themamabeth's Blog

Figuring it out, one crazy day at a time.

Here’s to New Adventures… March 8, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — themamabeth @ 9:50 am

Last July, we bought a house on three acres. We very fully intended to eventually use the land to raise animals (pet-type animals, not food-type animals). I have been wanting chickens for ages, but Jake isn’t a huge chicken fan, and he was very reluctant.

Then. He found a person who was wanting to get rid of their chickens, and he said we would take them! My jaw just about hit the floor I was so shocked when he told me. The problem was, we’d have to transport the chickens and coop about 250 miles. Things ended up not working out-Jake and the owner of the chickens just couldn’t ever make their schedules mesh, and we ended up having to pass.

But! Since the seed had been planted and we were going to do it anyway, he agreed I could start from scratch with baby chicks.

So, here we are today, with 18 baby chickens.

We have:

-6 Buff Orpingtons, 3 are pullets and 3 were from a straight run bin (that means they weren’t sexed so we could get hens or roosters)

-3 Rhode Island Reds (also straight runs)

-1 Silver Laced Wyandotte (the bin wasn’t labelled so I’m thinking straight run)

-2 silkies

-4 Gold Laced Wyandotte (should be all pullets, from a local person who was selling off extras)

-2 ‘assorted pullets’ that I have no idea what breed they are

Between the time of us planning on taking the chickens from Jake’s coworker, deciding not to, and then acquiring our baby chicks, we had a lot of time to do some research. Bringing baby chicks home isn’t a simple as running down to the feed store and picking up a few babies. Once home, they need some pretty particular conditions in order to stay alive, and there are health issues that can pop up that one needs to be aware of so things can be handled promptly.

Before I got my first batch of chicks, I found a brooder (we are using a very large cardboard box), purchased food and water containers, and an EcoGlow 20 heater. Chicks must have heat. Many people use heat lamps, but especially since we are using a box as a brooder, that scared me too much as far as being a fire hazard. I also picked up a package of puppy pads to line the bottom of our brooder box, and a package of pine shavings to use as bedding. We decided to go with non-medicated feed, so we grabbed a bag of that (just buy the big one), and also a bag of meal worms, although our chooks are too little for treats yet.

The next thing I focused on was building a chicken first-aid kit.

My current kit includes:

-epsom salts

-popsicle sticks

-vet wrap

-Vitamin B complex

-Vitamin E

-Poly-vi-sol (without iron)



-Vet RX


-Probiotic and electrolyte powder

This is not nearly a complete kit, but it is a good start. I need to get some of the commonly used antibiotics to have on hand, but I haven’t had a chance to do that yet.

The two biggest health issues I have noticed that people come across are pasty butt and wry neck. We have been lucky, and although a couple of my chicks had a touch of pasty butt, it wasn’t anything lasting or serious. We have been feeding the chicks hard boiled eggs smashed up, as well as adding probiotics to the water (the first day I did electrolytes and then switched to the probiotics). I found a Facebook group that has been extremely helpful and is full of knowledgeable people who can offer real-time assistance when things are going down hill.

For now, everyone is happy and healthy in their brooder, but at some point we’re going to need a coop. I drew one out, and priced materials-for the amount of chickens we will have, we need a big coop and run, so we are looking at at least $700. (It probably could be less, but our coop will essentially be in our front yard, so I want to use nicer materials so it will be pretty.)

OR! If I can convince Jake to let me convert our storage shed into a coop, we will only need to build the run and that would save us a ton of money, but he hasn’t decided yet if that is something he wants to do. (I really, really want to use the storage shed. It is in the back of the house, and close to our dog run so there will be added deterrent for predators.)
We are at the begining of this journey, but I am learning so very much, and honestly loving every bit of this. (Even the poop. Goodness, chickens poop a LOT.)
Here are my two newest babies, the silkies. So far, they don’t have names.

Finding Resources February 8, 2015

Filed under: The Pets,Uncategorized — themamabeth @ 1:17 pm

We have a situation.

First of all, we have four dogs:

-Daisy (problem barker), ~ 5 years

-Ranger (overall, good dog, leash reactive), ~2.5 years

-Sarge (overall, good dog. 113 pounds, could use some extra training), ~1.5 years

-Bravo (puppy, going to be a big dog), ~8 weeks

Second of all, in our rental house, we have neighbors who have a couple of chihuahuas, and they seem to very much object to our existence. Although we are here often, they don’t seem to accept that we are supposed to be here. So when we arrive, or when I take out the trash, or when we are out playing in the yard, they go absolutely nuts. Unfortunately, them going nuts is leading my own dogs to go nuts, which is not really very ideal.

I went looking for possible solutions, and it was recommended I read

Fired Up, Frantic, and Freaked Out: Training the Crazy Dog from Over the Top to Under Control

and also

Control Unleashed.

I have the first book on Kindle, and I am waiting for my order to go through for the second one. I’m really looking forward to them both, because it is seriously getting old having to wrestle Sarge away from the fence whenever the neighbor dogs decide to have a conniption.

Dog training has become a new love of mine-there’s so much to it! I had no idea, and it is fascinating. I am also a little reluctant to admit that I used to be a huge fan of that guy who supposedly whispers to dogs…After much research I have come to the conclusion that those methods are not right for us, and we have decided to go a 100% positive reinforcement route.


Nine Months? February 5, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — themamabeth @ 3:54 pm

Goodness, I could have grown an entire person since I last posted here.

The last nine months in a nutshell:

-We didn’t end up buying land. We found a house instead, and it is amazing.


-I lost a beloved family member.

-Adeline became the proud owner of two ferrets, Mojo from Craigslist and Lily from a local pet store.

-My anxiety and depression reached epic levels and I had a hard time coping.

-We have added a new family member, his name is Bravo and he is a mastiff mix from the Humane Society near Show Low.


-My depression and anxiety have been much better lately, and I am so lucky to have so much love and support from my family while I struggle,

-Yesterday, Jake found a person who is getting rid of a flock of chickens and two roosters, and they are now ours.

-I am now obsessed with reading about how to raise chickens.

-Jake bought me an embroidery machine. My plans to become an actual sewing business have been confirmed, and I am in the beginning stages of becoming compliant so I can turn what I love into something I love into a source of income (or at least something to fund my obsession with buying new fabric).


Making Changes May 5, 2014

Filed under: Family,Parenting 101 — themamabeth @ 10:32 pm

First thing: I finished the window screens! They are working beautifully and I am so happy we took the time to do it.

Second thing: Our land buying is iffy right now. There are some concerns about the water, and…yeah. Needless to say, I’ve been back on the real estate websites. So much time drawing floor plans…sigh.


Today it became abundantly clear that some changes need to be made around here. We’ve had a rough couple of days, and I’m not even sure when it started, but I know Thursday was rough. Friday I was sick with some sort of mysterious stomach/fluish thing that left me almost totally couch-bound for the entire day. Saturday and Sunday were catch-up and recovery days, and then today. Today was awful. Jake just got off night shifts, and he normally goes to hang out for a bit before he comes home. I made it an hour before I called. And he didn’t answer. It was so bad that I actually sent a message to my brother-in-law looking for my husband-I was that desperate for him to come home; which he did, right away once he realized I had been trying to reach him. But anyways. Bad.


The things I have revoked:




-Computer time

-going to both homeschool group and t-ball (the t-ball was less of a consequence and more of me trying to not totally lose my mind)

The attitudes and general awfulness that I am dealing with right now must stop. I have no idea what is spurring all of this all of the sudden, they’re usually so easy going and enjoyable, but man.


And it occurred to me today-why am I trying to do everything? Both Adeline and Lucy are old enough to do a lot more around the house than they are now. It is insane that I’m spending two hours after everyone has gone to bed cleaning up-after spending umpteen hours every day…cleaning up. Crazy.


So. Time for some changes.


I’m going to make up specific chore lists for each kid, on top of asking them to keep up with their own things-leaving your clothes on the bathroom floor isn’t going to fly anymore.


There’s also going to be more structure to our days, and I’m going to make up some kind of chart so we can all see where we are in the day and know what to expect. I feel like if we could use our time a little better, more could be accomplished-both with school and fun stuff-and I’ll feel less like we just flailed our way through the day, or worse, like I rushed us through school.


We altered the bedtime routine tonight, and it went pretty well. Everyone was in bed and asleep by 9:15, which is pretty much unheard of around here. I think that will help things considerably as well, since I don’t think they were getting enough sleep and it was seriously affecting moods during the day (probably mine as well. Ahem.).


This is going to be hard for me, I think. I get frustrated with schedules, and tend to just throw the whole thing out the window if something gets off track. But being temporarily frustrated while we adjust has got to be better than permanently frustrated by not making any changes.


House Changes April 16, 2014

Filed under: Family,Life Is Good,Makin' Stuff — themamabeth @ 4:07 pm

My living room is 95% done.


I bought patterned fabric for our dining room window, and a solid blue for the living room. The blues didn’t match though, so I had to return my solid blue fabric (sorry UPS Guy) and reorder. My second attempt was a success.

Small_0329809 Small_EL-229It’s just so much fabric, I’m totally intimidated. Maybe tonight…


The curtains and the cover for my glider, and I’ll be done, though, and that would be totally awesome.

Our new dining table AD580-45was delivered last week too, and that is probably my favorite change at this point. It is considerably smaller than what we had, and it created so much space. We also got rid of the dog crate, since Sarge is fine if we have to leave (we still make him stay in the kitchen, even though he’d probably be fine whole-house), but we did replace it with two giant dog beds; at least we can store those away easily if we need to.





The last big house thing we wanted to do was put up solar screens on all of our west-facing windows. It gets so hot in here in the summer, there’s nothing to block the sun at all. I planted bushes, but they are puny and not offering any shade yet.  Jake cut and assembled the frames for me, and I just need (haha,”just”…one screen takes me all day) to put the screens in the frames and then the frames in the windows. We’re using velcro so we can take them down in the winter when we want it to be warm.


So…all that said…


We just put in an offer on a piece of land with the intention of building our dream house. We’ll know for sure in the next couple of weeks, but isn’t that always how it goes? Get everything juuuust right, and poof, decide to move. (Not like this will happen any time soon, but still.)


Today’s Post is Brought to You by Ikea March 24, 2014

Filed under: Life Is Good — themamabeth @ 12:03 am

I packed up two of the kids on Friday and we made a quick trip to Phoenix to hit Target and Ikea. Our hodgepodge of random furniture was making me nuts, and that combined with a real need to create just a little bit more space inspired a little shopping spree. I got a chair, bookshelf and two end tables and now I feel like we live in a whole new house. That single bookshelf has freed up so much other space, it is amazing.


All of the sudden my living room feels so put together! I have a few more projects to finish up tomorrow (hopefully, Monday is busy for us) and we’ll be golden. It is the end of a looong road of me tweaking and rearranging and I’m sure Jake is going to be very happy to not have to wonder every day if he’s going to come home to all of the furniture rearranged yet again. I can’t imagine the dread he must feel when I pull out the tape measure.


We did run into one snag, because going to Ikea at 5:30 on a Friday with two little kids and my mom, who is currently in a sling, didn’t lead to clear thinking, and I actually bought a blue chair rather than the grey one I planned on. So now I have a random blue piece of furniture that doesn’t match a single thing, at least not at the moment. Since I can’t exactly hop back to Ikea to return it, I did the next best thing and ordered new fabric to make new curtains, which will tie in the blue chair. I’m actually kind of happy, because what we have now was my first attempt at curtains so now I have a chance at a re-do so I can fix some mistakes I made the first time around.


It is awfully exciting to be done with the decorating stuff. We’ve been here for almost three years, and I think I’m finally satisfied that it is as good as it is going to get.


Now I’m ready to move on to the next big project, which is mainly going to center around school. We bought a legit curriculum to do over the summer, so after the house projects are finished up, we’ll jump in to school for real-probably within the next two weeks. Between school, classes and sports, I think it is going to be a really busy summer! But it feels like all of the sudden our whole life is just falling into place and I couldn’t be happier.


This day: 1, Me: 0 February 9, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — themamabeth @ 9:33 pm

This is probably the hardest day of the month for me. Jake has four night shifts after being off for a week, and this is the last day of those shifts.

Adeline was up until 11PM last night, which I knew we’d pay dearly for today, but what could I do? I can’t make her sleep.

Lucy got up this morning and informed me the dog had an accident in his crate. Great Dane puppy accidents aren’t anything to sneeze at.

Hazel got mad at me for telling her no about something and she hit the baby.

Lucy bit Adeline.

Adeline got mad at Lucy for something and put her in a headlock (well, sort of).

I got mad at everyone and spoke with a tone and volume that I’m not proud of.

The sink is full of dirty dishes.

I’ve been spit up on so many times today that I’m nearly out of clean clothes-and I have a mountain of laundry to do tomorrow.

We never made it outside today, or out of our pajamas for that matter.

The kids had open-faced tuna sandwiches for dinner because I didn’t have enough bread for everyone to have real sandwiches.

 Everyone is going to bed early tonight, and tomorrow is a new day.










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