I reeaally need to write blog posts more often.
There’s usually something going on ’round here all the time and by the time I get around to blogging I end up cramming a bunch of topics into one post thus, the title of this post. Ha!
I really enjoy the whole blogging process… from coming up with the topic, to the taking and editing of the photos, to the writing… it’s a creative outlet for me. Unfortunately, it’s only ONE of MANY creative outlets for me and, as of late, it has become a more distant outlet and pastime, if you will.
I think because the whole blogging process takes me a while I tend to put it off until I have a good chunk of time. But, since I really do enjoy blogging I am going to make a concerted effort to start incorporating it into my days more often than not!
Speaking of days, about a week ago I started working outside the home again. WHAT?! I know! It’s quite an unbelievable story but let me tell you how it all came about…
As any homesteader knows, creating a self-sufficient homestead can be quite costly these days. There’s farm equipment such as a hay rake and baler to purchase so that we can harvest our own hay from the lower field for use in the chicken coop or any other farm animals we have in the future; there’s maintenance and fuel for tractors and mowers; there’s plows and tillers to be purchased to make gardening a bit easier as we creep on up in years; a sickle mower is on our wish list so we can keep the creek banks cleared; then there’s a 100 year old farm house that is in need of external repair and siding as well as adding a half bath upstairs for the sake of convenience and renovating the downstairs bath; feed for the chickens; bee equipment; just to name a few things.
With a limited income we were starting to feel the squeeze. We don’t enjoy being squeezed so tightly so I started praying for a part time job to work alongside my essential oil business. I spread the word among church members and asked them to keep their ears open for any job openings preferably in a mom-n-pop type business but, in the back of mind, I really wanted to work at a local B&B that holds a special place in our hearts.
See, when we drove from Texas (where we were working at the time) to look at the farm the realtor took us and the seller to lunch at this beautiful B&B six miles down the road (probably two as the crow flies!) and it was there, standing in the parking lot, where our offer was accepted and we shook hands with the seller. It was totally awesome!
So, I thought if I have to work outside the home to earn a little extra money to put towards some of the things we need then it would be awesome if I could work at the local B&B that, not only holds a special place in our hearts, but is also a place that I have come to respect and, in some ways, can relate to. How’s that, you ask? Well, the owner had a dream. A dream where people could come to their little piece of paradise nestled in the mountains, and rest, relax and rejuvenate. This dream took a lot of work, perseverance, and some help from family and friends to become a reality. This dream is now a bustling business and has earned the respect and appreciation of all who enter. Dreams can come true just like owning a farm, Dream Valley Farmstead, was a dream of ours!
Well, the weeks went by and still no job. I did not want to settle for any job so I kept praying and waited.
I revisited our budget and tightened it up some more.
To bring in a few extra dollars we faithfully set up at our local farmer’s market and continued to sell out of eggs. We even added some extra produce we had and some of my Jewelweed & Plantain Salve.
It was at the farmer’s market where I chatted with a fellow vendor and beekeeper the entire three hours! We talked bees, gardening, Laughlin, Nevada, old farmhouses and tons of other topics, ha! Towards the end of the market she asked me if, by any chance, I was looking for a part-time job. I said YES but had no idea what she was about to say.
Come to find out, she knew the owner of the aforementioned B&B and said they were looking for help. Wait, WHAT?! Needless to say, I called that evening when we got home and long story short, I started the next morning!
Image snagged from Snug Hollow Farm Facebook page
I’ve worked several days doing all sorts of tasks… from cleaning the cabins, to food prep, to plating food, to serving food, to kitchen clean-up, to ironing linens and sheets and it has been a blast! It is non-stop work and my feet and back are not happy with me by the end of the day but my co-workers are amazing and so very patient with me as I have a lot to learn about the hospitality industry. I guess that’s another one I can add to my varied list of jobs but talking to the guests and seeing them enjoy their experience at the B&B is so rewarding. I feel honored and privileged for the opportunity to help keep the owners dream alive and to try and maintain the high standard of service that has been set. They keep calling me to come in so I guess I’m doing OK!
Back at the farm, CountryBoy has harvested quite a few pinto beans…
Aren’t they gorgeous? I just think they are some of the prettiest beans. I will be canning these in pint jars which can, then, be easily added to soups or chili. For now, they simply get washed and then put in the freezer until all are harvested.
The grapes are finally turning…
I can’t wait to have enough Concord grapes to make some jam. Maybe next year!
The watermelons are making their appearance…
Y’all already know that we’ve been harvesting cucumbers like crazy! So far, I’ve made and canned Bread & Butter pickles, Sweet Icicle Pickles, Cucumber Relish, and now I’ve got Deli Dills in the crock. These will ferment for about three weeks. We’ll see how it goes! They already smell good – garlic, dill, pickling spices, mmmm!
If y’all are following us on Facebook then you know that I ‘saw a butterfly’ this morning (literally!) and got distracted doing other stuff (like scrubbing the porch table and grill, and hanging a whirli-gig!) all before doing what I had originally stepped outside to do. One thing leads to another – story of my life!
Here’s that butterfly…
sneaking a drink from the hummingbird feeder. Speaking of hummingbirds, they were impatiently waiting for this ‘thing’ to get off their feeder, ha!
Also, before I made it to my photo destination this image caught my eye…
It makes me want to pour some iced coffee and head outside to sit here and read a book and soak up the beautiful weather we’ve been fortunate to have. You’ll probably find me there this afternoon!
Meanwhile, THIS is what I had originally stepped outside to get photos of, the greenhouse/porch wall…
More progress has been made! CountryBoy used salvaged 2×4’s from an old pole shed for the studs; he stuffed insulation that was given to us in between the studs and then he covered it up with salvaged 1/4″ plywood from the old porch ceiling. So far, I’m liking the cost of this project!
Can you believe those vertical boards were once the original interior walls? It stills blows my mind! If you want to read more about box-frame houses you can read about it HERE.
He was also able to straighten the wall up quite a bit both horizontally and vertically. We feel much better about the structural integrity of that wall now and it will be nice to have another insulated wall in the house. It should help keep the downstairs warmer during the winter which should also help us conserve the wood we burn in the fireplace.
There’s still the other half of that wall to do but now we’re dealing with the electrical panel and there may or may not be a door put in that goes into the mudroom. The jury is still out on that but I think it’s an excellent idea making it easy to go snip a few herbs for the meal!
That’s about it for today’s chit-chat. I don’t have to work today so I’m going to head upstairs and do some sewing – another creative outlet for me – and then look for me out on the porch!