Johnson Hobby Farm Photo Essay

Margie & Mike bought this 6-acre hobby farm in SW Minnesota on Halloween, 2011. It hadn't been lived in for a couple years. We spent the summer of 2012 rehabbing the house and grounds. Farming is hard! But we had the summer of our lives. We learned so much and completed so many projects. Mostly we learned a hobby farm is "an unending to-do list, surrounded by a fence." We have more to do but next year will be soooo much easier!


The day we became farmers


The farm property looking from our front open acre.
It takes a couple hours to mow but makes a great baseball, football or Frisbee field


Home Sweet Home


Nice front porch and a "grandma" side yard


Didn't get to do this as much as we liked


Front yard


The beautiful barn sold us on the property


Classic Minnesota barn

The Garden


New buddy (and son of prior owner) Lyman plowed under an acre of
weeds in the fall and again in the spring to help improve our base of soil


Before: We had to create the garden from scratch. But we had
that great Minnesota soil. After Lyman plowed twice for us,
we dug, rototilled and planted a 50 X 50 garden near the house.


Before


After


Building the garden


Building the garden


Building the garden


Before the fence


Putting up the fence


Done


After: Garden is fenced, planted and growing!


Building the tomato cages


Erecting the tomato cages


We built 15 tomato cages. They looked pretty over-built at first,
but the plants soon dwarfed Margie


Garden


Margie picks beans


Tomato plants filled their 6-foot cages


They filled our bowls too


The bounty kept coming


Mike looks for ripened corn


The sweet corn was so tasty...


We ate it raw right in the field


Margie's sunflowers got 12-feet high


Tearing down the garden in late September

The House Rehab


Creepy basement before


Bright, painted and cleaned basement after


Basement before


Basement during Margie's painting


Basement after Margie's painting. Mike installs grow lights
to get a 5-week jump on the garden plants


Basement junk after we were done


Step one on the main floor: get rid of the smelly carpets.
The original wood floors were still underneath the entire main floor
but required sanding and refinishing. The best floor guys in the area couldn't get
to us until September so we had to live in a re-hab zone the entire summer


This is what was underneath the carpets


We had the guys patch in new wood to hide the old square floor vent hole


The sanding begins


After sanding


During staining


Floors finished!


Steps two thru 100: get rid of the old wallpaper. Margie spent days
on that project. Then she had to cover the hundreds of little square tiles
on the ceiling with a sheetrock mixture that required filling hundreds of cracks
between the tiles. Then she had to fix the cracked walls using the same sheetrock mix
that turned hard as rock when dried. Then she plastered the walls and ceiling for texture
(great design feature) before applying the primer paint. The ceiling squares are now invisible


Sheetrocking away all the little ceiling squares


Margie starts applying primer. Finally!


The finished space with new built-in bookcases, crown molding,
baseboard molding, door and window trim and beautifully-restored wood floors


During rehab, ready for paint!


Dining & living room done


Dining & living rooms done


Dining Room Done


Dining room done


Kitchen prepped before rehab


The kitchen we started with. More peeling ceilings, old wallpaper,
cracked walls and glue-covered floors


Kitchen after rehab


Kitchen during rehab


Kitchen after rehab


Kitchen before


Kitchen after


Kitchen after


Kitchen before


Kitchen after rehab. Restored floors, crown molding, chair rails,
textured walls and ceiling, new paint, two new cabinets, new
countertops, under-cabinet lighting, new sink, and Mike's favorite
-- after a summer of washing dishes by hand -- we added a new dishwasher.
The contractor finished the last of the work two days before we had to leave


Margie helps the electricians install under cabinet lights


This is where Mike hid when the disorder got too crazy


Main floor bedroom as we inherited it. It is now our office


The office ceiling before


Office during rehab


Installing the wainscoting


Office after rehab. New wainscoting, new crown molding and door/window trim,
refurbished floors and Margie's magic textured wall and ceiling paint job.
Oh, and a bunch more electrical outlets added.


Margie was able to save and repaint the wall vents too

Gaining Control of the Grounds


Mike vs the weeds


Making progress with the rented brush cutter


This truck made so much work possible


One of dozens of loads taken to the community brush pile


Laddie helped


Most of the time


We caught up on decades of needed tree trimming


Wayyyyy up


More branches to haul away

The Barn


Mike shoveled years of pig manure from the barn.
Bonus! He found the floor and it's concrete throughout!


Margie & Laddie helped


Mike's morning ritual is to open the barn and admire it

Welcome to Minnesota: The Windstorm


A huge May 5th windstorm blew half the metal roof off the granary 30 feet high
into a tree, rammed a 2 X 4 through the wall of the house like a spear and ripped
the electrical service off the house. Even worse, (shudder) Mike's satellite dish was crunched.
The tree saved the house (and us) from much worse damage. This photo made the local newspaper


Storm damage


After the repairs


This tree saved us. We were in an upstairs bedroom behind
this tree when granary roof hit the tree 30 feet up and deflected
down and away just missing the side of house. The broken branch is
where the roof hit. We had to severely trim the tree but we saved it

In Between All That, Some Play


Laddie & Mike after mowing that front acre. We were told the farm has
been "green" (John Deere) for 85 years, so we had to keep it that way. Thanks
to our new John Deere mower, Mike still loves cutting grass.


The neighborhood groundhog (Minnesotans call them woodchucks)


Visitors to the granary


Laddie & Angel demand frequent breaks for Frisbee


Binx loves being a barn cat and Laddie takes her in stride


All done, time for Minnesota treats. Mike loves returning to
"his people" and his childhood favorite foods


Reliving childhood at the Sioux Falls zoo


Our new buddy Ron cut our first batch of alfalfa & clover for his cows


Baling the hay with big boy toys


We made many great new friends!


Of all ages!


Our drop-in buddies Braden & Joseph helped tape a room for painting


Margie hid all the kids' initials on the kitchen ceiling


Dawn on the farm. The dairy in the distance has been up and at it for hours already


Goodnight farmboys

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