Sunday, December 30, 2007

Modern Acadian or Gulf Coast Venacular?

I had some requests to post more photos of my sister's house, so here you go. She describes her house as 21st Century/Modern Acadian. And of course she threw in some Gulf Coast Venacular language... I'll show you around and let you decide.

You will notice throughout the house the cabinet details are shaker style.

You will also see minimalist undertones seen throughout the house. My sister was very inspired by the late Donald Judd, a minimalist artist and founder of the Chinati Foundation located in Marfa, Texas, and also the area where my sister and I grew up.

His art not only inspired her in the design of her home, but in her work as a handbag designer. She's not designed in a while, being that she had a baby pop up out of nowhere that was very unexpected.... But, she will be back soon with more styles. She's been telling me that she's been dreaming about designs lately, so I'm guessing that means she's about to explode with some new ideas. I call her a spicket artist (I just made this up - literally, just this second as I was typing this). I don't know where this stuff in my brain comes from... Anyway, a 'spicket artist' because she's like a faucet - when it's on it's just pouring out, but when it's off, not a thing comes out - not even if your dying of thirst. My point being, her spicket has been off for a while, but indications are there that it's about to turn itself back on.

Her walls are painted an illuminous white, which is the whitest white you can get. There is no color in it. The contrast to her espresso stained pine floors is very striking.

This is the library with that old Eames Chair that I really like in the corner. I know you can't tell from this picture, but tucked inside the fireplace in the right corner is a bundle of lavender from you know where ...

This is the family room. Again, shaker-styled cabinetry hides the television to the right of the fireplace.

The kitchen with soapstone counter tops. We both have soapstone in our kitchens - she just has a lot more of it ...

A better shot of the subway tile back splash. I love that!
I hope you enjoyed the tour. Next time I will post some pictures of the inspiration for my house. There are many things that my sister and I both like, but where much of her inspiration comes from the late Donald Judd, my inspiration comes from all the old historic ranches and ranch houses from the area where we grew up. Are you familiar with the movie Giant? The home in this movie was called Reata. Although it was not an actual home, only a front facade that was built on-site where the movie was filmed in Marfa, and on my good friends family's ranch. I'll talk more about that later (and do I ever have stories to tell about that...) But point being, the architecture style of Reata was quite symbolic of many structures in the area, and what I'm bringing with me into our home.
More later ....

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Country Mouse Visits City Mouse

We had a wonderful Christmas visiting my sister and her family in the city.

Although they live in the city, you don't feel like it when you're at their place because their home is surrounded by pines. You can barely see any of the neighboring houses.

And the best part of all, my brother-in-law built this house - by himself!

Come on in and I'll show you around.

As you come into the foyer, the dining room is to the right and the library is to the left.

I love this old Aames Chair she has in the library. You don't see many around these days. I actually spotted one in Painted Groove's basement the other day - I told her she needed to get that thing dusted off and in the house!

Here's Jack with Miss High Falutin' and the baby. Oh, wait a minute, you can't see the baby.

There he is! What a sweetie... We couldn't get enough of him. He's at that super sweet age where he just smiles and laughs all the time. He thinks his two big sisters are just too funny!

Here I am with the baby and the two nieces. I just wish my other two nephews had been there too....

These two little girls are having a very difficult time containing themselves right now. They know we will be opening presents in just a little while.

This is my oldest niece, I call her J Bean. Oh, to be 8 years old and this full of excitement ... I hope her whole life is filled with this much joy.

And a Merry Christmas was had by all....

Saturday, December 22, 2007

2007 Top Ten

I got this idea from Meg, which I thought was a good one, so I’m following suit. Now we may not be People or Time Magazine, but hey – we have people (and animals, places, and things) that are important to us, too. So here it goes, Lavender Chick’s Top 10 for 2007:

10. Big Mama - I never knew what a blog was until Big Mama enlightened me last spring. In hindsight, I actually think that this is what my cousin, Alli, tried to explain to me a few years ago; At the time, a blog was beyond my realm of comprehension. I think my comment to her was, "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard of - why would ANYONE want an on-line journal the whole world could read? That's just crazy." (Sorry, Alli - as usual, you're ahead of your time) And now here I am almost 100 posts later. Anyway, I LOVE Big Mama's stories and can always count on a good daily laugh. And of course an education from her Friday Fashion Posts. Just where would I be today without Big Mama?

9. XM Radio. I spend a minimum of 8 hours a week commuting in my car. I repeat, a MINIMUM. Last year for Christmas, Jack bought me a satellite radio for my car. I can’t tell you how much entertainment that radio has provided me.

8. No. 145 Lavender Body Lotion – Yes, I am nominating my own lotion for my Top 10. It’s my list and I can do this. And yes, I’m bragging once again about this lotion. I developed it because I needed it and no one else has come up with anything better. Not only is it so natural you could eat it (but please don’t), it keeps me perfectly moisturized and smelling good. I have a tendency to get extremely dried out due to my hobby, which is bathing. According the the dictionary, a hobby is an activity or interest pursued outside one's regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure. Yep, this makes bathing my #1 hobby, which leads me to #7 on my list.

7. My tub. Yes, it’s the best and I can’t get enough of it. Some people have a dream car or dream house, I have a dream tub. It’s everything I ever wanted from a tub and more. I love it and it loves me. Thank you, tub, for bringing so much joy to my life.

6. Bob. He was our big surprise this year. He’s growing everyday and learning how to be a Longhorn, although it looks like he's not going to have long horns…or any horns.

5. Chuck & Dottie. They’re our neighbors and we just love them. They have been so good to us, always checking on the animals and the house when we’re away, keeping us encouraged about our lavender business, and always offering to help out with things around here. They’re fun and reliable and understanding. It’s so assuring having neighbors like them. They're also nuts about their animals, just like us.

4. Buckaroo – Our little boy, and our dog. One of them. We were told last spring that his 14 years could be coming to an end and to more or less prepare. We were just devastated. Six months later he’s doing great! We feel so fortunate. We love him so much, he’s our family, and he inspires us with what unconditional love is all about.

3. Our nieces and nephews. What can I say about these kids? They’re just terrific kids and I can’t imagine how lonely our lives would be without them. They have given us so much joy.

2. Josh Grobin’s rendition of I’ll Be Home For Christmas on his Noel CD. Jack bought this CD and we have just about worn it out this Christmas. Every song on it is just beautiful, but special kudo’s goes to Josh for his rendition of I’ll Be Home For Christmas. In case you’re not aware, this song was written by Walter Kent (made famous by Bing Crosby) when we were in the depths of World War II. In Josh Grobin’s recording, he includes recorded messages from some of our troops in Iraq. I have to tell you that it’s almost more than I can handle. Hearing their voices wishing us a Merry Christmas from Iraq just tugs at my heart. One of the recorded messages is from a mother who is wishing her 4-year-old daughter a Merry Christmas. If this is not the sacrifice of all sacrifices, I don’t know what is. I can't imagine being a mother and missing Christmas with your 4-year-old while defending the country in Iraq. GOD BLESS ALL THE MOTHERS living or stationed in Iraq & Afghanistan. This leads me to...

1. All Our Troops. Do I need to say more? To all of the them, I wish a Merry Christmas; and yes, even if you can’t be home for Christmas, you will be in my dreams…

And prayers.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Eve Rules

Do y’all open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?

Probably the two most important questions that come up for newly married couples are: Do we hang our toilet paper roll over or under? And, Will we open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?

Well y’all, when Jack and I married we were right-on regarding toilet paper – it definitely has to roll over. Unfortunately, we’re not quite on the same page with opening presents.

My family, who by the way celebrates Christmas THE RIGHT WAY, always opens on Christmas Eve. Our tradition is that Christmas Eve is the night everyone, children & adults, opens gifts from each other. Then the rest of the evening the children get all ready for Santa and his big ride. The kids are just giddy all night telling Santa stories and wondering when he’ll make his great landing at the house, if he will still come in the house if you don’t have a chimney, and if he’s going to eat the cookies that have been left for him.

When Christmas morning finally arrives, usually way too early for the adults, the house becomes total chaos with all the excitement about what Santa left under the tree. There’s simply no way adults could even attempt to open their gifts with all the craziness. Plus, they're exhausted because they stayed up playing cards (it was "Blitz" for my family) until 2:00 a.m. and now they're up with the kids at 5:00 a.m....

Jack’s family, however, is firm that there is NO opening of presents until Christmas Day. Being the good daughter-in-law that I am, I follow along with their traditions. Far be it from me to say anything about HOW WRONG they are. I’m just a good, go with the flow kind-of-girl, and always look forward to trying new things no matter HOW RIDICULOUS they are. I was properly raised and know to never tell anyone that their traditions ARE TOTALLY BACKWARDS. I mean, come on - I love Jack and his family and have nothing but complete respect for them and their traditions, even the ones THAT MAKE NO SENSE.

So, my question to you is – When do you open presents, Eve or Day?

And just for grins, over or under?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Lights of Johnson City

First of all, I want to say thanks to those of you that left comments after my last post, which helped ease the embarrassment that I'm still suffering from - and the trauma. It's nice to know that we're all a little too human sometimes...

And for your viewing pleasure, I wanted to share some pictures with you from downtown Johnson City, Texas, home of President Lyndon Johnson. We're a thriving metropolis of 1,000 people, but millions of lights.

This is an old historic house, now a business just across the square.

This is a shot of the grounds around PEC, the Pedernales Electric Co-op. This picture doesn't do it justice; the lights wrapped in the gnarly branches of these old Live Oaks is just stunning.

This is the courthouse, and as luck would have it the lights were on in the building when I just happened to have my camera with me. I'll have to swing back by when the lights on the inside are not on. The entire courthouse is covered in lights - It's just beautiful!

This is another shot of the grounds at PEC. You have to walk in it to really appreciate it. For those of you in the area, it's sure worth a trip. Santa also makes a stop here on Friday & Saturday nights ...
I'll get some more good shots for you later. I'm going to go have a cup of hot cocoa and be all Christmas-y. I would also wrap presents if I had any to wrap ...
Looks like I'll be shopping on Christmas Eve - AGAIN.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I'm a country dork, but come to think of it, I was a city dork, too...

I love living at Hummingbird Farms for many reasons, but one of the main reasons is because it provides me my wide-open spaces that I just have to have. And I’m completely serious when I say HAVE TO HAVE. I am, you see, extremely claustrophobic. And by claustrophobic, I don’t mean that being in small spaces or crowds is a bit displeasing to me. I’m telling you that I completely wig out, as in find me a corner so I can get in a fetal position and suck my thumb, kind of wigged-outedness.

I just love that I’m telling my inner secrets and insecurities on the World Wide Web.

Anyway y’all, last night I had a conniption fit in an elevator. Sometimes I wonder why I ever leave the farm… As soon as I pull out of my gate everyday I think to myself, “who else will be subjected to my all out dorkness today?”

I could write a book on all my most embarrassing moments. And most of the time, my most embarrassing moments have had to do with making a fool of myself due to my phobia of elevators and other small or crowded spaces. I don’t remember when I didn’t have this problem phobia. My mother thinks my claustrophobia occurred when I was 3 years old when I fell out of a swing and through the air and did a belly-flop on the backyard lawn. Darn those belly-flops!

As a result of my cannon-ball jump minus the pool, I managed to bite through my tongue. That’s right y’all, I bit right through it, which led to the need for some stitches in my tongue. I guess my parents didn’t feel a forked tongue would be appropriate for their darling angel.

While at the emergency room attempting to be stitched up, I apparently wouldn’t lie still, because – well, I was 3. And I assume that the doctors got tired of trying to rationally explain to me what they needed to do, so they just wrapped me up in a sheet instead.

You know, it was the era of children should be seen and not heard…

So there I laid (or lied?) on a cold metal table wrapped up like a human burrito with my mouth pried open and tongue pulled out with those stainless steel tong things.

Perhaps my mother is right about this being the culprit of the claustrophobia thing. And maybe for the reason I’ve actually taken scissors to sweaters because I couldn’t get out of them quick enough …

Anyway, back to last night. I had this very important business dinner meeting to attend. Let me put it to you this way, it was important enough of a meeting to include some highly profiled men and women, not to mention a few senators, congressmen, and a hodgepodge of CEO’s and the like….

And me.

And yes, I did say a little prayer on my drive in to please not let me expose anyone there to another one of my most embarrassing moments. I begged and pleaded to not let lettuce hang from my front tooth, to not say anything stupid, and to please, please not tee-tee in my pants if I laughed too hard …

Well, I forgot to ask not to have to ride in an elevator; and so it was inevitable – I had to ride in an elevator. Yes, I tried to take the stairs but was told the exit doors were all locked. Why do they do that?

So I get in the elevator and people began pouring in. They kept coming in. The doors attempted to close several times, but someone’s arm kept popping in to open the doors yet again. I was standing next to my boss’ boss and my heart was beating out of my chest. I’m in the very back of this elevator and I blurt out, “I don’t think I can do this.” A very nice sophisticated lady on the other side of me says, “oh honey it’s fine, just breath.” She gave me this most pitiful look, so I guess I must have been turning red and had sweat beads dripping from my forehead.

She looked at me again and said, “Honey, IT’S OKAY, we’ll be out in a second.”

This elevator is so full that the alarm, beeper thing is beeping. I’m in an all out freak-out, gonna-have-a-humdinger-conniption-fit-right-this-very-second-mode. I am literally busting from the seams. Then my arm did this strange reflex thing and shot up in the air as if to declare my stand or ask for permission to speak or something, and I yelled, “I gotta get out of here!”

Then it was silence. I think everyone was so shocked that anyone could be so undignified in an elevator full of very dignified people.

And then the doors opened. And I couldn’t get out of there quick enough! Oh, I’m so embarrassed! I had to apologize to my boss’ boss for being so spastic and making such a fool of myself.

Why is it that things like this have to happen when I’m trying to be all smart and sophisticated and stuff?

Now I really don’t know why I just told this story. It was either to talk about how I truly need the calming effects of lavender, or about how much I love my space out here and how the city seems to be crowding me out more and more each time I visit.

And this is coming from someone that JUST HAD to be a city girl for 20 years.

As much as I couldn’t imagine not living in the city then, I can’t imagine not living at Hummingbird Farms now …

Monday, December 10, 2007

I'll Be Home For Christmas & Then I'll Check Myself Into Therapy

I'm Back! Sorry for my MIAedness. It's a busy time here at Hummingbird Farms. I sure can relate to Santa's little elves right now - working around the clock day and night checking off those lists and knowing who's been naughty or nice. We were temporarily out of lotion for bit, but finally got our new bottles silk screened and filled and have been processing orders like elves gone mad ever since.

I've also been busy visiting with my sister who is here for a quick visit and to do some Christmas shopping. She still lives in West Texas and is just as cracked as me. We're real proud of that. It must be that dry desert air we grew up in - I think it must dry out your brain cells or something.

Speaking of being half cracked, she told me about a dream she had last night involving a cracked egg. She dreamt that she had all these chickens. I'm sure it had something to do with feeling like she was visiting a zoo rather than us. Anyway, she said these chickens were laying the most beautiful little eggs. One egg was all cracked, and as she carefully picked up the egg and looked ever so carefully through the cracks she could see not one, but two little baby chicks. Not only that, but as she looked even deeper, she even saw 2 little bunnies in that egg standing next to a red and white striped car. And to make it even better, those little bunnies were wearing blue and white cheerleader outfits.

Just thought I would share that with y'all.

I'm now going to go drag myself to bed to dream of lollipops and leaping lizards or something ...

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Price of Paradise

This morning Jack and I were drinking our coffee and talking about all the things we needed to get done today. My kitty Pooh was taking a nap in my lap, my dog Lefty was asleep on the floor next to my chair, and our cockatiel was in her cage yakking about a mile a minute. I'm sorry that I can't tell you our bird's name - I do refer to her as My Sunshine Girl or Little L, but I can't discuss her name anymore due to the weirdos out there. Just in case you want to know more about weirdos that seem to have a thing for Little L, you can read about it here. But, before reading, I must post this disclaimer:


* The content of this post may be disturbing to small children or anyone that is normal. If reading this post, please have small children leave the room. If you are normal, please proceed with caution.

Okay, back to my new post for today. As I said, Jack and I were sitting in the morning room with animals amongst us when we both realized how loud Lefty was snoring and Pooh was purring. Even Little L's chirping seemed extraordinarily loud. It was then that we realized our electricity was out. It's amazing how quiet a house becomes (and how loud sleeping animals become) when the electricity is out. The refrigerator isn't running, the heat isn't humming, the washer's not thumping ...

We couldn't figure out why the electricity was out - I guess there must have been a breeze outside. You see, there is a price to pay for living in paradise. If it's breezy you lose your electricity. If it's icy you lose your satellite. If it's raining you lose your phone lines and you get to take mud baths.

But, you know what? That's okay, because the rest of the time I get to have this.

And this.

And this.

And don't forget about this.

And I settle down every evening to this.

And we get to see this.

And I often wake up to this.

And relax with this.

And got to develop this.

Oh - And I get to have this for a roommate.

And drink coffee and laugh with him, and love on all our animals together. It's great having a roommate that is as crazy about animals as you are ...
And that can fix a tractor.

So see - the price of paradise is pretty darn cheap...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, maybe a foot, but definitely not a spoon…

Last week I was at the WalBall, that would be Walmart for most of you, but I call it the WalBall.

I don’t know why, I just do.

I call lots of things by other names because I get some sort of weird thrill from this. I know it’s a genetic thing because my father never calls anyone (or anything) by his or her real name. He has a nickname for everyone and sometimes it’s not the most endearing of nicknames if you know what I mean. This is a cruel thing to do to a child growing up in a small town. I was often confused with what was one’s real name or my dad’s self appointed name. I learned the hard way.

Just ask Gut Bucket.

Anyway, back to the WalBall. I realize that most Americans must enjoy shopping at the WalBall, being that it is the largest employer and corporation in the world. I mean, come on y’all – they didn’t just become this without any merit.

I, however, am not one that contributed to their high-ranking status because I do not enjoy shopping at the WalBall ONE BIT. For me, going to the WalBall is kind of like going to the dentist. I do it because I have to, not because I want to. I would much rather go to a hardware store if I need hardware, or a clothing store if I need clothes, or a grocery store if I need groceries. Wandering around 15 acres of concrete not knowing where to find anything, or anyone to ask, is just not enjoyable to me.

Now give me 15 acres of Tarjay and it’s a different story.

I just don’t feel the love at the WalBall. And last week I found myself forced to feel unloved and wander about their acreage. And since I was going to have to go on the WalBall scavenger hunt, I decided to go ahead and scavenge for a couple of other things I needed. Okay, maybe it was about 50 things…

Somehow the WalBall just sucked me in.

One of the things I needed was some silver polish. PLEASE, if anyone out there in blogland is reading this and knows what I’m talking about will you please let me know?
I’m yearning for a sense of peace and relief that you know what silver polish is, because NO ONE at the WalBall knew what it was.

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. At least the first 2 employees, whom I estimate were under the age of 24, didn’t know what I was talking about (or the 3 customers that couldn’t figure out why I was asking them where anything was in the first place). Finally, the third employee whom was over the age of 50 was able to help me. But this is what I find concerning:

Have we become a society that doesn’t know how to polish silver, or even more so, what silver polish is?

The first 2 employees, both girls, didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. They both thought I was looking for something to clean my jewelry with. I explained to both of them that I wanted to polish my silver, as in silverware, not my jewelry, and they both gave me this look like I must be nuts.

So this is what I want to rant about and the purpose of this whole WalBall story: Have we become so accustomed to instant this, disposable that, and drive thru this, that we’ve forgotten about utensils for a holiday meal?

Is polishing silver a dying art?

Now don’t get me confused with some kind of hoity toity chick trying to be all fancy and stuff. I have a busy life and I’m all for conveniences that can make my life easier. I do, however, appreciate a nice dinner table and I really LOVE my silver. My mother gave it to me, and it’s the same pattern that my grandmother, my great aunt, my aunt, and some of my cousins have. I cherish it and use it often, not just for holidays. I think silver, crystal, and china should be used and enjoyed regularly – not just displayed or used once or twice a year.

But, my real concern is what I fear: That young girls growing up today aren’t growing up to appreciate this. Or worse, even understand this.

Is this lack of silver polish knowledge an actual symbol of what we’ve become?

Okay y’all - have I gotten myself all worked up over nothing, or is this something that concerns you, too? And let’s face it, sometimes I feel better when I can blame someone. Ordinarily I just blame Jack, but this time it may not actually be his fault. So is there anyone else to blame? Can we blame anyone?

Maybe the WalBall, or even McDog’s? Or us???

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving at Hummingbird Farms

Hi there! Whew.... What a week we had. A great time indeed in the near finished dining room. Before the family arrived, this is what it looked like.

Pardon the dark picture. One of these days I'll perfect my picture taking expertise...

Miss High Falutin' helps her mother with her famous sweet potatoes. Yes, Miss High Falutin' has a band aid on her chin. You should hear her tell you the story about the traumatic event that led to this near-fatal injury. When she removed the band aid I do believe I saw a small pinkish colored dot, about the size of a grape nut on her chin. I have no doubt the injury was life-threatening...

This is my 8 year old niece that is very proud of her new outfit. She just turned 8 two weeks ago. She informed us all that she is now practically a teenager ...

We finally sat down for dinner and made ourselves miserable. These are my two dark-headed little sisters sitting on the right side of the table. Okay, go ahead and say it, I know you're wondering:
Yes, I'm related to them.
Yes, I've asked myself the same question, but I know I am indeed related to them because I have my father's snout and nubs - I mean, nose and short legs.
And yes, I'm naturally blond.

And a good time was had by all!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Twas the night after Thanksgiving and all through the kitchen
Was the smell of left-overs
And holiday fixins.

When what to my wondering eyes did appear?
But a near finished dining room
And eight, no ten, dining room chairs!

I jumped to my feet to begin taking pictures
But to my dismay I was so full, I was just so lethargic.

I couldn’t believe when I glanced in the mirror
Is that really me?
It is, oh the horror!

I decided to settle in for a long winters nap
After all, what better way to ignore all the facts?

As I tossed and turned in my bed
I had these thoughts running through my head

What would happen if I went on a diet?
You know, what’s the harm?
I should at least try it.

And then I sat up and my thoughts became darker
Is it possible for my rear to get any larger?

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Bird's-eye View of Thanksgiving

I'm getting the dining room closer to being ready for Thanksgiving. In the meantime, Jack and our Sunshine Girl are practicing for how they plan to spend the holiday.

That would be participating in the All American Sport of Spectatorball via the big screen TV. It's a great sport. After all, it's one in which you can nap while playing and then rewind so you don't miss a thing.

The DVR is, after all, the best invention since toilet paper.

On another note, I want to share with you where I will spend Saturday after Thanksgiving. If you live in the Hill Country/Austin area, come on out to Fall Creek Vineyards for Christmas at Fall Creek. You will find lots of special finds that will allow you to scratch off a whole lot from your Christmas shopping list. And more importantly, it will get you out of the house and away from that pumpkin pie ...


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I'm going to serve Thanksgiving dinner in the bathroom

We're hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year. This could be a problem, being that we're STILL under construction. I'm actually beginning to get used to my life under construction, being that it's been almost 3 years now.

Yes, 3 years.

I really don't think I will know how to act when I can actually sit in a seat without having to dust it off first. The thought of being able to walk around in my own house in bare feet seems like a pipe dream...

I've mentioned before how all the construction mess came to be, you can read more about it here. But, let me sum up one more time that it all started because of this table.

I bought this table 4 years ago. I just had to have it. The picture of the table is from the store where I bought it.

Later this week I'm going to take a picture of the table in my new dining room. It makes me kind of nervous! Our dining room is 95% finished, and our master bath is 90% finished. The rest of the house is, well - not finished. Not finished at all.

So, I'm figuring for Thanksgiving we can just alternate between the dining room and the bathroom. After all, John Wayne & his entire posse can fit in my tub.

Seriously, what do you do with guests in your home when you are still under construction? For me it's a no-brainer, being that my 2 favorite hobbies are eating and bathing. I'm perfectly fine having only the dining room and bathroom close to being finished.

I'll eat, bathe, eat, bathe, eat, bathe....

My dilemma is what to do with my guests????