Living in the Country Tour Revisited: A Gardener’s Dream is a look back at my first blog post. There are a lot of new followers here on the blog and just in case you haven’t made it all the way back to the archives, I thought I might reintroduce myself, our home and our garden. Thanks for joining me!
In March 2019, I created an Instagram account (@pennypenningtonweeks) to support my barn sale business. The account quickly evolved as I began sharing not only my love for vintage finds but more of our home, gardens, farm and general love for life in the country. As much as I love sharing with you on Instagram, I have discovered I have a bit more to say than fits in those little squares, so I decided to create my own blog. I really appreciate you joining me! Let’s begin with a tour of our country life.
The Country Life
For those of you new here, my name is Penny and my husband is Bill. We were married in March 2007. I celebrated my 55th birthday in January 2021 and plan to retire after the 20-21 academic year. Bill beat me to the punch and retired in 2020. For years, we taught Agricultural Leadership together at Oklahoma State University and liked to joke that we were together 23/7. The missing hour was our daily time in the classroom.
Both of us earned our doctorates from Texas A&M University (Bill in 1989 and me in 2001). However, our paths never crossed at Texas A&M. Before pursuing our doctorates, Bill was an Ag Teacher in Illinois and I worked in marketing and public relations at Texas A&M.
The farm life was part of Bill’s upbringing, he grew up on a corn farm in Illinois. I grew up outside Houston and country living was something I explored through the cover of magazines up until we purchased our property in 2010.
Country living became part of my reality when Bill and I bought our property in January 2010. We moved here with our three teenagers and were able to provide each member of our blended family with much needed space of their own. In 2012, the last of our children graduated high school and Bill and I decided to put the extra space to good use. So, we became therapeutic foster parents and opened our home to children in the foster care system. Over the course of five years, we fostered 7 girls ranging in age from 5-17. The last of our foster children were adopted in April 2018 and Bill and I became empty nesters.
We spend most of our days at home enjoying the solitude that country living provides and occupying our time with gardening, cooking and piddling. If we’re not at home, you will typically find us at the grocery store or gardening center. We may also be doing a bit of travel. We travel occasionally, mostly to the mountains, and enjoy visiting family for special celebrations. The best time of year is when our children come home for the holidays.
Our Country Home
Our home sits on 40+ acres in Stillwater, Oklahoma. There are two barns, three coops, a gazebo and a three-acre pond. The house is a large two-story home. So, there is always plenty to do. Our home itself is much larger than we intended, but we were drawn to the property, fell for the copper hood in the kitchen and I have a crush on the mudroom sink. Who knew that was possible? We also knew that we wanted to live outside of town, somewhere quiet with plenty of room to garden and celebrate the simple joys that only our homes provide.
Ok, so now that you know a bit about us and how we ended up in our home, let the Country Living Tour begin.
The Barn & Our Flock
Let’s start with the barn. The barn is a Morton horse barn but doesn’t house any horses. Instead, it houses our chickens. There are two coops built into the barn in place of what would have been one of the horse stalls. You can enter the nests from the inside of the barn and the runs are attached to the exterior of the barn. It provides great insulation and safety for our flock. It’s also very convenient.
Our flock is currently made up of New Hampshire chickens. New Hampshires are a heritage breed that lay brown eggs and eat a lot! We have one rooster, Max and eight or so hens, all named Meghen. Our flock will grow quite a bit this spring. We typically hatch 1-2 batches of New Hampshires depending upon the number of requests we have from neighbors. We are also picking up a half dozen Brown Leg Horns from a hatchery in Missouri in late March and I have ordered three Ameraucana pullets from our local feed store. I’m so excited to have blue eggs! And last, but not least, we are adding ducklings to our flock. We ordered 15 Mallard ducklings that will arrive the first week of March.
Our Country Gardens
In addition to housing our flock, the barn houses our gardening equipment and is surrounded by raised beds. I should say Bill’s gardening equipment. Until meeting Bill, I never knew there were so many different tools. I also didn’t know anything about gardening. I have learned a lot since moving here 10+ years ago and will be adding my first cutting garden spring 2021. I’ve also recently ordered 6 different varieties of sunflowers and (with Bill’s help) will be planting a sunflower field west of the house.
One of my favorites in the garden is the trellises. I love when they are completely covered by vines in late summer and early fall. Our current favorite vines are morning glories, thunbergia and cardinal climber. Bill and I also made a couple of new trellises last summer out of a crepe myrtle tree from our property. I’m also partial to the Echinacea (Purple Coneflower) and Black-eyed Susan flowers. Who doesn’t love a good perennial?
The property itself has lots of trees and a few open fields. I love when the redbuds are in bloom, they are one of the first signs of spring. When we first moved to the property, it was completely covered in trees. Clearing the cedars allowed for the redbuds, oak trees and other trees to flourish. It also created several open fields great for farming. We plant crimson clover annually in several of the open fields. I love when the field is covered in red and so do the deer.
The Foyer and Living Room
The foyer and living room are quite formal compared to the kitchen and keeping area. I love shopping estate sales for French antiques. They pair well with the formality of these two spaces. The various vases I have found at estate sales and auctions are perfect for bringing the outside in. I especially love pairing lilacs and redbud branches from our property with some of my vintage pieces. They add a much needed pop of color after winter.
Now back to that mudroom sink! The sink is perfect for preparing vases of flowers cut from our gardens or stems gathered from the trees. Last spring, I gathered an armful of stems from our bridal wreath spirea and filled up countless vases for pops of white all over the house.
The Kitchen & Keeping Room
Our favorite spot in the house is our kitchen and the keeping room. The kitchen has a professional stove and a copper hood that makes me smile. The butcher block island is perfect for a family of cooks. The keeping room includes a brick fireplace, sitting area and dining space. It is my favorite spot to drink my morning coffee and warm up on a cold day.
The keeping room overlooks the backyard where you will find our pond and gazebo. The gazebo is great for entertaining and includes a fire pit area. The pond is well stocked with bass and catfish. My favorite view of the backyard is spring when it is covered in shasta daisies.
Thank You for Joining Us
This has been so much fun sharing a bit about us and our home with you. There is lots more to come. Drop me a comment below and say hello.