Thursday, April 17, 2014

Stories of God's Preservation...Continued
As I was reading at Cultivating Home this week, I immediately thought, I must contribute to this and maybe others will too.
We live in a day in age where if you mention the fact that you are a Christian, you may be viewed as a bigot, a hypocrite, a fool, and the list goes on. To believe in a supernatural being greater than ourselves, more intelligent than our most intelligent modern scientists is downright, just plain, crazy. To have an absolute standard above man's law is absurd (man's law in constantly changing whereas God's law is constant). 
I could jump into a bunch of apologetics here, but I won't.  This post is simply to share how He has revealed Himself to me beyond the coincidental. I must state that the God I am claiming to believe in is a God who created our earth (see Genesis and John 1). He has a Son, Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:18-2:12; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 1:26-26-38; and prophesied in Isaiah 7:14; 40:3; Micah5:2; Malachi 3:1; Psalm 22:16; Psalm 16:10) , who saw that this sinful world needed a Savior (John 3:16; prophesied in Isaiah 53 hundreds of years before He even came, roughly 681 B.C.) so that we may have a hope, an eternity with Him in heaven when our earthly bodies are put in the ground. He also has the Holy Spirit (read the exciting book of Acts in the Bible!) who lives in us and in other believers, who reveals Himself in many ways as we go about our earthly days. If we can quiet ourselves enough to listen and look, He reveals Himself in the neatest of ways in which I want to share with you today.
1.) I remember being six years old and it was Christmas Day. My uncle had brought over a puppy he had just purchased and wanted to let my sisters (then 3 and 2) and I pet him.  My sisters and I were petting him that morning before we opened presents and the dog grabbed my face and wouldn't let go. His jaw was locked. He was thrashing me around and I remember being dizzy and seeing a lot of light. Everyone was screaming. I remember going limp. I had lost a lot of blood and it took men to pry his jaw off of me. When he let go, I remember faintly being rushed around the kitchen as family started pressing towels onto my face. My other uncle and my father rushed me to the hospital where I was able to get treatment and I was okay. Months later, as my mother was talking about the incident with a friend, my sister chimed in and said, "Mommy, I remember seeing an angel above Kelli when that doggie bit her."
2.) I was about 8 at the time and was driving with my Uncle Stan on the highway. I don't quite remember where we were going, but he was talking with me about the Lord. He said that he felt like we should pray over our car while we were driving and asked me to do it, but specifically to pray that "the blood of Jesus would protect us". I prayed and within 2 seconds, there was a massive car accident involving the car behind us and many others. Ours was spared.
3.) I was in college and struggling with my faith tremendously. I told the Lord that I needed physical proof of His existence. Pretty bold for a college kid to ask of God Almighty huh? The next week in our chapel service, a speaker came in and showed a video on the big screen in our chapel of a worship service in another state. People were bowing down and there was true, genuine worship going on. The video began to focus more on a figure in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. It was a figure of a man and he was beaming with light. After the chapel service, I went upstairs where some friends of mine ran the video and sound. They said, "Come here. Watch this!" When they pressed rewind and fast forward through the part where the image was, it was missing. When they pressed play, it was clear as day.
4.) Rob and I took the kids on a trip once and funds were low. We tried to budge out gas for the trip, but we seemed to be traveling a lot more than anticipated. As we drove for what seemed like miles and miles, my husband kept checking the gas meter and it never moved.
5.) Titus was a baby who was very colicky and we had never had a colicky baby before. Rob and I would take turns passing him off at night. The crying usually started at 7:00 and would go for hours. We felt so helpless for our little guy. One night, Rob took him into the nursery and began rocking him, praying over him that the Lord would quiet him. Mind you, when he would begin to "wind down", it was always very subtle and would take some time. This one, particular night, he prayed that God would preform a miracle. He began praying, listing the miracles that Jesus had done here on earth (see the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament) and the Holy Spirit began to take over, listing miracle, after miracle, after miracle, and then....STOP. Our baby was quiet. Not a whimper. Was completely sound asleep and at peace.
6.) I struggled with our fifth child's name. I was reading in Titus one day at the beginning of my pregnancy thinking it was a neat name and oh, how we need more Titus 2 women (and men) today. I struggled because I had this feeling as though the Lord wanted me to name him Titus. Read the rest of the story HERE
7.) I've heard some neat missionary stories, but one that stands out in particular was one a god-fearing friend shared with me recently. It was about a tribe of people living on a remote island (now I can't remember the exact geographical position...bleh) and the head chief of the tribe had said that he had dreams that one day, someone would come with a black book and the tribe was to listen to him when he came. There was apparently a lot of worship of other gods on this island...sun gods, fertility gods, etc. Well, the chief passed away, but shortly after, a missionary came to the village and of coarse he had a black book and wanted to teach the village about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
8.) Years ago when Rob and I were first getting into agriculture, we were learning so much. We were experimenting with things and wanting to grow our little, city farm. We loved our calling, but were starting to feel a bit, you know, "different". We do many things that aren't "the norm" according to city dwellers and it can ware on a person after awhile. Your sense of community can seem quite slim. Let's face it, it's hard to share your whole heart with others who don't have the same heart-convictions as you. Your common denominator is Jesus, yes, but unless you're talking about just Him, it can make conversation scarce. I've got some ideas swirling and have been studying heart convictions, but that's for another post. Ah-hem. {grin}
I remember being sick one Sunday morning and Rob said he'd go to church with the kids while I rested at home. I sat down on the couch and was trying to read through Scripture. I got down on my knees and while feeling blessed that the Lord had opened our eyes to a life of agriculture, I was so lonely. I 1.) prayed that God would make things clear, that whatever He wanted us to do, we would do, and 2.) that He would send us a family somehow in which we could share our love of agriculture here in the city. Two days later, we were at our discipleship group at church (we have a very small group), there was a new couple. They had just moved down from Georgia and were new. Each evening in our group, our pastor begins class with a fun question and this particular evening, he asked us to go around and share our favorite pet. The new couple went second and said "a cow". My jaw dropped. (I've been wanting a cow, but who shares that kind of stuff in a group the city!) When it got to be our turn, I said cow also. We found out that they lived off the beach and were housing their Jersey cow at our friend's farm about an hour away. We chatted for what seemed like forever that night after class, talking about farming. Finally, I could let it out. Finally, I could ask questions and have someone know what the heck I was talking about. I was humbled. About a week later, I found out that they also home educated. When they shared this, I immediately said to the Lord, "of coarse they do". Big smile on my face. Now they run THIS BEAUTIFUL FARM in which the Lord granted them the desire of their hearts. (That's a whole other "God-gets-the-glory-story" in itself.)
9.) One biggie is how when the Lord saw our hearts and desire for a bigger piece of land to work. The details are a big personal, but financially, we could have never made this work ourselves. God completely laid the money in our lap and said, "Here, go build your farm and don't forget to give me the glory for it. Manage it well. Multiply it. Nourish others with your bounty. Share it." Completely humbled, we are. You can follow our "Going Country" posts on the sidebar. 
10.) I remember driving once across a large, nearby bridge on the way to search for properties to build our home and farm. The kids were all quiet (which is rare) and there was no radio as we drove and I remember looking out onto the water, watching the small waves glisten like diamonds. It was so still. So peaceful. I heard a voice in my head and it said "You're not going to get your paradise here, but in the next life." It was so clear. The Holy Spirit as speaking and I had to turn around to make sure that someone in the car wasn't speaking to me it was so clear. Almost one of those, "Hey, did you hear that?" moments.
11.) My father had a pretty amazing experience when he accepted the Lord. He was walking along a sidewalk and felt his feet get really hot and tingly and then it continued going up his body to his head. It all of the sudden got really windy and he knew that the Holy Spirit had entered him.
I could go on for awhile with stories from friends who have had amazing experiences. Lots of stories from missionaries because missionaries have the best stories! {smile}
I want to share a verse with you today and it's a verse that I clung to when I was struggling with my faith in college. It's Matthew 16:1-4...
"The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’  and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah (meaning Jesus' death and resurrection...insert mine).'  Jesus then left them and went away."
Miracles never convince the skeptical. Jesus had been healing, raising people from the dead, feeding thousands and still people wanted him to prove himself.
John 20:29 reminds us that..."Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
If this post has touched you in any way and you'd like to continue on the topic of God's Preservation, PLEASE share your stories.
To God Be the Glory!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Few, Fun Glimpses...
Seeing that my camera's automatic focus has been preventing me from documenting anything we're up to these days, my friend asked if she could stop by to have some photography practice the other day and of coarse I said, "Sure!" So she got to follow our busy crew around for about an hour, snapping away. Thought I'd share just a few, fun glimpses of life around here. {smile}
This little man is going to be ONE next month {sniff}.

...and this "little one" has thus far killed THREE of our chickens. Let's just say that our new chicken coop will be "Ranger Proof". Grr...

My little helper these days.

And my big helper!

Our rabbit's first litter of kits, born 7 weeks ago. The kids have really enjoyed watching them grow.

These precious feet have not shown any promise of walking soon and that's just fine by this mama! Slow and steady little one.

Appearing "shy", but don't let him fool you! He's anything but.

Avy and sweet Mabel, who are both growing like weeds. Avonlea is addicted to these girls.

In the playhouse Rob built. One thing the kids will miss when we move.

The crew.

Sweet Riley still holdin' on. I don't think she'll pass until she finally gets her wide open spaces and then, we have a shady spot under a tree picked out for her to "rest".


Friday, April 4, 2014

Goin' Country...
How To Name Your Farm Or Ranch
Okay, so we're not exactly "settled" just yet on our new property. We're still in the city, but are just waiting on our temporary power pole to be put in as well as our well. Most of the house (with the exception of our everyday things and things that will go into the camper) is packed into boxes awaiting moving day. We did have a moment a week or so ago where we thought our process might be elongated, however things are right back on track and the house has already begun being built.
Our barn and cow stalls have been completed so we have the chicken coop and fencing to be put up before we can move the animals. Then begins the job of starting a pasture and my favorite part...THE GARDEN. {smile} If all goes well, we should be able to have a fall garden up this year which I am looking forward to very much. Although I'd like to jump in and plant a whole acre, we'll be taking things slowly at first, adding on as to not exasperate ourselves.
Which leads us to the question...What do we name our farm?
We have had a few ideas swirling, but haven't settled on anything just yet. I've been enjoying reading THIS POST and gathering ideas.
This is where we would love YOUR input! {grin}
If you have a creative name for our new farm, we'd love to hear it!
To give you a little background, here are a few things you should know about our property...
1.) It's virgin ground; never been settled before.
2.) There is no water feature (yet...we're studying permaculture and how to begin creating some)
3.) We have lots of oaks and pines on the property as well as hog plum trees.
4.) We'll be using it for homesteading. It's not going to be a "hobby farm" or a farm producing one, single product, but a multi-faceted farm (dairy cows, gardens, chickens for meat and eggs, bees, orchard, pigs, etc.).
5.) We really feel that this farm was given to us by God. The specifics that needed to work out for us to get this property and home were nothing short of God Almighty. He knew our hearts. We're so undeserving of His mercies and blessings. We're praying that as we strive to be trusted with little, He'll trust us with much. So many days when we don't feel worthy, when we mess up and He still somehow entrusts us with things.
6.) We don't really want to use our last name.
Okay, so...
READY, GET SET, GO! Let's hear those names!!!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Why Everyone Should Be a Farmer
"To Adam he said, 'Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,'
"Cursed is the ground because of you, through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and dust you will return."

Did I get your attention with this title? Okay, yes because you're still reading this.
And, don't hate me after reading this.
I have a confession to make. I help run a raw milk co op in the city. I have 18 laying, beautiful hens in my backyard in the city. I have a garden in the city. I make bread in the city. I enjoy canning in the city. I have made tinctures for people in the city.

I have customers that come once a week to purchase this healthy, natural food (in which a lot of work goes into) and buy from me directly. While I LOVE running our co op and I LOVE the people and relationships formed here, I have a problem.

I have had (it's rare, but it happens) customers who are upset because I don't have enough eggs for them or enough milk for them. I was at one point thinking about baking bread for customers who would buy it, but I was reminded the other day from a farmer friend,
 "We're only hindering those people." And you know something...

He's right.

As the above verse explains, men and women were given two curses since the beginning of time. Women were to have pains in childbirth (yep, we definitely have that!) and man's curse was to have to toil the ground for food. (Hmmm...)

So, if we're all being honest here, why is it that only CERTAIN men (and women) have to toil the earth for everybody else?!!! We praise those that BUY organic (there's that popular "o" word again), raw milk (shh! It's just pet food anyway, right?), freshly baked bread, etc.

Part of me wants to say that if a customer is angry because they don't have their eggs, produce, milk, butter, etc. go get your OWN! Go get a cow or a goat! Go get some chickens! Go grab some wheat berries at the health food store and grind them.

Oh, remember the story of The Little Red Hen? Those that didn't work, didn't eat, right?
 (Or is that the Bible?)

I feel as though we're hindering society. We're handicapping them. Yes, even the organic farmers. We're providing this nutritious food, but...


Or are we?

Is there enough information out there via the web, magazines, tv, etc. on the back-to-the-land movement and how to do it?  (yes)

Or are people just scared what their family, friends, or homeowner's association will think of them?


If only we could just TEACH people and give them the CONFIDENCE to keep a milk animal, chickens for eggs, a small garden plot for fresh produce (which isn't sprayed with chemicals...I've heard FOUR stories of friends or friends of friends that have been tested positive for cancer just in the past 2 heart aches, and I know it's not just food, so many variables here, I get that. I 'm no dummy).

Long ago (okay, not that long ago), it's what people did, even in the city. They didn't need confidence to branch out and be different just because they had a few chickens or a family dairy goat. There were older people in the community who maybe couldn't physically bend over any longer to supply their own food, but they sure worked hard when they were young and limber to do so. Then, as they got older, the younger would do the work to help supply their nourishment.

I was reading an article in "The Modern Farmer" magazine entitled "Inside the Milk Machine" by Mark Kurlansky. Sigh. Dairy farmers have a hard-working life-style. They are up at the crack of dawn (no wait, earlier!), milking cows, jugging bottles of fresh, tasty milk, THEN, oh THEN, comes the washing of all the equipment, tidying up the dairy, cleaning up the milking stanchions, feeding the baby calves their bottles, cleaning the bottles, mopping the floors in the dairy and placing that milk in coolers to keep them at just the right temperature until delivery day to your very dining room table in which you enjoy that milk (and I'm sure I'm forgetting LOTS of other steps/chores). It's like a little piece of heaven. It's so smooth, rich and creamy. If you've never tried unpasteurized, unhomogenized milk, you're just plain old missing out (seriously). My kids won't even drink grocery store milk anymore (or eat eggs from IHOP...ah hem). They say it's not "real". {grin}

As I read this article by Kurlansky, I was moved and angry at the same time. We do this to ourselves!
Oh, if people could just see the blessing of leaning into a warm, fuzzy cow (whom of coarse you're talking to in a soft, mommy-like voice the whole time...or is that just me? Anyway...clearing throat) and extracting nourishment from her body to feed yours and your family's.
If people could not be afraid to get a little dirty planting a vegetable garden, the sun on your back as you reach down to plant each tiny seed and watch it come to fruition as you partake of its nourishment, juice dripping down your mouth. Did you know that green beans can be juicy? I'll bet you didn't know that carrots are naturally juicy? {smile} The best! And sweet too! Not those dry, old carrots the grocery store has. But nothing (I mean, nothing) beats a vine-ripened tomato. Probably my biggest grocery store pet peeve...gassed tomatoes.
If people could learn to be content with an afternoon of chicken watching. {lol} They are so entertaining! They really do have personalities all their own.  Some sweet.
Some little stinkers. {heart} Reaching into a nesting box, fresh with hay to pull out from under a soft, feathery breast, a warm egg for breakfast. Not one months old from the store.
If people could smell the smell of freshly, baked bread sitting on a counter top. A loaf you're saving to break for dinner with family or friends. Fresh butter from your cow that you've mixed with honey (from your beekeeping neighbors) to spread on that warm bread.

Although farming is hard and we often ask ourselves if it's worth it, it's every bit of "worth it" when we partake of it's richest tastes and smells. Yes.

So, what about the above verse mentioning being a farmer? Well, you read and pray for yourself and ask the Lord for His will for your life. Do I think there should be MORE farmers?  Heck yes! I think if more people were doing something (start small if farming intimidates you), just SOMETHING, our main farmers wouldn't have to work SO hard to provide for the rest of us who aren't doing anything.

If you know of a local farmer and you want to learn from him/her, JUST ASK! They are passionate about what they do (let's face it, they're not in it for the money, ha!) and would love to help. I know that our family is constantly learning and failing, but getting back up and trying again over and over.
There IS joy in the discipline that the Lord gives us.

Monday, March 17, 2014

My heart grieves at what we've made some of our "holi" days (well, they all started out as pagan days anyway...bleh). Today, the kids and I are doing a lesson on St. Patrick, the missionary to Ireland. St. Patrick's Day is not just a day to drink beer, dress in green, and chase leprechauns. It's a day to honor a great man who brought the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Irish. Let us not hide the truth from our children or overlook that truth with cookies, candy, pinching, etc., but let us pray that more people could be missionaries for the Lord, spreading His gospel.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Going Country...Taking a Break

"Consider if pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." James 1:1-3

Sitting here, I'm struggling for words. We're BUSY around here. Very BUSY. I've blown off playdates with friends, girl's nights out, and the list goes on. My kids have been watching more tv than I'd like and our daily, good habits have been at a lull. We're in "survival mode" as some would say. {gulp}
Our prayer is that the Lord would move us to our 5 acre property in HIS timing, and while we thought it may take another year or so to physically move, it turns out that we'll be moving sooner than we thought! Within weeks. It's been stressful, yes. However, the stress is a stress overflowing with blessing and goodness.
The stresses we're enduring are stresses of cutting trees, packing boxes, building a chicken coop, building two cow pens, packing boxes, fencing off for pasture, building a workshop for Rob's tools and our animal feed, packing boxes, learning how to milk Molly efficiently, packing more boxes, trying to get our home ready to sell/rent (praying fervently that it does!), talking on the phone to electricians, well-diggers, our building company, land clearers, etc., trying to figure out how to move our animals and take down their coop and pen for the next home owners, homeschooling (or lack thereof...ah-hem...I think we're taking an early summer break and catching up in late summer), and did I mention packing boxes?
Our life as a family has never been so busy! My head is whirling and I'm just trying to stay afloat with food on the table and the house somewhat picked up, clean laundry (which my children are currently folding) on bodies, etc. We live in the city during the week and the country on the weekends. The kids complain and we have seen shed tears when we mention that it's time to go home and back to the city.  They're busy taking nature walks, meeting neighbors, riding horses, picking wildflowers, bird watching, playing hide-and-go-seek in the woods, and just watching spring as it peeks it's head out in the hog plum tree blossoms (can't wait to harvest them and make jam!), baby animals, and the abundance of green amongst us. It's such a different life. It's such a peaceful life. Time just stands still and we live according to the sun rising and setting. I don't even look at my watch when we're there. I don't even know where my phone is the entire weekend.
We've pretty much been doing all the work ourselves (yes, all 5 kids in tow and just Rob and I), but we were graced with some help this past weekend and we were amazed at how much we got done! What a blessing! I know that there are so many times when I, personally, get discouraged in this amazing journey. Times when I let sin creep in and destroy my passion for God's plan for our family. I have to remember the second part of the verse from above which says...
" that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:4b
It's true.
The trials that we endure in this earthly life seem so unbearable at times. My good friend just told me she had breast cancer yesterday and the entire rest of the day, I was in a lull. My heart grieves for her. I'm bearing her burden and find myself in prayer often for her. That cancer could be in my own body. How would I handle that? Would I cling to this verse in hope that God is bigger than cancer and that He is making me "mature and complete, not lacking anything"? {sigh}
I think that way sometimes about homesteading. It's hard. It's busy. There's failure. There are moments why I even bother doing it. And yet, there's blessing. There's nutrition. There's togetherness and hard work, which produces good character.
I recently spent $3.99 for "The Homesteading Wife's Christian Devotional and Favorite Recipes" and it's the best $3.99 I've spent in a long time. I printed it out and keep it by my bedside. Susie Shock nails so much of what goes on in the minds of homesteading women. Sometimes it's just plain hard to relate to the traditional schooling, soccer moms at the park. Instead of talking about who got "Citizen of the Month" and who won this year's little league games, you have other topics on your brain such as "Did I forget to water the garden this morning?", "Did I forget to bring in the milking supplies from this morning's milking?", or "How am I going to get this child to learn how to read?". It's a different world. Even in the homeschooling community. Sometimes I grace the halls of the annual homeschool conference discouraged because each year, I find that I do less and less of what even traditional homeschoolers call "schooling". Farm kids grow up different. They just do and as a wife and mother, finding the balance of what's "normal" is hard, especially when you're all alone doing it. That's why I cling to like-blogs as well as Susie's devotional.
The crazy thing is that as HARD as this lifestyle can be, there's SO MUCH BLESSING  in it. We see a lot of fruit (and no, I'm not just talking about apples and pears). Spiritual fruit. Fruit that is so hard to teach and encourage sometimes, but when we see it as parents, it's overwhelms us with complete joy.
The other crazy thing is that as HARD as this lifestyle can be, I never want to NOT continue it. I only want MORE. (Crazy, I know.) It drives us. It completes us. It brings us closer to the Lord. And THAT is worth it.
So, as I stare around our boxes, to do lists, etc., I've decided to take a blogging break for a little bit until we're settled. I also have a non-working camera. Bleh!
" camera lens or cow fencing?" "New camera lens, or cow fencing?"
Cow fencing. {smile}
You can find me on Facebook if you want updates as I try to update with my phone when I can.
Blessings to you sweet, precious readers! Hugs all around. {grin}

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Meet "Mabel"

It was one of those nights where I just couldn't sleep. It was around midnight where I got up, read my Bible for a bit and thought, I'll go check on Molly quickly before turning in to bed. I got on my Sloggers (best farm shoes ever!) and jumped over her fence. It was quiet and the sounds of the birds on the lake behind us were so peaceful.  I looked at Molly and low and behold, she was in full-out labor. It was dark, but I could see her tail up and she was laying down, then getting up, backing up against the fence and very ancy. I knew she was in her second stage and it would just be a few hours.
Rob came out to check on me and I told him. He pulled up two lawn chairs and there we sat for about an hour just talking about how peaceful and quiet it was, making fun of the lake birds. I think at one point I asked him to "pass the popcorn". It was a funny comment, but I immediately felt guilty as I watched our beloved Molly in pain, contracting on the ground in front of us. I got in the pen with her and she immediately calmed down. She continued to labor and at one point, I left her pen and she followed me, mooing as if to say, "Don't leave me in a time like this woman!" I went back to my spot with her and continued in my petting her, just talking to her as if to encourage and say, "You can do this mama."

At this point, it was around 2:30 a.m. or so and Rob said, why don't you go inside and get some rest. He was wide awake and I was yawning (because I'm a girl who needs my 8 hours or I struggle). I agreed, but my sleep inside wasn't exactly peaceful. Isaac was getting up and down from his bed (which he does every once and awhile and TONIGHT was the night he decided to get out of bed, crying). I comforted him and allowed him to crawl into our bed to sleep on Rob's side (something we NEVER do, but I was desperate for some shut-eye).

The dogs were also restless and Ranger continued in noise-making in the house, but I couldn't leave him outside because it made Molly VERY nervous. At one point in the evening, I threw him into the camper, but he barked and scratched at the door, which also made Molly nervous, so that idea was out.

I finally fell asleep around 3 a.m., but woke up right at 4:30. I thought I'd go check on things and trade Rob so he could get some sleep. He opened the door just as I was opening the door and said, "She had it!" I thought, "WHAT?!" He had been asleep on the job and apparently was snoozing away in the camper with the door open as well as the windows. He had heard a large splash and then came to get me. We rushed out and saw Molly licking her baby and mooing soft, low moos. Mabel was mooing back to her and it was such a sweet, peaceful moment. We rushed in to get towels and the camera (which my lens currently doesn't work...the focus is off so I had to use a back-up). I jumped the fence to help Molly get her dried off. I was surprised how much work I was putting into drying her off, but only Molly was having success. I had my flashlight in hand and tried to look to see the gender. I saw the umbilical cord and thought it was a boy. But, then, I looked again and saw her cute, little udder. It was a girl! Stoked was an understatement for what I was feeling.
Rob picked Mabel up and put her into the little cow shed we have. We had cleaned it out well and put down fresh coastal hay. Molly continued to lick her clean and I worked on trying to get her up on her feet and nursing. It's best to have them nursing as soon as possible, within 30-45 minutes and that was my goal. She needed colostrum asap.
I texted a few people close to me and told Rob to go in and get some sleep before he had to wake up and go to work. He complied and said to come in to get him if I needed to. I knew the girls and I would be fine. I just had to get her nursing. I continued lifting her wet, limp body up to her mother's milk supply, but no luck. I was getting nervous after about 30 minutes. I ran inside to grab a bottle I recently got from Tractor Supply just in case. I was glad I did. I was able to milk out Molly a little and Mable took it just fine. She had colostrum. She was going to be okay. I curled up in the fresh hay, next to my girls and watched as they bonded, Molly licking her sweet baby. I decided to go in and leave them to get acquainted. The kids would be up shortly and I was hoping for a little shut-eye before the sun came up. At this point, it was about 6:00. I was going on about an hour of sleep.

(our milking machine)
I went in to get into my nice, soft bed, but discovered a little body was in my place. Isaac was still there. So, I went into the boys' room and fell asleep in Isaac's toddler bed. I got about an hour of sleep and woke up to squeals and giggles of, "Molly had her calf! Molly had her calf!" That was the end of my rest, but that was okay because I couldn't wait to see the kids' faces when they saw this precious little one.

(the pump)
Rob took each child and lifted them up to see them. They were so excited! The day was busy with LOTS of visitors and friends who wanted to be a part of the big day. One friend came and bought me a rake so I could muck-out the pen (our rake had disappeared apparently). We noticed that one of Molly's teats was plugged and not producing milk. I had to call the vet. She had had an infection last year and the vet that came out at that time said that we might have a 3-quarter cow.
I've been busy making udder balm, natural teat dip and udder wash from Jill Winger's The Natural Homestead book. Fabulous stuff!
Mom and baby are doing well. I even took Molly out front to graze this morning and she loved it.
Now, before Mabel became Mabel, there were a few other names mentioned and one was Daisy Mae. We thought it was in stone, but Avonlea suggested "Mabel" at dinner and we all loved it, even Rob. So Mabel it is. Norah wanted "Lilly", but one of our rabbits gave birth to a litter of kits this week, so she gave her bunny the name "Lilly" instead.

Molly got her first milking last night. We milked out her colostrum, but not for us. For Mabel or any other calf in the future. We'll freeze it in a Ziplock bag for those just-in-case moments. She did great and we got about a 1/2 gallon of colostrum.  
Anyway, it's been a crazy week that's been non-stop and this lady is ready for some sleep.
Here are some videos of the proud Mother with her baby. Please excuse the high-pitched "Mommy voice" (cause you know you all have one too...ah-hem). {grin}

This was yesterday morning (early) and Mabel was all fluffed up and dry, however this was when we were still throwing around names and Daisy Mae was in the lead. That was before we discovered "Mabel".

Molly's first milking.

Please be in prayer for us as we're contemplating purchasing a miniature bull from some friends. Trying to get fencing done at the property is going to be a challenge, but so rewarding. Remember the first bull we bred Molly with? Beau. He's 3 years old and a sweetheart (if a bull can be). He's a purebred miniature and not in Molly or Mabel's bloodline. Molly will be ready to breed again shortly too.

We also meet with our home builder this week to get paperwork rolling. No looking back now! Living by FAITH. {smile}