Ruth was a Marine-Semper Fi

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Semper fidelis is a Latin phrase that means “always faithful” or “always loyal”. (Wikipedia)

Last week I finished the book of Joshua and only had two days remaining in the week. So, I decided to read Ruth.

What a lovely story.  Ruth could have been a Marine.  The Marines have a saying, Semper Fi, which means “always faithful”.  Ruth, even though it wasn’t customary in that day, was always faithful.  And to her mother-in-law, no less.

Here is a summary of Ruth and why I think its such a lovely story.  Ruth marries this guy, and I can’t remember his name, but its not important.  Well, they never have any children, and he dies. As was the custom of the day, Ruth should’ve been married off to one of his brothers, except that his only brother also dies!  So, she goes to live with her father-in- law.   But, then her father in law dies, as well.  I know, tragic, huh?!?!  Which leaves Ruth with her mother-in-law, and no man to care for them.  Well, as the Lord would have it, it was customary under these circumstances at this time in history for Ruth to return her father’s house.  This is where the story gets really good.

Instead of doing what was expected, what was customary, Ruth decides to stay with her Mother-in-Law.  I know, you’re probably thinking, “what?!?”  This woman is just cursed with bad luck.  Ruth needs to run from her.  I mean her husband and both of her sons die, leaving her alone.  She even changes her name to Mara, which means the Almighty has afflicted me.  Does it get any worse than that?  So Ruth commits to staying with this lady and they return to Jerusalem at the start of barley harvest to work in the fields.

Word had spread throughout the region (yes, people gossiped back then) that this Ruth lady didn’t follow the custom and decided to stay with her mother in law and they were in Jerusalem to harvest.  So, Boaz, who was like this rich farmer guy, put her to work in his fields.  He didn’t know who she was at first, only that she was there to help harvest.  So anyway, her reputation had proceeded her, and when he found out “who” she was, he already knew that she was a good girl.

When Mara finds out who Ruth is working for she begins telling her to go to him  and “see if he can help you to find a husband”.  So Ruth does just that.  She tells Boaz who she is, what she has done, and what she wants.   Boaz, after a few other customary procedures, falls in love with her takes Ruth for his wife. They eventually have this little kiddo named Obed.  And they live happily ever after.  But the story doesn’t end there.   Obed begets Jesse, and Jesse begets David.  Yep, that David, the little boy who kills a giant with some pebbles, then becomes the infamous King David.  From whose line we are promised a Savior.

So what’s the point?  Lets start with doing what is right in your heart, even when it’s not what is expected of you.  Ruth could’ve left her momma in law and returned to her fathers house where she would have been taken care of for the rest of her life, either by her dad, or a new husband.  But instead, she stayed with her aging mother in law.  Who knows what kind of relationship they had.  Some people love their mother in laws, while others don’t.  Regardless of what she thought of her, she stayed.  She was faithful.  She was loyal.  She was a MARINE!!  And because of this faithfulness, we see how Boaz and Ruth’s son, grandson and so on give us the promised Savior.  I just never know how your actions today will effect future generations.

But another sticking point, and the one that stayed with me after reading this, was that her reputation for being faithful and loyal spread throughout the region.  There weren’t any phones, emails or text back then.  Your word was your word, and hand shake was all that was needed, and your reputation always proceeded you.  Even in this day of millisecond communication, your reputation goes before you.  ESPECIALLY when you go against customs.  So what do people say about you?

I had the pleasure of meeting with an individual this morning about a personal matter.  She mentioned to me that she loved to work with a certain individual because she is “straight as an arrow”, and shared that its a pleasure to work with someone so professional and on the up and up.  Once again, its her reputation.

I find it rather fascinating that  when we do something that isn’t expected, something that is right and not what others expect, that those people will remember that.  They will talk about it.  They will remember it for a long time to come.  So, what are people saying about you?  I ask myself this question all the time.  I want to know that I’m doing what is right in the eyes of God, no matter what is expected or not expected, or what is the custom or procedure of the day or hour. I just want to do what is right.  I don’t always get it right, but I sure do try.  I want others to say that I’m a pleasure to work with.  I’m a pleasure to be around.  I’m a dependable person.   I want to be like Ruth.

Here comes the babies!!!

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Ruby started labor on April 12 after her water broke. She didn’t actually have the babies until April 14th.

It was early on the 14th that I had just dropped my daughter off to intern at a Vet. When I returned she was on the ground pushing. I couldn’t believe it! My daughter was going to miss it. So I called my friend Jennifer to come over. She had a little bit of experience, more than me, in assisting her parents goats in delivery so I felt good about her being here while I was gone. Meanwhile, I ran back into town to pick up my daughter.

When we returned Ruby was hard at it. A late winter storm had just hit and temps had dropped back down into the30’s, with wind and rain. If was a cold wet mess. But my friend and I settled inside the shed, on the front porch with Esther. We were bundled up with Jackets, blankets and hot chocolate. Ruby was taking her sweet time. Esther was fast asleep.

By 12pm she was ready to deliver. And it was a boy. We named him Stormie. I had a towel and assisted Ruby in cleaning him off. It was really cold and I wanted to get him on her teat quick so we could fill his stomach with warm colostrum.

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Then within 45 minutes of Stormie’s birth Ruby laid down and began pushing again. We’re having twins!!!Out came a little girl. She was slow to get up and Ruby was slow to assist. So I immediately grabbed her and dried her off too. Again, I just wanted to get some warm colostrum in her. Her name was Rosie. My little Rosie.

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Ruby is the most awesome momma. She had them both cleaned and on her teats rather quickly. We had to wrap the goat shed with blankets. You would’ve thought a band of gypsies had moved into that shed. It was funny looking.

So glad I did that because the wind and rain had turned to ice and I had to do whatever I could to keep them warm and dry. I was ready to put their igloo house inside but I had to clean out the shed of the afterbirth first.

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Honey I think we need to build an addition

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Shortly after our noble steed arrived, we knew we needed to have shelter for him, as well as the new babies, who were due to arrive within the next month. So I decided that I would just build an addition to the front of the existing shed. That was easier said then done.

It took a whole week for this to happen because the animals kept trying to “help” me. They were into everything.

When it was finally done it was the perfect size. It has two separate rooms. The new addition looks like a front porch to me. When it rains, Buddy, our donkey likes to get up in there. That will be a problem when the babies get here.

I gave up Facebook today

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That’s right.  No more “crack-book”.  At least for the foreseeable future.  I’ve missed out on so much that Facebook had distracted me from.  Its easy to do, you know.  I mean, all you have to do is pick up your phone and see how many notifications you have.  I thought about disabling the notification aspect, but still the inherent problem with Facebook is that the virtual relationship can seem like a real relationship.  Its really just a cheap substitute.  And guess what, if you can’t touch someone, how much of a relationship do you really have with them?  I would argue that we were created for relationships.  I just enjoy people and I can’t help myself.

 

Much like the personal time I spend with people, I really enjoy the prolonged intimate time I spend reading God’s word and talk with Him.  Not just some real quick devotional that I read that makes me feel warm and fuzzy.  No, I’m talking about digging in, with a fresh cup of iced tea or coffee and hanging out with the Creator of the Universe.  My Lord.  My wonderful Savior. That is one of the things that has benefited the most from my hiatus from Facebook. 

 

And I don’t miss Facebook at all.  As matter of fact I couldn’t make the announcement fast enough.  It felt good.  And so, I’ve got some really great pictures and articles I need to write for this blog.  So much has happened in the last 4 months, its gonna take a lot of thought and organization to get it all together.   So check back.  Often.

Our Noble Steed Has Arrived!

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What a blessing this little guy is.  I prayed for a free donkey to protect our goats about 3 months ago when I heard coyotes that were so close they sounded like they were in our back yard.  Two weeks ago I stopped in to pay my trash bill and there sitting all alone in a horse trailer in the parking lot was this cute little guy.  His owners had weaned him from his momma the night before and needed to find him a home because they already had 3 at their place.  The guy delivered him to me that night.  He is so cute.  He is a fast learner and a very protective guy. His name is Buddy. 

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I love kids!

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I love kids!

Ruby is in the final stretch before the kids arrive. She is usually trying to find a comfortable place to lay down, but no matter where she lays she just can’t get comfortable. The baby or babies are really giving her a heck of a time. She is stomping her feet and kicking at her side, staring into space and pacing. We’ll see. Expecting those little ones any day now.

Hungry, Angry…Hangry

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What would you do if your daily caloric intake dropped from your traditional 2000-2500 calories a day diet to just 1200-1500 calories a day?  And what if during that same time you also had to increase your physical activity just to make your circumstances safe and healthy for your family?

This thought occurred to me as I was reading global political and economic news this evening.  It occurred to me that we are teetering on the edge of a cliff and even the slightest change in the wind could knock us off.  And then I began to think about the eventual end and what it would look like for us, given the fact that there are only 3 days of food in the stores at any given time.  Everything has to be thought thru to its logical end. And when you think this one through, it just doesn’t end well.

So that got me to thinking about how hard it would be to do things by hand to survive (collecting water, building fires to cook, etc.) and how quickly I would become frustrated over the simplest task.  That’s what happens to our brains when we haven’t had enough calories, we can’t think.  We can rationalize.  We can’t reason.  We are easily agitated because simple tasks are harder to perform when you haven’t enough energy or clarity of mind due to poor nutrition.  And this is when accidents happen.

I was thinking about the little bit of food that I have stored and growing outside.  How long could that realistically last me and my family.  And what if a bad storm or other severe weather destroys what I have growing?  How long then could we survive? 

Hunger and anger equals hangry.  Hangry causes mental stress and even physical harm from injury.  Its time to really think through what we have in our extended pantries.  Are there enough carbs, protein and other nutritional foods to hold you over for more than a couple of weeks?  How would you store water and purify it.  How would you cook food or purify water to drink?  You will die within a few days if you don’t stay hydrated. 

Its time to consider what you’ve put up and determine if there are some gaps you should fill or skills you have yet to acquire.  And soon.

Change…

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I love change. Its a chance to do something different, and hopefully with better results.  On the “change” menu this year is my garden.  It has been a complete disappointment.  Only one thing to do.  Change what I’m doing.

Ah, my garden. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my garden ever since moving out of the city. One would think that moving to the country would be great for a gardener. One would be mistaken to believe such a BIG FAT LIE.  Gardening in the country brings a whole new set of challenges not seen in the city.

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For starters, the local wildlife love gardens.  It’s like a 24 hour buffet that costs nothing.  Just drop in anytime.  No lines.  Bon Appetite!  Then there is the issue of getting water to the garden.  In the city most people have irrigation systems.  Strategic water dispersment.  On a timer.  Just remember to pay the water bill and then plant the plants.

Yea, not the case here.  Sometimes I have to drag a hose the length of 30-40 yards (yes, that’s a long, heavy hose) to water the fruit trees during the heat of summer.  Also, I have to put up fencing to keep out the small critters, etc.  And still, they find a way in.  Its been a pain in the neck (or back).  But I must prevail!!!

Change in the garden is definately in order for this year.  First up:  Location.  I had to move my beautiful and strategically-placed raised garden beds from their old location to a new location, near the house and water hoses.

You may recall in the fall of 2012 I designed and built 12 3 x 4 raised garden beds.  My husband measured and placed them in the garden so the riding mower could easily maneuver around them.  The location should have been great.  It was fenced in, had 4 Rainbird 180 degree sprinkler heads hooked to in-ground irrigation, plenty of sun, out of the way so the dogs couldn’t destroy it…it should have been wonderful and a huge success, but…

It was awful.  The rabbits were able to squeeze through the fencing and would escape the woods near by and eat, eat, eat.  I couldn’t figure out what or who was pulling the green beans completely out of the ground.  Or who or what was running off with the entire cucumber vine.  It was a disaster.  Then there was the issue of these darn sprinklers.  I don’t have any idea how many hours I let those things run, but they watered more of the grass then the beds.

So, in early fall of last year, I uprooted what had survived the brutal heat and dry summer,  and relocated a few beds closer to the house in my herb garden, which had a wooden fence.  It worked.   These pictures are a couple of weeks old so these crops are better looking then the pics.

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So, now that I know this location is going to work, I’ve moved the rest of the garden out of the old location and closer to the house.  Only 6 beds are behind the fence.  The rest are outside the fence but close to the house where the dogs are.

I prepared the beds by placing cardboard on the ground inside the frames.  This will kill the grass, and since its biodegradable, it will breakdown and eventually become one with the earth.  Or the worms will eat it and then make it one with the earth.  Next I added good soil that has composted manure mixed in (I’ll be writing about the changes to our composting system in another article).

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In the case of potatoes, this year I’m changing the method I’m using.  See above picture. I mixed saw dust into the soil with a pitch fork so the potatoes can have loomy soil to grow in, which should increase the pounds of potatoes per square feet.  Or at least that’s the what I’ve heard from a friend who produced 100 lbs from 5 lbs of seed potatoes.  Last year I had so much grass grow into the beds that the soil wasn’t fit for growing potatoes.  The results were pathetic.  And the potatoes had scab on them.  Another learning experience.

The whole point of this is to share my failures and to show you that as long as you don’t let the failures get you down, you can achieve the intended goal.  You just have to keep going.  I mean, if we all stop trying, what then?  No matter what it is you’re facing, if the outcome isn’t to your liking, try something new.  Just don’t give up.  Keep at it.

I’ll let you know how the garden goes this year.

Not Trial By Fire But Journey Of Faith

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Have you ever had “one of those days”?  How about weeks?  Years?

That’s just what we’ve had, “one of those years”.  Right after my last post in 2013, we began to prepare our home for another move.  We thought we were moving again due to another job transfer.  But then we had an accident on the homestead.  While building some new window treatments, my dear hubby nearly cut his hand clean off with a skill saw.  It was the most horrifying and life changing moments for us.  Days of painful surgery and recovery, followed by months of painful rehab, many projects around here were postponed. Life as we knew it had changed.  The garden I managed to plant in the spring died.  The whole yard fell apart.  And we were in survival mode around here while he still traveled for work and rested on the weekends.

I began to do as much of the heavy outside chores and home maintenance as I could.  Fortunately we had already taught our daughter how to use the riding mower so she was able to pick up the slack there.  I took over weeding the yard while she mowed.  You can’t imagine how hard it is for a woman with little upper body strength to weed 3 acres.   My arms would be so tired that I could barely hold a tooth-brush or hair dryer.  It was bad.  To make things worse, the drought continued and the heat was ridiculous, which is why the garden died.  I just couldn’t get out there and water every day like I needed.  We lost a couple more trees from our orchard, including a pear, a peach and several more citrus.

Then in the late summer, around August, we began a major 2 week project. After 3 months in a hotel It was time for hubby to move out and into something permanent.  We weren’t ready to buy a house near his new office so we had to come up with temporary housing for him until we figured out what we were going to do about relocating.  The rental market was pitiful up there and no suitable housing was available.  God provided.  About 2 days before he got the news to leave the hotel,  one of our neighbors put his RV out at the road to sell.  It was old and in need of some repairs and upgrades.  But it was the perfect item for our daughter’s 4-H Consumer Science/Housing and Home Environment project for this year.  You can see the whole 2 week timeline and the end results over at her blog here: http://gabbysglamperadventures.wordpress.com/

By the fall there was another surgery to finish repairing the hand so that he could begin to gain use of it again.  So more painful recovery and rehab took place for him.  But around the homestead, we made some major changes as far as livestock.  Lots of new animals, including Dewdrop the rabbit, Esther and Ruby the goats, and new houses for them all, including an awesome goat shed that I built.

Dewdrop came on the heals of the passing of our old dog, Oso.  We had him for 14 years.  He was awesome.  Anyway, here is the little cutie, right here.  She is very moody.  Sometimes she loves to be held.  Other times she wants to take your hand off when you’re cleaning her cage.  Crazy rabbit.  Some of my favorite times are unwinding with a glass of wine and Dewdrop on my lap.

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On to the goats…this is gonna sound crazy but I wanted goats my entire adult life.  Of course I could never have them because I lived in the city up until 2 years ago.  But I’ve always loved them.  We got our two lovely girls right before Christmas. Here they are down at the pond on one of the few warmer days we had this winter.

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Ruby, the bigger one on the left, is pregnant.  We’re expecting her to kid around the 1st or 2nd of April.  I’m hoping she has twins, a boy and a girl.  She has already successfully delivered babies, including a set of twins, and was a great mother.  We’d like to have a good-looking male in the mix so we can use him as a 4-H project and show him at the 2015 fair. Esther is only 8 months old and will be bred this fall, at the same time as Ruby.  They are an absolute blast to have as back yard pets.  They are easy to care for and very social.

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Here is the Goat’s shed (on a foggy morning).  There is a ramp on the back that is covered in shingles to prevent the goats from slipping off.  The roof has slight tilt for the water to run-off.  It too is covered in shingles.  The shingles are great.  First they protect the structure.  But they also help the girls with their footing while going up and once they are on top.  The last purpose, one which I didn’t plan for, is they file their hooves.  We went to trim their hooves last weekend and there was hardly any excess. The only thing I can think of is that when they are on top of the shed I often see them scratching at the floor/roof before they lay down.  This is filing their hooves for me.

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Esther is notorious for getting up there and doing acrobats off the top.  She loves it.  One time she was having so much fun rolling around she rolled right off the roof and landed upright on all 4 feet.  Amazing little creatures.  So fun to watch.

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And then there is our little guy, Dallas.  Austin and Dallas are typical brothers.  They fight.  They play.  They protect and look out for one another, and for us.  After the passing of our old friend, Oso, last year, we watched Austin slip right into the role as protector.  But we also watched his playful side disappear.  He would mope around the house and I finally couldn’t take it anymore.  We went to the shelter and picked up one of 8 new puppies that had been dropped off the day before.  Their mother is suspected to have been killed by a car leaving 8 little 5 week old puppies to fend for themselves.  We couldn’t resist.  We brought one home.  He gets neutered next week.  :)

The chickens are still alive and doing great.  We are adding 3 new hens to the flock this spring.  Just because they are so easy to care for and I love the fresh eggs (so do the dogs) and how they keep the pest away and take care of my soil for me.  Chickens are the best thing for any gardener to have.

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I became a beekeeper last year and this year we are adding another hive.  I plan to split the current hive and make another one.  The new hive just arrived and I just need to unpack it all and put the boxes out in the back pasture next to the existing hive.  I didn’t take their honey the first year because I wanted to make sure they didn’t swarm on me.  So this year they are gonna have to give up the honey.  I need to be rewarded for all the hard work that went into keeping the bees here on our property.  I’m  going to have better garden success this year too.  I recently added 2 new pear trees, 3 new apple trees, and 6 blue berry bushes.  I relocated my raised garden beds to get them closer to the house and water source and near some large trees which will provide a bit of shade at different times of the day.  The bees will play a vital role in that planned success as pollinators.

So, as you can tell, on top of all the other life experiences that occur when you have a busy and active life, the happenings around here have filled my spare time.  I’m grateful for every challenge we were presented with this year because it stretched my faith a little further.  Some people would call our year trial by fire.  I’m beginning to believe its just life.  But mu life is a journey of faith.  Each challenge brought with it a new sense of faith that God would see us through.  He has never left us or forsaken us.  When we are at the end of our rope and out of strength and ideas, He completes what we can’t in our own strength.

God is good all the time.  All the time He is good.

I will post all of the changes and additions as they happen.  I received a new camera from our oldest daughter for Christmas.  It has inspired me to get back into photography and scrapbooking again.  I missed them both.  And having all this fun around here is perfect to get back into it again.  I will again soon.

I told you so…about 4 years ago!

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Here is a story that makes me stand up and scream, “I TOLD YOU THIS 4 YEARS AGO!!!”  And people responded with wide eyes or rolling eyes.  Some even called me Noah.  Funny thing, Answers in Genesis recently wrote an article calling Noah the Ultimate Prepper.  Go figure.

I know there are a lot of things that can steal your attention these days but this is a story that is worth mentioning.  I’ve been warning of this same thing, almost verbatim, for over 4 years.  Its nice to see that it is FINALLY making some mainstream news.  You absolutely must listen to the growing number of voices who are trying to warn Americans of the coming financial disaster.  I know money isn’t everything, but when you consider that less than half of the population actually pays taxes, this is critical to understand.  The dominos that will fall and the resulting chaos when the Welfare and SNAP cards stop working, will be mind blowing.  You’ll be praying for the rapture.

Please take the necessary precautions to insulate your family from the coming nightmare.  God’s judgement is already on this nation.  And, please, don’t ge me started on the biblical concept of God’s judgement beginning with the house of the Lord first.  So, church, get your act together, get your spiritual and financial houses in order, and pray that this country will repent.  Or else it aint gonna be pretty for all of us.

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