Jerry & Josie

A couple weeks ago, I noticed a splash in the big puddle by the barn, as I was letting horses in for the evening. The next day it was there again. The ducks love this puddle, they swim and play in it everyday. They have wallered it out, along with the big tractor, over the winter and spring. It is now quite large and desperately needing gravel… it is on my list.

With all the rain lately, the puddle has grown, and so have its residents. I started noticing these splashes more often, and now they were beginning to be after a ‘plop’ sound. I also notived several ripples in the puddle, that is now a murky green, for several days.

As the weather is getting warmer, downright hot some days, I have been hearing frogs and crickets especially in the evenings. I assumed the culprit for the splashing in the puddle was a frog, but I had not seen him until just a couple days ago. I happened to look into the puddle at just the right moment, and see a frog, about 3/4 the size of my hand! He is a light green color with a lighter belly, and most definitely a frog, not a toad.

Last night while I was out doing my usual routine feeding, not only did Jerry frog splash, but there was a second, smaller splash. Dad suggested he brought his girlfriend with him, so I decided to call her Josie for now.

I was worried for a day or two last week when my familiar splashes did not welcome me at feeding time, but they were back last night. I am glad the little frogs are getting comfortable enough with me around to watch me, and wait even a second or two before the descend below the surface to the concealment of the murky water.

I know that this pair of frogs will not be here very long, but they have been fun to watch the past couple weeks. I have enjoyed watching them and listening to them on these warmer summer nights. The best part about it, is they do not even know how much enjoyment they have brought me. They do not know I look for them when I go out to feed or that I enjoy listening to them chirp to other frogs hiding in the yard. Just another thing about our little farm that I have been enjoying lately!

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Spring?

Here in Ohio, I think we have skipped spring and jumped straight into summer! I watched a few minutes of the news last night and we are above normal temperatures all this week. I am not comlaining a bit, the warm, sunny weather has been very nice to ride the horses in.

If you have been following me long, I am willing to bet it is no surprise when I say that since spring seems to have sprung, things have picked up here on the farm. Over the weekend, my younger siblings helped my plant the rest of the peas to go with the potatos. Garden plans are being made and I picked up Grandpa’s plow to till the garden in preparation for planting in just about 2 weeks!

I set eggs in the incubater a few days ago, and I am not having very much luck. I am still hopeful that candling in a few days will bring me good results. The humiditiy and temperature have been very difficult to get regulated this go around, even more so with the hot humid weather the past few days. Truly only time will tell, but I was worried about another bad hatch, and impulsively bought 15 chicks that the farm store had marked down to $1 a piece Sunday…. I think I may have a problem. I never being a chicken, or rather a chick, addict was a problem that someone could really have.

The meat chickens are growing well! They are 13 days away from butchering. I must say they are eating like pigs! Which is great because that means they are healthy and growing well. They are one thing on the farm I am excited to see come, but ready to see go also. I enjoy them, but I am glad I prepared and started them a little early this year. It means the work will be done a few weeks earlier than normal and the busiest part of my summer has one less thing in it.

This weather has been wonderful for working horses! I started Bart back on the barrel pattern last night and I am pleased with how he did. I really think this is going to be his year to come into himself so we can see what we have. The little filly is doing better each ride also! She is very smart, and so far seems fairly eager to work. I just hope it stays that way.

The next few weeks will be busy as I hopefully get the ‘spring’ list checked off, but this is my favorite time of year. The flowers are blooming, the grass is growing and the sun stays up a bit later. Enjoy the weather!

Happy Monday

Waking up to snow this spring morning was a little unexpected. I heard about th forsythia blooming last week and was hopeful that we had seen the last of the snow for the season here in south eastern Ohio. However, this was not the case! I have heard many people joking that Ohio is the only state that has all 4 seasons in a single day, and it is much more true than I care to admit.

I checked the weather yesterday, and after tomorrow night, it should stay warm enough to put the chicks outside. That is none too soon! I even got chicks a little later this year hoping that the weather would be warmer, but no such luck. The chicks have been hapily brooding in my bedroom floor, and I have been sleeping elsewhere for almost 2 weeks. I am ready to have my space back. Most people probably think it crazy, that I would do it again in a heartbeat. I absolutely enjoy having the chicks and look forward to it every year!

Wednesday the chicks will get to try out their new broodbox that Mr.T helped me with! I am excited to finally try it out! When I tested it, I could not get it any warmer than 50 degrees even with the heat lamp, because the temperatures outside were so cold. I will get it all set up for them tomorrow so that it will be ready for them Wednesday!

I thoroughly enjoy having them inside where I can easily peek in and monitor their food, water etc, but they are getting more and more time consuming to keep up with inside. The bedding they are going through increases each day in the smaller pen inside, so moving them outside will also be easier to keep the larger pen clean.

I am so blessed that they are happy and healthy! That is the ultimate goal of any farmer, healthy livestock. So far so good with this batch of chicks.

Introducing Uno

My last post was about the latest excitement on the farm, my first time hatching chicks! So I wanted to delve a little deeper into that and share a few more special moments with you!

The meat chicks arrived through the mail last Friday, and I set them up a brood box in my bedroom. I went in awhile later to check on them and make sure everything was ok, and I thought I would check on my incubator as well. The eggs were due to hatch Friday night into Saturday morning.  Low and behold a chick was making it’s way out of the shell!

I was so excited! I watched as it wiggled itself out of the shell and proceeded to climb over and around the numerous other eggs in the incubator. This little chick fought his way over to the side where I was standing and watching and made himself at home there. I checked on him and watched him several times throughout the afternoon and evening as I waited for another chick to join him. He looked so lonely.

Sure enough the next morning a couple more chicks had hatched and were keeping ‘Uno’ company. I checked on them several times and when they were dry and stable, moved them to a brood box alongside the larger meat chicks.

Uno has become easy to spot with his light body and red head. At least one other chick that hatched was larger than Uno, and I am really hoping Uno is a pullet. Time will tell soon enough.

I was looking at her today, and her wing feathers have started to come in! Uno is almost a week old and very healthy and seems very laid back, so far anyway.

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I am tickled absolutely pink that even a few hatched. I was hoping more would, but I learned a lot and hope things go better next time. Stay tuned for updates!

Hatching Chicks

The past few days have been busy! The chicks have started to hatch, and as a first time hen, I had a few nervous moments. The meat chicks arrived Friday, safe and sound, and have been brooding in my bedroom where they are warm and cozy. Those little boogers are growing like weeds already!

Ironically, my first Americana chick hatched Friday also, lovingly called Uno. The light colored chick with a red head was a fighter as he had to spend his first night alone in the incubator. None of his friends had hatched yet to talk to. Currently, 12 eggs have hatched, and sadly I lost 2 chicks. Today when I got home from work, I decided the rest of the eggs must be duds, and I unplugged the incubator.

I went in a little while later, to check on the chicks I simply could not resist bringing home today when I visited the local Farm Store and I walked over to the incubator. If it was cool I was going to start getting rid of the bad eggs and cleaning, sterilizing, the whole 9 yards. As I stepped over to it, I hear peep peep. I thought man that was loud to be one of the chicks in the brooder. So I pulled the one end of the tray up, thinking I had missed a chick that may have fallen under it, but no chicks.

Then I heard it again, peep peep. Ok, that definitely was not from the brooder. I did a little more investigating and discovered a chick was starting to hatch! Luckily the incubator had not been off long and I decided the best thing to do was to plug it back in. lol As I got to looking at a few more of the eggs I have left, it appears that several more of them may hatch. Even though I found this odd, I think it boils down to the difficulty I had at the beginning of incubation keeping the temperature consisstant in my incubator.  It was a fight for the first few days keeping the temperature and humidity regulated.

Any stragglers will be gladly welcomed! I am super excited at the possibility of hatching a few more of my own chicks and cannot wait to meet them!

Starting Seeds

Yesterday I spent a little extra tie with my sister, which I surprisingly enjoyed very much! She went with me to pick up a few things, and then she helped me start some seeds for plants for the garden before she helped me make pizza rolls for dinner last night.

Mr.T helped me make a grow box to start my seeds in, and hopefully have better luck than last year. My sister has always liked to play in dirt, so I got out my supplies and let her go at it. She jumped right in and helped me with planting and the initial watering of my seeds!

A few weeks ago, Mr.T helped me make a grow box by lining a storage tote with reflective insulation stuff, drilling vent holes in the sides, and wiring spaces for 3 lightbulbs in the lid of the tote. So far so good! I love that I can put the lid on to keep my little brother out of it, which he is convinced there are baby chickens in there. I have to say it is kind of cute to watch him try to convince me there are babies in there! LOL The lid also easily removes so I can check on the plants and water them as needed.

I decided to start 3 varieties of tomatoes, Rutger, Better Boys and a variety of grape tomatoes, my brother loves them, as well as strawberries and my first attempt at broccoli. I started them early enough if push comes to shove and I kill them, highly likely, that I can purchase starts from a local nursery/greenhouse.

I am excited to say that in addition to the plants, I candled a few eggs last night and they are fertile with an embryo developing! I did not candle each egg, so I cannot say for sure at this stage how many are indeed fertile, but hopefully I will be able to do that within the next couple of days.

Spring time brings new life, and new growth, especially on the farm! This year is no different as I start plants and begin incubating eggs, so much is starting, and I cannot wait for the next couple of weeks when chicks start to hatch and plants come up! Stay tuned for progress reports!

March Goals

I cannot believe today is March 1st! 2018 is flyin by and I cannot believe it. The first of the month is a great time to take a moment and reflect, and set new goals. Sharing them with you, I hope encourages me to stick to it and accomplish the things I set out to do.

I did very well at making things a priority in Feruary, and I hope to continue to keep my priorities in March, as well as add a few. The warmer temperatures bring more outside work, and I hope to challenge myself to continue working to be where I want to be.

Last year, my Aunt in Texas mentioned scripture writing, and I decided to give it a try then, which I was unable to keep up with. I have picked it up and tried again, and it has been a wonderful way to spend time with my Lord! Giving myself something physical to do while thinking on the specific words I am writing gives me an outlet and a way to occupy my body while my mind works. I am going to continue that through March and hope that it continually gives me new, positive things to think about so that I can continue growing.

Another thing my Aunt mentioned last year, is a plank challenge…. so I think I am going to give that try starting today, it is a 28 day challenge that I found, but I think it can easily be extended to 31 days. Riding will be starting next week for me, and I am chomping at the bit to get back in the saddle. I am hoping that the extra exercise of riding in addition to the plank challenge I have found will help me tone up a little. When I was toned a little a couple years back I had so much more self confidence. My hope is to get back to that, and feeling good about myself again.

Next week also brings starting seeds and setting eggs, which I am absolutely beside myself about! I have never incubated eggs before and I have been counting down the days! I started a few seeds last year but I did not do very well with watering them, and unfortunately I killed every one of the plants I started about a week or so into their growth. Very disappointing experience, so this time I have added that to the daily tracker in my Bullet Journal, which will keep it in front of my mind to do.

Spring is my favorite time of year, and this year spring is full of excitement! I simply cannot wait to see how the next few weeks go!

Wild Weather Wednesday

Today happens to be Wednesday, and this week it brough wild weather with it! About 3:35 I was awakened to freezing rain pinging off the tin roof. I love the sound, but dreaded what I knew was ahead: feeding and driving to work in the snow and ice. The horses, and donkey appreciated me sliding my way down the bank to the barn. I was glad to have managed staying on my feet this time.

When I started the car about quarter after 5, it had a nice little ice coating, that the defroster worked at for about 15 minutes and I still had to scrape it. Two tries out of my driveway later, I was successfully on my way. I am grateful for a safe journey this morning.

I am sure the local kids appreciated the snow day, but I hope more, that the parents, teachers, etc made it to work safe and sound. Weather like this makes me all the more grateful for 4 wheel drive, a wood stove and diligent road crews. Although I am sure it would have been good for a laugh or two if you saw me trying to stay on my feet to feed this morning.

I was grateful I thought ahead last night and made a few extra preparations for this mornings feeding. Having hay carried down and ready made this morning go that much smoother.

I think the consensus from Ohioans at this point is unanimous, we are counting down to spring. Every day brings us closer to it! Which means taking days like today and getting the research done and preparations made so that when the weather breaks, we are good to go for spring gardening, hatching, foaling, the list goes on and on. I am super excited for spring! Days like today allow me to look forward that much more to it! It will be here before we know it!

Setting February Goals

January is better than half over, and I cannot believe it is already there! February will be here before I know it, and since I did not make any resolutions this year, I am setting some goals for February.  A new month feels like a fresh slate.

Jim is off until he is cleared from the vet, which I hope is sometime next month. Until then, I have 2 other horses to start conditioning and tuning to be prepared for when the season starts, and I am hoping to start with them the first week of Februrary. I am very much looking forward to seeing how they come along this season! I have to start somewhere and the best way is to just start riding and see how they do.

I want to start focusing again on my spiritual walk, I have been slipping, and now is not the time for that. I plan to challenge myself to write scripture everyday in February which will keep me focused on it, and with any luck improve my handwriting. When I did that before, it gave me a chance to reflect further on the scripture and mull it over in my mind. I enjoy that time, reflecting on scripture. I learn more and retain more and that is exactly what I should be doing more.

Spring is coming and there are things to do on the farm to prepare for the coming of new arrivals! I am planning to incubate and hatch eggs! As well as I have a mare due. I will be relieved when she has foaled out and that is one less thing off my mind, but I am so excited to have a foal coming.  I have neve hatched out chicks before and I cannot wait to set the incubator up! I am looking forward to trying something new.

There are a few loose ends to tie up on the lean to and the haybarn to start on. I am glad to have both of those projects moved to the in-progress list! A few little things and the lean to is totally done, and the haybarn is a spring project, but it will make life so much easier on the farm.

I also plan to build a pen for the meat birds this spring as the one I used last year did not have enough air circulation for the larger meat birds. A small project ideally, but a project regardless. Hopefully I have better luck with them this year. So much to look forward to!

Back In Action

It seems like forever since I have blogged! Never fear, I did not forget, life has just been busy and then even busier with the holidays. But, with the start of a new year, I have set several new goals and I cannot wait to share them with you!

I have been researching the past few days, about a bullet journal, and I bought supplies tonight to get started! I was going to bind it myself (I experimented with this for a Christmas gift) but decided I would start with something prebound. I selected a flat laying journal, with brown paper pages. They are unlined so that I can make each page whatever I decide. Stay tuned for updates on that!

I bound my first book (after watching an amazing YouTube video) and after doing one, I decided to do a second. I may write a blog about how I did that. I was looking online for a Riding Lesson Journal I could purchase for  a Christmas gift, but I could not find what I wanted. So my mom helped me design my own pages and print them properly for my journal, then I was able to sew them into the cover.

Hopefully you made it through the holidays easily and enjoyed time with your family and friends! I know we did here. The brutal temperatures the past couple weeks have kept me busy, just keeping animals fed and watered. In the next couple days, I will be updating you about the newest additions! For Christmas, my Mom, brought home 15 chicks, which are set up in our living room where they are nice and toasty in this way colder than normal Ohio winter.

Several things set in motion on the farm, I cannot wait to tell you about it all. New adventures on the horizon, and new goals for 2018 to grow my horsemanship and help my horses perform better. Hopefully I keep my motivation and determination as 2018 progresses.