Every time you feel in God's creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: "O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!
- Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

You can’t get to joy by making everything perfect. You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.
-Ann Voscamp

Friday, December 30, 2011

We're Alive and Well

Hi all! I'm super thrilled to be posting, though it's probably a lone post in the middle of a long quiet spell. Computer fixing is on the back, back burner, far behind other important things right now. A few of those other things are getting new tires on the van, fixing the power steering pump on the work truck, and paying the insurance for the house and cars. All important and all way less fun to think about or pay for than so many other things I can think of right now. Such as the lovely stainless steel insulated carafe designed for keeping raw milk in. It would be so much more fun to just go ahead and spend the money on that. But no, I'm being good and responsible. It can wait, along with the computer.

I was eaves dropping on my littlest (6) while I was doing chores yesterday, and I have to share her conversations with the chickens with you all. First she caught her favorite little black hen and brought it into the goat barn. She put some hay into the milking stand feeder and put her little hen in it. I heard, "Please lay an egg. This is the perfect place to lay an egg...oh, you probably won't lay one until tomorrow." Then, "You need a beautiful name, like...Olivia. Do you like Olivia? Okay, you're Olivia." A bit later we went to care for the chickens. I let Six scatter the scratch around. I got to hear, "Olivia, don't do that. Come here, Vanilla. Yellow Hen, come down here. Don't be afraid. They're nice. Okay, be nice. Here's some for you." I really don't think she's going to find a lot of success as a peace keeper for the hens, but it sure is sweet to listen to her. :)
Happy New Years, everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Experiences

Our family has been having some new experiences lately! One of them is sort of controvercial, but it has been interesting, and is really what we're up to, so on the blog it goes.
We have some good family friends who are trappers. Their children are mostly grown now, and moving on to their adult lives. I think Mr. Trapper misses having young children to teach and pass on his experiences and knowledge to. He took an interest in teaching our children some of his skills, and before we knew it the children were involved it running a muskrat trap line with him.
This has meant that we as their parents have gotten involved as well. Yesterday I got to be the chaperone as my young ones checked and reset traps. It was really very interesting how it all works. I wish I had pictures, but we forgot the camera, and the computer troubles we're having are making our internet connection operate so slowly I feel like we have dial-up again. Ugh!
Muscrats live in little houses much like beaver lodges, but smaller and made out of balled up grasses that they wet and stick together, some small sticks and mud. The bigger the house, the more rats live in it. To set the traps, the trapper makes a hole in the top. The tunnel from under water into the house is found, and the trap is placed in the doorway. It is connected to a wire that anchors it outside the house.
When the trap is in place, grasses are dampened and placed over the hole, and then covered with snow to keep the water inside from freezing. To check the traps, the snow and grass are removed from the hole (this can take a while as it is frozen in place), the trap is pulled up and checked, and reset.
In the past few days, Mr. Trapper and the children have gotten two muskrats. If a person is interested in working with the fur (as my children are), it takes one pelt sold to get the money to have one pelt tanned to keep. One of my children has a muskrat hat made by Mr. Trapper and one of his daughter trappers. It looks much like beaver, and is lovely, soft and warm.
I had fun taking my children out to check the traps. I was reminded of a book I'd read once about a woman who lived in the Alaskan wilderness with her trapper husband. She had a baby out there, and they passed a winter out there alone. They couldn't find any game and very nearly starved before they were able to get out. By the time they got help they were quite ill with scurvy.
For one afternoon, I felt like a strong, brave pioneer trapper in the wilderness. It was pretty exciting, I must say. :)

In other news, as we approached the shortest day of the year, the chickens have picked up in their egg laying. This seems to happen often for us, and I love it. Just when we expect to go eggless for months, having a lovely surprise of five eggs in the nest boxes is so nice, and the morning afer the solstice, too!

I'm planning to pick up my does from the breeder on Friday afternoon, and I can't wait! I'm so excited to have them back home, and even more so by some extenuating circumstances that I don't feel right about sharing here. Suffice it to say, I'm a bit extra concerned about their wellfare right now, as well as that of the dear woman caring for them who has recently become a real friend.
I have stopped in to see them a couple of times, and they look pretty good, except for Starlight. She's never been what I'd call thrifty, and now is no exception to that. She has some upper respitory stuff going on that is worrying me. I really want her back so I can give her some extra TLC. I'm really unsure how things are going to develop for her, and only hope that she makes it through pregnancy and kidding without too much dificulty.
By the way, that extra TLC is going to be hard to give, as my girls are STINKY! I don't know how the buck stink will ever wear off. I pray that I get two nice bucklings, one by each of the two bucks involved in these breedings. If I do, then I will be able to have a closed herd after this for a long time, and no more pen breedings. That's my ultimate goal now. I used to think this traveling and pen breeding would be a yearly occurence, but I've now come to ralize that it causes a lot of stress to myself and my does. I don't want to have to do this agian.

I want to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and New year, as I may not be back for a while. I just can't take the time to post or read blogs with my PC and laptop both acting up so badly. I really miss reading all of your posts, and can't wait to catch up a bit. :)

Many blessing to you all in the New Year!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Reward Time and Crafting Space

Because I don't have any dirty dishes or dirty laundry in my house right now, and I didn't even have to toss them outside to be able to say that, I am rewarding myself with some time to post. Oh, happy, happy day! Maybe you can tell by my reaction to being so stellar in the housekeeping department today that it doesn't often happen. I have the best of intentions for keeping up on things, but they seem to fall by the wayside every time. I would so LOVE it if this time I managed long term success in the dish and laundry department.

Anyhoo, it light of the fact that there's nothing pressing right now, and I've a child stewing it the tub so I can't go far, I have a moment to sit here. I'm finally making a small attempt to show and tell about how I find space to sew/craft here on North Forest Farm. There's been quite a bit of the like happening here lately with Christmas just around the corner, but do you think I actually took a picture when I had things out? No siree! That would be just too darn organized and practical for me.
Here's the table where we "do school", craft, sew, scrapbook, etc. We used to just use the dining room table; all of our books fighting for space with the sewing machine and various sundry cups, plates and flatware. It wasn't a pretty sight, and also kind of messy. Garments stained before they're ever worn, that's just...

Anyhoo, do you see in this picture hubby's stereo tucked into the corner? Yeah, he doesn't like that at all. You see, he wants to actually be able to use it. Go figure. He's really threatening to get rid of MY table. I don't like that. I guess we're at an impasse. Really, I think I could solve the problem with a bit of work. I could actually keep the table top clean, and fold the table up when we're not using it. Maybe, but...

Alrighty, then. Here's what's been happening while I've had the machine out these last few days:

First ever quilted anything. I'm giving some quilted pot holders as gifts this year. I'm pretty happy with my first attempt so far. I think I'll have to either put some ties in or do some stitching so they don't fall apart in the wash.

I also made five of these little stockings (now filled with M&M's) for our family gift exchange. We exchange the names of the children in the family and make homemade gifts for them.

I really don't have anything amazing to say about where I store things when they're not in use. The unglamorous truth is that they're mostly stuffed into plastic bags in the closet, and sometimes I can't find them again when I need them. Okay, OFTEN I can't find them again. The finding usually takes longer than the crafting. :/ Can anyone say organizationally challenged?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tiny Roo and New Hens

...spare roosters too.

Here's the tiny little guy. I wish I'd had someone hold him while I took this pic. He can't be more than 9 or 10 inches tall. He came with his own little hens, too. I don't know yet what kind they are.

Besides the four little black bantam hens, there are these three new girls hiding under the nest boxes. I'm not sure what these are yet either.

And then there are these guys. Isn't that one guy gorgeous? I think he's a dorking, but I can't remember for sure if that's correct. I would LOVE to keep him just for his looks, but unfortunately he has to go. He and his cronies beat our beloved brahma bantam up pretty badly, so they can't stay. There are four or these roosters, lovely as can be, now residing in my goat barn. It will be hard to butcher this beautiful boy if nobody will take him. They all seem nice (to people) so far.

We ended up with these when some friends of ours decided they didn't want to keep chickens any more as they wished to travel more now that their children were grown.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I'm Back!

Hey all, I'm back online. :) I grounded myself in order to prepare for a trip, and then take that trip and visit with my sister and her family. We had an absolute blast playing together for five days, and now it's time to clean up the mess we brought home with us. I'm rested up and ready to dive in, but had to take care of a little business first.
I've recently began the process of getting all set up to get my goats registered in my name, with a herd name. Of course I'd wanted to get something that had Tanglewoods in it. Apparently that's pretty popular, because no variation I could think of was available to me. We had to choose a new name for the "herd". My eldest daughter came up with North Forest Farm, and that passed. So, our new homestead name/herd name is North Forest Farm. My husband and eldest daughter are happy. They never thought Tanglewoods Homestead "fit" anyway. So, here we are with 1.5 acres we're now calling a farm. :) I can't wait to see what else this homestead adventure brings.
I also can't wait to slowly catch up on all of your blog posts as soon as I get a chunk of time to myself. I sure hope you've all had a lovely week.

P.S. Next post, I'll introduce you to the little additions to our laying flock, including the tiniest little roo I think I've ever seen.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Goat Meet and Greet

Yesterday's goat meet and greet went quite well. Actually, the most hectic part for me happened before we even left home. The breeder decided that it would be best if I gave a course of antibiotics to my does so we didn't end up spreading "shipping fever" between our animals. Shipping fever is sort of a generic term for something that commonly happens when goats are transported to new places. They can get stressed and then their immune systems get depressed. If that happens, then any germs hanging around can quickly cause an illness.
So, I gave them each a shot of penicillin and gathered up supplies to send with them. Then I gave them some hay so they could eat for a while while I got kennels loaded up.
It turns out they've all grown since I got them. I started by trying to cram Cupcake into a kennel she used to fit in. She said, "NO!", and that was that. So, we decided that Panzy could just ride in the van like a family pet, and prayed she wouldn't pee. All good, no accidents.
The meeting went fairly well, with no major trouble between any of the does. However, I don't know when any of them will get a chance to eat or drink, with the bucks hot on their heels all the time.
A am still a bit nervous...God bless them, please.

The following is the only picture I took. This is Panzy and Maxwell. The others were inside the barn, and it was pretty dark in there, so no pics.

I'm grounding myself from my computer for a while now, so I'll see you when my grounding is over (probably by Friday). Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!