Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Barn Raising...Part Two

So last night, we went for our appeals meeting - in front of the county commission. We had to get their approval to have our animals on the property, since we have more than an acre but not much more and technically we are zoned rural residential - so we need special "land use" approvals - we also want to build our barn closer to the property line than is standard. We waited and waited for our turn (there were probably 15 or so people ahead of us, with their own list of approvals) we nervously stood in front of the committee - they asked just a few questions - we made each other laugh - we talked about Josie and Blossom and our eventual honey bees. Then, someone made the motion to approve, another person second the motion and with a vote, our dream became reality. All animals, we no reservations have been approved. The barn, we had originally requested a barn 20x24; however, there was a typo on the paperwork and it stated 20x40 - they asked if we wanted them to approve for the larger size, saying we didn't HAVE to build that large, but this way, we wouldn't have to come back if we ever chose to add on - as I'm looking at Mark to see what he has to say, I see a nice woman on the committee nodding her head yes LOL - so I said, if you guys are going to approve it, we'll take the larger size, just in case :-).
Now, anyone wanna come help build?? Ha ha!
I'll be posting pictures of our progress. I couldn't be happier at this point :-)

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Yesterday we FINALLY got our potatoes in the ground! We're only a week late, but it's been weighing on my mind and it feels good to have them in. All of our starts are doing so great - there are only a few peppers and tomatoes that we are waiting to sprout. We're trying to grow asparagus (from seed) and they are even starting to sprout a bit. I know it will take several years before they actually do anything, but hopefully it will be worth it. Our peas are looking great! Instead of seeing little bits of green peeking through here and there...we see long rows of green leaves. Which reminds me that we need to get our trellis system in for them.
Projects Projects Projects
We have SO SO many things going on right now. I'm guessing this is what every farmer (large scale farmer and backyard farmer) feels right about this time of year. We can no longer afford to have one of us not working - I have a great career and Mark is really loving his preschool job - the money helps us do the projects that we want/need to do. But that also means so much less time. In the past, we've usually had one person working and one person at home (that has switched from time to time) - but the person at home could handle most the dishes/laundry/cleaning/smaller projects. Now, since we both work full-time jobs, we are both incredibly busy with work and incredibly busy here. There seriously are NOT enough hours in a day.
Yesterday, we had planned on attending our sewing class (I've taught myself some VERY BASIC sewing skills...but I don't really know what I'm doing) so for Mark's birthday, I bought us each a class from a local sewing machine shop - we learned how to make a tote bag...and they actually look really nice. Afterward, we were planning on hitting the Preble County Expo, but the kids had other plans. Apparently, when we were on our way home, they were "playing fighting" Cora ended up falling back onto her hand and instead of going palm down, she went back of her hand down and wrist down. When we were feeling to see "if this or that hurt" Mark and I both felt pops - so off to the Urgent Care we go (which the closest urgent care is 30 minutes away). After a long wait and an X-Ray...we find out NO BREAK...just badly sprained. :-( After all that, we missed the expo, grabbed a late lunch and ran an errand. We still had (and still have) lots of stuff to do here before we are ready to have the landscapers come out and dig holes for the barn. One major project is removing all the rocks and gravel from our current parking area (which is where the barn will live). I always think that jobs are going to be easier and less time consuming then they really are. We kept shoveling and shoveling and this job seems never ending. I need an extra week, I think. But spring break is coming up fast and I need to make sure that we are ready.
Speaking of which...need to go!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Barn Raising...

A good ol' fashion barn raising. We are working hard to get this all to work out. We've submitted our barn plans to the building permit place and they've been approved and are waiting for us at the county. We go Tuesday to make sure that our variance and our final list of animals are approved (which I've been assured that this will be no problem...more of a technicality).

Tonight we had a landscaper come out and price how much it would be for them to come out and put in all the holes in ground for both our barn and fence. For around $275, they'll bring all the equipment and in a couple hours have everything ready to go. Um...yes please! It looks like they can come out next Wednesday/Thursday - which means that, in a perfect world, they will have their part complete (while we are at work) and we can have the building permit people out on Friday (like next Friday...Friday the 30th) and again in a perfect world, we will have their approvals that day and can start really building the barn.
We are also having a truss company build our trusses for us - we are having 11 trusses built - they are 24 ft. wide, gambrel attic, that is 6 1/2 ft tall (ish)...all for around $1,300.

I am unbelievably excited about this. Mark and the kids are on Spring Break April 2-6, which I'm planning (KEY WORD: PLANNING) on taking that week off from work. My parents might be coming out to help as well - I don't want them helping with the barn, due to my mom's bad back and my dad's temperamental heart...but they can help pay attention to the kid's needs and making some meals (hopefully) while they are here, making our life a little easier. I'm really hoping for no hiccups with this process...

Barn Interior - with livestock stalls

Front and Side Views of the Barn

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


If all goes well, in the next couple months, this will be included in our pasture. For now, I'll take all those beautiful flowers.

Our front yard garden beds and our awesome front porch...we so enjoy this space.

The sun rising over our yard.

Peach tree blossoms
Pear tree blossoms
Welcome to our yard. Such a lovely forsythia.

Sun rising over the corn field out back.

Vegetable garden starts.

Vegetable garden staging area.
What a way to welcome Spring. I started this morning laughing with the kids at the bus stop as we watched two deer walk through the corn field. We got to witness a beautiful sunrise. As an amazing benefit, my company offers us a fully ,8-hour day to volunteer in our community. My assistant and I spent today with Mark at his Head Start class. We worked with the kids, purchased materials to do homemade chia heads (knee highs, grass seed, soil and googly eyes) with them, served their lunches to them etc. In addition to the benefit of us helping the class, the school gets to count our 16 hours and travel time to/from as in-kind donations (requirements for the school to exist). After we got home, we walked through the property to look at everything that was waking up from their winter sleep. We thought that we had lost an apricot tree, but just today, we are seeing leaves starting to unfold from the trunk. So as a tally of what survived...3 peach trees (we think we may have lost two of the five), 2 pear, 2 apricot, 2 plum, 2 forsythia, 2 paw-paw (I believe they both made it!), 4 of the 5 apple trees.
Today was a record breaking warm day...I believe it hit at least 83 degrees...In March! I do believe the Spring has SPRUNG!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Weekend Update

The beautiful view from our living room door to the front of the property. Across the street, there is a hill that goes down into a creek. I vow to explore that creek this summer sometime.

Gage had a great time at the ShamROCK event at a local museum. I had to work the event and he was finally old enough to go to the teen event and he wandered around and played laser tag etc.

Me and my favorite guy - enjoying morning coffee on the front porch...Love it!

Cora, as Belle, from Beauty and The Beast for her school play.

She looks a little like Alice in Wonderland...but she's really the prettiest Belle I've ever seen in my entire life.
Just now realized that I haven't taken any recent photos of Drake (since his birthday???) on my phone. Hmm...that will need to change tonight.
We've had busy days around here.
Friday was a great day - we got to see Miss Cora perform in her school musical. All the kids sang various Disney selections. Cora's group was Beauty and The Beast. As the curtain opened and I saw her sitting there, my heart burst. She's so beautiful and graceful. Her cheeks just glowed, she worked hard and knew the songs and even danced with a boy. Time to clean the shotgun!
I had an event on Saturday night at the Boonshoft Museum - a teen focused St. Patty's Day was definitely a late night. For the first time, Gage was old enough to attend. Unfortunately, it was short notice and he couldn't get a friend to tag along...but he had a good time. There was laser tag, bungee race, free vanilla latte's, a karaoke type lounge, animals...what more could a 13 year old ask for!?
We also cleaned out the alpaca barn and pasture. We took all the old straw out of the barn and pasture, cleaned the floors with a bleach water solution (there are wood floors in the barn, which I do not like) and laid new straw for the girls. They seemed so concerned about where we were taking their bedding and poop. They'd come over and smell the trash bins and then look at us...worried. Ha! Goofballs. Looking forward to all that compost for next year's garden!
The peach and pear trees are looking great (we'll likely have to replace a peach or two, an apple tree and an apricot tree...ugh deer!) but I can't really complain...they spent the first couple years of life in pots! Peas are starting to come up (barely) so are the onions. Some of our starts have even start to come up. I'm going to check out for now, I gotta get some work done to pay the bills to have the ability to do the project around the farm.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Reasons I love living here...

So many times, we will make a random comment about why we love living out here. I thought that we should make a list of sorts to always remember these things and never take them for granted. I'll list some today and as I think of them, I'll add more.
  • The night before last, as we were sitting at the kitchen table, planting seeds, one of the kids says "Look! A horse!!" - we don't have horses on our property. I look out our front window and there are three people riding horses in the field across the street from our house. We took off running out the door, without shoes and ran down the road just a bit, as the three people on horses rode over to us and let us pet the horses. They pointed to the house they live in, down the road a little bit more (we still have yet to meet many of our neighbors, more than just a waive) and said they have more horses and if we ever wanted to ride, we should just come down. WOW!
  • Last night, as I'm driving home from work (most of the time I work from home, but sometimes I need to go into Dayton for a meeting), I see a little girl "walking" (more like the animal was walking her), what I thought was a small german shepherd...but as I got closer, I realized she was walking a goat on a dog leash. Ha ha ha.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I'm not sure what type of flower this is..but we have several on the property.

Terrible picture, I know, but it's a Pear blossom opening up.

Again, not sure what this is...but they are so pretty and all over.

Anyone know what this is?

Good job Cora!
Yesterday we planted 216 starts...and we'll be doing a bunch more tonight!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Damn dog...

So the Damn Dog...AKA Ollie has decided that it's real fun to jump into our raised beds, lay on his belly with his legs stretched out and flick all of our very expensive dirt, ahem,  all over the ground outside the bed...GRR!!! So to counteract his crazy behavior, we have added poultry netting (AKA chicken wire) to the tops of the seeded beds. We have three beds planted with peas and a four bed that is a little over 1/2 way full of onion sets and seeds.

On a happier note...look at all these beautiful of my favorite flowers (Daisy is, and will always be, number one though).
More planting to do tonight - I keep making goals and then running out of hours in the day!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

How was your Sunday?

This is our front yard - we finished laying out the 11 raised beds that we built yesterday. Nine are on the lower landing of our yard, one is on the upper front yard area and then one's in our backyard (for potatoes) - which I'm now realizing that I haven't taken a photo of.

A better image of our upper level box - this is going to be where our peas live this year.

Mark and Belly working in the beds. We had to buy organic soil this year, since our compost isn't ready yet - but next year, I'm hoping for beautiful, home-grown compost!

My handsome husband and our beautiful beds!

Strong girl!


One of our other outside kitties - "Captain" - she's super twitchy, very nervous around people. BUT SUPER cute though.

Ending a strenous day with a beer, wine cooler and grilling out...THAT'S RIGHT!!! Grilling out, in MARCH!

Grilled steak, on a bed of spinach, with feta and strawberries...YES PLEASE!
Hope all of you had a productive, wonderful weekend too!

Baby Blossom

Oh my goodness! I just realized that I forgot to share here...We are expecting!!!
...A baby alpaca :-)
The vet came out on Friday and did ultrasounds. Apparently Josie is not pregnant - I thought FOR SURE that she was. She acts pregnant, looks pregnant - so I guess that means that she's actually full of fleece and kinda bitchy lol. However, my shining star, Blossom, is going to be a first time mother. FIRST TIME, here on our farm. I am so completely excited. We should have a baby alpaca running around the pasture come the first week of May! I'm hoping that the new barn and pasture area will be in by then. We submitted our paperwork for approvals by both the building permit office and to get the required variance (since we are building closer than 50 ft. to the property line). In a perfect world, we will have all of our approvals back around March 27th and will start building (Mark and the kids are on Spring Break that following week - and it'd be nice to use that time to build).

Raised Beds

We've had a busy weekend already. Yesterday we went to get most of the supplies to create 11 raised garden beds. We went to Lowe's to grab wood, soil mix, screws and some other goodies. Then, when we got home, we built all 11 beds. Whew! I know one is going to be a potato box, another for peas...and I have to figure out the rest. We also bought all the supplies to get our seeds started. We have a bunch of our seeds and Victory Seeds is sending the rest (the order has shipped, just need to wait for delivery). It's a very exciting time of year here. My shoulders are achy, but a good achy. My cheeks are already a little warm and sunkissed from working outside much of the day yesterday. Today, we're going to Ace and hopefully they'll have potato and onion sets - and we need to pick up a few more things. Our plan is to get all the dirt into the beds (and I'm hoping to get some alpaca poo in there too!). Wishing our compost was ready for this year, but I know that next year, we should have some pretty awesome compost mix to layout on our gardens! YAY!
Last night was Spring hour of sleep lost...this is, I believe, the first year that I've been excited about that. Happy Spring Everyone!
Found bags of dirt on sale at Lowe's - originally $6 and some change, on sale for $2.79! We bought 41 bags.

Daddy and Cora - working on building our raised garden beds. We built 11 beds yesterday.

Blue and Ollie, wanting to be in on the action - but wrapping themselves around eachother so tightly that this is as far as they can move.

It's hard to see, but there are six deer near the hedge, just off our property! Shortly after I took this photo, they all bound across the back field.

Buzzing bee on Crocus Flower