Lessons & Thoughts From the Farm

Smashing Pumpkins (not the band)

Okay, I’m going to admit it. We have not one itty bitty bit of pumpkin decor out at the farm.  No farmhouse steps lined with white pumpkins and mums.  No pumpkin spice latte in the percolator.  Somewhere in the garden shed is my pumpkin welcome sign, which I may or may not bother to dig out.  We’ll see.

As I scroll through Instagram, I see tons of tablescapes, porchscapes, and all kinds of farm-y scapes filled with pumpkins and leaves and just the right amount of bling.  And did you know if you are decorating with pumpkins, the traditional rich orange is not your only choice?  They come in all shades of sage green and cream so you can artfully blend them with the carefully crafted farmhouse look.

What’s the farmhouse look?  As best as I can tell, it’s furniture slip covered in white, a little bit of distressed wood, a little bit of metal, a few antique-y things, and grey, beige, and white everywhere else.

It seems the concept of farmhouse is all the rage these days.  I get it. It’s lovely and dreamy, and the Fixer Upper people have turned it into a lucrative business (seriously, that’s great for them).  But for most of us living in the country,  these pics are not even close to reality.

So for a little fall fun, I thought I’d debunk a few of the fall farmhouse decor myths, at least around this farmgirl’s humble barndominium.

White sofas – Who are we kidding with this one?  Yes, it’s lovely.  And yes you can bleach it, but heaven help me I’d be bleaching daily.  It would remain white for all of two seconds before Maybelle bounded onto it with wet paws or a black cat decided to make it his scratching post.

My Farmtastic Life - Rhino the cat and Max the dog
This right here is why we do not have white sofas. If it’s not washable and can take a little dirt, it’s not happening at the farm.

Pumpkins by the dozens – Yes, pumpkins are great.  But thanks to Starbucks and their PSL (pumpkin spice latte in case you’ve been hiding under a rock), pumpkin flavors and pumpkin decor are E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E.  And while folks used to get one pumpkin and carve it with the kiddos, the photo worthy farmhouses filling up my Instagram feed look as if they’ve had an 18-wheeler of pumpkins delivered. Seriously, the last time I had a pumpkin, it was lovely, right up until I left it outside, sitting too long on the porch bench, and well let’s just say it was not pleasant when I picked it up.  And on a side note, I seriously do not remember all of this pumpkin crazy when we were kids. Our moms handed us the plastic pumpkin to go trick-or-treating, we watched It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and called it good.

Accessories, lord honey, accessories – Look, we all love to decorate our houses. They are expressions of us.  For Cowboy and I, it’s a mix of things we’ve collected over the years.  Lately, though we’ve been on a real pairing down spree.  Why?  Because country living is dusty and messy.  That’s right, when you live in the country with gravel driveways and large fields, well dust is just a fact of life. And while I truly adore all of those perfectly accessorized rooms, it’s just not practical.  Not to mention, with dog tails wagging and cats climbing, things will get knocked over, broken, and worst of all, eaten. (And on that last one, if eaten stays down and doesn’t come back up or out to haunt you in another way, well then that’s a good critter day.)

Perfect porches – Now this one speaks to my heart of hearts.  The porch is my home. I am out on my porch daily.  It’s my happy place.  But it does not constantly look like I am ready to host tea.  I don’t have rugs and fabrics swathed all around.  Why, you ask?  Well, first of all, the aforementioned critters.  Heck, I’m lucky if I can keep Maybelle from digging up my potted plants, or, worse, eating horse apple snacks.  That means it’s slim to none, I’m going to keep fabrics pristine outside.  Pillows?  Let’s just say they’d be gone with the wind.  After two summers of chasing chair cushions around the pasture, I finally wised up and bought ones that tie to the chairs. Brilliant!  There is nothing like riding the tractor around the farm, weaving between horses, looking for chair cushions. Oh and what decor is on my porch right now? A snake grabber and a shovel. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.

Now I say a lot of this with fun and jest.  We love fall and all the joy that comes with it. And I’m sure pumpkin something or other will appear at the farm before this season ends. (Seriously, all of this pumpkin madness has to be a real boom for pumpkin farmers. Two points for that.)

And to those farm style bloggers who can whip up some amazing decor and inspire us all, more power to you.  You are some amazing folks. However, if you are reading this and are a bit more like this farmgirl, i.e. likely to be wandering around doing chores in an old t-shirt, jeans, and muck boots, your house slightly disheveled, the only white decor that stands a chance is your washable wood trim, and critters rule the roost, it’s perfectly okay.

Don’t feel guilty.  Don’t think you have to run out and fill your grocery cart with pumpkins and somehow stack them with  hay bales and mums in a way that is oh so extra.  Don’t spend hundreds on craft supplies to make the perfect tablescape that is destined to be chewed on by the cat.  Instead, enjoy your farm (or cottage, or house, or apartment), and whatever fall means to you.  Drink a PSL if you like, or go rogue and drink a Dr. Pepper from a glass bottle while sitting barefoot on the porch reading a good book. (Personally, I pick cozy mysteries every time. )

And for all you ladies who make it looks so easy, God bless you. I do love the inspiration.  But when I look at my own farm pics on Instagram, I have to remind myself that pumpkins and white sofas are just one of the many ways farmgirls can decorate our humble abodes.  For the rest of us, washable denim and a can of Libby’s pumpkin will have to do.

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 6.21.54 PM
Okay we have one pumpkin on the farm. But seriously – how can you not love this crazy girl? #maybellethemagnificent

P.S. I totally recognize the irony of writing this on the eve of visiting the Magnolia Silos. Maybe I just had to assure my wacky farmgirl self, who while not the quintessntial decorator, is still quite okay.  At least in the eyes of Cowboy and the critters, and that’s all that matters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farmtastic Tips

Porch-oholic

My name is Tammy, and I am a porch-oholic. Yes, I admit it. During this glorious time of year before we are are melting under the sunbeams of summer, I am reveling in time spent on the porch. After I emerge from my day job, Cowboy generally asks if I am headed to hang out on the porch. And of course, yes, yes I am. I take a favorite book, pour a glass of citrus sweet tea, and retreat to the porch. In fact, I’m blogging from the porch right now.

When Cowboy and I built our barndiminium, a big ole giant porch was a must. I always knew I wanted a big front porch, but I just did not realize how much I would absolutely, unequivocally love it. It really is one of the most important rooms in our life. We can sit out here, grill out here, eat out here, and just hang with our critters. I can see the horses and donkeys clearly. I am in love.

There is just one itsy bitsy thing that challenged me about falling in love with my porch. And that is simply the costs to decorate it and make it cozy, comfy. This year, we splurged and invested in some furniture with actual cushions, but I wanted to share my top five tricks to deck out your porch on a budget and with your own pizzazz.

  1. Find it and paint it – Let’s face it, outdoor furniture is getting expensive. Heck at the prices it’s going for these days it ought to be front and center in the living room. To help stretch the budget, I love to find odds and ends pieces of furniture and paint them all the same color. This summer I’m in love with Valspar Paint’s Woodlawn Juniper, a National Trust for Historic Preservation color. And the best thing about paint, if you change your mind you can paint again. (But please don’t tell Cowboy I said that, painting is his absolute least favorite farm chore. If you want to see his otherwise good nature start sighing, just hand him a paint brush.)
  2. Repurpose – Cowboy and I love old things, and we often joke we were born too late. But that means we are always on the hunt for cool old things and that we can turn into something else. For example, I use an old porcelain metal top kitchen table for a gardening table, and it works beautifully. And I’ve got that puppy front and center on my porch, painted to match of course. Oh, and vintage coolers and boxes make great storage for gardening tools and seed packets.
  3. Keep it simple – I looked at outdoor dining tables, and holy moly did the prices and the fancy astonish me. I’m not feeding the queen of England, I just want a place where folks can set down their mason jar of goodness and snack away on some fresh watermelon and grilled perfection. Which brings me to the humble picnic table. They are super affordable, can seat six, and when you need a higher perch you don’t feel badly about sitting on the table top. Once again, just slather on your favorite color and you have something really special.
  4. Wind chimes – Part of country life is pure unadulterated peace and quiet. From the porch I listen to birds chirp, hear the hummingbird wings buzz as they flutter by, and relax to the sound of my wind chimes. Investing in a nice quality set of wind chimes is so very worth it. And with our Texas breezes, those things will clamor on a windy night, so you best get clamoring that you enjoy.
  5. Have Fun – If there is one thing you can count on around here, we are not the serious, stuffy sort of folks. Try the unconventional. Plant your plants in old kitchen pots. Decorate your garden with plates. Indulge in those little rabbit lawn sculptures and sneak them in here and there. Find some bright throw pillows. Just have one fun time making your porch your own.

Farm living is the life for me, and porch sitting is a big part of what we enjoy out here on the backroads. I’d love to hear how you make your porch your own and see photos of your favorite spot to sit and relax. It’s okay to be a porch-oholic. You are in good company.