Monday, April 20, 2015

foamy faced milk thief

Here is what I saw when I glanced over my shoulder while milking on Saturday.

"Hmm, that looks yummy..."

"Think I'll help myself, thanks!"

"What ARE you looking at??" (This is my favorite photo of the moment and is what I see on the lock screen of my phone. Ha!)

Birthday boy

Our "Busy" has turned 2! I can just barely believe it has already been 2 full years since that crazy day when I suddenly found myself in early labor. Our little 33 weeker is now 2 years old and shows zero signs of having been born prematurely. He's just as plump as his siblings were, and his vocabulary is fantastic, and hilarious. :)

Birthdays here are always sweet and simple and enjoyed by all. I keep a supply of balloons, streamers, and cake ingredients on hand all year. I pick up a few thrift store goodies ahead of time for the littles, and might order a few things online for the biggers. Grandma and Grandpa usually join us. We all make a big deal out of the birthday child all day, lavishing him/her with attention and then have cake and presents. The kids never tire of playing with balloons! Who needs fancy outings and pony rides and the like when we can laugh and have a grand time with balloons. :)

Time goes too, too fast. We must savor every moment!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Good morning!

I just came in from milking Elsie. I milked  wearing a tank top it is so warm outside  this morning. A brand new spring time is here!

We've been milking her now for 27 months. She is still providing us with plenty of milk- about a gallon and three quarters every morning.  (No, our three month old does not drink it but I had to include him in the picture because he's cute ;) ). 

And now I will go milk Heidi, who will give us another 2 gallons. And then I will make cheese. 

The family milk is sure a wonderful blessing. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Three days

The day before Easter Sunday:

Spreading fresh straw around the chicken coop (notice the fluffy hen rumps up above). Ahem, I say "spreading" but perhaps I should call it "wildly tossing straw too and fro whilst cackling in silly laughter".

Proud coop-cleaning farmer boys in the evening sunlight.

Dying eggs:

Easter Sunday:

Egg hunt! Traditionally we have an egg hunt on our farm every year. My eldest kids (the ones too old for hunting) help me fill the eggs with goodies and hide them about.

"Of course these are Easter baskets you silly kids!" I told the children. 

"Chock-it!" excitedly says nearly 2-year old Busy. Who doesn't love chock-it?! Okay, well I don't really like it, but I mean besides me... who doesn't love chock-it?! (I like sour. MMM, sour. You know what I had for breakfast today? Homemade sauerkraut on top of homemade [sour]cream cheese on top of homemade bread. Yummm. So much better than chocolate, really says I.)

Myself, all my children, my eldest's boyfriend, and grandpa on the right. :)

And, the day after Easter:

Can you believe it? After that sunshiney day, it snowed!

Life is sweet. 

Monday, April 13, 2015


Roo, 3.5 months.

Such a good, good baby that I love so much!

eggs the old fashioned way

Artist and Monkey together came up with a great idea when they discovered a nest of abandoned chicken eggs. Artist reported to me later that they first floated the eggs to make sure they weren't rotten (rotten eggs float to the top of the water). Then they found our little toy skillet that had wandered outside. And they cooked those eggs right over the fire (after asking permission)! They were sooo proud of themselves. They were gushing with excitement when retelling the tale. And, they announced, they would be making all our meals over the fire for us from now on! LOL. I had to explain that cooking all our meals over fire would take a little more preparation and study...

Such fun those little country boys have. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

our marvelous March

Just catching up on some of the fun we had this March...

Farmgirl's cute handprint angel from the Catholic ABCs book that I am loving very much. 

Monkey concentrating on his homeschool copywork. 

Each year on the first day of spring we drop everything and do crafts. It's tradition. :) This year we made this neat rainbow collage! I drew the outline of the rainbow on posterboard, then had the children search through magazines and the house for any colorful pictures or odds and ends that could be glued to our rainbow. 

Now it hangs in our hallway. I really like how it turned out. So bright, fun and cheery! Just like spring time itself.

Our other crafts included this one. I tape a piece of paper in the bottom of a plastic bin (a small box would also work), squirt a few blobs of paint in the corners, then add a marble to the bin. The children then shake their bin around to get the marble rolling back and forth. It creates a fun, rainbowy pattern.

Artist and Monkey working on their art lesson that taught how to carve a fish from a bar of soap. They had tons of fun with it and carved several. When they were done however, it appeared a blizzard had run through our dining room. The carved soap chips are just a tad messy!!

Hopscotch fun on our front porch. They always enjoy hopscotch, even  though they spend about half the time just trying to get the dog out of their way. 

I know, it really IS hard to put a good book down and get housework done. LOL! (Artist, unloading the dishwasher. Sort of.)

My husband found these three different types of wasp nests outside. He brought them in so he and the kids could do a little Google searching to figure out what sort of wasp made each kind. 

My cow milking helper, Farmgirl, squinting into the morning sun.

Doesn't every 1st grader show up for reading lessons wearing hand cuffs and in his ninja costume?

Seven of my bunch, and me. 

The spring frogs are here! It is simply amazing to go outside at night this time of year and silently listen. It sounds as if their are millions of frogs ribbiting out there! It's really neat. Here is one the children brought in to watch in the bathroom sink for a bit. Isn't he handsome. 

Here is a project some of the boys did with dad the other day. After watching some YouTubes on how to create "steampunk" art, they got out gizmos and gadgets and paints, and covered these boxes with them. They turned out pretty cool. 

Our final pregnant ewe gave birth to super adorable black and white twins. We had a grand total of 5 sheep that were pregnant and each one had twins! One tiny twin didn't make it, but all the others are doing great. They are hilarious to watch! All those lambs get all crazy together, leaping and running and leaping some more. You can't help yourself but to laugh out loud at their bouncy antics. Here is our whole herd.

A couple weekends ago I took Ranger, Artist and Monkey (plus the wee babe in the sling) to a concert in the city called The Rock and Worship Roadshow. It was so so so so so fun!! After having gone to more concerts than I could ever remember, which includes bands like Metallica, Guns n Roses, Skinny Puppy, KMFDM, Lords of Acid, Marilyn Manson and dozens of others, I can now be found at a Christian music concert having a fantastic time. LOL. Honestly, I think I enjoyed it more than any of those other concerts I went to drunk and underdressed. Then again, I enjoy my entire life more than I did back then! :) The Rock and Worship Roadshow was just as loud and flashy and explosive as any other concert I've been to, also. It was just plain old good fun. I can't wait to go again next year!

March brought lots of rain, as it should. One morning on my way out to milk I discovered zillions of huge earthworms had come out and were all over our driveway wiggling around in the rain puddles (why do they do that?). The kids decided to go out and "save them" by picking them up and putting them in a quart jar. LOL! I had to explain why 100 worms in a jar cannot actually survive. They released them to a dryer spot in the yard. ;)

And then Holy Week began with this past Palm Sunday. We had a wonderful time at our tiny town church. The morning started with blessing the palm branches, a song and procession down the street in the morning sun with the palms. Smiley, Monkey and Artist can be seen on the right hand side there. Parts of Mass were said in Latin... it was all so ancient, meaningful, and pretty!

And then I folded our palm branches into crosses. (It was a little too advanced for the children so I got to enjoy all the crafty fun myself ).

 One way we are celebrating Holy Week is with Catholic Icing's "Holy Week in Handprints". Each of these 4 are making their own book. It's so fun! I also ordered a handful of Easter related picture books (like this one- I love this artist!). I bring out a new one every other day or so. We as a family are also making our way through the 5+ hour long film, Jesus of Nazareth. That was the Easter related movie I found to have the best reviews on Amazon. So far I love it, too. My first reaction had been to order the new Son of God movie that I see everywhere- it seems to be the current popular Jesus related movie. Thank goodness I read the reviews first- the movie shows Jesus having a 13th disciple- a woman! Who travels with them, sleeps in the same room with them, and apparently even chastises the menfolk for not having enough faith! I realize we live in a politically correct, feminist culture, but that is just ridiculous. 

 And on the very last day of April (yesterday), it was discovered that our cow, Heidi, had suddenly had her calf. It is still some weeks before she was due. Only, the calf was lost. As in, gone. :( We think coyotes must have taken it (do little coyotes even take calves? Maybe the calf was born small or dead....And how did they even get to it?) .... The whole thing was weird and mysterious. And very frustrating. :(  

And so I milked Heidi yesterday for the first time. She'd never been milked before (this was her first calf). I had been feeling nervous about "breaking in" a milk cow for the past 6 months! I had read horror stories of first time milkers becoming like bucking broncos and requiring about 80 miles of rope to get them tied down enough to milk them. Thankfully, it was actually not that bad! She mostly held still until her grain was gone. Then she realized that she was tied up and began dancing around. Her halter was tied up next to her grain bucket but her entire behind could move every which way. So, that's how I've milked her since- while she dances around. She does kick quite a bit, but only little kicks, inward toward her udder that she's not used to having fooled around with. Not once has she swung her big old cow leg around at my face in an attempt to make my teeth fly. Hmm, I should probably make this a post of it's own. That will give me time to get some pictures as well. :)

And that sums up our marvelous March. Today I have bone broth to can and soo much other meat to prepare for canning. What with all the livestock we've had butchered (or butchered ourselves) recently, our freezers are positively bursting! I had quite the time just trying to make room for a couple quart jars of Heidi's colostrum (a cow's first milk), and we have many other birds that need culling to make room for all the young ones we have out there that will replace the old layers this summer. So I have lots of canning plans for our spring break!