Meet Hank!

Kenny, Dolly, and Reba have been adjusting well. They have come to accept Curry as their boisterous, playful guardian and weathered thunderstorms (lots of them!) with courage. I did realize, after the zillionth storm, that I needed to move their shelter. It was not drying out between rains and I worried they would get sick, so my hubby and sons helped me relocate it to the other side of their pen. It was a good decision and there new south-facing location, plus a plywood platform on top of cinder blocks, has resulted in a nice, dry shelter even after the heaviest of rains.

Anywho, a couple of weeks ago, I got a text from the woman who sold our first three goats to us. She had a whethered male she needed to sell, and thought I might be interested since he and Kenny used to hang out together.

Me, texting my hubby: Honey, can I buy another goat?

Hubby: Do we have room?

Me: Yep, not a problem.

Hubby: That’s fine.

With which I jumped up and down, squealing to my kids, “We’re getting another goat!”

The next day, we brought home a sweet, blonde boy.

Meet Hank!

Yes, he is named after Hank Williams, Jr. 🙂
Look that that lovable face!

Hank is so sweet. He is a big eater and has learned to climb on top of the hay in the feeder to get his fair share! He was shy at first, but now realizes I come with treats so he warmed up quickly. I love to scratch his chin and give him a good belly rub. He has a very distinct, throaty bleat that makes him sound a little annoyed. Ha!

Adding him to the mix was interesting. He is bigger than the other three and Dolly, who was the original alpha and loved being in charge, promptly head-butted him in the side when he entered the pen. Apparently she wanted to make it clear that he wasn’t to try to usurp her authority. Even Kenny, our little guy, has given Hank a few solid head-butts when it’s meal time!

So, I felt a little bad because the other three basically formed a clique and made Hank work hard to join it. For the first 2 or 3 nights, they slept snuggled together while he slept alone. Poor guy.

And then there was Curry. He had finally stopped chasing the goats, but Hank’s arrival was more than he could resist and he regressed a bit. I caught him driving the goats behind their shelter and pulling on their tails with his wagging away, so back on the other side of the fence he went until he remembered his manners. He wasn’t trying to hurt them and obviously wanted to play, but they protested loudly! I can’t say I blame them. Thankfully, it only took a few days and now they are all buddies.

Everyone is getting along great, now. The goats sleep together in a warm, furry heap and Curry has learned to be gentle. Our little herd is complete and we are dreaming of what is next. I bought harnesses and plan to work with the goats so I can take them into the woods and let them clear out some of that underbrush. Maybe we will build a nice barn back there at some point and fence more acres in, but right now I’ll take any excuse to be outdoors in this glorious and unseasonable cool weather. If it means putting goats on leashes, I’m in!

Goats on leashes…now that should be interesting.

The Coop, Chickens, Cats and Poop! (Not necessarily in that order)

*This post does devolve somewhat into chicken poop management, so if you are squeamish you have been warned!

What a fun experience it has been to see a vision come to life! From a Pinterest photo adapted for our needs, a gifted carpenter worked for almost a month to build a predator-proof, one-of-a-kind, beautiful chapel to house our six girls! Here it is, before the decorations were added…

chicken chapel, chicken coop, Arundelle Green, chickens, chicken run, gravel, sand

I put the final touches on today and am so thrilled with how it turned out. Apparently the chickens are, too, because they are laying eggs faster than we can eat them! I blessed my sweet neighbor with a dozen just this afternoon!

So, without further adieu…I present Fluffingham Chapel!

Now for the poop talk…

I have had a steep learning curve with this little endeavor. First of all, chicken poop mixed with mud stinks, and we have had a TON of rain. I found a solution last week, though, thanks to a friend. I lined the floor of the run with gravel, then topped with a thick layer of sand.

chickens, gravel, sand, chicken run

It solved the stink problem and has also kept their water much cleaner. (They kept splashing mud in it…and Lord only knows what else.) I have also learned I need more pine shavings in the coop than I would have thought (they really only go in there to lay their eggs and roost at night) because they poop when they sleep and it is not easy to scrape off the floor.

And it stinks. Have I mentioned how much chicken poop stinks? Much less, how much they actually poop?

Y’all.

In other news, the cats are curious, and have only slightly traumatized the chickens!

Rosa (who is pregnant and due any day!) has for the most part watched from afar. Ashton? Well, he thinks they are fun.

Sweet, pregnant Rosa. We are excited to welcome kittens to the farm very soon! (Then Rosa will be spayed…we do have our limits!)
cat, country cat, farm cat, cat in chicken coop
Ashton snuck into the empty coop while I was cleaning the nesting boxes. Bad, bad boy!

Ashton hunkers down in the tall grass or on the edge of the Shadow Wood, waiting for the perfect moment to jump out and chase them, which send them into a flapping, feathery tizzy. Poor things. (I have ordered a portable fence system to help alleviate that problem! Plus, it will allow them more freedom to roam unsupervised during the day.)

All this rambling to say, things are moving right along here at Arundelle Green. Our little farm is bustling with activity and I am just so happy. Mini-farming has brought our family closer together and created a beautiful space where stress falls away as we interact with and care for the animals all around us. Dogs, cats, goats, and chickens…it’s a rich life full of antics, snuggles, and surprises that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Speaking of surprises…those who follow me on Instagram and Facebook may know already, but stay tuned for a peek at our newest furry love!

Oh, and be sure to follow Arundelle Green on the socials! I love to share pictures and quick snippets of our days. I am also on TikTok where I post short, fun videos of the antics around here. (TikTok is something I NEVER thought I would do, but I decided to join the host of people who are #redeemingtiktok with goodness, beauty, and good clean fun). I will put links below to make it easier, or you can search arundelle_green and find me that way.

Have a wonderful day!

(Click the links below to find me on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook)

Meet the Goats!

It finally happened! After years of dreaming, months of scheming, and lots of patience from my husband as we prepared our land to become a mini-farm, we brought home three of the cutest goats you’ve ever seen!

We picked them up on Good Friday, April 2. It was such an exciting day! As we got them settled in their pen, it felt surreal. My daughter said, “Mom, does this mean we live on a farm?”

“Yes,” I said. “It sure does!”

It has been a true gift to watch my kids and their friends enjoy all that we are building here. Children who have never seen a farm animal reach out in wonder as a doeling or buckling eat out of their hand or nibble on their shoelaces. Adults have called me out of the blue because they want to come play, and neighbors’ kids show up with big smiles because they were just out back with the animals.

“If you build it, they will come,” right?

God has big plans for this little farm. Plans that stretch beyond milk, vegetables, eggs and soap. Creation declares the glory of God, and I am seeing it happen here, in this place surrounded by trees, water, and blue sky. Here, where the roosters crow in the distance as cattle noisily greet the dawn from across the road. Here, where animals teach us how to get along, cats and dogs playing together as the goats learn to trust their new protector and the barnswallows fly about just overhead. It seems metaphors are leaping out all around me these days, and I believe God will give me much to share with you. So, without further adieu, I would love to introduce you to the goats of Arundelle Green…

As if our goats weren’t enough to be excited about, work is well underway on our most incredible chicken coop! It is going to be a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that will surely be the backdrop of many portraits and picnics. It is nearing completion and our hens will come home shortly after. I will be back to share photos when it is finished.

Have a wonderful day! If you need me, I’ll be out back with the goats.

Blessings, from Arundelle Green.

Creating Space

As I stepped outside this morning to gauge the temperature my senses were assaulted by the sounds of hundreds of birds singing joy from the Shadow Wood. One perched nearby seemed to be proclaiming, “hello, hellooooo!” as the geese glided gracefully across the pond. A chilly early spring breeze blew strong, threatening to topple the potted plants I had just placed on the side porch to reintroduce them to the outdoors once again after spending winter inside.

Sometimes I pinch myself. I can’t believe I live here.

It’s been eight months since we moved to Arundelle Green, so this is our first experience with Spring on these eight acres. I was working in the goat pens just yesterday, preparing shelters for our doelings and buckling who will come home soon, and noticed the tree that was lucky enough to be enclosed within the fencing is loaded with buds.

From what I can see, it looks like the flowers will be white.

I have been consumed with preparations for the mini-farm we are building. It has been a true source of joy to wield power tools as I built a simple three-sided shelter and converted a dog kennel into a safe nighttime haven to protect our kids from coyotes. We are also on the hunt for a Great Pyrenees mix to grow up alongside the goats as their friend and protector, and plans for the chicken coop are coming along.

With the completion of the Library my attention has turned to organizing my office. It is kind of a mess right now! There are so many random things in baskets that I don’t even know half of what is in there. I’ll probably be tossing a lot of unused and unneeded items, which will leave some shelves empty. And that’s ok. White space is healthy.

Speaking of white space…

Life at home has been incredibly busy and my days are full, which made me realize I need to simplify. Pull back. Focus on what is at my fingertips and do that well. So I did and I am. I had spent the past few months overcommitted and stretched thin. I struggled to sleep and struggled even more to focus and enjoy something as routine as a movie night with my family because the lists running through my mind were relentless. So I tore up some lists, quit a few things that were good but not best for me in this season, and intentionally created margin where I had none, space for quiet because I need to hear the whisper of God and snuggle my teenagers.

Just in time, too, for all around us Creation is putting on a spectacular show. The daffodils are in full bloom and I have been picking up potted flowers here and there to fill my side porch with color.

A mama goose is heavy with eggs and her mate stays faithfully with her, awaiting their tiny arrivals even when the rest of the flock is soaring high above. Sunsets have been spectacular, creating a golden hour that is magical.

See Ashton in the corner? He is always on the hunt 🙂

The Shadow Wood, bare from winter, is beginning to come alive with green.

Soon, the roses will be blooming and vegetables will fill my gardens. In all these things, God speaks to me. He reminds me of the patterns of life that have been in place long before I was even born. The repetition of the seasons, the predictability of a dogwood blooming, seedlings emerging from prepared soil, echo His faithfulness and care.

I don’t want to miss any of this, and in my busyness I was becoming fearful that I would. I needed to take time to slow down and see what is right in front of me, the beauty of Creation coming alive to declare the glory of the Creator. Busyness makes me blind. Lack of margin leaves me exhausted. He says to be still, and if we are wise we will heed those words.

For in the stillness there is a breeze blowing, cattle lowing in the distance and the sound of water bubbling along the creek as the farmer down the road drops a fresh bale of hay among his flock of hungry goats. The cardinals are visiting the feeders once again and the blue heron just landed silently along the waters edge.

Beauty abounds if only we will stop and allow our senses to take it in. Spring is arriving in all it’s glory here, at Arundelle Green.

Surprise, Surprise!

Last week our pool guy came for his weekly maintenance. He is a cat lover, so he always enjoys checking in on Ashton and Rosa, commenting on how they’ve “got it good” with a chuckle. He is generally full of friendly advice and very helpful.

On this day, the kittens were exploring the yard in the unusually warm December sun. Rosa (the black cat) slowly moved among the rosebushes while Ashton (the grey tabby) was on the hunt, stalking something hiding beyond the gate.

“That one’s a boy, right?” The pool guy watched Ashton closely.

“No, it’s a girl,” I said.

“You sure?”

“Yeah, well…yeah. The lady we got them from said they were both girls. I mean, she looked at them and said they were…girls, I mean.”

You know where this is going, right?

I went into the garage attached to Autumn House, where I had spent most of the day organizing all the junk we had thrown in there back in July. Ashton followed me and I decided to, you know, take a look.

Lo and behold, there was…something, some things there that were NOT there when we brought her…it…him home!

I carried her/him outside and showed “it” to the pool guy and he laughed.

“How could you tell?” I asked.

“I know my cats!” he laughed throwing his head back. “You got yourself a tomcat!”

I’ve got myself a tomcat.

So now we have had to adjust our pronouns! Poor Ashton, he gets called she/he often and we just grin because now that we know it seems so obvious! It’s a boy, and now we have to deal with the, um, issues that presents.

So, it looks like he will be visiting the local vet soon for a little snip-snip.

Ashton in front, Rosa in back. Notice how much bigger he is? It’s all making sense now.

Bless his heart.

Making it Ours-The Grand Tour of Arundelle Green

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This house felt familiar from the day we moved in. It is a red brick, Colonial style, grand beauty with traditional details and just a touch of farmhouse charm to soften things a bit.

First, I set up the kitchen. (Of course.) Isn’t eating the first thing we all do in a new house? With lots of cabinets and even some stashed under the island, I have plenty of room to organize my dishes. There are also clear glass-front cabinets where I display my Mikasa English Countryside dinnerware (which was a wedding gift twenty-five years ago!) Pioneer Woman Heritage Floral dishes.

Sidenote: You will soon learn that I am a huge Pioneer Woman fan. HUGE. I love everything she produces and it takes amazing self control to not own it ALL.

It’s so pretty. And, just to keep it real, it is never ever this clean.

You’re welcome.

Cute teen photobomb.
The breakfast table overlooks the pool. A perfect spot for lingering.

The dining room is adjacent to the kitchen. It is definitely the most formal room of our house, but I livened it up by placing our bright blue piano along the wall! At first I was afraid the piano was too much for this space, but over time it has grown on me and I have decided I love it in here.

Here it is all decked out for Christmas. Note the blue piano. Happiness.

Upstairs we have an extra bedroom that we designated as a guest room. I repurposed old twin beds, built by my father-in-law, that once belonged to my boys. I found the quilts and sheer curtain panels on Amazon. I just love the “granny” feel of this room. Old-fashioned and sweet.

The dresser on the right was once a changing table for my babies. Sigh.
The lamp and figurine belonged to my husband’s grandmother.

One of our favorite features of this place is the pool house, which we quickly named “Autumn House.” In the past, we were privileged to have a garage apartment where we housed missionaries on furlough or students who needed a temporary place to stay. We are thrilled to be able to have a space for this type of ministry again.

We will also use it to host parties and events, such as outdoor concerts. It is perfect for a crowd. There have also been a few epic sleepovers!

The big porch of Autumn House overlooks the pool.
The main guest room at Autumn House
The second guest room at Autumn House. These beds, made by my father-in-law, once belonged to my little girls.
The living room at Autumn House. So cozy,
It even has a wood-burning fireplace.

Back to the main house…

I apparently never took a photo of our living room after the sectional arrived, so here it is dressed up for Christmas (because I can assure you, as I write this my living room is NOT photo-worthy!)

We purchased this huge sectional from Ashley Furniture and absolutely love it. We all fall into it together in the evenings to enjoy a family movie or football game.

The master bedroom (below) is a peaceful retreat for us. We decided not to have a TV in there this time around, and I’m glad we did. It just keeps the room more quiet. More calm.

There are so many more pictures I could share, but I think I’ll stop here. Over time, I will come back and show you changes we make to the rooms in our home and around the land, especially as seasons change and call for freshening up of spaces.

In fact, I will need another whole post just to walk you around the land! There is a lot of work still to be done, decisions to make, and spaces to carve out and make useful for the animals we hope to bring in after Winter is over. But we aren’t in a hurry. We are home at last and grateful to wake up every morning to the beauty that surrounds us here at Arundelle Green.

Welcome.