Country Girl Fail

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Some days I think God has a sense of humor where my humility is concerned. About the time I start getting a little too “I’m a rock-star”-ish, he reminds me that, actually, no I’m a mom/woman/wife still trying to find her way in life. Today at work, about the time I thought I was the master juggler of shipping activity, a HUGE spider ran across the floor in front of me while walking back to my desk. Yup, screamed like a little girl and almost dropped everything as I did this skip/shuffle/jump thing. And this reaction ALWAYS has witnesses, plenty eager to re-tell or even reenact the story.

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After work I had to run to the store for dog food, on the way my son fell asleep in the truck, go figure. With all the craziness the last couple days, I figured I’d carry him in the store to let him sleep a bit. I managed to pack my 5 year old in one arm and push a cart with the other. Luck was on my side, because the dog food was at the perfect height to pull a bag down and have it lad perfectly into my cart; kid still asleep in my arms. Another shopper walked by and goes “nice!” And my inner supper mom does an air punch is all “I know right? Check me out!” don’t worry, I didn’t let the crazy out, I just smiled and said thank you.

So here I am on cloud nine, and I get home and start doing chores. Hubbys working out of town, so I’m on funny farm duties again. Bunnies, check, dogs, check. Chickens – I got this, HA! Those little white monster chickens have no fear of humans. WTF, you’re supposed to runaway chickens. But no, I open the door and they swarm me, the dang little white ones actually started pecking me! So here I am screaming and making a fool of myself, completely unaware my son has come around to “rescue” me, all “mommy I can do it”. Ya, I almost threw my hands up and said let them suffer, but I don’t know when they ran out of water and I feel bad.

I finally get by the devil birds, grab the water can and run. I have no idea how this dumb thing is supposed to actually work. I got it filled, but by the time I got it flipped back over and ready to go into the chicken coop the dumb thing was empty again! Blah! On the second try I managed to keep a little water in it, but they will definitely be out by tomorrow. I was so confident in my awesome farm mom skills that I didn’t change into chore clothes before I started either; you should have seen my mud covered shoes and slacks.

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My house smells like a Strawberry Shortcake Doll

My house smells like a Strawberry Shortcake Doll

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Spring is here! One of my favorite parts about spring besides the lack of freezing temperatures is foods. All the best snacks start coming back out. Our strawberries aren’t out yet, but someone’s are so we stopped by a fruit stand and bought a flat of strawberries. They taste amazing. Plus strawberries make a great snack option since our house is working to be more diabetes friendly.

Now I will admit I am horrible. I’m trying, but I’m basically the diabetes equivalent to a chain smoking wife with a husband with lung cancer. Luckily, or somewhat anyway, hubby doesn’t like the same junk food I do. I’m a candy eater; he goes for chips and baked goods. I don’t like chips, and the only baked goods I really go for are chocolate chip cookies or cake batter. There is a good chance my son will also have this struggle, so I really see the value in ditching my sugar (though I usually just take it to work). It’s really hard. But I digress, I’m trying.

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Anyway, we bought the flat of strawberries and I’ve been cutting them up and dehydrating them. We use an Excalibur food dehydrator, but there are many options. I like ours because its square and you can remove trays for taller foods. Dried strawberries make a great snack option for hubby to take to work, and I can also add them to oatmeal or yogurt, or mix up a trail mix for the “snack shelf” for our son to grab.

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When dehydrating strawberries or any other heavily water based food I make sure to cut them a bit think, usually about ½ inch slices.

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I take the end pieces or berries that seem a bit small for drying and I place them in a bowl (cleaned and trimmed as needed). After I’m done putting the berries I want on the drying trays the other slices get put into food saver bags and thrown in the freezer for later. Frozen berries work great in the summer as a replacement to ice cream or popsicles; they’re our son’s favorite warm weather snack. We also make homemade ice cream for home BBQ gatherings, and they work great as a topper once thawed.

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I’ve had a helper with the food prep, though I think it was mainly so he could steel fresh berries.

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After we cleaned up our mess, my son  volunteered to give scraps to the chickens. He likes all the squawking from the chickens when you bring treats.

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Diabetic note:

Some fruits contain a very high amount of carbohydrates that can cause high blood sugar levels in diabetics. The 30 grams of carbohydrates found in a banana, the 50 grams found in a mango and the 52 grams found in a 16-ounce serving of orange juice can be too much for some people with diabetes. Checking your blood sugar levels after eating is the best way to determine whether the foods and fruits you eat allow you to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Strawberries and most other berries tend to contain less carbohydrates per serving and constitute excellent fruit options for all diabetics. – more information at: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/can-diabetics-eat-strawberries-1678.html

 

Kudos to the working single mom

Kudos to the working single mom

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Kudos to the working single mom: It’s not something I’m good at, so the ones that are, I’m not sure they get enough credit.

This last month has been chaos for my family. This blog post has actually taken me all week to complete. I work at a large seed company, where my job focus is wheat. Guess what. It’s plating season. My office is planting, our associates are planting; our distributors are selling to farmers who are planting. We shipped out over a million pounds in 3 days. However, on top of this, I’m basically a single mom 3 days a week; hubby is working out of town.  My childcare provider has had to take a leave of absence, so I’ve been commuting my son to another daycare 20 minutes (17 miles) away from my home & work. My commute was 6 minutes each way, it’s now 30 when you factor in – in/out of car time.

I’m exhausted. Three plus days a week, we eat like crap because I have an hour and a half to take care of animals, get dinner made and eaten, and fight a kid into bed who doesn’t get why he has to leave early and get home late. Before, he could have a complete breakfast and have time to play after getting home.

This is what my house looks like right now.

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Now, in fairness it’s Tuesday and Hubby comes home tomorrow, so like every Tuesday, I run around cleaning up making it look like it’s been clean the whole time. So it won’t look like this tomorrow.  He knows I do this, but knowing it was messy and seeing the mess are two totally different things.

This is how we balance. I take care of indoor stuff, and cover the outside chores as needed, and he does the reverse. We both slack off when the other is out of town; it’s how we keep things balanced.

I’m not really complaining. Though I’m tired, I know it won’t last long, and the alternative wouldn’t work for me either.

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See? All better.

On a side note, my son’s lab has decided the chicken coop is a great place to hang out. He doesn’t bother the chickens, but they were out.

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I did a 5 minute fix that’s probably only going to last till Hubby gets home. But hey, I think I should get some credit, I managed to herd the chickens back into the coop, and my great dane didn’t catch a single one! She is the epitome of chicken killer.

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*** He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. – Isaiah 40:29

Redneck woman, I ain’t no high class broad

Redneck woman, I ain’t no high class broad

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the first week that hubby is working out of town. Actually last night was the 1st night, and let me indulge you in the mess I made….

I get home from work all “I am woman hear me roar” like and I gear up to take care of the “farm” chores. Fairly nice out, a slight breeze, but not too windy. I should have taken a picture, but then I probably wouldn’t have shared given I looked like a goober. Here I am still in my office clothes, so I have my work slacks tucked into my mid-calf muck boots, they’re really cute as far as muck books go, I splurged on these cute Bogg boots. Anyway, so slacks tucked in, Carhart coat on, with my sweater hanging out underneath, and a pink hat and scarf. I must have been something to see. I’m going about the chores feeding and watering rabbits and dogs, no biggy. When I get to the chicken coop, I had to pause.

It totally freaks me out to have chickens above my head!

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I run in real quick covering my head with the bag I used to collect water bottles for the rabbits, check to make sure they have enough water, but of course the food is low. I run back out, and of course now that I’m taking care of the freaky animals the wind kicks up so now I’m fighting to keep the coop door closed to keep the dogs out, but still reaching in so I can fill the feed thing. Screw eggs! Hubby can deal with those when he gets home. I’m guessing they froze overnight anyway.

Now that I’m back in the house I let the dogs all in because the storm is getting bad. Plus my son’s dog is a wussy  who is scared of the dark and has been barking at the door since the sun went down. And is doing it again now, BLAH!

Anyway, so after the storm quiets down and I’m about to go to bed I figure, “hey, I’ll be nice and let the dogs out a minute to take care of business, maybe throw a stick for them”. So here I am in my socks & PJs standing on the front step yelling at dogs and thowing a stick, looking like some redneck momma, when I notice hubby’s hunting dog is MIA. So I go over to where I last saw him (in my socks) and yell for him. All of a sudden I see him act like he just got caught, and take off across the street! In fairness this dog doesn’t like me much, but hey, I was throwing a stick! So now I’m yelling at him to come. Dog looks at me and RUNS!!!! Seriously, in this I dare you to catch me style through the brush and mud. Like the redneck I’m currently portraying I start chasing him down the road, yes still in my socks! Its 30 out mind you, no coat, and socks. I make it about ¼ a mile down the road yelling at him. To make matters worse, we give our pets people names, so I’m looking like a crazed redneck running after and yelling at Hank. At this time I realize, wow I’m out of shape, and its dark and I can’t see anything. So I run back and try to find hubby’s spot light, wouldn’t that have just added to the picture. Couldn’t find it though, and I called hubby to tell him I lost his prized hunting dog. Again. But this time I feel extra bad, and I’m pretty certain I just sentenced his dog to death by coyote pack. Turns out, no, he went to a neighbors a couple miles over and they called Hubby.

So here I am lying in bed, sons asleep, and I’ve given up. I get a text from hubby to meet the neighbor man at the gas station a couple miles away.

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So in my no makeup, bed head, and dragging a half dressed kid from bed state of redneck, I head to the gas station to get a dog that hates me. Don’t worry this time I found a leash! No more running from me.  At this point, Hank has a permanent companion, the leash, and he is staying in the dog kennel.

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1 day down, 3+ weeks to go……

PS. Check out my projects page, I’ve added a few free printables. Project season is starting, stay tuned, I’m planning out my office/craft room space.

Expanding the flock, & a story of Zombie Chicken

Expanding the flock, & a story of Zombie Chicken

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“On the 9th day God looked down and said, this farmer may create a mess, so God made a farmer’s wife.”

 

One of our latest family discussions has been based on expanding our chicken flock. Hubby has left it up to me for the most part. If I decide I’m up for getting chicks this year, it will basically be up to me to take care of them as he will be working out of town and likely home only on weekends for a bit. The other part of the flock expansion is the possibility of adding butcher chickens (I believe he plans to go with Cornish cross, but it’s not important).

Now my hesitation doesn’t come from the idea of added work, it really won’t be that much. But here’s my not so secret secret: chickens kind of creep me out. Dumb right? But anyone who ever messed with a goose as a kid probably has their heart rate increase a bit when a group of bids swarm you to see if you have snacks. Pigs really really freak me out, but that story is for another time.

Basically my biggest hang up is past experience, so let me tell you the story of the Zombie Chicken. Several years back we tried the butcher chicken idea. At that time I had a strict out of sight out of mind policy for the chickens. At first I had agreed to get a few chickens. Hubby had made a great point about it being fun for our son and would be nice to have farm fresh eggs. So one day I look in on the chicks and there’s a handful running around being cute. A couple days later I look in and I ask, if we got more, seemed like there was more than before. Hubby says no no they just got bigger and take up more space. I look in a few days later and now I see more. Definitely more because now they are different size and color! We went from 5ish to 15ish. Now I don’t remember if I objected to butcher chickens, but they came too.

Well at this point in our lives I was working as a 911 dispatcher doing shift work and had a baby to care for. Hubby was working construction as you may guess about the time the chickens started to get out of the cute chick phase, construction season ramped up and hubby was gone before light to around dark, working 14+ hour shifts.

So one day I go to the mail and Ooooh! My new IPhone! Now this was when the iPhone had just come out, and I had no concept of what iTunes was or that I had to have it on my phone to make it work. So one phone is shut down because I had my new iPhone activated, and I have no house phone. I can’t figure out why I have a picture of the earth and no working phone. I go out to take it to the AT&T store, and what do I find….. Nasty horrid rotting dead chicken under the front of my SUV.

Totally grossed out I go to grab a shovel and get it buried somewhere. CHICKEN GOT UP AND RAN FROM ME!!!! I had really thought this thing was dead. I mean, it was rotting! It had a big chunk of blacked flesh and exposed bone. It had a few spots like this. No way was this alive! It was. So now I’m going, well I have to kill it, that’s horrible. I can’t even call anyone to help me or take care of it for me.  And I was not about to touch it, so that left me with shooting it. I go in and get a shotgun, good reach, great bird hunting gun, should work right? Dumb chicken ran under the new riding lawn mower! So I’m looking like a crazed woman chasing a damn chicken with rotting legs around a riding lawn mower and my SUV. So I give up and go in and get my pistol, I have what I call snake rounds for it; they are basically small shotgun shells for a hand gun. So I go back out, get it far enough away from stuff I can shoot it, and take my shot. Bird screams & starts flapping around; I scream and jump around squealing at how disgusting this whole mess is. What do I hear on the breeze? Turns out my neighbor (150yrds down the road) has been watching and is now laughing his butt off at my antics. Can this day get much worse? I yell “ya could have come to my rescue!” he yells “No this is great!”

Yeah, great, for him. Turns out Zombie Chicken was not the only chicken out. Turns out chickens are a bit cannibalistic and the others rushed out and started pecking the now dead zombie! GROSS! I guess my day could get worse. So I chase off other chickens, lock them up, and check the other butcher chickens. They were rough looking, but holding their own. Hubby got an ear full when he got home, and the rest of the butcher chickens were taken care of immediately.

So now, when I hear Hubby say, “I think we should get some butcher chickens”, my heart starts to pick up speed, and my skin crawls a bit. I know he has definitely changed over the years and our current farm has shown that he would be fine with the extra responsibility, but I still worry about the time. His work will be doing a big fish study this year, and as a result he will be pulling long hours and possibly working 7 days a week for a couple prime months of summer. Will he have time? Am I up to the task if he doesn’t?

Now that I’ve told my story again, I’m going with no butcher chickens, but I’m okay with expanding the egg layers.

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