Sanding, Staining, Sealing

If you’ve been following our renovation journey then you know that we completely gutted the farmhouse kitchen shortly after moving in.

Here’s what it looked like at the beginning of demo (I forgot to get a before)…

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I am standing in a doorway and taking this shot.  In pure Joanna Gaines (Fixer Upper) style we removed this wall (and everything else!), added our version of shiplap and started building the cabinets and putting everything back.

When it came to the countertops, in order to save a ton of money we chose to use 2×6’s.  CountryBoy and his brother secured the boards from underneath then I went at them with the sander then stained and sealed them.

I chose a Summer Oak to help keep the kitchen light…

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and they turned out great!

But, as time went on and the wood began to dry out the boards started shrinking and twisting leaving large gaps between each board.  We ended up with all kinds of crumbs in the drawers below.

So, last March, while I was away at the annual quilt retreat, CountryBoy dismantled the countertop, took it outside and began the process of gluing, sanding and putting it all back together.

He did a great job and there were no more ginormous cracks!  Yay!  But… the wood was almost raw and was beginning to show wear and tear and stains.  Think pink from strawberry juice (wink!).

So, one day I got a wild hair and removed everything from the countertop and got my trusty orbital sander out and lots and lots of sandpaper.  (Making for lots and lots of dust in the house.  sigh.  oh well – had to be done eventually.)

I started with 80 grit to remove the stains and the marks from the belt sander CountryBoy used.  Next was 120 grit and lastly was 220.

While the countertop was drying after removing the dust I made the decision to use a dark stain this time.  I thought the kitchen could use a nice ‘pop’ to break up all the light colors.

I used a wood conditioner then Espresso stain.  It was looking good.  whew.

After the stain dried I applied two coats of polyurethane and here is how they turned out…

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Swoon!

I never thought I would ever want dark countertops but I really LOVE the dark stain!  I think it ties in with the hardware and faucet, brings out the color of the cabinets and it’s definitely the ‘pop’ that I was looking for.

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That, right there, is where lots of goodies are made.

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It may not be magazine-worthy and it’s definitely NOT staged but this is our fully functional and practical farmhouse kitchen for everyday use.  And I love it!

My next sanding project was the coffee table CountryBoy made.

We’ve been using it for a while now and liked its rustic look but it was never fully sanded down or sealed so it was difficult to dust and was easily susceptible to stains in its raw state.

Of course I forgot to get a before photo but here is a shot of the end tables he made and is what the coffee table looked like…

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Rough barn wood with an overall gray tone.

So yesterday, while CountryBoy was out fishing with a neighbor, I took the coffee table outside and started my sanding process using the three different grits.

I didn’t want to sand off too much because there was so much character in the wood – saw marks, knots, and a beautiful grain.

After removing the dust I, again, used the wood conditioner but skipped the stain and went straight to sealing it with three coats of polyurethane.

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Pardon the light spot, I had the overhead light on but it really turned out great!  These photos really don’t do it any justice.

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We were afraid it would turn out too dark and disappear in our dark living room but, thankfully, it stayed on the lighter side.

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Now to see if I can keep from piling my books, magazines and projects on it, ha!

Still to do are the two end tables he made.

I think we make an awesome team… he makes/builds whatever project we’re working on and I do the finishing work to show off his handiwork and usually end up with all the compliments (wink!).

Till next time friends!

Garden Growth and Chicks

It’s been a weird year for planting the gardens.

It’s been raining a lot.  We’ve had cold snaps; even some temps back in the 30’s at night and had to bring the tomato starts back in the house.

We don’t have everything planted yet but a few things are already coming up…

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Five rows of potatoes have come up. Yay!  Six more rows have recently been planted.  Good thing I LOVE potatoes!

Another thing that is coming up that I am thrilled about are the lima beans…

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We had to replant them as the previous ones rotted in the ground.  Whether it was because the seeds were old or if it was too much rain but seeing these pop up out of the ground makes me extremely happy.  There is nothing quite like fresh lima beans… so buttery and yummy even when seasoned with only a bit of salt!  Now if we can just get a good harvest.  It seems every time I’ve grown limas that it takes them a long time to form and the harvest is few.  Fingers crossed we get a mess of them this year so I can put some up to enjoy the rest of the year.

Also coming up in the big garden so far are the beets, onions, and corn.  In the little garden we have two cucumbers coming up, three asparagus and some chives.  The jalapenos are showing promise as are some of the basil.  Struggling, because of all the rain, are the beefsteak tomato starts.

Still to plant are the Roma tomato and green pepper starts.  I’m also going to plant more cucumbers and probably start some more tomato seeds, just in case these don’t make it or do well.  It’s also good to stagger the planting so that they don’t all ripen at once.  Besides, can you ever have TOO many farm fresh tomatoes?  I don’t think so (wink!).

Like I said, it’s been a weird planting season.

Speaking of gardens, we’ve been letting the young’uns out in the little garden since we don’t have much planted in there yet.

It is fenced off so they can’t roam too far and are easier to round up in the evening to be put back in the grow-out coop for the night.  Believe it or not, they actually come to me to be put back in the little cage that we transport them to and fro.  It’s so cute!  CountryBoy calls me MamaHen, ha!

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They are getting so big and actually look like miniature chickens now!

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Aren’t they gorgeous?  This little one is a Silver Laced Wyandotte.

They have finally ventured away from this corner (and my grapes and rhubarb, thank goodness) and have discovered the rest of the garden getting lots of exercise and sunshine.

Several times Hunter has taken on the job of babysitting the young’uns while they’re out.

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This babysitting is hard work…

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and makes ya thirsty!

It’s raining again today so the young’uns didn’t get to go outside and play.  Maybe tomorrow.

I found this beauty the other day in the side yard…

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I’m assuming it’s a rose of some sort.  Does anyone know what kind it is?

Till next time my friends

 

 

It’s Been A While

It’s been, what, three months since my last blog post?  Mercy, time flies!

We’ve been busy doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that during that time.

Things like surviving winter; working on my sewing space/office; attending a quilt retreat while CountryBoy held down the farm; tearing down a pole shed; sealing the fireplace rocks; rearranging the second guest room; relocating the salvaged wood in the barn to make way for CountryBoy’s shop; tidying up the grounds; walling off a portion of the shed/guest house for storage; etc., etc.

In early April we added sixteen chicks to our current flock of ten chickens.  We lost five in the first couple of weeks (it was a very emotional few weeks) and bought six more during a trip to Tractor Supply giving us a total of seventeen chicks.

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They have graduated to the grow-out coop in the big girls’ coop and are all doing well, thank goodness.

So far, the big girls aren’t too concerned about the young’uns.

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We’ll see how it goes when we start integrating them.  Fingers crossed all goes well!

Does anyone know what happened to Spring?

We had a few Spring-like days and the flowers started blooming.

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Now it’s cold again.  We’ve had a fire going the last few days to keep the chill out of the house.

And rain.  Lots and lots of rain.

We’re not sure how the gardens will turn out this year.  We’ve managed to plant a few things such as corn, beets, onions, potatoes, lima beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, jalapenos, basil and marigolds but then it rained and the temps dropped.

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This was a few days ago.  sigh.

I’ve seen two cucumbers so far.  Looks like I’ll be planting some more.  The corn, onions, beets and potatoes seem to be doing OK.  The other stuff?  We’ll have to wait and see.  If they make it through all the rain and cold temps they’ll be some pretty hardy plants!

I’m hearing the weather is crazy all over the place.  How is it where you are?  Have you been able to get anything planted in your garden?

Till next time!

Some Farmhouse Kitchen History & Seed Germination Test

After moving into the farmhouse we decided, rather quickly, to completely gut the kitchen.  Had we known that in a few weeks we would have a massive snow storm we might’ve considered waiting a bit but, that’s neither here nor there.  We gutted it clear to the exterior wall exposing the house to some very chilly temperatures.

During the demo process we removed the drywall and discovered layer upon layer of wallpaper and even some newspaper covering the rough cut wood walls.

We saved a section of them knowing we wanted to display them somehow.

When I was in Florida back in January I had purchased a shadowbox that was 50% off and it has been taking up floor space in the pantry ever since.

The weather today is cold with snow flurries off and on.  Not a good day to be working outdoors if one doesn’t have to.  So, it seemed like a good day to finally do something with the ancient wallpaper.

CountryBoy took on this project and enjoyed sifting through the layers and creating the display.

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Fourteen layers!  The newest is on the left with the oldest, the newsprint, on the right.  He even used the original tacks which were used to hang the wallpaper.  (Yes, we saved a bunch of those, too!)

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Pretty cool!

I’m happy we kept it and now some of the history of the farmhouse kitchen is on display.

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A couple of weeks ago I started a seed germination test on beefsteak & roma tomatoes, green peppers and jalapeno seeds.

The green pepper seeds did nothing and appeared to be molding up so I tossed them and all the seeds as well.  Who knows how old they were.  They were some I had saved a few years back, so, not a huge loss but disappointing nonetheless.  I started another germination test using some seeds I saved a few weeks ago from a pepper I used.  We’ll see how they do and if nothing then I’ll buy a pack of seeds.

The jalapeno seeds also did nothing but they were not moldy so I will let them go a bit longer.  We’ve not had very many sunny days so that may be part of the germination problem.

Both the beefsteak and roma tomato seeds did well with 7 out of 10 seeds sprouting with nice roots.

I went ahead and planted all of them since the remaining seeds appeared to have a root starting to emerge from the seed.  If those seeds end up sprouting then I will have a germination rate of 100% of the tomato seeds.  Currently, the germination rate is 70% which is pretty good.  The beefsteak seeds were purchased last year and the roma’s are from seeds I saved and are, at least, over a year old so I’m happy they did so well.  If the rate remains at 70% I will simply start a few extra seeds to make up for the ones that may not germinate.

CountryBoy saw where someone had used toilet paper tubes to start their seeds in then you simply put the tube in the ground when ready.  Sounds easy enough so we’ve been saving them.

I put ten tubes each in two shoebox size plastic totes, added seed starter soil and placed the tiny sprouts one per tube.

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I think they’re happy to be out of the cramped quarters of the paper towel and baggy!

Now if we could get some sunshiny days to help these guys along.

Have you started any seeds yet?  Are you planning on it?  If so, what are your garden plans this year?  I’d love to hear about it!

A Shelf Project for My Sewing Room/Office

My sewing room and office space is slowly evolving.  I am trying not to rush it.  Which, for me, is sometimes difficult especially when I am wanting to work on a project and the stuff I need to do it is all over the place.  ugh, I can’t stand that!  I want it organized and easily accessible.

As I said, I am not rushing into designing this space.  I am letting it evolve.  I want to make sure that I think through all the ways I will be using the space and then coming up with the best possible storage solutions to neatly accommodate all my craft and sewing supplies.  I also want it to be a cozy space since it’s what you immediately see when you go upstairs.  And, at the same time, I don’t want to spend a lot of money making it happen.

Creating a space this way, rather than purchasing new or ready-made items, takes a bit of creativity and sometimes ingenuity.  When a clear idea comes to me then I proceed without stopping (much to CountryBoy’s chagrin, sometimes (wink)).

Just such an idea came to me last night so, of course, I had to tackle it today!

I was needing something to put some of my photography and clipart books on and on something, preferably, near the computer.

When we moved into the farmhouse, there were two shelves mounted on the wall above my computer desk.  We had taken them down to paint the walls and, well, because they needed some TLC.  They were put in the barn.

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I decided that one of those shelves would be the solution since they were custom made for that wall and made well.  And, because it wouldn’t cost me anything but a little bit of my time.  But, I didn’t want it up there in its current state.

The white paint was yellowed from smoke and there was glue or caulk badly smeared in several places.

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I decided to give it a more shabby-chic look so out came my orbital sander.  Before long the yellow was gone as well as most of the glue.

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Much better!

Now to make it blend in a little better with my espresso stained desks so, out came my espresso stain….

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I covered the white paint and all, allowed it to dry a few minutes then wiped it off.

I let all of it dry for another fifteen minutes or so then put a coat of dark wax on it.

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Yes!  That’s exactly the look I was trying to achieve.  Yay!

Now to see what it looks like on the wall…

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Oh yea!  Works for me.

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As I was rubbing the wax on it I kept thinking that it now looked like a shelf I might find at Hobby Lobby but without the price!

As I mentioned earlier, this space is slowly evolving.

Here it is in its current state…

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Still needed are storage solutions (which will go on the wall behind the rocker) and utilizing more wall space.  I’m thinking about using a piece of pegboard that was left behind by the previous owner, cleaning and dressing it up and using that as well to hang embroidery hoops, scissors and maybe some thread.  Still pondering that idea so I will wait until I have a clear picture in mind.

But, for now, I am happy that it is coming together and that I am able to use it in the meantime.

Bit by bit!

Signs of Spring

I wandered around the farm the other day with my camera in hand.

I saw a few signs that Spring is on its way.  Yay!

The daylilies are beginning to peak through the dirt…

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The chickens have done a great job of clearing away all the weeds which saved me a LOT work!  Thank you girls :).

I don’t remember what these are but they are shooting up quickly…

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It amazes me that these plants are so hardy even under feet of snow.  While I was  walking around that day there was still a bit of snow in front of barn…

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It is all gone now but the forecast, as of today, is calling for snow showers on Thursday.  oh boy!  Thankfully, the snow won’t bother what’s already coming up.  whew!

Another sign of Spring is our driveway; or lack thereof …

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The deterioration started last Spring when we received copious amounts of rain and the force of the water coming down off the mountains started washing out the rocks.  Then with each rain then the melting of all the snow it has just continued to deteriorate and here we are almost into Spring again.  It’s hard to tell from the photo but there are some spots where it has eroded a foot or more.

Before spending any money  to fix the driveway we need to address the runoff of the mountain issue otherwise any monies spent would be washed away into the creek.  We got an estimate to have a pond dug at the base of the hill beside the barn, culverts placed where necessary and the driveway fixed but, truth be told, it was way more than we can afford.

I have entered the farm into a contest with Hobby Farm magazine and BobCat where the winner will receive a week’s worth of whatever needs done using BobCat equipment and a crew.  I focused on our need to solve the runoff issue for not only the driveway but also the barn where water goes as well making four of the stalls unusable in rainy season.  Needless to say, I am praying hard that we win!  I’d love it if you’d send up a prayer or two also :).  I think the winner will be chosen sometime in April or May.

If we don’t win, well… I don’t know; we’ll figure something out.

Last Friday and Saturday were beautiful so we took advantage of it and headed outdoors.  More progress was made in and around the chicken coop.

We straightened up a little more and salvaged what wood we could by cutting off rotten ends.

Since our budget is slim to none on the coop redo we are using what’s already in and around the farm.  One such item we were reusing were the roosts for inside the coop.  I liked the poles of the pole shed and wanted to use them for the roosts.  They were well-worn tree limbs or small trees and I thought they would be perfect!  The thickness of them were good where the girls could still wrap their feet around it yet big enough so that their feet would be mostly, if not completely, covered when they hunker down therefore helping to keep their feet warm during the cold, winter months.  I also really like the look of them :).

But, in order to use them we had to get rid of the pole shed.

After we relocated everything from underneath and around the pole shed CountryBoy made quick work of it by simply removing the side braces then pushing it over.  That’s how rotten most of the poles were.

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It looks so different now!

We still have to remove the shingles and salvage what wood we can but that thin white line on the ground is the roof.

Now we had some wood to make new roosts for the girls.

In our efforts to create an efficient coop CountryBoy wanted to relocate the roosts.  Here’s where we originally put them…

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and now they’re over here…

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This arrangement works much better making the coop roomier and giving the girls more room to jump/fly down from the roosts.

We also made it wider to accommodate the chicks we are getting in April.

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This should be sufficient to accommodate our future flock of 26 comfortably.

Here are the girls the first night after the roost relocation…

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I think they like them!  Oh, and aren’t the pole shed poles perfect for roosts?!

Still to do in the coop are adding more nest boxes and building the grow-out coop.  Bit by bit.

The days the weather has not been conducive to working outdoors I have spent some of my time making these cute little card wallets…

I have enjoyed spending time in my sewing room this winter because before long I won’t have the time or the energy to do much sewing once the ground warms up and it’s time to get the gardens going.  Then my days will be filled with mowing, weeding, harvesting and preserving.  To everything there is a season so I am making the most of winter :).

I’m also hoping to be able to open up my Etsy shop again or maybe create my own site therefore cutting out the middle man.  We’ll see.  All in time.  Bit by bit!

The Focused Farmstead

The ninth of this month marked our one year anniversary of moving to the farm.

The year has flown by.

We found ourselves scrambling to get some major projects done.

Some out of sheer necessity such as the bridge.  If we wanted a delivery of propane the bridge had to be completely rebuilt since they wouldn’t drive over the old bridge.

Some were because of the season such as Spring. In the midst of the bridge and kitchen renovation we found ourselves scrambling to throw some seeds in the ground.  We had no plan, but, thankfully, we had a great harvest!

And some were because of growing animals.  The chicks we bought early Spring were getting big, and fast!  So, what was once a dog kennel was quickly refurbished to house our growing flock of hens.

We’ve been so focused on simply getting things such as those done that, up to now, we’ve only tossed ideas around of what we want to do here on the farmstead.  Gardens, yes, but goats? alpacas? dairy cow? bees?  hay?  The verdict was still out on what all we wanted to delve into.

After some livestock price-checking and  some discussion about what additional farm equipment we would need, if any, with each of the livestock additions and the price of said equipment we decided to stick with chickens and gardening for now.  I do know that, one day, I would like to add a beehive and maybe some alpacas.  Pollination, honey and wool, great additions for the garden and to aid in our goal of becoming more self-sufficient.

Now that we have a focus it was time to start taking steps to achieve our goal.

First up is renovating the chicken coop and run.  Since the girls are free range we decided to go ahead and get rid of the chicken run.

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Most of the fence posts were rotten at the bottom leaving the fence barely standing.

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Removing the run will also give us more backyard.

The fence is gone in the following photo and the boards have since been picked up and the rotten ones burned and the good ones set aside for use in another project.

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We also wanted to close it in more to protect the girls from predators and extremely windy conditions.

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To help close it in we decided to repurpose some boards we took off a pole shed we are planning on tearing down since our chicken coop renovation budget is slim to none.

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The reasons for tearing the pole shed down?  The center of the roof is rotten and for aesthetics.  There are too many structures clumped in one area making the backyard seem small and cluttered.  Removing it will help open up the yard.

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Here’s a view of all the structures from another angle and what you would see when driving down the road…

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Too cluttered.  yuck.

Many of the boards we removed were rotten at the bottom.  Those are the ones I sought out and had CountryBoy mount the rotten ends towards the top.  Originally, he was going to cut that part off but I liked it that way so we left it.  He didn’t argue as it made his job easier.  I’m all about making his life easier (wink)!

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Doesn’t that look cool?!  I plan on white-washing the exterior of the coop which will make the jagged/rotten top boards look even better.  And, one day, I hope to paint a large sign to mount on the side of the coop that says’ Farm Fresh Eggs’.

The structure beside the coop was slated to come down as well but after experiencing chickens in snow we decided to re-work that structure to be used as a dust-bathing area.  Even in winter it’s important for the girls to have their daily dust baths to help keep any parasites at bay.  It’s kinda hard to find places to dust bathe when all the dirt is buried under snow!

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Plans are to enclose it in some fashion (exact details are yet-to-be-determined) and cut a small door from inside the coop for access in and out of there.  They have already used it for many-a dust bath so I think it will be the perfect solution for the snowy winter months.

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We got started on this project during a week of beautiful weather and made some good headway.  But, the weather has been quite wintry since so we’ve not been able to get back out there.

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The interior of the coop will see some changes as well.  CountryBoy wants to relocate the roosts and add more.  He’s also going to add some more nest boxes as well as a grow-out coop inside the coop for the chicks to get bigger before being allowed to run with the big girls.  This will also be beneficial to isolate any sick birds, god forbid.

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Since we were able to get a head start on the coop renovation I went ahead and placed my order with McMurray Hatchery for 15 chicks to arrive the week of April 10th.  I ordered 8 Barred Rocks and 7 Silver Laced Wyandottes.  The hatchery also throws in a rare chick of their choosing so we will actually have 16 chicks to add to our flock.  Yay!  I can’t WAIT!

We have a growing customer base that, right now, we can’t keep up with.  Hopefully, the addition of more chickens will help meet the growing demand.

We love our girls.  They provide us with so much entertainment and their eggs beat store-bought eggs hands down.  I am happy we will be focusing on raising happy and healthy chickens.

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Still on the agenda is planning the gardens.

We found out the other day that we still have some time.  Of course, that wasn’t until after we made fools of ourselves at Lowe’s.  Poor sales associate had to unlock the doors of the practically empty garden center so that we could get a couple bags of frozen seed starter soil while dressed in our winter clothes.  In Florida, the garden center doors are never locked and there is always merchandise out there.  Here I am thinking… It’s the middle of February:  I’m late starting my seeds:  yikes!  But no.   After checking the seed packets for when to plant what apparently I have until April before I can plant anything in the ground up here.  Of course, that was AFTER the ‘fools at Lowe’s’ incident.  Ha!  Oh well.  Live and learn 🙂

It’s nice to finally have a focused starting point for the farmstead.

Winter Challenges

So far, this winter has proven to be very similar to last winter even though the folks ’round here keep telling us that this is not typical of winters in these parts of Kentucky.   Cold weather – yes; a couple inches of snow – yes, but not a FOOT or more of snow!  We moved here from Florida so I’m pretty sure we can’t be blamed for ‘bringing it with us’, ha!

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Although the weather may be similar our preparedness is vastly different this year than last.

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We had only moved in two short weeks before the first snow fall.  Talk about two Floridians unprepared for a foot or more of snow, yea, that was us!

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Last winter we were on pins and needles wondering about the water freezing and pipes bursting since it happened on several occasions.

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This winter we were sailing along fairly well.  We were warmer (of course I spend most of my time in front of the fireplace or upstairs in the sewing room where it’s warmer as the rest of the house is still cold – not the see-your-breath kind of cold like last year but still cold); the house is warmer, overall, which helps keep any pipes from freezing even in single digit temperatures.  So, we started to relax about possible winter water issues when it happened.  We had a night of below zero temps and woke up to frozen pipes.  sigh.  I had been lax about filtering the water and filling our water dispenser since it seemed we weren’t going to have any issues.  THANKFULLY, I had prepared the coffee pot the night before so we were, at least, able to have our morning cuppa coffee before having to deal with the nightmare issue.  And, we had some water in the cistern so we were able to flush the toilet.

Long story short, the water had frozen outside where the water line enters the house.  It thawed and all was well.  CountryBoy is going to thoroughly insulate the current poorly insulated box and hopefully, that will keep it from freezing.  And, we spent the rest of the day filtering water and filling up our water dispenser and all of the animal’s waterers.  You know, just in case!

But, this morning, we woke up to a busted line behind the kitchen sink where it is next to impossible to access the water lines.  sigh.

Again, we had our coffee, a few tears were shed then CountryBoy came up with the solution of re-routing the lines and abandoning the lines in the wall.

The re-routing of plumbing is complete and drying.  Here’s hoping that solves any future freezing water issues.  Well, that and insulating the metal box that covers where the water line enters the house.

Another challenge with this much snow is getting out of our driveway.  Thankfully, a neighbor came by the other night and scraped it the best he could.  We were extremely grateful since CountryBoy had a doctor’s appointment this morning.  After several attempts in 4-wheel drive, we made it to the road and to the appointment.  From there we went to Lowe’s to purchase the necessary plumbing needed to re-route the water lines in the kitchen.  Course, I had him drop me off at Hobby Lobby so I could get some sewing paraphernalia (wink!).

It’s also been a challenge for the poor chickens.  They have had no desire to investigate the white stuff and have stayed in their coop even though their door is opened every day.  CountryBoy shoveled paths to the coop, the wood shed and the tool shed to make it easier for us to get back and forth.

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I have given them homemade suet cakes to occupy and nourish them but without them leaving the coop they were unable to get their daily and necessary dust baths.  So, I took a metal tray that had been left by the previous owner from the barn and filled it with some loose dirt and mixed cool ashes from the fireplace in it and put it in the coop .  Before I even had it all mixed up a few of the girls were checking it out.  It didn’t take them long to start scratching in it and eventually taking their ‘baths’.

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Gotta keep the girls happy and healthy!

This afternoon, the paths that CountryBoy shoveled were beginning to melt so I carried the girls, two by two, out to where there was some grass.  They were thrilled to be out of the coop!

They spent the afternoon traveling up and down the paths, eating grass, drinking melted snow and a few even ventured down the still-snowy driveway a bit towards the barn.  Here they are heading back down the path from the wood shed…

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Instead of having all my ducks in a row apparently I have all my chickens in a row, haha!

Do you see the metal box beside the blue coffee canister?  That’s where the water line enters the house and the box had very little insulation in it when CountryBoy opened it up yesterday.  That’s the culprit.  sigh.

Most folks are afraid of losing electricity in storms such as we had but our biggest fear is loss of access to water.  We can survive without electricity, thanks to wood and gas heaters, but we can’t survive without water for very long.  Water is essential for the animals as well as for many of our needs.  We have also made many preparations for survival without electricity, such as, being able to cook with a wood-burning fireplace as well as warmth from it; oil lamps in every room and a supply of lamp oil; and for me, lots of books to read!  But, water?  We can’t do without it for very long so we will do whatever we can to avoid being without for very long and/or be prepared just in case.

Temperatures are supposed to be warmer this week with some rain so maybe most of the white stuff will disappear and the girls can get back to their routine.  In fact, maybe we can ALL get back to our routine, dog and cats included ;).

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Apparently, this amount of snow (that was cleared by our neighbor) is OK for LizzieBelle!  More than that?  No way!

How ’bout you?  Were you in the midst of the Snowpocalypse?  What preparations have you done for those ‘just in case’ moments?  I’d love to hear them – it may be something we need to think about and/or do.

Stay warm and safe friends 🙂

It’s Snow Pretty

Have you ever just sat (or stood) and watched the snow fall?

It’s so peaceful and creates such a beautiful scene.

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We have accumulated over a foot of snow, so far, here at the farm.

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The chickens are occupying themselves in the coop; the cats have a litter box indoors again; and LizzieBelle is carried to the barn to do her business. But, this girl just had to leave the coop to lay her egg in the tool shed!

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Luckily, she ventured out this morning while it was only several inches deep!

I looked out the guest room window upstairs a bit ago and saw this hanging from the roof…

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I am thankful that I do not have to leave the farm in these conditions and that I can absorb the beauty.  It’s seems God brings the snow to wipe the earth clean; so it can start over; a clean slate.  It’s beautiful in sight and meaning.

For those of us who have chosen this farming/homesteading lifestyle winter also gives a chance to slow down; to rejuvenate so that we are, hopefully, ready for the upcoming busy months of planting, harvesting and preserving.

I cross-stitched this piece a long time ago because I love snowmen and birds but now it just seems apropos for our Kentucky winters!

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Stay warm, my friends, and, hopefully, you can spend these winter months rejuvenating your mind, body and soul for it’s snow pretty!

 

Winter Chicken Care

Winter is officially upon us here in the Bluegrass State.

The last several days the temperatures have been very (single digit) cold  and, today, we got our first accumulation of snow.

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With winter comes a whole new challenge in chicken care for us that we didn’t have to deal with when we lived in Florida: frozen chicken waterers and chickens that don’t want to leave the coop because there’s something white all over the ground.

This morning I opened the coop door but not one of them wanted to come out.  Where’d the green stuff go, huh, girls?!  I bet they’re wondering where the ground went and how they’re supposed to find any delicious treasures from the ground now!

So, I decided to make them a homemade suet cake to keep them busy and to give them some extra nourishment since they weren’t able to free-range and look for tasty bugs & such.

I put some of their grain scratch, crushed eggshells, oatmeal and dried cranberries & pomegranates in a bowl then poured melted coconut oil over all, stirred, then put it in the fridge to let the coconut oil become solid again.

Here’s the mixture before the melted oil was added…

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Needless to say, it was a big hit!

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We also threw a lot more hay down to not only help with warmth and insulation but it will give them a little something to do as they scratch around in the hay.

Another measure CountryBoy did yesterday was to add a light underneath their waterer that’s in the coop.  This has worked well.  The heat from the bulb melted the water and is keeping it from freezing.

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Apparently the girls are happy with the results of a little extra care as we were blessed with nine eggs today!

Watching the snow fall is so peaceful and makes for a beautiful landscape but I urge everyone that has to be out and about to be careful as it can quickly become treacherous.

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Stay safe and warm my friends!