Monday, June 29, 2009

Remember this!


"GOD DOES NOT MAKE JUNK"

Tedd and I were at a friends birthday party yesterday and as I walked through her kitchen, this quote was on the whiteboard. I asked where it came from and she explained that her pastor had said it during the sermon yesterday morning. She said it made sense to her. When we are feeling down on ourselves, things aren't going as planned (which is everyday right! lol)...just remember we are worth something. God created us, and he doesn't make junk! This really touched me :)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

NEVER a dull moment!!!!!!!!!!!!


So...we had a near tradgedy on the MillerMF tonight. As you know we had ducklings hatch a little over a month ago. Because the momma's hatched babies out so early they decided they would do it again. There were two momma's setting on eggs (Gretchen and Fanny). All of the sudden about a week and a half ago (TOTAL incubation is 28 days) Fanny decided to stop setting. This apparently happens sometimes for no reason. We decided to let nature take its course and that we were not going to force her to do this duty.

ANYHOW, tonight when we were doing some work out there I asked Tedd if he would help me gather all of the eggs that were all over, the ones that she had decided to leave. We would throw them out in the field before they started to stink (lol...rotton eggs). So we took about 12 eggs out to the field and right as I took the first one in my hand to throw it far into the field, i screamed "WAIT!!!" I just felt something. I put the egg to my ear...and sure enough I could hear chirping and pipping (this is the noise that ducklings start to make when they are tapping the shell to come out). WHAT!?! We listened to them...and they are all at this point still alive! We have NO idea, other than it being hot outside lately, how these eggs would have survived having no mother to regulate their temperature and warmth. But so far they have. This is really amazing to me. Anyway the scary part is, we almost threw them all out!!! We plan to put the eggs in shavings with a heat lamp and pray for the best. Who knows if any of them will actually make it but...todays life lesson is...

DON"T COUNT YOUR DUCKLINGS BEFORE THEY HATCH!!! lol

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Flowers and "Foto" ops

I spent a good part of the day planting flowers in front of our house (I waited until Annuals were 50% off)











This is my FAV chickens "Leggy". She is one of the originals, and she has SUCH a personality. I started taking pics and she ran right up to pose for a pic. Of course she follows us everywhere, I think she'd jump in the car if we let her lol



A few of the duckies wanted their picture taken too tonight. They even got out of the pool to see what it was I had in my hands.

This is a pic of most of the front porch. Our grass where we ripped up all of those old ugly overgrown bushes is officially in and has been mowed for the first time. We've still got lots of ideas for the front porch (including a porch swing!) but if you saw it before...this is an improvement~
Wow 2 posts in a week...Thats AMAZING for me!








Surprise

Last evening mom and dad were here visiting. Mom and I were relaxing on the front porch and I decided to pull my hanging plants down to water them...and THIS is what i found! You can't tell here but it is TINY. Some little bird thought my flowers were a great place for a nest, and since I can't stand the thought of ruining it, i'm letting her keep it there... :)


Monday, June 15, 2009

THTCI


So probably none of you this but i'm a VERY scheduled and organized person. I thrive on my DAILY lists and i find it very hard to function and be productive without a list to guide me and to check off as I go throughout my days (the ones at home at least) I work a lot of hours on the days that I do work ( I worked over 12 today) so on my days off, I must be quick and hardworking.

In January I was in the Christian Bookstore in Fort Wayne and stumbled across a book called "The house that Cleans itself". This immediately peaked my interest! Wow, that sure did sound exciting lol. Well it definately is not a secret concoction that cleans your house without any elbow grease but I will say I LOVE this book. I definately encourage you to all read it soon! The author (Mindy Starns Clark...visit her here)makes many very good points. One of her main themes is to stop trying to change your families behaviors and to change your home to FIT those behaviors. Another thing she points out is that the more things you have, the more you have to take care of...simplicity!!! LOVE IT!

The author makes it a very fun read and at the end of every chapter there is even a personal messy horror story about getting caught with your house dirty haha. One thing I will say for sure is that NO ONE ever stops by when my house is clean...no one. But as soon as it gets dirty its like theres a sign that says "stop in!"

Now...if I would just apply all the principles and go through my house...someday!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Raising Chickens #1

We have had chickens for over a year now so we certainly do not know it all...but we have LEARNED SOOO much. I get quite a few questions about raising chickens and I thought I would start a little mini-series on raising animals, but i will focus on poultry. If anyone has ANY questions please ask me, if i don't know...i WILL find out lol. Keep in mind this is OUR experience and we may not have the same ideas someone else does. :)

First I will quickly tell you how our chicken ordeal began. We had only been married about two months, and the only animals we had were 2 inside kitties. We don't have a ton of land (2 acres) but we knew we wanted some kind of outside animal for a hobby. Horses and cows or other larger livestock animals take a lot of time, a livestock trailer, and eat A LOT (which we would soon find out that chickens did too lol). So we decided to give raising chickens a try!
We decided to order from a hatchery (very smart choice!). We did this because they will ship you day old chicks, they are generally healthier, and have not been exposed to bad weather, lice, disease etc.

At the same time we ordered our chicks, we decided we had NO idea what we were doing. So, we went to the library and rented books...lots of books! We honestly read through them and by the time our chicks came we were glad that we had researched.
When you order chicks from a hatchery you have to order in groups of 25 or more. The reason for this is so that they can pack them very snuggly for warmth. Chicks need to have very very regulated temperature for the first 6 weeks of their lives, the first week they should be at about 95 degrees. The hatcheries can ship you these day old chicks through the mail with no food or water. WHAT?! As crazy as it sounds its true. Right before a chick hatches out of its shell, it absorbs the last bit of yolk (which is the chicks nutrition). This last "gulp" of yolk can last the chick up to 72 hours. Which means in theory chicks can go 3 days without food or water after hatching. However, as soon as you can get them food and water the better and stronger they will be.
When you get your little box of cheeping babies home to your fully set up home( we will go over this later) the very first thing you do is take each chick out, one at a time and "teach" it to eat and drink, after all they've never done it before! When your chicks first arrive you should have shavings covered in newspaper for them to live on. The newspaper only needs to cover the shavings for a few days. This is long enough for them to realize its not the shavings that you want to eat, only the food! You should also have chick feeders filled with a commercial chick feed, for them to munch on. Personally I think that the water is the most important. With brand new baby chicks you should add a few tablespoons of white sugar to their drinking water. This gives them a glucose boost after a long and sometimes stressful ride. To "teach" them to drink you simply take them (they will wiggle and try to fight it) and dip their beak into the sugar water. After a few quick dips of their beak you will see it "click" and they will take off and drink on their own. Be sure that their drinker is not big enough for them to get into or they will VERY likely drown. :(
This is when you want to make sure they are at an optimal temperature. Depending on the building that you have your little "brooder" set up, sometimes temp regulation is harder than others. Buildings with good ventilation will be a little easier. Just remember as the temperature outside changes...so does the temperature under the heat lamp. Chicks that are too cold AND chicks that are too hot are both miserable. And when chicks are miserable they do bad things (in our experience...they PICK)
When chickens are this age, they DO need commercial chick starter (you can't start them on scratch or scraps, it does not have the nutrition they need). They also HAVE to be in an enclosed building, preferably in an enclosure that is safe from all other animals. They can not immediately be free range. They should be enclosed for at least six weeks. Also remember when building your enclosure that when you get your chicks you'll want them to be fairly confined so they can be close and not "forget" where the food and water are. But as they grow, your enclosure will have to grow as well. And remember that chicks can fly early. The last 8 chicks we raised (they're 6 wks old now) were flying out of their 2 ft tall enclosure at 2 weeks! Monitor them closely lol.
Lastly, for today I will say a word about where you get your chicks from. I mentioned earlier that hatcheries are the best option for purchasing chicks. If you can't get them from a hatchery (usually because you want less than 25) there are a few other options. Many people get their chicks from a feed store, usually Tractor supply. The biggest things to remember with this option is to know what you're getting. I feel very confident in saying that 80-90 % of the chicks that these stores sell are whats called "straight run". This means they are not sexed. So if you get 10 chicks...8 of them could be roosters. If you're going to do this...you need to know what you're going to do with 8 roosters! lol If you're going to get them at a swap meet or from a private owner they can carry a lot of disease. When you get them they should be quarentined for at least 2-3 weeks.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Miller Mini Farm Updates



So we thought it was finally time to update you on a few of the MillerMiniFarm residents! This first shot is from the barn looking at the house and Amos's fence...this is where you'll usually find him on nice days!


Speaking of Amos, here he is with HIS watering can...it became his after the spout broke off and I gave it to him...he is SO proud of it and carries it around the yard everywhere!






Here is one of our FR (Free Range) chickens. Shes hanging out in the barn and when I found her she wanted to go on a lawn mower ride!
The chickens are honestly so much fun to have and watch. There is never a dull moment. Imagine our surprise when we couldn't find their eggs in the normal places...then we found they had made a "nest" in the LAWN SWEEPER. At least we found them!



Yesterday I went to the swap meet! Its a very exciting place with lots to look at and Lots of tempting critters to buy. Before our little building burnt down my favorite little chicken was "Ollie". He unfortunately did not make it out of the fire :(. However, Ollie was a Golden Polish Rooster. Yesterday at the swap meet I FINALLY found a Polish breeder who has lots and lots of them! (He was the only one out of hundreds) So he sold me a very beautiful pair (male and female) of Golden Polish chicks! They are an ornamental chicken, so basically just for fun. Trust me if you think they have funny "hair" now wait until a few more months passes. They are so much fun, we named them "Elvis" and "Elvira" :)

Looks like they're about to kiss! LOL


Remember those TINY ducklings about four weeks ago. Well here they are now...almost all grown up. They look kind of funny because they are getting their feathers but they will be floating in the pool with the adults before we know it!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Egg Candling

The three ducklings are growing very rapidly. We thought three ducklings to add into the minifarm was a GREAT number. Well we had no idea (every single day is a learning experience lol) that if ducks laid and hatched babies very early in the spring like ours did that they can do it twice in one year! Gretchen and Fanny have both been working hard laying second nests. They started setting on Tuesday. They have a 28 day incubation period and tonight we candled eggs. We only candled the eggs under one duck. We gently pulled her off her nest and counted ten eggs. We gently put each one above the light...and EACH one was fertile. When the light shines through a fertile egg you can see tiny blood vessels all throughout the egg. How amazing! God never ceases to amaze us with his miracles here on the millerminifarm. It is truly mesmerizing to see how the live quacking ducklings start out as a tiny dot with blood vessels haha. You probably all think were Kooky but we think its pretty neat. I hope to get a good picture or two to show of their development. Fun times.
P.S. if you know anyone who wants miniature ducks for outside pets...let me know in case we have quie a few!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Busy Busy

So by now I've figured out that I'm not the best at blogging lol. I have got WAY too much stuff on my mind I guess, but when I think about it I really do enjoy it! So an update on whats going on around here...
Tedd is "kind of" back to work for a different company but the job is not in full swing yet so its not exactly steady work, but still better than nothing, so that is exciting. Oh and Dad is back to work, he started today (yay Tedd and Dad!)
It will for sure be another crazy week around here and on the mini farm! After working all day, I drove straight to Huntington to give a speech to a Therapy Dog Group. I spoke on Emergency First Aid (for Dogs of course) I think people liked it and I feel like they learned quite a bit they did not know, so thats good! I had a lot of good questions afterward. Amos has Agility Class tomorrow night, I have a Spanish class Thursday night. Saturday we will be spending most of the day at the Swap Meet (SOOO much fun), that p.m. is my sis's b-day celebration, and Sunday is Church and Amos's Birthday Party. Umm...yes we ARE having a 1st birthday party for our dog, he's like our child haha. All of his little doggie friends are invited. We are having it at his training center, where they have about 7 acres fenced in...they will have a ball!
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Unfortunately though I also have some bad news, my great Aunt (Auntie Mac) died today :(. She was a special person to me during my life (she had no children and her husband died years ago). Auntie Mac could be quite foward and was not afraid to say anything to you. In my early teen years I went to visit her, and she said something that hurt my feelings VERY much. For years I would not go see her, and I held a grudge. Just recently (before she got sick) I decided that enough was enough, it was time to make amends and get back into each others lives. I went to see her, we caught up, and I apologized. Since then I have went to see her almost weekly. I just went and saw her this last Friday (3 days ago). There are many emotions are going through my mind and heart. There is definately regret, for holding grudges, and for missing out on years of what could have been a better relationship.
BUT, I have to say although I'm sad I really am thanking God right now. I know that it was God who helped me to go that first day to see her again and apologize. I prayed before I went in that first day, for him to give me the words to speak. He definately delivered. I am SO happy that I have a God like that. Because of him, in the past few months Auntie Mac and I reminiced about all of the fun times when she would babysit me when I was younger, we talked about my life now, and most of all we told each other many many times that we loved each other.
I left her room Friday after telling her that I loved her, and I thank God for that. I know that she is in a better place now and I know that God knew I needed to mend those bridges with her.
The other part of this is to encourage you to mend broken ties with those you care about. So many times we hold silly grudges, we say things we don't mean, or we simply DON't tell someone we love them or care about them. It is so important to do this, you never know what will happen in life and you would regret it if you did not.
Lastly, please keep our family in your prayers this week during viewing and funeral arrangements. And thank God that Auntie Mac is out of pain and with the Lord now.