Sunday, January 31, 2010

Picture of the Damage

This is what I look like after Elsie kicks me while trying to milk her. It's hard to be bold and just do what needs to be done while looking at her hind leg just waiting to push me out of the way. The 2nd time she even managed to push the bucket out of my hand (I was holding it because I knew she wasn't going to hold still)and got me wet. Now I'll have to wash the jeans again just so they don't smell like sour milk tomorrow!

She held still long enough for me to place the bucket on the ground and use both hands to get less than a pint of milk. She didn't kick, but I still poured the milk into the other container before starting back up. This seems like it might be her trigger to start fussing, but I don't want to lose what milk I've managed to get either.

A friend told me to really lean into her while milking and it will make her feel off balance if she tries to lift her leg. It works, but not the whole time I'm out there. It's how I end up looking like this picture. She actually scraped my skin this time. I banged the back of my head jumping up to yell at her. I was also told to make a scene and let her know who's in charge. I'm not sure my scene conveyed that, but I did it anyway! I pulled her feed box out of her reach, told her if she won't let me milk I won't let her eat! I wonder if she understands me?

On the bright side-Jasper was mooing and jumping trying to get the chickens to play with him. It was cute to watch! Didn't have the camera though...

The Cow Plan

I read this story about 10 days before Elsie was due. It sounds so simplistic in its approach that it makes me think, "why aren't more people doing this?" As soon as we can build a seprate pen for Jasper, we'll probably do the same thing.

How To Have Your Milk & Drink It Too

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I hope this doesn't happen here...

When you're from the country ~ you look at things a little differently...

A Mississippi rancher got into his pickup truck, drove to a neighboring ranch and knocked at the door.

A young boy, about 9 years old, opened the door.
"Is your Dad home?" the rancher asked.
"No sir, he isn't," the boy replied. "He went into town."

"Well," said the rancher, "Is your Mother here?"

"No sir, she's not here either. She went into town with Pa."

"How about your brother, Howard? Is he here?"

"No sir, He went with Mom and Pa."

The rancher stood there for a few minutes, shifting from one foot to the other and mumbling to himself.

"Is there anything I can do for you?" the boy asked politely. "I know where all the tools are, if you want to borrow one. Or maybe I could take a message for Pa."

"Well," said the rancher uncomfortably, "I really wanted to talk to your Dad. It's about your brother Howard getting my daughter, Suzie, pregnant."'

The boy considered for a moment. "You would have to talk to Pa about that," he finally conceded. "If it helps you any, I know that Pa charges $500 for the bull and $50 for the hog, but I really don't know how much he gets for Howard."

Thanks to my Aunt Susan for sending this...

Kelly vs Elsie

OK, I can't remember if we started milking her on Monday or Tuesday, but things have gotten gradually better until today. I learned yesterday that leaning into her helps keep her from kicking so I decided I'd start out that way today and just be ready to move quickly if I saw her lift her foot.

We were doing well-I was using two hands with the bucket on the ground and she wasn't stomping or kicking. She started to move a little so I grabbed the bucket just in time to keep her from stepping in it. Whew, close call. I poured off what was in the bucket (learned that from somewhere) and started again. She wasn't going for it this time. Rocking back and forth, lifting her foot when I'd get close to her teats. I persisted. She stomped hard, I smacked her on the flank. I told her she better be nice because I'M THE ONE THAT BRINGS THE FOOD! I tried again, was doing fairly well again...then she got me. Hard. Across the abdomen and one of my legs. My guts still kinda hurt, but since I can't remember which leg she hit it must not have hurt much. I smacked her harder and told her we could buy a freezer. I put the bucket back and went at it again. Not because I wanted or needed the milk-she got her hoof into the bucket that time and it was now contaminated-but because I wasn't going to let her win the mental battle. She wasn't going to let me back in though.

I needed to return a magazine and movie to the library that was closing soon, so I called it a day and gave the milk to the chickens. Ornery cow!

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Busy Week

It must have been, if I hardly had time to write! Ask me what kept me so busy and I'm not sure I could give you a good answer. Learning to milk Elsie is taking up a little time. I checked today and was outside milking her for about an hour. There has to be a more effective way, and we're looking into a used milking machine. If my aching muscles have any say in the purchase, we'll be buying one! The odd position I find myself in to hold her still and get milk at the same time are showing up as dull aches. Right hand and wrist, right shoulder area and back, all of my lower back, and both knees. Not sure why, unless it's just from being kicked. Today she stepped on my shoe, missed my toes, thank God, but wouldn't move so I was kinda pinned there. The most milk I've managed to get is 2 quarts. I know there's more in there, but she gets to a point where she's not gonna cooperate any more. I did make a little progress today in that she let me use BOTH hands and I placed the bucket on the ground and she didn't kick it. That's GOT to be where the saying came from.

I learned that I can use that time to let the chickens have their COB (corn, oats, barley) mix. We don't want Elsie or Jasper eating any grain, and the goats will gobble it up before the chickens can get to it, so when I've got Elsie tied up for milking, the goats are tied up at their respective feed stands too. That leaves the chickens free to eat their COB. They were quite happy with that!

I haven't tried the cow milk yet. I have a little over a gallon in the fridge right now, but I use the oldest first and we're still on goat milk from 1-26. Started milking Elsie 1-27. If there's as much cream as it looks like, I'm going to make ice cream for Tony.

We had sunshine today-whoopie! The corral is drying out, except where the sun doesn't shine as much and of course that's where there's the most urine! I don't think I ever thought I'd be saying something like this, but the manure smell goes away shortly after reaching the ground, but the urine lingers. OK, I guess I'm learning what it takes to be a farmer!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Milking Elsie

What can I say? I was warned to start working with her early, but did I? No. There was always something more urgent. Or I didn't have an opportunity because my son used to be terrified of her and to even leave him in the car while I walked her on a lead rope was upsetting for him. I'll admit that after getting hit with her horns that I'm a bit shy about taking charge of her. Don't tell her that though. She needs to know that even though she outweighs me by 650 pounds that I'M IN CONTROL! But the milk is here and that's why we bought her, so it's time to get down to business and show her that weight or no, we'll be milking her on a regular basis. Or I will be. Tony was the one that had to sit down and risk being kicked today before she calmed down enough to just do it. I took over toward the end, but she still liked to stomp now and then. We probably both have bruises. No probably on my part-she got my left knee cap. I haven't checked the other areas she it yet, and Tony doesn't bruise easily, so he might be alright.

We didn't collect any of the milk for ourselves though. I tried washing her teats and she kept kicking. Tony started milking just to do it, and then I tried to do it with the bucket, which she promptly stepped in. From there he just let it squirt onto the ground. At then end we both managed to squirt some into a big pot that we let the chickens drink. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day and we'll actually get clean milk for us to try!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Video of the Raging Creek

Without knowing what this creek looks like on a normal basis, this video might not mean much. I could post that video but I don't think I'll be able to get that view until mid summer! I'll go ahead and post the still shots at the end.

Bottle Feeding Jasper

We moved all the farm animals just before sunset the night it was to flood. When we checked on them (at our other property) the goats were standing out in the rain and Elsie wasn't protecting Jasper from the elements, so we took all but Elsie back home. We didn't think the water would get to the goat pen and we kept Jasper in the house. He was a very good house guest, and we filmed him eating breakfast.

2010 Goals

I added a list in the right hand side bar of the things I want to learn to do or accomplish in 2010. As I complete an item I'll put the date in (parenthesis). It should be an evolving list, and I'll probably make a few posts explaining how I plan to do some of these things.

Like sewing-I want to learn by someone showing me, not by reading a book. That works for some things, but I just can't see myself figuring out the fine art of stitching by reading about it. I tried my local community college, no sewing classes. I posted an ad at craiglist and got 2 replies, but it was more expnesive than I anticipated.

Finally, I mentioned it to a friend and she reminded me that her sister in law is a fabulous seamstress and quilt maker and would probably be thrilled to teach me. Yay! Someone I already know that would not see it as drudgery to teach total novice to sew. I have yet to call her, as the idea came just days before the birth of our calf and the flooding rain and snow storms that passed thru last week. After catching up on what didn't get done last week, I'll call her.

So that's my plan for now-even though my to do list seems to be overflowing and at times overwhelming, if I don't have some sort of agenda, it just won't happen. The next two "out of the ordinary" priority tasks are to establish a milking routine with Elsie and then get my baby chicks ordered/build their outdoor run. Maybe I could clone myself...

Friday, January 22, 2010

I was right-MORE adventure!

I haven't had my laptop on since I turned it off at midnight last night. We went to bed shortly after, exhausted. At 1:22AM there was a loud knock on our side door-which is in our bedroom-and the announcement, "Marshall's Office!" Tony jumped out of bed and asked him to go to the front door. "Creek's rising!" Um, duh? OK that's not what Tony said but we really wondered why they felt the need to make that announcement. Apparently he had gone into the meander land and seen that our goats were in the pasture. Tony thanked him and we went out to see this creek-turned-raging-river. It had indeed risen-half way into the corral, but the goats were snug and dry in their shelter. We stood outside to watch it for a while. Do you know how loud several thousand cubic feet of water per second rushing by you sounds? Loud. I tried to sleep-we knew that was the crest of it, but still...

We were right, that was the end of the high water level. It's still really full and flowing rapidly but it's back within the confines of it's western shore, which is where our property starts. I took pictures and video and when I've had rest and think I can properly upload them I will!

Jasper took about 8 ounces of leftover cow milk that we reheated for him, then we took him back to Elsie where he promptly latched on and continued suckling. She mostly let him. I just got the latest from the weather service and the flood warnings have been cancelled. Maybe we can consider bringing her back today so we can better watch them.

Thanks to all who have been praying for us! God DOES answer prayers!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I don't think the adventure is over yet!

Can I go to sleep now? We were up til about 2 last night planning what to do with our herd if/when the creek rises, and gathering supplies. I thought I'd be able to sleep in but was up at my normal time. I thought today would be uneventful-just housecleaning and packing a suitcase in case we need to leave. Tony had fed the animals before I got up and the report was all were happy and fairly dry. Good. I won't have to go outside until about noon.
He planned to go to work. He left but returned shortly after with a few things we might need here and the trailer to load the riding mower on before the ground gets too soggy. That was my first trip outside. Since I was there I went ahead and did the noon feeding and tried to make some drainage ditches in the critter corral. We also thought it would be a good time to make sure Jasper was suckling and getting enough to eat. He seemed to get a bit, but not a lot, and restraining Elsie was no picnic!
Tony really felt he needed to get to work so we stopped the outdoor chores and came in. Both of us changed into dry clothes and he left. Then the call came. He locked his keys in the car-must have hit the button with his knee when he changed out of his boots. While that was happening I learned that I needed to do more to get Jasper eating. We bought a calf nipple bottle and tried the whole thing again. Got some milk from Elsie (it really should have been video taped) but Jasper wouldn't suckle. Called the woman we bought her from.
Back to the feed store for a large syringe. Got Elsie tied up a new way-with front leg restrained so she won't kick with her back legs. I was told we needed to get a quart into Jasper ASAP. With a syringe that holds two ounces?? We got 8 ounces in that way and he started to get up, so we draped a jacket over him and let him go to Elsie since she was still restrained. Oh yeah, did I mention we're under evacuation watch because of all the rain? Got the papers Weds and we're to be ready to leave if they come back.
In the second round of trying to restrain Elsie, she started to look odd so we called the vet. We've never met this vet and he was helping someone throw sandbags around their house but he'd be here soon. While we were waiting is when Jasper started suckling, but I felt the cost of the visit was worth my peace of mind. He checked mama and baby and pronounced both in good health, but suggested we get her out of the low lying pasture ASAP. Old timer that was here for the flood of '93 and saw how high this creek was...since we don't own a stock trailer and have to rely on others for help we decided to move her at that point instead of waiting until the middle of the night and NEEDING to do it NOW.
We took the goats too, but they weren't happy about it. The only shelter at the other place is a large awning-no walls. We went back to check them around 10 and they were on the opposite end of the property waiting for us to come back. We loaded them and Jasper in the truck and brought them back home. I hope Elsie isn't over there bellowing for her calf. She didn't make any noise when Tony carried him off and didn't try to follow, so hopefully she's OK being separated.
We gave Jasper some milk we'd set aside in the fridge (warmed of course) and he happily fell asleep on the living room floor. We'll take him back at sunrise and see if Elsie will let him suckle while we figure out the best way to put up temporary walls. In the rain. And wind. Yes, we live in AZ and are sissies with the weather!
I know we each had 3 pairs of pants and hooded jackets get soaked today. They've been dried and are ready for what tomorrow brings. Maybe if I plan to be busy it'll be peaceful and quiet! I'll let ya know!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Learning Something New

Two things happened today that are related, but it wasn't my plan that they fall together this way. All thru the day I was thinking about all the new things I want and need to learn how to do, and thought a list of 2010 lessons would be good to start. I was thinking of how to make butter and cheese from all the fresh milk we should have; learning to sew, knit, and/or crochet; and various other things.

Yesterday I was at Costco and saw a Wahl hair cutting system for $20 and thought it was a good price to try cutting my husband and son's hair. Tony was excited to let me try and so tonight I cut his hair and our son's. I made a couple of mistakes, but nothing embarrassing for either one of them. We saved the cost of the unit already, so from this point forward we are money ahead!

So I learned to do something new, took a small chunk out of our expenses, and we spent the evening together. I'll have to put this on my list of skills acquired in 2010, even if I learned it before I made the list! ;-)

They're both quite handsome, if I may say so!

Monday, January 18, 2010


My thoughts are too jumbled to explain why. I hope this gets resolved soon because I don't like being sad.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hissing Chickens

You didn't know they hiss? Neither did I! In order to tell the story properly I'll have to back up to last Monday when we lost our last turkey. She was there at 330 or 4, but never made it to the hen house that night. Less than 48 hours later I heard a ruckus outside and got to the window just in time to see a coyote running down the road with a chicken in its mouth. That makes 9 birds we've lost in about as many months and I'm tired of feeding the coyotes!

We decided we can't let them roam free any longer (until last week we hadn't lost a bird since August, so we thought the trouble was over) so we decided to put them in with our "herd". Our herd consists of two milk goats and one of their whethered kids, and our Elsie cow. That means clipping their wings so they can't get out. And that means catching them. Or waiting til they roost in the hen house, which is what we opted to do. I wanted to be the one holding the bird while Tony clipped, so I went in to grab one. They were all on the furthest shelf and I had to reach over one perch to get to them and as I did I heard hissing. Yes, hissing! Turns out it was my jacket as it slid across the closer perch. Haha! My heart was beating faster thinking that these chickens KNEW what we were doing and had planned a revolt against us!

So Tony clipped one set and I did the other 3 because he could reach the perch better. It's really simple-assuming we did it right. We put them on the perch in the goat shelter and they seemed to be happy. They should be able to find plenty of bugs living in the cow patties, right?

Favorite Web Sites

I wish this were a post telling you about some of my favorite sites, and maybe I'll still do that, but I'm really wondering if anyone knows of an easy way to clean up my Favorites folder. I try to keep subfolders so that like items can be kept together, but sometimes I just can't think if a good subfolder and it gets saved to the general file. Once that happens it seems harder to find in the future. What's the point of having a Favorites folder if I can't find what I need? Today feels like a good time to sort thru them and move some to better places, but within Internet Explorer I can only move one item at a time and I really don't have the patience for that! I think I'll try a web search for a little file I can download to make this easier. I tried exporting the info and opening it in Word so I could move things around, but it didn't import back in properly.

I did a few searches looking for a tool to help me, but didn't find what I was looking for, so I just decided to work on it a little at a time. I just completed the folder named Farm & Animals. I'd been putting all kinds of stuff there and broke it into Garden and Homesteading. Guess I'll just keep plugging away!

Friday, January 15, 2010


Update (10/29/16).  First, when I look at the picture of him drinking goat milk, I'm reminded how small he was!  That's just a standard pie pan and his face is so little!  Second, he turned out to be a she.  Imagine my husband's embarrassment when we took "him" to the 24 hour emergency vet because he was bleeding...Third, he's no longer with us.  He disappeared into the wild, never to be seen again.  Fourth, she looked a lot like Mim.  

Purrsy is our youngest cat. We're not sure exactly how old he is because of how he came to be part of our family. It started last summer-one of our dogs was not faring well. She was 14 years old and had stopped eating. I tried giving her cooked rice, goat milk, anything to get her to eat. She wasn't interested-before you start feeling too sorry for me, I "married" this dog-they [her and her sister] are Tony's dogs. Anyway, it was time to do the deed. She couldn't stand up to go outside and we weren't about to diaper a dog! She lived a fun, full life and her time had come. That was July 21st.
July 22nd I was starting the car to take my son to preschool and heard a noise. It sounded like a meow, but could have also been a far off bird squawking. Upon further investigation I saw TINY kitten in our bushes.

Its kinda like a Where's Waldo picture-you have to look to see him. I got back into the car and took my son to preschool without mentioning what I saw. Called Tony on the way home and he already knew why I was calling. The kitten had been on the door step when he left for work at 530 that morning. He said we needed to find a home for him. He said he didn't want 3 cats. I didn't say anything.
I posted an ad on and called a few friends to find this little guy a home. In the mean time I gave him some goat milk. He had the LOUDEST purr I've ever heard, especially coming from such a small critter! I kept checking on him throughout the next couple of days. He was so small he'd be easy prey for a hawk or owl to come get him.
The mystery is how he got there in the first place. We live on a busy road, it'd be hard for him to not get hit by a car. I also think it's quite odd that he showed up the day after Jazmine's last day on earth.
Tony saw how much attention I was paying to the cat and said something to the affect that I was getting awfully close to a cat that I didn't plan to keep. I told him that was his plan, not mine! Shortly after that he realized he had made the decision to give him away without asking how I felt. When he saw how much I liked the kitten he said we could keep him. That's when we named him Purrsy. All you have to do is make eye contact with him and he starts purring!
He's really made a place for himself in our family. He terrorizes the older cats, who just hiss at him when they've had enough. He was afraid of Nala at first (the dog we still have) but now attacks her tail. He sleeps on the bed with us and likes to lay in our laps when we're typing. He's got really soft fur.
I guess he's about 7 months old. He had to be at least a month when he got here, even though he was so small. He started eating dry cat food right away. He doesn't bother the chickens, and as far as I know, they don't bother him!
He likes to hide under the end of my bed and attack my foot as I walk by. He thinks he's sneaky, I just think he's cute!

Update (10/29/16).  First, when I look at the picture of him drinking goat milk, I'm reminded how small he was!  That's just a standard pie pan and his face is so little!  Second, he turned out to be a she.  Imagine my husband's embarrassment when we took "him" to the 24 hour emergency vet because he was bleeding...Third, he's no longer with us.  He disappeared into the wild, never to be seen again.  Fourth, she looked a lot like Mim.


I wrote this on Jan 6th and decided not to post it at that time. Doesnt say much, but I took the time to write it, might as well post it!

Today was interesting. Maybe. I'm trying to get up at 630 each morning so I have time to read my Bible and pray before the day really gets going. That's not easy for me to do. Monday I hit the snooze once and got up at 635. Tuesday I turned it off and got up at 7. Today it was 8. I might be better at getting up early if there was someone here to talk to (besides my 4 year old son), but then the purpose of getting up is to spend time alone with God. Tony is gone before 6 and I have offered several times to get up with him and see him off. We've tried it a few times and he's the one that ends up cancelling the plan after a couple of weeks. We've tried in the summer so we can exercise before it gets hot, and enjoy a nice sunrise. We've tried other times just so we can have a few moments together before the crazy day starts. I guess he's been doing it alone for too long to change it because it just doesn't work out.

OK, one rabbit hole down, several more to go. I slept in, got the animals fed and took son to preschool. Or maybe the animals didn't get fed until I got home because I remember starting my hot chocolate and then taking hay to the herd. Tried to get a fire going to warm the place up-yup did that before I took son to preschool. Opened Bible and read 2 Philipians. Tony came home after dental appointment. We talked for a bit before he headed back to the shop. Decided that dental insurance is not worth paying for! I need a crown-the cost is $900. We could get family insurance at $855 or so per year and they'll pay a percentage of the crown, but not much. I'd save $471 with insurance. Or spend $1400 to have insurance pay for $360 of the crown. Um, I think I'll just pay for the crown myself! BTW-that benefit wouldn't be available if I hadn't been on their plan for the last 3 years thru Tony's work. I'd have to pay insurance for 24 months before they'd kick in that $360 towards my crown. What a racket!!

Mother, Part 4 of 6

Mother. I did not arrive at this one through standard routes. 15 years with my ex and we never achieved pregnancy. We did all the medical interventions and it never worked. Test results said we were both healthy and there really wasn’t anything specific causing the infertility. Oh yeah? Looking back I think it was God. He knew what my ex would do and knew that if we had kids I would have “stayed for the sake of the kids”. Well, I don’t think that would have been the right thing to do. I am happier and more fulfilled now than I ever remember. I don’t think I was supposed to stay. I think I was to obey God and follow His timeline, hence the attempts at reconciliation, but I think He planned this life for me.
Tony has 3 kids that were 15, 17, and 20 when we got married. His son, the 17 year old had moved in with Tony about 6 months before the wedding, so I was an instant step mom, more in title than anything else. I knew better than to expect them to like and accept me, and especially to think that I’d have any kind of mothering role in their lives, so I didn’t push mothering. I was there, and I hope I provided a positive influence. It’s been 3 and a half years since we got married and I think they’re relaxing a bit around me, and vice versa. We had a nice visit from his oldest daughter recently and his son includes me in his mass text messages. All 3 have accepted friend invites on facebook. Progress, but not mom stuff.
10 months after we married, I looked into becoming foster parents. A few months later we started the classes and the day after we received certification our first child was placed with us. He’s been with us over two years now. There’s another series in itself! For all intents and purposes he’s ours, but the state doesn’t recognize that yet. He thinks he’s ours or that we’re his, whichever way you want to look at it. So yeah, I’m a mom, but that could change with the whims of the judge.

Will Tony and I use medical intervention? I don’t know. I have mixed feelings about it and would need to have them reconciled before going down that road. Foreign or domestic adoption? Perhaps. I think we’re waiting to see what happens with our current foster situation.

This is the dream unfulfilled. I go through seasons where I think this is a case of letting go of dime store pearls, but then I hear a teaching that says to never give up on your hopes and dreams. For now, I just take it a day at a time and take what God gives me!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wife, Part 3 of 6

So now I’m also a wife. We chose traditional roles for our marriage. To me that means I stay home and run the house and he goes to work to earn the money that makes that happen. Does that mean he doesn’t help out at home, or I don’t offer advice and support for his work? No, it just means I’m in charge of the house and he’s in charge of the work. Ultimately, he is responsible for all of it, as the Bible states, but I am here to help and support. By taking care of all the household tasks I free him to focus on his work. When he’s free to focus on his work, he’s more efficient and has the energy at home to be a good husband.
What are all those tasks? What does a homemaker do? Especially if there are no children to care for...She cleans the house, does the laundry, prepares meals, pays bills, handles household tasks, plans events and activities, keeps the family calendar, buys the gifts, and makes sure the house is a home. The greatest responsibility is ensuring that her husband knows and feels that he is loved and respected. Let’s face it gals, our men are bombarded with negative messages all day long. Confronted with temptations. Met with resistance. Put in situations that cause him to question his value and worth. When we make the home a place he can’t wait to get to, we’ve given him a place to renew his strength to fight all those battles again the next day.
When those things happen all in one day I used to say that Suzy came for a visit. Who? Suzy Homemaker. She paid me a visit today! I’m getting better at taking care of a wider variety of activities each day, but I’ve got a long way to go. I’m learning to be more balanced so that more of those responsibilities are attended to on a regular basis. I recently made a daily and weekly checklist of the things I want to focus on and laminated it for my planner. I can mark things off as I finish, using a dry erase marker, and see my progress. The following week I can wipe it clean and start again. I think seeing what I’m accomplishing will motivate me to keep going. I’m sure you can identify with the feeling that the kitchen just can’t be dirty again-I just finished cleaning it!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Where does it come from? According to the Bible, God is a God of order, not chaos. Seems to me then, that chaos is evil. If my life is controlled by chaos, what does that mean? Am I not in submission to Him or His will? If I say I can't handle the chaos anymore, but nothing changes, what am I doing wrong?

Is this a temporary situation? I sure hope so! It has lasted far too long as it is. It affects my life daily and keeps me from my full potential. It affects my health, as stress is the biggest contributor to adrenal fatigue. Then it becomes a downward spiral. Too much stress weakens me, being weak causes me to resort to convenient or fast foods, which don't have the nutrients my body is crying out for, so there's another source of stress. And on it goes. I thought I was doing pretty good this week, having made a reusable checklist of daily and weekly things I want and need to do and following it more than not. Is that where I'm going wrong? Making my list before consulting God? If I don't hear from Him, how long do I wait for an answer?

If you have helpful tips for managing and responding to stress, I'd really love to read them!

Journey to Wife, Part 2 of 6

Journey to Wife

Wife. Or would it be wife2? Nope, it’s Wife 2.0. Yeah, that’s what I’ll call it. I’ll start with the path to Wife 2.0.

The first time I got married I was 19 when we became engaged. I had a good head on my shoulders, I was smart, I was advanced or mature for my age. I didn’t think it was too young to be getting married, but of course if I knew then what I know now...I wasn’t a believer then, but I still took my vows seriously. Divorce wasn’t an option in my mind. 15 years later my husband felt otherwise (well the trouble started way before that, it just took him that long to take action) and had an affair. I had been a believer for a few years at this point and ironically was on my way to a huge prayer event the day I found out. On the drive there with a friend I told her I was done. At the event I clearly felt God telling me otherwise. I stayed for 2 more years, doing everything I felt I should to encourage forgiveness and reconciliation. Why do I tell you this? I’m not really sure! Maybe to lead into the fact that once it was over I gave a lot of thought to what I would do differently this time. After all, I was now 36, a believer and still holding on to dreams yet to be fulfilled.

I dated a lot of guys looking for the one that God had been preparing for me. By the time I met Tony I was pretty much done dating. I was tired of looking. I used a lot of the online dating services (maybe another post!) and was generally unsatisfied with the results. I tried the singles group at church. I didn’t really know any of the people there, but one woman leaned over and said, “Some people are single for a season and some are single for a reason.” I think the room was filled with men who were single for a reason! I couldn’t just give up though-I didn’t want to be single and I still hadn’t had children! I felt God had given me the desire so I must have just been rushing ahead. Not long after “giving up” I got a lengthy email from some guy at He said he’d been reading profiles for hours now and mine was the first to cause him to take out his wallet and sign up so that he could contact me. “Oh really? So what do you like about my profile?” I thought to myself. My smile. OK, good. Something else that escapes my memory, and then he states that he was attracted to my boldness in proclaiming my faith and seeking a like minded husband. Now it’s getting interesting! Let’s check this profile out! No picture. Ooops. One of my rules was no picture, no dice. He did have an interesting writing style though, let’s read some more. Age: 47. What?? I’m only 38 and my profile says I won’t date anyone over 40! See that part down there under “children”? The part where it says I want to have some? Well my experience said guys that age aren’t interested in having babies. Two strikes for “romensitivitist”. You know what happens at 3...
Well, something led me to reply. Only my subscription had expired and I wasn’t going to pay for a renewal. I winked at him for free. No response. Winked again. Nothing. Is this strike 3? I received email offering me a free 3 day trial to come back. Is this a sign? OK, took advantage of free trial and emailed him, telling him how he could reach me outside of Nothing. Over a week has passed since this guy said he liked my profile enough to pay for a subscription. What happened to him? Oh well, just like all the other endings. Bad.
Checking email one day at work (yeah, I did that) I see an unfamiliar address. It’s Mr Disapper. He’s had his kids for Christmas break and they were traveling. Uh huh, sure! Oh well, why not give him a chance? We arranged to meet the following afternoon at South Mountain for a hike. He sent a picture so I’d know who to look for. Not bad! Is he really 47? He looked even younger in person and I thought maybe I was hiking with the wrong person! Our competitive traits came out and we both hiked faster than was comfortable. We were out for two and a half hours. Oh, by the way it was New Year’s Eve, 2004. As we got closer to the parking lot he asked if I’d be willing to join him for dinner if he could rustle up reservations this late in the day on NYE. I’d had a good time hiking with him, so why not? I gave him my phone number and went home to rest (I had shin splints, that’s a whole other series!) while waiting to see what would happen. He called a little later and had reservations at Outback. He picked me up an hour later and we headed off for dinner. I like my steaks medium rare, but the waitress said that the cooks were sending things out too rare and I should go with medium. I let her talk me into it. Tony ordered prime rib and it came out nice and pink, while my steak was more like medium well! He saw it and offered me his dinner. That’s all I needed-I was hooked from that moment forward!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Daughter of the Most High King, part 1 of 6


First and foremost (or at least it should be) is my choice to follow Christ, making me a daughter of the Most High King. I say it should be because although I recognize this in my head, I can’t say that my actions always show it. When I have a headache, is my first reaction to ask God to bring comfort or is it to complain and take aspirin? More often than not it’s to simply complain. Yeah, not proud of that one. Some things I think I take for granted because it’s just become part of how I live. Like asking for God’s blessing before a meal, or not swearing. Things become habit and I don’t have to think about it anymore. That’s not all bad-it becomes who I am-but maybe it keeps from remembering to ask God if building a new house is part of His will for my life. I’m amongst the guilty when it comes to deciding what I want and then asking God to bless it, rather than asking Him what He wants me to do.

Some of you might be familiar with Psalms 37:4 which says, “Delight yourselves also in the LORD and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” As a new believer I took that to mean that God wants to give me what will make me happy. That might be the case, but as my faith has matured I see it more like this: If I’m willing to let go of what I want, He will fill my heart with what He desires me to have. Hmm, what would I choose? Whatever grand thing my created mind can conjure up, or the Grandest Plan of The Creator? It can be hard to let go, which reminds me of a story that I think of when I read this verse. Which would you rather have?

Online Rubbernecking

Is that a term? Can I use it to describe my out of control viewing of unnecessary exchanges of opinions online? I catch myself doing it daily, wondering why I think I have that much free time. If I could help someone with it, that'd be one thing, but I'm usually just reading to see what people think, and sometimes getting irritated that people can be so...stupid! I learned not to reply and add my thoughts, it just makes it worse for me. I'm pretty passionate about my opinions, and generally quite well educated in my beliefs. Combine that with a stubborn steak and strong independence and it can cause trouble. I don't want to cause trouble, so I learned to stay out of it (because I'm not likely to change a total stranger's mind about something anyway) but why do I keep reading it? If my To Do list was done for the day, I might be able to justify it, but it's not! Speaking of that list...better get back to it!

Monday, January 11, 2010

I Found the Spell Checker

It's in the old editor and I chose the updated when I created my blog. Why would something so basic be taken out of an update?

Still no calf. Elsie is starting to behave differently though, so maybe soon. It's sunny today. This afternoon would be a great time to have a calf. Or maybe toorrow afternoon...

Have a little one making my life crazy already this morning. Attitude!

Need to stoke the fire and get this place warmed up a bit more. That's it for now.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Do My Thoughts Have to be in Order?

Or even make sense?  It's my blog, I should be able to make the rules, right?  My son and I just finished watching Inkheart and I think I enjoyed it more than he.  Tony is out of town tonight so we rented a movie for the two of us and I half way expected to partially watch it while sitting by him on the couch.  I even thought about moving the laptop there to write while we watched.  However, the movie started and I found it quite intriguing!  He wasn't as interested-it wasn't as much of a kids' movie as I thought.  Tony will need to see this one, that's how much I enjoyed it!

We like to watch movies, but are all too often disappointed in our choices.  We read they brief synopsis and our imaginations do a better job with that than the screenwriter(s).  The movie ends and we're both wondering what happened to the great story we were expecting.  Why did they do it that way?  Maybe we're too critical or our expectations are too high, but I'm to the point where I wince when he suggests we watch a movie because the options are limited to start with, and then we rarely enjoy what we just saw.

Anyway, back to the title.  I have so many ideas for things I want to write about, but feel like they should have order.  I think I might write the long version in Word and then post it in smaller pieces on the blog.  Then there will be the day to day happenings that I want to write about.  A friend of mine wrote about aprons and it reminds me that I want to learn to sew.  A few people have suggested that I teach myself with books.  I'm thinking I need more help than that.  However, the more I think about it, maybe I could learn from a book.  There's a little discount store in my town and they have a small fabric/craft section and whenever I go over there, I am drawn to the little leftover lengths of fabric they have for sale.  Perhaps I could buy some and cut them for cloth napkins and hand stitch the hems.  Could it be any easier-or is there a better way to start?

I better quit before this gets any longer.  I had about 3 more thoughts come to me, but they'll have to wait!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Economics of Keeping a Family Cow

I don’t know what got me thinking about this, but the more it runs through my mind the more I want to do the math and see what the bottom line is. For anyone that has the pasture for it, keeping a family milk cow just might be profitable. Where we live, Elsie can graze in the pasture with no supplemental feeding from at least April thru October, which is 7 months. We started supplementing her feed in November and will probably be able to let her graze with supplemental alfalfa in March. That leaves 3 months where we have to supply her whole feed ration from purchased hay. While she’s pregnant, she gets 5 flakes of hay per day, so a bale lasts 3 days. That’d be 10 bales a month times 3 months. For the two supplemental months let’s assume we provide 70% of the feed with hay and the other 30% is free pasture.

10 (bales per month) x 3 (months) = 30 bales
30 x 8.75 (cost per bale) = $262.50
7 (bales per month) x 2 (months) = 14 bales
14 x 8.75 = $122.50
Cost of hay per year = $385
Now, our two acres are bare, and to keep Elsie company we boarded 2 horses for 4 months of pasture, bringing in $720. So far we have a gain of $335. We paid $600 for Elsie, already pregnant. Running town water to the lot was $400 plus about $25 per month for the water (the $400 we’d pay after we built, so it’s not a cost specific to Elsie, but the monthly water cost is). We’ve been paying that since June, so about $175 for her to have water. [Side note, she’s now at our house with the goats and we’re on well water, but we still have the basic fee to pay to the water company.]

OK, so if we take our gain of $335 and subtract the other costs, we’re in the hole by $440. She’s due to give birth any day, but we won’t start milking right away so that the calf gets all the colostrum. Let’s assume that we start milking February 1st and get ONLY a gallon of milk per day. Let’s also assume that we could do all the things we’re going to do with her milk if we bought the same quantity of milk from the store (yeah right). In our area we probably average $2.50 for a gallon of milk. So that’s 334 days of milk for 2010 times 2.50 equals $835. We’re now ahead by $395. That’s a low figure too. She will likely give an average of 2 gallons of milk per day, and we all know that the dairy products made from milk are expensive, so the savings are even greater than the $2.50 per gallon of milk. The woman we bought Elsie from sells fresh cow milk for $8 a gallon. If we could sell 334 gallons of milk at $8 each, we’d bring in $2672!
Wow! Wait til Tony sees this! Just being ahead by $395 is awesome! The best part is that we’re doing this to improve our health, not make money. However, the savings over what we’d have to pay to get raw milk dairy products from a health food store is far greater even than what we could earn selling her milk. And we get a cute cow to love on in the whole deal! I didn’t even go into the cost to breed her annually vs what we would either A) sell the offspring for or B) save in not buying beef at the store any more. I’m so excited to see it on paper!

Did I mention that raw, pasture fed milk will be a great boost to restoring adrenal health?  Yeah, that's priceless.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Adrenal Fatigue

It's been a year since I learned of this malady and its affect on my life, maybe 9 or 10 months since I found good material to combat it, but only 7 or 8 since I started applying what I learned. I'd love to be able to say that I've followed all suggestions all the time and feel 100% better now, but I'd be lying, and that's against the Top 10. :-)

I'm feeling worn out right now, so probably won't go into too many details in this post, but the fact that I feel this way is the reason for making the post. I've really noticed that when I don't eat enough (even if it's the wrong stuff) I have absolutely no energy/drive and have fuzzier thinking. I'm not necessarily tired enough to go to sleep, but I don't feel like doing anything. So I started thinking about what I've eaten today-nothing since noon and that's not good!
I had my hot cocoa with coconut oil this morning, with half a banana, then had my MOPS meeting this morning and we always have something to eat there. Today was a yummy spicy chicken dip, and I ate a lot of it! Plenty of protein, not much in the way of carbs, so no blood sugar problems, but then I haven't eaten anything since then and I feel so flat! This happened earlier in the week too. I keep saying that I'm going to make a menu plan with all 3 daily meals on it, but haven't yet. I want to get the grocery store sales ad to go from and haven't picked it up yet.

I know I need to eat but don't even feel like getting up to fix anything! Maybe we'll meet Tony at Denny's and get fueled up. That gives me a good image to share-fueling up at Denny's is like putting low grade gas in your car. It's not what's best for your car, but it keeps it running! Tomorrow I will work on the high octane booster fuel!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Reading with My Son

I love books.  My husband loves books.  So it seems natural that our son likes books-until you know that he's our foster son and there's no biological reason for it.  Could be that he sees us read and wants to do what we do, could just be a natural love of books.  He's all boy when it comes to high speed energy, so it amazes me when I see him grab a few books and sit down to "read" them.  Yes, he's just 4 and can't read the words, but he knows the story(ies).  He's recently been demonstrating how well he knows these stories by "reading" the books to me.  It started with Dr Seuss' In a People House.  I read it to him pointing to the pictures as I said the words.  I'm not sure how many times I read it before he was reading it to me, but it wasn't more than 3.  Now I read the black words and he reads the red words (or maybe it's the other way around).  I found more books at the library that were like it, and sure enough, he could hear the story once and then tell it back to me.  I'm sure the pictures help him remember what to say, but I think his memory is amazing.  Tonight I read The Runaway Bunny for about the third time this week, but I didn't read it.  First, we got out Good Night Moon and compared the pictures in the two books (same author, same artist).  Then I opened it and he started reading.  I don't even think I prompted him.  He can tell the story almost word for word already.  I was thinking about recording him reading it to have for future.  Yes, my son is a genius!  wink wink

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tech Guru Part 2

It even rhymes! How come there's no spell checker on here? Don't they know I make typos all the time?

I thought my frustrations of this morning were over. Wrong. I did manage to solve one of the big problems I faced this morning (it could really be broken down to 2, gives me more credit!) but the other is still going. I have my business email address set up to go to Outlook. The first tests showed it was working (a year ago) and because I get some legitimate messages (I don't use it often) and plenty of junk mail, I assumed (yes, I know what they say about assuming) that ALL of the messages were going through. About 6 weeks ago I was trying to set up a new business bank account at PayPal and was waiting for the verification email to arrive. It didn't. I sent test messages, nothing came in. I went to the web based version and it showed NO emails. I went to the tech support page at the host's web site and their form wasn't working. The email address was posted though, so I sent a message asking for help. No response. I waited. I forgot. I got wrapped up in other issues. Tony asked me something that reminded me that I hadn't received any reply yet (weeks later) so I went back to the site and the form was working. I sent another help request, got a response a few hours later, but too late for me to address, as we were headed out of town. Today is the day I went back to it. The tech support guy (I think he's a sole proprietor trying to look like a big company but can't confirm that) changed some settings and I am now able to log in to the web based version. Still can't get messages thru Outlook though.

So guess what? There's a message there from Thanksgiving Day from an employee at a major trade magazine requesting photos to go with a story they want to do on our company! It's been at least 6 weeks since she sent that and I just now get it?? It wasn't there the day I logged in looking for my PayPal email! Good grief! I replied to her, apologizing, but since it's night time, I won't see a reply for a while. I decide to see what else is in there and there's a message from last March! Yes, March of 2009!! From a CUSTOMER. Oy vey! I replied to her too, but again...we'll see what happens. I hope I don't have these issues with the new host.

Did I mention this frustrates me?? I don't handle incompetency well. Especially when it show my incompetency!  Goodnight.

Ya Just Never Know...

Ya Just Never Know...what to expect in a day when you're the mom of a preschooler.  We gave him JumpStart Preschool for Christmas (that's another post) and I just recently installed it for him to start playing.  He was busy with that so I went out to be a pooper scooper.  He knew I was outside and knew how to get my attention if he needed anything.  I think he clicked a wrong button or something because as I was finishing up he was calling for me.  Cleared the error message and got him started again. 

Now out to milk the goats.  Same scenario, same instructions.  I'll be outside, if you need me go out the back door and you'll see me.  Imagine my surprise when I walk in and he's not at the computer and I can hear him crying!  "What's wrong",  I yelled out.  "I'm crying cuz I thought the monsters ate you.  I was playing my game and had to poop and called you to wipe my butt.  When you didn't come I thought you were dead!"  Oh my goodness!  Do I laugh or cry?  Or wonder why he's so quick to think of death?  I patted him on the head and cleaned him up and everything was all better.

Tech Guru

Alright, maybe I'm not a tech guru, but at one time I did know enough to earn a living teaching other people what I knew.  Even then I didn't feel like a guru because I knew how much I still had to learn!  It's been 5 years since those days ended and I keep up even less with all the new gadgets and wizardry, but I'm still an intelligent person, so I should be able to figure most things out.  I spent my morning trying to set up a PayPal account for our business, but can't complete the process because the email address for our biz web site isn't working.  I can't get thru to tech support.  I can't even log in to their site to get more info!  I was in tears twice today over it when I realized how stupid it is for me to continue suffering.  I did a search for a new web host, started a live chat with a sales rep and within an hour had a new hosting service, with LIVE people!  At the other place I can't even find a phone number to make a call and they aren't quick to respond to trouble reports filed at their site.

I don't need this kind of stress in my life, so I'm doing whatever I can to reduce all triggers!  The secondary trigger in this case is that despite 4 or 5 years of teaching othe people how to do whatever they wanted to learn on their computer, I never could figure out how to design and upload a web site.  I've muddled thru it a few times, but it ALWAYS comes with frustration and aggrevation as logic doesn't seem to apply to this process.  I was told by the rep at the new company today that setting up our site would be easy with them-as easy as setting up this blog.  I sure hope so!  Tony relies on me to do anything business related that doesn't involve the actual building of the instruments, and this has been a big source of consternation for us.  We'll see if the new host company can resolve one of my stressors!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Journey to Homesteading

Our journey to become homesteaders didn't start with a desire to "do it all on our own", but rather a discovery that perhaps my sleep issues are dietary related.  A trip to a new chiropractor last January revealed that perhaps I had adrenal fatigue.  What?  Never heard of it, what's that?  What causes it and what do I do about it?  Do I NEED to do anything about it?

I came home and searched for info online and found a couple of sites that explained it in more detail and revealed that yes, I probably do suffer from adrenal fatigue (AF).  Every health issue I've ever had can be traced to overworked, undersupported adrenal glands.  There's a test on the site listed above and it was quite interesting (OK, I like to take tests).  I ordered the nutritional supplements and found a book at the library.  The book went into more detail and I found myself nodding in agreement at what I was reading.  I had lots of "aha" moments that made all the puzzle pieces fall together.  The fat around my waist, the irritability, constantly feeling like I need a nap, sugar cravings, EVERYTHING that could be said was "wrong" with me could be linked with overworked adrenal glands.  Great, now that I know what's wrong, how do I fix it?

I shared the site and info with my friends, as it is one of those things that most of us as women suffer with unknowingly.  If I could help some one else get healthier I wanted to do that.  One of those friends said she just finished reading a book that mentioned AF, but wasn't really about that.  It's Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Dr Mary Enig and Sally Fallon.  Not a book I would choose to read without a recommendation.  I don't follow fad diets.  I picked that up at the library too and started reading.  WOW!  What an eye opener!  Everything we've been taught to believe about healthy foods is WRONG.  Misinterpreted data and the quest for wealth have caused the wrong information to be widely publicized, keeping us reliant upon pharmeceutical companies for our "health".  I don't like to take aspirin when I have a headache, I certainly don't want to depend on a daily cocktail of pills to take care of what ails me!

So based on info in the Eat Fat book I started looking for raw dairy products, farm fresh eggs, coconut oil, pasture fed beef and various other whole, raw foods that would give my body the nutrients it needs to re-establish good health.  Sticker shock quickly set in and while I wrestled with the "how much is good health worth" dilema I realized that I had the means to provide these foods for me and my family without going broke. 

We bought 4 baby chicks at the feed store so that we'd have fresh eggs as soon as they got old enough to lay.  Then we found a family of goats that needed a new home, 2 does that were first time fresheners, along with their new kids.  Alright, but I want raw cow milk and products too.  A trip to a chain health food store revealed that a gallon of raw cow milk was $14.69!  I'd been reading more farm books and knew that a family cow could provide at least a gallon of milk per day.  At that rate it wouldn't take long for an investment in a cow to pay off.  I'd only need 41 gallons to see a return on my purchase price.  We have 2 acres of pasture, so during the grass season there'd be no feed expense.  We rented that pasture to two horse owners and actually had an income in those months that exceeds what we're paying for feed in the winter.  Elsie is due to calf anytime in the next two weeks and then we'll have more raw milk than we have refrigerator space to store it!

Along the way we also acquired already laying hens and a few turkeys.  We've lost 5 chickens and 1 turkey to local predators, but cooked one of the turkeys for Thanksgiving.  The white meat was so moist I couldn't believe it was white meat!  We've had fresh eggs since last April, and have been using raw goat's milk since June.  Tony buys milk to have at work, but beyond that we haven't bought milk for 6 months.

I bought a case of coconut oil and have tried to follow the recommended guidelines for consumption.  I should take a tablespoon 3 times daily, 20 minutes before each meal.  I have been consistent in drinking it in my morning beverage, but haven't succeeded at getting 3 servings every day.  It's a goal I'm still working on.

I've also stopped buying anything with high fructose corn syrup and any form of hydrogenated fat.  The hardest part for me is soda.  I LOVE the bubbles.  I've switched to Hansen's, that doesn't have the HFCS, but when we're out, I don't have that choice.  We still eat out (not as much as we used to) and I'm sure my choices there include these things.  I can't say that I've noticed a huge difference yet, but then I'm not doing everything that I should.  I have noticed two things that can be traced to the coconut oil though.  The sugar cravings in the afternoon have diminished.  I still have the habit, and so go searching, but nothing sounds good and if I do take a bite of some sweet, it's not enjoyable.  The other is an improvement in my dental health.  My first cleaning of 2009 revealed many 3's and 4's in the periodontal exam, with several 5's and a couple of 6's.  The goal is 0 or 1.  My second trip showed mostly 2's and 3's, with no 6's and I think there was one 5.  So my gums are healthier.

Life happens, things distract me, and before I know it, months have passed without any progress on the dietary goals.  I'm refocused again and want to see great gains in my health this year.  That's how we began our journey to homestead.  Right now it's mostly supplying some of our own food so that we know what went into it and what we can expect out of it.  If I decide to leave this as one long post, the next will be about this year's goals.  If you have and questions about AF, I'd like to help you!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

OK, there are HUNDRED's of background themes that I like.  Can I change it daily?  Or maybe every time I post something?  Alright, maybe not that often.

I'd love to see your page and learn what else I can do with this, so please share!

First Blog Ever

So this is the first time I've written anything for a blog...intentionally, that is.  Once I got this one set up it said I own another one-ha, go figure!  I set one up almost two years ago to get friend's and family's ideas for the new house we are to build.  That was TWO years ago!  I hope we don't see two more pass before the house gets started.

I want to find some pretty, cute, and/or fun backgrounds and images for this blog.  If you have suggestions, PLEASE let me know!