Faithful Homesteader

Chicken Illness and a Hawk Scare

Faithful HomesteaderThere has been a bit of chicken drama the last couple of months. Our three youngest chickens are still settling in and we have dealt with worms and what we believe was fowl pox. We think all the chickens should be laying, but only one seems to be doing so. We also had a scare when a hawk was chasing down one of the chickens. 

We are trying to get in the habit of de-worming twice a year, but before we had the chance to do the fall rounds, there was evidence of worms in the flock. Since we had some Panacur leftover from the vet, we used that. I would like to find another option, but haven’t figured out what would be best for our girls. 

chicken fowl pox

It seemed we had gotten rid of the worms, but soon we started seeing black spots on some of the girls. From what we read, it seemed like fowl pox. We understood that there really wasn’t a cure for it and that flocks had a good chance at survival if it was the dry kind over the wet kind. Thankfully, we did not see any indication of respiratory issues, but I was quite nervous over the whole situation.

We did however want to help the girls out with their immune systems. We worried about secondary issues. We immediately started giving them colloidal silver in the water and giving them vitamins. Our Serama Nailie never did show any symptoms, and our Andalusian Andie, had just one small spot on her. We put balm on the girls spots to facilitate healing.  We were happy to see that they all improved and they remained active. 

Our one layer Katana did seem to stop laying for a short time, but started back up after not too long a time; she is a Blue Rosecomb bantam. Everything I read says that she should be laying once a week, but she lays more than that. She is super productive. The other two girls that we brought home at the same time should be laying, but we see no indication of it. 

chicken hawk attack

Our puppy, Nudnik, likes to run at the girls. When he does they disperse and holler. One day I heard the girls yelling as if he was coming after them, but he was in the house with me. I looked out and saw what looked like Nailie fly across the yard. She ended up under a camper top, but quickly flew back out, but I noticed she was not alone. 

At first I thought it was our Beared D’anver Sage, but soon realized it was not her and it was actually a hawk. It could not figure out how to get out from under the camper. This was the closest that I had been to a hawk. I was unsure the best way to handle it because I know they are protected, but of course I want my girls protected as well.

We are wanting to train our dog to protect the chickens, but I worry he is too young to distinguish between the hawk and the chickens. I tried to get the hawk out and I hope that it was traumatized enough that it would not want to return to our homestead. It was definitely scary. 

It took a little time to find all the girls and make sure that they were okay. I am so thankful that they were. We quit feeding birds so that we were less likely to attract hawks, but birds still do visit. I guess I had let my guard down some and need to get more vigilant again. I am hoping no more hawks any time soon. I want all the girls to be healthy and to give us eggs. 

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Adjusting to My Husband's Hearing Gain

Faithful HomesteaderFor most of his life my husband had the understanding that his severe hearing loss was mostly caused by otosclerosis of the round window. At the time of the diagnosis the technology was lacking to fix it. With today’s technology, he found out, it is something that could be fixed. He decided this was the year he wanted to look into getting the surgery. It turned out that he did not have otosclerosis of the round window, but of the stapes bone. Years ago he could have had that fixed. Otosclerosis of the stapes bone runs in his family.

The problem was in both ears. Over the summer he had a stapedectomy to remove the stapes bone in the ear with the worst hearing loss. The stapes was replaced with a prosthesis. He just recently had the surgery for the second ear. I was concerned about my husband having the surgeries only because I know the world is such a loud place and it would be a major adjustment. It has actually been an adjustment for both of us.

I am sensitive to a lot of noises and previously my husband did not understand this. Now he has had to apologize for his insensitivity.Now he feels my pain. One of the biggest complaints I have about where we live is just how loud the train is and now he knows too. If he is outside when the train blows through, he has to cover up his ears. I also complained about how loud his truck is and now he complains about it too. It is so loud for him that he wears earplugs or headphones when he drives.

Previously, he never heard our cat’s purrs, but now he does. That makes me happy. I always felt he was robbed before when he couldn’t hear it.Her purrs are quite loud, but also soothing. In the past, if I was in the shower and forgot something, I could not count on yelling for him to help me out, but now I can. I am glad for that since lately I am so forgetful that I keep forgetting my towel.

One thing that I did not anticipate with the surgeries was that he would now be the one complaining about things being too loud. Now he thinks I am always yelling or he will complain about the television or radio being too loud. He always carries ear plugs with him. That is one thing we now have in common.

It has been interesting to go through the process with my husband. So many things are new. People sound different. He actually hears the dialogue on television. In the past he always relied on the closed captioning. Even though he is realizing just how loud the world really is, he is thankful to have the improved hearing. He loves that he does not need to wear his hearing aids anymore.

His hearing should still continue to improve on the ear that had the most recent surgery. The sounds of the homestead are different. We can both suffer the loudness of our dog’s high pitched barking. He can be more alert to sounds out in nature or possible threats around the home. Even though there are some adjustments, it is all a blessing.

Getting Back on Track During the Holidays

Faithful HomesteaderFor a while I was really on track with diet and exercise. I lost 40 pounds and was feeling strong. I loved my healthy lifestyle of eating right and getting fit. It felt good to have people comment about how good I looked. It is frustrating how easy it is to lose it all. I haven’t been totally off track, but it wouldn’t take much to be fully derailed. 

My exercise routine

The thing that slowed me up first was my exercise routine. My back started bothering me more and I did less exercise on account of it. Previously, I had been doing the Bowflex, treadmill, Tai chi, and occasional hikes. I felt good when I had a good routine and I was getting strong. 

Since I have been exercising less, I notice that I am not as strong as I was. This certainly helps motivate me to get back on track. I like being strong. It was a great mental high for me. Now I am just so deflated and discouraged. 

I am hoping my new dog will help get me back on track, but he needs to get better on the leash. As he gets bigger and stronger, I feel it is important for me to be strong enough to handle him. I just need to come up with a way to do my strength training without him being all in my business. He does make it challenging to work out in front of him. 

I was doing great on my Paleo-ish diet, but now I have gained back a little of the weight. I know that if I don’t take action now, it can easily all come back and I don’t want that. I wish I didn’t love fast food and convenience food so much. When I get busy, it is too easy to go for that kind of food. 

I am not going to wait until after the holidays to get back to a good routine. I may make some allowances for a holiday party or holiday meal, but overall it is back to my Paleo-ish lifestyle. A lower carb diet does seem to work best for me. I need to get back to eating my vegetables again.  

I do like real food, but fast food is so much easier. One of my favorite meals is Paleo turkey bacon, broccoli sautéed in coco aminos and a baked potato with grass-fed butter.  I have been eating that more lately and it does hit the spot. A simple meal like that helps motivate me towards getting back to eating real food. 

I have considered the Keto diet, but I do have reservations about it. I have had issues with gallstones in the past and generally a lower fat diet is advised. I would sure miss my potatoes and carrots too. But I have still been looking for a lifestyle change that will lead to me feeling better. I have stomach issues and still have not been able to resolve them even when I had eliminated so many things from my diet when I started on my Paleo journey. 

Writing helps me work through things and I am hoping that writing this will motivate me and keep me accountable. I hope I might encourage others as well. I was doing well for quite awhile. I know that I can do it. I just need to do it and I don’t need to wait. 

My Dog Keeps Me Active

Faithful HomesteaderBecause of health and physical issues, I have not been as active lately as I want to be. Now we have a new puppy and he forces me to be much more active. He is a bullypit and my understanding is that pit bull types have far more energy than some other breeds. It has been a challenge for me because so often I just feel tired and want to just chill out. But I don’t want him to have behavioral issues because he is not getting enough activity. 

Our puppy hiking

One of the reasons that my husband wanted to get a dog was so that he would become more active. He has also dealt with issues that made him less active over the years. Frequent walks around the neighborhood are an obvious important part of the exercise regime. But hiking at our local state park is a more fulfilling way for Nuddie to burn off energy and for us to get some good exercise. 

We have several options for hiking close to home so it is good to be able to get some variety. There is an equine trail close to us that doesn’t seem to ever be very busy. Nuddie has made a cow friend on that trail. He likes to be friends with most people and animals. Everybody fawns on him and tells us how awesome they think he is. 

It is interesting to see Nuddie learn and check everything out. I love being out in nature and having the chance to practice my amateur photography.  Besides dancing, hiking is my favorite way to get exercise. I love to take pictures of nature, but it turns out Nuddie is quite photogenic so I get plenty of pictures of him decked out in his hiking gear. 

At some point we also plan to build an obstacle course for him. This is another way to get us off the sofa and outside. I know every time that we are not sitting inside watching television it is a good thing. We are doing something good for our health when we are taking good care of the puppy. 

I would like to train the puppy to use the treadmill. I always think dogs look all cute when they use the treadmill. Some days the weather just does not cooperate and we need to find some good indoor activity. The puppy is definitely no fan of cold weather and certainly he hates the rain. 

I am really hoping to get Nuddie better trained up so that he cooperates when going on walks and being on a leash. Right now he likes to play with the leash and it can be difficult to walk him. I want to be able to enjoy going on walks with him. It will be good to have the quality time and the benefit of getting exercise myself. I know my husband looks forward to being able to go on longer hikes with Nuddie. Hopefully we both will be in better shape because of our dog.

Photos property of Faithful Homesteader

First Time Archery Adventure

Faithful HomesteaderFor quite some time I have been interested in learning archery. Money is always a factor in every new thing that I would like to try, so I was excited to see that my Texas state park offered introductory lessons for nothing more than the cost of the park entrance fee. They also provided all of the equipment.

Initially, I was unable to attend a class because it was always on a day when I had prior commitments. They finally offered it on a day when I could go and then it was rained out. Finally, they offered it again on a day that I could go and after several days of rain, it was a beautiful day for it.

Taking a shot at archery

My husband took our puppy for a hike while I did the lesson. The original site for the lesson was pretty much washed out, so we had to move to a new location.

It was a little bit of a trek to get there, but I am always happy to get some exercise in when I can do so. There were two family groups and then me there for the lesson.

I was concerned that I would be very bad at archery and not able to hit the targets at all. I was glad that was not the case. The instructors did a good job of walking everybody through it all step by step.

The archery equipment

The program that the park used is the Texas National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). It is a program that provides international style target archery training in schools.

The Texas NASP program provides the training from 4th-12th grade in physical education classes. Texas Parks and Wildlife sponsors the program.

When I was in school, we moved around quite a bit. I never really got involved in extra curricular activities.

Now is my time to try new things. I love finding new adventures and learning opportunities.

I liked that we had a small class. It meant that we had multiple opportunities the practice.

We had two teams and did a little bit of competing. I was worried about being a weak link, but surprisingly I was not.

I only missed the target one time. The time I missed, I was aiming high because of the particular exercise, so I didn't really feel too badly.

The time went by too quickly. I really was wanting to practice so much more.

One of the instructors said that archery is addictive. I could see how that could be true.

I like doing the archery on the Nintendo Wii, but the real life activity is better for sure. I would love to get my own bow and arrows.

My husband said that we could set up targets in the yard. I definitely want to do that.

Learning archery is just the latest in my learning adventures. I certainly think you are never too old to learn and I love to exercise my brain as well as my body.

Often times my brain doesn't work as well as I wish it would. I am glad that it cooperated enough for me to enjoy a lovely morning learning a new skill.

Photos property of the Faithful Homesteader.

Fall Homestead Updates on the Garden and New Animals

Faithful HomesteaderWe had quite a dry spell that wrecked our garden over the summer, but it is interesting to see some renewal now that it is fall and we have some rain. We have also been adjusting to our new puppy who is now about 13 weeks old and some pullets as well.

This requires rethinking the garden because of the puppy and chickens. Our puppy loves eating peppers off of the vine among other not so cool things.

I noticed we have okra, eggplant and some cherry tomatoes growing. We have a bunch of gourds growing too, but I have not figured out what I want to do with them.

Our peppers have made a come back as well. Our kale has actually done great the whole summer and is still doing great.

These days we are getting an abundance of rain. It always seems to be too much or too little. I was glad to see the dry spell finally end though.

We rely on rain water to keep our pond full and we were not able to do that for a few months. I was not liking the water bill.

I wanted to have a fall garden, but it does not look like we will be doing anything this season. I guess I have to just enjoy what is left. I am hoping some of our Jerusalem artichoke and asparagus will return.

Dog on hike

The new puppy has turned my world a bit upside down. Everything has to be adjusted because of him.

My morning routine is wrecked and I often have to get up even before the chickens to make sure I have time for my stuff and the puppy stuff. I still have not adjusted to all of it.

It is interesting to me how much people are into our new puppy. People used to always ask me how the chickens were doing, now it is how is the puppy doing.

I make sure to take cute puppy pictures. I still love my chickens and like taking cute chicken pictures too.

Girls in pot

We are really working to raise the puppy up with the chickens and we do want them to be friends. It would be great to have our little Nudnik become a great protector for the ladies. It does seem like he wants to play with them.

We are careful having him around them. The young ones are especially brave and have no problem coming near to the puppy. That makes me nervous.

I was concerned about one of the pullets because she seemed like she was losing weight and was just not as active. Someone has worms and we suspected her.

We dewormed everyone and all seem to be doing well now. I sure hope that continues. Because of much chicken loss, I am definitely a high strung chicken mama.

I am looking forward to having eggs again, but I suspect it will increase the noise volume on the homestead. Our crowing hen has settled down a bit.

The puppy can be quite loud and I am hoping that will pass. My husband says that our kind of dog is not known for barking much. Just my luck I get an exception to the rule.

Photos property of the Faithful Homesteader.

Reflections on Ten Years of Marriage

Faithful HomesteaderThere was a time when I wondered if I would ever get married and now here I am celebrating ten years of marriage. It is hard to believe that it has been that long.

I was 35 when I finally tied the knot. My whole life has changed. I am not the same person today.

I certainly feel like we have grown closer over the years. Even though we have so many differences, it seems we have more in common after ten years.

love written brick wall

We first met when I was just finishing up Bible college and really had no direction or job prospects. On a practical level, the timing was great to get married.

It was not the reason to get married, but it definitely was on my mind. I wanted a life partner and a person that shared my faith. My future husband was in Bible college when I met him so that was a real bonus for me.

Our faith helps our commitment to each other. Everyday we say I love you and we don't bad mouth each other to other people. It is important for us to support and encourage the other.

We are accountable to each other and openly share our phone and e-mails. I think these are all things that help us have a strong marriage.

When we were first married, we lived in a tiny apartment, but about six years ago we moved to a home in a semi-rural area. Over the years, we have had a large garden and two ponds. We ended up chicken parents when a stray one wandered into our yard.

All of these things led to me starting my Faithful Homesteader blog. If it wasn't for my husband, I doubt my life would have gone in that direction.

I have evolved over the years and now we even have a puppy. I have always preferred the low-maintenance lifestyle of cats. We are also proud parents to our sweet cat Abigail.

We bought an old church bus that we are turning into a tiny home. I have even worked on the bus myself. I cut wood and put up some walls.

I don't know if it is all the marriage or not, but I have become a lot more adventurous in my older age. I went off-roading with my husband. We did a rock climbing wall and trampoline park.

I am learning to work on my truck. My husband walked me through replacing the belt on our garage door. I replaced some parts on my dryer.

I like that my husband is able to teach me a lot of things. It definitely gives me plenty to write about and gives me a sense of accomplishment. I think we make a good team.

I am not sure what is in store for the next ten years, but I know we will be there for one another. Marriage is hard, but if both are willing to put in the work, it can be rewarding.

Photo property of the Faithful Homesteader.

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