"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." A.Holmes

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oh Me of Little Faith ( Spot of Doubt)

~~~~~Today some old acquaintances of mine paid a visit. They are not very nice, and usually bring bad things, but I keep letting them visit. I even offer them great chunks of my time, and let them alter my plans for the day. What is wrong with me ? Why do I let fear and worry in ? They do nothing but cause my stomach to churn, and they bring their friends , anxiety , doubt, depression~~~~~really though, how can you not be fearful and anxious in these times ? The news seems to be bad, food and gas prices are high, the housing market is just terrible and the war, and the personal worries about our loved ones~~I forgot. I forgot who I was, I am a daughter of the One who said " Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say ,rejoice! Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. ( and here are the best words) Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let you requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:4-7

This fear and anxiety are just another way of showing my lack of trust and faith in God. Then I went to the post office and received my 'Voice of the Martyrs' monthly magazine and I was ashamed. The many accounts of the people all over the world who are being persecuted and tortured terribly in this day and age simply for standing for Christ. That is all. I won't describe the atrocities being suffered, I would cry again, but these people count it joy to suffer for Jesus !~~~~~

~~~~~I will relay one little excerpt from a book written by Richard Wurmbrand, a Jewish Christian who suffered more than 14 years in a Romanian prison, being starved of food and human companionship, and tortured. Years after his release he and his wife founded the Voice of the Martyrs. He writes this " A Christian once asked an atheist, with whom he took a walk through the meadows, " Who made all these beautiful flowers ?" "Forget it!" was the answer."Do not come again with your stupid talk about God. The flowers only exist by themselves." The Christian did not persist. After a few days, he was visited by the same friend in his home. In his sitting room he had a beautiful picture representing the flowers. The atheist asked him,"Who painted this?" The Christian said,"Do not begin with this rubbish! Nobody painted these flowers. They came into the painting by themselves. Nature made the carved frame. Then by itself the picture jumped up on the wall, onto a nail which just happened to be there, driven by nobody. And that is all." The atheist took the joke badly. But then the Christian asked, " Is it logical to believe that these three flowers in the picture , which have no fragrance and no life, must have been created by somebody, while believing that the millions of living flowers with their heady perfume in the valleys and on the hills have no creator ?' ~~~~~

~~~~~"And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life's span? And why are you anxious about clothing ? Observe the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil, nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass of the field , which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, Oh men of little faith?" Matthew 6; 27 - 30

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why Do I Blog ?

Miss Marple checks out the blog .

A friend recently asked me why I blog....I had to think about this for awhile. The real answer is I love to write letters, and this seems to be the way to write letter now a days.

"Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company."
Lord Byron

Isn't that true ? Even more so with blogging. I can write and post a blog (letter) any time I am home and my computer is functioning and send it out by touching my keyboard. My e-letter goes all over the world and some people actually read it ! Sometimes they respond..oh joy ! This is like having pen pals, only I do not need to go to the post office to send and receive letters.

I used to write a LOT of letters. I was an Army brat and we wrote letters all the time. My mother was very good at keeping in touch with our Father who did 2 tours in Vietnam, plus keeping in touch with all the friends and family we had moved away from,courtesy of the U.S. Army. I also had pen pals.

When I married, I still kept in touch with my friends living in other states. I wrote all my relatives and Hubby's relatives. I enjoyed writing all these people and they wrote letters back to me. They wrote about themselves, their families, their dreams, etc., I love writing letters and sometimes felt guilty about time spent writing letters because I enjoyed it !

Our daughter spent 6 months in Australia and she wrote us regularly, and we wrote her back. This was before we had e-mail, and the phone was way too expensive a means of communication.......and I loved those letters. I cherish those letters. Our daughter is gifted in communication, especially written communication. Her letters would have us laughing and feeling good after we read them. If the phone had been our basic means of communication I am not sure we would have received as much pleasure from it. And we cannot share the phone call with the extended family who was interested in our daughter...sure, we could convey the gist of the call, but her words ? Her real take on life there , way across the globe ?

Over the years our letter writing relatives died of old age. The family and friends we try to keep in touch with do not seem to write letters. I hate the phone and consider it a necessary evil and appreciate the availability the phone affords...but not as the best way of communication. I like one to one , face to face interaction.....and I like to read heart felt letters. Our friends and family kept telling us if we joined the 'modern age' of technology we could e-mail. We could keep in touch...yeah, right ! I am sorry, but forwards are not communication and keeping in touch. Sure, some are funny, and I enjoy forwards (well, some of them) but they are NOT keeping in touch, communicating, interacting....we joined the 'modern age' and many of our friends and family are still not really in touch. They don't communicate via e-mail, or letter writing..or by phone for that matter.

All this background to say, I blog to write letters for my family, friends, and possible pen pals around the world! I want my blog to be uplifting, informative, eclectic, and fun. I want my grandchildren and family and friends to be able to read my blog and see what's going on...and I want to blog in such a way that I need never be ashamed of what I say. My faith is my life. My faith (Christian) cannot be separated from any part of my life. My (and Hubby's) view is never separate from our faith....Jesus is Lord !

"Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting; to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one's labors in which he toils under the sun during the few years of life which God has given him; for this is his reward." Ecclesiastes 5:18

"The age of technology has both revived the use of writing and provided ever more reasons for it's spiritual solace. E-mails are letters, after all, more lasting than phone calls, even if many of them R cursory 4 U. " Anna Quindlan

You Can Win This Rug !

You can win this rug in a raffle being held by The Jacob Sheep Breeders' Association. I designed and crafted this rug from the wool of my sheep . The raffle is being held next month , for more info. click onto the Jacob Sheep Breeders' Assoc. web site listed in the side bar, from there click on to "RAFFLE" and you will also see many other beautiful items you might wish to buy a ticket or two for. The JSBA has been instrumental in preserving this breed of sheep and the association is run entirely by volunteers who love this breed !

Monday, July 28, 2008

Spot of This and That : Movie and a Ram

Tonight while I was refilling hummingbird feeders and turning off hoses , I turned to find myself almost face to face with this......my ram, Goth. Fortunately he was as surprised by me, and not quite sure what to make of his freedom. Also fortunately, it is not breeding season so he was NOT in a bad mood. As I have stated in a previous blog, I do not like to be close to Goth without a wheelbarrow, fence, house...etc., in between us.

He was fairly simple to pen up , I just filled a wheelbarrow with alfalfa and he followed it back to his pen. Then I put together and secured the gate he rammed down to make his escape. I suspect I will be putting him in with the ewes ( girl sheep ) within the next 2 or 3 weeks.

A Day At The Local Theater
I had the opportunity to spend most of today with 3 of our grandchildren. They have been wanting to see the new Pixar movie 'Wall-e' . Their Mommy had to take new baby brother in for his first check up so we all decided to see the early movie. We started with the kids' snack pack, popcorn, candy and beverage of choice. I told the children I wanted their honest opinion ( like THEY would hold back on their opinion) of the movie after we saw it. I would take a picture of them in front of the movie poster and they were to indicate their opinion by showing their thumbs up or down.
Oldest grandson gave 'Wall-e' a two thumbs up ! Granddaughter #2 gave 'Wall-e' a thumbs sideways, it was O.K. I think she would have appreciated a day doing art projects and having tea parties more than the movies. Granddaughter #5 gave Wall-e a two eyes closed rating, finding her blanket, Grandmas' lap, and a dark theater more conducive to naps than watching 'Wall-e', but in all fairness to the movie, she did watch it 2/3 through and it WAS nap time after all.
Last week Oldest Grandson and I went to see 'Journey to the Center of the Earth'. We both enjoyed it ! It was old fashioned, corny but entertaining fun. He still talks about it, even after 'Wall-e'.

I did enjoy 'Wall-e', and I am amazed at how Pixar can take animated robots and make them so human with voice sounds and gestures. The eyes ( again with the eye thing, see 'Jeepers, the Spot on Peepers') are the telling thing with the animation.

Ended the day (writing this blog, really ) with a great meal Hubby made and discovered the very, very, best cheese I have ever eaten.....I now have a new favorite craving.......but that is another blog !

Sunday, July 27, 2008

"Oh,That I Had Wings Like A Dove"

My Hubby built this dove pen for me. I requested this as a birthday present. He built it specifically for the herb garden which is my garden. I have many doves, but chose to put only two in this pen.

I told Hubby I wanted this feature for my dove pen, and he took the design and made it better.
The herb garden has a table and chairs and sometimes we dine in the garden. I love to have herb tea here while I read my gardening books and think about my plans for the garden. So I named the garden the 'Laughing Dove Cafe', and if you listen to doves you will know why I call it laughing dove.

During troubling times and terrible storms , the doves have had a calming effect on me. I have dove pens on two sides of our home and I can hear the doves gently cooing and 'laughing' all hours of the day. December 2006 brought a round of terribly destructive storms to our place. Two trees came down through our roof, big trees were down all over our property, and only VERY BIG tarps kept us dry throughout the months of waiting to have our home repaired. The storms were unceasing that winter and my former love of storms was replaced by sheer terror and panic attacks when the winds started up......however, the doves cooed loudly throughout the storms, and in the midst of truly roaring winds I could hear the doves even with our windows closed. The cooing calmed and soothed me~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"My heart is in anguish within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling come upon me; and horror has overwhelmed me. And I said, "Oh that I had wings like a dove !I would fly away and be at rest. Behold, I would wander far away, I would lodge in the wilderness. I would hasten to my place of refuge from the stormy wind and tempest." PSALM 55 : 4 - 8

Make Joyful Noise Unto the Lord !

" Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." Colossians 3:15-17 NIV

Tonight we met for worship and fellowship in the home of the Wingmaster and his wife ( see 'Turn the Page-Life on the Road' in sidebar ). This is our regular time of gathering with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We share a communion meal, songs, scripture...we share our lives, our trials and tribulations and praises. We pray for and with each other.

......We have been meeting with these families for many years. We have grown together through so much..we have watched each others' children and grandchildren grow up. We have been together through so very much , and we know that ALL that holds us together is our oneness in Christ. Because of Him we can rejoice in good and bad times and hopefully remember that though we may fail each other, Jesus NEVER fails us !

......We do have great music, that's for sure. Frank is playing the sax, at his worst he is a better sax player than most at their best..and we do not exaggerate !You should hear him play 'Amazing Grace' ! We also have the Wingmaster and his sons on guitar, sometimes we have the keyboard...and of course, there are the many voices lifted up to God....He hears even those of us off key....

"put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; forbearing one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity." Colossians 3:12-14

Friday, July 25, 2008

Spot on Wool Working

I love to work with my wool. I should call it 'wool playing.' This is a brief description of how I create with the wool from my flock of Jacob sheep. First, I start with a lamb. Isn't he cute ? Well, he grows, and so does his wool. About once a year all my sheep need their wool sheared off. I call the shearer ( who is also a dear friend, Dirt) and he shears them. This means he cuts off their wool.
After being sheared I have a lot of black and white wool. I separate it into piles of black, white, and in some piles I put the black and white together. Now the wool is ready for washing.
Some of the wool I will dye during the washing process. Isn't this just yummy looking wool? Always reminds me of cotton candy, but a lot more fun, though not tasty...............................
After washing and drying the fleeces (wool) they are carded. This is my little table carder. A carder is basically a tool that combs the wool. After carding I have batts of lovely wool, not unlike the batts you buy at the fabric store for putting into quilts.
These are some little batts of my Jacob sheep wool. You can see the different shades of black through white I get just from one sheep. White, black, and varying shades of gray...depending on how much of the black and white I card together.
I spin up a lot of wool with my trusty spinning wheel. Picture of spinning wheel is in sidebar. I love to sit on my porch and spin and watch the birds. Often I listen to books on tape while I spin.
I will weave a lot of the yarn into fabric or table runners on my loom. The table runner shown above was the very first project I wove COMPLETELY out of yarn hand spun and hand dyed by me.
This is another table runner I wove, with finer hand spun wool, after I got much better at spinning.
Most of my fleece I save to make rugs. I have fun thinking up designs for my rugs, chickens are a favorite theme of mine....
I might locker hook a pillow like this.
Or I might locker hook a rug like this....leaves are another of my favorite themes.

The possibilities are endless, and the wonderful, magical thing about this is I get to start with these...lambs! I am so thankful to be able to keep sheep, and work (play) with their wool ~~~

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Miss Marple and the Mystery of the Screeching Noises

This is Miss Marple, so named because she is gray and snoopy...just like a favorite Agatha Christie sleuth, also gray and snoopy.
While relaxing after a hard night stalking mice she was startled awake by a most terrible screeching noise.
What could that noise be? I must investigate.
Is it coming from outside ? I will pop my head out doors and ask around.
Hey ducks, have you heard that screeching racket ? Quack, quack, quack! "..hmmph , those ducks are useless, don't know why Kathy keeps them around" says Miss Marple
"Hey , lamb, hear any screeching noises? " "Baaaaaaaaaaaaa" "Never mind, I'll look elsewhere.I don't hear them outdoors " says Miss Marple as she heads back indoors.
'Hey Belle, do you hear those noises?" (Belle whistles 'Jingle Bells' ) "You know, if you don't stop that annoying whistling I am going to make you a snack. Never mind, I think I hear it again."

"Nope, not in the bathroom"
"Ahhhh, the noise is coming from this bedroom, how can Joey cat sleep with all this racket?"
"Here's the source, those silly swallows have returned to nest in the bedroom chimney again. They are so loud I don't know how anyone can sleep in here. The parents swooping in sound like huge hovercrafts landing in the fireplace. Wonder if I can get in there? I could catch those little screechers and wouldn't they be tasty ?"

"Oh well, I'm worn out, I think I will take a cat nap and dream of little feathered snacks."

Friendship Hits the Spot

Long time friends, the Rolands (left) tour with us and "a good time was had by all"!

" I find friendship to be like wine, raw when new, ripened with age, the true old man's milk and restorative cordial." Thomas Jefferson

Many years ago we made the acquaintance of our neighbors. The neighbors and our neighbors' children became friends with us and our children. After almost more than 2 decades, several moves, and trials and tribulations for both families, we are all still friends. In fact, we are very good friends, as are our children. The Rolands' daughter is counted by our daughter as her best friend. The daughters were in each others' weddings. The daughters are very important to each other as are the parents to us. The Rolands' son recently went out of his way , a long distance, to help our oldest son who is going through a very difficult time. ( Thank-you James)The children now grown are considered friends to us and we hope vice versa. We care about them, they matter.

The amazing and special things about our friendship are really indescribable. Anyone looking in on our friendship would wonder...what holds the friendship together? We are really two very, very different couples. We do not share a whole lot of common interests. We live very different style lives......one couple in a waterfront apartment (beautiful) and not at all rural in any sense of the word unless observing Canadian geese counts!The other couple very involved in a rural living(us). We have different hobbies and interests.....yet we count them among our dearest friends. They cry with us, rejoice with us, pray with and for us.....I often wonder how we deserve them as friends and am thankful for them!

We have some other friends we also consider very, very dear..and if I do not get around to writing about them I hope they know who they are! We do not take our friends for granted and are so appreciative to God who has graced us with these friends. As we grow older (not too old yet!!!) we value our friends more and realize they are far too special and precious to take for granted.

Over the years our friends have been there for us when I am not sure I would have been as good a friend as they. Time, energy and emotion were invested in us, only because we are friends. We did nothing to deserve this......although our friendship has never required a life sacrificed for it I am reminded of this quote from John 15:13 " Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." In so many ways though, the giving of themselves is close to the love John is talking about...the love of Jesus who DID lay down His life, unappreciated, but He did it because of love.

On a lighter note..it is so much fun to get together with people you have a history with. We just plain laugh a lot. Old stories are recalled. We also are sad when we hear about sad things in other friends' lives..we catch up on special events. We can get together with true friends after a separation of months or years and pick up where we left off. Now THAT is friendship.

" I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don't believe I deserved my friends." Walt Whitman

"Friends are the bacon bits in the salad bowl of life." Pizza Place Sign

call a friend, have a cup of coffee with him / her, and laugh....it just hits the spot! Kathy B.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

He's A Keeper !

He's A Keeper !!!
Happy 35th Anniversary To Us !

Hubby and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary this weekend ! Can you believe it ?( Don't answer that) I have been married for two thirds of my life....he has put up with me that long. What can I say. He works hard, he built our house, he planted our orchards and gardens and keeps them up. He builds pens for MY animals, and rebuilds the pens the animals tear down. And not only that, No...he cooks! He cooks very well. He cooks for fun and loves to feed a lot of people. He also cleans. When our children were little he would change diapers.

We had a wonderful weekend. We walked along the waterfront in Olympia. We admired the boats, the gardens, the weather. We had a wonderful lunch at a waterside restaurant . All in all a relaxing day. Then to the movies and home for a relaxing evening.

After all these years it is comfortable, and comfortable is wonderful. To know what the other is thinking by just a glance. To share a lifetime of history together...good and bad, the tragedies and comedies of life. To know that after all this, you can trust this person as much and more than you can trust any human . 'Til death do us part'.

And best of all....he knows me and loves me anyway ! Happy anniversary Hubby !!!!

Proverbs 5 : 18 "...and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth ." Thank-you Hubby for doing just that.......................................I love you................................................................................................

Friday, July 18, 2008

Jeepers, the Spot on Peepers ( or Ram Rug)

Yay! I finally finished my Spotted Ram Rug !! This rug took me a long time. Not because the work was hard. The rug was pretty much finished in a week, but something was just not quite right. I hung it on my loom in the upstairs hall so I could look at it for awhile, and it was just not right. Oh, I see, the eyes . The eyes were not right. They looked like eyes, actually, they looked as if they were really seeing me...kind of creepy. Definitely NOT the look I wanted for my rug, and not the look I see in my sheep's eyes. Yes, technically they were fine, but they weren't! I pulled out most of the wool and re-did the face and eyes. Again, not quite right. Finally I put the rug out of the way, on one of my work tables and tried to ignore it. The cat thought I had made her a comfy wool bed atop the table. And that is where the rug has been for 2 months. Yes, it was covered in cat hair.

Wool creations are fun to craft because no matter what you determine to do, often the wool takes on a character of it's own. Most of the time this is great. I also have the opportunity to use the fleeces of 12 very different sheep , each with his or her own special crimp, texture, feel and color. (Did you know the white wool of 2 sheep the same breed and age will usually not match when placed side by side?) In spite of my careful planning and work, my wool creations almost always turn out different than originally planned because the wool wants to go a different way and most of the time the creation turns out the better for it. But this rug was frustrating me to no end. I hate unfinished projects but this one was going to remain unfinished or live out it's life as a cat bed at this rate.

I really put off on this rug. Every time I tried to get around to it I would procrastinate. I finally made 2 more rugs and spun up a fleece or two into yarn...and then I just HAD to finish it. I studied my sheep's eyes. I looked at artist renderings of sheep, then I just did it. I ripped out the face wool again and re did it. There, it is done , I am finished. It's fine. O.K. It will do.

Have you noticed how very important the eyes are in a portrait, painting, or even a live being ? I can draw O.K. A long time ago I used to do a lot of sketches and watercolors. I can get human proportions down O.K. I can draw hands and feet, fingers and toes, shade the person ..but the eyes ! Yes, I can draw eyes, even put the speck or gleam in, but they are not alive! I believe that is the mark of a real artist, a gifted photographer or sculptor. I have observed a lot of very popular contemporary 'art', some of which is in gift shops all over the country and in the homes of a lot of people, so the artists work is well liked. I just can't appreciate his work even though there is so much to commend it. Why ? The eyes of his people. They're not right.

We have all met people who give us the creeps because of their eyes. Or people who look like they SHOULD give us the creeps, but looking into their eyes makes everything O.K. Even my dogs and sheep pay close attention to eyes. Sheep dogs herd using their eyes more than anything else, you better believe those sheep pay attention.

"The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!" Matthew 6:22,23

Thursday, July 17, 2008

"Lady, About Your Spotted Goats..."

This is Leah and her twins. The twins were born in May. Can you tell they are sheep ? Most people who encounter my flock believe they are goats. Friends who have known me for years and hear me talk about my sheep will still call my sheep goats ! There is a quote by Will Rogers "It doesn't take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep." Well Will, I hate to disagree with you but apparently it takes above average intelligence to do just that. Am I being a little sensitive about this ?

I exhibit my sheep in the 'Animals of the World' building at the Puyallup Fair every fall. For 5 straight days the most common comments are about my GOATS !!! This in spite of the fact I have many, many signs and much literature very visible and easily read from afar that inform the public they are looking at SHEEP ! Not to mention my BIG sign that says CEDAR POND JACOB SHEEP !!

Now, even I can understand the confusion (if there weren't signs up everywhere), but this last year I became aware most of the public does not know what a ram, ewe, wether , and lamb are. Really! I have been asked many times what species LAMBS are.....'bout blew me away when I realized that. I now keep my answers to public questions about livestock in general at the most basic level. The public seems only able to understand me when I call ewes 'girls', rams 'boys', lambs 'babies', wethers 'castrated males'. Granted, there are still a lot of folks who do know basic farm animal vocabulary, but I began asking people,"do you know what a girl sheep is called?", and so on......that is when I discovered how little the majority of the public does know about things that for years we took for granted everyone knew!

So here are some questions I have asked over the years and found a little distressing to discover the extent of ignorance concerning them; Do bunnies lay eggs ? You'd be surprised how many adults believe they do.......Do chickens nurse their babies? Again, many people believe mama hen nurses her chicks. Do chickens have teeth ? ( yes for those in the know, chicks have an egg tooth, but not for long) Just hang out in the livestock section of your local county fair some time, enjoy the animals and entertain yourself listening to the questions.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy educating people about the very animals I love and keep, as do most of the people exhibiting. The fairs want livestock exhibits to be educational and ready to have answers for the public. For most Americans now a days, a fair is probably the closest they will get to livestock, so ask away. You won't learn without asking questions.

Now, back to the sheep , yes, SHEEP, in the picture above. Leah's twins are a ram lamb and a ewe lamb. ( If you need definitions of these terms see above paragraphs). The ram lamb is the little one without black on his legs and feet. Well, he is sprouting 5 horns ! FIVE horns. I do have 2 ewes with 5 horns.......but there is very little room on a rams' head to house 5 big horns so this should be interesting.

"People, like sheep, tend to follow a leader-occasionally in the right direction" Alexander Chase

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Spot of Trouble for Goth

Look at this...oh how the mighty have fallen, well...not fallen, just hobbled. This is how I found Goth yesterday. Front right foot hung up in his front lower horn. He was able to stand up and sort of do a jumping walk. He was NOT happy though. He was not as interested in his morning alfalfa and instead of eating eagerly, he nibbled and lay down again. I was hoping that the alfalfa would some how magically inspire him to disentangle himself, since I was alone at the time, Hubby being off to town for errands. No such luck. When he lay down instead of eating I knew I would have to try to help him by myself.

Why I thought being thus handicapped would make it easy for me to help Goth I do not know. The stinker ran away ! I mean he RAN! On three legs ! When I tried to grab his horns he swung his head. You need to know, Goth has inflicted some impressive bruises on me by just swinging his head while I have been holding his horns. I tried several times to help him, he was not appreciative and continued to run and swing his head. I figured if he could run, then he could wait until I had help.

My Hubby finally came home and together we cornered Goth, while Goth swung his head I grabbed a horn and held on. Hubby disentangled Goth . Goths' leg was swollen and he limped around for awhile , but was just fine and dandy a few hours later.

After more than 15 years of keeping sheep I know they need a shepherd. I have pulled these wooly critters out of trouble that borders on the ridiculous. How these sheep get into the predicaments they do is a marvel. No one could think up the trouble they get into and the creative ways we have had to help them out. They most definitely do not want our help even after hours of being stuck in weird places, endangered by coyotes. They try to flee from shearing and vaccinations and worming. About the only thing they WANT to come to me for are treats. I can tell they are interested in me, but just for watching and probably they are watching me just in case I provide more food.

How like people. God, please let me do what I want, when I want to, without consequences. God, please do not discipline me, or get in the way of my 'fun'. Like sheep I want my own way without the fuss and bother of thinking about my heavenly Father, my heavenly Shepherd who only wants the very best for His sheep and sometimes His care and mercy seems harsh and painful. However, like the earthly shepherd and his sheep..this is needful for a healthy sheep.

From ' Moody's Anecdotes' pp.70-71 "Dr. Andrew Bonar told me how in the Highlands of Scotland, a sheep would often wander into the rocks and get into places they couldn't get out of. The grass on these mountains is very sweet and the sheep like it, and they will jump down ten or twelve feet, and then they can't jump back again, and the shepherd hears them bleating in distress. They may be there for days, until they have eaten all the grass. The shepherd will wait until they are so faint they cannot stand, and then they will put a rope around him, and he will go over and pull that sheep up out of the jaws of death. "Why don't they go down there when the sheep first gets there ?" I asked. " Ah!" He said, "they are so very foolish they would dash right over the precipice and be killed if they did!" And that is the way with men; they won't go back to God till they have no friends and have lost everything. If you are a wanderer I tell you that the Good Shepherd will bring you back the moment you have given up trying to save yourself and are willing to let Him save you His own way. "

"All of us like sheep have gone astray, each has turned to his own way.But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth." Isaiah 53: 6,7

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Goth, The Destoyer

This is Cedar Pond's Goth. He is a 4 horned Jacob sheep. A male sheep is called a ram. Great name ! There is a reason a very tough truck is called the Dodge Ram. There is a reason a football team is called the Rams. There is a reason a battering ram, used to bash down castle gates, is called a battering ram....just observe a ram for awhile and you will know...just own a ram and for sure you will know!

In my first post I mentioned we like to keep nice pens...presentable pens. Well, Goth has his own pen very close to our driveway. If you drive round our turn-around in the driveway you cannot help but see Goth in all his horned majesty , in his abode of destruction. Goth has destroyed every fence, shelter, feeder, and gate within reach of his battering and apparently almost brainless head. What he lacks in brains is more than made up for with horns and sheer ram force.

So far Goth has not shown aggression toward us, though we would never turn our backs on him while in his pen, and we would NEVER EVER trust our ram. We always enter his pen with caution and a wheelbarrow between us. Even docile, hornless rams are very dangerous. I have a friend who had a beautiful and very docile ram that never attacked her, or showed aggression toward her ewes ( girl sheep). However, her ram destroyed every single 100% guaranteed indestructible farm gate on the property. Hence, my friends farm name : Broken Gate Farm.

As you can see from the picture of the beautiful tarp draped fence, Goth is a busy fellow. He wants to see the other sheep, so he bashes and rips. He stands on his back legs and stretches to catch a glimpse of the girls. Sometimes I watch him peer through small holes he has made with his horns....kind of funny to see that big head and rack peering through a small hole. Now all sheep experts and books recommend a 'ram buddy'. Give the ram company, usually a wether ( castrated male) to keep him company. Goth was raised with his even more magnificent brother, Thistle. One day Goth punctured Thistles' lung while they jousted, and Thistle is no more.Goth killed his brother. ( Cain and Able story for another time )

Goth was not even being aggressive when he killed his brother. They were playing. Observe the picture of the tree above. That big ol' cottonwood tree was bashed and rammed til it died. The tree did nothing at all to deserve this abuse, it was just there.Goth bashes it for fun. Every day.Over and over. I did give him some big rubber balls, and he bashes them around and seems to enjoy it.So far the rubber ball are the only things to have endured continued ramming.

Come August,Goth will be able to enter the ewe pen for breeding season. He will be happy and we will evaluate his pen and seek for a way to make it ram proof AND attractive. After all, zoos contain animals far more destructive and dangerous.....there has to be a way. Any suggestions ?

Meanwhile, we are raising up another ram lamb who is showing signs of bigger horns than Goth. The new ram will again be raised with a buddy or maybe TWO buddies. I am seriously considering naming another ram Vandal or Crash !

"As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. " from God , The Shepherd in Ezekiel 34:12

Small Blessings and Tea Parties

~~~New Born Baby Joey~~~~~~Oldest sister is so very happy to have you in the family!~~~
~~~Youngest (but older than you) sister loves you soooo.. much!~~~

~~~Tea party pond side, while awaiting your arrival home. ~~~

Today baby Joey came home ! He has been snuggled and cuddled and rocked and fed, and with 3 older siblings he doesn't get a chance NOT to be snuggled and cuddled and rocked and fed....and best of all, LOVED !

We are so thankful we live very close to 4 of our grandchildren, maybe one day we will have the added blessing of living closer to our other 4. Being close to our families makes it so much easier to be involved with each other, to really know each other,and to be there for each other.

We had the three older grandchildren spend the night with us while Mommy and Daddy were in the hospital with Joey. What fun. We stayed up late after such and big day of excitement. Grandpa and Grandma and 3 kids all munching popcorn together and watching Food Network to see who the Networks' new Food Star will be. That's so important you know. We all are really interested and have our favorites..but alas, last night they eliminated one of our favorites. ( We think the Food Network judges made a mistake last night)As I tucked them in I insisted they all sleep in today.

Today we had a tea party at pond side. Tea, coffee, real cream , fried eggs gathered fresh from our chickens and cinnamon toast. The ducks swam around the pond nearest our table hoping for handouts.After a relaxing time by the pond, and several cups of coffee for myself ,it was time to clean up and take the kids home. Now the family is all home, Mommy, Daddy, baby Joey and his big sisters and brother. A great day !

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wonderfully Made !

Today I was privileged and honored to be present at the birth of my 8th grandchild, 2nd grandson, 4th child of my oldest and only daughter and her wonderful husband. Our new grandson and his mother are very healthy, a gift not taken for granted, thank-you Lord ! "For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to Thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it well." Psalm 139:13, 14 Happy birth day Joey ! We love you~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I Shall Not Want

My daughter and I were watching one of our favorite shows the other night as we were timing her contractions, the show is 'House Hunters', we watched another after that called "Property Virgins". It is kind of a way to be a looky lou without having to leave the living room. The families on the show are house hunting. The show usually begins with the family showing their current residence and discussing its faults and the reason they need a new residence. Right away the premise gets me pondering the reason for discontent because usually the current home is way more than adequate for most families in the WORLD !As the show proceeds the prospective home buyers check out homes in their price range , again, more money than most people in the WORLD have to spend, and the people discuss the problems the potential new home has. Usually not enough bedrooms, less than the 4 they already have, not a big enough or updated enough kitchen,again the one they own is more than big enough for most people, and so on and so on.Oh, and let's not forget..a pool is a necessity of life too, gotta have the pool and perfectly landscaped yard. The families also are usually parents of 2 children, maybe 3 and each child needs his or her own room, Dad needs an office, as does Mom...yada yada yada. My reaction is sometimes surprising to me, I find I begin to think that "Yeah, we NEED a bigger place with a bigger kitchen and dining room. We NEED ......and you know, we WOULD use it for God, really we would! Please, please, can I have it? And thus the seeds of discontent and dissatisfaction are sown and if left unchecked grow to be giant , weedy trees that affect every aspect of my life. All from a little show. And lets not forget the magazines, those alluring and tempting little enchantresses. So pretty, and I can spend a lot of time poring over them and just dreaming of the projects I can do and the furniture I should buy and....you get the picture. I am not going to stop reading the magazines, they have provided a lot of wonderful and useful ideas. I will still watch a 'House Hunters' now and then, but my attitude needs to be firmly rooted in the knowledge of Gods most abundant and amazing provisions. I have way more than I ever dreamed I would in this life and way more than I deserve.Contentment truly is the realization of what God has richly given us, His Son...His mercy and grace, sufficient for all! "What you have in your shepherd is greater than what you don't have in life." Max Lucado "But godliness is actually a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. " I Timothy 6:6

Friday, July 11, 2008

Great Expectations....

We are expecting our 8th grandchild any moment now....literally, any moment. Our daughter is in early labor with her and her wonderful husbands fourth child ! According to the marvels of medical science, this little bundle is a boy.Yay, he will be our 2nd grandson, thus making our oldest and youngest grandchildren boys. That leaves a whopping 6 girls in the middle, and of course they are most precious. I was privileged to be in the delivery room for the birth of our daughters previous 3 children and am determined I will be there for this baby. I have been spending the night with them while she times contractions. Of course while I am in their home I get to enjoy the three older children and what marvels our grandchildren are. I know all you grandparents out there agree. Well, baby is taking his time so I have come home to check on the critters and since I need to stay close to the phone I am plying my wool. It is very pleasant to sit on my porch in the shade of the grape vine climbing up and around the porch and spin and ply. I am enjoying the hummingbirds buzzing at the feeders, our ducks sunning themselves on the lawn after an especially vigorous bathing and preening in our pond. The sheep in their wooly coats are keeping to the shade while they chew their cud and think sheepy thoughts (probably of more alfalfa and cracker treats ).All in all, a wonderful blessing to be able to spend my day this way. "The mark of a sheep is its ability to hear The Shepherd's voice.The sheep listen to His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out." Max Lucado SAFE in the Shepherd's Arms

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Spot On Cedar Pond

This begins a new venture into writing about and posting observations, reflections, and events occurring on our own little two and a half acres hobby farm we have named Cedar Pond. We keep Jacob sheep, chickens, doves, ducks, a few too many dogs and cats, two little wethered Pygmy goats.....and we combine the challenge of keeping all these critters well and healthy AND in attractive (somewhat) pens while keeping the critters OUT of our vegetable, herb and flower gardens, and away from the fruit and berries in our orchard ! Needless to say, this is often challenging, sometimes frustrating, but we have a great time and love what we are doing. Our sheep produce wool with which I spin and weave yarn and make rugs and saddlepads. I love my sheep and spend a great deal of time just watching them. After more than 15 years of keeping sheep I have begun to understand the many Biblical references referring to us mere mortals as 'sheep'......and even more so the many mercies and kindnesses of The Shepherd who cares for us even in our ignorance of His ways and workings. Enough musings, now off to spin more wool ! "Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture." Psalm 100:3