Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holidays at the Farm

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas at Bunbury Farm. Decorating the property is a rather daunting task. I thought the boxes and boxes of outdoor decoration I had for my place in Uptown would be just fine.
I have found that I will need a couple more light bulbs for next year.

There are so many places that call out for something sparkly. Windows that need wreaths, there are 25 windows at Bunbury, we have 8 doorways that also need wreaths, boughs of evergreen are called for on the railing of the house, the railing of the bridge, all the split rail fences and the along the stable.

The pond has frozen over, which made hanging the decorations on the bridge easier. I added much more "bling" than I would normally, but it still seems to disappear when I am up at the house.

Next year will be flashier, and I really want a giant wreath for the barn.

The chicken coop is missing a wreath on the door in this picture, but they do have single wreaths hanging from silver ribbons on their windows, so they know they are included in the holiday spirit.

While the chicken coop got silver ribbon, we used red satin ribbon for each wreath, in all the windows. You know how flashy chickens can be!

The bough on the porch are really pretty, the house looks especially nice from the road, viewed through the evergreens. Next year we will go bigger and brighter, I am already looking into solar powered options, but for now this is Christmas at Bunbury Farm, year 1.

And it is perfect.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Reasons for Thanksgiving

Winter has arrived at Bunbury in time for Thanksgiving. Getting the Farm together for winter has been a great excuse to not keep the blog updated, but now that the winter is here I hope to be more active about farm life here.

A few weeks back, while leaves were still falling we had a group up for an Autumnal gathering. pumpkin painting, pinata's, chicken feeding and good times with friends filled the day.

It was a wonderful afternoon, and so great to see friends from across the country.

The chickens have been producing eggs, we now have white, brown and green eggs everyday

They are wonderful additions to our table and the tables of many of our friends.

Hope everyone has as many wonderful things to be thankful for as we do this year.

Monday, October 4, 2010

First Egg!

Well after 3 months of nuturing and loving the chickens,they have rewarded us with a perfect egg! the first of many I am sure.

I never thought that I would get so excited about an egg, but then I never was so connected the the creator of the egg.

Thank you Ladies

The egg is now safe in the house, waiting for Peter to come home and see it.

One last look at the amazing egg outside the henhouse.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

time flies

I am not sure where the summer has gone. It is expected to frost here tonight, so all the plants that will be wintering indoors made the trip today. we have also bee winterizing the chicken coop. putting up storm windows, planting bulbs, it seems I have been doing everything except blogging lately.

Autumn has been beautiful in Minnesota this year, the sugar maples have been putting on an amazing show. It is our first Autumn in the country and there is not a day that goes by where we do not find ourselves grinning with delight that we get to live here.

There has been a lot of work going on inside the house, more pictures on that at another time.

Right now it is just nice to enjoy the short but beautiful days we have here on the farm.

Monday, August 2, 2010

a place to stop and sit

Moving to the country was a big shift. Until May I lived in the heart of Uptown, Mpls, near lakes filled with activity and surrounded by running paths and Sunbathers. The high end grocery store, Lunds, was a short walk away as was the hub of Upton, Lake and Hennepin. I couldn't leave the house with running into someone I knew and loved that there was always something to distract me from life.

Life changed with the move to the country. Recently married and living together for the first time we had to learn to adjust to schedules and habits, and of course there was the career change to add to the excitement.

During all of this I am learning to relax. To take some time to slow down and enjoy the land, watch the chickens, keep tabs on tadpoles becoming frogs, just chill. the perfect furniture to relax on has always been wicker. So, on a recent trip to my folks in New York I brought back, among other things, my Grandmother's wicker.

A perfect fit for the stable, it has been a favorite shady place to escape the heat and read a bit, listen to music, or nap. I quickly recovered the cushions using some awning stripe material and a staple gun. There are three more chairs to paint, they are big ones, the rocker needs to be recovered and there is a large side table that needs a bit of repair and paint, but it is a good start.

So, if you are in the neighborhood of Bunbury, let me pour you an Arnold Palmer and we can watch the grass grow.

On second hand, if you are coming over there are a couple projects I could use a hand with...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

What are you asking for on this old box?

Peter was working today, so in order to escape working around Bunbury for a while I headed off to a little antique mall in Osceola, Wisconsin. Dad is coming next week and the guest room needs to be closer to "finished" and there was a need for a bedside table.
Sadly the majority of the "antiques" were manufactured by the Corning Company for their Corelle line...not a lot there. Feeling a little annoyed at the contents of the antique store, I headed home and drove past a thrift store with a giant white stuffed panda outside. Figuring that sometimes things can be found in the oddest places I went in. the shelves were filled with thrift store dregs, coffee cups, candle holders that cam in floral arrangements, nothing good. Behind the counter a young man in a Led Zepplin t, with blond dreds was talking to a friend. On a whim, I asked if he had any tables, and he took me into the locked next door storage area where there were 2 bad dining room tables. As I was about to leave I spotted THIS out of the conner of my eye

a nice little wooden chest, looked to be about the right size for a bedside table. There was something different about it, but I didn't want to pay TOO much attention before I knew the price.

"What are you asking for on this old box", I casually asked. the young man thought about it, said his mom wanted it, although there was another, plastic, box in the shop she could store stuff in, then said...

"Would 6 dollars be ok?"

I said that would be fine. :)

The box is an old mechanics case. On the back was a name plate for the owner

and the lifted back reveals a series of drawers

and when the lid is lifted, more storage

It is now cleaned, oiled and placed in the guest room, where it fits perfectly. As soon as the room is settled I will post a picture. I love a good find!

Saturday, July 3, 2010


We have always liked the way bunting looks on the front porch of a distinctly American house, and this year we were able to hang some for the Fourth. It may be hard to take it down after the holiday weekend, it looks so nice and classic. It is also give a hint of how the swags for Christmas will look, although winter will likely find wreaths on the windows too.

One of the big things we would like to change is the blacktop drive in front of the house. Our long term goals with this is to remove all the blacktop, change the approach to the house and plant a shade loving grass in front of the house. Currently you drive in straight on with the front of the house, I would like to move our drive about 50 feet down the road, so you drive through a small grove of trees, by the pond and pole barn and then curve to see the house sitting among the trees.

Plus I hate blacktop.

There is a lot planned for the weekend, building some trellis, constantly checking on the chickens to be sure they are safe, painting some wicker, planting, planting planting and a tractor pull to check out on Sunday. Dad is coming for a visit in a couple weeks, so we want to finish unpacking too.

Have a great holiday weekend!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Married with Chickens

They grow up so quickly. It seems like just yesterday that the chicks came to Bunbury in their little box, cheeping little balls of feather. Today, Peter took the chicks out to the coop for their first visit to their new digs. Lots of netting and chicken wire protects them from any predators, but even with preparations we took them inside for the night.

Butters understand her job as protector of the chicks, and they all seemed to be very happy to see that she was on the other side of the fencing.

Peter has a magical touch with the chickens, and most animals. It really is something to see how they let him handle and protect them.

They are not so charmed by Jim.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Picnic at the Farm

We had a wonderful gathering of friends this Saturday at the Farm, the weather agreed and everyone had a wonderful time. Andrew took some wonderful pictures, which can be seen here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chickens and first storms.

Two things I never thought I would need or want in my life, chickens and storm cellars.

Today I am grateful for both.

First came the chickens, born over the weekend they came to the house on Tuesday. 9 little hens joined our family. While they have a comfy coop waiting for them, they are safe and warm in the garage with a heat lamp for a while until the reach a safe size. This is certainly a new experience for the Bunbury boys.

The other thing we are grateful for today is a storm cellar. Bunbury Farm is dead center of this map. The skies are dark here and there has been some thunder. Jim is home with the animals, while Peter is safely at work. All the animals seem calm and they are starting to cancel warnings, so hopefully we will be all good.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saturday morning shopping

So when we lived in the city Saturday morning would mean a spin class at The Firm, then a stop at the Minneapolis Farmers Market then a run to the Room & Board Outlet and a check in a J Crew.

This Saturday while stopping to buy a chicken thermometer at the feed store, Jim and Peter were distracted by the critter swap, specifically the pygmy goats. We are already expecting our chickens, we pick them up Tuesday, likely pecking through their shells as I type this, and now we have both fallen in love with the pygmy goats. This was a shorter fall for Peter than it was for Jim, but we are both there now. These little guys are adorable!

We are still holding to the "next year" plan for adding goats to the Bunbury family, but things often change. For now we will spend our time visiting the goats, and from time to time, J Crew.

Monday, May 31, 2010

One room with a view

Peter lived in his place for 2 years before Bunbury, Jim has not moved for the past 8 years. When you add to the mix that both the guys like to accumulate stuff, you have a taxing month of moving and two exhausted, and sometime cranky, homeowners.

We made a decision Thursday night that there had to be one place in the house to relax and put full effort into settling the sunroom. Apologies for the quality of the picture, there is only so much a blackberry can do and there was no way I was going to dig through all the boxes looking for the camera.

And we have a little corner of calm. The Room & Board sofa (a craiglist find from 4 years ago with a slipcover from the outlet) fit perfectly in the sunroom. This was a good thing, because the sofa, which does not have removeable legs, would not make it into the living room. A painted bench found at a garage sale provides the perfect place to put our feet up for a few minutes before tackling another box.

From the sofa we have a great view out the front of the house to our new hosta garden. Thanks to friend Joe, and his wonderful mother, we have a hosta garden that looks good today and will be amazing in a couple years.

There were a couple milestones this weekend. A wheelbarrow was purchased (craigslist again), tools from a bunch of garage sales, the chicken coop is being prepped, a Bald eagle was spooted feeding on the side of the road, a croquet set and volleyball showed up in our new stocked outdoor game cabin and most importantly, our marriage license arrived from New Hampshire.

Life is good at Bunbury! Join our group on Facebook

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dinner at the Farm

We held a dinner party this past weekend at Bunbury, just a few friends who came up to check out the place before too much work was done. Because everything is in boxes, and there is no dining room intact (and since the weather was so wonderful), we set up an impromptu dining room in the stable.

Dinner was nice and light, and the fact that we got to take a break from painting made it even nicer. Jackie brought a delicious summer salad with a secret recipe mint dressing and Jim put together a smoked salmon salad, both were wonderful on a warm spring night.

It was a fantastic night, wandering the fields and woods with friends and dogs. Thanks to Andrew, Jackie and Joe for coming up.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Which came first? The chicken or the coop?

What a weekend! Gardening and painting, with a dinner party hosted in the stable on Saturday night (pictures to come).

The most exciting news though is the expectations of the arrival of our newest family members. On Tuesday, we are expecting 10 chickens! Currently there is very little knowledge of dealing with chickens, but we are about to learn. The chicken coop is being cleaned and the little fenced in yard has been cleared and Peter is buying chicken feed, the chickens are Peter's project so he is busy researching seed and techniques.

Hopefully no chickens will be harmed in the creation of this Farm.

Monday, May 17, 2010

If I had a hammer..

These nails were used to support a plant holder in the living room! It must have been a very large plant to need this kind of grounding. We are discovering lots of interesting and exciting projects that need to be done.

So, last week after closing on Bunbury, we headed off to get married in New Hampshire. We said our "I do's" at the beautiful Elephant Rock Farm in Fitzwilliam. We could not have asked for a more beautiful day.

Coming back home on Sunday we brought all the cats together to meet for the first time, I am sure it will get better with time.

The work on the house now begins in earnest, weeding, painting, tearing up of awful carpets. We have a lot ahead of us.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

From the rear

peter took some pictures from the backside of the property this morning while on a walk with Butters, so we are sharing.

that is a little grove of birch tress in the middle of the old pasture, you can see the stable and the barn in the distance.

And we buy the farm...

We closed on the farm yesterday at 1 pm! Packing the Explorer and Escape (we are a Ford family) with cleaning supplies, mattress and bedding and hopefully enough provisions to last the night, with Butters the dog included, we headed to Bunbury for our first night.

We did not have much chance to wander the property, it is cold and rainy in Minnesota right now, we spent most of the time indoors, looking around at the enormity of the project we have ahead of us. Thankfully we have until at least April 2040 to get it done, according to the mortgage.

So, we begin the process of moving, renovating and packing. We will take a bunch of "before" pictures and get them posted so we can keep you updated.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

hurry up and wait

Well, we have a scheduled closing and it is coming up fast. Being first time homebuyers the whole process can be a little overwhelming. Both Peter and Jim have found their "favorites" filling up with design, seed and renovations sites in anticipation of the huge project ahead. It has become obvious that we have been surrounded by experts on hobby farming and country living for years, as every family member and friend have strong opinions on every decision.

So, we wait until closing, trying to not fall further in love wth the farm until we have the keys in hand.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


After working in Los Angeles for a week, Jim flew home on the red eye for the anticipated house inspection. Peter has also had a busy week, so our boys relaxed with a little coffee before heading over to the property. Mike, the inspector, was already on the roof when we got there and for the next 3 hours we scraped, sniffed and dug around to see what the condition would be. Mike's final report...

This is an above average quality 100+ year old (approximate age) home. As with all homes, ongoing maintenance is required and improvements to the systems of the home will be needed over time. The improvements that are recommended in this report are not considered unusual for a home of this age and location. Please remember that there is no such thing as a perfect home.

so we signed the final agreement and now begin the mortgage paperwork. there is one change that the seller needs to take care of, the property needs a new septic system, but he has said that this will be done before closing, around April 30th.

After leaving the agents office we stopped at a couple garage/estate/tag sales, where we stopped looking at small pieces of decorative silver and started looking at tools. We bought a hoe(with it's original Montgomery Ward's tag), a good shovel and a small saw.

We took a nice walk around the property, almost 7 acres, pretty undeveloped, so lots of work and lots of opportunity. We are looking forward to the closing so we can post more internal pictures and before and after shots. For now we will document the process of buying and waiting.

Pitured above is, from left to right, the pond, the barn, stable and tack room. This view is from the porch of the house.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Peter and Jim spent a good chunk of the weekend registering for the upcoming wedding/housewarming. So, the weekend was spent at Crate & Barrel, Williams Sonoma, Restoration Hardware and Target. It was more involved than I would have thought, I mean how hard can it be to create a wishlist?

Crate & Barrel wins for the best registration gift, we got some heart shaped champagne glasses, they won't get a lot of use in our house, but the thought was nice.

Along with the registration we spent hours pouring over seed and plant catalogs, finding beautiful things to place around the property. Jim is currently having an infatuation with columbine and Peter remains all about the miniature farm animals.

We had a sleepover guest Friday and Saturday which added to our tiredness, Butters best friend Janie, a Jack Russell mix spent the weekend and boy does she have energy. We spent a couple of hours at the big off leash dog park today and while Butters was content to come home and head to bed, Janie was still ready to go.

This is a big week, house inspection and returning the final paperwork on the approved offer. It also is a big travel week, so paperwork will have to go back and forth from California. But something has to pay for the house.

We were going to order the bunbury bags from ll bean this weekend, but thought it may jinx things. so that is put off for a couple weeks.

Friday, April 9, 2010


We thought that there would be no better time to dedicate to a blog then when everything in our lives was about to change. This way, gentle reader, you are able to share in the journey.

Peter and Jim were engaged last fall while on a trip to The Breakers in Palm Beach. With the moon beaming down at Bethesda by the Sea church we committed to sharing our life. The plan is to travel to Vermont in mid-May to seal the deal.

As we decided to join our lives, we also had to find a place to join our households. Peter brings his 3 cats, Stanley, Whea and the Bean, while Jim has Frank the cat and Butters, a midsized mongrel who behaves like a drunken, clumsy college girl. We wanted room, character and a bit of earth. After a lot of driving around, found a small horse farm in a part of Minnesota so rural it does not have a post office and put in a bid.

The offer was accepted yesterday and provided everything continues forward we will be moving in the beginning of May. Of course we will maintain separate residences until we are married, I mean we were raised properly after all.

The purpose of this blog is to follow the trials and tribulations of married life, home ownership, decorating and remodeling, animal husbandry (Peter has his heart set on miniature donkeys) and gardening. If along the way Martha Stewart wants to do a photo spread and J Crew wants to outfit us, I am sure we could work things out.

The Bunbury name comes from Oscar Wilde's Importance of Being Earnest. Bunburying is about making choices on your terms and being engaged in your own life.

We think that sums things up.

Welcome to Bunbury Farm.