Friday, April 18, 2014

Thankful for my Dad

Today we celebrated my Dad’s birthday, and I’ve been thinking about some of the many things I am thankful for in him (and there are a lot! :) . . .

I love getting up in the morning, walking down the dark hall to the office where one light is on to see him reading his Bible and spending time with the Lord.

I love his sincere love for God, His truth, and for proclaiming and defending that truth.

I love his love for his family . . . always there, strong, protective, willing to do the hard things, teaching, guiding, and much more.

I love his smile, his laugh, hearing him whistle, his sense of humor . . . out of anyone in our family, he can probably get me laughing the easiest!

I love his desire to help us achieve our dreams and goals whether it be farm/garden things, ministry opportunities, our businesses, or simply things that we enjoy doing.

I love how he likes to spend time with us.

I love how I can always talk to him . . . share my heart, get his wisdom and counsel, hear what advice he might have.

But most of all, I just love him. I am so thankful that the Lord blessed me with him as my dad!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Family Birdwatching Outing

After a very busily full week of outdoor work and more, we were all ready for a relaxing Saturday this past weekend! We loaded up the truck with binoculars, bird books, the spotting scope and tripod, cameras, and a cooler with drinks and then headed to one of our favorite conservation areas.

One of the pools with a few Shovelers out on it . . . the trees are finally beginning to get a tinge of green to them!

This was our first time birding with the spotting scope, and it was so fun to use! Especially when there were groups of shorebirds . . . with the scope, we were able to see them in great detail and identify them. Pectoral Sandpiper and Black-bellied Plover were the two species we had the treat of seeing other than the typical Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs.

Leah looking through the spotting scope

Leah took this photo of me photographing the below . . .

The flowers on this tree were beautiful!

Looking out across one of the bodies of water towards the bluffs.

Leah and Mom looking through the scope at the Black-Bellied Plovers. It took a bit for us to identify these as they were still in their winter plumage, though were just beginning to transition. If it weren't for the scope, we wouldn't have had a clue!

A pair of American White Pelicans flying over

It won't be long before this scene will be full of green! (other than the water and sky that is. :)

A path along the treeline that I walked a ways down which was so pleasant

Looking back towards the truck where Dad and Leah were scanning the water for birds

A little Western Painted turtle that was crossing the road

 Dad picked him up so I could photograph the beautiful shell underneath (which is called a Plastron.)

It was a delightful Saturday, and we're already looking forward to going back once things green up a bit more and there are more bird species migrating through!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spring on Our Homestead

This past week, I have been thoroughly enjoying my favorite season and these glorious spring days! 

It was so nice to be able to spend a lot of time outdoors in the beautiful sunshine, warm breezes, and with spring awakening all around. It was also really nice being able to cross many things off of my to-do list! Such as . . .

-- tilling a large portion of the vegetable garden twice
(which was easier said than done! The ground was still quite wet making it difficult to till the first time . . . but it needed to be done as things had to get planted and more rain is on the way.)

In the process of tilling (once it was tilled, the ground began drying out quickly thanks to the wind.) It was so nice to finally get started on the garden!

-- planting over 230 onion plants, around 60 broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage plants which I had started from seed, and then 13 lbs of seed potatoes with my Mom and Leah (which was fun to do together!)

The onions

One of the cabbage plants

-- making raised beds for carrots that are yet to be planted

The carrot beds

-- and doing the first full beehive inspections of the season with my Dad . . . it was exciting to see that all five of the hives look great and are building up quickly. Here’s hoping we have another great honey year!

Last evening I took a walk in the beautiful evening sunlight and captured the below photos (as well as the ones above save for the tilling one) which give a glimpse into the awakening spring here . . .

I love seeing the cheery daffodils!

Some of our Boers out grazing while the sun lit everything up with its rich, golden rays and slowly sank below the horizon

One of Aurora's bucklings . . . he is really sweet!

Rhubarb growing

 The apple trees are beginning to leaf out!

This doesn't look like much (yet :), but it is the new strawberry bed which I planted and mulched last weekend. 25 Everbearers are planted on the left side of the cedar logs, and 25 June Bearers are planted on the right.

One of the growing strawberry plants

A bunch of daffodils growing in our yard

Leah was out playing with Kymber while I was photographing so I snapped this one of her. She's grown a lot since I last shared photos of her, hasn't she?!

The current chicken coop soon to be milking barn with the hens out in front, and our dairy does and their kids in the pen behind them

 Willow with her two bucklings (and the doeling was curled up right behind her, too)

It has certainly been a wonderful week!

Monday, April 7, 2014

At the Piano . . .

Last evening after chores were finished, I came inside, sat at the piano, and played and sang some of my favorite songs in the Bright Lights Let My Life be a Light song book . . .

Be Thou My Vision

In Christ Alone

May the Mind of Christ my Savior

Before the Throne of God Above

I am Resolved

Let My Life be a Light

It is Well

and more.

It was just me, the piano, and my Lord . . . I love times like these! As my fingers ran across the keys and I sang to the Lord the words of each of the songs, my heart was both spiritually refreshed and uplifted, as well as encouraged and convicted. Each song has such powerful words . . . of praise and thanksgiving to God, of telling the great things that He has done for us and His love, of service and consecration to Him, of obedience and following Him, and so much more!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Reflecting the Son

The below "Apples of Gold" was shared on Facebook by The Berean Call (my very favorite ministry), and I found it to be so encouraging and convicting! I hope it will be a blessing to you as well and an encouragement in your walk with the Lord . . . .

March 23 - Apples of Gold

As we grow and mature in the Lord, we become more Christlike. We “reflect” His attitudes and we show His working in our lives. As the lesser light of the moon is just a reflection of the greater light of the sun, so we only reflect the image of the Son. Therefore, to become more Christlike is simply to conform our lives, our attitudes, and our minds to Him.

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." —Romans 12:2

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Willow's Kidding

Willow's kids are two weeks old already, and I am just now getting around to posting about her kidding! The aforementioned big project in my last farm related post is part of the reason . . . last week found us quite busy not only working on, but completing, phase 1 of transforming our chicken pen/coop into a pen for our milkers/milking barn, and phase 2 will hopefully begin soon.

We moved Willow and Dixie and all of their kids to the new pen, and the kids especially enjoyed it! But I am getting a little ahead of myself. :)

Going back to Willow's kidding . . . she went into labor two weeks ago yesterday, and with how things were going, Leah and I both had a feeling that something wasn't quite right. Sure enough, eventually there came a nose, but . . . no feet. So Leah went in while Dad and I held Willow still. There wasn't much working space inside, and it took quite a bit of patience and finagling on Leah's part to finally straighten both front legs in order to get the kid in a position that it could be delivered.

The kid was obviously quite large, and it took a great deal of effort on Willow's part (and Leah's!) to get his head and shoulders delivered and then progress stopped. Dad took over at that point and gently yet firmly pulled the kid the rest of the way out. It was a little tense there for a bit, and there was a quick whispered prayer on my part to the Lord that the kid would be able to be delivered safely . . . and a prayer of thanks afterwards when he was!

After the initial 'enjoy her new kid' moment (always fun to watch!), Willow was obviously not interested in trying to deliver kid #2 and even with me holding the buckling up out of her reach, she still wasn't. At that point, I brought the distractingly noisy buckling inside while Dad and Leah helped deliver the second kid - she needed some gentle pulling, too, as she was also large.

We had originally thought that Willow might have triplets since she was so big beforehand, but with the size of these two kids, we were sure it was just twins. (You know what's going to happen next, right? :)

We were all admiring the two kids, enjoying watching Willow with them, when Dad noticed another foot . . . Willow was going to have triplets! Now, just one foot and no second foot or head is a problem, but when the bottom of that foot is facing up, you know the kid is not in the typical presentation! It could either be upside down (more unlikely) or breech. 

Leah went in yet again, discovered that the kid was indeed breech, found and straightened the second leg, waited for Willow to begin pushing again, and when that happened, quickly pulled out another little buckling. He looked tiny compared to the other two!

All three shortly after the third kid (on the far right) was delivered

We were all so glad once all three kids were safely here! Willow was tired, but was doing her job wonderfully with each of them. One big question was in our minds . . . would she accept all three and be able to raise them all or would we be bottle feeding? And . . . she did! (and is.) That was a relief! It helped, we think, that the little guy was so tenacious. He has quite the personality!

All three kids attempting to nurse at the same time - the two in the back kept taking turns :)

Our first set of triplets!

So now we have five Alpine kids frolicking together out in their pen, and it is so fun to watch them! (And I just might have a video to share of them soon.)