Hey yall… It’s me, again. I know, I do this thing where I’m here and gone again, but hopefully now I can get myself back to being a little more consistent.
I recently read The 12 Week Year and it has given me a new-ish outlook on life, my goals, and how to accomplish them. As a result of this, I have made myself some goals to accomplish in the next 12 weeks, and since I cannot find anyone local to have Weekly Accountability Meetings with, I am choosing to use my blog as a way to keep myself accountable.
For my 12 week year, I have 3 goals:
Install a fence across my front yard and gates at each driveway
Lose 20 pounds
I have broken down each goal with weekly tactics in order to attempt to achieve them, and this is how I intend to make it happen.
Buy four sections of fence each week
Install one section every other day.
On off days, take time to clear space for the next section(s)
Meal plan for success (breakfast, lunch, supper, and snacks!).
Drink 1 gallon of water per day.
Research and try new workouts.
What I really love about this is that you have to score yourself once a week, and it gives you the opportunity to see just where you may not be following through, or if you might need to change tactics/add new tactics. I’m so excited for these next 12 weeks and I really hope that some of my readers (if any of you are still around) will join me!
Please leave a comment below if you read this post, it will truly make my day!
My family has always been an interesting one. For as long as I can remember, there’s always one person or another not speaking to each other, in both my mom’s and my dad’s families. I really don’t know why it’s this way, nor do I care. What I can tell you however is that because of this I have had what I would call a complicated relationship with my extended families my entire life.
Rest In Peace
My Aunt Sara passed away over the weekend. I woke up Sunday to text after text letting me know. And don’t get me wrong, I am filled with sadness about this. Late Sunday afternoon, I noticed the news had made its way to Facebook. So many people posted old pictures of her and spoke of how much they loved her growing up. That’s when I began to feel robbed.
I did spend time with her growing up, don’t get me wrong. But, I was a mama’s baby. My mom would occasionally leave me at my grandma’s house in the afternoons when she was headed to pick my sister up from school. Minutes after she left, I would inevitably end up crying because I wanted my mom. This was long before the days of everyone having cell phones, so my Aunt Sara would get quite frustrated with me and drag me to the middle room of the house and lock me in until time for my mom to come and get me. These are the types of memories that I have of her from my childhood. None of it happy.
Not all bad…
Now, I do not believe that she was entirely a bad person. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know her again as an adult. I moved back home nearly 13 years ago now, and her husband passed away around 10-11 years ago. Out of some form of familial responsibility, I went to her house before the funeral. Her living conditions were less than stellar, and frankly saddening. She lived in a doublewide trailer just up the road from her daughter, but the floors were damaged and the heat was nearly nonexistent. I will never understand how a daughter could allow her parents to live in such conditions.
I began to speak to her on the phone frequently after that, and occasionally I would stop by to visit with her. During these visits, I would often find that there were hardly any groceries in her home. I began grocery shopping and dropping by eggs, grits, cereals, milk, juices, and other things that she may mention that she liked or wished she had.
During all this time, she and I became quite close. I began to look forward to those phone calls and visits.
Some things just aren’t meant to last…
My Aunt Sara had lived a life that was filled with secrets. She had had a child as a teenager and was forced to give him up for adoption. I am forever grateful for AncestryDNA kits. Because of those, my cousin found my mom, his sisters, his brothers, and several cousins. Unfortunately, we were told that my Aunt Sara did not want to meet him. I honestly do not believe that was the case, but ultimately, she never got the opportunity to meet her wonderful first born.
Shortly after he found all of us, my cousins decided that my aunt should move out to Texas to live with her youngest daughter. As happy as I was that she would be living in much better conditions, I was so sad to find out that she would probably never move back, and would definitely never have the opportunity to meet her son.
After she moved out to Texas, I heard from her less and less, and eventually not at all.
I didn’t realize that the last time I spoke with my aunt would be the last time, but I am so grateful that we eventually built a relationship, and that I can positively say that the last conversation I ever had with her was a good one.
Since we are finally getting eggs, I feel like it’s a good time to talk to you all about my chickens. If you recall, that was my birthday present this year. My husband promised me that we would build a coop.
I had chickens growing up, and was super excited to start this journey as an adult. I began researching- I read books, I joined Facebook groups, and I read probably a hundred blogs. All because I wanted to be super informed. Because I did all of this, I feel pretty good about sharing my knowledge (and what I’ve learned along the way) with you.
Building the coop
Building a coop doesn’t have to be expensive. It is as expensive as you let it be. The most important thing to think of is how many chickens you think you’ll have (take that number and triple it, because chicken math is real). I wanted 6 to 8 chickens, and I now have 20, with plans to possibly get more in the spring.
We took an existing building with a cute little shed attached to make our coop. I have seen other people use dog runs. You can go with a pre-made coop, but they’re smaller, and I have seen a lot of people unhappy with them in the long run.
To start our coop, we bought two 100′ rolls of chicken wire (we didn’t use all of it), several metal fence posts, and used some leftover lumber from when we added on to the house. We built a fence out from the little shed to give a nice run for the chickens. My hubby is pretty handy and built a door himself, but buying a screen door probably would have been easier.
I took cinder blocks that I had found around our property and placed them around the run. We still didn’t have enough for what I wanted, so I drove to Home Depot and bought more. I then filled those blocks with potting soil and planted marigolds around the run.
After building, I turned into a nervous Nelly and bought poultry netting to go across the top of my run. I will never regret this, it’s inexpensive, and keeps my babies protected.
A Place To Roost
Roosting bars is something that I honestly did not remember from my childhood. Did I mention that I had chickens growing up? I think that was the best part of growing up country- all the different animals that I got to experience!
Anywho… The plan was always to reuse and repurpose whatever we could to keep the costs down, right? I probably drove my husband crazy when I suggested pulling a bedroom set out of storage to put in the coop, but I had a vision.
I set the bed up, frame and all, and started planning how to make a roost for my birds. My first plan was to put 2x4s across from the head to the foot of the bed, but it just wasn’t working out. I ended up placing three pallets inside the bed frame- one at the head, one at the foot, and one in the center. I then found some large branches and some 1x4s to attach to the pallets. Oops! I almost forgot to mention that YES, I screwed EVERYTHING into place. I wanted it to be super sturdy.
This has worked like a dream. The chickens don’t always roost there like I would like, but they love hanging out on it and using it as a jungle gym. What I have found is that they are always going to find the highest point they can and roost there. It is what it is. And it keeps them safe, so why worry.
My Nesting Boxes
Remember I said bedroom suit, right??? After bringing the bed out to make the roost, I dragged the dresser and matching night stands out as well.
At this point, you may be like my husband and think that I have lost my mind. I’m pretty sure I have, so this is a fair assumption.
I took the middle drawers out of the dresser, making space for the chickens to be able to get into the bottom drawers. I took the top drawers out of the night stands and attached them to the top of the night stand, creating two nesting boxes out of each night stand. To keep them easy to clean, I did purchase plastic tubs to sit in the drawers. This was by far one of the best decisions that I made! I also got these awesome nesting pads off Amazon to put in the tubs, and my chickens appear to love them.
At the last minute, I decided to attach the mirror to the dresser, mostly to be cute. Remember when I said they go to the highest point they can to roost? That’s where most of my chickens roost at night.
Time To Eat
I have gone through two feeders and a ton of waterers in search of the “perfect” ones. When I only planned to have 6 chickens, a small 2-3 gallon waterer was fine. When chicken math hit though, I needed something larger.
I found a 5 gallon waterer at Tractor Supply and it was “okay”, but filling it, making sure that the bottom was screwed on correctly, and then flipping it back over was the worst. Eventually I started searching for a top fill waterer, and I am so glad I did!
I found this guy on Amazon and absolutely LOVE it! The only problem that I had in the beginning was the legs popping off, but I finally got them in correctly and have had no issues since. It has a little piece that you move at the bottom to cover the water valve when filling up, and once you’re done, you just securely screw the top back on and uncover the valve. This thing is amazing! We have plans to get the matching feeder soon!
In The End
Is it worth it? Absolutely! But there are some things that I would have done differently.
I would have done a little more research on making the coop predator proof. Walking out and finding a dead hen is devastating.
I probably would have poured concrete around the run and coop. This would prevent anything from digging in.
I would have gone with the largest and best feeders and waterers I could afford in the beginning. The small ones I started out with were a total waste of money.
I truly do not believe that ANYONE loves cleaning. If you do, I honestly believe that you’re more than a little weird. BUT, this post is NOT to make fun of you, I promise. I am one of these people who believes that you take a task that you hate, like cleaning, and make it more enjoyable. That’s where my newest gadget, Vabroom, comes in.
Why I decided to give Vabroom a try
Honestly, the absolutely worst part of sweeping to me is trying to figure out what the last person who did the job did with the damn dust pan. For some reason, the males in my house seem to be completely incapable of putting the broom and the dust pan in the same place. I’ve tried dust pans that attach to the broom, and I’ve tried dust pans with a handle, IT DOESN’T MATTER, they still get misplaces.
Let’s not even talk about the little line of dirt that gets left behind because it just WILL NOT go in the dust pan. I hate it. It really, really irks me. I can’t explain why it does, but it really makes me feel like I did not do my job correctly. So yay for that.
Anywho… I rarely get a full night of sleep. This means that I wake up at odd hours and scroll social media quietly, praying that I don’t wake anyone else up. You know what happens? Typically I see an ad for a gadget and I laugh my ass off and think “Who the hell would need that?”
That’s exactly how I found Vabroom. I was scrolling at 2:00 one morning, saw it, and thought “GENIUS!!!” And then I ordered it, and promptly went back to sleep.
Vabroom in use
A few days later, Vabroom arrived. It came in a itty bitty box. Great. Pieces to put together. It’s actually not as bad as it sound though. The handle just screws together, and then you plug it up to charge.
It doesn’t take very long to get a full charge, so after that, take it for a whirl. I have a house full of animals and kids, so sweeping daily, and sometimes multiple times a day is a must. This means that I used Vabroom almost immediately.
Pros and Cons
So here’s what I don’t like- The suction cannot get up dog hair. I have an Aussie and a German Shepherd and they SHED nonstop. I’m honestly not surprised about the dog hair issue, but it would have been awesome had it gotten it up. I also think it’s a little pricey… If I hadn’t bought it in the middle of the night, I probably would not have ever pulled the trigger on the purchase.
What I love about it- No more hunting down a dust pan. Seriously… I hate hunting it down. I hate touching it. AND I hate bending down to use the dust pan when I’m sweeping up a mess. This checks all those boxes on things I no longer have to do. I also LOVE the feeling of completion when I no longer have the little line of dirt when I’m done sweeping. Don’t make fun of me, I know I’m not the only one. I hope I’m not at least.
So here’s the deal… I will continue to use Vabroom. And if you can afford it, I highly recommend getting one. It’s a cool gadget, and yes, you can live without it, but do you want to?
With all three boys in school I’m struggling to find a new daily routine, but I am determined to find one that WORKS. I hope that you will join me on my journey, and perhaps leave a comment telling me what you think would be helpful to add to my routine.
My Tentative Routine
5:00- Wake up, have coffee, and write out a to-do list
6:00- Wake up boys, and get them ready for school
6:40- Take the boys to the bus
7:00- Go for a walk/run
8:00- Shower and get dressed
8:30- Take one hour to clean the house
9:30- Work for two hours on printing shirts, embroidering, website work.
11:30- Take a lunch
12:00- Work for an hour
1:00- Take an hour to clean and prep for dinner.
2:00- Work to-do list, get anything done that hasn’t been accomplished, draw, paint, etc.
3:50- Pick up boys from the bus.
4:00- Go through backpacks, and sign any necessary forms.
4:30- Cook supper.
6:00- Have supper with family.
7:00- Lay out clothes for the next day, and go through bedtime routines.
8:30- Have 30 minutes of quiet time to read before bed, go over my to-do list, and check my planner for upcoming events.
To help me stick to my schedule, I am programming it in my phone, and I also have it written as a visual in my planner. Of course, on any given day this is subject to change. This will at least give me a point of reference to put me back on track or keep me from sitting around wondering what I SHOULD be doing.
Wrapping things up
I will check back in after a few weeks and let you all know how it’s going. And I am really hoping that it goes well! Don’t forget to comment below and give me some helpful advice! I would love to hear about your routine, or what you think would be great to add to mine, especially if you think it will help me accomplish my goals!
Until next time, Alicia
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