Monday, October 26, 2020

Raised Bed- Grain Bin Style

Hey Guys! I don't know about ya'll but we have had a busy busy summer.  Working at my Uncles produce stand and just regular chores around our own farm has kept us very busy.  
So much happened over the summer, from new projects to new animals! Which we will be talking more about in future posts.  
But for today, we are adding our new raised beds.  So back in the spring when it was planting time, I wanted to raise some items in a raised bed.  Well, I will say I scoured over Pinterest, looked at all types of plans and material to make them out of.  I ran into some pretty awesome plans and some pretty good deals.  But honestly, with lumber being so expensive during this whole covid thing, I just didn't want to spend 100$ or more on a garden bed.  I wanted two beds, built identical in front of this little building that I use as a greenhouse.  So, let's just say, when you are planting, fertilizing, watering, picking, washing, and canning all this stuff yourself, well for 200 bucks you could buy a lot of already canned items from the grocery store and walla no work at all!  So for me, it had to be really really cheap!
So in these two very large boxes, I have about 20 bucks! This is just for the box of screws.  I did invest more buying a few bags of river pebbles to make the walking up part nice for when I'm watering and weeding, but that is totally up to you and you don't have to have those to make the bed.  
Now you can see there are wood planks involved, but they are scrap pieces that were laying under a shed on our farm.  So I didn't have any money tied up in that. I also wanted to add that I don't' have exact measurements of these bins.  The grain bin was located on our farm and was falling apart, so I took it down in a day's time, and used the rings to make the beds.  You can see the size of the actual bin I used by looking to the left in the picture below.  It took a day and a half from start to finish to make the bed once it was taken apart. 

As you can see the ground where I wanted to place the bed was not level.  So we had to start digging around the ground to level it.  This is very important so your dirt will drain right once
it is filled.  Praise the Lord for my wonderful husband.  He gets that look on his face when he sees me coming up with a new idea, sweating by myself cause he knows this will turn out into a mess if he doesn't help me! 

Getting it level was the hardest part, and not for the weary.  We did have to dig down pretty deep on one side.  If you have a level spot to sit the ring of the bin to start with it, it will make your job so much easier!!! We both had blisters the next day from the digging. 

I wanted a box built inside so it would contain all the dirt, but would allow me to have a seating ledge to work out the weeds, along with the garden to use up as much of the space as possible.  These beds would contain things like tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, watermelons, and then in the fall we just finished picking our pumpkins.  The other bed now contains spinach and arugula!  These beds have really really been worth the time.  
Now I will say that if you didn't have all this stuff lying around it might be more
costly than 20 bucks.  But the size, for the amount you would spend still, would give you more veggies for the money.   Especially the soil.  We do have cow pastures and I was able to get my dad and my son to use the tractor to fill up each bed with the soil straight from the pasture, which has made for excellent soil.  If you had to fill them up from Lowes or by the bag it would be more costly, I would suggest checking with a company that hauls dirt or rock, most of the time they will also haul topsoil and a better price than by the bag.  

As you can see, the seating ledge works great for also storing your veggies as you pick them. I had some leftover polyurethane and I covered the wood with that to preserve them from the rain.   These beds did the trick! I was able to raise enough cucumbers without breaking my back to pick them, and fill two churns full of sweet pickle to can, my mom two churns full, my aunt and I made a dozen jars of dill pickles and sweet cinnamon pickles for the holidays!  We had them coming out of our ears!

Like I was saying above, you don't have to include the river rock.  But I think it adds a nice touch and I did it because I was already tired of weed-eating up inside of the bed to keep from running into snakes.  I like to be able to work and not have to fret that. I laid down plastic to keep the weeds from busting through and then bought about 8 bags of rock for each bed.   I made these at the beginning of summer, but didn't want to post until I knew for a fact that it would work. And I must say, it's one of the best things we have made yet!! Happy Homesteading! 

Monday, May 18, 2020

White Subway Tile and Black Grout

Y'all! Is there not something about white and black that just screams clean! I can't help it, I love love white, black and gray.  I know these colors are and have been so popular for forever but I haven't been able to get around to posting any of my other pictures.  I have had a lot
of family and friends to come to the house and ask questions or the main thing they ask is, "Do you like your white subway tile and black grout?"  Well, I have to say Yes!
There is always gonna be pros and cons to everything.  But I must admit that out of all the different color tiles and grouts that I have tried over the years, (and I don't think there isn't a color I haven't had at some point) this has to be my favorite.  

In our house currently, I have a light gray grout in a half bath, and black in all the other areas that I have placed tile.  Let me just tell you. I will never go back to using white, or a light gray again.  Especially as long as I have children or pets.  We are on well water.  When you have well water no matter where you live you will have different types of stone or minerals based on where you live to be in that water.  Unless you are going to install a very expensive filter, some of those minerals will come through your water and stain things.  Here on this farm, my grandmother would deal with a hard water issue.  So sometimes the water has a red dark color to it.  This can stain your grout, especially on the shower floors.  I wanted to have subway tile in our master and in the kids showers, but I didn't want them to look identical. Silly me. So I used gray grout in the kid's bathroom.  Big mistake.  First of all, they are little pigs and not always the cleanest.  So, of course, they are gonna leave soap or shampoo that oozes out of the container all over the soapbox that we had installed in the wall.  This will cause you to have to scrub nonstop to keep it out.  And believe me, because the old spice body wash my boys lather in is bright teal! Y'all I ain't kidding either.  
The water has this reddish tint so can you imagine what that did to light gray grout?  It looked like someone had used the shower as a toilet and just never cleaned it.  It drove me INSANE! I have gone through my pictures a dozen times, I don't know why I can't find it cause I knew once I covered it I wanted to do a review. But I was a least able to find this picture where I had started regrouting and you can see the gray at the top of the picture. 

Please excuse the mess in their bathroom but regrouting is no joke! Also one helpful hint! For the walls adding the black grout over the grey worked just fine.  But on the floor after about two months the water started washing some of the black off.  So I had to take a tool from Lowes and go back and remove some of the grout and then re-grout again.  This time since I went deeper into the existing grout the new grout had something to adhere to.  So now their floor looks great.  Taking the old grout out took hours to do because the grout lines were small and I couldn't use a large tool. (whew)

You can see how light the grey is if you look at the top of the picture.  The black gives it much more defined lines, (which I Love!)

This is the kid's bathroom floor once it was finished. 
No More Ugly stained grout!

The white and black are very forgiving with stains and dirt, but now for the one only Con to having the Black grout... Its the soap and shampoo residue.  If you have a soapbox built into the wall of the shower or a seat like we have, then there is a chance that other people (of course not ourselves) will not wash all the soap or shampoo out of the shower once it suds up.  This will cause the soap to sit in those black grout lines and it will form a white dried area.  See below

Now, looking at these little pictures it doesn't look all that bad.  But when you have it all the way down the wall of the shower it doesn't look the hottest.  So I purchased this cleaner called Lime Away and it works pretty dandy to get the soap scum out.  I will say that I tried to take a picture to show you how it looked but because the white and black lines hide it so well it wouldn't show up on the camera without zooming in really really close.  This is the ONLY complaint I have about the black grout.  I have been living here for 3 years now and I still feel the same way.  I also used black in the floor of my bathroom with long gray tile planks. 
  This was taken before the bathroom was finished.  

So I hope this gives a little insight to using different color grouts and hopefully help if you are looking to use black grout in the future! 

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Less Steps Pulley Clothesline

I have always had a clothesline.  Whether growing up at home or since I have been on my own.  There is nothing like fresh, wind-blown sheets! Growing up, my mom and my grandmother's used a clothesline. Most people either love them or hate them. 

As a little girl, in the winter, Mama would be using the dryer and I would get out of the tub or the shower and she would wrap me in a warm one, and there was nothing like it! But in the summer, the towels Wouldn't feel like those soft blankets of warmth.  It was like a little thin sheet of sandpaper concrete. Lol  Never in a million years would I want to have that in my home I would say.  To this day I can hear myself saying those words. Especially when I hear my children say them to me on a regular basis.  And yes, it's more work.  It takes longer to work them up than to just throw them into the dryer.  But now I understand.  I understand all the little things that people say about how we put mother's love into the little things we do.  I hope that one day my children will want to have a clothesline in their yards.  
I wanted it to be a little different than most clotheslines, since I have 4 children I have to do a lot of laundry.  I looked around on Pinterest and found how some people are using the old Amish or old style of clotheslines with pulleys.   So, after doing some research this is what we came up with.  Some of our stuff came from Lowes and some came from Amazon.  I will have to say the pulleys are super nice that came from Amazon because the ones from Lowes were plastic.  So now instead of picking up my pins and basket a million times to hang clothes I stand in one spot and hang them all!  

I did purchase two separators to put into the line of clothes so that it wouldn't allow the bottom string to get too low when I have heavy blankets, jeans, or a lot of towels.  One thing I want to note is that all clothesline string gets saggy after a while.  When you use the kind that has metal or wire inside of the plastic line you are always having to unwind it and pull as tight as you can to tighten it back up cause over time it starts to sag.  This will do the same thing! But with the string tightener, all you do is just pull the string and it tightens it right back up! You will also want to install the tighter on the top strand because that way you will be able to hang more clothes before the tighter taps the pully.  It has been a little adjusting since I have always used the other kind, but I don't have to take nearly half the steps I took before, and taking them off the line is sooo much faster. 
This is the separator.  

As you are adding clothes to the line, you can slide the separator on and it keeps the lines close to regular height.  They will roll as you roll the clothes back to you and I just keep them in my basket with my pins.  I will say setting up this line is a little more costly because of purchasing the pulleys and the separators, but in the end, the money you save not running your dryer and not working yourself to death with the basket and clothes is well worth the little extra to me.  I also only purchased two separators, one for each line, which totally works.  But I hope after a little time I can purchase two more to have two for each line.  I will include a list of the items I purchased at the bottom.  What do you think?  Do you like the line or dryer!  Have a great one!

Click on any of the items below and it will open to the page they are located.

You can purchase all of the items on Amazon or most of all of them at Lowes Hardware, but I liked how my pulleys were metal from Amazon, where the wheel on the pulleys from Lowes was plastic.  I also purchased my line at Lowes, but couldn't find the exact link for that so I included a link to Amazon for the exact thing I used.  

One other thing!  If you purchase the pulleys from Amazon, make sure to wash them BEFORE you install them with the cotton line.  There will be metal dust that is on them that will put a black or silver metal look on your line.  I read this in a few amazon reviews and it was very true.  I had to wash mine a few times to get all the residue off them! 

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Farmhouse Mantels and Signs

Hey Y'all!
Hoping everyone out there is enjoying this beautiful day and sunshine that the Lord has blessed us with today.  I love the sunshine, it makes your skin feel warm and it so boosts my spirits! Today I just wanted to share about Mantels.  I love the fireplace.  Mine never looks the same very long.  
I love to change out the decor and have a different look, especially during the different seasons.  
I love love eucalyptus!  This wreath was so cheap and easy to make.  
Hobby Lobby will put its dried eucalyptus on one of their many sales and I purchased two bags and weaved it into this vine wreath I already had at home.  And the big plus is it smells soo good!  My Mema had
a bush here and she always kept it sitting out in rooms to make the house smell welcoming.  I plan to plant another one here this year because you really can use it for so many things.  
A lot of my decor comes from Hobby Lobby, but most of the wooden items you see were cooking things that my Mema used to make many meals for all us "heathens". So I have placed them up to remind me of her.  But the biggest shout out goes to the maker of my cute Agape sign.  If you need a custom sign I urge you to check out her mom's facebook page at Leah's Signs!
She does an amazing job AND I placed the order and had it in less than a week!  I love the word Agape. It means so much about the Amazing love that God has for us, which was in another blog post you can read about Here
I hope you have enjoyed this little post on mantels and please give Leah your support!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Are you truly hearing the voice of God?

Are you truly Hearing the voice of God?

Have you ever Googled,  "How do you know if you are hearing the voice of God?" I have.  Have you ever been so weary, so exhausted in your thoughts and prayers that you wonder, truly wonder, is he hearing you or if you are praying right?  So you think well, everything else is on Google, why don't I ask someone smarter than me?  I guess I could be embarrassed that I have.  But when you have been in those rough patches, and you have prayed and poured your heart out, in that quiet place, You just know that God is gonna speak so loudly that it will solve this issue.  Like manna from heaven, Gods gonna say, oh look she is so spiritual today, let's go ahead and let her have her answer!

Have you ever been at this place?  Back years ago I would study my bible, read a devotion, pray and close my bible for the day.  I would talk to friends and they would say things like, " Today I just really felt God leading me to do this or to do that.  Or, I just felt this on my heart so strongly!"  I would walk away feeling like, "What's wrong with me?  Why don't I feel like this?  How come I don't hear him say these things?"  Or even more like, Could I please just get an email address?  That way there is no confusion down here!

I came across a dear friend, her name is Jessica.  She is a superhero to me.  Her spiritual walk is like no other.  She is a strong mama and prayer warrior like no one I have ever met.  She loves to homestead, raise her kids, and praise Jesus just like I do.  But there was something different in the words she would use about her realtionship with our Lord and Savior that was different... And I desired that different.  So one day, as we were talking about it, she says, "Hayley do you journal?" Not bible journaling with pictures.  Cause I absolutely love doing that.  But this is real-time, in your quiet spot, on your knees journaling?  I said no, I have never thought to do that.  She said, Just Try It!  Write out your prayers, your feelings, your worries, and your fears!  Everything you can think of, Give it all to him.  So I Did.  And boy!  It is awkward and weird at first.  I felt like a 13-year-old writing a dear diary page.  As I would write, I would praise him first and foremost, and then tell him everything.  From how I loved seeing the sun peak over the trees in a house that had no walls from the kitchen to the bathroom, to how I was terrified that with homeschooling my kids, that my son would never learn to read or spell correctly.  
He. Is. In It! He wants to hear.  He wants to know that you trust him with all these things.  By telling him, it confirms that you care that he is above and below it.  Isn't that what we Want?  We want something or someone more powerful than what we are, to take all these things?  Gosh, I sure do!
She also Instructed me that once I talked to him to just sit in the silence.  Wait to see if he speaks.  Write what I hear.  Be it scripture, thoughts, whatever you hear.  So I did. And it was Amazing the growth and the closeness I started to come to have with Him.  I can't even describe how it feels to go back and read something that I wrote years ago.  Things I prayed over, worried over and now those thoughts are just a vapor.  And how He was right there.  Now, there will be times that I hear my own voice.  Or write something I hear and its just desires of my heart.  This has been hard for me.  One of the hardest parts to decipher.  But, just as that has been hard for me, this is nothing for my Lord and Savior.  So he sends another friend along.  
Her name is Sally.  She is the most loving, welcoming, hardworking mama I have ever met.  She has a laugh that is contagious and loves her family with a ferocious kind of love.  Agape Love.  She and I share this way and how we love our kids. She has bio kids, adopted kids, and ME as a kid!  And she loves us all.  She wisely advises me, when in question, "Is it biblical, Hayley?"  Ok, if it is then it's in his will.  Always, always, always, check God's word for what you hear!  If it's there, its something he could be whispering.  If it's not, then its the flesh.  Somethings are that easy to see.  But, if we look, a lot of things are.  If they aren't, then we pray for Wisdom.  James 1:5

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."

So with all that said, I have been journaling for quite a few years now and went through right many notebooks.  I have had many, many answered prayers, and a couple that I still don't know the answer to.  One thing is for sure is that when he speaks you will know it.  There is a peace that is unlike anything I have ever felt.  
I came in from a run the other day and just as still and peaceful as a newborn baby sleeping, I heard out of nowhere, "you need to let this go"... Um... Lord, say that one more time.  I had been praying for over 2 years about this and just that easy, I heard it.  Now, I will say, I busted into a million tears.  I got in the shower and had the ugliest girl cry you have ever seen.  But the peace...  All this time I would read about it, hear other people find it, get on my knees, and beg for it.  
Like Paul who wrote, 

"To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me--NIV

I was starting to fully 100 percent understand what this meant.  I have prayed, wrote, and poured myself out to God over this thing.  I would say 100 times, I'm over it, no really, I have completely given this to him.  Next day... Pick it right back up.  
Until this Day!  This particular Sunday morning, I hear it.  Just as soft and as still as a morning sunrise.  It's like he spoke with the gentleness of a loving and soft-spoken Father, "This will be ok," sound.  But, you need to hear this, he said.   And instead of being upset, like wanting to lay on the floor and roll around like a toddler, I embraced his love.  I understood what he was trying to tell me.  There is one thing that I do know for sure.  God uses pain.  He never lets it be wasted.  If you have a pain, a prayer, a worry.  I can promise he will use it if you allow him.  He will show up.  And when he does, in his timing He will show up Big!  I've seen it... I have watched it through a young woman who was ravaged by drug addiction, come into my home as a small broken child.  And I watched our lovingly and powerful Father turn her into a daughter of King!
Now once all this happens, you don't want to pick it back up.  This is a true hearing.  No: Please, but no Lord? Well are you sure, can't we try this or that??  Nope, this is a "you know he has spoken"  It is also weird that you can also actually do what the Bible calls, us to do in James 1:2-4

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  

Even when the answer is not what you thought it would be, you can still Praise.  This has been a true revealing to me.  He has answered so many prayers in my life, blessed me beyond measure, but this...
This Agape love that he shows us through sweet, quiet, communion with him.  If you don't have it, I urge you... Just try it!

Photo Credits to Kylah Knowles and Editing by me.  
Sites used: NIV Bible Study App 

Monday, April 27, 2020

Cozy Bathrooms

I'm a sucker for an old fashion bathtub! I have wanted and pined after one of these for years. So, as part of the remodel plan, we decided that we would add one to our Master Bathroom.  I love how it sets such a great accent to the room.  The only negative drawback I have about the tub is that it's a little small on the inside. Say you're wanting more than one person in the tub, then you might want to rethink the shape you purchase. Also, when you have a cast iron tub the material holds the temperature around it which means it's EXTREMELY cold!!  You know how when you first fill a tub up with water and lean your back against it and you forget your tub is cold? Well, with this tub it's worse.

It is such a relief to be coming out of cold weather.  I'm not big on winter, the only thing I like about it is that it makes my coffee soooo much better, and that's about it. So with springtime coming, and the flowers are blooming; I have been taking pictures and can't wait to share them.  I just love pretty things, they make me happy!

I mean, how can you not like spring? Well, there is Pollen of course, but still! Look at these Peonies! They look fake, they so dang Pretty! My Mema planted them and I absolutely love to pick them and put them in jelly jars like she would. 

I have included a few extra pictures.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Cozy Entry Ways

First of all let me say: Hey Y'all! Its been so long since I have posted anything.  Right now we are enduring this pandemic and well it got me to thinking maybe I should catch things up. We have been on a journey, buddy, let me tell you. The previous post was from at least 3 years ago.  We were living in a different place doing different things... Well, some different things.   

The kids have grown so much, I now have a 17, 14, 13, and 10 year old... *sigh* But, with that said all is well and we are moving right along.  Since then we've purchased my dad's homeplace and did a complete remodel,  now that things have settled down from that, I thought it would be a good time to share some of the things from that journey. I am still making home-made soap and other things, but just for our family.  It's like everything came to a halt once we were living inside of a home that was being torn apart.  And boy I will tell you, living in a house that is being remodeled at the same time is not for sissies!  


Ok, So this will give you a somewhat idea of how we changed things.  First of all, the entire house has beadboard walls! Yes, it was like a Texan finding shiplap in Waco! Here in North Carolina, our shiplap is beadboard.  As we ripped and tore out pieces of sheetrock we found it.  Now don't panic I did use shiplap in the house! But I fell in love with the beadboard.  It could easily be chaulked and painted in areas that had holes from pictures from long ago.  The problem was the insulation had fallen quite a bit, so we had to do a lot of re-insulating in places where the beadboard was on an exterior wall.  My Papa and Mema purchased this farm back in 1961 to raise their 4 children and grow tobacco and cows.  Not having much insulation, the house stayed drafty and cold.  So over time, to keep my mema (she was a little woman) warm, Papa covered all the beadboards in sheetrock. (oh and lowered the ceilings, to keep in the heat.) So as you can see here she had sheetrock walls with fancy chair molding.  The picture above isn't the entryway somehow I have lost my picture of that wall.  But it looked almost identical to this wall.  It was white sheetrock with chair molding.  I wanted more of a different look to the front doors, which will come in a different post, but once we took those out I could tell there was beadboard behind the sheetrock.  So I started tearing it all down.  Once I painted, added some farmhouse molding to the tops and bottoms, it was done!  I think it turned out right nice, to be able to display all my kiddos and some of my favorite verses and sayings.  

I will say this though, taking down sheetrock and doing molding... whew!  It was a long job.  Especially when doing something like this by yourself, so make sure if you take on something like this you can plan to have dust, dirt, and feet prints everywhere in your house, and I mean, 

A church pew from an old church sits in the hallway to put on shoes and my memas old churn.  My kids keep asking when we are gonna make butter? I hope you enjoyed these pics!