Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Winter Wonderland

Over the weekend, we had a beautiful snowfall and while it was only about an inch, it was a wet snow and it coated everything in either snow or ice. When morning came and the sun began peeking through the tree tops, I took a few photos from a window inside . . .

Sparkling tree branches . . . while the camera did not capture it well, the branches were just aglow as the early morning sunlight reflected off of the ice.


. . . and then I headed outdoors with my camera to enjoy capturing some of the sparkling beauty all around . . .


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


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


"As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:12


". . . the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children, to those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts to do them." Psalm 103:17-18


"The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all." Psalm 103:19


"Bless the LORD, O my soul!" Psalm 103:22b


The verses shared here are taken from the Psalm that I read the evening of the day these photos were taken . . . this Psalm really spoke to my heart and it came to mind again as I was uploading photos so I included some of the verses here.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Sunday Hymn ~ The Haven of Rest

My soul in sad exile was out on life's sea,
So burdened with sin and distressed,

Till I heard a sweet voice, saying, “Make Me your choice”;

And I entered the “Haven of Rest”!


I’ve anchored my soul in the “Haven of Rest,”

I’ll sail the wide seas no more;

The tempest may sweep over wild, stormy, deep,

In Jesus I’m safe evermore.


I yielded myself to His tender embrace,

In faith taking hold of the Word,

My fetters fell off, and I anchored my soul;

The “Haven of Rest” is my Lord.


I’ve anchored my soul in the “Haven of Rest,"
I’ll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep over wild, stormy, deep,

In Jesus I’m safe evermore.



The song of my soul, since the Lord made me whole,
Has been the old story so blest,

Of Jesus, who’ll save whosoever will have

A home in the “Haven of Rest.”


I’ve anchored my soul in the “Haven of Rest,”

I’ll sail the wide seas no more;

The tempest may sweep over wild, stormy, deep,

In Jesus I’m safe evermore.


Oh, come to the Savior, He patiently waits
To save by His power divine;

Come, anchor your soul in the “Haven of Rest,”

And say, “My Beloved is mine.”


I’ve anchored my soul in the “Haven of Rest,”

I’ll sail the wide seas no more;

The tempest may sweep over wild, stormy, deep,

In Jesus I’m safe evermore.


Written by Henry L. Gilmour; published 1890

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:18-19

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Planning for Spring

Months ago the garden seed catalogs arrived in the mail, and other than a quick flip-through, they were set aside until spring got a little closer. Time flew by so quickly since then and before we knew it, we were nearing the end of January and hadn't even begun getting our seed order together. Where did the days go?

So out came catalogs from our two favorite seed companies . . .


As well as all the seeds that were leftover from last year and also the ones I had saved . . .


And then the fun began. Dad figured out what new and unusual varieties of tomatoes and peppers he would like to grow (some are really interesting looking, and I look forward to seeing what they taste like!), while I put together the seed order for all of our 'regulars'. Plus a few new things, too, such as celery. That
is something I have wanted to grow for a long time, and hopefully it will be a success! Have any of you ever grown this crop before and have any tips to share? If so, I would appreciate hearing!

We finally finalized our order, and I was able to get it placed the beginning of this week. Once it arrives, it will be about time to start some things indoors! I am also wanting to build a cold frame outdoors so that we can get an even earlier start on lettuce. With how our small (very small) winter garden worked this year, we discovered that we likely could harvest lettuce year round if we planted succession crops throughout the year and then a large plot of it in the fall. So that is my goal for this next year . . . to have lettuce/spinach during all four seasons!


Doing all of this planning for the garden sure made me look forward to spring even more . . . all of the green, gardening, warm temperatures, flowers, springtime birds . . . happy sigh. One thing that will be really nice, too, about this spring over others is that since we have been able to accomplish so much outdoor work over the fall and winter months, we only have a few big projects that will need to be done early in the spring. That will be so nice!


Just for fun, for all of you vegetable gardeners out there, if you could grow one new crop this year, what would it be? I look forward to hearing your answers!

Friday, January 27, 2012

~ Family ~

This past Wednesday night Ryan, Ashley and Adelyn came over for dinner, and we had a wonderful time together! Here are a few photos that Mom took during the evening . . .

Ryan and Ashley visiting with Dad . . . something must have been funny!

Adelyn and I enjoyed quite a bit of time together, and she loved to stand up like this . . . and bounce. :) She kept me occupied helping her stay steady!

Those little chubby cheeks are so kissable!

Break time!

Leah playing with Adelyn later in the evening . . . it was sweet watching them together!

And the photos do not depict that time that Adelyn and her Grandpa enjoyed together, or when her Grandma was down on the floor playing with her, or the wonderful conversations that we all enjoyed together . . . it's simple times together as family that oftentimes make the best memories, and this evening was one of those!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Safely Here

Days were slipping by, and Chloe still wasn't going into labor so we contacted the breeder that we had gotten her from, and they said that it was likely that her due date was a week later than they had originally thought. So . . . the waiting and checking and waiting and checking and waiting continued. :)

This past Saturday night she began showing the signs that labor was near so we all got an hour or two of sleep before we were woken up by her bleating. (We had a baby monitor out in the barn with the speakers in our rooms.) Dad and I went out to check on her, and she was giving soft little bleats which is an indication of early labor. Then began about 15 to 30 minute checks on her . . . after one of those checks when we were inside with the baby monitor on, it seemed to me that her bleating took a slightly different tone. I went outside to see, and she was laying down now and pushing.

After hurrying inside to get Dad and Leah, we made it back outside just shortly before baby began to make its appearance. We could tell that it was a big kid so Leah pulled some to help deliver it. At 3:38 in the morning, a beautiful big buckling weighing 12 lbs 2 oz. was born! Chloe began the clean-up job, but since she was a little slow and it was cold, Leah and I helped with paper towels and a bath towel . . .


Getting the new little one all cleaned up

Daddy watching

Chloe had been sonogramed with twins so we were waiting and expecting baby #2 to make its appearance soon . . . but after waiting awhile, seeing what was happening with Chloe, and Leah eventually doing a bit of an internal exam on her, we realized that baby #2 had died early in the pregnancy. That was a little disappointing, but we were so glad that we got one adorable live kid from her!

This birth experience was so much easier than Sadie's, and it was exciting as well!

We weren't sure how Chloe was going to be as a mom or how careful she would be so that she didn't step on him or lay on him (which is something that always needs to be watched for the first few days), but she is doing an amazing job. She is so careful to not step on him or even bump him, and always seems to be aware of where he is. She is so gentle with him, too! It was sweet watching them together . . . especially after we put him in the kid warmer that Leah and I had made, and she went and laid down right in front of it . . .



After staying up for a couple more hours to keep an eye on them and to make sure he was doing okay, and then after feeding Rora and Lacy their bottles, we headed to bed for some much needed rest around 7:00.

Mama and baby (we're still trying to find a good name for him) are both doing really well, and it has been so fun watching them together. Yesterday I went out and took a few more photos of him . . . he has grown so much already!




When he's in the warmer, Chloe still likes to lay right in front of it :)

So now all of the kids are safely here! (Until Dixie's turn in April. :) This was an exciting learning experience and one that I enjoyed. New life truly is amazing in so many ways . . . just one tiny part of it is what takes place with the umbilical cord through the birth. In a normal birth, the kid's front feet and head emerge first. Then once the abdomen begins to move through the pelvis, the contractions crush the cord and baby begins to breath on its own. Once baby is born, where the cord was crushed, it breaks in two, and because it was crushed, there is no bleeding. A perfect design. With Sadie's not normal labor, though, she didn't really have contractions so the kids were born with the cord uncrushed and still attached so I needed to tie them off and cut them.

This is just one tiny little example of the amazing design and purpose that the Creator, the Lord God, placed in His creation. It truly is awe-inspiring to witness His hand so clearly in all that is around us! And especially in the miracle of new life.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

January Days

Our January days have slowed down to a relaxing pace and after enjoying a beautiful almost 70 degree day on Monday, colder weather has returned making it nice and cozy indoors. Though, chores are taking a little longer now because of that! Thankfully, though, we have only had a few days when we needed to do them three times a day due to frozen waterers.

The moon early in the morning when I went out to check on Chloe and Sadie before Sadie had her kids

The days are slowly slipping by bringing spring closer, and I am enjoying each and every one of them . . . enjoying those little things that add so much to life . . . like seeing the nestboxes full with hens nestled down in them . . .


Playful gray squirrels down in the woods . . .


Buds on the fruit trees just waiting for spring . . .


A cheerful little Yellow-Rumped Warbler flitting through the trees . . .


Bright green amidst all of the brown . . .


With the chillier weather the past few days, I have also been able to spend more time indoors up in the sewing room and made a skirt this week and did some more machine quilting as well.

And of course, Aurora and Legacy add a lot to the days! We have been bottle feeding four times a day now so are down to only one middle of the night feeding. Over the next few days, though, we should be able to eliminate that as well.

Lacy on the left and Rora on the right

They are growing so much, and have recently discovered that they can jump! Making it difficult to keep them safely inside of their little pen that we have indoors. Dad is working on building a new and taller enclosure for them, and we are looking forward to when we can use that.


Sweet Rora who is starting to look a bit like her mom

Their personalities sure are developing, and Legacy is turning out to be the rambunctious one! She's the smaller of the two, but definitely the most lively. Aurora is more laid back, though she still loves to play. It is so cute watching them leap up in the air and twist and turn! Once it warms up outside again, we'll start taking them outdoors to run around and play which will be fun.



I just realized that I never shared about naming them! We wanted names that had some kind of meaning for them, and after brainstorming together for awhile, we named baby #1 Aurora (or Rora for short) which means "dawn" in
Spanish. (We were trying to think of something that had to do with "beginning" since she is the first baby goat born on our place.) Then we named baby #2 Legacy (or Lacy for short) since she is the last kid that Sadie will ever have.

And speaking of Sadie, I have great news regarding her . . . she has stood up on her own every day this week! We couldn't believe it on Monday when Leah went in to feed her her grain, and she stood up! We had been making her stand on her front legs before we would give her her grain, but she surprised us by getting all the way up off the ground! Then each day since, she has stood up once on her own. Today was her best stand as she was up for about a minute and was steady on her feet the whole time instead of being wobbly like she had been the other times. She also stretched herself while standing, and she sure seemed to enjoy that! And instead of falling to the ground after standing for awhile, she lowered herself down. She is making so much progress!

Her bad leg she still can't use much other than using it more like a balance point, though this morning, she did put a tiny bit of weight on it. So with Sadie standing up on her own some, and Leah and I getting her up several times a day and continuing to exercise and do therapy with her when she is lying down, it is looking promising that she will walk again someday!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Denim Quilt

Many an evening in December found Leah with her quilt in her lap hand sewing the binding around the edges. And now . . . it is finished!

She also made the afghan at the foot of the bed

She did a great job making her first quilt, and it turned out so nice. It's also really soft and warm, and surprisingly, isn't terribly heavy. Already we're looking forward to making another one or two out of the rest of our denim scraps!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sweet Times with Adelyn

One day last week we got to babysit Adelyn and then another day, Ryan, Ashley and Adelyn came over for awhile. We always love the times we get to spend with all of them! Adelyn tends to be the center of attention, though, and the one who has the most photos taken of her :) . . .

Adelyn and I having fun together on the floor . . . 'talking', smiling, laughing

Looking over to Aunt Leah

And back to Aunt Sarah again!

I know I am probably biased :), but she has got to be one of the cutest little babies! And oh! Her smiles are enough to melt your heart. And you can't help but laugh when she laughs as it's just so cute!

Spending time with her Grandma and Grandpa . . . and 'reading' her favorite book :)

Then Dad gave her the 'opportunity' to wear his hat - it was so cute!

Camo hat and a book about farm animals . . . she's learning young! :)

Mesmerized by the pigs

Such special times . . . and they make wonderful memories . . . Adelyn cuddled in my lap while reading her the portion of Scripture in Mark when Jesus is saying to let the little children come to Him (granted, she doesn't understand it now, but someday she will!) . . . watching Leah rock her in the rocking chair at naptime . . . playing hymns on the piano again to help her fall asleep . . . listening to her squeal and seeing her face break into big smiles when her Daddy and Mommy come back . . . seeing Ryan and Ashley teaching and training this precious little one . . . watching my Dad hold her in his lap and talk with her . . . seeing my Mom with her snuggled in her arms while reading to her and watching her get Adelyn to laugh . . . and so many more! Yes, Adelyn is one precious little blessing that has our hearts filled with so much love for her!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Twins!

What an amazing, exhausting, wonderful past two days this has been! Sadie was induced on Monday morning which resulted in a long day and night of keeping an eye on her because as soon as active labor started, she was going to need a lot of assistance. She ended up going into labor Tuesday morning, and it did not go at all according to what a traditional labor should be. We had never read or heard of anything before like what happened with her!

The first little doeling surprised us by making her appearance very early in the labor and when only Leah and I were home, and she came fast with some assistance. Sadie took to her right away and did a wonderful job getting her all cleaned up!

Trying to find her legs while mama goat gets her all cleaned up

So precious

It was an amazing moment seeing this little one enter the world . . . her first few breaths, how she tried to stand on her little wobbly legs, her little bleats, and how very cute she was. Shortly after she was born, Dad and Mom got home (we were actually on the cell phone with them from the time baby #1 was born until right before they got home), and then we prepared for baby #2. It was a whole hour in coming as Sadie either couldn't or wouldn't push, and eventually, she seemed to just give up and went almost entirely limp. This was a hard and stressful hour! Leah ended up delivering baby #2 with Sadie hardly helping at all . . . Leah did such a wonderful job doing this as did Dad as he encouraged her through the process.

This little one, another little doeling, came with a white star on her forehead and an entirely brown front leg!

Once baby #2 arrived Sadie perked up and cleaned her all up as well

Mom and I were caring for both of these babies inside and bottle feeding them colostrum while Leah and Dad worked to find and deliver baby #3 which could be felt from the outside. Only, they couldn't find the baby inside . . . Dad called the vet and she came out right away and did a thorough examination of Sadie. To her surprise, she found that "baby #3" wasn't a baby at all, but was something else inside of Sadie - she was really curious about it, so today, she and another vet came out and did an ultrasound on her just to see what 'it' was. It turns out that it is a huge hematoma (about 4 in. x 8 in.) that has been there for at least several weeks (all along we, and the vet, thought it was another kid as it felt like one.) Given the circumstances, it is amazing that Sadie is still alive and that her kids survived all this time and were delivered alive.

The vet, and we as well, are baffled as to what all has happened to and with Sadie over the past six weeks as there seems to be so many different things going on with her. She is one determined goat, though, and she managed to live despite everything against her (it is very unusual for a down goat to live very long) and she was able to carry almost to term two beautiful, healthy kids. We are so thankful to the Lord for how this is all turning out!

Since Sadie can't care for her kids, we are bottle feeding them which was very difficult at first getting them to take a bottle . . . last night was a really long night! They were not looking very good, and we weren't sure if they were going to make it. This morning, though, things began to look better and now they are both eating very well. They are pretty steady on their legs and seem quite energetic, too!

Me trying to bottle feed Baby #1 with Leah in the background trying to feed Baby #2 . . . they started out being outside in the barn in their little kid warmer, but seemed to be struggling with their breathing and the cold. So they are now residents inside until warm weather returns.

Leah bottle feeding Baby #1 this morning - she's finally starting to get it figured out! (The goat kid, that is. :)


I love their little faces! And look at those ears . . . she has some growing to do to catch up with those!

Snuggled up together in their crate

This was an incredible experience, and it was a special time for our family as well working together to try to get these kids safely delivered and to care for them and for Sadie, too.

Baby #2 standing and actually still for the camera for a moment

The kids are doing great now, and we're hoping that continues! Sadie is doing well considering all that she has been through, and the vet is optimistic about her being able to walk again. So now that her kids are here, physical therapy will begin again in earnest!

Leah and I with the kids . . . and trying to get them to be looking towards the camera. It didn't work! :)

Meanwhile, we're still waiting for Chloe's kids to make their appearance. So far, Chloe seems like she hasn't a care in the world, though, we are seeing some signs that kidding should be coming soon . . . so hopefully all will go well with that!