Be still and know … and then what?

IMG_3577

It’s April,  May, 2019. In January,2019 I attempted to write what God had impressed on my heart for 2019. What word He was giving me for this year.  For the past three years the phrase for the year has been, ‘it is what it is.”  The only thing I was sure of this time was that wasn’t the phrase. But, what WORD was it? Still wasn’t sure in February, or March. Then I got an inkling that maybe my word for the year was JOY. Or in a phrase – Choose Joy. Life events collided and seemed to make that word and that phrase a feat of incredible fortitude and strength.

Come and muse along with me…: In January I was finishing up my school bus driving career of approximately three months. Honestly, I wasn’t sure why God had directed me to drive a bus. I totally killed the written tests and the driving tests, so good in fact that my trainer was using me as an example of an excellent driver and encouraging others to follow my lead. Yet, I was a little hesitant. Seems I was right to be.

My first time out on my own I took down a carport parking structure with the bus’s big right mirror, while maneuvering out of the way of an oncoming speeding car – and while my supervisors and trainer blamed the incident on the non-assistance of my assistant and the other car, I knew it was ultimately my responsibility. At one point I got lost with very spirited kindergartners on the bus….while they flipped over the backs of seats and ran up and down the aisle, I missed a turn on the route sheet and got completely lost. We weren’t allowed to us a gps or a cell phone, and I had zero idea where I was, so I kept driving. I didn’t venture far…mostly driving in a big square, but soon the kiddos were yelling things like, “where are you taking us?’, ” I wanna go to school”, “we’re lost”, “can we go to the pool?” Finally, I pulled over and gathered them up by me and told them I was lost and needed their help. We needed some good team work…they changed, “team work, team work!” I looked up their school in my phone and using team work,  they were going to tell me if the phone was telling me the right way to go. If I had been previously familiar at all with the area I would have known I had only to make my square one block shorter to arrive at their school. We walked up to the door, they hugged my legs before going to class. I explained to the teacher what had happened and she, bless her, was more concerned about the kids wayward behavior than the lateness of us getting to school. She said she knew I was obviously intelligent and I would get them there. Driving home that day I was sure I should quit. It was then the anxiety attacks and insomnia set in.

On my route I had a particularly challenging middle school group. They were mostly ESL kiddos living in a big trailer park and hotels by our Costco. Some of them didn’t understand English and unfortunately I don’t speak Spanish. Some were very loud and just as mobile. The turning point  for this group came when we left school in the pm and one of the students dropped onto the aisle and sat there. On the floor. I was  at the stop light and told her to get back in her seat. She didn’t move. She probably didn’t understand me. The light turned green and the kids screamed – “Go! Go!”. I calmly told them I couldn’t go until everyone was safe in a seat and asked her to please sit in a seat. She didn’t move. The kids continued to yell- “go, go”. I repeated that I couldn’t go until everyone was in a seat. They yelled a few insults and called me some not very nice names….I explained that I couldn’t go until everyone was safe  and I could stay there all night if need be. The light turned red. Then green again. “GO!GO! We want to go home!” To which I replied, “me, too! Everyone get in a seat and we can.” The other kids turned on the aisle sitter and said, “she’s not kidding, get in the seat.” (There was also a lot of Spanish but I have no idea what they were saying.)

All this this time, I cried, a lot. And I have such an ugly cry face. Seriously, it scares children and small animals. Finally, the compilation of driving the bus, but getting lost, no GPS, unruly kids and very little disciplinary aids available, Lance and I decided I should quit. I prayed a lot about it, because I was sure, initially, I was preparing myself for what God had prepared for me – to be a bus driver, but the anxiety was so overwhelming…it was untenable.

My resignation was refused. My supervisors were kind and explained away all my problems so that nothing was actually my fault…(while that feels good, I know that a portion of the issues were indeed on me.) After my refused resignation they put me on a different route. It was in a suburban area where the garages are in the back of the houses so everyone parks in the streets. It was like driving down a very narrow alley. One day I squeezed down a street and I moved slightly to the right to let a car pass (when you’re driving the bigger vehicle, don’t be polite. It’s always easier for the smaller to move out of the way. ) I sideswiped a parked truck and took out his extended mirror. I was devastated. When I got back to the depot, my boss asked a trainer to go out with me and review some driving strategies. We drove my route and came up on the road construction. He asked if I told the bus depot about the construction. I said, “No. Was I supposed to??” He replied yes. ( Even thought the truck and I had met blocks over). I have nothing but good things to say about those supervisors. They wanted me to succeed in the best way.

DSC_0334.JPG

Be anxious for NOTHING. I knew the scripture well, but anxiety was having a hay day with my brain and heart while I struggled with should I quit or not…or be an assistant….I had some heart troubles and ended up in the ER. I and the folks at work, were attributing the heart discomfort to the stress. But, a subsequent visit to a cardiologist and the testing showed some blockage.  And, with this news, my sweet boss accepted my resignation.

The very next week I received a call from Home Depot asking for an interview. I had applied to Home Depot a year earlier. I had worked for them before we moved to Australia and really wanted to go back to them, but they hadn’t called. I was hired and started the next week in the gardening department.

I love working at Home Depot. I love the interaction with customers and the management at my Home Depot is excellent. From the store manager on down, I feel like I matter.  Come see me at the Wiley, Texas store!

The heart thingie still exsists. I have been on new meds, had some new tests that revealed new stuff and I am scheduled for an angiogram which will reveal if I need a stunt or not.

So, as God does, He chose this time to have me move into a position I NEVER thought I’d have…Back Up BOOK KEEPER! (When I was about in the third grade I developed a real nemesis with the maths.) But, I am determined to accept all that God puts before me.

God keeps laying out the challenges and I keep trusting and hitting them head on….but I wonder, honestly, what is He preparing me for?

First, drive a bus. Pass all the challenging tests, get a job, then FAIL….and next?Get a job you love. Do it for two months and get ‘promoted’ to the vault as a part time book keeper (aka a career I AVOIDED at all costs) and for what??

Well I guess we will see! The Man said a couple of weeks ago that God is preparing me for something He has prepared for me.

My heavenly Father is a GOOD GOOD FATHER and I will trust and try and love everyone to Him as I go along.

328707_10150554684532932_378227801_o

Fairy Floss Faith or Mustard Seed Faith

festival-2471118_1280
Cotton candy (U.S., India, Canada), candy floss, or candyfloss (UK, Ireland, New Zealand, India and South Africa), or fairy floss (Australia) is a form of spun sugar. Since it comprises mostly air, a small initial quantity of sugar generates a tremendously greater final volume, causing servings to be physically large and voluminous. A typical serving on a stick is approximately 1 ounce/30 grams. (Wikipedia)

mustard-231302_1280
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” and the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. (Luke 17:6)

I’ve noticed a trend recently where strong faith, built on a firm foundation is disregarded for a more superficial feel good kind of thing. The sort that is not really built with a small grain of mustard seed, which is small, tough, and prolific in its growing, but rather the sweet fluff of fairy floss. Light and wispy, nicely colored and sugary sweet.

What triggered my concern was one of those little meme’s that a friend posted on her wall. It said, “Jesus doesn’t care how many bible verses you have memorized. He cares how you treat people,” this time instead of a quick chuckle and moving on, I paused because this meme is spreading a dangerous concept. I thought how the devil must delight in this sort of thing, because I reckon he’s not immune to using social media to twist and pervert God’s words, or mislead God’s kids. Am I a little too tightly strung? I really don’t think so.
While it’s true that Jesus does care about how we treat people, it is also very true that we, as his kids, must know his Word. So one does not have to be exclusive of the other. In fact, the two should go hand in hand.
I know some folks like to wield the word like a, (well, I was going to say sword, but it is indeed the sword of the spirit, Ephesians 6:17), so we’ll say hammer to hit a point home, and sometimes Jesus’ grace, mercy and love is wholly missing. But, we can’t let some people’s bad behavior prevent us from knowing Him completely. To know Him is to know his word. Jesus himself quoted scripture when Satan in the wilderness tempted him: And the tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” He answered, “It is written, ‘man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:3) And again, the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,” and on their hands they will bear you up lest you strike your foot against a stone,” Jesus said to him, “Again, it is written, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” (Matthew 4:5) Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. He said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” (Matthew 4:8-10). So that’s a whole lot of Jesus answering Satan with the word. Does this mean we should do the same? Yes!
Consider the Psalm 119:11, “I have stored up my word in your heart that I might not sin against you.” Finishing with Psalm 119:16 “I will delight in your statues; I will not forget your word.” These two indicate the word is important to have so well learned that we won’t forget them.
We all know the most famous verse for memorizing his word; Deuteronomy 6:5-7 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and will all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” How’s this going to happen if you’re just tripping along in your walk with him feeling good and treating others nicely? How will you determine the true needs of yourself and others if you don’t know how to apply His word to your life or to their life? There’s hope, peace, love, truth, life and rest in his word, you do yourself a huge wrong if you don’t know it.
A recent twitter from a famous Christian author said,” God is not surprised when hard times hit, he is surprised when you quit.” Really? God is taken by surprise when I do something? How about Joshua 3:1-15, which tells us that God, is in already our tomorrows? Or that God has a plan for our lives? Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and hope, or, Romans 8:28 and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. How can we surprise Him if he has it all worked out? The trouble is we too often go to the popular author works instead of going to the Word to get our doctrine and our answers, and the problem with that. Authors are wholly human. God is not.
I had a conversation once with a sister-in-him who was struggling with a life issue. After we prayed, she quoted something she had read from a book called, “Jesus Calling.” I had never heard of this book, but even if I had, I would still have advised her to go to the Word. Her response? “I don’t know how to read the Word.” Really? If you know how to read a book, you know how to read THE book. And you’re directed to do so. In Acts 17:11 it says, ‘now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so. ‘
God gave us a book full of direction, hope, and love so that we could survive in this life. It is a love letter to us. Maybe because the days of getting a hand written letter in the mail is long gone we don’t really appreciate what this means. But, even still, getting an email from a loved one is often received with joy and read repeatedly. We eagerly read to see what the person’s been up to, what they think, what they want, how they feel. The same should be for the Word of God.
I’m afraid if we don’t know the Word we’ll be like the man who built the house on the sand and when the storms of life wail against us our house (we) will fall. Or we’ll be tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (Ephesians 4:14).
Jesus says that if we have faith as small as a mustard seed (which is about the size of a pinhead), we can tell a tree to uproot itself and plant itself somewhere else and it will, or we can tell a mountain to move and it will, but if we don’t know his word, have it planted in our hearts and minds, how will we have such a strong faith? Fairy floss faith requires nothing more than sugary sweet thoughts, and performing warm loving acts and deeds. We eagerly believe each new ‘big author’ that puts out a Christian book or a podcast, and often times we develop stomachaches or cavities from the overly sweet fodder.
It is important to show His grace, mercy and love. 1 Corinthians 13:4 it says, ”so now, faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Let’s strive to have a full and rich journey with Him, knowing His word AND loving the world.

Linda Mae Baldwin

Gypsy feet are on the move again,but the body resists.

22712503_10155954994747932_2674501798813054187_o

Just about this time, one year ago, God moved us to Australia, again. We arrived thinking we would be here for a long time. We bought a car that we could explore this magnificent country in, some nice furniture that would last awhile, and signed a lease into the next year. Now, all that has changed.

We are heading back to America (to live in Texas this time) and find ourselves doing another international move in the span of 12 months. I truly believe God has it all handled and all the pieces will fit into the move puzzle, but my body seems to have not recieved the memo. Everything hurts. Sleep is elusive. The gut is acting up big time. Frustrating! Every night after four hours of restless sleep, I get up, achy, stiff, sore. My mind wants to start the day, tackle the chore list, start the decluttering but my body stumbles to the recliner and if not for some vigorous self talk would stay there. I feel like I am living that scripture in Matthew – “the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” or as the Message puts it, “there is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.” That’s me – an old dog sleeping by the fire (but there’s no fire).  Mostly, though, this old dog wants to sleep.

In the years from 2010-2014 we were active folk. We did skydiving, scuba diving, hiking, biking, and all manner of exploring. From 2014-2016 we had our little hobby farm and had our family close. Although we didn’t see the adult kids that often, we did entertain the grands on many occasions. Then we moved back here. But the year, 2016 was stress filled, too…unemployement, a new job full of uncertainty and then the move back to Australia. Then 2017 brought new changes to the new job, and the realization that our plans to buy a house here etc, wouldn’t come to fruition. More stress. But, all along my walk with Jesus grew closer. I heard the Spirit more clearly, when I read the Word, things seems very evident, no mystery. So, why can’t my body catch up with the Spirit?

I reckon this is where intentional living comes to play. Managing all aspects of life. What we eat. What we drink. How we move our bodies. How we interact with others. When we sleep. What we nourish our brains with. What we feed our spirit with. I feel like I already do most of it, but probably lazy in some areas. Honestly, the thought of doing any more tires me. But, it’s necessary.

So, how’s your walk through this temporary world going?? How can you change things? or are you ok with the way things are? Is your subconscious reacting one way, while your spiritual life seems to be another? Why? God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear but of courage and power and a stable mind, so don’t be afraid of changing things. Don’t fear diving into why you may be having trouble sleeping, exercising, or any questions of life in general. No worries. His desire is for  you (and me) to have a rich and satisfying life! (John 10:10 NLT).

 

 

 

Do kookaburra count as farm animals?

328292_10150546644027932_101444388_o

It’s been seven months since we made the move down under. For the most part it’s been good. Actually, compared to the first move down here in 2010 it’s been FABULOUS. Interesting fact: it’s as if the Man and I have swapped personalities since last time. When we moved here in 2010 I was very sad and it took me about six months to settle in.  He, however, was super happy, and excelled at this work. This time around, I’ve settled in quite nicely but he struggles. But, I digress.

When you move from one continent to another, you expect that things will be challenging, that you will miss the familiar and your heart will ache for your family. What I didn’t expect was how much I miss the small hobby farm that was Baldwin Acres.

Here in Oz, we are awakened by a cacophony of bird noise. Can’t say it’s songs because there seems to be much anger in some of it. A family of kookaburra live in the big gum tree behind our house. They share this space with some Common Miners and some little birds that I can’t identify.  Every morning the kookaburra engage in seemingly heated exchange. Is someone stumbling in late? Did they run out of geckos for breakfast? Who knows. Maybe it is the language of love in kookaburraeeze, whatever the cause, it is very loud in the morning. And, annoying. On Baldwin Acres with a few roosters in residence, it was loud in the morning as well. But, a little calmer loudness. I miss that.

I didn’t think I would miss the animals so much. Not just the sound of the rooster, but the bleat of the sheep and the strange noise the goats made. I miss being greeted by everyone when it was feeding time. They were all ranging free so even when I was just out tooling around they were eager to see me. Nudging my leg, nibbling my shirt hem. smelling my boots. I miss the way our very large sow, Olive, would leaning against my shins until I scratched at her side until she flopped down and exposed her belly for more rubs. I miss Bob, our male goat, who followed the Man around the same way our boxer Remus did. I miss fresh eggs and waiting with broody hens for their charges to hatch.

I don’t miss the sometimes rough odor, or all the poop. There was a lot of poop. I am not sure why that took me aback because obviously every living thing does…but so.much.poop. was really unexpected. I don’t really miss trimming hooves or chasing curious wayward pigs back through the woods to the house. I don’t miss when the little chicks, or tiny piglets for whatever reasons, didn’t make it. But, I do miss them. All of them.

We go back and forth here about rescuing a dog or a cat. Which of course would be lovely, but seriously, they’re no pig or chicken. How could such a small farm make me so attached?

It’s not only the animals I miss, it’s the orchard with plums, pears, cherries and apples. The garden with lettuces, kale, tomatoes, squashes, onions, garlic, herbs, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, beans, peas, carrots..all fresh and ready to be eaten right from the picking. I miss the feeling of accomplishment achieved when we were able to eat, can, butcher, gather, all the things our own hands produced. God richly blessed us.

So now, what to do? I have a small plot and a patio tower in which I am growing I pepper, basil, aloe, lettuces, tomatoes, herbs, not the same as the raised beds, but still getting my hands in the dirt and freshness in my belly is amazing.

We’re in the waiting phase right now. Waiting on God to show us where we go next. He has already set the path before us, but right now it’s difficult to see. As we wait on Him, and seek His will, we will enjoy the memories of what was,  relish the moments that are now and expectantly look forward what will be.

Daily visits from the kookaburra’s and patio produce, will keep Baldwin Acres busy until then.

 

 

 

 

Baldwin Acres is a state of mind.

For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33

 

For the two + years we lived at Baldwin Acres we were blessed.

Now, we face a new journey, one that will take us back to the land down under. Last time we lived there, 2010-2013 was like a three year vacation. I had just turned 50 and really doubted God was calling us to that place. But He was and evidenced by the friendships that still remain, and the spiritual growth I experienced, He was correct. We were adventurous and discovered much about the land, people and ourselves. However, this time, we reckon things will be a little different.

We are familiar with Australia and we understand the nuances that last time sent me to weeping. (No Tide detergent?! How will I survive?) We have, what we call, fRamily, waiting for us there, so there won’t be that vast space of emptiness we experienced last time. This time we know we want a piece of land, raise animals, and we intend to treat this time as living there and not a vacation. Last time we knew we would be there for three years, this time we’re not so sure how long we will be there.

People thinks it’s strange that we are moving back there, so far from family and all that is comfortable for us. We do have 13 grandchildren who will be in America  without us. But, in the three years we were here, we spent little time with them, in fact, I believe we spent more quality time with everyone when we came home from Australia  for a three week summer vacation. Do you know, with a family with six kids and a family of seven kids, those families are very busy?!?! In my head I understand the busy timetables but in my heart I want all their time with me and why can’t it be?( I have expressed this thought to a few other grandmas and they feel the same way, too. But, we refuse to be ‘that’ grandma who forces company via guilt. How awkward is that going to be? )

All lives change and move forward. Familiar relationships are very fluid and I love it that way. I certainly don’t want that to change that. Fluid is much better than stagnant. At certain times of their adult lives, we’ve been closer to our daughter than our son, or our son than our daughter. Yet, we always are  immensely proud of both of them and their spouses  and we completely get their schedules. So we encourage when needed, we attend sports events when able, we even bought the dreaded iPhone so we can have FaceTime with the grand’s. Not an easy purchase when you work for Microsoft.

Today, when chatting with my sister, she expressed how much she would miss me, and I agreed. But to put it in perspective I am moving not dying. And, yes, I am moving very far away, but they have the wold wide web there, too.

Living on Baldwin Acres enriched my life and the grandkids lives, too. We were exposed to situations that both challenged and refreshed us. I reckon that will continue in Oz.

We follow where Jesus leads us, (you can read previous blog posts to see how that works), and yes, it’s been a struggle. 2016 brought with it unexpected unemployment, surgeries, estrangements, illness, and a whole lot of other ailments. But, when I practice spiritual breathing: Breathe in Jesus, and breath out (name a thing here: anger) breath in Jesus, breath out – fear. Breathe in Jesus, breath out discord, breath in Jesus, breath out anxiety, breath in Jesus, breath out envy…well you get the picture. As long as it takes to breath it all out is what you should be prepared for. Sometimes, it’s a little as five minutes, sometimes longer. You might think, who has time to do that? The thing is,  as long as we are alive  we are always breathing so it adds nothing to your schedule. Keeping our heart and spirit focused on God makes all the difference.

Until then, thanks for reading and commenting and get prepared for some more adventures from the folks, who for now live not physically, but mentally, on Baldwin Acres.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter is not my favorite season.

Except for Christmas, winter is not my favorite season. I think we must be on day 427 in a row of rain and gray skies. The back pasture has flooded at least twice. The pig sty looks like,well, a pig sty.  The damp coolness plays and pokes at my joints and muscles, and my hair is in constant need of a hat. Winter and I do not get along.

When you don’t get along with something you can either live in misery and complain about the situation, which admittedly I do from time to time, or you can look for the good. the old making lemonade out of lemons idea.

IMG_7816

Snow on Baldwin Acres

This winter scene is pretty. Snow makes the scenery a little more beautiful. This is our raised garden and small orchard area. This doesn’t fit into my winter blah scenario because it is lovely, lasts only a while, and allows a little respite in activity.

DSC_0292

This is a close up one of the garlic beds. The white stuff is not snow. They are ice spikes. We had so many days of freezing cold and rain, that these ice spikes adorned all our vegetation.

DSC_0009Here is a picture that sort of shows the mess I’m referring to in the back pastures. The tractors have stopped work for a while, because the ground is boggy. The area is spotted with puddles and little streams of water. To the left of the barn is the pig sty, in the barn is our supply of alfalfa and our livestock nursery. Currently Pork is housed in there, waiting to give birth to little piglets. To the right of the barn is the feeding area. There’s a tub for grain and an alfalfa feeder on the wall. We recently spread a ton of rocks in this area because the continual traffic of the  livestock (Jacob sheep and kinder/Nubian goats)  really has churned up the mud. A person (me) could (has) get stuck in that muck.

When it rains, if you’re not out in it, not mucking out poop, or tending to animals, but maybe just observing the landscape, it can take your breath away. Or at least let you appreciate God’s creation.

DSC_0001_1

These beautiful water fowl (ducks) take advantage of the winter pond. This area completely dries up in the spring and summer. But, it’s a nice treat to see wild birds taking a little rest here.

InstagramCapture_44c36732-3499-4199-9711-70a3a4c86645 1

Baldwin Acres

And, finally, I will appreciate the wet, mucky, season because without it there would be no spring. There would be no dormant time for the earth to recover, and the seeds to die, so when the spring sun warms the soil and dries the seasonal puddles and streams, we can grow healthy non- pesticide laden food and new livestock will be born. There is great contentment in the weariness at the end of a long homestead labored day.

The Bible attests to the need for seasons. Seasons not just for our homestead schedules, but also for our lives. Ecclesiastes 3:

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

2-8 A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.(The Message)

I’m trying my best to live in each season. Because in the season is where we find life, purpose and hope.

Fall at Baldwin Acres (and what we’ve learned)

Anyone who follows this blog might think from the title that I meant I physically fell again…but nope…talking about the season this time!

Didn’t the end of summer came too quickly? While I was able to put up a few pints of tomato sauce (which look like tomato soup, but taste like tomato sauce) I didn’t get half of the canning done that I did last year. Most of the pear and plum harvests went to just eating and then to live stock. As did most of the apples. I did manage to bake a couple pastries and cookies but no jam, or apple pie fillings or pear slices like last year.

Harvest pasteries

Harvest pastries

One of the biggest stories of our summer was the return of Pork 1 (now named Ollie) who had gone missing the day after we got her. Her story is elsewhere on this blog, but suffice to say, she’s back and happy with her siblings.

the swine of Baldwin Acres

the swine of Baldwin Acres

the majority of our raised beds are  harvested. The fall garden is sparse. We were able to gather enough Scotch Bonnet, Habanera, and Jalapeño peppers to take to two local fire departments for their kitchens. We used our spaghetti squash on a family getaway, and we have a few big pumpkins and small squash  for October. The volunteer tomatillos came back but I’ve yet to figure out what to do with them. This year we’re also trying our hand at saving seeds. Did you know that you cannot save just any seeds? Well, you can, but unless they are open pollinating and non-hybrid seeds they won’t grow. (Lesson learned!)

AdobePhotoshopExpress_b7d7f4fc16fb4c5aac8969bc8df940e7 WP_20150903_10_54_01_Pro

Lessons…. we are continually learning something…animal husbandry, pasture management, and growing our own grains are just some of them. If we are not learning something, then we’re planning. For example, the garden has done much better this year so next year we will expand it. I’d like to utilize better the fruits from the orchard and the eggs from the chickens. It’s good that we didn’t waste any but I still would like to have some in the pantry.

Lance was able to get another tractor at an auction. This one has a back hoe and a shovel. It will be great help and alleviate some of the physical work he tackles on his own. I do help, but honestly, I’m not much help. He fenced our property, built the barn, and the livestock shelters pretty much on his own. Not to mention the gorgeous gazebo over the hot tub. (Life on the homestead is good).

Our venture with turkey’s showed us to do better research. We initially wanted an heirloom breed like we’ve done with our Kune-Kune/AGH pigs, our Jacob sheep and our goats. But, the local store had only BBW’s (Broad Breasted Whites). So we bought them. BBW’s have been so overly genetically mutated for their breast meat they cannot naturally breed. (In more ways than one we have managed to ruin God’s once perfect creatures). They are beautiful, but because they will suffer when their hearts rupture or their lungs collapse, their life span is short.

WP_20150909_09_50_27_ProWP_20150909_09_50_15_Pro

The first photo shows the Breasted white turkeys. The second shows the heirloom breed Royal Palms, drinking from the livestock water. All the animals seem to think the other animals have better water. Maybe they have fizzy water, or an energy shot? The livestock constantly tried to get in the turkey pen to drink their water, and when the turkeys come down to the lower pasture, they drink heavily from the livestock tank. None of them can get into the pig pen but when we fill the pool or their water dish, there is a gathering at the pig fence. You can almost see the drool.

We have tasted one turkey. Turns out turkeys aren’t very smart. We had just loaded a ton of hay up in the barn and I was driving the truck through the pastures while Lance walked ahead and opened and closed gates and kept animals where they belonged. When I momentarily parked, one of the turkeys sat under the trailer and when I pulled forward, I ran over her.

WP_20150921_18_06_22_Pro

We had read that when you eat homegrown anything, it will taste like a foreign food, but our turkey tasted like turkey. Maybe if we had a regular antibiotic hormone riddled turkey right by our homegrown girl we would taste the difference, but she tasted like turkey.

On the list for fall farm chores: trimming livestock hooves, vaccinating the barn cats, deworming livestock, and filling in the pasture that gets flooded in the winter. I will plant garlic and oats for our winter crops and start planning for spring.

I like the seasonal changes in the homestead. Each one has both a beginning and an end, life and death. I am so happy the Lord set us up here. Life is challenging, but always good

WP_20150903_10_51_55_Pro

Productive day = exhaustion, achy bodies and satisfaction.

Unlike real farmers/ranchers we didn’t get up at the crack of dawn and we retired before the sunset (but to be fair, our sunset was at 8:15pm) but we did manage to get so much squeezed in those hours we were out there. Between everyday chores, gardening, too many trips to Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Wilcox stores, it was a very fulfilling day. Thought I would share some of it with you.

We were happy to see the sheep, Lucy and Edmund, were awake and making small talk with our boxer, Remus, as they waited for us to take them to the pasture paddock. We had breakfast and took some of the Grands out to meet the sheep. Lucy and Edmund are a little shy and give us crazy eyes from time to time, but they are not aggressive or sketchy with the kids. Lance had to hold Edmund, the smaller of the two, so the kids could touch them, but the sheep are so foreign to the kids the petting was a fleeting action. After they got out to their paddock, E & L proceeded to do some yard maintenance. and we moved on with our very full day.

Image

Lance tilled the garden beds. I planted a ‘salad’ bed with tomatoes, three different kinds of lettuces, and radishes. Yellow onions and Walla Walla sweet onions went in next. Cauliflower was next and then cucumbers into little dirt hills. Squashes – zucchini, acorn and delicate were next. One of the beds is now a dedicated strawberry bed, another will be for corn, and then pumpkins for October. One of the smaller bed will be for the herbs. The challenge of all this gardening is to not get down on my arthritic knees and at the same time, not wrench my back. Challenging, yes, but, ta-da, doable.

Image

Today was also chicken coop cleaning day. Since last I posted we have lost one chick. She never seemed to grow, didn’t get any feathers and one day she was listless, the next day, dead. It was very sad, but it is the way God has made the creature world to work. in the picture below you can see how big her sibling is, the big white one in the forefront. Little one never got half as big.

ImageWhile I want to make a nice soft warm bed of pine shavings for the girls, they continually kick it out until it’s almost just bare board. See the shavings in their water?  This water had just been changed 10 minutes before I took this picture. They’ve also taken to sitting on their feed. Not sure why. There are two who often roost on the stick, but the others? Maybe there is not enough room? Or they’re only brave enough to be as high as the feeder. Maybe there is something to calling someone a ‘chicken’ when they’re fearful?

Setting up Baldwin Acres has been a costly venture. We have spent more money on the animals, their ‘stuff’ and their shelters then we have on previous sun drenched vacations. So far, it has been worth every cent. As I sit here typing (using nine fingers because I got one caught in the door while rushing to the sheep and it’s painfully swollen), my knees ache from kneeling only once, I’m exhausted, and my body protests when I get up off the couch,  I can honestly say, love every aspect of it.

Before we led Lucy and Edmund to their bedroom (a nice roomy fenced dog run with a shelter) for the evening, I got one photo of them which I sign off with for you tonight, too. Peace.

 

Image