We Thank You, Our Provider

.. for the leaves that dangle from the autumn trees …

We thank You, Our Provider,
F0r the food we eat,
For the clothes we wear,
For the sun and the moon
And the grass everywhere.
For the leaves that dangle
On the autumn trees,
For the summer that has passed
With its exasperating bees,
And for the wonderful deeds
You have done this year.

We thank You, Our Provider,
For the things we dislike:
For the blizzards and the hailstorms,
The snow and the ice.
For trials and temptations,
For discomfort and pain;
Just help us to bear them,
And we’ll remember again
All the wonderful deeds.

We thank You, Our Provider,
For brothers brave and sisters sweet,
For mother dear and father wise,
For friends and family alike,
For beds in which we sleep and rise,
For the farm that You have given us,
Along with all our animals.
Thank You for our grassy fields,
For all their nooks and knolls.
Thank You for the wonderful deeds
You have done this year.

I thank You, My Provider,
For ev’ry drop of blood You shed,
On that cruel tree,
For all the shame and misery
You endured for me.
In response to that, O Lord,
To give my life, my soul,
To always live for You, and
Your glory is my goal.
Thank You for redeeming me,
For it has been,
The most wonderful deed
You have done all these years.

~~Poet

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Picture of the Day: Getting Them In

 

Here they are, refusing to get inside.

Farmer decided it was time not just for Calfie but his mama, Venus, to be processed. Big Pig was forced in earlier and was in the front part of the trailer with the divider up.

There was nothing easy about getting those animals in. But, thanks be to God, all three got in and we were able to drive to the meat locker, get them unloaded and filled out the quite extensive “cut sheet.”

Now, we wait about three weeks for them to age then… we dine!

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Picture of the Day: Apple

Farmer let the kids buy a miniature horse. They named her Apple. Comedian is obsessed with learning how to ride now.

I still can’t believe we have a horse. Another thing to add to my “Things I Never Imagined” list.

Hmmm… what might next week bring?

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Pictures of the Day: Animals

Foggy, wet day around here. Not much time being spent outdoors beyond the farmwork that must get done.

Rex, our Anatolian Shepherd farm dog, behind the fence in the first pasture. The three bovine happy to be free to roam…

Ducks…Our little turkey… One of our four little piggies not set to go to market till early next year. Our big pig will head in later this month. And the backyard which is home to all our animals, except Rosy. Rosy is still a barn girl, we think.

Posted in Chickens, Cows, Daily Life, Farming, Pigs | Leave a comment

Picture of the Day: A Gate

 

Oh, hello! We took a super long “break” from updating this site as summer on the homestead is B-U-S-Y! Lord-willing, we will randomly post pictures that capture all we failed to chronicle.

But to begin, we will take it slow and share a picture of the day. Are you ready?

Here it is:

… a pallet gate for next year’s garden.

A simple, smart design at a terrific cost that is functional and “farmy”?

Gotta love it.

Posted in Creative Solutions, Garden, Picture of the Day, Praises | Leave a comment

Rosy, Our Barn Cat

Rosy, our barn cat, is a long, gray, white, and black cat. She is an excellent hunter, and has caught rabbits, moles, mice, birds, and Comedian claims that she’s even killed a small rat!

She can be cute.

Us children pet her and play with her, but it must be understood that Rosy is NOT a pet, just a barn cat. Some of us, (me included), can make her come to us by clapping and calling her name.

Comedian and Athletica hold her by grasping the fur of her back neck. To me, when they do that, it looks dreadful. If you do it the right way, however, it doesn’t hurt her.

Sharpening her claws to be able to climb better…

 

She displays her playful obstinacy by perpetually going in the garden by leaping easily over the fence. She doesn’t even touch the fence while she jumps over it!

Once, Rosy was perched on the barn door’s handle, then pushed her feet off of it to jump up and squeeze through the narrow opening at the top!!! She’s amazing.

So far, we’ve been totally satisfied with her and are not regretting that we got her. I like her a lot, as I’m sure most of us do.

Rosy, our barn cat.

If she would only stop getting into the garden and pooping in it, then she’d be a perfect barn cat!

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R * I * P

I had high hopes for today – lots of plans and an expectation that we would get some boxes checked off on the to-do list.  The early morning was pleasant as I walked Venus and Calfie to the back forty to do a mow job in some 5 foot swamp grass.

I got the cows all set up and was making my way back to the barn when my phone rang.

“Aw, man,” I thought to myself, “… must be the emergency service”. (Hey, a modern Farmer has to have a day job, you know!) I slid my phone out of the back pocket and was glad to see the name ‘Wifey.’

I answered and she said right away, “Did you hear, did you hear?…a pig is dead!”

Gasp.

Ugh!

No!!!

I couldn’t believe it!  No way, what happened?

I quickly made my way to the pig pen and could see the same pig was still lying in the same position he had been in when I had passed him with the cows.  Only this time Poet, Comedian and Dimples were nearby.

He was dead.

How?

I gave a quick visual inspection and could see no wounds indicating a predator.

His body was still flexible and he didn’t smell any worse than normal.  The death must have been within the last few hours.

His mouth was not shut all the way and when I pried it open, I saw a long strand of fatty meat jammed in there.  I pulled it out, and out, and out, and it kept coming….for about 8”.

It had choked him.

“Oh no” I thought “the rattlesnake?”  When Helper killed the rattlesnake last weekend I figured it was a good opportunity for free protein, so I cut it up and gave it to the pigs.  They hadn’t seemed very interested in it.  Did he choke on the rattlesnake?

No, it wasn’t the rattlesnake I realized.  It was a long fatty, piece of chicken.

The night before we had thrown some raw chicken out to the pigs.  We weren’t going to eat it and knew they would like it.  It never crossed our minds that chicken could kill a pig.

Sure enough, he had choked on it.  Poor fella must have just kept jamming it in until….he couldn’t breathe.  Choked to death by poultry.  What a way to go.  What a shame.

What do you do with a dead pig of about 60 lbs? 

I didn’t know whether to try and butcher him, feed him to the chickens or just chuck him in the trash can.

I walked around in a stupor for several minutes, finishing up other chores and seriously bummed.  Homemaker did some internet searches on butchering pigs.

We decided we weren’t ready to properly butcher him for human consumption (plus my wife wasn’t too comfortable with us eating him) and besides, we didn’t know how long he had been dead.

But a dissection seemed a good use of this sad situation, so…

Thanks to our new sharp knives, this dissection was like butter.

I hung him up on the old laundry post and began cutting.

Cool intestines.

Not the day we expected or wanted.

To add insult to injury, Braver was dead too.

Death. A homestead reality.

Comedian’s rabbit that Rosy caught….he named him Braver. Well, he had died overnight too.

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

~Habakkuk 3:17-18

Yes, death is a homestead reality but we will take joy in the God of our salvation.

Posted in Challenges, Cows, Farming, Homesteading, Pigs | Leave a comment

He Was Too Fast For Me (But Not For Rosy!)

Yesterday morning as I made my way to the barn to release the cows, something caught my attention in the garden. I glanced over and there he was….

… that waskly wabbit!

What was he doing in there? Eating my veggies for sure!

I trotted over as quickly as I could and hopped the fence. I wanted to catch this little booger – both to keep him out of the garden and to give him to Comedian. He had caught some rabbits several weeks ago and was trying to raise them for meat; but they escaped when the door was left unclasped and he was left heartbroken.

I tried to corner him but he slipped past me. He was trying to jump out of the garden but the chicken wire fence blocked his escape route and bounced him back in time after time. I tried to catch him and was running around like crazed Old Mr McGregor.

We have all loved The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

But he was too fast for me.

I said to myself, “How did Comedian catch those rabbits?”

Ah…a bucket, of course! I glanced over toward the pond where two buckets stood nearby and ran over to fetch one.

I grabbed the bucket and ran back to the rabbit certain I would find success this time around! But as soon as I would get near him, he would slip by me again and again.

He was too fast for me!

Finally after we both were running around in circles going nowhere, he found the way out (which is almost surely the way he came in) – the gate!

The gate is a section of wire fence and is not covered with chicken wire.

He slipped right through the openings at the bottom, which are small but not small enough to keep a young rabbit out.

“Oh well,” I thought. “Let him go.”

But out of the corner of my eye I sensed Rosy taking off after him around the corner of the barn. I wondered if she would be fast enough to catch him?

I made my way into the barn, passed the cows and opened up the “garage” door at the far east side.

Behold, a rabbit on the ground with Rosy nearby! Had she killed him?

I quickly walked over to pick him up and as I was bending over, vroom….up he sprang and ran off to the wild land that borders our front lawn.

As quick as a momma cow moos when she can’t see her calf, Rosy sprinted off like Flo Jo and snagged the rabbit in a heartbeat. Wow! Impressive work. Sign her up for the Kitty Olympics!

This time she kept the critter in her mouth till I was nearby and plopped him down for me to pick up… which I gladly did!

I told Comedian he could either keep the rabbit or I would slaughter him and feed ‘em to the pigs.

Comedian seemed pretty excited to keep him so looks like he’s giving rabbit raising another go.

He was too fast for me, but not for Rosy!

Rosy, our star

Now, that’s what I call turning a problem into a solution!

The waskly wabbit… caught!

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Don’t Waste Your Farming

Ahhh, the good life longed for.  The rustic rooster crowing you to wake in the morning as you casually stroll out to the sweet country breeze driving you along to effortless chores performed with skill and ease…all to the tune of “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning”.

Shiny Red crowing, summoning his girls.

Children by your side laboring heartily with smiles on their faces….

And Homemaker gently calls out from the inside “Come on in y’all, breakfast is on”.

Life in the country, a taste of heaven.

NOT.

Our now crowing meaties.

This is the real world and nothing goes the way we want, when we want or how we want.  The crowing ain’t so rustic when its 20+ birds starting at 4:30 am!

Get the point?

Several years ago John Piper wrote “Don’t Waste Your Life”. I picked up a copy at Goodwill (you’ll find a lot of them there) and actually read some of it.  Good stuff but I don’t have much time for reading and tend to fall asleep when I do.

So I may not have caught all the points but I think the main point was:

Don’t waste your life primarily pursuing temporal things (i.e, you fill in the blank with whatever….food, money, vacations, cars, tractors, cows, super large families, etc).  Rather, spend yourself in relationship with God and finding your joy in knowing and serving Him.  That is the key to not “wasting” your life. (We’ve referred to this concept before.)

Here’s my take on this and how it intersects with our homesteading.

Whether what we are pursuing is good or bad it can, and often does, become an idol.  Idols are bogus and rob us of the joy that is ours when God is on the throne of our hearts.

I don’t want to waste my farming.

I don’t want it to be an idol that drives me to madness in pursuit of the awesome garden or a bountiful cow or  abundant eggs!

But I gotta confess, it’s an idol. 

Oh yeah, big time.

When I snap at the kids for stepping on my babies (veggie plants), or get irritated with the Homemaker when the meal isn’t on the table right when I get in (could have spent more time on another chore), or just get depressed because my idol isn’t satisfying me by performing as I want it to (my garden is an abject failure)…I know it’s an idol!

It has usurped the throne of the only one deserving of that throne.

And it’s my fault!  I put it there!  I did it!

Here’s the thing – you’re no better than me.  You got your own idols so don’t go feeling proud or upright like you’re squeaky clean.

My point is, I don’t want to waste my farming by bowing down to it as if it were God.

It’s only a means of knowing Him better.  It’s only a means of knowing Him better.  It’s only a means of knowing Him better.

Thrice times means for real!

Farming is simply another task that allows me to see and experience God’s goodness, wisdom, kindness, provision, mercy, generosity, faithfulness, patience, love, grace, power, mystery, creativity, wealth, dominion and ever abiding presence.

Farming will never satisfy me.

God will.  Forever.

Posted in Challenges, Daily Life, Farming, Garden, Homesteading | Leave a comment

A Month Ends

A month comes to an end.

We made our goal of posting here every day. Wahoo!

We have an increase of eggs coming in each day AND the ratio of layers to eggs being collected every day is high.

Our meaties are getting bigger and we are planning to cull half of them next weekend and the other half the following weekend. (Bigtime praise as my grocery budget will be affected for the good!!) And soon there will be no crowing at 4:15 in the morning!

Venus is continuing to show signs of edging nearer and nearer to calving. Oh how we look forward to milk again… though it will be a lot more work as well.

Calfie is eating lots of grass and getting thicker around his midsection and is just as playful and wild as can be. We sure do enjoy having him.

Bacon and Sausage are visually getting plumper and amuse us with their playful antics.

Our pullets are healthy, loving the grass and are getting into the groove of having a rooster around since we took two of our meaties and have delegated  them to be roosters for our 50+ soon-to-be hens.

Rosy is still catching mice and allowing kids to pick her up and put her in the red wagon for fun.

Farmer is thankful the kale is growing.

Kids are thankful they’ve been getting a lot of “days off” from school.

And me, I’m thankful for all of the above. And my dishwasher.

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