Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Eye doctor


Since my camera isn't working, I've been searching for pictures already on my computer. I don't have very many pictures of Rodney but I thought this one was cute!!

Rodney and I went to Mena today and finally got his eye checked out. He had a piece of metal in it that had already turned to rust. It was being stubborn and not wanting to come out so the eye doctor pulled out this little tool that sounded like a tiny drill. Rodney and I both looked very apprehensive and thought that he surely wasn't about to use that on his eye...but he did. It did the job nicely. He instructed us to use some antibiotic eye drops as well as some lubricating drops and sent us on our way. Poor Rodney. He will be fine, he is such a baby about his eyes. He bought him a nice pair of sunglasses and has asked me a hundred question about the drops, when to use them and how, etc...it is funny.
The chickens are continuing to do better. The hay didn't get baled before the rain came, but we got some of it baled. It looks like the weather will be clear for the next several days and hopefully this will allow us to get it all put baled and in the barn. It is nice having the kids home for the summer. Kyle is helping Rodney in the chicken houses, which is lovely for me. I am planning on working for Dad tomorrow down in the wood shop. This will be a nice change from the stress of the farm. 

Monday, May 26, 2008

Looking better

Well, the mortality in the chicken houses was about half what it was yesterday. 
I think we hit the peak and are now on the down hill slide. The rain has been holding off and the guys are getting the hay baled. I still haven't gotten Rodney in to see the doctor about his eye, apparently getting the hay put up is more important than his silly old eye. I am hoping that he will be able to go tomorrow and get it checked out. 
Taylor and I are finally getting her computer fixed. I've been needing to do it for so long but have been putting it off because I just didn't want to mess with it. I am completely reinstalling XP and getting rid of every thing on it. We are cleaning the house today too...this is going to be a relief to me because it has been neglected due to all of the chicken/farm work. My mind is always much more at ease when the house is clean. 
Now if I can just get my camera fixed (or get a new one) then all will be right with the universe. 

Sunday, May 25, 2008

New Herd


Here are my new babies. 

I am so excited about them. They seem to be settling in very nicely. The big one is the older doe, Salty. She is really hilarious about the dogs being around. She doesn't take her eyes off of them for a second and once in a while will charge at them. Poor Charlotte is already needing therapy from this. Bella, on the other hand, seems to like the action. I guess she would since she is a cow dog. The goat in the background with the extra long ears is Little Mo, he is the buck. We really like him because he reminds us of Gunther, our first goat. 
We picked up 7 less chickens today than yesterday. I guess any improvement is good. My back is aching and my mind is weary from all of this, but I know that it will soon be over. I have been trying to come up with creative solutions to cure these poor dying chickens. I have heard that beer is good for chickens, that people have saved sick chickens by giving them beer. I started thinking while I was sweating my butt off picking up all of these poor dead chickens, that we could start medicating them with beer, after all, it is organic, is it not? It might even make the chickens taste better. Who knows. We could start an ad campaign "beer fed chickens-they're delicious". ha ha. It is funny what your mind will come up with when in desperation. 
Rodney is out raking hay and Don is coming to bale it. The a/c compressor on the big tractor went out and it has an oil leak, so it is in the shop until these things are fixed. The hay can't wait for a Memorial day weekend so this is when having good friends with hay equipment comes in handy. I just came back from taking a glass of Gatorade to Rodney out in the hay field. The temperature is well in the 90's and the humidity is very high, it is beginning to feel like summer is officially here. 

Goat Outing

Well, this post will have to be without a picture because my camera isn't working. 
I thought I had it fixed with the new battery but apparently there is something more serious wrong. 
We are still picking up lots of dead chickens. Yesterday the total was over 800. We are all up this morning early to get out there and get them picked up and still try to make it to church. I hope that there are less today. 
When we were finished with our chicken work yesterday we headed to Amity, Ar with the trailer to pick up some goats. I have been talking to the lady who had them all week and we were all really excited to get over there and get them. We originally were going to buy two bucks for the kids to show. Rodney and I have been talking for some time about starting our own little goat herd so we considered buying a doe too. The lady who had the goats said she had an older doe that she would sell us very reasonably, so we bought her too. She also had some wethers (neutered bucks) that she was selling very inexpensively so Taylor wanted to get one of those too. Well, after we headed out, we started talking about the goats and how we would breed them and where they would be kept etc...then we thought "why do we have 2 bucks and only one doe???" So we called the lady back and turned around, took one of the bucks back and got a young doe. We ended up bringing 6 goats home all together!!! One buck, two does, and three wethers. She also had a kitten she was trying to find a home for, so we took it too. It was  a fun outing. I've already been out in the goat pen this morning and they have settled in nicely. Bella likes to bark at them and the older doe who is named Salty does not like this at all. I so wish I could take some pictures of them. I'll have to borrow Mom's camera this afternoon and post some pictures. 
Also, Rodney has something in his eye. We think it is a piece of metal or something. It looks bad and is really hurting him. He doesn't know where he got it from but it sure is killing him. I can see it in there, but it looks like it is going straight in and it is in the iris. Plus he is a big baby about his eyes and just trying to put drops in it was hysterical. I'm going to call our eye doctor later and see if he can see us today. I would hate for him to have to wait until Tuesday to see a doctor. 
I'll try and post pictures of our new herd later.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Adventures in Farming


I mentioned in our bible class on Wednesday night that I appreciated when God held my feet to the fire, for this is when I knew for sure that he was working in my life and making me a better person. I knew I shouldn't have said it out loud because now I am in the midst of the fire. I do appreciate God working in my life, I wish sometimes, however, that growth was not so painful.
I knew when Rodney and I decided to become farmers, that our lives wouldn't be a walk in the park. I anticipated challenges, craving the excitement and progress that they would bring. The trials of farming have brought forth an abundance of spiritual maturity and knowledge and for this I am thankful. 
Right now, we are faced with several obstacles that seem insurmountable. I guess that they each individually aren't that great an ordeal, but they have all happened at once making them seem very great indeed. We bought a bull a few months ago for a hefty price who is now in the corral with an injury to his most important part. I never thought I would be so concerned about the anatomy of a bull, but I've actually been praying for the health of a bulls pee pee. 
I'm sure I don't even have to mention how the price of fuel is affecting us, as I know it is for us all. Being farmers and depending on diesel to get our hay harvested, the tremendous rise in the price of diesel has brought with it a great burden. We cut our first field of hay for the season just this week, having to buy a fuel pump for the tractor in the process, and then having the rains fall upon the freshly cut grass. The weather is not co-operating with us at all. The air is heavy and damp this morning, not a great environment for curing hay. 
Then yesterday, the biggest obstacle so far hit. Our latest batch of chickens has contracted enteritis and they are dying. The mortality went from about 20-30 in each house one day, to 65-120 the next. These are "organic" birds and are not able to be medicated so we will just loose what we loose. Last time this happened, we were picking up over 300 a house before it got better. I just now got a call from Rodney and the #1 house mortality was 170. I'm going to put on my boots and get down there to help. I guess I'll be praying for chickens now too. If you feel like you can fit in a prayer for 100,000 + chickens, and the people caring for them, please give it a whirl.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Secret Obsession


video
If you know me very well at all, you know I'm a Justin Timberlake fan. Rodney has asked me before why I love him so, I simply respond...well he sings AND dances!! Hellooo. I love any man that dances which is why I love watching Dancing with the Stars too. I don't know what the attraction is to this phenomenon of dancing males, especially those who sing as well, but I know that there aren't many things more thrilling to me. My secret obsession is that I want to dance with them. It has been over a year since Taylor and I went to see Justin in concert. I thought that surely after a year that the whole thing would have died down, but so far I'm still in love. I have pictured myself on stage with Justin, in his videos, spending endless hours going over choreography and learning every step to every beat. Once I told Rodney that I wanted to dance on stage with Justin, he said to me, "you would be good at it" which made me love him even more. Maybe it keeps me feeling young to have this infatuation with a pop star, maybe I need to grow up a little, maybe I don't want to. I love the music, the dancing, beat-boxing, booty shaking, bass thumping whole thing. We recorded his concert on HBO which is permanently saved on my TiVO (in HD thank you very much) and sometimes when I'm on the treadmill, I can put this on when I feel myself lagging and suddenly I'm inspired to go faster and faster. I even sing all of his songs to the chickens when I'm in there working. They seem to like it. 
I guess that I've gushed enough about this topic. I hope that all of you have something in your lives that keep you feeling young and gives you a little bit of a thrill. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fat Cat


I'm happy to report that my camera is back in operation. It only needed a new battery. I almost started to cry when I put the new battery in and it came back to life. It has been nearly like missing a limb not having a camera at my disposal. This is only one reason why I haven't been posting regularly. The main reason is that I've been so busy being out and enjoying the glorious spring that I was so longing for. I have been digging in the dirt nearly every day for the past few weeks. My garden is full of plants and seeds that we are anxiously waiting to sprout. I am 35 years old and I've been around gardening my whole life and it still completely amazes me that a seed can be placed in the soil and a plant will grow. 

The picture is one of the first ones that I took with my camera back in operation. This is the most rotten cat ever but we love him. He is in love with Rodney and will appear from nowhere when he hears the truck pull in the drive. Rodney is, more often than not, greeted at the door by this big fat baby, purring and completely happy to see him. He sleeps with us, most of the time, and is the cuddliest kitty I've ever known, like having a teddy bear that is warm and purrs. He doesn't go outside much, which is probably why he is so fat, but all of this furry fat just makes him more fun to snuggle with. He was a "rescue" kitty. He was dumped out at the ball field when we happened to be there several years ago and he was so small we could hold him in the palm of one hand. I've always loved the way that he is marked. If you look at his face, he has a little blob of gray on his nose. I have imagined that when he was being made, that whatever angel is in charge of painting kittens, carefully marked him with beautiful lines and semitry,  stood back and looked at him and thought, "he needs something else, hmmm let's see" and then dipped his finger in gray paint and splotched it haphazardly on his nose. 

I'll be keeping busy in my yard while the weather is nice, ever keeping my camera battery charged and ready to shoot, because around here, there is always something wanting it's picture made. 

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Joy

This picture of Grace is 2 years old, but it captured perfectly the topic of "JOY". 

I have been thinking a lot lately about joy. I've been faced with some very joyless people in the recent past and it really turned my curiosity on to what joy is and why we have it, or don't. We all know people, I'm sure, that are unhappy at their core. You know, those people who it is exhausting to be around for very long because it zaps out your own sense of well being and joy.  Those people who are the victim of their own lives, who can't begin to find anything positive to speak about, walking around with a big gray cloud over their head, raining on everybody in their path. 
I've been doing some reading, scripture searching and otherwise along with much prayer and pondering about this phenomenon of joylessness. What I've come to learn about joy is this; joy is a choice. Happiness comes from your own efforts and participation in your blessings. The old saying "it's not having what you want, it's wanting what you've got" is so true. I went to a gospel singing last night with my glorious family and I was moved in my soul to write about joy. There was a man there at the church who was very obviously physically, perhaps even mentally challenged. He sat in the pew in front of me, to my side, where I could see him singing, and was he ever singing. At first I was somewhat amused by this man, he was so joyfully participating in the song service that it tickled me a little... and then we began to sing a song that I've always loved, but somehow watching this man sing it, will forever be in my heart and memory. We were singing "What a Day That Will Be". Picture this man, singing from his soul, his body crippled,  struggling just to move his mouth to the words and these were the words he was singing...
There'll be no sorrow there, no more burdens to bear, No more sickness, no pain, no more parting over there; and forever I will be with the one who died for me, What a day, glorious day that will be. What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see, And I look upon his face, the one who saved me by his grace; When He takes me by the hand, and leads me through the promise land, what a day, glorious day, that will be."
I was picturing this man on that day, whole and complete walking with Jesus by the river of life. My heart was so full of joy for this soul that I could hardly keep my seat. Then I thought that joy is just that, the love we have for each other. Jesus taught this over and over. That the greatest commandment is to love the Lord, and secondly to love your neighbor. I believe that if these two commandments are rigidly in place in your life, that joy will come naturally. I've never felt happy when thinking of myself, but only when busy with work and serving others. I thank God for giving me such a wonderful family to serve here at home, and I will be striving to serve with joy from now on. 
These people that I was telling you about who are burdened with unhappiness were and are completely involved with only their selves. For it is when we think of ourselves only, that we begin to spiral down a vortex of pity and grief. I don't think that we can all be happy all the time. Sometimes things overwhelm us and we feel grief, even Jesus did. But the goal is to be a joyful person who occasionally feels sadness, not to be a grief stricken person who occasionally feels joy. 
So, after all of this rambling, I hope that whoever reads this, whether your a joyful person or a joyless one, will be more diligent in their pursuit of happiness. It is our constitutional right, isn't it? I know that I am going to be actively striving to be joyful.