Category Archives: gardening

Chicken Stuff

I swore up and down that there would be no more chickens in this house! They’re messy, smelly, and annoying to clean up after inside. But low and behold, I had a freaking chicken in my living room on Sunday night.

Poor girl was getting bullied by my rooster, Jethro. She was super stressed out and wouldn’t get into the nesting box at night and had stopped cleaning herself (hence why she looks so terrible in the above photo). So I brought her in and set her up in a dog crate in my “exercise room”. Luckily she seemed perfectly fine with all of that. As far as she was concerned it was a smaller version of their nesting area outside and it got her away from Jethro.

So she got to hang out inside with us for a few days. She calmed down and started cleaning herself again. She never stopped eating, drinking, pooping or doing other chicken things, and her eyes are clear and she’s not sneezing or anything so I was very confident that she wasn’t sick. Just being bullied.

On Tuesday I locked Jethro into the nesting box and let this little lady hang outside with the other hens for a few hours. That experience 100% confirmed my suspicions that it was only Jethro being an asshole to her. The other hens just went about their business when I brought her out, while Jethro freaked out in the nesting area. πŸ™„

After a few hours I brought her back in and let Jethro out. At that point he got a banana too. πŸ˜‚

The next day I decided I was going to let the hens into the bigger run of the coop and leave Jethro locked in the inner area of the coop all day. My hen was doing fine inside, but these are flock animals and they can get stressed out being separated from the group. Plus she’s a chicken and chicken like to be outside. πŸ˜‚

So I went ahead with my plan. Jethro was super pissed that I had separated him from his harem, but at least my Brahma hen got to be outside and do chicken things with the rest of the flock. As the day went on Jethro finally calmed the fuck down and do that evening I gave him run of the whole coop again. I kept a close eye on him though. Obviously I didn’t want him harassing that poor hen again. Luckily he didn’t and that night when I went to lock them up they were nesting together, fast asleep. So hopefully Jethro has gotten over whatever his issues with her was.

Jethro might be an asshole, but he’s MY asshole. πŸ˜‚

So a rooster picking on a hen is actually a pretty common occurrence. Sometimes there is literally no reason for it. But I’m thinking (and hoping) that this whole situation happened because my little flock is currently molting. They’re shedding their winter feathers, growing their summer feathers, and apparently tension is high. πŸ˜‚ But again, that’s all pretty common stuff.

Obviously I’m gonna have to keep a close watch on them to make sure they’re all getting along (or ya know, to make sure Jethro stops being a bully). But I think once they’re done molting everyone will calm down and go back to normal.

So since they are molting I was expecting their egg production to go down at least a little bit but it really hasn’t. I’ve been getting at least 4-5 eggs a day. But a day were all 7 of my hens lay an egg isn’t uncommon at all. So needless to say, I have a bunch of eggs. πŸ˜‚

A couple of people Luke works with want some so we’re going to sell them some. Plus I’m going to be leaving for Colorado next week for my first race of the year and I plan on bringing a bunch of them with me to give to my dad. But I think over the summer we’re going to have to put an ad on Craigslist or something because there’s no way we’re going to be able to eat all of these eggs! πŸ˜‚

It is pretty sweet to have our own fresh eggs though! And pretty soon we’ll be planting our garden and we’ll have fresh produce to go along with them. 😊

So yeah. Chicken stuff. πŸ“πŸ₯šπŸ˜„

Hopefully by next week I’ll have some fun hiking stuff to talk about! And then of course as the week goes on running stuff and eventually a race recap!

Honestly I haven’t really had anything super exciting to talk about running wise as of late. I’m trucking along and I feeling great about what I’m getting done, but to be honest it’s all kinda boring! πŸ˜‚ Just putting in the work and getting in the miles. I’ve really been enjoying the whole process though! Although with summer running quickly approaching I’m not sure how long the whole “enjoying the process” thing is going to last. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, that is all for today!

Does anyone else have any upcoming races they’re looking forward to? It is that time of year after all!

Happy racing season everyone! πŸƒπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ˜„

~Ashley and her small flock of chickens

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August 21st, 2018

Hey guys! Sorry about the lack of posts lately. Our wifi was going in and out and it was a whole thing…It’s fixed now though, so we’re back in business! πŸ™‚

Anyway, we had two whole days of rain on Sunday and Monday and that’s really cooled things off here in Kansas! It’s been great!! Running is so much more pleasant when the temperatures are in the 60’s. πŸ™‚ Yesterday’s easy 3 miler was great! And I wish I could say the same about today’s 4 mile interval workout. That didn’t go as well. My quads were just absolutely dead today. Not sure why but I figured that was a pretty good indication that I needed to spends some quality time with my foam roller today. So I cut my run short halfway through at 2 miles. I really didn’t want to, but man my legs just weren’t feeling right, so it was probably a good decision. Just one that I wasn’t exactly happy to have to make.

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While short, this run was still kinda interesting! Since the weather has been really nice there are a lot of people outside mowing their yards, working on roofs, putting in new windows, and there is a little bit of construction going on in my neighborhood. So trying to stay out of other people’s way and not get run over by heavy machinery is a great way to spice up any run! πŸ˜‰ Plus I saw two loose chickens in someone’s front yard this morning. I have a feeling they weren’t supposed to be there and I hope they eventually got put where they should be.

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That’s one very amusing thing about living in a very small, semi-rural town. Our city ordinary specifically says we can’t keep chickens, but there are at least four other people in my neighborhood, aside from myself, who definitely have chickens. And honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t more! Haha one guy even has geese, doves, and other kinds of birds, along with his chickens. At one point he even had a peacock and he also breeds his basset hounds occasionally. So obviously these city ordinances aren’t being enforced. But I feel like as long as it’s not causing any problems nobody really cares. They joys of small town living! πŸ™‚

Before we even got our chickens we actually asked several of our neighbors if they would mind and they were all fine with it, which was super cool. And so far we haven’t had any issues with them. Hens are usually pretty quite unless they are upset about something or are laying an egg, and even then they aren’t too terribly loud. Plus we don’t have a rooster so we don’t have to worry about that. Really the only potential issue we would have with them is the smell. Chickens aren’t exactly cleanly animals and their poop smells (but in all fairness, who’s poop doesn’t smell?) and their feed can smell too if it gets wet and starts to mold. So we just have to keep their coop nice and clean, which isn’t an issue because that’s something I’d do anyway. Healthy chickens are happy chickens, and happy chickens lay better eggs. πŸ™‚

 

So after my run I washed all of their stuff and cleaned out the coop. I shared a lot of that process on Instagram so I figured I might as well share that here as well. πŸ™‚

First I washed all of their “dishes” and their pool. Haha I had several different containers out there for snacks and ice water from when it was super hot out, so usually I wouldn’t have this much to wash, but either way it needed done.

So mud and chicken poop got scrubbed off of all of that stuff. Including the pool. Then most of that stuff went back in the house where it got washed again, and then run through the dishwasher. But their water thing and the pool got filled with clean water with a little bit of apple cider vinegar mixed in with it. I swear ACV hasΒ  a use for just about everything! In this case it helps keep the pool from growing a bunch of algae and keeps their water container from getting really slimy and gross. Plus it can help keep the chickens from getting internal parasites, so it’s just very useful all around!

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Yeah, this will stay clean for about a day…

After that was all taken care of, I moved on to the inside of the coop. Luckily it usually doesn’t get too gross in there, since they usually only sleep up there. So I scooped out their old straw, poop, and what not and then put new straw in their nesting area. Fun fact; chickens create a lot of dust! Between their poop drying up and old straw and feed breaking down, it gets really dusty in there! So I have to wear a mask thingy because I have asthma and that shit irritates my lungs haha. But the mask really does help.

The chicken pictured above is my smallest one. But she’s my little buddy. She follows me around and lets me pick her up. I’m not sure if she actually likes being picked up, but she tolerates it better than the other 7 haha. As of yet she doesn’t have a name, but I’m thinking she’s gonna need one! Well, as long as she’s distinguishable from the other 5 Rhode Island Red’s. They’re all kinda hard to tell apart. She’s just easy because she’s smaller than the rest of them.

Anyway, after the inside of the coop is clean then I clean up the outside area. That usually just involves cleaning up more poop and old feed. I actually didn’t have much to do in that department today. It was a little muddy in there from the rain so there really wasn’t much to clean up. The tarp we have over the outer coop keeps the chickens relatively dry when it rains. At least dry enough that they don’t want to go inside haha. But some water does drip down and it seeps in from the ground outside of the coop. It’s not too crazy muddy in there though. Just muddy enough to keep me from having to clean up a bunch of poop haha. πŸ˜‰

It does take a little bit of work to keep them all clean, but honestly it’s really not bad. I’d imagine if I just let it all go and not keep up with it for a while it would get pretty gross in there though. But anyway, that’s what I do to keep my coop clean and my chickens happy. πŸ™‚

Now then, I really need to go foam roll. I’ve been putting it off all day…

~Ashley

 

Canning Season, A Long Run, and August’s StrideBox

It’s officially one of my favorite times of year! It’s canning season!! Yay!

Unfortunately we’ve had a pretty bad growing season. It’s been hot, the sun has been intense, and we haven’t had nearly enough rain, and my garden is suffering. My zucchini plants died, one of my berry bushes died, my cucumber plants aren’t doing so well, my watermelon plants haven’t even grown new flowers for at least two weeks, and my tomato plants are looking really sad. But they have started producing enough tomatoes for us to start doing some stuff with them, so yesterday Luke and I made a jar of tomato sauce. πŸ™‚

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It is kind of a long process for one little jar of sauce, but we thing it’s totally worth it! First you have to blanch the tomatoes, then peel the skin off and then cut off the stems, quarter them, and then let them boil in a sauce pan until they’re completely broken down and add in salt and lemon juice. While all of that’s happening you have to sterilize your jar (boiling it for about a minute works pretty well πŸ™‚ ) and once your sauce and jar are ready you pour the sauce into your now sterile jar, put the lid on nice and tight, and then boil it for another 45 minutes or so. Then you let the jar sit on your counter until the lid seals (hearing it pop shut is a very rewarding experience haha) and then store it for future chilly or pasta sauce, or whatever. Aside from the salt and lemon juice we don’t season it at all. That just makes it more versatile when you go to use it! Obviously this is just a super simplified version of what happens. Maybe once I feel like we’ve perfected the art of canning I’ll share our step by step instructions. πŸ˜‰

After our single jar of tomato sauce was done we moved on to making a few jars of berry jam, just for fun. We had to use store bought berries though. At this point none of our berry plants are producing enough fruit for us to do anything other than eat right away haha. But I have pretty high hopes for my strawberry plant! It did fantastic this year and it should do even better next year! Anyway, making the jam was pretty similar to making the tomato sauce. We just had to smash the berries before boiling them to break them down even more and then adding lots of sugar haha. So I mean, it’s not very healthy in that regard, but at least we know exactly what went into it (berries, sugar, lemon juice) and it doesn’t have any corn syrup, artificial sweetener, or weird food dyes in it. So I think that’s a plus! And it’s just a lot of fun to make! πŸ™‚

So now we have one jar of tomato sauce, two jars of strawberry jam, and one jar of blueberry jam. Not Bad! And I’m sure come fall we will have added more to our little store of homemade canned goods. πŸ™‚ Growing, processing, and cooking your own food is such a fun and rewarding experience! I think everyone should do at least a little bit of it! I personally thing those are all very useful skills to have. πŸ™‚

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Our tomato sauce and two jars of strawberry jam. Haha the blueberry wasn’t quite done when I took this photo. πŸ˜‰Β 

So Luke and I were pretty busy yesterday! In the morning we had to go grocery shopping and then took care of a few other things while we were out. Then we had to fix the tarp on the chicken coop (the wind keeps blowing it around and messing it all up) and then just kinda played with the chickens for a while. We did all of our canning and then cleaned up the kitchen (both of which took a while haha) and we still managed to get to be around 10 pm last night! Good thing too, because I needed to wake up at 5:00 this morning so I could do this week’s long run before it got too hot outside.

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We actually got a nice little break from the intense heat and at this point it’s looking like we wont be going back to having all sorts of heat and air quality warnings like we were having in June and July, but the hotter weather is back and that means I have to wake up super early to get out before the sun. Yuck. Waking up at 5 am is not my favorite thing to do, and I totally got spoiled from our little break from the heat so I’m not used to doing it anymore haha. I did it this morning though and was treated to a very nice sunrise.

All of those pretty colors didn’t actually last very long. The sky was pink for maybe 5 minutes, then it turned more yellow/orange for a few minutes, and then it turned to more normal daytime colors. I guess that’s what makes sunrises so special though. They don’t last very long and in the summer you have to get up pretty early to see them.

Anyway, had yet another uneventful long run. I wasn’t feeling too great today, but I also didn’t feel too terrible either haha. Tomorrow might be a lot more interesting though. Since I’m training for two half marathons in two days I plan on doing some back to back long-ish runs. So the plan for this weekend was to do 8 miles today, which I did. πŸ™‚ And then do 5 miles tomorrow. I don’t think I’ve ever run the day after a long run before and if I ever have it was probably a super short one. Maybe like 1 or 2 miles. So tomorrow will be a brand new experience for me! I feel like my legs are going to be super tired, but that’s pretty much the whole point of doing it haha! We shall see though. Hopefully it wont be too bad.

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I’m only two weeks into my training plan but I’m currently just trying to take it one day, one run, and one mile at a time, and not think too much about what I have coming in the future or what I did in the past. I’m hoping getting into and then staying in that mindset will help me get through the rest of this training cycle (because it’s gonna be a big one for me!) and then my two half marathons. I don’t think overthinking is going to help me so I’m just gonna try to do the exact opposite. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, not long after I finished my run the mail came and my August StrideBox did too!! That was a pleasant surprise, because last time I had checked the tracker for it, it said it wasn’t going to get here until Monday. πŸ™‚ This months box came with all sorts of fun snack like things, which is pretty much my favorite thing to get in my StrideBoxes. It also came with another cooling towel which is awesome because I lost mine haha. I’m not sure where or how my old one got away from me, but at least now I have a new one! πŸ˜‰ I’m also pretty excitied the protein gummy’s that came in it. I didn’t even know protein gummy’s were a thing, but I love me some gummy candy and have a slight issue with consuming enough protein on a daily basis, so I enjoy finding tasty things that help with that.

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Also, I just need to take a second to express how awkward it is for me to see the word “daily” spelled out properly. Ever since I got married my last name has been Dailey (pronounced the same way as “daily”) so the normal word just looks weird to me now every time I see it. Haha I know that’s kinda weird, but these are the things I experience in my life. πŸ˜‰

Okey Dokey then! That is all for today! I’ll let you know how my 5 miler tomorrow goes in my weekly recap that will be up tomorrow evening. πŸ™‚

Happy Saturday!

~Ashley

 

Thursday Things

Hello friends, and happy summer solstice!

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I’ve just got a few things I want to talk about today, so lets get right into it! πŸ™‚

This morning I had a dentist appointment. He cemented the permanent crowns to the two teeth I’ve had root canals done on, and then did a cleaning for all of my teeth. Oh man, it’s been a while since that’s happened! But the new crowns look fantastic and seem to fit in my mouth perfectly! I’m glad those two teeth have been taken care of but I’ve still got quite a bit of work that needs to be done on my teeth and I have no more dental insurance until next year. So unfortunately that’s going to have to wait. Hopefully my teeth will hold out for a while.

But anyway, while we were there I had to have like, 8 thousand x-rays taken and the dental assistant said I was one of the easiest people she’s ever worked with! I didn’t complain, or gag, or have any trouble while she was taking the x-rays with whatever it is that they have to put in your mouth to do that. Haha I told her if I can willingly sit through a 3 hour tattoo I can do this kinda discomfort, no problem! Then after the dentist had cleaned my teeth he commented on my pain threshold. I always find it amusing when people comment on that. Mostly because I’m very well aware of it haha. When I was 13 my appendix ruptured and the surgeons at the hospital were hesitant to even operate on my because “I wasn’t in enough pain”. After spending 3 days in the ER and having my body start to shut down they finally operated, and low and behold, it was my appendix, it had ruptured days ago, and my whole abdomen was a huge mess. So yeah, I’m very aware of my high threshold for pain. It literally almost killed me!!

Now if only I could take that pain threshold and transfer it to hot, sunny, gross days, when I’m trying to do a hard run. Then I’d be pretty much set haha!!

Anyway, after my dental appointment I did actually run outside today! The treadmill is nice, but seriously, nothing is better than how freeing it feels to run outside! Plus the weather was pretty nice too. We’ve had some rain just near by and that’s cooled things off quite a bit. When I started my run it was partly cloudy with a nice, cool wind blowing in and by the time I was done it was starting to drizzle a little bit. It was really nice!! I felt really good, my calves weren’t as tight as they were yesterday from the 2 treadmill runs I had done earlier this week, and I was listening to Let’s Go, which is probably my all time favorite Rancid album. It was a really good run. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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The drizzle ended up turning into a nice little rain shower, which was fantastic! We’ve really needed some rain. It’s been really hot and the sun has been pretty intense and my garden has been suffering because of it. Even with daily waterings. It’s just been bad. But even so I’ve still gotten a good amount of strawberries, 1 zucchini, and 1 blueberry so far. I’ve also got a couple of small watermelons growing, the blueberry bush is full of berries that just need to ripen, my tomato plants are starting to grow little tomatoes, my zuccini plants are covered in flowers, and my peach tree is still covered in peaches. I’m thinking with the intense heat it’s not going to be a great year for my garden, but I also don’t think it will be too bad.

The garden might not be doing all that great, but the new chicks are! They’re eating and growing like crazy! They’re also incredibly messy and have taken to knocking their feed everywhere and perching on they’re feeder. Haha they’re funny little creatures.

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Alrighty then! That’s all I’ve got for today. But my half marathon training plan starts next month(have I mentioned yet that I’m running 2 half marathons in 2 days, yet?!?!?! πŸ˜‰ )! I am pretty excited for that, I find the challenges of training for a half fun, but since I’m training for 2 I’m going to be tweaking some things here and there. But I’ll get to all of that later.

For now, happy Friday eve!

~Ashley

More Chicks, My Thoughts On Summer Running, Yet Another Road Trip, and A Treadmill.

The last set of our new chicks got here this morning! And they were all alive this time!!

The post office called Luke at 6:30 this morning to let him know that they were there. That was pretty weird just because neither of us knew that the post office was open that early haha. But anyway, now we have all of our replacement chicks. I’m still super annoyed that were were soooo close to getting eggs, but then my neighbor’s dog killed my poor chickens, and now we’re back to square one. Oh well, at least the chicks are cute. πŸ˜‰

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So, you can see that there’s a big size difference between the 2 day old chicks we got today and the 2 week old chicks. They grow FAST! But so far everyone seems to be assimilating well. The new chicks are eating, drinking, pooping, and moving around just fine. And the bigger chicks aren’t bullying them at all and don’t seem too bothered by the new additions to the brooder box, so that’s good! I was kinda worried that the bigger chicks might hurt the new babies but after keeping an eye on them all day, I think they’ll be fine.

So just for fun here’s a little size comparison of a 2 week old Rhode Island red and a 2 day old Rhode Island red.

 

 

 

 

I know those aren’t the best pictures ever, but you get the point. πŸ˜‰ They’re quite a bit bigger and that’s why I was worried, but like I said, so far it doesn’t seem to be an issue. πŸ™‚

So now we have 5 Rhode Island reds, 2 brahmas, and 1 barnevelder. So we’ve got a little more variety in our flock this time around. The Rhode Island reds are pretty much you’re standard brownish/red hen, but the brahmas and the barnevelder should be pretty neat looking once they’re fully matured! I’m pretty excited about that! πŸ™‚

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The baby barnevelder.

They’re all going to have to be inside in the brooder box for several more weeks, but once we’re able to move them outside and into the coop we wont have to worry about Ozzy getting into our yard and bothering them anymore. Along with putting up the new fence between our yards, our neighbor also ran an electric fence all the way around his yard, and won’t let Ozzy outside unless he’s home, so he’s not going to be an issue anymore. πŸ™‚ I’m still kinda pissed that we’re all the way back to square one though, and we wont be getting eggs until the winter now, but oh well. Can’t really do anything but move on at this point.

Alrighty then! Lets talk a little bit about running now, shall we? I mean, that is kinda the main focus of this blog after all. πŸ˜‰ Specifically I’d like to talk about my thoughts on summer running, which can basically be summed up in 3 short words;

Fuck. This. Shit.Β 

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Obviously I am not a fan haha. It’s been crazy hot for how early in the year it is. The past few days the heat index has been in the hundreds, which is pretty unusual for June. Usually that doesn’t come until July and August, so if it’s already this hot now, what exactly are those months going to be like?!? I have a feeling it’s not going to be a lot of fun…

So since it’s been so hot and gross out I’ve been kinda struggling to get my miles in. I really wanted to start building up my mileage over the summer, but jeez louis the heat just gets me every time! And since the weather’s been particular bad this year it’s just made things that much worse.Β  Bleh, I’m ready for fall!! Haha that being said, I am trying though! I got a pretty decent 7 mile run done yesterday! I felt pretty drained and tired the whole day afterwards, but the run itself wasn’t too bad. πŸ™‚

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I didn’t get a run in today though. I woke up feeling kinda gross this morning. Probably from the 7 miles I ran in 85% humidity yesterday. Seriously, the heat and humidity do me in every single time haha. Plus the new chicks got here a lot earlier than I thought they would and I wanted to keep an eye on them all day. Just to make sure they were eating, drinking, and not getting bullied by the older chicks. The life of a chicken farmer, I suppose. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ While no running was had today, I did spend a little bit of time on my stationary bike. So I was able to keep an eye on the chicks and get my legs moving a little bit. πŸ™‚

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One of my sisters has kinda solved my warm weather running dilemma though, and it’s a good thing we have a truck now, because we have a few things to pick up from my parent’s old house in Illinois! Which actually works out well, because we’re driving there this weekend for one of Luke’s brother’s high school graduation party!

So on Friday after Luke get’s off of work we’re going to be packing up the truck, picking up one of Luke’s other brother’s who lives here in Kansas, and then we’ll be hitting the road and hopefully be making it into Illinois by 9 or 10 that night. I’m not sure if we’ll be stopping at their dad’s house first, or just going straight to my grandma’s though. Luke’s brother that lives here has had kind of a falling out with their dad (that was a whole long thing that I’m not going to get into) and is welcome at the party, but not to stay at their dad’s house, so we’ll be staying at my grandmas. Haha well, I’d be staying there anyway, because why wouldn’t I want to hang out with my grandma? She’s awesome!

This party is on Saturday but I’m not sure at what time, but at some point while we’re there we need to pick up my Grandpa Jim’s boat and my sister’s old treadmill. When my Grandpa Jim died my dad inherited his fishing boat, which was fine while my dad still lived in Illinois but now that he lives in an apartment in Colorado he has nowhere to keep it and they’re trying to clean out that house so they can sell it, so Luke and I are taking the boat. That actually works out quite nicely, because my dad wanted to keep the boat in the family since it was his dad’s and all, and Luke’s a big fisher but prefers to fish out of a boat, so he hasn’t done a lot of fishing since we moved to Kansas almost 6 years ago. So it’s a win-win for everyone! πŸ™‚

We’re also going to be picking up my sister’s old treadmill from her boyfriend’s mom’s house. She doesn’t have a truck and can’t afford to rent one to drive from Colorado to Illinois to pick it up so she bought a new one and offered me the old one. Originally I wasn’t going to take it because I pride myself on being an all-weather-runner and don’t particularly enjoy running on a treadmill but after thinking about it a little bit I realize it would probably be a really good idea! I’ll actually be able to do some decent speed work in the warmer months now! That’s usually something that falls to the wayside once it gets hot and I’m just focusing on surviving haha. Plus I wont have to worry about particularly hot and humid days anymore, if I start feeling too miserable outside I’ll be able to finish up my run on the treadmill! Haha I don’t plan on running on it too much. I still want to reap the benefits of hot weather training, but at least I’ll probably be able to start hitting my weekly mileage goals. Even if that means I have to double and do an easy outdoor run in the morning and then a little bit of a harder workout in the evening on the treadmill. I’m pretty excited about that! I’ve never really been able to do any kind of speed work or harder workouts in the summer before! And hopefully the harder work that I should be able to do on the treadmill will help make me for fit and ready for the 2 half marathons in 2 days that I’ll be doing in November!

Anyway, that’s just a little update for today! We’ve got all of our chicks, I hate summer running and I’m hardcore struggling with it right now, but hopefully getting that treadmill will make that a little easier!

Happy hump day!!

~Ashley

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New Setup For The Chickens!

This whole Ozzy situation has officially gotten out of hand. So Luke and I finally did something about it yesterday.

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Ozzy is my neighbor’s dog. He’s been getting into my yard a lot for the past several weeks and terrorizing my chickens. But now he’s getting even worse about it. So something had to be done.

So, on Thursday night when Luke got home from work we began building a structure to protect them. We didn’t get very far with it that night though. It was pouring down rain and we were under a sever thunderstorm warning and it’s kinda hard to work outside in those conditions. Plus we ran out of daylight pretty quickly, so we had to stop and then continue the next morning.

 

 

 

It was a rough morning. Things weren’t going the way Luke had planned and after our little building project had fallen apart twice we decided to stop, go get some food, regroup, and figure out a better way to go about this thing we were trying to accomplish. Oh and did I mention that it was hot, humid, and super gross out that morning following the thunderstorm from the night before? Yeah, it stayed like that all day and it was pretty awful.

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Anyway, while we were eating we did some brain storming and came up with the idea to get a dog kennel. If we could get one that was big enough the chicken coop would fit in it, when Ozzy wasn’t around the chickens would have more area to roam around in, and when he was we’d be able to lock them up in the coop and they’d be more protected from him. And plus we figured a dog kennel would be easier to assemble than what we were trying to build, so after we ate we ended up at Tractor Supply.

At Tractor Supply we learned that the super fancy dog kennels don’t all come in one DIY kit. You have to buy pretty much each panel individually, which would get crazy expensive crazy fast, because each piece was close to $100 and that wasn’t even including the dog house, ramp, and roof that you could add to this kennel. But after some searching we found exactly what we wanted. A DIY dog kennel kit that came with the WHOLE kennel and not just sections of it, for $200. Not bad! The only thing that wasn’t included in the kit was a top cover though. That came all by itself for an additional $50. I though that was stupid, so I asked Luke if we could just get a tarp to cover the top. He thought that was a really good idea and wanted to know why it took me that long to come up with it haha. So after we loaded up our dog kennel into the truck we went to Home Depot and got a $15 dollar tarp and a few $1.50 bungee cords. That seemed a lot more reasonable than a $50 cover for the kennel. πŸ™‚

So we went home, unloaded the truck, and Luke said he still wasn’t sure how we were going to fit the coop into this kennel once it was built. That’s when I asked him if it wouldn’t just be easier to build the kennel around the coop, because that’s what I thought we were going to do anyway. Haha that was my second fantastic idea for the day, and I’m surprised that my engineer husband didn’t come up with that one all on his own! πŸ˜‰ So we moved the chicken coop to the area we wanted to build the kennel in, and then began to assemble it.

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There is actually grass and weeds in the new spot that we moved to coop to, and the chickens were definitely enjoying it!!

So we did end up running into a few bumps along the road that was putting this kennel together, but all in all it went pretty well. It was definitely a lot easier than what we were trying to do before!!

 

 

We got the frame assembled very quickly, had a little bit of an issue with the gate, but Luke figured that out, and then put up the chain-link! Some dude at Tractor Supply (we are pretty sure that he didn’t even work their haha) told us that putting up the chain-link was going to be a bitch and we shouldn’t even bother buying the kit, but it was actually pretty easy! A bit time consuming, but still, it really wasn’t that hard. And once it was all put together we let the chickens out to explore a little bit (under close supervision from Lily and Finn πŸ˜‰ ) and took a short break before we put the tarp over top of it.

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The tarp ended up being really easy to put up as well, plus it kinda helped it re-enforce the whole thing. Luke also put a steak in the middle of it so that the rain, snow, or whatever should fall right off of it instead of pooling up on it. So now the chickens can’t fly out, nothing else could fly in, and they’ve got plenty of shade and should be a little more protected from the elements in general.

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Lily, who was raised on a farm, has some legit herding training, and grew up around chickens and therefore knows how to handle herself around them, is a big fan of this new setup haha. Now she can get in the kennel with them and keep an eye on them and kinda sorta herd them a bit. πŸ˜‰ Finn thinks it’s pretty neat too! And although he’s got some pretty impressive instincts, he’s never had any kind of herding training, and is young and excitable, so he’s not allowed in there with them. At least not yet. But he seems to think that it’s pretty neat that they can move around more, so he can kinda follow them around a little bit more.

 

 

All in all we’re very happy with how the dog kennel set up ended up working, and like I said, now the chickens have some more room to roam when Ozzy isn’t around to bother them, they’ll be a little bit more protected from the elements, and when Ozzy does get into my yard they can just be put into their coop and then he won’t be able to be as close to them or jump up on or scratch at the coop anymore. So that’s pretty freaking sweet!! I mean, it does kinda suck that we had to go through all of this trouble because of someone else dog, but still, the chickens end up benefiting a lot from it, so at least there’s that.

Alright then, now I have to get up on my soapbox and talk about whyΒ herding/working/high-energy/highly intelligent breeds of dogs don’t make good pets unless you’re prepared to deal with them and know 100% what you’re getting into with certain breeds of dogs. Because that’s the problem with Ozzy. He’s a heeler or a heeler mix. So he’s a herding dog. He’s pretty smart, full of energy, and he’s also bored and lonely because he’s left out in my neighbor’s backyard all day while he’s at work. That is basically a recipe for disaster when it comes to these kinds of dogs. You CANNOT get a high-energy/intelligent breed of dog and expect them to just be content running around a yard by themselves all day. They’ll end up getting bored and then doing things like barking excessively, digging, tearing stuff up, or escaping into your neighbors yard and terrorizing her chickens and rabbits, and playing with her 2 high-energy dogs who are out there a lot (haha Lily has separation anxiety, so she’ll only hang out in the backyard if Luke or myself go out there with her).

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My dogs know how to behave around the chickens and don’t want to kill/chase them. Lily and Finn just want to herd them/guard them, and Dean wants nothing to do with them. Ozzy wants to make them move, chase them, and then probably rip them to pieces. This photo was taken right before Finn started fighting Ozzy, because Ozzy was bothering his chickens. Finn thinks his job it to keep the chickens safe and that’s exactly what he was trying to do.

After seeing the way my dogs behave and how smart they are, a lot of people who see them actually end up telling me that they want a border collie (or something similar) as well. And honestly I tend to try to discourage them because these types of dogs need a lot of exercise, attention, and mental stimulation. Like, A LOT. They are happiest when they are working. And when they aren’t they become problems which is why a lot of them end up in shelters labeled as “hyper” or “aggressive” or with “behavioral issues”. So that’s why I think that unless you have the time, patience, knowledge, and energy to care for a dog that’s a herding/working/high-energy/highly intelligent breed, most people would be better off with a different breed of dog. And remember that this is coming from someone with 3 border collies and thinks that they are the best dogs in the world haha. But they are not for everyone. Luke and I spend a lot of time making sure that they get the attention that they need and that they all have “jobs”. We also take them to an off leash dog park almost every weekend.

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They don’t just get to run around all willy nilly at the dog park. They’re constantly being told to come, sit, stay, and do other tricks and commands, to keep them mentally stimulated and to make them feel like they’re working.

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But they also get to play around a little bit while we’re there. πŸ™‚

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And whenever possible we like to take them to new places and put them into different situations. So they’re prepared for pretty much anything and always know how to act, no matter where we are or whats going on.

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When we’re at home fetch is a way of life and is taken very seriously.

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Individual walks happen pretty much everyday, regardless of the weather. The longer the better, although shorter ones will suffice if pressed for time.

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It’s not exactly easy, but Luke and I have gotten pretty good and wearing them out!! πŸ™‚

Ok, I’m done now. But obviously this is something that’s near and dear to my heart and it drives me crazy seeing a good dog turn into a problem. In almost every situation it’s not the dogs fault, it’s the handler. Because trust me, my dogs are fantastic! And I’ve met a lot of amazing dogs, but they don’t come that way. You have to MAKE them that way. And that’s a lot easier to do when you get a dog that you know with out a shadow of a doubt that you can handle and provide everything that it could possible need. That way you’re life will be a lot easier and you’ll end up with an amazing dog.

 

Whew! I didn’t mean to go onto a tangent like that, but I think the more that things like that get said, the better!

Anyways, after our building adventures were done we were finally able to spend the rest of the evening in the glorious air conditioner!! And that night someone live-streamed most of The Longshot’s concert that happened last night on Billie Joe Armstrong’s Instagram account, so obviously my little fangirl heart was as happy as could be! It looked like one hell of a show and I’m super duper jealous of anyone who gets to see The Longshot live, because they aren’t coming anywhere near where I live haha. But it is nice to at least get to see it on my phone. πŸ™‚

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Haha between getting another root canal and this big project, I haven’t gotten a lot of running done this week. But it’s all good! I felt like I could use a little bit of a break from all of the gross summer running anyway. πŸ˜‰ Plus all of the work we did putting together that dog kennel for the chickens hardcore wore me out!! When I woke up this morning I decided that I wasn’t going to do shit today, and so far so good!! πŸ˜‰ I’m very much on board with having the laziest Saturday ever!!

I hope you have a fantastic day and a great Memorial Day weekend!!

Your very dog obsessed friend,

~Ashley

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*squee!!!!!* Finn was so little!!!!! Haha he wasn’t a very cute puppy though. πŸ˜‰Β 

 

 

May 23rd, 2018

Lets play a fun little game!!

My dog.

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My dog.

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My dog.

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Not my dog. πŸ˜†

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Now in the morning whenever I let my dogs out, Ozzy comes right over. Haha I guess he gets bored and lonely while my neighbor (his owner) is at work. But this morning after he hung out in my yard for a little bit and bothering my chickens, he hopped my fence and was running around the easement….So I spent 15 minutes trying to get him back into my yard so at the very least he’d be safe and wouldn’t get hurt or lost. So eventually I got him back into my yard, made all of my dogs go inside, so he got bored in my yard and went back home. Oh man, this is getting a little annoying. I’m not about to keep an eye on that dog all day everyday. I like him, and he’s very sweet, but he’s not my dog (although he seems to think he is whenever my neighbor isn’t home, because he tries to come into my house when I let my dogs in), and not my responsibility. I’d feel terrible if something were to happen to him, but I can’t spend all day checking up on him and making sure he’s where he should be. Hopefully once the new fence gets built between our two yards his escape artist antic will stop.

Since I had to spend some time wrangling a dog that doesn’t belong to me, I got out on the road a little later than I would have liked. But luckily I had only planned on doing 2 easy miles today, so it wasn’t too big of a deal. It’s not like the weather would have really been much better anyway. It was 73 degrees, 85% humidity, and sunny. Yuck. That on top of the fact that I’m still kinda red and itchy from the antibiotics that I took one whole dose of for my root canal made today’s run not so fun. But I did it and that’s all that matters. πŸ˜‰

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Seriously though, penicillin and cindamycin give hives, andΒ azithromycin gave me a rash similar to what the other two antibiotics do, but it was much more mild. So when the dentists office called to check up on me yesterday (which I though was really nice) I told them about it and was told to stop taking theΒ azithromycin. So, totally not sure what kind of antibiotics I would take if I had an actual infection. I guess I’d just have to tough it out. But luckily the last time I actually had an infection that needed treated with antibiotics was when I was 13 and had an appendectomy. I don’t remember a lot from my time in the hospital for that. I was on a lot of morphine haha. But I think they might have just continued to give me penicillin and just kept an eye on the hives it gave me. Because I remember being itchy the whole time I was there and don’t remember ever getting a different antibiotic. Like I said though, I was on a lot of morphine so I could be totally wrong about that haha.

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It’s kinda hard to see in this photo. Especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. But I’m still a little red, bumpy, and itchy from theΒ azithromycin I took 2 days ago.

Luckily aΒ benadryl helped with the itching on Monday, but they make me so tired that I haven’t taken another since then haha. But the rash is definitely going away and not as bad as it was on Monday, so that’s good. πŸ™‚

My mouth/tooth area is feeling a little bit more sore today that it did after I got the root canal on Monday and yesterday. It got to the point where it woke me up a few times last night. I think I might have bit down on it weird at some point. Maybe even while I was sleeping. That and I haven’t been doing a good job of taking the pain medication the dentist gave me. He told me it would probably be a good idea to take one in the morning for the next few days as a preventive thing and then one every 6-8 hours after that as needed. But I only took one before I went to bed last night. Woops haha. I just don’t like taking medication, especially pain medication before I run. It’s only an 800 mg ibuprofen, but still… Hahaha and the endorphins from my run seemed to help with the discomfort I was having this morning anyway! πŸ™‚ Probably going to take another one before bed tonight though and hopefully I’ll be able to sleep a little better tonight than I did last night.

So since I had the root canal on Monday, I’ve been trying to stick with soft, easy to eat food. That meant that yesterday pretty much all I ate was 2 muffins and some rice and guacamole. Yeah, that wasn’t all that great…Easy to eat though haha! So today I made a point to eat some stuff that was a little more nutritious, including a berry/oatmeal smoothie, more rice and guacamole (this is one of my favorite combinations right now haha. Trust me, it’s delicious) with a fried egg this time, and a pint of ice cream. Oh and Luke made hamburgers for dinner so I had to had to have one of those. They were delicious! πŸ™‚ But at the very least I got a little more nutritious than yesterday haha.

But anyway. Other than my tooth being a little bit sore and it being hot in general, my day has been really good! I plan on running a little further tomorrow, so I’m gonna have to wake up earlier tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll sleep a little bit better tonight.

But anyway, I suppose that’s all for today!

Happy hump day!

~Ashley