Personal

Home Sweet Home | Part 2

June 17, 2017

Okay, so the last time I said Hello was back in November. A family member brought that to my attention a couple weeks ago. He thought I had unfriended him!

So I’m thinking it’s probably about time to check-in again.

Some days, some times I feel the pressure (or perhaps create the pressure myself) to build and live in a big fancy home. After all, that is what Luke and I do. So it’s kind of ironic really that we live in a small old farm house. It has three bedrooms and one bathroom, an open living dining space and a small kitchen. It’s perfect really. Well, I wish it had a big kitchen and one more bathroom so I don’t have to share it with my husband or teenage niece when she stays (just kidding). But honestly, this is the first place we’ve lived that really feels like home. We have slowly made little improvements here and there. If you can remember last summer I posted some photos here after we removed the shag carpet and popcorn ceiling in the living dining area. We’ve also painted almost the entire house, replaced the roof and some windows, built a new deck, spent a lot of time in the yard and tore down a couple outbuildings that I think was home to a bazillion ‘coons. Which unfortunately did not solve our ‘coon problem. They’re still snooping around and digging up all my flowers beds. So we’ve been fighting back with guns and traps as of late.

We recently had to remove the perfectly good carpet in the master bedroom of the house we just built. Since I hate waste and it’s been almost a year since our last big improvement, I decided to bat my eye lashes and ask Luke nicely if he’d install it in our bedroom. Being the nice husband that he is we now have silk threaded carpet that feels amazing on our bare feet! And being the project starter that I am we now have fresh paint on the walls, ceiling and trim, new bedside tables and I’ve started a photo wall. Once I get the ball rolling its hard to stop, which is exactly why I have to remind myself that fancy carpet or a big expensive range and marble bathroom isn’t what makes a home. What makes a home is love + family and friends + good eats! And one of my best friends is the perfect role model. She has remodeled every single house into a home by filling it with exactly that; love, company and trits! And well a lot of awesome art that doesn’t hurt!

Portrait Wall

I came across this pin a couple weeks ago that was the inspiration behind my photo wall. After digging through my archives these are the photos I am playing with. What do you think? Which ones are you favorite? And yes, I kind of like the artichoke in color even though the rest are in black and white.

Picture frames are 16×20 for a 11×14 photo. From Michaels and they might still be 40% off!

Painted the walls Dove White. Anyone else have a problem with how many options we have for ‘white’?

Trim is Bright White.

Bedside tables here. I went with my gut and also my rule to buy pieces (whether furniture, art,cookware, etc) that stand the test of time. Purchase pieces you just can’t live without and that will adapt to different rooms and spots with time.

These linen sheets in smoke are amazing.

Our ‘master’ bedroom is quite small so that’s basically it after we move the bed, headboard and dresser back in. I mean our closet doubles as a pantry so there’s only so much we can do!

Oh and in the last year I have been trying to de-clutter my life which definitely includes our home. If it doesn’t spark joy, its gotta go and I am trying to be very conscious of my purchases. So with that being said I want to leave you with the following words.

“Everything we own, owns us. We have to care for it, maintain it, store it, fix it, improve it, etc.” It’s been awhile but I think this came from an article out of BEEF Magazine and spoken by a wise wise man. He was getting at a very simple yet salient point – life and business are more efficient, effective and enjoyable when they are devoid of clutter, including things we don’t need and tasks that don’t add value.

Have a great week!

Katie Cooper Portrait Wall

Autumn in my veins

October 30, 2016

apple-tart

Happy Halloween!

Anyone else still trying to put together a last minute costume? The good news is the Autumn weather is holding and kids won’t have to layer a snowsuit underneath. That was the worst.

I don’t get too excited this time of year because I know what’s around the corner. Hurricane like winds, white landscapes and bad moods in case you were wondering. So naturally I try to defy the inevitable by preserving the fruits of Autumn and neatly stacking the jars of care and affection into my pantry. This year we were mostly busy trying to keep up with the plum and apple trees but mixed in a couple canners of chock cherry syrup, pickled beets and salsa. With 18 fruitful apples trees we ended up with over 100 quarts of pale pink applesauce, A LOT of 1/2 gallon jugs of raw apple cider and far too many taunting apple desserts in the house. I am currently trying to perfect my apple tart. My last try showed promise but think I have a couple more tweaks to the crust. I have also been working on a walnut ice cream tart topped with warm apple slices.  This dessert combines some of my favorites things so I can confidently say it’s nearing the top of my favorites list. I have yet to bake an apple pie but I have sliced and frozen plenty of apples for a winter pick me up. I’ve always stayed tried and true to the family recipe but I thought one way to make change without change is with a decorative crust. I’ve really been inspired lately by a photographer and cookbook author from Sweden, Linda Lomelino. So I am trying this look and this look. The latter may inspire you to wow your Thanksgiving dinner guests!

apples

autumn-in-my-veins

So what else have I been doing besides canning and crying about Winter since I last posted almost 2 months ago? Well we finished up haying and harvesting. And with all the tractor hours logged I listed to some pretty good podcasts. this one being a favorite: Corinne Bailey Rae’s The Heart Speaks in Whispers. There’s six episodes that average around 20 minutes each. She explores the themes and personal experiences that fueled  her latest album, The Heart Speaks in Whispers. Exploring the different ways that we can become more consciously connected with our bodies, minds and the natural world around us. Corinne speaks to philosophers, experts, musicians, authors and artists across the field as she examines the art of being ‘present’. SO GOOD!

We weaned calves the day after Labor Day so we are serving the boys and girls every morning and evening now for the next 6 or so months. We’ve also been working on replacing an old coral system.  And it looks like we might actually get to pat ourselves on the back this year. You might think there’s not a whole to it but let me tell you its nothing short of a full design starting with grading, excavation and concrete work for the new barn, chute and tub system followed by welded steel panel corals. This isn’t something you tear down and start from scratch in 5 years so there’s a lot of opinions and ideas to sift through. Oh and how could I forget the family was nominated and recognized as a winner for Montana State’s Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship family busy award!

apple-picking

cooper-hereford-ranch

My youngest sister twisted my arm for another family photo session. This one focused around my 3 nieces and nephew and my youngest sister and her son. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I don’t make a living photographing kids cause I’d be broke and crazy. I love ‘em all to pieces but it’s really really hard to get a good photo when someone (ahem, Miss Molly) is trying her hardest to kill every photo. The good news is I think we ended up with a handful of wall worthy photos!

miss-molly

applesauce

family-portrait

Luke and I are nearing the end of our first design/build project together. And yes, we are still together and happy and I have actually started designing our next project. I can’t wait to share photos. Its killing me but I really want to hold off a little longer until cabinets, counters, tile etc are done. You know, the aesthetics that actually make it look like a house! So stay tuned cause were hoping to be done before Christmas! Luke and I also celebrated 5 years of marital bliss in October. Its true, well at least the 5 years part!! 🙂

And since I still have Autumn in veins, below are a couple great boots I’ve stumbled across! Yes, I have a problem.

1. I ordered these and can’t wait for them to arrive!

2. These remind me of a pair of boots Luke wears and I love them.

3. My sister bought these wedges and I am a little jealous!

4. And I really want to order these.

Home Sweet Home | Part 1

August 9, 2016

Home Sweet Home

Luke and I live in an old three bedroom farmhouse on my family’s ranch. When we moved from California to the old farmhouse on the ranch, I converted one bedroom to an office and another a maze of cardboard storage boxes. In our minds, the move into my family’s farmhouse was temporary while we sifted through real estate sites. It was supposed to be a transitional home.

Three years later we are still here and so are the boxes. And so earlier in the summer I asked Luke if it could be possible that we were actually living on our dream property. The community is filled with artist and farmer/rancher types. We are nestled in a secluded valley outside of booming Bozeman. We are surrounded by ‘pay per view’ mountains and verdant ag land. We wake to song birds and fall asleep to the systematic *shhhh-tik-tik-tik* of sprinklers. Maybe just maybe we needed to walk down our half mile driveway and look at our three bedroom farmhouse from a different perspective. And that’s when I bribed him, “I’ll make you a chocolate peanut butter silk pie if you tear out the shag carpet, retexture the popcorn ceiling and help me conquer the complicated maze upstairs.”

After updating the dining area/living room I am feeling like I can’t ask to0 many favors especially since we are right in the middle of our first design/build project together. Thanks Luke, it looks great!

 

Dining Area

I’ve searched high and low for the perfect tea pot and I think I finally found it here.

I hummed and hawed about this purchase, which is kind of crazy considering I toss almost every salad in it.

This book may be responsible for the updated living space! I highly recommend the read if you want a simple uncluttered  life.

Add these three budget friendly wines to your refrigerator while summer still lingers. Poema/Bicudo Vinho Verde/Cavalchina Bardolino Chiaretto Rose.

I’ve been living in these tees. I now have five colors!

A week or so ago while I was waiting in line at Lowes I picked up a Better Homes and Garden magazine. The entire issue is dedicated to delicious tomato recipes. Go get it.

Sitting Area 2

 

Sitting Area

Every Life has a Sister Ship

June 25, 2016

Sadie

My niece Sadie, she is so dramatic and theatrical and she shines on stage and behind the camera. So it’s totally natural that she would want to gift her best friend a photo shoot for her birthday. Sadie politely asked if I would snap some shots behind the camera for the two of them. I told her I wasn’t much of a portrait photographer but when you’ re fourteen I am not sure you care as much about the photographer as long as you get to play behind the camera. She’s such a sweet girl and has the gift of sweet talk so I threw aside my lack of self confidence to call myself any kind of photographer (a story for another time) and said “sure thing Sade”. However, for one reason or another, probably Montana weather, the shoot was cancelled back in April and I finally cleared space for them last week.

Sadie and Ellie

Look at these two. They’ve just graduated junior high and they have their whole lives ahead of them. Looking through the lens, I couldn’t help to see my summer leading into high school. That summer seems so distant yet so idyllic. Moving cows in cutoff shorts and a bikini top and lazy afternoons around the pool eating stacks of Grandma’s sugar cookies and Grandpa’s favorite Hershey toffee nuggets. I laugh now because I use to give my Dad such a hard time about his white legs. Now its jeans, cover ups and white legs for me too. I think for a moment there, I actually wished I was 18 years younger with tan lines and not a calorie care in the world. Anyways, I had so much fun with these girls. I told them we’ll do it all over again the summer before they venture off to university.

I’ve recently given a lot of muscle in converting the cardboard box maize upstairs into a guest bedroom. I get in these organizing moods sometimes. So it seems I’ve been Spring cleaning since Spring. I’m also determined to figure out a system to keep my personal life and work life on track. I currently rely on stacks of notebooks. It doesn’t work though. It use to work when I was an engineer with one job and one notebook and what seems like a sharper memory. While trying to consolidate and encrypt my notebooks I found a scribble “Poem, The Blue House”. Wondering the context, I searched the poem and after reading it found it very relevant in my life right now and perhaps yours and the girls’ too.

It’s easy to day dream about the good ol’ days or perhaps a chapter we never read but think we should have read. Tomas Tranströmer writes in the poem “Every life has a sister ship. One that follows quite another route than the one we ended up taking. Whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.”

It’s important to acknowledge and live in the present and be forever thankful. It’s also important to know yourself. Can you be happy and content saluting your sister ship from shore? If not, I say take command of your sister ship too! If you find yourself struggling at times, I have found great power and transformation in seeing the familiar from a new, more distant perspective. Sometimes that’s all it takes, perspective. Trust me, I had to walk a half mile down our driveway to see from a new angle that our little farmhouse might actually be the perfect place right now!

Friends

The Blue House

It is night with glaring sunshine. I stand in the woods and look towards my house with its misty blue walls. As though I were recently dead and saw the house from a new angle.

It has stood for more than eighty summers. Its timber has been impregnated, four times with joy and three times with sorrow. When someone who has lived in the house dies it is repainted. The dead person paints it himself, without a brush,  from the inside.

On the other side is open terrain. Formerly a garden, now wilderness. A still surf of weed, pagodas of weed, an unfurling body of text, Upanishads of weed, a Viking fleet of weed, dragon heads, lances, an empire of weed.

Above the overgrown garden flutters the shadow of a boomerang, thrown again and again. It is related to someone who lived in the house long before my time. Almost a child. An impulse issues from him, a thought, a thought of will: “create. . .draw. ..”  In order to escape his destiny in time.

The house resembles a child’s drawing.  A deputizing childishness which grew forth because someone prematurely renounced the charge of being a child. Open the doors, enter! Inside unrest dwells in the ceiling and peace in the walls. Above the bed there hangs an amateur painting representing a ship with seventeen sails, rough sea and a wind which the gilded frame cannot subdue.

It is always so early in here, it is before the crossroads, before the irrevocable choices. I am grateful for this life!  And yet I miss the alternatives. All sketches wish to be real.

A motor far out on the water extends the horizon of the summer night. Both joy and sorrow swell in the magnifying glass of the dew. We do not actually know it, but we sense it: our life has a sister vessel which plies an entirely different route. While the sun burns behind the islands.

-Tomas Tranströmer

Sadie

New Year | New Site !

December 31, 2015

3

Did you have a Merry Christmas?

I trust you are Fat and Happy after a month of holiday parties!

I really do wish that expression held true.  Especially after a month of self-indulgence!

I spend eleven months out of the year trying to maintain a balanced diet and live by the philosophy ‘everything in moderation’. So honestly, by the time December rolls around, I intentionally forget about the numbers . I mean it just wouldn’t be right if I didn’t at least have one New Year resolution to oust sugar. So bye-bye brown butter cookies for breakfast and hello quinoa pancake topped with a fried egg and avocado.

So forget about Fat and Happy, how about a Happy and Healthy New Year. Those words seem a little more synonymous.

I want to share the new site with you. Yes, it’s a New Year and there’s a New Site! Pitchforks and Pomegranates has evolved. After almost two years of food styling and photography I developed an appetite for more. I want to expand my subject beyond food. Don’t worry, the new site will still have lots of recipes. I am still as passionate about food and gardening as I was yesterday. But I have so much more to share with you. Luke and I have been working together since the conception of McDonagh Construction but this Spring will mark our first design/build project together. So I want to point my camera at home design. We have also tried to carryout our wanderlust since we became self employed so I am hoping to share more of our travels whether near or far. I think I told you back in the Fall that I was selected to be a part of the REAL MT program. It’s an amazing program dedicated to leadership and Montana’s agricultural and natural resources industries. It seems there’s much to talk about after each seminar! And of course, the beautiful place I call home #cooperherefordranch. For one reason or another I don’t share enough about this place.

Ok, so now I am asking you to raise your hand and participate. I want your feedback. I’m not asking you to fill out a survey, just a little conversation. I have been wanting more interaction in the comments section and also on social media so I suppose this is one way to start! Why do you come here? As much as this is my hobby, I value your time and care about what compels you to visit me. Hopefully it’s not just because your family and friends! Well, even if it is, I want to know what keeps your attention. I am still trying to solidify my thesis and am looking for fresh ideas. So if you feel like throwing in your (constructive) two cents on what sort of things I could keep in mind for you, that be just dandy!

Oh and a little further down I have shared a couple things that might motivate you in the New Year and just a couple fun things (period)

Kale

IMG_2787

I have been practicing more yoga and really feel like its time to make this purchase. Why didn’t I ask Santa?

Not that you need it, but try adding more life to your home. I think I am about to loose a poinsettia that I potted four Christmases ago so I might replace it with a fiddle leaf fig tree! Yes, I kept a poinsettia alive for four years and yes I guess Home Depot ships a live plant to your doorstep. I think I have a little more research to do but if it shows up with more than one leaf I will let you know!

I double dog dare you to try this. OMG, is it even humanly possible? Don’t get me wrong, I run a tight ship but think this list may suit me better this year!

I stumbled across a new word. I think its perfect for the new year.

tacenda (n.) things better left unsaid; matters to be passed over in silence

This is one of the best smelling candles, EVER!

I am kind of a sucker for beauty products so when I came across this article I got a little excited. Just a little. The sunscreen moisturizer and the hair mask being at the top of my list.

I forget where I came across the words below but they are note worthy.

Remember…..Eat Seasonally
Shop at farmers’ markets
Plant a garden
Conserve, compost & recycle
Cook simply
Cook together
Eat together
Remember…..Food is precious.

Happy New Year! Hope your still drinking champagne this morning.

Speaking of champagne, I recently finished reading Circling the Sun and one of the characters said ‘Champagne is absolutely compulsory in Kenya’. I just loved that, I think champagne should be compulsory at the Cooper Hereford Ranch! Oh, and if you haven’t read it, do. It’s probably one of my favorite reads. Not sure if its because the main character is a wild and strong woman or if its because the majority of the book takes place in the African bush. Heck, it could be all the horse training and racing. You know I wanted to be a jockey when I grew up. Whatever, I loved it!

Giveaway!! | Windy Peak Vintage

December 10, 2015

Windy Peak Vintage_

Listen up!! I have something to share with you. It’s an online shop called Windy Peak Vintage. I’m telling you about it just in time to sneak in a little Christmas shopping for yourself. 🙂 Windy Peak Vintage came to fruition during the snowiest of Montana months. Relatively new, it features unique, one of a kind vintage clothing that shop owner, Kristi, has combed the heart of rural Montana to find. There are also a handful of handcrafted lifestyle goods you will surely covet. Kristi carefully curates her shop collection with love from the Montana countryside. I am obsessed. And I know you will be too.

I was paired with Kristi for Day 06 of the Dream Shop Collective and here’s what’s going on. We are giving away over $100 worth of vintage pieces and jewelry . Below is what Kristi has carefully selected for the lucky winner!

Vintage Eddie Bauer Leather Pack $57
Set of 3 clothes hangers $15
Vintage glass bottles $13
Quartz necklace $18
Vintage scarf $14
Wooden Bead Earrings $17

Be sure to enter quick! Giveaway ends on Sunday morning at 7 Montana time (that’s Mountain Standard)! All you have to do is enter your email address and if you really want to win you have 6 more changes with the bonus options. Super easy stuff and you could receive this beautiful package in the mail as a Christmas gift to yourself!

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You can find more vintage goods like the fringed jacket  here or an assortment of handmade soaps here that would make great stocking stuffers. The citrus energy bar and and homesteader’s coffee bar would be my first two choices!

Also, be sure to browse the Dream Shop Collective website because there are still 3 more giveaways coming up plus you will discover more beautiful shops and creative blogs. And during the remaining days use code ‘DREAMSHOPCOLLECTIVE’ to receive 10% off at all participating shops.

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Giveaways are open to US participants only.
Gifts will be shipped within one week from the closing date of the giveaway and shipped by Windy Peak Vintage.
This giveaway starts on Friday, December 11, at 07:00 AM MST and ends on Sunday, December 13 at 07:00 AM.

Dream Shop Collective

December 8, 2015

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It’s that time of year again. The holiday shopping season is upon us and I want to make your life easier with the Dream Shop Collective.

9 Giveaways | 9 Blogs | 18 Days. We’re a group of women bloggers and independently owned shops banding together to shift the focus from the hyper-stimulated e-commerce world to offer a place of  inspiration and beauty, where handmade, quality and vintage takes center stage. Yes, I know I am sharing this a little late but when Mexico beckons I come a flying! So I’m back in windy Willow Creek now and the good news is Day 05 giveaway with Vaux and Crumbbums started today. So check it out along with the schedule here for the upcoming giveaways. You will see on December 11th I will be hosting the giveaway from Windy Peak Vintage. If you like unique vintage items don’t miss it.

And ‘Tis the Season to be Jolly, so during the remaining 10 days use the code ‘DREAMSHOPCOLLECTIVE’ to receive 10% off at all participating shops. There is a lot of good stuff here peoples!

Good Luck!

From My Garden | DIY Edible Flower Crown

July 22, 2015

P&P Flower Crown

DIY Flower Crown

My best friend is getting married in August! It’s about time; I think they have been dating for almost six years! Well, I guess I am not one to talk since it took me seven years of dating before I would tie the knot! Ha. Anyways, the theme of the wedding is a midsummer’s night dream. It will be very woodsy and whimsical with lots of native flora y fauna. So my best friend, with all her wedding preparation, inspired me to create an edible flower crown from foraged bits and pieces found from or around my garden.

Also, another gorgeous dress from Everything Golden. The most thoughtful tailoring and details on this dress created the most flattering fit. Which is why, I am sure, the scoop neck on this dress is surely the reason it sold so fast. Lots of other beauties available like this vintage denim dress and this vintage plum paisley dress plus lots and lots more on the Mercantile including my favorite textured ceramic plates by Shady Grove Pottery.

Flower Crown

Everything Golden

DIY Edible Flower Crown

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Stem Wire
Green Floral Tape and Wire
Spinach Leaves
Asparagus Fronds
Garlic Scapes
Rhubarb Strips
Marigold Flowers
Lemon Peel

HOW TO MAKE IT

Collect a bouquet of edible flowers, greenery and/or vegetables from your garden or scraps from your recent farmers market trip. I collected a variety of greens and used marigolds and lemon peel for accents of orange and yellow.

Measure a piece of stem wire around the crown of your head. I used two pieces of stem wire and wrapped the ends around each other to form a circle.

Cut edible flowers and greens leaving 2 or 3 inches of stem. Lay clippings around the crown to get a feel for the design. Group clippings together using floral tape and secure to stem wire (crown) using the green wire. I like to arrange the filler greens and smaller flowers first, leaving the statement pieces for last. Place statement flowers (in this case, marigolds) by threading a 4 inch or so piece of green wire through the center from the back, forming a hook to anchor it, then pulling back and wrapping the flower on the crown.

Whala!

Edible Flower Crown

Salt of the Earth |May 7, 2015

May 6, 2015

salt of the earth show

I am excited to share with you an event happening this evening at the Ecce Gallery at the Emerson Center for Arts and Culture in Bozeman. Artist Lindsay Minnich is showing her paintings and photography, which center around local female farmers and Eco warriors in Southwest Montana. It is a combination of all subjects near and dear to her heart: supporting local agriculture, encouraging land stewardship, empowering women, binding community and of coarse food and wine. She is hosting this event with two other female Eco warriors: chef Melissa Harrison, owner of Seasonal Montana and chef Robin Chopus, owner of the Emerson Grill.

I am honored to be featured in this show “Salt of the Earth” with five other brilliant women that have dedicated themselves to educating, healing and increasing the health standard of our local community. Though I am a little terrified to see a painted portrait of myself. Nonetheless, please join me tonight and support local women in agricultural and the arts. It will be a fun evening with live music, delicious food and fabulous wine pairings. Buy your tickets now, the event is almost sold out. More info on the artist, the show and how to buy your tickets here.

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