In the beginning, JD adamantly only wanted two children. I thought that four would be perfect. Once we caught God's vision of putting orphans into families, our plan was multiplied by God. We are currently blessed with 12 children; five biological, six adopted and one more waiting in Ethiopia. Our first adoption was from the U.S., the next three were from Liberia, West Africa, and our last two were from Ethiopia. We are supporting our 12th child in Ethiopia after her adoption could not pass court.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

This and That

I have been on the road day after day; this weekend alone, I did two trips to Richmond and one to the far side of DC. On each side of that, I have made trips to deliver the cow and a trip to the Amish. My home well reflects when I'm not there enough and not in a good way. I tried to find the dining room table yesterday under the piles, but  it was not a success. I'm going to give it another try today.

Here are a few shots of our last several days. You have to love kids; I sold their pool, so now they play in the "sand box" that was under the pool.

I resurrected the wooden chore boards that were the bigger kids and the little guys are painting and customizing them for themselves. We definitely need a chore overhaul around here; too much is dependent upon people remembering.

It's so nice that they are all readers now and can read to themselves.

The garden is looking great other than my tomatoes have blight. I am quite sure the ones I bought from the nursery came with it, because the ones I planted in pots for Alei also have it. If anyone knows any magic cure (that doesn't seem to exist), please let me know.

We delivered Mooster back to her original family, they bought her back from us. I'm happy she is with her cow family again and I'm enjoying the lighter animal load. Since we won't be milking our own cow, I found a raw milk source in Amish country. The three little guys and I made a trip over with a friend to negotiate the deal. We made a "quick" stop for JD on the way at Lowe's. This is JD's idea of a quick stop - check out my little loaders.

The kids enjoyed the Amish farm. The lady let them hang out and pet all the animals in the barn. Selah spent some time bonding with baby calves that were only a few days old.

dark picture but look how little those calves are
These were the sweetest horses I have ever seen. There were like 10-12 of them and they were all so gentle and loved the attention from the kids. I decided that if we ever get a horse, I want a Amish retired horse. JD pointed out that they aren't trained to carry riders, just to pull, so that could be a bit of an issue.

I'm going to clean, have a happy day!


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Little Afros

When we ordered our meat chickens, the children each chose a Polish chicken for a pet. There were four color choices, so we have a variety with a few matching. We have called polish chickens "afros" since our first round of them several years ago when we bought them out of a large Rubbermaid at the Amish flee-market and had no idea what they really were. They are about 9 weeks now and pretty tame.

Elijah and his afro named Shadow

James named his gold and black guy Thorn - I didn't ask why
Bella named hers "Nice Boy or Nice Girl" waiting to see what it is
Selah's gets a name change every few days so I can't keep up
The afros are living on one side of the coop with the one chick we hatched and a few Tractor Supply chickens that were bought for our lone chick. They are just starting to enjoy treats. At first they ran from the scary treats.

After JD's lengthy chicken butchering event, I am just going to give away some roosters on Craigslist that we planned on putting in the freezer. If you are in the market for a nice rooster - come now!

Just one of the many choices
This is Gus, the pee-meister; he pees on everything in the barn; it isn't a good quality in a cat!

The goats are enjoying their movable fence and Hans is very fond of his big rock that was reject concrete from the garage floor. I have learned that the goats really don't eat the grass. They eat every weed, bush and tree and leave the grass. I never realized this before because the donkey obviously eats the grass. I'm wondering if I can put the donkey in the electric fence or if he'd come crashing through. My "we won't have to mow as much" plan isn't working as I hoped.

Han's rock
And just for fun, my roses are blooming now.

Monday, June 6, 2016


 Can you identify this farm animal? I can give you a multiple choice between a collie or a naked mole rat with a mane. You may think she is slinking off because she is embarrassed with the summer cut, but she is just camera shy. She doesn't seem to be scared of anything other than cameras and always hides in her igloo if I'm carrying one.

Fiona is the best farm dog ever though; she patrols the animals and garden and keeps predators away.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Saturday, Saturday

 We have had a bit of a rough weekend around here - more on that another day, so I decided that today would be fun in spite of my long to-do list. We started with a trip to the berry farm. They have a play area, sky walking goats and pick your own strawberries.

All pictures were taken by Tori, or I would have only the last one.

Baby goats
Sky walking goats
Here's the one picture I requested that Tori take - turned out cute.

After the berry farm, we came home, ate lunch and headed for the pool. We bought a rental home in a nearby neighborhood last fall, and since we pay HOA fees, we get to use the pool and lake. I decided to finally ditch the small pool in the front yard and we are just going to use this pool for the summer. The kids are loving it; they see friends there and it has a diving board. (And it's large enough that I don't hear, "he's splashing me" over and over!) This picture is to show how "uncrowded" it was, even on a Saturday! I'm thankful that pool cleaning can be marked off our Saturday to-do list.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Real Farmers

 We recently experienced the defining point of feeling like real farmers - it was the moment that I was delivering my first goat baby, that wasn't quit entering the world correctly, and JD was unable to come provide moral support because he was butchering chickens! For the record, he couldn't have done a thing to help me since he knows even less than I do, but I was desperate. This also was our first batch of meat birds and I am super thankful that I ordered 25 instead of the 50 that JD initially requested; it took him two days to build the proper equipment and have them looking like birds from the grocery store.

I did not enter the picture until it was bag and seal time. I did the first round with JD and then Julia helped on the second day. By the end, she did the last several on her own.

Back to my goat delivering, Tori and I headed to the barn to feed the animals for the night when we discovered Lady in active labor. It appeared to be a baby head that was out, but it was hard to tell with the sack and fluid still intact. Since the tiny bit I know included that the front feet were supposed to come first, I knew things were not going just as they should. I called our friends and neighbors that have sheep and asked what to do. With them on the phone as tech support, and the gloves that Tori got me from the house, I managed to help reposition things enough that she delivered the baby. I cleaned the baby's nose and watched him take his first breath. We got Lady some molasses water and watched her clean the baby while the other kids came streaming from the house to see the new baby. About that time, Lady laid down and popped out the second baby boy with little effort. As I cleaned his nose and waited for Lady to turn to even look at him, I saw Bella in near hysteria in the corner. Bella has a unique ability of hysterical crying without making sound. When I asked what was wrong, she bawled that it was all making her stomach hurt. I sent her in the house. 

baby #2
 This isn't a good quality picture, but look at that sweet baby face looking at his momma.

Here's a bonus picture of my egg layers tucking themselves in for the night.

The next morning we all went out to see two dry, steady goats walking around with their mom.

This one is currently Bandito -

Bonus picture of Tally, the cat that loves goats, so opts to sleep in the stall with them.

And here is Mini Vinny or Baby Cow or Avalanche; he doesn't quite have a name yet, but he sure has a sweet face!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Came and Gone -

 Joel came over a week ago, then my parents came for almost a week. Joel left on Saturday back to Canada, and my parents left this morning back to Memphis. Alyssa also headed out on Saturday morning for her second year of hanging with her friend from a mission trip that happens to live in St. Thomas! I did my usual poor job of taking pictures, but I was smart enough to add the ones that my mom took to my collection.

This is Joel, Deb, Alyssa, Grandpa and Alei at Alei's house. She made them dinner and had them over the evening that JD and I, with the younger kids, went to our last home group before summer.

 Grandpa swapped out to take a picture with Geema also. As some history, Geema is called Geema because it is how Gabriel attempted to say Grandma as a two year old and it stuck. Worked out much better since JD's mom was already Grandma to her brood of grandchildren and Geema was a first timer with Gabriel's birth.

Chris and Moriah weren't in the Alei's house photo shoot, so here's a shot Geema took of them at our house. Some trivia on Chris is that he actually has the same last name as my parents; which is obviously also my maiden name and Deb's last name. Kind of cute I think.

Here's Geema and Grandpa with the younger crew this morning before they headed to the airport. I declined being in the shot as I had just rolled out of bed and milked a goat.

We had some nice memories made during the trip. Grandpa let the kids work through the cool books we had from the library. They like the "We Can Read" series that has the adult read page on the left and the kid read page on the right. Bella read a whole one that was more on Elijah and Selah's grade level. (I'm thrilled to have taught everyone to read at this point, it's rather exhausting!)

Geema helped all the kids with plenty of school; we have a ways to go on math.

Geema and I spent one hot morning in the garden weeding, and Joel finished pruning the apple and pear trees. They look so much better!

Geema took these pictures out by the barn on one of our milking excursions. I like that it shows the kitty, Tally, and the white rooster that both moved into the goat stall. I'm rather fond of that rooster and am going to keep him around when the rest move on.

JD and the boys are spending Memorial Day butchering our meat chickens; it's the first time we have done our own, so the verdict isn't in if JD wants to continue ordering meat chickens. I had a hair appointment this morning and took off 8" for L'Oreal's program that makes wigs for women with cancer. My hair with be mailed off and I still have plenty.