First of all, I want to thank everyone who told me they were praying for our family after I wrote my last post. It was a difficult thing to share, and I appreciate your support so much. It wasn’t long after writing that, that I started to feel a great deal of peace about a great many things, and I think that’s in large part due to your prayers. I am thankful for you.
— 2 —
Jon and I have spent a lot of time talking about what is to be done from here. Do we feed the goats grain during the winter? Sprout barley for them? Originally, we planned to do both but after talking with a friend this morning and reading a post by one of my favorite bloggers, it occurred to me that from the beginning, Jon and I have had the goal of breeding for animals who are resistant to parasites and can thrive on grass with very little additional input. It occurs to me that although there are many, many things we need to do differently, and better, there may be some cases where doing nothing is the best thing we can do. Claret and China Rose’s death was our fault – without question. And it could have been prevented, and should have been prevented. But maybe we’re looking at the wrong things as we try to ensure it doesn’t ever happen to another animal in our care. Maybe instead of increasing the amount of food we feed them and routinely medicating with wormers, we ought to make sure kids are born here are bred in the Spring, and only to mothers who are willing to nurse their babies long-term. Maybe we ought to be willing to see who can thrive without wormers and who can’t, who can thrive on crummy grass hay, and who won’t. The traits of the mothers are usually passed on to the young, and it may be that instead of trying to treat with medication and more feed, we ought to be trying to prevent through breeding and allowing the strongest to survive, selling or retiring those who become weak without supplementation and need constant worming prevention, and not breeding those who exhibit those traits or won’t take care of their young. Maybe we’ve been going about this all wrong. We still have a lot to pray about (always!), but I feel we’re a little closer to having an idea of where to go from here.
— 3 —
We’re getting milk from Lucy again, and I am struck by what a privilege it is to sit down with a glass, fresh from the cow herself. I feel wealthy in a way that goes beyond money and so very blessed. It’s a blessing I desperately want to be able to share with others, and I’m very much looking forward to having a second cow in milk, some day. I’m soooo thankful Lucy gave us a little girl… we have so many hopes and dreams for her. I look at her and see all the people she’s going to bless some day… our friends, our family, our children and maybe even our grandchildren. How many lives will be touched by this little calf? How many bodies will be nourished? She’s the first of what I pray are many animals who will be born and raised here for the benefit of ourselves and those around us. We are blessed.
— 4 —
Speaking of Lucy’s calf, we’ve finally picked out a name for her! We’ve decided to call her Gwendolyn. I always hear of cows with cutesy names like Bessy and Daisy and Ellie May and I wanted to give her an outrageous, fancy name (like Esmeralda or Cassiopeia!) but we also wanted to give her a name that would reflect the blessing she is to us. The name Gwendolyn means “blessing” and it’s just fancy enough to be fun. Besides, that name was met with approval by the kids AND my husband, and that’s no easy feat!
Of course, we’ll probably end up calling her Gwenny or Winnie and her name will end up being just as cute and ordinary as any other cow’s. :)
— 5 —
On a completely different subject, I had a revelation the other day! As Jon and I have been looking more and more into hunting/growing/raising our own food, one thing that keeps coming to mind is how easy it would be to obtain squirrel, rabbit, opossum, etc. Not only could we hunt these animals, but Jon has a friend who traps them for fur and doesn’t use the meat, AND is willing to set the boys up with some trapping equipment. As per Leviticus 11, however, we don’t eat any of those things. So even though I think the boys would really enjoy trapping, and I would really enjoy processing and using the fur/hides, I wouldn’t be willing to trap those animals unless we were going to eat them.
It occurred to me for the first time yesterday (as Jon was processing a road-kill rabbit to feed to the cats,) we have lots of animals who WOULD eat them! Not only would things like rabbits and squirrels (and even frogs and unclean fish ([what kid WOULDN’T like to go fish and frog gig?])… be a great food source for the cats (and, some day, a dog), they would also be an excellent source of protein for the chickens!
Which means that the boys can trap, I can keep the fur, and we can feed some of the animals for free! Woohoo!
(It’s the little things.)
For more quick takes, visit Jennifer at Conversion Diary