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. )

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!

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 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

 

 

How to love your ugly light fixtures for less than $30!

I’ve mentioned before that we never wanted to build a house. It was not on either of our bucket lists, and the decision to build was only made because honestly, there wasn’t another reasonable choice. (You can read about the house already on property where we lived/camped during the building process here) We wanted to live on this ranch, to be good stewards of this property, and we wanted to be able to do that everyday. (Read my favorite post, How We Got Here for the full backstory)

When we realized that being here on this blessed property meant *gulp* we would have to build our house, we dreaded making all the choices that go along with a new build. Of course, it was mostly pleasant and like we always knew, it’s not really about the house and all it’s bells and whistles anyway.

Throughout the whole process, the only choices we made with true reluctance were our light fixtures. We just didn’t like any of them. Oh sure, you can have any light fixture in their whole showroom…..for thousands extra. Looking to keep a reasonable mortgage? You silly, you can only choose from the, “bug bowl collection”. Ahhh yes, crispy bugs in all my light fixtures totally fits my style. One in every room please!

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It’s especially appetizing to look up at all the crispy gnats, communally entombed above the place you eat. Mmmm. As a solution to this (complete first world) problem, for my dining room, I purchased 5 of these small lamp shades from Wal-Mart.

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Quick side note, Wal-Mart has really upped their game in the home decor department. If you’re looking for something for your home, looking at Wal-Mart is not as bottom of the barrel as your high school former self might believe. They even offer 2-day shipping, or ship to store if you order online. We ordered a full sized mattress and box spring from Walmart.com and it showed up at our front gate in 2 days. The world we live in!

I purchased my shades in store, and I believe I paid $4.88 each for them. If you order online, they’re only $3.29! If you have five lights like me, that’s less than $20 to change the whole look of that light.  Buy some here.

These are actual lamp shades, so they look like this inside.

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This worked with my light fixture since it matched up well with our lightbulbs. If you’re using chandelier/candelabra bulbs (they are pointed on top and look like a flame) then you may have a smaller spot to screw in your bulb. (don’t worry, there’s a solution for that!)

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That’s it! I think it makes a huge difference, and I like it so much better now. Plus, the added bonus of it being inexpensive and pretty darn easy.

If you’re looking to complete this project but have a smaller spot to screw in your bulbs (is there an actual term for that “spot”?) , you may need actual Chandelier Shades. The inside of those shades uses a piece that clips onto the light bulb. Here’s some linen, and burlap shades I like from Amazon. (click on photo for link)

                       

 

I also LOVE these from ShadesofLight.com. They come in 9 different colors, and are a little bit of a splurge at $19 each.

4" Horizontal Ticking Stripe Chandelier Shade navy

Now, I’m coming for this crispy bug filled, weird boob-looking entry light next:

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I just love using the ladder to scoop…err, wipe…out the bugs. (How can you clean those things?!) Who are we kidding, I never get out the ladder and this chore never gets completed. Welcome home, bugs!

I can’t wait to show you what we have planned for this light! We are still working on the logistics, but it involves a piece of a washing machine. Sounds crazy, but I think it just might work…..

I hope you can use this idea in your home to make the most of what you have! Please let me know if you try it out, I would love to see it!

Find your adventure,

Steph

 

The ONLY place you should be buying baskets, and a Dining room chair makeover

As I’ve shared before, I love finding thrifted treasures. And I may be biased, but I am sure that my local Goodwill store is the best Goodwill store there’s ever been.

I know there is a bit of an “ick” factor to using someone else’s old stuff, but besides the fact that most things can be washed or cleaned after you purchase, I love the unique look you can give your home with things you’ve repurposed. I often feel proud of how little I’ve paid for an item that I’ve been able to turn into something I really enjoy using in my decor.

Like this old tool box. (It was $8 in case you’re curious)

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That basket with the pillows is also from Goodwill.

Or this basket I use for my cook books:

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Friendly PSA: DO NOT buy baskets from anywhere that isn’t a Goodwill. It is a basket-a-palooza at that place. You can find any shape, size, and style of basket to fill any need you have. Laundry hampers, trashcans, decorative…the one pictured here was meant to hold a 9×13 dish. I have a basket of some kind at every door for shoes. All from Goodwill, all for less than $10, and likely less than $5.

My kids know better than to say they can’t find their shoes. If they’re not in a basket, you better keep it to yourself. I have set you up for success little people. Shoe. Baskets.

Also, lamps. Will you find the lamp of your dreams at Goodwill? Probably not. But I love the warm, cozy look of lamp light and for much cheaper than new, you can find many styles, colors and sizes of lamps any day at a Goodwill.

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My latest, and perhaps greatest find is a dining room table and four chairs. We have been on the look out for a new, rectangular table for our dining room. We have even discussed making one ourselves, which is still the plan, but for $150 and a little diy-ing these chairs went from someone else’s old stuff, to my new dining room set.

Here’s a look at their old seat cushions, with help from my awkwardly posed assistant.

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Here’s another, in case my adorable model threw you off a bit.

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Under the chair, there were 4 screws holding the cushion on. Unscrew each one, and set aside for when you’re ready to put it back together! Don’t forget where you put them. Just sayin’….I gave each cushion a wipe down with a damp, slightly soapy rag and sprayed with febreze before covering.

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Cut your fabric so you have 2-3 inches of border around the outside. I chose this tan ticking because, 1) I already had it and 2) ticking is classic and timeless, but mostly because I already had it. 🙂

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I started at the top with a staple right in the middle. This gave me some leverage to pull the rest of the fabric around. Don’t stress too much about the perfection of this first staple. You can go back and give it another tug and another staple if it needs it.

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Fold the corners, “gift wrap style” and staple. I kept a hammer close by to really ensure those staples were in good, and tight on the corners. Keep the fabric pulled as tightly as you can with all the staples following that first one. You don’t want it bunchy.

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My photographer, who is also my husband, is taunting me in this picture saying things like, “work it. work it. Nice stapling…” and things to that effect. He’s hilarious.

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This is a crucial step! Spray the living daylights out of your newly covered cushions with this  blessed stuff.  It seems too good to be true, but I can wipe off drips, drops and spots with a wet cloth and I’ve been really pleased with how clean the cushions have stayed. Buy some here.

 

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We’ve had these chairs for almost 2 months, and this is Landon’s seat. See what I mean about the Scotchguard?? Why haven’t I been Scotchguarding all the things??

There you have it! This project took less than 2 hours, and including the applying and drying of the Scotchguard spray, it took 2 days to finish. I am happy to give this table a new home here, at the Yellow House and make some happy meal time memories around it.

Do y’all shop at Goodwill, or other comparable thrift type stores? What are your favorite things to get there? Is the “ick” factor a dilemma for you? Love to chat with y’all about it.

I’m always so glad to have you here, thank you SO much for reading! -Steph

Ranch life update: the dirty birds.

Hello. It is day 37 of our captivity ….with the birds. At this point, they have lived in a cardboard box, a large tote, two large totes, and now they are living inside a pen with a tarp under it.

It won’t be too much longer until they can move out to their cute little coop full time, but until they get all their feathers, they can’t stay out overnight.

But, while inside, the ducks make bubbles in the water, flinging it everywhere. The chickens fly out of the pen. I’ve found two plops of poop on the floor, one of which had been ground into the rug, which I thought was in the “safe zone”.

It’s white. of course it is. There is no safe zone. The guest room’s gone to the birds.

Speaking of poop, they do it a lot.

Probably my biggest complaint is what I’ve been referring to as, “the chicken dust”. It is a layer of dander, feathers, fuzz and just…what seems like dust. But from the birds. It is grossing me out. And no, it’s not just “regular dust”, I’m not an animal. THEY are. It is covering everything in that room, which is filled with my great grandparent’s (as in: family heirloom/antique) master bedroom set. But, without a garage, that’s where they had to go and that’s where they’ll stay for a bit longer.

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The “chicken dust”. You can see where I set my phone down to draw that smily face. Blech.

The coop is looking good, and they do spend a lot of the day in there. Brian planned out, and perfectly executed his plan for a little chicken door.

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We set up an electric fence so that they can roam in the yard and be safe from predators. Obviously, we’de love for them to roam completely freely, but that’s just not possible out here.

We let them out into their fence shortly after setting it up, and the naughtiest of the chickens, who B and I call, “StacyTracy” (because we can’t tell Stacy and Tracy apart) just hopped her little self right through the fence. Last week, wicked little StacyTracy scratched the dickens out of my finger. Think like a papercut , but x10.

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So, the fence does shock you if you touch it, and will keep predators away, we hope. But for now, they’re still too small/too naughty and can’t be left out there alone. You can see the nesting boxes well in this picture. We made five, one box for 2-3 chickens, so we have room to grow our flock.

Here they are watching, while we were finishing up the coop.

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The fence is easily moveable, so once those chicas start laying eggs, we’ll rearrange it so that we can get into the nests. We built the nesting boxes so we can open up and grab the eggs from the outside.

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While I do complain about living with chickens and ducks (Joey and Chandler would never have actually enjoyed living with two full grown birds in an apartment. I know this now.) I do also realize the sweet memories we’re making for the kids, and ourselves.

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A sweet boy and his duck, Dumpling. (Every.pair. of his pants looks like that.)

Getting chickens and ducks, building a coop, living with birds, and one day collecting and eating fresh eggs are another adventure for us and part of our big plan to embrace the “country life”.

While I am a clean person, living with dirty birdies, even I can see the value of this phase. I am looking forward to those eggs ….and the hella deep cleaning I’m going to give that room in a few weeks.

Always, thanks for reading! I love that you’re here for another adventure! -Steph

Chickens….and an accompanying impulse buy

We got the baby chicks! AND, drumstick…errr…drumROLL please, we also got ducks. After lots of researching for the best breed of chickens for our family, we tossed (not literally) two ducks into our cart like an impulse pack of gum.  I’m exaggerating slightly. Think you’ve got us figured out? Think again. Months of research AND a last minute decision. We are so unpredictable.

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Spoiler alert: the ducks are a mess. They are fuzzy, and cute and fun and…so nasty.

They like to wash their food down with water. Translation? They turn their water into a sludge that needs to be changed out several times a day. That’s not even mentioning the duck drool and dribble they drip from food trough to water dish, soaking the whole brooder. Ick. Cute, fuzzy, messy little ducklings.

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We call this one, “Dumpling”

While we are still working on completing the coop, they are living in two boxes under a heat lamp. They can’t move into the coop until they’re about 4-5 weeks and they won’t start laying for about 6 months.

We started them out together, in a large cardboard box, but the ducks grew exponentially that first week and it got crowded. Plus, they were being pretty rude roomates by pooping their giant poops everywhere, amidst their drool and dribble. Let’s be honest, it was only a matter of time until they got evicted.

We now have them in two plastic storage type boxes, with the light between them.

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As for the coop, we’ve completed, and painted the nesting boxes, cut a chicken/duck door, painted the human sized door and started screening everything in.

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We used the same color on the coop door as our yellow house door. (Pittsburgh Paint “Stormy Ridge”)

 

 

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We are using hardware cloth around the bottom and as a skirting to protect against predators. This step has been the most difficult so far, but it’s important to get the hardware cloth secure to ensure your birds will be safe inside the coop.

We’ve heard that chickens are the “gateway” to all things “farm”, or “homestead”….time will tell, I guess. For now, I know some kids who are pretty pleased with their new pets.

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Thanks for reading! -Steph

 

 

Garden themed baby shower: tassel banner

Good morning! Last week I shared the step by step instructions for this large, floral “E” I made for a friend’s baby shower, and nursery.

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Today, I’m happy to share a quick tutorial with you for a tassel banner.


First, choose 3-5 coordinating fabrics, as well as a string, or ribbon to attach the tassels to.  I chose these to coordinate with her nursery (see her fabrics in last week’s post):



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I got ¼ yard of the striped fabrics, and a ½ yard of the floral. I folded each piece in half and using the total width, figured out the thickness of each strip.

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Once I got all the strips cut, (this process showed me that I NEED new scissors. I have three pairs in the house and none of them were properly sharp….hand. cramp.) I decided to wash them. Maybe it’s because my scissors weren’t that sharp, but I decided to work with the rough edges and after washing, they were more uniformly frayed. If that makes sense.


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I tied my pom pom ribbon between two chairs and began planning out the tassels by simply draping them over the ribbon. I didn’t really do this in any particular pattern, I mostly just avoided putting two identical strips next to each other.


To attach the strips:

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Once you get the “tails” through, your knot may need some adjusting to best show the print.

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Next, I sat myself down and a few at a time, attached the strips to my ribbon.


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That’s it! You could totally do this for a fall banner (buffalo check and orange), Christmas (red plaids, greens), a banner for a birthday party, for above a bed….This is so inexpensive, versatile and easy!

Let me know if you make one, I’de love to see it!

Thanks for reading! XO, Steph