Feeling Accomplished

This morning got off to a rough start. I tried to shake it, but the harder I tried, the tighter the gray cloud seemed hold. Dealing with the public, I pushed most of it aside and kept the customers smiling and laughing, but underneath it all I wanted to do was scream. It was no one’s fault, nothing that anyone did, I just could not shake it.

Even when I got off work and started stuff on the farm, I was still under this cloud. Even this evening when I went to work my latest project horse, I could not shake it. Flicka did really well today! My mood started to improve, just being in the saddle lifted my spirit.

When I got home, Miss M was here riding her horse. She ended on a much better note than she started on and many better days ahead. Seeing her ride encouraged me enough to get Bart out. All week I have been working on his canter. To the right he does not always want to hold his lead, and to the left he has been short strided and choppy. I have been using a training martingale on him the past few days and it has really helped to balance him out. Today he rode better than he has all week! His right leaded canter was flowy and nice and he only broke lead once. It was a somewhat quick fix, but he did not break again. His left leaded canter had choppy moments, but for the majority of the tim,e, he used himself properly and started rounding his back which lengthened his strides and soothed them out.

He was doing so well, Miss M had the poles set up, so we went through a couple times. He actually did flying lead changes! I am beside myself! He is weaving nicely and while his end turns still need some fine tuning, they are coming along nicely! Tonight I felt as though all the extra work I have done with him paid off. I feel like he finally understands what he is supposed to do and how he is supposed to move to maintain his balance!

My rough day quickly turned into a wonderful evening tonight! God blessed me through my colt tonight and I would not trade a single second of it! I look forward to the next couple of weeks with him, not to mention the upcoming summer!

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Rainbows: God’s Promises

The past couple days have been full of reminders for me. I have noticed some of the most wonderful things.

This evening, I heard thunder crack, and decided it best to bring the horses in and get the evening feeding chores done before the storm started. While this did not happen, fortunately the storm was just thunder and rain, so nothing worry about other than damp clothes when I was finished. As I was outside working, I looked up and saw this big beautiful rainbow that stretched far across the sky. I instantly was reminded of God’s promise to Noah, to never again flood the earth. The rainbow was His reminder to Noah, and He has sent me several reminders the past few days.

I have posted in the past about God’s promises, but I want to share for a moment about Him fulfilling one to my mother. Several years ago, I had a bad horse accident. It was a miracle I lived let alone that I can walk, talk, etc and especially ride. Before the accident, riding horses was my life. I rode almost every day. Me and my horses showed well, competed well, and placed a lot. Needless to say, the accident was quite a setback.

A couple years after the accident, I went to college. Several things were still out of kilter a bit, one being my balance. I chose a horse degree which included riding classes and breaking and training class. The program focused a lot more on English discipline riding than I was used to, and the first quarter I struggled. As I started learning to jump, one day I lost my balance as the horse was over the jump. Had he not been the good saint of a horse he was, I would have landed hard on the ground, but he was nice enough to shift his weight and land under me.

The few years since then I have ridden more and more and even done bareback riding to improve my balance. I noticed improvement, but yesterday it was obvious how far I have come. I used to be able to hang off the side of the horses and everything else, flying dismounts you name it. If it had legs I could just about certainly ride it. Problem horses were among my favorite mounts. After the accident I have been more careful.

Yesterday I was trail riding a project horse that had never been through the woods like that before. At first she was nervous about being away from her buddy, then a little about the branches and brush touching her. After a few minutes she settled down, but I had been leaning and ducking around and under the low branches on the trees and the prickly brush. I never lost my balance!

God promised my wonderful Mom that I would be restored to 100% of what I was before the acident. I am claiming and standing on that promise! Yesterday was a great reminder of the progress I make every day! God is an awesome God! He keeps his promises and He holds each and every one of us in His hands!

White Feathers are Coming!

The lil chicks continue to grow! It has been neat watching them change even over the past few days! The meat birds are getting bigger and bigger. They are taking less management as they are able to regulate their body temperatures more on their own now. Makes my life a lot easier.

Their yellow chick fuzz is giving way to their white plummage more and more everyday. Everyday they look less like baby chicks and more like chickens. They are bred to grow quickly and that is exactly what they do!

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These little guys are 4 weeks old Wednesday, and all but George, I bet are pushing a pound and a half. I so enjoy caring for them! They are eating more than 7 pounds of feed a day and drink probably 2-2.5 gallons of water every day. Their ideal temperature is right around 80 degrees this week.

The Americanas are also growing! They are changing colors more and more! They do not eat near as much feed as the boys, or drink nearly as much water, but they are right on schedule just the same.

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The girls seem to enjoy their new pen. I plan to incude pictures and how we assembled it in one of my next blog posts. The girls are much more skittish than the larger boys. Whenever I open the lid on the end to refill the feeder and waterer, they all run down to the other end, as far away from me as they can get. I can already see a couple different color variations in these new members of the flock. I am excited to watch as they continue to change and grow! The larger hens enjoy eyeing the new girls. Even the Guineas enjoy sitting on top of their box and watching the younger birds run around nervously. Eventually the new girls will get along with their older flock mates.

I thoroughly enjoy everyday I get to watch these babies grow! Hopefully you will check back to keep up with their progress and watch with me as they grow!

Growing Chicks!

The chicks are continuing to grow! Not that I expected anythin different, but life never ceases to amaze me. God designed creatures perfectly and watching babies grow is a perfect example!

The meat birds are of course growing much quicker than the Ameracana pullets, but that means things are going like they are supposed to!

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The chicks went on different feeds starting Monday evening, so they needed to be separated. This posed a new challenge… where to put the pullets? Big girls would be mean if i tried to introduce almost 3 week old chicks to the flock, and if I put some kind of partition up, it would crowd the boys. So my awesome Dad came to the rescue!

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Using a single sheet of plywood, 1 2×4, a piece of scrap chip board from the coop expansion, 2 hinges, 1 latch and some chicken wire left over from the stock tank brooder, I helped Dad construct this. The feeder and waterer are housed under the chipboard door to keep the bigger birds from leaving droppings in it if they happen to sit on the lid. I hung a thermometer from a piece of baling wire that I cut down so I can properly monitor the temperature for them.  The box is 6′ x 2′ so they have plenty of room to roam around even as they grow, which they are doing!

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These girls are also growing everyday! 15 new birds to introduce into the flock in the upcoming future. I cannot wait to watch how their persinalities develop. e3ach hen that I have now has their own little attitude or character and it keeps things very interesting.

The babies are always glad to see me as I bring fresh feed with me, and a couple of them, namely George, are getting rather tame. Spring time always brings many good things. This year it has brought baby chicks and baby plants, but more on those another day. Either way I enjoy watching things grow and thrive. There is a sense of accomplishment when your animals do well and healthy and happy.

Baby chicks are enough to brighten your day and your morning. It just makes you smile when you open their door and they greet you excitedly as waterers and feeders begin to be filled. Makes me smile to care for them and make them happy!

My Smallest Chick

I have enjoyed watching the chicks, especially the past couple days as they have seemed to grow almost constantly.  I noticed I have one Super Roaster that is smaller than all the rest, including the Amerucana pullets. I noticed the lil guy had a dirty bum today and decided I needed to investigate.

I am really surprised the little guy is still with us as small as he is, but I am glad to have him despite his size. I was extra extra small once myself, and I am still not a very tall or big girl. The little guy is healthy, just small.

I caught him when I got home from work, and carried the little guy inside. My mom dampened a cloth and I tried to soften the dirt and manure to get him cleaned up. When the dirt etc was persistent, I cut a milk jug and created a chick sized soak. I was surprised the little guy did not even complain when I submerged his bottom half in the warm water. He let me hold him in the water and after just a couple minutes, the dirt and manure easily came away from the skin all except one spot which unfortunately was stuck pretty good. I was worried about tearing his sensitive skin, so we gently snipped a small piece of his chick fluff and released the matt. He is now happily back with his fellow chicks eating and growing. I am hoping he grows more over the next couple days and gets closer to the size of the others, but if he doesn’t that is ok too.

I wanted to get a picture of him wrapped up in a rag as I gently dried him off before taking him back outside. He was cute sitting in my hand all wrapped up with his eyes closed. He did not have a care in the world as I cleaned him up.

It just reminded me as I held that chick that the Bible tells us to be good caretakers of our animals. That is what I did today and what I will do everyday I have animals. God has blessed me with the animals and livestock in my care, it is my responsibility to make the best choices for them that I can. I get a lot of joy from my animals and the farm, despite the expenses, the late nights, early mornings, hard days, all of it is my job right now. I enjoy everyday I get to spend with them!

Lost in Thought

Th past few days, I have neglected to post. Not because I did not want to, or because nothing has been going on at the farm, quite the opposite in fact, but because once again my thoughts are almost overwhelming. Just been a lot to take in lately let alone absorb and mull over.

I started to post about the sermon Sunday. It was a beautiful sermon on the cross. Very appropriate with Easter approaching, as well as very fitting. The cross as awful as it was, was essential and vital for us to live! The greatest part of that is that Jesus is no longer o that cross, He is living again, interceding for you and for me. Giving us the freedom from our sins and the opportunity to live in heaven! What a blessing! I hope that you think about that the next few days as you are ceebrating Easter with your famillies.

Monday brought another full day. I helped a buddy with ongoing renovations in a house that he is flipping. I always learn when I am able to go help. This time I helped lay subtype flooring, staple up plastic and frame in a closet. For my help, hebrought me a barrel, which I needed for my chickens and gave me a scrap piece of PVC pipe to fix my waterer with! Expanding my knowledge in carpentry with hands on work is the best way to learn. I get to run power tools as I help work on the house, which has prepared me for several projects here on the farm.

The weather this weeken was beautiful! And I took advantage of it by riding the boys. Jim worked better than Bart the past couple days, and I think it is due to having time off. Jim is a lot more seasoned and I think Bart just needs more consistant work for a couple weeks and he will be right where I want him. I am so excited about this race season, I came home from work today and was looking at shows and schedules.

Then there is the chicks, which are growing of course! They turn 2 weeks old tomorrow. I will try to get pictures tomorrow for my next post, however, the meat birds are nearly twice the size of the pullets. The meat cockrels fill my hand when I pick them up! They are still cute yellow fuzz balls and are enjoying their more spacious area back outside since the weather is warmer.

Several things starting to come together. I have a place selected for the garden, just need to start preparing the ground. There is a good bit of clean up that needs done, a few things that need moved out of the way and then to prepare the soil. I have a good dea of what I want to grow. Hoping to start making progress on that soon.

So many things running through my mind the past few days, been nearly impossible to sort them out, but little by little, one day at a time, I inch toward my goals.

Cold Night Ahead

Temperatures in Ohio have dropped all day and will continue tonight. The change in temperature affects all livestock. The horses get fresher, the hens were acting like hooligans tonight, the ducks still did not want to go into the coop. Bernie, the littler brown duck walked up the ramp and halfway in the henhouse only to change her mind and turn around. I don’t understand, but as long as she is happy.

The change in temperature brought the babies back inside. This time in the living room, and my mom is being a good sport despite her dislike of baby chicks in her living room. I do not think they would have been warm enough even with the heater running constantly outside. So, Dad told me to bring them in the living room, and even helped me bring them in!

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They seem to be content so far in their stock tank brooder. The thermometer is reading 90 steadily, so that is right where it is supposed to be this week. The challenging part about this brooder compaed to being outside is the waterer. Outside I have a 3 gallon top fill waterer. Easy! But it does not fit in the tank and give the chicks any room, so it stays outside. When the chicks are inside, I use a 1 gallon gravity fed waterer that you flip over to fill. It makes such a mess, but it is only for a couple days.

With any luck this will be the last cold snap for the season and they can go outside for good. I want to do what is best for them, even if it means a little more work for me. They are growing strong and healthy! Means I am doing something right.

I get so much enjoyment from my little farm. Watching and listening to the animals play and talk to one another is so interesting to me. The donkey, Pete, talks all the time. He tells you if you happen to be five minutes late to feed.

Last night Dad and I were finishing the roof on the coop and Roy was perched on the roost when I went inside to help dad adjust the placement of the pieces. He watched me out of one eye, as he knew I was tempted to pick him up and hold him. He did not want to be bothered, at all. So, at first I obliged him and left him alone. When I had to go inside a second time to adjust another piece, the temptation was too great. I lifted him from the roost and held him gently stroking his neck and back as I carried him outside to show dad. Roy just watched me. It was very clear he was not enjoying being a pet rooster, but he has a nice enough personality he let me hold and pet him. I did not keep him long, before returning him to his coop. I just enjoyed him for a few minutes, my rooster, that I raised and watch everyday. He is such a nice boy! I can’t wait for more days ahead just enjoying the time with my animals!

Farmer Thoughts Today

Last week, I watched a college friend eager with excitement that her long awaited, and overdue foal was coming. She soon realized that she had major problems and ended up loosing foal and momma both.

I have been asked for pics of my chicks, so I am including one with this post. But there is something I hope you all think about as you see them. The past 2 nights I have gone almost sleepless. Sunday night, I woke up cold myself, and I ran to the bathroom to check on my babies. Of course they were cold too, all huddled in one big ball. I started working, mind you it was 2am. It took me almost an hour to bring the tiny bathroom up to a temperature that was comfortable for them. Then I was up additionally once or twice an hour to check on them and make sure they were not too hot or too cold. Their precious bodies have such a small window of tolerency, and I as their caretaker had the responsibility to ensure they are taken care of.

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I was very blessed all my chicks made it through the night, and the heat bulb was replaced as soon as I realized it was the problem. Everything was fine Sunday night. I was so glad things went well and smoothly, I prepared to move them outside. As I posted yesterday, the chicks did make it outside yesterday with a heater and a heat bulb working together to keep them comfortable.

Last night, I had been asleep roughly half an hour when I was awakened. My dad came to tell me that the power flickered and we had a storm coming. We talked about the best measures to take to keep the chicks warm in the even that the power did go out and I made it back to sleep a bit later. As 1:30 this morning approached, I was startled by rain pounding outside. It sounded as though it was coming down in buckets. I checked my clock, and the power was on, but there was no way I could go to sleep wondering if it was going to stay on or if I would be needed to tend to the chicks.

I have said all that to say this, farming is not an easy job. Livestock management is no easy task, as tough decisions must sometimes be made and death on a farm is dealt with all too often. The lightbulb I replaced let me loose a couple chicks, and unfortunately, I held 2 in my hand when they took their last breath. Some say it is just a chicken, or it is just a horse, or a dog, or whatever the case may be. I have lost all of the above listed. The bottom line is it is life, and life is precious no matter who it belongs to. I cherish everyday I get to spend with those I love, both humans and animals and I really hope you are encouraged to do the same.

One Year Blogging Anniversary!

Today makes it exactly a year since I started my blogging advenure! Just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to my readers and followers! I have learned a lot about this in the past year, and hope that I continue to deliver helpful, encouraging and uplifting posts for you to enjoy. Thank you for your interst in my little farm!

Today is a big day for this shipment of chicks! They moved to their outside coop today. For those of you that are curious as to if it is warm enough outside for that, the answer is no. However, they are under a 250 watt heat bulb and I have a thermostatically controlled ceramic heater that is currently keeping their coop a comfortable 95 degrees just for them. They are grateful for the extra room to run and play as the bathtub was not very roomy for the now 38 chicks. They are already noticably growing! The Super Roaster cockrels are already surpassing their pullet companions and so far everyone is playing nicely.

I would have liked to keep them in the bathroom brooder for a few more days, or maybe even another week, however it was just too much. There are currently 4 of us sharing the same bathroom, and it was absolutely crazy to pull that off with chicks in there. Not to mention for the chicks to be comfortable, 95 degrees was a little warm for the humans of the house.

While we are on the subject, I just want to take a minute and say how awesome my mom is. There was no hesitation when I came dragging the supplies from last year and sat the chick brooder up in the bathtub. She never complained, or fussed or even suggested alternative ideas, only encouraged and supported my endeaver. How many moms do you know that would really encourage their children to move the chicks into the bathroom? Mine did! Not only that, she even suggested turning on an additional heater to make sure they were warm enough. Moms like that are hard to come by and I am just lucky enough to call this one mine!

It was a busy week last week, as many of you saw, and it ended with a busy weekend. Now that it is all over, I look back and realize how much we got done and how many things I was able to mark off of the never ending, and infamous, to-do list. I never could have done it without my family!