Saturday, July 30, 2016


  After you have chickens on your homestead its only logical to start thinking about another meat source. Especially if you're like me and hate butchering chickens because you hate plucking feathers. Honestly, when my parents and I processed chickens I could gut all day but ask me to defeather them and it was torture. I'm the sort of person that loves research, in fact, I over research. I research the crap out of things. All my searching led me to believe that rabbits were the next logical step for us. They didn't need much feed or space and put out a nice steady flow of meat. I know what you're all thinking.... 

  Not bunnies! They're cute and fluffy balls of adorableness. Yes, that is true. On the other hand, they can be a little bit evil. I have scars on my wrists from the sweet looking flufsters. Even that though I chalk up to me not paying attention to the rabbit enough. As for those concerned for the evils of eating the sweet bunnies, my rabbits have very happy lives. Their cages are large and they go outside often if not every day. They are supplied with as much hay as they want, tons of fresh greens, unlimited fresh water and a delicious mix of pellets and sunflower seeds. I'm assuming its delicious by how they dive in when I give it to them. They are handled and petted daily. Groomed and have their nails clipped almost every two weeks. All in all they are very spoiled rabbits. Honestly they might be treated better than some people treat their pet bunnies. Baby rabbits will get the same treatment. They will either be sold or they will have one bad minute and then will feed my family. Not a bad life for a rabbit. 
Honestly, do these rabbits look unhappy to you?

  Now for a little bit about our rabbit set up. We were happy to have a shed that worked perfectly to become the Bunny Barn. Hubs of course made all the cages because he is just handy like that. If anyone is interested in the how-tos of building a rabbit cage comment below and I'll make ask Hubs to write a blog post or a tutorial on how to make a rabbit cage or how to make rabbit nesting boxes since he made those too of course. It's ok to be a little jealous. 
This is the outside of the Bunny Barn. To the right is the rabbit garden where I grow rabbit approved goodies.

Inside the Bunny Barn, please excuse the mess. It was raining on cleaning day and I'm just waiting for it to dry up so I can clean every thing out again. Rabbits don't like to be wet. Their fur doesn't dry easily. We may be reworking this in the future so that there are metal trays under each cage. That way I can change them easier and more often. We saw the poop chute on pinterest but its just not working out as well as we hoped it would.

Other side of the Bunny Barn. I love my shelves, I wish they were more organized but that would mean staying in there and working on it instead of snuggling bunnies. 

  Now one of the hard things when you first get your cute adorable rabbits is waiting. We got some really cute 8-16 week old rabbits. They were old enough to be away from mom but not really old enough to breed. I had to sit back and feed them and watch them grow. It honestly felt like they were not holding up their end of the whole 'cheap and easy to feed' thing. For some reason my Californian Rabbits seem to eat the most. Not sure why but they out eat the New Zealands and the Rexs. We did get a Rex doe off of craigslist who was a year in hopes we could get a kindle (rabbit litter) out of her but thus far no luck. I think its because she's so fat. She also hates me. Loves Hubs but growls at me any time I put my hands in. 
She knocked her platform down and I wasn't going to put my hands in to fix it for her since she was growling loudly. I call her Patricia. Or Fatty Patty. Or Buttface. Whatever. The duct tape is so that the cage doesn't scratch up my arms. Friendly tip.
This is Bill, or Bilbo Baggins he's my favorite bunny. I love him the mostest. See the bite on his ear? That came from when he tried to 'cuddle' with Patty. 
Picture of Miss Bunny when she was still super preggers. She looked like she was going to explode the poor thing. I thought for sure she was going to have a huge litter. 

Up close picture of Miss Bunny in all her pregnancy glory. She only had 8 kits but they were big fat ones.

Xena did not want to pose for pictures. You can tell here she's pretty pregnant. She delivered 13 squirming kits. Thus far she's been an excellent mommy. She has lost one baby but I think it was because of something being wrong with the baby not her caretaking skills.

Now instead of introducing the rest of my rabbits how about adorable kitten pictures? Ah didn't you know a baby rabbit is called a kitten or a kit for short? Learn something new every day.
Miss Bunny's 8 kits

Xena's 13 kits

Checking on the fat little lumplings. Miss Bunny had a momentary first time mommy lapse where she peed on her nest. I had to pull all of them out and wash them off with a wash cloth and make them a new nest. That's why I check them twice a day. Even if I'm going to eat them eventually, they're going to get the best care possible while they're with me. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Renovations Master Bedroom Part 1

  I say part one, of course who knows when everything will really be finished. When we bought the house there was a large closet taking up one wall. It was nice for storage but I hated the look of it. Plus with the closet in there I couldn't fit all my bedroom furniture in the room. I had a plan though.

This is how it looked when we bought it.
After we moved in, I accidentally on purpose chipped a bit of the paint away to see how bad it would be to strip it all off to repaint. Hubs was not pleased. I think it looks like a dinosaur. I call him Harry. 

Hubs tore all the closet out like it was nothing; occasionally he complained that they built the closet more like a room than a closet. It was heavy duty. 

I still haven't painted. The pink carpet is going to come out since the original hardwood floors are underneath. In the above picture you can see the construction going on in my parlor/formal dining room. My poor old farm house. I like the lay out of the master bedroom much better and the light doesn't hit us in the eyes anymore in the morning. I can hardly wait for phase two.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Every farms' first animals

 Like most homesteaders or any people that dream of being self sufficient we immediately got some chickens when we moved in. Well, actually I got some chickens and surprised poor Hubs that he needed to quickly build a little shelter for the 3 hens we were going to pick up in a couple days. I'm fun like that. Somehow he managed to throw this bad boy together in the 3 days before we drove up to get the chickens.
   When we got to the Chicken Lady's house something had eaten one of the chickens. We were now down to two chickens. This should have been a warning to me against free ranging. I was still convinced free ranging would b great I mean, come on, we had so much area. The chickens would be in bird heaven. They lasted about a week. A fox ate one and then a hawk took a chunk out of the surviving one's back. It got nasty and infected so we had to cull the chicken. A new plan was needed. 

  Hubs convinced me to just wait for chicks. They're cheaper and it would give him time to build a better area for them. An area that would be impervious to the other wild life that would eat my chickens. Plus chicks are cute AND he said that maybe I could even get ducks. I was sold. Just had to wait until they started being sold around February and April.
Picking out some chicks at the hatchery.

Maverick being snuggled by a baby duck.

  The cute little chicks and ducklings stayed in our basement. At first it seemed like such a good idea. It was nice and warm down there and there was running water and electricity so it was really easy to feed and water them. The big problem? They STINK! Oh my goodness, how they stank. I was cleaning out their brooders constantly. Especially the ducklings, even more so when they got older and started getting water to swim in. We had two of the big 75 gallon stock tanks they sell at TSC (Tractor Supply Company) since they were more or less easy to clean out and I wasn't too worried about a fire hazard with them. Ducks had one and chicks had another. We had 12 ducks but lost 1 and had 22 chicks and lost 1. Not too bad. As soon as it started warming up I kicked them outside in the backyard with the little coop Hubs had made because I couldn't stand the smell a second longer.

  I wish I had taken more picture of Hubs working on the Poultry Palace. He really did an amazing job. The plans he used were these, they are free and the windows we used were ordered from that site as well. No, I am not being paid to advertise. I figure it's only fair to give credit where credit's due. Now for a quick picture montage of the Poultry Palace construction. 
I did most of the painting!
Bird netting to keep out hawks.

Everyone is moved in.

There is still trim work to be done. If my kitchen trim isn't done the chicken's sure as heck aren't going to have trim either. On the left is the rain catchment system Hubs is planning on setting up but for some reason lacks time to do. Not sure why.... could it be the fact that I'm picking up a new goat on Friday? Or maybe the fact that I have a rabbit that delivered a kindle of 10 to 12 kits today and another one due any second now? Poor guy. Now on to the inside.
We hang the feed from the ceiling and Hubs built the nest boxes, of course he built the whole thing so why would he buy nest boxes?

This cool little roosting rack is designed special for me. It folds up onto the wall so when we rake all the nasty straw out its up and out of the way. Most of the chickens roost on it at night. A couple of weirdos roost up in the rafters and some sleep on the floor. 

Biggest problem with all those chickens and ducks? More eggs than I know what to do with! Hubs is building me a sign that I am going to put out on the drive that says farm fresh eggs for sale. I wanted it to say chicken butt nuggets but he said that it sounds nasty and no one would stop. When you get at least a dozen eggs a day its a little overwhelming. Hopefully, people buy them so I don't end up wasting all these eggs.

Sunday, July 24, 2016


  I am just going to skip the boring stuff. You know, the moving in and getting settled and the furniture shopping because to be honest nobody really cares what color my new couch is except my mom. Honestly, she probably only pretend to care because she's my mom and that's her job. I'm just going to skip ahead in this little story of my life a couple of months. The kids started school with no issues and its super awesome because the bus pulls up right in front of our front door. Seriously, its amazing. Hubs and I decided that since our first priority was the kitchen.
It was cute but dated.

Carpet and a table in the middle didn't really work for me.

  Honestly, we were super lucky with this house. Unlike on the home reality shows where someone like Chip and Joanna come and make all your dreams come true in an hour we were doing this ourselves. Well, to be honest, Hubs did most of the work. I came up with ideas, did clean up and bought stuff. Sometimes I don't know what I did to deserve such a wonderful man. Any who, since Hubs also had a full time job things took awhile and still a year later its not fully done but we can use it and I love it and it has everything I want. Also to offset the awfulness that goes with deconstructing a kitchen our house is the best house ever and had an extra kitchen upstairs for us to use. I was never without. Now for my kitchen in pictures...

Demo day #1 removal of appliances and table. Started in Oct 2015

Knocking out the old lap and plaster walls so that Hubs can rewire and put in better installation. Oh and put in real drywall. That dust goes everywhere. Kids enjoy helping when they're allowed to put holes in the wall. Nov 2015

Putting insulation back in after ripping everything out. It was so cold. Dec 2015
In January and February Hubs got the drywall, electrical, plumbing and other boring stuff done. I didn't take pictures because um hello, it's boring. Meanwhile, these poor brand new appliances that I picked out and Hubs bought me back in October languished in my living room. A constant reminder that I was using a stove upstairs that was older than me instead of my beautiful one I picked.

I painted the walls with their first coat of paint as soon as hubs gave the go ahead and and he put down my floor in March 2016. 

After he got the floor finished he started on the cabinets. Is it just me or do things seem to move fast when things start moving in? Still March
The delivery of my counter tops in April caused me to jump and squeal like a 4th grade girl. Both Hubs and Elvis-impersonator-deliveryman laughed. 

Unpacking.... April 2016

These were taken in May, so pretty recent. 

   That is the saga of my kitchen remodel thus far. We still need to put on doors to all the cabinets, finish the hood for the stove, put in upper cabinets, trim and that sort of stuff. For the most part though the kitchen is done and mostly the way I want it. I wish I had gotten better pictures now looking back but I still love it. Right now while the weather is good outside we have to do outside work. That's apparently a farm thing. When its snowing or raining again Hubs said he'll get back to work on my kitchen and get it finished, I'll add more pictures when that happens because everyone loves renovations. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

So we bought this old house....

  My whole clan, minus Hubs, made it to Indiana late at night. Hubs arrived in the wee hours of dawn. No one slept well. My munchkins were jumping around from pent up energy of days spent road tripping across the country. Who would've thought that 4 and 5 year olds don't enjoy sitting in the car for more than 8 hours a day? Or that I can only listen to a cartoon play on repeat 5 times before getting slightly ragey? My mom had it easier with the older 2 boys since they are at the magical age where video games are cooler than parents and they no longer needing entertainment. We took a few days to re cooperate before ditching letting our inlaws enjoy the kids while we explored Ohio and unloaded all our junk in storage.

   Hubs and I ventured off to Ohio to unload the ginormous truck and get a quick look around town before getting back to our children. We drove out in separate vehicles and since I had 3 hours to my self to think, always a dangerous thing, I remembered the houses we had looked at online before we had come out here. I remembered this cute house we affectionately called the Witch House. It was perfect in my mind. Only 5 miles from his work, 23 acres, HUGE. I must have it! I called the realtor. He was really nice and available to show the house that day! Look, it was fate! Hubs was not going to be happy we were now on a schedule. Before we were only going to unload and explore at our leisure and return that night. Now we needed to quickly unload to make an appointment after the whole talk Hubs had given me about renting for a year so we could get to know the area before buying.... I was going to have some 'splaining to do.

  I waited for the perfect time. I am sneaky. We unloaded for a bit in the nasty humidity, actually looking back the humidity wasn't really that bad it was just horrible for someone who had never felt humidity before. I told him I'd run out and get him a nice icey sweet tea. While he was blissfully happy drinking his first few sips of sweet tea I casually brought up the Witch House and said we should drive by it. He said sure. Progress. I said, 'How about around 6?' He immediately knew I'd called the guy and made an appointment but since he is the most amazing man ever he just rolled his eyes and said fine, a break would be good anyways. After some more hours of back breaking labor we went to go see the Witch House.

  We loved the house as soon as we pulled up. It was built in 1903 and is HUGE over 3000 sq feet which is great when you have a lot of kids. Plus look at all the green. There is grass! True everywhere out here has grass but still, I love this house. Lots of charm. Lots of WORK, Hubs and I walked through we loved it but we both agreed there was a lot of things we would want to change most of it was things we could live with for now. Hubs loved the shop which is bigger than some people's houses. I loved the house itself. We both loved the property. 23 acres. Both of us have farm dreams so this was checking every single check list for us. The only thing it didn't check was a long lane from the road which is what Hubs wanted but everything else was there and the price was great. Cheaper than what we sold our house in Nevada for. We even loved the neighbors since the neighbors we the owners of the house (the son of the previous owner). Oh, it also had a guest house.

Cutest thing ever!

  Hubs told them we were very interested but we needed to talk about it. We finished unloading the truck and decided that I we needed this house. Just had to wait for our house in Nevada to finish closing.I won't bore you with all that back and forth craziness but we bought the Witch House! I still love it. I ended up living with my inlaws for about a month and a half while Hubs stayed in a camper and worked in Ohio. I love them and appreciate them so much but I was so glad to be into my own space again. Plus I got to sleep with my Hubs again ;) 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Well hello internet world

    So let me introduce myself a little bit. My name is Katie. I'm going to have to back date this quite a ways since I am the world's best procrastinator (also I'm a top notch exaggerator) and I didn't get around to starting this blog about our farm, renovation, and general insanity until almost a year after it started. A year ago today we were on our way from Nevada driving out to my wonderful inlaws who for some reason are ok with letting me and my 4 crazy children live with them while my husband starts a new job and happens to be in a different state. Only 3 hours away though! He was in the Navy though so this whole separation thing should be cake, right? (Wrong, spoilers!) Ok, now to back up and explain a little bit. Give you all a little back story so that you're not completely lost in my rambling. 

   Once upon a time, there was a sweet girl named Katie who believed she was a princess. Unfortunately, for her her parents were not royalty so she was so screwed by fate in that department but on the plus side she met the man of her dreams and they were married in August 2003. She was 17 he was 19 people asked her if she was pregnant. She wasn't. They said they wouldn't last. They're going on 13 years now. Anyways, fast forwarding just a bit, the amazing man, known hereon and henceforth and as Hubs joined the Navy for about 9 years (or 8 years 11 months 24 days as Hubs says) they weathered some long deployments and Hubs got to see the world while Katie got to see San Diego, Ca, San Jose, Ca and Fallon, Nv (quite the world traveler, huh?). In that time during visits from Hubs Katie managed to get pregnant and produce 3 magnificent boys.
    First was Amazing L, then Cap, and last but certainly not least was Tiny. Sad that they didn't have a daughter but not really wanting to deal with Katie being pregnant again Hubs and Katie both thought that maybe they could do some good and possibly get the daughter they knew they were supposed to have. After 3 years of living in Nevada and doing foster care they had their beautiful daughter, Z fully adopted and helped many other children along the way. Then they realized that they would need to move on from their little desert oasis because the military lifestyle isn't really one for deep roots. Until Hubs said enough.
  Well sort of, more of Hubs and the US government came to an agreement. The government said Hubs was fat and didn't run fast enough. Hubs said he couldn't run because they screwed up his knee or else he would certainly be exercising more. In the end he just retired.. got out? Not really sure how it works but he got out and found a job with the FAA. He controls airplanes. They gave him a list of airports and told him to rank them in the order he'd like, he did and they were told they would be going to Ohio. Katie had never been to Ohio. It seemed like a great adventure. 

  There, I'll leave out the chaos that ensued of us having to sell our house and move across country in a month with four kids, 3 dogs, a cat and a ton of stuff. It was even more chaos since we didn't have a home that we were moving to. We were dropping our kids off at my inlaws and then unloading our stuff into a storage unit in the town Hubs would be working in. Next post we buy this old house.....
Ok and yes this picture is of our caravan, there was the biggest truck we could get from Penske with a pop up trailer attached to it and matteresses on top since we're classy like that. Behind that is my 15 passenger van with a little bitty camper trailer full of junk. Lastly my mom followed in Hub's 4runner and the Awsome L and Cap. I had the little two.