Friday, April 29, 2016

Busy Town

Almost 11 years ago, we were so very lucky to land in the town we did.  I'll never forget riding around town looking at houses with our sweet, 3 year old Grace in the backseat.  We had been looking at lots and lots of towns and houses, and had found nothing we loved.  As we were exploring this town, we heard Grace's little voice pipe up from the backseat, "This looks like home."  At that moment we knew that this was where we were supposed to be.

Our town has never disappointed!  From Memorial Day parades, to wonderful friends and neighbors, to holiday tree lightings, we have, and will continue to, love our town!  Yesterday, was another example as to its wonderfulness.  Several years ago, a devoted town member decided to celebrate local shopkeepers, workers, caretakers and community volunteers.  She themed the morning after Richard Scarry's Busy, Busy Town and invited local nursery schools and kindergarteners up to town to meet all the people who make our town great.

The morning has taken on a life of its own and is a wonderful thing to see!  I was asked to help photograph the morning, and I took Harris with me as it was take your child to work day.  When Busy Town started he was already past kindergarten age, so I was so glad for him to go and see all the effort that went in to the morning.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Cross Country

(a portion of the trip)

For years and years, long before we even got the Airstream, we have dreamed and planned on taking a cross country trip with the children.  Finally, this is the year!

It's not ideal timing with having just purchased Frog's Hollow, selling our home and moving, but after some deliberation we decided that with high school and middle school starting there may never be an ideal time.  We are leaving the day after school gets out for Harris and will be gone for 9 weeks.

During our trip, we will visit 20 National Parks and dozens of states.  Our itinerary is very aggressive, and I'm not exactly sure when we will fit in laundry and grocery shopping, and we very well might discover that we cannot keep up such a pace, but we can adjust if need be since we will have our house with us!  Ideally, we could just wander around and pull in to a National Park at our leisure but, unfortunately, the parks fill up very, very quickly and that leaves very little room for spontaneity. Also, one would think that 9 weeks is a very long time, and it is, but this beautiful country of our is big and we've found we could easily spend another month on this trip!

It's hard to think of giving up our vegetable and flower gardens, pool time with friends, summer camps, etc. but I really think that this is a trip of a lifetime and will make a lasting impression on us as a family and on the children.  We can't wait to explore and adventure this summer!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Frogs at Frogs Hollow

There is so much in the works right now at Frogs Hollow, all of which I really need to photograph and document.  So much of it is going at a snails pace and it has been frustrating to me.  Patience is something I'm being taught over and over again, but I fear I'm not a good student.   However, I have made the time to go for some walks in the wood to observe what is blooming (I will get rid of that multi-flora invasive if it takes 20 years) and to take some peaceful time out.  The children have also been taking lots of walks down to the creek.  I've found, and they have reported, that there are lots and lots of frogs!  This makes us so happy to know that our farm is aptly named!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Braces Off

Grace got her braces off last week!  She didn't end up having them on very long (15 months), but she's very glad to have them off before this summer.  We think she looks great!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


The septic.  It was horrible and devastating to the land (and me), but oh so necessary.   Back when we had inspections on the house we were actually hoping that it would fail because this usually means that the seller has to pay to have it replaced, which is a significant cost and not something we wanted to have to pay for!  Fortunately, it failed in every aspect, but we had to wait until the ground was not frozen and the weather was cooperating to get it replaced.

I wish that our septic installer had prepared me for what would be happening to our land. Theoretically, I knew they were digging a hole but I never thought through all the steps and equipment that would be needed.  After seeing my face the first time I saw the mess, he explained that it was a lot like open heart surgery on land.  I little forewarning would have been appreciated!

The old septic was actually just a hole in the ground with a sheet of metal placed across it!  I was very glad to see that go.  There was also a grease trap thing next to the kitchen door and an extra tank underneath the back driveway.  Those also had to be taken out.

The new septic was placed rather far away in the farthest paddock, which is actually ideal because we won't see it nor have a septic mound.  However, it being this far away meant that they had to get all of the equipment there!  Thus, they had to build a dirt road for the trucks and equipment to drive on. Also, they had to take more trees out than anticipated and much of the black fencing down.

The rig driver said that he had never built a hole this large for a septic and honestly, I cannot imagine why we were required to put in such a large septic.  This system seems more appropriate for Highclere Castle, not Frog's Hollow.  I wish there was more scale to this picture, I wanted Harris to jump down in there but we didn't think he could get out or that it was safe!

One of the biggest issues with digging the hole was the tremendous amount of rock and shale that was present.  Once it was out of the hole, it seemed to expand and there was the issue of where to put it since it wasn't going back in the hole nor was it able to be trucked out.

Once the hole was dug, 54 truckloads of sand was brought in to fill the hole.  54.  The asphalt driveway was never meant to support that sort of weight and it quickly disintegrated.

The piping was laid down in the new septic field.  And the old piping by the house was dug up and replaced.

The old tank under the driveway also had to go, which in turn meant that the back yard was destroyed by the equipment.  Bryce had to remind me to breathe.

The operator of all the big equipment kept telling me over and over that he promised to do an amazing job regrading every area he touched.  I didn't believe him even for a second because I just didn't understand how it would ever, ever look good again.  However, I will be the first to say that he did indeed do an amazing job and while it will take a long while for grass to get rooted and started again, I think it will eventually look okay again.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Our Hallway

Our house is officially up on the market!  We have a lot going on in the next three months (everyone does it seems) and I'm having a bit of a hard time controlling anxiety, which is surprising since it's not something I've ever really dealt with.  I"m usually pretty good about rolling with the punches!  In addition to anxiety about all that is going on and that must get done, I've got a lot of emotions about selling this beloved house of ours.  It's been an amazing home for our family and it is the children's only home that they can really in truly remember.

One of the things that I will miss the most is our upstairs hallway.  Our house is a four square and our upstairs fits that description with a room in each corner.  It may be a small hallway, but it is mighty with a total of seven doorways!  What I particularly love about this floor plan is that I every time I walk upstairs I can see what the children are doing.  In order to get to our room I have to walk right by their rooms.  Even if I don't step in their rooms, I see them and can connect in ways that I cherish.  The amount of times that we've had a meeting in the hallway or I've heard footsteps in the middle of the night as they make their way to the bathroom is incalculable, and I will miss that like crazy.

Our new house is a rectangle instead of a square, and I worry that it will take more effort to go to their rooms.  I know that sounds crazy but as the children get older, I'm looking for ways to keep those easy connections.  I"m sure that we will find new ways to connect in a our new home, but for now I"m feeling nostalgic about this one.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Happy Birthday

Every day for the past week, I've meant to write a post about all the goings on but, every day, all those goings on keep me too busy!  However, I would be remiss if I didn't celebrate Bryce and his birthday!  Happy Birthday to the best guy I know!

Friday, April 8, 2016


Years ago, before children and while we lived in our sweet first home, Bryce gave me a Tiffany's valet key chain for Christmas.  I suspect that he wanted to give me something in that iconic blue box and the keychain was the only thing that we could come close to affording!  Fast forward to a summer day almost 20 years later and I lose my keys.  Of course, I assumed that they would turn up quickly but they didn't.  In fact, months and months went by with no sign of my keys.  Honestly, I wasn't too fussed about the keys, or even my car keys, but I was very sad to lose that key chain that I've been carrying around for so many years.

I investigated buying a new one but dismissed it pretty quickly due to the cost, and so I had all but given up...until last week, when at my doorstep, my keys showed up!  We were having work done in our lawn and the gentleman doing the work found my keys!  I can only assume that I got out of my car and, instead of going inside, I started puttering around the garden and left my keys in a completely inappropriate place!

Of course, the keys were pretty much ruined by the elements, but not my keychain!  It's in perfect working order and I love having it back!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


New posts or information about Frog's Hollow has been in short supply on this blog and that is because lots of unglamorous and unromantic work is going on behind the scenes.  One thing that is very important to us is that we take the time to get the bones of any projects that we do right.  As you know, any time a project is started it snowballs and one thing leads to another!  Here's a run down of what is happening at the Hollow....

*A new septic is being installed.  I was not prepared for the devastation that is happening to the land.

*A new driveway is being discussed.  There is a significant bump into the driveway and we are afraid that the Airstream's hitch would get hung up coming or going.  So this has to be leveled out.  Of course, that entails taking out a tree or two and figuring out what materials to use, keeping construction vehicles in mind.

*The barn doors need to be raised so that the Airstream can get cozy inside.

*We are talking to lots of professionals about whether to switch our boiler from oil to natural gas.  Everyone has opinion and everyone's is different.  Also?  Why is it so hard to get someone that really in truly knows their stuff?

*We are working with an architect to figure out where to add a mudroom (doesn't every farm need a mudroom), adding a hallway upstairs, and redoing the kitchen.  We also need to add a garage and this will change the driveway approach, which also means we are talking to and working with a landscape architect!

*We added a small washer and dryer to the guest cottage and this turned from a simple project into a complete mess.  Truly, we took a sweet and "done" cottage and tore it apart.  It's still not done, will post pictures when it is.

All that being said, I still cannot wait to move in (we can't move in till the septic is done).  I love this place more and more every day.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Mountain Hamburgers

Growing up, I remember a few "go to" recipes that were favorites of all of us ladies in the house (it was just my Mom, my sister and myself), one of those recipes was Mountain Hamburgers.  We got the recipe from Aunt Bevy, who wasn't actually an Aunt but a close family friend, who lived in the North Georgia mountains.  I can only assume that's where these burgers got their name!

This is not what you would call health food, or even close to it, but they are a good and easy dinner. We don't have them too often, but when we do everyone is happy!

Mountain Hamburgers

1 lb. ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
1 large chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon mustard

Brown ground beef, onion and salt and pepper.  Add remaining ingredients and cook until done.  Serve on toasted hamburger buns (I put mayo on my bun!).

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