Writing

Several of my friends and family members have been encouraging me to write a book.I am not one to lie, so I will admit I have thought about it for quite a while. I have even started writing a book, but I am not happy with it.

A high school friend of mine has become a successful writer, she went to college and grew her talent and I must say her work is amazing. She was the one who originally got me thinknig about writing.

Writing presents many challenges. One at this time unfortunately is my time. I devote my time to many things, and writing falls short often. Motivation goes hand in hand with that though. Some days all I want to do is write, I think about dialoge and play out scenes in my mind over and over until I get them how I want them. Other days I sit down and the words seem to just flow.

I am by no means any type of professional, I just enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts with others. But my mind keeps coming back to a book. Today I have no idea what it will even be about or when I may get around to writing it, but I like the idea.

My favorite parts of writing are developing character personalities and quirks. I deal with all kinds of people on a daily basis and it is interesting to watch them react to their enviornment and each other. People are interesting and I enjoy developing situations that try and test them allowing their personalities to show.

I have said all of this, to say whatever you are thinking about, dreaming about, wishing about, do not be afraid to keep reaching. There will be a time for that talent or desire to come to light. Hold on to it so that you are ready when the time is right.

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Taking Time Today

Today I did something I rarely do, took a few minutes for myself. My life is crazy and lke many others in this crazy world, I push myself to the back burner, a lot. But today, I took a few minutes for myself. It may have only been a few minutes, but I am already feeling better and looking forward to this weekend.

My cousin is getting married this Saturday, how exciting! I do not dress up often, and I have been searching for something to wear for a few weeks. Being as practical as I am, I wanted to find something versatile that I would wear again. The first dress I found, I went back to get and it was gone, so I had to come up with a back up plan, which came out ok.

Talking with a friend yesterday, I was convined I should take this opportunity and surprise myself and family with the lady I can be. So I stopped and picked up a pair of new shoes, a new sweater, and even a few new cosmetics, which I rarely wear, in anticipation for this weekend. I was excited to get home and see if the number in my closet would still zip. Unfortunately I was disappointed because it would not. Close but no banana!

Even though the dress in my closet would not fit, I am looking forward to wearing a new outfit that I put together. I think it is going to be really cute. The past couple days have been a great reminder that I am important too. Life is busy, life is crazy, but if you do not take a few minutes and invest in yourself, you forget how to act when you do.

I write often about betterig myself and pushing myself to grow as a person, but every once in a while, even for a few minutes at a time, I need to remember to take time for myself. The wedding this weekend will be a good time visiting and spending with my family as we celebrate with my cousin and I am excited!

Preparing for Canning

Those of you that have followed my journey this past spring into summer have faithfully watched an dlistened to my learning experiences with gardening. Now that the veggies are beginning to come in, I have to make preparations for their storage. This is a whole new experience for me, and I am so grateful to have my Grandma to hold my hand and show me the ropes! Canning with Grandma has been a special privilage and I expect tomorrow to be another day of learning and enjoying special time together.

Last night my sister was kind enough to help me pick 10 gallons of beans, 2 buckets full. Today we worked together stringing and snapping them for when Grandma comes tomorrow. Picking out bad ones, even as we picked them off the bushes, was entertaining as we began throwing them to the chickens. The chickens and turkeys now see me heading to the garden and they follow me and wait patiently on the other side of the fence. All of the buggy veggies or the ones not suitable for eating, go directly over the fence for the birds to devour. My flock eagerly waits on the other side of the fence. Last night, they had so many beans as we picked, I let them go a little longer than I meant to and I had several that were over ripe, they eventually tired of eating the beans and moved on to other chicken activities. I had to laugh at them.

Sure enough though, today when I went to check the tomatoes…. here came the chickens! And they were thrown 2-3 buggy tomatoes which they excitedly started on. It is a two fold, I get rid of the bad veggies and the chickens enjoy them! I do not feel bad at all if the chickens enjoy them!

Tomorrow Grandma is going to come and help with some canning, and in preparation in addition to snapping and stringing the beans, I have picked tomatoes and checked religiously on the corn. The corn will have to wait for Grandma to ok that is ready for picking and preparation for freezing. I am so excited for tomorrow, just to learn as I spend time with my Grandma.

Several people have asked why I want to learn to garden and can, as I am fairly young to be interested in such things. I want to learn so that in a few years I can continue the trade. Grandma used to put out a big garden every year and supply us all with green beans, corn, squash etc etc. This year she was not up for it, so I put the garden out under her watchful eye and careful instruction as I learned to space my rows and plant them straightly. I have enjoyed learning about this process and cannot wait to continue tomorrow!

Enjoying My Evenings

It is no secret that the days are indeed getting shorter. I mentioned that in my post yesterday, and I sit here tonight, thinking about what I should be doing instead of sitting here writing, the sun has begun to set. The sky is starting to change colors and they day is drawing to a close.

In a few minutes, after I have posted this, I will make my way outside to begin evening feeding and chores. Last night I took a few extra minutes and just took in the sights and sounds as I started chores.

The turkeys greeted me and followed me around talking with me as I started chores, the Guineas were up in the front yard churping, the chickens were here and there talking, fluttering, running around. Pete brayed when he heard the door close because he knew dinner was only  a few minutes away. The horses began moseying up through the pasture field toward the gate, even the ducks started quacking in anticiaption of feed time.

The past few days and weeks, I have been messing with the turkeys, learning to mimick their sounds and clucks, and I can actually get them to follow me and answer me back. Earlier this afternoon, when I went outside, they came right to where I was and started chirping and clucking. Their best friends are the youngest hens, and I must say it is quite a sight to see Brahma hens hanging out with 4 large white turkeys.

A couple days ago, I brought home 2 ducklings, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending a few minutes with them this afternoon. My Americana hen ‘Noodle’ was sitting on eggs in the one nest box, but other than her it was just me and the baby ducks in the henhouse. They were not real excited when I picked them up, but I want them to get used to hunmans, and once I lifted them from the brood box, they were content for me to hold them for a couple miuntes at a time. They are the cutest things! I have actually tarted to reonsider hatching my own chicks next season, in part due to being around these adorable ducklings.

I enjoy so many of the aspcts of the farm, the turkeys and baby ducks have been a greatly enjoyed bonus this week! I look forward to watching the babies grow and being with the turkeys for the last weeks until they finish out. Hopefully I have encouraged you to look around you this evening, at the sunset, at your surrounds and enjoy them, even if it is only for a few minutes. Tomorrow is another day, and the beauty of today will have faded away to the beauty of a new day, but along with today passing, so have memories and moments that you may never get another chance to eperience. Enjoy it!

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!