Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sunporch Chat ♥ With Paula of The Fraker Farm ♥

I’m so glad you could join me today! You are in for a real treat! As a matter of fact, it was all I could do to wait until today to share, but I managed to contain myself. Paula Fraker of The Fraker Farm came over to Country Girl at Home for a Sunporch Chat. 

We enjoyed fresh strawberry cake and sweet (really sweet) iced tea because that’s the way we like it. (Yep, Paula, like Caro Syrup). :)  So grab yourself a big glass of ice cold sweet tea (or if it’s too early – your coffee) and sit back and enjoy our visit! Paula and I are alike in so many ways. And her farm has always drawn me in (as a country girl who has always wanted to live on a farm). It was a pleasure getting to know her better. But I won't keep you waiting any here we go!

1) How long have you been blogging and what/who gave you the desire to blog?

I think the first blog I ever read (or the first time I ever heard the word “blog”) was in 2007, when I stumbled upon The Pioneer Woman’s blog by accident one day and started reading. This was back before her blog became what is today, not there is anything wrong with it now, but it was much simpler back then. I thought it was neat how you could share an online “journal” with other people who had the same interests, so I started my blog back in January of 2008, and I really intended for my blog to be more about the goings-on from inside my home… like sharing recipes and sewing projects and things like that, but somewhere along the way, I must have thought the animal escapades around here were more interesting (or funnier, which they are…) because I post more about them than anything else.

2) How did you choose the name of your blog and why?

After my husband and I moved here and more and more animals started calling this place home, my family began referring to our place as the Fraker Farm… like “how are things at the Fraker Farm?” So even though it started out as a joke, when I was trying to come up with a name for the blog, I thought, “Why not?” It seemed to just fit.

3) What variety of topics do you post on your blog (examples - home decorating, family, gardening, recipes, adoption, homeschooling, crafting, etc....)

I try to have a balance of gardening, bird watching, nature, sewing, and recipes, but more often than not, the animals manage to steal the show. They really crack me up sometimes with their funny little personalities.

4) Tell us a little about yourself and your family.

I grew up and spent most of my life in Knoxville, TN, about 45 minutes from where we live now. I met my wonderful husband in January of 2002 and we were married the following year, and we moved to the little town of Andersonville. We don’t have any children…. well, at least not the human kind, but we’ve more than made up for it with the 4-legged variety. I am blessed to still have my Dad, who along with my brother and his wife still live in Knoxville, as well as a large extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins to whom I am very close to.

5) How would you describe your decorating style?

Let’s see… probably a little primitive, a little farmhouse country, and a whole lot of this and that! Seriously, I have just a few things that I have bought for the house to fit a particular look, like the quilt on our bed or the shower curtains and bathroom décor, but most everything else really doesn’t fit into any certain style, so it’s really a hodgepodge. But mostly it’s just a relaxed, country style.

6) What's your favorite color and why?

Blue~ I love all blues, but especially denim and cobalt. I think I love it so much because I’ve always loved the color of the sky on a clear spring day. I have it all over the house especially in the kitchen- my countertop is blue granite. While building our house everyone thought I had lost my mind when I said I wanted a blue countertop, but with our maple cabinets I think it worked really well and I love it!

7) Tell us a few of your favorite things (collections, things that make you happy, etc.).

I used to collect teapots, and I still do occasionally, if I find a really unusual one at a flea market or antique store. That’s another thing I love, browsing through antique stores and “junking”, although I usually don’t buy much, I just like looking. And music makes me happy… I love bluegrass and classic country, but I also love some of the new too. Mostly I love being at home~ I had to go on lots of business trips and travel when I worked at my last job so now I love just being with my husband and all the animals that live here and enjoying the peace and quiet of home.

8) What do you like to do in your spare time (hobbies, etc..)?

I spend most of my free time sewing… I have an embroidery machine that I love to play around with, and also I love to do appliqué work. I’ve made a few small quilts, just to see if I could, and my dream is to find the time to make a large quilt one day. I love rainy days when there are no outside chores to do because I can spend the whole day in my sewing room.

9) What does your dream house look like? (Describe and/or include photo)

Actually the house we live in now is my dream home… we built it in 2005 and it turned out just as we had hoped. I got to pick out everything that went into it and even though I would like to upgrade the wall colors soon, I wouldn’t change a thing about the design and layout of the house. (Except maybe put in an in-ground pool one day… *sigh*… that would make my dream home complete!)

10) If you could visit anywhere, anytime, where would it be and why?

Like I said, I’m not much on traveling these days, but my hubby and I have dreamed of taking a trip through New England in the fall sometime…. I’ve only seen pictures of it but it looks so beautiful. And I would love to see Hawaii…. but I don’t know if I’m up to being on a plane that long. (I hate flying!)

11) Would you share with us a favorite homemaking tip or recipe, etc..?

I have so many favorite recipes that my mother and grandmother used… I could go on and on about them! I also have some other wonderful cooks in my family and we love to share recipes with each other. One of our family favorites is a simple and easy Chess Pie~ and since I always have a surplus of eggs I make this a couple of times a month. 3 eggs 1/2 cup milk 1/4 cup half and half (or use 3/4 cup whole milk instead of 1/2 cup) 1 cup sugar 1 tsp vanilla 1 tbsp cornmeal Mix all ingredients and pour into a regular (not deep-dish) pie crust; place 3 or 4 small slivers of butter on top of the pie (optional) and bake at 400 degrees F for approximately 35-40 minutes. Do not over-cook. Sometimes we even have it for breakfast! *YUMMY*

12) Tell us something about yourself that we might not already know from reading your blog. (something unusual, etc.)

I sing and play the upright bass in a bluegrass gospel group along with my husband, who plays the mandolin, my brother who plays guitar and sings harmony, and my sister-in-law, who has a beautiful voice, is the lead singer. We don’t get to sing together as much as we used to, but we try to every chance we get.

13) Tell us a little about your farm. (How it came to be/daily routine/animals/etc…)

When we built our house 2005, we had plans on getting some animals in the future, but not right away. That plan didn’t last long because before we knew it, we had a yard full of chickens and a whole flock of sheep. The sheep actually came by accident… we were given an orphaned lamb that was going to be killed unless someone took it, and the sheep population grew from that. (The full story of the orphaned lamb is called “The Accidental Shepherd” and can be found on my blog.) We don’t have a large farm, but taking care of the animals, keeping the fences cleaned out and in good shape, and keeping the grass mowed in the summer is almost a full-time job. A typical day for me starts early in the morning with feeding the chickens and gathering eggs, and turning the sheep out into the pasture. I do a quick check of everyone’s water supply and refill if necessary, then clean out the barns as much as I can to keep the flies at a minimum. I usually make another check at lunchtime, and then in the evening the sheep are fed grain, and everyone is locked up safely away from predators at night before bedtime. The next day it starts all over again… its hard work sometimes, especially keeping everyone’s water supply in check during the coldest part of winter and the hottest part of summer, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

14) Tell us a way God has blessed you and/or your family.

Other than accepting Christ into my heart and knowing him as my Savior, the biggest blessing in my life has been my husband… I was 30 years old when we met and had never been married. My mother was for the most part an invalid by that time and I was still living at home and helping Dad take care of her. She was not only my mother but also my very best friend, and I felt like God would send someone for me in His time so I wasn’t in a hurry. But after I met James, I knew I had found the one I was meant to be with for the rest of my life, so we were married exactly one year to the day of our first date. In the beginning I struggled with guilt over leaving home, but God gave me a peace about it… and He knew exactly what He was doing because my mother passed away just three days shy of our second wedding anniversary. I don’t think I would have ever made it through that terrible time in my life without having such a wonderful person like James to lean on.

15) Share any words of wisdom and/or a favorite quote you'd like to leave with us.

I guess the most important words of wisdom I learned in my life I owe to my mother… she taught me two very important lessons, the first being the Golden Rule, (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”) and secondly, the importance of having a good reputation in every aspect of your life. One of my favorite scriptures from the Bible is "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold." Proverbs 22:1


Thank you Paula! It’s easy to see why you and The Fraker Farm are so loved. You’re full of adventures and a beautiful person inside and out. I enjoyed getting to know you better. And thanks for letting me live out my farm dreams through you!

Thank you all for joining us today for our Sunporch Chat. I sure do enjoy your comments here and I know Paula would love for you to stop by The Fraker Farm and say hi. The animals will be waiting too.  :)

♥ Tammy ♥    


Nancy said...

I loved Paula before, but getting to know her better makes me love her even more!! So glad you two did this post!!

Mamabug said...

I love Paula and her wonderful blog. Hoping to meet her one of these days when I'm on one of my trips to Tennessee. And her sweet little Lily always makes me smile.

Mamabug said...

I love Paula and her wonderful blog. Hoping to meet her one of these days when I'm on one of my trips to Tennessee. And her sweet little Lily always makes me smile.

bettyj said...

well, I certainly enjoyed the visit today. Paula we live very you ever go to the Speckled Hen in Clinton. I am going to start following your blog. WAsn't it fun sitting on Tammys SunPorch and talking?

Lois Christensen said...

That was beautiful!

LynnMarie said...

That was so fun and I especially liked the photos of her loverly home and family. Loved it today.

Vickie said...

Tammy - so glad you did this today! I've been a blog friend of Paula for a few years now, but I know more about her than I did before. She's a sweetheart! Plus - I found a new blog to read - YOURs!

lil red hen said...

I am a follower of Paula's blog. Thank you sooo much for this visit with her. She's such a pleasant person!

Donna said...

What a fun interview! Thanks for letting me visit!

TexWisGirl said...

totally enjoyed getting to know a bit more about paula AND her gorgeous house and hubby. :)

Trace4J said...

What a great chat on your sun porch.
What a wonderful yummy sweet tea too.
I can't wait to get to know Paula more too.

~Sara said...

What a nice visit today. It was so nice getting to know Paula. Sure hope that you can visit New England sometime, it is so beautiful there. We just returned from a visit there and I have blog posts about it. Thanks for sharing with us.Off to find Paula's blog.

basketsnprims said...

What a lovely chat and learning about Paula was awesome. thanks for sharing, Tammy.

Paula said...

Thanks for asking me, Tammy~ this was so much fun!
You and I go way back... I think you started blogging around the same time I did and we "met" not long afterwards, so you are one of my oldest and dearest "blog friends".
We should have done this a long time ago! :)

Doreen said...

I ditto what Nancy said..."I loved Paula before, but getting to know her better makes me love her even more!! So glad you two did this post!!"

Goodness how I wish you lived next door Paula!!

Wonderful blog Tammy :)

Wishing you a great day.

Anonymous said...

Paula is a precious friend of mine. Nice to learn even more about her!

Mary said...

I love your sunroom!! I always enjoy visiting Fraker Farms and love Paula. I'm so glad I came over and met you..this was a really great post.

Penny said...

Wonderful post.... it was so nice getting to know Paula. I will be heading over to her blog to learn more about the Fraker Farm!

Tina Leigh said...

Oh I love her place...thanks for introducing her!

arkie said...

Enjoyed "meeting" her very much!

Tanya said...

Hi Tammy,
What an adorable idea to do these posts! Loved it! Paula is such a sweetie! I'm sure it's a lot of work but she sure does make it look "fun!" She has such a positive outlook on everything!
Hoping you have a wonderful time with Jason on your getaway! We celebrated 28 years on July 28th. Hoping to get away a bit before school starts.
Can't wait to see all your pictures of your relaxing fun time together!
Big hugs,

wayside wanderer said...

I loved reading this! I've read Paula's blog for a long time and much of this is new to me. Paula, you are beautiful inside and out! I love seeing your home (and your fabulous kitchen island!!!), your family and your sewing. I'm not even sure I knew you were in TN. :) God bless you, sweet lady!

Ginger said...

I came over from Paula's blog and I have to say, what a gorgeous gal she is. I don't think I've ever seen a picture of her face. Her hubby is pretty handsome too. They make a darling couple.
I enjoyed reading your chat, learned some things I didn't know about Paula. (all good of course).

Mary Ann said...

What a wonderful interview with Paula, whom I've always liked, and now through her found your wonderful blog!

Tiffany Kennedy said...

Wonderful post.... it was so nice getting to know Paula. I will be heading over to her blog to learn more about the Fraker Farm!