Faithful Homesteader


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.

New Chickens on the Homestead

Faithful HomesteaderAfter dealing with multiple chicken losses, we finally brought in some new flock members. We were down to two hens and my husband felt they were bored and needed some new friends.

I am always hesitant to get new chickens since it is always uncertain about how the new arrangement will be. I did finally give in and we brought home three pullets of all different breeds.

new chickens

Our two original chickens were spending a lot of time crowing and my husband was convinced that the crowing would stop with a new flock. It did not cease immediately, but it has overall been quieter on the homestead.

We were convinced that our original chicken Buster would be hardcore with the new girls since she has always been that way. It turns out that our sweet little Nailie has been the bigger bully.

My husband says that Buster is letting Nailie be the muscle so she could mellow out in her old age. I do see her go after the new chickens some, but Nailie definitely does much more.

The three pullets get along pretty well at times, but they are always going after each other. It's rumble on the homestead. They are funny to watch when it happens.

new chickens
Andie

All the chickens are bantams, but our Andalusian seems pretty big. I feel so bad for her because even though she towers over everybody, she is the low one in the pecking order.

When I look at her and how tall she is, it reminds me of a model. She even looks like she has painted toenails and lipstick. We named her Andie.

new chickens
Katana

Our Blue Rosecomb bantam is named Katana. She is the smallest one of the bunch, but I think she is a bit of a bully. I like to say she has "little chicken syndrome."

I think she is very pretty. She also looks like she wears lipstick.

new chickens
Sage

The last of the girls is a Bearded D'anver. We named her Sage and both my husband and I seem drawn to her most of all.

She is the most social of the bunch and is definitely the bravest. She comes closest to our new puppy. I love her face.

I think the girls are adjusting to their new home. It took them awhile to figure out that we came bearing treats, but now they have it figured out.

It is difficult to catch them and I sure wish that wasn't the case. Our old flock members seem to have finally embraced them although they do make sure that the new ones know their place in the pecking order.

So far the new girls are so quiet. They are not laying yet and I wonder just how loud they will be once they do. Right now we have no one laying so it will be nice to get some eggs again.

We got a new puppy just one week after we brought the chickens home. We are hoping to raise him right so that he can be a good protector of the girls.

The chickens did come from a home with dogs and the puppy was in an adjacent yard with chickens. We hope all will get along.


Photos property of the Faithful Homesteader.

Our New Homestead Puppy

Faithful HomesteaderI have always been a cat person, but I did have a few dogs when I was a kid. I love dogs, but other people's dogs.

My husband has always been a dog person, but we have not had one in the 10 years that we have been married. Over the years he talked about it and we weren't sure if really fit into our lifestyle, so we stuck with our cat and eventually some chickens. But lately the urge for a dog has consumed my husband.

new puppy

We have been talking for quite awhile about what kind of dog would fit with us. We wanted to get a puppy at not more than eight weeks of age. We want to train it up young to know that our cat is part of the family and to protect the chickens and not think of them as some kind of prey.

I have soft spot for pit bulls because I think they are unfairly maligned. After doing research my husband decided that an American Pit Bull Terrier could be a good fit for us. However, he has also always loved the American Bull Dog.

new puppy

He was very excited when we found some six week old puppies who were a combination of the two. Dad is an American Bull Dog and mom a pit bull. A "Bullypit," as they are often called, seemed a great compromise for us. I decided it could be his birthday present.

I don't have the level of excitement as my husband does because I am used to the laid back, low maintenance style of cats. I am not used to an animal that I need to supervise so much.

The little one is quite the handful, but my husband is so ecstatic to finally get his dog. He is in love with the adorable puppy.

We always have such a hard time naming our animals. I prefer what I consider dignified names for animals, but my husband generally likes weirder kind of names.

I had made an agreement with him that he would be able to name the dog so we have ended up with the name "Nudnik." The word has Yiddish origins and means pest or bothersome person.

In these early puppy phases he can certainly be that. Some people think it's an awful name for a dog, but others find the humor in it. He just really likes the way that the word sounds.

My husband is looking forward to doing all kinds of things with the dog like training it with sign language, going on hikes and doing an obstacle course in the backyard. He is thinking the dog will help him get back to being more active.

I don't think the cat is too thrilled to be sharing the spotlight with a dog, but she has tolerated him. She has hissed at him a few times, but we have not seen her swat at him. They have both napped in the same general area on the sofa.

Our younger chickens don't mind him, but the elder chickens are not too fond of the whole experience. Hopefully they will come around.

I don't know if I am ready for this next new adventure, but here it is. I am looking forward to getting the puppy trained. I am sure I am much more cut out for an adult dog, but we need one we can train young to fit into our little homestead family.


Photos property of the Faithful Homesteader.







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