Friday, July 23, 2010

heat and work . . .

The heat is on and the work on the barn has begun! WOW is it hot up there. It is currently 95 with the heat index of 100-105 today. And the wind is blowing as well. Feels like a day described in a story book.

On Wednesday a crew of four Amish men came to roof one section of my barn with steel. The back side if this part was done a few years ago, and it definitely time to do this side. Each time it rains, the water leaks through the hip point (that the area of the roof that angles down steeper), pours in to the loft damaging the floor, and continues to leak through to the ground floor. If I chose not to get it fixed, in a few short years, that part of the barn would easily be destroyed. The barn has stood for almost 80 years now, and under my care, I don't want to lose this part of American history.

This is Ben scaling along while he adds another 2 x 4 x 16 to the roof. They attached wood to the existing roof and then screw the metal roof to the new slats. Notice that he is almost standing straight up and down. That's because he is on almost a 25 degree slope. Here he is almost 40 feet in the air.

Another exciting barn update came about this week as well. Scott Hagan, the barn artist who originally painted the Ohio Bicentennial logo on 100 of Ohio barns (mine included) came by on his way through to Indiana and stayed for a day. I had contacted him wanting to know what kind of paint he used so I could touch up the red that had faded over the years. Since he was staying for the day, I just had him do the work instead. After 10 + years, the white,blue and black still looked fine, but I had him touch up the three areas that took some red paint. Being an artist myself, I felt the need to have him change the original red he painted to a darker hue that matches the barn. He wasn't offended, and did an EXCELLENT job. If you want a painting on your barn you can contacting him through his website the

Saturday, July 17, 2010

the beauty of God's creation . . .

We are almost at the finish line with Macy's Hip Roof Chicken Barn building project. It has taken us a few days for a couple of reasons. One, we ran out of wood and needed to make it to town to get more 1 x 2's. Second, we are sort of building this one "off the cuff!" Macy had told me what she wanted, but it was a little bit of work to get the idea she had in her head, out to a physical house for her birds. It's a 3 x 4 foot barn for three birds and will have two roosts as well as two nesting boxes that are accessible from the rear of the movable structure. She will be moving them daily, like we do with all the birds on our farm, to get fresh grass to forage in. Tonight we finished the building part, put wire on, put roosts in, and a couple of burlap privacy curtains for the girls to do their work behind. overall, it is a lightweight, sturdy, functional house for the birds. I just might build a few of these to sell down the line.

A few night ago, and tonight, we have had some INTERESTING night skies. A double rainbow that stretched over MILES . . . and tonight this absolutely stunning sun illuminated cloud formation at the Big Pasture tree tops. We looked out of the garage (as we were building the chicken barn) to see this magnificent sight.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

the mini chalkboard craze . . .

My whole Etsy mini chalkboard business is having a BLOW OUT summer. It's hard to believe that I have made and shipped well over 200 of them just in the last month! Here's an example of how an event coordinator used them at a bridal shower she planned last week. It seems that the boards are a big hit at both weddings and showers. Here's a link to a wedding planners site that started this whole mini-chalkboard phenomenon.

Kelley, the bride to be, and I worked together to come up with this idea for her wedding. She said she wanted chalkboards for seating name cards and wanted me to come up with a way for them to sit "propped up." I made a couple of mock boards for her to decide on and the final result was this 3 x 4 inch mini chalkboard with a post that props it up. I ended up making 70 of them for her wedding in San Francisco. All that happened over a year ago. Since I knew I could make more, I decided to use the images I took of them and re-list it in my Etsy store. That my friends, is the beginning of the chalkboard CRAZE. Since that time, I have probably sold over 500 of them. And it seems that most of the people that order them live in San Francisco! :)

I have streamlined my production of them to make it quicker to mass produce them. Just the other day I bought a belt sander that is cutting my work time sanding them in half. My next plan is to by a nice table saw that will help me make them more exact when I cut.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

new addition . . .

Here are NINE of the TEN little puppies that frolic all over our property now. Floppy, our Black and Tan Coonhound, had her Collie mix puppies about four weeks ago. They will be ready for a new home August 1st.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

news from the farm . . .

Today started with work on a sign for a friend. A morning spent designing and painting. After milking, I added the farm name and logo-of-sorts to the top of this sign. It's a two-sided "A" frame chalkboard farmer's market sign that I am bartering for my cow to be bred. Out here folks work for each other with the skills they have. I need a bull, and he needs a sign. Even trade. The area shown here is my new work area in the garage. It's where all my ETSY magic happens now. For those of you who do not have a work area in your garage, you can covet mine. It is a GREAT area to work in. When I am finished, I'll post some pictures of the wood work shop, the ground floor and upstairs of the garage.

This afternoon Macy and I started building her chicken house that she needs for her 3 birds. She used an old "roof-like" structure and decided that she wanted her chicken house to have it as it's roof. Working out the dimensions and building it together is important for her to learn how to build things herself. She now has a greater appreciation for using tools, like drills, now that I made HER do most the work. Using a drill for screwing, while holding wood straight, is not an easy task for a thirteen year old girl.

Grandma came over today and prepared us a Fourth of July dinner. Fried chicken (just butchered last weekend) onion fried potatoes, bacon-baked beans, vinegary onions/tomatoes/cucumbers, chips, and cut-up caramel apples for first dessert. Later on we are having apple pie for second dessert!

This summer the older two, Nolan and Amory, have both started apprenticeship programs with local farmers/stockbreeders. Nolan started working two days a week at a farm where he is learning cheese-making. He has been at it now for several weeks. And just last week, he and Amory started horse training where they are working for knowledge, meanwhile getting to ride and train horses. Valuable work and information at such a young age. I have them apprenticing there because we are just now having our horse, Lady, bred. Come to find out, she has an excellent Quarter Horse bloodline that includes some Sires and Dames that are reputable in the Quarter Horse circle. The children decided that we would get her bred to a gray stallion so we would have a gray (gray is the dominant gene) foal. This new foal will be Nolan's to train and keep, then each year or two, we can have her served again to get each child a horse of their own. Who knows, maybe our farm will eventually become a horse training camp during the summer . . . (that's the entrepreneurial business mind in me thinking)

Today marks 6 months (and two days) since we moved here to our farm. We are so thankful to God for giving us such a great place to raise children and animals together.