Category Archives: The Farmyard

Straw Bale Gardening

I have been a huge Square Foot Gardening fan for many years but my wife recently turned me on to a new gardening method called “Straw Bale Gardening” she learned about online from sites like Pinterest and Garden Web.  I was super resistant to trying it out as we have always had such great results with the Square Foot method and probably would have never got around to trying it out if it wasn’t for Bethany.  I was traveling for work one week in early 2016 and when I came home Bethany had completely set up a straw bale garden in our backyard.  This post documents the entire process with pictures and even a time lapse video. Continue reading Straw Bale Gardening

Snow! Homemade Wood Snow Sled

Last night a winter storm passed through our area and we received several inches of snow! We had fun playing outside and making snow angels but the snow was not sticky enough to make a snowman. We had planned to pick up a snow disc at Ace Hardware but when we stopped by they had already sold out. The forecast predicted 2-4 inches of snow to fall during the middle of the night so we went to bed looking forward to seeing in the morning how much snow stuck around. Continue reading Snow! Homemade Wood Snow Sled

Homemade Chicken Tractor: a mobile home for hens

If you are not familiar with the term “Chicken Tractor”, its basically just a portable chicken run so that chickens can be moved around to eat fresh grass, much like a tractor mowing a yard.  We had originally planned to allow the chickens to free range in our backyard.  That lasted for a couple weeks….right up until we lost 6 chickens to a family of Georgia Red Foxes.  The chickens seemed so happy free-ranging so we hated to leave them locked up in the chicken coop and attached run with no access to fresh grass.  That’s when we decided it was time to design and build a “Chicken Tractor”.  Continue reading Homemade Chicken Tractor: a mobile home for hens

Homemade Chicken Coop

We have been planning to raise chickens for many years and finally decided this is the year to turn the plan into action.  About 2 months ago Bethany picked up 20 chicks from Tractor Supply.  We raised the chicks in two plastic bins (10 in each bin) with one heat lamp for each bin.  Our plan was to build a homemade chicken coop the next weekend and move the chicks outside as soon as it was ready.   I studied 100’s of pictures of coops on Google Images and noted the pros and cons of all the different styles/features.  I then drafted a design for our coop using Google SketchUp.  Here is a picture of the final version in SketchUp: Continue reading Homemade Chicken Coop

Septic System Installed

The septic system was installed last week.  This is one of the last big risky items that was left.  I say risky because you never know what you are going to find when you start digging.  They had to lay over 600 feet of drain field so there was definitely a risk that we would incur some unexpected expenses.  Good news though, everything went as planned.  Continue reading Septic System Installed

Basement Excavation

If you saw the Clearing and Rough Grading post then you know we have broken ground and things are moving quickly now.  After the grading finished it was time for the basement excavation.  Our whole family enjoyed seeing the hillside transform into a pad for the garage and a large pit for the basement.  Our house plans and landscape plans call for a garage parking pad on the left side of the house, a daylight basement on the right side of the house, and direct access to the backyard from the rear of the house.  When you see the pictures below that should help you make some sense out of what you are seeing. Continue reading Basement Excavation

Clearing and Rough Grading

This is one of the first super exciting steps in the construction process!  We have been planning and applying and waiting for several years now and this was the first step where it was obvious things are really moving. There is not a lot to explain regarding clearing and rough grading so I will keep this short and let the pictures do the talking.  The purpose of clearing and rough grading is to prepare the build site for construction.  Preparing includes: Continue reading Clearing and Rough Grading

Preserving the Harvest by Liz Porter

Many of you know that we have been attending classes at Lady Slipper Nursery on Saturday mornings.  This Saturday we had the opportunity to attend Preserving the Harvest by Liz Porter of Buckeye Creek Farms.  Liz led a fun, informative class and gave tips for both newbies and veterans alike.  She had excellent suggestions for tools, methods, and resources.  Specific topics discussed were pressure canning versus water bath canning, blanching before freezing, canning additives, and the canning of Continue reading Preserving the Harvest by Liz Porter

Homestead Master Plan

For those of you that have been following our build process, you know that we purchased land for our dream home a couple years ago.  We have been slowly working towards making our vision a reality.  Part of that process was taking what was in our heads and getting it down on paper.  We received the help of many people in helping to take a vague idea of our vision and slowly turn it into an executable plan.  Two key people stick out as key contributors though.  The first is Casey Norris with Lady Slipper Rare Plant Nursery and the second is Doug Bork with Elements Landscape LLC. Continue reading Homestead Master Plan

Our Landscape Architect – Doug Bork with Elements Landscape LLC

When we first started day dreaming about landscaping ideas for the new property, Houzz was one of the first places we turned to.  Whenever I had a free moment I would scroll though landscaping images just for inspiration.  One afternoon an image particularly captured my attention.  I went to the profile of Elements Landscape because I wanted to see more of this work that I especially liked. I loved everything I saw!  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Elements Landscape was local to our area.  We were also pleasantly surprised to see that the company also specializes in professional renderings of landscape plans (something we would need for HOA approval).  It wasn’t long before we contacted Doug Bork of Elements Landscape to see what he could design for our property.

Doug-Bork-372x372Doug was extremely personable, prompt, and thorough.  For a summary of his qualifications click HERE.  He took his time in understanding all of our wants and needs. Then he expertly crafted a master plan to accommodate them all.  He included our requested plants along with suggestions of his own.  He also kept in mind that our budget will likely require us to implement our design in stages.  He ultimately designed an aesthetically pleasing plan while also considering our “homesteading” demands.  We couldn’t be happier with the results! Continue reading Our Landscape Architect – Doug Bork with Elements Landscape LLC