Friday, July 27, 2012

Adventures in Farming - WARNING, GRAPHIC

This will be a very graphic post...not one for the faint of heart.

Due to a series of unfortunate events, some within and some beyond our control and or knowledge level, we slaughtered our cows yesterday.  If you do not wish to see pictures of this, STOP HERE!
If however, you have a strong stomach, you are welcome to continue, and see what was actually a very education experience...or at least it will be once my girls get to a place where they can look at the pictures, lol!  (The 4 olders started out watching.  Brianna was the first to be sent in, followed by Bailey, then closely followed by Ashley, and finally, Anna decided she couldn't take it anymore.  I almost followed Anna in, but knowing my husband wanted to see some pics from this, as he had to be at work, I stuck it out - and really, Anna left at the worst part.)

We made a poor choice in waiting to castrate the calves.  I was told by someone over the phone, who I spoke with for quite some time, that he doesn't like to castrate too early as they grow better before that point, so he waits until 6-8 months.  We tried to do the same thing, but were unable at 6 months old, to get the bands over their testicles.  We tried to come up with a new plan, using zip ties, but that didn't work.  We ended up having to call a vet out, who said that there isn't anything she can really do.  We could have tried expensive antibiotics and antibiotic food for them, but it may not have been able to get the infection, so we could have still ended up with (now a very expensive) nothing.  The vet's recommendation was to put them down, or to butcher them and get what we can from them, even though they are very young.

So that is what we planned to do...

Then the neighbor (who is/was a lumber jack), decided to take a row of trees out between our property.  He wanted to make it so we could help keep an eye on his place as he has had several break ins and vandalism lately.  He asked if he could fell the trees into our pasture.  We asked about the fence.  He said he would drop them over the fence, and it would be fine.  We asked to be informed before he got started so we could close gates and keep the cows from getting into the front and side fields...

First, his guys didn't tell us when they were getting started  (Fortunately, my children are observant, and came to let us know.  Chris was able to make sure the cows were safely into the back field.

Then, they completely took out the fence between the 2 properties along BOTH of the fields...

Shortly after this happened, we began having trouble keeping cows in the back pasture...they were getting out on THREE sides.  It became a full time job just making sure they were all here and on our property!

While trying to repair one of the sides, Steak reached into the box of U-nails and ate several of them.  After some research, we found it to be a number one killer of family cows...

The end result of this was that we decided to butcher all 3 cows and get what we can meat wise.  The plan is to repair fences and get ready to start fresh with a good deal more knowledge next year.

So that brings us to today.  The older 4 and I watched from a distance as they took all 3 of the animals down, using a single riffle shot.  That was hard to watch, especially when steak, who had started walking closer to us when he was taken down, kept twitching...I will spare you the video that I took for my husband.

Notice Ashley's look of horror mixed with disbelief as they
put the cows down.
Actually, I found the whole thing start hard to watch, right up until they took off the heads...then it didn't seem so personal for me. 

At this point, it looked to me like a giant turkey!

Gus and Scott worked quickly and skillfully to skin and clean
all 3 of them!

Lifting up one of the calves on the hoist and finishing getting
the skin off, and pulling the guts out (that is the bag looking
thing that is hanging out of the abdomin in this pic).

They cut the carcass in quarters before putting it on the truck.
Here they are using the bone cutter to cut it in half.

Here are the quarters being loaded up on the truck.

They cleaned everything well...

And off they went!  In total it took about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
The whole thing was actually pretty interesting.  It was pretty quick, and they left very little mess.  Gus and Scott were very professional...while the girls spent a good portion of the day crying after this, I think it is just part of the learning process when raising meat animals...we shall see what happens this weekend when we kill the rooster...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

First Bath!

Judah (finally) got his first bath, at 16 days old.

Adventures in farming

I can not tell you right off, anything I would rather NOT do 1 week post partum in the middle of the night, than chase a young bull around the yard...while my husband is at work, shortly after feeding the new born.

It started with me hearing heavy footsteps and a noise I couldn't readily identify (the sound of tearing grass)...

And yet, I not only did it, but I went back in for my camera to take pictures of it...though I didn't start taking pics until I had already been chasing him around for about 1/2 hour...

At which point, I decided I wasn't getting anywhere, and called Dad...who very graciously came out to help me get this calf back into the field, and out of the yard.

I made a mental note to speak with my children about this gate...

I got inside, where my baby was just starting to stir again, fed him and went back to bed.

Only to find 1 1/2 hours later, that the young bull had come through a rotten board in the fence...and the other young bull had found the same spot - at which time, Mom called to let me know that I had a cow in the front yard...

Needless to say, I was NOT ready to get up yet, but didn't have much choice!  By the time I was done making sure everyone was in their field (again, very grateful for Dad, who was out there helping me!), I had several little ones up, and it was time to start the day...

Judah goes to meet Great Grandpa Pence

I was glad to be able to introduce Great Grandpa Pence to his newest Great Grandson, Judah. 

We had a good visit!  He is doing very well.

It made me a bit sad, though, too.  This is our first baby since Grandma Marie passed away.  She always enjoyed holding new babies, so I always tried to bring the new baby to see her in the first couple of weeks...we will get to introduce Grandpa Kieth to the new baby on Sunday at his birthday party though!

Conversations with Justice

There have been a couple of conversations lately that really demonstrate that Justice whole thought process is different from his sisters.

Such as this...early on last week, I was changing Judah's diaper, and Justice was watching.  Justice got excited and said, "Wow!  Look at that!" 
He pointed so quickly - and I was trying to get the clean daiper back ON baby boy, that I wasn't entirely sure what he pointed at.  So I thought I would start casually, "Do you see baby Judah's cord?"

"No, that!" He said, peeling back the diaper, "That's...that's...that's BOY PARTS!"

"Yes, that's right, Judah is a boy, just like you."

"Judah has a penis, and I have a penis!"


Yesterday morning, Chris and I were getting all the little ones dressed to take Judah to see Dr. Patrick.  Justice heard the rooster and commented on it.  "I hear a rooster!"

"Yes, that's the rooster."

"We need to kill that rooster."

"We do, yes."

"Alright, we need to kill the rooster.  Let's go!"  (And J starts running out the door) "Come on, quick!  Let's go!"

"J, wait, where are you going?"

"I gonna go kill the rooster!"

It took us a bit, but we convinced him to wait until Daddy had time to help him with that, lol!

***Most of this post was written more than a week ago...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Getting ready for the Fair!

Bailey's finished quilt
Entries in most departments are due in just 4 weeks.

That means everyone has to start making some decisions on which projects they wanted to get done, to actually finish, and which ones to let go, or save for next year! 

So far, the entries that are done, are looking great!  The entries that are in progress, are also looking good, but they need to get done as time is running out!

Anna's finished quilt
We have a bin of project entries.  I am having the girls work on things that are easy to finish up first, so they can see how much time they have left for the bigger things they want to get done...because I do not foresee them getting it all done in time.  We will see how close they get though!

Yesterday, I had those who had ideas, but had not taken the time to stage and take pictures, do that.  Today, they worked on finishing up drawings.  Then the twins went to a final lesson on quilting to finish up their lap quilts!  I am so proud of them for sticking to such a big project and getting it done!

Drawing, upper left group is Anna, upper right is Bailey,
lower left is Brianna's, and Ashley did the lower 2 in the middle.

Bin of fair entries - already overflowing!
Currently, Anna is working on a crochet project, Bailey is working on the coordinating pillowcase to her quilt, Ashley is coming up with what to take pictures of (she now has a couple ideas, we just need to take the time to stage it and take the pictures!), Brianna is wondering what else she can do to enter into the fair...(she is in a hard place...she sees the older ones doing so much, but she is not able to do some of those things, and/or is limited by the fair rules because of her age as to how many entries she can have.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Please help Brianna choose!

Same thing as before, but this time for Brianna, who took these pics and wants opinions on which one or ones to enter into the fair.  (Keep in mind, she is not quite 7 years old, too!)


We would likely crop this one to be a little tighter on Judah.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

An incredible journey of 13 years

13 years ago today, I was blessed to marry my best friend!

We thought that we had a plan for our life...but God had a different plan.
It has truly been an incredible journey, far beyond what I could have imagined!

Even though, we didn't understand God's plan for marriage in the beginning,
God continued to bless us beyond measure! 

I entered marriage, thinking of it as an equal partnership,
knowing, but not understanding what it meant that my husband is my head.

It took a lot of time for me to start to understand it, and it is something I still work on now!

This journey has not been without its challenges,
But God, has been so faithful to carry us through!

There have been many times when things didn't go as we had planned,
But it was never a surprise to God, who ordained all our days
even before the foundation of the world!

On this journey, God has also given us not just each other, but our children.

To laugh with, live with, love,

And most importantly, to grow closer to God with each day.

As I look back, and think about our plan,
there really is no comparison,
God's plan is so much more than I had ever dreamed!

I never dreamed I would have a husband who leads his family in God's ways,
who is here to provide and protect us, who enjoys spending time with us,
who is so very compassionate and tender with a newborn, and capable of handling an emergency,
who has a strong work ethic, values life and children, is quick to keep his children in line, and even faster at praising what they have done!

I am so very thankful for my wonderful, amazing husband!
By God's grace, I love him more now than ever before.
I respect him above all other men.
I am thrilled to call him my head, and honored to submit to him.
I praise and thank my God for him each and every day.
Happy Anniversary, my Love!

I also never dreamed I would have a family I enjoy so much.

I look back on the last 13 years and am amazed at how far we have come, and I look forward to see where God will bring us in the future! 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Reflecting back on a long weekend

This weekend has been so full that I wanted to just put my thoughts down now that things have kind of settled down a bit.
Here are my children helping to set up the birth tub
while I was in the bathroom, waiting for contractions to start
after having my water break.
I remember feeling contractions and wondering if my pain tolerance was so low for some reason...and wondered why that was, and if I could manage through the rest of labor.  I literally only made it by the grace of God and prayer!

Then to go into what I really thought at the time was a medical emergency of the cord tearing...the combination of a hard and fast labor and the adrenaline rush of the emergency really took a lot out of me!  I felt very weak and shaky after the delivery, much more than I have experienced in other natural deliveries.

The pool was actually taken down on Friday evening,
about 6 hours before Judah was born, because we had
decided that I would likely not have a baby, probably
not in the next few days or even couple weeks!
When I look back on this delivery, I think of the way my husband stepped up to handle Judah's cord ripping with a calm reassurance that was incredibly helpful to me!  While I was holding Judah and literally praying that he would even survive, Chris was taking action, with instruction from the midwife on the phone about how to handle what was going on.  His calm demeanor really helped me to stay calm at a time when my first reaction was to panic!  What a blessing to have such a husband!  I thank and praise my God for him!
Brianna got to hold Judah while I was getting cleaned up.

Judah with his eyes open!

The joy and excitement has been wonderful to be apart of! I love watching my children interact with our newest little blessing! I love that they are so excited to have a new baby brother, to hold him, watch him sleep or eat, or to see his diaper get changed. They love seeing his tiny little toes, picking out little clothes for him to wear, feeling his little hand wrapped around their fingers and seeing all of his facial expressions while he is sleeping.

My amazing husband holding Judah while
leading the family in prayer.

This weekend has not been without its challenges though.  Baby Judah has some difficulties with nursing that I have not encountered before.  We are not entirely sure what they are, but are taking the advice from real life and online friends and LC, to follow up on some things that may just help.  I am already seeing some improvement and hope it continues to get easier and easier!

The twins have been an awesome blessing this weekend!  They have worked doubly hard - helping to set up for, then run a garage sale on Thursday - Saturday, even with getting up during the night to be extra hands to help with Judah's cord incident on Friday night, helping while I was on bedrest last week, through a false labor alarm, and then since having baby Judah this weekend with the littles.  Ashley and Brianna have also really stepped up to help this week, too.

The little ones are pretty worn out at this point!  Going from so much activity on the 4th of July, and into so much going on at home with a garage sale and new baby has left them without naps on several occasions.  We are hoping this week to get them back on a more normal schedule.  I actually think ALL of us need to get a bit more sleep and get on a better schedule.
Ashley FINALLY got to dress Judah tonight.
His bruising is so much better than I can
see his coloring well enough in his face!

God has now blessed us with as many reversal babies as we have pre-vasectomy babies.  What a blessing to have our younger ones.  I really couldn't imagine life without them! 

What an amazing long weekend full of incredible things.  I praise and thank God for the amazing blessings and experiences we have had this weekend.  I honestly couldn't imagine anything better to do with my time or a more incredible family to have it with.  God is so good, all the time!