• 1846 Homestead Renovation

    Welcoming Additions: Front Steps and Sidewalk Make Visiting Easier

    Once Upon a Time… Once upon a time, our home was a simple four room dog trot house.  It had one door in the front and one in the back.  Those who lived here before us eventually needed to center, open hallway space and they enclosed it, leaving the front porch open.  It was easy for people to see how to get into the house.  See the gate above?  Go through it.  Walk carefully on the (mostly) flat rocks that lead to the front of the house.  There is one door.  Knock on it.  While there wasn’t a real side walk and no need for front steps, it was welcoming.…

  • In the Garden

    Magnificent Mullein Plant…My New Obsession

    Beauty and Usefulness: Magnificent Mullein Plant is Both I love learning about how things were done in the past.  The building techniques used on our 1846 Homestead were fascinating.  I learned how to milk goats so I could authentically make cheese.  Winemaking is also on the list of things I have mastered in the name of learning the “old ways”. Now we can add cultivating magnificent mullein plants to the list because of its usefulness and general coolness. Medicinal herbs and such are fascinating, but I am very much a novice.  As we continue to put in our flower beds and our garden beds, herbs that we can cook with…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation,  The Art of Beautiful Living

    Our New Antique Eastlake Style Dresser

    Antiques Tell a Story Antiques tell a story.  They were present in homes of the past, quietly participating in lives of people long since gone.  Antiques need care, of course, but caring for antique dressers and other antique furniture isn’t difficult.  They just need some tender loving care. I recently “inherited” this beauty (along with several other pieces which will eventually find their way into a blog post).  The finish was dry looking and it had a build up of dust on it that had to be removed before we could begin. I was excited about this dresser.  The marble top is free of any chips or breakage.  The mirror…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    A Majestic Old Door Gets Its Day

    An Irony of Antiques It was time for an antique door installation at White Rock.  This meant that another project would be completed but it always means that we were about to face another set of problems, challenges, and issues!  That is the way it is with antiques. The irony of antiques is that they tend to flock together. When we started this adventure, several people said that when people find out that I like old things, they will start giving antiques to me.  I didn’t doubt the person, but I was surprised when it started happening.  So far, we have been gifted pew benches from a local church, the…

  • In the Garden,  Let's Eat,  The Art of Beautiful Living

    Homemade Spaghetti Sauce From the Garden

    Homemade Spaghetti Sauce From the Garden Our garden is bursting.  It has overrun its beds like a river rises out of its banks after heavy rains.  Ironically, those heavy rains are what has caused the garden to be so productive.  We are firm believers that, even though it was “free” food, we don’t want to waste it.  Our new favorite meal from the garden is homemade spaghetti sauce with grilled eggplant.  Of course, the Italians call it sugo con melanzane e pomodori.  That sounds so fancy. Making the Homemade Spaghetti Sauce I usually grab the tomatoes that are the ripest and blanch them so that removing the skins is easy. …

  • In the Garden,  Let's Eat,  Uncategorized

    Mustang Grape Jelly: A Family Tradition?

    They Grow Wild and Free As far as wild ideas go, the decision to make wild Mustang grape jelly fits the bill.  Wild idea.  Wild grapes. Texas is blessed with abundance, usually, and I do wonder about what my great, great, great grandparents thought about Texas when they emigrated here from Scotland in 1851.  They had been promised that Texas was a land where things grew easily.  Where life would be easy.  Abundance.  You know, the typical stuff you would say in order to get people to move half way around the world.  My great, great, great grandmother, Isabella Wood, wrote a letter back to Scotland and told a different…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    Vanity Lighting in the Master Bathroom

    Once upon a time, we had a plan.  We purchased vanity lighting for all of the bathrooms and had them installed by the electricians.  And then Jerry said “we are purchasing the vanities today” and everything fell apart. What Happened? What happened was that the plumbers were coming soon to install all of the fixtures.  That started a chain reaction…the marble counter top had to be installed before the sinks.  Before the marble could be installed, there had to be vanities.  Jerry announced that we had to purchase them that afternoon.  He said he would be home in 30 minutes to pick me up and that we were leaving immediately…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    Vanity Insanity

    Twelve Feet, Three Inches 9/11 is a number we will never forget.  Likewise, December 7, 1941 really is a date that will live in infamy.  Not even on the same planet is the number 12’3″. I am absolutely not comparing any part of our house renovation with the tragedies that have occurred throughout history, but isn’t it funny how some things just stick into your brain?  Like maybe your childhood phone number or your locker combination from high school?  Come to think of it, it may be more of a miracle that any numbers stick in my brain…I remember vividly not being able to recall my locker combination while I…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    Master Bathroom Barnyard Accent Wall

    Vision I am 53 years old and I need to go to the eye doctor.  It used to be that I had trouble with distance vision.  Now, I can’t see at a distance.  I can’t see up close, and I benefit from lenses that help me see at the mid-range distance.  It is an enormously frustrating part of getting older. Unfortunately, I can see well enough to know that there are huge stacks of lumber in our backyard.  I can clearly see that the mess is horrendous.  And I can see all of the possibilities and those endless possibilities prohibit me from burning everything in one big pile. 20/20 Vision…

  • Let's Eat,  Uncategorized

    Wine Making Class – Step by Step

    First, It Isn’t Difficult or Complicated When I made an offhanded comment back in 2009 that I wanted to learn how to make wine, I really did mean I wanted to learn.  I thought I would watch some You-Tube videos.  Maybe read a book.  My husband had other ideas.  He got online and purchase all the equipment I needed to get started and suddenly, with no preparation or warning, I was making wine. It is a good thing that he did this because if I had been left alone, I might have gotten around to watching a video or two.  I probably wouldn’t have purchased a book.  I would never…