Category Archives: Nature

2nd calf 2018

Last evening after work was done, showers done, and the 4 of us sat down to watch a movie together, the call comes: Gluey had her calf.๐Ÿ˜‚ Figures, right?๐Ÿ™„ This is always the hard part – had the girls’ been up in Grey Heaven, we would not have known she’d had her calf, so we would have found out in the morning. BUT, once we KNOW a calf’s been born, we just can’t NOT go and check on the situation…especially with a snowstorm on its way annnd Gluey’s past fiascos…๐Ÿ˜ฌ

So Mike & I got bundled up and headed next door.

Could tell from a distance that the calf was a boy, and that he had just been born. He was still wet, and hadn’t eaten yet. Gluey has had 8 calves for us. This boy makes her count 4 girls and 4 boys.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

The snow was just starting to stick, and we had about an hour of daylight left, so we told Gluey she had one hour to prove she knew what to do… If he wasn’t cleaned up when we came back out, we’d bring him inside and milk Gluey so we could feed him ourselves.

Michael randomly chose the name “Phillip” for him when we came back inside to catch some more of the movie. I thought it was kinda weird as I had no idea where that name came from, but it ended up being the perfect name…๐Ÿ˜‰ (This will make more sense in a bit, I promise.๐Ÿ˜‚)

So now it’s an hour later. Yes, Gluey had done relatively well at cleaning him up, they were still alone together, and he was walking around looking like eating was on the agenda. The snow was coming down a little heavier, so it was a really hard decision to let them stay together. But after much consideration and prayer, that’s what we decided to do.๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

Came out extra early this morning to see how things were going. Found “Phillip” up by the round bale feeder with the rest of the mamas.โ„๏ธ

Mike got a halter on him, but then he decided he didn’t want to walk…๐Ÿ™„

So Mike carried him and led the way into the barn.๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ

He’s MUCH bigger than Patty, so it was a challenge for Mike to carry him as far as he did. These bodies lack the oomph they used to have…๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

Next Mike carried “Phillip” upstairs. He was pretty wet from the snow, so I grabbed a towel and dried him off a bit. Began to wonder at this point if he actually HAD eaten…๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

Gluey milked well, and we got plenty for “Phillip’s” morning and afternoon feeding. Got his bottle ready and headed up. NORMALLY, a calf that has been with its mama overnight is not interested in a bottle the first day with us – especially bull calves – they just lay around and pout for a day, but by the next morning they are ready to eat and do fine after that. BUT THIS GUY SUCKED DOWN ONE WHOLE BOTTLE AND A BIT OF ANOTHER. We hardly had to cooerce him at all to take the bottle. All signs to us that perhaps he really had NOT eaten with Gluey.๐Ÿ˜ 

We are VERY encouraged he is doing well now and we rejoice in the resiliency of these animals.โค๏ธ He is not out-of-the-woods yet. We’ll be watching him closely, especially over the next 24 hours. And “Phillip” is now being changed to “FillUp” in my records. Because that’s just the kind of weird-word-girl I am.๐Ÿ™ƒ

Patty continues to flaunt her cuteness to us, visitors, and the cats – especially Junior.๐Ÿ˜ป

Lord, we thank you for the gift of life. For the patience You have with us as we stumble through difficult circumstances. For allowing us to feel Your mercy and grace as we go. Continue to grant us the sustaining strength and divine wisdom we need to navigate through this farming adventure. In Your name, we pray. AMEN

Our count is now 1 boy+1 girl. Lord willing, 5 more to go…๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

Plan B – Spring move

Well, when the forecast for Carroll County says this:

and this:

…you sometimes you need to change plans. Ugh.๐Ÿ™„

Made the executive decision to move the dairy girls from Grey Heaven down to Isengard. Since we have several cows looking “ready” to calve, and with (supposed) accumulating snow on the way, the trek could be yucky with the slope we have from Grey Heaven to the milking barn. We really don’t like having the girls in Isengard because it’s right next to the road. If there are calving issues or weird things happen, it’s just not fun dealing with it with a bunch of cars driving by. BUT we don’t always get what we want, lol.โ„๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Here are the girls leaving Grey Heaven and heading down toward the crossroads…

They were pretty excited to move…

Now they are in Isengard, and Mike will bring down their round bale feeder and a new bale.

Not exactly how we wanted to start SPRING, lol. Oh well – that’s just how it is in Ohio. I laughed at the irony as I walked back home after morning chores were done. Sometimes we just have to bring Spring INSIDE and admire it from the kitchen window…๐Ÿ˜‚

1st calf 2018

It’s that time of year again! Our first calf arrived this morning. Fiskars (a.k.a. Bubby) had her first GIRL! Welcome: Patty.๐Ÿ€ <Click here to read about her calf last year.> This is her 4th calf for us. <Click here to read about when Fiskars was born.>

This year all the mamas are in the field: Grey Heaven, rather than Mordor as they have been the last 10 years. We weren’t sure how the new route would go, but these two had no problems with it.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

Here are some pics as we walked them out of Grey Heaven and down toward the milking barn.

Here they are approaching the crossroads. They used to come from the right and then walk down the hill to the barn. This year, they’ll all turn left to get to the barn.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

And here we are on our way down the hill.

Finally got a good shot of Patty from the front. She’s a cutie!๐Ÿ˜

We are expecting a total of 7 calves this season. Sure feels good to have the first one here, and all is well!๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

[Of course, today is the day my phone decides to die and we spend several hours at the Verizon store upgrading to a new phone. And then the new phone won’t accept our iTunes backup because it’s too old, lol. (All consequences to waiting too long to keep up with current technology…๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜ฌ) So grateful we have techie friends who can walk us through these changes!๐Ÿ˜‡] So assuming I can figure out this new phone quickly and we can eventually get all our records back on it, calving posts should still get up relatively quickly. Not exactly how I wanted to start this season out, lol, but I have no doubt the Lord is already using this experience to grow me in MANY ways…especially patience!๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผโค๏ธ

A purple sweet potato pie

Our friends grew some purple sweet potatoes this year, and we were blessed to receive some of their harvest.โ˜บ๏ธ [click here to read more about Ipomoea batatas]

After we brainstormed a bit for possible choices, Mike’s mom chose a “purple* sweet potato pie for her birthday “cake!”๐ŸŽ‚

*Some funny behind-the-scenes-trivia: we actually thought these were called “BLUE sweet potatoes,” so the whole time we were working with them, we kept remarking about how PURPLE they looked!๐Ÿ˜‚ Glad to learn they are, in-fact, PURPLE!๐Ÿ˜*

I have two sweet potato pie recipes in my collection. Decided to do the simpler one here, so we could get a better appreciation of the purple color. First I washed, and then boiled 1.2# pounds of taters for about 40 minutes.

After that, I ran cold water over them and started by peeling skin off with a knife but ended with just using my hands and rubbing the skin off. Came off SO easy!๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

Had about 50 grams more than the one pound of sweet potatoes the recipe called for, but decided to just use it all.

Added 4 oz. of our butter and was struck by the color contrast of deep yellow & vibrant purple!๐Ÿ˜

Mixed above well, and then added the rest of the ingredients:

1c (145g) sucanat, 1/2c (4 oz.) milk, 2 eggs, 1/2t ground nutmeg, 1/2t ground cinnamon, & 1t vanilla extract. Mixed on medium speed until mixture was smooth, and poured it into the single pie crust I made before I started.

For it, I added 140g of unbleached flour to 4g of sea salt + 78g of butter and used my pastry blender to pulse it up. Added 2.5T cold water and blended it a bit more until it formed a ball. Rolled it out and formed my crust.

Baked it for about 1 hour and 5 minutes at 350ยฐ.

And here you can really see the purple vs. blue color next to this blue lid…๐Ÿ˜‰

Tasted great and was fun to celebrate Mom’s birthday with this pie!โค๏ธ

Thank You, Lord, for the gifts of family, friends, harvests, sharing, and celebrations. You weave everything together in amazing ways…Amenโค๏ธ

Storms…

So many storms going on right now. Details might be different, but the needs are the same. I was led to Isaiah 40:11 this morning while I was praying for a friend and it struck me how the answer is always the same: JESUS! He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the Good Shepherd, the Comforter, PEACE.โœ๏ธ

Father, draw more to Yourself through these storms in our lives. As we submit to You, help us to recognize You are THE SUSTAINER: carrying and gently leading us. You will never leave us nor forsake us. PRAISE GOD!๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผโค๏ธ


[pondering Isaiah 40:11, Matthew 11:28-30, John 14:6, John 10:11, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, John 14:27, Deuteronomy 31:6]

Resting in green pastures


Getting the girls this morning for milking…this scene made me think of Psalm 23, especially verses 2-3.  He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name.

Lord, our girls are so good at resting in green pastures. Show me how to feel rested like that. Restore my soul in the midst of Today. Amen๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ