March 2011 - Found 13 acre property, made offer, offer accepted. Decided to establish equity line on current debt free house to build farm. We figured we would get it back when we sold the house (wrong). We also thought the house payments would be as reasonable as a mortgage payment (wrong - it was a 10 year amortization, not a 30). We didn't think it would take long to sell the house (wrong - it took 11 months).
April 2011 - First Perc test and survey. Tornado hit our house.

May 2011 -
Closed on Property (on same day as John's job ended but prayed about it and it felt right, he had another job within 3 weeks).

June 2011 - Found a modular house we liked and they let us alter the design to make it passive solar. Put in down payment. Got well permit, had well dug (borrowed water witching device from friend to help locate spot. Had to go down over 300 feet, but water was found at 32 gpm.) Second perc test - learned that if we had gotten several spots checked the first time it wouldn't have cost extra. We moved to house location so we could have a basement.

July 2011 - Friend helped us put in electricity for well and tool use prior to 4th of July week. Camped on property for the week so we could build pump house/garden shed. Found an 8 x 8 shed with instructions on the internet and built it. Contracted with basement company to build our basement. Bobcat put in our driveway (dirt with rock covering).

August 2011 - Bobcat excavated for our basement. We were responsible for excavation, steel columns and sill around top of basement. Basement was poured.

Sept. 2011 - Finished basement, including plumbing and pipes for septic tank.

Oct. 2011 - House delivered. Main floor was finished. 1 bedroom, 1 1/2 baths with potential upstairs. We had to build front porch and basement steps (including a wall on one side of the steps and railing) before Certificate of Occupancy could happen. We also needed to put windows and door in basement. Finishing work left to do on house by modular company with many inspections to come.

Nov. 2011 -
Finishing work going on. Additional grading done in basement area to pass inspection. Began planting fruit and nut trees, blackberries, grape vines, etc. that take longer.

Dec. 2011 - Septic tank and drain field installed. Final CO on December 22nd. Got oven working on December 24th. Had guests over on Christmas. Whew!!

Feb. 2012 - Bought barn kit.

March 2012 - Barn kit delivered. Did not have means to get it off truck. Bobcat showed up when the truck was there and took it off with his track hoe. Once more a minor miracle.

April 2012 - Poured concrete pad for barn and pad outside of basement door. We framed it ourselves, and worked it with a contraption John figured out to level it. Our new neighbor helped us. We had the concrete delivered from a mixer. Put in ill-fated garden and found out it doesn't work well if you only tend it on occasional weekends. Soil needed organic matter as well. Put house up for sale.

July 2012 - Worked on barn.

Aug. 2012 - John's new job was going to transfer him to Virginia, so he accepted a local to the farm position teaching science. We thought this would afford him more time to farm (wrong - it necessitated working about 80 hours a week. However, he did get a bigger chunk of time the next summer.) We moved in at the farm making John's commute short, but mine over an hour daily The large kitchen pantry became Leah's bedroom. Work on the upstairs began so we could finish Leah's room.

Oct. 2012 - Sherri and Leah planned and designed a chicken coop and started building it in the barn. We called it a "chick project". Sherri learned how to use nail gun. As we were putting the walls onto the foundation, Sherri asked Leah if she wanted to try the nail gun. After hesitating, Leah said,"I guess. I want to be a good wife some day."

Feb. 2013 -
Bought mini split systems for upstairs. Learned not to assume they also had heat. There was only AC and the company would not take them back since we didn't discover it right away. Ordered bee hive and bees.

March 2013 - Paid our neighbor, Don, to put up drywall upstairs. (only paid labor so far - we did the rest ourselves.)

April 2013 - Decided to put radiant floor heating in tile area of upstairs (tile used for heat sink). Bought bamboo flooring for upstairs. Sherri had given notice at work that she would end her job on June 30th (the commute was getting to her.) They proposed instead that she do the finances from home.

June 2013 - Bought rta (ready to assemble) cabinets for upstairs bathroom. As John got off the last week in June (after he finished a course he had to take and the school year ended) serious finishing work on the upstairs commenced. John installed the mini split systems, but we hired an ac professional to test the system and charge it.

July 2013 - Sherri started working from her home office (best commute ever!) Set up the contract through the farm since farm was already set up as a business. Used proceeds to fund farm infrastructure.

August 2013 - We had a pretty good garden harvest this year for eating, but had to fight with the deer. Decided we needed a fence around growing area. We learned this year that chickens love baby plants - especially corn. We were growing some corn and black oil sunflowers for the chickens. The gold finches ate ALL of the black oil sunflower seeds. Next year we will net them.

Nov. 2013 - Master bath shower finally got a shower door. Yay!! We had been using a tension rod and plastic curtain. Sherri discovered permaculture. It is the thing that brought together all of the other theories that felt right. She took a course online that was posted by Will Hooker at the NCSU.edu website.

Jan. 2014 Bought parts for solar water heater. Neighbor found used 60w solar panels that we could buy for $10 each. Bought 75 of them.

Feb. 2014 - Bought power panel for photovoltaic system. Planning to go off grid in summer. Need to find alternate heating and cooking methods.

March 2014 – Put rebar and bird netting around young trees to keep deer off of them.

April 2014 – Put in Solar Hot Water Heater. Build produce stand.

May 2014 - Solar hot water heater working (reduced power bill about $10 - $20 per month). Raise chicks in horse trough. Build 4 x 4 brooder.

June 2014 – Released Sunfish and Bass fry into Sherri's Birthday Pond

July 2014 - Hired leveling done for future photovoltaic shed/tractor shed. Build wrap around deck. Water trees with ibc tote. Build mini coop.

October 2014 – Double decker cat/dog house. Septic tank garden.

November 2014 – Put coat racks up in front hallway and rack in bathroom closet for half dirty clothes.

January 2015 -Were given Stella D'Oro daylillies and planted around big pond

March 2015 -Woods trail for nature observatory in progress, work on frog pond continued

April 2015 -Finished frog pond to attract frogs for eating insects in the gardens (filled up by rain and holding water pretty well without liner), work on second half of woods trail, poles in place for trellis (grapevines, raspberry and blackberry), picked up a truckload of perennial flowers free for the digging from a friend and planted iris and day lilies around fruit trees, dug flower bed in front of deck, placed grass from flower bed area under back deck where erosion was occurring. Added spearpoints to plow to automatically dig rows.

May 2015 – Start “Anniversary Gazebo” in woods for nature observation. Made automatic chicken waterer.

June 2015 - Started tractor shed.

July 2015 - Finished Tractor shed and started assembling photovoltaic system. Finished sewing armoire with table inside.

August 2015 – Built battery shed.

September 2015 – Painted first painting ever of purple passion flower. Made pair of cargo shorts for John out of thrift store khaki pants.

October 2015 - Put photovoltaic system into service. Built floating shelf in front hallway.

December 2015 - Replaced tile in shower and took down glass door. Discovered that minerals in well water makes it very difficult to keep a glass door clean.

April 2016 -
Fencing for front cow pasture. Chicken gate.

May 2016 -
Finished cement floor in woods gazebo; got two angus steer. Built cattle shade structure from bending chain link fence rails.

June 2016 - Started working on front porch roof. Made Cattle mineral barrel from plastic food grade barrel and tire.

August 2016 – Built porch swing out of left over wood from wrap around deck.

September 2016 - Got 5 Brown Swiss Bottle calves. Built bottle holder rack.

October 2016 – Start calf barn in pasture.

November 2016 - Finished calf barn. Had Lord of the Rings wedding here.

December 2016 - Put lights in calf barn.

January 2017 -
Took first steer to the processor

February 2017 - Got Steer back from processor and started trying to figure out how to market meat and work on meat handler's license. Finished self-watering system for chicken coop. Put together lean-to greenhouse on south side of house. Build trellises for new hops location.

May 2017 – Organize workshop.

April 2017 – Move herb garden to front flower bed for better access to kitchen.

July 2017 – Lights and outlets in workshop.

August 2017 – Build chicken plucker from $10 washing machine.

October 2017 – Replanted Chestnut, Black York Cherry, Black Gold Cherry, Oracle Almond, Hardy Giant Pecan, 2 Surecrop Pecans, Magnolia tree dug up from Mom's. Paint barn quilt and repaint farm sign. Make comfrey salve.

November 2017 – Install wood stove. Build wood cart. Paint furniture dolly black to match wood stove for holding extra wood inside. Buy coal hod to repaint for ash bucket.

December 2017 – Learn how to make first batch of soap. Solar clothes dryer (clothesline) on pulley system from deck to barn. Planted pollinator seeds.

January 2018 –
Bought first round bales of hay. Discovered we could roll tham to where we wanted them.

February 2018 – Put in piping to re-route road ditch water to Sherri's Birthday pond. Installed Driveway alarm. Planted seedlings. Made beer.

March 2018 – Planted potatoes, corn, and new hazelnut tree. Started growing sweet potato slips

April 2018 – Got metal carport delivered for calf barn extension. Finished fencing for last two paddocks. Got bees again.

May 2018 – Put floating plant in small frog pond to keep bees from drowning. Chicken coop sign/cornhole game finished, Cornish Cross chicks arrived. There is finally fruit on our fruit trees! Black snakes in mini coop, one ate a chick. Re-homed. Finished living room insulating curtains.

June 2018 – Experienced heat exhaustion with Cornish Cross. Made rolling fur stools and recovered office chair. Car camping set up including screens and chuck wagon. Made Japanese lantern. Painted Porch furniture.

July 2018 – Painted flat bed trailer. Painted tractor. Processed Cornish Cross chickens – 19 in 6 hours including cutting them up. Finished constructing calf barn extension.

August 2018 – John built two boot jacks. Finished putting in auto cattle waterer. Finished putting in piping for growing area and sink in calf barn extension. Better labeling for seed harvest. Built Pig hut and pig waterer. Picked up pig feeder. Planted Turmeric, ginger and crocus sativus. Put hardware on calf barn extension. Stained calf barn extension and put up windows.

September 3, 2018 - First pigs at Powell Acres, Red and Freckles.

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