-posted by Jayne
I have had many blog ideas in the works over the past 4 weeks, but none of them have really come to fruition. Life has been pretty hectic and chaotic, but we try to go with the flow and keep on moving. Etsy sales exploded on Black Friday through Cyber Monday - and I thank our customers sincerely for that! I am often asked if I can offer coupon codes during that time, but the truth of the matter is - I am so busy trying to keep up with regular orders, I simply can't offer discounts to try to coax more customers to buy our products online with a coupon code! Don't worry... I will offer a discount or sale someday soon, but for now I try to keep my head above water... and keep the orders out the door and on time.
So for today, I thought I would re-cap some of the ideas for blog posts that I've had in my head over the past few weeks.
First, there was the Pumpkin Honey Pie recipe I wanted to post before Thanksgiving. It's the same recipe I posted two years ago
(was it really that long ago?!) I have made this recipe many times and it is a winner.
|We like our Pumpkin Honey Pie with a dollop of freshly |
whipped Snowville cream (sweetened with honey!)
My next blog post idea was one about how our kids have been helping us out more with the business. We often talk about how our kids accompany us with tasks on the farm, and at times, to be truthful, it is really not much of a "help." But as they get older, they are enjoying the small jobs like labeling honey jars, filling crates with products to take to market, and even un-molding candles so they can be re-wicked and poured once more.
|Maizy takes the label off the sticker, Isaac labels the jar,|
and Mason puts it in the box and gets the next jar ready for labeling.
|Maizy pulls honeysticks from the shelf, getting ready to |
pack for market. "Just don't help me with this job
at all mom. I can do it myself."
|Maizy has memorized the right amount of pollens|
to pack for our Worthington market every Saturday.
Not forced labor, I promise! She enjoys it.
And finally, the blog post I've been planning for months and still haven't gotten close to writing - our kitchen remodel. We knew when we moved into this house that we wanted to eventually remodel the back end of the house. We (or maybe I should say... I) wanted to make our kitchen a bit larger so we would have more room for a kitchen table and better traffic flow. I also hoped we could provide better access to a laundry room where I could easily carry my clothes out back to the clothesline to hang them up to dry. The existing laundry room had been renovated out of a porch entry-way on the side of the house... around the time indoor plumbing was invented. Our house is over 100 years old, so the original design didn't take into account bathrooms and laundry and such. When they changed the porch to a laundry room, they shut out a door and window to our family room, making it very dark and also making for a confusing entry to our house. No one ever knew which door to use- the cluttered laundry room? Or come all the way around back into the kitchen? So after years of nagging my wonderful husband, he finally jumped up on the roof of the back porch and started dismantling it. This was back in January 2013:
You may remember this photo I put on the blog back in the Spring: We broke ground in April.
|The kids wanted to know: Why is Uncle Perry breaking up the back of our house?|
|For several weeks our back door led to a big hole. |
Watch your step, Maizy!
|The foundation was laid and the concrete poured. This new area is what|
would become our enlarged kitchen/dining area, a mud room, and laundry.
|Cement trucks are pretty fun to watch.|
The picture below gives you an idea of just how far we gutted the entire kitchen. Our house has no insulation. So the plaster and lathe were removed so we could properly insulate the kitchen and put up new dry-wall. This little area where our contractor Perry stands was originally a "pass-through cupboard" (I have also heard it called a lazy susan or dumbwaiter). The cooks passed food through a cupboard to be served in a dining room located at the front of the house. Our dining room is currently used as an office and shipping center (where all the soap, honey, and candle packages on Etsy get packed to be delivered!). This is partly why we wanted to expand the kitchen- so there would be more room to eat in it, since we rarely would walk to the front of the house to use the dining room.
|The back wall was removed... what a fun couple of days that was!|
Our former kitchen had 70's style stock cabinetry that I painted white when we moved in (in 2006). We removed all the old cabinets, and I saved half of them to be used in our new laundry room. I painted them a nice greenish-blue color, and painted the handles and knobs matte black. Money saved is money earned, right?
|This picture shows our kitchen before we tore out the cabinets, but after|
we had torn out the laminate wood flooring.
|My handy painting assistant.|
The picture below was taken by Maizy. I like it because it shows the random disorganization that took over our honey house area for several months. Cabinets propped up waiting to be painted, knobs and hinges strewn around Isaac's work bench, trim boards awaiting stain. We still have piles of old water pipes which were removed from our basement, sitting near the drive-way awaiting a trip to the recycling center.
I was without a kitchen sink for nearly 2 months. I have discovered that nothing happens as planned when doing a renovation of this size. I tried to be a gracious, patient wife, while bending over and washing dishes in the bathtub. Our contractor (Isaac's cousin Perry) finally made me a make-shift kitchen sink in our new laundry room while we waited the extra weeks for the cabinets and countertops to arrive. We adjusted. These are clearly first world problems, after all.
Back in February Isaac picked up several truckloads of oak barn boards from
an old barn that had fallen down on St. Rt. 104. We had these boards planed by
Schlabach Woodworks (near my hometown) and made into
hardwood flooring and countertops for our kitchen.
|The kitchen- after the new flooring went in but before|
the kitchen cabinets arrived.
|Close up of the floor. It was planed just enough to make|
it smooth enough to clean and walk on. But you can still see
the saw marks and wear of the barn wood. I love it!
This picture was taken the day our cabinets and countertops
were installed. Our Amish craftsman, Eldon Hostetler was
figuring up our bill (ouch, that's a lot of honey money!)
So we're not completely done with the remodel, but it is getting close to being finished. I finally have a kitchen sink again. I'm attempting to organize and make sense of this amazing space. I hope you enjoyed this little tour of our remodel project! I know I always enjoy reading about others' remodels on blogs. If you would like references to any of our project contractors I have links and phone numbers listed below:
Flooring: Schlabach Woodworks
(if you want flooring like this you need not gather the barn wood yourself- they can source it for you). 6660 SR 241 Millersburg, OH 44654, Phone: 330-674-7488
Cabinets: E Hostetler Woodworking- Mt. Eaton, Ohio - 330-698-3661 (He is Amish so this is just a message phone- he has no website or Facebook page for this reason as well)
Perry Barnes Construction
: Isaac's cousin- general contractor and general problem-solver. Send us an email if you want his contact info. He is currently pretty booked up with local business!