Entries in House Projects (13)


a farm shoe solution - with pallets

On the farm, we find that we like a variety of footwear to suit our needs.  All those shoes have to be stored somehow and mostly that ended up being scattered on a couple of mats.  In looking for a solution, I saw adorable shoe shelves, cute shoe baskets and cabinets that held two pairs of shoes (we'd need a lot of cabinets).  None of which seemed a natural fit for our needs.  Then, I saw this little number which resembled a pallet.  

- image from funtimesguide.com

I have pallets!  And also lots of shoes.  So, I made a much larger version and it has been a wonderful solution to our shoe issues.  I chose pallets with a variety of slat spacings to fit the different sizes of shoes we have.  Dirt from our shoes quickly dries and falls down where it is easily vacummed.  By securing 1 2/3 pallets together, our shoe wall holds a lot of shoes.  We use it as a screen as well, as it hides some of our utilities.  A pallet shoe rack could be secured to a wall, but I like ours with a little base so it is freestanding and we can move it to access our utilities when needed.  After I took the picture, I added a few nails at the top to hold hats and accessories.  I love the rusticness of the pallets and the ease of storing our shoes.  


a revamped office space

A year and a half ago, when we bought this house, we knew the formal dining room would better suit our family as an office space.  After all, we'd be running a family farm together and would need a home base from which to conduct our business.  We also use our office for family activities and as an available space to pull out projects.

Our revamp started with removing the wallpaper, which turned out to be a terrible experience.  Though we could remove the shimmery floral wall-paper, the wallpaper backing stuck tight or tore off with the wallboard still attached!  My mom helped with this tedious step and we spent hours and hours steaming and then removing tiny bits of backing.  Eventually, the walls were paper-free and I began working to repair, prepare and paint.  Putting up the new color was such a refreshing change for the room.  

You might notice the hole in the wall in the first picture.  We don't quite know why there is a hole in the wall there, but decided to close it off.  My dad helped out first by helping plan how to close the space and secondly by building the cover.  What a difference cover the gaping hole made in the room's feeling!

Arranging the furniture, selecting some wall decor and adding a rug complete the office.  The desk is in the foreground of the second picture and we also planned for some comfy sitting.  This room is right off the kitchen and having it decorated in our style really adds to the feeling of the house being ours.  Slowly but surely, in the midst of farming, we are making progess with house projects.  Next up, I'll tackle yet another wallpaper project - the room we refer to as the pink kitten room!


new look for the living room

Slowly but surely, we've been tackling the inside house projects.  Fixing up the living room was a big visual impact room for me as you can see the living room from many other places in the house.  To start, I spray painted the fan and floor vents and then my Dad helped install coordinating new door locks (though that was for safety, not looks).  That was all we did for a long time, until I got motivated to tackle the wallpaper removal and wall repair.  1-2-3-jump! The best part about a home improvement project is having an undone room to play in.before, on the first day we saw the house and after with the new lookThe trim wall paper came off easily, but the single fully wallpapered wall was ripping the wallboard as I peeled it.  So, I decided to leave the wallpaper up, repair the existing damage and move forward with paint.  Once the walls were done, I replaced the furniture and added the wall accessories.  We really enjoy being in this space now.  The girls and I gather together on the couch nearly daily and read together.  It's been fun to make progress on the inside of the house, getting it to more look like 'us.'  Feels a bit more like home with every project completed!



recent FAQ, winter wonderings

Jeff opens up the hens portable coop on a recent morningIn another installment of attempting to answer some recent questions we've been getting, here's a fall wrap up.

Q: How is Goldie doing?

A:  Well, just before her eggs were due to hatch, something happened.  We think the dogs got in the garage and she skeedaddled off her nest in surprise.  Seeing eggs, they ate them.  Feeling bad for her as she brooded an empty nest, I put several other eggs under her.  She continued to brood the eggs for about two weeks, but then started laying MORE eggs.  It is unlikely these new eggs would be fertile since Goldie is not in the yard with Roco, our rooster.  So, she continues to brood her nest, but also lay more eggs and none have hatched, though it's been long enough on this second batch, I would have expected chicks by now.

Q:  Has anything surprised you about farming?

A:  Jeff has been surprised how easily the pigs learned about rotating pastures.  He was worried they'd bust out of their pastures all the time, but they are surprisingly mellow about it.  They have got out occasionally, but not often.  And when they are out, they are pretty easy to get back in.  Shake, shake goes the feed.  The cattle are much more of a pain to get back to their designated pasture.  

I have been surprised about the time and money a farm demands.  Although I expected farming to take a lot of both, I am surprised it's significantly more than I realized.  It's not just a hobby for an hour a day, it's a life choice that affects your every decision every day.  And then you probably dream about it, too.

Q:  Do you have a dairy cow?

A:  Though it's true we have several cows (and sows) producing milk, their milk is for their babies alone.  We like the idea of fresh, raw dairy but will need to work out the logistics of how to work that into our days before we take that leap.  The nearest offering of raw dairy we have been able to find is SkyView in Pleasanton. 

Q:  Any progress on the house?

A:  With the exterior painted, we've been focusing on the interior aesthetics.  We've recently been able to finish repairing and painting the upstairs.  We replaced the flooring and then nearly doubled our living space overnight as we 'moved in.'  Hauling our furniture upstairs reminded me why I don't want to move again for a very long time - like ever!  We've really enjoyed having the upstairs as living space and the whole house seems bigger as our things are more spread out.  The house seems to stay cleaner as things tend to have a more accessible designated place.

 Q:  Can we get more chicken?  Pork?  Beef?

A:  We sold out of our pasture raised chickens all summer and fall.  But, we just decided to do a winter processing of some Prairie Ranger chickens, as well as a variety of breeds of roosters.  They turned out to be a bit larger than some previous groups, with many well above 4#.  With our KS weather, it will be spring before we get chicks and they need 8-12 weeks to mature so this bonus winter processing batch will be our last until then.  We anticpate the pork being available in early 2013 and beef in fall 2013.

Q:  Do you still have the puppies?

A:  Those healthy and curious bundles of energy are all in their new homes.  We were delighted at what wonderful homes they went to.  We miss them and look forward to hearing about their adventures on their new farms.  Several will be learning to protect goats, a couple will have new chickens to get to know and all have acreage to patrol.  Most of the new homes have existing guardian dogs to help train the pup.  

Q:  What do you do with your trash?

A:  This one was a surprise to me, after years of JoCo living.  In our nearby town, there is a waste disposal site that will accept household trash for free.  All I have to do it take it up there and toss it in.  I go about once a month and drop off our trash.  Our recycling gets dropped off at a PaperRetriever bin when I am in the city.  Our town site actually accepts paper and plastics, but I'd have to sort it and the city bins allow me to toss it all in at once.

I love the randomness of FAQs, it's how my brain works much of the time.  Let us know if you have other questions for us - if you're wondering, chances are somebody else is, too!


painting the house

Buying our farmhouse, we knew painting the exterior would be a first year project. And I am glad to share that the project is 99% done! Tackling the repairs, preparations and actually painting the house took much combined effort. We are very thankful for our parents helping out several times in this process. The bulk of the work was completed during Jeff's summer break from teaching. We spent about two months doing wood repairs, scraping and priming the exterior. Then, Jeff sprayed the house in two days!

After that, we had lots of detail work to tend to and as of this week, we are very nearly done. There is a small bit of work on the porches, but the house part of the painting is completed. We are so pleased with the results and so glad to have the house repaired and painted before winter.

I have a new appreciation for anyone who paints a house. Prior to this project, I had no idea what it could entail. I am proud of us for working together and supporting each other as we tackled this mammoth project. It was overwhelming at times, but every step of the project was one step closer and we kept at it and got it done. As much as we can appreciate the process of painting our farmhouse, we did apply a high quality paint in hopes it will last many years!


Synergistic Acres - 21733 Iliff Rd, Parker, KS 66072 - 913-735-4769
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