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.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

James and the Animals

Today is James' 14th birthday - it's hard to believe. While he will get some more blog coverage when we host his party, I will say that he is very good with children and animals. (And he is our dead animal picker-upper - a very important role on a farm! When someone comes to the house and announces that there is a dead chicken, James just heads for the plastic bags.)

James is featured here with our new dog - a two year old collie, named Fiona. You may remember that I went the guard donkey route to avoid getting a 4th dog, but when JD returned the borrowed horse trailer to our friends that needed to re-home Fiona to a farm, he kind of fell for her. The irony hasn't escaped me that it was the day after I bought the donkey! I have fallen for her this week that we took her on "trial" as well; she is a really sweet dog that is excellent with the kids, the other dogs, the cats, the goats and even the chickens. She lived with sheep before us, so she takes her farm patrolling pretty seriously. 

She is very frightened of the camera (the only thing I have seen her afraid of...). I can't get a good picture, because she tucks her tail between her legs and slinks off when she sees it. So, I snapped this one before she awoke. 

While I'm chatting animals - remember the litter of the four feral kitties I rescued? I re-homed three that are all doing well. The 4th was so mean that I didn't even try. Elijah named him Sher Khan after the mean tiger on The Jungle Book. Once we released him in the barn (he actually turned out to be a her, but I refuse to change my habit of thinking she's a he), I was pretty sure no one would ever pet him again. Boy was I wrong, James continued to call him and pet him a few times a day and he tamed into a really sweet kitty. Then one day, he showed up in the screened in porch and hasn't left in a few weeks. He likes to be with the people. I guess I'm going to have to buy him some little igloo bed because he is NOT moving in the house come winter. 

He is served food with a view on the railing where the dogs can't snack on it. 

Lastly, I will tell my baby goat story. The long story in short form is that Leia was never even pregnant; she just got fat from her pregnancy diet that we started her on after the breeding. It was plenty disappointing, and rather embarrassing when so many people were waiting for the baby goats to make their appearance. The obvious thing to do would be to re-breed her, but my goat source moved to the mid-west. There doesn't appear to be any other Nigerian goat farms that breed to outside goats, so I don't have much choice but to purchase my own stud goat. I have not completely decided which goat I will purchase (their prices vary a lot on paperwork). Either goat I decide is just a baby now, but will grow into a stinky stud goat soon enough. I am purchasing from a farm in MO and the goat will make the trip to VA in about a week. His name is not yet decided since we have a split about continuing with the Star Wars theme amongst our goats. (Thank goodness we didn't have to name Fiona! We are still battling the donkey Jake vs. Chewy nonsense).

Lots of animal fun around here lately!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Birthday and Baby News

 So, the new pets are awaiting their post in order to bring much more important news! Yesterday, JD had a major birthday - one of those birthdays that change your decade. I won't say what it is, other than I am in my forties and he isn't anymore. He is blessed to look younger than his years and still doesn't have any grey hair.

 Today we got the exciting news that the grand-baby on the way is.... a sweet little boy. It's really the pattern of JD's family - a baby boy comes first followed by a few girls. We had taken a family tally of who thought what and Elijah was pretty impressed to be on the winning side and find out that it's a boy. He will enjoy having a boy added to the minority in the family. 

Now all we want is for the baby and his parents to move to the east coast!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bulk Food

 I have a lot I'd like to blog about, but little time to do so! We have a new pet that arrived yesterday and another on his way from Missouri next week - they will have to be their own blog entry.

I performed my fall ritual of making sure the pantry is cleaned out and all food is in Rubbermaids, so the mice won't try to move in for the winter. 

Can you believe one pantry can create this mess?
This doesn't look like one of those visually appealing pantries from the decorating blogs I like to read, but it is clean, organized and labeled!

We made an Amish run for hay yesterday. I actually bought horse feed (for the donkey), chicken feed and two kinds of hay but totally forgot the goat feed. I just can't remember everything no matter what. 

I got a bonus surprise when I got to the feed store because apples were in. For some reason, the Amish apples are sold at the feed store, not the Amish grocery store or Amish flee market - I don't get it but it's a well kept secret that I'm thankful to be in on. Other than bulk apples, we got 50 pound bags of wheat, flour and sugar. I even buy those huge cheese logs that Walmart slices off of - the Amish just sell the whole log for a fraction of the deli price. 

It sure got hot the last few days and needs to feel more like fall before I feel like cooking apples for hours or laying fall grass seed. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

To the Moon (or Ethiopia) -

 We have always liked the quote from the child's book that says "I love you to the moon and back down". (At the moment, I can't even remember what the book is.) While we say moon... in reality, I loved you two enough to go to Ethiopia and back.... twice.

I want to show you a highlight of Ethiopia - this is the major intersection downtown that we drove through several times each trip. (You won't regret the 1.5 minute watch!)


Thursday, September 11, 2014

School Days

 I generally have four students gathered in the school room and kitchen; Moriah and Alyssa work independently in their rooms or the family room downstairs. Planning and executing this year has been by far the most work I have ever put into a year, but I think I'm already seeing the fruit of my labor. 

This is Bella's second year at Classical Conversations, even though she is four. I would never have chosen to start a child this young, but since she is my youngest, she is along for the ride. Thankfully, she loves learning and is picking up so much it's amazing. We often refer to her as the Ethiopian blond (for being a bit dingy)but when it comes to learning, she is super smart!

Elijah doesn't always love doing his work, but he performs well under the pressure of no electronics for the day. 

 Today our pencil sharpener died (we generally go through one a year). James took it apart and fixed it, but unfortunately it died again later in the day. 

Other than school, more school and homework, we are waiting for Leia to have her babies. She is five days overdue today which is supposed to be as late as a goat can go. 

Everyone is waiting!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Busy but Happy

 Back in the spring a friend from our church home group suggested that we host a sit down dinner to benefit Alyssa and her friend, Jordan, towards the cost of their mission trips. While I tucked the idea away, by the time we wrapped up the other fund-raisers we were in the middle of, we really didn't have a need for another large fund-raiser. Since our groups plans a service project once a study, I suggested to use the dinner plan, but for the benefit of a gentleman in our church who is screened for a kidney transplant, but needs $10,000 sitting and waiting for the post-op medicines required for his body to work in harmony with a new kidney. 

Once our idea was born, the event became nicer and nicer. We had a separate  dinner and child care upstairs. Catering friends set a lovely appetizer table while people came and mingled.

 We were blessed with a decorator in our group that created a beautiful fall setting; the tables were gorgeous.

 We had a photographer take pictures of the event and I can't wait to see them - so I'll have to share again. Today, in the aftermath, I have washed eight loads of dishes and have barely started on the silverware. While the loads washed, I did take time to clean and organize the two upstairs fridges, but will have to reschedule freezer organizing time.

Awaiting the 9th load for the day!
 The temperature dropped which makes it much nicer to be outside with the animals. The donkey enjoys company and the organic carrots with greenery Alei bought him. He is really settling in nicely, I just have to figure out how to brush him without annoying him.

 We should have baby goats very soon - she is already two days overdue.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

First Day/Second Day

 I did take first day school pictures yesterday and I actually tried to post them last night, but the internet kept coming and going with the storm. So, here's day one on day two -

Selah - 1st grade
Julia - 3rd grade
Tori - 4th grade
 They were all smiles heading off with their new lunch boxes, backpacks and tennis shoes. 

The really good news is that Tori and Julia's room is all ready for the new school year also - new paint, new bedding and clean drawers with new school clothes. Since it's in the 90s, I am delaying getting out the fall clothes, but the drawers are tidy and waiting. (It's the ONLY clean room in the house right now, but I'm hoping to make progress on that as well.)