This week on the Homestead...

Greetings fellow country living lovers and blog readers!  

Our Animal Kingdom

This week I all of a sudden have a lot to write about and I'm not even sure where to begin, so first up is...Willow.

Willow is our senior horse. She is 21-years-old, which isn't a "super senior" but she is definitely getting up there in years. 

Some horses Willow's age are still doing and looking pretty good, but that is not quite the case with our old girl. She had a pretty tumultuous life before we brought her home in 2018, and it still shows. My main concerns right now are her teeth and their ability to chew up and grind hay. She is struggling a bit with this but is also picky and sticking her nose up at any soaked or mashed feed I present to her, and yes, she gets senior feed to help compensate, but the forage is still the healthiest and best option. I also need to re-fill a prescription for arthritis pain because she seems sore at times and it makes my heart ache for her!  Watching animals age is harder than witnessing aging humans because at least, we as people, can voice what ails us, unlike our beloved pet companions.

I am hoping to hold off until spring to have a vet out for a farm call, to attend to Willow, but also to the other animals at the same time. We need a round of check-ups, vaccinations, oral care, and diet discussions. Willow has dropped weight this winter and I don't want her weight to dip so low that it will be hard to get back up again. At the same time, she has that arthritis to think about and some hoof problems, so it is actually better to have her underweight than overweight in order to carry all her thousand plus pounds around.  Still, there is a limit to being too thin.

I will go into detail more about Willow and the other animals as we continue into this year.  Please just keep Willow in your prayers and send her some love.  She is pretty special!

Our Human Inhabitants

In other Homestead happenings, our 16-year-old son, Blake, and Travis (Dad) are heading out the door as I type this, to go work on setting up an outdoor paintball course.  One of the neighbors in our tiny town has offered Blake a space for him and his friends to play.  (These particular neighbors I speak of are also fellow animals lovers and I love them so much!) Below are pictures of shelters the guys have set up to hide behind while in the midst of paintball battle.

I am so happy for Blake because this has always been his dream after spending much time in a local  youth group and going to paintball camps, and visiting paintball facilities in the Vancouver/Portland area a few times over the years. Blake has been wanting to get a paintball course set up to enjoy closer to home and more often, especially being as how the past few years have been quite closed off and uneventful for him and some of his friends.

He is going to make a video of this endeavor and his love for paintball in a school assignment, and he is also going to create a business plan as he develops this, so that he can design his own paintball business in the future.

We live in a very rural area where there is not a lot of activities for the local youth, so this is not a bad idea.  It can also be done with masks and social distancing, hah!

Travis and Trevor (age 19) have been working on Trevor's tiny house, or working in their other respective jobs. Travis does some on-line work for a company in Hood River Oregon during the farming "off season", and Trevor works at our little town's market. 

Travis has also been taking some on-line classes to learn how to improve our 3 Corners Farm YouTube channel. One of our goals this year is to better our film making and editing skills, and to just get more information and scenes from our lifestyle out there for other people who want to learn and embark on their own farming or homesteading journey. If nothing else, people might be able to learn how to create their own food garden, bake some bread from scratch, or they might just love to watch the scenery clips from our beautiful area in the great Columbia River Gorge!

Our youngest family member, M.J., (age 13) has been keeping up well with on-line schooling through Oregon Connections Academy and has been spending some overnights with friends.  Her/his life is pretty mellow right now, but in a good way.  He/she is looking forward to spring and earning some money working for our farm.

Making Leaps and Bounds

That brings me

I published my first book on January 3, 2022, right at the New Year! 

If I'm being honest, I'm a bit nervous at what readers will think of it. It is about our story, of how our family got to this little Homestead, but it mainly shares my perspective in how I coped with anxiety and depression through trying to work and survive when the kids were little.  I also have a rare autoimmune disorder and I struggled with some addiction in the past. 

The book is called, "The Power and Healing of Daily Routines by Amy E. Darr. It can be ordered through Amazon as an eBook or in paperback.

And yes, it mostly talks about routines, but that is how I learned to cope. I started with planning and committing to basic daily routines, and through trial and error, found what worked for me. It ended up changing my life!  I would have a completely different outlook on life today (a much more challenging one) if I had made the choice to succumb to any of those past struggles. Instead, I became empowered by sticking to the daily 'actions' of routines that I could accomplish whether I was feeling sick, depressed, or overwhelmed. 

The key word there is 'actions' because these routines encouraged me to get up and DO something to move forward and better my life and my families life.  Even if the actions were small, menial, or repetitive, the effort started to slowly show up in very positive ways! It is also very grounding to work my way through these tasks and small accomplishments each day, which is greatly healing.

I will let you read the book if you would like to, and please, I would really love it if you can offer me feedback. I actually am a big fan of constructive criticism! How will I improve as a writer otherwise?

Feel free to email me at [email protected] or look me up on Facebook under Amy (Gilkerson) Darr.

There is so much more I could share today, but since you are now somewhat caught up, I am going to sign off and get started on housework, animal care, some editing projects, and hopefully going for a walk with my mini pony, Joe.

I have a feeling things are about to ramp up for us if the weather continues to hold out so I'll be back next week to share more.

Until then, stay well, take care, and many blessings!

Amy E. Darr

3 Corners Farm

Mosier, Oregon U.S.A.