Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Black Lives Matter

It has been over six weeks since my last post and the world has changed. At the end of May, George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer who knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. Somebody had the presence of mind to document the whole thing with their phone and it sparked protests and riots across the globe. 

It's still going on, and protestors have called for police reform. 

This was not the first time by a long shot, but something about George Floyd's murder is different. It's like the American people have taken notice in a way that they never have before and people are fighting mad. As a country we are divided, although we were divided before this, it is even worse now.

The Minneapolis City Council voted to disband its police department and shift funding to social programs in communities of color. People are protesting to defund the police in other places too. Although this is a terrifying time in America, I'm hopeful that this will bring about real change for people of color.

It is encouraging to see my white friends and neighbors posting on social media about what they are learning about white privilege and the many things they take for granted that people of color don't have access to. While the awareness makes me hopeful, I still see so much hate and denial and I don't know what I can do about it. I feel helpless and ashamed.

I support the Black Lives Matter movement and I hope you do too.

Many of the Corona Virus restrictions have eased and countries are opening back up. As a result, infections are up. We're supposed to be practicing social distancing to slow the spread of the virus, but people are gathering in huge numbers to protest. It's difficult to criticize the people protesting for not social distancing when they're the ones out there putting themselves at risk for affecting change.

Idaho now has 3,540 confirmed cases of Covid-19.

We don't know yet if we'll be returning to school in person or online in the fall. Peanut Head is still working from home.

The bright side is that we are accomplishing a lot by staying at home as much as possible.

We finished planting the garden yesterday.

We spent Memorial Day weekend digging a utility ditch, and the rest of the following week and weekend filling it back in after burying some new utilities. It was a ton of work and I'm so glad it's done.

We also finished the Lilac Dry Creek bed which I started working on the summer of 2017.

I'm so happy with the finished product. I still have some exposed weed cloth because our next big project is to tear the patio out and relay it so it slopes away from the house instead of towards the house.

Here's a video of the creek bed with water in it. It's my babbling brook.

And last but not least, we put our pool up. We haven't had this set up since we moved here and we have missed it so much. The only problem is that we haven't been able to find the pool filters in any stores in town. In fact, no one is even selling pools right now. The supply chain is seriously disrupted. We were able to buy some on Amazon, but they don't expect them to ship until the end of the month.

In other news, I've accepted a teaching position to teach 7th grade math in the fall. I'm ready to get back into the classroom (crossing fingers that it will be physically in the classroom and not online), and I'm looking forward to spending my days with students again. I've spent a little time in my classroom clearing things out which were left behind and organizing. However, I'm determined not to spend my summer obsessing about making my classroom perfect. It's my disease.

As is typical of teacher summers, I've been scheduling all our yearly appointments and trying to get my ducks in a row. Dentist appointments are not going to happen though, due to the obvious danger for the dental professionals. Hopefully our teeth don't rot out of our heads before we can get back in.

That's my update. I hope we have world peace figured out before my next post.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Stayin' Alive


It's been six weeks since we started sheltering at home. We've settled into a routine and often we don't know what day it is. Without the boundaries of a schedule, rushing to and from work five days a week, one day bleeds into the next.

Friday we started phase one of the plan to reopen the state. Churches have been given the green light to reopen with social distancing, but most have opted to wait, possibly until June. Businesses that are open are required to have social distancing protocols in place. Some people are wearing masks and some are not. Probably only 25% are wearing masks. Many people think this is overblown. I think it's more difficult for people to take seriously when they don't live in a densely packed urban area where the virus can travel much faster.

As of yesterday, Idaho had 2,061 confirmed cases of Covid-19. Zoe made the observation that we aren't getting the daily notifications that we used to get. As if this is now just the same ol' same ol' part of our existence.

The stores have toilet paper now, but Kleenex is in short supply and hand sanitizer is still very difficult to find. Also, yeast is hard to come by. Stores are limiting meat purchases to one because several meat packing plants have had major outbreaks. I'm worried about those workers and many others.

We are managing. We got out for another hike last week. We barely made it a mile in before we had to turn around because the trail was snowed in. We will definitely be back to hike this trail when the snow melts. All together this is part of a trail that is over a 100 miles long along an old railroad. What we got to see was beautiful.

Baney is really loving the hikes.

The weather has turned and we have had some very nice days. Our pasture is starting to green up, so we have to monitor Pudgy PJ's intake now because he'd eat grass until he tipped over if we let him. Then he'd probably side chew the grass from his reclined position.

We finished widening the driveway and we're pretty happy with the way it turned out.

Peanut Head is happy that he can pull straight out of the garage now.

When the weather is nice Zoe tries to work in riding breaks. PJ needs the exercise too. This picture makes me laugh because I have to ask "Who is the horse here?" She explained that she likes to work them in the round pen first, and she doesn't like them to cool down when she has to walk them back to the hitching post to tack up. She's so considerate.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Farmhouse Love Episode #15

I am a wee bit behind on my Farmhouse Love posts. Mainly that's due to several rooms not being 100% finished, and me not wanting to show them until they are perfect. Well, this house has a long road to go, and it is constantly evolving, so I just decided to post what I have and then when/if I make updates, I can share them then.

Our master bedroom is one of the last rooms I chose to paint because people don't see it like they do other rooms in the house. I have been itching to paint it since we moved in, but the same can be said about every other room in this house, so it had to wait for its turn.

Before I show you the rest of the after pictures, I'm going to show you what we started with.

We looked at this house on two separate occasions, a few weeks apart. The first time we came this is what the master bedroom looked like. The owners were obviously in the process of stripping the wallpaper. If I had to date this room, I would say late 80s, early 90s. What do you think?

When we came back the second time, it had fresh paint. 

What we didn't know is that they mostly painted over the wallpaper they weren't able to strip, and even covered some of it with drywall mud. It was a hot mess.

The master bedroom has two closets on opposite sides of the room. This one is mine.

This bay window is nice. On move in day an observant friend noted that this room likely used to be a garage. It makes sense because the floor is concrete and it steps down from the rest of the house. This window was probably where the garage door was.

Here is Peanut Head's closet, with these odd little Hobbit drawers underneath it. The drawers are deep, very heavy, and not equally spaced apart. They make me twitchy.

Therefore, I covered them with drywall.

Now we can scarcely tell they ever existed. 😊

I started painting the ceiling and walls last May, and once we had consistently nice weather,  I dropped the project like a hot potato.

I picked it up again in October, at Peanut Head's insistence. I had been pinning faux brick walls on Pinterest for the last year or more, and Peanut Head went along with my crazy plan. He usually does, even when he thinks I'm cray cray.

We started by putting up these 4' x 8' panels which we found at Lowe's for $35.98 each. We used four panels for this wall, and they were a gigantic pain in the rear end to put up. After reading various tutorials, we went with the suggestion to cut out the half bricks on the ends. It's not a super precise process, so there was a fair amount of cussing involved. Peanut Head has a potty mouth.

Once they were all cut to fit, we slapped them up with some Liquid Nails and drywall screws. Some of the screws were removed once the adhesive dried.

The next step was to come in with drywall mud and a drywall taping knife to apply a German Schmear. It took a few evenings, but not near as long as it took me to retexture all the walls from the bloodbath that removing the wallpaper was.

I will say I was happy to have that nasty green carpet as a drop cloth. I was not careful at all.

Once everything dried, I sealed it all with a coat of watered down white paint. You can use a clear coat, but I was worried it might yellow over time.

Also, I caulked the corners and where the paneling met the ceiling for a cleaner look.

After this wall was done, we ordered carpet. That was in November.

Throughout this past year working on this room, I was always working on something to go with my final vision. One of those things was to make a half dozen or so dog bed covers. The dog beds get stinky and dirty so fast that I wanted to have a quick way to change out clean covers, so I started making very simple covers using this 10-Minute Pillow Cover tutorial. The only change I made was to add an opening for the handle of the dog bed for easier moving.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I've been a pillow cover making fool this past year. After my first cover I was hooked because it's an easy way to change your pillows without having to store a bunch of pillows. Of course we still have more pillows in the house than Peanut Head would like. What is it about men and pillows? I love my pillows.

In the making of so many dog bed covers I decided that I really like fleece for the covers. It's super easy to work with and it still looks nice after washing.

Plus, it's soft like my babies.

This one isn't fleece, but I fell in love with the pattern and the color is the exact shade of yellow that I wanted for my accent color in this room.

I also refinished our dressers and nightstands. This particular dresser was a hand me down, and although I don't love the way it looks, the drawers open and close like butter. It's hard to find good quality dressers with drawers that open and close smoothly.

I painted it with some cabinet paint and put some drawer pulls on it and it's a completely different dresser.

I've started folding all my clothes with the Marie Condo method and I will never go back. It's so easy to find what I'm looking for, and my drawers are never messy. I still think Marie Condo is a little whackadoodle, the way she talks to inanimate objects, but she nailed this folding method.

When Peanut Head goes out of town, or Stinkerbell goes to one of her various Civil Air Patrol camps, I sneak into their drawers and Marie Condo fold everything. They don't appreciate it, but it calms me.

I don't have a before picture, but I painted this dresser and the hardware, distressed it, and added some trim and decorative accents. I've had this dresser since I was in high school. It even survived a house fire back in 1984. It used to have a mirror, but that didn't survive the fire. I've been looking for a mirror for it ever since and I finally found one at a consignment shop.

Isn't it beautiful? It's larger than the dresser itself, and it probably weighs more too, but it's perfect. I didn't change anything about the mirror. I fell in love with it and I painted the dresser to match the mirror.

The previous owners left this shelf unit in my closet when they moved, but it needed a little TLC. Even though it's basically particle board with a laminate coating, it took regular latex paint just fine. A couple coats of paint and some contact paper and I was pretty happy with the result.

This area for my jewelry isn't finished yet. I want to make an earring holder and I haven't gotten around to it yet.

After the carpet was installed, it took awhile for Peanut Head to start on the trim. Neither one of us was in a hurry as there is always something to be done around here. He even made my closet door look like a little barn door.

We've had these mission style nightstands since the late 90s, and they needed a little refreshing.

I painted them and added new knobs. Each nightstand has nine knobs, so I just went with a cheap contractor's pack of knobs and they look just fine.

This is Peanut Head's closet and it still needs a major overhaul, but he ran out of winter days to work on it. That is not a problem. Ain't no one ever complained of running out of winter in Idaho. He'll get to it next year.

He did make this little hook board to hang his farm pants on instead of laying the nasty, dirty things on the window seat all the time.

It took me awhile to get things hung on the walls. I think that's one of the hardest decisions to make in a room because it takes some playing around with and holes.

Here's our new and improved window seat. You know I bought some pillows for it and made some new covers for them, don't you?

I also ordered cushions from Patio Lane and I love them. They're made with Sunbrella fabric so they won't fade and they have zippers! Now I can take the covers off and wash them. That makes me happy.

The folks at Patio Lane were super nice to work with and they called me when they had questions and to let me know when they shipped. I wasn't paid to say any of that either.

The buffalo check bedding came from Bed, Bath, & Beyond and the grey quilt came from Pottery Barn before it was on sale. I actually got it for my birthday over a year ago, and I stored it in my closet until we had the new carpet installed. Originally I had them switched so the buffalo check quilt was folded at the foot of the bed, but the grey quilt is slippery because the fabric is velvety. We'd be sleeping at night and the buffalo check quilt would just slide right off the bed like it was catching a wave. Not fun in winter.

I made the bed skirt using another Pinterest tutorial, and yes, I made some more pillow covers. Peanut Head complains when he has to take them off the bed at night, but we're not super dependable about making our bed every day, so he doesn't complain that much.

I still need to post about our home gym and our living room which are also mostly finished, so look out for those soon.