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Friday, March 22 2013



If I had to state my biggest fault it would be "biting off more than I can chew."

It's not really that I have the attention span of a butterfly, (I do!) but that I have so many interests, goals, and plans that I want to accomplish RIGHT NOW!  Waiting has never been my forte.

And so it is that I always find myself spinning too many plates. For example:

Other Half agreed to stay in his job for four more years. This means four more years in the Cow House. (oh dear!) The house is fine for a single man, but then, men are happy living in deer camps. I'm not. Thus, I decided that it was time for a "home make-over" (on a budget, because, after all, we are still in the process of building another home in North Texas.)

The first thing to address was the carpet. OMG! (oh. my. gosh!) Carpet is for people without dogs or kids. The carpet was old when he first bought this house. Now it's ancient. But then again, with 8 dogs in and out of the house, we'd be crazy to replace the carpet. So for now, we'll have to live with it.

Next order of business - Paint! The interior of the house was painted a most unusual combination of colors which made it seem like a dark trip to an ice cream parlor. (pink dining room, lavender bedroom, holly green kitchen, etc.) I need LIGHT! The fastest way to get it was a trip to Sherwin Williams. (more on this later)

And the thing most guaranteed to pull it all together was re-doing the furniture. We have an eccletic mix of antique and junktique. With my discovery of Annie Sloan chalk paint, I am able to take that furniture and without sanding or priming, turn it into beautiful distressed pieces that look like they belong in a French County farmhouse.  Think simple lines. Think distressed. Think light simple colors.

So I started with the kitchen cabinets just to prove to Other Half that it would indeed, make a big difference.  They went from old, stained, dirty tan pine to Annie Sloan Old White. I white-washed them to give them a "farm" look, and took a Sherwin Williams sage green to lighten up the dark holly green. Eureka! The room opened up and I was on a roll.

My next project was an antique dresser that had almost been ruined by dogs chewing on the legs and cats leaping (not far enough) onto the top. The top drawer was scratched from repeated failed attempts to land safely.


This was a four hour project.

The photos simply don't do it justice. I cannot believe the difference some paint and wax made on this dresser. (and it looks great in the lavender bedroom that I haven't had a chance to paint yet!)

Last weekend while Other Half was at work, I went to work on the pink dining room. As I slapped on the Sherwin Williams "Tea Light," it was really too yellow for my taste. The paint chip looked like a warm cream. Thinking that perhaps it was merely a case of bad lighting and cream over pink, I kept a'goin'. I painted the dining room. I painted part of the hallway. I painted the foyer. It still looked yellow - a pale Easter egg yellow.  Oh crap!  In fact, it fit in perfectly with the ice cream parlor color palette that had been there. Double crap!

Thinking it might be my imagination (and bad eyesight) I waited until Other Half came home.  He walked inside and asked,

"Is it supposed to be yellow?"

Triple Crap!

There was no way I was painting the rest of the house in this!  And I still had two more gallons of it!  So I called my mother, the color expert, for advice. She said it could be the paint clashing with the tan/brown carpet. She said it could be the stark white trim of the door frames pulling out the yellow in the paint. She said maybe I didn't mix it well enough. So I took the used can of paint outside in natural light. Looked fine. Just like the color chip.

Brought it back inside. Pale yellow. Damn! Darn!

Other Half kept insisting that we take it back to Sherwin Williams and see if they could change the color. I laughed at him. We picked the paint. The paint is the color we picked. It was OUR FAULT that the paint didn't look good in the house. We "chose poorly."  There was NO WAY Sherwin Williams was gonna bail us out.

Guess what?

They did.

God bless 'em. Over my protests, Other Half walked into the store and politely said,

"Hey, we bought this paint and when we put it on the wall it was too yellow."

The young men behind the counter asked, "Want us take some of that yellow out for you?"

I almost melted with relief in the store. As of that moment, Sherwin Williams now has all my business. Their good business sense paid off big time for them because while they were busy re-mixing paint, Other Half was shopping. He found a paint gun.

Yes, I can't get him to pick up a paint brush or a roller, but give a man a gun and he's ready to shoot up a wall like Rambo. It didn't take him long to talk himself into this wonderful paint gun that would spray the paint on the walls in record time. (and probably the carpet and the ceiling and the trim, and the dogs . . . ) But nevermind that - we walked out of there with a new color, more tape and drop cloths, and a fancy new gun.

So let's move on to the next project:  the garden

Let me go on record stating this: My mother has a green thumb. I did not inherit this. I do recall that during my childhood we had a garden that produced quite a bit of food to feed a family of five. I recall weeding. I recall hauling water. I recall mixing fertilizer. I recall my mom canning. I recall jars and jars of food. I recall wonderful, wonderful meals. Over the years I have had many futile attempts at gardening.

What I fail to take into account is that it was a full time job for my mother and she had three unwilling slaves (children)  I also fail to consider that for my entire childhood the garden was planned by my mother. I was a grunt. I really know nothing about gardening other than picking the weeds and hauling the water. My mother, however, is a gardening genius.

And I'm lazy. I'd be happier if the plants walked to water when they needed it - like dogs do. Yes! Like livestock do.

See! I'm good at raising animals. Animals WALK to water when they want it. They don't tend to overwater themselves.

If you plant them too early, they will survive in a barn. If you put plants in too early, you get - cold baby plants that wither and die. 

I don't have to decide if a sheep needs full sun, partial sun, or full shade. Goats are pretty good about walking to where their needs will be met. (and climbing over, under, and through!)

So in the past, I simply raised livestock and left anything but tomatos, basil and essential herbs to the more accomplished gardeners.  (Mom and Dear Friend Cathy) But I've decided that I'm not happy with grocery store produce.

I don't trust some corporation to be making the decisions about my food. It's time for me to take charge and learn to feed myself.

Other Half likes to garden, but his slave labor has grown up and moved on. While visiting Daughter, he spied her fantastic new garden and decided that perhaps we needed such a beast too. I heartily agreed. This coincided nicely with the addition of the new tractor. (with a front end loader!) 

And so it is that I find myself torn between projects.

1) paint the walls
2) paint the furniture
3) put in a garden

We put the painting on hold to put in the garden fence this week. The fence is up now. Woo hoo! Our plants are now safe from marauding pirates (goats) and dogs. My mom graciously started baby plants for us.

(because she knew that otherwise I would end up with no baby plants, or tall, spindly, weak, weedy baby plants, since I'm too soft-hearted to thin seedlings)


Then Other Half and I went to the native plant store for more plants. (rosemary, lavender, patchouli, okra, basil, peppers, flowers!)

All these are now sitting in containers in the garden because we haven't had time to put the beds in yet. I bought patchouli for my mom to hedge my bets. (If I kill mine, Mom's will still survive!)

Today I added my blue bottle tree. (more on that later!) Envision this rascal surrounded by sunflowers and/or black-eyed susans. The sun shining through the blue glass is magical in a sea of yellow flowers.

I tell you all this to explain why you've received spotty blogposts. Spring has sprung and I've got to get these projects done while the gettin' is good. That, and I still actually have to work for a living so I can afford to buy vegetables from the local farmer's market when I forget to water creatures that cannot walk to a water bucket.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 11:08 am   |  Permalink   |  4 Comments  |  Email
Sounds like you and I are long lost sisters! I ordered the lumber to start my garage/shop project over spring break, but then decided I'd better get the two pastures I turned under seeded. Then my seedling trees arrived, and the horses need riding, right? The house? Nah!
Posted by EvenSong on 03/22/2013 - 12:26 PM
Oh...and there's that 1000' of cross-fencing to stretch...
Posted by EvenSong on 03/22/2013 - 12:51 PM
Inspired post. I gave my body (new hips) a good talking to and have decided I will repot my long suffering Ginko , maple and camellias with new soil till I can talk some one into planting them out . Good luck with your vege patch. My dad was the vege patch master and I did learn at his knee besides being the manure barrow grunt.
Posted by Liz (Vic Aust) on 03/22/2013 - 05:45 PM
well,at least you are never bored!Up here we are still having melting snowbanks and night temps below freezing - no outdoor planting until Memorial Day weekend, according to the old timers.
Posted by clairesmum on 03/24/2013 - 10:15 PM

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