Saturday, August 29, 2009

first day of the rest of . . . maybe I'll wait for Monday

As of today I am officially unemployed. All the "i"'s were dotted and "t"'s crossed yesterday afternoon and then per company policy I turned in my badge and was escorted out of the building. (I kid you not). It was bittersweet, I was bummed leaving the people I'd worked with for nearly 3 years and felt bad that they would have even more work added to their already overworked lives but I was thrilled not to be tied to the company any longer.

I woke up this morning exhausted, as I usually do every Saturday morning. I considered the "this is the first day of the rest of my life" statement and decided to put it off till Monday when I should be fully rested from my months of 12 hr days. In the meantime I'm going back to bed and cuddle up next to my baby. :)

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Recipe Renovation: Macaroni and Cheese

POINTS® Value: 5
Servings: 8
Preparation Time: 18 min
Cooking Time: 40 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy

This rich, creamy mac and cheese was a shoo-in for this week's "Family-Friendly" recipe series.


12 oz uncooked macaroni, elbow-type
1/2 cup(s) fat-free sour cream
12 oz fat-free evaporated milk
8 oz low-fat cheddar or colby cheese
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp dried bread crumbs
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Cook pasta according to package directions without added fat or salt; drain and transfer to a large bowl. While pasta is still hot, stir in sour cream; set aside.

Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until tiny bubbles appear just around the edges (known as scalding). Reduce heat to low, add cheese and simmer until cheese melts, stirring constantly with a wire whisk, about 2 minutes; remove from heat and stir in mustard, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Add cheese mixture to pasta; mix well. Transfer to a 4-quart casserole dish.

Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese; sprinkle over pasta.

Bake until top is golden, about 30 minutes. Yields about 1 cup per serving

Recipe Courtesy of Weightwatchers online. Looks yummy enough to give it a try :)

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Clean bill of health

We called the vet out to check out Treva, she's been a little (slightly really) off since the birth and I didn't want to take any chances. I was fairly certain it was not Milk fever but it appeared to be a mild case of Ketosis (pdf), but I wasn't about to wait for it to become more pronounced to be sure. The vet gave her a couple shots of predef as a precaution. Mama and baby are doing well and look great otherwise. :)

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Bread making for beginners

Rhonda Jean has a very yummy looking bead tutorial, I will be working on this next week.

Bread making for beginners

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Monday, August 24, 2009

And she was called. . .

After days of debate we have decided to call this little lady, Eva. She is a feisty little one, running up and down the corrals but she is Lot's daughter after all :) Treva loves on her and watches as she moves around but is not the overprotective mama type. We have been milking her out since baby cannot consume that much colostrum, and we will freeze it just in case we have another bottle calf. Next week we will begin milk sharing with Eva and see how it goes, so far neither baby nor mama seem to mind us doing some milking. :)

On a side note, next week we do our training for Dh's business, we will be hitting the ground running from then on. Please pray that we can successfully get this going in the next few weeks. Thanks.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009


Treva had her baby!! YAY!!! The little heifer is doing very well and her momma had a very easy birth. At least that's what I have to assume since she didn't once let us know it was happening and we found out well after the fact. Seriously, I'm thinking these cows prefer to give birth in private, not sure what that's about, though she was in the training area at the back of the barn when we found them and the placenta was by the corrals at the front of the barn. The girl gets around. Lot and Judd didn't seemed moved by the whole event, guess the whole new baby thing has worn of for them. MEN!! :)

I apologise in advance for the fuzzy pics but someone who shall remain nameless (DH) left the camera on and the battery died. :(

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Defining Self

Today I tendered my resignation and not a single member of management asked me to reconsider. I became more and more devastated as the day wore on and as I drove home. The thing about a long drive home is that it gives you time to think. I called dh and my sis and neither seemed sympathetic to my plight. I felt lost.

I sat outside after taking some watermelon to the chickens and gently was reminded of God's love. In that moment I realised that I had allowed myself (and by extension my self worth) to be defined by my job and almost completely the body of work I have done to this point. That they (management) seemed to reject it (me) and that I would no longer be there was a total blow to my ego and self esteem.

My dh had had a really tough time walking away from Wal-Mart and I didn't get it. Today I got it. Today I realised that I am happy to define my self by much higher standards than a paycheck or a single job. The work I do as a wife and mother are more lasting and rewarding than I could ever find anywhere else.

The work we do on our farm is more important to our growth spiritually and emotionally. In the year that we have been here we have all grown closer to each other and to God. It's not glamorous as being a Tax Analyst but I've never been the glamorous type anyhow. ;) I don't know what comes next and I'm excited to find out.

I am/was good at what I did, but I will be better being more than just that job. I don't need a fancy title to have value, I don't need a huge paycheck to have worth. Things will be tough and money will be tight and we will be happy working and being together. Thank you all for your continued prayers for our family.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Parting ways

Every now and then there comes a time when you have to sever your ties with people or jobs, today looks like it will be the day I sever my tie with mine. It is bittersweet (as it usually always is) as I really like what I do and will miss it, but we were unable to reach a compromise (they were unwilling to give an inch) and so it is time to go. Ce la vie.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Two weeks later

And my company still has not given me answer on the working from home proposal, in fact I have not spoken to anyone who actually has the authority to make the decision, not that I don't want to but I have not been invited :( I have however spent my time wisely and come up with a game plan that would allow me to be home, dh would go back to work and work on the business. Sure we'd still be living on little but we do that now anyway so it would only be a small switch up for us. Oh well, I guess I will continue to wait and find ways to squeeze the numbers. Is it time to start working on a winter garden? I'm going to have to buckle down and get one going. Oh and we've prayed about it for sometime now and finally decided that we will be homeschooling the kids this year. We're very excited, but boy do those small town folk frown upon such things . . . oh well. We've finally found a Church service we like and we will be joining that Church. We'd been looking at the different Churches around since the little one in town did not have a service that worked for us. My younger toddler is doing very well, he burn is 75% healed and we are working on the rest. We're still on calf watch but we're praying that we'll have a healthy calf and mama wondering the property soon.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Oh so many pics

I'm not a huge fan of the slideshow format but there are just so many pics I owe you all from this summer. Including the parade with lots of old cars and tractors. Enjoy.

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Chickens and Heat

After working on finding the right combination of grain and water, I have concluded that in the summer it is necessary to feed the hens at least 20% protein grain and maintain access to cool/cold water several times a day. While all the hens free range it is not a practical source for all of their nutritional needs. The process of laying an egg require a lot of energy and much like an athlete they need to keep their nutrition up. If you don't like buying the prepackaged bag mixes I recommend reading up here about putting together your own mix. We have kept the hens at full production over the last few weeks and are very pleased with the results.

To answer a few questions that have come up since we started with chickens I will post my response here. I had heard great things about Buff Orpingtons when I was first looking to get chickens and we paid a premium when we found a group of layers - the first batch. I do not recommend this breed if you are planning to sell eggs. I discovered (after I bought them of course), that these pretty ladies lay about 3 eggs a week. They are dual purpose birds, so they do get nice and plump but by the time they plump up they have a TON of (beautiful)feathers to deal with. They are excellent free rangers and you will need to check different spots that they may lay.

If you don't care what color your eggs are then I highly recommend the white leghorn, the lay and average of 5 eggs a week, extra large white eggs. It is amazing that such a huge egg can come from suck small birds. They are very efficient in terms of feed conversion. They are a bit feisty though. These girls will free range far and wide so be sure to look for eggs anywhere you may see them hang out, even if just occasionally.

The black australops are the egg record holder - I have not had the pleasure of having many in my brood. Instead we have a very large number of Rhode island reds, they also lay about 5 times per week, medium to large brown eggs. They are also a bit of a feisty breed IMO. They are very much affected by heat but as long as they have a constant supply of cool/cold water and get their grain they will lay well. These ladies will not stray very far but will get around and lay faithfully in their laying boxes.

Finally meat birds, we have really enjoyed the Cornish cross chickens. We are not big on the chick to table in 6-8 weeks concept. We are very big on growing these birds to about 5-6 pounds, but by feeding them lots of fruits and veggies and bugs and so much more. Once they get past their chick stage we take them off the exclusive grain diet and allow them to forage. I read somewhere that chickens are merely pigs with feathers, and it is very true. They will eat just about anything that you would/could feed a pig. Unlike layers that can have their egg production thrown off by the introduction of different foods, meat birds do not share this limitation.

I love the Cornish cross and would highly recommend them if you are looking to keep some meat birds that you will process at home. Because of their fast growth rate they are hardier than the other breeds during the chick stage. Be aware that you will need to keep an eye on them if you decide to move outside of the 6-8 week time frame as they are not bred to stay alive so long and can have issues - heart and leg are the top 2. You may need to schedule the butchering all at the same time over the course of a few days but once they are ready, then they are all ready.

Well that's my .02 cents on chickens and surviving the summer heat. I'm off to figure out how to keep them alive during the winter. :)

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The fruit of our labor

You know how people always refer to the past as "the good old days", I have been thinking about that recently. Were those days really that good, better even? I mean look at how much we have accomplished, and how much needed change has come since those days. So what was so good about it that we long for those days once more?

It hit me as I stood watching the animals, children and garden. The lack of technology taught farmers/parents/society that they had to work hard and nurture the things and people around them, to receive the fruits of their labor. It wasn't so much that people were better back then as it is that we have lost that reality. We live in a microwave world where everything needs to be done in 60 seconds or less.

There is nothing on a farm that gets done that quick and it's the same with raising kids. We have forgotten that the effort is on us as parents (not teachers, youth pastors, day care facilities etc). Much like a garden we need to plant the seeds, but to do that we much plough the land first, that's not easy work. So how do we plough the land when it comes to our kids? We begin when they are babies and we take the time to play and laugh and hug and kiss and read and talk and walk and run and soon explore. But the most important is discipline.

All of these phases are necessary to prepare them to actively participate in learning. They cannot go through life without being disciplined or they will never learn self discipline. But it is not an overnight thing, it takes time and requires consistency on our parts - yet further learning of our own self discipline. We all want well behaved children, who work hard, enjoy life and grow to be successful. The trick is that we have to discipline ourselves, to discipline our children to stay the coarse and reap the fruit of our labor.

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