Update on the Farmhouse

Did your grandma ever tell you that staring at a pot of water wouldn’t make it boil any faster?  I never really got the meaning behind that until now.  It’s that way for us.  My whole family is starting to get antsy for our farmhouse to be finished. The house isn’t getting built any faster no matter how hard we stare at it.

One of the reasons is that we are renting a condo while we await the completion of our house.  Happy to have a nice place to live, none the less – it is a condo.  Our family of two active girls, a playful dog and two busy parents all desire more space and a tree shaded grassy backyard. With the concrete walls of the condo, waits for a very slow elevator, a parking garage and close quarter neighbors, our patience is stretched thin.  However, we have no choice but to wait.

Meanwhile I have a lot of work left to do; selecting finishes, paint colors, appliances, and light fixtures. The list goes on and on and I still have the usual routine of getting a child to school, along with trying to potty train a two-year old and manage household chores.  Luckily I enjoy all aspects of interior design, and are fortunate to have this opportunity to build our own home.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am a list maker and you can just image the number of notepads lying on my dining room table right now. I’ve also started on a furniture layout plan.  Making sure all the rooms have the right furniture and accessories will help set the tone for the whole house.  My goal is to keep the house casual and warm but full of character.  It will be my own version of  “farm living”.   I want to put a lot of emphasis on the outdoor living area.  A porch wrapping around the entire house creates a lot of space and I have numerous ideas on how to utilize all of it.

In reality, I would love to skip all of the above steps and just go straight to the “shopping”.  That’s the fun part.  Shopping for linens, pillows, rugs, artwork, candlesticks and more is my idea of sheer pleasure.  Most of you who don’t know me, wouldn’t know I used to own my own shop selling interior accent pieces and accessories; a past life that I often miss.  Building our farmhouse has opened up opportunities for me to once again take part in one of my favorite activities.  I’ll be on the hunt for those rare accent pieces that add character to a home.  While doing my personal shopping for the house,  I plan to also purchase special pieces that I think other folks would like.  I will be offering those items on my retail website which will be linked to my blog.  Be on the lookout for this feature.

Here is an update of the progress on the house:

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Porch Living

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Porch living is as Southern as Magnolias and Azaleas. A classic fixture on most homes, they are inviting and inspiring. “Porch Living” is a favorite activity for any Southerner because, if they are well-designed, a porch can make a great backdrop to welcome friends and family. It makes them want to come sit a spell, share stories, catch up on neighborhood news, or just peacefully enjoy a gentle breeze on a sultry summer evening. And who doesn’t enjoy snuggling up on a porch swing with a sweetheart in hopes of stealing a kiss?

They can serve as an extension of our interiors as an al fresco dining room, a relaxing reading nook or the perfect spot for an afternoon nap. Whether built-in a nostalgic or modern design, porches have claimed their place as prime outdoor living and gardening spaces. We don’t just have the run-of-the-mill porch, our porches are made for living! They were the first area my husband and I tackled when we began to design our farm-house. We knew that a wrap-around porch was a must.  Our builder just laughed and said we have so much porch space that it looks like more living space outside than inside.  That was fine by us.

Even though the foundation to our house is the only thing completed, I can look at our home site and visualize beautiful containers filled with flowers on the steps leading to the porch. My children are quietly playing jacks and pick-up sticks while I take a well-deserved nap in an oversized porch swing. As I’ve stated before, I do like to dream!

Labor Day Picnic

 

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According to the weather reports, Labor Day was scorching hot here down south and the rest of the U.S. I hope that didn’t stop everyone from enjoying the holiday with family and friends.

That’s what we chose to do; have a family cookout at our farm. Even though we have just begun construction on our house, we’ve already built a huge metal building that we use as a storage shed. That’s where we set up picnic tables and opened the doors to get a great breeze. Even with the breeze and a commercial size fan blowing, we couldn’t escape the sweltering heat and thick humidity.shed

We all had glistening beads of sweat running down our backs but that didn’t stop conversations from flowing as we caught up with the latest news, swatted gnats while sampling the dishes everyone brought. We definitely succeeded in having a good time in spite of the smoldering heat.

The menu was simple. My husband decided to grill chicken and I made a pot of seafood gumbo. Other family members pitched in with their favorite dishes, so there was plenty to eat.

Although I knew others would bring dessert, I wanted to wow everyone with something new and unusual. I enjoy trying new recipes and always want to mix things up when it comes to entertaining, so I often search through cookbooks and magazines trying to put a twist on the same old edibles usually offered.

I found a fun dessert called “Key Lime Whoopi Pies”. I love key lime anything and decided this was just the ticket. The recipe was from an authority in cooking as well as gardening, crafts, DIY projects, you name it. She is my mentor, Martha Stewart. I know, everyone has their opinion of her. They either like her or they don’t. Well, I’m not ashamed to admit I like her. There I said it! It’s out there. I am a huge fan of Martha Stewart. I find her to be very talented in all areas and she is my go-to-gal when I need inspiration. Sorry, I digress. Back to the Whoopi Pies.

I had lots of cooking to do the morning of the cookout, but I was determined to shine with this dessert. I gathered all the ingredients and put forth my best efforts. The recipe called for a creamy key lime filling to use as glue to bind two delicious cookies together. My filling would not thicken. It was very runny and defied all efforts to bind with the homemade cookies.  I am still not sure what went wrong but I ended up with a thin useless mess. Even adding a little corn starch didn’t help. Meanwhile, my husband and kids were begging for me to hurry things along, so we could leave in time for the cookout. Still, I tried to figure out how to rescue the dessert that I was sure would be the “hit” of the Labor Day picnic. Alas, all efforts failed. I’m embarrassed to say the dessert got left at home. I feel like I disappointed Martha; I could not execute her recipe. I can’t believe I got whipped by a Whoopi Pie!

Of course, the picnic was still a success, minus the dessert. I guess when you gather with your family and close friends, no grand eats or special entertainment are really necessary. We fed carrots to the horses and took short hikes while talking about the fading Summer days and hopes that a cool Autumn to soon arrive.

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To find the complete recipe of Martha Stewarts’ Key Lime Whoopi Pies, see my page at the top of the menu bar titled, “Eat Up!”  Please give the dessert a try and let me know how you do.

Family Farm

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Copper Crow Farm is located in the southern part of Mississippi where the climate can get pretty darn hot during the summer and just smoother you in humidity, but our autumn season is to die for with mild temperatures and great fall foliage.  That is when our whole family loves to get out and enjoy hayrides, hiking on nature trails and working in our gardens.

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The farm is a work-in-progress as the guys build and shape the land into our own little slice of country living.  The guys I speak of are my husband, aka Mr. Green Jeans, and my father, aka Farmer Fred.  Together these two guys have transformed a wooded area full of pine trees and underbrush and molded the land into beautiful pasture lands and fields.  There is still a lot of work to be done, but we are already able to reap the benefits of their hard labor.  This week we are finally breaking ground on our farm house and we are very excited to get that on its way.

Copper Crow Farm is 280 acres of lush southern pine tree forest.  It was originally owned by the International Paper Company who harvested the trees for manufacturing paper products.  When the mill  closed several years ago, we were fortunate enough to purchase the land at auction.

Tpost10he land might not have mountain views or tranquil lakes but it does offer natural scenic beauty.  We enjoy using the four-wheeler to ride through the trails.  The forest is so quiet.  The only sounds that can be heard are those from the pine trees and woodland birds as the winds blow through the forest.  The sound creates a whisper as the pines sway back and forth conversing amongst themselves.  I just love it.

Besides offering great wildlife and birds for watching, it also has fireflies which I haven’t seen since I was a child.  Their presence and the beautiful sounds of the forest fill our lives with a calm serenity we could never find in the city.  How much we will have to sacrifice by giving up city conveniences remains to be seen.

Farmer Fred and his two grand daughters, M.L. and S.P.

Farmer Fred and his two grand daughters, M.L. and S.P.  feeding the horses.

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We planted a field with over 300 Crape Mrytle. Beautiful!

We planted a field with over 300 Crape Mrytle. Beautiful!

 

Welcome to My Blog!

My name is Dona and I along with my husband and two beautiful girls are making the move from city life to farm living.  I expect it to be an adventure filled with chaos, hard work and the unexpected.  I look forward to the chance to nurture my love for all things southern and move towards a simpler life where the kids can chase fireflies and we can sit on the front porch drinking a glass of sweet tea.  I hope to use this blog as an outlet to document our move through pictures and storytelling to help preserve the memories of our new life on the family farm.

post111  Why the name “Pine trees and Sweet tea”?  I feel it describes life in the South.  Not like “Gone with the Wind” type of South (but who didn’t love Scarlett’s dresses?)  It’s more of a simpler South,  full of Magnolia trees and pecan pie or fireflies and pumpkin pie.  (can you tell I love pie?).  Living down South just feels right to me.  Where else can you find such great hospitality.  No true southerner has ever met a stranger.  Here, conversation just flows effortlessly. while folks sip iced tea served in a mason jar.  Where else can the incorrect pronoun “Y’all” be so accepted that no one thinks any differently.

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We take our monograms very seriously.  Everything gets monogrammed.  It’s like our Coat of Arms.  We’re also partial to boiled peanuts, grandpas in seersucker suits,  and drinking cold beer in a “huggie”.  Our men, for some reason. love to fry whole turkeys for Thanksgiving.  Down here, cowboy boots can go with almost any attire and camouflage is considered acceptable on anything from purses, to ladies’ dresses and covers for our ATV’s.  That’s right, almost all southerners own some sort of  “alternate terrain vehicle” ’cause you just never know when you might have the need to drive off-road.post9(pic. of Farmer Fred with grand daughter, S.P.)

I want to have fun with this blog.  I welcome any comments or remarks and would love to hear from you.  So sit a spell and come share our adventures with us so you can laugh along as we navigate our uncharted transformation to farm living –  Southern style!