Monday, February 11, 2013

So Much to Share!

Wowzers, we have been so busy here at the homestead!  We have been working non-stop, and thankfully, we have quite a bit to show for it.  This post will have lots of pictures so I will try to keep my words to minimum...if you know me well, you know that won't be easy ;)

Since we moved in, I have been wanting a bench to go down one side of my dining table.  I knew it would provide some extra seating, especially for young-'uns.  Fitting three full size chairs down the side of the table is difficult, but seating three people on a bench down the size is no problem.  I did some searching online and came up with a plan that didn't seem too difficult.  I made my list and took myself to the hardware store to get what I would need.  After some careful calculations, I figured out that I would only need to purchase THREE pieces of wood for the entire bench...winner!  I even took my measurements and had the nice people at the hardware store make a few of the cuts for me.  I brought home the pieces, and this last weekend Nathaniel and I set to work.  I felt so strong using those power was fun!  In less than 2 hours, we had the bench built and placed in the dining room...not bad, not bad.  I still need to paint it black, but here are some pictures.  It's a little rough because it was my first major build, but I know I will get better with practice.

 While we were outside, in the cold wind, we decided to tackle another building project I had on the list...a mantle.  Our new home on the farm does not have a fireplace, but I wanted a mantle in the master bedroom.  We put together this mantle using only wood from the woodpile, and it turned out even better than I could have imagined.  I pulled out the pieces, created the layout, and Nathaniel did the hammering to assemble to piece.  Isn't it gorgeous?!?  He was quite proud of it, too!

I plan to insert a piece of board painted black into the 'fire' spot, and draw a cute fire on it with chalk.  Chalk is so popular right now, especially since it is so versatile!  By making my fire out of chalk, I can easily change it up when I am tired of it!  

One day it was quite warm, so we decided that the stinky dogs were getting a bath.  Nathaniel and the kids tackled that one while I stood back and took pictures!  Ha!  The dogs were not happy with their baths, but boy did they smell better afterward!

As for the homestead kitchen, we are constantly on the lookout for healthy things to cook and eat!  Especially things that are low-to-no carb!  While we wait for the harvest from our first homestead garden, we make do with what we can find at the grocery store.  Last week we enjoyed several yummy meals...a big chicken salad, and burger patties (no bread of course!) with homemade sweet potato fries.  Deliciousness!

After researching, we have also been wanting to try our hands at making our own beef bone broth.  It has been shown to provide lots of health benefits, and we couldn't wait to give it a try!  We are blessed with an organic, grass-fed meat distributor in our town, so I headed there for the broth pack.  We tossed in the bones, as well as lots of seasonings, celery, carrots, onions, and garlic.  We let it simmer for about 35 hours, strained out all of the chunks, and have put the bone broth up for use in soups, stews, and other cooking adventures.  It will also be great should any of us get sick in the coming months.  Here is a picture of the bone broth simmering away :)

With February upon us, love is in the air.  We have a chalkboard in our homeschool 'classroom', and I decided a little chalk board subway art was in order.  It is nothing fancy, but this board reads something new each month.  In January it read "Let it Snow!".  Below is what it reads now.  Any suggestions on what it should say for March?

We also took some time this morning to put together some handmade valentines to send to those we love.  Boy what a mess, but such fun!

I have spent some time trying to organize our books.  I am so thankful and blessed that I have two children who love to read, but would you believe that this isn't even half of our stash??  We have many more books on three bookshelves in Levi's room.  Why yes, I do believe we might have more books than the local smalltown library!  Yikes!  Can you say addiction??

One day last week, Natalie had a moment of craziness and shattered a bottle of PINK nail polish on the tile in my living room.  I had to ask forgiveness for my reaction, it was a mother-of-the-year moment for sure :(  Thankfully, I was able to get it cleaned up, but it took an hour, down in the floor, and two rolls if paper towels, along with a bottle of polish remover.  Yikes!  It was crazy!

I'll leave you for now with these beautiful images we took of the sunset last night.  The first is a picture Natalie it!

This is the photo Nathaniel took, overlooking our pond.  Isn't it gorgeous?  God blessed us so much with this beautiful artwork last night.  He continues to bless us beyond our wildest dreams, here at Hen Hollow Homestead.  It is all for His glory!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Everything and Nothing

We have certainly been busy here at the homestead, but when I went looking through the pictures on my phone, it seems there aren't many photos to show for it.  We will go with the excuse that we have been too busy to take pictures! ;)

We have done some more work in the garden, preparing the sandy soil for planting.  This spring-like weather has me itching to get out there and get some seeds in the ground, but sure as I do, I know it will freeze and I will have to start all over again.  I am trying to be patient...spring come quickly!

Nathaniel and I took a super quick trip to our old house (which is STILL for sale!) to deal with a few things...batteries in the smoke detector, leaves in the yard, etc.  We were literally in town about an hour, and then hopped back in the car to drive back to the homestead.  All told it was 6 1/2 hours of driving for one hour of work, but now it is done.  We need that house to sell, and quickly.  Your prayers for that are appreciated!

The farmhouse bedroom closets did not have doors on them, so we've been staring at our clothes and shoes while we devised a plan.  Closet doors are EXPENSIVE, and we needed three sets!  OUCH!  Enter the internet, where I found a picture of the perfect doors.  I emailed the photo to Nathaniel, and in just a few hours of work, using wood we already had on hand,  he had them built and ready to hang!  He is amazing and talented, and I am so thankful he goes along with my crazy visions.  I LOVE the new doors.  So far, we only have them in our bedroom, but soon, when he has another day off of work, he will build out the doors for the kids' closets.  I cannot wait!

Aren't they lovely??  And perfect for my farmhouse/homestead decor.  Just ignore the pile of shoes on the right of the doors...I am clearing out and cleaning up, and finding homes for things.

We put the chicks out to pasture yesterday.  They had been hanging out in their chicken tractor in our backyard, but I was tired of stepping in chicken poo every time I made a trip to and from my new clothesline, so they had to go.  They are loving the grass that is coming in in the pasture, and are enjoying the bugs and worms they scratch up, too!  I am loving having my backyard back.

We have a group of ducks that have made their home in our tank/pond.  It is fun to watch them, and also to hear them quacking away down there.  We have been putting out some scratch feed for them, and apparently they are enjoying it, because they have decided to call the farm 'home'.  I wonder if we will end up with duck babies?

In other news, I did take the kids to the children's museum at Baylor.  They loved it!  We didn't even see half of it, there is so much, but we do plan to go back soon :)

Well, I guess as far as newsworthy happenings here, that about covers it.  I will try to do better about taking pictures this week, so check back soon for more homestead happenings!