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!

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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!

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