Whose that crazy Chicken Lady?

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Happy New Year... Come on Spring!

It was my idea to wear our stylish tree hats. If you know me well enough this is no big deal. You're used to me. Mr. Awesome has grown used to the antics and crazy ideas. God love him!

I shouldn't be complaining about the winter. We have been pretty blessed so far. I do need to say that I am not sure how to dress. Two days ago I found myself outside picking up things in the yard wearing a hoodie. 

The holidays were good to us. It's nice and quiet with the kids coming by with the baby. I call them kids, but they are adults. Seems weird to call them anything but kids. 

Mr. Awesome and I have been dreaming about Spring and changing up garden planning. Seed catalogs are already sprinkled on my kitchen table. My seed container has been filled. And we have been brainstorming ideas for combating the wild range of insects and pests that have come through the garden. When we are done with one infestation another comes and takes its place. 

Lt. Dan the Wonder Goat has finally warmed up to us. I think he was mad at his other goat mommy for giving him away. He was pretty stubborn about ignoring us for about a month. Now, he is quite a character. He comes to beg for food and pets, mainly food! 
In my infinite wisdom, I didn't think about the damage he would do in the garden. Now, I did have an idea but the assault on my unsuspecting Elderberry was horrific. We really need to hustle him out of the garden soon. The area we thought of has our grape vines and he has already made a nice dent in those! Farm fail?! 


Fencing is HIGH on the list of things to do with him. Finishing buttoning up the house as well. We have a pretty drafty place. If the winds come out of the north the curtains move and you can feel the breeze. Mr. Awesome had the idea of using plexiglass as temporary window coverings and where he has done this the result is wonderful! We have 15 more windows to do! And before you ask, these are new windows. They are not original. They are poorly installed and caulked. 

The hens have started laying. Now, by hens, I mean 3 hens and a random duck have been laying. Which is a bit frustrating for us. We considered throwing some in the pot but don't wish to do so to the ones laying. I think they are doing it on purpose. 


They are smarter than you think. Which brings me to the other issues at hand... They are eating their eggs! I have tried putting golf balls in the nesting box and so far some wise hen decided she would rather play with it out of the nesting box and I found it in the chicken run. There are a few more tricks we can try. One is to fill an egg with mustard. I'll let you know how that goes.
I decided to try the "Deep litter" method over the winter and I tell
you, I am not a fan. I like the premise but I am a bit OCD when it comes to the coop. Now, I'm not talking the white glove test, just stinky and look wise. I've read there is no smell. I haven't experienced that yet and it could be due to the fact that ducks are really messy. We also do not have a poop board under our birds. I have cleaned a bit of it a few days back. I couldn't help myself! I moved about half of the litter out and placed it in a pile about 5 feet away from the coop. My hope is the pile will heat up, the chickens will dig and find bugs that were drawn to the pile for warmth and a yummy win for them!  

I bought 2 bags of pine chips and tossed a nice layer on top of everyone's areas. I'll do that again tomorrow as the weather may turn into a bit of snow. Time for flock blocks too! Flock blocks are these wonderful HUGE seed and mineral blocks for birds and this helps out during poor winter weather where we may not get outside to let everyone out right away. 


Did I mention I can't wait for Spring?! Do you have plans for your garden?

Friday, November 23, 2018

A surprise Thanksgiving and fun stuff!

First off... Do you remember at the end of my previous post when I asked for thoughts if I should cut my hair? Well, I did it I cut my hair! Now, I'm letting it grow in for the winter and plan to do this cut again. I loved the playfulness of it! 

I hope you had an amazing Thanksgiving! We had an impromptu holiday! Jess, Don and Short Stack came over to visit and I went into overdrive trying to make the "perfect meal". 


UGH! Let's just say that sometimes I don't do well under pressure... I forgot about the ham and it was very well done. I planned on making green bean casserole and realized I didn't have green beans to make it. I made vegetarian stuffing and added WAY TOO MUCH Rosemary. It was good once you mixed it with the cranberries, mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes. 


Everyone was pretty kind about it but I felt pretty crummy. Especially since Jess is vegan and eats no gluten, sugar, dairy, or eggs. I made the veggie stuffing just for her but it was hardly palatable without mixing it in the other stuff which contained things she could not eat.  Did I say UGH?!


Did I mention we now have a GOAT?! SQUEAL! Lt. Dan (Mr. Dan or Dan the Wonder Goat) is a Boer Goat and is a sweet pie! He has back leg issues but that doesn't stop him from getting around. He is still rather shy with us but yells for us when he needs food and water. (Typical male!)


He gave me a scare a few days back when I heard this awful shrieking from outside. When I poked my head outside I saw that he was tangled up in our tomato cage that I had sitting alongside our fence! 

I hurried, threw shoes on, shouted for Alex to help me and flew out the door. (This picture and the next one are him checking out "The Abbey" the duck truck. He was not stuck just a place to scratch his neck and chin)

After closer examination, we figure he went inside the end of the cage but realized he was in too far when he tried to back out so instead,he stood up which knocked him off his feet trying to get out. This is just our theory.

Luckily I heard him hollering for me! Our tomato cages are made with pretty heavy metal and I couldn't find Mr. Awesome's heavy duty cutters with time and patience he was finally free. Once he was up and around he relieved himself and hustled back to eating some greens. That was WAY TOO much excitement for me! 


So, I mentioned my thoughts about opening an Airbnb/Farmstay to Mr. Awesome. After some careful thought and research, he said okay! YAY! We still have, "Godherd the bus" that is in process of being remodeled. Check out our page God's Breath Farm 

He hopes to build a few tiny houses, (This is great because I am still planning on the having a healing sanctuary here as well.) a possible Teepee, Gypsy Trailer (Shepherd's camper) and also offering primitive spots. 

We hope to open in the Spring of 2020. There is SO much to do! I am not as handy with tools or construction as I would wish to be. I hoped to be able to help more with these projects. I do need to focus on getting the garden up and running. Soil testing, mulch, researching plants, trimming trees, tagging edible/medicinal/herbal plants and trees on the property. 


Also to possibly add more goats for Mr. Dan to frolic with. We are still thinking about adding sheep as well. We were gifted 12 new ducks, hens and bought 2 other hens. This brings our flock to 27. Well, last night we lost one so we are at 26. There are about 4 Roosters that we will probably take to auction in a few weeks. 

Today all the fluffy animals are happy to have bellies full of pumpkins that were donated by Donna from a nearby town.

Last year I saw that she had put about a dozen or so curbside and we snagged them for the chickens. I stopped in October this year to ask if she could give me a call if she was putting them curbside this year and she gave us a call! Alex and Mini Man took turns showing off mad skills with the machete. I was a bit nervous with Mini Man and gave him orders to squish the mushy ones instead. We had a eager flock ready to nibble! 



I found a beekeeping group that meets about 40 minutes north of us and I am looking forward to having a mentor! We chatted with Jerry and his wife, Tara from Illiana Beekeepers Alliance




In scary news, Mr. Awesome went to the E.R. a few weeks back. He had been experiencing some discomfort in his belly and he called me after it grew too uncomfortable for him one day. I knew it was serious! He is one to never complain about being sick! 

They labeled him with a pulled muscle but after seeing his follow-up doctor it may be something to do with his colon. There is no way to say any of this nicely (COUGH! Colonoscopy!). She prescribed some antacids and will see if that helps his discomfort and if that doesn't help he may need to have the Colonoscopy. Let's just say he is not happy about that but we praying it resolves itself. 

He has since reduced his coffee intake to 2 cups a day, GASP! That is serious! There is concern over his heart issues as well. He had been dealing with stress from his side of the family some time ago. A few things are unresolved and still sting. These weigh heavily on his mind. He misses his daughter that he hasn't heard from in sometime. He always wanted her to feel independent and that she could talk to him anytime. He didn't wish to pressure her into calling him all the time or about coming over. This could have led to perhaps some feelings that we are his "new family" and that he doesn't wish to have anything to do with her. Which is FAR from the case. 

Terry  and I feel that we are missing out on seeing her and her child. We don't have funds to see her as much as we would like. Nor does he want to hound her to call him. 

I don't feel close enough to call her. In the past I was had been pretty vocal on how I feel about how she treats him. You see my father figures (except my step-dad, Chet) was not rosy. Not to toot Terry's horn but he never beat her nor was he abusive in any other fashion so this boggles my mind as why she doesn't contact him. 

There's more but that is part of the issues with some of his family members. He says that it doesn't bother him but I know these things do. I'll keep you posted on what happens next. If you could keep him wrapped in prayers I would appreciate it greatly!

In other news that I shared on my Hope when there was none page, I was honored to be asked to be part of Dimensions of Intersections

The mission of Dimensions of Intersections, Inc. is to "Plant SEEDS of Hope" with victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse; and any individual who is in any way effected by mental illness with the hope of providing adequate Support, Education, Empathy, Empowerment and Diversity ("SEEDS") to those seeking our love, care and respect. Please check the organization at the link above. There are many wonderful changes that have been going on for the upcoming months!

I have one more speaking engagement for this year that I am super excited about and have two appearances planned for 2019 but plan to add as many as possible next year. 

I put out a few messages on social media in hopes of having some help finding groups and organizations to speak with. So far I haven't gotten any nibbles. I won't give up hope to keep sharing my story of surviving abuse or the other topics I speak about. Check out my Hope when there was none blog for posts on this and also "Searching for the light" stories from victims and Survivors of abuse.  

If you haven't picked up a copy of my book at local libraries in my part of Indiana (Lowell, Brook, Lake Village, or Demotte) they can be purchased online at Amazon

I hope the rest of your week is wonderful!

BIG HUGS!
Mel

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