07-11-15 Summer fun & shop organizing!

I started the morning out working in the shop! Through all of the unpacking in the house and moving stuff to the shop for storage for about a month I finally had to get out there and do some organizing. It was a lot of clean up too because the shop isn’t enclosed (yet!) and so with each wind or storm there is dirt inside, dust over everything and spider webs everywhere!


Just stuff…everywhere, ugh!





Got a lot of sorting done, trash to burn pile,camping and sports stuff all up on shelving, etc.


A bit better!



Then we had some fun!







The night was capped off by a gorgeous sunset from our backyard!





Inside I was able to get these cute curtains up over the kitchen window, which allows in a ton of sun so this was a thankful addition to the kitchen!


Living in the country, you do a few things! One: when you have a septic tank you don’t put grease down your drains or else you can ruin your plumbing and/or cause issues with your septic tank. I want to help my septic tank have a long, happy life and so I don’t put grease down the drain and also found a monthly treatment to do! FYI, you drop 1 active yeast tab down the toilet at the end of the night once a month and flush. Then once a month on a different day from the yeast you put a half a gallon of white vinegar and half a gallon of hot water down the toilet which will help you keep your plumbing lines clean and cleared out!

The other thing you do in the country (I discovered) is save your egg shells for your neighbor! My  neighbor (who is AWESOME! Yay!) has a bunch of chickens and goats! So she asked me if I’d save my egg shells for her because she will crush them and use them in her chicken food as an additional/natural source of calcium for the chickens! So now these two jars stay on my kitchen counter! #newcountrylife #countryways #reuse

XoXo,
Elizabeth
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07-01-15 Major tree trimming & first tree removal!


Miss Bella enjoys being outside with me when I’m working on the grounds. I like having her nearby so that she might alert me to any critters nearby that I don’t see myself first.



This is a midway picture of a tree that I cut down. 



On the left is a before shot of this pitiful, ugly dead tree. It was in the center, front of the house on the front side of the bamboo so it was the FIRST thing I saw every time I came home. I checked it out and there was no saving it. So I set out to chop it down. This was my first “tree removal” and just my 3rd time ever using a chainsaw.



Tree down!



Here are some pics of taking out that tree! Chain came off again but since I had figured out how to fix it last time I was able to quickly get it back on this time and proceed! A proud moment!



Before and after!


Then I took to the driveway area to trim the 4 trees to the right that lead to the house. Of them 3 looked pretty bad but salvageable and the one to the far left (which you can barely see because it has no green on it).





















A lot done! Got it all gathered up into 2 piles. I was going to burn it like that then it dawned on me later that it all needs to be chopped up smaller before I can burn it and I should cut up some of it for fire wood!











Riley playing outside with his new airplane! I love anything that he does that gets him outside! =D






After getting the trees all trimmed up I fertilized them all!






Two of these trees have some root exposure which I can only assume is due to the aggressive east to west cross winds we get here regularly. So I’ll need to figure out how to fix that and prevent it!





XoXo,
Elizabeth
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06-28-15 My first chainsaw & setting up the pool!


I got my first chainsaw!!! I had been wanting it for a few weeks itching to trim up some neglected trees around the property. I needed affordable so I went electric so that I could get brand new and a warranty. I was honestly a bit scared to use it with nobody around to help me, warn me, school me SO I read the ENTIRE owner’s manual! Then I changed from my normal summer yard work attire of a bathing suit and flip flops to jeans, a shirt, my boots and gloves! Safety first!!!


I set out to trim the pomegranate trees that are between the pergola and my car. I forgot to take a before picture but really it was just a little harder to see through it because half of the limbs were dead, brown limbs. So I cut those off so that the rest of each tree can thrive again.


Here is a before and during shot!


And a before and after! I LOVE the afters when the ground is all cleaned up and raked, makes me feel happy inside!


This is a before and after of the front of the front yard. By that I mean that of the front 2 acres of the property, there was a small front yard fenced in in front of the house. The front fence is under/behind that dead bamboo to the right (that is yellow). That fence isn’t entirely enclosed now but nonetheless, this is what I consider the “front yard”. There are 3 oddly placed trees (species undetermined) and then 1 tiny stump where one had died (originally there were 4). So I trimmed them up, pulled and raked up all the weeds! This is also an after shot of that lattice on the deck gone, yay! I hope to eventually put steps off the front of the deck because it looks odd to me that there aren’t any there and there are only steps over on the side. So I want to add steps off the front center of the deck for visitors. And of course, plant lovely flowers and bushes along those already established flower beds!


While working on the trees I got ALMOST done with what I was planning to do and the chain came off the chainsaw. I freaked out for a minute because I realized I had no clue how to put it back on. So I brought it in and resolved to figure that out later…by myself!!!



We also did our first fire. It isn’t like…a BIG deal or anything but I hadn’t been around a trash fire in several years, since I was a kid. Living in the city the last 15 years, people don’t burn their trash, only tree trimmings. I have had to make sure to sort out glass, certain plastics, cans, etc in the house and taking into consideration what goes in the trash CAN because that is what goes to the bin to be burned. This first fire we did was for all of our boxes from moving.


Riley, for some reason, enjoys fires. I’m not sure if that’s a warning sign or what, haha! So he manned the fire while I was elsewhere trimming the above trees.


Then we had another fire to do that was a bunch of tumble weeds I had gathered from the backyard. There were too many to move to another location so I decided to just burn those in the yard and that went fast, which was great!


Second successful burn pile! And…I have since done some research on interesting uses for ashes so in the future I’ll be saving these as well! #useandreuseeverything



That day, (I think you can tell we got a TON done outside) we also prepped the side of the backyard for the new above ground pool. I had wanted one as soon as we moved to the farm because I was raised either around water or with a pool and Riley has pretty much always had a pool to swim in, we just love it! So after doing some research on a good above ground pool we could put up this summer and leave up and maintain for 2-3 years, I found a good one a friend was selling at a yard sale. I got it for a good price and they also gifted me a bunch of accessories as well! Score!


So we had to rake and pull all the weeds so that the ground was flat. Then I got it wet and raked it again to try to level it out.


We put the pool up following the instructions on a YouTube video.


Riley was a big help, he was very excited!


I setup this cute thing outside on part of the pergola to hold towels and stuff for swimming. It’s a fun and cute idea but something I learned over the coming weeks was how all the wind, monsoon storms and haboobs we have out here…towels can’t stay out there in between each time we swim or else they end up in the yard.



Riley playing in the water hose while I’m standing in the shade taking pictures of the pool, lol!



We got the pool and pump all setup and the water hose in it to fill it up.


Some wrinkles in the bottom which honestly, I didn’t think were that big of a deal. Come to find out (who would have thought!?!) that once  you add more water getting those wrinkles out is impossible. The wrinkles suck because they hold dirt and they make the pool look, imperfect. So that was a big lesson learned this summer!


I put up 3 solar yard lights around the edge of the pool so that in the evening  you could see your way to the pool and it just looked cute! I also took a 4 ft tall white plastic shelf I had in the shop and put it beside the pool, right up against it, with a cement block on the bottom shelf. The purpose of this was to have a surface to place items on while in the pool like drinks, cell phones, sunglasses, etc. That worked out great for that! The cement block in the bottom did succeed in keeping the light weight shelf in place during the storms.


Riley had to get in the pool when it didn’t even have 2 feet to water in it! =)


Almost there….


Okay we couldn’t wait any longer. At this point we both dove in, aired up the floaties and had some fun!

XoXo,
Elizabeth
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06-26-15 First dust storm & first handyman project!

Within about 3 weeks of moving in I finally went and bought new flags for the property! I bought 1 for the front gate of the property to “stake my claim” and proudly display my patriotic love…for all my neighbors to know! At my house, flags are up year round, not just holidays. This one is temporarily attached to this fence until I install a 20-30 ft tall pole that I plan to cement into the ground near there at the front edge of the property.




The view coming from the house up the driveway to the gate, flag happily flying in the wind! Love it!!!


Here is where I installed the other flag on the front of the house! =)



It wasn’t long before we had our first haboob in the new house. A haboob is an Arizona dust storm. And every one I’ve ever experienced I lived up in a city and let me tell you, they are very different. Out here, they are starting and picking up speed, gathering all the loose dust and there ins’t much in the way of houses and buildings to get in their way, slow them down or break them up. So they are fierce out here! Not only that but I have strong cross winds east to west on this property and that is even evident in the ways the mature trees have grown, angled to the west. So this storm came and slammed right into us. We were safely inside but I was fascinated by how different it was to be in the country. I quickly realized that if your windows and doors aren’t new or need some work, it is seriously like the DUST BOWL and you WILL get dust in your house. Plus, both of our flags flew off the poles and ended up in the yards.



The haboob as it was coming in.


Still in the distance. With each dust storm we are learning to go out and take the flags down, make sure all windows are closed tight, make sure there are no clothes on the line, make sure there aren’t any light weight items (watering can) sitting on the front porch or else it will take off across the yard. We have also learned to not put boxes or trash items into the burn pile until we are going to actually burn them because I made the mistake once of piling up 30 of our old boxes into the trash pile to burn the next day, a storm hit and ALL 30 of those boxes were spread throughout our property! The next morning I got to go gather those up alone after taking Riley to school and burned them immediately. Lesson learned!!!

We have also learned with the age of this house that if any electronic items are plugged in and not in a surge protector, unplug it in a storm. Also, no bathing or showering in a storm as we have a metal roof. I also learned that it is near pointless to have cute light weight plastic chairs setup in the backyard in a seating arrangement because when a dust storm hits 1-3 times a week June to September in southern Arizona…those chairs WILL be relocated. So I can either replace them every time or just take the damn chairs and put them in the shop until we actually have company!!! Which is what I did! As some people might say that these situations and things we have gone through for our first few storms must suck, I totally DISAGREE! We are loving learning and learning together! With each new thing I learn as a single, 30 year old woman, I am eager to share that with my 11 year old son and he is just as happy to learn about something because he likes to be helpful. And he has accepted that we are on this journey of living in the country, doing for ourselves, fixing things, learning new ways to do things, being useful. And for the most part, he loves all of that and has had very little complaints! Well, he did complain the first 3 weeks we lived here without internet or cable! Lol! Because we just used the data on our phones and my WiFi hot spot to do stuff on my laptop which was strictly prohibited to work stuff. So he bored with no TV but we had a lot of family time playing board games, working around the house and watching DVDs. Then our appt came around finally and they setup our satellite internet and now we have basic cable. I opted to not do what we always did in the past which was to have the largest package and a DVR to record ALL those shows we loved so much. We wanted a simpler life…one that doesn’t involve a lot of time on the couch. So we have basic cable and I made sure it included the Disney channels for Riley and HGTV and Food Network for me! =D


I took on my first plumbing project! When we first moved in the master bathroom sink drain was messed up. It took me 2 trips to the store to end up with all the right materials I needed, watched several videos and had to buy 2 new tools I didn’t have. But alas, I got that baby on! And it took some muscle and plenty of curse words in my frustrations but honestly…I almost cried when it was done because I did it! I mean think about it…I’m this cute, 30 year old woman who has lived in the city the last 15 years and although I have a desire to do a lot and fix a lot…being able to fix stuff like plumbing issues had yet to happen in my life until THAT day! And I couldn’t have been more proud!


After having fixed the new drain and stopper and spending so much time below that nasty sink I just knew I had to clean up that area while it was on my mind. So I taped off the pipe and the drawers and painted the back and left side with white spray paint. Then I used a glittery metallic paint I had and painted the bottom just for fun! With the painting done, the paper removed and everything all dry I put my organizers in there! So proud of myself for that one!

XoXo,
Elizabeth
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06-16-15 Working on the backyard & inside!

Since the BACK yard (that is fenced in from the rest of the property) was such a low priority before we moved in and immediately after moving in, I didn’t do anything with it for a few weeks. So after we were settled into the house and the front grounds looked decent, I began itching to do something with the back. This is what it looked like.



There is this gap from the back of the house to a concrete slab partially covered by part of a pergola (most of it since removed) because there used to be a huge deck or sun room off the back of the house and it met up with that concrete slab. That part had to be torn out about 2 years ago due to extensive water damage. I hope to add a new deck in the future that spans across the entire back of the house and add french doors from the dining room out onto the deck. #futureplans



Just one of the few pillars left from the old pergola that somebody else (not us) tore down awhile ago.


Desert weeds galore! 



You can see in these shots patchy fence work. What it is is that a few years ago (maybe several) when the fence was originally built they put 2 feet worth of concrete blocks on the bottom and THEN built a wood fence inside or on top of that. So in total the backyard fence is about 7-8 feet tall. Which is nice for privacy but I’ve yet to figure out why they did it the way they did. Now last year a few of those panels fell down and so the unpainted portion is where they put up  new panels and none of it was ever painted. The old fencing is a light blue that was greatly aged by time, not intentionally. I haven’t figured out what I’m going to do with it yet, if I will paint it all 1 new color or if I’ll paint the new fencing to match the blue aged wood. I can’t decide if I like it or not.



Some before and after collages. Cleaned up the yard and put in some outdoor seating and stuff.





It is far from complete and just the beginning but I wanted to setup a little grill area and since I have personally NEVER grilled the only one I own is this tiny one we bought for a day we spent on the lake last summer. And that lattice you see there is the ONLY remaining lattice anywhere on the property, lol! 



 And here is why I love living in the country! A day with rain in the distance, near farmers with gorgeous rows of corn and this is the view I get when driving to town! This corn field is just about  a mile from my house and I pass it every time I go to town. I love it!


Talk about a mail box redo. That little guy was so ugly and pitiful, much less you couldn’t even see the number. So I just got some black spray repaint, sprayed down the ENTIRE thing and put new numbers on it. I want to do a whole new one in the near future but for now at least it doesn’t look hideous AND it functions as the mail woman can now see the house numbers!


Another gorgeous Arizona sunset from my front yard! I couldn’t love it any more if I tried! =)


To the inside of the house!


Things a little more setup in the living room (although the chase on the sectional was later moved)


Getting the essentials put together in my room. Love my old metal headboard and foot board and this adorable antique nightstand I got off of Craigslist. I didn’t redo that one, someone else did, but they did aqua paint and applied a crackle finish on it after. I love it! 


Dining room progress!


Oops, almost forgot! A corner in my room where I have an antique chair, an old antique phone a friend gave me, an antique sewing box kit on the floor and my Ariat cowgirl boots! =)


The built in book shelf in the living room. I have many more books than that…


Dining room buffet all setup! =D

XoXo,
Elizabeth
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06-13-15 Adapting to life in the country

As with any older home, especially one that has been through several remodels and then sat empty for a bit…you are bound to move in and then find problems just from living there and using everything. The first major problem we had was a water leak on the part of the water main that comes into the property.  Here we have city water AND a private well. The city water goes to the house and the well provides water to several water spigots throughout the property. In the future I’d like to have the well on the house as well to get rid of city water to try to go as off grid as possible BUT prior to that happening, the well will feed into a large irrigation system I plan to setup for our garden, fruit trees and many plants. But back to this story, we had a leak. I am an avid Do It Yourself-er so I began researching. I found numerous videos and articles online telling what this problem was and how to fix it.


The dogs liked the water leak, although it made a mud puddle they would still run over there everyday to lap it up.


After going to the store and buying a couple of different wrenches I couldn’t even get the damn nut off of it. It was so tight and I was afraid if I used all my force I might break or crack something since it is aged metal that has been in the sun…for forever. Not to say that I have he man strength but when you’re pushing something so hard that the whole thing is moving…I’d rather leave a problem then make a problem worse. So I relented and after a week and a half and 4 failed attempts to fix it myself, I called the seller. Within a week or so he had someone out who promptly fixed it…awesome! #thatwaseasy At least I tried!


Riley made fun of me when I bought a little Home Depot apron like this for him and me because in our adventures to try to fix that water main and work on the front gate we’d get all the way out there with the tools in our hands and if I wasn’t wearing jeans to stuff my pockets full…one or both of us would end up having to walk back to the house or shop just to get 1 tool we had forgotten or didn’t have room to carry. So, these did serve as useful and I snapped up 1 quick shot of him wearing his because he said “You better not tell anyone I ever wore this thing!” hahahahaha!


Our dogs! Our fur babies and the loves of our lives! Max is on the left, he’s our baby boy. Although he’s older than Bella and almost 5 or 6, we call him baby boy because he is scarred of everything and he’s smaller than Bella. He is a mix between Pitbul and Calhouta Leopard dog…which is a breed I had never even heard of prior to adopting him. He basically is built like a pit but has shorter legs, has a hunting dogs tail (like a pointer) and his coat looks like gray camo! He also has grayish eyes! He’s gorgeous!!!!


Bella Marie is our golden lab that my ex and I adopted while together because he wanted a female dog and one he could train to go hunting with him. So we found her and rescued her and she is THE love of MY life! I call her big girl just because she’s bigger than Max and probably the biggest dog I’ve had since I was a kid because small dogs have seemed to find their way into my life although I much prefer larger breeds. She is the most gorgeous color of blonde and also has these yellow or honey colored eyes that just…melt my heart. Her looks wouldn’t be so stunning if it weren’t for her personality of being the sweetest, most gentle dog. She listens well, is very grateful for being rescued,  absolutely adores affection and she likes to “slap hands” and give you her paw…all the time! <3 Some days she even wakes me up by giving me a “slap hands” on my face, haha! But most, this big girl loves to be outside! She’s a true lab at heart with that love of the outdoors and she’ll just run and run and run and run until she can’t breath anymore and sometimes even then we have to make her come in so she will lay down. She is my girl and sleeps on her camo bed at the foot of my bed although I do invite her in my bed when I just feel like it because…why not.


Max is Riley’s BFF and has been from Day 1. We got Max maybe about 6 months after my younger son Konnor moved to his Dad’s in Arkansas so Riley was really needing some sort of companion around because he wasn’t used to be without that little brother that followed him around everywhere and got into everything he was doing. So Mr. Max sleeps IN bed with Riley, EVERY night, without fail. It can be 8pm or 10pm and I tell Max “Time to go to bed” and he will run to Riley’s room and jump on the edge of the bed. Riley has a twin size bed now and he himself is almost as tall as me, although he’s only 11. He is about 5 foot 2 inches and so that twin bed WITH  Max in it…they are close to running out of room, lol!


My lovely Bella!



One way I began adapting or reverting back to country life is that I knew I had to start stocking up on tools, all varieties. This jig saw I found at a yard sale and once I got home I realized I had just bought MY FIRST POWER TOOL, EVER!!!! I immediately told my Mom, because I knew she’d be proud of her baby girl. Then I took this ADORABLE selfie and posted it on facebook! My Facebook friends were just as happy for me, haha! I’ve yet to use this for any project but I have several in mind where I’ll need it so I’m so glad I got it!



One thing I realized about myself a couple of years ago was just how much I enjoy doing things myself. Sometimes I’ll do something because it is cheaper than buying it or paying someone but other times I do it just because it makes me feel good. It is something about feeling capable and able to do something that really makes me feel like the most useful human being. It was one Christmas maybe 4 years ago when my Mom and I were discovering Pinterest and found a homemade facial sugar scrub and that, with the help of Pinterest, led to endless ideas of DIY heaven!!! So, after we were settled in the new house I had been wanting to try this DIY homemade Febreeze! First, let me say, I love Febreeze. It is probably a daily ritual with a son and 2 dogs for me to go through the house every morning and spray the furniture, bedding, dog beds and curtains. So…when I found this recipe I just had to try it. Honestly it is so super easy, that after the first time I didn’t even need the instructions to make it again. I will share the link to the blog with the instructions I followed:


In pulling up recipes of my homemade sugar facial scrub to send to a friend who had asked for it I came across a recipe for a DIY Sugar Shave Cream. It is all the same stuff you use for the sugar scrub but a different consistency and  you use this in place of shaving cream or soap and it is great to shave with while also giving you a light exfoliation! So of course, you skin feels amazing after! And FYI, you can never have too many mason jars on a farm or homestead! 


And here is a shot of the shave cream on the left and the facial scrub on the right, you can see how the consistency is different. These two I didn’t even put any scents or essential oils in because I didn’t have any at the time and smell is more for aromatherapy benefits. But typically I’ll do a coconut scent and then around the holidays I’ll do a peppermint scent because I love peppermint! But if you have certain things that you use aromatherapy for go with that. For example, citrus smells are mood boosters and help to reduce anxiety and the blues. If you need calming and relaxation, go with lavender. Just research which one would be best for you. Here is the link to the sugar scrub that I use most often:


In case you don’t know yet, you will soon learn I am a lover of Coconut Oil! It is one of the very few things I’ll use on my face. In fact all I put on my face is make-up, sugar scrub, coconut oil and Shea butter. I don’t buy any make-up remover, face wash, face scrub, moisturizer, etc. I use all natural and people often compliment me on my complexion and I’m quick to tell them how easy, cheap and simple it is to go all natural on your face. I think it really is the “secret” to youthful skin! Here is a good article!


So in June that is where we were on adapting to life in the country! And finding it pretty splendid, if I do say so myself! =)

XoXo,
Elizabeth
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06-05-15 Moving in weekend, alas!

Contrary to most people’s beliefs, my ex-fiance and I have managed to stay on friendly terms! So much so that he helped us move! Getting everything out of storage was a HUGE accomplishment! Because not only had we put 90% of our belongings into storage when we had left Maricopa the year before but I also personally had had maybe 30% of my personal belongings in storage for the last 5 years!!! Due to just having so much STUFF and not wanting to keep it at home or move it with me. So since I have more storage at the farm and I wanted to cut the expense of a monthly storage bill, we got it ALL out. I knew I’d have a bunch of sorting, sifting and selling on my hands because I can’t stand for anything IN my house to not be organized!



Riley was working so hard! Lol!


He actually did help but he’s also a regular 10 year old boy who “requires” frequent breaks to play games on his cell phone. That is something we need to work on!


Loading the storage building took much longer than we expected. Plus we had some stuff in Apache Junction and some stuff at the house in Maricopa where we’d been staying with our roommate. So, this venture took ALL day long. And I had planned for it to take like 4 hours, haha! So we dropped Riley off at his friends house for a sleepover and headed to the farm. We unloaded in the dark, got everything IN the house or the storage items in the shop and passed out!



Then, Riley and I spent the weekend placing furniture, starting the unpacking process, etc. This is my old record player inside the front door.


This flag goes with me everywhere. It is old and tattered so it is only for indoors.


This damn giant bean bag that apparently we have to take with us everywhere. Once we got TO the farm I realized for sure that there was nowhere this would fit in the house. Riley briefly said he’d use it in his room instead of a bed but I didn’t sign off on that! So it stayed on the front porch where it (sadly!) still sits today. I have recently concluded I’m going to sell it or give it away.

 

I’m a very organized mover/packer/unpacker. So when we brought everything in off the moving truck all furniture went, at least, IN the room where it belonged. Then all the other boxes that either didn’t state what room they went in or we were too exhausted to care, went into an organized pile of rows here in the dining room. This was my “working pile” to start with the day after moving in. Each of these had been in storage 1 to 5 years so EACH had to be gone through. As well all dishes and glassware had to be washed. It was a tedious process. I had hoped to get it done in about 3 days (as I had work stuff to get back to) but it took me about 2 weeks!


The third “bedroom” in this house is super tiny. And by super tiny I mean, SUPER…TINY! This picture is of my executive style desk and it has about 6-12 inches of clearance on each side before it touches a wall!!! On the other side of this that entire wall is floor to ceiling closets or cabinets so that’s great for storage. But I knew from the beginning this room would either be my office or a small guest room with a daybed. I used it for my office for the first few months and now I’m leaning towards getting a daybed for it and making it a cute room for visitors.


Tiny house storage tips! The hall bath that Riley and the visitors use is small BUT efficient! The only storage in the bathroom is under the sink and that’s it. So while sorting through all my organizing treasures that had been in storage I came across this contraption I once upon a time used in my pantry. I hung it over the back of the bathroom door and put rolled up towels in it. Then I found this other little guy that I had used in the pantry to put spices in so I hooked that to it and what goes in there is Riley’s items you would normally find in a medicine cabinet (b/c that bathroom doesn’t have one) like his deodorant, body spray, tooth paste, etc. This way the counters are kept clutter free, there is room under the cabinet for excess towels and actual storage.


We did have a Scentsy in there but that has since been moved. I always keep a small basket on the back of the toilet for extra TP because I don’t like those TP holders that sit on the ground…because they’re on the ground. And after this photo I hung a cute picture up behind the toilet that reminds Riley of his morning and evening routines so he doesn’t forget to brush his teeth! In the future I’d like to paint this cabinet white because the wood is super dated and worn out but for now it is totally doable.


The living room barely put together. We had this giant sectional that we had gotten when it was myself, Riley, my ex and his 4 kids and it worked perfect for a large family. It seats 8 comfortably with a chase on one end, breaks into 3 pieces and has an ottoman. When I first brought it into our small living room we left the ottoman on the porch knowing it just wouldn’t fit. After this photo was taken I actually removed the chase as well so now it is just L-shaped and seats 5-6 which is still more than we need. This is an odd shaped couch for me to attempt recovering it myself so in the near future I’ll be replacing it with a sofa and either a love seat or an arm chair. We don’t need a ton of permanent seating and we do need floor space so the furniture itself doesn’t make the room feel tiny since it’s where we spend a majority of our time. I have long had a vision of a dream living room having hard wood floors, white baseboards, white window trim, painted pale walls with white furniture and white distressed wood furniture. Then the color would be infused in the room with rugs, curtains, pillows, paintings, etc. So…the sage green sofa just won’t do for long. Since my home decor redo is a slow process…(still not done to date) it will be replaced when the time is right.



Some before and during pictures of the unpacking process. I’m a visual person so I often take photos of projects midway through to compare to the before’s to remind me of how far I’ve come, thus motivating me to cross that finish line. I’ve done that A LOT here at the farm!



Making progress! Dining room table put together, half way through the boxes!



This was once I got ALL the boxes unpacked, the buffet in place and just had a few tubs left to sort through. I hadn’t found any curtains yet and midday in June in Arizona the sun was beating through those windows like crazy. So I found sheets and blankets and threw those up over the windows for the first few weeks. It looked super corny but being IN the house and not sweating…it did the job for the time being!

Ahhhh! A complete before and after of the dining room unpacking process! Wow! I think it was 10-14 days about.



Riley man…has enjoyed exploring the property. Due to the size of the 8 acres and how so many different types of people have lived here, some with horses, some without, some with goats…oh and the fact that we don’t have city or county trash out here at all so you have to burn your trash, Riley keeps finding interesting items all over the grounds. That day he had found a wood pole and wrapped a chain around it like some gladiator or something and ran around the yard swinging it at things, lol! I was just glad he was reminding me of when I was a kid growing up in the country how we’d just go outside and FIND something to do, explore, wander around. I will be glad when that is what he eventually spends the majority of his free time doing, once video games are more a thing of the past. However, since it is 2015 and I have no desire for my son to hate me or hate living in the country I am planning a slow, gradual progression for him to adjust and learn to love the country life!



After we got everything out of storage and put the items that I knew were “storage items” in the shop, this is what we had in there. Much more went in there after the unpacking was done inside because we have a lot of camping, sports and holiday decorations which all found a semi-permanent home in the shop.


This is all for now! Many more posts and photos to come as I moved from unpacking to working on the house and ever continued work on the grounds!

XoXo,
Elizabeth
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05-26-15 Final grounds clean up before move-in!

Picture time! The end of May we spent another day at the house to clean up the grounds around the shop and driveway so that that area would be “cleared” prior to us moving in. Here are some before and after photos of that!


Standing in the shop looking out before…


Same view, before…


After the driveway to the shop was cleaned up!








Standing in the shop looking out towards the well into the driveway area before with all those weeds!




After! All the weeds got pulled or raked up and into a pile to be burnt!



Much better driveway/parking area!



Then for fun I really wanted to mark these walk way and driveway areas because it always felt odd that it was all just wide open, no shape or definition to the area. I did this purely for fun and for me to see visually if what I had in my head (and on paper) would look right in person. So I used black spray paint to create these lines. The picture above are the two lines around 4 tall trees, 5 pomegranate trees and the entry gate to the front yard. In the future I hope to a permanent border, water lines ran from the well and flowers and bushes filling this area inside the trees!


This is a shot of the two mature mesquite trees framing the shop that I love so much! For the longest time I’ve been envisioning a hammock between those two trees as a wonderful reading spot! I wanted to keep the walk way to the shop and the backyard gate open (as you can see by the lines) but have this rounded outline that compliments the canopy of both trees. So when I do put in the permanent border it will be in this shape and inside it will probably be mulch or something soft, other than just dirt.



This is the well and pump that sits right in the middle of the yard. Where I’m from well pumps have adorable little pump houses! Although I’m sure their primary function is coverage and preventing weather and sun damage, I also just think they’re super adorable. So the goal here is to eventually have a Pump House that looks like a tiny 4×4 little shed with a door and window, maybe even shutters. Just something that covers this but looks cute. And the Pump House will have a few bushes around it. 



This is a view of when you pull up the driveway and you’re facing the house but you look to the right, there is a big gate over there that goes into the open field. The gate needs to be repaired but I imagine one day when I’m using that field for horses or cows that having a gate on this side will be beneficial so I want to make sure that when I redo the driveway there is a pre-planned option to GO that way, as well as to the left to go to the house and shop.

Next blog post is about moving day!! Yay!

XoXo,
Elizabeth
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05-23-15 Deck lattice removal & yard clean up

I knew we had some things to clean up around the property before we moved in because it had been on the market for about 6 months and the last time I had been there to clean up the weeds had been about 2 months before. On the day we actually were to move in I wanted my only concern to be moving in and unpacking. So Riley and I spent some time at the property before moving day working on some things.


From the first day I set foot on this property a couple of  years ago I hated this lattice on the deck on the front of the house. If you want privacy then I guess it’s a good idea but I like looking out to the yard or the mountains and enjoying the view. So it had to come down! And Riley man is always up for demo work!






We brought our puppies out to the farm to see what they’d think about it. And on this first day that Riley and I spent about 4 hours there, our yellow lab Bella would not sit still. She ran her heart out around that whole property, all over the place and back and forth. Now Max, our pitbull mix, is much lazier! He would follow her and check things out but he’d end up on the porch with us before long.




The lattice is down! Yay!!!




A before and after of the same area! I can’t imagine why anybody would ever put that up.



Riley helping blow the huge tumbleweeds after I raked them up.



Working away!


Side yard clean up done!




Here is a nice before and after of the small yard side! It was BAD before!

XoXo,
Elizabeth
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May 22, 2015 A decision was made!

In mid May 2015 the seller of “the little farm” approached me with an offer. The house had been on the market since December and not selling, much to my dismay as the listing agent. So we would often chat on the phone about what we could do, why it wasn’t selling, etc. One day while on the phone he asked me if I’d live in the house! He said he didn’t want to rent it out but he knew how much time I spent there, how I’d go over once every month or two and do weeds MYSELF, keep the porch swept off. He knew I was a country girl and he also knew that we had moved around a few times in the last year trying to find our place in life. I was actually shocked by the idea initially, I guess because I hadn’t thought of it myself. I talked to a friend of mine and he said “Yeah, do it, you will love it out there, that’s where you belong anyway isn’t it?” So I got to thinking about it and then before I made my decision I brought Riley out to see the house. He had been there a time or two with me but never to see the house as a potential  new home for us. So that day we headed out and went to the house. I took a few photos that day of the “front yard” because while there I got to thinking about how exciting it’d be to live on an 8 acre property and all the different things we could do and animals we could have! Here are those photos!


The front gate to the property with my sign still up!



The “front yard” as I call it encompasses about 2 of the 8 acres and include the part that the house sits on. The back 6 acres are an L shaped part of the property fenced in for horses. So the front yard is large…and just wide open and dirt.


This is right inside the gate and to the right.


Out in the middle of the front yard is the well and well pump.


NE corner of the property


East side of the property


Me standing in the road, across the street from the house to take a picture with the house, property and my sign behind me! =D I was excited, in case you can’t tell!

So, I talked to Riley about it and he was going to be finishing up 5th grade within the week so we decided that is what we’d do. I talked to the seller and the house came off the market. We drew up a lease purchase agreement as he has some loose ends to tie up with the property and I have some things to do with my credit before I buy it. Part of our agreement was that I would get to live in it for a very reasonable rent payment and in return I would work on the property and grounds in a way that would better the home yet not drastically change anything before I do the actual purchase.

XoXo,
Elizabeth
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