Wednesday, April 30, 2008

a sad morning

we lost jubilee's lambs. one light and one dark. i found her at 6 am in the middle of the birth of the second lamb. it appears that the lamb did not present properly. i pulled gently at the already dead lamb and it was then born. poor jubilee. she began the process of cleaning her unresponsive lamb. her first lamb was nearby, born sometime in the night. it also did not survive.

jubilee is mourning her lambs. she is baaing a sad call to them as she wanders out to the pasture, then to the shed, then back to the birthing place looking for them.

lessons on the farm are not always easy. but even while we are feeling the sadness of the loss, we can't help but smile at the 3 lambs we have, frolicking, leaping, and chasing each other around the pasture. and now i am keeping a watchful eye on bathsheeba, the last ewe to lamb, praying she doesn't have any difficulty.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

baby pictures

clover and basil
roxie and one of her lambs


(i need a better picture of her, she is too cute!)

i couldn't resist posting a few more pictures of our lambs. we are still waiting for the other two ewes. jubilee is hanging out in the shed this morning while the others are out in the pasture grazing...maybe today?


here are our little sprouts about 1 week later. (my gardening readers will notice that we also planted tomato seeds!)

everyday gift: tender sprouts


about 2 weeks ago we spent the morning in the garden planting sunflower seeds in peat pots. we were so thankful for the warm sunny day. we also painted watercolor pictures of the flowers. i made a quick stop by the grocery store florist for a few stems of sunflowers to paint from life, but they had mostly roses and carnations, no sunflowers. so we had to settle for using pictures from our gardening books and the seed packets. i thought they did a beautiful job.

S's painting. (he added the latin name of the sunflower)

B's painting (this is definitely the mammoth variety!)

everyday gift: homeschool in the garden...gardenschool? ;o)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

i spy...

look closely at the newly budding branches of the japense lilac bush. do you see it? a miracle is camouflaged among the brown branches...

how about now? in this picture you might also see last year's miracle. do you need a clue?

here is closer view...

it is the egg case of a praying mantis, attached to this branch in the fall by the mother who will never see her offspring. the egg case will release its nymphs in late spring, 100's upon 100's of them dropping out on thin silky threads. the wind will send them on their way.

everyday gift: another miracle in God's creation

sweet violets

i love violets. they are so humble. they don't require any special treatment. they are one of the first to greet me every spring. i love their color, not as common as the blue variety. these violets are so prolific that they are threatening to take over my herb garden, but i just can't bear to weed them out. i will have to transplant them to another location or give them to other gardening friends. that is how i got them in the first place. a dear woman at my church, and incredible gardener i might add, shared these with me a few years ago. and she told me the story of the old friend, now with the Lord, who shared them with her. the family's farm was only a few miles from here.

i would like my life to be like these sweet violets. oh, that i would humbly share joy with others without demanding anything in return. not like the hot house flowers who wilt and pout without the perfect conditions. and may the joy i share spark a chain reaction in others to give joy as well.

everyday gift: sweet violets spreading joy

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

hosanna with her new lamb

another miracle occurred on sunday and this time we got to watch. it was an amazing moment, one i am sure the kids will never forget. this is hosanna's first lamb and she is doing an incredible job. it is so amazing how she knows exactly what to do! we have named the lamb shalom because she was born the day after passover. and by now we have figured out that the papa is jericho, our black shetland ram, that scoundrel!

everyday gift: the miracle of new life

Friday, April 18, 2008

jeepers creepers...

where'd you get them peepers...

a few sundays ago we were dashing out the door to go church, when we got "the call." it was the post office distribution center, "ummm, we have your...ummm, package here and it's...peeping."

so after a quick change of clothes, i was off to pick up our new babies. the hatchery ships them within 24 hours of hatching and we need to pick them up from the post office ASAP to get them under their warming lights. i rang the bell at the back door of the warehouse and waited for the worker to bring my package out, 48 fuzz balls in one box!

already the feathers are replacing the fluff. they are trying out their wings and learning to roost. those chicks are eating us out of house and home but in just a few months they'll be earning their keep and giving us wonderfully fresh eggs!

this year our coop will be filled with:

rhode island reds
white rocks
partridge rocks
silver laced wyandottes
and araucanas (the easter egg chicken laying pastel colored eggs!)

everyday gift: peeping chicks!

first blooms

what a welcome sight....tulips and crocus in the garden. we spent the morning sketching them into our nature journals and marveling at the creativity of our God. such beautiful and colorful life springing from the seemingly dead and black dirt. that is what the Holy Spirit does in our sinful life springs up! \o/

everyday gift: first blooms


i watched from the window as raindrops began to fall. the animals were making a beeline from the pasture to the shed. i am so glad we spent yesterday morning in the garden sketching tulips and crocus into our nature journals because today promises to be colder and stormy. i checked the weather again about a half an hour later, and couldn't believe my eyes! there was a newborn lamb in the shed! i hollered to the kids, grabbed the camera and cell phone, pulled on my boots and headed to the shed. S ran ahead and announced not one, but two lambs! we watched in awe as the still wet and wobbly lambs bleated for their mama and searched for her warmth and milk. what a precious sight to behold. roxie is such a sweet mama, nudging, cleaning, bleating softly to them. what an unexpected blessing! you see, our rams are wethers (castrated)! so miracles do happen!
i think this lamb is a ram. it is all white with a few black spots.

roxie with her babies. the one on the left has a prominent black spot on its leg, it is a ewe lamb, her brother is on the right, with a spot on its neck.

B with one of the new lambs. she threw a sweatshirt over her p.j.'s to greet the new arrivals!

everyday gift: newborn lambs

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

muddy love

the sun shone yesterday and keeping the kids inside for school was a challenge to say the least. so after dinner, dishes cleared, the threesome ran down to see how their fort in the creek has fared over the winter. i settle on the couch with my book, hoping to get in a chapter or two.

my thoughts were pulled from the pages with a distant cry. did i hear something? were they happy sounds? angry sounds? hopefully not hurt sounds. i strain to listen...there it is again. B.

i step out on the deck to see what the problem is. through the pasture i see B slogging home with S beside her, arm around her. (okay, i am not happy that B may be hurt, but that sight is beautiful to a mama's eyes!)

as they reach the garage, the story unfolds...B with her rubber boots on, had stepped into the creek, feet sinking into the muck. in an attempt to free her feet she lost her balance and sat down, feet still stuck! so she comes to me with hands caked in mud, a wet brown bottom, and boots heavy with mud. she washes her hands in the garage sink and takes off her boots. i lead her into the laundry room and she sheds her clothes. wrapped in a towel, she heads for the shower, still sobbing. i was able to help her all the way into the shower without cracking a smile! B is not happy if she thinks she is not taken seriously! ;o)

still in the garage are two muddy boys. C has mud-caked tennis shoes and thorn scratches on his hands from the rescue effort. S also has the muddy evidence of the drama. so they really do love their sister...i suspected it all along!

well, so much for my book, better get to that muddy laundry...

everyday gift: brotherly, muddy, love

Saturday, April 12, 2008

thank goodness for corelle

yesterday i was enjoying my morning coffee as i watched the news. the boys were rushing through their chores including emptying the dishwasher. all of a sudden i heard the terrible clatter and crash of dishes hitting the floor, the lingering spin of a plate until it finally came to rest, and then a moment of silence which was broken by C reciting the motto printed on the back of our dishes, "break and chip resistant!" *~*muffled laughter*~*

boy, are they lucky.

everyday gift: break resistant dishes

Sunday, April 6, 2008

move over hallmark

B is quite the entrepreneur these days. operators are standing by to take your orders! ;o)

Jane Eyre ~ by charlotte bronte

i finished re-reading Jane Eyre and i must confess that it has either been too long since i last this book, or the last time i started skimming somewhere around the middle, because it was like reading it for the first time. what drama those bronte sisters wrote! most of the story was so very tragic and gloomy. i might have put it down except for the incredible skill in which the author tells the story and for the beautiful character of jane eyre herself. jane is such a bright star in the dark story. her character is so full of strength, determination, and the will power to do what is right no matter what the cost to herself. she is independent and fierce; she stands up for herself, and speaks her mind. all of these are qualities which would not have been acceptable for a woman in the author's day. jane eyre was quite ahead of her time.

so with the backdrop of adversity, charlotte bronte creates a chiaroscuro effect with the brilliant light of jane eyre. beautiful.

everyday gift: reading a classic