Monday, February 28, 2011

Last Day of Vacation

Last week just seemed to fly by, which always happens on vacations for some reason. Aside from having a blast, we also accomplished quite a bit on the house. My stove and refrigerator were delivered Wednesday and that very night I made enchiladas.

Why? Because we had been living off canned goods for weeks and frankly, the Farmer and I were sick of them. Not to mention, I just wanted to try out my stove since I spend a great deal of time in the kitchen. Were they the best enchiladas ever...yes they were.

We also got the awful bathtub out of the awful bathroom.
Yeah, it's all going away. Far far away. A much prettier bathroom is coming. In fact my new tub should be at the store now, just waiting for the Farmer to pick it up.

We also got the chicken coop started! Hopefully we will be able to order our chickens in a couple weeks!

When the weather warmed up a little, the Farmer bribed me with flower bulbs, and got to play in the stream a little bit. Since it had rained earlier in the week, the creek was running fast.What was the creek missing to make it perfect? A waterfall. So, what did the Farmer do? He built one.
That's right. He spent about two hours of his life piling rocks and mud to make this. Isn't it gorgeous?

We did more things too but I want to start putting more pictures up and I have to organize them first. So I will end with one more activity and two more pics.

On the last night of vacation we did something we both loved. We grilled out. It made the Farmer's vacation. Most men like grilling, I'm told, so the cooking out itself really wasn't a big deal. What made it great was the fact that neither of us had grilled out in about five years, the apartment years. I don't think any burger has ever tasted so good. He also built up a campfire. It was paradise!
(Note: I am not a professional photographer, so these pictures are purely the work of an amateur.)
And I just love this picture.

So, the vacation is over and now we have to go back to only seeing the house twice a week. Hopefully, the house will be move in ready in a few weeks and we can put the apartment behind us. It can't happen soon enough!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Every once in a while the Farmer and I discover that we want an item that we don't need. Most of the time we are able to bury these wants deep and they trouble us no more.

Then every once in a great while, we discover that there is an item that can not be buried. Usually at that time we stand there in the store for at least twenty minutes and almost dance from one foot to the other in anxiety.

Such a thing happened yesterday. Actually, it also happened about three weeks ago too. We went to the store, just like we had done several times already, to purchase an item(or thirty) for the house. This time we saw the item.

We didn't buy it. We wanted it badly, but we were able to bury the want and concentrate on the more important items on our list. And we forgot about it, or at least didn't think about it.

Then yesterday, we go back to the store. We are looking around the garden section, planning and dreaming about what we will do and then we see it. It refuses to be passed up a second time so the Farmer picks it up and adds it to the cart. Even though we went into the store with a list, we came out with an extra item, a splurge, a hammock.

Yes, we bought a hammock. Then when we got back home, instead of building walls or digging out space for our garden or anything important, we put up the hammock.

True it wasn't a big splurge, but it was still money that we hadn't planned on spending. Usually these splurges make us (or at least me, since I am not contributing to the income) feel extremely guilty. So, I was prepared for the buyers remorse.

Never came. Probably because the hammock is just so much fun! Oh well, maybe I will feel extra guilty about the huge bathtub we are getting.

So, that was our splurge. We still don't have internet at the house so I can't write until we come back to the apartment to take care of the cats. I'm trying to develop the blogger's habit of living with the camera attached to my hand but it is slow in coming. Pictures soon, I promise.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Farmer's Perspective - Part 1 - Security on the Homestead

I would like to interject now and again on this blog as to certain observances that my wife may "forget" to discuss.  Importance is many times a matter of perception, and homestead security is not without priority.

There are no security lights out where we live which is not at all bad.  All of our neighbors are farmers and we all stick to ourselves, while watching the neighborhood for anything out of the ordinary.  Besides, just down the road is a guard donkey... you don't want a piece of that.  Needless to say, without all of that light pollution, I haven't seen the stars clearer since I was 18 years old sitting on the roof of our pole barn.  This situation did make my wife a little nervous at first, and I can see why... when it's that dark you can't see the 'possums and rabbits jacking up the car to steal the tires.

After a bit of lamenting I agreed to get her a driveway security system (motion activated) which after some coupon clipping, I was able to get on sale for $12.  (Don't be fooled, I splurge way more often than I should... but I want those pennies to squeal).  The unit is pictured below.  And so I went through the trouble of setting up the sensor so that it couldn't be seen from the driveway.  This included trimming some weed trees and stacking some 50 lb limestone slabs until she was satisfied.  With this system in place we were sure to be alerted of anyone coming up the drive unannounced.

Day 1 - no one came.
Night 1 - three rabbits and a house cat came by between 12:00 am and 4:00 am to sell encyclopedias.  I asked them if they had any idea what time it was and sent them on their way.

Day 2 - no one came.
Night 2 - 5 more furry visitors disturbed our slumber... and I didn't bother to answer the door. (If I ignore them they may just go away).

Needless to say, we have been here for a month now and the bell unit is... should we say... conserving energy.   If you ever look into one of these units, I have to admit that I'm very pleased in its performance, but please be cautious as to where you place it.  Sometimes the home security system is the only one you need... or a guard donkey... *shudder*.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Catch Up

When I was in middle school I loved history.

I even got an award for best history student. It was at one of the many ceremonies the school loved to put on and make parents come to. I remember sitting in the uncomfortable chairs on the gym floor while the parents sat on the bleachers.

Actually I think I fell asleep. Just sitting there hearing name after name being called.

Yeah, I fell asleep.

I do remember hearing my name though. You see, they hadn't alerted me that I might be getting an award, so all the usual students who were used to recognition were dressed nice. I was in my khakis and collared shirt.

Yes, they made us wear khakis.

Anyways, being a lover of history has led me to give you a history lesson. I promise it will be short. It's not about ancient Egypt(which is one of my favorite topics, mythology being another) it's about the last month.

We closed on our house, on Jan. 14 and have been working on it ever since. Now, since the Farmer works a job in the city we have only been able to work on his days off. So, we have only been working on the house for about ten days.

We have done a lot in ten days.

The house began as a three room, one bath, with a small kitchen and a decent size living room. It will eventually be a two room(with a fabulous walk in closet), one bath. We will also have an office and and pantry. The living room will shrink a bit, as will the bathroom. The kitchen will remain small but there is nothing we can do about that, so I will learn to adjust.

He is also going to build me a bay window! I can't wait to put the Christmas tree up in front of it.

The office also serves as the library for we have lots and lots( I could bore you a million lots here but I will refrain) of books.

So far, only the walk in closet is completely done. But for it to be done we have torn out walls, replaced all the insulation(yuck), completely re-worked the whole electrical system(it was a mess, and very dangerous), built walls back up and put up the drywall.

When I type it, it doesn't seem like a lot, but consider: it has only been the two of us(well, my grandaddy has come up twice and helped but he has about as much experience as me, never the less, he was a big help), and while the Farmer has helped build houses before, I never have. So, he has been teaching me as we go and I think it has slowed us down, although he would tell you different.

When I post pictures I can give you much more details, but now, you are caught up and now when I tell you that on his vacation next week(YAY!!) we are going to finish the master bedroom and start on the guest bedroom and the bathroom, you won't be wondering how we have gotten to this point.

Oh yeah, we are also hoping for some good weather so we can start building our chicken coop! I have to give him playtime outside. I think he would wither and die if he had to stay inside 24/7.

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

First Post

Welcome to ChickenScratch! I've tried starting a blog once or twice, but I never could quite get it off the ground...or desk. Probably because I was in college at the time and didn't really have anything interesting to say.

Now, however, I am out of college, didn't graduate because the Farmer, my husband, got a promotion, but when we save up enough money, I will be going back to finish.

Who am I? My name is Melissa Hanneken and I think I finally have something interesting to write about.

 Ever since I was little I have been writing stories. Well, try telling your family and teachers that you want to write books for a living. For most, it's a pipe dream. For me, it was an impossibility. Life is too expensive to not have a regular source of income.

Then I met the Farmer. When he got his promotion and we moved out to the Nashville area, we went over our finances and found that, if we lived carefully, I wouldn't have to get a job and could stay home( a little bitty apartment) and write.

Well, for almost two years now, we have done just that. Living carefully and frugally isn't hard for either of us and because of that we have now bought a house with five acres!

This blog is about moving from the city into the country, remodeling...ok, almost completely gutting and redoing the old house, and me learning to be a farmers wife.

So, welcome to my blog about my life and our farm ChickenScratch.