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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.