Prepping – in the “Cone of Uncertainty”

How does one or more than one prepare for torrential rains when you are already getting heavy rain and winds. I’m not sure but it has to be done. This is what our forecast looks like for the next 5-6 days:

Yep rain and A LOT of it. And worse a rainy mass of hurricane named Joaquin is on its way to  extend the deluge.

I hate rain. Ok not so. I dislike this type of rain. Buckets of it after having little rain all summer. Like the saying goes when it rains it pours. We are going to have some flooding. Flooding right here on our little farm. Huge thumbs down on that.

We have had a farm todo list for much of the summer -or year – we’ve gotten some things done as money permits and one thing we didn’t get to yet was having French drains installed. Of course now we are talking about getting them. But it ain’t happening before this rain takes over.  No drain means big flooding in the step down covered area of the barn.

If you look at the picture below you can see to the right where the ledge drops down- thats where we are getting water draining into that area. 
That just not good for horses feet. So it’s prep time. I haven’t figured out how to block the area where the horses can stand without worrying that what I use as a block could be dangerous to them. Large sand bags come to mind but they could still be a tripping hazard for the horses. Maybe dumping a bunch of stone dust down will slow the water enough and maybe we could create some sort blockade.

And then there’s the poultry and waterfowl. I know my ducks love love love the water and it takes a lot of rain to get them to seek shelter but I’m thinking a hurricane might lure them into the coop. So we will be laying out shavings and moving food and putting up tarps. We have to fix the auxiliary coop where my roo Clark now lives with a rotating harem of ladies (he’s quite the guy). 

So what am I doing? Writing this and procrastinating BC I don’t like to be rushed anymore. I just get overwhelmed. And I saw the hurricane is days off – and we are in the “cone of shame” no that’s wrong- its the “cone of uncertainty” according to the Weather Channel- basically nobody knows where the heck Joaquin is going-but there is all the rain before the hurricane rain that we are supposed to have. So I guess I better get to the farm store TSC and off to Ace. I am not in catastrophe mode – I don’t get that way – I just try to make the best of the situation and we do our best to prepare. Mother Nature surely has the bigger muscles – so you can’t win only try to ease the blow by being ready.

In a way this is all good. It’s early prep for winter. If we get some of the chicken coop stuff done then we will be able to get on with other winter prep. I still haven’t ordered hay. It’s on the long todo list and since it’s a mandatory thing will get moved to the top.

Over the last year I’ve wondered if I wanted to stay living here and doing the farm thing. It seems like there’s always so much to do and stuff to fix. It’s so hard to keep up, But when faced with leaving- actually thinking about leaving the place I realize I am not ready. We want to settle at the beach but lately I have wondered if it could be a small farm near the beach in stead of one of those pretty, well manicured homes in a planned neighborhood- clearly I am not ready to give up the space and the animals – and then there’s also the beauty. This place is beautiful- the views, the air at night is sweet and crisp- I love walking along the lane and hearing the birds settling for the night and the frogs in the nearby pond. I could do without the winter and the storms and stuff breaking but in the long run this is a pretty great place to be. So I will get us prepped for the rain, wind and power outages and we will get through. The floods will recede and the ground will dry. It all part of life here and I am just not quite ready to give it up.

Thanks for reading –


Back in Charm City

My husband, Kevin, and I took the opportunity the other day after an appointment at Hopkins for an eye check for me( 2 yrs post cataract surgery) to go to our favorite area of Baltimore – Fells Point. It was a beautiful day. Low humidity -sun and light breeze. I felt so lucky to be there again and we just planned a light dinner. 

We found parking easily as we got to town just around 4pm. We walked down to the corner pub and restaurant The Point at Fells. We got lucky again with a seat outside. The restaurant sits across from the harbor so we had water views while eating. There is a large construction project going on as well and it is pretty amazing watching the floating cranes do their thing. 

Part of the fun of dining outside is people watching. We saw many diners with their dogs sitting with them. What we didn’t expect to see was a young twenty something walking down the walk with a small black cat wrapped around his neck. He stopped by our table to allow another person with a dog to go by. We began a chat with him mesmerized by this small little cat seemingly so content in the neck of his person.  The cat -kitten really -was Edgar Allen. He literally was rescued by the young man when he caught the kitten as it was being tossed out a window in the city.  He had never been a cat person he said but he really loved that cat. Edgar Allen’s person asked us for some money to maybe help feed Edgar Allen. I gave him some thinking he had a lot of hudspa in asking while we were sitting at a restaurant table. You never know what people need and I have a soft spot for helping those in need on the streets. I lived in Boston years ago and since becoming country I had forgotten just how many people ask for money and by the end of the evening I finally had to say No. I felt bad but we were running out of cash.  I would give to every person that asked if I could. Anyway I didn’t get Edgar Allens picture darn it . Edgar’s person was beckoned by someone else and off they went. I just hope Edgar Allen gets a can of tuna or ten. 

We decided to take the water taxis all over the harbor. I had never done this before. I was always too anxious. I had a fear of being on the taxi and not being able to get off when I wanted. I had a fear of having a panic attack and – I don’t know- freaking out. When you have an anxiety disorder you can be controlled by what-ifs. But not now no way (well I still have my moments) but the thought of riding the taxi on a beautiful August evening where the water was shining and the air was unseasonably perfect was more enticing than the any potential anxiety knocking on the door – I just wasn’t going to answer. So off we went and it was great. It turned into an awesome photo op for me and very relaxing for Kevin.  It’s always like being in another world on the water. I don’t do boats often so the other worldly feeling doesn’t lose its appeal. Im so glad we went. 

Somewhere along the journey we walked past the Hyatt Place hotel which is near Fells Point and Little Italy. It’s the same place we stayed in April when we went for our anniversary. Maybe they have a room. What are the chances on a Friday in August? We looked at eachother and decided to give it a try. Winner! They had a room. We texted the teens to tell them we wouldn’t be coming home that night. It felt so rogue! I felt young! Not sure what my kids thought because normally on the rare occasions that we do go away for a night and leave them I give them a ton of written instructions and rules. Mom is not spontaneous- she’s a planner. It’s fun to change it up on them and really fun to let go and just be in the moment. 

We left the hotel and took off for Little Italy looking for a bakery and fattening food. Little Italy doesn’t disappoint. The ambiance is so cool. The aromas from the many restaurants made me hungry for dinner number two but we withheld. We came upon about 200 people standing and sitting in lawn chairs. gathered on a corner in a vacant lot. A band was playing. Later , as we left Vicarros bakery, the band On the corner lot had stopped and an Italian movie with English subtitles was playing against the side of a brick building . It was really cool.  I’d like to say I loved all the goodies we got at the bakery but I wasn’t thrilled. Maybe I didn’t get their signature items. That was a bummer but the decaf coffee was divine. 

We grabbed a water taxi ride back to Fells Point so we could pick up our car. The ride on the water at night was so nice and peaceful. I could have ridden all night. I’m sure I would have fallen asleep. 

I know Baltimore has had its issues lately – the riots in the city were a very sad thing. There is a huge re-urbanization movement and with that comes issues. On top of that anger at the death of Freddie Gray when he was in police custody was the tipping point and riots ensued. I didn’t see any leftover damage from the riots and while we walked through the city we never felt unsafe. It’s hard for me to link what I saw on TV that day with the very streets we were walking on the other night. The vibe was positive people were out and about and chatting. I was very glad to see that. Baltimore is really a special city. I feel such a connection to it and I happy that I got to spend some time there again. I’ll be back Charm City. Until we meet again -be well. 


leaving Fells Point on the water taxi




This is the East Side of the Harbor – lots of building .


A place of my own. And painting Nana’s hutch

I can’t wait to write these words. I’ve been hoping to announce this well before now but I had to wait for it to happen but now I can tell you- I Have my own studio!! Ok it’s only my garage but it’s a place for me to do my thing -whatever it may be. It’s my creative place.

It took a very long time to get a studio. Partly because I never considered using the garage for my creative space until I began to paint furniture. Also the garage was a sty. There is no nice way to put it. It was a huge mess. I couldn’t walk across the length of it to get to the extra refrigerator so I would send a teen in for me hoping they came back in one piece.  We had made many attempts in the past to move crap around and to reorganize it but it would end up collecting more and more stuff.

But last week after I had mentioned twice that I might like that space to house my newest creative endeavor of painting furniture the ball got rolling. I heard the garage open. The teens were summoned to commence removal of crap. There were two trips to the dump with our trailer filled with stuff. Kevin only asked me once or twice what id like to keep -there wasn’t much I really wanted and I’m sure he thought I might slow down the process with my considering what to keep and what to toss if he kept asking. Some things went to the dump , some to the shed in our paddock, and some down to the basement storage -another scary black hole that we need to sort through this winter. I bit my tongue when I realized some items made there way back indoors – I didn’t even ask what they were. I realized I best shut my mouth because what was happening in the garage was a miracle in the making  I know when to just let things go-sometimes!

After two days (yes two) the garage was empty. Then I heard hammering and sawing. I peaked in and legs were being made  for my salvaged countertop so I would have a work area. Yay! I thought to myself as I went down to feed the chickens and horses. Yay!

When I came back up from the barn my space was ready. My project that I was already working on was moved in. The space was mine. I have two work tables and storage shelves. I have a fan for the hot days and am planning on some type of heater for the cold weather. I figure there will be some indoor work still in the deep of winter as paint might not dry well in the cold. But I plan on spending some time out there.

Painting isn’t the only thing I hope to be doing in the studio.  I am still hoping to do some glass fusing as soon as I can buy a kiln. I may use the space to matte my photos. Who knows what else might inspire me. I probably won’t write in there but if I can figure out a way to set up a decent writing space I just might. It’s peaceful out there. Nobody (except Rudy who will have a dog bed in a primo spot) really wants to hang and bug me in the garage. It’s the only space that’s truly mine in the entire house. So I’m going to claim it. Maybe Rudy will pee on it and mark our territory- ok we won’t go that far but personal space is hard to find in my home. It’s that cherished.

I already have a plan to put my photos up on the walls. I gave it a shot the other day but an hour after I got all the pictures up on the wall they all fell down -I used painters tape to put them up. Not too bright. Good idea bad execution. So I’ll start again and either use my giant push pin and string idea that I used in my husbands office or I’ll think up something else. But I’ll put my stamp on it no doubt.

It didn’t take me long to get working in my new workspace. I had decided to take my Nana’s hutch (I guess it’s a small sideboard but we’ve always called it a hutch)- that was ever so old and ever so beat up- and paint it. I’ve been trying to get things brightened up in my house. The hutch sits against the wall under a window and is partially blocked by our pub height dining table. It was looking ragged and I had considered getting rid of it. There isn’t much of a market for antiques like this and frankly I’m attached to the thing. It’s one of a few pieces I got from my dad when he moved 20 years ago to Florida. The hutch was in my Nana’s dining area in her walk up apartment for as long as I could remember. I took China out of it for her to set her table. I put the clean dishes back in. I just can’t part with it. I could have had it refinished but I felt like it was calling out for paint. So I had my sander -Ozzy -give it a once over to get it ready. I wanted to leave the character (dents and scratches ) in it      I like patina.

I was going to use chalk paint for the first time. I was going into this process rather blindly but I had some quick instructions from my friends who owns a local consignment and new furniture/home decor store in my town. I also had the Internet. I used Maison Blanche chalk paint and their clear wax. The understanding of how wax on chalk paint works became clearer as I worked on the piece. I really enjoyed the process. The end result isn’t perfect but I love the aged look it still has. The paint did some crackling naturally and I distressed the piece some as well. I think I would have distressed it more had I understood the whole process ahead of time but it’s fine like it is and I’m told that I can go back and distress it again and add some wax to it and buff it out again. The beauty with wax is in the buffing I discovered. I used steel wool to buff (#0000). I wiped it also with a cloth. For me the wool brought up the shine faster and was easier on my bad shoulder than just using a rag. Once buffed the piece has a shine and smoothness that I couldn’t imagine before I began buffing. I wasn’t a fan of chalk paint until I finished the buffing – then the aha moment happened and a fan was born.

I didn’t paint the inside except for the inside of the doors which are I’ve 1.5 inches thick. Who makes stuff like that anymore? I painted the inside door white and stenciled 2015 on them and signed my name. The year of the rebirth of the piece. I had had visions of painting the inside entirely. I thought some fun color and then some pretty contact paper for the shelves would really be awesome But I bailed on the idea when I realized that the smell that reminds me of my nana when I open those doors might be gone if i changed the inside too much.   I swear it still smells of her apartment from 1987. It just takes me back. It’s a comfort.  Even at 51 I miss her.

The hutch now sits back inside my dining area -it looks so great. Like new but with the history that I know.

I’ve become so into reusing, updating and repurposing things. I already have two old pieces of furniture from our house in my workspace that hope to paint and maybe sell. But up next is my dining room table top and the wall cabinet and shelves (probably a real hutch ). I’m on a quest to bring in more light.

The wheels are turning in my brain at the prospect of all that I can create In my studio. It’s just a space in the garage and I’m told I may have to share it with a car if we are to get a large snow storm (we’ll see about that) but it’s so much more to me. It’s solace, it’s inspiring and it’s mine.

Thanks for reading.

These photos all fell down! I used blue paint tape. I will put up again with a better execution.

My studio! Some new projects waiting fpr rebirth. Last week you could not see into the garage!

My next project. Dining table top.

Hutch before. The detail was not easy to paint- great for the first time using chalk paint! – Not

My sander – Ozzy

In progress inside the house (my studio wasn’t complete yet)

Crackle just happened- I like it.

I painted the inner doors white.

All finished in the studio…the hutch looks greener here than it is.   


 Inside the house

Horse Jewelry? Try Rhythm Beads…

I have been on a writing hiatus. I have a ton of draft posts started and that’s overwhelming on top of all the other overwhelming stuff that has put me on this writing hiatus. I love writing so I don’t want to back away from it bc it seems daunting. I looked at all the draft posts and I decided to pick just one that I want to write. Nothing heavy just fun – so here it is. I am writing about Horse Rhythm beads. A fun and easy thing to tackle.

What in the heck are rhythm beads? Rhythm beads are a necklace for your horse! The necklace consists of beads and bells. The sound that the bells make while riding is said to be calming to the horse and rider. The other bonus is that the noise can alert wildlife that you are coming when you are on a trail ride. Nobody likes deer to jump out in front of their horses while on a path!

The origins of rhythm beads come from Native Americans.  Native Americans dressed up their horses not only for beauty but each piece had a purpose – mostly to provide protection to the horse and rider. I have been using rhythm beads for many years. I am so used to riding with them that it would seem odd not to have them jingling during my ride.

My horse adjusted to the beads right away. He is not spooked easily by things so I just put them on and off we went. It is advised to introduce them to your horse. Show the beads to them- and shake them so they can hear the noise they make. If that goes ok you can place them around their neck and maybe groom them while they wear the beads. Maybe jingle them a bit. Take them off.  Do this a couple more times. Then go out for a ride with them on but only walk – if that is going well begin to work at faster speeds. Pretty soon the sound of the beads will become a part of your rides. Never leave the beads on a horse – they are only to be used while riding.

There are many places online that sell these beads. Just google Rhythm Beads. I have also found them on as well.

Take a look below at the video I took while riding recently. It lacks in quality bc it is not easy riding a horse and filming at the same time! But you will be able to hear the beads in action.

These beads are from –Kristi Lyn Glass. Prices vary from site to site and can be more expensive with more detail , more bells and embellishments.  I love the way they look and I love how they sound.

Thanks for reading……


This is a mane dangle

These attach with a clip on the mane and has a quick release piece in case the necklace becomes caught on something while you are riding.