Monday, September 28, 2015

On The Farm Side...

My sweet jersey cows, JoJo and Blossom, are in the field with the bull. He's a 2 year old red Holstein. Hopefully, we'll see some cute calves in about 9 months. Ninja, JoJo's calf, is romping through the pasture and seems to be enjoying himself.
Beauty and Beast are adjusting well enough in their field by themselves. It's rough being weaned!
The goats, Rayne, Hera and Zeus seem to be enjoying themselves. Zeus is quite stinky already... it is the rut season after all. I'm not overly fond of his smelliness. But, he should make some adorable babies.
The three turkeys are beyond ready to be butchered! They are trying to eat me out of house and home! I swear they're worse than teenagers!
The hens aren't laying which isn't making me happy. I'm hoping as soon as the turkeys make it to their appointment in the "hot tub", they'll start laying.
The piggies are growing like little weeds. Unfortunately, we can't get them to a butcher before Thanksgiving so they'll just continue to grow. At least that means more bacon for me!

This summer, my oldest and I build a new raised garden for my strawberries. I LOVE IT!
In trying to get the raspberry patch tilled, we discovered one of the previous owners had buried some sort of wood - i'm guessing it's railroad ties. I'm not overly excited about having to dig them out... so i've put it off all summer.

I was able to get some free 2x6 boards. They've been wonderful for all the building projects I've worked on this summer. I'm also planning on making some raised beds in the garden area.

Then, i bought some used windows for the mobile greenhouse. I'm very hopeful that I can get them installed before the weather turns ugly.

It should be a busy fall!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Miscellaneous Updates :)

In late August, I completed a re-write of my novel Push to Happiness. Due to some software changes and some issues I had with my recently resuscitated computer connecting to various websites, I put my books on WattPad so that my beta-readers would have better access to my writing. You can read along with my beta-readers here. My beta readers buoyed up my confidence levels so much so that I also started writing my novel Saving Grace. SG only had 3-4 chapters completed. I got stuck for a week or so, trying to decide where I wanted a scene to go. 

During this lull in writing, many other activities happened. We got a winter's worth of firewood for my parents - cut, hauled, split & stacked in ONE day! Had a few appointments. Attended Senior Day with my son - I think I was the only parent there and as such, had the wonderful opportunity of embarrassing him! he he he!  There are also many other things that came up that were addressed. 

I've also had a very hectic schedule with my six kids... two still at home and the older four still in school for another year. My oldest is a senior this year and I'm having issues with my new reality that I have very limited time with him before his mission and college adventures start. I have college prep lists that are least 17 miles long! I got my son registered for his second go at taking the ACT test. Because of the programs he's enrolled in, he has one more "freebie" before we have to pay for the test. We've also been told of a myriad of scholarships that are available because of income, classes, grades, field of study, etc. It looks like I may have just inherited yet another full-time job ;) 

We've also almost completed a horrible chapter in our lives. It is unfortunate but in the end, we are all realizing exactly how far family will go for each other. I wouldn't trade my family for anything! They've got my back and I've got theirs. I hope someday, my kids will come to realize exactly how much we, as parents, love them and how much we're willing to sacrifice for them. I'm choosing to focus on the positives. Without this situation, I'd have had several crucial scenes in my books end up horribly wrong. I'd also not have had the opportunity to do a ride-along and a tour of the local jail scheduled. I'm excited about the opportunity. We're trying to coordinate our schedules.

Have a wonderful weekend! Keep smiling! And always remember to look for the silver lining. It's always there... sometimes, we just need to look harder than others. Sometimes, we need to think outside the box

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Epiphany - My Return to Writing

Once upon a time...
I was working at my "paying job". For those of you who know me, I have so many jobs but very few actually PAY me. It had been a trying day already. I had taken all my littles to Evanston so my oldest could get his driver's license and become an "official driver". YIPES! At any rate, he did great. Passed the test. Got his new ID ordered. And... we were heading home. My car had a lapse in good judgement and lost all it's radiator fluid. Apparently, a seal went bad. We limped to the nearest Jiffy Lube. They diagnosed to the best of their ability and there I sat... with SIX kids.... in the summer heat. My amazing mom immediately came to our rescue but she was an hour away. I called my hubby and he drove home, swapped vehicles, hitched up to the car-hauler trailer, and headed our direction. My mom arrived first and helped me get the parts we needed to fix the beastly machine. Hubby got there and was immediately thankful that it was still driveable enough to get it on the trailer with very few problems.

I had agreed to take half of one of my co-worker's shifts but with the car problems I had, I barely made it to mine in time. The whole shift went downhill. My hubby came in to tell me he had already fixed the car :) That's the bright spot of the day.

Then a customer came in. She changed her mind at the deli counter over and over so I was second-guessing the order. Then, she decided she needed a drink so she left her order sitting there and with a line behind her. Totally one of my pet peeves. I moved to the adjoining register and continued ringing customers through as she dawdled. When she came back, I was in the middle of ringing out another customer. She started making demands. I'd nod my head and kept helping the other customer.

She got mad because I didn't drop everything to help her. Then, when I clarified the order, she told me she'd NEVER received such horrible service even in "the big city".  She went on to tell me I had no business working in the service industry. I was the worst cashier in the history of all cashiers. She insisted on speaking to a manager. So, I had to call one at home. He'd just finished a 16-hour shift. I called from my cell and explained everything to him. While she was talking to him, I finished getting her items and ringing them through the register.

She hung up the phone and almost threw it back to me. "I'll have your job by the end of the week."

That was the straw. That proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. I'd been holding everything together for so long, it just exploded. I went in the back and cried for over an hour. I called my manager and vented to him. He just laughed it off. "Steph, you've been doing this job for almost 10 years. You're one of the best cashiers we have. Don't worry about it."

While I was crying my eyes out, I grabbed a piece of paper and mapped out one of my stories that have been hibernating on my computer for two years. I couldn't write. Couldn't justify the time it took away from my kids. BUT... while I sat there and cried, I realized I desperately needed ME TIME. I needed that time, even just a few minutes a day to vent. I needed that time to readjust my attitude. I needed that time to reconnect and release.  I needed that time to be happy.

And I AM HAPPY! I love writing! I love the release I get watching the stories unfold on the pages. I love if I'm having a bad day, I can turn to my computer and pour my heart out onto the screen, filling page after page. Sometimes with gibberish. Sometimes, with total manure that will be deleted! Sometimes, the best thing ever written.

I am so thankful for my epiphany. For being able to realize I needed to readjust my thinking. To make time for me. I'm happier and amazingly, so is my family.