About onmorterfarm

I am a graphic designer, writer, photographer and wanna-be farmer! I’ve found myself living on a wonderful farm in beautiful Northwest Arkansas with a load of animals and one hot, sexy guy I call Dr. Ted! We’ve always got a project going or an amazing meal planned, and I’m glad you’ve joined us on our journey through this blessed life we have!

Garden 2017 Begins!

Garden 2017 2I’m so ready for Spring, even though I didn’t get my snow again this winter.  Oh, I know!  Everyone else got GOBS of snow, and it missed us every time!  So today, we put that all behind us and start preparing GARDEN 2017 at Morter Farm.  Usually we wait until St. Patrick’s Day to put in the potatoes, but not this year!

Garden 2017We’ve been watching videos on YouTube, learning new ways to plant for bigger yields and LESS WEEDS!  Also, the no-till method of gardening.  So, Farmer Ted knifed in some gypsum and then spread manure across the top of the first half and raked it smooth.  He’ll do the same with the other half this weekend.

Garden 2017 3Izabella (the Labrador) absolutely LOVES helping with any project.  She also loves potatoes, and steals them regularly from the pantry.  She found the “mother load” here in the garden, and before I realized it we had some blank spots in the rows!   Oh well, perfection in a garden is a unicorn anyway!

How do I love thee . . .

onmorterfarmmylocketEveryone who knows me knows how much I LOVE history.  And, nothing says romance more than the Victorian era of history. It was a time of love for innovation, craftsmanship, and the arts. Arguably, one of the most respected poets of the Victorian era was Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Her works are just full of tender and delicate – but also strong and deep – thought. Apparently she drew from her own sufferings – the untimely death of her brother, her life-long problem with illness, and her estrangement from her father made her the champion of the suffering and oppressed wherever she found them. So you have a little perspective in relation to time, she lived from 1806 to 1861. Her most famous work is Sonnets from the Portuguese, which is a collection of love sonnets. It is thought that the title was meant to shroud some of the personal nature of the poems by implying they were a translation of an older work– but they were really a thinly disguised history of her own love story with poet Robert Browning.

I have a heart-shaped, silver locket, which Ted bought for me from an antique store in England some years ago, and it has the most famous line from this sonnet engraved on the back.  On the inside of the locket is a picture of a man wearing a military uniform, and it looks like it was taken around 1900 or so.  On the opposite side of the locket from the picture is a lock of his hair.

Now let me just tell you, the energy of love in this locket has transcended the years. When I wear it, it becomes so warm, you could use it to warm your hands. I know that sounds weird, and it is.

So today, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I hope you’ll put a little romance into your heart by remembering the words of Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

I love thee to the level of everyday’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.

I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;

I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

Preparing for V-Day!

onmorterfarmI fondly remember when Valentine’s Day meant we decorated a brown lunch sack with crepe paper squares pressed over the head of a pencil and glued in clusters to form hearts or words or whatever.  We’d hang our amazing creations on the fronts of our little desks and wait for everyone in the classroom to go around and deposit their Valentines into the bags.  What fun!  So also back in my day, the Valentine’s looked like the picture above. I ordered a whole slew of these vintage gems on eBay some time ago, and they are so great to photograph all together like this!

I’ve never stopped loving receiving Valentines.  So, I’ve taken to making my own each year and sending them to my parents, the kids, grandkids and other special people in my life. This year, I’ve been really into watercolors, so that’s how I created my cards.

onmorterfarm2 Here’s a sample of one of the designs.  I did four different ones and then decorated the envelopes, too.  Because . . . who doesn’t want to see a very special envelope decorated and addressed just for them, sitting inside their mailbox?!

onmorterfarm3And then of course I bought LOVE stamps, too.  Who wants a flag stamp on their Valentine?

I have found the real joy in Valentine’s Day is showing your peeps what they mean to you by taking the time to create something special for them.  And that’s what’s been going on in my art loft at Morter Farm!  Do creative today!

Contemplating Happiness


I’ve been wondering a lot lately about what separates happy people from unhappy people. And, I don’t think it’s the bad things happening to unhappy people that makes them unhappy. Likewise, I don’t think it’s the good things happening to happy people that makes them happy.

And, maybe you know this already – I probably did – but I am really taking time to think about it lately. Unhappy people seem to constantly look for things to support their unhappiness. And let me tell you; there is an unlimited amount of things you can look back on and say this should not have happened if you want to continue to be unhappy. It’s all in how you choose to see your life experiences. Forgive your past and save your life. So true!  Because when you believe that everything happens for you instead of to you, in order to bring you to a higher understanding of your purpose in life, then you ultimately can’t be unhappy with anything that has happened!

Now, some things are more difficult to deal with than others for sure. The loss of a child, for instance, is very hard to come to terms with. Someone who we have known since she was a little girl recently lost her 2 ½ year-old son when he drowned in their pool. Horrific for sure.   Unimaginable. And, after a time of grief has passed, if she is a happy person she will find a way – by faith – to be happy again. She can use her experience to contribute to the universal energy in a positive way, or she can choose to be unhappy for the rest of her life. She can choose.

I used to think there was something wrong with me that I could muster up happiness even in what should’ve been my darkest times. But you know? I love being happy! I seek out ways to be happy. And, the older I get the more I realize I can’t change people who are unhappy – I can’t make them happy no matter how much I want that for them!  I then choose to be around them if I feel I won’t be letting go of my own happiness in order to do it. And, I don’t feel guilty about that choice – well most of the time I don’t! I am human and sometimes I have to talk with myself a bit! If something keeps coming to my mind and I’m feeling guilty because I’m not doing what is normally socially acceptable – what I quote “should” be doing. I stop and take a look at how doing this thing would affect my happiness. Now, I haven’t always done this! This has come with age and experience. I look at the situation and analyze it for not if I “should” do something, but if it’s going to make me feel happy to do it.  If it’s not going to make me feel happy, then I make the choice to say “enough now” and go on with my life.

Because at the end, if you were asked, “Did you love your life?” You have to be able to answer “Yes!” not “Yes, but . . . ” or “No, because . . . ” The only thing that works for me is Yes! I love my life!





Going Back to School

Crayon pic copy

I was at Target the other day, and they were busily preparing their shelves for “Back to School.”  Wow, that sure seemed to come around quickly, and I don’t even have kids going back to school!  They are all done with that – well they think they are anyway.

You know, even after all these years, I kind of get excited about “Back to School” time. I often wish I were part of the group doing that. A history class here and there. A creative writing class, maybe. Heck, what about an all-new major! That would be really fun!

I’ve done some online classes, even YouTube and iTunes U. I really feel like these take more discipline than the brick and mortar variety even. Lately, I’ve found myself inundated with work and so have been neglecting my education. That’s not good. That ol’ “life gets in the way” thing is just lack of motivation to get out of a rut. We have the power to choose! Don’t forget that!

Because education is what helps us grow! If we aren’t reading books and articles, going to classes or listening to/watching classes electronically, we aren’t learning!

So here’s what I’m going to do this week. I am going to commit myself to an all-new challenge, and that is to go back to school. And, by that I mean that each week, I complete some sort of class. Some weeks it could all be online. Some weeks it could be a book about something new to me – a study in something. Some weeks it could be a live seminar for a couple of days. The point is, each week I take the necessary steps to BE EDUCATED! Will you join me?

And you know, back to school means we get to go to Target or Staples or somewhere like that to get school supplies! Yay!!!! New notebooks, pens, whatever you need to support and excite you in this educational endeavor! It’s the first action step! Then, do your research for what you want to take classes in. What have you always wanted to learn about? Make your dream list in the front of your new notebook with your new pens!

This is really going to be fun – and it makes it even more fun when I have fellow students who are FOR ME in this challenge! I’ll keep you posted on what I’m learning!

At the Conclusion of the 3-Day Weekend

Demo DaySo, this is how the kitchen looks now at the CONCLUSION of the 3-day Memorial Day weekend.  This cabinet thing takes a LOT longer than you think when you are doing it all yourself!  It was kind of like camping . . . no water, no ice . . . well, except for the little bar sink on the island and the bag of ice in the freezer.  There was some cussing, but nothing like other projects we’ve tackled.

The next step?  Put the wood on the counter tops to provide the even, level surface preparing for the zinc sheets to arrive and put the sink back in.  We are also currently researching the best paint to use on the cabinets themselves.  I’ll keep you posted.

We completed exhausted Izabella during the process this weekend, but were so distracted we didn’t even tell her to get off the couch.

Izzy on the couch

The Kitchen Reno Begins in Earnest!

It seems like just yesterday that I proudly took these photos of our newly remodeled kitchen.  Turns out it was July of 2008!  Time once again to change things up.  Frankly, I’m surprised that I haven’t derailed earlier – my “design eye” changes only a little slower than the weather!  So, nearing the 8th anniversary of our last big renovation, we’re finally ready to bring our kitchen – our favorite room by far – into the new millennium!

My Pinterest board, Itchin’ For A New Kitchen, is full of ideas.  I’ve changed my mind on things many, many (OK, OK!) many times, but I’ve finally landed on “the look” I’m after.  Think Paris.  Think old.  Think blacks, wood, and old brass.  A far cry from this:IMG_0602.JPG

Oh, this was pretty . . . in a farmhouse way.  And, I LOVED it then!  After all, we live in a barn/farmhouse.  But, baby!  These times they are a changin’!  I want you to think black cabinets (simple, no “Z”s).  An old store counter for the island.  Old brass fixtures and the comfort of an old Paris Bistro.  Don’t worry if you are having trouble picturing it . . . it took me a long time to get it all put together in my head!

We cheated a bit and started on the pantry first.  So, really, the reno has been going on for a couple of weeks or so.  However, this long holiday weekend is completely devoted to cabinets.  Ted build the original ones, and he is building the new ones.  Basically we are just re-facing them.  Think dust.  Think cussing.  But they will be strong, REAL wood, and build with care and thought by him and him alone.  I love that.  So here is the pantry finished except for the floor being painted.

The PantryI

I didn’t have the foresight to take a picture of the before, but trust me, you aren’t missing a thing!  White wire shelving (like in closets) and just a LOT of junk.

Wish us luck!  I’ll keep you posted as to the progress!  Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend in your neck of the woods!

The Little Things I Love


I was walking around the front of the house and out to the chicken coop last evening and, as I passed the front door, I stepped back to really take a look at our home. And, I fell in love all over again. I love the dark gray color with the white trim. I love the old red front door. I love the tall red brick chimney. And, I love the bright new American flag that greets every visitor. I am so thankful to live in my dream home. I know it is my dream home because if I saw a picture in a magazine of what I stood there looking at last evening, I’d tear it out and put it in my dream book!

It’s all the little things I love. And, when I say I love something, my real vibration is thankfulness. I totally equate the two. They say that all these little things are the fibers that make up the tapestry of life, and even though I don’t wax all that poetic, I know it’s true.

As my journey continued yesterday, my thoughts were how much I love the new/old/reclaimed white picket fence that Ted put around our blackberry patch; how much I love my beautiful spring garden; and how much I love my little chicken girls and their beautiful brown and white eggs. And, how much I love my sweet donkeys and how they call to me when they see me walking up to their corral . . . probably just because they know I’m going to give them a treat!

And, those little “love” moments extended into this morning. Feeling the bunnies sweet breath on my fingers when I feed them their vitamin treats each morning. How much I love getting in my Ford Explorer, Dora, and driving her to work. How I love being in downtown Rogers and smelling tortillas frying in the mornings walking from my car to the office.

I could go on and on you know! I used to keep a journal of all the things I could think of that I loved in that moment that I sat down to write. But, really, I found the process to be way too contrived. Now I just think about these things as they come to my mind. I think about what I love about things that I’m seeing or experiencing.

You could try this, too, you know! Remember, it’s all the little things. I love the blue color of that fabric. Or, I love the smell of leather when I open my brief case. Or, I love when I look in the mailbox and my favorite magazine has arrived. Just take time to recognize the things you love. You’ll soon find that you have so many you might not have any time to think of other things . . . especially if the other things don’t serve you well! That could be a very good thing! (Oh, and I love Martha Stewart for turning me on to thinking about the “Good Things”!)