First Snow of 2020

When reflecting on the progress of this homestead, I can’t help but feel satisfied with the growth.  I don’t feel it day-to-day, or even month-to-month, but when I look at the year in its entirety, I smile with the accomplishments.  At times I have to remind myself that there was nothing here; it was just pasture when I began. Now I have buildings, a greenhouse, gardens…

I have resolved that 2020 is the year for finishing those unfinished projects.  There are plenty.  Like the bathroom tile that is about 80% done or the shed that needs to be painted.

January brought a little bit of snow providing a quiet morning that you only get on a snow day to reflect on the progress and see the possibilities to be.  Also, some stunning photographs.

I can see this windmill from my front windows and it is always showing me which way the wind is blowing.  It appears that I get strong winds from the north, and also strong winds from the southeast.  Hence Project Bees slated for 2020.  I need to move the beehives to a new bee yard and protected from this wild wind.  They don’t like the wind.

My neighbor’s house with glowing Christmas lights and a rising sun.  So peaceful.  Newly planted crabapples, maples and birch trees all look beautiful in snow.

A sleeping garden and sleeping chickens.  I plan to expand the garden out this year and fortify the chicken coop with wire at ground level to keep the burrowing mice out.  I’m feeding a whole nest of field mice.

Unfortunately, this snow only lasted two days.  I’m going to miss this view.  A new neighbor will be building near those trees in 2020.  But they plan to build a cute little farmhouse and that makes me smile.  They are also animal lovers and have horses, goats, etc.  So happy camper right here!

The lavender is sleeping under a blanket of snow.  I’m looking forward to making row markers identifying the different types of lavender.  Another planned project to finish with my girlfriends.

The new year is off to a good start and I’m looking forward to sharing more!

Keep Calm and Lavender On 💜


Farmhouse Construction Update #2

There have been setbacks and there have been some gloomy days.  It took a new project manager to really get this little farmhouse back on track and I am now the number one priority of the company, or so they say.  It’s about time!

IMG_0007See the dusting of snow?  Believe it or not, the weather has not been the cause of the delays.  After the concrete foundation was poured and the framers showed up and began framing, it was clear that the subcontractor who was hired to put in the concrete foundation did such a poor job that the homebuilder actually said they couldn’t continue and had to bulldoze the whole thing.  Yep, the house and barn were completely bulldozed and hauled off to the dump.  It was a terrible setback.  Even though I would not have to pay for the re-do, I was pretty upset.  The build was already extremely far behind for a variety of reasons and excuses.  Let’s just say that it took five months to get to this point.  Ugh.

IMG_0015Much better.  This was a solid, level pour.  The forms came off and the lumber arrived and ready for the framers.  In the mix, the excavators had to come back and clean up what the bulldozers took out and had to re-do all of the excavation and drainage around the house and barn.  All of this work has expanded the footprint and created a muddy mess.

IMG_0015 2The framers began to frame in the house.

IMG_0011Truss day! This is an exciting day because the trusses allow one to really start to see the shape of the house.

IMG_6234The roofers completed the entire roof in one morning.  Amazing!

IMG_0018It figures that this barn/shop gets the most attention.  Most of the male visitors want this barn.  I don’t blame them.  It’s one heck of a barn and super tall for drying all that lavender.

So, windows are in, plumbing is done (with showers/baths installed), gas is done, electrical is partially roughed in, cabinet maker has measured for cabinets and fireplace has been installed.  I had to refuse the exterior doors, twice.  The first time they came unwrapped and were completely covered in mud.  The second time they delivered in an enclosed truck.  However, two of the French doors fell over inside the truck onto the other two French doors in transit.  Glass everywhere and I had to refuse the doors, again.

IMG_0020In the meantime, I have been working on the property.  This slice of heaven was once pasture and has extremely furtile soil and no rocks.  Seriously, I have not found a single rock.  Lots of digging and prepping for the lavender fields.  I also decided to add a little kidney-shaped hill for some interest.  I had 16 yards of soil brought in and Blueberry Hill was born.  Three crabapple trees (above) and four blueberry bushes call it home so far.  Along the street and outside of the white fence, 16 cherry trees (8 Rainier and 8 Bing) were planted and 48 lavender bushes (Royal Velvet Lavender) were planted.  Cubby (Cadet) has been mowing, limbing up trees near the creek and moving lots of dirt.

IMG_0012  It’s a sunny and beautiful morning and my job today is to finish cleaning up the street and start to hack out brush toward some hidden and neglected mature fruit trees along the creek.  When I first moved here, I found two cherry (one tart and one sweet), a pear, an unknown, and two apples completely covered in blackberry bushes.  When everything went dormant for the winter, I discovered a plum and a few other unmarked fruit trees that I need to clear from the pesky blackberries.  I’ll have to share with you all the 10-foot crazy and invasive blackberries overgrown along the creek.  Debbie vs. Blackberries.  It should be interesting.

Happy Sunday, y’all!

Farmhouse Construction Update

Construction is finally starting to rev up.  There’s nothing more satisfying than hearing the trucks pull up in the early morning hours and men drinking coffee while discussing the day’s work in my driveway.

It all starts with the excavator.  This is part of the project that I am in charge of and luckily I found a great excavator.  He does a lot of the prep work.  He clears the footprint of the house and moves a lot of dirt around.  Like a lot of dirt!  (He’s also the trench digger so think septic, electricity, cable, telephone, water from well.)



Footprint cleared and ready for foundation.

Maybe it’s me, but there could be worse places to work while moving dirt around.  Check out the scenery!

FullSizeRender 7.jpg

I find it funny that rain doesn’t stop the work up here.  I have seen the rain halt all work in California on many occasions.  These guys are like the postal service.  Not rain, sleet, snow or frozen ground will keep these guys from working.  Out there in freezing temperatures like it’s no big deal.  You’ve got to admire that.


Rain + Sun  = Lots of Rainbows!

Next, the septic tanks went in and the pipes were connected to the drain field.  (I was lucky to find a property that already had a drain field that was put in by the previous owner.)  In my rural area, there is no city/county sewer or water system which is why I have a water well and my own septic/drain field.


Concrete septic tanks perfectly placed.

A huge crane had to place these concrete septic tanks.  If you don’t know how a septic system works, a pump will deliver waste from the house to the septic tanks.  The solids settle in one tank and the liquids spill over into the second tank, which in turn is pumped with fresh water to the drain field.  By the time the liquids get to the drain field through sand etc., it is absorbed and processed with microbes and Mother Nature.

On the other side of the house are these dry wells.  All of the rain downspouts will deliver the rain to the dry wells which are giant holes filled with river rock.  This prevents flooding.


Dry wells to prevent flooding.  These are much larger than they appear in this photo.

Then the foundation guys arrive.  These guys form up the foundation for the house and concrete is poured from a pumper.


After a couple of days, the concrete sets and it’s time for the “walls.”  My house will be built on top of these walls with a subfloor.


When they kept telling me the walls are going up, I thought, you know, real walls.  I finally figured out that these were not the walls I was thinking.

Yay!  Lumber delivery day, part one.




Offloading lumber.  You can see the concrete walls.

French drains going in around the house to deliver rainwater to the dry wells.

fullsizerender-37-copyMy construction zone.


Framing guys were here working on Saturday and they will return this week to begin putting up real walls.  Next load of lumber for the second story will be delivered on Thursday so expect to see an update with something that looks like a real house.

After all the delays I’m finally going to see my farmhouse take shape!  Stay tuned.


I couldn’t take it anymore!  I had to do something.  Anything.  So I built a fence.

I moved to Washington in May of this year and I had this crazy idea that I would be sleeping in my new farmhouse by Christmas.  Ha!  What I didn’t know is that nothing is done quickly on the Olympic Peninsula.  As I looked out the window of my 5th wheel and dreamed of what Lavender Mills Farm will one day look like, I felt discouraged.  Nothing had happened yet.


Yep, that’s my temporary home!

Well, something had happened: Apparently, I am the only one in Sequim that works quickly!  Within weeks of moving to Sequim, I had my new Washington state driver’s license, registered my car, applied for and received my new address, had temporary power installed and run to the 5th wheel, had the water lines run from the well to the 5th wheel, had internet and Dish tv installed.  Not long after that, I had the plans for my house and barn approved by the County and even had the excavators out to prepare the site for the house.  I completed all of this on my own and waited for the home builder to begin.  And waited.  And waited.

Back to daydreaming while looking out the window; I had that ah-ha moment.  It occurred to me that I don’t have to wait for the house, I can start on the farm right now.  Yes!  I am a woman of action and I am not waiting any longer.  What will be the first and easiest task?  A beautiful white fence.  After receiving a few estimates I had the fence installed within a couple of weeks.


What I didn’t expect was the psychological boost of a white fence.  I feel like I actually live SOMEPLACE.  That I’m not just squatting in a humongous open field.  This fence marks a location.  I have a driveway and pillars that welcome all to my place.  I have outlined my farm and now I can start to color it in.

So today I planted 200 yellow daffodil bulbs and that is another story…

Awesome Wicked Cool Doors

Starting my 1,299 mile journey to Sequim, Washington from Santee, California, I had the brilliant idea to stop at an architectural salvage shop in downtown San Diego. I was looking to find some really awesome wicked cool doors for my farmhouse to-be. After all, how often do I have a trailer in tow to pick up and transport such awesome wicked cool doors?


Let’s just say I think the doors were meant to be mine. There was a huge Art Walk going on downtown and I miraculously found a parking spot – on the street – for me and my trailer. I walked into the shop and standing before me were my doors. Tall and green and perfect! Just one problem: the doors are huge and my trailer is, umm, not so huge. I told the shopkeeper that if we could get them to fit I would buy them. Believe it or not I have photographic evidence proving that I had only one inch to spare. Success!


After traveling on the road for some time with my mom and high school best friend, I discovered that the trailer’s roll-up door was not going to open. Not even an inch. The awesome cool wicked doors had settled and wedged the trailer roll-up door shut. I spent three days living in my travel clothes and borrowing literally everything from my two companions.

On day four it was time to return the trailer and somehow we had to get the bleeping roll-up door open. We stopped at an RV mechanic shop in Sequim and two nice men who reminded me of Laurel and Hardy came to the rescue and tried to force the roll-up door open. We tried driving and hitting the brakes hard for a shift. Nothing. My best friend tried her best Karate Kid move on the doors and nearly kicked a dent into the roll-up doors. Nothing. We tried jacking the door open. Nothing. At least an hour we worked on the roll-up door. Somehow we managed a few inches and I could start to unload my contents in the small gap. My bestie then got the roll-up door open about a foot and decided to slither up and inside the small gap. She did it! From inside the trailer she was able to hold the wicked cool doors up while Laurel and Hardy worked on the roll-up door. It worked. The roll-up door rolled up and my bestie celebrated by screaming F*** ya!

I have awesome wicked cool doors for the entry to my studio at Lavender Mills Farm and it was totally worth it.