Thursday, June 29, 2006

Rainbows and Thunderheads

We had more storms last night. Praise the Lord, that none of them are dumping tons of rain on us. We are getting adequate supplies to water the garden and the pasture and keep the pond full. We were sitting at the supper table last night and it was raining. All of a sudden the sun came out while it was raining. In Florida this happened a lot and we called them a sun shower. I knew there had to be a rainbow. So, I grabbed the camera and went to the back door and sure enough there was a beautiful rainbow. A promise from God that He will not flood the entire earth again. If you look at the second picture, you can see my neighbor's golden wheat field. It is ready to be harvested or at least it looks like it to me. His property runs down that entire side of our property. He is an organic farmer. I went back inside and was cleaning up the supper dishes. Michael, my wonderful husband came in and told me to come out front a minute. The 3rd and 4th pictures are what he called me out to see. The pictures do not do it justice. It was magnificent. As we went out to move the cow fence a bit later, there was an even larger sense of these clouds as another front moved in. Alas, I did not have my camera with me. We love to see God's awesome creation. We often wonder how people can see what is all around them and not believe in God, or at least say they don't.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Every Day Life

Not every day is a "Houdini" type of day. Many days are just plain ole days. Today, I got up did my outside chores, have been working around on the inside of the house. I have some laundry to fold which I will do when I get off of here. A friend in Kentucky sent me some cuttings from her forsythia, spirea and this beautiful flowering nettle (not stinging) that I planted today. She even sent me a baggy of rooting hormone to use. So, I put them all in pots and they are on the front porch where I can keep them moist. She said she has huge forsythias all over their property that she planted this way. I watered everything on the porch.

I watered my garden a bit this morning while it was still early. There has been lots of rain in the area, but it keeps missing us. I planted 2 bird house gourd seeds at the bottom of each of the four legs of one of my garden teepees. Only 2 sprouted and they are on the same leg. My friend told me that they will still probably take over the whole teepee. My Luffa gourd seeds sprouted really well. I may end up having to thin them a bit. I have little pickles that are 2 to 3 inches long. =) I am still fighting powdery mildew on my zucchini. I have not given up the fight though.

I have about 14 pounds of Vidalia onions that I want to slice and put on my dehydrator. I also need to pick some of my lemon balm, chives and fennel and begin drying them. I may hang them up from a beam in my house, rather than use the dehydrator. I could also use my oven as I have a pilot light. Speaking of oven, I need to make some yogurt tonight. I put it in the oven overnight and it works like a charm.

I have this one bird that keeps singing to me. I wish there was a way to put his song on here so you could help me identify him. I sing his tune back to him and then he sings it to me.

While like Pat says, you wonder who if anyone is actually reading your posts. Very few people leave a comment, so you have to wonder. Then someone will email me and tell me about something they read on this blog. =)

Well, I need to get back to work. This break is over!!! By the way, the first picture above is taken from our hay field. The neighbor's own an ultralight aircraft. They are landing in this picture. The other picture is jut a picture of our hay field/pasture.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Houdini the Pig

Tina Leigh had posted on her blog Blessings In The South pictures of a cat and a turkey looking in the window at her. I commented on them and then said I would have to blog about the story of Houdini. This is a picture of Houdini. He EARNED that name. This was the first pig that we ever raised. My son raised him for the fair. We found a pig who was around 50 to 60 pounds. We were still making the pen when we brought the pig home on Saturday, so we put him in the front yard in a pen made of four 16' long stock panels. We went to bed that night and got up early on Sunday morning to do chores. Joshua, our son came in and asked if either of us had moved his pig. We both said no, and followed him outside. Our property was surrounded by some pretty high weeds. We could not see very far when looking for a little black pig. We brought Star, the dog out to help. We heard some snorting and noise and away we went. Well, we chased him all over, but never got really close or saw him. I walked out to the road with my son to come around from another angle. We were just in time to see him cross the road and go down the driveway of our neighbors. They lived way back in a pine woods. We hollered to Michael and started after the pig. He was rooting around in their woods fairly close to their house. Now remember, this is early Sunday morning and no one is up and around or even stirring yet. I told my son that I would distract him with the dog and he was to sneak up behind him. I told him when he got a hold of him to hold on NO MATTER WHAT!! So, the dog and I circled around in front of the pig and were talking to him and keeping him occupied. My son came up from behind, dove and grabbed a hip. From the moment his hand even touched the pig, it screamed. It did not oink, it did not squeal, it SCREAMED!! I am sure that the neighbors had to sit straight up in bed. It would only stop screaming long enough to take a breath to scream again. My son held it tight and firm. He was holding it agains his chest. Even a clean little piggy stinks. So both his nose and his ears were being assaulted. My husband by this time had made his way over. They two guys took turns carrying the stinky, screaming pig back home. We put him in a stall in the barn until we got his pen done. As soon as they let him go, he got quiet. We had read in Joel Salatin's book that a single strand of electric wire would keep a pig in. This must work for a pig trained from the time it was born or something. We were going to make sure that our pig did not get out, so we were putting up 3 lines of high tensile wire around his pen. We made so many mistakes that we later learned from. One of those mistakes was "where" we put the pig pen. It was up behind our other pasture This would have been fine, except for the fact that there was not space between the garden fence and the pasture fence (and the trees that were there) to back a truck or trailer up to the pen to load the animal for fair day. =) Pig loading was another memory building/character building day. Anyway, the pasture that Houdini's pen was behind held all of our other animals. We did not have much pasture at that house. So, we had a cow, a heifer, 3 goats and lots of chickens all in the pasture. The hen house was up in the corner of the pasture near where we made Houdini's pen. They got the last strand of wire up and came to get the pig, who once again screamed the entire time they touched him. As they carried him up, both cows, all 3 goats and most of the chickens were standing at the fence there beside us to watch. It made us think of those scenes in Babe where the animals are watching the farmer through the window. The dog was up there watching and even the cat came to see the event. They put him in the pen and he looked around. He went to the other side, touched the fence and squealed. Backed up went to the fence again and squealed again. Then he backed up, charged and went right through the fence. He was out again. After catching him, we tried one more time thinking maybe he had learned something. I know, we are to optimistic. He escaped again in the same way. We caught him again and put him back in the barn stall. We took down the high tensile wire, bought some pig fence and put it up around his pen. It was good and tight, and we had a nice gate. Once again, they picked up the pig who screamed and carried him up to the pen to put him in. We again had an audience that watched with rapt attention. He did pretty good in that pen, but then the next day realized he could lift the bottom a bit, dig a bit and out he went AGAIN. Michael was not home this time. Joshua and I caught him and put him back in the barn. We went and bought some tent stakes. We staked down the entire perimeter of his fence. This finally kept him in. Once he was a little bigger, my son would take him on walks. To win at the fair, you had to have a mean, lean, slim pig. He would let him out and the pig would take off at a run with the dog at his heels. A couple of times he scared the dog coming out of the shoot and the dog took off with the pig chasing. (Life is NEVER dull around our house). Eventually he would tire down some and my son would follow him with a wooden cane to steer him. Before the fair actually arrived, he would walk him a couple of miles down our road. People would laughingly comment to us that they saw Joshua out walking his pig. He did not win first prize, but I do believe he placed in his divsion.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Lamb Rebellion

We have a ewe named Faith. She has been getting out of the fence every day, several times a day for the last week and a half. So, yesterday, we caught her and her ram lamb, Rodney and put them in solitary confinement. Today, we moved them to a nicer cell, oh, I mean pen that was a bit airier for this hot weather. We got Faith first and my husband carted her over to her new quarters. Well, her young son did not like being left behind. I was out in the garden and he was bleating like crazy. Next thing you know, he had jumped the gate and was out. Now, when they get out, they go in the garden. They eat the taller grass around the edge, but have been know to take off at a run through the entire garden. Also, my husband found nibble marks on his corn today. We herded Rodney back into the pen, and caught him again and carried him over to be with his Momma. We were inside and heard something... what is that bleating in my ears? Another ram lamb has found a way to get out. I went out and he jumped through a hole in the fence that Faith had created in her escapades. Safe at last. I came back in to get the milking supplies and the calf's bottle when Michael comes in and tells me that the ram lamb is out again. This escapee is called Cookies-N-Cream because of his coloring. The pictures above are of ram triplets that my ewe, Sunshine had. We named them Chocolate, Vanilla and Cookies-N-Cream. I am sure you can tell which name goes with which lamb. We fixed the holes, and the fence was low in one spot, so we fixed that. Now, I hope and pray that all the sheep and lambs stay in.

Friday, June 23, 2006

More Storms

As you can see from the above pictures, we had another storm last night. It actually never got really bad at our house. We had lots of wind, some rain, and some lightning and thunder. All around us got hit really hard though. Newark which is to the south of us and Mt. Vernon which is North of us both got hit really hard and had lots of trees down. There were 28,000 homes without power. We were told by the power company that ours may be out for 2 to 3 days. It ended up being out for only 5 1/2 hours. God's power is awesomely displayed in a storm. I love to watch them coming in. The air went from 89 degrees to 68 degrees in a very short time. While I was out taking the pictures, I could feel the cool breeze curl around me. The rain would come slanting from one direction and the come from the opposite direction. I was trying to keep a few windows open for the air, but the rain would not make up it's mind which side of the house it wanted to hit. =)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Oven Fried Taters

I have always wanted to make good home-made fries. I have had no luck until this evening. You will love these.
I used 5 Idaho taters, left the peels on and used a french fry cutter
5 Tblsp. Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Put your oven rack as close to the heat source as you can. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
Put the potatoes in a bowl and cover with hot tap water and soak for 10 mins. This is part of what really makes them work, so don't skip it.
Coat a cookie sheet with 4 of the 5 Tblsp. of olive oil
Use about a tsp. or less of salt sprinkled evenly over the oil and about 1/2 tsp. of pepper done the same way.
Drain the potatoes and pat them dry. Put them back in the bowl after you rinse it and dry it. Put the other Tblsp. of olive oil in and coat the potatoes.
Then spread them in a single layer on the cookie sheet. Cover tightly with foil and put in oven for 5 mins. Take the foil off and then cook them for another 15 mins. Pull them out and flip them over the best you can. Put them back in the oven for another 7-10 minutes. When you pull them out put them on a paper towel lined counter or pan. I used a non-fuzzy towel to put them on. You can add more salt and pepper if you want, but I don't think it needs them. They were WONDERFUL. Even Joshua, my son said they were the best fries he has eaten.

Velcro Animals

There is a strange phenomena in our area. We live in the far south east corner of our county. We will check the radar and a strong storm will be coming our way. It can even already be in the county and almost ready to hit us. Then it starts to break up and goes around us on both sides. Sometimes this is nice, but other times we either need the rain or want the snow. We have been needing rain for awhile here. There was a really STRONG line of storms in the county and quickly heading our way. There was great areas of red on the radar, we were under a storm warning. My husband and I were out in the garden and it came up quickly. The sky darkened, the wind started whipping the tops of trees about, we headed for the house. Then, nothing happened. Not one drop of rain fell. Not one flash of lightning or clap of thunder. It never ceases to amaze us. Praise the Lord, today the rains have finally come. We have had some lightning and thunder, but we have had a good steady rain. Thank you Lord!!!

To get back to the title of my blog today, when it thunders, our two dogs become what we call "Velcro" dogs. They stick very close like a brother. =) We have had lots of other "Velcro" animals as well. The first picture you see up there is one of my parades to the mailbox. One of our sheep rejected a little ewe lamb named Mary. We had to bottle raise her. She loved being with me or just people in general. She would walk to the mailbox with me or anywhere else I would let her. She would stop and nibble here or there. Then she would look up and see that I was more than 5 feet away from her and she would come running and literally stick to my leg for a bit. I would walk down to the mail box and she would come, both dogs would come and sometimes even a cat. I enjoyed the company. If you have ever bottle fed a calf or kid, you also know about "Velcro" animals. They want to be very close to you because they look to you for their sustenance and their protection and they love you and want to be close.

Isn't that how we are to be with the Lord? We are to be his "Velcro" children. To stick close to Him for our sustenance, our protection, to love Him with all that we are. Oh, there are so many lessons that the Lord gives us through His creation. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!!!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Puttin' Up The Hay

We had our hay cut by a local farmer last week. We thought for sure, he would come rake it and bale it on Saturday. Well, Saturday came and went with no sign of him. Early Sunday morning, we saw him drive out there and check it to see if it was dry. We were getting ready to leave to meet with our fellowship when the rake and then the baler headed out to the field. We had an 80% chance of rain last night. So, that meant we had to come home after the meal and put the hay in the barn. He always does our first cutting hay in the huge round bales. We have a smaller tractor and it will not lift a bale high enough to stack them two high. We were going to borrow a friend’s tractor and Michael was going to drive one tractor and I was going to drive the other. When we told the fellowship that we had to leave to go and put our hay away, they almost all came to help. The one family even drove their tractor over. So, everyone (men and young men) took turns on the tractors or in the barn. The other tractor could lift a bit higher than ours. They would put it up there and then men would push and hold it while the tractor pulled away. Then they would heave it into place. The bales are at least 500 lbs. The one family has 10 children and the other one has 4. So, we had babies, and little ones running around (away from the tractors), and the girls climbing up on the big bales still in the field. It ended up taking quite a long time, but we had fun doing it. I went and got some ice and water and some ice cream for treats during the middle of it all. It was very hot out there, but there was a wonderful breeze blowing.

In past years the man who bales, has let us use one of his tractors to stack the hay. His would allow us to stack them 3 high. He sold that tractor though, so we were on our own. We ended up with 79 bales and they barely fit in the barn. Praise the Lord, it all got put up before we got any rain.

The first picture is the empty barn. This is the top part of a bank barn. The bales you see in the barn are yucky hay from last year that we did not use.

The second picture shows some of the men trying to roust pigeons out of the rafters. They can sure ruin some good hay.

The third picture is of some of the girls posing on a hay bale.

The fourth picture is looking out from the barn. Two of the little guys are playing on the bales in the foreground.

In the last one you can see the bales dotting the field.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Pictures from other day...

Here are the pictures from the other day. It would not let me post them. These are 2 of the 3 goats. This is Honeysuckle and her daughter Magnolia. The last picture of course is the berry pies I made.

Clothesline Weather

It is a very warm day here in Ohio. I am hoping my peppers will start growing. They do not like the cooler days that we’ve had. They don’t seem to be growing. We have watered twice, and now we are supposed to have some really warm days, so I am hoping they will shoot up.

There is a pleasant breeze as well. We don’t have air conditioning, and the breeze is helping our house to stay cool. The cement floors help as well, although I will be glad when we can cover them.

It was too perfect of a day to not hang out clothes. I washed sheets and towels. They dried in short order. Then I hung up all the hand towels, dish towels, napkins, etc. They are all snapping in the breeze, getting tangled in each other. They will smell so fresh and sunshiney when we bring them in.

When it cools down here in a bit, we will be back out in our garden trying to stay on top of the weeds.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

My Morning Goat Dance

Another day has passed. Woke up, got dressed, did my chores. I love walking out to the goat/sheep barn on a cool morning. It turned out to be hot today, but this morning was still deliciously cool. I walk out swinging the goat milk bucket in one hand and the empty calf bottle in the other. I always have two dogs beside me and many times a cat or two. Today the cats were elsewhere, which is what I really prefer. The sheep are on the far side of the barn and the goats on the closer side. As soon as either goats or sheep see me, they all start telling me good morning in their loud voices. The sheep are much louder and lower toned than the goats. I go in the shed, turn on the light and tell everyone good morning. I sprinkle about ½ pound of grain in the sheep’s feed tray. I only give them this little bit of grain right before they lamb and for a short time afterwards. They really don’t need it, but I figure it helps their bodies adjust to making milk. My one sheep had triplets and I make sure she gets her share. In the mornings, I also sprinkle some raspberry leaves to the mommas. I get out the three goat feed dishes. Honeysuckle gets 1 1/3 lbs. of grain, Magnolia gets 1/3 lb. grain (she is not in milk or pregnant and she is not skinny), and our new goat, Sun Rae gets 1 ¼ lb. of grain. I sprinkle a bit of raspberry leaves on each of their dishes as well. I also give them each about 3-5 raisins. I started giving raisins when Honeysuckle was giving so much milk, but not eating too much. Now, it is just a little treat in the morning. Honeysuckle consistently gives us 1 ½ gallons of milk a day. Her momma was the same way. Magnolia, her daughter, has never kidded, but I hope she is just as milky. Now, Sun Rae or Sunny for short is the new kid on the block, but she is a BULLY. My other 2 goats are scared to death of her. I only have one stanchion, and Magnolia doesn’t have to get on the stanchion since she is not milked. The trick is to allow her to eat her grain without the third goat who is in the pen with her eating it. I put Honeysuckle’s dish on the stanchion and put Sunny’s aside. I then open the gate and take Maggie’s dish with me. Suckle runs in and jumps on the stanchion. I close the gate, and lay Maggie’s dish down right outside the gate. Then I have to grab Sunny and pull her back outside another gate we put up and lock it. Then I go in and milk Suckles. When I am done, I fill the calf’s bottle and hang the bucket with the rest of the milk on a nail on the wall. I open the gate and get Maggie’s dish and let Suckle into that area. I open the other gate and it is a race for either Sunny to squeeze through first or the other 2 doing their panic run to go by her. I quickly go in and put Sunny’s dish on the stanchion and then close the gate behind her. I go ahead and put out everyone’s hay. This gives the 2 goats a chance to eat their hay before the bully comes back out and shoos them away from it. =) It is like a timed dance that I do every morning. After she is milked, I put her away, grab the milk bucket and the calf bottle. I head for the calf barn. On the way, I put milk into a bowl for the cats. I feed Sir Loin of Beef his bottle and then head for the house. The dogs are close on my heels, as they know their turn for a bit of milk in their bowl is next. Then I am free to do what needs to be done… taking care of the rest of the milk, etc.

Today, I also made 2 mixed berry pies. The berries are from our property last year. They are a mixture of blackberries, red raspberries and blueberries. I make a sort of cheater pie, and it is not as healthy as I would like, but my men love it. You take 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar (I used organic cane crystals) and bring it to a boil. Then you add one small box of jello (I am going to get some Eames Kosher Gels) and 4 Tbls. of instant clear gel. Then add the berries and pour into your already baked pie shell. Put it in the fridge to set up. I whip up some cream and add a touch of vanilla and put that on top of the finished pie. Now, we will have to invite some company over to eat them up.

Monday, June 12, 2006

I have missed my Dad

Today, my Dad flies back into the country from his trip. My Aunt and Uncle took him on a trip to Rome that included a cruise in the Greek Isles. I am sure he had a good time, but I know it has to be bitter sweet as well. He still misses my Mom so much and would have loved to share the trip with her. We all do. The above picture is my Dad with my Sister In Law. I have talked to him on the phone every day since my Mom died in October. Since he has been out of the country for 2 weeks, I have not talked to him and I really miss him. Actually, he should be on the ground in New York now. Again, I can't encourage you enough to tell your parents that you love them. Take time to talk to them and spend time with them. You will never regret it.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Time began in a garden...

Oh, I am bone weary and tired. My back hurts, my legs hurt and my feet hurt. We spent most of today outside in the garden. We got 3 more rows of corn planted and another row of beans. We planted beets and patty pan squash. I also set up my garden teepees. I have always wanted some, and this year decided it was time to just do it. I have bush beans planted in rows, but I planted Kentucky Wonder pole beans around my teepees. They are my favorite. I also planted some loofah gourds and some birdhouse gourds. Across the front of the garden I planted a row of sunflowers. There are all sizes and all colors. I also planted some other flower seeds that I had. In the corner I planted bush balsams. They are so pretty with their flowers and they really attract bees, which is why I planted them. My friend said that her mom called them Touch-Me-Nots. I had never heard either name until I saw them in my friend's garden. We need to stake our tomatoes, or put cages around them. We need to do this before they get any bigger. My son and his friends put a new roof on one of our outbuildings. It had shingles missing and we waited so long to fix it that he had to replace the wood underneath as well. This is a really nice building. I wanted to use it for a chicken coop, but my husband said NO WAY, it is too nice. We have a few gardening supplies in there, and that is not even handy as this building is out in front of the house, and the garden is behind the house. I would love to use it for a winter quarters for my layers and to put the new chicks each year after they come out of the brooder. Oh well... Maybe God will give us a plan on how to use it. My husband and I also took turns on the tractor using the bushhog. It gave us a chance to sit down and rest and still be doing something. Tonight I am soaking in the tub.

One more thought about the title of todays blog. My Sister In Law is an avid gardener. Her and a friend were doing all the landscaping at their church. Their pastor has a quick wit and is very friendly. They kept bugging him about putting the landscaping in the budget because they were having to buy everything and they wanted to do more. Finally one day, she said, "Pastor Frank, can we please put this in the budget, afterall time did begin in a garden". Without blinking an eye, he turned to her and said, "So did sin". Then he grinned and walked off. =)

Friday, June 09, 2006

God's Morning Dew

On my way out to milk, I saw this fern that grows by my house. The dew drops were glistening and sparkling in the morning sun. It looked refreshing and cool. It made me think about how God tells us to read His Word in the morning. It is like our morning dew. It refreshes us in the Lord for what our day holds for us. Some people say they are too busy to spend time each morning with the Lord, I am too busy to not spend time with Him. To have Him order my day and refresh me. Also, if you look in our lives, we DO make time for what is important to us. So, what does that say if we don't take the time to sit at the Lord's feet?

Just musing,

The "Quiet" of a country morning...

I am sitting here having to giggle a bit this morning.

We had Bible study with our neighbors last night. One of the last things my friend said to me was how glad she was that she got to sleep in this morning. Now my friend is a city girl that is moving (VERY SLOWLY) toward the country. They bought 2 acres of our farm. Her husband and children do most if not all the animal type chores. When they first moved here they had a few chickens and their dog. They have since added more chickens, 2 goats, meat birds in a movable pen and a calf that they keep at our place with our calf. I keep telling her that she is turning into a farm wife. They have seen farm life up close and personal. I cannot tell you how many times her husband and children have helped me to round up an animal that got loose or other wonderful experiences. This year for the first time I had to help one of my Shetland sheep to have her babies. She had three ram lambs and they were all breech. She would not hold still for me. The man next door and his daughter came over to help me. He held the sheep still for me. My friend would walk over occasionally to help.

So back to this morning. Last night they were picturing a very leisurely morning of sleeping in. However, one of my heifer calves is in heat. She is a quite the trumpeter when in heat. A very loud trumpeter I might add. I doubt they are still asleep. She gets this from her mother, the darker one in the picture above. Our matriarch cow, Buttercup (the honey colored one above cleaning her nose), has silent heats that are very hard to detect. My husband will tell me... "Buttercup blinked at me today, write it on the calendar and lets watch again in 21 days." Then she had Molasses the calf. When Molasses was born I named her honey because she was also honey colored. I envisioned one day someone asking where my husband or son were and I would say, "He is out milkin' honey!" We call our farm Amazing Graze Farm, the land of milk and honey. Honey turned very dark and I changed her name to Molasses. I called her daughter (who is half beef) Sorghum, but should change it to Blackstrap as she is really black. Back to Molasses... We had a woman and her 6 children living in our apartment on the farm for a time. Men from the church came to put in a large clothes line for her. Molasses was in heat that day. Her movable fence was about 10 feet from where they were working. She serenaded them the entire time they worked, VERY LOUDLY. I don't know how they stood it. =)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Taming the Kittens

Anyone of you, who really KNOWS me, knows that I DON’T like cats. In fact I was raised to basically hate them. I would never hurt one, but I don’t like them rubbing up against my legs, or clawing at my skirts, or walking slowly right in the pathway that I want to take. When we moved to the country, we had mice in the barns and even some in the house. So, we got a BARN cat. I named our first cat after my friend Ginny. She laughed so hard and long when she heard I got a cat. She said even her cats were guffawing. Well, Ginny learned quickly that I was not the person to come to for lovin’. My son (I have never figured this one out) was the one that took care of that department.
We were told that momma cats were the best mousers. So, we got a female. No one told me how many cats your farm could end up with starting with one female cat. Actually, we have had no problems getting rid of kittens or even cats. We always hear of someone wanting a cat.

We have always handled the kittens and let all of our friends and neighbor children handle them so that they are tame. Someone told my cats of this and the last few litters have been hidden from us. When we finally get to see the kittens they are big enough to hiss and spit at you like little tigers. No one wants a wildcat. Some have just disappeared, others we have actually caught and tried to tame. Needless to say there are more cats running around here right now than we like. So, we are going to either keep a couple of male kittens and get rid of everyone else, or keep one or two mommas and get them fixed (or is that broke?). We heard that there is a place in town that does it for pretty cheap.

We had friends that wanted to borrow our stock trailer to take some steers to the butcher. I checked in the trailer to make sure it was clean. I found the three kittens in the above picture in a hollowed out place in the straw on the back of the trailer. So, I decided it was time to tame some kittens. In the one picture they are in the lap of one of my little friends from next door. In the other picture, our dog, Star is cleaning them up and generally watching over their well being while they are in the front yard. The neighbor’s oldest daughter and a couple of friends went on a kitten hunt. They came up with 9 out of 11. We now have them in a crate and they are being handled. We give them milk and cat food and they seem to be doing well. I already have one person interested in a couple of them.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

So much to be thankful for...

Here is a picture of our pond. With all the rains we have had recently, the pond is full. We have a leak in it somewhere, that we can't find. So, we are thankful for a full pond.

We are thankful for the beautiful days we have had. After all the rain and a really HOT spell (August weather in April and May), it is sunny, in the 70's and even got into the 40's last night.

We are thankful for the neighbors. We sold 2 acres to good friends. Their 2 oldest come every once in awhile and do chores for me. They were here today to help.

We are thankful for a house to live in. Sometimes, I am tempted to complain about my house. However, I am so grateful, that I do not live in a cardboard box under a bridge as many do.

I am thankful for a wonderful, kind, gentle and faithful husband. We have been married for 27 wonderful years. He has the patience of Job, and is so gentle and kind with the animals and me. =)

I am thankful for my son. I would love to have more and still hope for more. However, there are many who have none. I am thankful for the glorious gift from God of my son. I am thankful that his birth mother chose the most loving choice and did not abort him.

I am thankful for a Savior, who even though I did not deserve it, willingly came, died a horrible death in my place and made a way for me to live with Him in eternity.

If we look, there is something to be thankful about in every situation. It is not always obvious at the time. Last August, I got Bacterial Meningitis and almost died. I am so thankful for that. The night before I went to the hospital, my head hurt so bad I was not sure if I could take it. Then I started throwing up. I knew I was really sick, but still suspected the flu. I woke my husband up to pray for me. That was by the grace of God. Because I woke him up, he stayed home in the morning, to see if I would need help with the chores. The doctors said, if he had not stayed, I would have been dead. My parents live in Florida and I don't get to see them but once or twice a year. My Mom was actually in Switzerland with all her sisters when I got ill. It was the tail end of her trip. My Dad came up from Florida right away. When my Mom flew home, she flew here instead. When they would come up in the summer, I would usually get to see them alone with me for maybe an afternoon. The other times I saw them, was with all my brothers and their families. The week I came home they came every day to take care of me. I got to spend lots of time talking to them. My Mom died suddenly in October. All of us in Ohio got to see her one more time, because I was sick. I would be sick all over agin for that chance. Also, I am thankful she got to go to Switzerland with her sisters. They had never done anything all together before. They spent 2 wonderful weeks being treated like queens by my cousin and her family. That was a final gift to them. I am thankful that I got to talk to my Mom an hour the day before she died. Another gift from God to me.

I try to have an attitude of gratitude. I deserve eternal damnation, so anything above that is a gift. That means all of life is a gift from the Giver of Gifts... God, my heavenly Father.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Alone does not always mean lonely

I sit here today in the quiet. I love quiet, but I also love the sound of other people around me. Both, Michael and Joshua are at work. I hear the birds singing outside. I hear the wind blowing through the leaves on the tree. I occasionally hear a hen letting me know she has laid her egg for the day. I hear a baby lamb bleat for its mom or just in sheer joy as it runs and jumps with the other lambs. I can't see the road from the house in the summer, but I hear a car go by every once in awhile.

I think of all the people who are alone. Many of them so lonely. Waiting for someone to call or drop by. I think of the people who have lost their spouse. They are surrounded by reminders and each day brings back floods of memories. There are young people out there who did not make wise choices. They are away from family, many of them too ashamed to go home. They feel all alone.

I am alone, but I know that my men will be home today, Lord willing. I have lots to do to keep me busy. However, I need to make time to reach out to others who are alone. Remember to call them, or drop them a note. Our vehicle situation right now, does not allow for too many visits, but I can still reach out. If we each would reach out to a handful, then there would be a lot less lonely people.

We tried to adopt a sibling group of 6. We have the room, we live on a farm with lots of fund things to do. The people in charge did not like it that we homeschooled. Those children are in a foster home and have been for almost 3 years. The foster mother is 60 now and has been ready for them to go for awhile. Even when childrens' services visited our house, they admitted the foster Mom was in over her head. We have never officially heard that we are NOT getting them, but we have not been contacted for quite awhile. It is sad that we would have given them a permanent home with love, family and a farm full of things to do, but our choices kept them from coming here. I often wish they were here. I love to hear the chatter of children, to color, to play games. I pray that these children find a home full of love. Even though there are 6 of them, they are still lonely for a real family.

God has really shown me that I am to be about relationships. With all that happened to us last year, that is one of the major lessons we learned. First our relationship to the Lord must by a deep and abiding one. Then our relationships to those around us are next in importance. I pray that He finds me faithful. I guess I really rambled today. That is how my thoughts have been going.

Pictures: If you look close at the first one, there is a gold finch that blends in with sunflowers he is standing on. They would stand there and eat the seeds out of the sunflowers.
The second one is our red hot poker plant.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Splendor of Clouds

For some reason, the blog is not allowing me to post pictures today. I have some good ones to share. I will add them if it will let me at a later time.

The way our property sits leaves a wide open space to watch storm fronts come in. Sometimes they are very dramatic. At other times there are great contrasts in colors and light. Each one is unique. We have been having storms come rolling through. The pictures I want to share are of some fronts coming. One of them was taken awhile ago, but is still an awesome display of God's handiwork.

The rain that these fronts has brought is a good soaking rain. Not so hard that it beats your plants down, but a good steady lasting rain. I had to run to town today to do some errands. Just getting out of my car, gathering my bags and going from my car into my house, I was soaked. It will give our plants in the garden a good down deep drink. I just hope the weeds that are hiding, don't get any.