Saturday, May 30, 2009

More Farm News

Michael and Joshua's job ended up being bigger than they thought. They were not going to get home until late. Brittany and I went out and moved the chicken pens together. She filled the water and I filled the food. Then we milked the cow together. I did about 1/4 of the milking. She is truly a good milker. We only milk Buttercup once a day and right now the calf is on her. We got over 4 gallons of milk out of her. I strained the milk and washed the buckets while she took the cow back and turned the fence back on. Then we went out back and did chores together as well. It was fun having her with me and she was a BIG help. Michael was so pleased when he got home and all of his chores were done. They did not get home until 9PM.

Earlier, I saw Brittany sitting out in the grass with her kitten, Patsy. I let the dogs out and wanted to get a picture of them. Belle wouldn't stay close to her at first and kept rolling onto her back. Star rolled on to her back several times, but I was able to make her get upright. Then we laughed because when I walked back over to the front door, the cat rolled over on his back.

Multi Generational Living

The Amish have a good thing going as far as the multi generational living arrangements. I have seen it work well in other families many times. Today, I got a small taste of it here. Joshua needed help at work today and asked his Dad to help him. So, they went off to take care of the job and Brittany stayed here with me. I had a lot to get done today and a lot more that needed to get done.

I had to bake bread. We were down to the end of a loaf that might have made 3 slices if they were sliced thin. I also had 10 gallons of milk in the refrigerator. We are getting another calf this weekend to help use up the excess milk. I did not want this to go to waste, so I needed to deal with at least part of it. I made butter and cheese. I also needed to get my cabbage planted.

I put the grain in the mill and started it. I got stuff ready to begin making bread. Then I started bringing in the milk and skimming the cream before pouring it into a big pot for the cheese. I had my hands full with what I was doing. Brittany went out and planted my cabbage for me. What a blessing that was. When the milk for the cheese was ready I poured the vinegar in and stirred. I have a hernia and I am not to lift heavy things. So, Brittany carried the big pot of milk to the sink and helped me to drain it.

It is such a blessing to have them around to help and to be able to help them out as well. I am looking forward to more of this with future generations.

Here is the cheese draining.

Here is the butter doing a bit of draining before I work it.

Here is my bread fresh out of the oven. The front loaf is cinnamon raisin bread. I put one loaf's worth of dough in the fridge for our pizza dough for tonight. Thank you Lord for the blessing and strength to do these tasks.

Calf on the Lam....

I think I am going to pick the name Houdini for the little calf. He gets out and enjoys his outings. :) I have some videos that show his escapades. Last night when Michael got Buttercup out to milk, he snuck out. He visited the sheep, chased Belle and just generally had a great time. Enjoy!! We are getting a little calf to be his buddy. I will pick from the other names for him.

Here he comes running back again. He scares Belle. She is not sure what to do with him. We were saying last night that she is supposed to be cow dog, but is a coward dog. :)

In this next video if you look off in the background, you will see the Wonderful Neighbor children playing in their yard. :)

He had to go and check out each new thing that moved. Here he saw the cat on the picnic table bench.

There are now six eggs in the bluebird nest. Does anyone know if this is unusual or not?
These are the blackberry blossoms. Looks like we will have a bumper crop this year. The birds planted all of these, but Michael pruned them for the first time this year.
Here is one of our little apples growing, but there is something happening to the tree.
There are dead leaves all over the tree. Any clues as to what is causing it?
I did find this little guy on the leaves. He is no longer with us. :) Is he the cause?

Here are some pictures of an incoming front last night. We only got a little sprinkle out of it.

Friday, May 29, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I took some pictures of my herb garden. It is not very big, but I am glad to have what I do have. The plants right in front of it are weeds. :) Guess I need to do some tugging.

This is not in the herb bed, but on the side of my house. It is one of my two comfrey plants. I have dug this one up and given it away a bunch of times and it comes back every year. So, I am going to take advantage of it. I feed the leaves to the animals a lot as well. We have a chicken with a head wound (he is henpecked :) ). I gave him some leaves several days in a row.

This is my dill. I am hoping I get enough heads on it for my pickles. The last two years, my dill was not big enough at pickle time and I had to buy some.

I have already picked my chives several times. I cut them up fresh for a baked potato topping.

This is my fennel. I thought the one from last year had died, so I bought another. Then the darker one you see at the bottom of the picture came up. The flowers in the top left corner are chamomile.

This is the chamomile. I need to get out there and get the flowers picked.

This is our cilantro. It is wonderful in fresh salsa. We have many times used dried cilantro in salsa and it sort of tastes like soapsuds to me. Fresh is really good though.

This is the yarrow. You can't kill this stuff. :)

This is lemon balm. It makes a wonderful tea.

Here is a picture of our garden or at least part of it. This picture was taken a couple of days ago. Off to the right is the asparagus and on the right of it, I have peas, beets and potatoes. We have our peppers and tomatoes planted as well. Michael put in 3 rows of corn. We are getting a little bit done at a time.

This is the ferns on the side of the house. I love their color in the springtime.

The Spiderwort plant has started blooming. This bloom was way down in the greenery.

My bleeding heart is doing really well this year. I love to see it.

This is new flower for us. It is called a Gazenia.

Here is another one.

This is the body of an old wringer washer. It is a planter at our house.

I love how clear this picture came out. It is the desktop on our computer right now.

While we were out planting peppers, I looked up at the sky behind me and saw this.

This was the sky a couple of evenings ago. I love the way the sun lights up the edges of the clouds.

Here are some of our broilers. They are now 7 weeks old. One more week to go.

The pasture is doing well right now. We are in need of rain soon though.

Another sky picture.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Our Adoption Story

I recently had someone ask me to tell our adoption story. I wrote it all out and sent it, but I thought I would share it with you. I know that there are many people out there hurting because they do not have children and have not been able to conceive. I thought it might help someone.

I will tell it in as short of version as I can. :) All my life, I have loved babies and children. I have been involved in helping at Bible schools, baby sitting, the church nursery, etc. I looked forward to the day when I would be married and have 12 babies at least. I was also a very headstrong and independent young lady that thought SHE made things happen. I got married and we started trying to have a baby. Nothing. After over a year of nothing, we went to supposedly the best fertility expert in Columbus at the time. After looking back and finding others that went to him, he was not a good guy at all. We all got the same exact treatment even though we all had separate issues. He immediately scheduled a laparoscopy. I was so young and so dumb. All I remember him telling us was that I had one hormone over producing and one hormone under producing, so he gave us pills to take. I later read that infertility patients are only surpassed by terminal cancer patients in things they will try and endure. We asked no questions and I started taking the drugs. The one drug he had me on I took for over a year without realizing what it was and that it was a steroid. He had me on prednisone and I gained about 80 lbs. that year. I had no idea it was because of the drug. The other drug I took was clomid, which is a fertility pill. You would take it from days 5 through 9 of your cycle. I took 4 a day for those 5 days and it cost me $60 back then. I recently read a report that you should never take clomid for more than 2 months in a row because it can cause ovarian cancer. Sigh..... Also on day 14 or 15 I would have to go and get a shot of something. Each time I had a cycle, it would cost us over $100. Plus, you would have to go and be checked out by the doctor before day 5 to make sure there were no complications I guess. That was always very humiliating and messy. After we had done this for over a year, I was having other health issues and went to a regular doctor. He said that my blood sugar was borderline as well as my blood pressure. He saw that I was taking the 2 prescriptions and told me that one caused the higher blood sugar and the other caused the higher blood pressure. He told me to quit taking them and I did. I never weaned off of the prednisone like I am now told you are supposed to be, I just quit. I was very low. Here was something in my life I wanted more than anything, and I couldn't make it happen. I was not living for the Lord and I was miserable.

One night I had a dream. It was one of those dreams that is so real that when you wake up, you are surprised it was not real. I dreamed I had become pregnant and that I had the baby. I did not remember dreaming the labor, but there was the before and after. I can still see the wall paper in that dream. I was just getting ready to put the baby to my breast when I woke up. I had been late with my cycle, but it had started and with a vengeance. Everything was a mess. I fell into a million little pieces and did not even want to go on. I was supposed to go to a baby shower that night. My pride would not let me stay home. What a stupid thing pride can be. Anyway, God did use that. There are several little places in my life that were a big "God moment". That night was one of those. We were all supposed to share something to encourage the new mom to be. I was dreading my turn. I was afraid of turning into a blubbering idiot. My turn never came. Someone else that was there was struggling with something and it ended up she was crying and sharing and people were reaching out to her. One of the things she was told was really for me. That everything that happens to us is filtered through God's fingers of love. That nothing can happen to us that is not for a purpose. It spoke directly to me and I took it like a little pebble to place in my heart's treasure pouch.

My parent's pastor had adopted a little boy because they were unable to have children. We asked him if we could come and talk to him. We went in and poured our heart and hurt out to him. We told him that we could not go on any longer. He looked at us and smiled and said, "Good!". I wanted to smack him. :) (By the way, I have since told him I wanted to smack him) Then he told us that now God could work. He told us to go home and give up our rights to children. To turn to the Lord and go to Him for our strength. It was the hardest thing we ever did up to that point. We got on our knees and told the Lord that we gave up our rights to ever have children (as if it was ours anyway) and that if He did not want us to have children, we were OK with that, but we needed His grace to get through it.

Not quite a year later, we heard from that pastor that he had been told of an attorney that did an occasional adoption. That was not her main line of work, but God brought quite a few across her desk. However, her list of prospective parents was really short. That is unheard of in the adoption world. We went to talk to her. It was really neat. She was a Christian and had been raised on the mission field. Her parents had gone to church with my parents at one point. She is currently on the Ohio Supreme Court. She told us that to start the procedure she would need a certain amount of money for a retainer fee. She said once she had that she would put us on the list and the process would start. She also told us that if we decided to go ahead, she did not call the parents until they were to pick up the baby. She said that it was more of a surprise to the parents, but there was a lot less hurt of a failed adoption.

I was ready to dive in, but Michael was unsure. We had gone to talk with her in May. She called in September wondering if we were going to go ahead. I told her we were not sure. Then she called again in November and I told her the same thing. Then she called in January and I told her the same thing. Then she said that she had already passed us over twice and she had a prospective birthmom she wanted to match us up with. I told her I would call Michael and call her back. He said that we should go ahead with it. Here we were not even on her list and she had matched us three times. She told us that the only other names she had were 2 couples that the wives were twin sisters. Both had been trying to get pregnant for over 10 years and they had both become pregnant within weeks of each other. That brought our name into the pot.

We started getting our paperwork and stuff in order. We knew that the baby was due in April (another rule of hers she broke for us). She called me in early April to tell me that the girl thought she was in labor. Then we heard nothing until the morning he was born. Those were some really long days. On the morning he was born, she called and told us that we had a son. In Ohio, they have to wait a mandatory 72 hours before the birthmom could sign away her rights. When I heard her say we had a son, my first thought was... He is not mine yet.... I was trying to guard my heart. As soon as court was over, she called and told us he was ours. I still weep thinking about that call.

When we went for our part of the adoption hearing, our lawyer and the referee were both Christians. We were also told that both of the twin sisters had miscarried and were back on the list. She also told us that the hospital really tried hard to get the girl to change her mind about letting him be adopted and that also one of her relatives had applied some pressure to her to let them have him. She herself was adopted and she wanted him in a Christian home.

I am still barren physically, but I shout for joy that God allowed me to have Joshua to raise. I am sorry this got to be so long. I did leave out a lot of details. :)

I am very open to comments or questions about any of this. I have traveled the road of barrenness for 30 years. Ask away!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Busy Days

We have had some busy days on the farm. Michael worked VERY hard in the hot sun this weekend doing all sorts of stuff. He also did some bush hogging which is what you see him doing in the picture below. On Monday night we were both so tired and sore (he did WAY more than I did and more of his was outside) we sat down across from each other to talk and we both fell asleep in our chairs. :)

Well, we have bluebird eggs in our bluebird house. It is up to 4 eggs now. The second picture is where I was playing with a photo program. :)

We got the garden tilled and some plastic laid down. Michael got much of the garden tilled. He planted his favorite mirai corn too. The WN boy made me another raised bed. We just need to add dirt to it. I will be putting flowers in it.

There have been 2 robins fighting on and off in my garden. I wonder if one of them is the one that fought with my window. :) Poor guy.

My herb garden is doing wonderful. I need to get some picked and hang them to dry, so that more will grow. I will try and get a picture or 2 of it, before I pick.

We are drinking the milk now. I can't wait to make some butter. We got some butter on sale from a local place and it tastes weird. I don't want to waste it though.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Count Your Blessings Monday!!

Here is an opportunity for all of us to give thanks unto the Lord for a blessing in our lives. If you would like to take part great. If not that is OK too. If you would like to share your blessing, just leave it in the comments. If you want to use the picture above and list a blessing on your own site, then leave a URL to your site in the comments. There is no pressure here. I just know that I am incredibly blessed and I would like to share that and give thanks to Him who all blessing come from. This is a way that we can encourage one another. I know that I am often encouraged when someone shares a blessing with me. 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. We can share so many other things.... special gifts, recipes, let's take the time to share how God has blessed us!!

Today, the blessing I am counting is for being able to live in a country that allows me to worship the Lord freely. It may not always be so, but for now it is. I am also thankful the ones who have defended that right for me, many of which died for that cause. Thank you!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Part of our Weekend

Here is a picture of Josh and Britt milking the cow. They get to take the milk home when they do the milking. Plus, it gives Michael a break from milking.

We went to my brother's house for a bit today. He is truly a kid at heart. They had a huge campout at their place. There were all sorts of things going on. When we got there, they were having a fishing tournament down by the pond.

This is looking back up toward the house and barn. The long thing coming down the hill is a home made slip and slide. They had a pump that pumped water up to the top and sent it down the plastic that my brother had laid down.

There is this dock and the pole you see in the background is a telephone pole with a rope attached. You can swing out into the pond and drop.

Here is another view of the slip and slide.

Here is a video of someone going down the slide. :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Help Name the Calf!!

Please vote for your favorite name for the calf over in the sidebar!!! Or, if you are like SOME of my friends.... you can suggest another name in the comments here!! :)

Hearts & Flowers & Egg!!

The first picture of the Bleeding Heart flowers is a good one to click on and make large. You can see the different sizes all in one shot. The next 2 pictures are of the ones I have been showing you already.

This tree blooms each Spring and I always wonder what it is. This picture does not do it justice. It is ORANGE.... flaming Orange in real life.

The last nest in my bluebird box ended up being a Starling. This is a totally different kind of nest and the egg is smaller (I think). We shall see.

This next section was better written about without pictures. :) Do you have dogs? Do you live in the country? What sort of lawn ornaments do you have? I was outside taking the above pictures. I found a large bone that was probably one we gave them when we cut up a steak to cook for fajitas. There was a piece of a deer jaw bone with some teeth on it. A partially eaten baby groundhog with insides showing clearly. This is a favorite snack of my dogs. There was also a dead bird that one of the dogs got in the barn the other day. There was a red feather probably from a cardinal that the cat caught and ate. I really fuss at him when I see him stalking birds. I think that is all for this time. What is in your yard?