Sunday, February 28, 2016

Dreaming of Spring Gardening

Now that it's nearly March, it's not too soon to start thinking about Spring. Scott and I are looking forward to starting a vegetable garden, a first for us. We've been doing some research and looking at lots of photos online (silly Pinterest will get you every time) to figure out exactly what we want to do. We know it needs to be fenced to prevent deer and raccoon from treating it like a salad bar. And I want to create raised beds to keep everything neat, and separate them with pea-gravel pathways. Sounds pretty easy!
We have selected the area between the corncrib and the barn for the garden. It gets plenty of sunshine and is close enough to a water source.
Saturday (Feb. 27) was a warm but super windy day. Carl and Marita stopped by so we all went out to play around with the tape measure and some flagged stakes. We are planning on creating four 4x8-ft beds, and Carl has claimed one for his own veggies.
Of course, Bibbers was in the middle of the planning. He has given his approval for construction to move forward.
The "dreaming stage" of my garden includes images like this one - a shot of the raised beds at the Magnolia Silos in Waco, TX. I love how precise this looks. We are going to try and use lumber and/or tree trunks on hand for the beds; still debating how it will come together.
This enclosure is from a garden in the Washington, D.C. area. The gardener created it from cedar logs culled from his pasture. We certainly have enough rogue cedars on-hand (but that sounds like a lot of work.) Still, isn't this pretty?
I love the traditional style of this garden, including a sweet gate and pretty arbor. Whatever we end up doing, my goal is to make it look as attractive as possible! (My secondary concern is growing vegetables.)
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

Was love in the air for you today? 
Here in Omaha, the skies were gray but it was a delightful change to have temps in the 30s. It won't be long before spring is back! We celebrated Valentine's Day the way many of you probably did:  reading the paper, drinking coffee, going to church (me), eating lunch, and then attending a panel discussion presented by the Douglas County Historical Society about the demolition of Jobbers' Canyon. Nothing says "romance" like a small auditorium of history buffs, right?

Being an Omaha native and an architect, Scott has always had a keen interest in the demise of our historic warehouse district. It was brutally destroyed in the late 1980s after ConAgra strong-armed the City of Omaha into making the riverfront area available for their new headquarters. With the recent news that ConAgra will soon be moving its headquarters to Chicago, interest in the now long-gone district has been renewed.
In all, 22 buildings comprising 1.7 million sq. ft. of space were demolished to make way for ConAgra's campus. 
The panel of today's presentation included three men that lead the fight against the demolition, including architect George Haecker, attorney Ed Fogarty, and retired city planner Lynn Meyer. Mr. Meyer was responsible for documenting the structures and his astounding collection of photographs is available to view on the City's Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission website. I encourage you to browse the gallery of photos (two of which are shown above) and consider what you can do to promote the conservation of Omaha history through the rehabilitation and repurpose of historic structures. 

Scott and I have done our best to conserve what was here before we took the reins of noTTafarm. We treasure the history of the homesteaders that tamed the prairie for the generations to follow, and hope to be good stewards of our 10 acres for years to come.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Gallery Takes Shape

Remember way back last September when Scott built a new door for the barn? I had the genius idea to re-use the old barn door track inside the house. I assumed it would be an easy little project that would require a couple of bolts and a half hour. But as the way things seem to go around here, it took nearly 6 months to work up enough energy to see my vision through. I finally had to use the ol' tried-and-true "it's Valentine's Day so you have to prove you love me" technique. With the track now installed indoors, I'm happy to invite you to check out our new "gallery."
The old track and its backer board were salvaged from the barn door reconstruction project of September, 2015.
I have thought for a long time that the long hallway behind the kitchen would be the perfect place to display art. Once the old barn door track came down, this space seemed like the obvious place for its reimagined use.
After a few minutes of thinking and discussion, we decided that the best way to hang the track and its backer was to use simple cleats; one on the back of the board would cleave to one screwed to the wall. Scott created the cleats with some salvaged 3/4" pine, creating a 45 degree angle on each.
The finished cleats
Of course, we spent a few minutes sanding to remove any splintery spots.  
Scott screwed one set of cleats to the board from the front...
...and the other set of cleats to the wall. We aimed to hang the track at the same height as the pantry's sliding door track across the hall. After a few adjustments with the laser level and fancy guesswork looking for wall studs, the track was up!
The cleats fit snugly to form an interlocking connection which eased some of the difficulty derived from the warped backer board (but you'd be warped, too, if you had been outside for about 100 years.) Note the two oblong rings (they look sorta like paper clips) hanging from the track: I found these several months ago at Home Depot and I figured they would work well as receivers for picture wire. This $1.99 purchase was the only expenditure for this project; all other materials were already in Scott's stockpile.
Ta Da!
The track and backer board are in place!
I love that we brought a little bit of the barn's history indoors. 
And now for the artwork. 
I had a vintage family photo enlarged to 20x30" and printed on board at Costco for about $20. Rather than place it in a typical frame, we opted to suspend it on wire from the track on the aforementioned rings. By sandwiching the poster between pieces of lathe (we have lots on hand from our old demolition days), the poster won't warp and we add just the right amount of rustic chic decor. The lathe pieces are held together with 3/4" nails, and the picture wire was stapled in place on the back.
Ta Da!
I twisted the picture wire around the rings and the poster was in place. There is plenty of room to create more pieces; I just need to order the posters and have my Valentine chop some lathe to size and drive those tiny nails.
Our first gallery piece is a photo from 1973 when my grandparents took a Colorado vacation with my grandmother's brother and his wife. That's Aunt Marian in the phone booth as my Gramma Pauline looks on and my Grampa Lyle stands guard (by process of elimination, I determined that Uncle Gordon was the photographer.) I plan on sharing more "day-in-the-life" photos in the new gallery space.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!