Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Do you know what that is?

Ricotta! And draining nicely, I might add. We cannot let all that extra milk go to waste! Half ewe's milk and half cow's milk, a little citric acid and more time than I thought it would take, but it was worth it. Saturday was all-a-flutter with activity and excitement at Providence Farm. While Mama went to the planning meeting for the upcoming Market at St. Stephen's and did last minute grocery shopping, Daddy was shearing Maria Augusta. Then he and the children washed the vehicles. And, let's see...in preparation for our Sabbath celebration there were clothes ironed and set out for Sunday morning; laundry washed/dried/folded and put away; grass mown; trash hauled to the dump; animals fed; cows and sheep and chickens rotated in the pastures; meals cooked (Saturday's supper and Sunday's dinner); barn cleaned out (sort of); walls patched for priming (at least one); house tidied for hospitality. Oh, and we made cheese. Mozzarella and ricotta. And then after that hard day's work (or fun day's fun), we enjoyed the fruit of our labor. A peaceful meal of lasagne with homemade cheeses in a clean home with tired but joyful family fellowship and contented animals. This is living....Providentially.

Baa~Baa, black sheep, have you any wool?

Yes Sir, Yes Sir, three bags full...at least that is what it looks like on her body! Poor Maria Augusta (affectionately known as Baa~Baa...and she is definitely not poor), did not get sheared before lambing. Of course, sheep don't know when supper time is for people, so she chose to go out to the edge of the pasture just as the chicken was finished on the grill. It is a good thing fajitas are ok warmed over later...and that my husband is more patient than I. It was about more than I could take, watching that little lamb search for his mama's udder under all that wool. I wanted to hold her still and point him in the right direction. But, my shepherd husband got them settled into the barn and bonding nicely.

Love at first sight...Maria Augusta and her moments-old lamb.

A sight for sore eyes...several days later...a happy, healthy ram with his shorn mama.
We are not sure yet what this little fella's name is going to be. But, we are rejoicing in the Providence of God for him. Maria Augusta is rejoicing in having lightened her load, particularly her "three bags full." So, what are we going to do with all that wool? Keep checking in here and at www.whatsoever-things.blogspot.com to find out! We have all sorts of little lovely things planned for all that wool. We just need the time to do them...Providentially!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Population explosion at Providence Farm

Ok, we are sufficiently distracted from gloom today. It is sunny and warm, though with a breeze. It is a beautiful day! Bustling with life! We have 55 new additions to Providence Farm this week (so far). Sunday, we welcomed Buttercream, a Jersey heifer. Have you ever heard someone say "cows are like potato chips"? Betchya can't have just one. Well, we have had a Jersey on our wishlist for some time. We are so enjoying having this friendly, little lady (well, she isn't little). She was so happy to be here, she ran around the pasture with joy. We, hopefully Providentially, call her Buttercream with thoughts of the fruit of her womb and udder. Buttercream is just about ready to be introduced to Ferdinand, who will welcome her joyfully to the happy herd.

Today, we received 54 newly hatched chicks. Jersey Giants, Black and Blue (Providentially, not from their journey!) as well as Delawares.........fuzzy, yellow and cute. They chirped and tweeted so much, it drove the postal clerks crazy. But, it was music to the children's ears!

Who knows what will be next? God does! We still have a couple of ewes that could bring us more lambs and a heifer expecting a calf. We still have Buff Orpington chicks due later in the summer. And we have a baby due this summer, too! God is so good, to bring such life to Providence Farm.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Soul adorn yourself with gladness...

So begins a hymn our family enjoys and today those words are so appropriate. No matter the trial, our Heavenly Father has us safely in His hands and nothing escapes His view. In that, we have peace. Yesterday was a very trying and sad day for our family. That little lamb you see below...Gideon, the mighty ram of valor, gave up his fight for life. We named him Gideon because it was clear the odds were stacked against him. We still do not know exactly what happened to cause this, but we rest knowing that the Good Shepherd is guiding us and teaching us through it all. We did everything we could to love and nurture him to a long, healthy life. It is a hard thing for a little person to watch suffering and death...even of a lamb. But we are once again reminded of Another Lamb...who suffered, bled and died on our behalf. And for this, we are eternally grateful.

"...leave the gloomy haunts of sadness,
come into the daylight's splendor,
there with joy your praises render.
Bless the One whose grace unbounded
this amazing banquet founded;
he, though heav'nly, high, and holy,
deigns to dwell with you most lowly."

His grace unbounded was sufficient for me through the day yesterday...and I learned another needle skill (injection...trembling hands to a trembling body)! And so it is with joy we render our praises to the Lamb of God...worthy to receive glory. Bless His holy name!

Gideon, Mighty Ram of Valor
Providence Farm
April 15-20, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

When we all work together, together, together...

When we all work together, how happy we’ll be!

A Few Lessons Learned this week:

1. First things first…because if you wait, it will not get done and your day will go awry.
2. My army man, farmer, Daddy extraordinaire-husband is a fine shepherd, too, (in more ways than one) and oh, so patient.
3. Good friends are there for you, when you are in the ditch and when you miss the ferry.

4. Milking ewes is more fun than peeling wallpaper.
5. I am allergic to wheat straw.
6. God is good, all the time. (ok, so we knew that one already)

Newest Job Description for pfarmwife: Ovine Lactation Consultant

Well, who else to ask but a veteran? Six and a half years of nursing babies qualifies me for a little wisdom in that area, I suppose. That was time well spent. I mean that humbly, of course, as I have only just learned about nursing lambs.

Newest exciting thing to try: Farmstead Artisan Cheese

I am dreaming of pecorino peppato, romano and feta, but will settle now for a quick and easy, fresh mozzarella. And had I not so greatly needed that nap this afternoon, we’d be eating it for supper. Like I need another hobby, but this is part of my job! ;-)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Queen Anne had a little lamb...

Its fleece is oh, so curly.
The children in excitement, went out for chores quite early.
God, in His Providence, has made the sheep know what to do.
We haven't even touched it yet...or seen if ram or ewe.

It brings to light so much we've learned, this spotless little lamb.
How great a sacrifice He was for us, the Great I AM.

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!
Jesus loves me, this I know.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Providential Debut

Providence Farm has made its debut on LocalHarvest! You can learn more about what we will (Providentially) have available for this market season here: http://www.localharvest.org/farms/M28490

Also, beginning in May, Providence Farm will participate in the Producers Only Market at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, on Grove Avenue in Richmond. Lord willing, we will be there every Saturday with fresh eggs and organic heirloom produce He abundantly supplies from our garden, Providentially. Though we may beg forgiveness if we are not there as we welcome our newest blessing and family member at Providence Farm.

As the Lord blesses the work of our hands, we will delight in making these good things available. Just as we pray, "give us this day our daily bread," we also ask for just the right amount of sunshine, rain and strength for the task. And as we enjoy the blessings of His Providence, we are reminded to bless Him in return. "And when thou has eaten and filled thyself, thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land, which he hath given thee." Deuteronomy 8:10