WELCOME to Functional Rustic! Thanks for Stopping by. Reward yourself by seeing all that Functional Rustic has to offer. Explore Handmade Rustic Decor in the Store, Try a DIY Tutorial, Read Inspirational Quotes & Visit the Muscovy Ducks. So much to experience!
Originally published March 7, 2018. Updated August 8, 2018.
I’ve started my own DIY blog but I don’t know how often I should post my tutorials. Right now I have a lot of time on my hand because its too cold to work in the barn. (That’s a lie. I mean, it is 20 degrees….but I could easily bundle up and start breaking down pallets and building things. But it is the excuse I’m using today) Because I’m not building all day I have more time to write.
The extra time has enabled me to start the Functional Rustic blog that talks about my day to day obstacles and successes while starting my own DIY business.
(UPDATE: when I first published this piece 5 months ago my blog was called My Repurposed Life. However, someone else already has a trademark on that name. I did not know about her trademark until I had published several blogs under that title. I had to go back and edit every link I had that used her trademarked name. She was really nice about it. I saw the error and informed her of my mistake and my plans to remedy the situation long before she knew I even existed. However, if you ever see something from Functional Rustic that also promotes my original My Repurposed Life blog, please let me know so I can delete the link. But learn from my mistakes when you start your blog and do your research before you publish. She too published tutorials – check ’em out here.)
It is easy to share my thoughts daily – and I don’t need a schedule for that – but I don’t know yet how often to post my tutorials.
I posted a tutorial this morning and plan to write two more today. My impulse is to post it immediately but, I am trying to establish some sort of schedule for myself regarding publishing content. That way my readers can depend on me for quality, timely content.
Ok – so this post was intended to ask you how often I should post. However, in the process of asking for your advice, I think I figured out what I need to do.
Plan: Post DIY tutorials weekly – Friday. That way people can complete that week’s DIY project over the weekend. I can write tutorials as I think of them and just save them for publication on a weekly schedule.
To think….I have been trying to decide this question for a week or so now – but not until I reached out to get feedback from others did I realize my solution.
Lesson of the day: Put a voice to your questions and they will be answered.
Stop asking why. Seriously. Drop the word from your vocabulary entirely. You don’t need it. The world doesn’t need it. Stop asking why.
“Why are you wearing that outfit?”
“Why are you doing it that way?”
“Why do I feel like this?”
Because. That’s the answer to every “why”. It is always the same answer. What is the reason to ask the question if you already know that the answer is “because….(insert justification here)”.
“Why are you wearing that outfit?”
I don’t know about you, but if someone asked me “why are you wearing that outfit?” I am going to feel obligated to justify why my outfit is ok. The person asking the question isn’t stating my outfit is wrong, but their use of the word “why” forces me to use the word “because” and the word “because” is most often followed by some sort of justification.
“…because I wanted to.” “But why?” “…because I like it.” “But why?” “because fuck you and your judgmental questions. That’s why. I do not need to justify my clothing choices to you. Mind your own business!”
Unless your goal is make someone justify their outfit, don’t ask why. But what if you actually want to know the reason they wore that outfit? Ask them.
“What is the reason you wore that outfit?” A “what” question does not imply judgment. “What” questions are answered with neutral, factual responses.
“The reason I wore this outfit is the law says that certain parts of the female body are inherently bad and therefore are a crime to expose in public. I am wearing the outfit because it is a crime for me not to. I am wearing this specific outfit because it was on the top of the pile, clean enough and appropriate for the weather and activities I have planned for the day.” At least that is what I would say if someone asked me that question right now. You now know the criteria I used to decide my outfit. Your “why” questions was answered without me feeling like I had to justify myself – I simply described my actions instead.
“Why are you doing it that way?”
Again, I’m feeling judged when asked that question. I am being asked to justify my actions. Let’s get a little more specific with this example, “why are you blogging on WordPress?” Again, there is nothing inherently wrong or mean or ill intentioned with the question. However, the use of the word “why” forces me to justify my blogging platform.
“What are the reasons you are blogging on WordPress?” Now this is a question I can answer without being forced to question my actions. This “what” question is asking for a list of items. “The reasons I blog on WordPress are 1. it was free to sign up 2. easy to use 3. lots of features 4. I get to meet interesting people.”
You have the answer to your question and I was able to provide that information without having to justify myself or question my actions.
“Why do I feel like this?”
“Why do I feel like this?” Asking ourselves why can be worse than someone else asking us why. Asking myself “why” I feel a certain way forces me to justify my feelings – to me. Feelings do not require justification. Feelings simply exist. They are not good nor bad. Feelings just are.
There are reasons I feel like this. The reasons are neither good or bad – they just are.
“What are the reasons you feel sad today?”
The reasons I feel sad today are that I heard the song Taps in a commercial and was reminded of my brothers suicide; I read a news article about a child being missing; I found out a friend had her heart broken.
Asking “why” I feel sad implies that I should not feel sad. It implies that there is a more appropriate way to feel. It implies that I should feel something different. It implies that my feelings are wrong.
“Why” questions cannot be answered, only justified. “What” questions provide answers that can be the foundation for change.
Identifying that a reason I am feeling sad is that I miss my brother enables me to know that I need to take time today to cry or simply reminisce. If I was focused on judging my sadness I would likely not set aside time to address the trigger.
Identifying that a reason I am feeling sad is that a child is missing reminds me that I have family I care about and do not want to be separated from. My sadness is not due to a deficiency on my part or some faulty way of thinking, but rather because I am filled with love for those I hold dear and don’t want to imagine being apart. Identifying the reason enables me to take the time I need to be grateful for what I have.
Identifying that a reason I feel sad is that my friend had her heartbroken reminds me to appreciate the supportive relationships I have and/or to assess the quality of my own relationships.
This is not about pretending things don’t hurt or trying to see a positive in every situation. It is about viewing things in a way that leads to progress instead of stagnation. “Why” questions lead to a circle of judgement and justification – stagnation. “What” questions provide concrete foundations on which progress can be built and solutions can be found.
Oh No! There is a turkey on the duck nest! Before I share that video though, let’s explore the back story.
Goldie is one of the Muscovy hens of Functional Rustic. In the cold of winter 2017 Goldie laid her first clutch of eggs in the nesting box I built. Actually, the nesting box started as the first duck house I built for my feather babies. This was before I learned how huge these colorful birds grow. They grew out of that box within a few weeks!
I don’t have any pictures of the build process because I created it before I started Functional Rustic. The only power tools I owned at the time I built this was a drill.
I already had sheets of plywood that were 2 feet tall and 8 or so feet long. When I tried to saw them the plywood shredded though. Eeek – can’t have that.
My solution, bend the board back and forth near the place I wanted the board cut. I already had part of the board cut before it started to shred. (it was old, cheap plywood) Just as you might break a long stick in half by standing on the middle and then pulling, I did the same with the plywood.
It wasn’t pretty but it actually worked effectively. I did not need clean lines or the boards to be symmetrical. I just needed to be able to make 3 walls and a floor with it. I used my newly ‘cut’ boards for the bottom, sides and back of the box. I put 1 foot length of 2×4 wood in each corner and screwed my plywood to the 2x4s.
Duck enclosures need a lot of air flow and a way for moisture to escape. In the floor of duck house I drilled small holes so that water, duck poo and other liquids can drain out of the bottom. The holes allowed me to later hose down the enclosure when it needed to be cleaned.
For the roof of my enclosure I used a steel screen from a storm door. That screen top actually dictated the size of the house. I felt so clever when I thought of how to repurpose that screen.
My duck house was going to be inside the barn. I used to keep my ducklings running free in a horse stall in the barn but, I learned that small animals can still harm my feather babies in the stall and I needed added protection for small predators. Because my duck house was indoors I did not need a roof to protect from the elements, just small animals.
I liked the stiff metal top because the birds were going to perch on it. I later learned that they will also poop all over it and anything under the screen. Also, steel or not, with enough force everything bends. It was a learning process. Ha.
You’ll notice I am not showing any pictures…..it doesn’t exist anymore. These are some big birds. In no time their fat feathery butts managed to bend the steel screen and separate the walls from the 2x4s.
The front of the duck house was my crowing achievement though. Some of the scrap wood that was left behind when we moved in had grooves carved in them and enabled a sliding door to be built without any hinges or attachments. The top and bottom boards were attached to the 2x4s in the front corners and the “door” slid into the grooves perfectly and allowed me to open and close the duck house by just sliding the door.
My babies were safe at last.
But this isn’t a story about the duck house/nesting box. This is the story of Goldie defending her first clutch of eggs from Gladys the Bronze Turkey.
Goldie laid 12 eggs in the nesting box. I had no idea this was going on until long after she had been sitting on them for awhile. She was still a baby duck in my eyes and I couldn’t fathom my baby having her own babies. Also, it was December in Michigan and well below freezing.
I only figured out what was going on when I realized that I didn’t see her move from that spot for a few days. It was not until she got up to eat one day that saw the eggs. She actually hid them before leaving the nest, but I watched her cover them with straw so her plan was foiled!
The plan with the ducks was always to eat their eggs. I don’t want to be a duck breeder, just a mama. Well, like I said before, I didn’t know she had laid the eggs so I had no clue how long they had been sitting there. No way I was gonna risk eating them and finding a duckling.
So, I got on the google machine and learned a great deal. Apparently, Muscovy ducks are known for being broody hens. Broody is a term used to describe a bird that is nesting and sitting on eggs. Some ducks just lay eggs and abandon them or only sit on them for a short period of time and then leave the nest. The broody hen sits on her eggs all day until they hatch.
A hen cannot easily sit on her eggs and eat and drink and poop all at the same time or in the same place. She must get off the nest at some point.
Fun fact: a broody hen only poops once a day. Normally the duck poops several times an hour. She still eats similar amounts of food and water. She still has the same amount of waste product to expel from her body. However, when she is broody she drops all of that feces at the same time.
That is a big pile of poo. AND….that poo has been stewing and getting extra ripe all day. So, when it comes out you get the smell of an entire days worth of hot crap being shared all at the same time. Absolutely foul. Fortunately she knows it is gross and gets as far from her nest as possible when she does it.
When she gets up for her daily dose of diarrhea she gorges on food and water. My google search taught me that it is good to keep food and water near the broody mom to be to help her stay strong. Food rich in calcium is also suggested to help promote strong egg production.
I noticed that the longer she stayed on her nest the more orange her caruncle was becoming. By this point I found an amazing discussion board called Back Yard Chickens and started to go there for all my duck questions. There I learned that if a Muscovy is lacking in protein their red caruncle will start to lose color. This is normal, apparently, for a broody hen because of the limits on her ability to hunt for protein while nesting.
Even though I knew it was normal, I felt like such a bad duck mom knowing she was not getting all the nutrients she needed. I did give her, and the other ducks, some grass hoppers. That didn’t go as well as I hopped though.
When I gave them grass hoppers over the summer the ducks chased them all around and it was great show. However, it was below freezing. Did you know that grasshoppers do not live long when it is 15 degrees outside? Well, now I do. Seems pretty obvious now, but at the time I was excited to try and offer them an extra treat. The ducks didn’t seem to understand that the now frozen treat before them was a bug they were supposed to eat. Usually the bugs they hunt are fleeing for their lives.
So, Goldie is being a broody hen and spending all day every day on that nest. She doesn’t even get off the nest to shoo the boys away. And you better believe her tail shake brings all the boys to the yard. (hahaha….that’s funny when you know that Muscovy ducks communicate with tail wiggles instead of quacks. Also, jokes are always funnier when they immediately have to be explained. Ha.)
When Goldie is off of her nest and someone goes near her eggs she gets really low to the ground, sticks her neck out, wiggles her tail furiously and then charges at the intruder. It is quite a sight if you ever get the opportunity to witness it.
Well, Goldie is not the only broody hen in my barn. I have another Muscovy Hen, Amelia Air Duck, and a Bronze Turkey Hen, Gladys.
Amelia Air Duck tried laying some eggs before the weather got cold but she abandoned that nest shortly after starting it. She was no longer broody by the time the snow came. Gladys however, she wanted to be a mom more than anything.
One guy on the discussion board said his Bronze Turkey Hen would get so broody at times that she would sit on rocks if she was not laying her own eggs at the time. hahaha. Can you imagine that sight?
I can, apparently. Gladys did lay eggs, but not many and not for long. Her eggs were big, beautiful and delicious. Since there was no Tom (boy turkey) around to fertilize her eggs there was no point in letting her keep them. She was very upset that I took her egg each day.
She wont let a lack of turkey eggs to keep her from motherly instincts. One day, when Goldie got up for her daily “routine” Gladys confiscated the nest!! She strut over there with a purpose and plopped down immediately. Went into full “boulder” mode as I like to call it. That is when she grabs the ground with her feet tightly and firmly holds her wings in place so you cant move her – much like a boulder.
Gladys stole that nest like a boss. I couldn’t believe it myself. Goldie shared my dismayed. I realize I may be projecting onto the duck, but I swear she gave me a “WTF” look regarding the latest development. She was pissed.
Obviously, I want to find out what happens next. So, I squat down on the floor a few feet from the fray (really on the front lines of the battle) and filmed the great “Retaking the Nest of 2017!”.
Below you can see what unfolded between these two broody hens and how the victor tended the eggs afterward.
Be sure to follow Functional Rustic for daily inspiration and stories from around the barn. Don’t forget to check out the Functional Rustic Store to see what the ducks help me build in the barn.
Originally Published March 18, 2018. Updated August 7, 2018.
It’s 7:30 am….the sun is officially up. I used to have until 8 am before it got light outside. I’m surprised at how much the sun rising early is impacting my feeling of productivity.
I start “working” around 6 am. I sit in the dark – only the lap top to light the room – and I make pins or edit pictures until the sun comes up. That used to be 8 am. With sun up-and-at-’em by 7:30 (and only to get earlier as the year continues) I am not accomplishing what I used to by sunrise.
Obviously, the solution is to change my expectations. Instead of accomplishing tasks by sunrise – complete them by 8 am, for instance. But that’s not how my brain works.
Logically – I have a very realistic and effective solution.
Emotionally – “I’m lazy”, “I get distracted too easily”, “I’m never going to accomplish my goals.”
It’s difficult for me to write this. I view myself as a confident, capable, positive person. I want to be viewed as such. When thoughts/feelings like this come over me though it can be difficult to shake the ‘stinkin thinkin’.
I generally keep these thoughts to myself for a few reasons.
First, what if people make fun of me for sharing? Specifically, what if people use the fears I have expressed against me or as a way to harm me? What if I post this and people comment, “You ARE lazy and will never accomplish anything.” Realistically, people wont say that AND/OR if someone did I would likely just think, “well that guy’s an asshole”. None the less, the fear is there.
Second, if I tell you that I have insecurities you may be less inclined to see me as confident, capable and positive. The fear is that if you know my struggle you will no longer view me as an authority figure on positivity or accomplishing goals.
Third, friends and family will read it and worry about me. I don’t want that. And it isn’t necessary, doubts are normal. The interest in my well being is appreciated – but I hate the idea that someone is exerting energy and time worrying about me – I don’t want to worry people. I want to inspire people.
Fourth, people will treat me different because I am “going through” something. This thought process causes me the most inner conflict. I have chronic pain and nausea plus anxiety and depressive symptoms. I don’t want people to edit their words or actions around me simply because I am dealing with those issues – but at the same time if I am struggle to accomplish something I want them to keep in mind all the physical/psychological factors I am overcoming to complete that task.
My “issues” are not intended as an excuse for not doing things or a request to receive higher praise for completing tasks while coping with them – but rather they are presented to highlight my success. For those that don’t deal with physical or psychological issues daily they are less appreciative of the effort taken by those that do.
For example, I injured my right elbow (I’m a righty) just before the holidays last year. I couldn’t hold a cup of coffee much less a hammer to build anything. However, it was supposed to be a DIY Christmas so I needed to make gifts. It took me a week to accomplish what normally would be completed in a day. Of course I was disappointed in how long it took me, but then I thought about what I had to do to achieve that. I built and painted all of those gifts with one arm – my ‘weak’ arm at that. Plus, the workshop is in the barn and the barn averaged a temperature of 20 degrees F. Now, instead of viewing those gifts as “taking too long to complete” I see them as “Look what I built with one arm and in freezing weather”.
I’m not a failure – I’m a bad ass.
As I’m reading through this I am reminded of a quote I saw recently.
In case you didn’t notice – there is a theme to the negative thinking I am experiencing. I am assessing myself based on the opinion of others – and not even what they actually say, but rather what I think they may say. I don’t want to be a person with these insecurities; I especially don’t want others to view me as an insecure person.
But these “insecurities” are what make me who I am – they are actually my strengths. I ‘beat myself up’ for not accomplishing goals on schedule because I have standards for myself. That may not seem like much for some people, but having high expectations for Functional Rustic (it’s basically an extension of me at this point) is a big deal for me. I excel at completing things for other people – but historically I have struggled with doing it for myself.
This post feels very “woe is me” but is actual an example of positive thinking in action. When I began writing I was feeling pretty shitty – but now I am optimistic again. Instead of just dwelling on my Stinkin Thinkin I wrote it down. As I wrote it I saw how fucked up it was – and how illogical my thoughts were. I am also reminded of when I was a mental health therapist – every client shared similar thoughts. I learned countless lessons hearing how my clients conquered their fears – and maybe you will learn helpful lessons too by joining me on my journey towards repurposing my life.
I am fortunate to be able to share the sunrise each day with my best friend, Valencia Merble the Dog, and my feather babies, the Muscovy Ducks of Functional Rustic. It is easy in the hectic pace of every day life to forget to stop and take the time to appreciate the beauty and awe that is all around us.
I intend to inspire others to take a minute each day to appreciate the beauty of nature and the joy that comes with watching the sun rise on a brand new day. I already share minute long videos every morning on Social Media of the sunrise over the Functional Rustic Barn but recently I entertained the idea of sharing a blog post to go with each of the videos I record.
Within the first 24 hours of my new goal to write a daily blog to accompany my videos I learned why this was not a good idea for me. Ha.
I enjoy taking videos of the amazing sights and sounds around. I also really enjoy sharing stories of the birds around the property and the dog playing with wildlife. These activities promote relaxation and mindfulness. These activities encourage me to spend time in nature and around animals. All of these benefits are great for promoting good mental health.
That being said – I want to live my life, not document it. I want to share sights and sounds that inspire me and bring me peace on a daily basis. I wanted my new audience in the blog community to be able to experience the daily dose of nature the same as my social media audience does. That was why I intended to upload videos daily and share the stories behind them.
And then it hit me – my new website through WordPress enables me to add widgets to the sidebar that display my social media feed!! By adding the widget to the site my readers now have access to all my video posts without having to create another social media account.
Look to the right to see the social media widget on your computer or at the bottom of the page on your phone or tablet.
I upload sun rise videos to social media immediately after filming. If I followed through with my initial plan to write a blog about the sunrise and quirky things the Muscovy Ducks did that morning – that sunrise video wouldn’t be seen by my readers until late morning or early afternoon.
(For example, this blog post was supposed to be a quick paragraph explaining why I’m not publishing my videos in a blog every day and that they could instead be found in the side bar. Hey look, I didn’t even need a whole paragraph. Ha. Needless to say, I have a lot to say and a quick blog post is not likely.)
Lesson of the Day: Work smarter not harder.
My goal was to provide daily inspiration to my blog readers through sharing videos of the ducks and the sunrise over my back pasture every morning. Writing a blog telling the stories of the morning and describing every photo and video is the “hard” way to achieve that goal. Adding a widget to the side bar that displays all the videos in real time is the smarter approach to my goal. The smart way lets you see the sunrise as it’s rising.
Also adding to the ‘smarter not harder’ lesson – I identified early that my new idea was not as effective as I wanted and I immediately did something about it. This is a new concept for me. Ha.
Usually, I get an idea in my head for how something should be accomplished and will insist on that approach even long after it has proven harmful to myself. I do this because the world has taught me that hard work is stressful so the more stressed you are the harder you must be working.
It’s a faulty and unhealthy way of thinking. The new me, the person I am intentionally becoming, no longer needs to be stressed out to feel like I accomplished something. I will no longer simply work harder – I will work smarter.
You can work smarter not harder too by following Functional Rustic on WordPress and visiting the Functional Rustic page each day to share the morning sunrise with Valencia Merble the Dog and the Muscovy Ducks and Bronze Turkey of Functional Rustic.
Originally Published on February 28, 2018. Updated on August 6, 2018.
I’m a small business owner so no one tells me what to do. Sounds great, but without anyone to tell me what to do I don’t know what to do.
I am finding that the lack of accountability to someone else is one of my greatest obstacles. I set goals for myself and achieve them proudly, but are my goals the “right” goals for growing my business? Without someone else to talk to about this I get lost in my thoughts – my fears.
Having someone tell me what the expectations are for the day or week is very helpful for me. I always had a great deal of independence in my jobs, but there was always a specific goal and an understood means of accomplishing it.
Example: Goal – Help people cope with their mental illness. As a social worker I accomplished this task by working in an out patient mental health clinic as a therapist. I had a detailed job description (even if it did not detail ALL of my responsibilities), empirically tested approaches to treatment, colleagues to conference with and patients right in front of me to provide feedback on successes and failures. On top of that, I had supervisors making sure I am completing necessary paperwork and submitting them on deadlines.
These are things that irritated me when I was an employee. “I know how to do my job, leave me alone!” And I did know how to do my job – but that’s because someone taught me. Most importantly, I had other people to lean on. If I didn’t know how best to document something – I could ask someone. If I was doubting my capabilities – a coworker could set me straight.
Well, I’m the only person here. Also, I work from home so I don’t even have strangers to interact with during the day. It’s incredibly frustrating, and lonely.
I need someone to bounce ideas off of. Or at the very least, someone to blurt out ideas to in the hopes that one of us will remember that super creative idea. It’s not so much that I doubt the quality of my work – but rather that I don’t know if my efforts are getting the results I want. (To provide inspiration and support to others that are building their dreams with what they have in front of them.)
And, as the only person here I have no one to assess what tasks are priorities. Everything I do for Functional Rustic is important. What needs to be done today? What tasks need to be done first and which can be delayed?
Do I create new pieces or build up the inventory I already have? Do I write a blog about my thinking process or a DIY tutorial blog. What pictures will I need for the blog? Do those pics have the website on it yet? What are the proper tags and descriptions to put on each photo so search engines find it? How often should I be updating my Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Am I posting enough content to Facebook, DIY Projects of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Medium and YouTube? Am I linking to all my social media accounts when I write blogs? How much time should I be spending on each activity. Oh, and did I mention that I am learning all of this as I go so each task involves hours of research on how to complete it effectively?
I could go on and on.
The hope is that the Functional Rustic Blog will help me focus my energies. If I tell you, the reader, I am going to accomplish certain tasks – I will. With so many tasks to complete it is easy to not do one thing but still feel productive because I accomplished other objectives. However, that thing I didn’t do – still isn’t done. I work under the assumption that people are reading my content and that if I say I’m going to post something by the end of the week – that reader will expect to see it by the end of the week.
So, I’m putting it out there – putting myself out there. Either no one reads this – and I’m exactly where I was before writing it OR people do read it and either like or don’t like it. But at least I have feedback. AND – I now have someone to be accountable to.
Today’s Lesson: Just because you are the only employee doesn’t mean you can’t have accountability.
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