Boxwood Avenue

Renovation Updates: 6 Week Recap

livingChloe | Boxwood Ave.Comment

We are 6 weeks into our renovations, and I thought I would share some of the updates with you! If you're here for the first time, we are renovating our dated 60s ranch style house into a white farmhouse. The home was my husband's grandparent's house, and was in need of a lot of love. A lot of the elements of the home were not old enough to be cool, and just plain ugly (pink carpet, yellow walls, and pebble patterned linoleum). We have removed walls, carpet, and lots of other 60s trends, and are turning our house into our dream home!

The kitchen

The kitchen! I want to pinch myself - I feel so lucky to be able to remodel our kitchen, and have been a little bit of a perfectionist. I've changed my mind way too many times, but it's starting to come together, and it's looking amazing! I am naturally drawn to bright white kitchens, and despite living on a cattle ranch, decided to go for it. I have worked closely with SOLLiD Cabinetry and Space Home Outfitters to come up with a plan for the kitchen - I will write an entire post about this as soon as the cabinets get installed. 

Today we started install on the cabinets, and I couldn't be happier with the quality. We were initially going to go with Ikea cabinets and Semi Handmade fronts, but after calculating everything out and factoring in labor for paint and assembly, we wouldn't be saving that much money. I am very happy that we decided to go with SOLLiD - the construction is top of the line (we went with their 'value' series). You know it's a good cabinet when your contractor says, "these are niiiice."

I still need to order hardware for the cabinets - we will be going with an aged brass, and the stove won't be here until June (bummer!). However, our sink faucet is here (provided by Kohler), and it is a piece of art! I have wayyy too much to say about the kitchen, so I will break that into a separate post. Until then, here are a few photos of what's been happening...can we take a moment to appreciate the trim on the window? 

Sollid Cabinetry Value Series White | boxwoodavenue.com
Sollid Cabinetry Value Series White | boxwoodavenue.com

The Entryway & FRONT DOOR

You can see Drew ripping out the slate which was the original stone in the entryway. It was green and purple. Do I need to say more? My dad actually repurposed it at his flip house (outside). We replaced the slate with our 'hardwood' floors (Pergo). It's amazing what the lighter colored floor has done for the space! 

Currently we have a deep purple accent wall, and although I'm not quite sure how I feel about accent walls, I actually like having this in our entryway. I've been panicking over the amount of white we have in the house, so leaving a little color in the entryway is probably the best medicine. I'm thinking we will go with a deep navy or maybe a hunter green. The walls are made of wood paneling, and instead of ripping them down, we decided to leave them - the texture is a nice way to break up the space and ties in well with the paneling in the hallway. 

We decided to replace the front door with a match to the mahogany french doors in the living room. With the new front door, we also replaced the side windows. Our contractor, Jeff, added beautiful trim all around the windows and doors (which is still getting finished), but the results are fantastic; I am so happy with the way they turned out. We will be painting the front door - black on the exterior, and probably white on the interior. 

60s ranch white farmhouse renovation | boxwoodavenue.com
60s ranch white farmhouse renovation | boxwoodavenue.com
60s ranch white farmhouse renovation | boxwoodavenue.com
60s ranch white farmhouse renovation | boxwoodavenue.com

The fireplace

If you've been around for awhile you know that we used to have an indoor BBQ attached to our fireplace, and as cool as that sounds, it didn't mesh with my style ;). So my dad and I ripped it out to make room for the 2 sets of French doors. When we ripped out the BBQ, we were left with a pretty sad looking fireplace. Since we use our fireplace nightly during the winter months, we knew that it needed to shine. 

I actually don't mind the original limestone all that much, but there wasn't enough to keep it the way it is. We've selected a light colored veneer to go over the top. So far, we have the scratch coat finished - next up will be the rock. I have quite a bit to say about this process, but I think I'll save it for a separate blog post. 

60s ranch white farmhouse renovation | boxwoodavenue.com
60s ranch white farmhouse renovation | boxwoodavenue.com

The French Doors

I realized that I didn't share this image in my initial blog post. This is the 'before' space where the French doors are now. There used to only be a single door - which didn't make sense for us because we spend a lot of time out on the back porch. If you missed the debacle about the French doors, I think you'll enjoy reading it - we've decided to leave them natural for the time being.  

60s ranch white farmhouse renovation | boxwoodavenue.com
60s ranch white farmhouse renovation | boxwoodavenue.com

We still have so much work to do (exterior paint, guest bath, etc...) - but things are finally coming together! I hope you enjoy following along, it's very fun for me to put these photos together to see how much has happened over the past month! Be sure to follow along on instagram - I try and share daily updates!


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Hey Driver, There's Cattle Crossing

ranch lifeChloe | Boxwood Ave.Comment

A few days after branding our calves, we push them out onto the Rangeland. This involves bringing them across Highway 395, a busy thoroughfare for trucks and travelers. 

Moving cattle Modoc County | boxwoodavenue.com

This was the first time I was actually given a real job during the move. Usually I'm like a turquoise earring - appreciated, but could've been left at home without regret. I was excited to have a real job, but my stomach also dropped. Like really, it dropped and my heart raced a little bit. I was so nervous that I would let a calf get past me, or that I would lose one in the bushes. 

I stood to the south, a few feet from the highway as a pillar directing cows north to their new field. Greg trotted up and led them to the highway and left me standing there - no longer the turquoise earring. (Maybe I'm giving myself more credit here, but bare with me.) 

We had one man in a pickup flagging traffic to signal that we were crossing the road. Oftentimes we will call the highway patrol (when we feel like following the rules), but this time we decided to handle it ourselves. 

Alex pushed the cattle from their old field through the open gate, and I held my ground, happy that the cattle were following Greg. Moments later, a pick-up truck began to approach the group, going about 70 mph. Greg stood about a foot off the highway on his horse waving his bright green gloves in the direction of the driver trying to signal him to slow down

It was as if the world slowed down.  

I clenched my reins and watched as the pickup continued at the same speed directly towards the cattle. As the first mama stepped into the highway, my jaw fell to my saddle horn; the truck grazed past the leading pair, just barely missing them.

I'm talking inches. 

As the truck passed us, I watched the driver - still in slow motion - gasp at the situation. He had no idea what he missed. He continued on down the road, and I was in complete awe. 

I let go of my reins in relief and a little shock.

Moving cattle Modoc County | boxwoodavenue.com
Moving cattle Modoc County | boxwoodavenue.com
Moving cattle Modoc County | boxwoodavenue.com

All of us on horseback chatted about what had just happened. We avoided what could have been a terrible accident, not only hurting cattle, but also hurting the driver.

We pushed the cattle up onto their rangeland where they will spend the next couple of months grazing.  Once we reached the watering hole on the rangeland, we waited for the pairs to mother-up (which means: waiting for everyone to find their moms). We realized that we had mistakenly brought a heifer with us, so once everyone had mother'd up we pulled her from the bunch, and headed on home, and when we made it to the highway, we made sure no one was in sight before crossing. 

It was a great day, and lots of lessons learned! As always, thank you for stopping by to read my stories and visit with me. I hope you enjoy! 


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First Branding of the Year and Learning how to Cut Bull Calves

ranch lifeChloe | Boxwood Ave.2 Comments

Learning how to cut bull calves at the first branding of the year!

Brandings are like block parties on ranches. Everyone comes from neighboring ranches to rope calves and lend a helping hand. It's always so much fun, and everyone looks forward to them. I will be honest and tell you, I don't love brandings. I hate to see the babies get roped, vaccinated, and branded, but it's necessary, and doesn't last long. Rodney, Greg's uncle,  always says that he breathes a long sigh of relief once a branding is over, and I am the same way. 

Branding at a Cattle Ranch in Modoc County | boxwoodavenue.com

It was a cold week here on the ranch with wind, rain, and snow. Actually, quite a bit of snow. The boys scheduled a branding midweek, but I figured it would get canceled because of the turbulent weather. However, cowboys don't seem to mind a little weather so the game went on rain or shine. 

I was running late - per usual - because our baseboard had arrived damaged. I had to file a claim, take photos, and sign lots of paperwork, but when I finally left the house, the rain had passed and just the wind remained. I headed out to the Cow Palace, stopping to open and close a few gates, and got to the branding just in time to help. 

At most brandings, there's food and beer and lots of fun, but our brandings are to-the-point because Greg's uncle isn't one for horseplay or alcohol. One time, the boys brought out beer after they thought Rodney had gone home... they were surprised when he pulled back up the road, scrambling to hide the evidence. Now, no one dares to bring beer, but at least we have sodas for the crew. I of course, brought a few La Croixs from home. 

IMG_4892.JPG
Branding at a Cattle Ranch in Modoc County | boxwoodavenue.com
Branding at a Cattle Ranch in Modoc County | boxwoodavenue.com
Branding at a Cattle Ranch in Modoc County | boxwoodavenue.com
Branding at a Cattle Ranch in Modoc County | boxwoodavenue.com

I headed out to the ground crew where Greg was heating up a branding iron and asked if I could help cut the calves. Since I already learned how to cut the bulls, I figured calves would be a piece of cake. Emiliano showed me how to do it on one of the calves - slicing the tip of the sack off with a knife, using your hand to run the testicles out, pulling them up towards the belly, removing the extra skin, and rubbing the blade across the vein until the job was done. 

He showed me that rubbing the knife over the vein and scratching away at it rather than cutting with a clean slice leaves much less blood, and after a few tries, I had it mostly down. Alex gave me a few tips - reminding me to pull the testicles towards the belly, and to make sure all of the extra skin was removed before I cut. 

I remember last year at this branding I was not interested in helping, in fact I had just come from town and was wearing a tennis skirt. It's funny how much can change in a year. I am always so grateful for Emiliano's patience with me, he is such a wonderful teacher, and we are so lucky to have him! 

Come back on Tuesday - I'm going to share photos from turning the branded calves out onto the summer rangeland. See you then!


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