Stretching

I was going to the gym last summer, and the instructor was trying to help me with the after workout stretching exercises. Some muscles I have stretch fairly easily, while others are tight. Riding horses for many years has left me with a few battel scars, and my flexibilty is a direct product of it.

I could, and probably should, work to improve my flexibilty. My hamstrings remain quite tight and touching my toes has not happened in years. Believe it or not, my hamstrings used to be so tight, that they pull on my knee caps and did not allow them to move properly. I am not sure if this is still the case, but my knees have popped and cracked for years. Now I know why.

Physically stretching is not the only type of stretching we do. As we grow, we stretch both our bodies and our clothes. When we hit adolescence our maturity grows, and we are stretched in new ways. Any high schooler or college student will tell you that that growing into adulthood is not an easy process by any means. It is almost always uncomfortable, patience trying and downright difficult.

The past few months I have been faced with new challenges spiritually. Some I have met head on while others I have not quite hit the mark on. The best part is the God loves despite my faults. However, these new challenges have brought into light new things, and stretched me in new ways. My faith is being tested and stretched almost daily as I try to learn where to put my feet in this dance.

Without being stretched, I will never find my limit. The more I stretch the more capable I am to do the work He has for me. Spiritual stretching is not always easy, and it throws curveballs, but once we have stretched and risen to the challenge the favor that follows is always more than worth it. Stepping up to the challenge and trusting your faith enough to willingly walk ahead is one of the scariest things I think I have ever faced. It requires a different strenght than I am accustomed to using. God has given me the spirit of Power, not fear and I have to hold on to that.

Having lunch with 2 awesome ladies today was a sheer blessing. As we talked about these and many other things in our lives right now, I felt His presence. It was so special to feel like He was there with us, listening to our conversation, giving advice, assurance and instruction. It was so sweet to sense His presence!

I cannot stress enough how thankful I am to have these 2 ladies as friends, or how wonderful it was to be reminded today that He is never far away, no matter how far away He seems. He heard my prayers, and was kind enough to answer me today in an unexpected way. I walked away from our lunch feeling refreshed in a way that I have not felt in a long time.

Now it is time to go to work on the the next steps of His plan, taking it one day at a time until I get to where He wants me to be.

Amazing Love

This morning I had the wonderful opportunity to have brunch with two wonderful ladies. It was a spontaneous visit while the oil was being changed in my truck. It was not a lengthy visit, but those few minutes opened my eyes yet again.

I know I am not the only one that struggles with my self image, and sometimes even worth. Everyday at the shop, I see polished ladies heading in to their jobs as secretaries, lawyers, nurses, school teachers, and the list goes on. I also see the younger girls going to school, in perfectly coordinating outfits and perfect make up. These have never been strengths of mine. I have always considered myself, more of a get in there and get it done kind of person, with my looks being an afterthought.

Today at brunch, I was blindsided when I was asked if I was a beautiful person. As you might expect, my conclusion was no, because when I look in the mirror, I see a plain horse girl. My frizzy hair, make up less face, worn in clothes look less than beautiful to me. The lovely ladies this morning, reminded me that God does not make junk of any kind, size or shape. He made me for a purpose and He has a perfect plan for me and my life.

As we continued our conversation, I was reminded of another important thing that I seemed to have forgotten. God offers us this Amazing, Unfathomable LOVE that cannot and will not be taken away. He forgives us of anything, regardless of what it was or how long ago. Whether we forgive ourselves or not, His blood covers us and washes us clean again. I have struggled for years with letting go. I have beat myself up for many years over the stupidest things. But they are covered, and He does not love me any less, but is excited as I grow in my spiritual walk and I learn to stretch myself and reach out to him.

The past six months or so, I have really been stretched and challenged spiritually. Yes, I have grown, but not everyday has been easy. It never will be. The best part is I have several amazing promises to hold on to, and I will continue to hold on to them and fight for them. I trust my Lord, because His word is true and His love is everlasting.

These seem like simple thoughts and ideas to grasp, Christianity basics if you will, but sometimes, we all need a reminder that God is right here with us, watching us, guiding us along the way He wants us to take. He prepares us for the next step He has for us and gives us the strength we need when we need it.

Summer Afternoon in the Sun

Today in southern Ohio was absolutely gorgeous! A smidge warmer than I personally prefer, but an absolutely gorgeous day nonetheless! What better way to spend it than outside?

My neighbor Mr.M was nice enough to stop by and look at a broken fence post to see about fixing it. We were not successful in our attempt to repair it today, so regrouping and tackling it tomorrow. Hopefully it all goes smoothly.

After running to the local farm store for a few small things, Miss M stopped over to ride her gelding. I decided to saddle Bart up and join her. It was a pretty nice ride. I took him through the poles a couple times at the trot, which he did well, but when I asked for the canter, he made many mistakes. He was not wanting to switch leads fast enough to stay where he needed to be. Tomorrow maybe we will work on some figure eights or something to help him change his leads.

I worked another horse, for a client, and she did pretty well. Got some good pointers from her neighbor and finished the workout on a good note.

The second client horse got worked next, and considering it was only about her tenth or so ride, she did pretty well. Her owner came to watch tonight and was happy with our progress. We are working on staying in a circle at trot and giving to pressure. She is a smart mare and fortunately she seems to pick things up quickly.

Once all the horses were worked, I decided to roto tiller between the rows in my garden. It did not take me nearly as long as I thought. A little hand weeding tomorrow and I will be happy with it.

The chickens are growing, the turkeys are growing, and I have a hen sitting on 6-7 eggs. My goal is to hatch out a dozen with the hopes of 6 pullets from my original stock. I am only hatching the blue colored eggs.

I am so looking forward to the next couple days on the farm. Hoping to get the garden fenced in over the weekend, as well as maybe let the turkeys and the Brahmas out of the brood box for the first time. Always exciting things gong on at the farm!

Stay tuned in the next few weeks to follow the progress of the garden and the chickens!

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!

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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.

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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 ┬ácalled 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.