Oh my, does the world spin fast this time of year! For those of you NOT in Florida, you may be enjoying hot cocoa and toasty fires. But WE are enjoying beautiful balmy days, cool breezes, and fun outdoor festivals! And so there has been much goings on, much to tell, much to revisit.
First of all, I must take a moment to let you know that I did actually win Homemaker of the Year! I also won the "Baker of the Year" award because that best-in-show apple pie was rated best of all of the adult baked goods! My husband had to pick my jaw up off the floor for me. Twice. I also learned that I lead the competition by about 200 points. But lest that make it sound as though I'm bragging, I got all those points because... well... as I've never tried to hide... I can tend to go a bit overboard sometimes. Yeah, as far as anyone could remember, no one had ever submitted 42 items. Whoops. Let me just cover my face and slink out the back.
Husbandman ran electric to that fancy shmancy new shed. And we decided it was plenty big enough to milk the critters INSIDE! I know, crazy huh? Almost like we're gettin' all hoity toity or summin'. In all seriousness, we did realize that there was plenty of room. And being out of the winter wind is certainly more pleasant. And it can rain and we stay dry. We likely won't continue this in the summer. It could be beastly hot in there in July, but for now, we love it.
We also slaughtered Shaun the Sheep two weeks ago. I say we. Actually, Husbandman shot him clean and quick. We both struggled like mad to get him hung then I promptly left with the kids to go and pretend to be a normal middle class suburbanite music teacher while he did the dirty work. We left Shaun on ice for a couple days then wrapped up roasts and ground a good amount for sausage. We've had the sausage and it's quite good. Husbandman painstakingly cleaned and prepared the intestines for stuffed sausage, but in the end they kept splitting. We wrapped up the bulk of it in 1 pound packages and called it a very late night. I'm relieved to be done with the sheep. I want to get back to doing better goat-specific minerals, but sheep are subject to copper toxicity. And Shaun was starting to mount the goats. After Helen's miscarriage earlier this year, I was really eager to see that enterprise wrapped up. We tried. It wasn't a good fit for us. Time to move on.
We've had success and tragedy on the rabbit front as well. Mocha had another set of beautiful babies on November 9. Nine were born. She began to consume one, but the other eight remained very well. Then we had rain one night a week later. The next morning she was in the nest box and I didn't see need to bother her so just checked on the one I expected to kindle and left for the day. We came home in late afternoon and went out to do chores. The girl child ran to me frantic about Mocha's babies. I found the nest box drenched, 3 babies dead and the others cold and unmoving. I brought the live ones inside and warmed them on a heating pad and a hair dryer. I filled the nest box with hay for warmth. Mocha had pulled so much fur for them she looks pretty sad herself. Hair was everywhere before it rained. Then it all just became a thick smotheringly heavy mat. Husbandman fixed the leak in the roof of the hutch and we hoped the rest could survive. One more was dead the next morning, but the remaining four appear to be doing ok. We also decided to get rid of Cream. She had another litter of babies. Eight this time. She didn't pull any fur and they all died off one by one over the next few days. She's never raised a single baby to weaning. Hoping it's just that she found our set-up (be it the kids, the dog, the buck down the line) objectionable we gave her back to the person we got her from. Maybe she can get her to mother well. As a full grown, good strong rabbit, I'd hate to see her life wasted.
We expect to be seeing a successful end to our first stint as foster parents in the coming days. Mixed emotions come up. Relief. Concern. Worry that my weaknesses hurt him more than helped him. Frustration that even with that petunia staring me in the face I can still be so short tempered. Realization that responding in love to him isn't just about him and me, but its also my best opportunity to model for my children who Jesus is... and how miserably I've failed at that. But there's Jesus with my petunia telling me to move on and do better tomorrow. That I will get this unconditional love thing. That I will learn patience and kindness. That I will learn to see his hurt as greater than my anger.
That I will learn to let Him work through me and stop expecting it all to come out of my own decrepit self.
Thank you, Lord, for not giving up on me even when I'm ready to just plain give up.