2017: Unexpected Progress and New Adventures

When I sat down to reflect on 2017 I expected to be a little disappointed with my progress around the farm, mostly because I spent fair amount of time last year gallivanting around the country, sleeping in a tent and climbing things. Like mountains.


And also building things on the farm that I could climb


This, by the way, is at the top of the list for fun building projects from 2017, even though it consisted of drilling a lot of holes, and trying to lift sheets of 3/4″ plywood twelve feet up in the air without help. (Didn’t succeed at that, by the way, and was very happy to have help so I didn’t end up flattened like a pancake on the barn floor.) Still, even though it was an effing blast to build, I wouldn’t exactly call it “progress” around the farm (you know, when there are bathrooms that have been torn up for years, a greenhouse that needs to be rebuilt, and a kitchen that hasn’t had a proper floor since 2015.)

And yet, even with all of the gallivanting and the just-for-fun projects, I still managed to make a fair amount actual–and rather unexpected–progress last year.

Here’s how things shaped up in 2017:

First, in February I finally replaced the plywood-masquerading-as-counters in the kitchen with actual real butcher block.


I mean, hell yes.

It’s a little crazy that I started this project two years ago (no one ever accused me of doing a job too quickly) but at least in 2017 it became a mostly-functional kitchen again. And even half-finished it’s already so much brighter and more functional than this…


Also, I’m loving the butcher block. It’s definitely more work than stone or solid-surface counters (requiring oiling and sanding down any water spots every couple of months) but, let’s be honest, that’s about as often as I actually bother to clear the counters of junk anyway, and I’m way more comfortable using a sanding block than a dish rag, so… these really do fit my lifestyle perfectly.

And, speaking of other things that fit my lifestyle perfectly, I also turned the downstairs bedroom/storage room into a home gym last year…


It meant creating a lot of storage in other places around around the house for all of the shit I had been piling up in that room, but after everything was cleared out I installed a rubber floor, and moved my gym equipment in…


It’s rapidly become one of the most favored rooms in the house. I have to fight the cat for a spot on my yoga mat every morning.


The other project that happened inside the house last year was the living room re-do, taking it from this…


To this…


I love the way the room is coming together (mostly because I love lounging on that couch). I also love that I said “coming together” as if I’m going to find time to build a coffee table or put the new light fixture up any time in the next year. (Ha.)

I also managed one more very special (top secret) project inside the house for Mother’s Day…


I made a few updates to my Mom’s room so that it finally feels like an actual finished room that a person might want to stay in (instead of a fair imitation of a dreary motel room.) My mom very often watches the farm, or just comes up to spend the weekend, and I’m so glad she has a nice room of her own here now.

Then, of course, spring rolled around and–just like every other year– I immediately dropped all my indoor projects, ran outside, and stayed out there until November.

First, there was the new chicken run.


Not my favorite project for two reasons. 1.) I hate working with hardware cloth, and 2.) I love being able to let the chickens free-range.


But the run became a necessary project in early spring because something was killing (and not eating) my chickens two at a time. I lost half my flock before I caught a dog from down the street sneaking on to my property during the day, “playing” with the chickens, and then sneaking back home before anyone knew he’d left. After the dog was caught, the owners notified, and the battery changed on his electric collar, I started letting the chickens free-range again, but the run is still nice when I’m away from the farm for a night, or when I want new chicks to have a little outdoor time without being bothered by the big chickens…


The run will be getting a couple of upgrades in 2018, but I’m glad it’s functional now, and ready to go if and when I need it.

There were also new bees this year


(And a couple of cousins to help me install them into the hives.)

And the usual work in the garden


This is the first year all 19 raised beds were fully functional.

It’s also the year I finally finished the trellis around the entrance to the garden…


My mom and I put in two new flower beds around the entrance that we can’t wait to get fully established, and planted some wisteria on the pergola.


After that basically every free minute (that I wasn’t gallivanting around the country or climbing things) was spent digging post holes.

I dug holes for the vineyard trellis


I dug holes for new grapevines…


I dug holes for the new foundation for my greenhouse (since clearly I needed an upgrade.)


I’ve resigned myself to the fact that 85% of farm work boils down to my two least favorite kinds of work: digging post-holes and putting in fences. (The rest of it is mostly shoveling shit.)

It’s not particularly fun work, but I still effing love it. Maybe it’s the Bloody Mary’s for lunch?


This time last year I told myself that I was done “expanding” the farm. No new animals (because new animals typically require new fences and living quarters). No new trees (because new trees mean hauling water out to the field every day for the first year.) No new major projects (I mean… except that one time my mom and I almost bought a lake house.)

I am so bad at not starting new major projects.

Still, for a year in which I might have said “It doesn’t feel like I got that much done”… I really got quite a few things done.

And, hey, did I also mention I climbed some things?

My bother and I did a two-day hike in the Sawtooth Mountains in June…


Along with some multi-pitch climbing.


Then, in early August we met up with one of our cousins in Nashville, and ended up driving up to Jackson Falls to spend a day doing some single-pitch climbing…


In late August I headed back to Idaho to spend 4 days backpacking in the mountains by myself and catch the eclipse…


The climbing/hiking community is awesome and I ended up meeting a couple of new friends and spending most of my time hiking and camping with them. We saw some amazing waterfalls…


Amazing views…


And one amazingly cold “shower” in some snowmelt…


It was a great trip. But, amazingly, not my last for the year.

In October I headed out to Red Rocks (Nevada, not Colorado) with one of my good friends for a couple of days of desert camping…


And (you guessed it)… climbing.


While I kind of have mixed feelings about 2017 (and maybe even a little identity crisis. I mean, for 15 years I’ve been the girl who builds things, and now I… travel?) it was clearly packed full of amazing experiences, new adventures, and, hey, look at that, even some unexpected progress around the farm.

Also, 2018 isn’t looking too bad for progress around the farm either. I don’t want to jinx it, but there may actually be some tile on the upstairs bathroom floor…


12 Responses

  1. Living a lifestyle like you do on properties like a farm it’s often hard to find balance between the work and the rest of your life, but I think that’s what you achieved this year. I’m glad that you were able to see the productivity and appreciate what you accomplished, both at the farm and away.

  2. All right, what’s this about a lake house???? Sorry it didn’t work out but, geez, how much fun would that be? Although, having houses and projects in two locations is rough, the rewards are amazing…enjoy 2018, you are amazing…

  3. Great post!

    Good to look back, love the before and after pics.

    How’d the chicken run roof hold up to the snow load?

  4. I hope you don’t think for a second that you weren’t productive last year. 🙂 It’s great that you also found some time for fun!

  5. A long time ago, when I read you were adopting donkeys, becoming a bee keeper, planting all those gardens, I worried. Just seems like an awful lot of taking care of. I am so happy to read you are veering off, albeit only slightly to “Kit” things. All roads don’t run straight. Thanks for the update.

  6. Margaret —
    “All roads don’t run straight.”

    I love that.

    Traveling and experiencing new things IS progress, albeit of a different sort. When you are digging new holes or doing some impossibly monotonous task, you have wonderful memories of climbing, camping, and friends to pull out and remember.

  7. Kit,

    It’s because of the farm that you are doing all the traveling. Yes, I know that the projects aren’t done but it is because of the security that you feel at the farm that make you feel confident to branch out and do new things, hence the traveling. And doesn’t it feel good to come home!


  8. i’m a little late catching up on yours and everyone else’s blogs but i can’t believe how much awesome stuff you accomplished and DID in 2017! those hiking/climbing pics are so cool. great to relive your biggest accomplishments.

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