Sunday, May 13, 2018

April to May ~ Baby Goats, Family Outings, and More

The transition from April to May flew by as the Mother's Day rush with my business was in full swing during that time. Just as quickly, barren trees and brown fields burst into leaf and color as we hurriedly skipped over spring into what feels more like summer now!

The days have been wonderfully full, and we have all been thoroughly enjoying the beauty outdoors as well as digging into the outdoor work (well, I haven't had much opportunity for the latter yet, but now things have slowed down with work so I will have more time to!)

Here is a glimpse into what has been filling our days . . .

Baby Goats

Early last week, I discovered quite an unexpected surprise in the goat pen! Due mid-this week, this buckling and doeling decided to make their appearance early . . . .

Other than the buckling being very weak and unable to stand at first and unable to walk for several days, they seemed to be doing well. But then they had difficulty with the richness of their mama's milk for awhile and seemed lethargic and weak. We weren't sure they were going to make it, but with lots of TLC, they turned a corner and are acting like regular newborn kids now!

During those first couple of days, I helped them nurse around the clock, but now they are on their own which means no more middle of the night and very early in the morning alarms going off. :)

Visit with Blogging Friends

One day last week some blogging friends were passing through Missouri on their way back to Wisconsin, and we were able to meet up at the Katy Trail for awhile to walk and talk which was so nice!

It was good to see you both again! Thank you for coming!
(Please pardon the haze . . . my phone camera must have had moisture on it)

After they headed back out, I lingered a bit longer and enjoyed capturing some of the morning beauty in photos . . . .

The little 'depot' with the interesting history of the area (and see the van on the right? That's mine! After months of researching and looking in December and January for a vehicle that would work for business, as well as personal, use, I finally found this one late January. It works great for market!)

The mighty Missouri

This pair of geese weren't so sure about me

A Bit of Randomness

This little visitor came s.l.o.w.l.y. past the barn one day. The picture of him in my hand is for perspective to show how little he was!

Dad, Mom and I stopped by this place right by the Missouri River last week and did a bit of birdwatching. It was fun! Though hard to see the little warblers flitting around way in the tops of the cottonwood trees. It was beautiful out and enjoyable to listen to the wind in the trees and the river flowing.

A meandering path beckoning me to venture down it

Speaking of birds, my bird bath has been popular among a wide variety of bird species. It has been neat to see them all! In the below photo is a female Rose-Breasted Grosbeak . . . the Cowbird attempted to chase her away, but her hiss/shriek at him and rather aggressive look kept the bird bath as her own! I love seeing the diversity and beauty God put in His creation . . . .

Leah came over one day and helped with some planting which was fun. Mom's dedicated work also got the entire vegetable garden in last week!

Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center

Last spring when I tore the labrum in my hip, I switched from sidewalking to being trained to mount and dismount riders (something I could do while I was physically limited), adjust tack, etc., as well as having the opportunity to occasionally lead the exercises. I so love doing this and the spring session this year was especially wonderful and enjoyed to the fullest!

One day, Leah came! It was fun to be back to volunteering together again. :)

As much as I enjoyed sidewalking, I love being able to interact with so many of the riders each week with what I am doing now  . . . talking with them, helping them mount based on their physical needs, encouraging them, getting everything adjusted just right with their tack, and more. I am continuing to learn more as well how to help them become more independent, to learn, and to use their muscles, words, etc.

The last day of this spring session was very special and memorable. Some of the highlights were:

- Seeing all the riders do so well and observing the progress each one has made

- Their excitement for being in the horse show (which is always on the last day of each session) and the big smiles on their faces

- Having the opportunity during several classes to instruct and 'judge' during the horse show and present the ribbons to each rider (so special to see the joy on their faces when they got their ribbons!)

- All the hugs, laughter, enjoyable conversations, memories made, the gift of a flower from a little rider, and more

I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful group of people!

After one of the classes with a little friend and the sister of one of 'my' special riders (she told me that she wished I lived next door to her :)

Business Work

It is so nice to have the window open and listen to the birds while I work! (Plus the chorus of the Spring Peepers)

When you have your own business and a busy season (mother's day) was just around the corner (several weeks ago), you can't exactly call in and take a sick day :) . . . but you can take a slow day and take extended breaks curling up with an afghan, books, and a cup of hot tea! (And with the window open blowing in fresh springtime breeze.)

The Mother's Day rush kept me very busy putting together gift sets and packaging orders, plus ones for birthdays, bridal showers, and thank you gifts, too. It is always fun to see what the customers choose to put in the sets and write in the notes, and then to put them all together and send them out.

A few of the many just about ready to go

A bit of product photography . . . plus simply enjoying the lilacs :) Nothing says 'spring' quite like their old-fashioned, fragrant blossoms!

And to close this catch-up post, a passage from Lamentations that I read last week that was encouraging to me . . . what a faithful, loving God we have!

"This I recall to mind,
Therefore I have hope.
The LORD's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul,
'Therefore I have hope in Him.'
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him."
Lamentations 3:21-25

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Train Ride! (In miniature :)

This past Sunday was beautiful, and our friend Meagan invited Leah and I to join her and her children at a park. We met mid-afternoon with sunny skies, warmer temps, and a cool breeze. We had such a wonderful time together! While there, Phin noticed the little train which runs through part of the park and was fascinated by it. We walked down to the 'station' and decided to go for a ride!

Ready for our ride with lots of smiles and giggles! 

A kind older man at the station offered to take a picture of all of us for us

Here we go! round the bend, over the bridge, through the tunnel

He was pretty thrilled to be able to sit in the engine afterward and blow the horn 

Someone was ready for snuggles after her ride

So thankful for friends and family and the blessing of spending time together like this! (Plus warm, sunny springtime days!)

Friday, April 27, 2018

Spring is Finally Here!

At long last . . . the temperatures have warmed, flowers are blooming in brilliant colors, trees are leafing out, the grass is green, and the air has the vibrant, fresh feel of spring. Ahh . . . my favorite season has finally arrived! I love seeing it awaken all around and soaking in the warm sunshine and the beauty in God's creation that is in abundance wherever the eye might look.

Peach blossoms . . . most of them were killed during the very cold spell we had a few weeks ago, but some buds survived and are blossoming now

Blueberry bushes nearly ready to blossom

"What are you doing?" Curious goats coming to see what I was up to

Pollen going into the hives!

Pepper plants that are very ready to be put into the garden. That should be happening soon! Mom has done a great job with all the plants she started, and they are looking so good.

An Eastern Towhee has been coming up to our feeder which has been fun. It was a new bird for Abel, and he was excited to see it last night!

Leah helping him find it in his bird book (remember when Dad and Mom got him binoculars and a bird book last year? Well, he loves them!)

Highlighting the new bird

Abel and I went out to see the goats and give them some grass . . . they are always eager to eat out of our hands and he always enjoys feeding them. Perfect combination :)

Wild Plum. I always love seeing their cheery blossoms!

"This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it"!
Psalm 118:24

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Work Day at Ivan and Leah's!

Last week we had a work day out at Ivan and Leah's place which was fun! The weather has finally decided that maybe just maybe spring can come, and we enjoyed the warmer temperatures and sunshine. It made the outdoor work more pleasant! Here is a glimpse into some of it:

Siding is going up!

During the morning and part of the afternoon, friends and their two children were over helping, too, so it was so nice to spend some time with them, and have another guy working on the siding. Thank you all for your help!

Dad putting on the house wrap

Me taking out the old chainlink fence . . . Mom, Leah and I did a lot of backyard cleanup

Smashing old gutters! (So they would fit in the trailer)

Mom clearing out an area that was overgrown

Leah digging out one of the fence posts (this was rather entertaining as we tried to get the post out . . . not only was there about a bag of concrete around the post, the discovery was made that the hole was lined with bricks, too!)

We always have great times working together! And this time was exactly that. A lot was accomplished as well and much more has been done since these pictures were taken. It is exciting to see the progress!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Coming October 2018

"They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but just in case this one isn't explanation enough..... We are so happy to share that our little family is growing! Baby is due in October and we couldn’t be more excited or thankful for this beautiful blessing!" - Leah (as posted on her fb!)

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I have been looking forward to sharing this news with you all! To say that we are excited and very thankful to God for this precious little blessing would be an understatement. :)

Leah is doing well, and she and Ivan are loving this special new season! (Though she is glad that the morning [or, I should say, all day] sickness is becoming less.) It has been so fun to go baby shopping together, talk about baby related things with her, and to be anticipating the arrival of this new little addition to their family and ours! 

Sunday, April 8, 2018

At Eagle Bluffs

Saturday was an unusual Saturday . . . with it starting out at 22 degrees and only getting into the 30's, I opted out of going to the outdoor farmer's market as it was too cold! The morning was instead spent hemming up bridesmaid dresses for some friends of mine (and they're finished!)

By the time afternoon came around, it seemed like after kind of a long week that a relaxing, refreshing afternoon outdoors together would be just the thing. I suggested it to Dad and Mom, and before long, we were all packed up and heading out to our favorite conservation area . . . miles of gravel roads meandering through pools and beautiful landscape with wildlife (specifically birds) all around . . . .

Happy sigh . . . starting out at the beginning and soaking in the warm SUN! 

Dad looking at some waterfowl

The eaglets have hatched! One Bald eagle was feeding them (on the nest) while the other was the 'sentinel'  

Usually Great Blue Herons don't stick around for pictures, but this one was obliging and stayed put for quite some time 

How many species can you see? 

 Ruddy ducks! These are always a treat to see as they aren't terribly common in our area

Two Great Egrets and a pair of Blue-winged Teal 

This one caught a frog! It was fun to watch it slowly eat that. Meanwhile a Greater Yellowlegs goes walking by in the background looking for its own tasty treat to eat 


An Eagle poking its head out of the top of another nest 

Deer in the distance 

Dad scoping out in the distance to see what he can find 

A Yellowlegs . . . it was fun listening to these little guys! They were quite vocal 

More Blue-winged teal. They have such beautiful colors on their wings! 

The remnants of a nest 

Such beautiful views! 

Dad was taking pictures of . . . me!
(And you can kind of see mom in the truck . . . it's the only photo I have with her as she preferred the warmth in there!)

Despite the cold, I enjoyed every opportunity to get out of the truck and walk a bit. It felt so good to soak everything in and hear the abundant and diverse bird calls filling the air.

A Northern Shoveler drake - they have quite the bill don't they? 

Coots puttering along 

A Pied-Billed Grebe just after resurfacing from a dive 

There were some energetic Swamp Sparrows flitting around down in the reeds and they were fun to watch

 Taking flight! It was neat to see this Great Egret slowly gather itself and then gracefully lift off 

 And then land again and give us quite the show as it stalked around hunting

One of my favorite past-times . . . photographing!

 A hawk . . . Red-tail maybe? I am not good at identifying hawks! (photo by Dad) 

A close-up of one of the Bald Eagles on our way back (photo by Dad) 

And at the very close of our time there, we saw a lifer! (Meaning, a new bird that we had never seen before.) A pair of Greater Scaup! They were way out in the distance, with a bunch of other waterfowl, and the only way we noticed them was Dad set up the scope to scan all the birds . . . and there they were!

By this time, the day was fading fast so we drove into town and got some pizza to have for dinner, came home and then watched the movie "Do You Believe?" (which I would highly recommend! It is so good!)

All in all, it turned into a wonderful and much enjoyed day!