Life on the creative side

Posts tagged “country life

Sisters glamping weekend on the Ridge

After months of planning and countless yard sale outings in search of glamping supplies, we were finally  ready for our sisterhood glamping weekend on the Ridge.

sisters glamping weekend

Even through we had a one day rain delay, we quickly regrouped and with the help of my wonderful hubby and brother, and the inspiring spirits of the beautiful woman gathered, the weekend was an amazing sisterhood bonding and celebration extravaganza!

We began our sisters glamping weekend with breakfast at my mothers, breakfast wraps and fried sweet potatoes – yum!

breakfast and granny glampers

While we lingered around my mother’s table, the guys, hubby and brother, sat up our canopies and beds: my brother-in-laws also helped out with chopped fire wood and a full cistern  – we have some great guys on the ridge!

2 building camp

Then the glamping began!!!

6 glamping time

Sheers and colorful tablecloths became tent walls.

jane constructing her tent

Then right before our eyes a collection of unique glamping personalities formed in the kaleidoscope of color and texture as we styled our weekend homes.

13 glamping in red

11 bohemiem glamper

33 glamper

10 a Diana in her tent

8 janes tent 1

7 b glamping artist vibe

Over the course of the weekend we crafted, hiked, shared, dined, toasted, laughed, cried, sang and danced; strengthening our bonds of sisterhood.


A neighbor’s generosity brings blackberries back to my garden on the ridge

Blackberries

blackberries from Ray

Thanks to a neighbor’s generosity, blackberries grow once again in my garden on the ridge. I have always loved  blackberries, they populate  my childhood memories as well as those of my children. We  enjoying making jelly and it became a traditional summer activity  with my kids. The sweet-tart berries were the first plants in my ridge garden.  But a few years ago I lost all my blackberry bushes.  Then last fall I mentioned in passing  to a neighbor that I missed my blackberries.  Well the word spread along the ridge until it reached Ray, a life-long neighbor and friend, who this spring deposited twenty blackberry transplants from his garden on my front porch – I love life on the ridge.

Creating a blackberry patch

 

Blue bird house in blackberry patch

 

first blackberries on the vine

The transplants are doing well.  I’ll be sure to share some fav recipes at harvest time.


Fun and unexpected container planters

Container plantings offers a fun  opportunity to add unexpected creativity around our homes and gardens.  I love to use discarded items like  cans, boxes, boots, birdhouses even old gourds. The creative options are limited only by our vision and willingness to be unconventional.  I look around at things with an eye for  color, scale, texture and a cavity that can hold  soil and plants. The process is easy,  if  the container doesn’t have a way to drain water, I  punch or drill holes in the bottom,  add a drain field by filling the lower quarter of the container with gravel or broken pot shards, then  I fill the rest of the container with  the  proper soil type, plant and enjoy.

 Air plants need no soil and add whimsy to a space.

glass orb hanging airplant planters

 Colorful wooden boxes make a great place to cluster plants…

vintage crate succlent table garden

indoors and out.

found container for porch planters

 Old garbage cans and  wheel barrels make fun and unexpected container planters…

rusty wheelbarrow recycled into garden planter

 as do old buckets and tubs.

2012-08-01_19-36-47_810

 Worn out birdhouses or feeders work great and add a little playfulness to a space..

vintage birdhouse planter

 Baskets are  classic containers but hanging them on an outside wall can be unexpected.

unexpected container planters

 Old crates are sought after for interior styling,  but this one was missing the bottom which made it perfect for my courtyard.

geranium planted in vintage wooden crate

  I love colorful labels and the paper on a can will last longer when sealed;  but sometimes I remove the label and simply  let the can rust.

colorful recycled tomato can planter

 I confess I sometimes buy a  products based on packaging,  if it can be creatively repurposed I want it.

succulents planted in colorful re-purposed olive oil tin

But sometimes a repurposable package is just a lucky extra.

bourbon box recycled into fun and unexplexted planter


replanting my perennial garden

Replanting my perennial garden.

dragonfly

If I could have  ordered up a perfect spring it would have looked and felt a lot like this one.  Actually, I can’t remember  a more perfect  spring season.  We have had cool to moderate temps, plenty of rain yet  enough dry time for  planting – which makes for very happy gardens.  It has been ideal for replanting my perennial garden starting with the flower  bed between the cabin and my studio, which had been pretty much  destroyed by deer and the recent repairs and remodeling and work on the courtyard. But now it is the  home to happy salvia, English lavender, penstemon ‘ red riding hood’, pink abelia, lantana, delphinium and coreopsis.

replanting my perennial garden

 

Deck with twisted vine rail and garvel courtyard

Gravel path between cabins

After stocking up on annuls at several  local green houses I  repurposed found objects like old wood crates, tin cans, gourds, a decaying bird house and even a rotting log into  planters for my porch.

Spring planters for the cabin porch

tomato can planter

gourd and birdhouse planters

Soon to come during this near-perfect spring –  a  new blackberry patch and tomato and pepper garden.

I love springtime!

For more inspiration heck out the party over  at the following links

vintage inspiration bif

http://www.dwellings-theheartofyourhome.com/

livelaughlinky-250x250

 


Peppers In The Garden

Jeff in his garden

Last year my brother’s garden had a bumper crop of peppers and he generously shared his harvest.  My kids and I took advantage of his generosity put up (canned)  some pretty awesome hot sauce. The hot sauce was such a hit that this year, along with my tomatoes, I  put out an impressive selection of  peppers.

 

peppers in the garden

Hubby constructed a tall fence around my small plot to keep deer out of my tomatoes and peppers.

Inspired by the technique over at  The Farm, Old World Garden and assisted by hubby and my sister, Edna, we created raised rows  covered with straw and mulched the  paths.

kathy in the garden

 

wayne mulching the garden

 

 

Edna in the garden

 

I also planted some bird house gourds along the back of the deer fence, we’ll see if they behave or if they try to take over the entire garden – my experience with rambunctious gourds leaves little hope they will behave, even so I can’t help but love them.  I also planted some extra gourds around the vintage hay rake near the garden shed.

 

gourds around the rake

 


Glamping – It’s a Girl Thing

Glamping – it’s a girl thing and it is coming to the ridge!  I’m hosting  a clamping weekend this fall for  my sisters and the planning is already underway. There will be  activities like bread baking, hiking, crafting, outdoor chick-flicks (Mama Mia, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, How to Make an American Quilt- suggestions welcomed) a vineyard picnic, or maybe a trip to the orchard,  campfires and of course glamping up our tents. This weekend sister Edna (my sister not a” Sister sister”) came by to help me on a trial tent glamp-up.

glamping

While it’s a must that our glamping accommodations be fabulous, here on the ridge we glamp on the cheap.  To that end,  our yard sale treasures this spring have been heavy on the glamping theme with lovely textiles, accessories and furnishings suitable for making  our tents, which will be pop-ups and picnic tents, fabulously  glamorous. With sister Enda’s pop-up tent and the yard sale’n inventory of lovely stuff, we put together a space that is the essence of glamor + camping.

glamping set-up

Sis arrived with her pop-up tent and a vision of  a filmy, white, shabby chic space; which I love, however I was feeling  a bit more color. As it turned out,  her tent was blue and we had only enough white sheers for three walls, so entered my colorful tablecloths and a touch of  bohemian; the marriage of our visions resulted in  a glorious space with a wonderful vibe.

fabulous glamping tent

The day was windy and we often found ourselves engulfed in a flowy mass of white, billowing in the breeze; so we anchored the bottom of the fabric by threading a string through the hems and securing the string under the stakes at each tent pole.

glamping on the ridge

Then we invited the rest of the sisters out for a preview…

glamping sisters (3)

and a few treats.

glamping eats

glamping sisters

I’m LOVE’N it!

I'm glamping

 check out

Glamping by MaryJane

 I’ve join the following linky party

 

P1040470-2

http://ivyandelephants.blogspot.com/2013/05/happy-blogiversary.html

 


Back to Basics by Baking Basic Bread

Back to basics by baking basic bread:

I hope you had a wonderful Easter, we certainly did.  Hubby and I celebrated the day of hope and promise  with our son, who is visiting for a short time before  heading off on yet  another adventure somewhere in the world.  We watched the sunrise over the ocean then later dined outside to the sound of the waves and  cooled by  a light ocean breeze.  We spent the day together as we prepared our meal as a team, hubby on the grill, me at the oven and my sweet boy  preparing the alfresco dinning area.

For some time I have been thinking about doing some bread baking, I use to enjoy baking  bread but years of  anti-carb rhetoric had taken away some of the joy; even though  bread baking is perhaps one of the oldest  life-sustaining traditions the world over.  Then a few days ago I was  visiting a favorite blog and came across a bread recipe that resonated with me. Diana Bauman over at Humble Kitchen (you can find the link on my home page under kindred spirits) shared a recipe she described as “Simple European Style Everyday Bread” –  with a title like that, who  could  resist! So for Easter dinner I prepared this beautiful, and beautifully simple, bread for my family. Inspired by the tradition and simplicity of the bread I also decided to make some home-made butter; another super simple process.

Later we gave thanks and shared our Easter  meal together on the porch and dined on steak grilled on Himalayan salt blocks, asparagus casserole, baked potatoes, warm-from-the-oven home-baked bread and freshly churned (blended) creamy white butter – yum!

Home made butter and home baked bread

Get back to basics by baking basic bread.

Making butter in my Ninja blender: Pour a pint of heavy whipping cream and a pinch of salt into a blender or food processor (I used a ninja blender) Blend until a solid clump forms and separates from the liquid (butter milk). I stopped the blending several time to push the whipped cream down into the blades; this process took several minutes.  Strain the clump through cheese cloth, shape (I used a small bowl to shape my butter into a mound but it can also be shaped into a log and gently wrapped in wax paper.  Keep  refrigerated.

 “Simple European Style Everyday Bread”

http://www.myhumblekitchen.com/2013/03/simple-european-style-everyday-bread-recipe-with-video/#more-4764    –

 

 

 


Drying Apples

Since our trip to the orchard, Hubby and I have been busy drying  apples  and in this post I want to  share the simple process.

collection of apples for drying

Clean and cut away bruises and blemishes, peel (optional), core and thinly slice the apples; an apple peeler/corer  works great here. The peeler cuts the apple into a long spiral which  I then cut in half to create half moon shaped pieces – it is important to keep the slices consistently thin 1/4″ or thinner is best.

using apple peeler/corer for drying apples

I dipped the slices into a lemon/water bath to prevent the slices from browning; ½ cup lemon juice+1 cup water; this step is optional but it keeps the apples from browning  and I like the hint of tartness the lemon imparts.

peeled, cored and sliced apples in lemon bath

I used a dehydrator, with the apples spread out in a single layer over the dehydrator screen; the temperature set to 150 for around twelve hours (depending on the conditions it can take anywhere from 10 to 24 hours for drying apples).

drying apples in dehydrator

You want the apples to be dry but still pliable (they must be at least dried to the state of raisins to keep well). From this state the dried apples can be stored and used later by re-hydrating them for use in hand pies, apple pies, chutney etc.  (a future post). If I had wanted to make apple chips I would simply have dehydrated them until they were crispy – yum.

For a variation I tossed two cups of the slices into a Ziploc bag along with ½ cup of sugar and a tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon also works great) and shook to thoroughly coat the slices. The seasoned apples took an additional five hours to cure but what yummy munchies they make.

The slices will shrink and pull away from each other as they dry.

apples drying in dehydrator

If you don’t have a dehydrator an oven set on as low as possible should work fine. If you’re using a cookie sheet, the fruit should be turned over once during the drying process, but cooling racks provide more exposure which aids in the drying.

The dried fruit should be at room temperature before being stored in air-tight containers. I refrigerate or freeze any that I don’t plan on using right away.

dried apples sealed in freezer bags

I am by no means an expert on food preservation,  but the folks over at the following site are, so check out their recommendations and start drying apples. http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/uga/uga_dry_fruit.pdf

 


A Trip To The Orchard: one of our favorite fall activities

apples at reed valley orchard

With a new crispness in the air and leaves blushing hints of colors to come, it’s time for one of our favorite fall activities.

apples at reed valley orchard

This is the season of pumpkin patches, fall festivals and, for hubby and I, a trip to Reed Valley Orchard. The family run orchard is situated at the end of a gravel road that meanders along a lovely little creek and through gently rolling hills and pastures of bluegrass. On the scenic road to reed valley orchard, one of our favorite fall activities

Nestled between Paris and Cynthiana Kentucky in a particularly scenic region of the bluegrass state populated by magnificent horse farms and historic stone fences,  Reed Valley Orchard boasts 3000 trees of numerous varieties including apples, peaches, pears as well as various berries. Scenic drive along Kentucky's bluegrass region back-roads reed valley orchard one of our favorite fall activities

They sell their produce along with baked goods, canned goods and gifts in the country store. store at reed valley orchard

You can purchase bags of fruit…

large bag of mixed apples purchased at reed valley orchard

apples at reed valley orchard

or grab a wagon and wander through the groves picking the fruit yourself.

Apple picking wagons for you pick at Reed Valley Orchard fall activities picking apples at reed apple orchard one of our favorite fall activities

Hubby and I purchased apple cider, peach nectar and a bag of mixed apples we’ll be drying; minus of course the ones that ended up in yesterday’s apple pie. For more information about Reed Valley Orchard check out their website http://www.reedvalleyorchard.com/ or find an orchard, pumpkin patch or corn maze near you; it may just become one of your favorite fall activities.

more resources: http://www.pickyourown.org/index.htm#states  http://www.pumpkinpatchesandmore.org/index.php


A Walk Along The Ridge

garden fountain

I thought this beautiful summer day would be a good day to take you on a walk along the Ridge.

country gravel road

As we stroll along the gravel road we pass  by this Redbud tree with its interesting seed pods.

redbud tree seed pods

leaves

At the end of the drive, we take a right at the mailbox.

rail fence along country road

flowers along country road

We stop to admire some bright orange Butterfly Weed, sky blue Chicory, and fields of Queen Ann’s Lace.

hillside of queen ann's lace

sister's cabin

Before long we pass my sister’s cabin, built by our late brother who lovingly passed it on to her.  She has lovingly honored his gift by surrounding the little cabin with life. Her beautiful gardens attract butterflies, bees, birds and deer as frequent visitors.

garden fountain

Cabin in the country

Then we come upon my brother’s cabin.  We folks along Rocky Round love old log cabins; all seven of which were rescued from decay, carefully dismantled, moved and reconstructed along the Ridge.

brother's cabin

country road

dad's cabin and barn

the tire swing

We stroll past the small farm and its little white farm-house, where my parents have spent a lifetime raising chickens, beans, tobacco and seven kids.

little white country house

country road

 Soon we enter the shade of woods…Woodland ferns

and head over the hill where the Licking River wraps around the foot of the ridge like a long muddy snake curling its way on toward the Ohio.

the licking river

Then we make our way back out the road to the cabin and Blue Antler Studio.

country road

Enjoy your day.


A Lovely Gravel Patio

gravel patio

Ok friends here’s another project update…

But first a little background:
butterflies in the gardenA few years ago the beautiful garden between Blue Antler Studio and the cabin was in decline.  It started with the lovely elm tree which was unfortunately lost to the blight that swept through our area. Then after a late hard freeze, many of our pollinators suffered; dropping the number of butterflies frequenting the garden from dozens at a time to a handful ; and of course the native honeybee had already been struggling for several years. Then we opened up the kitchen wall and built the new deck which encroached further into the weakened garden. We soon realized it would make more sense to move the garden altogether and utilize the space between the two structures as an outdoor living area.

We got started by digging up the remaining plants in the garden.

transplanting flowers from my garden

We replanted them along the path that would lead to the new patio.

path to the patio

Then we graded off the area, taking it down to the same elevation of the studio before adding several inches of gravel.

grading ground for patio

After compacting the gravel we added a low retaining wall around the upper side of the patio, curving it to create a cozy circular seating area.

curve of patio wall

The next step was to build the fire pit in front of the seating area. With the help of my, can-do-it-all, brother and my, I’m stronger-than-I-look, daughter we took an old metal fire ring and some incredible rocks (remnants of an old barn foundation that once stood on my childhood farm) and we created this amazing fire pit.

my amazing fire pit builders

looking down on my patio and fire pit

first fire in fire pit

For the final touch, my sisters helped me gather up interesting containers to repurpose  into unique patio planters; filled with Joe pye, sedum, mums, geraniums, saliva, sweet potatoes and other various vines they now grace my new outdoor space.  (Useful tip – first we partially filled the containers with empty plastic bottles, caps on, to help fill the voluminous space).

A leaky metal garbage can, filled with blooms, adds interest to the studio entrance.

re-purposed garbage can as planter

An overflowing, rusty-red wheelbarrow adds balance flanking the other side of the door.

rusty red wheelbarrow planter

Old metal tubs and buckets and…

sedum and succulents planted in old metal tubs

some broken wooden crates scattered  around the patio, provide pops of whimsy and color.

geranium planted in old wooden crate

Finally, the result of all our efforts  is this lovely patio!

my new patio

my gravel patio

Stay tuned for phase two – it will involve a rustic arbor and this beautiful, live-cut, pine-slab for alfresco dinning.

live edge pine slab for patio table Hubby sure needs his workshop finished!


A Cabin Kitchen Remodel

country french inspired kitchen island remodel with antique rain gutter wine rack

We are finally finishing up or winding down our summer projects at the cabin and studio.  Actually my studio has been commandeered for storage and work space until hubby’s workshop/barn is completed. Fortunately not having my studio hasn’t been too much of an issue, as I’ve been so busy with house and yard projects over the last few months that I haven’t needed it; come fall however, it will be a different story. But now, as promised, is one of the projects that we have completed.

My kitchen started out last summer like this.

punched tin pine cabinet

Now, as it should be, it is my favorite room in the cabin.

Cabin kitchen remodel

Our first step was painting the bead-board ceiling a creamy white to help light reflect around the room. We then rearranged the appliances and added some old heart-pine cabinets that hubby had made almost thirty years ago for another house.  Because the cabinets were not designed for this space, we created open shelving, with painted bead-board backing (a wonderful green), to fill in the empty spaces. I loaded the shelves with lovely things – all mice proof of course, as this is an old cabin in the country.

Open shelving in farm kitchen

I love that all the textiles in the space are mismatched; my sister donated light airy curtains for the windows; vintage embroidered pillowcases cover the chair cushions; instead of doors under the counter we used French inspired table clothes as curtains; different patterned tablecloths also flank the sliding door which leads out to the new deck with twisted vine rails, which leads to the new patio…but all that will be in another post.

 

Cabin kitchen remodel with tablecloths as curtains

 Light airy curtains and landscape painting by kathry t lundberg, lighten a kitchen

The counter top and back-splash is walnut from an old tree that fell on the home place years ago and has been stored in my sister’s barn; Hubby roughed up the surface and rounded the edges to give it an aged look, then sealed it with food safe oil.  The sink was in the structure when we found it and was moved along with the logs to the current location. A few years ago hubby built the sink cabinet and I painted and finished it to look like an old piece of furniture (what a team we make)

cabin kitchen sink

The island was constructed from the very first piece of woodworking hubby made for the cabin, all those years ago; a pine cabinet with punched tin doors perched high on tall legs.  We removed the legs; painted and distressed the whole thing; added reclaimed porch posts and a couple of salvaged angle brackets from an old farm-house to support the new shelving and bar height counter. Finally we topped it off with a beautiful piece of marble given to us by a friend.  I finished the bar shelf with a primitive painting of the houses along the ridge. Hubby even put power in the island so at this Christmas’s tree trimming party I won’t be crowded in the corner with my back to the revelers while preparing the grilled cheese sandwiches.

french inspired kitchen island

distressed French blue kitchen cabinet doors

recycled porch posts for kitchen island

primitive folk art painting on kitchen counter by kathryn t lundberg

folk art painting on kitchen island counter

The lighting is the final project; I’m just waiting for the perfect fixture to find its way to me.

Country French inspired Cabin kitchen remodel with antique rain gutter wine rack

 vintage farmhouse

 


Spring Time In The Garden

 

My spring time at the studio has been wonderfully productive; the weather perfect, the gardening restorative but the time far too short. Now I have to hurry down to Florida to my hubby; he injured his knee only days before he was to join me in Kentucky. While he will be alright he is scheduled for surgery to repair the damage.

So while some of my garden plans have been put on hold, I am quite satisfied with what I accomplished so far, which included cleaning winter from some of my beds and weeding unruly spring from others…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pruning cold damage from the butterfly bushes, oak leaf hydrangea, gold flame spirea and antique rose-bush…

 Re-seeding grass in the bald spots of the lawn… 

 Transplanting seedlings from my self-seeding coreopsis…

Completely reworking my entrance beds which involved constructing two small rock walls, relocating a large bird house, rose-bush and a climbing clematis vine and planting eight carpet roses…

 Planting a beautiful rhododendron…

Potting a purple Cherokee heirloom tomato and some annuals for the porch and deck…

And finally mulching: All the while fighting a losing battle with some stubborn wood bees that have decided to make a condo out of the deck!

 My amasing sisters have kindly volunteered to plant the nine foxglove plants I purchased but have not yet planted by the back fence

 

All and all, spring of 2012 has been a good one; minus the knee injury of course.

 See you soon hubby

 


Super Simple Rug DIY Project

spray painted rug in living room

I have a super simple DIY project to share.  Part of life on the ridge is dealing with tracked in mud.  I tried situating a bench on the porch,  to sit and take off muddy or dirty boots, but we county folk tend to wipe off our  boots, not take them off.

rustic bench on cabin porch

Most of the time this is fine, but  in the spring the mud can be maddening! So I decided to try a rug. I knew it would have to be durable;  indoor/outdoor durable.  I already had a decent quality porch rug, but it was plain and kind of boring. Could it be made living room quality with a little  paint?…yes!

For this project you’ll need – A rug (indoor/outdoor, Berber or low pile loop), paint, painter’s tape and a ruler or tape measure.

I started by marking off lines of varying width and taped them off.

(I chose to do stripes but I also considered putting them on the diagonal as well as replicating the studio floor’s large harlequin diamonds – your rug  your way)

harlequin diamond painted on floor

Whatever design you decide on,  after taping out the pattern it’s time to paint: I used regular ole’ acrylic spray paint but you could use liquid paints and roll  or brush on your pattern. Final step – remove the tape, and…

Voila!

spray painted rug in living room

I said it was simple, now go paint a rug!


A Pin Cushion Made From Fabric Scraps and Vintage Dish

pin cushion made from vintage table cloth and white dish

pin cushion made from vintage table cloth and white dishVintage pin cushion

Recently I had a friend mention that she didn’t have a pin cushion so I thought I would take a few minutes and make one for her.  Since she loves the shabby chic style and has an affinity for old textiles, as do I,  I thought repurposed materials would fit her style aesthetic. Using a little milk glass dish, some scrap from a vintage table-cloth, a stocking and a hand-full of cedar shavings, I created this sweet, shabby chic pin cushion.

This is such a simple project and no sewing is required!

The supplies needed: Scissors, rubber band, a piece of yarn or string, old nylon stockings,  fine wood shavings (you could use cotton stuffing instead but I like the feel, the old fashion quality and aroma of  cedar shavings), some fabric and a small container like my milk glass dish or tea-cup. (construction adhesive optional)

supplies gathered to make pin cushion

Cut the fabric into a large circle; size will depend on the size of the dish, but a nine-inch diameter worked for my smallish container.

stocking used to make pin cushion

Cut the stocking six or so inches from the toe and stuff the toe with wood shavings until you have formed a ball large enough to fill the container and tie off the opening.

making the pin cushion

Place the stuffed stocking in the center of the fabric circle and wrap the fabric up and around the stocking ball, pull it taut and tie off tail using the rubber band. Tie off again using the string or yarn.

 making pin cushionfabric tied around filling of pin cushion

 Fan out the fabric;  smoothing and pulling it evenly back over the bottom of the ball. Wedge the ball into the container, a dab of good glue such as construction adhesive will hold it securely.

white dish used to make pin cushion

And you will have created a lovely little pin cushion

pin cushion made from vintage table cloth and white dish

Now gather up the supplies and surprise some special with a unique pin cushion.

for more great inspiration visit

blogpic2-1


Birds, Butterflies And My Garden

roseate spoonbillTwo mornings this week there have been Roseate Spoonbills in a lake near my neighborhood. They are beautiful, quirky birds; lovely pink plumage and long bills that flatten out at the end like a spoon.

I love to watch the birds that frequent my yard, especially around Blue Antler Studio; with a lot of cats in my Florida neighborhood, song birds tend not to hang around for long. On the ridge however, I have feeders and bird houses all around my yard, strategically placed for viewing from the windows and the porch.

I have always planned my garden with birds and butterflies in mind.  But over the last few years my perennial garden has suffered; trampled during cabin repair, ravaged by age and, sadly, neglect.  But the lovely pink visitors have reminded me of the pleasures of having our winged friends around, so I have begun plans to revive my gardens. I’ll keep you posted.


Our Booth Of Eclectic Home Furnishings And Collectables!

booth at renninger's extravaganza

 

booth at renninger's extravaganzaAfter a very long day our booth is ready and we are so pleased with the way it looks.  We had a lot of positive feedback and several sales offers. While our closest neighbor comes across a little abrasive at times, I think the elderly man and his wife are probably nicer than their first impression would indicate; we certainly hope so, but tomorrow we’ll have a stash of sangria on hand, just in case we need to calm our nerves and shore up our patience.

booth at renninger's extravaganza

Check back to hear how it goes.


Two Twisted Tales

Yes there has been a very long (and frustrating) delay in my posting; no it’s not that I have been out fulfilling my dream of wandering through the ancient, art filled, cobblestone streets of the Old World, (you can bet I would be blogging that); and no it’s not because I have nothing to say, (those who know me can stop laughing); nor is it that I am just a lazy blogger, (although I do love an occasional lazy do-nothing day); the simple fact is that, as a blogging novice who can remember grooving to  Simon and Garfunkel, I have encountered some technical glitches that have me standing on a metaphoric bridge poised to toss my *>%##* computer into the murky – troubled waters – below!

Thankfully that moment was brief and it was time to turn my creative energy toward the deck railing project I’ve been deck rails made of twisted twigscontemplating. I am very pleased with the results and I’m excited to share it with you now.

I knew I wanted a wild organic look, what I didn’t know was how I would achieve it.  My first decision was to find the materials and for that I looked to my husband and the surrounding environment. My hubby and I hopped onto the quad and headed into the woods where we collected a large bundle of long twisted strands of wild grapevines.

We still needed material for the rail’s structure. For that we dug through the pile of sawmill waste slabs a neighbor brings to my dad to use as fire wood.

We found several, long, live-cut edge pieces we hoped would work perfectly.

creating a twisted twig railing

Then working like a creative team over thirty years in the making, my hubby and I constructed the beautiful, wild, twisting railing I had envisioned.

So with my creativity and perspective restored I was able to re-address the technical problems plaguing my efforts.  While all the issues are not yet resolved, I have at least un-twisted them enough to resume my passion of sharing and encouraging creativity.

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Kentucky Backroads Farm Tour

organic, permaculture farm, produce market, ky

northern ky back roads farm tourAt eight forty-five Saturday morning a small group of Blue Antler Studio regulars loaded a cooler into the back of my sister-in-law’s SUV, then all five of us piled into the car and headed down the gravel road and off the ridge.  It was a hot day for the local back roads farm tour but our spirits were high; at least the ride would be air-conditioned.  We had done our homework and had mapped out several of the fifteen or so small family run operations we wanted to visit, including a small organic  farm, a horse ranch, a cattle farm, a beekeeper and three wineries.

permaculture produce marketWithin fifteen minutes we were pulling into Greensleeves, a twelve acre sustainable farm and our first stop of the day. We were met by sweltering heat and an enthusiastic volunteer as we got out of the car. After registering and sticking on our nametags, we were directed toward a small building surrounded by several other structures: a couple of small barns, a greenhouse and another shed or two. Tall grasses and flowers, both wild and self seeding cultivars, were competing for space and sun alongside the buildings and pathways, giving the place a slightly unkempt appearance.

 Inside the building a long low table filled with produce, jams, jellies, flavored mustards, raw cheese and soap stretched out beneath a canopy of drying herbs and flowers that hung from low rafters. Gretchen, the farmer and our guide, led us on a very informative and inspiring tour starting with the barn; where we met Valentino, the resident sheep, and saw large cloves of garlic drying in racks. As Gretchen explained the principles of permaculture, we strolled through the gardens; where a few hardy volunteers were defying the heat, pulling weeds by hand so not to disturb the soil. There was evidence everywhere of the competition between unruly weeds and the crops, but Gretchen picks her battles wisely; truly organic practices involve maintaining a delicate truce between nature’s disorderly behavior and a farmer’s attempt to coax a living from the land.  We then walked by a small orchard populated with apples, pears and peach trees. As we passed back through the yard we stopped to see the crowing rooster and his harem of hens, before finishing up our tour back at the produce building.

In the produce shed, Gretchen took us into her cold storage, a cool piece of heaven on such a hot day, where the cheeses, berries and greens were stored.  Then after loading the cooler with our purchases and promising to return to help pull weeds,  but not before the heat wave had passed, we were off to our next stop.

As we pulled into Little Rock Farm they were grilling up goodies in the yard.  For a buck fifty we tasted some of their home-grown beef-burgers; grass fed, antibiotic and hormone free: fifty cents more treated us to corn-on-the-cob, hot off the grill. Also for sale was some home-baked zucchini bread and local honey. They keep vacuum packed, frozen beef stored in a freezer right there in the barn. A payment box is  permanently mounted on the wall by the door so customers can help themselves, if the family’s not around you just pay on your way out; self check out farm style. If its produce or fresh eggs you need, simply step into the cold storage at the other end of the barn, get what you need and drop your cash into the box; country life is a blessed life.

The next stop was our first winery of the day. I prefer dry red wines, and my experience has been that small family run operations tend toward milder, sweeter selections: Not Camp Springs Vineyards, they produce a full range of wines from sweet to dry. After tasting, and purchasing a few bottles, we wandered through the small art gallery, in the loft of their tasting room, enjoying the artwork and visiting with the artists. Local photographer, Don Wiedeman whose preferred subjects are the historic, German, stone structures of the area, voiced an interest in seeing the log structures out on the ridge, including Blue Antler Studio. Then an ohio river valley winery Campspringsunexpected down pour forced us to wait out the rain over a glass of Merlot in the tasting room: Isn’t summer time sweet.

I also found wines to my liking at our next two stops; StoneBrook and Seven Wells. Each offered a full-bodied red that I enjoyed. As the afternoon began to slip away we made our last stop at the impressive LazyK horse ranch. The LazyK is a beautiful facility offering boarding; riding lessons; an impressive, dust-free, indoor arena; and riding trails. But the heat and the wine were taking their toll so we headed back to the ridge, content in our decision to plan a visit to the Beezy Bee farm on another day.

  On the ride home we made plans for one more gathering at Blue Antler Studio before my sister Jane goes back to her life in California and me back to mine in Florida. While we’re always a little sad to leave our family on the ridge, our roots run so deep in this rocky soil that no matter how long or far we travel we stay grounded with a good sense of place. After this wonderful summer together we carry away with us the memories of creative gatherings and time shared, keeping the ties that bind us to our family and friends on the ridge ever strong.

 

 

 

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Sixty Five Years Of Marriage; Still Happy And Still Counting

“All You Need Is Love” and “Dancing Queen” from both my daughter’s recent weddings are still playing in my head, as we prepare to celebrate sixty five years of marriage between my parents, Truman and Gladys. While we hosted their fiftieth anniversary picnic here at the cabin, this celebration is taking place further out the ridge at my brother and sister-in-law’s place, also a rescued and restored log house.

Mom and Dad have seen and accomplished  a lot during their time together, fifty plus years of which were lived in the little white farm-house at the end of Rocky Round Ridge. The little three bed room, one bath house sheltered our family of nine as we kids raced through childhood, the surrounding hills and our parent’s patience. But our raising was what childhood is meant to be.

 

Now to celebrate the love they share with each other and all seven of their children, sixteen grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren we are throwing them an anniversary picnic.

 For months the ridge folk have been sprucing up their places and I must say this end of the ridge is looking nice. However here at Blue Antler Studio we’ve had a setback.  Upon returning to our cabin on the ridge we’ve discovered a wild , destructive colony of varmints have spent their winters partying in the attic of the cabins, including the studio. The damage was such that we’ve had to gut the upstairs of the little cabin back to the rafters, and  will likely have to do the same to the big cabin; all this during the hottest summer in memory.

Even with the heat spirits and creativity are high. We had a gathering at the Blue Antler Studio to make special thank yous for the guests that come to the anniversary picnic (thank you Jeff and Chuck for the ceiling fans). This gathering was particularly special as our sister, Jane, who lives in California, was not only in attendance but was our creative leader during the gathering. She is a gifted craftswoman making such beautiful cards that lucky recipients of her art are often reluctant to use or part with them. I hope that our guest will equally enjoy their handmade thank you as much as we enjoyed making them.

 

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April Shower’s…

I returned to Blue Antler Studio beneath a brillient blue sky and the sweet smell of lilac in the air. I dropped my luggage at the door, grabbed clippers  and hurried to the large lilac bush in the corner of the yard. Soon the whole cabin filled with an aroma straight from my childhood and one of my favorite spring blossoms.

Then came the rain.

For a week it rained every day and stormed every night.  Three times in as many nights, a good sleep, the kind of seductive sleep one falls into under the sound of rain on a tin roof, was interrupted by the alarm of the weather radio.  I was awaken and  warned of severe thunderstorms as lightening lit up my bedroom and thunder shook the cabin; of flashfloods like the creek at the bottom of Bell’s hill that rose up and over the bridge; and of tornado watches and warning ,  still thankful none actually touched down. But like the clear cool days of autumn, long cold months of winter and the muggy dog days of summer, this is the temperament of spring.  Soon Mother Nature will move on to summer, sending this season, like all that have come before, into memory and, in the case of  spring 2011, into the record books.

As rainy day after rainy day came and went,  and my fresh cut boquet of lilacs slowly faded on the kitchen table, my spring to-do list grew frustratingly long. On my last morning at the Studio, with rain still dripping outside, I put away my list,  poured myself a second cup of coffee and headed to the window seat.  A mist rose from the pond, full for the first time in years. I thought of all the fun  my children had had splashing, ice skating and chasing frogs around its banks. But that was way back before it sprung the leak that turned it into a glorified mud puddle.  Even then the girls had turned it into their own version of a spa, once returning to the house with their little brother in tow, covered from the hairs on their heads to the soles of their feet in silky green mud; only the whites of their eyes and teeth left visible.

Suddenly several wild turkeys seemed to simply appear out of the fog; four big toms sizing each other up, puffing their feathers and fanning out their tails in turkey smack talk. Before long a couple of white tailed deer wandered out of the woods and into the field, calmly grazing in the mist, only mildly noticing the antics of the turkeys. Then much to my surprise and delight the first humming bird of the season zipped past the window.  

So,  while the new side deck may still be waiting for its twisted twig railing, the stone patio its pebble mosaics and the garden its new plantings; for now, the living is easy for the wildlife out on the ridge, the pond has forgiven last year’s drought and I have a renewed appreaciation for the slow, simple, pleasures of a lazy rainy day.


Special Event For Our Wounded Warriors

Once again Blue Antler Studio will be participating in an event we very much believe in, Wounded Warrior Outdoors, www.woundedwarrioroutdoors.com,  provides outdoor adventures for soldiers that have given so much for the protection of our freedom. There is a fundraiser, Cocktails For A Cause, tonight, February 24th, and we’re donating a special Santa for the silent auction. The sitting, mantel Santa is dressed in long johns and checkered britches, cut from an old pair of my hubby’s pants from his Colorado wrangler days. This Santa has an American flag and the remnant of an old crazy quilt draped over his shoulders, an embroidered burlap sack on his back and both arms full of toys. We will be thrilled to have this very special Santa in a home that supports our brave heroes.


WELCOME!!!

Hello World – this is Kathy and Lisa.   We are new to the blogging community and  as newbies, we are sure we will make some mistakes along the way but hope our virtual friends will forgive our mistakes and welcome us into the community anyway.    The inspiration for this site grew through collaboration on creative projects for ourselves, our families and our friends.   And in that spirit, our first post is about the creative spirit that envelops us this time of year.    Beginning with our homes.

Tree basket with vintage glass ornaments and back-lit with white Christmas lights.

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