Redecorating the Farmhouse, part 3-vintage item revival

Our Lady of the Goats

It has been three years since we lost everything and left our farm.  Sure feels like a lifetime ago!  We had our family and a few things and started over.  I used to love the thrill of the hunt, the search for the usable off grid item.  I had no desire to purchase items for mere decoration, they needed to be usable.  I had every homesteading item you can think of before we left, and truth be told- material items or not- it has taken awhile to fully heal from loss.


So, for the first time, I was able to walk through our nearby antique stores without lamenting that “I used to have that!”  I simply kept my eye open for a bargain that I could use.  A relic to make my life simpler.  Not simpler in the modern theory of flipping a switch or hitting a button, but in the beautiful space in time that hand grinding coffee beans takes, or being mesmerized by the percolator.  Or curling up beneath an oil lamp with a delicious book.  Or knowing if the power went off, we’d be none the wiser as our clocks ticked, our lights shone, and our wood stove puffed out smoke into the cool air.  The tea kettle on, a dog at my feet, a cat on my lap.  Goodness, I know no better life than one like this.  The homestead revival.


Here are a few pieces to keep an eye out for that can go to work in your home.  They are pleasingly decorative in their own right, creating a lovely old fashioned coziness to the home, but are also useful and trusty.

Oil lamps are amazing, beautiful, useful, and fairly easy to come by.  You can, of course, buy all these things from a great homesteading catalog, like Lehman’s, but that takes some of the fun out of it!  Make sure the knob on the side works.  You can get wicks at Walmart.  They create the most lovely glow and help the body realize that bedtime is soon, as opposed to LED lights which awaken the body more.


The coffee grinder is imperative on a homestead!  This way you can purchase five pounds of whole beans at a time at a more affordable price (organic, fair trade please!).


There a few options for coffee.  I have long loved my French press.  It makes delicious coffee and you can keep it hot by placing it on a tea warmer with tea candle.  This percolator was in perfect condition at the antique store and the price couldn’t be beat.  There is something soothing about the gentle perking of coffee coming through the lid.  It could also go on a wood stove if the gas weren’t available.


In this picture we have a great tea kettle that goes from stove to wood stove.  A beautiful oil lamp.  A pile of library books and musical instruments.  There are many ways to keep oneself busy without screens!


I have three amazing clocks that I got from my friends, the Jensens’.  I have the lovely, old grandfather clock that shows up in many of my photos.  I have a fun cuckoo clock in the kitchen.  And I have this melodic, wind up clock.


Simple baskets and reusable bags (perhaps that you make out of old clothing) are great to take to the market, or to bring in the harvest for supper, or carry books back to the library.  Try with all your heart not to buy or bring home another new thing that is plastic.


Use less energy by unplugging cell phone chargers, anything that lights up, and shutting down your computer at night.  Turn off the television and go for a walk.


Being outdoors hits the reset button for our lives.  A nice walk at dusk, or a hike on the weekends, helps bring life back into focus.  Finding things to do that have a lower footprint inadvertently gives you things to do that are great for mental and physical health.  We may have more health care options in this day and age but I bet our fore bearers were actually healthier and happier because they had purpose, family, and kept busy.  They had the magical satisfaction of work well done, of having purpose, and the space of mind to relax during methodical tasks.


There are many ways that we can lessen our load and the one we have put on the planet.  Spend time with family, eat homegrown or local food, laugh, read, be.  And maybe read by oil lamp.

Farmgirl Time; the beauty of old clocks


I love old clocks.  I love that there are no obnoxious light up, LED, plugged in clocks messing with my natural rhythms and using up electricity.  Old clocks have a steady pulse to them, a heartbeat, an ongoing dance of time so long as you remember to wind them.


I have always loved clocks.  I always wanted a cuckoo clock.  We stayed with a couple in Kansas one weekend whose home was filled with old clocks.  I loved the top of the hour when they all sang and then returned to gentle ticking, methodical and calming.

clockKat’s father repaired and collected clocks.  Rod’s home is filled with them.  I am the grateful owner of three of them.  Kat gave me a cuckoo clock for my birthday many years ago and I still adore it.

The grandfather clock came from their son, Rodney’s home, I only needed to get it repaired, which I with great joy.  It has a lunar face set to the new and full moon cycles, effectively telling me when to make my medicines and when they are complete.


This old wind up alarm clock is quirky, loud, and fun.  It pleases me.  We never have the alarm on!

Even though farm time goes more with the seasons and natural progressions of the day, if I do want to know what time it is, all I have to do is listen and the clocks will tell me.  All in good time.


Cuckoo Clocks and Farmgirl Time


I adore cuckoo clocks.  They are most necessary for any homestead as they do not require electricity nor batteries (which are most elusive around here).  I only have to be there twice a day to pull the chains, bringing the heavy pine cones back to the top and the time keeps on.  It keeps impeccable time.  Not only is it a magical clock (no batteries or electricity), but it will come out and tell me what time it is.  If I am stuck in the kitchen canning, that darling little bird will signal the lunch bell, or quitting time.  It rustles me from sleep and its gentle ticking puts me to sleep.  I scarcely hear the cuckoos unless I am needing the time.

Cuckoo clocks were invented two hundred years ago and were created by farmers during the downtime of Winter when they were snowed in.

This beautiful clock was a gift to me from my dear friend, Kat.  Her father collected clocks and her own house is filled with fantastic old clocks.  This one is so special to me, and it completes my home and helps me keep time.

The other day I noticed a habit I have.  Not a particularly good one, but I guess the beginning of a new year is a fine time to see one’s downfalls.  I waste an awful lot of time!  I have told you already that I cannot sit still to save my life and must be busy all day.  However, I realize that in between tasks, or during tasks, I wander.  I will get a thought in my head and go check something else out.  I will be reading an article, then on the computer requesting books from the library before I even finish the article.  I wander around looking for lost things, and lament my disorganization.

So, I am going to focus my wanderings.  I made a list of things I could be doing instead of wandering or to do if I am terribly bored (there is just not as much to do in the Winter!).  I will complete tasks at hand and get the house organized so I can find things easily. Other things I can do: (Until I can do it naturally I have to plan my downtime, but I am sure as I get older I will relax more easily!)

  • Read a chapter of a good book…Get lost in Italy, or a farm, or in a cookbook
  • Read a magazine…A full article, please
  • Write blog ideas…I am brimming with them
  • Practice knitting…Practice makes perfect, I sure hope
  • Work on the baby blanket…The baby will be here in less than three months!
  • Sew a nice farm skirt…Go find great fabric!
  • Plant some seeds indoors…I need more lettuce
  • Choreograph a dance…Why wait until the last minute?
  • Watch dance films…Inspiration for the dance company
  • Yoga…My back will thank me
  • Take a walk…Birds are filling the trees like apartment buildings, the air is cool and fresh
  • Take a bath…See my own post about taking time to bathe
  • Sit on the swing…It is a fabulous outdoor swing hanging from an old Elm tree, great for daydreaming
  • Listen to a great CD…Like Andrea Bocelli
  • Pray…Be thankful for blessings, too
  • Make a fantastic dessert…It improves the marriage
  • Call a friend…Or Grandma, she would love a phone call

Balancing farmgirl duties, shop duties, and other work with play that creates raucous laughter and fun while balancing rest so that my mind and body can take a break and replenish are important for me to learn this year.  This year is the year of balance.  Even the cuckoo clock rests in between shifts.