Coffee Biz Update: Walls Up!

We have begun! As many of you know we are trying to get our coffee business up and running. It is a very exciting prospect but one that requires a lot of hoops to jump through. We decided to take the plunge and go for it despite hurdles. We have been cleared by all agencies to begin renovation!
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The section in the upper left hand quadrant will become the “roasting room”. We have had some exciting finds through Craigslist and thrift stores and have not paid full price for anything yet! We got all of the stainless steel sinks we need (3 of them) for $30! I have found doors, flooring, countertops, & ac unit for 50% off or more. A few more things to hunt down and then we are pretty much stocked!

This past weekend we had a wonderful bunch of help and the guys were able to get the walls up and most of the electrical work done. It feels somewhat surreal. I never would have dreamed of starting and owning a business. It’s crazy! However, things just keep coming down the pipe for us that helps us to confirm that we are on the right path. We already have some prospects of small shops and stores that are interested in selling our coffee. Anyways, it’s a wild journey, but we are hanging on for the ride!
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It always shocks me how projects take longer than I expect. We have a long way to go, but hey at least we’re goin! If you want to come help give us a shout! Hey, we might even be able to hook you up with some of the good joe.

Other posts in this series:

1. Tips to Start a Business in North Carolina
2. Coffee Biz Update: The Water Works

Spring Project List

No baby boy yet. Guess he’s just bulking up. Daddy doesn’t want no scrawny boy. //Kidding…//No it’s prob all this good food I’m feeding him. I wouldn’t want to leave somewhere that was feeding me such good food and making someone else gain weight. Who are we kidding here?

Anyways. Spring projects. Here’s my list.

1. Birth this child. While I love being pregnant and all the benefits (that do outweigh that difficulties) these last few weeks have been really hard. From a medical standpoint I am being treated as a sick patient, while not really exhibiting any signs of said “sickness.” So that has been challenging for me as it has meant a lot of invasive medical procedures that I would otherwise not sign up for. And while it would not have been my chosen path, I am thankful for all the support that my husband, family, friends and of course Jesus, have given me. Ya’ll are specials. 🙂

Me at 38.5 weeks!

2. Get power to Alex’s garage. This project has been on the back burner for a few months as we have been navigating through all this bojangled medical stuff. Nevertheless, we knew if we didn’t start soon it would get left on the back burner…and we know how those projects go don’t we? Like the time I left some vegetables lightly steaming on the back burner only to forget about them and return later to vegetable soup. Brilliant! Anyways. We picked up some materials for the project and Alex got working on it this past weekend. That boy is so dang smart. It amazes me all the various talents he has. My head is swimming between all the discussion of voltz, amps, circuits, sub panels, conduit, wires, overhead lights, GFCI outlets, fried chicken, direct bury, shop lighting, etc, etc, etc. (Ok, the fried chicken part was just to get your attention in case you fell asleep). Anyways, girl aint got a clue about this stuff and boy somehow figures these things out. He’s brilliant.

The man at work in his man-cave garage.
And of course no project is complete without the sweet tea!

3. Get garden in! Aye, this project is again intimidating me as I feel unprepared and uneducated as to what, when, where how you are suppose to actually grow a good garden. I tried my best to research and plan, yet I still come up with the same questions. I just really need to be able to plant seeds in the garden and have them grow. Is that too much to ask?! But alas, I shall persevere and keep trying again and again and again until something works! I did plant a few seeds this week, before this round of stupid-wont-go-away winter weather. We’ll see if anything survives.

Lemon Tree enjoying one of the spring days we had so far!

4. Build cold frames for seedlings. I REALLY need this as I have terrible luck growing seedlings in the house. I know all of my problems (inadequate lighting, leggy plants, not hardening off appropriately). My hopes is that the cold frames would really help these problems!! Luckily, I have some old windows from my dad’s garage so we just need to get some lumber and make some simple frames. Hopefully, this can get done before I need to get in some summer seeds for sprouting (which is probably like tomorrow…)

5. Get more worms for my vermicomposting bin. Did you miss my post about my new worm friends? They seem to be happy but I obviously have a lot more kitchen scraps than I have worms, so I need to get some more. Can’t overfeed the little dudes.

6. Secret project soon to be revealed. Stay tuned…you don’t want to miss this one 🙂

So that’s my plan for spring. Do-able. Affordable. We can do it!! I do kinda get this sinking feeling with the weather though that somehow we might just skip spring all together and go from this cold, wet winter to a blasted hot summer. I’ve been complaining far too much about the weather lately though. My apologies, I know we all feel the same way. I’ll stop talking about it. I just want more days in the sun so I can get my freckle tan on…don’t you think my feet are far too white?

You got any projects planned for the spring? Do share!!

Summer Garden Wrap Up

Just thought I would check in here…been a while. While we have been keeping absolutely busy, its all on the same projects. So nothing too exciting or new. The fence is nearly  done. Maybe a few more Saturdays worth of work. We are incredibly happy with how it is turning out!

My summer garden is pretty much wrapped up. I had to pull all the squash and pumpkins out due to the bad squash bug infestation. I happy with how our yellow squash and zucchini plants did…under the circumstances they grew nicely and we had a nice yield!

The tomato plants are still growing and are finally producing some tomatoes. I am having trouble getting them red however. It seems as soon as they start to turn red, the bugs infest them. Sigh. This is such a learning process!

My cucumber plants are doing surprisingly well…after I thought I would have to pull them out due to cucumber beetle damage, they kinda bounced back and are making some great fruit now! Not the prettiest cuke, but they are a lovely sweet variety.

The pumpkin vines gave me one pumpkin. Cute.

The acorn squash did alright, although I think I had some strange cross pollination issues because of the color they turned out! Haha, well I did save seed from last years squash! Oh well, it tasted good!

A couple of peppers so far…

OHH and SWEET POTATOES! I think I am most excited about those. They are growing nicely and we have even been surprised with a few early ones. There is SO much intense satisfaction digging up a beautiful potato from underground. Leandra has gone nuts over this! She loves it! I think we will be bountifully blessed with sweet potatoes this year. No complaining here!

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I’m trying to make preparations for the fall garden, but since I am so new to this all…I don’t really know what I am suppose to be doing. I set some seeds a week or so ago in the garden, but of course they didn’t do anything. I have some seedlings started in the kitchen and I am trying to harden them off better this time…but we will see…not having good luck with either thing really so far…

I am also trying to arrange to pick up some compost and manure and spread over the unused part of the garden for next spring. I desperately need this to happen, but we are still struggling with the whole no truck, no trailer issue. We need a farm truck! Anyone have an extra one??

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Hopefully we will have some new projects around the homestead soon to post about!!


Fence Started and a Garden Update

So much has been going on lately…guess that’s summertime for ya! We finally broke ground for the fence on Saturday. Alex and his Dad dug by hand a few (9) of the fence posts. They sunk each one in concrete. For the rest of the fence (between the 4×4) we have T-Posts. It’s coming together and it is so exciting to even have gotten this little bit done! We got the front section posts in (that’s the picture) then posts to about 96 feet back. In total we have 40 4×4’s to sink and about 80 T-Posts. It’s gonna be a while before this is done!! Nevertheless we are so blessed that we were able to do the fence, we were not sure we could afford it at first!

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The garden is coming along nicely. Still slower than I would have liked and hoped, but I got what I wanted…at least ONE thing out of it!! So far we have gotten three zucchini, lots of basil and one cucumber. I am immensely blessed! I probably walk out to the garden twice a day to admire it, pick off the bugs, swat at the mosquito’s and say “Thank You Lord!” I have full confidence that this garden will be much more successful next year as the soil is still trying to rebuild its nutrients from commercial farming. We desperately need some more compost for the garden and need to finish expanding it, even if we don’t plant in it right away. Hopefully some kind of vehicle with a trailer is in the near future soon so we can pick up these needed bulky items!

Tiny little pepper plant, but it’s goin for it!
Heirloom Cuke Plants!
Not real sure yet what this is…a saved seed from some kind of pumpkin from last year!
My wild pumpkin and squash plants!

As far as other news…let’s see…the garage is done! We got the final inspection but never actually heard if we passed or not…so we are assuming no news is good news!

Alex scored an awesome deal on Craigslist last week. We have been in desperate need of a gas powered (cuz no extension cord is going back 300 feet!) weed eater/whacker/trimmer…whatever its called . He saw this gas 4 cycle weed eater on craigslist and the guy said it wasn’t working. To make a long story short- Alex ends up picking the thing up from this guy and the guy lived literally next door to one of our close friends. He pays $25 for a what was once a $250 trimmer. Alex has fixed some small engine type carburetors thingys (ya see how much I know!) before in the past so he was going to chance it and see if he could fix it! So he gets it home and notices that there is no oil in the oil chamber and its bone-dry. Wondering if maybe this was the problem, he puts some oil in it, fills it with gas and miraculously it starts right up and runs great! Thank you LORD for providing this need! AND for only $25!!! This is a right miracle folks!

That’s it for now. Kids are a screamin, mama needs to get a cookin. Oh, BTW, I am loving, loving, all the fresh vegetables this year. This is the first year I have really strived to buy local and I have been hittin up the farmers markets like crazy! I even found a local source (down the street!) for eggs! Love summertime. Love it.

Ok, I’m done!

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Garage Finished! Garden Growing!

I am happy to announce that the workshop/garage is finished! We are still awaiting on the final inspection, so there may be a few little tweaks here and there. Alex still needs to build all of his tool benches, cabinets, etc but the rest is done!! It feels like forever ago that we started this project and it sure has been a long, hard project. It turned out fantastic though and is going to be a great space for Alex to build me all my requested tables, chairs, cabinets, etc!

Garage is Built!

The garden is finally growing too! It was slow to take off, but I think it is finally getting somewhere! I have my very first zucchini growing! I am so happy and elated that everything didn’t die! I find that it is such a joy to watch something I grow from a small seed mature into an edible, nourishing food! I can honestly savor those first bites of vegetables out of the garden with such great appreciation. I went ahead and bought a few more tomato plants the other day because I just felt like 3 tomato plants wasn’t enough. I wasn’t able to successfully grow my tomatos from seed, but I think that was because I didn’t start the seedlings early enough in the season and I think they went through transplant shock when I planted them. I am learning now! Everything else growing was from seed, with the exception of my sweet potato slips. I also replanted some carrot seeds to see if those will take since I didn’t have luck earlier in the season with those. We will see!!

Other than that we have just been busy with little projects here and there. The next big project on the horizon is the fence! We have bought all the materials for the fence and are just waiting for our farmer friend to come out and plow the land for us. Currently we are about waist high in weeds, so we really need his help to get those weeds under control so we can mow our yard with our mower. The rest he will take care of for us as we talked about in a previous post. But…we are still waiting on that, so fence can’t go up until that happens. Hopefully this week he will have time to do that!!

That’s about it for now!

Our First Month (and some) [Homestead Update]

I thought it would be appropriate to try to keep track of how things are going and how we are progressing on our homestead goals. We’ve been here a little over a month now (moved in April 20th). Feels like its been longer than that!

-Our biggest project has definitely been building the garage/workshop. We are finally wrapping it up, just a few more things to do on it. I know I am pleased with how it turned out, and I know Alex is ecstatic about finally having a place to store all of his tools. I will be so happy when they are out of my living room!! I am looking forward to him being able to build me some bookshelves or other projects for things around the house! Now we need a table saw!

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-The second biggest project has been getting the garden in. I know this is a learning year so things aren’t moving along as quickly as I had hoped, but all is not lost yet! My plants are finally growing, and I am hoping they will “take off” here shortly. We have been getting plenty of rain and my woodchips are working beautifully I hardly ever have to water. I did go an get a load of mushroom compost last week and spread a few inches on the garden, I am hoping that will help them along. So far I have 3 tomato plants, about 7 squash plants, 4 cuke plants, 11 sweet potato plants, 6 pepper plants, a couple acorn squash, watermelon, and pumpkins growing. Oh and a basil plant. I have some seedlings to plant as well that are a few more tomatoes and some more herbs. Overall, I am happy with how things are going!

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-We are mostly unpacked, all except books really and craft stuff. I need shelves badly! We are still trying to figure out what to do with our spare bedroom, which is currently where all of our storage stuff is. I think we are going to turn it into a craft/sewing room for now until we need it for more kids. LOL (no that’s NOT a hint). It would be nice to have an area where I can set up sewing projects and not have to clean it up to eat dinner on the same table! However, I need another table and some storage bins of some sort. So that’s a work in process.

-Grass (or rather weeds) are finally growing which is helping take over the MonroePost mud lake. The front yard is almost covered and the backyard is getting there. We have some low lying areas on the sides of the house which get flooded in rain, so they are pretty much mud all the time. I think we will need a few loads of dirt to truly remedy that problem. The septic area is not really growing anything, and I think that’s mainly due to the high sand content. They brought in loads of sand instead of dirt. Sooo, we might just have to keep working on that area.

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-I got my clothesline built (or rather Alex built my clothesline). So far I love it! Its so nice to save energy and have sun dried clothes! I think hanging clothes does a better job than even ironing Alex’s work shirts! So windy out here, wrinkles don’t stand a chance! Yesterday I washed and hung sheets for the first time. Quintessential country living there. Haha!

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-We have also been talking with the farmer who cares for the land around us (and who once cared for these 5 acres). We have decided to sublet the back part of our land (about 2.75 acres of it) to this farmer and allow him to care for it for a while. This was a tough decision as we really don’t like what he will be growing, but we have decided its the best plan. We have a long journey ahead of us before we can really care for 5.5 acres by ourselves without a real tractor or a cow or something. We are letting him use the back and leaving a good 300 feet from the house before he will start planting. We felt comfortable with this distance. I have voiced my concerns about the pesticides ect to the farmer and he is extremely understanding and cautious. He is very supportive of my gardening methods and will do his best to support me. He even said if they wind direction was wrong (towards my house) he will never spray. I felt better knowing that he was supportive of me and cared about the safety of my family. All that being said, we knew that moving to the country, we would be experiencing commercial farming. There is really no way around it. I am glad to at least have met the farmer (he literally came to my house!) and feel that he is supportive of my values. He even invited me to come down and visit us at his house down the road. I like that. I will forgive the fact that he is planting death seeds in my yard. For now. Someday, I really hope that we can care for all 5 acres and plant our own crops, etc. Maybe goats can help us care for the land. Who knows! So much going on! For now, this will be a convenient way for us to not get overrun with weeds and also a little bit of extra needed income.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Projects, Priorities, and Pictures [Homestead Update]

I feel like my head is still spinning in circles. SO.MUCH.TO.DO.

Plenty of time…

It’s all just a matter of priority and fighting the “I want it NOW” ‘tude issue. Me with a ‘tude? Never! Anyways. After solving those attitude issues, I am feeling so much peace living in the country. I know I’ve already posted that like 800 times on here. But seriously, my favorite part of the day is watching the sunset. I literally walk around the house looking out every window watching the slow (actually rather fast) descent of the sun behind the tree line on the horizon. Today, we saw something totally cool. I was admiring my new clotheline Alex built me and I looked at the back of our house and saw a bright light through the doorway. The sun was literally dead center in our front door blazing right through the back door. It was pretty cool.

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Aside from awesome sunsets and sunrises, full moons, bird chirps, frogs, awaiting the cicadas to hatch-life is pretty slow right now. We are finding peace together as a family. I usually always wanted to go out and do something with somebody (still love all my somebody’s FYI) but now I am perfectly happy to be at home with my family and the life we have created. It’s a long road ahead and already a lot of work, but all the perks are really worth it (except for the day I got stupid sick and had to wait an hour for Alex to get home!)

Alright enough with the mushy stuff. Here’s the homestead update from this week.

-Erica Picked 30lbs of strawberries and froze some and made jam in my new canner. (Christmas present!)

-Alex Built a clothesline (yippee!!)

-Installed a cheap-o, yet usable compost pile out of some chicken wire and stakes.

-Got the garage wrapped, fascia put on and hopefully shingling it tomorrow!

-Researching caring for Runner Ducks for eggs instead of chickens. Dawww aren’t they adorable!?? Gah! I want them bad…but again with priorities. Sigh.

-Praying that my little garden plants will make it! So far I have planted zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and some sweet potato plants I got on super sale! Everything is looking ok, but not growing super quickly or anything. You know how some peoples garden grows like overnight? Seriously. I am really struggling not be to jealous of peoples gardens that are growing better than mine. Never thought I would be jealous of something like that. Oh well…I told myself that this was a “learning year” anyways and not to be disappointed if I got bad results. Still hoping that won’t be the case and I will get a least SOMETHING out of this garden. I feel like I planted my heart in these little plants and if they die…well, ya know. I get sad. N-E-WAYS.

Alright, I’m wiped. Can you tell?

Ya’ll are due for a recipe here soon. I’ll get on that I promise!

Clothesline! 3 rows 30 ft long
Clothesline! 3 rows 30 ft long
Ghetto compost pile. Hey don't judge!
Ghetto compost pile. Hey don’t judge!
Sweet potato mound
Sweet potato mound
Sweet sunset
Sweet sunset



Garage Building Continued!

Here’s the latest on the garage progress!

The framing is done and the sheathing is done! We had a fantastic weekend. The weather looked like it was going to be rainy all weekend, and we woke up on Sat morning to a total downpour. However, by about 9am, the rain moved out and we had a nice, cool and cloudy day (but no rain!). It did not rain that night at all. Sunday morning we woke up to the sun shining beautifully. The guys worked during church (gasp!) because we needed to finish this project for the weekend so that we could get it inspected. It didn’t rain at all Sunday either! We were super blessed with good weather! We also had the help of some dear friends and Erica’s brothers which was a blessing!

Next up we need to get the tyvek wrap on and the roof felt. Then we can put the siding and shingles on! Getting there slowly!

Gardens, Garages, & Clouds

You know when we are quiet here on the blog we are busy around the new homestead with the various tasks at hand! Sorry to leave you hanging. Alex started building his garage last Saturday and it is coming along quite nicely. We had a nice crew of guys (Dads and brother) working and they have gotten footer dug and foundation poured as well as constructed all the walls. This coming weekend we will finish paneling the walls and put the roof on! Yay! We were blessed with some amazing weather on Saturday and dodged storms throughout construction. We did have a couple of quick pours later in the evening after they wrapped everything up. It was an awesome day.

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My garden is coming along. Although, I feel like I planted my heart and I am anxiously awaiting the seeds I planted to sprout. I went out this morning and found one teeny tiny little green sprout (I think it was a beet). I literally felt my heart leap! Gosh, this gardening stuff requires such faith and trust. It is so outside of my control. I did plant a few seedlings that my mom gave me and those are thriving nicely. I also started some tomatoes, eggplants and marigolds in some egg cartons and those are sitting on the kitchen table. My marigolds have sprouted already! I am just praying for a harvest of something this year, I would be so blessed to have produce from my own garden!

We are loving this new, quiet, slowed down, life so much! Its so amazing to watch the sunset every morning out the kitchen window. Watching the sunset on the front porch. Watching the thunderstorms blow in and then blow out again. It’s crazy. The views are just incredible. I feel so inspired to cook, clean, garden, & pray! The girls are loving it too. We call Lea our mud-bug because she LOVES to play in the dirt and mud. I am SO THANKFUL for my mudroom/laundry room with the door to outside…that is a sanity saver. Most days she is bathing twice a day because she has covered herself in mud. I will be glad when we can finally get some grass growing in the mudpit outside!

Check out these awesome pictures!