I’m Janice. I live in Western New York with my marvelous carpenter husband John and our 3 children- Identical twin girls (L & J) born in August 2008 and another little girl (B) born December 2009. We’re in the process of building our home and homestead on about 5 1/2 acres of former cornfield. We’ve got all sorts of interests and crazy plans to match! From a concrete tub surround (mostly done) and countertops (yet to come) to a masonry heater (hopefully to be started this year), to garden, orchard, coop, and barn (okay, we only have the garden so far), there’s a lot we have planned for this little country plot.
I am now a stay-at-home mom, but still practicing my profession, even if I’m not getting paid for it any more. Therapeutic recreation has a way of weaving itself into my daily life. Before staying home I worked with at risk youth, then individuals with developmental disabilities, and lastly in a hospital setting for addiction and mental health crisis assistance.
I am involved in my local MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) group doing creative activities. We are both involved in our local church. John is a volunteer money map/budgeting coach through Crown Financial Ministries.
I make and use cloth diapers, can and freeze produce from our garden and local orchards, and don’t have any TV or cable (and never miss it! There’s too much else to do! We DO listen to radio and radio theaters, watch an occasional VHS or DVD, and read chapter books aloud.) I sew and craft and do a lot of cooking and baking from scratch. I’m trying to find more ways to do this all the time. John can do building from start to finish- masonry, concrete, framing, trim work, electrical, and some basic plumbing. He loves details, finish work, and restorations and is usually game for my simple-turned-difficult requests while we build.
Over the course of 2011 We’ve added our chickens, feeder pigs, and a little herd of dexter cows. We’ve enclosed the garden/chicken run, built our coop, put up a cowport (shelter until we get that barn done), and planted a few fruit trees (discards that we’re hoping will grow). The house has some more siding on it and looks more like a finished house every week, although there’s still a tremendous amount of work to do before it’s really finished.
2012 brought us our first calf (a lowline/dexter cross) while John was able to go on his second building missions trip to Haiti.
A new section of pasture and the purchase of a dexter bull from Someday Maybe Farms in Forestville quickly followed. Two new feeder pigs made another round in the pig tractor and some chicks were hatched by incubator and by broody hens, although not as many Chanteclers as would have been nice.
We started a small barn to replace the cow-port and managed to get the roof on plus a bit of the siding to provide a weather break for the cows and a place to store some hay.
The house got some more siding (although still incomplete) and inside we (mostly) finished the first room upstairs- a larger bedroom for all 3 girls to share- in time for Christmas. It quickly filled with “princess beds.”
The MOPS group at our church morphed into a “Bringing it Home” group for all moms, primarily to make meals for our families, although extending to some other activities as well. Janice helped support another nearby MOPS group with creative activities.
Continue the usual crafting, gardening, building, and ministry projects.
We started off strong in 2013 with some beautiful hand scraped flooring John put down to complete that bedroom- the first trial room with his new skill. The mudroom actually became functional with the addition of cubbies, shelves, a rod to hang coats, and coat hooks on the wall for everyday. Closets in the Master bedroom also became functional with installed shelving units and hanging rods- no more curtain-rod rigged with shoestrings to put all the hanging clothes we own!
We took a seat with a ministry called “Open Table” working to help support an individual in poverty or the working poor to achieve some goals and make forward progress with supports they might not otherwise have.
2013 brought us our first purebred dexter calves, a bull and 2 heifers that have all been doing well. A few details about registration are still being sorted out with one of the cows. Two new feeder pigs have been added to the pig tractor and are growing nicely, and there was 1 small hatch of chicks from the incubator. A batch of cornish cross went from the basement to the yard to the freezer (We won’t try meaty chickens that early again- more trouble than would have been prefered. We’ll stick to later batches from now on).
A strong, more urgent call to begin the foster/adopt process came in 2013 as well. We’ve felt it as a call for several years, but have always intended to wait a few more years. Several factors drew us to pursue it now rather than later. Clearances are done, MAPP classes are finished, our home study is mostly completed (should be finalized any day), and we’ve been diligently working on more house projects so that everything will meet requirements to certify our home.
To date we have a second large upstairs bedroom finished except for flooring and trim and installing the door. The playroom (Narnia theme) needs flooring and ceiling (wood with embedded fiber optics) as well as painting- some of the base coat is in place. The bathroom upstairs is really 2 rooms- one sink and toilet room, one sink and shower/tub room. These two rooms now have concrete overlay acid stained floors, completed wainscoting and painting, and cabinets and fixtures to be installed in the next week. Trim work and door installation should also be finished in that time frame. The front step will be reworked to be a permanent step by Janice’s brother starting this week. Rustic maple wood was cut from Janice’s grandparents farm by her dad and sawn, it’s now in the kiln destined to become 2 flights of stairs in August.
Next projects on the docket include the black walnut bookcase that will act as a railing on one side of the stairway, completing the drywall in the front open section of the upstairs, and milling out/installing all of the maple once it comes out of the kiln.
For a little more detail about me, read My “Story” below.
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