As I walked through the rain and mud to feed animals before work this morning, I had to laugh at myself. I have a great job and work full time. I worked many years to get where I am and feel very fortunate for where I have gotten.
Fast forward to the present moment when I look down and see my muckin’ boots all wet and muddy, my barn rain jacket with the hood over my head, and my work gloves. While I wear different shirts to work (I wear jeans almost every day unless I have a meeting outside the company), my most worn attire has become my muckin’ boots and work gloves.
I wouldn’t change it for the world. My job gives me the income to add to and help us with our lifestyle we’ve created. But the daily chores and the work that goes into having acreage and animals is therapeutic. No matter the stress of my day, no matter the workload I have to get through at the office, out there with the animals in the wonderful property my husband and I have created, I am content.
When it quits raining, we will get more done. We can use the rain though – as long as it doesn’t ruin the young fruit trees (we call fruit sticks), then it’s all good. Sunshine comes tomorrow so for today, rain is a good thing!
I hope everyone had a blessed Easter. The morning was crazy busy getting the meal put together and ready for family to arrive. It was a smaller group this year. Having family who has in-laws and extended family to also see, it’s difficult trying to get around to everyone. For me, once the dinner was over, it allowed me to sit on the porch while we relaxed and take in all the work we’ve done. It shows.
Our recent clean up was our large front yard. There were trees planting along the entire perimeter. I understand the reasoning to want to block out any house within view and the road. But these trees were planted without any rhyme or reason. My husband and I went around and decided which trees should stay or go. They’re relatively small still so getting them out wasn’t as bad as if they had been mature. I sprayed black paint on each trunk that was coming down. Once that was done we started around pruning the trees so they will actually look like a tree rather than a bush. We got one side done on the east but still have the south and west side to tackle. It really helps make it come to life. When they’re full grown, it will now look much better. We also power raked the grass which made it very short. It got up all the old dead grass that had built up. Now when the water hits it, the water actually soaks into the ground rather than sitting on top of it and not getting down into the roots. I took a picture of the yard with my youngest grandson Dallas crouching down. The grass will green up as it gets a little length to it and the water soaks in well.
Life is good at our little “mini S ranch.” The biggest lesson I have learned so far is to not do too much too soon. It can get done, but it doesn’t have to get done all at once. We are both feeling the exhaustion of trying to get it all done. We’ve only been at the new place for four and a half months. What we’ve got started we will finish up. Once the projects in play are done, we’re going to slow it down. Next year will bring more projects. We don’t have to do it all this year.
Sitting on the porch yesterday taking it all in made that point very clear to me. The saying “stop and smell the roses” couldn’t be more fitting than for us right now.
Building my little animal farm has been a lot of fun. It’s also come with a lot of work. Thanks to my husband and his willingness to help me any time I want to add animals which results in building something or extending the barnyard. Without him, getting things done would take a heck of a lot longer. As we looked around last night after we did some ground maintenance in the front so it looks nice for Easter, we acknowledged the fact that we can actually “see” the efforts we’ve put in. For so long I dreamt of a life like this. Now I live it and am appreciative for every day I do.
I had a meeting outside the office yesterday which happened to be by a ranch supply store. I ran in to get more wood shavings, which I use in the stalls. I prefer it to straw. I have plenty of chickens and don’t need anymore of those. But ducks! I don’t have any of those! I had said I wouldn’t get any more animals that aren’t already in the plan, but what’s two little ducks, right? I picked them up after my meeting. I didn’t have time to go home first, so luckily I have a job and an office that will allow for temporary needs just like this one. Those two little cute ducks were louder than my twelve chickens were. Everyone kept coming in to see them. That was all fine. What wasn’t though was the foul (or should I say fowl?) that was in my office after I came back from a meeting. I had my door closed to reduce the noise. Needless to say, I left a little early to get them home and in their right environment. They’re great farm animals. But don’t belong in the office or home – at least from my perspective anyway.
This weekend brings a lot of work with a 3-day weekend (I have tomorrow off). At the end of the weekend there will be a lot to show for it. Sunday will be Easter so it’s family time. We’re excited for them to see all the work we’ve done since the last time many of them stopped by. Have a wonderful Easter weekend!
I always feel good about being productive when the weekend is over. We’re busy during the week of course, but bigger projects have to wait when we get a couple days off.
Our little Hank and Houston are growing. We went to see them at the owner’s farm on Saturday. Hank decided he only wanted to be held. My husband held him for a bit and put him down. He came to me and I picked him up. I thought he wanted down after a while after being carried around, so I put him down. He looked at me like I was cruel. He pawed at me to be picked up again, which of course I did. He stayed with me until we left. Some time around mid-May we can bring them home. We’re anxious for that day! Their little houses with a deck on top will come in and be built the first of the month. Of course pictures will be shown here! We’ve decided to extend the barnyard to give them more room to play during the day. Then they’ll have the whole pasture to run around on too in the afternoon. There’s a stump Ed put out there to climb on. He’s also going to find big tires and dig them into the ground so they can climb on those too.
I tossed around selling My Legacy, the stallion. With having a mare who’s pregnant, I was only going to keep two animals of each mini we get. But I, by happenstance, was able to connect with the original owner. She gave me a very sad story about how he’s been bounced around for the last eight years. I just can’t do that to him again. He does need to have his own stall when he eats in the morning because he gets too aggressive around the mare. My husband and I have talked about this frequently lately. We think he’s had to fight for his food so often and has had to do with less, that it’s become almost a survival instinct for him. Apparently, the last 4 owners he’s had (between the original owner and me) hasn’t treated him well. The owner I bought him from neglected him and the mare by not feeding them enough, not having their vaccinations, no hoof trims, etc. So I put him in his own stall to eat in the morning and that problem has been solved. He even prefers that. Luckily he is very trainable and learns quickly. He loves routine. I’ve even caught him running and jumping a bit lately. My heart about broke when I heard about his past. So I’ll keep him too and he’ll be well cared for.
It’s difficult to see in this picture. But the fruit trees, or should we call them fruit sticks, have been planted in our orchard. Ed tilled the ground a few times getting it nice and soft. We now have 3 apple trees, 2 peach trees, and a plum tree that are planted. The cherry tree hasn’t come in yet. We’ll also be putting in raspberry and blueberry bushes in the orchard area. The watermelon and strawberries will be over on the garden side of the field since it’s a much larger area and those take up more space. It will take a few years before we actually benefit from them, but we’ll be able to watch them grow into a beautiful 45 foot stretch of fruit goodness.
We put in alpaca manure into the garden since our goats aren’t here yet. The nice thing about alpaca and goat manure is that it’s not “hot” so it can be tilled in and planting can immediately follow. It’s a very light manure. The pellets make it easy to spread around. Ed tilled it all in with our tractor to work it into the soil too. The llama that was there when we picked up the manure wanted to pose, so I obliged with a photo opportunity.
Ed’s shop foundation is being completed this week. The shop materials will come in the next couple weeks so construction on that will begin. I’m sure he will spend a great bit of time in there once it’s finished.
Lots going on at miniSranch. Life is good!