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!

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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!

Christmas Chicks are Growing!

Today was the day! The blac Australop chicks my wonderful Mom gave me for Christmas are officially out of the brooder on this sunny Monday afternoon.  I had planned to put them out over the weekend, but I wanted them to have the last of the starter feed before I turned them loose. This afternoon the feeder was empty.

My fully feathered babies are 13 weeks old Wednesday and it was time they meet the older girls. When I lifted them from the brooder, three of the older girls were in the besting boxes and they did not even bat an eye. A couple others heard the commotion and had to come investigate. Fortunately, no squabbling and no bloodshed upon meeting each other.

I hope they enjoy their freedom! The little hens, I believe they all turned out to be hens, were hanging out together in the corner when I left them but I hope by later this afternoon or tomorrow, they are adventurous enough to check out at least the run.

My little brother, Nick, went out with me to collect the eggs, and as soon as he saw his babies free, he had to pick one up and give it a cuddle! He loves those little chickens. Of course, I lifted one so he could pet it and he cuddled it as the little hen loved him back! That is one of the sweetest moments on the farm.  Nick helped me get the eggs and we brought them inside, but he was so excited to see his babies.

The incubater is sterilized and spent the day outside in the sunshine today in preparation of setting eggs starting Wednesday or Thursday and I am super excited about that! My incubator holds 56 eggs, and I Have been collecting about 5 each day, tomorrow I will get ore and Wednesdy I will get more, to fill it. I am crossing my fingers for a good hatch, esecially since it will be my first one. If all goes well this year, I hope to keep 20 pullets and maybe have a few roosters for the freezer.

Spring is around the corner, and I am already full of excitement and anticipation! Stay tuned for updates, and hopefully pictures when I get my new camera figured out!

March Goals

I cannot believe today is March 1st! 2018 is flyin by and I cannot believe it. The first of the month is a great time to take a moment and reflect, and set new goals. Sharing them with you, I hope encourages me to stick to it and accomplish the things I set out to do.

I did very well at making things a priority in Feruary, and I hope to continue to keep my priorities in March, as well as add a few. The warmer temperatures bring more outside work, and I hope to challenge myself to continue working to be where I want to be.

Last year, my Aunt in Texas mentioned scripture writing, and I decided to give it a try then, which I was unable to keep up with. I have picked it up and tried again, and it has been a wonderful way to spend time with my Lord! Giving myself something physical to do while thinking on the specific words I am writing gives me an outlet and a way to occupy my body while my mind works. I am going to continue that through March and hope that it continually gives me new, positive things to think about so that I can continue growing.

Another thing my Aunt mentioned last year, is a plank challenge…. so I think I am going to give that try starting today, it is a 28 day challenge that I found, but I think it can easily be extended to 31 days. Riding will be starting next week for me, and I am chomping at the bit to get back in the saddle. I am hoping that the extra exercise of riding in addition to the plank challenge I have found will help me tone up a little. When I was toned a little a couple years back I had so much more self confidence. My hope is to get back to that, and feeling good about myself again.

Next week also brings starting seeds and setting eggs, which I am absolutely beside myself about! I have never incubated eggs before and I have been counting down the days! I started a few seeds last year but I did not do very well with watering them, and unfortunately I killed every one of the plants I started about a week or so into their growth. Very disappointing experience, so this time I have added that to the daily tracker in my Bullet Journal, which will keep it in front of my mind to do.

Spring is my favorite time of year, and this year spring is full of excitement! I simply cannot wait to see how the next few weeks go!

Happy Friday

It has been a whirlwind of a week! This week has been full of ups and downs both, but I have been blessed beyond measure! Things look so different today than they did just a week ago.

This morning, the Lord blessed me at least 3 times before I even got to work! Me and my little truck Leroy, made it in one piece, but it was a crazy morning. I decidd I must have something special in store for me today, because 3 times I had already encountered bumps and it was not even 4:30 yet in the morning. So I praised Him on my way to work! And I arrived light hearted as ever, despite the rough start to my day.

There was no way I was letting anything bring me down today! I enjoyed my shift with my cowoker, we laughed, danced and sang our way through the morning watching many customers leave with smiles That is by far the best part of my job.

Several errands to run after work, but I got them finished and things have evened out for me today. God knows the perfect timing, even for a friend’s phone call. I have gotten several things off my ever growing to-do list and I was able to make people smile alog the way.

Tomorrow is another day, another chance to grow, another chance to smile and to bring smiles to those around me! A few loose ends to tie up in the morning before being able to play, but I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with crossing things off the list.

You never know the impact the smallest phrase may have on someone, so do not hold back your compliments, grattitude or appreciation! If God puts the words in your mouth, there is a reason, and He has a plan! that is my prayer on my way to work in the morning, and while I am still struggling with confidence to  let Him use me, today I got a glimpse of the receiving end. The smallest words may have the mot meaning to someone today, hopefully I can encourage you to speak life to those around you, be kind, be caring, be compassionate and God will open the door for you!

Happy Friday everyone! Enjoy your weekend!

Christmas Chicks

If you have been following my posts, you saw where my wonderful Mom brought home 15 black Austerlop chicks for me for Christmas. My little brother Nick, instantly claimed them as his babies and eagerly helped with their care. Since it was December, these little black chicks have been in the living room since we brought them home.

The chicks being in the living room did not bother my mom, surprisingly. She is a very go with the flow kind of person, but about a month ago, the 15 chicks had grown enough that they had pretty much outgrown the dog kennel that temporarily housed them. One of my former coworkers gladly gave 8 of them a new home, in her craft room, before she introduced them into her flock. So that left me with 7, much more comfortable chicks in the dog kennel in the living room.

As you can imagine, a living room was not really designed to be a chick brooder, and not one time did my mother ever complain about the noise, smell or mess, and I diligently tried to keep the shavings cleaned up and changed. Mom and Nick even helped with feeding and watering the chicks when I had to go to work. Nick became quickly attached and loved that they were his size to carry around on his own. He would carry them around, once to Dad and put it in his lap, another time to mom and put it in her lap. One night he even tried to play trucks with his little bird. The chicks did not mind a bit! Needless to say, the longer the chicks were in the living room the more petted and tamed they became.

As the beginning of February approached, the chicks were once again starting to crowd each other in the dog kennel, and I started watching the weather to see if I could potetially put them outside. It did not happen until this past Monday.

I had quite a list of things to accomplish Monday and moving the chicks outside was on it. I did not get around to that part of my day until Nick went down for his nap. The cutest thing happened when he got up… he walked straight to where the chicks had been staying for the past 2 months and started looking for his babies! Such a cute little boy, 2 years old, and the first thing he wanted to do when he got up was check on his baby chicks! I think he is going to be a little farmer! And the chicks are much more comfortable outside in the brood box, where they have plenty of room to play. I would have uploaded a current picture, but I am having trouble getting that done on my tablet. I am excited to order a camera hopefully tomorrow or Friday that will allow me to upload pictures again!

Feeling Blessed This Saturday

The past couple days I have spent extra time with good friends and family. I was able to mark a few small projects off the never ending list and make memories along the way. Surprisingly, I have kept a good attitude and stayed productive throughout the extra challenges this week.

Today, at work, my usual coworker had the day off. Her and I are becoming like two peas in a pod. Sometimes it is scary… we finish one another’s sentences and play off each other’s sarcasm without missing a beat. Regular customers come in often just to see what her and I happen to be up to that day. We have had a couple days off work this week and I was so excited to see her stop by the shop today! I felt like a little kid when we both hurried to tell each other hello!

My other coworker was kind enough to stay a few extra minutes and help me close today. She was fabulous! We worked together and chatted and visited while we knocked the cleaning duties out for the day. It seemed to go very quickly with both us working as we were and she will probably never know the extent of my gratitude! I always enjoy talking and visiting with her and today was no different. We caught up with what the week had held for each of us as we tidied at the shop.

Yesterday, I was blessed to run into what has become a good friend at the local farm store. I had questions about products and as usual, he was able to answer them. It was nice talking to him and picking his brain over what I should take home to accomplish the tasks of the day. He is always very helpful, not to mention knowledgeable and patient.

Also, yesterday my grandpa was kind enough to help me replace a coil pack on my big truck. It had needed done for a while, and the day off yesterday gave me the extra time to do it. I am very grateful for his patience as he walked me through the process, but I enjoyed being able to turn the sockets myself! I could not have done it without his help, as when I got in a little deeper than I thought, he was quick to jump in and help to finish the job. I will always be grateful for the minutes I have gotten to spend with him in the garage, learning about equipment, machinery and vehicles.

My week has been full of blessings despite being thrown a curveball or two and I am grateful for them all! It allowed me extra time to look at the smaller things in life this week that often get overlooked, and I cherish each memory I made!

Shutter Cabinet

A few months ago I was at a flea market with a friend and I found a pair of old wooden shutters. I fell in love with them at once! Needless to say, they came home with me and the project began. I wanted to replace my dinosaur armoir, that I used for storage for my sewing and crafting supplies, amazing how that stuff accumulates and multiplies, with something smaller and more like the other furniture I have in my bedroom. 2 of the 3 other pieces in my room are constructed, at least partially out of pallet wood, and have a rustic, used, repurposed feel.

So I talked Mr.T. into helping me constuct a cabinet to fit the awesome shutter doors that I found. It is crazy sometimes the ideas that I come up with, but Mr.T. was up for the challenge, and after measuring and throwing around ideas, started constructing a cabinet.

First we made a frame to fit around the doors and make up the face of the cabinet. After the face frame was together, we cut plywood for the sides, top and bottom and used an air nailer with small nails, to put it together. The depth I chose was 20 inches to accommodate various totes and crates that I already use to categorize my supplies. The height ended up being 57 inches and the width 31 or 33 inches. It is a very nice size.

Once the sides, top and bottom were on and together, we cut a back out of much thinner plywood for stability. Since I wanted to add a couple shelves, we measured and cut braces for the ends and nailed them into place. I chose my shelves to be 14 inches from the top and 28 inches from the top, which cut my cabinet exactly in half, then the top shelf is half way between the middle shelf and the top of the cabinet.

The best part about this cabinet, is that I can reach each shelf and even the top of it even without a stepstool! I am super excited about that! Tomorrow I am going to get paint and tackle cleaning and painting it then get all my stuff stowed away and maybe even get rid of some more of it! I did a deep cleanout when I emptied the larger armoir, but I still can’t believe how much stuff there still is in the stack.

Special thanks, to my neighbor for going with me to the flea market, and to Mr.T for all his help putting this cabinet together! I could not accomplish much of what I do at all without the help of my great family and fabulous friends!

Hope

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ love and righteousness.

Pastor Jeff brought the message this morning and that line of a wonderful hymn kept playing over and over in my mind as I listened to his wonderful message this morning. Hope is never lost, hope is always in Jesus! Even when things look bleak, He is standing there, shining a light down on our path.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope for and a future.”

Wow!! So I don’t have to have hope on my own, God will give it to me, to push me to grow and find my way along in this crazy world. Thank you Lord for such a precious precious gift. I was so encouraged and excited this morning, I know God was in the midst of the service today.

It has been spoken into my life, that I am set apart, for His wil and purpose…. thats fantastic right? Of course it is! But I still struggle. How can you struggle when such an awesome thing has been spoken over you? Because it raises the bar for me, and while most of the time, I want to step up and reach for it, this week I must admit, I have not wanted to.

Pastor Jeff told us about ‘Everyone, Someone, Anyone and No one this morning in a cute little joke. But that joke, funny tidbit, had a different depth for me. In church services, where you feel His presence, and it is easy to desire to please Him, that is without question what you want to do. But then Monday comes, and you look at your Facebook and see other friends your age hitting milestones in their lives that you are not even close to. It is hard to remember that my purpose is different, that my walk is down a totally different path.

God has a plan for each and every one of us, each having a different path to travel. It gets difficult at times not to compare to others because it is not always easy to see we are traveling to differnt destinations. Despite the differences, there are things that remain constant for all of us regardless of destination or path of travel getting there. God’s love is never ending, and it does not fail even in storms or trials, He is there guiding us, holding our hand and carrying us through the hardest times in our life. He gives us comfort, peace and hope to see us through whatever challenges life bring us. Even though holding on to that hope is difficult at times, He always equips us with the tools we need to complete the task he lays ahead of us.

My challenge for myself after hearing this inspiring message, is to keep on holding on to the hope that He has given me, to not compare myself to others, because none of us are the same, and to keep reaching and working toward to goals He has given me to accomplish the tasks He sets before me. Hopefully my struggles encourage you to hold on to that hope that He gives and realize that life is never without hope, because hope is from Him, and like His love, it is never ending!