Friday, September 30, 2016
I've mentioned The Cottage before, but I haven't posted about my favorite thing in the cottage yet. The cottage was renovated back in 2008 for the previous owner's ill husband. We believe the idea was that he would live in the cottage (it's one story) during his illness. It's a one bedroom cottage with a kitchen, living room, two bathrooms (they added a rather large bathroom for accessibility) and a closet.
While it's certainly spacious enough for a family to stay in, I needed to find a way to fit in extra sleeping outside of the one bedroom. My idea was that I wanted room for children to sleep comfortably in the cottage. When families come visit I wanted everyone to have a bed. The living room is very spacious and I decided that in addition to it being a living area, it could perform as a guest room too. Using the idea of a bunk room, but without the bunks, I fit in two twin beds foot to foot. The denim sofa is also a sleeper!
Perhaps it's because I had been watching season 2 of Downton Abbey with Grace, but I really wanted what I call an "infirmary style" of bed. I love the clean and simple lines, that they are made of metal, are highly functional, but charming as well. Oh, and I didn't want to spend much money. It turns out that it's a lot harder to find that style of bed period- forget about inexpensively! After lots and lots of Google searches, I was getting very frustrated when the perfect bed popped up! It was a slam dunk because it was what I was looking for in every single way; color, the style and the price. What I couldn't believe was that it was from Wal-Mart! These beds are perfect and I love them in the space!
I also got lights for over the beds from Barn Light Electric. The cottage has an awesome view of the little barn and I wanted to play off of that so I stuck with barn style lights. My favorite feature is the striped cord. How fun is that?
Monday, September 26, 2016
The last thing we have done in regards to the barn is put in a farm lane. When we bought the house there was a partial lane in the form of crumbling asphalt. Knowing that we wanted to put the Airstream back in the barn, we knew that whatever we installed had to be very functional, but I also wanted it to be charming and beautiful.
I've always loved the look of dirt roads with grass in between and after some going back and forth we decided to go with pea gravel and grass. A dirt road would get too rutted with any rain we got and would not be conducive to walking out to the barn.
The road was installed with a base layer of recycled concrete that was tamped down and the pea gravel was installed on top of that.
We installed the road right before we left and therefore couldn't really spend any time babying the new grass this summer, therefore it's mostly crabgrass with some grass sprinkled in! This fall we will reseed and try again. Hey, at least it's green!
Friday, September 23, 2016
You guys, the house is an absolute mess. There are boxes everywhere, and I don't want to unpack everything if we just are going to pack again when we do the kitchen renovation (I have a lot, and I mean a lot, of kitchen stuff!). We have a long way to go to making this house what we envision but I wake up every single morning so grateful to call this place home. I also wake up everything morning with a view of the barn at Frog's Hollow and it makes me smile every single time.
The barn is not close to the house but rather a fair distance away. Funny story, one of the architects we had come look at the house actually suggested we move the barn closer to the house! I love the view of the barn from the back of the house and wouldn't dream of trying to move it (much less pay for it!).
There are a few things that we did to gussy up the barn, including making it ready for the Airstream, that I want to share. In addition to simply cleaning it up inside, we made a pea gravel area outside the barn, ran full electricity to the barn and added a barn light.
I think every barn should have a barn light and I love this one that we got from Barn Light Electric.
We also found a big slab of stone on our property and moved it to the threshold of the barn door. I love how it looks.
The pea gravel area makes the barn look a little more finished and tidy. We had a barn party a couple of weeks after we got back and this gravel area was wonderful since it kept us out of the dirt/grass and was the perfect place to set up some tables.
Bryce also ran strings of light over the area!
For now the barn is all settled and nothing else needs to be done immediately (except the roof come to think of it) but I already have my eyes set on the loft. Oh, the possibilities!
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
The very first time I saw the barn, I knew that it was meant to hold our Airstream! It literally had the perfect spot in which to park her while still leaving a big open space of barn. The only problem was that the header of the doors on that side were not high enough to allow the Airstream in.
This is the back barn door soon after the new doors were put on. While the stain, we believe, is an exact match, the wood is new and hasn't weathered yet so it looks vastly different. This really concerned me but after weathering for a summer, it is already much less noticeable as you can see in the "after" picture above.
The doors are huge!
We put crushed stone down on the floor so that the Airstream wasn't sitting on bare dirt. It had the added benefit of looking nice too!
P.S. Now we need barn cats so the mice don't try to eat through the electrical wires of the Airstream!
Friday, September 16, 2016
I've realized that in all the craziness I never posted a back to school photo! You guys, this is a big year for us. Grace is a freshman in high school and Harris started middle school. Both of them are at new schools, meeting new friends and making a big transition.
High school. Middle school.
I really don't have words so I'll just share their pictures...
Thursday, September 15, 2016
The barn at Frog's Hollow dates back to at least 1911 and is in remarkably good shape. Of course, over the years its usefulness has ebbed and waned but it's still got lots of life in it. We needed to make a few changes to the barn to make it work for us but in general it will stay as we found it for now.
Before I write about those changes, I want to share one of my very favorite things about the barn. The carved initials and dates in the walls of the barn are incredibly special. The penmanship is so very beautiful (not so much the more recent additions). The writers were using fonts before there was such a thing!
I've already told my children that before they can even consider carving their initials into the wood they have to perfect their initials and penmanship! But really, aren't they incredible?
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
We've been so busy since we got back! The children started school, we've gone through countless boxes, and yet still have a long way to go, and we hosted friends at a barn party! I didn't get a single shot of the party (these are Jacks), but I can tell you that it was so, so fun. It made Frog's Hollow feel like home to have friends here! This is especially true since one of those friends was Kathleen and her family!
Having them here, and being a part of this crazy settling in process felt good and right. Our children loved spending time with hers and Bryce couldn't have gotten all that he got done without the help of Jack!
P.S. I'm going to work on some Frog's Hollow posts! So much has happened here!
Monday, September 5, 2016
Our trip exceeded our expectations in every way. It truly was a trip of a lifetime, and I'm so grateful that we were able to do it at this time and with our children. This country is magnificent in so many ways and I feel blessed to have seen so much of it. I think that we all have been changed by the things that we've seen, the education we received and the time we spent together.
I've had a lot of questions about our trip so I thought I'd try to answer some of them...
Did you get tired of each other?
No, believe it or not. Of course, everyone had their moments but in general we got along splendidly. In fact, Bryce and I think that it was one of the best things we could have done for the children and their relationship. The inside jokes, the shared experiences, the laughter and the ways that we got to know each other is something I will always treasure.
Did the Airstream start to feel small?
The Airstream was perfect for us and felt like home. Also, we had wide open spaces outside our doors so we were really only in the Airstream in the evenings and mornings. We all slept really, really well. It also helped that we had air conditioning, a bathroom and a kitchen. We weren't exactly roughing it!
Did you wing it or schedule the trip?
We had the vast majority of our campgrounds scheduled by February. The unfortunate truth is that the National Parks and many State Parks fill up really quickly. These are always our preferred places to stay for both aesthetics and financial reasons (commercial campgrounds get pricy!).
How did grocery shopping and laundry go?
This was something I was really concerned about before the trip but it turned out to be fine. I scheduled us at a commercial campground enough that we could do laundry about every fourth or fifth day. We were also pleasantly surprised to find a few parks that had laundry facilities.
Grocery shopping was a bit of a chore but we cooked very simply, lots of dutch oven cooking and grilling, so we didn't have to worry about exotic ingredients or lots of time in the store. We did get incredibly tired of sandwiches for lunch though!
Did you eat out a lot?
The vast majority of our meals were in the Airstream, but we did try to eat at local restaurants when we could.
What was the biggest problem?
By far the hardest part of the trip was keeping up with regular life. Bills still had to be paid, emails needed to get answered, the house needed to be kept up with, etc. We often had terrible wifi so that made it all the harder. We were super lucky in that family helped with mail and bills (my sister would snap a picture of the bill and send it to us) and they, along with friends, kept an eye on the house. It took a village!
Also, there was a time that we had to stop for an oil change in Washington and the boys had to get a hair cut in North Dakota. Obviously, these weren't things that we could schedule ahead of time so we had to be a little flexible.
Are you teachers? How did you get the time off?
Bryce had the opportunity in May to leave his job- so he did.
Towards the end of the trip, we had an experience that has stuck with me. We were in Craters of the Moon and we met a gentleman and his family who were traveling from New York State. As we spoke to him he said, "I just love it out here, don't you? It just makes me what to move here." It felt so good to realize that I don't. I love where we live and while I appreciate, and love, the beauty, vastness and the wildness of the places we visited, it felt good to come home.