Whose that crazy Chicken Lady?

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Here comes Fall!

What an amazing Summer! I have to admit slacking in the garden. My helpers kind of shied away from the heat and the weeds grew tall! While the rabbits were actually taken out by the hawks and foxes, the garden was infested with various types of caterpillars! 

I only found a small handful of Hornworms. YAY! That was a WIN! But, the other ones had a feast! There were click bugs, stink bugs, and some bugs that I don't know what they are called but they bit like a beast for something so small. 


Our bounty was not so big. For some reason, though I planted early enough, the plantings didn't really pop until later in the season. 

In the meantime, the chickens and ducks are doing great in the run. We opened up the garden so they could range in there. There is hope we can let them free-range again once the corn privacy fence is down. The soybeans were recently harvested but since the fox used the corn as a shield we wish to wait a bit.


Did I tell you I lost my 2nd hive? I'm pretty heartbroken and haven't cleaned the box yet. I took the lid off and see there are some interesting bugs that have taken residence in it. I'm kinda dreading the clean up. But, I need to salvage the few bits of honey that is remaining. We made a bunch of Elderberry syrup, see video here

We took a trip to the Museum of Science and Industry. My Sister works there so we had the chance to visit and look around with her. 

The kids had a blast! We missed a few
of the exhibits but hope to go back sometime. I was proud of Peanut for volunteering for experiments. She has anxieties and crowds scare her but she was AMAZING! Mini Man did a few activities and can't wait to go back again.  

Speaking of missing things, we didn't do our "annual" Turkey Run trip. My knee is still healing and I worried that I could hurt it again. All my plans to ride a bike long range are put on hold. 

On the health front, my Dad had much needed knee surgery and he is recovering well. My own health has improved, though I do still have Lyme symptoms. Migraines are most bothersome. But, my thyroid is so much better. I check in the doctor next month for blood work. 

Mr. Awesome and I did manage to hit a few neat antique shops! Always fun! Mini Man and I met with my Sister, Mandy and my Nephew Dom (A.K.A.- Graham Cracker) for a trip to the pumpkin patch with his school. I was worried about the corn maze part. Last year, Mini Man had a meltdown in the maze. 

He was convinced we wouldn't be able to get out and started panicking. I dreaded this part of the trip but he did well.There was a bit of tension in his voice,this was
broken by seeing so many other people around. 

I was able to cross off a trip alone from my Bucket List! I took part in sharing "Vision Boards" with a wonderful group of women at the Gypsy Soul Retreats. It was so much fun! There is a date set for next year, so visit the site for more information. 


Aside from this, I was able to schedule several more book signings for my books- Call me Master and Rising from the Ashes and had more opportunities that you can catch here- Hope when there was none blog

We are planning on creating an Airbnb! I'm not sure if it will up and running next year but I'm crossing my fingers on this and my wee antique shop! 


I joined a writing group in my area- find them here- Prairie Writers Guild.They are a great bunch. If you are in NW IN area check them out!

The picture here is not the PWG group. This was taken last night as I shared my story and bits of information about Teen dating violence- signs parents should look for. It was a night of tears, sharing, and great support! I have met the most wonderful people on this journey of sharing. I am overwhelmed by the communities support. 

My worries right now, besides the usual bills and money is, "Do I grow my hair out because it's bugging me now?" Isn't that great!? Seriously, it seems dumb but that is my concern. I am pretty content and happy with this life of mine. :) 

All in all, it has been a wonderful Summer and Spring! Did I say, "I love my life"? 

BIG HUGS,
Mel

P.S.- So, do you think should I cut my hair again?





Monday, August 13, 2018

What did the fox say?

Apparently... NOM! NOM!

We started the Spring with 24 chickens. Not including our incubated balls of fluff. That number has dwindled down to 10. Granted 1 was eaten by a revenge-filled cat, 1 natural causes, and a possible raccoon snagged 1 or 2. The rest have been taken by foxes.

As beautiful as these creatures and the others are it makes us pretty upset. Mr. Awesome has some plans to get the remaining flock enclosed. In the meantime, when we don't let the dog out to roam the property we put a radio on. I read somewhere that one trick is to leave it on because it sounds like humans are out and about.

This is our fault of course. If we had a run perhaps we could have saved them or at least some of them. :(

In other news, our garden is in full swing. I haven't used it to its maximum potential. This year I'm
blaming it on my healing knee. Remember "The great knee incident" last December? Oh don't get me wrong I'm healing awesome. I am just a bit impatient in the process.

Mr. Awesome built raised beds for me that are working out splendidly. It has helped out well since squatting is not really something I'm doing a lot of right now.

We hatched out another set of chicks and included ducks! Out of 6 chicks and 6 ducklings, we now have 5 chicks and 2 ducklings. :)

These cute balls of fluff are not going out to range for a while. There is a hawk that has been roaming from time to time. That hawk made a meal of a newer chick.


My bees are not thriving. I had my nose in the hive several times but I am not seeing progress. I haven't talked to the bee people down the road but hope to do so to find out the magic they are using to keep the hives alive. I have been doing research on this and it still sounds as though it is due to the spraying of pesticides on farms. Since we are surrounded by farmland then it is a BIG problem for us. I'm scratching my head as to how to keep bees and keep them alive.

In other news, I was honored to be invited to be interviewed on The Bill & Kail Show about my story of abuse. I have been doing a series of videos about abuse, writing, and find us here-  Our YouTube channel. There is more but I'll be sharing that on my other blog later today- Hope When There Was None.

I hope your week is going great!

God bless and much love to you!

BIG HUGS,
Mel

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

It's a Beetle invasion and not the musical kind!

UGH!

These bugs ate much of our garden goodies last year and were beginning to start the destruction again this season. We bought a few traps late in 2017 to fight back. This year we were armed with a few more traps and hungry feathered critters.











We have probably have fed about 5 pounds of beetles in a month or so. The damage hasn't been to the extent as last year. They are feasting on the Milkweed.

Next on the list of critters to get rid of are the Moles! Check back soon for more on our next round of hatching chicks and ducklings, and how our garden is growing. Find more videos on our YouTube channel!

I hope your having a most excellent day :)

BIG HUGS,
Mel

Friday, June 29, 2018

We had babies... Chicks that is!

Great googly moogly! Wee balls of fuzz invaded Godsbreath Farm! Both from a new incubator and we duck sat for JV. 

We bought a new incubator. Our Brinsea Mini decided it didn't want to work anymore. So we made the big choice to snag a new one from our local TSC. 

I didn't check reviews of this, Harris Farms Nurture Right 360- ($135.00)  but we love it! We choose the one that holds 22 eggs, it has a self-turner, a built-in candler, thermometer, counts down to hatch time, external water pot for easy adding, and auto stop for hatching 3 days before! 

I don't get kickbacks from this but if you are looking for to hatch your own consider this incubator. :) I plan to hatch out some ducks and another batch of chicks starting next week to send to the animal auction. We may keep some of the ducks and send our older crew to the pot. It's not engraved in stone but it's a possibility for the Fall. 


JV's Motley Crew will be going back to her homestead. I may ask if I can keep a few. Our guests are Pekin, Khaki Campbell, and Rouen ducks. They are so cute, but the old battalion is having a hard time adjusting to them. Our male Pekin keeps picking on her and they seem messier than our four. I would still love to find some Indian Runners. I think those would complete our duck adventure! 

We found these last week- 
The is technical name for it and the shorter a name,"Stinkhorn" mushroom. There are other nicknames for it too.

The brown slime on the top attracts all kinds of ants, flying insects, and the like. I haven't smelled them, but I have read that they are smelly like rotting meat. EW, right?! I found them in our mulch. It's not that uncommon. If you handle them you are to wash your hands right away. I'm not planning on doing so or frying them up. (They aren't poisonous.)

My second hive is doing well. WHEW! I was worried after the first one died after a week. The place where we got them called me back after I told them what happened and I never heard back. I do have to try to reach out to them again next week to figure out what the heck happened. 

Our garden is growing well. I attempted to give it a boost by making some compost tea. The results are still out on this one. The darned Japanese Beetles are back, but this time we have the traps out sooner. We feed the bugs to the chickens and ducks... Free food!


 Now before you ask about the statues. I have no idea what came over my fascination with religious statues. I have no clue! No, I haven't turned away from Christianity or joined a different religion. They just tickle me. No worshipping these are necessary. Don't ask for more because there is no more. (BIG GRIN!)

What else is new? I began a book tour for my memoir, "Call me Master" and how I healed, "Rising from the Ashes". I also wrote a short guidebook, "Old Stuff & Dusty Treasures, for someone that wanted to jump into the world of antiques. I was tickled to find someone in Great Britain bought one! So now I'm an International Author! YAY!

Sharing my story has brought a whirlwind of wonderful opportunities for me to inspire someone that is trapped in an abusive situation or perhaps that just left. 

More about that on my other blog- Hope when there was none, you can also find information on where I'll be next on my book tour, speaking engagements, podcasts, and more!

So, let's talk about health. If you're new here, I have been battling Lyme dis-ease for well over 12+ years. I was infected by one Spider in 2007, another Spider in 2015, and once more in 2017 by a Mosquito. Yep, I'm fun to have around! 

You may be scratching your head about this because you have been told you can only get Lyme from Ticks or they aren't in Indiana or I am mistaken since Tick Nymphs are so teeny. 

Well, my Friend, Spider one- I found that the next morning after I rolled on it in the night and it tried to defend itself by biting my hip. I had the Lyme Flu the next day. Spider two was memorable because I felt the bite on my thigh. And within hours I had the Lyme Flu.

The mosquito bite? Yes, on my hip AGAIN but in a different area. Within hours it developed a funky look but I didn't get the Flu that time. 

Why didn't I go to the ER? With my first bite, I did. I was reassured that I was having a negative reaction to that type of spider and I would be okay. They gave me some Benadryl and Cortisone and sent me on my way. For subsequent episodes, I figured the same. SIGH!

I have been feeling all weird again. Irregular heartbeat, Air hunger, Vertigo, increasing Migraines, feeling hungry all the time even after eating, I gained weight (Despite trying Keto, Juicing, No whites and just laying off the carbs), and I was exhausted again. I was beginning to sleep all the time. There were more symptoms creeping back.

I was planning out my last moments again. Yes, it was getting "that bad". I didn't want to put it all out there. I smile. I try not to complain too much.  Jessica, my eldest was begging me to stop talking about my funeral on several occasions. The rest of my family was doing the same. 

Since the great knee incident, I feel as though I wanted to seclude myself. In some ways, I was feeling sorry for myself and like a burden to my family. Trust me I was praying, doing my affirmations, and vision board. My health is nowhere as poor as many chronic Lyme Warriors, but there are negative thoughts that pass through your mind. Luckily, we met Amber and Matt. She raises chickens, ducks, and goats. Mr. Awesome answered an ad about some rare breeds and we had the chance to buy new wee babies. Amber and I struck up a conversation and found out that we had Lyme in common. She alerted me about changes in the laws for Indiana. Mr. Awesome said to get my butt in to see if our favorite doctor can help. I am forever grateful for that meeting!

I went earlier this week. We discussed the possibility that my thyroid was burning green wood rather then seasoned wood. There's more to that but you get the jist. He ordered blood work, and a neato test to find out what medications and such will work for my body. He received the results yesterday and as suspected I was burning green wood. What this meant was a 45 day trial of a medication to give me a boost. He called in the prescription and within a half hour I was on my way to pick it up. I popped one and I gotta tell you, Mr. Awesome and I noticed a difference within an hour!

Today has been amazing! I slept through the night well. I haven't felt the need to take nap. I have more energy and feel good. It's been so long that I admit I'm waiting to see what happens tomorrow. In this short period of time I have chatted with another Lyme Warrior and she has been a wealth of information about Parasites! 

Tomorrow I do have a book signing at Somethin's Brewin Coffee
 Shop & Cafe at ReChic Unique Boutique in Demotte, IN from 1:00 P. M. to 3:00 P. M. I can't wait!


I am feeling blessed at this positive change in my body. I'll keep you updated. 

What's next? If my health continues then that bike across America may be in the works. 

Whatever your journey, I hope that it is blessed and wonderful! Have a great weekend! Talk to you soon!

Much love and BIG HUGS,
Mel

P.S.- If you know someone that is being abused or you suspect they may be. Contact your local law enforcement or shelter. You can also find a great deal of information here-www.thehotline.org

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Spring has sprung!




I'm thrilled Spring is finally here. Everything is a wonderful shade of green, flowers popping up all over. I have my garden in for the most part. I'm still undecided what else to plant. I don't want to put too much in that it is too overwhelming for me to take care of. 

Mr. Awesome made a raised bed that helps tremendously since my knee is still healing. Speaking of my knee, it's doing much better. It will be six months in a few weeks since the dastardly incident. I have been riding my stationary bike. I'm nowhere near the miles I put on when I began training. That kind of bums me out but these things happen for a reason. So, if I don't ride across the States on or before I'm 50 I would very much like to walk the Appalachian Trail or maybe the other great ones in the U.S.

Now for the sad news and good news. 

 First the good- Fred appears to be healed from the fox. The adorable wee chicks are doing good and we have seven more ducks from a friend!

The bad- We lost two chicks. A raccoon or possibly a cat attacked one of the bigger chicks (Rooster) in the middle of the night. I put out some of the chicks early since the temps are running above 60 at night but a few days back it dropped to the low 50's with rain and one chick decided to stay out in the rain with the big chicks and may not have been able to get warm again. It died overnight. 

We have a feral cat that had kittens. I believe our dog injured either the Momma or one of her kittens. There was a terrible mournful sound that came out of her hiding spot. That was before we realized she has kittens. She did defend herself and both of our dogs have some scratches from the scuffle. Momma cat has since moved her nest under some wood poles we have. We can't see her but the dogs know she's there. They got into it again a few days ago. No one was hurt except some pride. 

The mole is back in the yard and garden. But since using the raised bed and an old tractor tire with chicken wire underneath the beds are doing wonderful! 


In fantastic news, Peanut graduated! She is unsure of her future. We are trying to be supportive of her. If you haven't heard our story, my girls have PTSD with social anxiety. The thought of going away or starting another job scares her. 

I have two new books out! Find out more here- Hope when there was none or on my Facebook page. Or go to Amazon to purchase. 

In homeschool news. I'm pretty proud of how far Mini Man has come. I didn't push him. I introduced subjects that were of his interest. I did purchase The Playful Pioneers curriculum through The Peaceful Press. It's based on The Little House on the Prairie books. We love it! 


I ended up getting off track after injuring my knee and one too many Lyme flare-ups. I relied on YouTube and Netflix to help me through that time. I also picked up worksheets, workbooks and textbooks from Teachers Pay Teachers, yard sales and Dollar Tree. I've found books on poetry, history, and more. I'm pretty tickled. I have enough to keep him schooled through the 4th grade. I decided to teach him cursive handwriting straight out of the gate. Right now we are just learning letters with a sprinkling of words. Next year I plan to introduce usage in all of his writing. 

There is a learning curve. Despite the fact I have three grown children they went to public school so I never had to really assist them with homework. This is new.  I do enjoy it. I can go at his pace. We can take more time to work on things that he doesn't understand or that he needs to keep practicing. I don't make him do more than two hours of work. He is antsy after 20 minutes. We take breaks. Have YouTube/Netflix learning videos only days. We have game day or reading day. We also work on Art, Social Studies, History from time to time. Every day is Reading, Writing, Math. No, if's, and's, or but's.


I had to do what works for both of us and I told Mr. Awesome that I would like to school him year round. We will take breaks for the holidays of course. 


It's been busy around here. How is it in your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Someone I think you should know- Tammy Szostek

I run into the most courageous people. They don't realize what an impact they have made upon me. Every single one of them! Some I have met once, others I've known for years, and many I have yet to meet. 

Everyone has a struggle, big dreams or a goal they are going for. Sadly, Tammy's story is like the many other stories I have heard from those suffering from chronic illness. 

We met at a Lyme Dis-ease meeting. I admired her moxie to keep going even though you could tell she was clearly hurting. She finds time to volunteer in the community, spend time with family, and still keep a smile on her face.  

I hope you see the fierce light that I first saw in Tammy through this post. 
****************************

Hi Tammy! Can you tell me about when you noticed something was not quite right with your health?

Tammy says, "I noticed about 12 years ago! I seemed to be always sick and weird things started happening. I started having seizures out of the blue. My one kidney just stopped working and Dr's couldn't figure it out."

So, at what point did you decide, "Ok, I'm really sick and just not getting any better by the advice of my doctor and need to try something different."

She shares, "I guess when I had my first stroke I knew something was wrong. The Dr's once again couldn't figure any of this out. I was starting to have worse seizures. But I was faking it all according to the Dr's"

I asked her how has her health challenges impacted daily life/work/activities. Not hesitating, Tammy confides, "It has stopped me from living! I can't drive with uncontrolled seizures. I never feel well enough to go out. I have turned into a hermit. My husband has to force me out of the house. I can't work because I can't drive there and people don't like to hire epileptics although they wouldn't say that's the reason."

Can you tell me about how your views on how current medical treatments and medication changed?

She answers emotionally, "I have given up on treatment. My body has stopped absorbing everything medications and vitamins. So, the Dr tells me there is no point in taking it. I'm basically just being monitored at this point. They say, I'll be lucky if I'm still alive 7 years from now."

When asked at what point has she become frustrated with the medical community, she answered, "I'm frustrated everyday that I am suffering everyday as well as, many others because we can't get proper diagnosis and proper treatment."

So, Tammy was there a moment when you had to step back and laugh for a change otherwise you would cry?
She said that on most days she does.

When asked if what kind of support or feedback during her journey she says, "Mostly positive I have a very supportive husband and sister. Some don't understand. Like one day I can walk just fine another day I need assistance. I've heard the whispers and nasty comments."

Personally, I have heard many interesting and wacky remedies, what is the most interesting or memorable remedy you tried in hopes of healing and did it work or fail for you? 

She recalls, "I ordered something from England. I can't remember what it was called. But, it didn't work. There was a wacky diet where I could basically eat nothing and I still gained 130 lbs. I have since lost that weight. In a year and a half I've lost 160 lbs. Again, no one can figure out why."

When she needs strength she turns to God.

She continues to share that the dynamic in her home has changed since her health challenges began. "It makes me feel like a bad wife at times. My husband comes home from working hard long hours and I don't have dinner cooked or house the cleaned. I feel horrible because he deserves so much better."

Tammy, if you could change one thing in the medical community in regard to the challenges of being a patient what would that be? 

She responds, "Fair treatment and make them believe in Lyme"

Looking back on your health journey what advice would you give to someone just beginning to look for answers on their path? Tammy urges others to, "Don't let Dr's bully you. Fight for treatment with all you have! Don't take no for an answer."

A favorite quote or motto she has is, "I still got a lot of fight in me. Or from, Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

If you have questions or just want to send a virtual hug to Tammy, she can be reached by tamtamleigh@gmail.com or phone 219-895-1334.
email