Finally Fall

Almost all the leaves are changed, and many have fallen as I look across this part of southern Ohio. The temperatures are starting to lower, especially over night and the days get shorter all the time.

As summer moves on, several of my projects are also tying up. Always feels good when I can mark things off the list! The garden is done, just down to brush hogging it for the winter, the turkeys are in the freezer as of this afternoon, and the pullets have started to  lay.  I feel accomplished when I open thr freezer downstars and see chickens, turkeys and corn inside. Knowing that I did that is very rewarding. I had a lot of help this year from family and friends, but next year I hope to do more on my own.

I am excited to announce the addition of 3 new Guineas! I could not resist the 3 keets when I saw them! 2 are pure white, which I have never even seen in person until I saw them! They are about 8 weeks old, and are enjoying playing in the brood box right now. I am already enjoying listening to them chattering!

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The fall season brings some of my favorite things, cool nights, bonfires, sweatshirts, hot chocolate, apple ciders and crisp mornings. Changing leaves are beautiful and the starry fall skies are breath taking, I even got to see a shooting star while I was out this morning feeding at 3. I was not even sure what to wish for, but it made me stop for a minute and realize how much I have to be grateful for.

The Maker of the universe and Keeper of the stars, cares about me and the littlest things in my life! That is the awesomest feeling there is! He is holding me in His hand and He has a plan for my life! Seeing that shooting star this morning was a gift from Him, a way to remind me of His many blessings. That is only the 2nd or 3rd shooting star I have ever seen and they are so special, just like us, God’s creations. We are hand crafted individually for a purpose, and it is our choice what we do with it. So grateful for such a reminder this morning!

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Writing

Several of my friends and family members have been encouraging me to write a book.I am not one to lie, so I will admit I have thought about it for quite a while. I have even started writing a book, but I am not happy with it.

A high school friend of mine has become a successful writer, she went to college and grew her talent and I must say her work is amazing. She was the one who originally got me thinknig about writing.

Writing presents many challenges. One at this time unfortunately is my time. I devote my time to many things, and writing falls short often. Motivation goes hand in hand with that though. Some days all I want to do is write, I think about dialoge and play out scenes in my mind over and over until I get them how I want them. Other days I sit down and the words seem to just flow.

I am by no means any type of professional, I just enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts with others. But my mind keeps coming back to a book. Today I have no idea what it will even be about or when I may get around to writing it, but I like the idea.

My favorite parts of writing are developing character personalities and quirks. I deal with all kinds of people on a daily basis and it is interesting to watch them react to their enviornment and each other. People are interesting and I enjoy developing situations that try and test them allowing their personalities to show.

I have said all of this, to say whatever you are thinking about, dreaming about, wishing about, do not be afraid to keep reaching. There will be a time for that talent or desire to come to light. Hold on to it so that you are ready when the time is right.

Taking Time Today

Today I did something I rarely do, took a few minutes for myself. My life is crazy and lke many others in this crazy world, I push myself to the back burner, a lot. But today, I took a few minutes for myself. It may have only been a few minutes, but I am already feeling better and looking forward to this weekend.

My cousin is getting married this Saturday, how exciting! I do not dress up often, and I have been searching for something to wear for a few weeks. Being as practical as I am, I wanted to find something versatile that I would wear again. The first dress I found, I went back to get and it was gone, so I had to come up with a back up plan, which came out ok.

Talking with a friend yesterday, I was convined I should take this opportunity and surprise myself and family with the lady I can be. So I stopped and picked up a pair of new shoes, a new sweater, and even a few new cosmetics, which I rarely wear, in anticipation for this weekend. I was excited to get home and see if the number in my closet would still zip. Unfortunately I was disappointed because it would not. Close but no banana!

Even though the dress in my closet would not fit, I am looking forward to wearing a new outfit that I put together. I think it is going to be really cute. The past couple days have been a great reminder that I am important too. Life is busy, life is crazy, but if you do not take a few minutes and invest in yourself, you forget how to act when you do.

I write often about betterig myself and pushing myself to grow as a person, but every once in a while, even for a few minutes at a time, I need to remember to take time for myself. The wedding this weekend will be a good time visiting and spending with my family as we celebrate with my cousin and I am excited!

Mid September

I was traveling this weekend, and I noticed the leaves here in southern Ohio have begun to change. They are not changing much, but it has started. That means fall is just around the corner and winter will be here before I know it. I am actually thinking and planning ahead in my winter preparations.

I ordered 2 heaters for the chicken waterers. I know, sounds simple, and it was, but the water has not frozen yet. That means I am ahead of my usual game. They should be here tomorrow or Wednesday and I am excited that it is taken care of.

The baby ducks are growing like weeds! They have grown much faster than the chickens do and it has been fun to watch them. We are handling them often, and they have decided they like to go outside during the day. Chomper is offering to bite less and less, which I am very glad about. A biting duck is no fun!

Dad helped me build a turkey pen over the weekend to finish out the four of them. My brother in law was kind enough to set the posts for me the other day and mom helped me get the woven wire up. Dad helped me build an awning to keep the larger birds out of the weather. The animals are really a family deal, and I am beyond blessed to have a family that gets so involved.

Bart is finally totally healed, and I got him out for a ride yesterday. My boy just surprised the socks off me! He was a perfect gentleman! Did everything I asked no complaints, protests etc. He rode like  a dream! I cannot wait to get back on him. It was like we never took a single day off. He is such a special horse, I cannot wait to be competing with him again.

A lot of positives to reflect on from last week. A lot of things on the horizon in my little world. Most of the time I think o spring as a new chance to begin, but this year it might be fall. Either way, I am excited for what is ahead as I look forward to the next season of the year and of my life.

Whirlwind Weekend

Everyone I am sure had holiday plans, but I got to enjoy yet another full weekend. The weather was nice, and I enjoyed family time and made more memories!

My Toyota truck officially has a name ‘Leroy’ and it fits him like a glove! Dad was kind enough to put my new seats in, there was hardly anything left of the old one. Grandpa out my windshield washer fluid holder in and fixed the gasket. I have not had that work since I bought the truck. Then Dad and Grandpa put in a new radio! The one that came with the truck worked for a few weeks, then died. It has been so nice to have a radio again!

Yesterday I went squaredancing with a good friend, and driving home it was so nice to have the windows down and jam to my favorite stations! The dance was good, even though there was a small crowd, I still had a blast! Many good times to look back on from this weekend.

My sister hosted a birthday party for my parents Saturday night and it was so good to visit with others that i have not seen in a long time. I enjoyed visiting with them. So much can happen in your life in the matter of a short year or two. Thinking back about my life the past 2 years, I have changed and grown a lot. I have learned many new things and met friends. I have gotten closer to some friends and more distance has grown between others.

This weekend was full, yes, but it was amazing to take the time to spend with my family and make memories that I will continue to think about and reflect on. Each and every person that I know, that I talk to, that I meet has helped make me, and I am so thankful to each and everyone of them! Weekends like this help me to remember that time I spend with them is important.

I hope you got to spend time this weekend with your family and friends and that you had the opportunity to make memoires to think about and reflect on for many years to come!

 

Canning With Grandma

Tuesday, my sister and I strung and snapped beans all afternoon, we made it through half of them. Honestly, that was not something I considered when I planted a garden, but the beans are done for the year. When I got home from work yesterday, the first set of 7 quarts were already in the canner. Grandma had started without me.

I helped finish those 7, and prepare the second batch of 7 along with 9 pints. The last few beans were then placed in the slowcooker by my sister for dinner last night. While the second batch of quarts were going, Grandma taught me how to blanch and prepare corn for freezing. We worked together. My sister picked a row of  corn, only the ears that were ready, while Grandma and I got the last few beans when I got home. Grandma and I cut the kernels off the cob, then Grandma showed me how to blanch it. We got 9 quart bags in the freezer yesterday.

We had not planned for tomatoes yesterday, but they were ripe, and unfortunately when it comes to these things, the clock does not say when you are done, but the work. Grandma showed me how to chunk the tomatoes and cook them before juicing them. We had half a five gallon bucket that were ripe, and got just over 4 quarts of juice.

Very productive day, but by the time we were done, I was ready to be done. I tried to absorb more information than I think my brain could process at once. Next time I am going to take notes so that I can repeat the process.

I have told you all of this, not to tell you what I did yesterday, but hopefully show you that there is great value in spending time with your family, especially your grandparents. There is much to be learned and appreciated about their knowledge of life and life skills, family history and heritage, and fun stories apart from fun itself. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my grandmother yesterday. While we were productive, that was just a good excuse for me to put aside other things to spend time with her. I want to learn how to can because not many people, especially my age, know much if anything about it. Grandma has always done it for our family, but it is too much for her and Grandpa now. I made sure to put out a garden big enough to share from. I have gladly given her corn and squash to take home and have with Grandpa.

Love your family, hold them tight and dear. Spend the time that you have with them because you never know what tomorrow is going to bring. Open your heart, let them in, learn from them and carry them with you wherever you go. Family is so important, and everyday I see people take advantage of it. Enjoy your time with your family as much as you can!

Preparing for Canning

Those of you that have followed my journey this past spring into summer have faithfully watched an dlistened to my learning experiences with gardening. Now that the veggies are beginning to come in, I have to make preparations for their storage. This is a whole new experience for me, and I am so grateful to have my Grandma to hold my hand and show me the ropes! Canning with Grandma has been a special privilage and I expect tomorrow to be another day of learning and enjoying special time together.

Last night my sister was kind enough to help me pick 10 gallons of beans, 2 buckets full. Today we worked together stringing and snapping them for when Grandma comes tomorrow. Picking out bad ones, even as we picked them off the bushes, was entertaining as we began throwing them to the chickens. The chickens and turkeys now see me heading to the garden and they follow me and wait patiently on the other side of the fence. All of the buggy veggies or the ones not suitable for eating, go directly over the fence for the birds to devour. My flock eagerly waits on the other side of the fence. Last night, they had so many beans as we picked, I let them go a little longer than I meant to and I had several that were over ripe, they eventually tired of eating the beans and moved on to other chicken activities. I had to laugh at them.

Sure enough though, today when I went to check the tomatoes…. here came the chickens! And they were thrown 2-3 buggy tomatoes which they excitedly started on. It is a two fold, I get rid of the bad veggies and the chickens enjoy them! I do not feel bad at all if the chickens enjoy them!

Tomorrow Grandma is going to come and help with some canning, and in preparation in addition to snapping and stringing the beans, I have picked tomatoes and checked religiously on the corn. The corn will have to wait for Grandma to ok that is ready for picking and preparation for freezing. I am so excited for tomorrow, just to learn as I spend time with my Grandma.

Several people have asked why I want to learn to garden and can, as I am fairly young to be interested in such things. I want to learn so that in a few years I can continue the trade. Grandma used to put out a big garden every year and supply us all with green beans, corn, squash etc etc. This year she was not up for it, so I put the garden out under her watchful eye and careful instruction as I learned to space my rows and plant them straightly. I have enjoyed learning about this process and cannot wait to continue tomorrow!

Enjoying My Evenings

It is no secret that the days are indeed getting shorter. I mentioned that in my post yesterday, and I sit here tonight, thinking about what I should be doing instead of sitting here writing, the sun has begun to set. The sky is starting to change colors and they day is drawing to a close.

In a few minutes, after I have posted this, I will make my way outside to begin evening feeding and chores. Last night I took a few extra minutes and just took in the sights and sounds as I started chores.

The turkeys greeted me and followed me around talking with me as I started chores, the Guineas were up in the front yard churping, the chickens were here and there talking, fluttering, running around. Pete brayed when he heard the door close because he knew dinner was only  a few minutes away. The horses began moseying up through the pasture field toward the gate, even the ducks started quacking in anticiaption of feed time.

The past few days and weeks, I have been messing with the turkeys, learning to mimick their sounds and clucks, and I can actually get them to follow me and answer me back. Earlier this afternoon, when I went outside, they came right to where I was and started chirping and clucking. Their best friends are the youngest hens, and I must say it is quite a sight to see Brahma hens hanging out with 4 large white turkeys.

A couple days ago, I brought home 2 ducklings, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending a few minutes with them this afternoon. My Americana hen ‘Noodle’ was sitting on eggs in the one nest box, but other than her it was just me and the baby ducks in the henhouse. They were not real excited when I picked them up, but I want them to get used to hunmans, and once I lifted them from the brood box, they were content for me to hold them for a couple miuntes at a time. They are the cutest things! I have actually tarted to reonsider hatching my own chicks next season, in part due to being around these adorable ducklings.

I enjoy so many of the aspcts of the farm, the turkeys and baby ducks have been a greatly enjoyed bonus this week! I look forward to watching the babies grow and being with the turkeys for the last weeks until they finish out. Hopefully I have encouraged you to look around you this evening, at the sunset, at your surrounds and enjoy them, even if it is only for a few minutes. Tomorrow is another day, and the beauty of today will have faded away to the beauty of a new day, but along with today passing, so have memories and moments that you may never get another chance to eperience. Enjoy it!

Summer Ending

The days are starting to shorten, the sun is taking longer to rise in the mornings and the darkness settles in a tad sooner as the final days of summer approach. I like this time of year almost as much as spring when everything is budding and waking from winter.

Many people around here have cut hay the past couple days, I am relieved to say that for the moment, my hay is taken care of. Hay has been a challenge and a bit of a struggl this year. We made it on several farms, and getting weather to make it has been rough. The older equipment we run does the job, but sometimes we have breakdowns that take a day or so to get needed parts orderded and in. We have been blessed enough to slowly begin to upgrade, and each year we make improvements, and I learn a little more about how to talk to the machines that provide for my herd over the winter.

The past few weeks, the project horses I have been lucky enough to work with this season, have improved enough to go home or impress their owners, or both! Girlie went home riding nicely undersaddle, Miss Attitude in town surprised the socks off me today when she rode further down the rail than she has yet, and she got right on the trailer! These horses have come so far, and tried so hard. Not only have they taught me to work with other kinds of horses and have helped me grow as a rider and as a horseman. I am finally mastering feeling the horse under me, and not just that its there, but feeling the way it moves,  deepening my contact and communcation. Understanding how the horse moves and feels under you allows you to be in constant communication with them, knowing what they are going to do before they do it jsut by tension in their muscles or a change in their stride.

Horses give to pressure and can be worked with just by rewading them with the removal of pressure when the desired result is obtained. Miss Attitude has not wanted to load, but by using more patience than I ever thought I had, and working with her on getting over her fear of smacking her head on the trailer, she learned to give to the slightest pressure when getting on the trailer. By keeping her head lower, when she gave to pressure verses raising her head in refusal, she decided the trailer was not nearly as scary as she originally thought. Which was a gigantic victory!!

Any aspiring horsemen or women out there, I encourage you to enjoy the individual traits in each horse you get to work with. They are all idifferent, and they all have something new to teach us.  Take your time and nd take it one day at a time. The end result witll be worth it!

Grateful This Sunday

What a busy week behind me! This was yet another full week here in southern Ohio. My weeks through the summer usually are, but I do not mind. Several things got marked off the ever growing To-Do list, I found new challenges for myself and I was given new opportunities to grow. Sundays in the past have always been a good time for me to reflect, on the week past as well as milestones that the sermon reminded me of, and today has been no different.

Unfortunately, I overslept yet again and did not make the service this morning. I am sure Pastor Jim and Pastor Jeff did an awesome job as usual with the message and praise and worship, and while I am sorry that I missed it, my body was so physically exhausted I could not force myself up and moving.

Today, Dad and I took advantage of the gorgeous weather and went back to the hayfield for another round of mowing. The weatherman says this week is going to be dry and beautiful and that means working in the hayfield all week.

The farm Dad mowed on today is so peaceful. I stood there just looking and taking in the scenery. The different kinds of trees, some of which I know others I do not recognize, but they include maple, pine and even apple trees! There are 3 good sized pasture/hayfields. Another that is over grown, but with a little bit of work would be an absolutely gorgeous farm. As I stood there looking around and taking in the sight, I started thanking and praising. God provided for me the hayfields I needed this year. The scenery is a big bonus, but I thorougly enjoyed the farm today, even though it was not my own.

I took Millie with us and she just loves running around out there. The trees make wonderful shady spots even in the afternoon sun. She eventually found a shady spot to rest, only after she had run around and stretched. She always likes to be out with us in the fields and usually stays close to me and the tractor.

Dad called me over to where he was mowing and I hurried to help with what he needed. When I got to the mower, he pointed down to the ground and there sat a Dove that was in no hurry to move. So I gently shooed her out of harm’s way and she fluttered to the tree line out of the mower’s path.

Sometimes it is the little things that makes up appreicate God’s picture for us even more. I am so grateful for the many blessings that I have been given especiallly this week. I hope you can find them in your own lives!