Too Many Irons In The Fire

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that my current “to do” list is overwhelming…? Spring is a busy time anyway, but I really heaped a bunch of extra items on the pile this year! And, I broke a promise to myself. Grudgingly, I acknowledged that I’m getting older and I lack the energy and hardiness I once had. Therefore, I vowed to create a new habit: setting realistic goals. I knew when I said it that my commitment was weak…sincere yes, but the resolve was anemic…lacking iron. This promise and I have parted ways before. Maybe if I keep repeating it like a mantra, I’ll finally “get it”…orrr not.

Surely, I’m not alone in this affliction? I have a battleship-sized vision of myself. ‘She’ can do ANYthing she sets her sights on. Later, she gets whittled down to the reality version…the row-boat size. You know the old cliché, “Too many irons in the fire”? That is my motto. The outer me (the one that gets stuck doing the work) is cursed to live with the idealism of the inner me. The latter never seems to learn…and why would she? She’s off daydreaming while I do all the work!
We’re calving now and that all by itself makes Spring our busiest season. Also, we’re finally getting around to re-siding the house and it is not a single mission. Painting follows and new trim. Oh, and then I just gotta have a couple of window boxes – love ‘em! My favorite husband is as bad about creating more work for himself as I am – he decided we need a mudroom that will segway to a covered patio and carport.
As part of the make-over, natural landscaping is needed, but, in order to do that, a large hole (16″ x 12″) must be excavated so I can amend the soil. We live in shale-country – the heaviest clay in the universe. And, of course, I can’t have cool landscaping without a few choice boulders. We’ve got the hole filled with dirt, but now I need to go boulder shopping a’horseback at my friend, Anita’s ranch. She was my shrub shopping companion last weekend (see photo) and she just finished building and landscaping a very natural looking stream and goldfish pond in front of their bermed home!
Moving on…I ordered Buckeye chicks, set to arrive in mid-May. They’re a wonderful heirloom breed – very friendly, mild mannered and tough in cold weather. Nuthin’ doin’, they need a new coop. My little darlings can’t live in just any old shanty…Oh No, they will have a tricked-out “shabby farmgirl” coop…on wheels. I commissioned an elderly carpenter friend and he’s “got game”… smiling and nodding in approval at my request that we use several recycled “junktiques.”
Then, there is the matter of everyday life. Daily chores can’t be neglected. So, my pile of to-do’s now requires mountain climbing gear. I almost forgot to mention that I also make and sell jewelry (at nearby galleries). And, I’m blessed to be a ‘hired hand’ for MaryJanesFarm! My workroom looks the part of a sweatshop more than an artisan’s studio. I covet those perfectly appointed, tidy studios that I’ve seen photos of on blogs. Is mine like that?… Uhhmmm, not so much.
Oh, and how can I forget to mention my new garden project? An old rusted-out 8″ stock tank now resides here. To enhance plain old junk like this tank, ya’ gotta’ ramp it up to the next level so that it can evolve into “Junktique Chic”. The requirements of that metamorphosis involve collecting and fitting it out with all kinds of vintage oddlings. For my artsy stock tank garden, I began by placing an old iron bed in it. In theory, there will be Morning Glories climbing all over the headboard and Sweetpeas on the footboard. I’ll add other fine junk accessories to my “Ma & Pa Kettle” style garden area as I find it. My wonderful mare, Dolly, has carried old tea kettles, enamelware pots and other ‘clang & rattle’ junk tied to my saddle strings. There are a lot of abandoned homesteads on the prairie and they are prime hunting grounds for junk treasures. In my raised garden will be herbs, edible flowers, tomatoes, carrots, beets, lettuce, and peppers. Our place is on the windswept prairie and I’ll be doing good if this group toughs it out. Wish me luck.
Now, onto the matter of breaking horses and another broken promise. Note to self: no more colts. Welllllll, ok, just one. I did keep one aspect of the promise – I farmed “Ribbon” out for the first 30 days of training. My husband has started colts for over 30 years, but he’s busier than I am! Once Ribbon is home after her kindergarten start, I’ll have to keep her education going. That’s ok, I have so little to do – ha. Why do I do this to myself??!! I would find comfort in hearing of survivors of this addiction. Hellooo, are you out there? I recently read that a frustrated fool will do the same dumb thing over and over again and yet somehow expect different results. Ow, I fear that I am a perfect fit. But, I must like it, as I do this to myself time and time again…year after year.

Actually, I got off to a late start. I want to make up for lost and wasted time. In my youth, being a perfectionist at heart (a real & true curse), I too often failed to take hold of my dreams, due to a fear of failure. It took this farmgirl a long time to learn that failing is part of the package in life. So What if you fail. Pick yourself up, grab your dream and stand on the gas pedal, honey! When they put me in a casket, I want to be thrown into it after having come to a gravel-spitting sideways stop. In my cold dead hand, I hope there will be my version of a “bucket list” in progress. I’d rather go out being busy than sitting in a rocker, waiting for the end.

  1. Cindy says:

    Oh Sherry…

    I would come and help you in a heartbeat! I need to get back to ranch living, it’s my very lifeblood. I miss it sooo much. Beautiful pictures, beautiful jewelry too. Now, sit down and have yourself a nice big glass of lemonade, kick off your boots while your at it. I’ll bring a blueberry pie!

  2. Heather Hansen says:

    Wow, you always have great stories to write about life out in the country and your photos are always wonderful 🙂 🙂 I confess I don’t know much since I live in an apartment 🙂 🙂 BUT, you do give a girl hope 🙂 🙂 For me, I’ve been making a list of all sorts of to-do projects for the home…making valances, curtains etc. I keep putting it off. Today I put off doing something crafty because the sun is shining outside and well, in Southern Oregon…you just have to enjoy it while you can 🙂 🙂 🙂
    I really identified with what you talked about in your younger years – the fear of failure. I think there’s a lot of experiences I have probably missed out on because of that. However, I am just going to go for anything and everything that interests me and trust God to work out the details. Thanks for sharing that with me and all of us other readers 🙂 🙂 Have a blessed weekend 🙂 🙂 Lots of greetings and sunshine from Oregon 🙂

  3. Mary Anne says:

    Dear Shery,
    How about pondering "what’s one small thing that would make my busy-ness easier and fun"? The smaller the step the better! So small that it’s barely visible on the radar, I’ll bet that you can come up with an option! Love all the pictures, we have 8 new chicks this year and my husband just loves them!

  4. Debbie says:

    Oh my gosh Shery! What a hoot you are…! This post is so me and every other " day dreamin, creative minded, can do kind of gal and guy I have ever known, myself included! I had to chuckle as I read through your list of " to do"’s". It’s a mighty long one and clearly a sign that spring has finally sprung. Clearly you are on full alert and ready to tackle all those great ideas and plans you’ve been brooding over all winter long! Rest assured, you are not alone! I do the same thing! Let’s see if I can make you feel better about your list.
    Here’s mine: The kids talked me into ordering 4 baby chicks to add to our little flock of 4 that has whittled it’s way down from 8 over the last 5 years. The Little Red Hen House is all done and had a fresh coat of paint last spring, but the " babies" will have to be babied indoors for several weeks as you know with a heat lamp etc. Then there is the new/old Moon Patio my hubby dug the grass out for two springs ago so we could make a patio from recycled granite pieces of stone! Love the idea don’t you? Can’t you just picture us sitting around a roaring fire singing camp fire songs? We have! In the dirt! We’ve gotten as far as choosing the stone for the patio and the rock for the half- moon shaped retaining wall. It’s muscle time now! We are both hopeful and wondering if this is the year it will come to pass! When I blog about it it will be titled " No Great Thing Happens Suddenly". Of course I want to get the veggie garden in, add that small section of Picket Fencing and a gate. " I’m the gal who wrote " A’ Pinin for Pickets" for the Picket Fence Dreams issue of MJF! I HAVE TO MAKE THAT DREAM REAL THIS YEAR! I have promised myself! What kind of a farm girl would I be if I let that one slip away another season? Veggie gardens, and of course I would love a few new raised beds for more cutting flowers and herbs. Who wouldn’t? Mothers day is right around the corner and I take after my mom when it comes to getting all excited about a new project! We are in the process of a total make over of her three season porch! Yep, new paint on the floor and walls and I’m going to paint up a little trash to treasure table for her too! Hope to have it completed by May 31st because that’s when beach season starts and I’ll be spending more time at our summer cottage (that means what ever I didn’t get done by then at home goes on next years list)! I won’t even go into the Cottage list. Then there’s my blog which is all about sharing my inspirations and creative re- purposing projects! I only show the finished pretty projects of course! Have I mentioned I’ve been homeschooling our two children for 10 years?

    If there is a cure for this affliction, I want nothing to do with it! I would rather be thinking and dreaming and making the life of my choosing than doing nothin’ at all! Like you, my mind seems to be much more active than my 48 year old body wants to be but that doesn’t stop the ideas from coming! I keep telling my husband. I need a TEAM!

    One of my favorite uncle’s always says " You can sleep when your dead" … and that is what I intend to do!
    Thank you for sharing your amazing list of dreams and projects! I feel so much better now! Don’t you?


  5. Sally Freeman says:

    Dear Shery,
    Oh my! You are having more fun than a barrel of monkeys I think! Your blog is a very fun read and the pictures are awesome! Just remember some of God’s greatest gifts, are unanswered prayers!


  6. Oh Shery,
    You really are "busier then a 1 armed wall paper hanger" lol!
    But ya know what they say, better be busy than bored!
    We only have 5 acres and that lil 5acres of dirt keeps me busy & loving it!

  7. Bonnie says:

    You GO girl………but you really got this "farmin’ thing all wrong" what we need to do is "farm" out certain chores so we can have more time lol to do the things we like best. This worked great when the crew was home but hard to do. But I’m with you, I want to ride into the sunset with my bucket list in my cold hand. Have fun! Bonnie

  8. Brenda says:

    I know how you are feeling. I have way too many things lined up and I know I will carry some over to next year. I made a list and hung it on the fridge last spring and was surprised how much hubs and I got done. But there were a few things left that have been added to this year’s list that is just as long. And that list does not include all the sewing, crocheting and other crafts that I think I just need to start when I think of them. But hey, life would be boring if we did not try some of the things our minds are shoving at us daily. Our chicks are due this week. So excited they are our first. Hubs built a new hen house and I have just finished gathering all the supplies needed to start them out. Keep the irons in the fire because it will keep you young!

  9. Christine says:


    I love your blog! The pictures are beautiful, the writing in clever and the content is always interesting. I feel like this entry could be a description of me as well. I am always finding new and exciting projects to work on but like you my mind schedules more than, many times, what my body can handle. I always said that when it’s my time to go, I want to be able to say…"been there, done that, you can take me now!"

  10. Cora Jo says:

    Shery, Wow! Like reading my journal! I’m hoping for a small addition to our little house so I can have an actual sewing/spinning/craft room…first roof work and the kitchen and bathroom and, oh, yeah, the ceiling in the hallway…How about the garden? Wellll…on it goes. Had an email from our son who is living in our non-electric house homestead. He sent a picture of his new wood-hauler…bicycle hooked to a long cart…oh, it’s good to pass it on. Thanks for a great job reminding us all how life is lived, really lived. You rock. cora jo

  11. Just found your blog today and I am loving it! I went to a friends to help them with their greenhouse and she handed me the magazine and said you have to check it out. So many great ideas and topics. So I had to jump right on my daughter’s computer and check out your blog. I began blogging about my farm in January and have met so many wonderful people. Plan on adding you to my blog list, you have a wonderful blog site.

  12. Vicki says:

    I used to have an endless mental to do list and it gets bigger and bigger. I used to rush from task to task trying to cross that particular task off my list. The end result was exhaustion. Now that I’m older, you have to stop and relax and enjoy the task at hand. Sometimes you have to remind yourself to enjoy what you are doing, even if it just "washing dishes".

  13. Tash says:

    I can commiserate with you…I’m hatching goslings, turkeys and chickens. The cows need to be wormed, 2 horses need breaking, the goat needs to be milked. I homeschool 3 children. The dog needs a haircut. The hayfield needs to be cut.
    My husband was a little over-zealous with the size of the vegetable garden this year…wondering how I’ll have the time to can all the produce when it all comes in.
    I do love reading your blog, I know I’m not the only slightly insane farmgirl around!

  14. carol branum says:

    Hi Shery, I don’t know about you, but,I am just tired. Maybe, I need an iron supplement! Like you, I have too many irons in the fire. Love the photos. Love the blog, keep it up. blessed be, Carol Branum

  15. RanchFarmgirl says:

    Hi all you kind-hearted farmgirls! Thank you again for your wonderful comments and for taking the time to offer feedback. Let me respond to a few comments/questions that you emailed me about.

    #1. I ordered my Buckeye chicks via a nearby livestock supply store that is owned by a poultry fancier and judge of many years. I don’t know which hatchery she ordered them from, but I do know that Meyer’s Hatchery offers Buckeyes. . Also, there are smaller breeders that sell eggs and chicks on eBay. If you ‘Google’ Buckeye chicks for sale, you’ll have a good response there too from small farm producers…especially because this is PRIME time for chicks.

    #2. In regards to ‘perfectionism’…it is an affliction that never goes away, but you can learn to work with it and ‘get happy’ with being an average human being capable of doing what an average human being can do in a day’s time. Learning to be content with ‘good enough’ is not a let down, it is a blessing. There is a balance that can be had in this: Never be satisfied with where you are, but be content where you stand. That is an attitude that pushes you forward and helps you achieve your goals. The latter lets you enjoy the process rather than miss the joy enroute. This way you get to appreciate where you are right now and the destination too…when you get there. Nuff said.

    #3. In response to inquiries about my jewelry. I did have a website, but it was massive chore to maintain. So, I went back to ‘local sales’ and doing a few shows. If anyone has an interest, I can send you photos and availability. Thank you kindly for asking. MaryJane will be wearing a few pieces and I’m thrilled about it – as you might imagine.

    And, lastly to Mary…Yep, MaryJane has the same effect on all of us who flock to her publications. Some visionaries are ahead of their time or behind, but MaryJane was right on time and she is meeting the needs of so many of us…so much so that we eagerly took hold of the ‘farmgirl’ label – immediately feeling like kindred spirits. Speaking of busy, MaryJane would drag me to death. She either has a clone or she doesn’t sleep. :o) She is more than an inspiration. I don’t have just the right word for her, but until I can think of what it is…THANK YOU will have to do. Somehow, she managed to return to me some of my youthful enthusiasm and refreshed my willingness to stay in the game. Arthritis had done a number on my attitude – my spirit was pretty wilty when a friend intro’d me to MJF magazine. The Lord works in mysterious ways …and in how he puts His love for us to work. He can reach down into our lives through the hearts and hands of fine folks around us. People like MaryJane put into practical application the word ‘blessing’. Maybe THAT is the word I was searching for. Yes, indeedy, it is a perfect fit.

  16. marylou harper says:


  17. I hear you. I sometimes catch my own backside coming around a corner. We worked our cattle over the weekend, and have been trying to keep up with the vegetable garden, and the regular house chores, and there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

  18. RanchFarmgirl says:

    Hi Donna, you can contact me privately at Thank you for asking. Shery

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