Working in the Chicken Coop

The past couple weeks I have been picking away at little jobs that have been adding up in the chicken coop. A good friend, Mr. J, suggested a new roost idea as well as moving the brood box and he even helped me hang the new nest boxes! The brood box is now under the window, with a poop tray under the new roosts that are now above the brood box. Mr.J, also looked into fixing my water system and even went with me to get the necessary parts and put the first one together!

It was interesting standing in my local farm store discussing fittings and bushings with their maintenance man who was kind enough to follow along with my idea and helped me get the correct pieces to make it work. Today I finished the second waterer all by myself! Once I was shown how to do it, it was not a difficult project, but I would not have figured it out by myself. So I now have 2 waterers put together, one that works beautifully, the other I will test as soon as the Cement has a good chance to dry thoroughly.

Mr.J and I were talking and I mentioned how nice it would be to have a cabinet to keep a few things in the chicken coop. One of which was lightbulbs, the chickens go through lightbulbs like crazy, because they break them. Now I have a place to put them! Mr.J sent this home with my Dad and I hung it a few days later!

0616171901.jpg

This little cabinet has a small latch on the top to keep the door closed. It is the perfect size for my coop! It is a perfect place to keep my antiseptic spray medication, lightbubs and I put my PVC Primer and Cement in there today so if I need it to work on the water system it is right where I left it.

I have another idea for a roost that I hope to implement within the next few weeks. I am also planning to let a hen sit on a few eggs starting this week! I thought I had enough chickens but I decided I did not!

I enjoy all the time I get to spend with my chickens and my little flock! The diversity among Guineas, chickens, ducks and even turkeys is amazing. Hopefully I can let the Brahamas and the Turkeys out in a couple weeks to be introduced to the larger birds.

Garden Time!

Friday my wonderful Grandpa was nice enough to come down and help me with my garden. When I got home from work, he was dragging it by hand with a manure rake. I quickly took it from him and after a field trip to look at a hayfield and a round baler, I finished raking the garden. It worked up very nice thanks to him and dad plowing and discing the area.

Grandpa showed me how to make rows with his push tool that I do not even know the name of. Grandpa made the first few rows and showed me how to plan the corn that I selected. I planted 4 rows of corn and still had some left! But Grandpa decided that 4 rows would be enough. Then he put the seeds for the green beans into the seeder and then the peas. So I have 1 row of white half runners and 2 rows of peas.

After that Grandma showed me how to hill in the garden for watermelon, cantalope, squash and cucumbers. We would have done the tomatoes also, but I forgot to get them. So I had to do them on my own yesterday, but I did it! I got a total of 12 tomato plants, 6 better boy, and I got 6 of what I thought were Rutgers, but they are something else, so that could be interesting come harvesting time.

My original plan with the tomatoes was 6 plants for eating fresh tomatoes from the garden and 6 plants for juicing tomatoes. My mom requested 12 quarts of tomato juice and Grandma said 6 plants should be enough to get that.

I am really curious to see how my plants do for my first attempt. Time will tell, just got to wait, be prepared to weed and water as necessary and hope it works out well. I am excited to be able to eat veggies that I raised myself! And I cannot wait to learn to can, green beans and tomato juice. I know it will be a little more work, but I am looking forward to learning how to do this!

 

Celebrating Spring

My Grandpa has been after me to purchase turkeys to feed out for Thanksgiving and CHristmas dinner. I did some research about when to buy for optimal maturity etc etc. They were on sale yesterday at the local farm store, and I could not resist.

0530171130.jpg

The white and black chicks are my Mom’s Light Brama pullets purchased as an early Mother’s day gift. My how they have grown! They were fast friends with the 4 new turkeys! I enjoyed just listening to them chatter last night. They are settling in and getting along nicely.

The older Ameracanas are hopefully going to get to be free ranging within the next week or two! So excited I cannot wait for that!

Been a rough couple of weeks around here, and instead of focusing on the patience trying and frustrating things going on, I am trying to focus on the bright side of things. I have so much to be thankful and this latest picture is just another reminder of that!

God has been so good to me especially the past few weeks. He opened up doors for hayfields for this year! It is looking like I will have enough that I do not have to purchase hay again next year.

Several doors are opening in the horse world for me including horses to train, shows to judge and my colt even had a great out this past weekend! Exciting opportunities, meeting new people, working with new people and horses, expanding my horse knowledge and experience!

My Grandparents came and helped me get the garden ready to plant which I am hoping to begin in a few days. The ground is ready! That is a whole other experience for the first time. I am eager to see how the plants do, what grows well and what I struggle with.

One of my friends posted today and it was an awesome reminder that no matter what storms come in our lives, whatever challenges we face, praise God through it! My wonderful Pastor tells us all the time to “Put a praise on it!” That is what I am trying to do. God has a plan, and my frustration is part of it. I am looking forward to what he brings me to next!

Hopefully this encourages you today, to praise Him regardless of what is going on, or what happens yesterday, today, tomorrow. God is right there through it, giving us thing to rejoice about, even if it is something as simple as turkeys being on sale at the farm store!

My Lifestyle

Life is all about choices, and how the choices we make affect us and those around us. Every aspect of my life has been chosen, my job, my hobbies, my horses, my chickens, even my vehicles and relationships. The best part is it is mine to choose, mine to change and mine to live.

I feeel I fall into the farm/agriculture/horse lifestyle bracket. Most people do not realize that having horses is a lifestyle choice, not just a hobby, but when you get serious about the animals and the sport, it truly becomes something you eat, sleep and breathe.

An example, two years ago I purchased a cute little Ford Aspire, ‘Matilda’ as  called her. My daily driver at that time was an F-250 Super Duty and the fuel mileage was eating a ginormous chunck of my paycheck. Tildy paid for herself within the first 6 months I had her! I loved driving her, in fact I started going more places because I could afford to. She got nearly 4 times the mileage the truck did.

Due to an old injury, my hip pops out of place, and her 4 speed transmission was not easy on it. Other than that, when I had to pick up feed or anything, she was not handy and ‘Big Red’ had to make the trip. I was still way ahead and was actually able to save some money.

About a month ago, I started looking for a smaller pickup. Tildy was getting harder and harder on me to drive. Not that she was any harder to operate, but my body did not take it as well. I have dealt with hauling bags of grain in her and wrestling them in and out was crazy. I could only get 1 square bale in her, and I worked one day at getting even a second one, it just would not fit.

My Grandpa found a Toyota pick-up, it is an ’88 model and still currently searching for a name. That little truck has been the handiest thing ever as I have already used it several times to haul grain, hay, potting soil, bedding, even lumber and tools, and the ease of loading and unloading is unmatched. The gas mileage is not quite as good as Tildy, it does save gas, especially when considering I can run the big truck even less than before.The best thing about the little truck is it does not hurt me to drive but still allows me to care for my livestock and run farm errands. If it were not for having the animals, I probably would not have looked at replacing the car, but it was one of the best decisions I have made in a long time!

Hoping to enjoy both the Toyota and Big Red for many years to come as they help me complete farm chores and errands, haul me and the horses to shows and events, and take me to work. I am looking forward to it!

via Daily Prompt: Lifestyle

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.

Productive Weekend

The weather in Ohio this weekend was beautiful and I spent a good bit of time outside! There is always plenty to do on the farm, and when you get the weather to do it, all the more reason to jump in with both feet.

I have plans as I have mentioned, to put out a garden this year, and raise meat chickens. Our family freezer is on the small side, so I have been starting to look for one. I was lucky enough to find a used one that I picked up this weekend. My brother in law helped me get it unloaded and put into the basement, so that was one thing off the list!

I put the first coat of paint on the short chicken coop a week or so ago, but the weather this weekend was too nice to stay inside, so I finished up the second coat in order to continue getting it ready for chicks to arrive this week! There was another thing off the list! On my way home from work, I stopped at the local farm store and picked up a few things for the chicks. A bag of fresh shavings and a heat bulb were on the list.

So I got home, dawned some old work clothes and went to work. I took out the 3 nesting boxes that were on the floor for the ducks, since the ducks no longer go in there. Then i got a shovel and I scraped and cleaned all the old manure out. Finally I spread the clean shavings out so that the chicks have a fresh and clean place to sleep.

I decided it best since I was already dirty, to go ahead and clean out my henhouse. Boy that was a dirty job! It is done now though. Wednesday begins the expansion to the henhouse so that when the 15 pullets are ready, so is the henhouse.

All the chicks are due to arrive in 3 days, and my goal is to have everything ready when they get here! Want the babies to have a cozy comfy place to relax and grow. Can not wait for them to arrive!

Restoration

There are a lot of issues and things that I do not take to social media. That being said, I have something to share that really hit me this morning as I sat in church. One person touching on something is chance, but when you hear the same words numerous times, it means something important.

One of my coworkers and I talk often of our faith and His workings in our lives. I was talking with her and asked her to pray. Not only did she pray with me, and I know she continues to pray over the situation, she shared with me that this is the year of restoration. God’s hand has already been in the situation, and I have no doubt He will continue walking through it with everyone involved. But that word, Restoration, I have been holding on to it, claiming it in this storm.

This morning in church, my Pastor read a scripture from Psalms about the Lord being alive. He continued on and talked about how God proves to us that He is alive before talking about Restoration. There it was again, that word, Restoration!

I hate to admit I was tired and was having trouble paying attention, until he mentioned Restoration. My ears perked up and I do not think I missed another word of his sermon, including how everything eaten by even the crickets and locusts will be Restored to His people.

Pastor also talked about how God hears our prayers, always even when we do not feel as if He does. He is always there to listen when we call on Him. With that knowledge comes the importance of thanking, praising and gratitude along with asking. It is such a reassuring thought that whenever I pray, He is there waiting on me to talk to Him. I have noticed my personal prayer life change several times over the course of time. Regardless of how I pray, He is always there, waiting to receive me and listen.

2017 has already had several obstacles for me, my friends and my family. God has tested me in new ways and what I feel are new expectations as I learn to push myself and step out of my comfort zone. I am claiming and holding onto the Restoration of this year. God has big things in store for the next few months, maybe even the next few years. It is my job to be ready.

Pete!

I got a surprise phone call from my Dad Wednesday when I got off work, he had been at the local auction barn, and it was sale day. I have been looking for a donkey for awhile, in the hopes of keeping coyotes and critters run off the farm and they are just so darn cute!

So, I went back to the sale barn and looked at this donkey. He looked young, and healthy. Those long ears just as cute as can be. I told Dad how much I was willing to spend and we discussed bringing him home. Mind you, I drove dad back to the barn in my little Ford Aspire hatchback. We had not planned to buy a donkey!

The little guy came through the ring, he is 2 years old, not even halter broke, and we brought him home for about 1\3 of what I was expecting. We came home and got the trailer and went back after him.

I could not believe how easily he loaded! He stepped right up on the trailer. Dad was almost disappointed, but I was relieved that it was a quick, easy process.

0222171642.jpg

 

0222171642a

A friend of mine, Miss M, as I will call her on here, was so excited when I showed her what I brought. She happened to be out again today, and after generously helping me with the gate as I fed bales of hay, I asked her if she was up for trying to lead the donkey into the barn. Miss M readily agreed and I grabbed a halter, lead and panel to catch him. I used the panel to gently push him against the wall then haltered him.

Getting him out of the trailer went well… after that not so much. I decided it was a good thing he does not like mud, as that is where we stopped, at the edge of a mud puddle. Miss M and I worked together and got him almost into the barn, when he decided he would rather go play in the pasture with my horses. The little guy was small enough, he slid between the barn and the gate, Miss M and me in tow! I could not hold on to the lead rope as he squeezed between the barn and the gate much faster than I did.

It was cute to watch him trot across the field, ears up, braying to these potential friends who were not sure at all what to think of him! To make what could be a really long story, short enough to stay in a single blog post, after running through the white tape fence, and jumping the woven wire, Miss M and I guided him into the barn by using pressure on his flight zones. None of us were harmed, including the donkey.

Miss M came up to the farmhouse with me for a few minutes after we got him put where he belonged. I was talking about names and she suggested Pete, and it has officially stuck. So tomorrow Pete will go out in his little lot, with fence that he can not jump or crawl through. I am looking forward to breaking him and learning about working with long eared animals!

 

Millie Meets Friends

Today when I got home from work, I was glad to learn that some friends would be visiting later today! After a wonderful lunch they played cards with my parents and I did some research about several things, one of which was the swollen feet on my guinea hen. More about that in a few minutes.

Millie did well with the company, she was pretty good and minded most of her manners. She knows her name, and is doing well with house breaking. She also did better about letting me wash the spot on her belly with iodine. It is clearing up and she is settling in nicely.

The best guess I can find, with what I found, is that she had a cut on her foot that has gotten infected. So now to treat her…. First I have to catch her, and fortunately for me, it was the most tame of the 4.Catching her was still a chore, and took several minutes, an old towel and cat like reflexes lol

Once I got her caught and wrapped in the towel, she did squwak. Let out a few loud beeps and then let my friend spray the medicine on her feet. In the process of catching her, one of the other Guineas got excited and knocked the light down in the coop and in her haste of running away from me, cut her foot. Now I had to catch her.

I tried and tried, but she was just running around the yard, so I let her be until she went in to roost tonight. Catching her was even harder than catching the first one. Mom was nice enough to help me once I got her wrapped in the towel. If I thought the first one was loud, this one was even louder as I carried her to the coop door and held her for Mom to spray. It was an exciting few minutes catching the girls, but with any luck handling them a little will tame them enough that next time this process will be easier.

When I took Millie out to potty after supper, she walked straight to the chicken run and made sure everything was ok, before going directly to the barn and asking to go in. A couple days ago, she wanted nothing to do with going in the barn. She has made leaps and bounds in trusting me and learning the routine here on the farm. I enjoy  having her so so much! She stil has manners to learn, but we make progress everyday!

Millie’s First Roadtrip

Today, I had to haul hay, and Millie enjoyed the trip to town so much yesterday, I took her with me again today. She jumped right up in the truck and took her place in the passenger’s seat. The weather here today was very nice, high 50’s I believe, so I left her window down about 2 inches for her.

img_20170211_213156_692

 

She rides very quietly in the truck. I have not heard her bark even once since I picked her up. She seems to enjoy spending time with me and sofar has eagerly jumped in the truck.

Millie got to meet my grandparent’s dog Roscoe today. He is part chow and something else. They did pretty well for the few minutes they spent together in the yard. She also met my grandparent’s, which of course she liked almost instantly.

I let her out of the truck while grandpa loaded round bales for me. I watched her run behind the truck, and when she didn’t reappear, I walked around to look for her. She was coming up out of the creek! She had been playing in the water that was deeper than her belly! When she saw me coming towards her, she ran around the front of the truck and into the barn loft area. She surprised me by jumping down from there and running back around the truck again. I finished helping grandpa only to find her in the creek again. I tried to dry her off before she got back in the truck, but it wasn’t much use!

0211171604a

The important thing, was that Millie had fun. There was nothing wrong with her enjoying a few minutes in the creek, I just wish she would have picked another day to explore it. Now I know to expect Millie to go swimming when we go to Grandma’s house! After her not wanting to take a bath, the fact that she likes playing in the creek was quite shocking. I enjoyed watching her play, even if my truck probably smells like wet creek dog! Lol

I thoroughly enjoyed my first road trip with my little girl!I look forward to many more in the future!