Wednesday, April 30, 2008

She might not be walkin'..........

but this ponytail does all of the talkin'!

Laney Rae is 13 months today. And although I think she still has a while before she is walking, she can wear a ponytail! For my two girls, that is a huge accomplishment since they are mostly bald their first two years of life.

Laney Rae has been taking steps here and there, but crawling seems a lot more convenient to her and a lot less work. I've heard it takes bigger babies a little longer to walk. We'll see.

I love her squishiness! That is my favorite thing about her. My other favorite thing about her is that she bounces to any beat or song. The girl has rhythm!

Laney Rae also says 'hi' and waves 5 million times a day. I love it!

She loves animals and they seem to love her back. 'Rowdy' has taken on the role as her protector. Whenever she is outside, he is right there with her.

She is precious. At first, I thought it was just me who instantly started laughing with just one look at her. But, it is pretty much everyone in her life or any ole' random person at the grocery store. She is a JOY!

I remember when she was in my belly praying that she would be a joy for all to be around. The Lord heard my prayers because this little girl is full of giggles and has plenty of things to giggle about.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Landscaper's Challenge

If the posts on this blog seem a bit sparse these days, you can contribute that to the beautiful weather and me learning the joys of landscaping. I have fallen in love with it.

Every spare moment last week was spent outside. My children did excellent playing outside and enjoying the beautiful days too! I had babies r' us on my front porch, but it's all good!

Aunt Debbie and Uncle Durward were home last week. Aunt Debbie and I decided to take on the task of landscaping the entrance to our home. We lovingly call these projects our 'farm beautification process'. Eventually, we will have landscaped every square inch around our homes. Now that the chickens have found a new home towards the barn instead of on my porch and in our flower beds, we will be tackling a project a week. Full speed ahead!

Before we started, the entrance to our house looked like a big fat dirt patch. And the dirt wasn't helping a sister out in the floor cleaning department on the inside either.

Before shots:

The rewards of landscaping are well worth finding mulch in places on your body that you didn't know existed. I can't wait for all of this to fill in and grow!

This whole area is covered in shade so we had to choose plants that were hardy in the shade. Which if you live in Texas, it is pretty hard to find plants that do well in shade since mostly everything is geared towards the hot sun here.

I love how it turned out. I couldn't have imagined it was going to look this great when we started. I still want to put something to fill in the blank wall on the side of the house. I was thinking an old door with vines around it or something like that. Any thoughts?

Here is the finished product.

.....cobble stone pavers.....

......You can see the original hitching post to left. That has been here forever. Our home was built in the early 1900s.....


.....Azalea bushes. The trimmed ones were already there. We cut them back and filled with more azalea bushes....

.....A view from the porch. Gotta love symmetry.....

......A pair of pails and pulley. Say that real fast.....

.....Front part of the house. We put rose bushes in this existing flowerbed. Is that not the biggest rosemary bush??? Jasmine and a climbing rose bush will make their way up the front porch posts.....

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Kaylyn!

Happy Birthday KK!

Yesterday was our Kaylyn's birthday party with our family. She was so excited about the party that she woke up at the insane hour of 6:30 am. That is early for her. She usually sleeps until 8 am.

But, the I'm sure she couldn't sleep with all of the excitement running through her heart. She leaped out of bed and ran straight to the mirror to look at herself.

"Look mommy!" screaming with happiness. "I AM bigger!!!!" It was so precious to witness.

My baby is FOUR today!


You are a joy to us. We are so thankful for you. You have such a sweet heart that we know the Lord will continue to grow up into something even more beautiful. We are blessed that the Lord has chosen us to parent such a special little girl. It is music to my heart for you to ask me to read His word to you and hear your childlike prayers. What sincerity, desire, and faith you have already. I pray that only increases and strengthens as you get older.

We love you so much!
Daddy, Mommy, & Laney Rae

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Be Encouraged!

It seems that the Lord is dealing with me ever so gently and sometimes not so gently with my issues of discipline and self control. Everywhere I turn I hear the words 'race' or 'discipline' or 'running' or 'endurance'. I've had several conversations just in this passed week about the 'marathon of life' with various people. Words are echoing through my mind.

There are sweet precious people in my life that are running races that seem never ending, exhausting, and heart wrenching. People I love deeply and ache for.

Is this a coincidence? I think not.

With the God of the universe who fashioned all of the stars into place and told them where to shine, there is no mistakes or coincidences.

Not to mention my own shortcomings that have been OBVIOUS to myself for a while now. I'm not doing so great in this daily marathon. I often get discouraged and my eye off of the prize. Impatience, perfectionism**, anxiety, laziness**, and lack of time management often gets the best of me and I succumb to this ugliness once again.

**How on earth can these two go together??? Perfectionism & laziness. I have yet to figure this out. Randomness- that's me! I'm most certainly a perfectionist about some things. And yet, I'm lazy about other things. Maybe 'consistently inconsistent' is a better term to lump these two together.**

I loved what my sister in law said the other day during our conversation about running in real life and in a spiritual sense. She is a real runner. The Lord has used this in her life to show her the rewards of running hard races in life. To sum up what she said, Heather explained that anytime you practice endurance, discipline, self-control, whether it be physical or spiritual, you will see fruit. You can either physically see fruit in regards to your body in your health, your physical strength, and your overall appearance.

Or you can see spiritual fruit by growing in your faith, overcoming a stronghold, or taking captive old thoughts that were once there and replacing them with truth. Whatever the case, the Lord can use this endurance to grow you in ways not possible on your own.

I could go on and on here with the comparisons to running a real life marathon or a spiritual marathon. The lighter the load the easier the race, or staying within the race set before us vs. getting of the track, or running with a purpose and goal.

But, instead, I'll let scripture elaborate on what it has to say about all of this. I have been reading today about running races. There are some GREAT verses that encouraged my heart........because scripture is cool like that!


"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you." Galations 5:6-8


"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1


"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:24


"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

I also stumbled across a poem written by a Christian mother on a blog I visit- Ordinary Mother. I was also encouraged by her words. I'll leave you with the poem she wrote.

One Mom’s Marathon

A meditation on Hebrews 12:1-3

She pours her coffee bleary-eyed

Foggy minded

Sleep deprived

Scraggly hair in pony tail

Stained pink bathrobe

Smelling stale

She makes her way to the green chair

Pulls out God’s Word

And meets Him there

At first her mind will not be still

The library books

The grocery bill

But right there in that common place

She reads and finds

She’s in a race

And though she sits there in her home

She discovers

She’s not alone

A cloud of witnesses looks from heaven

The faithful ones

From chapter eleven

She hears their voices, sees their faith

Continues reading

About the race

Throw off every weight or sin

That slows you down

Run to win

The weights and sins flash through her mind

Her unbridled tongue

Her use of time

Oh sweet relief to read the phrase,

Look to the founder

Of your faith

Jesus with joy endured the cross

Despised the shame

Suffered for us

He sits now at the right hand

Of the Father

In full command

She sits now and considers Him

Who endured hostility

From sinful men

She sets bare foot to this day’s race

She fixes her eyes on

The throne of grace

She pours the milk with Olympic finesse

Hears a spill

Sees the mess

The great crowd she also sees,

Hears the cheers

Drops to her knees

To clean the milk, not to pray

Like she cleans it

Many days

And while she serves in obscurity

Buttering toast,

Teaching History

She runs slow and steady by the One

And her heart

Hears His, “well done”.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Oh Stinky Day!

***Please read below for a complete explanation of photo. I promise this has nothing to do with cauliflower nor cabbage.***

My house reeks!

But it's all good because we've been harvesting cabbage and cauliflower. I picked a cart full (a gut cart full to be exact) of cabbage and cauliflower yesterday.

Obviously we won't be able to eat 10 heads of cabbage in one week. My house would permanently reek if that were the case. So I decided to freeze them in vacuum sealed bags. I blanched them in boiling water for 3 minutes and immediately cooled them off in ice cold water. We froze cauliflower last year, but this is my first year freezing cabbage. We will see how it does. I'm not expecting it to be crispy like lettuce when it thaws out, but definitely good enough for soups saute-ing.

We are still enjoying the corn and okra we froze last year.........that is all that is left from last year's garden. Yummy! It is nice to have a freezer full of frozen garden veggies and planning your meals around what you have on hand. Once we butcher our cows, chickens, and pigs we will cut down on our grocery bill even more.

Last night I had my first experience with an egg-bound hen. Bless her little heart. It was awful.

I had noticed one of my favorite hens walking around all day long kind of funny. Well, I went to pick her up and felt an egg hanging out of her hiney hole. Or cloaca in hen terms. The egg was stuck and dangling in mid air. I felt terrible for her and had no clue what to do.

I called farmer Jason and he hadn't seen this before either. My mom was here (thankfully!!!) through all of this and said that she remembered something about putting warm water around the 'area' to help loosen things up. So, being the research junkie that I am, I looked it up. Apparently egg binding is very common in birds but extremely serious. I found all sorts of remedies that you could try. 'Try' is the keyword here.

I opted to get some olive oil, warm water, syringe, and gloves (a must when touch a bird's hiney hole) to massage that little booger out. It worked like a champ. The egg popped right out. I put the traumatized hen in a crate on our porch so that I could keep her calm and separated from the rest of the flock overnight. I didn't want a rooster to get her while she was recovering from this. Can you imagine???

This morning we released her back out into the open. I was so proud of my awesomeness in massaging an egg out of the hen's hiney hole and I wanted to capture a photo for all to see of my rescue project.........the hen smiling, not the latter region.

We looked all over the farm for her, only to find her dead.........stiff dead. She must have died right after we released her. I'm betting she had an infection of some sort from her hind parts being exposed.

Or really, she might have had a heart attack at the sight of a rooster coming to 'get' her. Really, this could totally happen. I didn't know this, but chickens are notorious for having heart attacks in highly stressful moments.

I'm opting for the second cause of death just to make myself feel better.

I'm very sad about her dying because last night as I was saving her cute little life, I envisioned her being my best good hen friend. I even named her last night. 'Snowball' was going to be totally devoted and loyal to me and rest upon my shoulder as we strolled around the farm from that moment on. We bonded in the cool night air as I delivered this egg out of her. But, now she's dead. RIP......Snowball. I didn't even get a picture of her to remember her. It was either a picture with her and the egg craziness or a picture of stiff dead Snowball. What's a girl to do?

In other news, one of our cats had kittens. Tinkerbell had a litter of 7 kittens. The tomcat is also orange so it wasn't a mystery to us as to what color the kittens were going to be. They are ALL orange and so cute. We plan on giving them all away in 6 weeks so if you need or want a kitten let us know.

Dolly, our other cat that is a calico tabby, is off having her kittens somewhere too. We haven't been able to find her today so I'm pretty sure she is having hers too.

That's all of the farm news for now. We've been living out most of our days outside. I have been falling behind on the inside duties of keeping a home. I'm really trying to find balance. It really leads me to wonder what in the world the pioneer women did who had to tend to the garden, prepare all 3 meals of the day, laundry, shuck corn, grind flour, fetch water, sew tablecloth dresses, etc, etc.

Wow, what a woman, what a mighty good woman.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

It's a Texas Thang......

to photograph your children in wildflowers!

If there were a picture limit on blogger, I'm sure this would put me over the edge.

We took on the challenge of taking pictures of Kaylyn and Laney Rae a few days ago. I say 'challenge' because I've never taken pictures of children that wasn't a challenge including my own.

Jason was a trooper. He isn't a fan of taking pictures and by the end of it all, he was sweating bullets he had worked so hard. I think he walked away with a new found appreciation of photographers who take pictures of children.

I like that my girls' birthdays are so close on the calendar. It is pretty convenient. This photo shoot covered Laney Rae's one year old, Kaylyn's 4 year old, Spring, and Easter pictures. And since we live in Texas, the wildflowers are incredible right now.

I left feeling defeated because it was seriously a workout having a crawler and toddler that never sits still! But, I ended up with a lot of keepers. I got a lot of Kaylyn on the go which worked out really well. We tried to keep Laney Rae contained since she could 'go'.

Laney Rae is a joyful baby girl. She smiles a lot, laughs a lot, and eats a lot! She will eat anything when it comes to veggies and fruit. I fed her raw zuchinni and carrots for lunch yesterday and she loved it. Laney Rae still isn't walking, but I'm thinking in a few months she will be all over the place. I'm enjoying her just the way she is. This girl likes to sleep! She takes two 2 hour naps everyday and goes to bed at 7:30 pm and sleeps through until 8 am. It is pretty awesome! Her favorite thing to play is peek-a-boo right now. She initiates this by putting her hands up on her forehead. It is pretty adorable! Laney Rae loves being outside and watching the animals. I think we have a future farm girl on our hands. She is at her happiest when we are pushing her around in the stroller.

Kaylyn is a precious little girl. She is the MOST intuitive child I've ever been around (don't all moms say this:). Kaylyn notices everything and has such an imaginative and creative mind. She also loves to sit and talk. Her love language is definitely communication. And we have some pretty funny and interesting conversations considering she is ONLY 4 (almost). Her sense of humor is brilliant. Kaylyn is also into fashion. She changes clothes up to 4 times a day. I don't seem to have a problem with this as long as the clothes get put away or in the dirty clothes if they are dirty. She loves coming up with creative outfits.

The two of them together are super fun! Kaylyn is a great big sister and loves to be a helper to me. Laney Rae can say 'Ta Ta' which is her way of saying 'KK'. Kaylyn is usually the first person she looks for when she wakes up from her nap. They are a joy and a delight. We are enjoying every minute of our girls. The Lord made them so different and we are so thankful He chose us to be their parents.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Farm Happenings, and a lot of it!

I'm back! Last week was a whirlwind- a good kind of whirlwind filled with lots of exciting things.

April, 2nd- We survived the morning o' chicks. Jason promptly received a phone call at 6 am from the post office and off he went. And off I went straight to the coffee press to get into the java groove.

....Chicks in a box....

He arrived with boxes packed neatly with chicks. We unloaded them, dipped their beaks, and showed them where their food was. They are doing great! We've lost a few here and there, but that is to be expected with 300 chicks.

....Jason unloading the chicks....

....the brooder house....

If you are wondering what the purpose of these birds will be, the answer is for eggs. Jason has plans to build a ginormous egg mobile that will follow behind our cattle. The purpose of this is to help cut down our fly problems and to fertilize the pastures.

After the morning o' chicks, I headed off with some dear friends of mine- Shauna Maness being one of them- to Warrenton for a fun day of antiquing, chatting, eating, chatting- you get the point. I was one of four girls who went and the only one that wasn't expecting so you can imagine there was lots of chatting and eating! Shauna and I go waaaay back. I met Jason through her and will be forever grateful. I'm so thrilled for her and Brandon and cannot wait to see them as Texas!! Yee Haw!

I had such a blast. I found a few cool things. I will post pictures of these later. There is also a very interesting purchase I found pictured below from a later trip to Warrenton with my hubby.

I was one blessed girl. I went antiquing to Round Top and Warrenton a total of 4 (FOUR) times!!!!! That is an amazing perk to living in of the many perks (blue bell being one of the others). I told you I've been a busy gal!

April, 4th- We celebrated Laney Rae's birthday with friends and family. I had a very low-key party. I'm NOT really a fan of having enormous parties for first birthdays. We had a very small group out to the farm, grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, and did the rest of the stuff that all good birthday mom's do- smash the cake and open presents. The picture below really sums up what it is like being the birthday mom of a one year old.

....Me, admiring the gift. Laney Rae admiring the curly ribbon....

April, 5th- Bib received another friend!!! Our other female goal, Louise, had her kid. She is a female that Kaylyn named, Bambi. She is absolutely precious.


I have to say that baby goats are the most precious baby animal around- bar none. I've never seen another animal look this cute from birth. Bib and Bambi seem to be doing really well and are experiencing new life together.

....Bib and her momma....


....The baby Daddy....

Also on the 5th, Jason, me***, my mom, and Kaylyn made the last and final trip to Warrenton.

Jason loaded the truck down with chicken coops. I always love the looks we get as we are loading our truck full of coops. Fancy women dressed in straw hats with giant beaded necklaces around their necks wearing sunglasses as big as their entire face pass by with perplexed looks written all over them.

One lady asked me,"What are you going to do with all of those coops?"

I know she was expecting me to say something ultra creative since we were smack dab in the middle of the creative capital of Texas. Something along the lines of "use it for flower pots" or "organize shoes" or "make a magazine rack" or "paint it really funky and make it into a cat condo" or "jewelry box".

But, instead, I answered her,"We are going to put chickens in them."

"Oh, really?" she exclaimed as if that were a new concept. She probably would have been bored if I would have answered that I was going to make it over into a funky cat condo.

This, my friends, is a gutting cart.

It was one of my Warrenton Antique's Fair purchase. I didn't know it was a gutting cart. I thought it would be a great garden cart. See the opening on the end? Can't you just imagine me shoving dirt off the end of it into the flower bed? And the little table shelf up on the top- can't you imagine me potting a plant with my dirt resting below? I was so excited about this 'cart'.

Apparently this was used in a pork processing factory to carry guts off. I found this out as we were loading it up. It doesn't sound near as cute as a gardening cart. But, oh well. I'm sure we can find a good use for it out here. We got a great deal on the 'cart'.

April, 6th- Uncle Durward and Aunt Debbie came home yesterday. We love it when they come home. The farm feels complete with all of us being together.

Aunt Debbie is an incredible lady and a gardening machine. I can't even take credit for the garden looking this great. I have loved getting work alongside her and learn from a garden pro!

We've been doing lots of work out in the garden last week and this week. Really, the garden in general is an ongoing process. We still need to get some more things in the ground for the spring and summer. Last year we had an abundance all at one time so we are going to do a few different rounds of planting.

We had some perfectly poo-filled hay and made compost hay out of it to help keep the weeds down and the moisture in. It has helped tremendously and makes the garden look pretty.

.....Potato Patch.....


.....Herb Garden.....

April, 7th- We just got back from taking photos of the girls in the wildflowers. That was exciting! Crawling and photography don't work well together. I can do sitting up or walking- but crawling not so much.

Check back for the final product soon!

Meanwhile, the pigs have been lounging around a lot more with it warming up while we've been working harder and longer outside. I'll leave you with Dudley, our male pig.

***I still can't figure out the proper use of 'me' 'my' or 'I' in a sentence. Especially when referring to another person and myself. It gets me every time. Is there a nifty little rhyme to help or a rule I should follow. See sentence with the *** for an example and help a sister out!

I do not guarantee the proper use of words, sentence structure, or spelling. After all, this is a farm blog. Right?