Wednesday, December 28, 2016

::floor plan::

Our builder/designer is amazing.  She took out crazy little house and found a way to squeeze all the things I wanted into one floor plan. 

The front door faces the road.  It is rarely going to actually be used, but I really think its necessary for curb appeal.  The nice big porch is inspiring me with lots of design ideas.  Max's room in the first room on the right.  It's going to have one closet for his stuff and the second one will be his reading nook.  The middle bedroom is the girls room with a built in queen bed and day bed for Emma.  Two closets for the girls to each have some storage.  Quinn has the little room but he is excited that it is "closest to the kitchen" - his words.  Then the main living space.  Kitchen with no upper cabinets and lots of glass.  Then the gigantic pantry! - with back stairs down to a tiny basement that will be for utilities.  The hall bath is for the boys and the bathroom over by the kitchen is for the girls.  Leading to the garage is a mudroom and laundry closet.  The backroom is a playroom.  Then the kicking garage.  

Details about each room to come. 

Here are the elevations of the front and back of the house.

It's just so damn cute.

Front now

Back now

Friday, December 9, 2016

::dog and goat shelter::

Josh is frantically working his tail off to get his work shop renovated.  But I talked him into taking a little break today and making Gus and the goats/sheep a winter shelter.  He wasn't happy to lose half a day of work but it was a chore we had to get done, as the pasture they are wintering in does not have any shelter in it.  It is getting really cold here and we need to make sure the babies don't get frozen.  Before we got started I made Josh go over to the his brothers house with me and pick up our Gus from his pasture.  Gus was glad to get a break from his goats/sheep.  

We used only materials that we found on the farm.  We got in the loft and got down some lumber that was left behind in a pile and then we pulled out some scrap metal barn roof pieces that were laying around in a pile.  One of the thing I love about this farm is all the crazy miscellaneous resources all over the place.  While Josh was working I got distracted and went to stare at some of the treasures I can't wait to use.

like these barn doors

and this car hood
you can see the speck on him between the barn and house way in the distance
 And while I was wondering around Gus went on a little walk about too.  He was about one mile away in the very back of this field.  Almost to the white house.  Josh had to drive him truck through the field to get him.  Bad Gus.

So, we locked him in the barn with us while we finished his shelter.  He looks annoyed in this picture but he was actual just sleepy after he found that coyote trail and took off.

Josh built this shelter so it would fit right on to the trailer and off we went.  See the skateboard that Quinn found in the barn?  Another treasure.

We filled the shelter with hay and Josh crawled in to show Gus his new digs.  It was so warm in there!  All that straw makes a nice nest.  You can tell how cold it is by all the layers that Josh is wearing. 

Oz was beyond uninterested in this situation.  He thinks this cold weather is awesome. 

Grandma Willow approves!  She's the boss, and if she says yes then the others will follow her in. 

 After they get done chasing the trailer around the pasture. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

::big barn - before::

Our old barn is a BEAST!  Huge building with many different ages of barns built on to each other.  

The oldest section is our Lofted Barn.  The lower section of it is messy right now.  Two walls have a built in closure where hay would have been thrown down form the loft and cattle would have eaten it.  There are two large doors in here, one to the Garage Bay and one to The Party Barn.  There is a small older milking room within that bottom floor that we are using now to store all our old treasures that we have found around the barn.  

treasure room
The kids are actually calling it "The Treasure Room".  We really don't have any short term or long term plans for this lower section.  It will develop when it is ready.  Now The Loft (proper noun) is another story.  We have huge plans for The Loft!  We plan to make a slide from The Loft to The Party Barn, put in a large chalkboard, swings, a stage, and collections of all our treasures on the walls.  The Loft has an old swing in it right now and you can tell that many a kid has played up there.  We can't wait to love it right.  Let's not forget that my old barn quilt is going on the outside of one side of this loft and on the other side I have to paint another barn quilt (which I can't wait to do).

    This picture is the front of the big barn.  You can see that most of the front section is cement block, not just barn siding.  If you start on the side by his truck you have the front of one of the two side rooms of his shop, the second side room is directly behind the first.  Behind the trailer their are two large doors that are open that lead into the main section of his shop.  You can see a fire burning brush that is directly in front of the large milking room.  Then the large garage door that is open leads into the garage bay.  Confusing right?  I had to walk through this place like 10 times to figure it out.  

    This is the interior of the milking room.  For now we plan to use this as our storage room for things like Christmas decorations and such.  Who knows what it will develop into.  I'm sure it will turn into something awesome.

 This picture is looking from the door of the milking room.  You can see the two doors leading into the side rooms.  The large window looks into the entry bay.  This is a great sized room with lots of old industrial windows.  He plans to make it into a clean project room and a dude room.  The side rooms don't have specific jobs yet.  He already ripped the ceiling out of it, and we have the new barn metal to put a new ceiling up.  Then insulation and new heat/cooling.  We are going to paint it and built in built in cabinets.  It is first on our list of renovations, since the house is being done by professionals we get to use out limited extra time to work on this baby.  Josh is busting this out quickly and I am mostly moral support. 
inside the two large doors that where open in the previous picture
Here is inside that large garage bay area.  My understanding is that this large metal frame Josh is standing under is something to use when pulling engines out of cars???  What do I know?  I took this picture with my back to the Lofted Barn section of this building.  We plan to use this area is a work space for anything with wheels.  Mowers, cars, etc. will get fixed up here.  It has a person sized door that connects it to the milking room, a large barn door that connects it to the Lofted Barn, and it is wide open to the Forge. 


This is a full step higher than the garage bay but is wide open to the garage bay.  It is down the line a way but we hope to eventually make it into a Forge for Josh to learn about being a blacksmith (seriously, could there be a more attractive hobby). 

looking from the entry bay through the center room into the party barn
This name may change when we really figure out what to use this barn for.  We have talked about finish these two rooms into finished space.  One as a workout room and one as a rec room.  That would not be cheap and would be fairly complex, but its a down the road maybe.  Maybe we will need this as work space for other hobbies.  I don't know, but it will come together. 

The trailer room, named for the trailer they left behind

One side of the barn

Other side of the barn
This barn is going to kick ass!!!  We are going to use this for all sorts of things over the years, but the big goal is to make sure that we can easily empty it out and use it for parties.  I plan on having a party in mid October next year to be our house warming/my graduation/my 40th birthday (all in one party) location.  It's just going to be a great gathering space.  This is a very large wide open space and I can't wait for all the fun to be had in there. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

::moving to this town::

Seriously, the last two weeks have been insane.  We moved out of our old farm and moved into our new town.  We got Gus and the goats settled in at my brother inlaws house.  We stayed there too for a few nights, and heard Gus going crazy one night.  We went outside and Gus was about to rip apart a coyote that was going after the goats!  He earned his stripes as a life stock guardian dog, because he was going to kick that coyotes ass.  I couldn't love that dog any more than I do.  We went out with a flashlight and once we spotted the coyote Josh went in and got his gun.  He shot it and it went down immediately.  That thing was way to brave and way too dangerous.  I also learned that the DNR says it is legal to kill any nuisance species that is threatening livestock.

Max and Lily started third and seventh grade at their new schools.  It was a little bit of a transition, but it only took them each about two days to find their stride.  I'm so impressed with how brave Lily is.  13 is kind of a fragile time for a young girl and she has just taken in the adventure like a hero.  Mr Max is still young enough that he had six best friends by Wednesday.  Quinn stayed home with us for a week and then started his new daycare.  The lady that runs it is a modern day hippy.  She is peaceful and all the kids call her Nana.  I love her.  She's the best.  I'm feeling so good about those kiddos right now. 

I found us a rental house that is one mile from our inlaws and 1.5 miles from our new farm.  I took the Zillow listings that had been on the market the longest and tests the realtors asking if their clients would be willing to rent their houses out for a few months.  I got lots of no's but I got one yes and that's all it took.  The house is a great rental.  Very clean and in a great location.  It's two stories which is a change for us, but the kids love it.  We are so lucky that we found such a great opportunity. It actually has a master suite which has been a big adjustment for us!  AND an attached garage, which I'm not sure I can ever live without.  We have the lease till May, then they are going to list it back for sale and we can stay there month to month till our house is done.  We hope our renovation is done by late July.  Fingers crossed on that.  I'm hosting our family Thanksgiving at my rental this year for the first time in my life.  Excited and nervous.  

We closed on our new farm on November 21st.  We had the honor of meeting the old owner, who was such a wonderful lady.  Her husband passed one year ago, so we did not get to meet him but he sounds like he was a really great guy.  He collected cars and other "junk" which he had filled the barn with.  She said his four kids worked every day for 1.5 months to empty out the barns.  They still left us a few treasures, and I'll go into more detail about that another time.  We had such a wonderful closing.  I could have talked to her for hours.  I told her that she or any of the family can come by any time they want to see the progress.  When she left we hugged and she told me that she was so glad we were bringing life back into the place and that he husband would have loved it too.  I almost cried, she was just so gracious and kind.  No wonder that place has such good karma.  We drove right out to the farm and just walked around smiling for an hour.  What a great place. 

I promise soon to post a full room by room of the house and barns.  And - we found a designer/builder.  Much more to come about her.  She's amazing!  It was love at first sight.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

::moving day coming up::

I think I am going to throw up.  This moving day stuff is actually going to happen.  I can't really believe it.   I thought 100 different times that this was going to fall through.  We close on our current farm we are selling November 15th.  There are going to be some decent tears about this place.  I LOVE this place, and our future land in definitely not as cool.  It doesn't have all the stunning hardwoods and pines like this place.  BUT - the potential is limitless because the land is flat and blank (minus the 12K square feet of barn!!!!!!!).  I am excited at getting to plant the trees I want; like Ginko's (not the smelly kind), Tulip tress, Birch, Walnut, and a BUNCH of fruit trees.  

Still this actually moving process sucks.  I guess I forgot that the family room has a cabinet over the extra fridge out there.  Apparently, it never got cleaned in 10 years.  It had old pictures and frames and some of the most foul dust of all time.  I also found about 25 empty Go-Gurt tubes sprinkled in various hiding locations in the playroom.  The food rules are changing around here for sure.  My kids are really feral.  It's true. We have two big moving days scheduled and hopefully, that with about 15 other one trailer load trips to our new place should get us moved. 

I met with our first design to build guy.  It was nothing like when Chip and JoJo do a walk through but I think it went well.  We meet with him soon to discuss costs, which I am sure will give me a heart attack.  That I will then recover from and move forward.  We have a day in two weeks where we are meeting three more reno companies, so we keep working on gathering information.  We don't actually even close on our new farm till November 21st.  So my poor, patient, kind realtor has been letting us in several times to get the reno process started.  She'd so sweet.  I love the girl.  Our plan is to stay with Josh's brother's family till our place is done.  It's asking a lot of someone to take in a family of our volume so we will keep an eye on how that is going.  I don't want them to end up hating us now that we will be living less than four miles apart for the rest of our lives.  

Let's not also forget that I am trying to keep my head above water with grad school.  Next semester should be my last one, assuming that I pass.  Which I better, but I don't want to get cocky.  I have finally had the wonderful opportunity to go part time at work.  Never in my entire life have I been part time and it feels like a real luxury.  It also feels like I am skipping class, and I feel a little bit guilty about it.  Really, I've only been part time for two weeks but it is amazing. 

Monday, October 24, 2016


It has been pointed out to me by several of my friends that I didn't mention Donkey when I was discussing our big move.  Have no fears Donk is alive and well!  Our old horse Teddy died this last winter from old age.  After we put him down, Donk was so depressed.  They had lived together for the last 14 years and had never been apart in that time period.  We knew this moving stuff was coming and we didn't know if we where going to be renting or buying land or who knows what, so I needed a temporary place for Donkey to get loved while we figured ourselves out so we could buy him a new friend to keep him company.  
I work with the most amazing nurse in the NICU at Community North that has a cowgirls spirit.  She has a young grandson that needed a bomb proof mini to play on.  Did I have the guy for her!  Mr. Donkey can not be spooked.  He has the heart of a rag doll cat, he just wants to lay around and be loved.  That is the perfect little boys first pony.  He has gone to hang out with her for a year or so till we are ready to take him back.  My friend is spoiling him up right and giving him all love he can handle.  I miss my Donk, but he is having fun at camp.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

::we sold the farm::

We are moving.  We decided last year that it was time to finally move closer to Josh’s family about an hour from where we live now.  We have wanted to do this for awhile, but last summer felt like it was finally time.  Emma was graduating high school and Lily was starting junior high.  We didn’t want to move while Emma was still in high school here, but we wanted to move before Lily started high school.  The boys are still little and they don’t really care what’s going on.  We listed our house with a shady realtor who has lots of sales in our area.  We quickly realized we couldn’t stand this guy, he was giving us bad advice left and right.  We got a buyer who made it through inspection and then backed out.  We pulled it off the market August 1st because the kids where going back to school.  We thought we would just try again next spring.  Then I got a random call from a different realtor named Lori Redman who asked if her clients could still come see our house even though the farm had been off the market for weeks.  We let them come, they loved it but they didn’t have quiet enough money to buy the whole thing.  We really didn’t want to move at that time anyway so we said, no big deal.  Six weeks later they came back with more money.  We got our old shady realtor to agree to take a reduced commission since he hadn’t done a damn thing any way.  Lori negotiated both sides of the deal and we all agreed to everything. 
               The kicker is that the buyers wanted a short closing.  They only gave us SIX weeks to be out.  Right now we are about one months from closing and I can’t hardly believe it.  We are going to miss this farm like crazy.  We love this place.  It is an amazing farm, but we have said our emotional good byes and come to terms with it.  I will always love this place.  We have lived her 14.5 years.  We got married here.  We have had three of our kids here.  But now it is time to move on to our forever farm.  We are going to take all the wonderful things we have learned over the last 14 years and use them to make our next place awesome. 
      Speaking of next place – we have found a new farm.  It’s less than 1.5 miles from Josh’s parents, and 3.8 miles from his brother.  It’s five acres, which is just the size we wanted this time.  It’s got a pretty little one story farm house from 1930 that needs mostly gutted to the walls.  Everything must go.  Then it has the most amazingly huge barn.  I mean HUGE!  There is a 100 year old had cut beam wooden barn that was cover with metal and is very well preserved, with a loft that dreams are made of.  Then there is a cement block building that was built in the 1950’s and was used as some kind of mechanic shop, with four nice sized rooms.  Those two buildings where attached to each other with a pole barn that is about 150ft long and about 70 feet wide.  There are all these amazing open spaces and charming little rooms.  You just never saw such a barn in your life.  You can just feel the magic and the history.  I swear if you saw a fairy fly in front of you, you wouldn’t even be surprised.

Then next door to the main barn in a cattle barn.  It’s a good 100+ feet long and 30 feet side.  It’s only closed in on three sides and it set up for dairy cattle.    Between the barns and behind them is a large cement area with and two large circular foundations for silos.  Between the barns and the cement area I would say that one solid acre is taken up. 
               It took some serious back and forth.  I even wrote this letter to the buyers to talk them into lowering their price.  Our realtor told me the house has over forty showings and we were the first offer.  It’s just a different kind of place and we are different kind of people = perfect match.  Here is the letter:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. S. –
               I wanted to reach out to you about your lovely farm in (blank).  We toured your house last week and fell in love with it.  The house has such good bones and is so pretty.  Your barns stole our hearts.  All that space, with so many different rooms and turns.  We could feel the history in there and it spoke to us.  We are a family of six, four children ages 18, 13, 8, and 4.  My husband grew up just down the road from you on 900 near (blank).  We are moving back to the area to help with my husband’s parents and to be closer to his brothers and their families. 
               We have lived the last 14 years on a 16 acre farm near Lebanon.  It needed lots of work when we bought it but over the years we have spent many late nights and weekend bringing it back to life.  I am a huge gardener and keep several different gardens.  When I saw the open sunny space at your farm, my mind started spinning at the gardens I could keep there.  My children and I keep a few pet livestock animals, including three pygmy goats and one miniature sheep.  They wonder around their paddocks at our current farm and I could just see them playing in new paddocks at your house.  We can’t wait to get some chickens again too, and I know those guys would love your farm too.  We also have a very silly Great Pyrenees dog that loves to patrol his property all night and protect us from every falling leaf he see’s.  He’s a really friendly guy and our family really enjoys him.  When I came to your farm I could just feel us being happy there.  All the space and openness has so much appeal, and the farm felt so peaceful.  Our family is used to the large amount of work that living on property takes and we hope to be able to put that energy into your farm.
We are hopeful that we can work with you to buy your house and barns, and make it into our families dream farm.
Thank you,
Brooke Schaefer

  I am so ready for this place.  We will be living with my brother inlaw and his family while we hire out the renovation.  Josh has all the skills needed to do the renovation, but not the time and since we will be homeless till then we will be hiring professionals.  We have SO many plans for this farm.  First the house: gut it to the walls.  There is no internal charm to salvage, it’s been renovated before and not in the nice way, so it needs gutted for a reset.  We want a four bedroom, kids rec room, laundry room, mudroom, kitchen with large pantry, and one million other finer points that I will chronicle here.  There is a lovely shed and green house that I plan to make into my sanctuary.  I have the perfect spot for a knot garden (much more on that to come), I know just where I want my coop with chickens, my big garden, small orchard, fire pit, shooting range, and more and more and more.  This place is nice and flat and very wide open.  This is going to be our sanctuary.    


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