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

You Hoo it’s me

I’ve been off-line and out of touch and away.

All summer there has been a whirlwind of activity here at the cottage.  The cottage renovation is still an ongoing process and will be for some time.  The exterior work is complete for the most part.  Our Cottage received her new paint colors – green, blue and white trim.  Quite a new look and if you will notice although I haven’t come up with an official new name to our place and this blog, quite obviously it is no longer Coral Cottage, for now, let’s just call her Our Cottage.


Seems all the gang thinks hanging out on the front porch admiring the new paint job is what it is all about.


The green siding really changes as the light changes throughout the day.  For the most part, I am really happy with it.  The one thing I didn’t want was yellow, and much to my surprise the yellow tone to the green shows prominently.


I’m so happy to find the cosmos and a few zinnias still blooming though we are into November and have had several light frosts.


I’m happily gathering buckets of flowers and making lovely arrangements, with the help of my assistants of course.


The bees and butterflies are enjoying the last of the season too.


Our Cottage family has been tested many times this past year with seemingly endless health challenges.  Recently we held our breath as Mr. Cottage has had a cancer scare.  After several tests, procedures, biopsies and earlier this week, surgery.  I am happy to say he is recovering quite well.  His doctor removed a tumor which he says he feels quite certain is benign and that we should not lose any more sleep.  I feel a tremendous sense of relief, but still holding just a wee bit of breath until the pathology report comes back.

And so, life goes on and we are trying to get back into the swing of normal – whatever that is.

Hoping you all are facing your personal challenges; whatever they may be with an open heart.

I hope to get back to posting more regularly and I look forward to visiting with my on-line friends again  and hearing what you all have been up to.

Thank you for being here today.


xo kim

Welcome to all new readers, I hope you will join the conversation and say hello from time to time.

goodbye Coral Cottage

Goodbye, Coral Cottage.

Hello something something cottage…

We are going green and blue.

All summer I’ve had paint samples taped to various parts of the house.  I studied those samples at different times of the day and on sunny days and cloudy days, ’cause you know how paint can change in different light.  After a few weeks, I had pretty much narrowed my choice down.  I wanted colors that had a light breezy coastal vibe but didn’t scream beach house.  We have lived with and loved the coral, purple and yellow paint on the cottage for many years now.  However, with the new red roof those colors did not work.  And it was time for a change.  Besides, the new colors complement our peacocks – oh yes that’s important. Continue reading

Cottage Farmhouse photos


Hi friends, it’s been almost a month since my last post.  Where to even begin? Continue reading

farmhouse renovation – excavation

The journey began over a year ago.
Continue reading

chicken dance

The big machines came back this week with a rumble.

The inspector general engineer came to overlook the mountain of dirt and the catacombs below and gave his seal of approval. (BIG YAY)

This week we also received an approval letter from the highway department for our second driveway. (yay again)

So here at the new entrance, is the future site of my fantasy  flower and egg farm stand.


Every agency has to get in on this whole process and get their fees paid – and we haven’t even started building yet.

The distribution box is set in place.



I asked about – what I thought was sheets of plastic down in the drain lines.  Turns out it is a special material, much like garden fabric, that is placed over the plastic drain pipes.

It helps with the drainage, but keeps out the sediment.  Cool beans, huh?

It was ten brr degrees, when I went out early morning, to feed Cornelius and to take these photos.  I didn’t linger long.

Cornelius does a quick fly by to see what was for breakfast and to shout out his thank yous.



Bitter cold, and lots of wind, but no snow.


Saturday was busy busy here.

Mr. Cottage purchased a land-scape rake that goes on the tractor, to smooth out our acres of mud and tree roots left from all the excavation.

Father Cottage was kind enough to haul it out to our place on his truck.



Father Cottage rocking the farm equipment a week after getting his pacemaker. Awesome – huh!

Over by the house, the new septic system was hooked up.

I got the first flush – just sayin’.

Next week we will get the old system pumped out and broken down.


The excavation team wrapped up their part of phase one.

For the next phase, Best man showed up to talk over our house plans.

He will be doing all the architectural drawings for us.  The fun excited part of planning what and where everything will go is next.


Mr. Cottage got to play with his new toy for a little while.


In the foreground of the above photo you can see where he has gone over the soil, and what a difference it makes.



This spring with a smooth surface, I dream of little sunflower seeds making their way to the fresh soil.



Farm Girl sent me a text on Saturday to let me know that our mutual friend would be contacting me about some chickens he wanted to get rid of.

Before I could even respond to her text, we received a phone call from our friend looking to hook me up with his discarded chickens.  Seems he has a couple of hens that

are pecked on by the others in the coop.  He was going to turn them loose or if I wanted them I could have them.

So heck, yeah, even though I’m not prepared – I’m all over that.

In the past we have gotten into situations like this without proper thought and planning and this time we were bound and determined not to get chickens until we had everything in place.

Well that is shot all to the moon and back.

  We are going to spend the day scrambling to put together a make shift coop.

I haven’t been this excited about anything in a long time.

I’ve dreamed of this day for at least forty  – yes that is a four and a zero –  years.

The chickens are coming!

I’m doing the chicken dance.

signature feather

Cottage photos January 1-11 excavation

Hey you guys, it’s been awhile.

Everybody and everything here at the cottage has been ka-put, wonky, torn-up, broken, or sick.


Continue reading