Outdoor Play

IMG_0098As an older mom, I constantly battle with feeling that somehow I am letting my child down.  That they are at a deficit of some sort, because I’m not a younger, more vibrant mom. I’m trying to get back on a healthier track in life and hope to lose weight and become more energetic. I KNOW how to eat healthy and I know how to lose weight; but I’m finding it so hard right now. I know a lot has to do with worry over finances, as I am an emotional eater. But, I trust in Gods plan and know the resolution will be presented to us in HIS time.

That all being said, I have shed MANY tears over things that I feel are necessary for our child to have a great childhood. I swear I use to be such a kid & know how to play; but somehow life has just beat me down & I can’t get to that place. So, I think to myself if my child had a great outdoor play space, I could play with him and maybe learn to be a kid again. So, I have been OBSESSING over getting him a play kitchen for inside play (I love to cook), and for outside, I wanted to get him something from Cedarworks, Little Tikes, Step 2 or Gorilla Playsets.  All I could think is he NEEDS this amazing outside play area.

Our little boy actually enjoys watching American Ninja Warrior; it’s actually the only adult program I get to watch. He loves to climb and I know in my heart he would enjoy an outdoor play area.  So, I am constantly scouring the BST pages and Craigslist for a good bargain.  There have been a few obstacles with these finds though: (1) most items won’t fit in our SUV,  (2) even the good deals are typically too much for our current finances, (3) most people won’t hold items until you get there, and (4) people won’t deliver, even for gas money.  So, we’ve found it hard to find what my heart desires.

So, I tried talking with the companies that make the items I want. Asking them for discounts or anything to help.  What I got back was SILENCE.  This is hard, it’s actually a bit heartbreaking  I KNOW our son is not going to suffer from not having outside toys  But he is our only child. We are older parents who unfortunately also are poor financially; we just want him to have some things, the things we think are important.

Well, so then I was just at a standstill.  I was depressed and just overwhelmed.  I spend most of my time helping my spouse in her job search, selling (or trying to sell) items on EBay, and playing with our son.  So, I started thinking.  And I come to realize that I was allowing myself to be swept up in to the world of consumerism and the material world.  And I had to take a deep breath and remember why we are on this journey and what is important.

We desire to be homesteaders.  That though is expensive to start. Living a simple life, comes with a hefty price tag when you are starting from scratch!! But we view this as a worthwhile endeavor and it’s our goal to LEARN and to be able to TEACH our child.  So, with that in mind I went to my favorite Facebook pages to gain support and ideas.  These pictures are not mine, I found them on Google.  But after talking with some wonderful moms on the Waldorf Life Page and WildSchooling; these are my inspiration and what I hope to build for our son.

We have plenty of downed wood on our property and a few pallets. We are a bit out of shape, but we also are motivated. There are things we need: tires, pots, pans, buckets, washboard, sink or something similar and utensils, along with other miscellaneous items. The most expensive item we need is either a chainsaw or the money to hire someone to help us cut and move the wood. Even if we buy a chainsaw, we’ll probably still have to hire someone to move the wood to the build site. And then of course, the tires are the next most expensive item.  It’s all going to take time. And we have to do our planning to get it right. I have a post going on my local BST page asking for an old tractor tire and also for items for the music wall and Mud kitchen. I’m hoping to get at least one project done in time for Christmas.

The tire sandpit I had thought we were going to build this weekend.  But, we tend to get EXCITED and not always do our due diligence in preparing.  So, now we are looking for a tractor tire, as the tire on our property is pretty small. And we also didn’t have the area prepared.  We need to dig up the ground, put weed proof down and I’d love to cover the weed proof with some gravel or something.  Then we also need some plywood to make a top and a pool noodle, and maybe some paint. This quickly became a project that we can’t currently afford.

In a perfect world, I could get the Mud kitchen and music wall built in time for Christmas.  And then start getting the logs cut and moved to build the playground and cut stumps and such for him to walk and climb on.  This is my hope.  I’m truly hoping that I will encounter some kindness from the community and people will donate some items so I don’t have to buy a lot. But, if I do have to buy, I plan to shop at Goodwill or places similar, as I know they provide many services to the community.

My spouse is excited about us building our son a playground.  My hope is that we can actually physically and financially pull it off!  I want our son to grow up being in touch with the earth and nature, that is my greatest hope for him.  But I suffer with great anxiety about the dangers in nature…. it’s one of the biggest struggles I have as a parent. I want him to be brave, explore and enjoy all there is in life; but I want to keep him safe.  The best way for me to keep him safe is to educate myself about our surroundings, to be familiar and to be out there exploring with him. This is a great challenge for me, but it’s an obstacle I have to overcome.  I don’t want him to inherit my fears and anxieties, I don’t want him to grow up sheltered.  I want him to be in touch with all that nature has to offer, all the blessings God has provided for us.  Making this playground will force me to take him outside more often, and that is the first step.  It provides a safe place for him to explore, to play, to be outside.  And hopefully it will be the stepping stones to greater adventures in time.

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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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.