Entries in House Projects (13)


why our 3 year old is painting the house...


Yep, our three year old joins in on painting the house with us.  Some people look at me like I've lost my marbles when I share that our little one wields a paint brush alongside us.  She loves to paint, too.  Yes, there are extra drips to clean up and yes, it can take longer.  But, what's important (and it helps to remind myself of this when I'm picking off stray bits of paint from the porch) is that we are working together, accomplishing a goal, and feeling satisfaction at completing a step of a project.  It's the process that is most important, not the product.   

This process-oriented approach also hold true in our home improvement projects.  Though we are looking forward to a lovely home, the process of improving it has been rewarding.  We've been very fortunate to have all our parents visit at some time this summer to help out with whatever the project-of-the-day is.  They've scraped, primed, peeled, painted, repaired walls, ripped off wallpaper, replaced rotten wood, tended animals, etc.  Our daughters pitch in on a daily basis, often working with us in our painting or building or fixing.  Again, the process of working together toward a common goal is the important aspect.  It's the fun we have visiting together, the joy we share in completing the next step of a project, the satisfaction we feel at making a difference.  Our summer has certainly been filled with many opportunities to appreciate the process

This old adage holds true for the basis of our farm as well.  So much of what we do here on the farm leads to a great product.  Our eggs are rich and nutritious.  Our meat chickens have been called 'delectable.'  Our farm has been a place to visit for friends, family and future farmers.  And while we strive for a superior product, it's really the processes behind them that make the difference.  It's because the hens forage and get exercise that their eggs are so rich and nutritious.  It's the twice-daily moving to fresh pasture, sunlight and exercise that creates such a flavorful chicken.  It's the synergy of all the animals that make the farm fun to visit.  We must enjoy the process of what we are doing, to make the product worthwhile of pursuing. 

making time to enjoy the journey of starting a small farm and sharing it with others


by the numbers

our house reminds me of a kiddo smeared with calamine lotion!4 gallons of primer put on so far - we are working on repairing and preparing to paint the exterior

30 gallons of paint waiting to be applied (I'm so excited to see our house looking good!)

6,000 gallons of water pumped from our well and applied to the garden

0.10/inch amount of rain we got last night - a mere sip for our garden

3 times a day we check on the animals in this heat - ensuring water and shade for them

91 temp of our house at midnight last night, when I went to bed

21 cucumbers Jeff brought in from the garden today

5250 pounds of feed ordered today for the pigs, piglets, growers, layers and turkeys

2 more weeks until Jeff starts his other fulltime job (teaching) - and we're definitely not ready, we love having him home!


What numbers are cropping up in your life these days?





simple and cheap kitchen updates

Loved the kitchen from the first time I saw it.  Love the layout, love the ample counter space, love the central location.  Once we moved in, I found a few simple, cheap and fairly easy things I could update to make the kitchen better reflect our style.  

1.  installed a new faucet, with a pullout handle for better reach in the sink.  If we could just increase the water pressure, the spray feature would work better!

2.  sassy 2.5yo grew into a 3yo that doesn't like her picture taken anymore ;)

3.  spray painted the cabinet pulls and fan.  Seriously cheap at $7/can, mostly a time issue in removing, painting and letting dry, and then reattaching.  My mom and I did this together, so it was a fun project.  Fan worked great for a recolor, pulls work moderately as the paint gets rubbed off with use.  We will end up replacing the pulls at some point, but for now, spray painting them made a nice additon to the overall look w/o much investmentfan "before" and "after"


4.  repaired the walls which had gaping holes from replumbing we needed to do when we moved in - thanks, Dad, for repairing them! - and typical wear and tear from use/hangings.  Repainted to a warm and welcoming yellow.  My favorite big impact change!

5.  painted the accent line on the backsplash.  It was pink and turquoise and I used acrylic paints in three tones of brown to give the accent a more updated color scheme.  Very, very easy and made a big difference to me in the overall look"before" and "after" of the backsplash accent line


I've enjoyed working on these small changes and smile when I go into the kitchen these days.  I spend a lot of time in there, so it's nice for it to be a place I enjoy.  We still have some kitchen projects including repainting the ceiling.  Now, to make some decisions about pictures and wall hangings and this room will really start to feel like home!


Spring Break -- Time to Get Chores Done


I have a long list of chores to get done on the farm during my Spring Break week.  Luckily, my ankle is on the mend and I should be able to get alot done.

 Here is a glimpse at the Farms Project list.

  • Build Pasture Pens for broilers. Will need 12 total this season.  Must have 4 Done before May.  These are the pens designed to allow us to safely grow our young chickens on pastures while giving them fresh new grass each day.  


  • Get brooder ready for chicks arriving this week.  This means cleaning them out, removing old straw that has been composting since last chicks were there, checking and prepping heat lamps, waters and feeders - adding new bedding and checking that they are secure from predators.

  • Repair yard and seed where new septic system was installed this Winter. 

Attempted this early in the week, but this is what happens when you try to work when it is toooo wet!


  • Prep garden beds for planting.  

  • Begin work on "eggmobile."  This is the mobile hen house that will be rotated through the fields and allow the hens to free range on fresh forage.

  • Start green house for garden area.  This will be a 12' x 20' greenhouse to allow us to plant more vegetables and extend our growing season. 

  • Hang porch swing.  This was an exciting birthday present for Laura and she is eagerly awaiting the chance to rest in it while watching the sunset over the pastures. 

  •  Hang childrens swing.  Another present that is awaiting installation to begin enjoyment.  

  • Soil Test pastures and garden so that we can make decisions on nutrient amendments.  

  • Fix locks on various barn doors to make them easier to use. 

  • Cut firewood (just in case winter isn't completely over)

  • Make a trek over to frog pond on neighboring property.  We can hear what sounds like 1,000,000 frogs and would be interested to see what "a million" frogs look like.  

  • Have friends come and visit.

  • Clear large rock/dirt pile left in the pasture from earlier work.

  • Begin incubating new chicken eggs,  these will be Buckeyes.  A rare heritage breed known for being able to forage on pasture well and producing amazingly nutritious and delicious eggs --- as well as being exceptional mousers.

  • Watch movie with wife.  

  • Update website blog

  • Write guest blog post for farm-dreams.com

  • Prep room for temporary home for cats we will be adopting.  



Signs of Progress?

That hole you see in the wall?  It's easily the smallest of the 3.  During our initial inspection of the house, we discovered the main line into the house was broken.  A frozen pipe was suspected.  A couple people suggested that would be the only broken pipe as the others would have drained out the broken spot, a quick $300 repair.  Other people suggested if one pipe broke, many broke, a multi-day $3500 project.  The latter were right.  

We hired a plumber to replumb the house - this time using pex, a newer choice for water lines than the currently installed cpvc.  Harry and son Steve, of Harry's Septic, became very familiar with the crawl space under our house.  Despite the small access panels in the floor, they traipsed down and under to replace the pipes.  Unfortunately, there was not access to several of the pipes and walls had to be cut.  Fortunately, we have now replaced all the plumbing and hope to avoid future plumbing issues by being proactive.  And we now have running water.  It seems like such a luxury!

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