Sunday, March 27, 2011

Life Lessons on the Farm

This has been a tough week and also a good week. Living on a makeshift farm has been quite a lesson for me. We started with two Nigerian tiny goats as "lawn mowers" and now have 12 goats; one of which is pregnant with what look like twins. We also have 29 chickens (8 of which are baby chicks), and five ducks (three of which are ducklings). Oh yes, we have a little lapdog and a cat (f0rmerlly known as "Feral" but now called "Freckles").

We've butchered a few chickens, enjoyed their eggs, and butchered a goat (yet to enjoy the meat). I've nurtured several chickens back to health and lost a couple as well. My pet rooster "Wonky" had a genetic disease that caused his legs to be malformed and had to be put down. That was really hard. I used to hold him and talk to him. I would carry him around the yard so he could have a break off of his crippled legs. He was precious, but his life was short. "Waddles" my golden Aracuana hen broke a toe when she was a chick and I nursed her to health. Her sister "Bingo" was eaten by a predator of some sort.

I lost two baby ducklings earlier this week. They came from a place with less than clean holding cages. The poor babes were in with chickens and geese, which is a real "no no" if you know a thing about poultry and water fowl. I should have known better, but my desire to find mates for my drakes outweighed my common sense.

I had no idea how hard it would be to eat my animals. Hubby butchered a couple of our Cornish hens and it took me months to pull them from the freezer and eat them. I learned important lessons the day I finally made the decision to do so. I found myself nauseous while eating, but had to get past it and enjoy the food. It was a real stretch.

I used to get mad at veterinarians who were hard shelled. I also thought many farmers were a little hardened as well. There is need to become somewhat "hardened" when one farms and eats the meat that is raised. I love meat. I am a real "meat and potato" woman. I used to really hate vocal "vegans" who condemned meat eaters. I have more compassion now that I've actually raised chickens and eaten them and their eggs. Wow, did I say that?

When I first moved from California to Wyoming (in the seventies) I had a friend who volunteered to help another friend butcher 250 chickens in one weekend. I cavalierly volunteered to help. My mother had seen to it that I had many experiences in camping, house keeping, pioneering and the likes so I'm the adventurous type. I ended up pin feathering the chickens after they were killed, gutted, and dunked in boiling water and defeathered. Pin feathering is tough work. Your hands get sore and water logged from the job. My payment was ten chickens. I took them home and carelessly ate them. It just isn't the same as raising and getting to know the chickens you kill.

It isn't easy in any way to raise, feed and get to know an animal only to kill it and eat it. I'm not good at it, but I'm less judgmental of those who chose the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. Man was initially vegan before the flood. God is the one who told us to eat meat after Noah left the ark. The animals weren't afraid of man before the flood, but God put the fear of man in them after the flood.

I look forward to the day when we won't "have" to eat living creatures. It's coming, but for now someone is out there having to do the hard job of raising and butchering countless animals. I know we won't do this forever, but for now I'm the guardian of a whole boat load of animals. I love them, hold them, nurture them and one day either sell them or butcher them. I have animals designated as "pets" that will live out the full number of their days. They are spoiled and pampered as are our other animals.

The bible says, "A righteous man regards the life of his beast, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel." I will always regard the life of my beasts, and I won't ever take them for granted. They may try my patience from time to time, but life is so fragile and precious it must be held in the highest regard whether animal or man.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Break Begins

It's quiet here on the farm. The A/C is running and I can hear a dull thud in the background as laundry is drying in the wash house, but the noise of small children is gone.

Hubby and the grandkids are on their way to Littlefield where SIL Avi is meeting them to pick up the kids and taking them home to Amarillo.

We had a fun filled time. Every spare second was full of activity. Now I've cleaned up most of the mess, started doing laundry and vacuumed. I still have the bathroom to clean and then I can settle back into our quiet routine.

Will I miss the kids? Unbelievably. Do I already miss them? Totally. Will they miss us? Undoubtedly.

This is the first time I didn't have every second planned out for our time together. I just let happen what would happen. I'm satisfied that it went well. I didn't grocery shop like crazy. I didn't buy gobs of cookies and candy, yet I had both. We went to Chuck E. Cheese with another family and it was fun. We ate out a couple of times, but we also ate in and ate what grandma fixed without incident. We watched too many episodes of Spongebob, but we lived to tell about it. GRANDPA recorded a bunch of Spongebob, iCarly and Penguins of Madagascar for the kids to watch. We even got to have lunch at Cracker Barrel and got Webkinz. We had no major strife and no fist fights between the two grandchildren! (Thank you Abba!)

I didn't get enough sleep, but I wasn't even freaked out about it. I took only one small nap the first full day the kids were here. I knew I'd get naps when they left.

They got to play farm by loving a baby goat, feeding the big goats, chasing the big goats, holding baby chicks, feeding chickens, chasing and feeding ducks and doing farm chores.

My granddaughter was very helpful; she folded clothes, help me do the actual laundry, prepare and cook meals. My grandson got to have his share of computer time and TV time; a luxury item for a nine year old. We got lots of cuddle and tickle time. There was lots of socializing with three other kids and lots of swinging on the favored swingset.

All and all it was a good time. It's over and I know the longer they are gone the more I will miss them. I need to post photos, but that will come. I'm going to a scrapbook CROP next weekend, but for now I am planning my spring break. That recliner is looking pretty good about now. I think a nap is just about due.

Friday, March 11, 2011

More Babies

I was up at 4:00AM this morning and heard my "expecting" hen having a fit. I was in my jammies so decided to give her a few moments and then IF she made more noise go check and see. She quieted down, but Rosie (the dad rooster guy) crowed. I didn't know then, but this morning when I went to go check on Azzie I discovered at least four of her fifteen eggs had hatched. Azzie puffed up like a cobra when I got too near and made her "I'm gonna get you" warning.

I ran back to the house to capture the first pictures of our new babes. How lovely to have four more babies on the farm. Our grandkids are coming Sunday and I know they will be so happy to see the new additions. I can hear Zippy now, "Can I hold one grandma?"

Life on the farm is NEVER boring and today it's extra busy. Gracie is acting like she's about to "kid out" and we're enjoying fuzzy "Courty".

Sunday we will be saying goodbye to two of our goats as they have new homes as pets. Jeff and I aren't so good at butchering our babies so decided to find them homes. Pal and Yael are moving to Penwell to live as lovers at their new home. It will be a sweet sorrowful day. I'm glad they will be pets and not end up on someone's barbecue.

Friday is a good day to be born or hatched.

New Life

We had a little miracle yesterday; a new life entered our farm. Little "Courty" was born to our nanny "Lucy". Courty is a fine strapping young goat. He has a combination of his mother's Boer coloring and his dad, "Buddy's" Nubian/Alpine coloring. He was born on the same day his mother gave birth to three goats last year! He shares a birthday with a friend of ours as well.

I type this a day after his new life emerged knowing that all over Japan and the west coastline of America folks are suffering tragedy and death. It's hard to imagine an earthquake registering 8.9 on the Richter scale, but that's what they say hit Japan. I just heard that the tsunami was 33 feet tall that hit after the submariner earthquake devastated Japan at 3:00PM their time.

In the bible the Lord warned us that there were be earthquakes, wars, famines and drought in various places, but that seems so distant knowing it was written some 2000 years ago. When it happens and you're faced with the suffering and tragedy you become almost numb for a little while. I'm sure that's because our souls get so overwhelmed that we don't know what to do with all the frightening thoughts.

The Lord told us that HE didn't give spirits of or breath fear into us, but a Spirit of power, love and a sound mind. I have to cling to these words when fear is everywhere. I also cling to "I'll be with you in trouble" that the Psalmist recorded.

We definitely live in troubled and perilous times. Yeshua/Jesus said we would. He told us through the apostles and prophets that it would be dark in the last "days". I'm glad to know that ultimately all the suffering and sorrow will be wiped away. For today I can do little more than pray for those in perils way and those who have suffered to have a quick recovery. When our locals find the best way to help naturally I know we will be right in the mix. Again, for now I just pray.

I also know by looking at our little newborn goat and our pregnant goat Gracie that new life is only a little travail away. Spring is in the air and help is on its way to the many sufferers. We lift them up for help and healing.


Monday, March 7, 2011

A Quiet Spirit

I do a lot of meditating these days. I've been going through some really hard times emotionally speaking, but in the midst of it all I have full confidence I shall come out on top of it all. I have a thousand questions for God these days. One by one He has been so faithful to answer them. I just have to get quiet and really meditate on His word.

It's interesting to look back and see the challenges I've faced over my lifetime and how my Father has seen me through them. He doesn't use things I can anticipate. He demands faith (trust) and doesn't manifest answers without it. "Without faith it is impossible to please Him for those that come to Him must believe He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." There is so much in those few words. These words were recorded by one of the disciples speaking to the Hebrew first century believers. Faith or complete trust is a hard won fruit of the Holy Spirit.

In the midst of the trials I continue to put the word in my heart. I deal with doubt just like any human, but when it comes at me like a blinding rain I continue to sow fresh manna in my soul. Gotta renew my mind and keep the light focused on the dark places in my soul.

I've especially enjoyed my daily reading of the book of Job. I used to be totally freaked out by Job. Who likes to read about suffering when one isn't suffering. Funny though; I've looked at it much differently now that I too have had my share of persecution and suffering. I'm not one to talk about certain areas, but because I feel like I'm on the downward side of this mountain I want to share that there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

Job's "friends" worked for quite some time trying to get Job to repent from some perceived sin. They didn't have the benefit of the book of Job to keep them from opening their blab mouths. "Many are the afflictions of the RIGHTEOUS." One doesn't have to sin to be oppressed or afflicted. One doesn't have to fail to be persecuted.

So I record these thoughts trusting that on the other side of this trial I will see God's answers and rejoice even more than I do by faith. "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials". We don't naturally get joyful at trials and we certainly don't regularly see silver linings in the grayest clouds. I'm looking for the pony in the pile ahead of me.

It is well with my soul.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Creative Places

I'm quietly nestled in my scrapbook room. It is silent all but the steady ticking of my cuckoo clock. The warm glow from the afternoon sun is beaming in my window and I'm considering my next move. I settled on blogging about the space I call my "office". It used to be an extra bedroom, then a storage space for computers, a junk room and now my "get away".

My friend Vicky took a somewhat organized space and made it a functional space. Here are pictures of different zones around the room.

This is my old desk, now my zone for ink pads, my ribbon bedecked dressform and jars with various embellishments.

This area holds all my ribbon, my blank cards and envelopes and a variety of borders and other paper stock.

Here are drawers with several kinds of stamps, alphabet stickers, templates and my labelers.

My cardstock and scrapbook paper are in clear boxes neatly arranged by seasons on this shelf to the left. The "red thing" holds my Big Shot, dies, my adhesives, and small scrapbook paper.

My work surface is a six foot table with the tools I use most often.

Here are more clear drawers with stamps ordered by seasons, occasions and other criteria.

Here is a recent gift. Formerly a jewelry holder it is now the receptical for my tiny and odd shaped stamps.

A child's shoe holder now houses my older Stampin Up stamps.

Lastly is this little computer desk with all my other stamps and scrapbook magazines and books.

I love my space and hope you enjoy it as well.


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