Friday, December 16, 2011

A Toast to Amy

During Amy J's annual fall visit, she and I share in an evening ritual of clinking our glasses of wine at 5 p.m. (wine provided by Amy, glasses provided by moi.) I used one of these beauties this year and Amy shared my love of their delicate crystal loveliness. A set of 8 were given to us by the Roths as a wedding gift and I've always loved them. Amy asked that I email her a photo of one so she could keep an eye out for others like it in her neck of the west coast woods. But, I opted to share the photo here instead, as this little 4 oz glass represents so very much for me: 11+ years of marriage, my dear family Diane and Randy Roth, a toast to Amy Jackson, and many-a-tasty beverage, be it wine, whiskey, egg nog, orange juice, or limoncello. Cheers!

Monday, December 12, 2011


I'm not sure exactly why, but there are a couple of people who really *really* want to see photos of my bathroom, even though it's not quite finished and is still looking rather boring to my eye. To protect their privacy, I won't use their real names. Knock yourselves out, Trista and Mamy!


This gorgeous hunk of horse is Killian, my latest project. He's a 3/4 Gypsy horse, and has been lovely to get going: light and forward, with a smooth, ground-covering stride.

Anatomy of a Christmas Tree Culling

One of the best things about living rural is that getting a Christmas tree involves hopping in the cranky old farm truck, driving a few miles to someone's family farm, cutting your tree in their back yard, and leaving 10 bucks under their door mat. We've had some snow this year, which always makes the experience more scenic, though the single digits on Saturday morning made for a great motivator - no dilly-dallying! Owain was very excited.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Video Complete!

Finally, a short video tour of the basement renovation at about 90% finished.
(Sorry the sound cuts out - hopefully that can get fixed!)

Friday, November 04, 2011

It might have to be another video tour...

I've been trying to figure out how to best share all the changes to the house, up & down, inside & out. It doesn't matter from what angle or what time of day I take photos, they just don't capture the details of change at E7982 Lostview Lane. That said, for all you waiting on photos, I have not forgotten you! I just might have to work on another video tour instead. That's fun, right?! And maybe by posting this here, it will hold me accountable for doing it. Tomorrow? Fingers crossed.

In the meantime, I'll share this photo taken on a lovely fall morning last week. Any ideas on what to do with the dozens (hundreds?) of pumpkins that remain post-autumn? The chickens can only eat so many...

We went down to Chicago for a weekend and stayed for Halloween - great to see Nathan, Barbara, Ivy and Sanne, stayed with our gracious friends, the Johnsons. And so fun to share Chicago with our boys. Even after living there for 6 years, that city will never cease to amaze me with its vastness. We even fit in a train ride downtown for a visit to the aquarium.

And without further ado - the costumes:

Spooky Tree and Clown Bat

(If I sent Christmas cards, this would be the one.)
Seasons greetings from the Newhouses!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Upstairs Update!

After a few marathon work weekends, we've finally been able to move into our new bedroom! Check out that VAST RED FLOOR! Jay and I are doing our best to not get lost in there. I had to take two pictures to get it all in ...

Wanting a purple living room and finding just the right shade of purple are two different things, I've discovered ...

And one day if we're very VERY good, Syd the Plumber will come and install our sink, toilet and bathtub!

Friday, October 21, 2011

construction begins again

Tom was stolen from us for the month of September - an expensive, environmental new age house with a water table at two feet took favor. But rejoice! Tom is back and soon Charis and I will move out of the middle open room into our large royal bedroom.

The upstairs bathroom floor - marble tile found by Charis for a steal.

The kitchen is underway too! So simple - it's amazing how the heat moves out into the house.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Blog To Do List

#1 Celebration of Ellis' 6th birthday and Great Grandma's 92nd birthday in September. WOW! Hooray! And let me throw in the obligatory "how is it possible that I have a 6 year old? Where has the time gone? They grow up so fast!" Ellis is a joy; he is a thinker, a player, a runner, a builder. He is active and thoughtful; joyful and pensive. He is a gentle and loving son, a best friend to his cousin Owain and a loving, teaching, tender brother to Phelan.

#2 Introduce the farm's newest member, our border collie, Nina (pronounced Neenah). Nina, officially a birthday present for Ellis, is Chris' dutiful trainee; smart, and a very quick learner. She'll be working with the sheep (see #3) as they increase in numbers and need more tending.

#3 We have sheep! Five Icelandics rode to the farm in the minivan in July. Chris is raising them for meat and wool. They are mellow and relatively easy to care for and fun to have around. (Leg O' just went to slaughter this weekend, so it'll be lamb for dinner this fall!)

Family hike and flower picking adventure.

Nina flies a kite.

Exercising the children.

The boys and friend Greta give Nina some love.

#4 We have entered another glorious time of year in Wisconsin with a full harvest and stunning weather. The past week we've had temps in the 70s and 80s and have been cleaning out the gardens, finding places to put the bumper crop of pumpkins, and most recently, pressing cider. Apples were more than abundant this year - 30 gallons pressed today and that hardly made a dent!

#5 The building project is not yet complete, but we are getting close! The addition is DONE. The basement is 90% DONE, the upstairs is being worked on at long last, and we anxiously await the tearing down of more walls in the kitchen for much needed light and air and openness. We are getting close. Full photo tour once we are nearer completion.

Finally, we continue to be blessed by friends and family who not only support us in the many projects and ideas we have cooking, but come on out to experience it themselves along side us. We love sharing our lives with you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Starring.... THE FARM!

So most of you know that I'm in the process of making a short film, to be shot mainly here at the farm and created by our community. This is an amazing location, and I can't believe I get to combine my passion for movies with my passion for this place. It pretty much blows my mind. If you haven't seen it yet, I'll go ahead and post the trailer so you can get a good look:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


When did the babies get so big?! Tears were shed that day, but not by the kindergarteners....

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Jay with Sue Orfield Band

I have become good friends with a great tenor saxophone player in town who spent some time in Seattle, but she moved back to the Chippewa Valley the same time I moved out here. We play in the Chippewa Valley Jazz Orchestra together and want to start a composer's collective. She has a great blues band and hired my horn section to play with her. A great night, and I hope more to come. Check us out on youtube:

Terry's Cloth:
Little Something Like This:
Fight The Good Fight:
Huffin and Puffin:
Ya Ya:
Why Me:
T Bone Shuffle:
Hang On:

Friday, August 19, 2011

August 18

Hops harvest!

Owain and Tom

Give Owain the camera!

August 16 redux

The pictures are out of chronology due to a need for tidiness - a great need in the midst of the chaos upstairs.

Our man Tom!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August 17

Three new windows and a giant bedroom. If I were a rich man living in a giant bedroom, la la la la la la la la la la. Plus we celebrated Owain's birthday: Boompa, Gaga, Kevin, Mimi, Talula and Don (Joni had to work) - all Owain's choice (plus of course Ellis and gang).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Let the upstairs begin

The upstairs is starting! Charis and I are chilling in the middle room - like the old days with the mattress on the ground. I tried to get her to share the same tooth brush again, but she would not go for that. Plus we enjoyed a nice visit from our good friend Charles: revs the creativity and helps us to enjoy the farm.