How To Know If He’s a Keeper

This is for all you single ladies, aspiring/new dairy cow owners and anyone else who might want to chuckle at my misery.

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Milking – Thank you Cow Can’t Kick contraption!

Sunday evening I had my new dairy cow “home” for 24 hours. Lambda expressed her discontent at my milking technique by kicking the bucket and dancing around. Finally, for whatever reason (probably something I did wrong because let’s face it: I’m a nube.) she kicked me. We’re not talking about kicking the bucket over and nicking my hand. This was a carefully aimed karate chop that got me in the forehead, the arm and the thigh all in one foul swoop.

I proceeded to holler at my husband, who is currently nearing deaf old man status due to a couple of ear infections. After 5 yells, or something like that, he saunters over holding the baby and asks how it’s going. I don’t even remember what I said, but it was something like, “It’s not going! I just got kicked in the fricking head!!”

I turned into a soppy puddle of emotions. I apologized over and over because I thought for sure I couldn’t possibly milk that monster. He asked if we just needed to get a milk machine. That is after all what she’s used to. My response, “We need a freaking craigslist add, that’s what we need!”

Apparently my colorful language is lacking.

All evening Nic kept telling me I can do this. You need to know that I have a massive propensity to romanticize things. My romanticized version of dairying didn’t really have a kicking cow in it. But even when I told myself it might not be quite that smooth, I pictured a little spilt milk here and there. Go ahead, shake your head. But the Bessie I imagined was much more…friendly

In actuality, I can count more sore spots on my body that the times I’ve spilt milk. (Although I do occasionally have to milk one teat onto the ground when I can’t get the bucket right under her udder.) So I cried on and off all night long. Here I had hunted down a milk cow, dragged my whole family 3+ hours away to get her and she was such a poop!

I was rolling all of these things in my brain-the inadequacy, the bumps & bruises, I felt like I heaped a burden on Nic because I was being a wimp and on top of it we had to get up at the crack of dawn to do it again.

I’m so so so so sorry.

That’s when Nic put his hand on my shoulder and said, “You need to know that I’m not frustrated with you. At all. I would do this by myself everyday for my family.

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And that ladies, is how you know you have a good one.

Just when I thought I was irresponsible, irrational and wussy (Ok, maybe a little on that last one) in swoops my super-husband to rescue me. He reminded me that we made a decision that we felt this was best for our family’s health and he was going to make sure it happened.

God made men and women equal but different. Both in his image, but with different gifts. Even though I smell like cow half the time, I feel like quite the tea cup these days: feminine, fragile, even pretty somedays (you know under the snot and…stuff). But ladies, you know you’ve got a good one when he makes decisions according to what is true and good and stands for them. I’m so thankful for my sturdy thermos and God’s grace which has given us nine beautiful years.

Two vessels, both filled with the Spirit of God, but oh so different in form and function. 

Let me tell you some things…


…about the last few days. I don’t even know where to start.

I haven’t worn my wedding rings in four days.

My body aches. Particularly my back, forearms, wrists, elbow (slightly unrelated to the rest) and fingers. Oh my poor fingers.

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Day 2

Day 4

Day 4

I have this lovely bruise on my arm with one on my thigh and a lump on my head to match.

I randomly break into tears. Also spent most of Saturday night crying.

This is starting to sound like domestic violence. So let me just tell you that I am the proud owner of not one, not two but three dairy cows: 1 “broken” heifer who can’t seem to hold on to a calf, 1 holstein bull calf and 1 bossy mama (¾ Jersey ¼ Dutch belt {the Oreo cows}) named Lambda, who is in milk. She just freshened last month. (And all of the country people nod in understanding at my broken body and emotions.)

Today is also my anniversary, which I failed to remember until I went to write the date on the milk today.”What day is it?” I asked out loud. I answered my self “The 16th…the 16th?!” And Nic beat me getting the words out of his mouth, “Happy Anniversary!”  We both laughed because we have a wonderfully enjoyable marriage and that’s exactly why we didn’t remember. We’ve been working hard on this transition to things that we feel like God wants us to do: hard work and discipleship. We’ve been so busy lately we don’t even know what day it is!

Anyways, it’s all my fault really. You could say it’s his fault for being such a good man, but…

I made him read the chapter in Keeping a Family Cow on the differences between Raw and Pasteurized/Homogenized milk. Nic likes to call it treated milk like they do in the UK. It has a nice negative connotation to it. Don’t get me wrong, these are absolutely necessary processes in order to get milk from dairies to milk companies to grocery stores and finally to your table. But they’re not necessary for the family cow’s milk. And most of my family doesn’t do well with processed cows milk. He read the chapter and immediately said, “I’m ready to buy one.”

For those of you who don’t know us personally. We live in a parsonage. You know, the type of house that pastors rent (fo free) as part of the salary package. You know, a house…with a yard. We don’t even have a piece of dirt to our name! (Which reminds me, Suzie-mom if you’re reading this: I’m beginning to seem like some other landless herdsmen we know. We’re not planning on our livestock camping permanently. Love you! Insert cheesy, please forgive my mess smile here. )

Can you say CREAM?!

Can you say CREAM?!

Wow, what a roller coaster.

It turns out this blogger made a convenient list of 10 reasons your cow might be kicking. We have subjected ours to at least 5. So, yeah. Sore hands (and everything else). Cranky cow.

But oh that fresh milk. And cream. And buttah!!!

It’s worth it for my family to healthy. But sometimes…I just have to cry about it.

 

 

Counting My Frustrations

When times are difficult you’re supposed to count your blessing right? Well, I’ve been doing that for a while and it finally dawned on me: I need to count my frustrations! Stick with me…it turns out ok.

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It all started when I was thinking… i mean talking my baby…okay I was talking to myself. It happens, ok?

Anyways, I was having a wonderful little chat with myself when I realized how ridiculous it all sounded. And not because I was talking to myself either, just because of what I was muttering on about. So here goes. In the last few weeks these are the things that have made me whine, stomp, growl at the world and call my mommy:

  • I think it started when rodents (otherwise known as adorable little bunnies…die, bunnies, die!) ate the entirety of my spinach and lettuce crop. Fantastic.
  • Rodents invaded my house. Mouse infestation, which only says one thing to me: gross. I armed myself with a boatload of traps and two (maybe three? eh details, details) kinds of poison.
  • The poison worked (happy dance) at which point the aforementioned mice went off and died in some corner of my attic where apparently, flies and maggots did their thing. (I certainly didn’t go check.) Fly infestation. I woke up to a stupid (yes stupid, it’s a fantastic adjective, I know) number of flies in my house. Great! (Make a whiny phone call to my mama.)
  • The bees came back. You see, I live across from commercial beekeepers. When the bees come back they immediately start foraging. It’s like a carpet of bees in my yard. Usually that means no playing in the yard for like week. Oh yah! I forgot to mention that I’m afraid of bees. Don’t judge me, I know they just want their pollen. So I work alongside them, just as long as I’m clothed from my neck to my toes. So our “week” turned into like 6. Apparently they’re scaling up business over there and they keep bringing
  • more bees to their little home base across the street. But I like honey, so I work around the bees’ schedule: early mornings, late evenings and let people think I’m avoiding the heat of the day.
  • We got busy. (This the point where you start to say, “really? everyone is busy.”) But yes, we got so busy that I basically did chores at home and nothing else. Did I say chores? I mean I washed a few clothes because we we’re completely out of clean laundry and tried to keep dishes out of the sink. At the risk of sounding like a crazy yogi, my whole rhythm got thrown off and I called my mama again. “Nothing feels right. Everything is off, we’re so busy!”
  • Mold. Yes, mold. In the house that I live in and breathe air in. Not only did I have a rainbow of mold in the wall right behind my couch, everyone thought I was crazy for being disgusted by it. “Mold spores are everywhere,” they say. Yes, but mold colonies are not supposed to be behind my couch! On top of that we had to uninstall the newly installed air conditioning unit that caused the mold which would have it’s own bullet on this list except that it got freezing cold out side (I mean like 50-60° but it’s August people).
  • I moved out. In our hurry to just get it out, we removed the mold all wrong. You know, according to the experts over at google. So I decided to give our friendly neighborhood spores a few days of quality time with a box fan. Of course I then procrastinated moving back. It was a little difficult keeping both houses clean and my new dairy cow spoiled and my garden going, so after a week…
  • During my little mini-vaca, I came home to get some clean clothes and food only to find, oh just another mouse in one of our “just in case” traps. I also found it somewhere particularly yucky to me, but whatever.

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  • Also while we were living in two houses at once, I found my bred cow (how shall we say this) spotting. (Sorry non-animal people, I guess this is farm life!) Why is my pregnant cow bleeding from her lady parts? Well, because most likely she’s not pregnant anymore. Maybe just maybe my praying for a bovine miracle will land us milking Chloe right on time this January, but most likely it was wither signs of a spontaneous abortion or a heat cycle. Thankfully, I’m working with some cool ladies who appear to love Jesus and have good integrity. If she is open (farm/ranch people language for no meat and no milk up in that heifa!) we won’t be out our lots of dollars.
  • Some other stuff that involve other people so I can’t write them on the internet, but believe me: very, very frustrating. 

Okay, you say.

You’ve heard enough.

So as I whined out loud (to myself and also my very wonderful, patient parents & husband) I sounded ridiculous. A little bit of wildlife? Some completely normal farm problems? What am I whining about?! I felt the same way and just kept asking myself, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just get over my sinful heart and be happy, let it all roll off?”

Thank Jesus for good “older women” in my life! “Maybe God’s not trying to teach you a lesson,” they say. “What if you’re just supposed to keep on, keepin’ on? Just wait on God’s perfect timing.” Apparently I can even be narcissistic in my problem-solving. It must be me and my sin problem. Never mind Satan out there trying to steal, kill and destroy!

Okay, I’m better. I got myself some therapy (aka rearranged my living room, I’ll take some pictures for you…you’re welcome).

So I’ll just enjoy the birds and the bees (wait what?), the “wildlife” and all of the wonderful people that stop by “the parsonage” while I wait on God’s perfect timing for the perfect chunk of dirt to grow my green beans and keep my milk cow.

And that’s the rest of the story.

The Why: Food Edition

I’ve been thinking a lot about why we do the things we do. Why do we eat a certain way? Why do we homeschool? Why do we spend our time the way we do?

Some of this stems from comments made by others implying that they don’t approve of the way I spend my time and energy. Other times friends and family give us confused looks about our eating choices. I’m definitely not what you’d call a people pleaser. Like most people, however, I want people to think I’m making wise choices. I mean, if they have a valid reason I should do something differently, it would be silly to ignore their advice, right?

So, being an over thinker (my friends in high school used to say I was overanalyticalizationing, just to make me twitch), it’s helpful for me to have gone through all of the reasons I believe I’ve made the best Biblical and healthy choice. This way, when someone makes a comment or gives a look I don’t feel tossed to and fro. It’s easier to evaluate whether their differing opinion is helpful or not if I know exactly why I made mine.

Issue number one: Food.

We eat mostly organic (or foods produces in a similar manner). The goal is basically not to eat it unless it grows. Out of the ground, walking, swimming: grows. Not something that did grow but has been put in a box or a bag or a can. Not something modified to grow kind of like a super hero food. Because a super hero is really mutant (except batman of course!) And mutant food doesn’t really sound appetizing to me!

Of course this isn’t always how it works out. For instance, I don’t have the resources, time or energy to make all my own tomato sauce. Another one for us is tortilla chips, and tortillas for that matter. I have made our own tortillas, but I have a hard time getting a corn shell right and with two glutards in the house that’s an absolute must. We eat quesadillas, nachos, chips and salsa, tacos (you get the idea) almost daily. They’re all so easy that they make perfect go-to quick lunches! Obviously there are good things that don’t fall into the “grow”category such as minerals, but it’s been a helpful way to explain it to people.

I try to bake all of our own gluten free bread, but my husband likes to buy a good sprouted loaf for himself. We also prefer raw dairy products to pasteurized, homogenized “milk” that half of my family can barely drink (hence the dairy cow).

So the why: I didn’t jump on the organic fad when it started. It actually began with my celiac diagnosis. When I started paying very close attention to what I ate, I began to notice exactly what made me feel well and not-so-well. It obviously began with glutenful items as well as dairy while I was still healing. Then, because it takes a good chunk of time to figure out how to eat out when you have Celiac disease, I noticed when I returned to restaurants that I didn’t feel so well. Add a move that put us a 20 minute drive to the nearest restaurant and 30 to the nearest fast-food joint and let’s just say my menu planning skills got a work-out.

By this time, it wasn’t just me. The rest of my family had aching tummies, weird gas and let’s not mention the cranky kiddos. That’s when I became fixed on the issue: Our bodies were not made to process all of this “stuff” in our food. Stuff that’s not food. Stuff we can barely pronounce. Stuff that the FDA has deemed “safe”. Our digestive system has the amazing ability to break down organic (living) material and other things that God has given to keep us healthy and moving. But I believe that it doesn’t have the ability to break down pesticides, preservatives and other things that takes a laboratory to get into our food without negative repercussions on the body. Also by the time many great foods get to the shelf, much of the nutrient content has been either destroyed or made unavailable for our bodies to absorb.

Cranberry Granola

Homemade Cereal

I started with this one because it’s easy for me. We eat “naturally” (as if that word has much meaning anymore) because we’ve experienced both sides of that fence. The grass is totally greener over here. :) I also think that the long term benefits will be great as well. I recognize that maybe everyone doesn’t agree with me or think it’s worth the effort. I don’t expect to convince any one of anything. (Although sometimes it does get difficult to listen to other people’s list of maladies while they slather margarine on their bread. I just pray for grace while they talk and ask God to help by brain-mouth filter to work properly.)

Anyways, I’ll leave you with one last video my husband found on hydrogenized oil. Whenever we wonder about something, I try to say, “look it up”. This one comes to mind every time I look at an ingredient and wonder what it is. I think about this video and just figure that it might have been engineered to taste good but I’m sure it won’t slide down my arteries nice and smooth. I’ll pass!

To blog or not to blog: Chloe

I have far less readers on this blog than on my previous one. I think a good portion of this is because the Bella Red had a focused theme of content: theology and the church. The rest probably had to do with my passionate heart coming off a wee bit…dramatic.

Finding Engedi doesn’t gather any one kind of reader; probably because one day I post pictures of my latest sewing project, one day I talk about homeschooling and the next what I learned from Scripture.

So that leads me to my question for today. Do I continue to blog about my everyday life if it adds the additional dynamic of…farm life? I guess that’s what you’d call it. I don’t feel like I have a farm. I have a garden, some chickens (both for several years) and now, Chloe: our milk cow. None of which exist on my own piece of dirt. Do I add one more “thing” to this blog?

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Homecoming Evening :)

As I was wondering this, I started thinking about why I blog at all. Is it to collect readers and be heard? Not really. And I definitely don’t see myself doing it for money anytime soon. So I decided this is simply a journal that I don’t mind you peeking at.

Whether it be on paper, in the sand or on the world wide web, I will always write. It’s just in me. I may not do it perfectly, but it gets the confusion in my head out and simplified so that Jesus and I can take care of business.

I didn't even know a "felfie" was a thing. But here we are taking a farm animal selfie.

I didn’t even know a “felfie” was a thing. But here we are taking a farm animal selfie!

So the question remains, will I blog about my novice homestead adventures? I think so.

Will I post a tutorial on how to milk a cow? Probably not. Will I share what God was speaking to my heart in the milking parlor? That’s more like it.

So while you may see and hear about our adventures in dairying off and on; fear not, loved readers of my diary, it’s not turning into a farm blog!