This week has been a stressful one on the Camp Farm.
Everything has been so frozen here, our poor hens seem to have made the menu of some predators. Sunday we discovered something tried to get into the chicken run by ripping up the chicken wire from the bottom of the run door frame. It was easily fixed with some more zip ties but it has put us on high alert. Thursday something made it INTO the chicken run and tried to get into the coop. Luckily, they were unsuccessful and all hens are accounted for. We suspect raccoons.
Tuesday we found out that, while my due date is 4 weeks out, my body and this baby are preparing for a very possible early arrival. I’m in early labor, which can last days to weeks. Since Tuesday I’ve been been trying to balance an attitude of “GET ALL THE SHIT DONE!!!!” to “take it easy, rest while you can”. Not sure who it’s more stressful for, me or those who have to live with me 🥴
Either way, we’ve been making some MAJOR progress on the nursery and it’s almost ready for its reveal!
If you follow our page on Facebook, you probably saw the paintings I created for the nursery. As I was painting, the kids asked if they could creat something for the nursery too (OF COURSE!)
Ella and Grace drew inspiration for Eric Carle and Jr. looked to the internet for a mentor image. We’re only missing some original art from Sr. now 🤣. Check them out!
Finally, despite all we have going on, and soon to come, my mind keeps drifting to spring and planting the flower and vegetable gardens. Pretty sure I won’t be able to do much this year but I’m itching to plan. What are your super-simple, go-to plants?!
Last month we decided to do a BIG refresh to our home and replaced all the old blue carpet in our home. Y’all! There was a different kind of carpet (8 different shades of blue) in nearly every room and hallway in the house when we moved in. It was an eyesore–all stained from foot traffic and spills that had accumulated since it was put in some time in the 80s or 90s. It’s been a game-changer… and exhausting as we’ve packed away most of the house in 10 days, painted rooms and trim, and put it all back together after the install. One of the main reasons for the new carpet was so we could move the girls into a shared room and convert Grace’s old room into a nursery for our upcoming arrival.
Back in Texas, the girls–just 2 1/2 years apart in age–shared a room but when we moved to Ohio, each girl got their own room. Though they enjoyed their own spaces, they’ve often had sleepovers in each others’ rooms and occasionally discussed going back to a shared room.
When Grace was upgraded from a single twin to a twin bunkbed last Christmas, the sleepovers increased and so did the talk of “moving in” together. However, it wasn’t until we found out we were pregnant this summer, that the idea of moving them back in together was taken seriously.
The girls immediately began planning, taking over my interest to look for inspiration. Their only must-have–a play kitchen. Mine, plenty of storage to keep their abundance of toys OFF the floor and out of sight. I also wanted to find a way to show off their collections of hats, books, and stuffed animals as well as provide each of them their own special spaces.
It’s been a few weeks since the carpet install and we still have a little more to do but we’ve finally gotten to a place where we have something to show y’all!
There are several different sizes and configurations of the Kallax systems. I actually went a size up from what I planned and I am so glad I did! It was also super easy to put together. Ella and I did it all ourselves and only needed Sr. to secure it to the wall.
New carpet was a GREAT motivation to go through toys and clothes but we still had lots to find practical solutions for. What I love about this unit is I can use bins to hide, I mean “store”, toys but we can also display special things at the same time. The bins also help the girls keep things sorted and easier to find. And the BEST part? The girls can easily move the bins to wherever they are playing and put them back all on their own. The toys have stayed OFF the floor since we set up the unit, so I call that a #MomWin!
Next up: the library and bunkbed. The girls both LOVE to read and had stacks of books everywhere in their old rooms–bed, floor, shelves… so it was important to make sure their bookshelf was easy to access and that they had a dedicated space for their current reads by their beds as well as good lighting. Last year, I got this three shelf bookshelf off my local Buy Nothing Facebook group and whitewashed it. By some miracle, it fits perfectly in the space next to the bunkbed.
The girls call it their “library” and Ella loves to sit right by the shelves and read. They also enjoy sitting in this beautiful, refinished vintage chair by the window. Truth be told, I tried to get rid of this a week ago, thinking there wasn’t room for it in their room. I finally got tired of it being in our dining room waiting for a buyer and put it here temporarily but it works out perfectly, so it’ll be staying!
Since the girls like to do a lot of nighttime reading, I found them their own little wall bookshelves for their bunks at Target.
I also found these great little reading lights at Ikea to clip onto their headboards. The bunks are also each girls’ little piece of private real estate in the room so we added some special lighting and comfy pillows at the foot of the beds to add another space to sit for daytime reading. We reused the mosquito net canopy from Ella’s old room and Grace tszujed it up with a strand of floral garland we had in the basement. Each girl picked out their own lights while at Hobby Lobby the other day–llamas for Ella and an ombre curtain for Grace that looks so great with her canopy. These were around $12 each and are battery-powered.
Now that the days are colder and shorter, I foresee many hours spent on these bunks, with the lights aglow, reading. ❤️
Next up, the girls’ kitchen! As I mentioned, this was a must-have for the girls. They had many grand ideas for a custom build that Papaw and Sr. would have been obligated to create. Thankfully, we scored a well-built wood kitchen from the children’s room in our church when they decide to upgrade. I used Murphy’s Oil to give it a good cleaning but the plan is to paint it (when I have the energy).
I may also have Sr. build a simple base for it to make it a bit taller for my tall girls. The girls have their “fridge and pantry” stocked–mostly with homemade felt food, and a bin of larger cooking and baking playthings in the wall unit. They often play house and restaurant. The service is great, but a little pricey 😉
Lastly, Ella has quite the collection of vintage and straw hats–thanks to GiGi and Papa–and Grace isn’t far behind. For a few years, they’ve been stashed in the closet but we found some fun ways to display a few. the rest are in the dress-up bin in the wall unit. The hats on the wall are just hung with a simple push pin but I’d love to find some cool hat racks for a neat display with the rest of the vintage hats above their dresser.
All-in-all, aside from the cost of the new carpet the wall unit, two wall bookshelves, and bunk lighting, we didn’t have to buy anything else for this refresh–just some cleaning, combining, organizing, and moving!
Still to come for this room: window treatments– I personally LOVE these but Ella turned it down quickly–, bunk curtains for Ella to give her some requested privacy, possibly a new rug, and the painting of the play kitchen.
Today we worked to put the final touches (for now) on the girls new shared room. Including putting some life back into some favorite oversized animals. Grace learned to do some simple sewing. We’ll be sharing more on the blog tomorrow!
Our chickens have not been laying eggs so we had Ava and Vinny’s GiGi come over because she has 11 chickens and they always lay eggs. She came over Sunday before last and said they needed more sun and room to roam. We need to make our coop bigger. She offered to take our hens over the winter until we can make the coop we’ve been dreaming of making. As soon as our Mom told us we said, “When will they leave!?” She said, “Tonight.”
I was feeling okay until they left. Tonight was too soon! I helped get them all in the large crate and load it in the truck.
When we got back inside I sat on the floor and then I went upstairs and said to myself why did the chickens have to leave? When I walk by the empty coop I feel sad. Ava’s GiGi sent us a picture the day they got to their winter home and they looked happy. I’m still sad though.
Mom said we’ll see them in two weeks. They have been gone a week and a half. I miss them. When I see them, I will hug them. then I will say ” Hi chickies!” When I see them again I will be so happy I’ll…cry!!!
This week is the first week of Fall and you can tell. The weather is getting colder here. We went to my sister’s soccer game on Saturday morning and I was FREEZING! To celebrate the official end of summer, here are my top 10 favorite things about this past summer:
On my neighbors birthday we did a hundred foot slip and slide with tons of dish soap! (see video at the bottom of the post)
It’s the phrase of the week… well, that an “Hurry! Get out of the chicken pen, you’ve got a class zoom meeting about to start!”
The hens are went from two to three eggs a day this week and the kids CANNOT get enough! They check the coop several times each morning, which means they find the eggs nice and fresh.
Earlier this week Ella and Ava came running up with an egg yelling, “We got a hot one!” 🤣 And they’ve been saying with every new egg ever since. Grace has caught on as well and ran in during one of my Zoom meetings with a client. 🤦🏻♀️
A few weeks ago, we lost our sweet lap hen, Hazel, to a hawk.
We have 2-3 hawks in our neighborhood (plus a large fox and a few coyotes) that have been making quiet a ruckus this late-summer. I noticed their calls in mid July and heard from the McCrearys, who live two doors down, that one swooped down on their young flock as Molly was trying to usher the hens in the coop.
Despite the McCreary’s close encounter, their distant calls and a few sightings, we weren’t too worried about the hawks as predators since our hens are pretty much full grown. It was the fox that always appeared at dusk,just after the hens went into their coop , and liked to hang out eating groundhogs behind the shed that we saw a a real threat to our free-rangin’ ladies. After all, when the hawks’ squawks neared, the hens always ensured they were under the cover of the brush in the gardens. We knew we couldn’t keep the hens free-ranging for long and would need to build a bigger coop and/or run but it wasn’t at the top of our list. Unfortunately, our delay worked in the hawks’ favor.
On a Monday, I debated letting the ladies our as I was working a number of back to back virtual meetings, as is the norm in back to school season. However, it was going to be a hot day and their adorable coop is just too small for comfort so we decided to let them out for the day. Just before a new customer meeting, Sr. came in from the garage and said, “I think something ate the chickens, there are feathers everywhere!”
With my meeting just moments from starting, I told him to get the kids and try to find the rest of the flock and put them away. I then texted Tarin to let her know what was happening and started my call. Luckily, 5 of the 6 hens were found safe, but terrified, in the ferns at Tarin’s house. Hazel was the only one missing. Sr. wasn’t lying. There were feathers everywhere. Poor hazel seemed to put up a good fight and looked to have almost made it from the treeline, where the trail began, to under the old Chevy truck where the trial abruptly disappeared. We searched the grounds to see if she might have survived but found nothing.
By the next day, we had decided that it wasn’t in the budget and we didn’t have the time to build a new coop with a run like we have been planning so Plan B would have to be another solution. We found this covered pen and decided it’d be just what we needed for now.
The pen arrived in 2 boxes– chicken wire and aluminum poles. Thanks goodness Sr. had the patience to put the aluminum frame together Thursday or else it wouldn’t have gotten done this weekend. Saturday, we all worked together to cut and attach the chicken wire roof and walls. The kids transferred the hens to the pen and smothered them all in love (they missed wrangling them) while Tarin and I did a deep clean of their coop- which desperately needed it after nearly 2 weeks of 5 hens being cooped up in there 24/7.
After clearing out a few branches and debris from under the pines, we positioned the pen over the coop and set out their food and water. We even found a small board to serve as a nameplate for their new digs.
Now the new problem is keeping the kids, especially the little ones from going in and out of the pen–1. because they’re more likely to leave the pen door open and 2. because the poor hens have no way to escape or hide from those little arms.
There was a deer walking slowly through the woods. There was also a hunter walk slowly through the woods. Finally, the hunter saw the deer. The hunter stepped closer behind the deer. The hunter jumped on the deer’s back. The deer leaped and the hunter fell to the ground. When he got up an angry male deer stood in front of him. The next day the hunter came back. This time the hunter saw a pack of deer. . . he ran away never to be seen again.
Y’all! There seriously couldn’t be a better summertime lemonade!
We have been so blessed these past few weeks after Brian Sr.’s brain surgery with dinners and treats from friends, neighbors, and family. The food has been delicious. One of our favorites was a taco dinner Bridgette made for us, complete with a cold pitcher of watermelon lemonade.
This lemonade was everything y’all! It was pretty–a sunset pink with little slices of lemon and chunks of watermelon. It was also simply delicious. We sucked it down before the day was over.
Sr. was still in the ICU and didn’t get to enjoy the lemonade with us so this weekend I decided to try and recreate it. I texted Bridgette for the recipe but there wasn’t one. She totally winged it! Bridgette did share what she could remember of how she made it so the girls and I took that and ran with it.
Now I have to be honest, Bridgette’s recipe included fresh squeezed lemons and organic cane sugar… I didn’t have enough lemons to make lemonade so I just used good ole Country Time lemonade mix–a pantry staple in our house when the weather is warm. We also added a garnish of lemon balm from the garden!
Watermelon Lemonade Recipe
Prep Time: 10 – 15 minutes
This recipe uses 3 parts lemonade, one part watermelon juice. You can use whatever lemonade recipe you prefer–whether fresh squeezed or premixed.
1 ripe watermelon
3+ cups of your favorite lemonade
Lemon slices (optional)
A few leaves of lemon balm (optional)
Make your lemonade. You’ll need at least 3 cups.
Cut and juice the watermelon. You’ll need at least on cup of watermelon juice and a few cubes for garnishing your lemonade. To juice you can take what pools form cutting the watermelon, or you can make juice by placing watermelon in a cup or bowl and mashing it with a fork. Strain the watermelon juice into a measuring cup.
Mix lemonade and watermelon juice in a pitcher – 3 parts lemonade and 1 part watermelon.
Garnish with lemon slices, cubes of watermelon, and lemon balm leaves.
The week Brian Sr. came home from his brain surgery and we were blessed with so much help on the Camp Farm from mowing the yard to delicious dinners. Honestly, I haven’t had to think about dinner all week. It’s been glorious, and super helpful as I pick up Sr.’s activities. So. much. laundry. We are so thankful for the continued support. Check out these awesome cookies my friend and colleague, Kyle made and sent to us from Houston!
As for Sr., it’s been pretty rough with severe nausea and pain. Mornings are the worst for him and walking is still pretty taxing as his neck is regaining strength and balance is still off. He’s supposed to work up to walking 5 miles a day. The first day he could gather strength to get out side and walk, he only made it across the street and back. We have a long way to go but each day he makes it a little further down the neighborhood and this weekend, he was able to walk with out his walking stick.
Ella and Grace have been playing entrepreneur all week, with an “Amazon delivery” adventure and having lots of meetings. It’s quite the business of the future. I don’t even have to order the items, the just show up in bags with “invoices”. And they are things I love, like my favorite books or high heels from my closet. 🤣
Little Miss Grace has gotten quite good on a bike and earned herself a shiny new one! And Jr. finally earned enough to get his new bike–thanks to his cat sitting job and helping in the yard and garden.
The hens continue to grow and have proven themselves capable of being able to roam free in the back yard mostly un supervised… I guess this means they’re now free range!
In the gardens, plants have been loving the sunshine this week. We’ve seen tons of growth in both the house gardens and big garden. My favorite peonies came into bloom and Ella and Grace helped me make a trellis for the peas and to support the green beans.
With all the extra sun, the soil in our growing rows was starting to dry out and crack. We hadn’t gotten around to adding mulch to the rows, or even deciding what kind of mulch we’d use, so I added grass clippings from our last mow. I’m hopeful this will be a good, free, solution.
Grace found our first strawberry and the girls helped me pull seeds out of a few melons and cucumbers for later planting since our first round of them didn’t take after all the heavy rains a few weeks ago. My sweet friend, neighbor, and fellow gardener, Amiée, brought us a few of her extra cucumber plants as well as a few extra goodies! I mean, I couldn’t be more excited about this book, y’all!