farming, Feed Store, Things I Enjoy

A Week and A Day

They say time flies when you’re having fun…I have to say I agree.

Time also flies when you’re answering questions, learning new things, and meeting new people. All things we’ve been doing for a week and a day, today.

My brain often races at night, probably because it’s the only time the kids aren’t making much noise. One particular night, the night before we opened the store the first time, I remember thinking about my first trip to Young Family Feed. I wandered the store, looked at the shelves, and found the dollar bin that my dear friends told me about. I dug around that for a few minutes, meandered toward the front counter, and stared at the feed board.

I was buying feed from a big box store and thought maybe I could find something I would like at the little feed store that was full of charm. Jack started talking to me and asking questions and listened to everything going on with Risky, the feeds we tried, and the times we made progress, the times we stalled. He listened, and he asked questions, and he finally made a recommendation.

So began my switch to using Young Family Feed for my feed needs. I changed products a few times, asked lots of questions, began growing fodder, and continued shopping there. They helped me find a good dog food, helped me get my hands on the barley I need to grow fodder. They always asked how I was, in a genuine way.

I looked forward to my trips to the feed store.

As I lay awake, considering all of this, I realized that I would now be answering questions. I would now be the one telling people about the products and what products are good for what application. I would have to learn about the things I don’t use, but I would have to learn when/where/what/why they would or could be used.

Each day, I’ve learned something new about something we carry. I’ve learned about products we don’t carry. I’ve learned about products we could carry. I’ve learned about products I never would have heard of.

I love answering questions, I love helping people find a solution that fits their needs. This week has been a real eye opener for me. I can’t tell you how many times I would answer one set of questions (or find an answer) for someone standing at the counter, only to switch gears because someone on the phone had a different set of questions they needed answered.

I left today with a few things in my “to-do” pile that I just wasn’t able to get to through the course of the day.  At first, I was a little frustrated that they weren’t done, but I had an appointment to make after we closed, so I couldn’t stay late. But as I drove, I realized my pile doesn’t only represent what I didn’t get done. It represents the best interruptions – the people I am meeting every day. The conversations I am having, the questions I am answering (or trying to), and the beautiful souls approaching the counter.

I’ll take a pile of not quite done paperwork at the end of every day if it means the smiles, warmth, and purpose that is filling my days.

Folks, I’ve manned the counter for a week and a day, and I cannot tell you how incredible it’s been. I’m thankful that a week and a day is really just the beginning to a journey that I hope and believe will span many years.

chickens, farming, goats, horses

The Daily Grind

When I launched this blog and site, I had such high hopes of writing every day to tell the story of our farm. This was my space to explore all the rattling in my head, all of the learning, all of the lessons, and jot it down, and make sense of it, and share it with any one that was interested in the journey of our little farm.

Then life happened, and sometimes in the daily grind, I don’t find myself with time to come write it all out. This is a sad fact for me, one that causes me a bit of frustration. See, I’m a writer by nature, and writing out all of the things that float through my head really helps me sort things out and solidify ideas.

Our farm is in a holding pattern, things are just business as usual at the moment. The chicks haven’t started laying eggs yet, but we’ve wrangled our other two hens and a rooster, and they are all cooping together quite well. We are getting a few eggs from the two hens each week. The ducks are not happy about the cold days, especially when a layer of ice takes over the pond. They come running for dinner, but they still aren’t the friendly pets my kids wish they were.

Risky is lame more than she is not – in fact, at this point, only the kids ride her. I don’t expect her to tote me around with her foot aching. So the boys catch her and use the round pen to climb up on her, and they wander around on her a few times a week. I love that they get to do that now. I long to ride, in fact, my heart aches for a time when I get to climb aboard a horse once more, and ride my afternoon away. I’ve been praying for a solution, but it’s not in the books to go buy another horse right now.

My goats are doing well. When Shimmy dried off, I went through a phase where I was very frustrated with myself for spending what could have been sound horse money on goats. But I had to accept that everything in life has an opportunity cost – taking one opportunity always means saying no to a different one. Once we are in the spring season, with cute baby goats, and milk again, I think it will be easier to remember why I picked goats. The fact that they all come running for scritches whenever I set foot outside is a big help in reminding me that my life just wouldn’t be the same without them.

We did decide that 9 goats was a few goats too many, so we thinned out. Our buckling found a home with girls he wasn’t related to, and three of our does found homes, all with kids to play with like they are used to. One family needed a doe for milk for a kiddo that is lactose intolerant, and the other two does went to a Grandpa because his grandkids were begging him for goats.

That leaves us with 5 goats to enjoy each and every day – 5 is a much more manageable number, and while it was a tough decision, I know we made the right one.

Our livestock guardian dogs do an incredible job fending off predators all night long. We haven’t lost any of our critters to the lurkers. Ana, our female LGD, did get torn up pretty bad just before Thanksgiving – bad enough that she spend several days and nights in the house, locked away in my bedroom/bathroom to recuperate. If you’ve ever met my LGD’s, you know the house isn’t where they want to be. Poor girl, every time she heard her partner Anakin alerting outside, she was restless.

Thanks to a dear friend and her advice and salve, and my precious momma’s extra hands and know how, we were able to get Ana on the road to recovery and today she is as good as new. She is running and playing and making my heart happy with her antics. I was quite worried about my sweet Ana dog.

I’ll be back, hopefully with some measure of consistency, as we continue to learn and grow and love this little country life of ours.

farming, horses, People

Look a Little Deeper

Risky reminds me of a lesson I learned years ago, as a young girl with horses. We had a bay mare, named Socks, who came to us in poor condition. Her frogs were rotten, and she had quarter cracks that were bloody. Her coronets were excessively scarred, and those are just the problems we could readily identify.

Several years later, we had a young palomino gelding, Dreamer, who couldn’t catch a left lead – not in the round pen, not under saddle, and not running around in the pasture.

With Socks, we solved the issues we could see and identify, but we were new to horses, and I believe we never helped her as much as she needed. Lord knows we tried, we just didn’t know to look for some underlying issues. My brother worked hard, under Mom’s supervision, to get her frogs to grow back. With the help of some good farriers (and a few setbacks with not-so-good ones) we got her quarter cracks healed. It wasn’t until after we parted ways with her that we learned about chiropractic care for horses.

The chiropractor was exactly what Dreamer needed. With his spine aligned, and a properly fit saddle, he could easily catch a left lead – under saddle, in the round pen, and in the pasture!

Risky started acting a little crazy when we moved her – I think the combination of weather, hormones, and change in environment got the best of her. All of those things combined sometimes make it hard to show self control, for animals and their human counterparts.

Sometimes we see the bad attitude, the disrespect, the shaking fist, flying finger, or hear a nasty word, but we don’t always know the underlying cause. Often times, the people in our own home are carrying a burden we haven’t noticed, or they are feeling a pain that they haven’t mentioned. We see this often in our blended family – the effects of going back and forth from one home to the next, and the changes in rules, trying to be involved in two completely separate schedules, and trying to remember clothes, shoes, jackets, toys, all of these things add up and wear on kids. (And this is just if there is no nastiness or hate being spread/forced from the other family. That adds a whole new dimension of wear and tear.)

I see it in my husband, too. He doesn’t like to complain, so sometimes instead of saying, “My ________ hurts, I smacked it on the wheel lift,” he gets a little short. I do it, especially if I get hungry! It can be the hardest to show grace to the people we love and live with, and my prayer is that God would show me all the grace they give me, and that His grace would flow through me. I’ve been struggling with it a lot lately. I don’t like coming down on the people I love best with a critical attitude, it’s one of the things I do that bothers me the most.

Considering all of this, causes me to consider the driver that cut me off, the cashier that was rushing me and not very nice, the server that didn’t make it back to fill up my sweet tea, and many of the other people I encounter. What are they facing that is making their day harder, and how can I be a blessing as opposed to being another hurdle in their day?

Phone feb 18 239

This is Dreamer, and his daughter, Sunny. They are both enjoying life not too far from where I grew up.

If you’re going to be doing any shopping today, check out the items below. I earn a small commission if you make a purchase by following these links. This money goes directly to keeping this blog alive, so thank you.

Storey’s Barn Guide to Horse Health Care + First Aid

Storey’s Barn Guide to Horse Handling and Grooming