Blond cats

James is our big American Shorthair cat, and contrary to what you may think, James is a girl cat. When James wandered into our lives, I was listening to the country singer, Jamie O'Neill. Since both had hair with lots of shades of blond, I named our new cat Jamie. It was inevitably shortened to James, but she also answers to Blondie to or Blond Cat.

As long as you rub her tummy when she asks, this cat is content. Here she is, interrupting a session of folding clothes by putting herself smack in the middle, and making sure she's the center of attention. Cats do this so very well...


My favorite farm stand

If you're ever in Kent, be sure to visit Carpenito Bros. It's by far my favorite flower & produce market. Just drive north on Central until you see small mountains of fresh bark, and you'll know you're in the right spot.

In the spring, the place is packed with nursery starts of flowers and vegetables and herbs. In summer, it transitions to a fresh produce market. Most of the fresh veggies come from their own farm, south of town. The place is packed most days, but especially in August when the fresh corn arrives from the farm. They haul it through town on tractor-pulled trailers (John Deere, of course!), which is a sight to see.

My favorite time is the transition zone between the end of flower season and when the fruits & vegetables start to arrive. The hanging planters are spectacular.

I took my sister and brother-in-law there today. We were stocking up for their visit, but first we spent a half hour walking around the flower side of the market.


At least it wasn't a zip line…

It took a couple of days to be good and incapacitated, but once I was and begged off work, I learned I wasn't alone.

I got some chores done on Saturday, then pulled the same muscle in my back that I did last weekend. Bummer. It twinged the rest of the day, but no real bad pain; still I took it easy. Sunday, the big chore was mowing the grass in the morning. It was a gorgeous day, dead quiet in the neighborhood, and the mowing went pretty well. I didn’t prune the fencelines, so had to do some creative ducking. That and 2.5 hours of bouncing over the rough lawn (especially the areas that used to be horse pasture), and I was crippled when I finally finished. The grass looks really good, though! I took a long hot shower, then met the Mayer clan for lunch at Anthony's, then sat with the heating pad in the evening.

On Monday, the blasted back was even worse. It was interesting even getting out of bed, and pulling on clothes wiped me out and sent me to the sofa and the heating pad turned on high. Getting to work was not even an option. Thank goodness I have a boss with chronic recurring back pain; he’ll understand. So I sent off a message, and as I expected, Sean replied in favor of staying home... with a side note that I found highly entertaining:  "Oh man, that sucks… I know all about back pain. You and Glenn, jeez... he is also out today due to a bad back & neck, although it sounds like his was self-induced thinking he was 20 years younger and doing a ‘zip line’!"

A zip line?! It sounds like Glenn had a lot more fun than me, right up until the point he hurt his back, that is!


Books for a country farmhouse (or cabin)

My day-to-day life always seems to include researching something. Sometimes it’s because I want to learn more; sometimes I’m looking for ideas to use in my own life (or house or cabin). This list was made because of my plans to work on the interior design of our cabin, and is a blend of Cottage, Lodge, and Adirondack style.

Our county-wide library system (which in 2011 was declared to be the busiest & the biggest in the country), is an amazing resource for just about anything you want to research. With a little help from the Amazon "look inside" feature, I narrowed my list to these titles, and reserved them from the library. A few, like the Arts & Crafts Cabin, I've read before. This time I may add a couple of titles to the home library.

  • Aged To Perfection: Adding Rustic Charm To Your Modern Home… (Linsley)
  • Arts & Crafts Cabin (Obomsawin)
  • Cabin Fever: Rustic Style Comes Home (Carley)
  • The Cabin: Inspiration for the Classic American Getaway (Mulfinger)
  • Cabinology: A Handbook To Your Private Hideaway (Mulfinger)
  • Cottage: America’s Favorite Home Inside and Out (Connolly)
  • Cottage Style: Ideas & Projects For Your World (Farris)
  • Cottages: The New Style (Trulove)
  • Easy Cottage Style: Comfortable Interiors For Country Living (Bauwens)
  • Farmhouse Book: Tradition, Style, and Experience (Larkin)
  • Found Style: Vintage Ideas For Modern Living (Butler)
  • New Cottage Style: Decorating Ideas For Casual, Comfortable, Living
  • New Country Style (Grigg)
  • Rustic Revisited: Innovative Design For Cabin, Camp, and Lodge (O’leary)
  • Shortcuts To Decorating Country Style (Atkins)
I spent a couple of weeks going through this big stack of books, enjoying the eclectic mix of styles, and seeing how others have incorporated country elements into both old and modern homes and cabins. When I was through, I bought Arts & Crafts Cabin and Cottage Style. But there are a couple of others that I'll add to the library, when we're ready to tackle some bigger remodeling jobs (one day), or when it's time to build our retirement home.


Rustic lighting for a lakeside cabin

Inspired by our visit to our friend's cabin, today I went looking for decorating ideas that would work with our own lakeside cabin. On the Cabela's website, I found the perfect lamps: they’re the same style as the porch lights we installed above the front and back doors. These Grand River Lodge lamps come in three styles: table, floor, and pendant.

For some time now, I’ve been mentally rearranging the furniture in the great room (if you can use that term for a wide-open but small cabin layout). There's a cozy area in front of the woodstove where I keep the Adirondack chairs, and have often thought that the area would be perfect for a cozy upholstered chair and a floor lamp. If I swap the fridge and shelf unit, it would work perfectly. I love sitting there on cold days; so do the kitties. If we move the futon to the second floor, we can make a cozy sitting area there (and an extra bed), and the Adirondack chairs would be a great addition to the living room.

After much e-mail conversation about lamps, we decided to get four table lamps, two for the living room and two for our bedside tables. And we'll get a pair of pendant lamps to hang over the 1950's formica table; Dave will need to do some wiring but says it will be easy to do. Finally, we'll be able to get rid of the ugly fluorescent fixture that hangs there now.