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Monday, March 30, 2015

A Tried and True Refocusing Strategy

               Oye Vay I Say! Being a student is hard! Yes I am complaining but it's true! I find when I'm getting good in one area of my life it's because I'm lacking in another. This week I was feeling like I was spending much more time with my husband and kiddos, and then BAM! I did bad on my Chemistry Exam. I didn't fail mind you but the grade I got still bothers me.

  I have four weeks left of this semester and I need to hunker down and refocus. 
The question is.... How?
Am I being too focused in an area of my life that I could let go for just four more weeks?
Perhaps the house? Maybe the blog? The thing is I love the blog. The idea of writing all my thoughts down makes my mind more open. Whether someone's going to read it or not.

Maybe my problem is balance. I try to perfect one thing too much and I loose focus of the bigger picture. SO, what is my big picture right now?

 Passing with an excellent grade this semester, of course!

I remember using a strategy a teacher told me about the first time I went through nursing school. Give yourself a little lee-way. Focus for 15 minutes, then go do whatever pressing thing that's nagging at the back of your mind. Do something quick, like changing the laundry; or for bigger projects do them in steps. Don't spend more than 10 mins away from your studying. 15 minutes on, 10 minutes off. It worked wonders and it will work for me again.


What kinds of re-focusing strategies do you use?

Friday, March 27, 2015

The TGIF BLog & Instagram Hop.


Happy TGIF! Fridays have always been one of my up most favorite days of the week. Which is why I started this growing, fun, friendly, inspiring hop! I am thankful to have each and every one of you that link-up and share with us each each. Thank you! 


Celebrate with us making it to Friday!

The TGIF Blog & Instagram Hop is a Friday friendly hop where we hope you can blossom, meet and greet new bloggers. We enjoy having you. 




Each Friday we will feature our most favorite post from the previous week. It could be you! We also have a weekly Cohost spotlight, that is great to gain your blog some extra notice (enter here). 

The rules of the TGIF Blog and Instagram Hop Are simple!
1. Link-up any post or posts (no specifics) and your Instagram.
2. Grab a button and display it on your blog, in a post or somewhere visible to help us get notice for the Hop. Also helps us better feature your blog.
3.Be social. Comment and follow at least one blog you enjoy. 
4. Tweet out the TGIF hop. 
Tweet: Link up at the #TGIFhop with @kaitlynmarie003 @desireephillips @silviearmas @ryderbunch @scggirl #instagramhop #bloghop http://ctt.ec/8oM2V+



Meet This Weeks co host
I am the mother of two adorable children, a wife, a full time nurse, part time student and raise chickens in my spare time. I love to run, read, write, DIY, fitness and healthy living. Follow me through my world of Love, Life and Chickens.


Want to be our next Cohost with a special spotlight?! Cohost Form HERE.


 This Weeks TGIF Feature

From the blog of:Our Pretty Little Girls
Be sure to check her blog out: here.







Thursday, March 26, 2015

Housing your Chickens

Oh there are many finely built, artfully crafted, aesthetically pleasing coops out there. Many you can buy off line, This $3,800 beauty can be found at www.urbancoopcompany.com:
It can house up to twenty chickens!


And then there is ours:
Please attempt to look past this very pregnant belly and gaze at the awesomeness that is The Palette Coop. This houses up to ten chickens at a time.

My husband constructed this coop, on a challenge from me, entierley out of palette's and recycled materials. And I have to say well done hubby of mine. This coop doesn't look too shabby. The nesting boxes are made out of old cupboards, any hardware is used and discarded from our kitchen (which is in the process of a never ending remodel), and he even added shingles; which came from when my in-laws re-shingled their roof. He built it in the garage over winter and we've had it for over a year now.

Attatched to the front is a dog run he got for free off of Craigslist. We made the fatal mistake of not putting some wiring over top at first. A hawk swooped in and scooped one of our chick-a-dee's up (RIP Dora). It now has netting over top so this does not happen again.

This just goes to show you, you DO  NOT need something expensive to put your chickens in. Chickens were bred to be resilient animals. And well.....they poop all over the thing anyways so there is really no way of keeping it entierly pretty anyways.




Monday, March 23, 2015

Loosing a Patient.

   As a nurse, loosing a patient you have know for awhile is not easy. I recently helped a patient pass.

           My patient was dying. Here I was in her families’ house, sitting in their chair and watching their T.V. I had just checked to make sure she was comfortable and gave her, her scheduled medications. She looked comfortable, as comfortable as one can be while dying.
I was looking through my schedule to see what extra days I could pick up throughout the month. I had a trip planned to South Carolina at the end of May and I wanted to make sure I had enough money to cover my expenses while down there. I was looking back and forth from my schedule, the T.V., the outside and my patient to make sure she was still breathing. I was not there to save her life but to help her pass. It was my first experience as a nurse with this kind of up close dying.
It was the middle of March and spring had just begun. The blanket of snow covering the ground had started to creep back exposing the frozen grass underneath. Cold tears of water would drip off the roof onto the back of my neck as I walked through the threshold of the house. The wind still had a nip about it but the sun warmed away the thought before it had formed.
My patient’s daughter had just gotten back from a run and was doing things around the house in her pink bathrobe and slippers. She always made the nursing staff feel welcome but throughout the years I couldn’t help feel like an intruder. Here I have sat for the past two and a half years watching this family’s life take shape. I’ve watched the youngest grow up and the oldest leave home. It feels like I watched it all through a window from where I sat in the sun room with her mother. Now I will be here to watch her mother pass and support the family through this.
Although I am just a tiny ripple in the journey of taking care of her mother I can’t help but feel momentous at being here for the end. I suppose I am just happy it was me who was here, someone who had been here the whole time and knew the family. I doubt I am even noticed though, which is just as well, it is not about me.
I look up from my budgeting to see the daughter standing in the doorway. A raw and powerful look on her face. One mixed with love, bitterness, longing and sadness. At this point my own personal musings stop. I felt a part of her moment even though she would never know. I felt her same somberness at losing her mother and having her life end way too soon. I wanted to say something to comfort her but what? Something cliché? No. this moment deserved better than that. So I let the silence be. I let it take over and wash through the room. I could hear every memory running through her daughters head and see them in her eyes.

Soon she moved along in her daily routine but continued to glance at her mother every time she passed by the sun room. Even after I had left house for the last time, I would still feel the sorrow of her daughter’s grief from time to time. Her mother died in the best way; surrounded by love and by family. She did well by her mom, which is what God always intends for his children to do.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

How to Get Started with Your Chickens!!!

 

     We actually started last year  but the chicks stayed elsewhere until their feathers came in and we could put them outside. I had a new born at the time and could only handle so much. So a friend of ours kept them at their house and they said it was super easy! Make sure you know the local laws first before you get started. We have one such law here in Michigan that "helps" to cut down on suburban farming. I put help in quotes because I don't think that is something that is helpful at all. The chickens are much quieter than dogs and who wouldn't want fresh eggs everyday? But I suppose some people would want to get a rooster and there in lies the problem.
      First you might want to do some research on what kinds of chickens you want. We didn't really do that though. We just got whatever they were selling at Tractor supply company. TSC has an annual event called Chick days, it goes from late February till early April. They have ducks too if  you want to try those.

We got Barred-Rocks (Plymouth Rock) Chicken:
                                                   These chickens are our best layers.


Ameraucana's, which can produce green, blue or pink eggs:



And Isabrowns:


We got the some mystery chickens this year. The farmer who sent them to TSC wasn't able to tell them what kind they were, but we are guessing White-leg Horns which should look like this:
Also the yellow chick pictured above

        My husband and I often have a half formed plan that seems to throw itself together after we have already made the jump. There are all types of containers/crates/ what have you, to keep your chicks in. There's a pluthera of products out there but for us we just kept it simple. We found a huge tub at TSC, grabbed a bag of what looks like hamster bedding, a feeding container, chick food and a water container.
                                        I couldn't really tell you why there's a kids plate in there
                                              but if I had to guess, I would guess Madison.
         
       The chicks are too little to be outside so we keep the tub in our dinning room until their feathers come in. Like I said I'm sure there are different (or even better) ways to do this but this is what is working for us. My husband made a cover for over top of it so the chicks wouldn't get out and so the cat couldn't get in. We strung a heating lamp from the ceiling ( not by the cord) and have it hovering just above the tub. The chicks need a temperature of 95 degrees F for the first week of life, you'll notice their feathers starting to come in soon after that. Chicks grow surprisingly fast! You can reduce the temperature another 5degrees every week there after until you reach 70 degrees.


By that time they should have their feathers and only need a heating lamp at night on. Right now our chicks are about 4-5 weeks old. and look like this:






So weather pending, we are hoping to get them outside within the next 3 weeks. Some of the chicks are younger so they may need to stay inside a little longer. If this is the case we will keep all of the chicks inside. Chickens have a short memory. They are used to each other right now but if separated will forget one another. When reintroduced they will try to establish a pecking order, which could lead to fights and deaths. So keep your chickens together!

 I will make another post on how to reintroduce chickens if you ever need to separate them. We are in the process of doing that very thing.
     

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Find me on BlogLovin'! And we'll Navigate the World of Life, Love and Chickens together.

So..... Why Get Chickens?



                  So..... why? That's a common question we get. Super vauge and difinitively un-clear. Why what? Why did the chicken cross the road? Why did she drop the necklace off the boat at the end of the movie? Why do I still own a pair of gaucho pants? These my dear friends are questions we will never know. (Actually gaucho pants are quite comfortable but I digress.) But as for the why pertaining to my choice of lifestyle I have a plenty of answers! 
                  
                  Why do I own chickens. The simple answer: because I like fresh brown chicken eggs. The white ones you get from the store are about a month old and taste too.... "eggy". I don't think that's actually a word but cant think of a better term to express how I feel about them. The complex; it translates to my parenting style. Chickens are a lot of work! Farmers have it right! The most well- behaved kids I've met lived on farms. They have responsibilities at a young age and that translates into the world as an adult. Now I don't want to actually own a full fledged farm so we went with chickens. They are small and have a side perk of eating all the bugs in your yard. They take dedication, responsibility and love. Just like everyday life they address the good, the bad and the ugly.

                  We get several delicious eggs daily. It's fun to go outside, let the chickens out of the coop and get to walk up to the still warm nest of eggs awaiting my daughters eager hand to collect them. Most of our chickens are skiddish and try not to come too near us. Then we have the brave one who loves to be near us. Her name is Cinderella. She follows us around in the yard, let's us pet her and loves for us to carry her around.

                 The bad would pertain to the deaths we've had (or even caused) while trying to figure these chickens out. At one point we had two ducks we adopted from some friends. When the chickens were old enough we put them together....oops. The ducks would gang up on a chicken and peck it until wounded. When the other chickens see red.... well they attack. We lost one that way. Another instance was when a hawk got into the coop and snatched up a chicken. We put a netting over the chicken run from that day forward. Some chicks die soon after hatching from unknown causes. Then there was, what we called, "D" day, that's a different story for a different day.

                NOW... for the ugly. Imagine shoveling a winter's worth of half frozen chicken crap from the floor of the coop. Yeah.... I think I'll just leave it at that.

                 In the world of chicken raising you get all these little life lessons on a micro scale. Easy enough for a young mind to digest, to comprehend and to grow from. The Chicken Coop is our tool to help grow our children into hard working and compassionate adults. One of the smartest thing's I've ever heard came from one of my patients. I was young and pregnant with my first, Madison. She told me, "Raising children is much like buttoning a sweater. If you start off wrong, you will end up wrong."  The Chicken Coop is our buffer against that happening.


Monday, March 16, 2015

How Chickens even Came About.

               How this all came about is how all good things usually do; with one comment leading to another, leading to an action and so on. My husband and I always had the dream of living in a rural setting. We talked about all the acres of land we would end up on and all the animals we would invest in. At the time, these talks took place in a suburban house, with a modest backyard and one too many spying neighbors. It felt confining to be so close to another house and the constant humming of traffic was always in the background. I do miss being able to get to the store so quickly but it's probably better on my wallet if I don't have that kind of access.
              We are far off from those talks but we do live on a little over an acre and are surrounded by farmed fields. We get to enjoy 100 acres of scenery with out all the upkeep. What we do have is a little piece of paradise in the middle of Alto, MI and couldn't be happier. Even after moving we wouldn't get the chickens for another year and a half. We had talked about it but at that point it was just talk. 
              What the driving point of this project was my husband. I had stopped eating meat for an entire month after watching this documentary called Food, Inc. If you never want to eat again please treat yourself to that movie. I was about 7 months pregnant at the time with our second child and my husband had a sit down heart to heart with me. I was essentially told that I couldn't just stop eating meat in the middle of a pregnancy.  We didn't know enough about how to safely get me through a pregnancy without it effecting the baby. He suggested that after Lucas was born we would start with raising the chickens.... HA!
             Me in my pregnant mind only saw dollars signs, and with maternity leave coming soon I couldn't even think of spending that much money. SO! we went on to agree that he would build the coop.... double HA! I, as per the usual, was being sarcastic when I complied with this. I had been asking my dear husband to build shelves against the wall in the basement since we moved in ( and are still to this day barren). So naturally I thought there was no way he would actually build a coop. Honestly I had begun to think he was all talk about being able to build anything!
             Well sure as shit, he really built the thing. I told him he couldn't spend any money while doing this also. So he used pallets. Oh how my man can be very resourceful when he wants too. The coop is not too shabby looking for being built in my garage, during the middle of winter and entirely out of pallets. That was just the beginning of my journey navigating through the world of chickens.