Our Final Construction Project

If you have been following Growing Self  since it all began, in March 2017, you know that we have had a few construction projects this year. Our focus has been to create our “Stay-cation” .  When our hobby farm, Indigo Acres, was established in 2014, we were committed to call this home forever.  Our home is 20 years young, which means a few renovations are needed.

In 2017, we have tackled our final house renovations: a complete kitchen remodel, new flooring and paint throughout the entire house and the installation of almost 50 new windows!  There is only one renovation left to tackle…the pool!


Although the pool looks beautiful from afar, it has a few issues.  First, there is a leak, causing water loss.  Secondly, the bottom desperately needs to be painted…this is where it becomes a bit complicated.  Beyond the pool is a large natural pond…  The water table has become extremely high, in this area, over the years.   Originally, the pool installation was a serious undertaking, with almost 50 well points installed to pump the ground water to a level where the pool could be safely and successfully created.

The current worry…by the time we spend weeks pumping the ground water to a level where we can successfully drain the pool to paint,  there is still a good chance it will pop out of the ground.  NOT FUN!   Solving this problem took some creative problem solving!  Our team of amazing pool experts embraced our water challenge. We all came to the conclusion that the best approach was to fill in the 9 foot deep end, creating a sports/lap pool.  Although this is a pricey venture , it is a much less expensive option, compared to starting from scratch, if our current pool were to pop out of the ground.

Today, the pool construction began…

Let the draining of the pool water begin!
So far, so good!
Gravel was added, to fill in the deep end, as the pool was slowly drained.
We were in the clear!  The weight of the gravel did its job beautifully!
Gravel was spread throughout the deep end and the old decorative tile was removed.
We were out of the danger zone!  What an amazing and productive Day 1 of pool renovations!   Keep a lookout for more updates on our final renovation project!

Just Keep Swimming…Just Keep Swimming…

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You



If You Build It, They Will Come – Part VI

Spring was in full swing on the farm.  It was May 2015 and the perfect time for baby animals.  It was an easy decision… we would expand our duck flock!   I so enjoy ducks and their eggs are completely divine! These cute little fuzzy friends are Indian Runner ducks.  Once fully grown, they appear more like a wine bottle with legs!


Pure joy!


The ducklings grew and changed quickly! Within 6 weeks, the they were starting to show their true colors.  By June, it was warm enough outside that we were able to move the ducks to their permanent run.

Look at the cuteness! (I am referring to the duck!)

Construction of the garden cottage was coming along nicely.  Were were excited to soon have storage a bit closer! Hauling tools back and forth, from the house or barn, was becoming a bit daunting.


We decided a little deck would be a handy addition to the garden cottage.  Two of our sons built this small deck, on a Saturday afternoon!
All that was left to do was apply a coat of tinted water seal.  It was the perfect job for another one of the teenagers!

She was finished!  Now we could fill her up with tools, a potting bench and solar lights!  We added a little nook behind the cottage, for it was one of the only shady areas in the potager.  We finished the cottage area by adding a stone path and many cottage garden perennials.  Now, we had to just relax and watch them grow!

We had one more building project for Spring of 2015…the Hay Barn!  We needed approximately 450 bales of hay to feed the goats and horses, for a year.  The hay would be delivered in July, so we knew we had another construction project that needed to start, ASAP.  As much as we would have had fun building the structure, we knew time was not on our side.  Once again, we handed the project over to a crew of professionals!

The Hay Barn did not need to be fancy.  It just needed to store hay and keep it dry!
Making progress…
Another project was complete.  And, with one day to spare!  The hay arrived the next day, after the final touches were complete! 

I have a love/hate relationship with the hay wagon!  I am thankful when it arrives, for I am able to provide the critters with high quality feed.  Stacking hay is also a great workout! But, why does it always have to arrive on the hottest, 90 degree day of the season!!??

Diny and Oatmeal no longer looked like babies!  In just a few short weeks, these two trouble makers would meet two new friends, Pippin and Sam. 
Ophe was growing and growing and growing!  Unfortunately, we came to the realization that she was not the sharpest tool in the shed.  This made training extremely time-consuming and difficult.  To this day, we remind ourselves that she might not be very bright, but she sure is one happy and loving dog!

Spring had come and gone. It was time for planting the potager! Our first harvest would be right around the corner!  What an exciting time it was…

Do What You Love…Love What You Do…

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…



Note:  If You have missed part of the “If You Build It They Will Come” series, you can link to them below!

If You Build It, They Will Come: Part V

It was March 2015 and Spring was right around the corner.  After a restful Winter of ordering seeds, designing garden beds and collect eggs before they froze from our Michigan temperatures, it was time to venture outside.  We were ready for Step II of Indigo Acres…the Potager.

For those of you that have been following Growing Self, you know the Potager well!  It is my magical place, filled with fruit, veggies, herbs and flowers.   And, most importantly, fairies live there!


But, it did not start out that way!  It began as a large open field…  In the Fall of 2014, we had the deer fence and gates installed.  We also assembled the green house, knowing we would need a head start on planting seedlings in the early Spring.   We decided we needed a feature for the center of the garden. This would also give us a starting point for garden bed measurements.

A weeping crab apple tree was the perfect choice!

Once the ground could be worked, we were able to start becoming friendly with the post hole digger.  I would love to tell you that this was a really cool machine that did all of the work, digging approximately 50 holes, below the frost line.  Unfortunately, this was not  the case.  We were the diggers and what an awesome arm workout it was! Move over Hulk, the incredible green ladies of Michigan were taking over!

Supports and wires were positioned for raspberries, blackberries and boysenberries.  Blueberries were also added to this section.
 Young Raspberries
Once all of the young berries were planted, compost was added to the rows, followed by mulch.

Our goal was to one day have the feeling of a secret garden.  I am also not a fan of  fencing, but with our white tail deer population, we had no choice.  A variety of apple, peach, asian pear, plum and cheery trees lined the perimeter of the Potager, with a plan to add perennial vines, to cover the fencing, in the future.

We raise 13 different apple varieties!
We worked until dusk many evenings!  At the time, we were both working full-time so our evenings and weekends were spent continuing to build our dream garden!

Grape vine posts were next on the digging list and we needed a ton of supports for the very powerful, woody vines!

I would be happy if I never had to use a post hole digger, to dig another hole below the frost line, ever again!

Spring is the perfect time for planting grass seed.  The weather was cooperating and our grass paths were coming in nicely.  Our future goal would be to use the grass clippings in the vegetable beds as a weed barrier, for our edibles would be grown organically.

Our graph paper vision was beginning to take form!
A little H2O is always helpful!!

Preparing strawberry and asparagus beds was next on our garden adventure list!

Black plastic heats up our chilly Michigan soil beautifully and keeps the weeds away!
Planting 300+ strawberry plants!
Wifey loves asparagus!  She was excited to start digging!
Although March and April were still chilly outside, our seedlings were warm and cozy in the greenhouse!
It was April and the seedlings were making outstanding progress!

We had our hands full, not only starting all of our veggies from seed, but creating the garden beds in time to plant over Memorial Day weekend.  Since our plates were already full…why not design a garden cottage, too!  At least we were smart enough to realize that we did not have time to take on this building project, on our own!   Designing it was one thing, but we set our hammers down for building this one!

The beginning…
And the walls are up!
It is all coming together…

That brings us to the end of May, 2015!  We were two ladies with a vision and a plan to make our dream a reality!  Indigo Acres was becoming everything we had hoped for and then some…

Spring on the farm…

♥Check back next Wednesday for Part VI of If You Build It, They Will Come

“She turned her can’t into cans and her dreams into plans…”

~author unknown

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…




Note:  If You have missed part of the “If You Build It They Will Come” series, you can link to them below!