help?

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The husband’s sister recently got a new sofa, which means we scored this little loveseat for free from her. Isn’t it nifty? It’s a hide-a-bed, too. I like the shape and I am a big fan of the weird green vinyl that resembles car seats, but I want to create new covers for the seat cushions. The floral fabric is original and isn’t in great shape (general wear + a huge hole in the bottom of one cushion) and also I kind of hate it. I’m trying to find a cheap, nice-looking fabric to replace it. No idea what color I want to go with. I’m looking at Ikea’s fabric selection since some of their fabric is really thick and canvas-like which I think would work well for the seats. I’m eyeing this on their website but I have no idea if it is sturdy fabric or not, and I can’t tell what the scale of the print is. So maybe a trip to Ikea is in order. (Also the crazy person inside me is going “Yeah, this will work!” but I think that’s a bit much, even for me.) There’s also this, which is interesting, although I may be the only person on the planet who likes green and orange together.

What do you think I should do? Cheap home decor fabric suggestions welcome!

The rest of this room is a pretty clean palette, with white walls and white curtains and beigey carpet. We’ve got a chair like to this one and some other birch-colored wood in the room. The only color in the room is a side table painted Valspar Fireside.

the first egg

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That, my friends, is the first egg! That’s right: our hens are officially laying. Well, at least one of them is. I think it’s Blossom, the black sex link. We’ve had an egg two days in a row from that lovely lady. I think they’re hers because she’s been protective of them when I am gathering them. They’re quite little, and also have some white flecks on the surface (Not visible in this photo, but possibly due to too much calcium in the ladies’ diet? Or maybe just her body figuring out how to do this whole egg-laying thing?) but I am so proud, you might think I laid the darn thing myself.

 

around here lately

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My father-in-law did us a real solid and brought us an entire tree in the back of his pickup truck. He had procured a permit and cut it down, then used a chainsaw to cut it into rounds, and then brought it to us. So now we are splitting it for firewood. Buying firewood tends to get pretty expensive pretty quickly so I was jazzed beyond belief that he did this for us. Basically we have this sitting in our back yard:

 

DSC_0013(Side note: we love glass bottle Coca Cola from Mexico, yes we do.)

And we need to turn it into this:

 

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By doing this:

DSC_0023(Side note: I tried to split a log and I managed to get it to break in half after about 15 minutes. Not my forte, apparently.)

And stack it all in our woodshed so it can dry out and get seasoned to be used in our fireplace. (Side note: I really wish we had a woodstove instead of a fireplace, but whatcha gonna do?) We are keeping the bigger chunks of bark to use as kindling and threw the rest into the chicken pen, where the hennies feasted on gross bark-dwelling bugs.

In other very exciting news, I tried my hand at canning for the first time! We have invasive blackberries in our backyard and although I hate those angry bushes, they do provide colander after colander full of sweet berries. I made jam.

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I used the boiling water bath method, since I’m still sort of scared of pressure canners. I haven’t commited to my own boling water canner yet, but my mother in law was kind enough to loan me hers. She also has a pressure canner I can use, when I work up the nerve. I use the Ball Blue Book as my guide. It is nicely illustrated and gives easy-to-follow, step by step instructions on canning as well as freezing and dehydrating and other food preservation methods. My mama got me these jars. Aren’t they pretty? Unfortunately the blackberry jam is purply-red in color so you can’t really see the blue glass of the jars, but they’re quite pretty when empty. Hm. Also after I filled them, I realized that I probably should have used jam jars instead of this shape, but eh. I’m just proud to have put jam in jars–beyond that, I’m unconcerned. I bought another flat of pint jars and lids today and I have my eyes on the tomatoes in my garden. I might also take a stab at canning blackberries whole (for use in pies etc.).

I’ve got my fingers crossed that we will see lots of ripe tomatoes and bell peppers soon, but honestly, I’m not holding my breath. When we were in Tennessee I think our plants might have suffered a little. We’ve harvested two small tomatoes so far, but the plants don’t have much else going on. The tomatoes we got were delicious, though. Really makes you wonder why out-of-season grocery store tomatoes even exist. Our hens haven’t begun to lay eggs yet. According to le blog, we got them on March 27th, making these hennies about 15 weeks old. So perhaps in about a month? I’m hungry for eggs here, people!

Reading: I just finished The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling. Um! I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and I knew going in that this book was supposed to be very, very different from the Harry series. I had heard a lot of not-so-great things about this book, but I am so glad that I ignored those things and read it anyway. I really enjoyed it. There were certain aspects of the book that smacked of Harry Potter: the intricate relationships between characters, plus the fact that there were so many characters and they were all incredibly well developed and fleshed-out. The imagery (I loved this line: “…lifting lids to uncover the treasures of the chilled counter: the pale gray-green artichokes, the onyx-black olives, the dried tomatoes curled like ruby seahorses in their herb-flecked oil.” Doesn’t the seahorse comparison leave you feeling pleased/creeped out? It does me!). Some things were very much not Harry Potter. The book is certainly adult, with adult language, sexual themes, the works. In Harry Potter, JK Rowling leaves readers with a hopeful feeling, a feeling that good can in fact triumph over evil. This book does not leave you with that feeling. In true JK Rowling style, though, she does manage to wreak havoc on your emotions. The ending was a bit devastating.

I’m now reading Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood and so far, so good. I also found a really cute copy of Jane Eyre at a thrift store yesterday (it’s this one: pocket sized! Pretty hardcover! Ribbon bookmark! Aw!) and I’m going to try it out. I was assigned this book in high school and decided it was boring as all get out. But now I’m a Grown Up so I feel like I should be able to read it. Aaaand now, as I read that Amazon page for the book, I’m seeing that it is abridged? Which I should probably be disappointed about, but maybe it will increase my chances of finishing it. We’ll see.

about boone

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This is my dog, Boone. My husbean and I have two dogs, Boone and Grendel. When I met my husbean-to-be he already had Grendel, and she was just a puppy. For two years Grendel fulfilled most of my dog wishes but I knew that eventually I would need to get my own puppy. I still love Grendel very very very much but there is something special about Booney, because he is mine and we chose each other and we love each other so much. During spring term of my last year of college I browsed Craigslist incessantly and went to shelters a lot and saw a lot of dogs that could have been perfect for me. Husbean sent me an ad over facebook one day, though, with a blurry picture of an Australian Shepherd puppy. The picture was blurry because the dog was wiggling. He looked scrawny and sweet and we went to meet him.

We drove to one of the sketchier neighborhoods in town and pulled up to a duplex with a very small yard and the puppy from the ad was tied to the front porch. He was eating–brace yourselves–a dirty diaper. When we got out of the car he jumped up and did a dance for us. His owner-lady came out and talked to us. Turns out that she was actually his third home (even though he was only 6 months old). He was bred on a farm and then a guy bought him and named him DEMON. He bought a puppy even though he and his wife had a very tiny infant at home. And then a few weeks later he and his wife split up. They both went to live with family members and he could not take the puppy with him. So instead he asked his friends to watch the puppy, and promised he would come over twice a day to feed it and walk it. He did not come back for three months. They tried and tried to get him to take care of the puppy but he ignored them, so finally she listed the dog on Craigslist. She had to, because she lived in a very small duplex with no less than FOUR children and FOUR full-grown pit bull dogs. She said that he had been living outside because he had too much energy to be inside the very small duplex with the four children and the four full-grown pit bull dogs. She said they had called him DEAN because they thought DEMON was a horrible name. (I was inclined to agree with her.)

We knew right then and there that we needed to take that dog home with us. In the car on the way home, I knew I wanted to call him Boone (because Dean is someone’s uncle or a driver’s ed teacher or something, not a dog). I chose this name because of the definition of the word “boon”:

boon: benefit, favor, especially : one that is given in answer to a request. a long-awaited gift.

His owner-lady had to decide if she wanted to give him to us or not, and it took her two days to decide that yes, we could have him. When I got him he had an eye infection, fleas, worms, a skin allergy, and an infected tooth. He had none of his shots and was not neutered. On the first night I brought him home, I turned on Meerkat Manor and realized that he had never seen a television before. (Don’t worry, he’s seen enough television to last a lifetime now. His favorites are Dogtown and anything about wolves.) For the first 1.5 years of his life with me, he piddled on the floor whenever anyone walked into my house. He has behavior troubles and  is usually pretty anxious.

Boone is my best friend. I think it inspires confidence to whisper things in his ear, things like “I love you” or “You’re the best dog in the world” or “I will love you for your whole entire life”. Boone’s favorite song is the theme to Winnie the Pooh and if I sing it, he will howl loudly. Boone is a really good co-pilot on road trips (except he can’t read maps or hold my cheeseburgers for me, but I take what I can get). Boone sleeps on the floor right next to my side of the bed every night, and in the morning he crawls in bed and flaps his tail and smiles at me. Even though he weighs 50+ pounds he likes to curl up in a yoga pose known as “jellybean” and sit on my lap. Boone’s ears are comically tiny. His eyes are the color of ice and some of my friends are scared that he will use them to steal their souls. Boone is exceedingly handsome and strangers stop me to tell me that all the time. Boone likes to come to Home Depot with me, although if I try to make him ride in the cart, he is guaranteed to jump out in front of traffic before we even make it inside. Boone can sit, lay down, shake, high-five, roll over, and touch things with his nose if I tell him to and if he feels like it. He goes hiking with us without his leash sometimes because he will walk behind me like a gentleman. He is a really good swimmer and likes to play fetch. He is also a champion at stealing toys from other dogs or small children or whatever. He is sitting below my feet as a type this. He is my favorite thing.

I call him: Boone, Booney, Bonnaroo, Booty, Boots, Buddy, Butt, Butts, Bean, Bah-roo, Boondoggle, Bodega, Crazy-eyes,  and so on.

Boone has an incredibly voluminous tail.

Boone has an incredibly voluminous tail.

 

This is what Boone looked like when he was a young pup. Note the thin, scrawny tail! It improved with age.

This is what Boone looked like when he was a young pup. Note the thin, scrawny tail! It improved with age.

This is the photo my mother sent out with my college graduation announcements. Boone has never looked better.

This is the photo my mother sent out with my college graduation announcements. Boone has never looked better.

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one more thing today

My neighbors started lighting off fireworks about 1 week before the 4th of July. It is now the 13th of July and I just heard yet another explosion. So we are talking multiple firework explosions per night, every night, for  LIKE THREE WEEKS NOW. Can we just not? My dog is so scared that he climbs in my closet and buries himself in a pile of laundry when he hears one.

At the same time, I understand that fireworks are fun and don’t feel like I have the right to ask them to stop. So I’ve just taken to scowling like a cranky old lady when I hear one. Maybe I should start standing out front and waving a cane at cars when they drive too fast, also.

ok so

I am the worst at blogging. Just the absolute worst. I take photos and have all these good ideas and never actually have time to do the blogging part. Here are some things that have happened lately:

1. I went to TN with husby and visited family. We went to Dollywood. On the plane ride home, I sat by the drummer of the band Sixpence None The Richer. I know this because he told another passenger, “I used to play drums for the band Sixpence None The Richer.”

2. I cannot cannot cannot stop reading true crime novels, specifically those written by Ann Rule. I usually have a “garbage in, garbage out” attitude about books and try to avoid silly stuff like true crime but idk. It is really just hitting the spot lately.

3. I became an aunt for the first time on the 10th of July. His name is Ryder and he is BEAUTIFUL.

4. I started reading The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. I am a big Harry Potter fan so I am giving it a go but I am disappointed every time I finish a page and no one has cast a spell. No honestly though, I like it so far.

5. I made blackberry jam for the first time ever. It was actually the first time that I have ever made any kind of jam or canned anything. It turned out well except that I did not have very many blackberries and the amount I produced was enough to fill 1.25 jars. Hm. The .25 jar’s worth went in the fridge and I’ve been eating it nonstop on buttermilk bread with almond butter. I would like to make more except the blackberry bushes in our backyard are so VIOLENT. Why so angry, blackberry bushes? Why do you have such wonderful berries and such mean thorns?

I have roughly 1 million photos to share and so much other stuff to post about but we -STILL- don’t have internet so I’m not sure what’s going to happen. Stay tuned?

It’s been a while!

Hi!
Our internet issues still haven’t been resolved. Boo. But I’m at a cafe near my house, bringing you some images from my garden.

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The garden is in full swing, with both flowers and vegetables working hard. The swiss chard and red cabbage are the prettiest things in my veggie garden right now, and I smell those tomato leaves every time I walk through. My hydrangeas are so covered in flowers that they look and feel like big pink pillows! I’m hoping for purple flowers next year as the plants acclimate to the soil at my house, but we’ll see. The strawberries are reddening already, meaning I need to get my dehydrator working. I also borrowed canning equipment from my mother-in-law and I’m going to try to preserve some of the tomatoes this year, as well as pickling a few things. I didn’t grow any veggies for pickling, really, so I will be visiting the farmer’s market on our block to get cucumbers and green beans for that project.

What’s going on in your garden right now?

What I’ve been reading.

In the past week and a half, I’ve read the following books: 

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman 
American Gods by Neil Gaiman 
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (this is a kid’s book, but I was on a Gaiman kick, so.)
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

And I am currently immersed in: 
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card

 

Ender’s Game is an old stand-by for me that I first read in college and re-read pretty frequently. Neil Gaiman’s works are new to me, though, as is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. (So good. Highly recommended.) 

 

 What are you reading right now? What are some of your favorite books? 

(Side note: I’m not an affiliate of Amazon, so those are not sponsored links. Just so you know.)

unexpected hiatus

Hello lovely readers! 

It seems I’ve taken an unexpected (and very much unwanted) hiatus. Due to some unfortunate dealings with our internet provider, we’ve had to cancel our account which has left us without internet for the past few weeks. I’m somewhat enjoying it, to be honest–we’ve gotten so much done without the distraction of the entire world wide web at my fingertips! I’ve been reading more books and we got our veggie garden planted for the season. 

But! We will be getting it connected soon. I’ve been missing coming here to write (not to mention that my photography folders are becoming quite the traffic jam!). So sit tight and I should be back with some fun posts very soon!