Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Barn Chicks Blog - Interview with Kim, of Life in a Little Red Farmhouse


     Last month, I wrote a post about receiving some things in the mail. The sender of the bright, pretty dish cloths was Kim. She's  the author of the blog, Life in a Little Red Farmhouse. Kim is a sweet lady who, with her hubby, is raising and home schooling three sons. They're starting from scratch as they have built their farmhouse and are now building their farm. It sounds like the farm is a family project, as all farms should be, in the best of worlds. I enjoy reading about the new animals they bring to their farm and the things they learn along the way. Here is the interview with this lovely farm lady, but first I want to show you the pretty dish cloths she crocheted!
Aren't they cheerful! Now, if doing dishes was only a 
bit more cheerful.

Kim

Interview

1. Please tell us about your farm.
Rockin' S-Squared Farm is a small hobby farm on the plains of Oklahoma.  It has two old fashioned farmhouse in which live three generations.  Yes, I live next door to my in-laws but it's a good thing.



2. How did you choose the farm you have?
We didn't really choose a "farm".  We created a farm on empty land.  Actually, it was a grass drop-off for a lawn care company. Literally, it was a dump.  There was lots of clean up before building began.  We choose this acreage because it was in city limits but felt very rural.  It had a pond view that was hiding behind 10 foot weeds. At a bargain price, we snatched it up.  Our boys took one look at it and said, "We're gonna live here?" What they didn't see was an empty slate to make into our dream farm. 

3. I'm impressed with the house you built and your attention to detail to make it a farmhouse. Tell us a little about this process.
We actually worked with an architect to design a Dallas style home for our property.  However, when the plans were completed, we found it wasn't what we wanted.  But we didn't know what we wanted.  So we went to Barnes and Noble one night to discover our "house style".  Sitting down with piles of books we each set aside interior and exterior pictures of what we liked.  Our style ended up being contemporary farmhouse.  One book, The Farmhouse by Jean Rehkamp Larson, was our guide to mixing old fashioned charm and contemporary flairs.  We also studied homes by architect Ross Chapin and design ideas by Sarah Susanka.  Compiling this information, my husband designed a 2014 sq. ft., 2 bedroom with a loft and had an engineer friend draw it up.

We then took our plans to builders but couldn't find anyone to take on our project at a reasonable price. The banks and builders said it would take 2 years and twice the money we wanted to spend.  We surprised them all.  Contracting it ourselves, we oversaw every detail and did some of the work ourselves.  I found a painter that agreed to work along side me.  Together we painted the entire house inside and out.  Wayne also did most of the mechanical with licensed help.  Our boys even tied rebar in the foundation.  It was definitely a sacrifice of time.  We were here everyday.  Wayne's flexible job in our family business allowed him to work around the contractor meetings. 
It ended up that we built our house for about $90 sq. ft. without the land and took only 5 1/2 months to do it. Many times we had to get creative with building materials to meet budget.  For instance, the wood flooring upstairs is not flooring at all.  When we saw the pine tongue and groove material that was being used as the overhangs with the open tailed rafters on the house, we decided it would make a great floor.  The pine was flat on the bottom side and was 3/4 of an inch solid wood.  I called the lumber company to tell them what I wanted and they said, "You can't use that as a floor."  "Why?" I asked.  "Well, nobody does that! he said."  To which I replied, "So, we are."  It ended up costing only $300 for the entire upstairs and we were able to install it ourselves.  Truly, it looks like an wonderful old farmhouse floor.
Overall, the white woodwork, butcher block countertops, and wood burning stove are classic farmhouse but the sealed (not stained) concrete floors, barn doors, vessel bathroom sinks, and unusual light fixtures bring a contemporary spin to an American classic. Really it is a blending of our two personalities.  I'm pretty old fashioned. Wayne is creative and likes clean lines.  Together we made our house reflect ourselves.






4. What animals do you have?
Since building the houses and moving in 14 months ago, we have added lots of animals.  It seems that we have some sort of farm animal addiction because we keep acquiring them.  I mean, really, we came here with 2 dogs!  Now we have 5 horses, 3 Angus cattle, 3 pigs, 4 Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats, 18 chickens, 3 golden retrievers and a turtle.  We also have a falcon since our oldest son is an apprentice falconer but that's a whole other story.

Mr. Darcy 
(Not to be confused with Colin Firth!)

Latte and Mocha


Cowboy

5. How do the animals get their names?
Oh, naming animals is lots of fun!  Our little yearling paint horse has a cute white spot on his side that looks like a cowboy so we named him Cowboy.  The appaloosa has the name of Buckshot because he is speckled and has quite a kick (at the other horses, not at us).  Our little dairy does are all named with a coffee theme- Latte, Mocha, Hazelnut, and Toffee.  We also have a some chickens named after Jane Austen characters because, well, everyone needs a rooster named Mr. Darcy!  Seriously though, the animals that we will use for food are named to remind us of this on a daily basis.  We have pigs named Sausage, Bacon, and Pepperoni and we have a steer named Ribeye.  This has helped us think of them as they really are... farm animals.

Ribeye
6. What's  your favorite thing about living in the country?
It's really the whole farm package that I love - the gardens, the horses, the baby goats.  Most of all, I love the farmhouse though.  I always have loved the feeling of home that a farmhouse possesses.  When I walk with my husband down to lock the gate after dark and turn back to see the house lit from within and the stars shining in the sky... yeah... that's my favorite thing.  The rooster crowing before dawn and the stink of the pigs...not so much.


7. Do either you or your husband have a farm background?
We have never done any of this before!  We feel like fish out of water most of the time.  There is an inner drive to succeed at what we are doing though.  We are always reading and researching about everything farm related trying to make informed decisions.  Still, we make silly mistakes.  Recently, we discovered that the pigs were half the size they should be.  Our vet asked, "What have you been feeding those boys?"  "Creep cow food", I said.  "Pigs eat pig food.  Cows eat creep!", he replied.  Duh!  We should have figured that out ourselves.  We just took advice from someone that didn't know and now we have lightweight pigs that will have to stick around for a while longer than planned.  Live and learn.
8. Do you see benefits to farming with three sons?
Oh, yes!  Keeping boys busy is very important.  We homeschool too so they often have extra time on their hands when schoolwork is completed.  Our guys have always been more interested in the outdoors than sports.  Our farm has not only given them space to run and be boys but also has given them a place to become men.  We feel that boys today are lacking work ethic and dependability.  Through projects on the farm and selflessly caring for animals we feel like they are learning to be responsible, hard working boys. Last summer the two older boys built our horse pasture fencing as well as the arena and round pen fences.  It was a huge task.  They take great pride in saying, "I built that!" 

Building a pig pen

9. Do you cook, can, or garden?
Putting a home cooked meal on the table is important to me.  We generally eat all three meals each day as a family.  I've just started baking my own bread and love it.  Gardening is a special love for me.  There is just something wonderful about digging my hands into the dirt!.  I have a cottage garden with flowers and berries.  The berries make it into jam in the summer.  We also have a veggie patch here on the farm but other family members take care of it most of the time.

Butter, please.

10. What are some of your hobbies?
Crocheting and sewing are favorite pastimes of mine.  That always keeps my hands busy.  I also do pencil drawings, mostly portraits.  I have been working on doing one of each of my sons.  Currently I have 2 out of 3 done.  I also teach 9 giggly homeschooled girls drawing on Thursdays at our house.  It's a fun diversion each week. 
11. Prior to your marriage, if someone had asked you, " Kim, do you think you'll ever farm?" How would you have replied?
Yes and No.  Since we were first married, we have driven around the countryside looking at property and dreaming of a peaceful place of our own.  I didn't really picture myself cleaning out the chicken coop and building fences though. I was too prissy for that!  My husband has never been shy about jumping in there and getting dirty.  I have had to do some adjusting however.  Now, I feel like I am truly embracing the farm spirit as I put on my cowboy boots and kitchen apron to feed the baby goats a bottle.


12. What's in the future for Rockin S-Squared Farm?
We are working to become accomplished horsemen.  I would like to get into making goat milk soap and lotion through my dairy does.  We have also talked about having a pick your own blackberry patch or planting a small pecan orchard. Mostly, we just want to finish up our farm animal pens and shelters this spring and then sit back and enjoy life on a hobby farm. 

Thanks to Kim for this wonderful interview and all of the great photos. The very last one says it all: Farm chic! Your family is super. Keep up the good work!


17 comments:

  1. Great interview!

    Not sure what I would want to steal first - her awesome sliding doors in the house, or her adorable goats.

    Off to Follow her blog for more.

    TFS!

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  2. We did a lot of the work on our log home when we built it too. My husband even made the countertops - out of concrete!
    Your farmhouse turned out beautifully!

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  3. Great interview! Such adorable goat kids!

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  4. Happy optimistic farmgirl! Er woman I should say! Great interview! I'm a new follower of hers but really enjoying the posts. Love what she has to say about boys and hard work and farming. As a 'barn chick who blogs' myself I'm enjoying listening to her stories and inspired by her creativity.

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  5. Yet another wonderful interview. I already follow this fabulous blog, so I feel I 'know' her, but I hadn't realised they had totally begun from scratch. Such admiration from here... and it makes me believe that we *can* get these cows we've spoken of for two years, and that we *must* get those chicks we've spoken of. Great stuff!
    And the house.....what a dream! (We, too, built our own - hubby's a builder - I tell him that's why I married him! - and there's nothing quite like it). We, though, didn't have their artistic flair. It's gorgeous.

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  6. What a beautiful and talented farmgirl! Love the house. It's gorgeous!

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  7. Thanks, Patrice, for another wonderful interview. I follow Kim and enjoy her blog. Every time the site opens to that lovely red "barnhouse", I get such a peaceful feeling. Such a great family and life they've carved out for themselves...

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  8. So nice to learn more about Kim. Great interview. Wonderful idea you had when you started this up.
    Thanks!

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  9. Great interview! Love the farmhouse.

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  10. Recently I began to follow Kim's blog. Your interview gave me much more background. Thanks! You have a great way of getting the biggest bang for your buck! Good questions!

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  11. Love the interview--Kim is the sweetest! Especially love name the cow "Ribeye". I have been thinking of getting 2 turkeys and naming them Thanksgiving and Christmas...now I know that those are the right names to use. :)

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  12. Haha! Boho Farm....these are great names for Turkeys. I love the names too, but it's leaving me a bit short on the possible names for our own chicks and rooster when (hopefully) we get them!

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  13. Wow, she's living the dream, isn't she? Nice interview!

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  14. Great interview and I am off to check out her blog.

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  15. That's a great interview. Kim's family has a beautiful farm! My 5-year-old daughter and I loved all the animal photos!

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  16. What is the siding color. I know it is "red", but what is the exact name of this color and what kind of siding is this? My husband and I are renovating and old farmhouse and this is the EXACT color I want.

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