Wednesday, April 28

random is h.a.r.d.!

Our Chicken Coop has aged wonderfully!!
I just can't love greying cedar shingles more, truly.
So finally we decided to tackle the fencing.
Normally chicken fencing is very tall to prevent chicks from 'flying the coop'.  But last spring we visited a farm in Athens and we noticed that the owner had a short fence around her chickens.  Her experience has been that if you have a good farm dog, that herds the chickens (aka,pesters the fool heck out of them), the chickens are quite content to stay in bounds of fencing.
Not to say that there are never escapees... sometimes resulting in casualties, but overall it is a great combo.

Cooper has been a great addition to the farm.  His puppy phase is wearing thin on my patience on many levels, but he is a border collie and has the true instincts of the breed and we are slowing but surely getting him trained and he has been quite the asset!  Meaning: chickens avoid him as much as possible, allowing us to build a fence much shorter than normal convention, yay!!

My farm stud, aka Shawn, got the bazillion poles dug in and the crossbars all in place...
then the next step went against everything he deals with in his career... precision and symmetry were NOT allowed, banished from this project... the boy lacks faith in my half wit, fly by the seat of my pants, hope this works in the end brilliance!

'Cause I wanted random pickets.
I love my sister-in-laws garden fence which she made from recycled pallets... each piece beautifully different.
Although we were using purchased lumber, I still attempted the varying heights.
Thankfully, once the first few panels were up... Shawn was a believer!

I am here to testify that random is tough.  We really had to NOT think too much, grab and nail, fast, fast, fast... no pondering, the more reckless the picket choice, the better it looked.
The eventual house fencing will be more prestine.  I wanted the absolute opposite for the coop fence.
This is the exact result I hoped for in my mind's eye!

Double gate was a necessity to carry various items in the coop area & to maintain coop interior, etc.
The resulting problem with that though is Christian usually has his hands full with feed or eggs when he enters and exits the coop yard.  I researched spring hinges that would automatically close the gates behind him.  Wasn't thrilled with durability and the look of the hinges.

In this case, 'old school' fix was the perfect solution.
Have you seen these ball and chain closers?  I first saw them in Savannah, Georgia.  They are on many of the gates there, so many beautiful gardens... so many balls and chains.  So functional!
In essence, the chain pulls taut when you open the gate, then when you walk through you simply allow the weight of the ball to close the gate swiftly behind you... meaning no frisky dog in the coop yard.
And the great thing is, it does not slam the gate because it simply pulls the gate and immediately stops once the ball lands on the ground... brilliant!

Happy chickens!

The Black Austalorpe is my favorite chicken thus far.

 So, I always pictured this fence, though random and haphazard... painted white.
That was the main reason for painting the door on the coop white, to then paint the fence white and have it pop.
But now... I wonder.  Torn between the thought of the white, and a second unexpected thought to just stain it (adding a hint of grey to the stain so it will catch up to the grey of the cedar shingles of the coop) and let it stay more natural like the coop.  Thoughts?!  
We recently got a nice power paint sprayer... so I am simply sitting here waiting for my mind to make up its mind so I can paint/stain the fence and be officially done, DONE.

Tuesday, April 27

Sam & Clover

We had twins born on the farm late Sunday night.
Much to Savannah's chagrin... she missed the birth.  She had been stalking Amelia, our mommy goat, all day and hoped to be present... but in the end she arrived minutes afterwards.

This is Sam.
Sam he is.
Couldn't help myself.  I love the random names that are chosen for each of our animals.
Sam has the gorgeous markings of his father, Jack, and the Nubian ears I adore so much.

And below is Clover.
She looks more like her mother and has those pointy ears that remind me of bird's wings in flight.

Unless there is something in the works with our donkey, Jenni, that we don't know about...
we should be done with babies for 2010.
Savannah is in heaven right now... these babes are such work but she just thrives on it.
Her hopes are to go to college and be a farm vet, she sure seems to have a nack for that future career!

Wednesday, April 21


My daughter asked me a very good question today.

When I announced it was time to get ta business (aka get to school work)...
Savannah asked, "How are we supposed to work under these conditions?"

She was referring to the unbelievably gawgeous weather we are currently having.
But work we must little gal.  Only 4 more weeks of homeschooling and then we can play!

So she cleverly went to the backporch, found a rocking chair and a puppy...
and settled into reading Beowulf.

Christian preferred to find a sunny corner in the classroom... and then stubbornly would not let his mother take a good photograph, grrrr.

And where is Ty?
Well, he was just in this back pasture with the donkeys... so I assume he is now climbing one of these trees.
Ty is outside goofing off on a field trip because he is ahead in school and I ordered him to go to the pasture so he was not a distraction... as little brothers can sometimes be!
He did pick me more flowers!

With a note included:

"i saw this flowr i Thoht you mite like it
And This red one i Thoht it was werd
Love TY"

Disclaimer:  As his homeschool teacher I would like to point out that I DO try and teach this guy proper capitalization, sentence structure, puctuation, and spelling... I do... really I do.
(Never mind that I rarely practice what I preach teach when writing a post, wink, wink)

Meanwhile, what am I doing this lovely day in the country?
Conducting a little experiment of my own.
Specifically, can one get sick eating WAY too many cucumbers and red pears.
Still researching.
Will let you know of any conclusions.

Wednesday, April 14

Bloomin' Heaven

I have 3 Bridal Wreath Spirea planted near the entrance of our farm.
This is the first year they have bloomed fully.  In fact, I always thought they needed part shade and recently found out otherwise, so that is probably while the blooms have been less than stellar.
I plan on leaving one bush where it is now, happy in mostly sun... and then move the other two (sounds like a job for my oldest son) to a sunnier location.

Shawn and I ran away again a few weekends ago to Atlanta.
I made sure to pop into the IKEA there and found this adorable enamelware pitcher.
They had it in two sizes, this being the largest.  Truth be told, if hubby hadn't of been with me on that shopping trip I would have picked up several... maybe even MANY!

I also picked up these 5 cutey vases for .99 each and their different textures make me smile!

Have you seen these cute plant markers over at
Several vendors make them but I love the rustic style found here.
I wanted to grow a few herbs on my kitchen window this year as I wasn't so good at trekking to the barn garden last summer for my fresh herbs... dill, parsley, chives, & cilantro... oh my yum!

To end this beautiful blooms and containers post....

I missed church last Sunday due to a massive backache from over doing it planting on Saturday.
I never pace myself... and really paid the price this time.

When the kids came home from church I was still sleeping.
Ty snuck in and placed this bloom on my nightstand.

Please note the cuteness of the presentation.
Chosen vase (cause we are fancy folks) is a plastic water bottle.
Attached is a blue post-it with the following note:

"i got this from church  i though you mite like it
i hope you have a great Sunday
Your welcome mommy Love you

love TY"

Sunday, April 11

opposites & similarities

So, I've spent 15 years in this motherhood gig :)... and it has yet to get boring!!
Yesterday, I spent a large part of the day in awe of the way our children are so polar opposite and yet so very similar.

Christian spent the first 6 months of his life very sick.  Yet, if he wasn't in immediate pain, that boy was happy.
He attacks life.  He leaves no stone unturned.  He knows no stranger.  He is tenderhearted.  He is creative, random, and up for anything... anytime.  Will attempt most anything and then move on quickly to the next adventure.  Genius.  Outdoorsy.  In sports he was always one of the best players on his team... but more than that he was always representative of the team spirit... upbeat, optimistic, happy even when faced with a terrible defeat.

Ty is not like Christian... hmmmm... is he??!

Ty is stubborn.  He is shy and tentative.  He has a comfort zone that is not easily ventured out of.  He is creative, articulate, precise.  He is analytical, contemplative, no task too in point, the boy has now amassed a huge collection of 4 and 5 leaf clovers.  Ty is creative and focused.  Extremely competitive... almost to a fault.

Like his big brother, he loves sports.  But unlike Christian, Ty is not the boy on the team to run around with tons of energy and enthusiasm.  He is reflective, thinking of the task at hand.

Yesterday morning was Opening Ceremonies for Baseball Season.  Ty loves baseball.  As coaches attempted to gather rambunctious boys of all ages and different teams to appear organized... there was my youngest calm and focused.

Later in the day, his team, the DevilRays... defeated the NY Yankees by the score of 7-5.
Ty got the Game Ball, woot, woot!
Ty scored 4 runs, played first base and got several outs, didn't even crack a smile while his family (me, grani, papa, sister, brother, and 4 cousins... dad was in dugout) obnoxiously cheered for him from the bleachers.  Focused.
Yet there came a moment during the game when I saw Christian in my youngest, polar opposite, little man.
The DevilRay third baseman, Nick, got hit in the face with the baseball.  Nick was hurting and turned his back to the crowd and held his face.  ALL mommies and grandmothers present cringed.  The ball was then fielded by Ty.  He held it.  He stood in one place and held it... looking at his hurt teammate.  The dads and coaches screamed at Ty to throw the ball to the pitcher, to stop the play.
Ty held the ball.
The runner on third was motioned by his coaches to make a run for home and he scored.
Ty held the ball.

Ty not playing on... was marked in the books as an error.
I just knew after the game that Ty would not focus on his awesome plays and runs, but instead focus on the scolding he got from his coach to 'play on' until the ump called a hold on play.

But instead, when I asked him about the play where he held the ball... he simply stated... "Nick was hurt... I didn't know if he was OK... my pitcher wasn't looking at me cause he was worried about Nick too, so I couldn't throw him the ball anyway... so I held the ball.  The ump should have held the play cause Nick was hurt.  AND the runner should have stayed on third cause it was not nice to run home when Nick was hurt."

Ty's explanation would not hold water with the rules of baseball.  The coaches would disagree.  Most dads would say play on!  

But Ty made his own call.  And he decided, consciously decided... among all the screaming and yelling... first and foremost...he wanted to see if Nick was going to be OK, which he later was.

Ty's choice was sooooooooooooo Christian!!!

PS - this week in school, Ty had to write a paper on an imaginary Hero.  He chose IronMan.  He then had to write a paper on a real hero... he chose Christian.

Thursday, April 8

delayed gratification

In the fall, I love browsing Tulip catalogs and choosing the next Springs bulbs

Last fall, I was in a pale pink mood.
I am always drawn to white blooms but pale pinks sneak in on occasion.

This tulip is called Angelique.
It is such a delicate pink.  
I rarely am drawn to a multiple bloom tulip but the ruffles and color spoke to me.

These are my forever favorites String of Pearls.
They have very long stems, perfect for cutting and bringing inside.  They bloom very early, even beating most daffodils.

These are called Spring Green.
I love how the outside petals have the stripes of green.

Can't remember the name of these shorties... they are seriously only 6-7" tall, so little and cute.

I plant tulip bulbs each year at the entrance of our farm.  I hope to have quite a mass accumulated there in the next few years.
Savannah is my very practical child.  She is perplexed by my love of tulips in that I plant them and have to wait so long for the reward.  And even once they bloom, the 'show' is shortlived.
Funny thing is, those are the very reasons I enjoy them so...
never given the chance to tire of them, the excitement of the wait.

Wednesday, April 7

We're not in Kansas anymore...

Feel free to read the prior post to get up to date on the Wizard of Oz shed saga.
This is the before,

 and this is the after.
 Cutey shed nestled back in the trees.

 The next steps will include:
weathered gray stain to look more like the old barn,
stacked stone 'skirting' to cover the skids and leveling blocks underneath,
a lean-to for dry storage of our split wood,
& I want to make the white metal door more rustic but I haven't figured out how to do that yet.

Monday, April 5

Nursin' a bad case of guilty conscience

Are you comfy?  Get comfy!  This is a novel and a 1/2...

To start the saga, in a weak moment several weeks ago... seems I mentioned to hubby that I would refrain from buying trees this spring because our focus would be on several structures that we need to get/build.
I must have been delusional from the long winter.

Last Thursday found me at my favorite greenery in my former hometown.
I was actually innocently there, truly... I was very early for a 10am meeting, and needed to kill time.
I had Shawn's truck because I was going to pick up a few adirondak chairs after said meeting.

Honestly, I truly was innocently browsing... but then I was maliciously sidelined.

I actually left the greenery empty handed.
Will of steel, yep that's me.

After leaving my meeting, I went to get the chairs like previously planned.
But there weren't any.  I called the vendor and he said he would give me a great price on a large number of said chairs and would even deliver them to our home at a discount for the chairs and delivery for free.

Until the reality of an empty truck bed became just too sad of a reality for me. Too, too sad.

Documented fact that an overflowing truck bed is much happier than an empty one.

Just count all these happies!
I was rendered helpless when faced with walking away without these 3 White Redbuds.
OH my.

Have you seen these?
Redbuds, as the name indicates, are usually covered in vivid red/fushia blooms.
Since I am a white f.a.n.a.t.i.c, and since I have never seen these at a local nursery, only seen them online for MUCH more than I paid for these ... SOLD!

I'm going to move, using the word 'I' very loosely here, the tiny cherry tree currently next to coop fence and tripod the white redbuds there, ahhhhh, perfection.

The other goodness in the truck was quinces.

I actually can't plant too many areas right now.  We need massive landscaping that is out of our do-it-yourself league in the form of dirt distribution, irrigation issues, etc.  So we wait for those areas until better financial times.  But under the cherry tree in our circular drive I feel safe to plant.
I picture some Snow White Hawthorns mixed with these quinces and much more yumminess.

Well, to my sweetheart's credit... he did not flip at my recent purchases.  Did not even bring up the promise I made about no spring trees.  It was like he knew I would be weak, kinda sad, huh?!  But never my husband fear... the weekend had a way of coming back to bite me... HARD!

#1Case in point:
We bought this cutey shed to place by our largest fire ring.  We needed good storage in this location and found a great deal on this premade ditty.

It was delivered on Friday, by the cutest Mennonite couple.  Adorable they were.
So adorable I found out later I may, just may... have been a tiny bit, tad, itsy wittle, distracted.

As the gentleman maneuvered this beast of a shed back and forth at my suggestion... tilting it as I suggested, pivoting just as I asked it to be... his patience was most generous and forgiving.
Finally I gave the thumbs up and he went about leveling and officially unloading it.

Meanwhile, his adorable wife and I just chatted it up.  I found out that her cutey husband was one of 14 children, he being the 14th... precious!  They are newlyweds of only 10months... precious!
I mean, the whole experience was just enjoyable.  Perhaps too enjoyable.

All the while I was making this dear man move the shed a little to the left.... a little to the right..... now back an eeensy bit back to the left.... nope, to the right.

I seriously never walked around to the bloomin' side and made sure that it was back far enough.
In fact, they left the farm, cruising on to their next delivery, before Shawn and I drove to the house and took a glance back to the shed and realized....
The bloomin' shed is smack dab dumped in the middle of the field.

It is the 'Wizard of Oz' shed.  Looks like it fell out of the sky and landed in the middle of our front pasture.
See the line of trees to the back of the shed.  It is supposed to be nestled up against those trees... like it has always been there.  I have visions of staining it a weathered gray color and vines up the side... quaint little shed in the woods.  NOT shed plopped in the middle of no man's land.

So we called cutey patootey couple to tell them of our mistake.  Dear sweet 14th child of amazing parents wanted to ring our necks, of course he was cordial, afterall we took ALL the blame... but he was so exhausted after the placement, only to be told we needed it moved.  So, in the end they will come out as soon as they can to fix OUR mistake and it will cost us for the error, grumble.

Now on to case in point #2:
Remember my joy at finally getting our new shutters?

Aren't they just beautiful?
Well, upon closer inspection... there is a paint flaw.

So the installer came and took all my pretties away.
I have naked windows again.

The little dangling hooks are so very sad, wouldn't you say?
The shutters are now at the warehouse being repainted.

And I won't even mention an episode involving Shawn, his truck in reverse, and a 4 wheeler in the driveway minding its own business... when.... caaaapow!

Happy to say:
We had a beautiful Easter eve with family and friends, a birthday boy named Noah, party, Easter egg hunt, all day outside in gorgeous weather.
And Easter Sunday took my breath away.
To gather and listen to the Prophet and Apostles share their love and knowledge of the Savior was amazing.

So here I am on Monday....missing my shutters, can't stop looking at the enormous (it is growing by the second) shed in the middle of our pasture, wondering what I will have to do to get hubby to dig in 3 trees that I promised him I wouldn't buy... but beyond blessed :)!