Let me start off by saying one of my favorite things about the new house is: it has a barn!

As a teenager my parents' barn did not hold the same appeal. :) But this time around it's fun to explore what the previous owners left for us after 30 years of living here themselves. Tools and fastidiously organized bolts, nails, and screws. Gardening supplies, canning jars, tole painting pieces. Was it their kids or grandkids who left their handprints in the barn floor?

At this point I want to focus on renovating the house and designing the gardens so we don't plan on having any farm animals. So for now, Bert and my brother are planning to use the barn stalls for blacksmithing and axe throwing. (!?) 

For the grassy area toward the back of the property I was thinking about planting a meadow of native flowers but worry about blackberries taking over. I've always had very small areas to garden so there wasn't much to "design". Here the canvas is so...big! I'm not sure where to begin. So I've been studying my favorite gardeners (here, here and here) and can't wait until the seed catalogs start coming out this winter.

Other than my complete obsession with my future garden, we're keeping busy with house projects left and right. Repairing the siding and painting the outside of the house Repose Gray was top on the list. It's doing a lot to make the home feel more like ours. And I'm loving spending time in the kitchen. I think the saying that the kitchen is the heart of the home is so true and the vibe of this kitchen just makes me happy. It's dated and a bit run down but it's bright and when the afternoon sun shines in the kitchen window......

Have you cooked anything remarkable lately? We tried this chicken recipe (although I used bone-in breasts rather than thighs) and it was..... good. Better than good, I think, but intense. Like BBQ sauce and Thai peanut sauce mixed together. If you make it, let me know what you think. I also tried to make bagels and they were lumpy but delicious. And I've been making lots of soups lately. Do you have a favorite soup recipe? I feel like I make the same ones over and over. 
We're also making our autumn favorites: the best apple cake on the planet and crockpot applesauce.
As far as the shop goes, I have a lot of new products out. I can't believe we're already gearing up for the holiday shopping season already- wasn't it just springtime? Now as the weather changes I'm feeling inspired to paint cozy kitchen scenes and episodes of farm life so who knows, maybe you'll spot a big red barn in my next painting.
Well, I guess that's it for this latest life update. I'm not planning on waiting an entire year to write another post like last time!
Take good care, friends.