Thursday, December 29, 2011


I may have the cutest nieces and nephews in the world. Just sayin'. :-)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Visiting the Jefferson

Wow. Big and Beautiful. Those are words to describe the holiday decorations at the Jefferson Hotel. Candy house is one of the best I have ever seen --- and I believe the (spectacular) tree will be up until the first week in January. Definitely worth a visit if you are in the Richmond area!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Still Feeding Birds

One of my favorite parts of life on the farm is the amazing variety of birds I can (and will) see on any given day --- and often right outside of my kitchen window. Before moving away from Church Hill, I honestly never realized how many different kinds of birds there were in this area, nor did I realize how colorful the birds might be. I was a bit spoiled living in the metal building apartment (in the back part of the farm) for my first two years out here, at least in terms of bird-watching abilities. The bird feeders there were only about 8 feet from the apartment and I could use a telephoto lens from just inside the bathroom window very easily and get great images. Visit for a bird inventory I did a few years back.

The new house does not (yet) have a great location for doing that kind of photography, although I an determined to find or create one soon. I did recently get a see-through birdfeeder for the window of my laundry room (see above), but the window is very close to the heat pump and A/C unit, so only the bravest of birds seem to have found their way there. Alternating between sunflower seeds and safflower seeds has helped --- and appears to to be getting a strong vote of approval from all my visitors.

For those who asked for details, I keep two feeders on my deck and they are filled most of the time with either sunflower or safflower seeds, plus one hummingbird feeder. There are additional feeders along the perimeter fences, but I don't worry about keeping them filled as often. I have one squirrel who visits on occasion, but not so often as to be a pest. After NOT seeing one single squirrel on the property for the first 4 years I was here, I still get a kick watching his antics.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thor Turns 14!

Happy Birthday to Thor, who may be the happiest dog in the world. He is still bouncing around the house and yard at 14 years of age and LOVES to do agility and tricks. Perhaps not as nimble as he once was, but as enthusiastic as he ever was!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween.

Check out the scary spiders who arrived last week at 6500, just in time for Halloween. Thank you Annie!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Kelsey's Box House

This was the result of some serious thought, a fair amount of effort and LOTS of tape. Much fun. I should note that this house had more than one room and a skylight too. :-)

Had a wonderful trip to California for the Labor Day weekend!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Hmm. Wonder why my laundry looks wrinkled again already?


Flake is only happy when she is REALLY dirty. Lovely, huh? Good thing the pool filter works well.


Enough with the paperwork --- can you tell Pilot wants to go outside?

(Note: I think he may be the cutest dog in the world.)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Bug

Love taking the time to notice the small stuff --- and there is a lot of it to notice.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Planting Earthboxes with Grady and Katie


What fun! My sister Susan and I helped my nephew Grady and niece Katie plant their first earthboxes with an assortment of vegetables. I see some great gardening potential in them both!!

See here and here and here for pictures of my earthbox "farm" in Virginia. I am clearly a fan.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Succulent Show at the Huntington

Had a wonderful visit to the cactus and succulent show at the Huntington Library and Gardens with my mother and niece Kelsey. Very impressive and inspiring. Made plans to improve my little (kitchen windowsill) succulent collection in Virginia soon.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pool Deck


Big weekend of projects around here. One of the most significant accomplishments of the past week was that I finally got the filter and salt treatment system working on my tiny backyard pool. Thank you Ed and Jay for making this happen!! My pool is 12' in diameter and came from Wal-Mart about two years back. It has never gotten much use though, because of (a) the no-filter-no-salt problem and (b) the no-easy-way-to-get-dogs-in-and-out problem. So, with the filter now in place and working perfectly, I decided to tackle the second problem immediately and build a "pool deck" for my dogs. Found old plastic shelving in my shed and bought additional (new) shelving at Lowe's. Used my hacksaw to adjust leg heights as needed. Bought a few rubber door mats and secured them to shelving with zip ties. More zip ties were used to attach shelving to the pool frame and a few cinder block pieces were used to provide weight on the bottom shelf. You can see the results here, but I can report that the new deck worked exactly as hoped and all dogs seemed able to get up and into the pool and then (more importantly) out again. Only two of my dogs (Flake and Pilot) are showing much enthusiasm for the water at this point, but I am hopeful that the others will come around. Canine swimming lessons and water aerobics start this week. :-)


Oh dear. Slacking off again in the blogging department. Where has the year gone?? Has it really been months (??) since I last updated this blog? Will once again renew my commitment to posting here with regularity and see if I can do better in the days ahead. Plenty going on and plenty more planned, so I shouldn't have trouble finding things to report.

Stay tuned.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Metal Building

Metal building renovation project started with a new staircase, so that I could access all of the nice storage in the loft area. Previous access via a leaning ladder was never a good/safe option, with the result being that I didn't go up there much. Also ended up adding a railing along the edges of the loft for more safety, which can be seen in the pictures below --- and all of the above was eventually painted.

Followed with massive cleaning and decluttering and organizing. This is the load that went to the dump and a similar (slightly smaller) load went to the Salvation Army. Less is more, right?

Here is the area post-cleaning.

And here it is with the spiffy new cushioned floor for dog training and everything else. For those who might wonder, these are just foam squares that interlock like puzzle pieces, which I purchased at Sam's Club --- and I put down the whole floor myself in about 90 minutes.

Hooray --- another BIG project completed!! The large metal building (quonset hut) on my property had become more of a large storage unit than anything else in recent years. I don't have any pictures of the total mess that it was, but you can probably imagine lots of piles and containers of stuff with very little rhyme or reason to what went where. I have always wanted to be able to use the building for other purposes (training my dogs, entertaining, etc), so a major cleanup and cleanout was in order. Happy to report that it was less painful than I feared and the results make me much happier than I could have anticipated. Thank you to Joanne and Tray and Dustin for all of their help with this project!! I couldn't have done it without you.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pump House

Note the fancy new stoop (which replaces the stacked cinder blocks
that have served that purpose for the past decade or more)
..White paint on the walls
and gray deck paint on the floor

More actual progress to report this week! The Pump House (or "Shack") is a small building behind the main farm house that used to feature really dirty indoor carpeting (and under that an uneven floor) and holes in the walls and gaps up near where the walls met the ceiling. Decided to transform it into a dedicated storage building with some much needed repairs and a coat or two of fresh paint. Ta da. Mission accomplished. It looks SO much better and is already neatly storing tons of stuff on very organized shelves. Thank you Tommy and Charles and Richard and Tray and Dustin and Joanne for all of your help! Hooray --- crossing another project off the long TO DO list.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Actual Farm Progress


Yikes (birds lived here...)

After :-)

This blog was originally intended to document progress on the rehabilitation of my tiny farm and it has clearly expanded to include almost everything else in my life. Such is the beauty of a blog I suppose. Happy to report this week on some actual brick and mortar progress though (or in this case wood, insulation and siding). The large metal building on my property has a small apartment where I lived for over two years. That end of the building has always had gaps in the siding and poor insulation and I knew there were at least a few birds making nests under the bathroom window. Not sure I realized how easy that was for them though. Decided this wall needed fixing and I am pleased to say it is now 100% fixed. See BEFORE and AFTER above. For those who appreciate details, note the all-new framing around the door (custom fit folded metal), reconstructed threshold, all-new framing around both windows, and fresh paint on the brand-new dutch door with a dog door. Also note the perfect clean-up after a very messy job. Thank you Charles and Tommy and Richard!

On to the next project!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year to all!! 2011 is off to a great start --- and I returned to Virginia just in time for more snow. Dogs were very happy to see me --- and then even happier to see the white stuff outside. Thank you to Tray and Joanne for looking after everyone in my absence!! My New Year's blogging resolution will be to post something here or on my new food blog for "most" weeks of 2011. Let's see how I do. :-)