Morning Pages

I was scrolling through Pinterist on a rainy day this week, and I have notice the term ‘Morning Pages’ on several posts in Bullet Journal Facebook groups I have joined and also Pinterist pages. Curiosity got the better of me and I decided to see what this was about.

I have struggled with anxiety for many years, and I noticed that Morning Pages were listed under self care categories across the board. So I started digging deeper and doing more research. I was not disappointed.

I found a good article, and I apologize to the original author I cannot remember where I found it, but it suggested snagging a journal of some kind, and writing 3 pages in the morning. Ok, so what do I write about? was the first question I asked upon reading that. Write about anything that comes to mind. Whatever thoughts cross your mind, let them flow right onto the page in front of you.

This is supposed to act as an outlet and give your nagging thoughts somewhere to go. The author hit really hard on 3 pages. Even if you do not feel like it, write 3 pages. These pages, this journal, is not to be ready by anyone, even yourself, unless it is several months down the road. The goal of this exercise is to let your thoughts run free, unhibited with worry about what someone else thinks.

The day after I read this article, I stopped and got a brand new composition book and picked up yet another pack of pens, comfortable smooth writing ones that were not expensive. I think I may have the start of a pen addiction! And then I wrote. I let my thoughts flow freely, and I surprised myself when I filled up my 3 pages much quicker than I expected.

I am going to try this for the month of June, and see if it helps with my stress or anxiety any at all. There very well may be something to this, only time will tell. When I have journaled before it has helped with my anxiety, but this is the first time I have attempted something quite like this. I would have included these pages in my Bullet Journal, but I did not want to use it up on pages I could not share, because I have shared several speads with friends and coworkers.

Stay tuned for updates on how this goes!

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!

My Monday Off

Any farmer knows, that even a day ‘off’ from you ‘day job’ is not actually a day off. It just means more time to play catch up on the farm. Today, that is exactly what I did.

Many people see me on an almost daily basis, I get to hear about their weekends, work weeks, vacations, kids, pets, hobbies, sometimes more than necessary, but it is really ok. Today, on my day off, I had one of the few atyipcal days that I can claim in the past several months or so.

I had a bunch of paperwork to take care of for the next couple of weekends, phone calls to make, and cleaning along with some laundry. After the dog had me up most o the night, getting up was not easy this morning. At first I was going to beat myself up about it, but sleeping in every now and then is not a crime. The horses and chicks were not the happiest, but they quickly forgave me when I fed them.

It was very  different for me today, as I sit here in my slippers and pjs… I have never enjoyed pj days, but today I just didn’t feel like getting dressed… yet. lol The computer cannot see me, nor can the people I talked to today in various Part departments as I tracked down tractor parts for the latest farm project. Several phone call across several states, and I had the opportunity to talk to a very helpful representative that was patient with my limited knowledge of machinery. He was very helpful and helped me to get the correct parts that I needed ordered.

It is a big relief to have those things off my list today! Part ordered, paperwork caught up, cleaning chores better than half done, and the last load of laundry going. I would much rather spend time outside, especially on beautiful days like this morning started out to be. But every now and then I have to take a day and catchup and prepare for the next set of busy days ahead.

There is always something to do, and there will always be something else that needs done, but taking a morning like I did today was productive in its own way. Sometimes we need that, a relaxed morning where we accomplish our lists on our own time. I just have to remember that it is ok not to run 100 MPH every day of every week. Things will still get done.

Crank

“Ugh,” she sighed as she turned the key to her old truck. It had been a long morning and she was ready to drive to the local pizzeria for lunch between classes today.

Oh well, she decided a sandwich never hurt anyone, and dialed her dad’s number.

“Hello?” her dad answered in surprise.

“Hey Dad, my truck won’t start, I turn the key and it clicks but that is all,” she said calmly.

“I am up to my eyes in paperwork this afternoon, but I will see if one of the others can pick you up.”

“Thanks.”

She returned to class and forced herself to focus on the instructors. She worried that something expensive would be wrong. She did not have the time or the money to deal with that type of problem.

Her last class finally ended and she hurried to shove her notes and folders into her book bag before dashing back to the parking lot. Her Dad’s truck was no where to be found. As she approached the truck, she noticed jeans and boots on the ground in front of her truck. She cleared her throat hoping not to startle the cowboy too much.

“Hey,” the familiar voice came from under the truck.

“Sorry you got stuck coming,” she began.

“No worry, I volunteered,” he said sliding out from under the truck smiling.

She looked away refusing to meet his eyes. “Any idea what the trouble is?”

“Looking like the starter.”

She nodded. Things could be way worse she decided.

“Hope in and bump the key over and over again,” he said grabbing his hammer.

She nodded again and slid behind the wheel slinging her bag into the floorboard on the passenger side of the old truck.

“Ok,” he said, “Go ahead.”

She bumped the key as he instructed over and over again. She heard the metallic whack whack as he tapped under the truck. After a few moments, she heard the truck crank. She smiled and the truck turned over.

He slid from under the truck as she stepped out of the cab.

“Thank you so much!” she said as he wiped his hands on a rag.

“I am going to stop and get a new starter at the store, when you get back to the ranch just pull it over in front of the maintenance shed and I will put a the new starter on for you.”

“You don’t have to do that, I can take it to the shop now that it is started.”

He looked at her with a crooked grin. “It would be my pleasure.”

She smiled up at him and helped him put the remaining tools back into his truck before again climbing up behind the wheel of her older model. He faithfully followed her in case she had any trouble. She breathed a sigh of relief when she stopped in front of the maintenance shed safely back at the ranch.

via Daily Prompt: Crank

It is the Little Things

That’s what I love about Sundays…. is a line from a country song that was popular a few years ago, and this morning I took a few minutes, when that song popped into my head, to think about things in my life this morning. Overall, this week has been fairly enjoyable with a fun trip to Columbus with a coworker where I ran into a couple of my long time friends. I had a spontaneous lunch with the same coworker when I got off work early Saturday. Things on the farm have even gone smoothly this week. I had much to be thankful for today!

I woke up this morning to the sound of my chickens, including my rooster Roy, clucking, cackling and crowing. Then my ornery little donkey Pete chimed in to tell me that I had slept in long enough and that his belly said it was past time for breakfast. Funny how he knows when it is my day off and what time I should be up.

So I went and fed and let the chickens out. I checked on my chicks, filled their feeder and waterer and just watched them play for a few minutes in the brood box. They are enjoying their larger box in the henhouse and it was neat watching them run around in there and jump this morning. The younger chicks are still inside, but only for a couple more days, and they are all healthy.

I had originally hoped Uno was a pullet, but I am fairly certain he is a rooster. After yesterday, I am relieved…. Roy had a bad day and his days on my farm are now numbered. As much as I hate to say that, it is going to be a necessary decision to make. I am hoping that Uno stays as much of a pet as he is and enjoys being handled like he does now.

This afternoon, it rained and rained, which was no surprise for those of us in Ohio. After church, I came home and fell asleep on the couch as I listened to the rain ping off the roof and splat the ground outside. It is very wet and muddy now, but the sound of rain has always been one of my favorites.

I hope you all enjoyed your Sundays as much as I did!

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!

Incubation Has Begun

I worked all Friday afternoon to get my eggs in the incubator! I am proud to say that they are successfully on the final hours of Day 2 of their incubation. My incubator has been running slightly humid, so I have had to keep an eye on it very closely but I have been able to manually control both it and maintaining the temperature inside the incubator. The incubator I have purchased has an automatic turner, so that is on thing off my mind, and the digital readout for temperature and humidity make adjusting it as easy as it can be.

I did a lot of research before I placed my eggs late Friday afernoon, and I double dipped each egg in hydrogen peroxide before it went in the incubator. This is suposed to sterilize it and keep bacteria inside the incubator to a minimum increasing the hatch rate. Time will tell if it really improves the statistics of my hatch.

I am eager to candle them and see how things are going inside my eggs, but I know that after more research, nothing will be very visable at this stage. So I am counting down to day 5-7 when I can candle and see what is going on! I am nervous and excited at the same time. This is my first attempt at incubating eggs and I am hopeful that everything goes well, but also oknow there are several factors that play a big role in the outcome of my hatch. I have not let hens sit on eggs, except once, and nothing hatched…. so I am hoping my rooster is indeed fertile. I was asked if I opened any of the eggs to see… and the soft side of me just couldn’t bring myself to do that.

Spring is an eciting time on the farm, and this year will be no different. I ordered the meat chickens Friday and they will be here right around April 1st. They will hatch within a day or two of the eggs in my incubator, making brooding much much easier on me. It took me a couple years, but I have learned how to make some things easier on myselfand having the pullets and meat birds close in age makes the brooding process incredibly easier.

My Dad is convinced I am now a crazy chicken lady, but I thoroughly enjoy my little birds! They are a great addition to the farm and I am excited to welcome some new members into the flock!