Saturday, October 29, 2011

Trick or Treat

I wasn't surprised earlier in the week when I heard of Colorado getting snow. But, when I saw our forecast for Saturday and it included 90% precipitation with snow, I said a "SHEEZSH" or two! So, in the question of Trick or Treat, I'm marking the circle box beside Trick!

We woke this morning to rain and sleet. A little while later, large fluffy snowflakes fell into the mix. Then the rain took over again. It's been like that all day. The temps have hovered around 34F. It's been a great day to stay inside!

We'll see what happens overnight. I've left the pumpkin on the porch for comparision.

Monday, October 24, 2011

That's what I get for thinking

*Warning, this post gets a little random.
You're welcome to read and move on. OR, if you'd like to satisfy my curiosity
(and inner question about who if anyone still reads) you can leave a comment. ;)

Did your parents ever say "That's what you get for thinking" to you in response to a statement you made that began with "I thought..."?

Was it just me?

While my mom and dad were here, we drove over to Philadelphia to visit the Liberty Bell. Other than a few thoughts I had
about the trip, the one thing that stood out in my mind about it was, "I thought it would be bigger!" I'm not sure what
I'd really imagined or expected, but I really was surprised at how small this bell was in real life. - That's what I get for thinking.
(Did anyone notice my dad's Liberty overalls in these pics with the Liberty Bell and the other pics with the Statue of Liberty?)
hehe... wonder if he planned that? Likely not. That is just his standard uniform as he loves his overalls.

Speaking of thinking and being wrong in my thoughts. I also thought someone out of the three interested in taking my photo
of the famous bell could have gotten me in focus. No such luck.
- That's what I get for thinking. ;)

Now for the random thought for the day. Seeing my ruffled shirt in the photo reminded me of it. Did you know that the word
"fancy" in sign language sort of stems from a ruffled shirt? That's what I was told last night and it makes sense to me, so I'm
going with it. Here's a link with an animated gif and explanation. Tell me what you think. "fancy" in American Sign Language

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Seeing Lady Liberty

My parents were here last week and we did a little sight seeing along with just visiting and catching up.

Monday when the boys were off from school, we made a spur of the moment decision to drive up to the NJ side of the NY Harbor and view the Statue of Liberty. Our lack of planning kept us from being able to buy the tickets for the ferry ride over, but that's ok. My parents just wanted to be able to say they saw it. It all worked out perfectly! So, we drove up to Liberty State Park and walked along the pier to take in the sights of the harbor. It was a beautiful day but a little overcast. The overcast part only effected my photos, not the day.
Photobucket Photobucket
With the first time seeing Lady Liberty, came our first time seeing the New York City skyline in person.
I will admit to feeling a little rush of excitement about the thought of my future visits into the city.
I need to work on my bucket list of things to do there so I can start checking things off the list soon! Photobucket
On the list already is going inside the Statue of Liberty.
That may have to wait awhile though because she's about to undergo a closure for renovation.
So, until next year, "Seeing Lady Liberty" will have to do. Photobucket

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Mum" is the word for fall

I haven't completely unpacked all of my boxes or officially finished setting up house. But, I'd taken a long enough break to decorate for fall, including pumpkins, a scarecrow and some mums. This kind of decorating means the fun season is upon us - the holidays. I'm looking forward to what this holiday season has to bring. I just hope it's not a ton of snow because I've heard rumors. Hmmmm...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"The Beast" is finally transformed

Two years ago, I blogged about this beast.

You can read about it HERE
I was threatening to paint it, but didn't know what I wanted to do with it. I was griping about the blue inside and the sloppy paint job on the outside. And the hinges. I didn't like the hinges. And the hearts and swirls? Yeah, they never screamed my name at any point in time. That blog post was Sept. 1, 2009. G-Dub was already in Korea at the time and the boys and I were just sitting and waiting on two houses to sell. Not long after that post, I got offers on both houses. My thoughts went from refinishing the piece to saying goodbye to it for two years while it sat in a warehouse in storage.

When we moved in here and our storage delivery was fifteen days late, I had plenty of time to decide where I would place the pieces of furniture I knew was coming eventually. I'd remember one piece at a time and think where am I going to put that? After a few days of stepping out of this shower and being greeted by my 41-year old self in that wall to wall mirror, I decided I HAD to have a piece of furniture or something there to block that view.
Pardon the cruddy photo - snapped it right after we moved in and during those fifteen days when we were waiting on furniture!

My mind immediately went to the beast. (I've taken to calling it the beast because I knew whatever I did to it was going to be work! LOL) I knew it would be great for storage of towels and toiletries. I also knew it's height would be a good one for blocking views. The delivery guys unloaded it from the truck and took it to this spot. Every time I got out of the shower, I thought about how much I hated those hearts and swirls. I was becoming obsessed with it! So, I decided to tackle it. Again, the two year old question of what color to paint it came into play. I finally decided that white would be too white. And black would be too dark. Even a creamy white would not do. I seriously thought of going off of that blue inside and going with a turquoise-ish color. It would have matched my black and white toile curtains. But, it wouldn't match the newly bought shade of green rugs I'd bought for the room. What color, what color? I did what I do best - procrastinate some more, go blog reading to get my mind off of it. I logged on to my blog reader and clicked on Miss Mustard Seed's blog. Her blog post that day was about looking past imperfections of badly painted pieces and not bothering about the work of making it a perfectly paintable surface before making it your own. And her feature piece that day was gray. A Poor Paint Job Gray? Poorly painted beginnings? Distressing? Did someone call my name or did I imagine hearing that because that post "spoke to me". Gray was my color choice. But how to you get gray without getting something that looks like primer? Definitely not with spray paint, my easy go to. Enter Home Depot's Behr paint in Rhino.
Oh yeah, that's not primer gray.

My plans were to be lazy. I was going to embrace the paint runs, crackled paint, iffy spots and just get to work sanding what I thought was just going to be the top surface to knock off the sheen and let my paint adhere.
Thought being the key word. Yeah, that didn't work. The brown gummed up and made a mess under my sandpaper. Not sure what that was besides paint. So, change of plans. Bring on the electric hand sander and the course grit sandpaper. That took off more of the brown paint than I wanted, but it also took off all the gummy, yucky, sticky gunk. I was ok with that. Amazingly, I came to love this blue that was underneath! I know, stay focused.
When we were finished with our sanding we were left with this.
I polished it all off with steel wool to smooth it, then I painted my first coat of gray. I put on two coats of gray. Then, I started sanding again. When I was telling my dad about this, his question was, "Why are you sanding the new gray paint?" Um, because I am feeling a little crazy, Dad! LOL I probably abused it more than I should have. I have better biceps muscles after all that sanding though! I had a nine year old helper in the mix too. He decided he wanted to help sand. I was a little scared, but went over, sand with the wood grain (yeah, that you can't see because it's painted? *rolleyes*) and don't put too much pressure on it. Um, yeah, that worked out great. Lil Man did the four doors for me.

From there, I rubbed walnut stain over the entire piece and wiped it off so that it wasn't too thick, heavy or dark. The stain seeped into the bare wood and brought out its rich color. It also seeped into the marks of the sand paper and created a neat effect (in my opinion) of distressing to the whole piece. And, it toned down the bright gray and made it more muted.

Knobs and hinges were another challenge. I thought I wanted glass knobs for the piece. But, those are hard to find! I was ready to hit buy on an ebay set I found, but I found some not glass, but made to look like glass ones at a local hardware store. I tried one of those and didn't like it. So, I opted for black knobs from Lowes. Easy enough. The hinges were a different story. I didn't like the original ones. I couldn't reuse them anyway because the people before me had painted them and their screws. I tried two different types of hinges, but neither worked. Because the doors are inset, I couldn't get away from the old style hinges. I bought a new set of those, put them on and called it done.
I haven't put the locking piece back on here yet because I'm trying to see if the doors will stay closed by themselves.

We put the piece back into place and I love it! I love how the beast was transformed into a beauty! And just how much stuff the inside can hold!
Let's compare Beast to Beauty again.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A visit to the Cranberry Bogs

When we learned that we were moving here from Korea, I started making a "bucket list" of things I wanted to do and places I wanted to see during our time here.
"Learn more about cranberries" was actually somewhere on that list. Photobucket
Seems a little odd when you factor in NYC, Washington, DC, The Statue of Liberty, Seaside boardwalks, Niagara Falls, and Canada (just a few of the other bucket list items). But, for a southern girl whose only "experience" with cranberries has been juice, canned sauce at Thanksgiving, craisins, an occasional cranberry orange salad, and Ocean Spray commercials, the desire to see cranberries first hand made perfect sense.

We attend church with several people who are involved in the farming of cranberries. And, October is harvest time in the cranberry bogs. When I was asked Sunday if I wanted to go out and visit a farm this week, of course, I said yes! And of course, I carried my camera along! So, now I get to "bog" this post down with photos! Hope you enjoy! I did!
To a novice cranberry farm visitor, cranberry bogs just look like overgrown vegetation somewhat sunken into the ground in sections/plots. But, for someone who spent some time in Korea and observed sunken rice fields which were submerged in water for planting, the ridges along the bogs sort of a gave a clue that some of those fields I'd been passing on the back-roads going to post were cranberries growing! Hmmph... The cranberry farm field trip proved my suspicions. Yep, cranberries aren't obvious upon first sight.
We rode in one of the farm's tour buses around the bogs. I was reminded of some of the buses and crazy driving of Korea! (The narrow road. Water filled areas off the shoulder of the road. Etc...) Because the workers were in the middle of harvesting and for safety reasons, I had to stay on the bus even at stops where we viewed the workers. My photos weren't as close up as I'd have liked, but I am pleased with them. And I learned about the process of cranberry farming, so what more is there to ask for?

Unlike rice growing in Korea, flooding the field/bog comes at harvest season. Around this farm, there were many pump houses that enabled the flooding.
This farm has a handy dandy floating picker machine. The floating picker replaces the older style pickers that ran along the ground and caused damage to the cranberry plants. This thing is GPS navigated from a computer in the warehouse near the entrance of the farm. Computers were in the tractors that were also keyed into this whole process.
Once the cranberries are picked from the ground plants, they float to the surface. They are then corralled by a large band attached to tractors on each side of the bog and gathered into one end of the bog for removal. Workers clean the edges of the bog of any stray berries that escaped the corralling.
The berries are then removed and loaded into dump trucks which take the load to the warehouse for sorting and cleaning before being hauled off to Ocean Spray.

Then, more clean up is done in the now harvested bog.
Back at the warehouse, the berries have been sorted and are in their "bath" before being loaded onto the next truck.
After watching the berries being loaded onto the trucks, we exited the bus and loaded back into the van. We were able to drive to another part of the farm where the workers hadn't started harvesting yet. So, I got to put my feet on the ground and get some close-up photos of the berries still on the plants. The first two photos above were taken then. And here are some others.

Aren't they beautiful? I tasted one from off the plants. It was sour! Would have been good at the bottom of a Sonic Cranberry Limeade though. ;)