Special Saturday with Friends

“This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.”

John 15:12

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After many days of preparation, the day of the big visit finally came. 🙂

Our friends, the H. Family came to spend the day with us yesterday, make bread, cheese, pizza, cookies, soap, and spend some time with the goats.

It was a full, busy day – but full of laughs and the love of Jesus. It was a beautiful day, in short, and we all enjoyed it…all….ten of us.

Doesn’t sound like a large crowd to most of you, I know. 🙂 But ten is a lot people to have at the Lyons’ house at one time! 😀

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The first thing we did was make mozzarella cheese – from two gallons of milk. One turned out well the other didn’t but we used it all on pizza later that evening! 🙂

We used the whey to make up a batch of 8 loaves of bread, and also used like three loaves worth of dough for the pizza crust.

We had plenty of little hands to help out. 🙂 The H. Family has a set of triplets and a little one not yet a year old. Having the sound of children in the house was very different for us four, but a refreshing change from the solemnity of the Lyons’ home and so much fun.

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We loved holding the littlest H. baby. ❤ Carra and I couldn’t get our fill of him even if our not-used-to-children-arms were sore! 🙂

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Half way through the day the little H. girls knocked off as we say, and took a nap. I think the day was a full one for them! 🙂 They helped with the bread dough, made miniature pizza crusts, tasted the cheese and mushrooms and bell peppers, and walked all the way to the barn (we carried them back 🙂 ), and rolled around in the den with their triplet brother playing…whatever games little three year old minds can imagine to play!

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We went down to the barn and visited the goats. Mama H. worked on milking again – this is the family that bought little Mercy and Tot at the beginning of the month. Mama H. wants to learn to milk so that when the girls have freshened she’ll be able to get fresh milk for her sweet family. She’s getting the hang of it too!

Watching her, I remembered a lot of our own adventure in learning how to milk. It makes me so thankful to the Lord that we had our Daisy back then. She was so patient and let us work with her for what seemed like hours. Rosie (the doe Mama H. is milking here) is just like Daisy; very patient.

Its amazing the things we put animals through for our own use….

but I’m off the subject. 🙂

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Dad H. finished up the milking; he’s had practice before on goats some years ago.

I think both of them working together they’ll have a home dairy in no time when their little ones freshen. 🙂

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I don’t think I got any pictures of our cookie making. Or maybe I did but not on my phone….

Well, after the cookie making and the trip to the barn we put the sauce together and fixed the pizzas then all sat down to a hearty meal – which was lovely. 🙂

Daddy had been mowing for most of this time while we showed the Hs. our kitchen work, but the men enjoyed conversation over supper and afterwards took the triplets out and planted tomato plants.

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After supper, when all the kids were outside, we mixed up a batch of Lilac and Lilies soap with Mama H. for the family to take home.

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By this time it was getting late, and after a good long chat and packing the H. Family car we saw our friends off.

It was a lovely day, and we’re already thinking of some way to get them back here again! 😀

I am thankful for the dear friends the Lord Jesus brings into our lives – in the most unusual of ways, such as our goats. 🙂

And I’m thankful for the special bond that forms between those who are truly seeking to serve and honor Him. The bond of His love and life.

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(A sign done for our family by sweet Mama H. ❤ Thank you, dear friend!)

May Jesus always be our lives and may He shine forth through us in everything we do, say, and share.

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A Look Back, So We Can Look Ahead

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but them shall I know even as also I am known. 

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

I Corinthians 13:12-13

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Going through pictures yesterday, I was reminded of how things change.

I guess everyone is inclined to do that when they look through pictures – even if their not really old, per se.

I was looking through pictures of a couple years ago. 2011.

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Carra was 18, I was 19, going to turn 19 and 20 later on in the year.

Daddy had taken a day job in town for the first time in our memories, and us girls were at home most of the time; cooking, canning, and doing things we later would come to love (though at the time it was mainly work).

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 This was the year we began doing some outside jobs; four or five in this year actually.

Daddy had begun working on getting his GC license again and we were picking up a few small jobs for individuals.

Earlier in the year we had traveled so far as Statesville NC to work.

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It was also the year of the big snow (something very rare for South Carolina!).

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That was the last time I remember sledding – and the first time I remember sledding since 2003 when we had a huge snow over in Gaffney, SC.

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Our herd of goats was still small; Daisy, her two daughters Joy and Princess, and our buck Silver. We had scores of chickens though! And we loved every minute of chores. 🙂 I don’t think the goats liked the snow as much as we did though! 😀

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It was the first year we had more than one goat give birth at once (and the last year that kidding season was not so exhausting). It was also the year our little Rosie was born. 🙂

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We would take long walks on the dam behind our house, Carra and I together, and K would read to me.

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We had a special mothers’ day – of course, this was before we knew how much we would need to use that grill when a huge storm came through shortly afterwards and took away our electricity for two or three days! 😀

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Things were changing in our family; so slowly, but they were.

We weren’t always happy with the changes, but come they would, and the things that went on in this year, and the years before that, the Lord put within our lives to change us into better servants for Him.

Of course we didn’t know it at the time, and still are not often aware of it when He is working.

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I could go on and on about the changes of 2011. The things we went through; all the learning we did – a lot of it in cooking and canning! We had tons of pickles that year and preserves.

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Carra, I’m sure you’ll remember this blurry picture!

We thought this was the very pits of life, didn’t we? The month or more we spent at this home, working – and learning so much about our work!

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Glazing windows.

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And painting them – then trying to get them unstuck! 😀

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We thought this was just the worst part of our lives that could be imagined.

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It was the first time in 11 years that my sister and I ventured to have separate rooms.

And it worked.

Mainly because one sister was on the computer a lot at the time, while the other wanted to sleep!!

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And though we thought we were so, so unhappy….

We can look back now and see the joy that’s hidden in these pictures; the joy we didn’t really know that we had.

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It was a year of learning; of doing things we’d never done before, of experiencing changes we never imagined would come, and of touching new relationships that for a while seemed to send our family on rollercoasters – when really all the were doing was showing us hills and valleys that weren’t really all that deep or tall.

If only we could have seen this then.

If only we could have seen the Lord’s Hand in our circumstances, and learned then to love everyday as if it were our last, and to put our most into each moment for the glory of our Lord Jesus and the love of each other.

If only we could have seen this then.

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And today; as we work…trudging through hours of labor we outright despise, having no time at home as we think we ought, and struggling with relationships – within our family and without – as well as laboring in our own personal relationships with our Jesus….

If today we would just look up.

If we would take a lesson from our past.

All those hours we could have enjoyed and rejoiced in, even in trials and trouble, if only we would have seen Jesus’ working.

And what of today?

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In the simple things in life – and the most difficult – He is still here, still working.

Why can’t we just trust Him?

Why don’t we ever learn this lesson?

Instead of being downcast and depressed and drug down because of tribulation and struggles? Why can’t we embrace these hardships and hold onto Christ, knowing His is always a better plan?

May

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my Strength, and my Redeemer.”

Psalm 19:14

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I’m sorry I haven’t kept up with my blog as I really should have. Things have been busy round here – not so much in events, as in my mind and in atmosphere.

I’ve also been writing a lot – and when that happens every other writing requirement seems to go to the wind…whether it be diary, blog, or letters!

We have a new job starting up next week as well, so unless i find time to do mobile blogging I doubt I’ll be able to scribble much here then.

Before our job however, our week begins with a trip to NC for a relative’s surgery. We’re praying very much for Randy and his family through this time and that we may be a blessing in going and staying with them through the operation. We’ll be seeing many other family members as well, so even under the sad circumstances, we’ll have a chance to catch up here and there.

But I still mean to write.

My story, that is. 🙂

There’s only a couple things I wanted to share with you that have gone on of late. Mostly around the goat barn.

I wrote the following on the first of May, but I’ve decided to share it now – as its not something I want to leave out!!

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May,  the fifth month of the year, and the first month ever since March 15th 2009 that Princess Tender has not lived here on Goshen’s Plenty Dairy.

April 30th, a very nice older gentleman came and bought her – quite unexpectedly! – and she went to live at a new home to provide milk for another family.

We weren’t quite planning to sell her just yet – I guess we’re holding on to our girls. 🙂 We had planned to sell her sister, Joy, who has a dangerous horn and has been spearing the kids and causing us to be anxious for them. But the Lord knows best and we do plan to sell all the unregistered does – with the exception of Rosie – so we have to make a start I guess.

So, May begins with one less familiar face in the barnyard, but one more step towards achieving our goal; to have an all-registered herd of quality dairy goats.

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If all goes well, in an hour or so, these two little girls should be going to their new home too. As the beginning stock for a family herd.

I love to see people getting into goats – especially families with young children. I think its beautiful to see children growing up learning the ways of the land.

All did go well, thank the Lord, and Tot and Merciful (now named Mercy) went to their new home on May 1st, and through it the Lord led us together with a family that loves Him and seeks to serve Him, and a young woman (the Mama of that family) who has now become a dear friend of ours.

I think it is so beautiful how the Lord works, bringing His servants together at the times He knows are perfect.

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Well…I guess more has happened in May than I give the poor month credit for already! 🙂

Things are growing like crazy (you should see our hay field!), we sold two dear little goaties, Princess went to a new home on the last of April, we made new friends in Jesus, and Enslaved to Freedom is going on 200,000 words and (as of this morning) hit 300 pages. ( I don’t usually pay attention to page numbers, as the finished, published product will not be the same size (8.5×11″) but 300 is a nice number to notice, I think! And I thank Jesus for bringing it along this far!)

I have so been wanting to share with you about Sullivan’s story (but honestly have slipped into that…maybe they don’t want to read it?…mode again and have been putting it off…..) So many things are truly happening though, at sea again in Part Four (did I mention Part Three was finished – thank Jesus!).

That I will have to save for another day, though.

Oh! But one thing about writing.

As an attempt….what of I don’t know…I started a short story ‘series’ (actually chapters from a bigger book) that I’ve put up for sale on Etsy (VERY self published, I’d say). Anyways, the first installment is very small and there probably will only be a few more (longer, I promise!) ones following it before they are all strung together and put in a book for sale via Amazon.

But that’ll be in the future. For now, I’m sharing these sections (as I write them!) for sale as PDF downloads on Etsy for $0.99

The story’s title is Wilma and it is another pirate romance (but about a woman this time…. 🙂 )

If you’d like to check it out, here’s the link;  https://www.etsy.com/listing/150183341/christian-pirate-fiction-short-short?

Have a wonderful Lord’s Day everyone!!

Five Minute Friday

Five-Minute-Friday.

A blog idea where you pick a subject and write about it for five minutes.

Simple, huh?

I got the idea from my dear sister, Carra, and have decided to try to implement it onto my blog – some, if not most Fridays…we’ll see how it goes! 🙂

My first topic for Five-Minute-Friday is the one who gave me the idea, my sister, Carra. 🙂

So, here are my five-minute thoughts about my sister, Carra. 🙂

These are out-of-order, as you can see, but I decided to leave them they way they are.

The added-in thoughts are in italics.

Enjoy!

  • Loves to crochet. {She has crocheted some of the most beautiful work I’ve ever seen. I think, if she were back in France in the 18th century, someone would track her down and pay her some very fine fortune to make lace for the Versailles – sounds silly, but I really mean it!}
  • Loves to help others – even to a fault at times. {Sweet Carra, before you protest, you must confess, helping has gotten you into some…well….. 😀 }
  • Is out going – she drags me to things that are really very good for us, but that I’d otherwise shun if not for her willingness to try something new. {Like…ahem…that small ruminant convention up in western NC. I would have never gone if not for K. Thanks, sissy!}
  • Loves to cook – Oh! does she love to cook! {Cakes, sweets, main dishes, side dishes, dessert dishes – anything that’s difficult and complicated is game for her!}
  • Decorates cakes. {Lovely. And someone’s birthday is coming up…time to start thinking and having fun with sugar and color again!}
  • Can figure math in her head like a whiz. 🙂 I don’t even try to compete (unless I have a calculator! 🙂
  • Will drive us places, even if she doesn’t particularly want to drive, because she knows I don’t like to drive. {Isn’t she so sweet – but you should tell me when you don’t want to drive more, sissy! I’ll drive for you.}
  • Is very giving; she’ll give her time, her effort, her things, her work to others with so much love. {Crocheted afgahns, blankets, tablecoths (and these aren’t cheap gifts if you were to buy them!}
  • Loves farming. I think that’s her truest love in life (apart from her service to her Savior!) is her farming. She loves working with the goats, dreams of farming a cattle dairy with hundreds of cows, loves the hard, hot work, the quiet days.
  • Loves to read. {When she has a good book you can hardly tear her from it!}
  • Loves to write poems.
  • Loves to play music. {Piano, Violin, and singing; she has a beautiful singing voice.}
  • Loves to meet new people.
  • Loves. {She loves to just love people; her family and friends, people in need. One day this gift will be used, sissy! Just trust Jesus for it!} 

And that’s one of my two very dear sisters in a five-minute nutshell. 🙂

 Love you bunches, K!

Homemade Goodness

I love yogurt. Actually most of us do, in our family! 🙂 we love it with fruit, or sugar/honey, or just plain. But we don’t like buying it from the store – no more than we like buying our milk, eggs, or bread there.
We have made yogurt before. But we were not very pleased with the results. It turned out very runny and sour after a night in the oven.
But last night The Lord blessed us to get a wonderful recipe from our dairy-farm friend.
We mixed up a batch this morning, and it incubated through the day as we worked. It was delicious plain and with peaches this evening after we came home. Delicious, a nice consistency, and not too sour.
We’re so thankful for this healthy, new recipe – and a way to use our fresh goats’ milk! Praise the Lord Jesus for these little blessings!

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Tomorrow

Im getting so excited! 🙂
Tomorrow will bring something so exciting and wonderful, and I thank Jesus for this opportunity! I’m not going to tell until then, but just thought I’d share my excitement {and make you all just a little anxious too. 🙂 }
I’ll give a couple hints.
It has to do with two of my favorite things that don’t happen often around here; one starts with a T the other with a B. 🙂
I don’t think any of you will ever guess this – these are bad hints!!

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Random Tuesday

“Of that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!”
Psalms 107:31
Saturday, I mentioned a little about annual (or is it semi-annual for Grade-A?) testing done on dairy farms. These tests (TB and Brucellosis) are done for goat and cow dairies, but CAE (Caprine Atheritis Encephalitis Virus) tests are done only on caprines (goats). So….
We did the whole lot on Saturday.
TB testing involves a small injection in the goat’s tail web which is then checked 48 hours later for any sign of reaction (reaction = TB carrier in most cases), while Brucellosis and CAE are both blood tests that must be sent off to a lab.
For us, it was relatively easy, considering our small herd size right now. (Only adults are tested so we had 11 to do; the other 11 didn’t count. 🙂 But there were moments of getting rather confused – especially with all the Saanens – and I stood there thinking to myself, “This will be a regular circus when we have fifty or sixty head.”
I’m not even going to think about having 100 right now. 🙂
Usually, K and I will hold the goats while Doc does the tests, but lately Doc’s had a helper along, so Saturday Randy (the helper) held the goats, K secured the rear and Doc enlisted me for his secretary while he did the tests 🙂
I love holding the girls though. 🙂 There’s something nice about holding a rampaging goatie while someone works with them……
The secretary work wasn’t half bad though. I love filling out forms (so long as its not financial forms – yick with a capital Y!)
These forms go to Clemson, and they include the owners’ name, address, the date, the name/number of each animal, tattoo, sex, age, breed, whether they’re purebred or grade, and the owner’s signature.
Then there was also the vials to number and put names on.
We sort of got in a routine.

I’d say which animal was next, K would point it out, she and Randy would corner it, Randy would catch it, Daddy would give Doc his tools, Doc would do the Sub-Q test for Tb, I’d write on the vial, he’d draw the blood for Brucellosis and CAE, and I’d give him the vial, he’d fill it, give it to Daddy who’d put it away, and over again we’d start.
I think it took about half an hour to work 11 head.
And…just for the books, Clara Belle was the worst patient, and Suzi the best.

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Now all the big work is over (testing the TB sites is not that hard) we’re praying for negative test results.
Lordwilling, I’ll give some sort of update when we get all the results in.
For now, everyone have a wonderful Random Tuesday!
What’s your random thought today?

Monday Musings.

Musing over Monday…I find….

Im very tired this evening.
But I enjoyed the day very much.
I don’t stutter as bad as I thought.
The Lord Jesus CAN still give me stories out of the blue – and good ones too!
I DON’T like putting on doorknobs like I once thought I did.
Acts is a great blessing to read – or to listen to at work via IPhone.
I still love to write in my diary.
Mastitis CAN be treated in goats – thank Jesus!!
Tommy cat is a wanderer.
I still love candlelight.
Malty is a very quiet Nubian.
I prefer pen and paper over computer.
Taking a really hot bath with TOO much Peppermint oil in the water when you’re prone to heart palpitations is not a good idea.
And I love the smell of boiling cajeta.

May everyone’s sleep be sweet tonight, everyone’s day be beautiful (again, depending on hemisphere! 🙂 and everyone’s communion with our Lord be unhindered!

Thankful Thursday

“O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever.”
Psalms 136:1
I’ve only missed one Thankful Thursday post but it seems like I’ve already missed two or three!
I can hardly believe that, as of this morning, the kidding season at Goshen’s Plenty has officially closed.
Our last doe kidded early this morning with a still-born buckling. 
A full blooded, beautifully formed Saanen kid.
And the first still born on our farm.
Needless to say, this kidding season has, by far, been the hardest on our farm – even with just ten does.
The Lord is blessing our little farm to grow slowly and we’re learning a lot along the way, though some of the lessons haven’t been so easy.
These past couple weeks have been very labor intensive; like a crash course in new-mothering. 🙂
Having animals to care for is a lot like being a mother, and kidding season is a lot like being a new mother (with a dozen new babies) – except our children are outside, and not quite so fragile. 😀
But even with all the difficulties, and sometimes heartbreaks, we still have a lot to be thankful for!
Our girls are healthy. Even Princess, whom we were having serious concerns about, is doing much better.
We’ve lost a couple kids, and a precious doe, but we’ve gained experience – in the hard side of farming.
And Daisy’s passing has blessed us – though it is a bitter blessing – in other ways, too. 
We now have a free heart to move our herd over into fully registered stock. 
If all goes well, our unregistered does (formerly so endeared to us through Daisy) 
will be up for sale before next breeding season.

So, this Thankful Thursday, I am thankful to my precious Savior Jesus for;
  • New life. New life for our farm, all the bouncy babies that were born this season and are doing splendidly, and the new life for us – a refocus of our farming endeavors.
  • New experience. Though its been very hard at times, we have learned so much through the heartbreaks of this kidding season.
  • Four new doelings we will be able to keep on the farm – for a while anyway. 🙂 
  • Fresh, rich, nutritious, pure goats’ milk for the bottle babies and for us too! 
  • Moments of rest.
  • Fresh bread just out of the oven.
  • Warm meals.
  • An ease off in the rain
  • Dear family. So near, and so far. All of you have been here to support us through this difficult time of work, loss, blessing, and learning. 

We are so thankful to the Lord Jesus for each and every one of you, and love you all so dearly! 

  •  Friends. Mainly through facebook we’ve kept up with friends around the world and here in the US who’ve helped, encouraged, and prayed for us through this time. A hug to everyone of you!!

  • For smiles. Think where we’d be – and where the world would be! – without the ability to smile! 
I pray you all have a very happy Thankful Thursday!
What are you thankful for today?