Before we moved here, the chicken coop’s prior life was as a tool shed and workshop. It is 15×10 with a window across from the heavy door. Doug stapled wire fencing over the window to keep predators out and chickens in. No raccoon can open that door in the wee hours of night for chicken snacks. Rafters and shelves allow the chickens to roost. It makes an ideal coop.
It is surrounded by dog panel fencing so that we can keep them confined near their coop if we are leaving or if there is risk of predators. That opens into a huge pasture for them to free range and find bugs and accept bread thrown over from the neighbor’s balcony.
It was painted blue to match the house. That must have been some years ago, because the ply-board and planks had begun to show through the chipped and faded paint. I went out one early spring day and began to paint it orange. It was not the shade I intended and I ran out of paint three sides in, so it has sat, a horrid orange and faded blue exterior with chipped paint gables, for months.
I have the most fabulous wwoofer at the moment. You shall get to know Annie and her lively spirit over the next few weeks. She helped me paint yesterday. The goats assisted, as goats love to do, and we totally transformed the derelict looking coop into a gorgeous outbuilding. The goats are now the same color as the coop.
The chickens approve of their new haven. It is easy enough to transform and freshen any building or wall. Just grab a goat or two and a brush. We even freshened up the farm sign while we were at it!
It figures that three different neighbors wanted to come out and talk to me yesterday as I was painting. I had chosen items of clothing that a little paint wouldn’t bother. So I brushed pumpkin orange paint onto the chicken coop whilst wearing red and green Christmas pajama bottoms, purple galoshes, a tie-dye shirt, a Mexican woven hoodie (until it got too hot), and a big, floppy yellow sun hat.
1- Paint Outbuildings and Trim
If it is going to be over 45 degrees for most of the day, go on out and paint. Sheds, chicken coops, window sills, and barns all need a little touch up or full paint job and this time of year is a perfect time to do it as we gear up for farming season.
I only had enough paint to do three sides of my chicken coop so I will finish it next week. It will be quite a transformation!
2- Create trellises
Darned if I could find the twine, so I grabbed leftover yarn from a Christmas project. It will work just fine. Peas are light so they don’t need a heavy frame to grow on. Dowels and twine (or yarn) work well to create a trellis for peas. Ideally, trellises will be put into the garden before the seeds are planted, or if you forgot (like me), then before the plants begin to sprout.
Dowels will go every four to six feet along rows of peas. Two or three rows of string are knotted on. Dowels and string can be reused year after year or disassembled and used for something altogether different.
3- Keep planting cold crops
A great friend of mine read my post about planting spring crops and she went out to plant but decided against it in case of frost. We have all been so ingrained that planting before the last frost date shall bring devastation and dead plants, but some plants aren’t bothered in the least by a little frost or a bit of snow. They prefer it to hot temperatures. Hot temps make them bolt (go to seed), so y’all get out there and plant your spring crops! Click here to see the list of plants to plant now.
Based on the recommendations on the back of the package, I will plant every two weeks. If the seed packet says to plant as soon as the soil can be worked, then plant early. Otherwise it will say mid-spring or late spring.
4- Take care of your plant starts
If you haven’t started your tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants indoors, better hop to it! Mine have sprouted already. Mist well with a water bottle every few days if they are covered. Once they outgrow their cover, take it off and check moisture regularly. They should be lightly damp, but certainly not soaked.
5- Prepare garden beds for summer
But, it’s only April 1st, you say? Y’all know how fast time goes and in six sweet weeks all of the summer crops are going in at practically the same time, and six weeks goes by pretty fast. It sure is nice to have beds ready to go.
I love Spring and if it is a nice day out, I just want to be outside soaking up lost Vitamin D from my winter indoors. Spring is filled with hope and joy…and sore muscles and projects! What are you working on right now?
Well, I hate to toot my own horn, but I have some pretty darn good gift ideas for y’all! Whether you want to make something homemade, give the gift of a career or health change, or want something you can click and order, look no further. I have some great ideas for you!
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My trio of herbal remedy teaching books and recipes are a great addition to any bookshelf. The Herbalist Will See You Now; Your Complete Training Guide to Becoming and Working as an Herbalist is my comprehensive text and work book. The Homesteader’s Pharmacy; The Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Herbal Pharmacy is my best seller by far! It contains dozens and dozens of my original recipes from my first apothecary including how-to instructions. And my newest book, The Medicine Person’s Guide to Herbalism; Healing with Plant Medicines, Stones, Animal Spirits, and Ceremony is filled with all new recipes and how-to plus insight on how look deeper into issues and other ways to heal a person. Go to Author Katie Sanders to order all three!
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Don’t have cash to purchase much this year? Me neither! So most of the gifts I am giving are homemade. I would love to show you what I am making but my children might read my blog! But here are some ideas all the same: Click on the links to find instructions.
When we moved into this house two years ago (my goodness, time flies!), the walls were a dingy, rental white with chipped grey trim. I have never been a fan of white. I rarely utilize white. I adore color!
I have kept a notebook of magazine clippings of loved décor for the past fifteen years or so. As I flipped through the worn pages I discovered something; every single room had white/cream walls. All of them.
“I’m surprised you are painting the walls white,” Shyanne responded on text after I sent her the first wall completed.
As soon as we moved in two years ago, I painted the walls warm yellow with a library brown trim and they were lovely. This house is nearly one hundred years old, adobe, build in a proper style where the windows and eves are set just right so that in the summer the sun is above the house and in the winter, the sun floods through the windows. I can touch the ceilings. This house wasn’t built by tall people, y’all. The result is that it feels almost cave-like sometimes and remarkably cozy. With all my bright colors and plants though, it felt cluttered.
So, what the heck, right? I went and chose a crisp with a touch of cream, white paint and set to work New Year’s Eve. It is amazing how dirty walls get over the years and the white paint was like a cleansing. All of the colors of my southwestern things just pop against the new gallery walls and the space feels bright and wintery. Cool and enlivening. New and fresh.
Finances and a very large puppy mean that we aren’t getting new furniture very soon but these pieces, dingy and a bit torn as they may be, become transformed with a few bright blankets.
“What do I want to devote space to?” A very good question for the new year. For me, it is my work. With all my beautiful items at the ready, I don’t have to be digging through closets and bags to find what I need for ceremony!
Next to it I placed a table with my curiosities. My bird nests and feathers.
With the house nice and bright and filled with southwestern color and all my bright paintings displayed, I feel light and calm, happy and inspired. So white was the right color for me all along!
With a bit of paint, some blankets to use as throws, and a rearrangement of furniture, you can have a whole new living space designed for what you want to make space for.
Some of the greatest transformations come from friends, a box of donuts, and a couple of gallons of paint. One such transformation took place Saturday at our new store set to open in less than two weeks. While the great state fair parade marched down the main street, we gathered with friends and began painting.
When I first stepped into the space I saw through the looming clutter, the holes in the walls, the bedding in the back. I saw past the white drywall and the forty year old linoleum that destroyed the wood floors that are over a century old. I could see it.
My daughter, Emily, and I are on a great adventure opening a homesteading supply shop two miles from my house in Pueblo, Colorado. We are taking our beloved farm name, Pumpkin Hollow Farm, as its moniker. My first thought was to paint the walls a light orange but that was quickly vetoed. We brainstormed old fashioned colors, ones that might have been seen in an old hotel. Grey/blue fit the bill and a broody, crisp grey became the trim.
We began to paint the trim around the huge picture windows grey and found that it was quickly diffusing the light. The whole front end of the shop became cream colored. We brightened cobwebs and grease stains and a hundred years of paint.
The doors needed a little showcasing. We agreed on a lovely adobe orange.
Emily went to work creating a pumpkin patch along the front of the building. You can see it from blocks away and it adds whimsy and character to our store front.
Oh, there is much to do still, but we were able to hug friends, step back and look at the change, the honoring of an old store, and envision a lively shop with memories to be made.
I am an advocate of using what we have. I have a beat up couch and a beat up futon and some beat up chairs and a giant puppy who likes to sleep on them. I have hand me down furniture that can easily move from room to room to create a different look.
The newly white bookshelf matches its mate now. I set it at an angle in the corner to create a smooth appearance to my mini office space complete with vintage secretary. This L-shaped living and dining room in my hundred year old house lends itself to separate areas for reading, or conversation, or entertaining.
Tomorrow I will show you what fabulous finds you can get at antique stores, garage sales, craigslist, or thrift stores that still work in this day and age and make life so peaceful and satisfying in their gentle whirrings and lack of electric usage, but there are some things I get new. Unfortunately from Walmart, but there it is. It would be ridiculous to use vintage quilts on our furniture. They are best left to beds. These quilts were twenty dollars and they are surprisingly well made and hold up as farmer’s markets table cloths and chair covers.
Even though the twinkly lights don’t look that great during the day time, come dusk they transform our house into an enchanted fairy land. They are our sole light along with kerosene lamps and candles in this space.
The Hoosier was hiding in the kitchen. The Farmhouse sign was hiding in the kitchen as well. They looks so lovely as the first things you see when you walk in our front door.
The Hoosier has been outfitted as a bar. The cupboard holds glasses. The flour case holds bottles. The drawer holds openers and tea candles.
The side table and mirror have been outfitted as a wine stand. The magazine rack holds food magazines.
The black table lends itself to drama and simple items, like birds nests and natural items found outdoors. Such perfect decoration and it can change with the seasons.
I moved a table that was in the living room into the kitchen and put a double rack on top to hold all of my cookbooks. A simple solution to dissuade the puppy from eating my cookbooks and it is beautiful in its highlight of the lamp, books, and coffee grinder.
Growing where planted and gratitude are important and the frugal homesteader can do a lot with paint and a little creativity. There is no place like home! See you tomorrow for part 3!
I had good intentions when I painted it the first time! Instead of a lovely, muted pumpkin orange, the ten dollar table from a yard sale looked more like it was showing its football pride. (I love Broncos as much as the next Coloradan but not in the kitchen!) The orange paint started peeling off right away because yours truly didn’t sand the top.
The lovely young woman staying with me donned an apron and helped me redecorate and restore. She may as well be one of my children. We sanded off the old paint, which didn’t take much, and roughed up the surface.
I wanted a chalkboard top. We looked and looked for chalkboard paint in the aisle and could only find spray paint. Then we saw “chalk style” paint. I thought it was a strange way to say chalkboard paint but we took it home all the same and applied it to the table. It was watery. And then I remembered what chalk paint is! It is like white wash. It adds a vintage look to furniture.
I painted the legs. The table has been transformed from football to farmhouse!
Now, one quart of Country White paint- which is just a touch cream- makes all the difference in the world to cast offs. Take this brown bookshelf. I have never loved the brown. I always meant to paint it.
It is amazing how much different it looks and how comforting and country it now looks.
A brown side table and vintage mirror got the same treatment.
I will show y’all tomorrow how these pieces, along with a little chaos and hard work, transformed my house into a beautiful farmhouse!
I don’t know who thought of the color combination of dingy dorm room white with pukey grey trim but ever since I moved in I have wanted to change it. I just didn’t know what colors to paint our bedroom. I painted the living room yellow with brown trim, and the guest room the lightest hint of pink with brown trim. I wanted my room to have a particular feel.
Romantic, not bright, but not too dark, just warm and comfortable.
I decided on Autumn Red which is a dark red but has hints of rose pink in it. The same brown trim that I used throughout the house unifies the spaces.
The gorgeous red, of course, ended up matching my chili ristra in the corner, and highlighted my painting of our dream house in New Mexico.
The same trim color was used to paint the door, dresser and mirror to give them a vintage appeal and they just match the cheeky buffalo head. I painted the edge of the dresser red. I simplified the wall hangings.
The cats were climbing up the back of the headboard to see out the window while we were sleeping so by taking the mirror off of the dresser, I was able to give them a place to bird watch and let me sleep in peace! Moving furniture around can make the space more functional.
Geraniums brighten the space.
The room is beautiful. It feels like we are inside of a heart. It is beautifully restorative, like a cave. And again, a simple can of paint can completely renovate, restore, and change the feel of any room.
The sign has returned to its natural place, in front of our home. It was stored at the friends’ houses we stayed at after losing our rental farm. It went to the shop and stood proudly out front, backwards, with the words “OPEN” painted on it. I love the name Pumpkin Hollow Farm. So, I painted over the OPEN sign on the back and brought it home. It’s good to be back.
The other day we busied ourselves with chores. Oh chores, how we missed thee! Doug hung a clothes line for me, I washed and hung two loads of laundry, he mulched the tree he just planted, I painted pumpkins on the mailbox, and he attached the sign. It’s really good to be back. I can’t wait to see the pumpkins growing…