Grateful This Sunday

What a busy week behind me! This was yet another full week here in southern Ohio. My weeks through the summer usually are, but I do not mind. Several things got marked off the ever growing To-Do list, I found new challenges for myself and I was given new opportunities to grow. Sundays in the past have always been a good time for me to reflect, on the week past as well as milestones that the sermon reminded me of, and today has been no different.

Unfortunately, I overslept yet again and did not make the service this morning. I am sure Pastor Jim and Pastor Jeff did an awesome job as usual with the message and praise and worship, and while I am sorry that I missed it, my body was so physically exhausted I could not force myself up and moving.

Today, Dad and I took advantage of the gorgeous weather and went back to the hayfield for another round of mowing. The weatherman says this week is going to be dry and beautiful and that means working in the hayfield all week.

The farm Dad mowed on today is so peaceful. I stood there just looking and taking in the scenery. The different kinds of trees, some of which I know others I do not recognize, but they include maple, pine and even apple trees! There are 3 good sized pasture/hayfields. Another that is over grown, but with a little bit of work would be an absolutely gorgeous farm. As I stood there looking around and taking in the sight, I started thanking and praising. God provided for me the hayfields I needed this year. The scenery is a big bonus, but I thorougly enjoyed the farm today, even though it was not my own.

I took Millie with us and she just loves running around out there. The trees make wonderful shady spots even in the afternoon sun. She eventually found a shady spot to rest, only after she had run around and stretched. She always likes to be out with us in the fields and usually stays close to me and the tractor.

Dad called me over to where he was mowing and I hurried to help with what he needed. When I got to the mower, he pointed down to the ground and there sat a Dove that was in no hurry to move. So I gently shooed her out of harm’s way and she fluttered to the tree line out of the mower’s path.

Sometimes it is the little things that makes up appreicate God’s picture for us even more. I am so grateful for the many blessings that I have been given especiallly this week. I hope you can find them in your own lives!

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Counting My Blessings

Today at the shop was busy, which is a good thing! I enjoy working when we are busy as the pace is faster, the time goes quicker and my usual coworker and I just get in a groove and go. Today, for some reason, my patience grew shorter as the shift progressed. This is not how it usually goes, but for whatever reason today I was struggling.

I made arrangements this afternoon to pick up a freezer. After having lunch with my 2 wonderful friends Monday, I was reminded that sometimes I need to take care of me. Today, that entailed picking up a freezer. So, blessing 1 was my neighbor was kind enough to ride with me, help me load and unload this huge heavy freezer. Cannot thank them enough as I would never have wrestled it by myself, even though I would have tried.

When we arrived to get this freezer, I called the lady selling it to let her know we were there. She assured me that she saw me and she was on her way out. I looked up to see this lady walking with a walker across the sidewalk of her yard. She was probably at least 80 and my heart softened at once. As I talked with her a minute, she told me that the freezer had been cleaned out of food that morning by the food pantry, because she was storing it for someone that had told her they would not be back after it. She continued on to say that blueberries had spilled in the bottom and she was not able to clean it up.

I assured  her it was no problem and that I would take care of it. But she insisted on taking less money for it than she originally had it priced at. I tried to convince her it was ok, that I would pay the whole price. But she would not even consider it. I still paid her more than she asked and I came home with a working freezer.

Talking with this sweet lady today was such a blessing, blessing 2, as I got to listen to her talk, her primary use for this freezer was helping people. She used it to store food for someone else, and then donated food to the food pantry. There are stains of brown paint, battle scars, from her craft work of making lamps and such from antlers that her taxidermy friend gives her.

This wonderful lady has such a sweet spirit and kind heart. Blessing 3 was getting to see that in her today. Hopefully my money was as much of a blessing to her as the freezer is to me. Meeting her today was well worth the trip itself, the freezer became a bonus. God’s hand had to be in it, because today was the only day this week that I had available to go get it, and it worked out perfectly. God is so good! And He brings us blessings all the time, every day, if we just take the time to see them and appreciate them!

I feel like my eyes have been opened this week and I cannot express my gratitude for that!

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.

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!

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!

 

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!

Daily Prompt: Uniform

When I think about uniforms, the first thing that comes to mind is the Christian Acadamy that I went to for a portion of my elementary school. Unfortunately I did not enjoy much of my time there, but I did learn a lot and to this day I retain much of it and that was nearly 20 years ago.

We were told that the uniforms made us all equal, that we would see each other as the same. Uniforms do not make that statement. All that I remember is how uncomfortable they were as I was not built for their cut and style. We may have all had the same wardrobe, but there were many differences in all of us. There were still clicks, popular kids, athletes, book worms, teachers pet etc etc. The uniforms did not change that.

I was not one of the popular kids, nor was I athletic, so I focused on doing the best work I could and keeping my grades as high as possible. I did not feel as though I fit in well, so I was more of a keep to myself book worm than anything. It was still an experience that helped to make me what I am. WIthout the few years I spent in that school, I would not have had the study habits or test taking abilities that I needed to get through high school and college as I did.

I remember the uniform pants, that were too long waisted and funny fitting on me. I have never been much of a dress wearer, but nearly everyday that year, I wore a skirt because of the pants being that uncomfortable as my body changed and grew. That may be why to this day I am choosy about the jeans and slacks that I wear. Never really thought about that before.

I remember the dress shirts had ‘Peter Pan’ type collars, and I thought it looked kind of cute on the younger kids, but I hated the way the blouses looked on me. I stuck mostly to the polo type shirts.

Oh the childhood memories that are brought up at the craziest of things, something as simple as the word uniform brings back many memories. My favorite Spanish teacher for one, studying Astronomy and Ohio History, the hardest teacher I had, that turned out to teach me more than I think any of the others did. Wish I could tell her now how much I appreciate her, but I do not even know where to start looking. You never know the impact or influence you have on someone, especially when it does not even seem like it.

via Daily Prompt: Uniform