Creating an Urban Homestead

Posts tagged “self-employment

You Ought to Be in Pictures

Picture Party – Images by Christine Prichard

We hosted a multiple photo session bonanza at The Okey Dokey Ranch last week. Foul weather forced us into the garage; we had hoped to do an outdoor shoot. But we managed to get some fun and unique images anyway. Flash was a wonderful assistant, right-hand man and post-production whiz. Marley and Avery even got into the spirit by entertaining young and old while we shot, and shot, and shot.

A big thank you to the families, and especially the children we photographed–you were the best!

I’m posting some of my favorites here. Don’t you just love the sepia and hand-colored versions?

Funds raised from this shoot were donated to Alabama Waldorf School.

“Birth” Cast Shoot

Birth Cast – Images by Christine Prichard

Did a quick shoot of the cast of “Birth” at WorkPlay yesterday before rehearsal. The photos will be used to publicize director Elizabeth Hunter’s reading of the play, which will be performed at Alabama School of Fine Arts for one night only on January 30 at 7 pm. A talkback panel and reception will follow the show. Tickets are $20 in advance, available through the Alabama Birth Coalition website. Tickets may also be purchased at the door for $25. Funds raised from ticket sales will help ABC do its work to educate the public about birth choice and to help change laws in Alabama to make practicing midwifery in an out-of-hospital setting legal and safe.

As some of you may know, my daughter Marley was born at home in Birmingham just over eight years ago, and was attended by midwife Karen Brock. Because there is no vehicle for licensing CPM’s in Alabama, my health insurance did not cover the cost of Karen’s services, which by the way, were more attentive, caring, and comprehensive than any OB I’ve ever rubbed elbows with. (more…)

Morris Avenue shoot with Marley and Avery

Marley and Avery on Morris Avenue – Images by Christine Prichard

Marley, Avery, and I spent about an hour today on Morris Avenue and shot some photos. We had intended to go to Sloss Furnaces to shoot, but discovered at the gate that Sloss is closed on Mondays. After a few tears on Avery’s part, I vetoed Marley’s idea to go to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and headed downtown. (more…)

Red Iron Housing Development Shoot

Red Iron Shoot/Okey Dokey – Images by Christine Prichard

So I was hired to photograph a virtual tour of a West End house renovated by non-profit housing development company Red Iron Housing Development Company. Red Iron is concentrating on renovating properties that are subsequently marketed and sold as affordable housing within the city of Birmingham.

In addition to showcasing the beautifully-renovated rooms of this house, as is typical of most real estate photography, I also decided to concentrate on some of the details that makes this renovation special; fixures, colors, light, tile. You don’t see this kind of detail too often in real estate photography. But these are the things that sell a house!

Slow Food and Fast Food, Love and Pain

Avery eats his first turkey leg. Photo by Flash

Avery eats his first turkey leg. Photo by Flash

Flash, CC, Marley, Avery and I celebrated Thanksgiving early this year—a potluck with friends. Somehow, I ended up cooking my very first turkey for the shindig. After two short years of cooking regular meals and 10 years of vegetarianism only recently ended, it seemed a daunting task. (Mike was such a fantastic cook, I was truly handicapped in the kitchen by the time he died in 2007. I rarely cooked a meal in the 17 years we were together.)

Since returning to my omnivorous roots back in February, I’ve been purchasing local, free range, antibiotic-free meat from a farmer that I met while on a photo assignment years ago. Vegetarian at the time, I made a mental note that if I ever were to purchase meat again, it would be from Charles Ritch of Goose Pond Farm.

And I’ve made good on that promise. (more…)

New Digs


Have I talked about how much I love my new office?

I always knew the house at The Okey Dokey Ranch was too small for us from the day we made an offer on it back in 2004. Mike and I always had plans to finish the basement, and later, just before he died, we were about to put an offer on a commercial building to house our businesses in, which would have helped the not-quite-enough-space-in-our-house issue.

So for almost two years after his death, I continued to work in cramped quarters. Marley and Avery shared a bedroom, and things were crowded, but that was the least of my problems.

Enter Flash. He came, assessed, and decided that what I really needed was a new home office. And a slip and slide. (Flash built one at The Asylum last year.) It’s all on video, check it out at:

The Red Mountain Express

Then he announced The Plan: enclose and finish off my screened in back porch and it would become my office. Then Avery could move into my old office and Marley would have her own room.

Instant Nirvana.

“Wow,” I thought, “all this meditating and yoga that I’ve done, and the true secret to happiness is building a new office and giving the kids their own bedrooms. Why have I been wasting my time?”

As soon as the kids and I left for NM, Flash was on it, tearing down the back porch. He spent much of the month of July working long hot days to finish off the space before the kids got home. It took until the final weekend of kid-free living, but he finished construction and I finished painting and we moved everyone’s things to their respective spaces. Between his work ethic and building skills and my color schemes (which I honed trial-and-error from the dozen houses I’ve renovated in the past few years), the room looks downright smashing.

For those who are wondering, my new favorite green paint graces the walls: Independent Gold from Sherwin Williams. I used flat no VOC Harmony Paint. Good stuff. No harmful fumes.

Now the office is a draw for young and old alike. The chaise in the corner next to the three giant picture windows is a magnet for young nappers, wine sippers, and midnight bloggers. I am going to make it my mission to figure out how to make a living sitting in this chair with my laptop.

I told Flash that everyone who comes to visit is drawn to my room. An absolute people magnet. “Just wait until I get my hands on the rest of your house,” he said. But the slip and slide? Alas, I think we’re going to have to wait until next summer to enjoy that. He’s got the basement to tackle now.

Need a project done around your house? Call now and book a few months in advance. This man is in demand.


Five years ago, a young couple—friends of friends–died in a freak car accident while traveling to their 4th of July vacation spot in Asheville, NC.

Their three-year-old son lived. I remember being blood-curdlingly horrified by the story.

The woman had once been a teacher at The Redmont School, where Marley was attending preschool. That was the extent of our connection–two degrees of separation.

I worried for their son, bargained with fate to undo what had been done, obsessed about the unfairness of it all.

And finally, I spent several hours in bed, paralyzed with fear about what could befall my own children, seriously considering never taking my family out into the world in order to protect them. Then I realized that even at home, an airplane could fall from the sky and hit our house, or a meteorite could pulverize us anywhere on earth. The realization that I am not in control hit me hard that weekend. (more…)



As recently as 2005, I was a gainfully-employed photojournalist making top-scale union wages, living with my husband Michael Prichard, 2 children, one dog, one cat, and several gardens in a 1950’s -era ranch house in Birmingham, Alabama.

We were vegetarian, but ate like royalty; Mike was a genius in the kitchen–ask anyone who ever dined with us.

Then I got laid off and started two businesses with Mike.

In 2007, we were on course to make more money doing media work and renovating houses than we ever did working for the man. Things were looking pretty peachy.

Then Mike electrocuted himself in the grow room (yes THAT kind of grow room), and I was thrust into the world of single parenthood in the blink of an eye. (more…)

Before photos 3934 4th Ave S

Here is a slideshow of my house. We’ve already done some things that make these photos a bit outdated (see captions).

But by 1 Feb 08, this place will be a gem.

And I’ll give anyone who refers the next buyer $1000.00. Even if you’re the buyer.

Chris' photo website and condemned house update

It only occurred to me yesterday that I forgot a very important link (to me, anyway), which is my photo website, which for now displays mostly editorial photos. I don’t update it very often, but if you want to check it out, go to It should be back online later today (my domain name registration had expired).


Rebuilding the building business easier said than done

Maybe I’m overconfident in my ability to continue the rehab business on my own. I have no doubt that I can get my homebuilders license and learn the on-site details of the work, dealing with subs and all of the other things that Mike did (although I’m sure I’ll not be doing much, if any, of the hands on work that he did other than to pick up/purchase supplies). (more…)

Life as a ghost

It is so strange going through the day as if nothing has changed.

Bring the kids to school; work on the books; close on a house; bullshit with the real estate agent; answer the phone; meet the HVAC guy; talk to the guys doing demolition work on my houses; listen to the radio; read a snippet of a novel. (more…)

Busy times and a reminder about the an upcoming Mike Prichard memorial activity

Things are getting kind of busy this week.

Mike’s mom returned to New Mexico after being here for a week. We all enjoyed the visit and it was so helpful to have her here. Her husband Frank had been here the week before and also helped greatly with the kids. (more…)

Can't stop crying

Why this morning?

Is it because I’m going to close on a house by myself today (we bought nine houses together)?

Because it is All Souls Day and the wall between the worlds is at its thinnest (and why can’t I feel you, Mike?) (more…)

This week's gifts

I am blessed. In the past 7 days:

5-people (including me) brainstormed in my living room and set up a long-term meal and playdate schedule and more (“meals” to include drop off meals and shared meals at my house and at other people’s houses) (more…)

On the strength of peanutbutter jars

I’m so mad at Mike that I won’t even write what I’m thinking about him right now. I’ll save it for the ears of those special few (you know who you are) who are kind enough to listen to my rants in person. (more…)

Split personality weekend

I was of two minds this weekend.

Saturday, several people came to help in the yard. And other people took care of the kids while we did this (thanks Anton, Elena, George, Samantha, Adrianne). We got two trees planted and mulched, one tree cut down, two tree stumps removed, wood stacked, and many lettuces and parsley starts planted. And the driveway swept (thanks to George; fellow leaf blower hater). (more…)

Death of a dream

Some friends and I started to inventory Mike’s production gear last night (thanks Julie and Tom). I’m going to sell it. It doesn’t justify itself as rental gear–not enough income. And the rate at which things become obsolete, selling sooner rather than later makes the most sense.

And when I sell, I’ll be able to pay off some of our business debt.

Yipee. (more…)

How to help this week

Okay, I’m going to write this notice on the blog and will enter it onto the calendar tomorrow. (I’m new to the calendar, too and I have very little time today to tinker with it).


Survived the weekend

This is going to be a short one, since I have about 5 more minutes of kid-free time. I am determined to get them bathed and in bed on time tonight and hopefully for the rest of the week. With any luck, we’ll even get to school once or twice on time. (more…)

Heading for the breakdown

Today, I took my first still photo gig since Mike died. It wasn’t much. Drive to a desolate mobile home near Guntersville, meet the wife of a man on death row (she met and married him 15 years AFTER he was convicted), take a photo of a photo of the happy couple during a prison visit and head back to B’ham. (more…)

Thanks again

I’m realizing, once again, that it will be nearly impossible to thank everyone adequately for all of the love and support sent our way. (more…)

Going through the wreckage

I think that maybe one of the best ways to deal with the wreckage that my life seems to have become is to go through every file, every photo, every card that I’ve saved over the years and either get rid of them, or put them together in some way that makes sense. (Dumping them into a plastic box doesn’t count).

Anyone with an AL homebuilders license, please reply to this post. I need advice.

I am close to closing on a basket case house that Mike and I had been trying to acquire since July. It needs everything, but is in a good area (Avondale). (more…)