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Thanks to our favorite neighbors letting us know the band would be in town, we had the privilege of seeing The Durocher Family band last month in Camas.  The Durocher’s are a family of 14 that are musically blessed, the father a pastor.  Afterward, we spent some time with one of their girls in the back, who really emulated love for Christ, not simply obedient politeness.  Impressive.

We were really blessed by their music and words.  And noted their genuineness.  When perusing their humble product table in the back, we picked up a cd, as well as a 5-session dvd called Building Strong Families in Post Christian America.  Wanting to invest our time wisely, we’re starting the series this Friday evening, leaving the latest Marvel movie in the gutter for the sake of learning as a family (and with friends!).

One thing that we really appreciated about the Durocher’s ministry is their strong encouragement to hold fast to Family Discipleship.  Sure, it’s some coined phrase that is loaded with boxed-up assumptions and some negative connotations, but the concept is one that is clearly valuable.  It really resonates with us and lines up with our philosophy (and understanding of Scripture) to live modestly, focus on our family (small and large), and keep it as real and close to the earth as possible.  The family & home being the foundation of christian living.

When our surroundings to do not look like we believe good and right, or even optimum, we always bring it back to the home – and to share and be a light from an organic place by living by example and sharing completely.  If it’s a new concept to you, I’d encourage you to read Mr. Durocher’s blip in magazine (subscribe here): What Is Family Discipleship?

It brings home the reason why our kids are most often with us, be it Sunday morning service, or at endless meetings or otherwise “adult” engagements – not to mention working alongside us always.  They learn by being a constant part of things, by interacting with all ages and professions and situations.  We see it as offering them more experience and opportunities than limiting their exposure to age/gender-specific learning techniques that are prevalent today.  It also allows us, as parents, to filter, train, and guide them based on knowing their intake of information instead of relying on others to do what we believe is our job – and what believe God has been so gracious to allow us the flexibility to do.  We are blessed to be in a season that I can stay home, that we can run a homestead business, and that Scott’s hours and income accommodate this.  In no way do we think this is the only way to parent, but is the optimum way for us to at this point.

Here is where I’d be remiss not to note the man I married.  Never one to lead with a strong hand, he is the most humble, gentle, loving and kind man who encourages and leads our family by being an example and stretching us to always focus on truth.  Leaders come in all shapes & forms (as do the led), and I’ve never doubted that God truly blessed me by putting his shape & form into my life.

Julius Orange

A couple of weeks ago I did a five day “detox challenge” with a girlfriend, Rachel.  Now, I’m not big into detox diets unless necessary, and prefer to eat seasonally,* which naturally reduces the necessity somewhat.  But I wanted to support my girlfriend, and I wanted to kickstart good habits for the summertime.

At Rachel’s suggesting, I made up a bunch of “detox waters,” which really encouraged me to drink more (my favorite was the Master Cleanse Water, a lame name in my opinion… the recipe: to a quart of water add 1/4 c. of lemon juice, 1/4 c. maple syrup, 1/5 tsp. of cayenne pepper and a dash of sea salt).  I drank like a fish, which I normally struggle with not doing enough of.  I had a few rules for myself:

  • I tried to replace a meal a day with a beverage: a smoothie (not juiced.  I’m against that.) with dark greens & fruit or berries – or a bone broth based soup.  Always infused with good additives like raw eggs, pastured gelatin, dried roots & herbs, calcium or vitamin C powder, spirulina or other seaweeds, clay, chia seeds, aloe vera, etc.
  • I committed to drinking at least 2 quarts a day of a “detox water” and/or a shrub (water with herbal-infused raw vinegar).  In this case, I added to a quart of water a 1/4 cup of some Fire Cider most days.
  • I stayed completely away from grains and any processed foods

We don’t own a scale.  Now and then when I’m at my girlfriend Lisa’s house, I step on hers.  It’s consistently the same.  But after this 5 day challenge, it was a pound under.  Did I care?  Not really.  We choose not to have a scale, because we choose not to care.  Instead, we choose to make healthy choices, and challenge each other now and then, and live happily and with fewer numbers bogging us down.  That said, my clothes definitely fit better, and it definitely kickstarted some good habits that have stuck (so far).

breakfast

breakfast

I’m still replacing a meal a day pretty often with a nutrient-packed beverage.  It gives opportunity to add the supplements I’d otherwise skip (mentioned above).  This morning was a faux “orange julius” Preserving the Harvest style. Raw sheep milk, raw eggs, raw honey, homemade vanilla with organic beans and pastured gelatin… Almost all from our farm!  Here is the recipe:

  • 3 oranges, peeled
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp sugar, be it raw honey, organic cane sugar, maple syrup or something different
  • 1 1/2 cups of ice

Combine everything except oranges and ice in a blender and mix for about 20 seconds to create a frothy cream. Next, add the oranges and blend for another 20 seconds or until smooth. Finally, add the ice and blend for another 20 seconds.

I’ll warn you now, it’s going to bring back scrumptious childhood memories.

*we haven’t been as awesome at this since last years escapades, but have gotten back into a good groove.

But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matt. 6:3-4

What does this mean to you?
How can you apply this practically when you give?
How might it restrict (or encourage) you in your giving?

I’ve been studying this, and wanted to share and learn together.  What started me down this road of researching this particular verse was a warning from a dear friend to be careful not to give or to cause others to give “wrongly” during a fundraiser I was helping with.  It caught me off guard, I won’t lie.  I was so glad that she pointed this verse out to me so I could dig deeper into the Word!  She’s a great friend who continually gives me new perspective and challenge.

Previous to this, I’ve never thought of any kind of giving as wrong unless is takes away from your responsibilities (bills, children, etc).

So let’s start with WHAT is “giving”?

I assumed at first that this is only regarding financial giving. Because giving of ones time, service, or even goods would be very restrictive if only done anonymously, no?  Then I look up the original word for GIVE in this verse, which is poieo, and it includes – well – just about every kind of gift:

to make
with the names of things made, to produce, construct, form, fashion, etc.
to be the authors of, the cause
to make ready, to prepare
to produce, bear, shoot forth
to acquire, to provide a thing for one’s self
to make a thing out of something
to (make i.e.) render one anything
to (make i.e.) constitute or appoint one anything, to appoint or ordain one that
to (make i.e.) declare one anything
to put one forth, to lead him out
to make one do something
cause one to
to be the authors of a thing (to cause, bring about)
to do
to act rightly, do well
to carry out, to execute
to do a thing unto one
to do to one
with designation of time: to pass, spend
to celebrate, keep
to make ready, and so at the same time to institute, the celebration of the passover
to perform: to a promise

Does God Want Us Limited?

If we followed the verse in Matthew to a “T”, it feels very restrictive and discouraging to me. And stresses me out a bit since I tend to err on the side of giving in general (it’s the hippy in me).  It makes me think things like “should I give now?” “am I giving okay?” “maybe I should just wait” – all out of fear, not intellect, truth, or Spirit-leading.

This verse seems like it would limit spontaneous help to street-corner homeless, tithing or giving to any organization with receipt or accepting a tax write-off, fundraising with others, sign up on a form for taking meals or serving, etc…  Giving with no trail could be rather challenging in todays world (nor does anyone do it perfectly, I’m guessing).

Does it negate (or is it wrong) the giving if the receiver finds out you were involved, or if you receive a benefit from it? Nope! Is it optimum to leave little or no trail, if possible? Clearly! Summed up in the verse prior (Matt. 6:1): “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them.” And noted throughout the chapter was this theme, helping balance the intent of the verse.

God is after our hearts.

Does it look different when giving to the poor vs. giving to your church family? (which clearly cannot always be a secret – particularly acts of service, etc)?
Absolutely.

Since this verse was specifically addressing giving to the poor,* I don’t think it (giving in secret) could be a command to all giving/doing in general. In Acts, Scripture lays how to take care of each other in your christian family (living together, sharing all, carrying each other), taking the act of “giving” and making it a perpetual and open activeness, not a one-time transaction or deed as this verse in Matthew is embodying.  I’d encourage you to study that further.

But it IS very applicable to ALL giving today, especially when you look at the overall intent of the chapter. Some take-home points to into action:

  • The verse serves as a reminder to not give with the heart or motivation of personal gain or to gain righteousness…  Expect nothing in return.  (this frees the receiver as well as ourselves!)
  • A reminder to not make it a public proclamation, to avoid appearing righteous to others, and seek as little personal gain or recognition as possible.
  • An encouragement that God is omniscient and knows all (comforting!), and will bless you if you obey.
  • That even if you do not seem to benefit from it by your actions, God notices and cares, and will reward you (instead of only receiving mans reward). Heaven’s reward is greater.
  • That He desires a relationship (heart) more than your works (action).

***

I’ve always been convicted to use cash as much as possible when giving to avoid any wrong temptation, whenever possible. And discretely giving, using as much anonymousness as/when possible.  When I give, I strongly dislike any kind of recognition.  Others are convicted to not pledge financial gifts, give on ‘missionary night’ or at concerts or at auctions, or to give through organizations/people/publicly instead of directly, as it isn’t anonymous and can feel manipulated or coerced into giving when you don’t want to.

And so we study further:

2 Cor. 9:7 reminds us not to give reluctantly under compulsion (translated “grudgingly” in some versions), speaking to being strong-armed or pressured into giving, my friend suggests.

I don’t read it that way, and can’t find additional Bible verses to support that concept (feel free to send them my way).  Instead, I read: “Do not give reluctantly no matter what. Instead, be joyful about giving what’s not yours to start.”*  1 Timothy 6:17-19 goes on to clarify my thoughts here.  You’re welcome to look it up.

Where it seems that the verse about giving under compulsion may not be reprimanding the ones sharing the need, consider instead may be asking Continue Reading »

skoolies

part-time skoolies

You’ll remember that one of our family goals for 2015 is to add a Tiny House to the homestead.  We anticipated learning together: carpentry, plumbing, and electric – start to finish.  In March, we landed ourselves a fully-converted, livable “skoolie” (hip jive for livable school bus).  With so much already being complete, this freed us up to work on upgrading projects we otherwise may not have done.  Our Wish List list is plenty long. We have since prioritized a few things to start with.  First, tho’ it is fully functional when plugged in at home or at RV parks, we want it to be self-contained.  That means adding 4 water storage tanks.  Our other priority is to replace the [water damaged] flooring.  This will allow us to redecorate more easily, reconfiguring cabinet/storage space as we do.  Lastly, we’ll paint the roof with an insulating, elastomeric roof coating.  This is known to take interior summertime temperatures down by as much as 15 degrees.  Our commitment is that our tiny house does not take from our family funds (checking or savings), and that we do not use money we do not have.  So how do we pay for stuff?  It compliments our de-cluttering goals.  As we sell excess things around the home & farm, we’re putting it into our “skoolie piggy bank”.  When we have enough money in there, we work on a project.

 Before we had any idea... Christmas 2013.

Before we had any idea… Christmas 2013.

Under the Hood

When we road-tripped to check out the bus, we knew we didn’t have a lot of time to dilly dally.  If we made the purchase (we did), we’d have to scoot back quickly in order to get through traffic and home before it was dark.  It wouldn’t be a concern, but the rear lights were not working (later we noted they were not plugged in ).  So daytime was a must. It was pouring rain.  The kids were excited.  The bus was perfect, there was no question.  The owner, a wealthy old guy, had decked it out sparing no expense, and was selling it for less than most used (crappy) cars we’ve bought.  Inside was a Heartland propane stove (worth the asking price alone!), from the same makers of the famous Aga stove.  Track lighting.  Leather furniture.  Floating cork flooring.  Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.  New in box kitchen appliances.  Two small flat screen tvs.  A sound system wired in to the whole thing.  Custom matching linen from dish towels to couch upholstry.  Venetian blinds on each window.  An antique woodstove.  Everything came with a receipt (including all supplies used) and manual.  Really top notch. The drive home was adventurous. Scott drove the bus, I drove the ‘burb.  Because it has air brakes and the title hasn’t been converted from commercial to “motorhome”, it requires a CDL drivers license (anyone can drive it after title conversion).  No big!  Scott’s the guy for the task, using his every day at work!  Our first stop was for gas.  The attendant asked if he could tour it.  As he stepped inside, out ran an employee from a nearby restaurant, asking the same.  She told stories of when she moved to WA in her converted bus with two kids.  It was a hoot. One thing I noticed especially was the respectful traffic.  We were taking it easy, and were driving many miles on windy, hill back-highways.  Cars lined up every time we blinked.  When able, Scott would pull over to let them by.  But, assuming it was a bus full of school children, folks didn’t seem to give a rip that we were putzing along.  In fact, they wouldn’t pass us when we wanted them to! About halfway home we stopped at a closed Weigh Station.  The air compressor belt broke at that point, leaving us in a nice safe place to break down.  Easy fix, a belt, right?  But not on a Saturday evening, after 7pm.  No one would be open with the right parts.  So we called a towing company.  We actually called many.  In the middle of finalizing plans, our cell phone battery died.  So we loaded up in the ‘burb and hit the nearest town for a charger (and phone loan from a lovely gas station attendee there), hoping no one would loot our new home.  Long story short, our skoolie made it home and perfectly intact at 6am the next morning. The bus stayed parked there for a while.  Scott was working a lot of overtime during those weeks, so his ability (and know-how) to work on it was a bit limited.  With the help of John D. & DZ, several trips to Napa for the “right” belts and tools from Donald’s, the bus is mobile again as of early May!  Scott has since updated and shined up things under the hood, but I have no idea what.  It’s not my department.  Mine’s inside.

Shared

Keeping in mind that we strongly believe nothing we have is truly ours to hoard, and believe this project of ours (as all things) is a community project.  We’ve included folks in our learning along the way, and want to share it and put it to good use as much as we can.  And so, planning a trip to the Oregon Coast with our church family, we needed someone to manage the farm.  So we shared the need, and our new tiny house: We are looking for someone who would like to milk our 2 sheep for us in May. Perhaps oversee other homestead chores, but with minimal workload, if any.  It’s a good opportunity at your own sweet fresh milk, a holiday away from home (if you chose to stay over instead of travel for milkings) in our tiny house skoolie that sleeps 6.  We will stock the fridge/pantry with some good eats for your stay. And would totally entertain a “chore swap” if you want to get away from your own chores for a few days this summer!  Interested? Let’s talk.

Several applied for the position, and we landed ourselves a long-time customer of our past farming endeavors – the perfect gal for the job.  For what she may lack in experience, she makes up in motivation and care.  You see, we’re pretty picky about our homestead, and how it’s managed.  She is, too! And so our whole family was able to spend 4 worry-free days on the Oregon Coast thanks to a reliable and fantastic farm sitter.  It was such a comfort to head off knowing we could leave all worry behind with the farm in her care, allowing us the freedom to leave.   Who said farming holds you down?! We are so thankful for co-operative relationships that allow us to live more flexibly and *together*!

Who said farming holds you down?! Our whole family just spent 4 worry-free days on the Oregon Coast thanks to a reliable and fantastic farm sitter. We are so thankful for co-operative relationships that allow us to live more flexibly and *together*!

We came home to this beautiful, fragrant bouquet!

Kitchen Remodel

The first change we made inside was removing mossy oak camo curtains & gear.  It was a shame, as they were custom made and all coordinated.  But it wasn’t our cuppa, so down they came!  That itself made a huge change in it’s looks. We have saved up for the new floor (first thing before we do much inside), but haven’t decided what to go with.  We battle between a solid (not floating) cork and a few others.  The value of cork is that it’s green, is a good insulator, is waterproof, durable… and classy.  Fearing being put in a box, we’re trying to keep the interior nice.  Not hippy or gypsy as I’m so tempted at times.  It’s a dance we’re carefully doing regularly. The original [brand new] fridge was a typical tiny house specialty fridge.  It looks just like a full size top/bottom fridge, but is miniature.  It was great for the job, but my greedy self wished for a drawer style set.  One that would allow more counter space and remove the visual block of height, as well as have more usable space.  I did my research and stalked Craigslist for a while, then moved it to my “pipe dream” Wish List for the bus.  No one makes them “cheap”.  We’re talking $3000 and up.  So yeah.  No. And then I found it. A wealthy architect was re-doing his “vintage” (4 years old – ha!) auxiliary Sub Zero kitchen up in the OHSU hills, replacing his drawer unit for a wine cooler.  Naturally, we jumped on it.  Selling the Magic Chef upright paid completely for the new commercial 2-drawer set.  Score! So that’s where we are right now.  Not a whole lot of new things, but it’s already been put to use by others and us.  In fact, we had to firmly place a new rule that the kids can only sleep out there on weekends.  We weren’t ready for them to move out officially yet, and it was starting to feel like they may have.  We also do dinners and movies out there pretty frequently with the kids.  And meet with friends when we need quiet or private conversation space or moments.  It’s been a true blessing and joy!  We’re looking forward to more play throughout the summertime!

apparently I either want to get rid of everything and go tiny house OR live in a commercial-sized space. I'm so conflicted.

Apparently I either want to get rid of everything and go tiny house OR live in a commercial-sized space. I’m so conflicted.  And love our new in-house food dispensers!

Sheep Butter!

Today has been one full day.

After a few rainy days, it was our first sunny in a while.  Naturally I went outside and got filthy.  My goal was to get all potted plants into the ground, and every potted plant into a gallon size or bigger.  That means every seed we started and all of the plants we accumulated from the recent plant sales (dozens and dozens, if not close to a hundred).  Ridiculous.

newly painted pot for Flynn's patio tomato, and herbs happy to spread their roots!

newly painted pot for Flynn’s patio tomato, and herbs happy to spread their roots!

The good news is, it is finished!  The garden is filling fast!  So is our deck of potted goodness.  I’m really liking our progress on planting for this season, and am not feeling the expected rush and behind-ness that has been ever present in years past.  We were even able to even get our fava’s and bush beans in.  Our artichoke moved into the ground.  Even our figs graduated!

Last years one- and three- gallon pot fig trees have grown up!

Last years one- and three- gallon pot fig trees have grown up!

Mid-way through our work, I casually asked Colby the time, thinking it was 11:30am-ish.  One o’ clock.  Uh oh!  A quick call to our favorite mechanic proved them awesome as ever, them assuring us it was no worry that we’d be thirty minutes late to our appointment for a fluid change/check.

Rather grungy looking (we usually try to spruce up for city folk), we piled into the ‘burb and zipped along.  We dropped off the rig and hit the road on foot, Flynn on my back.  We walked through neighborhoods, passing church and on to the Dollar Tree.  Then we got some bento for a nice park picnic.  Complete with Horchata, a yummy drink I’ve only had one other time – in Phoenix with Jane.  She send me this recipe today, if you want to try it!

Well, short story long (you know how it goes with me), we returned to the shop and drove our nicely lubed rig home.  It’s driven like a champ since last summer, and I expect it will for some time to come after all of the love it got!

When we got home, I pulled out all of the milk from the fridge and took as much cream off of the top as I could get.  I ended up with over a quart!  So, for the first time in years we made butter!  I’ve been missing that!  A little pink Himalayan salt and voila – a pint of raw, fresh, sweet, SUPERB butter at our disposal.  A surprisingly huge yield.  There are those moments when my heart just feels especially full.  This was one of those moments.  The satisfaction and joy from homesteading is one I can’t make up.  I’d recommend it highly.

be still my heart

be still my heart

Back outside, Ramsey and our new ram lamb (“Mr. Handsome” until we come up with something better – any ideas?) needed a bigger shelter from future rains.  Juggling pens, they now have a nice big den inside of their “man pen”.  Mr. Handsome comes from fantastic dairy lines, and will service our ladies for January/February lambing.  I can’t believe it’s even time to think about that, let alone plan for it!  But it’s May.  Breeding time is not far around the corner!

the man pen

the man pen.

Tonight after milking we moved the girls into the barn.  Tomorrow Marley gets a hair cut, and so they’ll share a Girls Night Out in the clean-floored barn ’til then.  Marley’s done excellently at maintaining her condition, and we’re ready to milk her sans dreads!

Cheese is hanging in the kitchen.  Kids are finishing up some sheep yogurt ice cream, making way for the next batch whenever we make some (maybe strawberry!).  My feet would sure love a nice soak in epsom salts.  They may get lucky tonight.

I don’t have a lot of time to write at the moment.  Our evening is full.  But I just have to share.

Earlier this morning a need became aware to me of a family that is a member of our church.  It was a financial need, and they were asking very little (rather, the friend that started a financial-gift request), and very quietly.  I’m glad we happened upon their plea.

That they were humble enough to share their need… That they were willing to open their family and hearts to allow us the ability to do more than pray (which is enough!)… What an immense and joyful opportunity for our family, and those who shared.

Scott & I have a real heart for the young adults in our church.  Our home is often full of them.  They know they can land here anytime for a bite, a word, support, a mini Bible study series, or just some fun.  They teeter between youth and full-on responsible adult.  An often time awkward stage of people not knowing how to treat you.

We sent a message to a bunch of them, sharing this above need, asking if anyone wanted to pool together resources for this family.  A lot of times these seem like things that are for the big “adults” or “married people”, but Scott & I have always held firmly to treating young folk as adults at an earliest possible time, they step up to the task.  We’re all in this life together, after all.

5a7df3c4f750ee09168ed53cb8037f29

Without me leaning on them in the slightest, they pooled together enough – along with the contributors on the donations page – to meet the initial goal.  I asked if they wanted to stop, and the response was No! Let’s see how much we can help them and raise!  My heart melted.  I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t cry during the few hours they did this in – several times – as I watched this unfold.  To see them be a part of something so real.  To see the JOY they gave with!

By the end of the day, this group alone doubled the amount asked for on their own.  This family will be blessed.  Perhaps as much as we all were to give.

“Kids”?  Nope.  These are the young men and women who will be the leaders of families, our church, our community.  They are in a beautiful position to reach out and help, to share and to bless.  I’m so proud of them!

We are so blessed to share our home with them, and for our kids to have them as mentors!  There are no words!

We are so thankful for you and your hearts.

Later this evening, one of the young men who contributed quoted Deuteronomy 16:17 to me, when talking about how glad he was to use his “excess” of singleness for the ministry of the Lord through his church family: “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God that he has given you.”

This Time of Year

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I used to pride myself on concepts like these.  You know, the ones that say I don’t have to purposefully exercise because I’m a farmer…  Well, it’s been a year now since we moved to our new farm, and with last years shake up, we haven’t been as active outside.  Why it took almost a year (and nearly 10 pounds) to figure that out beats me.

Do I care that much?  No.  We’ve still been eating reasonably, even just getting back to more traditional foods.  Culturing, fermenting, planning ahead for soaking and sprouting beans, making bread, and using local and preserved veg instead of our quick fixes of meat & veg at the big box grocer that we’ve become rather surprisingly accustomed to these last 12 months.

We also have just started to dig into our cheese!  That means it’s been more than 60 days since we’ve milked our sheep and put it up for aging.  We have definitely established a nice rhythm and are loving being dairy-folk.  This week we’re picking up the lamb ram who will service our two matrons and Scarlet for beginning-of-the-year lambing.  It’s hard to believe it’s already time to prepare for that!

the girls and Ramsey

the girls and Ramsey

With lambing this past January, we kept one boy and castrated him for fall meat.  We are looking forward to putting some of our own meat in the freezer again, alongside pastured goose and chicken.  We’ll buy our favorite salmon, and perhaps an AGH from a homesteading friend.  As for grassfed beef, we’re ready as soon as the lush grass finishes up our friends’!

Last year we didn’t harvest much from our vegetable garden.  This year we’re planting oodles, with the challenge of planting at least two new things every day for the month of April!  This will keep us plenty active all summer long – and well fed with good eats!  My two favorite plant-buying events were this past weekend, adding currants, perennial vegetables, tomatoes & peppers, edible and flavorful herbs to the gardens and farm landscaping.

Our perennial herbs are doing well and started to really grow for the season.  The fig, kiwi, blueberries and rhubarb are all happily leafing – and multiplying!  In fact, the larger fig tree is covered in fruit already!  Lilac’s are blooming, scenting up the whole farm with fantastic perfume.  Other tree blooms are floating through the air from the cherry tree and plums.  The grapes are pruned and on a new, bigger arbor.  They just started budding out last week!

Some girls love shoes…

The chickens and quail are laying us eggs galore.  Thanks to a lovely neighbor down the road, we added a chinese black silkie, as well as a silver laced wyandotte hen to our wee flock of about a dozen.  I suspect we’ll end up buying laying chicks to start hatching and carry us through the winter while our current ladies take a break.  We are collecting and enjoying goose eggs, and currently have 17 Pilgrim goose eggs in the incubator.

a big difference

a big difference

Our five heritage Pilgrim geese started laying. For fun, we compared them to chicken eggs, and here’s what we learned:– The average “large” chicken egg is 3 Tablespoons.
– The average goose egg is 14 Tablespoons.

That means that one goose eggs is the equivalent to almost FIVE chicken eggs.
One of our double-yolker goose eggs was EIGHTEEN Tablespoons! That’s more than a cup of egg under one shell!They’re sure making up for their time off, being seasonal layers!Think of it. It only took 4 (or five) goose eggs to FILL a quart-sized jar!

We put up a new hummingbird feeder and mason bee hive.  We unearthed some bee boxes and equipment in the loft of the barn, and tho’ it wasn’t on the “wish list” for 2015, we wouldn’t turn down a swarm if they chose to call this place home.11169871_1999732833498618_1920266194438611202_n

We’re really feeling the blessings of Springtime abundance.  Paired with celebrating our one-year anniversary of moving to this property, we’re enjoying milestone after milestone of ‘anniversaries’ of living here.  We can’t help but see the stark difference in our life today from just one year ago for the better.  God is good!

With farming picking up – perhaps we’ll get more physical work in.  Meanwhile, I think we’ll make an effort to visit our farmer-owned gym and swimming pool regularly until we’re sure.

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