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

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Counting Blessings #195 - 208

This week I've been so thankful to God for...

195) my kids. They've been so much fun lately!

196) plenty of work for Dan in his business.

197) Dan's physical health and protection while doing this hard work.

198) Life; life itself is so amazing sometimes.

199) wood heat; I love heating with wood. It's so warm and cozy in here! And it smells good outside too.

200) day of rest - so I can start sewing my apron together! :)

201) carving pumpkins and pumpkin seeds.

202) books, books and more books.

203) the joy of finding things to be thankful for. It enriches my life so much, and I think the lives of those close to me. It must, because it helps me to be more positive, and a positive person is so much easier to be around!

204) the changing landscape. It seems kind of funny to be, considering how I may feel about it in February, but right now I'm enjoying the leafless trees. It's fun being able to see farther into the wooded areas. I've been noticing the birds flitting around in there, eating little mysterious bits.

205) quiet; it is so blessedly quiet in this house right now. The kids are all reading or quietly playing, the cat and dog at rest.

206) Dog and cat. I am sometimes unhappy with the messes they make, but they are, after all, a part of the family. They bring us lots of laughs and joy and are wonderful confidants for children who need an impartial friend.

207) sun. Beautiful, sweet sun!

208) applesauce, warm with cinnamon. Yummy!

Thank you, Creator and Sustainer of all!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Goat Saga Continues

Last night I gave the girls about 1/4 c. minerals, and decided to mix in 3t. DE for parasite control. Little Cupcake (lowest in the herd and usually pushed around by all)edged everyone else out and ate pretty much all of that in 10 mn. What is up?? I thought maybe selenium deficient, so gave about 1/4 c. sunflower seeds to each. Someone said maybe zinc, since they were on the alfalfa and that has a lot of calcium which may have interfered with the zinc absorption.

I added more DE to the feeder, sans minerals, and it was gone this A.M.

For now, I will give each their minerals w/ sunflower seeds on the milk stand in the evening.

The more I learn the less I know...

Also running very low on minerals. Will have to find a way to get more.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Future Giveaway! and Homestead Diary?

I've decided I'd really like to have a give away. Actually, I've wanted to do it forever, just have failed in the planning department. So, now I'm planning. I know exactly what I want to give away, but I'm going to keep it a secret until post number 200. That way I can celebrate reaching number 200. :) Seven more posts to go, and we'll be there...

I've also known for some time that I really need to keep a homestead diary. I don't know why I haven't done that yet, because it really is necessary to write down what I do when and how it works. There's no use in forgetting what works well, or repeating what was disastrous, is there?
I haven't decided whether I'm going to use this blog as a more extensive farm diary, or write in an actual book, or what. What do you all think? Would you be interested, or is this B-O-R-I-N-G?

I have some things to put into that diary now, so I'll share them here for today. Give me some feedback if you'd like. :)

Regarding goats:
September 29:. New hay: 25 bales timothy/orchard grass ($4.75/ea.) and 15 bales alfalfa($8.75 ea.). $263 HAPPY HAPPY GOATS!

October 15: I notice the goats are eating minerals like candy. They've never paid much attention to the minerals up to this point. I would have to throw them out and put fresh minerals in the feeder for them before. Now they will eat a 1/2 c. in a day. I wonder, is it because they don't have fresh browse and pasture any more? Is the hay somehow different than the old hay was? This new hay appears to be SO MUCH better quality, and they eat it so much better than the old stuff I had. Which mineral might they somehow be deficient in that they are doing this?

The happy goats were not necessarily healthy goats. I was overfeeding the goats on this very nice alfalfa hay. BEFORE: I was giving the three of them (all dry does) about a 4 inch flake of alfalfa in the morning, and twice that of the timothy/orchard grass mix in the evening. They were getting minerals (Mama Pro Goat Mineral) free choice and baking soda free choice. Had started eating a TON of minerals for some reason. This is the same way I was feeding them with the old alfalfa and timothy, but the hay quality was poor, and they wasted a lot. They were nowhere close to fat on that hay and had been eating it for 4 months.

October 21: I weaned them off of the alfalfa hay. They are now getting a section of timothy/orchard grass hay in the morning and another in the late afternoon, and free choice minerals and baking soda. So far, so good. Now to watch and see what happens. May need to watch Cupcake to make sure this is enough for her. Watch for some weight loss in Starlight and Japanzy. Still eating minerals like crazy. Japanzy and Starlight in heat.

October 26: Still eating minerals like crazy. I've started to put about 1/2 c. in the feeder every other day. Always gone by the next day. According to Mama Pro, the target amount to feed is 1/4 to 1/2 oz. per goat per day. I'm going to have to find out what that translates to in some kind of dry measure. I really need a kitchen scale...

Okay, all of that was in my head. No wonder I can't remember to drink water. It's cluttered up there! I feel better already. So, what do you think? Should I find a different place for this kind of information, or could it be helpful or interesting to any of you? And, if anyone out there had experience with any of the questions I'm running into and wants to chime in with some advice, feel free! I could use it. ;)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Counting Blessings #186 - 194

186) Bundle of Joy, laying on her belly and coloring a picture
187) Yesterday; perfect fall day, crisp in the morning, warm sunny afternoon, wonderful autumn smell
188) playing Dutch Blitz on a Sunday afternoon with my brother and my kids
189) a good cup of coffee
190) a school-day schedule; Boy did I fight this! My eldest daughter is very methodical. She kept telling me that she needed a schedule telling her what do do when for school, because it would help her. Well, I did NOT want to do that because it would mean I would need one too, at least to some degree. If I said lunch was at 12:00, then I would have to make it on time. Oh boy, that was not what I wanted to do. Finally, I decided I had to help her by doing "the schedule thing". I decided to just go all the way and make one for the rest of us too. Well, what do you know!? It was an awesome week!
191) more rabbit meat ready to eat or freeze, and friends to eat it with (rabbit BBQ = yummy!)
192) a sweet husband to do the butchering - my job; cutting and wrapping. I don't mind my job, and I don't want his. It works out perfectly!
193) Wool sweaters all freshly washed and line dried.
194) a day of rest

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pioneer-ish Type Day at Tanglewoods Homeschool

This year in history my littles are studying early American history and U.S. geography. Over the last two weeks we've studied the Dutch colony at New Amsterdam (now New York) and the French colony at Detroit, as well as French pioneer/explorers who explored the Great Lakes region. The Dutch were among the first to import cattle to the New World, and made butter and wonderful cheese. The French explored the New World by birch bark canoe.

We had a wonderful hands on day to go with our history program today. We ground wheat, made bread, made butter and made this model of a birch bark canoe. We also looked at birch bark canoe images online. What fun it was! :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Apologies, Counting Blessings #162 - 185

I apologize to anyone who might be looking for new posts from me, especially the Counting Blessings posts. I've been very negligent these past two Sundays. I'm going to write that post right now!

I'm thankful for...

162) time to write this post

163) time to breathe

164) time to snuggle with little girls and read stories

165) time to mend a damaged relationship

166) time to play games

167) time to cook healthy meals

168) time to fill drawers with clean clothes

169) time to visit with extended family

170) time to talk on the phone with my sister

171) time to take a shower

172) time with no propane in the tank to figure out how to live without it, if only for a few days

173) time to remind myself of ways to use less propane in the future

174) time to remind myself to check the propane tank in future, so as not to run out again

175) time to do story problems with my daughter that go like this, "David forgot to close his four chicks into the coop last night. A fox ate two of them. How many chicks did David have left?" This was seriously one of her story problems in her math book last week. How awesome is this? Teaching personal responsibility, homesteading skills and math all at once! :) We're using a curriculum the Mennonites developed for use in their schools for 1st grade reading and math. I am loving the simple homespun stories and emphasis on taking personal responsibility and living with integrity my little first grader gets from this. Other types of story problems might be, "Tim and Mary spent the morning weeding the garden for their mother. Tim weeded two rows and Mary weeded three. How many rows did they weed in all?" I love it!

176) time to wash dishes by hand using yummy smelling dish liquid

177) time to snuggle with hubby drinking coffee and reading Small Farmer's Journal together

178) time to clean up spills

179) time to clean up broken glass

180) time to think about how these major pet peeves of mine (spills and broken glass) really aren't that bad when I'm trying to focus on seeing all time as a gift, and how can that be, because don't I hate wiping spills and cleaning up broken glass?

181) time to pet the goats

182) time to smell fresh autumn air

183) time to pray

184) time to make schedules, and maybe time to keep them?

185) time to watch babies! Thank you Little Bird, and Bundle of Joy, for gracing us with your smiles and baby belly laughs this past week. What a joy you are! Welcome to the world, Little Bear! You are warm and snugly, and we love you!

Finally, one thing that I seem to rediscover every fall is that it takes a LOT of time to homeschool, and that seriously leaves very little time to blog, or read blogs. I hope to do some blogging, and probably more reading of your lovely blogs, but things will probably be significantly quieter from Tanglewoods Homestead for the winter.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Didn't Forget

Hi all! I didn't exactly forget about my blessings post yesterday. I thought about it a lot, but I was away from my computer.
I took the kids to my grandparents farm to help get their winter's wood supply. We had a great time visiting with family, and helping out. I wish I'd taken pictures, but I spaced it out completely. They would have been great pictures to have! Tractors, chain saws, little wood splitting competitions to liven things up; it really was a great time. Only too much food...way too much food...

It's so strange that I had so many battles with time since more than a week ago when I talked about time in my Counting Blessings post. My blessings list is going to reveal the real us, for sure! I'm trying to learn to appreciate and invite God into ALL my time, not just the feel good time. I want to be thankful and appreciative of all the times in my life. I have managed to do that this past week to some extent. I'll get that list posted soon, I hope!
I'm not sure how much I'll get on this computer this week, so I'll wish you all a wonderful week! :) Blessings on all of your time!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Snow Day?

Nope! When one homeschools on the homestead, they never have to take a snow day. However, there are times when it's necessary to take a tomato day.

I peeked into my bags of green/turning red tomatoes and found this happening. Wow!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Molly's BWCAW Camping Photos

Dan took the eldest three children on their annual fall camping trip this past weekend. I LOVE seeing Molly's pics when they come back, and maybe when Dani is old enough for the trip I'll even go with them. For now it's such a blessing to stay home with the littlest and spend some time with just her. It seems that everyone blossomed during this weekend. The kids came back so excited and confident. It was really fun to see. Littlest really benefited from some time with her mom too.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Goats in the Garden

But that's OK! The garden is finished for the season and about ready to be put to bed, so we've been letting the goats into it. They're happy to finish up anything that we've missed or left intentionally. They like green beans and bean stalks, broccoli and Swiss chard, and pretty much all of the weeds. We've been having a lot of fun with these little goats. They're just right for a small homestead with young children.
If you've ever been curious about goats milk, here's some info and my opinion about it. The milk the Nigerians give (the only goat milk I've ever tried) is so very good. It's very sweet and creamy, excellent for drinking and making dairy products of all kinds. These little goats give the richest milk of all goats, averaging 5 to 7 percent butter fat and the fat has more short and medium chain fatty acids than cows milk. Goat milk contains more vitamins and minerals than cows milk too. Now, given the choice between cows milk and goat milk purchased in the store, cows milk wins. Don't even bother making your decision about how you feel about goats milk by trying that stuff. Go to a goat milking friend who has a clean barn and keeps the bucks away from the does, milks into a CLEAN container, and strains and cools the milk quickly without pasteurizing it. Try some of that and then decide.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Counting Blessings #152 - 161

152) Maple trees in fall

153) Reluctant Pilgrim by Enuma Okoro - I'm reading this book so unlike any other I've ever read. It's about faith and community, but from a whole different angle than any I've ever looked at life from. It's extremely interesting, intellectual, sometimes dark and sometimes beautiful and touching me in some great ways.

154) time alone with littlest daughter

155) having the privilege of caring for little niece Bundle of Joy

156) the quiet in the house this morning - quiet is something that probably every mother wishes for at times. It was so incredibly quiet in this house this morning that I could hear the church bells down the road. That is rare indeed, and beautiful.

157) plans for a hike with new friends today

158) perfect autumn weather

159) clean floors (that doesn't happen nearly as often as it should, so it's a real treat)

160) new hay - the goats are thankful too! It's so nice to feed them something they like, and we've gone from about 50% waste of really bad hay to nearly zero waste with really nice hay. I feel so much better having found this. :)

161) time - Time is such a strange commodity. Time...Well, my brain just fell into such a deep hole thinking about the word time and its many facets that I think I might be stuck here for a while. I'm going to have to think about this. I'd like to make peace with time, because when I typed "time" here I realized that at this moment I feel thankful for time, but not always. Time is an enemy as well as a friend. Sometimes it seems as though there's not enough time and at other times it seems like too much. I hope I learn to be thankful for all the time I have, and see it all as a blessing.

I'm going to think about time all this week. How I feel about it, what I'm using it for, and I'll attempt to start each item on next Sunday's list with "Time for..." I think that thinking about time in this way might be a very good thing for me.

I wish all of you many, many blessings in the things you spend your time on/with this week. Hugs!