Infographic: Feng Shui your home

This is really interesting — and very similar to the shape of our cottage. Just take the garage off the front and move it to the back (picture a backwards L), reverse the kitchen and living room, and you’ve pretty much got it! I’ll try some of these ideas and let you know how they work out.

Feng Shui, infographic, green lifestyle, sustainable design, green interiors, green design, eco interiors, green decor, interior design, Soothing Walls, Gryffin Media

Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise


If you come to visit us, pay close attention to the black triangular sign you see above. For those of you who aren’t familiar with a slab bridge, there’s one about a half mile from our house. Here’s the definition according to Merriam-Webster:

“a short-span bridge consisting of a reinforced-concrete slab resting on abutments”

From what the neighbors have told us, water covers the slab a few times a year; it’s happened twice since we bought the little farm but we haven’t seen it first-hand yet. Cripple Creek rises fast — really fast — especially when there are heavy rains in Cannon County to the east of us. The water runs through a wide field on the way to our road, and when it’s rolling it carries a lot of debris, including large trees, across the slab. This is a picture of a similar Tennessee bridge that’s been overtopped by heavy rains:


Scary! Our road is paved, but you get the idea. I took these photos the day after a recent slab closing so you can get an idea of how high the water is, even hours later. It’s normally pretty placid here, barely flowing at all.


You can tell from the debris line on the road that the water extends a good 10-15 feet beyond either end of the slab. This view is heading north from our place, on the way to the highway we take to get to civilization. The water flows from right to left — there are huge metal culverts underneath the concrete that you can’t see in this photo.Image

So, if you come to visit and that black triangular sign has morphed into the orange sign above, DON’T TRY TO CROSS THE BRIDGE! There are multiple signs on both sides of the slab, but be watchful, especially at night, if you’re out our way in rainy weather; it appears the sign-flipping is a voluntary thing that the folks who live closest to the signs are in charge of. If they’re not home when the creek rises, the signs may not get changed. Luckily there are several other only-slightly-less-convenient ways to get to us from the “back” side of our property that don’t entail risking your vehicle or your life. Call us and we’ll give you directions, or googlemap the alternate routes on your smartphone (thankfully, we have great 4G service in our neck of the woods), when the sky looks threatening!

Left behind

I’m amazed, and saddened, by the things people leave behind when they move. I hate — really hate — to move, but when I do, I leave the place spotless. As in, every cabinet is empty, every closet is empty, not even a cobweb stays when I go. I never knew how bad it was until my father-in-law took on a late life hobby/career known as house-flipping. When people move at the behest of an eviction notice, the “stuff” left in their wake is mind-boggling. Pianos, waterbeds, every as-seen-on-TV product known to man, electronics, clothes, tools, you name it and it’s abandoned. This conspicuous overconsumption must have contributed to losing their home — seems logical, doesn’t it?

Our little farm didn’t come to us via foreclosure. Instead, it was the product of an auction — and auctioneers don’t haul away the detritus left behind, folks! We became the proud owners of anything that didn’t sell, and/or that sold but wasn’t wanted by the buyers. Who in the world would buy something, then leave it behind, you say? These are usually the product of what’s known in the auction world as a “box lot”. You know, those cardboard boxes lined up on tables containing one thing you want, and ten that you don’t — lots of people leave those ten unwanted purchases behind for the new owners to clean up.

Our first major order of business was to get rid of all the unsold and/or unwanted things left in the cottage. It turned out the attic hadn’t been touched; we hired our niece and nephew to climb the rickety pulldown stairs and heave everything down. Croquet set missing a few important pieces, anyone? How about moldering old (fake) furs and suits of an indeterminate vintage?  Goodwill, here we come! Then it was on to the closets, and the laundry room, and the garage — stacks of old National Geographics, odds and ends dishware and kitchen gadgets, 15-year-old wall calendars and more. Add all that to the piles the auction attendees left behind and you’ve got several truckloads of junk to haul away before the real demolition can begin.

Did we find any treasure in all the trash? Nothing much; a couple of vintage posters, a drinking glass from an iconic local pizza parlor, two small Christmas ornaments that had fallen into the cracks in a closet, several bud vases with long-dried flowers still in them. But there was one very unique item:

Isn't it lovely?
Isn’t it lovely?

It’s a gorgeous piece of needlework in a homemade frame that’s about three feet square. The colors are interesting, and the peaceful forest scene is charming. It’s beautifully stitched (I did quite a bit of needlework back in my crafting days; enough to recognize quality work when I see it) on a slubby linen fabric.

2013-11-29 12.24.38
The fine yarn is in immaculate condition.
I've never seen anything like the tiny green netting that covers parts of the fabric to give the effect of shadows cast by taller trees.
I’ve never seen anything like the tiny green netting that covers parts of the fabric to give the effect of shadows cast by taller trees.

Some back story on our farm is in order here:  It was owned by a couple who had one child, a daughter, who was roughly my age. She was in college at the same time I was, and I knew her peripherally through 4-H events when we were both in high school in our neighboring counties. I didn’t know until we became interested in the property that she’d passed away; I saw a memorial bridge sign with her name on it when we went through one of the barns. I spoke with her mother about it on auction day, to let her know I’d been acquainted with her daughter and was so very sorry for her loss. She told me her girl was killed in a car accident not far from her home in Texas back in the early ’90’s; she’d married a man she met while she was away in veterinary school and moved there with him. This piece was crafted by the daughter, as evidenced by her initials on the last photo below. She finished it when we would have been juniors in college — she must have lived at home with her parents during her undergraduate days. It was used to give her room a measure of privacy from the adjacent sun porch. I don’t know why her mother left it behind, still covering the upper portion of the window in that small bedroom. Maybe the colors didn’t suit her new home, or she had too many other things to take with her. Whatever the reason, I’m glad she did. I’m going to reframe it and give it a special place in the cottage. I like to think the girl who stitched it with loving care, and a great deal of talent, 30-plus years ago would be pleased.

2013-11-29 12.29.21