Monday, September 29, 2014

I Fought The Lawn...

... and the lawn won. 

I fought the lawn, and the lawn won.

That was my version of the vintage tune  stuck in my head like an ear worm for the past week.
 I kept singing it over and over. 

And. Over.

I have no clue what the rest of the words are to the actual song so I just filled the gaps with some carefully placed doot- doot- dooting. It worked for me.  It kept my mouth occupied and away from worthless lamentation and grumbly grousing as we attempted to save both a lawn and the privilege of indoor plumbing.

The rest of this post will be short on words. Nobody wants to hear it, anyway.  I just figured that some of you might have wondered what had sidelined my flower cart for the past week.

Here's a quick recap. 

   We tried to salvage as much sod as time and strength would allow before the backhoe came. 

Time and strength didn't allow very much. 

Mr. Backhoe Man came.   

He came with his backhoe, and his big old truck and trailer, and two more tractors.  

 Which are apparently called tractors because they leave tracks, right? 

They tracked in areas not even remotely close to the trench they were digging. 

That's because the big pile of gravel that was going into said trench 
was unloaded  onto the driveway and then tracked across the lawn.

The new junction box that started the whole thing. 

The pumpkin latte that helped me cope with the whole thing. 

The tractor tracks when it was all said and done. 
(I do give them an A for leveling it off nicely.)

And here's where we are in putting it back together again, one clump at a time. 

This whackado method came on the advice of a neighbor 
who was the first one in the 'hood to survive an unfortunate septic incident. 
We'll be adding seed later in the week.

And that's all I have to offer this morning.
Yes, I know it's not the most interesting post, but it is what it is.

'Cause I fought the lawn, and the lawn won.
I fought the lawn, and the lawn won...

Oh, and by the way?
Happy National Coffee Day!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Thrifty Thelma and the Three Dollar Lamps

Do you have one of those friends who loves to get all her clothes at the thrift store so she can tell you all about it?

 You know the kind I mean, the Thrifty Thelma who can't receive a compliment on her  blouse without  assigning it a dollar amount followed by an outfit yakabout that sounds like a clip from The Price Is Right.

This blouse? It's Ann Taylor, and the tags were still on it.  It was only $5.00.
These Michael Kors shoes were $5.00 too.
 And this Kate Spade purse? Two bucks.

Wow. Just wow. 

I've never purchased an article of clothing in a thrift store in my life. I have enough trouble finding clothes to fit me in Retail Land where they have not yet begun to shrink. I'm sure enough not going to buy preshrunk clothes in a a place with neither a dressing room nor a return policy. That would be a trip to the crazy patch for me.

No, I'm not a Thelma in the fashion department. I totally get her, though. I get her because I'm a Thelma in just about every other department, especially in the home decorating department. I don't know what it is, folks, but I get a serious thrill (I mean a serious thrill...) out of finding stuff for my house on the cheap and then yakking it abroad to anyone who will listen.

But then, you knew that, didn't you?

 Very soon, I'm going to be finished with the Great Living Room Adventure that I've been working on for months, and I'll give you a tour. When I do, you can be certain that it's going to sound like an episode of The Price Is Right. 

Coffee table...$20.00.
Some sconces... $5.00 for the pair

Table lamps...

Three bucks.

About the cost of a pumpkin latte.
(Thrifty Thelma always throws in the comparison cost. It makes it even thriftier. )

I paid a latte apiece for the matching lamps in my living room,
and today, I'm going to yak about them.

I didn't buy them because they were pretty.  I bought them because they resembled the lamps living  in my head. Of course, the lamps in my head didn't have rusted lamp parts and a body coming apart in several places.

 And they didn't have a harp almost as tall as the lamp itself. 

What in the world is up with that harp?

But they were tall and skinny. I was looking for tall and skinny. And they weren't metal. I wasn't looking for metal.  I was looking for a modified baluster style.

And they worked.

That part's kind of important too.

So they got cleaned up, and the brass parts got polished and Rub n Buffed.  Gorilla wood glue fixed all the loose parts, and I bought new harps. (Which technically adds five bucks to each lamp, if you're keeping track.)

 I painted them with poor man's Annie Sloan in a shade  that I call taupelicious.  It's a combination of 423 different taupe rejects from my very large stash of taupe reject testers.

Because it's nearly impossible to find the perfect taupe for a project, that's why.

It's hard I tell you.

It's so hard that I have nearly broken up with taupe three times this year. When I finally created a shade that worked, I made a paint chip and took it to the paint store.  

It looks really pretty white washed with some soft white.

At least it looks pretty to me.

Kind of a latte color, don't you think?

 I could very easily sand it down in parts to distress it if I have a mind to. 

I don't really have a mind to.

The shade was actually the biggest pain.  Every lamp shade that I tried came up a bit short. Literally.  They were all ten inches in length, and they tended to make the lamp look like a gawky preteen.


Longer shades were all too chiffony or pleated for the lamp in my head. 

I finally found these simple barrel shades at Target of all places for $22.00.  Lucky me, I happened to have a fifty dollar gift card to Target in my stash of unused gift cards.

So in Debbie Land, that means these shades were free.

They're a soft white, which is what I wanted, 
and they stay white even with the light on, which was important to me, too. 

I like them. 

Yes, I know it's plain. Plain happens to be exactly what I was going for here. I like to call it simple instead. Soft, restful, and simple. Those are the watchwords for the new living room.

And taupe. Don't forget taupe.

So in the end, the lamps ended up costing me about eight bucks each. Even if you add in the cost of a shade, which I didn't,  that's still only thirty dollars for the lamp and shade. Not  too shabby for a lamp that is so very much like the one living in my head, is it?

No, I don't think so either.

And that's all I have for today. I think it has stopped raining enough for Mr. Backhoe Man to begin the terrible, horrible, very bad, no good lawn destruction, and I need to go upstairs and put on the big girl pants...

... which I can assure you would never come from a thrift store. 

What about you? 
What will you buy from the thrift store?
What won't you buy?

And yes, dear Farm Sister. You do not need to answer this question. I know the answer fully well. Shhh.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Lights

So I was trying to share a random act of senseless decorating last week. It was little corner of the living room sort of dressed up for fall.  

Don't scroll back. You didn't miss it. The post had a failure to launch. 

For one thing, it was gloomy out there. It was one of those days when you have absolutely no business trying to take a picture for Blogville, one of those days when you know that any picture you post is going to be followed by that goofy apology for the clouds... as if they're your fault or something. 

I was trying anyway. I had turned on every light in the room and was running about the place turning on every other light  I could find as well. The Scottish MacHusband was running right behind me,  turning them off as fast as I could turn them on. 

Oooh, that man. 

"I am trying to light up this corner in the living room,"
 said I. 
"By turning on lights in the den?" 
said he. 

Then he called me Deb-or-ah and launched into some kind of physics lesson about the properties of light. (At least I think it was physics. Science and I aren't exactly on speaking terms.)    

All I heard was wok wok-wok-wok-wok wokkkk 

and something about light traveling in a straight line. 

And therefore, apparently, it makes no difference whatsoever whether we have a
light turned on around the corner...


I'm sure he's right. It's his turn to be, after all. Still, it irked me to have him going around behind me turning off my lights when I was so desperate to chase the gloomies out of my picture. 

So yesterday morning, I did a little experiment. I took a series of photos of the same spot in the house while I ever so scientifically turned on lights in the adjacent spaces and then around the corner.

 Then, without retouching them at all, I lined them all up. 

Because apparently, I have too much time on my hands. 

And then, I showed them to Einstein to make him admit that he could see a slight difference. 

And either because he did see a difference, or probably because he had a tree to cut and wanted to me to stick a sock in it, he said that he could see a difference.

He used the word subtle. 
Then, he said something snotty about turning on the light upstairs in the master bathroom. 

So OK... Maybe I wasn't able to bring about any great change by turning on the lights around the corner.   Maybe that part is mostly in my head.

But here's the thing: When you're desperate for just a little light in your corner of the world, isn't even a subtle change an encouraging one?

It is to me.

And it got me thinking.
I'm always thinking...

There seems to be a lot of folks out there desperate for just a little more light in their corner of the world. Oh, maybe it's not completely dark in there, but you're facing your own version of the gloomies.  Some of you have shared it openly on the world wide web. Others have quietly emailed. Still others have said it, but their words were mostly written between the lines.

You know who you are.

And if I could, I would take whatever paltry light I have to share and come straight to your corner of the world to help you chase those gloomies away. If I could, I would get on a plane and travel coast to coast with a tray full of pumpkin lattes.

But I can't.
I'm sort of stuck here in my own little corner of the world.

But maybe... and yes I know this flies in the face of physics...  maybe I can send at least a little light to your corner of the world just by turning one on in mine.  

I think the Master and Creator of the Universe can do whatever He pleases with the laws of physics. He made them up in His head, after all.  He is perfectly capable of taking one little light from  Georgia all the way to a corner in California by way of North Carolina with a side trip to Texas... if He has a mind to.

I think He has a mind to. 

After all, what's a corner but an intersection of two straight lines? 

That's the way I see it anyway.

So even though I can't travel to your corner of the world with a pumpkin latte this morning, I'm going to do my best to light your world by lighting up the world, one little corner at a time.  

Anybody want to join me?
I'll meet you at the intersection. 


Comments off as always for Sunday

Friday, September 19, 2014

Finding Something Orange

It's  that time of year again, folks. 

Time to get out there and find the orange.  

It's one of my favorite things to do. 

In full disclosure, I actually found this orange while on one of my inexplicable blog breaks. I took it along the country commute that lies between me and every place I need to be. Usually, I need to be there pretty quickly, too.

Was it worth the delay to stop that day and notice the orange?
Yes, it was.

It was worth it in more ways than one, too. Not long after I took that photo, they began to clear cut that entire little forest. Today, it's nothing more than gravel and some weeds. I won't depress you with the evidence.

And then, we had this orange sighting. 

OK, it's an old one too... 

These are the Bradford pears that line our street. It's a good thing I have stopped to enjoy them every other year because they will never look that lovely again.

Between the ice storm, some sort of pear tree blight, and old age, we lost more than half of the pear trees in the neighborhood this summer.  Ours was the first to go, too. It nearly broke my heart. What was once a beautiful canopy road now looks more like a random bunch of umbrellas.

As if the pear trees were not enough...

Today, I found this orange.

I'm not so jazzed about this orange, but I took a picture anyway. 

In case you can't tell, this would be the little orange trail left by the power company.  It shows where the electric lines are buried. We're all schmancy in our neighborhood, you see. We have things like buried power lines.

Too bad we don't have things like buried sewer lines.

No, this little country neighborhood has septic tanks instead.  And do you know where septic tanks are installed when the back yard is a piney stick forest?

And that's exactly where the big, ugly backhoe is going to go, too. 
That's why we needed to find the orange. 

Monday morning, Mr. Backhoe Man will dig two, big trenches out there so a new drain line can go into that septic tank. (Or does it go out of  the septic tank? )  I'm not ashamed to admit that I haven't the first clue how septic systems work.

 I only know when they aren't working, and even after major repairs in the spring, ours is not.  Apparently, the drain line has been snuffed out by a gang of malicious pine roots and their gun moll named Myrtle.


Myrtle will be going the way of the pear trees and taking half my front lawn along with her.

By this time Monday  (weather permitting)  I'll be the proud owner of a bald lawn and a balder bank account. We really had no choice... considering the alternative.

On the upside, I'm also the owner of four toilets, without which we would not need a septic system at all. That being the case, I'm pretty sure this qualifies as the ultimate First World Problem.

Time to put on the big girl pants and deal with it.

Of course, since I tend to deal so much better with the help of a hot beverage, I'll be taking this  half full cup of mine out for a drive to find something orange.

If you have any suggestions for regrowing a lawn in the autumn,
now would be the time to share them.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I Suspect Mrs. Peacock...

... in the dining room

... with a feather.

Yep, that's the way it happened. I was there, and I saw it. 
Apparently, the old broad invited a bunch of hens to a luncheon club 
and tickled them to death.

 Have I mentioned that the Farm Sister has always had a thing for peacocks? Probably not, I can't imagine why I would. She has, though. When we were kids and played the game Clue, she was always Mrs. Peacock, and she spoke the entire game with a British accent. I was Miss Scarlet and spoke with a drawl. 

We've always been a couple of oddballs now that I think about it.   

Mrs. Peacock grew up to marry a farmer, and on their farm they actually do have a peacock. His name is Ralph.  Ralph is a bit shy about showing his feathers for the camera. 

He's not in the least bit shy about shedding his feathers for the picking, though. 

So when her daughters gave her these whimsical plates for her birthday this year,
 she knew exactly what she was going to do for her turn at luncheon club.  

Gold flatware and some gold chargers were a must. 
Peacocks are all about the bling. 

And the rest of the table was all about the feathers.  

Feathers on the place cards.

Feathers down the middle of the table

And eyes looking out from the votives and linen.   

Mrs. Peacock is nothing if not a detail person.  

Napkins were done in a peacock fold. 

It's made by fan folding a square napkin on the diagonal 
and nesting it in the glass. 

Her flowers had a lot of plumage too. 
 She was kind of afraid that this centerpiece was going to be too tall,
 but noooo...

We talked right over them without a problem. 

In regular accents though, which means that everybody was trying to be Miss Scarlet.

Everybody that is, except the Farm Sister. 
No matter how she talks, she will always be  Mrs. Peacock. 

And she will always be the second oddest bird in town.  

(If Miss Scarlet inexplicably disappears for that one,  
feel free to suspect Mrs. Peacock with a lead pipe in the conservatory...) 


Sharing with The Porch on Thursday. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

With Some Spare Time and Spare Change

Just a very quick post for me this morning. (No, really. It's quick.) I've been busy and distracted this week not accomplishing anything and I need to get back to that fruitless endeavor and not accomplish even more.

I did take a few minutes out of my very busy schedule to swing by the thrift store to see what I could see, and today's yakabout is all I have to show for it.

I found this. 

I was pretty excited about it, too. I mean, really... for a quarter? I couldn't believe that no one had snapped it up for a lousy quarter. Clearly, the orphaned bun foot was meant for me. I brought it home and showed it ever so proudly to the bread winner.

He said,  "What did you get that for?"
And I said, "For a quarter."

Yes, I knew what he meant. I just like to mess with him that way. The man has absolutely no vision. He thinks an old, orphaned, bun foot is just an, old, orphaned bun foot.


A little orange paint and a white wash, 
and we have a perfectly good pumpkin.

I feel the irresistible urge to say,
bippity, boppity, boo.

Then I stuck a cork in it.

And added a little green burlap for leaves.

I actually have no idea whether pumpkins have leaves, but when you've got an orphaned bun foot pumpkin with a cork for a stem, you can jolly well add some burlap leaves if you have a mind to.

I had a mind to.

Here she is now, all dressed for the Fall Ball. 

 Now, where I'll actually put it, I have no clue. If I had four of them, I'd use them on my table, but there is only one.

So what did I make it for?

For a quarter.

Try to keep up, folks.

By the way...

Don't you think these old finials look like a couple of acorns?

Yeah, I think so too. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Pine Cone Pinter-Testing

So I got a little sidetracked from here for the past few days,
and it's all because of Pinterest.

I love Pinterest.  I'm not sure I use it like everyone else out there. I don't care about followers or any of that sort of thing. This blog doesn't have a board in Pinville, and I don't have any plans to start one. I'm just out there pinning away as plain old Debbie. Wave if you see me. 

I found something months ago that I have been dying to try for my fall and winter decorating this year. Last week, I decided to put it to the Pinter-test before the hot summer sun sets in Dixie. 

Bleaching pine cones.

Now, just in case you think it's a little silly to bleach pine cones, let me remind you that I live in the Piney Stick Forest. If there's one organic element that we have around here in abundance, it's pine cones. It would be silly not to decorate with them.

I usually just gather them up and use them au naturale, but but this year I happened upon a pin in Pinville with bleached ones.  They were  kind of white but a little taupey at the same time and really beautiful.  That being the case, I decided that I had to have some bleached pine cones too.

So... I collected about a dozen of them, and I  followed all the instructions to the letter.

I measured the bleach and water to make sure I had the correct ratio.(2:1)
I completely immersed them, and I  weighted them down to keep them from floating.
I waited  24 hours before peeking  just like Miss Blogger told me to do.  

Then, I pulled them out and drained them off,  just like she told me to do.
And, I left them in the hot sunshine to dry,  just like she told me to do. 

I baked those pine cones in the south Georgia oven all day Thursday,  just waiting for the eureka moment when my pine cones would look like her pine cones.   When the sun went down, I went for a look.

Did I have bleached pine cones?

No I did not.

I had bleached pineapples and bleached pine cream cones. 

I admit it,
I was a little disappointed.

In my head, I was blaming the poor blogger who started the whole thing. I  might have even suspected her of a little blog foolery, too. I went back to Pinville to look for the blue smoke and mirrors, but all I saw were big, beautiful, bleached pine cones.

So I went a-googling and found  out that my pine cones were opening right on schedule. Apparently, it should take days... and not a day... for the pine cones to reopen. (In fairness to the bleached blogger, that part should have been intuitively obvious. It's not her fault that I suffer from a perpetual state of insta-glam. ) *They* also said you could speed up the process by drying them in a 250 degree oven for an hour or two.   

I baked mine for about three.

Then, I put them back in the sunshine and waited some more.

By the middle of  day 2 (and three hours of baking)
 I was seeing some action.... 
You can see a little breakage on the pine cones on the left. 
There was actually very little of that, and it was barely noticeable when they started to open. 

Which they did.
And once they started opening,
 it was almost like they were opening before my eyes, too. 

Every time I looked at them,
 they were a little bit bigger and lighter.

By the morning...

Ta da!

Most of them are much more subtle and taupey than that one,
especially inside and out of the sun.

Mixed with a few natural ones, and the clump has a really nice texture.

I'm giving this Pinter-test two enthusiastic thumbs up.
In fact, I'm heading out to the Piney Sticks to pick up some more.

I'm going to try baptizing them for a shorter amount of time this time,
probably just overnight. I want to see the difference.

 If it's at all remarkable, I'll come back and remark.

And that's all I've got for now.

Sharing on The Porch for Met Monday.


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