Monday Memories: A Journey of Pictures

The mission trip in 2003 where I met, my would-become-husband, Jonathan for the first time.
Visiting a reservation in Escanaba to work with the children. They blessed me more than I ever could have blessed them.
The day I married my best friend.
Our first real Christmas tree.
Hosting our First Halloween Party
Touring England for the second time with my British sister, Joanna.
My first baby, Isabella Joy.
Experiencing Seattle, Washington with family, Connie and Christian.
Attending my first Murder Mystery Party in character.
Our first two chickens we adopted, Tiffany and Lily. The coop wasn’t finished so they lived in our downstairs bathroom for two days.
Yearly camping trips with the family in a tent!
Dressing up and trick-or-treating with my sister, Carmen, and our kiddos.
Remembering my two babies in Heaven, Shiloh and Selah, born after Isabella.
A healthy boy, Gabriel Jonathan born in 2010.
First time to Pentwater and touring Storybook Village.
My first interactive story lesson where I taught children how to use their imaginations and write a story with me.
The first performance I have done with my husband. We were Lucy and Ricky Ricardo.
The release party for my first published book, The Magic Snow Globe.

So many fond memories and many more pictures I couldn’t show today. These are simply highlights of the many blessed years God has given me so far.

In the Trenches: Another Day on the Farm

Today we tackled the big project of replacing the perforated drain tiles. Finding the old tiles and digging the trenches is no little feat, let me tell you. It’s takes a strong man, (a.k.a my husband), and a tough assistant, (a.k.a me). It also takes a big butt trencher that we rented. And with all these factors added together for success…eight hours later, the project still isn’t done.

Our land has a natural spring that runs under our house, so when we built two years ago, the builders directed the water toward the back of our property. We then dug a small pond for the water to flow into for our flock of chickens. However, the pond would be fuller if the builders hadn’t used perforated tiles. Hence, today’s project.

IMG_3157

We have blisters. We have sore backs. And our feet ache. But what can I say, it’s just another day on Cordero Family Farm. And it will continue again tomorrow.

IMG_3159

IMG_3158

Merry Christmas from the Cordero Family and Our Elf

Today is Christmas!!! Last night, our elf prepped the other animals by reading Twas the Night Before Christmas. I think they really enjoyed it.

My family wishes you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Blessings to you all.
IMG_0990 IMG_0992

Monday Story: Like a Chicken With Its Head Cut Off

IMG_5671

It was a hard winter for my chickens, and I had three girls in quarantine in my bathroom basement due to faulty vents (The place where eggs come out was swollen and bleeding). I had two hens in cardboard boxes and one in the stand-up shower. I was doing everything in my power to nurse these hens to health: Sitz baths, rubbing peroxide and vaseline on their bottoms, wheat diet, keeping them warm, and limiting the light in the room so they wouldn’t lay as many eggs. This continued for over a week, and my bathroom was stinky. The girls seemed to have improved, but the moment I returned them to the chicken coop, their condition declined again. Moreover, chickens are crazy, if a hen shows signs of sickness, the others will attack it. So now my three ill hens were in worse shape than before.

In the end, my husband and I had to make a tough call. We had to put the sick hens down. Trouble was, we still lived in the city, so we were going have to do the deed in the garage. My husband set up a chopping block and sharpened the ax.

I picked up Lola and gave her a hug goodbye. I held her still on the block, and my heart raced inside my chest. My husband swung the ax and missed. He swung again, but the blade must not have been sharp enough. A couple more whacks, and her head still wasn’t off but she seemed dead. He put her upside down in a 5 gallon bucket to drain out but then she started flapping around. I screamed, “She’s not dead! You didn’t do it right!” Tears streamed down my face. “Do something!”

He pulled her out of the bucket and set her back on the block. This time he actually got the head off, but Lola jolted and slipped out of his grasp. She fell onto the floor and sprang off the pavement, nearly as high as my shoulder.

I screamed, cried, and ran around the garage to avoid the jumping chicken.

After several hops, she finally fell down still.

My heart was pounding so hard, and my eyes were bulging in horror. I couldn’t believe that had just happened.

I turned to my husband. “You need to sharpen that ax.”

 

The New Cordero Family Flock

Over the last year and a half, our flock has changed due to old age, sickness, and the addition of new chicks. So today, I’d like to introduce you to our current flock of chickens.

IMG_9193
VELVET

Velvet – She is a sixth-month-old Black Australorp hen. Her name is derived from the look and texture of her feathers. She is a total beauty. Currently, she has an itch to become a mother, and hoards eggs below her in the nest box hoping that they will hatch. Trouble is that we butchered the rooster three months ago so none of the eggs are fertilized and won’t ever become baby chicks. I’ve tried to reason with her and have pushed her out of the nest box several times, but the truth isn’t sinking through her thick feathers. Nevertheless, I admire her determination even if it’s a complete misguided nonproductive unfruitful attempt at success.

IMG_9274
COCO CHANEL

Coco Chanel- She is another gorgeous Black Australorp hen who is best buddies with Velvet. Her feathers show nicely like a little black dress. She enjoys strolling around the pasture looking for bugs.

IMG_9286
HELGA

Helga – She is one fiery dame. She’s got enough attitude for the entire house of hens. And she’s a finger pecker. It’s painful. I’ve given up on showing her attention.

IMG_9389
ROSALINA

Rosalina “Rosa” – Rosa is a Rhode Island Red and best friends with Helga. She is a skittish girl but lays eggs like a champ!

IMG_9351
BLONDIE

Blondie – Named after the female rock singer and for her blonde feathered butt. She’s a year and a half old Buff Orpington who lays light brown eggs.

IMG_9382
GRETCHEN

Gretchen – She is my favorite girl. She is sweet as a sugar cookie and likes to be petted and held! When we go into the pen, she’s the first to greet us. I love you, Gret!

IMG_9279
JOSEPHINA

Josephina “Josie” – Josie is a special girl, and she’s a walking miracle. About five months ago, she developed a limp. Chickens don’t usually recover from a limp. The hen’s health will decline, and the other hens will gang up on it. We monitored Josie daily, and I prayed for her. Slowly, the limp healed and now she’s perfect. God does care about the small things! And He loves his creation.

IMG_9361
GINGER

Ginger – She is the number two in the henhouse line-up. She has just as much strut as Ginger on Gilligan’s Island.

IMG_9207
ARETHA

Aretha – She is Queen of the Chicken Castle. She leads the flock of girls, and they all know it. Her breed says it all: She’s a Black Star. And that’s the truth, she’s the star of the show.

 

#EggLayingHens #Chickens #FamilyFarm

Taking Care of the Garden and Gimpy

IMG_8173

My two kids and I had a diverse night. It started with thinning rows in the garden and ended with giving a hen a sitz bath.

We planted a variety of veggies and fruits in our 16 x 60 garden. We have modeled our garden after Paul Gautschi’s “Back to Eden Organic Gardening.” You can check it out via http://www.backtoedenfilm.com/how-to-grow-an-organic-garden.html.

Below is a picture detailing the layers we did to prepare our garden. First, we laid newspaper to kill the grass and prevent weeds. Second, we spread a 2 inch layer of compost onto of the newspaper, followed by 3 inches of wood chips and a sprinkling of manure. My neighbor who owns a huge cow farm across the road was so kind as to bring a scoop of manure over with his John Deere. Bless his heart! Nothing like free manure for the garden.

8893599_orig

It has been a real learning process doing our garden this year and its far from perfect. We chose the absolute worst spot on our land to put it. We didn’t know that until the first bad rainstorm and half the garden was washed out in places. The water likes to run through the middle of the garden. So we dug trenches around the outskirts and through the center of the lower half. Its looks completely redneck, but its working. We planted sweet corn, cucumber, carrots, spinach, lettuce, green onions, sweet onions, bell peppers, summer squash, dark zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes, golden zucchini, cantaloupe, and watermelon. I got real fancy and marked the rows with rocks that I labeled with a black sharpie.

IMG_8164

IMG_8138

IMG_8160

In the meantime, we are doing maintenance. Tonight, Bella helped thin out the row of cucumbers. She continued to ask, “What can I pull next?” Gabriel didn’t bother to ask, he was proactive and started to pull on his own. Cute little bugger.

Afterwards, we had to deal with Josefina, my gimpy hen.

IMG_8156

Two days ago, I went outside to check on the girls. All the hens and ducks came running up to say hello. (They’re hoping for treats.) Poor little Josie was limping up the back forty, trying to reach me. She had to stop several times to catch her breath. I hoped it wasn’t anything major and gave it a little time. But gimpy isn’t getting better. After a google search, I found that a chicken limp can mean three things: a stroke, a lodged egg, or a pulled muscle. Either way, there’s not much that can be done, except a warm bath, massage to loosen a bound egg, and baby aspirin for a tender muscle. We started with phase one. THE BATH. I poured warm water and salt into a 5 gallon bucket and put Josie in. I think she liked it. I massaged her belly and checked her all over.

IMG_8167

IMG_8168

Tomorrow if there’s no improvement, I’ll give the aspirin. I hope she’ll be okay. I like my Josefina. She’s a sweet little girl. My kids think so too!

Nine Years Married

johns weeding 207
June 18, 2005

Today marks the 9th anniversary, since my husband and I said “I do.”

And since then, we’ve continued to say I do. I do take you as my best friend to explore and adventure life together, no matter what we face, let’s do it together! In nine years, we have already shared many adventures. Today, I’ll highlight a few.

cake

Our first quest took us to Kauai in 2005 where we kayaked rivers, tubed down irrigation ditches, went off-roading in mud buggies, discovered some native hotspots for eating, and conquered Hanakapiai Falls. The hike to the falls was crazy. The sun was going down, we didn’t catch the group with a tour guide, but we managed to follow the overgrown trails to the waterfall and back out before it was completely dark.

hiking two

hiking

We bought our first house on Mix Street in Bay City, Michigan in 2005 where we both worked on staff at a church. The house was built in 1952 and needed work. We loved it. Even though the basement flooded in 2007 from the sewer drain. We were ankle deep in brown water, toilet paper, and poo.

mix st before
BEFORE
MIX AFTER
AFTER

MIX STREET HOUSE

We journeyed through California in 2008 doing ministry work, but also having a lot of fun!

HPIM0807
Newport Beach, CA

We toured through England with my dear friend, Joanna and her husband, who are residents of Ipswich. Joanna and I first met during a school exchange program to England in 2002 where her family hosted me. They will forever be my English family!

IMG_0769
London’s Tower Bridge, 2008
DSCN1099
Posing with the Police in London

 

IMG_0991
Sir and Madam of Warwick Castle

 

IMG_1075
Stonehenge

In 2009, we started a very new journey, adding to our family! I became pregnant with my daughter in June 2009. And three months into the pregnancy, we traveled to Costa Rica for a missionary trip and to see Jonathan’s family.

HPIM1527
Jonathan and I with his Auntie
HPIM1528
Posing with Jonathan’s cousin and his wife
IMG_0214
Church Valentine’s Banquet, two days before I delivered!

My baby girl was born on February 14, 2010. Our adventures continued with our trio. We went to Seattle, Washington!

IMG_2749

IMG_2823

IMG_2902

Since then, we added three more beautiful children to our Cordero clan. Two are being cared for in Heaven and our son, Gabriel is here, making sure Bella knows what its like to have a brother pull her hair.

Now our family is pursuing a life-dream adventure. The country life. We built a home on land and are moving toward a self-sustaining lifestyle with hobby farming.

IMG_6773

IMG_6789

The best part of this story is simple: I did it with my true love, Jonathan Cordero. I can’t wait to see what the future holds; I know it will be great as long as I’m with him.

 

 

Clipping Chicken Wings

IMG_8073

Wing clipping is necessary when you don’t want the backyard hens and ducks flying all over, especially into the neighbors’ garden.

I have trimmed the flight feathers on my older chickens about a year ago, but the ducks and new hens have not yet been clipped. It didn’t become a problem until my neighbors planted their veggies, and my naughty ducks decided they wanted to taste test. My neighbor’s have even put up a fence, but my determined ducks are flying over it. So today I put a stop to that. They got clipped. Donald and Quackers put up a protest, but I finally won. My arm did get some battle scars in the process. It is better to tag-team with a partner when clipping, but when I set my mind to something, I get the job done.

IMG_8067

Clipping involves using sharp scissors to cut off the first ten flight feathers of one wing. It causes a bird to lack the balance needed for flight but lasts only until new feathers grow during the next molt, which may be a few months in young birds or up to a year for older ones. A potential problem is that clipped feathers may not readily fall out during the molt, requiring your assistance.

wingclipping

Wing clipping doesn’t hurt the bird, and isn’t noticeable when they are walking around. The primary flying feathers are hidden underneath when the wings are folded. Also, the flying feathers are easy to pick out — often a different color than the rest. Make sure to use a SHARP scissors.

IMG_8062
Two flight wings I need to clip.
IMG_8074
Completed clipping
IMG_8068
The ducks are all clipped and heading to the pond to decompress.

REFERENCE: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-clip-trim-the-wings-of-your-chicken-to-prevent-flight

The Creative Touch

IMG_7978

Am I partial, absolutely, but its for good reason. Changing Thymes, located in Grandville, Michigan, recently welcomed a new booth into their store. It’s called The Creative Touch. It’s a special booth because not only are there sweet knick knacks and collectibles, but there’s a variety of handcrafted and hand painted items. Who is the painter, you ask? Her name is Cindy Overbeek. She is my mother, and I’m proud of that.

My mother has been painting for over thirty years and has traveled both in and out of state doing arts and craft shows. Her paintings cover a wide range: still-lifes, signage, realism, florals, chic, and more. The pieces also vary in size and style. Within my home, I have many of my mother’s painted pictures and furnishings.

Cindy is a gifted artist and has a sharp eye for detail. Below are current pictures from her booth. I encourage you to check out The Creative Touch today! (Located in the left wing of the building)
2900 Wilson, Grandville, Michigan 49418

IMG_7982

IMG_7985

IMG_7989

 

IMG_7983

IMG_7986

 

 

The Mermaid Mom

Yesterday was a holiday so I didn’t post the usual Monday Morning Joke. So today I have a humorous story for you instead.

Ever since my daughter watched Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” she has wanted to play mermaids. That’s where I come in. I’ve been drawing several mermaid paper dolls for her. So many that we’ve lost count. Below is a few of them. As you can see, they are all the typical fit and thin Barbie looking dolls. Which got me thinking? Why not show her something more real.

IMG_7872

That’s when I drew this: The Mermaid Mom.

IMG_7876

Proud as I could be, I said to my daughter, “Look I drew a new doll for you. She’s a very important mermaid.”

My daughter looked at the doll. Her face scrunched up in confusion or disgust, I’m not sure, and she said, “What’s wrong with her?”

I laughed. “Nothings wrong with her. Her body isn’t like the other mermaids because she’s the one who gave birth to the baby mermaids. She’s the mom.”

My daughter’s face lit up. “Ohhhh, she’s the mom. I like her. Thanks.” She took the doll from me, suddenly happy as raccoon in a trashcan.