Spring Hay

Today we are back at work, trying to finish up our “Prince” job; painting touch ups, trim, replacing doors, finishing counter tops, and then adding things like curtains etc. that the city asked us to add in preparation of putting the house out to rent.
We were here yesterday too for about half a day, but in the late afternoon/evening we were home.
Hauling 154 40-50lb square bales of hay.

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Our farmer friends from down the road brought their equipment and did the baling yesterday afternoon. They did their share in round bales and ours in square. All total there were 11 of the rounds and 154 of the square.

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A view f the square and round balers.
We thank Jesus for the clear weather He has given us all through the weekend and Monday and Tuesday.
We try to get our hay cut when it’s at it’s peak for nutrition, but to have it rained on and all the nutrients leached out would defeat the purpose. We’ve had rained-on hay before and our goats didn’t do well on it – or even eat it for the most part.
A little note to all of you who still think goats will eat anything, including tin cans. 🙂 Goats are picky.

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A view of the field with the round bales and a few of the square. (We’d picked up over half of them by the time I took this picture.)

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Hauling hay – especially with three girls and just one guy – is not the easiest of farm jobs. In fact, though I love having the hay and am so thankful to The Lord that we don’t have to buy it for our herd, haying is one of my most dreaded summer farm jobs.
But I thank The Lord Jesus for His love and Strength.
I was surprised last night, as I scribbled to my silent friend before bed, that I was not so exhausted and aching as the previous seasons.
The Lord truly is our Strength when we know our inability and ask Him to be in us what we cannot be.
Praise His Name!

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It was a good time of working with the family, despite the hard work, and I’m my dreading the next cutting quite so much. Our barn is full of fresh, sweet-smelling hay, and our goats are loving their feeder once again being full!

The Lord Jesus is so good!

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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?

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!

The Lord’s Day

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.”

Psalm 121:1

Yesterday was such a beautiful Lord’s Day that I must share it with you all.

Usually on the Lord’s Day we make a special effort not to do any kind of labor that is not especially required (such as chores, cooking dishes, and sometimes laundry). We aren’t legalistic about what to do or what not to do – sometimes we even make an exception and sell/buy something on the Lord’s Day – but we try to set aside a special day for Jesus; especially from the usual work and labor of the week (like cleaning house, doing yard work, working on our jobs/paper work for our jobs, even usually sewing or doing things like making soap etc. – you get the idea.)

Yesterday was a special day for all of us, though. We have visitors coming next Saturday and will be working all week, so only able to fit in preparations for their visit late in the evenings when we come home and are so tired. So yesterday, even if it was the Lord’s Day, we did a little special sewing and a few other things.

And enjoyed it. 🙂 I think the important thing about reverencing the Lord’s Day is that we set it aside for Him. If we do have to work, it should be something that is not all-consuming; something we can set aside if need be, and something we can enjoy as we do it.

And I don’t think I have to mention how much we enjoy sewing, cheesemaking, trying new things, cooking, or anything else that pertains to homemaking. 😀

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Of course we had our usual chores.

We have begun weaning our seven bottle babies, so even with the cow drinking two gallons a day we’re getting much more fresh, delicious, rich goats’ milk than we can ever use!

We’re keeping most of the milk in the mornings and making cheese out of it in preparation for Saturday – as well as making soap and hopefully later this week we’ll get to make Mama some cajeta! 🙂 She loves caramel. 🙂

We did have a sad side of chores yesterday morning though.

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Excuse the bad picture, but this is trying to show the eggshells and feathers we found from our destroyed hen and her brood of 20 or so eggs. Some varmint got in the barn last night and busted up all the eggs with chicks in them and made off with the hen as well. Needless to say, this was very discouraging.

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The cheesemaking as well was discouraging.

Simple mozzarella gone wrong. Sigh…. Just wasn’t our day I guess. We accidentally left the curd too long in the rennet while we were dressing and preparing for morning services. It was difficult to cut and stretching was impossible. But still, its cheese. It mightn’t be mozzarella  but its cheese and we’ll enjoy it on onion sandwiches – or maybe even pizza! 😀

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The rest of the day, however, was a quiet joy.

(Excuse the tiny pictures; Iphone has its own mind sometimes….)

We went out and picked roses and lemon balm to try our hand at essential oils and Daddy showed us the plants he’s been working on in his spare time.

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We both enjoyed wearing our new dresses we finished Saturday. 🙂

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The roses and lemon balm were cut up, bruised and cooked for long hours in olive oil in the oven and crock pot.

We poured it up into jars last night but did not remove the leaves.

We’ll do that today, Lordwilling, and see how it turns out. Our roses were not very aromatic, but it did smell ok by the time it was done cooking but the lemon balm oil smelled much better!

While that was cooking we had a nice, sweet visit with some very dear friends, the Clarkes. They visit about once every two weeks and buy eggs from us and we sit and chat and exchange plants. 🙂 Daddy and Mrs. Clarke are both very avid gardeners. 🙂

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Daddy came down to the barn in the evening and helped us block off the remaining broody hen’s nest with all her eggs in it. She had deserted them and was laying on new ones. All we can do is pray that the older ones weren’t chilled; we put them back under her.

It was a blessing having Daddy down at the barn last night. He’s not all that involved in the animals – goats aren’t his favorite four-leggers 🙂 – but I think he really saw the work and love we put into the animals last night; we stood around at least a half hour just petting the goats and talking about their individualities.

It was a lovely evening.

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Before evening service we cut up the batch of soap we made Saturday. (Its the batch in the front). Our supplies are supposed to come Tuesday. I can’t wait – we’ll be soapmaking like crazy then! 🙂

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After service we finished the evening with a family movie time; Abbot and Cosetllo’s Who done it? 

It was a special time we all enjoyed together – and the movie was great. 😀

I love my family, and I love the times we spend together – surrounded by the things we love and the animals we love and the things we love to do.

At home.

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 🙂 )?

Thankful Thursday

“Quicken me, O Lord, for Thy Name’s sake:

for Thy righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.”

Psalm 143:11

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This Thankful Thursday, I am thankful to my Lord Jesus for;

A herd of healthy goats numbering 31 head.

Fresh goats’ milk to drink and enjoy.

Homemade yogurt.

Spring coming – however slowly.

Warm coffee on cold mornings.

Work.

A truck to drive – even when the van goes out.

Scrapbooks.

My story.

Thoughts on my story, even if I’m unable to write at the moment.

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What are you thankful for today?