Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Heritage Festival

Last weekend Dad, Mom, Leah and I spent part of the day at a heritage festival, and we had such an enjoyable time! Antiques, history, period clothing . . . I think a smile was on my face most of the time and my hands busy utilizing my camera as we took in all of the much enjoyed sights and sounds around us. I took so many photos, but for brevity's sake, will just share those from our favorite parts of the day :) . . .


We really liked this wagon! (And there was another just to the right of it that was part of the display as well [it's in the below photo]) The one above was set up like a chuckwagon complete with a campfire and a pot of something cooking over it. When we came by, the gentleman was engaged in conversation with other visitors explaining to them historical facts regarding the set-up, etc.

From the saddle, to the barrel inside, to the rope hanging over the back, this display really caught my eye! And Dad's, too. :)

A close-up of a riata 
(thanks Becky for sharing the right name of it! :)

The back of the chuckwagon which was really neat . . . look at all of those drawers and shelves! I'm not sure why, but anything with drawers, shelves, cubbyholes, I am especially drawn, too. Maybe it's the organizer in me!

The central attraction to the grounds of this festival are the original and historical buildings on site . . . the historic Maplewood House, a general store/post office, a cabin, a shotgun house, and another small and very old home. 

When visiting this park before during a 'non-festival' day, we peeked in the windows of each of these buildings, but they were closed-up to the public. I remember thinking then how much I would like to go inside each of them! Well, the day of the festival all of the buildings were open!

We started with the Maplewood House, and while it's not exactly my style as far as interior decorating (I much prefer the farmhouse and cabin styles), I really enjoyed going inside each of the rooms! My camera was rather busy in here :) . . . .

Maplewood House

In the parlor, this immediately caught my eye . . . not only a beautiful desk, but a bookcase as well!

This was in the music room . . . yes, they had a separate room just for music!

The Dining Room

My favorite room of the house . . . the kitchen. And look at this beautiful stove! It reminded me of the one that I have . . . only this one is in much better shape.

A lovely quilt spread over one of the beds upstairs . . . if I am remembering correctly, there were four or five bedrooms up there.

A beautiful antique trunk
 (and there is something a tiny bit related to this that I'll be sharing about in a later post. :)

One of the bedrooms had a little sewing area set up . . . Leah and I admired not only the small sewing machine, but also the unique stand and basket that held the sewing supplies.

After we had finished going through the house, we walked around the grounds a bit more, looking at the many booths set up, watching demonstrations and more . . .

This gentleman was explaining to a little boy how the gun (which I believe was a flintlock) works.

Handmade brooms for sale

A blacksmith was busy at work here

There were several antique vehicles set up for display, and this milk truck was one of our favorites . . .

Dad, Mom and Leah looking at it

It's a Ford! :)

A full side view of it . . . see the little seat in the back?

A front view

This car was neat simply for the fact that when my Dad was young, he had one almost identical to this one! Even the bright red interior was the same. :) It was fun listening to him reminisce!

The General Store and Post Office

It was really enjoyable seeing all of the many items and displays in here!

Wooden construction/carpentry tools . . . wooden planes are on the counter

A scale

Various kitchen items

A display with sewing and other related items

The veterinary shelf

Next to visit was . . .

The Cabin

My favorite of all of the buildings . . .

Not quite authentic with the folding chair in the foreground is it? :)

In each building, there were people dressed in period clothing who would share about the history of the building, the time period, etc. In the cabin, one of the gentlemen saw me photographing different things and was so kind as to offer to pull back the bedding so I could see underneath and photograph it. :) I'm not sure why, but rope beds hold a fascination for me, and it was neat to see this one!

Quite the contrast to our kitchens of today. :) I can just imagine a pioneer mother standing over the counter rolling out biscuits for breakfast.

Everything about this (except the folding chair :) I really like! The floor, the fireplace, the rug, table . . . wouldn't it be fun to live in a place like this? Only maybe a little bigger. :)

The beautiful table and chairs

The walls were impressive! On the logs one could see the evidence of each beam being hand hewn. Can you imagine doing all of this by hand?

There was a beautiful spinning wheel in the cabin, and this is a close-up of part of it.

Back outside, we walked around a bit more and enjoyed watching some of the artisans at work . . .

I had never seen a rug made this way before. Now I am looking forward to trying it myself sometime!

A lady sewing a handbraided rug together

Meanwhile her husband wove a table runner on a loom . . . he gave a little demonstration and explained how it all worked. It sounded complicated!

After visiting all of the buildings and walking over the grounds by all of the booths, we decided to call it a day and head for home. With happy hearts, minds full of ideas and inspiration, and a camera full of photos to enjoy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New Life . . .

It was exciting today, to watch one by one our chicks begin to hatch! Two of them I was able to watch the process as little by little the egg shell cracked open more and more, a tiny beak would poke through, until finally, one big push and the little chick was free! New life, no matter how small, is always amazing and always awe-inspiring. 

How even a tiny little chick can develop inside of the egg, and when the time is right, be able to use its little egg tooth to begin working on getting free and then to slowly 'unzip' the egg shell and hatch. All of creation does indeed bring praise to the Lord its Creator!  

So far, nine are hatched, and there are 23 more eggs to go! (strike that- ten are now hatched! And another nearly there. :)

It is going to be an interesting night as the incubator is in our room, and there will be more of these cute (and loud :) little chicks hatching tonight!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Little Chicks Coming Soon . . .

Leah has been incubating about forty of our chicken eggs for awhile, and they are due to hatch in just a few days! She has been carefully monitoring the humidity, turning the eggs twice a day, regulating the temperature, and candling some of the eggs from time to time as well. About a week ago, she and I candled all of the eggs together sorting out 'bad' ones from viable ones, and it was so neat to see the little chicks developing inside most of them!

And now we're anticipating having little chicks again . . .

Only a few more days!

If you haven't seen it yet, there is a post below this one about a small blogging change. :)

A Blogging Change

This is just a little note to let you all know that with how busy life has been and the ever decreasing amount of time I have available online, I am finding that there isn't enough time for both putting together blog posts and replying to your all's wonderful comments. Because of that, I am going to be taking a break for at least awhile from the latter. Please know that I have really enjoyed replying to each of your comments and having that bit of communication with you all!

And please don't stop commenting! I always very much enjoy and appreciate each and every comment you all leave. :) And if you ever leave a comment with a question, I would be more than happy to reply to those!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Farm Happenings . . . and then the Hail

This post was begun yesterday . . . and finished today. How quickly things can change! 
As you shall see . . . 

As I sit here putting together this post, thunder is rumbling in the distance . . . and it is coming closer! Since our last over three inch rain, we have had two more small rains, and now another rain is on the way. What a blessing all of it has been!

 Only a few days after the remnants of Isaac moved through, there was a very notable difference outdoors . . . things were green and growing! In fact, I had to mow today as the grass had grown so much! Thanks to all of the rain, we are on our way out of the drought slowly, but surely . . . we've stepped down from being in an 'exceptional drought' to 'extreme' and maybe only a 'severe' drought. (That still sounds bad, but at least it isn't the worst drought level there is anymore!)

Life has been pleasantly busy here, and these end of summer days have been wonderful. Several different times as of late, I went out and photographed a bit of what is going on around here on the farm so have a lot of photos to share! 

Dad just recently finished a cage hanging system for our rabbits which is very nice! Through the unusually hot summer, we had to improvise with the rabbits as the lean-to shed we had had them in was way too hot for them during the day. So during the night they were moved into the chain link chicken pen to prevent raccoons from getting to them, and during the day, they were all moved out into the shade under the trees. It was rather labor intensive, and little by little as Dad built the new area for them, fewer and fewer cages of rabbits needed to be moved.

It is a hanging cage system, with PVC pipe covering the posts so that no predators can crawl/climb up them. We still need to built a permanent cover over top of them, but right now, scrap plywood is doing the job! This new setup has made chores so much easier . . . and with over 20 adult rabbits, that is a blessing! We have four more does due in the next few days (Leah put nestboxes in with two of them today), and then we have two litters that were just recently weaned . . .

The goats are enjoying the cooler temperatures and the green grass! It is so nice to have something for them to browse a bit on again.


Little Flint . . . we're wondering if his being born so early and then laying out in the cold rain before we found him caused him some damage. He just doesn't seem quite 'right', and he is growing SO slowly. He sure is sweet, though!

Aurora and Legacy munching on hay . . . their primary source of food right now given the lack of browse and grass that we had. Slowly that is improving!

 One of our hens out free-ranging . . . on beautiful green grass!

Gunner's new hoop house that was built in the rain

Busy bees!

 The rain has caused flowers to begin blooming again which we are thankful for! Hopefully all of the hives will be able to build up enough (without sugar syrup!) to make it through the winter.

Newly planted spinach growing in the garden

One of two watermelons growing on our plants . . . our vine crops did very poorly this year, but at least it looks like we'll get at least one or two melons!

The tomato plants have rebounded from the drought, heat and blister beetles like we never could have imagined! If the fall frost holds off for another month and a half or so, we should have another big tomato crop!

Tomato flowers

The wild plum trees produced very few plums this year (again due to the drought and heat) so I wasn't able to can any jelly with them. The few red fruits brightened up the trees, though!

The day before the remnants of hurricane Isaac arrived, Leah and I put new tarps on two of the hoop houses . . .

The goats thought the tarp was something to play with at first. :)

Leah, with ever-present and curious Dixie, working on attaching the tarp to the cattle panels (Dixie loves to be by us whenever we are out there!)

Our new Alpine buck, Classic! I have been meaning to 'introduce' him here for awhile . . . we had been looking for a buck to breed to our does this fall and we were able to find one that was exactly what we were looking for! He is a sweetheart, and he and little Flint have become quite the buddies.


That is as far I had gotten with this post when the 'ping' of small hail hitting the windows and a quick check of the weather revealed that the storm had upgraded to severe. I quickly shut down the computer and headed downstairs. By that time, the hail was pounding down . . . first marble size, then golf ball, then tennis ball intermixed with smaller and even some larger hail than that. It was hail like I have never seen before.   

(All of the photos of the storm were taken towards the beginning of it . . . I was too distracted - by listening to mom's phone conversation with Ryan (he was on the road home when the storm hit, but thankfully, where he was wasn't as bad as where we live and he was able to make it home okay!), trying to check on animals through the windows, and more - to try photographing during the thick of it!)

The wind was so very strong and the air was a swirl of leaves, hail, and rain. It was coming down so heavy that we couldn't see past a few feet out the windows. The noise of the hail on the roof was deafening. And our goats! We could hear our newest goat as of this past Thursday bleating and bleating in a panic. Were they all all right? Were the hoop house shelters still standing? We couldn't see if they were or not.

The storm increased in intensity and with the rotating winds, we were beginning to wonder if it was turning tornadic. But as our power had gone out right when the storm began, we couldn't check the weather. Slowly but surely the hail lessened, the wind died down.

The thunder and lightening kept up for quite awhile so we weren't able to go out and check on everything until much later. We were using binoculars trying to see out in the goat pens. The bucks were all fine thankfully, and we could see Aurora and Lacy peek their heads out . . . then maybe 20 minutes later, we began to see the dairy girls venturing out as well. We were thanking the Lord that all of the goats made it through the storm okay!

The ground couldn't even be seen due to all of the hail and the leaves/branches/debris

After the hail had passed, it rained for quite awhile and there was also a dense fog

One of the larger hailstones that was by our front door

Our poor garden awhile after the storm had passed

The goats slowly venturing out of their hoop houses

Then came checking the damage . . . a window on the west side of our house was shattered and rather unusually, a window on the east side had a large crack in it as well. The west and north sides of our house have some siding damage, and the roof has some damage as well. Here is some of what we saw outside . . . these photos were taken hours after the storm went through and after all of the rain had passed so the hailstones had melted considerably!

A Cypress tree by our house that was completely stripped of leaves

It was very interesting seeing the rings in some of the hailstones! Most of them were more of a disc shape as opposed to being round.

One of the larger hailstones (again it had already been melting for about three hours by this time!) - it measured 2 3/8 inches across.

 A pile of hail on the ground on the west side of our house

The calm after the storm - photo by Leah

So yes, there is quite a bit of damage and clean-up to do, but thankfully, it is almost all minor (just a lot of it!) We are so thankful that we are all all right, the animals are all right, and that our house and outbuildings suffered only minor damage. We have so many things to thank the Lord for! 

The evening sky was beautiful as more clouds rolled in

My lantern was utilized for the first time due to a power outage! Thankfully, our wonderful electric crews had our power back up about 5 hours after the storm went through.

Interestingly enough, this storm affected only a very small area . . . it intensified very quickly and then spent itself out just as fast. The only place that lost power around here was our small local area!

This morning I went out and took a few more photos of some of the damage . . .

No grass to be seen . . . it is completely covered in leaves, branches and debris

The back of one of our window air units

 The broken window

Gunner and Ruger are all settled now after the storm. Poor Ruger had quite the 'homecoming'!

All of the green that you are seeing in the foreground and in the first goat pen is all from leaves (there wasn't any grass here thanks to the drought.)

The poor tomato plants. It's hard to believe that just yesterday morning they looked like this . . .

Leah's crate has seen better days (it was out by the goat pen as we had just recently used it to put a goat into.)

The hoop house that was damaged the most

A poor pepper plant with one partial pepper still attached

The bark on our fruit trees was badly damaged! This morning, Dad put vaseline on all of the very many wounds

See these 'holes' and pockmarks in the ground? Those are from hailstones.

Another view of the garden

 Our leaf littered driveway.

Today the sun has been shining, the temperature is in the seventies, the day is beautiful, and the air is filled with the delicious smell of cedar, pine, sweetgum and cypress (due to all of the fallen leaves.) And while we are surveying the damage and making lists of all the many things that now need to be done, we are thanking the Lord for His protection, and yes, the many blessings that we have seen (including another inch of rain. :) He is always faithful! And always good.

"Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name." Psalm 103:1