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Friday, August 22, 2014

Go forth and set the World on Fire

"Go forth and set the world on fire" St. Ignatius of Loyola

It is amazing to me how watching the glow of a fire makes for easy meditation. Fire is one of those great things that is so dangerous and so useful at the same time. Just like our souls; our actions can be so  useful or so dangerous to others. That is probably why so many saints and in the bible they compare the soul and fire so often. Let our souls be on fire with love for this is the time it is so needed.

One of our many campfires at Sanctae Familiae Villa
"If God causes you to suffer much, it is a sign that He has great designs for you, and He certainly intends to make you a saint. And if you wish to become a great saint, entreat Him yourself to give you much opportunity for suffering; for there is no wood better to kindle the fire of holy love than the wood of the cross, which Christ used for His own great sacrifice of boundless charity." St. Ignatius of Loyola

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Poor Mr. Tumnus!

First we iced and soaked his leg.
1. To reduce swelling
2. To be sure his leg was clean before wrapping
Mr. Tumnus is our new little buckling. We got him a few weeks ago and he is only 3 months old. He will eventually be the buck for the next group of does that we are currently raising. Most of our does are around 6 months of age, which is almost completely grown, so they are bigger than Mr. Tumnus (for now). Most of our young does bully Mr. Tumnus, but he is probably safer with them then the full grown bucks, and once he is full grown he will be living with the other male goats.
Our first aid supplies for this task. 

Suzy has been his stall-mate at night and that has been working out great. But the other evening Hazel got put in with Suzy and Mr. Tumnus by accident.

Now, before you start hating Hazel, bullying and butting is very common with goats. They seem to find a buddy or one of them tries to become boss . . . it just is the way things are with goats. So anyway, need less to say, Mr. Tumnus must have been butted in the night or early morning and when we found him he seemed to have a broken leg.

How did I know it was broken? He was walking on it . . . but it was in the wrong direction. I wish I had thought of the camera to show you before pics, but I was more concerned with Mr. Tumnus. I tried not to freak out and I could have quickly called our veterinarian. But when your a homesteader you try to do as much yourself as possible. I have many books on goats and there is always the internet. Let's give it a try!

Rubbing liniment gel on the injured leg.
It is actually very common for goats to break legs from jumping off of things or from fighting with another goat and they seem to heal very quickly. I have splinted chickens in the past (don't ask) and have cared for one of my other does bad sprain. Here are the pics of what I did and I will keep a close eye and if I need to call Dr. Dennis (my vet) I certainly will do so!

The first thing I had my son do while I was still milking the other goats was to hold an ice pack on it. We also let Mr. Tumnus eat during that time so as not to upset his usual routine too much. After all our other chores were done we got Mr. Tumnus nice and comfy with my daughter while soaking his leg. That gave us some time to get our supplies gathered. My other son made small splints out of some scrap wood we had and covered them with duck tape so they would be more comfortable.

Supplies used were: frozen gel pack, epsom salt with cold water, 4 wooden splints, cotton gauze wrap, liniment gel, vet wrap, medical tape and a plastic juice cap, and duck tape.

Wrapping his leg with cotton gauze.
I made sure his leg was completely dry and then I rubbed Mr. Tumnus's leg with liniment gel. This will help aid healing and also numb it a little for the pain. I have since learned you can make a poultice out of comfrey leaves. I will probably do that if there is another time, but this liniment gel is great to have around. Goats are always bumping and bruising themselves.

Next, I wrapped his leg with cotton rolled gauze for cushion. I taped it off withe the medical tape to make sure it held. I also started higher than the actual break to make sure it had complete support.
Positioning the splints.

Many hands in this case make the job easier!

His buddy Suzy checks out his new cast
while our dog Giuseppe watches.

Remember my daughter was still holding him and keeping him calm. He was such a good patient, we treated him to little sips of molasses water. But for the next part I needed more hands. Positioning the splints and wrapping them with vet wrap (it can be found at Tractor Supply in the horse section. You can also find it at Walmart listed as sports wrap for humans but it is more expensive. If you have goats you should have this on hand. It comes in all colors we have blue camo for our boy goats and pink for our does.

We ended by adding a plastic juice bottle cap on the bottom. This would be to keep dirt out of the homemade cast and make it even for standing. We covered that in duck tape and added a little duck tape on the top for added closure. It came out pretty good (if I don't say so myself) and seems to be holding up still on day 2.

He was back to grazing in the pasture with the others right away! Hopefully he recovers quickly.

Do you have goats? Please comment if you found this post useful.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Homestead Reality

A pretty little display
I set up in my kitchen

Before I started blogging about homesteading, I used to read a lot of homestead blogs. I would wonder about these blogs. I would see all the pics of their pristine land and beautifully clean homes. They would write about doing all these different things. How in the world did these people do all this stuff? Their homesteads stayed clean and they have the time to blog about it. Since I started homesteading it has been anything but clean and perfect. It has been more like: mud, sweat, tears and sometimes blood. 

Calm, cute goats hanging out by the fence.
So why did I add myself to the many other homestead bloggers. It may have started with our friends telling us we were unique and we should blog about our life. Seriously? I could barely get through a homestead day never mind blogging about it afterward. 

Just when I started to think I was a homestead failure I started to see our homestead from a different angle. The angle from the lens of my 14 yr. old son Kolbe's camera. And so I began to blog. Wow, pictures and a little thoughtful writing can really put things into perspective. I guess I could make us look as cool as all the other homestead bloggers.

HOMESTEAD REALITY: Goat getting into the feed
bins in the barn. Donovan and I struggle to get her out!
But for the sake of honesty to myself, the homestead and my faithful readers I have to show and tell you some of the  bad realities of homesteading. 

Homesteading is a lot of work. It is often times messy and tiring and downright gross.  Rain, snow or sun chores must be done.

Home under construction.
in front of the
stove in a tiny, messy kitchen.
We make plenty of mistakes, but we learn from them. Every time we are completely exhausted we appreciate our rest.  I could give you so many examples but I will spare the long boring post.  Just know only a few homesteaders continue to live "the simple life" I just hope we are one of them.
Getting hay in the pouring rain.

I know I am starting to make it sound horrible. But for every homestead bad reality there is so much amazement and joy. Watching our garden grow, watching our kid goats grow, watching the chickens and collecting there eggs. We get to watch our children grow and learn so close to all of God's creations. Homesteading with all of its realities good or bad is just the right thing for us.

Fresh goat milk being poured into a filter.
Covering a milk pail
with a towel
to keep flies out!
HOMESTEAD REALITY: Junk piles from old barns,
home construction and other toys and projects.

Beautiful serene farm scene.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Importance of Thinning Out and Diligence

 I know I can stand to lose a few pounds, okay more than a few, but I'm not posting about dieting today. I'm sharing a lessoned learned with all of you.

Thinning out means when in the earlier stages of your plant (seedling stage) you give your little plant more room to grow big. You can cut the seedlings that are too close or pull them out so you have them spaced better. I knew this was important but didn't realize how important. I mean it is really hard to yank or cut your little plants when they just started growing. It is easy with kale or other greens cause they are microgreens at this point. Microgreens are a delicacy. You can just toss them in salads. 

But during the spring when my carrots were just wee seedlings. . . I thinned out one section but got lazy and left the other section. I rationalized my laziness by thinking I was growing more carrots. And besides isn't it wasting to just toss them in compost. Yeah, I know I could of fed them to the goats or chickens. Repeat  . . . lazy . . . it was hot that day . . .
Lesson learned and here is my proof. 

Now see photo. You don't have to be a gardener, green thumb or a rocket scientist to see which carrot came from the not-thinned-out row and which came from the thinned-out row. 

Overall my carrot harvest was pretty good . . . but it could have been better will just a little more effort. Homestead lesson learned.

The slack hand impoverishes, but the hand of the diligent enriches. Proverbs 10:4

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Green with envy Beans

Donovan picking green beans in the garden.

Look at these . . .

I know, I know your jealous of these beauties. The green beans were killer this year!

Chopped garlic,  salt,  cracked peppercorns, butter!

Rob can't you even wait for dinner!?!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Potato Eater!

Today is the feast day of one of my favorite saints. I have to say "one of" because I have many favorites. But this simple country boy turned priest holds a special place in my heart.  This young boy who worked hard with his family on a farm, while hoping one day to become a priest. It sort of looked hopeless for him, his family had no money and he was not very smart. But he became a priest and an amazing one at that. I am writing about St. John Vianney or the Cure of Ars. 
St. John-Baptiste-Marie Vianney (1786-1859),
popularly known as the Cure of Ars. He was
a paster (cure) at Ars, a small farmers' village
about 20 miles north of Lyons, France from
1818 till his death in 1859. His incorrupt
body reposes over one of the altars in the
Basilica at Ars. 

As I was reflecting this morning on some aspects of his life; I thought about how the devil would torment this poor little priest. He worked closely with Jesus to save many souls. He lived as a humble servant of God and gave much.  The devil did not like this. He called him "Potato eater" and would taunt him with that name for that is all the poor little priest would eat. 

Potato eater. . . a funny thing to reflect on I know. Why did I find myself reflecting on this insult from satan? Because what was an insult from satan, in my mind has turned into a term of endearment for my saint friend. I am proud of him. He was so  holy and simple he would just enjoy the plainness of the potato. I suddenly appreciated not only all the great things he did, or all the souls he saved, but his simplicity. 

Me standing next to one of our potato towers.
I have read many books about him and his sermons, but I still have much to learn from him. "Another bad habit which is very common in homes and among working people is impatience, grumbling, and swearing. . . . what is even worse, you lose all the merit which you might have gained for Heaven." excerpt from The Sermons of The Cure of Ars.

That is just it! I spend so much time complaining about things gone wrong on this little homestead. . . I forget the simple things about it that can make me grow closer to God. With all these thoughts I decided to check on my sad little potato plants out in the garden. No matter what they faired St. John Vianney and God would be with me. 

In the past we have not had much success with potatoes. The plants would grow beautifully and then the mice or other creatures would eat and run. This year we made potato towers with chicken wire on the bottom. The plants have been looking great. The potatoes are not fully ready to harvest, but I just had to take a look. What a surprise I beheld with some great looking potatoes. It looks like we will have a wonderful potato harvest this year! 
Our little tribute to our favorite saint.

As I eat the potatoes from our labor I will think about all the lessons I have learned from my saint friend. I will ask for his intercessions for this homestead. I will pray, work hard and try to live more simple knowing that God loves Potato eaters!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Meet Ginger

Sanctae Familiae Villa's lovable,  junk-yard dog.
No homestead is complete with out man's best friend. Even though Ginger is our great friend her start with us was anything but great. We got Ginger when we lived in our house in the city. She was a puppy that was posted on free-cycle (a sort of give away site - which now I believe has banned the posting animals). I saw a photo of this Boxer-Rottweiler X litter posted and thought they were so cute. I just had to have one. We already had a Retriever Mix and she was getting older. Since dear hubby really likes big dogs it was easy to convince him. Besides we lived in the city, our family needed protection and it just happened to be around the time of our son's birthday. She was a puppy so we train her to be our guard dog and we would train her to be great with children. We trained our previous dog and she was great. So we were really prepared. 

Ginger keeps an eye on things.
Yeah, prepared! Ginger was the worst puppy in the history of worst puppies. No, I am not exaggerating! She chewed on and through everything. She suffered from separation anxiety; so on the rare occasion of us actually leaving our house, she would freak out. Upon our absence we tried crating her, only to return home to blood and vomit all over the crate . . . yuck! We tried locking her in the bathroom and she chewed through walls. We even tried chaining (chain not rope) her to a tree outside; which resulted in her breaking off, running around the neighborhood and trying to get on a school bus. I then had to bail her out of the pound. Her episodes continued to grow while Rob's patience began to shorten. "She has got to go!" he shouted. I began to protest "but she is so lovable . . . the kids love her . . . she was Donovan's birthday present" I cried. But soon I came to realize he might be right. We found Ginger another home.

 One month went by and the tears began to lessen,  when all of a sudden, the man we gave Ginger to pulled into the driveway. "You !@#$@, take this !@#$%# dog back." "Okay, sorry" . . . was all I could reply. He drove off . . . this big goofy dog, was so sweet, so tender but so much trouble. "God answered my prayers" my son cheered. I wasn't sure his dad would feel the same way. Yikes, I had to tell Rob she was back. 

Rob, called at his lunch time which he usually did  . . ."How's everything?" he asked. "Just fine, fine,  . . . uuuuummmmm . . . Ginger is back." I said. Silence. "Um, did you hear me?" I asked. "Yeah, I heard and I was already having a really bad day. How did this happen?" I proceeded to explain and then ended with "Who else but us will learn to work with this dog". " Yeah, who else but us . . ." was all he could muster. 

Ginger races her little dog-sister Bonnie.
The next few years were filled with many eventful moments. She jumped through a glass window to greet Jehovah Witnesses. When we were out she rummaged through kitchen cupboards, not to eat anything just to scatter beans and flour around the kitchen floor. One time she even covered the entire kitchen floor in canola oil  and another time she got her head stuck under a microwave cart only to pull the whole thing down . . . have you ever seen a microwave go poof? Oh yeah, many eventful but good times. 

Soon we laughed at her moments and learned patience and detachment to material goods. Wow, she actually started to teach us something. I soon began to think this dog was a gift to us from God. And that is exactly what she has become to us a gift from God. 

Ginger, the 100 pound, drooling, 7 year old dog has grown into the most fun, lovable, adorable, relaxed, protective, gentle and wonderful dog. She is obedient and kind. She is great with people, big and small. She is watchful of the farm animals and great with all the small ones she is around. There is nothing this dog would not do to please our family including a big sloppy kiss. She is our chief herder, guardian, and as we like to call her our junk-yard dog. She has adapted to all the moves we have made and now is so happy her on our homestead. Sanctae Familiae Villa would not be complete without this great dog.