Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Autumn Colors

My Dad has been up here visiting in Ohio for the past month. He drives around a lot and keeps his camera with him. Even though the colors have not be spectacular this year, there are still pockets of stunning colors. Here are some of the pictures that he took.

Monday, October 30, 2006

A Beautiful Day

Today is GORGEOUS!!! It is very sunny and about 70 degrees. There is a wonderful breeze blowing. I have the windows open and am letting the fresh air in. All too soon, they will be closed tight for a long time.

I think my light brahmas are finally starting to lay. We have gotten a couple of pullet eggs the last few evenings. I am thrilled as our egg production has been way down.

Well, we got the milk cow home and got the other 3 cows to the butcher. God was really watching out for us. The butcher wanted the cows brought in to his place last night. We had one cow already loaded on the trailer. We had to get our 2 heifers into the trailer. We had help here which was really nice. The cows had no halters and they had not been handled. We were able to enclose them in the drive through on our barn. Then we backed the trailer up to the one end and some of the bigger guys walked behind them with a piece of fencing. They jumped right into the trailer. We were thrilled because normally loading any animal onto our stock trailer is a character building lesson. =) Michael and I left to take them to the butchers. We had to go through town and on out the other side. We finally got there and we backed into the unloading area. There are 4 tires on the trailer. Two on each side. We got out of the truck and the butcher told us that one tire on the drivers side of the trailer was flat and then one on the passenger side was going flat. You could hear the air rushing out of it. The sidewalls had dry rotted and the combined weight of the 3 cows must have been the last straw. God was really in this. First of all, after we loaded the three cows, they sat in the trailer for a couple of hours until it was time to go. We had gone ahead and loaded them while we had help. They were moving all around while in the trailer. We drove through town at 4:45PM on a Sunday evening. The tires could have gone flat in town and how would we have jacked up the trailer with 3 cows in it to change the tires? The butcher had a secure place we could leave the trailer until we can get up there and get the tires changed. Praise the Lord for His wonderful timing.

I have a cold right now. I have been having some trouble with my breathing and now this cold is not helping me at all. I really struggle to sleep at night. I am trying to drink lots of water and take my vitamins. I hope it goes away soon. It seems to be a mild cold for which I am grateful. I know of a friend who got a cold and then ended up with a high fever.

Hope you all are having this same beautiful weather. Enjoy the fall pictures if I can get blogger to upload them for me. It is acting up today. I may try again later.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Crazy Weather

This morning we woke up to dark overcast skies dropping rain against the side of the house. We got up did our chores and then had to go to town. The wind was starting to pick up and the rain came down harder. We went to the bank and then to Tractor Supply. When we came out of there, the rain had stopped, but it was still pretty dreary looking. We went on into the grocery store to pick up a few things and then we came on home. Michael left to go over to a friend's house. He had to borrow their truck to pull our stock trailer since Joshua was using his truck for work today. We had to go and pick up our milk cow, Buttercup. They got the lights and brakes working on the trailer and he was hitched up and ready to go. He was not gone more than 10 minutes when the wind picked up even more and started spitting sleet on the house and ground. I let the dogs come in on the porch. Just a few minutes later I looked out and it was sleet mixed with snow and it looked like a blizzard. I checked the radar and they said we were just on the last edge of a green band of rain, and it was quickly moving away from us. No sign of snow on the radar. When I looked out again, it was snowing to beat the band. =) Now, as I sit here and look out the sun is shining brightly. We still have wind and we are getting some pretty strong gusts. If you watch long enough leaves go sailing by the window. It's just another day in Ohio. Who knows what this evening will bring!!!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Master Story Teller

Today is cool and rainy. It is a perfect day to stay indoors and do something. I was looking back over my inbox folders trying to clean out the old stuff. I ran across some stories that a man named Christopher Haymond had told on a list I was on. He would keep us all in suspense with his stories. I had asked him permission a long time ago if I could share his stories with others and he agreed as long as I put the author's name on it.

We had someone get on the list who often got way off topic (it was a family cow list) and would get nasty with people. The moderator posted that we needed to keep things more around our cows and livestock. Another person had written in and asked a question about ducks they had. If I remember right, they wanted to know if it would be OK to keep ducks out near where their cows were. Several different people responded and then our friend, who was not so nice, wrote a post asking what did ducks have to do with dairy animals. This was the story that Christopher Haymond told in reply to his question. We all got a chuckle out of it.

Milking Ducks

Hi everyone,

I’m new to the list. I’ve been lurking for several decades. When I saw the post about milking ducks I just had to jump in. I grew up on a Duck Dairy in the mid-west. My dad used to milk 500 mallards. My husband and I dreamt about getting a little farm of our own. And this past fall we and our 27 children moved to a one room, fixer-upper in Michigan. We’re homesteaders and like to keep it simple and do things from scratch. Just give me a woodstove, outhouse and a 1.5 Ghz Pentium III with 265 mgs RAM, and we’re content. I finally have a few dairy ducks of my own. I can’t wait for our new milking parlor to be ready.

I am currently milking my Russian Blue, but my Khaki – Indian Runner cross has just been bred (I hope). I plan to get the vet out to preg check her soon. I was lucky to get a couple straws of semen from the Khaki Campbell flock in Maine. They have a registered drake there that comes from the line of Danish Dairy Ducks. I plan to AI the Blue this spring. It’s so hard to tell heat in a duck. It’s difficult to locate any of the pure, old fashion Khaki flocks anymore. Most of them these days are bred for production and fed pounds of grain. We have our two ducks on five acres of 35.7% grasses and 45.98% legume. They’re good foragers when given the chance.

Miss Clarabelle, the Khaki cross is really my favorite. There’s nothing like being alone in the cold mornings and feeling her warm feathers against my hands and hearing her soft quacks.

I grew up around the huge mallards. But I chose to go with the smaller breeds, because they’re gentler and easier to handle. Mallards can be unpredictable.

I contacted a farm in Ohio that has miniature mallards. I’ve heard that they can be very easy going, but you have to be careful about dwarfism and inbreeding.

All the big farms out here are totally Indian Runner. They’re great producers for the big commercial outfits where milk volume is key, but I don’t think they’re as practical for a Family Duck.

Well. I’m rambling so I’ll quit now. It’s nice to have finally found a group with which I can share the rewards and frustrations of keeping a family milk duck.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Animals On The Farm

This first picture is of our goat, Honeysuckle. As you can tell by looking at her udder, she is ready and wanting to be milked. She kidded last April and still gives us over a gallon a day. Her momma was a big milker and we are hoping her daughter will be as well. They are also very easy milkers. You hardly apply any pressure to the teat and the milk just flows right on out.

This is a picture of one of our milk cows and our 2 heifer calves. The 2 calves are going to the butcher this weekend. I will try and get a better close up of the heifers. They are really looking good. The milk cow is a purebred jersey. I like the honey colored jerseys better than the dark ones. This one is named Molasses. She was honey colored when she was born and slowly turned dark brown. She is from an old line of jerseys that have not been bred up to today's standards. She does not give as much milk as current day dairy jerseys, but she is bred to be a grassfed cow. We bred her and our other milk cow to an Angus bull and we got the 2 heifers you see. Our other milk cow, Buttercup, is coming home this weekend. She has been at a friend's house getting bred. My husband is letting me try one more time for a honey colored replacement for Buttercup. I have been praying that she will have a heifer calf this next year.

This is a momma Shetland and her spring ewe lamb. The momma's name is Charity. You can't tell it from this picture, but in certain lights her wool looks almost like a light apricot color. She has a beautiful fleece. Her daughter's name is Grace. Grace has been very skittish and would not come anywhere near a human. I have been feeding the sheep a couple of peanuts when I go out there. Grace is now eating a peanut or two out of my hand.

I had my camera with me this morning and I saw my fall display. I tried to get both dogs in the picture, but Belle would not cooperate. Star is such a good girl. She just turned 9 last week. She has been the best dog ever. I told her to get up on the hay bale and sit. She has her "do I have to" look to (which includes her ear position). She has such an expressive face. Even though she didn't want to, she hopped up there for me. She does not know that she is famous out over the internet. My husband shares Star stories and pictures at work. We have lots of people who want Star updates. =)

When I went out to chore this morning, the air was very crisp and cool. The low last night was supposed to be 28. My son came down in shorts and a t-shirt and his hat on. He brought some wood in for me dressed like that. He went to work that way. I really tried to raise him right. =) I went out late enough that most of the frost had already worn off the grass. There was a crow convention being held either in our woods or just beyond them. They were not very happy about what they were discussing. You should have heard them hollerin' at each other. I have no idea how they get any business done. They all talk over the others. We also have a young rooster learning how to crow.... poor boy. I thought it was a little girl yelling. I was trying to figure out where she was and who she was. Turns out he was practicing for his recital. I think I saw some of the young hens laughing at him, but it did not seem to bother him or deter him from his practice.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Time to Start Cold Weather Projects

Once the weather turns cold, then I need to get busy with some winter projects. The hat and mittens were made 2 years ago for one of my little friends on her first birthday. I have several more things like that I want to make and need to get busy. My favorite book is called "All The Places To Love" It is a wonderful book full of very photo like paintings. It starts off with a Mom in her own quilt covered bed having just given birth. The Grandma is holding the baby up to the window. It says the Grandma wrapped the baby in a blanket made from the wool of her very own sheep. I want to do that with my first Grandbaby. Now, my son is not married, nor even courting anyone, but I KNOW how long it seems to take me to spin yarn, so I need to start now. I have lots of roving, I just need to spin it. I also have someone who will weave me a blue gingham shawl from my own wool, if I will spin the yarn and send her some fleeces in exchange. So, spinning is going to be high on my list of things to do this winter. I am knitting a scarf for myself. This will be the third winter to work on it. I hope to finish it this year. I am not a very good knitter. I learned to crochet young and do it well. I feel really awkward with 2 needles and the yarn. Also, the pattern I am using is one that I can't just whip through. I have to pay attention and count. So, when anyone else is around, I can't work on it, or I get mixed up. =) Let me hear what type of projects you will be working on this winter!!

The last 2 pictures are just more pictures of the autumn colors around here. Star decided to sit down in front of my little corner garden, and so I snapped her picture.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Which Season Are You?

You Belong in Fall

Intelligent, introspective, and quite expressive at times...

You appreciate the changes in color, climate, and mood that fall brings

Whether you're carving wacky pumpkins or taking long drives, autumn is a favorite time of year for you

We have a Winner!!!

We have a winner!!!!!

Ginger had the winning caption. There were a couple of close seconds, but her's got the most points. Congratulations Ginger!! Please send me your full name and address to: marci(at)amazinggrazefarm(dot)com.

Well, I am looking out my window here in Ohio and watching it snow lightly. I am sure it will not stick and there won't be enough of it to matter, but it almost NEVER snows in Ohio in October. This is the second time this October that it has happened. I tried to take a picture of the snow falling, but the flakes are too small and there are not enough of them to show up. I have not really heard predictions this year on if the winter will be cold or mild and if we will have lots of snow or close to none. Last year, we did not get a really good freeze and we had so many bugs in the spring and summer. We are hoping for at least one good freeze. We also like snow and love it when we get a big snow. It is very nice this morning to sit in a warm cozy house, look out the window at the fall trees and see it snowing.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


This post will stay on top. To read the new posts, scroll on down.

We decided to do a contest that your children could take part in. The above picture is of one of our sheep. His name is Jacob. I would like for you to come up with a caption for this photo. Instead of one entry per household, we will allow one entry per person so that your children can have a chance at it as well. Each family can just put all your entries in one comment. Just put each persons name with their comment. The contest will run until Sunday evening. We will pick the winner on Monday, the 23rd of October. We will allow a second entry if you link back to this post in your blog and you send us an email with your second entry and a link to your blog post about this contest. Send the emails to: Marci(at)amazinggrazefarm(dot)com. My family will choose the winner. We will be looking for funny and original. The prize will be the book you see below. It is a hardback Lamplighter picture book called the Beggar's Blessing. It is a true story retold by Mark Hamby. It is a great book!!

If you have already posted a comment it is down a couple of posts and I still have them. I just wanted to move this up so people see it.

Autumn Greetings!!

Twice a day we go out to our goat shed to milk and feed the goats. They are always so happy to see us that they jump up to greet us. They each pick a window in the shed to look at us when we walk into the milk parlor. The first picture is Magnolia. She doesn't like to be touched unless she is the one nuzzling you. Every once in awhile, she will allow one of us to scratch her. She does like to be brushed. She has never kidded, but will be bred this fall. The next picture is of her momma, Honeysuckle. She loves to be scratched and petted as long as it is my husband or I doing it. She is very anxious and nervous around strangers. She kidded in April, but still gives us around a gallon of milk a day. She is a very easy milker like her momma was. We are hoping that Magnolia will be the same.

The next picture is a true contrast of lights. Our tree line is in a shadow of a cloud, but you can see the sun blazing on our neighbor's trees. It seems to set them on fire.

The next picture is looking down our lane (driveway). It makes a sharp left hand turn down at the farthest end you can see. Normally, it is totally covered with multi colored leaves and there is a constant fluttering of leaves falling downward in their last fall dance. This year many of the leaves were knocked off early and have already blown off the driveway.

The last picture is of the kitten that my son is keeping. We are finding new homes for all the rest including the mommas. This kitten is a boy. We have one kitten and two mommas left to find homes for. We are trying to figure out what to name him.

Friday, October 20, 2006

How Many people have YOUR name is there in the US?

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Cloudy Autumn Day

I don't think we are going to have a really pretty autumn this year. There are splashes of color here or there, but we had heavy wind and rain that knocked many of the leaves off before they changed. It was raining lightly this morning. I was walking out to milk this morning and the side yard is very soggy. It made those mucky sounds and sucked at my shoes. I had bought a really nice pair of chore types shoes at the Goodwill. They lasted me several years and then they got holes in them. Two years ago, I found a pair of Land's End clogs at the Goodwill. They were hardly broken in. I have worn them as chore shoes and they are about worn out. However, since they are clogs on days like today, I end up with wet heels. It is cool today (around 47) and I have the woodstove going. It is not roaring, just a nice small fire to keep the chill out of the house. It feels colder when it is cool and it is also damp.

My sheep LOVE this weather. They don't mind the wet as it doesn't get all the way to their skin. Their wool overcoats are not too hot in weather like this. They romp and play more than they did all summer. I do believe they celebrate the cooler weather. =)

I grew a little bit of Calendula this year. I planted it too late and I had just started to get blooms to save, when we were going to get our first heavy frost. I was a little bit bummed about it, as I am going to be making salve and needed many more blossoms. They had not grown very well, because I let the weeds grow up and choke them out. Those same weeds saved their life. Almost all the plants in the garden were killed and turned dark. As I went by this morning, I saw these blooms that are out there waiting to be picked by me. I am thrilled to death. How like the Lord to have a little surprise for me. Thank you Lord for my calendula blooms!!!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


One year ago today I got a phone call telling me that my Mom had died. It seemed impossible... it still does. I woke several times last night and my first thought was of her and if she was alive at that point or not. When I got up I remembered that last year at that time this day was Steve and Gary's birthdays. A day of celebration. Then it became a day of mourning, yet still a celebration in the fact that my Mom was ushered into the presence of the God she loved and served. I can think back of her compassion and tenderness toward me the last time I saw her which had been August. With me being so sick, she was extra tender and sweet. I have never felt a hollow ache like I have in missing her. The Lord has been very faithful to me and to my family. Last year on this day, my life was changed. Part of it was gone, but also a new stage of life had started. The Lord gave me a new compassion to weep with those who weep. I had always felt bad when someone told me their Mom or Dad had died, but now I can weep with them, as I know the pain that comes with it. I can also share with them God's faithfulness. I hope and pray that God will continue to use this in my life to mold me to be more like Him, to help me to cling to Him. Thank you for letting me share my heart with you today. Thank you for all the prayers, cards, calls and support that you have given.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My Mom

One year ago today, I had the last conversation that I ever had with my Mom. We talked on the phone for an hour. I really miss her and miss talking to her. There are things going on in my life that I would love to share with her and get her insight. The last few years especially we had some great conversations. She was understanding and kind. If you still have a Mom alive on this earth... CALL HER TODAY!!! Tell her how much you love her. You never know when or if you will get that chance again.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Happenings of Life

You will be hearing about my Mom this week. One of the things that my Mom did was to crochet. She made each of her grandchildren an afghan and I believe that each of her children and their spouse received an afghan from her. As we stood in the receiving line at her funeral in Florida, many people (I am not exaggerating to say at least 150) came through the line and told us of something kind my Mom had done for them. She had crocheted something for many of them. I am the only one in the family that crochets, so I got all of her crochet items. I have been trying to use them up and give them to someone in my Mom's honor. I just finished the baby sweater above. It is so soft and cozy. I will be delivering it this week.

I finished the book about John and Betty Stam. It truly touched my heart. They had just arrived on their first mission station of their own with their 3 month old baby girl. They they were chosen to receive the martyr's crown. The baby lived and was snuck out of the village and back to another mission station. To read what the parents and families of these 2 missionaries wrote right after their deaths is just incredible. They were truly families of faith. Their lives and focus were the Lord and what they could accomplish for Him. They did not focus on themselves and their comfort. Here is what John's father wrote to sorrowing friends right after his son and his son's wife's death...

Our dear children, John and Betty, have gone to be with the Lord. They loved Him. They served Him and now they are with Him. What could be more glorious? It is true, the manner in which they were sent out of this world was a shock to us all, but whatever of suffering they may have endured is now past, and they are both infinitely blessed with the joys of Heaven.

As for those of us who have been left behind, we are reminded by a telegram from one of John's former schoolmates, "Remember, you gave John to God, not to China." Our hearts though bowed for a little while with sadness, answered, "Amen." It was our desire that he as well as we should serve the Lord, and if that could be better done by death than life, we would have it so. The sacrifice may seem great now, but no sacrifice is too great to make for Him who gave Himself for us.

We are earnestly praying that it will all be for God's glory and the salvation of souls. How glad we shall be if through this dreadful experience many souls shall be won for the Lord Jesus. How glad we shall be if many dear Christian young people shall be inspired to give themselves to the Lord as never before, in a life of sacrifice and service!

We are honored by having sons and daughters minister for our Lord among the heathen, but we are more signally honored that two of them have received the martyr's crown.

We are sure that our dear brother and sister, Dr. and Mrs. C.E. Scott (Betty's parents), both join us in saying, "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."

Where is our focus? Are we doing what the Lord has for us to do? We here in America are given much. The Bible tells us that to whom much is given, much is required. May we be found faithful.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Book Winners & Garage Sale

We drew 2 names out of the basket. The winners are... (Drum Roll Please)... Morgan and Brenda. Please email me your address at marci(at)amazinggrazefarm(dot)com. I have some more things to give away, but probably won't be able to post them right away.

Today our street is having garage sales. I was going to have mine earlier and for different reasons, it got put off. Then a neighbor told me about the whole street doing garage sales this weekend, so we waited to join them. =) It is currently 32 degrees with a wind chill of 27. =) I think I am going to be cold. I hope and pray that people still come out. I need to get rid of some of this stuff, especially some bigger items.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

New Drawing Begins...

This post will stay at the top. To read the new posts, scroll down! You have through Thursday, October 12th, 2006 at midnight EST to leave your entry. The winners will be drawn on Friday. Then either Friday night or Saturday morning we will post the winners.

We will be giving away 2 copies of the book you see here. It is called The Maker's Diet and is written by Jordan S. Rubin. It is a book that tells you how your diet can affect your health. It promotes true whole, natural foods and eating.

We ask that there only be one entry per household. To enter post in the comments section and ask to have your name put in the hat. We will allow a second entry if you link back to this post in your blog and you send us an email with a link to your blog post about this drawing. Send the emails to: Marci(at)amazinggrazefarm(dot)com. If you would like, you may leave thoughts or ideas or even a good whole foods recipe or meal plan. It seems I have caused some confusion. There is no real contest just enter your name in a drawing by telling us in a the comment section you want to be in on it!!!

Books I Am Reading

When my Mom died last October (I can't believe that it will be a year on the 18th), I got many of her books. She has always collected missionary books. I grew up in a very missionary minded home and church. I have always loved listening to, and reading about missionaries. The above 2 books are really old. You can see the price on one is 75 cents brand new. =) I have already finished One Vision Only and am almost done with the other. I had always heard about Isobel Kuhn and have even read one of her books recently Stones of Fire (another of my Mom's). She endured lots of hardships and separation from her husband and family to follow the path the Lord layed out for her. She kept her eyes and focus on the Lord. Even in the end when she died a long drawn out death, she reached out to others in the Name of the One whom she loved and served with all her heart. Many of the places she had to stay or things she had to endure and get used to, were all OK as long as it pleased her Lord. I am actually seeing some of those same traits in the lives of John and Betty Stam in the other book.

My husband and I have also been doing a Bible study with another couple. It is a study of 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. I was reading in 2 Timothy the following 2Timothy 2:3-5 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. How often do we allow ourself to get all tangled up in the affairs of this world. What our house looks like, what kind of flooring we have, what kind of clothes we are able to purchase, what team is ahead in the play offs, etc. I have heard many people say how hard it is for them to spend time alone with the Lord because of many different reasons... their children, their job, their hours, etc. Yet, they have time to read the newspaper, be on the computer, read other books, talk on the phone with friends, go to ball games, etc. Reading these books and then looking at the Word of God has truly convicted my heart about what things are really important in this life. Someone recently told me this saying... "You can tell a father's idol as his children will sacrifice to it." That doesn't just have to be father. It can also be mother. We MAKE TIME for what is important to US. Our lives show what we value. Looking at my own life that is pretty pathetic. May the Lord continue to hone me and refine me in His fire. I don't like the fire. It's hot, it burns, it's hard. Yet, I still have lots of dross that needs to be gotten rid of.

I heard the story of how they used to refine gold. They would put the gold over the fire and turn up the heat. Dross and impurities would be skimmed off the top and then the fire would be made hotter. Then more impurities would rise. They would be skimmed off. Then the refiner would look down into the pot. He was looking for his own reflection, for when he saw that, the gold was pure. Until then he just kept heating up the fire to get rid of the bad stuff. How like Jesus that is. He refines us. He turns up the heat to bring more impurities out of us. He is looking for His reflection in our lives. Praise the Lord He is faithful and will never give us more than we can handle.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Fuller Family

Jas 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

This family has a lot on their plate right now. Praise the Lord that they know and are held by the One who is able to keep them, give them peace and wisdom and strength. May we do our part. To rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep, and pray for one another. Let's keep a reminder before us to lift them up to our Heavenly Father as they come to mind. Leave a note by your computer to pray for them if you feel led. This is one way we can come along side our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

They are lifting up the name of the Lord in all that they do. If you would like to read more about them and their plans and work and vision for the future go to Fuller Family Farms

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

What Did YOU Do Last Night?

Well, I came up with a new ending for my "You might belong on a homestead if..." You spend your evening with your husband feeling chicken butts in the dark coop. WHAT??? you say???

Our egg count has been very low for the number of hens that we keep. We are not sure if something is eating them, or if the hens are laying somewhere outside the coop or if they were on strike. We want to keep them penned up in the coop for a couple of days and see how many eggs we get. However, we had too many chickens to do that and it has been pretty warm. So, we decided to do our yearly cull of old layers.

We were using color coded leg bands to get rid of all the 3 year olds. The first year all the girls got a red leg band. The second year all the new hens got blue leg bands. The third year we did not use leg bands at all. Then when we did our yearly cull of hens in the fall, we would get rid of all of the hens with a red leg band, which we did. This year we were to get rid of all the hens with a blue leg band. We ended up with a couple of cases where the leg band had to be cut off because it got too tight. We decided to scrap the leg band idea. Our next plan was to get different looking breeds each year. This year was the first year for that idea. We got light brahmas, which are the white chickens you see in the first picture. I noticed that one of my 3 year old hens was still laying faithfully. She would lay her egg in the goat shed every day, or at least almost every day. We did not want to cull a hen that was faithfully laying, so we went back to the tried and true method of measuring the space between what we call the pin bones on the backside of the hen. I am always elected to be the actually tester. You should be able to comfortably get 2 or even 3 fingers between those bones if they are laying well. My husband could automatically call some of them as he handed the chicken to me to be tested. If they were pretty beat up and looked like something the dog dragged around, you could usually put 3 fingers easily between those bones. Then he would hand me a beautiful, soft, well feathered girl and tell me that she was probably not laying. A couple of those girls were so closely spaced that I could not even put one finger in between the bones. So, we got rid of quite a few "feed eater/no output" hens. The weather is supposed to be cool tomorrow and the next day, so we are going to keep them in the coop and see how many eggs we get.

Oh, the fun things you get to do... Down on the farm!! =)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Milk Beggar

We are currently milking only one goat. All of the milk is going to other animals. We give some to the dogs and cats. The rest goes to the pigs. Since no humans are consuming the goat milk right now, we are not quite as careful with our milking procedures. When we go out to milk, we now have 2 dogs, 2 cats and 4 kittens who beg for milk. The funniest one to watch is our dog, Belle. She is so intense on the milker's hands. Her eyes shift from right to left as the milker empties one teat and then the other. Back and forth they go with no movement in her head position at all. She is just totally mesmerized. If you try to squirt milk to anyone else, you have to make her get back or she leaps into the way and sticks out her tongue to intercept. =) The first picture here is of her intense look. Then you see the milk going right to her. Any milk she drops or spilled is quickly cleaned up by her or another animal that beats her to it.

The last couple of days have been beautiful. The sun has been shining, the temperature has been in the mid to low 70's. If you stand outside, you can hear things that are sounds of fall. I can hear the traffic on the road a lot more now that the underbrush is going to bed for winter and the leaves are falling a bit. I love the dry rattling sound of the cornstalks and their leaves brushing together in the breeze. The bird sounds are different. You no longer here the incoming loud buzz of a hummingbird, diving down to the feeder. The song sparrows are not as plentiful. You hear geese honking as they fly overhead in their vee formation. Pretty soon we will hear the sound of the huge combines as they start to harvest the soybeans and corn. Most all the soybean fields are very dry and brown now. I now hear the clip clop of horses hooves more clearly as the Amish go down the road.

I am trying to pick one thing to commit to do every day this week. There are lots of things I have not kept up with that I need to. I figured I would try to add one back per week until I am doing like I should. You can pray for me in this endeavor.

Friday, October 06, 2006

And The Winner Is... (drum roll)

I put all of the entries on one page with no names. There were 5 judges. I gave them each separate sheets of paper and hand them pick their top 3 choices and rank them. We assigned point values to first, second and third places. There was a clear winner. The winner is Ladyfromthewoods with this entry...

You might belong on a homestead if you ever said grace like this... "Thank you, Lord, for this roast. Bessie sure was a good 'ole gal."

So send me your address at marci(at)amazinggrazefarm(dot)com.

This was really fun and we still have some things to give away. We will announce the next contest tomorrow.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

You might belong on a homestead if....

This post will stay at the top. To read the new posts, scroll down! You have through Thursday midnight EST to leave your entry. My family will choose the winner on Friday. I will present the entries to them with no names attached. Then either Friday night or Saturday morning we will list the winner. Then we have a new contest to announce.

I have noticed that several blogs are running contests and giving away things. I used to have an on the farm bulk food store that carried some books and other items. I still have some of the books and other items. I thought maybe I could run a few contests of my own. I was inspired by a blog called New Harvest Homestead. She ran a contest wanting people to come up with an ending for "You might be a homestead woman if..." She got some really creative answers.

Our contest will be to finish the following, "You might belong on a homestead if..." A sample might be... You might belong on a homestead if your favorite place to shop is Tractor Supply. The contest will run until next Thursday evening. We will pick the winner on Friday, the 5th of October. We ask that there only be one entry per household. Leave your entry in the comments section. We will allow a second entry if you link back to this post in your blog and you send us an email with your second entry and a link to your blog post about this contest. Send the emails to: Marci(at)amazinggrazefarm(dot)com. My family will choose the winner. We will be looking for funny and original. The prize will be the book you see in the picture above. It is called Harvest of the Garden. It is a spiral bound book of canning and freezing recipes from an Amish kitchen.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Indian Summer?

The days have been absolutely beautiful here. That contrasting light that I only see in the fall is here, but yesterday and today it is sunny and in the high 70's. It is getting down into the low 50's at night. We did have a small snap of cold weather. Then we had a cold front come through and behind it was not cooler temps, but warm wonderful days.

I picked my bird house gourds and my luffa gourds. I think I only got a total of 3 or 4 of the luffas. I got quite a few bird house gourds. I am letting them dry now and praying they don't rot. I would like to make birdhouses out of them and maybe paint on a few.

The pictures above are of the night sky last night. I saw the gorgeous corals and pinks and ran for my camera. Most of it was gone by the time I got outside. However, the sky was still lovely.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Pray For The Fullers

Many of you are familiar with Christina over at KS Milkmaid blog. There is a link to her blog on the right. We need to keep them in prayer. They have had all sorts of things come up this year that they have had to overcome. Well, they have a new prayer need. Brian, her husband has been diagnosed with some sort of serious internal cancer. They do have a game plan and the outcome looks hopeful at this point. If you would like to let the Fuller family know you are praying for them, you can send an e-mail to: fullersquiver@netzero.net. If you would like to know more about the Fullers, you can do so by visiting their web site at: www.FullerFamilyFarms.com.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Kittens, Caterpillars and Lambs

I went out this morning to milk and the kittens all came running. They are really used to people now and you have to really watch where you step. The one picture is of our dog Star, mothering them. She loves any baby. The little black one was playing hide and seek with a cat. She is under the milking stanchion.

Many of you saw a few weeks ago, where I had a Monarch butterfly caterpillar that made a chrysalis and then emerged as a butterfly. Well, the neighbors found an Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillar and they were able to watch it make its chrysalis and then split and shed its skin. Then they said it got into the chrysalis like getting into a sleeping bag. I was so excited and told them that I wished that I could have seen it happen with them. Well, they found another caterpillar out on their fennel and brought it to me. Today, I found another one on their fennel and brought it home for my Sister In Law who wants to do one.

This last picture is of Cookies-N-Cream or Cooks for short. His wool color is ever changing. I am not sure how dark he will turn out.