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On the Other Hand

People often comment to me that I am "too busy". Perhaps, but in what sense? Too busy to volunteer? Too busy to go to the movies? Too busy to properly comb my hair? I think this hat looks good, for the second day in a row.

Every person I know has a difficult time juggling all of the time consuming tasks that life throws at them each and every day. It does not matter if you are a stay at home parent with two toddlers, a road warrior who travels place to place and job to job, a retired couple who happily toddles in the garden (yeah, right, like retired people EVER have time to toddle), or a hobby farm mom who has a to-do list longer than her refrigerator door...we are all too busy. It is WHY we are too busy that matters. Are you happy? Definitely. Do you take pleasure in what makes you busy? Every day. Do you still make time for you? Sometimes, but I am working on it. My priorities are in order (most of the time), and really, isn't that what counts the most?

I do not have gorgeous model hands. They have short-clipped nails embedded with dirt, and their dark tan color and deep lines from countless hours of summer sun ages them. That's OK. There is an old adage that states "busy hands keeps the devil at bay", meaning stay busy and you will be less tempted to do things not so favorable with your time! When I am not too busy working in my garden, trimming horses hooves, brush-hogging pastures, snuggling chickens, or milking goats, I find myself spending idle time on my home computer sucked into the world of Facebook and Pinterest. Afterwards, the wave of guilt that I have just wasted two hours staring at a monitor washes over me and I have to reprimand myself for not getting things done. Those sites are terrific, and I thoroughly enjoy browsing them, but I am too easily distracted into sitting until my hips hurt.

Here's another, "have you hands full", meaning to be busy. Four months ago I took on a part-time job as our church secretary. I also opened a booth at our local farmer's market once a week. With Heeby-Jeeby Dad often away at his day job for 12 hours or more, my time is spent alone, or more specifically in the company of dozens of non-English speaking critters. This gives me time to explore new ways of making a living on our farm. After the disastrous shearing of our new sheep (Next time will be better, I promise), I knew the wool was "worthless" at market, so I had to get creative. Voila! Pinterest to the rescue. (Don't judge me).

Now I have these wool combs I fashioned all by myself, also known as husband bonkers, that I spend a few minutes each day creating roving for various projects. Wet felting, dry felting, spinning, stuffing, batting...the possibilities are wonderful! When my "hands are full", the creative juices start flowing and there are things to look forward to. When idle, I get fidgety and eat cookies.


We also purchased a new milk goat knowing that our other girl could not keep up with the demand of milk and cheese we are experiencing. Since I am a "hands on" kind of girl, I settled into my seat at the nearby animal auction and with bidding card "in hand" I waited. Without further ado, may I introduce Lily.

It was love at first sight! She was destined for the slaughter house and I was determined she would go home with me instead. Poor thing had not been milked for a couple of days and her udder was nearly touching the ground. Her hooves were overgrown and curling under her feet, and she was skin and bones, but she had the sweetest face and a calm disposition so she HAD to be saved. We are still having a hard time getting her to fatten up, even with free choice grain and supplements, but her hair is shiny, her feet are trimmed, and her milk production is udderly fantastic. Sorry, couldn't help myself.

The ewes did their jobs well and produced five gorgeous lambs this year, three ram lambs and two ewe lambs. We were hoping for more ewes since we would hold those back for our own flock, but this is a good beginning. As usual, the names we come up with make no sense to anyone but us. There was Hamlet, Cornelius, and Philip; all three went to auction after they were weaned. The girls are Marigold and Gizmo. We tried to stick with flowery names but obviously failed. All five sheep will need sheared soon, so we will " try our hand" at it again. Maybe this time I can beat my record of 5 hours and 15 minutes?! No, not for all of them, for one of them. You read that correctly. They hated me for days afterwards.

Any professional looking at this photo just passed out. Yes, that is a line of wool that I missed on one of the passes with the clippers. Yes, she is laying on her side. (These sheep are TINY!!!) And yes, I am thinking it will require Valium for both the shearer and the victim next time.

The Heeby-Jeeby Hatchery did great this year with a record number of specific breed chicks sold, and a few laying hens and ducks too. The new incubator Alexa brought me was invaluable and not having to turn eggs by hand three times a day was a nice time-saver. It also allowed us to transfer the eggs to our homemade incubator during the hatch so they could be warm and cozy away from the other eggs. We will be expanding even more during the fall months and creating an area in the new garage for a brooding pen and two more brooding tubs to keep our weekly hatches rotated. I am really proud of our accomplishments this year in keeping the death toll to a minimum by having a secure pen, egg house, and foliage cover. While never a fun topic to discuss, it is the sad truth of chicken farming; some chickens will die every year, unexpectedly, by either illness, injury, or attack. So far we have had only two! Out of 40 adult birds and 60 new chicks, having only two expire is a blessing. We did have two others try to commit suicide under our tires on the tractor, but both luckily came out with only broken legs and a much wiser focus, which I guess goes "hand in hand!". Silly birds. That's a wrap, folks. Is anyone else sick of the "handy" way I threw in all those hand words? C'mon, seriously, let me see a "show of hands". Sorry, sometimes my left hand does not know what my right hand is doing. Ok, I'm done now. I really need to get busy. Happy farming everyone!

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