Monday, September 8, 2014

Voutsaras: Strolling Through a Greek Village

I have a fair number of pictures from Voutsaras, the village my father's family is from, and a ton from the other places we visited in Greece.  I'll share more pictures as I sort through them and try to figure out what in the name all things Holy and good in this world I was thinking when I took them.

Voutsaras is a tiny village in the northwestern area of Greece near the Albanian border.  According to Wikipedia thirteen years ago it had a population of 150.  And let me tell you, all but 4 of them came out to see what we were up to - especially me with my camera taking pictures of their houses. One old yiayia even asked what exactly were we doing!  Whenever my aunt would introduce us though they knew our family so we were all good in the hood!

Let's get this party started, shall we?

The house my aunt and father were born in.
The family lived upstairs and the animals there to the right.

I love the blue gate, shutters and doors so, so much!
There are shrines like this ever-y-where.  This one is in front of the village school.
Which is up hill.  Both ways.  He wasn't lying!
I lovedy lovelovelove Icons. Always have.
The house my papou lived in with his first wife.
She died tragically during the War.
What is left of their second house now (insert sad face).
This is where my other aunt- the one who we went with- and my uncle were born
Voutsaras, Ioannina, Greece
My darling mother-in-law and wonderful Aunt.  The neighbors invited us over for coffee!
You see the marble steps? That stuff is everywhere I tell ya!
Moseying around
My fabulous mother
Legend has it my father climbed up the bell tower
 and carved his initials into the stone at the top.
The well

I am absolutely enchanted by the these turquoise window frames

It's a Hobbit house! Or something.
The ubiquitous fig tree

Farewell Voutsaras.  Until next we meet.
If you to go to Google Maps and looked up Voutsaras, Ioannina, Greece you'll see the same red car at the well... I wonder how long its been there?!!??

Friday, August 1, 2014

Not A Patient Patient

I am not patient.  Lazy, mostly, but not patient.  Once I decide something needs to/has to be done and I've envisioned the outcome, I have zero patience in the waiting for it to be done.  And the person I am least patient with is myself.  I have a goodly amount of patience with others just not myself.

I expect so much from myself and I'm often falling short on my expectations.

Rheumatoid Arthritis has really thrown a wrench in my plans.  I know when I'm feeling good I shouldn't over do it but I've got SO MUCH to do that I race around doing all that I can while I'm able before the rug is pulled out from underneath me.

The Humira was working great and things were looking up, I had Grand Plans for this summer.  And in June I noticed I started feeling progressively poorly for whole weeks at a time and I couldn't figure out why, I wasn't pushing myself too much, I wasn't stressed, blahblahblah.  I blew it off and excitedly prepared for Greece.

Eleven days into my trip the bottom fell out and I was progressively getting worse.  The flight home was torture and the two weeks following I was crippled.  I couldn't move, I couldn't do anything.

I went to the Rheumatologist and now have a diagnosis and a plan and hope.  I lose all sight of hope when I'm in the midst of a flare; when I can't imagine getting through the day let alone getting to 62?

I have, he believes, from my Humira, Drug Induced Lupus.  The plan is to change my TNF Inhibitor go on a big steroid burst and go back on Plaquenil.  I should be back to good in anywhere between 3 weeks to 6 months depending on when my body stops freaking out over the Humira.

But, I am not patient.  I want to finally finish unpacking since we've only lived here for a YEAR! I want my vent hood that's been sitting on the pole barn floor put up.  I want the mop boards and quarter round done.  I want to paint the upstairs bedrooms.  I want to refinish the desk and chair in my bedroom.  I want to stop living in a half done house so I can enjoy it.

I want a picture perfect, magazine worthy house.  Yesterday.

But, I have to wait some more and it is driving me insane because, you know what, I've got things to do and I don't have the patience to wait.

Learn? Little green guy, I want patience now! And everything on my list done.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Radio Silence

Here I am again apologizing for my lack of posting.

Greece was AMAZING!

Flying for close to 13 hours however stunk.  It made my RA flare up and I am struggling on a daily basis; to walk, to dress, to hold a pen, to stand up, to sleep.  Tomorrow I go to the doctor and hopefully we'll get this under control because I am really excited about sharing the experience, my chickens, the kittens, projects (that have been on hold) I've been working on, more room reveals...

Bear with me.

I'll be back on the air soon.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Chickens: An Introduction

Since I am mostly lazy and have almost no time fer nothin' cause I'm tryin ta prepare myself for Greece I haven't gotten around to properly introducing Flint & Flavia.  But, I will.  We swears on the the Precious.

Like right after I extinguish the memory card from my camera which I had to set on fire to show it who's boss because it just. stopped. working. The camera won't recognize it, the computer won't recognize it when I put it in the little slot, it just keeps saying ERROR ALLYOURPICTURESARELOSTSUCKER.  And of course I had a gabajillion pictures of the kittens being The Cuteness.

So moving on from that tragedy. I went out to the Prison Yard to visit the chickens today and took my camera, with new memory card inserted, and somehow I took 108 pictures and 2:00 video (?). So I'm going to drag  the introduction of my little flock out painfully slow.  That way you'll get at least eight blog posts out of me!

Y'all meet Emily.  The sweetest chicken around.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Theme Thursday: Sports

Bringing up the rear here, which is where I usually place in sports, for Cari's Theme Thursday: Sports!

Me? I'm not athletic.  Never have been really.

I even hated Field Day in elementary school.  I didn't win any ribbons.  Ever.  I never received praise for my heroic efforts in the long jump, which if you're the shortest person there, other than the kindergarteners, is an Epic Endeavor! Whatevs though,  'cause that was +/- 30 years ago.  I'm over it. Mostly.

Stupiddummyhead Field Day.

Okay, so, I don't run.  If you see me running, you should run too.  Because I'm here to tell you that the only time you will see me run is if there is a Tyrannosaurus Rex hot on my heels and the theme from "Chariots of Fire" is playing in the background.

I did however play soccer during that time, and that, I was passingly good at.  I played defense because, as you now know, yours truly is not a runner or sprinter or jogger or even a speed walker and defense didn't require me to run very far very often.

1980.  The year I was a soccer star.

I was the only girl on the all boys team but after being carded more often than not because I couldn't remember to turn my dang hands the right way while shielding my young lady chest, I didn't sign up the next year.  Woe is me.

So there you have it - the beginning and end of my athletic career.

Except for a two year stint on the tennis team in high school (see? Not a lot of running) which we will never speak of again.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Naming the Farm

I've a touch of the ditz today.  While thinking about our "farm" and the naming there of, my mind has wandered off on several different tangents.


  • Naming the farm which is not to be confused with buying the farm.  Which, duh, of course, makes me wonder where & when the saying "bought the farm" came to mean to die. 
Fast forward 27 seconds and you can wonder no more! Here's the answer.

Of course that begs the question

  • So what makes a farm a farm? We aren't growing food here yet.  I haven't got any farm animals other than our eight pullets.  We grow a ton of apples and cherries in our orchard but we don't sell anything.
  • Is a "farm" a huge commercial operation? Someone who has hundreds or thousands of acres?
  • How is Hobby Farming defined - is that what we would then be? Should we, could we define ourselves that way? How many acres do you need to be considered a hobby farmer? Why the distinction between the two?

Those are just a few of the things that have been running through my noggin since yesterday when I told my Beloved that we have to come up with a name for our farm.  Which isn't really a farm per se.  It's a 151 year old farmhouse on four acres that used to be a real working farm (as opposed to a fake idle farm?), with a dairy barn, pole barn, chicken coop and orchard.

The point to all of this rambling: How does one go about coming up with a name for their farm? 

Veering off in a totally different direction now!

Two weeks ago we hand done some pruning in the orchard and instead of just dumping all of the apple wood branches and limbs I asked my Beloved to pull a ramp that lead up to some barn doors over under the lean-to so we could put it all in one spot.

This is what we found:
Note the size of the hole and the bones

He kept insisting that it was a goblin's lair.

He put two giant boulders in front of the hole   All that night I felt wretched because I thought "What if it's a mama and she and her babies will be stuck in there?" and "they'll die of starvation!" Honestly, I was seconds away from tears.  My Beloved held no such compunction and offered to go outside with me saying that he would hold the flashlight while I moved the rocks.  How chivalrous of him!

But I haven't been back to the barn since, I'm too creeped out by what I might find.

Have you named your farm? Your Homestead? How did you come up with the name?

Shared with Homestead Barn Hop

Friday, May 9, 2014

Laundry Room Makeover

Things that I have only two pictures of: the laundry room before its face lift.

Sorry about the blur.  After a run in with a frappuccino my
little point & shoot sometimes likes to take
"Soft Focus" pictures.

The view from the kitchen.  Have I mentioned that, at least the last owners, were heavy smokers? And they had a wood/oil burning furnace in the basement?

Things that I have have no pictures of: the laundry room during its transformation.  Oops.

Things that I have a million billion pictures of: the laundry room after.

You want to look at a half dozen ooookay, ten or so? Yes? Great!

Imma tell ya right now - I love, have from the second I saw them, lovelovelove the big wide horizontal boards

The view from the kitchen
The only thing that we really did was paint, new subfloor/floor covering, electrical of course and some plumbing fixes. My mom randomly purchased the cart from a shop owner because she thought it would look great in the house; it does.  It was so horrendously nastyfilthygrody that it took both her and I with our Mr. Clean Magic Erasers and a two gallon bucket of water over an hour to just clean the grime off.  It houses cleaning rags, clothes pins, assorted laundry stuffs, the iron, yaddayaddayadda.  It's nice because on the left side it has two small hooks you can hang things from (the big duster for ceiling fans was drying at the time) and on the right a small towel bar.

Moving clockwise:
Mah aprons.  I love me some aprons!
At first I wasn't so sure I liked what the electrician had done with the light switch there.  He had asked me if it was okay and in a moment of "Oh, I don't care, just get it done" flippancy said okay.  But I do like it.  I do like the industrial look of the conduit and the box mounted on the outside and not set it.  Whodathunkit!

Things to point out here: nothing.  Other than the nifty shelf that runs around a fair bit of the room and that our Realtor told a client whose house she had just sold, that she knew a couple that would buy the 2 month old washer and dryer because he couldn't take them. A measly $600 later and they were ours! Ka-ching!

Continuing on our clockwise journey
Ooooh! Exciting!
So yeah, there are those things.  I splurged on the laundry tub with the cabinet.  I figured if it's going to be on the main floor and out in the open, it's gotta look nice.  One of the projects on our list of Never Ending Projects is to somehow hide the dryer vent hose and that large gap.  Looks wonky.  And the cord, ugh! That is the longest electrical cord you can buy for the washer and I hate that it hangs there.

Looking up
Canning Jars = Happy
Since I filled up most of the shelf with jars, and a shelf in the mud room (easier to reach) is crammed with them I've resorted to storing them in the basement too.  I have to stop.  Eventually.  'Cause there'll be no more room!

Ahhhh.  Otis' art work which cheers me endlessly

I didn't take a picture of the ironing board because it is the DMZ of Clean Laundry 'round here.  And y'all don't wanna see that!

Miscellaneous picture - because this is my blog and I can
Actually, you can see the ironing board there against the back wall.  And my bucket.  Me likes my bucket. When we lived in the condo and the laundry was downstairs the bucket was the shiznit because we use cloth napkins.  And what better place to catch napkins, dishtowels and tablecloths so they don't get mixed in with stinky, dirty diesel fuel and axle grease encrusted uniforms? Nowhere. 

Two Fine, three more pictures then I'm done, promise.
The colors are perfect for the room as is the subject matter - double score!
My mom got me this canvas for Christmas, it's awesome. It actually has little LED's in behind the flames and they flicker. Although, I've never made them to flicker for longer than 3.2 seconds to show someone. Thanks Ma!

I love aprons.  About half of mine are vintage.  I am always on the look out for them at the Salvation Army or Goodwill.

Last one!

A gratuitous apron picture. That cream colored apron with the black writing is my Beloved's which was the impetus for me trying fish & chips for the first time ever!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

(nearly) Wordless Wednesday

We showed up obscenely early, even before the priest, so I sneakily took a pic.
Greek Churches are  so, so pretty

Driving home from the Vigil with our candles. 

In the last thirteen years Orthodox Easter has been on the same day a whopping seven times! It'll be the same in 2017 but then not until sometime after 2024.  And, just so you know, I have the greatest husband for reason number 7,903,481. Because even though it isn't his thing he goes to church with me for Greek Easter every year.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Theme Thursday: Bread and Wine

Well, I ain't got no bread and I ain't got no wine but I do have something Holy Thursday related!

On Holy Thursday we Greek Orthodox type peeps dye our Easter eggs.  We dye them red to symbolize the blood of Christ and in commemoration of the Last Supper.

Last years eggs
Maybe this year I'll make tsoureki and add a couple of the eggs.  Mmmmm.

a) I'm a goober and forgot to link back to Cari. So, hey! Go check out Cari's awesome post that actually includes bread and wine AND a baby chick!
b) My explanation up there sounds incredibly textbookish.  Snoozefest!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ten on Tuesday

Preface: I obviously don't know how to schedule a post to post at a later date/time because it's Wednesday.  Fantastic!

As per the norm, I am catching up with pics and little blurbs.  I am crazy busy at work, again, and am so exhausted when I come home that I can barely function.  That, and the spring weather always throws me for a loop in an achy-grumpy-old-lady way.

1.  Happy Birthday Farmhouse! 
One year ago on Saturday we closed on the Farmhouse.  We decided that this would be our houses' birthday.

Happy 151st Birthday, my pretty!
The first time I saw the house (credit)

2. Um, we just had 3" of snow over night.
That's right.  After a weekend full of sunshine and 72 degree weather we got three inches of the devils dandruff and have now officially broken a record set 133 years ago.  Fantastic!
Oh Brandon Roux, why you give me bad news? (credit)

3.  Our "family" is growing - Kittens and Chicks!
As mentioned in my previous post, we adopted two new kittens - Flint and Flavia, in early March.  I will do them justice and write them their own post, soon. ish. Soonish.  

And since I want to start trying my hand at being a fo'realsy homesteader householder (I like this term better, I got it from this book The Householder's Guide to the Universe) we got baby chicks!

A little over a year ago I had a dream that I got three chickens and their names were: Prudence, Agnes and Clementine.  So that was my goal.  However in talking with my mother, who's an old pro at chickens now, said that we need double that number because invariably a chick (or two) would not make it.

So I doubled the number and came up with three more names.  When we got to the hatchery my Beloved decided that 8 was the magic number- mostly because it meant an even $20.  So I present to you: Prudence, Agnes , Clementine, Goodness, Mercy, Esmeralda, Emily and Lola.  A Jersey Giant, Black Australorp, Silver Laced Wyandotte, Golden Laced Wyandotte, Easter Egger, Barred Rock, Buff Orpington and Leghorn!

Flint and Flavia

 4. Speaking of our newest additions - Goodness' eye
My little Easter Egger, Goodness, has some eye problems.  Or had, now.  I think.

When we brought them home and were putting them in their brooder box I noticed that her right eye was squinched up.  But didn't think anything of it.  However when she didn't open her eye the whole day I became worried. 

I was chatting with Cari via Facebook and being the kindly person she is, she said that she would ask the 4H group.  Awesomesauce!

After a couple of days of wiping her eye(s)- plural now, because sometimes it's the left and horrifyingly enough sometimes both- I am happy to report they've both been open for a few days in a row! I did buy the antibiotic to put in their water but my hubs has do it outside while I'm not at home because I am literally deathly allergic to it.  One anaphylactic shock was enough for me!

5.  Post gone crazy
Has anyone ever had a particular post go bat guano crazy? I wrote a post three years ago that is garnering so much attention that it's freaking me out.  Because, it's about nothing really but in the last few months it gotten 5,000 hits.  I'm so creeped out that I'm contemplating just taking it down.  

6.  Goodreads
Does anyone else use the Goodreads website? I love it! I am fascinated by what other people read.  I have accepted that I am an Anglophile because when I look at the books I've read thus far, 54% of them are British. 

They have a challenge where you say you're going to read "x" amount of books during the year.  I am a huge fan of reading challenges; I relished them in school.  In 2012 I said I would read 30 books and I read 33.  And last year I challenged myself to read 40 but only read 38. So this year I split the difference and said 35.

Only I need more friends so that I can get more book suggestions!

7.  I am going to Greece!
The first two weeks of July my mother, mother-in-law, thea (aunt) and I are all going to Greece - let the shopping commence!

8.  The Barn 
Ahhhh, my barn. I love my barn.  The Amish guys came out a few weeks ago to look at it and give us an estimate.  Lewis, the Amish dude, said that he would get back to me in a few weeks with prices for replacing the roof, metal siding and wood siding.

I don't know... do we go metal which is more durable and doesn't have to be repainted for 30 years? Or replace the siding with wood which has to be repainted every 5-10 years?

I'm torn.

9.  Fish & Chips 
For the first time in my life, I went to a restaurant for the sole purpose of ordering fish & chips.

The impetus being an apron that I bought for my Beloved from the BBC.  Right there, big as you please, FISH & CHIPS! So I did it.  I put my big girl panties on and ordered them.

They were wonderful!

10. Make ahead meals
A coworker mentioned that she and her husband make 3-4 meals at a time and just keep them in the fridge as if they were leftovers.   Think about it! If I am going to dirty my cast iron skillet cooking ground beef I may as well make 3 pounds at a time instead of having to cook/clean it three separate times.  I was so inspired by this idea that my Beloved and I have been doing for a month now.

Typically we set up a production line and in an hour or so we have four meals cooks.  This works out fabulously since he works 12-14 hour midnights and I work the exact opposite shift.  Wunderbar!

This post is shared on Homestead Barn Hop

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Have and Have Not

Do you know what I have?

5,923,755 pictures.  We're talking fo'realsy pictures from a fo'realsy camera.  I even downloaded them to my computer!

Do you know what I don't have?

Any stinking time to write a post.

Yes, yes I realize that I am writing right now but this doesn't count because I am at work and am taking a mid-morning break before I delve into the insanity that is running the call schedule (my real job).

I have a list of posts I want to write, a gabajillion photos and no plan on how to mesh the two together!

Here's a picture from yesterday so that I feel better about myself:

Title: Droopy Laundry Line & A Barn