A journal of Saturday

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Well, I was planning a more in-depth post, so to speak, of our Saturday adventures, but I was obliged to move all the pictures from my phone beforehand and now have only a few, besides the fact that it is late, I am tired, and have a headache!

So, I think I’ll follow the example of some of my blogging friends and do a journal-type post with only a few pictures – more precisely, with just one picture.

The biggest thing that happened today was selling our eldest doe, Joy Mary, to a very friendly animal-loving gentleman from down the road. We’ve had her for sale for a spell, but those who showed interest in her we did not feel comfortable selling her to. We’re very particular about our girls’ homes, especially our milkers and the ones we know best.
We were giving up on selling her, feeling we’d rather keep her than sell her to an unknowledgable person who mightn’t respect her, but this evening The Lord Jesus sent a warm-hearted man who has had goats all his life and who was really excited about getting Joy. ❤ praise The Lord! His blessing are so sweet, and so small sometimes; just little things throughout our days to allow us a little joy to press on.

Otherwise, my day consisted of;

Chores
Milk Processing
Fecal testing
Cleaning
Planting watermelon, Hubbard squash, banana pepper, and chamomile in our hill and "garage" garden
Making yogurt
Making cajeta
Making a venison roast for tomorrow
Making a double batch of lavender/rosehip soap
Supper (sausage burgers with tomato gravy, baked beans, and potato and macoroni salads; Mama and K mainly made those dishes)
Dishes and clean up
Evening chores
And then the fellow coming for Joy

A full day, but a restful day and an emotional refreshing after the strain of the week.
Our vehicles are doing a bit better, by the way. I thank The Lord for that! The family van is at the shop, Daddy replaced the tires on the work van, and re-did the breaks on the standard. So, we're driving again, anyhow! Phew!

I pray everyone had a blessed Saturday.
Very much looking forward to the rest of the Lord's Day.

Goodnight! (or morning, depending on hemisphere! 🙂 )

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Pure, Old-fashioned, Handmade Goats’ Milk Soap!

“Thou art my Hiding Place, and my Shield: I hope in Thy Word.”

Psalm 119:113

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Well, after too long procrastinating – maybe not procrastinating, I just had too many posts to write in between – I finally share with you our latest adventure in using the products of our farm and turning them into usable items.

Our dream – as I’m sure most of you who have been following my blog for a while well know – is to to have a working, raw milk dairy.

Laws and regulations, however, make that very difficult for a family like ours so progress towards products we can sell to eat or drink is very slow.

But we can make soap!

Making soap is something I have long romanced, but only lately have we been able to really find a recipe that suites our tastes and creates a lovely, moisturizing bar of soap, and seems to turn our well every time!

We’re so thankful to the Lord Jesus for opening this way to us, and opening it in something both my sister and I (who run the farm) enjoy doing so much.

It is so much fun to make soap!

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So, after many months of working and struggling with our herd (please don’t remind me of February!), the Lord has finally allowed us to turn out some lovely soaps, and also to purchase molds for those who are looking for more decorative styles – as opposed to our all-natural, square-formed, wooden-mold soaps which is all we are using ourselves right now. 🙂

We are offering Unscented, Lilac, English Rose, Gardenia, and Oranges and Creme varieties with many more to come.

(Do you think we’d stop here? 🙂 )

There are the designed varietes and the all natural style, all made with all-natural ingredients; gentle oils to soften and moisturize skin, and our own farm-produced raw goats’ milk that is so richly nourishing to the skin.

(If fact its nourishing to everything in your body! We love our goats’ milk! 🙂 Yum!!)

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We are offering 4 oz bars of soap at $6.00 a bar which we believe is fair considering others’ going prices for goats’ milk soap – not to mention all the effort and love that goes into making each bar; starting with kidding season in February and moving right on up ’till September or October when our cramping hands milk the last quart from our once-again-pregnant does! 😀

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I’m going to look into how I could offer soap for sale directly from my blog, but until then, we are selling it from our Etsy store, “Bouties of His Goodness“, with a starting price of $5.00 a bar.

Our first batches are running out fast, so if you’re interested in trying skin-nourishing, all-natural soap that is made the way our grandmothers used to make it, then hurry over (following the above link), and get your bar!

Leave us a message on the order form telling us what design/scent you prefer.

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I know this isn’t my usual blogpost, but we’re so excited about our new soap – and this new adventure in attempting to sell items made from our farm. 🙂

Its a beautiful Saturday though and my sister and I have wonderful plans for our day at home. I’ll probably post again with news of our day – a more-like-me post. 🙂

Until then, the Lord Jesus bless you all, and enjoy your Saturday!!

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?

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.

An update

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A quiet blessing from Jesus on the way home last night, after a rainy day.
Today we have taken off work to get a few things done in preparation for special visitors tomorrow. Its going to e quite a day – quite a fun day, Lordwilling 🙂 – and we’re praying the Lord will bless the fellowship with our new brothers and sisters in Him.
This evening we’re in town again, but in order to do some shopping which is much nicer than working! 😀

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Here is a glimpse of part of what we were doing this morning. Milked over two gallons at chores to bring up for home use (other went to goats and cow). We used our little home pasteurizer to be sure it is safe for giving to our visitors tomorrow. We drink our milk raw, and believe that’s the best way so long as clean milking methods are followed and the milk is strained. Our visitors tomorrow have very small children however, who have a tendency to get sick easily, so we don’t want to be the indirect cause of illness because the children are not as immune to things that may be found in our milk as we grown-ups would be.
It’s made me think of how I may like to feed my own children if one day The Lord gifts me with a family and little ones. I wouldn’t want to take any chances with them, despite that I think the natural way is better. Our home pasteurizer may come more in handy one day.

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Here’s a little peek at the goings on in our little micro garden. (I say micro because 13 tomato plants is only a smidgen of what we want to put in.) As I just said, we put in 13 tomato plants last Saturday. They are doing very well, thank The Lord for the rain! The chickens don’t like them so they’re surviving despite our birds and growing very nice and tall. But instead of having 13 now we only have 11.
This picture shows a hole – bigger than what a tomato plant requires – where one of the plants once stood. Something is eating them up from under the ground! Carra dug down, and there are definite tunnels beneath the plant spot.
We’re suspecting voles, whatever they are.
Anyway, just a little mobile post to update everyone about the what’s happenings in My Life in Him.

I pray everyone is enjoying their Friday. Remember, the weekend is only a few hours away! 🙂

Jesus bless you all!

Thankful Thursday – with a few words on how unthankful I am.

“Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.”

Psalm 69:1-3

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I was going to write a post about our soapmaking this morning, as we unmolded our first designed soaps last night and Carra and I are so excited about them, but I just couldn’t get the words to come.

I kept remembering today was Thursday, and generally the day for my Thankful Thursday posts if I’m keeping up with my blog as I ought, and I feel the Lord is impressing on me to write one, especially because this week in particular has been so hard for me – for us all, but I speak for myself.

Everyday this week has dealt our family a new struggle of some sort, and as we’ve drudged through each day I’ve felt there is little in my life to cause me joy or to be thankful for – I wonder often what it feel like to be truly happy again.

But whenever – well, usually… – I write to my silent friend, or I scribble on this blog it makes me feel so much better as I find myself seeking the Lord to guide me in my writing – and my words to my silent friend often become written prayers.

I leave my writing feeling refreshed, renewed, and closer to my Jesus.

Because, through my writing, I have been seeking Him.

What if I were to seek Him so everyday, through the difficulties and troubles – not just the good moments and easy times – and truly seek His Word and seek His Face, not rely on my own strength and ability to handle a situation?

If I were to do this with my everyday life as well as I do it with my pen, how much more joy would be mine – in Him. For in Him are all things good, and in Him is Life bound up. If we don’t seek Him – every moment of every day – we are seeking of ourselves to live life by our own methods and natural ability. Thus, we fall into traps, we trip over rough places, and we become disillusioned by the difficulties when we find ourselves bogged down in the mire of this world.

This week I have so much truly to be thankful for.

Even if I haven’t known it or claimed any of it.

  • The right to come before my Jesus, to seek Him as I would seek an earthly friend, to trust Him as my Beloved – my Protector, my Guide.
  • His Ability to be with me, to instruct and guide me each moment; to protect me and be my Joy and Grace – despite what my flesh tells me is wrong or is right.
  • My life. The fact that I’m actually living and breathing – all by His Will! If He did not desire it, I wouldn’t even be here writing this today.
  • My family. We are all healthy and well, still able to work with our hands.
  • Our farm. Its still here! We can spend time with our animals, and are refreshed each time we visit the barn.

The Lord Jesus knows what is best for us – way before we even see things coming.

He knows how He will deal with problems before they even arise in the dimmest of our imaginations.

If Jesus can raise a man from the dead, if He can still storms – if He can protect people when terrific, deadly tornadoes rip through entire hospitals and schools and homes – why can’t He deal with our little problems day to day?

He can!

But only if we believe.

Lift Your Eyes to Jesus

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I wish I were back home with my family on our little farm; instead I am in the city working in a business I feel is not the best for our family.
But only Jesus knows; and He knows what is best for each of us each day.

Lift your eyes to Jesus, where there’s a higher power. He’ll be a comfort in life’s darkest hour. Do unto others as you have them do to you. Then you’ll be rewarded for the things in life you do.

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!

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.

2013 Garden Beginnings

“And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”

Genesis 2:15

Spring is the time to get the gardens going.

Its also the season of sweat and backaches…but that’s another story. 🙂

I love the feeling of working in dirt, building up soil, using our own fertilizers (farm-made in the barn yard 🙂 ), harvesting and then preserving our own fruits and vegetables – the fruit of our summer toil and the blessings of the Lord from His Creation.

There’s nothing that can quite compare to a homemade tomato sandwich, made with homegrown tomatoes on homemade bread (made with home-raised goats’ milk), and smothered in homemade mayonnaise (made with home-raised, rich, dark brown eggs)!

But this delicious meal (and so many others…salads…soups…spagetti sauce…side dishes…casseroles) don’t have their beginnings in the kitchen.

(Surprise! to all of you city-slickers! 😉 )

They have their beginnings in the soil – and in the hard labor of the farmer’s hands, and in the rich blessings of the Lord Jesus in His Creation.

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I’m going to try to keep everyone updated on our garden this year – better than I have in the past, Lordwilling!

We have six different garden plots, and then various pots we plant in as well. Juggling work, the dairy, housework, (and just plain laziness! 🙂 ), sometimes it takes a while for us to get all the preliminaries done.

But once the heavy hard work – like tilling, and dunging, and covering it all with hay bale after hay bale, and then fencing it all in – is finally done, I really enjoy planning out where our plants will be, planting them, and watching them grow up and taking care of them until they produce an abundance of fruit (or until they simply disappoint us, fall over and die…leaving us pulling our hair out in frustration! )

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So far we have tilled two plots. One down at the barn (Carra and I’s), and one down near our hay field where Daddy will probably be planting most.

K and I decided to have our main plot down by the barn where we do the rest of our work this year. We’ll be battling chickens and goats for it, but we’re praying and believe with a lot of work and some decent fencing it may survive.

So far we have tilled it, covered it with tons (or so it felt like!) of muck from the goat pens and gotten it partially covered with hay.

We’ve also started on the fencing but haven’t gotten it finished yet (we ran out….)

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Lordwilling, with a little more work we’ll have our plants in!

Have you been doing any spring gardening (or fall gardening…depending on hemisphere 🙂 )?