Hello Again, World!

No, I haven’t died. I’m still here, just very busy with life!

So much has happened this since I last posted – some good, some bad, as typical for life – and I’m now faced with the task of trying to catch you all up. How do I possibly fit almost a year’s worth of events into one post?

I’ll start by catching y’all up with the farm. Here is the total head count currently:
- 2 Full sized horses. One is a registered Paint, the other a draft/quarter horse mix.
- 2 Miniature horses
- 1 Murray Grey bull
- 3 Jersey milking cows
- 1 steer
- 1 heifer
- 2 bull calves (that’s 8 total cows, if you’ve been keeping count)
- 5 St. Croix sheep
- 4 pigs
- 7 piglets
- 3 geese
- 6 ducks
- 75 or so chickens of varying breeds
- 50 meat birds
- 2 turkeys
- 5 dogs. A golden retriever, a livestock guardian dog, a border collie, and two lab/golden mixes.
- 10 puppies (no, we’re not keeping them all!!!)
- 5 cats
- 5 kittens
- 6 rabbits
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Grand Total: 195 different animals

Wow. I didn’t realize how many animals there are until I counted it up for you all! That sure is a lot of mouths to feed; thank goodness most of them in turn feed us!

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As for the humans here on the homestead, we’re all doing well.

Dad is still working for Boeing, but he is looking forward to the day when he can retire and just work here. He definitely enjoys all the different farm “toys” we’ve picked up these last couple months! He finally got his farm truck that he’s always wanted.

Mom could be labeled “Super Mom”! Besides homeschooling us kids and keeping the farm running, she is also currently studying to be a Master Herbalist. And she still manages to find new things to study and research, and is most certainly the one to ask if you have any health questions. She also has been enjoying learning about essential oils with me. Photography has fallen to the back burner unfortunately, but she still enjoys taking pictures whenever she can.

Brianna is now seventeen, YIKES! It doesn’t seem possible that she can be that old. And she’s also taller than me now! She is working on finishing up high school, and enjoys crafting various objects in her free time, such as jewelry, wood burning, and knitting. Willie, our registered Paint, is her horse, and when he isn’t misbehaving, she enjoys riding him around our pasture. She’s also catching up to me when it comes to reading!

Gabrielle is also taller than me now, which gives her an unfair advantage when we argue. Do you know how hard it is to maintain the “tough big sister” attitude when you have to look up to see your sister’s face? Yeah, it doesn’t work. She turned fifteen this spring, which makes me feel really old. She is still a horse lover, and enjoys riding with Brianna when she can. She’s also has a knack when it comes to the animals -I swear she could be a Disney princess, the way she can sing and the cows will come to her, or the horse will calm down.

Caleb is rapidly growing up. At ten years old, we’re having a hard time finding the balance between chores and play. He is responsible for the rabbits and chickens on our farm, and enjoys the income he makes off of selling the eggs, but he often gets distracted with the newest fort idea, leaving chores half down most mornings :) He’s very interested in wood working, and enjoys the few chances he gets with Dad to work on something together.

Joshua is my spoiled rotten 5 year old brother. He not only has all us girls wrapped around his finger, but can smile his way out of almost any circumstance. It’s darn near impossible to stay mad at him for long! He’s all boy like his older brother, and most mornings you’ll find him building an impressive house out of Legos, or role playing Marvel heros, flying around in an Iron Man suit blasting everything in sight.

As for myself, I’m keeping busy. I’m still working on becoming a midwife, but due to my location I’m finding it harder to complete my training than I thought. I am also a doTERRA Wellness Advocate now, and I host essential oil classes once a month here at our house. I enjoy reading and taking pictures in my spare time, and Winnie is keeping me busy with these unexpected bundles of fur!

Well that catches you all up! Hopefully it won’t take me 9 months to write again ;-)

You Might Be A Homesteader If….

  • All of your coats have hay in the pockets, including your church coat.
  • You’ve ever been late to church because the cows got out.
  • There are muck boots in the back of your truck. You never know when you’ll need them!
  • Your friends and neighbors are on speed dial, and have been known to come over at a moment’s notice.
  • You get really, really excited when the cow’s milk production goes up. Like really excited.
  • When RSVPing to an event, you add on the condition “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise!”
  • You know where the term “cowlicks” came from.
  • Entire meals can be made off of produce and meat from your land.
  • When you have visitors, they ask to ride your COW. And the cow will actually let you.
  • You’ve ever had a horse, lamb, dog, piglet, baby rabbit, or cat in your house. At least we have. Thank goodness we haven’t had a cow in the house! Yet.
  • Your friend calls you when he’s in the neighborhood to see if there are any animals that need wrangling.
  • You actually do cry over spilt milk.
  • All your animals have food names, like Pork Chop, Bacon, Milkshake, Omelet, Steak, Hamburger, etc.
  • Your brothers go on an Easter egg hunt every day.
  • The four year old thinks hunting produce in the garden is a treasure hunt.
  • You know where the saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” came from.
  • There are 500 trees from the conservation department sitting on your front porch waiting to be planted.
  • All your vacation days are spent acquiring new livestock.
  • Your floor is never clean for more than 5 minutes.
  • If you’ve ever chopped wood in -30 degree weather.
  • There is any kind of animal poop in your vehicle.
  • You use your 12 passenger van as a makeshift pickup truck when all the seats are taken out.
  • EVERYTHING is bought in bulk.
  • You’ve milked the cow at midnight because you lost track of time at a party.
  • Reuse and Make Do are now your life’s motto.
  • You’ve gotten used to people identifying you by your adventures, i.e. “Your the one who had that turkey in the back of your car, aren’t you?!”
  • The mailman’s got nothing on you. You work through wind, sleet, snow, ice, rain, lightning, sun, heat, cold, and any other kind of weird weather phenomenon with no pay.
  • Packages that come in the mail don’t hold quite the same joy to your kids as they all are most likely just farm books and stuff. However you are ecstatic!
  • You can identify all your neighbors by their pick up truck and/or the speed their vehicle is traveling.
  • You’ve ever been called to come help your friends find their lost sheep.
  • One of your pigs had piglets unexpectedly, and then promptly rejects them, leaving it to you to bottle feed piglets every 2 hours. And of course you can’t leave them at home because they need to eat so often, so you take them to church with you.
  • After said church visit is over, you realize that you forgot the nipple for the bottle. So you stop at Tractor Supply and buy a new one. While you are feeding them with the back of your van open, you have people walking up asking to pet your pigs. I am not kidding!
  • Butchering parties happen quite often, and you trade off help with your friends. Chickens on Wednesday at the Smiths, a cow on Friday at the Jones.
  • You homestead is named something like “Udder Chaos Farm”

I’m On Call!

It’s really exciting. Here I am, owning my own business now, doing something I love and enjoy. It’s such a wonderful feeling. And yet, sometimes I totally forget that it’s true (Oh, shoot! I forgot my doula bag at home!!!). Yes, that has already happened. I promise I’ll get better.

Anyways, for those that are interested, my website is Blessed Inheritance Birth Services. I’m also on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. so please follow/like me! My website also has a blog on it that you can subscribe to. I can only list one service area on most of those websites, but I serve Hannibal, Mexico, and the Greater St. Louis area.

I’d love to answer ANY birth/doula/midwifery related questions, so contact me if you have any questions!

I’m also looking for clients, so feel free to mention me to your pregnant friends. Visit here for reasons why doulas are the best!

And finally, I’m also considering offering birth photography. I’m considering you all my guinea pigs, so comment below on what you think of my pictures. Thanks!!!

Midwife Watching On
Midwife Watching On
Loving Support
Loving Support
Beautiful Hands
Beautiful Hands
Totally Relaxed
Totally Relaxed
Love at First Sight
Love at First Sight
Heart and Hands
Heart and Hands
Baby's First Picture!
Baby’s First Picture!
Getting Warmed Up
Getting Warmed Up
Diaper Time
Diaper Time
Only 7 pounds?!
Only 7 pounds?!

 

Our Farm in Pictures

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Seven little piggies (one is hidden behind the black pig)

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Moses, a 10 year old draft/quarter horse mix

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Willie, a 13 year old Registered Paint

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Winnie the Nut

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J after berry picking

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B and a new(er) kitten

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J watchong everyone ride the new horses

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B on Moses, with everyone else watching

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J’s turn!

Independance Day, DONA, Business, Death, Wedding

Interesting title, eh? Well, that’s what has happened recently in my life. I shall expound below. Independance Day. We had three families over to our place for a barbeque. It was quite the group, with all of us being homeschoolers. Which makes us awesome. Yep. We started off with about half of us kids going for a swim in our extremely deep and murky pond. Even though all of us knew how to swim, we all wore life vests. It was that deep! The rest of the kids (mainly the younger ones) had an epic water gun fight in the backyard, while the menfolk started a game of horseshoes. At 5 o’clock, we started chores (cows do have to be milked on holidays). I think it’s really funny – everyone wanted to milk the cow! So I didn’t have to milk that night :) We then grilled up some hot dogs and sausages, and sat down to a great potluck picnic. Mom let us cheat on GAPS diet, and have potato salad. I think that was the highlight of the day for some of my family members… By the time we finished eating dinner and dessert, it was starting to get dark. Dad started a bonfire, and I started a great game of charades, using a app on my tablet. It’s called Head’s Up,  and what happens is one person holds the tablet or phone on their forehead, and it displays different words. The rest of the group then has to act it out. It’s a lot of fun, and I love watching everyone act. By then, it was really dark, and so we broke out the sparklers and the poppers. While the kids were distracted, Daddy and a friend went down to the pond and set up some fireworks. Mom herded everyone around front just as dad set the first one off. They planned that perfectly! The kids all plopped down in the grass, and the adults sat on the front porch. There were a couple of really good fireworks – I was pleasantly surprised. Of course the whole day I was so busy having fun that I didn’t get a single picture! So that was our Independance Day. Next on happenings was my DONA training course. I am now a DONA trained doula! I had a great time. I met some wonderful ladies, learned a lot, and got inspired,  which brings me to my next topic – business. I’ve started a birth doula business – http://www.BlessedInheritance.weebly.com. I plan on serving at Audrain Medical Center, Hannibal Regional Hospital,  St. Joseph West Hospital, birth centers and homebirths. I am so excited about this opportunity! If you readers don’t mind, could you please visit my website and like me on facebook? Thank you! Onto my next happening. We had another animal die on our farm. This time it hit us a little bit harder. We lost our steer, who we were raising for meat. In fact, he was up to weight, and we were ready to butcher him. Now we have an empty freezer. At least I get to end on a good note! Tomorrow we are going to our Pastor’s son’s wedding. I love seeing the different ceremonies, plus the dresses and reception. Well, that catches you up! By the way, if there are some misspellings or typos, it’s cause my tablet is acting up, and it won’t let me see what I’m typing. Sorry!

On Farming..

To those considering farming.

Just with any job – and actually anything in life – there are pros and cons to it. Farming is no exception. I’m sure you probably are just thinking of the obvious – that farmers are at the mercy of the weather. While that is certainly true, there is more farming than just that.

Farmers get pooped on.

Farmers get peed on.

Farmers also deal with vomit and other bodily functions on an almost daily basis.

They get up with the sun, but don’t normally get to go to sleep with the sun.
The reason? A lamb isn’t eating well. A cow is about to give birth. The steer escaped. They have 150 chicks coming in the morning, and there isn’t a spot ready for them. The field needs to be planted before the next storm hits, even if that means staying up till midnight.

And they deal with a death on a regular basis.

Since moving onto our farm, we’ve lost 4 cats, 1 piglet, 1 dog, 25+ ducklings, 2 goslings, 4 turkeys, and too many chicks and chickens to count. 3/4 of those deaths were caused by animals living on our farm.

Our neighbors lost an entire pond of catfish in a matter of days.

They also deal with the death of trees, crops, and vegatables & fruits.

They spend more money on gas than you could ever imagine possible.

Frustration is a frequent visitor to a farm. Tractors, trucks, and vehicles break down. Tools also break or stop working. The ground can be too wet, too dry, too acidic, or too rocky. Some years find you with a shortage of water for crops, or hay for your animals. Other years hit you with storm after storm. Again, other years, like this year, find you with unpredictable weather. One day it’s 85 degrees and sunny, and the next it’s stormy and 38 degrees.

They break their backs planting seeds, just to have something like the chickens accidentally getting lose and destroying your hard work.

They miss events that are special to them, because an animal is sick and needs nursing, or the cows need to be milked. When farming is your livelihood, you can’t just take a break whenever you’d like.

Farming is hard. On everyone and everything.

But.

Besides becoming a mother or father, it’s one of the most rewarding jobs ever.

The wonder of seeing your siblings, children, or grandchildren’s faces light up with joy when they get to ride the tractor.

Looking out a window, and being able to say that everything you can see, is yours. The cows grazing happily on the new spring grass. The lambs and calves bouncing around the field. The eccentricity of some animals – like a goose that likes to be petted, a cat that nurses on a dog (that has never had puppies!), and the miniture horse who likes to chase and bite the cows.

All the babies! Calves, lambs, foals, and kittens, all hungrily nursing on their mothers. The chicks, ducklings and poults, scratching and searching for food. All bring laughter to your life, and remind you of the miracle that life truly is.

The sound of rain on a roof, or the laughter of a child running free.

Seeing that green of new life after a cold winter.

The sense of home you feel when you go to town and everyone knows your name

The taste home raised bacon. That’s almost a good enough reason to farm there.

I can’t even begin to describe the amazment that I feel when I step outside and see millions upon millions of bright, twinkling stars.

The relief and utter happiness at having neighbors that truly care about and for you.

That first meal evey year, when everything on your table is something you grew or raised. There is such a feeling of accomplishment.

The coolness of the creek after a long day of work.

And the friendly competition that develops between kids, whether that be growing the biggest watermelon or hog, seeing who can milk the fastest, or who can hit the most targets.

And farming is necessary! If there weren’t people like these, you wouldn’t have any food.

So, if you are thinking about farming, here is what I think.

Do it.

It will be THE hardest thing you have ever done. But it is worth it. Every minute of it.Image

2012 in review

I thought this was kind of fun:

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Recipe ~ BJ’s Milkalatte

Here is a simple and yummy recipe created by my sister (she dubbed it Milkalatte, by the way):

  • 1 large glass of milk
  • 1 bag of tea (Chai gives the best flavor)
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • dash of nutmeg and cinnamon

Directions: Swish the tea bag in the milk for about 5 minutes, or until the milk darkens slightly. Remove tea bag, and stir in honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Enjoy!

Variation: Gently warm a quart of milk  and four cinnamon sticks on the stove. When warm, use above recipe. Delicious x 2!

Book Review ~ Surprised By Laughter by Terry Lindvall

For C.S. Lewis, merriment was serious business, and like no book before it, Surprised by Laughter explains why. Author Terry Lindvall takes readers on a highly amusing and deeply meaningful journey through the life and letters of one of the most beloved Christian thinkers and writers. As Lindvall shows, the unique magic of Lewis’s approach was his belief that explosive and infectious joy dwells deep in the heart of Christian faith. Readers can never fully understand Lewis, his life, or his legacy until they learn to laugh with him.

My Review –

I am a big fan of C.S. Lewis and humor, so when I noticed this book, I decided to read it.

And I have to say I was severely disappointed. As another reviewer had commented, the first chapter read like a dissertation. Not at all what thought it would be. Still another reviewer said that if you got past the first part, that it was better. I didn’t see that until I started posting this review though, so I might have to give it another try – and just skip the first part.

The cover was well designed though. The saying “Never judge a book by it’s cover” certainly applies to this book!

I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, unless I knew they liked dense books. And I’d give it 3 stars (mainly just for the cover and idea though).

I am required to state that I got this book for free in exchange for a review. I am not required to give a positive review.

In Defense of CHRISTmas

Oh boy. How do I start? I’ll start by saying WHY I wanted to post this. I’ve lately noticed anti-Christmas articles, basically arguing that all of the Christmas “traditions” have pagan roots, and therefore we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas. As you can probably guess, I disagree. I believe that like everything else in this world, Christmas has been tainted by sin. But I do think it’s a good sign that the devil is trying so hard to get Christ out of CHRISTmas. If he’s working so hard on that, don’t you think that we must be doing something right? Who can avoid the fact that our Savior’s name is in one of the most celebrated holidays in the world!?

I’d like to go over a couple of the major points that is debated.

First, one of the major arguments is over when was the first Christmas celebration. I saw this on Facebook today – “Did you know that Christmas was not celebrated in the first centuries of the Christian Church? According to Encyclopedia Americana, a feast in memory of the birth of the Saviour wasn’t established until the Fourth Century, and then it wasn’t until the Fifth Century when the Western Church ordered it to be celebrated forever on the day of the old Roman Feast of the birth of Sol.” Again, I disagree. Who knows if they celebrated Christ’s birth or not? At that time, they were still being persecuted. To openly celebrate anything new under the Romans would have been dangerous. Anytime the Christians worshiped someone other than the Roman lord, they would have been thrown in jail or worse.

I came across this quote in researching the origins of Christmas:  “Augustine (354-430) of Hippo, On the Psalms, Psalm 133 “For from Christ comes the dew. No light is set on a high place, save Christ. How is He set on high? First on the cross, afterwards in heaven. Set on high on the cross when He was humbled; humbled, but His humiliation could not but be high. The ministry of man grew less and less, as was signified in John; the ministry of God in our Lord Jesus Christ increased, as was shown at their birth. The former was born, as the tradition of the Church shows, on the 24th of June, when the days begin to shorten. The Lord was born on the 25th of December, when the days begin to lengthen.”

So to say that the early Christians didn’t celebrate Christmas might not be accurate.  (for the full article go to http://christian-civilization.org/articles/rethinking-the-pagan-origins-of-christmas/ )

As for the date that it was celebrated on, there is a whole host of different arguments on that! Was it a pagan tradition that got carried over? Was it chosen to combat the pagan festival (aka, the Christian version)? Was it simply what date the Early Christians believed to be Jesus’ birth (there is that whole Roman calender thing)? The short answer – who knows?! I liked this young lady’s post - http://melodys-notes.blogspot.com/2008/11/apology-for-christmas-by-melody-seppi.html. Her view – that Christmas was started after the pagan festivals were gone – was interesting. And again, who knows? Everyone says something different, and no one really has solid evidence to suggest one or the other. Here is another quote: “Augustine also specifically titled one of his points of Sermon 22, “The Festival Has Nothing to Do with Sun-worship, as Some Maintain.” Thus in the fourth century, Augustine both refuted that Christmas had its origins in Saturnalia while also clearly attributing the Lord’s birth to December 25th as the “tradition of the church.”

I really suggest reading the book The Case for Christmas by Les Strobel,  by the way. His view is interesting, as he is a former atheist.

Third – Christmas Trees. Again, a link – http://forchristskingdom.blogspot.com/2011/12/christmas-tree-idol.html. Peter did a good job answering that one, and that is what my family believes.

Fourth – Santa Claus. Father Christmas. Pere Noel. Weihnachtsmann. What ever you call him, here I agree with the naysayers. Santa Claus is one “tradition” that has been so secularized. As mentioned in my last post, my siblings and I never believed in Santa. My parents taught us that there was a man named Nicholas who secretly delivered gifts to needy children, but as any human does, he died. I’ve also read that Nicholas never existed and that Santa Claus is based off of a pagan god. Wherever he comes from, I agree that Santa has no place in the celebration of Christmas..that’s not to say that we don’t watch anything with Santa in it, or listen to music that mentions Santa – it just means that we don’t focus on him. My family enjoys the Santa Clause movies, and I personally like how it portrays him – not as a perfect man, but as a sinner with a family that he is learning to care for. But we don’t leave milk and cookies out for Santa (maybe for mom and dad though :-) Besides, he is just creepy (he sees you when your sleeping, he knows when you’re awake?)

And I can go on. Mistletoe, advent candles, presents, etc. But I won’t. There is always going to be someone who doesn’t celebrate it. And my goal isn’t to try and make everyone celebrate Christmas. No! My goal is to try and share my view.

Please read this in conclusion. The author wrote it in a way that I cannot in this short post. It is long, but it explains everything so well.

My family has chosen to do the traditions we do for specific reasons. We do set up a Christmas tree. But we don’t worship it. We do give presents to each other, but my parents are the ones who give them – not Santa. We feel that celebrating Jesus’ birth is important, and we don’t mind doing it on the wrong date. I love Christmas. It’s my favorite season for many reasons. Besides celebrating my Lord’s birth, I love singing Christmas/Advent hymns. I love the lights, the trees, the foods, and the snow. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like presents too!

I hope I have explained this in a way that is easy to understand, and please also note that these are just my personal views. I don’t mean to offend anyone, and if your personal beliefs are different, I will respect them. I just hope to point out that Christmas can be taken so many ways!

My next post  I hope will be on the history behind a well known Christmas song (again, one with a lot of controversy)!

Until next time!