The sunrise was spectacular yesterday morning. The weather had been predicted to be a lovely 70 degrees throughout the day. The house was quiet. I had already gone for my morning bike ride and my oldest daughter and I were able to have a little time to chat before the day began.
Well, it was quiet until I received a phone call from my neighbor. She politely let me know that our heifer was out grazing in her backyard and that Daisy, said heifer, was being as cute as a button back there.
Let me give you a little background on Daisy. We purchased her along with a couple of steers back in November. They are here on the micro-ranch, to lead a well-provided for life until we take them to the butcher. Only one of the three allows you to touch him and that is Spencer, the Texas Longhorn. The other two were never around people since they came into existence so they can be skitish at times and very rarely allow you to touch them .... even if you are giving them the best bell pepper they have ever tasted!
Going back to that lovely phone call from my neighbor and Daisy hanging out in her backyard. This little scenario posed a couple of problems. The first, she could just run through all the orchards, that aren't ours, and trample any new trees that were put in. The second problem, she could run onto the road in front of our house that carries quite a bit of traffic and get hit.
For the next hour, our family of 5, tried to guide her into the side gate by just moving her slowly by coercion of food. She nibbled a little and stood there at the very spot that she had jumped the fence.
The whole time we were trying to get her back in the yard, every animal that we owned was in an absolute ruckus. The steers were loudly calling for her. Salt, the BIG pig was dumping over her 55 gallon water bucket and was snorting. All 50 chickens were at the back fence cackling. The goats were in an uproar. The ducks were quacking like crazy....even the three little pigs were in the noise mix.
All I could do was pray. All Hot Rocks could do was pray because he was on one hours worth of sleep and had just gotten home from night shift. The two younger kids were in their pj's and I kept thinking about how I had told the retired rodeo guy that we bought them from "everyone needs a chance to be stupid"....just knowing that no matter how much research we had done we still wouldn't be prepared. Well....today was the day that statement was made true.
Then our prayer was answered. George showed up. He is this soft-spoken, hard-working man that tends the orchard behind us. He just drives up to do his normal days work and notices Daisy in the orchard and all of us in this wide imaginary circle around her. He gets out and grabs some rope from the back of his truck and makes this little lasso. He then places it on the ground and wraps the tail end of the rope around one of the railroad ties that we have as part of our fence. At the end of that little rope, he ties another one and then walks it off at an angle behind one of the trees. George lays the rope down for a second and runs over and grabs some weeds to put beside the snare. We are all quiet as we are watching what is going on and just trying to keep Daisy near. She slowly walks over and eats the weeds he had just laid down and one of her back hooves stepped in the snare and George yanked that rope and Daisy was caught. We couldn't believe our eyes. He held her and Hot Rocks grabbed a hold of of the rope also. Our oldest ran to get the harness rope that we had dropped.
Next thing we knew, Daisy was on the ground and George was putting the harness rope around her neck and over her horns. All this from a snare and a little rope. Daisy wasn't happy about this at all and boy, did she let us know but it didn't phase George at all. Hot Rocks pulled her to the side gate and then into our little pasture area and George just kept hitting her butt or moving her nose to keep her moving along.
I looked at George and said "Did you ever own cattle?" He told me, "Yes, in Mexico." He has been in the states for many years now and he handled our fence-jumping heifer like it wasn't a big deal at all and he does this kind of stuff all the time... I was thankful. Chalked it up under "Stupid" and told Hot Rocks if she does it again, she is outta here.
Sometimes when you are livin' the dream, you just want to roll over so you can wake up.
I went out this evening, at dusk, to check on the animals and make sure that the goats hadn't jumped any fences, the cattle were still behind closed doors and the chickens had found their roost for the evening. The sky was breath-taking. The colors were warm and the dark outlines of the trees against the sky was something to behold.
I didn't alter the pictures on adobe photoshop ~ these are straight from the camera and the color is pretty true to what I gazed upon.
After viewing this, I thought about how maybe I should tear out the whole back wall of the house and have it just a wall of windows so that we can enjoy the view a little better. I don't know if Hot Rocks will go for that but it is worth a shot.
Sometimes it is just taking a few moments to appreciate your surroundings with a grateful heart to make a difference.
The girls and I went to our first rabbit show today. We didn't know what to expect and we weren't overwhelmed nor disappointed because we weren't showing and we didn't know what our goal for the day was. I can tell you that at this particular show, they did not have a big arena in the middle of the building with each rabbit being called out individually. There were rabbit cages everywhere and the judge's tables were lined up on the outside perimeter of the building. We watched the judges handle each rabbit while making little comments as they went over every part of the rabbit's body. We spoke with one judge that was taking a break and asked her for a little insight into what we should look for when purchasing in the future......that is, if we continue on after the County Fair.
I was glad to come home to our little pedigrees without papers. Curly Sue, whom we can't decide if she is going to have her kids or not and whether we should go ahead and shear her.
Mr. Meaty, our wimpy male. He is a good boy though and watches out for Curly Sue.
Mary-Kate really belongs in the swine family as she is the BIGGEST PIG! She is constantly eating and trying to eat everyone else's portions.
Oh Cocoa! She is our Yoda. This girl can jump a 4 ft. fence like a gazelle. You wouldn't expect it from her at all. You turn your back for a moment and she is over the fence. She has been on the "bad girl" list lately and has been roped up once she is in the pen so that she does not escape.
Our market pigs are slowly calming down and adjusting nicely to the micro-ranch. The three little pigs rooted up their pen in one day. The soil was nicely turned and I felt obligated to take a rake in and straighten up the area but I refrained.
Piggly-Wiggly took a moment to enjoy the warmth of the sun before it started to leave her.
Gotta move the poop pile - you know how it is - just livin' the dream!
It was time for father and son to bond in a way that really only those two could. It was time to build. Time to create. Time to make things FLY!
It has to be just perfect.
It is a good thing to see your son reading directions. He will do well in life.
One down, one to go.
Second one finished and tomorrow they will be ready to launch.
This summer, somehow, jamming and canning has happened in abundance in our household. Fond memories of my grandmother have rolled right along in the midst of it too.
There is a scripture that runs through my mind periodically...
"Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider it's ways and be wise!
It has no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest."
"Storing up", in the scripture could be said about really anything, I guess, but all I kept thinking about was having a little bit of summer in the winter and being able to enjoy an extension of the "good food" season.
Here is a picture of what has been made or canned....
This afternoon I plan on adding pomegranate jelly to the mix. I had juiced the pom's at the end of last summer/beginning of fall and froze it until a couple of days ago when I defrosted it to jelly it up. I just located my recipe for it again and plan on making a little more room in our refrigerator!
I was able to share the joy of jamming with a couple of friends and I will be hosting a canning class the first part of August. That should make for some more fun...
On my agenda of things to do, I plan on making up some sauce with heirloom tomatoes and canning that for later in the winter also. The taste of freshly ripened tomatoes can't be topped!
What is your favorite taste from summer? Is it something that you can dehydrate, freeze, jam or can to savor for later? If you haven't thought about it before .... think about your absolute favorite food thing and what can you do with it for later? You can whip up a batch of fresh spaghetti sauce with farm fresh produce and throw it in some freezer bags for later...now that sounds pretty tasty!
Hot Rocks has used the term "stuck in the weeds" a number of times when describing different situations. I looked it up on the internet for a decisive definition. The term "stuck in the weeds" means: "A colloquial expression used when persons are near or beyond their capacity to handle a situation or cannot catch up. Struggling. Very busy."
It is an accurate term to describe how things have been here on the ole' micro-ranch. It truly has been a whirlwind of projects since mid-February. The weather was still in it's weird funky stage of off and on rain storms and our house started to have the arrival of what would later take over our lives....the animals. What started out to be simple do-able ideas turned into monster-size projects. We just kept swimming, sometimes drowning in to-do's around here. As soon as we thought we had a handle on things some other emergency happened. Not to mention, we were just trying to lead somewhat normal routines for our lives but really who defines "normal" anyways?
I am off on a rabbit trail of sorts here so let me refocus. Thinking....thinking....thinking....o.k. I got it. This morning we finished our animal chores earlier than usual and the temperature outside was still crisp. We had watered our garden area the night before so it was a good time to pull weeds. We were behind somewhat on that chore so I called the kids over and told them to grab a bucket and start picking a few buckets worth. The normal sighs arrived promptly but they did fill their quota of three stuffed buckets ~ all of which went to the animals for delectable morning treats.
We have been so busy taking care of the animals that our garden had been severely neglected. We had watered it and God was making the sun shine on it but weeds had infiltrated it. The weeds were taller than our plants in some areas.
You can barely see the rows that the corn are in because of the weeds.
I forgot to take a picture of Hot Rocks garden before we had started but it was COVERED - there wasn't any brown soil to be seen. My normal M.O. (mode of operation) is to take these quiet times to reflect. It isn't something I consciously do but rather something that I automatically do. We normally do not have great and lofty conversations when we are working. It is pretty quiet. We just go about our business; getting done what we need to do.
I started to think about why this garden was so overrun with weeds. We had neglected it. We did the very absolute basic thing for it ~ we watered it, but we didn't care for it. Things had just gotten so busy with bigger projects that they had taken over everything.
I had watched the plants growing from afar. They were green, that was a good thing, that meant they were still alive but I couldn't do anything about the surmounting weeds.
It is easy for me to learn from Jesus because He uses everyday things to speak to me. He was teaching me a big lesson this morning. Our plants were growing and they were producing fruit but you couldn't see what fruit they were producing because the weeds were hiding it.
Lesson 1: As a Christian, I can still produce fruit, though it may be small, but it will be overshawdowed and overlooked because of all of the "weeds" (sin) in my life if I do not take care of them and pluck them out.
The amount of weeds that we picked were three overflowing wheelbarrow full.
Lesson 2: The busyness of life can consume so much of my time that all of a sudden I am doing disaster clean-up on a basic foundational necessity for my life. Meaning, to pull a small weed is preventative action, to pull a big weed is preservation action. (I need to protect/save my plant from the invasive weed so that it will LIVE!) To spend my quiet devotional time and daily pull the small weeds BEFORE they become life-threatening spiritually.
Pulling weeds takes time. Not a huge amount of time if you stay on top of it, but time none the less. I don't know what it is about this day and age, but busyness is an all-consuming killer. The amount of things that supposedly "need" to be done or the thoughts that are planted in our mind that such and such has to be done because it shows that we are somehow a better person is just a bunch of baloney.
I am only the person that Christ wants me to be when I am abiding in Him. I am only the person that Christ wants me to be when absolutely NOTHING in this world takes priority over what He wants me to do, not what I think I need to be doing. I am only the person that Christ wants me to be when I take the time to pull the weeds in my life and boy howdy, it doesn't take much for a weed to grow in my life.
A total side note...Did you know that a weed can grow in only 1 tsp. of soil? Now that is a reality shock to a person's life....it doesn't take much for a weed to grow in a persons life.
Well, part of Hot Rocks garden was cleaned up. You can see the rows. You can see the plants that we planted.
We still need to get in the corn area and do some deep cleaning. So if you will excuse me now, I have some weeding to do....