We received the results of our soil test back and they recommended we switch the location of the vegetable garden and lavender. Done. Although we did not test for fruit, specifically, we are going to plant our fruit trees near the duck run (where the lavender was going to go) and plant a strip of 16 lavender plants in the place we tested for “vegetable garden” . If the fruit does not work out so well this year, we will test again next year and adjust accordingly.

Soil test results

The hoop house is up and all of our old winter-crop seeds are in. After they were planted, I came across an article about planting in February to catch the longer days of sun. If nothing sprouts this round of planting, we will try again in February.

Ahh, the landscaping rocks…

With the landscaping rocks we were able to move from the old house, we edged out a shade garden next to the garage. There is plenty of Rose of Sharon and some honeysuckle that has been trimmed back to provide cover for whatever we plant underneath. Although those two plants are not our favorites, we don’t want to just yank it all out and leave the hillside exposed to erosion, so we will keep them pruned in the meantime, since those both have a tendency to get out of control if left to their own devices. I envision hostas, low-grasses, daffodils, hyacinth, coral bells, and a host of other shade-loving annuals and perennials there.

Shade garden

The herb garden is going to go at the bottom of the steps out in front of the house with what we hope to be the peonies we brought from the old place. That has also been edged with the stones that we had. I am really hoping that if the groundhogs have munched on the bulbs, that they left just a tad for something to live on.

With some shipping boxes, straw, and compost we expanded the wildflower patch at the back of the house.  We have soo many seeds left that need to be planted this spring and so much hillside that we don’t want to mow. 

So, we ordered a few things

We have quite a list of items arriving at various times in the next few months. For our own documentation and your enjoyment, I thought it would be a great idea to post it all here. We can then look back and see what worked.

Arbor Day, American Meadows and Gurney’s are the places we ordered from. Between the three different sites we found everything we were looking for. There is a planting spot picked out for just about everything. Some will go in the front yard, some will be planted by the graywater, some go on the hillside. Below is a diagram of what we brainstormed for everything so far:

Anyone can landscape.

Homework: Have vision.  See beyond what is in front of you. 

Perriee and I are both visionaries. We have the ability to see something for its potential, as opposed to its deficiencies. Some of our first fun things we used to do together involved looking at old rehab houses or cars together.

Being able to fix up old things touches so many aspects of life: it is fun, stretches your imagination, teaches you new skills, and is sustainable. I won’t lie and say it is more economical. I cannot say for certain that we have had luck in that area when repurposing things. It may just be a financial wash once it is all said and done, but the pride of having accomplished something for yourself is also part of the payout.


Nostalgia:a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

This Christmas is different.  It is 2020, afterall.  It has been a year for cookie appreciation, Christmas cards, neighbors, and games.  Fruitcakes are delicious again.  Mailing a package is extra special.  Seeing a decorated tree in a window and driving to see lights has brightened our days. Sometimes you know a word, and then one day you really know a word.  I really know notalgia now. 


I remember when mailing Christmas cards felt like an overwhelming chore.  This year, we especially cherished every card to land in our mailbox, and even mailed out a few ourselves.  We even took a walk around the neighborhood to deliver a few by hand with the most delicious cookies from Magees in Maysville.  Mailing cards and gifts was a great way to support the USPS.  We even got to checkout the old Washington, Kentucky post office in the process.  It resides on the street on the outskirts of Maysville full of historic cabin-like buildings built in the 1700’s.  

Washington, Kentucky Post Office

We made sure to check out our electrician’s light display, upon his recommendation.  He did not disappoint!  Perriee hooked up a tree she found in the trailer onto a timer so it turned on each night for us to peek at from the house.  When I called our neighbors to compliment their lights, I thanked them, and then said, “Sorry, I know you did not hang them for us.” and my neighbor responded, “Oh, we did”.   I will never forget that. 


One thing we really wanted to do this holiday is support our favorite Newport, Kentucky is 7th Street Gifts.  The owner of this little shop has been a figure of positivity in the community for as long as I lived there. We have witnessed her character and love for the community shine so many times and were so excited to put an order in for over four pounds of delicious soap.  We could smell it before we opened the box.  Our bathroom smells like love and so do we! 

Soap, made with love.


In return of our deliveries, a couple of our neighbors returned the favor, with pumpkin roll, the best fruitcake we had ever eaten and some homegrown beef. that next year, may be fed by the grass from our very own field.  It deepened the feeling of home and connection which is so special during this time of separation and physical distancing. 

Our receipt of several dozen cookies from my step-mom in Cleveland has never been so welcome. These are the cookies I grew up eating.  In recent holidays, I would just pick at them, these traditional recipes, generations old.  To me, they represent history from both my dad’s family and my step-mom’s.  We have been devouring them.  They have never tasted so delicious.  

Family history on a plate.

Homework: Put forth good energy.

The days are getting longer again because of the passing of this year’s solstice.  We did it again! Perriee and I made sure to take advantage of the celestial event with a fire, a smudge stick that my sister made and a bottle of my favorite wine.  As we burned our old mail, we made sure to state a positive change, a blessing, or words gratitude for each item that was tossed into the fire.  For every Terminix mailer, we declared the eradication of termites for both this house and the one we left.  It went on and on, for old mortgage mail, medical reminders, envelopes from friends and family.  It is like goal setting: if you don’t declare your intentions, how can you grow and change?


We could not be more pleased with our current life choices.  I keep finding myself in moments of calm and happiness that I can’t say I have ever felt before.  It is truly beautiful.  Every day offers a slightly different version of a sunrise, sunset, or night sky.

The ducks are all doing well! They have been hanging out in their run at night more, where Perriee has to usher them in their house when she goes to lock them in at bedtime. It’s awesome. Howard went to his appointment since we last posted and the doc did not see anything off. He actually pegged him as a healthy guy, so you can’t look a gift horse in the mouth, right? I swear he still seems a little more quiet to me, but maybe he just got knocked down in the ranks for the time being. I have heard that ducks change their order of authority from time to time. Nick has been sporting one hell of a drake feather, (actually two) so maybe this is just Nick’s time to shine.

Handsome Howard

Other Updates:

  • The electric is on in the trailer and barn, both on separate meters from the house
  • Re-walled the outside of the back of the house with new insulation, plywood and house wrap
  • Another dumpster of stuff has been hauled away

Homework: Test your soil! 

We are admittedly “wannabe flower farmers” and we are going to give this thing the ole’ college try this year.  Of all of the important advice I have read, the one point that sticks out the most is the importance of soil testing to make sure your flower beds are ready to produce whatever it is you want to grow: Thank you Erin Benzakein from Floret Flowers!  

I knew that you could take samples in for testing, but have never tried it before.  A Google search connected us with our Cooperative Extension Office as the place to take our samples to.  Perriee stopped in and they provided her with the tool to core out the soil, sample bags, and printed information on how to prepare everything.  There are two spots being tested. One is for lavender (preordered from American Meadows) and another spot is being tested for gardening.  

We do plan on growing flowers too, but are going to see how different the recommendations are for these two samples and plant a round of flowers with the amended soil we go with.  If the output is not what we hope it to be, we can always make adjustments next year if needed.  

More gardening…

When we were at the place in Indiana, building the cabin, we bought a hoop house frame that we were going to use for a catio. Perriee put it up on the side of the house and we are going to use it for growing duck snacks: kale, lettuce, spinach, beets, etc. We are going to order the cover from Tunnel Vision Hoops and picked up the clamps from good old Amazon. It may end up being a battle with the bunnies and ground hogs, but as always, we will cross that bridge when we get there.

Perriee in the hoophouse

Happy Holidays! 

Please enjoy the Loving Farm Version of, “12 Days of Christmas”:

12 Days of Christmas, Loving Farm style

Friday the 13th.

We closed on the purchase of Loving Farm on April Fool’s Day, 2020.  Interestingly enough, we sold the city house on Friday the 13th, 2020.   As soon as I heard that Friday, November 13th would be the date to close, something inside of me knew it was going to happen.  It is 2020, after all! 

Having completed the duck run and coop, Perriee left her job at the end of September, as we were putting the house on the market.  We rented a few U-hauls to move our stuff, 15 feet at a time.    With the pandemic in full swing, and being able to work from home all of the time, it just made sense to scale it back and take the plunge to move to the country.  We are literally Making Time for Tipi now!  The intentions that have been set are coming to fruition and we could not be more pleased! 

Fort Flocka


We think the ducks have something called, “gapeworm” and are going to be heading to vet via Howard on Tuesday. I made the appointment on a Tuesday, but they had a week long wait, or we would have had him seen sooner. He is going as the family representative, since ultimately, how we treat him for whatever he has, will be done to all four of them. It has been stressful, per usual to find a vet in the vicinity. I called some places close by, but no one sees duckies, so he will have an hour ride ahead of him to get to a doc that saw June before for a stuck egg. A dream would be for someone to come here to see them. Fingers crossed that it is a manageable treatment. They are all eating and drinking and spry, so not the emergency in “vet speak”.


Our current projects are focused on keeping the pipes warm, with some insulation and getting the house’s legs stabilized by having some pier and beam reinforcement done in the basement.  There is a large stone missing from one of the piers and maybe someone removed a supportive wall at some point.  We are on the list for February unless there is a cancellation.  The people we hired seem super organized and professional – a husband and wife couple.  

It has been getting cooler, so we had to get the pilot lit on the propane furnace.  Both of our propane heaters are amazing.  They are by-far my favorite features of this house.  I have always wanted a gas fireplace, and now we have two of them!  The electric is on in the trailer and the barn now too.  We feel the progress and somehow, amidst it all, I am finding more moments of relaxation and self care.  I think it is good.  


Tip your Uhaul movers.  During one of our truck moves, we hired movers through Uhaul so we could save our backs on the large items (picnic table, matress/boxspring, dressers, etc.).  Compared to having a mover drive the truck, it was several hundred dollars difference to drive the truck ourselves and have someone else do the lifting.  Something felt like it was a gig type job and they were getting little more than base pay and hopefully some insurance if they got hurt on the job.  

Loving Farm

July sky at Loving Farm

We have almost had our new property for 4 months now and overall, it has been wonderful.  The pandemic sucks, the racial injustice in this country persists like the plague, but we are grateful to have the distraction of what we call for now, Loving Farm.  If you are not familiar, the Lovings were the couple who fought the state of Virginia to be allowed to marry in 1967.  They were a mixed race couple, and at the time, it was illegal for them to be together because of it.  When the anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling passed this June, it was clear that we should name the place after them.  

Our current projects at Loving Farm:

Building the duck run

It seems that due to the pandemic, I may not be going back to work for a while, and we really want to be there more right now, so we are building the Fresh Eggs Daily  inspired poultry run so we can move the duckies out there.  All of the posts have been sunk into concrete and we have some welded wire on deck to start wrapping it up with.  We just need to keep these duckies alive here in the city so they get to hang out there when it is finished.  Although there are 4 acres of land there, we think it is best to make them a predator proof run to hang out in to keep them extra safe from all creatures who find them to be so delicious.  

New windows. 

We sold our souls a couple of weeks ago to have a house full of windows installed at the house.  Is it expensive?  Hell yes.  Will we be able to open every window so our friends and family can visit during pandemic time and have adequate airflow?  Hell yes.  Right now, without air conditioning, the house actually stays relatively comfortable with only being able to open two doors and turn on some ceiling fans.  We have not even tried to open any of the windows that are there.  They might fall out!  All of the frames are very rotten and yes, we know how to replace them, but this is one area that a professional can handle.  We could not even find the quality of the windows we are getting anyplace else, and lets be realistic about the time it will save us as well.  Having these new windows will be a real game changer.  

Propane, the clean burning fuel! 

We are all set up with a new full propane tank.  The guy who installed it even got us down from two tanks to only needing one!  The other company still needs to come get the old ones, but we are ready for winter (for the most part).  He even fired up the big furnace in the living room, which we honestly did not even know would still work. 

Brand new tank, full for the winter

Hot and cold running water.

  All of the plumbing in the house is replaced and we have a brand new hot water tank.  Saying we are mostly ready for winter, we still need a plan to make sure the tank stays warm in its spot underneath the house, where there is no direct heat.  

Ripped down a deck. 

Perriee took the back deck down while I planted some wildflower seeds that we bought from American Meadows and other plants that were gifted to us by a friend.  The deck was not safe, and we can’t wait to rebuild it! 

That pretty much sums up our progress over the last four months.  Toss in some mental anguish from the pandemic, working to keep the Black Lives Matter message alive, the regular 9-5, phone banking for Charles Booker, and taking care of the city house, and it really looks like we have been busy.  

Homework: Have one difficult conversation.  

Speaking up for what is right is not easy but this is not the time to let it wait.  In the last couple of months I forced myself to have a couple.  My goal is not to change someone’s mind about racial injustice, but to speak up about it.  I cannot take responsibility for someone else’s point of view, but i do have control over sharing my thoughts, especially with people I care about who I do not want to be left behind on the wrong side of history.  My goal was to ask for an ear to hear me and to do my best to listen to their words in return.  Think about it.  If you can get someone to hear you, no matter what, even if they openly disagree with you, they HEARD the words.   It is impossible to UNHEAR them.  They will think about it.  It could help.  However small the needle moves, we have to keep pushing it.  The Lovings did, and I would not be married to my soulmate today, were it not for them. 

Our pandemic best-ish, while working hard.