Sunday, May 29, 2011

Guest House: The carpeting is in

Finally! After an entire year, and a handful of carpet installers that did not show up, we finally have carpeting!

A sweet man with his son (and a puppy) were hired and they did a fantastic job laying the carpeting. We can finally start putting some furniture in this place (when we have some to put in). 

You can see photos of the upstairs without carpeting here.

Carpeted stairs

Carpeted bonus room

It no longer echos upstairs!

Carpeted bedroom
Carpeted bedroom again

Carpeted landing at top of stairs

Some before and after photos:





Thanks for visiting!

I'm linking to the following blog parties this week:

Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Anything Goes Party at Type A

Friday, May 27, 2011

Where have all the emails gone?

Another Blogger victim here!

I sincerely apologize to those who have commented on my blog and not received an email response from me! I love receiving comments and I always reply to you in an email (if you add your email). This week, I am able to read the comments on my blog -- but the email isn't coming through! Weird, weird, weird. 

After seeing comments on other blogs regarding blogger problems, I looked it up... Sure enough, "it's them not me." Luckily, I haven't had any of the other problems I read about, only the email one.

I'm still new at this and still learning as I go -- and having a blast doing it!

Thanks for your patience and the moment the emails come through to me, I will reply to you!

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Four little kittens

A few months ago, a stray cat started coming around our property. A very pretty little black cat with a white spot under her chin. She was a little bit tame...  I tried putting food out for her and she would come near me to eat it -- but she wasn't overly friendly. So I continued to put a little food out in the mornings for about a half hour. She started showing up during that time to eat the food.

I named her Stella.

She disappeared for quite awhile and I finally decided she had moved on....

One night a couple of weeks ago, I spotted black cat slinking around outside and on a hunch I yelled "Stella!" in my best Marlon Brando voice. heh. And to my surprise, she came running towards me! It was definitely my Stella.

And she was obviously nursing kittens.

For 10 days I tried to find those kittens and I finally gave up. I don't know much about cats but I didn't think she'd roam too far from them, but maybe she did? She did her job well, keeping them extremely well hidden.

Last week, I happened to catch her slinking around again and saw her crawl under one of the buildings on our property. It's a big metal building that holds equipment. One corner of it has became a "catch-all" for junk that needs to be thrown out, recycled, given away, etc.

I followed her into the building (I used the front door instead of crawling through the hole) and looky what I found:

Yep -- FOUR kittens (that I now have to find homes for)! I am going to guess they are about 4 weeks old. They're so tiny!

Their cute little tails stick straight up into the air! I'm really more of a "dog person" but have to admit that little kittens are some of the cutest things ever to exist.

I am quite tempted to keep them all!

(And just in case someone is wondering: yes, all cats will be seeing a vet and they will not grow up to reproduce again!)

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What makes you tick?

I'm someone who actually enjoys winter. I like the colder weather and crisp nights. I like the time change with darkness arriving early in the evening. Cozy nights by the fireplace. When the skies are clear, the stars are absolutely magnificent to see. I like boots and heavy coats. I like snow and winter storms -- and blizzards so strong we can't see outside past our windows. That is, as long as we don't have to drive in it. Which is often. But oh well...

In my humble opinion, the only major downfall to winter (other than driving in bad weather) is the snowplow driver who likes to cruise around at 6:30 a.m. going about 70 mph. (ok, ok, in actuality, he's only going about 5 mph -- but it sure sounds like 70.)

As much as I do enjoy it, it is always exciting when winter comes to an end and spring rolls in. We're no longer buried in snow and/or ice and/or freezing winds. The boots, heavy coats and all the hats and mittens and gloves are put away in anticipation of warm, starry nights and hot summer days... evenings spent outside with friends and lots of boat rides.

Along with the warmer weather come other things. Things I really dislike. Things I do not have think about during the winter. Creepy, crawly things. In just the past few days, this is what I have had to deal with:

Wednesday, May 18:

  • 9:30 pm: Arrived home. Checked the back deck. Two possums are hanging out. I don't like possums. They're pretty harmless but they're ugly and they look like they want to kill me.
  • 11:50 pm: Woke up to noises on back deck. Turned on light to see multiple raccoons having a deck party. I don't like raccoons. They're not scared of anything and they have beady eyes. These raccoons appeared to be plotting my death.
Thursday, May 19:
  • 7:10 am: Open front door to go to work. Huge snake about 6 inches long is hanging out by the front door. I scream and throw my car keys at it. It slithers away. I use long stick to retrieve my keys from the ground. I leave by the back door where the deck is because I'm certain the snake has a plethora of friends all waiting to kill me.
  • 9:45 pm: Arrived home. Check the back deck. The raccoons are back and the party is about to start. I turn on the light and bang on the door and yell and they just look at me. Pretty sure they were pointing to me to identify to all their friends hiding in the trees that I cannot see that yes, this is the one we kill soon. I open the door and throw my empty Diet Coke can at them. They leave. A murderous backwards glance at me from one of them gave me shivers. 
  • 10:15 pm: Check the back deck to make sure raccoons are gone. They are. Instead, there is a possum checking out the Diet Coke can. I turn on the light and the possum runs away as fast as he can, stumbling over the can. I retrieve the can. 
  • 11:15 pm: I see shadows moving in the front yard underneath the light that shines over our acreage at night. It's the raccoon gang. I go to bed.
Friday, May 20:
  • 6:50 am: Leaving for work. Open the front door and walk to my car. A bazillion flies are outside and on the attack as I run for the car. Pretty sure they would've killed me if I hadn't made it just in time. 
  • 9:35 pm: Check the back deck. I turn on the light, open the back door and a tiny gigantic skunk looks back up at me. Skunks give me that sinking, break into a cold sweat, I suddenly can't breathe feeling -- like something very bad is about to happen. I quickly and quietly shut the door. (I discovered last year that one should not scream and slam the door when a skunk is on the deck.) Skunk was already turning to leave when the light came on, and he jumped off and ran into the trees. I am now a prisoner in my home because there is a skunk outside and probably calling up all his skunk buddies while plotting to kill me.
  • 10:15 pm: Hear a loud "ka-thunk-thunk-thunk" followed by an "eeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-chugga-chugga-chugga-BOOM" on the back deck. I chose to ignore this. I'm positive that whatever it was meant certain death if I went out there. I live another day.
Saturday, May 21:
  • Basically uneventful. I hear thumps outside but have no desire to go and check it out.
Sunday, May 22:
  • 9:30 pm: Arrive home. Two deer run away from our property as I pull into the driveway. That was cool.  
  • 9:55 pm: Check the back deck. Possum looks back up at me. I open the door and yell "boo!" and he lumbers off. 
  • 10:00 pm: I'm still standing by the back deck and a smaller possum arrives. I open the door again and yell "boo!" and he scrambles away.
Monday, May 23:
  • 9:10 pm: Arrive home. Look in the back yard out kitchen window. Two skunks hanging out. One on the deck, the other in the grass. I bang on the window and one runs away and the other runs under the deck! Great. Oh, just great. I decide to leave the lights on as I've read skunks apparently do not like light. However, enormous, giant bugs do like the light. I can hear them buzzing and thunking outside.
  • 9:30 pm: Hubby, who is at the lake, calls to report he felt "itchy" and then discovered a TICK on him. Eeewwwwwwww!!! He mowed the property earlier in the day and decided he must've somehow picked one up. Ticks are the worst! Even the word "tick" brings that dreaded, break into a cold sweat, something very bad is going to happen feeling.
  • 10:10 pm: I do not know WHY, but I suddenly had that awful feeling that maybe I also had a tick. So I started looking at my arms and legs. Then I felt a tiny little bump, and sure enough -- a tick. Eeewwwwwwww!!! A humongous tick about the size of a little seed. I about died. I have never had a tick before and I was freaking out!
  • 10:11 pm: Grab tick with a kleenex and throw it into the toilet. Flush toilet. Flush toilet another 7 times.
  • 10:15 pm: Yank off all pajamas and along with the clothing I wore that day, turned the washing machine on to HOT and started doing laundry.
  • 10:20 pm: Took another shower with HOT water. Was tempted to use a Brillo pad for a washcloth.
  • 10:45 pm - 1:15 am: Look up photos of ticks. Read all information available regarding ticks. Listen to the songs "I Want To Check You For Ticks" (creepy) by Brad Paisley and "What Makes Me Tick" (cute!) by Loretta Lynn on YouTube. Vacuum the carpet and all furniture a few times. Talk to hubby on the phone about ticks. We finally decided that Holly picked up the ticks when she wandered through some tall grass earlier in the evening -- and then because the Frontline she receives made it a hostile environment on her, they jumped ship and found us.
Tuesday, May 24:
  • 1:20 am: Go to bed.
  • 1:45 am: Wake up from bad dream about bugs and/or itchy feeling and/or heard noise on the back deck. Since the light was on, I could easily see into the backyard... and what do I see? A Skunk. Guess they don't mind the light after all... 

Compared to the tick, the skunk suddenly looked adorable! What do you think?


I'll take the skunk any day over the tick!!!

I'm so ready for winter.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dinner for Two at Sunset

During the summer when it is just hubby and me for dinner, we really enjoy dining in our sunroom. In the evening, it's especially nice to relax and enjoy the view.

It was the two of us for dinner all weekend... although our daughter is home from college for the summer, she keeps busy with work, school and has her own social life. Unless she tells me she will be home, then I will usually cook for two.

For hubby's birthday, we had dinner on the sunporch watching the boats roll by... eventually a gorgeous sunset appeared.

Dinner for two in the sunroom.

We love dining in this room -- very enjoyable to sit up high over the lake!

I love sunflowers. My mom told me that her mother's favorite flower was sunflowers. It eventually became my mom's favorite because it reminded her of my grandmother. Now it is my favorite as it reminds me of both of them.

The square plates are huge -- I'm using them as chargers tonight.

The bowl with the rooster and sunflower is the same set as the large plate. The flower inside the bowl is so pretty!

When I was looking for colored flatware, I couldn't decide on the color and finally ordered red. Turns out I use this red set almost as much as my everyday stainless!

The view from our seats.

I picked up four of these plates a few months ago -- they are a soft yellow color.

Love the sunflowers and rooster!
The view to the left side...

And the view to the right.

And looking straight ahead...

Candlelight dinner for two!

What's on the table:
Dinner plates and bowls: Maxcera "King Rooster" from TJMaxx
Yellow plates: From TJMaxx -- they are marked with a "B" on the back. I don't know who made them.
Sunflower napk
in rings: Pier I
Flatware: Horchow  

Blue wine glasses: Pier IPlacemats and napkins -- from my stash.

Thanks for visiting!

I will be linking to the following fantastic parties this week:

Masterpiece Monday at 
Boogieboard Cottage
Amaze Me Monday at Dittle Dattle 
Tabletop Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life 
Whassup Wednesday
Elements Interiors

Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch
Feature Yourself Friday at 
Fingerprints on the Fridge
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Open House Party at No Minimalist Here
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home

Feather Your Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Flaunt it It Friday at Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper

A Graduation Gift idea

This past weekend was high school graduation in our area!

My daughter graduated a year ago. One of her favorite gifts received was personalized towels. I think the personal touch is what meant so much to her -- that someone took the time to adorn her name on something. So for her graduating friends this year, we did the same.  

We rolled the towels and tied with a coordinating ribbon and attached a card.

Usually I would make some nice cards but since much of my 'stuff' is packed up while we are selling one house to move to another, I improvised. We took some thank-you cards we already had and cut off the words at the top and then punched a hole in the corner. Threaded some embroidery floss through it and tied to the ribbon on the towel.

Easy to make gift cards!

Thanks for visiting!

I'm linking to the following blog parties this week:

Craft-O-Maniac Monday at Craft-O-Maniac
Amaze Me Monday at Dittle Dattle
Inspire Me Mondays at Singing Three Little Birds
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch

Friday, May 20, 2011

A sad day in Lilac-Land

The east side of our acreage property is lined with 45 lilac bushes. They are absolutely gorgeous when in full bloom during May! 

It is hard to tell from these photos, but the bushes are approximately 10-12 feet high. They were planted by the previous owners. When we first moved here, I wasn't too happy about lilac bushes because I never cared for anything "lilac-scented." My opinion changed immediately the first year we arrived because the scent of real lilacs is amazing

Each year (from the time she could walk) my daughter cuts bouquets of fresh lilacs in May and we enjoy them indoors as well.  

Lilacs just beginning to bloom.

The past two winters have brought a tremendous amount of snow to NW Iowa. It was very heavy snow and as it blew in and piled up each time, our lilac bushes were buried. 

Then as the snow melted this spring, we realized that the lilacs were severely damaged after being crushed by heavy snow. We considered every possible way to save them without cutting them all the way back, but the damage was so bad, we had only once choice. Cut them back.

Lilacs last year just starting to bloom. 45 bushes here, each one 10-12 feet high!

Lilacs this year after being cut. It'll take a couple of years, but they'll come back!

The view driving up to our property. The lilacs wrap around the trees. One tree in the corner has died -- we couldn't even see that tree until the lilacs came down.

One more view. Dead tree is hidden back in the corner.

Along with the 45 lilac bushes, we also cut back 32 dogwood shrubs! These were also crushed by the snow this winter. They were about 8 feet high.

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

In John Deere Green... on a hot summer night...

The "John Deere Green" song always gets stuck in my head whenever I see a tractor anywhere. Which is everywhere these days as the farmers are all over the place. Lots of planting going on. The other night, the tractors were planting the field around our acreage until well past midnight. They work hard!

Hubby's choice of a lawnmower is John Deere. We have Hubby has approximately 3 acres to maintain and the poor lawnmower (and the hubby) takes a beating each week with all of the hills and trees on the property. So, about every 6 years, we welcome a new lawnmower into the family. 

Out with the old... in with the new...

New mower even has a twinkle in his eye...

The old lawnmower will go to the lake. It will keep running for many more years but it just can't take the hills at the acreage anymore. We have yet a 3rd lawnmower in addition to these that we keep at additional property we have on the lake and it's 18 years old.

I just had to include the Joe Diffie song in this post -- I'll be singing it all day now! Enjoy!

 Thanks for visiting!
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