to dinner, Patrick and Kathleen thanked everyone and introduced their attendants.
The cake table was set up on the south patio. They had a beautiful 3-tier red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and three flavors of cupcakes. Pat's dad Jeff created the groom's cake, a decadent chocolate and cream-filled profiterole. 
The happy parents of the beautiful bride, Liz and Tim. 
Sophie and Kathleen
As the sun began to set, the photo opportunities were even more beautiful!  
Carl and Marita with Pat and Kathleen 
Looking good and ready for anything with that spoon in his pocket. 
The Happy noTTafarmers
Photo by Kate Camp
Thanks, Katie!
After the guests departed, Scott took the camera and the tripod out to get some night shots. The yard was so beautiful with the lights in the trees and the house lit up. Incredible!
I didn't take as many photos as I would have if the event had been held at a neutral location. I was pulled in many directions all evening so just couldn't take the time (plus I kept putting my camera down and then had to constantly retrace my steps to find it.) My favorite memory will be just that - a memory: the evening ended with the newlyweds dancing alone on the dance floor under the tent, surrounded by a circle of their family and friends with arms linked, swaying and singing along to Neil Young's "Harvest Moon." What a warm and heartfelt way to end a completely glorious experience.
We Love You, Patrick and Kathleen!

Harvest Moon
Come a little bit closer
Hear what I have to say
Just like children sleepin'
We could dream this night away.

But there's a full moon risin'
Let's go dancin' in the light
We know where the music's playin'
Let's go out and feel the night.

Because I'm still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I'm still in love with you
On this harvest moon.

When we were strangers
I watched you from afar
When we were lovers
I loved you with all my heart.

But now it's gettin' late
And the moon is climbin' high
I want to celebrate
See it shinin' in your eye.

Because I'm still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I'm still in love with you
On this harvest moon.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Let's Get This Right: Rehearsal

Following a busy morning of set-up and a bustling lunch hour with several of Kathleen's visiting family members dropping by, it was finally time for wedding rehearsal. The Big Day is only 24 hours away! 

Kathleen gave the assembled wedding party some preliminary instructions.
Kathleen's good friend Anna was also the wedding officiant. She was ordained on-line and took her role very seriously. (Side note:  she and her fiance also helped me after the wedding ceremony by toting plates and silverware to the buffet tables. Thank you, Anna!)
Since Friday was rather rainy, we had to imagine where chairs and hay bales would be on Saturday. Final details of the ceremony were discussed and agreed upon by many of those in attendance.
Great niece and Flower Girl, Sophie, came straight from school to practice her role. (She was a tiny bit bored at times.)
Patrick and his soon-to-be father-in-law, Tim, practiced their handshake.
Check out the tables in the bar area! Scott and Pat did a great job of creating these by drilling holes on the underside of big log slices, then inserting three rebar legs. Making sure the tables were level was made easy by simply pushing one leg or the other further into the ground. How much do you think we could sell these for? Maybe we should go into the bar-table-making business.
The pallet bar that the boys worked so hard on finally has a home on the patio. Now we just need the wine, beer, ice, and a couple hundred thirsty wedding guests!
After a fun pizza party at Kathleen's parents home, Friday came to a close with a slumber party in noTTafarm's "guest suite." Kate, Sophie, and Kathleen ate peanut butter toast, watched an Alvin and the Chipmunks dvd, and had fun with Wilson before finally going to sleep - perhaps to dream about the magical wedding the next day.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!