Let's start with an update on Frank. He is thriving! We still have him on a bottle, but only during the day. He sleeps through the night, and has moved outside to the barn, which means I am no longer buying diapers FOR A GOAT! Ha! As I've mentioned, goats are herd animals and need companionship. We looked and looked, and finally found a beautiful female to be Frank's special friend. She is a bit older (about 6 weeks) but neither of them seem to mind. They love each other already, and spend their days running, playing, butting heads, and snuggling up for naps in the sunshine. They really are super sweet to watch. What is her name, you ask? Well from the beginning, Natalie wanted to name them after my grandparents, whose farm we now call our home. So, Frank now has his Mable. It's a beautiful thing, really. And the next female we get will be called Beans. We would love for Frank and Beans to have twins, whom we will lovingly call Beanie and Weenie. Life with goats is so much fun!
|Frank loves me!|
|Mable is a tri-color with blue eyes.|
|Frank getting a bottle, while Mable treats Natalie like a playground!|
|Teenagers...selfies with goats!|
As for the homestead garden, it is coming right along. Slowly but surely everything will be planted and growing. The Farmer's Almanac has indicated we may get a late freeze this year, so I have been impatiently holding off on the planting so my work isn't ruined. I hope the waiting wasn't a bad idea, but nonetheless, I am waiting just a bit longer. In the mean time, we have uncovered the soil that we had tarped to kill the weeds, and put out some organic fertilizer - meaning manure! My dad gave everything a good till with the tractor tiller, which saves tons of time and does a beautiful job - remember the garden is over 1500 square feet! We have been building our mulch supply, and just yesterday Levi and I spent a lot of time spreading it over the entire garden. We are planning to follow the Back to Eden gardening methods this year, and need 6-8 inches of mulch covering the whole thing. My muscles are sore today, but it was a great workout and very fulfilling. I love garden work, and the hope of a great harvest! In the next week or so I plan to get seeds in the ground, but for the next 4-6 days, we are expecting lots of rain. I'm going to let the mulch and soil soak up as much as possible in preparation for planting day. The more rain God sends, the less water I have to pay for.
|Mulch for days|
|Spreading organic material - manure!|
|Natalie caught a baby snake while we were working. She's fearless!|
The kids are doing well. Levi has really been enjoying the moderate temperatures, and has been outside quite a bit. He is not a fan of hot weather, and knows that it is on the way, so he has been taking full advantage of the tolerable weather. He reads like a crazy man...several hefty chapter books each week. It is such joy to see BOTH of my children loving books as much as they do. I know that even when I fail them as a mom and a teacher, they will be able to learn anything they are interested in because they love to read! As for Natalie, she has been having trouble with her wrists for quite a while, so I made an appointment for her with a specialist. We saw him this week, and he suspects carpal tunnel in both wrists, but sent her for some testing. He also gave her an injection in her left wrist, which is the one that is worse. Between the stress of the doctor visit, the injection, and then the testing which included 45 minutes of electric shocks in both wrists and arms, she has been in quite a bot of pain this week. We follow-up next week, and we are praying for a diagnosis and easy treatment. The pain has hindered her ability to play her piano as much as she wants to, and also impacts her art and hand-lettering. We need answers and for her to no longer be in so much pain. Please join us in praying for this!
|These two have my heart.|
|Marks for guides during the electric shock testing.|
|Me and my girl waiting at the doctor's office. Still smiling...she's one tough girl!|
The chickens on the homestead are doing as well as can be expected with a bobcat on the prowl. We've had to resort to keeping the gun close at hand, so I can accompany Natalie outside each morning when she goes to let out the chickens. One morning she found the bobcat waiting patiently under a nearby tree, just waiting for her to come out there to open up the egg mobile. Scary! So I walk her out in the mornings, armed with my trusty weapon (I am not a violent person, and don't think guns are toys, but this predator is threatening my family!) The other day I walked out and saw it, and was able to take a shot. It was too far for a kill shot, but I was close. The bobcat lept 5 feet straight up in the air before pouncing off into the woods. Just this morning, it was back - brave or stupid, you decide! I grabbed the gun, but it was not in a good spot for me to shoot, and it ran off. I waited quietly, and within 3 minutes it was back. I wasn't able to get a good shot, but we baited the trap and are hoping for a win later today. As much as I love animals, this one is prowling around for my animals, and also threatening my kids, which means it has got to go!
|Just call me Ma Ingalls.|
I spent a few days in Houston for a recording project. We completed a full-length, 25-song album in four days. It was exciting and exhausting all rolled into one. It is always such a joy to spend time with friends, singing and worshiping together. This album was Christmas music, and should be ready for release in early fall. I can't wait! About the same time, I will be traveling to record yet another disc of beautiful worship music. These projects feed my soul.
Farmer Jones is still enjoying his work in Waco, while also tackling projects on the farm. There are always projects to complete, and sometimes I think he wishes my lists weren't so long so he could tackle some lists of his own. Ha! There are always grasses to mow, fences to mend, barns to patch, washing machine drains to fix, animals to feed, pens to clean, trees to trim, gardens to weed, and the list could go on and on. Around here, it takes the whole family to accomplish our homestead living goals a little at a time. We strive to teach the kids that we must all work as a team! Someday, with lots of hard work and determination, we hope to find ourselves living more and more sustain-ably. This homestead dream is slowly becoming a reality!
I'll update more from the homestead as time allows. If you don't hear from me for a bit, you can rest assured that I am up to my elbows in planting season, trying to get seeds in the ground so we can enjoy healthy, organic fruits and veggies from the garden this summer. And just maybe, if all goes well, we will have some extra to sell and share!
Be blessed, dear readers! Spring is here!