Saturday, August 30, 2014

Flower Girl Visits, Grants Approval

As the wedding quickly approaches, Pat and Kathleen continue to come out and work on a variety of projects. This past Tuesday, in addition to the bride and groom, the groom's grandparents, and the groom's brother, the soon-to-be flower girl arrived: Sophie! Our great niece just turned six, is enjoying kindergarten immensely, and adores her soon-to-be aunt Kathleen.
Don't you just love school uniforms? 
 Twirling on demand from the photographer.
Oh, that face! 
There's no mistaking who Sophie belongs to . . . she's all Camp.
After some serious consideration and pondering, Sophie agreed to be the very best flower girl in the history of flower-girling. Kathleen's pretty happy about that.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Tractor-ing

It's been a rainy couple of weeks here at noTTafarm but the weather gave us a break last weekend (August 23-24) and Scott was finally able to get outside and on to the visiting tractor. Saturday was particularly hot and humid but Dad Carl came over to help eliminate the final pile of rotting firewood from the west yard. Scott used the tractor and scooped up big piles while Dad picked pieces by hand and tossed them in the back of the Ranger for transport. What used to be comprise a backyard eyesore is now at the bottom of the hill east of the barn.
Thanks for the help, Dad!
On Sunday, with my brother Tim here for support and muscle, the low area east of the barn was tackled, tractored, and tamed. The goal was to clean up the final remains of the big piles we burned several weeks ago. Even with all the rain we've had, the smaller of the piles was still smoldering! Tim even got a little burn on his arm from a hot piece of wire. 
The boys were very excited to show me a melted piece of glass they discovered.
The first task was to clear an area and dig a big hole. The remains of the west burn pile were then pushed into the hole and neatly covered up. Prior to burying, the boys pulled out all of the metal, broken glass, and various un-burned trash for proper disposal.
Once the hole was filled, Scott spent some time grading, 'round and 'round on the tractor to create a nice flat area. We'll soon have to get a new burn permit and try to eliminate more of the south pile. This area is well on its way to being cleaned-up and ready for nature walks.
Confidential to Ward Family Members:  Tim got a little sunburn on the top of his head the previous day so he wore a cap for a change. I could not believe how much he looked like Mark! The cap must be magical. Thanks for your help, Mark Tim!

Mom and Dad return from their Alaskan vacation tomorrow night. Scott will certainly miss having a tractor and a big pick-up truck at his disposal! We even used the truck to take another load of metal to Scrap Central on Saturday; another $16.53 earned.

Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Wedding Prep Kicks into High Gear

With only three weeks until The Big Day, we've been steadily checking things off the "to do" list. There's still quite a bit not done but we're all feeling good about the progress. Check it out:
Saturday morning, Scott went to The Grass Pad and purchased a trailer-full of sod for the west yard. Pat happily pitched in, helping to get the soil smoothed and graded.
It was hot and humid on Saturday but that didn't stop the boys from getting all the sod set and ready. They even had to make a quick trip late in the afternoon for another 10 rolls of sod. It sure is nice to have grass growing on this former-big-burn-pile spot!
Just when they thought their work was done, Dave The Hay Guy arrived to bale the grass in the east pasture. Scott decided that he and Pat needed to stack the bales on the trailer and tow it back to store in the corn crib and in the barn. The 51-bale yield will go a long way toward seating at the wedding!
Poor Pat - he worked so hard all day! Who would think this city boy would be so good at tossing hay bales?
While the boys toiled in the hot sun, Kathleen had her hands in hot water. The centerpieces will utilize dozens of jars and bottles - all of which had to go through a tedious label-removal process. We got a pretty good system down and, thanks to some elbow grease and Goo-Gone, the task was completed.
Tuesday after work (Aug. 19), the boys turned their attention to building a platform on which the bride and groom will stand during the ceremony. Another construction-goods pallet was utilized as the foundation with more great room ceiling tongue-and-groove pine as the surface. With such a sturdy stage, Kathleen may break out her tap shoes!
The basement craft room has turned into Centerpiece Central. Kathleen is creating the most beautiful arrangements, and the bottles we scrubbed clean look amazingly pretty!
The Adirondack chairs are undergoing a facelift, switching from orangey-pink "Gladiola" to a rich "Lavish Lavender." The chairs are going to look great near the fire pit!
Friend-O'-noTTafarm, Marie (aka Punky) shared a great idea for decorating. She is letting me borrow her collection of insulators. Some will hang in trees, others will be tabletop decor but they are all going to look beautiful with the addition of tea lights and jute twine. Great idea, Punky! Thanks for stopping by tonight to walk me through your vision!
Stay Tuned for More Progress!

Mark Your Calendars!

It's time to start thinking about Lumberjack Days!
Our annual celebration of all-things noTTafarm will take place a little later this year on what is sure to be a crisp, cool, sunny, beautiful weekend in October. We hope you can stop by sometime on October 11 and/or October 12. Scott plans on taking it easy this year; no big projects, no heavy lifting - just a bonfire, some recreational chainsawing, and maybe a beer or two. Husker and Wildcat fans need not whine:  this is a "bye" weekend for both teams! Keep watching the blog for more details as the date approaches. 
See You in October!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Wedding Arch? Check!

The bride and groom-to-be were at noTTafarm before 6:30 tonight (Tuesday) to work on more wedding tasks. While Kathleen and I worked on planting flowers, Scott and Pat decided to take advantage of the glorious weather to work in the west yard on the wedding arch. I would have never guessed that they could plan, construct, install, and refine the arch in just a couple of hours . . . but that's what the boys did! Check it out:
After cleaning the cedar logs of their extraneous branches, they made sure the two verticals were exactly the same length. Scott decided the arch should be 7 feet wide so that the Ranger could easily drive between the two upright posts.
Pat grabbed our new post hole digger and went to work! He quickly dug the first hole, 3 feet deep, only taking about 10 minutes to accomplish the task.
The second hole provided the extra challenge of having a few tree roots which Pat quickly cut through.
By the time Kathleen and I were done with our planting, the boys had placed both uprights in the holes Pat dug, and were ready to place the horizontal piece across the top.
While Pat held the ladder, Scott notched the top of the uprights with the chainsaw to provide a cradle for the horizontal piece.
I wasn't able to photograph the placing of the horizontal piece because the boys each lifted an end and went up their respective ladders while Kathleen and I steadied them. They sure did make it look easy! As a final measure, extra-long screws (leftover from the great room roofing) were drilled through the top log and into each vertical post.
Great job, Pat and Scott!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

BOOM Goes the noTTafarm!

If you are near noTTafarm any time over the next three weeks and you smell diesel in the air, you can thank my dad. He agreed that Scott could borrow his New Holland Boomer 35 for some noTTafarm maintenance! Dad towed it to Omaha last night and won't retrieve it til the last week of the month. Scott could barely wait for 5 o'clock to get here today (Tuesday) so he could get home and start driving.
Bibbers watched (of course) as Scott backed the Boomer out of its temporary home.
Looking at Scott's happy smile, I can hear my big brother telling me, "You'd better get your checkbook ready because he's going to want a tractor now." You're probably right, Mark!
Scott decided to do a quick practice with the front loader controls, scooping up one little chunk of sand.
He moved the bucket of sand to behind the barn, then off-loaded the sand into a waiting trash can for storage. With that little exercise, the Boomer was put back in the corn crib for the night. Something tells me it won't be long until the smell of diesel wafts through the beautiful August noTTafarm air once again.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Old Tools, New Flowers

On a recent antiquing jaunt with her mom, noTTafarm super friend Amy B. spotted something that she just knew that I needed. She was right, of course, and I became the proud owner of an old wheelbarrow - complete with faded Bicentennial paint job and steel wheel.
Now that the big pile of bricks has been removed from the south side of the barn, I decided this spot was the perfect place for the wheelbarrow to rest in its new life as a planter.
Scott had to reinforce one of the wooden rails as it is quite rotten - but that only makes it more charming, right?
The finished product uses a mix of yellow and purple which should look great for the wedding.
Speaking of the wedding, Pat and Kathleen were out Tuesday night so I had Kathleen help me get the Gleaner's flower boxes ready. We used rust and purple mums.
Now we just need some sunshine and some rain to get the mums to grow before the Big Day.
Thanks for your help, Kathleen! 
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!