Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Garden Planning

Today the wind has been a howling and the snow has been blowing . . . quite the contrast to the record high we set on Monday that was in the 70's! The beginning of the week was beautiful, and we spent quite a bit of time outdoors enjoying the warmer temperatures while they lasted. Weather like that sure makes me eager for spring! Only about a month and a half left to go. :) 

Before the shift back to winter weather, we had over a day of rain (which we are so thankful for as we really needed it.) The rain, and the resulting muddy mess outside, made chores a little more interesting than normal! But since it was warm out, it was kind of fun, too :) . . .

Me a little wet right after getting in from evening chores

While spring is still a ways off yet, I have been busy planning for it over the past weeks . . . .

After going through all of the seeds leftover from last year and then going through the catalogs, I finally finalized our vegetable seed order. Then Dad looked through it to see if there was anything he would like to change or add, Leah figured out which herbs she wants to grow, and we ordered our seeds! 

I always enjoy picking out which seeds to grow, and this year, took my time reading about different varieties, comparing their varying traits, etc. trying to find what would be best for us to grow this year. 

I highlighted all the varieties that sounded good, and then narrowed it down from there

Several new varieties were picked that are said to be more heat and drought tolerant and/or squash bug resistant so hopefully that will prove true! The long term forecast for this year is indicating another hot and dry spring/summer here (though I am hoping it is proven wrong!) so I took that into consideration when planning the garden as well as the different bug problems that we had last gardening season.

Just looking at the colorful packets makes me eager to have these growing in the garden again . . . and harvesting the produce! 

Our order from Baker Creek arrived this week, and I hope to get the onion seeds started tomorrow. We've only grown onions before by using sets or plants so it will be interesting to see how it works. I've liked using the plants and have been pleased with the results, but the ones we have available here are not storage onions, hence the reason we're venturing into starting them from seed . . . .

Then in a couple of weeks, it will be time to start most everything else that isn't direct seeded such as the tomatoes, celery and broccoli.

This morning I rough drafted a garden plan trying to figure out the crop rotation and how to make the best use of our space . . . we're hoping to get the garden started early again like last year, so if the weather is cooperative, that means that the tilling and planting will begin mid-March!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Guess Who . . .

. . . has a family!!! 

Yes! Last night, sweet Hannah was moved to the "My Family Found Me" page on Reece's Rainbow! To say that I was happy when seeing that is quite an understatement. :) To think that if all goes well and as planned, before long she will have a family of her own to love her and care for her! And prayerfully, a family who will also teach her about Jesus and His love and sacrifice for her. My heart is so full . . . and so thankful that (if all goes well) Hannah is going to have a family!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Caring for the Orphans ~ Continued

"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." James 1:27


Awhile back in this post, I shared a bit about caring for orphans and a little about what was going on in my heart . . . before that time (and since!), I have been frequenting a website that I would highly recommend to those who have a heart for orphans and needy children . . .

It is a site which lists children with special needs who need families, and there are abundant opportunities that we can help! While being able to adopt one (or more!) of these precious children would be wonderful, there are also other ways to make a difference in their lives . . . you can pray for them, donate to their adoption funds, donate to specific families who are adopting, and more.

There are so many children on Reece's Rainbow that have captured my heart and whom I have been praying for . . . and some have already found families!

I love going to the "My Family Found Me Page" to see which little ones now have families and to rejoice for them! There have been times when I've nearly jumped out of my chair, a big smile on my face and tears in my eyes, when I see that one of the dear children that I have been praying for and loving from afar, finally has a family. 

Then there are other precious ones who I am praying for who still do not have families . . . ones that when I first caught sight of their faces, my heart went out to them, ached for them . . . here are some of those who are especially on my heart (you can click on their name/photo in order to go to their page on Reece's Rainbow) . . . .



Would you please join me in praying for these sweet children? And especially that families would come forward and be able to adopt them?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Feels Like Springtime!

It has been simply beautiful here this week with highs in the 40's and 50's, and today, the temperature reached 61 degrees! Which was perfect for getting the windows washed inside and outside as well as doing some outdoor work. The warmer temps have made it perfectly delightful for spending time outside . . . and I also appreciated the break from middle of the day animal chores unthawing waterers. :)

And I'm not the only one who has been enjoying the warmer days either . . . .

After weeks of no honeybee activity due to the low temperatures, they have been out in full force now! At least a full force for January. :) I am thrilled that so far all three hives are still alive . . . only a little over two months to go and then there should be pollen and nectar available again.

Kale in the garden . . . we're still being able to enjoy occasional garden salads which has been nice!

After our brief reprieve from the cold, now it's back to more normal weather for this time of year and to working on indoor projects for awhile again!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Day with Family

The first day of the new year found Leah and I very much enjoying watching our two little nieces for the day. We had so much fun together! Later in the afternoon, Mom and Dad were home, too, and then Ryan and Ashley joined us all for the evening and dinner. It was really an enjoyable and special day! And a great way to start the new year . . . .

 Helping Aunt Sarah!

With the several past weeks having very few days that managed to get above freezing, most afternoons found me bringing all of the rabbit bottles inside, thawing them out, and filling them with warm water before bringing them back out to the rabbits. Well, Adelyn saw me carrying the bottles over to the sink and jumped right in to help! She carried the rest of the bottles over to me one by one. :) It was so cute! Her parents sure are doing a good job teaching her!

Reading books with Aunt Leah . . . this book has textures in it, so Leah was helping her feel the different ones.

After coming back inside from watering the rabbits, I found Adelyn bringing her hat and mittens to Leah . . . her way of asking if she can go outside! (Something that happens very frequently when she is here as she loves going outdoors.) So Leah and I bundled her all up and headed outdoors to enjoy the four or so inches of snow that was on the ground.

 She had so much fun getting dressed up! And kept laughing and laughing while we tried to get her mittens and boots on. :)

Leah and Adelyn . . . I love this photo of them!

Leah captured this precious photo of Adelyn . . . do you think she might have liked being outside? :)

Not quite sure how to walk on the snow, though! So most times I held her hands and helped her.

As it was only around 20 degrees this day, we didn't stay outdoors terribly long as we didn't want her to get cold. Before long after getting back inside,  little Gracen woke up from her nap and was ready to join in on the fun . . .

Still waking up. :) She's so snuggly after her naps!

Adelyn sittin' by her Grandpa and enjoying looking at something that she finds fascinating . . . the computer screen!

I'm not sure who enjoyed this more . . . Mom or Gracen :)

 "Look at me! I can stand!"

She thinks that's pretty fun. :) Not only does she love to stand, but she's also been working on getting up onto her hands and knees. It won't be long before she'll be crawling!

 Sweet little Gracen . . . how we love her!

One of Adelyn's favorite things to do is to be read to . . . something Grandma is always happy to do with her!

After Ryan and Ashley arrived, we were having so much fun together that I completely forgot about taking photos until right when Leah and I were getting ready to go milk and they were getting ready to head for home. So, all I ended up with were these fun shots of Ashley and Adelyn playing together . . .

Someone's being silly :)

Ashley's such a good Mommy! I love watching her with her girls.

So that sums up our first day of the New Year!

Just a little note . . . in case you all haven't noticed yet, I have started replying to your all's comments again. :) I missed that interaction with you all too much!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Farm Life ~ Butchering

While not our favorite thing to do on our farm, butchering is a necessary one . . . and it is fun to work together, and it's especially nice to see the freezer filling up with so much meat that we have raised ourselves! We've been doing a lot of it lately including the fourteen cockerels that Leah had raised. While smaller than a Cornish Cross, each bird will provide at least one and half meals. Dad did more butchering today so we'll be cooking rabbit in the oven overnight, and then tomorrow morning Leah and I will pick them, bag the meat up, and get it in the freezer! Along with all of 
the rich broth, too. :)

The below photos are from one of our butchering days . . . it was fun working together while listening to music to help energize us!




Packaging and Labeling

We're just about finished with all the butchering now for awhile which I think we're all glad for. :) I'm not sure how much rabbit and chicken meat we ended up with (though I know it is a lot!), and from the above butchering day, we ended up with around twenty-five pounds of Chevon in the freezer. What a blessing!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcoming a New Year

Another year has gone, another year has come . . . 2012 was a wonderful one for us full of so many joys, learning, growth, blessings, sweet friendships, refinement, and much more. The Lord’s mercies, guidance, and enduring faithfulness were again so evident in many ways! As I sit here thinking about the new year (and trying to put thoughts into words!), a poem by Frances Ridley Havergal came to mind and it echoes the desire of my heart . . .

Another year is dawning!
Dear Master, let it be,
In working or in waiting,
Another year with Thee.
Another year in leaning,
Upon Thy loving breast,
Of ever-deepening trustfulness,
Of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of mercies,
Of faithfulness and grace;
Another year of gladness,
In the shining of Thy face.
Another year of progress,
Another year of praise;
Another year of proving
Thy presence "all the days."

--Frances Ridley Havergal

I hope that this next year will be a blessed one for all of you, and one filled 

with growth in the Lord for all of us!

. . . that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:9-14