Farm Life · Farmtastic Stories

It’s a Close-the-Gate Kind of Day

Life at the farm keeps Cowboy and me on our toes.  It seems between farm life and the critters, we are busy bees.  There is always food (dog, cat, and horse, oh my) to be bought, stalls to be scooped, and fences to be mended.  Well, you get the idea.  It’s a busy place, and the project list is never ending.  I tell folks all the time that while we love country life, it takes more time and money than we ever anticipated.

That said, there is nothing better than sitting on the porch looking out at the hills and horses, a breeze in the air with a wind chime serenade, and a glass of citrus iced tea in hand. The truth is, the farm is our favorite place on earth.   We feel so grateful and blessed to live this crazy farmtastic life, which is why our favorite days are what we call close-the-gate days.

Close-the-gate is our way of saying no one comes in, no one goes out, and we get to enjoy the farm with our critters all to ourselves.  While we love visitors, we absolutely cherish a little peace and quiet.

On these days, Cowboy is likely to be cooking up something lucscious on the grill, cats and dogs will be sprawled out napping, and I’ll have a batch of tea going on the stove while I flip through my stack of books for that perfect mystery fix.  Sometimes we’ll give the horses much needed baths,  laughing and getting ourselves soaked in the process.  Or sometimes we’ll  take the pups on a walk around the farm, stopping to inspect wildflowers while they inspect jack rabbit trails.

Farm Photo - Gate with sunflowers
Close-the-gate, enjoy the day, smell the flowers.

In short, we simply enjoy the day and each other.  We live for and prep for close-the-gate days.  We know when it’s coming and make sure our biggest chores are done, the fridge and pantry are stocked with fresh ingredients, and the critters are all set for some munching of their own.  It’s a day to count your blessings, and here at the farm we use all of our fingers, toes, paws, and hooves to count them up one by one.

So whether you live on a farm, in the city, or the suburbs, we highly recommend a close-the-gate day to refresh the spirit.  As we enter the hottest days of the year, take some time to soak it all in, and let us know how you enjoy your close-the-gate day.

Be blessed!

 

 

 

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.