My farm, Uncategorized

Bummer Lambs A Delight!! The Good Shepherd!!!

I was so nervous to get my first batch of bummer lambs.

Baby Lambs
Baby Lambs


I only did it because my eleven year old kept begging me, and because the lambs were cheap (30 dollars each).  I researched, and researched the day before they came and finally resorted to expressing my worries on facebook.  Immediately I got messages of reassurance.  A whole bunch of my experienced friends shared their own stories of raising bummer lambs as kids or adults (yah, I have cool friends 🙂  ).

Baby Lambs At Aunty Bears Farm
Baby Lambs At Aunty Bears Farm

I felt much better, especially when they assured me that I DID NOT have to feed them every two hours and during the night.IMG_8012

The lambs came in a small box.  They were so tiny and noisy.  A few were so new that they still were wobbly on their feet.  For the first three nights I put them in my laundry room bathroom.

Baby Lambs At Aunty Bears Farm
Baby Lambs At Aunty Bears Farm

Yucky I know, but I just didn’t want them to be cold and I wanted to be close to them in case they needed me.  I also planned on feeding them ever few hours just like one of the websites said.  Luckily another friend told me after the first night that it was not necessary.

Baby Lambs At Aunty Bears Farm
Baby Lambs At Aunty Bears Farm

I was so happy because I was so tired waking up to feed the little ones.  I did wake up the first two nights (because I felt so sorry for those sweet things) but I didn’t tell my real farmer friends 🙂 –They are so much better than google!!

Baby Lambs At Aunty Bears Farm
Baby Lambs At Aunty Bears Farm

I was worried that the lambs would have to be forced to eat but once again, I worried for nothing.  After the first night, the little lambs eat eagerly and with relish!!

Baby Lambs At Aunty Bears Farm
Baby Lambs At Aunty Bears Farm

They are so pretty.  All different kinds of fur and all different colors.  I absolutely love them.

Baby Lambs At Aunty Bears Farm
Baby Lambs At Aunty Bears Farm

They bring me so much joy watching them, and feeding them.  I now feed them every five hours or so.  They love it and so do I.  I feel so blessed to have them.

The Good Shepherd
The Good Shepherd

We are just like bummer lambs.  We have left the home we know (heaven) to wander in a strange land alone.  We are small and fragile, but the Lord keeps us close.  He is the good Shepherd.  He loves us and he cares.  Each one of us are different but special.  Our differences are unique and He knows us personally.  I am grateful that I have felt so safe in His loving flock.



My farm, Uncategorized

Our Baby Lambs

IMG_8016In the heat of the afternoon today my husband is bringing home 6 baby lambs.  They are orphans, called bummer lambs, and are very fragile.  A few are a week old, but a few are just days old and very weak.  I am nervous.  Babies are so fragile, and babies away from their mama’s are more so.  I remember our baby goats being born.  It was on a cold windy sunday.  Bree, the mama gave birth to twins.  A husky boy and a fragile, wispy girl.  We had just driven home from church, hearts still pounding.

Bree and Duffy

As we left a fabulous meeting with Elder Holland, the wind was blowing wildly as we dashed to our car.  Breathless and cold, we were slowly leaving the parking lot when out of the corner of my eye I saw an elderly fall flat on her face.  It happened so fast and was at the other end of the road between two cars that I wasn’t sure that I saw things right.  Obediently my husband didn’t question me and zipped over to where I directed him.  Sure enough, there on the road was an older lady face first.  The wind must have pushed her over as she was trying to cross the street.  Luckily we saw her and we were able to get help to her fast.

Baby Goat

As we came up to our house in our suburban, I noticed Bree’s amazing accomplishment and we all squeeled for joy.  Then I saw the little doe.  It was so tiny and wasn’t moving.  The march winds were so cold.  Jacketless, I ran to her side and gathered her up in my arms and brought her and her shivering brother inside.  Carefully we dried her, laid her on our heated bathroom tiles and tried to get her to drink some milk Zik had just milked out.  That tiny little thing was feisty and refused to drink a thing from us.  Finally after multiple tries we got some milk in her.  For hours we kept her warm, fed her and watched her.  Then it occurred to me that unless I did something fast, I would be getting up all night feeding that girl.

Little Miss Loves Her Babies
Little Miss Loves Her Babies

It didn’t take long to decide to bring mama in the house.  While I fixed the mudroom, the kids herded mama in.  The mama happily fed the boy, but the little girl was too weak to compete with her brother.  For days we would have to pull the boy away to let the doe eat.  After a week of our house smelling like a barn-oh, I mean, after a week of it being a barn (luckily it was so cold outside that there were no flies attracted to our ‘barn’) we moved the family back outside.  I was so happy to have weathered my first birth on The Land (besides puppy births).

Milking Bree For Her New Babies
Milking Bree For Her New Babies

I am hoping that my experience with the goat will help me with these lambs.  I don’t really think I know what I am getting myself  into.  I am supposed to feed these babies EVERY 2 HOURS!!!!  Yikes, let’s hope it all will work out.  I am going to start them out in the shed but have a feeling that I may move them inside fast.


Family Fun, Ponderings

Crowd Sourcing Genealogy Indiegogo Campaign

Eric Proffitt-Crowd Sourcing Genealogy Indiegogo

Instructions to make your own family history wreath

Four years ago my brother-in-law, Eric Proffitt, my sister and five kids came to live with me and my six kids and 18 year old brother  for a few months.

One day, my brother-in-law came home beaming.  The greatest idea hit him while he was struggling to work on a friends ancestral line.  Eric Proffitt had been helping people out with their genealogy for years out of kindness because he loved the mystery of it all.

“What if” Eric asked “we had a website that would let people post small genealogy requests for pictures, grave rubbings or records to be pulled that would help them with their family search”. I love genealogy myself, but at the time I was at a 5 year roadblock and wished beyond wish that I could get some help.  I had already paid 2k to a professional genealogist and I had gotten as far as I could at the time.

Come Join the Campaign

I immediately thought the idea was brilliant “Kinda like being able to Geo-cache but with a purpose!!”  To me, it sounded like the perfect way to get the masses involved in genealogy.  At the time, I had never heard of indexing or crowd-sourcing.  Geo-caching was the closest thing I could imagine to having millions of people around the world involved in one project.

“To make the site more sustainable and appeal to non-genealogist, we could make it so the person requesting the information can put up a fee that they would pay to get their request fulfilled-five dollars being the most common cost” my Eric Proffitt explained.  I was hooked.  I strongly encouraged him to find out how we would make it happen.

Family History Tree

The next couple of weeks Eric did a ton of research.  It seemed that the basic programming fee would cost 30k, and that didn’t include marketing, on-going costs, or web-design, which would be another 10k.  Eric Proffitt flew to Salt Lake and discussed his idea with one of the top genealogy organizers there who loved the idea and told Eric that if he got everything together in time, Eric could present at the up-coming genealogy conference.  Eric Proffitt was stoked, but cost of the whole thing was too daunting, and the idea was put on the back burner.

Fast forward four years.  I had just got so frustrated with the road block I was having with my family tree that my husband found a Ukrainian teacher who happened to be a gifted photographer, to visit my ancestral village.  Our hope was that since we couldn’t afford to go ourselves, that we would send this teacher guy to our village and see if he could take pictures of the location, and try and meet any relatives that still may be living there.  It cost me 1200 dollars to get  him to visit to villages.  With seven kids, the 1200 dollars was hard to come by, but it was thoroughly worth it.  The pictures he sent, and the people he met added a whole new dimension to my family tree.  I was so thrilled.  My husband was like-wise very impressed with the whole process.  It was then we approached Eric Proffitt and Mike Parker,  with looking into the whole crowd-sourcing genealogy idea again.  They were both still interested and in researching the idea again, and were thrilled to find out that the cost to do the whole project had dropped significantly even when he added in the cost of developing an app to go with the website.

Create your own Family Tree Ornaments

Unfortunately the price hadn’t dropped enough to make it affordable for us to do on our own.  It was then we decided to try and crowd-fund the idea-an option not available 4 years ago.  We knew that if the idea was as amazing as we thought it was, that it would catch the vision of other casual genealogist like ourselves and take off.

We now have less than 20 days to finish our campaign and are still short the amount we need to make it work.  If you would love to know more about your genealogy, I would encourage you to visit our Indiegogo Campaign and think about donating. Together we can make this work. . . Updates: Thanks to funders through indiegogo Campaign and other private investors we are ready to launch out new sight within the next month.  The name of this site is called ROOTSBID.  I am beyond excited.  Whenever my husband is overworked, and our bank account is looking slim, I just feel a thrill to think that our dream is being completed right now!!!  

Ponderings, Uncategorized

Because He Lives, We Shall Live Also: Passing Away Of Josh Burton, LDS Missionary

Three words, ripped from the heart of my older sister changed my life yesterday.  ‘Josh is dead’.  In a moment, my world spun on it’s axis and everything changed.  Down on our knees, right where we were, my husband and children poured our hearts out to our Father.  Josh, the second oldest brother in the family of 11.  Josh, the boy who filled the stage and town with his smiles and love for life.  Josh who made music for the soul and was currently serving a mission.  A son, a brother, a friend, a servant of God.

As I walked to my little sisters house, a solemnity seemed to cover this piece of the world.  It was if even the birds stilled in their reverence for the moment.  All my earlier frustrations about slip and slides, money, and messes left discarded where I heard those poignant words.  How could this happen? Just the night before, his father had told me of the accident.  Two vertebraes were broken and the doctors operating on him gave him a 1% chance of ever walking again.  Shortly after the operation he had wiggled his toes, then rotated his feet and lifted his legs, an unheard of feat.  The prayers and fasting of his mission, his brothers mission, our ward and countless others were calling upon the powers of heaven and miracles were happening.  The doctors and nurses at the hospital were not of our faith, but they recognized Josh as a man of God and had all joined in our prayers.  So many prayers, and such incredible miracles on his behalf.  Only four month away from finishing his mission, with one brother on a mission and one more just leaving for the MTC that day, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that he would be taken care of.  A Savior who died for him, surely would not leave him at this critical time.

Tears, hugs and questions formed in all of our minds.  We knew that his mother was enroute to visiting him and likely did not know.  All around me were little clusters of cousins, friends and siblings crying, hugging and praying.  We all wanted to do something to ease the burden of this family.  Almost all of my kids had a friend at the moment who’s hearts were breaking.  I wanted to go to the home, but did not want to intrude on such a sacred, heart wrenching time.  They were our dear friends, but only recently so.  Would we, should we go?  If I went, what should I say?  All day I tossed around my heartache, my doubts, my concerns.  Finally, I decided that I would rather go and risk intruding to let them know that they were loved and being prayed for, than to hold back and risk them having to bare this burden alone.

Together, a group of us, nine in total loaded up in our vehicles and made the journey to their home.  The solemnity of this occasion weighed upon me.  Driving up, I saw a young boy praying on the hill.  The house was ‘a quiet house’.  We rang the doorbell, and graciously we were let in with tears and hugs.  How do you prepare for a moment like this?  My eyes caught sight of the 14 year old daughter red-eyed and weary, little Gab, only 7 with quivering lips, and one of my 9 year old cubs bravely biting his lip.  Josh’s father lead us to the living room.  For the next few hours we quietly listened, hugged, cried, laughed, sang and had our faith strengthened.  Such a solemn, sacred time.  In this moment, sharing so closely someones pain, the Gospel truths shone brighter than I had ever seen them before.  Heavenly hosts felt so close.  My faith of life after death, of the atonement, of the gospel was reaffirmed in a way it had never been before.  My mind was drawn to a recent conference talk about a father who lost his 18 month year old son Tyson.

The father said:

Tyson has remained a very integral part of our family. Through the years it has been wonderful to see the mercy and kindness of a loving Father in Heaven, who has allowed our family to feel in very tangible ways the influence of Tyson. I testify that the veil is thin. The same feelings of loyalty, love, and family unity don’t end as our loved ones pass to the other side; instead, those feelings are intensified.

That talk has comforted me so many times as I tried to imagine what I would do if I lost one of my own precious children.  Life is not fair I would definitely exclaim at a time like this, but hopefully I would remember the beautiful words of another sister, who not so long ago who lost a family member and stated at the funeral “Life is not fair.  No it is not.  When seen by the eyes of Eternity, it is not fair. It is perfect.”

As we knelt in prayer with this incredible family Josh’s father tenderly related “When we told the kids we gathered like this.  We sang “Families Can Be Together Forever” and said a prayer.” With tears he looked at us all and my heart nearly burst with sadness when he simply stated “I am so grateful that singing and praying together is something that is familiar to us”.  Gently reminding me that it is those small and simple daily things that you do with your family that binds them to you in times of distress.

My heart is still breaking, my mind is still reeling with the magnitude of this all, but somehow, in the quiet echo’s of my heart, I holding on to that idea.  It may not be fair, but it is perfect.  Why?  Because our Savior who is in heaven is perfect, and because “He live, We shall live also”.

Josh Burton-his younger brother’s hero

Daughter Like Daddy
Barn Wood Sign Tutorial

“I found another one,” I cried in delight as I pull a 16 foot piece of rough hewn 2×6 from the pile of lumber hidden under two years of pasture growth.

My younger sister rubs her rounded baby-laden tummy and grins. “Daddy would be proud”.  The kids groan and roll their eyes before her unimpressed 13 year old dutifully takes it from me.

My husband doesn’t seem to share our pleasure in finding a use for what he considers garbage wood.  He gives me that look and says, “You two are such your fathers daughters”.  I look at my sister and chuckle.

Repurposed iron fence

From the time I was a little girl, I often watched my dad in amazement.  He was always up to some adventure, creating something incredible and making sure nothing went to waste.  I can’t tell you how many times I got to sort through the ‘pig food’ that he would pick up from the grocers to find the perfectly good apples, strawberries and oranges in the discarded produce.  I still remember how impressed I was the day he drove up with a truck load of ‘few-days-old’ goods from the local bakery.

Indoor Barn door Tutorial

 I can also recall my disappointment when he only allowed us to sample a few of the goods before feeding them to our pigs.  The time he brought home about 50 boxes of christmas oranges and I had an orange eating contest with my best friend was a day I’ll never forget. I think I ate 80 oranges that day and felt sick all night long.  When we got rid of the pigs, Dad still collected rejects from the bakeries and grocers and faithfully drop off any edible goods to people who appreciated a little help in feeding their families (this episode of turning point shows a lady who did something similar).

It wasn’t just food my dad saved and used.  It was not uncommon for him to pick up a discarded glove from the side of the road or ‘perfectly good’ sock.  At the time, I was older and his ‘rescuing’ sometimes caused great embarrassment but usually it just amused me.  I remember one day, when I was an old and mature 19 year old and I climbed up on the roof of a gazebo he was building out of new and very used wood (he always had a stash of wood near his houses) and asked if I could help him put on shingles.  My dad looked at me skeptically and asked, “Do you know how to hammer?”.  He laughed when I scowled at him.  I had been building from the time I was a little girl, collecting the discarded pieces of wood that even my dad couldn’t find a reason to keep, and making my own little houses, boats and cars.  Enjoying his joke, Dad handed me another hammer.

Repurposed Arbor

While we hammered in the blistering sun he told me a secret the still makes me smile remembering.  Holding up a bent nail, he said, “I have converted tons of nails in my time”.  He went on to explain as he straightened the nail. “I always pick up bent nails, and when I straighten them I think to myself, ‘We are all like these bent nails, imperfect and often overlooked and rejected.  But with the gospel, and the atonement we can be straightened.  And even if we never get as straight as we were when we were first created, it doesn’t matter.’  Working together, a bent nail is just as important in holding up this gazebo as a perfectly straight one. And so it is like us, we are all just as important in fulfilling God’s plan for us, no matter what we have done, where we have come and how bent we are.  As long as we have faith in Jesus and try to try our best Jesus makes all the difference.”

Gratitude garland

My love for my dad increased that day, on that roof.  I recalled the countless times he took time to ‘save’ a lost, mismatched, discarded person.  Whether it was the grumpy furnace guy, a lost teen-ager (and we had many coming through our home), the hitchhiker guy on the ferry, or the scared 11 year old who came to our house in the middle of the night to get away from a drunken father, my dad treated them all as the unique, special and loved child of God that they were.

Oil Surrounding A Photo In a Mason Jar
Today my Dad is serving a mission with my angel Mother.  Their mission is to ‘find people to love’ (at least that is how I see their mission).  What a fitting mission for them.  Every week they write back with tales of the sweet people they get to rub shoulders with and uplift.Seeing that my Dad has spent his life time ‘saving’ things, I can’t think of a better place for him to be (except maybe here with me, building incredible structures with all the wood I saved) and I know he would be proud of his two daughters who were willing to sift through piles of old wood carefully saved to help us create our own creation.
Beautiful Typography Mixing New With Old
My farm, Outdoors, Ponderings, Uncategorized

To Love Is To Loss

two cows feedings“Mommy” a choked voice calls on the phone ” the baby calf-she is dead”.  I hear the word and my heart sinks “Are you sure?” I ask hoping that somehow he is wrong, but as I hear my oldest son sobbing on the phone, I know the answer.  I feel a sense of grief sweep over me.  Bottle Feeding CalfCould I have prevented this death?  I don’t think I could have.  I did the best I could, but something inside me feels guilty.  If only I had not have been so sick this week. If only it had not rained so much.  If only I had of tried just a little harder. . .  Those ‘if only swirl in my brain’ as I try to comfort my son “It’s okay, we knew she was sick. I will come home  and get Daddy to take care of her”.  I am instantly grateful to have a man at my side to strengthen me.  I know that my husband, unfamiliar with animals and death, does not want to have to figure out what to do with a dead calf, but he sees my tears and immediately tries to figure out what to do. At home I gather my littlest girl on my lap as she cries over and over, “Mommy why did the baby cow die?” while my other kids solemnly look on.  I had only had that calf for a month, but yet my heart is torn.  Last night, as I dried my daughters tears and my own, I was devastated and honestly didn’t know how I could continue to live my dream of being self-sufficient.  I know that if you have livestock, you always need to be prepared for deadstock, but seriously how do you prepare for the death of a loved one-even an animal?  “Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die.” (D&C 42:45.)chickens

This morning I feel better. I look at my two healthy calves, three dogs, hernia ridden goat and twenty-eight chickens with hope.  I know, that as much as I want to numb myself to loss and pain, to do so would be deadly, for you cannot selectively numb emotion.  You can’t say, here’s the bad stuff.  Here’s vulnerability, here’s grief, here’s shame, here’s fear, here’s disappointment.  I don’t want to feel these. . . . .You can’t numb those hard feelings without numbing the other affects, our emotions.  You cannot selectively numb.  So when you we numb those, we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness. And then we miserable. . .” I know I have to continue on with this.  I know there honestly were some things I could have done better for my calf, but I have to let go. I have to realize that I will make mistakes, many mistakes, but as long as I work hard to be grateful the journey will be worth it. “The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life“.  (Russell M. Nelson)

Children, Family Fun, Ponderings, Uncategorized

Raising the Perfect Family by Denna

flowers girls Families can have a profound effect for good in the world.

Ezra t Benson, The family is the cornerstone of civilization and no nation will rise above the caliber of its homes.

Mother Teresa asks “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”

Neal a Maxwell said:

Good home are still the best source of good humans.  The greatest leaders and humanitarians will often say that their upbringing was the catalysis for their good works.zin flowers

As a young girl I thought I had foolproof plan to have a perfect family.   Serve a mission, graduate from a church school, marry a returned missionary in the temple, have lots of children and live an enchanted life. We began our family and life seemed idyllic, until, our first child turned two.  Suddenly the dreams I had of raising flawless children without a hair out of place seemed unlikely.

After years of workshops, classes, tons of parenting books, and a few more children …I found the secret…there is no such thing as an absolutely perfect family.

That being said, I know there is a process that advances the progress of the family towards successgirl flowers

There is hardly a church meeting that goes by without mention of the many things we can do to strengthen this precious unit.  Each of us is a member of a family, we may have different roles at this time yet all can benefit by working to improve it as a whole.e picking flowers

Patricia P. Pinegar said:

Parenting is a godly responsibility necessary for the salvation of Father’s children and important for our preparation for eternal blessings. Rejoice in your opportunities to love and care for the souls of children. Our Father has blessings and eternal rewards available for each of His children, whether they are married or single, parents or childless. Our circumstances may be different, our opportunities may be varied, but the end result of our righteousness can be the same—eternal parenthood, eternal lives.sisters sunflowers

It would seem that every gospel topic contributes significantly to the success of family life.

I asked my children what had been the most important principle in developing a testimony of Jesus Christ,  I’d like to share a few of their answers.

One child said, developing a conviction on their own, bearing testimony of it often and asking inspired questions that help reflect the true belief.  Can you tell he is a missionary?Papa sunflowers

It is an act of faith as parents begin to make the change from leading children in righteousness to encouraging them to walk in their own light, yet it strengthens and encourages growth and a continued quest for truth.  Asking the right question leads to superior understanding.girls sunflowers

I attended a women’s conference where the presenter was one of Elder Eyrings daughters.  She told us that each morning right before school the family would gather for breakfast and Elder Eyring would ask everyone in the family what experience from the day before indicated the hand of God in their life.  They would each share, go off to school with those testimonies in their hearts and be looking  for more proof of His love.  Can you imagine how that effected their  personal growth?  Each time we see evidence of God in our life it increases our capacity to identify and perceive Him where we couldn’t before.tia flowersss

Our daughter said that her testimony has been strengthened by being around good examples and being exposed to people who believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  On a Church sponsored website it states that we teach religious values,

“By example and by open teaching.  We should take our children to church with us, but that shouldn’t be the only time we talk about God.  We should share our deep religious feelings with our children, read the scriptures with them, and be interested in what they think and feel about what they read.  And we should act as examples to our children in obeying the commandments.”

Eleanor Roosevelt said: If you can give your children a trust in God, they will have a sure way of meeting all the uncertainties of existence.bevy flowers

Enos shares how his father’s example influenced him,

1 Behold, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my father that he was a just man—for he taught me in his language, and also in the nature and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God for it—

 3 Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.

Jacob was a powerful model to Enos,  as he remember his father example, and followed it he was blessed .

When I asked my youngest boy what helped him to have a testimony, he said my older brothers and sister!K flowers

I smiled inwardly at this sweet response and asked him to explain a little more not thinking he understood my question.  He said, his older siblings teach him about Jesus, answer his questions and they can also get things from up high.

As I thought about his feelings I was humbled to recognize that each of us has an Elder Brother who teaches us, provides the ultimate answers to our questions and who provided a way in which we may be lifted up to great heights.

Consider if you will what Linda K Burton of the General Relief Society says, Three principles of the Atonement that will increase our faith in Jesus Christana flowers

1. All that is unfair about life can be made right through he Atonement.

2. There is power in the Atonement to enable us to overcome the natural man or woman and become true disciples.

3. The Atonement is the greatest evidence we have of the Father’s love for his children.

In addition to these wonderful points we can draw great strength from the power of prayer.

eno sunflowerIt has provided a constant source of guidance and comfort which has been vital in reinforcing gospel principles at home.  As we go to our knees with soul searching questions regarding children and home, each petition to the Lord draws us closer to Him and understanding his will.  Prayer is a powerful tool, I will often listen to the prayers of my children to understand their hearts.  As I hear them I can sense where their spiritual development, if they are growing a deep relationship our Heavenly Father or if they are in need of encouragement to pause and focus on what matters most.e sunflowers

In a similar vein you can teach important truths while on bended knee as we ask in faith for particular blessings for each of the children by name.  We started doing this, years ago and I smile as they now do this for each other in our family prayer.  It is touching to see children who were squabbling moments before to humbly ask for specific blessings on behalf of their brother or sister.

There have been moments in our family where a child is not interested in council from us, they have however never refused when I knock on their door with a bowl of ice cream, as I insist we ask for a blessing over the ice cream I then take that opportunity to ask our Father in Heaven to help them to understand specifics of the particular principle, essentially teaching lesson they didn’t want to hear.

I love our family and consider them a great treasure, there are however those times when even with our best effort and sincere prayer it seems nothing goes right, or yields the results we’d hoped for.sunflowers 1

It has been on bended knee usually in tears that our sweet Father reminds me that, I too am a child, His child.  This cue causes me to reflect inward, to feel sorrow for the times that I didn’t listen or obey, to recognize that I too have caused pain. Suddenly I understand Him better because of my role a parent.  He is all loving, His continued patience and faith in us teaches me to be strong in the face of serious times.

God’s love is strong and deep, more powerful than we can sunflowerss

Richard G Scott offers some advice to those who love a family member who is not making good choices, he said,

That can challenge our patience and endurance. We need to trust in the Lord and in His timing that a positive response to our prayers and rescue efforts can occur. We do all that we can to serve, to bless, and to submissively acknowledge God’s will in all things. We exercise faith and remember that there are some things that must be left to the Lord. He invites us to set our burdens down at His feet. With faith we can know that this straying loved one is not abandoned but is in the watch care of a loving Savior.  

“‘No other success can compensate for failure in the home. … The poorest shack … in which love prevails over a united family is of greater value to God and future humanity than [any other riches]. In such a home God can work miracles and will work miracles. … Pure hearts in a pure home are always in whispering distance of Heaven’”  DAVID O MCKAYflowers girlss

There is a perfect plan for strong, beautiful families; it does not involve a check list of accomplishments but a simple implementation of precious eternal principles.ana sunny

My farm, Uncategorized

Baby Calves and Bottle Feeding

two cows color My baby calves are happily doing great.  We had a few scary days when the littlest of our ‘famine babies’ wouldn’t stand up.  ana feeding cow colorI mixed her a bottle of electrolytes, and had to practically carry her back to her corral.  Seeing our prayers and research and work was having no effect we called our ranching neighbor (the same one who gave us a cow anatomy lesson on the first day).  He checked out her scours, her runny nose and cough and kindly gave her a shot of something.  The next day she was up.  Yah!!  We named her Star.  She is sweet and docile (or young and sick). The medium calf is Daisy.  She got a shot too.  The biggest girl was doing fine, we named her Oreo at first but changed it to Cookie.

Cookie is very scared of us and only comes near when we have grain or milk.  I make sure I pet her lots while she eats.  Cookie drinks from the bucket which makes feeding time easier but it makes me wonder if I should get her to suck a bottle just so I can get her closer to me.e feeding cow color  She is gaining well on her milk and feed.  Cookie looks like she is about 8 weeks old at least but her sucking reflex is definitely strong since she tries sucking on Stars ear all the time.  Yesterday I saw it bleeding.  I don’t want to separate the calves so I really hope it stops.

color baby cow drinkingDaisy is learning to come as soon as she sees the bottle.  She acts ravenous all the time, but has actually started loosing her ‘skin and bones’ look.  I have upped all their milk rations and even added an egg to one of the bottles.  It is going to cost me more, and I really wonder how healthy milk replacer is, but they are so hungry all the time I couldn’t resist. color k cow I feed them three times a day, let them eat grain (Daisy does pretty good) and graze all day on pasture and hay.  She is still young, I am guessing only 6 weeks old, but a little pushy-I had to tap her on her nose yesterday for bumping me.  I don’t know it does/or did any good but I had to try.  The las thing I want is a 1200 lb cow coming and bumping me for more food.

Star is so cute.  We all love her.  She comes when she sees us.  She lets us brush and comb her.  She is also the sickest. e color feeding cow For some reason Star hasn’t gained any weight.  Her tail is still caked in poop and I am not sure if she still has scours or if it just hasn’t washed away.  She always has slime in her nose and coughs.  She is eating well though, and walking around so I am hopeful she will live.  I have scoured (as in searched diligently) the internet for information about how to keep her alive.  I am trying to carefully try what I learn (since I don’t want to do more harm with my good intentions).  I want these calves to be as happy and healthy as they can no matter what happens to them (I don’t think I will keep them because I really want Miniature cattle).

I struggle with knowing what to do.  I wish I had a nurse cow to feed them real milk, instead of cow formula.  Having nursed my own seven little ones, I can’t help but feel maternal towards these sweet little creatures.  It is incredible to me because I never realized how real animals were until I started working with them.  Before, they were things that improved the view and a nice idea.  Now that I have some of my own, I can not express how much I love them.  They remind me of my own helpless little ones and I want to make life as good for them as I can, and it is a pleasure to do so.  Daisy eatingI love feeding and tending them (way better than cleaning my house) that I actually offered to take two of my bishops orphaned calves and bottle feed them for him.  color cowsMy kids as well, they love petting, feeding and leading them around.  I see a depth of joy in our family that we never had before and it is beautiful to behold.  I don’t know when the novelty will wear off (about the time the weather gets cold) but until it does I want to enjoy every minute of it!

Children, Family Fun, My farm, Uncategorized

My Farm: Auction Newbie Comes Home With 3 Calves And A Dying Goat

fences 1Our first time buying livestock at an auction!!  What a fun(ny) adventure that was!!

Since our fences were almost up, and some sweet neighbor gave me a flock of newly hatched chicks, my sister, brother and I decided to venture to the local animal auction to see if we could pick up a few more birds.  My brother lives in town (and they don’t allow chickens 😦 ) so I told him that I would love to house a few birds for him.  My sister lives beside me, so we like to do as much together as possible to share the stress, research, and work. chickens Unfortunately there were not too many chickens at the auction and so we naively went to check out what livestock they had there.  While touring the maze of stinky barn stalls my brother asked me if I would go in on a cow with him.  I had seen a few babies go for about 50 dollars so I agreed on the condition he figured out how to get it to my yard, helped me finish the fences and build a shelter for it.  If he did that, I agreed to pay for half the animal (and feed) and feed the cow.  I also informed him that I only had 50 dollars to spend total that day and reminded him that each calf we get will probably need about 150 dollars worth of milk replacer if they are still bottle fed!!

With new purpose we sat down in the front row.  This was the third auction I had watched and felt confident that I would not get caught up in the moment. Ha!!!  Little did I know I was about to embark on the ride of a life time.  By this time, my sister-in-law and my little nephews had arrived and we made a bit of a stir trying to squeeze them into the front row of an already full room.

One by one the animals came in.  Scared, dirty and confused, they got hustled through one door-pushed around a bit and sent out the next door to meet their new fate.  They started with goats.  This obviously was not the goat crowd because the goats were going cheap.  100, 100, and 50,50, and 20, 20,20 SOLD!!!  My brother got so excited.  On and on the goats shuffled through the gates and finally one last goat came in.  She was all alone, very scared, skinny and pregnant.  First she walked forward, the auctioneer kept lowering the price and nobody had started bidding yet.  Then the goat turned about and the whole audience gasped. DUSTIN GOAT There before my eyes was the biggest bulge I had ever seen.  It was NOT natural and couldn’t believe anyone would even attempt to sell this goat.  Who in their right mind would buys such a sickly, abused problem goat?  SOLD!!!  The auctioneer announced pointing to my brother.  Grinning proudly he bragged “I got her for a dollar!”  His wife squeeled in disbelief when she realized it was her husband who was bringing that goat home.  I tried to hush her (thinking that my brother just spent a dollar for a walking problem but not wanting to make him feel worse than he would be once reality sunk in-something was definitely wrong with that goat) and hoped that nobody else noticed that we just bought the worst animal at the auction.  It didn’t work, everyone was staring at us and smirking.

Gratefully the cows started coming in through next.  In came a mad bred cow.  She was snorting, she was huffing, she was racing around the room glaring at us all.  My son and nephew backed off as far as they could go, and to the amusement of on-lookers, two  clamoured to the next row back. I just sat as still as I could-she was scary.  Then came calves.  You do not know how delighted we were when we bid on a calf and actually won the bid at 110.  two cows feedingsThere were three in the lot and we picked biggest of the three. As they were leading our calf out, I heard my brother ask if we could take the medium calf for the same price.  The auctioneer agreed and I was secretly thrilled to have two calfs.  I couldn’t believe I was the proud owner of two calves.  If my husband was here he definitely would not have been impressed, but somehow, sitting beside my two equally naive optimistic siblings it seemed perfectly wise.  Then to make matters better, the auctioneer started off the bid for the last of the three calves and nobody was biting. . . except my sister who slyly got the third calf for 20 dollars!!  Wow!! What fun!! ana feeding cows We were delighted (except my sister-in-law who kept asking us ‘Why do we need three cows?’ to which nobody had an answer to).

I would have liked to stay and watch more of the auction, but the truth of our situation was quickly sinking in.  Here were were, owners of 5 chickens, a goat and three cows and no way of getting them home!!  My resourceful brother took it all in stride.   With more class than I would have imagined he coolly showed up to pick up his livestock a few hours later with a rented u-haul trailer!!  We had got looks when we bought the calves, and those looks got better as we drove off leaving a trail of calf urine leaking out the floor of the trailer.  We didn’t care.  It was so fun doing things together, and laughing at ourselves and enjoying the moment.  Unfortunately we were not prepared for what awaited us back home.3cows

Since my sister is pregnant, my brother sent her home with his wife to rest and get our families prepared.  Five hours after purchasing our calves we drove up to “The Land”.  The kids were all eagerly waiting to see our purchases but my sister was not so pleased. “Did you know. . .” she began the minute I got out of the suburban “that Houlstein cows are the most dangerous cows out there?  Did you know they killed a thousand people last year.  And the bulls are the worse, they are nasty, they just turn on you the minute you aren’t looking.  And I read on the internet. . .” she continued hardly pausing for a breath “THE BOTTLE FED BULLS ARE THE WORSE!!!”.  She stopped and stared at me, letting that statement hang in the air before asking “Did we get bulls or heifers??” I stopped too and admitted sheepishly “I don’t know”.  My brother opened the door and to our dismay three skinny (they looked better at the auction), scouring bulls stumbled from their confinement (we had stopped often to open the back and let fresh air in).  “That’s it!” my sister cried “everyone out of the pen.  These bulls are going back.”baby eating cow

“They can’t go back” I argued “nobody is going to buy three skinny sick calves.  We have to at least fatten them up a bit.  Maybe if we casterate them they won’t be so bad.”

My sisters face lit up “That’s right the internet said that if you casterate them they change from being bulls to being girls.”

I was working with the goat when she said that and stopped “They DO NOT turn into the girls” I countered

“Yes they do” she insisted “I read it on the internet!”

“Dear sister of mine” I scoffed (yes I need to be gentler) “there is no way that casterating a bull turns them into a female.  Haven’t you read the proclamation to the family-gender is part of our pre-mortal existence”

She laughed “I know but the internet said “if you casterate a bull it becomes a steer!”.  I burst out laughing then, and was pleased to at least know that “a steer is a casterated bull-not a female cow”.  Good naturally my sister laughed at her mistake.

“Fine, but I am asking Brother Still (a local rancher) to tell us what to do. He is already on his way because I called him about milk replacer, and he called the feed store and convinced them to stay open longer so we can pick up so we can pick it up.” she retorted, still upset.Et feeding baby cow

Well it wasn’t long before Brother Still showed up.  Without even cracking a joke or smile he looked over our ‘herd’.  “Brother Still, what should we do with all our bulls” my sister  asked desperately (my sister is very dramatic).  With this question he looked over at her still poker faced and responded “These are all heifers, not bulls!”   Everyone cheered at that announcement, though the adults were very embarrassed (but relieved).

Thankfully Brother Still educated us on cow anatomy, how to feed baby calves, how to keep them safe and healthy.  Everyone took turns feeding, petting and loving the poor scared creatures.  After Brother Still left my sister and I just looked at each other and laughed.  We sure have a lot to learn, and doing it together makes the whole journey way better!Daisy eating


Journey To Adopt-The Beginning

Remembering Baby

That I love children has never been questioned.  Since a child, as I watched my mother care so tenderly my younger brother and sister, the desire to have my own baby to hold, feed and love was great.  I was always ‘collecting’ children where ever I went, in fact I often would rather ‘play’ with younger little kids then kids my own age.  When I was 12, I we went sailing to the South Pacific with my family.  It was a trip that was never to be forgotten.  Beautiful weather, pungent pua-scented air and loving open people.  On each island being members of the church made making friends easy.  My sisters would alway attract the island boys, my brothers would attract the island women, and I, well, I attracted the island kids, and could not have been happier about it.

Writing In Chocolate Tutorial-Perfect For Mothers Day

I still get teased about often our boat was awakened by the early morning chanting of my name. As I grew into a young women, and watched my mother continue to mother foster children, the neighborhood children and her own grandchildren, my desire to have a large family grew.  This desire was often questioned and mocked, even within my church circle of friends.  They would question my sanity and call me naive when follow-up questions would reveal that I expected to be a stay at home mother I was ridiculed and discouraged on many fronts.  Those desires so deep in my heart never faded.

Easy Rose Cake Decorating Tutorial

When I told my husband-to-be (we were chatting on the phone) that I would love 12 kids there was silences for several minutes.  At that time, I was only thinking about having my own kids. When I was still in University, my parents started officially fostering kids.  I was so excited.  It was so fun moving back home and having our house full of little people.  They were noisy, they were messy, they were defiant, but oh so fun.  I remember how some of my young adult friends would come visit just to be attacked by a hoard of Pre-schoolers.  The happiness these kids, who had had such a hard life, displayed as they romped through the forest, or went swimming with us was so rewarding.  They soaked up the love that was poured on them eagerly.  I am not sure my mom and dad had as much fun as me since they had to deal with bedwetting, hitting, night time wake ups, family visits ect. . .  They didn’t complain, but now that I have children of my own in that age range I know that it was hard.  In time my parents arranged to be a ‘forever home’ for three very active, amazing young boys who struggled with dealing with Fetal Alcohol.  That was one of the best gifts, besides the gospel, that my parents could have given me.

Yummy Orange Cupcake Recipe

The love I feel for those boys are deep and strong.  Life has been bumpy with them since Fetal Alcohol is such a challenging disability, and there is so little known about it. Just before I was married, and right after, I have had many experiences to work with people who are mentally challenged, have different emotional and physical needs.  Each person has blessed my life and my realization that God had  a specific plan for me grew.  I did not know what that plan involved but I knew it involved children.  One evening, after our first baby had been rocked to sleep, my husband and I snuggled in and watched a movie called “The Inn of The Sixth Happiness”.

Yum-Easy and Unique Cupcake Recipe and Tutorial

When I watched the main character lead so many war orphans across the mountains my heart wanted to burst.  Something in my heart was touched and that night my husband and I had a very serious conversation about adopting. That was about 14 years ago.  The desire to adopt never left me, I have just been so busy having my own seven children, and working towards finding a place to settle down.  In the last 14 years I have been inspired by people like Michelle Duggar (she seems like such an incredible mother of many), Sandra Hanna, and Mary Beth Clark-all mothers of very large families.  My husband especially liked the story about Hanna and Darrold because they worked so hard to be self-sufficient-his biggest concern besides lack of space is how he is going to pay for all these kids that he imagines my heart might prompt us to have. Last year, after countless of prayers our family moved out to the country.  The move has been amazing for our family and we have felt very blessed.

Mother’s Day Cake Topper

Recently the scripture “Where much is given, much is required” has been awakening my desire to adopt again.  When I approached the family about my desires, I was thrilled to see how excited everyone was about the prospect. I thought that I would blog a bit about the journey, struggles, thoughts and feelings.  Since I am at the beginning of this process I do not know what if any children will be matched to our home (after all, I do have seven of my own kids the youngest still a baby) or when it will happen.  I still think that exploring this option will be beneficial for my family and me.  I am always interested in adoption stories and would love to hear from anyone who would like to share their story.