Farmhouse Renovations and Farm lessons


Here we are, almost at the end of January and I realize it has been quite some time since I last updated on our renovation progress.  Mostly, because the work has been at a standstill for quite some time now.

Even though the addition was started a year ago, it has not felt like it was a part of our home.  A lot of this is because the inside is a long way from being complete and we aren’t living in that space.  Secondly, the addition can only be accessed downstairs by going outside and around to the back of the house and going in through the new back porch and slider door.  Upstairs, the only way to access that area has been to crawl through the bathroom window over to the other side.

The other weekend, Mr. Cottage took out the old bathroom window upstairs and opened the wall to the new hallway.  We both said after he did that the addition now felt like it was real.  Yes, this is really happening.

Here are a few not so glamorous photos.


This is our only full bathroom.  It will eventually be replaced with a new bathroom in the addition.  In the above photo, the old window has been removed and saved for that someday greenhouse project…


This view is from standing in the addition looking into the existing bathroom.  The rest of this old wall and window are now gone and we can walk back and forth from the new addition and the original section of the house – upstairs.  It will be a lot more work to open the downstairs section.

  Mr. Cottage continues to work on the wiring for the electrical, as time allows.


This view is from the master bathroom looking in towards the new hall bathroom.


Hall bathroom



This is the master bathroom.


Front elevation shows the new addition to the right of the porch.  The upper dormers are where the two new bathrooms are located.

We have received so many compliments on our addition and new roof and paint colors.  A recent visitor said they couldn’t tell which was the new addition and which was old.  That was our intentions when we designed the addition.

In our little farm yard news.


We had almost two weeks of unseasonably mild weather.  It was so nice to do my outdoor farm chores without excessive layers of clothing.  I gave all three of the coops and hen houses a good deep cleaning and scrubbed things down.  I also did the peafowl aviary.  I spread several wheelbarrows of poop and straw out on the gardens/wildflower meadows.  Next spring all the flowers will reward me with beautiful blooms. I hope.

Last month when we had snow on the ground for several days, the chickens refused to come out of their run.  I opened the door to the run and left it open.  I spread straw out on the snow so that if they wanted to come out they could without having to walk in the white stuff.   I went into the house and before I knew what was happening, a dog from down the road came up and got into the run and attacked several of the girls.

  Chickens have to put a lot of energy into healing and growing feathers to replace the ones that were torn out.  During that time all their energy goes into that process, so that they aren’t able to produce eggs.  This week, finally a few of the girls have started to lay again.  I’ve been supplementing their diet with extra protein and good treats to help them heal.  The entire situation has been heartbreaking and yet I’ve watched and learned more chicken behaviors.  The hen-house was always their safety zone when something scared them, that is where they would run for protection.

 Now, they are very skittish and get quite flighty when I go inside and they don’t see me coming, they panic thinking something is coming after them.  They also used to take our dogs Peanut and Boo as part of their family and didn’t give them a second thought.  Now they are afraid of them.


This is Ziggy – she lost all of her tail feathers.  The purple color is Blue Kote – which is a wound wash with an antiseptic and helps with anti-pecking.   I now have several purple chickens.


Our little Sweet Pea, the runt chick, we didn’t even think would live when we first got her last spring, suffered a lot of damage from the attack.  She wouldn’t move off the roosting bar for several days, I really didn’t think she was going to make it.  Day after day, she remained too sore and scared to move.  Her friend, Cruella remained by her side each day until Sweet Pea could move about and started eating again.  Watching these animals have loyalty and compassion toward each other is so rewarding.  Sweet Pea has been a fighter her entire life and has surprised us once again, making a comeback.  She also leads a charge on Boo whenever she thinks he has come too close.

Father Cottage grew up on a dairy farm, and he constantly reminds me that farm life isn’t always pretty or easy.

I have to leave you with happy news.

Daisy and her chick baby Winter are doing quite well.  Actually, Winter is really growing and I guess I have to stop calling her baby Winter.  She is seven weeks old now.  I had thought a few weeks ago, when Daisy started laying eggs again that she would tell Winter it was time to be on her own, but it seems their bond grows stronger every day.


When Daisy gets in the nesting box to lay her egg, Winter crawls in too and lays there until the egg is laid.

 At this time there isn’t any indication that Daisy wants to move on.   I must admit I’m not always so good at tough love.  I’m trying really hard not to interfere when Daisy is teaching Winter lessons, which I don’t always understand.  Winter cries for Daisy the minute they are separated or when another chicken plucks at her.  I know Daisy is doing the tough love thing.  I let them free range during the day under my supervision.  They are still living on our back porch.  I’ve tried to relocate them to the hen-house but Daisy isn’t ready.


Daisy and Winter come inside the house each afternoon to take a nap on the table in the sunshine.  On this day Wynnie had already claimed the sunny spot.  I’m constantly learning new things by observing these animals.  What a privilege it is.

Perhaps you have noticed some changes I have made to this blog site.  The name has changed on the blog and our roadside stand name has changed also – We are now known as Red Dirt Farm.  If you follow the facebook page, you will notice the change there also.

This site can be reached at Red Dirt Cottage.

Thank you for being here today.

xo kim

Life at Coral Cottage – is now Red Dirt Cottage

under the magic blanket


These seed packets jumped into my shopping cart the other day.  I’ve been reading the seed catalogs and dreaming about what I will plant in the garden this year.  Ah spring, I’m looking forward to welcoming you.

Right now, though, it is very cold out and we are under a blanket of snow.  Our pipes are frozen and it is a wee bit cold in the house.

Don’t you agree that there is something so special about the first snow of the season?  We had ours on Saturday.  Everything is covered in a sparkly blanket,  surely magic is responsible for all that glitter.  Right?

In chicken land – ain’t nobody happy.


There was a chicken convention inside the covered run.


Sweet Pea stood high up on the ledge speaking to the audience.  She declared that snow should be outlawed.


They all agreed.

The other girls inside the hen-house said they were not under any circumstances going out in that white stuff.  It was way too scary!


Boo went inside and mingled with the girls for a bit.




I’ve been concerned for my feathered friends, these temperatures are so low.  This morning I made warm oatmeal with apples, blueberries, tomatoes a bit of left-over pasta and yogurt.  It warms their crops and that is a good thing.

The peas came out of their house for a little while.



Papaya came out first and then, Mango and eventually Coconut.  They loved the sun shining on their bodies.  Hated the snow on their feet.




They did a stroll around the house, checked on all the hens and then headed back to their house for warmth.

Boo and I took a short walk, he wanted to smell all the footprints he came across and roll endlessly in the snow, making dog angels.  I wanted to take a few photos.  But that didn’t last too long, my feet were freezing.  So I snapped a few and headed back in to the warmth.




Bear prints

I thought our Virginia Black Bears hibernate all winter, I recently heard in a news article, that in fact, they do not.  Especially the young.


Deer tracks

There were surprisingly few wildlife tracks in the snow.  Even they say it is too cold to be out.


This fancy store-bought birdhouse was given to me. The side panel opens to plexiglass so you can view the birds inside.  Never a bird has lived in it.  Wasp, however, believe it is grand.


This house and all the others that Father Cottage has built are always occupied.


This house sitting on the picnic bench was placed there temporarily until I figured out where I wanted it.  It sat there all summer, and it too remained occupied.  So I left it there.





Sunday supper we filled our bellies with warm beans and country ham, that had simmered in the crock pot all day.  I made jalapeno cornbread that was a disappointment, the peppers didn’t have much heat, nonetheless, they were gobbled up and enjoyed.

That was our weekend, under a blanket of magic.

I hope your weekend was lovely.

Thank you for being here today.

xo kim

New Year New Life

In the night, on December 8th,  Mr. Cottage and I became chicken grandparents.  Our little hen, Daisy only 8 months old herself hatched her first chick.  Daisy was terribly weak and unable to stand or walk because of her 21 days of sitting and not eating or drinking.  I knew I needed to help her out.

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