Friday, September 8, 2017

Moonlight arrived!

 We were so excited when our hereford, Rosie, gave birth to a heiffer, safe and sound.  We still were hoping for Iris to be pregnant, but the farmer was really having his doubts.  Then one evening he called me out to walk with him out in the pasture.  We walked out with the girls and he made Iris stand up.  Looks like a change in her udder.  We just might have another baby coming.

The very next day we were all busy about with jobs.  I sent Benaiah out to take some food garbage to chickens when he came back in and said, "Uh, Dad, I think Iris has a baby out there".  Our first reaction was to ask him if he was telling the truth.  Rosie and Iris look similar but that boy knows his animals and keeps good track of the farm right alongside his dad.  Then Josiah said that he thought he saw one too.  We scurried around getting boots on and headed out to the field.  Sure enough, a sweet little bundle lay out there next to her mama, Iris.

 We missed it by a short bit because after birth was still hanging out and there was still a lot of cleaning that needed done.  Iris sure did a great job and took care of her new baby.  Iris was the one who was always nannying the other calves when they were born, not wanting to leave them by themselves in the field when their mama's would go up to the barn.  She has been such a great mom, staying right close to her precious, white faced babe.  Since the other white faced calf was named Eclipse I guess the children decided to go with sky names and named this one Moonlight.  

The farmer's tally for the summer was 1 bull calf and 4 heiffers, though one was still born.  He is quite happy with the ending of his calving season.  Right now we have a bull with our girls hoping they'll get pregnant to be ready for next spring.  The new mamas will need some time, but the angus will be ready.  One evening Jonathon asked me to walk out in the field with him to look at his cows.  We walked through the field hand in hand talking of how happy this would all make his dad.  How he would love seeing the cows back on the farm.  How he would love seeing the children on the farm.  How he would love seeing the children love the farm, the animals, the equipment.  We feel so blessed to be here, raising our children like this.  We walked through the pasture with our boots on, tears in our eyes, and grateful hearts for this life that we live.  The animals are a blessing!  Our children are a blessing!  Oh taste and see that the Lord is good!  Our hearts are full!!!!

Ft. Wayne Children's Zoo- 2017

 The children have wanted to go to the zoo for years.  The last time we were there was when I was pregnant with Josiah.  Yeah, it's been a long time ago.  We decided to make the children earn the trip, so they've been working all summer to earn beans.  They had to earn so many to get into the zoo, get ride tickets, and then their supper at the end of the day.  They all earned enough for all the fun that the whole day held.

We arrived at the zoo at 9:00am and got busy taking in the sights.  We all enjoyed walking, looking, reading, and learning new things.

This was Saphira's favorite part...feeding the giraffe.

 Only these three rode the skyway.

 We took a break for lunch and was thoroughly distracted by the peacock who made us all a little nervous....okay, he made me and Diella nervous.  Everyone else just laughed at us and let the bird get closer and closer.  :)

 This was some of the children's favorite area.  

 Crazy dad.
 She wanted so badly to sit up front and there was seat open for her.  What a treat!

 Alot of us enjoyed the sea lion feeding and show.  We watched it at 11:00am and then went back for the 3:00pm show too.  We just couldn't get enough of it!  They were so playful and active.
 We took a long time watching the otters.  Josiah did a wildlife board on otters for the 4-H Fair, so he was especially glad to get to see two in real life.  Our next goal is to track them down in the winter and look for their tracks in the snow.

We finished at the zoo around 4:00pm.  A full day of fun!  We then headed to Ruby Tuesday for supper.  More good memories with Saphira doing silly things with the straws and the waitress praising the children for how well behaved they were, which they loved because then they got dessert, ended our day.  We all loved the day so much!  I'm so thankful for my children.  A blessed momma for sure!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Summer List and Eclipse x2

We finally spent some time on the boat with my parents.  How have we gone all summer with no fishing fun?  As a kid I always loved going to Tom's Donuts by Lake James and walking up to the window to get my fresh donut.  It's become a fun thing for my children now too.  Throw donuts in with boat fun and you've got a great day!

Alegra did a blog post here about the fun on the boat but here are a few of my favorite pictures.

 Josiah got brave and jumped in.  This wouldn't have happened in previous years.

August 21 we planned to spend the day at Pokagon State Park to watch the eclipse take place.  We had invited many friends to join us for a hike, picnic lunch, and viewing party.  Our day went much different than I had planned.  I was thinking we wouldn't have very many people join us, but I was wrong on that.  I also thought we'd leave at a certain time, but we got left late.  I also thought our hike would be a long one, but that got changed as well.  Keep reading to hear about our exciting day filled with fun and what life seems to be about lately- fellowship amongst the adventure.

We had one more cow getting close to having a baby.  She's a late one, but was pregnant, so we roll with it.  We've been keeping an eye on her, and this morning, she was by herself behind the barn when Jonathon left for work around 7:45am.  He came in and reported, and I asked him if he wanted me to cancel my plans and stay home.  Nope, just go.  I was busy trying to get lunches packed but noticed out the window that Rosie (our pregnant girl) was up on the hill with the rest of the cows.  I didn't notice any discharge, so figured she would be later in the day.  But I also noticed that she walked out in the pasture further behind the barn.  I sent Josiah out to check on her, but since he couldn't see her behind the barn, he assumed she was in the lane with the rest of the girls.  I finished making sandwiches and at 9:00am when we were supposed to be leaving, I ran out to check on her after everyone was loaded up.  Ran to the lane- no Rosie.  Ran around the house to the back of the barn- no Rosie.  Wait, I see her head in the field.  Walked up the hill just enough to see she had discharge now. My mama/cow midwife self prayed for her while watching her behaviour.   She was still contracting but wasn't lifting her head like the others had done during labor, and she started mooing sweet sounds.  Wait, is she licking off a baby?  I quickly walked up the hill to see a beautiful little calf on the ground being licked and nudged to get up.  I had just missed the whole thing.  Josiah probably would've seen it happen if he would've looked to find her.  

  I ran back and told everyone they could get out to see the new baby and we stood in awe of new life on the farm once again.  It's so special and feels like blessing raining down each time it happens.  Rosie didn't seem the least bit worried about us standing there watching, but we didn't get too close either.  We have one mean mama, so we keep our distance until we know for sure how they'll be.  Everyone loaded back up, and we headed out the driveway, 30 minutes late, but we have a new baby, and I wasn't worrying about her all day.  

We arrived at Pokagon and after everyone took a potty break, we hit the trail.  I decided with Hadassah needing the potty sooner than the rest of us, we'd change what trail we were hiking, so we had better access to the bathroom for her.  We hiked down by the tobbogan and to the nature center.  

My mom came along and so did Jonathon's sister, Miranda.  We had a good hike, then took a break at the nature center.  Did puzzles, coloring, watched birds including a molting blue jay that looked quite funny, and Josiah showed my mom the bee observatory.

Back to the trail.  We were going to do Trail 1 loop, then head to the Inn, but halfway through the loop, Miranda spotted a snake going across the trail and exclaimed that it was eating a toad.  The snake sat just off the trail, so with a stick we moved some branches and greenery out of the way so we could watch this amazing act of nature.  That snake cooperated and stayed right there for us to watch.  Amazing!  The children enjoyed that very much.

Since we took a long time watching the snake, we decided to turn around and head back towards the inn.  We had friends coming to meet up for lunch, and I didn't want them to wait on us.

We had our lunch then enjoyed lots of play time with friends, playing football, viewing the eclipse, and sitting around visiting.

For me, the biggest thing that made my day feel full and complete was that I was there surrounded with so many friends.  I sat down to count the families and there was a total of 44 people that came out to view the eclipse with us.  I'm so thankful for all the people in my life from different walks, areas, and times of my life.  I would've loved to get a group photo, but with so many children that would've been near impossible.  :)  Thank you to all of you who came out to party with us!

The eclipse was really fascinating to watch.  Alegra took the picture below by putting protective glasses over her lens.  We all enjoyed taking turns with the glasses that were there, sharing with one another to get a glimpse of the rare happening, and getting to look at it through a telescope that the astronomical society brought in.  We saw crescent shadows on the ground and definitely felt a temperature change as it happened.  Since we weren't in a total eclipse area, we didn't notice other changes that happen when it gets really dark.  It did get darker but not a huge amount.  I believe our area saw 85% coverage.  The next one happening in 2024 should be much closer to being a total.  We look forward to that!

Back on the farm our new baby was doing well.  She's a beauty.  We artificially inseminated Rosie with a hereford, but I don't think it took looking at the baby.  She was also in contact with an angus bull, so I'm guessing that's where our baby got the black from.  We were anxious to see if this was a boy or girl, so we checked when we got home, and we have another girl to add to the herd.  Just what we were praying for!

Jonathon went out and gave them both a good spraying down with natural fly repellent and Rosie didn't mind him getting that close one bit.  Super happy about her demeanor with having a calf.

The farmer and I headed out after supper to get this little girl tagged as our 3rd calf on the farm.  Rosie came over and checked us out while we were doing it, but she was fine with it.  This little girl was properly named "Eclipse".  She seems strong and healthy and sweet as can be.  We're blessing Yahweh for another new calf and healthy delivery.

I'm still delighting in my day yesterday over the hugs, conversations, prayers, and fellowship with my sisters in Christ.  Some may only remember the amazing eclipse that happened in the sky, but I'll be remembering all the sweetness that surrounded me all day long.  Thank you, again, to all of you who were a part of my sweet day!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Friend Time

Sometimes life throws curve balls, and God does some work that only He can do.  He separates people.  He brings people together.  He reunites people.  He changes perspectives.  

We've certainly enjoyed having our friends back in the "area" (lower Michigan), so we can hang out again.  It doesn't happen as much as we'd like, but it's better than nothing.  We are thankful for so many friends to live life with, even if it means we don't live day to day with them, but only in encouraging talks once a month or once every couple months.   

Josiah and his buddy, Quin

 We meet them at Pokagon as it seems to be a good meeting point.  This day we checked out the new bee observatory hive.  We found the queen and Josiah explained what each bee was doing, what they were called, and about the different cells.  This boy sure knows his bee stuff!

 There is always football involved in our get togethers.

 The girls and their friend, Gabi. 
We swapped kids for a couple nights, so we got Gabi and sent Josiah with Quin.  The girls had an absolute ball watching old musicals and riding the 4 wheeler.

 Diella stopped so Gabi would get wet in the sprinkler.

 Diella getting smacked for it.  :)

So much laughter.

Checking another thing off the list.  Get togethers with friends were at the top of our list.  Haven't accomplished all the friends, but I think they are all scheduled at least.  We got a room painted, garden harvest done, visits to parks, sleep overs, and some water fun.  More to come....