From Shabby to well…Shabby Chic!

Though today is a might bit dreary outside, as the last lingering remnants of Hurricane Irma pass over our little farm, the past month has been anything but!

When we first happened upon our home, it had been greatly reclaimed by nature with shrubs and vines covering half of the exterior windows…even those near 10′ up from the ground. Now, while we’re still a constant work in progress when it comes to exterior maintenance of the lawn we have made some progress!

(‘Progress!’I always hear that in my head like Bill Nye the Science Guy when he yells out “SCIENCE!”, how about you?)

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The front entry and porch.

As you can see above on the right, the mudroom’s singular window is all but blocked by a ginormous shrub that may hold plans for world domination. I’ve zero factual basis to back that aside from the fact I said it and that we’ve hacked it down and rounded the surface to a reasonable 4′ and yet it sprouts up as though possessed.

Matter of fact, all of the shrubs are the exact same and yet some grow ridiculously faster than others. Be gentle in your judgement that not a one is of the same shape nor size but A HA! we can see out of nearly all of the front windows now. #takingthesuccesseswhenandwhereican

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The front side yard as you pull up to the house with barn in the distance.

Once more, what seems like a mere photo of grass is to me a STUNNING victory of non-enviable sweat equity as I fought down two feet of tangled weeds, thistle, and the occasional bit of Bermuda grass! Take that Home & Garden, my lawn is finally beginning to look like a photo you hocked before going to print but we’re still a runner up Gosh Daniel!

On the other hand, …perhaps that doesn’t seem all that impressive? BUT WHAT IF I told you that it was achieved with only an electric push mower that isn’t even self propelled? See, see! Now you’re likely cringing at the thought. And why you ask? Because that “small” front side yard is 1/2 an acre. That’s right! Two foot tall jungle of a beast, 1/2 an acre in size, mowed into submission with sheer will power and approximately 11 charges of our mower’s batteries. #endurancewinithout

One thing I both love and hate equally about our property – the near 500′ driveway. The scenic drive in from a long day at work: Priceless. The walk with the varied sounds of nature in the darkness as I walk our waste bins back up from the street: Terrifying.

It should be noted that the 5′ tall grass/weed fiasco bordering our new pasture fence and right side of our drive has been tamed. I’d like to thank the academy, and by that I mean Academy, for selling wonderful workout clothes for all the “hikes” I’ve gotten from this driveway.

 

Cheers to mastering the lawn…somewhat, heck, I’ll drink to that!

~Christy

P.S. No shrubs were harmed in the “taming” of this lawn.

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When Two Worlds Collide: Lawn care Woes

Good morning all!

     I realized it has been a quick minute since our last update on the farm. To be blunt, this whirlwind never slows down long enough for my head to stop spinning. Still, no regrets!

Now then…as you can imagine, going from 1/3 of an acre to 15 acres is a bit of a leap. In our previous garden home, we actually considered our lawn to be quite sizable, yes…I know, looking back, I feel silly for ever complaining about mowing it.

Looking back, it was around a year to two years ago that our hand-me-down mower, a.k.a. the one that was left in the garage when we purchased the house, had finally had enough and simply called it quits. There was no fixing it, no helping it, it was done. D-o-n-e, done.

Not wishing to be the social pariah of our neighborhood, we were a part of an HoA community mind you, the Mr. did some research into finding a replacement and came to adore the idea of a battery powered electric mower. No more awful gasoline stench in our garage, quiet, and just as quick to mow. Did I mention it was surprisingly cheaper? Seemed a no-brainer, so we went for it.

Now for the final year in our garden home, it was a wonderful addition to our lawn care regime. Fast forward to purchasing our farmhouse fixer-upper and that we’ve moved from that 1/3 of an acre to 15 acres. Let me just express how terribly quickly one gets over mowing when you only have a 28″ wide blade and the average battery life is one hour before needing to be recharged.

The Mr. or I used to spend about an hour cutting the front and back yard at our previous home once a week and presto, done! Now it takes about four days, six hours each day, to get about 5 acres done. Does it help that we’ve been reclaiming our acreage from nature, seeing as it sat untended for 5 years? Nope, not really. So there I am, day after day, me and my electric push mower vs. the mighty Amazon jungle. I say that literally, I believe our grass gets to around 3-4′ tall after two weeks of not mowing.

Just call me Sisyphus as my stubbornness won’t let the acreage get the better of me…but I don’t even have the excuse of blaming Zeus, nope, all my own doing.

Now I will admit, while one sweats into a puddle out in the humid southern heat hour after hour, I’ve never been tanner AND my arms are beginning to really look great. On the flip side, I likely terrify local wildlife as they watch me charge at a run pushing that mower over the 3-4′ tall sections of weeds.

It’s a jungle out there.

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My throne.

Now I found that during my hourly breaks, due to the batteries recharging, I needed something to do. It was then that ‘the throne’ came to be. I spend a good deal of time cooling off in the shade with some water, staring with one eye twitching at the bane of my existence, I mean…looking at the lawn mower as the batteries charge inside.

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There she is, in all her eco-friendly glory…

 

But to be fair, I mean…the lawn does look pretty fantastic despite the fact I’m working with the poor man’s Mary of lawn mowers here. So to all of the folks with those lovely tractors, driving mowers, and zero turns…check out my ECO-FRIENDLY (it hurts inside…) and mad ELECTRIC PUSH MOWER skills (…make it stop)!

That being said, I’ve begun filling a mason jar with spare change. One day, I will have my zero turn. Just you wait acreage, your days are numbered!

Ciao!

~Christy

Horse Fencing 101: Post Hole Digging Edition

Do you ever find yourself looking over the “how-to’s” of a project only to watch everything that can go wrong, do so, once you’ve already thrown yourself into the heart of it?

Well my friends, that’s what this continuing experience has become…the seemingly “easy” part of the fence construction process that was estimated to take us a few days, give or take, working a few hours a day on digging holes.

Must not laugh, must not laugh, all work and no play make Christy a … no, too far.

Back on point! So! Twenty-three days later (Whose counting?) I have two-thirds of my post holes dug and our horses arriving to the farm in six days (Seriously NOT counting, …honest!). Being that this is the south…and spring…one might assume the weather became an issue. You would be wrong, so very -very- wrong.

The miser- …adventure*** began here…

Not afraid of rolling up our sleeves, we enlisted the help of a friend who works in construction. His knowledge and access to equipment and proper usage have been HUGE time-savers. (Note: We did consider renting equipment at first but then I remembered I will somehow always find a ditch and drive right into it. Enough said.) I wanted 3′ deep post holes dug that were at least 8″ wide so he chose a Bobcat with an auger attachment and brought it over.

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Progress! Eeek!!!
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Meet the auger!

It started out simple enough, Bobcats are so compact and easy to maneuver in the field that he and the Mr. had two sides of the pasture holes dug in a day. I was one happy little farmer. Now the acreage had begun to look as though a gopher with insane accuracy had taken up lodging but I knew it was only temporary. No biggie, right? Wrong again. Just so wrong…

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Holes for days…

The next time our friend was able to come out, we managed a total of five post holes before the Bobcat broke down. Now I’ve come to learn a bit of lingo from the menfolk and it seems there are varying levels of ‘broken down’. There’s “ah hell”, translation – this could be a minute, or the popular “C’mon man!”, translation – prepare to get your hands dirty, and of course “No no no…you best cut back on! …sonuva…!”, translation – just chunk it, it’s dead Fred!

This is when I learned we were in a, ‘…sonuva!’, kind of situation. The auger wasn’t moving…my drill had stopped while submerged three feet into the soil. Reason? A belt had broken. Being late into the afternoon on a weekend there was no hope of getting a replacement and the following day was Easter Sunday. …crap.

Fast forward another week and our friend returned with a few more friends to swap out the belt. Success! We could get back on track at last…only two weeks till horses were coming home after all. The Mr. and our friend got to work and managed another ten holes before fluid started spewing all over the place and soaking into my soil. A hose had broken and the only option was to get another replacement part. I wish I could tell you that he got the part, replaced it, and we were back on track but I would be lying…but hey, at least I didn’t trip in one of these suckers right?

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Over the next week and a half he went out and found a replacement three different times. The first time, he bought the part that was not broken and so was returned. The second time, the store sold him the wrong part. At present we are on round three, where he has taken the defective part with him to make certain the store sends him back with the right one. To say that I’m frustrated is an understatement. He’s been a complete trooper throughout the entire process and the Mr. has helped however he can.

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Will my pasture ever have fence posts to fill these in?!

Now…will my fence be up and ready by Friday so I can pick up my horses from where they’re currently stabled? Heck, will our post holes even be dug by Friday let alone the fence up? Doubtful…but I’m going to be optimistic.

When faced with adversity, it’s really the only hand you have to play!

…to be continued.