Archive for January, 2012

24
Jan
12

Finding joy and contentment…

Randy and I have different lives here than we have ever had before.  We have lived 1/2 block off the ocean.  We did the subdivision, suburban life in the South.  We’ve traveled, slept in, partied, ate seafood, swam in the ocean, walked on the beach, and spent our weekends shopping and eating out.  The winters were mild and we kept a tan nearly year round.

Our life now is not quite as “typical.”  We now live on a farm which includes sheep, chickens, and llamas along with our crew of rescued dogs and cats.  Our days start around 4:00 am and the end of the day varies according to the season.  We don’t sleep in, unless you count 6:00 am as sleeping in.  Our seafood comes from a shop over an hour away and only on occasion do to the cost and distance.  There is no ocean and are no beaches within a days drive.  We try to shop second hand and seldom eat out.

This time of year we long for the beach.  We long to pack up our car for an unplanned roadtrip to Nashville, the Gulf, or Myrtle Beach.

It isn’t so easy to just pack up the car and drive away without a care in the world.

We have lots of animals that count on us to take care of them.

And we would miss out on this if we hadn’t traveled down this path.

What would have happened to her?

Or him?

Our these girls?

Or this little cutie?

Our lives may not be glamorous.

 Our lives are sometimes hard physically and emotionally.

But it is worth it!  It does matter!

We may not get to see the world.  We may not even get to see our country in its entirety.  Or stick our toes in the sand while the ocean water covers our feet whenever we want.

We just have to remind ourselves from time-to-time that our life here does matter and has made a difference to someone.  I’m writing this post for myself.  For the times when I feel like I am missing out on life by being here.  Life is what and where you make it.  I read a verse in the Bible the other night that reminded me of that:

Just tell me what to do and I will do it, Lord.  As long as I live I’ll wholeheartedly obey.  Make me walk along the right paths for I know how delightful they really are.  Help me to prefer obedience to making money!  Turn me away from wanting any other plan than yours.  Revive my heart toward you.  Reassure me that your promises are for me, for I trust and revere you.

Pslams 119:33-37

It isn’t always easy to be content with your life…God’s word once again brought me back to where I needed to be.  To live the life we were called to live and find joy in the lives others live that are different from our’s and seemingly more exciting or life changing.  The places they travel, the daily freedoms they enjoy, the mission trips, adopting, whatever it may be, and remember we are all here for different reasons.  We all have our place as long as we are here.  Our’s may not be the same as the next person, but it is our’s to live out joyfully.

I hope everyone can look at their lives and see your life, no matter how routine and humdrum it may seem, is important and making a difference in some small (or big) way and find joy in it.  I have had to do that recently.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!  God bless.

24
Jan
12

A Day at Home…

Friday I was off and home by myself.  During the week when we are at work Dad comes down once it is light out and lets our sheep out to pasture.  Today I got to let them out myself.  They are so excited to go out on wheat pasture.  They run and jump and are so cute.

The first few pictures I took were blurry because I had a little black and white sheep jumping on me.

Guess which one it was???

Bet you can’t guess

And last but not least is the big guy heading out to guard his girls.

Hank is such a great guard llama.  He has really been a good investment and does so well with the sheep.  Llamas convert their feed to energy very well, so it takes very little forage for a llama to maintain a healthy weight.  This was just one of the characteristics about llamas we used to convince ourselves we could afford to take on Sylvia and then Celia and Lexus when they all needed homes and the thought of them ending up in a sale barn and then who knows where was too much for us to bear.  Hank stays with the girls and does great with them even when they are lambing.  During breeding we had enough llamas to keep one llama with each breeding group.  Now that we are no longer breeding the girls all stay together with the rams.

Three weeks before letting our ewes out on wheat pasture we began adding magnesium oxide to their salt and mineral to help prevent wheat pasture poisoning (grass tetany).  So far it seems to work well as we haven’t had any incidents of grass tetany the few years we have been fortunate enough to have wheat pasture to graze.

We also have a pen with three ewes who no longer have their front teeth so they are unable to break off the wheat and graze well enough to sustain themselves and the lambs they are carrying.

They get some really nice hay, a protein tub, and rolled corn every evening.  They also have a nice little shed Randy built full of fresh straw to snuggle up in at night.  These ewes are from the original 15 we bought to start this adventure.  We’re not sure how old they were when they bought them, but were sold to us as “older ewes.”  We have had them  six years this fall.  The life expectancy of a sheep is about 10-12 years, but their prime production years are from 3-6 years and begin tapering off around 7 years of age. (source)

Although they are’t going to win any medals anytime soon, they look so much better than they did when we first realized they were falling behind the other and pulled them from the rest of the flock.

After I got the old girls situated I set up all the feeders to start the rest of the girls on corn for the final six weeks of their gestation.

All it took was about three kernels of corn to hit that first feeder and those little chubby, wooly, pregnant sheep came running.  We start them off gradually anytime we change feed on them, especially with grain.  We will continue to increase their corn until we get them up to 1/4 to 1/2 lb until they begin lambing.  Our Texels take very little grain to maintain during their pregnancy, but we will have to keep a close eye on the Romanovs.  They tend to have more lambs and may need a little more grain to ensure they don’t get pregnancy toxemia.

So far everyone looks healthy and happy…we hope it stays that way through lambing season.

23
Jan
12

Romanov, Texel, and Dorper Sheep…

Our original starter flock of sheep started with 15 Texel/Dorper crosses.  From there we began breeding up to full blooded Texels.  Along the way we acquire some Romanov ewe lambs from Mom and Dad and decided to add Romanovs to our premanent flock.  This year we used Romanov rams on our Dorper ewes and Texels ewes along with Texel rams on our Romanov ewes.  We are hoping this will give us not only multiple lambs (a Romanov trait) but also a faster growing, without as much grain lamb (a Texel trait).  We are now up to 80 ewes and 4 to 6 Romanov and Texels rams.

Yearling Romanov ewe

Two yearling Romanov ewes

Dorper ewe

See her squint anticipating the flash…and people say sheep are stupid.

Texel ewe…she was born our first lambing season and is actually only recorded at 50% Texel.

 She, however, acquired very “Texel” traits from her sire.

We plan to have Texel/Romanov and Dorper/Romanov lambs for sale in early summer.  We may also have a small starter flock of high percentage Texel ewes for sale with their recorded papers.

Have a great day!

22
Jan
12

Beltie…

Last winter we took on eleven of Mom and Dad’s bottle lambs.  They were mostly from Romanovs who had multiples, triplets and quadruplets, and unable to provide enough milk for all the babies.  One of the babies we acquired we lovingly named, Beltie, for the white belt around her tummy…like a belted cow.

Before she saw me.

The minute she saw me coming she was up and on her way to greet me.

She’s so sweet.

Most of the time.

The little cutie is so good to let me take her picture, but just gets a littlel too close.  I think she eventually got her feelings hurt from me pushing her back so I could get her in the picture.

Then she got bored with the camera and started digging in my pockets.

 

I had to catch her on the other side of the stock tank to get a decent picture of her.

That is Beltie in all her cuteness.

21
Jan
12

Our Difficult Cat…Pudgy…

It is hard to believe he was the tamest kitten in the bunch when we first rescued 2 litters of kittens.  Now he is pretty wild and ill mannered.

The weather has been unseasonably warm here in Kansas and when a cold front was schedule to arrive one evening last week Pudgy decided to be difficult and not go in the pool house to be locked up that evening.  I tried several times to get him in.  Randy tried to get him in when he got home late from work that night.  He just wouldn’t go in and since we can’t catch him away from the food bowl he had to spend the night outside.

We hate leaving our cats outside, especially in the cold.  Pudgy left us no choice.

The next morning he greeted Randy at the front door meowing and chatting up a store.  He had made a bad decision and realized it too late.  Granted we have sheep sheds, hay sheds, and whatever else he can get in and by farm standards this is more than sufficient, but not for our little over privileged little kitty. He wanted in his insulated pool house with his 8 foot tall cat tower and cat beds galore.

He had misunderstood what, “Pudgy this is your last chance” meant.

 Funny, he was one of the first ones in the pool house the following night.

He was smart enough not to make the same mistake twice…or at least two nights in a row.  I’m sure he will do it again someday.

Have a wonderful day!

20
Jan
12

Ruby Update…

Just thought I would post a little update on Ruby.  She has come leaps and bounds since we picked her up along the highway on our vacation in August, but still has a long ways to go.  From a health standpoint she has made a full recovery.  Socially she still has a ways to go.  Her personality has really started to show the more comfortable she gets in our home.  She is great and appears most comfortable with the other dogs than with human interaction.  However, does better with male human interaction than female which leads us to believe it may have been a female who mistreated her in the passed.

This is Ruby when she first came to live with us:

By the way that is kombucha tea, not beer in the corner of this picture!

This is Ruby after being in our home for nearly five months:

 You can just see how much more comfortable she is, how much healthier her coat is, and how she has gotten to a healthy weight as well.

The little girl is improving everyday.  We are commited to helping her regain her health and her security with humans as much as we possibly can.

She is a new woman!  We love you Ruby and can’t imagine our lives without you.

14
Jan
12

Go Tim Tebow!!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

~John 3:16

Randy has worked his tail off today putting up insulation board and concrete board getting our home ready for our wood cookstove.  I have chili, spinach and artichoke dip, and spinach and dill dip ready for the big game tonight.  I’m headed out to do chores and play ball and frisbee with the dogs so they are ready for an evening nap when the game comes on tonight.

It have been a beautiful day here for January in Kansas…maybe close to 60 with very little wind.  The sheep are out on wheat pasture with turnips and radishes mixed in.  The chickens are roaming and scratchig all over our yard, sheep lots, and resting garden.  The cats are lounging and sunning themselves on a stack of straw bales waiting to be moved to the hay shed.  Life is good here!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday and does their very best to cheer on Tim Tebow and those Denver Broncos tonight.




Adopting one child won't change the world; but for that child, the world will change.

I am the wife to my wonderful husband and joint care giver to the many animals we have acquired on our small farm here on the prairie. This is a bit about our life on our farm. We are striving for simplicity and self-sufficiency, determined to become debt-free, trying to live in tune with the natural cycles of this earth, and challenging ourselves to transition to a diet based on traditional foods. It isn't always easy, and we don't always succeed, but it is a fun learning process. Join us as we stumble through learning how to provide for ourselves, get off the treadmill, and work toward a simpler way of life.

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