Mountain Meditation

Happy Earth Day! In the spirit of focusing on our environment and all it provides, I thought I would share our weekend away into the natural beauty of Maine.

There are times when I just need to be in the mountains. Being in the mountains and having some alone time with my camera is even better. This past weekend, after a huge event at work, I encouraged Andy to take Friday off with me so we could go to his Mom’s place in western Maine. This is the view from one part of her yard (albeit zoomed in). Not too shabby. While we celebrated the weekend with family, I decided to steal away some alone time with my camera and the stream that runs through my mother in laws property.

DSC_9194Even the dogs, who are normally glued to my side, were busy romping in the woods to their hearts content.

DSC_9312For a solid 30 minutes it was just me, my camera and a mountain stream.

DSC_9267I had been wanting to try some slower shutter speed shots of the water for some time. I used my 55-200mm lens which I love, but can admittedly be a bit tough because it doesn’t have vibration reduction. Overall though it was a fun learning experiment with both the manual use of my camera, testing my steadiness and using rocks as stabilizers, and also a good test on how close I can put my camera to the water without actually ruining it.

DSC_9210While I decided to only save a couple of the photos, I thought I’d share them with you guys.

DSC_9206DSC_9214DSC_9254These next two are my favorite. When I was editing I laughed because the first photo below looks like a large waterfall with a felled tree above it. It’s the scale of the forest behind that makes you realize it’s actually quite small. Perspective is everything.

DSC_9229 DSC_9234After I decided to head back up the hill, my sister in law and her husband were just heading up the mountain themselves to go skiing. I figured I’d hunker down and take some shots of them. Rosie decided to hang out with me. By “decided to hang out with me” I mean “made her sit with me instead of chasing Jessie and Gabe down the mountain.”

DSC_9378DSC_9401While all of this was going on, Andy, his mom and his brother were cutting cedar for our porch…but that’s for Thursdays post.

DSC_9499It was a nice weekend, and it was fun to be back in the snow for a few days since we have none left at our house. Champ, the girls doggie cousin, summed it up pretty nicely: sometimes you just need a weekend away to play, relax and to lay down while you eat snow.

DSC_9437xo,

Heather

Uncovering The Past

Our backyard borders the hayfield of a fourth generation farm, and while I’ve written many time about the farm, I haven’t written much about one particular area known as the farm dump. It’s as literal as it sounds. Many years ago when recycling systems weren’t prevalently in place and getting rid of trash was left to individuals, many farms buried items on a section of their property. The farm we live amongst seemed to bury recyclable items (some plastic,  but not much, lots of glass bottles, and some metal). My favorite by far has been the glass bottles.

DSC_9093-01Last week Andy brought me home an old Ball jar we dated between 1922-1933 and the fun began. The next day he took me back out to show me some of the other bottles he had found as well as look for some more. As we dug we started coming across some pretty neat glass. I decided to take some photos of some of my favorites for you guys. I haven’t done a lot of research on many of these yet but plan to. I’m currently in the process of carefully cleaning some of these up, and after we’ll go ahead and display them around the house.

DSC_9130-01It’s hard to pick a favorite of these bottles, but it might be this old Stark sparkling water bottle.

DSC_9114-01 DSC_9116-01 DSC_9120-04This bottle has actually cleaned up really nicely so far since the label wasn’t paper, and I think I’ll probably keep in our kitchen with flowers on the counter. As for the rest, who knows, but here they are!

I’m not sure what this Rawleigh bottle was used for, but preliminary research says it’s not very valuable. It’s still pretty darn cool though.

DSC_9113-01House of Cott was a brand of soda. I’m actually concerned about cleaning this one up because it’s a paper label and very faded. Like most of these bottles, I’ll be doing a very small test patch with some warm water before attempting to clean the entire thing. If the test patch doesn’t seem good enough I’ll simply rinse out the insides and leave the outsides dirty or dry cloth cleaned.

DSC_9149-01 DSC_9152-01 DSC_9153-01Here are some others in order to how they appear below: Seltzer & Rydholm Inc. from Auburn, Maine; Haig & Haig Five Star; non-descript bottle with “Enjoy ME” on cap; large Casco; small Casco.

DSC_9125-01 DSC_9099-01 DSC_9144-01 DSC_9146-01 DSC_9147-01 DSC_9175-01Behind the small Casco bottle directly above, you can see a very roached out brown label. This one is going to be near impossible to clean but is an old linseed oil bottle. The part of the label left intact caught me for some reason so it made it home despite being in horrible shape.

DSC_9173-01Overall we’ve had a lot of fun back there seeing what other people considered junk. There’s some interesting metal pieces as well, one which may make it into a flower bed per Andy’s idea. That’s another post for another day however.

In the mean time what gems have you found on your property or around?

xo,

Heather

Master Bathroom Ahoy!

I promised you guys a post on Tuesday and Thursday every week for the month of April at a minimum, and I’m bent on keeping that promise. I’m battling my first nasty cold in a while, and my biggest event of the year at work is in two days, so bear with me. I expect my post for Thursday will be up a little later than 10am, so I’d check back in the afternoon.

When we completed the addition, and especially the master bedroom, we left one place pretty much untouched-the master bathroom. We simply didn’t have the money or time to finish it up when there were other things (like siding) that needed to be completed first. So while our bedroom is beautiful ,the master bathroom continues to be roughed in only.

DSC_9025-01This room is one of the few rooms in the house that is extremely difficult to photograph. It’s quite small and will be nothing like the master bathrooms you see all over the place. Double sinks? Not a chance. Soaker tub? Sure, if you want to sit at the bottom of the shower and pretend you’re in a tub.

We really wanted this bathroom for function – i.e. shower, toilet, sink. Though, I’ll admit that I actually fought against having this within our bedroom. We had a bathroom in our bedroom in the house we lived in before we bought this place and I hated it. You read that right. I might be the only woman in all of America who absolutely disliked having a bathroom off of the bedroom. I also don’t like bathrooms directly off kitchens. Your bedroom and your kitchen are two places that should never smell a certain way. I was finally convinced when we realized the layout for a second upstairs bathroom wouldn’t work anywhere else and one stipulation would be adhered to – absolutely, positively, no…uh…number two…unless there’s an absolutely unavoidable world-is-ending emergency.

Now that the bathroom is there I’ve grown accustomed to it. Despite my initial reservations I had to agree that an upstairs bathroom was pretty necessary and space simply wouldn’t allow it anywhere else. Secret between us is that I’m looking forward to see how it turns out. It’s going to be tiny, but it’s going to be beautiful. Right now we’re talking a hardwood cherry floor, douglas fir custom vanity, douglas fir custom mirror/medicine cabinet, douglas fir ceiling perhaps and definitely 100% a sliding barn door since a regular door wouldn’t work in that space. The barn door was another one of my concessions to having a bathroom upstairs. I like them a lot, but it really came down to a big space issue. We couldn’t have the door swing out or it would hit our master bedroom door, and we couldn’t have it swing in because it would take up too much room. Also, we have a locking bedroom door so there’s really no need for a traditional bathroom door anyway.

Without further ado I give you all of the roughed in “before” photos with a little blurb about each photo above the shot.

Facing the shower. We’ll have about a 34″ shower stall here. We’re looking at corner units so we can have more open space. A traditional one would essentially give the feel of a wall and would make the space tinier than it already is. While I would like an acrylic base and tiled walls, I think Andy is going to go the full acrylic route. I admit it would be a lot easier to clean and less likely to leak.

DSC_9016-01The ceiling is currently vaulted and I’d love to keep it that way, but loving something doesn’t mean it loves you back. The vaulted ceiling just isn’t into me. While it would be a great way to add a spacious feeling to the room it just won’t work. We need the space so we can put in a strong ventilation system. Damn.

DSC_9018-01This is the toilet corner. I’m picturing a white toilet with a couple picture frames above and maybe a few plants on the top of the toilet itself. I also don’t love toilets in my bedroom. Might as well try to jazz it up a bit.

DSC_9017-01This is where the vanity will go. It will be tucked right into the corner. Because of the plumbing layout it will be flush to the floor since it’s not meant to go with a pedestal or legged vanity. It will work better anyway since we need the storage. Function wins, though I suspect it will be pretty to look at as well.

DSC_9021-01One more overall shot for good measure.

DSC_9023-01I’m not sure when we’ll start this project, but our hope is this summer. First, we need to finish siding the house and perhaps finished up the porch. If we have enough time this will be tackled too. It’s definitely on the 2014 roster though since we have to have this one done before we tear out the original house (and only current bathroom).

Hopefully I’ll get to update on some details in the next month or so, even if it’s just picking things out for the bathroom. You guys know you can’t wait until I tell all about the toilet we finally pick out. Sounds like another “How To Be Classy Like Me” post. I am nothing if not the classiest broad you’ll ever meet (she says while coughing up a lung).

xo,

Heather

The Deck Is Back On The Roster

I’m hesitant to definitively state what we’ll be working on this summer because we’re still figuring that all out, but over the last week or so I decided the deck was making it back on the roster. When we built our deck a few summers ago (here, here, here, here and here) we knew we would eventually have to refinish the railings. All wood requires upkeep and our mahogany rail is no different.

So while the deck railing looked like this when we finished:

DSC_6941-01It now looks a little more like this:

DSC_9004-01DSC_9005-01I am officially throwing the gauntlet down against myself to get this project done by the fall. Now I’m putting in on my blog too.

At least the deck doesn’t still look like the photo below. I think we can all agree even a worn rail is indescribably better than the previous hazard. That makes me feel better at least.

Deck_BeforeHere we go! Now stop grumbling me, you did this to myself. Wait, what?

xo,

Heather

Sun Tea & Sprouts

With spring slowly yawning it’s way awake this year, and a good portion of our yard snow free, once I saw Sunday was suppose to be a 48 degree high I knew I was headed outside to work in the yard. Potential snow be damned, it was time to get this spring thing started.

First, I decided to set up our table and chairs that we often eat most every dinner meal on once it gets warm enough, and that I will happily read at all bundled up until then. Second, nothing symbolizes spring more at our house than sun tea. The warm sun heats up tea bags and brews it slowly. Whether you drink sun tea warm when the evenings are still cold, or more often chilled on a hot summer day, it’s downright delightful.

DSC_9049-01After just a few hours of working in the yard and reading at the table, it becomes a happy sign of the sun at work.

DSC_9047-01DSC_9077-01 While I let the sun do it’s job I mulled around the yard and started cleaning up certain beds and saying hello to the plants that snuggled in during this long winter we had.

One mild concern is our three rows of garlic. The frost heaved many of the cloves out of the soil. They seem to be well rooted and some are sprouting so keep your fingers crossed.

DSC_9055-01I also found our strawberry plants had quite surprisingly made it through the fall and winter. We battled some grass wanting a strong takeover last year, and I half expected between the grass and the winter we would have lost them. The grass seemed to have protected each little plant to my happiness. Under the long dead grass laid small green leaves. This year we really will have to transplant these strawberries. After two years it’s clear our original spot next to this particular stone wall simply isn’t the best option. While not an ideal time of year to do so, in another week or so I’ll be transplanting them into the blueberry beds which also enjoy an acidic soil. Given the slow start to spring I expect they may not yield a lot, but they will be okay and take root.

DSC_9059-01 DSC_9056-01In preparation for moving these strawberries, I cleaned up the blueberry bed and found these little flowers growing. I believe these might be the peonies but I’m not quite sure. While peonies and tulips are my two favorite flowers I have to admit that if I can’t eat it, I don’t pay much attention to it. In other words, my focus is really on my vegetables in the summer time and anything else is something Andy or mother nature has likely taken the time to transplant.

DSC_9062-01Speaking of the veggies, inside the house they are starting to peek up. I decided to try seriously under-taking seed starting this year and doing it in soil blocks. I bought my soil blocker from Johnny Seeds (2″ – 4 blocks) but there are many seed catalogs that sell them. It’s a method that helps the plant from becoming root bound, but requires a little more care.

Currently I have celery and celeriac seed sprouting, neither of which I’ve ever grown before, and  45 tomato seeds started on Saturday (15 pink beauty, 15 granadero, 15 defiant). I’m not sure how many of the tomato seeds will actually germinate but I had a pretty decent germination rate last year when I tried starting just a couple indoors. Keep your fingers crossed! If they all germinate I’ll likely give a few away and I’m still going to have a lot of tomatoes which makes me happy. To me there are few things symbolizing summer more than how delicious a fresh off the vine tomato is while you’re still standing in the garden’s warm soil.

DSC_9082-01 DSC_9081-01Overall it was a very relaxing and productive Sunday.

DSC_9060-01I hope you all had a beautiful weekend, and if not, that this helped put a smile on your face.

xo,

Heather