Seems Old Silver isn’t going anywhere right now;
It threw a hissy fit and a tire. I can’t say I blame it. We can’t seem to get above freezing here. I would like to throw a hissy fit too. All I ask for is 32 degrees and a palm tree in my front yard. Meanwhile, I’m eyeballing that trailer and thinking, “Airstream”. Let’s repurpose it. I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll mention it again…this could be one, hot home-on-wheels. So, word out to Pete, if you don’t get that tire fixed soon, I’m going to get my design crew out there, take measurements and make it a cute, retro, mobile home-away-from-home. And I will hook it up to my car, which also happens to be silver…and I will be a fast, flash of gleaming silver (after I’ve taken my car through the car wash) heading for warmer temps crying out…”Hi-Ho Silver, Away!!”
Oh, and I’m taking the cat too. After all, she does match both car and trailer;
There is the occasion upon which I am called to watch a gate.
Yep, there it is. That there is a gate, and it looks mighty fine. Good job, let’s go indoors now!
Not so fast says Pete. There’s more to it than that. Gate watching does not accurately define the experience. You see, gate watching sounds like a pleasantly passive interlude. Something to do while reading a book or twining flowers in one another’s hair on a warm, summer day.
For me though, it means pulling on my winter gear, skating across the iced-over farmyard, opening the gate to allow the tractor to drive in with an abundance of straw, all the while keeping the steer from running out in their quest for free pasture. For this, Pete arms me with…a stick. Thanks. 45 steer weighing approximately 1100 lbs. against one, little me. And he gives me a stick.
As it turns out, I don’t really need to use the stick. These guys are pretty cool. They might get overly curious and give me the hairy eyeball, or drool on my gloves a little too much. But mostly, they just carry on chewing, staring, and hanging with their brethren while we go on about our business. Or rather as Pete goes on about his business. I’m still watching the gate. And today’s gate watch went well. The steer got fresh straw, and I opened, watched, and finally locked the gate. All flawlessly performed in 14 degree weather. Which feels pretty balmy compared to the single digits and below zero temperatures we’ve been having.
In fact, Pete then took some time to sit in the sun with his entourage, Bowzer B. Dawg and Hans the Barn Kitten.
Someone wants a new workshop and I just can’t see why. It looks perfectly fine to me. Just look how gracefully the roof line curves downward. (If I may point out, that’s not camera distortion, that’s for real) And look at that fine mid-century garage door. This is a treasure trove of history! “Why in the world would you cover that up!!” (I’m sort of loosely quoting one of our favorite HGTV show hosts there. I wonder if anyone recognizes who that might be??!)
Seriously though, there is so much texture, vignettes and personality in that space, I would be sad to see it go. Time and again I get pulled in there and just stare at the odd placement of tools, the random still lifes, and the beautiful texture of weathered wood:
…along with some time worn metal:
and odd bits and tools:
Sure, it needs a little sprucing up, maybe a shiny, new tool here and there, but otherwise, perfectly fine. And if the wind chill factor gets too bad for you, tack up another duvet cover over the windows. It’s working for our front door, it can work here too! Ha ha…oh my gosh…this isn’t Chicago living anymore, and I love it! Some day Pete, you’ll get your updated workshop. But leave a little texture in there for me!
Another cold blast is about to slap us around in the coming days. Already the water lines have once again frozen up on the animals thus sending my husband into a frenzy of expletive-laced action. I’m not sure what I can do to help, and in fact I would probably do more harm than good. So I shoveled the porch, put gas in the car and assembled my layers of clothes to wear tomorrow during our predicted high of -7 degrees. Ooo, can’t wait for that! Let me just pause and think about greener days for a moment. Okay, done. Back to white. We got a fresh 3″ layer of powdery snow. Nature’s finest. Meanwhile, indoors it has turned white as well:
One of the things we’ve done inside to battle these cold fronts, is to tack fabric up on the west-facing windows. Yes, that’s right. It’s the no frills answer to instant insulation until we take the time to really pick out something nice for those windows. Though if it were just me, I’d rather leave the windows naked. But it is drafty. So we literally hammered scrap cotton cloth up on the windows upstairs. I will not show you what we hammered on to the west-facing front door downstairs…but I will tell you; a blue plaid duvet cover unearthed not too long ago from a 1980s LL Bean catalog no doubt. hee. Sometimes when I walk into friends’ homes that are of newer build, I wonder to myself what it would be like to live in such a fresh space, with 90 degree angles, carpeted floors, clean lines and insulated windows…and think, “Nah! I like what I got! Character! In spades!” I suppose I wouldn’t have it any other way.
And now that I’m thinking about it, I probably sealed my own fate when many years ago while I was still a kid, my family went for a hike somewhere. I’m not sure where it was, somewhere in upstate New York? But at one point the trail took us through a field and past a run down farmhouse. I remember remarking on how it was so run down looking. And my older (wiser?) sister said something to the effect that you never know, inside it could look like an Arabian palace. And in my child’s mind, her words instantly bloomed the farmhouse interior into a beautiful interpretation of arabesque wall paper, sparkling chandeliers, columns, minarets and tiled surfaces. Wow. Ever since then I’ve always looked at farmhouses and wondered what was really behind those peeling facades and crooked doors because you never know, it could be a palace…or maybe just me.
We’re thawing out. For the moment anyway. The Polar Vortex stumbled its way down south outside its normal vortex range and smacked us in the head with its frigid breath. It hurt. Now it’s on its way home, and we can step outside without fear of frostbite and dead car batteries. Today’s 39 degrees is feeling downright balmy. Time to get outside and have a look around. And around I went till I ended up at the front porch. I hardly ever see the front porch in winter. It pretty much shuts down for the season. It’s our side porch that sees all the action. The side porch leads directly into the kitchen and was known as the dooryard. That’s pretty typical for old farmsteads year round from what I understand. Way back then, that’s where everyone comes and goes. Poor, neglected front porch. We enjoy you in summer while you stage the scene for fine sunsets and turbulent storms, yet we pay you no mind during winter. Time for a front porch visit:
And what do we have here…color! Thank you front porch for the splash of color. You’ve pulled through for me on this winter day. I kept meaning to take that birdhouse stoplight down for the winter. I never did. And Pete said that it was fine to leave the chair on the porch during winter as it has always been there. So I did. Turns out the combo of the two make a fine pair.
It sort of reminds me of a bus stop in Chicago in winter. Only no traffic here, and that’s the way I like it. In fact, this might be the spot to enjoy a glass of ice wine next weekend. I’ll make reservations now. “Hello? Front Porch? Seating for two?”. Reservation made.
Whitewashed, glass-tiled, cool in the summer, cold in the winter. That is the milkhouse that has become my studio where I hope to get back to my basic roots of drawing, painting, and at some point, printmaking.
And just in case you think this is all about my artwork, I'll be posting about daily life on a small, working farm as well. And since I didn't grow up on a farm, and have no idea what to do in many cases, you may find a few amusing anecdotes as I grow accustomed to life here.
This will be an evolving, and in all probability, ever-changing site as I figure things out. So stick around and let's see what happens!