Monday, June 30, 2008

Last Day Vision Forum Coupon

Vision Forum offered a special “thank you”. Between now and July 1, 2008, use the enclosed coupon to save $25 on your online order of $75 of merchandise or more! Redeem your coupon to stock up on summer reading supplies, or get ready for family summer fun with our Three-Man Balloon Launchers and Fun-Ride Zip Lines. This coupon may only be redeemed online, may not be retroactively applied to past orders, and expires at midnight on July 1, 2008

I have two codes that will not be used by our family. You are welcome to use one. If you get to the check out and it will not let you use it, it means that someone beat you to it. They are for a one time use only. If you click on the picture above or the link in the sidebar, I will get credit for your sale. Thanks. Here are the two coupon codes...



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!!

Today, I am counting my brother, Doug as a blessing. We take things for granted sometimes. He is a man's man. He works hard and is very strong. Regardless of what we see on the outside, he had a ticking time bomb on the inside. I am so grateful they found it and are working to get it under control before it got him. My 2 younger brothers were like my babies. I have a much different relationship with them than I do with my 2 older brothers. I am just thankful today that Doug is still around.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

His Sheep Am I

A week ago, we went to my brother's church because they were going to pray for him. The pastor talked about sheep and he said that when we are called sheep in the Bible, that it is not a compliment. He talked about how dumb sheep are and that they don't have any natural defense. Some animals have ferocious growls and teeth or claws, some have a shell to hide in like a turtle. He talked about how the Mama skunk teaches her babies. Something tried to get them all. She told them all to turn around, bow their heads and then she said, "Let us spray". =) I guess sheep don't have those types of defense, but if you have ever tried to corner one in a shed, watch out. I have been tackled by a sheep. However, it is true that sheep know their shepherd if the shepherd spends lots of time with them. My matriarch sheep, Sunshine knows me. She will come to my husband too, but she knows me. I can get her to move from pasture to pasture by simply leading her (having a can of grain helps). She trusts me. The other sheep trust her. She knows my voice. I think of God and His Son, Jesus. We are to follow them as sheep do a shepherd. Do I hear an audible voice saying, "Yes, buy that vehicle!" No, I don't, but I do hear my Shepherd when I listen. It is that still small inner voice that tells you what you need to do, or suggests another path to follow, or brings to your mind a verse that helps at that moment. If I hear Him and still do not obey, what does that mean? The bottom line is that I don't trust Him. He has given us all sorts of directions in His Word. What my role as a wife should be... How I should treat an enemy... To obey the laws of the land until they cross His law... Let's go back to that first one, my role as a wife. I need to trust God to work through my husband. Many times I feel like unless I speak up we are in trouble. My husband asks me what I think on most things. He does not always do what I think. I need to trust God to work through Him. If I fuss at him, or cop an attitude or get angry, then I am not trusting. My Shepherd has told me that I need to do this. Do I trust? How have you heard the voice of the Lord?

Here are some pictures of my sheep. They are wet in these pictures. They were out in the rain eating.

This is Pepper. See how her colors have changed?

This is either Lindsey or Woolsey.

This is Knit or Purl by the twin of the one above. Remember how black they were at birth? Look how chubby she is? Most of that is just wool.

I also took a picture of the cows, so I thought I would post it too.

Someone asked me in the last post if I spin the wool. I do, but have not done it for awhile. I need to get back into it. One of my favorite books starts out with a picture of a Grandma holding her first grandchild. The books says, "On the day I was born, my Grandma wrapped me in a blanket made from the wool of her very own sheep." I want to be able to do that. I need to get the yarn made, so I can start working on a blanket. Joshua is getting married this fall and it takes me awhile to get something done. I want it all ready and waiting for whenever that first one comes along.

An update on my brother... He is home and has a defibrillator / pacemaker installed. He has a whole new way of living to learn. He has to make changes to what he eats and what he does. There are all sorts of restrictions about magnetic fields. He can't use the cell phone on the same side of his pacemaker. He can' t go through regular airport security. He can't weld or work on a running engine. He can't hang out with the greeter at Wal-mart because of the metal detectors at the door. Thank you all for praying.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Little Bits of Lots of Things

Today, I pulled one of my garlic up to check on it. I think they are ready to harvest. We had a really nice size bulb on the end. I should have put something in the picture to show you how big it is. The stem was really thick.
Here is another couple of pictures of my little banty silky chicks. I love their markings.

We have been getting lots of small rains. We did have a pretty nice rain the other night. This is what it does to the garden where we don't have mulch yet. Can you see the rows of corn in the back? Beans and beets are in the front. We have already been out there trying to remedy the situation and got stopped by another little rain shower. We are VERY grateful for the rain as we were in a drought last year at this time.

Here is one of the pepper plants. Something was eating them before we planted them. I hope they survive.

The same thing with our cabbage. I have seen a lot of those little white butterflies out there. They are very hard to catch.

Here are my pole beans coming up by the trellis my sweet Michael put up for me.

Here is my zucchini. The leaves do this every year. Is this a fungus or do zucchini leaves always get the white stuff like this? Does anyone know?

I scattered all sorts of lettuce seeds under another trellis. They are starting to come up. At this point it is hard to tell what is weeds and what is lettuce other than the really light green stuff.

Can you believe it? This is Pepper. Her colors are really changing.

I am not sure which of my little black lambs this is, but wow... do you see all the light color under the black?

Here is Charity with Knit or Purl. I love these little lambs faces.

This rooster is HUGE. He surprises me sometimes when I see him from the house. I wonder if there is a dog back by the chickens. He saw me coming and headed for the chicken jungle. I showed you the chicken yard in a video here. It was mostly bare then. This picture and the next picture shows you what a nice shady area they have.

This is one of the peach trees in the chicken yard area. They are covered in peaches.

This is a picture of a wild cherry in that area. Most of them are already gone. I guess the birds eat them green.

We went to get feed today from an organic farmer. I love how the heads on this grain is bowing down. You may have to click on the next 2 pictures to see the detail. The second picture is of grain right next to this first grain. I am not sure what either one is. I know he has grown wheat, oats and other crops.

Here is a field of grain turning golden for the harvest.

I hope you enjoyed the picture tour. Let me know if you have answers to my zucchini question above.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Franklin Springs Media

I am an affiliate with Franklin Springs Media. The companies that I am an affiliate with are companies that my own family knows and uses. There are a couple of them that really sell quality items that help to encourage and build up godly families. Vision Forum is one and Franklin Springs Media is another. We have most of the videos put out by this company. I would highly recommend any of them.

Their vision is focused squarely on providing a picture of the exciting reformation that’s happening in families across the country. It’s a world of courageous servant/leader fathers, nurturing mothers who embrace the nobility of raising children, and children who embody the joyous adventure of being raised in a unified family.

This is probably my favorite of their films... Our Journey Home. When his family life demanded change, Tommy Waller took a giant step. A Journey Home tells the story of the extraordinary path traveled by Tommy Waller, his wife, and their 11 children. This sensitive documentary spans Tommy’s journey from 80 hour work weeks to a remote community in rural Tennessee to the other side of the world.
The Eden String Quartet - Their road to becoming accomplished musicians has been anything but ordinary. Join the Miller sisters - Megan, Krista, Leah, and Therese - on the fascinating journey from their family’s cattle ranch to their distinction as an outstanding stringed quartet. The beneficiaries of a multi-generational vision for God-honoring family, the Millers encourage, entertain, and inspire an appreciation of hymns and classical music - and for the building of families that honor the Lord.
The Peasall Sisters~Family Harmony - Their life as a home schooling family of six children changed overnight when they recorded songs for the Grammy Award winning soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou? What remained constant, though, was their commitment to their faith and their family. The Peasall Sisters: Family Harmony is a celebration of their beautiful music and their enduring focus on being a God-honoring family.
Still Standing~The Stonewall Jackson Story - His legacy as a military genius is widely renowned. Now, in Still Standing: The Stonewall Jackson Story, his legacy as a man of resolute Christian character is captured in this revealing documentary. Through stunning High Definition videography and expert narrative, Still Standing traces the life of Stonewall Jackson—from his orphaned childhood, to the Sunday School class he taught for African Americans, to the role he played as a General. Still Standing inspires, entertains, and educates.
Measure Twice, Cut Once - Measure Twice, Cut Once is a fun-filled building adventure that provides kids of all ages with a great introduction to essential carpentry skills. A step-by-step how-to DVD that is centered around a tree fort building project, this DVD features six young men (ages 16 and under) taking on the adventure of constructing their own tree fort, and in the process teaching important carpentry skills.
These films are sure to be favorites in your home.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Please Pray for my Brother Doug

I am the only girl in my family. I had four brothers, 2 older and 2 younger. Doug is my baby brother. I was 8 years old when he was born. Both of my younger brothers were my babies. About 3 years ago Doug had some health issues with his lung. He had part of one lung removed. At the time they wondered about his heart because of the chest pain, but ruled that out and figured out it was his lung.

He had to take some medical tests for work. During those tests, they noticed an irregular EKG. They told him to follow up with her own doctor, which he did. A stress test was ordered. The stress test showed that he had less than 20% use of his heart. The doctor was all concerned and asked if he had walked up the stairs or taken the elevator. Doug had taken the stairs 2 at a time. He then started asking how he was feeling, etc. They said he could drop dead at any moment.

They sent him to a heart doctor and he had an ultrasound done of Doug's heart. To make a long story short, the first test was right. The doctor kept saying he was amazed and had really thought the first test could not have been right. He was shocked when the test he ran confirmed it. Doug had a heart cath today. There is no blockage. They said that sometime in the recent past he has had a massive heart attack. They tried to think back and could think of a couple of times he felt weird, but nothing like he was having a heart attack. They are going to put in a defibrillator/pace maker combination device. He will have to make some major life changes and start taking some medications. They are hoping to get it up to 30%.

Pray for his wife Debbie, and their boys, Jake & Nick. Thanks!! Also, pray for my Dad. He has such a hard time seeing someone in his family hurting in anyway.

Here are some younger pictures of Doug.

Here is my Dad and my four brothers.

This was a couple of years ago. Ain't he cute??

Chicken Update & Story

The broiler chicks got moved out into the chicken tractors on Monday evening. We split them between 2 pens. In a few weeks, we will split them again and make 3 pens. They get lots of fresh air and sunshine. The tarps are down because we had a storm blow through and are expecting another one. They can be rolled up on the sides when the weather is nice.

Here are a couple of pictures of the chicks in the pen. They are now 3 weeks old. The red thing you see hanging down is there waterer. It is called a Bell Waterer. There is a 6 gallon bucket hanging above it that is full of water.

They are all bunched up in the corner here because they see me and the dogs at this end of the pen. =)

If you click on this picture and make it larger, there is a story there. Did you see it? Part of it is partially hidden.

Here you can watch the story unfold.

We have trained our dogs to keep unknown animals off of our property. I heard a cat holler like there was a cat fight. Then I heard the dogs barking. At first they must have treed it because I saw the dogs jumping up at a tree. By the time I grabbed the camera and got out there, the cat was on the potato planter. The big yellow dog you see leaving the crime scene in the above video belongs to The Wonderful Neighbors. I guess he figured since I was going to film the crime he had better leave. =) This is not our cat. It wandered into the wrong place. And just so I don't get any hate mail, I walked away and took my dogs with me letting the cat have a chance to run off. We walked out to the movable pens and then checked on the chicks in the brooder. I have not heard a cat scream or dogs bark, so I think he must have high tailed it out of here.

Thursday Product Highlight

On Thursdays I plan on highlighting a product that we carry in the General Store. This will give people a chance to hear about why we chose to carry that product.

One of the first changes we made in our lifestyle was to switch to freshly ground wheat. I wrote about the health benefits of freshly ground wheat here. Unless you plan on pounding your wheat between rocks, you need a grain mill. There are many different grain mills available. I have used four different kinds on a regular basis at one time or another. There are differences between them. I have not done the math lately, but when we first started grinding our own wheat and making all of our bread, a loaf of bread costs me around 30 cents. I know that price has gone up, especially lately with the cost of wheat going through the roof. I still think it is cheaper to make your bread from freshly ground wheat than it is to use store bought flour. We carry several different kind of grain mills. I am going to tell you a little about each of them. The first one is the Nutrimill. This is an electric grain mill. I have never personally used this particular mill, although the mill I use most of the time is electric. I have talked to a couple of people who have this mill and use it. They are thrilled with it. If I ever have to replace the mill I have now, I would buy one of these.

The Nutrimill uses a high speed impact chamber to create flour from grains and beans, a well-proven milling method. But the Nutrimill has raised the bar for grain mills with new features and abilities users have asked for — a combination of features found in no other mill. The first of these is the ability to grind super fine flour (much finer than any other impact mill) and also adjust to produce the coarser flour grind you need for perfect corn breads. Its impact grain milling heads mean you'll have no stone glazing. Nutrimill has a 400% range of adjustment from fine to coarse, ten times greater than other mills! This grain mill turns out terrific flour, quickly and easily

The next 2 mills are actually the same one, but one is hand operated and the other has a motor base. I have never used the motor base, but I have used the hand operated one. This is what we used most of the time when we lived in our non-electric Amish home. I love this mill. It is so easy to turn the handle that even a child would be able to do it. It created fine flour that we were able to use for our breads and other goodies. I have held onto it because it is great to use in a power outage. You can get the motor base and also get a hand base so that you could use it either way. There are also several attachments that you can get to go with it. One of those attachments is a flaker mill. A flaker mill is also a great tool. You can buy your oats as groats instead of already rolled. Then you roll them fresh right before you use them. When I make my granola, I always roll my own oats, but I throw a handful of barley and other grains in there. Some grains it tends to crush a little (like brown rice) and other grains it cracks (like wheat), but it will flake the softer grains. We run wheat through and crack it. Then we add milk and make bear mush which is a very tasty nutritious and filling breakfast cereal. There is also a food processor attachment you can get. I have never used that because I have a separate food processor. This mill is very easy to clean and maintain. I would highly recommend it. The first picture shows it with the motor base attached. The second one shows the hand base that clamps to your counter.

This it the Country Living Grain Mill. We have used it many times as well. It is a high capacity hand operated mill that can easily be adapted to powered operation because its design incorporates a handle-flywheel which doubles as a v-belt pulley. Construction of the Country Living Grain Mill is strong cast metal alloy with super tough powder coat finish that won't chip or peel from anything short of severe abuse. It's a very nice mill to use and a very handsome piece of equipment with clean, functional lines and beautiful raised wheat heads on the side panels. We have friends that have hooked theirs up to an exercise bike. They get on and start pedaling. That way they get their exercise while grinding their wheat. It is very easy to use, but not quite as easy to turn as the Family Grain Mill. It produces a very fine flour and the grinding burrs have an extremely long life. This is one of the Cadillacs of hand powered grain mills. It does help if you are able to bolt it down to something. We have seen it just bolted on to a thick piece of board that allows it to still be portable.

Grinding your own wheat is a way to start making changes for your family. They can be included in the process. You get that fresh flour with all the nutrients that God put into that kernel of wheat. You can grind beans in any of these mills. Bean flour is great to make an almost instant refried type of bean mixture. It is also great to thicken soups with. When you put the beans with the whole grains you get a complete protein.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Babies On The Farm

I have been saying that I wanted some banty chickens to put out in our big barn. I love the silkys. I used to have a white silky rooster. He looked sort of like a miniature ostrich with a bad hair day. =) Something must have gotten him. I want just a few out there to scratch through the manure and eat the bugs and larvae. Ginny had ordered chicks for her farmstead and I rode with her to go and pick them up. We spent the whole day together. She picked me up at 8:30AM and we did not get home until almost 6PM. We stopped at a lot of places.... thrift stores, greenhouses, fabric stores. We found some real deals. I had a friend who had an older set of Corelle dishes. She was looking to replace some of them that had been broken. They no longer sell them. I found a whole set that looked like brand new. I also found some dresses for another friend's little girl. She was having trouble finding clothes to fit her. All the dresses I found were on the 1/2 price rack or on the 25 cent rack.

Anyway, the second to last stop was the hatchery. I asked if they had any extra banties and they did. They did not have any white silkys, but they did have some partridge silkies and red ones and one other type. I told them I would take 4 of whatever they had. They gave me 2 partridge and I am not sure what the other two are. Here they are in our HUGE brooder. We had to put some boards in there to make the area smaller.

It really looked funny to have just 4 little chicks in there after just seeing 125 in there.

My Echinacea is opening up more. I did not realize it took that long for a bloom to open.

The orange lilies are also blooming. My cows ate some of them down to the ground.

Does anyone know what this is? I think it might be some sort of wild geranium or something. I am not sure if it is something that was planted or if it is a weed. =) The flower looks white in the picture, but it is actually purple.

Because I was gone yesterday, I have a ton to do today, so I had better get back at it!!!