The Children, The Chicken, And The Chores

It has been awhile since I have written anything on our farm animals or gardening or anything of that sort. Must of been the trauma of losing our goat Ramsey. Ha! That’d be a lie. Truthfully things have been pretty low key around here. We managed to keep the majority of our chickens alive so I was ecstatic to say “nope” every time we came across baby chicks for sale. It only took purchasing like twenty five chicks to keep six alive. Practice makes perfect people. Six is plenty for us though as we can not eat enough eggs to keep up with the production here. I’ve given several dozen away and HAD to have an egg hunt just to make use of two dozen or so.

Wanna be my neighbor?

I want to take a moment though and introduce you to Tiny. Tiny was from last springs batch of chicks. Not sure if I wrote anything on the challenges of introducing old and new flocks but let’s just say, there will be blood. The chickens were mostly living in harmony when one day during a coop cleaning we set everything off kilter. An older hen, who my children innocently and ironically named Queen Bee, severely bullied Tiny and bloodied her up pretty bad. After getting her cleaned and assessing her wounds I was really hesitant to put her back with the flock so I stuck her with the ducks where she could recover. Well it’s been like six months and according to the girls the ducks, Sunny and Webster, have adopted her. Tiny is truly a free range chicken and she is living it up! She gets dinner scraps at the back door, she comes when you call her, she follows the girls everywhere and she’s eats dill pickle sunflower seeds.

I mean does it get any better for a chicken??

The kids have really taken ownership of the animals and ensure that everyone has food, clean water, and a clean environment. Jason has started giving them an allowance and I have been super proud of Micaila and Ryann as they, on their own accord, tithe off it every Sunday. Caleb on the other hand asked me the other day when he will have a million dollars. We calculated his 2 dollars a week and figured it would take roughly 9,616 years for him to get to a million but hey, there is always an opportunity to move up around here. 😉

The girls continue to have riding lessons with Duet. She has been such a great horse. I love watching the girls do ground work with her on their own or just go out and brush her. They have gained so much independence this last year and it’s bittersweet for this momma.

Jason has already planted the garden and last year I did try a few pickling recipes that were a big hit so, looks like it’s a requirement this year. That is, if we grow anything….😳😉

To Save the Chickens

Oh the predicaments I find myself in to rescue animals. 🙂 What really gets me is how God uses the everyday ordinary (or maybe not so ordinary) things to remind me of his love. Are you ready for story time? 😉

Our goat, Ramsey, is becoming quite the nuisance. We built this wonderful little fenced in area for him that, now with the arrival of spring, is full of lush greenery that he could eat till his heart’s content. But he’s not content. The grass is greener on the other side. And our porch is more desirable too. Did you know goats enjoy rocking chairs as much as humans? It’s completely normal to me now to see our goat curled up in a rocking chair nibbling on a tassel from our cushions. Yeah it sounds adorable but let me share with you what accompanies that “cute” picture. Goat poop all over my porch that fortunately is like rabbit pellets so it’s easily swept. Just the other day I hear quite a ruckus going on. I walk out to find that Ramsey has pushed three out of five chairs off the porch and scattered the bag of chick bedding (pine shavings) all over the floor. I mean, it was as far from a serene inviting country porch as you can get.

What has landed him in solitary confinement (until we repair/reinforce his pen) was what occurred last night. It had been raining all day and the rain brought cool temperatures with it. I’m merrily (merrily happens on occasion) cleaning the house before Jason gets home and something in the window catches my eye. The heat lamp we use for the chicks is knocked over. A couple weeks ago they moved to the porch where they can begin acclimating to the varying temperatures but still have access to the lamp when needed. I walk outside to see why it’s on the floor and I discover that Ramsey had knocked their brooder bin off the porch. I should have expected this I suppose. I look in the bin to assess the babies and one is missing. The bedding and chicks are soaked with cold rain water and bodily fluids. I’m fearful that the missing chick is buried in the mess of bedding. Fortunately I look around the yard and she’s nearby, soaked and panic stricken. I imagine they had been there for a good 45 minutes. I pull the bin up under the porch and start to take them out one by one while gathering my thoughts of what to do next. I knew I needed to get them inside, dried and warm but wasn’t about to bring that disgusting brooder bin in my living room. The kids had pulled out one of the snow sleds so I grabbed a towel and loaded the chicks up on it for the time being. Ramsey had busted the heat lamp so Ryann retrieved the blow dryer. Ryann was so concerned about them, “Oh mommy, they must be freezing!” and was ready to help me in any way. Quickly Micaila became aware of the situation and they each got towels to wrap the smallest chicks with. At this point I’m preparing myself for a burial. They are much tinier and they looked in rough shape. Just drenched and freezing to their little chicken bones. After about 20 minutes they finally started drying and began to even nibble on bits of food. The process of cleaning out the bin was slightly ridiculous. I had to do it outside because it’s just too nasty to even think about bringing indoors. So there I was in my house slippers (because that’s what I wear when I’m cleaning and in life or death situations there just isn’t time to change shoes!) I’m running around our sopping wet yard trying to grab the hose and rinse everything out. Have you tried running in house shoes? In the rain? Jumping puddles? Just not exactly what you plan to do on a Thursday evening, mid cleaning party. Pretty sure I’ll be needing a new pair of slippers. So I get the bin clean and laid fresh bedding inside so we could transfer the chicks before they started pooping all over my house. Whew! We finally started to see life coming back. I honestly did not think the bantams were going to survive.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s funny to me, all the trouble I would go through and concern I have to save a few chickens that cost us like 2 dollars a piece. And it reminded me of that scripture Matthew 6:26-27 “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet their heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

And I needed that reminder because I worry and I at points even wonder “How could/does God love me?” And what really hit me was I, a sinful, broken human, have the desire to rescue and save these chickens. How much more does a perfect loving God want to rescue his people? 🙂 A whole heck of a bunch more! And for that I am hopeful and so incredibly grateful. I just love it when I’m doing something as monotonous as say cleaning a toilet and the Lord whispers his truth and love to encourage my soul. My word to others today would be look closely and listen carefully; Jesus is always near wanting to speak to our hearts at just the right time, in just the right way.

All the chickens are doing great! I think we are in the clear and the girls and I are very pleased. 🙂

Still a newbie country girl

Some days I think to myself “I can’t believe this is happening to me.” In my wildest dreams I never thought I would have to wrestle a goat out of my house….. or my car….. One minute I’m bringing in groceries the next minute I see a black bearded Ramsey trapped in our suv. Seriously? Don’t you dare pee in my car! He knows we store his food in the laundry room so he’s frequently trying to slip through the back door unnoticed. The only problem; his putrid scent comes wafting in the house with him. Who let the goat in? He jumps on the counters and leaves a trail of poop behind him just for laughs. You would not believe the pleasure I get from chasing him around with a broom. He runs off and does his goat thing, leaping in the air, wiggling and kicking his whole body. Goat shenanigans, it’s pretty entertaining.

Then there’s the time I was feeding the chickens and realized I had scooped a brand new nest of baby mice out of their grain bucket into their eating pan. What in the world? As much as I felt bad I was equally disgusted. They were tiny and translucent and I was reasonably confident I just killed them. Meanwhile their mom is just staring at me from the bottom of the bin probably thinking “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” Knowing the feed was definitely compromised I set the little critters back in the bucket and hoped for the best. The next day I had to face the music and ended up setting the mom free and laying the babies in the woods. I’m sure they made a nice snack for something. :-/

There have been other occasions where I showed more compassion towards mice. Like the time three older babies fell out of our tractor. We did try to rescue those. They had fur though! Way cuter. After the first two died I decided to set the third “free” and spare us the grief. We haven’t had much luck rescuing wild baby animals.

Since we’re on the subject I might as well get it on record that we lost our only laying hen, Penny, shortly after Thanksgiving. We had several hawks hanging around and they managed to snatch her and one of our pullets. It’s never the roosters! We’ve gone from nine to five chickens, two of which have proven to be useless cockadoodles that I can’t bring myself to slaughtering for dinner. I suppose they make for great photos. 😉 If I hadn’t read that book “Made from Scratch” I’d be thinking we should call it quits, obviously it’s us! But the best things we experience in life require us to press on, keep trying and gain wisdom from the past. Our family is learning new and unique things on a regular basis. And fortunately we get to do all this without worrying about whether we succeed at “farming” or not. I imagine it was a way bigger deal years ago when the farmer lost a few hens. I have a growing respect for that day and age but I sure am thankful for a conveniently located grocery store. 🙂

Enough about death, let’s talk about some life! Last Sunday the girls had the pleasure of meeting our neighbors’ day old baby cow. How cool is that?! Someday I hope we get to witness our own animals giving birth or hatching eggs. I suppose we need to first master keeping them alive!

With winter settling in nicely (lows of 8 degrees!) things are calming down around here. This means we have time to plan and dream about what all the spring may have in store. Until then, I’m hoping to have some great snow memories to share later. The little retention area in our front pasture froze! We got a big kick out of that. Ice-skating anyone? 😉OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lord keep making me…..

It seems like every time I come to write it’s been awhile since the last post. Forgive the lack of fluency going on here. I never know if I should just go with the post that was prompted on my heart or give an update on our life and then I’m thinking “I mean who reads this anyway? Does it even matter what I post!” haha! My dreams of being a professional blogger are dissolving rapidly 😉 I’m not forcing anyone to read my jibber jabber but I do enjoy writing so here I go again.

“This is my wife Katharyn…..”

Wait? What? I mean “Howdy! Nice to meet you.”

That was how Jason introduced me to the first person we met here in Lindale. (where is the laughing-crying emoticon when you need it) I know that IS my name but outside of close friends or family using it as sort of my pet nickname, I have not been called Katharyn since Elementary school,….. when, I was too shy and embarrassed to inform my class that I actually go by Katie not Katharyn.

Katharyn of Lindale y’all! 🙂 We are here!!!! Oh it is good to be in our home. Everything about this move was SURPRISING. Nothing really went they way we thought it was going to and it just testifies God’s sovereign will. One day I hope to tell more thoughts and details but that will have to wait.

Can I just tell you that we are relishing in this country life. Jumped in with both feet and boots on. Oh I wish I had thought to make a cute picture of all 5 of our muddied up boots! Oh well.

Truth is the first week after our closing I had quite a melt down. (as if that’s new! 😉 ) All the things I knew that were about to take place, new school, new church, new friends, (new name??? hehe, not really) came full force to stare me in the face and say “Are you SURE you want to do this?!” I SOBBED as I spent the last few nights with my cousin Nicole wondering “Are we about to ruin our life?!?!” I’m such a melodramatic. I mean come on! This was when I needed a swift kick in the rear that told me “Suck it up buttercup!” And the Lord was quick to remind me that in every weak area of my life was an opportunity for his presence and power to be made known. I was feeling fearful, anxious, doubtful, overwhelmed and depressed. And God tenderly took me and said “Trust me. Believe me.” Often times that’s right where he wants us. Broken down to become fully surrendered to him so that HE is glorified. I read a blog from John Piper that was the best segue for a new year. I encourage you to read it if you feel prompted. Don’t Waste Your Weakness in 2014

As I write this post that song from Sidewalk Prophets is playing in my head.
Make me empty
So I can be filled
Cause I’m still holding
Onto my will
And I’m completed
When you are with me
Make me empty

Till You are my one desire
Till You are my one true love
Till You are my breath, my everything
Lord, please keep making me

Make me lonely
So I can be Yours
Till I want no one
More than You, Lord
Cause in the darkness
I know You will hold me
Make me lonely

It’s a beautiful song but it’s a much easier to sing than to really mean. Being broken and empty and alone is a tough place for anyone to be. We all have different things in life that take us to that place and I know personally when God takes me to a “dark” place, I’m initially gritting my teeth and digging in my heels. It’s in our broken down humbled state that we find such closeness with God and there isn’t anything sweeter than that. Thank goodness the Lord is so patient and faithful.

So we are trying to get settled in to this new lifestyle. We have big aspirations for how we want to use this property that the Lord has entrusted to us. I mean I have SO MANY ideas!!! And my personality wants to do it all NOW! Once again I am trying to develop patience and believe in God’s sovereign timing. So we are hard at work, taking one thing at a time. Or 4 little fluffy things at a time……
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Meet Peck. He’s one of our first additions to what we soon hope will be a little mini farm.IMG_1022
Here’s Chippy. How cute are they?
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The whole gang. The other two the girls let their cousins name. They chose Penny for the black one who is definitely a hen and Abney for the gray one. We will know what the rest are when they start “crowing” or not. Around 18 weeks the hens will start laying eggs. We will see how the whole egg consumption goes and decide whether or not to get more. The thought of having chickens of our own giving us eggs is so exciting!

As I type Jason and his dad are building a fence for our property. Hopefully in the near future we wont have to rely on our neighbors cows visiting and we can have our own herd. Yeah that’s right. One rainy afternoon I looked out our back door and their were several of our neighbors cows just helping themselves to a few snacks.
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This is the kind of thing that gets me so tickled over living here. I just love it!

Some of my other favorite things…..
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#KatharynofLindale 😉
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Soon it’ll be “I’ll take you for a ride on my big green tractor…” IMG_1276IMG_1277
I know I really need to get my good camera out. The quality of these photos are subpar. IMG_1148
We seriously only come inside to sleep.
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Now I had to post this. We have enough land that if we aren’t using a 4 wheeler to get from one side to the other we’re in the truck. So my first time trying out the 4 wheel drive one evening and this happens. Seriously, I’m living a country song. You get pretty close to your neighbors when you’re calling to be pulled out of a mudhole in your own backyard. Lesson #437 Just laugh.
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Completely normal Saturday morning.
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Figured while I’m at it here’s an updated picture of the kiddos. They are just getting so big. This was before we went skating for Micaila’s 7th birthday.

I really hope I can be more consistent again with blogging. I miss it! But right now God has been working on my heart about being more present with my family and the people around me. I am easily distracted by many things. But I am at that place again where I’m asking God “Ok you made me this way, how do you want to use me? Where do you want me investing time, energy, resources ect?” I always appreciate the encouragement that I receive in regards to my blog. I don’t know everyone who keeps up with this but when I get those encouraging messages I do feel a sense that God gave me the gift and love for writing and maybe he wants to use that gift in this blog to bring him glory. That is all I want this blog to do. Point others to him. Trying to take this opportunity of “new-ness” and allow the Spirit to reveal where he wants me to be.