life on the funny farm

Sunday, January 31, 2016

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

Yesterday I was sweaty.
I was sore.
I was teary.
I was at times speechless.


It's all because of my friends.

See, I am in the process of trying to get my house ready to sell.

I know that might come as a shock to many of you, but it's true. The Funny Farm will be no longer.
In fact, all the farm animals have been rehomed, and we are left with only a handful of cats and dogs. Big change from where we were at the peak of farmdom.

But yes, due to some life changes and the fact that the kids are reaching the "grown and flown" stage, I am downsizing. I will likely be moving on to a house roughly a third to half the size of the one I've been in for the last 11 years.

So for probably over a year now, the kids and I have been working on this old house.

Painting, ripping up carpet, tearing down wallpaper, changing out curtains, changing out rugs.
Putting in new light fixtures, installing new flooring.
Cleaning out the barn, the garages, the workshop, the basement.
Filling dozens and dozens and dozens of bags and boxes for Goodwill, for trash, for sale on my local Facebook yard sale site. Filling to the brim one of those giant construction yard dumpsters with rubbish.

I have hired professionals to fix and paint the deck, pressure wash the house and porches, fix broken stuff galore.

And now I'm down to the nitty gritty. And I'm down to the wire. I have set a date with my realtor to come take pictures and get this house listed.

And all of a sudden, when I thought there remained only a few details to take care of, I realized how much more needed to be done.

I found there still remained a handful of drywall holes, and already patched holes that needed to be painted. There were leaky shower heads and non-functioning lights. There were large items that needed to be moved, and cabinet pulls that needed to be put on, and flaking paint that needed to be touched up, and caulking, lots of caulking. Plus ceilings and even whole rooms that should be painted. There were errant paint marks (more than I care to admit to) on wood trim throughout the house. Basically if you were a piece of wood trim within 30 yards of a room we were painting, you got paint on you.
What else.... baseboard radiators that were falling apart or rusty or both. Chimney flanges that needed to be replaced, speakers dangling from the wall, broken heat units, broken windows....

Enter my friends.
They have been an enormous source of support for me over the last few years: listening, advising, hugging, wine-pouring, card-sending, shoulder-lending.
And now, paint-brush yielding.  Drill-swinging. Hammer-holding.

They gave up their day off to come over yesterday with tool boxes and paint clothes.  They took my lists and went room to room fixing up my house for me. They went above and beyond my expectations, doing so much more than I had asked.

I did my best to answer questions, find supplies, pour wine, scrape paint, hug, kiss, laugh, put out munchies, bring ladders.

So like I said,
I was sweaty.
I was sore.
I was teary.
I was at times speechless.


Thank you.
With all my heart,
Thank you.

You are, quite literally, Godsends in my life.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I'm in Business

Today was a heady day for me.

I took my creations of barn wood and old horse tack and Christmas greens, and bottles and little bits of this and that over to a local consignment shop.

I didn't even take the stuff out of the car, because I thought they might not be interested. I was already planning which shops I could get to next before it was time to pick the kids up.

Picture me walking up the steps with head hung low, with my fingers in an "L" on my forehead.

I told the ladies they should just come out to the car to take a look, rather than carry everything in and then back out again.

But when I opened the back of my little wagon?

They just about exploded with joy.

Those kind ladies from Rooted Ooohed and Aaahed. They exclaimed, they fawned. They swelled my head to about 10x its original size.

They. Took. Everything.

They helped me price everything, and I signed a contract. They asked me to bring them some tags for my items, and to set up an Instagram account.

And now? I'm in business.

Well, kinda-sorta. I just have some pieces in a consignment shop, but it was a big moment for me, let me tell you.

Here are a few pictures of some of my pieces. Hope you like them!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Having So. Much. Fun.

Maybe it's because I've recently become addicted to Flea Market Flip.

Or maybe it's because I'm sick and tired of constantly working on home improvement stuff, but yet still want to do something. Something artistic or creative or funky.

Or cash?
Could be the cash.

Anyway, whatever the reason, I've recently started making some crafty things. And selling them.

Much of it is horsey stuff, cuz, you know, Funny Farm.

For instance, I took an old stirrup and turned it into a Christmas door hanging.

I turned some snaffle bits into doorknob hangers.

And another bit into a toilet paper holder.

Spruced up a few old jars.

And a few other projects, some already sold, some still looking for buyers, some still classified as Work In Progress.

Is it wrong to enjoy myself so much when engaged in elementary school work playing with scissors and glue? Because I truly am enjoying myself. I want to do it all the time. Like quit my day job and ditch the dining room table for a proper workshop, and start an Etsy shop and become the most profitable seller Etsy's ever seen, and have Martha call me for advice and....


Maybe I've been using a bit too much glue.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

O Canada

Recently, I got to partake in the weekend getaway to beat all weekend getaways.

I went to visit my Texan cousin at her home in Canada.

My beautiful cousin.

My talented cousin.

My creative, artistic, kind, spiritual, culinary genius cousin.


My mother's brother's daughter Gayle, who is two months younger than me, but looks twenty years younger than me.

Though she and I had not seen each other in years, and had only communicated now and then via Facebook, it made not a smidge of difference.

We talked and we talked and we talked.
And we laughed.
And there may have been some consumption of homemade wine now and then.

{They make their own wine in Canada. They have "wine stores" where you go and throw a bunch of yeast in, and then come back later and pick up your 60 or so bottles of wine. It's how Canadians roll.}

One night, we went to visit her bff Mary Lou and her sister Sue.

The view from her living room, and pretty much every other room in her incredible house, was this:

I kid you not.

Crazy but true.

And in the pre-dinner hour, we sat and chatted casually as if this God-given sight was not looming just outside our reach.  And sister Sue sat and knitted mittens, and told us all about how she had just made moose sausages a week or so ago.


She's from the Yukon.

Or she lives in the Yukon.

I'm not really sure how you say the whole Yukon thing, other than that you need to say "The" Yukon.

Like "The" Ukraine.

Except Ukranians probably have a lower people to moose ratio than Yukonians.

While we were eating dinner, someone thought it was a little warm in the house and suggested opening a window.

"Is it too cold out?", another asked.

"No, it's only about 0.", another answered.

Nods all around, window opened.


This was the breakfast Gayle made for me one fine morning.

That there is quiche, and bacon, and toast with homemade jam.

And I think I remember homemade fried chicken and mashed potatoes.  And biscuits.  But the food is all one delicious, mouth-watering blur.

And this is Gayle's little dog Georgia Peach.

She was a peach.

And when we went thrifting, she rode around in her friend Ken's hood.

Ken?  He's kind of important in Gayle's life, too.

When he talks, you think you're listening to the soundtrack of Fargo, and you pee yourself a little bit because he says, "That's real nice there, Margie".

And oh yeah, he's from the Yukon.

And he has chased bears.

Don't mess with Ken.  Don't let the "I'm adorable with cute little dogs" thing fool you.

And finally, here's Gayle.

See, didn't I tell you she was beautiful?

And youthful?

I hate her.

But I don't. I love her.

Really and truly.

Gayle, you need to leave Canada and come live with me in Pennsylvania. We don't have any moose, but we have raccoons. And possums. It's exciting stuff, I assure you.

Come live with me and cook for me and paint me beautiful artwork and make me wine and talk with me till all hours of the night.


Pretty please?

Love you, cuz!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I Go Crazy (for Austin Mahone)

My sister, the ultra talented Mary Birdsong, along with her equally talented friend Mike Ruekberg, recently paired up on a very special project.
They took a song, written by Angel-on-Earth Natasha, and put it to music, and created an amazing video montage.  It is Natasha's homage to her favorite performer, Austin Mahone.
Labor of love?  It doesn't get much better than this.


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