"You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased. I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety."

--Psalm 4:7-8--

Monday, March 29, 2010

Lambing begins!

Saturday night our ewe 'Miss Marple' gave birth to three lambs! Two males, and a female. She 'lambed' all by herself-- we didn't know it was happening until all three were born! Here are a couple photos:

The lighter-colored spotted lamb is the female

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

February Gathering

Some friends host an annual Vermont-style get-together that we went to on Saturday. Everybody always ends up being homeschoolers, though I'm not sure that's on purpose. The fun included sledding, hot cider, conversation, games, and dinner together! Every time I have been to their house, I feel like I have been transported back to the old days... here are a few photos!

Girls chatting about Kombucha, herbs, goats, gardening, and much, much, more...

Hot cider is perfect for cold winter days.

The jamm-packed coat room.

Digging into the delicious lasagna and salad.

Nothing like an old wood cook stove! :o)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Letting Trouble Have Your Chair

There is an old New England saying that I like, which says, “You can’t keep trouble from coming, but you don’t have to give it a chair to sit on,” advising people to expect trouble (as this is a fallen world), but not to be entertainers of it. Once this ‘trouble’ has been allowed lodging and food, it will stay with you and multiply trouble upon more trouble.

This past spring the State of Vermont ‘legalized’ same-sex marriage, which was (and still is) a terrible blow to us, and so dishonoring to God and the beautiful order with which He has created all things. We discovered that the legislation was being considered just days before it was passed, and in the time left we scurried to write letters to our representatives, pleading with them to vote honorably, and drove to the state capitol to be a presence during the proceedings. We were saddened to find out that we and a few others were the only Christian presence there. The bill had moved so quickly through the house and senate (almost sneakily) that most in opposition only found out about it after it had been passed. We found out about it before only because the Governor had stalled it with a veto and the bill got a lot of press at that point.

It has come to our attention that since the passage of this gay marriage law, Vermont has now become a target state for starting a nation-wide legalization of similar legislation. It was common-knowledge in the last couple years that New England was targeted by the homosexuals in the hopes that if they could get each NE state to legalize same-sex marriage then the whole nation might follow. Vermont now has the reputation of being an ‘easy’ state to use for political agenda. Because of our same-sex marriage law this past spring a lobbyist is vying for the legalization of ‘Polygyny’!!! (having of more than one wife). He has a blog here that explains his purpose, and even some strategy. The fellow claims to be a Christian (‘reformed’, too), which makes it even worse… :-P

We’ve let them sit on our chair, and now our larders are being raided!! These matters are in the Lord’s hand, and we, as humans, have not the power to prevent them from happening, as we cannot soften the hard hearts of wicked men. But, we can at least stand for what is right according to God’s word; speaking when it is the time to speak, and giving testimony to what is right by our actions, and praying that the Lord would be pleased to change hearts and minds that they might honor Him. I do believe that Christian laziness is somewhat responsible, as we are to be the Salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13-16) I am so ashamed that even we have been so asleep as to not care for the spiritual well-being of our homeland.

The Scottish Presbyterians would be appalled; they so passionately sought to protect the purity of the worship of God. A certain congregation got assigned Alexander Henderson as minister by the Scottish government (trying to force liturgy on them), and the church barricaded the doors and would not let him in. (Later, Henderson came to faith upon hearing a sermon by a Presbyterian minister, and was then welcomed by the congregation that had previously detested him)… there are other accounts, as well. I wish that I, and other Christians could have such well-placed zeal that we lock the doors, rather than give any credence to that which is evil by offering our chair. Compromising on what is true and right is ugly on the personal level, it is even more horrendous in Church and State.

End of rant.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sheep!! (and not much else)

We are making a couple additions to our 'livestock population' here! We have done a lot of talking about how our agricultural pursuits went last year, and have decided that instead of focusing on raising beef, we want to raise lamb. We have found that our land is much more conducive to raising lamb than beef, lamb is easier to slaughter and butcher, and we love the meat! Last year we encountered endless trouble with our three lambs that we bought in the spring, and slaughtered in the fall: they got parasites twice, the fencing was incredibly difficult to move, making it difficult to rotate our sheep often enough, and they kept getting out of their paddock. It created quite a headache all summer long! And you might ask, "Why on earth would you want to do this again?"
Well, believe it or not, there is a way to do sheep that cuts down on the headache part. We learned two important things about sheep last summer: 1) They are the most parasite-prone ruminant (along with goats), and 2) They need smart fencing, but rarely challenge the fence if they have enough to eat.

There is a two-fold solution to the problem with the parasites: 1) Intensive Rotational Grazing, and 2) Selecting parasite-resistant breeds. Intensive Rotational Grazing is practiced by most farmers who raise grass-fed meat. The paddocks are made just the right size so that the sheep have only enough grass to last 1-3 days. Then they are rotated to the next paddock, and so on. There are many benefits to grazing like this (including the improvement of pasture), but it especially helps with parasite control. The sheep have only a day or so on the grass, so the parasites never have time to grow-- they have already gone through their life cycle and died before the sheep ever are grazed on that paddock again. We did 'rotational grazing' with our sheep, but sometimes did not even rotate every week. The other aspect is 'parasite-resistant' breeds. And, yes, they do exist. We have done a lot of reading and talking with farmers, and it seems the widely acclaimed breed of meat sheep is Katahdin. They are very low-maintenance, and some are so hardy that they never have to be dewormed in their lifetime.

We had trouble with the fencing (and rotating frequently) because we used this movable mesh electrical fencing that essential has to be disassembled every time it is moved. This makes moving the sheep difficult because the sheep get loose every time you move the fence!! :-O

So, what's the plan for these new sheep, and the coming grazing season? We are purchasing two bred Katahdin ewes from an excellent farm we found in Woodstock, Vermont. They have been bred for parasite resistance. Sheep tend to have 2-3 lambs each pregnancy, so instead of grazing 3 sheep (like last year), we will have our two ewes, plus the four lambs (6 sheep) grazing, and then... my sister and her husband are also buying a bred ewe from the same farm, so we will probably have a total of 9 sheep on our pastures this summer (and each summer after). Fencing this many sheep will be easier than the 3 sheep, actually, because we will not need the movable fencing! We can construct larger paddocks of several-strand (not mesh) electrical wire to rotate them through. We are probably picking up our sheep on Monday or Tuesday of this coming week-- hopefully this new project will be a success!

This sheep, named "BH7012" is one we are definitely purchasing (this is only her registered 'name', we will call her something more appropriate) :o)

This is "BH7012" as a lamb.

These next two sheep are definite 'possibilities'-- we will choose one or the other. This one is "BH7015"


My sister's ewe, "BH7011"

Friday, January 22, 2010


There has been a lot of moisture in the air for a few days, and last night a cold front came in, freezing the wetness, and creating a beautiful silvery icy film on everything. Here are a few photos I snapped!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Matthew Henry Quotes(1)

I have recently begun to read a portion of Matthew Henry's commentary every day, being inspired by friends taking up the 'Matthew Henry Commentary Challenge'. Some attempt to read the whole commentary in only a year, others three years; I haven't a 'plan' in that regard, but am reading some every day! I have started in Psalm 119, which has been especially wholesome reading. Here are some portions that I found very insightful:

Psalm 119:83—For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.

“Whatever our outward condition is we must not cool in our affection to the word of God, nor let that slip out of our minds; no care, no grief, must crowd that out. As some drink and forget the law, so others weep and forget the law; but we must in every condition, both prosperous and adverse, have the things of God in remembrance; and, if we be mindful of God’s statutes, we may pray and hope that he will be mindful of our sorrows, though for a time he seems to forget us.

Psalm 119:88—Quicken me after thy loving-kindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.

“We cannot proceed, nor persevere, in the good way, unless God quicken us and put life into us; we are therefore here taught to depend upon the grace of God for strength to do every good work, and to depend upon it as grace, as purely the fruit of God’s favor… The surest token of God’s good-will toward us is his good work in us.”

Psalm 119:89-91—For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.

“The stability of the ordinances of day and night, of heaven and earth, is produced to prove the perpetuity of God’s covenant… All the creatures are, in their places, and according to their capacities, serviceable to their Creator, and answer the ends of their creation; and shall man be the only rebel, the only revolter from his allegiance, and the only unprofitable burden of the earth?”

Friday, December 25, 2009

Cold Things are Beautiful, and Warm Things are Huggable

I am always so stunned by winter skies-- the air and the ground are COLD, but you look up in the evening to see the sky burning with orange, peach, pink, purple, red... I think God made all of His creation with 'compensations'. Some places are hard to live in because they're too cold, or too hot. But, there are certain beauties that cannot be experienced any other place. I think of the stunning Northern Lights one sees in Alaska, but to live there and experience the beauty one must also tolerate very few hours of light in a day.

This afternoon I took my first 'jaunt' of the year on cross-country skis! Trees, brush, and all other 'matter' received a dusting last night that turned to crystal. We received no sun all day, so the beautiful crystals did not melt!

An overflowing, iced-over watering trough

The spout that didn't stop running!

A frosted fir branch

A weed turned beautiful with the intricate formation of ice on it!
Frosted forest-- our house is pictured behind the barn

Phoebe and Fiona are sooo fun! They built their own 'tower' in the play pen out of the couch cushions...