Monday, October 13, 2014

Lumberjack Day 2014: Less Work - More Fun!

With all the hubbub of the recent noTTafarm wedding, the thought of a full-fledged, get-dirty, work-hard, chop-down-trees, lumber-jacking session didn't seem that appealing. So we took it down a notch, and instead celebrated a sunny autumn Saturday (October 11) with good food and plenty of great friends and family. Needless to say, a good time was had by all!
Arriving to noTTafarm first for the third year in a row:  the Kupzyks (of The New People!) Baby Bennett is no longer a baby ~ he turned two today (October 13th).
Since Sarah's parents and grandmother were in town for Bennett's birthday, they came along for a hotdog and s'mores lunch.
 Hey, Look! Meredith is here!
Our favorite 10 year-old and her awesome mommy, Leigh Anne, came over at lunchtime. Can you tell they're rooting for the Royals during this exciting post season? It's always great to have these two visit (all the way from Papillion!)
Another Lumberjack Days First: dogs in attendance! Our friends Kevin and Christine brought their new puppy, Marley Mae, along to help her get used to lots of people. Such a sweetie!
Another Lumberjack Days First:  Wilson - well, not Wilson but . . .
 . . . Wilson killed a mouse (or maybe it's a mole?!) Though he spends quite a bit of time outdoors, we've never seen him hunt anything so this was "interesting." Poor mouse.
My brother Mark swears I told him to bring his own beer so, of course, he had to be a show-off and bring along his favorite Alaskan Amber.
Another Lumberjack Days First:  Kitra! Our youngest great niece is such a happy 10-month-old and, clearly, the apple of her daddy Tyler's eye.
The platform used for the wedding ceremony last month was moved to a patch under trees near the house. It made an irresistible stage for some fancy footwork by Meredith.
Bennett took to the stage for a rousing rendition of the Teddy Bear song.
Meredith, a superfan of all things kitty cat, greeted Bibbers near the barn.
New friendships are always forged at Lumberjack Days! Our friend Lisa, visiting noTTafarm for the first time, brought along her 4 year old daughter, Lauren who in turn became fast friends with Brenna, Amy and Monte's 5 year old. They zoomed all over on Brenna's 4-wheeler, sat in the hammock together, went on a nature hike, and taught Auntie Kristin the meaning of that high-pitched scream only girls this age can create. (There is no meaning. . .they just can't help themselves.)
Scott increased his popularity by giving the kids rides in the Ranger.
A pennant string hanging from the wedding arch made a colorful backdrop for photos. Tyler, Monica, and Kitra were picture perfect! (Please note Kitra's adorable Scottie dog shirt and Monica's lumberjack inspired plaid!)
Mark and LuAnn are always in fashion. 
 Ah, yes! The tradition continues:  Mr. and Mrs. Ward smooching for the camera.
Brenna and Tripp mistake daddy Monte and buddy Gary for jungle gyms. This is Tripp's third Lumberjack Day and he's not even three yet! (We like to start out our Superfans really young so they have a lifetime of noTTafarm activities to look forward to.)
I was soooo happy that Megan returned to Omaha for the day! She and Amy had much to catch up on since Megan and Scott's move to Lincoln last spring.
Another Lumberjack Days First:  another dog! Emma is Pat and Kathleen's beautiful husky. She's such a good pup and was very well-behaved.  Good job, Emma! (p.s. Isn't Kathleen beautiful? Getting married at noTTafarm has magical powers.)
A few of my former co-workers also happen to be a few of my very best friends: Marie, Megan, Amy, and Gary.

As with all big noTTafarm events, my one regret (other than yelling at innocent people that are trying to help me) is that I didn't take enough photos! I neglected to capture the following:
1.) my sister, Karolyn, and her husband, Alan, visiting from Meeker, Colo;
2.) our nephew Joe, his girlfriend Sara, and his buddy Anthony ~ all students at UNL;
3.) our niece Chelsie, always such a good helper and wonderful sport;
4.) Carl and Marita, who brought along their out-of-town guests, Becky and Bob (it was so nice to meet them!) Marita also shared two of her famous pecan pies which were sooo good!;
5.) our friend Sonya and friend, Mark (making one of his first public appearances as Sonya's special someone);
6.) my brother Tim and his wife Teresa who I owe $$$ for the ice they purchased. Tim stayed after everyone had left for the night and washed all my dishes.  Thank You, Timmy!;
7.) my friend and former OWH co-worker, Lisa ~ visiting noTTafarm for the first time with her precocious 4 year old daughter Lauren;
8.) my adorable friend Christine who accompanied her beau Kevin and pup Marley Mae but had to dash off to Des Moines shortly after noon;
9.) our sweet niece Karli, home late to Omaha after celebrating Dakota Days at USD;
10.) our nephew Pat ~ the recently wed lucky husband of Kathleen;
11.) our friend Mary (Gary's wife) who brought along a super delicious peanut butter dip with vanilla wafers and kept us entertained in the kitchen;
12.) Kathleen's mama Liz and brother Dan ~ who I hope will come and visit us often;
13.) and very special visitors:  Doris and Janis who toured the finished house for the first time. We were so happy that noTTafarm's previous residents stopped by and are so glad to call them friends;
14.) and my Mommy and Daddy who had to miss this year's party due to Dad's recent knee replacement. We'll see you here next year, Ray and Jolene! Don't forget your chainsaw!

Another wonderful noTTafarm celebration is in the books. Now we can sit back and relax . . . oh, wait. The holidays are just around the corner!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Indian Summer Field Trip II

The final Sunday of September was a great day for a field trip. This time, Scott and I ventured out with his folks to visit two barns featured on the Iowa Barn Foundation's Fall Tour. We selected two restored and historic barns close to home, one near Beebeetown and one near Harlan. It was a beautiful, warm day to head out across the state line.
First Stop:  the Finken barn near Beebeetown
This barn was built in 1927 on land purchased by the family in 1892.The barn was in tear-down condition prior to its 2004 restoration.
The metal cupola was removed, restored, and returned to crown the gothic roofline. 
The roof has laminated rafters which were raised into place with gin pole and horses. Each rafter is five boards thick, bolted together and cut in the curved shape. 
(Note:  information provided by the Iowa Barn Foundation...I did not determine these facts by pure observation.)
This cute play kitchen was on display in the Finken barn.  
Lynn Finken, seated, was 4 years old when the barn was built. The Finken family was very welcoming, providing homemade cookies for visitors along with stories about the restoration. They first opened the barn for public tours in 2006.
The corn crib at the Finken farm. 
Second Stop:  the Heflin barn near Harlan
This barn was built in 1901 and is 40x36 feet.
 The barn tour afforded many opportunities for photos.
 The barn's upper floor was of particular interest to Scott.
 Another view of the Heflin barn.
The views from the Heflin property are simply amazing; the farm has 360-degree valley views. This time of year, with the crops turning golden and the sky so blue, the view is particularly beautiful. The Heflin family has worked hard to not only keep the barn in great condition but their entire property.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Indian Summer Field Trip

Autumn has officially arrived! We are enjoying clear blue skies and the golden glow the sun casts on the trees. This time of year also offers a wide range of fun things to do (not that cleaning the house or mowing the yard isn't "fun".) Field trips this past weekend were welcome breaks from our normal routine - check out the fun!

Saturday, I ventured out on the open road to join in the central Nebraska fun that is Junk Jaunt. I met my mom, niece Chelsie, and her friend Amanda in Grand Island. Chelsie had our route all figured out so that we would hit a good variety of junk, rummage, and antique sales plus get a good ol' dose of Nebraska tourism.
Chelsie, Amanda, and Jolene ham it up for the photographer at our stop near Cairo.
Did you know that Elba is Nebraska's Bee Capitol? They also have a reputation for being wonderful Kolache bakers! We loaded up on delicious pastries (apricot was delish; rhubarb was a new one!)
Near Arcadia, we passed a field of sunflowers which was a nice break from all the corn and soybeans.
Classic water tower in North Loup - where I bought a super cute apron for only $3.
Chelsie's mommy was never far from her thoughts. . .as it should be, right Pooh?
I'm officially an antique! In Broken Bow, mom found a University of Nebraska yearbook and I noticed something looked familiar. Two Greek yearbooks from my era in school (and both with my picture included) were for sale ($6 each.)
Every where we went, we found evidence of the turning seasons. This pretty tree was in Danebrog.

Junk Jaunt was really fun - not only for the camaraderie and bargains but for the chance to explore parts of the state I don't often see.

Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hackberry Blues

Now that The Big Day has come and gone, we were looking forward to having a quiet Saturday. Maybe we'd watch a movie. Maybe we'd clean the garage. You know - something easy. But mother nature had other plans. Sometime during the week, a thunderstorm rolled through and dealt a blow to the large hackberry tree in the south yard. The resulting split in a big branch gave us just the thing to fill our Saturday.

The branch that was damaged is one of three large "trunks" that form the tree. The leafy canopy landed on the roof but didn't cause any damage. Prior to Saturday, Scott called and made an appointment for a tree service to visit and give an estimate for clean-up. Since they didn't show up or call, we proceeded with Plan B:  "let Scotty do it!"
The first step was to reach what he could with the chainsaw-on-a-stick. My job was to pick the branches up as they fell and drag them to a pile.
Scott then climbed up on the roof to access the bulk of the branches. Yes, he was very cautious and yes, I had my cell phone ready in case of emergency.
Scott was able to reach all of the leafy parts, leaving just a skeleton of branches behind.
Branches are always bigger on the ground than up in the air. We filled the trailer with what Scott trimmed.
Now for the fun . . . figuring out how to pull the split trunk-sized branch out of the way of the house. We needed to be careful since one bad move could send a giant branch and/or a giant ladder through a window.
Scott's plan involved the extension ladder, a rope, and The Ranger. He propped up the branch with the ladder, tied one end of the rope to the top rung, and tied the other to the Ranger's winch.
Then, he floored the Ranger in reverse, pulling the ladder and branch along with it til both were safely on the ground. No windows or houses (or people, vehicles or cats) were damaged with this daring move!
After the bending . . .we were left with an arched half-trunk which was quickly dispatched with the chainsaw. We'll probably still get a professional to assess this damage. Can a trunk survive if it's been sheared in half?
The larger branches were cut into convenient firewood-sized chunks. . .
. . . and hauled to the firewood pile in the trailer. Good job, Scotty! What kind of fun will we have this coming weekend?
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!