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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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?

From Death to New Life

The night Daisy died, I thought I would never see or care for goats the same way.
Losing her was like losing the reason for keeping goats and trying to build a farm.
It was like we lost a dear, dear friend.
But, following their mother’s painful death, these little girls needed us. Daisy’s orphans – the first orphans on our farm – needed someone to feed them, give them a warm place to stay, and clean up after them.
Naturally, they came up to the house, where we’ve kept many, many a bottle baby. 🙂

And of course, we still have MaltedMilkshake (whom we’re calling Bert, I repeat. 🙂 Or Malty, or Manrico, or…pretty well anything else! 🙂 
The Lord Jesus knows just what we need when He provides it. 
Daisy’s death was proceeded by the purchase of a star Nubian buck (intended to help build our herd), accompanied by the birth of her twin girls, and followed closely by several more newcommers. 
With each birth, each tiny kid and each bewildered new mother needing us, a little more healing is added.
Like balm to an open wound.

Perhaps it seems silly to be so saddened and disillusioned by the loss of an animal – particularly a goat. 🙂
But, goats – despite popular belief – are very intelligent, loving animals. 
And Daisy was a particularly loving girl. We also bought her when we were rather young, so we bonded with her more than with our other animals. And seeing her die, in the pain she was in, would have killed anyone. 
But slowly, I’m seeing the reason again in our work. The reason why we keep goats, struggle to build our farm – against all odds – and why we do love our animals; instead of seeing them as milk machines or money makers.
Doc was over after Daisy’s death, caring for another gal who’d come down with similar symptoms. 
He knows how much we thought of our herd queen, and he knows how hard we try to take care of our girls and keep them healthy. He could see how much we were suffering, and I’m sure our words betrayed a sense of our confusion.
He stopped and talked with us a while. 
It always amazes me how things we already know can mean so much, and strike so deep, when spoken by someone else. When we are struggling and hurting, praying with and talking to a friend, a sister, a parent or spouse can mean so, so much. Even if they only say things we already know. 
I wonder if the Lord Jesus made it to be that way. 
I’m sure He did.
As we talked together around the goat pen, between checking udders, kids, and giving IV antibiotics, Doc stopped, with that serious look in his face, and said that the Lord does not give us hardship to make us weaker. He gives us hardship and trouble to make us stronger. To teach us, and make us stronger.
How often we all must hear and know this when we are in facing a difficult time in our lives!
But it was just what I needed to hear then.
That was on Tuesday, only two days after we buried Daisy. 
Sunday we buried her and I was so discouraged. Monday, with the on-set of Princess’ symptoms wasn’t much better. 
But Doc’s words on Tuesday seemed to have been sent from the Lord Jesus.
Even if Doc mightn’t have known it, he was the Lord’s messenger to Carra and me that day. 
That we can’t give up.
As Doc put it, we must trudge on. 
Trudge on, because, though we may loose one here and there, we know we will bless lives, glorify the Lord Jesus, and save so many more along the way.
If we trudge on.

We’ve been sent a reminder too! Though the Lord’s hand in the weather. 
We have literally been trudging through the barn yard as many as 20 or more times a day, checking on does, giving everyone fresh water, grain, hay, alfalfa, giving meds, checking udders, helping kids nurse, and aiding does to kid.
These past two weeks have been hard
The hardest I think our farm has ever seen. 
But Jesus knew this was going to happen. He knew it way back before we ever imagined our herd could
possibly be this big – way back seven years ago when we got our first two kids from that small farm in Statesville, NC.
He knew these past two weeks in February 2013 would come, we would face them, we would be drug through them, but HE would bring us through.
So much richer, fuller, and with a deeper knowledge of Himself than before.
Farming is something we hold very dear. 
If Jesus ever sees fit to have me married and to gift me with children, I want to raise them in this way.
It is blessed of the Lord, raising the animals and crops He created, providing our own food from off His earth, and learning to love those things around us that seem so insignificant sometimes.
My hope in this was shaken after Daisy’s death.
But now I am beginning to see it all in a new light. 
His Light.
The Light of His gift to me. Every animal, every plant, every moment on this farm is given to us from Him.
He has gifted us with these things. 
How we must learn to cherish them, as gifts. 
And to hold all things loosely. 
To love, but not to cling.
To hold these things as His gift to us, as His will for a season. To see Him as the Life we are leading, not to see Him in this life we are leading.
I still love farming.
With each day that passes, I love it more.
But now in a different way.
Not as something I have to fight for, hold on to, protect.
But as a gift from the Lord Jesus, as His charge to me.
The Lord Jesus had been so good to us, even with all the heartache of this kidding season.
We had ten does all total to kid.
He has blessed four of the remaining eight does to kid beautifully without any complications. 
We were there for almost every birth, and helped several.
Rosie was first, when we expected Switch. 🙂
She kidded with a huge (9.6lb) buck kid and a petite doeling (6.4lb) who looks almost just like her.
The buckling is a stunning silver black.
So far we have tentatively named them John Henry and Oreo. 🙂 
Even with kids we are going to sell we like to name them – if only for the fun of picking out the names! 🙂

This is not the best picture, but isn’t cute how the triplets lined up so perfectly! 
Has it ever been cold! 
We are thankful for the cold – finally we are having a usual winter. But it also has posed a few troubles with the kids more susceptible to chilling and being slightly listless after birth.
We’ve had to put sweaters on some of the weaker kids because of the cold and the wind for the first time ever; its been cute to see them in sweaters. 🙂 
Rosie’s John Henry needed one, as well as Princess’ little Miracle and Merciful. Her son, Magnify, has proven himself quite the boy. 🙂

This is one girl we are so proud of!
We are still thanking the Lord Jesus for our first registered doe kidding on our farm.
I feel like we are stepping into a new realm as we start our registered herd.
Its an exciting, new experience.
Spinning Spider’s Thelma Lou was the first to kid. 
And she was the one we were most afraid of. She was like a month too young and ten pounds too small when she was accidentally bred by our Spinning Spider buck, Marshall Dillon. 
We’ve prayed so much through her pregnancy, fed her well, asked a lot of advice, and waited. 
We actually seriously considered aborting the kid when it first happened. But in only a few weeks time we knew we would breed her again. 
And what difference would a few weeks make?
We talked it over for a long while, praying about it, and thinking. 
If we didn’t abort it, and she did well, we would thank the Lord Jesus and have a beautiful kid.
But there was a slim chance Thelma’s hips wouldn’t be big enough in five months.
And if we aborted, there was a big chance it could have gone ok.

I could never be more thankful than I am now that we prayed and chose not to abort this beautiful girl!
Born as a huge single doeling, in the cold dark evening on February 25th I am proud to say Thelma’s little girl has proven to be one of the strongest kids this season.
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for this special blessing!

Everyone meet 
Goshen’s Plenty WindyBlossom
our first registered kid born on the farm. 
And yes, we plan to keep her! 🙂
Joy followed the next morning with a beautiful single doeling. 
Little Peace is about two thirds Windy’s size, but a very beautiful, healthy kid nonetheless. 
And to a friend on Facebook, Kensey, this little girl looks strikingly like Honey when she was born. 
Joy is also Honey’s Mama. 🙂
Joy is so attentive. 
Peace was sleeping a lot after birth (so natural 🙂 but Joy did not like that. 
She pawed and pawed the sleepy little one, wanting her to nurse. 
Maybe that’s why Peace has decided ever since to find a place to sleep outside Mama’s stall. 
Hmmmm… 🙂 

Switch kidded on the morning of the 27th, about 7:30, with two very healthy bucklings.
No names yet for these two – unless our calling them Thing 1 and Thing 2 is going to stick! 🙂
Switch was our first doe to kid out in the pen with everyone else. 
We helped her out with the second kid, but she did the first all alone before we got down there. 
They are, in Doc’s words, very stout boys. 🙂 
Silver’s blood runs strong!
Isn’t the Lord Jesus so wonderful?

Phoebe seemed particularly disconcerted seeing Switch kid like that. 
So disconcerted that that evening she also kidded out in the pen with everyone else, giving birth to 
the first registerable buck kid ever born on our farm (also so far nameless 🙂
Phoebe is still a little shy of us. She’s always been that way. 
Her freshening has brought her a little closer, but she’s still skittish. 
Maybe if she has enough milk for us to start milking her, she’ll come around better. 🙂
I think she’s going to be one of the top in the herd otherwise. She’s a huge yearling, with a good shaped udder, a beautiful face, and wonderful confirmation.
Her buck kid is huge, healthy, and perfectly complete with two little waddles! 🙂

Needless to say, Carra and I are falling in love with Saanens. 🙂

Marshall’s prodigy!
So far, that’s what’s been going on in the barn yard. 
Much more’s been happening – at work (yes, Carra and I have been staying home), in my head about my stories, with K and I’s music, and I’ve thought some about gardening…..
But all that for another time! 
May Jesus bless you all this first day of March!

Kidding Season

The kidding season has officially begun on our farm!

I have mentioned a couple times that a doe was keeping us on our toes. 
That was Princess Tender, our grade Lamanch/Nubian who always throws twins and kids so fast 
we’ve never seen her kid all the way through.
This year we’re guessing she’ll have triplets though, since she’s never been so big, but she’s taking her sweet time about dropping them!
I felt Daisy’s ligaments yesterday morning. My first reaction was, “Girl! Where are your ligaments!” 
She was completely loose, but ate a full breakfast and otherwise felt like herself. 
But, we put her in a separate stall just in case.
Her due date was the 22nd, and as far as I can remember she’s never kidded early. 
She had no discharge or other signs – except maybe her engorged udder. 
Daisy is our herd matriarch.
She was our first doe, began her production late, but was a precocious milker,
has steadily given twins or triplets, and milks upwards of a gallon and a half to two gallons a day at her peak.
She’s a grade Lamancha/Nubian, but our best doe by far.
A perfect example of when papers don’t mean much!

As it turned out, when K went down the hill after breakfast to check on Princess, she heard 
kids crying from Daisy’s stall. 
Daisy had already had two kids on her own, cleaned their noses off and they were crying and wailing.
A doe and a buck. 
Daisy’s a wonderful mother, even considering her rocky start with us pulling her first kids off the moment 
they were born. Over her last three freshnings she’s mastered her mothering position well – though, even 
if Carra will scold me, I insist she is a little clumsy at first. 
Maybe its just me. I always think she’s going to step on her babies. 
Forty minutes after the first two, K helped her out with the third one. 
Another little girl; one almost twice the size of her sister!
But, even in the joys and blessings of this special season, there are times of great sadness too. 
Daisy’s little boy was badly deformed. When Carra went down and found them, he wasn’t moving at all. 
After working with him some he began to pick up his head a little, but he also began thrashing around, throwing his head back, and never trying to stand, only lying there screaming.
Here’s a picture of the deformity in his nose. He could still breathe, but he would not even try to nurse.

His feet were only partly covered with the hard outer covering of the hoof, and his legs were twisted and would bend out all the way. 
We knew when we first saw him that, unless the Lord worked a miracle, there was no hope for him. We had that desire though to try, to try and give him a chance. 
But farming is not all a life of roses and romance. 
Many times it is downright hard and cruel. 
After much prayer and thought, and talking with out vet, we decided to take him down to the clinic and allow him to be put to sleep instead of making him suffer for the next few days trying to get him to eat and his eventually starving to death or dying of a seizure. 
This was our first experience with any like this in our goats. 
We had a similar situation with a young calf a neighbor gave us once, but its different when its one of your animals you’ve bred, raised through pregnancy, and helped the doe in labor and those first moments after.
But the Lord Jesus knows best. We knew things like this were going to happen 
on our farm one day. 
I am thankful for this experience. 
But also I pray the Lord protects the rest of our girls and their babies who are soon coming.

Coming home we were happy to find the two little girls settling in with Mama Daisy so well. 
Its a joy to see little kids once they’re all dry and their legs are stronger as they bounce around in little hops and jumps trying to play or trying to find Mama’s udder so they can have their first meal!

Even Mama goats can do strange things when they have babies!!
This is Carra feeding Daisy a small bottle of colostrum we had milked out in an attempt to feed it to the little boy. Daisy never sucks a bottle, even if our big buck would! Carra took the rest of this milk away after I took the picture, otherwise Daisy would have drank it all! 🙂
This morning the girls are still doing wonderfully. 
Daisy herself isn’t feeling 100%, she has a fever of 106.3 and we’ve already been to the vet and back, and given her some Penicillin  Banamine (for her temp), and Lutylase (a hormone to help her pass a placenta if she has retained one; we only saw her pass two and we know she had three). 
We’re trusting the Lord Jesus though.
She seems to be doing ok every other way and she really loves her little girls.
We’re thankful for these days of kidding and excited to see what other blessings – and even trials – the Lord Jesus has in store for us this season!
We’re watching Princess closely today and its also her sister, Joy’s, due date! 

Our latest work

Our newest work site. 
We’ve done a couple smaller jobs since leaving Gatewood, but this is 
the first one we’ve been awarded by the city, followed closely by a bigger one that’s to 
start in a week or so.

This house had been previously worked on, but not finished. 
The city had trouble with the contractors that worked here, and have since disbarred them.
I’m sorry they’ll be out of work, but I pray they take this seriously and work on improving.
Its hard taking over this job and trying to make it look good when so much of it
is done amazingly poorly. 

I think the biggest job here has been painting the kitchen cabinets.
That isn’t a big job in itself.
But it turns into a big job when the cabinets are stained with who-knows-what, and after 
four coats of paint they were still bleeding.
Needless to say we have been very tired and sore lately, crawling into and over these 
cabinets so many times.

On top of that, we discovered that Kilz is no longer making just a stain-blocker. 
The Kilz we had so trustingly been applying to these awful cabinets was actually just 
a brand-name paint!!
So, a lot of time and money have gone into these cabinets that was not 
necessary, but also we’ve learned another lesson!
What’s the saying? 
Live and learn.

There’ve been a few other things; plumbing, hanging sheetrock in a bathroom, 
painting the carport, and today we plan on tacking the edge of the roof that was left 
unfinished. 
I don’t like construction. I guess that’s common knowledge by now. 🙂
But I love having our own hours, being able to work together, and not being bound 
to someone else’s schedule. 
I guess that the free-minded homeschooler in me. 
Someone who’s spent their childhood finishing their school work before breakfast so they
could have the rest of the day for their music and writing, 
doesn’t really like the idea of an 8-5 job of any kind! 😀
Its really helpful having our own business right now too.
When our girls are starting to show early signs of kidding approaching.
K and I are planning on helping Mama and Daddy finish up the ‘big’ things at work all
we can, and then we’ll have to call off (with no risk of losing our jobs 😀 ).
The goats should start kidding by Friday.
But we have one doe who’s keeping us on our toes….
I’ll share that with you later! 

Introducing…..

Our newest herd member!
ADGA Sunrising RS Malted Milkshake
The Lord Jesus truly blessed us in purchasing this new, little buckling from 
Sunrise Farms in Columbus, NC last Saturday.
He is a top-rate Nubian buckling and we know he will throw some beautiful kids
with excellent bloodlines for our Nubian segment of Goshen’s Plenty next kidding season. 🙂
We have struggled to find a name for him (seems names come hard lately :/ ),
but finally decided on the playful name of Malted Milkshake,
instead of giving him a human-type name that most of our other goats have. 
We’ll probably do more names like Malted Milkshake this season – as compared to the 
Victoria, Grace, and Emmas of last season. 🙂
We only hope Malted Milkshake will get along with our other buck, Marshall Dillon. 🙂
So far their names don’t sound like it! 😀

Issy surprised us when she took to the new baby so well.
Here she is lying a distance from him – but only because they had been up romping and playing
for so long before this! 🙂
I think having a set of pups last year has really helped her to see baby goats 
as babies – not toys. 

I’ll have to post soon on our new job for the city, here’s all you can see of it 
right now though – with little MaltyMilk at the bottom of the short stair way. 
He’s very shy of steps. 🙂 
We’ve had fun taking him to work with us – he’s on a four-times-a-day feed schedule, so
we sort of had to! (Sly smile….)
You can find a short video of MaltyMilk (before he had a name 🙂 on Youtube here.

Thankful Thursdays

At the inspiration of a fellow blogger and friend, Kathi of Oak Hill Homestead ( http://oak-hill-homestead.blogspot.com/?m=0 ), I have decided to do Thankful Thursday posts.
I’m praying I can do them, even on days – like today – when Im at work with my family, away from home and my computer. I am not quite so fond of posts from my IPhone – even if Im thankful I have a way to do mobile blogging – they just don’t seem to show up so well on-screen.
But here I am, and here is my first Thankful Thursday post!

I am thankful this week for;

The Lord Jesus guiding me to read in Nehemiah. I have been very blessed in that special Book this week – in ways I might share with you if The Lord gives me time soon! 🙂

For the work He’s allowed me to get done on my story. I’ve been able to write almost every morning this week and SOME at night. Yay!!
For our HUD job, and for our being awarded another which will probably start in early March.

For our little Nubian doe, Ida Claire NOT showing any more imminent signs of kidding.

And for our new little addition. 🙂 I’ll share about later. 😀

Over all, I thank Jesus, it’s been a good week!!

Welcome in, February!

Typical Southern Winter weather.
Bright sunshine, bright blue skies – still some green grass, even if the trees are bare.
What you don’t see is the wind.
Cold, cold, cold wind.
Its 41*F out, but it feels more like 31* due to the wind. 
My toes and fingers were numb after chores.
But still, I welcome in February 2013 with open arms!
This day has already proved a beautiful, very successful day – and I pray the entire
month proves to be heir to that.
Especially seeing that we have 10 goats all planning on having kids within
the same week of each other.
Well…
Almost.
All but this one little girl. 
She’s decided to either have her kids early, or try to keep us on our toes for the 
next three weeks by playing like she is. 
We’ve been very proud of her – she sort of ‘blew-up’ soon after breeding 
and we thought, “Multiples?” 
For a first-freshner bred at six/seven months, that would be wonderful – if it didn’t hurt her.
Also, for the past week we’ve been watching with excitement as her
udder grows – showing much more promise than any of our other girls have done
at her age, or than the Saanens are doing now.
But this morning….
She can’t lift her tail (see how it’s drooping?), and she’s beginning to sag in her 
hindquarters – though her ligaments are still holding on. 
She’s been under a lot of pressure from the older goats, and yesterday she had a particular 
show-down with a very bossy Joy….
Now…we have two thoughts on this.
Have we miscalculated her due date?
Was she bred three weeks before we thought and the heat we figure on only a ‘false’ heat?
This is exactly three weeks before her estimated due date.
Or is she too stressed, and other factors contributing, she may be going in early?
We have our doubts whether 3 week early kids will survive.
This is a new challenge for us on the farm.
But strangely I’m excited!
I dread, dread, dread kiddings – because of how serious they are.
Kids can come out wrong, they can suffocate, they can be too large to get past the doe’s hips,
tons of problems can happen!
Not to mention pregnancy toxemia (so scary here!) and other troubles with the 
doe herself during pregnancy and birth.
But, this first moment of “maybe she’ll kid” here on the farm 
has me sitting on the edge of my seat excited for this new season!
Starting the 23rd our other does (unless one throws us another trick) should be due.
That will be one very hard – exciting – week!
We’re praying much for the Lord’s guidance – and protection – as kidding approaches…
or seems to be already here. 🙂 
Through updates about my writing, work, etc. I will try to keep you posted about 
these happenings on the farm!