From the dirt to our plate; the trials and realities of first-time farm ownership

Week 13:  A Two Week Summary of Work

I’m back on the farm and ready to get things rolling once again. It was a wonderful week away from the bustle of our remodel but it’s nice to be back amongst my farmyard friends, dogs and yes, my husband too.

My absence in week 12 slowed remodel progress slightly but my husband managed to install recessed lighting in the kitchen. He also trimmed out a couple of door casings which was no small task. If you recall, the stained door casings and trim require 3 coats of primer and 2 coats of trim paint. Even better news, he kept everything alive; animals and garden included.


As for the garden, my angel of a man even tilled and weeded! It looks amazing! Ironically enough, the garden was in full production mode during the week I was away. At one point my husband sent me a “WTF” email with the following photo as his proof of frustration. I had a feeling this was going to be the case but nothing can quite prepare you to come home to nearly four 5-gallon buckets of green beans.

On my first full day back I spent the day harvesting. Raspberries, zucchini, beets, carrots, peppers, cucumbers and another 2.5 gallons of green beans. Beyond the sheer amounts I harvested was the impressive size of the foliage, the okra is almost Jurassic! Needless to say, the rest of my afternoon consisted of cleaning produce and prepping beans for a little backyard blanch fest.

The duck is standing next to the Jurassic okra!

Gigantic beets in July!

The camper with its mini fridge and small gas stove doesn’t lend well to the space requirements of food preservation. Instead, I used a makeshift outdoor kettle of boiling water (turkey fryer over a propane flame), a wheel barrow of ice water to shock the blanched beans and bath towels to dry the beans prior to packaging and freezing.

To keep all of the other produce cool, we had to employ the use of our new full-sized fridge intended for the future kitchen. Until I can arrange a canning date and borrow the use of a friend’s kitchen I’ll need to stockpile my veggies in this fridge currently in our Quonset.

The chickens and ducks also faired well over the last week and a half. Being penned together all day was ideal for my husband but I’m not sure it’s a great idea moving forward. As the duck’s feathers have developed, the drake feathers have become prominent. It’s very clear that I now have 3 confirmed males.

I’m not thrilled about having all males, especially when I wished to have egg layers. This predicament was something I wanted to avoid as it means I either need to dispatch them, give them away or find some females. Once these boys start getting frisky I can’t have them trying to pour a little sugar on the chickens (if you get my drift) as it could seriously harm or kill my precious hens.

In an effort to remedy the situation and for the time being, I made the move to free range my ducks. They still stay close to the chickens but it allows the boys to move around and stay active. Hopefully, this will help minimize any aggressiveness and at the end of the day they will just want to come into the safety of the coop and sleep.

As week 13 continued on I was finally able to move my work into the house. I picked back up with painting walls in the kitchen area. Our contractors Gary and Shane also made a brief return to install our new sliding patio doors. Doors, which I unknowingly ordered sliding opposite the original direction, special order no less. This will take some getting use to, even the dogs don’t know what to do about this unintended change in design.

New heating and cooling systems were also started this week. Vent placement finally meant we had the go ahead to start flooring…eventually, we will get there.  In the above photo you can see the change in vent placement caused by my slider ordering snafu.

My husband and I are still hopeful that as week 13 comes to a close we might hear the kitchen whisper hints of eventual completion. I went so far as to sort out some wall cabinets for the desk area of the space. Maybe I’m being overly optimistic, but I hope they find their way onto the wall before the weekend is out!

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