Good bye city life! Our family designed and built an industrial but old fashioned farmhouse on nine acres. Now we are building our homestead ~ or is it building us? Grab your boots and join us on our journey to country living.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Horse parenthood

Bringing our horses home has made us feel as if we just brought home our first born child.  You are so excited to get them there. Then when you do you think, "I can't believe they let us have him.  We don't know what we are doing!"  You can read books, watch videos, and have training somewhere else but when it comes to having them on your own, it's different.  I think most people have always had horses or they had them growing up and then go back to it.  We, on the other hand, have started our journey with horses midlife.  It's going to be an adjustment for all of us, horses included.

Both horses need love, attention, & leadership which we are ready to give.  Once they settle into their new surroundings, we will start working with them and riding.  Until then we are watching them closely and going out to pet them at least once an hour.  The other night we were up in our pajamas with a flashlight checking on them at 4 in the morning to make sure they were ok because they were lying down and we were afraid they had colic!  Doesn't that sound like new parenthood only with horses?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Horse homecoming

Never did I think that just 15 months after pouring the foundation of our house would we have horses grazing in the pasture.  Happy, nervous, but mostly excited, I am looking forward to the adventure that we will have with them on our little farm.





Red, the colt, will join us next month.
Gotta go out and pet my horse!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Big boxes

A boy,
Big boxes,
Bricks,
&
Bunches of string
Equal...
A busy body
With a big smile!

The Farmhouse Book

I referred to this book in my last post and got a question on it, so it is the subject of today.
It is an amazing book on farmhouses!  The Farmhouse by Jean Rehkamp Larson gives "new inspiration for the classic American home" It truly covers all styles of farmhouses from very simple to shabby chic to ultra contemporary.  My husband and I discovered it while at Barnes and Noble looking at house design books.  We were on a mission to discover what type of home we wanted.  We knew it wasn't the typical Dallas style house that is built here in Oklahoma at present.  We wanted something with more character, a little old fashioned, and something small.  We weren't sure what style though.  Craftsman homes intrigued us but after looking at pictures we decided that the dark woods that fill them were not for us.  We also considered a Texas ranch styled home.  We loved the timber framing on the inside and out but most of those are large.  So while looking at books filled with beautiful homes, we both kept coming back to this book , The Farmhouse. Small, stylish, simple with an appreciation for the past - farmhouse was our style.  We bought the book.

From there we poured over the pages. I have always loved old fashioned things. My husband leans more toward contemorary.  What we did was choose ideas that we each liked and blended them into our home.  This book went with me everywhere I went while we were building.  That and the "building binder" that I will tell you about later.  It was our reference for deciding what would fit and what wouldn't.  From this book, we picked barn doors, style of trim, butcher block countertops, keyless lights, sealed concrete floors, metal stair railing, and more.  The Farmhouse gave us the inspiration to blend our personal styles into our home.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Keyless light fixtures

Keyless light fixtures are economical, industrial, and with the right light bulb completely appropriate for a contemporary farmhouse.  We knew we wanted edgy fixtures when we planned our house.  We proved that when choosing our Pottery Barn dining room chandelier.  However, splurges on PB fixtures that we really loved left us with little lighting budget for the upstairs bedroom, loft and mudroom.  Then we discovered these keyless lights in a book, The Farmhouse.  They had these cool chrome dipped light bulbs. 
They look amazing when turned on.  Directing the light back against the wall or ceiling that they are mounted on, the chrome gives an overall glow to the room. Here is what they look like in the loft.
And the best part... $1.30 + $1.59 for the bulb.  Yeah, I know, we paid too much! That was because we upgraded to the ceramic ones at Lowe's.  The electrician thought we were nuts. We think they are a perfect fit for our home!

*FYI: Code doesn't allow exposed bulb fixtures to be put in closets because of fire danger.*

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rocking chairs & raindrops


This morning I awoke to thunder and thought to myself, "It's going to rain!"  It hasn't done that in a month and a half.  I made some biscuits and drank my coffee and waited for the clouds to break.  Nothing.  Not one drop.  Disappointed, I went to get ready for the day.  Then, when I had lost all hope, a gentle rain began to fall.  We hardly ever get gentle rains in Oklahoma.  We get downpours, thunderstorms, tornados, but rarely sweet and steady rain.  What a beautiful thing!  With my husband gone to work and my boys still sleeping, my rocking chair on the front porch was beckoning to me.  And so I sat and listened to the rain hit the metal roof and drip to the ground.  I could almost see the pasture grass turning green. And then I thought , "Isn't that just like God to send a gentle shower when you have given up hope of any relief at all?" This morning I am thanking Him for rocking chairs and raindrops.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fresh salsa

I was craving salsa today but not the kind you buy in a jar. 
Real salsa, not hot, just fresh. 
So I mixed some up.  Here's what I dumped in mine today:
So good!
1 28 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 a jalepeno, finely chopped without seeds
4 cloves garlic, pressed
handful of black olives, chopped
handful of cilantro, chopped
the juice of 1/2 a lime
dash of kosher salt

Jalepeno Tip: use a grapefruit spoon to cut the core and seeds out of the peppers. 
 It's just the right size for the job.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Back to the books

Today is our last official day of summer because tomorrow we start school.  For ten years now, we have been homeschooling our boys.  It has been a wonderful family experience.  Not always pleasant, not always easy, but always rewarding.  The boys have developed relationships with each other that promise to last a lifetime.  We have had the opportunity to teach while keeping learning styles and individual interests in mind for each of them.  And mostly we have been able to build character and Biblical teaching into their hearts and minds that we hope will grow them into men of honor. 

It is challenging to start each year.  Deciding what needs to be priority for each boy takes careful consideration.  Purchasing the books and supplies needed can be a task. The curriculums make it easy to teach.  Determination to not let "life" detract from school is what can be hard from day to day. Everything is prepared now and I hope that this school year will be a breeze.  I feel like I should have it down by now but every year is different. I know there will be days that I wish that big yellow bus was coming to pick up my boys.  But truly, I'm thankful that I have the opportunity to get back to the books with them.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bobbie, my new horse

Meet my new horse, Bobbie.  She is a real sweety!  It turned out that Doll was a little too much horse for this green broke lady to handle. She needs a firmer hand with the reins than I am comfortable giving.  My hubby teased me that I needed a horse that had one foot in the grave.  It's not that bad, really! Well, maybe it is.  Anyway, at 10 years of age, Bobbie is a little older and her laid back temperment is a good match for me.  Doll is still coming home with us because everyone loves her.  So we have three horses now.
Bobbie's chocolate brown coat darkens to black down her legs topped with white socks.
She has a black mane and tail and one blue or "glass" eye.  The eye is mysterious & beautiful. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cracks in the ground

Check out this crack in our pasture!  I included a picture of my roughly painted toes to give you an idea of just how big it is.  It hasn't rained a drop here since the beginning of July. Then we were drowning in 11 inches.  Now we are desperate for rain.  I know much of the country is in the same situation so we aren't alone.  But really, I do wish that water would fall from the sky!
This crack is by our front porch.  It is over an inch wide. We have been watering this area every other day lately.  It looks like our house could get swallowed up by the ground.  I am so thankful that my husband had the foresight to have 41 piers put under our feet.  A firm foundation is essential in our homes and in our hearts for that matter.

The heat continues today and we are taking extra special care of the chickens.  We have given them free range and plenty of water.  We watered their yard with a sprinkler all night and we flooded under the house today.  They have puddles to wade in for now.  In a few hours it will be cool ground for them to scratch in.  Hopefully, we won't lose any today.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Deadly heat

I lost two hens today to the heat - a White Rock & my Ameraucana, Jane.  It has been over 100 for who knows how many day but today was the hottest so far.  It is nearly 9:00 pm and it is 99 outside.  I should have checked on them this afternoon.  I should have let them free range to find some cooler spots.  I should have given them cooler water.  I should have...  I know it is inevitable, they are farm animals.  This is part of the life we have chosen.  I have learned an important lesson today - during extreme temperatures, I need to pay closer attention.  Today, I just wish it hadn't been one of my green egg girls.
Jane

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chicken & spagetti

Have you ever seen a chicken eat spagetti?
They slurp them down whole.  It's hilarious!
Oh, and we got a baker's dozen of eggs today! 
This was the first time we got that many.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hot fudge sundae cupcakes

Today is a special day at the Red Farmhouse - my baby's birthday.  Ok, he's not a baby.  He's 11 years old.  The house is bursting with boys having fun.  In the midst of this chaos, I wanted to share some delightful little cupcakes that I made especially for him.  I got the idea from Joy the Baker but I cheated a little by using a cake mix. Shhh, don't tell her! And I made them double chocolate. The rest of the recipe is hers.  They are wonderful!  Hot fudge sundae cupcakes - such a cute idea for a special occasion.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Flower garden journal

I started a flower garden journal to keep track of everything that blooms here at the Red Farmhouse.  I thought I should start now while everything is flowering and I know what is where.  When next spring comes around, I may not remember.  Of course, I got a spiral notebook with flowers.  Cute, huh?
 
I began with before pictures.  Since this is a brand new garden, it seemed like an obvious place to start.
I am adding comments, diagrams, and flower tags so I can keep track of it all.
I'm also documenting what worked and what didn't.  Maybe this way, I won't make repeat gardening mistakes.  Ideas and inspirational pictures will make their way into the book too.
Flower gardens are works in progress. That progress will be kept in my journal to look back and remember and to look forward to make it even better.

Friday, August 6, 2010

133 posts set

133 posts set today! Thanks to my hardworking, handsome husband who stayed to work along side the hired help.  It is amazing what some encouragement and a free lunch will do to move things along!
The fences are really changing the way our land looks.  I think a couple of horse grazing out front will be a wonderful addition.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hot temps continue

For five days straight, the temperatures have been over 100 degrees.  It is H-O-T, hot out there!  Despite the heat, we have made progress on the horse fencing.  The arena & round pen posts are finally set!  Our boys will start on the boards in a day or two when the concrete cures.
Not only has the heat had it's way with our hired hands, the veggie garden is slow to produce.  This was today's meager crop.  It's not much but I was glad I didn't have to stay out there any longer than I did.  And with what was picked yesterday, we had enough okra to fry for dinner.  Yum!
The chickens are seeking shelter from the sun.  Thier new favorite spot is on the north side of the house in the shade.  I have been afraid I would find one dead from sun stroke.  Can chickens get that?
This is the only thing that is thriving right now - my hyacinth bean vine.
Isn't it pretty?  I'm planting more of it next year.
It may be the only thing that survives if the hot temps continue.

Cheap, charming wood floors

Wood floors are everywhere.  The choices are endless as to finish & color.  When we built our house, we wanted the kind of floor that you see in old homes.  Rich thick wood - real wood!  After looking around we found that this kind of flooring is very pricey and wasn't in the budget.  And then we had an idea! 

We used 3/4 inch tongue and groove pine boards on the outside of our house in the rafters.  It was a farmhouse detail that we couldn't do without. 
This is the stuff I'm talking about on our breezeway before it was painted a soft white.
You commonly see it on ceilings in log cabins.  You know what I'm talking about now, right? Well, we discovered that these boards are flat on the bottom.  No grooves.  It looked like thick, solid flooring.  And it was cheap!  The guy at the lumber yard gave us the "You can't use that for flooring." answer and to which we replied, "Why not?"  He had no answer other than it just isn't done.  We are not ones for not doing something just because noone else does it.  We wouldn't have a red farmhouse if we were!  So that became our wood flooring upstairs.
We installed it ourselves nailing each board in the tongue and groove area.  Then we sanded it with a hand held orbital sander. This took a while but we didn't want to tote one of the big ones up the stairs. Then, we finished it with two coats of polyeurethane.  Easy!  Except for the very large splinter that my husband got in his hand pushing in the last board.  It required medical treatment.  Really, it was that big.  You don't want to see the picture.
Anyway, we finished off the floor with hand cut nails.  These really made it look amazing.  Ordered from the oldest nail manufacturer in the US, they are still made the way they were 100 years ago.    We drilled pilot holes in the ends of each board, vacuumed, and then tapped the nails in.  They add that special farmhouse charm that we were looking for.  The slight distressing over the last 6 months has only made them better.

Total cost for 700 sq. ft.:
pine boards: $400
handcut nails: $200
polyeurathane: $45
medical copay: $30
grand total: $675
How's that for cheap & charming? 

Go to other posts on farmhouse to see additional pictures of the floor.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Teeny tiny egg

Have you ever seen a chicken egg this small? It is not any bigger than a quarter!  My boys called and told me about it while I was out and I confess that I didn't believe them.  It was laid by one of our Americauna hens that we haven't seen in the nesting boxes before.  Obviously, a first attempt!  It is a pretty green color.  It's just funny that it's so teeny tiny! 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Registering Red

We are preparing to send off Red's pictures & papers to register him with the American Quarter Horse Association.  We had to pick three names for them to officially give him, in case one was taken.  Red Diamond Diggers is our first choice.  Diamond & Diggers were his damm and sire's names.  No matter what, he is Red, that is for sure.  He just shines in the sun, don't you think?



He needs to fill out some but I sure think he is pretty.
Our oldest son, Jake, is looking real "cowboy" after working at a horse barn all summer.
He is riding better too.
So is Jonah, our middle son.

Here he is on Doll.

She looks good in that new tack.

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