You can’t buy happiness. But you can buy local and that’s kind of the same…

Farmyard Darlings Letter #20: When you buy from a small business such as ours, I promise you that there is an ACTUAL person (or two!) that does a little happy dance!!!

Darlings dancing on a truck.jpeg

I have a confession to make. Before we started Farmyard Darlings, I never fully comprehended the importance of buying locally, shopping small, attending community events & festivals. Honestly, I was searching for the best price. Period. But after being a small business owner for almost 8 years, I can think of 5 reasons:

  1. Local business owners are literally behind the counter, sweeping the floors, making deliveries, and actually know customers by their names. (We personally dedicate many hours to learn and remember what our customers want and need.)

  2. We really do try to guarantee the best customer service. (We stand by all of our products. If there is a flaw, we will fix it. If you don’t love it. No worries. We realize that there’s always, always room for improvement. Just like hair. Everyone can have a bad day!)

  3. As a small business, we work with local businesses, buy local services, and work with local artisans. We also support local events, local sports teams, local educational organizations, and local philanthropic charities. (Did I mention LOCAL?)

  4. According to a 2016 Small Business Magazine article, small businesses support 250% more than big corporations based on their gross revenue. (Now, that’s a big number!)

  5. In the same report cited above, buying local keeps 4X the money in the local economy compared to shopping at chains. (So we’ll see you at The Lafayette Art & Wine Festival September 15 and 16! Right?! Come and get to know the people behind the local businesses.)

THANK YOU for supporting LOCALLY and shopping SMALL at Farmyard Darlings. See you this weekend at the Lafayette Art & Wine Festival. Be sure to peek your head in the door and say “howdy!”

 Live with what you Love. Love where you Live. Shop Locally.

 Farmyard Love, Carole & Kim

farmyard darlings outside of shop.jpeg

 P.S. The Darlings want to thank everyone for your ongoing support from family, friends, customers and everyone at the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Capital, The Whitten Family, The Hunt Family, and all of our neighbors at La Fiesta Square!

One Hundred Barn Doors...and still counting...

Farmyard Darlings Letter #19: It's hard to believe that we've done 100 barn doors and still counting!

The Darlings recently reached a major milestone. Since the end of 2010, we’ve helped find, design and/or build over 100 barn doors and the demand is stronger than ever! This is really a major accomplishment for a couple of roll-up-your-sleeves- and get ‘er done gals…

Give us a ring at 925.899.0345 if you are interested in an exterior or interior barn door for your home, office, restaurant, man-cave or she-shed. We would be happy to help. We’ve even made it simple for you. Fill out a form on

Do you need a nudge? Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind:

1. ANY STYLE HOME:  We’ve put sliding doors in modern homes, farmhouses, contemporary, and much, much more. Have a circular home? Call us. We’re up for the challenge…

2. SPACE SAVERS: We have incorporated sliding doors into several restaurants and office spaces where space was an issue and privacy was a concern. Easy peasy. Call us.

3. AESTHETICALLY APPEALING: Each door is uniquely designed to fit the aesthetics of a specific space and complement its surroundings. Make it your own personal art piece. Call us.

4. FUNCTIONALITY: They can be made into a sliding chalkboard, or a whiteboard. Design it with coat hooks, or put a window in to let in light. Or add a mirror so you can look at your beautiful mug everyday. Call us.

5. UNIQUE DESIGN: Many love the rustic romance of a weathered wood barn door or the contemporary look of horizontal painted boards. Whatever it is. Go big. Or go home. You decide. Call us.

Did I mention to “call us?” 

Kim & Carole


 Horizontal door in a contemporary home.

Horizontal door in a contemporary home.

 Door for a hallway entrance in a modern style home.

Door for a hallway entrance in a modern style home.

 Two extra large doors in a spanish colonial home.

Two extra large doors in a spanish colonial home.

 Sliding door in mid-century style home.

Sliding door in mid-century style home.

 Bathroom door in an art deco home.

Bathroom door in an art deco home.

 Industrial chic office sliding doors for offices.

Industrial chic office sliding doors for offices.

 Salvaged barn door in a country-chic home.

Salvaged barn door in a country-chic home.

 Separate sliding doors in a contemporary farmhouse style home.

Separate sliding doors in a contemporary farmhouse style home.

Giving to others. Never gets old. The same goes for kindness...

Farmyard Letter #18: Try to never get tired of doing thoughtful things for others because it’s those thoughtful, kind, little things that occupy the biggest part of people's hearts. 

Just think about it. If you decide to stop giving – albeit through gifts and/or time – it’s probably best to simply dismount and hang up your saddle because giving to others is so fulfilling and so much fun! And the best part of it is, that you can really make a difference in someone’s life! So let’s all help one another; because there’s no time like the present and absolutely no present like that of the gift of time.

With that being said, the Farmyard Darlings suggest, when and if possible, to give the present of “time" and for those who need some gift “giving” recommendations, here are some ideas:

1.    Wooden and galvanized trays in several different sizes – ($25-$75)

2.    Small pig and sheep iron piggy banks – ($25)

3.    Farmyard Darlings burlap market bag – ($65)

4.    Citrus glove-scented soy candles – ($25)

5.    Cowhide and linen pillows – ($50-$150)

6.    Cowhide keychains – ($25)

7.    Galvanized metal Christmas tree ornaments – ($8-$18)

8.    Farmyard Darlings dish towels. Three different styles; horseshoe, farmyard animals and four-leaf clover with horseshoes and stars – ($12ea or $30 for three)

9.    Farmyard Darlings barrel racing biscuit mix – ($10)

10.  Alhambra Valley soap – several different scents – ($10)

11.  Elk antler bottle openers – ($25)

12.  Large cowhide flasks – ($45)

13.  Farmyard Darlings burlap market bags – ($65)

14.  Ceramic Serving platters – ($75)

15.  Christmas tree galvanized metal garland – ($35)

16.  Leather "cowgirl" cuffs – ($48)

17.  Farmyard Darlings sweatshirts and sweatpants – ($45)

18.  Snowman and Christmas tree 9” ornaments hand cut from retired 55 gallon barrels – ($12)

19.  Reclaimed American flags – ($195-$395)

20.  Farmyard Darlings mesh trucker hats – ($25)

Remember that there is no act of kindness, no matter how small, that is ever wasted.   

Farmyard Love,

Carole & Kim

Some items listed above available for purchase on

Let's Start an Occupy Cupid's Day

Farmyard Darlings Letter #17: Let's Start an Occupy Cupid's Day

Here’s some unabashed Darling advice: Let’s start an “Occupy Heart’s Day” for the heck-of-it and simply embrace the day, and not let it be a nightmare by simply doing the following:

* Spreading random acts of kindness to others * Writing notes of gratefulness to your family and friends * Buying something for yourself that you love *Buying something for someone else that they love *

Sidebar note: “Sorry See’s Candy. This here, little lady can’t accept a box of chocolates. (I know! I know! It takes a true character to accept a gift but believe me; it shows so much grace when it is shared.) But I ain’t sharing my box of chocolates!”

So, here’s the deal: Let’s all go crazy with love this Tuesday and get out of this cycle of outrage and discontent. How? Farmyard Darlings has a lot of love in the shop. And we wanna share it. In fact, we are both going to be in the shop on Valentine’s Day to help celebrate “Occupy Cupid’s Day”. We promise you that we will be filled with loving feelings, thoughts, gift ideas, and a free gift to all when you simply pop in! 

So, whatever you choose to do, don’t get stuck in the same ol’ thing – (unless it’s a tradition.) Try to disengage from social media, channel your creative energy, and meet us at Farmyard Darlings on Tuesday. You can make a handmade card because we will provide you will some creative fixings.

We also have uber cute galvanized hearts everywhere…but that’s not the point. The point here is to GIVE rather than RECEIVE. So if it’s store bought. Great. Visit Farmyard Darlings or another favorite shop…because as we all know, no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

Happy early Occupy Cupid’s-Day!

Love the Darlings,

Carole (& Kim too!)

If Momma Ain't Happy. Ain't Nobody Happy.

Farmyard Darlings Letter #15: There's a lot of different types of "happy"...

Like the kind of happy that annoys-everyone-around you type of happy when they are constantly saying how “blessed” they are? Well, I don’t fit into that category, but I do think of myself as generally being a kind-of happy person. Not the sugar and spice kind of version, more like the salty kind with a side of vinegar. I’m always thinking of ways to be happy….like when I sometimes say out loud to a stranger in line at Safeway that “I’ll be happy someday when I actually remember why I came here in the first place.” #feelingblessed

Maybe I’ll be happier when I lose those 15 lbs that seem to linger like the smell of morning bacon. Or at least, I know that I’ll be happy on Sunday, May 8th, not because it’s a guarantee that I will have bacon, but that it’s Mother’s Day once again and it turns out that my kids are still alive. #baconrules

So, it’s time to play the Mom Card this Mother’s Day. Especially because everyone around me seems to be playing the MOM card so, so well. Maybe they all got dealt better cards. I mean, my cards are great and all, but I’m just not playing them well. (Dealer? Another hand please?) Because sometimes my kids make me cry and I think to myself “is this really what I signed up for?” I’m doing and saying crazy things that my Mom said to us as kids, that I told myself I would never say to mine. #momcard

And now, fast forward, here’s just a few favorite lines from the past couple of months:

The Illogical Mom: Because I said so, that’s why! Because I am your parent! One day you’ll thank me.

The Sarcastic Mom: If all of your friends jumped off a bridge, would you? Someone better be on fire!

The Logical Mom: God gave you a brain, now use it! Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.

The Threatening Mom: I’ll give you something to cry about! I’ll give you something to cry about! I’ll give you something to cry about!

Have I missed any?

So, back to the question of what really makes us happy. For me, it’s the kind gestures that help me get through the day that make me happy. For example when just recently my sister came over to help me fold my laundry and do the dishes; or my husband making sure that there is gas in the truck, food in the fridge, the girls where they need to be, the bills paid, and of course, that I’m happy. #ihaveagoodman

Enough about being happy, I know that this Mother’s Day, I plan on going on a trail ride with my family, and if all goes well, we'll all be happy! 

Think of where you want to be happy this Mother's Day! And enjoy the ride...because soon we won't be asking our children "When you're out of this house (blah blah blah)!" We will be wishing that they were in the house. Happy Mother's Day y'all! 

Farmyard Love, Carole

P.S. Kim is out riding right now and can't chime in... 

 Kim's view from Blondie.

Kim's view from Blondie.





Our "Love" Recipe

Farmyard Darlings Letter #13: What is our recipe for Love?

We all know that February 14th is nearly upon us – one of the sweetest and most romantic holidays of the year. Hallmark rakes in the dough. Floral shops are bustling. Over-priced restaurants are crowded. And comedians have plenty of fodder to celebrate the day.

If you’ve landed here in search of some cupid advice, a restaurant or florist referral, or simply a sweet saying or quote, you might not have come to the right place. But if you’re interested in putting aside all of the high and impossible-to-exceed expectations, and simply want to whip up your own recipe for love, here’s what The Darlings Love Ingredients would most likely look like:


1 huge cup of plushness (A Royal Scout & Co faux fur wrap)

2 spoonful’s of romance (Farmyard Darlings lemon verbena scented candles)

4 tablespoons of comfort (Farmyard Darlings cowhide down pillows)

2 doses of security (Farmyard Darlings cowhide key chains)

1 splash of coolness (Farmyard Darlings leather cowgirl cuffs)

3 tons of style (Farmyard Darlings barn doors)

½ lb of sharing (A Royal Scout & Co faux fur blanket)


By the way, the Farmyard Darlings Galantines and Valentines have it easy. They know to forget the flowers and chocolate and head straight to the tack store!

Have a great day full of Love. Not only on Valentines Day, but everyday.

Farmyard Love,


Carole (& Kim too!)


There's ALWAYS something to be thankful for...

Farmyard Darlings Letter #12: There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for...

There is always, always, always something to be thankful for. When you’re thankful for something and don’t acknowledge or appreciate it, it’s like working really hard to purchase that perfect gift and never giving it away….

If I received a gift of, let's say...1.3 gazillion dollars, I would be rich, right? (I would be really, really thankful too.) But major news flash, I wasn’t gifted with a gazillion dollars. And here’s the funny thing? I feel rich – not like Forbes-Billionaire-List Rich – but more like the feeling of being "rich” when I look around and see all of the things that money can’t buy. Like stress-free, chill-time with family, laughing and WHINE-free time with my daughters, the perfect date (not talking about finances) with my man, and jeans that fit perfectly…. (I blatantly plagiarized that last part about jeans from a sappy country song.) But honestly, I really don’t want all the money in the world. I just want time.

Speaking of time…It’s Thanksgiving time and all I want to do is gather around a table, have great conversations, eat like it's my last prison meal, and enjoy a uniquely-decorated table with fun (preferably farmilicious) finds.

Enter the ‘other’ Darling….Kim. Whenever I think of a perfect table setting, I can’t help but think how Kim has a tradition of making the greatest table settings for every occasion – not just Thanksgiving.  (Yes, she’s the type of person who begins the gathering process November 1st collecting the perfect twigs, greenery, etc. Just like she begins decorating for Halloween and buying cornstalks no later than October 1.)

One of her favorite table decorations are retired chicken feeders like the one pictured below at Thanksgiving last year... 

 Unabashed plug to purchase chicken feeders on our website at 

Unabashed plug to purchase chicken feeders on our website at 

Both of us realize that ‘giving thanks’ with family is precious but also is the importance of a place in your home where everyone can come together and gather. Not just on Thanksgiving…but everyday. And if you haven’t already thought of this, why don’t you ban the Thanksgiving adult tables? Put everyone at the kids table…because that’s where the fun is!

Happy (early) Thanksgiving. Give thanks for all that you have and all of the perfect jeans you’re going to buy on Black Friday.

Farmyard Love,

Carole (& Kim too!)


We are expanding!

Farmyard Darlings Letter #11: Farmyard Darlings is expanding! Introducing Farmyard Darlings Mercantile & Gifts

There’s something about walking into an authentic Mercantile Shop that brings you back to the days when your handshake was your word, to a time when people willingly rolled up their sleeves, worked hard and were proud of what they accomplished at the end of the day.

One of the many reasons we started Farmyard Darlings was because we wanted to recreate that feeling of pride and accomplishment – to bring back the handshake as a contract and when your “promise” really meant something.

So, we are excited to announce our second location in Lafayette, California -- Farmyard Darlings Mercantile -- located at 20 Lafayette Circle where the former "Hen House" used to reside. It’s an historic building that speaks of a life before this one. Originally built in 1920 on Mt. Diablo Boulevard and then moved to its current location in 1939.

The building has had several different owners and purposes – including the Lafayette Sun Newspaper, a furniture store, a Realty Company, a Trading Post, and a Thrift Shop – and through it all, it has remained a rich presence in this town’s familiar landscape. It’s a building with heart and authenticity and a perfect home for The Farmyard Darlings.

Come on in and visit us! We will be opening our doors during the 20th year of the Lafayette Art & Wine Festival held on Saturday, September 19th from 10am - 7pm and Sunday, September 20th from 10 - 6pm. It’s the largest annual festival in Contra Costa County and The Darlings are thrilled to be at the festival epicenter and part of it for the very first time!

Farmyard Love,

Kim & Carole

Happy Independence Day

Farmyard Darlings Letter #10: Only 239 Years Ago We Broke Away from the Mother Ship...

It’s been a gazillion years since the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th in 1776, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and gas was just a buck. Wait, no. That’s not correct. It was when we broke away from the Mother Ship Great Britain. (Okay, so history wasn’t my best subject.) 

On the Fourth, some of us will be celebrating with family, BBQ’ing, and enjoying Frog Jumping festivities, parades, and fireworks. One of The Darlings – that would be me “Caroleeeeeee” as my Uncle Mo often calls me – will be celebrating in Melrose, Iowa, often referred to as Iowa’s “Little Ireland” at a Family Reunion.

These Mid-West festivities and family-time are all fun and good, but out of all of the holidays, July 4th is a pretty important one. But sometimes, eating too many hotdogs and burgers and drinking too many beers (you always stay thirsty in that Iowa humid heat!) the true significance of this holiday is often overlooked.

So here’s a suggestion, maybe take the time and read the Declaration of Independence today, on July 4th and discuss what it means to you. For example, the following:

 "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

If reading is not your thang, you can always make a cake and sing “Happy Birthday America!” and blow out the 239 candles.

Happy Fourth and Farmyard Love,

Carole (& Kim too!)

P.S. One last thing, we believe in this country's history of imagination, entrepreneurial-spirit and proudly support American-Made craftsmanship with all of our products. One of our favorite Farmyard Darlings products is our American Flag made from reclaimed wood. 

 Our Farmyard Darlings American Flag made from reclaimed wood is a tremendous symbol of liberty, justice and freedom for all. Please treat all American flags with the utmost of respect. Kim & Carole 

Our Farmyard Darlings American Flag made from reclaimed wood is a tremendous symbol of liberty, justice and freedom for all. Please treat all American flags with the utmost of respect. Kim & Carole 

Home - What Makes a House a Home?

Farmyard Darlings Letter #10: Home: Such a tiny word for such an important place...

The Farmyard Darlings design style has been described as Country Chic, Farmalicious Fantastic, Rustic Elegant, Whimsical Western and just plain "Darling". But we understand that not everybody wants a "Dash of Darling" to add to his or her home; but what we really want to encourage folks to fill their homes with items that really make your ticker tick.

So, with that being said, we want to share our personal home style and explain what really what makes us tick!

Carole Sinclair: "What’s the style of your home?" I call it Clutter-ful! My home is chock-a-full of collectibles which includes cameras, bottles, vintage books, paintings, trunks, leather luggage, and family photos. It’s cluttered…but in a controlled stay-all-together-type of way. I love having my vintage books displayed everywhere  -- even in the bathroom! -- because each has it’s own story and it’s own connection to history. In my mind, the juxtaposition of old and new is so beautiful when it is done well and I try to display my treasures the same way that we do in our shop, by grouping them by color, texture, or shape. 

Carole's Books in a Cloche

Kim Berry: "What’s the style of your home?" I like a more minimalist, comfortable feel to my home.  I live in a small space, so I don’t necessarily collect like Carole does, instead, I create conversation spaces and add simple, thoughtful touches around – like a vintage wooden ladder to hold my blankets, or a vintage front door screen resting up on a wall as décor. I also think that using reclaimed wood pieces is a great way to warm up every room in the house, whether it be a bench, a mirror, a table, or a vintage ladder. But the most important place in my home is actually two places, my kitchen and backyard tables. It's not only where my family gathers to eat but where we gather to talk, play games, do homework, shared ideas and draw strength from each other. 

So there you go. Our passion really defines the style of our homes. The things that we surround ourselves with not only inspire us but really tell a lot about who and what we are – “farm-style conservationists!”   Farmyard Darlings, Kim & Carole

And it’s now your turn. How would you describe the style of your home?



I’m tired of acronyms and buzzwords...

Farmyard Letter #9: Acronyms suck. And buzzwords can be such a buzzkill.

Remember when WYSIWYG was a common acronym? Now, especially as parents, we have CNBU, FUBAR, POS, ASLP and many others to worry about.

But what I really want to rant about is buzzwords. I’m really tired of them…(Or maybe I'm just really tired.)

I’m tired of buzzwords like “reclaimed wood” and “vintage” and “unique” and “authentic.” (I could go on and on!) Why not just say “reclaimed wood” is retired wood people just don’t want anymore but yet charge a bundle for it. And “vintage” simply means something that has seen a lot of dust. “Unique”. Well, I hate that word more than any word in the dictionary. It’s so common and overused but also so much easier to spit out compared to a six-syllable word like “idiosyncratic.” But lately, the word “authentic’ is becoming such a fashionable buzzword that it has, yes, lost it’s authenticity in my opinion.  But here’s my hypocritical comment: Farmyard Darlings is often referred to as an authentic brand…and I like that. I really do. Because aren’t we all authentic in our own way? Does it not mean being true to one’s own values? Shouldn’t we all strive to be authentic? I want to hear from you…

What kind of buzzwords are you tired of? (Don’t even get me started on “Stretch Goal” yet another business buzzword that seems a bit shopworn, don’t you think?) Here’s your chance to rant a little.

Farmyard Love,


Mother's Day Should Be Everyday

Farmyard Letter #8:  Why Mother's Day Is Really Not My Favorite Day

It’s really hard to be a Good Mom. And then you throw in the other types of Moms –  The Super Mom, The Fun Mom, and the Always-Put-Together Mom. Then there’s the Lululemon-Wearing-Athletic Mom, The Smart Mom, The Forever-Nurturing Mom, and The Spiritual Mom who knows exactly what to say at all times. And you really, really want to hate her but you can’t, because she’s also The Kind Mom. And of course, there’s the Cheerleader Mom (who ALWAYS, ALWAYS has good hair. I swear!), The Chef Mom and then there’s Me. The Average Mom.

I’m not feeling sorry for myself, I swear. I just feel that there’s always this monkey on my Mom back and once it jumps off, there’s an entire circus in town I have to deal with! So. Seriously. I’m the Average Mom. The Mom that yells, continuously burns meals, says SHIT! when yet another pair of pants shrink, picks up my girls late, and breaks the horn slamming my fist into it because the girls were arguing in the backseat. So, by now, you would have to agree with me. I’m pretty much an Average Mom.

I knew I was an Average Mom, when I had my first baby, Thena, and I was reading Anne Lamott’s book Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year. (I still pick through it sometimes and reread all of the dog-eared pages.) One of my favorite quotes from Operating Instructions was:

"It has been a terrible day. I'm afraid I'm going to have to let him go. He's an awful baby. I hate him. He's scum. I'm not even remotely well enough to be a mother. That's what the problem is. Also, I don't think I like babies."

Well, here I was, a chubby, sleep-deprived, depressed newly-appointed Mom who not only felt completely inadequate but really lonely and I laughed so hard when I read “…I don’t think I like babies.” Because of course I LIKE babies. In fact, I LOVE babies. (Especially puppies.) But finally, I didn’t feel so lonely anymore because I felt connected with Lamott after my laughing fit. 

I would then read the next line…."one thing about having a baby, is that each step of the way you simply cannot imagine loving him any more than you already do, because you are bursting with love, loving as much as you are humanly capable of  and then you do, you love him even more."

So, here’s the deal. I owe Lamott a lot of money because without her irreverent way of capturing the disparities of motherhood, I would have probably had to check myself into rehab because I would have drank a whole helluva a lot more. But instead, I would push my stubborn post-partum depression aside and pick up Operating Instructions and laugh and cry. 

 My girls who make me laugh, yell and cry.

My girls who make me laugh, yell and cry.

So, when I write that “Mother’s Day Should be Everyday!” I really mean it. Because during those rare moments on those rare days when you actually feel like you have it all together for just a millisecond because you find yourself laughing with your kids, or breaking a horn; those are the times when I want to celebrate “Mother’s Day”.

Happy Mother’s Day y'all!


Be Mine!

Farmyard Letter #7: Beg, borrow or BUY something for your Valentine...

Hey you guys, don’t just celebrate ONE day of Love this year, have Cupid strike the entire week! Get something for every Valentine in your life (teacher, child, partner, friend, family, etc.) and here's ten gift ideas to get you started.  

 1.    Wine barrel heart: These retired wine barrel bands from Napa are hand-shaped and beautiful indoors or out. ($25)

2.   Eucalyptus Bath Salt:  Relax. Soak. Detox. Cleanse. Soften. Now, that's a gift! ($25)

3.   Love board: Hang up some Love inside your home or display in the garden. Because Love is all you need, right? ($100-$200)

4.   Barn Door: Add a little country chic into any style home with a custom sliding barn door on a track. ($2000 and up)

5.    Heart magnet: Let your magnetic attraction be displayed with these hand-cut steel hearts. ($15)

6.   Fruit crate: These make great mudroom shoe organizers, or put some wheels on the bottom and create a magazine storage cart. ($25)

7.   Wooden heart: A great gift for all ages. Use as a card, hang on a doorknob, or display on your front door. Bam! ($10-$20)

8.   Boot toppers: Our faux fur boot cuffs (courtesy of Royal Scout and Co.) are as stylish on the slopes as they are around town or on the playground. For ladies and young ladies too! ($38-$48)

9.   Antler bottle opener: These handcrafted bottle openers measure approximately 6 to 9 inches long and are made in the good ol’ U.S. of A. ($48)

10.  Cowhide: These bovine beauties add the perfect texture for just about any style home. ($375-$425)

Farmyard Love,


                                                           "You seriously can't have enough of wooden crates! Happy Valentine's Day!" - Kim Berry

                                                          "You seriously can't have enough of wooden crates! Happy Valentine's Day!" - Kim Berry

Now it’s your turn. What’s been your favorite Valentine’s Gift? 

It's Just a Photo...Right?

Farmyard Darlings Letter #6: What Makes a Photograph Fine Art?

Tack room .jpg

Since the beginning of our Farmyard adventure, we’ve had the pleasure of working with a lot of photographers and just recently we had the opportunity to be photographed by Michael Clemens of Sees The Day ( Michael is truly a black belt photographer. (No, make that two black belts!) The image above emphasizes his black belt expertise because he took a difficult angle and poor lighting and made it absolutely breath-taking. In my measly ol' opinion, this image is most definitely fine art. Not only because he really intended that out-of-focus-thingy-in-the-picture to be there -- but because it's kind of painterly and moody having the edges dark as if you are peeping into some secret space.  

 Carole on Spotty and Kim on Little Joe.

Carole on Spotty and Kim on Little Joe.

Love this Wild, Wild, West film shot in contemporary cowgirl garb mostly because the horses are so darn cute and were such low maintenance. My gawd, They didn't even have to have a spray tan before the photo shoot! Okay. No, seriously. I can't stop looking up at the sky! So, somehow, the photo is not about the subject (that would be us, duh!) instead, it's about the shape of the clouds, the threat of daylight fading, the multiple layers and different tones of the trees. This, my fellow friends, is fine art.

So thank you Michael, from the bottom of our cheesy Darling hearts for sharing your black belt photography with us!

Farmyard Love,

Carole (& Kim too!)

So, tell us, what makes photography fine art?

What I've Learned After Starting a Business

Farmyard Darlings Letter #5: Ten (Well, Eleven) Things I’ve Learned After Starting a Business in 2010

1.     You can’t be good at all things. Just be sure to kick a** where you can. Realize that you’ll end up spending 20% on what you love to do, and 80% on what you don’t like to do. But be sure to never lose sight on why you started the business in the first place.

2.     Don’t go into debt. Don’t let debt be an albatross around your neck. Credit cards are like your best frenemy and are good for one thing. To earn good credit. Period.

3.     Be authentic to your brand. Our brand is simple. We are two authentic gals, who left their careers in sales and hi-tech PR to form Farmyard Darlings, with one simple task: To make country chic real again.

4.     Be clear about WHY you started the business in the first place. And saying “Because I think it would be fun!” is really not a good business strategy. But do you know what is? Because we had an idea to reclaim forgotten wood and make it into something functional like barn doors, farm tables, benches, bars, and much more!

5.     Find a lot of mentors. Make sure that they are a helluvalot smarter than you and be sure to ask them a helluvalot of questions. You can’t do this alone. So, find your (spiritual) mentor and be sure to listen to your instincts.

6.     Don’t work weekends. (Especially Sundays.) Well, that’s just plain ol’ funny talk. Be with your family. Be with your friends. Heck, plant a garden! (I wish that I would listen to my advice!) All of your work will be there on Monday am. I promise.

7.     Be productive. Be organized. Keep an eye out for those cracks because something will most likely fall through them unless your organizational routine is super stellar. (Mine’s not. But I guarantee you that my younger sisters is! Love her!)

8.     Read a lot. And not just “Who Moved My Cheese?” or the infamous college graduation gift of “What Color is Your Parachute?” Devour anything and everything that helps you move your business forward. (And don’t forget The ONE Good Book. The one that guides us all.)

9.     It’s really okay to work with a friend. Yep. Really it is. This was our deal. Family first. Then friendship. And Farmyard Darlings falls somewhere after that….

10. Don’t procrastinate. One of the most popular brand campaigns of all time (in my opinion) was Nike’s “Just Do It.” Personally, I like ours too. “EVERY RIDE COUNTS.” Because it’s the RIDE of LIFE that counts…Because you’re only gonna do it once. So don’t procrastinate. Make it count.

11. Salt heals everything. I kind of knew this before starting a business. Especially in PR after you’ve sent out an email to the Senior Writer at the NYT with a gazillion errors, or better yet, the wrong pitch — or delivered a beautiful custom table 1 -2 inches shorter than the spec — well, at that time a good ol' salty cry really helps followed maybe with a super salty-rimmed margarita of course! (And if you’re close to a very salty ocean, go for a swim!!!)

A shout out to my perennially-positive-business-partner, Kim Berry, she’s my kind of crazy!

carole sinclair.jpg

Farmyard Love,


So, now, it’s your turn. What have you learned after starting your business?

The Farmyard Darlings Tour Langtry Farms

Farmyard Darlings Letter #4: Langtry Farms is a Piece of Paradise in Guenoc Valley

Recently we had the privilege of touring Langtry Farms – a 22,000 acre working ranch with 1,000 acres of vineyards – located in Middleton, CA. Driving through the gates you are invited to panoramic views of ridges, hidden valleys and lots of lakes.  According to historical documents, the unpretentious British actress Lillie Langtry acquired the property in 1888 and transformed the simplistic roots of its first owner, David Hudson, into an opulent estate that reflected her many travels and adventurous spirit.

 Gephardt Barn at Langtry Farms 

Gephardt Barn at Langtry Farms 

The original Homestead was renamed The Langtry House and still stands as well as many farmhouses and multiple agrarian artifacts including the massive Gephardt Barn which was once used as a Thoroughbred breeding facility in the early 1900’s.  

We had a blast touring through the barns, walking up streams and visiting these historic buildings. (So did the pups!) 

Not only was it a historical education but we learned from the Farm Manager that Langtry Farms is an environmentally conscious, socially responsible and economically viable establishment.  They practice sustainable farming which focuses on replenishing the soil while minimizing the use of non-renewable resources.

 The original Homestead.

The original Homestead.

We were able to gather up some loot but left original furniture and other pieces that had been there for over 125 years!

We ended the day at the Langtry Farms wine tasting rooms and were treated to a plethora of mind-blowing Merlots and Cabs.

Hoping to go back in the Spring for another epic tour. In the interim, we will enjoy the memories. 

Farmyard Love,

Kim & Carole 

 A retired pigeon coop in the barn's attic.

A retired pigeon coop in the barn's attic.

 Retired water troughs. 

Retired water troughs. 

 Dairy feed bin.

Dairy feed bin.

 Side view of Gephardt Barn at Langtry Farms

Side view of Gephardt Barn at Langtry Farms

 Inside the Gephardt Barn 

Inside the Gephardt Barn 

 Levi and Brody playing in the vineyards.

Levi and Brody playing in the vineyards.

Where is Your Happy Place?

Farmyard Darlings Letter #2: Where is your happy place? (Especially during the holidays.) 

A lot of people ask me “Where is your happy place?” I immediately reply, “When I’m at the barn!” In fact, at just about any barn. The older the better. Because, I’ve always been attracted to them. I especially love the sky-high haylofts, the chunky old beams, the rusty galvanized roofing, the dust, the smell, the color of the wood, the craftsmanship, and of course, the silos and windmills. There’s just so much history!

My family is fully aware that I’m completely crazy over old barns. OH MY GOSH! I make them stop every time I see one! In fact today, Carole and I were at the Livermore CrossWinds Church where they have selected Farmyard Darlings to be part of the building of their new church! We can't BELIEVE that we were selected to be part of this project! AMAZING! They are building on the land that was formerly The Freisman Bros. Dairy and there is so much history! This is so exciting! The Building Project Manager, Dave, gave us a tour and we were overwhelmed with what we saw and all of the history that surrounded us. Wow. Are you kidding me? You had me at MILK BOTTLES!

After our visit, a few wrong turns and a late lunch, we were able to drive home through my favorite backroads of Tassajara Valley. We took some photos of barns, cows, silos, windmills, sheep, and horses. Unbelievable day, don't you think? I'm so lucky to be a Farmyard Darling.

Even when you are crazy-crazy– especially during the holidays – never, ever pass the opportunity to stop and take in the massive awesomeness of a barn and take a picture or two. You won't regret it! And if you have any information about the Freisman Bros. Dairy let us know! Especially if you find any Freisman milk bottles in your travels.

Farmyard Love,



What about you? "When are you the happiest? Especially during the holidays?” 

Red Barn in St. Martin, CA