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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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.

Enjoying the Sunshine

Today was a mostly sunny day in southern Ohio. We had a few showers, but not enough to limit much in the farm. I was grateful for the nice weather to get a few things done.

Mr.M was kind enough to stop back and do most of the work fixing fence. There are a few things that unfortunately I am just not big enough to do. Setting new posts happens to be one of them. I helped, but Mr.M did the brunt work. Once the fence was fixed, and even the gate rehung! I was able to turn my focus to other things.

I rode the mare, nicknamed here as ‘Girlie’ and she actually cantered. I originally did not want her to canter so soon, but she did fantastic. She kept breaking into a canter while working circles and on the rail, so I encouraged her to keep her forward motion and she even took her correct leads on her own! She is doing much better about giving to pressure and following her nose.

I planned to ride the other mare, but the weather decided to not cooperate at that point. Monday will start a new week, with a new leaf and a new chance at making progress. We took a few steps in the right direction yesterday and I am looking forward to continuing with her next week.

I collected eggs next, and counted eggs to hatch, I am up to 8! My goal is ultimately a dozen home hatched chicks, so it may take a little longer, but I am excited about that! I am looking forward to hatching out a few chicks just to see how it goes. Ideally I get 6 pullets out of the dozen, but time will tell for sure.

As I looked over at the garden, I decided to stake the larger tomato plants. I missed a row with the tiller yesterday, but I was not fighting with that today. Maybe I will fire that up again Sunday. It took a lot of energy to till the weeds in the garden and I was not up for it today. This crazy week started to catch me today. I also started planning the fence to go around the garden. Started to begin driving posts, but again, that is a job that kills me. I can drive about 2 posts, then I am ready for a break. This ground is hard clay and it is tough driving, digging etc, not fun working on fence at all.

Still a few things to take care of this summer, looking forward to trying new things and seeing how the current endeavers turn out!

Peeps are Growing!

I deleted the wrong pictures this evening, I will have to take more tomorrow of the chicks that have grown! All of them grew a large amount within the past 2 weeks.

The oldest pullets are Americana, they are 10 weeks today, and they spent their first day out of the brooder Saturday. It took them a couple days to venture outside of the henhouse itself, all but one or two that were more adventurous. It has been a few days and they are all enjoying their time outside playing and eating bugs, grass etc.

The next oldest are the Light Bramas. They are about 6 weeks, give or take a little. Most of their feathers are now in. My mom did a very good job petting them and they enjoy being handled and petted. Several have names including ‘Polly.’ Polly has quite the personality, she is the boss of the others in that group. So far everyone is stil getting along between them and the turkeys. The exciting news with them is they now occupy the brooder in the henhouse, not the living room!

That brings me to the youngest birds, my white turkeys. They have almost all of their wing feathers. They are close to a month old, and are about the same size as their chicken companions.

It is a bit of a change, not having any live poultry in the house to check on as I walk by. Mom is happy to have the mess out of the house and the chicks happily where the mess is easier to clean up.

I have enjoyed watching the babies! The Americanas this weekend have been rather entertaining. Even today one was out hopping and flapping trying to fly a little. There are several new colors in my flock and I am excited to watch them mature the rest of the way. I cannot get over how nicely they are getting along with the older hens, even Roy is being good and the Guineas do not bother them. I was a little worried about turning them loose, but my older poultry are doing very well. The littler chickens are even drinking out of my waterer, which with some help from Mr.J we got the 2nd one put together. I am excited to see how things go the next few weeks as the chicks learn to roost and the pecking order is established amongst the girls. Springtime on the farm is always enjoyable with little ones!

Starting the Seeds

Almost 2 weeks ago, my sister helped me start a few seeds in degradable starter trays. We used a complete potting mix with fertilizer and nutrients so that I would not have to add any. My Grandma was nice enough to go with me to the local farm store and pick out the correct seeds for what I was wanting to plant.

Grandma helped me decide on two kinds of tomatoes, Best Boys and Rutgers, Cucumbers, Squash, Cantalope and Watermelon. I also started some lavendar plants. Grandma took me to her favorite plant store and greenhouse to pick out corn, peas and green beans to direct sow into my garden.

I was concerned at first that my seeds were not going to start at all. Doing more research I realized I had forgotten a few vital things…. one being a plastic cover to make a greenhouse type enviornment. Ooops… so I improvised! The chicks needed to be kept at 85 degrees, with light on them, so I moved my starts into the chicken coop and put it up on the nest shelf that the meat birds were not using. Waited a few days and viola! My seeds sprouted!

I was relieved when I noticed the first few shoots peeking out from the soil. I kept them in the with the chicks, which kept them warm and made sure to keep them moist. Finally after 2 weeks, I am confident I am off to a good start!

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All but 2 of my tomato plants have sprouted, and luckily it is one of each that seem to be dormant. I am not hopeful that they will sprout later, but for my first attempt at this, only have 2 tomato plants out of a total of 30 starts is not bad!

Things are coming along for the garden, Dad plowed up the plot Thursday. It has been raining since, so things are on hold until they dry out a little. Crazy to think I got excited over a few small sprouts, but for my first time I think it has gone pretty well, thanks to my sister! She has always had a green thumb and she helped me out a lot with getting these guys started!

On another note, the chicks are 5 weeks old Wednesday! 3 more weeks until they are ready to dress out. And I ordered the next batch to arrive on the 24th. More peeps! I can not wait! Something about spring that allows me to enjoy the animals and babies! I also found a really nice stud for my mare today! Such an exciting morning on the farm!

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!

Adventures with Millie continue

This morning I received a call from my local Post Office that my chicks were here! Needless to say, I did not think it best to take Miss Millie with me on that errand, so I brought the chicks home and got them settled in to the smaller coop with chick starter, fresh water, and their brooder bulb. I checked on them about an hour later, only to realize they were too cold. Bathroom brooder here we come!

I quickly dig out the smaller feeders and waterer along with the tote and got my lil guys set up in the bathtub. It did not take them long to settle in and decide the bathroom brooder was much better than the chicken coop.

When I was confident they were warm enough and taken care of, I ran the rest of my errands.  As soon as I grabbed my boots and coat, Millie was ready! I had not originally planned on taking her to town with me today, but it did not take much persuasion for me to let her ride along.

Our first stop was the local farm store of course. It stormed this morning, and still was as I started in to town. With horse feed to pick up, I was in need of a tarp. In addition to my tarp, I picked up 2 thermometers for the chicks so that I can better monitor the temperature in the brooder, be it in the bathroom or in the coop.

It was still raining, so I elected to return the screws that I picked up at the hardware store the other day that I ended up not needing. Millie waited patiently in the truck for the few minutes it took me to return the hardware. She is always glad to see me, but at least today she was not trying to climb out the window as she was yesterday.

Finally, our last stop was the feedmill  where I got my horse feed for the next few weeks. My older heeler, Wrangler used to ride with me just about every time I went to the mill. I was glad to get to take Millie with me this time. It was nice to purchase a pig ear for her, like I used to every trip for Wrangler. One of the guys on the dock was nice enough to help me load my batch of feed, and he asked about her. I let her out of the truck and she stayed close as I answered the couple questions he asked. Millie jumped right back up in the truck and I gave her the pig ear before I brought her back home.

No sooner did I make it in the door from unloading feed than mom told me the feed dealer from town had called and my pullets were in. So, back in the truck I got to pick them up. I brought home my 15 Ameracana pullets and introduced them to the Super Roasters, which were fast friends.

Once everyone was settled, I decided I needed to finish the barn chores that I did not get done yesterday. Of course, Millie came right back to the barn with me and played while I stripped the rest of the stalls. She would venture around the barn and then come back in and check on me every few minutes. I absolutely loved watching and spending time with the new chicks today, but even more than that, I enjoyed getting to spend time with my girl. It has not taken her long to become part of my family and hold a special place in my heart!

Little Moments

I have had the luxury of being on vacation this week. I enjoy my job thoroughly most days, but the past few mornings here at the farm have been wonderful. It reminds me how much I look forward to being able to spend more mornings on the farm someday.

Mornings have always been my favorite part of the day, many of my friends have thought for a long time I am crazy because of this. When I was in school, I enjoyed spending mornings in the barn before I started work, and today was no different. This morning was a little harder getting started, I was still a little stiff from yesterday, but the morning dawned clear and I had a lot I wanted to accomplish.

The promised rain for today had not started yet, so I started my morning by working both boys! I have no doubt that is the best way to start any morning! Jim wanted to play before he worked, but he completed his workout without too much complaining. Bart was full of energy also, but he made nice circles and rode pretty well. I always feel better after I ride and today was no exception.

Had a couple errands to run this morning, and decided to take Miss Millie with me! We surprised my coworker which was a lot of fun before going to the farm store and the lumber yard. When we got home, I got the coop ready and Millie came outside while I painted in the chicken coop.

I heard water splashing while I was in the barn cleaning stalls and looked out to see Millie in an old cooler that I used to use as a water trough. When she got out I dumped it, but my girl enjoyed playing in water several times today. Trying to give her a bath you would never know that she liked water!

Yesterday as dad and I were working on the chicken coop, the white duck, Bonnie, was playing in the puddle beside the barn. I watched her for several minutes dunk her head, then her tail, flap her wings, and just enjoy the water.

As I was seeding the pasture field yesterday, Millie was outside with me. She explored the treeline and the pasture field and finally ventured into Pete’s lot. I looked up to see her trotting through his area where he is turned out and I thought to myself, ‘This is going to be interesting.’ Sure enough Pete saw her and came toward her ears up, almost frollicking across the lot. As he got closer, his ears pinned back and his head came down. He did not like her in his lot at all. Millie scurried under the fence as low and as quickly as she could. I laughed as she darted under the fence.

I was thinking today, about these little moments on the farm just this week. Listening to the rooster crow while I was having breakfast the other day, the duck and Millie playing in the water, the donkey telling me I was running late getting the evening feeding started. All those moments that I do not take the time to think about, or to cherish. I loved each and every one through this week.

Part of my focus has been to make more memories, this week not only am I making more memories, but I am enjoying as many little moments as I possibly can!