4th of July on Z Feirme

5 Jul

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My Mom’s China

27 Dec

This year 2013 has been a very eventful time. Our lives have recently best been explained by the following scripture found in the Old Testament of the bible.
No matter what belief system you embrace, this passage reflects what is on my heart.

Ecclesiastes 3
New International Version (NIV)
A Time for Everything

3 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.

What does this have to do with china?
When going through tough times, it is common to take a look at what is really important in your life.
Cleaning out my china cabinet, I took down my favorite china, Burleigh Blue Calico by Staffordshire. It is made in England and is only available in limited pieces
I inherited an incomplete collection of this china when my mom passed away over twenty years ago.
I have children still at home, pondering this thought I stacked all of the blue china on the counter and carefully washed each piece.
When I was done, I took a deep breath and rearranged the mish mosh of classic pottery plates (also cobalt blue) to accommodate the new additions in the day-to-day dish cabinet.
Was I really ready to incorporate these precious, beautiful hard to replace pieces into our daily lives?
Would I cry or get angry if one was broken?
After a time I have come to realize that the risk is worth the joy of seeing the bright, cobalt calico print on our dining room table. We did have our first and second casualties; dinner plate and teacup.
We are now looking for a stone tumbler, precious broken bits saved in a Ziploc bag are now awaiting their rebirth.
Beauty truly is in the eyes of the beholder, whether something or someone retains value when broken has to do with the patience and hopeful scrutiny of the bearer.
I am thankful to have this exquisite reminder of my Mom every time we use these plates, fond memories of times shared together.
As my family and I anticipate the return home of my eldest son and his wife, I look forward to a time of new hope, dreams and future deposits of this memory bank called Life.

Crazy Spring Day on Z Farm…

24 Apr

Spring Lambs 011

Just thought I should post an update about how things have been going here on Z Farm. I started off my day with getting awakened much earlier than I had planned, could not go back to sleep. My soon to be thirteen year old daughter is still sick with some horrid stomach ailment and is on her second day in bed.
I swilled down 2 cups of coffee and headed outside. The morning is absolutely beautiful, bright, sunny, warm and a sweet, spicy freshness to the air. First stop is the sheep barn/Chicky Girl coop. I loosen the pull cord to the door on the coop and all the Chicky Girlz and roos dash down the ramp chattering happily into the sun in their freshly pine chipped yard. Scattering scratch for them, fresh water next.
Onto putting Mommy Sheep and her lambs out. We have collars on the turning three-week old lambs and lead them while Mommy follows us to the turnout. We close them in and put fresh water inside for them. Mommy Sheep has tamed down a lot, but she freaks out so bad when trying to lead we don’t even try! They are contentedly grazing now. Walking back to the Sheep stall part of the barn, I open the fancy gate made from a pallet, pick up the lid of alfalfa and step over to the tires that serve as feeders out in the pasture. Putting a chunk of hay in each one, filling water and back to the barn. I step out-of-the-way as I open the door to the stall; Lamm-E and Sagen buck and jump as they are liberated into the pasture.
Tying the door at the top and bottom keeps Mr. Smarty Pants Lamm-E from butting the door open! Next we carry out the cage that has the Ameraucana chicks in it, they are starting to get their feathers and are so awkwardly cute. Some of the care of the animals is repetitive; food, water and clean beds at night and food, water and pasture during the day. That said I walk on the chipped path to the horse barn. Ms. Peep is the first one to be cared for. She is a one-legged Ameraucana hen that has survived a weasel attack and a rat attack, she is a spunky girl! The old grey mare “Silver’ is grained, then her daughter Beauty, the pony Zena is given an “I’m sorry you’re fat sprinkle”. Goaty Mommas grained next, Little Goaty Girlz (yearlings) grain. Hay for horses in arena, alfalfa hay for goats outside.
My friend in Farmdom is just pulling into the driveway. Sigh, today we have to disbud the twin Mini Manchas born last Wednesday. This is the most unfavorite chore when you have Dairy goats. Sure the horns can be left, since most do not have the luxury of free ranging animals without fences the choice is made to disbud and prevent getting heads caught in fence squares. It also makes milking easier as they put their head into the stanchion to eat grain while being prepped and milked.
Plugging in the torturous disbudding iron, put the dog in the house and finish drawing up the vaccines and syringe of corn syrup given to each goat kid after the procedure. I only have the job of shaving the tops of each head, giving the shots and counting the longest, smelliest ten seconds while the red-hot iron burns a ring around the hornbuds. After both are ringed, the procedure is repeated.
As soon as we make sure each kid is not showing signs of shock, we rush them back to Momma and she lets them nurse. After a couple of hours the kids are up and tearing around the stall like all is forgotten!
Led both the horses out to the arena and fed them hay, water is fine. Pony Zena can wait until after lunch, if she is put out too soon she will drive the big horses away and eat All the hay!
I am sure I forgot some things to list on here, but it is time to eat lunch. Leftover Chicken Tetrazzini will hit the spot.
Next post will enlighten the reader to another crazy day on Z Farm
thanks for following!

My sheep is soooo fat!

15 Mar

Every Sunday for the last 6 weeks, we are asked the same question “Any lambs yet?”. No, she is still fat, although it did not seem possible that she is even wider than last week!
On our farm, we have raised Bummer Lambs and been blessed with the lost, little ones thriving. The combination of children’s prayers, hard work, fresh raw Goat’s milk and a Lot of Love are a reckoning force united!
The children enjoyed raising the lambs so much that last year that when a new friend from church called one afternoon asking us to take in a “Bummer Ram Lamb” we did not hesitate! After several months, he was so infatuated with our goats that we were on the search for a species similar companion for him. The Goaty Girlz were getting quite annoyed with his constant bleating and his lovingly following them around from sunrise until dusk!
Our friend Sarah gave us Lambie (Now a 200# ram!) offered to free lease us an ewe unrelated to him until after she kidded in the spring. We were enthralled and asked a friend Sam who owns a truck and canopy to transport the living link to our future flock.
Sam arrived at our farm and we drove over to pick the sheep up.
Let me enlighten you by what transpired when we went to bring her home. Most people who raise sheep for meat, only have their sheep handled once or twice a year for shearing, vaccinations, deworming and feet trimming. I had purchased a book on Sheep and read many sources to ready for this new venture. Even though I spent hours researching raising sheep, I never thought that other farms would not raise sheep like our Lambie! This sheep of ours can be summoned anytime of anyday by just walking outside and talking over by the pasture. He comes running, tail wagging and face turned up anticipating a scratch or treat. Knowing he is a “Ram”, he is not led around and we set up feed while they are locked out to keep him sweet and not too demanding or give him opportunities to get rammy!
It was a beautiful, unseasonably warm fall day and the first red flag was as soon as we pulled up the driveway we were greeted with “park over here and don’t let the sheep see you!”.
I figured we would have to treat them so we could shut the pasture gate as it was the middle of the afternoon and usually they would of been out grazing. Next, Sarah who owns the sheep proceeds to rip me a new one because we didn’t call right before we left! I apologized and was thinking to myself that I had just talked to her less than 2 hours before and I had called already, but oh well!
Now, I almost forgot to mention that my friend “Sam”who owns the truck with canopy confesses to me on the drive over that he is afraid of sheep! I burst out laughing hysterically because he is a tall man who looks like he can take care of himself! He did not grow up on a farm or have much exposure to sheep except while strolling in a childhood friends’ pasture a ram suddenly appeared who chased them everywhere.
We were standing over behind the barn when I heard “okay, you need to come help, I have her!” exclaimed Sarah.
As we come round the corner, we glanced at each other and ran towards her. Sam is directed out into the yard to the other side of the feeder. I quickly grab a hold of the rope that my spry, grey lady friend is grasping. Looking down into the stanchion is a lovely ewe who is clearly terrified! A rope is noosed around her neck and Sam looks at her, not knowing what to do next.
Sarah yells at him “get her on the ground and put the lead around her, then go get the truck!” I run around to where the ewe is bucking, snorting and frantically trying to get away as if she is in fear of her life! Sam has obviously overcome his fear and as gently as possible puts his knee on her and rolls her over as she is still kicking and trying to turn to get up. We succeed in getting a lead around her neck and convince her to buck her way towards the truck.
When we reach the tailgate, Sam reaches down and grabs fleece at the nape of her neck and hips and picks her up and puts her in the truck.
With lightening speed he pulls the canopy hatch closed and we simultaneously wonder if this ewe settle down as she wildly runs around inside of the closed canopy. Sam reaches in and slides the windows to keep her safe and ventilated on the way home.
We say our thank you s and pile in the truck, and I nervously peek behind us at our new addition to the farm. She finally stops and stands in the corner during the ride. She is a nice looking ewe with huge gold-colored eyes and a beautiful fleece that has multi colors woven through it. Sarah says she is a Cheviot and Icelandic cross and Icelandics are famous for the soft, long beautiful fleeces they sport.
surprisingly, she jumps right out of the truck and compared to the first introduction to this sheep named Diane she is easily led to the barn. Since I knew the owners of this sheep and how healthy their flock, I did not quarantine her. Ironically my Mom’s name was Diane, my children think this is so funny!

Now almost six months have passed and yes, my sheep is still soooo fat that Sarah says she may have triplets!

Lambie smiling

Keeping one glove…

8 Mar

We had lived at the house in town for seven years. Now, against all odds our dream had come true. We had just purchased a home in the country.
Amidst our crazy busy schedule; up at 5 am to get ready for work, son ready to be dropped off at school across town and enough time to navigate through the stagnant traffic of city life five days a week.
Not taking a lunch at the regular time, my boss let me take my break at 2:30 so I could go and pick up my son from school. He came back to work with me and after work, we drove home, ate dinner and went out to take care of the horses who were boarded at a private barn.
Being four months pregnant, I was a little particular about the way I wanted things to line up! The weather that November was typical for the Pacific Northwest and being that we were in the elements so much, I had just purchased new hats, gloves, boots for staying warm and dry.
It had taken me awhile to pick out a pair of gloves, I have children’s sized hands and feet and the choice was overwhelming! Finally I decided upon a turquoise pair of gloves, they had grippy dots on the palms and stars on the backs of the hands.
When the offer was accepted on our new house, we did not have long to sell our house in the city. Friends and well-meaning family warned us not to buy the house until our city house sold.
I recall receiving the phone call from the realtor that our offer was accepted, literally five minutes before it expired! I stood there holding the phone receiver in my hand, my husband asking me “what? is it good, what is it about?”. After slowly hanging up, I looked up at him and told him. “We have less than two weeks to sell this house before our first payment is due!”
The realtor we had already spoken with was wonderful and gave us some tips to make things go well. We packed most of the personal items, stored them in our huge garage and burned a Sugar Cookie candle in the entry. Less than a week later our house sold to a young couple buying their first home.
Mind you, it certainly wasn’t our great works that sold this house for us. It was meant to be and sometimes you have to step out and have faith. This was one of those times.
We packed and packed and drove out to the country house. It was such a wreck with much to be done prior to it being close to habitable, but that is another story!
We love our new home, yet there are adjustments with any move.
Being out in the country, it is DARK after the sun goes down! While unpacking, I realized that I couldn’t find the box with gloves and hats. Our house didn’t have a wood stove yet that was operational and we were sleeping in the front room with oil filled base heaters to be warm. We were still traveling to care for the horses and it was cold in December! We had over a foot of snow on the ground shortly after we moved in.
Darn, where is that box? Finally found the box and gleefully pulled all the warm winter stuff out and looked again. There is only one of my new gloves! Well, I had put some mismatched socks in a bag and brought them with us because I hadn’t time to match them up before we moved. I searched all over the place, sigh, only one of my new gloves could be found.
For some reason, I am an eternal optimist. Can you believe that I kept the one glove? Why? Growing up with bare minimums, I appreciated little things. For example in our family at Christmas we were given necessities; socks, new undies, new outfit if we were lucky.
I wanted to hold onto the idea that I could find that glove!
Time passed and my beautiful daughter was born, my ten-year old son growing and that fall I “spring cleaned”.
Surprisingly the second glove appeared out of nowhere. Rather like when a lost sock finds it way home. I was overjoyed!
We were out doing farm chores and I finally got to wear my pair of gloves, reunited at last! Filling water buckets, one of my hands got wet and I took off the gloves and put them in my pocket.
Tired and satisfied at the work we had done, we went back into the house and hung our coats up to dry.
I put some muffins in to cook, set the timer and dashed out to do chores. Not one thought about the gloves.
Next day was the weekend and we were all outside, reached into my coat pocket to get my gloves…pulled out…one glove.
Not again, I frantically searched all over to no avail. Sigh, setting the glove aside by this time feeling like it is the precious.
More time passed and that spring we were having shavings delivered.
We were in the shavings room and scraping the floor clean. I had already found 2 socks, a flip-flop and a hat. I look into the turn out and see a spot of turquoise amidst the grass. Could it be? I rushed out and lo and behold, the long-lost glove!
At first I was ecstatic, I could justify keeping the one glove to my husband who likes to razz me for my eccentric behaviors!
Then as I reached down to pick it up, I noticed that it was in tatters. One of the animals had liked the texture and it was only a scrap of glove now.
It sounds silly, but I was so disappointed. I went back into the house and really thought about why had I kept that mismatched glove for so long? What drives me to keep a huge bag of socks waiting to be matched? Why couldn’t I be like my friends who just throw everything away without remorse?
Mulling this over I came to realize that I have hope in silly things, including people when others do not. Gloves, socks, children I always have faith and hold out when others just go and buy new. Growing up with little I see things differently, constantly looking for the good. Whether you be a glove, sock or wayward person there is always something positive that can be found if you look hard enough!
Hope is not encouraged in this me world and I am content to be peculiar and be on the search for it, as I pull on mismatched gloves.
One glove navy blue and one glove…turqoise.

BbbbbBad to the Bone!

28 Feb

Ah, the challenge today was to write two new posts. Even though I have discovered that I love to write, I still start my day the same way. Usually 2 cups of fresh ground coffee, waking children, feeding our resident old man dog of almost 11 years, food in the cat’s bowl and maybe eating breakfast. Once we have our meet and greet whilst the children and I look over the day’s schedule of school and such, I venture out to do the chores.

Starting with the pullets in the beautiful red Chicky tractor that my wonderful husband built for our little ones, then big girl Chicky coop, guest buck goat, alfalfa in pasture for spoiled expecting, huge ewe and sheep friends.

Next I walk the chip path, well it should be called the muck path right now! We were blessed to have delivered a full load of chips from one of the utility companies, then the extra wheelbarrow went on strike. So, until more money and a trip to Jerry’s we are making do with sharing one! Which does not sound like a big deal…but with stocking wood for keeping house warm, cleaning stalls, moving feed..well you get the idea.

Arriving at the barn, I push open the big slide door and am greeted by nickers, Ms. Peep clucks from inside her snug little house and goat protest maa’s! Little doe goats are fed grain first, followed by the does-in-waiting grain, old mare grain, giraffe grain and filly grain.

Climbing up the ladder, I notice there are no open bales of grass hay. Great, I left my pocket knife in my coveralls. Well, cleanup time upstairs. There is enough hay to feed all and now the loft is tidy. Tearing some huge flakes of alfalfa, I drop some down for feeding sheep and goats. I have transversed that ladder for almost 14 years with no mishaps. I made up for that today! I don’t know what happened to cause my boot to slip and instead of the ball of my foot finding the next rung of the ladder, my whole shin did. It hit hard, causing me to gutterally growl out in scream language! My poor dog ran over the base of the ladder looking up at me with sympathy and wonder, I growled for what felt like ever. Even though I am in pain, I did not even swear, huge accomplishment!

Halfway up or halfway down the ladder, oh man. I still have to finish climbing down. I suck air and carefully finish backing each rung until with great relief I am on the barn floor. Nothing appears broken, the throbbing in my leg I can now feel in my head and every breath I take. Guess I am limping it back to the house, after I give the alfalfa to the sheep and let them out. Come on, I am a Farm chick. Injuries just have to wait sometimes to be fully acknowledged, because on Z Farm..I am now..BBBBBbad to the Bone!

 

 

Sigh, No Cherry Pie!

27 Feb

This year the holiday that was bombed…Valentine’s Day. Our family celebrates loving each other on Valentine’s Day by giving simply, things that we should do more often. We don’t need a holiday to tell a loved one that you, do indeed love them! 

After setting down to check for emails, I noticed the Facebook tab was flashing. My son and daughter in law, I always look forward to hearing from them. We are nine hours apart and it is challenging enough to remember what time of day it is on the other side of the world! My son wanted us to sign into Skype, this is a step by step process. The computer I am fortunate enough to be using is over 12 years old! An ongoing chuckle that is constantly being acknowledged by all who hear, is that the computer is held together by the breath of God!

In order to sign into Skype, I must close each and every window, save every file…backup again. Once I have accomplished this, I can click onto the Skype logo on my desktop. Hitting that button is rather like wondering if the 3 year old fireworks you found carefully stored in a box in the bottom of the closet will still catch and spark! Evidently some video driver is going corrupt and I am told it cannot be fixed, as a result sometimes the image is similar to a Brite Lite screen with fuzzy picture behind and bright pixel dots on the screen!

We are in luck today! The breath is strong today and I am thankful to be able to see my son and daughter in law. It has been since June that we saw them last. They came home to get married in a whirlwind leave and then they were gone. I can tell by looking at his face that he has news to share. We had been looking forward to them PCS’ing back to the states. (PCS=change of station/transfer to a different base). Not only had that just been swatted out of the sky, now he was deploying…for the third time.

We listened mostly and tried to keep the conversation going. There is always an awkwardness, when sharing bad news. My youngest son as soon as we signed off, went to his room and sat on his bed. He did not eat lunch, snacks or dinner. He did not want to talk, nor play, nor watch television. After a couple of hours passed, I walked past his room and he was doing school online. That night he tossed and turned, he kept getting up and came out hugging me from the back of the couch. “Mom, I miss my brother! My heart hurts.”

His sister didn’t comment and went about the rest of the day staying busy. Turning thirteen soon, I have noticed that she tends to be more independent. I knew when she wanted to talk, I would be available to listen. She went with my husband to run errands and they came home with beautiful flowers for me to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Brilliantly colored and variantly petaled Primroses that smell sweet like the promise of Spring! While I was making dinner, my daughter came in and started helping me without being asked, prepping food and putting away dishes.

I knew this was her way of demonstrating her love and concern about the talk we had that morning with her big brother. She brought up the disappointment of not having them here for her birthday, games and 4th of July. No camping or finally being able to celebrate a birthday with her big brother after 5 years and worst of all…still, NO Cherry Pie!!!

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