Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sunshine and Goats

This was a beautiful time!  Snow, after snow, after snow.  It was lovely!  And definitely an initiation to caring for critters in cold, nasty weather.  And the other lovely thing?  It's over for now!

Jeremiah and I set up a new field for the goats.  We're gradually getting faster at this.  We've been using extension cord reels for $7 instead of the fencing reels for $50 and the've been working quite nicely.  1320 feet of fence fits perfectly on one reel!

They're getting better at moving to a new field without scattering which is very nice!

Despite appearances, I think that means she likes the minerals.

Her too!

Another little project we're working on is the shelters.  We're trying a Norweigan technique called cladding.  We're using a hog panel bent to shape and woven with cedar branches.  It isn't like we're gonna run out of cedar anytime soon!

Figuring out how to haul a hog panel across the farm to where the cedar is
without wrecking it by dragging.   And not using a truck because isn't really, really, really muddy.
 I'm the "stability engineer".  :)

Here we go!

This is what a "used" tree looks like.  Just a little thin up as high as I can reach.
That fresh cedar is quite heavy.
We ended up having to stake it out to make it stand up while we worked on it.  Hoping that as it dries and when we trim it, it won't be quite so unwieldy.  I love how it looks and the usefulness of it, but the jury is still out on whether we can find a way to make it feasible for being mobile.

Oh and another little project ...

It's corny, I know.  And yes, I found it on pinterest.  And I like it.  Leah was a good sport and helped me make some of the paper balls.  I'd wanted to use pingpong balls, but after pricing them, scrap paper seemed like a much better medium.

Song for the day - Everything'll Be Alright

PS. I wrote this post probably a week and a half ago.  Thanks to an internet hiccup and my impatience .... I had to re-do it all.  It isn't nearly as much fun the second time around, let me tell you.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Rosemary Babies

So I have this lovely rosemary plant ....  a pot of happiness.

There are few herbs that I love more than rosemary, added to the fact that this particular gem was given to me by a very special lady.  I had had a rosemary once before.  And it got moldy.  So brilliant little me sprayed some apple cider vinegar on it to kill the mold.  Well it killed it alright.  :/

This one seems to have had a rather hard winter.  A month or so ago, some of it's branches started dying.  I started watering it more regularly surmising that the vent above it was causing it to dry out more quickly than I was used to.  I pruned it.  I religiously cut the dead branches.  My anxiety grew with each branch that I laid to rest in the trash can.

So during one of the prunings, I put several cuttings into little jars of water, nestled them on the window sill, and crossed my fingers.  Sure enough!  A few weeks later they began to root!  I gave them a bit of fish emulsion and then prepared some pots.  Finally, something to do with these uselessly cute little pots.

I made deep holes with my finger and tucked the gangly long roots inside.  I cut back the tops of some of them and left others whole.  We'll see which ones do the best!

They sat on the coffee table for a while, receiving dainty little waterings.

And then graduated to the south window sill.

The greatest part is that the mother bush seems to be much happier and healthier!

Song of the day: Friend Like You - Josh Radin

Friday, February 27, 2015

Farmer Jess

Well, there they are!  In all their fuzzy glory!

Not long after they arrived, so did a 10" blanket of snow that is still here nearly two weeks later.  It's had some freezing rain and melt/refreeze action added to it.  In short, not easy critter caring weather.

This was the day it all started to melt.  And then it changed it's mind and throughly iced over.

So I'd spun a circle out on E while it was in four wheel drive.  19 was fine.  But then I couldn't get up the hill to the gate even!  I finally called Jeremiah and asked him to come drive.  I tried a few more times while I was waiting and then looked down to realize I was in two wheel drive.  :)   I sheepishly called the house as I eased up the road.  Nobody answered and I started to make a run for the hill.  Jeremiah came flying around the curve on the four wheeler.  I started giggling and hung my head out the window, honking the horn, and hollering at him to get out of the way.  He laughed, slid into the pasture, and started doing donuts.  I love his good sense of humor!

I spun out on each hill at least once and had to back down to the last flat part and run at it again.  I crab walked up the little hill, cutting my wheels back and forth, trying to keep the rear end on the road.  I was on the second to last hill and got a little impatient, spun out a little too long, and got the back end to close to the bank to where I couldn't back down the hill to try again without falling over the edge.

Jeremiah teased me and headed to the house for the come-a-long.  Every time I'd gotten stuck I'd been asking him for advice and all he'd say was "STEP ON IT GRANDMA!!!"  :D  I really appreciated him trusting me, letting me play and figure it out without worrying about me messing up the truck, and then coming to save me when I pushed it a little too far.   Once we got it back on the road, I made it up the last hill, sliding from one side of the road to the other and only barely making it.  His only comment was "nice driving."  :)  'Twas a fun day!

Anyways, back to the goats.

A little bit of the current set up ....

Using this tank to haul hot water (direct from the hot water heater). 
One for the goats, one for the horses.

3/8" fiberglass fence posts with step in pins attached to the bottom.  The step in pin work very nicely allowing me to put the pressure directly over the pin rather than off to the side as with the normal step in posts.

Experimenting with extension cord reels for the polybraid.  They're much cheaper.
Keeping records over cookies and milk.

So this is how we connected the electric fence to the barn bunks ... only I moved it over a bit
so that the bunk braces blocked the opening.

Shortly after the snow.  Spuds seems to do a good job of keeping an eye on everyone.

Cozied up in the shed for those sub zero windy nights!

And this ... this is a dog.  My dog.  That has been running behind the truck.  Bath time!

Their second pasture.  They've been eating on that brush at the bottom of the hill and we can actually walk through there now!  Only 6 days later.

This is number 35.  Trying to learn to recognize them all!

Generic goat whose number I don't know.  :\

This is Krinkle.  She's number 37.

That's number 42.  She has a sleek dark coat and rather a pretentious flare to her horns.

And the friendly goat.  Nancy?  Amy?  Poppy?

Get along little goatie!  

This is 31.

This is the beginning of a new life experience for me.  I've had pets.  But this is different.  This is a business venture.  Thus begins the journey of herd management.   It's scary.  It's exciting.  And it'll be even better when there are goat babies on the ground!  :)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Discipline of Celebration

I’m reading this book.  A friend handed it to me with the encouragement to read a certain chapter.  The whole book was good though and he wanted it back.  This piqued my curiosity and after reading the said chapter I started at the beginning.  If it hadn’t been for his recommendation, I would have completely passed this book by based on the title.  Spiritual disciplines are quite important though, and a topic, I feel, is not often enough addressed.  I appreciated this author’s lead up to actually teaching the disciplines.  He spoke about our ability to change, what was required in changing, our role versus God’s role.  A good foundation.

Anyways, the chapter that has impressed me the most thus far is “A Dee Dah Day” on the discipline of celebration.  Such thoughts gave birth to the title of this blog, my life as a journey of joy, a journey in the discipline and art of celebration.  

John begins by telling a story of bathing his children before bed.  A particular daughter, once evicted from the tub, began running around in circles, dancing, and chanting “dee dah day”.  He became impatient with her as she messed up his plans of quickly drying her off and getting closer to “in bed”.  He told her to hurry.  So she ran faster and chanted more quickly.  He then was more specific in the kind of hurry he was after.  She stopped and stared at him and asked the ever present child’s question, “Why?”  Much to his credit he stopped and thought about that rather than just firing back a Dad, in control, thoughtless, un-eternal answer.  He realized he did not have a good answer.  She was celebrating the moment, the day the Lord had made.  He got up and joined her.  

I thought of when I have seen parents do just the opposite.  Rather than embracing the sanctification that comes of raising little people, from increased patience to seriously thinking through and answering the unmitigated barrage of questions, they succumb to the felt need of always being in charge, responsible, and right.  Always having an answer, any answer … as impotent as “because I said so”.  Seriously answering their haphazard questions, especially all the “why’s”, creates opportunity for change in you.  Why indeed?  Is it a good reason?  A holy, righteous, loving reason?  If not, have the joy, respect, humility, courage, and tenderness to the Lord to change.  What better example for the littles?  I wrote these thoughts in my journal, praying that I would have a similar or better perspective when I stand looking at my own flesh and blood.

Back to the topic of joy.  The following is excerpts and thoughts from John Ortoberg’s book.  

G. K. Chesterton referred to the do-it-again-ness of children, their joy in monotony, and pointed out that as adults we are not strong enough to experience joy in monotony.  But God does.  Every morning, he says to the sun, “Do it again!”  And to the moon, and the seasons, and to the rhythm of life.  We should take joy in goodness and in perfection, in beauty repeated.  Joy is God’s basic character with sorrow as a temporary response to a fallen world.  God has a fierce, unwearying joy that we should mirror.  Lewis Smedes insisted that missing out joy is missing out on the reason for our existence.  Joy is biblically non optional.  Joylessness is a sin.

Gratitude is closely linked to joy.  Practice gratitude.  

Joy also directly affects our ability to be strong.  The joy of the Lord is our strength.  Failure to attain a deeply satisfying life makes sinful cations seem good, and we are more vulnerable to temptation.  It is easier to be strong if we are basically happy with our lives.  To abstain from bodily joys and pleasures because they are “unspiritual” weakens us in our efforts to do right.  We should arrange our lives so sin doesn’t look good to us.
{I’m not sure I totally agree with this section.  I get the concept.  If we are disgruntled with life and not finding our joy in the Lord, we are more likely to believe the lie that sin will provide pleasure and fill that emptiness.  However, I’m not sure that we should be striving after happinesses as a way to avoid sin.  Sanctification is a work the Lord does in our life through his grace, not our mental tricks.}

Joy is a learned skill and we are each responsible for our own joy.  We learn joy through the discipline of celebration.  This is not hedonism which provides diminishing returns (to be happy we need even more of what we previously had), but exercising our ability to see and feel goodness in the simplest gifts of God.  Joy capacity increases as we are able to delight today in what was untouchable yesterday.  THIS is the day the Lord has made, the day Christ’s death has redeemed!

True joy comes to those devoted to something greater than personal happiness.  Authentic joy is compatible with pain and exists in spite of something.  Karl Barth described joy as a “defiant nevertheless” set at full stop against bitterness and resentment.

Bonhoeffer (imprisioned for a year and half by the Nazis and then hung) states that God cannot endure that unfestive, mirthless attitude of ours in which we eat our bread in sorry, with pretentious, busy haste, ore even with shame.  Through our daily meals He is calling us to rejoice, to keep holiday in the midst of our working day.

John suggests several ways to practice celebration.  Unplugging for a week to help your joy.  It’s proven that TV makes people more unhappy.  People know it, yet they continue.  Social media is in the same category, linked to depression and anxiety.   Go do something.

View life from a biblical perspective, not positive thinking, but rather eschatological thinking.  Our union with God is compared to a wedding.  You shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace!  The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you.  There will be shouts of the joy and the trees of the field will clap their hands!  He will dwell with us as our God; we will be his peoples, and God himself will be with us; he will wipe every tear from our eyes.  Death will be not more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more.  {Read that again.  And again.  How can we not rejoice?}  He spoke these things to us that our joy might be complete.  Perfect.  Lacking in nothing.  Nothing.

Three cheers for the snow!  Even though, which the new herd of goats, that means hauling hot water down from from the house, chipping ice out of troughs, bucking hay, paying for hay, and learning how to dress smart.  The horses have also been thankful for the goats requiring warm water.  It's been a beautiful week.  

I am camera-less for the time being, so we'll be recycling some of my favorite pictures that, hopefully, you haven't seen before.  :)  And I'm taking donations.

As you complete your week, please think of what this concept of joy means and should mean for you.  Practice the art of celebration.  

For me, this is preparation for celebration {stolen from pinterest}