Monday, October 13, 2014

Dreams Do Come True

As many of you already know CountryBoy and I have had a dream of owning and retiring on a small farm.  But, for those of you just tuning in, I will share a brief history on how we came upon having this dream.

I will try to keep this short but it started many years ago when we sold our house in the outskirts of a small city and bought five acres out in the country.

We were thrilled to get away from the hustle and bustle and immediately felt 'at home' in the country.

We did some minor improvements on the house, then we got some chickens, we built a barn then we tried our hand at gardening.  We loved every bit of it!

The drawback to that property was the sandy soil for gardening and we would've had to do quite a bit of clearing of trees to make pastures.  Money was also very tight so any changes or improvements we wanted to do took some planning and saving and would've taken forever.

CountryBoy was growing tired (literally) of his job in the Emergency Medical Services field and he wanted to get back into his former field of the industrial construction industry as a Millwright.  There's good money in that industry but the problem with it is it requires traveling from job to job.  The traveling is no problem as we both love to travel but it took us away from our home.  But, we decided that if we ever wanted to fulfill our dream then we had to make some changes.

So, we started down that path.  The Lord provided us with a nice truck and fifth wheel for a very decent price but the timing was not right.  We waited another nine months before a door opened up.  CountryBoy gave his two week notice and off we went to Idaho some two thousand miles away in the dead of winter.  (That's a whole 'nother story, wink!)

After getting him set up I flew back home to tend to the house, animals and the garden.  After he was blessed with another job after that one (these jobs last anywhere from a couple of weeks to years - we just never know) we decided I would join him so the animals were sold, the house closed up and off I went.

Meanwhile, during our travels, we fell in love with the beautiful state of Kentucky.  The rolling hills, mountains, farms, sigh, so we started looking online at farms for sale in Kentucky.  We were just browsing trying to get a feel for the different areas of the state, prices, land available, etc.  You know, just looking.  And dreaming.  All while paying off debt and saving money for the new homestead - our dream farm!

He got another job immediately after that (still out west) so we decided it was time to sell the house.   Long story short, my family (who had been taking care of the place while we were gone), bless their hearts, packed up and stored our belongings and listed the house.  It sold in two days!  Two!

That brings us to today... 

We continued to look online at available properties in Kentucky, still browsing, still dreaming mind you, since we had no intentions of buying yet.  After all, we were still traveling and still saving money.

But, then along comes a property that we both fell in love with just from the photos online and the realtors description of the house and property.  It was a weekend but I called the realtor that day and left a message.  She called me back the following day and the ball started rolling.

There was a lot of interest in the place so I started to worry thinking we would lose out since we were a thousand miles away and couldn't immediately go look at it.

Then I realized that if that was the property the Lord wanted us to have then everything will work out and fall into place.  I just had to trust Him.

That same week, CountryBoy finished setting the fans he was working on and the rep signed off on them leaving him with nothing to do at work.  See, he pinky-promised his boss that he would stay till start-up so even though he finished his job he still has to stay. Which is OK because it's a paycheck every week but makes for long days.  But, with his work being done he asked for the following week off and it was granted.  I called the realtor and made plans to see the house on Monday after our arrival.

The viewing of the house was like no other I've been to.  The seller was present and we were able to ask her all sorts of questions about the house and the property.  She was a sweet lady who loved her house and I knew she would've kept the place if she was in better health.  She patiently answered our questions and stood by listening to our renovation plans of her house that just kept popping into our heads and out our mouths.  We saw so much potential and were already eager beavers even though we tried to contain ourselves from showing so much interest.

The house had been on the market for almost three months and the seller had just dropped the price when we made our plans to check it out.  But, we were told the wrong price and had based our offer on the wrong price.  We offered our original price anyway.  The seller was taken back a bit but did not turn us down.  She wanted some time to think on it.  Come to find out, she had been offered the same price shortly after the house was listed and she turned it down.

Meanwhile, the realtor wanted to take all of us to Snug Hollow, a local B&B for lunch.  (You can check it out by clicking HERE.)  We all sat in front of a fireplace (it was cold while we were there) sipping hot apple cider and just visiting.  We talked more about the possibilities of the property and we talked about our intentions of farming and bringing the house and property back to life and embracing its history.  We also talked about my crafts and they said I would fit in nicely since Berea (a nearby town) was the craft capital of the world.  (Check it out by clicking HERE.)  The property is on the Red Lick Artisan Trail as well as the Quilt Trail.  The realtor mentioned that they didn't have a quilter on the quilt trail and how exciting it would be to have one!  Then we sat down to a delicious gourmet lunch at a 300 acre working farm B&B in the middle of the country.  It was awesome!  See, the realtor wanted to show us the vibe of the community and show us potential opportunities in the area.  We were somewhat excited yet still trying to maintain ourselves since we didn't know yet if our offer was accepted.

Throughout this whole time, even though we were excited and anxious to know if the property would one day be ours we had a peace about it.  We rested in the fact that if we did not get this property, as much as we loved it, we knew that there would be a better one in the future.

Well, long story somewhat short, after lunch CountryBoy asked the seller if she had been able to make up her mind about the offer.  She hesitated only slightly then she stuck out her hand. CountryBoy grabbed it, shook it and asked her if this meant she accepted our offer and she nodded her head.  I cried, gave her a hug and thanked her profusely.  It was all so surreal and unbelievable!

I'm sure by now you're getting anxious for some photos so now that you're up to date let's get on with it shall we?

To give you a feel for the surrounding areas here's a couple of shots from the drive from town to the property...



Did you see the diamond shape on the barn in the photo above?  That's a painted quilt. The property is on the Quilt Trail so guess who's barn will have a painted quilt on it one day?!


Hay bales in a field surrounded by mountains. sigh.

(Oh, and just so ya know, some of the photos here will be from the listing.  When we were looking inside the house I was busy listening to the seller talk about the house and my mind was going a mile a minute with renovation and decorating ideas involuntarily popping in that I forgot to take photos, ha!  Seriously!)

The property is 18 acres of part pasture and part wooded with a house, barn, garden, stream, and several outbuildings.


The house looks like it's nestled in amongst the trees but it's actually clear all around the house.


The front of the house.



 

Following is the back of the house.  Eventually we will cover the entire roof with tin.


A closeup of the arbor.  At one time the seller had fish in the bathtub!


The barn.


The barn needs cleaned up but has seven stalls, a tack and a feed room.  Eventually, we will put a loft in over the beams jutting out on the right.

 
The gate leads out to a fenced paddock.  Perfect for a dairy cow & a coupla dairy goats, smile!

Photo Credit - Joyce Marcum Realty

We don't know what we'll do with this little structure yet, if anything.  But, there is an existing clothesline which makes me very happy.  Those of you who know me know how much I enjoy hanging clothes out to dry!


This is the garden complete with raised beds and a fence on three sides.  With a bit of clearing and replacing the fence on the fourth side this area will be wonderful for our vegetable garden.  Oh, and there are several cherry trees planted in here as well as a few down by the barn.


We were told that this structure was the chicken coop at one time.  We are tentatively thinking about turning it into an outdoor kitchen for canning.  (Canning produces a lot of heat and to can in the summer months in a house with no central air is not something we want to do.)


Behind this gate is supposed to be the chicken coop that was most recently used by the seller.  I did not attempt to go in to check it out even though I had my boots on, ha!


Here's a shot from the listing that shows perspective of the coop, the shelter and the clothesline.

Photo Credit - Joyce Marcum Realty

There's even an outhouse!

 


That will be cleaned up and lots of mint planted around it to ward off spiders and hopefully snakes just in case we ever have to use it, wink!

There are a couple of other outbuildings that I did not get photos of; one is an insulated shed that we will convert to a living space while we renovate the house and then will eventually be made into a guest house and the other is a shed also.

I did not get a photo of the stream but it's a small stream that runs across the front of the house.  We have plans to clean it up and add a pond.

Are you ready to go inside?

The house was built in the 20's probably in 1924 according to some paperwork that was found inside the walls when it was gutted many years ago.

One of two front entrances and the dining room.  Plans here are to simply remove the ceiling fan and replace with a coupla barn style lights.  Isn't is gorgeous?  I can see our white tiled farmhouse table sitting in here.

Photo Credit - Joyce Marcum Realty
This is the living room showing the other front entrance, stairs and straight back through the door is the kitchen.  To the left is a double-sided non-functional fireplace.  The other side heats the dining room.  Our plans are to have the chimney put back and the two sides combined into one large fireplace.  The mantel you see on the right is decorative and is just leaning against the wall.

Photo Credit - Joyce Marcum Realty

The kitchen looks bigger in this photo but is actually quite small.  In fact, the seller moved the fridge to the mud room for more counter space.  (It used to be where the microwave is.)

Photo Credit - Joyce Marcum Realty

Love the stove though!


Our plans are to completely gut the kitchen, remove a wall and add a pantry.  In time.

Shall we head upstairs?

Here is a shot of the landing.  Our plans are to add a SolarTube for natural light so that I can use this space as a sewing area.

Photo Credit - Joyce Marcum Realty
We also want to get this fireplace back in working order.  Especially since there is no central heat or air.


I can't wait to do some sewing while listening to the crackling of the fire and feeling its warmth.  So cozy!  I might even put a comfy chair up there so I can read a book!

In the master bedroom (as well as the second bedroom) we plan on using the attic space to raise the ceiling.  We will also raise a few of the windows.  All the ceilings in the house are very low but at least we can raise the bedroom ceilings (note the top of the dresser in reference to the ceiling). 

Photo Credit - Joyce Marcum Realty
There is no bathroom upstairs but there is space for one so we intend to put a full bath upstairs and convert the downstairs bath into a half bath and probably a nice size walk-in pantry.  (You know, to store all those canned goods from our garden, wink!)  Here's the space for the full bath upstairs.  There's a toilet and sink in a closet to the right but they're not hooked up.  We will demo the closet on the left as well as the closet with the toilet and sink then we'll come up with a floor plan for a rustic full bath.

Photo Credit - Joyce Marcum Realty
Our goal for all the renovations and the additions is to make them seamless with the original charm of the 1920's farmhouse.

Looking back I can see how the Lord had His hand in this whole thing and literally paved the way for us to find this particular property and the seller to feel led to accept our offer even though she'd had a previous offer of the same price.  We feel truly blessed to have found this property in what seems to be the perfect location and community for us and our future desires!

Dreams do come true and one day I will be able to change my industrial blog banner back to a country life banner.  Yay!  We have BIG dreams and plans for this homestead and are excited to see how it all plays out!

Thank you for your interest in our desire to own a small farm and for taking the time to read this long post.  I do hope that you will stay tuned as we bring this 'ol Kentucky farm and farmhouse back to life as well as this blog!



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

This Is What I'm Thinking

That it is good to be stuck in my little fifth wheel day in and day out.

LizzieBelle and I took CountryBoy to work yesterday.  An hour and a half round trip.  Three hours total of my day gone.

Since I have no vehicle (I'm STILL very upset that an idiot totaled my Jeep and STILL trying very hard to forgive him) I decided I would take Hubby to work so that I could take some packages to the post office and to also do the weekend chores allowing CountryBoy a nice long weekend at home staying off his feet.

Although I dreaded all the driving I thought I would enjoy my day running errands and being able to casually browse if I wanted.

But, no, I did not.

The current town we shop in is the largest town we've been near since we've been on the road.  It is crowded with shops and lots and lots of traffic and people.  I don't like it.

By the end of the day I found myself literally saying that I couldn't wait for the day when I never had to go to town again to shop. Or at least, to grocery shop.

The day when we will be eating whatever we grow and put up for the winter and doing without if we don't have it.

And, when I do have to go to town?  I want it to be a small town.  I might survive that. *wink*  Big cities?  I can't handle them anymore.  I don't want to handle them.  The congestion.  The fast-pace.  "Makes my insides jump" as my dear Mother used to say.

Yep. I'm thinking that after 50 years of life here on this earth that I have completely lost my city born roots.  And I'm OK with that.  Really OK.  In fact, I am excited about our future.  Excited to find a farm, plant a garden, raise chickens, goats & a dairy cow, keep bees, spend the summer harvesting our crops and canning.   I know it sounds crazy and is a lot of work.  It's not something most people seek when they retire but, hey, we aren't like most people. And, no wise-crack comments from those of you who know us, ha!

I'm also thinking that I may retire this blog for the time being.

Our lives have drastically changed since I wrote my first blog post.  I am no longer able to blog about happenings at our old homestead or take pictures of our garden and chickens, etc.

I've been trying to plug away at it while on the road but it's just not working out.

Hours spent preparing a post only to have minimal views and/or comments.

I'm thinking it's time to move on.

Maybe one day I can resurrect this ol' blog.  One day when we're back on country roads.

For now?  I'm considering a new blog about my latest projects whether it be sewing, crocheting, quilting, crafting, a project in the fifth wheel, etc.  The new blog will also help me get connected with other bloggers who craft and will help me build a network of individuals interested in things handmade and hopefully some potential customers.


These projects are how I fill the long hours of being stuck in the fifth wheel. I'm good with that.  Remember the whole 'going to town' thing I mentioned earlier?  Yea, I like being home.  In order to keep making stuff I need to sell some of them which also provides a tiny bit of income. Not a lot of income since I like to use quality supplies which can be costly but enough for me to buy more supplies and add a small amount towards our future farm.

These projects take a lot of time to make.  Marketing takes a lot of time.  The same person trying to do both?  Almost impossible especially with the normal day-to-day responsibilities that must be done as well.

A new blog will also allow only the people that want to read about my projects to do so rather than those that wanted to read about farm life being subjected to yet another post about a project.

I currently have a page on Facebook where I post my projects so the next step would be a blog.  (Oh, if you're on Facebook and want to follow me on there here's the link Gone Country Creations.  Don't forget to hit the Like button on the page while you're there! And a Share would be appreciated too!)

It's still a thought in process but if you're interested in the new blog just leave me a comment and I will email you the link when it is up and running. Make sure I have your email address and that 'Do Not Reply' is not checked in your settings.

I'm thinking that this post is long enough already and I've yet to share very many photos to help break it up, so, I will leave you with a photo I shared on Facebook of my sweet LizzieBelle plum tuckered out!


Thanks to those of you who have stuck by me these past few years through all the changes.  Y'all are awesome and I hope to see you at GoneCountryCreations!

 






Monday, August 11, 2014

A Yummy Snack

Or dessert.  Which is how we like to eat this yumminess!

I'm talking about a Banana Wrap.

These days, anything can be put in a wrap (flour tortilla) and fruit is no exception.

I saw the idea on Pinterest and came up with my own version.  Here it is...

Take a smaller size flour tortilla and spread a thin layer of peanut butter on it...


Then, sprinkle some granola on it...
 

Next, put some chocolate bits on there...
 

Now, it's time to pop it in the toaster oven for a few minutes to soften the bits...
 

Let it cool for a couple of minutes then drizzle some honey all over...
 

Add a banana...
 

And wrap it all up!...


That's it!

This has become one of our favorite desserts.  So satisfying and good for you.

Here's what I use to make these:

Banana Wrap

flour tortilla (fajita size)
homemade peanut butter (16 oz. honey roasted peanuts in food processor for five minutes, put in mason jar and store in fridge)
Vanilla Almond Agave Granola
43% Cacao Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
raw honey
1 banana

1.  Spread thin layer of peanut butter on tortilla.
2.  Sprinkle granola over peanut butter.
3.  Place chocolate chips on tortilla.
4.  Bake at 300 degrees for three to four minutes or until chips are soft.
5.  Let cool for a few minutes (otherwise the honey melts)
6.  Drizzle honey over all.
7.  Put banana on tortilla, wrap and serve.

You'll notice in the photos that I used the ingredients sparingly.  When the banana is wrapped there are more than enough ingredients to satisfy in every bite. And this combination of ingredients? So perfect!

You can use any ingredients that appeal to you or coincide with your dietary needs.

CountryBoy and I split one of these for dessert.  It has helped me eat more fruit and satisfies my sweet tooth and chocolate cravings.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Till next time my friends...


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Snowball Effect

I'm not sure about y'all but round here it seems that adding or changing one thing always leads to something else needing to be done.

The latest change was getting rid of the heavy sleeper sofa in the fifth wheel.

 
Good riddance!

Now I have an empty spot to fill...


My intentions were to find a futon which would allow for overnight guests to sleep and would also allow for extra storage underneath.

Do you know how difficult it is to find futons these days?

At least the last few places we've lived haven't had any. They used to be everywhere.  Now when I'm looking for one I couldn't find one.  Oh, I could special order one but who wants to special order a piece of furniture without trying it out first?!  Not me.

I continued to stop in any furniture store I came across and finally found one, yay!  (Hee, hee, I made CountryBoy stop at this one store we've been driving by for weeks.  Seeing as none of the previous stores had any futons in stock I told him he could stay in the truck while I went in to look and that if they had one I would motion for him to come in.  He said after I'd been in there a while he figured uh-oh, they must have one, hahaha!  He was right!)

So, over the weekend we loaded up the sofa to make way for the new futon.

We spent hours trying to get rid of this sofa.  Had to get rid of the old one before we could get a new one.  After all, we don't have a garage or any place to store something that large.

Can I just say that I now understand why there are sofas on the side of the roads!

No, we did not dump the sofa on the side of the road but after a couple of hours searching we finally found a large dumpster.  Whew.

And no, Goodwill didn't want it either, ha!

Anyhoo, I'm finally able to get my futon!  Yay!  So off to the furniture store we go that same day.

It sits higher than the old sofa (which is nice for this half-a-century year old lady to get up and down out of!) and the back is higher as well.

Which, ends up being a problem.

Did you notice the window treatments in the above photo perhaps?

If not, here's the problem...


Those side window treatment panels stick out about three and a half inches and are below the back of the futon so I'm losing precious inches of living space.

To complicate matters even more, the strings to the day/night shades are attached to them as well and help to hide the strings.

Decision time.

I never cared for those panels anyway and the colors are definitely NOT my choice of colors when it comes to decorating, so, I decided I would rather have the extra few inches and live with seeing strings then look at those panels any longer.


Problem is, if I remove the side panels from these two windows then I have to remove them from three more windows since they are all in the same area.

Sheesh.

But, my dislike of those side panels won out over the work involved so I rolled up my sleeves (oh wait, I was wearing a tank top - but you get the point!) and got to work on figuring out the easiest way to remove them.  Let me tell ya, it got real messy and real cramped pretty quick in the fifth wheel once I got started, ha!  Good thing CountryBoy was at work cuz there would've been no room for him!

About the third window I had figured out the easiest way to get it done so the pace picked up a bit even though it took me all day.  (Good thing it was Sushi night last night and I didn't have to cook!)

I'm really liking the results.


 It's a much cleaner and simpler look.

I also gained several inches in my sewing corner as well.  Now, I can sew while CountryBoy is home and he can still get around since I will no longer be blocking the path from the living room to the kitchen.  Happy, happy!
 

Eventually, I might make some curtains but, for now, I'm kinda liking this look.


I think by removing the sleeper sofa and the wood side panels we got rid of approximately 125 lbs. of weight in the fifth wheel.  Less weight is always good when traveling.

After a steady day of work LizzieBelle portrays how I felt... wore slap out!


She must've gotten tired just from watching me.  Actually, I think she was a little concerned at first since furniture was getting moved around, the vacuum cleaner was out and there was stuff everywhere, ha!  But, we both survived!

I think this particular snowball has stopped.  For now (wink!).

Till next time folks...





Monday, July 7, 2014

A Summer Salad

For many years CountryBoy and I would spend one week of our vacation going on mission trips to Honduras and Nicaragua.  We went with a group from our church where we spent the week building a church in remote villages in those countries.  The villagers worked alongside us with all ages pitching in to help; men hammering nails, children carrying lumber and cleaning up scrap pieces, women cooking for the workers.

The accommodations were primitive at best.  A tent with an army cot, the local latrine (which was built by the missionaries we were working with and provided for these remote villages and were thoroughly cleaned and limed by our team upon arrival), and baths were taken in the river.  The same river where we got our drinking water and the villagers washed their clothes. No worries.  You bathed down river from where you got your drinking water, wink!  (Just don't think too hard about the village up river that is bathing down river, well, you know where I'm going with that! You just hope that the water has been purified by nature by the time it gets to the next village!)

Even with the best luxury item being the latrine it was always a wonderful week and always difficult to leave.

Before heading home our team is treated to a nice meal in one of the restaurants in the more modernized parts of these countries.

One restaurant was outdoors in a very tropical setting.  It was so lush with plants that I felt as though I was eating in the midst of a rainforest.  It was awesome!

I can't remember what I ate for the main course but I remember eating a corn salad of sorts that was on the salad bar.

Seeing all the beautiful corn on the cob at the grocery stores this summer reminded me of that salad and I wanted to see if I could recreate it.

Here's what I came up with...



Crunchy Corn & Veggie Salad

3 ears fresh corn on the cob, kernels removed from cob
5 stalks of celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 green onions, sliced
4 oz. crumbled goat cheese
handful of cilantro, chopped
4ish tsp. olive oil
2ish tsp. garlic infused red wine vinegar
1ish tsp. sugar
1ish tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
1/2ish tsp. black pepper (or to taste)

Combine corn kernels, celery, red pepper, green onions, goat cheese and cilantro in large bowl.

Whisk olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper together then pour over vegetable mixture and stir until combined.

That's it!  The crunchy, raw goodness of summer, yum!

There are many ways you can make this salad.  Use what you have.  Add more veggies or different veggies. For those of you that like some heat you can add a diced jalapeno.

Some things I might do differently next time would be to add the cheese last.  Goat cheese is very soft and ended up breaking down making the salad creamier as I mixed all the ingredients.  Same taste you just don't have the nice bits of crumbled cheese.  You could also use a different cheese; blue cheese or feta would be nice. Or you could use a firmer cheese.  Don't like cheese?  Leave it out.  Don't care for cilantro?  Basil would be nice.  I also didn't mix the wet ingredients separately, that's why the measurements are approximate amounts, but that would help cut back on the mixing and stirring so next time I will do that.

There ya have it!  I'd love to hear what ingredients you would use or not use if you made this salad.  Just keep the main ingredient of raw corn then go from there.

Till next time folks...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...