The Tasmanian Devil lives here.
You know, the one from Looney Tunes that spins in a circle and leaves a mess behind? I think his real name is Nathan and he has taken up residence here. Every room looks like a tornado hit. The kitchen has all the tupperware pulled out, every towel is pulled down from the stove or fridge, the dish towel drawer has been emptied and the bucket of clothespins scattered everywhere. The living room is a walking land mine with books and toys strewn around as he tosses them over his should from the bookshelf. Should I happen to forget to close the bathroom door, it looks like we got TP’d, and recently he has discovered the broom closet where he pulls out the 5 lb. bags of rice and beans I have stored in there, as well as plastic bags, the fly swatter, and of course, the broom.
That’s why I’ve been so happy to be able to spend time outside! It was SO nice and refreshing to hang laundry outside. Of course, with the cloth diapers I was hoping the sun would bleach out some stains, but the rays weren’t quite strong enough for that yet.
Nathan has loved this little tractor that a friend donated for his playing enjoyment. He is fascinated by the steering wheel and spends his time just walking around it, climbing over it and pushing it from behind. If I let the chickens out for the day, he’ll crawl toward them excitedly, the white ones being the most friendly as he giggles and reaches for them.
Dan and I have a love/hate relationship with raising free-range fowl. Every spring as the grass turns green, the rains start and the chickens grow confident in running around the farm, we always have predator issues. It NEVER fails. It’s the kind of frustrating that makes us want to pull our hair out. I had mentioned to Dan putting out our “EGGS” sign by the road again, since we have so many. He laughed sarcastically and said, “Give it time and half our flock will disappear and we won’t have too many eggs anymore.”
Last week something managed to get into the coop at night through what is a pretty small crack in the foundation. Dan figures it’s a weasel or mink, as we’ve found several dead chickens inside. He set a couple traps by the crack outside hoping to catch the criminal. I foolishly forgot, and the next day when it was nice and we were playing outside, I didn’t call Dan to check, and let the chickens out without disabling the traps. When I talked to him later, he said I better go check and see if we caught any birds, and sure enough, two hens had their claws caught. I felt SO bad, but fortunately they were minor cuts and they’ve both healed up nicely, so there isn’t any chicken soup.
The goats sense the green grass as they pace back and forth in their outside pen. It seems like they can smell Spring. They are starting to shed fur from the more mild temperatures and spending more time outside. If it wasn’t for the beautiful green garlic that is growing fantastically, we would consider letting them out. If we did, they would just walk down the row, ripping up each carefully planted German Red garlic. So, later when we can get some electric fencing set up they can eat their first taste of spring.
Dan put his mind to coming up with some kind of solution to our very creaky wood steps. The house is 98 years old, so I can imagine why it might groan under our weight. The sound is so loud that in the early morning we risk waking up Nathan at 5:30 rather than his usual 7. Trying to hit just the right quiet spots on the steps has made us more like tight-rope artists as we step to the left, then just past the crack, skip the step third from the top, tip toeing as best as we can. He tore out the ceiling and put in more supports and while there is still a creaking nose, the sound is significantly reduced. Translation: Nathan has been sleeping until 7:20! Yeah for Mom!
Saturday was the Beautiful Life women’s conference where I enjoyed music and worship by Jill Miller and Rachel Barrentine as well as solid teaching about brave, bold obedience. I briefly shared a bit about being “everyday brave” in taking care of the goats and gave a slide presentation on “7 Spiritual Lessons I Learned from Goats.” It was a beautiful day and the food was fantastic! We were all having a great time when suddenly the power went out, right in the middle of a “Re-fit” exercise segment. Music stopped. Lights died. Everyone glanced at the sound booth. It turned out the Power Plant in town had a fire and the whole city had lost power. I dismissed the group for lunch and we scrambled to figure out what had happened and how we were going to go forward without power. Trying to herd 300 women around without any amplification is, well, challenging! We joked about the romantic mood lighting in the bathroom from the candles, and tried to guess what was on our lunch plates by feel. Our singer began playing acoustic on her guitar, and just as Rachel was ready to speak “unplugged” the power suddenly came on! What a miracle! Can you imagine trying to speak and sing for an hour without power? It would certainly strain your voice!
That night we relaxed with Dan’s parents and ate at a restaurant in Worthington. Nathan was up pretty late and Sunday it started to show. He doesn’t get a morning nap since church is right in the middle of his usual nap time. Dan and I traded holding him during the music portion, eventually turning him over to the lovely nursery staff. Our buzzer went off about 15 minutes later, alerting us to come and collect him. He was bawling his eyes out, as were many other kids. It seemed pretty chaotic in there. I sat in the coffee area where the service was on the TV screen and fed him a bottle. Happy again, I put him down to crawl around. He found an air vent on the floor and in his tired state managed to trip over his own hands and biffed his chin, almost to the point of breaking skin. The wailing started up again. It was a rough day for our little munchkin, but once we got on the road, he was out and then transitioned smoothly into the crib for a 2.5 hour nap!
One nice evening we took advantage of the weather and grilled out burgers. I’ve been experimenting with the ground goat meat we have, so I put together the meat, eggs, breadcrumbs, cumin, coriander, salt, crushed red pepper flakes, fresh parsley and feta cheese for a fantastic burger! Last night I used the goat meat instead of the traditional lamb, to make a shepherd’s pie. The meat mixture was combined with carrots, onions, peas, carrots, corn, tomato paste, seasonings and Worcestershire sauce, while I whipped up mashed potatoes. I layered the meat/veggie combo on the bottom of a 9×13 and then plopped the creamy potatoes on top and baked it. Heavenly!
And that’s the news from this no-more-acrobatics-on-the-steps week on the farm!