Tag Archives: backyard farm

That Backyard Farm Life

Border collies, and chickens, and tomatoes, oh my!!

If you weren’t already aware, I have quite the little backyard farm going on!

I grew up on an 80 acre farm in rural Illinois and I miss it all of the time, but my tiny little backyard set up does help. Also maybe it’s practice for a future real farm someday? I sure hope so!!

But before we get into everything I’ve going going on in that regard I just wanted to quickly mention that I got pooped on by a bird during my run this morning. That was definitely a first for me and I thought it was pretty funny. πŸ¦πŸ’©πŸ˜‚

Ok, so backyard farm.

Obviously I’ve got my 4 border collies. They have been my dream since I was 10 years old and I cannot even being to describe how happy they make me! One day I’d like to actually have some real livestock for them to work (Lily actually has worked cattle before and does know a few real herding commands), but for now they just help me keep my chickens and rabbits in line. πŸ˜‚

One of my rabbits has a habit of escaping her hutch at night and getting under our shed. But when she eventually comes out Finn knows to keep her from getting back under there and will hold her in one place so I can quickly grab her. Border collies are incredibly smart and the fact that he’s caught on to what I need him to do is just so awesome!

Don’t worry! This doesn’t stress the bunny out! If you’ve ever seen border collies work then you know they’re very quite and deliberate with what they do. Plus she’s just super used to it and isn’t afraid of my dogs at all. Hahaha if she was a sheep she would be considered β€œdog broke”. Which just means she’s used to being worked by my dogs.

So yeah. I’m just over here living one of my childhood dreams and it’s pretty fucking sweet!

Now, I’ve really debated talking about this next part, but I’m briefly going to get into it. Super duper long story that really doesn’t matter anymore and even if it did I wouldn’t get into it anyway, I’ve recently come into the possession of 2 as of today 6 day old border collie puppies. Like I said, it’s a long story that really doesn’t matter. But what does matter is that they’ve been keeping me very busy! One is a little boy and the other is a little girl.

Unfortunately the little girl has a cleft palate so we’re not sure what’s going to happen with her yet. We’re planning on taking her to the vet soon and seeing what they think we should do. Obviously I’m not a vet, but from what I’ve read it might just be better to euthanize her. Unfortunately stuff like that happens. But we’ll see what the vet says. So I was bottle feeding her, but that wasn’t working well since puppies with cleft palates can’t create the proper suction to nurse. So I’ve switched to feeding her with a syringe for now. And I may have to keep doing that for 3 or 4 more weeks until I can start weening them. That or I’ll only have 1 puppy to care for soon. We shall see.

Little girl fell asleep in my hand after I got done feeding her. Poor baby, is doing a lot better after I started feeding her with a syringe though.

Note; we are not keeping either of these puppies. I’m just taking care of them until they’re old enough to find new homes. But they are adorable! And while they are a lot of work, I do like having them around. 😁

Okey doke! Moving on!!

My chickens are doing well! Nothing really too exciting to report on that front. They eat, poop, and lay eggs pretty much every day. Jethro, my rooster, gets a little bit high and mighty anytime a man gets anywhere near the coop but other than that he’s the nicest rooster I’ve ever met. πŸ˜‚

Since my hens are pretty well established and laying almost every day (they’ve slowed down a little bit because of the heat) I’ve been selling eggs to a few people. Nothing too crazy, but they have paid for a few bags of their feed, so hey, I’ll take it!!

Fresh and pretty eggs washed and ready to be delivered to my neighbor!

So this year my garden is much smaller than it has been in previous years, but it’s doing much better than it did last year!! Last year we legit went 2 months without a drop of rain and my poor tomato plants suffered because of it. This year the weather has been much better and we’ve had a ridiculous amount of tomatoes!! And a decent amount of cucumbers too! 😊

Luke and I have already made 2 jars of tomato sauce and we plan on making more! Plus a bunch of pickles. Canning is a lot of fun, plus we like to have homemade tomato products for chili. We make a lot of chili in the cold months hahaha. And homemade sauce made from a homegrown tomatoes just makes it that much better.

So all of this backyard farm stuff is a lot of work! Monday I spent 2 hours in the morning tending to everything outside and today I spent 3 hours out there! And that’s not counting caring for the puppies and feeding/cleaning up after the rest of the animals. πŸ˜‚ Mostly those 2 days were filled with general yard work, weeding the garden, picking tomatoes and cucumbers, watering the garden, and weed whacking.

Whew! All of that stuff counts as cross training, right?? Hahaha I sure think it does! All that stuff is hard freaking work! I enjoy it though. I guess you could say it’s in my blood. Now if only I could actually make some real money off of all of this! It’s a lot of work and little reward if you don’t count the eggs and produce. Mostly it’s just thankless work. A lot of people assume that since I don’t have a “real” job that I sit around all day doing a whole lot of nothing but that definitely isn’t the case!

So yeah. That’s basically my life at this point! Running, raising dogs, chickens, and growing food! Along with blogging and general household stuff of course. It’s not a glamorous life, but it’s mine and I love it. 😊

I hope you’re having a wonderful Wednesday!!

You’re backyard farming friend aka Farmer Dan (it’s an inside joke πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰),

~Ashley

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Operation Two Half Marathons In Two Days: Take Two is Officially A-go!!

Woohoo!! As of Saturday I am officially registered for the Gobbler Grind half marathon! That means Operation Two Half Marathons In Two Days: Take Two is officially a-go!! 😱

Apparently hanging up my fliers at the Indian Creek Trail and at the office where Luke works really worked! So far I’ve had 8 people sign up for the Gobbler Grind using my ambassador discount code which means I got to register for free (I only needed 5 for that. πŸ˜‰). Sweet!!!

Some ambassador programs are definitely better than others! 😁 Some just give you a discount, but others (usually ones that you have to work a little bit harder for) have better benefits like this! And I’m not trying to brag or anything like that! Just keeping it real and everything in full disclosure! I am an ambassador for this race (and several brands) so I do get some perks from all of that. But I do strive to keep everything I post in here 100% real. I would never promote or become involved with a brand or race that I didn’t believe in or love.

Hahaha and I know I always say something like that whenever I talk about any of that ambassador programs I’m in, but like I said, just trying to keep it real on my little corner of the interwebs! πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

So anyway, Operation Two Half Marathons In Two Days: Take Two is officially official! Yay!!

And right before I “officially” kick off my half marathon training cycle too!! Hahaha I say “officially” because my training plan actually starts next week, but I’ve been training with Operation Two Half Marathons In Two Days: Take Two in mind since the beginning of this year, really.

I would be a lot more stoked about the start of my half marathon training plan if the last week of June and first week of July didn’t have so little running in them… Those weeks I only totaled 11 mile and the 7 miles respectively. Oops. But I mean, it’s been a busy summer and life just kinda happened. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Really though I was doing pretty well, at least mileage wise, up until that point though and I really got my shit together last week and got in 18 miles. Not what I’ve been aiming for, but not terrible. And I’m really focusing on making this week even better, so I should be ok in that department. I won’t be going into this training cycle ridiculously out of shape at least! πŸ˜‚

The real issue here is that I haven’t really done any speed work since this spring. Yikes. Since I’m tackling two half’s in two days I don’t really have a time goal for either. Especially since I’m running both races with my dad. But really, I should still be doing some speedier things…

Oh man the first few speed sessions of half marathon training are really going to hurt. 🀣

But all in all I am pretty excited to “officially” start training for this thing next week! Hopefully it’ll all go smoothly! Or as smoothly as summer running can ever go for me. Hahaha I am not a fan. πŸ₯΅ But summer miles bring fall smiles! So I’m going to do my best to stick with it!

And doing my best apparently means waking up at 5 am so I can get out the door before the sun comes up and slogging through 3 very slow, slightly painful miles. At least, that was my “best” this morning. Really I wanted to get in 5 miles today, but my legs are shot from walking around the zoo in Doc Martens all day on Saturday. My sparkle boots (Doc Martens 1460 Pascal Glitter πŸ˜‰) are very pretty and SUPER comfortable! But they are a lot heavier than the shoes that I have been wearing lately.

I actually experienced this every fall when I got from wearing mostly tennis shoes and flip flops to wearing heavier boots. My legs always feel a little heavy when I start my footwear transition. πŸ˜‚

Worth it! I got several compliments on my boots that day. 😊

So, 3 miles today! I think my slow slogging (in my super light Nike Free’s! πŸ˜‰) helped shake out my legs a little bit though. So hopefully tomorrow’s run will go a little bit better! Either way, still got in 3 miles before the sun had a chance to rise and really heat up the road, so I’ll take that as a win!!

After I finished my slow slog run I spent about an hour and a half tending to my chickens and my garden. I had quite a bit of weeding to do. πŸ˜‚ But my tomato plants are finally starting to go off!! They’ve had a bunch of green tomatoes on them for a while now but they’re starting to get ripe! Plus I’ve got these HUGE green tomatoes out there and I absolutely cannot wait for them to to finally turn red!!

Our garden is much smaller than it’s been in previous years. This year we’ve only got tomato plants, pepper plants (which I’ve already gotten one huge, green pepper from, cantaloupe plants, and cucumber plants (which are just now starting to grow little tiny cucumbers!!!). But it’s doing MUCH better than last year. Last summer was absolutely BRUTAL. It was crazy hot and sunny pretty much every day and I’m not even exaggerating when I say we went two whole months without a drop of rain. It was crazy! But this year has been sooo much better and we’re definitely going to get a much better produce yield, which means we’ll actually have some stuff to can! Yay!!

Anyways, that’s all for today!!

Happy Monday! I hope you have a fantastic week!

Until next time,

~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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