Spring! (or Where the heck have I been?)

Yes, I have been remiss in keeping up the blog and I am sure you noticed that no announcements arrived in your inbox and Facebook posts from the blog dwindled to nothing. I apologize. I could make the excuse that we have been doing some major remodeling (flooring, front porch, cabinets) while winter loomed over us and Mike had the time, or perhaps throw in some complaints about personal problems, or maybe complain about the winter storms, the wind, or the tornadoes that killed 15 in this state last week, but the point-of-fact is, I did not want to blog. I felt lazy.

There, I said it! I suppose that means I have made the first step in recovery, but don’t be surprised if I disappear from time to time anyway. Afterall, it is not like this is a paying gig!  In any case, here’s an update.

We sold a few older members of our herd, lost a few younger members due to illness, and are finding it more difficult to buy replacements at a reasonable price. It is a cyclical business and prices go up in the Spring, so it was anticipated. We also discovered the youngest calves are too stupid to understand the concept of an electric fence, so along with the blind Holstein Belle, they are being kept indoors until we can construct a more permanent small fence enclosure. That will have to wait until Mike gets the new pasture sown in the next few weeks, as well. In any case, we are looking at a good-sized outlay of funds in the near future.

We are anticipating delivery of our turkey chicks this coming week. A friend generously gave us about 20 birds for Christmas, if you recall. Mike set up a brooder in the garage to keep the chicks until they are old enough to free range. That also means we need to build a turkey house and enclosure to keep them contained (somewhat) and protected from coyotes, raccoons, red tailed hawks, and other predators. This should be an interesting endeavor. The good news is, if they survive until next November, three are already sold to people who expect to “process” them themselves.

As I mentioned earlier, construction is ongoing in the house. I hired a man to lay hardrock maple floors in the livingroom and hallways, and Mike and I installed the new baseboards and quarter round shoe moulding I bought. I also hired someone to build a small deck on the front of the house where none existed previously and to install new front and back doors (the previous ones rotted out). We are in the process also of framing in the new door surrounds. I intend to “finish” the kitchen cabinets with new crown moulding and paint and stain the new island and beverage center I purchased. It is so nice to finally have a pantry, a place to store pots and pans, drawers for utensils and bakery items, and nine feet of extra counter top! Still, there is much, much, more to do than I have the energy for. I have to chew this “elephant” one bite at a time.

Today, I plan to construct a coat rack to hang next to the back door. The area will become our make-shift mudroom, since a 20 X 35 ft home really does not leave a lot of room for such luxuries as a real mudroom. The coat rack should be simple: a 1 X 6, a 1 X 3, and a piece of crown moulding. I plan to make it with four hooks, but generally, it looks like this.(A special thank you for pinterest.com for allowing the idea to be pinned, although I do not know exactly who to credit for the idea.)

(photo from pinterest.com)

Mike has been an angel through my “improvements” on the house. He helped move out furniture that will be stored, runs to get supplies while he is out, and tip-toes gingerly around the tools, wood and sawdust in the living room. He puts up with crock pot meals, breakfast for dinner, and frequently does the cooking too.  Still, the “new” house is a VAST improvement over the old and is now less like living in a dungeon with a view. I will post a picture when things are put into place and at least some of the painting and staining is complete.

 So unfinished and dirty as they might be…here are some of the changes.

The chain link fence gives a place for the dogs for winter and marks the front as a construction zone. It will be removed in the next couple of weeks. This is the new deck and front door. In time, the deck will be extended another 16 feet. For now, it is just 10X10.

Maple flooring next to Blue Pearl Granite hearth.

The new back door is a simple nine light common door, nothing to write home to mom about. I was pleased to buy four new door mats for $14 including shipping, to go next to the doors inside and out, though. Mom would be proud, I’m sure. Ha! I guess it is a good thing the house is small…makes rug buying cheaper and I was very happy to get rid of the dingy 1990s originally blue carpet in the living room. I am even happier to now have a real wood floor. I have to sweep and mop it every day now, but when it is clean the whole house looks cleaner!

I don’t know when Mike built this house exactly…sometime in the 90s, I suppose, but its tiny 20X35′ footprint is a challenge. Basically the house is one room, a bath, and a loft. A 7X13 second bedroom was too tiny to use, so I converted it to a large walk-in closet. Everything we don’t know what to do with seems to get thrown in there…I hate it. I think it will be converted back so my kids and grandkids can come and visit me. I am looking for a good quality convertable sofa to that end…at a price I am willing to pay.

Every inch of a small house is important if you actually LIVE in it and don’t just use it for show, and our house is most definitely lived-in! And remember, this is basically one room that serves as our kitchen, living room, bar area, sewing room, dining room, game room, storage for canning days, and office.  I originally tried to arrange furniture to one half of the room with a wood burner in the middle such that at least six could sit comfortably. What a mistake! Today, furniture consists of a couch and a large (loveseat sized) chair. A cut-down glass topped dining room table serves as our coffee table and computer center. One “stick” armchair can serve as extra seating in a pinch. Since during the summer, when we are most likely to have guests, we spend most of our time outdoors, I think there is plenty of seating now.

I am spending less time with the cows right now, though that is subject to change, and am still struggling with a “schedule” I can handle, but I am feeling much more comfortable with the hole “farm wife” thing. Basically, it is a case of putting aside the perfectionist “I gotta get this done today or the world will end” attitude and accepting that there is only just so much a human can accomplish in terms of time, money, and motivation. I need to quit comparing my accomplishments to others and accept the fact that sometimes, I am just plain lazy and that is okay. I just can’t continue to make a habit of it.

About cattlebaroness

I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a BA in History, nearing completion of a Master of Arts in American history. Born and raised first on military bases around the world, then in Orange County, CA, I moved to Kentucky when my children were small. I now live on a small family farm and am learning about farm life, planting and our newest addition to the landscape--cattle. Until a month or two ago, all I knew about 'cows' were that they came in brown, black and white and that some are raised for milk and others for meat. I am a quick study out of necessity.
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