Tuesday, February 28, 2012

~ 26 Years ~

Last week we celebrated my 26th birthday, and it was a wonderful and memorable day! I love spending time with my family and this day was as filled up as can be with time together which was so enjoyable.

In the afternoon, Mom, Leah and I went and picked up Ashley and Adelyn and brought them to our house, and Ryan joined us all after he was finished with work. (I didn't have my camera out at all during the day, though Mom and Leah took a few photos, and the two below are theirs.)

Adelyn and I were having so much fun together . . . though whenever Mom tried to take a picture, she either made a face or stuck her fingers in her mouth!

My family did a great deal to make the day special for me . . . and it was so nice to be able to spend all of the time together. And of course, time with my precious niece :) . . .

Look who can sit up all by herself now!

My family knows me so well, too, as was reflected in the gifts! And some of them are going to be keeping me busy . . .

Any guesses what this is?

I'll give you a hint . . . it relates to this . . .

Yes! A new seat for my rocking chair! I had decided that I didn't want to refinish it (I really like how the worn spots look on it) so I am simply going to finish cleaning it up which won't take long to do, and then we can put the new seat in. It will be really nice having it as what I had been using up to this point was just a piece of cardboard covered in fabric. It worked (as in, it was sufficient as a seat :), but this will be much nicer!

More wonderful reading material . . . a new old book that I have not read before by one of my favorite authors Isabella Alden (otherwise known as "Pansy")

I know just where these are going to go. :) These were a perfect gift as I was wanting to revitalize a garden area and these are just the thing for it!

What a special family I have been blessed with . . . the Lord has been so good to me, and my heart fills with thanksgiving when I think of each of these dear ones that I love so much!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Starting Seeds

This year, warm February days with the taste of the coming spring in them have provided beautiful weather for being outdoors working on garden preparations (such as tilling) . . . but there are still many weeks before actual planting begins out there. Little seedlings are beginning to grow indoors, though, in the expectation of being planted out in the garden eventually.

I started our first ones a week or two ago . . .

Almost ready for the seeds

Though, all that has been planted so far is celery, lettuce, spinach and broccoli. Planting celery was a first for me, and since the seeds have a long germination time, it is recommended to soak the seeds overnight which I did . . .

Then it came time for planting!

Only, how do you get wet tiny seeds from the bowl onto the soil in each of the small cells? Unlike dry seeds, they stick to everything! A toothpick to the rescue . . .

I dipped it into the water catching some celery seeds on it, and then simply tapped the toothpick on the side of the seed tray and the seeds fell right where they were supposed to.

So far, the broccoli, most of the lettuce, and some of the spinach are up, but I'm still waiting on the celery to make its appearance.
I still need to get the tomatoes and peppers started, too, and I hope to do that soon. (Already I am a little behind schedule with those!) Anyone else starting things indoors this year? If so, how is that going for you?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sadness on the Farm

Right after I had decided to take a blogging break and enjoy a few weeks away from the computer (but before I actually did the post about it) our goat, Chloe, died unexpectedly. One morning she seemed a little 'off' and like her stomach was bothering her some so we treated her for the two most common stomach problems in goats (bloat being one of them which is very serious if not treated.) The treatments are natural, and even if the two things weren't what was wrong, the treatments won't cause any harm.

This photo (and the next five were all taken a few days before Chloe died)

All throughout the day, she didn't really seem any worse and by evening, it seemed that she might be feeling a bit better as she was walking around more and was even butting heads through the fence with her 'neighbors'
(Danny and Chevy.)

Her energetic little buckling, Gunner. He sure is a lot of fun!

The next morning, though, she looked worse and was in definite pain . . . since taking a goat's temperature is one of the first things to do when something is wrong with them, and since our thermometer quit working right when we were going to take hers again, Dad went into town to pick one up (plus, we wanted to have a temp on her before we called the vet which we were planning to do if she didn't make a turn for the better very soon.)

Meanwhile, Leah and I treated her again with higher doses of flavored mineral oil, baking soda boluses, and then also used what is called a drencher to get some warm molasses water into her since she had quit drinking.

During that brief time while Dad was gone, Chloe went downhill really fast and by the time he got home, we all knew we needed to call the vet right away. Something was seriously wrong.

Chloe and Gunner

As mentioned in a previous post when we were having all of the things going on with Sadie, we have found wonderful vets who are very knowledgeable about goats, which was again, a great blessing in this situation with Chloe! Dad called them, and within 30 minutes, they were out at our place thoroughly examining Chloe.

One of his favorite things to play on . . . a big walnut log in the pen

They did not know for sure what was wrong with her, but offered to bring her to the vet clinic and get her started on an IV to rehydrate her and then to do blood work on her to figure out what was going on. So Chloe rode in the front sit of a pick-up on one of the vet's laps to the vet hospital!

While they did their best for her, later that evening, she died. The necropsy that followed showed that her intestine somehow did a 180 degree twist which it appears, led to massive hemorrhaging, blood clotting, and more. Actually knowing what had happened with her was a comfort as then we knew that nothing we could have done would have helped her or saved her. That is one thing that can be hard for me when things like this happen . . . wondering about all of the "what if we had . . ."
Me with Gunner . . . he's such a sweetie!

So, while all of that was going on, we had her little buckling to care for . . .

Holding still long enough for me to get a photo of him standing

The first week with him after Chloe died was hard to say the least. He went through something like a depression for the first day or two and then also refused his bottle for the first 5 to 6 days (usually it takes only a few days before an orphan kid accepts the bottle.) The only way we got any milk into him at all was by me holding him still and Leah forcing the nipple of the bottle into his mouth and holding his mouth closed. We made the hole in the nipple large enough that the milk would slowly drip out into his mouth so even though he wouldn't suck, he would swallow the milk that had dripped in. This way he was getting one to two (and sometimes three) ounces in an hour. That is, until he learned that biting down on the nipple stopped the milk flow. :) That presented new challenges!

Dad holding Gunner . . . we know you're not supposed to make pets of bucklings, but for the first few days after Chloe died, Gunner was really having a hard time. It seemed like we were a 'security blanket' for him so to speak so we held him some during those days.

So each day following Chloe's death found Leah and I spending 7 to 8 hours a day (spread out all around the clock) bottle feeding him. Needless to say, we were getting so tired, and a bit discouraged as well, and about to the point of despairing of ever getting him to drink out of a bottle.

Gunner sleeping on Leah

There were many a time when I held him secure in my lap with a hand holding his head while Leah worked to get him to drink from the bottle, and my eyes would close with tiredness and I would pray to the Lord to please help him suck! Time would go by, and I would feel a swallow . . . then maybe the tiniest of sucks . . . then a swallow again. Every swallow felt like a victory!

Up where he is NOT supposed to be! Goats will be goats . . . even if they are indoors!

Finally six days after we began trying to bottle feed him, he started to actually suck on the nipple. Day by day he did better and better and then about two weeks after the day it all began, he was to the point that he would stand on his own four feet and drink the bottle on his own! It still takes him awhile, but he gets the job done. :) We were thrilled that this 'milestone' was reached and so thankful for it!

In the midst of this came introducing him to the girls, too . . .

Dad built a divider in the stall that Rora and Lacy are in so they kids could get used to each other first before putting them together. It worked well!

They were not very nice to him at first, but eventually came to accept him and now he appears to be the dominate one of the three.

Now Gunner is learning to be a goat again and is starting to play with the girls instead of with us. We're trying to be careful with these bottle babies to keep them from thinking they are 'people' instead of goats!

So that has been our adventure the past two weeks . . .
while the first week was pretty rough, the second was more encouraging and was refreshing as well. We were able to get caught up on sleep during that time, and were beginning to see some blessings and how the Lord was working even this, for good.

And all of the effort put out by everyone was successful . . . our little guy is doing great now and before long, all three of the kids (and Sadie, too!) should be able to be moved out of the barn.
Needless to say, I am glad I took a break from blogging as I wouldn't have had time to blog anyway! :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Pie

After an . . . interesting . . . and rather full past two weeks away from blogging, I am looking forward to posting again! And I have a lot of different posts in mind, plus a great many photos that were taken the past few weeks to share. For starters, though, I thought I would share this recipe for a strawberry rhubarb pie that I made recently with some of the strawberries and rhubarb that had been put up in the freezer this past summer.

This was a new recipe, and I was pleased with how it turned out! And it is a keeper, too, as everyone really enjoyed it.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Pie

~Pastry for single-crust pie (recipe to follow*)
~1 egg
~1 cup sugar
~2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
~1 tsp. vanilla extract
~3/4 pound fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 3 cups) [I used frozen in about 1/4 inch pieces]
1 pint fresh strawberries, halved [again, I used frozen]

TOPPING: [these amounts made too much topping so next time I am going to reduce them]
~3/4 cup all-purpose flour
~1/2 cup packed brown sugar
~1/2 cup quick-cooking or rolled oats
~1/2 cup cold butter or margarine

~1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour [I used freshly ground whole wheat instead]
1/2 tsp. salt
~1/3 cup shortening
~4 to 5 Tbsp. cold water

Making the Crust

In a bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in shortening until crumbly. Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until a ball forms. Roll out pastry to fit a 9-in. pie plate. Transfer pastry to pie plate. Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate; flute edges. Set aside.

Making the Pie

In a mixing bowl, beat egg. Add sugar, flour and vanilla; mix well. Gently fold in rhubarb and strawberries. Pour into crust. For topping, combine flour, brown sugar and oats in a small bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over filling. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees; bake 35 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. [my pie took longer to bake since the rhubarb and strawberries were frozen.] Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours; refrigerate until ready to serve. (Store leftovers in refrigerator as well.) Enjoy as is or top with vanilla ice cream!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Blogging Break

I just wanted to let you all know that I will be taking a little break from the blogging world for a week or two. :) I hope you all have a wonderful February!

Looking out across our neighbor's pasture a few days ago . . . it was beautiful with the sun lighting everything up and reflecting off of the clouds.

Until later then!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Things We Do . . .

Rora is not quite sure about this!

We're probably the only ones who have ever given their
goat kids a 'bath' in their kitchen sink!

Having Rora and Lacy inside was a lot of fun, but it did have it's not so pleasant (and sometimes comical) moments . . . like when they made messes in their pen, walked in them, and then climbed all over each other. We had some dirty little goats! Running water, a sink, and a washcloth to the rescue . . .

Lacy was so cooperative!

Soon they were all clean again and glad to be back in their pen running around and playing!