Monday, July 15, 2013

County Fair Fun

My husband has lived on a dairy farm all of his life (Minus the 3 years we were away in college).  We got married and moved to his family's farm and eventually built our house here. We have milked registered Jersey cows all of his life, and until last September, all of my boys' lives. We made the decision as a family to sell the milking herd and keep only feeder calves, some heifers and our good show string at a friend's farm. It's been a big adjustment but a good transition overall.  Even though Rex and I have never made our living from the farm (we are both teachers) we have been an active part of the daily operation. I can't imagine raising my kids in any other way than here on the farm.

Now it's fair week at our little county fair. Lots of work, it's really hot and humid, but it's also a lot of fun for us. We see folks we haven't seen since the year before and the boys bond with other kids in the area. We are one of only 3 families this year in the barn. The strangest part of this year is that None of us milk for a living anymore.  I can honestly say I do not miss 6am in the barn on a hot sticky day like today. 

We are also the only family with Jersey cows. Little, sweet, brown cows with good dispositions & awesome butterfat content in their milk. It makes the best ice cream! My boys end up competing against one another and that does not always equal the best post-show situation. Jordan won 2 out of 3 today. He won Sr Champion and Sr Showman, Trent won Jr Champion and Jr Showman. They had fun despite any disappointment (mostly Trent, the little brother) and now we are just having fun the rest of the day. 

Despite the work and complaints by the adults, it's about the kids learning responsibility, dedication & the value of hard work. We'll keep working for a few more weeks until state fair time and then hang up the haters and lead straps for next spring and do it all again. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Intimate Art of Cleaning

Welcome to my little spot in the blogosphere!  I'm so happy you have come to visit.  Feel free to comment and visit often.

As I was cleaning a vintage sewing cabinet, it occurred to me how intimate cleaning can be.  Cleaning can be very cathartic; healing in some ways.  There are times nothing feels better than stripping something down to the bare bones, scrubbing it out & reorganizing the contents.  Purging what isn't' needed, making things fit better, knowing it's clean.  Sometimes there isn't much that is more gratifying than a clean closet, cabinets, or drawers.  Now, mind you, I don't keep a super organized house.  We are a busy family with full time jobs, sports, school and hobbies.  My mail basket is constantly overflowing.  My dining table is the other catch all spot.  I have a basket of laundry waiting to be put away.  But as I was scrubbing my current project with a toothbrush in all of the tiny nooks and crannies, I started thinking of the history of where this piece has been.  I love looking in the drawers of old furniture.  An old Milk Duds box full of chalk for marking patterns and seam lines.  A pair of scissors.  Old nylons used to stuff socks for darning.  Old bobby pins, an old hair curler & clip.  A blouse pattern cut from a copy of The South Bend Tribune  circa May 1955.

Such neat little detail work & hidden treasures in this one!

My mind begins to wander as to what all was created with the machine, now sitting on my shelf, that was once housed in this cabinet.  Perhaps a patched knee for a little boy's pants.  A new silk blouse for a special night out.  Dresses for a baby girl.  Doll clothes for Christmas.  Squares pieced together for her daughter's wedding.  Hair in curlers while finishing the last hem of the cute little A-line dress.  Scrubbing all those little places makes it all become so intimate.  You become close to the piece being worked on.  The piece has a character, much like an animal or a friend has character.  You find flaws in the finish.  Strengths in the design.  Feelings toward the future color and design for it based on that character.  You develop feelings for it; love or hate, there are feelings.  Feelings toward whomever decided it was a good idea to slap on another coat of varnish without taking out the drawers.  Wondering who thought it was a good idea to put a little cut out on the top of the drawers to collect all of the lint and thread.  I can tell you there is NO way the locks were going to work with all that stuff in there. And who has the 4th drawer pull?

This is my adventure.  I have found a passion in finding these treasures and making them into something new.  I hope you'll visit often and leave me some love.