Buying a pony for Gianna’s birthday.

Gianna turned 8 on Tuesday! I can’t believe my first little baby is now 8! We will have a birthday party for her at the end of the month. She wants a Halloween themed party, that will be fun to do. I felt guilty last year because we didn’t have a big party for her. She is at her dad’s every other weekend, then the weekend she was here Dave is gone for army training. Having a family get together on a weekend, when we were all here, gets tricky. This year the beginning of November is the only time we all have a Sunday together. She doesn’t mind though, it just means her birthday last all month! 🙂

 

A few weeks ago, Dave told me he wanted to buy Gianna a pony for her birthday! My first reaction was NO WAY!! I rode when I was younger, did shows, and barrel races, and rode my friends horses in southern IL, but owning one is completely different!! I was a firm “no!” for about a week.. Then, Dave and I sat down, and went through the financials of buying and keeping a horse, and worse case senerios. Like, if we see something is wrong with the horse at midnight on a Sunday, can we handle a $2,000 emergency vet bill? How about the 100 bales of hay we need for winter? Having a farrier come every 8 weeks? It’s scary being responsible for the care and wellbeing of such a large animal.

 

The previous owners at our farm had a horse, so we are all set up to keep one as far as fences, stalls, and pastures goes. Most of the small farms around here have a horse or two hanging around. For some reason I felt like you have to have a ton of extra play money to own a horse. Theses little farms around here with a couple horses hanging around are not rich people. They have cute little farm houses like ours, and their horses seem happy, so I was starting to think it was doable. Well, I eventually said “maybe” then after meeting them that turned into a “yes!” ha!

 

Bear, Gianna’s pony, is an 11 year old Ponies of Americas Pony. His friend is an 11 year old miniature donkey named Willy. Dave works with their previous owner. Bear can ride English and western, he was shown in pony shows by her kids, and was a 4-h project. They also raise beef cattle, so they don’t have much time to give to Bear and Willy anymore. It works out great: we have lots of time to give to them, we get a gentle horse that the kids can ride, and the previous owners know they went to a good home, and can come visit whenever they like. It seems like an overall win-win.   I wish I took video of when Gianna first saw them. We didn’t tell her what she was getting for her birthday. She thought it was a swing set or a chicken (I don’t know where she got those ideas lol). We told her all week her present was coming on the weekend. She begged me to give her hints. Little did she know, I was giving hints all week by renting a horse safety video “on accident” and playing horse safety videos on YouTube, non stop, all week. 🙂

Bear

Bear

Willy

Willy

Bear has the coolest cinnimon-molted-mini-appoloosa color. I love it! I’m still nervous about this undertaking. I want to make sure they are happy and healthy. While they get used to their new space, I try to be present as much as I can so they get used to me. I walk with them on the lead. I sit by the pasture while I write emails, and they eat hay. We got them last Sunday, they are pretty much settled in to their new farm. We are all loving having them around! Pony kisses are the best!

First thing in the morning Gianna runs outside to check on her pony.

First thing in the morning Gianna runs outside to check on her pony.

 

 

A little blurry, but Willy is so cute!

A little blurry, but Willy is so cute!

Willy is getting used to the kids being all up in his face. I love Morgan's crazy outfits.

Willy is getting used to the kids being all up in his face. I love Morgan’s crazy outfits.

When the kids get off the bus they run to go say hi to Bear and Willy. I hope they know how loved they are.

 

 

The traveling barn painter, and other visitors

Since moving to the farm, we have had a few visitors (outside of friends and family) stop by. Today, a traveling barn painter stopped by… I can’t say it with a straight face. Every time I say it, I laugh, and I don’t know why. “Oh, honey, the traveling barn painter stopped by today, he’s only here for a little while before he moves on to the next town.”. To me, it sounds like a line in a movie, and it makes me feel very much like a city girl. We have a barn, so it makes sence that we would hire a “barn painter”.. I guess it’s the “traveling” part that throws me off. Ha! Anyway, the man said it would cost about $2,500 to paint the barn, well house, and my little house. That doesn’t sound that bad. We have been spending money like crazy though, and you never know what “surprise” repair may come up next. Painting the buildings is low on the priority list right now. I think they look pretty good and can hang out like this another year.

 

The barn, well house, and guest house.

Last week, a neighbor, who lives 1/2 mile down the road, stopped by. He pulled in the driveway and honked his horn a few times. We came out and chatted for a bit. He was very nice and welcoming. He knew some cool history on the farm. I can’t wait to swing by and ask him some more questions.

A few days before that, someone pulled into the driveway and honked a few times. I had just gotten out of the shower. Before I could get dressed, the guy drove off. Sorry, guy!

I wonder if pulling in the driveway and honking is farm visiting etiquette. The traveling painter did the same thing. He pulled in, honked, and waited for someone to come outside. Should I do this when I visit people? I don’t know any farm people to ask.. or visit- ha! Neither one of us grew up on a farm or were ever around one often. Dave and I grew up a couple blocks from each other in a big neighborhood in northern Illinois. Now, we have traveling painters that stop by looking for work. Ha! It’s all so foreign to me. I love and welcome all these new experiences: some great, some funny, some overwhelming and expensive. Buying this place is a neat adventure for our family. One day it will feel normal to tell Dave “oh, hey, the traveling barn painter stopped by today.”. Until then, I’ll say it in a weird accent and giggle every time.

Have a nice day!

Ashley

Moving a 300lb chicken coop!

I moved the chickens from the old house to the farm a couple days ago. My in-laws have two big dogs so I didn’t want them to have to worry about the chickens. When they first got here, I had them in a rigged up shack made from a dog cage and a tarp..ha! They didn’t seem to mind. They still laied eggs everyday and had plenty of giant grasshoppers to eat in the pasture.

On the way to the farm.

On the way to the farm.

Welcome to the farm.. Sorry about the gettho coop!

Welcome to the farm.. Sorry about the gettho coop!

Thursday, Dave, and my father-in-law, brought the coop to the farm. When Dave builds something, he OVERBUILDS! This is not a bad thing. It’s a great thing, actually! I would feel safe in that coop during a tornado. But when it comes to moving it, ugh, things get tricky. They moved it at night to avoid traffic.

Backing the coop in. Yay!

Backing the coop in. Yay!

They slid it off the trailer on 2×4’s. Everything stayed together so I was able to switch the chickens over right away. We only had one bad thing happen. Dave hit the picnic table by accident. I guess we will just have to build one of those big farm tables I have always wanted, darn. 😉

Sorry table! :(

Sorry table! 🙁

The chickens are happy to have their house back!
We got these chickens when they were a couple days old. They grew up in our little back yard. At the farm, they have A LOT more space. I kept the coop closed for a few days so they know that is their save home to go back to. Then I opened the doors to let them explore. They wouldn’t go very far from the coop. I think chickens are smarter than people think. I hope they like their new home!!

The chickens seemed a little nervous to come out.

The chickens seemed a little nervous to come out.

Then they saw the crickets and giant grasshoppers and forgot about being nervous. :)

Then they saw the crickets and giant grasshoppers and forgot about being nervous. 🙂

I'm pretty sure they will be happy here. :)

I’m pretty sure they will be happy here. 🙂

I need to decide soon if I am going to get more chickens before winter or not. When you have more chickens their collective body heat keeps the coop warm in the winter. I have to read about how to properly introduce new chickens first.

Have a nice week! Thanks for reading!

-Ashley

 

Hit the ground running!

Sooo before the closing on the farm Dave (my husband) would keep saying we are not doing any updating to the house for at least a year.. We are not going to hit the ground running like the last house.. I just nodded my head in agreement every time he said it. Knowing full well, Dave and I are the exact same way, and would dive head first into any project! In two weeks, Dave has had the floors refinished, taken down dead trees, cleared brush, weeded, planted seed, has a guy coming today to give a quote to glass block for our basement windows, is ordering new kitchen and bathroom fixtures, and checking prices to get new gravel for the driveway… Plus a bunch of other things… I just nod my head and smile at whatever project he is working on. He literally runs around the property doing projects, he “hit the ground running”, I love him. 🙂

Since moving in, I have gone through 15 gallons of paint! I have painted almost every room in the house and the kitchen cabinets. We are doing every room white for now. That was Dave’s idea and I think it’s great. At our last house, I scrambled to pick paint colors as soon as we moved, then ended up hating them all and repainting. Ha! Now everything is clean, bright, and neutral. This house has sort of a cottage/cabin feel to it. I want to play on that with more rustic/American/chic/ classic/ but modern (kinda) decor. Soo, until I figure out how to do that, and what that is, white walls will be a clean canvass. 🙂

The kitchen after painting.

The kitchen after painting.

 

100 year old wood floors. I love how wide the wood is.

100 year old wood floors. I love how wide the wood is.

 

The landing/playroom area in between the two attic bedrooms upstairs. I painted the floors light blue.

The landing/playroom area in between the two attic bedrooms upstairs. I painted the floors light blue.

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This will be a fun space for the kids to play and decorate. There is something magical about attic bedrooms and play spaces for kids. I don’t know what it is. I know I always wanted one. 🙂

I'm slowly figuring out where everything is going to go. Our cat and two dogs are figuring out the best lounge spots. :)

I’m slowly figuring out where everything is going to go. Our cat and two dogs are figuring out the best lounge spots. 🙂

I will post more soon. It has been exciting watching this house become our home, if that makes sense. As much as I want to rush and get things done, I try to slow down and take it all in. We will live here for a long long time, it will be fun to see it transform over time.

-Ashley

 

We bought a 100 year old farm!!!

We did it! We closed on the farm two weeks ago and we did it our self without any help! Dave and I have been talking about buying a property like this for five years. We figured our 10 year plan was we would have our first house paid off by then and could rent it out for income while we bought a more secluded property. We wanted enough land for animals and gardens. By then we would both be in our early 40’s, and our kids in their teens. But in early May Dave happened to come across the listing for the farm the day it was posted. I called and checked it out with a realtor the next morning. After walking through a few rooms of the house, I text Dave “we want this house”. That night we bid over the asking price. It was absolutely everything we were looking for and didn’t want to miss the opportunity to own such a special property. We heard back that more bids had come in so we decided to write a letter to the seller introducing ourselves and explaining our intentions with the property. The realtor had mentioned that he was hesitant to sell because he was worried someone would come in and mow it all down. The old house and history around it was what we fell in love with! We knew getting it was a long shot. Small farmettes like this sell FAST! Then we got the call that our offer was accepted! I couldn’t believe it!

Now, four months later, it’s ours!!

We decided to keep our house. We have redone just about everything in it, so it should be a low maintenance rental property. We just sped up our 10 year plan to now ha! It will work out perfect! Dave and I are young and able to do all the work that needs to be done. The kids are little and get to grow up on a small farm with animals and plenty of adventure right in their own back yard! How lucky are they??!!

We don’t have our internet set up yet so I was going to wait to start updating my blog until I could upload pictures from my good camera,  but I’m not sure how long that will be. iPhone pictures will have to do for now.

Bring your insurance card, and a snack, and you can get pulled around in the trailer by our friend!

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The kids loved it! Grandpas dog, tag, ran along side the whole time.

Then the moms got in, lol!

Then the moms got in, lol!

The kids pick apples everyday. They are good! I don't know what they are yet. They are small red/green and taste like Granny Smiths.

The kids pick apples everyday. They are good! I don’t know what they are yet. They are small red/green and taste like Granny Smiths.

We like it here. It's peaceful. We listen to the crickets, the wind, we heard an owl last night and saw a couple bats. I'm so thankful that we get to make this our home.

We like it here. It’s peaceful. We listen to the crickets, the wind, we heard an owl last night and saw a couple bats. I’m so thankful that we get to make this our home.

Thanks for reading!

-ash