Building a Flower Bed Using Mortar and Limestone!

Along with all the blessings of plopping your house down on a raw piece of land (peace and quiet, you can leave up your Christmas lights..etc.) you also accept the responsibility of setting up all the infrastructure. You build and maintain the roads, fences, and landscaping for your “neighborhood”. While landscaping was offered to us as part of our build, we passed on spending that money and like most things around here, preferred to do it ourselves. But, two years later, after the road (click to read about that here), the fence (we did that one twice! Here AND here) the gardens, the chicken coop…well, life….Ya know? It hasn’t ever been bumped to the top of the long list of to dos.

Here’s the house when we first moved in- tire tracks all through the yard!

But this year, we are determined to get the ball rolling for spring and are off to a great start!

This past weekend, we tackled building our front flower beds using left over limestone from our build and some white mortar mix.

On a recent, warm day, we set out our rocks in a way we thought we would like. We lived with it for a few weeks to be sure we were happy with it.

To prepare for the mortar, we unstacked, being very careful to keep them in the order we had very thoughtfully put them. They don’t fit together just any way!

We started by digging a shallow trench for our rocks to sit in. Be sure to dig wider than the actual rock, you can fill in with extra dirt later.

We then poured half a bag of this white mortar mix into our wheelbarrow. (Wear gloves, and avoid breathing the mortar dust.)

We slowly added a cup full of water at a time until the mortar made a paste. Add water slooooowly so that you avoid adding too much and having to add more mortar mix. And then more water….you get it. Once you mix it, you gotta use it.

Once we had a nice paste, we used a trowel to spread the mortar onto the bottom and side of each rock. We pressed down firmly, and even though a lot of our mortar mix oozed out the sides, we scraped it up and spread it on the next one. Waste not, want not….

This is while the mortar is still wet. Don’t worry, after smoothing, and dry, it looks much better.

After an hour, and half a bag of mortar mix, we had finished the back flower bed, and done a good portion of one of the front flower beds.

Back flower bed. This is where our strawberry patch and basil grow in the summer. There’s currently rosemary and leeks growing.
So far, so good! Lunch break!

Quick side note, we have been “working on” our difficult, rocky soil in these beds for a few months. By signing up on GetChipDrop.com, you can put yourself on a list to receive free (YES, FREE!) mulch in your area. Tree trimming/removal companies often chip the trees they remove and/or trim and then need to responsibly dispose of their mulch. We have received two truck loads and used it in many ways (hmmm. Future blog post maybe?!).

The truck drops the pile at the front gate, so it’s up to us to get it into the truck and bring it to our house. Another way we stay “ranch fit” 🙂

The moisture from the mulch helps softens up the soil, adds good bacteria and makes it much easier to work with.

Nothing like a picture of the ground right?!
I do love the look of mulch and, bonus: how it helps our soil.
We used mulch for our front walkway here.
Better shot of the front walkway.
Planning a post soon, sharing how we built these sweet, little gates.

We have already begun some little seedlings indoors and once Spring finally comes, we hope to have some plants ready to go in.

We ordered these seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

As always, I’m so glad you’re here. Thank you so much for reading about another adventure here at our Yellow House. See you next week!

(If you want to make sure you don’t miss any of my quirky diys, outdoor projects, or ranch life musings, be sure you subscribe to my blog by typing your email in the “Follow” widget above. I appreciate every single follower, so thank you SO much. )

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Change your ugly light fixture today!

I don’t know why, but houses almost always have at least one, or several of these type of light fixtures:

I call this unfortunate fixture a “boob light” because, well…you know. Look at it! For some reason all builders insist on installing these in homes (ahem, they’re cheap.) and I’m sorry not sorry, they’re ugly. They hold bugs and dust and don’t give off sufficient light. There, I said it. Nothing against a boob, it just doesn’t go on my ceiling. Ya know?

BUT, while puttering around my house recently a boob light light bulb went off over my head! (translation: I got an idea!) What if I could take off the lampy boobish part and instead use a lampshade?! Y’all. I may not have another good idea for years, because I feel like this one was pure gold. It was easy, cheap and quick. I am so pleased with it and I’m excited to share it with you! I think you’ll really love it.

Unscrew these two pieces from the bottom. Careful to hold up the glass part (uh..the boob) of the light fixture. These are what holds it up. Keep these handy, because you’ll need them again.

Now, avert your eyes if you’re the quesy type. What you’re about to see, you can never unsee.

See? I’m sorry we all had to see that. At this point I’m thinking, “hey, if this plan won’t work, at least I’ve cleaned out this mass burial site for moths! But gosh, I hope this works because….yuck.”

See that bolt in between the light bulbs? That’s what held on the glass part and will hold on your lampshade. Depending on the size lampshade you use, you may have to trim your bolt down, or go pick up a shorter one from a home improvement store. Ours was a bit long, so after measuring, Brian trimmed it using bolt cutters.

I snatched this shade right off a lamp upstairs, because this was an emergency! What’s even better than already having what you need? Having found it so affordably in the first place- I found it at Goodwill for only $5.99! (See what else I will only buy second hand here)

It must be a lampshade with this type of fitter inside. If you have what’s know as a “spider fitter”, or “harp and finial” (the type that sits above the light bulb) this project won’t work. If you need a lampshade, this one from Walmart is less than $10 and ships in two days.

Line up your lampshade with that bolt coming right through the center of that fitter. It will seem a bit awkward, but once you get it tightened on, you can straighten a bit.

Remember these?? Screw them back onto the bolt just like they were, but better, because now they’re holding up your cute lampshade.

That’s it! $6 and literal minutes of “work” to swap out an ugly, bug filled light fixture with a lampshade. Please let me know if you try this, and if you’re interested in any of my other light fixture diys, you can find them right here:

I would love to hear from you, and as always, thanks so much for stopping by!

Botanical Tee Round Up

I guess it’s the aspiring gardener/wannabe plant lady/hopeful homesteader in me, but while we’re still in the midst of stupid, ‘ol winter, I have been eyeing this botanical tee I spotted on Pinterest months ago, while Christmas shopping.

Wear green things on shirt. Grow green things. This is how it works, yes?

Love this one? You can buy it here.

It’s got a vintage look to it that I love and since it’s likely I was wearing a sweater when I first saw it, I’m sure those short sleeves and artfully depicted flowers gave me tulips bluebonnets for eyes, a la a cartoon character.

I followed a link, which sent me to a blog, where I searched high and low for the info on this tee. I came up with nothing. Oh well. Christmas is busy, and I forgot all about it.

Recently, I saw it again on Instagram, on @cottonstem’s page. I love her feed, and her blog! Be sure to go check her out if you haven’t yet!

After more investigative internet surfing I found it at Urban Outfitters. (now it’s in the comments of her photo) It sells for $34, and since I’m not even cool enough to enter an Urban Outfitters…meh.

Kidding. It’s mostly just that I’m cheap. I was now motivated to find a botanical/floral print tee for myself.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of tees for you that are similar. Most are under $30 too!

Buy it here.

This tee comes from wholesomeculture.com and if you have been “with me” long, you know how I feel about yellow. I love the simple look of the flowers and that font adds such a cute whimsical touch. It’s currently on sale for $27, but does charge for shipping so it’s the only one I’ve linked here that comes out to more than $30. But, this website does offer a portion of their proceeds to charity.

Buy it here, on Etsy.

This one is so similar to the Urban Outfitters version, and only $26 with free shipping! I love that large red poppy mixed in with the other flowers.

Buy it here.

This tee reminds me of seed packets: “Wear seed packets. Plant seeds.”- right?! Unlike most everything on Amazon, this tee does charge for shipping but still stays below $30.

Find this cutie cactus tee here for $25. 

I love the cactus and succulents on this tee! I don’t mean to brag or anything, but I have kept a cactus and several succulents alive and thriving.

Buy yours here.

This is the one I decided on and is on sale right now for less than $20! I loved the pink shade of the shirt with the green, and a few pops of red.

botanical tees for spring
I have it tied off to one side here, but it’s a good length for tucking in, or casually untucked, too.

To get me through until warmer, spring days I’ll layer it with my denim jacket, or army green button down shirt.

Do you like botanical tees for spring and summer? Which is your favorite? Let me know if you get one, I would love to know what you picked for your own closet!

Thanks so much for stopping by, thank you for reading!!!

How I keep my house clean with these three, easy steps!

I’ve been asked before, “How does your house stay clean?” The answer may disappoint you….I clean everyday. I don’t have any magic tricks, or voo doo powers or anything. I just clean. every. dang. day.

Sorry, friends. I got you to click and now you feel duped! But wait! I do have three HUGE tips for upkeep that will help you feel like your house is tidy, and manageable until you can get to that deep cleaning day all houses need from time to time. They take almost no time at all and will make a big difference day to day.

  • Wipe it all down.

By this I mean the surfaces and sinks you use daily. My kitchen counter tops get a wipe down daily. My bathroom sink and kitchen sink get rinsed daily. More on that in a minute.

But first, my go to/favorite “cleaning cloths” are actually Gerber cloth diapers. They are slightly absorbent, which makes it possible to be reused several times. I keep a cloth right on top of all my frequently used cleaning supplies. You can buy these anywhere, but a 10 pack on Amazon is under $15.

Now, I love baskets and bins and all the organizing things, but you really only need a few things readily accessible under your sink. For the kitchen, as far as cleaning supplies go, I only use three cleaners. I need granite spray for my counters, Clorox Clean-Up for my sink, and Mrs. Meyer’s Multi Purpose spray for my stove top and microwave. Technically, I could do without the Mrs. Meyer’s spray, but I like to use a more gentle, fresher smelling cleaner when and where I can.

My kitchen sink gets sprayed with Clorox Clean-Up almost every night after the dinner dishes are done and put in the dishwasher. I spray it all throughout both sides and then rinse it out after a few minutes. Call me crazy, but the smell of Clorox in a clean kitchen is pretty satisfying. I wouldn’t want a candle of it or anything, but it just smells….clean. Also, it keeps my white sink white, but will kill all the coodies and help keep any sink fresh.

My bathroom sink only gets cleaned properly, as in with a rag and cleaner once a week. But, every time I use the sink, I swish water around with my hand ensuring any hairs, toothpaste or other gunk is cleaned out. I rub my wet hand on my faucet to rinse off any residue also.

Other cleaners I always keep handy, are Method Wood for Good and Method Stainless Steel cleaner. These could be used from day to day and I want ready at a moment’s notice which leads right into my next tip…..

  • Do it NOW.

See some crumbs? Wipe them up.

Smudge on your table? Spray, spray, wipe. Done.

Two dishes and a coffee cup in the sink? Put them in the dishwasher. It takes literal seconds and will be done. What a relief.

This tip keeps me on the cusp of running late everywhere, but I am who I am so… If you aren’t like me, and won’t have heart palpitations if you leave crumbs on your counter (or your bed unmade, or a dish in your sink…) then keeping your bottles and rags in an easily accessible place where you can grab them, use them, and put them back before you have even thought about putting it off for later is going to help you follow through.

Don’t worry about bins or containers or making your under the sink items look beautiful. Organization is so much fun, like I wish it was my job fun, but just get them accessible and all the areas you actually spend time looking at will be clean.

  • Get help where you can.

My kids unload my dishwasher, and Roomba helps cleans my floors. It took many times and lots of follow through but I can get my kids to unload the dishwasher with minimal griping and coaxing now. It will feel like more work at first, but find something your kids can, and perhaps should be responsible for and just teach them. Teach them how to do it right and just shadow them until they get it. I know, they don’t want to, and they’re not good at it. Of course you can do it better, but, make it fun, offer a treat if you need to (for yourself too!) and just make it a habit. It’s good for them!

Floors…oh the floors. They cause me more grief than anything because it’s more than a minute usually. On a ranch, with two kids and a dog, the floors just get dirty. I run Roomba when I’m away from home, or run this vacuum quickly in the common areas each afternoon when my kids have come in from playing and are in for the night.

All the cleaning supplies I’ve mentioned, I order from Grove collaborative. I have found their prices to be the same, or comparable on everything I order. They frequently offer a free gift with purchase, and if you use the referral link above, you get a FREE Mrs. Meyers 5 piece gift set. You can set up to have your most used cleaning products, hand soap, dish soap or any of your household items sent to you monthly, or however frequently you prefer.

I love that they offer refill bottles of my favorite method cleaning product (granite spray) and refills on our favorite hand soap (Mrs. Meyers). I have not ever seen these refills in any store.

I’m so glad you stopped by to read my three tips! I hope they help. Do you have any tips for keeping a clean house? I would love to hear them!

*Some of the links provided will provide me with a small percentage of your purchase. This is at no extra cost to you! Thank you for using my links!!!

Pizza Night!

Being a kid in the nineties, Friday meant ordering pizza, and eating it on a paper plate, layed out on a blanket. As if that wasn’t enough, you enjoyed all of this in front of a small tv, playing your favorite shows from the TGIF lineup.

If you don’t get my TGIF reference, just google it. I just can’t with you young people.

Living far out from any pizza delivering area, we have found a way to ranch-ify Friday pizza night in a delicious and very inexpensive way. Instead of delivery, we keep bread flour, mozzarella and assorted pizza toppings on hand. Instead of TGIF, (which can never be reproduced, thank you very much) we choose a movie from our movie collection. The rest is about the same. We lay out a blanket, eat our pizza and watch our movie. It’s pretty much my favorite.

We make our crust using this King Arthur Bread Flour, and it’s recipe for, “Perfect Pizza Crust” which can be found on the back of the bag. Their website has several pizza crust recipes using their flours, including a gluten free option. We have found the recipe we use to be delicious week after week.

Here are all the ingredients for the crust:

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I use the dough hook attachment on my mixer. First, mix the 2 tsp of yeast, and 1 1/2 cups of warm water. 

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Next, add 4 cups of bread flour and 3 tsp of salt. Be sure to mix well, otherwise you could end up with some very salty bites. 

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Mix until your dough is what the recipe describes as, a “shaggy dough”. 

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On a floured surface, knead your dough, working in more flour as needed and until your dough is smooth, and not sticky.

Drizzle some olive oil in your bowl and place your dough back into your oiled bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise for at least one hour. Dough should be about double in size after rising. Go put on your cozy clothes, and pour a glass of wine while you wait. It’s FRIDAY!

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After rising, I split my dough into two balls. We usually make two pizzas, one for the grown ups and one for the kids. You could certainly half this recipe and have enough for one pizza. We like to have leftovers for lunch one day on the weekend.

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Roll out each ball onto a cookie sheet. We always use a rectangular sized cookie sheet but if you want that classic looking pizza from your childhood, go round. After rolling out, you can pick up the dough and with your hands, smooth out the edges for a uniform crust.

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Already in my cozies and ready for movie night.

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It’s never perfectly shaped!

Next add your sauce, cheese and toppings. We almost always make one cheese, and/or pepperoni and one that changes weekly based on what leftovers we have, or what’s growing in the garden.

This summer, we grew tomatoes and basil, so Margherita pizza was often our pizza. This week we had leftover pork so we made a bbq pork pizza.

Bake at 500 deg. for 8-10 minutes.

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 For the bbq pork pizza, (you could also use chicken!) I added some bbq sauce to the tomato sauce and topped with the leftover shredded pork, purple onions and cheese.

Some other pizzas we’ve made are:

  • Veggie Pizza -Use pesto instead of tomato sauce and top with spinach, bell peppers, onions and other veggies.
  • Meat Lovers– Sausage, pepperoni, bacon, hamburger meat annnnnddddd cheese.
  • Greek – Sub pesto for sauce and top with shredded chicken, artichoke hearts and olives. Add some feta chunks to the mozzarella.
  • Taco– Add some salsa to your sauce, and top with ground beef, jalapenos and cheese.

Those are just a few ideas, but once you start thinking about it, I think you’ll be surprised how many ways you can use this dough recipe to make lots of yummy, interesting pizzas. Hopefully, you can enjoy it with your people, at a living room picnic, in your cozies. Try it out this week and let me know how it goes!

Do y’all have pizza night? Or any other night you repeat week after week? I would love to hear what your family’s weekly tradition is!

Thanks SO much for reading! Please consider following along! Just click the blue “follow” button where it says, “Follow our Adventures via email”

XO, Steph

Drop Cloth Curtains

Living out here on the ranch, we really have no need for window coverings. After futily dusting and cleaning blinds at our last house, I declared I would never again have blinds on my windows. (Read about the one window I decided to cover here)

When my parent’s built their house, they also left many of their windows without drapes, curtains or blinds because….ah ahhhhhh.

Their view….It’s awesome. Being able to see across acres of untouched land is pretty special. The only problem is, that when the afternoon sun starts streaming in, the dining room can get a bit hot. And by “a bit hot”, I mean that, this is Texas, and God bless it, it can be unbearably hot. My parents were unable to enjoy eating dinner at their table, or that beautiful view anytime in the afternoon.

I suggested that we use drop cloth curtains to cover some of the dining room windows. It would be inexpensive, quick, and have a classic, neutral look. It was a fun project, and truly did end up being all of those things!

Here’s what we purchased to get started:

  • Drop Cloths: We bought ours from Home Depot. Here is the 4×12 , or 9×12 size sold on Amazon
  • Curtain Rod(s):  Measure your window (or be like me and “eyeball it”…yikes.) before purchasing. We used a curtain rod similar to this one, but you may want to consider using one a bit more substantial. I’ll chat more about this later in the post.
  • Drapery Clips : Plan on buying more than you think you need. The drop cloths are durable, which makes them great for coverage, but heavy. Here is an AmazonBasics option, which would include enough for one curtain. We used about 30 clips for 4, 36 inch windows.

In addition to those purchased items, we also used a drill (We have this one) to hang our rods.

First, lay out your drop cloths and decide which end you’de like to be the top (where the curtains will hang from) and fold over a section.

How much you decide to fold over, depends on how much you’de like your curtains to pool on the floor. My mom preferred her curtains to hit just at floor level. Again, I just “eyeballed” -I’m cool like that- and folded down about a 3 foot section all the way across the “top”.

Thanks for the help, Rocky.

As you can see, the curtains are pretty wrinkled. Some of these wrinkles will work themselves out by hanging for a bit. But, go ahead and give them a wash and dry, (or a steam, if you’re fancy!) if you’de like a crisper look from the start.

Attach your clips by folding a small section at a time, like this:

You can of course, just clip on without this method, but we were able to use less clips this way, and the pleats gives the curtains even more of a “bunched look”. It’s your preference! Slide the rings on your curtain rod and hang on your pre-hung brackets.

The curtain rods we chose (1 inch diameter), bow slightly from the weight of our curtains. You may choose to go with a more substantial rod if you’re planning to stretch it like we did.

To encourage the curtains to have a crisp, tidy look when pulled to the side, I used my hands to create folds along my clipped pleats and pressed together.

Step by Step on how to make simple, beautiful drop cloth curtains!
I think they turned out great! My skills at photographing a window…ehh.

This project was completed quickly and offered relief from the hot, setting sun right at dinnertime. Affordable, practical and beautiful is what I’m all about, and these curtains checked all those boxes.

Now, to makeover my parent’s bug-catching light fixture like I did at my house! Read that post here 

Thank you for stopping by!!

Have a great day! XO, Steph

*This post does contain some affiliate links. Were you to decide to purchase anything through these links, I would receive a small portion of your sale. This would be at no extra cost to you. THANK YOU!*

The Best Pumpkin Bread Recipe. EVER.

I know, I know….cheap shot right? Such a classic, “blogger” move. Use the phrase, “Best Ever.” , and throw all caps in there somehow. It’s a shameless move to get you to click on this post. But, I’m only slightly ashamed of myself, because I actually believe this. I can confidently say that I will never make another recipe, or buy another box mix for pumpkin/banana bread.

This pumpkin bread recipe is seriously the best. I have been making it for actual YEARS. It has been made for playdates, bible studies, class snacks, gifts for neighbors, and family breakfasts. I have vivid memories of myself from when Carolynn (now 8 years old) was a newborn and I would eat this bread and drink coffee, and stare at my perfect baby. This bread helped me through many a sleep deprived day, and since then has been a staple in our home, wherever that home has been. It is perfect everytime.

The recipe in it’s original form comes from Bethenny Frankel’s book, “Skinnygirl Dish”. She has truly perfected the banana bread recipe. I use several other recipes from this book on repeat (taco seasoning!) and recommend it for those healthy recipes, as well as her no nonsense take on how to stay “naturally thin”. Spoiler Alert: there’s no magic pill or anything….she just tells it straight up…things you already know, but she delivers it with a sarcastic, witty sense of humor.

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Here’s my take, step by step, on what she calls, “Boo Boo’s Banana Bread”:

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Gather all your ingredients, they’re all just going right into the bowl together:

  • 1 cup flour
    • I use whole wheat usually, but I have used coconut flour, and AP flour in the past.
  • 1 Cup Raw Sugar
    • You can use any sugar you like, but I love the texture of raw sugar and use it in all my baking.
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 Cup Pureed Pumpkin
    • I have used bananas, applesauce, applesauce and shredded zucchini, and pureed butternut squash.
  • 1 Egg
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla (or almond extract is SO good.)

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To make mixing easier, I chop the butter into small cubes.

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 Make sure all ingredients are mixed well.  This batter isn’t overly wet, so put your back into it!

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Getting there…..

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If desired, (duh.) add 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. I always use semi sweet and love the mini ones. They do cost a bit more, but they really are just better for baked goods in my opinion.

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I make this both as a bread, and as muffins. If you’re in more of a time crunch, muffins will cook quicker. Whichever pan, or tin you cook it in, it won’t last long.

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Bake at 350 degrees: 18-24 minutes for muffins.

For bread, cover with foil for 30 min, uncover for 20 min more. (I have found that this time varies based on how deep your bread/loaf pan is. Add time under the foil if your loaf pan is shorter in length. This way you won’t have a doughy center.)

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 A food photographer, I am not. An eater, I am. All 12 of these muffins were devoured at our last Sunday breakfast. These also freeze well (wrap two together in plastic wrap and place in freezer bag.) for quick home-baked breakfast on rushed mornings.

Please give this recipe a try, and go check out Bethenny’s book from your local library!

Happy baking, and thanks so much for reading!

Steph

The Forever Fence

Since moving into the Yellow House almost two years ago, putting up a fence has been on our project to-do list. It hasn’t just been on the list. It has been a big, looming, item on that list and has been repeatedly, intentionally moved down because….gulp….you have to dig deep holes in the rocky Texas soil (God Bless it)! You have to mix cement! Set the posts! You have to cut posts for goodness sake! It was a huge job. HUGE.

But, luckily for me, Mr. Yellow House is a project tackling beast. And just like you eat an elephant, we took on this intimidating project one attainable step at a time. First of all, I would like to mention that I am using “we” generously here. I did help, of course. But, Mr. YH deserves the credit, along with his parent’s, our friends, and anyone else who came and helped in the sweltering August heat. People love you if they’ll dig holes/cut posts/attach field fence in a Texas summer. We are so blessed.

If you have been a reader of this blog for a while (thank you), you may remember that we put up a barb wire fence about a year ago. You can read my post, “How the Cows Convinced us to Put Up a Fence” here. (Why are we always putting up a fence in the hottest part of the summer?) We knew that first fence wouldn’t last long, and it didn’t. So, you could say, the cows are to “thank” for the forever fence as well. Once that barb wire started to droop, they were in our yard like it was their job. Eating our garden, the kid’s soccer balls and chewing up our garden hose. To stay positive, we’ll say that they motivated us to get the ball rolling. In reality, we yelled at them and shooed them out with serious frustration. “There is literally grass everywhere!”

First, we needed deep holes for our support posts. We went through some trials, put the auger on my dad’s tractor and went to work. Nope. Maybe if we….nope…how about…nope. It’s a serious tractor, but it just wasn’t going to get through that hard ground. We went back to the drawing board, and this is where we got discouraged. We called someone out to give us a quote on building the fence for us. This decision caused some conflict, but also gave us some real insight, and tethered me back to our mission. I’ll talk more about that in a minute.

Obviously, we didn’t hire him and moved on with new vigor.

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Brian found this local guy who owns a skid steer with a rock auger.

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We let kids play in the deep holes. We did not make them wear appropriate clothing for a picture we intended to post publicly. 😉

Next, Brian and his dad (Thank you dad!!!) set the support posts-those on corners or those that would be supporting a gate, in the deep holes using cement. What has already been done at this point is, we have collected and/or cut all the posts already and they are in a pile by the house. (Big thanks to our friends, The Pearsons. They came out for a day and helped us harvest some posts!)

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Once the posts were set, Brian used the chainsaw to cut divots out of the support posts.

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The kids water-proofed the tops of the posts, and the fresh cuts.

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For posts set on the corners, or anywhere that could be supporting a gate, you have to create an H brace. This helps the fence stay upright when you put pressure on it by hanging a gate, or when you pull wire across. We shimmied/shoved a horizontal post into our divots.

I will not attempt to describe this process too thoroughly, because honestly I’m attempting to simplify months of work. If you’re looking to do this…YouTube.

 

We used 12 gauge galvanized wire  to wrap around the top of the outside post and the bottom of the inside post (closest to where the gate will hang). Friendly advice: invest in a serious, no messin’ around pair of wire cutters to cut this stuff.

We used barbed staples to attach the wire to the post. Then we used a piece of rebar to twist the wire and provide resistance and stability. We attached the rebar to the inside, and middle of the cross post with a staple.

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We did this a total of ten times. We have four gates (1-2 braces for each) and the rest are on the corners.

 

We set the rest of our posts using a tamper. If you don’t know, a tamper is a heavy, cumbersome, arduous pole that breaks up the ground on one end and smashes it compact on the other. It is hard, hard work and is how we stay “ranch fit”. It’s likely this is some kind of Cross Fit work out.

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Here we are using the tamper to dig a trench for the cattle guard.

We bought two rolls of field fence and ran it along all the posts, attaching with barbed staples.

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BIG thanks to Brian’s mom for helping us keep the posts in line. She did a great job!

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Planning a post about how we built that darling gate! I love it!

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One of my grandmother’s written goals for our ranch was, “To have an eager and willing spirit to learn” and ” To have the quest for knowledge…”

Hiring someone, who I’m sure would have done a great job, and saved our sore backs, would not have accomplished either of those goals. Not really. Do you know what we have knowledge about now? How to build an H brace, how to unroll a huge roll of field fence without smashing all our toes, and how to cut 12 gauge wire without breaking your hand.

Y’all it was hard work. Such hard work. But I think the fallacy is that hard is the same as bad. I have not found that to be true on this ranch, or in this life at all. I’m so thankful I had a partner in this adventure to remind me of that. Hard can be fun, and a learning experience…and a great story to tell. Thankfully, Brian kept his head on straight and helped us start, and finish this fence because I wasn’t sure I had it in me. I am so proud of him, and us, and this beautiful fence with it’s crooked gate. It brings a tear to my eye to look at it.

Thanks for reading,

Steph

How to hang a Barn Light anywhere!

I have had “barn light” on my House Project To-Do list for over a month now.  I have been having a hard time 1) deciding where it should go and 2) Figuring out how I was going to get it functional without taking on any electricity. I have seen other bloggers that hang a barn light and use battery operated lights to make it a functional source of light, as well as a touch of character. While that’s a great idea, and also avoids calling/becoming an electrician, I was looking for a different option. Mainly because my experience with those lights is that they need new batteries uh…in the ballpark of once a day. So, since I would rather not spend bookoos on batteries, I came up with a solution that was amazingly easy and I can’t believe I waited this long to do it!

You will need:

Barn Light (Mine is from Wal-Mart, but this one is very similar, and similar price)

Hanging Pendant Lamp Cord (It is only $7.50!)

Black electrical tape

Drill (We have a Ryobi and LOVE it.)

 

First, I decided on my spot, and pre drilled my holes.

Then, I tucked in the cord from the hanging pendant light around the spot for the bulb. This is inside the barn light itself:

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I used electrical tape to hold the light socket on the cord, to the inside (as much as I could) of the socket provided in the barn light.

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I know, it’s not beautiful….yet!

The bulb will hang out a bit more than it would have had you used it as intended. You may want to consider using a bulb that isn’t ultra bright.

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We traded the bulb in this photo out for a “vintage” Edison bulb and it gives off a softer light.

I tucked my cord behind the furniture and left my switch accessible.

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You could do this anywhere in your home! The spot I chose was close to a plug, but the cord lights come in longer lengths, (mine is 12ft) if you needed to run more cord.

That’s it! A quick and inexpensive way to add a custom look, charm and character! Let me know if you try this out, or if you have any other tricks like this. I love to hear from y’all!

Thanks for reading! -Steph

 

 

A letter to myself as I drop my youngest at Kindergarten.

Hey mama,

You did it. You made it. You grew, birthed, and prepared two kids for school. You’re here. It’s time. You’re going to take them to their school, drop them at their class, give them a squeeze and let them go. Let. Them. Go. You will be home alone and it will feel so strange.

You are crying as you write this. Straight up ugly crying as you think of that day, quickly approaching, and wishing the summer would stay just a little longer. Or hell, forever. Just one more summer, one more year, just a little longer.

You quit working, at a job you were good at, and stayed home all day, everyday with your babies. Some of those days felt like YEARS. Some days you were impatient and then filled with guilt. You couldn’t wait for them to go to bed, but then missed them immediately. Well, maybe not immediately.

You wish you’de spent less time on your phone, and less time cleaning. You wish you spent more time playing with them, reading to them and just been MORE PRESENT. You wish you had been more patient, said yes more, and never yelled.

You remember all those well-meaning grannies at the grocery store saying, “Cherish every moment.”, “These days go by fast.” “You’re going to miss this”…(*read in granny voice for proper effect.)

At the time you thought, “Take a hike, granny!” because you were throwing snacks at your whiny toddler and “shushing”  your fussy baby in the carrier. But bless those grannies, they were right. Those were the days.

But mama, these are the days too. You are going to be challenged and blessed in the next season too. Do not mourn too much. You still have work to do.

You are going to let go of your regrets. You are going to feel proud of your kids, and yourself. You are going to joyfully guide all of you into the next season. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GRIEVE ABOUT THE PAST BEING OVER AND MISS WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS. You did more good than bad, mama. You have done so much. You taught them to share, sleep, use a toilet, eat vegetables, blow their noses, and put on their own shoes.

Your husband missed dinners and bedtimes so you could do this. You are filled with gratitude for the time you had. You are excited to see what they’ll do, and devastated that they’ll both be gone all day. It’s okay to be sad. You’re going to miss them and that’s okay, too. You want them fly, but stay in the nest. You want them to be successful, but still need you. That’s motherhood.

You don’t feel ready, but you can do this. You’re going to encourage them, and smile through your tears and tell them they’re going to love it. And you’ll mean it. You won’t cherish every moment in the next season either, but dangit, you’ll try to. Time just goes by too blasted fast. You know that now.

Go home, drink a whole cup of coffee while it’s still hot, close the door when you go pee, go for a run,  take a nap, read a book, go to the store by yourself. Try not to count down the minutes until you pick them up.

These are the days.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9