The Girl Who Would Be Called Dempsey

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This is a picture of a Miniature Donkey, that I was going to buy.  I only knew I was going to buy her for about a week, then everything changed. And somehow, this change has changed me. Logically, it doesn’t make sense that I feel as devastated as I do. There was a part of me that kind of thought it was a bit of a crazy purchase. But, then there is the other part of me that tries to have faith and stay optimistic. So, in good faith, I did believe we would be purchasing her.

The name Dempsey, it’s my Maternal Grandmothers middle name. She hated it! Thought it sounded too masculine. But, I think it suited my grandma; for as sweet as she was, she was also feisty too! My grandma lived to be 100.  My family is a complicated mess, but I do have many good memories around my grandma.

Anyway, this beautiful little donkey belongs to a precious friend of mine. Someone who I don’t think realizes how amazing she is. I drive her crazy and somedays I fear she’ll decide I’m too much of a mess and won’t be my friend anymore. I love her and her family, I love her kids like they are family. I refer to her as an Aunt to my son. And because her friendship is so precious, I informed her as soon as I knew that we wouldn’t be able to make the purchase. I thought for sure she’d be upset, but she handled it gracefully.

But, here I sit…. STUCK! And I can’t explain it. How on earth did I develop such an emotional attachment to a picture of a baby donkey?? Why is it having such a profound affect on me? I can’t explain it and I need to move past it. The only thing that comes to mind is what it represents. It represented hope, I guess. I guess the hope that one day my family will be able to have something like that. That we can buy our son a gift of that magnitude, without worry. I think that’s what it represented to me.

My family always seems to struggle financially. We want to be able to fix our home, raise a garden and some livestock and make our son proud. We want to leave a legacy for him. I think that’s why all this bothers me so much. It’s again just a reminder of our struggles. And again, I feel like a failure. I know going after your dreams is noble and a worthy cause. And I know raising our son in the country was and is the right decision. But I just wish God would provide some guidance. I just don’t know if I can continue this way.

So that’s it. I’m at a crossroads and I really don’t have the answers or solutions. So, I just have to pray. And just love my family and pray some more. I have to stay hopeful and faithful. And ride the wave until I can regain control

Fowl Pox

I’m definitely a novice at owning livestock. As a kid we briefly lived on a farm. But my parents didn’t involve us kids. So, now as a mom myself…it’s important to me to start having livestock. To start LEARNING myself (even if it’s the HARD way), so I can teach my son and INVOLVE him. This is hard!! But everyone was once a beginner. Books are good, but lord I wish I had time to read. It is something I NEED to adjust in my life and make time for. I have an amazing friend (I know I drive her CRAZY) who helps me a lot. And I know I will learn from others in the farming community, as well. But the best learning comes from experience. As a mom, I am learning everyday. I have really good days & days that I wish I could rewind and start over. At the end of it, I just always end my day with a prayer of gratitude, forgiveness and pray that my loved ones know how important they are to me.

We are currently battling what we believe to be Fowl Pox. We chose (partially due to our goals & partially due to finances) to do natural treatment of our flock. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, but it’s what we are doing. I realize that I could lose my entire flock. So far, we had one hen that had a sudden onset of gurgling and died within hours. Her eyes never swelled. We have the BR rooster who seems to be well (best I can tell). We have the hen with two swollen eyes, which now has one eye partially open and swelling is going down. However, she still makes gurgling sounds. Then we have my favorite chicken Gertrude (she’s kind of fat & awkward like me) and she presented yesterday with a swollen eye.

This is how I’ve treated them. First day, warm compress and neosporin on eyes. Second day, added saline wash, then warm compress and neosporin. Third day, changed to just saline wash and bought Vetricyn to spray in eyes. I put Ropa Poultry Oregano solution in my chickens water. During treatment, I have doubled the amount I add to their water. Starting day 3, I also started putting Apple Cider Vinegar in their water. I can’t say this treatment will cure them. But I do know it hasn’t killed them. And I do believe it’s helped them to stay strong enough to battle the illness. Also, the day the chicken got the 2nd swollen eye and I noticed she wasn’t drinking, I gave her an oral shot of Gatorade. I’m hoping my flock survives. I am pretty attached to all of them.

WHAT CHICKENS HAVE TAUGHT ME ABOUT LIFE: Sunshine and fresh air help just about anything that ails you. Having friends (or your flock) near you when you’re ailing can give you the strength to go on. NEVER GIVE UP! Even if you lose, the days you lived enriched someone’s life. That I can overcome and deal with things that scare me or make me uncomfortable. I wanted to give up my flock because I was scared and felt like a failure. But keeping them and trying to heal them, it’s rewarding. And it teaches my son valuable lessons as well. It teaches him empathy, nurturing, responsibility and unfortunately that sometimes things don’t go how we want them to go.

I have days where life is too much, too hard for me. But my son needs me, and the animals at our ranch need me. It all helps me to cope and feel like I do have a purpose. And I try everyday to become a better version of myself. I am extremely blessed to be on this journey. And honestly the biggest problem I have in life is the lack of money, it creates so much stress in our home. Well, you know…. I may not be financially well off, but God has made me rich in so many ways. And I’d rather be rich in love and my blessings than to be so poor, that all I had was money.

I just read the information on this page today, from the Chicken Chick and it’s very interesting.  Seems we so far are dealing with the “wet” version of this illness.  We are going to clean the coop tomorrow with dawn dish soap and then spray down with vinegar. We also are going to try Iodine in their water and see if that helps.  INFO HERE: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2015/07/fowl-pox-prevention-treatment.html?m=1

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Reflection

Well, we have lived here for a little past three months now! With everything we’ve done and that has happened so far, it seems like it’s been longer. Mostly in a good way, I would say. We know how blessed we are to have this home, and the land. It may need lots of repair, but it’s a very peaceful place to live.

For the previous six months, we lived life pretty much in limbo and afraid of what the future held. After my spouse got laid off and we saw our home taxes continue to rise, we knew we had no choice but to sell our previous home.  Although we have people we love and care about back in TX, we knew we had to leave. The plan we had, the help that was offered to us, well it all went awry. And survival instincts kicked in, and we moved forward. Along the way, we were very lucky and are thankful to those who helped us. Still, though, we lived in a very type of “survival” mode and it’s something we are still recovering from.

We are older parents, and know how blessed we are to have our son.  We know what a privilege it is to be parents and also the “burden” it brings with the responsibility to raise a good person. I don’t mean burden in a bad way, but that it’s not something to take lightly. You are raising someone’s future spouse, parent, coworker and just all around member of society.

As older parents, we try not to obsess over it, but we are more aware if our mortality. We feel we are against the clock and racing to keep ahead. We want to be sure to instill in our son good values and such, but also provide enrichment and learn/teach him skills for life survival and such. We knew there were far more benefits to raising our son in the country, then in any city environment. And although it’s been hard so far, we know we made the right decision.

Some things I have learned so far: money doesn’t go as far as we want or need, repairs are always going to be more than you think, there is always going to be something that comes up to either brighten or dampen your day, you need a fishnet to catch chickens and the like, PATIENCE is always the solution, and most importantly that God is watching over us.  We’ve spent more money on repairs for this home than any we’ve lived in and we still have a long list of things to be done. That being said, we still know how blessed we are, and love our very humble home. We’ve gotten chickens, guineas and ducks and they are so much fun to watch. They will both relax your soul and drive you crazy when it’s bedtime and they don’t want to come in. It’s amazing how quickly you get attached. We’ve named a few of them: Bonnie & Clyde are the pair of Silverlaced Sebrights, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are the Buff Orpington hens, and we have one Barred Rock Hen we call Gertrude. They all have their own personalities.

Weve met some really nice people since moving here. Surprisingly not anyone seems to give two shits about us being a gay couple. It’s been pretty refreshing. I’ve learned that there are just some really good people with old fashioned values if you just open up to meet them.

I like to barter, but currently I don’t have much I feel to offer people. But I did manage to do a bit of a barter and I’m pretty excited about it. I had bought these metal nesting boxes for my chickens. I was so proud and so excited about it, but the chickens didn’t like them at all. So, I listed them for sale. One of the farmers we had met through buying hay wanted to know if I’d do a trade. Well, we are on the list to get a puppy from them, so we traded for a credit towards the purchase price of the puppy. I can’t explain how happy it makes me!! It was a moment of joy for sure. And it takes away a little bit of financial worry. It seems most farm folk are open to trades/bartering, it is something I think society as a whole could benefit from.

The other day I was overcome with worry about our missing ducks and rooster, and just not paying attention to where I was walking; but God was.  Because all of a sudden I heard a rustling sound and right beside my foot, just maybe 6 inches away was a copperhead snake! I screamed and just froze and watched as it slithered away, it wasn’t in a hurry or aggressive at all. But I still know how that could have been a really bad experience if not for Gods protection!

Another example of God’s protection recently revolves around our electricity in the home and listening to my inner voice. We have an electric stove that came with the house and it was hard wired in versus a typical cord and plug.  Well, I just always felt uneasy about it, so I wouldn’t use it.  Which meant PBJ’s, eating out and munching on junk food, because we also just don’t have very many outlets and our electric needed to be updated. So, the electrician came and updated our electric and told me I was very lucky we didn’t use the stove. That it would of most likely had caused a fire! The stove is now hooked up safely.  God put that inner voice in all of us, I am thankful I listened.

There have been many ups and downs in our lives.  We have such big hearts and want to do so much to impact the world in a positive way! But some days I fear that although we are rich with blessings, that we are destined to be financially poor forever. Finances have always been tough for us. Our money has gone three ways in life (1) to medical intervention to have a child (2) to charity (3) to retail or ink therapy (4) eating out and of course bills and such! I don’t really regret anything we’ve done in life, it’s all created memories and such that mostly brought joy to our lives or someone else’s.

Moving forward, we are hoping to eliminate (mostly) the eating out and retail/ink therapy (although an occasional tattoo might be gifted to me) and we no longer have to “try” to have a child. But we won’t ever stop giving to charity or giving of ourselves in anyway we can. We want to instill in our child an understanding of being charitable and helping others. It is part of our dream with having our farm to eventually be able to grow enough food to feed us and donate some.  We’d also like to be able to raise some livestock and help people in that way too. Maybe choose one family a year to donate half a processed cow to, or perhaps donate a baby animal to a FFA family.  We want to always do something that helps our society in some way.

I know God has great plans for our family. I hope they will be realized in our lifetime, but I know the plans may be for our sons future, not ours.  So, we will just continue on our path in life.  We will pray for guidance and hope for “signs”, and we will try our best to stay positive, while licking our wounds! Life is a crazy journey, and it’s mostly beautiful! Everyday that I wake up and get to see the smile on the faces of my son and spouse, those are good days!!

 

Our 1st Chickens

D54CE201-A1F3-4A7F-B411-DD7439E43242Well, we did it!!! We jumped in feet first and bought chickens. The plan was to just go to a local livestock auction for fun, not to buy anything. Then, we hoped to maybe buy some Guineas, but that didn’t happen. The only Guineas they had went for $13 each and you had to buy the entire lot of 6. Too much for us to spend.

I ended up bidding first, I got excited about these tiny chickens.  They were Silver Sebright Bantam chickens, a pair. I thought they were just beautiful. So, I bought them, I thought for $10; they actually were $20. You can’t get too excited at auctions, I learned, you have to listen carefully. Some items are each, so are for the lot. But, I don’t regret buying them.

My spouse made our other purchase. She paid $4.50 each for 6 quantity of Barred Rock hens. They are so sweet, not peckish at all. They just cluck & coo, it’s pretty interesting to be around. Sadly, though, at least at this auction, you don’t know much about what you bought. Once we got the poor chickens home, we saw that their nails were overgrown and their legs were white and swollen, with cuts on some of them.

We’ve had the chickens for 6 days now. Some of them are laying eggs, but not all. We’ve gotten eight eggs since we’ve had them. We have no idea of their ages, on the Barred Rock hens, but know the Silver Sebright are less than a year. They haven’t fully feathered on their heads yet. What we do know is the chickens seem extremely happy and MUCH healthier than when we bought them. I still need to trim their nails, but their legs are no longer swollen and they are all a flesh color now, instead of white.

We are kind of doing all this a bit half assed and I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone else. I don’t really recommend it to myself! But, I don’t regret it. The chickens are very calming to have around. But, I do want to be a good chicken momma. Right now, they are staying in the old greenhouse/workshop. It’s a place for them to sleep at night and so far has kept them safe. But, I do want them to have a nicer coop.

We are working on trying to get our outbuildings fixed to be better for the critters we have and those we will be getting. But it all takes time and money. Our son, loves to help, but he’s only two and I can only be brave enough to let him do certain things.

I struggle with depression and anxiety, that is a fact of my life. But living here, it’s so peaceful. I do worry a lot about finances and such. But I worry more about not fitting enough life experiences into what life I have left. I want to do as much as possible for our son to have some fantastic memories of his childhood. It’s funny how having a child and then livestock too, forces you to be braver than you want. But it’s so rewarding.

I am grateful for this life. I’m grateful that we were brace enough to go for our dreams. I just pray that God will continue to bless us and provide us with solutions to our prayers.

Life so far…

I am not blessed to have a lot of memories of my childhood, having Epilepsy as a child prevents that. But, some of my best and also worst memories are of when my family lived on a farm. It was those good memories that I tried to hold on to, and knew I wanted someday to have the chance to live that type of life again. And when God finally blessed me with a child, my spouse and I agreed 100% that we definitely wanted to raise our son on a “farm”, to give him space to play and freedom to just be a kid.

Well, as seems to be typical of our life, things never go as planned. On my other blog I go a little more into it. But, here I want to just try to focus on our life at the ranch. In March, my spouse bought our ranch. It’s a very small fixer upper on 20 acres! We have both pasture and woods, with two small ponds (watering holes). The homeowner was the 2nd person to live here, the home was built in 1951 and he purchased it in 1963. He raised a family here and ran a nursery, selling flowers and such, while also raising cattle and pigs. The neighbor said the owner had been in failing health and the place had just deteriorated over the last 15 years, as the owner was too elderly and in poor health to fix things.  So, we have much work to do!

The house is a sturdy little home, but indeed needs some repairs.  We are trying to repair our credit and not incurs debt, as we don’t want to ever lose a home again! We want this to be the place our son grows up & makes fantastic memories here; and if he so chooses, to raise a family here when we are gone.  So, we will continue to move forward and do what we can, as we can afford to. And we just pray that God will provide answers and solutions.

To anyone who is considering moving out to live on land, there are things to consider.  For me, the three things I’ve struggled with the most are: patience, fear and loneliness. And all of these issues have hit me hard and honestly, taken me by surprise.

First, patience, this has always been something I’ve struggled with. But, I thought I wouldn’t experience it here. There are two sides of thought I have about living here. The one side, wants to have livestock, a garden, etc and just fully embrace the life! The other side of me wants to take a year or two and just get the house done (cleaned, painted, organized) and just enjoy the peace & quiet. And then, get all the livestock, etc. But, what has happened is that being older parents, I feel time is against us; so I find I’m not patient with how long it takes to accomplish things. And so I struggle back in forth about having animals now, or waiting. And I worry about our finances and the just don’t want us to fail.

Secondly, fear, this is a terrible thing to deal with.  Sometimes I feel like I am a prisoner to my fear. Some days, I think I must have been crazy to think living in the country was a good idea. But, most days, I know it’s the right thing to give our son the best childhood experience possible! Being a mom, you are forced to confront so many fears you never knew existed before.  And now, if I want our son to enjoy life out here, I have to also confront old fears of mine. It’s important to me to not imprint all my fears & anxiety onto my son. I want him to be as innocent and carefree as possible, I also want him to be knowledgeable and BRAVE! So, I can’t run away every time I see a wasp or bee. I can’t freak out over bugs and such. And I’ve embraced the black rat snake we have, but I am so afraid of what could be lurking in the piles of wood or in the weeds.  I find somedays that I just have to fight so hard to not just sit and cry, because I’m afraid.  And I’m mostly afraid that I’m not being as good of a mom as I could be, because of some of my fears. Hopefully soon, we will find the money to afford a weedeater and to get these weeds & brush under control enough that we could use weed spray.

Lastly, is loneliness! I didn’t think I would be lonely.  Being a SAHM is a blessing, I am so grateful for. But, I do at times feel very isolated. My spouse is amazing, but she’s also exhausted most of the time. Just getting to our home was such a LONG journey and has been so physically and mentally hard on both of us. On her days off, she’ll try to take us out at least one day, but it typically doesn’t go well. Our son is two and lately has decided naps are not his thing; so that can lead to a bit of an issue on outings. I am with our son 24/7, so it doesn’t bother me, but my spouse gets all anxious and upset when he starts to fuss in public.  This leads to me getting upset and just wanting to go home! So, why don’t I just drive somewhere? Well, we only have one car. And, I have also never been a very confident driver. But, mainly due to my horrific car accident last year, I’ve only driven three times since. It has left me with a debilitating anxiety to driving and sometimes I can’t even handle riding in a car, especially if there has been bad weather or it’s dark, or a lot of traffic.

All of these things I need to overcome and hopefully in time I will; at the very least I hope I can encourage our son to not be like me, in these aspects.  I know there will come the day that I can confidently walk around on our property with our son and son explore nature like I want to. I know there will come the day that I will look at myself in the mirror with pride.  I know someday, I will be happily working my garden and living in harmony with Gods creatures, knowing they all serve a purpose. I look forward to the day our 1st animal is born here in our ranch. I look forward to so many adventures and memories to be made here! I just pray that God will provide, that He will allow our son to grow up here, that He will bless us with health and longevity. There is so much to do and the time goes so fast! I just pray that our son knows how much we love him, and that he has the BEST life experiences possible.

 

Future Fishing Hole

One of our two ponds. We hope to get this one made larger and stock it next year.