Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Living with Coyotes in Gloucester, VA

taken from:


If we follow some basic guidelines we can live with coyotes and minimize problems.

Supervise small children when they are outside.
Consider making your dog or cat an indoor pet if you live in an area that is occupied by coyotes.
Accompany your dog in well-lighted areas at night for comfort walks.
Keep your dog on a leash whenever you take him/her off your own property.
Keep yard clear of overgrown brush to discourage rodents
Improve yard fencing to coyote resistant standards.
Pick fruit when it ripens, and don't leave rotting fruit on the ground.
Eliminate ivy and other thick ground covers, which may attract rats, which can attract coyotes.
Use a tightly secured garbage container
Clean spilled birdseed, fruits and vegetables in gardens

Never feed coyotes or any wild animals.
Don't leave pet food outdoors, especially at night.
Don't allow pets to roam from home unaccompanied.
Don't leave water bowls for pets outdoors.
Don't leave garbage containers open.
Don't attempt to contact or "tame" coyotes

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Contents List and Fencing

Today, I hope to finish handwriting the contents list onto the forms the insurance company gave us. We asked if it could be done another way, and they said it has to be handwritten on the forms they gave us. I should have it finished by the end of the day.

Yesterday, I took a break from all things "fire." Until then, I had been working on something concerning the fire for the better part of each day.

Once Clint gets home from his part time job, we will be working to resolve the fencing issues with the livestock. We have figured out what we will do and have bought some of the things we need to do it with. Now, we just need the time and good weather.

Our sincerest and most frequent prayers are with the Japanese people.

Please continue to pray for Silas Cameron.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Clean Up Complete...and Then Some!

Clint said that as he opened our driveway gate when he got home Friday, he could hear the back up beeping sound. He knew temptation had overcome me. "Wendy is on the bobcat." That's a nice piece of equipment. I had so much fun driving it; I didn't mind going outside in the cold wind to wash off the caked on mud this morning.

Clint didn't expect me to have Boots, our chihuahua, in the cab with me, but I had to do something with her. Boots thought the machine had captured me. She was running around it in circles, jumping in and out of the bucket, and growling and barking at it!! That dog is less than five pounds, but she acts like she weighs 500 lbs. It was risk injuring or killing her, or put her inside with me. Ending my exploration of a fascinating new toy was not an option. :-) Once she was on my lap, she was fine.

I spent about 3-4 hours driving it. Clint clocked the rest of the 18-19 machine hours we put on it. We pulled out and cleared off the large support poles from the barn, cleared the metal laden dirt and leveled the area. We leveled the front and back yards. We cleared off about five acres of land out back which greatly reduces our risk of a brush fire. We still need to clear behind the small barn, but it was too wet to try it with the bobcat. Then, we dug ditches along the driveway, but did not get that finished due to the rain making it too messy. We may rent an excavator to finish the ditches to improve drainage.

I did not understand what Clint was telling me. The $35,000 was additional coverage to the basic plan. Total coverage on the barn is $52,000. That is still not enough to rebuild it as it was. Right now, we are not sure what we will do. We called the mortgage company within 24 hours of the fire, but still have not received the package of information explaining our options from them.

There was more I was going to share, but motherhood calls....Hannah is asking for "Mom-meeee!"


Joshua said it drives like a Star Wars Barc Speeder.
He is actually driving it in this picture.

Clint kissing Emily

Hannah was very intently staring at the bucket on the bobcat.
She would not look up for anything!


Posted by Picasa

Debris Removal

By time the weekend was over, that sweatshirt looked like he had taken it off, thrown in it the muddy ash pile and stomped on it for a few hours.

one of the large support beams for the barn

Amanda wouldn't stop to take a picture because she was having as much fun as her mama was!
She drove it around a little bit and then turned it over to Dad.

Bethany was impressed as Clint lifted the loader.
Don't worry, she was holding on and he was just lifting the bucket up and down.
We let the children satisfy their curiosity before the work began.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 04, 2011

Still More Bits and Pieces

nails as they fell

hinges as they fell

water containers for the livestock
These were much taller!

one of three lawn mowers
Posted by Picasa

More Bits and Pieces

note the charred ground

things we dug out of the ashes

kerosene wick

light on the small barn
note the lightbulb's new shape

We never even gave this building a thought because we were so concerned for the house.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Clean Up



I merely wrote "Farm Bureau Clint," who handles the clean up and rebuild aspect, and told him we were having trouble with the calf getting into the pile. I expected to hear from him within a few days. Within in hours, he had an estimate prepared. We accepted it. Then he called Ann, the adjuster, and she put a check into the computer the same day. The Farm Bureau home office then printed and mailed it. Within 48 hours, we had a check for the clean up in our hands.

We had already removed all of the large pieces ourselves. All that was left to do by time we got the check is in the picture above. My Clint has reserved a bobcat for the weekend to scoop up the metal and glass laden soil.

Me: "Wow, we have so much to go find and replace while the insurance claim is open."
Amanda: "Yeah, but we get to go SHOPPING! SHOPPING, MOM! We'll be SHOPPING!"
Amanda loves to shop; I don't. However, I LOVE spending time with my eldest daughter. There are blessings hidden all through this "disaster." God is so good!

Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Mustard Seed

Through the different subscription services and bookmarks, there are over 250 people regularly reading the blog. We have had over 100,000 recent hits. That's not bad for a blog about a family. Thank you to those who have prayed for us. Thank you to everyone who has called, dropped by or written. We still have e-mail to go through, but I will try to answer each one.

One of Clint's and my constant prayers is that He will use us. "Lord, don't let me/us/our family be a waste to You." We want our time here to count for His glory. So much has happened since we started praying this prayer. Clint and I took a verbal accounting of the events this week.

I can't remember all of the smaller floods that flooded our barn, killed animals or destroyed property, but I do remember Hurricane Isabel flooding our home while I was in the hospital having Bethany. The FEMA agent told us he had been to houses all morning on either side of us. Our house was the first he did not have to declare uninhabitable.

A little while after that, our well collapsed. Many people's did due to the flood, and the wait list for a new well to be dug was LONG! We went 13 weeks without running water in the house.

There was a flood a couple of years ago that nearly flooded the lowest part of our house, but somehow didn't. We took measurements of the exposed floor joists; we have no explanation why water wasn't an inch deep in our home office. Clint had a dream of a wall that was built around that section of the house to keep water out the night before.

Our home has been threatened by fire twice. The first time was like being on a movie set. Every thing seemed surreal. I drove over burning pieces of debris. I thought immediatley after that, "Well, that is probably the scariest experience with fire we will ever have."

Coyotes ripped open our goats and left their young in the amniotic sac on the ground. They plagued our place for weeks until neighborhood hunters finally shot them after I took the pictures door to door.

Clint and I were nearly killed in a head on collision. I had enough time to think "LORD, MY CHILDREN!!!" as a plea for their well being. The truck swerved at the last minute and the driver's body was cooling off when Clint got to him.

A man jumped out in front of our car while we were driving 55 mph. If Clint had gone into oncoming traffic to avoid him, we would have died.

Amanda has sleepwalked out of our home twice. She could have been abducted, injured or killed. God kept her safe. After the second time, we were reported to social services who told us they had to investigate, but found the claims of letting our children play with sharp objects and not giving them medical care invalid. (The person who reported us got in trouble when I reported her for not doing her job. The social worker basically said in a round about way that she knew the claims were bogus but she had to follow them up anyway.)

Brandon walked through our back yard just moments before an illegal hunter shot through it.

I was washing laundry on the back porch when a man popped up at the screen door and said "There are runaways hiding in your barn. We are going to search it. Go inside and stay inside!" I looked across the yard and saw a deputy running with his gun pulled.

A woman jumped seemingly out of no where to in front of our car at a stop light and started doing hex signs at us and calling on satan.

A man we do not personally know will stare strangely at us and will loudly blaspheme God every time he sees us.

Clint was hit by a drunk driver who drove off in October.

I have been nearly hit by a car twice.

We have had family members walk away from us. We had one we had to ask to please leave us alone because he could not show love and had publicly wished harm to come to our family.

We had a lady give us a horse in the fall and then try to steal it back in the spring. Neighbors saw her sitting at the end of our lane calling the horse when we were not home. The horse was seen running in the other direction. We were about to give it back to her because Scripture says if a man tries to steal from you give it to them and add to it. Then God revealed through another person she had run the scam for years and likely would continue. We also found out through another way she had harmed the animal. After much prayer and discussion with godly friends, we gave the horse to someone who took it where she could never find it.

So much has happened. We have so much to rejoice over! We have seen some incredible displays of God's protection, perfect timing and provision. We have literally asked God for needed physical provisions during emergencies only to have Him put it in our hands moments later. Through each thing God has shaped us. Our children are learning such incredible lessons about walking by faith not sight. They have some amazing character traits.

Someone told us it seems like we "breeze" through these things. In the barn fire, we were very afraid for our children and then for our home. Clint and I both had trouble sleeping the first few nights. We have felt very stressed. When the hunters shot through the yard, I didn't stop what I was doing and start praising the Lord. I went outside and got ahold (verbally) of some hunters. Then, I called law enforcement and my husband. AFTER THAT, I praised the Lord. We are not perfect people, but God's grace doesn't require us to be. He loves us just as we are. He does not require the mountain sized faith, but desires only the little speck of faith the size of a mustard seed. That is enough for Him to bestow His protection and provision on our family time and time again.

God is taking care of us and will continue to do so. Please turn your prayers for 17 month old Silas' life and full recovery.

Ephesians 6:10-20 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

The Ponderings of an 11 Year Old

Joshua has been blessed with a photographic memory. It is not a perfect photographic memory, but it is a very good one. This is a blessing during homeschool. I discovered it when I noticed he always seemed to be seeing something when he'd recite his spelling words. "I can see the words. I am reading the letters to you," he said with a shrug.

There are times when his picture-taking and image-storing mind is a difficult thing. Last night, Joshua had a melt down. He told us he had dreamed of the fire four to five times since it happened. He went to the truck with Bethany, Caleb and me, so he saw the fire at it's worst.

Joshua has been thinking about the fire in spiritual terms. "If God tells us all things happen for good to those who love Him, then HOW can THIS be GOOD for US?" he asked Clint and I last night. I told him I had thought about that too. It's a deep question for an 11 year old boy.

We had a very long talk about the ways Clint and I see God working good through the loss of the barn. God was very evident in our lives again. He was our refuge; we called upon His name for help. He is a very present help during times of trouble!! (Psalm 46:1) His protection of our lives and home was amazing and faith building. The children saw us grab them and only them and leave this house, so there is no doubt in their minds what we value the most. We experienced the love and concern of strangers. People have shared how our story has blessed them. While it seems like we lost a lot and it definitely has not been easy, we really lost very little. We have had unique opportunities to share our faith through the loss of the barn. Our material loss may gain spiritual rewards.

Please join us in prayer that God will continue to work through and in our family.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Bits and Pieces

This was the miter saw from my father that we hoped to pass down to Brandon.

Clint saw when this propane tank's top blew off. The side cracked too.
A smaller blue propane tank (blow torch type) split from the top to bottom on one side.
The lawn mower raised up (not off the ground) and then settled when something on that blew.

This cast iron pot fell apart due to the extreme heat.

The metal rings were all we found of the saddles and tack.

Posted by Picasa

Another Load of "Barn" Goes Down the Road

$151 of light iron
Funny, I remember paying quite a bit more for it than that. :-)

We started hauling loads out of here last Wednesday. The insurance agent and the fire investigator cleared us to do it because of the livestock. We had to go through the pile anyway to trigger memories and get pictures to document our possessions. We didn't think it was good for our children to have to stare at the pile day after day. We also wanted the barn debris to be recycled into something useful and not fill up a landfill. We told the teens they could have the money for the metal. They have made nearly $1,000 on 6 loads with a few more to go. There is also a very large pile of copper and aluminum that will fetch them quite a bit.

We let the five oldest children help pick through the ashes after it had cooled enough. For the middle children, it turned something traumatic into something exciting! They enjoyed making "finds." Everything Caleb pulled up was his favorite this or that!

Amanda looked on the internet to see what temperatures are required to burn different things. We found melted aluminum, copper and glass, including aquarium glass. Clint's 18' extension ladder was just globs of aluminum rained down from where it hung in the rafters. The smaller ladders melted into large puddles.

We knew the insurance company would pay to have it cleaned up, but we were surprise to learn the little bit of work we have done was worth $3500. We are going to give Brandon and Amanda $500 to thank them for their help since they are going to do the last few loads alone. We'll have to hire a bobcat to scoop up the ashes laden with nails, screws, etc, but we'll have some left over for the savings account.

Someone's stupid actions put my children in very real danger of losing their lives. I've really struggled with anger, but by God's grace, I am letting it go and leaving it to Him. I can feel Him continuously working on my heart.

Posted by Picasa