Thursday, February 18, 2021

Semper Paratus

 It seems as though the world has continued to spiral out of control, gaining speed and momentum, with no signs of stopping.  Although we are no longer off-grid, we continue to strive to be "always ready", making our home as functional and prepared as possible.  We completed a number of projects this year (never as many as we'd like) and have many more planned for the coming year.  

One of the big things we did, was retrofit our old "gas house" into a chicken coop and filled it with 20 hens and a rooster!  The gas house had fallen into disrepair and had collected years of dirt and debris, but it was in a good location and the perfect place to begin to rebuild the basics of a homestead.  After cleaning out the muck and the mire, we found that the gas house floor had rotted through.  After replacing the floor, we insulated the walls and the roof, put new sheeting up and painted the entire inside (including the floors and the roof) with two coats of deck paint.  We built laying boxes, turned the big door into a dutch door and installed a window and a chicken door.  We built an interior dividing wall and screened it with with welded wire, to divide the "people side" from the "chicken side".  After finishing the inside, we fenced an outdoor area and finished it with a metal roof.  It has been amazing to see how much time the chickens spend outside, even in the depths of winter, just because they have a covered outdoor area!!  A real surprise has been how many eggs they lay, even in the dark days of winter.  We've been getting between 9 and 12 eggs a day throughout January and February, and that's without heat or a lamp in the coop!!  I've been so impressed!!

Putting in a new floor

Adding a window

We insulted and then put galvanized roofing in the  "chicken side" of the coop for easier cleaning.

A dividing wall and the beginning of nesting boxes

On the way to pick up chickens!!

The "ladies" enjoying their new roost

Another major undertaking we managed to complete last summer, was moving our wood cook stove.  After living here for 3 years, we found that the cook stove wasn't in the best location.  The stove was in the corner of the kitchen, which at first flush, seemed to be perfect.  However, we found that the location was inconvenient.  There was no counter near the stove, so cooking was challenging.  On top of that, the heat distribution was less than adequate.  The heat went directly upstairs, cooking the children in their beds, and the living room was always slightly chilly.  After a few years, and lots of thinking, we decided to move the stove.  The first thing we did was move everything!!!  And then we lived with it for a month or so.  Installing a wood stove is not small task, so we wanted to be very sure before we actually plumbed the stove in.  After living with it for a month, we knew it was going to work really well, so we called a friend and asked him to come help with the installation.  It took another couple of months before he was able to install the stove (in the beginning of November) but what an amazing transformation it has been!!  The kids now sleep in comfortable bedrooms, the living room is toasty warm and the wood cookstove is perfectly positioned between the living room and the kitchen, right next to the counter!!  

The wood cook stove in it's new location

It works so much better here!!

Pizza night...baking the bottoms before I put them in the oven

A drying rack above the stove (of course)!!

Moving the wood cook stove was life changing, in more ways than one....not only is our heat more efficient, moving the stove also paved the way for us to move the table into the kitchen!  I haven't had an eat-in kitchen for years, and I love it!  The kitchen just seems so much more inviting and homey with a kitchen table tucked into the corner.  Not to mention it is easier to fit lots of people in the kitchen than it was when we had the table in the other room.  Yay!!  And then, I had an entire room to play with.....and finally, I was able to get my own "snug"!!  It has been wonderful!!  We installed the propane fireplace, a couple of down filled chairs, a footstool....and suddenly, we have the perfect spot for reading and talking and just being.  It has been life-changing.  Now, Sir Knight and I have tea in the snug every morning and spend our evenings reading quietly by firelight.  It has been a wonderful addition to our life.

The kitchen table in its new location

The snug in all its glory

The door into the kitchen

The snug also doubles as an entry-way (here, the door is open)

As the world continues to spiral, we continue to pray and built and plan.  We do what is put in front of us to do each day and trust God with the rest.  And He continues to guide and direct our path.


  1. Hello, it’s so good to hear from you! You have been busy and isn’t it so gratifying when you can see the progress you’ve made? Since retirement we have seen a lot of progress; maintenance caught up and projects that had been put off for so long have now been completed. Thank you for sharing. I have missed hearing from you.

  2. It's so good to hear from you once again. You home is so friendly and inviting. Thank you for sharing. PJ

  3. Is that pic of u or one of your daughters?

    1. That's me. I know, I rarely post photo's of myself, but today was an exception! My dad took that pic of me when we drove north to pick up chicks!!!

    2. It's me!! I rarely post pics of myself, but, here you go!! My dad took that picture of me when we were headed up north to pick up chickens!!

    3. Whoa! I don't know what they put in the water up there, but you are SMOKIN! Keep up the good work!

  4. I'm so happy to see a post from you. Thanks for the update.
    Cheers, SJ in Vancouver BC Canada

  5. It is wonderful to hear from you again! Your posts are always such an encouragement, and it is such a blessing to "see" others with similar pursuits. Thank you for sharing your life and home with all of us.

  6. Wonderful to hear from you again!

  7. Three cheers for 911 dispatchers! My middle son, without any law enforcement or medical training, was hired (long process) and started on 9/11/2019. He dispatches EVERYTHING in our large (in land, not population) rural, south central Idaho county. And he LOVES it! He is happily master of the graveyard shift, where anything can and does happen.

    1. If that means the area I think it means then he may very well be the voice I hear over the radio in my office....I often listen what is going on a few county’s over!

  8. Welcome back! So happy to see you blogging again. Love hearing from "my" Idaho homesteader friend. : )

  9. I miss her, please continue with her post

  10. Oh my goodness...Just popped in to see if you have posted anything and am so amazed at all the great posts...blessings....
    Love from NC,

  11. I had to look up "snug" as I've never seen it used to describe a room, but it absolutely fits!

  12. So glad to see you post again. Have missed you!

    I am wondering how you protected the wall behind the wood stove. I notice you have a space on one side, but it appears to be against the backwall and flush with your other appliances. I have looked at them and the recommended installation specs would have one at least 18"from the back wall and essentially in the middle of my tiny kitchen!