Thursday, July 24, 2014

Meet Forrest and Gump

My friend Kris asked me to take this little one and give it a chance. She works full time and her neighbor was taking care of him, but the neighbor was going on vacation. 

They named the little Toulouse gosling Little Bit, but we changed it to Forrest. Amanda and I had just watched the movie, so it seemed a likely choice. Our friends at the local market liked it! 

It has spraddle leg/splayed leg. "He" hasn't been able to gain weight because of limited movement. We also observed that Gump was eating most of the food and knocking Forrest down repeatedly. So, we put Gump in with our other goslings.

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I tried soupy feed to encourage it to eat more. It worked...he soon had a crop full! We added electrolytes and B complex drops. These goslings are the same age (approx a week old), so you can see the noticeable size difference.

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Kris' neighbor was taping off the legs, but she felt bad at how hard the gosling struggled so she'd only leave it a little while before removing it. Sadly, that defeats the purpose. The bones, cartilage, and tendons need to grow into the new position to correct the problem. It also helps the gosling's brain reprogram itself for a new way to achieve locomotion.

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Forrest is standing, but his buddy Gump was still causing him to fall. So we separated them. We put Gump in with our Toulouse goslings. Althought a week older and bigger, they accepted him right into their gaggle.

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Right after taping his legs in the right position, Forrest could not only stand up, but walked (awkwardly) the entire length of his new space! The shelf liner gives a better grip than traditional brooder bedding. Grip is very important with this condition. Having never been alone, Forrest was lonely. Sweet-hearted Bethany volunteered to sleep downstairs where he could see her beside him all night.

Hebrews 12:12-17 

Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Dad on Messy Houses

"A few years ago, Mel and I got into an argument about the house. I told her it was embarrassing. I asked her what she did all day. “It really can’t be that hard to keep the house clean,” I said. ... I stopped worrying about the house, and started paying attention to the development of our children. I started to pay attention to how happy they were, and the kind of relationship they shared with their mother, and I noticed that we have a messy house, and really happy, bright kids."
Read the rest here.

Jumbo Pearl Guinea Keets

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Guinea keets don't sleep upright like a chick. They stretch out and sleep on their sides. I went to the poultry shed early to check on them the first morning after arrival. I saw all 42 of them sprawled out with legs and necks extended and thought, "Oh, I have done something really, really wrong!" That was right before I remembered...keets sleep like that!

Jumbo Pearl Guineas grow around 30% larger. That means they eat more bugs. Guineas are known for eliminating ticks and snakes. They will pick the ticks out of the grass or off of a dog that lies still long enough. Some dogs come to enjoy the "grooming."

I grow wheat grass for my juicing. I cut a handful off and snipping it very short into their brooder twice a day. They love it!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Day the Peep Order Arrived

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We are very pleased with our order from Cackle Hatchery. Our peeps were originally planned to ship on 5/14, but they did not have enough hatch to fill our order. The next hatch date was 5/28 which put it at a very hectic time for us, but we rolled with it. They all arrived alive on 5/28. They included $30 worth of extra birds in case of loss which included three extra pullets and two extra turkeys. The marks you see on the goslings help identify their gender.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Hoop Coop #1

This will be a movable grower pen for pasture raised birds.
Clint built this one out of recycled and left over materials to see how he would like it.

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Putting wire on the bottom. This isn't the wire we wanted to use, but it is all the store had, so we used it.

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bracing for around the door

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how he did the wire on the corners

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predator proof

He and I always work together on whatever the project is.
Sometimes that is good and sometimes.... Well, did you know that when you cut that last little piece of rolled wire, it will coil back up on itself and anyone who is working on the other side? I caught a Clint! :-) He laughed and used it to teach the children about kinetic energy. I asked for volunteers for another demonstration. :-)


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Where two pieces of wire overlap, we use crimps or tie-wraps and fold the edges over like this for added strength and protection of the flock. Some predators only need a tiny hole to enter a coop.

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a tarp for shade and cover
In the winter, we will convert it to a greenhouse with a layer of plastic.

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The bend at the top is because these cattle panels were recycled fencing. We will add a perch, a self closing latch that can be opened from the inside, and automatic waterer. We won't need nest boxes in this one. Clint liked it enough he immediately purchased supplies to build Hoop Coop #2.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

It's Serious

One key to the Bible: Because of the seriousness of every person’s sin, no harsh treatment by God is ever too harsh. Ever. -John Piper

Romans 3:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Coccidiosis and Your Poultry

Don't medicate unless needed, but please stop spreading the old myths!! Ignorance and unwilingness to believe new research is killing a lot of birds. You can safely use certain medicated feeds with waterfowl.

Stop believing old wives' tales and start saving your poultry from coccidiosis. As an herbalist, I have tried many natural alternatives, but nothing has been as effective at stopping it as quickly as the medicated feeds. Coccidiosis kills birds FAST. I educated myself on the best way to handle it because I care about the lives of my birds.

Coccidiosis is a devastating disease. Ampolium is safe for all birds.
http://www.amprol.com/Phibro/Company/Safety.html
"They found research that had been done here in the United States and abroad on the effect of these four drugs on waterfowl. As Dr. McDougal said “Not one of these papers described any harmful effects to waterfowl except where the normal dosage was significantly overdosed.”... “Frequently publications pertaining to waterfowl state that medicated feeds should not be fed to ducklings and goslings. In some localities, producers and hobbyists who raise a small number of ducklings and goslings can only purchase medicated chick, turkey or game bird starter and grower feeds. Because of the lack of documented information on this subject and the numerous requests for advice on this matter, anticoccidial drugs zoalene, sulfaquinoxaline and amprolium were mixed in mash feed and fed to ducks up to four weeks of age.”Therefore, it appears research shows these drugs do not harm waterfowl if used at the rates commonly used with chickens and turkeys. Have there been coccidiostats used in the past that were harmful to waterfowl? Probably and that is why the myth began. But those drugs are no longer allowed or no longer used in the United States. What if you have the choice of medicated or non-medicated starter feed of equal nutritional value? My recommendation would be to use the non-medicated feed. There is no point in feeding medication when it is not needed. HOWEVER, if the choice is nutritionally correct medicated starter feed or non-medicated feed that does not meet the nutritional needs of the ducklings and goslings, I would definitely recommend the nutritionally correct, medicated starter feed. Research shows the medication will not harm the waterfowl.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Rainbow Over Contentment Acres

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We had a full double rainbow for a while, but I did not grab the camera fast enough to capture it. This was taken after a storm sometime late spring. I do several blog posts at a time and keep it scheduled ahead of time.

Genesis 9:13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Saving Time or Making Opportunities: It's a Choice

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Caleb learning how to put on a set of steps.
This was several weeks ago.

People are amazed that our children have amassed so many life skills and are so capable at young ages. I think this is because Clint and I have never been afraid to try our hands at something. We exercise self control and keep a good attitute even when things go wrong because we aren't afraid of failure. This makes the children see work as opportunity, not a chore, and our attitudes and playfulness make them want to be around us. There are times when the tools are dropped and someone is chased down, picked up, and tickled or hauled to the pool for a dunking!

It takes longer to work with your children beside you, but done with the spirit of thankfulness and joy that there IS a child to work beside you, it can be a great deal of fun. Passing down knowledge is also a wonderful time to pass down wisdom because tasks are often filled with life lessons. Teach your children. Then, with the idea of leaving a legacy in mind, teach them to teach their children and keep it going.

Character building conversations during the step building included: the importance of a solid foundation, solid foundations vs shaky footholds, helping others, working with a good attitude, working as unto the Lord, and wise people build and gain while/the foolish tear down and suffer loss at their own hands (words, attitudes).

Proverbs 1:7-9 Knowledge begins with fear and respect for the Lord, but stubborn fools hate wisdom and refuse to learn. My son, listen to your father when he corrects you, and don’t ignore what your mother teaches you. What you learn from your parents will bring you honor and respect, like a crown or a gold medal.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I Rode in Her Eyelashed Car

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Last Wednesday, Amanda asked me if I wanted to go shopping with her. Because Hannah had been in CHKD's ER on Monday, I really didn't have the time to spare. BUT, I also know parents need to seize the opportunity to do things with their children. So, I juggled my schedule around and made sure the other children were supervised as they worked on their homeschool to stay on target for their reward: an upcoming Busch Gardens trip. 

Amanda and I were near Clint's work when lunch rolled around, so I called him to see if he wanted us to bring him food. Then, we knew Brandon worked nearby, so we called him to see if he could meet us. It worked out so all four of us could eat lunch together during a normal work day! What a blessing! 

We enjoyed seeing Eric G., Charles, Kevin of Yorktown, Dave P., and everyone else too! It is always a wonderful to pop in for a quick visit! We love our Printpack family!!

Amanda and I had a fun day together and found many bargains! She has invited me to go again next week.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Chicken Facts of Life

Leghorns start laying around 18 weeks which is why they are a favorite breed of chicken. We have a few of those, but our main flock will be a dual purpose breed (meat and eggs).

I have had quite a few people who did not know the following:

Hens do not need a rooster to lay eggs. Without a rooster, they will lay infertile eggs. What you buy from a grocery store is infertile eggs.  If there is a rooster, they will lay fertile eggs if he covers all of the hens every day. The rule of thumb is that a healthy rooster can cover about 10 hens. If he misses a hen on a particular day, she will lay an infertile egg a few days later. It takes a few days from when the egg is released from the chicken's ovaries to pass through her oviduct until the albumen (egg white), membrane, and shell is added. Then it is laid in the nest. In other words, there can be several eggs in different stages inside of the hen.

If you buy eggs from a farm that has a rooster in with the hens, you might see some evidence of development if the eggs were kept warm enough. Summertime temperatures can cause partial development. That's why it is best for the flock owner to pick the eggs up a few times a day and put them in the fridge or cool spot in the house. The cook who buys from a farmer or produces their own eggs should use a separate bowl to crack each egg before adding to the main mixing bowl.


****

I had the hardest time explaining chicken reproduction to one family who came out to our farm to buy a goat. They wanted to buy some of my chicken's eggs to put under a lightbulb at home. I told them I did not have a rooster in with the hens so the eggs would not hatch. "All we want is the eggs from them so we can hatch them." I said, "The hens would need to be kept with a rooster before that could happen." They told me I was wrong. Being home with my children the last 20 years has taught me patience.

When I gently told them that would make the chicken an asexual creature, they thought I was calling it a homosexual. I looked back at Clint at this point, and he gave me "I am on the edge of laughing, so I can't help you with this one" look. Thanks honey!

It was one of those conversations that go around and around in circles. After many questions from two adults and one very curious child, I tried to spell it out without getting graphic. "Look, the chickens need to do the same thing we do to make a baby. Male and female need to get together. Their development occurs outside of the body in this little egg while ours occurs inside a womb. No seed = no chick...just an egg." Then they wanted to know if a lightbulb in a dresser would hatch the same eggs we were discussing. (Fly Away Home makes it look so simple!) I gave up trying to correct their thinking. I told them to try it, and see how it worked. 

We still laugh about it!


Proverbs 30:29-31 There are three things that act important when they walk—really, there are four: a lion—he is the warrior of the animals and runs from nothing, a rooster walking proudly, a goat, and a king among his people.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Judging Texts, Emails, Statuses, and Internet Posts

Friend A was reading a Facebook status out loud on her phone. After she read it, she commented on how self-righteous and condemning the person sounded to her ears. It happened to be a mutual friend who had gone through something very difficult that went along with what she was sharing.

I knew the friend who posted the message was anything but self-righteous or condemning and shared a few things about the nature of the person's heart, some of the things she had helped me with over the years, and a little public knowledge of what had been going on in their life that had probably triggered what she wrote. 

Friend A, who has a humble and teachable spirit, said to me, "You know what, I was putting my voice to the written words. It wasn't them who I was judging self-righteous and condemning....it was the voice in my head and the emotions in my heart. YIKES, I was really revealing ME!! I am the self-righteous and condemning one!" 

I am so thankful for friends like Friend A. Iron sharpening iron! She brought to light a valuable lesson we can all take home today. I've done it too! I've read something and interjected my own tone and thoughts and made assumptions about the person's meaning, motives, and frame of mind. I've let it color my opinion of someone and affect how I have treated them.

There is so much lost in written communication so we tend to fill in the blanks with our own thoughts and emotions. The danger in doing that is not realizing we may be way off base in how we perceive the meaning and intentions. We can do a lot of damage to each other directly or indirectly this way. Let's tread gently and hold ourselves more accountable while we show others more grace.

Jennifer Prayer Request

Jennifer, the little girl with HLH in CHKD hospital, passed away last night. Jennifer's suffering is over, and we can take comfort in that. Please lift a prayer for her twin sister, parents, and loved ones. http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/prayforjennifer/journal

My heart is heavily burdened for them. I take consolation knowing the same God who comforted me in my mourning for my babies will be right there with them, loving on them, sustaining them, and teaching them new things about Him and His nature. They seem like the kind of people who will take it in, learn and grow from it, and then turn around and reach others for God's glory. It might look and feel like all hope is lost, but He is working something incredible in this family even now when it seems the darkest.

Don't Give Up Your Blessing

As I talk to women, I find one of the things they struggle with the most is forgiveness. One of my older children has been challenged to forgive repeatedly over the last year in the work place. Forgiving others is the probably biggest struggle facing all Christians. It's why I often share stories and quotes about it.  How easily and completely we forgive is also a good indicator of where we are in the Lord. 

One of my friends was beaten by her husband (now an ex) who also forced himself on her. He ruined their finances, denied one of his children as being his, quit jobs repeatedly, lost their home and land, and ran up debt on credit cards she didn't know they had. He became an angry, violent alcoholic. She knows her life with him is over. She told me she wanted to have no reaction whatsoever to his name when she heard it, but she gets angry, tense, and resentful. She admitted she'd like to see him get what he deserved. She realizes she needs to forgive. I shared the following with her, and she said it helped.

The key to forgiveness is not in looking at what the other person did to you. The key is in looking at how much YOU have been forgiven. Because of Jesus, we escape what we deserve. God commands us to extend forgiveness to others so we can reflect Him. Forgiving doesn't just release them. It teaches us and grows us in many ways. It's powerful! Once you get to that place, blessings flow! That doesn't mean you go back into an abusive situation. Forgiveness means you aren't seeking retribution in any form. 


"Sometimes, people haven't apologized because they're ashamed. Forgive them anyway! Sometimes you have to be okay with a sorry you never got. Forgiveness unblocks your blessing." - Unknown


"The real lesson to be learned is that the struggle to forgive is the struggle to be like Jesus." Mike Ruffin


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Grace

Grace exposes your moral weakness, but never mocks your failure. Rather, grace blesses you with moment by moment forgiveness and strength. ~Paul David Tripp

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Air layering Tree Fix

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The other container proved to be not stable enough, so I changed it out with this one in early May about two weeks after I tried the other. We will see what happens between now and next spring. This branch is not an ideal selection for this form of propagation. I was going to have to cut down the awkward branch or try this, so I opted for this to try to gain another tree.

Isaiah 58:11 And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make strong thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

Friday, July 11, 2014

He's a Handy Young Man to Have Around

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Clint's auger needed a new fuel line. While he was at work, I decided to see if I could fix it for him. Caleb saw what I was doing and took the job over. In 15 minutes, he had found the line, saw the problem, decided to try aquarium air hose as a temporary fix, tore out the old line, and put in a new one. When he couldn't get one side to make a tight seal, he grabbed a small tie-wrap and used that as a mini-hose clamp.

Not bad for a 12 year old!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Joyful

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photo is mine
free to use as long as it is unaltered
A link back is appreciated, but not required.

This is something Amanda has personally seen in her circle of friends over the last year.  Those who are doing right have JOY...that abiding happiness that is not touched by circumstance.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Urgent Prayer Request for our 5 Year Old

Hannah is being taken to CHKD for evaluation. We greatly covet your prayers. Our family is coming together from different locations to handle this and make sure we have coverage for the youngest at home. Please pray for safe travels for everyone involved, for the doctors to diagnose accurately, and for Hannah to be spared pain. While you are praying for us, please also remember Jennifer with HLH that we posted about earlier.



Update 9 PM: Hannah was presenting the same symptoms of early appendicitis--same stuff we saw in Caleb. She had pain that moved from her belly button that spread to the right, walking crouched over from the pain, could not keep anything down, running a low grade fever, etc. When we got there, her temp was higher and they agreed it looked like appendicitis. One of the 8 people we saw also said they could check for a few other things too. Then, all symptoms ceased completely. Pain and fever went away without any intervention. Then she started playing and wanted food. They fed her a little and she kept it down. They sent us home and told us to take her back if the symptoms returned. She is up running around with her beloved "Yiddee" (Emily). Thank you, Lord! Thank you for the prayers, everyone. We are very tired and are going to bed.

It was a spring of work, work, work!

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Amanda has worked on our farm beside Clint and I since she was little. She knows the benefit of hard work and has girded her loins with strength. She will be a big blessing to her future family.

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installing the window

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insulation

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walls

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Clint taught her how to do the wiring since this was her first time. She has done the other things before. She cuts her outlets close!

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Time out for fun!

Clint and I and the rest of our family helped her when we could. I don't just take pictures. I get beside them and work hard too. Amanda was able to start using her art studio in just a couple of weeks after receiving it. She put in two lofts to increase footage, an extra window, wiring, insulation, lighting, walls, and an air conditioner. She has more she plans to do, but she is waiting until she can save more money.


We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus. Acts 15:11

Monday, July 07, 2014

These Are My People

This is my paternal grandfather's mother's people (or my great grandmother's). Elisha was her father. I hope to attend next year and share with my children what a wonderful group of people they come from. This reunion has been going on every year since 1865. 

"Elisha Whitley was married Jan. 7,1855, to Mary Eliza Barnes, daughter of John Elias Barnes II and Jalitha Buxton. They had nine children.
Whitley enlisted in Company G, 31st North Carolina Troops on Sept. 12, 1861, and was paroled on May 2, 1865, after the surrender of Gen. Joseph Johnston to Gen. William Sherman on April 26, 1865, at Bush Hill in Randolph County, N.C.
Tradition has it that when Whitley returned from the Civil War, his sisters gave him a birthday dinner on July 4, 1865, and he asked that this be continued.
Since that time, there has been an annual reunion carried on by his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren." from whitleyfamily.info

Organic Eggs

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See the patch in front of the large movable pen? The chickens really eat down the grass and pull out the insects. These Leghorn pullets will start laying around 18 weeks. We have a lot of grass and insects on our 14 acres. It is a blessing when instead of spending time and money to cut it, we can convert it to something we can use and sell like the freshest organic eggs possible.

"Range fed eggs have an omega 6:3 ratio of 1.5 to one whereas the "supermarket egg"has a ratio of 20 to one." Mercola.com



Sunday, July 06, 2014

prayers please

One of my children has been in a car accident. Prayers are appreciated. Thank you very much.

1:42 PM: Thank you very much for the prayers and concern. We know some of the kindest and most thoughtful people on this planet! Both parties are uninjured. Cars are drivable. As soon as the call came in, my heart jumped into high gear. I have been permanently scarred from Amanda's roll over! Thank the Lord this was minor! Today is our 4th celebration, so I have not been able to answer the phone....had to get back home and jump back to cooking and prep for tonight. 

Thank You, Father, for watching over the child You gave me!

For Christians Afraid to Help or Trust

A group of ladies and I were discussing how we can know who to safely help or let into our lives. All of us had stories of people who abused our trust. This is where we ended up with in our study: 

I would rather find out I was generous to someone who didn't really need the help than to have neglected to show Christ's love to someone who had a genuine need because I wrongly judged their motives. I am able to seek the Lord for discernment about who and when I will help, but that doesn't mean I will get it right every time. Sometimes, the Lord may lead you to show kindness to someone who is not genuine in order that they will see God's love, or be exposed to warn others, or even to heap coals upon their head. If God leads you to it, there is a purpose in it.

I would rather have found out I showed love and forgiveness by opening a door to someone who was set on deceiving me than to have shut out someone who truly sought to mend a relationship. The former might make me angry and feel manipulated, but the latter is too important to miss since God Himself "has committed us to the message of reconciliation." I'd rather deal with my own anger and hurt caused by the deceiver than to have shut out the genuine person and be the one who caused them pain.

I want to serve the Lord and in doing so, it means I sometimes will make mistakes in perceiving people's intentions. Sometimes I might give to a greedy person or trust someone who is scheming behind my back. But I am not judged for their intentions. I have to diligently seek the Lord in every area, use the wisdom found in His Word, and trust in Him to lead me. If I have sincerely done that and end up trusting someone who does not deserve it, I have to trust there is a lesson in it for me as well as them.

Being a compassionate, joyful, kind, gentle and self controlled person who endures in a world that is harsh and full of embittered people seeking to serve themselves is not easy. However, we weren't called to easy work. 

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Around Here July 2014

We had a very pleasurable family vacation! The weather was perfect-not too hot or too cold! Brandon and Amanda both were able to spend time with us. 


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Clint surprised everyone by buying and cooking a huge crab boil to feed 5 families!
We had a wonderful gathering!
He cooked his famous recipe of crab, shrimp, crawfish, corn, potates, carrots, Andouille sausage, onions, garlic, Creole seasoning, Old Bay, etc.
Ca c'est bon! Laissez les bon temps roulet!

We often had many fishing lines in the water with double hooked bottom rigs. I don't know if a school of fish swam under us or what, but there was one point where we were pulling out fish every 2-3 minutes for a couple of hours. No sooner than we'd pull one out, we'd have another one. I could tell Caleb was enjoying it immensely. He grinned at me and said, "It's like when Jesus told the disciples to throw down their nets!! There are fish everywhere!" We kept all we could and were able to put many meals in the freezer. We'll be talking about our vacation and enjoying the fish for many months to come!


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They were so into it, I just sat back and watched!
just off Windmill Point

We saw dolphin swimming right beside us every morning and evening!! At some points, they were close enough to touch, but our healthy respect for wild animals kept us from attempting. They are such breath-taking creatures that thrill us each time we see them! When I dared to take my camera out on the water, I did not capture any good out of the water dolphin shots like I did when we went to Rudee Inlet. 

Caleb amazed all of us by hooking a skate and pulling it up so we could get a good look at it. What a beautifully and uniquely created fish!



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the beautiful Chesapeake Bay right off the Rappahannock River

We enjoyed boating, swimming, snorkeling, fishing, and much more. We enjoyed the spectacular sunsets and sunrises. We were able to help a person find their missing dog when it came to us for help. Last year, we were able to see an osprey sitting on eggs. This year, we were able to observe chicks in the nest! We even observed the parents hunting, feeding the chicks, and protecting them from a sudden strong storm. I'll share pictures in the blog.


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heading towards a hazy Windmill Point

We've been extremely busy since we returned to this wonderful place we call home. Homeschool resumed the very first day after vacation was over so the schedule is very full with the addition of incubator care, farm chores, chicks hatching, new baby bunnies, building a 400 square foot outdoor aviary, gardening, and more puppies being whelped. 

Amanda has been promoted again to head assistant manager! Yay!!!


We have so enjoyed seeing everyone who has come out to purchase from our farm! We have more ducks that will hatch from the incubator weekly until mid-September depending on how long the hens lay.


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Hannah's smiling over the crab served on the crab plate!

The garden is giving us a harvest, and I am preserving what we don't eat right away. It's making for some very busy days. Our wild blackberries are producing and will be followed by the grapes and then the pears. I'll be planting the fall garden next week. 

A big "HI!" to Henry! It was nice meeting you in Newport News! Thank you to Richard of Suffolk for the bunny for Emily for her 7th birthday, and here's another picture to tick you off cause you know it's my "favorite thing to do!"



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Last but not least: We've been asked if we would take a group back and forth to the local bowling alley like we did years ago. We don't have the shuttle bus any longer, but will consider using our suburban.  If you are interested, please send us an email (see header or sidebar). We are switching phone providers so email is the best way to contact us at the moment.

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Although not a volleyball, could this be a future "Wilson" headed out to the Atlantic Ocean?

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.


Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Yes, It's Me

No, I have not been hacked. I am moving to a new Facebook account. I couldn't sync my original FB account with my phone, so I am setting up a new one. Thank you to everyone who called and is looking out for me. :-)

New Phone Numbers

Our entire family has switched over our phones to take advantage of a great deal by Republic Wireless. I have sent out notices to most people with the new #s. If I inadvertently missed you, please forgive me and contact me through the email at the top of the blog. 

The old phones have been turned off as of today.

She Lives Up to Her Middle Name

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Happy 7th Birthday, Emily Joy!

In April, I caught this picture of her giggling while imagining a sandwich made of stinkbugs! She lost a tooth and cut her bangs again. With professional tips, I did the best I could straightening the bangs. This girl has strong leadership characteristics. If she sees something she feels needs doing, she does it. Lord, please keep her safe and close to Your heart as she grows according to the gifts and talents You have given her.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

A Praise!

A person I have been struggling off and on to forgive for a year now for constant nasty verbal attacks (weekly and sometimes daily) against my child is being removed from my child's life. This person was continually trying to lead my child into doing wrong. When my child would not participate, it made the person very angry. I kept praying God would take care of the situation, help the person find healing, and teach my child through it. 

I told my child not to worry about the one person who did not like them, but to focus on the many who loved them. My child did their best to respond kindly realizing the issue was the other person's inner struggles. A lot of the mistreatment stemmed from the fact my child would not lie for them or steal with them. Well, the person didn't stop being mean, but the person is gone out of my child's life. Thank You, Lord!!!

I am thankful for the experience because it showed my child's character and strength. My other children were able to see their sibling rewarded for keeping their integrity intact. As for the other person, we are still praying they find healing and are asking God to send people to them who will facilitate that. 


Gardening Phenomenon

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This picture explains why some of my plants die. :-)
She has pretty blue eyes.
I thought she was slated to be spayed and become a farm mouser, 
but she found a new home elsewhere. I will miss her sweet meows, but my plants will be healthier.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Buck Wheat, Buck Wheat, Buck Wheat!!

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We made the trek to pick up our 3 1/2 dozen Jumbo Pearl Guineas on the 27th of May! We've had them on our farm before and are happy to have added these crazy birds back. I did forget how they sleep "full out" so I had a scare the first morning I checked on them. If I can sneak up on them, I will add a picture of how they sleep. Soon, we will be hearing "buck wheat, buck wheat, buck wheat!!" Their meat is considered a delicacy.

Our goal is to raise a few for gourmet meals, let a few loose to patrol our farm, put a few in tunnels in the garden, and keep a few breeders to lay eggs to hatch in the incubator for keet sales next year. We can also sell the beautiful feathers to local artisans. As with all farm related things, we'll see how it goes!

The guinea fowl we had at Williamsburg's Fat Canary was delicious! We highly recommend the restaurant and their "Free-Range Guinea Fowl, Gnocchi, Root Vegetables, Black Trumpet Mushroom, Scallion."

"Compared to chickens, guinea fowl are low-cost and low-maintenance, and do a standout job as chemical-free pest control." Read more here.

"Do you have snakes? Guineas hate snakes and will kill any they come across. Do you have ticks? That's their favorite food. They are also known as "the farmers watch dog" because they warn you, your live stock, and each other when anything threatening is in sight." Read more here.

"The Guinea hen, presumably happily married, will begin to lay anytime from the end of March through mid-May, and will continue through the end of August, producing 60 to one hundred eggs. Lewis Wright advises setting the April and May eggs, although the guinea hen will usually not go broody until August." Read more here.

"Guineafowl are equipped with strong claws and scratch in loose soil for food much like domestic chickens, but are much less destructive in the garden as they seldom uproot growing plants." read more here.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Do Loved One in Heaven Look Down on Us?

Do Loved Ones in Heaven Look Down on Us?

This is very close to what I believe about our loved ones. If they knew the Lord, they are with Him and are far better off than we are.  We are to look to Christ as a mediator and example. I believe God has told us all we who remain need to know about what happens to saints who die, and we need to trust Him completely in this. If we don't, the problem is in where we have our focus. We are to focus on Him and His will for our lives.  

Philippians 1:21-24 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

I Won't Have to Raise or Lower It

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I am happy with my recent resale shop find. I am tired of the fabric flags degrading so quickly. This should last longer. I won't have to take it down in high winds like the fabric flags. We will have to see how it holds up in the sun, heat, and cold though. If it works, I will find a couple more similar to it for the farm. We are eagerly looking forward to our 4th of July celebration with family and friends.

I like the laurel leaves and berries wrapped around the pole. Laurel symbolizes victory, glory, and to Christians, the resurrection of Christ.

Be thankful for the country you live in because it is where God has placed you.

I Thessalonians 5:8 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Feed Storage Challenges Solved

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We have another place we use for bulk storage when stockpiling for winter, but this is the place where we have "in use" feed. We hope to start mixing our own poultry feed again after getting some of the other work finished but for now appreciate the time savings of the prepared mixes.

If you keep a lot of animals, it can be challenging to store the feed neatly. I only have a certain amount of space I can give to "in use" feed. Even a small farm like ours can have a dozen different types of feed open.

In the two decades we have been here, we have tried all sorts bins and containers. They either could not hold an entire bag or were too flimsy and didn't last long. Trash cans are round, so they wasted space that could have been better used. (Think of squares vs circles positioned on a shelf. Circles take up the same amount of space as larger squares but hold less. This tip works in your family fridge and pantry too. I try to purchase and use square over round containers so my fridge space is wisely utilized.)


Then there were the labeling challenges. After filling one container, feed would be left over in the bag, so people woud put it in any container handy and not take the time to change the label. That made feeding and inventory keeping a hassle. I wanted to keep things in the original bag to eliminate labeling issues. 

Because we have flooded before, I wanted the bulk of the food off the floor.

So far, I love this!! It's working great for our situation! The first shelf comes to the middle of my rib cage. Bags at the second shelf rest at 5'7" which is my height. The space between them was measured to allow three stacked bags. I am going to make a chart with the picture of the feed bag and label it for each animal that receives it. This makes it easier for people who help out while we are on vacation.

I know there will come a day when I can't lift a bag of feed over my head, but hopefully it won't be any time soon. For now, lifting those 50 pound feed bags onto the overhead shelf is helping me "gird my loins with strength." It's far more rewarding and soul satisfying than a gym membership too!