Growing up in Tennessee on a dairy farm was, as I look back, one of the best experiences a kid could have! Maybe I'm just biased, but I do know that I learned how to do dirty, hard work if I had to! My father was always the hardest working man that I knew and I thought that it was silly for other men to be inside all day working in an office. Now I see that these office jobs are just as important usually, only in a different way. I grew up in a town with not so many jobs and a low population. I knew loggers, saw mill operators, farmers, factory workers, teachers, people employed by the city, and people who did nothing but use up tax dollars. It seemed that when people had jobs, they were of the labor intensive variety. Now, my older brother (who worked side-by-side with my father) manages a state facility and operates his own lawn care business. He often gets home late from going from one job to the next. He doesn't like to be idle or to sit around for a long period of time. He learned from my parents that there is always something that needs to be done and that you should be doing it. I remember reading in my room when I was younger and when my mom came in I felt guilty that I wasn't doing anything useful. (Not to say that my mother was anti-reading because she is definitely all about it!) Anyway, I suppose I'm telling you this because I can never forget the place that I came from and the experiences that I had there will stay with me always. I often get pangs of loneliness, not just from the distance from loved ones, but the green of a new spring, the way you just KNOW when it is about to storm, lightning bugs, fresh home-grown produce, porch swings, trees, fishing, the way a freshly mown yard smells... or even the way a stinky herd of cows smell. Things like that. Most of those things can be experienced where I am, just in a different way. I don't like the desert and hope to one day leave it (kidnapping Haley to take with me of course). I try to bring some of the things I left behind into my life, like buying blue willow dishes that match my Granny's, or making a fresh strawberry pie. This time, I happened to make a simple sign. My dad was 5 in 1960 when his father bought the "Mountain Farm," as it has been known all my life. His family lived in the "valley" and so it got it's name because you have to drive up the "mountain" to get our farm. It was sold once since that time, in in 1978 or 1979, but my grandfather got possession back in two years or so. So, when my parents got married, they moved up to the Mountain Farm and we have been there ever since. We rent that from my grandmother still, but we bought the land on the other side of the road and that is where my home was. The milk barn was built in 1986 and opened for it's first milking on April 26, 1986. There is a Purina sign on the front that says, "Mountain Farm Dairy, The Grissoms." We also have shirts and hats that say it too, notice Dad's in the picture below. Dad had milked 4 years before the barn was built at his parents house in a smaller barn that you could only milk two cows at a time. There were only two electric milkers- even though there was enough space for four cows. My dad had invested $700 to upgrade that barn from only being able to milk one cow at a time. Now, my father is very "thrifty," to put it nicely, and the man who helped him add on to the barn still jokes with him about using rusty, pre-used nails. I can definitely imagine that scenario is 100% accurate! So that is the basis for this sign that I made, I wanted to bring a touch of the farm house into my own home. I used an unfinished pine board and coated it with one coat of Annie Sloan Chalk paint. Then, I coated that layer with some Annie Sloan Soft Wax in Dark. That was basically like putting on a stain. I used my Silhouette cameo to cut out the design that I wanted, a cow and the words "Mountain Farm Dairy... The Grissoms." Grissom is my maiden name of course. So, I applied the vinyl, layered on another coat of Annie Sloan, and used a pick tool to get my vinyl off while the paint was half-dry. When that layer dried, I sanded it up a little to look worn, used Minwax wood paste as my clear coat, then added more dark wax for an antiqued feel. I hammered in some tiny nails into the back, wrapped some picture-hanging wire in hemp string, and attached it. That's it, easy project!
|My father. Photo courtesy of John Remus III Photography
|Me after fishing, my sister on a horse, a dog, and a younger brother shooting hoops in barn boots.
|At my Granny's, by where my dad used to milk.
Hard to get a good picture! But here you can see the antiquing.
Well, that's all I have for today, hope you enjoyed some of the history behind the project :)