Hello out there…..

Good grief!  I haven’t posted since November – I am so sorry.  I really need to write more often.  Is anyone even reading this?  : )

As always, we have been super busy.   A brief recap of the past few months:

  • We went to my Dad’s house in N.C.  for Thanksgiving and had a great visit with my Dad and stepmother Mildred.  It was our first visit with them since we moved here, so it was long overdue.
  • We participated in the Charlottesville Holiday Market as well as a holiday market at one of the local private schools.  Both markets were a great success.
  • We introduced a 2nd granola flavor in December – Cashews & Coconut.  It is made with organic coconut oil and is starting to sell as well as our original flavor.  There are diehard fans of both flavors!
  • We started selling to two stores in Charlottesville and are now in two local stores as well.  Amazing.  On Tuesday, we will deliver to our first two stores in Richmond.  My goal is to be in 10 stores by the end of February, so we are right on track.
  • We had our family come to our house for Christmas and it was just fantastic.  So many great memories.   Having everyone here made me homesick for Fort Worth – just to be closer to Beth, James and the kids.  Sigh.
  • Work is progressing on fixing up the cabins and we have put in our B&B application.  With any luck we will be open this Spring.  We will start with just the two best cabins.  We are not sure what we are going to do with the other cabins yet – fix up a few and perhaps use the others for storage, office space, etc.  We would love to sell two of them but we are finding it would be super expensive (and difficult) to move them.
  • The boys are great.  Hudson and I joined a local homeschoolers co-op of sorts.  We meet on Thursdays.  We just started and we missed the 2nd week due to illness and this week was postponed due to snow, so not much to report yet.  I am sure it will be great.
  • Henry is his usual busy, loud, crazy self.  He really does make all of us smile and laugh.  The boys have been playing so well together lately.  I love to watch them play together.  I think that Henry sometimes intimidates Hudson (Henry is so rough and so physical, despite being almost 3 years younger) but they sort it out.  “Dance party” is always a big hit and Hudson is finally dancing along with Henry.
  • David and I are both good.  We are really enjoying working on the granola business together and prepping for the B&B.  This amazing property has so many opportunities – we just have to figure it all out.
  • I am really into gratitude and the Law of Attraction these days.  More on that later.
  • We continue to meet so many kind and wonderful people.  I love talking to our granola customers and I have met so many great vendors at the markets.  On top of this, I am back in touch with so many of my old college friends.

I am sure I am missing some items.  It is hard to summarize 3 months in a few bullet points.  I suppose my main message is that we are ok.  Life is good.  We are busy trying to build these businesses so that we can afford to stay home with the kids and have this life that we want.   We are progressing each week and there is still money in the back account so we are holding steady.

I really need to read more.  My book stack is piling up.  I am trying to read every night before bed…which reminds me – time for reading and bed!

Thank you friends for reading this and supporting us.  My very best wishes to you and your families.

 - Hope

 

 

Fall Photos

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I realized that yesterday’s photos weren’t Fall photos at all – more like late summer.  Here are some more photos with a bit of Fall color!

ps- the pic with the animals is NOT from our house.  The farm belongs to a friend who lives nearby.  She has a great collection of animals!

Fall at Welsummer

Yes, Welsummer.   I think that is what we are going to name our “farm.”   I came across it a few months ago (it is a chicken breed) and it just stuck.  We may change our minds before we set up the business but I don’t think so.  We both like it.  What do you think??

We are happy and well and survived the storm with no damage.  We were really on the outskirts of it – just a bit of rain and wind.  We have a lot of friends in the NYC area so we have been worried and checking the news but they are all well.  Thank goodness.

The granola business is up and humming along.  Please check out http://www.hudsonhenrybakingco.com if you haven’t already.  It is a pretty basic website but it works for now and I will likely update it this winter.  I have had a spot at the Charlottesville City Market the past 3 weeks and I absolutely love it.  The shoppers/customers are fantastic and I have met so many great folks.  The granola has gotten rave reviews and I am really just enjoying the process.

The boys are great.  Hudson finished the soccer season (whew!) and Henry continues to be the best little helper around the house – he loves doing jobs with David.  He carries around his toolkit and just does whatever David is doing.  Funny.  Hudson continues to prefer being indoors but will go outside now and then and explore.

David painted the front rooms (the contractors are done and gone) and he finished the chicken coop so now we move on to the cabins.  The family is coming for Christmas so there is a lot of work to be done!

And finally – some Fall photos.  I will post some more another day.  I forgot how beautiful Fall is in Virginia.  We are truly lucky.

I hope this finds everyone safe and well.  Happy Fall.

- Hope

Busy!

It has been too long since I have written.  Each day is oh so busy with long TO DO lists and lots of play time with the boys.  Writing keeps getting pushed down the list.

This week finds us getting ready for the Charlottesville Farmers Market.  I received an email on Monday offering a spot for this weekend.  Not ready at all, but I said YES and leapt into action.  The Hudson Henry Baking Co. will be offering its granola for sale for the first time on Saturday!  I am working on a landing page website tonight and will post details once a real site is up and running.

The painters are wrapping things up (even though there is a ton more to do – we are just going to have to do it ourselves) and we are settling in nicely to the new family kitchen/family room/guest room/office area.  The boys have been playing with their toys on the carpet and really loving the space.  I love wood floors but carpet is great for the kids.   Today Hudson created this huge scene with blocks, trains, some paper balls (snow), the Playmobil people, the pirates and a Hero Factory baddie while I worked on the granola labels.  We were both happy!

The accountant has suggested that we get the B&B open this calendar year but I can’t see that happening.  I am working on getting the permit and we will start painting/decorating the cabins in a week or so.  We will see.  In the meantime, we need to have a big yard sale to clear some things out of the way.  THAT we might get done this calendar year!  LOL.

What else?  Hudson, Henry and I all managed to come down with the stomach bug a few weeks ago but we are much better now.  David went away for a bit of work but is home again.  Andrew the peacock flew up to the top of the old smoke house and didn’t come down for over 24 hours.  The boys and I were having breakfast around 6.30 this morning and we could just see him in the misty morning light.  Perilously perched on the top of the roof.  “Yep…he’s still there” the boys cried.    We were planning a rescue effort when he finally made his way down.  Odd bird.

(insert artistic photo of Andrew on top of the paint-chipped smoke house.  I know folks, pictures!  You will just have to use your imagination.)

Time to work on the website.  I hope this finds you all happy and well.

First things first…

It was a big week last week with a lot of “firsts”.

Henry’s favorite – first TUB bath in this old house!!  The downstairs bath is about 90% complete and we were able to use the tub for the first time!  Hurray!  Less you think that we are dirty and stinky, we do have a shower upstairs which the boys have tolerated nicely but they were so happy to get back in the tub.  Henry stripped down Friday morning and begged for a bath, despite the hammering and painting going on around him. 

My favorite – Hudson and I went to see the attorney on Tuesday and the “Hudson Henry Baking Company” was formed!  My very own, very first business.  Thank you to everyone on Facebook who helped out with the naming.  It was going to be “Henry Hudson Baking Co” or “Goose Granola” (or something else) but the design team strongly warned against Henry Hudson (due to the famous explorer).  And honestly, it bugged me as well.  So “Hudson Henry Baking Co.” is it. I love it.  It looks great in the logo, which I will post as soon as it is finalized.  More business news and plans to follow.

Hudson’s not-so-favorite:  Hudson had his first soccer game this week.  It started out well but ended in tears and gnashing of teeth.  He couldn’t understand why “his teammates wouldn’t let him kick the ball” and it was all just too much for him.  The coach, thank goodness, is fantastic and I am sure it will get better. 

David’s first – let’s see – he is putting together the swingset/fort in the backyard, which is truly a first rate pain! 

Other news:  The family kitchen/bathroom/living room is really coming along and should be completely painted early this week and floors will be sanded starting Wed.  My good friend Susan came down for Labor Day weekend and helped pick out paint colors.  THANK YOU SUSAN!  Really, she picked them out along with Dianna from the hardware store.  Pics, of course, to follow once the painting is complete.

We are happy and well and hope you are as well! 

Garden Envy

The boys and I participated in the “Know Yer Eats” Farm Tours yesterday.  Fantastic.  There were 21 farms to choose from.  We managed to get to three local farms – I went to two in the morning with the boys and one on my own during Henry’s nap.  So inspiring.  My favorite was Bellair Farm (www.bellairfarm.com) – it was unbelievably beautiful.  900 acres, a huge historic house, and a fantastic barn (plus gardens, chickens, pigs, farm stand, walking path, picnic tables, and more).  You will have to take my word for it as I didn’t take any pics. (I know, I am the worst blogger ever.)  They have a CSA that runs from May until October and I think we will join next year just so we have the chance to visit the property every Saturday (and of course, for the great veggies, flowers, and eggs).  They are about 18 miles from our “farm.”

The tours, of course, motivated me to get our garden up and going.  We do not have a single garden bed or fruit tree on this property.  Crazy.  I really want a fenced in garden area with raised beds.  Lush and green and beautiful.  We went to Lowe’s today to look at fencing and discuss the raised beds. My plan is to get the garden area ready this Fall so they are ready to go this Spring.  I need to find my copy of Sq Foot Gardening – note to self.

The boys and I also went to the local farm store to get the supplies for the baby chicks. The chicks arrive next week.  We are almost ready.  Poor Henry is a bit nervous about the pending arrival.  He says “Bock bock soon?  They hurt me.”  I think he will be relieved to see how small they are.

Pics below of the boys in their farm gear on tour day.  House updates later this week.  All is well!

Patience

(Hudson displaying patience as he waits with the shovel while Henry plays around with the metal detector.)
Patience.  We are all doing our best to practice patience as we deal with the final middle stretch of the home renovations.  The exterior is almost done – we had to rebuild the lower front porch so that tacked on a few extra weeks.  The new paint looks great.  The best news is that the “apartment” is (finally) well under way.  The former owner’s apartment is our new family kitchen, bathroom (with a tub!) and living area.  The drywaller is finishing tomorrow and the floor man is coming to start the floor.  I am hoping that we will be using the area in 2 weeks.  We have a good friend coming to visit on the 29th and I am hoping it will be done by then, but I am not sure that will happen.

The commercial kitchen is coming along as well.  New drywall has been installed and then the painters will paint.  David will tackle the concrete floor.  It should then be able to pass inspection.  My goal for all of this is end of September.

I have been trying to plan for the garden/orchard/berry patch.  First step – start composting.  Done.  We bought a kit from Amazon – basically a big sheet of black plastic that forms a bin.  It had good reviews and it was inexpensive so we will give it a try.    2nd step – chickens.  I am going to order the chicks this week.  I think we will start with 8.  They will live behind the tavern in a fenced in area – they can wander around the yard during the day and then we need to build/buy a coop for nighttime/egg laying.  The kids are pretty excited although Henry said today “NO!  They hurt me” when I said we were going to get the “bock bocks” (how do you spell the noise a chicken makes?  LOL.)  I am sure he will warm up to the idea when he sees the chicks.

What else?  Our neighbor/pool man bush hogged the  property for us – I was so excited.  It looks so much better and we can finally explore most of the land.  We discovered a grove of pine trees – Christmas trees perhaps?  We need to get in there and have a better look.  Honestly, we could spend all of our days mowing and weed eating and things still wouldn’t be clear – everything is so overgrown.  Luckily, the boys love yard work so we do a bit each day.  Henry uses the blunt snippers that don’t really cut anything but it keeps him happy.

Oh!  We had a visit one day by the relatives of the man who built the house.  They came to town to see the jail that he built and then came out to the house.  Very nice folks.  This, of course, reminds me to write the post about the history of the house…one day.

I think that is it.  Oh…we signed up Hudson for soccer.  It starts in a few weeks.  Great way to meet folks and hopefully he will like it.  We have a soccer ball and have started kicking it around the yard.  Most of the time he just grabs it and runs with it so that should be interesting.

Will post a few pics when the chicks arrive.  Until then, all is good.

Stories about the farm

I love meeting new people around here as everyone seems to have a story (good and bad) about our property.  Here are a few highlights:

I went in to the Treasurer’s office to ask about property taxes.  The woman who helped me has a son who went to a local military school.  Her son’s prom was held on our farm (about 15 years ago).

The arborist who came to look at the trees came here for his first Valentine’s Day after he was married.   He and his new bride stayed in one of the cabins.

Another tree man cut down a bunch of trees years ago.  He reported that they used a bug bomb on one of the cabins and it caught fire somehow.  He said they rebuilt it.  I think that explains the nicely decorated cabin that is so different from the other cabins.

The Sheriff came by today to say hello (love small towns!) and he said that the Chamber of Commerce used to have their monthly meet & greet at the Inn.

Yet another tree man (also an ordained minister) used to marry folks on the front yard.  The bride would come out of the house and down the breezeway and the groom would come down the front stairs and meet under the big oak tree.

Everyone has a story and everyone has been so supportive and encouraging.  We are blessed with a beautiful property that has so much opportunity.  All in time.

I will write a post about the history of the farm soon.  We have most of the information and I keep forgetting to go down to the historical society but will try to make it there next week.

In the meantime, work continues.  The exterior looks amazing with its fresh coat of paint.  The painters and carpenters should finish up in the next week or so.  I need to pick a porch color, after said porch is repaired.  I am thinking green (it is gray now) but need to flip through some magazines and Pinterest for some ideas.   New shutters will have to wait as they cost a fortune so we will have to wait until the end of the project to see if we can squeeze them in.  Otherwise it will be shutters for birthdays and Christmas for the next few years.

The boys are great.  Henry loves being outside and is so happy to have new sand in his sandbox.  “Mommy sit box” he says.  He likes me to sit IN the box…sitting beside the box is simply not acceptable.  Hudson prefers being inside but I plead with him to stay outside with us.   I think he will like the chickens once we get them and the garden (again, when we get one).  For now, he will climb a tree and of course, swim.  Otherwise he wanders around and begs to go inside to do Legos.  Perhaps I will just move the Legos outside and call it even.

The new cats are settling in.  We picked up a brother/sister pair from the SPCA.  Kitty and Betty.  The boys torment them but I think they are happy to be here.

So we are well.  Writing our own chapter in the history of this place.  We love it.

Weekend on the farm

It was a weekend of yard work, swimming, more yard work and a visit by Poppy.  Poppy is Kat’s grandfather/my sister’s father-in-law.  He arrived this morning as we were all outside doing yard work – trimming trees and raking leaves.  We had a great day – doing a bit of work, having a bonfire, and then a great meal from our local BBQ restaurant. Everyone is full, happy and tired.

Yesterday Kat watched the boys and David and I went to a local antique store and picked out a kitchen hutch.  Poppy and David picked it up today.  Something old for the new kitchen.

Speaking of kitchens,  Kat and I are off to IKEA tomorrow to check out kitchens (and other needed items).

My power is about to run out so posting this quick.  More later.