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Labor Day

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Star Hill is open for company this weekend. Our boat, Big Red, the jet ski and the fire pit are good to go. The sheets are clean and the fridge is full. We will be arriving Friday night and staying until Monday afternoon. Pack a toothbrush and your swimsuit. We love those long weekends!

The Mudroom Bench is Coming Together

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Tuesday night we made progress on the Mudroom bench. The paint color was picked out; Behr Marina Isle.

I am such a fan of the Behr paint with primer in it. The paint dries so smooth it looks great after one coat and professional after two.
We got home from Home Depot and I got started right away. It was 8:00 p.m. and getting dark, but I just couldn’t wait to get it done.  I got a coat of paint on the whole bench before the mosquitoes drained my entire blood supply. I am absolutely the messiest painter in all of Texas. I managed to step in wet paint, get it on my hands, and even got some in my hair.   I could blame all the mess on the impending darkness, but I have been known to make just as much mess at noon.

When I woke up Wednesday morning I had to run out to the garage to check out the color once it dried.  I love it.  It is really a soft teal color. It will look great on my khaki colored walls.  The cushion will be burlap colored fabric and I am making two coffee sack pillows to add to the bench. 

The bench is going to look great. I am so happy with the color. It is amazing to me how the paint color unifies the piece and makes it look less like a patchwork and more like a piece of fine furniture.

Hubby got the mirror disassembled so that I could get it painted. The mirror now looks like it belongs on the piece.  Wednesday night was all about Hubby routing the edges of the back and me painting the top part. 

I know you are getting tired of seeing how slow we work.  This is real life.  We work hard, we only have an hour or so each evening to get this finished.  The next time you see the mudroom bench it will be the assembly and installation.  We really are almost there.

Composting at Star Hill

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I feel like I need full discosure here.  At Star Hill we have terrible dirt.  It is clay and as far as I can tell the only thing that loves it is pine trees.  Also, we do not have trash service at Star Hill.  We are too cheap to pay for trash pick up at two houses.  Those two facts along with giving birth to the Southern Belle who is VERY eco-friendly has led us to compost at the lakehouse. 

Inside the house we have two trash cans; recycle and trash.  We bring all that home and put it out by our curb.  We also have a compost jar.

 For a long time I just had a big bean pot that we put all vegetable scraps in, but my social planner suprised me with this one two weeks ago.  It even has a charcoal filter in the lid.  Fancy.

It is kind of gross to look at, but I wanted you to see what goes in to the compost pot.  Potato peels, cantalope rinds and seeds, egg shells, cilantro stems, jalapeno seeds and stems, apple cores, and onion skins were in the pot this weekend. 

We know that we do not follow any of the composting rules.  My parents are champion composters.  They have been composting for years.  The cage we have does not have a center post.  It was free and the post was missing.  It is supposed to have a cener wire square post that allows for air circulation.  We have to stir our compost from time to time.

 The compost cage is located in the backyard near the creek that runs through the back of the property.

Not attractive but out of the way.  The stuff really packs down quicky.  We add stuff all the time and it is rarely over 1/2 full.

We do not bag our grass clippings.  Our mover mulches them back into the yard but our neighbors have a lawn service that bagges their lawn clippings.  About once every two or three months we bring up a bag of clippings.  The nitrogen is good for the compost.  It looks like we need more soon.

I dug into the compost so that you could see the dirt that is being made.  When we need dirt, we just dig deep into the compost and add it to any holes we dig.  The soil is rich and loose and the plants love it.  We are also getting ready for our first fall garden so we will be using the compost a lot.

Here are the vegetable scraps from the weekend.  After they are added, I just have to cover it with the grass clippings.  During the summer when it is hot and dry we water the compost every once in a while.  The moitture helps break everything down. 

Having the compost up at Star Hill makes me feel guilty for not doing it at home, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Man Slayer

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Although I do from time to time name my kids on Facebook when I post, I do not call my children or my husband by their given names in the blog.  There are several reasons: 

  • I want to protect their privacy.  They did not ask to have a mom who chooses to write her business on the Internet for all to see, even in other countries.
  • There are some scary people out there.  I would rather that those I love are not easily identified. 
  • I think nicknames are just so darn cute!

Baby Boy, my youngest sweetheart, let me know the other day on my visit to the Lovebird’s apartment that he does not appreciate his name.  He is not thrilled with being a grown (debatable) married (true) man ( the momma is not ready to accept this) called Baby Boy.  I asked him what he would like to be called and his answer was “Something manly…like Man Slayer.”  Really?  My sweet little baby boy wants to be called Man Slayer?  I don’t think so.  I guess I need to rethink his blog name.  It is hard for a mom to let her little chicks grow up, but I will work on it.  I am soliciting names on my Facebook page.

Baby Boy will have a new name soon.

Move in Weekend for the Craft Corner

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Yippee!  My craft corner is finally dry, in place and ready for service.  I am so happy.  It has been a frustrating trip to get to this point.  If you have been reading my blog you have read my excitement at finding the perfect deskmaking a big mess… then finally getting it put together.

This weekend I got to move into the desk.  I carried all my stuff out of the house.  It took two bags.

This is inside one of the bags.  Hubby was embarrassed that I would show you my junk, but it is what it is.  I have not had a place to work for a while.  When I wanted to be creative, I had to get everything out, put it on the kitchen table them put it up before we could use the table. It sure took away the joy.

This was one of my cheapo finds.
 
Originally, this was an oak desk organizer I bought for 25 cents at Livingston Trade Days.
 
Hubby added a piece of scrap wood to the center.
 
 
 
    It fit bottles of craft paint perfectly.  I painted it my duck egg blue color and it is now ready to use.
 


Along the chair rail Hubby drilled holes for cup hooks.  My brushes didn’t have holes so Hubby had to drill a hole in each of them.  Below the big brushes is one of Hubby’s genius moments.  I was looking for something to keep my art brushes in. I have tried a lot of things.  Most recently I had a Pringles can with holes punched in the lid, but the smaller brushes fell through.  I really thought Hubby would have to build me something but he found this old pipe holder at a resale shop.  It is perfect.  50 cents and it even has a place for a jar to fill with water that I can drop used brushes into. I wonder what that spot was for orginally?   I love it.  He loves it because there was no building, fixing, painting or adjusting for him.  I literally brought it home and put it in place.

The drawers are organized.

 The blackboard above the craft table has changed from this…

to this.  Enough said.

Saving a Broken Desk

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The desk below was sitting by the curb- waiting for the trash truck to come- when I spotted it.

 I have to wonder what happened to the piece.  Someone at some time had refinished the piece.  My guess is that it fell during a move because it was outside a rental property in my neighborhood.  Of course I brought it home.  It sat in my garage for a year, then it moved to the Garagemahal.  It sat there six months.
Hubby did not want to start a big project this weekend so he decided to start putting this back together.  In order to put a piece back together, it has to be taken apart.  I mean completely apart.  I wanted you to see what I mean when I say that Hubby takes broken furniture apart.  He is great at disassembling and reassembling furniture that others would just give up on.

It always looks worse when he starts that it did when I brought it home.

The piece had a tag that said property of Louisiana College.  Now I really want to know how it ended up in my Texas neighborhood.

Hubby started re-gluing all the pegs.

Then he strapped everything together so that the glue would dry with the wood aligned as it should be.

We had to leave it drying but it should be all back together next weekend.  Hubby has already made it clear that he does not want this piece painted.  It will be sanded and refinished.  I am just happy it is not in a landfill somewhere.  I can’t wait to show you the puzzle pieces put back together!

Cooking for the Week Without Working Hard

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This is a warning.  Vegetarians- avert your eyes.  This blog is all about meat.  About a year ago one of my teachers schooled me on the wonders of an electric smoker.  He swore to me that I- a professed non-cooker- could in fact smoke my own turkey.  I threatened him within an inch of his life if it went wrong, but did go buy a smoker.  I have to admit that I had no confidence in my skills so I cooked a turkey two weeks before Thanksgiving just to be sure it would work.  It did.  We were hooked on the Smoker.  We know that the coming week will be crazy with the start of school so we wanted to get some food cooked ahead.  In the city, I do not cook.  Hubby handles this duty, but it is his first week of school too so unless I want sandwiches or cereal I knew I needed to have a plan.  My plan… cook this weekend at Star Hill.

The smoker now lives at Star Hill.  It is the most amazing device.  I can cook a ton of food without worrying about it.

Step one buy some wood chips.  They are located where the barbeque coals are.  We buy different woods.  This time Mesquite.  I have a bag of Applewood waiting.  The wood chips have to be soaked in water for about 15 minutes before putting them in the cooker so I start soaking them while setting up the smoker.

My Smoker.

Not too attractive to look at.

The water soaked wood chips are placed around the heating element.

Next I get the steam bowl ready.  I have used a ton of stuff in the steam bowl but this time it was peach nectar and water.  Whatever you have.  Apple juice, Soy Sauce…

The steam bowl goes in just above the heating element on the hooks in the tube.

Next comes the meat.  Lots of meat.  When I am using the smoker I load it up.  It is going to be on all day so I think it just makes good sense to make several different meats at once.  On the rack above the steam bowl I put chicken breasts. 

The next rack had a pork loin and boneless beef ribs.  It was packed.

At this point, put on the lid and plug the smoker in.

In a few short minutes you should see…

 

SMOKE!  It smells heavenly.  We are starving all day while it cooks.  I put he smoker on at 9:00 in the morning and took everything off at 4:00 in the afternoon.  About every two hours I checked to see if it needed wood chips added to the bottom or water to the steam bowl. 

The door in the side is where you check everything.

 
The meat was amazing.  We had ribs Saturday night.  We will have chicken pork loin and ribs to eat this week along with salads and vegetables.  We are good to go.  This is a great way to start our first week back to school.

The Lovebirds’ Apartment

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We got to go see the lovebirds this past Friday on the way to Star Hill.  (Okay, I know that going into Houston is not on the way to Coldspring- but any chance to see the kiddos will be taken!)  Sweet Amanda has been busy!  Their apartment is so cute.  She has such a great sense of style and humor.  She even found ways to insert the Baby Boy’s stuff into her design.  See if you can pick out his stuff.

For the wedding I found a bunch of old encyclopedias for 25 cents a piece.  Someone else gave her a bunch of Reader’s Digest books.  They looked great stacked around the tables but after the wedding I wasn’t sure what to do with them.  Sweet Amanda said she would take them and do something.  Here is the result:

 The old ceiling tin was in our house for years then went to the hoard when we painted the house.  They look great.

 If you guessed that the Mr. Potato Head dressed as Spiderman belongs to Baby Boy you would be wrong.

 Baby Boy screwed brackets into the book then attached the brackets to the wall.  They look great.

The gnome does belong to Baby Boy.  He painted it at one of those ceramic shops. 

The letters are stick on letters stuck to the glass of an 8X10 frame.  I painted and glazed the frames to practice for their bedroom furniture.

The mirror got installed along with the shelf.  The key holder did not get installed.  Someone put the wall hangers on upside down. 

 

 
Baby Boy and Hubby installing the mirror.
 

 Great solution for the Fiesta cups .  They add a lot of color.

 I wanted to show you a few more shots of the frame wall.

We loved our visit.  It is always great to see the kids.

Feeding the Wildlife

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We love the wild animals that are around Star Hill.  When we first moved in to the house one of the first things that we put up was a bird feeder.  We loved seeing the birds come around. 

We had a family of foxes up at the top of the hill that came out to play all winter the second year we were there.  The next year we added hummingbird feeders. 

At times during the fall there are so many hummingbirds that it sounds like bees outside the door.  We discovered goldfinches about four years ago.  They are little birds that are bright yellow.  When I saw my first goldfinch I thought it was a loose canary! 

The next winter we added a squirrel feeder that takes an ear of corn.  I added another squirrel feeder that is a big jar to fill with corn and peanuts in the spring.  I can see them both when we look down the hill toward the pond. 

It took a lot of work to get it up in the tree.  The truck, a ladder and rope was involved.
 Hubby got the battery set up. 
 
 He filled the bucket with corn.
 
We tested it and corn flew all over us!
 

In the early mornings I have been seeing a deer down by the pond.  There are deer all around the area.  We saw these three near our house on the way to town a few weeks ago,

 but we really don’t see them very much at Star Hill. Of course seeing the deer made me want to get a deer feeder.  Our friend Larry mentioned that he had a small one that we could use.  Yeah!  This past weekend Hubby put up the deer feeder and we set the timer to go off twice a day; morning and evening.  I am anxious to see if we had any company at the feeder. 

Visual Peace

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My daughter-in-law was up in the Garagemahal talking about her need to have all the clutter out of a space before she could figure out what to decorate. She used the term visual peace. I thought about that term all afternoon. I think I crave visual peace and that may be why I love Star Hill. I hope you don’t mind but I wanted to share some of my visual peace with you.

 
Cardinal nest in the bushes by the house.
The porch at Star Hill.  I love the rockers and looking down the hill at the pond.
 

 Coots are such funny birds.

 Flowers up close are beautiful.

 Wild muscadine

 Roadside flowers

 I love this barn.

Love the pines
 

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