Monday, May 23, 2016

Free Summer Activities

Kids Bowl Free Registered Kids Receive 2 FREE GAMES Of Bowling Every Day All Summer Long, Valued At Over $500 Per Child!

Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse Prepurchase movie tickets 10 for $5 (50 cents per movie)

Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program Step 1. Fill out the Summer Reading Triathlon Reading Journal (PDF). En EspaƱol (PDF).Step 2. Bring the completed Reading Journal to your local B&N store. Find a Store.Step 3. Choose a FREE BOOK from our selection on the Reading Journal list at the store... Enjoy reading!

Be sure to also check out your local libraries, community offerings, hardware, and craft stores for other ideas.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Article: Influence in Childhood

"The heavenly Father wants to free you from any negative trends that took root early in life. He can break any unhealthy pattern and replace it with hope and deep satisfaction in Him.

As you explore the effects of childhood experiences, pray to see through a lens of truth. When you recognize ways that others negatively influenced you, pray for strength to forgive and God's help in mending areas of brokenness--whether spiritual, emotional, relational, or mental." Read the rest here

Friday, May 20, 2016

Show Me That From Over There

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Ever since Brandon shoved a snake in my face 17 years ago, I've always found an excited child running towards me with an outstretched fist saying, "MOM! LOOK WHAT I'VE FOUND!!!!" a bit alarming. Thankfully, this time, it was only a green tree frog Amanda found.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Multi-tasking on the Farm

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We are clearing out the next area for our pasture. This was one of my favorite areas to walk, and I already miss the view of the beautiful trees. As we clear it, we are getting firewood and building up an area to get our hogs on higher ground in case of flood. We are also building up a natural barrier to help keep our livestock in should they get out of the fence. The woodsplitter makes a pile of bark which will be used in the garden and to build up mud puddles in the yard. Nothing goes to waste. We will be planting twice as many trees to replace the ones we cut so there will be firewood in 15-20 years. Some of the tree stumps will coppice next year which will also let us have firewood later. We kept the children's favorite trees because this is their farm too and happy memories are important. All six of the children living at home have climbed on the felled trees. The music of their laughter as they explore and play with one another has been delightful!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Why Look Forward to the Rapture

How can we encourage each other about the rapture if there’s a big judgment coming right after it? Read the answer here.

We are still alive because
    the Lord’s faithful love never ends.
Every morning he shows it in new ways!
    You are so very true and loyal!

Lamentations 3:22-23

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Make the Change

When someone is pregnant, she is not “expecting a child” – she already has one. She is not “going to be a mother” – she already is a mother. The baby is not “onthe way,” the baby has already arrived. If we are going to change the way society treats unborn children, we have to change the way we talk about them. -Frank Pavone, 7/7/12

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Are You Worried You Will Miss God's Leading?

Psalm 56:8 Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll--are they not in your record.

Psalm 139:3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

Luke 12:6-7 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Deuteronomy 31:8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

When my children were infants, people would start to guess what was wrong when they cried. "She's hungry! He wants a blanket! He has to be teething!" They were usually wrong. However, as fallible as I am, I often KNEW exactly what my babies wanted because I watched over them all of the time. I knew if they had slept well the night before, or if they had not eaten well at the last meal. I knew if they had a favorite toy that was missing or if they disliked bright flourescent lights in stores. I knew what my babies needed because I paid attention to the things in their day to day life.

I love the verses I shared above because they show us how very intimate God's love for us it. He cares about the details in our lives even something seemingly insignificant and ever changing as the number of hairs on our head. 

I use to worry that I'd miss God's leading until I realized that He knows exactly how to speak to my heart and lead me in the right direction because He not only made me but watches over me so closely. I am not going to miss His leading or misunderstand which way to turn because He will make sure I won't. He knows me. He knows what I need. Fear and confusion might be around me, but it isn't around the One Who loves me and is leading me. All I have to do is keep my mind soaking in His Word so I will recognize Him and His ways while I keep my heart willing to obey. Because I know He pays attention to the details of my life, I trust in His ability to lead me to what is best for me.

James 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Psalms 143:8 Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Today I Choose

Sarah, Rebecca, Josiah, Angel Noel, Abigail, Benjamin, Mary, Isaac, and Jonathan

Faith is not a magic pill that removes our pain. Faith is what helps us bear it. Today, I choose to be thankful for the babies God made known to me and my family. I choose to rejoice as a person who truly believes God's promises will come to fruition. Choosing to honor God with my attitude, thoughts, and words does not mean I have stopped loving or love less. It means I've taken God at His Word. I believe He has a plan and what He allows is for my good and His glory. I believe there is life and a future for the babies who died in my womb. It means He has given me, and I have readily grasped ahold of, some of His strength so I can keep doing the job He has called me to do.  

Today is the day I remember my precious nine, celebrate their short lives, and thank my Father that this is not how the story ends. 

Psalm 30:11 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Unless He Himself Give Me the Song

"Any man can sing in the day. When the cup is full, man draws inspiration from it. When wealth rolls in abundance around him, any man can praise the God who gives a plenteous harvest… The difficulty is for music to swell forth when no wind is stirring. It is easy to sing when we can read the notes by daylight; but he is skillful who sings when there is not a ray of light to read by—who sings from the heart… Lay me upon the bed of languishing, and how shall I then chant God's high praises, unless He Himself give me the song? No, it is not in man's power to sing when all is adverse, unless an altar-coal shall touch his lip… Then, since our Maker gives 'songs in the night,' let us wait upon Him for the music" – Charles Spurgeon

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Quote on Family Planning

"Family planning is the mother of abortion. A generation had to be indoctrinated in the ideal of planning children around personal convenience before abortion could become popular. We Christians raise an outcry against abortion today, & rightly so. But THE REASON WE HAVE TO FIGHT THOSE BATTLES TODAY IS BECAUSE WE LOST THEM 30 YEARS AGO. Once couples began to look upon children as creatures of their own making, who they could plan into their lives as they chose or not, all reverence for human life was lost. Children as God's gifts whom we humbly receive are one thing; children as articles of our own manufacturing are another. You can do anything you like with what you yourself have made." ~Mary Pride

There is a tremendous difference between stewardship of "God's" and "mine." 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Quick Breakfast Ideas

Keeping breakfasts quick and simple is one way I save myself time and frustration on busy mornings. Many of these ideas are very adaptable to use whatever you have on hand or to change to your family's tastes and preferences. Many of these can be made ahead of time to keep mornings easier.

Here are some breakfast meals I incorporate into our routines:

  • Eggs, fruit, and toast 75% of our breakfasts include eggs and lots of them. I buy the 15 dozen boxes of eggs from Sam's Club.
  • Crock pot oatmeal cooks overnight-many different variations of this online
  • Breakfast casseroles I buy the 50# box of potatoes and shred my own hashbrowns in under three minutes with this powerful food processor. I make more than one casserole at a time so I can keep put one or two in my freezer for later. I get up to turn it on in the middle of the night if in the crock pot, or thaw it the day before and cook it in the oven first thing in the morning. Our family likes the Mexican version.
  • Hot ham and cheese sandwiches, or sausage patty and cheese, or egg, etc.
  • Breakfast tortilla pizzas many variations, quick if prep work is done the night before
  • Egg muffin cups 
  • Peanut butter on toast served with fresh fruit
  • Grits
  • Pumpkin or Sweet Potato pancakes/waffles precooked and ready to heat and serve
  • Fruit Smoothies with whey protein
  • Breakfast tortilla wraps roll up your favorite foods in a tortilla
  • Breakfast muffins cooked ahead of time makes it quick and easy
  • Yogurt with fruit (make your own in a crock pot or cooler far cheaper)
  • Sausage gravy over canned biscuits I admit this is not my idea of healthy, but we only make it a couple of times a year. This is super fast and easy for those hectic mornings when nothing has gone well, nothing is prepared ahead of time, and your time and patience are limited. I add 2 pounds of frozen pre-cooked Jimmy Dean Sausage to satisfy our children longer.
We cook bacon in cookie trays in the oven. It works great!

One thing our family really enjoys is having a "Big Breakfast." I make all of the traditional breakfast foods on Saturday. Sunday morning, we heat it up and invite everyone to come join us for a buffet style meal. The rest of the week, we finish up what is left over. I only mess up the kitchen once and we have a nice morning meal followed by very quick to serve meals later in the week. Our children request this quite often.

Note: A better sized slow cooker for a large family is a Nesco Classic Oven. This is similar to the one I use.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Goose Babysitting

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I have five sitting Toulouse geese with one gander. It was a surprise to me since I thought I had two ganders! This goose left to parent the goslings who are wandering around with the gander. She had four hatch. I've already sold two. The other sister geese took her five eggs into their nests so she could keep up with her toddlers with the gander!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Long Time Dream Come True

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When I was in my early 20s, I'd get the hatchery catalogs and dream of what I'd like to raise. Eventually, we moved to our farm. In 1995, I still couldn't afford the Sebastopol geese. Last year, I asked myself what was I waiting for? Bethany had just asked for swans, and we told her it was far too expensive for us to have them. (We'd have to put in a 1-2 acre pond and fence it for their safety.) I showed Bethany pictures and asked her if the Sebastopol were close enough. She said yes and was delighted by their curly feathers!

I sold off some extra birds to raise the money to buy three pair of them. I lost two of the goslings during a freak thing that happened in the brooder. I had no idea what genders we had left. Three female with one male, two pair, or three males with one female? I see now that we have two pair. Two geese are sitting on a clutch of eggs. The ganders are guarding over them. I wish I could include sound in this picture because it was very, very noisy!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Sometimes Mom Gets Mothered!

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Years ago, prayed that if glass from something broken was on the floor for my feet to find it and not the children's. That was not a wise prayer. One, I had no idea how many children I'd have when I prayed that. Two, I had no idea how much stuff seven children would break! Three, I should have prayed the vacuum found it!

I had a tiny piece of glass in my foot for FIVE days. I could not get it out. I soaked my foot hoping the salt would pull it out, but it didn't. Amanda found out about the glass when I was limping. She ordered me to, "Sit! Then, she tried her best to remove it for me. I love how she loves me!


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Clean Hog Auto Waterer

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This is how we made our automatic pig waterer for our American Guinea Hogs. If you have swine, you know they push over anything they can, and this makes it hard to give them clean water. We took two 55 gallon barrels that cost $10 each. Clint drilled a hole and then used a 1/2" tap to put threads in the barrel. We have 110 gallons of clean water available for them all of the time. We will soon hook this up to a gutter on our barn that will top the barrels off when it rains. This can be modified to make sheep and goat waterers also. I've seen a few online saying they use them for cows and horses. It is important especially in hot weather to make sure the animals know how to get the water before you take their original water source away. We had one pig who took to it instantly, and our others learned within a day from watching him.

Friday, April 22, 2016

He Made Me Look at That Shirt All Day

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I went to Brandon's to help him do some yard work. As I was watching him use the chainsaw, I reflected on how much he moves and works like Clint does. I also wondered where the time went. Twenty four years ago, my heartfelt prayers were answered and I was waiting to be a mama. Blink! He's a grown man working in an excellent job and working on his very own home with 3 acres.

I use to look at mothers who had grown children and my heart would seize up knowing my children would grow up too. As I expected, I miss what was, but NOW is just as beautiful in its own way. I honestly would not go back to an earlier time in my life. Enjoy each season for all it's worth while it is here for they all pass very quickly.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

My Little Joys Return-Barn Swallows

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They flew high circling wherever I was in the yard when they returned last week.
They do this every year since I helped Chip survive. If I go outside, I soon see them chirping over me. If I sit on the deck, they usually come to sit on the line for a little while and chirp, chirp, chirp at me. They are already building a nest under the awning which we moved from the house to a building. They successfully raised two nests there last year.

Monday, April 18, 2016

A Time to Be Silent

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Hannah learned to ride her bike!

I saw she was making progress so I quieted myself from reminding her to put on her helmet...and she rode it!! If I had interrupted her progress and personal boost in confidence with my worries for her safety, would it have thrown her off and kept her from reaching a goal she wanted?

Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 7 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven--A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Young Guns for God's Glory

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Joshua, 16, and Caleb, 14

We grow them big and strong on the farm!

Strength is a gift from God which enables us to help the weak. I hope they always see their abilities as a gift God gives that allows them to help others.

 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well.  If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. Romans 12:6-8

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Looking for Daffodil Bulbs?

Brent and Becky's offers a beautiful catalog with so many choices! I highly recommend them!

Joshua is Driving

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Joshua finished the classroom portion a few months ago and is driving with Clint beside him in our homeschooled Driver's Ed. We use a very rigorous and lengthy state approved program with parental additions. Please say a prayer for their safety. Thank you!

Monday, April 04, 2016

Labor On!

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My three sons worked together without words to clear Brandon's back yard. I am so thankful to the Lord for leading me to homeschool and have a large family. I am so thankful He provided strength, as promised when called upon, to persist so I could see this fruit of my labor! Even though I am in the middle of the job, there are blessings in every day now. It encourages me to "Labor On!" and finish this race. There is much to do still, but I glimpse a bit more where we the Shepherd is leading His sheep. It is good; it is very good!

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Dog Bark Controller

I bought one of these. It works consistently with the dogs that have deeper barks. It does not seem to work as well with dogs who have a higher pitched bark. I have several dogs that live outside. When a chicken or cat walk by, one of them will set to barking which gets all of them barking. This has been helpful in training them not to bark every time something goes by their area. According to the comments, a lot of people are buying these to stop their neighbor's dogs from barking!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Our Little Pony Rumble

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He is waiting for her to come down and pet him.

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Every time Joshua walks by, he stops to pet the pony.

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Carrots are disappearing from the fridge at an alarming rate!

Horses become such a big part of the family. When we saw Hot Shot wasn't going to be around much longer, we wanted to soften the blow to the children as much as we could. So, we found this little guy in November. You might have seen him in some of the pictures or remember the Because It Fit? post. Yes, we brought him home in the back of our suburban with lots of tarps and some straw. 

Since Emily and Hannah have loved the My Little Pony toys, we named our miniature pony, Rumble, after one of those characters. Rumble has worked his way into all of our hearts already. He is an affectionate and fun little guy who likes to be a part of whatever we are doing. He is only two years old so he should be here with us for a long time to come.

Amanda is really pushing for us to find a mare for him. Will she get what she wants? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Goodbye Hot Shot

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After battling illnesses over the winter, we had to say goodbye to our long time farm buddy, Hot Shot. He was very old and had lived a good, long life. We are very thankful God provided Him as a birthday present for Amanda. I can remember her sitting on him backwards getting her homeschool assignments done and keeping him company. This simple pony gave our family a lot of joy. We will miss having his presence on our farm but are so thankful God allowed us to know him.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Praise Report

Clint is almost pain free this morning. This is a reason to rejoice and give thanks! There are more details I can't share just yet. I am hoping I will be free to share openly and in detail eventually. Please continue to pray. 

Feeling Overwhelmed as a Mother?

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Caleb was working outside. He had his thick soled boots on but took them off when he came back inside to measure something. We don't wear shoes inside our house because nine very active people in and out of the house on a farm would make for very unsanitary living conditions. I draw the line at mopping more than twice a week. 

Since he was just going out onto the deck, he felt it was OK to go barefoot. He stepped on this piece of glass someone picked up out of the yard but left on the deck. It was tucked in an out of the way spot which is right where Caleb had to step to get around a board on saw horses! Caleb found it..the hard way! 

In my younger years, I'd internally beat myself up for:
  • not knowing something had been broken
  • not getting it out of the yard before someone else found it
  • not knowing it was on the deck
  • not knowing Caleb was barefoot
  • Caleb having cut his foot
I am a Christian who seeks the Lord for wisdom and guidance daily. I try very hard to keep everyone safe, healthy, and ultimately happy. I say ultimately because discipline and correction make children unhappy temporarily. I want to do the very best job Wendy can do in this wife/mothering calling. I am very competitive with SELF. I want to excel for God's glory and my family's benefit! My expectations of myself are set very high..much higher than I would expect of anyone else.

I am also human who is weak and fallible and so much less than what I desire to be. I am outnumbered. There are eight other people who share our home/farm. They are very active all day long. Like their very human mother/wife, they are all weak and fallible people too. They forget instructions, leave things behind, don't think things through, make messes, etc. No matter how hard I try, I will never be able to keep up with every move they make. 

Setting goals and competing with self is a good thing. It keeps us trying to do better. Limitations and failures are a part of reality. I am not going to catch every ball in this super sized juggling act. Sometimes people are going to have to make a sandwich because a meal wasn't cooked. Sometimes they are going to have to clean up a mess I made so I can work on something important no one else can do. Sometimes children don't listen to instruction. Sometimes a barefoot someone is going to get hurt because someone broke glass I didn't know about and didn't see to pick up. I am going to drop some balls.

Beating myself up isn't going to do anything except weigh me down with guilt. Because of the heavy criticism in my early childhood, it took me a long time to learn this important concept: I wouldn't talk to a friend, much less a stranger, like that, so I shouldn't talk to myself like that either. I want to help my best friend succeed, then why not encourage myself in a manner that helps me succeed? You, tired and worn out mother, should do the same! 

My to do list this spring is very long! Even if I don a cape and tiara, I can't do it all! What I can do is seek the Lord minute by minute in the midst of the constant chaos of busy family life. 

I can seek Him to lead me to the most important tasks of the day while keeping the attitude that I am serving Him first by serving my family second. I can acknowledge my weakness and limitations. Then, and only then, I can seek ways to improve my performance within those limitations. 

Be nice to yourselves, mamas. This calling is a big responsibility, and it isn't for sissies! The more people you have to care for and keep up with and the more activities participated in-the harder it gets! To succeed, we have to face some hard facts about ourselves, seek Help, and work to improve within our limitations. Then, we have to trust the Lord to fill in the many gaps and take care of our family. 

Caleb was cut, but it was shallow and closed up within a day. He learned his mother was right about wearing shoes every time he went outside to protect his feet. He learned his whole family is there to help him when he is hurt. I was blessed to witness my children tenderly care for each other. I forgave myself for not seeing it all and not doing it all. I once again accepted my limitations. I tried to improve the situation by discussing with my family the importance of putting broken glass in the trash immediately and how placing it on the deck does not solve the problem. I thanked the Lord for keeping Caleb from cutting himself deeper and asked Him to please keep helping me in my role as a mother.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Let Your Light So Shine

We sing the song "This Little Light of Mine" as children. It's based on verses from Scripture.  It's about living so the world can see Jesus in our lives. When the lamp is "under a bowl," its light is incapable of giving light and then it becomes useless. If we hide our lives or only show off the "glittery parts" of them, how can others see the Light that is working within us? If we don't share, how will they know the blessings of having a personal relationship with Jesus? How will they know how much God is offering them? If we act like our lives are perfect and easy, how can we effectively reach someone who is struggling? 

Are you hiding your light under a bush by keeping it hidden where it is useless and ineffective? Fellow Christian, will you share the life you gave Jesus or will you keep silent? Will love for another motivate you to reach out, or will the fear someone will have thoughts you don't like keep you silent? 

Luke 11:33 No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.

Matthew 5:14-16 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

I Love How They Love Each Other

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Caleb cut his foot. It bled quite a bit, so they called for me. He was sitting on the floor in a hallway when I got to him. Since I didn't know how bad it was, I asked them to help him up thinking they'd lift him from his shoulders to a standing position. Amanda and Joshua picked him up and carried him to the den! I was going to take care of his foot, but they kind of pushed me out of the way and took over caring for their brother. I sat there a little hurt at first. Then I realized: THIS is what I've been working for all of these years. This is the fruit of that labor. It is very good to see! They love each other, work together, and have each other's best interest at heart. I pray they never stop having a servant's heart towards each other. Any mother, who is truly close to the Lord, is going to want and actively encourage her children to get along with each other. One of the ways to honor a mother is to show love to your siblings. This also brings honor and glory to the Father.

Philippians 2:3-5 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

New Barn Walls

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The barn is 30x40. We purchased the roof through Clint's brother. The children and I did the first three rows of the walls ourselves. Clint and the children finished the fourth row. Since he is still battling something, Clint paid for it with an increase in pain for a couple of days. Our goal is to get the barn wrapped and vinyl sided before next winter.

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Amanda was just looking and was hanging on to the cross beam.

Shipping pallets that are rained on cannot be used in the food industry. That is how we obtained free, brand new, hardwood pallets to use for the walls. Clint used a variety of methods to add support and strength to the walls. The results are very sturdy walls!

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Our barn sits on railroad ties that are anchored into the ground. On top of that is salt treated lumber. This shed will eventually house goats and more. We intend to add a second level in the future.

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Monday, March 14, 2016


These images are owned and copyrighted by Wendy Asbell.
This post is basically a re-run of one of our most popular posts with new pictures.

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round guinea fowl egg next to a normal guinea egg

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soft duck egg aka Egg Drop Syndrome
This is usually due to a calcium deficiency or an andenovirus.
This duck carries the andenovirus and will be culled which means "to collect" as in "setting aside something inferior."  Culling on a farm can mean: sold, given away, made as a pet, rendered infertile, or killed.

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double yolked chicken egg
I put it in the incubator, but it was infertile.
People have had double yolked eggs hatch. (see Youtube)

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The two pictures above are of a malformed chicken egg also caused by "Egg Drop Syndrome." My poultry gets a free choice calcium supplement, is on a layer formula, and is fed back nearly all of the egg shells from what they produce and what we buy from the store. We aren't where we can produce enough for our needs and the incubator yet. Our shells are thicker than store bought. This only happened once in one very young hen, so I think it was just because of her young age. First eggs can be smaller and unusual. 

Update 7/27/2015:

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Pictured first is a normal egg where the yolk is clearly visible. The second photo shows a small egg without a yolk. This is called a "fairy egg" among other names. It happens when a bird's reproductive system is out of synch and is mostly seen in new layer or older birds.

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Update 3/14/16: egg assembly line
Learn more about how eggs form here, here, and here. Happy Learning!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Good Day

We had our first "normal" day in a long while today. Clint was able to help with the outdoor project we have been working on this week. His feet hurt, but he was able to work on the ladder for several hours. He says he feels he has improved more from when he went to the doctor on Friday. The children enjoyed having their Dad back, and I was thankful to be able to watch them interact. I will try to post some pictures in a day or two. Thank you again to those who have been faithfully praying for Clint and our family.