*This is another Quick Takes in which I was waiting to take more pictures before posting. Like last time, however, I’ve been forced to accept the fact that it’s not going to happen. Most of this was written a few weeks ago.
– 1 –
Jon and the kids have been camping out this week during the Feast of Tabernacles. I say “Jon and the kids” because I have not been camping out… presumably because it’s too cold for our youngest, but in reality it’s because I just don’t like camping and happen to enjoy sleeping in my own bed (Jon says he suspects me of planning my pregnancies as an excuse to stay indoors during Tabernacles with the little ones.) I have to say, it’s been really nice to stay up late after the kids have all gone to bed, sewing and reading and just wandering around the house late at night doing whatever comes to mind without worrying that I’m going to wake anybody up! I stayed up till 4:00 the other morning, sewing (the sewing machine is located in the boys room, so normally I can’t do things like that) and I really can’t say how wonderful it was (and how great it was to sleep in the next day, thanks to a very understanding husband!) It’s 12pm as I write this, and I’m making myself some eggs and considering watching a movie. I feel like I’m on vacation!
– 2 –
Speaking of sewing and diapers, thanks to the generosity of lots of friends (past and present) we are once again using cloth diapers! After we got the cow and the goats, and then even more after I got pregnant, our laundry started to pile up and we could no longer easily keep up with it so we started using disposables again. Then, some of our stash got ruined in a basement flood while we were out of town, and others got ruined after being washed (many times) with bleach (totally my fault, didn’t realize the kids were using them as towels!) Thankfully, they weren’t all ruined and between those and more that were recently given to us, I’m SUPER happy to be using cloth again!!! Even the kids are happy about it (which is odd, I had no idea they cared one way or the other.) Our youngest is especially excited about picking out a new diaper every time we change her, it’s really very comical. Now I’m working on making some cloth pads (TMI???) and a few more newborn diapers! Here are a few I’ve made, so far*… I’ve never made anything this complicated before (complicated for me, anyway) and I’m super proud of them!
*See how I did that? “Here are a FEW I’ve made so far” – fully intending to take more pictures! Nope, not happening.
– 3 –
I have been SO PROUD of my kids, lately, for so many different reasons, and I want to take a moment to share a brag about Bitty (#3, 10 years old,) in particular. She started playing violin two years ago, and in the past practice had always been a struggle for her. I’d said before that if I enrolled my oldest in lessons of any type, she’d lock herself in her room every day and get it done, and that has been the case since the day she first picked up the violin, even before she was taking professional lessons (she now often practices for two or more hours each day, it’s something she enjoys and really pushes herself to achieve.) But Bitty? It always used to be that if I didn’t push her to practice, or actively practice with her, she’d find a hundred different reasons to wait, and a hundred different things to distract her. She’s just like me. But lately it seems she’s really turned a corner and every day, before I even have a chance to remind her, she’s in her bedroom practicing. And not just playing songs over and over, really WORKING on her music, playing the same parts over and over again until she gets it right. It’s really amazing and so exciting to watch! Maybe there’s hope she wont turn out too much like me, after all! :)
– 4 –
Pookey (#6) is following in her big sister’s footsteps… the first thing she asks me almost every morning (literally, the very first thing!) is “can I play on Shmooey’s violin?” And off she goes to play on her big brother’s violin. Her sisters are teaching her and she already knows a few songs and her granddaddy is planning to rent her a violin of her own as soon as we can make the trip to Nashville to pick it up. I caught her in a candid moment not long ago… she was in front of the music stand “playing” songs:
Ooooh! Another picture! Didn’t remember I had posted this one, although it was taken several months ago.
– 5 –
We have found a WONDERFUL fool-proof way to medicate our goats!!! Have you ever tried to medicate a goat? It ranks right up there next to bathing cats and potty training puppies in the overall list of pleasant animal-kingdom experiences. We’re attempting to control stomach worms in our goats and the natural remedy* we’re using is a noxious combination including wormwood, goldenseal root and vodka. Needless to say, and despite the old adage (which is completely and utterly untrue, by the way!) that goats will eat anything, they’re not at all keen on ingesting it. Most of it we got in them via syringe (aside from what got flung all over me, Jon, and any kids standing too close as they spit and spewed and otherwise made their displeasure known,) but because some of the roots weren’t in powder form, we were left with a bunch of mucky herbs at the bottom of the jar of tincture that I really wanted to get in them, too. We tried making medicine balls with all kinds of different ingredients, then we tried mixing it in their food, all to no avail. Finally Jon came up with a BRILLIANT solution… we took all of the medicated food mix that they wouldn’t touch on the milkstand and put it in a large tupperware container in the middle of their pen after we put them up for the night. Not only did they eat it, they fought over it!!! The same grain they wouldn’t TOUCH 5 minutes earlier became the most delectable treat they’d ever had their nose in once they were fighting with 5 other goats for it. Medication consumed, problem solved! A lot like people, really.
*This natural wormer is AMAZING!!! After trying TWICE with chemical wormers to get rid of barber pole (stomach) worms only to find our girl, Scotch, full of them for a THIRD time, I wasn’t sure WHAT to do. Thankfully, the woman who traded with us for Suduko had given me her herbal worming remedy and although I was skeptical, it really worked! When we did fecals on the goats a few weeks ago, every one of them had barber pole and Scotch had a huge load of them. Did the fecals a week after treatment, and found ONE worm egg in ONE goat – and it wasn’t Scotch!!! If anyone is interested in the recipe, please feel free to email me or leave a comment with your email, and I’ll send it along!
– 6 –
In other goat news, I stumbled across a very interesting article several months ago about the connection between breastfeeding and gut microbes. It’s actually about humans (and mice), but it highlights one more reason why we’ve allowed our little calf, Gwendolyn, and our two little doelings to stay with their mommas for so long (Gwenny has been nursing for 8 months now.) The gut bacteria mentioned here is directly correlated to how healthy the baby is, and (in the case of our animals) will affect how well they are able to digest their food, and how well they’ll be able to turn grass into milk without needing concentrates like grain. It would certainly be easier in a lot of ways to raise them away from their mommas, and it’s certainly cheaper to do it that way on a big dairy farm, but in the long run I think it’s going to be much, much better for them! Unfortunately, Lucy is still having trouble with her hip and we’re going to have to butcher her soon*, so Gwenny won’t have the benefit of Momma’s milk for much longer, but I’m glad to have been able to give her milk for as long as we have! In fact, when our vet came to visit a few weeks ago, he couldn’t believe that she was Lucy’s calf and told Jon “you NEVER see dairy cows looking that good!” Considering that he grew up on a dairy farm and most of his clients consist of beef and dairy farmers, that was really great to hear!
*In case you missed my previous post, Lucy is no longer with us.
– 7 –
I hate to leave on such a somber note (Lucy no longer being with us,) but I guess in a way, isn’t it also a beautiful way to end this? Lucy blessed us in her life, and then blessed us again in her death and she lives on in our (not so) little calf, Gwenny, and in our memories, hearts and … well, bodies, as she has now been returned to us and we (well, the kids and Jon, I’m not quite ready) have thanked her for her sacrifice in the best way possible.