Sunday, January 22, 2012

I Got a New Way to Walk (walk walk)

After many weeks of promising myself to join a gym and get fit this winter I finally followed through! It's only day three of the membership, so obviously not much to report on but I've been going faithfully with the intent of shedding a few pounds and chiseling some abs before heading to the BAHAMAS! in February.

I started out with a mild workout of two repetitions on a variety of weight machines for your arms, which I am feeling today. I am also using the treadmill to increase stamina for running. Today I walked/ran 4.5 miles on the treadmill, which is pretty good. I didn't push myself too much but I am hoping to be able to run 3 consecutive miles by the end of this week, but probably realistically at the end of two weeks.

I have a session with a personal trainer set up for Tuesday, will hopefully develop a good workout routine to meet some of my goals, ie: fab abs 2012.

I've been in somewhat of a slump the last couple of months... winter does that to me. Watching too much tv, visiting Facebook way too frequently, and eating a few too many chocolates. New habits to reincorporate in my lifestyle: read more! workout 3-4 times a week, write in this blog 1-2 times a week, and eat healthier.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Adventures at Cool Spring Farm

Rhode Island Red Rooster, "Fernando"
Monday evening I became the proud "mama" of 5 beautiful chickens. My awesome neighbor helped me collect them as I was totally unprepared for that adventure, and he was quite good at snagging them up. I brought home a rooster and his harem of 4 hens. Our home has a small backyard leading up to the marsh, and smack in the middle is an old rabbit hutch. Tanner worked diligently over the weekend to repair holes, put up a layer of hard cloth over the chicken wire, and he swept out the inside and filled it with fresh cedar shavings. Oh, and he created a nesting box out of an old nightstand I had. I brought the chickens home and again my neighbor helped out by assisting in the unloading, which was relatively easy. I thought they'd run crazy to the road, but they were already asleep and we just had to scoop them up and put them in their coop.

Chickens are really beautiful and I don’t think I ever realized it before. Tanner and I are going to have fun learning about our new friends. They've already laid over a half dozen eggs! Sometimes I forget that eggs are not perfectly white ovals tucked neatly in cartons of six or twelve. They’re rose colored, green, and brown and perfect with their imperfections.

I’m really excited about learning how to live more peacefully with the land and less dependently on corporate retailers. Homegrown vegetables taste a hundred times better than the genetically modified, hormone infused, shipped from far-away-lands produce we have adopted into our lifestyles. Obviously, homegrown fruits and veggies offer a wealth of nutritional perks along with their great flavors. And chickens? Well. Don’t get me started on corporate farms. I think a home grown meal is far more satisfying knowing it is the result of the work of my own hands.

Left to Right: Lola, Lucy, Bella, and Ginger

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wonder Woman Wednesday

Berthe Morisot was a French Impressionist from the mid-late 1800's. Despite her large name (the name "Berthe" always makes me think of a large southern woman), she received little recognition and few are even aware of her works. She was right there with the best: Monet, Cezanne, Degas, Renoir, all the big names everyone knows and loves. She was even married to the brother of Edouard Manet ~ alas, she was a woman and an impressionist painter at that, so she received even less attention than her male colleagues.

Her paintings include images from everyday life, especially pertaining to home life and motherhood. Several of her paintings are portraits of her daughter, Julie.

This is probably one of the more famous pieces, having made an appearance at both the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Art Institute of Chicago. It's titled "Woman at her Toilette" ~

Though somewhat unknown within pop-culture, this talented artists left an impression in the history of fine arts (get it? impression, cause she was an impressionist? ha ha ha).

Monday, February 14, 2011


Today, people drilled our well. And, we should have water Wednesday. That is, if the spring water fills in clear... I guess if the water is muddy there is another step, but I couldn't hear all the stuff over the loud equipment. Let's just hope the water is running clear and strong on Wednesday!

On another note, I'm done with AmeriCorps! Friday was my last day and it feels good to be done with that venture. While I learned a lot and had opportunity to network with a lot of people, I was very ready to finish my term with AmeriCorps. Now, I am working for CraftWorks full time from home. Which is wonderful!

Happy Valentines Day!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

As predicted, life on Cool Spring continues to lack in the dullness factor. This week, we discovered our well was only 20-feet deep and therefore, had run dry - hence the many mornings of waking to no water. Plans to begin drilling a new well were projected to start yesterday, though I see no evidence of drilling. We're clinging to the promises of running water by Wednesday, but we'll see.

For now, we are hauling five gallon buckets of water from the landowners outdoor spigot to flush toilets and wash dishes. We are utilizing the Patent House for showers (and any family member's home, when visited).

Despite the present inconvenience, I'm so in love with our new home. The old house never really felt like "home" - maybe because we entered it with short-term plans. We've occupied this home a grand total of two weeks and already feel like it's home. It's full of positive energy and plenty of light; it offers warmth and character. We're happy.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wonder Woman Wednesday

I thought it would be fun to start a weekly "themed" entry about women who inspire me.

The first person who comes to mind is my mom - she is my hero. My teacher, my comforter, my friend. I don't think my mom foresaw herself as being a mother of four and a homeschool teacher for 20+ years when she was my age. But, she's done a kickass job equipping her kiddos with skills to enter the real world - she's instilled a strong work ethic and encouraged us to offer our best in all we do. She's been there for every silly heartbreak, put band aids with a healing kiss on all our wounds, and sat through every single sports tournament, recital, and performance as our biggest fan. She's been chauffeur extraordinaire and top chef for decades.

I actually think my mom is cool, and not too many kids say that about their mothers. She's someone I would choose to hang out with on a Friday night. We have fun shopping, drinking coffee, and talking about everything and nothing at all.

Mom is first and foremost Joanne, a very talented individual from Queens, New York. A creative writer and hobbyist singer. A walking dictionary and motivated self-taught student of random, but useful facts. Perfect-hand-bag hunter and Zappos shopper. A devout Christian, loyal daughter, loving wife, and committed mother.

I hope one day I'm as awesome as my mom.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What's New

2011 is off to a great start -

On January 1, Tanner & I adopted a Redbone Coonhound Lab mix dog and we've named him Buddy. He is so sweet & loving! Even our cat, Charlie, has grown fond of his new brother. He thinks it's fun to bat Buddy's tail or play with his ears, it's really quite cute.

We've also recently moved out of our Mecklinburg Heights house into Mrs. Thornton's cozy cottage. Full of charm and history, our new home roots back to the 1880's when a freed slave, Susan B. Thornton and her husband Robert, purchased one acre of land for $1 from the Haines, a Quaker family who had inherited the land from their father.

Tanner and I became the lucky tenants of this home through employment with CraftWorks. Tanner is the land steward for the 81-acre nature preserve on Cool Spring Farm. He has developed a Good Neighbors invasive species land management program to involve neighboring properties in combating the problem of invasive plant species such as teasel and tree of heaven. Why combat these invasive plants? They pose a threat to the 18 rare and endangered plant species the land hosts. Invasive plants are choking out the native plants... just like those pesky stink bugs are choking our crops. But no one has developed a successful program to combat those guys...

Back to CraftWorks... in addition, Tanner is working with partners from NOAA, the USDA, and USGS to create a Future Scientists of America model for middle and high school students. Part of this initiative involves partnering with schools to work with students on planning and developing science fair projects.

I have been hired to assist in program development. I am working to recruit volunteers, build our Friends membership program, plan fund raisers, and develop programs and events to bring the community together at Cool Spring where the arts, craft, and science converge.

We have wonderful neighbors, the founder and president of CraftWorks at Cool Spring, and two D.C. natives who are working to renovate adjacent property where their emus, peacocks, cattles, horses, chickens, puppies, monkey, goat, and parrot all reside.

I predict life on 81-acres with a zoo of animals for neighbors, will never be dull.