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?

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.

April Fools!

April 1st 2020 was one of the best April Fool’s Days I think we will ever have.  This was the day that we closed on our new farm in Ewing, Kentucky.  In the middle of a global pandemic, we bought a 4 acre property that sits in between a rushing creek and an old railroad track! 

At the time that we were notified that we were actually moving forward, it was soon after I injured my hamstring and we were freshly going into this new normal of “social distancing”.  I have to admit that, initially, I was not too excited for the news.  We had been in the process of buying the property since Christmas, and we had basically resigned to the fact that it was never going to happen.  There was so much back and forth about the value of the home versus the loan being approved and we did not even know if we would be given a loan.

Perriee and I have a great way of altering our long term plans, based on the current goings-on of life. We already had about 3 different ideas of what to do if we did NOT get the house and we were getting excited about it. We then we got the call, a week after working from home full-time due to a pandemic, that we were about to buy a second home.    Everything was so uncertain.  We both felt like our jobs were secure, but I just could not imagine a bank being willing to move forward with a loan for a second home.  But they were ready, so we leaned in.   

We both took the day off once we confirmed that we would not be doing the closing remotely.  I sent a quick email prior to the day, just to make sure that we would at least be doing the social distance thing.  Our mortgage lender was already on it.  The seller was scheduled to get there after us, in order to stagger our exposure to one another, which really made me feel better since he is in the “mature” stage of life.  When we got there, we called from the parking lot so we could be let into the bank.  The lobby had already been closed to foot traffic.   Our lender’s office had a folding table set up at the end of her desk to increase the space between us and her.  It was super creative!  We brought our own pens, but she had some throwaways ready for us.  We brought masks with us, but we ended up not wearing them.  It was April 1st and we did not want to be the weirdos, even though I wanted to wear it.  The last thing I wanted was for us to potentially be the ones to bring coronavirus to Flemingsburg, Kentucky.  

After signing our paperwork, Marcus, the seller, arrived and was set up in a totally different office than us to sign his paperwork for the sale.  I chatted with our realtor for a few minutes when she stopped in for some last minute signatures and it was hard to not hug her for sticking with us through the process!  When Marcus was done, he gave us a key to the house.  He told me that this day was hard for him- it was the day he sold his childhood home as a final chapter to his parents’ lives.  It was special to be the ones to be on the receiving end of that day, since Perriee and I have the best intentions to do that property justice in its rejuvenation.  We tried to communicate that to him on more than one occasion.  As we were leaving, he told us he wanted to show us something about the water over at the house that was just repaired, so he met us over there to give us the rest of the keys.  

Marcus was our first guest at the house.  He stopped over from his brother’s house (from across the tracks) when he saw us pull up the driveway, gave us the rest of the keys, and kindly showed us where the water meter was (which happens to be on the other side of the creek).  He did not need to do that, but he did.  He also shared that he was happy that we were the ones who bought the house, as opposed to another family from out of town.  That was super special to hear as our initial “welcome to the neighborhood”.  

The grass was freshly mowed, and we took a quick tour of the house, before heading back home.  We totally had a jumping up and down and hollering moment, then Marcus came back to ask about the electric bill (I had already set it up to be transferred).  I wonder if he heard us celebrating!  I hope if he did, he found it comforting.  

It has been a little more than a month since we closed and we are so excited to be sharing this next chapter of life with all of you.  Each time we go we love it more and more and have already interacted with such wonderful people.  The feelings we get there are already so warm a fuzzy.

Homework: Be Flexible

I have heard that our perceptions of difficult situations is really what allows us to be happy in life. We can’t wait for perfection because I am afraid it will never come. Lean in to whatever is happening at the moment and find the way to make it the best.  We love getting excited about things, and during this process we got excited about getting this house, then excited about not getting it, only to be stoked to be cleaning it up and getting ready for the first renovation projects after we got the keys. I know I am preaching to the choir, but nothing in life is predictable; go with the flow, and learn to love the free fall (credit to Karen Kilgariff’s therapist for a similar explanation of life).  

The Party Barn