Archive for ‘the farm’

June 5, 2012

we’re progressing

last week the garage barn shell was completed.  we have yet to pour the cement floor, install electricity and the overhead doors.  we added two doors so that one can drive straight through and access the back of the property without  having to drive around the garage.

here’s a picture of the back:

i’m showing you  the back because it is prettier.  the building debris in front had not been cleaned up yet.  i love how the red and green color scheme turned out.

this morning i got up at (what is for me) the crack of dawn and headed out first thing to tuesday morning’s luxury linen sale.  i was there and back within an hour.  on the way there it dawned on me that this is probably the last of “last minute” trips that i will be able to make.   when a trip to town takes 40 min. shopping will have to be planned a little more carefully.  i know, 40 min. isn’t that monumental of a trip but when you are used to dashing out to a place just down the street, it will be an adjustment.

one of several i am sure.

like the cow that held up “traffic” (all of three cars) down the street from our new place.  we encountered him, and the poor owner? rancher? farmer? (what does one call a man with cows?) on horseback trying to wrangle him back into the pen.   all three cars stopped and all drivers and passengers (except for us, we don’t know what to do with cows) got out to help the owner? rancher? farmer? a  most interesting experience.

today, we’ve been informed by the builder that we should be officially breaking ground on the house and from here on out things should go pretty quickly.  one thing that has had me stressed out and concerned is the electricity.  we will be serviced by a co-op that services all the other rural towns in our area.  i don’t know if it is because we are so far off the beaten path,  if it is because it is a co-op,  if this is how things are done in the country, or if this is just how things go when one builds and i don’t know that because i’ve never built before ~ but this has been a pain in the neck.

*the builder wants electricity from the get-go

*the company won’t set poles, even temporary ones until they are sure we’re building a house.  proof of our intent to build needs to be the footing poured and the plumbing stubbed out.  the fact that i told them we’re building and have a contract to prove it doesn’t work.  i tried.  many times.

*builder isn’t too happy about this arrangement

*this might not be too much of a problem except that we are building a pole barn and it will be framed out before the foundation is laid.  the builder wants electricity for this step and doesn’t have a generator.

*i am “caught” between the builder and the electrical engineer sending messages “he says he wants….” containing terminology i know nothing about.

*i feel stressed.  it didn’t occur to me until my husband suggested it, that i google some of this stuff so i could better understand and communicate.

and then, i’m laying awake at night reviewing the floor plan that i designed and just hoping that all will go well.  is my idea for the kitchen going to work?  did i account for enough closet space?  will our dresser fit between the french door and the window?  did i remember to tell the builder that i wanted a french door?  is he going to get annoyed if i call and tell him i want a french door and room for my dresser?  what if the dresser still doesn’t fit?  how bad does it look to have a corner of the dresser in the window?  how much would a new dresser cost?

more on the house plans later…

in addition to building the home, we’ve also been building a website that will be all about our new place and all we want to do with it.  when we initially thought about moving we were thinking no more than three acres with a simple temporary home.  our plans have sort of morphed into something huge and taken on a life of their own.  we’ve ended up with ten acres (which is still very small according to some), and a home that could serve as a permanent dwelling (read: “fancy” by homesteading standards).  as we’ve talked we’ve seen how this could present the opportunity for some small business ideas which is something i’ve wanted for a while and now have the time to develop.  among other things i’d like to enter the farmer’s market arena and sometime soon get back into designing, creating, and selling soft housewares online (curtains and stuff with a certain flair ~ did ya’ll know i used to do that?).  in order to look spiffy, we need a website.

more on the website later.  well pretty soon actually…. i’m almost done tweaking.

 

June 1, 2012

our “plan b” farmette part 2

before we start building?!  BEFORE WE START BUILDING!?

hello?

we’ve started!!!!

what am i supposed to do?  call off the workmen so i can think about it for a week?  simply ask them to remove the poles they just dug and take it to the other side?  away from the  water tap, and extending the drive by several hundred feet? (ca-ching).  we’ve thought this all through from every angle for months.  while it was nice of him to come over and tell me, i really couldn’t make a split second decision just like that.

i did what any woman in distress would do.

i called my husband and got him out of a meeting.

we talked it through:

it was our barn we were putting up next to the fence, not the house.  the barn would serve as a buffer.

from what we understood the new warehouses would be towards the back of their property, while we planned to build towards the front.

we could plan to put in a few more trees as well as the planned evergreen hedge that would eventually block the view of the warehouse(s).

we’d been informed that the shifts only ran until 2:30 pm and no one worked evenings or weekends.

we hadn’t started building the house yet so we could still reposition it if need be.

we decided to keep going, but we both felt completely deflated.  the picturesque vision we’d had in mind was somewhat marred.  in all the homework and research we did in preparing to move next door to a warehouse we’d asked all the questions but the right one: “do you ever plan to expand?”.  for a few hours we even considered calling the whole thing off, cutting our losses and starting all over.

then i had an epiphany.

the farmette is our plan b life.  this isn’t what my husband and i saw ourselves doing at this stage.  when we married nearly eight years ago, we had a vision, a dream, and a goal.  we saw a beautiful norman rockwell home, crazy busy with a tumbling lot of children, dogs running through the kitchen, and giggles at bedtime.  we talked about our vision. we planned for it. we even named the children.  however as time went on, we learned our vision was not to be.  it was instead interrupted by a loss we never anticipated.  we look out over the horizon of our lives, but the view we had hoped to see is marred by the scar of that loss.  as we both worked through our grief,  the “plan b farmette” became my lifeline out of that devastation.  alright, i’m still working my way out of it.  but  plan b has given me something to hold on to as we move forward in a different direction.  i believe that someday, we’ll be able to look back and see that  plan b was the best solution after all and the one that, had we known all the facts, we would have chosen from the very beginning.

is it not fitting then, that this plan b has a scar of its own? we had a vision, a picture in mind of what our farmette was supposed to be.  we worked towards it, and planned for it, only to have our vision interrupted by something we never anticipated.  the view we had hoped to see of a beautiful rolling field is now marred by a warehouse.  but, as we adjust, turning things this way and that, adding trees here and there, i think we’ll end up with something beautiful.  something, that, had we known all the facts, we’d have planned from the very beginning.  in the end plan b will be perfect, scars and all.

so after that bit of a hiccup last week, we’ve decided that we will keep going.  i do plan to try to contact someone at the business and chat with them, just to verify their plans so we can further adjust ours if need be.  and also let them know that *ahem* we are here, and maybe be nice? please?  i had also been very leery of getting a rooster and ducks simply out of consideration for our neighbors.  somehow i no longer think that will be a problem.

eta: i did manage to get in contact with the business owner (the man i met initially was a supervisor).  i dropped him an email,  not really expecting to hear anything back.  after all, it really isn’t his problem.  he did however give me a call, was very friendly, and acknowledged that we’d be neighbors and needed to work things out.  he agreed to meet with us on the property to show us exactly what he has in mind.  the addition he has planned will be towards the back, and we plan to build towards the front.  with the way we have our home situated, chances are we won’t even see it; especially once we get the trees and hedge planted.  while i wouldn’t exactly say we’ve averted the crisis, i’d say we’re managing it and both feeling much better about the situation as a whole.

May 31, 2012

our “plan b” farmette part 1

when we first began visualizing our farm, we saw a place with green rolling hills, a duck pond, a red gambrel roof barn, and no neighbors to be seen for miles.  we saw a place that was quiet, remote, and pretty far off the beaten path.  when we began land shopping in order to make that dream a reality,  we had a bit of a reality check.  what we wanted required hundreds of acres.  what we could afford was much, much less and while neighbors might not be as close in proximity, we’d still have them.

our little farmette consists of what was once part of a large estate that was divided into ten acre plots and sold off.  the plot to the south of us was purchased by a couple who built a home and who raise goats and horses.  the plot to the north of us was purchased by a business in town.  they purchased several plots in fact and built a warehouse on the one closest to us.  this warehouse was the one thing, the only thing about our land that we didn’t like.

it was a warehouse.

it housed machinery.

machinery that was sometimes used during the day.

machinery that makes noise.

the men who operate the machinery drive cars.

the cars are parked in front of the warehouse.

it isn’t picturesque.

before we sealed the deal we did our homework (or so we thought), visited with our realtor about our concerns, investigated the company to see what exactly they did, and visited the property during business hours to see just how great the noise level was (it was very low).

it was all still doable.  you really could only hear any noise in the rare cases  when the wind died down and quite honestly, the warehouse was very well kept and beautifully landscaped even more so than some of the houses on my street. a privacy hedge could easily be planted along the fence line to block any unpleasant view.   it was locally owned and operated, and while not ideal we still got a good vibe.  the warehouse was the only “con” opposite a huge list of “pros” in favor of buying the land.  one always has to compromise somewhere.  right?   we went ahead with the deal.

so fast forward then through many weeks of plotting and planning and measuring to figure out just where everything should go: the water tap, the electric poles, the garage (now being called a barn) , and the house itself.  fast forward through all the phone calls and paperwork to get said things in place, and through many weeks of waiting on the builder for the weather to clear; fast forward up to thursday of last week.

it is a momentous day, we’re finally breaking ground on the farmette.   i’ve met the workmen in town, escorted them out to the spot (it *is* a bit off the beaten path), paid the deposit, and showed him where to start.  they dug in and i began snapping away with my camera.

i was so busy i didn’t see the man from the warehouse crossing the field.  i didn’t notice him until he was shaking hands with the foreman.  i panicked.  were we in trouble?  was there some sort of easement we didn’t know about?

i put down my camera and trotted over to the barbed wire fence.  we shook hands and exchanged all the initial niceties of meeting someone for the first time.  then he delivers his bombshell:  “just wanted to let ya’ll know we’re planning on expanding.  we’ll be building another warehouse or two close to the fence.   we are a machine shop and i thought you’d want to know that before you start building right here by the fence.”

>insert record scratch sound effect here<

May 29, 2012

transitions

we’re moving from the cooler spring weather into the heat of summer.  i just harvested the last of our kale, chard, and beets and i’m still trying to coax along some lettuce seedlings under the shade of our back porch.  normally at this time, the beets from this bed would be replaced with the warmer weather crops like tomatoes or zucchini.  instead we’ve yanked out the chicken wire (serving as a barrier for curious doggies) and put in bedding plants (which i don’t much care for) in order to  make the yard pretty for a prospective buyer.

it’s the end of an era.

and while we’re on to bigger and better things, it still makes me feel a little sad.

May 24, 2012

and so it begins…

we’re starting a bit later than we expected.

this week was not without its challenges.

today was not without a few surprises.

but, we have begun.

May 8, 2012

a series of truly random thoughts and confessions

1. in the past ten days i have learned all i ever wanted to know about trailer hitches, trailers, and the like.  we now own one, purchased for the purpose of hauling a lawn tractor back and forth to our farmette-to-be that now has grass growing knee-high.  post about said lawn tractor complete with a photo forthcoming.

2. if the weather holds, we should break ground on our farmette by the end of this month.  for this reason i have started packing up the scary upstairs: the place that started out as a cool sitting room we never used so it now houses anything we don’t know what to do with but do not want to pitch.  anything from mason jars to a tapestry wall hanging.  in order not to overwhelm myself, i pack two boxes a day.  well, i am supposed to.  i started this project a month ago and i have a total of…..thrrreee…boxes packed.  post about said boxes complete with a photo forthcoming.

3. i am now the proud owner of a kindle named emily.  i have gone from watching drivel on netflix to reading, a much more wholesome past time.  i even gave christian amish romance fiction a try…..and promptly gave it up.  it reads about as well as it sounds.   i have discovered the blogs/websites/fb pages that offer free kindle books by the virtual boatload.  i anxiously await their posts on a daily basis and have been known to download something stupid, something i know i will never read, simply for the thrill of getting something for free and watching its title magically appear on emily’s home page.   post about said kindle named emily complete with a photo forthcoming.

4. last weekend my husband and i taught ourselves to play canasta.  i won every hand.  i won playing with my deck of pink playing cards.  it was a blast.  i…don’t really plan to publish a post about canasta with photos.  sorry.

5. yesterday i went shopping for a spare tire for our new trailer.  i ended up at a ranch supply store and discovered a series of 3′ high metal troughs containing…………baby chicks!!! and baby turkeys, and baby geese, and baby ducks, and baby something elses i don’t at the moment recall.  i guess i should flaunt my limited knowledge of poultry and say that these were pullets being offered for sale (did i get that right?) but i’m still confused as to what it means when the sign says that they are “sexed”.  still need to read the how-to book but we need to read it pretty durn quick because i want me some chickens.  post about said chickens complete with numerous photos when we get them.

6. speaking of living things: our pond has turtles.  i discovered one in the grass last week when i was mowing, and in order to avoid a terrible accident, i picked him up and moved him to the edge of the pond to see what he would do.  he happily dove right on in.  we need a log, or a rock of some sort so the turtles can sun themselves and all be named appropriately.  would publish a post about said turtle complete with photo if only i could find him again…

random illustration for random post:

April 23, 2012

with tuppence, for paper, and string…

…you can have your own set of wings

with your feet on the ground you’re a bird in flight…

with your fist holding tight…

to the string of your kite.

let’s go fly a kite

up to the highest height

let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring

up to the atmosphere, up where the air is clear,

oh let’s go fly a kite!

(can we go home already?)

April 16, 2012

moving the maple

when we signed on with our builder the original plan was to start around the first of this month.  we’ve had some nasty weather however, and for that reason, things have been delayed by a few weeks.

meh.

i’m so excited about our new place, but decluttering, getting rid of things, putting everything else in a box, and moving it all from here to there – not so much.  in order to make the process easier i’m starting early and just doing a little bit at a time; sorting through and packing up the things we don’t use on a daily basis.

this includes some of my plants.

yes, i plan to take with me a few things growing in my yard.  one is a japanese maple given to me by my parents.  the other is a rose bush given to me by a dear friend.

i know it seems really crazy to try to bring these along when they are both pretty happy right now where they are, but they mean a great deal to me.  they have very great sentimental value and the thought of leaving them behind in the care of someone who doesn’t know what they are and why they are there is unbearable to me.  so they are coming along,  even though they may not like it.

we started last weekend with the japanese maple.

we located the largest plastic pot we could find, about 20″ and drilled holes in the bottom:

i put stones in the bottom for drainage:

we filled it with a small amount of potting soil:

and then we set to work digging her out.  well, my husband did that.  i took pictures.  here she is:

we worked, and worked around the base; digging and lifting in order to get a good sized root ball.

pause here for a brief look at the east side garden:

the majority (if not all) of these plants will stay here.  i’m still undecided about the siberian iris….

back to the tree.  we then lifted her out, and placed her in the pot.

we then added some more soil, some mulch, and with the help of a wheel barrow moved her to the back porch.  we have no pictures to document this little journey because i had to put down the camera and hang on to her to keep her from toppling out of the wheel barrow.

she made it though just fine, where we positioned her and watered her in.

i was pleased that she showed very little signs of stress and seems to have transitioned quite well.  so well in fact, i’m thinking we may keep her in a container permanently and use her for the outdoor seating area of the master bedroom we have planned for our future place.

isn’t she lovely?

 

 

 

April 11, 2012

zeke

my husband and i had just been talking that morning about how it was just a matter of time.  i had been saying that i felt much more comfortable with our “plan b” in inola, than the “plan a” in skiatook.  among other reasons,  it seemed less likely to me that we’d encounter a venomous snake on our grassy acreage, than in the woodsy, rocky terrain we had looked at previously.  nevertheless, we do have a pond; and the pond is home to frogs.  we also have tall grass, and the grass, i’m sure is home to rodents. since snakes eat frogs and mice,  it was just a matter of time before we encountered an unwelcome reptile.

i hate snakes.

i hate them with a passion.   they terrify me, and i, for some strange reason seem to attract them.   i ended up with one in my lap once.  i was preparing to  demonstrate the use of a pedal sewing machine to a group of central american ladies, when the little fella who’d been sleeping down in the well of the machine, crawled out onto my lap.  that experience wasn’t what gave me a mortal fear of snakes.  i had it before then.

so last weekend we took a drive out to the property to see how the water tap was coming along and we decided to explore the perimeter of the pond.

when all of a sudden husby exclaims: SSSNNNNAAAAKE!

to which i responded: omgomgomgomg.

but for some unexplained reason, instead of heading to the car, i had to have a look at it myself.  so i proceeded to omg over to where sweetie was standing.

sure enough, there curled up in the grass was a snake.

perhaps it was because it was just sitting there, nonchalantly, not seeming to really give a care that we were there that i decided to leave it alone. it didn’t budge, it didn’t bat an eye.  it just contentedly napped in the sun. under normal circumstances i’d have sought out the nearest blunt object and proceeded to hack it into a million pieces (i’ve actually done this to a large grass snake.  much, much easier said than done, in case you were wondering.)

to the best of my limited knowledge (the snakes of OK website) he is a graham’s crayfish snake (who is graham?), called so because he eats, well, crayfish as well as frogs.  and as far as i can tell he is not poisonous.  i know this, not because i looked at his pupils, but because he didn’t seem to match any of the “venomous snake” photos on the snakes of OK website.

so we’ve christened him “zeke” and for the time being, i’ve decided he can stay.  we feel he probably contributes to the natural ecosystem and that system is best left undisturbed.  should, however, zeke decide to explore my garden some afternoon, contentedly sleeping or not, he’ll meet the sharp edge of a garden hoe.

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March 15, 2012

the water tap (part two)

i soon learned that district #2 is located in maizie.  however, the street address reads “chouteau” .  when  i call for directions i’m informed that this is because the maizie post office burned down ten years ago and was never rebuilt; so the address was changed to chouteau.  it is there though, on broadway just past the lumber yard.

it turns out that broadway is a narrow drive about a hundred yard stretch (if that) off the highway.   this folks, is mainstreet:  maizie ok.

i find the tiny lumber yard as directed.  rural water district #2 is one of a dozen or so businesses and homes on this road.  the address of one sagging, black mailbox reads “north broadway” while the one right next to it reads “south broadway”.   the office  is simple enough with a cement floor and a community bulletin board in the front hall; surprisingly full for such a small town.  it is furnished with a few filing cabinets, a reception area consisting of two metal frame chairs, and two desks.  two  ladies sit behind the desks, one decorated with artwork from a grandchild.  they both are very nice, very helpful.   in the back, a man in blue workshirt, jeans and suspenders manages from his office.

i  am to fill out the paperwork and sign a form stating (among other things)   i understand that in the event of a drought, water will be rationed.  this means that my garden and livestock will only be watered after everyone else.  i’m sure  every water district has this contract, and i know this is an obvious concept.  i just thought it amusing.

i also had to sign a “no sewage” agreement for initial tap that is used during construction.

jo anne behind the desk  says to  gladys “do you have a copy of this for her?”

gladys:  “no, i have to type it up..”

gladys goes to her computer sporting a hay bale screen saver and types up the agreement.  she brings it to me with a smile “you have a ball-point pen? “ (pen has  two syllables)

while i’m wading through legalese with a country twang, a customer enters.

he’s wearing jeans, work boots, a t shirt, scruffy beard, wad of crisp $20 bills.  he looks like he stepped out of the most recent episode of king of the hill.   he’s here to pay a bill and he’s mad.

“this is too much. way, way too expensive (expensive is drawn out with a beautiful drawl). what you have here is a monopoly.  that’s what this is.  ain’t right.  just ain’t right”.   he goes on and on…

i’m trying not to stare, not to giggle, and just focus on agreeing to (in the event of a drought) not water my cattle before my neighbor has had a bath.

as soon as the disgruntled customer leaves, the  man with suspenders calls out to be informed of the mishap.  gladys hollers back “it was just a late bill” (bill has two syllables).

papers signed, i hand them over to be examined and notarized by gladys. she stamps with a flourish.   i make out the check to whom?

“rural water district #2 but you can just write r-w-d #2 cuz it’s much faster”

joann informs me that  there will be a board meeting on march 12 and then i can have my tap.  just mark where i would like it to go, then call them and they’ll come out and set the tap.

“mark it? how do I mark it?”

gladys: “give her a stick” (stick has two syllables) .

i’m grandly presented with a pine marking stick sprayed blue.

as i leave joann tells me “make sure you call and let us know when  you’re ready to go.  otherwise, well , we’ll just have to find something else to do in the meantime”.