Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Completed Afghan

As mentioned in a previous post, I often have been doing handwork in the evenings, and here is the project I had been working on . . .

An afghan which is now completed! I hadn't posted about it until now as it was a gift, and the somebodies who it was for read my blog so I didn't want to give away the 'secret'! :)

*And as a little side note, we had our first snow flurries today! Winter is on its way!

Monday, November 29, 2010

In the Kitchen and the "Fruit of the Spirit"

Thanksgiving week we didn't have girls group, but the week prior, we had met together and had such a wonderful time though it was a bit challenging trying to fit everything in that we had wanted to do! Every minute was quite full and by the time our two hours together were finished, we had managed to accomplish everything!

For our activity for the day, the girls finished the Pumpkin Pecan Loaves which consisted of checking to see if the loaves were finished baking when the timer went off . . . in which they learned what it means
when the recipe says that the bread is done when a "toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean." The toothpick did not come out clean the first time so there was a unanimous decision to put them back in the oven! So in they went for a bit longer until a toothpick did finally come out clean. Once the bread was finished baking, the girls made the glaze to go over top of it.

The girls also worked on writing out the recipe card so that if they would like, they can try to make it at home . . . and also so they can slowly be building their own recipe collection.

For some reason, these five prefer the floor for recipe card writing! :)

After finishing her own card, she offered to help write one for the little girls . . . so thoughtful of her!

This week, for our lesson, we began a series that we are going to be doing over the coming weeks on "The Fruit of the Spirit" from Galatians 5:22-23. So as an 'introduction', we talked about fruit . . .

For starters, we asked the girls what their favorite fruit was, and they had fun coming up with answers! After they had chosen their favorite fruit which ranged from apples to watermelon, we asked them if they would rather have their fruit nice and crisp and sweet? Or would they rather have it with big bruises and bad flavor? There was an enthusiastic answer that they would want the former!

Leah and I couldn't find any pictures of 'bad' fruit (and as we have a black and white printer, it wouldn't have worked to print one off), but we did find some of good fruit (which are in the above photo), and we just had the girls imagine a picture of bad fruit. They thought that was funny to do . . . especially when I 'held up' a 'picture' of the bad fruit. :) The pictures helped so much to get the point across as we continued with the lesson . . .

We asked them that if they went to a fruit tree, would they want to find good fruit instead of bad fruit? Of course! And did you know that if you are a Christian that you are expected to grow and produce good fruit? We are to be seeking to produce this good, wholesome fruit, instead of the bad, ugly fruit.
(And again, I used the visuals of real fruit to help illustrate this.) We then turned to the book of John to read and discuss a few verses . . .

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)

We talked about these verses to some length . . . and again, using the pictures of good fruit, I asked the girls if the fruit would still be produced from a branch if I cut it off and brought it inside to grow. Their answer was of course, "no." The branch cannot bear fruit apart from the tree . . . it needs the trees' nourishment, support, and water. This is the same for us if we are children of God . . . we need to be abiding in our Vine, Jesus Christ, so that He can be these same things to us in a spiritual sense, so that we are able to produce the fruit of the Spirit. It is only when we are abiding in Him that we are able to do this. At this point, we talked a bit about what it means to 'abide' in Christ, and then read another verse a bit further down in this chapter . . .

My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.” (John 15:8.)

When we are obedient to the Lord and are bearing good fruit for Him, He is glorified by this. It is pleasing to Him and brings Him joy to see His children walking in obedience to His word and abiding in Him.

I then shared with the girls that we have been talking a lot about the need for us to bear good fruit, but what kind of good fruit do you think God wants us to produce?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23.)

This is the type of fruit that we are supposed to be producing . . . But our tendency is to produce bad fruit, and what do you think are some of these bad fruits that we tend to produce? The girls shared a number of these, and I wrote them up on the board, talked about them briefly, and then once we had a number of them up there, shared that this is not good fruit. This is the bad, rotten fruit that none of us want to be having and that is not pleasing to the Lord. A big "x" was then drawn over these and a little visual aid that I had made was hung up over top of them as a representative of the true and good fruit that we are to be striving to produce instead of the bad fruit . . .

The question was then asked of the girls: Does God want us to keep producing bad fruit or would He rather we try to produce less bad fruit and more good fruit? Yes, He desires us to keep trying to produce less bad fruit and more good fruit . . . more of these fruits of the spirit.

So that was a little introduction to the 'series' that we are going to be having, and as we have already taught on "love" recently, we are going to briefly review that and then move on to "joy." We are looking forward to doing this series with the girls, and in conjunction with the lessons, they will be making one of the above 'mobiles' and each week, will be adding the 'apple' that we learned about (which is what all of the apples we were cutting out were for. :)

The next thing that we did together was memorize Galatians 5:22-23 in song . . . our family has a few old children's Bible memory verse tapes and one of them is on the fruit of the spirit so the girls had such a good time learning it in song along with the tape. They did a wonderful job with it! (And yesterday, some of the girls in our home church who also come to girls group sang it for us!)

Time was quickly flying by, and we managed to fit in a little bit of cross-stitching before trying the girls' pumpkin bread and packaging up some for each of them to take home to their families . . .

All of the girls cross-stitching

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Our Thanksgiving with Family and Friends

Come Thursday afternoon, our home was filled with laughter, the sound of childrens' happy voices, delicious smells coming from the oven, pleasant voices visiting, 'busyness' as we ladies prepared the meal and got the table ready, and much more. Ryan and Ashley joined us for the day as well as one of the families from our home church, and it was wonderful being all together! As we spent this time together for Thanksgiving, all I had to do was look around and see one of the greatest things that we have to be thankful for . . . dear family and friends . . . blessings that the Lord has given.

The day first began with Dad, Mom, Leah and I getting things ready . . . meanwhile the turkey baking in the oven began filling the air with its delicious smell! Once everything was as ready as we could get it at the time, I pulled out some of the craft things that we needed to work on in preparation for girls group next week, and I was soon joined by Mom and Leah. We needed to trace and cut out a bunch of 'apples' out of construction paper . . . before long, Ryan and Ashley arrived, and they joined right in with the cutting! We had such a fun time together!

Leah cutting out one of the apples . . . and in an upcoming girls group post it will be shared what they are for :)

Tracing in progress

The minutes continued to pass by, and it came time to begin the rest of the food preparation and to set the tables up, so the 'apples' were put away for the time being, and we set to work in the kitchen . . .

Ashley, Ryan and Dad in the kitchen (Ryan and Ashley were peeling potatoes)

Both tables all set and ready

Mom cutting up the potatoes (for mashed potatoes)

Before long, Mr. and Mrs. W. and their five little ones arrived, and we enjoyed visiting together for a bit and playing with the children some, before it was time to eat. The rest of our day together flew by, but I did manage to capture a few photos on my camera after the meal and before darkness had fallen outdoors and we were saying our goodbyes . . .

After the meal, the kitchen was quite disorderly! (Which is the nice way of saying it was a mess. :) But with all of us ladies working on it together, it didn't take long to clean up, and we had an enjoyable time being able to work together and visit!

Ashley was nominated as the official 'turkey picker' :)

Ryan and Ashley during some of the after dinner conversation

We enjoyed quite a bit of visiting together before we pulled the pies out for dessert . . . pumpkin, apple, and cherry . . .

All in all, it was a wonderful day, and there are many special memories that we have of it now . . . and even more to be thankful to the Lord for!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


"Oh give thanks to the LORD,
call upon His name;
make known His deeds among the peoples.
Sing to Him, sing praises to Him;
speak of all His wonders,
glory in His holy name;
let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.
Seek the LORD and His strength;
seek His face continually."
Psalm 105:1-4

"Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.

serve the LORD with gladness;
come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the LORD Himself is God;
it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving,
and His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the LORD is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
and His faithfulness to all generations."
Psalm 100

May this Thanksgiving be a time of blessing for all of you and your families!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Glimpse Into Our Days

We had several lovely days here in Missouri towards the end of last week and into this week that were unusually warm, which was perfect weather for working outdoors on different things. For Leah and I, much of that work has been spent in hauling away yet more branches and logs to clear out more in the future goat pen area and surrounding areas, doing other outdoor clean up, and digging postholes . . .

Leah working on a corner post hole

In order to be more of a help to Dad in this busy season of our lives, Leah and I are learning some new 'skills', thus we've started digging postholes! The first hole that I dug was fairly easy digging . . . so I was thinking quite optimistically, and perhaps naively as well :), that maybe I could do one a day. But then I started on the next hole, and the ground was entirely hard packed clay! And when I say hard, I mean hard. Digging goes very slowly on holes like that! But, even though we're slow, little by little they are getting done! Just not at a rate of one a day. :)

One of the corner posts

So far there are 8 1/2 holes dug, 7 posts in the ground and in concrete, and 13 more posts left to go!

Our days have also been busy with the 'regular' tasks including things such as laundry (the weather has been nice enough that we're still able to dry clothes on the line!), cleaning, baking, and cooking . . .

Mom in the process of making a Layered Lettuce Salad for our church meal . . . it was delicious!

Some not so 'regular' things have been taking place as well such as Leah doing the fall clean out of the chicken coop . . . quite the job! It looks so much nicer in there now. All of the litter was hauled out to the vegetable garden where it will sit for a year to compost. Dad raked it all up into a big pile, wet it down and turned it, surrounded it by a wire cage (to keep the chickens out of it!), and now it's ready to just 'set' and do its work . . .

Dad turning the pile

Some of our chickens

Another thing that took place last week for me was digging up the carrots and processing them. I had planted a large plot of them in the spring, but then the deer came and ate off all of the tops of them. The carrots were so little and kind of bitter at the time, so we just left them in the ground and planned to till them in during the fall tilling. But then when fall came around, the carrots began regrowing! I thought that it was probably their second 'year' growth and that they would be woody and bitter, so had still thought to go with the original plan.

But then one evening when Dad and I were outdoors 'dreaming' about what different things we could do or build in different spots, etc., he saw the carrots and decided to try one just to 'see.' And . . . they were pretty good! They weren't really woody at all, and while they had a slight bitter flavor, they were much better tasting than what they had been earlier in the year. Perhaps the frosts that we had had helped with that! Either way, it was decided to go ahead and can them. So one day armed with a potato fork I started digging . . .

All of the freshly dug carrots . . . about 22 pounds worth not including the tops

Preparing the carrots to can was a fairly lengthy task as most of the carrots were quite small given the fact that the deer ate off their tops in the middle of their growing time, so it was a lot of work for not much return, but some is much better than none. :) First came the washing, then the peeling and chopping (the latter Leah helped me with which was so nice!), and then finally, the canning . . .

There were enough carrots for a full canner load of 7 quarts, and then the carrots that were left, I bagged up into three meal-sized bags and put in the freezer. I am starting to get more comfortable with pressure canning, and I was excited to see that there wasn't much liquid loss from the jars this time!

Now with the warm days past, chillier weather has arrived back in Missouri once again, but the outdoor work will be continuing! Leah and I were just talking the other day about all of the changes that have happened on our place the past months . . . and how much it will change by the time spring comes again. It is exciting to see all that is taking place!

One of our freshly mulched blueberry bushes

And in the midst of all of this, we have enjoyed fitting in things like playing music. Sometimes it is just one of us playing, sometimes two, and sometimes Leah will be playing the guitar, Mom the dulcimer, and I the fiddle . . . we have such fun times together!

Mom playing the piano . . . she is so talented, and I love listening to her play! On this particular evening she had been playing while Leah and I were doing the dishes, and we had a wonderful time singing along with the different songs that she played.

Mom playing the hammered dulcimer and me the fiddle

So there is a little glimpse into some of what has been filling our days!

Monday, November 22, 2010

One Reason . . .

. . . why I love my Dad . . .

He can be tired and hot from working out on the roof, yet come in for a break and take time to color with the little ones who were here this day. I love you, Dad, and am so thankful for you!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Front Porch Singings

It all began on a beautiful Sunday afternoon after a wonderful morning of teaching, discussion, prayer, and singing with brothers and sisters in the Lord, and then sharing a meal together and spending time fellowshiping. Leah and I had headed outdoors with the children to play with them. Before long, the littlest ones were getting a little tired and fussy so while Leah played with the older ones, I went with the littlest ones over to the front porch swing.

As I quickly tried to think of what to do to entertain them, the thought came to mind to sing! A fun song seemed to be the best to start with as it would help to capture their attention, and the first one that came to mind was a song that my Mom had taught us when we were little. It's a kind of silly song :), and it is fun to sing and children always love it! The tune is simple and easy to follow, and the verse is sung over and over and each time, a new animal and the animal's 'sound' is added. Before long, the other children had joined us on the porch, and we were all singing together . . . we sang songs that we knew, ones that they knew, and even tried ones that none of us knew very well. :) It was such a fun time, and thus began our 'front porch singings.'

We have since been able to enjoy quite a few of these special times, but the one that was the most memorable was our second time singing together on a warm, sunny afternoon . . . I was on the porch swing with the baby in my lap and three of the littlest ones snuggled up on each side of me . . . Leah was sitting in a chair nearby with another little one cuddled in her lap . . . the older children and Ashley were all either leaning against or sitting on the porch railing . . . and together, we formed a circle. And my! what a wonderful time we had together! Not only with the singing, but with the laughter, the smiles, the hugs, the simple enjoyment of being in each other's company . . . so special!

We started off by singing the enthusiastically requested 'animal sound song' (now one of the childrens' favorites!) and they were having so much fun taking turns suggesting the next animal. We sang this until poor 'Miss Sarah' who was leading couldn't keep track of the order of all of the sounds any longer! Then we sang a number of other songs that the children requested . . . and then we taught them a Scripture verse song . . .

Be joyful, joyful! Always, always! Pray continually.
Be joyful, joyful! Always, always! Pray continually.
Be joyful always, pray continually give thanks in all circumstances
For this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

How I wish you all could have heard their sweet voices singing this together! We have since begun teaching them another verse, Ephesians 4:32, in song as well, and I think it is going to end up being a favorite!

Now with the winter months approaching and chillier days already having arrived, we may have had our last 'front porch singing' of the year this past Sunday. But I am sure we'll find other times to sing together! And then during the cold winter months, we can look forward to the coming warm sunny days when we will all be gathered
together on the front porch again and singing . . . .

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Trip to Tipton

Last week, Dad, Mom, Leah and I took a drive down to the Mennonite bulk food store again to stock up on quite a few staples, to price a number of items, and to pick up the bushel of apples that was turned into applesauce. We had a wonderful time together! I love spending time with my family . . . no matter what we are doing, we always have such good times together.

The drive down there was enjoyable, and as is often the case when driving longer distances, I brought my camera and photographed some along the way. The skies were mostly gray with rain or drizzle coming down (which we were actually glad for as it has helped to end the drought we were in. It hadn't rained for just about two months save for two light showers about halfway through that time), but every once in awhile during the drive, the sun would peek out . . .

Looking out across a pasture

A farmer's freshly disced field

We passed a sheep farm along the way and saw a herd of ewes and this ram as well

We also passed by a goat farm . . . hopefully come spring we'll have some of these for ourselves!

A nice old barn with Leah's favorite animal grazing in the front pasture :)

As we were driving along, Leah spotted a Bald Eagle! (Can you see it in the tree?) I quickly snapped this photo before we passed by, and then turned to try to get another photo of the eagle and saw this behind us . . .

A beautiful rainbow! (Photo courtesy of Leah as it was on her side of the car :) What a precious reminder these are of the Lord's promise . . . and His faithfulness to His promises.

All in all it was a wonderful day and full of special memories! Plus, our pantry is quite well stocked now. :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Honeybees on My Mind . . .

After years of thinking "it would be nice to have bees sometime", it's actually going to happen! (Lord willing. :) As we move more towards living self-sufficiently off of the land, we began looking into seriously getting a hive or two of bees. One reason is, of course, for the honey, and also, for the bees to pollinate our vegetable garden, fruit trees, and berry bushes.

Given that beekeeping is an area of interest to me, I was the 'researcher' regarding i
t. Over the past year and a half or so, I have been doing much reading about keeping bees, and the past months that has greatly increased!

Thankfully we are blessed with a library that has a number of beekeeping books, so many evenings lately when I haven't been doing handwork, I have been found curled up in an afghan on the couch reading and taking notes from various beekeeping books. We also recently watched the Moody Science Video called "City of Bees" which was so very interesting. (Does anyone else watch these videos? We love them!)

It has been so fascinating learning about these tiny, amazing creatures. The detail, the complexity, the exactness in how they build their honeycomb, how they work and reproduce, the harmony and order that their hive functions with . . . it is incredible. The more I read about honeybees, the more I stand in awe of our Creator. How wise, and awesome He is! And how a person can believe in evolution after learning
about honeybees is beyond my comprehension. Something as complex, detailed and exact as honeybees shows so clearly that they had a Designer, an all-knowing Creator . . . the Lord God. All creation does indeed praise and bring glory to His name!

"O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches." Psalm 104:24

Photo of a honeybee taken in 2008 gathering pollen off of our corn plants

Now with much of the research being done, we're moving forward with getting a hive of honeybees for our own! I just about have our order all put together for the hive and equipment we will need, and I am in the process of figuring out where to order our bees from.

This is all so exciting, and I am looking forward to this spring when it will actually all take place!

Monday, November 15, 2010

In the Kitchen and Lesson on Truthfulness

Another day of girls group . . . another day of special memories. These afternoons together are treasured times, and it seems that they keep getting better and better. I have grown to love each of these girls, and seeing their joys, their triumphs, their growth, their service . . . it brings such joy to my heart! Our time together last week began with many warm smiles and laughter and enjoyment of spending time together . . . yet it also had some challenges with dealing with a few obedience issues. Thankfully after those were addressed, things went smoothly! :)

Life is full of lessons, and even in these times of teaching and training with little eyes looking into yours as you explain why they need to be obedient and explaining to them the boundaries (and what the consequences will be if those boundaries are crossed) . . . even in this there is joy. That these young lives are, first of all, being trained up in the admonition of the Lord at home, that we have the wonderful opportunity to work with them on a weekly basis, and that their young hearts are desirous of knowing and following the Lord. And how I hope and pray that, if they haven't already, that they would come to believe in Him as their Lord and Savior, and that they would continue to grow in Him!

Our youngest girl carefully copying down some of what was on the board from our lesson time

Our time together last week began by praying together, and then gathering in the kitchen for "Part 1" of making Pumpkin Pecan Loaves. Since this bread takes longer than two hours to make from start to finish (and that is how long our times together are), we did part of it last week, and this week, Leah and I will get the bread to the same point that the girls had it, and then they will finish it. The girls did a wonderful job following the recipe, and it was fun mixing up the batter for this bread together.

Two of the girls putting away ingredients after we were finished with them

Me explaining about dry ingredients and liquid ingredients and how to combine the two

The bread batter was all mixed up and the two oldest girls had fun pouring it into the pans while the other girls looked on . . . and helped to make sure that there were equal amounts in each of the pans. :)

Once the pans were in the oven baking, we gathered in the living room for our lesson time. The week prior to this, Leah and I had planned out the month of November for girls group, and had been trying to find areas that would speak specifically to the girls in our group. Recalling some things that mothers have shared with us, this week the Lord laid on our hearts to teach on 'truthfulness.'

We began by asking the girls questions such as:

-Does anybody know what truthfulness is?

-What is a lie?

-Do you think God would rather us speak a lie or tell the truth?

These questions and the answers given led to quite a bit of good discussion before we read a number of verses regarding lying and truthfulness. And reading the verses also provoked much discussion as well!

Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal faithfully are His delight.” (Proverbs 12:22.)

Truthful lips will be established forever, but a lying tongue is only for a moment.” (Proverbs 12:19)

Yes, indeed, lying is something that is an abomination to the Lord. But where does lying come from? Who do you think is the “father of lies”? In the book of John, we found that it says that it is Satan.

And can God lie? No, indeed He cannot as Hebrews 6:18 (and many other verses as well) share.

So we see there are two options . . . there is God and truthfulness . . . and there is Satan and lies. And as we had talked about earlier, God desires us to speak truth, and He has told us in His word how we can be obedient to Him . . .

. . . but speaking truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15)

Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” (Ephesians 4:25.)

Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices.” (Colossians 3:9.)

Again, these verses led to some wonderful discussion! And we saw that there is a choice that we need to make in regards to the words that we speak . . . to either speak the truth and be obedient to the Lord, or to speak lies and do what Satan wants us to do.

As I taught, Leah taped the verse references on to the board, and then I added the writing below once we had read each of the verses (sorry for the sloppy handwriting! Writing on this board isn't the easiest thing, and especially when writing fast! :)

I then asked the girls if they thought that we should be truthfu
l even if we end up getting in trouble for something? Yes, we should always speak words of truth even if it means that we end up being disciplined for a wrongdoing . . . this led into a story that I read to the girls on this very topic. The story was a chapter from one of our antique books, and it fit in so well with this lesson. If you were interested in reading it yourself, it can be found here. (The chapter we read begins on page 85 - "The Letter Carrier.") I did change a few words as I read to make it a little easier for the children to understand . . . and I think the story helped to drive the lesson home even more.

After the story was read and a number of questions were asked and discussed, the girls took time to write in their journals . . . and one of our littlest girls has been so excited lately as she is learning better how to write, and she loves writing down in her journal the things that are on the board!

Writing in her journal about what we had done this day

At this point, two of our girls had to leave early (and they were missed!), and then the rest of us worked on cross-stitching. The girls did so well with this and the two who had never done it before were just about on their own by the time we were finished for the day!

Two of the girls having fun together while cross-stitching

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Precious Truth

Last night there was something weighing heavy on my heart . . . and before turning in for the night, I pulled out my Bible and opened to the Psalm that I was on for the day. Psalm 68. Before beginning to read, I prayed to the Lord to please touch my heart . . . to please guide me in His Word . . . and to speak to me through this Psalm.

I began to read, and it did not take long before I began to feel myself refreshed . . .

"But let the righteous be glad; let them exult before God; Yes, let them rejoice with gladness. Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts, whose name is the LORD, and exult before Him" (Psalm 68:3-4.)

And then I turned the page, and my eyes fell upon this verse . . .

"Blessed by the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation. Selah" (Psalm 68:19.)

The Lord had answered my prayer . . . what a loving God He is to speak to our hearts through His word! I read this verse a number of times, and my heart was filled with peace instead of the weariness that it had had before. God is so good . . . and so loving, to think that He cares so much for us that daily He bears our burden!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Today . . .

This . . .

Will be turning into this . . .

Yes, we were able to get another bushel of apples, so I am off to spend a day in the kitchen making and canning more applesauce!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tour of a Dairy Farm

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in central Missouri with temperatures in the 70's and warm sunshine. This was perfect for what was planned for the afternoon! A tour of a large dairy farm which happens to be just minutes from where we live.

Last week, a mother that we know had called us and shared with us that the small homeschool group that she was a part of was going to be taking a tour of the dairy. She asked if we would like to go with her and her four children to which we enthusiastically answered "yes!" When another mother that we know found out that Leah and I were coming along, she decided to come as well with her five children (Leah and I were going to be helping with the children.)

Our afternoon there was so enjoyable and fun, and the children loved it! I even had the opportunity to milk my first cow
which was fun! (I had milked a goat before but never a cow.) Now if I can just figure out a way to have one of these on our little place. :)

As we did take some photos during our afternoon, I'll let the photos do most of the "sharing." Though, the majority of them are all from the same time during the tour as for most of our two hours there, I was carrying a little one, and taking photos one handed isn't the easiest thing in the world to do! :) Leah also was able to take some photos so some of these are hers as well . . .

Me petting the sweetest little calf, while the baby looks on and the oldest boy pets the calf as well (we abandoned the stroller not much longer after this as it was too difficult to push through the gravel and straw!)

The two oldest girls petting another calf while Leah looks on

Leah found a friend. :) This calf was very interested in her fingers! And our little friend had fun watching this, and petting the calf as well!

Some of our group with the calves . . . Leah with her special little buddy, and Lori carrying one of her girls.

Our tour guide, Callie, showing us some of what they feed the cows

Part way through the tour, Callie asked all of the children: "Would you like to milk a cow?" Yes, the children definitely wanted to milk a cow! We were told that the cow's name was "Mary Lou" and that she was very gentle. The whole way over there, the little two and a half year old girl that I was carrying kept asking me "Can I milk Mawy Lou?" Yes, I told her, she could milk Mary Lou. But when we actually got there, she wasn't quite sure she wanted to touch that big cow!

I brought her up close to the cow, and she almost milked her, but she couldn't bring herself to actually touch the cow. I got to milk her, though, which was fun!

Leah helped one of the girls milk the cow and tried to convince her other little friend to try it (she's the one standing back watching), but she couldn't be convinced!

Trying to make sure that each of 'our' children could have a turn at milking (sometimes the shy ones didn't want to go up by themselves :), I asked one of the older girls if she had had a turn. She said yes, but that she hadn't been able to get any milk out. So I went up with her and showed her how to do it and she was successful! She was so excited to actually be able to milk a cow! In this photo is me holding the baby and the oldest girl milking, while the other older girl looks on.

All in all it was such a fun and special day, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! Thank you Lori and Bethany for having us along! We had a wonderful time with you all!