Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Life on the Farm

Here is a picture of Star, our Australian Shepherd. She is the best dog. She is still a bundle of energy (when she wants to be) and loves to play ball. She is 10 1/2 years old.

I took this picture because I got all the baby lambs in one picture.

This bird was sitting on top of our Martin house. I am not sure what it is though. The light was not right. I was hoping by taking its picture and blowing it up like I did that I could tell.

This is the daughter of the Wonderful Neighbors. She is quite the little seamstress. She has been making quilts for a couple of years now. She is making aprons and pot holders that are quilted. She will be selling them in my store. The bib part is lined and the front of the bib is pieced. It has 2 big patch pockets. If you are interested in one, let me know. She will have to come up with a clever name for her creations. I have given them several farm name suggestions, but so far they have not adopted them. =)

It warmed up into the 50's today. Tonight it is supposed to go down to 30. I covered up my Wisteria. I am praying my apple trees don't bite the dust.

Here is another sweet lamby video. I love to watch them (as I am sure you can tell). Then I run and get the camera and then I want to share. =) Grace really follows her babies around. She does not let them get too far from her and she does not let them romp with those other ruffians. =)

More Tuesday Tidbits!!

Theresa over at Stitches of Grace is having a Blogiversary Give-Away. She has some really neat prizes. Go over and check it out.

I went outside to look around at the snow. I saw these little ice crystals no the leaves of my bleeding heart. They are like little diamond jewels on the leaves.

If you click on this picture and make it bigger, you will see shiny pearly looking places on the white drops hanging from the pink blooms. This is not ice, but how the plant grows. Isn't it beautiful?

I do not like to wear things that will draw attention to myself. I got a pair of Crocs RX shoes last year and they have been lifesavers on my feet. My husband told me to get another pair. My first ones are navy blue, but he suggested this blue. They are really bright.....

Here is one of the blossoms on our apple tree. I hope it does not freeze tonight.

The snow is almost totally melted. What is left looks like this.

It is LATE April!!!

I knew it was supposed to get down into the upper 30's last night. I was prepared for that. My sweet husband made sure I had wood to build a fire this morning if I needed one. I was not expecting to see snow on the ground though... It is April 29th. Our last frost date is in 2 weeks.

Actually this made me think back to when Joshua was young. We lived in Florida for quite a few years. When Michael got a job with his current company, we still lived in Florida. Their headquarters was up in Ohio though. The first 5 or so years they would send him up to Ohio in April for training. Since we had lots of family here, he would drive up and they paid him for miles traveled. They liked the arrangement because they did not have to pay for airline tickets, hotels, most meals or a rental car. We liked it because we were actually paid to go visit family. Every year, Joshua would pray for snow. His birthday is April 21 (late April) and that was usually when we were up here in Ohio. Every year, God answered his prayer. I think one year it was just flurries, but usually there was enough that he could scrape it off of something and make a snowball. Joshua prayed for snow and they all prayed he would go home, so that the snow would go away. =) So, when I woke up and saw this snow I wondered what child was visiting from the sunny south and had prayed to see a bit of snow. I will welcome it for their sake. =)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Vision Forum - Free Gift Certificate

Since the inception of Vision Forum, it has been their mission to encourage sound biblical thinking by providing Christ-honoring products that equip the biblical family. Throughout each year, they seek to make available special offers consistent with this mission. Whether you are looking for popular Vision Forum classics such as So Much More or a new product, The 200 Year Plan; encouraging a greater multi-generation vision for your family, or Jonathan Park Creation Audio Library; which delivers hours of enjoyable and educational adventures, or Fun Ride Super-Z Zip Lines for an upcoming birthday; or a systematic tool to study all of the Scripture such as Balancing the Sword — Vision Forum seeks to encourage the Christian family by supplying tools to build up strong men and women of faith.

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It is their hope that this opportunity will serve as a helpful way to build your family library and provide your children with “vision gifts” for future special occasions. If you shop online, your gift certificate will be issued electronically and sent to you immediately upon placing your qualifying order. Redeem your gift certificate anytime between June 1 and December 31, 2008. This special offer is not valid for wholesale orders, is not retroactive to purchases made prior to April 28, 2008, and expires at midnight on Thursday, May 1 (CST).

If you click on the banner above or any of the links in this notice, I will get credit for your purchase. Thanks.

Count Your Blessings Monday

Here is an opportunity for you to give thanks unto the Lord for a blessing in your life. If you have a blog, please sign Mr. Linky below and post on your blog. Please link back to this blog and you may use the picture above. If you do not have a blog, leave a comment on this post telling us what you are thankful for and what you are counting as a blessing today. This is a way that we can encourage one another. Many of our blessings we will have pictures of and we can share those as well. I think that many times we forget that it is a blessing to be able to breath, to get out of bed, to hold a baby... Share your blessings with us. They encourage others. We can share so many other things.... special gifts, recipes, let's take the time to share how God has blessed us!!

We are S-L-O-W-L-Y working on our house. I am grateful when we are able to get any part done. My son volunteered to start putting up drywall in the room that will be a big walk in pantry. He and my husband got all the drywall up this weekend. The first coat of mud is on as well. This is a large room. It will have pantry shelves as well as a counter with workspace. There is also a sink and a stove on one wall. We have to put insulation in the ceiling and then we will put dry wall up there. This is a major blessing to me and I am so grateful for it.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Quiet Sunday Stroll

Our fellowship met at our house today. The ladies and older gal decided to take a walk around the property. The Gal and I share a love of flowers and plants and animals. While we were walking, I looked down and saw this violet in my front yard. The Gal asked if she could pick it. Isn't it pretty? She called it an albino violet.
Here are a couple of Dogwood blossoms starting to open up.

You can see the changes in the Wisteria buds every day. Some of them are loosening up and starting to open. We are supposed to go below freezing this week. I hope it survives. I plan on covering it. Last year we had a shortage of apples and other fruits in this area because of a freeze. I pray that does not happen this year.

Here is one of my lilacs starting to flower. This is very exciting for me because these plants are about 5 years old. They have never bloomed and never thrived. I moved them last year to another location and evidently, it is one they approve of. =)

The birds are singing loudly right now. We went out and caught some of the lambs so one of the ladies could hold them. Psalty is a little porker. He is very round and very heavy compared to all the others. =)

Friday, April 25, 2008

"Tails" From The Farm... Part 5

You can read part 1 here.
You can read part 2 here.
You can read part 3 here.
You can read part 4 here.

We were soon to add another animal to our farm. It was time for Buttercup to calve. We were given an approximate due date, which came and went. We were checking her around the clock. We had several families who wanted to be notified when the blessed event was to take place. None of our friends or neighbors in that area had ever seen a live cow birth. We kept getting phone calls wanting to know if anything was happening. On December 28th, Buttercup was acting very strange. She paced the fence the whole day. Round and round the field she went. There were other physical signs that birth was imminent. She had some stuff hanging out of her and she seemed to be a lot looser in the hind quarters. We called the other families and told them we thought it would be today, but we had no idea when. We read and reread the chapters in our cow books on calving. So much of what we have experienced raising animals has been with a book in one hand. We had no idea what we were doing. We had towels to dry the baby off, our cow milking bucket was waiting all shiny and new. We had to get a larger one than the one we used for the goats. It looked huge and we wondered if we would ever fill it. We had iodine to dip the navel cord. We were prepared. Well, dusk started arriving. So we pulled our pick-up truck into the back yard so that we could use Michael's million candle power spot light if needed to witness this wonderful miracle. We could plug it into the cigarette lighter hole in the truck. None of us had been around large animals very much before Buttercup. We only had her a little over a month, so we were not totally comfortable with handling her. Michael and Joshua did much better than I did, but we wanted to step in as soon as the calf was born so that we could let it bond with us. Buttercup did not want an audience. Our friends had gathered around by now. So, that cow waited until dark and then went down into the farthest corner to have that baby in the mud. That was the only area in the whole pasture that was muddy. That is where she chose to calve. However, we were all able to see the birth with our spotlight. She did so well. Her calf was pretty big. There were several other families there watching as well. Buttermilk was born. She was a beautiful heifer. She was mostly white with some light tan spots on her. Michael and I gingerly walked up to the baby and mama. We started helping her clean off the calf. One of the things I love about animals giving birth is to watch the instincts that God gave to both mama and baby. The mamas always speak to the baby in soft little sounds. Buttercup just gave these little lowing sounds over and over while licking off the baby the whole time. The goats all nicker at their babies. Buttercup did not seem to mind us helping, so we got a bit braver. It was so much fun to watch her try to stand up and walk on those wobbly, gangly legs of hers. We had read all the books we could get our hands on, and talked to several people who had cows. The feelings were divided. Half said to leave the baby with the Momma for a week, and the other half said don't let her nurse, if you want any milk. Buttercup was being such a good momma, lowing to that baby, cleaning her off, and nuzzling her, so we decided to leave her with her momma overnight. It was kind of chilly and Buttercup would help to keep her warm. We learned to listen to the "other side" the next time. When we first separated them it was just at night. Neither one of them was happy and therefore none of us were either. Buttercup would call out to her baby all night and the baby would bawl this low throaty sound. Who ever said that a cow said moo, never heard our cows. With keeping Buttermilk separate all night we were getting a little bit of milk, but not much. Buttercup did not want to let it down for us. It was as if she were storing it all up for the baby. We finally separated them totally at about three weeks. This was a bad time, because it is the hardest time on the momma cow to eat enough to produce all the milk she does. This coupled with the stress of being away from her baby caused major health problems that required calls to the vet. Another thing we have noticed about our animals is that they always get their sickest on Saturday night or Sunday when it is almost impossible to talk to a vet. Buttercup gives a lot of rich milk those first few weeks. Actually, she gives a lot for most of her lactation. We were giving her calcium paste and putting molasses in her water. We finally got things squared away and she was doing well. We had to keep them separate until Buttermilk was about ten months old. Every time we would wait a couple of months and then put them together, she would rush over to nurse. She had learned how to nurse and she REMEMBERED!! We thought we were going to outsmart her. We bought a Kant-Suck device that is supposed to keep the calf from being able to nurse. It does not hurt them at all. We tried two different kinds of these devices. It hooks to their nose and hangs down on a hinge. When they put their head down to graze, it moves up and out of the way. If they put their head up as if to nurse, it covers their mouth, so they are not able to latch on. The one device we tried even had some spikes that would stick the mama and make her want to move away. We would put them in her nose and let her out of her pen. She would walk round and round with her nose up in the air trying to figure out what was on it. Then she would head for Momma. She would nose around a bit, figure out the device, fling it upward and nurse away. The little stinker!!

We bottle fed her for several months. Then we started giving her the milk in a bucket. We would warm it up with hot water. She would do the "Milky Dance", as we called it. She would bob from side to side, put her head down and then up, all the while stepping front to back and side to side. We would have to trick her to get in her pen and get the bucket down to her level without having it dumped on us. Once we got it down there she would dive in. She could suck down that bucket of milk quicker than anything. Then Star would lick her clean and she would lick Star. Star got the little bit of milk left in the bucket. It was down to a routine. Then she danced some more until you gave her the grain. We grain fed our cows back then. She would chow down her grain and then be looking for more milk. She would suck on any exposed skin or even your clothing. You would be trying to brush her and she would be sucking on your arms and your fingers. If you have ever had a calf that has just eaten, suck on you, you will know why we called it getting slimed!! Her shelter was just a low little shelter to allow her to get out of the rain or sun. For us to go in, we would have to duck down and go in and either stay bent over or sit down. I would duck down to go into her shelter to put her grain in her feed bowl and she would butt me looking for something to eat. She knocked me over more than once when I was bending down. One day, I decided to sit down in her shelter to try and calm her down. That was a BIG mistake. She began sucking on my eyebrow and cheek. They suck really hard, plus they bump you really hard. I wondered if I was going to keep my eye. I was hollerin’ for help, while Michael and Joshua just stood by and watched and giggled. They were so much help...NOT!! I have to admit, my cries for help were peppered with giggles. Oh, that cow was spoiled. I was her mama and she followed all of us around. We all kept trying to remind ourselves that she was to be hamburger. It was going to be hard.

Springtime rolled around and the two goats were ready to kid. We were having so much fun with all the animals. We were loving this life we chose. We had one birth under our belt and we felt a bit more prepared for this one. For the two nights before they were due to kid, Joshua slept out near the pen we had them in. He would run and get us at the first sign of labor. We did not want a repeat of babies being born in the mud, so we fixed up Ellie's old pen under the big oak tree and added a little yard with stock panels. Minx went into labor first at about three in the morning. She was a screamer. Joshua did not have to come and tell us that she was in labor. I am sure the whole neighborhood knew that she was. When Joshua came in to tell us (he did not know we were up) he said "She has already had the first one. It's in the dirt." Remember that line, and also remember that Minx is my goat. Anyway, she gave birth to triplets. We did not have to assist at all. We were so excited. One of them was the exact color of doe that I was hoping for. It is called chamoisee. However, they were all three bucks. I could not believe it. I was so hoping for a little doeling. Then at about eleven that morning, Ellie, our miracle goat started her labor. She was silent, except she would grunt and curl her lip up as she pushed. It was really funny to watch. With every little thing that would happen Joshua would say, "Is that supposed to be that way? Is she Okay? “ With my goat it was, "The first one is in the dirt ", and with his goat, he was a little mother hen. Well, she finally birthed the head. The baby goat's tongue was sticking out. It was such a bright red. Ellie got up and was walking around with the baby's head hanging out and the baby was looking all around. The sac had broken and the baby seemed really alert (at least for just seeing the head). Joshua wondered out loud, what the baby might be thinking. Probably, "GET ME OUT OF HERE!!" Next the two front hooves came. Then labor did not seem to advance for awhile. In the end, Michael and Joshua had to help pull Shiloh out. She was beautiful and HUGE!! The three bucks, Buck, Lem and Millwheel (we had just read 'The Yearling') were so small compared to Shiloh. The tallest buck at the withers (at the base of the neck) was fourteen and one half inches. Shiloh was seventeen inches. The front of her was chamoisee, which is a beautiful brown with some markings, but the entire back of her was snow white. It looked like someone dipped her in white paint. We were all in love and so excited that she was a doe. More babies on the farm. We settled in to the routine of bottle feeding right off. We were not going to have the same problem that we did with Buttermilk. Every time you would walk out of the house, they would all start bleating and come to their fence. We would let them out and they would romp and jump. They loved to follow you around. We would race with the bottles to see who would suck theirs down the fastest. My dear friend, Cordelia Rose would come and feed them bottles. She had also been there to feed Ellie bottles when she was new. The neighbors would also love to come and feed bottles. It was not just the children on the one side, but even the older couple on the other side loved our goats. All those little tails would wag the entire time they were eating and you would hear the stereo sound of all the little sucking noises... Ahhhhh, this was the life and people loved to be part of it.

We got to do all sorts of new things. We had to disbud them, which means to burn off their horn buds so that horns will not grow. They holler like the dickens as soon as you hold their head down, but scamper off to play as soon as you are done with them. This was our least favorite job for years to come. The smell of the hair burning and hearing them holler was awful. We would have a partial bottle waiting for them. We also had to castrate the boys. We would do many of these new things with a book in one hand and the instrument in the other. We had a move in our near future however, and we had to get rid of the boys or wethers as they were now called. We were taking them to Mr. Pastor's work to sell to the migrant workers for meat. Mr. Pastor told the ladies in his office about it and they met us when we got there. The ladies bought all three of them to take home and be pets. It ends up these pets all placed at the county fair that year. One of them would have been Grand Champion except they felt they needed to give that to a doe. Even though they went to a new home where they would be loved and spoiled, I cried all the way home after I dropped them off.

To be continued…

Thursday, April 24, 2008

More New Babies on the Farm!!

We noticed last night that Grace's udder was a lot larger. She was kind of stand offish today. I looked out this afternoon and all the other sheep and lambs were out but her. That is really unusual. I waited awhile and looked again and she was still not to be seen, so I went out to check. She was not in the pasture that I could see and she was not in the shed either. I turned off the fence and went into the pasture. She was around the corner of the shed and she had just had 2 babies. They are both very dark. Grace is my skittish ewe. She was cleaning off her babies and she was eyeing me. I stood a bit a ways and just watched her. Michael came home in the meantime and I asked him to bring the camera out. He brought it out and came into the pasture with me. I slowly walked over to her and let her sniff me and then I picked up the babies one by one and I believe they are both girls. I was trying to be very quick and to get out of there, because I did not want to stress her. We will check again tonight or tomorrow. If they are girls, then we have gotten 5 ewes and 1 ram this year.
Ginny came for a visit today. She got to hold one of the baby lambs. There is a picture of her cuddling with Pepper here.
Here is Clover my heifer calf. I still believe she is a Jersey, not a Holstein. People argue with me though. She was bred to a Jersey and her spots are really dark brown. Plus, she is no taller than the 2 Jersey steers she is in with. I believe if she was a Holstein that she would be bigger. =)

Here are 2 of the trees out by the chicken coop. They are so beautiful.

My bleeding heart is starting to bloom.

Look Pat!!!! This is a mullein plant. I have been wanting one (they are weeds around this area) and this just showed up over by my grapes!! I am excited. The mullein has many beneficial health properties.

This is one of my wee violets. I was seeing how close up I could get.

Here is the peach tree.

These are wee little buds on my baby lilac bush. I can't wait for them to open.

Here are some more violets.

I am so excited about my wisteria. It takes it several years to bloom. Two years ago it got a handful of huge buds. Then we got a heavy frost and it killed the buds. Last year when it was just coming out we got several freezes and even though it lived, it never even produced a bud. This year it is covered in buds.

I am sure you get tired of my farm tours. I never seem to tire of walking around checking on things. =)

Joshua's Special Day

Twenty-four years ago on this day, I got a phone call that changed my life. Let me back up a bit to twenty- four years ago on the 21st of this month. I got a phone call telling me that my son had been born. Oh, I was trying to protect my heart. He was not mine yet. We had to wait 72 hours for his birth mother to sign papers. Then at 4:27 PM on this day we got a call from our lawyer. Her first words were... "He's Yours!!!!" You have already guessed this, but I am sitting here crying while writing this. So what's new? I was handed a very precious 3 day old baby boy who I had already bonded with in my heart. I was a Mom!!! That year was my first Mother's Day that I didn't want to hide and not go to church where all the moms were asked to stand up. I would be able to stand with them this year. All through Joshua's life even after hard battles when he was older, I always try to remember to tell him this... "You will never do anything that will make me stop loving you. I love you so much and you are my gift from God." Thank you God for these last twenty-four years of blessing.

He now owns his own contracting/remodeling business and does very well. He got an early start.

Here he is as a young fisherman on my Great-Aunt's dock in Florida.

He was a cowboy as well.

In this picture he is not happy, but TOO bad, I was going to take this picture. He is being held by his Great-Great-Great-Aunt Edna. She is my Dad's Great-Aunt.

Here he is dancing with his Great-Great-Aunt Flo. He was one of her favorites and she was one of his. She did not have grandchildren and I believe she adopted Joshua as hers. She is probably around 98 years old in this picture. She lived to be 102.

When he was younger he LOVED to dress up. Here he is at church one morning.

We worked with the college kids at church. We had a handful that hung out at our house a lot. One of them was into dressing up. Joshua tried to emulate him.

Here he is with Jacob, his cousin. Those two were so ornery together, but oh they had fun. I had painted them matching shirts.

He had just lost his first tooth. He was thrilled.

This is on a trip he took out west.

Here he is with his future brother-in-law. They are playing games at the table. This is Boaz. He really likes Joshua and likes to be close to him.

This is a picture of Joshua and his beloved right after Joshua asked her to marry him. That is another one of her brothers, Brasen.

Here is Joshua with another soon to be brother-in-law, Ben. Who knows what they are doing.

Here is Brittany, his beloved. This is their official betrothal picture. This is the one going in the papers. Joshua is an only child, but Brittany is one of 8. Her mother is pregnant with number 9 and due 4 days before the wedding. =)

Joshua, you are not the child of my womb, but you are the child of my heart and no one was ever loved more than you were or are. I love you!!!!

We Are Fearfully And Wonderfully Made

I got this off of another blog, but it was so good, I had to share it. It is about 8 mins. long, but worth watching.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

You Don't Know What You Are Missin'!!!

I could almost feel sorry for you. However, I am sure that God has blessed you in ways too. I have actually had kind of a blue week. I am getting old. =) This empty nest that is creeping up on me is weighing on my mind. I really know that it is the next step in my path and that God will give me grace to walk in it. Or should I say my head knows that, but my heart has not come in line with that yet. I was the girl who was going to get married and have 12 babies. I was graciously given one through adoption to raise up. I am grateful. I would just like there to be a few more around here to continue to raise up. =) Anway, back to the blessing. I went and looked out my back door after dinner and then ran to get my camera. The lambs were having a ball out there. I think that I did catch some good hops and jumps in this one. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Quick Farm Tour

Today was cloudy. There were times where the sun was shining brightly, and others where it went behind a cloud. Then toward late afternoon, darker clouds came in. I love the view of the sky we have behind the barn. Here is what it looked like earlier this evening.

Here were some of the darker clouds out to the east. Look at the tree line. You will see the different trees sending out their buds, blooms or leaves. This is a pretty picture when you look at the big version of it. You can do that by clicking on it.

Here are those peach(?) trees in the chicken area. The blooms are different colors on the different trees.

YIPPEE!!!! Our asparagus is coming up. I need to weed around it and then mulch. I was not too on the ball last fall or this spring.

The garlic is really growing. I am hoping for a banner crop this year.

This is a common weed around here. Someone questioned me via email if this was Self Heal. I was told by a botanist that it was called Heal All, which was a sister plant to Self Heal. I ahve been looking at pictures of both on line and now I am not sure this botanist was correct. =) I will keep looking and let you know.

Well, I got my answer from a comment someone left on the blog. I checked out the link and she was right. I will have to share this with the botanist. =) This weed is called Purple Deadnettle.

Thanks for walking around the farm with me. It's good exercise and I enjoy the company. =)