The sign of the chicken

Years ago Ben’s parents had this metal sign made for us.  At the time we were living in a small San Antonio neighborhood and I couldn’t fathom any reason why I would or should have a sign with our name and a chicken in my house.

Little did any of us know what foreboding the chicken sign would have on my life now.

For years I lugged that thing around.  Hiding it in closets, underbeds, the back of the utility room.  I was all for the country, distressed look but a chicken?! Really?!

Then  we moved to the woods.  And not just any woods.  Two acres of overgrown, barely cleared for the house, snaky woods.

Soon came the goats.

      “But why?!” I asked
      To clear the pens and chicken coup.
      “But why?!”
      So we can have chickens.

Of course.

And there I was. Finally in a situation where the chicken sign could come home to roost.  And I wouldn’t change it for a thing.  Well I would add more land for more goats and chickens and a barn and more gardens and OH a tractor and for me to be able to stay home and take care of all this stuff.  But all of that is yet to come.

But someday.
I had a sign.


Ready to get gardening

I am itching to get my hands in the garden.

Last night I was up until midnight laying everything out using the free garden planter on the Smart Gardener website.  I cannot say enough about how much I love this app. In my early years my gardening attempts were plagued with over planting, forgetting to mulch, or to fertilize.  Smart gardener now send me gentle email reminders of my tasks in the garden. 

I long for all of these duties to be like second nature.  I want to be a habitual gardener where the ebb and flow of the seasons tell me when to plant, when to harvest, when to save seeds, when to till up and weather down for the winter. But that probably won’t happen until I’m not running kids everywhere. So until then I’ll use Smart Gardener.

The Arkansas Flower and Garden show is this weekend.  Be sure to stop by and see all the lovely ladies of Arkansas Women Bloggers at booth 17.  The unofficial official “Social Media Megaphone of Arkansas” (they are handling the social media so be sure to follow them on twitter with the hashtag #afgs2014).  I’ll be catching it on Sunday. This weekend coincides with our yearly celebration of Ben’s birthday and we are heading to the races again.  I’ve been looking forward to the corn beef sandwiches all month.
But when I get back it’s time to get busy.

View my garden plan and many others at Smart Gardener.

Home is where the hearth is

Arkansas weather is being, well, Arkansas weather.  A friend described it as “winter weather whiplash.”  The temps have been on a yo-yo and my sinuses are NOT enjoying the ride.

We’ve been dreaming of a wood stove since we moved to the hill. I guess you could say since we moved back to Arkansas since our first house didn’t have one either. In San Antonio we longed for days cool enough to build a fire in the fireplace. But when we move further north where the winters actually feel like winter we were fireplace-less.  We also worried about not having an alternate heating source since our house in all electric. 

I was determined to have a wood stove that was pretty.  One that complemented the decor of the living room and wasn’t a big black box (I was willing to paint it if need be.)

After searching Pinterest, I found some absolutely adorable models only to realize “These aren’t sold in the US only Europe” or “Good Lordy! That’s the price of a small car!”  My style taste was not in our price range.

But this year Craiglist brought a Christmas Miracle.  A man had bought a new house with a wood stove in it but his wife wanted it out.  (In my opinion she must have not been right in the head.) 

So he posted it for a song!  $350 + the gas to Memphis + a meal at the Rendevous for Ben & his friends that helped move it.

We spent most of our Christmas vacation building the hearth and bricking the wall.

(I plan to continue under the chair rail eventually.)

Our goal was to have it operational by the end of January.  And after much waiting on stovepipe and cutting holes in the ceiling and buying elbows for the piping (Good Lord we spent  more on those than the stove.  They aren’t cheap.)  theeeeeen, cutting a hole in the roof (that was not without a lot of nervousness on my part)……….

We were able to enjoy our first fire in our wood stove this weekend! 

Just in time for 67° F weather.  Our second fire sent us running to open windows last night when the thermostat reached 79°.  But rest assured its 31° today.

And I’m looking forward to curling up on the couch tonight and enjoy the show.