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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 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Fred's not dead! There's a fox in the hen house!

Oh my goodness! I thought the weeks before were busy with farm drama. I'm hoping it is coming to a close.

On the 21st, Fred was attacked by a fox in the hen house. There was quite a bit of blood and feathers in the coop with Fred stooped over. He appeared lifeless when I found him the next morning. We weren't sure he would make it through the night. He didn't eat or drink for 3 days. He couldn't lift his head or stand.

On the 4th day he began to eat, drink and kind of stand up. On day 7 he began to crow as well as make some moves on the hens. We are pretty sure he is going to make a full recovery!

Last week we brought home 14 adorable balls of fluff from Carlberg Farms/AR Farms. We also picked up 2 packages of  Bees. Sadly, 1 package died! I'm really upset about that. My plan is to call the place where we purchased them to advise and ask if anyone else had experienced anything similar.

The garden starts are happy. Mr. Awesome created a raised bed and plans on building a few more for me. A great help they will be since my knee is getting better a bit everyday.

This is enough excitement for me! How is it in your neck of the woods?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The mystery of the missing duck... SOLVED!

Frankie the Duck- she thought she was a chicken
A few weeks back we lost my favorite duck. Well, we didn't lose her. She vanished!

Now this isn't uncommon when you have outdoor critters. There are various reasons for missing animals such as, predators or they wandered off to pass away if they were sick or maybe someone swiped them. It's sad but these happen.

Mr. Awesome and Peanut looked all over the yard and even investigated a pile of white something that turned out to be a plastic bag up close.

A few days later, Mr. Awesome and me had a trip to pick up a table and chairs from a nearby town late in the evening. We arrived home to find the flock put away. This was unusual. Why? Peanut puts them away and it's usually a lot later though we have reminded her to please put them away sooner especially after Frankie went missing.

She stuck her head out the door to help light my way down the path. I'm still healing from the "Great knee incident". I applauded her for getting them in without me having to bark at her. She said, "Come in I've got a story to tell you!"

I hobbled in faster.

She said the dog started barking madly so she let the dog out only to watch a Fox happily trotting down the yard with a duck in it's mouth!

The dog went tearing after the fox, which decided to let go of the duck and run away.

After getting the petrified duck back in the Abbey, she closed up the rest of the crew and went back in the house with the dog. Not even 5 minutes later the dog started barking again! Apparently, this fox was super hungry. She let the dog out a second time. This time the dog chased the fox about a few acres down the road.The next day she appeared to be just fine.

Now we know what happened to Frankie. 😢

Raccoon at base of tree.
I didn't want to show gore so I pulled back a bit
Next 3 days ago, Mr. Awesome noticed movement on top of the barn. He believed it was a Raccoon. These guys mean business when it comes to snagging out animals as well. We were monitoring the situation when I saw something big and fuzzy hanging out of the tree in our front yard.

Guess what, it was the raccoon! If you are squeamish please stop here. We are mini-homesteaders and our farm animals are not pets. They provide food for us so we do not take kindly to predators.

Mr. Awesome put the raccoon down. There was no nest and we believe it is the same one we saw prior to this a week ago in a yard about a mile down. There is an abandoned silo there and I was pretty sure that was it's home. Now just to clarify, we do live trap animals if needed. Also, there are protected animals, check your local area for information.

Enter in a new flock soon or hens or chicks we want to be sure everyone is safe and sound as best possible. This means we protect our flock by whatever means necessary. We are out in the country so we do have coyotes, hawks, raccoons, foxes, cats and even other dogs to keep away from our critters.

Prior to having farm animals, I thought it was cruel to take a life of a majestic and cute animal. That stopped the day our flock of 20 was decimated by a family of foxes 7 years ago. Don't get me wrong I still believe they are beautiful but from afar.

As for the fox? We are unsure what happened to it. Now either the dog was enough to scare it off or after the situation Peanut witnessed I was in the yard the next day when I heard a few gun shots. Again, we are out in the country so that isn't unusual but it was only a few and silence. We have a neighbor about 5 miles down the road that also has chickens between our house and their home the fox may have been having a buffet.

I'm crossing my fingers that this will be all for now...

God bless! I hope your day is awesome!

Coming up tomorrow, "Homeschool game day" and I finally started my seeds for the garden! Did you know I have 2 books out soon? I am setting up book signings in the area and I'm excited but this is another post.😊

BIG HUGS!
Mel