An attempt to declare the Glory of God for what He has chosen to do with our lives. A legacy to leave to my children in the telling of it.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A FewToo Many Goats

I have come to the conclusion that we have a few too many goats. I guess that's what you get when you keep all the "favorites." To help ease the hay bill a bit we have been letting the goats out on pasture to eat some fresh green grass~ but being they won't stay in just any old fence, and our fence is still just "any old fence," I have come up with the fantabulous idea to spare cuts from the barbed wire and just let them free range in the yard since that's where they end up anyway. Being they are herd animals they tend to stay close together, and as long as I make frequent window checks, I can detour them from the new raspberry plants or the flower beds. But every once in a while they decide that the neighboring field looks tempting and I have to call in the back-ups on bikes to herd them a little closer to home. "Come on girls!"

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday Morning Blogger

Well now I'm a Tuesday morning blogger! Actually, I tried to write a post last week, only to find that Blogger changed EVERYTHING on me which led to me melting into a puddle of tears right there before the screen of little blinking lights because it was the topper of weeks of computer problems (I can destroy yours, too, I'm sure) .... change I do not like. It is not even on my radar today to try to figure out how to assemble a post with aesthetically pleasing pictures; if I could even see my pictures on my post rather than HTML codes would be great; if I could even see the whole posting page would be great. More coffee, more coffee, quit shaking, Terri, quit shaking .....


A quick recap of the week:

* We now have four more farm critters. Baby kittens were born to Camilia: all white, and so cute if anybody is in need of mouse catchers this spring. No we're not keeping any; no, we're not. Not even the one sweety with the black dot on it's teeny-tiny-itsy-bitsy head.

* Cole acquired a new/used dirt bike. I have decided that I need to start a rabbit and chicken business of my own, 'cause I'm certainly not making enough raising goats to buy a dirt bike like he did. I seriously debated selling my horse and buying a pink dirt bike. I also decided that I was not going to attempt the two-by-four-boy-designed jumps when I could barely keep the bike upright, especially when I kept forgetting that squeezing the handle bars tight, in a pulling back "whoa" motion, does not mean stop. And had anybody given me a thorough tutorial on just where the brakes where located in the first place would have helped tremendously.

* Three calves are out of my barn and in the paddock outside. Yippee! For all you wanna-be's dreaming of raising calves, you will not quite know joy until you've experienced the excitement of having your life back when those mooing little black and white buggers are weaned and no longer require bottle's twice a day.

* Since I don't have enough to do, and in keeping up with the legacy of projects around here, the kids and I started building a screen porch. The hope is to construct it with as much salvaged lumber as possible. The frame is nearly complete, and we only have $7.49 invested. The screen and screen door are waiting, as is the flooring and decorations. Now I just need the gumption to work on it again, and then for Rob to move it a couple of feet with the skidsteer and mount it to the cement pad. I have dreams of actually completing the flower garden this year where it is located, but then again I have dreams of a writers loft and a front entryway, not to mention that pantry with the cute antique sink ....

* It snowed. In April. Today it's supposed to be sunny and we're hoping for 70's soon.

* I sold one of the beautiful, spotted bucklings. Two more goats look like they really are expecting. I had started to give up on them...

* School. Yes, we homeschool, and yes, we might beat Traci's family for once this year and be done by Memorial Day! Yay!

* I am a big, fat liar (well, not so fat, just the beginnings of a double chin that has me greatly concerned). I have been fighting, fighting, fighting such an intense spiritual battle this past week. You too? No? The enemy has nothing to attack? I have forgotten that it is a privelege to be counted worthy of trials. I prefer the pity party as of late. I have been having a hard time trying to grasp eternity, or the magnitude of God's glory, or why it matters so much.

But then I can feel the shift beginning, and I start to rise, ever so slowly from the pit; but still I rise and catch a glimpse of it again. I feel as if I'm barely holding on to it somedays. Do you see it? Do you get it? This whole "big" picture~ beyond you and me and our lifetimes, all the way into eternity; trying to figure out what really matters.

I was encouraged reading somewhere the other day that Scripture really is all sufficient, we don't need to look beyond for any outside affirmation of God, so I go back there even more. I love the book of John: continually Jesus reminds us, "I am telling you the truth!" Continually, I am reminded that that truth matters so much. The truth of believing in Jesus which leads to eternal life in heaven matters a whole lot to Trent right now. Oh Lord, haste the day when you reign. Reading Malachi this morning ... oh my, you'll have to go read it for yourself. What offering will I be bringing before my God?

So the big fat liar part?

It stopped me in my tracks when somebody casually asked me yesterday how I was doing. "Fine," I replied.

Liar ... Liar, liar pants on fire. I hide rather than be honest. Who wants honest anyway? Who wants hard stuff? Who wants God stuff?

More so I realize how we all tend to hold on to this world so tightly, as if it will last forever, with little thought about the next. Alexis and I have started "fighting" over blessing others~ eternal blessings for even a cup of cold water Jesus said. For eternity? "Let me get it. Let me rise; let me suffer; let me die to myself. Use me, Lord; here I am. Let your glory come shatter me." As scary as those words are to speak out loud, they are the utterings of my heart: to have the joy of knowing Jesus in His suffering. We will not know Him in His glory if we do not know Him in His suffering, it says in Romans.

I realize over and over, especially at 3:30 in the morning, how helpless I am to fight this battle. So I entrust myself all over again to the One who is capable.


* If I could find the spell check I'd try to edit this post. Until next time ....

Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Morning Blogger

It seems I have been a Monday Morning Blogger as of late, only posting once a week or so as life speeds by in the midst of calf bottles and times tables. One more week {Lord willing} until those calves are weaned and I will get a good portion of my time back.

My sister spent the afternoon with us on Saturday and the kids had a ball playing in the pond. Us Mom's had a ball talking about God. Two days later, the ground is covered in snow and the woodstove is running again. April in Wisconsin.

I smiled this morning as I heard the boys starting to stir in their bedroom. Some mornings I am not so quick to smile as the chaos starts: rootin' and tootin', squirming and kicking, but ultimatley giggling and joking between these two brothers. I grew up in a house with five girls; five quiet girls who were mostly content staying inside the lines of our Smurf coloring books. Boys are a whole different breed. My brain starts early, but my tired body doesn't get energized until at least the second cup of coffee to keep up with their wiley ways. I like the mornings when I can start the day laughing at, or (better yet) with, them.

We have been tending to baby mice again. It sort of defeats the purpose of having five barn cats to thin the herd, and then bringing the offspring into the house. But, there is one little girl with a tender heart to these critters that is softer than mine. This batch only survived three days, one less than the previous batch. Not due to a lack of care or nutritious goats milk, though.

There have been good days and bad days on this rollercoaster of grief. It still surprises me when the intensity of the plummet hits. The longing for my son is intense; the hope of my Savior, though, is greater yet. I am learning to stop when I feel the start of that sinking feeling. I repeat the Promises, I hold on tighter, I simply breathe or retreat to my bed and cry myself to sleep. My fear lately is that I will forget my son. It is a battle to accept the peace from God as His grace to sustain me until I see Him face to face. Without the "forgetting" a person would go insane. But you also start to go insane realizing that you can live without your child this side of heaven. Back to the Promises; back to the brevity of this life; back to trying to comprehend just how long eternity will be and that what ultimately matters is where we are with Jesus Christ. Come now, Lord Jesus.

Destroying computers has been my specialty lately it seems; I am doomed to destruct with one little click. Again, the old computer is in the fix-it shop. Something about mother boards, and did we have anything important on there that we wanted to save. Ummm, yes, a couple thousand pictures, a few rough drafts of very important writings, besides the farm accounts and some book revisions. I am seeing dollar signs.

These computer issues mostly started after prayer and a decision to reprint the book (How My Savior Leads Me, which, by the way, God has been doing a great work with) with CreateSpace rather than print more copies with WestBow (cough, cough, ahem, which I would not recommend to any of you dear friends, cough, cough, ahem). Again, those dollar signs triumphed. I can order copies of the book for half the price, which means the gospel going out at half-price, and ... the best part ... I get to have the cover I really wanted and (really the best part of all) to correct those pesky typos that I am finding. Aaahhh, revisions, they have a way of eating at my soul (or is it my pride?).

The calves are crying, the kids are begging for direction, and the coffee pot is beckoning ... until next time ... Lord willing.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Checking In

Sing to the Lord a new song,

His praise from the ends of the earth ...

Isaiah 42:10

I've had a slew of technical difficulties over the past couple of weeks ~ this old computer has not been my friend lately ~ but all seems to be well now ~ whew!

A cold front has swept in making a reality of the predictions for 40's and 50's rather than the 60's and 70's we've been enjoying this spring. I actually started the wood stove today!

Busy, busy, busy with chores and school .... May is coming really fast and we all want to get done in time for Memorial Day so we can have a summer break this year. My mind is a whirl with school curriculum's for next year already, as well as Fair projects and farm projects and writing projects and picture projects ... one too many projects.

Hope you all had a good Easter!


Sometimes we are used by God, and don't even know it.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Beloved. God's beloved. I don't even know how to grasp the thought lately. In the grande scheme of eternity I lose sight of the impact that today has. I can't fathom what God is doing. My mind can't absorb the reality of this world and heaven at the same time. I am boggled by the thought of Trent being in heaven; I just shake my head. Over and over again Jesus tells me in the book of John, "I am telling you the truth." There is a heaven, there is a God, there is a throne, and angels, and mansions and streets of gold and eternal life.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

March Counts

Once upon a time I used to keep detailed farm records via blog posts of all the productivity around here. It served as a good way to remember just when the goat kids were born, or when the calves should be weaned. So .... in the hopes of it being a monthly occurence once again, the counts, tallies and farm news are in for March 2012.

The most recent excitement on the farm has been the addition of eight new pigs as of yesterday. Although the idea of raising a sow and farrowing our own cute little piglets is appealing, the idea of castrating them is not, so we are content to bring them home in the back of the truck ready to eat all the left-over Dairy cheese and whey (plus garden and table scraps) that they want until they reach an average weight of 250# and head off to the locker plant to fill our freezers as well as those of some other happy customers.

Sadly, Boaz the pup has found a new home. My heart strings nearly made me keep two big labs, but the pocket-book strings realized that we really don't need to feed two big labs. Plus, I have hopes of actually reclaiming the couch one day. Sigh. Those eyes....

Cole's farm was blessed with seven new additions this week when his bunny surprised him a week earlier than expected with babies. Of all the kids, Cole is the one who loves farming and critters. It helps that he is also a hard worker and financially wise (and I think God just enjoys blessing him) which has enabled him to build a little farm enterprise of rabbits and Silkie chickens. He has been my right hand chicken man for several years, and has outdone me on chick sales already this spring with his intuition of what the chicken-buying public wants.

We are watching Lightning and Sassy pretty close this spring. Last year it was on the agenda to get a certain stud colt gelded, but due to being otherwise preoccupied, it never happened. Which leaves us guessing .... are they or aren't they expecting??? Hmm.... lot's of fresh green grass or baby bulges???

The three big steers are growing well. We have ended up already with pasture dilemma's this month as we have one too many variety of critters and one too few pastures for them all. The steers are fed supplemental grain, which means they can't be with the horses. The goats could run with the steers, but then they climb in the round bale feeder and make a mess in the hay, not to mention that the steer pasture fencing is not all goat proof yet, which means there are goats in my yard on a regular basis. Then there are water issues, who to fence where so that everybody has access to automatic waterers. Fencing is on the list for the sixth year in a row as we continue to figure out a way for all these critters to co-exist.

The three bottle calves in the barn are doing great. Their ears are still going the right direction, which is always a good sign. I haven't done the math yet to know the exact figures if it is actually cheaper to raise two goats per year to feed one calf for six weeks, but I do know that it's cheaper than burying dead calves due to scours from raising them on milk replacer as we did for so many years.

And talking about those goats .... I think I may have too many. As the numbers have changed so often in the past couple of months I tend to lose track of just how many I have in any given week. This week it's eight babies, six milking does, two (hopefully still) expecting does, and one handsome buck, which equals 17 goats. Some of those babies will be finding new homes in the next couple of months after they are weaned, we will keep a couple of the bucks for breeding this fall, as well as keeping the doelings to build up our herd as we have a couple of does that will probably be culled next season.

March milk total: 68 1/4 gallons (plus the spilled milk, and the three days that we forgot to record). Wow! Sixty eight GALLONS of goats milk from one milking a day to sustain three calves, plus raise their own kids~ now that's a work force in action!

Besides the joy we get from raising these critters, we have also strived to make the farm animals profitable enough to at least cover their own feed costs. The goats provide in several ways: kids for resale, milk to raise the calves on, milk for soap (for family use plus soap making classes) and cheese for the Fair competitions. As odd as it sounds, we don't drink the milk. I really, really wish we could acquire a taste for it, but after all these years we just haven't been able to. Maybe after calf season we'll try again.

We can't forget the chickens. From 13 Light Brahma hens, and a couple of Silkie hens, we gathered a total of 267 eggs (besides the three days we forgot to record); just over 22 dozen eggs. Plus, we raised 200 chicks. Now I officially know why I have been so tired. This super busy season of farm life will slow down soon as all of the babies are getting bigger and will require less hands-on care before too long, and just about the time that happens we will be gearing up to plant the garden. Aaahhh.... Farm life!

For I am the Lord your God

I just let the tears fall these days; I don't even wipe them away anymore. I intentionally strain to hear their sound as they form a path down my cheeks. I think of the God who knows the sound of falling tears; the God who knows His children so intimately that He catches every drop and stores them in His bottle. The tears do not go unnoticed before His throne, as I am so easily persuaded to think that they do. The prayers go beyond my bedroom ceiling as I lie there, begging for strength.

Out of the gloom there is a reminder:

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand, and says to you, "Do not fear, I will help you." Isaiah 41:13

I forget that.

I forget that it's not by my strength, or my will power, or my motives. I forget that promise when the panic attacks hit at six in the morning. I forget that when I am jolted awake realizing again that my son is dead. I forget that he is in heaven.

I wonder why they come now, after so many months of peace about God's good plan; so many months of watching His glorious work. I wonder if it's because I'm tired: consumed by busyness of my own making, too busy to keep my eyes focused on the cross, seeking my own Kingdom rather than His.

I know that God will do all things for my good, all things that will lead me to knowing Him deeper.

I recall the verse about suffering being granted from our loving, heavenly Father: a gift.

A gift to know Him, a beckoning into fellowship, an opportunity to forsake the ways of the world if I will take it. But it is a gift with a great cost. Often times I don't want it. Gently, though, God presses in. The tears end, the peace takes over, the words flow, and grace consumes.

I will trust my Savior Jesus for where He leads me.