Friday, January 29, 2010

Winter Strawberries

The house in Hooterville is just a hop, skip and a jump from the city that is known as “The Winter Strawberry Capital of the World.” 
In fact, “Hooterville” has its share of strawberry fields too.  There is even a  large one that runs along  the west side of our property.


The  recent  freezing temperatures we experienced earlier this month didn’t seem to negatively impact the berries too much because they are plentiful as well as exceptionally plump and sweet.
Oh and they smell heavenly!


What a wonderful treat it is to be able to go right down the street to one of the roadside vegetable stands to get  strawberries fresh out of the fields rather than having to buy them in the grocery store!

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With all of the fresh strawberries available to me now, I think I need to start looking for new ways to use these luscious berries  beyond the typical strawberry shortcake.
Have you got any good recipes using fresh strawberries you would like to share?

Linking up to:


@ Designs by Gollum

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


There have been two little issues that have really been bugging me lately.
One concerns my blog.  The other concerns the house in Hooterville.
Regarding the blog…three of my old posts from last summer have been hard hit by spammers.  I have comment moderation activated for posts older than 7 days so these spam comments aren’t getting through but it was irritating me to no end to have to reject as many as 6 or 8 spam comments a day. 
Finally, I made the decision to turn comments completely off on those three old posts.
So far, it appears to have stopped the spam so I’m optimistic.
The other issue concerns one of the bathrooms at the house in Hooterville.  With all of the work that has been taking place, I’ve had to make the bathroom next to the laundry room accessible to workmen.  In addition, until the bathroom in the new barn is finished, boarders will, no doubt, be coming up to the house and asking to use our bathroom from time to time so I’m sure this little issue will continue for a while. 
Invariably every time I walk by that bathroom everyone is using, someone  has left the toilet seat up. 
This is  an issue I’ve never had to really deal with before because my hubby  grew up sharing a bathroom with his mom and 3 sisters.  He learned early in life to put the seat down and he rarely forgets.
In the scheme of things, a toilet seat left in the up position  really is a small thing but, nevertheless, it still drives me nuts so I go in, close the lid, and wash my hands.  The next thing I know, the lid is up again!
I finally came up with this idea.  See that frame on the wall over the toilet?


A closer look:


Most definitely.
But so is leaving the toilet seat up.
I’m optimistic.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Boarders Are Here! The Boarders Are Here!

We’ve had several new horses arrive at the farm this week.
This is “Ella” and her 13 year old owner.

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This is “Ivy.”


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This is “Jolie.”  (Horse #4 for Daughter.)   Daughter adopted Jolie from a horse rescue and she arrived this week after a long trip from North Dakota.  I’ll tell you more of Jolie’s story at a later date.  (She  has one blue eye and one black/brown eye.)

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We are expecting several more boarders to arrive within the next few days and by February 1, we should almost have all of our available stalls leased, which is very exciting.
And after much deliberation, our farm finally has a name.
It has no special meaning or significance other than my daughter came up with it and we liked the sound of it.
Meanwhile, as the horses were arriving, there was a flurry of other activities going on.
The fencing was being finished.  Gates were being hung.  Automatic waterers were being checked to make sure they were working properly and there were no leaks.
A bin to store shavings for bedding the stalls was being constructed.



Two days ago, the shell of the partially built 12 stall barn we purchased off Craigslist was finished by the previous owner.  We will be doing the rest of the work ourselves.


The second-story deck still needs railing and a roof, the stairs need a handrail, electric and water need to be run, and lighting needs to be installed.  The apartment/rec room needs to be finished.   Concrete needs to be poured in the center aisle, tack room, feed room, wash rack, and cross-tie areas.


Six of the stalls are finished.


As finances permit,  six more stalls can be added later (3 on the right and 3 on the left of where the shavings pile is temporarily sitting).


But after 3 months of backbreaking work, WINDSWEPT FARM is officially up and running! 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Inspiration From Pottery Barn

I don’t have one single piece of furniture in my current house that will work in the family room of the house in Hooterville.
With the big stone fireplace, the family room has somewhat of a rustic feel. 

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There is NOTHING about my current house that is rustic.
Not one thing.
So, I’ve been looking around for decorating ideas and inspiration. 
Like many of you, I recently got a new Pottery Barn catalog and I saw this.

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I sort of like the  casual, rustic “feel” of this room.    Love the rustic look of the coffee table wood  and the casualness of the slipcovers on the sofa.  After having white slipcovers in my living room at my current house, I am convinced I never want another sofa unless it has slipcovers.
Especially a sofa that will get a lot of wear and tear from daily use in a family room setting.  
With that being said, there was one element in this room that I was really, really drawn to though and it wasn’t furniture.  Can you guess what it is?
Can you see it now?

pottery barn clock

I don’t know why but I’m loving that piece of art that looks like a  rusty, worn clock on the back wall.  I’ve searched the catalog and the website to see if I can find out more about it…what it’s made of…how it’s made…but it would appear it is only a prop so I couldn’t find any details  or close-up photos of it.  
Nevertheless, I’m putting it in my idea file and I might attempt to create my own knockoff version of this clock for the family room.
After I actually have some furniture in the family room first.
I don’t think my husband will take too kindly to me accessorizing with big, rusty clock artwork before he has something to sit on to watch television.
Priorities, ya know?


Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Little Retail Therapy

I took a break from working on the house in Hooterville this week and did a little shopping instead. 
We had dinner at Cracker Barrel one night with hubby’s sister and her husband.  In the gift shop I spotted a whole display of blue & white dishes and accessories.  I bought the tureen, a cow creamer, a tassel and a rooster to start my collection for the breakfast room hutch. 

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Normally, I’m not all that much into roosters but I did think this fellow was quite handsome.

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Cracker Barrel also had some blue & white plates and mugs but I didn’t want everything to be so matchy-matchy  so I decided to check TJMaxx to see if they had any. 
I was able to get 4 dinner plates and 4 salad plates.

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After I got them home, I realized they have a horse and rider on them.    I guess it was meant to be that they ended up on a horse farm.  :)

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Now that I’ve got my collection of blue & white pieces started for the breakfast room via retail stores, any additional pieces I get will probably be through the thrift stores and Goodwill, as I come across them.
There is a wall in the breakfast room that I thought would be the perfect place for a French styled bench.  I saw this one on the internet but it was $249.99 plus $95.00 for shipping.
Hmmm…very pretty but quite pricey.

Art & Artifact 

I almost squealed when walked into Marshalls and saw this one for $129.00!

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Except for the carvings on the more expensive bench, they are almost identical.   Of course I like the carvings but I don’t think they are worth the $215.00 difference in price.
I did have a good photo showing the bench in the breakfast room but I think I accidentally deleted it so I guess I’ll have to photograph it again. 
Anyway, there is a big blank area of wall space over the bench and I’m thinking I would like to hang a large Frenchy clock there.  Maybe something like this one from Ballard Designs.
Ballard Designs clock 
I like this one from Ballard Designs too.  The green border would nicely coordinate with the  green in the hutch.
Ballard Designs clock 2 
I am also lusting after this rug from Ballard Designs for the breakfast room but I keep dragging my feet, hoping it will go on sale.  I know I should just order it because, with my luck, it will be discontinued or sold out if I wait.  Does that ever happen to you?
Ballard abigail
As you can see, the breakfast room colors are green and blue.  I wanted to carry the blue into the bathroom around the corner from the breakfast room but instead of green, I  chose to use yellow with the blue.
I painted the walls in that bathroom a buttery yellow and bought a blue toile shower curtain off eBay.  I also had a lot of empty floor space so I ordered this wrought iron and “wood” corner étagère that I found on sale at    J. C. Penney’s online catalog site.   I can always use the extra storage and display space it provides.


JCP corner shelf

I still have a little work to do in that bathroom before it will be ready for its debut so be sure to check back.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I happened to be talking on the phone with Daughter as she arrived at the house in Hooterville yesterday morning.  In mid-sentence, she gasped and said, “OH MY GOSH!”  When she opened the back door to the laundry room to enter the house, water came pouring out the door! 
I could actually hear the sound of rushing water over the phone!
She said, “The laundry room is flooded!  I’ll call you back!”   
Definitely not comforting words to hear when I’m 40 miles away!
Of course, my first  concern was how much of the house had flooded and whether the new wood laminate flooring and carpet that was just laid a few weeks ago was ruined.  
A water pipe for the hot water heater in the laundry room had burst.  Although water was gushing out of the broken pipe fast and furiously, it would appear the floor is somewhat sloped toward the back door and at least upon initial inspection,  it seems  the  flooding was primarily contained to the laundry room because of the slope.  
Fortunately, there was nothing in the laundry room the water could really hurt.   I just painted the room last weekend so everything had been removed to make painting easier and my new washer/dryer hasn’t been delivered yet.  Three of the walls are outside walls so they are concrete block.  The fourth wall is wallboard so we’ll have to wait to see if it sucked up any of the water and will need replacing. The current flooring  is old vinyl tiles (over a concrete slab).  The vinyl tiles were  due to be replaced today anyway but the installer called me a couple days ago and said my new flooring hasn’t come in yet.  It is sitting on a truck that has been delayed due to bad weather.    Of course, I was disappointed but now it’s probably a good thing  that the installation of the new floor had to be rescheduled because the laundry room needs time to dry out. 
Since updated photos of the laundry room  will be delayed a little longer, I decided to post  a few photos of the formal living room/dining room progress.
During the remodeling process, the formal living room/dining room area has undergone several incarnations in my mind.  There was never any question that  my white slip-covered sofa and love seat, and all my white painted furniture would go in the “formal” living room so initially, I was thinking of a white/off white tone-on-tone look for these rooms,  much like the photo below (minus the flowery wallpaper).

Picture 087photo source: 


As a reminder, here’s a “before” photo of the living room.


Below  is the “after.”  The carpet is an off-white color called “Whipped Cream.”   I was somewhat hesitant but ultimately decided to stray from the white-on-white look and try some color on the walls, a bluish gray (Valspar “Winter in Paris”).    I really like the color…it’s actually prettier  than it photographs (and not as blue)… but I’m wondering if  it might end up being  a little too gloomy for this north facing room that doesn’t receive much natural light.


This is the “before” photo taken from the foyer, looking across the sunken living room to the dining room in the background.

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And “after” (with the floor all one level).  (Still need those wall plugs replaced with white ones!)


On the back dining room wall, I used the fabulous and famous Blogland  beadboard wallpaper that I posted about here and here because…



this is my  inspiration picture.  I would like my dining room to have a similar style.

BRIGHT_DESIGN_PLAN-layla Photo credit:  The Lettered Cottage

The lovely and very talented Layla over at The Lettered Cottage designed this gorgeous dining room for one of her clients and I thought many of the elements  would work great in my dining room.
I’m keeping my eyes open for some similar furniture pieces on Craigslist.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Icicles and Sinkholes

The weather remains a “hot” topic here in Florida.  Rest assured  that’s the only thing that’s been hot though. 
We are still experiencing freezing temperatures and some parts of Florida even saw snow flurries over the weekend, although we didn’t.   The weatherman promises warmer weather is on its way in the next day or two.  Thursday should be a beautiful 70 degrees.  Thank goodness! 
We continue to be  amazed and mesmerized by all of the icicles we have seen  everywhere around the house in Hooterville.   These photos were taken yesterday.


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The unusually cold weather is taking its toll on our wildlife (fish, turtles, iguanas) and of course our crops like oranges, strawberries, tomatoes and cucumbers.  I mentioned in my last post that the growers have been sprinkling their crops almost non-stop to insulate the plants and fruits when the temperature drops below freezing.  
Unfortunately, all that water usage by the growers is having a serious side effect…
In some nearby towns, several families have sadly lost their homes after they were  swallowed up by very large sinkholes.
At the end of this dirt road…way in the background of this photo…is the entrance to the house in Hooterville.  This morning a sinkhole opened up at the side of the road, toppling a tree and taking down power lines.  By this afternoon cracks in the earth were starting to stretch across the road. 

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Fortunately, our property is not threatened by this sinkhole but the road  is our only access to the house and property because we have orange groves and strawberry fields on the west, south and east borders of our property.


The power company came out, cleared the tree from blocking the road and repaired the power lines.  However,  the road is apparently privately owned (but we don’t know by whom) so hubby will be making some phone calls tomorrow to find out who is responsible for determining whether the road is safe and drivable, and what needs to be done to make sure the sinkhole doesn’t get larger.


Meanwhile,  a little more progress is being made on the house and property every day.  The new barn has started going up (but all of our lush green grass is now  brown and crunchy from all the frost).


And by this time next week, I hope to be able to show you more pictures from  inside the house, including the laundry room, which has a pretty new paint color and will have new flooring in a couple days.  :)