Enough with the trees!

So, like I was saying earlier this week, we are cleaning up the back 4 acres of the property which has not been maintained for the past few years.  I am currently using just a regular riding lawnmower which takes forever.  We plan on upgrading to something more appropriate for this size property but, like everything, that costs money and we are trying to figure out what is a need versus a want still.  I would hate to spend a ton on a mower and then find out we actually needed a new A/C unit or something like that.  All in good time.  Also, using our old mower, I don’t feel as guilty when I take out the little brush trees and stuff that gets in the way.

I do have to give a shout out to my Dad for the majority of the yard work and tree removal that has been going on.  I will do work here and there but he gets out there and busts his butt daily.

It started off that we were only going to remove the 12 or so brush trees and about 20 crap trees that are growing in the random sections of fence we have in the yard.  Then we started planning my husbands garage/workshop building…  To make that project not be in the middle of the property and weird we have to add at least 5 huge gorgeous pine trees to the list as well.  We are going to be planting a lot more to make up for everything we are taking out.  We just want to make sure they are in good places. Lugging branches, logs and brush to the burn pile is a hard chore!

Speaking of the “burn pile”…  When we first looked at the house and property we were told that this huge 80×15 pile of leaves and brush in the middle of the 4 acres was a compost pile.  I don’t know what kind of compost pile has treated fence posts and railroad timbers in it but, mine does!

So, we made a make shift fire pit and started picking through it and burning what we can little by little.  Obviously, we have been setting aside all the treated stuff to dispose of or use elsewhere since it can’t be burned.  As we get part of the pile down, we add more to the fresh cut tree pile to burn later.

I know i need to be patient and realize that this is all a work in progress.  It just seems so huge right now!  I feel like we are getting nowhere, fast.  If only I could wiggle my nose and have everything be done!  Ahh, that’d be amazing!

Have you started taking on huge spring cleaning jobs, inside or outside?  Do you have any thoughts or tips for what I am doing?

Email me at postage2pasture@gmail.com

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Bugs!!

Since moving into the new house, and being here for a few months now, we have found some of the issues the property has that no one told us about…

The property hasn’t been appropriately maintained for years.  We have been slowly mowing and taking down trees in the back 4 acres.  I knew this house was going to be hard work and I thought I was ready for anything…  I am finding out exactly how out of shape I am!!  Don’t get me wrong, I love the work, it is all totally worth it, but holy hell.

The house hasn’t been maintained as well as it looked either.  We have those Asian beetles and boxelder bugs living in our siding and finding ways into our house.  All winter we have been dealing with these guys!  I was searching for a safe and more natural way to handle these guys since I have a slew of critters in my house that I don’t want to harm.

We are trying Diatomaceous Earth first.  We took apart the draining track area of all of our windows and sprinkled it in there, under our siding, and basically anywhere that wouldn’t get wet.  Supposedly, if this stuff gets wet, it is no longer effective.  We will see how this all goes.  The way it works is basically it dehydrates the bugs and they die.  If they eat the DE it’s super sharp and cuts up their insides as well as it dehydrates them.  It sounds horrible and writing it down makes me feel bad about it but, I know that if any birds, dogs, cats, or anything eats these dead bugs they will not be harmed from the DE!

Has anyone else used this before?  Was it successful?  I would LOVE to know if this is going to work rather than waiting and seeing!!  As usual, let me know if you have any thoughts, ideas, or opinions on what I am writing about!  I love hearing from you!!

Email me at postage2pasture@gmail.com

I’m BACK!!!!

Holy cow.  After a LONG and chaotic road there is so much to update about!

First, the reason I haven’t posted in forever, within a few days of each other both my home computer and my laptop took a dump.  We had a pending sale and purchase on our house and the house we will be moving into in a couple weeks so I was not making any purchases that could possibly affect that.  So I have been waiting…  And waiting…

As of Friday our house sold and closed!  Naturally, the first thing I did was go out and buy a computer.  I am hopefully getting back on track. So here is a recap from posts I should have updated as time went by:

My best friends wedding.  So much has happened and changed!  They are doing a destination wedding in Las Vegas now.  I am so excited about it!  It’ll be the first time Kevin and I have ever headed towards the west coast and, let me tell you, destination weddings are so unbelievable easy to plan!  Her dress is gorgeous, we made her invitations, her bachelorette party is in a couple weeks, our bridesmaids dresses are amazing, and the hotel in Vegas pretty much takes care of the rest!

The houses.  Our house went on the market way back in July, we sold it within a week then it was just inspection after inspection, hoop after hoop and oh shit, we need to find a house to move into!  We found 5 acres about an hour north of where we currently are and conveniently are able to close 2 weeks from now so we aren’t homeless for long!  Obviously, we aren’t actually homeless.  My parents lived about 4 blocks from our old house so we moved in here for the couple weeks till we make the big move.

We are off to a good start on the homestead plan!  The 5 acres will be able to hold a large garden, horses, chickens and ducks, maybe some goats, a pool and all the extras that we want, plus a monster garage for my husband to do his car stuff in.  It currently has none of those things though so we will be starting off with a small 2 car garage and building everything from scratch.  I have yet to decide if this is a curse or a blessing…

The house it self is awesome.  It just hasn’t been updated since the late 80’s.  I will post pictures once we move in.  There is more than enough room for the other big change.  My parents will be moving in with us.  When people hear about this they react in one of two ways, they are either understanding and think that it’s a nice thing that we are all doing together or they think I am completely nuts and my husband is a saint.  The verdict is still out on this one too.  I know that we are all doing the right thing and that everything is going to be awesome at the end.  It is getting to that point where all the stress comes into play.  Like I said, the house is big enough for all of us.  It is a raised ranch so essentially two units in one.  That is going to help keep us all out of each other’s hair.  My parents will be adding to my already large brood of pets, we have 4 dogs, 2 cats and a tortoise, with their 4 dogs and 1 cat.  Luckily, we are at least doubling the size of our house, not to mention all that land for everyone to run around on!

Now that I am up to date, I think, I am going to try to stay on this!  We will see how things go once we get closer to moving day and then Vegas right after that.  I have some projects and things I will be talking about in the weeks to come that I am pretty excited about.

Email me at postage2pasture@gmail.com

January “Spring” cleaning

Hello again!  Let me start this off with an apology for the delay in content…  I am new to this whole thing and was expecting to have more time to write and edit during the week.  Apparently our clients didn’t get the memo that it is usually the slow season after the holidays. Either way, I will work on posting more often.  Thank you for being patient with me.

To me, January is the worst month of the year.  I have fewer projects to work on and I have to de-Christmas my house, which is so depressing to me. Also, it’s usually cold and gloomy out so there is nothing fun and exciting to do.  I already set up my 2016 calendar back in December and I know that I have the first of two big cleans of the house coming very soon.

Today is day 1 of de-Christmas-ing the inside of my house.  It’s usually a full weekend project because I start my spring cleaning at the same time. So not only am I cleaning all my awesome decorations and putting them away but I am also dusting, wiping baseboards and walls, and all that spring cleaning entails, minus the window cleaning, since it’s freezing outside.

I usually do two deep cleans of my house every year.  I clean every weekend, but not like this.  There are only two holidays that I decorate for, so I do a hardcore clean at the end of August before I put up Halloween decorations in September. Yeah, I said September, and then again in January when I take Christmas down.

There is no gap between Halloween and Christmas decorations. I take down Halloween the first weekend in November-ish, depending on the date of our annual party and then Christmas goes up usually the next day. I LOVE having my house all decorated for the holidays.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-Thanksgiving, I just don’t have anyone at my house or any events during that time, so I go straight into Christmas mode.  Also, this way there is no climbing on the roof with snow and ice everywhere when I decorate outside.

Anyway, there are a couple positives to this first major cleaning. One is how awesome the house smells once I’m done. I make my own cleaners so there is no chemical smell that I have to deal with the whole weekend. There are SO many cleaner recipes out there for people to make, but because I have a major sensitivity to smell, I have to be careful with what I use. The main cleaner that I use in my house for just about everything is plain old vinegar and water.

I purchased one of these empty spray bottles from Menards (I probably bought like 10 actually, I use them for everything) and I filled it about a quarter of the way with white vinegar and the rest of the way with water.  You can add 1-2 drops of an orange or lemon essential oil if you want it to have a scent.  I have not personally tried that yet because of my smell sensitivity. Without the EO it will just smell like vinegar till it dries completely and then there is no scent at all.  I have exact measurements and a recipe at the bottom of this post.

Spray Bottle
These are the spray bottles that I buy.  They have an open box on the back for a label.

The second plus to my first deep clean of the year is, it usually inspires me to start another organization project or to start another one of our many, ‘To Finish Before We Sell’ Projects.  With the goal of putting our house on the market this fall, we have many things to get done.  Most of them are time consuming projects that you never really want to do, like painting trim.

Ugh, let me tell you, I cannot STAND painting trim!  You are usually in the most uncomfortable positions, you have to be super careful not to hit the walls, floor or ceiling, and it just takes FOREVER!  I really wish we would have painted it as we were putting it up but we had so many projects going on at the same time and we really just wanted to move in so we just powered through thinking we would do it later.  That was in 2010…

Having 4 dogs and 2 cats means the amount of hair in my house is intense at all times.  We vacuum regularly but it seems like the tumbleweeds of hair never end.  The first deep cleaning of the year focuses more on living spaces.  I move the bed and furniture to clean behind and under them.  I wash everything that can come off of them and then steam what can’t.

Here is a very basic breakdown of my Post Christmas Cleaning list:

  1. De-Christmas bathrooms and kitchen; wash and dry all Christmas rugs and towels.
  2. Clean, remove batteries and box up all Christmas decorations and move boxes into the basement.
  3. Dust, wipe down walls, throw couch pillows, blankets, dog beds, and our bedding down to be washed.
  4. From here I start upstairs and vacuum everything. Baseboards, corners of walls from floor to ceiling, ceilings and ceiling fans, vents and returns.
  5. Deep clean both bathrooms.
  6. Move all rugs and furniture and steam floors.
  7. Put everything back and put out all normal décor.
  8. Once all the extra laundry is done, clean out dryer vent hose.

This all usually takes about 2 full days.  The most time consuming stuff is the laundry.  Waiting for everything to wash and dry takes forever.  It’s a great feeling once this is all completed.  It’s a lot of hard work all at once.  What are some things that you do for your spring cleaning routine?  Do you have any other tips or things you do that I missed?  I would love to hear from you!


 

All Purpose Cleaner:

  • 32oz spray bottle
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1-2 drops citrus essential oil

Mix all ingredients in the spray bottle and start cleaning!

      *   Add essential oil if you want a fresh scented spray.


 

 

Here we go, I guess…

Holy cow, I can’t believe I am doing this.

I have toyed with the idea of starting a blog for over a year now.  Why I should, why I shouldn’t, and why I never would.  There are a lot of answers for each of those but the biggest thing that was holding me back, was the fear of failure.

People who know me personally know that I do not like to fail.  If I do fail, I would rather do it in front of as few people as possible.  I am sure that is how most people are.  It’s not like there are people who love to get in front of as many people as possible and see how hard they can bomb.  Well, I guess there is Nickelback… ☺

Anyway, looking at successful people and how they got there is because they took a chance.  So that’s what I am doing.  I am taking a chance in the hopes that there are other people out there like me, who want to read about good ideas, making cool things, and all the funny stories that happen in between.

In the past 7 years I have revamped a lot of areas in my life.  For some people my organization is a little over the top, (my husband is one of those people) but I have lots of tips and ideas for things that have and have not worked for us along the way!  I have helped others with organizing their homes by teaching them my 4 pile system for deciding on what to do with everything and learning when to just say “Toss it!”  I can honestly say I probably wouldn’t have started half of my organization projects without Pinterest.

Pinterest is amazing.  Does everyone love it like I do?  Most people I know pin everything in the world and then either never look at it again, can’t find it again (organization!) or don’t have the follow through to ever actually try it.  I am the opposite.  I can’t wait to show you all my Pinterest wins, fails, mistakes, projects, and recipes I try along the way!

Crafts, like sewing and knitting, are something new I am working my way into, as well as starting to play around with a lot of wood crafts and airbrushing projects. I also love photography. You are going to see WAY too many pictures of my pets I am sure, Exhibit A:

The Girls

This is actually not a photo I took.  This just shows off my beautiful, well behaved girls at their best!  A year or two ago I volunteered at a fundraising event for the wonderful people of H.E.L.P., Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets.  PawPrints Pix Photography was doing Christmas photos for people with their pets.  My amazing mother, sister, and her kiddos kindly took all 4 of my girls to get their picture professionally taken.  My family is pretty much the best and they mean the world to me, more on them in a different post.

My husband and I are currently making small changes here and there to transition to a less wasteful way of living.  We are both starting diets and fitness plans as well.  There are many reasons and motivators for us to get into shape again and lose weight, but the newest one is that my best friend will be getting married in the next year!!  I will have more stuff on our weight loss goals, diets, exercises and what is and isn’t working for us in the near future!

As an amateur wedding planner my best friend’s wedding is huge!!  Her wedding will be the 5th wedding that I will be doing.  I will have lots of posts on what we are doing, money saving tips, things you can easily skip or do differently, time management, of course organization, and all other things involved with wedding planning. Including DIY projects and things you should definitely spend the money on and let the experts handle.

All the of this happening brings me back to the title of this whole thing, From Postage Stamp to Pasture Land.  My husband and I both grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and with the goal of owning horses, we both see the need for more land and less neighborhood.  We moved from 1/5 of an acre to where we are currently living on 3/4 of an acre and hope to make our next move onto 3 or more acres over the next year and a half.  There are going to be so many bumps, bruises, setbacks and achievements along the way.  Thank you all for being patient and supportive of me as I begin this new project.  I hope to be informative and keep you all entertained.

There are a few different ways to follow me and talk with me that I have listed below.  I hope to hear from you soon!

Email me at postage2pasture@gmail.com