Bent Oak Farm

The Next Morning

Despite the little sleep I got last night, it seems everyone else on this little farm did well. We still live in our little bubble that seems that most weather goes north or south of us. Thankfully, the worse of this did the same. During the night it was mostly north and this morning mostly south. That doesn’t mean that we didn’t get anything. We did get some icy rain, high winds, and cold. But when compared to the prediction, not bad at all.

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The horses chowing down

We have three horses right now. Candy is actually ours in the far right stall, and who you can’t hardly see. In the middle is Poppy’s Red. We are fostering her and she is quite the old lady. Well into her 20s. After fostering a couple of horses that moved on quickly, Candy was not a happy girl, so we are fostering Poppy as a long term friend for Candy as few people want to adopt 20+ year old horses that can’t be ridden. Then Mark received Brooklyn, on the left, as a foster as she is just a sweet girl and can be ridden. We did get all their coats on before this began. Candy is not a coat liking girl but was actually easy last night. Must have known she would need it. They did get extra this morning as I don’t know how much grazing they will get out of this day. This part of the barn is well protected from about all weather we get so they will probably hang out here the whole day.

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Sheep and their ice shield

The sheep started the night out, laying out in the pasture near the gate where they like to sleep. I was hoping, as I heard the storm, that they had all moved in to the sheep shed quickly. This morning they were all there and dry. The tarp on the corral panel is a sheet of ice. It is permanently in that position till it thaws out. After being out there, I learned that it did its job well. It was dry and much warmer inside behind it than on the outside. I think the babies must have appreciated it. Ruth, our spunky girl who had a bout of being sick and blew off her whole fleece as a result, is even doing well. We wonder if she didn’t get her growth stunted as a result of being sick or if it is because she just doesn’t have the wool that the others have, she looks so much smaller. She has gotten used to her dog coat and mom constantly pushing it back up where it belongs. Her fleece is growing back in but mom still worries over her being warm in this weather so she keeps on her coat.

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A cold dreary morning

I think the above picture best shows what the morning looked like out there. These four did not head out with the others to graze. James often hollers at me. I really think he’d prefer being a house sheep, if I would give him the option. So anyway, I often end up going out and leading him out to where the other sheep are grazing and leaving him with them. This time I lead the four out and everyone thought they needed to follow me back out. Couldn’t sneak away when every step you take crunches under you feet. So they all ended back up at the shed but are out grazing once again at this time.

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So what about the chickens?

If ever there was an animal that points to a Creator, it is the chicken. A most marvelous creature that beggars belief that anyone would believe they came about just by chance. These girls were all ready for the chilly outdoors this morning. When I opened the coop, I put in their food and thought only a wise bird would stay in where it was warm rather than head out. But these girls are tough. God gave them down and feathers that when they puff them up they can keep cozy when out and about. And for them foraging is so much more fun than eating out of a dish. So off they went hunting for bugs. I’m sure they are spending time back under their favorite bushes as well. They have their spots out there to get out of the weather.

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Pullets didn’t take long to learn where to hang out

And the young pullets? Nope. Not staying in the coop. But they didn’t take long at all, when they were allowed to roam free, to figure out the best place to hang out whether it is cold or hot. Yep, the patio. So back in the protected corner with food mom brought for them, they hung out at first. Though they have also learned that if you really like to eat living bugs, the other side of the patio is the wood pile and if you just stand and peck all day you will get a belly full.

So I’m thanking the Lord we are all well and this weather hasn’t taken anyone down yet. The wind has picked up again and looking out the window I can see the sheep have come back to their shed. Glad that it is a shelter for them. Reminds one of the hymn A Shelter in a Time of Storm by Vernon Charlesworth.

The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide,

A shelter in the time of storm;

Secure whatever ill betide,

A shelter in the time of storm.

The raging storms may round us beat,

A shelter in the time of storm;

We’ll never leave our safe retreat,

A shelter in the time of storm.

chorus:

O, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,

A weary land, a weary land;

O, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,

A shelter in the time of storm.

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Day Before the Storm

I know when I read this years hence, I will wonder that nothing has happened in so much time. Stuff has happened but nothing that I’ve recorded here. But this morning I decided to take some pictures.

I married a Texan. I learned later that Texas is a Siren that calls all her boys that wander away, to come home at some point and then they will never wander again. So yes, I live in Texas and after 14 and half years here, we are actually having close to a real winter. We’ve had snow, high winds, and cold weather. Of course, this is the winter that I have animals to worry about as well.

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Working on the coop

We have a big, wet storm coming in late tonight. It is headed our way from the Hill Country of Texas. It is to get down in the 20s (which has happened already this winter), but it is also to have sleet and rain with it. Not fun for those of us safe in houses, let alone the animals. So I have been busy making their homes a bit warmer. Here is the first load of hay coming to the chicken coop. Needless to say, the girls were quite interested in what mom was up too, and what they could find in that hay. They were all over it and checking out the work being done.

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Thesis II checking out what mom’s done with the new decorating

Yesterday afternoon,while it was somewhat warm (relative to other temperatures of late), I redid the sheep shed. I worried about the sheep and the sleet. During an earlier storm that came in with such high cold winds right out of the north, I had fixed a barrier in the shed for them. We had set up some corral panels which enable us to close off an area if needed to keep some in or some out. I had covered the outside of the panel for them but being sheep they really didn’t like going in there through a small opening. They like a bit more open area and easier escape if the need were to arise. So this time, I cleaned and sorted and worked my tail off for my babies.

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New look to the sheep shed

Well, we shifted lots of hay, cleaned out poop, and moved the panels to the other end, and tied on the tarp again. Would they be happier with a more open feel and mom happier that they could still get inside and relatively out of the sleety rain that is coming? Actually, it seems that it did win last night. This morning, they were all inside and seem to have slept inside the shed all night. Something they don’t do often. I think it was a win for a cold night as I did have quite a bit of manure to get out this morning so it doesn’t pile up too quickly. I’m hoping to have it fairly in good shape so if it is downright nasty out, I can do a quick check on them, give them some feed, and head back into my warm house. Lots of hay in there. I think it will work. Of course, being sheep and a landrace breed, they probably won’t care or need half of what I did but they won’t be left out under the trees, finding which side of the land to lay down. On the high wind day, they spent a good bit of their time on the low side of the tank where it was sheltered some. Hopefully they will like their home better for not getting all wet and cold. This storm is coming in from the right side of the shed so it shouldn’t come in the front like the high wind did.

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Early morning the day before

So this morning was a foggy wintery morning. If it wasn’t that the sun rose and her light could penetrate it easily, it would have been quite dreary. But what will we wake up to tomorrow? What will a picture from in front of the sheep shed look like then? We will know soon enough. Oh, and I know it barely shows but the bridge was a project this vacation that was completed. The rails were treated and painted black and new boards put down to walk across. Interestingly, the sheep will step up on it but won’t walk out farther than there is land underneath it. I’m happy as I worried they would walk out on it and fall in the tank. But it seems they’re smart enough to not do that.

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Gulf Coast Native Sheep | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Sam 2004? – 2017

Today has been a sad day around here. I knew it was coming. I had said it was what was going to need to be done just last week. But then this last weekend. The bottom just dropped out of it. And at this moment Mark is at the vet, and after a look it was decided that Sam must have liver trouble and cancer, so they are putting my baby down right now.

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Near the time Sam joined the family

He joined the family when we decided that Mattie needed a sibling. When we went to the SPCA to look, the saddest eyes on earth stared up at me from the floor of a kennel and so we said lets look at him. As soon as he came in the room with us, he went ballistic and was so happy. I couldn’t send him back to the kennel and he came home with us.

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Spoiled babies

 

We struggled with a name for him. He came with the name Sam but that wasn’t very Dog sounding. Alas, he was just a Sam. Nothing else worked. So Sam he stayed. We did learn he was a Vizsla and had all their good and bad issues. He was loyal to his family to a fault. But yes, he chewed and was a baby for way longer than normal dogs, but we all survived, though two Bibles did need replaced during that time. He must have loved the Word of God.

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Squirrel Watch

He loved watching Mattie running around outside. He couldn’t figure out why she was running, so when she started, he would run after her. Finally, he discovered Squirrels and what fun they were. So Mattie would leave the watch to him and lay in the sun, and when he let go, off she’d go as well.

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Surprised everyone that Mattie allowed Sam to lay so close to her

Now the fun of Sam was that he never ever really grew up. He always seemed a happy puppy just looking for what was fun and never being upset with anyone over anything. He always seemed to be trying to figure things out. My lovely baby. Ever joyful and happy. You could be gone only ten minutes out the back door, and he would act like you had just returned from the European tour, and was he ever so happy to see you.

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Isn’t there room for me in the chair?

He was a lovely boy that will be missed many times. The next time I check where my legs can fit in bed and there’s nothing in the way, I may shed a tear. The next time I get food out and only feed Mattie. Yep, I may shed a tear. The next time I need someone to clean up the floor while I’m cooking. Yep, a tear may escape when I have to lean down and do it myself. When I have no companion while I sit at the computer. Yep, I will cry. I am right now.

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Bluebonnet picture while at the condo between homes

I am sure going to miss you boy, but I know this was the best for you. We had 13  great years with you. Rest in Peace.

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Enjoying the freedom of the farm

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Oh, What a Beautiful Morning

So it was 54F when I went out this morning. Oh such a wonderful feeling as this summer it has often already been in the 80s when I go out. The sun was just coming up and it was crystal clear. I do want to remember this one.

I posted before about a morning in October of last year. A few things have changed since then. The sun wasn’t quite as high yet for pictures and not as far south so it didn’t show as soon. Candy has had a few companions as we have fostered horses. She alas doesn’t care for the constant change so now has a companion that the odds of getting adopted are slim and none. Four of the heifers went to auction and one to freezer camp. Yep, we eat beef almost exclusively for meat here at home now. Mark is loving having a steak anytime he wants one. Lastly, there are now additions to the farm that weren’t here last year. So lets head out.

The temperatures this week have made the tank a sight to enjoy each morning.

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Early morning at the tank

Once I get what I need from the house the first order is to give the chickens their bit of feed. They will come running when their door opens. Despite the fact they free range all day and eat lots of bugs and plants, they do like their feed as well. So a little bit gets spread about ten birds.

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I have gone to just throwing their feed on the ground

Then it is head to the barn and give Candy and Poppy their feed. They get a special one each morning and afternoon that helps with growing old (for Poppy). They will be nearby and Candy will holler as soon as she knows I’m close. She does love her feed and will guard and steal what she can. Mark met, a couple weeks ago, the first gal to ever foster Candy back several years. She said she came in with a major food protection attitude. Tells a bit about where she came from and her old situation. We feed them in their new stalls out back of the barn. The gates stay open unless Candy is being testy and then the gates close till they are done. Candy did well today except that when I went to muck out Poppy’s side (why do they poop in there? They have a few acres to spread the wealth.) Both horses were in there together. Not the best situation for me to enter.

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Enjoying Breakfast. Candy on the left. Poppy the right.

Now the sheep were already grazing halfway up the rise to the upper paddock. That didn’t keep them from knowing I was about and down they came running. They love their alfalfa. We had an health issue with them. Not serious to most, but as you can see, Ruth was the one that had to make a vet visit. She even ended up overnight at the vet’s who thought she would probably be dead in the morning. Alas, they didn’t know what good blood she did have in her. She surprised them by morning and has been getting back on top of life ever since. Alas, if you have a sheep with ulcers over both eyes (part of her trouble), do you think it is easy to catch her now that she is feeling back on top of life and put cream in her eyes? Think again. Easy at first when she was slow and not able to see well. But I dare you to try and catch her now. She can even keep quite the vigilance while eating and can see the wires of the fence so doesn’t run into it any more. But, back to the flock, they do get alfalfa each day to help build them up more, and at this point they would probably kill for their alfalfa. So here they are waiting for mom to finish with the horses and get on to more important beings to feed.

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Tabby also waiting with her charges. Yes, Ruth is there looking worse for wear but doing quite well. The camelid look is compliments of loosing wool but still having a bunch on her rear.

Tabby took on a new roll this morning that mom likes. She didn’t allow chickens to come near the sheep or her feeding areas. No chickens allowed to share the wealth. I have shooed chickens away (they really like alfalfa and have been giving Tabby’s food a try as well. Omnivores they are.) But I doubt too many of them will challenge her as they do me. A flurry of feathers as they skedaddle through the fence to make a try for horse droppings instead. Hopefully soon, Mark is going to make a feed trough to make this chore a bit better for all concerned.

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Yummy! Scoop is on ground as I tried to catch Ruth, but no one’s sticking their finger in her eyes today if she can help it. I didn’t press the issue. Try again later.

Next Tabby has been waiting ever so patiently. She gets a bit of meat to go with her dog food each morning. Food is a great friend. She does go under the gate and visit the tank, so hence the dirty feet.

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Am I next?

I will have to admit to taking several sheep pictures at this point. Who wouldn’t but then I headed to the upper paddock and loved the view. The moon has been lovely the last few early mornings when getting Mark out the door. By this time it was sitting above the trees with the sun shining brightly on all. But then it was time to head over to the chicken coop and see about it. Fun! One of the Barred Rocks just laid an egg. Still warm. So took it in for breakfast. If you haven’t had an egg fried very over easy that is less than hours old. You haven’t lived. The yolk is ever so creamy. As in creamy goodness. As in never had anything like it before with an egg goodness. Nothing like the old things you get in the grocery store.

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Gift in the nesting box. Thank you!

So after going inside and feeding the dogs there, they always have to wait ever so patiently on everyone else to get fed first; it is my turn (I might add that I often have first breakfast and second breakfast in the mornings. This was actually second breakfast for me today.) That new fresh egg went in the skillet and oh was it good.

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Cook it on the bottom well and then flip to just harden up the whites on top a few seconds, and you will have creamy yolk heaven.

Now one must move on to other things. But what a way to start the day.

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Bent Oak Flock

I have not reported to myself in awhile. Not that anything has not been happening around here. But the biggest news, I want to record here and remember. I am collecting Gulf Coast Native sheep. We are up to eleven now.

I wrote about James and John joining us here on the farm.They weren’t named yet and that took some time to find the right names, but a friend suggested the Apostles as a naming scheme and as the bottle babies were twins, I decided that James and John would work great. The day they arrived how tiny and helpless they were.

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James & John on the ride home. So tiny.

Then came the call of another orphan baby girl. Of course, we would jump in the truck and head to Bryan (an hour away) at 9pm on a Sunday night to pick her up. She was without a mother probably most of the day and didn’t have anything to eat. So warm bottle in the truck, we headed out and went and picked up my little precious one. My sweetheart. My heartbeat. My warm hug, My warm kiss. My …. In case, you can’t guess I love my Sarah. I named her Sarah in hopes that she will one day be the mother of a little nation of lambs.

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Sarah’s first night. She got to stay in the house as it as cold out.

Then I found two more boys to add the farm. Mark went to pick them up one day and brought them back getting home just after dark. They were not sure they were happy at all with a new home and new people. Especially, not being around people too much. But they soon made friends with James and John and since they came together they became Peter and Andrew.

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Peter, Andrew, James, and John

So we were up to five lambs and Mark was out checking on lambs ready to go to new homes. He was bitten by the bug. Now I was already in line to get more from where the orphans all came, but Mark decided we needed twelve. Who was I to argue? So not long after we were headed to another farm to pick out four girls to bring back. That was an adventure of running my hand through lots of wooly backs and picking the softest ones. Yes, my husband may be thinking leg of lamb sounds good but his wife though loving lamb as well was mainly thinking in terms of wool. So four more girls came home with us. They were named continuing on from Sarah to Isaac and Jacob’s wives. Then added Hannah in for good measure.

I might add that at this point, he also made a cage to fit in the back of the truck for hauling lambs and about anything else that will fit.

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Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, and Hannah in back

Exciting we were up to nine lambs now. Then, it was finally a good day to go and pick up two more girls from the farm where I got the bottle babies from. So east we headed again and what lovely girls we picked up. They are the oldest of all we have as they were born in December so larger, more self assured, and just downright lovely to look upon. Alas though, this must be becoming too common as I do not have a first day picture of them. Why didn’t I?

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Naomi and Ruth. Really thought I had great pictures of them but must go try again.

So now there are eleven and one more to come. We have a ram reserved until he is weaned. Then one more trip to pick up a baby and we will be set … for now. They are so much fun. “They” say chickens are the gateway animal to a farm, and though I do love my chickens would affirm that statement, lambs are the heartbeat of my farm. I still love my eggs but oh, to sit out with lambs is a far greater joy.

I did just check and do not have a picture of all eleven together. Guess it is time to head out again with the camera. Aren’t we thankful for digital cameras today. I’d hate to know how much film I would be using up right now or how many awesome shots I would have missed by not just snapping all the time.

I am working on good pictures of each one for the sole purpose of learning their individual characteristics so that when someone asks who is who, I don’t have to check ear tags to remember. Not all have them have tags, but boy I am glad the ones that do have them. Thankfully, they are the ones that look the most alike.

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Fiber, Gulf Coast Native Sheep | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

I’m Joining My Ancestors

I come from a long line of farmers. From about any angle as you travel back in my personal history there are farmers. Did I say I come from farming stock? There were a few who didn’t get the memo that they were suppose to be farmers but considering most of my ancestry has been in the States since the 1700s and before and didn’t live in cities, the given is that they were the farmers that they were.

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Last summer in my little world

Now I live on my own little piece of land and we are building our own little world on it. I often consider what I have and what they had and the agriculture census’ from the 19th century are interesting to compare what we each have. Of course, they had more land than we do, and had crops that we don’t, but I do like seeing where we cross over and this week I even added to our similarities.

Looking at the 1850 agriculture census for Jasper County, Illinois – horses, milch cows, other cattle, sheep, swine are the common animals. With some oxen thrown in here and there. Well, we own one horse and have our third foster looking for a forever home. We don’t have a milch cow, and I believe that would be too much milk even for me to make and use in butter, cheese, etc. The other cattle is taken care of. We have the five heifers still and hopefully four will go to market soon and one will be in the freezer. I doubt the swine will ever come into play but you never know.

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First page of an 1870 agricultural census entry for Hidalgo, Crooked Creek, Jasper County, Illinois

The early agriculture census didn’t include chickens but by the 1880 agriculture census poultry is included as well as how many eggs you got by the dozen over the last year. And yes, everyone has their poultry. So I can claim to have joined the poultry crowd. I’m sure the earlier dates they all had them as well but for some reason whoever set up the categories of the agricultural census didn’t think they were important. I wonder if they were so ubiquitous that it would be easier to see who didn’t have a dozen chickens than who did.

But did you notice that I missed one of the animals up above? My 3 great grandfather John Cummins had 18 of them in 1850, 7 in 1860. Eliphaz Brooks had 14 in 1850. James Carr had 22 in 1870. Reuben Carr had 43 in 1860 and 25 in 1870. Montraville Washington Utley had 10 in 1870 (and yes that was a common name in the family and I wonder where it came from) 10 in 1870. And lastly Jonathan Cowger had 10 in 1870.

So last Saturday evening I got a message from a friend that has Gulf Coast Native Sheep and she had twin boys whose mother had died. Did I want to take on two bottle babies? Can you guess how long it took for my heart to start racing and going ballistic at the possibility?

After talking with Mark and lots of messages back and forth, I went and picked up two sweet boys to add to the farm.

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All packed up to head to our new home

We made the run on Monday to pick them up and they have been so much fun. Quite entertaining and boy do they love feeding time.

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It is a lovely day

Now they have a whole new world to explore, and I get to join my ancestors who also had sheep. Can’t wait to see what the future holds. And the poor boys are still waiting on names. Their new mother is very particular about names and so they are still just The Boys.

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What is this?

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The Rooster May Crow, but the Hen Lays the Egg

Ok, so my chickens are making possible liars of me on Facebook. I have hence decided that the story needed a larger platform, and just for the memories here is what has happened over the last three days.

Yes, I was on normal afternoon chores when glancing in the coop, I suddenly realized there was something in a nesting box that wasn’t there before. Went to open the boxes and sure enough we had our “first” egg.

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“First” egg?

 

We were excited. I even posted this picture on Facebook. OUR FIRST EGG!!! Actually wasn’t expecting any till at least another month. See these girls are only 6 months old and, yes, that is when they should start laying but winter is a slow season for eggs and not wanting to rush them, we didn’t do any of the “keep those eggs coming” tricks.

Next day I glance in the coop and thought a girl had popped an egg while on the roost and it had fallen and broken as it looked like half a shell on the floor. But when I reached in, lo and behold, it actually was a shell-less egg. Read about them but so cool to actually hold one.

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Shelled egg left, shell-less right

So got a picture of the two eggs together. Ever so happy. We are on our way. Our first two eggs. What joy! I may not have to buy any more in a very short time.

Then. After shopping today. Mark calls. I was on my way home. Did I know there was a nest in the barn and there are seven eggs in it? WHAT??!!?? Yes, the girls had fixed themselves up with the preferred nesting area and were busy laying eggs in the barn. They had quite a nice nest. All private in a corner. Full of eggs.

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Behind the old tractor

They actually had done a good job of it for a bunch of girls without mothers to show them the way. Amazing how God put in them the innate ability to do their job. Of course, having mothers to help is better, but thankful they don’t have to have a mother nearby. These twelve girls are figuring life out together.

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A nest of 7 eggs of both types of chickens

Then to top the afternoon off, Mark did check the nesting boxes again on our way back to the house and there was another egg. For a total haul of eight today.

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Today’s gathering

So the question remains. What was our first egg? The one I posted so happily, proudly on Facebook? Or one of these seven found in the barn. I haven’t the slightest idea. I guess I don’t know if I ate the first one for breakfast this morning or not. I do know that it was good, and I am sure that these will be good as well. Anyway, we may have to have an omelet here. I did come home with an 18 pack of eggs from shopping.

So to see you out here is a close up of some of the Twelve.

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The pretty girls

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Two Projects

I did get a hat woven off loom style that actually fits my head. Not only that, it was a bit big. So I’ve crocheted on it and it still is a mite big but works. May still do another single crochet round taking in again but it is good for stuffing all my hair in when going out to do chores.

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Wearing the hat

My usual hat model refused to model a hat again. Did get a picture of Mattie laying down with it on but can’t find it now. So here I am wearing my hat. For as little as I could enlarge the pattern I have to think it has to do with the alpaca that it came large this time.

Also recently at the guild Christmas party, we learned to make Dragon Boats. Of course, I had a bit of getting it going but once I got it, it was rather fun winding it and seeing it grow and cover the whole model without having to change a thing you were doing. I absolutely love the yarn I used. Still need to make a proper hanger for it, but here it is.

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Not perfect but pretty

Oh, and a big plus to today. As I was coming back in after chores I checked the coop, and we have our first egg. Totally wasn’t expecting it so a very nice surprise.

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One of the girls was busy

 

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A Romantic Morning in the Country

I do have projects going but nothing at the moment to add to my memories as far as they go. But the last two mornings, I took the camera out with me on morning chores and thought I would share the romantic mornings I have. Now of course I am using that word “romantic” half tongue in check. It is work and getting out early and mucking out and stuff. But all in all, I really love my mornings outside with all the animals.

My first job is to get feed out for Candy and Mani. Without a word to me my dear husband joined Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society. I found out the day he told me we could be fostering horses by that evening. Well, despite an initial OH DEAR ME OH MY?! I immediately went online and bought a couple of books and got ready for them. We both have ridden many times – but actually care for them? Another ballgame. We soon had Candy dropped off to us (not the same day as I learned of this venture, thankfully) and a bit later then came Thor to join us. This past weekend was the big adoption expo. Thor was adopted by a family who does train horses which is good for him. He was beyond our means to know how to handle. Candy, though, refused to get in the trailer to go and as Mark had wanted to adopt her since the first day she came, she got to stay and is officially ours now. At the end of the expo we had another horse dropped off to foster. A sweetheart named Mani (hate the name though) who is 21 years old. Has a leg problem so can’t be ridden but makes a great companion. So Candy is not alone now. (She didn’t handle Thor leaving well at all.)

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Mani and some hens

As the early hours begin I go and get feed out for them and soon after, the door of the chicken coop opens and the hens start scattering about in the direction of the horses. They have learned that horses drop a bit of food and it is good scavangering under their feeding. Neither horse is bothered by them, and they are smart enough to move when the horses do.

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Sun just rising over the upper paddock.

Now I get out there before the sun is actually over the edge of our property. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t up for the area though. We are in a small dip and from up above the sun is well on its way with the day. I do enjoy seeing it come up in cloud, fog, clear mornings. Yesterday was foggy but today all clear.

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Candy finished eating and waiting on Mani

So at this time the horses are fed, the chickens are free ranging. I’ve counted hens. Looked over horse. Mucked out what needed mucked out where they eat. And I have turned on the hose to fill the trough that is at the barn. This trough isn’t just for horses and heifers though. I think the hens use it more than the waterer at their coop.

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After a long night it is time for a drink.

The hens do provide lots of entertainment around here and if you don’t have any, you should get some. Many cities allow backyard hens and if I was back in a city, I would have some, though since we free range I’d feel sorry for them being stuck in a small area. These guys travel and have fun while doing it. Always something going on. Well, unless it is still a hot Texas fall (Fall where did you go? I would really like some cool to cold weather.) and they roost in the big bushes during the afternoons.

I might add though that this trough has become a frog nursery. There are millions, evangelistically speaking, baby ones all around here. I actually think home is underneath it as it sits a bit crooked.

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One of the big ones.

Just yesterday I actually saw larger ones than the tiny ones. So here is one I got a picture of. When we clean out the trough and surroundings, I hope it discourages them a bit.

Back to farm animals, the heifers soon came over and joined us. They don’t beg for food in the mornings anymore since they only get extra in the afternoons, but this morning they came in close (Spooking the horses once.) and decided they needed to eat some of the hay that is available. Yes, we are dry and the pastures are a bit sparser than I’d like to see them. We will probably need to get hay soon.

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Why are you disturbing breakfast?

The five heifers are doing well. They mostly are still laying about in the early morning but sometimes get with the job of eating before I leave for the house.

After all is done at the barn, I put everything back and head for the chicken coop. Fun to watch the chickens around the wood pile. This must be one of their best opportunities for critter eating. They spend a lot of time here and that is fine by me. I like the idea that they’ve taken care of anything before I go up those stairs.

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King of the Mountain

Sometimes they all rush after me back towards the house as I refresh their water and check on their supplemental food. They do get some from us and aren’t totally dependent on what they find to eat. So check the coop, water, food and the animals are dealt with. Well, almost.

Many days I also wash down the coop, water plants, take care of things in the yard. But when all is said and done, I try to remember one last thing before going inside.

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The last washing up.

You never know what all is on your wellies when heading back inside. I always wear them to the barn. Then I don’t worry about what I step in or what can get in my shoes. So they must get a good washing down so that I don’t groan when I see their spot by the door full of who knows what that has fallen off.

But back to that – Well almost. When all outside critters are dealt with, I do still have to feed Sam and Mattie breakfast. I don’t think some mornings they like being last. I guess that is the problem of being the domestic animals of the place.

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Is it our turn yet?

Someday these days will be over and I will miss them. I hope that day is well in the future, but for now here is a note of what it is like in early in the morning in my peaceful corner of the world.

 

 

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Fiber | Tags: , | 10 Comments

Christmas 2015

I have wanted to write something witty, funny, thoughtful, inspiring, … alas the inspiration for that chore has gone on a major walkabout and left me at home. Maybe I should have gone with it to see what it is seeing but alas and alack, I have chores here that need attended so will look at this season once again and see where we end up.

Last year at this time I wrote Christmas Message 2014 on Facebook after the Lord and I had a conversation late at night during a trying time of life. We survived that desert time. It did have many wonderful aspects as any desert does but, when the end of May came and we were able to move in our own place, we were ecstatic.

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Welcome to Bent Oak Farm

Was it worth the wait? You bet. God’s timing isn’t always ours, but we are thankful we didn’t just settle but waited for this place to come on the market. We had put in offers on two other places but thankfully we didn’t pursue either. We saw our farm the first day and put in an offer. There were two and they chose us despite not being the best, but as the owner was a veteran and we were having to use a VA loan, he went with a fellow veteran. God provides.

What have I seen and learned in our little part of the world.

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Yes, we get to see some awesome color.

Night skies really are amazing. Remember from last year that it was Orion still being there that I could remember and see how the Lord is always near. Guess what? You don’t have to wait for just winter to see Orion? If you are up in the early mornings seeing your husband off to work at 0 dark 30 who is waiting there is the eastern sky? Yes, Orion. Still marching on. Still on the hunt. Still saying, I am near. I am watching over you. Your God is nigh. Who can doubt the amazing creation of God?

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One of my female hummingbirds

Birds. Amazing birds. Lots of birds. Multitudes of birds. Each in its own season. Each following the last group through or staying on for a time. I love the birds. Mark even bought me a nice camera as I was getting so discouraged trying to get pictures of them. The hummingbirds provided so much entertainment as they swarmed before heading south. Did you ever hear their wings or call? So much fun. Have you read about what is packed in that tiny little body? Did you know a Ruby Throated Hummer can make it clean across the Gulf of Mexico. No wonder they binge eat before they head out.

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An American robin in the cedar

But hummingbirds weren’t all we have had – cardinals, three types of doves, three types of woodpeckers, chipping sparrows, Carolina chickadees, cedar waxwings, bluebirds, gackles, white egret, blue heron, American robins, and who knows what else has passed through the yard. Even the turkey vultures that helped take care of the deer that got hit by a car. (Yes, I teared up for her, but she wasn’t the mother or either of the twins.) Can anyone see so many and not be reminded how Jesus told us that not one sparrow falls to the ground but that our Father in Heaven knows and cares. And if He cares so much for each of them, how much more does He care for each of us. (Matthew 10:29-31) So much so that Jesus came to die for us and provide salvation. God didn’t abandom his creation to rot but provides redemption.

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The eastern sky in early morning

Oh, mornings and the eastern sky. At this time of year we remember all the prophesies of the Old Testament and how it came true in Christ, The Messiah, The Lamb of God, The Redeemer. He came exactly as the prophets foretold through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He came to die and cover our sins with his own blood. And as He came in that first advent and fulfilled all prophesy and showed mankind the value God puts on us, we can await his second coming. One day each believer will see that eastern sky split open and there will be that “meeting in the air”. And then the second advent when Christ will return as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and reign and every knee will bow. What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see, when I look upon the face, the one who saved me by his grace, when He takes me by the hand, and leads me to the promised land, what a day, glorious day that will be.

I hope to see you in that “Great Gettin’ Up Morning.”

 

 

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