Wednesday, January 1, 2014


There are many new followers, or 'Friends of the Farm' as we like to think of you, and with the new year upon us now, I thought it was the perfect time to give everyone an update on our journey, our progress and the plans for those who are curious.

Recently, we've had some new friends ask about before/after pictures.  The answer to that is that for awhile, I couldn't find where I stored them (new computer since then) but good news, I've found the original "before" pictures and will soon use those to take some "after" pictures thanks to my new camera and create a post of those.  Then a very dear follower from almost the beginning recently asked if we ever spent the night or entertained at the farm.  Yes, one or both of us are out there every single weekend (except during cold/flu season, ha) and we spend the night out there at least once a month, several times a month during the really nice weather.  We haven't entertained though, for example having a dinner party, since we still have some things to fix to make it comfortable for guests, but we've had friends out to see the progress many times.

Farmhouse after we had cleaned it up a bit
We bought the farmhouse and land in the Spring of 2011.  The land, other than the yard immediately around the house, was overgrown.  The house had been lived in but not updated for a long time.  We had to decide what we could do and what we'd hire to be done.  We found a contractor who was awesome and he and his crew helped us update the inside, painting, re-staining the floors, patching up some walls, and making some other minor modifications.

Then we needed to buy stuff for the inside.  Mainly furniture.  Decor.  Beds.  Sheets.  Towels.  Rugs.  You know, the things you need to make a house livable.  Then there was some electrical work to be done.  And some plumbing.  And clearing the land.  And working on the outside of the house.  And, well, the list goes on (and on and on, ha).  We aren't in ANY hurry though, much as I often seem to think we are.  We sometimes worry because some little something doesn't get finished quickly enough or we didn't get to it before bad weather.

What we are doing at the farm is building the place we will eventually retire to.  For now though, it's our weekend getaway.  It's also our 'bug out' location in case some terrible disaster befalls Houston (major hurricane, tornado, zombies,  asteroids, etc).  And in the not too distant future, it will be a place to bring friends and family together to create awesome new memories for all of us.

So, we came up with a multi year plan to help put things into focus, give us goals, and of course keep our budget dollar$ in line.  Since we bought the house in the Spring of 2011, and started work later that Summer, we use that as our starting point.  We make our calendar year from July to July (more or less, ha).  The year dates below are pretty much July of one year to July of the next:

2011-2012: Inside of house and its infrastructure
(paint, sheetrock, floors, electrical, plumbing)
DONE, with a few minor tweaks needed

2012-2013: Furnishing the house, decorating it, making it livable
(beds, couches, dining table and chairs, pictures, appliances, etc)
DONE, technically but decorating is always a work in progress

2013-2014: Property infrastructure
(clearing areas on the property, raised garden beds with fence, irrigation, planting fruit trees, landscaping, barn with fence)
WORK IN PROGRESS, we're still six months to our goal deadline for 2014 but some of these have already been done and the rest are coming soon

2014-2015: Outside of house and its infrastructure
(painting the house, railings, porch ceiling, gutters, new roof, etc)
PLANNING, this is underway now, and with our hot summers, we may go ahead and start some of these this Spring instead of waiting until Summer, and then finish them in the Fall

2015 and onward:  Enjoy it, ourselves of course, and start hosting wonderful parties and get-togethers with family and friends.  The plan is Fall of 2015.

BUT..of course, some of these are always ever expanding projects:

I'm always clearing a new area for something new and we seem to find something that we want to change up a bit after it's done. 

And then some things are constant and ongoing; I will always be planting trees and flowers and plants.  That never ends (and it's my favorite part).

 And then we have the bonus things that we can do at any time but have on our bucket list.  Beehives, chicken coop (and chickens), a pond, the walkways and paths, etc.  We'll try to do those when we have a random pocket of time or the opportunity to do it.

So as you can see, we are pretty much on track to getting things done.  Now this doesn't mean we won't have friends out.  We're planning a dewberry picking party this Spring (if the dewberry season is good).  And we're thinking of a 4th of July ice cream making party as well.  We just might even host a small Thanksgiving dinner next Fall, once we have the outside house work done.

We've done a lot, but we have a lot to go.  Still, not bad considering we're doing this as we work it into our schedules.  This year, I plan to go out there during the week, at least once or twice a week after work, to make sure the garden is growing so that we can start getting a return, in food anyway, on our investment of time and energy.

While our year ended, sadly, on a couple of down notes, here's to hoping for a great new year full of wonderful and productive things!!


jaz@octoberfarm said...

i love having an ongoing project. it gives you something to look forward to. with all the grounds you have, you will have things to do for a long time. i really enjoy following your progress! happy new year!

Laurie said...

so much hard work but so satisfying!
Speaking of satisfying, I made your Farmhouse biscuits yesterday, wow, they are so good, I followed the recipe exactly, thank you for that and Happy New Year!

Frugal Living UK said...

So good to hear your plans, it all sounds very organised (and very much on track). What did you decide for the raised beds in the end? leave the grass or gravel?

Joani said...

Happy New Year. I just love the fact that you all are writing down your plans and accomplishments. It puts it out there to the universe and in good time it will all come. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

It looks lovely and like it will be absolutely stunning when you are done.

But one thought - a few weeks back you were talking about keeping the place warm. One big step to that will be getting a surround on that big gap between the ground and house. You would be amazed how big a difference that will make in keeping a place warm.

Good luck with your list and getting projects done.

1st Man said...

Why thank you. Yes, it will be a constant work in progress. We just need to get to the 'enjoy it with friends and family point' and then we can just make it a constant tweak in progress, haha.

1st Man said...

Oh my gosh, you are SO sweet to say that. I will let 2nd Man know! Thanks again, and yes, it is satisfying isn't it?

1st Man said...

Thank you much and yes, we're staying more or less on track. Still planning the raised bed area. I just recently decided on the layout including the final beds (though they may not be filled right away this first season). I've got the weed block cloth to put down if the weather will ever cooperate, and I'm leaning toward mulch but we'll see!

1st Man said...

Ha, I love that! Putting it out to the universe, I say that all the time!! Yep, we just keep reminding ourselves, it's a marathon not a sprint! :-)

1st Man said...

You are SO very right. I totally forgot about that part of the plans, yep, that will have to be part of the outside of the house infrastructure upgrade. I figure if we can get through this Winter, then we can have that done when it's painted, etc and have it fixed before next Winter. We might have to have the house leveled again so not sure what will come first, ha. Thanks for the reminder. :-)

Anonymous said...

November's 2013 book drawing? December's?

Marcia said...

You have done an amazing job on the place. We are great planners here too and it's an important skill to have. Well done. And I recognized my question about your overnights and entertaining there. :) Wonderful plans for that as well I see.

Anonymous said...

I smiled when I read you will be going to your place of peace more often. I did that with a house I bought near Huntsville. Some days it was just a few hours after work to absorb the calm and quiet. The hours became longer and more frequent until it was very hard to drive back to Houston, so I stayed. You will have such fun and the work you are doing is a good healthy, sleep soundly type of tired. Enjoy.

Stephanie Clayton said...

I think what you're doing is amazing. That work is hard and your dedication is inspiring. My husband and I are working on the house/land that we currently live on and it's so tiring and sometimes very disheartening. Whenever I feel like we're never going to get it done I come here and I always feel better. Your posts are wonderful and I've gotten some great ideas on how to do things around our own home.
Thank you for maintaining this blog. I hope that this year brings you everything you wanted and more!

1st Man said...

Didn't forget, results tomorrow. There was no December giveaway due to al the bad news of the month for us. But working on something for this month and beyond. You posted here as anonymous, I sure hope you entered the giveaway. :-)

1st Man said...

For now, it's our little piece of heaven, good bad or ugly, lol. We are list makers and planners, and it does seem to work. Of course sometimes I look at the list and worry that something isn't done, ha.

1st Man said...

Well your post made me smile! It's getting that way. It was fewer in the beginning and now it's getting to be a bit more each year. I like what you said about the work being a healthy sleep soundly type of tired...remind me of that later this Spring, ha. Thanks for your comment!!!

1st Man said...

Oh my gosh, you are so very kind to say that. It warms my heart to hear this. We are just sort of making it as we go along, ha. Just remember, make your house livable and comfortable first. And then just sort of work outward I likened it once to ripples on a pond. Just move outward. There are parts of the property acres away that we rarely even see, at least on a regular basis. I mowed trails so we could have a means to check it out of course, but I'm not even remotely worried about working that land. I want it nicer around the house and then I'll work my way out.

Best wishes for you and yours this year! Thank you again for the sweet words.

Anonymous said...

No, deadline to enter before I saw the giveaway. Maybe I'll catch the next one.