This blog is simply the story about my little life
with my sweet family that the Lord has blessed me with
and the day in, day out things that we do.
It basically is my online diary/photo album of our life.
I'm glad you're here!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A fashion nod to my moms...

My dear sweet mother-in-love passed away in October and I was so blessed to be given many of her beautiful things. I was very touched that I received this beautiful silver ring of wrapping leaves that she purchased in Mexico sometime in the 1970s. I remember her wearing this ring often. I specifically have a memory of her holding my babies wearing this ring.

My dear sweet mother is still alive, which I'm so thankful, but she has health issues and memory issues going on and she's just not the same mama I remember. My sisters and I are taking on the hard task of cleaning up our parents home and we recently cleaned our mother's closet out. We each took some special pieces and I received this beautiful scarf. I remember my mom wearing this to church with her black wool full length coat.

This week I wore both of these pieces to work remembering my two moms who were both so beautiful, classy and had great taste. I am so thankful to God for these two amazing women.

"She dresses in fine linen and purple." Proverbs 31:22b

Hugs, Sharon

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Garden fresh...

We have a new "garden fresh" garden! Well, we don't have the garden yet, but we have the garden bed all ready to go! This is what the space looked like when we first moved in a year and a half ago.
 And this is what it looked like a year later after my hubby spruced it up. We chose this spot, which is in the back yard behind our workshop, because it is flat, has full sun and is near the shop's water faucet. My husband has created small gardens at every home we have owned, but he has never tackled a project this large. We did research and talked to local farmers on how to plow up this field to prepare the soil for the garden.
 The first thing that needed to be done was remove a couple of old tree stumps. My husband's buddy had the right machine for the job, so we hired him to do this for us.
 It was quite a neat machine, which broke down the old stump and ground it into a pile of fine sawdust.
 After that my husband staked out the area, if you look closely, you can see the markers. It's going to be a very large garden, 60x80 feet. We are going to put rows of raspberries and have several blueberry bushes. We do not want to be slaves to it and will only plant what we can eat and share it with our immediate family. At this point I do not plan on canning food, but I will freeze as much as I can.
 Eric attached a plow to the back of the tractor and plowed up the area.
 The soil was broken into big clumps.
 It's exciting to start really envisioning the new garden space!
 We found all kinds of junk buried in this space including these cool old rusty remnants from an old wood stove. Some folks do things different out in the country and instead of taking garbage to the dump, they simply buried it. Click here to read about the jacuzzi tub we unearthed. I saved these pieces to use in the future for some garden art projects.
 For the next step he borrowed a friend's tractor and disc tiller attachment to break up the soil further.
 This implement left the soil in large rows.
 He then sprinkled fertilizer over the soil and watered it to help it break down.
Several days later after it had dried out, he used a smaller tiller implement to break up the soil even further.
 The next step was to measure and mark the four corners of the garden where the fence posts will go. My husband is so smart with all of this, he knows how to do the math to ensure that the plot is squared perfectly with the nearby shop.
 My job was to hold the stakes. It was fun working with him on this project.
 The next step was to dig giant deep holes in the ground to hold these big poles at each corner. These are actually recycled telephone poles from our property that once held all the old electrical wires we removed when we first moved here (click here to read about that). He purchased a post hole digger attachment for the tractor that saved many hours of labor for him.
 If you look closely here, you can see the four corner posts are up!
 Next he added the smaller inner posts.
 We had to make the fence very tall at 10' so that the deer could not jump over it.
 It's looking so nice!
 He has the main frame done, and now is working on the gates. We will have one man gate and two tractor-size gates.
 We did a lot of research on what kind of actual fencing to use. We thought about chicken wire or goat wire, but settled on this plastic mesh. It's strong and much more affordable. It's also so much easier to work with.
We were a little concerned that our garden was going to obstruct the view from our back windows/back deck to the grassy knoll and trees beyond our property, and were so pleasantly pleased that it's almost see-through and we still have the beautiful view!
 He purposely left this section open for a special delivery....
...from this big dump truck.
We ordered 9 loads of sand to improve the soil structure.
 It  looked kind of like aliens left these piles here!
 The next day Eric smashed all of the sand down into the soil with the tractor.
 I was skeptical that he could smash it all down. I was worried we ordered too much sand, but... spread out perfectly and left a nice thick topping to the soil.
 He later brought in horse manure and tilled it all together and we left it for the winter.
Now spring is coming and we get to start the fun part of planning the garden layout, buying the plants and seeds and starting to sow our garden!

"Do not be deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Galatians 6:7

Hugs, Sharon

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Our new back patio

We've been busy around our farm since we've moved in. Today I wanted to show you the progress we've made on our patio. These first few photos are of how the patio area looked when we first moved in.
It was a mucky mess. They had raised garden beds and a big old log was sitting out there. The ground was not level and had dips where water and mud gathered.
It had a fence all around it. Our vision was to clear all of this out and make a patio, outdoor kitchen and  a fire-pit.
 The first step was removing the raised beds and all the other debris (which my hubby, Eric did the summer before) and then to level it. Eric and our son, Hayden, worked hard leveling the whole area.
 Once it was level we really started to dream! We spray-painted out the plan for the patio.
 Before we had cement poured my husband hired his buddy to finish off the back steps that lead to the deck. For some reason, they stopped the steps about a foot shy of where the deck starts and there is river rock in there.
 This looks so much better and it's safer too.
 It's kind of a bummer that the patch will be pretty obvious, but with time it will fade and we are talking about painting all of it.
 Let's get back to the patio project now. We decided to build a retaining wall on the east side and make a walkway there that is level with the two little outbuildings we have there.
 Our friend, Matt, is a great mason and he did the project for us.
 My husband bought all of these cinder blocks.
 Matt is getting started, it's looking good!
 He's almost done, he just needs to put the red caps on top.
 Next the guys framed up the steps and walkway behind the retaining wall.
 These projects tend to grow. At first we were going to stop at the end of the first outbuilding, but then decided it would be really nice to have access between the houses.
The retaining wall and stairs are done and now it's time to prepare for the patio cement. We had several loads of gravel delivered and Eric spread it all out evenly, which was very hard work. Then Eric and Matt framed it all up.
 This huge concrete culvert will become our fire-pit.
 It's all ready for the concrete to be delivered!
 I was at work when the concrete was poured and this is what I found when I came home! There was a hick-up though. The weather turned on us and dropped below freezing. When the owner of the cement truck went to pick up the concrete at 7:30 am, the huge concrete machine was frozen and seized up. They were not able to get the product until after 10:00 am, so this put them behind.
 It's so pretty! We had them dye the concrete a rusty red because we are having them stamp it to look like brick! The color is so pretty! Those metal things standing up in the middle of the concrete are brackets to hold the big beams that will hold up the patio cover.
 These are the stamps that the workers will use to create the faux brick.
 When the concrete was firm enough, they started stamping. First they sprinkled black dye over the red to give a more realistic aged brick look.
 They laid the stamps down and stood on them. We were so pleased with the outcome!
 It started getting dark, but there's not stopping now. What great work ethic, they worked until 9:00 at night.
 The weather dropped to below freezing again, so they covered it with visqueen and used this industrial heater to warm it all night.
 It worked and it dried over night.
 It turned out beautiful!
 We are so pleased! It's so pretty and looks very much like brick!
When I came home from work the next night the concrete was dry enough to walk on and my husband said,  "Get your coat and get some lawn chairs, we are going to have our first fire-pit tonight to inaugurate the patio!"
 He brought over some wood and built a fire.
 It works great!
 I loved this night! I love our new patio and fire-pit and can't wait to finish this project and have many memories out here!
 The next step is making this lower retaining wall and...
...laying brick around the fire-pit. This spring we will start building the outdoor kitchen and adding the patio cover.

It's really fun making this place our own. We love the country life!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

Hugs, Sharon
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