Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Really Good, Really Big, Really Cheap Book Sale

Guess what greeted us early this morning.

Nothing like an empty pig pen and a gaping fence to get you running to the woods with food in hand.The pigs had just let themselves out for a little jaunt and early morning chat with the next door horses.

I lured them back in and fixed the fences while Matt held the donkey (she's not a lot of help when it comes to fastening fences). The pigs expressed their gratitude by pressing wed, muddy noses into my leg. I had time only to sponge clean my pants before rushing off to work, and I keep discovering dirt in the creases of my pants. This farm life, seriously.

A couple weeks ago, The Greenville Literacy Society held it's annual Really Good, Really Big, Really Cheap Booksale.

This sale has been going on for fourteen years, but we had never been. I don't really know why. Probably in part because we both hate crowds. The older I get the more I just really like my own living room. With the two of us in it.

Also, I wasn't sure what to expect. I had heard these books sold for $1 each. Were these ratty, falling-apart copies that no one wanted? Would they be completely picked over by the time we hauled ourselves out of bed and showed up? 

But we are on the hunt for books on gardening and farming, so we got up, drove the thirty minutes to "the big town," to see what it was all about.

From the get-go we knew we were in over our heads.  Everyone - I mean literally everyone - was carrying some kind of conveyance into the sale. Matt and I were strolling down the sidewalk hand in hand, and we started to notice that the twenty or so people walking in with us were carrying canvas bags, boxes, little carts, and backpacks. Some people wore backpacks and carried a box. Others had carts stuffed with canvas bags. An older man had a bag slung over the handle of his walker.

"Are they going to even let us in without a bag?" I whispered frantically to Matt.

"I don't know," he said. "Good thing you have a big purse."

Inside, we started to understand the need for the bags. Row after row after row (after row after row) of books ranging in price from $0.50 to $5.00 were crammed on to tables. Some were brand new, and the used copies were so gently used it was almost impossible to tell. The tables full of books went so far back into the convention hall that you couldn't even see the end of the display from the front. 

We had come in the wrong end, so we pushed our way through all the fiction browsers, and started to load up in the home and garden section.

All things considered, the event was very well organized, and as long as we didn't try for a spot at the 50 cent table, the crowds weren't too bad either.

For $26 we got 22 books. Not a bad haul. And thankfully they anticipated newbs like us and had a stack of bags we could pick from. Phew.

No need for a cart when you have a Matt

Here is some of what we left with:

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See // A coworker recently told me this was her favorite book, so I picked it up. I don't actually know much about Chinese culture, so I'm excited to read something outside my usual realm of food writing, memoirs, and modern woman's lit.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion // I had read that this was a book every writer should read, so it's been on my mind to read it for a while. Of course, when I got home there was already copy on my shelf, so I'll be gifting a copy to someone soon.

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi // I've been curious about this one ever since it came out to mixed reviews in 2008. This is my chance to review it for myself, I guess.

The Amateur Marriage and A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler // By this point, I was just following people around and picking up anything they pointed out to their friends and said "oh this one was good!" The woman next to me picked these up and said "Anne Tyler is great if you like southern fiction." Do I like southern fiction? I'm about to find out.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden // I loved this book, but lost my copy years ago. Thrilled to be able to replace it for $1.

The Poinsonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver // I've been enjoying Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, so I thought I'd give her fiction a whirl. There is so much you can learn about someone by the way they write fiction.

Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova // If you have not read Still Alice by Lisa Genova, go buy it and read it immediately. It is still one of my favorite things I've ever read. Lisa Genova is a neuroscience and she writes fiction about people suffering from different neurological diseases. Still Alice is about a professor with early onset Alzheimer's disease. The way the author makes you feel the spiral is absolutely mesmerizing. I'm sure she handles Huntington's disease in Inside the O'Briens deals with the same deftness and empathy.

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis // Confession time: I never saw the movie Blind Side. But I'm a huge sucker for memoirs, and after all the positive reviews that movie got, I had to pick this up.

With Bold Knife and Fork by MFK Fischer // Food writing. MFK Fischer. Hardcover. One dollar. Done and done.

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt // Another I've wanted to read for a while.

John Adams by Frank McCullough // We liked the miniseries so much we watched a some of the episodes a couple times. The chance of me actually slogging through this - maybe 5%. But I'm enthusiastic and whoever inherits all our stuff one day will get a copy of what is undoubtedly a really good book.

We did manage to find this cool book on edible landscapes. I am particularly fond of any book with diagrams.

I looks like Amazon has a new edition of this book, which is piquing my interest. It would certainly be interesting to see what has changed between now and the original 1982 print date.

So there you have it. Our haul from the book sale. I'll let you know if any of the books we bought are any good. Have to finish Anna Karenina first, though!

Do you buy used books? What's your favorite way to find new stuff to read? Tell us all about it!

**this post has affiliated links**

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What We're Digging 8.23.16


reading // The Resilient Farm and Homestead by Ben Falk. This one has been tough sledding. It reads more like a textbook than other books I've read on farming, but the author has a thorough knowledge of farming and homesteading. It is a good resource book for anyone interested in permaculture.

drinking // water.

craving // Fried okra. Our okra was planted late, but now we are picking a bunch every day.

wearing // KUHL button down shirt and jeans. My sister-in-law gave me this KHUL button down for Christmas, and it's one of my favorite shirts. It is lightweight which keeps me cool working outside, but is nice enough for the office.


reading // Anna Karenina. I started it, oh, about fifteen years ago, but I'm finally caught up to the part were I quit last time. So that makes it a new record, I guess.

listening // Milk Carton Kids Monterey - apparently I have a thing for discovering music on NPR; I first heard the Milk Carton Kids there on Ask Me Another. There is something so deliciously autumn about them to me, and I find myself gravitating to them as the weather turns cooler. Which, thank goodness, it finally is!

eating // soaked wheat berries. My friend gave me 45 lbs of wheat berries and I've been soaking them over night then eating them with yogurt and jam for breakfast. Really filling.

drinking // Counter Culture Slow Motion decaf coffee. Due to migraines, I try to limit my caffeine intake and Counter Culture Slow Motion is the best decaf I've found. It can be a little pricey, but Fresh Market had it for $9.99/12 oz and we stocked up.

wearing // I bought a denim skirt at Tractor Supply Company this weekend while we were there for hog feed. I am now buying clothes at Tractor Supply. Who am I??

craving // Red Thai bubble tea. My favorite tea shop in the world shut down this spring (RIP Tealoha). And while the jury is still out on their replacement, Chasing Rabbits Tea Co does make a tasty red Thai bubble tea.

currently // I moved the seven ducks out of the "nursery" (ie. back half of the coop) this weekend. They had most of their feathers in and I couldn't take the mess any more. Ducks and water really do belong outside. On grass. Not on coop sub-flooring. They still won't go up into the coop on their own at night, so I have to pick each one up and walk them up the ramp and into the door. It's totally worth it, though, to not have to worry about their water mess damaging the floor of the coop. Guineas are still inside and will be for a while.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Guest Room Update: Art & an Etsy coupon code!

How was your weekend? Mine was a little nuts. Apologies to anyone who tried to access www.hiddenacressc.com and got an error message. I think we're all fixed now. (I hope!) I have added domains and subdomains to this site before, but for some reason this weekend I struggled. After a frantic call to GoDaddy and hours on the computer, I think we're up and running.

Fowarding www.ecollinswriter.com is still giving me trouble, but bear with me Fixed! Oh Internet, you wild, crazy place.

Anyway, I'm super excited for this post. I posted a few pictures right after we got the furniture moved in, but the walls were still bare, so I wanted to share some of the things we hung on the walls.

Our goal for the guest room was to create a retreat where we could be surrounded by some of our favorite things. So, of course, our favorite art made it's way onto the newly painted Worldly Gray walls.

I know these pictures are super dark - this room doesn't get a lot of light on a good day, and it's been raining all week. Great for the garden - not so great for pictures. Just pretend you stopped in on a rainy afternoon, and I gave you tea before showing you around.

We like to buy a piece of art from everywhere we vacation.  We have art from St. Augustine, FL, Hawaii, Charleston, SC, Hilton Head, SCSanta Rosa Beach FL, (we obviously have a thing for beach vacations). We have sprung for original art a few times, but for the most part we tend to buy quality art prints.

Matt's favorite painting is this one we bought in Santa Rosa, FL to celebrate the sale of our townhouse (hallelujah!). It is oil with sand and sea glass. We love how it is a painting of the ocean without being a seascape. It hangs to the left of our bed - "Matt's side."

We do try not to hang anything in direct sunlight. Since the windows of this room (guest room? master bedroom? our room...) look out onto the covered patio and face south, this room doesn't get any direct sunlight at all.

On the right of the bed, is the print of the same picture in the header for this blog. I had wanted some illustration art of Matt and I for a long time, so I ordered this illustration art for for Matt for Christmas last year from The Modern Brush on Etsy (OK, OK, it was really for me). The price includes a print as well as the digital rights which I used for our Christmas cards.

The artist is temporarily closed to catch up on orders, but you can request to get an email from Etsy when he reopens. Hopefully it will be in time to place Christmas orders!

This painting we bought in Hilton Head is probably my favorite. We were in there for just the weekend, and happened to see an art show in a parking lot. We walked around for a little bit, and this piece caught our eye. The artist, and older French gentleman, and his wife talked us through all his paintings. We liked them all, but kept coming back to this one. There is something so soothing about that ship heading towards the patch of blue sky.

Our pastor did a series on I Corinthians that landed us at chapter 13 right as we were doing our remodeling project. The sermons were so helpful and healing for me, that I listened to them over and over as I pulled nails out of bare studs. I knew that I wanted the famous love passage on the wall (if we ever got it up) and searched Etsy for the perfect print-out.

Etsy print-outs are great because they don't cost very much and can be customized to the size you want. I used them before in the You've Got Mail bridal shower I threw for my friend Beth. Etsy seems to have a hundred options for just about anything you want to print out!

In the end, I settled on this one. The artist has lots of different interesting prints, so be sure to check out her shop. The 8x10 frame comes from Pottery Barn (looks like it's on sale as of this posting!).

If you want to listen to those messages on 1 Corinthians 13, you can find them herehere, here, and here.

This final piece was suggested by Etsy algorithms (oh, Etsy, you crafty devil). I fell head over heels over it and gave it to myself as a "You Finished the Guest Room!" present.  The 11x11 frame came from Amazon.

The house in the background is a 'saltbox' house just like ours, and the woman is surrounded by sheep - something I can relate to. When we first moved out here, I felt isolated from our friends in town. I was accustomed to people gathering at our house, and suddenly we were thirty minutes from everyone, looking for a new church, and struggling to figure out the new pattern of our lives.

I was looking for ways to show love to others from our farm in spite of the geographical inconvenience. This picture captured that feeling. And where better to hang it than next to the 1 Corinthians 13 print?

The artist's name is Deborah Gregg and her shop Chicory Skies is full of beautiful prints. I, of course, am especially fond of those with sheep.

And guess what! Deborah Gregg is offering readers of Hidden Acres a special 5% off coupon code on any of her prints. It is good through September 5, so go on over to Chicory Skies Folk Art  and check it out. To save 5% enter the code hiddenacres1 at checkout.

What is hanging on your walls? Family pictures? Finger paintings? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Chicory Skies 5% discount code: hiddenacres1
Good through September 5, 2016

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Hidden Acres Update

We're finally up and running on social media!

This blog has been touch and go for the past four (what?!) years, but I think Hidden Acres is here to stay. I've updated the URL to: www.hiddenacressc.com. If you are following in a feed, you will need to change the address in your feed setting. The old addresses should still redirect here, but just to be on the safe side, you can always subscribe and get all our posts directly in your inbox.

Subscribing is super easy. Just put your email in where it says "subscribe' and you'll get all our blog posts emailed to you. You can also find us on twitter and instagram by clicking on those cute flag icons.

If you're on Facebook, come and follow us there! You can find us by searching: Hidden Acres SC or by going to https://www.facebook.com/hiddenacressc2/. We'll be using that space for posting all blog updates as well as having conversation with you about farming, gardening, food and books.  

Monday we have something really exciting that you won't want to miss. Be sure to subscribe or follow us on Facebook for updates.

See you on the web!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Dining Room: Painting the Paneling

Right away both Matt and I fell in love with the unique brick floors, the vaulted wood ceilings, and the rich wood paneling in our new house. But it didn't take long for us to realize that there was just too much going on. Like waaaay too much.

There were three different wood tones in just one room. The walls were warm-toned, the floors were warm-toned, and the ceiling was warm-toned. While the house had character in spades, sometimes while we were eating dinner it felt like we were being shipped by UPS.

We put together a mood board and slowly started to tackle the steps to make it more balanced.

Adding windows made the room a lot brighter and more "room-like," but it still just did not feel polished or complete.

We spent years going back and forth discussing whether or not we should paint the paneling - polling our friends, researching online.

I found this article by Young House Love and told all my friends "I just discovered the coolest blog!' They were all like "Um yeah. We already know about that."

 Okaaay. So I was super late to DIY blogs. But it turns out that everyone has a strong opinion on painted paneling. The people against painting insisted that you should never, ever paint over natural hardwood. It's a travesty! And the people for painting said it freshened up the room. Better to live in a beautiful room than to preserve hardwood you don't like.

I found pictures on Pinterest, wrote up a blog post with all our mixed feelings about painting, and waited.  The responses flowed in fast, furious, adamant, and divided. But our friend Michelle's comment made a lot of sense to us.

Our minds made up, we went to our favorite paint store (Sherwin Williams for the win!), loaded up on primer, and primed...

and primed...

and primed.

I'm not going to lie. My heart was pounding when I did those first couple rolls, but after taking the plunge, it was easy to see that it was the absolute best choice.

The wood just soaked up the primer. I ended up doing two coats of primer and two coats of SW Westhighland White paint on each wall. The primer was almost impossible to get off myself, so I was going into work with white on my knuckles and in my hair for almost a month.

I painted over the sky blue paint with a nice gray-green. And Michelle obviously knew what she was talking about. Streamlining the colors on the paneling and the walls made everything far more harmonious.

As the walls got covered in coats of paint, the floors and the doors immediately stood out. Those gorgeous features we loved had been completely lost in all the wood paneling.

Here you can see the difference in between our first Christmas in the house and our third.

Doesn't it look more "gracious and open" just like Michelle said it would?

Thank you to everyone who weighed in - especially Michelle who was the one who finally convinced us. Our only regret was that we didn't do it sooner.

And guess what? A few months later I went to a book signing for Loveable Livable Home with John and Sherry Petersick of Young House Love and got to show them the before and after pictures they inspired!

Look how happy they are about all that white paint!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Farmhouse Bedroom

Yesterday my sister sent me a link to this farmhouse bedroom.

"That is SO you," she wrote.

And really, with a few exceptions (like way better lighting), it actually had a lot in common with my bedroom AKA the guest room.

Browns, whites, cream, and some gray - check
Wood ceiling - check
Warm, textural rug - check
Mirror - check
Glass lamp - check

I even already had a faux sheepskin pillow!

I loved how the picture she sent had all the blankets layered at the end. And even though, I would never make time to make a bed with that many blankets, I did root around in my linen closet until I found everything I needed to put together a simpler version of the inspiration picture.

I was pleased with how just turning down the top comforter and adding a quilt at the end added more dimension and softness to the whole arrangement. And that basket at the end not only adds texture, it gives me a space to keep my blankets that were previously folded up on the sewing machine bench.

So there you have it - our farmhouse bedroom. And the only time in our lives we've ever been on trend.

Our duvet is from Pottery Barn. They don't sell that pattern anymore, but it looks like all duvets are 40% off today!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Audible Deals

I recently discovered a pretty sweet deal on audiobooks at Audible, and wanted to share it here in case anyone else is looking for some classic books "on tape." Audible and Kindle have a technology called Whyspersync. If you own both the audio and the ebook, the technology syncs the two mediums so that you can always pick up where you left off. This is great for me since I have a long commute and listen to books in my car but then also want to read over my lunch break. Most of the time Amazon (Audible and Kindle are both Amazon affiliates) will often offer a discounted price on audio narration if you buy the Kindle version of the book.

Well, Audible Studios has been releasing classics such as David Copperfield and Anna Karenina read by incredible narrators. If you buy the Kindle version of these books, you can add the audio narration for just $1.99.  And the best part is - the Kindle books are already free!

So for just under $2, you get a Kindle book and a fantastic audio book. 

I don't even have to tell you that I downloaded all of them. Anna Karenina has been on my list for a looong time, and now I'm listening to the lovely Maggie Gyllenhaal reading it on my drive. I paid all of $1.99. Which is half of what it costs for a drink from Starbucks. It might cost even less than what it would cost me to drive to the library and check these out. 

The other books I downloaded were the following:

The audio is $1.99 with the free Kindle version and is read by Richard Armitage (the smoldering gent of North & South for my BBC miniseries friends). 

Audio is $1.99 and is narrated by Rosamund Pike who played Jane in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightly. 

Narrated by one of my favorite narrators Simon Prebble, this audio book is only $0.99 with the download of the Kindle book.

As far as I can tell (I logged out of my account and tried all the links) you don't have to have an Audible membership to get these prices. However, you will need the Audible app on at least one of your devices (I use my iPhone) in order to listen - it's free.

To get the audible app on your phone, go to the app store and search for Audible

I already own it, so it says "open" but for it should say "get." After it downloads, it will show up on your screen automatically.

When you open the app, it will show you all the books you've downloaded. It will always track where you are. And if you switch between Kindle and Audible, it will still pick up wherever you left off!

If you are interested in an Audible membership, you can get a trial membership for one month free by clicking here. It gives you one free audiobook even if you cancel the membership after the thirty days. And if you need a recommendation for that free audiobook, I listed all my favorites in this post.

All four books listed here totaled come out to $6.96 total. That is just $1.74 per book or $0.87 for each Kindle and audio book respectively. 

What Kindle and Audible deals have you been scooping up recently? 

**this post contains affiliate links. However all products were purchased by me**
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