Monday, March 31, 2008

Life and Death; all in the same day

When you can raise animals there will be lots of ups and downs. You will see the miracle of life, and taste the sadness of death. Some days it will happen all in the same day.

This morning Papaw found Patty, well, the remains of Patty. She wasn't far from home. She was down in a hollow; apparently the only one the four of us who looked for her did not look in. She had been there too long to tell what had happened. She was old, so maybe she just died of old age. That is what I'd like to think anyway.

This afternoon I noticed Twist was not with the rest of the herd. Since she is one of the two goats that we've been expecting kids from, I figured today was finally the day. I was not disappointed. Mamaw and Papaw spied them from the driveway. Them as in all three of them! Twins!

If you've never seen a baby goat, they are just about the cutest things ever. I didn't get the best pictures today, but you know there will be more to come. The spotted one is just too adorable. They are both boys which is sad because we won't be keeping them. We'll have to decide whether to sell or butcher them. They are meat goats, but I didn't know they'd be so cute!

Just another day on the farm.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Another Busy Weekend

This weekend Ashley and Miles came for a visit. Their mom and a friend of hers also came, and their aunt who actually is about the same age as the kids. It was a full weekend.

We celebrated Miles' birthday which was a few weeks ago. Kellen videoed the birthday song. Be warned it isn't for those who can't tolerate off key singing.

There was also dirt sorting, walks in the woods and playing in the creek. We had some tired kids by the time the weekend was done. Tired in a good way.

In addition to all that activity we also have a new addition to the farm. Meet Stanley.

You've met Flame and Charcoal previously. They are now big enough to breed, and well. . . Stanley was needed. He is a big boy; significantly bigger than the sows. We had been letting the animals run together, but the shelter was pretty full. For the protection of the lambs, we put the pigs in a separate area, and made the goats and sheep a temporary shelter. We also should have new goats sometime this spring. I'd rather not have brand new babies with the boar. He seems gentle enough, but he is huge! (Remember I said any day about a month ago? Well those poor does just keep getting bigger. I've given up on guessing, and am now saying sometime this spring we will have kids.) The sows and goats and sheep were all so confused the first night. They are used to running together, and just stood at the gate separating the pastures looking at each other. Eventually, after Stanley is accustomed to his new home, we will probably let them run together during the day and separate them at night.

Stanley and the girls are getting acquainted. He is funny to watch. He came from a farm where the pigs are only in buildings. He had never been outside. The first thing he did was find a big mud hole and plop in it. He was much more interested in the mud than the ladies. He has been rooting all around the pasture, and playing in mud.

My aunt and uncle came today to visit for a few days, and we have another full week ahead. I've done a little planting in the garden, and hope to get some more done soon. As always there are more projects than time around here.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter from the Appletons

Happy Easter to all! We had a fairly laid back day. On the original plan, we should have been in Florida today, but since that trip isn't happening we just went to church and had lunch with Mamaw and Papaw. The girls did get all dolled up, including rag rolled hair.

Vivian was so cute last night. Lydia got out the stuff I use to roll her hair, and Viv sat down on my lap like, "Here I am. Do my hair. " I fully did not expect her to sit there long enough to let me roll it, let alone leave the rags in over night, but she did very well with it.

The boys were pretty handsome too today. Kellen started off with a dress shirt and a tie, but when he discovered that he had to button the shirt all the way up and tuck it in, well it was just too much for him. He still looked pretty handsome, even though he likes to look like a goof for the camera! Finally caught him with a decent smile for this picture.

After lunch Papaw and Tim kept working on the fence. It is coming along. I think Tim has a post brewing about that project. The rest of us walked up to see how wet the garden spot is; still very wet! It supposed to rain all week too. Makes it kind of hard to get my peas in!

We are taking spring break this week. We'll be catching up on some things and going to do a few fun things too. Ashley and Miles will not be here. They have lost all but one of their days of spring break due to snow make up days. We also are having issues with their mom letting them come again. It is all very frustrating, and we miss them a lot. It is really hard on Kellen and Lydia.

Hoping you had a good Easter too!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Nolan's Naps

Nolan is almost four. I've blogged here many a time about his, shall we say, determination. The kid is down right stubborn, sweet and adorable, but what a hard head. The latest dilemma is a nap.

The older two did not take naps at this age, but Nolan really needs one. If he hasn't taken a nap you can count on the battles starting about 4:30 in the afternoon. When he is tired, he gets ornery, and starts picking on his siblings. He'll insist on having his leg touch Kellen while he is reading. He'll rearrange the doll house Lydia just spent hours making just so. The toys in Vivian's hands will suddenly disappear with Nolan running to the other side of the house; anything to get their attention and a reaction.

Sometimes I can trick him into taking a nap by putting him on his bed with his special blanket and a book. I tell him he needs some quiet time, and that he can't come out until the timer goes off. About half the time that works smoothly and he falls asleep without a fuss. The other half of the time, well, it is a battle. Once he is convinced he has to stay in his room, he almost always does fall asleep, after the battle.

If we are running errands, Nolan almost always will fall asleep in the car on the way home. For a long time I would try to carry him in, and put him in his bed. He would wake up, and that was the end of the nap. There was no getting him back to sleep. Half a nap is sometimes worse than no nap at all.

A few weeks ago I decided just to leave him in the car. I unbuckled him and left the door just slightly open so he could get out easily when he woke up. He slept there for two hours. I've been doing it ever since. If it is a little chilly out, I take him a blanket, and let him sleep.

I'm not sure how he sleeps like that in his car seat, but he does; without a battle. That is a solution that works for me.

Works for Me Wednesday

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Thursday, March 13, 2008

This is Martha

I know some of you have seen photos of Martha, but for the rest of you. This is Martha!

Just too Cute!

Carrying the Weight of the World!

With Her Brothers

Almost Spring!

It is almost spring, really isn't it? Here is some proof we found on an afternoon walk.


Frog Eggs

A Full Clothes Line



A Goat Who I Can't Believe Hasn't Had Her Kid Yet!
Poor thing.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Powerful Google

I got an email yesterday from M.R. (Martha) Not an email from her through the adoptive agency, but an email directly from her. She Googled some of the information she had about me. Found this blog, and my email. Crazy isn't it.

I'm glad she did. In fact, I had tried Google to look for her before, but did not have enough information to work with. She informed me that she had been told the process to open the adoption file could take eight months! Not exactly a surprise, but it just seems crazy when we both want the information to be available.

I'm not sure exactly, if anything this changes, except for the fact that it makes communication faster.

Google is a wonderful thing!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Spoke too Soon

The other day Heather posted about how they were getting snow up her way, and I left her a comment to the effect that I would stop my whining about our weather. Yes, it was rainy. Yes, it was gloomy, but at least it wasn't snow!

Yesterday, I woke up to snow. It snowed all day. This morning the snow is still there. Now, I'm whining! I am so done with snow!

I know all of you in NE Ohio, who got a foot and a half, or more are thinking I am a big baby about our couple inches of snow. Well, maybe, but I moved South for a reason, and one of those reasons was so I wouldn't have snow in March! Thankfully they are calling for highs in the 40's after today, and the snow won't be here long.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Happy Birthday Vivian (belated)

It isn't possible! My baby is two!

Vivian's birthday was yesterday. We had a simple celebration to celebrate her special day. I always swore that I would not baby the youngest, but I find that I am despite my best intentions. I just can't help it. She is the baby. Surely she is not ready for things like potty training, dressing herself, and talking in small sentences! Yet, she defies me and does all that and more.

She has become quite the little helper. She tries to put her own laundry away, and wants to help with just about anything the big kids do, or anyone else is doing for that matter. The latest example was when we were at the state capital a few weeks ago. The homeschool band played, and there were chairs set up around the area. When the performances were done the workers came and started stacking the chairs on their carts. While we were gathering our stuff Vivian started pushing all the chairs toward the workers.

I went back and read the post from her first birthday. She sure has changed a lot in this last year! Somethings though have stayed the same, like sucking on that knuckle. Below are pictures from the year, starting with her first birthday and ending with one taken yesterday!

Monday, March 03, 2008

On a Beautiful Springlike Day

Yesterday the clouds and the gloom finally broke, and we had a warm, sunny day. It felt like spring! How did we enjoy this wonderful day in the 100 Acre Wood? Did we go for a walk? Did we have a picnic? Maybe we just sat in the sun? No, we shoveled manure!

Our rabbit hutches are on a slope, like everything else here. The two main hutches face each other, and the chickens have done quite the job of scratching much of the droppings into the aisle between the hutches. They are so helpful that way. In addition to the droppings, the rain water runs down the hill, until it gets to the space between the hutches. There it collects creating a wonderful muck that only a pig could love. My oldest daughter, Lydia, however was not so thrilled when her boot got stuck in it the other day, and her foot ended up in the muck.

We took advantage of the weather to shovel that out, and any that remained under the hutches. We also put some boards up at the legs of the hutches to keep the chickens from scratching it all out next time. All told about five wheelbarrow loads of wonderful muck, well, wonderful for the garden that is. Oh, and one load out of the chicken house too. The obliging chickens were happy to scratch around in that muck, again, thus spreading it out nicely in the garden spot. What better way to spend a sunny springlike day?

Today was even warmer, and you'll be happy to know that we enjoyed the weather in some ways that were a little less stinky. We hung laundry on the line. ( I really do enjoy that.) The kids played outside quite a bit. (I enjoy that more!) They even had lunch on the deck.

Speaking of kids, well, of the goat variety, we have two goats who we have thought, for about a week, would have their kids any day. Everyday we are amazed that they have gotten even bigger, and more swollen in the genital area, and still no kids. Twist today just looked miserable. She is huge, we think with twins. She is waddling; slowly. Poor thing. How much longer could it be? Hopefully not much more!

The next few days are to be cooler, and rainy. I am glad we enjoyed our springlike days while we had them!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

A little update

It has been quite some time since I've said anything here about M.R. It isn't that there hasn't been anything to say; there has been a lot of back and forth. It takes me awhile sometimes to process what has and is happening, and how I feel about it. In this situation, for the last few months, it seems that as soon as I have processed one bit of news, there is something new that makes need to reprocess it all again. Now, though, there has been less back and forth and more continual motion in the same direction.

We are on the road to meeting each other. M.R. has started the process with the state to open up the adoption records. I'm really not sure what all is involved, but have been told it can be a long process. In the meantime we are emailing, through the adoption agency.

It is so amazing, and slightly bizarre, to get emails from her. Tim has asked several times how I feel about all of this, and the real answer is I don't know. I can't explain it. It is good, certainly, but almost surreal. I feel so connected to her, yet I do not even know her at all. How do you feel when something that you have wondered about and wished for for almost 19 years is happening? I don't have words for it.

I'm not sure how much I will post about this anymore. I like to have a place to record all the events, and writing about it does help sort out the thoughts and feelings, but I also want to respect her privacy. So with that I'll end here.