OUR PLANS MULTIPLIED

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.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Sheering!


We did it! My friend, Wendy, drove over three hours to participate in our first annual llama sheer! Honestly, we had JD on stand-by to tie them down if necessary, since that is what the majority of people do when they sheer. Neither of them spat or kicked even once though, although they did clearly did not enjoy it. 

Glacier, who is half alpaca and half llama, had about three times the fur that Butte had; I can tell the difference now between a llama and alpaca beyond size. 

I didn't get pictures of Butte; we did her first and were in full concentration mode. Glacier got her one side trimmed on this side of the stall -
 

And then we moved her across the stall to get an area to stand again to trim the other side!


Raking the pile -

Bagging the pile - 


Butte, who is much more out-going, hung out in the next stall and watched all of Glacier's trim time. Glacier was more than happy to hit the pasture when we released her!


 They are feeling so much better in the heat! I'm down to one yappy Pomeranian that needs her summer cut.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Rain, Rain

 The day after day of territorial downpour is getting old, but every night I lock up the animals, I think how blessed we all are.  Even my animals all have lush accommodations and stay dry and warm. With five more days of rain in the forecast, I even moved the teenage chickens and bunnies into one side of the indoor coop to allow them room to run in the dry; the bunnies were happy hopping through the mulch.  

Another thankful note, we have parts on order for our broken AC, so it's been nice that it hasn't been 90 degrees all week!

The mud is getting the better of Alaska 
Fiona is getting her spring cut on Monday (I am actually having a dog groomer come and do it) and then Tuesday is our big planned llama and llapaca sheering day. I have four people, counting JD on stand by, for this duty. After getting a quote of $600 from a professional, I decided we had to learn to do it ourselves. After several You Tube videos, I decided to go with the sheering scissors over the noisy sheers. They won't look quite as nice, but it will also hopefully be less traumatic and scary to them. 

Next blog will be JD's home office that we are renovating. He moved all the items from his DC office home and he needs a larger room. I get the now home office as my own, which means it will stay clean, at least cleaner than it does now!


Friday, May 18, 2018

Chicken Drama - Luke and Her Chicks

 Spring generally brings a lot of drama in the chicken realm at our farm. First of all, thanks to hens hatching their own eggs last spring, we are once again at about 10 roosters rather than the only needed one. Also, last year there was a nest of abandoned guinea eggs that we hatched out in the incubator, so they thought they were chickens and bedded down in the chicken coop at night. Feeding time in the mornings was chaos,  with the roosters and guineas out-pigging the chickens.

So a month ago, I decided to remove the roosters and guineas from the coop and cease letting the ladies free roam during the days until everyone established new routines and knew where they were supposed to report back to at evening time. 

It was quite the feat to trap and snag the chickens who insisted in sleeping in the barn and laying eggs in random places and put them in the coop, as well as chase all the roosters and guineas out of the coop. Let's just say JD and I both got our steps in that day and really missed James!

For the most part, everyone got where they needed to be. The only two chickens that evaded capture was a little white polish hen that we tried on several occasions to catch. She has either been eaten by a fox or is sitting on a nest of eggs somewhere out of sight. The other chicken was Luke, Elijah's chicken that he named 5 years ago and he turned out to be a she. 

Luke is small and looks like she is half crow, and has always been very difficult to catch. Luke decided to lay 19 eggs up in the this cat house on a dog kennel in the barn. We let her just sit on her eggs and came out one morning to her and four babies down on the ground. I shudder to think she shoved those babies down and they survived, but I'm sure that's how it went down. I locked the goats out of that stall to let her have it to herself, but she promptly moved the chicks back and forth to and from the next two stalls and walked among the goat and llama hooves. 


The following morning, the little black baby was gone and she was out strolling around with only three yellow babies. We attempted to catch her to move her, but she was very stressed at the idea. Also that morning, two more eggs hatched in the cat house and I put the new babies on the ground for her, but she wanted nothing to do with them, so I brought them in and put them under warming lights.

late hatchers in the house
 Last night we successfully grabbed Luke and transported her and her babies to the chicken mansion where they would be safer. This morning I woke to the babies outside the fence and Luke squawking inside the fence. We caught the babies again and had their frantic momma follow us back in; we put up a half wall that will keep the babies from making it outside. Luke seemed pleased. I then had the idea to get the two house babies and present them to her again, and she decided she liked them now that they were fluffy and cute. 


Tonight she had all five of them tucked under her wing to sleep and I am relieved of caring to two more house chickens!


I have also had 3-4 chickens sitting on empty eggs with great passion the last month.  I decided that I will let a rooster back in the coop to allow them to  fulfill their dreams and hatch a few babies of their own. This faithful rooster has literally spent a last month circling the coop watching his lady friends from the outside. The last two days, I have opened the door for him a few times each morning and that dummy doesn't go in. He's sure there is some catch to my plan and runs the other direction. I hope to get him in before any foxes get him! The other roosters have given up and moved to the barn where they are safe, snacking on goat feed and pooping on everything. 


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day 

Here I am with 8 of my 12 (counting Brooke) children. Elijah is really out-numbered these days with James away at school, but he's holding his own. I'm thankful to be a Mom to this special crew, and as a bonus they sure delivered some fun gifts this year! 

Another huge blessing was the nice cool day, as our AC is out and awaiting repair. Yesterday was hot, and tomorrow promises the same, but today was beautiful!




Monday, May 7, 2018

It's a Dog's LIfe

 Two Great Pyrenees went to the spay and neuter clinic; poor Montana was very, very nervous. She handled the surgery fine. Next is the "real" vet again to treat Lyme disease, then we will proceed to the vet in Richmond to see about getting her eye fixed. Poor dog (and my wallet), but she came in pretty rough shape with several worm issues, along with the unexpected teen pregnancy. I have treated all the dogs a few times now for two kinds of worms. Thankfully, Montana was negative for Heart worm; that would have been a huge expense. 
 
Alaska spent the trip trying to get on my lap to look out the window and me pushing him back down. I gave in for a short run of the wide open road. 


When he wasn't on my lap, he slobbered on my lap. Yes, that's all slobber. Thankfully, he doesn't do that at home!


 This picture was taken by a visitor; Lucca and Alaska enjoy each other's company. 


 While five dogs is a bit excessive (six when Alei comes to visit), these two new additions make me happy. We all love them so much.

  
I took this one yesterday. Alei's friend joked that it looked like they were coming out with a new CD and posing for the cover. Sometimes I feel badly for visitors that aren't accustomed to a dog maze on the porch. We do have other porches, but they all prefer the front door! 

Speaking of front door, I ordered a new one to accompany our inside work. I'll have to show that next blog.  

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Last Few Camp Pics

I finally grabbed the picture of the kids with Geema and Grandpa off of Tori's camera to prove their visit and found these also - 

Julia, Bella and Elijah - 



Aunt Deb and Bella - 


Here we are on Sunday when we left camp and all met in downtown Charlottesville - (JD took the picture.)


Nice little walk around downtown and enjoyed some birthday gelato. 


We are enjoying spring finally and working outside; I will try to catch up the blog!

Jenny

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Family Camp

We attended our sixth consecutive weekend of family camp last weekend. There were many, many hurdles this year, including JD needing to be out of town and a Saturday funeral, but we still prioritized the weekend away in the mountains with the kids. It's always such a great time for them with good memories. My parents were in town for the week and joined us at camp on Saturday afternoon. We then met them in Charlottesville on Sunday to walk around the old town area and eat over-priced ice-cream. 

I have pictures to prove their presence on Tori's camera; these were just the convenient shots from my phone. 

The boy on the left is Elijah's friend that he enjoys seeing so much each year.

Honestly, I LOVE not having to shop, cook or do dishes for the weekend!
Archery was available again this year, which was nice.



I guess Tori is analyzing the schedule; there were several times that you had to choose what to do as four things were offered at the same time.


Lots of fun yard games. 


 Yep, and that good food that didn't involve me -

 

This high course was an addition also behind the rock wall. Elijah scaled right up.


Selah was right behind him, heading up as he went across.


Bella stuck with the rock wall, which is scary enough to me!


African drumming - 



We played Bingo one night for some pretty great prizes; Elijah took it seriously.


The day we came home was my birthday. Moriah made us a wonderful, wonderful chicken Parmesan and we had some key-lime pie for dessert.

Not a great picture of any of us, but it's a picture of all of us :)

Alei may have her own puppy these days, but Alaska still appreciates her holding his huge self.



Of course, every time it rains, he ends up like this and then doesn't see why we don't just welcome him in the house.



Jenny


Saturday, April 14, 2018

New Adventure

We have launched into a new pastime as a family - cheering for Elijah and his team "The Americans" at flag football. It is a rather competitive sport and feels so official since they play on the high-school field. 

Last Sunday, we (JD, I, Tori, Moriah, Chris, Selah and Bella) froze our tooshies off on the bleachers. We had on coats and went back for picnic blankets to try and stay warm.



Elijah - far left

Today it was just Tori and I as the spectators. JD had his annual "Beans and Bullets" church mens group here, Selah and Bella went and toured the battle- fields with friends, Julia went to another friends, etc, etc. Today was 82 degrees - hard to believe only six days after we froze at the first game.


Elijah played so well today - he is a 9 year old on the 9-11 team and his first year AND he removed five flags! It was a pretty exciting game and they won with a handsome lead. We were so proud of our little buddy!

Elijah - far right

I need to do the battle field tour with the other kids, it was pretty impressive  book and route the girls did today to learn about the Civil War. Here they are at the big Confederate Cemetery downtown - 



And even more exciting - Cook Out!


Jenny