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

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Growing Bunnies and Garden NOT Progress

The bunnies are now three days old and beginning to get some white fur. They're still pretty hard to count without disturbing them too much, but we think there are fourteen.
Things to do:

-prepare cage for weanling bunnies
-prepare brooder house for 25 new chicks (coming around June 13th).

About the garden...I started seeds and planted way too early this year. The broccoli is still alive and doing well. The onions seem pretty happy too. The spinach is alive, but not growing at all. The first two baby leaves appeared, and I'm pretty sure what that spinach thought was, "Woa, baby! It's COLD out there! I'm staying right where I am!"
And it is cold out there. The squash is dead (froze to death). The tomatoes, which I had covered with a sheet during the cold nights, are suffering frost is altogether not good.
Well, live and learn, I guess. I'm starting over with almost everything. I started more squash and basil yesterday, in pots of course. I don't know what the trick is to starting seeds in trays. I fail miserably at it! This year I spent money on a little "green house" starting tray with peat pellets to plant in. HORRIBLE! I had to plant things way too early because it was apparent that if they stayed in the tray they would die for sure. Ugh...I'm so glad my serious attempt at gardening began last year. I may not be trying it again if it had been this year! I welcome any and all comments with suggestions, constructive criticism, etc...
I'm going to add some garden photos to this post later. Gotta go!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Still Not Working

I don't know what's going on, but I still can't post any comments. I can operate from the dashboard signed in, but as soon as I click view blog from the dashboard, I'm signed out. When I try to post a comment, it sends me to the sign in page again, and again, and won't post the comment at all. I can't comment on other blogger users' posts either. So frustrating. But, I appreciate your comments and questions. I'll try to post about using the rabbit meat when I begin to do that. It will be a couple of months, but I'll try to remember to post about how to cut up a fryer, and some grilling and other things when I can. :) BBQ'd rabbit is awesome stuff. So is baked and stewed: many things you'd do with chicken work well with rabbit too. It has a very fine grain and not hardly any fat, and is an excellent source of protein. Oh, I'm looking forward to it! :)

The Bunnies Are Here!

Finally, after one failed attempt and a long years wait, the first of the bunnies are here! Both mamas had their babies yesterday afternoon.

Under all this fluff...

are about eight little pink hairless bunnies. We had to take the nest box out of the cage to do a rough count and remove any dead bunnies. There was only one dead one in both batches, and it was really big. I have a feeling that it was stuck for a while before she managed to birth it and was dead already. She seemed to be in labor for quite a while. It's hard to tell with a rabbit, but that's what I think happened any way.

Here's Mama, anxiously waiting for us to give her family back.

There are fourteen to sixteen little ones out there now. I hope they all make it this time. It would be such an encouragement for Dan after the long wait and all the work it took to get here.

Right now it's easy to look at them as future food, since they're not so cute. In a couple of weeks, oh my, they'll be the absolute cutest little things ever! I am concerned with how the kids are going to take this. It's hard enough with the chickens. However, I grew up spending LOTS of time on my grandparents farm. I quickly got used to the fact that creatures were born and nurtured with care to become food. They had a good life, though short, and we had excellent food. The up side was that there were always more little cute babies to take the place of those who were taken.
"There is a time for every purpose under heaven. I time to be born and a time to die." (rough quotation from Ecclesiastes)
I learned this lesson early and well, and didn't often fail to give thanks and get enjoyment out of the little cuties or the meat on our table. It's a good life - sometimes a hard life, but a good life.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Crazy Blogger Problems

Hi all-
Blogger has gone haywire. Starting yesterday, I can't make comments on my own blog! Hmmm...
Any way, if I could I would have said thank you for your comments on M's photos. Judy- The lake is Lake Superior, which we can see from our house if we climb a tree. ;)
Erin, I hope soon you'll be here enjoying the view with us more often.
MamaPea- She has the same little camera you and I do, but she makes it seem like a lot more camera than I can. Hopefully she'll get to take some classes and get a better camera sometime during her high school years. That only gives me four years to see that it happens.

How much can one pack into four years? Homeschooling gives one so many opportunities to create electives and opportunities for her children. It is sometimes overwhelming to consider all of these at this point, as we jump off into the ocean of high school and (possibly) college prep. Oh Lord, help me!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Beautiful Springtime Photos

I think my eldest daughter has a wonderful eye for setting up beautiful photographs. She took these late in the afternoon yesterday. When she showed them to me this morning I was so impressed! I decided to forgo the basically boring photos of plants struggling to grow in my gardens for these. You'll have to wait for the pathetic images of baby broccoli. I know you're disappointed (not), but hang in there. I have a feeling you'll be able to see more that a few pathetic garden photos this year (but I hope and pray that I'm wrong). :) Have a great week!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Gardens and Goats

Hi all! I'm going to post a quick update (that turned out not so quick) with no pictures, since it started raining before I took any and seems to be planning a nice long soak. That's a good thing, but it sure was nice to enjoy the sunny weather yesterday. Hope there are lots more days like that soon.

Yesterday and today were full of accomplishment (which doesn't happen all that often, so I'm taking advantage of my ability to report on progress). :)

Yesterday started at 6:30 A.M. when my sister in law dropped my sweet niece (17 mo)off for the day. We headed out to a home school field trip at 9:30 A.M. This one was to the Lake View Natural Dairy. It was such a blast! I love getting my fresh, healthy, raw, all natural milk; cream; yogurt; and butter there, and was so happy that more people got to see what it's all about. We all taste tested a glass of milk. I wish I'd gotten a picture of all the kids with their milk mustaches. :) Adorable!

After that it was a quick trip to town for shoes for two of my kids, then home (where I'd secretly wanted to be all day). I was very much looking forward to putting up my garden fence and planting some things. I was able to get all the posts in and 100 ft. of fencing up, but it wasn't quite enough. Of course, bright and early this A.M. I was out planting anyway. My husband watched me chasing chickens out for a while, then came to my rescue. He found some old snow fence that worked awesomely to finish up with. Now my garden is hopefully safe from the chickens and I'm on my way.

Today I transplanted tomato, basil and broccoli plants. Eight (four bush early girl and four grape tomato) plants were from an awesome green house and nursery on the corner of Hwy. 53 and county(?)rd. 16 near Hibbing. I could have gone broke completely there had it not been too hot to leave a goat in my van. (Oh yeah, there was a goat in my van because I was on my way home with Starlight.) The other plants I planted and then covered with milk jugs as little green houses. Had I realized what the weather was going to be like, I may have held off on that. Oh well.

I also planted squash (transplants from the starting tray), beans and peas today along the north and west sides of the garden up against the fence. I'm hoping the beans and peas will climb the fence and be easier to pick that way. I'm trying not to garden quite so intensely this year so that if there's something going wrong (ie. insect pests, slugs) I'll be better able to see them and get rid or them. Usually I pack in so many plants that I can't get at the pests even when I do happen to spot them. About a week ago I planted onions in the garden near the house. Other than a bit of spinach poking up there isn't too much else going on garden wise here yet.

Dan and I also fixed the goat pen wall and gate today (already). When Pansy was all alone she broke it. We didn't make the gate tall enough for her to know she couldn't get over, so she had to try it (she was lonely, and wanted to be with us). She slammed into it hard enough to break the cement anchor screws, so the wall was askew and the gate was VERY hard to close. All fixed now, and tall enough that the goats aren't even thinking about jumping over it. (So take that, you crazy little trouble makin' cuties!)
And, I guess that about sums up what's been going on here. Next time I'll try to get some pictures. Have a wonderful Sunday!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Introducing Starlight

Pansy desperatley needed a friend, so yesterday I made the trip to Hibbing again to get Starlight. She's a lovely little doe with good dairy conformation. I'm really thrilled to have her. Because her owner had a vet bill with Violette (who did need her teeth worked on) she decided to sell another doe to make up for the bill. I'm really looking forward to seeing what kind of milk producing potential we've got. I'm hoping for some doe kids by spring (after I find a good buck to get them bred with). Hopefully now that Pansy has a friend I'll be able to get some work done. She just wouldn't eat unless a person was with her, and not at all by the time I left to get Starlight. After we put Starlight in with her she started eating right away. Silly girl...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pansy is Here!

I went to the Hibbing area this weekend hoping to pick up two does, one in milk. I ended up coming home with only Pansy. Violette (the one who'd been in milk) ended up having a problem that was preventing her from swallowing her hay. So far we think her teeth, but it could be an abscess, or something caught in her throat. At any rate, in the last week she's dropped an alarming amount of weight because of the problem. She's definitely going to need a vet ASAP. I didn't want to take the chance. Unfortunately that leaves us with one lonely little girl. I hope I can find her a suitable friend soon. Isn't she cute!? :)
She isn't, however, pregnant.
I knew I shouldn't count my chickens before they hatched! This means I have to find her a good buck by this fall, or all I have is a (very cute and sweet) very expensive pet.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Wonderful Day

I love Mother's Day! I'm just sayin'... I love being a mother every day, but there is something about Mother's Day. On that special day, I feel so thankful to be Mother to my four treasures. It's fun to have our picture taken together. Pictures really speak to me, so having those pictures to look at is very special.
I have an old family picture taped to the edge of my dresser by my bed. When I wake up I almost always see that picture. In it, my oldest is but seven years old and my youngest less than a year. In so many ways it seems like just yesterday! It reminds me that time marches on and stops for no person. That really inspires me to pray that God meets me in this place where I am, perhaps already feeling weak and overwhelmed by the magnitude of that day stretching before me with its endless number of tasks. It seems to me that those first few moments of focusing on the Lord really gives me direction for the day. I feel inspired and ready to begin.
I'm going to put these new photos next to that old one. It's nice to see how far we've all come, too!
The other reason I like Mother's Day is that it does something to my children. They try to be so good and sweet! It seems to me that on that day I get to see the fruit of my labor of love in their lives. All those things I've repeated over and over that seemed like they were going in one ear and out the other; I can see they're in there somewhere!
When my sister in law was raising her children she had a "manners meal" once a week. The kids had to clean up and dress up for dinner. They had to set the table fancy with all the forks in the right place. They used their best elbows on the table, chewing with their mouths closed, saying please and thank you...Mother's day is kind of like that for me. I see my kids at their best. Now that's worth seeing! :)

We took a hike yesterday after a late lunch at Sven's. This is overlooking town from Sweetheart's bluff.

my honey and me

my little treasures

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to all You Fabulous Women!!!!

"The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness."
-Honoré De Balzac

"A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts."
-Washington Irving

"The mother loves her child most divinely, not when she surrounds him with comfort and anticipates his wants, but when she resolutely holds him to the highest standards and is content with nothing less than his best."
-Hamilton Wright Maybie

"All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."
-Abraham Lincoln

"We never know the love of the parent until we become parents ourselves."
-Henry Ward Beecher

Sometimes the poorest mother leaves her children the richest inheritance.
-Ruth Renkes

A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.
-Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.
-uthor Unknown

Who is getting more pleasure from this rocking, the baby or me?
-Nancy Thayer

By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacation-less class.
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Making a decision to have a child-it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
-Elizabeth Stone

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.
-Tenneva Jordan

Women do not have to sacrifice person hood if they are mothers. They do not have to sacrifice motherhood in order to be persons. Liberation was meant to expand women's opportunities, not to limit them. The self-esteem that has been found in new pursuits can also be found in mothering.
-Elaine Heffner

Woman in the home has not yet lost her dignity, in spite of Mother's Day, with its offensive implication that our love needs an annual nudging, like our enthusiasm for the battle of Bunker Hill.
-John Erskine

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.

Here are some quotes I gathered for the home school blog. I thought I'd share them with you wonderful mothers too. Hopefully there's something special to inspire each of you. :)

The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.
-Author Unknown

All mothers are working mothers.
-Author Unknown

The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men - from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms.
-Oliver Wendell Holmes

God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers.
-Jewish proverb

Remember that behind every successful a basket of dirty laundry.
-Author Unknown

Introducing Violette and Pansy

I'm so excited that I can't help counting my chickens (or rather, goats) before they've hatched! I should be picking up my first milk goats in a week or two. I'd like to introduce you to Violette and Pansy. They're pure bred Nigerian does. Violette is 5 and nursing kids now, so I'll be milking right away (I hope) since I'll be taking her from them. First both Violette and I have to learn how to give (willingly)/get milk. I hope and pray we're successful. :)
Pansy is 2 and pregnant (we think). If so, she's due in August.
I'm really looking forward to making the trip to get them and spending some time at the farm where they are. I'm planning to help with some goat maintenance while there so I can learn hands on how to trim hooves and such things. Possibly we'll be pulling some bloods to do some pregnancy testing.
This is all truly a blessing to me, and I'm really happy how God has worked things out for us after all the waiting. When I thought things weren't working out at all and was feeling discouraged at not having my goats yet, God had a better plan for us all along. :) I've met a really neat woman who likes to teach what she knows and seems as pleased as I am with our arrangements. I get to start milking right away. I'm not spending as much money on them as I'd thought I would be. This is all around a much better deal, and I didn't even have anything to do with it. Isn't that just the coolest? Oh, and I just have to share the cool thing about their names with you. I'd said I was going to name all the future does we got from breeding our does after flowers (like clover, daisy, lily, iris...) So, isn't it just neat that these girls are Violette and, close to a flower name, Japanzy (whom we'll call Pansy)?
OK, so I'm obviously a little excited.

Oh, and by the way, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO ALL OF YOU!!!! I'm spending to day with my family, and enjoying all the sweet things my kids want to do for me. Bringing me drinks, back massages, extra hugs. They're such treasures!

Japanzy (Who we'll be calling Pansy) on the left