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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Our Maxed Out Mudroom

I am taking a short break from my series of posts on Beginning Pressure Canning to give you a chance to gather your materials I shared about in Understanding Pressure Canning and to do some trial runs as described in my photo tutorial on The Pressure Canning Process.

During this little break, I'll give you a quick glance around the rest of our mudroom.

When I decided how I wanted to finish off our mudroom, I decided that I wanted it to look like the outside of the house to give the feel that you hadn't quite entered the house.  After all, it was going to house all of our farm gear, which I was assuming would be quite dirty.  I was right. Hence the name mudroom. So please excuse the mud. :)

If you read my post on Managing Mittens in the Mudroom a few weeks ago, you read all about my struggles to organize our children's hats, mittens, and gloves, as well as seeing what I eventually came up with.

Well, the rest of the mudroom has been about as equal as a struggle as the mittens.  We are finally getting to a point where we can function in there though.  I'll walk you around, show what all we have going on in here, and share more than you would probably ever need to know about a person's mudroom

First of all, to gain your orientation, the photo above is directly to your left as you step inside our mudroom. There is a window above the mittens, and if you take a few more steps forward, you will find yourself walking into our house.  We won't go in the house today. If you turn your head from the left to the right, you will see the rest of the room.

Along the outside wall of our mudroom is where I attempt to organize the rest of our farm gear.

Next to the light switch is fun little chicken key holder that my parents found for me on one of their flea market excursions.  It not just holds our keys, but it also is a handy spot for Ethan's headlamp, which gets used quite often considering many of his chores are done during the dark hours of the day, when he isn't in the office or at the other farm he works for.  The wind chime partially shown above was a wedding present from Ethan's grandma and gently chimes when a summer breeze blows through the mudroom window.

Hanging on a nail in the wall beside this, is our electric fence remote, quick to grab and handy to use!

You will also notice across the top of the area shown is an array of Amish style farm hats.  My parents live by an Amish settlement, and when we were dreaming of farming, I bought the family some of these for Christmas.  My parents have picked up more sizes since we moved to the farm so the kids would have shade to wear on our treeless (shadeless) hill. 

Also, hanging on the wall are mostly Ethan and my farm coats. Yes, we have a lot of them. Just like you have the right shoes for the right occasions, we have the right farm coats for the right occasions. When you are out doing chores or working on a project for an extended amount of time, you want to be dressed right, especially in the winter.  Not too cold, but not overheating.  Thankfully, many of these coats get put away when the summer warms up.

Under the coats is my shoe shelving. Like my mittens, in another moment of mudroom desperation, I constructed our shelving by again wandering around to see what I could find. I ended up grabbing two empty milk crates and a couple loose boards to set across the top.  This year, as little feet have gotten bigger, I decided that I needed another level.  I was able to find one more board, as well as some bricks.

Ethan and my shoes and boots go underneath, and the kids' shoes go on the shelves. Like the gloves, my kids have learned that they need to be responsible for their shoes as I remind them that not picking them up is like telling me I need to.  As you can see, most of the shoes are fairly well matched. It's not beautiful, but it does the job.  I'm thinking that one of these years, as soon as I finally get everything situated to where I want it, I might ask my dad, who builds custom furniture, to build for me the shoe shelf that I have drawn up in my head.

Past our shoes and coats is a wooden locker that I picked up for free when our town's head start was moving.  My mother-in-law helped me paint it, and after hanging hooks inside, it became our kids' storage area. This is where they hang their farm coats and snow pants, as well as where they keep their boots.  We used to keep the gloves and hats in the little cubby above, which was disastrous.  Now that area is used to keep sunglasses, the tool belts that I made for them, and any other extras that need a place.

On the far end of the locker, on the far, far side of the mudroom, is a hook to hang (hide) our farm coveralls.

On top of this unit, from the far right to left, is a basket for Ethan and my gloves and hats, a tool carrier for tools Ethan wants to have handy, another basket for farm outdoor odds and ends, and also a tool carrier for myself.  This tool carrier got put on my Christmas list this past year after trying to hunt down Ethan's tools for projects that I try to work on when he is gone or for home repairs that I attempt - every farm wife needs one of these! (Plus, her own tools!)

Now to the opposite side of the mudroom.

Right as you walk in, you have a mudroom sink that greets you, calling you to wash off all of the farm dirt that was acquired outside. This is also the sink I use to wash up our chicken eggs, and the cabinet underneath makes a great spot to store egg cartons.

Above the sink is a medicine cabinet I recently installed where I keep things like band-aids, sunscreen, and bug deterrent, and hanging on the wall beside the sink is a rooster towel holder, gifted to me one Christmas from Ethan.

Above the towel holder is our little egg basket that I bought Ethan when we still lived in town and were wanting to add some chickens in our backyard.  Although this little basket doesn't quite do the job anymore, it's a great egg basket for small helpers who tag along.

Underneath the towel holder is our ash bucket which I shared about in my post  A Glimpse Around Our Woodstove.  This ash bucket can get quite hot when first filled, which is why it gets set on our cement floor, painted brown to add to the barn-like effect of the room and to try and help hide the dirt - a near impossible task in this room.

Next to the sink is our family freezer.  I was very excited this year to get a freezer back for our family's use since every year prior our freezers have all been used for our business.  Actually, I was excited to get our mudroom back as well. Before we finished our freezer room, which now holds 6 business freezers and our market supplies, our mudroom was the central location for our farmer's market business.  The two freezers, towers of coolers, and marketing paraphernalia did not help the sanity level in the mudroom one bit!
Past our home freezer we now have 2 incubators and a hatcher.  I'm thinking these might get a stand built for them so that they can be stacked three high (we have 10 foot ceilings), since we are also wanting to add an egg refrigerator to this room this spring.

For now, we have our egg hatching cabinets in two locations, and atop one of our incubators you will find our real egg collecting baskets, a watering can, and Ethan's batteries for his power drills. The space that will be consumed by the egg fridge makes a handy spot for Ethan's chain saws, used frequently to cut wood for our wood stove.  *Sigh*  I guess we'll need to find a new spot for them . . .

If you were observant, you may have noticed from the photo showing the whole wall of coats and from the photo showing the stack of incubators, there is a curtain along the back wall.  I'm not allowed to tell you what is behind the curtain.  Just kidding.  Actually, there is a small mess behind the curtain.  Stacks of tubs, a coat bar for hanging coats we don't want farm filth on, and an area that will hopefully soon be transformed into shelving for my overflow of canned goods that are now stacked in my hallway. Some day I hope to replace the curtain with some sliding closet doors resembling barn doors . . .  Someday. 

Here is the view from the back end of our mudroom. Because we have 10 foot ceilings, we had to join the wall boards to reach to the ceiling.  The white trim covers the joint, and above the trim I display fun farmy things.  On the left wall are some old traps and a cool seed bag from some open pollinated corn we experimented with one year.  Continuing around is a wall hanging from a foreign exchange student who was in our youth group which depicts a farm in her country, along with a wall hanging of an African Guinea Fowl coincidentally given to the year we got guineas by my Uncle who is a missionary in Zimbabwe. A bit lower, beside the window, you will find Ethan's snow shoes and a pig wall hanging he gifted me one Christmas. And up high again, along the right wall, is a rooster clock positioned to check the time by a quick peek inside the door, two lanterns that we have used for school when our power went out, and a rug beater that is no longer solid enough to beat my rugs but is still pretty.

Like I said, this is probably more than you ever wanted to know about someone's mudroom.  I'd love to hear anyone's tips or tricks they might have to offer since it is still a work in progress. As hard as it is to function within it though, I can't even imagine trying to be able to function without it!

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Tools of My Trade

This tool carrier is the one I ordered with my Christmas/Birthday gift money.  I had been eying Ethan's over the last year as I realized how helpful it would be for me to keep my house and garden tools handy.  It has a generous amount of pockets, and it even has a little box that fits underneath to hold nails, photo hooks, or whatever else I want to store for my building/household projects.  I just wish I would have gotten one sooner!
I do have to admit that although I thought Ethan's headlamp, similar to this one, was a little silly when we first started the farm, I use it quite often too now.  When I'm out in the dark, by myself, trying to get something done as quick as I can to get back inside (yeah, I'm wimpy in that I prefer not to be out in the dark by myself), I appreciate not only light but also 2 hands to work with.



That was a fun little tour! Hopefully some day I will make it over for the farm crawl.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tour.
In the first picture it looks like your house is just built. It must be very different now.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

This is the best picture I have of our house, but you are right - it is when we were building in 2008. :)

Nancy Dyson said...

Finally a mudroom that looks like it actually handles mud! So many mudrooms look like mud was never intended to enter through the door.

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