Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming

“Crew” and The Farm

Almost 7 weeks old!

Farm Dogs

Every farm needs a farm dog! I’ve researched many livestock guardian breeds from Anatolian Shepherds to Australian Shepherds and everything in between. Since we have confirmed coyotes on our property, I felt it was time to add our own farm dog. I really liked what I read about the Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherd mix for several reasons.

Anatolian Shepherd Dogs

These family friendly livestock guardians will protect everything on the farm with proper training! Even the family cat will find a friend in this fierce protector. This breed can reach 29” tall and weigh up to 150 pounds.

Check out this link for more information:

Great Pyrenees Dogs

The Great Pyrenees dog is a familiar breed in our area- almost every farm around has a Great Pyrenees. One draw back to this breed is that they wander. This dog will literally learn to walk the borders of the property every morning and evening. Their “home” range can be up to 2 miles, so if your property is less than two miles, the dog is likely to roam into your neighbors property.

This breed is also a fierce protector of their livestock and farm family! One major difference between this breed and the Anatolian Shepherd is that Great Pyrenees are very affectionate dogs.

Read more about the Great Pyrenees breed here:

Mixed Breed Dogs

I am a fan of mixed-breed dogs. One benefit is that usually you get the best of both breeds. When researching these two dog breeds, I found multiple farmers commenting that when these two particular livestock guardian dogs are bred, the result is less roaming and a friendlier pup.

For this reason, I decided to add a Great Pyrenees/ Anatolian Shepherd mix dog to our farm.

Meet “Crew”

We picked Crew up about two hours from our farm. He was already living with Goats, Cows, and chickens so I’m hoping he will do really well with all of our animals. So far, he is a normal, playful pup but he also seems to understand when the chickens, cats or goats have had enough of his playing one antics.

As the main caretaker of all our animals, I have to make sure Crew is being trained by me as well. With such a large breed dog, it is vitally important that he learn commands to sit, stay, come, ect. So that if he gets out of hand I can regain control. This is a whole new learning experience for me since we have two dogs inside that I have spoiled rotten. Leaving the pup outside in the barn at night made me feel guilty at first, but it is necessary for him to bond with his herd so he is compelled to protect them.

Although these pups are irresistibly fluffy and affectionate, they absolutely NEED to be outside. They were bred for a reason, for a purpose and they need a job or they will absolutely be a menace. This is why you rarely see them as only a pet.

“Crew” has been part of our farm family for almost four weeks now and he’s already grown so much! He is going to be a BIG boy! He has bonded with all of us, including our other dogs and all the animals on the farm. Even the cats like Crew and tolerate his playful pawing at them.

Crew loves attention more than anything. He grunts happily and leans against you for extra attention. When I’m out working, he follows me everywhere and interacts with the other animals as I go about the daily chores of feeding, ect. We are excited to see how he progresses in his training since he already knows the commands for sit, stay and come.


A Huge Commitment

As you can see, I spent a lot of time researching and planning this new addition to our farm. I even picked the “perfect time”, when I would be home over Christmas break, so that I could devote as much time as possible to training this sweet puppy. That’s why it was so hard for me to admit that this was a Huge mistake. Ultimately, I am responsible for all of the animals here. Everyone is willing to help some when needed, but the bulk of the responsibility for these animals is on me.

The reality of how much I fell in love with this sweet puppy is not to be lost in the reality of knowing this was a mistake. Crew was so attached to me, he followed me everywhere. But he was also a puppy in all the normal puppy mischief. That’s really not something I can deal with right now. I have so many commitments, I quickly realized that there was no way I could properly train Crew. This is a two year commitment with a livestock guardian dog, and I realized that I had to do something soon. In fact, admitting it and doing something about it was a very hard thing for me to do, but it ultimately led to Crew being adopted by a family who is familiar with farm dogs and their requirements. Thankfully, I had so many people interested in adopting him that I could carefully choose a family who had a large cattle farm, chickens and even small children to keep Crew busy. I cried when he left and I still miss him when I go out to do chores and he isn’t there. Crew’s new family have been so kind, sending me updates and even some video of Crew playing with their one year old daughter.

This sweet boy will always have a place in my heart…

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home


What a journey this year has been! Although we completed the construction in March, there were many other projects I wanted to finish before publishing any finished photos of our home. Now that we are finished and I have had time to breathe, I will take you on a little virtual tour of our farm house!

The Exterior

For the Front Exterior, we went with Hardi siding, brick foundation and black metal roofing. The exterior is painted in Eider White which has some gray undertones. All our posts are stained in Slate using a solid stain. I love the semi-circle driveway! Just a small section of lawn in front of the driveway really finishes off the landscaping. The landscaping around the porch includes Limelight Hydrangea, Butterfly Bush, Holly, Hardy Gardenia, Azalea, English Lavender, and Catmint. All the plants and shrubs are thriving in the full sun. I will have to relocate the Azaleas this fall because the growth has been so substantial in the bed that they need more room!

The Rear Exterior is finished in bricked Hardi siding. The paint color is Eider White and the posts are stained with solid finish in Slate. The deck boards are finished in semi-transparent Slate. We intend to screen the upper and lower decks this fall. The lawn is landscaped on the side walls with Cherry, Hydrangea, Butterfly, and Elderberry bushes. Additional English Lavender is planted in between each bush. Along the garage I planted a mix of wildflowers including Zinnia, Cosmos, Chickory, Poppy, Red Clover, and Coreopsis. These are also planted along the property fence, gate, and my vegetable garden.

The Foyer and Upstairs Hall

The extra-wide staircase welcomes you as you enter the house, but the wide-range view is what draws your attention as you step inside the cozy 1100 square foot main floor. We can’t take any credit for the view! God’s handiwork has us continually in awe as we take in in each day. The vastness of it is framed in the wall of windows along the back wall of each room.

Owner’s Suite

The Owner’s suite is the smallest of the three bedrooms because it has an on-suite bathroom. The French doors leading to the large covered porch make the room feel larger than it actually is. We love the cozy space! Jamey’s attention to detail really shines in the on-suite!

Open Living Space

Designing the open concept kitchen took a lot of time. Before the framing even began, consideration was given to the epic views and the kitchen wall was re-designed to encompass 4 windows instead of 2. This complicated some of the design, but the payoff is big with panoramic views in the kitchen, dining and living space. The contrast of whites with natural dark wood tones give a look of classic elegance. I love the stained butcher block countertops! The modern-farmhouse design is warm and welcoming- it’s exactly what I imagined it would be!

Guest Rooms and Bunks in the Hall

This large guest room has a sitting area and is also home to my little home-office. I found an old secretary desk that I love and have some of my favorite mission photos surrounding my workspace. There is another bedroom that I have not photographed yet, and of course the Bunks in the hall. The Bunks are a genius use of space that would otherwise be closet space. Since we host family a couple of times a year, we loved the idea of having comfortable space for them while they are visiting. Who knows, maybe one day we will have a house full of grandchildren sleeping over! Regardless, these bunks are cozy, comfortable and cute to boot! This little farm house can comfortably sleep 12!

Powder Room

The Powder Room is the 1/2 bath on the main floor. We found this cute old sideboard and Jamey installed a porcelain Vessel sink. The faucet is a waterfall design faucet in black matte finish. I found the mirror at Kirklands! It looks like it was made for this vanity! The artwork in the bathroom will be a rotation of paintings by my grandfather. He is quite the artist and I have a wonderful collection of his art that I plan to keep on display.

Outdoor Living

The outdoor living space is our favorite! The position of the house on the ridge allows almost constant breeze on the porch and with a little help from the ceiling fans, its a fantastic place to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner. One of our favorite pastimes has become watching the storms blow across the Cumberland Plateau. It’s quite a site to watch a storm from miles away as it approaches our little ridge! We look forward to watching the leaves change and snow fall in the coming years.

A Stunning Storm!

So Very Thankful!

Whether we are watching fog rise in the filtered morning sunlight, storms rolling across the Cumberland Plateau, or one of God’s gorgeous sunsets, we are constantly humbled that God has allowed us to call such a beautiful place “Home”. So very thankful!

  • James 1:17 (NIV)Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

© Copyright 2020– or current year, Sanctuary Ridge. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to Sanctuary Ridge with active link and direction to this original post.

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming

The Walk in Pantry

Can you see it?

Visions of Sugarplums

Can you see it? This is the pantry! Can you envision the doors, shelves, and mini fridge?

I’ve dreamt of having a walk in, custom pantry for a long time. Jamey would have built one for me, all I had to do was ask. I just could not justify spending so much money on shelving in a closet that no one will ever see.

So I dreamed of creating shelving and painting it and having all the organized baskets but I knew that in the end, I would choose wire shelving. Or end up using a restaurant style shelf that would save money. I am grateful for an actual walk in space to store the food! We even took the coat closet space to enlarge the pantry so I can have an extra refrigerator upstairs.

Looking back at these pictures to write this article, I wonder how in the world we envisioned this!

An unexpected Blessing!

As I searched online for potential bathroom vanities, I came across an ad on FaceBook Marketplace. The ad was for a section of built in cabinets that a lady was having removed from her bonus room. The cabinets were custom made to fit around her fireplace. The base section and upper sections were built in smaller sections as well. I inquired to see what the dimensions were, thinking that we might re-configure these for our pantry. When she messaged me back, I was shocked to see the exact dimension we needed to fit our space! We purchased these used, custom cabinets, for a fraction of the cost of lumber!

Jamey and Madison painted the shelving. Jamey built a new base for the upper shelves. (We will re-purpose the lower shelves.) I am so thankful for this unexpected blessing! My OCD brain is so happy every time I open the pantry doors. It’s such a great reminder to me that God cares about all the dreams you have. Even the ones that don’t seem important! I love it!

© Copyright 2020– or current year, The Sanctuary Ridge. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to Sanctuary Ridge with active link and direction to this original post.

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming

A “Tiny Home” Office

The Delivery

Why a Tiny Home?

If you have not watched any shows about living in a Tiny House or Tiny Home, you are missing out on a completely different lifestyle. The idea of living in a small space with less clutter and essentially getting out of debt is appealing to many families. When we decided to sell our 3,000 square foot home and live in our RV while building our farmhouse, we knew that Jamey would need a separate space to work from home. His job requires 9-12 hour days, with much of that in conference calls. Since we homeschool our son, we are ALL home, All the time! A 36 foot RV is fine when you can get outside but in the dead of winter, we knew that we would need more space.

Jamey did some research and we ultimately decided to purchase a building from a local Mennonite Family. They delivered the unit to our site and placed it in the location we had prepared. After leveling it, we began work to finish the inside. We chose a 12′ x 20′ building with a small covered porch. The inside was completely open. Jamey designed an area at the rear of the building to frame a small bathroom with a closet. We wanted to have the option to rent the space as a vacation rental if he decided to move his office back to the house after the build was complete.

Site prep and delivery set up

The area needs to be cleared of trees and brush, and relatively level. The couple who delivered ours provided leveling blocks for an additional charge.

The Interior

First, Jamey framed the bathroom and closet walls. We decided to use a barn door for the bathroom since they don’t take as much floor space as traditional doors. Jamey found a local craftsman on Facebook Marketplace to build the barn door. It was unfinished, so we painted it before installation.

Bathroom area

Next came wiring and plumbing. We installed a small septic tank to take care of the waste properly. Then we moved on to insulation. Because we wanted to keep the open rafter look in the space, we went with foam insulation. We cut the sheets to fit each section as we installed it.

Walls and Ceilings

Jamey chose plywood for the walls and ceilings. He trimmed the seams with a general purpose molding that gave the space a board and batten look. To give the space more character, we installed shiplap on the back wall.

Interior Design

You may think that a building like this would look cheap, but the finished you choose can make all the difference! Jamey and I both enjoy dreaming up projects, and seeing them through to the finished stage is sometimes really hard work, but it is always worth it!

Since this is a relatively small space, we went with Alabaster White for the walls. The back wall and barn door is painted charcoal. We went with a luxury vinyl plank flooring for durability and I think it added a rich look to the room as well.

A Full Bathroom

Although it is a small space, it was designed to house a full bathroom! We chose a delta shower system, a standard toilet and finished the space with a unique custom bathroom vanity. We found this cute table at a local shop and Jamey turned it into a beautiful bathroom vanity. We found a couple of antique metal baskets to use for bathroom storage too!

Lighting and Finishing Touches

Two pendant lights grace the large open room that will be Jamey’s home office. A sconce light over the vanity, fan light over the shower and small closet light finish the bathroom space.

Since Jamey has installed a barn door in a previous project, it didn’t take long to finish hanging the bathroom door!

Welcome to our Tiny Home (Home Office)

The most amazing thing about this Tiny Home? For the duration of the project, we only had a generator for power!

Delivered October 27th and finished December 23rd, the project took longer than we anticipated. Sometimes other projects were more time sensitive. It has been a whirlwind finishing the solar equipment, running water lines, installing 2 septic systems and managing construction of our personal home in addition to working a full time job. We are pleased with the finished project- maybe one day we will build another one for a vacation rental! For now, we are happy to take a long summer break!

© Copyright 2020– or current year, The Sanctuary Ridge. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to Sanctuary Ridge with active link and direction to this original post.

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming

Meet the Chicks

Meet the chicks!

“I do not want chickens!”

When we first purchased our property, I was determined that I did not want chickens. After all, we travel a lot and we were not planning to move to the farm. I just could not imagine wanting chickens. Aren’t they a lot of work? I know nothing about caring for chickens. Jamey and Noah don’t eat eggs, so who would eat all those eggs? So I decided I do not want chickens!

What changed my mind…

Since we have never owned a farm and never owned farm animals before, I have spent a great amount of time doing research on farm animals to determine what might be a good fit for our family. We have known all along that we want to have cows, but we have a lot of fencing to do before that is possible. Goats are also on the list, but we also need fencing for goats. Chickens peaked my curiosity last summer while researching guineas to help control ticks naturally. One thing led to another, and I began planning the chicken house and run enclosure. My love for animals and curiosity about raising chickens convinced me to give them a chance!

The Henhouse

Although I am confident that my amazing husband could build the coolest henhouse around, his schedule was too full with finishing our house to add another project to his list. I decided to purchase a henhouse from Amazon so that I could assemble it by myself. In less than an hour I had the henhouse assembled! Click the picture below for the link to this henhouse on

The Chicken Run

This was a great purchase! I assembled the framing on my own, then Jamey and Madison used the tractor to dig a trench for the base to sit in and they added 3 feet of additional chicken wire in the trench to prevent predators from digging their way into the enclosure. This enclosure is large enough for the henhouse AND the rabbit hutch. It is 6 feet tall in the center so I can easily walk around inside to take care of the chickens, rabbit and ducks. It even came with a tarp for one section of the roof so the animals can stay dry when it rains! Click the photo below for the link to this chicken run on

The Chickens

I discovered local farmers who sell chicks, ducks, rabbits, and other farm animals through a Facebook group. We visited a farm ten minutes from our location to purchase the chicks. They were priced a little more than chicks at Tractor Supply or Rural King, but I like knowing that we are supporting a local farmer and his family. We learned a few things about fencing while we were there too, but I will share that in a future post.

I decided on Black Australorp, Wyandotte, Orpington and Silkie chicks. I hope to add some variety later for colored eggs, but for now I wanted to get what was available locally. All of these varieties are supposed to be low key, friendly chickens. It is amazing how many varieties there are and how different their personalities are. I love observing their behaviors! So far, the friendliest chicken is Rosemary- a Silver Laced Wyandotte. She is very curious and loves to be held!

Fun with the Chickens

I planted herbs and tomatoes around the chicken run. I am learning more about the benefits of herbs for chickens and how they can affect egg production. My chickens eat chicken feed, chicken scratch (seeds) and table scraps. Last week they had cantaloupe rind and melon rind every day. They know I always have treats so they come running every time I walk by the chicken run. It will be a few more weeks before they begin to lay any eggs. Until then, what I have discovered is chickens are fun!

Stay tuned for the next post introducing my pet rabbit and two baby ducks to the farm!

Copyright@ 2021 or current year, Sanctuary Ridge. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to Sanctuary Ridge with active link and direction to this original post.

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming

Framing Week 1-2

Week 1-2 Farmhouse Framing

Week 1 began on a Friday so this update covers the remainder of week 1 and beginning of week 2.

Framing began as planned! The framing crew arrives at dawn and works until dark every evening. We had great weather this week! On our previous building projects, the framing crew of 8-10 would frame an entire 3,000 sq ft house in a week. This crew is only 3-4 framers so it is taking much longer to complete. Here are some photos from this week:

Answered Prayers!

This week, as I was walking my dogs near my garden on the hill, I watched in terror as one of the framers nearly fell from the second story. He had climbed out one of the windows, barely reaching the ladder with one foot, and tried to ease his way out to the side of the house. I stood watching and praying as the ladder slid sideways and he dangled from one arm as he tried to make his way back inside. I knew I couldn’t make it the 1/4 mile to the job site to help him in time, so I prayed desperately that he would not fall. Thankfully, he stabilized himself enough to climb back inside the window! I was so relieved! Praise the Lord for watching over him!

Front Row Seats

We have never lived onsite while we are building. I usually drive to the construction site in the morning to make sure everyone showed up to work and then drive back in the evening to see the progress with Jamey. This time, we hear them when they arrive. I can see walls going up from my window in the RV. It is something else to watch these men set heavy ridge beams in open space! The framing of the roof over the deck was too scary for me to even watch! I look at it now and still can’t believe they set those beams on the flimsy walk board constructed by 2×4’s!

Hurricane Delays

Remember all the hurricanes? Well, hurricane Laura has impacted the entire PVC production lines across the south. We knew there had been some impact due to the difficulty in locating fittings and pipe to run the conduit for our Solar Energy System. We had no idea the enormous impact that has affected most all construction. Normally, we place our window order and two weeks later our windows arrive onsite. This time, we knew that there were some delays because of the hurricanes. We placed our window order the first week of October, expecting them to arrive onsite in 6 weeks. It is now the last week of November and we were just informed the windows have been delayed for a 3rd time! This will put our window delivery sometime mid January!!! So we decided to switch to a different manufacturer in hopes of getting our windows a week or two earlier.


We are ready for windows now. This delay will prevent drying the house in and essentially delay the completion of the house 4-6 weeks overall. It’s been a brutal blow. And yet I am reminded that there are so many homes still in our area that have not been repaired from the April tornado. Not to mention all of the damages from multiple hurricanes in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. We will continue to be thankful in all things, even when things aren’t going our way. Even when it’s frustrating. God will see us through the big and the small things. So instead of being upset about the windows, I’m going to be thankful for the extra time we can focus on the upcoming celebration of Christmas! We truly have so much to be thankful for!

On a perfect day, when the sun hits the Cumberland Mountains just right, you can see this amazing view of the valley between the mountains. We don’t always see it, but we know it’s there. Jamey captured it for the first time this week.

© Copyright 2020– or current year, The Sanctuary Ridge. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to Sanctuary Ridge with active link and direction to this original post.

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming

Farmhouse Framing Week 1

Design Changes

Because Jamey had meetings in Atlanta, I met with the framers early to go over the changes we have made to the house plans. The changes are minor, but we definitely want it framed right the first time! Some changes include:

  1. Window sizes- we always change window sizes to standard sizing instead of special order. The difference might be 1-3 inches so it’s a minor change that can save a lot of $$$.
  2. Eliminating the foyer closet to add more pantry space.
  3. Eliminating the open part of the covered deck known as the “grilling deck”. I just want the whole thing covered and screened. We can grill on the patio instead.
  4. Square off the bay window. I love bay windows but squaring it off makes the space more user friendly. I plan to host big family dinners (friends too!) and we eliminated a big window in the dining space so I will have a place to put my antique china hutch.
  5. Fireplaces are to be cantilevered instead of inside the floorspace. This is just a personal preference.

A Beautiful Morning to Begin Framing

As I waited on the Framing crew, I prayed for each of them. It was such a beautiful morning! When we finished going over the changes, the crew went right to work. I checked on them periodically to see if they needed anything and of course to see how they were progressing.

Framing Questions

At some point in the afternoon, Noel pulled me aside with a question. I have to admit there is a bit of a language barrier. We looked at the house plans again. He pointed out that the dimensions were off. Jamey had already discovered that the poured walls were not placed correctly so there was a discrepancy in the depth of the house. I thought that was what Noel was referring to. Sadly, it was not.

They continued framing the basement walls. It was not until later, when Jamey came home, that we discovered the huge mistake…

Jamey immediately saw the issue.

The Big Mistake and I think I’m FIRED!

The house plans call for a brick pocket on the basement level. This means the walls overhang the foundation so that when you lay brick on the foundation, the brick comes flush under the siding. This is not how they framed the basement.

So our choice is to tear everything down, re order lumber and begin again, OR brick the entire basement. Our best option at this point is to brick the basement level.

It is traditional for the basement level to be brick or stone. The basement is actually part of the foundation, so it makes sense. This house plan shows a short foundation of brick and then siding on the basement level. I felt terrible for missing this. It is a very costly mistake.

Moving Forward

Over the next few days, the house began to really take shape! I don’t know why the framers always build the staircase last, but they do. As terrified of heights as I am, I can not resist walking the “bridge” to the main level! There is nothing quite like walking through the house that you have been studying and planning for months. I’m more and more excited as the project progresses!

We expect the framers to finish next week! Stay tuned for more updates!

© Copyright 2020– or current year, The Sanctuary Ridge. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to Sanctuary Ridge with active link and direction to this original post.

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Camping

Full Time RV Life

Moving In

We have dreamed about moving into our RV and last week we finally did it! In our perfectly planned dream, we would be retired and traveling around our beautiful nation experiencing all the wonders our great God has created. In our reality, we have stepped out in faith to build a home on our farm. We will live off grid for the next 4-6 months while we build our home. We are so excited to begin this adventure! We still have some work to do around our “campsite” but here is our “home”!

The Challenges

I love the layout of our 31MB because it has a big open living/kitchen and 2 bedroom spaces! There is even a large pantry and island in my kitchen. The sofa has 3 reclining seats too, so it is perfect for our family of 3 to live in. We have plenty of room for our food and clothes, but where am I supposed to put shoes? I like things put away in their place, so I spent a lot of time planning the best use for all our RV storage spaces before we moved in. Here is a link to see the layout and pictures of the Grand Design 31MB This is our 6th RV and my favorite floor plan so far!

In the Pantry, I added these storage shelves from Amazon so that I can stack my storage containers more efficiently. I also purchased a can rack like this to make better use of the vertical storage on the pantry shelves. We haven’t tested this while traveling yet!

One thing I dislike is drying my dishes on the countertop. A dish rack is just another item to store, so I purchased this to fit over my sink. I love that it frees up my counter space and when I’m not using it, it is virtually invisible.

Our Water Source

We had a professional well company dig our well which ended up at 785 feet deep. We had no other choice since there is no water available at the main road. It was a very expensive well! We are currently having the water tested for the second time because the first test came back with high levels of bacteria. This could have been due to bacteria in our water hose or even the casing that was installed when it was drilled. There is a state required protocol that we have followed to shock the well and have it tested again. If the levels are still high, we will install a water treatment system that will make it safe for drinking. I’m using store bought water for drinking and cooking until it is safe. For now, we fill our 30 gallon tank in the RV every day or so from the well pump to use for showers/toilet. By doing this, we only run the well pump while we fill the RV Freshwater Tank which takes 5-10 minutes. The water pump inside the RV allows us to use the water without electricity because it runs on the RV battery. Which brings me to our next challenge…


No electricity! The timing of our move looked like it would coincide with a change in our weather to cooler temperatures. Since that did not happen, we have been using a generator to run our air on the RV when temperatures are uncomfortable. Jamey is working on our Solar Power System which I will cover more about in another post for the farm. It will be sufficient to run everything for the RV, Well Pump, my Washing Machine and gas Dryer. Running the generator all day and night costs us around $10 per day. That’s actually less than our monthly electric bill was at our house and definitely less than staying at a campground! The disadvantages of running the generator are having to fill it every day and listening to it. It’s not terribly loud, but not exactly quiet either. When the temperatures drop, we will only run it in the morning for coffee and in the evening for a couple of hours to charge our computers for work/school. The solar should be up and running in the next 2 weeks! We will have the generator for backup use on those extra cloudy days.

Waste Water

No one likes to talk about this part! Most RV’s have waste water tanks called gray water or black tanks. These vary in size. We can usually go 3 days before filling our gray tanks from washing hands and showering. The black tank is for the toilet use and it takes 2-3 weeks to fill under our normal use. When we stay at a full hook up site, we can connect the gray and black tanks to a septic/sewer system and drain the waste water tanks directly into that system. Jamey is also installing a septic system to connect our RV waste water so that we can properly dispose of it. If he didn’t have experience installing a septic system, we would be paying someone to do it. It is absolutely necessary to dispose of waste water properly!

What We Love

Every morning we wake to a beautiful sunrise shining into our bedroom window. Coffee outside as we begin our day, thanking God for all the love and blessings He gives. It’s all the little things. Grass blowing in the wind; the diversity of the clouds in the sky; so many varieties of butterflies; just too many things to list. There is such a peace and tranquility that we are so grateful for!

Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

© Copyright 2020– or current year, Sanctuary Ridge. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to Sanctuary Ridge with active link and direction to this original post.

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming

Farmhouse Style

My Piano

Farmhouse Style is my favorite! I love taking an old thing and giving it new life with a little paint and TLC. A few years ago, I decided I really wanted a piano. I took lessons as a child, I even wrote a few songs at one point. I had my childhood piano but we moved so much that I finally just gave it back to my mom and settled for a keyboard instead. It was much easier to move. There’s nothing like playing the real thing though. And at the time I decided I wanted a piano, I had begun to paint most everything in my house with homemade “chalk paint”. (I will show you my dining table and hutch next time). I found an old piano with enough detail to showcase with a little distressing and decided to just go for it! I paid $75 for the piano. It was already scratched but had a nice sound. Here it is after I sanded it.

Sanded and ready for paint!

I used a palm sander to sand the finish off so that the paint will not peel off. You can find a palm sander at Walmart or any hardware store. I gave $20 for mine. After sanding, I wiped everything down with mineral spirits/ paint thinner because it catches more dust than just wiping it down or vacuuming it. I did keep the keys sealed off with plastic and painters tape to limit the dust. There is no need to sand down to the bare wood. If you are painting with chalk paint, just remove the gloss finish on the furniture and you should be good!

You can make your own Chalk Paint with any color, brand or finish. For my first project, I actually used white primer! That was seven years ago and it still looks great! For this piano project, I used left over trim paint. The addition of Plaster of Paris in the recipe will give the paint the chalk finish. If you use gloss paint, it will not be glossy. The plaster of Paris changes the sheen of the paint. It is a strong enough finish to wash with a damp cloth and stand up to normal wear.

Homemade Chalk Paint

Spend less money on your projects! Make your own chalk paint at home!
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Keyword: Homemade Chalk Paint, Chalk Paint Recipe, Sanctuary Ridge Farmstyle
Author: Monica Scott
Cost: Varies based on amount needed for your project!


  • Measuring Spoon
  • Paint stick to mix the paint
  • Paint bucket or bowl large enough for your paint project


  • 3 Cups any finish, any color paint
  • 2 TBSP Plaster of Paris powder
  • 1/8 Cup water


  • Stir all ingredients together. Make sure to mix until all the lumps are gone! You can make a smaller batch or larger batch according to what you need for your project. If you prep your surface area by sanding the gloss finish off, the paint will adhere and not peel. Paint your project and wait 1 day before distressing with a sander. 1-2 coats per project. This creates a strong, durable finish.

After you paint your project, take the sander and sand along the fine details to give a distressed look. I love how it brings out the edges of the furniture!

It’s been 5 years since I painted the piano and it is the most commented on piece in my home. The finish has endured a move and 5 years of enjoyment. What’s your style? Share your paint project photos in the comments below!

© Copyright 2020– or current year, Sanctuary Ridge. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to Sanctuary Ridge with active link and direction to this original post.

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming

The Pavilion Barn Raising


With the experience of the equipment barn only a day behind us, our little crew moved on to setting the Pavilion trusses. Jamey was a little concerned with the stability of the Pavilion, so he and Jedediah added more bracing. We also discovered one truss that needed to be painted, so my little helper and I painted it while the guys set the trusses.

This added a lot more stability to the structure so they began setting the trusses with the tele handler. At first they just used the forks but decided to use the sling to allow for more flexibility in the placement of each truss.

The first truss was stabilized with 2×4 bracing but after the second truss was set, the purlins were used to stabilize between the first and second truss and so forth. This is time consuming work, but it has to be done and the stability of of the project was improved with the addition of each truss and each purlin.

The battle with heat and rain was exhausting. I was fortunate enough to be able to find a little shade to get a break from the sun. Jamey and Jedidiah were in the sun all day. Even on the days when they worked on the pavilion after their regular jobs, it was a minimum of 5-6 hours in the humid summer heat. I was on standby to hand them whatever was needed, to help place the truss on the forks so we could nail the 3 together before putting the sling on and lifting them into place. Thankfully, Jamey’s Dad and Madison came to help! I don’t know what we would have done without friends and family helping us this past week!

Here is a video of the last truss being placed! In case you were wondering, the tele handler AND the lift beep the entire time we worked. A couple of nights I went to sleep with that beeping still ringing in my ears!

We were so relieved to have completed the project a day early! It was a well deserved day of rest for us all on Independence Day!

A few days later we had a crew come finish the pavilion roofing. Jamey has already been spreading the gravel. I love the design Jamey came up with and how it is all coming together!  Next we will work on soil stabilization and painting the posts.

I hope our little barn projects have inspired you! You will never know if you can do it unless you try! ” What would you try if you knew you could not fail?”- author unknown.

© Copyright 2020– or current year, Sanctuary Ridge. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to Sanctuary Ridge with active link and direction to this original post.