Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sienna's Turn

The rain is pouring down today and rumbles of thunder roll across the sky occasionally. We are getting another deluge of rain here (around 3+ inches so far!) which changed our plans and instead of being at the farmers market, I spent the morning at home cleaning, putting together gift sets and packaging orders, and caring for our two new goat kids.

Yes, we have two more bucklings now! Things have not gone as we would hope with them, though, which means taking them to Sienna every 4 hours or so and helping them nurse. But I am getting a little ahead of myself . . .

Dad spending some time with Aurora's kids until his help was needed . . . notice how wet his coat is! It was raining just a bit yesterday morning, too. :)

Backing up . . . when I checked on Sienna yesterday morning, she was just starting active labor. Things progressed normally for a bit, and then stopped. I'll spare you the details, but what followed was hours of hard work and a long, slow, rough labor with some other complications intermixed, trying to get the two bucklings delivered. They were both in pretty good presentations and they were not big weight-wise, but they were thick and broad and Sienna did not expand the way she should have.

The second kid was born alive, but not breathing. From past experience, Leah and Dad knew just what to do. Leah held him upside down and cleared mouth, Dad began gentle chest compressions, and the kid began breathing, thankfully! (As an FYI, most of the 'stuff' on his back end is wood shavings, hay, etc. from the barn stall.)

The birth was so rough on Sienna, and then adding in that she is a first-freshener (meaning, first kidding for her), she did not accept her kids. Which means, we did all the cleaning up on them, rubbing them vigorously to stimulate them to suck, try to walk, etc. They also cannot stay in the stall with her so they are currently in a crate facing her so at least she can see them and get more used to them.

Sienna's not so sure about this! 

Then every 3 to 4 hours, we go out to feed them. The process at first took took three of us with me holding Sienna firmly by her horns, bracing to keep her still; Dad firmly holding her back leg to keep her from kicking the kids; and Leah helping them nurse one by one. Each 'session' has gotten easier as Sienna learned the process. So much so that today, two of us are able to do it easily. While it's not what we would have wanted to have to do, it's much better and easier than bottle feeding and we are thankful that it is going as well as it is!

Buckling #1

Buckling #2 . . . they are both really cute!

Each time, we let the kids play for a bit in her stall, and we are hoping that she'll eventually put '2 and 2' together and accept them. We're not holding our breath on that one, though :) as it is quite unlikely and not looking promising. At least she's able to feed them!

This is really a very small 'wrong' thing happening, yet it made me think about the fallen world we live in. Particularly since I had just mentioned in the previous post the design and instincts God placed in the animals when He created them. It's not just we humans who experience the effects of the fall of man, sin and death entering the world, and the curse, but all of God's "very good" creation was also affected. It reminds me of a verse in Roman 8 . . . .

"For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now." (Romans 8:22)

The very next verses continue regarding ourselves:

"And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it." (Romans 8:23-25)

The whole of chapter 8 is beautiful and really encouraging, and I could keep quoting the rest, though I'll stop here. :)

Even though this world as a whole is so corrupted and full of suffering, pain, sin, death, hardships, and disease, yet we (those who are believers in Christ) have such a hope that we look forward to in Jesus Christ. Our final redemption and adoption as sons, and what a glorious day that will be!

And in the meantime, we have our lives here on earth to live for Him and His glory, and to live out the two greatest commandments: Loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and loving others. It makes life an exciting journey strewn with blessings and joys along the way!

Well, I better bring this post to a close . . . it's feeding time again. :)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Kidding Time

It has been another really busy week so far! For me, the beautiful, warm first few days were filled with outdoor work such as planting 40+ tomato plants, hauling away construction scrap, and similar tasks, plus lots of indoor things, our ladies Bible study, and a fun shopping time with Mom and Leah. There is certainly never a lack of things to do in the springtime. :)

Our tomato plants started indoors grew really well this year - when this photo was taken, they were in the process of being hardened off.

Today the warm sunshine made its exit for awhile leaving behind chilly, rainy weather. Our garden is appreciating the moisture and more of the seeds are beginning to germinate which is always exciting to see. I love seeing the rows come to life with growing plants! (except for the weeds :) - I wouldn't mind not seeing any of those green living things in the garden!) But . . . that's all for another post once I can get some pictures on a sunny day.

This one catches up on the excitement of Aurora's kidding last week! It was a fast labor, but a bit eventful. Once we got home from Dad's birthday lunch, I checked on her and she was clearly in labor and was having strong pushing contractions. Leah and I hurried to change clothes and grab the kidding kit. I was back out there first and quickly could tell that something was not right.

Assistance was definitely needed! Dad, Ivan, and I got Aurora up on her feet so Leah could go in and do the manipulations needed. It took a fair bit of work first to figure out what exactly was going on inside! The kid had both front legs back and its head bent way forward with the chin tucked underneath the chest so in order to get it in a deliverable position, Leah had to find the front legs and pull them forward and find the head and bring it up. It was harder than it sounds and quite the process . . . my sister was pretty amazing. :)

Once the kid was in the right position, he was quickly born. Another kid, a beautiful paint doeling followed next. And then . . . another buckling! Yes, Aurora gave us our first set of Boer triplets! We had wondered if she might as she was huge. Thankfully mama goat and babies are all doing well and she easily accepted all three of them. She's a great mom and is caring for them wonderfully.

Shortly after all three were born . . . Aurora was still cleaning them up and the first two were figuring out how to stand on their wobbly legs.

It's always exciting to have goat kids born! So amazing to see new life come into the world . . . and to see how God created within the animals the instincts for them to know how to care for their young.

Being born is hard work! The first kid found a comfy resting place right next to Leah

Once the kids were all safely here and had had some time with Aurora, Leah and I did a few vet related things with them. After that, nothing more was needed for the first two, though the third kid needed help with nursing for the first 24 hours or so. We had really hoped that if we ever had Boer triplets that we wouldn't need to bottle feed so we're thankful it wasn't necessary.

The first buckling exploring 

The adorable paint doeling (we'll be keeping her!)

Naptime today

Goat kids are so fun and these three seem especially sweet. They love attention! A few days after they were born, Leah took the below video on her phone of them learning how to play - or at least one of them :) - which is always entertaining to see . . . .

(She took the video after spending some time with them, hence her comments at the end.)

Now we're waiting for our second (and last) kidding of the season . . .


Sienna is due this Friday and I think she is more than ready!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Celebrating Dad's Birthday

Dad's birthday was this past week and it also was Aurora's due date so while we had things planned to do for his special day, we also needed to keep an eye on her so came home a couple of times to check on her. We began the day by heading out to one of our favorite conservation areas to do some bird watching and walking. It was a lovely day . . . somewhat cool with a warm sun and a gentle breeze.

It was really enjoyable to be out in it soaking in the sunshine and the beauty in God's creation all around! And of course, spending time together which we always love. :) The conservation area was alive with activity and bird calls . . . ducks, warblers, geese, sparrows, shorebirds, rails, and a definite highlight: Bald Eagles, including young fledglings in the nests and being fed by their parents.

A Red-Winged Blackbird male displaying his colorful wing patches and singing away 

Mom looking at some ducks from the truck 

One of the Bald Eagle nests . . . it had three young eagles in it! We set up our spotting scope and had some neat looks at them. 

Leah took this photo of an adult Bald Eagle using her phone through the spotting scope

She did the same to take one of the young eagles in the nest

After watching the eagles for awhile, we took the scope down and were looking at some other birds when in swooped another adult eagle carrying a fish in its talons . . . .


It was quite the sight to see it fly into the nest and begin feeding its young!

A taste of the beautiful views 

Dad found some shorebirds and was looking at them through the scope and Ivan found . . . me! :) 

Special and fun times together for Ivan and Leah . . . at times talking and at others breaking into smiles and laughter, as they were here in this photo.

Me (phone photo by Leah)

Walking along the road 

We had the treat of seeing an elusive American Bittern! We startled it out of the marshy area, and it flew across landing in a more secluded spot. Here, Ivan, Mom and Leah were attempting to find where it went while Dad talked with another birder who was driving by. 

So peaceful! There is just something relaxing, refreshing and renewing being out in the quiet beauty of God's creation. 

Looking at a Sora Rail . . . these birds are always fun to see when they are migrating through in the spring, and we heard and saw a lot of them! 

Happy sigh . . . one of my favorite things: out for a walk in the peaceful outdoors, breeze blowing, birds singing, sun shining down, and with my favorite people.

Clouds began rolling in making the hills and trees light up whenever the sun peeked through. 

After thoroughly enjoying the conservation area together, we headed home to check on Aurora. There were some possible signs of early labor, but no new changes from what she had had several hours earlier. With that, we headed out to Dad's restaurant of choice: China Garden. We had lunch there (and I discovered I liked at least some Chinese food :), and then we went to the disc golf course to show Dad and Mom how beautiful the area was. 

I didn't take any pictures there, so you'll have to imagine us leisurely walking along the grassy path strewn with wildflowers along the way, climbing down the rocks to the creek, Mom, Leah and I sitting on the rocks and me dangling my feet in the cold flowing water, the guys skipping rocks across the water and then having a competition to see who could hit a branch way up stream with a rock, the laughter that filled the air . . . it was a relaxing and refreshing time!

Eventually Dad reminded us that we just might have a goat in labor so we should probably head home to check on her. Upon arrival, we discovered that we did! And there will be more on that in the next post!

Friday, April 21, 2017

A Disc Golf Outing

What a glorious spring we have been thoroughly enjoying here! With the beautiful weather the last few weeks, we have all been very busy with outdoor projects. It feels so good to be getting so much done! From cleaning out the rabbitry, hauling compost to the garden, planting nearly all the garden, preparing the barn for kidding (and having our first goat kids of the year born!), mulching flower gardens, celebrating Dad's birthday, and much more. Needless to say, there will be quite a bit to post about in the next little while. :)

To start off with, though, . . . a fun disc golf outing! Disc golf was something we had heard of, but never played until Ivan recently introduced us to it. One time when he was at our place, he, Leah, Dad and I threw some discs around our yard, and then earlier this week, he took Leah and I with him and Abel out to a really neat disc golf course.

Exploring a bit before beginning to play

One of the two beautiful creeks

The course is in a beautiful setting of woods, trees, and creeks, which made for a great atmosphere and added to the fun. Just walking through the course and taking in all the beauty around would have been enjoyment enough!

Even though Leah and I are rather lacking in our disc golf skills :), we all had such a blast! I didn't have my camera along so phone pictures will have to suffice . . . .

Ivan was so patient with us! Explaining how to play, helping us improve our throws, etc. There was a fair bit of good-natured teasing going around, too. :)

Abel is quite the little disc golfer!

Whoops! A disc in the creek. And it's not the only time it happened. :)

Helping Leah figure out how to throw better

Since we were running out of time, we skipped a few holes and walked to the ones nearer the end of the course.

There were a great many beautiful wildflowers blooming along the way . . . this one is Sweet William

Wild Violets nestled in the rocks

Abel figuring out where our next hole was located

Tree climbing intermission!

These two clambered up there like monkeys. :)

Abel and I climbing on another tree

Ivan getting ready to throw

Ivan and Leah
~ ❤ ~


We had such a fun time together and are looking forward to going out there again sometime! Our afternoon was finished off by Ivan treating us all to frozen custard, after which we stopped by the grocery store to pick up some things and then headed home.

The fun wasn't over yet, though, as the following day was Dad's birthday and there was a lot planned for then!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Hallelujah for the Cross

Remembering and thanking God especially today for the great gift and sacrifice that Jesus Christ gave to us . . . Himself. Dying on the cross and taking upon Himself the sins of the world, and three days later, rising from the dead, triumphing over and conquering sin and death. Through His death and resurrection, He gives freely to every man by His grace and amazing love, the incredible opportunity of forgiveness and salvation. What an indescribable gift!

As I type this, my heart is overflowing with thankfulness . . . He has bought me, redeemed me, saved me, and has worked so intimately in my life and continues to day by day. What a Savior is Jesus the Lord! Indeed, hallelujah for the cross . . . .

One of my favorite songs . . . so powerful!


"I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if He dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die." John 15:25-26

"'O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord."
1 Corinthians 15:55-58

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Life Lately

Is anyone else finding it hard to believe that it is already April? How quickly the weeks have been flying by!

As spring is awakening here, outdoor work and projects are increasing which has been much enjoyed. With how my business is growing, it has also meant needing to find ways to increase product production and reduce time investment there. I have had success in that department which means more time to spend on other endeavors!

The last several weeks, I have loved having my days filled with a wide array of activities . . . making product ~ packaging orders ~ playing music ~ outdoor work such as clearing brush/hauling branches ~ deep cleaning in the house ~ going for walks ~ working out and running ~ a ladies Bible study that just began that meets every other week ~ correspondences/phone calls with friends ~ farmers market on Saturdays ~ the therapeutic riding center once a week ~ a bit of sewing ~ etc.

Here is a glimpse!

Farmers Market

The outdoor market began several weeks ago and has been going well! Albeit it has been a bit on the cold side those days. This past Saturday, I had to go get some hot chocolate from a booth down the way for Leah and I and the vendor next to us (an older lady we have become friends with), as we were all so cold!

I forgot to bring my camera each time so all I have is this photo of my booth that Leah snapped with her phone on opening day . . . .


It is really nice to be back outdoors and see and talk with many more of the regular customers again (who didn't go to the winter market), the camaraderie with the other vendors, the early morning fun as we all set up, plus selling lots of product is a definite blessing, too. :)

More soap curing . . . 384 bars to be exact


Outdoor Work

Every spring it seems like there is a great deal of winter clean up work to do as well as gardening tasks. As we wait for the rains to lessen and the ground to dry out allowing for the bulk of the garden to be planted, I've been doing other outdoor projects such as raking and picking up a bunch of little branches that had fallen during the numerous winter wind storms, littering a fairly large part of our property.

It is also time to get the barn cleaned out and ready for kidding! Yes, our doe's due dates are just a few weeks away. We are so looking forward to having the little goat kids again!

We recently realized that Sierra's doeling from last year was still nursing which meant separating last year's goat kids from their moms. They were not happy about the new arrangement, though are mostly adjusted to their temporary new pen . . . .

Prairie, Primrose, and Meadow

Of our does that are pregnant, Aurora is due first, and she is huge. She has kidded with twins each time so far, and had two doelings last spring. Here's hoping we have a repeat of that this year!

Aurora


Gardening

While there is only a bit of lettuce, kale, and spinach growing in the garden so far, there are lots of plants growing indoors . . . .


Mom started tomatoes, peppers, and celery several weeks ago, as well as a number of different flower and herb plants that we plan to use in arrangements for Leah's and Ivan's wedding. So far all of those are growing well!

Recently, I reset the rocks around the little front garden and started mulching it. I ran out of mulch so Dad got me some more in town and now there is plenty to finish this little garden and mulch some other ones, too . . . .

It won't be long and this will be filling out with growing plants!

Hostas growing


Working Out

When Leah and I began workout routines at the start of this year (using videos on Youtube), neither of us realized how much we would love it. It feels SO good to workout, be pushing ourselves physically, and building strength and endurance. It also amazes me once again, the incredible complexity and design of our bodies and how God created all the different muscles to work and function together in perfect harmony.

With running and working out, the Proverbs 31 woman continues to be an inspiration to me:

"She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong."
Proverbs 31:17

Ready for the workout routine

Both Dad and Mom have caught the workout bug as well, and Dad has started lifting dumbbell weights. He used to do a lot of weightlifting back in college and is enjoying doing some again!

Some of Dad's weights

 Mom has her own workout routine she is doing, too. It is so fun to be doing this all together!

Ready for a run with a birthday gift from my parents . . . I love it! It tracks my speed and distance which is easier than what I was doing before of mentally counting laps and keeping track of the time. Plus it helps me push myself further, too!


And to close, there was a Psalm that spoke to my heart the other evening, and I wanted to share part of it here . . . .

"The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot . . . .

"I have set the LORD continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices.
My flesh will dwell securely . . . .

"You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever."
Psalm 165, 8-9, 11

What an encouragement these verses are! God is so good to us . . . so faithful . . . and He pours abundant blessings upon us - simply His upholding us and being at our "right hand" is a great blessing in and of itself. And in Him, we discover true joy, for in Him is the fullness of joy. This reminds me of John 15:1-11 (one of my favorite passages!) about abiding in Christ . . . .

"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing . . . .

"If you keep my commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full." John 15:5, 10-11

Through abiding in Him as our vine and seeking to obey His commandments, then we can experience His joy in us in full. What a gift!