Christmas Decorating

Up until now we have moved around every 2 years or so and most of the places we’ve lived have been small apartments, so we haven’t had the opportunity to do much decorating or acquire many decorations. And now that we live out in the country on a private road I don’t have much motivation to decorate the outside of the house for the holidays since only one or two neighbors would even see it! But I have put a few things up and next weekend I think we’ll get a live tree to put up. Until then I have put the gifts I have wrapped already under the little fake tree.

I’d like to put a big wreath up on the barn w/ lights that we can see from the den– not sure if it’ll happen this year though!

Labor day is for laboring

To celebrate the end of summer and a long weekend we had Chris’s parents over and put them to work! We have gotten a ton of stuff accomplished with their help and with the help of our neighbors.

Guest Bedroom

Friday-

1. Painted guest bedroom blue

2. Fixed guest bathroom sink stopper

3. Put up new shower curtain in guest bathroom w/ matching towels and rugs

Guest Bathroom

Saturday-

1. Flatten out the big hole in our backyard from where the previous owners had an above ground pool.This took half a day and was only possible because our neighbor, David, let us borrow his front loader. Chris had never used a tractor before but took right to it.

Hole in yard- smoothed and seeded w/ grass

2. Replaced siding on house where Chris melted it with the grill

3. Worked on laundry sink (still not fixed)

4. Replaced missing piece of antique bed

5. Bought mulch and started weeding and mulching front beds

6. Installed curtain rods and valances in guest bedroom

7. Bought bedspread for master bedroom (FINALLY found one that looks great!)

8. Took down slide and swings from swing set and stored them in the barn. It looks better without the bright yellow, plastic slide and this way we can keep the slide and swings safe and clean to be re-installed when its time the sell the house in a few years.

Sunday-

Antique Headboard

1. Installed bracing under floors to fix weak spots in floor

2. Installed insulation under house

3. More mulching

Mulch

4. Planted grass seed over the bare dirt patch left after smoothing out the hole. First we had to put up temporary fencing to keep the chickens out! We got the last of the hay put down over the seed just as it started to rain- perfect timing!

5. Neighbor, Trey, brought over his tractor and bush hog and cleared out the pasture. It was past due time for this to be done and he was able to do it in a fraction of the time it would have taken if we had borrowed David’s tractor like we had planned. Trey is a farmer and has a giant tractor with a double-wide brush hog. Its nice to have neighbors with fun toys!

Things a-growin’

Here’s a little update on things growing around the farm from Chris. ¬†We’re a zone behind NC, so no making fun if yours is bigger than ours!

Overview of the Garden

Baby Watermelon

Pumpkins and watermelon

The first zucchini, picked today.

Three kinds of heirloom tomatoes. Kind of small cause we didn't get them in till late. The two on the right are big commercial varieties.

A couple of baby better boys.

Heirloom pole beans going crazy, but no harvest yet.

A couple of baby pole beans.

Cucumbers climbing their support. There are pickling and regular cucumbers in here.

Bad pictures of a baby cuke.

Hugemungous corn. The silver queen is taller than I am.

Squash, zucchini, and peanuts.

This is to give you an idea how huge this squash has gotten.

Baby squash. One must be a model, cause it has nobutt.

Some salad mix, but we don't like it cause it's spiky. And a photobombing cornish.

strawberries. I've never managed to make these grow right, so we'll see what happens.

Soybeans and bush beans. We've been eating on bush beans for a couple weeks now.

soybeans/edamame

Our pasture. It changes color about every week. We should have been taking pictures. It's been red, blue, purple, green, and now white flowers are dominating.

Close-up of the flowers all over the pasture right now.

The purple cone flowers outside our living room window.

Not sure what these are, but they are yellow and just coming in.

Arnold is getting HUGE, he's only almost 4 months!

Structural Engineering

A week ago we had the new house inspected as part of the regular due diligence you have to go through when buying a house. In general everything was fine but there were a couple of things that could be signs that water was seeping under the house and undermining the foundation, causing the house to sink. Nothing so serious that the house would fall apart on us anytime soon, but our concern was that it could cause us problems re-selling the house after Chris’s residency is done in 4 years. So we decided to have a structural engineer come look at the house. He went out to the house yesterday and while we are still waiting on the official report the word is that the “signs” we saw in the initial inspection were just part of how the house was built and not cause for alarm. There are still a few things that need to be done by the current owners before we close on the house, but nothing that will cause problems in the future. Yesterday we also had the termite inspection done and termites were found, so the whole house will need to be treated before closing.

Overall inspections went well and didn’t uncover any problems that will prevent us from buying the house. And we are very glad that we had them done because even though its all minor stuff, the cost of fixing everything properly is going to add up and we are glad that it will be the current owner’s responsibility and not ours. Now we just have to cross our fingers that he will actually get everything fixed like he is supposed to. With less than 2 weeks till closing that doesn’t give him much time!

Step 1: Buying the Farm

The dream suddenly started to feel real on March 26 when we signed the papers to buy our farm. We will be living on 5 acres in Nicholasville, just south of Lexington, KY. Chris is happy because it has a beautiful suburban looking front yard with a rich carpet of green (blue?) grass. And in the back is space for enough gardens to put veggies on the table year round, an old playhouse that will make a perfect chicken coop, a work shed that can easily be converted into a dye studio, a barn with enough space for animals and a wood workshop and about 3 acres of fenced in pasture land. The whole property is fenced in with the 4-board wood fencing that is so popular in Lexington.

The house itself is move in ready. The upstairs bedrooms will need to be repainted– right now they are painted in the colors that kids picked out (pink, blue, red…) but Chris really enjoys painting walls so he is looking forward to doing the painting! I love the colors that the downstairs rooms are painted in- sage green and light yellow- so all it needs is to be filled with all our stuff.

We have a few chores that need to be done outside before the farm is ready for animals.

1- right now the fencing is ideal for horses but will need to be lined with wire mesh fencing before its ready for sheep. The gaps between the board planks are big enough that a sheep might be able to escape, or at least gets its head stuck.

2- we’ll also need some electric fencing to divide the pasture in half. that way we can have the sheep in one part while we let grass grow on the other part, and then swap. Hopefully this way we can keep grass on the ground and not have to spend as much money on hay during the summer.

3- the playhouse will need to be converted to a chicken coop. We should just be able to put in some roosts and nesting boxes, patch up the screen in the windows and cut out a chicken sized door w/ a ramp

4- we need to decide where to put the pig pen and how exactly we want to set it up

5- one of the first things we want to do is put in the gardens. We have a bunch of seeds ready to be planted but first we’ll need to till the earth and mix in some compost. Thankfully Kentucky has real dirt not the awful red clay we are used to in NC so hopefully digging in it will be a bit easier!

6- the dye studio/workshop is just about ready to go. I’ll need to put in some work surfaces but I’ll probably just use boards on top of saw horses (which is what I’m using now). Before winter we’ll also need to insulate the workshop and eventually I’d like to run a water line under ground to the studio. Right now a garden hose will work but I’d like to have a water line in place before winter– there is nothing more annoying than getting ready to work and then finding out that the water hose is frozen solid!