Friday, September 30, 2011

Our Growing Herd

As mentioned in a previous post, our little goat herd was going to grow, and this past week, Dad, Mom, Leah and I took an evening to drive down to pick up the new additions. Two bred Boer does that have great bloodlines, but they are both old girls so are a little past their prime. And since they are old, they aren't the prettiest of animals, though they sure are sweet! We had a very pleasant evening visiting with the people we were getting them from and then we enjoyed a tour of their Boer goat farm. They had an amazing set up and so many goats!

This is probably my favorite of the two, as she is so sweet! She loves attention, and will follow us around the pen, or, of we are outside of the pen working on other things, she'll stand as close to us as she can.

This is the older of the two, and also the dominate one, and she was a little more stand-offish when we first got them. We have been working with her, though, and she has gotten a lot more friendly toward us. So much so that she is much like the other one now in how much she likes to be petted and how she follows us around.

With having these two does now, it is exciting to see the start of our meat goat herd! We have been wanting to get started in Boers for a long time, and it has been wonderful to see how the Lord provided these two does.

Daddy feeding the girls branches - they really like eating the leaves

We had originally thought to move Dixie and the little guys in with the Boers, but after getting them and seeing how the oldest girl (#7) was a little aggressive towards the other Boer (#55) if she got too close to her, we weren't sure if it would work. So just to see, we brought Dixie over to the Boer goat pen on a lead and introduced them. #7 did not like her at all, so Dixie and the little boys will continue to have their own pen together. Those three sure get along well, and it makes me smile when I go out there and see them all curled up together in a corner sleeping.

Leah and Dixie . . . Dixie likes being out on a lead with us, and she was having fun eating leaves and other various things. Plus she enjoyed all of the petting, too.

While I was photographing the goats, one of the hens came up to investigate . . . chickens sure are curious little animals! Or perhaps, since they know that we give them treats (garden scraps, etc.) maybe she thought I might have something for her. :)

#55 . . . we really need to come up with names for them instead of numbers!

If all goes well, then, we should have kids in January! Yes, the coldest month of the year, but hopefully everything will go well for them!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chicken News

The past few weeks, things have changed a bit in the 'chicken department' of our little farm, as two weeks ago today, Leah and I butchered all 28 of our old laying hens. (Well, Dad did the first part of it, and then we did the actual butchering.) Since we don't have things like a plucker, and since these birds didn't have a lot of meat on them, we butchered differently than the conventional method and just removed the breast meat and the legs and thighs. We set up a table outdoors in the shade, and brought out a CD player so we could listen to music as we worked. We had an enjoyable time together, though were glad when the last few were finally finished!

It took us maybe four hours to do all of them, and then we came in and finished washing and packaging up all of the meat (Mom had already done the first batch and gotten that in the freezer.) As we packaged, we weighed the bags and tallied up the total which we were surprised to discover . . . 41 pounds of meat! From just our old laying hens! We've had some of the meat so far (baked), and the flavor was delicious, but it was rather chewy (not tough, just . . . chewy.) Good jaw exercise, right? :) As Leah and I said, though, it's the only type of chicken our pioneer ancestors would have known! And we sure enjoyed it. Especially knowing that it was our own meat raised without hormones, etc., and plus, that it was processed safely.

With the butchering finished and the coop emptied of its occupants, Leah set to work getting it all cleaned out in preparation for moving our new batch of hens and the two roosters over there. It was a big job, and as she doesn't do anything halfheartedly, by the time she was finished, the coop about looked like new . . .

Looking in from the doorway . . . the hanging feeder is in the foreground and the row of nestboxes is in the back. And one thing on our to-do list is to make more nestboxes! This time around we got more hens so we'll be needing more boxes than what we have right now.

And to the left are the roosts

It was a job getting the new flock used to the coop, and especially getting the hens who had started laying above the rabbit cages to start laying in the coop!

Trying to decide . . . is it as scary in there as what it looks?
Thankfully they're all adjusted to the coop now!

*Photo credits for all of the photos in this post go to my dear Mom. :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's the Little Things . . .

. . . that can add so much to life . . .

Such as this striking swallowtail caterpillar.

This summer I had cut and dried a lot of parsley, and the most recent batch is hanging up to dry right now. The other day I happened to notice something on it that was not parsley :) . . . looking closer I found that it was this tiny swallowtail caterpillar that must have hatched after the parsley was harvested. I pulled the leaf that it was on off and before putting the caterpillar outside by the parsley still in the garden, I enjoyed watching it for a bit and taking these two photos of it.

To give an idea how tiny the caterpillar was, I put my sewing seam gauge up next to it . . .

Just under 3/8 of an inch long! So tiny yet the beauty and detail in it was amazing. How I marvel at the wonders in God's creation! And to think that this little caterpillar will grow and grow and grow, will make for itself a chrysalis and pupate, and then will hatch a beautiful swallowtail butterfly. What amazing design by our Creator!

This is a different kind of swallotail than the above caterpillar, but it is the only swallowtail photo I had. :)

" . . . marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." Psalm 139:14

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Sunday Hymn ~ When We All Get to Heaven

Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,
Sing His mercy and His grace.
In the mansions bright and bless├Ęd
He’ll prepare for us a place.

When we all get to Heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

While we walk the pilgrim pathway,
Clouds will overspread the sky;
But when traveling days are over,
Not a shadow, not a sigh.

When we all get to Heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

Let us then be true and faithful,
Trusting, serving every day;
Just one glimpse of Him in glory
Will the toils of life repay.

When we all get to Heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

Onward to the prize before us!
Soon His beauty we’ll behold;
Soon the pearly gates will open;
We shall tread the streets of gold.

When we all get to Heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

Words by: Eli­za E. Hew­itt


"In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:2-4)

"And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever" (Revelation 22:5)

Thursday, September 15, 2011


This week, the last stitch was made in the chickadee cross-stitch that I have been working on and today I framed it! This cross-stitch was fun to do, and I did something new with it also . . . designed and added the border that goes around it. I just free-handed it to see how it would end up, and thankfully, it worked the first time. Now with this project finished, I think I'll be pulling out the quilt I have been hand-quilting and try to get that finished up . . . it will be enjoyable to be working on that again!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Babysitting Adelyn

Last week, we had the great pleasure of babysitting Adelyn . . . actually we enjoyed that pleasure twice last week. :) Each time was really enjoyable (how could it be anything but?!), and we all loved being able to hold her and 'talk' with her. What a fun age this is! Here are some of the photos that I took the first time that she stayed here with us . . .

'Grandpa' and Adelyn . . . they were having quite the conversation!

Mom was going to read a book to Adelyn, but then Dad was too much of a distraction. :) Adelyn loves watching him!

Eventually the book caught her interest, and she really seemed to enjoy being read to . . . especially since the book is full of animal sounds which 'Grandma' imitated! It was fun listening to Mom read to her, and it brought back memories, too, as the book she read, "Who Says That?", is the same one that we read over and over when we were little. And now it is being read to the next generation!

Someone's getting sleepy . . . . and just in time for her Daddy and Mommy to come back and pick her up!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fall is in the Air

In one day, we went from having highs near 100 to highs in the low 70's, and this morning when I headed out to take care of the animals, it was 47 degrees out . . . quite the contrast! I love the change of seasons from one to the next, and these past few days, I have very much enjoyed spending time outdoors soaking in the delights of the coming fall . . . leaves falling, cool breezes blowing, even the air has the aroma of fall in it.

Sunday in the late afternoon after a wonderful time with brothers and sisters in the Lord in the morning and early afternoon, I went for a walk around our place and photographed as well . . . there was so much to see and enjoy! (Though a few of the photos below are from different times.)

The thistles are all in bloom and the butterflies and other insect life have been enjoying them

A buckeye . . . these have always been one of my favorite butterflies ever since I was a little girl when my Dad, siblings and I would go out insect collecting. Maybe because they were not often seen and were so hard to catch!

The goldenrod is just about ready to break into bloom . . . and I am welcoming it this year as it is one of the main nectar producers this time of year.

Here and there a stray black-eyed susan is found blooming

The leaves are beginning to fall and blanket the ground with an array of color

A bumblebee on a thistle flower

I love being down underneath the trees and looking up through the spreading branches to the brilliant blue sky above!

A beautiful Sunday afternoon, temperature in the 70's, cool breeze, warm sunshine = happiness :)

In the garden, our third planting of beans is growing well . . .

Bush beans

And a first for us: pole beans. Since the cucumbers were finished on one of the trellises, I just pulled out all those plants and planted the beans there.

While on some places of our property, we try to keep the weeds down (like the gardens :), our chicken pen is a different story . . .

Each spring/summer, one kind of weed comes up in there that the chickens won't eat and we let it grow instead of pulling them out as they provide shade for the chickens.
And another big plus that we found this week is that the honeybees love them! All day there are hundreds of bees in there, and it has been fun to watch them . . .

Can you see the pollen on its legs?

Once the bees are loaded down with nectar and pollen, back to the hive they go! The hive activity has dramatically increased since the above photo was taken, and I am hoping that means they are getting lots of food stored away for winter!

The honeybees are not the only insect life enjoying these flowers . . . wasps, flies, other bee species, and many butterflies as well including this striking Red Admiral

After a very pleasant walk outdoors, I enjoyed another favorite Sunday activity . . . reading. Late afternoons on Sunday provide opportunity to read, and I enjoyed a quiet and relaxing time reading more in Holy in Christ by Andrew Murray and then some in Ever Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. The latter is one we had never heard of before until seeing an advertisement for it in the back of one of our other antique books. It then became one of Leah's birthday gifts, and she and I have both read it now and really liked it!
Monday afternoon/evening was a busy time for all of us, and at one point, I went out with my camera to see what everyone was up to . . . .

Leah looked unsuccessfully for an egg down in the woods . . . one of the pullets was acting like she had laid an egg down there, but maybe she just felt like being vocal!

Mom was pulling weeds and cleaning out old plant stalks in one of her flower gardens

And as a little precursor to the next few photos, last week after patient looking and waiting, Leah had found an ad online for a lot (as in, they were all sold together) of used goat feeders. The price was right and they would suit our needs perfectly! So Friday, Dad, Leah and I enjoyed a great evening together going and picking them up. On Monday, Leah bleached one of them, and then her and Dad moved it into the goat pen . . .

Dixie, Chevy, and Danny enjoying the fresh hay . . . the feeder is really going to help minimize waste! Plus it looks neat, too. :)

Sweet Dixie

Daddy watching the goats

The day wore on and included picking more beans and some other outdoor activities, and about the time I headed in, our cat was enjoying laying out in the dirt watching us as we worked . . .

"Ya'll come back now, ya hear?"

Monday, September 5, 2011

One Stitch at a Time . . .

While Fall and Winter are generally the 'project months' for me (simply for the fact that there is more time for them then), the past few months I have enjoyed working on this cross-stitch as I have had time . . . while 'babysitting' the pressure canner, during our evenings together as a family, and other little moments scattered throughout the day.

This is one of the simplest cross-stitches I have done in a while (no quarter stitches!), and it has been enjoyable to work on. Especially now that you can kind of start to see what it is going to be. Since this photo was taken, I was able to get quite a bit more done on it, and it is just about finished now!
Is any one else working on any handwork projects?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Sunday Hymn ~ The Love of God

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star.
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure,
The saints' and angels' song.

When years of time shall pass away
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall;
When men who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call;
God's love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam's race -
The saints' and angels' song.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure,
The saints' and angels' song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;

Were ev'ry stalk on earth a quill,

And ev'ry a man a scribe by trade;

To write the love of God above

Would drain the ocean dry;

Nor could the scroll contain the whole,

Tho' stretched from sky to sky.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure,
The saints' and angels' song.

Frederick M. Lehman 1868-1953

"For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindess toward those who fear Him." Psalm 103:11

"By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." 1 John 4:9-10

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Our New Egg Layers!

It was with some surprise that we discovered that our pullets have begun laying! We weren't expecting it this soon and as the old hens are in the pen with the coop and the nest boxes (and thus, the chicks don't have any), the pullets found their own nesting place . . .

On top of the hay that is on top of the rabbit cages! (We store the hay that we feed to the rabbits there.) We know of at least two pullets (I guess I should say 'hens' now :) who are laying there, and it makes me smile when I go out there and see them all nestled down in the hay. And now comes the process of 'retiring' the old girls (i.e. preparing them for the stew pot) and then getting our new layers and the roosters moved over to the coop. It looks like that is a project on the docket for next week!

A new batch of hens, roosters, goats, animal housing and pens . . . things certainly have changed on our place the past year! I love stepping out the door and seeing the chickens out roaming around and chasing bugs . . . hearing the rooster crow down in the woods (or from wherever else he has wandered off to) . . . seeing our cat come quietly out of her 'living quarters' in our barn to come up to be petted or to follow us around while we do chores . . . hearing the goats bleating for us to go give them some attention . . . seeing the garden and the bounty that is still being produced from it . . . smelling the aroma of fresh cut grass in the orchard . . . so many simple pleasures that we are blessed with being able to enjoy!

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Produce Equation

Picking 21 1/2 pounds of green beans + washing + snapping + blanching =
13 more quart bags of beans in the freezer!

Little by little we're reaching our goal for the summer!