August 28, 2015 : chickens 3, us 0.

Oh my word.

Let me back up.

We built a beautiful, sturdy new chicken and goat pen. By “we,” I mean not me at all, but Hank + some buddies. Two nights ago, Hank stretched the new fence all around the posts nice and tight, and last night, he and I caught the five big girls and put them in their new pen with their temporary small coop until the new one gets built. Squiggy the Chicken is either already laying eggs somewhere in the backyard or is very, very close to starting, and we want to a) have her used to laying in the nesting box, and b) move all of the chickens out of the backyard and into the coop area. Kinda tired of hosing off the back deck twice a day and having what plants we do have eaten by chickens. :) Living and learning.

I’ll back up again. Watching us novice chicken handlers trying to catch chickens is HILARIOUS. I cannot even imagine how idiotic we look, but I would bet money that it’s even better than Chicken TV.

As soon as we put the girls in their new area, three of them (Nike, Fred, and George Weasley), flew up onto the corner areas of the fence and hopped right back out. We had to catch them AGAIN. It was a little easier since it was dusk and they were trying to roost for the evening, but not much.

This morning, Holden came in from grabbing something out of the car before school and asked, “Why is there a chicken in the yard?” We went outside to find FOUR of the girls sitting on the backyard fence, just watching the world go by without a care in the world. We enlisted the help of Ewan to corner them and get them back in the pen while our neighbor and her dogs laughed (yes, I swear her dogs were laughing, too). Hank then decided to run baling twine across the top of the pen, hoping that would keep the girls in and the hawks out.

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August 27, 2015 : color inspiration.

It’s done.

We’ve picked out paint colors for everything and fingers crossed, it will all pull together the way we hope. :)

Our budget allows for one interior color and one trim color, which actually made things a little easier. By going with one neutral color throughout, we’ll have a good jumping off spot to coordinate bedroom and bathroom colors from there, if we so choose.

Pinterest and Houzz have both been absolute godsend tools throughout this process. I did a search for “Modern Farmhouse,” and was so happy to find that we were on the right track. I picked a paint color that seems to change throughout the day and in different light from a grayish color into taupe color (with just a faint hint of a green undertone at times, but not muddy). The sad news is, it’s a very popular color. I’m disappointed that I’ve jumped on a color bandwagon, but I’m still thrilled with the color.

Meet Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter, which will go beautifully with our dark hardwood floors and linen-colored cabinets.

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August 24, 2015 : 36 more days.

That’s the timeline. I will be making hash marks on the basement walls like I’m in prison to count down the days when we can officially start moving in to our HOME. Today, tomorrow, and the day after are all earmarked for rough-in inspections for electric (passed today – yay!), plumbing, and framing, respectively. Thursday, we’ll have the drywall crew in here and our new hardwood will be delivered to begin its pre-install acclimation. The new floor will be installed next week, then the cabinets, then painting, and before we know it, we’ll no longer be living like we’re in District 13 in the Hunger Games.

Well that was dramatic.

I had a bit of a rough weekend with our current living situation. It was just a little overwhelming, but we had some sweetness, too, as though God and the Universe were trying to calm down my fragile spirit with friends cooking dinner for us (and there was lots and lots of laughing – that will heal almost everything!), more friends helping build our new livestock pen, and a new neighbor bringing over some delicious banana bread (with chocolate chips – super awesome bonus), but I started the weekend off pretty resistant and set in feeling sorry for myself. After a restless night of sleep last night, Hank set up his camping hammock for a couple of hours in the shade for me and I took a little nap, swaying in the breeze, and I remembered feelings of freedom and space and why we decided to move here. I knew in starting our little farm that some days, we would navigate all of this more graciously than others, and now I move forward again.

On to our latest project. Little bro waited impatiently for Daddy & Holden to come home after a Jax Farm & Ranch Store run last week.

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August 21, 2015 : trippin’ bucket-list style.

In the true style of whatever style it is of our family (usually chaotic), Hank and I went on a trip this past weekend. It’s one that we had planned long before we found our new home and moved, back when we were obliviously caught up in our dreamland of a future farm. We had planned out a mini-vacation with our next-door neighbors to Washington DC, with a concert (Avett Bros + Zac Brown Band) as the highlight, and Hank’s mom had agreed to come out to stay with the boys and have some grandma time all to herself.

And then…

We realized that we had nowhere to put her. Yikes. There was no way that we could ask her to walk up and down stairs into an unfinished basement, untarp the bed, sleep on the floor (on a cushy mattress, but still!), prepare meals over the firepit, and wash dishes in the tub. Oh my word!

Our friends came to our rescue and offered up their home for the boys and Grandma, since our friends would be traveling with us to DC. On that note, I must brag about the amazingness of our friends! How lucky we are. I don’t think that we can ever repay their generosity.

We landed in DC Thursday afternoon and hit the pavement running. We had Thursday evening, Friday until concert time, and Saturday morning to see everything on our cumulative lists.

I am mesmerized by churches. The churches that I’ve attended have all looked pretty basic – or like a mall – so the history of old churches captivates me. I love especially that they’re often surrounded by more modern buildings in urban areas. I began falling in love with Hank at the site of my favorite old church in my hometown. He peeked into the courtyard with me late at night and helped me hug the walls. Weird? Probably. The way to this girl’s heart? Definitely.

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August 20, 2015 : windows. {in progress}

A few months ago, when our renovation and hopes for a working farm were still baby dreams, Hank and I booked a trip. It was a bucket list item for us both: His, to see the Avett Bros and Zac Brown Band at the same venue; mine, to see Washington DC. I’ll post more about that trip tomorrow. Today’s post is all about what we came home to after our trip.

Windows…and a new building.

Yay!

Remember this view of the wall at the west end of our newly expanded kitchen area?

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August 12, 2015 : framing begins.

The past few days haven’t seemed too eventful, at least visually. The electricians have been working long hours, and there have been a lot of dangling legs from holes in the ceiling and muffled shouting about wires and where they go and how much more line is needed. It’s kind of like a weird catholic-electrician call-and-response thing. Oh, and yesterday one of the guys fed a wire through the ceiling in the basement right over where I was working and it sneaked/curled down in front of my face LIKE A SNAKE and I DIED FOR ABOUT THREE MINUTES. Other than that, they tromp around and drill small holes in things and make can lights appear out of nowhere.

The plumber came through two days ago and drilled larger holes in things. He’ll be back today for I-don’t-know-what.

Then the framers came in with their giant saws and boards and nail guns and made MADE CLOSETS FROM NOTHING. It’s magical. There was also a not-so-magical moment when a framer shot a nail through his hand and our contractor yelled, “DON’T BLEED ON THE FLOOR! WE’RE PAINTING THE FLOOR IN HERE!”

I cracked up.

Speaking of our contractor…well, quite simply, she is pretty awesome. All of the people she brings in seem to really respect her and a couple have even made a point to tell us how great she is at what she does. Everyone has been polite, respectful to us, hard-working, and they’ve helped this seem fun and exciting instead of scary. I’m so thankful for that.

So here’s a little day-in-the-life right now. Breakfast is on the back patio. We only have a few outlets that work, so unless we want to build a fire every morning in the firepit, we huddle around our electric griddle for quick meals.

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August 10, 2015 : working it out?

The Squiggy the Chicken and Todd Helton the Cat romance is going through a development phase, I suppose. Every time Squiggy sees Todd, she can’t wait to be near him.

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August 8, 2015 : reno week 1 and a bow and some arrows.

We have officially wrapped up our first week of our renovation, which has mostly been demolition. All of the carpet has been removed, the kitchen has been gutted, walls have either been removed or taken down to the studs, areas for new windows and doors have been marked and stripped of sheetrock, new electric is being run everywhere, there is a toilet sitting in the living room, and plumbing is being rerouted and redirected and re-I-don’t-know-what. We’ve purchased a stand-alone tub, master bath sinks and faucets, a fireclay farmhouse sink, a kitchen faucet, two ceiling fans, pendant lights for the kitchen, toilet paper holders, robe hooks, and a lot of takeout. Sometime this weekend, we should pick out tile. We’ve had two permits pulled (one for the rough in house stuff; one for the foundation of our new building) and one inspection done. Has it been exciting? Yes, definitely. Is it wearing? Oh my goodness. YES. How are the kids doing? It’s been a little rough. How are Hank & I doing? We’re holding onto each other. Sometimes we look around and have the horrific thought, “Oh my gosh, we bought a DUMP.” But then, we remember our dreams for this place and look around at all we’ve done already. For the most part, I don’t mind this part at all, EXCEPT there are no faucets hooked up. We still have two bathtub/showers working and one toilet working, but we wash our hands and dishes outside. It’s kind of fun, except when I’d like a drink of cold water. :)

Last night we had our first cookout with friends, and it was really quite lovely. The guys played cornhole in the yard while the moms sat and chatted and watched Chicken TV. We watched the clouds and saw the sunlight stream low through them around dinner time – my favorite time of the day – and even though most things are torn to pieces, it really was very relaxing. I look forward to more evenings when the backyard is piled up with friends and kids and babies are being passed back and forth. Back to simple.

Our little baseball nuts have two renewed interests: playing soccer in the backyard and archery. Holden dragged his old target into the back field and has been practicing quite a bit, and Ewan has been turning himself inside out to have a turn. We had explained to Ewan that he had to wait until an adult could be back there as well, and that day finally came.

First, Holden taught me. He walked me through everything: how to put the guards on, how to clip the release and pull the trigger, where to sight it, etc.

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August 5, 2015 : demo day number 2 {demo in progress}

We’ve been staying with friends in the area for the past six days in exchange for dog sitting and personal cheffing. :) It’s worked out great for everyone so far, since they’ve been out of town for a few of the days and we can help with their pups, and I think/hope they like our cooking. I’ve been able to do insane amounts of laundry and we’ve been able to watch some Rockies games (BONUS), and the kids have had a total blast bumping around our old neighborhood with pals. We’ve been to the county fair a couple of times this week to watch the utility goats and dairy goats and cheer on our new goatie friends. Yesterday, we watched a Milk Off competition to see how much milk the 4-H kiddos can get from their goats – holy cow, have we a learning curve ahead of us! I think that I need to start working my hands over with a stress ball, like right now.

I find that I miss days on the farm terribly. We’ve come to love that feeling of going to bed exhausted after hard work and hot showers, and waking up with the sun, grabbing a cup of coffee, and watching the bigger chickens run out of their coop and start free-ranging for the day. It sounds quite idyllic, doesn’t it? I guess I should balance that with the fact that we also sat in pools of sweat at our desks during the heat of the day with all the lights off and two big fans blowing on us to keep the heat down. Sounded a little like we were working on airplanes in there. Bah. I totally love it anyway.

Not long now.

Ready to see side-by-sides of current work in progress? Hank had to do some deep breathing as we went through last night, mumbling under his breath that we had “taken a perfectly fine house and destroyed it,” and “I’m sure it’ll be great when it’s finished.” We have a system that only one of us is allowed to freak out at any given time and right now it’s definitely his turn.

Below: Looking into the kitchen and toward the dining room BEFORE.

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