It’s been a looooooong time since I’ve posted anything and mostly that’s because A. I haven’t been feeling particularly well and B. I’ve been wanting to get together a few pictures to post from around here (pictures of our newest baby goats, for instance!) I’ve finally come to the realization that if I wait until I have pictures, however, then I’m never going to post an update. So, this will be an extra long post, sans pictures. :)
— 1 —
I know most everyone wants to know how I’m feeling (that’s the number one question we pregnant ladies get, right after “when is it due” which, for the record, I have no idea because I’m horrible about keeping track of those things [which I’m sure drives my midwife crazy.] We think I’m due sometime in December, which means I’ll probably deliver in February.) ;)
Anyway, as for how I’m doing, everything is well with all the normal things (blood pressure, iron levels, etc) but we recently had a bug go through the house which everyone else got over fairly quickly, but left me with a bout of bronchitis. The doctor says it should go away on its own, but since then, in addition to being exhausted ALL. THE. TIME., I’m also having some trouble breathing, on occasion. So I basically feel like a giant sloth who can’t even get up the energy to take pictures and write a blog post (seriously, I get tired just driving the car somewhere and grocery shopping is a nightmare, but I haven’t given it up yet because it’s one of the only times I ever get out of the house alone!) I haven’t been completely useless, however. I have managed to make a few maternity skirts (re-purposed from Goodwill for $3 each!), altered some skirts for the girls (again from goodwill, just adding elastic to skirts that would otherwise have been too big – super simple!) and Bunchkin and I made a jumper dress not long ago (I need pictures, I know.) Sewing has been a fun project for me, lately… it’s something I can SIT and do, which makes it perfect for my otherwise lethargic life right now. At least I feel like I’ve accomplished something at the end of the day!
(And speaking of Goodwill, if you’ve been boycotting them, or thinking about boycotting them, please read this!)
— 2 —
I’m going to see my brother soon! My amazing brother (who lives in New York and I haven’t seen in roughly 11 years) is doing a bike ride from New York to California to raise money for Street Soccer USA, an organization “dedicated to using sports to improve health, education, and employment outcomes for the most disadvantaged Americans.” (You can keep up with the tour here and donate to support the team here.) On the way to Cali, the team is going to be stopping by Nashville, TN to do some talks and I’m going to do everything in my power to get there while he’s there! In other exciting news, he’s very seriously thinking about moving down south once the tour is over. He has dreams of farming and agriculture, and it’s something he’s been thinking about for a long time now. Very exciting!!!
— 3 —
The kids are doing great… music lessons have started back up, so we’re keeping busy with that, and they’re really glad to have regular lessons again! The girls have completely taken over everyone’s (including Jon’s!) favorite farm job (milking) and are now teaching the next two kids how to milk the goats (but they only want them to milk ONE of the goats, and only a few days each week! We may need more goats!) ;) With all these kids vying for their chance to milk, I’m not sure we’ll EVER need an automatic milker! It’s really wonderful to see them enjoying something that might well been seen as drudgerous work to anyone else, and I feel like they’re becoming so much more responsible because of it. It’s one thing to have “chores” to do each day that really can (and often do) get skipped for one reason or another, and something entirely different to have something that must be done every day. Rain or shine, no matter how you feel or what is going on that day… animals have to be fed, goats and cows have to be milked, and that’s just the way it is! I feel like that level of commitment has really spilled over into other things around here and it’s a blessing to see!
— 4 —
Speaking of loving the animals and the chores they necessitate, I often check up with the kids to find out if they still enjoy having all the animals. It’s a big responsibility for all of us, and I always want to be sure that my dream doesn’t become a burden to them. I think I can rest assured that we’re doing all right, though, after Bunchkin came to me with this to say the other day:
“Momma, I just love the goats. I just love having them. I can’t even describe how much I love having them. I love taking care of them and milking them, and I just love everything about them.”
I think farming suits her. :)
— 5 —
Sadly, the time has come for us to let our wonderful Lucy go. We’ve been wondering what to do with her for months now, worried that she wouldn’t be able to handle being bred but still considering trying to AI her, or bring in a bull for breeding. Unfortunately, she has recently started to limp on the same leg that had caused her problems during her pregnancy and we’ve decided that we just can’t risk it. It’s somewhat of a mixed blessing, because we’ve been looking over our finances, realizing that there is simply NO WAY we can afford to keep all of the animals in hay this winter, plus pay rent on the field (that we don’t actually USE during the winter, anyway!) Butchering her will not only supplement our grocery bill this winter, but will also enable us to drop the field payments and bring the animals into our yard during the winter… although we may not even have to do that, as our neighbor recently offered to let us KEEP the field – for free – during the winter months, if we pick it back up in the Spring. We’re still praying about that. Jon and I are both incredibly sad at the thought of losing Lucy, but I’ve been preparing myself for this for a while now, so I’m thankful it’s not a shock. I’m also thankful we have her little calf, Gwendolyn, here to carry on in her stead. (I really do need to take some new pictures of her, because she is getting SO BIG!!!)
— 6 —
In happier farm news… we’ve had FOUR new baby goats born since our last set! One of the momma’s and her babies actually belong to a friend of ours who will be picking them up soon, but the other momma and kids are ours and they’re adorable! Two baby boys (what IS it with so many boys this year??!!) I’ll try to post pictures soon, and Bunchkin is working on writing about her experiences as a ‘goat midwife’ during the latest birth, so I’ll post that, too (you know… sometime in January after the baby is born.)
— 7 —
Thanks to the blessings of so many, we’ve been able to give a few goats away this season through the Milk Enough Project, and sell a few others to financially support the project! We’re still waiting on one of the two girls we have left to give us some doelings for another wonderful family, but if we don’t get anymore girls we’ll be sending the two we planned to keep on to their new home in a few months. It feels wonderful to be able to do that, and we never could have had it not been for the amazing support of our wonderful friends and family members who have made this possible!!! So thank you, thank you, thank you to all those who have supported us through prayer and other means!
— 8 —
In other farm news, we’re going to be getting bees soon!!! We have a friend who is looking to downsize and another friend who is gifting us with a hive, so I’m not sure how many we’ll have in the end, but going from none to ANY number is sure to be exciting (and in my opinion, the more the better!!!) I know absolutely nothing about bees, so this is sure to be yet another huge learning curve for me, and one I’m super excited about!
— 9 —
There are big changes coming to the blog! A friend has been helping me navigate everything over to a new site so that I can start to promote and possibly sell things right off the blog. I’m currently working on a story book for children (awesome story behind that, I’ll explain later), the girls think they would like to start making and selling soap and possibly dresses, and I’ve been toying with the idea of selling a few prints from pictures I’ve taken over the years. Moving to a non-wordpress supported blog will enable me to promote those things right from the blog, and hopefully allow us to bring in a little extra income. So I’ll keep you posted about that, but from what I understand coming here will automatically redirect to the new site, so the few people who are still reading this after my long absence won’t miss anything! :)