It’s been just over a year since we moved to Michigan, and almost as long since I’ve done a blog update. My bad! Once you see what has been going on you may understand why there has been a lack of activity on the blog!
To say that a lot has happened in that time would probably be a bit of an understatement. Our plans on how to develop the property have been in a continuous state of evolution, so it’s best to stick with what has happened, and we have actually done.
We’ve cut down a lot of trees. Some, because they were in a dangerous state, and some to clear certain areas. As we intend to heat and cook mainly with wood-fired stoves, none of the trees will be going to waste, we will also be developing an orchard and other tree’s so we do have ‘managed resources’. We’ve cleared a generous area around the existing garage and studio and to allow us to fence in a pen for the goats. When we were doing that we concluded that the roof of the garage and studio needed a bit of attention. To that end we ultimately removed the existing roofs, reinforced the walls and replaced the roof with new. We went for the same copper coloured metal sheeting that we had become enamoured with when we were in Colorado. The walls, we sided with white metal sheeting, as we felt that that would blend in nicely with the future plans to stucco the house. As we have yet to stucco the house, the out buildings now look better than our home! We gave the same treatment to the garden shed, and the other small buildings will follow suit in time. Fencing of the property is still an ongoing activity, and likely to be for some time!
Needless to say, the work required on the garage and studio necessitated putting the vintage cars and a lot of our stuff into storage again, something that I had hoped was a thing of the past. The cars and some of our stuff are still in storage as there is still a lot of interior work to be completed. This depresses me greatly. Some of the studio interior work has been done, Melisa’s fiber room is coming along and the main studio is mostly finished. A corner of the studio has been walled off as two small rooms, one as a windowless box-room for storage and another with a window, ultimately as a painting room for me, but at the moment full of tools and materials for the ongoing work.
We had just completed the rebuild of the garage and studio in time for winter, and this winter proved the decision to be a good one. Michigan experienced the worst winter with the highest snow fall for over sixty years. I did make the comment that I didn’t know if Michigan was trying to welcome me, or scare me off.
In the house, we fitted a new wood burning stove which is pretty awesome – attractive and very efficient at heating the house. Not much more has been done to the house yet as, before winter, most of the focus was on the animal pens and the garage and studio, and now focus has shifted to the garden and planned orchard. The interior of the house will get its focus over this next coming winter and the extensions, that we had hoped to do before now, will now get done next year. There are a number of things that will need doing this summer – up to five windows needing replaced and a new chimney in the kitchen to fit our vintage combi stove. For this winter, the plan is to start making fitted bookcases so that we can start to unpack our collection of books, cds and dvds.
On the animal front we have had two sad losses. Prue, one of our Border Collies from Scotland, had to be put to sleep. She had developed a cancerous tumour that was in an inoperable location. Oreo, our very special ‘mama’ cat, died from complications when she was having kittens. Our llamas have been relocated with a lady who breeds and shows llamas. On the gain front, so far this year, we have had 13 new kid arrivals. Kidding is always a special time, and this year I was home for most of the arrivals. Delivery time can be hectic, but the first few weeks are always special and the kids gain mobility and start to develop character.