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.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Favorite Farmhouse Feature - Interior Barn Doors

Our second farmhouse feature is definitely a favorite! 

The barn doors throughout our house command attention and are the subject of much conversation when people visit the Red Farmhouse.  We had seen lots of pictures on the internet of barn doors but no practial intructions on how to make them work in our home. Problem solving all the little details to install them was worth it because we love them!
Do you want to see how we did it? 

When we built the house, we opted not the frame the doorways for typical doors. Although the opening is the same, ours were sheet rocked instead of trimmed.  The baseboards wrap continuously through the doorway openings (see below).

You may also notice that the doors needed something to butt up to so there wouldn't be a gap to peek through.  This was achieved by adding a trim board up the wall just like the ones the the rails run on.

The rails are galvanized.  These are the same ones that can be purchased a Tractor Supply for barns.  Wanting an industrial look, the rugged galvanized metal fit right in and they didn't cost an arm and a leg!

 Hanging from the brackets are 7 foot solid core door panels painted white.  We choose classic 5 panel doors for a slightly old fashioned look.  Being solid core makes the doors have a weighty feel as you slide them open and closed which I feel is a must for a barn door.

To secure the doors from swinging out at the bottom, we added rollers.  Hubby had to retrofit these since we have concrete floors.  Stops keep the door from opening too far and falling off the rail.

A few of the barn doors are doubles.  For these we added a small trim board to one side (left in pic above) so there would be no crack in the middle to peek through.

And the thick leather handles are my favorite part!  They are replacement handles for antique luggage and trunks.  Custom made for our doors, we got to choose the color and thickness.  (I have to tell you though, the man in Pennsylvania thought I was a total hick when I told him I was putting his handles on barn doors in my house!)

On the opposite sides of the doors we needed some way to open them.  There wasn't enough room to put handles on both sides so we decided on these finger pulls.  Only they aren't really finger pulls.  They are the pieces that door knobs attach to.  We purchased them from Restoration Hardware to get the finishes that we wanted for each room.

And that's it ~ Interior Barn Doors.
They make a big farmhouse statement.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cowboy up

Even though Cowboy is only a year and a half old therefore too young to ride, we decided to introduce him to the saddle. He did really well! The only time he moved at all is when the saddle was cinched up and then he only took one side step.

We decided to let Jared hop on his horse and sit for a few minutes.  After all, he only weighs 60 lbs.  What could be the harm?  We knew Cowboy wouldn't care and he didn't.

Our trainer said we wouldn't have to "saddle break" him if we followed the Clinton Anderson method.  I guess he was right.  It's amazing what natural horsemanship training will do for any horse but especially a young one!  We may only buy yearlings from now on. It won't be long before Jared is ready to "Cowboy Up" and ride his own horse.  And this was a great start.

Saturday, September 24, 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.

Our youngest boy was standing in line at Subway today watching 3 little girls ordering sandwiches.  He turns to me and says, "Girls are the weirdest creatures on Earth."

In a few years I'm sure they will go from "weird" to "wow".

Friday, September 23, 2011

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

Lasagna ~ classic family favorite
but with a twist, no, actually a roll!

I saw this recipe on Food Network years ago and we have been enjoying it ever since.  It's not a quick fix but it sure is fun.  Besides, disguising healthy spinach in a fun little roll is a great way to get guys to eat their veggies.

Let's Roll~

1 (15 oz) ricotta cheese
1 (10 oz) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup grated parmesan
3 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped  (tip ~ Don't ask for this at the Walmart deli.  They will look at you like you are crazy!)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 t. salt
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Sauce (you can omit but it sure is good with it):
2 T butter
4 t. flour
1 1/4 cups milk
pinch of salt, pepper & nutmeg
To make sauce: melt butter in saucepan over medium heat.  Add flour and whisk for a few minutes.  Whisk in milk and increase heat a little.  Continue whisking until sauce comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth (about 3 minutes).  Add seasoning and pour in the bottom of a 9x13 pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, stir together ricotta, spinach, parmesan, prosciutto, egg, salt & pepper.

Boil noodles until just tender but still firm.  Drain.  Arrange on baking sheet in a single layer so they don't stick together.

Now the fun part!  It's time to roll.  (Kids love to help with this part!)

One at a time, spread 3 T. of spinach/cheese mixture evenly over one noodle. 

Start rolling from one end.  Lay lasagna roll seam side down in pan. 

Roll another...until all the rolls are done.

Spoon marinara sauce over rolls and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Cover with foil.  Bake 20 then remove foil and bake 10-15 minutes longer until cheese browns a little on top.

Done!  Pair with a Casear salad and let your family marvel at your masterpieces.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jacob Sheep

Building our hobby farm has been fun, work, and a little trial and error.  Figuring out what kind of animals we wanted to raise has been too. But one thing that has been on the short list since before we built the farmhouse was Jacob Sheep.  We've just been intrigued by them!  Wayne especially wants to shepherd a flock. 

What first drew us to this breed was the story behind them.  Because we read the Bible daily in our home, we were familiar with the story of Jacob's flock in the book of Genesis.  The long and short of it is this:  Jacob was working for his Uncle Laban to earn the girl of his dreams, Rachel.  He was promised wages of only the speckled and spotted lambs to start his own flock but then all the lambs end up being speckled and spotted.  Jacob was blessed for his work even though his Uncle tried to cheat him time and again.

Jacob Sheep are a heritage breed but still considered rare. They are gentle horned sheep and typically have 2-5 horns. They are on the small side and are generally thought of as fiber sheep meaning they produce excellent quality wool.  However in recent breed taste tests, Jacobs were rated #2 in meat quality. Because we are focusing our farm for meat production for our own family and friends, we feel the Jacob Sheep will be a good fit for us.

The ones we are starting with are registered and all girls ~ eight of them.  Seven are being bred, four of which typically have twins.  We'll purchase a ram next year once we've gotten established with these.

They are coming from Moose Mountain Ranch in Colorado and are being bred right now.  They will be pregnancy checked in late October and we will pick them up in early November.

That means lambs, and lots of them, in February or March. 
And those are just too cute.  We can't wait!

Ziggy as lamb

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Memorial Rodeo

Boys in boots + the smell of horses =
a fun Saturday
at the Amanda Westermier Memorial Youth Rodeo.

Friday, September 16, 2011


have arrived on the farm.

& oh, my goodness, they are sooooo cute!

6 Brothers ~
4 white & 2 red with black spots.
They are cross breeds of Yorks, Duroc, & Hampshire.

I'm so glad we had a truck to haul them home in.  Last year we transported them in the back of our SUV.  At that moment, having a farm truck moved up on the priority list.

These are Jonah's pigs. I don't know why but the boy loves pigs even when they get big and nasty.  He pays for them completely and then sells them when they are grown.
Four of them are already spoken for as pork.

But let's not think about that just yet.  They are too sweet!
I mean, just look at those cheeks

and those curled up ears. 

Right now we are enjoying them for the 
precious piglets that they are.
I love how God makes all baby creatures adorable.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Favorite Farmhouse Feature - Edison Chandelier

On a regular basis, we recieve emails requesting information on certain features in our farmhouse.  This has been quite unexpected.  We just picked things that we liked even if it wasn't what was typical.  Most of the features were covered in posts when I first started this blog.  But since that has been a while, I thought it might be fun to re-visit some over the next few weeks...

The Edison Chandelier
(otherwise known as Edison's Octopus in this house for obvious reasons)

We chose this Pottery Barn light fixture for our family dining area because it had that old fashioned yet industrial look.  I think it's a little whimsical too.  The bulbs are huge ~ a whopping 5 inches across!  When the chandelier is on, it gets noticed!

Actually, it is one of the features that everyone comments on when visiting the Red Farmhouse.  Some don't care for it.  Most do.  We love it!  My favorite thing is when it is dark outside and the lights are on, the bulbs cast shadows on the living room wall that look like Christmas ornaments.  Very unique!

Hanging it was pretty fun too.  It was a two person job as hubby and I stood on the pine dining room table and decided where to attach the clips.  We went for symetrical but slightly random, if that makes sense.

the fixture fits the farmhouse perfectly.
Good pick, honey!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Making a gate

Gate making ~ I seem to have gotten that job on the farm.  Probably because digging post holes or putting up fencing is not really a "mom job" (at least not for this mom).  I don't mind though.  Now that I have made a few (5 to be exact), I kind of like the job.

Now, I've never considered myself a "handywoman".  Working with tools has just never been my thing.  Give me a crochet hook or a sewing machine and I'm a happy girl.
But gate making is a handy skill to have especially on a farm
so I thought I would show you how I did it.

First, I purchased a gate kit at Home Depot.  This makes it really easy!

Following the directions, I assembled the frame.
(confession, I put it together wrong twice on the first gate)

Measure 2x4s to fit in the frame.  The total width of the gate needs to be 4 inches less than the opening.  This allows for the hardware.

And tension wire and hanging clamps.
Easy so far, right?

Now you need to decide how tall you want the gate to be.
Mine are 4 feet. I left one inch gaps in between the boards.
Lay them out first before you start attaching them so you know they are spaced right.

Then screw them on.
(Always wear proper footwear when using tools.)

Next, lay boards horizontally across gate and mark to cut.

Trim to fit with a miter saw.

Now cut diagonal board to fit in between horizontal ones.
This cut is tricky.
Say it with me ~ measure twice, cut once.

Ta Da!
Now to hang it.

Get a big strapping man to screw in those bolts.
Wait a few weeks for the boards to dry out
and paint ~
white, of course!

A perfect farm gate

Friday, September 9, 2011

Finding our seats

It may seem like a strange thing but part of our horsemanship this week has been finding balance in our seat.  With the three horses that are ready for this, we are walking in the round pen on them bareback. 
No saddle, no bit.  Just mecate reins. 
Walk off... one rein stop.

It's amazing how much different this feels.  You really have to "feel" the horse.  I paid more attention to my posture, where my feet were, and the cues I was giving.

There was such freedom in riding this way, even at a walk.
With that freedom, there was a little fear too (at least for me).
It's amazing how that saddle gives us a false security of being attached to the horse.

We've been watching the Clinton Anderson DVDs and following his program step by step.
Along with all his Natural Horsemanship exercises, we will be practicing this for a few weeks.

I have to tell you, the more time I spend with horses, the more I like them.

Oh, and Wayne gave D back to me!
If you have been following for a while, you may know that my hubby and I traded horses.  D (Doll) was super skittish and so was I so we switched horses.  I've learned a lot from calm but stubborn Bobbi but I have never just loved her.  D ~ I have always just loved!  Anyway, we are taking it slow, working together, trying to build trust.  Mostly, I just need to be strong enough to lead (which is nothing new).  Going through natural horsemanship with a horse is teaching me much about myself ~ more than I ever imagined!


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