Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from the Roost!

photo by April Cole Photography

photo by April Cole Photography

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from our "roost" to yours! 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Processing our Heritage Birds for Meat

Our flock has grown so big (19 chickens plus 3 turkeys!) and at some point culling is a necessary part of good flock management. It breaks my heart, but it was time to process our extra roosters and our turkeys for meat. As meat eaters, we would rather know where our food comes from and that it had a good life and was treated humanely, even as sad as it is when butchering day comes.

some of the lucky survivors

We decided to process 5 of our roosters that we decided not to keep for breeding and 3 heritage Bourbon Red turkeys.

After selecting the roosters to be processed based on breeding characteristics, we put them into crates and pens for the night. Early the next morning my husband took them to a local processor and they returned to us a few days later.

We chose to get the birds processed whole with one chicken and one turkey left fresh and the rest frozen.

Dominique chicken, male

We cooked the fresh turkey for Thanksgiving and it turned out great- extremely flavorful and juicy! The rest of the processed birds we have in our deep freeze. One bird can make several meals, and the carcass will then be used to make stock. Nothing is wasted!

turkeys and chickens in our deep freeze

fresh turkey ready to roast

Though it was still hard, we did not let ourselves get attached to these birds (maybe except a little to the turkeys...) as we have to groups hatched in the past. Now our reduced flock is much more manageable and we are one step closer to accomplishing our homesteading goals. We are also trying to progress in good poultry keeping and animal husbandry skills. And I can't help but think this is something our farming ancestors would have done long ago, a little differently of course, and that we are continuing some of those traditions :)

Do you process your heritage or dual-purpose birds for meat?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving we sure do have a lot to be thankful for....

Photos taken by April of April Cole Photography



Wishing you and your family a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving! 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Window Types for Historic Houses

Thank you all for the well wishes and congratulations on the arrival of our twin girls. We are all hanging in there and adjusting to life with these sweet babies. Sleep is certainly a luxury sometimes hard to come by and our days are a never-ending cycle of nursing, changing diapers, laundry and baby chores. Thank goodness I have family to help out!

Now on to the real post: I'm warning you now, I may go on a *bit* of a rant here when it comes to windows in historic houses. As you all probably know, I am VERY partial to retaining original windows not just because it preserves the original fabric and historic integrity of the property, but also for practical, sustainable, functional and economic reasons.

But before I get too much into why old houses need to retain their original windows (perhaps I'll save it for the next post) , I'd like to start by highlighting some common types of original historic windows and the various ways that a lot of homeowners end up replacing them. Sometimes when an older home is purchased the owner may find the original windows were already replaced, and they may have the task of choosing new ones that best fit the historic character of the home.

Here are some various types you may see on older or historic buildings:

1. Double hung, wooden, 6/6 sash

Beaufort, NC

Chowan County, NC

2. Double hung, wooden, 2/2 sash

Midway, KY

Perquimans County, NC

3. Double hung, wooden 1/1 sash

4. Double hung, wooden 4/4 sash

Add caption

5. Double hung, 9/9 sash

Andrews-Moore House, Franklin County, NC

Window from Concord United Methodist Church, ca. 1928, McDowell County, NC

7. Fixed windows

Ernest Swarts House, Guilford County, NC

Interior of Ernest Swarts House, Guilford County, NC

8. Aluminum awning or "hopper" style windows (typically found on mid-century buildings)

9. Decorative, leaded glass, or stained glass windows (often fixed)

Woodford County, KY

10. Casement windows, wood or metal

Durham County, NC

Durham County, NC

This is just a small sampling of various types of windows found on historic buildings. Many more types exist not shown here that you may be familiar with or have seen before. For example, some houses have "cottage style" double-hung wood sash windows, with a six-over-one sash profile.

What window types do you have in your historic house? Or perhaps you may have a type not shown here that is common to your region?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Twins are Here!

And we have two baby girls!!!!! We were in utter shock as we surely thought we'd be having a boy/girl set or two boys- so when our little ones came out they gave us quite the surprise!


June and Georgia

4 lb 11 oz  and 4 lb 12 oz

Born October 24 at 36 weeks, both head down vaginally at 7:18 and 7:45 

We couldn't be more in love with these precious babies- praise be to God! 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Almost There.....

I'm now over 35 weeks pregnant with twins and less than two weeks away from being full term for twins (about 37 weeks)!!! I'm so happy to be so close. I cannot express how incredibly grateful I am to have made it this far with our preterm labor scare at 29 weeks. Thank you all for your sweet comments, thoughts and prayers.

Before the babies come, I thought I'd share with you some of our maternity photos, taken by the lovely April with April Cole Photography. These were taken when I was 30 weeks and I (as have the babies) have since grown quite a bit bigger- hard to believe I know! Since we were rather limited with my mobility, April was nice enough to come out to our house and shoot the photos right there on our property!

Here are some of my favorites:

And don't you know that the turkeys had to stick themselves into the photos?! They seriously won't leave us alone when they are loose (it's quite annoying) and flew up onto the porch to check out what everyone was doing! Haha!

We are thrilled with the photos and so glad to have them to remember this pregnancy and special time in our lives. If you live in the Triangle area in North Carolina or anywhere within the vicinity of Saxapahaw, please consider April for your future photo shoots. We had such a great time!

It won't be long now until the babies are here, so if you don't see a post from me for a bit, you'll know why :)  We are excited to find out their genders and see their little faces for the first time- it's been a long wait for these precious little ones!

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Nursery: Details

Thank you all for your sweet comments on the nursery. It was certainly a joy to plan and decorate this precious space :)

I wanted to highlight some of the details of the nursery for you and provide some sources for our furnishings and decor. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me and I'd be happy to give you more information on where we found things.

This little round pillow was mine as a child growing up; it winds up and plays a lullaby. The little blue plaques above the cribs are for their initials/names after the babies are born and we know the genders. 

These picture holders we plan to use for newborn photos of the twins or perhaps to hold each of their baby books so that they can be easily accessible for recording memories and milestones. 

Aren't these hand-crocheted bibs and washcloths so sweet? A friend of mine made them for the twins and I can't get over how beautiful they are! 

A few crafty projects went into the nursery decor, one of them being the vintage children's armoire makeover. This was a piece that was originally my mom's as a child, then she used it for me, and since then several other women in our family have used it for their babies. It has been painted several times and although it was a nice white I decided to paint it Annie Sloane's Duck Egg Blue for a nice pop of color in the room. Please visit this post to read a more detailed account about the armoire's makeover.

The armoire gives us so much extra needed storage for hang up clothes, baby carriers, crib sheets and blankets, first aid supplies, socks and shoes, and even bibs. We do have a closet in this room but more than half of it is being used to store other things.

Another project was my bulletin board project with fabric that I already had on hand. I simply covered the bulletin board with fabric by using decorative tacks and then strung up family photos using clothespins. Easy as pie!

Using the same fabric, my mom sewed a pillow for me that looks so pretty with our glider and ottoman.

The brass "shell" floor lamp I found on Craigslist for $12. At first I wanted to age it a bit somehow to give it a deeper patina, but I am running out of time now and just decided to use it as is. I placed it on a pile of sturdy books to give it the height that it needed for reading in the chair.

Our family photo gallery wall was another big project that took some time. Just getting the photos in from family members, making prints, and selecting frames was a big chore. Some frames we had on hand or were already with the original photos, some we bought and painted from thrift stores, and a few I found for great deals at HomeGoods. Most of the photos are in black and white, but a few originals we just left in color rather than changing them out. We plan on adding several more photos to this wall- it's a work in progress!

I'm really happy with how the gallery wall turned out and excited to share and teach our little ones the faces of their family members and a little about their family history.

Below is a source list for the rest of the furnishings or purchases for the nursery. Items that we already had include the bookshelf, table lamp, an antique rocking chair, framed botanical prints, bulletin board, and a few of the accessories.

Jute Rug

  World Market Basket Weave Jute Rug  We liked that this rug was so neutral and durable, and that it was made from all-natural materials. I'm usually not a fan of jute to walk on, but this one is surprisingly soft for jute.

Armchair/Glider and Ottoman

This chair is a Little Castle brand armchair/glider with round ottoman. We really liked the style and that we would be able to use it anywhere in the house besides a nursery after the twins get older. We were able to choose the upholstery we wanted from a wide variety of fabrics from the manufacturer, and I chose this chocolate brown and white toille. I've always love toille in a nursery and I think the chocolate brown works well for either gender and as more of a neutral for any space. The chair was purchased at a 10% discount at a wonderful local baby store called Green Pea Baby.


We chose white Jenny Lind Da Vinci cribs and ordered them off of Amazon. The crib mattresses pretty heavy duty (spring-loaded like a real mattress) and are by Sealy.  Each of our moms bought a crib and crib mattress for us :)

The crib skirts came from Pottery Barn Kids, link found here: Pottery Barn Ruffle Crib Skirt in white (we had an unused gift card for PB thankfully!)

We found this great dresser at a local antique shop for $170 that we are using as a changing table!

I ended up getting most of the baskets in the room from places like Home Goods, TJ Maxx, or World Market. We are using them to store toys, stuffed animals, diapers and supplies, blankets, and other odds and ends. Baskets are such wonderful solutions to pretty storage!

The large wire basket with liner on the bookshelf I've decided (for now) to use as a little nursing station. It holds burp cloths, a few bibs, lanolin cream, nursing pads, bottles of water, a breastfeeding reference book, and a journal for keeping track of feedings.

The baby blankets hanging on the cribs were hand crocheted as gifts--one of them was for me when I was a baby and the other was made by my Aunt Judy who was extremely talented with needlework and handicrafts. The little bunny pillow was something I purchased a long while ago before I found out I was pregnant and the round pillow was mine as a baby (it winds up and plays a little lullaby).

The curtains are actually from the living room but are so much prettier in the nursery. My mom has since helped me make new curtains for our living room that look fabulous and SO much better with the wall color and furnishings.

I'm sure we will have a few extra things set up in this room once the babies come that are not currently pictured here, such as a cool mist humidifier that we already had on hand, baby monitors, a bobby pillow, and the diaper pail that we temporarily moved out of the room for the photo shoot. I'm really hoping to use this nursery as much as possible for their sleep, nursing, and even play time, and I think it will work out well especially since our bedroom adjoins the nursery directly through a side door and since it will be so close there is no need for bassinets or baby supplies in our bedroom.  I pray that they have fond memories of their nursery as a place of peace and comfort.