Friday, August 27, 2010

Back to School Update

Ok, not really as Willow and Rhowan are homeschooled and won't be starting "classes" til after Labor Day... but it's ok.  Couldn't come up with a catchier title.

Been a whirlwind of activity... mostly in the barn.  As mentioned, the chickens have been giving us eggs (note the photo evidence below of the first 2 collected).  Typically 2-4/day.  We have realized we have a couple rodents in the barn that need to be evicted/exterminated and we MAY be losing eggs to them.  Have to see after the eviction.

Chris with the first 2 eggs produced at SVF
The girls -- Barred Rock hens
Went last night and purchased all the immediate supplies needed for chicks.  The plan is to order them soon so we'll start getting eggs from them in the spring.  Minimum order is 25... only question now is ordering all 25 Rhode Island Reds... or doing a mix of RIRs and Arcaunas (for the blue/green eggs).

The bar/tavern/pub/dancehall/whatever you want to call it is looking amazing!!  The floor is finished (added a 2nd layer of plywood so it's VERY solid), the railings were completed a couple weeks ago at a "work party" we had with a bunch of our wonderful friends coming out to help.  The bar is up with a plywood top.  no fronting yet but solid and functional.  The furniture we picked up at the auction last week looks amazing and fits so well.  And this week has been all about lighting.  Put up 2 ceiling fans in the large area and then hung 10 (so far) hanging lights in various places along with a string of "cute" lights, a string of holiday lights and a tube of lights.  the Latter is hung under the backside of the bar and looks great... the others are up over entrances.  I hope to get some decent pictures of the place all lit up in the next couple days because it really does look fantastic.  Finish the bar and clean up the wood and it really could be rented for functions as it will look amazing.

In the meantime, here are a couple pics from the work party a couple weeks ago:

Rhowan working on the railing.
Dakota, Brandon and Ryan working on the railing.
L to R: Willow, Dakota, Chris, Rhowan, Amanda, Thom... and I think Brandon's foot -- relaxing the in bar post work!
Thom drinking a beer in/at his bar.

And just a couple other shots...
Side 1 of the SVF Farm sign... almost done!

Reilly is staring at the door to the chickens... he KNOWS they're there!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Eggs & Auctions

First the eggs.  The chickens gave us our first eggs yesterday (sunday).  It was a great sight to see!  Here's hoping for a lot more soon.

We participated in an online auction of a local business liquidation.  Their stock had all been sold and it was the store furnishings that were being sold.  We came away not spending very much money at all, but in return we "won" quite a few wonderful additions - including an electric beverage cooler for under the new Pub bar as well as several tables and chairs for the Pub, a bookcase for the house, and what I hope will be the whiteboard we've been talking about getting for our calendar.  In addition we picked up a few things that I couldn't pass up for the price and we'll be looking to list them on Craigslist as soon as we pick them up.  Should be able to make a little money on the deal.

In other news, parts of the garden have been doing really well.  We have tons of tomatoes, some funky shaped cucumbers and a few peppers are ripening.  The peas were doing well as well, but I think they've been "missed" the last few harvesting rounds by the kids and I'm not sure they're producing anymore.  The corn and squash?  Well... not sure if it was the weeds they were planted amongst or the soil that's in desperate need of a LOT of help, but they're not doing well at all.  I'm contemplating mowing the whole area and just calling it a wash and start laying compost in that space for next year.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chickens, Cats and Bars... oh my! Plus a Party!

More unpacking has been completed. In fact, I think we're basically done with everything IN the house. Now the chore is to start going through all the boxes in the barn storage area. The chore part of that will be sorting through it all as there's plenty of stuff back there that is probably good for Craigslist or a yard sale. Speaking of the latter, I think we're going to try to do a Yard Sale the last weekend of August.... although that is only 2 weeks from now, so we'll see how that goes.

Thom's work on the bar has been wonderful! Of course nothing got accomplished last weekend as we were working at Hunters Run Horse Trials in Michigan. But the floor in the main bar area is done, the bar is designed and a bit of the railing and new walls are up. Took pictures last night of the progress and one day I'll get them posted.

Speaking of pictures, I did take this one last night...

It's a horrible picture taken by my phone -- which really should leave the photography business and concentrate on being a phone. This is the farm sign... partially completed of course.  I'm just excited to get a photo on this blog at all... even if it's crappy quality, out of focus, too dark AND the subject matter is a half painted scarecrow wearing Jayne's Hat.

This past week we drove out to Germantown to visit Trudy.  She has pastured chickens, both laying hens and meat birds as well as pasture fed jersey cows (what amazing milk!).  She was kind enough to let us come up and just talk to us about how she manages the animals, both the chickens and the cows.  And it was the middle of the afternoon and blazing hot (reference my sunburnt shoulders for verification -- OUCH!).  We definitely have a great idea on how to work with the chickens now.  We just need to get some.  Think we'll be waiting just a bit longer, perhaps even through to spring before getting a milk cow.  But we're definitely anxious for the fresh eggs!

As for the "party"... the house/farm warming shindig date is set -- Saturday September 4th.  Time is only determined by the participants.  Pretty much our philosophy is show up when you want... leave when you want.  It's a holiday weekend so we're not opposed to a several day party. :)  And we have plenty of crash space between couches and floors in the house... the "sleeps 9" camper we can put up... and the 7000 sq ft barn.  I think we'll have some munchies and foodstuffs plus some drinks.  Haven't confirmed it yet though so more details to come.  At the very least, the grill will be on-site... the bar, now dubbed Serenity Valley Pub, will be ready to be inaugurated... extreme bocce is on the menu as is a bonfire after dark.  Need directions?  Just ask.

And lastly, due to the pasture mowing guy mentioning the field mice and actually seeing one in the barn the other night, we have adopted 3 new barn cats from Jen's (iTolt Training Center) -- Pictures coming soon but we now have in addition to Curlina and Phoebe (who has started going outside), Buff Puff, Daryl and OB (aka Other Brother Daryl).  Buff Puff is a long haired mostly white girl and EXTREMELY laid back... even when Curlina is growling at her for 10 minutes straight.  Daryl and OB came from the same litter.  Daryl is a gray/black tiger.  OB is black.  Neither have been spotted for more than a micro-second since their arrival, but I'm sure they're around.