Back to me

A wise but VERY OLD man once told me that I need to keep doing the things I love because that is what’s going to keep me sane.

Well my Dad was absolutely right!

And I am making a point to do things that I loved to do before my world imploded. A few years ago, I fought depression and anxiety. It hit me hard and out of the blue. It took a lot to pull myself out of it. But I did it without drugs or therapy. I worked on the internal me.

Well this year has been nothing but a bunch of bumps in the road. And I have moments where I can feel the anxiety and depression starting to creep back in. This time instead of hiding it from my family, I am very vocal in saying I am having a bad day. It also feels good to have a great support system in the chaos called my life. My family, all of them, have been amazing!

But now it’s time for me to get back to being me.

First things first. Clearing my calendar. You should see all the things written on it. Doctors appointments, homeschool activities, Brianna’s school activities…etc. I have to slow down. I have been on the go constantly for 4 months now. And I feel it hitting me.

So October we are starting to slow down.

I need to be home in order to have a homestead. My garden has suffered. My chickens have suffered. My wallet and health has suffered.

I enjoy doing things with my kids. But I am also an introvert, which means I honestly enjoy a relaxing day at home more.

The last few weeks I have made the effort to do something for me. I have cooked more. I cleaned out my chicken coop and started going back to the old way of taking care of them, instead of my lazy way. And I even read a book!

The difference I feel is incredible and I am going to keep on this path of getting back to me.

Lets be real here…..

I am just going to come out and say it….reading other blogs whether it be about parenting, homeschooling or homesteading, makes me feel like a lazy shit hole person.

BOOM! There it is!! That is the God’s honest truth.

I see everyone happy, living life and raising a happy, healthy family.  And I am over here like where’s the blog post about your out of control teenagers or about the stress of being a special needs parent???

Lets be real….no one’s life is perfect. But when you are having a hard time with your life and all you read is sunshine and unicorns riding over rainbows, it just makes it that much more worse.

I follow TONS of blogs on Facebook, Pinterest and through email. Not one post about how they locked themselves in the bathroom and cried while drinking some pina colada!!!

They are making these beautiful dishes of food, with their perfect kids who are all absolutely perfect, living in their perfect house with their perfect husband.

BLAH!!!! Bologna!!!!

Even the special needs blogs never post about the bad days!

WHY NOT??? Maybe you make someone feel like they are not alone. And that your life is not the only one in chaos. Maybe you can be encouragement or even find encouragement in others to continue on. Keep going on your journey. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

So Lets be real here…..

Raising a family is hard……

Raising a special needs child is hard as hell….

Raising 3 teenage girls is even harder……

Raising 2 children who are not biologically yours is hard…..

Keep yourself sane is the biggest challenge……

While trying not to kill your significant other because he’s the only one who gets it and would understand when you lash out at him…..

Starting a homestead is hard……

Homeschooling is a wonderful and hard at the same time………

I do all of these things. And the last 2 months of my life….no the last 6 months of my life have tried my patience and my love for my family and my husband.

I am not going to lie. I wanted to run and never look back. I still have days like those.

I have days where the thought of waking up and getting out of bed terrifies me for fear of what the day and my special needs child will bring.

When someone in your family has a mental illness it affects EVERYONE!!! Life is hell right now.

I have been special needs shamed…..I have heard everything from I am the reason she is like this to not doing enough to wanting to ship her off and forget about her.

Listen here…. Never in my life have I ever fought for anything more than the children in my life regardless of if they came from my body or not.

But it takes a person..a mother with a huge heart and strong will to say I am not what my child needs right now!!!

Here’s the truth on my life….

My oldest daughter needed a change of scenery. She needed a reality check that she was not going to get from us. She is 18 and made the decision to move across the country.

This in turn has sent my youngest daughter, my special needs child, into some kind of breakdown. We can’t control her, she is a danger to herself and has lost all touch of reality. I cry daily, I fight daily and I feel defeated daily. We have 1 doctor and 2 therapist and I am getting no where. This is not only affecting us but our neighbors because she is dragging them into it by running over there every time she gets mad.

I can barely eat or sleep. I am having anxiety and every morning I start shaking when I know she awake because I know it’s coming. My son is scared every time she throws her tantrums. His little heart starts racing and he begins to cry. My husband is having aches and pains that get worse the more she argues and fights.

I need help. We need help. We keep asking for help. But keep getting no where.

Where are the blog post that show you just how hard it is to raise teenagers, special needs, step children or even keep a happy marriage?

If you can’t be real on your blog, where can you be real at?

I didn’t write this for sympathy or to get people upset. I just needed to be real and vent.

So if you made it to the end, thanks for listening.

Life on the funny farm

It has been anything but funny around here. More like chaotic, overwhelming, stressful and a nightmare.

It all started with homestead problems. Our well started pumping sand. So that was a month before we could get our new one dug and an unexpected expense. Then we had one chicken problem after another, from incubators not holding temperature to sick chicks from a feed store. UGH you name it; it happened. There was a lot of lost on the homestead.

Then started the personal problems.

My oldest daughter moved across the country. It was for the best. She needed a reality check and she wasn’t getting it with Mom and Dad. So she moved in with my brother-in-law and his family. But it wasn’t the easiest thing to do.

Hubby’s business just died! Nothing for almost 2 months.

Then my granddaddy suddenly passed away. It was a long 2 days of being at the hospital. He went from walking, talking and living on his own to relying on a ventilator in a matter of 12 hours.

At the same time, we were in the middle of a huge homestead fence project. Thankfully, my hubby wasn’t working and he was able to be there for the kids and work on the project while I took care of what I had to do.

Then my special needs daughter start having a rough time. I guess it’s all too much for her. Too much change; too fast. So we found an autistic school that she will be attending next school year. That will give me a break and her something to do.

Next was my son’s unexpected surgery. He came through like a champ. But Momma was a wreck.

Now we are nearing the end of our fence project. My son is healing nicely. Hubby’s phone is ringing. And Brianna is getting ready for school.

So there’s an abbreviation of the past 3-4 months of my life.

It was anything but funny!

 

Spring Garden

It’s already getting hot in Florida. But my spring garden is looking fantastic.

I have to admit I have been giving myself pats on the back for this one. I am so proud.

I love just looking at it and admiring its beauty.

I have had gardens in the past. But this one takes the cake!

These pictures are from April 21st.

Left side of the garden

Left side of the garden

Watermelon

Watermelon

Watermelon with a fly

Watermelon with a fly

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe

Nibbles always waits by the fence when his Mama is in the garden.

Nibbles always waits by the fence when his Mama is in the garden.

Right Side of the garden

Right Side of the garden

Right side of the garden

Right side of the garden

Back in the fall, my right side of the garden looked great and my left side was still getting prepped. But as you can see the left just exploded this season. These are pictures from this morning.

Growing a large family

Pea pods

Pea pods

Right side of the garden

Right side of the garden

Left side of the garden

Left side of the garden

Watermelon

Watermelon

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe

Pickling cucumbers

Pickling cucumbers

Watermelon

Watermelon

Corn

Corn

Green Beans

Green Beans

Pineapple

Pineapple

I am definitely not done. I want to get some wild flowers planted. Oh I also forgot to take pictures of the milkweed with butterfly eggs on it. Brianna is so excited. But the heat is getting bad so I don’t how long some of these plants will last. Summers in Florida is like a winter up north. You can’t plant anything; it’s too hot and too rainy. I will be conditioning my soil during that season and prepping for a huge fall garden.

I am even thinking of another expansion. One in a more shady area to grow plants that can’t handle a lot of heat and sun.

April is here

I feel like screaming too!

I feel like screaming too!

 

We flipped another page in our calendar. Can you believe it’s already April!? But it’s here and so far is looking like a slower month for me. I truly need that and will try my hardest to limit activities this month. Since January, I feel like all I have done is run errands, go to doctor appointments or have some kind of activity to get the kids too. My spring break wasn’t even a break.

I am an introvert. So by nature this kind of schedule has been hard for me. But one of my new years resolutions was to be more present for my kids. And so far I have been doing it. I’ve been saying yes to activities and not coming up with excuses why we can’t go. My anxiety has been under control which has been so nice. We’ve been enjoying life.

But this mom needs a little slow down. I think that is good for everyone. No matter what kind of person they are.

I want to dig my hands in the dirt. Hang out with my chickens. And complete some projects I keep putting off.

I also feel this is a good time to get our eating and budget habits back on track. I have to admit since the holidays I feel like it’s been nothing but sweets, candy and fast food. I told you life has been crazy! But now it’s time to get back on track. With hubby’s kidney problems and our daughter’s behavioral problems, good food is very important. I have noticed a lot of behavioral issues popping up with my girl. So time to catch it before it’s out of control.

Last month, I made dinner menus for the next 3 months. So I am ahead of the game there. I also got the majority of my grocery shopping done for the month last week.

This week I am focusing on organizing and few areas of the house. While also learning how to live without some of my major appliances.

YUP! The well broke. I tell you what…you can tell it’s April because it just poured 3 days into it. We have sand mixed in with our water. And of course it happened on a Sunday. Hubby tried to fix it but couldn’t. Looks like we are looking at a new well.

Like Hubby said we take 2 steps forward and 5 back.

A couple of weeks ago, we finally got the majority of our building project done that we had been working on for months.   We were planning for some other projects and business is going good. We were feeling accomplished. And now this!

My mom was here when it happened and said man, ya’ll can’t catch a break. And it’s true. This is part of living on a homestead. Fix one thing and another thing needs fixing. Mom and I walked through and talked about how to fix the fence until we have money and time to replace it.

So we can take showers. But I can’t run my dishwasher or my fancy washer. Luckily we bought a cheap old washer and will use that. I have to use bottle water for cooking or drinking. Recycling truck is going to love us this week. We are only washing pots and pans. Everything else we are using is disposable. It’s killing me. I all about reuse and limiting our garbage as much as possible.

OH well! (Pun intended) It is what it is. A few days or so; won’t kill me……I hope!

 

Culling on our homestead

When you are running a homestead or farm, there are circumstances that are beyond your control. You are pretty much running an all you can eat buffet for predators. And then there is fighting amongst your own animals. Maybe an aggressive rooster or a crazy turkey. Basically things happen. And finding a vet that will treat poultry is extremely hard and will most likely cost more than the animal is worth. Sometimes culling an animal is necessary.

I was lucky enough to make it a couple of years before it became necessary on my homestead. Yes, I lost hens. But we let them go naturally. Which now I realize was wrong and I probably should have put them out of their misery. To my defense, I suggested it, but hubby and the kids were not on board with it.  And I wasn’t sure how to do it anyways.

Well a couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of going to a homestead knowledge swap put on by a Facebook group. There they had demonstrations on how to process meat chickens, turkeys and ducks. So I did see a couple of different ways to cull a bird.

Then I was talking to a friend about one of my ducks. And we both agree it had neurological problems and should be culled.

A few days went by and I kept putting it off. But one morning, I looked out and saw her just standing there. She is 1/4 of the size of the other ducks her own age. She never eats. She walks in circles and runs into things. She doesn’t even swim like a normal duck. Plus Nibbles, my male duck, kept chasing her and trying to hurt her. It was sad.

I grabbed my broomstick determine to do it myself before any kids woke up. I got the duck which was easier than I thought. I laid her down and she looked at me like I’m ready just do it. But then I looked around and Harley was watching me. And then Nibbles came over harassing me and her. SO I couldn’t do it.

Later that morning, I was telling my kids about it. And Brianna, my special needs child who actually attended and participated in the demo, said I’ll do it Mom.

Disclaimer: so this is the point of the post that you don’t want to read while eating, drinking, driving or standing up. Because what I am about to tell you is the god honest truth and you will be laughing hilariously by the time I am done. And I don’t want to be responsible for anyone spitting their coffee on the computer, choking, crashing or falling down and hurting themselves. 

Ok so later that afternoon, Brianna and I go out with our broomstick. She catches the duck and we take it out of the chicken area, to the top of our drain hill in our front yard. The whole time I am telling her that we should probably go in the backyard area and she is reassuring me that its fine and will be quick. Did I mention it’s about the time that everyone comes home for work?!

So we start the process but Brianna and her skinny mini self doesn’t weigh enough to stand on the broomstick and pull the ducks feet at the same time. SO I stand on the broomstick and she is pulling. After about 10 minutes of this and the duck looking at us like For Goodness sake can’t you just do it already!?! She tells me to stand right there and she leaves me…..standing on a broomstick over a ducks neck……in the front yard…..at 6pm. She then comes out the backdoor with my largest kitchen knife and a bag. “Don’t worry Mom I’ll just cut its neck!”

Now let me take a moment for those of you who don’t know my child she is LOUD. Like the whole neighborhood can hear you and I live in the country loud.

So I keep shushing her every 5 seconds. She comes over cuts its neck like a serial killer and stands there in the front yard holding the bleeding duck upside down. While I keep look out and tell Brianna put it down someones is coming down the road, hide the duck. And she proceeds to tell me as she is shaking this duck upside down “its fine Mom, everyone does it!”

“No Brianna, not everyone does it!” I am at this point dying inside because I can’t believe this is my life and I can’t believe my daughter is the one having to do this and I am the one freaking out.

So she says its gone and puts it in the bag. And hands the bag to me. She then walks away to go get the hose. And the duck and the bag start moving. I threw the bag in the air and yelled “Brianna it’s moving” as I am running away from the bag. She comes over lifts the duck up and says its dead just the muscles dying. And then finishes getting cleaned up.

OH MY GOD! WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO!

 

 

 

Where have I been?

Let me start by saying I’M ALIVE! And that I am sorry.

I can’t believe it has been 2 months since my last post. I hate when you find an awesome blog (hopefully you find my blog awesome) and then there is never another post. It really irks me. And to know I did that is a hard pill to swallow. But to be honest, and that’s what I am going to be, my life has been pure hell. So out of control and way off course, that I literally take it one day….no… one hour at a time.

For the past 6 months or so, my hubby and I have been dealing with some children issues. Basically I have an 18 year old that has lost her way and is making poor choices. It was so bad that it controlled my every thought, day and night. I woke up thinking about it and went to bed thinking about it. I was stressed and aggravated. The mood of the whole house changed to a big, black cloud.

So as you can imagine, I felt I had nothing positive to post. I felt that I could say nothing because of how personal it was. I felt lost.

I think my hubby knew I was at my breaking point and asked me to take a backseat and let him handle it. At first, I was pissed off and angry. But I also felt tremendous relief. A weight lifted from my shoulders.

I took the kids to the park that day. And I just watched and listened to the laughter. I watched the joy on their faces. I realized I had been so focused on her that I was missing out. Later that day, Hubby sent me on an errand and said to go by myself and get a frappe. I drove with the windows down and the music up. I was living again.

My best friend has been my rock. I leaned on her daily through these last 6 months. She witnessed what I was going through first hand the other day. As we watch my daughter walk out the door to go where ever it was she was going, she asked how can you be so calm not knowing where or what might happen. My answer was because I have 3 other kids that need me. I have a 6 year old that craves my attention, a special needs child that needs my attention and a 16 year old that wants my attention. They speak to me with kind words and show me love. They are a bright spot in a dark day.

A situation like this could have easily torn my family apart. Hubby and I could have different views and be on different pages. We could be at each others throats all day, everyday. But instead we are closer than ever and stronger than ever. And that has helped our younger children survive the storm that has become our life.

Our oldest has 9 more weeks of school left. I tell people YAY! 9 more weeks of school and then I go OH only 9 more weeks of school. But we will make it through.

Plus I have been singing a lot of Let it Go from Frozen.

Sleepless Nights, My Garden and El Nino

Gardening~Growing a large family

 

Living in Florida, we are used to dealing with hurricanes. They take several days to get here and we have plenty of time to stock up and plan.

But dealing with El Nino, this past month has been stressful. You don’t how severe it’s going to be or how soon it’s going to get to your location. And the worse part has been 99% of the severe storms have been at night. I hate when they hit at night.

First off, I live in the boondocks so you can’t see anything on a clear night, but now you have added in a wicked storm, so I really am left in the dark. I always take my phone in my room for all the alerts. But that’s the problem, I’m up all night checking out the alerts and warnings. And of course, the one alert that didn’t come through on my phone was the tornado on the ground alert. Thankfully all my kids sleep with radios on. And thankfully one of them does wake up when the emergency beeping comes on.

Now here in Florida, we are used to water spouts or quick tornadoes. They touch down, last for a few minutes and then they’re gone. But when the weatherman and National Weather Service is saying take cover, a very large and dangerous tornado is on the ground. It makes you think What the …… These are words my local weatherman were using, along with, this is a tornado you would see in the midwest and we have never seen anything like it. It lasted through 2 counties!

I mean it came to the bottom of my county. In my mind, I’m mentally giving out assignments to my 2 children, that at this point were scared to death and looking like a deer caught in headlights. Luckily it dissipated. But it came awful close to my Mother-in-Law’s house. Which my kids were at the night before and she doesn’t own a smart phone or a TV. And lives in a mobile home.

Needless to say, I will be investing in 2 weather radios. One for my house and one for hers.

So what does this have to do with my garden. Well it’s been to hell and back! First, our weather was too hot for winter. I mean, its was 85 degrees on Christmas, who does that!?! Now it turned cooler and my plants were so happy.  Then all the rain came. And that was ok, my garden never flooded. But then the winds came. We have had strong winds as least 2-3 times this year. I am talking, don’t let your kids out or they’ll blow away strong. And well everything fell over!

On the positive side, all the rain loosened the ground so Brianna could finish getting the grass up on the other side of the garden. And I did get a ton of cherry tomatoes before the winds, along with 2 cabbage, 3 broccoli and some green beans. So I am going to replant on the other side and see what happens.

Spring Garden~Growing a large family

Here’s hoping Spring comes soon.

At least that’s what Punxsutawney Phil said.

This blog post is partying over at Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop

The low down dirty, stinky truth about hatching chicks!

As soon as we got our first 6 baby chicks a couple of years ago, I knew I was hooked and adding more. Which is why I bought 6 more! Then hubby and I realized there wasn’t a coop as nice and cheap as I would like for the amount of chicks I bought.  He got mad saying I put the cart before the horse (or something like that). So we had to scramble to build a coop.

So ever since then, I promised him that I would not do that again. I want to know what I am doing before I run out and do it. I want all the known facts. So I read all about incubating for the last few months. I wanted to make sure my eggs thrived and the chicks were healthy.

But I am here to tell you about the things that people have left out. The things I never knew or read about. The things I had to find out the hard way.

The low down dirty, stinky truth and nothing but the truth about hatching chicks!

It’s so exciting seeing your first little crack in the egg!

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Until you realize that little chick is going to take HOURS! So you keep getting up every 5 minutes for the next 24-48 hours checking on that one egg. Yup! I have done this 6 times and did this every time.

When the chick does hatch, it is not the prettiest thing. It’s covered in slime and has an umbilical cord attached. Just like a newborn baby. The inside of the egg-shell was actually really cool. My kids thought it was awesome to be able to see the blood veins in the egg-shell and to see the different layers.

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And once your chick has hatched it is tired and will lay there like it is dead. Just flopped down face first! Don’t worry it’s not. This is how babies rest. And on that note, get use to it because this is how they will sleep for quite a few weeks.

Once the baby hatches, you have to leave them in there for at least 24 hours or just until their feathers are dry.

While your baby dries, it will gain strength and play tag with your other eggs. The eggs will get bumped and moved; possibly even rolled from one side to the other. Don’t panic, this is doesn’t affect your eggs hatching.

 

DSC_0675

 

Now your little baby is dry and ready to come out. Fantastic! But beware of the smelly incubator. When you open it up, it’s enough to make you gag! Everything has been baking! And baked umbilical cord is not a good smell! Just saying!

Chicken eggs take 21 days to hatch. I usually leave my eggs in the incubator until day 25 or 26. If no more hatches by then, I call it and throw away the dud eggs. Now is the fun part, cleaning the incubator.

You have all the bad eggs, the broken eggs shells and membranes, the disconnected cords and maybe some poop. It’s great fun! I recommend doing this outside or in a separate sink from your everyday sinks. I have a laundry room sink which is quickly becoming the chickens sink. I use it for giving them baths, washing their dishes and now cleaning their incubator. I also recommend a pair of rubber gloves. Just to take away some of the yuck factor. And I use baby soap on mine. It’s what I use to clean them with so I figure its safe, plus it’s what was sitting there the first time I did this.

It’s going to take a good amount of arm muscle to scrub some of the stuff off. Once your done, dry it the best you can and then let it sit out to air dry.  Its best if you can leave it out in the sun because this will really take care of anything left behind. You are ready for your next time of incubating.

Turken~ Growing a large family

Now that I have told about all the gross things of hatching. I am going to give you a tip that I have yet to follow. I have read several places online recommend putting down some rubber shelf liner. It helps the babies gain their footing and aren’t slipping everywhere, but I would think it would help with the clean up also. Maybe keep the bottom from getting so stained and allow easy clean up by just throwing everything on top away.

So what are you incubating next? Because you know even after all this, you will be incubating again. The babies are too cute and seeing a life form and be born is amazing.

Once you hatch, you never go back!

This post is partying over at the Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop

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Hard

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Recently someone said to me, “You just don’t get it, life is hard.”

 

This someone was a family member who I was extremely close to until this last year when he just disappeared.

Apparently life got “too hard” to pick up the phone.

But please don’t assume because someone looks like they are living the perfect life that they don’t understand how hard life can be.

Hard is not knowing when your next job is going to come. Hubby hasn’t worked since November 30. Today, January 13, is his first job in 5 weeks.

Hard is marking off those calendar days and still not hearing the phone ring.

We had 2 months of our mortgage to pay, kids to feed and a homestead to run before even a phone call for a job quote came in.

We don’t live with our significant others family and work at a restaurant the gives us free food.

Hard is knowing we have 4 kids to feed and hoping we can make it through.

I had to scrape together meals the best I can with what I had to work with. My kids never starved, but they also knew we couldn’t grocery shop like usual. And that leftovers had to be eaten. We just didn’t have a choice.

Hard is losing a pet.

Realizing that they will never be there at your feet anymore.

Hard is starting your day at 4:30 in the morning and ending it at 9 at night. And knowing tomorrow you have to do it all over again.

Hard is realizing your another year older and the ones you love and trust aren’t going to be around forever. Hard is knowing tomorrow isn’t guaranteed and one day you will have to say good-bye.

Hard was my Hubby being in the hospital for 24 hours while I am unable to be there. I had no one offer to watch the kids unless it was an absolute emergency.

Getting up, going to work and coming home~ is not hard.

 

Life is hard, once you have lived it.

Life is also hard when lived alone.