Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Summer/Fall 2017 On Our Little Farm

The last time I made a blog post (over a year ago, sorry) I said I would update the blog more often, but I didn't... It seems with Facebook and Instagram quick snapshots are taken and quickly posted and writing about it doesn't seem necessary, but this is a journal of sorts and I do plan to keep up with it a bit better.

This past year has been a whirlwind with some wonderful times and some really sad, hard times... The Summer and Fall were really great with new life, growth, and lots of learning experiences. I will write about Winter/Spring 2018 and the challenges that it brought in another blog post.

Our chicks and ducks grew up and started laying eggs! There is something so exciting about the babies we raised laying eggs!

Duck Egg

Duck Egg vs Chicken Egg

Last Summer was really lovely here. It was green and not too hot, but it rained A LOT and we found out just how wet our property really is. The wet soil has been tough on our sheep's hooves and we have had a lot of hoof issues.

Our sheep and chickens get along very well!

Georgia our bottle baby lamb (Clun Forest X Tunis) growing up... 

Kai and his ducks

Matias loves the chickens! 

Georgia was the guest lamb at several petting zoos during the Summer. She enjoyed the free hay! 

I made progress on this quilt, that seems to be never ending... Ran out of fabric,  had to order more, then decided it needed to be bigger after I thought I was finished... Yeah, it's a pain, but I plan to finish it in 2018 and get it on our bed! 

In October I ran a half marathon here in Norwalk. The Rails to Trails Marathon! I highly recommend it if you are looking for a beautiful Fall marathon. It is ran on the Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail and goes through a 3/4 mile Tunnel. 

Here are the boys at the Tunnel

I seriously couldn't believe I ran the whole thing... I was slow (2hrs 41min), but I ran it all! Unfortunately I woke up the next morning unable to walk due to some stress fractures in my right foot, but HEY I ran the race and finished! 

I also decided to take the plunge with a new business opportunity and became a SeneGence Distributor (Skincare and Cosmetics, including LipSense)... So if you see a lot of LipStick, Skincare, Makeup Selfies pop up on my FB page that's what that is all about. I may have traded in my heels for barn boots (most days), but I will likely be in the barn wearing red lipstick! 

We bought a Tunis Ram in the Fall and bred our 4 ewes in October. Sampson is a beautiful ram and he is such a sweety! He really is so gentle and friendly, and we all really like him. So does Crimson! Below here they are cuddle up with each other on a cold winter day! 

Fall flowers from around the property. 

As Fall drew to a close and Winter fell, we had 4 ewes, a ram, and Georgia (she is a ewe, but she is rather petite and young still), 18 chickens, 2 ducks, 2 dogs, 1 rabbit, and 1 barn cat. 

We are thankful that God provided Nate with the opportunity to coach JV Soccer for Sparta High School. He really enjoyed that. He also started subbing for our school district, and was blessed with two different long term sub positions that ran the entirety of the school year. 

All of you are our friends and family and are welcome to visit any time! We would love to have you... Summer/Fall is probably more enjoyable in regards to the weather, but you are still welcome in the Winter!

Hope to see y'all soon!


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Spring on the Farm

We have had a very busy, yet very fun Spring here at Pyyk Pastures! Mikko and Kai have been playing soccer and have filled our evenings and weekends with practices and games. Also, we have lots of new farm babies!

We started incubating some duck eggs in March and counted down the days until "hatch day" which was April 10th. About a week before our ducklings hatched we got 6 chicks.

Hatch day was a very exciting day at our house!!!

Ducklings grow quickly! For the few weeks they lived in our kitchen, they greeted me every morning with loud chirping and were so excited for fresh food and water. I really enjoyed them in the kitchen, except that they STINK!!! Ugh they stink. They had to go outside after a few weeks. Our two ducklings have brought us much joy.

This whole thing is definitely a learning processing, and well, in the process I completely ruined another batch of incubating duck eggs. I had the humidity too high and essentially drowned the ducklings in their shells. That was a very sad realization after 28 long days of anticipation. We plan to incubate more in the future, as we really enjoy duck eggs and plan to raise them to eat as well. 

Mid-April we got our first sheep! This was a very exciting day for our family. We now have 3 Tunis Ewes. Raising sheep was something Nate really wanted to do, but after having them for a month now, I am so happy we have them. I really enjoy them. 

Shortly after getting the three ewes I also got a "bottle baby". She was a one week old orphaned Tunis-Clun Forest cross. Her name is Georgia and she lived in our kitchen for 2 weeks in a dog kennel. After two weeks of the house smelling like a barn, the weather finally warmed up enough that I felt comfortable putting her in the sheep shed/pasture. She won't stay in the fence, even though it is electrified so she has to be in a pen when someone isn't outside. She wants to be with us or the dogs at all times. She is my baby! 

She enjoys hanging out with the boys...

... And the ducks!

And the ducks enjoy following Matias wherever he goes!

So the animal round up is:

2 dogs, 3 Tunis Ewes, 1 lamb, 2 Ducks, 5 Chicks (yes, we lost one), 4 Hens (should start laying any day now), 1 rabbit, and we are still growing! We plan to add a few more hens and ducks, and of course sheep!

We are enjoying the longer days, and finally warmer days. There is so much work still to do be done on the house and the "farm" itself, and between our "real jobs" and raising the boys life is a bit crazy, but we are blessed and starting to feel at home in our new home. I so enjoy the early mornings walks down to the barn to give Georgia her bottle. Hearing the birds chirp, marveling in the beauty of the early  morning sky, as well as other wildlife on our property. The other morning a pheasant and I almost collided as I rounded the corner of the house! We were both surprised!

Now if I can be so cheerful about early morning chores when it is below zero with 2 ft of snow on the ground remains to be seen!



Saturday, February 25, 2017

Kitchen Pics

I thought I would share a few updated pics of the kitchen. 

It was rather dark when we bought the house, brown cabinets, fake wood counter tops, copper/brown back splash, tan linoleum floors... 

Right now we don't have the time or money to completely redo the kitchen, but with a few changes it is so much brighter and feels quite spacious.

We expanded the opening between the kitchen and dining room and laid the same flooring in both.

I decided to pain the cabinets white and I added brushed nickel hardware. We painted the walls the same barely there gray that we painted the rest of the house.

Chaos while painting the cabinet doors. 

This is what it looks like now. I would really like to change out the counter tops and back splash and get a farmhouse sink. I still need to paint the island, but just haven't wanted to make another mess or start another project.
Also, I'll just admit it, I love the white cabinets, but I don't think they will stay clean and they are already chipping in a few spots... So I think I will paint them a very light gray when we actually redo the kitchen, but who knows when that will be!

I love this window. I can see the sunrise through it every morning. It is one of my favorite things about this house, that I didn't even know I would love! 

Upstairs Overhaul!

It has been quite some time since I wrote a post sharing how our house was coming along. Nate shares pics on Facebook so some of you might have already seen these, but I wanted to get the before and afters all in one place.

Just like the rest of our home, nothing is 100% at this point. I seriously wonder if we will ever get the molding and trim up, but it is all coming along and we are no longer living in a "construction zone".

In December my parents came to visit for two weeks. It was a cold and snowy two weeks and they survived.

The goal of their trip was to see if Dad could figure out how to plumb in a second bathroom upstairs. We were managing with only one bathroom, but for the boys to have to come down the stairs in the night to go to the bathroom, and all of getting ready to go somewhere did present some challenges.

When we bought the house in early November 2016 the upstairs had two nice sized bedrooms, one small "office", and a closet. There was a small landing upstairs between the rooms, but not big enough to do much with.

When we started remodeling we decided to go ahead and remove the paneling, that was painted yellow, off the walls and that of course tore off the plaster, so major demolition began.

Before Demo Began

As you came up the stairs there was a door/window in the wall, nailed shut, and leading to nowhere. 

Demo was a family affair!

Let me tell you, I never want to have to deal with plaster walls again. Do not knock the plaster off your walls if you can avoid it, just Sheetrock over it! It was miserable living in the rubble. I felt like we would never be clean again. 

It began to look like a house again! Sheetrock was put up, it was mudded and taped, textured was sprayed, and we painted. 

We worked super hard to get all of the Sheetrock completed before mom and dad got here in mid-December. 
Between November 2, 2016 to December 15, 2016 we did the following

Living Room:
Tore up the existing floor
Put in new joists, insulated the crawl space, and laid sub-floor
Tore down paneling, wall paper, and plaster
Insulated the walls
Hung Sheetrock, textured, and painted
Laid carpet

Diving Room:
Tore up existing laminate
Tore down paneling, wall paper, and plaster
Insulated the walls
Hung Sheetrock, textured, and painted
Installed new flooring

Stairway and Upstairs Landing:
Tore off paneling, wall paper, and plaster
Hung Sheetrock, textured, and painted

Upstairs Bedrooms:
Repaired plaster walls
Laid carpet

Painted cabinets
Installed new flooring

Pulled up carpet and laid new flooring in our bedroom
Installed new flooring in the bathroom
Blew insulation into the attic
Reinforced and lifted the floor under the stairway where the floor was sagging

Those 6-7 weeks were long... Then mom and dad got here and we started looking for a good place to put an upstairs bathroom. Of course we had an idea that the small office area would be the best place, but weren't sure how the plumbing would work. 

After some discussion it was decided that we would tear through the back wall of the upstairs landing closet and into the small office and combine those two spaces into a bathroom. Dad decided he could go through the floor upstairs and run the plumbing down through our dining room (we would hide the pipes with a box of some sort) and into the basement where he would tie into the main plumbing lines. More demo began, but with two extra hands (Dad and Moms) it went quickly and we knocked it out in one evening. 

The next morning as I wandered upstairs and evaluated the office space and bathroom, it hit me, the landing/office should be one big open space with a small bathroom. Otherwise this already small room, was going to basically become a closet after taking a portion of it to become a bathroom. I knew that this meant a lot more demo and a lot more Sheetrock and a LOT more work, but it really was the best idea for the space. Everyone agreed it was probably the best thing to do, so more demo began - including the demo of the sheetrock, Nate had just finished hanging, texturing, and painting less than a week before! UGH!!!

So all of the walls between the landing and office came down and the framing for the bathroom went up. 

While Dad was here he focused on getting the plumbing in and re-doing a bunch of electrical stuff. He spent almost 2 full days, that were not part of the original time frame/plan, in the attic doing electrical work. 

Unfortunately we live 40ish minutes from Home Depot and there were a lot of hours spent driving to and from Home Depot for materials/supplies that we didn't know we would need. Plus, a few returns when the shower the didn't fit, and then the vanity that I wanted was just way too big. Finally, the shower was in, and we found a pedestal sink that fit as well. 

Yes that is cardboard for walls... It was a quick fix for privacy so the toilet could be used. 

The above stage was about where the bathroom was left when it was time for Mom and Dad to leave. So thankful they were able to come and put in a bathroom! I know it's a luxury, but two bathrooms makes life soooo nice! 

Over the past 2 months Nate has worked to finish everything upstairs in the bathroom and "rec room". Because of some changes in my job situation, Nate is now working full time outside of the home and therefore doesn't have as much time to work on the house, so the upstairs has been slow going... 

The bathroom needs trim and a mirror over the sink, and some finish work over the shower, but it is fully functioning and the boys don't seem to notice that there isn't a mirror! 

Nate spent a lot of time refinishing the floors upstairs and while they are 100+ year old floors and definitely not perfect, it looks nice! 

Our other upstairs project was to create bookshelves in place of the banister. The banister was very low with wide spacing, and quite dangerous so we had planned to replace it from the beginning. Building bookshelves worked well and I love them!

Originally we thought the room would be more of a rec room for the boys, but instead of a tv and video games we are leaning towards making it more of a creative space where we can all craft and create together.