Things it took me WAY too long to learn….

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Getting older means learning a few little life lessons that help build contentment…

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  • The more stuff I have, the more work it is to take care of it all.

 

  • I can’t control all of my circumstances (not even most)

 

 

  • I can’t control what other people do.

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  • I can enjoy being myself.

 

  • I should take more photographs of my family….and be willing to be in them sometimes!

 

 

  • Time building family traditions is so worth it.

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  • Other people do not read my mind….if I am feeling hurt, I need to talk to them.

 

  • I don’t need to please everyone.

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  • It’s okay to say no.

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  • Never apologize for loving my animals

 

  • Trust my husband’s judgment.

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  • Relax.

 

  • Relax.

 

  • Relax.

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  • Life seems short but I have all of eternity ahead of me!

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Crepes and Pina Colada Smoothies for Breakfast

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It has become a tradition at Poppy Hill for the grandchildren to take turns spending the night one at a time. It’s a lovely time to focus attention on each of them separately.

It has also become a tradition that they cook a special breakfast with Grandpa in the morning.

20180203_094140Our eldest stayed last weekend and she is becoming quite a cook. She brings her own cookbook and plans the menu. This little cookbook has some really awesome recipes in it!

 

 

Williams Sonoma puts out this children’s cookbook by Lisa Atwood.

Find Lisa’s book here

On the menu this day were crepes with strawberries and my favorite, the Pina Colada smoothie.

These smoothies may be giving me a coconut milk addiction. They are SO GOOD!

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The Debris!

Looking forward to many more of these special breakfast treats! Grandchild #2 is up next….

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Milking the Goat

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We wondered if we would like the taste our goat milk?

I’ve read dozens of opinions and it seems to be 50/50 between YES it’s DELICOUS! and NO its TERRIBLE!

My verdict….I love it!

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Two years ago we adopted Buttercup and bottle-fed her. She is all grown up now and giving us milk every day.

Milking was a completely new experience for me. I read a bunch of books and searched the internet for all the advice I could get. It has turned out to be a great experience!

Apart from the subzero temps all through December, trips to the barn in the wind with my milk pail, frozen barn doors and fingers and pulling myself out of bed on Saturday mornings, I have enjoyed it so much! Even on those frigid days, leaning up against Buttercup’s warm goatie side to harvest our creamy milk has been downright cozy. 26268238_794866487359244_3674426113221722112_n

Sometimes I sing…even a self-conscious singer like me can be comfortable singing for a barnful of goats. They are a forgiving audience.

Our barn cat, Simpkin, makes a habit of joining me. He waits patiently while I wash Buttercup’s udder and strip the first few pulls. He knows he can have those first couple of shots. The rest belongs to us.

Larry built us a milk stand. We referenced info from Fiasco Farm at https://fiascofarm.com/goats/milkstand.html. Fiasco Farm has lots of good info for beginner goatherds. We have been using their Molly’s Herbal products for several months and are so far very pleased with the results. The goats love it.

 

I have been drinking the milk for several weeks and now cow’s milk tastes rather flat. Buttercup’s milk is rich and sweet and creamy. Larry gets a latte in his thermos on Mondays and Fridays as a treat and these days it is made with goat’s milk.

Many people say that when the buck and does live together, the milk tastes off. That hasn’t been an issue here at all and Mr. Gibbs so enjoys the company of his herd. We love watching their herd behavior.

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In my church’s live nativity, Christmas Eve service

Looking forward to having a couple of does in milk in the future now that I know we like it so much. It doesn’t last long in the fridge.1104161026_30801309195_o-1

Hopefully we’ll have some kids out of Isadora and Mr. Gibbs this spring.
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Next year her daughter, Marigold, will be old enough for a family of her own.

Looking forward to more milk and some adorable registered Nigerian dwarf kids to sell in the spring!

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Belated baby announcement…

Well, seems things always take longer to get done that I expect. Our first kidding experience on our little farm occurred over 2 months ago and I am only now recording it here….1cherie and bramble 4 days_n

 

Bouncing baby Bramble was born Jan 16th and he is a cutie….

 

We really should sell him, as we are sort of thinking of milking and “he” won’t be giving us much for milk…..but…..Larry won’t hear of it. He’s already way too attached….and the grandkids begged to keep the first baby on the farm. So here he stays. Hopefully, it will be easier after this first one to part with others…. We do have a very small farm!

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Gotta love this face!!

My carefully prepared “kidding kit” didn’t get much use as Isadora had done almost all the work when I went to the barn that morning. Just a dip of his umbilical cord and a tiny bit of blow drying…..add a new sweater and we were good to go.

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The baby monitor didn’t do its job because I missed the pretty much everything…..went to the barn in the morning and there he was…beautiful and bouncing around already. Isadora did a wonderful job. Her companion in the kidding pen, Thistle, didn’t do so well….he looked absolutely terrified….where did that little thing come from!!!! He couldn’t wait to get out and join the rest of the herd in the pasture. The miracle of birth was obviously not his thing…

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We simply love our new little guy….he’s been growing SO FAST! Cute little horns are getting longer and he is a very happy little goatie.

 

Bedtime goat therapy is a wonderful thing….

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Larry and Bramble…evening snuggle time.

 

 

Kidding season just around the corner…

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In the spring of 2015 our Buttercup, Burdock and Thistle were born and became the start of our little herd.

Today we have added our breeding buck, Mr. Gibbs and lovely Isadora who come from Bunyip Hill.

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Isadora is “with child” but we have no idea how much or when it will be! So….make sure to get ready.

 

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We have one hand knitted kid sweater completed and 3 more made out of the felted sleeves of thrift store sweaters. If she kids soon, it may be very cold and we’ll need to keep them warm.

I think this part was the most fun:)

 

I used the knitting pattern from phoenexgoatfarm for my hand knitted goatie sweater. It’s a free downloadable pattern. Was super fun to knit. I’ll be making more in several colors.

http://phoenixdownfarm.blogspot.com/2011/01/baby-goat-sweater-pattern-part-three-in.html

 

 

 

 

 

For the repurposed sweaters I read several blog posts and kind of did a hybrid of all of them. First I washed all of the sweaters in hot water a couple of times with maximum agitation. Then machine dried them. They all felt differently and you end up with something of a surprise. But even a little felting increases the warmth value and helps with fraying while you work with them at the sewing machine. Tightly felted wool wouldn’t really need to have edges finished at all.

When I cut the sleeves off of the sweater it gave me the raw material for two goat baby versions. I also made some mittens out of the body of the sweater (using the ribbed band at the waist as the cuffs) as suggested on http://www.cornerstoneacresfarm.com/recyclereusereduce.htm

 

 

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Some of the kids in sweaters from http://www.cornerstoneacresfarm.com

 

 

I added little sleeves to my version to cover a bit of their tiny legs.

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A little lace in case there’s a girl

 

Also put together our birthing kit….found a good list on Fiasco Farm’s website at  https://fiascofarm.com/goats/kidding.htm. Their site has

Some of the items, we had around the house. The others were purchased at Fleet Farm, Tractor Supply and Walmart. Gathered them all together in a big plastic tote bag which sits in our dining room ready for whenever.

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Goat kidding kit

We set up a separate kidding pen in our granary this week. Isadora and Thistle spent last night there just to get used to it. It is a nice private place for Mrs. Goatie and also has good lighting and a little easier to keep warm as it has electricity and is fully enclosed. Oh….and closer to the house, which I love!

 

Thinking I should add a good book or some knitting and maybe a radio to the kit…..

 

Post Script!!! This post was written weeks ago, life got busy, and it wasn’t posted. Since writing, Isadora brought us a wonderful little buckling on Jan 16….all by herself! Hope to post pictures when I find time.

Life at the end of the rope….

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So it’s been awhile since the last post. Life kinda catches up on you sometimes.

These last months have been filled with the loss of my Dad, the loss of my dear friend and prayer partner for almost 20 years and a walk through  deep water with one of my beloved sons.

What does life look like when everything seems to be unraveling?

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I’m finding out first-hand. And it’s called Jesus.

It’s called redemption….and grace….and power made perfect in weakness.

It’s called letting go of my expectations and coming to terms with the fact that God’s plans are far higher than mine, and that he is accomplishing something in my life (and the lives of the people I love the most) that is far greater than my cherished dreams for temporary earthly happiness. He is after FOREVER. And He is bringing life out of death every moment of every day.

And it’s called Faithfulness.

So we do not lose heart….

 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,

as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.

For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Paul …2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

 

When life crashes down to the bedrock…..Jesus is there. These things are an opportunity to experience the depths of God’s faithfulness first-hand. To taste and see that the Lord is good.

It’s one thing to know something is true, to read it in God’s Word and believe it. That’s good….  It’s very good….Doorknockers Bath--241

But it’s a very profound thing to experience it at the core of your life. To KNOW it. Nothing life hands you can ever take that away.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 

One of my favorite phrases…..But God!!

All through history the Bible keeps a record of situations that seem wrong….look bad….even hopeless. And then comes the phrase “But God….”file000993969192.jpg

Bringing life out of the grave. Turning mourning into joy. Using a hard place to make room …..to pour His blessing into the deepest places of the heart.

Experiencing first-hand the security we can have in Jesus. Nothing can truly hurt us when we belong to the King.

Everything that is meant for harm is simply flipped around and used for our good and His glory…..in His perfect time.1-IMG_8432.jpg

His story’s not finished yet….

 

 

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The earth is waking up again….

Finally had a few minutes to take the goaties for a walk on the farm today….Felt SO GOOD!

Even though the place is full of mud holes, it warmed my soul to see the bright green moss appearing at the bases of the woodland trees. The snow is gone. The brown grass has a tinge of green to it.2016-03-09_1457487044 (3)

March winds were strong, but the temp was so warm I didn’t even need a sweater. It feels so light to walk around without the winter gear. A good pair of muck boots is all that’s really necessary.

Is Thistle worshiping the tree?? No, he’s just feeling a little goatie.

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These little guys are so awesome. I just can’t believe how easily they follow me around without straying. Wherever “mom” goes…..they go. It’s simply the best.2016-03-09_14574868602016-03-09_1457486741

Our adopted abandoned orange kitty returned home this week after a short absence…… with a lame leg.

Not sure if was a car or some other accident. He doesn’t seem to be in any pain, but his back leg isn’t working at all right now.2016-03-09_1457486963

 

What a trooper…..he wouldn’t be left behind and walked along with us the whole way.

 

Pretty close to heaven spending a day with my animals.

 

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I’ll ever

get tired

of those

big

trusting

goatie eyes!

 

 

 

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My first hero….

He never ran for President. He didn’t win an academy award or play football on television. He wasn’t even the mayor of our little Minnesota town. He didn’t pull children out of burning buildings or write a best-seller.

So what makes my Dad so darn special???

Everything that really counts.

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When I see my father’s 85 year old face, I see the face of unadulterated faithfulness. I see my first hero and my first best friend.

As a very little girl in the early 1960’s , my family went through some deep waters. Years of living have taught me that pretty much every family does. But when you’re in the middle of a test, it feels like it’s only your house that’s in crisis.

I am the oldest of 2 children. I was a toddler and my brother was a baby when our movie star beautiful mother fought a battle with depression (greatly misunderstood in 60’s era rural America).  I will most certainly get many of the details of the story wrong, as our extended family did what people did back then. They protected the young with silence. We didn’t get all the facts, but we knew enough and my child’s heart filled in the rest with the imagined.

There followed years of fuzzy memories of Mom in the hospital.  Grandma Frances moved in to take care of us and keep house and what a blessing she was!!! In the meantime, my mother was fighting the hardest part of the battle….all alone in a hospital. How different medicine is now.  And what a sacrifice she made to spend all those years away from her family, unable to see her babies growing up….. But that’s another story…

my mother’s incredible courage and determination

and how much I admire her for these!

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Our childhood was one predictable day after another of watching Dad eat eggs for breakfast….. take his gray lunch box with the thermos of coffee…… and go to work as a lineman for the rural electric company.

My brother and I spent our days at home with grandma, watched television, played both inside and outside and as we got older, went to school. The afternoons brought a snack and classic afterschool tv while we waited for 4:30 and our father’s clockwork return from his workday.

I look at those years now and realize how unusual it was for a young man to try to raise small children without a wife at home…… day care was unheard of…… single dads just didn’t seem to exist. But our dad spent his entire life giving us the most stable, loving and safe home two kids could ever ask for. Everything he did and everything he had was for us….. and he was my first and best best friend.

….I never knew real fear, because I absolutely KNEW that my dad would always be there for me.

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He taught us to love animals and the beauty of nature….. He brought home fertilized chicken eggs and we hatched them in a makeshift incubator in the house. I remember dad explaining how we mustn’t help the chicks pull the shells off , because they needed to open them on their own. But then…. eventually…… the cheeping, struggling baby chickens got the best of him and he couldn’t resist helping out…just a teeny bit!

He built us the world’s coolest fort in the backyard one winter, made of stacked haybales. We had haybale benches inside and played house for hours.

We went “road-hunting” for pheasants along the gravel roads near our home. We rode along to take the garbage to the local dump…I still consider a trip to the dump a rare treat! He took us on vacations to the lake, the Black Hills and Yellowstone National Park.

I loved 4:30 in the afternoon. Grandma would be making dinner and Dad would walk through the door with his empty lunch box any minute…..without fail.

We watched television most evenings….our mid century rambler a cocoon of predictable security. I loved sitting at the end of the couch while Dad watched his favorite shows.

Some children inherit large sums of money from their parents. Some inherit fame and prestige. But my brother and I inherited a lifetime of security and love. Everything I know about unconditional love and faithfulness, I saw first in my daddy…..

We got the best deal of all….there simply isn’t anything better.

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Afterward…

……my father passed away just a few weeks ago after a sudden illness. Ironically, it occurred only days after I wrote the draft of this post. I miss him terribly, but he has left us a beautiful legacy. Thanks Dad:)

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Winter book review…

Today’s favorite looks like a children’s book. But it’s not….. really.

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Our Miss Boo, by Margaret Lee Runbeck,  has line drawing illustrations by Peggy Bacon. The book came home with me from a local thrift store last spring. Old library bindings always catch my attention.

You’d expect it to be a children’s book. It’s rather short and simply written. The illustrations ( or “decorations”) make it look like it’s aimed at a child. But it really has much more to say to adults.. The little volume is a lovely reminder of the sweetness of childhood and the joy of simply living.

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Ms. Runbeck’s language is often tongue-in-cheek and always captivating. One sentence and you are transported into her world.  I found myself rationing the book…… one chapter each night, and looking forward to the next with childlike anticipation.

“What we wanted, really, was a house, and not a baby.      But the architect drew her into the plans.”

 

The adventure of parenthood begins here. There is a quality of serendipity in this story. The unexpected turns of life that define our journey….the joy of seeing the world through a child’s heart. I loved the atmosphere in Miss Boo’s house…. and I wished I could stay longer.

My take-home? Don’t ever outgrow wonder. Slow down and savor the moment. Always a good reminder.

12717040_953122728104351_1247500716_nSitting there at my desk, unaware and precious, she outweighed all the unanswered questions, and the uselessness and sorrow, and I thought:

“Of all the dear sights in the world, nothing is so beautiful as a child when it is giving something. Any small thing it gives. A child gives the world to you…it opens the world for you as if it were a book you’d never been able to read.

….a child has so little that it can give, because it never knows it has given you everything…”

 

Cynthia commented on Goodreads.com, “I think this is one of those magical books that make you pause and see things differently. I’m in awe of the author who wrote this lovely little parenting manual in 1942…..”12728644_831939270262970_984423603_n

I completely agree! The little book HAD me from the very first sentence! Generally I place these vintage gems up for sale on my Etsy shop at Fromthemousenest.etsy.com. But this one….I just can’t part with it. Miss Boo has earned a spot in my permanent collection.

 

 

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If I had a little lamb, I’d take such care of him. I’d tie him at night under the butternut tree. And he’d never get lost. And if he was hungry I’d say to him, “Eat, my little lamb. Eat moon-beams and butternuts.”

 

Find a copy and read it….but you can’t take mine!

 

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Addition to small goat post….just a little longer this time.

My family is spending unexpected time in the intensive care unit of the Abbott-Northwestern Heart Hospital in Minneapolis this week with my Dad. What do you do at times like this?

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You walk through the deep waters knowing the One True God has promised that they won’t overwhelm you and that He will walk every step alongside to an eternally good conclusion.

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You fill your heart with gratitude for the blessings of having someone like Dad for an entire lifetime.

 

And you rejoice in the blessings of the love of family and friends….

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Larry knows me well and sent me extra video of my goat babies to make me smile.

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I think Dad would smile too.

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Small goat update…..

Okay, this update is small….. and the goats are also small.

You know how much your man loves you when he sends movies of your goat babies to you…..

Happy New Year everyone!

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A year of gradual progress on the Home Front….

 

NOTE: I started this post several weeks ago….but like so many things on a farm (even a little pretend farm) interruptions HAPPEN! So, better late than never? Enjoy the pics of warmer days:)

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We’ve been on the homestead for a year now as of September 29th. Natural to look back and see what has been accomplished.

We somehow managed to keep the lawn mowed…mostly.

Welcomed 15 Indian runner ducklings , 26 Silver-laced Wyandotte ch11910181_1626958887574280_2132530161_nickies and 2 Nigerian dwarf kids to the farm. None had permanent housing, so the upstairs bathroom turned into a temporary poultry nursery and the dining room doubled as eating space for the humans, and sleeping quarters for the doeling and buckling.

Plowed and tilled a large garden….planted it, weeded it……. lost some of it to the chickens……… fenced it, and got some of it actually harvested.

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Started a temporary compost pile….the nicer one may be constructed next spring.

Learned how to clear snow from a rural driveway with a town-person’s walk behind snowblower.

Dug out a little more flower bed around the house …… Added Apricot Drift roses along the curve of the “veranda” on our anniversary.2015-10-09_1444354209

Planted a few pine trees and 2 baby apple trees. My dad sent us a sweet 16 and a honeycrisp that are growing nicely just east of the wood shop.

Larry put up a temporary clothesline for me using trees in the front yard. Works just fine. Maybe next year I can have him make me the one I saw on pinterest….

239Wethered our first buckling.

Lost our first goat to the dreaded UC.

Very sad day…..you were the sweetest little Chicory!

Went to pick up a new companion wether for Buttercup and came home with 2….welcome to one week old Burdock and Thistle.IMG_9864IMG_9836

Gave our first shots to our new livestock.

Gathered our first eggs……and then LOTS more!11875410_880016935425088_871022638_n11254129_1460940730879966_700626614_n

Harvested our first chickens and ducks…..a sad reality to life on a sort of real farm.

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Two annual First Baptist Church youth group bonfires successfully completed with no fire trucks needed.2015-09-29_1443495389

First dill pickles in pretty quart jars…2015-08-22_1440216310

Built a duck coop, chicken coop and goat home out of one of the old corn cribs….well they’re not all quite done yet, but useable.2015-10-09_14443546152015-10-09_14443545362015-10-09_1444354706

Built our first fence…..the goats now have their own pasture.2015-08-16_1439698206

Planted our first deer garden back by the oak trees. Larry set his deer stand up and can now enjoy the view from above.

Taught the growing chickens and ducks how to come home to the coop every night.

What we’ve learned. What is left unfinished….

A LOT is left unfinished!

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