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.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Simplifying Our Life

Last year was full of transition.
Well, really just one big change that seems to have changed everything.
(This accounts for my lack of posting.)
Two of our boys have grown up and moved out
to start life on their own.

This of course brought many challenges
the largest of which is helping our boys "adult"
and transition successfully into the world.
Thankfully, they are doing great.
Our oldest was just accepted into medical school!
Our middle is working as a young professional equestrian.
Our youngest is at home finishing high school and planning for college.

They have grown up a lot since then.

Times have changed since we built the farm.
We find ourselves without farm hands
and have decided to downsize considerably.

The vegetable garden and flower garden are gone
along with the hours of work that they required to maintain them.
The horse is leased out and our pet goat found a new home.
We have decided to no longer raise our own meat ~
so no more cattle, dairy cows, meat chickens or pigs.
(Well maybe a pet pig for my hubby who loves them!)

And the sheep...
Our flock of Jacob Sheep have all been sold
and are waiting to be transported to three different states.
They have been such a learning experience for us.
The sheep have helped us understand why people are compared to sheep
in the Bible so many times and why God is called our Good Shepherd.
So many Biblical life lessons that we have had the privilege
to live out right here in our pasture!
We will miss them but it's time to let them go.
It's time for someone else to live life as their shepherd.

We don't regret any of what we have done.
And we're not giving it all up completely.

Simplifying our life ~
That's what we are doing ~
Making our little farm manageable and enjoyable for the two of us!

Stop by the Little Red Farmhouse soon
to see what we will focus on now...

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Farmhouse Outdoor Living

With school out and nicer weather, 
we are spending more time outside
in our new outdoor living area.

This was last year's BIG (SUPER BIG) project.
It took longer to build than it did
to build our house!  It was worth the wait though.
Want to take a look?

This is the outdoor living area that I've always dreamed of!
It has lots of room to cook.

The stainless steel farmhouse sink
has a commercial faucet that really cleans up.
Across from the sink is a gas power burner
for crab & shrimp boils or anything else that needs lots of heat.
This area was also designed to be used for
processing meat chickens.  (This is a farm, after all!)

Before we built the kitchen, we bought our first Kamado Joe
ceramic charcoal oven. It wasn't long before we decided we wanted two of them.  We love cooking on these! Our favorite thing to make ~ 
"brick oven" pizza for a crowd.

Instead of a traditional gas grill, we opted for an EVO Mongolian grill.
This versatile stove top has the ability to cook everything
from pancakes & bacon, to onion burgers,
 to (yes, you guessed it) Mongolian stir fry. It's our go to grill for quick outdoor cooking.

All of the counter tops are concrete
with rough natural edges sealed and not stained
just like our concrete floors inside the house.

Shining from above are keyless light fixtures
with oversized bulbs also mirroring lighting inside the house.
These lovely lights are on a dimmer
to add just the right amount of glow for any occasion.

There is lots of room for friends and family
to gather around while the meals are being prepared
or to dig in when it's done.

And now we come to the fire pit.
We wanted a centerpiece.
Something that said "modern" & "farmhouse."
Form and function but not fancy.

We decided on concrete walls with the rough edges showing.
Then we topped it with sealed cedar.
We purposefully made the boards wide enough 
to place plates or glasses around them to double as a tabletop.
A long linear gas flame floats down the middle of the red
fire glass beads that match the farmhouse.
It's a true gathering place.

All of the patio furniture is from Berlin Gardens
and made from recycled milk carton material.  
The colorful chairs that we had out back before 
have been scattered around the farm
in the bee garden, in front of the tool shed, 
and in the flower garden.

Last stop on the tour is often our last stop in the evening ~
the hot tub.  We LOVE our Bullfrog Spa!
For our family, a spa just made sense.
Plus, it's helpful with my husband's back.
In the summer, we turn the heat off and it's a cool tub instead.  We
also added more speakers from our whole house sound system.

We had a vault built for the tub to sit in and put a sump pump in the bottom.  We felt like this would put the deck at a good seat height but not so close to the ground where we might be more likely to have snakes and other critters who want to swim.  The center section of the deck is one piece and is removable to access the inner workings of the hot tub and the sump pump.

Of course we wanted a privacy screen
and since we were used to having a shortcut to the backdoor
through here, we thought a disguised gate was in order.  The same barn door hardware that is inside our house was used here too.  Nothing fancy, just Tractor Supply stuff.

All together, we love our farmhouse outdoor living area
and hope to enjoy it for years to come.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Spring Storm

Many of our Oklahoma spring storms 
are dangerous. This one was not;
it was strong but in a gentle glorious sort of way.

We sat on the porch and ate apple pie 
while we watched it roll in.
The swirl was circulation but it didn't circle much.
With the storm came much needed rain for our pastures.

yearling four horn Jacob Sheep ram

Meanwhile, there is a different sort of Storm 
developing on the farm.
Painted Rock Storm, one of the ram lambs 
that we brought in from West Virginia last year,
 is growing into a gorgeous guy.
I love his sweeping rainbow shaped horns.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Catching Our Swarm

Yesterday our beekeeping adventure rose to new heights
as our purple hive split and swarmed.
We had noticed that the colony was increasing in size rapidly and had ordered a swarm trap and another hive in case they decided to split.  None of it got here in time though so we had to improvise. Thanks to my husband's quick thinking and design abilities, we were able to put together a makeshift hive from two hive boxes, some insulation board, a metal screen and tape!

Now we just had to get the bees out of the tree.  I just read about capturing swarms a few days ago but we had never seen this process in person or even on video.  Sometimes you just have to put on your suit and go for it and that is what we did.

A swarm is huge clump of bees all clustered around a queen hanging on to each other and attached to little else.  They can attach to anything: fences, eaves of houses, even cars.  Luckily, ours landed in a small pecan tree in our backyard.

Once the bee swarm finds a resting place, a few bee scouts go out and look for a new home.  We just made that process a little easier for them. It's amazing how the bees stayed calm and stayed together. 

I expected them to scatter more than they did.  Once they were in the hive box, we shook them off the small branches and they dropped in the box.

We previously placed foundation bars in another hive box for them to build their comb. So at this point, we put that on top and walked away.  The bees that didn't stay with the swarm found their way into the hive within an hour.  This morning we moved it back the our bee garden where they can settle in next door to their old home.  We hope they will be very happy there.

As new beekeepers, we are thrilled not only that our bees made it through their first winter (they often don't) but they are doing well enough to split and swarm!

Ruth 1:16
Where you go, I'll go.
Where you stay, I'll stay.

Note: if you see a swarm in the spring, leave them alone until they move on or call your county extension office or a beekeeping club near you to find someone to relocate them. Do NOT spray the bees please!


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