Thursday, February 28, 2013

Alta Update

Alta Rose had an appointment with her GI yesterday. It was not good news, she has not grown in height or weight since her appointment on December 11. So our next step is to have an upper GI done with a biopsy of her esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. She has been tentatively diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis, until her biopsies prove otherwise. We are also going to see an Allergist to test what she is allergic to.

Coloring while we wait

Depending on the results of endoscopy, she may be hospitalized for a few days with an NG tube to see if she may gain weight with that. If so, then she will come home for a week or two with it and eventually get a G tube for a few years until she can sufficiently gain weight on her own. 

As of now her diagnoses are Failure to thrive (FTT), delayed gastric emptying (DGE), reflux, and food allergies. So many for such a young girl. I specifically asked the GI if there was a chance that she was just a small person and was fine, and the answer was no, there is something going on to cause her to not grow. 

Who is that pretty girl in the mirror?

So that's where she stands. Hopefully we will have answers soon. Please continue praying for her.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Growing Up Chicks!

Last summer, you may remember we were given a mama chicken and her 7 babies. Well 5 of those babies ended up roosters, so we kept one, one disappeared, and the other 3 were given away to be butchered. The remaining 3 hens are doing well. The mama, Fluffy, lays nice big brown eggs, and the her 2 big chicks lay green eggs because their daddy was an Easter Egger, or Ameracauna.

So this year, we bought 9 chicks to raise. Problem? It is 100% different hand raising chicks than having mama do it for you.
Chicks on the way home.
When a chicken has chicks, she provides protection, helps find food and shows them what to eat, and she provides them warmth. Really, all you have to do is take care of the hen and keep her in a safe place, provide food and water, and she will do the rest.
When you are hand raising chicks, you take the place of the hen. You have to provide a safe place for them to live, food, water, and heat. 
Scared to check out their new home
30 gallon tote
We decided to use a 30 gallon tote for their first home. However, they quickly outgrew that humble abode in less than a week, so we moved them into a 50 gallon tote. For the lid, Sam found a wooden frame with wire cloth stapled to it, it fit okay on both totes, so that's what we used for both. The lid not only kept them safe from our dogs and cat and kept them from flying out (side note: they make look feeble, but they can fly when they want!) but it also provided a safe place for their heat lamp to rest. The heat lamp takes the most important place of the hen, it provides warmth for the babies. They started out huddled underneath it, but as they grew they started sleeping on the edge. Soon I will raise it even farther from the cage, and then remove it altogether.  
New bigger tote, you can also see the heat lamp on the left hand side of the picture
For food we use a chick starter from a local feed store. You can buy medicated or unmedicated, I chose unmedicated because there are a few risks associated with medicated feed, and while there are risks with unmedicated feed, I all but eliminated them by keeping the chicks' brooder clean, warm, and dry and keeping the chicks inside. They eat a lot, way more than I thought they would. The 2 weeks we have had them they have eaten half of a 40 pound bag of feed. The feed bowl gets filled around 5 times a day. I will start giving them treats of kitchen scraps in the next week or so, but I have to get them grit to help digest it first. For water, I chose to use a small chick waterer even though that means filling it 5 times a day or more. But even if I got the bigger one, I would still be filling it or cleaning it that much because they poop or kick bedding or food into the water which can make them sick. Plus who wants to drink the water your sibling poo'd in? The first week I added rocks around the tray of water so they couldn't drown, but I removed them  after they were big, strong and smart enough not to drown themselves.

Food and water set up

When the chicks are about 4-5 weeks old we will move them out to the garage into one of those outdoor play yard for kids. Their heat lamp will move with them because it is still quite cold at nights here. Then once they are big enough, around 16-20 weeks we will slowly introduce them to our established flock. Which I'm sure will be another post, as I've never had to to do that either. I am hoping that since there will be more chicks than old chickens, they will get along quite easily, I don't know, safety in numbers? I hope all goes well. Fluffy, our mama hen is still motherly to her own chicks who are a good 8 months old now, so maybe she will have motherly feelings for the babies. I hope so. 

The chicks are getting so tame from being hand raised and go crazy when they hear my voice. As soon as I go to the brooder they run around like mad waiting for me to refill their food and water. I love it. I hope they stay tame. They are a lot more work than I thought they would be, but they are also a lot of fun to watch. The kids absolutely love them. Landon especially likes to help care for them, he already feeds and collects eggs from our big chickens. Our two little ones love to pet and watch them. They are more than farm animals, they are truly pets with personalities of their own. Tomorrow a few get to journey to Landon's school for show and tell, I can't wait to see the kids' faces seeing the chicks.

This Ameracauana baby is the most curious of the bunch.
Isn't this baby Buff Orpington just the poster girl of chicks?
Once this Barred Rock realized I wasn't bringing food, she would not look at the  camera for anything.

Well, the chicks are peeping for their breakfast. Until next time.

(Like this post? It is number 218 on The Prairie Homestead's Barn Hop, head on over to find other blog posts like this one)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

6 Months

In an hour and 40 minutes it will be 6 months since my beautiful mother took her last breath.

6 months, or 26 weeks, or 182 days, since I have been able to tell my mom I love her. It seems like an eternity, but it also seems like yesterday. So much has happened. Parker turned 4, we celebrated Christmas, we turned the page on a new year, a year that she will never see.

Everyday I wake up hoping that this is a dream, that my mom is really still alive and I will be able to talk to her, to touch her, to smell her. And every day that is not the case. The kids still talk about her. Parker still asks if I miss her. The other day my mother in law called, Landon asked which grandma was calling. Not remembering, he only has one grandma now. And even little Alta, who was only 14 months when she died, remembered her when she saw a lady on a scooter in Wal-Mart. Alta quickly looked in the direction of the scooter saying "mawmaw?"

There are so many things that I would have loved to share with her. The way Parker pronounced something, or what Alta can do now, or what Landon is learning in school. I would love to tell her about the baby chicks, since she thought it was so funny and ironic that we had chickens. But she's not there to tell things to anymore. And I have learned to get by without her. I will always miss her, desperately, and I will always wish she was here for me to talk to, but my kids need me there for them 100%. And because of them, life goes on, even without her.

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Monday, February 25, 2013


It has been a while since I did a MLT or Moments Like This

Here are a few:

Landon: "Mommy, there are lots of ice bergs on daddy's car!"

Instead of wanting a "yes" or "no" answer, he asks for a "thumbs up!" or "thumbs down!"

Alta says so many funny things, that shouldn't be funny. Such as her word for "cup" sounds like an inappropriate word for male genitalia. She says "teef" for "teeth" and "binky" for binky and blanket. She also calls everything "awwwww BABY!" She is at an adorable stage of talking.

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Just A Day.

Just a lazy Sunday. All I did today was clean a little. And care for the spawn, of course. Now we are all relaxing in the living room waiting for bedtime, then the fun begins...... Walking Dead tonight. YES!

How is your 20 in 20 going? I've tossed a few toys, a few games, a bunch of paperwork, that sort of thing. I also spent some time on the flylady website and took some of her tips to build a control journal. I am going to start my flylady routine tomorrow. I also got some paint and ribbon to repurpose a chicken wire frame into a bow holder for Alta.  Should be interesting, especially since I'm not very crafty, I just pretend to be.

Our chicks our growing SO fast. Seriously, one day they were little balls of fluff, now they are growing in their real feathers. We already had to move them to a bigger brooder, also known as the biggest rubbermaid on Earth.

See ya tomorrow!

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Friday, February 22, 2013

We Bit the Bullet

And got a new couch. And spent about $1000 more than we thought or wanted to. But the one we got has great reviews and everything we need. And more importantly, it should last for a looooonnnnnggggg time. And it has massage. And reading lights. And recliners. Which we didn't need, but it is still nice. It is going to be delivered next Friday, so I will take pictures and show it off.

It has been a long busy day. And I am tired. Sam is tired. The kids? Not so much. They napped on the way to the furniture store and on the way home, an hour and a half both ways. Such is life.

How is your 20 in 20 challenge going? I will update tomorrow with how I am doing and what I have or haven't thrown out. Until next time...

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

20 in 20

I have a clutter problem. A bad one. So I am going to challenge my self to purge 20 things a day for 20 days. In any room. Just go through with a bag and toss. Or if it is "good" junk, then put in a box for the thrift shop. At the end, that will be 400 things gone. I am starting in the dining room where the paperwork has gone crazy and multiplied. I will re-evaluate after the challenge is over and do another if needed. And so on and so forth.

I think I will challenge the boys to a similar challenge but challenge them to do 5 things a day for 5 days and then repeat until my challenge is done. So a total of 60 toys, books, games missing pieces, scratched DVDs, or junk out of the house or garage. They have so many toys it isn't even funny. At all.

Join me if you wish and leave a comment and tell me how it's going for you.
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What Do You Think?

Thanks to The Cutest Blog on the Block, my blog has a new look. Whatcha think? Oui, Non?

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New Laptop Means...

NEW POSTS!!!! YAY! I know you are all excited. Right? RIGHT?!

My wonderful husband got me a new laptop. How awesome is that? I had no idea he was getting it. He asked what I wanted just for me, I brushed it off with a "oh I don't need anything".  Then a few days later, we were talking and I mentioned a laptop would be awesome so I could blog more and have more pictures on it. He was paying attention, and BAM brought it home last night. I guess that earns him brownie points.

I have an u/s on my gallbladder, which I will be having surgery on. I will spare the details. But afterward, I will work on getting a new look on my blog and work on my first (second if you count this one) post back! No more sporadic posting! Three cheers!!!! No? Well, one cheer, at least?  Ahem. At least be looking for a new fresh look and new posts daily. Until I get bored and find some other excuse not to blog. Just kidding. Kind of.

Oh, and please forgive any typos for a while, it is hard to get use to typing on an actual keyboard again. I have always hated touch screen keyboard, but apparently, I was use to it.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Little Chicks

Our Valentine's Day present to both of us were 9 new baby chicks.

3 buff orpingtons, which is what our mama bird is, 3 americaunas, which is what mama bird's babies are mixed with, and 3 barred rock, which are beautiful chickens when grown. All hens.

When these chicks are grown we will have an even 12 hens and one rooster, Harold. Our other roosters went to the butcher block.

The chicks are living in a rubbermaid tote with a wire cloth and wood top. We have a heating lamp on them as well. They are in our dining room for a month or so, then we will move them into a bigger tote in the garage.

They are so cute and chirpy and are starting to tame. This morning they woke up when I was taking their lid off to give them food and water and instead of cowering in the corner, they ran around my hand, not scared at all.

Three of the yellow ones are the buff orpingtons, the 2 brown ones and one yellow are the americaunas, and the black ones are the barred rocks.