Monday – a different sort of Monday

Well, contrary to what we all expected, we stayed home again yesterday and were able to do a lot more work at home.
As I may have mentioned, our hay was cut last Friday. Thank The Lord for the warm, sunny weather, because its dried well over the weekend and was tettered yesterday to dry more. This evening, Lordwilling, it will be baled up and brought to the barn.
But first we had to get the barn ready, and we took advantage of the time home and worked on our garden too!

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Of course, the garage was full of junk and old hay from the winter’s store. It’s terrible the things time can do to a perfectly organized place if you fail to keep up with it.
Issy made the job easier. 🙂 she came along and kept everyone company.

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Then we planted in our “hill” garden, as I call it, up near the apiary. We also covered the entire plot with hay – which was a task! Even with how small it is! – to keep the weeds out, and to help nourish the ground.

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We weren’t quite alone here either; Missy laid in the grass not too far away, and Tucker the cat lounged IN the garden. 🙂
It was late – after four – by the time we finished planting a nice stand of tomatoes, cucs, eggplant, peppers, and squash.
Mama had the idea to send Daddy for a pizza, and by the time we were washed up, he was back and we all settled down to a very unhealthy meal of pizza, soda, and ice cream with a nice movie of Abbott and Costello. 🙂

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It was a full day’s work. But a good one. 🙂 Mama and Daddy worked longer in the garage and gardens after supper. We helped some, but then left to do our chores before dark.
Before bed, we had to in mold our batch of unscented soap and mix up a new one – this time with orange and tea tree oils. It smelled soooo good!! 🙂

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Here’s pictures of the finished unscented soap, and of the milk/lye mixture for the next batch.

I scribbled to my silent friend late before I turned out my lights and went to sleep.

It was a lovely, hard day – full of hard work, sweat and achy limbs, but full of family, Jesus, and our farm.

Just the sort of day I love.

Only, with a bit longer rest in the evenings after all that work! 😉

How did you spend your Monday?

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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.

At home.

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

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Though it may seem like it right now, my life is not all construction work. 🙂

Yesterday, Daddy had to go to a contractor’s class, so all us girls were able to stay home and do things around the house that have been needing done.

Before even going out to do chores I cut out my new dress and sewed the cape on.

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Yesterday was a beautiful day for me. I love being at home. Home, home, home….

I love sewing, cooking, gardening – even cleaning! So long as I’m home. 🙂

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The day was beautiful. Things are really beginning to blossom and grow in this early summer weather of the south!

It was up to 91F yesterday! That’s HOT!

Thankfully, we got out in our garden before it was too hot and planted 13 tomato plants (four different varieties).

Its not much, compared to what needs done, but its a start!

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Before we could plant the plants we had to put up more fencing.

Our garden is very near our chicken coop and chickens love gardens….. We ran out of wire (again) before we could finish, but thank the Lord its just a small spot that we can finish pretty easily once we get more wire.

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We only planted tomatoes since chickens don’t seem to like tomato plants. (They’ll devour the fruit though, but hopefully we’ll have our fence up before then!!)

We planted four varieties;

Marion

Rutger

Beafsteak

Betterboy (hybrid)

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I love the little plants and how fragile they are – and look at that root system!!

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A tiny tomato plant, hiding in its spot. 🙂

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Carra, planting a tomato plant.

We did all this before we even ate breakfast! Needless to say we were hot, tired, and hungry by the time we came tramping back up to the house near 11.

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After resting a bit and eating brunch I got back to work on my dress.

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The Lord be my Strength, I was determined to finish it – even down to the cuffs on the sleeves.

After filling a dress order for a dress with long sleeves and cuffs I decided to try one.

I like long sleeves for two reasons; modesty and protection from the sun.

I don’t like long sleeves because we’re out in the heat a lot in the summer on our farm and on our job sites and long sleeves make the heat even worse.

On top of that this material we bought several months ago was purchased for winter-time dress making (that never happened) so its dark blue.

I may just have to put this dress back in my closet and wear it when it gets cooler!

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While I was sewing and Mama was cleaning, Carra made up a batch of English Rose Goats’ Milk Soap.

I don’t know if I ever shared our last batch on my blog. It was Lilac scented and turned out so well!

We sold two bars, are giving some to our friends and only had two bars left for ourselves!!

So, hurry, hurry, make more soap!

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The oils that go into the soap.

We’re really enjoying soapmaking. 🙂 Its something I personally have wanted to do ever since I was very young (nine or ten) when we read about soapmaking in our homeschooling.

We made our first soap in 2010 or so and since then have been trying new recipes and searching for the right base.

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I think we may have found it in this recipe. Its our second time trying it and its turning out marvelous! Can’t wait to see how it cures.

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One big hurdle in soapmaking is finding a place to buy the oils and other ingredients from.

We have the milk, but that’s all. 😀

So yesterday, after pouring up the soap, Carra grabbed Mama’s laptop and started searching the web for a good place to buy reasonably-priced ingredients and equipment.

We think the Lord might have led her to just the perfect place!

We’ll have to make an order and see how it goes!

Lordwilling, our order will go in today. 🙂

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A poor up-close shot of the soap in the mold.

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Meanwhile, I did finish my dress, thank the Lord, all save the shoulder zipper (must buy a zipper).

It turned out just as I had planned; the apron creating the waist line for the dress. I plan to make a half apron of the same color fabric as the dress as well to go with it when I don’t feel like wearing the full apron (though that may be a while; I’m enjoying my new apron 🙂 ).

I’m searching for a way to make a nonelastic waist – have been searching for at least a year and a half! But last night as I was going to bed, I think the Lord has given me a thought on how to do one. Lordwilling, I’m going to try it on my new dress ( even if that will mean a bit of taking apart! 🙂 ).

So, all in all, we had a wonderful day at home – doing things women are supposed to do, instead of hammering, painting, pulling up carpet, and installing insulation.

But we’re back at that today. 😀

And I don’t really mind. 🙂 I hope one day to make a living off our farm, but until then, this is what the Lord has given us to do and I’m embracing it!

Working in the Gas Chambers

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving Cavour than silver and gold.”

This is going to be another one of those mobile posts. (Mainly because I got up late and haven’t time to upload all the pictures to my computer! Errr….the folly of being tired!)
But yesterday as we were working I promised myself I’d do a blogpost on our latest achievement, so here I am! 🙂

Insulation.
Not the blown in kind by any means…the bales, you cut into strips, push up between the floor joists, and pin in place with tiger teeth.
Not the green, cotton kind
The fiberglass type.

We often put in insulation. Blown in above, and whatever-this-is-called beneath. But yesterday was so full of laughing – even amidst all the work, itching, burning, and squeezing in (sometimes the spaces between the floor and ceiling were only 2 feet or less), that I just had to write about it. 🙂

I only went under for short periods. Asthma keeps me from doing things that are so dusty (or shall we say fibery), but I did go under some to deliver things, and I have a good reputation as a gopher. 🙂

Carra and I joked that we were working in the gas chambers (pictures I took of them thru the foundation vents show why. 🙂 )

Also, I included here the rare picture of one of us girls in pants. (Carra). As I shared on fb, we wear skirts (ie mainly dresses) for modesty even on the farm, mucking out, trimming goat hooves, attending goat births, giving vaccines, disbudding, or at work painting, putting up vinyl siding, muddying, Sheetrock, roofing, etc. or doing any job at home from cookie to mowing grass and anything in between. But sometimes (as at work when crawling under houses or at home hen tending bees) over/coveralls are a must have, even for girls. Of course, it is so rare we use them that we wear Daddy’s.

Hope you enjoy these pictures!

What did you spend your Monday doing?

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Mother’s Day

I know yesterday was Mother’s Day.

But I was too busy with my Mother to do a post about it on the very day!

So, here it is a day late. 🙂

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My Mama is very special to me.

She is the encouragement and the hope from the Lord that helps me through each day. The gift from my Jesus to encourage and establish my faith, even in the darkest moments, and the one person who WILL listen to me and pray with me, no matter what!

The life lessons she has shared with us, and continue to share with us will go with us throughout our lives. They will come to remembrance when we are faced with questionable circumstances and we’ll remember what she has taught us.

I am so thankful for my Mama. Jesus truly gave me a wonderful, special, and unique gift when He chose her to be my mother.

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My sister and I and our Dad worked to make the day special for Mama.

Daddy went out with her while she picked flowers (as well as brought in a bunch of roses for her last night. 🙂

I think Mama really enjoyed arranging all the flowers in vases and putting them in different rooms in the evening. 🙂

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After morning service we took her down to visit the goats.

She and Daddy hardly ever get down there during the week – only on Sundays.

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Then we made a special meal for her – her favorite. 🙂

BLTs.

Mama LOVES bacon sandwiches! 🙂

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We set our best silverware out. 🙂

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And then had Brownies for dessert.

She loves brownies – and homemade are always the best, of course!

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Then there was the opening-gifts-time. 🙂

Mama loves to fix up the house and decorate; we got her things she could work with.

Covers for her bed, candles, and K made a hand-embroidered sampler and framed it for her.

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I think she really liked that one. 🙂

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And the new quilt for her bed.

(one day this will be handmade too!)

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We worked hard to make it special.

Because we love our Mama.

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And because….unlike other things in your life where you can buy a replacement or pick up another copy.

With Mamas,

you only have just one.

What I do

“Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.”

Proverbs 23:4-5

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I know I talk a lot about our work; renovating low-income houses for the government. And I share a lot of pictures, and updates about our jobs (Hemlock is almost done by the way 🙂 ), but it seems it can still be rather confusing what we really do. I guess because from the time we started in it again ’till now I’ve never really sat down and explained it, other than that we do construction work.

So…I’m going to explain it now. 🙂

Our job starts with getting bid packages from the city government. (To do this you must attend a pre-bid conference. If you are not at the pre-bid conference then you do not get a package and do not get to bid; its really a strict system.)

After you’ve got the packages (i.e. write-ups) you visit the houses.

I look forward to visiting houses. 🙂 Its fun to go into town and see communities you never knew were there – get a glimpse as to how city people live. Seeing kids riding their bikes on the streets, playing ball, and making friends with neighbors brings me back to my own one year of city life when I was young. Nostalgic in a way…in another very repulsive…but I’m off the subject….

Anyways, we all four go to look at houses together. Generally there’s more than three – last time there was seven, time before that twelve – so we make a day of it, usually eat-out and all that. 🙂

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Then there’s the part of getting up the bids. Daddy does most of this, but usually we all look them over, pray about it, and give our opinionsWe try to let the Lord Jesus guide us in this – as in all that we do – our natural logic and figuring is never equal to what His Will may be.

I pray we never lose this conviction.

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Then there’s bid meeting. Everyone brings their sealed bids to the city meeting, signs in (you have to be there on time), and then they are read aloud. The lowest bidder – within 10% above or below the Public Body Estimate – gets the job, after it is approved by the state.

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Some of the homes we work in are rough. We try not to get jobs that are in too bad of neighborhoods. With a family of three girls and one man, its not always best to spend weeks in a bad area, even if you’re getting paid.

So far I thank the Lord that we’ve worked in pretty decent areas. The jobs have been hard, but not overcoming, and we’ve been able to handle them.

There’s a lot of painting involved, some carpentry, a lot of replacing HV/AC systems, some windows, pouring concrete, building handicap ramps, and other things like that if you are sort of getting the idea. Complete renovations, but not gutting the houses (thank the Lord!)

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You’re generally given between 45 to 60 days to do the work. This time frame seems to do well for us. Weekends off and we take some week days off too if we’re pushing too hard and need a break. It really provides us a free schedule, the ability to set our own hours, and work other things in if we need to.

I am beginning to actually enjoy this work. I don’t like the work itself, mind you, but the whole atmosphere of having a family business, working hard with your hands to make a living, going to new communities, seeing things you’ve never seen before, “living” per se at another house for a month or two, cooking and packing healthy lunches (or eating out 🙂 ), scribbling in my diary at lunch time, listening to our music as we work, updating facebook on the job, taking tons of pictures (between one and two hundred a day actually 🙂 ), even working on my stories sometimes when there’s slow moments and I’m not hollered at or my job threatened. 🙂

Construction work isn’t a girl’s job. That’s true. But who says a girl can’t be in it, enjoy it, do her best, help her family make a living, and be doing something most girls never even imagine doing? I mean, most girls my age would never dream of helping re-screen a porch, hang ceiling fans, paint a whole house, help bust up a segment of concrete drive-way, or lay carpet and vinyl flooring – no more than they would ever imagine living on a farm, helping haul in 200+ square bales of hay two or three times a year (in the hottest days of summer), helping a doe give birth to tangled twins or triplets, milking nine does by hand every day, or even drinking goats’ milk period!

I’m beginning to see the beauty in, and appreciate very much, my out-of-the-normal lifestyle.

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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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