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A many-year DIY adventure~







I taught a class on antiques in a community college at one time, and I have received many kind compliments over many years on my home, projects, and antiques. We are longtime history geeks.

Our early cape is the oldest standing house in our little town. I had 17thc. antiques and decor---the 'cringe-y', so-called "pilgrim style" many years before it suddenly seemed to (sadly) became a 'trendy' thing.


(We'll add to our list)

Most importantly, surround yourself with the things you truly love and have an affinity for. Don't follow the 'trends' or current fads. Don't 'decorate' in 'formula' styles, imitating each other. We see far too much of that out there.

All my life I have done my own thing and not cared what anyone else thought.

---Don't use old army blankets as bed hangings. (In the book 'New England Begins: The Seventeenth Century, Volume 1' you will see in brilliant color a photo of 17thc. bed hangings with similar colors and motifs to my own.)---The first colonists did not hang tatty 'army green blankets' on beds for hangings!

---Don't hang children's chairs (or any chair) on the wall.

---Don't try to replicate a 'Plimoth Plantation 'hovel look' in your HOME. Conversely, we often see inappropriately 'fancy' antique furniture in simple homes---We suggest you don't put a heavily, ornately carved Elizabethan table or an overly carved, too-tall 'castle' /mansion bed in your home, for example.

---JUST BECAUSE YOU SEE IT AT PLIMOTH PLANTATION DOES NOT MEAN IT'S ALWAYS 'CORRECT'------Plimoth not long ago had the renowned Stuart Peachey from the UK come and give them help and advice to correct some of the things they were doing wrong and portraying inaccurately.

---Resist the urge to put a lot of hornbeams, sacks of grain , foodstuffs, hanging rags, etc., all over every room of your home instead of in a buttery or the like, where they belong.

---No one back in the day would have owned umpteen hornbeams, or have too many pieces of iron at their hearth. A few well chosen and good pieces speaks far more eloquently.

---Don't put too many 'fake food' "vignettes" all over as if your home were a living history museum.


~ I came up with an idea and formula to 'age' my walls/ceilings, and did them initially in 2000. I had not seen anyone do this before. After they were featured in a couple magazines, the idea exploded and it seemed everyone was doing it. The main problem I see is that so many are cringe-ingly overdone;

I have since re-done all my walls with a more refined formula. I've used believable color and a light hand, as well as a careful techinique and they look very authentically old, as I am often told.

Overdone 'aging' just looks, messy, unnatural, and not at all attractive. I use only 2 products on my walls, and none is paint or food. ---DON'T use paint or ANY food products to 'age' your walls---(I know one woman who diluted her trim paint with water and smeared it all over her walls, and another who used coffee, which will mold in time), and remember that less is more. Go easy. Be subtle, and you'll achieve a look that is warm, realistic, and believable.

---Don't 'ding up', break, stain, etc., reproduction pottery pieces that you buy, attempting to make them look 'old'. The fine craftsmen who make the pieces worked hard on them; Don't disrepect their work. Enjoy them as they are and allow them to 'age' on their own and become antiques in time.

---Resist the urge to buy modern lumber---boards from a home center or lumber company, such as 1 by 4's or 1 by 6's ---and put them on your walls in an attempt to create a 'half timber' or 'tudor look'. If you cannot save for or find original old boards, try to come up with a different way to bring an 'old' feel or character to your home.

---A big mistake---"Staging" your home instead of trying to blend your 21stc. life with the endearing elements of a past you love---If you have 'decorated' to the extent that you are forced to live in a 'modern' upstairs or basement room, you have gone too far.

---Don't make every room into an 'all purpose room'. Rooms in a home had specific function(s), especially if you are not living in a one-room hovel at Plimoth Plantation. An example is putting your best table and some of your finer accessories/possessions in your 'best', or social rooms. Don't make a bedchamber into a food or goods storage room as well.

---Along those lines, don't pile inappropriate things on every piece of furniture---I see so many piles of baskets on a cupboard, rumpled replica period clothing on chests or blanket chests, wadded blankets or bedding as well. This is some misguided attempt by some who should know better to again replicate a Plimoth Plantation one room hovel. The colonists were quite sophisticated people from England, and then having lived in cosmopolitan Holland for many years before 1620. They were neat, and wanted a nice home just as we all do. They only piled things willy-nilly because they only had one room initially and no choice for several years until they could construct the homes they desired.

---More is not necessarily better.

Resist the urge to put duplicates of one certain piece in a room. A good example is our triangular stool on the main room hearth---No one would have had 2 or 3 or more of those. Don't get a 'set' of what should be a rare and interesting addition to your period room.

Below, Mary and Adam hired to present 17thc. program at the historic Fairbanks house, Dedham, Mass.

We are fortunate to have a set of 3 books that in our opinion are the best reference books we have in our own collection, and that we highly recommend to anyone interested in the history and antiques of early New England.

'New England Begins: The Seventeenth Century', Volumes 1, 2, and 3 are out of print, but you may be lucky enough to find them out there if you search. We can't stess enough how wonderful these books are.

Home is for sale~

Contact Adam and Mary at




Adam and Stuart Peachey.

'Union jack' shortbread cookies we made as a present for Stuart.

Adam and Stuart Peachey discuss the fine points of 17thc. clothing in England and America~





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We have DIY restored our entire 18thc. home ourselves. Periodically we feature just some of our changing projects on this page.




June 12, 2021~



We built shelves above the freezer out in the attached woodshed for all our beekeeping supplies.

We used only scraps of wood we already had.





April, 2021~

We built a neat arbor trellis from trees in the garden near the raised beds. We added a long grapevine garland.

See TOUR page. We'll be planting climbing plants on it soon~



March 27, 2021


We're both building a 3 bay combost bin set up similar to the one in this photo. We're using all salvaged pallets to build it...

An idea...

Ours has the 2 smaller uncovered bays, and half of the structure is roofed with a tin roof.

We repuposed a branch trellis we made a few year ago, attaching it to the end facing the road and I'll be planting climbers on it.

Getting ready to put the roof on half of it.

We lined the bins inside with chicken wire.

Twig trellis at one end for a climbing plant. We have a burning bush coming that we are planting to one side. Grass seed is going down in the area.

We love our finished budget friendly compost bins.




March, 2021~

We found a pair of 16thc. wood shutters and they happened to fit a back leaded window perfectly. We really love them.

I was proud that I installed them on the outside of the window by myself. Adam came home and was so suprised.

Shutters had their original forged hanging pins...

I used hand forged iron screw eyes to hang them.

Spring, 2021. I used an old gate we made years ago as a feature under the window. It faces into the garden. I'm planting blush ranunculus roses on it.




DECEMBER 14-15, 2020~

Goodbye to the huge ugly tree.

We've been trying for years to have the power company authorize and remove a HUGE ugly pine tree from our front sideyard. The electric lines ran all through it, and it was also leaning toward the lines at the street because of root upheaval over the years.

It is 75 feet tall.

It finally got approval, and the tree company removed it for free.

It was in 'Mary's Meadow', and was a terrible eyesore, as well as being messy and dangerous.

We plan to plant one nice October Glory maple in the fenced meadow area in spring.

Here are some photos of the tree removal in progress.

The tree was 75 feet tall and over 3 feet across at the base!

A few days later a truck and crew came and took the gigantic tree pieces away.

Mary's Meadow looks a lot nicer with the huge terrible tree gone.

*Spring 2021~ We've now planted an October Glory maple tree in the meadow and seeded with native northern meadow grasses and wildflowers. See updates on our TOUR page.

The huge stump is about 40 inches across.

Spring, 2021~ We now have our first beehive set up on this huge stump~

SEE OUR TOUR PAGE FOR spring/summer photos.



June 4, 2020~ Finishing the path in the backyard over to the kitchen raised bed area.

Mary placed the last 6 stones and Adam dug out and sets them in place. Grass seed to follow.






The NEW cedar fence around 'Mary's Meadow' project.

We took down the old branch fence we made years ago around "Mary's Meadow"...

We're replacing it---building a new cedar 'farm fence' on land that is not level.

It will have 2 gates with period hinges.

Taking down the old fence and gate.

We both buily this together as we have everything we've done.

Mary framed in the first gate and we set all the fence posts in Quikcrete.

Adam digging holes and Mary leveling and setting posts. We then braced them with boards and clamps while we added the concrete.

The hardware for our 2 fence gates, etc.

The land is not level and we taught ourselves fence building as we went along, like everything else.

Adam installed a wood dowel in a corner post to hold our 'guard owl'.

Chuffed! It's looking very good.

We love the rough sawn, rustic cedar boards we used.

It was grueling hard work but the fence turned out so well and we love it.

Stone mason Mary built little stone walls under low sections of the uneven landscape.

She salvaged every rock from our stream. ~Wait till you see them all in place!

Mary made 2 gates, each a little different.

The driveway side gate...








When I first came years ago, the path to the front door was brick.

NOT our style at all.

We took it all up and gave the bricks away for free on Craig's List---'You come get and load them, they're your's for free'. A lovely older couple came and took them and were so delighted to have them. I helped them load them up...

We're finally working on the path we've wanted---Natural, large flat New England stepping stones just set into lawn.

We got some good black dirt and filled in the old path, compressing the soil...


We laid down large stepping stones.

Adam set them into the dirt.

Mary put down grass seed and mulch.

We love the way it looks.





MARCH 2020



We had an original 19 inch wide pine 18th century board.

We decided it would make a great built in, permanent desk in the corner of our sloping-ceiling upstairs guest room.

We stained it.

It felt like satin and you could see all the old character.

It had one original feather edge which we faced into the room as the front edge.

We attached the wall-end to a beam from below which was at the perfect height.

Mary used a level and propped it up with a piece of scrap wood temporarily...

We added a cleat of the same 18thc. wood to the underside at the corner, securing the desk top to it.

We used another piece of 18thc. wide board for the end support. We'll cut out the bottom to replicate that of a 17thc. coffer we have....

Making the end support from other 18thc. boards.

We made battens on the inside, keeping the original feather edge of the board.

Mary made her own free hand pattern and transferred it to the bottom of the end support board for cutouts...

We whittled wood pins for attaching the top to the leg support.

The finished desk. Cost: 0

(THE DESKBOX~This bottomless box that we made years ago to cover our computer fits great on the desk. Adam carved out initial into the front of it in 17thc. scrip years ago...)

See more photos on our TOUR page~





Email us anytime as well.




Jan. 2021~




MARCH, 2020~


We have 2 Speckled Sussex chicks...

Adam built this little fort for the 'Littles' in about an hour with $2. worth of popsicle sticks!


APRIL 19, 2020...

The 'Littles' are big enough now to move into their own little coop~

During the day they've been in the chicken run, but separated by a temporary removable screen we built last year.

The big girls and 'Littles' can see each other but not get together.

The partition won't be removed until the 'Littles' are close in size to the full grown hens.

Elizabeth and Poppy will be sleeping out in their own coop starting tonight! It will be their home for the next few months until they are fully grown and able to be integrated into the 'big coop' with the hens.



Mayflower helps with yard cleanup. She loves our dump cart!






No kits, no plans, no help...

We had never done anything like this but we designed what we wanted on scrap paper and the two of us built it, watching videos and figuring it out using common sense as we went.

We are thrilled with our new "little goose coop" for Mayflower, and the ducks Jemima and Charlotte.

The duck/goose coop is in the area we've paved with the flat stones...

We both first constructed the base for the 4x5 coop which will have an angled roof.

Mary ran a chalk line to mark the joists so we could then install the plywood deck floor making sure the screws to attach it were lined up with each joist.

We snagged a sheet vinyl remnant at our local flooring store for $12.

This makes cleaning the coop easy.

We glued the flooring down, weighing it down with stuff while we ate lunch.

We started building the walls one by one...

Mary framed the first of 2 windows. We had three walls done and up by days' end.

We have Two 12 x 18 of these nice sliding windows for the coop, complete with built in screens.

We couldn't believe that the brown was the same color as our house paint. Really nice quality windows, $24. each.

Mary framed in the front wall of the coop with a door and another window.

Trying it out!

The first piece of the siding goes up.

The siding on the sides will later be cut on a sloping angle after the roof rafters are on.

The interior will be this nice butterscotch color, semi-gloss to make it highly scrubbable.

The exterior will be painted with the dark brown flat house paint.

Mary installed the windows and is chuffed! They went in and fit perfectly.

Below, the forged hardware for the coop.

The hinges...

The latch for the door...

The door handle.

Mary got both windows installed...

Most of our tools are old and not 'fancy' but we did a darn good job...

A big thank you to friend Steve who loaned us his nailer and compressor. We used screws in the construction of the coop, but nailed all the trim with finish nails in the power nailer. Nice!

Underlayment on the roof.

Mary measured and cut trim and we installed it.

Nice job! We never before installed a soffit.

Mary trimmed out the door and windows then made a batten, 2-board pine door.


And here it is!

Mary made door-stop trim for the interior of the door frame.

Ready for paint!

The exterior and interior colors.

Shingling the roof with cedar shakes and getting a coat of the dark brown house paint on the exterior.

Running electricity to the goose coop and putting in a light...

Burying electric line underground...

So nice to have electric light in the coop.

Radio/cassette player in the goose coop!


Adam making 2 custom predator screens to go over the regular screens inside the goose/duck coop.

Sept. 27, 2019~ Move in day!

Hone Crisp apple tree at back corner of goose coop.

See more on our TOUR page.





Come into the old attached woodshed...

The covered bins hold duck feed, chicken feed, and scratch grain. Scoops inside. We have a coop cleaning bucket handy with all the tools we need for cleaning inside...

On a shelf above this we have 'chicken stuff' we use in the feed, nestboxes, etc. The medicines, and other 'chicken stuff' has a special shelf inside the house.





SPRING 2019~


We made this gate in about 2 hours from all leftover materials.

We used leftover cedar pickets from the fence we built last year.

All of the materials used were leftovers...

We hung the gate on heavy iron pintle hinges.

The cedar will age to a nice weathered grey/brownish in time, and so will our cedar-shingled cape.

~It was a busy Saturday with projects, and a gorgeous sunny day too, so perfect for grilling on the BBQ for our dinner...

Cheddar burgers and...

...'Cape Cod grilled corn' ---olive oil, mayo, smoked paprika, lime, feta cheese...and fresh cilantro and mint from our garden...Yum!




When we started work on the new duck/goose coop area...

Laying New England natural stones in the new duck and goose coop area, and more stone paths.

This is right next to the chicken coop and run, so they are neighbors.

Adam laying and setting the stones in the new duck/goose coop and run area, and the path around the yard to the shed.


This was our temporary coop for the ducks and goose...

We just moved to back along the side of the yard shed and become the coop for new chickens while they are young, or for broody or sick hens.
See NEW photos on our TOUR page.

The permanant 6 x 6 x 6 ft. tall duck and goose run, directly across from their coop.

For the floor of the duck run, we dug down about 7 inches, laid down some 1/2 inch hardware cloth, and then filled in with lots of pea gravel. Easy on their feet and easier to keep clean all year.

Looking into the duck/goose run. It backs up to the chicken run so they can always see each other.

We made the gravity feeder for the ducks and goose with PVC components and it has caps to keep food dry and pest-proof, and closed at night.

We made the duck-friendly waterer from a 5 gal. plastic bucket with a lid, and it has 2 holes just the right size cut in it.

~They eat and drink with minimal mess.




We use clear plastic shower curtains and little bungee cords to wrap the chicken and duck/goose runs since we have a lot of cold and snow here in New England.





We wanted to give our ducks and goose something much better than a flimsy 'kiddie pool'...


You don't want to build a pond with a pond liner that can't be easily drained. Ducks and geese are messy, and we clean the pond and change the water once a week so we knew we wanted to build one with an easy, underground draining system...

...A lovely little pond we've built ourselves in the area of tall grass and wildflowers, right in frontofthe hops poles.

The pond has a drain, and we surrounded it with natural New England flat stepping stones.

Working on the new duck pond...

We wanted one at least 5 feet across, so we started with a large, 300 gal. stock tank we bought on sale, and cut it down with a sawsall.

The depth was now much better and more manageable.

(We put the cut-off round of the tank out by the end of the drive with a 'FREE' sign, figuring someone might have an idea of how they could use it... Sure enough, a man stopped and was so happy to take it for use as a chick brooder!)

Adam dug out the spot to sink the pond into the ground, slanting it slightly so it would drain through the system we then both put in.We also located it in an area that naturally slopes down so the pipe is at a correct angle to drain the pond...

We have a special valve and handle, also underground out of sight and connected a 10 ft. long PVC pipe sloping down, for the pond to drain into an unused brush area...

We set the pond on a layer of sand to make it easy to slant it where we wanted to as well as give it a soft base to sit on...

The area surrounding the pond is now covered in wildflowers and tall grasses that are lovely all summer...

At the end of the buried drain pipe we put some pea gravel in the hole, then filled in the trench with dirt, and the underground drain spot where the pipe ends is hidden with rocks...

Here, the piping is all backfilled...

This area is now all re-seeded with tall grasses and perennial native wildflowers...

We surrounded the duck pond with large, natural flat stones, overlapping the edges of the pond.

Mary placed all the stones, and Adam dug and set them in place.

A large, flat, natural stone covers the drain valve/lever, and we easily just push it aside to drain pond, and then push it back into place...

In the process of setting the rocks around the pond.

A hose is not far.

Filling it with water...

The ducks and goose checking it out...Hmmm...What's this??

Mary dug up wild white violets that we have all over our property, as well as a few ferns and hostas, and transplanted them to the pond area.

They will bloom and spread in the pond area every year.





It's so easy to clean the duck pond once a week with the underground system we put in.

This is the perfect size pond for our girls. You don't want one unnecessarily big or too deep. They don't need that, and you don't want water bills to skyrocket.

This summer we'll add a couple lilly pads to the pond!


Girls just want to have fun!

Our Pilgrim goose, Mayflower, and ducks Jemima and Charlotte love the pond we built for them~

We had a lot of fun building this pond together on a nice spring day, and we love watching our girls have a ball in the new pond!

5 ft. diameter duck pond we built. Our goose and ducks love it.








JUNE, 2019


Today we're in the process of building an old fashioned clothesline. Ours has 3 lines.

Mary used a level to get it level both ways while Adam supported it in place...

We set it in place with concrete.

Moving on to the other one...

Mary leveled before Adam poured in the cement. A string between the 2 posts made sure they were in line.

Adam made the primitive basket for clothespins and we used an old iron hook to hang it on the side of one post...

When the cement dried we strung up the 3 lines and put up tighteners at the end.

Finished clothesline. I just love it and it's so handy. I love drying things outside in summer and listening to all the birds.

See new photos on our TOUR page.





February 25, 2020~

Mayflower ourPilgrim goose laid her first egg today.

Mayflower, our Pilgrim goose. Adam made this funny photo.


Mayflower loves her boots!


SHOP FOR OFFICIAL MAYFLOWER PRODUCTS~ Tees, sweats, mugs, and more.



(copy and paste above link into your browser).



Dec. 30, Bella is inside recuperating from a little illness, and eating yogurt.

"Please, no more snow!"

"Peekaboo, ma!"

Mayflower, our Pilgrim goose at Christmas, 2019.



Fall, 2019










Adam hand made and painted over 50 herb signs for the garden in period script on cedar boards...

He's attached them to cedar pickets.

See photos of the signs all made and now in the gardens on our TOUR page.








Quite awhile ago we had re-done our bathroom with new bathtub, walls, wood floor, lanterns for lights, rain shower, dry sink in old black distressed paint for a vanity, antique mirror frame,and a very old antique hanging pine cupboard on one wall, as well as some other old touches. We put in a natural stone sink too, which was just the perfect color and size as the tile in the tub area.

Adam installing the stone sink.

Wood floors, antique oriental rug...






Sept. 1~ We put the old fence out at the end of the drive for free...It was gone in less than an hour.

NO pre-fabs, NO kits, NO fencing panels---We built the new cedar fence with rails and attached each picket one at a time.

Where the land was lower, Mary built the stone wall under the fence panel, keeping everything level and straight.


SEE NEW UP TO DATE photos on the TOUR page.





Mary's whimsical artwork for the ceiling in the run extension we built for our hens.

I am so chuffed at how my 'cloud' ceiling turned out.

We're finishing up with fixing the landscaping, moving an old granite step we have to the back of the addition and eventually putting a pot on it with a honeysuckle climber in it that will grow up the entire back side, come back each year, and provide some leafy green shade for the chickens.

We added a maple branch as a diagonal perch...

Inside the addition...

We wanted to be able to partition off the addition easily so that when we had new chicks to add to our flock they could have their own space until they were old enough to be put in with the grown hens...

We built this removable, 3/4 height wire and frame partition...

We attached it top and bottom with black screw hook and eyes...

Now it is securely in place, but is easily removed to once again open the whole run to the entire flock.

See NEW photos on TOUR page.






Building the last 2 period batten doors for the interior of the house.

Antique 'Norfolk latch'.

Part of the antique 'Norfolk latch'.

Recently we spent some time building the very last 2 interior doors for our house. When I came here the doors were old, but not period, and were obviously salvaged 'make-dos' that did not fit the openings or close properly for the most part. After designing and building all our exterior doors, we turned our attention to making replacements for every interior door---about 8 or so of them. Now they are all done!
All have original antique or very fine hand made replacement thumblatches. I think I could practically build doors in my sleep! We made these 2 from start to finish in about an hour and a half. Fitting them into the wonky, crooked door frames we have is a challenge. For some reason that truly shocks me, I seem to be able to do it. I do all the shimming as Adam tries to jockey a door in a frame into position. Both of us can attach pintle hinges.
Adam then watches as I mark areas of the door that need to be cut at a 'slope', and that by some miracle result in doors that have the illusion of looking pretty darn straight when finished, and open and close perfectly!
Adam has to haul them in and out, sometimes 4 or 5 times, before we get every 'tweak' perfect in every area, as I fit and re-fit, and that's a drag---they are heavy! We then install the antique latches.

Both of these last doors are in our bedroom; One leading into the front hall, one into the den.





Just a few photos of the massive house re-siding job.

The clapboards were all in bad shape. We decided to shingle the house. No more housepainting.

It was a grueling job, but we 2 alone stripped off all the old clapboards and did all the repairs to sheathing, trim, etc. We then had to borrow a neighbor's truck, load old clapboard and debris, and then haul several trips to the dump. Huge job.

Grace watershield, Tyvek, and CedarBreathe went up before shingles. House is dry, protected, and insulated.

We love the dark, blackish-brown new exterior flat trim paint we chose.

We also designed and built all wood frame custom window screens.

The shingles will weather and darken in time.





We have 8 hens, 2 ducks, and a Pilgrim goose.




Our fresh eggs~

We stamp each one.

We designed our own label~

Our pink chicken eggcartons.

We designed our duck egg packaging and labels as well.

The chicken coop. See more on the TOUR page.

Bright colors for the hens~

We both worked on making and painting a sign for selling our eggs~

We tricked out our coop with leaded windows we did ourselves, and hardware to go with our period house.

We also made a chicken swing and a cool swing-out perch from branches that Adam designed. We designed and added other coop perks as well using free materials.

~We love our coop, and it won a coop contest!

We painted the inside a sunny, scrubable yellow...

We leaded the sliding coop windows ourselves, and Adam made the special removable 'predator proof' screen to reinforce the normal window screen. He designed it himself and used all materials we already had...

The coop floor is washable sheet vinyl, and we put down a layer of our special mixture of builder's sand, sieved wood ash from our fireplaces, and DE powder. This keeps the hens healthy and is easy for me to clean every day. It doesn't need to be changed.

We have 2 nesting boxes. I made the cute blue gingham nest box curtains...

Our girls love their little home...

We made the removable vinyl covered 'poop tray' under their perch.

We found this c. 1890 photo of a lady feeding her chickens. Adam made the primitive little frame with scraps of an 18thc. board. We hung it in the coop~

A cute plastic mirror is a great 'boredom-buster' for the hens. They like to look at themselves.

The chickens go into the coop from the attached run every night by themselves. We lock up the coop securely every evening. They sleep on the roost shown here.

Adam made the removable 'poop tray' which is such a time saver. Every morning I just slide it out, dump the poop into the coop bucket to go to the compost pile. Adam covered the board with a remnant of 'stone look' sheet vinyl flooring that we got for free, so it's easy for me to wipe off every morning..




(Hannah, posing in a 'Pilgrim collar' I made all of them from cupcake papers for Thanksgiving.)




We thought we'd share a little bit about our chicken keeping here on OUR OLD HOMESTEAD, including my chicken care routine, a few tips, etc.

We saved and bought our basic coop and run from Jason at COOPS FOR A CAUSE in our local area of New Hampshire because each one is lovingly home made right here in NH, and a portion of every sale goes to charity.

We installed our coop ourselves and made our own improvements and personality tweaks.

The run attached to our coop has a roof, and the sides are 1/2 inch hardware cloth. Adam dug down and made a trench and buried the hardware cloth a foot into the ground around the entire perimeter, as well as around the bottom of the coop itself and bent, to prevent digging predators from getting in.

The coop side egg gathering door is locked at night with a hook and eye lock inside the coop, and the little chicken door, big coop door, and door to the run are all latched/locked securely every single night. The hens are in the coop at night. Adam even reinforced the window screen in the coop with another one he made for inside using heavy hardware cloth in a nice removable wood frame he constructed.

The roof is sloped on both coop and run; it could never be a flat roof in NH, as the snow would collapse it.

We'd heard and seen too many horror stories and we are really attached to our 4 buff orpington hens. We'd be devastated if something got them, so their security is very important.

I have an old 5 gal. bucket and I painted 'COOP CLEAN-UP' on it's side. It's in the woodshed, and inside it has a metal kitty litter scoop, a child's fan rake that we wrapped with hardware cloth, heavy work rubber gloves, as well as a natural non-chemical poultry protector spray.  I clean the coop and run every single AM at about 7, without fail. I just put on my wellies, grab a pail of warm water with cider vinegar in it,  the COOP CLEAN-UP bucket and go. It takes 20 min. or so, but is important and worth it for many reasons. I love my time in the early morning with 'my girls'. They are so excited and glad to see me every day!

A really clean coop and run goes a long way to keeping your hens healthy and happy. Our coop NEVER has an odor.

On the ground in the run and on the coop floor I have a mix I make of builder's sand. a little DE, wood ash from the fireplaces and woodstove that I sieve and keep in a small bucket in the shed, and a little poultry mite powder added to the mix as well.

The sand is very easy to keep clean; I scoop out the poop each day with the kitty litter scoop. I rake underneath the coop---(the dust bath/shade area), and scoop that out. The girls are then let out into the run for water and breakfast, while I clean the coop itself.

Adam made me a sheet-vinyl covered removable 'poop tray' that sits underneath their nightime roosting bar. I use the kitty litter scoop to clean any poop out of the floor sand mixture. I remove the 'poop tray' and wash it off with the warm water and replace it.

We have 2 nesting boxes. The bottoms are removable for easy cleaning. We put down a square of that garage floor rubber padding tile for to cushion the hens and eggs. Over this I have squares of faux turf---yes, they are made just for nest boxes, and ordered from My Pet Chicken. I often strew in fresh or dried garden herbs over the nesting pads. Smells so nice and the hens love it!

After cleaning, I spray the poultry protector in the coop every day. Every few weeks I change the straw in the nest boxes. Our hens do not poop in them, so they stay pretty clean. Every few months I add a little more DE, wood ash, poultry mite dust mixture to the sand in the coop and run.

I'm proud that our chicken coop and run are clean and nice looking, and our girls are so clean and healthy.
On the exterior of our coop we have made 'period style' improvements such as leaded windows and period style iron hardware to blend with OUR OLD HOMESTEAD. We have a punched tin lantern that we electrified hanging by the coop door, making an excellent nightlight.

Adam built an ingenious swing-out perch for the run, a chicken swing, and a shelf for a radio in the coop in the winter when the hens spend more time there. Inside, the coop is being painted a cheery butter yellow for the hens, and I made blue gingham curtains for the nest boxes---chickens like the privacy when laying.

We have a suspended bucket waterer with nipples in our run, and have a heater unit that goes in it for the winter so it never freezes. It's automatic and goes on and off only as needed. The water is always clean and is safe from insects and rodents.

The best investment ever was our GRANDPA'S CHICKEN FEEDER. We add things to basic feed ourselves such as oatmeal, dried herbs, flaxseed and other items, to make a special concoction that is great for the hens and that they love. The feeder is also in the run, and they step on it to open it and feed. NOTHING can get into the food, ever. It's completely rodent, insect, pest, etc., free and impervious to any weather.

We have one of those hanging wire suet feeders for birds in our chicken run. We hang it from the wire mesh sides at the level the hens can reach it and stuff it full of treats like leftover fresh produce or stuff left in our fall garden---leaves, pumpkin blossoms, older cukes, beans, squash, apples, etc. They love to peck at it and snack whenever they are in the run.

When it's cold, this automatic heater goes into the chicken's hanging waterer. It stays all winter and goes on and off as needed.

Our hens free range every day for several hours. We feel is is cruel and not natural to keep them penned all the time. They are happy foraging and they love to interact with us, coming to the kitchen door and begging for treats---grapes, cracked corn, or leftover produce of all kinds.

Our funny girls follow us all over the yard when we're out with them.


Our Hannah, wearing a fashionable chicken diaper loves riding in the car in the front pack. Today we walked all around in Tractor Supply and she was happy as can be!




Our yorkie girls, Sasha and Deladis in happy days.


OCTOBER 3, 2016~

We lost our darling Sasha.

We are both griefstricken, and trying to hold on to the wonderful, sweet memories we have. She quickly became quite sick. She passed away at home in her little bed. She was 12.



We are so grateful that we adopted her when she was not wanted by a breeder because she wasn't " a money maker" anymore, and gave her the best life we could. She gave us even more. We thank God for the years we had with her.

You will always be the dearest little thing and a 'wise owl' in our memories.

We'll always love you , Sasha.


A terribly sad day.

Nov. 10, 2019~

Our dear yorkie, Deladis passed away early this morning. We know she is in heaven with her best pal, our Sasha. We love you both.

We are broken hearted. You will be in our hearts forever.

Del in puppy days.

Happy times with Sasha and Deladis.

Our dear 'Del'.

March 27, 2010~November 10, 2019

Gone way too soon.





"I do feel like a lucky subscriber! Happy to get another newsletter! Felt like I was on  a walk with you two picking berries. I was a fan of your blog and really loved your stories about coming to New England, working on your house ,how you met Adam ,your beautiful wedding...all of it. Unfortunately, I was visiting your blog on my work computer and was not able to comment. I did not have a home computer at that time.  I have retired ,since that time ,and of  course have a computer...no face book or blog ....
I just felt compelled to tell you how much I enjoy everything on your site. I must tell you I tried the green bean tomato salad . Our beans and tomatoes are in abundance right now in my  Minnesota garden. It was wonderful .....a big hit at my family cookout!!!

Have a good rest of the week

Kathleen P."

"For the past 19 years, I have felt that our home reflected my absolute joy in living in our brown half cape in Canterbury.  I know it does. However, touring your site this morning makes me feel that I have been surpassed.  Now I need to get going again with a project. Your site is so inspiring!!!! Seeing your projects and how they reflect your sincere joy of life makes me inspired to gather some energy and add to my little piece of heaven.   Thank you again for sharing.    ~Sue B."


"Love looking at your website Mary. You guys are incredibly hard workers.  We must not have been online when your hourglass was first posted. Wish we would have seen it. Sorry it got sold. We have started collecting them and yours was a fine example. If you ever get another one, please let us know. Again, your house and yard looks beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing.

Bob and Steven, The Country Gentlemen"


"Dear Mary, I was just checking your pages, how I enjoy seeing all of your wonderful antiques, your fabulous early home and grounds. I also want to tell you how much I love the Bannister arm chair and beam I purchased from you. The more primitive side of the beam is the part you see as it is used as the mantle on my stone fireplace. I have pewter and early lighting on it. And the arm chair, is just the best! It is one of the most special pieces that I have. It is next to my 18th c. server, for lack of a better word, that still retains the early red wash. Hanging on the BB is a small leather purpose bag with a powder horn attached by a slim leather strip. Just thought I would let you know how special the antiques are that I purchased from you...
Also want to tell you how wonderful your shipper was. She's so sweet, I wanted to "mother" her a bit. She had such a long way to go from here..." ~Nancy G.


Dear Mary,

It has been such a long time since I've written you.  I go to your
website and am in awe of your many projects and all the changes yourhome and yard have gone through.  It is truly a beautiful, warm home with such outstanding antiques.  Sometimes I think you just couldn't find one more amazing project to do and you and Adam accomplish something spectacular.  Your talents are so many.....thank you for
being so inspiring to so many.
We have changed our email address to_________.  I just
wanted to get your emails and make sure I heard about all your
projects. I hope you both are well and I'm sure you are so excited about yourlittle chicks coming.  Wishing you both all the best....

with love, Dale D.



Take a tour of our home and gardens on the TOUR page.

Our lovely period home is for sale~