Updating the Blog…


As we head into this 2020 winter, I am reminded of all the crazy things that have gone on this year.  Of course, there is the Covid-19 pandemic and all the crazy things that has encompassed.  But this year has been especially hard and yet endearing to us in so many ways.  We had a massive flood that just gave us a huge scare and just a ton of damage…  we lost my father, the girl’s grandfather quite suddenly and with much sadness.  We worked hard to keep our businesses afloat, to make due when everything was insane and we thank God for our wonderful customers and friends that were a hand to help and a shoulder to cry on when needed.  We did some much needed updating and some remodeling to our century old farm and farmhouse and we got my dream cottage up and finally going.  I’ve had some hard health issues to deal with and we just have had a lot on our plates.

And through it all, my blogging just kind of went a bit to the wayside.  It happens.  It’s been over ten years now that I have been maintaining this bit of family history, this journal of our lives as they ebb and flow through the years.  Good, bad and ugly!  But that is just life, isn’t it?

Well, I hope to try and get things back and going again.  The winter is a good time for that.  Things are settling down a bit and lots of the heavy lifting of the other three seasons around our little farm are calm and off to rest.  It is a great time to catch up on naps and health and get some quiet time and rest in our souls.  Get a little more control and simpify life a little more.  It’s all good.

I think I will spend a few posts just kind of catching up on some of the things that happened this last 6 months or so.  Some farm things, family and of course, the cottage build and finish!   As you can see, I’m all moved in and just adore it so much.  It’s been the one calming situation in a rather chaotic year!  Of course, the big house is just a hundred feet away so it’s a little more like a mom retreat, but that is quite OK with me and the powers that be.  After three years of coming out each spring to check on my permits and build progress, it was so wonderful to FINALLY have something ready to go for the fellow from the county!   He was so happy for us.  He gave me a super hardy handshake and signed off on all the tax updates and permit things…  He wished me luck decorating the inside and hoped that I would enjoy it.  It was super wonderful to see him so happy to finally see my dream come to reality!  I almost wish he would come back again in the spring of 2021 to see how it’s all coming together.  That would be delightful.

As so many blogs seem to do, its easy for life to get in the way and time to pass.  And then there is the catch up post and the “I’ll do better” post and the pledge to keep at things.  I honestly do hope to do so.  Hopefully a post or three a week until I am a little more in touch with the current times!  Hope you will enjoy the ride along…

Maybe I’ll even figure out how to enable the comments again!  Maybe not.   We shall see.   You can always reach me at my email…   sherri  at Chekal . com.  (Just make sure to use the little @ sign instead of “at”.   Crazy that we still have to do that these days.  A straight up email will get me a flood of weird emails and such!  No fun…

And don’t forget you can find us on Facebook and sometimes that is easier for day to day updates, but the blog is the place for the real nitty gritty!!!

So off to the first catch up post…  all about getting the sheep gang sheared this spring!!!!

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Cottage Shopping


If you have been following me on Facebook much, you know that I really really really want my own little cottage.  Yes, a She-Shed, but really more than just a hangout place.  I want to live there for the most part.  I want a Mom Cottage, a nice space that I can live in and sleep, keep the way that I want and to give my grown adult girl children time to claim their own space, in the big house.

Of course, I will be on the property, because why not?  I will be in a little area that we call the old garden.  It’s a beautiful place, about 100 feet from the big house and just a nice dry little place that I can have a small cottage, porch, patio and garden.  I hope some day to include a fiber yurt, but that is a while off in the plans.

I originally wanted to build it all from scratch.  By myself, and with friends and family help.  But I started the foundation almost 2 years ago and that is about as far as I got.  My health has been a little wishy washy and it was just not getting done.  We have been super busy as well, just was not working out.

Then along came the pandemic.  A scary time.  Our orders fell off for about a week and then the went nuts.  We were just so so busy.  But I began to notice that a lot of the local Amish shed builders were giving out super amazing deals on these lovely little sheds.  Super financing deals, discounts, zero down, and lots of extra features.  It was the perfect time to consider a unfinished shell of a shed!  I knew that finishing the inside and all, that would be a lot easier for me and the girls to accomplish in a reasonable amount of time.  And that I could easily afford a payment under $200 since I really don’t have any payments at all except my cell phone bill.  (We own the big house and property free and clear of a mortgage.)  Our utilities are very reasonable as well, only electric and trash.  (We have a well on our property and we heat with seasonal propane gas.)

So, on weekend in April, the girls and I went on a 6 hour day trip to go to many of the shed places around us in the 50 mile free delivery zone and just got a feel for them.  And I love them!  It was a fun day…  We ended it with a sack lunch at Hardees in Angola, Indiana.  We couldn’t really talk to anyone, but thankfully, they were all open and encouraged folks to come and visit, look around and then drop them a call or email when you had an idea.

Here are some of the photos of the day!  Lots to look at!!!

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Starting the new chicken coop!


We have had a couple different chicken coop over the last ten years and each was good but each had a little problems.  I think that I really want a simple, close by coop with a nice run that we can make easy and enjoyable to keep a small flock of hens.  We have a few chickens left that are free ranging but it’s just not the best thing in many ways.  Finding eggs is like an Easter egg hunt and often they are not fresh when you do find them.  And it’s just not safe for them to be wandering about and vunerable at night.


Since we have all the left over materials from tearing down the poultry barn, I thought it would be interesting to try and make the little coop all out of recycled materials, as much as possible.  Our friend Brayden was up to the challenge!    We decided to make it 6 foot by 6 foot and 8 feet tall, inside.  With a peaked roof and an recycled door, with barn siding on the sides.  I have always loved the look of cedar shingles, so the coop would be partially clad in cedar shingles.  (We would have to buy those, but got a great deal at the local big box as they were discontinuing these smaller bundles.  IMG_3933 IMG_3934

So darn cute!   Just the frame was fun to watch going up.   It’s close to the big house and where my cottage is going to go.  I think that is perfect because it will be easy to take care of from both sources.  IMG_3938

Honestly, it’s such a nice little size, it would be a darling little art studio!  I can’t wait till we can get back to building in the little momyard.  Momtopia?  Momspace.  We’re not quite sure what to call it yet, but it’s becoming my little get away compound.

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Our friends at Kencraft in Toledo where Maggie gets all her wood for her business, were kind enough to save all their pallet plywood for us!  It’s the waste material that goes between the super nice lumber but it’s still pretty usable.  When it was thin, we just doubled or tripled it!  And actually there were enough nice pieces that Brayden was able to get it nice and closed in.

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I had found this old entertainment center on the side of the road and was impressed because it was real wood and homemade instead of some sort of particle board thing.  I think it will make a great wall for chicken laying boxes in there!  Don’t you?  I love the two little cabinets in the top, I can keep some of my chicken supplies in there and keep them safe.

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All the tin is on the sides and the roof and the door fits, just not quite on the hinges yet.  We recycled these stepping stones for the front porch area from another place on the homestead.  I did buy a bag of play sand to fill in the cracks but it was only $2.00  This will help to keep it less muddy and all when entering the little coop.  I think I will want to lay down a nice walkway to the coop so that in the muddy spring, it’s still easy to get to and not treacherous and filthy.

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I had hoped that I could use an old dog kennel that was on the property but I think it’s just too small.  I’m hoping to keep about 6 or 7 hens in there with a rooster.  I will let them free range some in the afternoon or so but most of the time they will be in their coop and run.  And I’m not totally sure that the chain link is safe enough.  I believe this spring I want to make a much larger run area and use hardware cloth and very strong timbers to make it much safer for my darlings.


I got two bundles of the cedar shingles for $20.  It was a nice deal.   We hoped that they would make it on the three sides of the coop.  Especially since there are two windows and a door going on as well, so that means we wouldn’t need too many shingles.  The back of the coop we used cool looking old barn wood boards as siding.   You really can’t see that part of the coop except a wee bit from the road.  I would like to make a cool, colorful barn quilt board to put back there.  Eventually!  Maggie helped me to get the cedar on the coop.  It really looks so cool.  Just how I imagined it to be!  I love it!


Can’t wait to get started, working on the rest of the coop this spring.   The plans are to paint the inside white, nice and clean.   And then to put down some easy to clean vinyl flooring from the remnant flooring store down the road.  And to build a strong and safe run for the chickens.   Going to have fun and call it Fowlton Abbey.  Should be a fun project to finish up very soon!


it’s getting closer!  I would have to stop for the year but this spring, will finish it all up.   The door is going to be a deep plum color and I have some super cute windows for either side.  Going to make some cute scalloped white eave trim for it.  Going to have a cute solar barn lamp and a neat handpainted sign for the area next to the door.  Can’t wait to get it all super cute and finished up!  Soon!!!


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