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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Adirondack chairs go bold!

I'm not a bold person.
I don't like to attract attention.
I wear simple clothes and little jewelry.
I know what you are thinking, "But you have a RED house!"
Yes, it was just the right color when we tried out different ones


So this last project with all those paint colors I showed you was a stretch for me.
I kept thinking, "I hope I like this."
"It's awfully bold!"
But I have to tell you...


I LOVE the Adirondack chairs painted!
How could you not?

We purchased these oak chairs last year from a local woodworker that we found on Craigslist.  So comfortable but they needed some refinishing this spring.


We figured we would do two colors, maybe three.  Then seeing a picture in Country Gardens Magazine inspired us.  Why not all different?  Really, SEVEN different colors!

The purple is my personal favorite!

I used Benjamin Moore oil based outdoor paint.  And did you know you can have custom paint colors put in spray cans?  Amazing!  Any color you want in a can.  They worked really well.

Bold or not, I think they are the right fit for the Red Farmhouse.





Goat shed done


This weekend we finished the outside of the goat shed with metal roofing.  It's was a job considering we haven't tackled metal roofing before.  It matches both houses and the chicken coop.  I love it! And I'm so glad it's done.  We will finish the inside later.  There's no hurry since the goats aren't in a hurry to breed.

Around the farm,

all the animals seem to be enjoying the green, green grass.


except for the pigs and they are happier in their mud hole. Yuk!


Just look at that house!  I should have painted it the color of dirt!


I wouldn't want to leave you with that image in your mind so here are my favorite flowers in the garden right now.

Gaillardia with Verbena on a Stick and Purple Salvia.





Saturday, May 28, 2011

4,2,1,2 Biscuits

A new biscuit recipe.  I like it so much better!  They are lighter and fluffier than my other recipe.  I'll still use that one for pancakes though.  They are the best homemade pancakes I've ever had.


And why 4,2,1,2?  To make it easy to remember.

4 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder (yes I said tablespoons not teaspoons)
1 stick of butter (a little more if you want)
2 cups of milk
add a dash of salt and your ready to roll ~ roll them out that is.

Cut softened butter into flour, baking powder and salt.

Stir in milk adding just enough to make dough stick together.  You may not use all the milk or you may need a little more.  The less you handle the dough the lighter the biscuits will be.  I don't know why but it works.

Get rolling until the dough is about 1/2 inch thick.
Yes, my rolling pin doesn't have handles.  I like it that way.  I know, it's weird!

Cut out.

Put in greased pan.  I turn my oven on and let them rise for 30 minutes over the vent.

Bake for 12 minutes at 425.
This recipe makes 16-18 biscuits.

And add a little butter and homemade strawberry jam.
Yum!

Thanks to my friend, Kayla, for sharing 4,2,1,2 with me.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Picking up pieces

Yesterday I went to help with tornado clean up at our friend's home.  Their street was one of the ones hardest hit with most homes now piles of rubble on top of a concrete slabs.  Theirs was still standing but without a roof.  Can you ever prepare yourself to see something like that?  Imagine everything in your house large and small, including some furniture picked up and whirling around.  Then suddenly it stops and everything falls where it is.  That is how their home looked.  Coins, clothes, insulation, toys, and tons of glass covered the floors.  Window shades banged against the walls from the wind sweeping in the broken windows.  Furniture picked up and moved to different rooms.  Household items downstairs that were previously upstairs.  Items upstairs now downstairs.  Items that were not theirs in the first place that blew in from someone else's home.  And then there was a picture hanging on the wall perfectly straight, a bowl of oatmeal on the dining table with the spoon still in it and a stack of folded jeans where the mom had been doing laundry still sitting where she put them before.  In all my years in Oklahoma, I've never been that up close and personal with the consequences.  I couldn't have imagined such a scene.

A friend and I worked on the kitchen packing anything that was salvageable while my youngest picked up trash outside and swept the endless amounts of glass on the floor ~ a tiny dent in what needs to be done.

Our friends, still in shock, don't know where they will live or what they will drive because all the vehicles were destroyed.  But they are thankful for every meal and every piece of clothing and of course for the insurance that they pray will be enough.  In the aftermath of a tornado, items with fabric ~ clothes, bedding, upholstered furniture has to be thrown away because the insulation made up of tiny bits of glass gets in everything.  Take away all of that plus everything broken and there's not much left.

Such a sweet Christian family with seven children.  And so many others in the same or worse positions.  At least they are all still together alive.  While we worked in the kitchen, we watched police lines of ATVs in the pasture behind their house looking for the still missing three year old.

And then I came home to my little red farmhouse with everything in its place and felt so guilty.  I wonder if I could handle losing everything. We must remember to cling to what's important ~ God and family.  The rest is just stuff.

There was a framed Bible verse right inside the front door of the Bank's home.   It lay on the floor undamaged covered with shards of window glass.  It said, "'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."  For me it was a reminder that this life and all the stuff that comes with it is temporary and our hope is in heaven if we believe in Him.  My friend working with me dusted off the broken glass and set it in the kitchen window.

No pictures were posted because I couldn't bring myself to publish other's losses so publicly.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tornado within a few miles and more all over Oklahoma

Just spent one and one-half hours in the storm cellar.  Tornado may have wiped out the town nearest us.  We have a lot of friends over there.  We know of one death north of us about 4 miles.

No pics, however, we're watching on the news right now as Goldsby Oklahoma is being destroyed by a tornado.  It looks like it's going to miss my Mom's house by a few miles.

Pray for Oklahoma, it's really bad here.  God protected our farm and all our animals and family are safe!

UPDATE:  Blogger won't let us comment so here goes...

3 children missing in Piedmont near our home, 3 children heliflighted out of El Reno in critical condition.  El Reno is about 15 miles west of us.  Where we buy our feed.  Police cars keeping zooming down the road in front of our house.

UPDATE #2: 
Hadn't heard anything more about missing children.  4 confirmed deaths in our county with 4 possibly more.  The 3 children mediflighted were actually in Piedmont (the town closest to us).  We know that the family we sold the heifers to, the house next to theirs was blown away.  Also, a horse arena has been flattened a few miles north of us.  Very stressful.  I don't remember ever having so many tornados on the ground at one time and we've seen plenty of tornados around here.  The weather guy on the channel we were watching couldn't decide which tornado to cover and the helicopter pilot starting crying from all the destruction.  He actually landed to help some people that were crawling out of a storm cellar in there garage but the house was completely gone ~ only a slab.

UPDATE #3
The destruction just to the North and West of us is unbelievable.  They are saying F4 or F5 tornado now.  Homes completely gone like they had been bulldozed ~ homes that we drove by on a regular basis.  Two of the children have been found but are critical.  One was a 15 month old.  The siblings were literally ripped out of their mother's arms as they hid in a bathtub in their home while it was torn apart.  We have contacted friends nearby and they are all fine.  Others lives will never be the same.  My heart hurts for them.  I'm in tears.  This was too close to home. 

Oh my!  Just got a text that friends far north in Edmond lost the roof off their home.  With the rain that comes with tornados, that means probably a total loss.  Lord, please strengthen these Oklahoma families.

UPDATE #4
The last shots from the helicopter are showing a path of maybe 50 to 70 miles long.  They also showed about 100 emergency vehicles in the neighborhood where the child is missing.  They're all looking desperately.  News says they found one of the siblings 50 yards away from the house.  What a terrible afternooon and evening around here.  We've lived through tornados before, even had one go directly over our previous house with us in a closet, but don't remember ever being this physically or emotionally exhausted.  Looks like there were 4 major tornado paths through Oklahoma City this afternoon.

Hail

Take a look at what rolled in last night.  That's golf ball to tennis ball sized hail!  It was larger but had melted some before we were able to go out and gather a few.  You might also notice that three of those have rough edges.  That's because they were jagged when they flew from the sky.

You should have heard it crashing onto our metal roof.  Thankfully there was no damage.  I still don't understand why in the world the horses didn't get in their shelters.  They just stood out in it!  They seem to ride out the storm fine although I'm sure they have some bruises.

This hail was extreme but here in Oklahoma, we have weather extremes of all kinds.  However we are blessed with some of the best meteorology centers in the nation and the news stations here do an amazing job.  When severe storms or tornadoes roll in, they have storm chasers and helicopters out monitoring.  They can tell everyone where it is, what direction and speed it is going, and where it will hit even down to the block. For example, while listening to storm coverage you might hear something like, "The tornado is crossing the intersection of Rockwell and 63rd Street going NW at 30 mph.  It will hit MacArthur at 7:16."  Living in the center of tornado alley, we need that kind of warning. 

It's so sad that some states don't have those kind of systems.  The loss of lives is terrible when there is no or insufficient warning.  We grieve with the families of Joplin, Mo.  It's just devistating.

Today is predicted to be a major storm day.  The conditions are right and the chasers are out.  We are ready  with bottled water and snacks in the storm cellar.  If one comes our way, we will be safe there.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Our boys are ranchin'

Last week was our first week of summer break from school.  You would have thought that would be relaxing ~ sleeping late, lazy afternoons.  But our boys had different plans. 

heifers being transported after sale

Almost a year ago, our boys were given three calves to raise by their Papaw (who lives in next door in the blue house).  A few weeks ago, the heifers were sold "on the hoof" at a very good price.  Having a fistful of money and seeing future $ signs, our guys decided they should reinvest that money in more calves.  The only problem ~ we didn't have enough land to support more animals.

However, the boys made an agreement with the owner of the property behind us to run cattle there.  It's 17 acres with a 4 acre pond.  First, it needs some clean up and the fence needs fixing.  Off to work they go...
clearing brush and small trees


digging post holes

finishing off the holes


Up at 6 and out the door at 7.  Working 10 hours a day.  Covered in poison ivy from clearing brush.  Sinking posts and stretching barbed wire.  Not complaining.  Well, a little complaining from our youngest.  They really want to do this!  Their dreams of running cattle together just started last week.

A new stretch of fence across part of the pond.
The pond is low right now.

Their efforts are being blessed.  The owner's son is working with them and teaching them how to build a barbed wire fence. A rancher nearby has blessed them with 80 t-posts and a roll of barbed wire for free.  He is going to let them pick out their cattle from his herd and deliver them when they are ready.  He has also offered to bail the grass for them this summer for winter feeding.  It seems that older people like seeing younger people who aren't afraid of work.

As parents, we are just standing back amazed.  We knew they had it in them.  We just didn't know that they knew it.


So, the Rockin' 3 J Ranch is born.  Three brothers working together to raise Black Angus Beef.  A small operation for now.  But it's a start and it will be a learning experience for them for sure.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Sometimes...

we just need to stop and smell the flowers.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

White paint

Finally, everything intended to be white on this farm is white ~
 the milking shed, the hitching post, the buck house, the chicken coop, the pig house {wait, it was white for only 30 minutes when they smeared it with mud, but let's not talk about that.  It upsets me.}  the mile of fence, and now the horse shelters.


Monday, I spent spraying 17 gallons of white paint on the horse shelters.  At least a gallon of that paint was on me.  This morning I had a little itch in my ear.  The next thing I knew my finger was covered with little specks of paint ~ lots of them.  Horrified, I remembered I went to the doctor yesterday and he looked in my ears! Oh, my.

On the bright side, the shelters are practically glowing in the sun this morning.  I like them so much better now.  We are ready for metal roofing on all the new animal houses.

But I'm not finished painting yet.  I have another project and it won't be white!


Just look at those...

country redwood
philipsburg blue
fairmont green
stuart gold
florida keys blue
pumpkin cream
and autumn purple

Oh, they tickle me pink.
Can't wait to show you when I'm done!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Flowers in feed buckets

chicken in a bucket

You may have seen my galvanized feed bucket flower pots before.  They are scattered around the farmhouse outside.  I love picking just the right flowers for each bucket.

gravel path to front door

A few weeks ago, I hung one of our red feed buckets on the goat fence and left it there.  Later I looked out the window and realized that those would look really cute filled with flowers. 

flowers for the girls

 Since we have some new animal feeders on the farm (thanks to my hubby), I decided to repurpose these.  I had to by a few more though. 

round pen gate

11 in all and all in red. 
Hanging on the fences filled with pink and white zinnias and sweet smelling alyssum. 


I think they will be lovely when they fill out and cascade over the sides. 


We drilled small holes in the bottom for drainage and picked flowers that were non toxic to the farm animals just to be safe.


I didn't bother to take the stickers off.  They just add to the farm theme, I think. 

pink watering can worth a million with million bells in pink

This year, I got rid of the regular flower pots.  All of our flowers are in feed buckets and why shouldn't they be?  Afterall, this is a farm and just about everything on it requires feeding and watering.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday Evening Post

A glimpse into the lives of the people who live in the Little Red Farmhouse. Sort of like eves dropping. It will be a quote or conversation. It may be funny. It may be sweet. Maybe a little sad. But it will always be true. We'll see if it resonates with you.



Me to my hubby: "Just look at my fingernails.  I can't get them to grow any longer than this!"
Me (comparing my nails to his): "They're shorter than yours!"
Hubby: (shrugs)
Me: "I'm working too hard!"

Yes, this was a one sided conversation.  It happens frequently when you live in a house with all males.  Guess that's why I like to blog.  At least then I get comments.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Garden goat

I got another goat.
This one's for the garden.
He's black and white and a tad bit rusty. 
I think it's safe to say he won't eat any of the flowers.

My youngest and I were at the garden center when this little guy caught the eye of my little guy.

I'm not much for garden statues.  I like to keep things simple and uncluttered.  But we both thought he would be a perfect addition to the farm flower garden.  He's living happily among the new orange zinnias now. 

He's almost as cute as the real ones.
Mocha, Hazelnut & Toffee say, "No way, we are way cuter than him."

And while we are talking goats, check out these new hay racks my sweet husband made for me my goats.  They are amazing!  That man can make anything, I tell you. 
Joe is enjoying the small one built to hold one flake of hay.  The girls have a double one.  Hopefully, the dropped hay will collect in the tray below.  Picky things won't eat it off the ground!  Now my dear hubby is slaving away on aluminum feed troughs.  He must love my goats me a lot.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Jammin'

Yesterday was the first "Jam session" of the year.  That means strawberries!


But not from these sad looking plants.  I think I put too much hay on top of them over the winter.  And come to think of it, I probably shouldn't have used hay at all.  Just look at all that grass!


I just bought strawberries ~ 2 lbs. 
added 4 lbs. of sugar and a box of Sure-Jell.
and there you go ~ 9 wonderful half pints of jam.


I always hope there is a little too much to put in a jar so I can eat it warm right out of a bowl. 

I love jammin'.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jumpin' jimminy

that's the biggest frog I've ever seen!
He doesn't look big here?
What about this pic?
This giant jumper was spotted in the pig pen last night.
He was happily hanging out in the muck until the pigs spotted him.
Then the chase was on.  Yes, I know that pig pen is, well, a pig pen!  Why any creature would go in there I have no idea!

We finally rescued the big guy, gave him bath, and took him to the pond but not until we measured him.  Take a look at that!
14 inches!  That's a big frog!

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