Wednesday, May 17, 2017

More Eggs

A few days after I found that stash, I found more eggs hidden under some branches of a tree. Same size and shape eggs. Same hen.

It's like an Easter egg hunt. Except not as fun.

I had an idea that I would swap out the real eggs with a couple of wooden eggs. Then if she laid more eggs I would at least know where to look. The last photo is the wooden eggs.

But no luck. She hasn't gone back to that same spot. So I'm back to hunting for them in the woods if I ever see her outside the fencing.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Bad Connection

We had a bad connection with the electric fencing recently. It took us a couple of days to work out it wasn't working properly and then a few more days to isolate the problem and get it fixed.

The first hint we had was finding one of the goats snarled up in the fencing. If the fence had been hot, the poor goat would have been crying and wailing. After I got her untangled and the fencing back and the goats all back inside the fencing, I thought I'd solved the problem. But I turned around and there they were again - outside the fencing.

The goats and dogs took advantage of the situation and did as they pleased for several days. The goats found a nice patch of green grass and the dogs wandered up to the house. Thankfully the cows were in an area that wasn't affected.

The problem ended up being a bad "energizer" (for lack of a better word) that reduces and pulses the current to make it safe.

We are planning to arrange better and more permanent fencing for the goats at some point. It's just time and money. Time and money.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Egg Stash

I was letting out the chickens one morning awhile back. And feeding them. It was also raining that day.

The first thing I saw was a single egg sitting in the middle of one of the runs. The hens don't usually lay eggs out in the open. I somehow missed it the day before. I had probably locked up the chickens after dark and didn't think to look down the run.

Later I decided to walk around to see how much grass was in the run and if I needed to move the fencing. You may remember that I try to move the fencing after it rains.

Then I saw it. A pile of eggs! Just sitting there in the tall grass. Just a few feet from where I walk all the time. Waiting to be found. Thirteen eggs! All exactly the same size and shape and color. All from the same hen.

I'm wondering how she got out at least 13 days without me noticing she was outside the fence. And I'm amazed that nothing had disturbed them in that period of time.

Then I turned around and happened to notice something under the coop. More eggs! How do I not notice them? What is going on?

One reason is that most of the eggs are brown and there were lots of dead leaves on the ground that look the same color. But still.

Then I remembered it had been a full moon the night before. I'm convinced it's the moon.

I had to put these eggs in the fridge (remind yourself here why I don't usually refrigerate the eggs) because they had been washed by the rain, and I also wasn't sure how old they all were. We kept these eggs for our own use and ended up eating them all because they were all fine.

(The eggs in the last photo show the stash on the left and the others I found under the coop and in the run on the right. Notice how identical the ones on the left are.)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Our Friend

Everyone should be blessed with at least one good friend. We've been blessed with an abundance of loving family and many faithful friends. We had several offers of help from them before, during and after my surgery.

Once my surgery had been scheduled, it only took about a day before our friend the Factor was on the road, making his way to Texas to help us. He's visited and stayed with us the most since we moved here and knows our property well. Remind yourself here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and probably a few more I've missed.

His job was to stay here at the house and look after all the animals while we were at the hospital. He set his own personal goal to make sure none of the animals went missing or died.

He also asked for my "to-do" list in case there was something on it he could do on the more quiet days. He mowed the lawns front and back. He fixed the small door pull and the big door of my chicken coop. He set out traps and caught several rounds of mice. This was all in addition to feeding the goats and dogs twice a day, opening/locking up and feeding the chickens, collecting the eggs, and looking after our dog and his dog. I'm sure there were lots of other things he did that we weren't aware of because we weren't here.

He was happy to report that when we returned there were still 58 animals alive and well. In fact there was one extra because a calf was born.

We are thankful to his family for lending him to us for THREE weeks!

Friday, April 28, 2017


My first interaction with a doctor that I can remember, is when I was about three years old. I swallowed a nickel (!) and it got lodged in my throat. The doctor was able to remove it by forceps down my throat. I didn’t complain during the procedure but as soon as it was over, I turned to him and said, “You pinched my lip.”  I imagine I gave him a death stare as well. Thus began my love-hate relationship with doctors.

After a few other bad experiences with doctors, diagnoses, and drugs, over 30 years ago we decided to pursue a more natural approach to health. This means instead of treating the symptom, we search for the cause and try to treat it. We believe in prevention and have tried to incorporate a healthy lifestyle by drinking pure water, eating organic food, moderate exercise, sunshine and avoiding drugs. It also means we sometimes are in some pain along the way. We firmly believe our amazing bodies have a godly ability to heal themselves when given the right tools.

In our search to take control of our health, we have used homeopathic doctors, osteopaths, naturopaths, acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and admittedly a few quacks.  Instead of regular checkups, doctor visits, and pharmacies, we have chosen to only deal conventionally with a health issue when it starts to interfere with our daily life.

My flippant motto has been, “I’ll be dying before I go to a hospital.” Unfortunately (and thankfully) though, there have been several times in my life when medical intervention was necessary to save my life. I feel like a cat, now going on my 5th life.

About six months ago, I was rushed to the local ER just in time with difficulty breathing, and was later diagnosed as having pulmonary edema caused by a leaky aortic valve. Initial testing and diagnosis indicated the need to have a valve replacement.

Because of our natural approach to health, any health insurance had been phased out years ago with budget cuts. If we did need to go to a doctor, we would negotiate a cash price. Overall, we feel we have saved money and are more healthy.

Since this treatment was clearly going to be expensive, we had to wait several months before we could sign up for health insurance. Guv’nor is very good with detailed research and numbers, but he had difficulty navigating through the maze of information. Probably the only good thing about the current health insurance coverage is that a pre-existing condition could be covered. I don’t know what we would have done otherwise.

Then a wonderful thing happened. In casual conversation, my sister mentioned to a friend about my situation. Her friend knew several cardiologists and started contacting them on my behalf. Before I knew it I was in touch with a senior cardiologist at the Baylor Scott White hospital in Temple. I’ll call him Dr. D. Once we had our insurance in place, we met with him for a second opinion and further tests. We were able to convey to him our approach to health and he was sympathetic. Although I had been managing fairly normally, he felt like I was close to a steep and rapid decline. Dr. D. explained the procedure and arranged the surgeon.

After considering all the options, we came to terms with the fact that my condition was going to require open heart surgery. We chose a tissue valve (in my case a bovine) mainly because it wouldn’t require long term use of blood thinner medication. The tissue valve can last up to ten years, and second and further valve replacements can be performed by non-invasive surgery.

The surgery and five days following in ICU were very difficult, I have to admit. Several times I was ready to give up because I felt so awful, but the constant prayers of so many faithful sustained me. I couldn’t tolerate the strong pain medications. There were so many lines and monitors and jabs and pills to swallow all through the day and night. The physical therapist came several days and it felt like torture. I'm sure I was giving the death stare to many that came into my room. Once I had met the recovery targets, I was moved to a room which was more comfortable.

But through it all, Guv’nor was right there by my side. He’d decided he wasn’t going to leave the hospital until I was out of ICU. He also didn’t shower or shave for five days. Yikes. Good thing I was out of it most of that time. We were thankful for the loving support of the rest of the family.

I’m home now, resting and slowly recovering and gaining strength. It has taken me a couple of weeks to gather my thoughts enough to write this post. My brain is still a bit foggy. I’ll be back soon telling farm stories. And I’ll leave you with a few photos.

After the most restful night I had in the hospital, I found this on my door in the morning. Sweet nurse.

This sign was on the ceiling (!) fire sprinklers in the bathroom.

This was my cocktail of medications I had to take a couple of times a day.

Guv'nor and his shadow.

My followup X-ray that shows the new valve and twist ties holding my ribs together.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Hay Finished

We've used up all our hay supply finally. We have had a fairly mild winter this year but the cows still needed three or four bales of hay each day plus a supplement to keep them going. Thankfully we had enough hay to last until the grass started growing again.

Remind yourself here and here where all the hay came from. Some of it was over two years old, but the cows didn't seem to mind.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

No Yolk

Well, I've heard of eggs with double yolks. So far we haven't had one though. But I had never thought of an egg with no yolk.

I had another tiny egg the other day. A white one this time. So I cracked it into my skillet one morning with another larger egg for my scrambled eggs. And was surprised to see that there wasn't a yolk in it.

How does that happen? I'm not sure. Maybe you know.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Mice Again

I've been hearing mice again in the attic space. So I set some more traps the other day. I used some old cheese I had for the bait. And while I had it out, I decided to set more traps in the garage and chicken coop. 

The next morning I had caught two in the attic, one in the garage, and one in the chicken coop. I reset the traps and the following day caught another one in the attic.

Since then I haven't heard noises and haven't caught anything. The cheese is gone on a few traps, so I know they're still around. Just getting smarter. And fatter!

If you're squeamish, don't scroll down.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Teddy and Vests

I've been knitting again. I made matching vests for two sweet little brothers. They were supposed to be Christmas presents but I didn't quite get them finished in time so they became New Year's presents.

The Sirdar pattern I chose had sizes for 6 month to 7 year so it was perfect for this project. I chose a gray wool yarn from Drops called Karisma and made the 1-2 year and the 6-7 year size.

I also wanted to try making a small teddy bear which I had finished awhile back. So I made up a pattern for a little matching teddy bear vest and gave it to the little brother. The big brother wants one now!