~Happy Monday~

Crazy Casa K


What makes me happy?

The first signs of Spring in the garden…


…and a lovely green shirt, direct from my brother in Ireland, to wear on St. Patrick’s Day!



(The shirt says “the far away hills are green” in Gaelic…)

Thank you Steve… and Happy St. Paddy’s Day!






Outside my window… the sun is just coming up, the birds are singing, and the air smells like spring!

I am thinking… about how we managed to run out of milk without me noticing (I’m tired this morning, no deep thoughts here. ;)

I am thankful… for the lovely spring day that stretches out before us.

In the kitchen… at M’s request I made daughter E’s Spanish Rice recipe with dinner last night. Mmmm…

I am creating… a little music, a little order, and a little beauty as I am able

I am going… to town later to buy milk. ;) We’re also working at the thrift store today… we missed our shift yesterday due to a homeschool group field trip, so will make it up today.

I am wondering… what to use to cover the old footstool I’m restoring. It was my grandparent’s and has been in pieces for years. I’ve fixed the wooden base and it’s strong and sturdy now but I can’t decide on a fabric to use to recover the top.

I am reading… The Lewis and Clark Journals. I’ve read parts of them before, and recently decided it was a good time to pick them up and journey a little farther with Meriwether and William.

I am hoping… we get to have S for the weekend. I still need to call her foster mom and set it up. I should have called earlier, but the days just got away from me. (And I really dread calling, the foster mom can be tough to deal with, so it’s a job I tend to put off!)

Around the house… I’ve been working on a project that I’ll share next week. It’s turning out great, the only downside is I now have a Rolling Stones song stuck in my head….

One of my favorite things… a game of Yahtzee with M and R. We played a quick game after dinner last night and it was so much fun. I do so enjoy spending time with them.

Some photos to share…

This photo is one of my favorite older photos, it was taken in March of 2007… the horse is Chance, a Tennessee Walker that used to live next door. He was an awesome and amazing horse, and we loved him. He had a tough life though and I would have bought him and given him a better life if I could have. Unfortunately, his owner was asking a couple thousand more than we could afford.  The house next door was foreclosed on 5 years ago and Chance was gone, but I still think about him and hope he is happy and well fed where ever he is right now.


R and Chance in March of 2006…



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crazy like a fox…

We had a nice little snowstorm yesterday, and in the middle of it R excitedly called me to the window… there was a fox right outside.

We see foxes here from time to time, but this one was especially big and his coloring was just beautiful… and he was especially bold. He crossed the front of the house just 10′ or so from where we were watching him out the kitchen window, then crossed the driveway and went out into our little front pasture.


From the sunroom windows we watched him circling the big scrub oak bushes, each in turn, sometimes running a little, then heading to the next bush and circling it.


For a while I couldn’t figure out what he was doing, it was snowing too hard and we were too far away… but then we saw a rabbit moving frantically from around the back of one  of the bushes… and the fox shooting around from the back of the same bush a second later.


I got lucky and my camera caught the fox in mid-stride… in mid-air… all four legs off the ground, body stretched out… he was moving.  He wasn’t moving quite fast enough though, and the rabbit got away.

The fox stopped and stood for a moment watching the rabbit disappear into the falling snow…


… before he finally gave up and headed for greener (hare-ier?) pastures.


He’s here crossing the road just to the left of the tree. I wish the photos were better… but it was really snowing hard and I had to take them through the window… I knew the second I opened the front door he would have been gone.

The sunroom… finally complete!

The sunroom (classroom) is finally done!

It took a full two weeks of hard work, during which nothing seemed to go the way I thought it would… but it’s done.

Come on in….


What do you think? :)


Here’s a before picture, just in case you forgot where it started. Yes, it was very brown, but no it didn’t lean… I have a terrible time keeping the camera level! ;)

I finished last Friday after a marathon day of measuring, cutting, painting, staining and putting up corner and quarter round moldings…

Thankfully, the moldings went up easily… and none of the tiny quarter round moldings split, even though a few of the nails had to go in really close to the edge…

I caulked around all the new moldings then touched up all the paint and had everything cleaned up and tools put away by the time Joe got home around 6:00. Thankfully he likes how the room turned out… I had been a little worried, since I was painting over the natural wood on the walls, but he agreed that the white paint really brightened the room up.

I moved the big rolltop desk to a side wall (under M’s window) to paint and then decided I liked it better there, so I left it. I put some of the same photos back on top, and also added a few other special things as well.


I brought this little stool in from the back porch to hold a few plants or a cup of tea. I love it’s chippy old paint…  leftovers from a year or two outside!

I was a little stressed about water from the plants possibly damaging some of the newly refinished wood on the giant steps, so I pulled out some old enamelware for the plants to sit in… I’m being super careful when watering (no drips!) so hopefully, between all the polyurethane and the enamelware, the wood is well protected.


A new metal thermometer for the wall… I took these pictures on a warm day!


I do love how the room turned out… It was worth every minute I spent working in there. It feels so fresh and clean, and much more open…

I love living in a log home, I love the beauty of the wood… the knotholes and various tones in the logs…and it’s solid feeling. But there can also be a heaviness to the huge beams and all the wood. Even though this room has two log walls, it feels much lighter to me now.





It feels very good to check this one off the to-do list!


~Happy Monday~

Crazy Casa K


What makes me happy?

Watching the deer grazing in the early morning sunlight….


One Hundred Years Ago…

…. you  might have had this book in your library.



And made things like Dandelion Cordials…



And Nasturtium Vinegar…


This book came into the thrift store while we were working yesterday and never made it out on the shelf…

I think the whole book is charming, from the recipes to the illustrations….



to the list of due dates on the front page.


The book is in remarkably good shape for it’s age, the binding is strong and the pages are in great condition. I might just have try one or two of these recipes this summer. :)

the neverending story

I’m still in the midst of the classroom/sun room redo.

Have I mentioned it’s been really slow going?

This week had barely begun when I ran into another little stumbling block in terms of my plans for the room… specifically, my plans to put a good, water resistant laminate wood flooring on the giant “steps” on the side of the room where the porch roof is. I’d already bought the flooring, it had been sitting in the room acclimating, and was all ready to be laid when I started having second thoughts.

I took a close look (and took a good measure) of the horizontal tops of those “steps” and of course (why was I surprised…), nothing was square.  And as I thought about trying to lay the flooring planks square, on a surface that wasn’t square, and the strange angles I would have to cut (and all the flooring I would probably waste in the process!) I realized there was a high probability that it would turn out not-so-great.

So, I slept on it Sunday night and woke up Monday morning feeling like the best thing to do would be to try to salvage the wood that was already underneath the tile fiber board I was getting rid of… and only if it wasn’t salvageable to start trying to lay new flooring in those areas.


I had the crowbar out by 8:00 Monday morning and started tearing the tile board off.

What I found wasn’t pretty… old water damaged (but not rotted, thank goodness!) tongue and groove, with petrified liquid nails smeared all over it from when they’d glued the tile board on.

Once I had the tile board off, most of the rest of that day was spent trying to remove all the liquid nails residue covering the old tongue and groove. I tried scraping (haha.. the liquid nails laughed at my attempts to scrape it off!)… then I took the blow dryer to it (temps above 140 are supposed to soften the liquid nails so it can be scraped off), this was marginally successful.

Finally I stumbled on the combination of paint stripper followed by a razor blade which cleaned off most of the liquid nails.


It was still looking pretty rough at this point… and I kept checking here and there to make sure the wood wasn’t rotten in spots.

The wood seemed to be in decent shape, so by Tuesday afternoon I was trashing the room sanding the last of the liquid nails off and wondering what had possessed me to start working on this room.

After two days of fighting with old tile board and liquid nails  I wanted nothing more than to close the door to that room… and nail it shut!

Thankfully I didn’t, because by Tuesday evening when I was starting to stain the newly stripped and sanded tongue and groove, I started thinking that maybe it would turn out ok after all…

Yesterday was polyurethane day… and the day I could finally see that old, water damaged, tongue and groove start to come alive again.

When I first started this project, I hadn’t wanted to use the old tongue and groove because I use those steps to hold plants during the winter… so they get wet sometimes.  And I for sure didn’t want to ruin all my work with a leaky plant. So I knew I needed to protect and seal the wood against water as much as possible.

That meant lots of coats of high quality polyurethane.

Here’s where I ended up yesterday…

The old tongue and groove on the giant steps has been stripped, sanded, stained and polyed…. and I do love how it’s turning out. I’m so glad the steps weren’t square enough to use new wood, and the old wood that Annie and Carl (original owners and builders) put in is exposed and beautiful again.

Up next is caulking around the edges, then adding corner and quarter round trim around the edges and staining and sealing it.

It would be nice to be finished with the room this week, but I don’t think it’s going to happen…

Next week though… for sure.

(You can read more about this project here, here, and here.)


will it rot… or not?

With both M and R getting older (21 and 17) a lot of our homeschool is working on life skills. We still work on our math curriculum, it’s something that’s so important and I worry they would forget too much if we didn’t need up with it… but most everything else is hand’s on learning. We work on things like following simple recipes, riding the bus, money management, job skills,  etc.

The past couple of weeks we’ve been following a rabbit trail that started with nutrition (focusing on the problems with too much fast food and “junk” food) and has branched off into things like advertising, product placement, and food styling.

Both kids were amazed that product placement in a movie didn’t mean the actors were really consumers of that product… only that the product’s manufacturer paid (sometimes BIG bucks!) for their product to be seen in that movie.

We found some awesome videos on YouTube of the food styling process, and how the food that looks so good in the pictures might not even be edible!

We’ve talked a fair amount on some of the hidden aspects of advertising… watching commercials, for example, and talking about the unspoken messages they are trying to give us (you will be happy, or sexy, and skinny if you wear these clothes, or eat our food, you will feel peaceful, or confident, and happy if you drink this soft drink, etc). As we were picking apart fast food commercials, I told the kids about the movie “Super Size Me” and they both wanted to see it. It took a little doing to find it (it’s getting older, and not as easily available) but I did and we watched it. Lots of good discussion followed as well as deciding to replicate an experiment others have done looking at how fast food breaks down compared to less processed food. Specifically we wanted to see for our own eyes that you can leave a basic burger and fries sitting on the counter and they won’t rot…

The kids decided to take it one step further and compare and contrast what happens to a basic Burger King meal with a basic McDonald’s meal.

So we drove down  to town and bought a hamburger and fries from both McD’s and BK. First we compared them (noticing the unappetizing color of the McD burger compared to BK’s…


…then we set them on the counter and waited to see what would happen.


Here’s the McD’s meal on day 1, brand new and fresh:

And the BK meal on Day 1:

This food has been sitting out on my counter for 4 days now and so far all that’s happened is the food has shrunk…

No stink, no mold (despite no refrigeration)… they haven’t even attracted the tiny gnats that seem to show up any time the fruit gets a little old… The only change has been a slightly smaller sandwich and fries.

Here’s McD’s on day 4:

And here’s BK on day 4:

We’re going to keep up our experiment for a month or until I can’t stand it on the counter any more. ;)

It’s been so cool to see R’s reactions to what we’ve been talking about…. It’s like she’s feeling in on a secret, and while she watches commercials or sees ads, she loves to try to identify the unspoken messages in the ad, or point out the “styled” food. It’s given her a different mind set…  M on the other hand has been interested… but he really doesn’t care that much… he’d still be thrilled with lunch at the golden arches!

Caulk ‘Til You Drop

The classroom re-do is coming along.


Excruciatingly slowly…

A big part of what’s taking so long is all the caulking the room has needed.

The walls are tongue and groove (a couple of different kinds). Because it was an add-on room, they didn’t use the same logs they used when they built the rest of the house, and it wasn’t insulated much (if at all!). So it’s always been a drafty room…


Over time, as the house has settled, countless tiny gaps opened up… between the tongue and groove, around the windows and doors, between the floor and the walls, and around the giant steps (that hide part of the front porch roof that was enclosed when the room was created.

The cracks and gaps weren’t obvious until I started painting… Then they were impossible to miss against the white paint.

And each little gap and crack was letting cold air into the room…

So each little gap and crack needed to be caulked.

Three tubes of caulk later (two tubes of white, one tube of brown) the room is pretty well sealed.

Most of the painting is also done. (One window needs one more coat, but that’s all that’s left..) It ended up taking five coats to cover that old tongue and groove… three coats of primer, and two coats of regular paint.

Had I known what a miserable job this would turn out to be I might not have tackled it…  But I do like how much brighter and fresher the room looks now.


Next up is replacing the old tile board on top of the giant steps and (hopefully) doing something about the light.


It’s still the original porch light, from the mid 70′s, when this room had been an outdoor balcony.


Hopefully the room will be done and put back together later this week, and I can finally post some “after” pictures!