Saturday, January 31, 2009

Doin' Chores

Normally the children do chores with Daddy, but he was gone today. First we filled the water buckets. I could not get my four-wheeler started, so I had the boys pull the pails out in the big sled. They were more than willing. After filling the heated water tank for the sheep and goats, we went into the barn to feed the critters. Jonny took care of the sheep-giving them corn and hay. Ben took Belle for a little walk (I think she walked him part of the way) and then led her to her own pen for a yummy treat. Brushing the goats is one of the children's favorite jobs! Emily brushed Millie and then Ben brushed Belle. The last job in the barn was to add some fresh bedding to the sheep and goat's pen. Ben took care of that. Sometimes the children fight over who gets to do certain jobs, and I have to remind myself not to get impatient with them- at least they want to do them! :-}

Then it was time to take care of the chickens. Emily filled the feeder and waterer then collected the eggs. Currently, she is getting about a dozen eggs a day. She added fresh straw to the coop and let the chickens out, since it is a warm day.

After caring for her chickens, Emily faithfully mothers her cats. Last but not least, I gave Jackson a good brushing which he loves. As soon as he sees the brush in my hand he comes running. If I stop brushing he nudges me with his nose until I start brushing again. When I was done with Jackson we headed in for breakfast.

I like doing chores, but it is time consuming. I am glad that Daddy can do them with the children most days. And they are glad to come in from chores to breakfast on the table. :-}

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Myrtle at our house for Easter
Today we went to visit our friend, Myrtle. For those of you who have not heard about our friend, Myrtle, the story of how our paths crossed is somewhat unique. Our family was looking for a lonely widow that we could visit and assist in any way. I would regularly approach older women and start a conversation with them to see, if by chance, they seemed lonely or in need of help, but to no avail! I couldn't find a lonely widow anywhere! Well, Mike and I met Myrtle while shopping one day at Walmart. She approached us and asked us to help her find something and we got to talking. She mentioned that she was lonely and "BINGO", I knew we had found the widow we'd been looking for!

Myrtle is an incredible lady! We have known her now for over a year and last September she celebrated her 100th birthday! She was a school teacher for many years and loves children. Music is another things Myrtle really enjoys. Despite her age, she is active, healthy, and continues to play the accordion every day. What a blessing it has been to get to know her! The determination she shows in making the best of every situation has been a huge inspiration to me. When things don't go the way she had planned she just changes her attitude, accepts her challenges, and then usually overcomes them! No doubt her mindset is a link to her longevity!

Myrtle at her 100th birthday party
Today we visited Myrtle in her new home. She has had her own apartment up until now, but she felt it was time to move to a facility that provided her with more assistance. She doesn't like much help, though. She tells the workers, "Don't do anything for me that I can do myself or I won't be able to do it anymore." She's always very nice about it, but she'll whisper in my ear, "sometimes I have to be a little rude." :) Myrtle simply knows that if she starts giving up, it will all be over.

The children played the piano for her today while we visited. Then we went back to her room and she played the accordion for us, and gave Ben a few lessons on it. By then it was almost time for her supper, so we said our goodbyes. I am so thankful for this time we have with her. Although, I think she has helped us more than we have helped her!

Myrtle helping Ben play the accordion

Monday, January 26, 2009

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

This post is in honor of Grandma Janice. She made our whole family some very nice aprons for Christmas. A few weeks later, as a joke, we sent her this picture of us in the kitchen sporting our aprons.....or something like that! :) Then for my birthday she wrote this poem to go with our family picture. Thanks, Grandma!

Twas the night before market, and all through the house...
Mindy was stirring, as well as her spouse.
The clock was a-ticking, and the time drawing near
but she was calm and collected with nothing to fear.

The children were scurrying with flour and honey,
doing their part to make lots of money.
On, Brandon, on Emily, on Ben and Jonathan
pick up the pace.....there's no time for fun!

When suddenly their well-oiled machine hit a snare...
the smiles vanished and the tempers did flare!
They turned on each other, there was so much to dread
in the midst of the cookies, biscuits, and bread!

With rolling pin, fry pan, gadget and knife...
it was the nightmare of any young wife!
But as quick as it started, it came to an end.
Unbeknownst to us, it was only pretend!

But let this writing be a warning to all,
of the dangers that lurk withing kitchen walls.
Myself I will refrain from tempting such fate...
we're going to Arby's where prices are great!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Digging Carrots!

We woke up this morning to temperatures hovering around zero with a wind chill advisory. The wind gusts of 30-40 mph have caused the wind chill values to drop to near 45 below! Nevertheless, life goes on!
Would you believe, of all things, we were digging carrots on the farm today! Fortunately, we weren't in the garden under three foot snow drifts! Our carrots are buried in sand in the root cellar. The children dug about a dozen, bright orange carrots for me.
The carrots store really well in sand. After we dig them (from the garden), we cut off all but an inch or so of the tops and simply bury them in a bucket of sand. We do not wash them until we are ready to use them. On average, they will keep in the root cellar about 3-4 months.
After I brought the carrots into the house, I washed them and cut them up for our afternoon snack. The tops and peels will get brought out to the chickens for their afternoon snack. ;) It's a blessing to be eating fresh carrots in the middle of January! ....I'm sure the chicken think so!
P.S. For those of you who would like to make a simple vegetable dip, here is how we do it!
Add equal amounts of plain yogurt and mayo. Then add salt, dill (or any other herbs you like), a little mustard, and a little lemon juice. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Belle is back

We brought Belle home from the billy goat farm today. Apparently every thing went well, and she should be kidding in about 150 days. As you can see from her smile in the picture, she is very happy to be home. :)

Millie, on the other hand, has been very cantankerous. She can hardly take time to enjoy a treat (corn or oats), because she is too busy being bossy. Hopefully, she will relax after the pregnancy hormones wear off. She is due around March 15th, and we are looking forward to having our first "kids" and fresh goat milk.

Our ewes are all due around April 15th. Lambing is always an exciting time on the farm. The children just love watching new lambs be born. They never seem to grow tired of it. Emily is hoping for a bottle lamb (a "bum" in shepherds lingo), but Dad says, "Not if I can help it!" This year we have seven pregnant ewes, so we could have up to twenty or so lambs. Yikes!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Venison Stew

I just came in from a brisk walk. I try to get outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine as much as possible, even though it requires lots of "bundling up". In the summertime, our family practically lives outside. On my walk, I noticed the deer have been nibbling on our apple trees behind the garden. Our dog usually does a great job keeping the deer, coons, and coyotes away, but every so often they sneak past him.

As I walked into the house, the wonderful aroma of venison stew greeted me. This recipe is a family favorite! (Mike and I both shot a buck this year from our deer stand across the slough.) The carrots, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and herbs are all from my garden. Emily will make some whole wheat biscuits to go with it, and we will have a simple, (mostly) home-grown meal that's full of good nutrition.
During the busy, hard work of fall, when we are harvesting all the food from our garden and butchering our animals, (and I am complaining about how much there is to do) I try to remind myself how much I enjoy cooking with my own food over the winter. I love going to the root cellar and coming back to the house with an armload of food. It makes it all worth it!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Farm Girl

Today is Mindy's Birthday. Please comment on this post to wish her a happy birthday! (in fact, please comment on any and all of our blog posts, we'd love to hear from you) Today she turns a very graceful 38 years young. Her love for the Lord and gracious spirit are such a blessing to me and the children.

Yesterday we spent the day celebrating her birthday, since today would be busy with church and other things. Coffee with Brandon was the first activity of the day for her. She goes out with him most Saturdays for a little mother/son time. When she got home she had to go back to bed for our traditional breakfast-in-bed treatment. In the afternoon we went to Hutchinson and took in a movie called "Fireproof", which everyone enjoyed very much. While I made waffles and bacon for "supper", Emily baked a chocolate cake with caramel frosting (from scratch). We wrapped up the evening with a little bit of reading.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Eggs are going fast!

This morning we woke up to 28 degrees below zero! When Mike went out to the barn, Millie, who is usually busy bossing everyone around, was curled up in the hay trying to stay warm. At least the worst is over. The weathermen are predicting 20 ABOVE zero for tomorrow. ...heat wave!

Well, the eggs are going fast! Emily sold 11 dozen today, but she still has some available. Just give us a call! Remember, they are on sale for the month of January ($2.50 per dozen).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Betrothal of Belle and Bailey

Belle and Jonny

Belle and Mike

Belle resists entering the wedding chamber

Boy, I thought yesterday was cold! When we went to bed last night it was 20 below. All the animals were fine this morning....amazing to me! Tonight will be cold again.

Unfortunately, we had to brave the weather today, but for good reason! It was Belle's wedding day! ;) We took her to see Mr. Bailey at the billy goat farm. She will be there until the ceremony is complete and then we'll go pick her up. As you can see from the last picture, Belle wasn't all that excited about Bailey. Guess it wasn't love at first sight, but I am sure they will work it out. :) If all goes well, Belle will have a cute little kid some time in June. Her half sister, Millie, is due March 15th.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A winter day on the farm

It's a cold, but beautiful day (0 degrees-last I checked). On days like this it's fun to page through seed catalogs while warming by the fire and dreaming of spring. Looking at all that yummy produce makes me hungry. We ordered most of our seeds already, but I always find a few others that I must have. ;)

It was a pretty typical day today. Along with making meals and doing chores, Emily and I baked five loaves of bread. Then I schooled the children. There are always times when certain children struggle with certain subjects in school. Today it was Math! (It's usually Math!) When I walked into the school room this afternoon, I found this sign, written by a very frustrated student, hanging on the door. I laughed until I cried. My daughter has a great sense of humor (just like her father)!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Eggs for Sale!!!

Hi all you local folk. Emily has an abundance of eggs, which is unusual for January. If you are in need of eggs stop out, we'd love to see you! Special price of only $2.50 per dozen for the month of January. (Normally eggs are $3.00 per dozen)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Our debut into the world of blogging

Hello, and welcome. This blog is our attempt to keep our friends and customers informed about what is going on in our lives and on the farm. This first post was put here so that people that get our new years letter and go to the blog right away, won't be completely disappointed with the lack of content. If this is the one and only post here, please be assured that more are coming.

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