White Christmas

Well, we did in fact have a white Christmas down here.  It was so warm that we went to the state park on the beach for a little walk with the pups.


At 7am the next day, Matt acquired this smoker and tested it out by smoking some chicken wings.


Joe and I had a little friendly competition to make sauces for the wings.  I went with a garlic hot sauce and he went with a homemade barbecue sauce.


On Sunday my parents arrived after a 2 day drive from Massachusetts and they had brought my cat Molly with them!  My dad was looking for a project so I told him I wanted a catitat (cat habitat).  On Monday they started work on the catitat.


The design of the catitat is such that the cats will be able to enter the outdoor space via the laundry room window.  The laundry room has a kitty door in it and we keep the cat food and litter boxes in there so the cats will now be able to avoid the dogs altogether if they wish by spending their time in the laundry room and catitat.  Here’s the view from the laundry room window.


The structure itself is now complete and we will just need to do some interior decorating, adding lounge areas and aesthetics.  I got the impression that not too many people down here are building catitats (although I did get the idea from my Aunt Jill who had one) when an old man at Lowes asked us if we were building a deck.  I said, “no, we’re building a habitat for my cats” to which he replied “are you serious?”

Anyways, on Tuesday Matt smoked us some award winning ribs.  Then my mom and I went to Painting with a Twist in Pensacola.  We painted “Frosted Blossoms”.

Unfortunately, there has been torrential rain everyday except Tuesday since my parents arrived.  On Wednesday we decided we would spend the rainy day at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola.  The museum was massive and had a TON of aircraft.


Next we went to World of Beer for some beers and food.


Then we went to the Pensacola Bay Brewery for another beer, then we decided that Harry and Jaci couldn’t leave Pensacola without going to Krispy Kreme for a hot-off-the-conveyor-belt donut.


Happy New Year’s Eve to everyone! I will reflect on 2015 and set goals for 2016 in my next post! See you next year!

Mystery Adventure

So I know everyone has been waiting with bated breath to learn of the names selected for the two black chickens which I incorrectly noted were buff orpington chickens (Penny and Evie are actually the Buff Orpingtons). First of all, I would like to thank everyone for their name suggestions, and urge you all not to be disappointed if your names were not selected as I am sure there will be other opportunities for naming things on this homestead.  So, drum-roll please….  the final two chickens have been named:

Elizabeth and Daisy!

I can’t believe these lovely ladies are all just over a week old now.  They are growing up fast.  Well, I will give an update on the chickens later since I have a story to tell.

Last week, Matt and I decided we were going to go out on a dinner date to celebrate Christmas and were discussing restaurant options, when Matt said, never mind, I have a better idea, we’re going on a mystery adventure. I asked if the adventure was a mystery to him as well, and he assured me it was just a mystery for me.  He told me to pack an overnight bag and bring warm clothes because we would be outside.  Then for the next 2 days as the mystery was eating away at me, he would say, “oh, and don’t forget your wet suit” or ridiculous things like that (I don’t own a wet suit).

Saturday at around 1pm we headed out and about an hour and 15 minutes later we arrived at the most adorable Bed and Breakfast in Mobile, Alabama called the Shepard House.  Here is a picture of us outside:


We were showed to our room by our lovely hostess, Wendy, where Matt told me the plan for the night was to go out to dinner at Felix’s Fish Camp restaurant on the water and then to Bellingrath Home and Gardens for the Christmas lights display and home tour.  Then he told me he had one more surprise for me, and pulled out the most beautiful diamond ring ever created on planet earth and asked me to marry him.  I obliged.


Dinner was amazing, with delicious soup and salad, crab cakes on top of fried green tomatoes, hush puppies, turnip greens, blackened grouper, succotash, and complimentary key lime pie to top it off.  Oh, we also had some wine.  It was all delicious and was enjoyed while watching the sunset over the bay.


Next we went to the Bellingrath Gardens and Home and saw the beautiful Christmas lights display and toured the home.

In the morning Wendy made us and the other couple that were staying there her award winning pecan praline french toast, scrambled eggs, peppered bacon and fruit.  She also gave us a little history on the house which she unraveled when she found stacks of papers from the civil war era in the attic.  It was super interesting but you’ll have to visit Wendy for the full story over her amazing breakfast.

So, overall, pretty awesome weekend, good job, Matt!  And for the close-up!


Pictures really don’t do it justice.


Meet the Girls

Yesterday was an exciting day.  Joe and I went out to Meme’s Poultry Farm in Robertsdale, Alabama and purchased day old chicks! I was able to get 7 for $20.  Not a bad deal.  They are just the cutest fuzziest little baby hens ever and I have started naming them, so let me introduce you.

This is Penny:


This is Evie:


This is Leah:


Here we have Cadence:


This brown striped girl I named Kaleigh:


Kaleigh is quite the vocalist.  I have two more and I need your help naming them!  Would you like a baby chicken named after you?  Or do you have a name suggestion for either of these Buff Orpington babies?  Let me know and I will announce the winning names for these lovely ladies in my next post!

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Prickly Pear Plantation

There you have it folks.  We have finally named the property.  While I toyed with naming it “Jarvis Queendom”, I finally settled on a nice alliterative title based on these prickly little suckers. 1212150921

The dogs are really good at finding these cacti around the property.  I generally only see them when I am pulling them out of the dogs’ faces.  I think Prickly Pear Plantation has a nice ring to it.  Now we just need a sign.

Many other works of genius took place this week besides naming the place.  On Tuesday, my new trailer hitch for the Jeep arrived, so I drank some beer while Matt and Joe installed that.  Success.


Joe and I also began construction on the chicken coop.  Most of the materials we used we located on the property which was a great way to keep the costs down.


First we set up a cinder block foundation and secured a piece of 3/4 inch plywood to some 4×4 posts laid across the blocks.


Next we framed out the sides, so the structure would be approximately 6 feet tall in the front and about 4 feet tall in the back and have an almost human sized door in the front for easy access.


Then we started adding sides.  I think we should be able to finish it on Monday.  Today work continued on the shed.  The roof rafters are now in place.


Then, I drank some wine while Matt and Joe did some work on Joe’s ATV to try to restore it to working order.  They also attempted to jump it with the jeep and then hotwire it, but alas, more poking, prodding and research will need to be conducted before we can go ATV sledding through the fields.


And I almost forgot about the most important project of all! Back in Attleboro we were fortunate enough to have basement space for our dive bar.  Unfortunately, there is no basement to be had here in Florida, so we had no choice but to put the kegerator in the laundry room and run taps through the wall into the dining room.


If you put them in a frame it’s art though, right?


Plains, Trains and Automobiles

Last weekend we went into Pensacola for a car show.  There were a lot of really neat old and new cars.  I have decided that my favorite ones are the older trucks.  Like this one.


Joe was a fan of this one.


Matt liked a lot of the classics.  Like this one.


After the car show we decided we would show Joe the Railroad Museum in Milton.  There was a little model train running on a track in the back garden.


It was so nice and warm out on Sunday that we decided to take the top and doors off the jeep and head on over to hike at Bear Lake.


Stella and Jake sat in the back with Joe and enjoyed the Jeep ride much less than they ought to, being dogs.

On Tuesday we decided to put up our Christmas tree.  It’s an artificial tree from CVS but you can’t tell, right?


Jake had surgery on his eye to resolve his cherry eye, so he was wearing the cone of shame for decorating.  He’s doing great though and is just the cutest little guy ever.

Yesterday we started work on building a shed on a concrete slab that we had discovered on the plains.  We quickly discovered that the slab was not level and not square.  We also discovered that it is difficult to attach pressure treated wood to concrete.  Can anyone guess why?  A great man once said: “Cuz Nothin’s Ever Easy!”  After Matt had purchased his third drill, we were finally able to secure the base and then the framing was a piece of cake, sort of.

Well my Christmas cookies aren’t going to decorate themselves, so I better hop to it!