Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Babies Are Here!

If you are a homesteader, 
you know that when the coldest weather strikes,
 your animals will choose that particular time to birth. 
 Animals are just that way. 
 So, with lows in the teens and even colder nights coming this week,
 our does are due.

  Checking them several times a day, 
we were very surprised to find...on our afternoon check, 
the first kid born-  already standing and doing well, 
despite it being the smallest goat kid we have ever had. 
 She is literally smaller than our cats. 

 Rose named her Mabel, which means "lovable."

So here is Mabel!

Yes, she has a sweater on.
  I have often thought about making baby goat blankets,
 but having never gotten around to it, we just dug through the "newborn" tote in the attic
 till we came up with something warm looking.
 The code of the ruralite, you know, is Observe, Adapt, and Improvise.  (O.A.I.)

Mabel and her mama are strong and healthy, which is certainly a blessing with a first time mama. 
 To keep this tiny one warm,
 and the other kids that will soon arrive as well, 
Joe and Rose turned a plastic barrel into a warming coop. 
 Here is the reason I said kids, as in plural...this doe surely has more than one in there!

Here is the warming coop.
There is a heat lamp set into the top of the barrel. 

 Thankfully, our solar panels are soaking up all this sunny weather-
 thus powering both this heat lamp and the one for the chicken's water.  
 In cloudy weather, (normal for this time of year) we would be hard put to accommodate the output of power without running the generator much more than we typically do.
We are doubly blessed with a safe birth and sun power to keep baby warm.

But wait, that is not all!!!
Besides our tiniest goat baby, Mabel,
 our ADORABLE grand daughter, Shiloh, is here for the weekend!!!

Oh those cute little chompers!  
OOOO and the dimpled hands! 
SOOO sweet!!!
Grandma is having a fantastic time of it!

Of course, everyone wants to hug and kiss and squeeze her, or make her laugh. 
 Shiloh seems to be enjoying being the center of attention. 
 She is such a people person. 

Between the two babies,
 there is a whole lot of laughing and cuddling being done here this weekend.

Blessings to ya' all this weekend,
the giddy grandma

Friday, February 13, 2015

Little Luxuries of Winter

Somehow, in the heart of winter, 
our "January thaw" has lingered on for weeks and weeks, 
an unheard of predicament for North Idaho...the newspaper just reported  that never
 in the historical records has the snowfall here been so low, or the typical "thaw" lasted so long.
While it is lovely out, agrarian folks like us are concerned about the "snow pack" in the mountains that provides us with plenty of water all summer- 
which keeps the landscape a lovely green right into fall, 
and more importantly, minimizes the danger of forest fire.

But, that said, we concur with "Pa" 
(from the Little House series, which we are currently rereading aloud) 
"There is no great loss without some small gain."
These small gains are the blessings of today, 
our little luxuries of winter, such as it is.

 The wood pile blessing:  Our initial 10 cord is holding up well.  This, by the way, is the shed we built last summer, of which, I never did post the finished pictures of, till now.

Egg production blessing:  Ben's hens are so happy with the weather, they have not sloughed off in their laying at all thus far.  He is in business now; selling eggs, purchasing the feed, keeping records daily.  He is very proud of a regular dozen a day.

Blessings In The Dairy:  These two are due to kid in a few weeks.  If the mild weather holds, that will be beneficial for the tiny newborns, giving them a little easier start in life.  Meanwhile, the does are looking especially well and plump.

Blessings For The Children:  They are fully appreciating sunshine and warm temperatures each afternoon as they ramble off to play in the woods.  Yesterday their play was near the creek-

 Today, they are homesteaders-

For me, the soothing continuity of our daily routine, 
curling up by the fire with a fragrant cup of tea,  
the sun shining through the windows,
 these are a few of the blessings I am counting today,

 my little luxuries of winter.

What are yours?

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Joy of Grandbabies

Our first grandchild, Shiloh Anne, is such a joy.
She is the daughter of our oldest son, John, and his beautiful bride, Michelle.
 I see so much of both her parents in her, yet, she is her own person.
  This little cutie pie has stolen our hearts from day one. 
 She is growing sooo fast, she will be wearing her first cowboy boots in no time.
 (every girl needs at least one pair, ya know!)

Shiloh is coming up on 8 months old, cutting several teeth, crawling all over,
 and blessedly, sleeping through the night. 
 She is such a people person, she just lights up when someone talks to her,
 making for great photos.

Our daughter Anna is carrying grandbaby #2.  
She just sent us this picture of her sweet little baby bump.
  Isn't she beautiful?! 
 I have always thought that pregnant women have a special glow about them
 that really makes them lovely.

Scott and Anna are having a girl, which we are so excited to meet in June!!  
Here is a little 3D sneak peek at her:

Isn't she incredible!? 
 Surely, these precious wee ones are fearfully and wonderfully made!
  Marvelous are your works, O God!!  

Grandparenting is an amazing new adventure for us.
We are thrilled with these two bundles of joy,
who are truly a gift from the  Lord. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Loving The January Thaw

Nearly every January we get a little mid winter break known as "the January thaw".
  Newcomers think it is spring, 
but alas, no,
 winter is only half over. 
 It's just a week (or two if we are lucky) of above freezing temperatures
 that cause the snow to melt, the rivers become brimming full, and, rapturously,
 the sun shines. 
(outstanding news for us off grid folks!!)

 We are loving the thaw this year!
  It has been a bit longer than usual, and although the snow is not ALL gone, it is mostly gone,
 and that is enough to get all the girls out.

Happy, happy hens!

The children are out and about in the woods too, 
and I have to drag them back in with the dinner bell to finish their lessons each afternoon. 
They are scouting for antler sheds, slaying imaginary foes,
 basking in the sunshine,
 wandering aimlessly through the woods.

This is just what Ben was doing when he saw something, and that something triggered his creativity.

What goes through a boys mind when he spies a half rotten tree stump? 

Why, a bivouac shelter for a few soldiers shot down behind enemy lines, of course!

Thus engaged, his imagination ran wild with the adventures for days on end. 
 Ahhh, the mind of a ten year old!

 Ben and Gabe also whittled log boats which they have been floating down our little seasonal creek for hours at a time. (I should have taken a picture!)

 I have enjoyed getting out for a few walks in the woods. 
 On my first outing, I saw a little herd of elk and about a dozen deer. 

Bethany, Gabe and Olivia spend most of their outside time
 sloshing through puddles and chasing chickens. 

 Joe and Jim have come up empty so far in the antler search, 
but we three will all surely be vying for who finds the biggest shed, who finds the most sheds, 
and who finds the first shed!  
The snow is likely to return and postpone our sport,
 but in the meantime 
we are sure enjoying the warmer weather, the mud puddles, the pungent forest,
 and  glorious sunshine!

Living Counter Cultural: Femininity

Popular culture has a decidedly feminist bent.  Recent movies, tv shows and prominent women  are displaying heroins as   to...