I fell off the wagon yesterday. The chicken wagon, that is. I went over to the hatchery and brought home twenty-five freshly hatched baby chicks. Again. Even though I swore I was done with chicks for the year. Don't ever believe me when I say that.
But look how cute they are...
So clean and fluffy, my son couldn't resist bringing them inside before they went out to the brooder box. Just look at that face. And that cute little egg tooth on the end of his beak. Now tell me you could resist that.
I think he's checking me out. I know Poppy's checking him out.
Whoops! I guess I made him mad. Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned the egg tooth. Don't worry Chicky, it'll be gone in a few days.
A nap makes everything better. Especially when you're snuggled up to Poppy.
But, don't nap too long. There's a party going on in the brooder box, and I hear there's a buffet! What a nice way to start your life on the homestead.
There comes a time every summer on the homestead that I like to call the "Mid-Summer Slump". The frenzy of spring chores is over, the summer garden has yet to produce, and the fall harvest is still a few weeks away. The sun blazes high and hot. The animals lounge lazily beneath the shade trees. I find myself wandering around the homestead doing nothing but piddly stuff, and my son spends every moment on the couch, glued to the iPad. That's when I know it's time to escape the heat. And this year we knew exactly where to escape to...
The icy cold trout waters of beautiful Bennett Spring State Park. We packed our bags, hopped in the car, wound our way through heart of the Ozarks, and reached the park just in time to meet my family for a picnic lunch. Here's a shot of the peaceful view we passed on the way through the park. Fly fishermen waist deep in the water, casting gracefully through the haze that hovered above the spring-fed river, and reeling in trout after glistening trout.
And here's a shot of my favorite fishermen, re-baiting their hooks for the twentieth time. Well, my dad didn't have to re-bait. He'd already caught his limit.
And then there's me, leisurely resting on the bank while wearing my new sunhat. I love it. The sunhat--I mean. But I do love sitting on the bank, too. Don't worry, I spent the entire next day in my fishing gear, endlessly wandering up and down the river, searching for a fishing hole where the fish were actually willing to bite the hook that I was constantly re-baiting. I know it's hard to believe, but I'm not actually a professional fisherman. See that fingertip in the lower left corner? That belongs to my photographer, William--my seven year-old son who took a break from untangling his fishing line to snap this photo.
Okay, back to the fishing. Oh, he got a bite! Reel, William, reel!
Hey, there's a muskrat swimming by!
And a deer pooping in the grass! Why does everything happen at once?!!
Are you laughing at me, cute guy in the fishing hat? Um, can I have your number? Oh that's right, it's the same as mine...
Okay, moving on...literally. Time to try our luck over at the Whistle Bridge. I just love following these paths along the river.
Wandering along with your fishing gear, casting your line in at whatever spot you come to that looks appealing. Some spots are very appealing. Irresistible, actually.
Especially when you can dip your toes in the frigid trout waters on a 98 degree day. I love Bennett Spring State Park. And the Mid-Summer Slump. And my new sunhat.
But I especially love seeing my son holding a stringer of trout...instead of the iPad.
Bug spray? Check. Long sleeved shirt? Check. Machete? Check. And off I went. No, I wasn't reenacting the jungle chase scene from Romancing the Stone. But I was headed into some wild territory--the wild blackberry patch at the edge of the field. What better way to spend a sultry summer evening when the husband's away? Don't answer that...but be prepared for some selfies.
Here's me at the start of the patch, which is really just a huge mass of overgrown brambles with berry-loaded canes dotted throughout. The best berries are always found at the center of the patch, and that's where the machete comes in...
...because this is what happens if I try to push my way through the thorny briars without hacking out a path. Believe me, it's impossible to get through a wild blackberry patch without getting tangled up in the briars. Sometimes I wonder if they don't purposely reach out and grab me...
Just to get back at me for all the nibbles I take along the way. But they're just so sweet and tasty, nobody could resist them.
Okay, Esther can. She came along with me on the walk to the patch, but she was absolutely not one bit interested in going in it. Look how happy she is just sitting in the field...
...and look how sweaty I am deep inside the jungle. It's so dense and thick in there, there's not a bit of air circulating. And when it's mid-July and 97 degrees in the shade, I sweat. So do you.
You won't believe what I found when I finally hacked my way out of the patch--a decades old wrecked cargo plane with a skeleton in the pilot's seat! Wait, my mistake. It's just my old barn. But I still felt like Joan Wilder--dripping wet, slinging my machete through the tangled vegetation, suddenly uncovering a long forgotten relic. But she had Micheal Douglas with her...
And I had somebody even better. Even if he was due for a bath!
Summer's in full swing here on the homestead--the flowers are blooming, the garden is growing, and the harvest will be here before I know it. So before I get buried in buckets of beans, tons of tomatoes, and pounds of potatoes, I wanted to put together a few snapshots and snippets to spotlight some of the areas you may not have seen yet. We've been working hard around here, and things are lookin' pretty good, if I do say so myself! So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the slideshow!
This is the view that greets me every morning as I step out my backdoor, and it never fails to perk me up. Gardens are ever-changing and each day brings something new. The vegetable garden is fast becoming a jungle due to the excess rain, but my new pallet fence is doing a great job keeping it contained. I love the white-washed boards against all the green foliage, and the double daylilies bordering the path that runs alongside it are spectacular.
The plantings around the greenhouse entrance are really taking shape. I'm really proud of the Limelight Hydrangea in the foreground (left); it's the only hydrangea I've ever persuaded to live in my garden. It bloomed just after this photo was taken, and the creamy-white, lime-green blooms are gorgeous!
Here's the view of the pond from beside the greenhouse. A few years ago we carved a picnic spot out of the wilderness down there and parked our little camper on the banks beneath the hickory tree. This year we built a swim platform, and I brought down some yard sale lounge chairs and a beach umbrella. Even though it's nothing fancy, we're really enjoying the area, and lately it's been our own private get-away. That's not too far away. But it feels like we're worlds away when we're there, and my-oh-my, it sure is great.
And lastly, here's a shot of my privet wall (center) that I'm so happy with. It's a Golden Vicary Privet hedge, to be exact, and it's filling out nicely even though it's only in its second growing season. It's been so energetic, we even had to shear it this year. The hedge runs parallel to the garden fence, and it acts as a privacy wall for me when I'm working in the garden. It also adds that bit of formality and structure that my free-spirited cottage garden was begging for. And since I got the shrubs for 10 cents apiece, I was more than happy to indulge!
When I was a child my summers were spent splashing through the creek with my siblings. It flowed through the valley just below our house, and it was a wonderful playground. Over a hundred years ago, Native Americans had built their encampments on the banks, and so the local settlers gave it the name Indian Creek. I remember hearing the stories my great grandmother told about those days. She could remember as a child seeing the squaws sitting cross-legged on the banks, braids hanging down their backs as they wove baskets from the reeds that grew along the stream. The children played by the waters edge while the men sat higher up the hill in the village, chiseling arrowheads. The village and it's people were long gone by the time I started playing in the flowing waters, but I spent many hours exploring the banks, searching for Indian treasure, and imagining what that life must have been like. It was an idyllic way to spend the summer, and now that I am a mother, I appreciate it even more. My son William is just about the age I was in those summer memories of mine, and I want him to experience summers like I did. We have a pond that sits below our house, just like the creek did at my childhood home. In the summer we like to go there when we feel the need to escape the real world. It occurred to me the other day that the pond has become for Will what the creek was for me--a summer playground. The abundant rainfall we've had has turned our little pond into a thriving ecosystem, complete with lush cattails, fat bullfrogs, birds nesting in the grass, and cool, clean water. Cleo the Egyptian goose has made it her home, and she spends her days gracefully gliding through the reeds. She follows right along with Will as he splashes around, explores the banks, and searches for treasure in the reeds. And when things quieten down, we sit on the banks and look across the field toward the holler where my great grandmother was raised. And as I tell him the stories that have been passed down in our family for generations, we lean back, close our eyes and let our imaginations run wild...
Some plants have funny names. Take Lamb's Ear, for instance. Funny name, but a neat plant. It's grown mainly for it's broad, woolly-soft, silvery leaves, but it also has this great ability to tolerate dry growing conditions. It doesn't seem to mind a bit of shade, either. Then in late spring it sends up stalks with clusters of furry buds interspersed with mini leaves that, if you look closely, really do look like lamb's ears. Soon little pink flowers burst forth and eventually turn into seed pods. It multiplies quickly after that, which makes it a really nice ground cover for those dry, shady areas where nothing much will grow. Here's the funny part about this plant: it can be used as toilet paper if you're ever lost in the woods. Good to know, right?! I like this plant for all those reasons, but I started growing it for another. It all started with a little black sheep. Doesn't it always? Here's the back story: I learned to spin wool into yarn in college, and once I married and settled into a home of my own, I decided to revisit that old hobby. So, being the farm animal addict that I am, instead of simply buying a spinning wheel and some pre-washed wool, I started by collecting sheep. The first one was a little black Shetland ram. He was soon joined by a couple of Shetland ewes, who in no time produced several Shetland lambs. They were sheared that spring so I could spin the wool on my spinning wheel. I didn't stop there, however. I love to incorporate themes on the homestead, and one day I happened across the markdown rack at a local garden center, and it was filled with Lamb's Ear. Just like that, another theme was born. I scored the entire rack of Lamb's Ear for $1.00!! As I was loading my purchase in the car, I was overwhelmed with visions of flower beds brimming with Lamb's Ear, a pasture full of cute little leaping lambs with ears, and me spinning to my heart's content in the midst of it all. See how it all goes together? Good. Maybe you could explain it to my husband...he's still trying to figure that one out.
It's Mulberry season on the homestead, so I've been obsessively shaking the tree for the last couple of weeks. Let me explain...Mulberries grow on trees, not bushes or plants. My mulberry tree is a Red Mulberry (even though the ripe berries are black), and it grows on a slope in my backyard. It fruits once a year mid-spring, and because the berries don't all ripen at once, the harvest lasts two or three weeks. Since the backyard is home to my chickens and is segmented by fences and pens, it's difficult to drag a ladder back there. It's near impossible to find level footing for the ladder, even if I manage to navigate it through all the obstacles. Thank goodness there's another way to harvest all those lusciously sweet berries. And it's actually the traditional way to do it--shake the tree and let them fall. All I do is spread a clean tarp on the slope below the branches, grab a limb, and give it a few strong tugs. I am rewarded with a shower of ripe berries raining down on the tarp--and me. All that's left is to gather the tarp and scoop the berries into the basket. The unripe berries will stay attached to the branches, so I give them a day or two to ripen before doing this again. On the off days when I don't shake the tree, I hand pick what few ripe berries I find as I pass under the branches during my morning stroll. When I return to the kitchen, I add them to my morning smoothie because they're brimming with nutrients, and they have a reputation for helping to prevent gray hair. Yes! Now do you see why I'm so obsessed? It's all about aging gracefully. And what a yummy way to do it!
A few summers ago I was at a local garden center checking out the markdown plants, and I came across some large but scrawny rose bushes marked $1.00 each. I really wasn't that fond roses then, having heard they had "high maintenance" reputation. I had long since decided they didn't belong in my carefree garden. However, $1.00 a plant was to hard to pass up, so I bought them all. I got them home and stuck them in some plastic tubs full of water because it was too hot and dry then to plant anything. I forgot about them for several weeks and when I finally remembered, I was surprised to find that they were still alive and seemingly quite happy. I decided then and there that they if they had withstood weeks of 100 degree heat living in a plastic storage tub with only an occasional sprinkle of rain to quench their thirst, they must be tougher than I thought. I promptly planted them in a place of honor--right next to the front porch. The following spring they leafed out early and I soon noticed buds forming on the canes. Then one morning I stepped out the door with coffee mug in hand and was greeted by the most spectacular rose blossoms I'd ever seen. The bushes were covered with glowing reddish-orange flowers with star-like centers of gold. The five single-layered petals were delicate in contrast to the vibrant coloring, and the canes arched gracefully to the ground under the weight of buds and blooms. Bees buzzed merrily around the bushes, and several hummingbirds zoomed by, air dancing from bloom to bloom. When I finally caught my breath, a question slowly formed in my mind: what kind of roses were these?! I tore myself away from their beauty and headed into the potting shed in search of an answer. I quickly grabbed the basket that I keep the plant name tags in and began rustling through it. After a few moments, I pulled out a dusty tag with a picture on it that was identical to what was blooming in my front yard. The name printed above the photo was "Austrian Copper Rose". That's all the info it gave me, so I went to my computer and did a quick search online. Turns out, Austrian Copper Roses are an heirloom variety species rose, having survived for centuries in the wild before finding their way into cultivation. They were introduced into society in the 1500's, and they are known to be the ancient ancestors of our modern-day ornamental roses. Wow! All this history growing right off my front porch. Who would have guessed it? Thank goodness I can't pass up a bargain, even if I don't think I need it. And though they only cost me $1.00 each, I now consider them priceless.
I have a problem with tomatoes. Each year I tell myself that I'm not going to plant as many as last year, and each year I end up planting more than the year before. I can't help myself. And I'm an heirloom girl, so I always plant plenty of Brandywine, Radiator Charlies Mortgage Lifter, Cherokee Purple, and anything else that has a pedigree. But there's this one little modern hybrid that's powerful enough to make me break my heirloom-only rule. It's a fantastic little beauty that goes by the name "Sunsugar". Oh my goodness, you haven't lived until you've popped one of these sweet treats in your mouth! They are so sweet, tangy, and bursting with flavor that I think they should change the name to "Sunburst". The color is irresistible, too--it's golden orange, and it glows so bright it makes you do a double take. The fruit grows in clusters of cherry tomato-sized morsels, just perfect for snacking as I go about my chores. One year I put my lounge chair in the garden right next to this plant. I'd sit there admiring my garden in the evenings, munching on a handful of these little fellows. Oh, the joys of summer! But this year I didn't have to wait until summer to have them. I cheated! I found full-sized plants at a local nursery with green tomatoes already on them. I immediately snapped up three and planted them as soon as I got home. Within a week or so I was snacking away, happy as a turtle in a tomato patch! You just can't beat homegrown tomatoes fresh from the vine. So if you're thinking of planting some this year, give Sunsugar a try. And if by some chance you don't like it, just send it my way...I can never get enough.
As I circled around the pond and started up the slope toward the woods, it suddenly occurred to me that it had been a while since I had explored our property. I paused for a moment to reflect on that, and I was reminded of how pretty our land is in springtime. I snapped this photo of the spring buttercups dusting the ankles of the trees, and then I pressed on with my task. I was actually there that day for two reasons: I was hunting for spring morels and also for a mysterious animal I'd spotted near the pond. I figured it was safe to go because the odds of my finding either one were pretty slim. Just to be cautious, I had called in some reinforcements in the form of my dad. He's always up for an adventure, and tracking a big black animal with a long tail and maybe finding some morels along the way was right up his alley. Who says there's nothing to do around here?! He drove right over and off we went across the field. After about an hour of searching, the only thing we found was that it's hard to look up and down at the same time. In hindsight we should have had one of us looking at the ground for the morels and one of us looking in the trees for the animal, but I didn't think of that until we got back. Oh well, it was a beautiful day for a walk in the woods even if we did come back empty handed. So I guess the morel of the story is: you don't always find what you're looking for, so take time to enjoy the scenery along the way!
I never thought I'd see the day that I would own a tiny dog. But wonders never cease, and when this little Yorkie was gifted to us, she stole our hearts the minute she was carried in the door. Being the garden fanatic that I am, I named her Poppy. I'll admit I had my doubts about how she would blend into our lifestyle, but after a few weeks of settling in, she seems to be thriving on the homestead. Poppy sleeps soundly in her crate each night, and greets me each morning with sleepy little sigh. Then she perks up, gobbles down her breakfast, and follows me outside as I go about my morning chores. Poppy's only two months old, so I have to help her navigate all the steps and gates along the route. I can tell she's eager to explore on her own, though. Poppy especially enjoys the chicken coop, and she's constantly trying to get inside the pig pen. The runner ducks seem to enjoy her visits, but the peafowl just turn up their noses--or beaks, I guess. They give me the brush-off too, though, so that's nothing new. The only animals who seem to have an issue with Poppy are our other dogs. They don't have much to do with her, even though she's desperate to make friends with them. I'm pretty sure they're just jealous. In the long run, I think everything is going to work out fine for Poppy here on the farm. She's already showing signs of being a garden lover, if nibbling on my Iris plants is any indication, anyway. Oh well, I still think we'll have great fun in the garden together. Now if I could just find a little-bitty garden hat for her...
Ever since I read the book, The Elements of Organic Gardening, by HRH The Prince of Wales, I have been fascinated with black runner ducks. If you are familiar with the book, you know that it chronicles Prince Charles' life on his organic estates in England and Scotland. The photos are stunning and the commentary is compelling--at least it is if you are a garden nut like me. One of the tactics The Prince has implemented is using runner ducks for pest patrol. Runner ducks differ from other ducks by their ability to stand upright and run instead of waddle. They roam throughout his elegantly manicured gardens and devour the pesky slugs that like to destroy his beautiful plants. I happen to have a slug problem on my little estate, and I loved his idea. When I was at Cackle Hatchery the other day, they brought out these two irresistible black runner duckies. Even though I hadn't intended to buy anything, I couldn't leave without them. So, I loaded them up, and they quacked all the way home. They've adjusted quite well, but I can tell they can't wait for some warm, humid weather to show up--and the slippery, slimy slugs that come with it!
Late spring is a beautiful time around our homestead. The tulips and daffodils are making their final encore, the iris' are in full bloom, the catmints are forming frothy purple mounds, and the lavender is reaching for the sky in preparation for it's stunning summer display. Everything's fresh and green, and has yet to overgrow it's space. This is my favorite time to wander throughout the property. I actually begin my morning routine this way. I step out the door in my garden clogs with a mug of coffee in hand, and I meander slowly throughout the yard. I pause here and there to admire a glorious bloom, compliment a healthy plant, or encourage a young seedling. And sniff a peony--there's nothing like the scent of a freshly unfurled peony blossom in the morning. It's moments like this that renew my mind, refresh my spirit, focus my thoughts. It's a peaceful time for me, a few moments of quiet before the day's chores and challenges roll my way. Oh, how I yearn for this! Especially the peonies...
Imagine that the wall behind this rustic feed bin has been white-washed, and deep green ivy is creeping slowly up it. Rhododendrons are in full bloom at the feet of the bin, and a six-foot tall metal chicken is perched on top. This was the quirky vision that flashed through my mind when I spotted this rusty old feed bin at an auction last summer. I had to have it for our old general store, but it was the next item up for bid, and I hadn't registered to bid yet. Luckily, a friend was close by and started bidding on it for me. To my relief, we won with a whopping bid of ten dollars! My husband looked at me like I'd lost my mind, and a few old farmers just shook their heads. They obviously didn't see my vision. There was quite the discussion on how it was going to fit in our small truck bed, but finally it was simply tipped it on it's side and scooted on in. I knew it would fit. Once strapped down, it looked more like a rocket than a feed bin, so we counted "3-2-1 blast-off" and shot down the road. We landed safely at our building, unloaded the bin, and placed it exactly where I had envisioned it. And that's as far as I've gotten. But I'm working on it. I already have the rhododendrons planted, and a climbing hydrangea too. Once the building gets white-washed, the ivy will sprout back, and then all that's left is finding a metal chicken. Hmm. This might be harder than I thought...
"Ooohh, I have to have that!", I exclaimed. My husband glanced my way, rolled his eyes, and went back to picking through the junk that surrounded us. We were knee deep in debris inside an old barn that we'd been allowed to salvage through. I held up my prize and promptly sneezed. The dust whooshed off the 1980s era wooden cassette tape box in my hands, and I gazed at it and pondered the possibilities. I knew it would be perfect for something, so despite my husband's skepticism, I laid it on our take home pile. Several months later, when it was time to start planning the garden, I decided to go through my leftover seed packets. Finding them, however was another story. I had a habit of cramming them in oddly random spots, and what I could find looked a bit worse for wear. Surely there was a better way to store them. I spread the sorry looking packets on the table and contemplated the situation. Suddenly, a vision of the cassette box flashed through my mind, and I knew exactly what to do. I immediately dug it out, cleaned it up, and sprayed it down with peacock blue paint. Then I stuck the packets in the slots and sat back to survey my work. I smiled proudly and decided I had created the best seed organizer ever. Now every year in late winter I pull out my handy-dandy seed box, and I dream about what I'm going to plant. Or I just stare at the stash. Either way, It makes me happy.
The rotted floorboards crumbled in my hands, the pieces falling through the hole we had created, past the now exposed support beam that was holding up the floor, and into the darkness of the basement below. My husband and I were working on our renovation project, an old general store building, and had decided to tackle tearing out the water damaged areas of the floor. It was getting messy. I reached through the gaping hole in what was left of the floor to scoop off the debris that had piled up on the support beam. I grabbed a handful of splinters and started to toss them on down, but something caught my eye. It looked like old paper, and the handwriting on it, though faded, was beautiful. I brought it closer for a better look, and in the dim light I read "We can't be too careful. Chew this up and swallow it if you have to." My heart jumped. All work was forgotten. I knelt there on the beam and slowly, carefully unfolded what turned out to be honest-to-goodness secret love letters. Dated 1913. From a young school teacher to an older man. She never mentions her name, or his either. But she doesn't hold back her adoration, her longing, and sometimes her frustration with him. She is feisty, funny, and flirty, and I see why he liked her. I have yet to piece together their story, but from what I've read so far, it's an epic one. And even though it happened over a hundred years ago, it's only beginning for me.
I peered out the window at the dusting of snow that had fallen overnight, and I wondered what the groundhog was seeing. It was Groundhog Day. And no matter what he decided, it looked like winter was sticking around. Granny always told me despite the weather, Groundhog Day is the day you plant your greens. Lettuce, spinach, chard, kale, arugula...all those cool weather leafy greens need to get their start while the snow is still flying. And they won't start themselves. So, I put on my thermals, slipped into my woolly boots, and headed off to the greenhouse. I sorted through my seed stash, scratched up the soil in my seed starter boxes, and sprinkled in the seeds. I topped them off with a light layer of soil then showered them with a bit of water. Then I dusted myself off and dashed back to the house to warm myself by the crackling fire in the wood stove. The groundhog might think spring was far away, but to me, it suddenly felt a little closer.
This loom originally belonged to my grandmother's aunts, who had it made in the late 1800's to replace the one they wore out. They were three spinster sisters who lived with their mother, my great-great grandmother, in a small house just across the holler and back up in the woods from where I now live. The three ladies cared for their mother, and lived off of their father's Civil War pension and the money earned from the woven goods made on this loom. I knew this loom as my Grandmother's loom. It was handed down to her from her aunts, and she wove on this loom for close to sixty years before passing it on to me. It now resides in it's new home, my weaving studio located upstairs in the old general store my husband is restoring for me in our small town. Soon it will be in use again, and to me, it truly is an HeirLoom like no other!
I stepped out the back door on my way to the hen house and shivered as the cold winter wind hit me. Just back from sunny Florida, I had yet to adjust to the frigid Missouri air. I hurried down the steps and into the coop, anxious to check the flock. As I turned the latch and peeked inside, they rushed to me, clucking and squawking as they came. "Ladies and gentleman, I'm back", I announced as I grabbed a scoop of feed and poured it into the feeder. And just like that, I was forgotten. The lure of fresh scratch won them over and they scurried to the feeder. I turned my attention to the nest box and what did I see? Among the colorful eggs nestled together in the straw-lined nest was a beautiful creamy white egg. "Yippee!", I hollered. "The Lavender Ladies are laying!" When I left for Florida my Lavender Orpingtons were teenagers, but while I was away, they turned into young ladies. Finally I could begin stage two of my Lavender Plan--to incubate and hatch the chicks so I could have lavender chickens roaming throughout the lavender patch. I gathered up my bounty and turned to my handsome Lavender rooster who was perched on the roost, surveying his flock. "Keep up the good work" I said, and headed for the door. I smiled as his musical response echoed behind me--it was without a doubt, the most smug "cock-a-doodle-doo" I've ever heard.
I've always been fascinated with this old building that sits silently on the corner in our sleepy little town. It was built just after the previous turn of the century, when the new railroad came roaring through town. The first floor was a general store, and upstairs was the masonic lodge. After the store closed in the mid 1900's, the building was used as a civic center, then an apartment building. It eventually fell into disrepair. I've worried about this building for a while. The years haven't been kind to it, but when I look at it I see something more than its' battered and broken shell. I see my great-grandmother in her long skirts swishing through the door, carrying her basket of eggs to trade for a new sewing needle. Or my great-great grandpa driving his team and wagon down the side alley, ready to load up his winter supplies. I see the life that once bustled around this building, and though it seems now to sit quietly, I think it wants to live again. And thanks to my husband, it will. He bought this building for me, and we are now in the midst of restoration. It may take some time to get it done, but eventually we will breathe new life into what is now my old building.