Monday, December 29, 2014

Farmhouse Seasons: Highlights from 2014



January is traditionally a time of beginnings, but you know me: I do everything out of order. When the year kicked off, I ended a few projects on my beloved 1990s Georgian, including the kitchen.






We also finished the English style potting shed. I had imagined filling the shed with tools and a zinc potting table; I'd imagined decorating it for spring, summer, autumn, and winter, all the months of our lives. Little did I know what 2014 would bring:
big changes in attitude along with tiny changes in latitude.




After surviving the Polar Vortex, the short, dark days of February inspired me to make a comforting tart for winter weary cooks.


The winds of March blew in an emergency dessert.


Thanks to the Novel Bakers, Beatrix Potter Week  arrived in April, just in time for Easter. 


The sunlit skies of May encouraged me to shake off the winter doldrums and savor moments In and Out of the Garden.



The long days of June went straight to my head. Watery breezes moved through the garden, stirring up the tang of herbs and the smell of fresh cut grass. I put on an apron and hunkered in the flower beds, yanking weeds until my cheeks were flushed. When I couldn't get hotter--or happier--I reached for a glass of ice cold Minty Watermelon Lemonade.


In July, I started each morning by watering the flowers, the heat pushing hard against my shoulders. It was a sweet time. Vegetables spilled out of the raised beds, bees hummed in the grocery-store lavender, and I cooked up a storm. I also launched a new feature on the blog, a weekly house tour, and the series kicked off with the transformation of a 60s pre-fab cabin into a stunning farmhouse.
Winter had kept me indoors, but the dog days of August were just as restrictive. In some ways they were worse than the grim, brittle cold. Late summer mornings were filled with scalding heat, spiders in the hydrangeas, and other unmentionables. I sipped iced tea and hoped my air conditioner wouldn't break. Me, I was feeling pretty shattered.
Charles Dickens knew what he was talking about in A Tale of Two Cities: 
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
Everything around me was filled with dualities. I was disgustingly healthy, but everyone else was ill, humans and animals. I baked and baked. I ate a lot, too. When that didn't help, I pulled out my last trick: I wallowed in decorating porn. It worked. And, because I'm a "more is more" kind of gal, I indulged in a wild thought: do foolproof white paint colors exist? Not that it mattered, but still, it helped.

Then it was September, still hot as blazes, but I could feel a change in the air, a slight shift in the light. It was the perfect time for a picnic.


The first frost arrived in October, and I took our sweaters out of the cedar closet. The days were shorter now, but the light was different, full of music. It was time to think ahead to winter, potting herbs and a bit of lavender ... time to warm up with tartan and plaid.


November painted the garden with earthy browns, challenging me to decorate with weeds.


December moved at the speed of light. I just can't believe that it has come and gone.
Or how many calories I ate.


Soon I will move to a 70s ranchburger on a hilltop.




 No potting shed. But the old barn has possibilities.

 Ready or not, it's time to dream another dream.
A time for endings. A time for trembly beginnings.
One thing I know for sure: when one door closes, a window flies open.




My dear friends, thanks for visiting me in 2014.You warmed my heart during the polar blast, made me smile, brought sublime dishes to Foodie Friday, offered decorating advice, and always had a kind word. I hope 2015 brings you joy, good health, happiness, and friendship.






Shared at Metamorphosis Monday

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34 comments:

  1. Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2015 and all the best with your new move Michael:@)

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    1. Happy New Year, Lynn! Thanks for contributing your wonderful recipes to Foodie Friday in 2014 (and all the other years, too).

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  2. Oh Michael Lee, your photos from the last year are just beautiful! I'm telling you, you and Mary should each make calendars for people to buy!
    Happy New Year blessings to you as you begin 2015. xo

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    1. Kitty, I've enjoyed visiting with you and seeing the wonderful dishes you cook up each week. Happy 2015!

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  3. You have such a lovely home! Thank you for sharing your world, it's inspiring :)

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  4. I think that barn has fabulous possibilities! I adore it and the rafters!

    Don't laugh, but I am going to convert part of my garage for a flower arranging, storage area with a potting shed nod.

    I was also thinking about something that happened every time we moved from one home to the next, particularly a home we had that we thought was our forever home. Each time we fixed up something that had potential other people failed to see until after we had fixed it, it was as if the house came to life (much as a lady having a makeover), and someone got to live out their dream in the house. We sold to people that have been in those homes for years and years. There's a lot of satisfaction in that.

    The Georgian has been given new life, and you gave the new owners the gift of your talent and taste. I am believing it is going to come back to you in spades! That is my prayer for you in this upcoming year.

    You are one of the sweetest, most generous bloggers I know, and a lot of us are hoping good things for you, the good doctor, the pupsters, and Bandwith as well as the Ranchburger or is that Ranchberger? Either way, I wish you all the best and the Lord's abundant blessings.

    xoxoxo

    Sheila

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    1. True wisdom, Sheila. And thank you SO much for your prayer. I agree completely--the barn has potential. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with your garage. If you go to the blog a quiet life, you can see what Jain did with part of her garage. Great ideas. Happy New Year to you and your DH!!

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  5. Hi Michael,
    Thanks for sharing this beautiful post and wonderful words. I love to look back on the year and reflect on what a blessed life I have. Thanks for the ticket to happiness. I will use it to the best of my ability. LOL. Thanks again for being you.
    Joyously,
    Betty @ My Cozy Corner

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    1. Thank you for visiting me in 2014 and for writing such uplifting comments! Happy New Year, Betty!

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  6. May 2015 be a year of contentment, peace, and joy!
    Blessings,
    Cindy

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    1. Happy 2015 to you, too, Cindy! Thanks for all of your decorating advice in 2014. It was much appreciated!

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  7. A nice walk through the year with you! I loved your Georgian, perhaps because i missed mine. I am now in my own ranch...and do like it. I love the ease of one level living as this femme d'un certain age does not to hike three staircases from the basement up. I am anticipating your lovely new house witth it's updates, etc that you show us. Be strong...as you are a role model for many of us! Happy new years to you and yours.
    Sheila

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    1. Sheila, I've enjoyed getting to know you this year. I hope you have a splendid 2015!

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  8. Michael, what a lovely recap! Here's wishing you many blessings in 2015!

    Patricia @ ButterYum

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    1. I have enjoyed your recipes, Patricia, and I'm looking forward to discovering the wonders you produce in 2015!

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  9. Happy New Year to you my Dear friend..from my mountain to yours hugs Gloria

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    1. What a delight to see you, Gloria! Happy 2015!!

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  10. words of wisdom and life Michael Lee, thank you for the inspirational hope for the New Year and changes it will bring~
    Jenna

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    1. It's been a pleasure to get to know you in 2015. I've enjoyed your monthly "Bucket List!" Happy New Year, Jenna!

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  11. Michael, I am trying to catch up with your happenings....I so love your home and that kitchen that many of us can only dream of...your beyond beautiful property and then I read that you are making changes....I hope you find joy in your new journey...and wish you much luck with it....My wishes to you and your family for a very happy and most of all healthy New Year.

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    1. Shirley, I wanted to thank you for giving design advice over the years with the Georgian. It meant a lot to me. Happy New Year!

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  12. Michael Lee, Thanks so much for your tickets of admission this holiday season! I so enjoy gift of your words and the stories you tell here accompanied by your beautiful photos and on the printed page. Your sense of humor always brings a smile to my face. Wishing you all the best and decorating bliss in 2015.♥

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    1. Mary, I have so enjoyed baking with you in 2014, exploring your magical spot by the lake, playing with Chloe and Gracie, watching the seasons change in your potting shed, trying your recipes, and savoring your tablescapes. Happy 2015!!

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  13. Michael Lee, I have visited but not left many comments as I have failed miserably in keeping up with blogs in 2014. I am trying to remedy that in 2015. You are such a HUGE source of inspiration; whether it be decorating, tables, recipes or the wisdom of your words. I wish you ALL the best in your new home. I sure know how very hard it is to move on. I am still trying to get used to this new space, but it is home now. XOXO, Pinky

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  14. I wish the very best for you in all of your new journeys for 2015. Your blog has been a favorite read of mine, although I rarely left a comment due to time , but know that your blog is well read and well loved. Happy New Year!

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    1. Lala, how sweet of you to say so--you made my day. Happy New Year to you, too.

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  15. What a beautiful year in review, Michael Lee. Your photos are stunning and you always are an inspiration to me.
    May this next year be a wonderful one as you embark on a new journey with your new home. We will all have fun going on the journey with you. Blessings to you!

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  16. What? Your moving again? Wow. I love your Georgian and I know you will work wonders on the next home. Thanks for joining my party several times last year. Happy New Year!

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  17. Michael Lee.......

    A house is nothing more than wood and nails, its the love you bring thru the doors that make it home....so no matter where you hang your hat, it will be a glorious home! and I for one, can't wait to see this beauty done! I'm giddy just over the kitchen! Please hurry!
    Have a healthy and love-filled new Year.....

    Lois

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    1. So true, Lois. Thanks for your sweet comment, and I wish you all the best in 2015.

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