Tag Archives: backyard farmer

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

 

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It’s Going To Be A Long Summer…

Good thing I have a treadmill now, because this keeps happening…

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I can’t run outside in this!

Well, technically I could, but it probably wouldn’t end well for me. Especially not with that air quality warning. So I’m just gonna stick with my treadmill for now and hope that I’ll get at least one day this week that I’ll be able to run outside, because I’m not exactly confident in my ability to run anymore than 5 miles on the treadmill haha. I did 7 a few weeks ago, but I wanted to absolutely die by the time I was done. πŸ˜‚

Plus training for “Operation Two Half Marathons In Two Days” officially starts on the 22nd of this month, and I’d really like to do most of those runs outside. Having the treadmill is nice, but it’s just not the same as running on the road. And since both half marathons I’m doing in November on on the road (well, part of one is on a paved trail πŸ˜‰ ), I know it would be best to do a pretty good majority of my running on the roads. But if this weather keeps up I’m gonna have to suck it up and run on the treadmill. I’d rather do that than risk my health by running outside in dangerous weather conditions. Says the girl who intentionally runs during thunderstorms and has an absolute blast running on ice haha. But for real though, I’m really sensitive to the heat and I have asthma. It’s not bad, but I still have to be careful when the air quality sucks.

So I’m not exactly thrilled about the weather and the prospect of starting out my half marathon training mostly on the treadmill. But at least I have that option now! If we would have had this kind of weather last summer, before I had the treadmill, I’d have been completely screwed. Sure I’ve got the stationary bike, but that probably wouldn’t really help that much. But anyway, I haven’t really been completely stuck inside. Luke and I have been going for little walks in the evening, right around sunset, so it’s not too crazy hot out. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still hot, humid, and gross out. But it’s decent enough to go for short walks in. I’m not confident enough to actually run in it though haha. But at the very least I’m getting outside and moving around a little bit.

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I’m currently dreaming of chilly October nights.Β πŸ‚πŸŒ™πŸ¦‡πŸŽƒ

What really sucks about this weather is that while we’ve had plenty of heat, we’ve had hardly any rain. Like, it’s for real been weeks since we’ve gotten any rain, and the last time we did it really wasn’t much. So I’ve been kinda struggling to keep our garden going. All of our plants are just wilty and sun burnt. But I have gotten a pretty decent amount of strawberries and blueberries! I think I’m getting towards the end of those plants producing though. I’ve got 3 nice little watermelons growing, my peaches are slowly starting to get bigger, and my zucchini plants are producing like crazy! And my tomatoes are finally starting to get ripe! The plants have had little green fruit on them for a while now, but it’s been so crazy hot that it’s taking forever for them to turn red. I picked a whole bunch of nice little cherry tomatoes yesterday though!

We’ve also been keeping the tiny raptors outside for the last week or so. They’re finally big enough to keep out in the coop, and obviously we haven’t had to worry about it being too cold for them! I run out there to check on them several times a day though. I don’t want them getting too hot. But so far they seem to be doing really well!!

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They’re getting moved back inside this weekend though, but only for a little bit. Our family trip to Branson, Mo is next week and we don’t want them outside while we’re gone. Luckily they’ll only actually be on their own for 3 full days. Luke and I are leaving Kansas on the 16th, probably in the late morning. First we have to drop the dogs off at a kennel. I grew up working in a kennel, so obviously I know they’ll be fine, but they’ve never been boarded before, so I know they’re gonna be completely freaked out. Poor babies… Luckily the’re all going to be kept in the same kennel run together, so I think that will help. I’m going to make it very clear that I do not want them separated. Sometimes they growl and snap at each other and when they play it can look like they’re actually fighting, but they’re not. They just work things out between each other like that.Β  And if you know dogs then you probably know that, but some people tend to freak out the second teeth start snapped at each other. But anyway, then we’ll be in Branson the 17th, 18th, and 19th, and then we’re driving back home on the 20th. It’s only a 4 hour drive, so I think if we leave early enough we’ll be there in time to pick up the dogs before the kennel closes. If not then I guess they’ll just have to spend another night there.

Anyway, I got the dogs’ vet records for the kennel this morning and I’ve kinda sorta started packing for this trip. Haha I guess I should get on that, huh? I mean, I’ve made a list and pretty much know everything that Luke and I are gonna need, so that counts for something, right? We’ll both probably still wait until the night before we leave to actually pack. πŸ˜‰

But that’s all for today! How’s the weather where you are? Hopefully better that it is here in Kansas…

Your treadmill bound friend,

~Ashley

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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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Well, Yesterday Was A Shit Day

It finally happened. We tried so fucking hard go prevent it. But obviously it wasn’t enough. So much time, money, and effort just got flushed down the toilet in what was probably a few short minutes. Yesterday Ozzy massacred our chickens.

Yup, after all of that extra work we did building that dog kennel around their coop he still found a way in and killed every single one. My poor chickens….

 

 

So that was just a terrible thing to find out first thing in the morning. Apparently he had slipped through the tiniest hole where the chain-link met the base of the kennel. And we had used fencing wire to attach the chain-link to the base. A lot of it. So he really had to squish himself to get in there, and honestly I kinda hope he hurt himself in the process. And of course this happened in the early morning before my dogs were outside or at the very least they would have been barking and maybe we could have done something. But nope. Around 6:30 ish my other neighbors saw that damn dog in our chicken coop because he figured out how to get in, but couldn’t figure out how to get back out again. But by then all of the chickens were dead anyway. So when Luke was getting into his truck to go to work and they stopped him and told him what happened. Luke went out there, let Ozzy out and made him go home, then came and told me.

It’s a good thing it was him to go do that and not me. I would have killed that damn dog. I grew up onΒ  a farm and dogs that kill livestock become a huge problem. It’s a hard habit to break and most of the time if the dog cost you a shit ton of time, effort, and money then it doesn’t get to live. Especially knowing that it might keep doing it. That’s just the way things are. Hahaha and the neighbors who found him in my coop told me the same thing yesterday. I heard “that dog needs shot” by so many people yesterday. But I mean, it’s kinda true.

But that didn’t happen. Mostly because we do live in town and discharging a firearm inside of city limits is illegal. And for good reason. So he’s lucky. Although he was really pushing that luck because I had to chase him out of my yard 3 more times that morning, because he kept fucking coming back…Ugh so that was really annoying.

But anyway, I also had to go to the dentist to get temporary crowns put on a couple of my teeth yesterday. So yeah, it just wasn’t a fun day all around. But Luke took a partial sick day from work so he could take me because I hate the scientist and didn’t want to go alone. So he came back from work at about 11 am and we buried the chickens before we left. I was told specifically not to go out there that morning because it was just going to piss me off even more when I saw it and Luke new it. And it was pretty bad. He broke all of their necks, probably just one right after another. So I mean, it was kinda lucky that he didn’t rip them to pieces, so we didn’t have a huge bloody mess to clean up, but it still sucked.

We finished that job just in time to leave and go to my dentist appointment. It was a long one too. Haha felt like I was there forever! But I got the temporary crowns put on the two teeth I’ve had root canals done on and the more permanent crowns are being made. So that’s a step in the right direction and I’m glad that I was able to keep well, parts of those 2 teeth anyway. But that whole process irritated my gums and now today my mouth just kinda hurts. My jaw is also super stiff and sore from having to keep my mouth open for so long.

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So yeah, yesterday just really sucked. But to make me feel a little bit better Luke went to Barnes and Noble and got me Stephen King’s latest book while I was getting my teeth worked on. He’s the best!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ He also ordered more chicks online and they should be here at some point later this week. Fun fact; did you know the deliver chicks in the mail? That’s how my dad used to get his and how we had to do it this time, since Tractor Supply only sells them in the early spring. And that is great and all, but now we’re all the way back to square one an that really fucking sucks. We were getting so close to ours starting to lay eggs. Now we’ve got to start the whole process all over again.

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New reading material from Stephen King did cheer me up a little though. πŸ™‚

Once we got home from my dental appointment Luke started keeping an eye out for Ozzy’s owner so he could go talk to him. He got home a little later than he usually does, but Luke finally caught him and told him what happened. Apparently he was pretty upset and offered to give Luke money for them, but Luke said he didn’t want money, told him he had already bough more chicks, so now he just wants Ozzy to stay where he belongs so that it doesn’t happen again. So now he’s really going to get to work on the fence between our yards that him and his cousin have been working to replace and now he doesn’t want Luke to cover half of the expenses anymore. We’ll still probably help him build it though. But hopefully a new fence will solve the problem. If not our neighbor said he’s also thinking about putting in one of those invisible dog fences just to be on the safe side. But no matter what we still have a few months to get it done, because the new chicks wont be able to be put outside until they’re older anyway.

So at least that’s getting taken care of now. It just really sucks that it took all 5 of our chickens being brutally killed for it to happen. I cannot even begin to express how mad I am about that. When you domesticate an animal like that and keep them locked up so they can’t get away and then end up using things they produce or even killing and eating them it’s your responsibility to keep them safe, happy, and healthy. It’s basically a mutual agreement you make with the animal; I keep you safe from predators. Provide you with comfortable shelter. Food and fresh, clean, water will always be available. If you get sick or injured, I’ll take care of it and give it proper medical attention. And in return, I get to use your products to feed myself and my family. And maybe that means you’ll die, but its my job to make sure you have a good life and everything you need before that happens.

For real, I take that shit really seriously and I couldn’t do it and I’m pissed. I let those poor chickens down and they paid for it by dying a terrifying and probably very painful death. I’m going to do better with the new chicks though. Luke feels the same way, so we’re going to be fortifying that chicken coop until is basically Fort Knox. And my neighbor is going to make sure that Ozzy doesn’t come back in our yard ever again. He also grew up on a farm type situation, so he knows and understands how devastating this loss was. I noticed that today he left Ozzy inside while he was at work, instead of in the back yard like he usually does.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to clean up the aftermath of the party that we had on Memorial Day. Our backyard is pretty trashed and the house is a mess too. But my mouth is currently unhappy and that’s making it difficult for me to want to do much. I can usually handle pain, but mouth pains is just awful. But today I got the Green Day mug and tank top that I had bough online last week in the mail today, and that did make me feel a little bit better. πŸ˜‰

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I suppose that’s all for today.

I hope everyone had a good Memorial Day Weekend!

~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 

 

 

Weekly Recap: May 7th-13th, 2018

This week was a good week. I’ve been having a little bit of trouble with my neighbor’s dog, Ozzy, but other than that, I’ve really got nothing to complain about! Well, except for the warm weather maybe, but we all know I’m never going to stop complaining about that. πŸ˜‰

Had some good runs, got my monthly StrideBox, my garden is growing and doing well, as are my chickens, and did one of my favorite races ever on Saturday. Like I said, it’s been a good week. πŸ™‚

Monday:

  • 4 miles

Kicked off the week with 4 hot and sunny miles! Obviously that’s not my favorite kind of weather, but I still had some fun.

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Tuesday:

  • 5 miles
  • 10 minutes of yoga

Tuesday was the day I had the most issues with Ozzy. When I woke up that morning I let the chickens out as usual, then went to eat breakfast. About a half an hour later I happened to look in my backyard and there was Ozzy, bothering the poor chickens. So I caught him, put him in his yard, fixed some of the bricks that were covering the holes next to the fence we share with this neighbor (we’re currently in the process of replacing it, so it’s in terrible shape right now), then headed out for my run. After about 3 miles I happened to run by my house and saw that Ozzy was in my yard again. So I had to stop, repeat the whole process again, and then went out and finished my last 2 miles. But of course when I finished that Ozzy was back in my yard again. So this time I put even more bricks in the holes by the fence and lined the outside of my chicken coop with them. He’s been trying to dig under it, so I’m hoping at the very least the bricks will slow him down enough for someone to realize he’s not where he’s suppose to be before he can hurt my chickens.

But anyway, at least I got my run in, and got some strength training done because dead lifting a 30 pound dog over a fence multiple times has to count for something, and moving all of those bricks around was hard haha.

 

 

Wednesday:Β 

  • 4 miles

Another easy 4 miler on Wednesday. This time Ozzy stayed in his yard and Dean was waiting to great me when I got back! Nothing is better than getting ALL OF THE PUPPY LOVIN’ when you get back from a run. πŸ™‚

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Thursday:

  • rest day

I had 2 easy miles planned for Thursday but oh man was I tired! So I figured taking a rest day was probably a good plan. I actually ended up spending most of the day reading/finishing Cujo. Can you believe this was legit the first time I’ve ever read Cujo?!? Stephen King is my all time favorite author and it took me this long to read one of his most iconic books? That’s just nuts! Haha and I talk about that more here, if you’re interested. πŸ˜‰

Thursday was one of the packet pick up days for Running With The Cows, so I went to get mine that evening. How super neat is this t-shirt?!?

 

 

Friday:

  • 15 minutes of stretching

So, Friday’s tend to be the day Luke and I run around and do a bunch of errands, and this Friday was no different. In the morning we had to meet with our insurance agent to go over all of our policies. Fun Stuff. Then the rest of the day was actually spent getting the truck titled. First we had to take it to get inspected since Luke bought it in Missouri, then we had to wait at the DMV for 8 million years haha. We ended up getting so bored that we wandered around the building, found a blood pressure machine,so obviously we had to play with that. Good news is we both have good blood pressure!

When we finally got home that evening I did some stretching and got all of my stuff ready for Running With The Cows. πŸ™‚

Saturday:

  • Running With The Cows 5k

I had so much fun at this race!!!

I had a goal time of 38 minutes for it, but it was hot, humid, and this course is a bit hilly, so I ended up running it in 38:51. Not bad though! I’m very happy with how it went!! I’ll be posting a full recap on Monday, so stay tuned for that. πŸ„πŸƒπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ˜„

 

 

Sunday:

  • rest day

I actually thought about doing a few easy miles today, but running in the heat yesterday really took it out of me! Plus my legs were a little sore from running hard on those hills. So I figured I could use a day off from running. I did spent some time cleaning out the rabbit cages today, cleaning out the chicken coop, and pulling a few weeds out of the garden, so at least I got a little bit of something done. πŸ™‚

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Total Weekly Mileage: 16.15

Considering the fact that I didn’t do a long run this week I’m pretty happy with that! Definitely not what I want to be and should be running, but still not bad. All in all I’m quite happy with how this week is gone and how well Running With The Cows went. But now that I’ve got that done it’s time to really kick into gear my “pre half marathon” training. I’m going to be focusing on more miles and strength training. I feel like being stronger and more resilient is going to help with the whole two half marathons in two days thing that’s going down in November. So bring it on!!

Oh and happy Mother’s Day you all of you awesome moms out there! You guys are true superheros!!

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Until next time,

~Ashley

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StrideBox, Earlier Mornings, and My Neighbor’s Dog, Ozzy.

Another month means another StrideBox! Yay!!

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Getting a box full of running goodies once a month never gets old! I was particularly excited about the Honey Stinger Cracker N’ Nut bar that came in May’s box! Those things have quickly become one of my all time favorite snacks. πŸ™‚

Anyway, it would appear that spring didn’t stick around very long. It’s been feeling more and more like summer here in Kansas. So far the highs are all in the 80’s this week, and on Wednesday (I think), it’s supposed to be around 89 degrees. And it’s just gonna keep getting hotter from here. Yuck… But on the bright side, summer is thunderstorm season and I do love thunderstorms! Watching storm fronts move in is basically one of my favorite hobbies. πŸ˜‰

Haha but anyway, I’ve got a 5k on Saturday and it’s looking like the weather isn’t gonna be too great for that. According to my weather app the high is gonna be 90 degrees. Cloudy, which will help a bit, but still, 90 degrees…Well, this race is at 8 am though, so it should actually be cooler than that, but still. Plus there are a few thunderstorms in the forecast before Saturday, which means it’s gonna be crazy humid…Β  I’m beginning to think the time goal I had in mind might not happen on Saturday. I know it’s only a 5k and if it were any other weather condition (cold, rainy, icy, snowy, even windy) I could and gladly would suffer through it. But for whatever reason I’ve never been able to do that when it comes to heat and humidity. It slows me waaay down, completely drains me, and leaves me feeling pretty shitty and tired for the rest of the day. Haha I mean, I always kinda feel tired and bleh when it’s hot out, but it just gets worse if I ran that day.

Anyway, I haven’t completely given up on my goal. I just might get super lucky! But I’m also prepared to accept the fact that the weather is what it is and I just not might be able to fight through it. And at the very least there will be cows, goats, and a huge buffet at the end. Even if I am only running the 5k, I’m gonna hit that buffet HARD hahahaha. πŸ˜‰

Ok, back to the point that I actually wanted to make. Since the weather has been getting warmer I’ve been having to wake up earlier. Right now I’m only having to get up at 6 am, which is only about an hour earlier than I usually do. So that’s not too horrible. But I’m able to get up, eat, drink my coffee and some water, brush my teeth, get dressed, and then get out the door just a little bit before 7 am. And that’s been working quite well, since the sun isn’t all the way up by then so it feels a little cooler. Plus the asphalt is still relatively cool since the sun hasn’t been shining on it for long at that time of day.

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View from my back porch at 6 am this morning.

So my run today was pretty pleasant, for the most part. It felt kinda cool even though it was in the high 60’s, there was a very nice breeze, and the sun was still mostly below the trees by the time I finished so I never got miserably hot. I felt pretty good during all 5 miles. The only real problem was my neighbor’s dog, Ozzy.

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You see, Ozzy is a relatively young dog, probably around Finn’s age, and my neighbor has had him for maybe 5 or 6 months (his old dog, Zadie, had to be euthanized. She was a really good dog and everyone was pretty upset about that.) Ozzy is also a red heeler (or maybe only part heeler, I don’t remember exactly), so he’s a herding dog. And obviously we have all sorts of small creatures in our backyard that look fun to chase. And for the past few weeks our chickens have really gotten his attention.

Anther thing that’s important to note is that the fence that we share with this neighbor is old and very broken haha. So he and Luke have been working on replacing it, but that’s been kind of a slow process because they both work a lot and our neighbor also goes camping a lot with his brother. That’s not been an issue until later last week though, when Ozzy figured out how to squeeze under the fence and started terrorizing my chickens.

So last Friday while I was feeding my little flock I saw a flash of white in what is usually a mostly black blur that happens in my backyard when all 3 of my dogs are running around, and of course it was Ozzy. Initially I wasn’t too worried about it. You can tell that he really wants to play with my dogs when he’s in his yard and they all like to run the fence line together. But after a few minutes of running around my yard he started to bother the chickens. Running around their coop, jumping on it, barking at them, and just kinda freaking them out in general. That pissed Finn off. Those are Finn’s chickens. He spends a lot of time trying to herd them through the coop (and sometimes he can even successfully make them move into a little group haha), but for the most part he just likes to sit near the coop and guard them. He does the same thing to the rabbit hutch. Those are his small animals and he has taken it upon himself to protect them. He’s also super protective of me (he will literally throw himself across my body and shield me from anything he thinks is a threat), the backyard, and pretty much anything he knows belongs to Luke and I. He’s a good dog, but he’s also still pretty young and dumb. He’s basically a teenager. πŸ˜‰

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So anyway, he ended up getting into a fight with Ozzy because he didn’t like Ozzy upsetting his chickens. Luckily they both stopped when I yelled at them and neither of them were hurt. So I put my dogs in my house, locked the chickens in their nesting area, and caught Ozzy and put him back in his yard. Then I covered all of the spots in the fence that he could squeeze under with rocks and bricks, hoping that would keep him out. And it did for the rest of Friday, but now he’s learned how to dig at them and move them just enough so that he can squeeze back under and he’s been in our yard at least once (but usually more than that) ever since. And like I said, I wouldn’t really mind him being in our yard, if he didn’t cause problems

So back to what happened today. I got up at 6, let Finn and Dean out (Luke was still asleep at this point and Lily will refuse to leave the bedroom if he’s still in bed. Haha she’s also super protective like Finn is. She’s just smarter and more mature about it. πŸ˜‰ ), then let the chickens out into the outside area of their coop and fed them. About half an hour later I found Ozzy in the yard, so I got him out, readjusted the rocks and bricks on the fence, and went out for my run. When I was about 3 miles in I ran past my house and saw he was back in my yard so I had to stop, repeat the whole process again, and then left to do the last two miles of my run.

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Ozzy and Dean watching me take off for the last portion of my run this morning.

Finished my remaining 2 miles, and of course I found Ozzy back in the yard again. And this time he was trying to dig under the coop to get to my chickens! Yeah, obviously I’m not about to let that happen. I’m already kind of irritated that he’s been upsetting them. So went through the whole process of catching him again, put more stuff along the fence in an attempt to keep him out, and then I lined the outside of the chicken coop with rocks and bricks. So if he does get in my yard and tries to dig underneath the coop again it should at least slow him down. Or at least that’s what I’m hoping. Haha the chickens did enjoy this though. The rocks and bricks were covered in all sorts of bugs and worms, so they got to have themselves a nice little bug buffet this morning. They seemed to enjoy chasing and chasing bugs to their little hearts’ content. πŸ™‚

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And of course there’s Finn and his long ass tongue on the other side of the coop keeping an eye on them haha. If you look at the top of the photo you can also see Ozzy claw marks on the wood of the coop. He’s scratched up the other side of the coop really bad… 😦

So far he hasn’t gotten back into our yard since I caught him for the third time today, so that’s good. But here in a little bit Luke and I are going to go bury some rocks and bricks along the fence line in hopes that will keep Ozzy out of our yard until they can finish replacing that fence. Hopefully then he wont be able to get into our yard anymore and our chickens will be safe. At least from him haha. Last summer a raccoon took up residence under our shed. I haven’t seen him since last fall though so I’m hoping he’s gone for good. I’m pretty sure all of the feral cats are too afraid of my dogs to even attempt to get into my back yard (raise you’re hand if you know what tends to happen to feral cats on a farm! Yeah, I kinda miss having that option. Feral cats are nothing but a problem…). There are also a couple of foxes that live in my neighborhood. One lives under someone else’s shed a few blocks down, as a matter of fact! There’s not much we can do about them though, except hope that all of the dogs keep them away. And there are a lot of dogs in all of the yards surrounding our house haha.

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But of course my dogs are the best, and I’m definitely not biased at all about that. πŸ˜‰Β 

Well this post ended up being longer than I thought it was gonna be! Haha it happens though. Sometimes I just get going and I can’t stop! πŸ˜‰

Anyway, I’ll definitely be posting about what goes down with my 5k on Saturday! Hopefully it doesn’t end up being as bad as I think it might be.

I hope your Tuesday was terrific! (That was super lame, I know.)

~Ashley