October 31st

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

With the gorgeous weather today, I was out with the girls all day.

It was the perfect day to weed our landscaping, remove perennial plant debris, and empty my annual planter that surrounds our front porch.

Let me tell you a secret about bonding with chickens: Weeding. No joke, I started weeding, and I was surrounded by the flock, curious about what I was doing, wondering if I was finding any grubs. I’d pull a weed, hold it out (root side out), and they’d all clean it up. Then I’d toss what was left of it in my wagon, and move onto the next weed.

By doing this, I also got to really examine the girls up close, and watch their behavior with each other. By the end of the afternoon, I could tell them all apart. I also was able to learn their sounds; I feel like I’m taking a crash course in chicken husbandry, haha.

I also witnessed my first dirt bath, and it was slightly terrifying. All six of them plopped down in the dirt under our sun room, and flailed around.

Flailed.

They looked like they were seizing. Like broken legs and wings flailing around.

And they all did this at once! I thought they were all dying right in front of my eyes. Until I realized they were, in fact, ecstatically happy bathing in the dirt.

Then it made me smile – laugh even. I’ve quickly learned that chickens are happy creatures – lots of pure joy.

Take today’s picture for example. I was in the front yard working, when I thought it was too quiet. I came back into the backyard, and all of the girls (two aren’t pictured) were perched on our wood pile preening. Feeling safe, happy, and content, they were all chit-chattering as they arranged their feathers.

You’re smiling, aren’t you?

See? Joy.

October 30th

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

A certain super cute visitor stopped by with her mama for the afternoon today!

My family is pretty close. My dad has four brothers, and all of us cousins are very similar ages. My cousin, Clayton, is only three days younger than me in fact.

We used to all go camping as a big extended family for two weeks every summer, and it was always my favorite time of the year. My cousins were essentially my siblings, and even as we’ve grown, gone off to college, and gotten married, we’ve stayed close.

Clayton and his wife, Amy, got married just a month or so after Paul and me, and they had their daughter, Bonnie, this March. (The baby shower I helped plan this February was for Amy, if you wanted to look back.)

Anyway, it was an awesome surprise when Amy texted me this morning asking if they could swing over and visit for the afternoon. They both brought lots of light and laughter 🙂

 

October 28th

Sunday, October 28th, 2018

The stages of love is a miraculous thing.

You meet someone, and eventually fall in love. You get engaged, plan a wedding, and when the big day comes you think “I couldn’t imagine being more in love with you than I am today.” But then each day, with each new experience, each new hurdle conquered together, every happy dance in the kitchen, heart to heart, losses, big dreams dreamed together, every accomplishment, every laugh, every hurt feeling worked through…a love story is always evolving. I love Paul for the same reasons I did on our wedding, but now for so many more than I couldn’t have ever imagined. We’ve grown together so much, and he is the best friend God could’ve ever blessed me with. He’s stepped up to every occasion to love, support, and cheer me on, and I hope he can say the same of me. (Note: I’m crying big happy tears as I try to type this, so ignore any typos from this point forward).

My big love of animals can be intimidating – especially for someone who didn’t grow up with pets. And I don’t make it easy, I’m not satisfied with just a cat or dog – horses, rabbits, and now chickens – I love obscure, somewhat complex critters. Add in a pumpkin patch and photography business, and I’m always amazed at Paul’s continued ability to say “YES” to me.

So when that little play house popped up on my screen, I sent Paul a screen shot of it, and his simple reply was “Well, does this mean we’re getting chickens?”

Not only that, but within an hour, he did research on what kind of chickens would be best for our climate but still good egg producers, narrowed it down to Rhode Island Reds, and had sent me a few different listings of some for sale. Then yesterday, he spent one of his days off building with me, and today driving over two hours round trip to bring “our girls” home.

And within one week, we went from well, one day that’d be fun to we’re actually doing this!

I’m pretty sure people think “Oh Lord, what are they up to now?”

But as I watched Paul puttering in the garage yesterday, three chickens following him around watching him work, both sides enjoying the company, I thought to myself, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Especially when we pulled three pretty brown eggs from the coop today, on day one.

Just for fun, here’s a couple more pictures of our girls out in the yard, and hanging in the garage.

10.2810.28-3

 

 

October 27th

Saturday, October 27th, 2018

WE GOT CHICKENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I may have teared up more than once today, and I’m not ashamed.

Paul and I have been talking about getting chickens for awhile now, but money for a decent, MN-weather-worthy coop just wasn’t in the budget.

Until last Saturday.

Last week I opened up the NextDoor app to create a post about our pumpkin patch, and there it was. A beautiful little kids play house – for FREE. With thumbs of fury, I messaged the gentleman and told him my husband travels for work, so we wouldn’t be able to come get it until Saturday, but if he was willing to hold it for us, we’d be there right away Saturday morning to pick it up.

I honestly thought he’d tell me “first come, first served, if it’s still here Saturday you can have it,” but instead he told me he’d hold it, it was mine for the taking! We borrowed our neighbor’s trailer, and brought it home Saturday morning.

Paul worked most of this week, so yesterday we worked like mad to modify it into a coop. Nesting boxes, a roost, poop tray (yep, that’s a thing), a feeder and waterer. We already had a kennel that we had used as a run for our ducks a couple summers ago, so that was easy to set up quick and attach to the coop. Then this morning we contacted a person selling 5 month old Rhode Island Red hens on Craigslist, and we drove out to Hutchinson and picked them up. We initially thought we’d get four, but my smarty pants husband sneakily brought extra cash just in case (he knows me so well!), and sure enough, when the flock of 18 happily ran up and greeted us at our truck when we pulled up, I fell in love with them, and we ended up bringing home six.

The first one I reached for let me pick her up, and nestled into the crook of my arm. I was a goner.

So we loaded them up, brought them home, and when we let them out in the run, they were so curious with their new home! We left them in today (and will overnight) so they understand where their new home was, but we’re hoping to let them out tomorrow!

I’m now a chicken lady, and it’s the best thing.

October 26th

Friday, October 26th, 2018

The swans are a-movin’!

Flocks of 20+ birds have been flying around all day. Paul and I were outside all day working on a super fun personal project (more on that tomorrow…), and they kept flying over.

While this image isn’t overly pretty or technically great, it was at least not taken on my phone 😉

Can’t wait to share about our project tomorrow!!

October 25th

Thursday, October 25th, 2018

A crazy busy day means another phone image today.

One I didn’t intend for anyone to see, it was more for my reference, but that’s the way of it when the day gets away from you.

So, here are some images that will be transferred to throw pillows. I’ve applied the gel medium and have placed the images on pillow cases, so now I just have to wait for them to dry.

October 23rd

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

We’re working on something a little different, here at the Whiskey Hotel.

Remember a few months ago when I first mentioned making throw pillows? Well, I wasn’t totally satisfied with the results, so I’m working on a new method.

Gel medium transfers.

Essentially, you take a print, spread on the gel medium, lay the print face down, let dry, remove the paper backing, and you have the image left on the applied surface. I did them in college as one of my main projects for a semester, so it’s bringing back many fond memories of sore fingers from removing the paper backing, haha.

I did complete one yesterday, and it actually worked the way I was hoping it would, so now I’m attempting more on a larger scale. I’m not going to reveal the final product until I have my process down, but I’m hoping that won’t be long.

I’ve missed the physical, handcrafted side of art, so this is filling my creators cup.

October 22nd

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Had these sweet visitors swing by this morning.

Harvested fields mean no cover for them as they move around, which is a bummer for them but good for me!

The pheasants have been out, we’ve seen coyotes, and now deer this morning.

I’m digging being able to see the wildlife again, even if I lost the green landscape. In fact, look at that thin layer of frost on the field!

October 21st

Sunday, October 21st, 2018

The sun was just starting to peek through the thin layer of clouds this morning when I looked out and saw this.

The swans are on the move, and they’ve chosen our pond as one of their flocking up points. By the end of the day, we had over 40 swans on the pond.

It was quite noisy.

They trumpet and coo and playfully splash with one another, which is loud in itself, but the taking off the water is the truly noisy part. It rings through the air and sounds like it should – pairs of massive wings and webbed feet slapping the surface of the water as they run across the water trying to gain speed and altitude. But, in contrast, when they come in to land, it is a soft sound; their wings are cupped, and their big, webbed feet break the surface of the water and they gently glide over the top until they settle all the way into the water. It’s nearly silent.

Combined with the sounds of our fields getting harvested today, there wasn’t much quiet.

Those who came out to the patch today got quite the treat though – the swans were constantly landing and taking off, essentially buzzing the field as they do, and the combine was in the field for the majority of the afternoon, which we all don’t get much of an opportunity to simply stand and watch them work.

A busy day for all.

October 20th

Saturday, October 20th, 2018

I tackled quite a few projects around the farm today.

Mowing, weed whipping, shoveling out the paddocks, cleaning stalls, etc. They’ve all been on my list for awhile, and with the warm weather and finally dry conditions, I was able to get in there and do those things.

The other large item on my list was to brush out Buck’s mane and tail.

This may not seem like a huge task, but to put it simply: it is.

Especially since I haven’t been keeping up on it, so he had a couple major tangles going on. He was starting to dread, so I needed to get in there and catch it before I can’t stop it. With him, I have to use detangler and conditioner – it just makes him more comfortable, and I don’t pull out nearly as much hair. The warm weather today allowed me to be able to do that – hooray!

Poor Bucky has been feeling a little neglected recently with all of the weddings we were a part of and being out of town, and with pumpkins in full swing, we haven’t been spending as much time at the barn as we would like to. Happy to just have his halter on and get out for a bit, he stood perfectly the entire time. So much so in fact that I was able to do his mane, tail, and forelock!

After I was done, the boys went out into the paddocks (so Buck could roll – of course), and when he got up, his hair was flowing in the breeze and he looked magnificent.

My sweet Fabio.