Sunday, August 31, 2014

Now for a little shopping.....

As a devotee of retail therapy, I usually check out the local shopping opportunities wherever I am.  This is Gardner Village, a favorite shopping haunt in the Salt Lake City area. If you like vintage wares and furniture, country french, farmhouse chic, and country-style furnishings and decor, I recommend a visit.  You can also find a quilting supply store, kids' clothing stores, a spa and salon, a bakery, and (this caught my eye immediately) the Chocolate Covered Wagon.

The Gardner Mill, now a furniture store (CF Home Furniture and Design) and restaurant, started out as a flour mill that was established in the West Jordan area in the mid-nineteenth century by a Scottish immigrant named Archibald Gardner. The present owner restored the old mill and moved other historic buildings onto the property starting in the 1980s to create a village of shops. If you like looking at old historic buildings and structures, including things built by the pioneering settlers of the Salt Lake Valley area back in the 1900s, this is a great place to visit.

Old flour mill

This is just a few hours after my sunny, summer-day visit to Red Butte Garden (previous post), but as you can see, the next storm has arrived.  It started to rain just as we finished up and pulled out of the parking lot.

More old, weathered wood- one of the restored buildings.

Since I was flying home at the end of the week, I was limited with what I could buy (I had to walk by the larger pieces that tempted me).  Here are some things that I found at CF Home Furniture and Design.  Just one Halloween item.  With a closet full of cute little vintage witch figurines and dolls, ceramic jack-o-lanterns, metal spider-web candy caddies, scary black cats, and so on, I've had to get a grip on my Halloween habit and limit myself to one or two things each year.  With the exception of the little Halloween boy below, these items will likely be the inaugural decor pieces for the cabin (once it it finished-- I'm looking far ahead to the fun task of DECORATING).

Thursday, August 28, 2014

More sightseeing in SLC

I spent a couple hours wandering around Red Butte Garden between rainstorms.  The weather started out blazing hot at the beginning of the week, then a series of thunder storms rolled through-- which cooled everything off.  I was able to see the gardens at the perfect time before the next storm arrived when it was clear and sunny, and everything was washed and clean and all the colors popped and glowed.

I loved the herb garden.  Most herbs do very well in arid regions, as you can see in the next few photos.

Here is an example of the ubiquitous red sandstone pavers that can be seen everywhere in this part of the world.  We have plenty of this red rock down in the little canyon below where the cabin will be-- or we can drive on to BLM land and load up the pickup. It's remarkably easy to get rock for building and landscaping near our property.  As I pointed out in an earlier post, we have rocks of every size coming out of our ears on our property.  Which is both a curse (we still have heaps of large boulders to move) and a blessing-- we have more than enough rock material to use in landscaping, building, etc..  Unlike at home in California, where you can spend a small fortune just for one large boulder.  

All these beautiful greens contrast so nicely with the red...

One of many water features.....

More ideas for all the red rock that can be found near our property.

One of my favorite combinations in the garden-- blue-gray with bright lime green and chartreuse.  You can never miss with this combination.  This blue spruce (I believe that is what it is, couldn't find the tag)is the most perfect shade of blue-gray; even though it isn't strictly native to the area around our property, I may need to plant a few anyway.....

This guy was resting down along the Creekside Trail, tucked back under some Gambel's oak trees(Quercus gambelii) that grow along Red Butte Creek.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Our cabin project is foremost on our minds these days and traveling to other parts of Utah has given me even more ideas. I'm spending a week with family in Salt Lake City, which has no shortage of fabulous old houses and old historic buildings and landmarks-- all sources of inspiration that keeps my imagination humming along at full speed!  By the end of the first day I had already taken a ton of photos of old farm buildings; rusty, beat up vintage equipment and tools; weathered grainy wood; old barn lights (my current obsession- more on that later); tidy green vegetable gardens that make me want to rush to our property right now and plant a few peach trees and whatever flowers will grow at 7,000+ feet; and dozens of farm animals.  All of this will surely make its way into the design and decor of the cabin- one way or another.

I got up very early the first morning (too early, couldn't sleep-- ugh) and went for a walk with the camera and ended up exploring the Wheeler Historic Farm, which was within walking distance from my brother's house.   The Wheeler Historic Farm is a living history museum that was once a farm and dairy that had been established by a pioneer family in the mid-nineteenth century.

The museum is a working farm which means there are vegetable gardens as well as sheep, cows, turkeys, chickens, pigs, horses, goats, and rabbits in pens and corrals throughout and numerous ducks and geese waddling around looking for handouts or swimming in the farm's ponds and irrigation canals.

Ambling around trying to get some good photos in the early morning light, I was nearly run down by a large stampede of geese and ducks rushing to gobble up the pieces of bread being scattered by a woman who looked like she was a regular there.  Here they are milling around hoping for more goodies.

I went back later in the morning when it was much warmer to visit the farmers market and to get more photos.  This piggy was taking a cool bath in his (or her?) water trough to escape the intense mid-day heat.

The rabbits on the farm live in a little red house.  This one looked hot and worn out-- it's awfully hard to have a permanent fur coat when it's so hot.  

Here is one of the many irrigation canals that can be found throughout the Salt Lake City valley-- this one is providing water for the vegetable gardens.  

By mid-day the farmer's market was in full swing. Lots of vendors selling produce, bakery goodies, jewelry, pet tarantulas (!??), clothing, hand-made soap, food, pony rides….

These days my eye automatically goes to old buildings and structures, especially barns, out-buildings, fences, stables, and so on-- forever looking for inspiration for our cabin.  We would like to use salvaged wood for the floors and ceilings in the cabin (it will be fiber cement siding and shingles for the outside for ease of maintenance and low flammability).  Brian has been periodically looking through Craigslist and other online sources for old wood that has been salvaged from some tear-down and is for sale.  Usually the best deals are at least a couple states away where the delivery costs will be prohibitive, so we'll see…..

I had a lot of fun getting photos of the old ice house (unfortunately someone has been defacing the signs).

And had lots of fun messing around with different effects in Photoshop later  (with the help of my brother, who is an excellent photographer).    Nice sign below-- not sure what those things are at each end (wheels?).

I'm looking at barn lights old and new for the kitchen and possibly in other places in the cabin.  I can tell that my brother-- who is a little unfamiliar with the whole farmhouse-chic, re-purposed-junk craze that has so many in it's grip these days-- is a bit puzzled by my fascination with these old things.

Couldn't resist getting a photo of this old lantern-style sconce and including it here, even though this wasn't at Wheeler Historic Farm.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Heat and dust......and lots of rocks

We were so excited to get started at last! Our first order of business was to get water and power  (and TV and Internet) to the property; this involved digging a five-foot deep trench from the nearby highway along a 2,700-foot long dirt road to our property. I use the term ‘road’ loosely here since it was more of a goat track formed over the years by people repeatedly driving back and forth to access other nearby properties and the mountains and canyon area behind our property.  

We had to accomplish a lot in one week since that was all the time that my husband and I could take off from our jobs:  pick up the spool of communication wire (TV/Internet/phone) from Panguitch, a little town about one hundred miles away; dig two trenches, one for the pipe and communication wire and the other for the electrical; stake the location of the cabin and future main house; and, last but not least, meet with local building contractors to discuss, and hopefully obtain, quotes to build the cabin. 

It was a week filled with long, hot, dusty days, hard work, lots of little annoying flies (‘no see-ums’)--- and lots and lots of rocks, from the size of my foot to the size of my car.   The contractor that we hired to help dig the larger trench for the water dug up hundreds of medium and large boulders, which very soon lined both sides of our entry drive from our property to the highway.  With our time there so limited, we were only able to move a portion of them back to our property.  Our plan is to gradually get them all moved to our property—or give them to someone who needs some extra boulders (hah!, this part of Utah is one large pile of boulders). 

We worked from dawn to sundown, which was around 8:30 PM, and usually ate our dinner around 9 or 10 at night; very exhausting and tiring and dirty, but rewarding as well because we were able to accomplish everything we needed to, and we were doing it on our beautiful property! 

View of the sunset from our trailer-- lucky us! We get to camp on our property.

Placing and orienting our cabin and house on the property was easy because no matter where you looked, there was an amazing view:  Boulder Mountain to the south; the Henry Mountains and the tops of the Capitol Reef rock formations to the south and east; Thousand Lake Mountain to the north; and nearer rock formations and canyons to the west.  

My job was, in addition to running into nearby towns to get more fuel for the equipment, buy groceries, and buy tools and supplies, was to operate the small bobcat (a first for me!) that we rented to smooth and ‘finish’ the surface of our entry road after the trenches had been filled in again. 

As I struggled to learn how to run the bobcat (I’m happy to say my learning curve was steep—I was a fairly good equipment ‘operator’ at the end of the week) I would stop every once in a while and look around at the dusty green of the junipers and pinyon pines, the varying grays and gray-greens of the sagebrush and grasses, the red cliffs across the Fremont River valley, and the wide, blue, blue sky above, and think to myself that this was probably one of the best vacations I’d had in a long time.  I couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt this ‘in-the-moment’ and happy.

We have water!