Monday, April 30, 2007

Thank You Lord For Your Creation!!

Almost every day I see some new sign of apring. I keep looking around. It is amazing how fast everything grows in the spring. The May Apples are up in the woods. They won't get the fruit until later, but there are little towns of these umbrellas throughout the woods. They seem to grow in patches. Here are a couple of pictures of our first violets of the year. My guys get annoyed with them, as there is a huge patch in the yard and I ask them not to mow it until the violets are almost done. =)

I believe these little white things are called Spring Beauties. They are closed up for the night in this picture. I will try and remember to get a picture of them open.

This next picture was MUCH more colorful in real life. The sun was a brilliant orange going down between the trees.

We have been planting. This is one of the 2 plum trees we are adding this year. We were also given 2 peonies and we bought 2 more grapes. Everything is in the ground and watered.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Cold Front Coming Through

We had some rainstorms come through with a bit of a cold front. Yesterday the high was only around 59 and so far that is all it is today. The sun peeks out every once in awhile to let us know it has forgotten us. Everything is turning so green. I got these shots a couple of evenings ago. I love the contrasts of the light and the shadows.

We moved the sheep into the goats pasture and put the goats in the sheep's pasture. They are really eating it down. I am going to advertise my goats in the paper this week. I will cry when they go, but I believe it is the right thing for us.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Show And Tell Friday

Today is Kelli's Show & Tell Friday. These are 2 notebooks that I painted for people. I do put some things inside the notebook, but it varies with the individual. This first one was done for one of my younger friends. Her name means lamb, she does all the sewing for her family and she is known for her pie baking. =)

This second one is for a good friend of mine who really does bloom where she is planted. Regardless of what goes on around her, she does what she is supposed to do and she does it with a sweet attitude.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Our First Asparagus!!

Michael picked our first aspargus of the season. We had it for dinner tonight. It was so good!! I usually end up with enough to sell some.

We thought for sure we would have pictures by now to show you our new calf. Molasses showed signs early this morning that birthing time is VERY near. We are going to take the calf and bottle raise it, so we want Michael here when the calf is born because my back has been bothering me. He took the afternoon off and came home. Well, it is now around 7:30PM and no calf yet. I did enjoy the afternoon with my husband though. =)

Hurry There Is Still Time To Win!!

You can go to 5 Minutes For Mom's and sign up to win this cool Digital Frame. The contest ends at noon today though, so hurry!!!!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Life Around Here!!

My son, Joshua just got home yesterday from 2 weeks in Montana (farthest NW corner... 8 miles from Canada) helping a friend. He is going to LOVE that posted that first picture of him. =) His birthday was Saturday. He turned 23 years old. We are celebrating his birthday this evening. He is having a friend over here for steak dinner and then others are coming for dessert. He LOVES cherry pie and is not really a big cake person. We have a dear older woman we were friends with in Florida who used to make this cherry tart that was SO good, (and I am not a big cherry person). So, I decided to try and tackle that for him. Now, I am NOT a pie baker. Mrs. Weigle (the older woman) always made the prettiest food. Her cherry tart was always covered by a PERFECT looking lattice crust. Well, here is my rendition. Messy??... YES!!! Hard to weave breaking pie dough??...YES!!!! Hope it tastes Good??..YES!! =)

Yesterday our home fellowship met at our house. One of the ladies brought me the daffodils you see below. She said that hers did not get bit by the frost. I thought it was really sweet of her to share with me. One of the children brought me this fistful of dandelions. From now until it frosts next fall, I will receive many beautiful bouquets of wild flowers or flowers from the yards of the families we meet with. The children all know I love the flowers and they are so good to me!

Here are the few tulips that survived the freeze. They are sending forth their praise to the Lord. Doing what He intended for them to do and doing it to their very best in spite of hardships. Hmmm.... can we take anything to heart from that statement!!! =)

Here is a picture of the batch of kittens born last week. I believe there are 5 of them. My husband took this picture. One, maybe two of them are already spoken for.

The weather is beautiful here. It is in the high 70's the sun is shining brightly, there are beautiful clouds in the sky and the wind is blowing. Thank you Lord for sending the warm sunshine after the cold and gray winter.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I Love Jersey Cows!!

Our cows are grass fed and we use rotational grazing. What that means is that we do not feed our cows any grain. They only eat grass and in the winter they eat hay. The rotational part just means that we put them on a section of pasture that they will eat up in just a few days and then we move their fence to the next section. When we get to the end of the rotation, we start back with paddock number 1. This first picture can show you right where the fence was. If you click on it and make it bigger, you will see how the cows truly eat all available forage up the fence line.

You might have to click this second picture as well to see it good. It just shows that spring is here. It is part of our pasture and it is full of Dandelions and a plant that is in the Self Heal herbal family.

I went out to the fence to check on the cows and make sure they were all OK. One of them must have been playing with a section of tiling. I thought it was stuck on the calf's halter. Once they saw me at the fence with a hand full of peanuts, they came to see me and the tiling dropped to the ground. =) The first picture shows Molasses on the left. She is the larger dark jersey. She is due to calve around May 5th. You can see our cow, Buttercup just getting up in the background. The other two are our calves. The light colored one is Sir Loin of Beef and the darker one is Texas T-Bone. We named him Texas because he was SO much bigger than the other calves. Then there is a close up of Molasses on the next picture. The next picture is of Tex and of our neighbor's calf. I can't remember his name... I will have to ask them. The last cow picture is our dear old cow Buttercup. We have had her a LONG time and she has been the best cow. We are hoping she is pregnant. We have no idea when she is due if she is pregnant. I am praying for a honey colored heifer calf to be Buttercup's replacement. Molasses will probably always give dark calves and I like the lighter colored jerseys. We are not sure what we will do with Buttercup once she is too old to milk. I know several have suggested beef, but I think we will just let her be out to pasture until she dies.

This next picture is really cute if you click on it and make it big. It shows how big the week old chicks are.

This last picture is of the night sky. It was not near as dark as this picture shows, but the sliver of the moon was shining and the star was just below it. I can't believe you can actually see the star and the moon. It is the first time I got one of these pictures to turn out good.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Birth On The Farm

I want to give you fair warning. The pictures are very graphic of a goat giving birth. So, if you are squeamish, I suggest you read my blog another day. Tina asked about birthing pictures and Peggy has a goat that will give birth soon and she would like to see them, so I am posting them on here. This birth did not take place this year. We no longer have this Momma goat. This was our first goat that had our herd name. Her name is Shiloh. Here is a picture of her big and pregnant. Her coloring was very unusual. The front half of her was chamoisee and then just past her withers, she was all white. Everyone in the goat world always commented on her coloring.

On a normal presentation of a birth in goats, you will see the front hooves first and maybe the nose resting on top of them. When Shiloh herself was born, her tongue was sticking out and you could see it. Her mother birthed just the head and walked around while Shiloh was blinking and looking around. We had to get the legs and assist her on the next push. Shiloh was huge as far as baby goats go. If you look closely at this picture you can see the little whitish/yellowish hooves showing. You can click on any of these pictures to make them a bit bigger.

This next picture you can see both front hooves very distinctly and the big dark bulge is the nose and head coming. During the labor, the goat will get up and walk around. They like to paw at the ground like they are fixing a nest and then they will lay back down or walk around a bit.

This next picture you can see both the front legs and the head are out. That is usually the hardest part for the Momma goat.

Now, most of the body is out and just part of the back legs are still in her. At this point, she often stands up and then the rest of the kid is birthed and it snaps the cord.

Here the baby is out and Shiloh is cleaning him off. I usually assist the Momma in cleaning off the babies using a towel. I also gather up the sac pieces, etc. so that the Doe won't eat them. I am sure God gave them that instinct for when they are in the wild. I have had people tell me that it is bad for them and others say it is really good for them to eat it. It just grosses me out, so I don't give them the option. =) I would say within 10 mins. of being born, the babies are trying out their wobbly little legs. How someone could watch an animal birth and not believe in a Master Creator is beyond me. Here this brand new little life gets on its wobbly legs and immediately starts looking for a teat to nurse.

Here is her second baby coming. He is still encased in the birthing sac. You will notice she is standing up for this one.

Here is Momma Shiloh with her twin bucklings. They are just the color I breed for. Too bad they were both boys.

I will show you these last two pictures. They are from another one of Shiloh's birthings. This shows you how they often lay when they are pushing. The lay on their side and sort of roll. They also turn and look back to see what is going on.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Death on the Farm

Goats have been a part of our farm almost from the beginning. We had laying hens we shared with the neighbor and then we got Star our dog. We were hoping to one day get goats. I really wanted Nubians. They were so cute with their long ears that hang down. We had good friends who raised goats. They had a son named Joshua. Our Joshua made arrangements with their Joshua about getting a goat. They came to us and asked if Joshua's goat had a baby girl, could our Joshua buy her. We said yes, if he had the money. Ellie was born and came to live with us. She was an Alpine, so we decided to stick with that breed. My son will not be too thrilled that I am putting this picture up. =) Here he is with Ellie.

We saw that it was going to take a lot of goats milk to feed this little doeling for 8 weeks. We did not want to use milk replacer, plus goats are a herd animal and do better in groups of 2 or more. So, we bought Minx who was already in milk. Even though she was my goat, Joshua was "HER" boy.

The two goats we currently have are descendants of Minx. Honeysuckle is her daughter and Magnolia is her granddaughter. Here is a recent picture of Honeysuckle. We would not know if this was a picture of Minx or Honeysuckle if it was not labeled. They are identical. Honeysuckle has given us quite a few babies. The second picture is Honeysuckle as a baby.

Honeysuckle was due last Friday. Normally, a few days before she delivers, she gets a huge udder that looks like it is going to burst. That did not happen this year. One year her mother got big and huge like she was pregnant and did not have a baby. The vet said it was a false pregnancy. We thought maybe that is what was happening to Honeysuckle. She was eating well, she was frisky, she was jumping fences up through Monday. The fence jumping just started a little while ago. They don't want to stay in their pen. We kept checking her out just in case she had a baby in there. We checked her Monday night and all looked normal. When Michael went out at 6AM on Tuesday to open the chicken coop, there was a dead baby on the ground in the goat pen. It was a beautiful doeling that looked just like her mother did. Honeysuckle was still pretty big, so we watched and waited to see if anything was going to happen. It ends up the one girl was all she was carrying. We have milked her 3 times now, but it does not appear to be colostrum at all. We have no idea what happened. Normally by this time of year, I have a kid pen full of kids like below.

We have really been praying about our farm for awhile now. We are not sure what is going to be happening. We thought maybe the Lord was going to move us, but nothing has come of that so far. I have always been the one that was so attached to the goats. I love to go and pet them and hug them. I think the Lord has been weaning me away from that. About 4 months ago, we were sitting down talking about each aspect of the farm. Besides the chickens, the goats are the only other farm animal that we buy feed for. The cows and sheep are all grass fed. We do not use the goats milk except to feed other animals or to make soap. I have not been making much soap lately. After this happening, we think we are going to sell our goats. I know when they leave, I will cry hard, but I think it is the right thing to do. We are going to try and find a good family for them to go to. That makes it a little easier.

Tina mentioned trying to get pictures of the birth if we could. Obviously we totally missed this birth (that is the first one we missed). I do have pictures of another of our goats giving birth. They are really graphic, but if there is enough interest, I will post them on here. Let me know in the comments if you would like to see them.

Here are some other pictures from around the farm. The first one is of one of the tulips trying to bloom where it was planted despite the freeze it endured.

I caught all of the cows (including the one calf that belongs to the neighbor) and the sheep in one picture.

I loved the lighting of this picture. The shadows were already on our property, but you could see the sun shining on the farmer's field behind us.

When I went out to milk this morning, I saw there was a waiting line at the nest box out there. It is not really a nest box, but they have been laying eggs in it for several years.

The same morning that Michael discovered the dead baby goat, he found a brand new batch of kittens. This is one of the Mommas we tried to get rid of. Sigh....

Monday, April 16, 2007

Bird Blessings!!

Neither one of the following pictures is very good. I had to take it through the dirty window and screen. =) Our last finch feeder did not work too well. Too much rain got in it and it would rot the seeds. We love to see all the colorful finches. This past weekend, we bought another finch feeder and put it out yesterday. We were not sure we would get any for awhile. I was so excited when I looked out and saw this guy feeding away. God sure made some beautiful birds. I love to hear the call of the goldfinches. It reminds me of a video game. =) In a couple of weeks, I will put out the hummingbird feeders. Thank you God for beautiful birds to enjoy watching and hearing!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

What's For Supper Ma'am!!

I had to take these pictures through the window, so they are not the best. Every day some of the chickens are coming up to my compost bin in the garden area to see what's on the menu for the day. It does not take them long to find their way there once someone has emptied the compost bucket from the house. We bought a little watermelon at the store. When we cut it open, it was rotten and not fit for human consumption. It was a delicacy on the chicken menu for the day.

We have seen wild birds in this bin, the cats, the dogs, and the chickens. It is the community diner. I need to move it to another location before we till the garden under.