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I’ve seen memes everywhere saying how horrible 2021 was… either it’s different circumstances, or location, but for us 2021 seemed pretty normal.

Oldest changed schools. Got on the wrestling team and is adjusting rather quickly. He’s a completely different kid without the stress of the other school. I’m happy for him, and know that this was the best choice for him.

With the new school comes an hour commute… which has led us to pursuing moving this year.

Which will mean a change in schools for youngest….

All in all the prospects for 2022 are looking good. More land means more animals, more garden, more work, more chores and we couldn’t be more excited about it!

If inflation has opened our eyes to anything this year it is the fact that we CAN do more for ourselves than we are currently doing. It’s not a matter of time, it’s all in the effort.

The end of this month we are looking forward to breeding our rabbits, and building a sustainable meat source for our family.

Currently I am eyeing chicken chics ready to ship this month, but am only held back by the freezing temperatures we are currently experiencing.

Deer season came to a close yesterday and we didn’t do as well as we hoped, on my part I didn’t go out enough. When oldest gets his own license and not an apprentice it’ll be easier for father and son to each bring home the proverbial bacon.

We miss our pig. Pigs are entertaining to say the least and added that little bit of cheer we all need. Impatiently awaiting spring so we can get 2 pigs this year.

Building a sustainable empire takes a lot of planning and hard work, but we’re here to do it, and look forward to teaching our boys the same path.

Happy New Year everyone! May we all fulfill our big dreams! And life a simple life.

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Grow Where You’re Planted

There stands a tree that held some steps where young boys climbed and played. The steps led to a rope that held them up. The rope led to a swing that gave them smiles and laughter. The summer days were spent in and around this tree; climbing, laughing and learning. They pushed themselves higher, and reached for the sky. Urged to go higher by the other.

There stands a tree that gave a bird a home. The bird built her nest in the crook of this tree. Carefully constructing a nest piece by piece, trip after trip, and layer after layer. In this delicate nest laid a single blue egg that the tree held tenderly and protectively. One day the egg hatched and brought new life in the tree. He waited patiently for momma’s feedings in the comfort of the nest; in the crook of the tree. One day before he could fly a storm came that the tree couldn’t protect him from, and rain washed him away.

There stands a tree, with a crook, and a now empty nest. That for a while it held a sick bat that had landed near, and one day found the comfort of the nest to take a final rest.

There stands a tree, with a crook, an empty nest, and now something more. A sight unseen before. A little green sprout started peaking out, and soon it grew a few green leaves. Now growing so proudly in the tree, in the nest, in the crook of the tree grows new life and beauty. A sunflower, so proud and growing tall proclaiming loudly “Grow where you’re planted, that’s where you’re meant to be.

If you’re that tree and think about your life you’ll see… if we hold others up, give them comfort, a safe place and support the others they will learn and climb to where they’re meant to be.

If we think of the tree and that little bird… we remember the joy of birth and life, and the sorrow in death. If we hold others when they need it, and celebrate their victories, and share in their losses we become stronger for them and ourselves.

When we think of this new sprout in the crook of the tree we realize life is never empty. No matter the trial before, the loss, or the changes we didn’t control; there’s always something next. There’s always a tree waiting to hold you up, to support and comfort you, to show you amazing things. To show you how to be human so simply.

The tree is your friend you fight with, but always return to. The tree is your dad who guides and protects you. The tree is your spouse who holds you tight, and lifts you up. The tree is your sibling who taught you not to fall, but hold on and you’ll make it there. The tree is all of us together.

Living a simple life also means to think simply. So remember… live a simple life and keep climbing higher.

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Signs of life

Aaaaahhhhh, the wonders of Mother Nature at her finest. Sprouting seeds emerging from the ground makes me soooooo happy!

The carrots are finally showing signs of life! I’m so excited because if you remember I’ve never grown carrots before.

Still impatiently waiting on the louffa to sprout. I’m honestly going to be pissed if once again they don’t sprout. My plan with them is to make Christmas gifts out of them but I can’t do that if they don’t grow!!!! Come on louffas don’t let me down!

The nasturtium and sunflowers are coming up great! I haven’t seen the green beans emerge yet… last night youngest and I planted black beans and lettuce. I love a good salad straight from the garden!

Last night oldest and Rooster made a new gate for the chicken run. Once again utilizing pallets and a bookcase the boys had for toys in the basement.

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A day off of work, and we still work…

Today after lack of sleep we decided to stay home. Needless to say it was a productive day. The weather held out and we only had a few sprinkles to deal with.

Today we utilized our stock pile of scrap metal roofing, and pallets to make a “duck hut”. The Peking’s don’t go into the coop for whatever reason, and I felt they needed some protection from the weather, and a place to hopefully nest and/or just lay eggs.

First we stripped the pallets until we had enough material left to join the together. Like everything we do it’s trial and error, but it all works out in the end. After cutting the pallets down to size we started making our “teepee” or “A” frame.

We joined the two pallets together with three inch screws along the top, and began working on making the frame stable. We used the boards we removed from the pallet to brace the back of the “A”.

Once the structure was more secure we began adding the metal roofing panels, and created a ridge cap with an extra small piece of metal roof.

The framing…

In no time at all the chickens were checking out our work, and the Peking’s even poked their heads in a time or two!

Don’t think that’s all we did today we also got the hog pen finished up! We also got creative making a trough!

We had a half of a plastic barrel that I got from my dad, and the top off of an old microwave cart. Luckily the old cart was made of wood and we’ve been able to use it on a lot of projects.

The “Duck Hut”

Easily enough we cut the tabletop length wise and attached it to the barrel with screws. Now we have a trough that will hopefully be a little harder to flip over.

After all the projects Rooster went to oldest’s soccer practice, I picked up the youngest after running a few errands, came home to whip up a salad for supper while youngest did his homework, and I am now enjoying a Lavender Vanilla Chai while youngest has his first guitar lesson!!

After this it’s home for family supper of spaghetti, salad and garlic bread. After we unload all the feed out of the truck LOL.

I almost forgot we also made a little improvement to the run! We added landscape timber around the outside. The chickens have a habit of making dust bath pools along the fence eroding away the bottom of the fence. Hence leaving me to worry about them getting out, or something easily getting in.

Sometimes the best pay check is the reward of a good days work. Dirt under your nails, blisters on your palms, or the typical scrapes, cuts and bruises.