Today is going to be a good one. There are two catalogs on the table next to my favorite chair. One is from Cackle Hatchery, the other from Wood Prairie Family Farm. Soon, I will be ordering my spring chicks and ducks.( Pekin baby Ducks, Barred Rock and Buff Orpington chicks) They will live in a baby pool under a heat lamp in Bob’s office until they get stinky. I like to “play with the babies”. Sooner or later they will graduate to the barn.Â Spring babies are a big deal . Our lambs will be born in April and our Goslings (baby geese) will hatch in May. There will probably be assorted kittens too, there usually are.
I saved my own organic Yukon Gold potatoes from last fall and will plant them this spring. Because I like to try new things,Â I will get some Rosegold potatoesÂ from Wood Prairie Family Farm.
Today, I read my catalogs. Planning for baby animals and my garden helps me survive winter in Minnesota! Just saying —
I can complain about the weather, or enjoy its beauty. The forecast is calling for minus 25 to minus 35 below zero. There is snow covering everything and icicles hanging down from the roof of the old barn. Two of the oldest Great Pyrenees dogs will come inside and stay in the basement next to the wood stove. The kitten who lives in the bunny hutch will be brought inside. I will be making tomato soup and toasted cheese sandwiches for lunch. Later today, I will be shelling beans and watching the videos of Downton Abby.Â Bob will be grading the last of his semester papers and putting logs in the wood stove. Bentley will wear his green sweater when he goes outside for necessary things. Dallas will sleep by the back door.Â The bird feeder is full and the sparrows are all over it. I will enjoy today and enjoy the beauty all around me.
We grow our own food and live a healthy lifestyle –so I change things around when I bake. Today, I made Pecan, Cinnamon rolls. By substitutingÂ organic whole wheat, for white flour, and Maple Syrup for sugar, my rolls are yummy and are a healthier treat for breakfast.Â Just saying —
Many, many, years ago, a beautiful Great Pyrenees puppy was born to Josie and Asher.
She loved to play in the fresh straw with her brothers and sisters. They would “woof” and “wag” and roll around. She liked the barn cats and the old rooster. Life was good.
This morning, Bob found her laying in the fresh straw. She was born here and she died here. She had not been sick, just old. Life had come full circle.
Milk and Honey Farm has been home to Great Pyrenees for the past twenty three years. Our puppies have been a blessing to folks from all over the U.S.Â Our livestock has been watched over and protected by our “gentle giants.” The Pyrs have been our friends and trusted companions.Â I have seen the seasons come and go. I have seen our puppies born and cried when the old dogs died. They are buriedÂ behind our barn. Sometimes, I walk back there and remember each one. I am grateful for the opportunity to enjoy the full circle.
From an anonymous poet on a WWII cellar wall in a Jewish hiding place was the following.
“I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining. I believe in love, even when I feel it not. I believe in God, even when He is silent.”
The message is ageless and for all of us.
It is snowing now, big fluffy flakes are drifting down. Bob is watching Green Bay win a football game and putting new strings on his guitar.Â Supper is almost ready, Chile, salad, garlic bread, and pecan pie. We had company coming over for dinner and they just called and cancelled. The roads are bad out there. Our evening will not go as planned. Instead of visiting with company, Bob will grade papers and I will be shelling dried beans. Hopefully, there will a Christmas movie on the T.V. The house smells of wood smoke and is warm. There is a white candle inÂ each window and a red poinsettia in the center of the kitchen table.Â There is a scripture that says”Godliness with contentment is great gain.”Â This is true at our house tonight.
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the Glory of the Lord shown around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them,” Be not afraid, for behold, I bring you great Joy which will be to all the people. For there is born to you this day, in the city of David a Savior who is Christ The Lord. ” Luke 2:8,9,10
Huge muddy footprints are covering my living room floor. They are marching around the kitchen table. They are climbing the back stair way and draping themselves all over the hall way. Little clumps of dried mud are scattered from the back door to the far end of the living room. Long white hair is free floating over most of the downstairs. Dallas is in the house. His cold nose pokes me as I type. His doggy breath blowsÂ into my face.Â My Great Pyrenees puppy, who weighs in at 120 pounds, and who stands taller then me when up on his hind legs, has arrived back inside from his morning romp.Â Fresh mud adorns my puppy.Â
Dallas is my companion, guardian, and friend. He loves me with all of his doggy heart. The floor will get mopped, the muddy foot prints will be cleaned up.Â The North wind is roaring around the old farm house. The temperature is dropping rapidly. Being warm and inside with my big puppy is a beautiful thing. I do not take muddy footprints seriously. It is good to have Dallas beside me.
In all the turmoil raining down on America, it is good to focus on the simple, everyday things. Today, I will enjoy the quiet time, the ordinary times, andÂ be thankful to the Lord.
Bob is a “Happy Camper”. He really enjoyed his breakfast ofÂ French toast with maple syrup, fresh eggs from our chickens and turkey bacon. Now, he is in his favorite chair watching the Green Bay Packers play football. On a portable table in front of him is his lap top computer. He is grading papers, on line, from his Electronics students at Ridgewater Tech. college. It is called multitasking.
The old farm house is warm and cozy. The puppy is taking a nap in his playpen. Our big garden is sleeping under a blanket of snow. The sheep are in the barn watching snow flakes float down. Their straw is dry, a new salt bloc is in place, and the bins are full of hay. The breakfast eggs were collected early from the chickens. The hens are busy avoiding the rooster and cleaning up food in their feeder.Â It is a sleepy day, a regular day, with nothing special going on. That is our blessing.Â It is peaceful here, a day to rest.
The weather guy seems to believe that this winter will be cooler, the snow will be heavier, and and the season will last longer.Â Since moving to rural Minnesota from Dallas, Texas, 22 years ago, I have learned to be prepared for winter. It takes a lot of planning and preparation. Basically, if it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger!
We have been working on our “winter ” for about a month.Â We are ready and our animals are too.
Storing enough hay and corn for the sheep is vital. They have straw for bedding and a new salt block. Our Ram is “visiting” with all the ewes. They will have baby lambs in April. The electric water buckets are set up and working well. The outside tank has been cleaned out and will be refilled in the spring.
The chickens are moved out of their chicken tractor and into the chicken coop for winter. It isÂ insulated and cozy. The light is on a timer to give them the proper number of daylight hours for egg laying. There is fresh straw in all the nests and a high perch for roosting. The geese are in the old milk house attached to the barn. They will winter there and begin to lay eggs in March. The rabbits are moved into their hutch from the summer rabbit run. There is rabbit food stored near by and water available. My kitten, that Bob found in the loft, is bunkingÂ with the buck bunny. When he gets bigger, he will go out with the rest of the barn cats.
Our bee hives have been wrapped in fabric and the bees have a good store of honey. We will be adding sugar syrup to that store as needed. There are cedar chips in the top of each hive for insulation. I will be making bee’s wax candles as one of my winter projects.
Our animals are ready for winter. Our preparation chores are complete. It feels good to be ready. Bring it on!