Monday, April 17, 2017

Favorite Treats for Backyard Chickens

I will admit it--my chickens are spoiled. They get let out of their pen to free range AND they get plenty of treats. It's gotten to where they associate me coming out of the house with them getting treats, so now I just open the back door and they automatically come running, ha!

A lot of times the treats are just leftovers of things we aren't going to eat anyway, but the chickies DEVOUR them. My always rooster acts like HE found the treats for the hens and calls them over with his "I found food" call.

They definitely have some favorites that I thought I'd share with you in case you are in need of treat ideas for your flock:

1. Shredded Cheese

2. Grapes

3. Any type of leftovers with a lot of grains/rice/bread

4. Blueberries or other berries

5. oatmeal leftovers

6. scrambled egg leftovers

7. large pieces of cut up pumpkin or large squash

8. cabbage and leftover greens

9. leftover corn on cob

10. leftover watermelon

11. Cherry tomatoes

What are your flock's favorite treats?

Monday, April 3, 2017

House Build Progress: Framing

We pulled onto the property the other night and couldn't believe our eyes. The last progress we had seen on the house was the subfloor and now all of a sudden WE HAVE FRAMING AND WALLS!!

The house's façade (east elevation)

Southeast corner of the house--you can see the south elevation is where the kitchen will be

north and west elevations of the house--you can see the screened porch is framed!

The first floor is fairly complete and it won't be long until the second floor is completed--the girls will love seeing where their room will be! The footprint of the house is pretty basic with a minimal number of corners, projections, or other variations. We did this mostly to save on cost.  It's crazy how fast it went up and it's great to be able to physically walk into the rooms, feel their size and experience the spatial relationships to other rooms. It makes it all so real!

The "great room" facing where the fireplace will go

The view from our front porch!
 The photo below is a view standing in the "great room" looking towards the rear of the house where the screened porch is, and where a pair of French doors will be flanked by windows.

For one, I CANNOT believe how large our master bathroom is compared to what we have now--it is going to feel palatial to us when we move in. And all the closets are going to be divine. Yay for more storage!

looking into the master bath with a walk-in closet on the left

standing in the master bath looking through all the way to the master bedroom

Below is a photo of the kitchen space. I'm so excited to design our farmhouse kitchen and even more excited that it will overlook our vegetable garden and fruit trees to the south of the house.

the kitchen space, facing south

The screened porch framing is up as well and even the stairs--we are so looking forward to being able to walk around the second floor once it is framed out.

I love the photo below because it captures all the rooms on the south side of the house before the walls divide them--standing in the laundry room, you can see all the way through the framed out pantry, kitchen, and finally dining room.

Perhaps the most incredible thing to see (for me) was the window and door openings. I love seeing how wonderful the windows are going to be (I LOVE lots of light!) and getting a feel for the amount of light that will be in certain rooms.

And finally, the view from our screened porch at the rear--we won't ever get tired of this peaceful, beautiful sight!

That's all the updates for now--have a wonderful week and happy Spring :)

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Paint Colors

It's easy to get overwhelmed when building a house--we have had plenty of stressful moments when making decisions and modifying plans in order to stay within our budget. Choosing paint colors is no exception to creating confusion and uncertainty.

And who knew there were so many different shades of white to choose from?!?

Since it's hard to get a feel for a color like white, grey, or another light shade from a small paint card sample, I've been relying on seeing the paint used in whole rooms from pictures online or in magazines.

Since we are building a farmhouse, I feel that white is an appropriate color to start with for a clean, fresh slate for all of the rooms. Plus, I love the brightness and lightness that it will give to the house. I may gradually paint some of the rooms a different, darker color (perhaps the dining room and bedrooms), but to start I'd like to live in the house with white for a while to help me decide if and what color to paint before I make the plunge into color!

I am so nervous about committing myself to color and tend to go with a pretty neutral palette anyway....

The other night my husband and I got a rare "date" night to go out to dinner together by ourselves--want to guess what else we did? Went to the Sherwin Williams paint store, of course! I grabbed a bunch of paint chip samples that I knew were close to shades I would like to use in the new house.

At home I grouped them further into what I'd be using them for (see above image)--the whites for most of the interior walls, the greys for the kitchen cabinets, the mint greenish bluish colors for our master bath, and the others were just colors I liked in general. These are just the colors from Sherwin Williams--we have yet to look at other stores (and I'm not sure I want to!) so needless to say it will be a difficult decision.

Below are some inspirational photos from Pinterest with pretty neutral color palettes and various shades of white or light grey. I'm starting to lean towards a light creamy grey color perhaps for the kitchen cabinets, but I'm just not sure yet.....

Via Workbook by Westbrook

Via Jennifer Rizzo on Bloglovin

Via Décor Pad

Via DeVol Kitchens

I've always loved a "mint" type green close to a robin's egg blue or jadeite type green in small doses--so I may use a color like that somehow in our bathroom or maybe as an accent color to some of the other rooms too. I'm also partial to deep chocolate browns--I feel like brown is a nice neutral for a lesser-used room.

And I couldn't help myself picking out some light pinks because I know the girls will love them :)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Sunny Slope Farm

Our friends who generously gifted us the land for our new house have been asking us what we are going to name our homestead.  I hadn't thought much about it really....who knew how difficult it could be to think of something unique and personal to the land.

Not too long ago they mentioned they had found some really cool old documents and papers stuffed behind the wall where their fireplace is (they live in the original old farmhouse of the larger farm), and a few of them happened to be correspondence from the old farm which was named "Sunny Slope Farm."

That being its historic name, I couldn't think of a better more fitting name for the homestead :)

Friday, March 3, 2017

House Build Progress

We have a foundation!! Woohoo!

 Last week and this week our builders have been busily erecting the foundation of our new house. It is so exciting to see it take shape! First the footings were dug and concrete poured, then the block has gone up and finally the brick. By the time of this posting the entire foundation has probably been completed.

We are so happy with how the brick we chose turned out. The brick is from Triangle Brick (the company our builder works with and recommended) and the color we chose was "Oakton" with a standard mortar.

Here is a close-up of the "Oakton"--the mortar will lighten a little bit more over time as it dries.

More in-progress work by the brick masons who are beginning to start on the north elevation:

Our well got put in and is complete and our electric has been installed too!

And here is the start of our fruit tree orchard we planted a few weeks ago:

Another view from higher up of the house progress:

Hope everyone has a blessed weekend,

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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Planting Fruit Trees at the Homestead

Several weeks ago we picked up some fruit trees from a local nursery and produce shop. We bought 4 apples, two pears and a plum. We plan to get a few more apples and plums, some nectarines, and a cherry or two.

Ideally we would have planted these earlier in the winter, but since the livestock fence on our property was just recently constructed we wanted to wait until it was complete to plant the fruit trees and keep them safe from trampling.

Now the fence is up and we are ready to begin planting our home orchard!  Previously on this blog I discussed choosing which fruit trees we wanted to plant in our home orchard, and you can read about that here.  We are trying to purchase our fruit from local sources as much as possible. I feel like they will be better suited and adapted to our climate that way.....and I really just like supporting local businesses :)

Here is a homestead site plant that I sketched out last year showing where the orchard will be:

Last weekend while my husband's family was here we planted the first of the trees into the ground, in a spot that receives full sun and is slightly sloping to the south.

We planted the trees in two rows spaced 20 feet apart and followed the recommendations for planting for our area according to our local university's home orchard planting advice.

To summarize, we dug a hole twice the size of the root ball or root stock, in order that the grafting intersection at the bottom of the tree would sit up about 2 inches above the soil line. Then we put a little bit of bone meal into the soil along with rocks for drainage and we surrounded the root of the tree with topsoil once it was placed in the hole. We covered the top of the root with topsoil and made sure it was well-watered.

Next we will make sure to water them regularly and then we will stake the trees, prune, and cover the base of the trees with mulch.

The house is progressing quickly! We have the foundation footings dug and poured (shown in the picture below) and now the foundation is really starting to take shape.

The masons have even faced one entire side of the foundation with our brick we picked out. Can't wait to share some updated photos with you soon!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Breaking Ground!

It's really happening, folks.

The start of our driveway!

We drove out the other night to the property to check on the progress of the driveway construction and lo and behold--to our surprise--they had broken ground on our house!!!

Looking at the footprint of our new house!

Looking towards the western end of the property and the start of a livestock fence

We closed on the construction loan on January 20th and since then have been anticipating when construction would start. Now that it has begun things may happen pretty quickly--we are so excited!

View looking back down the driveway towards the road--this is one of the views you will see from the front porch :)

BJ and the girls "inside" the footprint of our house

The start of a livestock fence to secure the back yard from the horses and cows. This view faces the South, where our garden will sit on the other side of the house.

I'm so looking forward to sharing our progress with you on the making of our 11 acre homestead. Stay tuned for updates!

Our first family "selfie" at our build site!