Welcome to Antler Valley Farm

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June is upon us

June always sneaks up on us and then….Boom! It’s June all of a sudden. This year was no different. We worked most of May on Maleah’s graduation so June was here before we ever realized it. Once June is here though we love all the outside activities and water fun to cool off.  Well, let the good times roll!

This year June came in blazing hot. Record setting hot temperatures made it a bit difficult to get a lot done in the heat of the day but we managed to get a few things done before we jumped in the pool every afternoon.  At least, most days we got a little work done…. Hey, we tried! But it was HOT!!

The pool is a life saver after a hot day of work. I have no idea what Maylin is doing in this picture! I never know about that one… Haha!

Sadly, Little Jethro Flash decided he needed some extra snuggle time or something. He tore his cruciate ligament of all things. To prevent a very expensive surgery, we had to keep him in his crate almost 24/7 for a few weeks. He was not the happiest of puppies but his leg did heal and then I was happy we didn’t have to fork over an obscene amount of money for surgery. Of course, he had to get hurt the week that Jim was working out of town so everything was a little crazy. That’s just the way it always works, isn’t it?  Yep.  Always. 

Jim landed a huge job almost 2.5 hours away from home. The job was a really well paying job that would take him almost 4 days to complete so it just made sense for him to get a hotel and stay up there. The kids missed Jim like crazy so we did a little work and had a little fun everyday to keep their minds off of missing him.  And yes, I missed him like crazy too!  

Some of that fun included teaching my kids to have a staring contest. Let me just say that I am horrible at this! I mean really horrible. So, my kids loved it!! Cam can make me laugh in 1 second flat. Look at that face!! It’s over before it ever starts!
Maylin is ALWAYS ready for a staring contest. She is a master at it too. She never blinks or flinches so obviously she wins everytime.

One of the projects that we completed in June was a new mobile chicken coop for all the new chicks we had that needed a bigger home. The idea was to put all 21 chicks in here together and put up a portable electric fence that would allow us to move them to fresh grass every few days.  Let me just say that this has worked out better than I could have ever imagined! 

The chicks loved their new home! They surprised us by being able to fly up the top roosts on the first night. When I went to check on them, I nearly had a heart attack because I thought they were all gone! When I opened the door I saw all of them quietly sleeping in the top roosts. Whew! That shaved a few years off my life.

These flighty little Leghorns are named Bird Brain #1, #2 and #3 because that’s what they are. Seriously, these ladies drive me crazy with their acrobatic maneuvers! I built them this lovely coop complete with 4 different roosts so they can spread out. And they want to fly on top of the coop??? Oh, no! I am currently researching how to clip a bird’s wing so they can’t fly. Yeah, that will show them whose’s boss.  Maybe….

The new, expensive, portable, expensive, electric, expensive fence for the ladies didn’t work so well. Did I mention that it was expensive? Yeah, sorry. We ended up having to buy a second one AND a new fence charger. My bright ideas don’t always work out so well…  However, the second electric fence worked like a charm.  It even eliminated the problem of those flighty Leghorns trying to fly over the fence.  That makes me so happy!

The barn was completed in May and we finished leveling up the inside and added sand as a top layer. I’m not a huge fan of concrete in barns so I opted for a dirt and sand floor. Jim thinks I’m crazy but…Hey, it’s who I am! I won’t go into my reasoning for not liking concrete in a horse barn because Jim says I get carried away. So, I won’t get started.  But I am loving my barn regardless!

Once the barn floor was level we had to concrete posts for the stalls and the tack room. Maylin was a huge help. She is an expert at watching the string level. And she demands absolute silence!! It was hilarious!!

This is a few hours later. Thankfully Maylin didn’t demand complete silence from Jim the whole time. He couldn’t handle it!!
Camden brought along Groot and Rocket to help with the barn. Or maybe it was for our safety? Either way, they entertained him and us when they popped up in odd places.
Jim and his Dad spent a few days working on the tack room floor. And boy was it hot. Thankfully, the double sliding doors at both ends of the barn allowed a lovely breeze to blow through the barn.
I have a tack room!! I am sooooo excited about this!! We have to get the electric installed and wait for the inspection. Then we can finish it up. The stalls are ordered and will be here around the middle of July. I hope we will be ready by then….. Let me look at my checklist..  Nope, not a chance I’ll have be caught up by then.  That’s just how we roll though.  
Maylin found this HUGE buttefly one afternoon. It was spectacular! Jim is holding it in this picture.
Camden LOVED playing in this dirt pile while we worked in the barn. He is ALL boy all the time. And I LOVE IT!!!
Welcome to Camden’s happy place!!! This is Camden playing in the sand pile we used to level up the barn. He was not so happy when we actually used the sand in the barn. Yes, we did leave him a small pile to play with. I mean, we kinda had to or he would have been a very difficult boy to live with.
He’s a happy, happy boy when his shoes come off and his toes go in the dirt.
This is the torrential rains we had in June. Obviously we didn’t get a lot of work done…. I was apparently not the easiest person to live with since we weren’t getting work done… Sorry!!
The rains might have messed up my work plans but Camden had a whole new playground of mud to play in. This was the beginning picture….the after picture wasn’t taken because he had stripped off all his clothes and was running around naked while completely covered in mud. It was funny!

Thankfully, we had gutters installed on the barn just before the heavy rains came. Hmmm, I just realized I don’t have a picture of the barn with the gutters. Oh, well. If you’ve seen one gutter you’ve seen them all, I guess.

The mud, dirt, and sand never gets old when you’re a boy.

So, I mentioned that we tried to get work done in June. Jim actually took 2 weeks off work to get things done around the farm. The first week was spent working on the tack room mostly, so the kids and I worked on the fields and other chores.

I absolutely love having the kids with me, helping me, exploring and learning stuff with them.   They kinda keep me together and keep me being me.  Love them!

 

I also love being able to turn around after working in the fields on a hot, humid morning and having the pride and satisfaction of knowing that we have done this as a family.  We have taken this wooded property and turned it into these beautiful pastures!  And we aren’t done yet! 

Maylin loves to help but she also loves to explore.  She always finds the neatest things for us to learn about!

 

My girls are almost always beside me learning to put up and repair fencing.  I say “repair” because we have some very lazy deer who haven’t figured out how to jump over the fence yet.  They seem to want to go through the fence.  Those crazy deer need some jumping lessons!

 

This was the last of the perimeter fence for now.  The last gate!  Now we have almost 40 acres fenced in and divided into 5 pastures.  The kids and I were so excited!  Now we can start looking for cows while we finish the strand of electric.  Whoo-hoo!!!  

I love, love, love these kids more than they will ever know!  Sometimes I just hang back and watch them together and pray that I never these moments.

One of the perks of working on a farm. You get to snuggle your critters while you work!
While we worked on the fencing we kept finding these wild irises in different places. So, we dug them all up and trasnplanted them in our flowerbeds at the house so we could enjoy their beauty.

 

Our flower beds at the house included these other flowers that we dug up from banks and at the old house site.
These purple beauties were one of my favorites.
For some reason, our dogs loved the yellow flowers and kept trying to eat them. This might have been the only yellow flower to survive this summer. Crazy, huh?
As you can see, we had such a beautiful array of flowers from all over the farm. I loved them!

 

Maleah’s turkey eggs in her new incubator.

Maleah has been wanting turkeys for so long now.  So she saved her money and went for it.  First, we tried to order turkey poults from the feed store but that didn’t go so well.  They kept putting us off.  For 4 months!  That kinda exhausted my patience so we bought a new incubator specifically for turkey eggs and ordered a dozen heritage breed turkey eggs through the mail.  Turkey eggs are quite delicate and hard to hatch so we hoped for at least a 50% hatch rate after shipping through the mail.  Well….. 

The shipment of eggs had some problems finding their way to us.  They arrived a day late and then we struggled with the thermometers and humidity in the new incubator.  Great, just great.   Two days after the eggs arrived we noticed the egg turner was no longer working.  What???  We removed it and ran to the store to replace it.  Less than 2 days later the same thing happened again so I called the manufacturer.  That was a frustrating phone call to say the least.  Even though the box said turkey eggs they don’t recommend it for turkey eggs due to the larger size of the turkey eggs.  But it says turkey eggs on the box!  Nope, not their problem.  So, it became my problem and Maleah and I had to commit to turning turkey eggs every 4-6 hours for 28 days.  How fun.  (That was definitely sarcasm!)

When we finally candled these eggs and saw that 6 of them were forming despite all the problems, I was over the moon exicted. And exhausted.

The end of June is always exciting for Maleah.  It’s her birthday, of course!  We try to let the kids where they want to go and do on their birthdays.  Maleah chose the Greenville Zoo so off we went.

Maleah on her 19 birthday! The elephants aren’t there anymore but the memorial to them is awesome!
This was Maleah in the same spot celebrating her 7th birthday. Maleah loved the elephants and we would spend hours at the zoo just watching them. It was so sweet that Maleah wanted to go their again for her 19th birthday!

 

June was a crazy, busy, hot month, but it was also a beautiful, family memory filled gift. I love this life and the people in it!

 

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