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I am a 50+ yr old stay at home wife of a scientist/Military man.  I raise chickens for eggs, rescue dogs & cats & spoil them all.  I am a silver/metal smith & stained glass artist.  I, at one time was an secondary art teacher & Social Studies teacher.  I am sorta a eclectic earth mother who recycles everything I can get my hands on.  Enjoy working with power tools & even built my own 10ft by 6ft chicken coop.  am pretty much interested in learning everything I can thur books, magazines & friends. I enjoy veggie gardening & doing gardens just for the chickens. I also sew & love making pioneer style comfortable clothes for myself & adding vintage lace when I can find it. I am pretty easygoing, but need my coffee first before I am ready to face the world & day.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013; a year of a whole lot of learning


Good evening everyone!

Its now near the end of 2013 & I thought I would still be at the Farm until March 2014 but as you know things didn't work out the way I thought.  I still miss that place pretty much everyday & think about what I would be doing there now if I had been able to stay.  would I actually have dry firewood to burn in the wood stove, would the trailer still have winds shooting through it like last winter & how much snow would I have melted for me & the kids by now since the pipes would have been frozen.

Here I don't have to worry or think about things like that as things are pretty easy but I still tend to spend a lot of time thinking about all the things I did there.

Now anyone that truly knows me, knew what I set out for myself there I would accomplish eventually.  It did take me time since I am over 50 & had a fairly wild life at one time that has caught up to me, body wise.  I can't say I really minded except when the lower back acted up & really slowed me down at times.

I got to go back on Yule to try & get Monk kitty home one last time & not much had changed.  Mr. Grumpy is still there as he was not able to get the place he needed for him & the cows.  My friends did come up sometime after I left & trashed a few rooms in the loft barn I had worked so hard to clean.  I guess they decided to clean something & just dumped it in the clean areas, so that upset me to see how little my hard work had meant to them.  I will never understand that since they knew what I had done to help & they just seemed to disregard it & in a way me.  I guess since they thought I would never be back, I wouldn't see what they had done.  So it was quite disheartening to see the trash & junk.

 Monk decided he still preferred the farm & tore out of my arms when I tried to get him to the car, but I was able to see he had muscle, not underweight or scabbed up.  but I still sat in the car crying because I wanted him to come home.

I got to visit with Em, who just happened to have Sherlock & Watson.  Seems Mr. Grumpy sold them since they weren't growing as fast as the others & her grandson Gabe bought them.  He hasn't gotten the fencing on his property yet, so she had them on her 3 acres, so I got to visit with my 2 little boys as well.  It made my heart feel so good to see both boys all fattened up & healthy.  they will eventually be slaughtered but for now they are healthy, content & well cared for so that makes me happy.

Its been odd being home, now don't get me wrong, I am happy to be back but its not the same.  I enjoyed all the challenges I had on the farm, the planning of taking care of messes or just clearing out a barn room.  The sounds of the cows in the pastures behind me & listening to the geese overhead.  I enjoyed the small trailer that had very little stuff in it & doing with what I had.  Here I have everything plus all the other stuff I never use or need.

The Farm helped me realize (again) how little I truly need to be content with my life.  it seems all these years of collecting stuff has become a pain in the backside for me as I just can't stand having things everywhere anymore.  Example- while doing the dishes I washed so enough silverware for 24 people.....like I need 2 sets of 12 knives, forks & spoons.  I never have anyone over for supper so it is crazy to have all that. but I have it.  I have enough of pretty much everything to start another family in sheets, pillowcases, blankets, silverware, pots, coffee cups, glasses & so on.  Its like a family of 10 could live in this house & be supplied.  Now tell me that's not too much??

Part of the reason I have all this is I tend to never throw anything away, I have stuff from when I was in college in the 1980's & before.  Its not that I am afraid of not having something, I just tend to keep it....whether I need it or not.

The simple-ness of the farm really helped me keep track of what I had to use there & nothing got packed except for clothes I didn't use.  I thought I might need them, but come to find out I wore lots of the clothes over & over because they were comfortable & worked for what I was doing there.

I learned that though I am now older, I am still mentally & physically strong enough to do tough jobs.  I have never been afraid of hard work, but it was good I could still depend on myself to do them.  That may sound silly, but until you get into a new situation that requires you to think differently, you really have no idea if you can do it.

With Thomas being in 2 Wars & gone often for military drills I knew I could depend on myself, but here at home I have only had a few things that were physically tough.  At the farm I had lots of tough situations I had to deal with & am proud I was able to never ask for help.  Its nice to know if you are by yourself with no car you can still figure out how to get things done.

I will forever be thankful for learning how to drive & use the bobcat & front loader.  I must admit, I so enjoyed starting up the front loader & being able to get it to do what I needed.  It was a blast to drive & play with, but I was always careful about what I did with it since it was dangerous & if I got hurt, there would be no one to help me.

I also got to have all the land I wanted to garden in near the trailer.  I can't tell you how wonderful it was to be able to plant what I wanted & where I wanted it & not worry it would be in the way of other things.  I loved the fact I could use the old tires for some of it & was able to build a 19x9 foot raised bed, something I had never done before.  I have had large gardens in the past but never had 7 gardens all filled with different things, some I had never tried to grow before.  Though all the rains made me re-seed 3 times & some never came up I am still pleased I was able to do it & get some of the things to grow.

The Farm sort of freed me in a odd sense.  I have always enjoyed large open spaces, no neighbors & just the freedom to be myself & the farm did that for me.  It was like the part of me hidden was able to come out & play again.  I had no worries about what the area people thought of me, no real rules to follow & just the joy of being there.  I never felt trapped as I have at times in my life, the need of pleasing someone else weren't there nor the expectations of being someone I am not, but pretend to be at times. 

I have known most of my life I was meant to do something, but having a normal life would never really be it, I need challenges, goals & freedoms that most never will understand.  I have always walked (danced) to a different drummer & the farm got to be that drummer for a short time, kinda like the Peace Corps was for me.

What may have been pure hell or hardship for someone else was somewhat pleasant for me, the different way of doing things didn't bother me nor did I ever really think about them.  I just did them as if I had been doing them all my life, if that makes sense.

I think the only thing I grew to hate was the killing of raccoons when they refused to leave my kids alone.  I still cringe & feel horrible over the baby raccoon I had to shoot 3 times & it was still alive the next morning.  That hurt me beyond words & its something I will never forget.  I am not proud of killing them & I hope I never have to do that again but I will, if my kids are being killed by them.  I also feel guilty for not taking more care in the chicken coop to make sure nothing could get to the kids & my mistakes is what allowed them to be killed.

That was the hardest lesson I had there, not being more careful when it came to the protection of the chickens.  I know now to be more aware of where the kids are & how to be a better chicken momma, but I am sure eventually even all my carefulness something will get to them.  but its a part of having animals that can't protect themselves.

I am also thrilled that because of me, 2 calves lived because of my care.  I had never tended to calves before so I fell back on my colt & lamb raising to help me & am thankful it worked & both are now healthy boys.

I am even happy I met Mr. Grumpy....yeah I know he really could be Grumpy but except for his treatment of his cows at times, he could be a fairly decent man.  Plus I learned to hold my temper with him so that was a good thing for me.  I tend to attack when someone is yelling at me & I am surprised I was able after the first screaming match to hold my tongue with him & not let him get the best of me.  I learned by being there that not all the things that were going on at the farm was because of him & that he was a bit like me, having no control over what my friends did, then they would blame him for the problems when they were at fault.  So I learned that his mistrust was really something he should have had when it came to things that happened on the farm.  He was yanked around more than I was, so I could understand his anger & frustration by the time I left.

I do miss the no TV, no computer, no phone ect like I had at the farm, since I have been home I have been bombarded by so much bad, sad & painful news on the TV & computer.  I liked being away from all of it, yes I knew things happened but I didn't have to deal with it.  Now I seem to get upset or mad everyday because of something on the News.  I am disturbed by all the things I see about the government, State governments & just USA events that show how much is being taken away from Americans.  Please do not get me started on GMO's or military!!  Those things burn me up something awful.

Right now with our unemployment ending in 2 days we are considered below the poverty line & as long as we can make the house payment I am Ok with that.  I just feel bad because Thomas came back from Afghanistan Dec 2011 & still hasn't gotten a job, though he has 26 yrs of military experience & a college degree, but no one wants him.
  I worry for him more than I do me, because I am sure it has damaged his self esteem knowing he can do a lot of different jobs but they don't want to hire him because they would have to pay him a bit more because of his experience(s).

We lost our last house to foreclosure when he came back from Iraq, so I do worry that might happen, not that I would mind living in a tent in a camp ground as long as I can have my chickens, cats & lizard, but I think it would crush Thomas if that was to happen again. 

I think though its been a odd year for me, the experience was a big help to my mental being, I was able to prove to myself I am still a strong woman in mind & body.  I was able to help a 471 acre farm be cleaner & healthier.  I proved no matter how bad it got I could still get up everyday & look forward to the next thing that had to be done.  I am lucky to have been able to do what I did & still come home.

I also was able to get off my Zoloft that I have been taking since 1997 & am now starting to speak up more instead of just letting things go unsaid.  I tend to laugh more even while there are days the change of life is kicking my butt.  I have a even greater love for my chickens & the joy of having them is what makes each day bright.

I can't say what my future will be like, but I know that if things get tough(er) I can handle whatever is thrown at me.  I do know if we end up somewhere in a trailer with no running water, no electricity, no TV or computer & just a woodstove, I will be able to make everything work & be happy.  Not bad lessons to learn in one year.

Until next time have a great chicken day!

Michele'








Thursday, December 19, 2013

Saying goodbye to another hen & other musings



Good afternoon everyone!

The last few weeks have been a bit on the emotional side with the putting done 2 of my hens.

We had a lot of rain then ice, then more rain in the beginning of December up here in Massachusetts, so it confused my kids so one day they are huddled in the coop, next day its hot & wet They, after a few nice days were back in the coop & not digging & eating up grit so they bound up.  I try to keep grit out but most of the time they never eat it so I learned to put it in with the feed to hopefully help.  this time between all of them molting, dealing with changes in the weather, my oldest Bowzer, who I have had since 2009 as a wee chick went down hill fast & I helped her by chloroforming her 2 days after she came to stay in the house. 

Then Indora, my youngest who was born two Septembers ago started showing signs of gizzard bound so in she came.  She was in the house for 3 weeks eating but not gaining weigh nor having normal types of poo.  She really went to town on the grass & for those 3 weeks was expelling the grass but by this last Monday she could no longer stand so I kept her with me.  She quit eating & drinking Monday so I thought she would die by that night but she hung on.  I slept in the recliner & had her bundled up on my chest near my neck.  Ever so often during the night she would wake up & rub against my neck before going back to sleep. 

I knew she was close as her skin was white & though she wasn't struggling she was breathing through her mouth the next afternoon. 
So I decided she didn't have to suffer, so got out the chloroform & slowly brought it towards her beak.  I learned if you do it slowly they don't react or panic since its just a mild odor at first & doesn't burn or shock them.  By the time it was to her beak she was asleep & went very calmly with no fear while I talked to her, telling her she was such a good & pretty girl.

I have been doing this long enough now to help my kids go over to the big chicken coop in the sky that I no longer wait until they are struggling to breathe.  At first, I so hated doing it, I would wait until the last minute to help them that they really were suffering & I was being selfish by waiting.  I didn't want them to go so I delayed the end & caused them to be so afraid in the end.  that was not what I wanted so I am glad I now understand that my helping earlier is not cruel or selfish but they get to go before the pain & panic kicks in.  There is nothing so sad as watching a chicken who seems to understand its dying & you do nothing. 

I have never liked cruelty for the sake of keeping an animal alive, just because I am not ready to let go, but I am guilty of that in the past.

I know that the move from the farm was hard on them & they all began molting by November, quit laying eggs & just tried to adjust to being back home after a year.  The odd weather added to all the stress they & their bodies were going through so I am not shocked that some got sick.  I just wish I could have saved them.

Each chicken I raise becomes a very special animal for me, whether they live only a few months or years.  I still feel the same type of pain when they go.  People who don't raise chickens don't understand the attachment I have because they don't see them as a pet like a dog or cat.  But for me, they are just as important & special as any dog or cat that I have had & them had to put down.

Actually I have spent more time with my chickens than most pets that I have had.  Most of the dogs & cats I have had all want to be left alone until they decide they want attention.  Well, my kids seem to want attention all the time, so I spend a lot of time talking to them or picking them up & carrying them around.

I have 3 cats in the house & 2 of them never want my attention unless its to fill the food bowl & the other yells at me cause she wants in the bathroom where its warm.  They don't want to be petted or loved by me like the kids do.

We finally got our 1st big snow this last weekend of about 8 inches so I got to go out & shovel the walkway to the shop.  I love this time of the year & enjoy going out & tending to the snow.  Now the kids refuse to come out of the shop & hang out in there & the coop while there is snow on the ground.

 I love how white & pure the yard looks with all the snow, I love the crisp air that smells so clean, I love how the trees stand there holding up all the snow on its branches.  I also like since I never have to go anywhere I can take my time clearing the snow from the walkways & listen to the birds in the trees in the woods behind our property.


With money so tight this holiday, we aren't doing any gifts to family & friends but for once I don't mind.  Thank goodness everyone understands so I don't feel guilt like I normally would.  Our unemployment ends at the end of the month but Thomas was able to get a part time job with UPS until the end of December to help out a bit.  Now you have followed my blog you know I don't mind having no money so I am not worried.  Also being on the farm for a year I also know if we go without electricity/utilities we will survive.  Plus having 2 cords of wood for our stove means we will have heat & a way to cook so that is good to know.  But no matter what we will always make it since this is not the 1st time in our life together things have gotten very tough money wise.

I am just thankful I am older & have no children at home, then I would worry about providing for them.  I know this time of year lots of families go through harder times than what I go through.  I heard that over 300,000 were laid off just this last week & wonder how they will make it when jobs are so far & few.  Thomas has been looking for work since he got back from Afghanistan in 2011 & this UPS part time job is the 1st he's had & he has a college education plus military experience.  I can't image ones who are just normal everyday people who are battling daily just to find any job to support their families.  I just hope all that are out there struggling find what they need to have a better life for themselves & their families.

 

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Old Batz Farm: Why does menopause feel like a a teenage temper ta...

The Old Batz Farm: Why does menopause feel like a a teenage temper ta...: Good Morning everyone! It's going on 3:00 in the morning & I am not wanting to sleep (again), sigh!!!!! If you have read this b...

Why does menopause feel like a a teenage temper tantrum?

Good Morning everyone!

It's going on 3:00 in the morning & I am not wanting to sleep (again), sigh!!!!!

If you have read this blog, occasionally I make comments about my going through the change aka Menopause & how I feel about it.

Well this last week has been like the Wicked Witch has climbed up my backside (if you get my drift0 & I am dealing with very big anger issues over tiny events.  I also cry at the drop of a hat, even watching a silly cartoon or reading a facebook article.  I even made the comment after one of these crying bits to my husband that I felt like I was pregnant again...NO I am not, got clipped & tied back in 1990.

I go to bed mad & wake up mad, go through the day crying like the world is ending when everything is going alright.  I can't talk without feeling the need to roll my eyes or use sarcastic remarks when someone...aka husband.....speaks to me.

The only ones not on my hit list are the 'kids' (chickens) but even the cats make me feel like pulling my hair out when they get all bitchy & pissy with each other. 

So far this last week, I had to put down my oldest hen Bowzer, who may have been egg bound & had a lung infection on top of it.  I brought her in for 2 days & gave her steam treatments to ease the breathing but she was failing & I knew I would have to help her go.  So at 2:30 a.m. while she was on my chest struggling I chloroformed her so she could go quickly.  She has been with me the longest, since 2009 & it just tore me up having her in pain & having to help her pass on to be with the other friends who left before her.

I also have Indora inside for over a week now, who is skin & bones, who may have a mild case of gizzard bound from the looks of her poo.  She eats & drinks enough but is not putting on any weight, so I am worried about her as well.  So I know part of my anger is not being able to help as much as I want with my kids who are having problems.

But for the most part I feel like a teenager who is on a roller coaster, somewhat out of control & not being able to get back to normal. 

Everything I have read says this is normal when the change is almost at its end, plus I get to also deal with short term memory lose while this is going on as well.  Well whoopee for me!

Sorry a bit of a temper tantrum there........

See even here, I can't control what comes out of my head onto the page.  Its like someone else has taken over my body & I am just along for the ride.  You know when your growing up & you go through that mental crap along with growing bones & pimples?  Well let me tell you after that, then going through pregnancy you think "Oh it will never get THAT bad again". 

Well I am here to tell you, I WAS wrong, WRONG, wrong!  As a teenager, I could go running to my room & slam the door, pregnant I could eat a gallon of ice cream & a bag of cookies.  Well since I have already done that, I feel like I am at a lose of what to do.  Its like my old lady head says "Well honey, you COULD go do the dishes.  I am sure that will make you feel better"  I mean, where does that come from????

Like I am So mad I want to break someones head & my brain says go do dishes???!!!!

When was house work ever therapy? or a way to calm down?  I tend to do housework when I am angry cause it puts my brain in a different place but right now, I do not want nor feel the need to be cleaning house when someone somewhere needs a good slap upside the head.  I can't even listen to the News without blowing a gasket verbally & normally I can keep it inside & not voice my opinion.....Well that ain't happening now, its like my mouth is disregarding my brain & just saying what ever in the hell it wants, when it wants.

Oh & don't even think to ask me if I am OK, you'll just get a sarcastic bitchy comment in a low nasty tone.  Like I am the daughter of Satan or something.

Oh yea & another thing when in the hell did I get so gassy??  I feel all bloated & crampy when nothing down there seems to be going on.  Its honesty like having PMS but a 1000 times worse without all the severe pain that tends to go with it.  Midal won't do a thing for what's going on with me.... maybe a few shots of Vodka....the whole bottle?  Then a ice bag for the killer hangover I will have.  At the moment not sure if that's a bad thing.

At least I am a happy drunk, so maybe the vodka would numb some of this, but I have a feeling I would end up being a dragon since my brain is already functioning without me.

As you can see I AM trying to keep a sense of humor over all this, but damn its not easy & I am just hoping this ends soon before I get hauled off to jail.  I know some doctors recommend hormone replacement, but I will be damned if I go that route.  Too many things can go wrong & I've decided to do this as natural as I can.  Plus the chances of female cancers rises while taking hormone replacement, so I will just deal with what life gives me, BUT I am not a happy camper at the moment.

I thought the last 9 years, 3 months & so many days I'd already been through the hard stuff, like night sweats are a thrill a minute, or hot flashes when you are all bundled up in a coat & can't get the clothes off fast enough..........ok I admit stripping in the grocery store is not what others want to see but hey, what can I say???  Ok that's a joke, but I sure came close a few times.  But we will not get into the times I was at home outside & did that.

Things are fairly quiet, cats calm & not fighting, chickens & husband asleep, so no one to mess with me for the moment.  TV is off & its pretty silent & our ghost Grandmama seems to understand not to come down at the moment.  But I know all it will take is one cat howling or hissing to send me off again.  So far no dishes, plants or furniture have been harmed, but I can't guarantee that won't change if this doesn't end soon & I MEAN like NOW if possible.

Thank you very much for listening to me rant plus showing me patience & understanding while I am this way.  Y'all know eventually I will be back to my normal crazy self & once again write about my kids or the farm.  So please be patient with me & my blog until then.

Have a great chicken day,

Michele'


this is not me, but it could be!  I even have the high top red tennis shoes...lol