Thursday, April 30, 2009

Odds and ends

For several reasons, we decided to delay our trip to Boston for two weeks.
This will be better because now we'll be able to go to Jayme's graduation.

Today, I'll be doing some more packing, cleaning and laundry. 

The heating and cooling guy is coming out for the spring cleaning of our unit. 

Our contractor is coming out to finish a few projects . . . we'll have a potty and sink in the bathroom again! This news recently astounded Bronwen who has never known a sink to be located in the downstairs powder room.

It's cold and rainy outdoors so we're pumping up the music and activities indoors.

Have a beautiful day!

Monday, April 27, 2009

It's a road trip

Noah and I are leaving for Boston on Thursday morning. 

We're driving with my mom to visit my beautiful sister Jayme

I've never been to Boston and being a lover of all things historical, I can't wait to soak in this old city. 
And it will be the perfect finish to Noah's spring break.

So today I need to have the oil changed, tires rotated and brakes checked because it's a road trip!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Brightly Shine

As you, dear Lord, let the sun and the rain warm and water the dormant trees ['til] they begin to come alive with beauty. So also as you water and shine your light and love on us, we too become alive and beautiful, ready to let your perfect will be done in our lives.
We become ambassadors for others to see. 
Our life shines and waters others with your word and example.

~ Gladys Luckenbill
A Gift From Above - Little Parables to Bless You

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April Freshens

Have you been wondering about our dairy herd?

I thought you might be.

I had to stop milking at the end of January because of my pregnancy. Extreme morning sickness and cows, manure, ballage, hay and even the milk did not mix well for me. Actually when I'm pregnant, all smells become my enemies - even some of my favorite things. Sadly, many things are ruined for me for life because even after the baby is born, I still have an aversion to that particular smell. I've lost more favorite candles that way. 

And so I had to quit milking.

We dried the girls in February anyway. For the last two months of their pregnancies dairy cows are not milked so all their nutrients can go into their developing calves. We dry all our girls at the same time, so there are two months without milk, and then they should all start up about the same time when they freshen.

The cows, if bred on time should all freshen in April - that is, give birth - and they are surprisingly accurate with their due date. If she's due on the 12th, she'll most likely freshen on the 12th. All but one of the girls bred on time and should freshen this month. One of them will freshen next month. 

A few days after the calf is born, he is removed from his mother and bottle fed and she is milked for human consumption.

Meet our new babies!

Jack, a bull calf, was the first to arrive from our yearling heifer Jiffy Pop. Being a first time mama, and a bit persnickety, she wouldn't let him nurse for a couple of days so Jack was bottlefed from day one. This is a very tiresome process for the farmer since babies are almost constantly attached to the teat!

Blackie freshened with Black Jack another bull calf just a few days later. When the farmer found him the morning of his birth, he was running around kicking up his heals. He's a very robust boy.

Five days overdue, Quatro's heifer calf came early Easter morning. So much for bulls coming late and heifers coming early!

She's so tiny!

Lola's hiefer just minutes old.

As far as I know, the new little girls don't have names yet. 
The heifers will be kept to grow our herd and one of the bulls will be our stud in 2010. He can be bred to everyone except a sister.

That's the news from the farm for now, though I think we're expecting four more in the next week or two.

Our first milk delivery should be next weekend and we are so looking forward to that rich, creamy, full fat, raw organic milk! 

*edit: the vet was out to the farm yesterday and Rosie and Lucy look like they won't freshen until May. But Rosie does have a big calf, so she may be ready in 10 days after all and she may just be a cow whose utter fills at the last minute. 
And I forgot that the large Dutch belted Gator was traded for a smaller Buttercup and she's due in May too. And poor Popcorn had to be butchered, so I guess we're only waiting for three more babies.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The day she was born

Four years ago, we had just had twelve trees felled around the property. 
Doesn't that sound like we have a lot of land?
Actually eight of them were a tangled line of various volunteer trees, planted by birds perched on the power lines. Over the years, no one bothered to remove the saplings from growing up through the chain link fence dividing our property from the neighbor's. 

Three silver maples across the front tree lawn were dying thanks to carpenter ants. 

One was a badly splitting pear tree in the back yard - a highrise for termites and ants.

Our arborist (uh, husbandman . . . uh, tree doctor . . .?) hauled away most of the tonage, but neighbors and family members had spoken for some fire wood. So that morning my boy, my mom and I were carefully making piles of firewood and loading her truck. 
By 11:30 we were done and came inside for drinks. My water broke - two weeks early- and immediately hard and heavy labor set in.
I jumped in the shower to get cleaned up because I was not going to give birth smelling like a sweaty lumberjack, while mom tried to get Josh out of a meeting. 
With work only 7 minutes away, and the hospital only 5 minutes away, we still barely made it. I was creeping along the hall ways to delivery while nurses asked if I wanted a wheelchair. 
Who wants to sit down when such radical things are going on where you're supposed to be sitting? I made it to the room and remember waiting bent over the bed trying to get on top of the contractions while nurses fluttered in and out asking me to 'sign this' and 'please change into this' and 'move so they could get the monitor around my belly to make sure I was in labor.'
At this point I couldn't even speak, so I was very grateful that my mom was there. She had someone filling the tub to prepare for the water birth while having the other nurse get on the floor with me if she really needed to strap that monitor on.
I think we were only in the hospital 30-45 minutes when my baby was born. Only 1 hour and 50 minutes from the moment my water broke at home.

I cradled the babe for several minutes in the still, dimly lit room. Everything was finally quiet and calm.
My midwife, who had left another mother in labor to attend to my fast delivery, finally broke the silence and asked, "well, what do we have?"
I loosened my grasp enough to look and then announced, "She's a girl!" 
And that's my boy telling me what a good job I did.

four is FOUR!

Four years ago today, my first daughter was born.
Bronwen Ebril Elise
Her name means pure heart born in April consecrated to God

My darling girl, you are such a joy- a light in my life - and I am so grateful for you!

You are so excited to be four.

You were really good at being three . . . I can't wait to see what four is like.
But don't grow up too quickly, please.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Resurrection Day

"And at last, the enemy to be destroyed is death.

Then when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this scripture will be fulfilled: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' [Is. 25:8]

O Death, where is your victory?
O Grave where is your sting?
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin it's power.

But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ."

~I Corinthians 15: 26, 54-57

Saturday, April 11, 2009

First Communion

Something extraordinary happened this week at the Passover Seder. 

It suddenly stuck me as we sat there that this celebration of Christ's last supper, his Passover Seder, His first communion would be Noah's first communion as well. 
It made it so meaningful, so real for our boy.
We didn't mean to make it a big deal. We just had not yet encouraged him to partake when the rest of the congregation did, wanting to make sure he understood the specialness of his actions.

Oh dear one, if you've never been to a Messianic Passover Seder, I encourage you to make it part of your Holy week next year. I think you will most likely never see Easter, or take communion in the same way again.

Photography courtesy of Christine

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


“In honor of the Lord your God, celebrate the Passover each year in the early spring, in the month of Abib, for that was the month in which the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night.
Your Passover sacrifice may be from either the flock or the herd, and it must be sacrificed to the Lord your God at the designated place of worship—the place he chooses for his name to be honored. 
 Eat it with bread made without yeast. For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast, as when you escaped from Egypt in such a hurry. Eat this bread—the bread of suffering—so that as long as you live you will remember the day you departed from Egypt." 

~Deuteronomy 16:1-3

" Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us."

"So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth."

~ I Corinthians 5:7b,8

Passover begins tonight at sundown.