Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Emmanuel. God With Us

I have been loving this song these days.  I've put it on repeat around these parts, and it makes me weep.  Not necessarily a traditional "Christmas song", but I do love the words....

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,
God of Glory, Lord of love.
Hearts unfold like flowers before thee,
Opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness,
Drive the dark of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day
Rejoice, rejoice, our GOD is here with us
Emmanuel. Our GOD is still with us
Such a good reminder, in this season.  Let's rejoice.... Emmanuel!  Our God is here with us!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Buildings of Yesteryear

One of the great things about living smack dab in the middle of nowhere is that you get to really enjoy the beauty of nature, and in this area, there are many beautiful old barns and out buildings to enjoy as well.  As I drive by these old barns, I desperately wish that we had one on our farm, but alas, no such luck.  We do have a number of wonderfully run down outbuildings... one of which we burned to the ground a few weeks ago because the bottom had totally rotted out of it.  The building below was full of odds and ends when we moved in, and if you look carefully, you'll see that the door doesn't close all the way.  I'm hoping that critters don't try and make this sweet little house into their winter home.  Next spring, I'm hoping to finish cleaning this building out and use it for storing some of my "treasures". 
This building is also on our land, by our pens.  It was used as a shelter for something in the past, and when we explored it, I found some great old windows as well as an old screen door with a barn swallows nest built into it.  I took the screen door out, cleaned it up a bit lot, and my plan is to take out the nasty old screen and use it in our house as the door to our basement.  When that (finally) happens, I'll make sure to take some pictures!  This building, like many others, needs some work, but I do love the patina of it all.

This little outbuilding, so carefully tucked into the trees, is one of great necessity.  We didn't even realize it was there until after we'd moved it, and Art stepped into it, and the floor almost fell through.  This is a wee little out house.  I think that it was perhaps built for little people, because we can barely fit into it.  The other problem with this outhouse is that it's, well, full.  I'm hoping that next spring, Art will dig a new hole, and we'll build a new outhouse in it's place.  It is awfully cute, and camouflaged!
Outbuildings are used for many, many purposes.  Most of ours were (and some still are!) filled with much junk - both ours and the previous owners.  This outbuilding is actually being used for what it is intended for - grain!  We had 5 tonnes of grain brought in to feed our 4H steers, and we are so thankful for old granaries to store the feed in.  Let me tell you, when you walk into that outbuilding, it smells glorious! 

Those are some of the outbuildings found around our home place.  Below are a few of the other old buildings which we pass by on a regular bases.  
Every time I drive to Spruce Grove, I pass by this old beauty.  I have serious barn envy every, single time I drive by.  This building is aging gracefully, and it's so beautiful.  This building is used as a landmark for many ("Turn right at the old barn"), and is also used by my Girls as a way to gauge how far we are from home ("Are we at the old barn yet?").  One of these days, I'll take a few minutes to walk through this treasure, just to see what is inside.  Yesterday, on our way to church the moon was setting as the sun was rising, and it was an amazing site to behold.
My last building I want to share with you is this old house.  Every time we go the opposite way of The Old Barn, we drive by this sweet old home.  One day I peeked through the windows, and this homestead was full of junk.  Old tires, mattresses, etc.  It always makes me sad to see that, but I suppose not everyone shares my love of decrepit old buildings....  This house is on the way to get the mail, and go to the dump, so we pass by it regularly.  I just love the way the paint is peeling off, yet it still stands, so proudly.  I always wonder who built these old houses, what family lived there, and how their life was so different from mine, but yet, the same.  To me, it speaks of a simpler time in history, yet I know that these homesteaders had to work exceptionally hard to survive out here in the west.  Beautiful, isn't it?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thankful In Winter

Last week, it felt like winter had truly arrived.  Sure, we've had a bit of snow here and there, but nothing major.  But alas, all good things must come to an end, and with that in mind, I am thankful for the changing of seasons.  Here are some things to be thankful for, in winter:
1.  It's hard to get a photo radar ticket when the back of your truck looks like this...  Not that I would ever speed, OF COURSE!

2.  On Thursday and Friday last week, we got close to 2 ft. of snow.  It was super cold, as well, and lots of wind and blowing and general nastiness.  Art said that it was some of the worst driving conditions he's ever driven in.  Yuck!  Anyhow, I'm thankful for machinery to clear our driveway, as well as the generosity of neighbors in clearing our whole road (which is only about 2 miles, but still.  2 miles!)
3.  I'm thankful for a new pasture to put horses in, as I'm sure they were thankful too.  It was super chilly outside, but I opened up a gate to another pasture, and they frolicked out there like it was Christmas.  They were excited to start exploring, and finding some "fresh" grass.

4.  I'm just plain thankful for these silly horses, truth be told.  They are fun, and beautiful, and a pain in the butt.  But awfully pretty in the snow, dontcha think?

5.  When I got into the kitchen on Saturday morning, it was -37C.  And that was without windchill, at about 8:30 am.  So you know it was colder than that.  Weather reports were saying it was close to -45C with the windchill.  Brrr!  I'm thankful that our animals are still alive (truly!).  I'm thankful for my handy dandy thermometer, which is also a rain gauge (which I may or may not be obsessed with). 

6.  When it is so frigidly cold outside, I was especially thankful that we (finally) got our woodstove in the basement installed and inspected.  It's only been 3 months of waiting... But alas, it's done.  On the coldest day of the year, none the less.  Let me tell you, we loaded that sucker up Saturday afternoon, and it kept us toasty warm downstairs.  The other reason that having our woodstove installed is that it is the final thing on our "To Do" list on our house.  And now, it can be checked off.  Don't get me wrong, we still have many details to finish up, but that was the last (semi) major thing that we wanted to get done this winter.  So hoorah! 

7.  The last thing I'm thankful for about winter is that I don't have to think about outside work, or yard work, for a good while.  We had such a long fall this year, which was wonderful,  but kept us trying to get "just one more thing" done outside.  With 2 ft. of white stuff on the ground, we don't have to be concerned about doing any such things for a good 4 months.  Yippee! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Start of Advent

Today is December 1st, which marks the start of our Advent Season.  Every year, we try and do something fun for The Girls, as well as something that helps us to take a moment, in this busy season, to remember who, and what, we actually are celebrating. 
This year, we chose the Schleich Farm Advent Calendar for the Girls to open every day, and let me tell you, they were pretty darn excited!  Our Girls have been long time lovers of Schleich, and will spend hours upon hours in the basement, setting up elaborate ranches and farms, and then playing them out for days.  It's so great! 
The other special Advent thing we are doing this year is thanks to my Mom, who sent this beautiful book to us, and we received it last week (Thanks, Mom!).  I'm excited to unpack this book over the next several weeks.  I haven't downloaded the ornaments that can go with it, but it provides some great, practical things you can talk about and do, together as a family.
So there you have it....The Countdown to Christmas has begun.  Happy December, everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Back In Business

A couple of months ago, we picked up some more laying hens.  We were told they were pretty close to 19 weeks, the age when they start laying eggs.  Unfortunately (for us), the chickens were a bit younger than we were told, so the Girls have been patiently waiting for these silly girls to start laying.  Just this week, they started.  First, we had 1 or 2 eggs, and then suddenly, it's been 6-8 eggs per day.  The Girls are thrilled to be back in the egg selling business, once again! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Birds, Birds, and More Birds

Since moving to the farm, we've become somewhat of a bird watching family.  We have a well established yard, with lots of big, mature trees.  We've got lilacs and spruce trees, maple trees and willows.  Plum and Apple trees, as well many others which I don't even know what they are.  When we moved in, the previous owners left us a big bag of bird food, along with a number of bird feeders.  They strongly encouraged us to keep feeding the birds.  As you walk around our yard, you will see many different kinds of bird houses and bird feeders. 
It's been fun to watch all the different kinds of birds come around, and I'm looking forward to having a year under our belts.  We've had migratory birds that stay around for a few weeks, as well as the regular birds that are here year round.  We have a family of owls that have made our farm a home as well, and will often hear them communicating with each other during the day and into the evening.  Those owls, it's always a treat to see, and this year, there were actually 3 babies that hung around as well. 
When we have people over, since the bird feeders are hanging outside our front windows, we often talk about the birds, and since unpacking, I've found my "Birds of Alberta" book which has come in very handy! 

Here's a nuthatch.  They are a funny little bird, with their long beaks.

These evening grosbeaks would swarm our yard.  There'd be 15-20 of them that would fly into the ornamental plum tree which is close to the bird feeders.  Then they'd squabble and fight over the food on the ground or in the feeders.  Their yellow color always catches my eye.
This female Downy Woodpecker is around lots these days, along with the male, who has a bit of red on it's head.  I suspect we'll see them all winter long.

The beloved Great Grey Owl.  This is one of the babies, and when we went for rides in the summer, it'd follow us, flying from fence post to fence post, tree to tree.  One night we took a walk through the woods, and our cat followed us.  The three baby owls (which are still huge!) sat perched up in the trees, watching the cat.  And the cat, in turned, sat and watched them.  I think that they were both thinking, "I can take him!"  No one made the first move though.  We were surprised to see that our kittens didn't get eaten by the owl...

The chickadee.  We see dozens of these at a time, and they are a staple in our yard.  They flitter around, all day, eating whatever they can find.  Our cats seem to enjoy a nice chickadee sandwich every once in a while.

So there you have it.  A few of our bird sightings around the farm.  I'm excited to learn to identify more of them as time goes on...

Monday, November 17, 2014


Here are a few random notes from my little corner of the world:
1.  Way back when, in another place and another time, we had some sheep.  Last spring, we had the sheep sheared, along with the other families in our 4H club.  Once they were sheared, we had a whole lotta wool. (duh!).  Anyhow, one of the other mom's had a great idea, and she took the wool down to Custom Woolen Mills in Carstairs.  Once the wool was there, it was graded, and then we got to decide what we wanted to do with it.  Our family ended up getting a whole lotta duvet's made with our wool, and this week, thanks to my Dad, the duvet's arrived!  We were pretty excited to get them onto our beds, and wow, was I ever pleasantly surprised at how warm they are!  Especially nice, since it's been down to -30C this past week.  We ended up selling the sheep before we moved, but it's nice to have a little reminder of them in the form of a cozy, warm, duvet!
2.  I have seen the light... I picked up a wild rag for myself at Farmfair this year.  It's beautiful, and silk, and most importantly....WARM!  And it dresses up my Carhartt's just a wee bit.  I'm in love!
3.  We had a big burn pile that we've been waiting to burn, until the snow fell.  Well, last week the snow came (boo!), and so we got to burn our junk.  Now before you think I'm crazy for burning this wonderful outbuilding, (it's small.  I promise!), you must know that we tried to move it first.  And it completely fell apart.  Completely.  Unfortunately, we had nothing else we could do except burn it.  Boo for me!  Thankfully, we have a few more!  Art had the great idea of dousing it with gasoline, and then shooting an arrow of fire into the building, so that it would ignite immediately, and our minds would be blown with how amazing Art was.  That idea was an epic fail... but at least we finally got the thing to burn!!

4.  I have curtains hung.  In my office.  And they are pretty. 

4.  We have four 4H steers.  This little guy is Ellie Mae's.  His name is Lulu (such a masculine name, I know!).  The steers are an Angus/Simmental cross.  They are turning out to be very friendly.  The first few days, they were a little crazy, but they've settled down quite nicely.  The Girls have been working hard at taming them, and we've started halter breaking them as well.  Good fun!

5.  I made yogurt.  From scratch.  And it was delicious!  My neighbor taught me how, and I'll be eternally grateful.  Because let me tell you, 4 kids eating yogurt almost every day really adds up!

5.  This is Molly. 
This is Molly, outside our house. 
This is Molly, outside our house, in November. 
This is Molly, outside our house, in November, with no snow. 
This is Molly, outside our house, in November, with no snow, and GREAT hair.
Molly has great hair.

6.  The Girls' roped again this year, and it was the first time for Ellie Mae to join in the fun.  She came in 5th, which meant she got a prize, which she loved, and now she wants to do it again next year.  She looked awfully cute with her Daddy, waiting for her turn.

7.  The three younger girls, getting ready.  It was a great event this year, once again.

8.  We have realized that we have a rooster.  We were only supposed to have hens.  Now to figure out which one is the rooster, so we can wring his little neck.  Let me tell you, friends, its a tough gig being a man in this house... 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Livin' The Dream

True to my word, as stated in my last post, I said it'd be a while before y'all heard from me again.  And I did not lie.  But here I am today, finally posting again.... Truthfully, I don't know how often I'll be checking in, but for our families who have been anxiously awaiting an update.... here it is!

I haven't even uploaded pictures to my computer, that's how far behind I've been, but if any of y'all are on instagram, I can be founds as thegoerzengirls, which will give you more pictures of our new life on the farm.

This summer has truly felt like we've been livin' the dream - although I'm not gonna life, a few times, it's felt like a bad dream....

The reno's are 90% done.... but isn't it always that last 10% that almost kill us?  Our kitchen is in, boxes are mostly unpacked, and we've been working at making this home feel like, well, home!  And it's coming.  I don't have any pictures on the walls yet, but that's a coming.... hopefully soon.  I'll try and get my photo's uploaded, so I can have some good "before and after" pictures.  'cuz let me tell you, friends, the differences are astounding!

While we have been slaving on the house, we also made some progress on the land.  We had someone come and hay our pastures this summer, which was great, because now we have hay for the winter for the 6 horses which we have acquired over the last few months.  "6?!" you may be saying... yes, 6.  But to be fair, one of them is a miniature.... so it's really only 5 1/2.  And there are 6 of us, so we can all ride together.  Which has been so, so great.  The girls are loving having some good ranch horses to ride out in the pasture, and they are hoping to work on their "cow chasing" skills this year too. 

We also have replenished our laying hens, so we are anxiously awaiting these girls to start their egg production.  We went with a couple of different varieties of chickens this time, and are looking forward to having white, brown and green eggs...

Lastly, we are also working on (another) big project....acquiring some livestock.  We've been renting out our pasture to a local farmer who has put a good number of cows on it for the fall, and this year, the Girls are starting with a new 4H club, and are super excited about doing a beef project.  So we are in the process of finding some steers to buy for them to feed through the winter, and then sell in the spring.  We're hoping, come spring, to also buy a few bred cows to start our own herd, but for now, this is a great start. 

It's been nice, now that fall is here, to get into some sort of routine.  We are well into the throngs of school, which has been great, and finding our way into as to how to best structure our lives around our commitments.  With the Girls being in two 4H clubs (long story...for another time....), as well as church and school commitments, it makes for a bit of driving, but it's all good.  We try to plan one (very) full day in town, and then usually have to jot in on another evening or two, but it's working.  We've had an Indian summer around these parts (after 2 days of snow in early September, which scared the pants off all of us!), and it's been glorious to see our farm in the throes of autumn.  Such a beautiful season, which different trees changing color at different times. 

I don't think there have been many days that have gone by, since we've moved, that I am not  extremely thankful for this new farm.  Even when we were working every night until midnight, Art and I would look at each other and say, "Living the Dream!".... It has been many years in the making, and we are excited for this new chapter in our lives. 

And now, I must go.... it's 15 C outside today, and the Girls are I are heading out to get a ride in.  We have to take advantage of this beautiful weather, because knowing Alberta, it could snow tomorrow! (actually, the weatherman is calling for a gorgeous weekend....but you get my point!)

I will leave you with a few of my Instagram photos, copied on here, so you get to see a tiny piece of my world...

Out of the (many) outbuildings on our farm, this one may be my favorite.  Note the birdhouse above the very cool old door.... Not sure I'd want birds flying above my head like this, but whatevs...

On of our pastures close to the house.  There are currently about 30 cows in this pasture, and from our bedroom window, we look out to this beautiful sight.  I wonder if it'll ever get old?!

The Girls.  With a few of the horses.  Since this picture, we've acquired 2 more horses....

My kitchen.  This is most definitely the "after" picture.  I promise you, the "before" picture will make you want to cringe....
That's all for now, folks.  Hopefully I'll be back soon!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Everything Changes

Well, it's been a full couple of months around here, and it's going to stay that way for at least another few.... Here's the scoop:

After over 2 years of relentlessly looking, we (finally) found ourselves some property!!  We bought a small farm about 45 minutes south west of where we currently live, right smack dab in the middle of nowhere!  We couldn't be more thrilled, and we are knee deep in the middle of moving.  The couple who owned the property before us are in their 80's, and retired, but couldn't keep it up any more.  They built the house on the property, as well as planted all the trees, shelter belt, etc.  The property is very well maintained, but the house definitely needs some updating, as do the numerous outbuildings. 

We took possession last week, on my birthday (Happy Birthday to me, for the rest of my life!!), and my folks came out to help start ripping things apart.  We got all the doors and trim pulled out, the carpet ripped up, a few walls ripped down and doorways expanded.... heck, we made a giant mess!  We are having a beam put in the ceiling today (turns out one of the walls we started to rip out was a load bearing wall...oops!), a new tread of stairs are being made (they were the stairs of death!), and the concrete is being poured for a shop tomorrow.  We should have the shop built before we move in on June 7th, and next week, the hardwood flooring in the house is being laid.  It is exciting and nerve wracking and exhausting and exhilarating.  The land is really very pretty, with a creek running through the property, everything is fenced and cross fenced and all set up for cattle and horses.  After much dreaming and planning, it looks like we are going to be starting on our next adventure!

With all that going on, you'll have to excuse my lack of posting over here.  Truth be told, the only reason I'm writing a post today is because I'm procrastinating.... I really don't love packing!  We've been out at the farm every evening and the whole weekend since we took possession, and then during the day I try and get more stuff packed at home here, to take over to the farm.  I keep reminding myself, "In another 2 months, it's going to be awesome!!"  I am looking forward to keeping y'all updated on our new adventure once we get in and settled....

Friday, March 21, 2014

Good Gravy, It's Friday!

Hello, friends.  It's Friday today.  That in itself calls for a celebration.  In real life.  But here are some other reasons I have to celebrate:
1.  We swear by Bogs boots for our girls.  They are warm, waterproof, and wonderful.  This week, we went for a walk outside, in the glorious, spring-like weather, and by the time we were done walking, Molly had wrung out her socks about 4 times.  I'm not even exaggerating.  She had told me prior to our walk that her boots leaked, but, being the good mother that I am, I didn't believe her.  I thought maybe she had gotten snow in them?  Alas, I was wrong.  Again.  And I felt fairly terrible that her feet were so cold and wet after the long walk in the bush.  (Heck, her toes were like little raisins!)Now all of that isn't reason to celebrate, but this is:  I called the Bogs company, and explained the situation, that this is the second year for those boots, and they have holes.  The company asked me to send them a picture of the boots, and promptly responded by email.  They have a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and they are replacing her boots.  For free.  And I don't even have to pay for shipping.  Molly even got to choose, out of about 5 different styles, which boots she wanted.  So I say a big "Hooray!!" for the Bogs company.... you have won a long time customer because of this.
2.  We went for a long walk the other day.  It was warm and glorious and we saw deer and evidence of  Moose (read, Moose poop!), and Hannah found a deer antler.  We walked through a creek bed with snow past my knees and took our jackets off because it was so warm. 

3.  I mentioned earlier the spring-like weather we've been having, and it has been absolutely glorious this week.  Until yesterday, the first day of spring... when it was -10C with blowing, cold snow...and last night, when it got down to -20C.  But let's not dwell on that.  Let's instead remember, with fondness, the melting snow and jacket-free days we've had around these parts.
4.  After our walk, we had a bit of a picnic.  You read it correctly.  We had a picnic.  In the middle of March.  Glory be!  You can see the wet jeans (and toes!) that everyone had, but it was worth it, friends.  A great day, that's for sure!

5.  Have I mentioned yet that it's Friday?  That means two whole days of time with the ones I love the most: my family!  We have no plans, and ample time for relaxing and having some fun.   Hooray!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Second (and Third) Surprise

On Saturday, the older girls are I were at our 4H district speeches, helping out (our club was hosting them).  In the middle of the day, I received a text from Art, with this picture:

It seems as though Abby's sheep had her lamb....s!  She had twins!  Abby was over the moon excited... and was so anxious for the speeches to be over so we could get home to see this face...

It's a good thing that our high temperature was around -30C on the weekend - perhaps the coldest days of the year?  Of course we're going to have lambs then.... doesn't it always work out like that?!  No  matter - the lambs are looking good, regardless.  Abby bundled up extra warm and has spent hours out there with her 2 little ladies.  She sings them to sleep, makes sure they're drinking and staying warm under the heat lamp.

She was pretty darn excited to see these lambs arrive - especially since waiting so (im)patiently for the last 3 weeks since Hannah's lamb was born.  And I am pretty darn excited for these twins because maybe, just maybe, I'll get to see some money back from this project?  Time shall tell...

Friday, February 28, 2014

A Morning Off?

The times that I am child-less are few and far between.  Going to town?  I've got the kids.  Running errands in the city?  Kids are in the back seat.  Have to pop into Art's office?  You guessed it....the kids are along...
So when I get a chance for a few hours during the day to be out and about without my pretty little ladies, I feel somewhat....free.  And excited.  And out of sorts (if I'm being truthful!)  
A retired teacher in the area has started doing some writing workshops for home schooled kids, and since we know her well, we - actually I, decided that it would be good for The Girls to participate in such a thing.  It's nice because there are different sessions for the workshops, so we can pick and choose what works for us.  For this session, every other Monday morning, for 6 weeks, The Girls go and write.  Which means that I have me some kid-free time.  On a Monday morning.  It's....amazing.
Now if I was good, I'd probably drop The Girls off and go right back home to get some tasks done while they're gone.  But I'm not.  So instead, I usually head into the big city to go and browse around a few second hands store.  The thing with second hand stores is that sometimes you score, and many, many times, you don't.  It turns out that the last two times I've gone, I've scored.  And by scored, I mean "Found cool stuff for cheap".  I usually look only look in the housewares, and am always on the lookout for old tablecloths that have some sort of embroidery on them, or cast iron anything, perhaps some milk glass? 
Last time I went, I found a primitive looking table runner.  This week, when I went, I found a beautiful old tablecloth...I can hardly wait for fall to use this beauty!

First thing I did when I got it home was put in through the wash.  Now, it's sitting on my kitchen table, laid out to dry.  It looks a wee bit small in this picture, but what you may not realize it that my kitchen table is massive.  It would look great on the diagonal, or even better spread over a beautiful old harvest table.  Perhaps even on my kitchen island?  We'll have to see....

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

In Love With...

As some of you may know, I tend to be fairly smitten with galvanized tin.  I love that stuff!  It starts off shiny and new, and in my opinion, after it has some years of use under it's belt, the look gets better with age.  I especially love the patina of old tin.  It's excellent. 
I also love using things for something than what they were originally made for.  Case in point:

A galvanized metal feed scoop.  Throw in a mason jar (of course!  How can you go wrong with a mason jar and anything galvanized?!) with a candle, and voila!  Perfection.  It lets off a really great glow when it's dark out.  I love it!  I had to steal this scoop from the chicken feed, but hey, a peanut butter container works just as well, no?  (At least that's what I told the Girls!)  It would also look great screwed to the wall, or with a few different sizes, as part of a bigger display. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Bran Muffins

I have a love for a good bran muffin.  Truly...  And, as it turns out, so does the rest of my family. 
In a former life, I got this recipe from the wife of one of my husbands co-workers.  Although the recipe is large, I actually double it, because around these parts, we go through an awful lot of muffins!

These muffins are especially good with some fresh raspberry jam on them, or a slathering of butter....and when they're fresh out of the oven?  I just can't resist!  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do...

Bulk Bran Muffin Mix
4 c. bran
4 c. flour
1 3/4 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. baking powder
Mix in an ice cream pail (or an exceptionally large bowl with a lid)  Add the following:
2 c. cold, black coffee
2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. oil
5 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. raisins
Mix to moisten.  Let this batter sit in the fridge for 4-5 hrs. before baking your first batch.  The batter will be good for 4 weeks (but mind never lasts that long!).  Bake at 350C for 20-25 minutes.

This is a great recipe for kids to make too - it's super easy, and especially tasty.  My Girls love making it, and then every few days, baking up a new batch.  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 13, 2014


As some of you may know, our Girls are involved in the Market Lamb project this year for 4H.  What this means is that they must have a bred ewe (sheep), and then the sheep will have a baby, and they'll sell the lamb.  This is the first year that our club is doing this project, and I also happen to be the leader for this project, which is really quite hilarious, since I know not a thing about sheep.  I should rephrase that....I knew not a thing about sheep.  I do know a few things now, and it's been fun to learn alongside The Girls.

We got our sheep about a month ago, and we were told that they would lamb at the end of February.  We also had a sheep rancher come out on Sunday and talk to our 4H kids about lambing, which was super interesting.  I've also been doing a bunch of reading, hoping to kinda figure out what the heck we're supposed to do.  It's a good thing the 4H motto is "Learn to do by doing", because that's definitely what's been going on around these parts.

The other day, Hannah was reading in one of our sheep books, and she read a sentence out loud to me which went something like this: "When it comes time for lambing, talk to your local 4H sheep leader, who will surely be a wealth of information..."  Ha!  Not this leader...

Anyhow, I digress... Let's get on with the real story.  It goes something like this:  Last night, when we got home from AWANA, Hannah and Abby went to go and check in on their sheep.  Abby said that Hannah's sheep, Mary, was acting a bit funny, and she thought it was going to have it's lamb last night, and she wanted to put down a bit more straw.  We told her to go for it, but we didn't actually believe her, since she's prone to a little bit of, lets say, exaggerating/melodrama.... call it what you want.  Keeping on....

This morning, I hear the garage door open, and I know the girls are going to check on their sheep.  A few minutes later, I hear a little person, pounding up the stair to our room.  And I think, "Oh no.  Something's dead." (optimistic, I know!)  Abby comes running into our room, yelling, "Hannah's sheep had her lamb!  I don't know what to do!!"  We sit up in bed, start fumbling around for warm clothes, and remember to ask, "Is it alive?"   It was!!  Art and I get outside, and see this wee little lamb, all dry and cozy and drinking from his mama...

Good grief, this little boy is cute!

The Girls were over the moon....and thankfully, it was only about -15C last night - not too cold!

After the initial shock, we rushed around, stealing a heat lamp from the chicken house, putting up a piece of plywood to separate the 2 sheep so Abby's doesn't try and steal the new lamb...all the things that we had planned to do in the next few weeks, since we thought we had some time....  Anyhow, all's well, and little Lucky is doing great!  Abby is itching for her sheep to have it's baby, and she's hoping for twins.  Based on it's size, I think that's not too much of a stretch...

Friday, February 7, 2014

Hooray for Friday!

You'd think that I'd learn that I cannot be all things to all people.  And that it's not good for my mental health to be running, constantly.... (just ask my kids!!)  I tend to turn into Scary Mom when it happens...  But yet, I still sometimes do over committ.  And all the things that I'm rushing to are good.... it's just that it's too much.

This week was one of those weeks.  Cloaked in good intentions and great opportunities and must-do commitments, I find myself longing to sit.  In my pajamas.  And not get out of them.  For days. 

Hooray for the weekend!  Where I can sit.  And bake.  And cuddle with my girls.  And maybe even watch a movie with my hubby? (If I can stay awake, that is....)

Here's to Fridays:  Tonight it's pizza and movie night.  The house is (mostly) clean, the schoolwork has been put away, the jammies have been donned, and we're celebrating....

Monday, February 3, 2014


Here's a bit of randomness for this Monday y'all....
1.  Have I mentioned that we have sheep? (again...)  The Girls are doing a market lamb project for 4H.  And I am the leader.... Nothing like the blind leading the blind.... Anyhow, we picked these ladies up a few weeks ago.  And it was an adventure, that's for sure.  They are due to lamb towards the end of the month.  The Girls are pumped to have some lambs.  Hannah named her sheep "Mary", so when it lambs, she can tell her friends, "Mary had a little lamb!".  Abby, well she just picked the biggest, fattest ewe she could find.  She's hoping for triplets.  Truth be told, I am too....that way, the girls can repay their loan to us quicker!


2.  We've been renovating.  Again.  This time, it was the two upstairs bathrooms.  This was a project done on the cheap!  (and by cheap, I mean it cost us less than $60!)  I sanded down the vanity cabinets, which had already been painted white by the previous owners of this house, many, many moons ago.  It was starting to look nasty and not-so-white.  Amazing how sanding some of the paint off makes a cabinet go from drab-to-fab!  We put in a new sink that we found for $10 at Rona, found an old workbench of Art's in the shop, sanded it down and stained it, and then threw up some bead board we had laying around the house from a previous project.  The mirror is from an old dresser of my sister-in-law's, that the little Girls have in their room.  I've been on the hunt for a few window coverings for both bathrooms.  The girls' bathroom is pretty much a carbon copy of ours, and I'm thrilled with the results.  I've realized that I really do need to be consistently creating something, whether it's a small reno, painting furniture or changing up my house in some way.  It's good for my soul, this creating thing.  And it makes me happy...and sometimes crazy....but mostly happy!

3.  Art brought me home a bouquet yesterday.  Not a bouquet of flowers, but rather, a bouquet of soups.  He wrapped them up like a bunch of flowers and gave them to me.  What a keeper, that man is... Nothing like some delicious soup hidden in my freezer for a day that I just need a little something to warm my old bones.  I'll take soup over flowers any day of the week... (at least in the winter!) 
4.  Last week, we headed out to the barn to ride a few afternoons.  One of the afternoons that we were there, the beloved Buck, the 33 yr. old horse that my little girls' ride, was colicing, and had to be put down.  Oy!  Such sadness!  Here's Molly, saying her final good bye's to this ol' boy.  Buck trucked my girls around for a good few years, and was such a great pony for them.  He would put up with their antics and tricks always.  He will be greatly missed....

5.  For Christmas, in my stocking, I received some merino wool socks.  Why have I never had such things before?  These socks are ah. mazing.  Even for this sweaty-footed girl...They keep my feet dry and un-stinky, and are so crazy comfortable.  I waited and waited to try them out, and only when we were super low on laundry did I put them on.  And after wearing them a day, I went out and bought six more pairs.  Is there anything else life changing that y'all know about that I'm the last one to the party in knowing?   Please, tell me now!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thank Heaven for Little Girls

Oy.  Nothing like the flu in our home to make me appreciate health.  Art's been hit with it, and he so lovingly passed it on to me.  I am praying that it stops here, and doesn't make it's way to The Girls... Although last night, Ellie Mae kept asking me to kiss her, because she wanted to be sick.  "I like being sick..." she says... Silly girl.  Nothing fun about puking your guts out on the driveway because you can't quite make it to the house.  Lovely.

As I've watched my Girls over the last few days, I have been oh, so thankful for these 4 little ladies.  I remember when the Girls were little, and every so often, listening to them talk to each other, and being mortified of how they spoke to each other.  And then it hit me.  "They sound like their mother.  Like me.  This is how I speak to them." 

Nothing quite like that to give me a quick dose of humble pie.  I didn't like to hear it with them, and so, I must first change it with me.  Because these little girls are modeling what they see and hear from their mama.  From me.  From my flawed and imperfect and impatient, selfish self.  Now that's not to say that I'm not still flawed and imperfect and impatient, selfish and sometimes far too vocal.  Because I am.  But my hope and prayer is that my little girls, who are rapidly growing up (good heavens, I have a teenager now!) will also see love and grace and compassion flowing from  my mouth.  And my heart.  And that they will learn these traits to be of utmost importance.  And over the last few days, I've been on the receiving end of their compassion.  And love.  And grace.  And willingness to help.  And I've been so thankful.