A couple days ago, my Dad and I went to a farm nearby, in search of the perfect goat. At the farm, there were over thirty goats, all in a big herd running around their pasture. I was looking for a pregnant goat, so we asked the farmer which nannies were pregnant, there were 3-5 that were pregnant at that time, so that helped me decide faster, which one I was going to buy, as I was pretty sure I wanted a pregnant goat!
Almost immediately I noticed a small nanny goat with a unique and memorable pattern on her sides, she was mostly black and white, but had some pretty brown in parts of the black. She was pregnant, so that put her considerably higher on the list of possibilities. After much consideration… just kidding 🙂 I decided I would buy the little black and white goat. I would’ve considered buying another goat had they been a little less money, but the way it was; I just decided to buy her.
When we told the farmer that I was only going to buy that goat, he told us that when goats are alone, they can stop eating and can lose their babies if they’re pregnant. He suggested that he could loan us another goat, to be a friend of the black one, and when she has her baby, we could give the loaned one back. We thought that sounded like a good idea, so I bought the black and white goat, and the farmer loaned us a white goat.
The white goat was still wet, which means she is still producing milk, so I basically bought a pregnant goat, (If you milk pregnant goats, the milk will be sour, but the black and white goat that I bought was having her first kid, so she didn’t have any milk, sour or normal.) and got another for free, that I can milk, and keep the milk! 🙂
We brought them home and set them up with water and a scoop of feed, which they devoured! Unfortunately, the white goat is a little mean to the black and white goat; butting her out of the way when food comes!
On one side of the black and white one, there is the shape of a head and shoulders, so I decided to name her Silhouette, here’s a picture to see what I mean:
The other goat had no particularly unique features, so I couldn’t use that as a way to name her, asked my dad if he wanted to name her. He named her Barnabas… okay it’s a bit of a weird name for a female goat, but it means “son of encouragement”.
Now, it may seem weird to have a female goat named a man’s name, but we have a bit of a pattern of that; about 6-7 years ago, the first goats we ever bought, we named Heidi and Buddy, so, we like naming our goats weird names! Their nicknames are Barny and Silly. 🙂
Silhouette is pretty shy now, but she is warming up to me. Barny has been pretty good with me since I got her, but she is still a little mean to Silly.
So, now I have to get up at 6:30 AM every day to milk Barny, and then go out at 6:30 PM to milk her again! The milk tastes pretty good, and I’m hoping to make some Goat-Milk Soap and sell it, to gain back some of the money it took to buy Silhouette!
The smell of Spring is on the breeze, purple crocuses are budding in the Periwinkle foliage, and tulip, daffodil, and hyacinth bulbs are shooting their greens leaves out of the earth, ready to explode open any day. The sun sets later, and the trees are starting to turn green again!
Every now and then, there comes a morning where fresh snow is on the ground and the air is crisp and cold. Even though it makes you wonder if Spring will ever come; I don’t mind the snow all that much, in fact, I think it makes us appreciate the warmth of Spring all the more!
Here are my favourite things about Spring;
I LOVE the smell in the air. I don’t know where it comes from, maybe the thawing earth, the wind that blows away Winter, or maybe just the magic of new life! If you’ve never smelled it; go outside and breath deeply of Spring.
I love new life, of every sort, and Spring is when so many lives begin; baby birds hatch out of their eggs, little forest animals give birth to their young, sprouts shoot up out of the earth, trees turn green again! It’s beautiful.
Go outside, go for a walk in the park, in nature. And pause, take your time, don’t rush by; notice the small green things, notice the burrows, the leaves, the mud. Take off your shoes and enjoy the feeling of mud on your feet. Spot a nest. Be present; notice things you haven’t. Be free, run barefoot through the moist grass, let your pants get soaked, sing and dance and praise God for creating all the wonderful creations around you!
On Valentines day; February 14, 2018; five minutes before midnight; my brand new baby brother was born! He weighed 9 lbs. and 6 oz. He is the sixth boy, meaning that the boys outnumber the girls again! Will the girls ever get ahead? 🙂
His name is Keats Freeman. Keats is not only the name of an old English romantic poet, but the name itself means Shepherd. And Freeman means “free man”!
The moment I saw him, I fell in love with him, and now I can’t stop snuggling and kissing him! Here are a couple of pictures of the chubby little guy; 🙂
This bread is delicious! And it makes your kitchen smell so good!
For more notes on this recipe, read my post; Bread Making.
Grandma’s Whole-Wheat Bread
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 tbsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
3 1/4 cups water
2 eggs, well beaten
About 12 cups whole-wheat flour
2 tbsp dry quick rising yeast
Put the milk, sugar, molasses, salt, and shortening in a large saucepan. Heat and mix on medium low heat, until the shortening is completely melted. When the shortening is melted, turn off the heat, and stir in the water and eggs. Put the mixture into a large bowl, or an electric mixing bowl, and stir in six cups of the whole-wheat flour.
If you are using an electric mixer; mix for one whole minute on high speed. If not; stir until the ingredients are completely combined. Add the yeast, and mix thoroughly. Work in about six more cups of flour, with your hands, or a large wooden spoon. Knead for approximately ten minutes.
Oil one large bowl, (or more if you are making more than one flavours of bread) and set the dough into it, cover with a clean towel. Let the dough rise for 1 1/4 hours. When your timer rings, take the dough out, punch it down and shape it into four loaves, put them in buttered, floured pans, and let them rise for another hour.
About a week ago, I was thinking about all my raw, healthy ‘baking’, and suddenly I began to miss the real baking; I thought about how I used to bake enormous batches of wholewheat bread, that would, if we froze some of the loaves, would last for a couple of weeks! (that may sound like a somewhat short amount of time, but for our family; amazing!) I asked my mom if I could bake a batch in the next week, she said sure, and then said, “why not make it right now?!”
So, I looked around for all the ingredients, and started! I used a recipe for bread that my Grandma gave us. I doubled the recipe, I didn’t have enough molasses, so I used half molasses, and half honey. I also didn’t have any shortening, so I used the rest of our butter, and grapeseed oil.
For the first rise, I divided the dough in half, and flavoured one with cinnamon and raisins, and the other with a herb mix called; ‘herbs de provence’. I got out two large bowls, and put grapeseed oil in one bowl, the bowl for the raisin-cinnamon dough, and olive oil in the bowl for the ‘herbs de provence’ dough.
I let them rise for about an hour and a quarter, (actually, a funny thing about that was that I was getting so used to doubling everything, that I was almost about to double the rising time too, but I realized that was not what I should do 🙂 )
The dough had been about halfway filling each bowl, but when the first rise was done, they were each overflowing with dough! I put the dough out on a floured counter, and rolled each kind into one big loaf and two small loaves, which left me with six loaves; two big, four small.
I oiled six bread pans, and sprinkled them with wholewheat flour, then I put the dough in the pans. I sprinkled the tops of the cinnamon-raisin loaves with rolled oats, and the tops of the ‘herbs de provence’ ones with poppy-seeds. I gently laid a towel over the pans, and set them out for their second rise.
Once the second rise was done, I popped them in the oven, and waited for the timer to ring. When my dad came home from work, the last loaf had just been taken out of the oven, and the first had just been cut open! I have to say, the house smelled really good; my mom had just baked potatoes, I had made bread, and it was starting to feel like a cozy Fall evening!
Everyone loved the bread, and I’m not sure if my loaves will be able to survive even another week, the way everyone is devouring them! For some reason, whenever I make bread, I feel as if I almost step back in time, and become a pioneer girl, who is helping her mother make bread for her family. I’m looking forward to more ‘real’ baking this Fall!
A little over a month ago, at around 5:00 AM, all twelve of us hopped into our mini-bus, which was hitched up to our camping trailer, and started driving to North Carolina. We were on an adventure!! Everyone was excited and ready! But then, somebody informed Mom and Dad that they had left their shoes at home… thankfully, we were still in our neighborhood, and only about a minute’s run away from our house. The ‘somebody’ ran back and got the shoes… and then we started again, on our adventure.
We drove for a while, uneventfully. When we got to West Virginia the mountains were so beautiful. Every now and then one or two people would exclaim and point out the window, then everyone would look out and the bus would fill with yells of; ‘Look over there!’ ‘Where’s my camera?’ ‘Wow, Mom, look at the mountains!’ ‘Cotton, we’re driving through a cloud!’ and other such comments, the view was awesome, once we passed over and beside a valley that the sun hadn’t reached yet, so we looked down at the clouds filling it, God is so amazing!
Another amazing cliff!
But having to go up and down the mountains made the bus start heating up, so Dad turned off the air conditioning to let it get cooler. It didn’t seem like too much of a problem then, so we continued driving slowly until we got to Charleston, WV, where we stopped at a ‘Days Inn’ for the night. It had a nice little pool, (which we were all very thankful for!) and we all jumped in as soon as possible because of the super humid heat. Then we enjoyed a nutritious meal of french fries and chicken nuggets.
After that, we all packed into a single hotel room to change back into our sweaty clothes, floss and brush our teeth, and go to bed.
The room had two double beds, so my mom and dad slept in one, two of my younger siblings, Tucker and Snowy, slept in the other bed, and I slept between the beds on a bunch of pillows arranged on the floor. Dad had the brilliant idea of putting Cotton in a dresser drawer, but we never ended up leaving her like that! Everyone else slept on the floor as well, one in a play-pen, three together on a blanket, one in a sleeping bag made out of a blanket, me on pillows, another in a sleeping bag, and the last rolled in a sheet! I personally, found it quite impressive that our whole family could fit into one room. (though it was a little scary imagining waking up to find someone jumping off the bed and onto me!)
I woke up the next day, to the sound of giggling younger children, mixed with the occasional yell. I lay in my ‘bed’, realizing that the pillows had all moved so that I was basically sleeping on a sheet on the floor! I lay there until I felt little Nova crawl onto me, thus giving me no excuse to sleep, so I got up.
I was expecting it to be 8:00 AM or so, but instead it was around 5:30 AM. We all put away our makeshift beds, and ate an early breakfast at the inn’s breakfast buffet.
Then we all jumped in our bus again and started off.
We started climbing up the mountains again, and our bus started getting hot. The more we climbed the hotter and hotter our bus got, and we couldn’t do anything about it! Dad kept driving, but he had to turn off the air conditioning again, because it made the engine heat up faster. So all us kids were in the back, reading, writing, lying down, and sweating like crazy!
Up and down we went, with every mountain we got slower, until we were just creeping up each rise. Finally we turned off the highway and came to an old Exxon gas station and a tiny, old, rusty campground, that looked like it hadn’t been used in fifty years!
We had a snack and bathroom-break, while Dad walked up to the gas station. Mom and Dad had been talking in the bus, and they both knew that we couldn’t keep going, but we couldn’t turn back either, so they had decided that we needed to leave the camper trailer somewhere, and that was why Dad was going to the gas station, to ask the owner if we could leave our trailer there for a week or so!
The man said it would be fine, but that he was going somewhere and could only watch our trailer for a certain amount of time. Dad thanked him for his kindness, and parked the trailer, then we unpacked all the things we thought we’d need, and you wouldn’t believe how much stuff was packed in there we had to cram it all into the bus. Though we did forget a couple of things!
Then we left, and we truly didn’t know if we would ever see that trailer again. We got on our way again, with a slightly more cool bus, and a considerably more cool crew!
Finally we made it to North Carolina. We all felt relieved that we had actually made it all the way there. But we didn’t have our camping trailer, so we needed to find a place to stay for the night, and by that time, we were so desperate we would have stayed anywhere! So we decided, to go check out the the camp that my older brothers Duke and Dorian were going to (the reason we went to North Carolina) and to ask them if they had any ideas.
The people who ran the camp were really excited to meet us all, and it turned out that they had a friend who worked at a resort-like place nearby, so they called him and he had two rooms that were available for one night. We drove over and got situated in our rooms, then we went out for a delicious pizza and salad supper, and a visit to a playground nearby, where we all tried out some moves from a TV show we had seen at the restaurant called American Ninja, which was basically different men and women going through very challenging obstacle courses. It was actually quite fun!
When we got back to our rooms, everyone had showers or baths (although it was nice to freshen up, I was a little disappointed because the shampoo and conditioner were two of the thing left in the camper, which was in West Virginia! So I washed my hair with body-wash/bubble-bath stuff!). This time I got my own double bed, and it was quite comfy!
The next day we packed up and headed out, Mom and Dad had found a cottage to rent for the week, so we settled in at sweet little place on the side of a river-like lake (or maybe it was a lake-like river, I never found out!), then we dropped the boys off at their camp.
Snowy jumping off the boat
Poppy watching us swim
Me and Nova
Tobin and Cotton
For the next three days, we enjoyed swimming in the slimy water (the mud at the bottom actually stains your toenails a gross reddish-green colour!), having some great family time,
Cotton & Watermelon
Auden stuffing seeds through the deck
Watermelon in the sun
And, on one day, going to the NC Zoo!
It was a blisteringly hot day, and we drove for a while until we got to the zoo, when we got there, we were just going to buy a pass for each individual person for one day, but when we found out that a family year-pass was less expensive, that’s what we bought.
We have a couple elephant lovers in our family, Tucker is the original
Snowy, Auden, Cotton
Then after the few days were over, we picked up the boys, packed up the bus, and had our last sleep in North Carolina!
The next day we woke up early in the morning and left for an uneventful (truly this time!) trip back. On our way back we stopped to check if our trailer was still there, and it was.
We stopped in Sarnia for Mom to pick up the U-Haul truck Dad had ordered. We also stopped near there and got some pizza and root beer, and started driving again, until we got to out local community center, where we ate and played at the play ground, then we drove home.
We got home late that night, and everyone went to bed, happy to be home at last. But the adventure wasn’t over yet!
Early the next morning, at about 4:00 AM, me and Dad hopped into the U-Haul pick-up truck that Mom had driven home the night before, and drove all the way back to West Virginia, we stopped in Charleston and had a delicious Mexican lunch, (we also were joking that this was my birthday celebration, as it was was quite near my birthday, Dad thought it was a great idea, but me? mm… not so much! 😉 ) then we picked up our trailer and headed back.
We started thinking about supper, but neither of us were hungry, so we bought two juices and continued home.
When we got to Sarnia, we dropped off the U-Haul and Mom came to pick us up. When we finally got home, (again!) it was 2:00 AM, so I got ready for bed as quickly as I could and went to sleep (the next day I think I slept in until 10:00 AM).
Throughout the whole trip I kept thinking of one verse;
‘Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’
Thank you Jesus for the wonderful, exciting, ridiculously crazy trip! I love you!
About two weeks ago, at around eight o’clock in the morning, my whole family packed up our mini-bus and camper-trailer, and headed off to Tobermory!
We drove for about three hours until we got to Owen Sound, where we stopped and met the lovely couple who run a bed and breakfast, called The Highland Manor, where my dad stays when he works there. The bed and breakfast is a beautiful eighteenth century mansion, and it felt like I had stepped back in time a hundred years, it was amazing! Another thing that was interesting about it was that years before, a midwife had owned the building, and used it for a maternity hospital; a safe place for women to give birth. I found that especially interesting, as I want to be a midwife myself!
After about an hour, we said goodbye and got on our way again.
When we got to our campground, two families we knew were already there; five families (us and four other families) had planned to stay at the same campground. We said ‘hello’ and started setting up our site.
All the families got together that night for a campfire, and that was a great way to start out the camping trip!
Over the next three days, we got to enjoy some really fun experiences, including; swimming in the campground’s pool, playing ‘Capture the Flag’, playing frisbee, having campfires, walking everywhere barefoot, testing out some campfire snack ideas, going to ‘the Grotto’, going to the Singing Sands beach, and a lot of other things!
The Grotto is a beach on the Bruce Peninsula, it is all rocky with huge stone cliffs, and caves with water for their floor! It was beautiful there, a very worthwhile place to visit if you are ever in Tobermory!
The water looks tropical but it’s freezing!
I love this picture!
An underwater tunnel out!
A large cave from above
The same cave from the bottom
Beautiful wall of ‘the’ Grotto
Singing Sands beach is also very neat, when we were there the air was cold and the water was warm, which made the water actually steam!
There was a beautiful trail made out of wooden boards, and while walking on it, me and one of my friends noticed a strange kind of flower with rubbery petals, we wondered what it was. After walking for a bit longer, we realized it was the flower of a kind of Pitcher-Plant, then we ran back and told the rest of our families and friends.
The Pitcher-Plants’ leaves, which are the reason for its name, are shaped like little pitchers, inside the leaf; tiny hairs point downwards, the leaves are half-filled with some kind of liquid that helps digest bugs that fall into this amazing flytrap! I think it is amazing how God thinks of everything!
The front of a flower!
The back of a flower!
I read on a sign at the end of the trail, that even the smooth, tall stem of the flower helps bugs to slip down into the leaves, and the tiny hairs that point down make it almost impossible for insects to escape, then the plant digests them! The sign also said since sometimes soil is missing a certain kind of nutrient that plants need, not a lot of plants can live in those places, but since bugs are full of the nutrient, Pitcher-Plants are able to grow where not a lot of that kind of nutrient in the soil! Isn’t God amazing?
After four days and four nights, everyone packed up and headed home again, but since renovations were still going on at our new house, one family asked if we wanted to camp at their house for a night, we excepted, and had a fun night and half-day at their house, then we headed home, (though we did stop at a park for a picnic supper!).
Eating supper together!
Putting away supper together!
When we got home, everyone was tired, sticky, itchy, sandy, dirty, and sweaty, but everyone was glad to be home! (And I admit I’m glad to not be sleeping on the pull-out couch in the main room of our trailer, which also happened to be right in front of the front door!) After all that fun and excitement, I’m certainly glad to be home!