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.

Clara Belle
Suzanna Lea
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?


Well…I have tried.
I’ve wanted to write a blogpost; I truly have. I love keeping a blog, I love praying for a topic, writing a post, getting up pictures.
I tried to write one this morning at six-forty-five or so, I started another at about three-forty this evening. I’ve dug through my pictures, I have thoughts on a subject, I have an idea for the format.
But it just won’t come.
I can’t concentrate, I’m exhausted – not tired, exhausted – and I guess I have one of those terrible cases of the lazy-writer-syndrome. I’m aching all over from the week’s work at the job and from working the goats’ today, my allergies are acting up with this beautiful spring-like weather we’re having, my head hurts, my lips are chaffed from all the wind and are burning like fire, and we still have evening chores to do.
I should be writing in my barn records.
I should be writing some long-over-due letters I’ve been neglecting (for literally months; so much for loving writing!).
I should be working on my story.
I should be practicing piano or violin.
If I’m not going to do any of this writerly/musician type stuff…
I should be planning our garden.
I should be planting our herbs, carrots, onions, garlic, cabbage, lettuce, celery (which are already very late for getting in here in SC).
I should be cleaning our bathroom.
I should be unloading the dishwasher.
But I just don’t feel like it.
Anyone else ever feel that way?
I just don’t feel like doing anything.

Its one of those beautiful early spring days. Cool enough, with the breeze, to sometimes feel like you need a sweater, but warm enough, in the sun, to sometimes feel like you need to jump in the pond and go for a dip. The sun is coming and going, but the clouds aren’t bright and puffy – they’re more like rain clouds trying to all group together and create a nice storm. 
And its been a beautiful Saturday. 
  • Morning chores (includes feeding, watering, milking, bottle-feeding, checking on sickies, giving hay (and alfalfa), refilling water, straining and pasteurizing milk)
  • A family came to buy a couple kids; stayed about an hour. 
  • Doc came; TB, Brucellosis, and CAE tests done (filling in papers, catching and holding goats, drawing blood and doing the TB prick test on each one) plus sickies looked at and instructions given on care and meds for each.
  • Doc left; instructed meds given, goats let out, electric fence turned on.
  • Bread made (and since punched down, formed into loaves, baked, and frozen)
  • Cajeta cooked (and nearly burned, I should add 🙂 
  • Feta put on (and since cut, stirred, and strained)
  • Ten bales of hay taken down to the barn and stacked
  • Kid disbudded
  • Back home, laundry folded and dishes done. 

I love full days – at home, of course! 🙂 Its not so fun in town or at the job.

And I especially love them when there’s time left over to sit down and work on my writing/music and do a little blogging. 
But for some reason, I couldn’t seem to come up with a blog post today!
Though, it seems the Lord has given me one despite my writer’s block. This is as well as any, I guess. 
A little complaining, a little content, a little disconcerted, a little happy. 
I should say a lot happy. 🙂 
So much has been done today – things still linger, needing finished, but the biggies are over with.
Especially all that testing on the herd; that’s been a big weight on my mind! We can’t drink our girls’ milk who haven’t been tested until we get the results back. (TB and Brucellosis can both be contracted by humans through drinking contaminated milk). Our older girls were tested last year, they’re due for another test but it’s been safe enough to drink their milk. We’re pretty sure the younger girls are clean (coming from clean herds), but we have to test. Its mandatory in our books! (And will really be once we’re an up-and-running dairy.) It feels so good to have the whole herd – including our buck – finally done. Now…just to pray for the results. 

I think I’ll skiddy off now and maybe we can get chores done in time for K and I to have a quiet evening watching a movie together and sipping tea. 🙂
Orange-blossom tea….

A Look Back

What sort of life….

Looking at this photograph, taken by Lewis Hine in Macon Ga. in the early 1900’s, conjures up mixed feelings for me.
I love looking at the smiles on the boys’ faces as they play jacks around the old town railroad track. I love thinking about the men these boys grew up around, and grew up to be – men like my Granddaddy Ted, who was born and raised around Macon, Ga about this same time, and who’s family lived a lot like these boys’.
But the building behind them, the old brick building lined with wooden, many-pane windows. Buildings like this still stand in many a southern – and even northern – town in the US. One stood here in our town until just a year or so ago. Buildings like this create a sense of place to the small towns they used to dominate. They’re a piece of history that will never be resurrected.
That’s sad to me, but to these boys in the photograph if they could’ve only heard these words then, they would have danced for joy.

This was in the days of child labor, of mass production. After the Civil War and the Reconstruction, but before the First World War, the United States was in an era of industrialization that swept up the American society – and with it hundreds of thousands of newly arrived immigrants who had fled homeland and family to find refuge in the land of opportunity. 
These immigrant families often consisted of more than ten children – all of them but the very small would work. 
They would work the mills, alongside their parents. 
And they would die – of cotton fiber inhalation, of pneumonia, of TB, of accidents turned fatal among the monstrous machinery they were taught to navigate and run. 
But this was life to them. 
This was what they knew – all they knew. 

The little girl on the right was Daisy Estes about 11 to 14 years old in this picture. She and her family (she had nine siblings) lived in Chester, SC during the time of this photograph. There was no school within reach of them and she and the other three older children in the family worked in the mills. It is presumed that the second girl in the picture is Daisy’s sister, Cora, but the exact identification of both of the others girls is unknown. Hine recorded that all three of the girls were chewing tobacco. This picture was taken in November 1908.
By 1910, Daisy’s mother had died (perhaps even around the time this photo was taken, as two years later in the 1910 census her mother is not mentioned, but the family does include a two and a half year old daughter). Sometime after, the family moved to Gastonia, NC (not far from Chester), where, in 1915, Daisy’s dad, Carter Estes died of pneumonia.
Daisy either married before or shortly after her dad’s death, as ten months later on her own death certificate she is listed as married, though no husband’s name is recorded. She died between the ages of 18 and 22 of spinal meningitis or purple fever. The contributing cause listed on the death certificate is neglect.

(Thanks to Joe Manning and his Lewis Hine Project for the information.)

I have highlighted the rows of the Estes Family with yellow. You can probably enlarge this picture and read the 1910 census of their family for yourself, or download it to your computer.
Reading this girl’s story, I am brought to realize how she is only one in millions that grew up, worked, and died in these mills across the country over the century they were instated and used. They struggled to survive, to just live day by day – and some did. There are folks even round town here that we know who grew up working in the mills aside their parents, and years later retired from them. 
But for those who were not so fortunate, for those who struggled – only to die neglected and alone. 
We think we have it bad. 
With our warm homes, our pantries of food, our machinery that does half our work for us. Our big department stores that carry almost anything anyone could ever want, our factories that run on computers – very little chance (little chance) anymore of a worker getting tangled up, mangled, and killed in the massive robots that make this country run today. 
And we think we have it bad.
What our grandparents would have given to live like we do! Our grandparents, our great-grandparents our great aunts and uncles! Those that lived through the ‘roaring 20’s’ in mills and shrimp yards, picking cranberries by hand and shelling oysters with their little ones helping at their sides. 

But they could still smile. 
Clothes falling off, half blind, and no doubt completely illiterate. 
They could still smile. 
Because this was life to them. This was all they knew, all they could hope to ask for. And, they lived through it and in it. 
I know they weren’t always happy. 
Like Daisy Estes, her life seemed to be one huge loss and hardship after another. But I remember when I was ten, eleven, thirteen. I remember the hard times so well. But I remember those times of laughter. Those times of enjoying my family – and our life; my life. 
I’m sure Daisy did too. 
But why can’t we live life one day at a time? Why can’t we look to heaven, trusting our Father for what He has in store? If its working in a mill, or working on our own farm, working as a shrimp plucker or a construction crew member – whatever it is that’s in our lives today, whatever He has placed us in. 
We can look at these people, long gone now; their lives over – the world they knew passed on forever. We can look at them and see the good that the Lord gave them. 
Can’t we do the same for ourselves today?
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”
I Corinthians 2:9

The Broad Road is Doomed to Fail

One of my favorite hymns….
Broad is the road that leads to death,
And thousands walk together there;
But wisdom shows a narrower path,
With here and there a traveler.
“Deny thyself, and take thy cross,”
Is the Redeemer’s great command;
Nature must count her gold but dross,
If she would gain this heav’nly land.
The fearful soul that tires and faints,
And walks the ways of God no more,
Is but esteemed almost a saint,
And makes his own destruction sure.
Lord, let not all my hopes be vain
Create my heart entirely new;
Which hypocrites could ne’er attain,
Which false apostates never knew.
Isaac Watts 1707-09

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 
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! 

Cranberry Pie

Every year now we buy packages of fresh cranberries and make our own 
cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving.
Naturally, its not the strained, jellied kind, but its just as good, much more healthy, and wonderfully homemade. 
Apart from cranberry sauce, however, we haven’t ever though of doing anything different
with these papery, tart berries….
until this year. 
Ever since I was a very young girl I have been oh! so thankful for libraries. 
They are a complete gold mine of buried treasures for the young mind seeking to expand its horizons,
for the writer desperately needing facts to complete her story, 
for the homemaker needing tips on housekeeping, sewing, gardening, farming….
or cooking.
With our last visit to the wonderful library the Lord has allowed the near-by county to have,
(you know, some counties don’t have libraries worth speaking of….),
the Lord allowed me to chance by the interesting title of;
The Fannie Farmer Baking Book
I picked it up and gave it to K, because she’s the one who’s so interested in baking…
(cakes etc.).
as it turns out it not only had cakes etc, in this cook book, it is also 
packed full of recipes for pies, cookies, breads (sweet and savory) and anything else you could 
think of that would be deemed ‘baked good’.
And best of all, its an old-fashioned style, simple-type cookbook, without all the fancy, up-to-date
language, pictures etc. (though I do love a cookbook with pictures. :).
In it we found a delicious recipe for this Cranberry Pie…the first we ever heard of,
as well as a wonderful, wonderful recipe for a pie crust 
(that was not the sweet, short-cut, press-in crust we have been using).
Almost everyone at Thanksgiving was convinced this was a cherry pie. 🙂
And cranberries are so, so healthy for you too!
I think if the crust was made with part wheat flour this would be a tremendously nutritious recipe.
Cranberry Pie
Pie dough enough for a 9″ two-crust pie
3/4 cup sugar (we used honey)
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
2/1/2 cups whole cranberries (you can also use whole cranberry sauce, or fresh, frozen cranberries – just don’t thaw the berries before using)
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup lemon juice (I would use less lemon – 1/4 to 1/2 or so maybe)
Preheat oven to 425* F.
Line a 9″ pie pan with half the rolled out dough, then roll out the remaining dough, as for a top crust, and cut strips for a lattice top. 
Combine the sugar (or honey), flour salt, and water in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan and mix well. Place over medium heat and cook for three minutes, stirring constantly until thick and smooth. {The flour will work fast, so watch it carefully; use a whisk to stir, and you may have to remove it from the heat every so often to keep it from getting lumpy.}
Add the cranberries and cook, stirring for one minute more. { You may have to cook for longer, depending on what sort of berries you used; we used our berries we had frozen, so it took longer to heat them up and start them cracking – don’t mash them. }
Remove from heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice. Spoon the mixture into pie shell. Arrange the lattice strips on top. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until nicely browned. 
Serve warm.
“Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.”
Proverbs 16:8

Thanksgiving Day

After days of cleaning, cooking…
and of course a lot of fun in preparing….
Turkey took a bath before it jumped in the oven. 🙂
Daddy tested recipes for us. 🙂 😉 
Pumpkin Dinner Rolls – love this new recipe and pray everyone else did to! 🙂
Carra baked a special, marble Chocolate cake and decorated it. 
We even moved our new stove in and hooked it up where the dryer goes so
we could bake the turkey and do other things too!
If you think this is a smokey picture….
it is…
the cake cooked-over and spilled onto the element!
WOW did we have smoke! 🙂
Turkey Day was finally here! 
We spent the day at home
visiting with our two sisters and brother-in-laws, and our nephew and his family.
(I wonder if this was too painful for K….maybe I should have cut the cake? 🙂
It isn’t usual we all get together at one time.
So it was special to all get together and enjoy a big, healthy meal, good talk,
and each other’s company! 
I thank the Lord Jesus for these opportunities to visit and enjoy our family here on earth. 
We even got to give the boys a little lesson in milking! 🙂 
But…Turkey Day has come and gone already!
Its over all too soon!
For another year….
“Rejoice evermore.

Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
I Thess. 5:16-18

May we do this today….
and everyday!

30 Days of Thankfulness ~ Day 22

I am thankful this morning to my precious Savior for my dear and loving parents.
I love you, Mama and Daddy!
You mean so much to me, and have taught me so much in the Lord Jesus 
through these 21 years. 
I continue to learn from you, and always will!
Thank you both for serving the Lord Jesus and teaching me His Ways and loving me in 
His Love.
I love you both!
Happy Thanksgiving!

30 Days of Thankfulness ~ Day 21

I am thankful to the Lord Jesus today for the special gift of sisterhood
His is in us.
For the joining of three hearts – though oceans divide them –
in the bond of His Life and Love.
I am thankful today for our sister, 
Maddy Douglas.
We love you, dear Maddy!!