My Burl(y) Man

Andy never ceases to confuse my brain with what he does. Just when I think I’ve figured out exactly what he’s capable of he does something that makes my brain screech it’s brakes on, because he just one upped himself.

I truly do not understand it.

Yesterday while I was revamping my Green Barn Soaps website due to sneaky hooligan hijinks which rendered it useless, Andy took the dogs for a walk. Apparently on said walk he found a dead cherry tree with a small burl on it, and pulled the tree down – with his hands. Let me tell you something about burles. They are ugly. They look like nasty growths on the side of a tree, which they sort of are—except they aren’t nasty at all.  It is the ultimate example of not judging a book by it’s cover. In our first year of dating, he had one at his mom’s house. I kept trying to get them to throw it in the bonfire and Andy looked at me like I had 12 heads. He immediately took it in his woodshop, cut it up, and planed one side so I could see the gorgeous figure and spalting that grows in burles.

We still have that slab of wood. I should have known then that I would be in for always being surprised with this guy.

If you have no idea what a burl is, this is a burl while still on a tree.

After, he used his 1980’s Husqvarna chainsaw—which he rebuilt—to buck it all up and cut the burl out. I only know this because he told me the story about the burl while I was outside playing with the dogs today and he walked out with this. At first he said he was going to turn it into a lamp.

Then, after a walk in the woods to go burl hunting, and attempting and failing to take one down with his hands…

…he informed me he thought that maybe he would make a vase instead of a lamp. Also, he was going to sell it on his Etsy page.

Andy does not have an Etsy page.

He does not plan on having an Etsy page either.

I was admittedly confused. How on earth could you make that into a vase?

I should know not to ask questions like that, because Andy will always find a way.

You see all of those little black lines? That called spalted wood. Also, the part that looks rotted or chewed up isn’t at all—it’s just how it all grows. You really can’t use water in this since water swells and cracks wood, but you can put cut flowers in it (or fill one of those plastic things that flowers come in and stick it on the bottom of the stem to keep it hydrated without putting water in the actual vase).

I really should start expecting Andy to confuse all of my synapses with the things he does and makes. He’s pretty modest. He knows he’s good and capable, he certainly isn’t self-deprecating like a lot of people with talent, which I love about him. That said, he never talks about it. He just sort of…does it.

I feel like a very lucky woman.

A very confused, but lucky, woman.

Now, if my husband actually opens an Etsy store I can guarantee I will truly have my mind blown. That is so not him. Then again, I never know.



P.S. My girls had a heck of a day today. It started with a hike, then we played ball, then we went on a super long walk. They are now snuggled down deep into a blanket and snoring and making adorable dog sleep noises – but earlier they were proving they have enough game to be WNBA players. Rosie’s got a crazy vertical, this wasn’t even close to her highest.

How To Be Classy Like Me: Wine Drinking

Forget a series, this blog should pretty much just be called, “How To Be Classy Like Me”.  I don’t want to be pompous, but I’m probably the most classy person you’ll ever know.

Today’s lesson is on wine drinking.

First, you get the classiest wine you can find. For me, this is Margarita wine handmade by my Uncle. He makes much less classy wine like White Chocolate White Port, and Savignon Blanc, but if you really want to impress people you’ll always go for something like Margarita. If you are classy enough to get hives from some alcohol like I do with tequlia, to name one, you’ll find this wine is a handy replacement. That is, if you can find your own private distributor like I have.

Second, you pour extremely high end ionized salt in a bowl, or sugar if you’re so inclined. Make sure your bowl is clearly the nicest one you have, remember who you are here – you’re classy, and classy people don’t do anything half-assed. Or swear.

Thirdly, obtain your pure crystal wine glass from the china cabinet, wipe the rim in wine – nay, don’t use a fruit like lime or lemon, they are beneath you. Take said glass with wetted rim and place in the salt or sugar.

Fourth, and this is important you MUST absolutely only use a classy amount of ice in your glass with your wine which has not been previously chilled. Previously chilled white wine is for novices. It is required to chill your wine on the spot with ice. About 8 cubes should do the trick.

Fifth, pour oh so gently over the cubes without splashing any of the delightfulness off of the rim.

Finally, always fill your wine glass a classy amount.

For an added pop of glitz and glamour I highly suggest a dainty splash of juice or sparkling water.

And that, my friends, is how you can drink wine and be classy like me.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, five-heads, no makeup, a giant Steven Tyler-esque mouth and a thumbs up/wink combo is extremely classy.

Much Love,


Shak{ering} It Up – Walnut Sidetables Revealed

Hey, do you remember that one time Andy was building us two shaker walnut side tables, which I discussed here and here, and then I said I would update you when he was done, and then I didn’t?

Yeah, me neither.

So with that said, I’m totally on time with this reveal. Completely.

These tables made me realize why people use coasters. I still have yet to put any glass of any kind on them yet, and have dusted them more often than I’ve probably dusted in my entire house. It turns out when you have really nice furniture you like it to continue to look really nice.

I love the unique grain that each table has, despite looking similar in style. It’s hard for me to comprehend how on earth my husband built every single piece of these tables by hand—right down to the knobs on the drawers, which he turned on the lathe.

Here are a few more detail shots of the pieces, including the beautiful dovetails on the drawers. Mr.A says they aren’t perfect, but they look perfect to me.

Once we had these in place Andy told me the story of where this walnut came from. Almost 50 years ago, when my father-in-law was a boy in Ohio, he planted a walnut tree in his front yard. Years later when his father moved, my father-in-law chopped down the walnut tree and brought it back to Maine (yep, the entire log) and had it sawed here. He had it drying in his garage and when he gave it to Andy, he used it for these tables.

I love pieces that have a sentimental value to them, and I love the idea of passing these pieces with their stories down the line someday.

Now all we need is a new couch, because these babies need something just as beautiful to flank.

Much Love,


Mama Matriarch + Little Muggins

It was bitter cold on Saturday with the wind, but the sky was bright and the air was crisp. With Andy in the garage working on getting one of the chainsaws running I got bored and decided it was time to take the dogs up to the farm with my camera. I wasn’t sure the cows would be out close to the barn, but I decided to hop into the pasture and see if I could track them down. The farmer teased me to harassing his cattle and then left me be.

It didn’t take long to find the ladies. When it’s as cold as it was on Saturday they tend to stay close to the hay and the barn, especially with the couple calves who unexpectedly showed up in the fall.

This lady made sure I was there with good intentions, and to see if either my hand or my camera was food.

Mama Matriarch was keeping a tight eye on me the entire time. You walk slow and stop often when approaching a herd of cows facing you. Especially when you know Mama Matriarch has her eyes on you. You respect her, she respects you.

And even though I just happened to catch the right moment, I laugh whenever I see this one. Mama Matriarch was definitely giving the stink eye to her mischievous kid (or niece, I’m not sure).

Once I got Mama Matriarchs approval I was able to move closer to the herd, and close I did move. They kept coming right up to me and nudging me, smelling me, wrapping my glove in their tongue, and in general just watching me. The phrase really should be curious like a cow, not curious like a cat.

Being so close was awesome. It never ceases to impress me. There’s something about their snouts that are demanding and powerful (trust me, I’ve been ‘nudged’ in the spine by one) and at the same time cute and gentle. I was able to get this photo from about one foot away.

I adore the calves little muggins. Their curiosity and carefulness is wonderful. This little one kept looking at me, and kept trying to come near me but then would get spooked. He decided that hiding behind the Red Angus was much safer as long as he could peak around.

There’s one particular female I love to watch grow up. Do you remember this little lady in the center? You might recognize her from this post. She’s getting so big! Though she has no name really, I call her Roxy. She’s the first calf I ever saw birthed, and is half Hereford, half Red Angus and one hundred percent awesome.

Before long my camera started taking a little longer to get shots off, and then it eventually succumbed to the bitter wind and cold weather. This was the last shot before the battery decided it needed to go back in the house and warm up. I should really crochet a sweater for my camera. Could you imagine? If this happens you must immediately promise me two things.

One, high-five me for being so awesome and two, please drag me out somewhere and far far away from crochet hooks.

Much Love and Hot Chocolate from the Farm,



Why Am I Standing In Water?

I’m no plumber, and I don’t know a lot about it, but I admittedly like plumbing. Like, I really like plumbing. Have you ever watching Ask This Old House? If no, you should. If yes, my favorite segments are the plumbing ones.

I have no explanation for this.

So when this morning I found myself standing in a puddle of water while I rinsed the coffee pot out I may or may not have had a little spark in my eye along with the inevitable, “what the..?!” that went through my mind.

It turns out the elbow of the drain had a hole through it and if you pushed your finger on it, it simply crumbled. Even though I like plumbing Andy actually knows how to do it and do it right. So I told him about it, came back downstairs by myself and looked at it again.

I knew I could fix it. I was determined that I was going to fix it. I asked Andy if he wanted to come to Home Depot with me and he laughed and said, “I’ll go the second time”, implying I would get the wrong stuff the first time. Nothing like a little teasing to make me dig my heels in. Challenge on.

First I put a sticky note on the right side of our double sink (the side with the hole) to make sure no one used it. Luckily changing this pipe out isn’t something you need to shut the water off for. Excuse the much needed sink wipe down, I couldn’t run the water for that side of the sink.

Then I asked Andy where our plumbing stuff was and grabbed our handy dandy pipe wrench and loosened the nuts on either side of the 15″ pipe.

I removed the entire pipe and nuts to bring with me (because I was only going once to the store for this). Yep, definitely a hole. And a really really gross pipe.

So off I went to pick up the right pieces. It cost me just under $15.00 total for a 1.5″ 15 inch waste arm and two 1.5 inch “slip joint nuts with washer”. I put that in quotes because I had no idea what they were called until I got to the store. I just matched up what I had. I can tell you though that there is also a 1.5″ to 1.4″ slip joint nut for when the pipe you’re connecting to is slightly smaller. It seems like 1.5″ is standard though. If you didn’t have either you might be looking at about $30.00? I have no idea how much pipe wrenches cost.

Old vs. New. Yikes.

The next step was to wipe down the pipes left under the sink and put some pipe joint compound onto the threads. I tried tape at first but didn’t like the connection it gave, so I took it off and switched methods.

The one thing you need to make sure of is that you have the washers facing the right way. I accidentally put the left one on wrong at first and had a small leak. Once I turned it the right way and re-tightened everything there was no leak. The photo below shows the right way to put it on. Ignore the piece on the top of this photo with compound on it, focus on the red piece. If you are curious though, it was a small gasket that was causing it not to tighten enough and it didn’t leak without it so no problem. Also ignore the fact that I have that upside down in this photo too. The rest is right.

Once I got everything going the right way, I battened down the hatches and tested the water.

Boo yah, no more leak!

Despite having one washer backwards, and a piece I decided not to use, I consider this a success.

In one trip.

Challenge won.

Happy Plumbing,