Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Balancing Act

But if it seem evil to you to serve the Lord, you have your choice: choose this day that which pleaseth you, whom you would rather serve, whether the gods which your fathers served in Mesopotamia, or the gods of the Amorrhites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. –Joshua 24:15

Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you. –Matthew 6:33

And I say to you, Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. –Luke 11:9

Always rejoice. Pray without ceasing. In all things give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all. Extinguish not the spirit. Despise not prophecies. But prove all things; hold fast that which is good. -1 Thessalonians 5:17-21

Work, leisure, and rest. The rock in the middle is the Church.
I have made several New Year’s resolutions in my life, and have actually stuck to a few of them. Last year, I resolved to tackle my ginormous wish/to-do list and get things done. I got a LOT done, but it also wore me out.

This year, I want it to be different.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Year-End Animal Inventory

At year's end, we have:

  • 1 English Mastiff
  • 1 donkey
  • 1 corn snake
  • 1 outdoor cat
  • 15 or so African Ciclid fishies (they had babies!)
  • 3 Katahdin sheep (2 of whom may or may not be pregnant)
  • 16 chickens (1 rooster, Corn, plus 15 hens)

New Year's Homestead Update

What a crazy year it has been.

This weekend, I took inventory of where things are. First things first, a chicken update. We are now getting 8+ eggs a day consistently. I got 19 in just the last two days. Here was yesterday's next boxes:

Count'em - that there's 10 eggs!
Aside from the few random eggs on the coop floor, the girls have managed to lay in the boxes very consistently. It's SO nice to literally see our reliance on a factory-produced grocery store item disappear. At a current WINTER pace of 50 eggs a week for an 8-month-old flock, we're doing amazingly well.

The repaired coop is also holding up quite well.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Holiday!

We had a very merry and happy Holiday at the homestead this year. For Holiday Eve dinner, Wife made a very nice rib roast. We decorated our Holiday tree, wrapped Holiday gifts, took naps, decorated Holiday cookies, and went to a 12:00 AM private religious ceremony.

Annual Gift Person.
On Holiday morning, the kiddos woke up waaay too early. Annual Gift Person brought them some very cool toys, set out and waiting, of course, by the Holiday tree.

The kids very much enjoyed their Holiday gifts. Thing #1's favorite was a nice digital camera; Thing #2, Legos; and Thing #3, a  "ride bike."

After our Holiday gift giving and general non-judgmental merriment, Wife's dad came down from IN, and later that evening, my sister came by. Wife made a paleo brunch (with mimosas!) and a Holiday turkey dinner, and we enjoyed some fresh paleo Holiday egg nog. And wine. :)

All in all, we had a Holiday that really brought out the true meaning of the Holiday - being with family. Or wait...is it giving presents? Or maybe it was sharing a nice family meal with the people you love.

No, wait - I got it now. The true meaning of the Holiday is to celebrate with generosity the Black Friday deals that we gave generic "thanks" for on Turkey Day so our New Year can begin with the odds ever in our favor.

Sigh. This was so much easier to remember back when it was still Christmas....

The Long View

Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.  -Matthew 6:33

That's when I want it!
I think it's a pretty commonly and widely accepted truth that our society is largely one that thrives on instant gratification. The art of waiting and anticipation seem to have slipped into some bygone era.

In our quest for up-to-the-second headlines, we turn to Twitter instead of waiting for the next day's paper, or heck, even the evening news. Want dinner? Just drive up and get it - no need to turn on the stove or prepare something. Just get it now. We want to do our shopping now, so we go online instead of waiting for a chance to go to the store. We even can have new toys sent to us via flying robotic drones within hours.

The list of ultra-conveniences can go on indefinitely, it seems.

And yet, we just got done celebrating a season totally dedicated to waiting in the Church. Advent celebrates the waiting, the preparation, the it-isn't-quite-here-yet. Advent celebrates seeking God.

But there is joy in waiting, in seeking God with anticipation.
God cannot be found amid the noise and distractions of modern Western culture.

God cannot be understood in 140-character snippets.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Backyard Eggs are Better

Two of these things are not like the others....
I made a 4-egg omelette for lunch today.I used two backyard eggs,and two "commercial" eggs. The backyard eggs are thicker, creamier, have much darker yolks, and have thicker shells.They just look and feel healthier. Because they are.

Even though we only got 5 eggs today, our egg production is still improving. We're saving some up for paleo eggnog this Christmas, and we still have commercial eggs left- hence my two-sided omelette.

We have another two dozen chickens arriving at the end of January. Hopefully, by this time next year, we have more eggs than we know what to do with. And with those super-healthy yolks, that's a good problem to have.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

7 of One, Half-Dozen of the Other

Our chickens' egg production is up 100% this week!

Six out of today's seven eggs. Woo hoo!
Yesterday, we got 6 eggs for the first time ever The previous daily total was 3, which had been pretty steady fora while. Then SIX.

Today, it was seven.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2013, We Hardly Knew Ye

"...from such films as Andre the Giant,
We Hardly Knew Ye...."
Or, we knew Thee all too well for our own Stinking Goode.

Either way, it was a crazy-town, whirlwind year here at the homestead.

This time last year, I knew there was so,so much to get done, so I dubbed 2013 "The Year of Getting Things Done."

Boy howdy, was it ever.

I have a yet-unfinished list, sure, but I did complete some very major accomplishments this year. We will continue our self-sufficient journey in 2014 with some exciting new additions and expansions.

For now, though, let's look back at 2013: The Year of Getting Things Done.

Questions for Protestants

Being a practicing Roman Rite Catholic, I am naturally at odds with quite a bit going on in the world (see the Gospel of John, Chapter 15). This is unfortunately not limited to a lot that takes place in Christendom. The startling lack of unity among Christians, particularly in the United States, is a sad thing indeed – so much so that Christ Himself, upon the eve of His Passion, prayed to avoid the dissension (see John 17).

Yet, we endure it.

How come her Bible says something
different than his Bible? 
It makes me wonder where and how these differences arise. For example, take the Eucharist. As a Catholic, I look at John 6, Matthew 26, 1 Corinthians 10, and a whole host of other verses and it is plain as day – at communion, the bread and wine becomes the flesh and blood of Christ.
How Protestants (or “non-Catholics”) miss this and call it “symbolic” I will never understand. After all, they are Sola Scriptura, right? And there it is – right in the Bible.

So, Protestants, how do you read John 6, Matthew 26, 1 Corinthians 10 & 11?

This is just one of many questions I have for Protestants. More after the jump.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Overwinter Sheep Feeding

Feeding the sheep over the winter was something that I knew I needed to plan for and do from the beginning. So, I spent extra time this year gathering and cutting a bunch of hay.

The feeder I made in the sheep's dry lot is perfect.It holds just about a day's worth of hay for them...right now. They waste very, very little of it - the bottom and the ground collect mostly the thick stems left over that provide no nutrition anyway. I'd say actual edible HAY waste using this method is below 5% at the moment. Not too shabby. I may need to expand as they mature, but we'll cross that bridge later.

Nom nom nom....fresh hay,alright!
My biggest concern right now? Having enough hay to last the winter. :\