We’ve Got a New Blog!

Hey friends! Now that Judah and I are married and starting our own farm, we wanted to make it as “real” of a farm and business as we can. Hope Farm was just that – a short-term farming venture I had because of my hope to continue farming and growing in the future! So we decided our new farm needed a new name. We have named our farm (in northern KY, where we are living) Chadwick Grass Farms because almost everything we’ll be raising will be grass-based. In 2017 we are planning on raising 600 meat chickens, 6 pigs for meat, and some produce! In fact, we already have 202 chicks and 1 pig! We have a new blog, a Facebook page, and an Instagram to help you connect to our new farm. So check them out, and especially subscribe to the new blog for updates. 🙂

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This blog is going to get lots quieter, as I’m not sure how much more I will post here. I truly appreciate all your support in the year I’ve had this blog! I hope to see you around!

P.S. You can also order meat chickens through our new blog!! If you’re in Ohio and would like chickens, we can possibly make arrangements. Just shoot me a message and I’ll get back with you!

Working on the Roof, Bathroom, Electric, Plumbing, and a Deck (Tiny House Part 4)

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update on our tiny house! (Here are parts 1, 2, and 3) So this post covers the main milestones from the past two months, wherein we also got married. 😉

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We chose a light gray color for the metal roof – light so it reflects heat, yet not stark white, which we thought was a bit much visually.

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Here’s the back of the house, with the finished roof!

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Installing the shower…

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And Grandpa framing in the bathroom! The bathroom, which is slightly smaller than 5′ x 8′, is the only real room in the house.

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There is a tiny loft for storage above the bathroom, with a wall on one side.

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Then Judah put up drywall in the bathroom and our water heater. We chose a tankless water heater because we don’t really have enough space for a “regular” water heater. It’s mounted right above where the toilet will go.

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This picture gives you an idea of how big the house feels. It also shows the plumbing along the bathroom wall, which is also a kitchen wall (on the side you’re looking at here). We have the plumbing almost completely finished.

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I got to help Judah with wiring a few times and, like the plumbing, it’s almost all the way done!

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Now we have a deck!! It’s beautiful, and sure beats having to step up two feet to get in the door like we had to before.

And that’s where we’re at right now. Next up are plumbing, electrical, and building inspections, then we can get to the fun parts (for me) like insulating and finishing the inside walls, putting flooring in, and painting the outside! Stay tuned!

Two Become One

February 25, 2017. The day I became completely his, and he completely mine. 

Honestly, I’m not sure I could put into words the pure joy and love that this day was wrapped in. Thankfully, these pictures don’t need words. They speak for themselves.

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And from that day on, I’ve only loved him more.

Putting Up Rafters and Closing It In (Tiny House Part 3)

It’s been about a week and a half since I’ve checked in…. and we’ve gotten so much done on our house!!! I got to spend three days over the weekend with Judah and his family, and I’m so thankful for their help and support in this project. In case you missed them, here are part 1 and part 2 of our tiny house journey.

Putting Up Rafters and Closing It In

First, we did a supply haul. It was actually really fun marching around Home Depot with Judah, picking out windows, fasteners, lumber, siding, and lots of other things! Once we got to the land we started on the ridgepole and rafters as well as framing most of the windows and the door.

I learned a ton, and one of the more interesting things was getting to see how supports were used to keep everything square and plumb and in place. You can see that in this picture – all the diagonal boards and the two ones sticking in the air are temporary supports.

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We had a fire going almost all the time because we (I say “we,” but I wasn’t always able to help due to a lack of knowledge or skills) often worked until it was quite dark and cold. Judah’s dad and siblings were often there too, helping and keeping us company. The yahoos (i.e. siblings) and I made a tire swing and a lovely fire ring!

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Next we put sheathing (OSB) on the roof. It was pretty steep and slippery, but thankfully Judah is good at working on roofs so it went pretty smoothly. Also, check out that sunset! I’m so looking forward to living in this beautiful place.

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Next came Tyvek house wrap, in the dark.

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Early this week Judah and his dad put tar paper on the roof, some of the windows in, and most of the siding on! Now it’s weather-proof and we can work on the inside.

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Next up is electrical wiring, putting metal on the roof, and framing the bathroom…. It’s a big project, but it is such a blessing to be able to do something like this with my fiance! And whenever I tell him what an amazing job he’s doing, he says, “It’s all for you.”

Building the Deck and Outer Walls (Tiny House Part 2)

Lots can happen in one week! I got to spend Sunday and Monday working on the house with Judah (and Jo, for a bit). I learned a lot, like how to use a circular saw and a nail gun. And Judah learned that I’m scared of tape measures. (I don’t like it when they retract quickly… for some reason I think I’ll get a major paper cut. Apparently they’re safe, though.) But, for the record, he said I’m tough as nails. 😉 If you missed last week’s post about our tiny house, check it out here.

Building the deck and outer walls

First came concrete blocks as piers. We had eight sets of four concrete blocks each, four on each concrete runner under where the house would go. Then Judah laid four beams across the width of the house, on top of the piers. Next, we made four 32′ runners out of treated 2x6s and notched them for the joists.

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Then we had to get everything square. This part took a long time, and we learned that we should have gotten the concrete piers lined up exactly before putting wood on them… However, after much measuring and string-lining, we got things straightened out.

 

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Squaring the notched beams with a string line

Then we fitted the joists into the notches, like so. We used the string line again to get them perfectly in line.

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Next we put on the outer band. Judah did most of the nailing while I positioned the boards.

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Oh hey, what do you know… we match. 😉 Mud and all.

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Next came insulation and the subfloor.

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Then the outer walls!!! These went up super fast.

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And that’s where we stand now! Next up is the roof. Stay tuned!

If you have any questions or want more specific information, leave a comment and we’ll get back to you!

 

Gettin’ the Go-Ahead (Tiny House Part 1)

It’s 35 days until our wedding, and Judah and I are building a house. Or rather, Judah is building it and I’m wistfully watching from 150 miles away (and helping whenever I can make the trip). Are we crazy? Yeah. But that’s nothing new…

I will be documenting the process of building our home here on the blog! Here’s part 1.

Inspections, permits, and lots of mud

Even though our house will be moveable and less than 450 square feet, we still had to go through the process of getting the land set up and inspected as if we were building a “regular” house.

Before that could happen, we had to reroute the water and electric lines. On December 17th (2016) we rented a trencher and Judah used that while I cleaned off the concrete runners (this site was set up for a house trailer, so there are two parallel concrete runners under where our house will be).

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The house site before trenching
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The trencher and Judah’s two lovely trucks 😉
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My favorite person doing an awesome job with the trencher
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Here you can see the concrete runners and one of the trenches

I thought it was beyond awesome that I got to be there with Judah as we broke the ground for the first time to build our house. I’ve always loved stories of the pioneers, and I can still hardly believe that Judah and I are building our first house together. There’s something so wholesome and wonderful about that.

It wasn’t all wonderful, however… later that day before we had a chance to finish the job it started raining. We worked in the rain for a while. And then it got dark. So we worked in the rain and the dark for a while. But eventually we stopped, discouraged and maybe a bit frustrated because we hadn’t planned things out very well.

 

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Two very wet and muddy people – smiling because we’re together

In the following weeks, everything passed inspection. The septic inspection took forever, though, leaving us hanging a couple weeks before we could even apply for a building permit. Once we passed the septic inspection, the permit took just a day to acquire. Judah got it yesterday! *cue confetti and party noisemakers*

Then Judah was free to buy supplies and start hammering! (as he would say) I shall spare you a picture of the precarious truck and trailer loaded with supplies, but here is a piece of wisdom: don’t bite off more than you can chew. You may be left driving home at less than 30 mph because you bought more than your rig can handle well.

Isn’t life such a neat adventure? I’m so thankful for the path God is leading us down. And I’m especially thankful for my man and how he’s building this house for us! Stay tuned for part 2!

 

Why I Want to be a Farmer, Not a Homesteader

There’s lots of hype in my internet circles about homesteaders. And I get it; I respect homesteaders like crazy. They have a huge range of skills and many of them could literally survive with no outside contact for a long time. But that’s not the life I want; I want to be a farmer. Let’s start by defining our terms, shall we?

homesteader is someone (or a family) whose life is characterized by self-sufficiency. Some are even off-grid. Most homesteaders raise their own meat, eggs, milk, vegetables, and more while also making things like soap, cheese, quilts, etc. They typically don’t aim to raise enough of these products to sell, but rather to support themselves. Homesteaders are very independent.

farmer is someone (or a family) who raises food – crops and/or animals – to help support themselves and others. (note that this is my definition for the purpose of this post, not an all-encompassing definition) They often specialize in a number of products which they sell and make an income from. They do not live a self-sufficient lifestyle, but rather an interdependent lifestyle.

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While it is wonderful to have a huge range of skills and to know that you and you could support your family with no outside help…. I believe that people were meant to be in relationships with each other, to work together and compliment each other.

Although to a point farms (and homesteads) can and should have many enterprises going on (for example, it just makes sense that cows follow chickens to eat the luscious grass that springs up after the chickens fertilize it), it can reach a point where the farmer or homesteader is stretched too far. I would rather focus on a few enterprises – hone my skills and be the absolute best at raising those particular products – and be able to sell them for a good profit. Then I can turn around and give someone else that money in exchange for a product I can’t grow or make as efficiently as they can. Both sides benefit, and neither is stretched too thin by trying to do everything ourselves. See?

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Another awesome thing about farming is the community aspect. As a farmer, I will be interacting with people while I sell my products and buy theirs. Relationships can be built and friendships formed. Homesteaders can and do interact with the community and form friends! But there’s something special about providing your friends with quality food and knowing they trust you and really, really like what you’re selling. There’s something special about supporting a friend’s new farming venture by buying their products.

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I’m all for mastering new skills, such as making soap or maple syrup. But I’m also excited about buying those products from someone else who makes them with quality and skill! You see, I want to be a farmer, not a homesteader.