Don’t Screech over Spilled Pediasure

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That is good in theory, however…

The past few weeks have been more than hard.

Ray’s mom has gotten very unsure of herself and her ability to be alone. One of the children stay over every night or she stays here…and she camps out in the pink chair and folds clothes, bless her heart.

Not really sure what happened, we are thinking mini strokes, but, at 89 she has decided against having a cat scan to tell for sure. Her blood work came out fine.  She no longer drives, cooks, or cleans, but she still is able to do self-care tasks. Ray’s brother, Rudy came in for a visit since things have changed so rapidly and so dramatically.

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Needless to say, my chore list has grown a notch, now counting out pills for “yaya”, making sure she is hydrated, keeping the bathroom empty of Benjamin showering constantly and the floors clear of residue from the children so she doesn’t trip…and  I am more home bound than ever. I tried to leave her with the kids and the sitter once in the past two weeks, but she felt too insecure…that is my next plan, get her able to stay with the sitter.

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While all of this is happening, pruning is happening once again. Remember about a year and a half ago, we had to stop leading our 4-H group because Eli was in the hospital during sign-ups we could not go to the mandatory meetings and one thing after another shut the doors of that activity…

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Well once again, through really no fault of our own we have to get rid of most of our herd. We just cannot do it anymore. Ray is working 80 plus hours a week, with all of our special children and now “Yaya”.

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 I can not and have not for about a year and a half taken charge of the medical health of the cows and calves… and something poisoned some of them over the last week, we think it was either a fungus or some kind of weed in their hay…we had some very sick and dying cows and lots of tears from our daughter who loves them so much. There was nothing we could do, so the funnel grew narrower… 

I have found that you can fight God’s direction, but if you are sincerely praying for God to direct your steps…you should not fight a nudge or shove from the rod of the Shepherd… 

So, Shyloh and I are picking a few to keep, four or five and letting the rest go… how does one choose??

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Ouch, there goes another branch. Now all that is left is our family and our business, no 4-H, no dairy herd, no church… I am feeling quite bald here.

God give us strength… my prayer has been, “help me, give me strength…” and again…”help me, give me strength…”

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Today I had a breakdown from all of the pressure: Eli has been a typical toddler pill; into everything, climbing everywhere and his new trick…unscrewing caps..and opening the refrigerator. I was feeding Josiah when I see a little imp running with a square bottle, orange liquid sloshing out of it… oh stink… yep pediasure, do you know how sticky that stuff is??

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I lost it; yep I did… I took the almost empty bottle from his hands. Sobbing and crying I grabbed towels and sopped up the tacky liquid from the cracks in the hardwood floor, muttering and crying…the poor  child thought I had lost my mind… and maybe I did for a second…”help me, give me strength…” and I took Eli to bed and told him to stay there, I had him so confused, he did…

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Gathering the remnants of my brain back together, I took a break, edited some pictures and wrote this blog…now onward!!

DSCN1950And I did not even tell you about the week where Ian got shot by a bee bee in the chin and they would not take it out in the office and he needed surgery. And after me being gone two days, Benjamin reverted for two weeks and smeared his poop and peed everywhere…nope did not even tell you that… so, pray with me…

“God help me, give me strength…”

John 15:2

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

– King James Bible “Authorized Version”, Cambridge Edition

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Trees on FIRE

Trees on FIRE

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The glow feeds your soul; somewhere deep inside resonates like a tuning fork.

In the sunshine, the colors burst on your senses; almost to the point of taste…it is so bright that sometimes you have to squint and it still glows behind closed lids.

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After the rain, the colors dampen and the tone is deep.

Xanthophylls, there to help the chlorophyll absorb more of the light spectrum; only seen when the more dominant color dies… Flames;

Yellow, brown, red, orange, light green; on deep brown and black trunks;

Resonating.

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To think that this beauty reflects just a small portion of God’s creation

Can you hear it? Can you smell it? Can you taste it?

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Sometimes, dominant traits in us must die, so that the underlying beauty shines through…

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Galatians 2:20 ESV

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me

Psalms 98:8 – Let the floods clap [their] hands: let the hills be joyful together

Isaiah 55:12 – For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap [their] hands

I think they are CLAPPING!!

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Fair Days 2013

Fair Days

Daddy Clipping

Daddy Clipping

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The washing, the clipping, the loading, the picnic 🙂  Nice annual tradition of preparing our animals for the county fair, having a cookout sendoff, and loading them up! This is the first year that I did not even see the veal calf after it left the nursery in the cellar. We have an area in our ground floor basement for our newborn calves. We used to keep them outside in pens or in the barn, but had so many respiratory deaths, that the best place we could find was close to MOMMA as in, ME.

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We have not had one respiratory death since. So, although it is unconventional, it is very worth it.

strawberry blonde; underwear and barn boots; backyard ball

strawberry blonde; underwear and barn boots; backyard ball

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Normally, I am very involved with the children’s 4-H projects, but this year getting outside has been a strain to say the least. The compounding issues that I have not even written about much are : Screaming Mazie (she has taken a turn for the worse in her behavior and I have had to parent her just as if she was two years old and she is eight); Benjamin imitating Mazie along with my continuous vigilance to make sure he is in a safe location; Eli, don’t say much about him, but I have to watch him when he sleeps so Benjamin does not climb into the crib with him(Benjamin is not being mean, but just for a sleeping buddy, or to wake him since he misses him when he sleeps); Ian, now Ian is big, but he has been very edgy with being fifteen and everything gets on his nerves. If he is home, I have to make sure he keeps himself under control and does not lose his cool with the younger kids; Faith in combo with Mazie has been hard…they have been bickering like cats and dogs(since Mazie is screaming all the time, she gets on Faith’s last nerve and they get into it)

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rabbit show

rabbit show

So for all the above reasons, I have been pretty confined to the house. But, as with all things, this is just a small snapshot in time, and this soon will pass as my Gram used to say.  I must say, the veal calf looked too lean. I think there were some missed feedings there… or they had not increased the feed amounts enough over time. Usually I check the calf and if it starts to grow and look a bit lean, we increase the milk volume to match. There was a definite disconnect somewhere; his frame is nice, but that nice fat cover, just does not exist. Oh well, it is not that important. Diligence and attention to detail is the difference between a winner and a calf that just is so, so.

Spaz the Banty Rooster

Spaz the Banty Rooster

The heifer calves look nice, but it looks like they did not keep up with their bedding as well as could have been done… a few stains here and there. Unfortunately, I also forgot to tattoo one heifer. We know who she is with her metal ear tag, but that will get remedied as soon as she gets off the truck when we bring her home. And last, I did not get the paperwork done to register them. That costs about twenty dollars a calf or so, and I honestly did not have the extra money yet, but I will… So, it is what it is and Shyloh and Faith are very excited to at least participate this year. Last year was the swine flu at the fairs and we stayed home.

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They also took two molting rabbits. They are their pets and they love them, but they are not competitive and we all know it. But hey, love is love 🙂  And to them, their rabbits are maavaalous !! So, two days are complete, the animals were delivered, the rabbit show is concluded…and tomorrow they have two skillathon/stockman’s tests and the Dairy club milkshake sale, Tuesday the dairy show, Wednesday the veal show, Thursday the livestock auction and Friday and Saturday are mellow days but we still have to go up and feed/bed/scrub animals so they look great for fairgoers to pet and see. Our Brown Swiss babies are always an attraction in the Black and White or Red and White Holstein heavy fair barn…pictures there soon to follow!

decorating the dairy barn

decorating the dairy barn

Did I mention? Everybody needs a Josiah.

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Game Over

I was getting too comfortable.

She broke her chain, about a year old calf…in the yard. I walked right up to her and put out my hand, she is very tame and licks my knuckles as she give a tentative push with her head, knocking me off balance… something changes in the blink of an eye.

Back of a Swiss :)

Back of a Swiss 🙂

She charges me. I stuff my fingers up her nostrils as far as I can and grab her nose and twist her head around… She comes again and again… I get the high ground and plant myself behind the apple tree, directly on the other side of the trunk and grab a switch and slice it across her nose.

Game over.

What was I thinking? I know to always have a club or some other weapon when dealing with loose stock! But she was young, and I knew she was tame…and I let my guard down.

Baby calf eye

Baby calf eye

Wow, I could have been my four year old. Somehow we all live with everyday danger and  become immune to what could happen. And before we know it , it is no longer a game, or playing footsie…it is real live danger and there is only one winner.

Immediately after this happened, my spirit knew this was an object lesson of how sin works…looks tame, safe, and “don’t worry, no one will be hurt.” You don’t need to go back and get your beating club…

So without any weapons, and vulnerable, we approach situations that are dangerous….And then…WHAM…

Before sin has you on your back, don’t approach it, don’t lose your wariness or fear of it. Have your weapons ready!!

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Tractor Time

 TRACTOR TIME

So later in the day… Levi comes home from work and finds Mystic again….(that dumb old cow)

In his words: “I spotted a cow stuck in the middle of the crick. I went to try to move her myself. And…I did not move her. She was impossible to move. So, I went and got Micah, and I realized we needed a third person to pull on her head…so I got IAN…

Whenever we rolled the cow over we realized her whole left front leg was sunk straight down in the mud. So…. We pushed and lifted legs then we realized her back legs were both stuck…we unstuck her legs three or four times so…. Tractor time….

Put a halter on her chains and hooked her head to the tractor…and we rolled her on her side then drug her outta there…

Then as soon as we got her out of the swamp she stood straight up! And we put her in the pen.”

And now the teamwork mud pictures…the fun stuff

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 …the best part of the day… Ian found SALLY…his salamander … In his words

“We just pulled her back leg for the first time and and it went thpppp. We rolled her over and I looked down and my shoe made a puddle in the ground and there was a pink thing squirming around and I picked it up and put it in my pocket…SALLY!!”

Never backwards

And Ray said…I don’t want to get too attached and did not want to even look at her hand. Holding himself aloof, protecting his heart…when he bonds it is strong and forever…baby 721

Can’t blame him…the birth mother wanted to see only three profiles, since we were the fourth to get our information in, we were not chosen to be presented. Maybe I was looking for a coincidence, sometimes I do that, I know…but God said, “no, not this baby…” Pray right now for the birth mother would you?  The baby is to be released today, and she needs to pick now for “HER” . Time is running out and there are families that will love her forever.  This momma has been so brave so far, encourage her in your prayers.

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And while I was waiting on word of the baby…three cows got out into the silage pit and I was in my pj’s at six am chasing cows away from the rabbit hutches. Levi and I got them back in…

Just as everyone left other than Benjamin and Eli and me…a horn honks: “there is a cow upside down on the hill struggling to get up.” Enough already, spring fever!! Spring heats bring crazy cow syndrome. The younger cows pushed this older cow upside down in the mud. Baby was in bed, Ben was OK so out I went, Shyloh’s boots, orange rain coat…and a phone. It doesn’t take long, their stomachs fill full of air and they suffocate. Calling Ray and I was running down the lane, the two guys who stopped in the water company truck watched me…almost knee deep in mud flipping a thousand pound cow using her body weight, making sure her head stayed up the hill hanging on to her collar for dear life…pinching her nose so she got her bearings. And YES…she LIVES… The guys stayed perched on three blades of grass on the small strip of solid ground asking me, “is there anything I can do?” in their white shirts and clean “barn boots” …

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Then off to walmart for two Benjamin melt downs and yep, I am tired!!

Bit of advice to those of you who wait…do not stop your life, live it to the fullest AS you wait, life ticks on and on and on….never backwards…

A place to call home

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“Why don’t we adopt her,” said Faith after she saw that I was sad and heard me explain about the little baby to be born with no family last week. .. I told her, “I don’t know if we can, but we can at least try.”

 I am not sure if what we will have gathered by 5:00 will be enough, but I just wanted all of you to know. We all have a heart for the family-less children… all of our children want to be that family that welcomes and is a place to call home.

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This same sweet girl took three dollars to the book fair. Along with the two dollars the school gave her, she had five to spend…until she saw Orazio crying, he had forgotten it was book fair day. Miss Faith along with a friend, each gave him a dollar so he could buy the book he wanted. She came home without the book she wanted, but she had another book and a book marker and she was so happy. “It is all I wanted,” she said. Humbles me, and makes me so proud to be her momma.

Time is running out, I will be calling in an hour and a half. Please pray for us and most especially for God to do what he does best: the unexpected!

James 1:27

  King James Version of James 1:27.

 

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

 

  

Be Careful What you Pray for… You Just Might get a CAT !!

Be Careful What you Pray for…You just Might get a CAT !!

Benjamin has had very hard behaviors for a momma to watch. He gets stuck on things and dynamite cannot remove them from his head. If I interrupt one of his cycles, he gets VERY angry. I work hard to redirect him to something more desirable and he either reverts to another behavior I thought we had finished with or he starts something new. At that time, I have to decide if I can live with this new or revised behavior over and over again for a very long time. If the answer is yes, I let it stay. If no, then I try to look for something better with which to replace it.

His new thing was “scripting” he would watch something on video then repeat it over and over again. Acting out all the movements and parts… We could not get through the barrier to actually communicate. Our communication was basically repeating… “ a clue, a clue”.

At night, I would put him to bed, and put my hand on his head after he fell asleep. I pray over him as he sleeps, “please God, heal his mind. Give me wisdom. Help me to know what to do tomorrow.” There is no way he actually lets you tuck him in when he is awake, he doesn’t like you to touch his blankets or rearrange his things. He says, “no, Thomas. No, pig. No, dog. No touch it.”

So last week, in came “CAT.” I guess I prayed for her and didn’t know it. (Figures it would be a female 🙂 ) .

We have a balcony off the kitchen about eight feet off of the ground. We have lived here for fifteen years with many, many cats. Ours, the drop offs, the neighbor’s… (We live on a farm and of course a farm needs more… CATS, at least everyone thinks we do). Never has a cat scaled the 6×6 posts or the cement cellar wall to gain access to the balcony, except for “CAT.”

I opened the door last week and there she was…Ben saw her first scooped her up and started a conversation about cat… with cat … An actual conversation… to me about cat… full sentences, expression !! Smearing that cat’s fur all over his face and body, rubbing his cheeks on her back, how could I say NO?

So be careful, when you pray for wisdom, healing, God to direct, you just might get a CAT!!

 

What we did Fair Week

Setting UP

Perfect Size!!

Odd use for a Swing set, but it works!

Mazie was the first at her post, and the first to tire out!

The rest of the crew join in. First they complain, they they begin to plan when we are

going to eat them…I promised them next year I am buying a scalder so the temperature

is better and the feathers pull easier. We love our home grown chicken!!

Love over Glory

Love over Glory

The animals have arrived, the weights are in. Today the dairy barn will be populated, at the fair…minus our family.

It takes a while to acknowledge that when one of the family members is special, the whole family is special.

Another local fair had eleven cases of swine flu, H1N3, a single mutation from the feared H1N1 flu transmitted by swine. The current reports are that it is only transmittable from pigs to humans at this time, but the CDC is unsure if human to human transmission has occurred yet. Whether or not it has up to this time is really irrelevant, they expect that to happen at any time

Most of the project pigs are purchased at a few club pig auctions in the area. Many of the local counties go to the same auctions. The probability of a pig from our county being purchased at the same auction as the pigs carrying the H1N3 is probable. The warnings are to not pet the pigs…I can warn the children, but I expect disobedience from at least one. Friends saying, “come and see my pig!” to at least one of our kids is great…Also, to say don’t hang around the kids who have project pigs is like saying put yourself in a bubble. There are 120 pigs shown every year at our fair.

Eli. That’s all I have to say is Eli. Just the thought of it makes me sick to the stomach and want to cry. We know the flu season is just around the corner. We know that the probability of him becoming infected with some type of respiratory flu is inevitable. But, to knowingly present that possible risk to him is unconscionable. For what? A few ribbons?

So this year we are home. Ian took it well. Shyloh was disappointed and even more disappointed, was Faith. But as we spoke to the children last week, they looked at their little helpless baby brother, completely at our mercy as far as our choice. At the end of the day, we all have to live with the choices we make. And for the children, I love them so much, they chose love over glory. Love won the day. A few moments of tears, but resignation and support for our decision was their overriding response.

I love our children and I am SO PROUD to be called their momma.