Hosting a Homestead Wedding

Jason and I got engaged in January of 2011, but long before that, I knew that I wanted a backyard wedding.  I had this image in my mind of a hayfield with just the ceremony site mowed out: simple white chairs, a rustic arbor, country flowers.   I had no real experience with wedding planning beyond an interest in wedding blogs like The Broke-Ass Bride, Green Wedding Shoes and Wedding Chicks.  I had a lot to learn.

One of the most stressful parts of planning our homestead wedding was lining up the vendors.  I knew we’d need tents and chairs, though I had no idea just how much tents and chairs for 100 would cost (roughly $1,500).  Beyond that, there was food to consider.  I definitely wanted to work with someone local, but it was hard to find someone willing to cater to an outdoor wedding for 100 in July that was 15 miles outside of town with very few options for electricity and water.  I was lucky enough to discover the catering branch of our local U Maine system, which produced delicious meals for under $15/plate and offered a reduced child’s rate.  They were also more than willing to help us with linens and extra glassware rentals to cut back on waste.

Photo by Allison Emmerich
Tents and chairs… well worth the cost.

Strangely, the least stressful part about our wedding was the marriage, itself.  I’ve said this to a few of my friends, but marrying Jason was the first big decision I’ve ever made that I was 100% certain about.  I couldn’t wait to be his wife and partner, and my confidence in that really carried me through the piles of mundane tasks that awaited us.

There are a few things that I feel we did right that saved us time, money and anxiety.  By allowing ourselves a full, 18 month engagement, I was able to do all of the big planning (tent, food, dress) a year in advance, allowing for a much more relaxed few months before the event.  We also decided to eschew the wedding planner that several family members suggested we get.  While this meant having to deal with more of the details, myself, it saved money and really let me interact with my own wedding and ensure that nothing got too out of hand.

By hiring a local caterer who served on china, glass and silver outside and choosing two kegs over bottles of beer, we were able to create no more than two 30 gallon bags of trash (including gift wrap), despite the number of guests and scope of the event.  We were careful to recycle what we could, but this lack of trash was important to me.  I was also careful in creating wedding signs that could either be passed forward to friends getting married or used around our homestead.  The Christmas lights are being donated to the school I teach at for an event I host every year, and the cupcake tower has already been loaned out to another bride.

Photo by Allison Emmerich
One of our many, reusable wedding signs.

Jason’s family provided all of our flowers, from the wild flowers on the tables to the four huge buckets of white hydrangeas from their gardens that provided bridesmaids’ flowers and dressing for our homemade arbor.  This not only saved money but provided a really nice connection to those we love as we were able to integrate them into our ceremony and the day.  And rather than doing vases on the tables, we used quart mason jars for the wild flowers and pint mason jars for the dianthus that held the table numbers and can, ultimately, be reused.

And despite numerous horrified family members and friends, we successfully made our own wedding cake (117 cupcakes and a small cutting cake).  We used as many local ingredients as we could, and it was, surprisingly, the least stressful part of the entire day.   I plan on writing a full post, including recipes, next week.

Photo by Allison Emmerich
Homemade Wedding Cake

So what did we learn?

Our friends were invaluable.  My best friend Allie and her boyfriend Dave came early and may be one of the only reasons we managed to dress the tents on time the day of the wedding.  They not only helped us set up the ceremony site and take care of the chickens leading up to the event, but they also wrangled kids, ensured that a few early (and late!) photos got taken, and generally did everything that I didn’t have time to think of the day of the wedding.  And Allie reminded me to drink water.  Constantly.  Invaluable.

Photo by Allison Emmerich (tripod)
Best friends really do make the difference in wedding planning!

Give yourselves extra time!  Nothing happened quickly or easily the morning of the wedding.  I was so glad that we’d planned for a 4 p.m. ceremony because with only four of us doing initial set-up, it was a miracle that Allie and I got out the door at 11:30 a.m. to drive into town for hair.

Count everything you rent.  Somehow, during our rental process, five chairs disappeared.  Since the manifest was signed without counting the chairs, we ended up paying for five chairs that I’m pretty sure never got dropped off at our home, but there was really nothing we could do.

Have a casual rehearsal dinner.  We wanted an outdoor rehearsal BBQ that was as low-key as we are.  It allowed us to invite the close friends we’ve made who were not in our bridal party and kick back with family and friends from far away.  It is still one of my favorite memories of the weekend, and the kids in our bridal party had an awesome time with the ring bearer’s gift: a kite.

Photo by David Todaro
Perfect Rehearsal… and look at that sky!

Pen up or send away animals for their own protection.  Although our flock regularly free ranges, everyone spent the three days before the wedding cooped up in their outdoor tractors because the last thing we had time to do was chase chickens.  In addition to this, we opened a basement window so the cats could go in and out as they pleased and sent Abby (our Australian Shepherd) to Jason’s Mom’s house for the weekend, as she has a deep love of both cupcakes and running in front of cars – it just wasn’t safe to keep her on site and I was more relaxed knowing that she was relaxing at her grandmother’s.

The chicks on wedding weekend. Note: they were in their indoor coop the day of the wedding. They were one of many stops for the children at the event.

Let go of your expectations.  Some things didn’t work out the way we’d planned, but at the end of the day Jason & I were the only ones who knew.  We got married.  We had one of the best days of our lives together with our family and friends.  Letting go of some of those early expectations was the best way to have fun and relax and enjoy our new life together.

The day after.

 

 

 

Happy Independence Day

We’ve been pretty swamped here with wedding things for the last week or so, but I’m looking forward to sharing it all with you in a post later this week.

For now, Happy Independence Day!

Wedding… Belated Wednesdays: Living in a Wedding Workshop

The wedding is just over two weeks away, which means that all of those excuses I used to have for delicately putting something off are basically gone.  And since we’ve been deluged by rain for the last five days (yes, I just said five days of pouring rain), it’s been an ample opportunity to focus on all of those paper goods that you need at a wedding but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on.

When I started planning my wedding, I had no idea how time consuming some of these things would be, and I feel blessed every day that I teach full time and though I do a lot of work in the summer (hello, lesson planning!), I can do that work from the privacy of my own living room and thus spend an hour and a half less in the car every day, which makes for some pretty serious spare time when it comes to trying to pull together last minute details for a wedding.  Friends, I’ve needed it!

So, after declaring this week the week of paper goods, I spent the majority of Sunday afternoon combing the internet for DIY ideas because all you need to do is get a $120.o0 printing estimate from Staples to realize that maybe that little $30 home printer you scoffed at six months ago might be your best option.  And let me just stop to say something about that $30 HP Laserjet 1000 that Jason picked up at Walmart six months ago: I scoffed.  I was wrong.  It has been a TANK!  I will note that using only the cartridges that came with it (though I did pick up a replacement pack just in case), it has printed 100 dual-color programs, 15 sheets of full-color escort cards, and a handful of other useful lists and bits that I’ve needed during this week’s crafting for merely the cost of the paper ($5.39/150 sheets).  I did send a homemade fingerprint wedding tree  (cobbled together from the beautiful tree at One Fab Day and a personalized monogram that I found at Wedding Chicks) to the printer at Stapes (paying $15 instead of the higher price of ordering it from an artist), and though the quality was nowhere near the quality of one that I’d ordered for a friend’s baby shower a few months ago from Etsy, I’m not really sure if it’s something we’d use as art or not, so I feel like that was a reasonable expense on something that I want to wait and see about.

What I’m most excited about, though, are the programs and escort cards.  Throughout the planning of our wedding, it’s been important to me that the pieces of the wedding that our guests physically interact with are the most detailed.  As such, I care about how we string our lights over the dance floor, but I care a bit more about the way the programs look and feel because sometimes things run a little slowly, and what else is going to captivate your attention during that wait?

Wedding Programs!

I started with a great tutorial over at Intimate Weddings, but while I liked her idea, I found that there were a few things that I needed to change.  I used similar materials, opting to design my program in Microsoft Word and leaving the basic program free of images because I’m not quite so tech savvy.  On the back, I created a wedding word search at Discovery Education’s Puzzlemaker, opting for one that I could orient a bit differently on the page.  I was able to do this by cutting and pasting the completed word search from the printable computer file directly into my wedding program on Microsoft, shrinking the font, and then typing the words to find in all capital letters.

In terms of dimensions, my program is set in the landscape format as a two-columned document. It is surrounded by one inch external margins with a two inch margin between the columns to allow for centered folding without needing to cut anything.  Wanting to add a bit more color, I placed the monogram from Wedding Chicks that I’d used on our fingerprint tree directly underneath the crossword puzzle, ending the program with a gentle request for guests to transport their chairs back to the tent for the reception or ask another guest for help.

I then printed the programs in batches onto white card stock and folded them directly in half.  The most difficult part of the process proved to be cutting the corners with the 3M corner cutter (a bit hard to get through two layers of card stock.  As such, I chose to do this step before assembling the programs).  While the programs were printing, I used Jason’s Dremmel hand drill to bore a small hole in the bottom of each popsicle stick, forming a place to tie the ribbons later in the project.

Cutting Corners

Next, I ran a 3” strip of double sided tape along the center of the bottom of the program and placed a 2” strip on the back of a popsicle stick, centered and pressed the stick against the centered piece of double stick tape and then placed another on the front of the popsicle stick.

Securing the Handle

Finally, I placed a ring of glue from a glue stick around the edge of the program and pressed it firmly to close.

Gluing the Program

Next, I cut 1′ long pieces of pink and yellow ribbon (our wedding colors) and tied them in a simple slip-knot through the hole in the popsicle sticks, creating a simple ribbon tail.

Completing the Programs

And they were complete.

For my 90 programs, I used about 100 sheets of card stock (there were two or three misprints and a few mistakes), 2 rolls of double stick tape, 8 spools of 1/8” ribbon (3.5 yards/spool), 2 full sized Elmer’s glue sticks, 110 popsicle sticks (expect to break a few while drilling), a 3M corner cutter (which I found at Walmart for $4), and Jason’s Dremmel hand tool.

Waiting for the Wedding…

Next, I moved onto escort cards, which would also remind our guests of their meal choices.  At our wedding, we’re serving a chicken dish, a vegetarian dish, and an option for children (anyone under 12).  As such, I printed the cards, which I found over at Style Me Pretty, opting for their vegetarian, chicken and blank templates for the children.  I will admit that my handwriting comes nowhere close to the beauty of their calligraphy, but for a simple country wedding, I’m hoping it will suffice!

I was left with how to display the cards, when I suddenly remembered one of my favorite parts about summer, and something I hope to add to our homestead as soon as the wedding is over… a clothesline.

I was thrilled to find tiny wooden clothespins at Walmart for only $1.50/50 pack, and this, my friends, is how my guests will find their alphabetized escort cards (though please try to imagine them suspended between two white posts, hanging in the breeze of our reception).

Well, that’s what’s been going on for the last few days at our place.  I only have a few more paper goods to finish assembling, and then – hopefully – the weather will let me return to a garden that needs much, much weeding!

Wedding Wednesdays: Favors

When I started planning my wedding, I had so many ideas for favors: jars of homemade strawberry jam, a little satchel of vegetables from our garden with a sweet ribbon, homemade cookies in a tiny bag… things that take tons of time and are highly dependent on the season.  Well, folks… summer arrived, and I suddenly realized that six weeks to pull together a wedding goes way too fast… and who wants to spend eighty degree days in the kitchen trying to make 100 jars of jam and hoping they’ll gel?  Not this girl!

I returned to my Pinterest board, where I had found an adorable, wrapped chocolate design months ago, thinking that it could be a cute, simple favor if time started running out.  Because, honestly, my thoughts on favors are pretty simple: they should be edible, because – really – how many people need something with my name, my fiance’s name, and our wedding date stamped on it?  Those items are lovely, but they tend to linger at the back of people’s drawers and cupboards, and I really don’t want to add to someone else’s clutter (I have enough trouble with my own).  And since we’re having a photo booth at the wedding, with easily accessible photos from our photographer, I’m truly hoping that those memories will be far better reminders of the day!

Finished Favors

Over the weekend, I was lucky enough to have my mom and my best friend up, and we were quickly able to assemble 120 adorable chocolate favors.  We started out with a box of Lindt White Chocolate Truffles, three rolls of 200′ Spritz Streamers , and 100 yards of Bowdabra silver bow wirefrom Michael’s (total cost somewhere around $54, including the chicks we bought for the kids’ tables).

Favors for the little ones!

We set up a bit of an assembly line, with Mom cutting six inch strips of streamers and Allie cutting four inch sections of bow wire.  I was wrapping the chocolates.

I started by taking four pieces of streamer.

I then layered them on top of each other, overlapping by about 1/2”.

Next, I rolled the wrapped chocolate in the streamers, wrapping them tightly and twisting the ends until the entire wrapper was covered in streamer.

Next, we tied the ends with the silver bow wire.

Trim and you are done.

One hundred and twenty of these took just about two hours, plenty of time to watch a sappy (or in our case, slightly twisted) romantic comedy and look forward to getting to indulge in a little white chocolate on the evening of the wedding!

Wedding Planning Wednesday

On Saturday, we’ll be five weeks away from the wedding.  And while most of the big pieces of wedding planning have been delicately tucked out of the way, there are a handful of small tasks that I’ve been fretting about and working on.

The largest small task was the wedding arbor.  We’re planning a  rural backyard wedding.  The dress will be fairly formal but the setting is in a sweeping back field with a great view of the rolling hills on the northern edge of our property.  That said, I was left with the task of trying to find the appropriate arch or arbor that would both blend into our landscape and suit the needs of our wedding.

I did a ton of visual research, most of which you can see over on my Pinterest site, and I had initially envisioned the arch as a surprise for Jason… until I realized that it would probably involve at least the chainsaw, if not several other power tools that we don’t keep in the garage and an extra set of hands.  Abby just wasn’t cutting it.

Last weekend, realizing how quickly my bridal shower and his stag weekend were approaching (next weekend!?!), we decided that it was time to get to work and we came up with this:

Arbor: Phase I

Now, this project is nowhere near completion yet, as it’s still a bit unstable and needs some serious trimming around the edges.  In addition to that, I’m planning on adding some curlier softwood branches to give it a bit more decoration and whimsy.

Interested in making your own?  We started by cutting four relatively similar trees (on our own property!) of about four inches in diameter (I believe we used Beech), then we cut down five trees that were one inch in diameter for bracing.  We chose hardwood because of its distinctive bark, though you could do the same with your tree of choice.

Next we stripped the branches and cut our four posts to a relatively similar 7.5 feet.  We used their natural branching V’s to place the top arbor pieces and then continued piecing with the bracing until the arbor started to come together.

I know we have a long way to go, but I thought I’d at least share this first step!

In other news, we found Jason’s Mom’s mother of the groom dress yesterday.  If your mother or your groom’s mother is still looking, I can’t recommend JC Penny enough — the service was great, the dresses were really reasonable, and she found an adorable little number that makes her feel both comfortable and gorgeous!  I don’t think we could have asked for a better day of shopping!

Update and Summer Blogging Plans

The first Monday after school lets out for the summer always feels like borrowed time.  Today is no different.  I bounced out of bed at four a.m. after a long weekend of cleaning the house, one of the first chores I like to get out of the way when work wraps up for any period of time.  Usually, it’s so I can focus on whatever project is at hand, but in a summer so riddled with projects, last night’s cleaning spree had more to do with shooing away mental clutter than it did coping with physical clutter (even though there was plenty of that).  A naturally neat and tidy person, there’s something about the last three weeks of school that always throws something off.

And what are these plans for summer?  Within the next eight days, we’re hoping to have our 28 eggs hatch into at least 20 chicks (hopefully more!); the wedding is now only six weeks away, preceded by my bridal shower on my thirtieth birthday(!); I’m flying down to Boston to visit my family and do some final shopping prior to the wedding in just a week; and I’m also still training for that 5K with Abby.  We’re doing okay, though we did take a week and a half off at the height of school-related craziness.  We’re refocusing this morning, starting with the blog and then moving on to running.

Most importantly, though, with a draft of my first novel sitting with a pretty awesome literary agent  (I’m trying not to be impatient about hearing back…), I’m getting ready to start my next project in earnest, by which I mean returning to my old writing schedule of early, early mornings, which means that everything else in my life is going to have to shift a bit: gardening, chickens, exercise, even blogging.

I have a vision for what I’d like this space to be, and I am still trying to get it there.  I know that I’ve tried to create a framework before; however, I’m hoping that the added hours of summer will give me the time I need to continue to take this blog to the next level… of organization and content and … maybe even design.

Here’s what I’m hoping for:

Monday: Homesteading Update (Starting Next Week)

  • This will hopefully include a regular round-up of chicken and gardening progress
  • Including a weekly photo of the chickens and garden

Wednesday: Wedding Wednesdays (At Least Until July 14)

  • More regular wedding planning/organizing updates for budget brides

Friday: Friday Flock Update

  • I will start this new feature off this Friday with a pre-hatch review of our incubator (the Hovabator 1588 with egg turner)
  • From there on, I’m hoping to fully document our chicken progress from chicks to broilers/layers

Sunday: Weekend Roundup

  • What we accomplished and plans for the next week

I’m hoping that this organization will help me work through some of my recent writing struggles and provide the balance necessary to move forward both with the new fiction project and more regular blogging.

Planting the Gardens

It’s been a busy week in Northern Maine.  Jason and I are celebrating Memorial Day weekend with graduation at school (me), a great canoe trip (him), a big end of the year gathering at the house (both of us), and putting in our vegetable garden.  I love this time of year in Northern Maine because the sun rises at just after 4:30 a.m., offering me the opportunity to get up early, write and head to the garden, usually before six a.m.  The mornings are crisp and cool and the black flies are usually still cozied up wherever it is that black flies go at night.

Since Jason had Friday off, he spent the day preparing the garden with Abby.  Using my garden plan, he built raised beds by mounding the rototilled soil and hammered in the fence posts for our tomato fences (we had 2.5 row fences and a handful of old tomato cages).  He also planted beans and half of the carrots.

First thing Saturday morning, I was able to get outside early (5 a.m.) and plant 3/4 of our tomatoes before having to shower and dress for graduation.  Luckily, this early planting gave me the opportunity to realize that we had once again expanded our tomato operation and were a row short of tomato staking devices.  We decided that it would be in our best interest to just invest in another tomato fence rather than 10 – 15 more tomato cages.

We choose to fence with welded wire galvanized fencing because it allows us the opportunity to provide the plants with a stronger support system.  I’m hoping to include a tomato-specific post later in the week.

So, on my way to graduation, I swung by Tractor Supply and was able to secure 50′ of fencing (quite a bit more than we needed) and five fence posts for about $60 (just a bit more than what I would have paid for 15 tomato cages & totally reusable!).

We were also lucky to get our window boxes planted earlier this week.  Given that the wedding will be at the house (in six weeks!), I’ve been paying a lot more attention to flowers this year, and I have a great tip!  If you’re still in the market for hanging baskets/bulbs, check out your local box stores this weekend!  I was able to pick up four huge hanging baskets for $40 because they had stocked them for mother’s day, not sold them, and then let them flounder a bit.  Granted, none of them are currently flowering, but once I trimmed back any dead foliage and hit them with fertilizer and water, the transformation was pretty impressive.

I need to get out to my garden, but I’ll try to update this post with a few photographs later this evening.

Have a great day!

Setting Eggs & Preparing for the Wedding

To say that this past weekend was busy is a tremendous understatement.  I woke up early on Saturday morning (4:30), hoping to get a friend’s quilt pieced and was semi-shocked when Jason appeared about a half hour later, ready to start the day.  Usually, he uses early weekend mornings to catch up on sleep, while I use them to catch up on … everything else.  Having had the flu most of last week (sorry for the disappearance!), I was woefully behind.  But the weather forecast was pretty phenomenal, and we had business in town later in the morning, so we started early.

While he painted trim, I weeded both the strawberry and blueberry beds.  I mulched the strawberries, and we’re waiting on a trip into the woods to pick up pine needles to naturally mulch the blueberries.  Meanwhile, the smaller flock (those not used for round one of breeding), followed at my heels, eating grubs and hay seeds left over from the winter mulching.

Chores done, we headed into town for two things I’ve been eagerly waiting for and (unnecessarily) dreading.  After really struggling to find the perfect engagement band to house my parents’ diamond (plus two that Jason added), I was terribly worried that we’d really struggle to find an affordable and beautiful wedding band to go along with it, particularly since my ring was a custom design made by a local jeweler.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  On our trip to rent wedding tuxes, we dropped into Kay Jewelers (at the suggestion of a girl from work) and after about ten minutes, we found my ring!

Going in, I thought that what I really wanted was a super-simple white gold band; however, after trying two on, they just didn’t look right with my engagement ring (a three-stone diamond set in white gold).  But after asking the saleswoman if there was something a little more elaborate, she brought us over to a new case, and I spotted my ring almost immediately.  I let her give me a few others to try on first (all more expensive and less ideal), but when I asked for the ring and  slipped it on, I just knew.  Of course, I wasn’t the only one to get my ring this weekend.  We used buying my ring as an opportunity to have Jason sized for his and then returned to a great, eco-friendly online site that specializes in wooden wedding bands.  Since Jason works with his hands in some fairly dangerous situations, he won’t be wearing his ring every day, but we wanted something special for when we got out to dinner or travel.  Simply Wood Rings was the simple answer.  After a lot of browsing, he decided on their Teakwood “Incorruptible” Model, and we were able to place an order specifying his size and our time frame.Our final stop on Saturday was the local tux rental shop, where we placed an order for the guys’ tuxedos.  The guys will be wearing Calvin Klein Legend Grey tuxes.  We’re keeping the grey vest; however, we are supplementing with a tie with a subtle stripe that will match the bridesmaids’ dresses.

Tuxes

Bridesmaids’ Dresses

Wedding tasks complete, we returned home and were stunned to find four eggs in our breeder pen.  That hatch looked like it might move a day forward, a fact confirmed by yesterday’s five eggs!

Last night, we placed 28 eggs in our Hovabator 1588, setting each one carefully into the egg turner.  As I write this, they are warming away over in the corner of our living room.  Given the difficulty I had finding a good clear post about incubation, I’m hoping to have something up later this week.

Also later this week, I’m planning on writing about our experience planning our honeymoon (a week on Prince Edward Island).  Posting in the earlier part of the week may be a bit light, as it’s finals week at school and I have a pile of papers to grade; however, once we’re past that hurdle it will be all things garden all the time until the wedding.

Have a great day!

Building a Wedding Cupcake Tower

When we first started planning our wedding, I will admit that I had visions of a beautiful, elaborate cake, filled with some kind of fresh berry compote and cloaked delicately in a mixture of white and dark chocolate frosting.  Then I remembered: we live in Northern Maine and I’ve planned an outdoor wedding… cue reality.

When planning a budget wedding, it’s important to figure out what concessions you’re willing to make, and at the end of the day, I know that I can bake well.  It’s one of the things I’m known for at work and in my family.  And when it came down to the cost of the kind of cake I wanted that would taste the way I needed it to, it was easier to do this part… myself.  Yes, you heard me right.  I’m making my own wedding cupcakes.  140 of them, to be exact.  And I’m going to bake them and frost them and explain the arrangement to the wife of a dear friend, so that I can at least cross one thing off my list before the big day!

I will admit that people are skeptical. My mother was a particularly hard sell.  The secretary at school thinks I’m crazy.  Really, though, I can make the cupcakes on Thursday, frost them on Friday, and have them nice and cool in the fridge on Saturday morning, just waiting to be placed outside after the ceremony on their cupcake tower.  And in that respect, I am the luckiest girl in the world.

Jason’s dad is a really accomplished craftsman when it comes to projects that involve wood.  Just a few months ago, I sent him the photo below and asked if we (read: he) could do this.  After emailing a few bloggers and getting some responses on the instructions for their cupcake towers, I sent Jason’s dad my revised dimensions (listed below), and he was able to craft our cupcake tower.

L 30” x W 30” x  H 4” Base (holds 36 – 2-1/2″ cupcakes)
24 ”x 24” x 4” 2nd tier (holds 30 cupcakes)
18” x 18 ”x 4 ”3rd tier (holds 24 cupcakes)
12”x 12”x 4” 4th tier (holds 16 cupcakes)
6” x 6” x 4 ” Top tier (holds 2 cupcakes or one small cake stand)

Please note that these dimensions make for a much larger cupcake tower than the one pictured above.

We decided to go with wood because given that we’re planning an outdoor wedding, I needed something super-sturdy, something that wouldn’t blow over in the wind!  Beyond this, though, I wanted something that would last and that I could give away to another bride after my wedding if she wanted it (and that’s already been arranged!).

After Jason’s dad finished building the stand (which he built as a series of boxes from 1/4” plywood, screwed together for greater stability), I painted it with white interior paint that our local hardware store was giving away.

Initially, I had planned to run pink ribbon (the same color as my bridesmaids’ dresses) around the rim of each box; however, one of my bridesmaids made cupcakes for Easter using Wilton’s cupcake papers (available at our local Walmart), and I’m thinking of maybe just doing simple white frosted cupcakes in a pink flowered wrapper.  I have picked up a package of the wrappers and plan to try out a few cupcakes this way later in the week, just to see how it goes.

Would you try wedding cupcakes?

Holding Pattern

I feel like the last week has been marked by waiting: waiting for the incubator to arrive, waiting for it to warm up enough to actually work outside, waiting for the hens to start laying more regularly.  I’m not really sure what’s up with them lately, but I think our crazy, unpredictable weather, in combination with the great flock separation, has upset their laying patterns a bit.  We’re fluctuating between 2 and 6 eggs between eight layers right now.  I’m trying to be patient.

This spring has been a test in patience.  The snow melted uncannily early, but ever since our days fluctuate between the high fifties and high twenties (some of those days being much nicer than others).  And though the roof is done and we managed to re-paint our foundation and rotate our tractor equipment from winter (plow) to summer (finish mower and attachments), I’m eagerly awaiting time when I can start placing things in pots.

The weather hasn’t stopped Abby and I from training for our 5K.  Today, we celebrated week eight with a two mile run!  I can’t wait until we’re heading out in shorts and a tank top instead of two layers of long underwear, ski mittens and a hat.  There’s just something about ski mittens that don’t seem quite as conducive to speed.

The ranunculus bulbs arrived a few weeks ago, and I’m hoping to get them out next weekend, where they will still face nights cold enough to get them going, but hopefully not too many of those cold nights.  In addition to this, we’re also hoping to get some ground tilled under to facilitate early plantings (peas, lettuce and spinach).

Luckily, school has created plenty of distractions in the form of grading and class prep.  I also started a sour dough starter last week that I’m slowly babying along, and we did manage to mow the field where we’ll be married in just over two months, using the finish mower to chop down last year’s previously mowed hay in preparation for soft summer grass!