Good bye city life! Our family designed and built an industrial but old fashioned farmhouse on nine acres. Now we are building our homestead ~ or is it building us? Grab your boots and join us on our journey to country living.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Pretty Pelt

Yesterday we got our first Jacob Sheep pelt back from 
the tannery in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

I know it might seem strange that I would be so excited about it.  
It may even seem a little morbid.  
But when you raise livestock, you have to keep a realistic perspective. You do your best to give them a great life but some die unexpectedly and some are raised for meat.  Wool pelts are a by-product of raising sheep.

This ram lamb was brought in from the west coast to be a herd sire. He fell ill before breeding season and didn't make it.  
It was the first big loss on our farm.  

As hard as it was, we knew immediately that we wanted his wool pelt. After all, that long staple length is what we brought him in for in the first place!  Not being hunters, we had to find someone quickly to remove it.  Thank goodness it was deer season!  A wild game processor was the one for the job.  Then we brought it home and salted it according to the tanner's instructions.  After two weeks, we sent it off for processing.  
Did you know you can mail such things?  I didn't!  

I know this is too much information for some of you but if you raise farm animals, these are things that you must be prepared for.  

Death is a reality of farm life.  
Everyone loves the pretty picture of farm life ~ 
gathering eggs, riding the horses, petting the sheep ~ 
but what do you do with a dead pig when you don't know how to butcher, the butcher won't do it if it's already dead, it's starting to rain, and getting dark?  Seriously, this has happened to us!  It's the unspoken part of farm life.  Preparing your heart and your plan is a wise thing to do.

The reality of farm life is that sometimes it's disappointing and sometimes it's rewarding.  Today's post is mixed with a little of both.

In a way, Rambler's pelt will be a daily reminder of the reality of raising farm animals.
It's pretty cozy in the chair too. ;)

Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, 
and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.
Proverbs 16:20

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!






Merry Christmas!

May your heart be merry & bright this Christmas!
from all of us at the Little Red Farmhouse

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus
 for he will save his people from their sins.
Matthew 1:21

Monday, December 24, 2012

Expecting a White Christmas

There is a bustle of activity and just a little excitement here at the Red Farmhouse.  We are expecting a White Christmas!  It may not seem like a big deal in other parts of the country but in Oklahoma it's a HUGE deal.  Honestly, I can count on one hand the number of White Christmas Days that I have seen.

Three years ago just after we moved in we had one.
It was so fun!

This year we have lots of animals to take care of though.  The storm preparation list was quite long this morning.  

So while I'm inside making
a pumpkin roll,
cinnamon rolls,
chocolate mousse,
strawberry pretzel jello
potato casserole,
green beans,
pork tenderloin with orange marmalade sauce.
(Notice I mentioned the sweets first. They are in order of importance, of course.)

Outside, the guys are moving hay bales,
putting up hoses,
getting the generators ready to run,
checking the tractor,
plugging in trough water heaters,
filling up feed buckets,
bringing in wood for the fire,
&, &, &,
all the while dreaming of sledding behind the John Deere Gator across our flat farm.

Ok, they aren't the only ones dreaming of a white Christmas.
I'm pretty excited about it too!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wrap it up

This year's gift making, gift shopping, and gift wrapping is complete.

I put off the wrapping part until yesterday. (I never wait that long!) I just couldn't figure out how I wanted the gifts to look this year.  Peering in my box of Christmas paper,  I sighed.
I wanted a simple, uncluttered look that hinted of homemade.  Hmm...

And then I found winter birds gift tags.
Dressed up in their fine festive feathers, they were just what I was looking for
and available as a free download.

I assigned each person their own bird so no names were needed on the tags.

Some white and brown craft paper mixed with a flat red print and a little wire edged ribbon to complement the birds, and I was ready to wrap it up.

Now we will just have to wait to unwrap it.

The best gift of all:
Luke 2:10-11
And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

She's Mine...Again

Two years ago, not having the slightest idea what we were getting in to, we bought horses.  We got two mares and three geldings, one horse for each of us.

Sweet D was my pretty paint. With brown and white patches and long black tail, she was the horse I had always dreamed of.  She was gorgeous but she was a little skittish & shy.  It wasn't long before we ran into a problem.  
She spooked,
I spooked,
together we were just plain spooked!

I couldn't convince myself to get back on her.  So my husband and I switched horses.  He took D and did a great job working with her.  I started working with the older, more dependable mare, Bobbi.  She's a babysitter and was perfect for me. I appreciated her but I didn't LOVE her.  If you're a horse person, maybe you understand.

 We found a natural horsemanship trainer that led us through the Clinton Anderson Foundation Series.  We did mostly groundwork for a year.  (Yes, a year!)  We had to learn to handle our horses properly and the horses needed to learn to respect us. All of the horse improved greatly but the biggest change was in our confidence.  It was a slow and steady transformation.

We reached the point in the C.A. program where we needed to ride but we weren't confident enough in the saddle.
We needed to learn to ride,
 to be encouraged,
and to learn the cues.
So a few months ago, we started riding lessons once a week with a young woman that teaches natural horsemanship but specializes in teaching green riders.

After a few lessons and with my husband's encouragement, I decided it was time for me to get back on D.  For the last month, I've been riding her at least twice a week.  We've done really well!  It hasn't been perfect but we are working together and learning to trust each other.


It's been a long time coming
but I'm happy to announce that Sweet D is officially mine again.
I couldn't be happier about it!

For whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.  He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.
1 Peter 3:10-11

Monday, December 10, 2012

Simple & Sweet Tree

For some reason, we just want it that way this year.

A fresh Frasier Fir
trimmed only with
red glass balls
and the silver plated bells
that we've been adding annually since we married.
This year number 24 will hang on the tree.
Under it rests the quilted tree skirt made from a quilt top
that my great great grandmother made long ago.

All the other ornaments will have to wait in the boxes
until next year
because this year
 it's simple & sweet.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
 and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Friday, December 7, 2012

The TV has left the living room

We had been talking about removing the television from the main part of our house for a while but it took a lightning strike to get it out of there.
It's been a month now and I must say, I really like it.

We still have two tvs:
(although we did cut the cable)
one in our room
and one for the boys in the rec room
but the one in the living room is gone.

The space feels more peaceful without it.

In it's place we hung the blacksmith sign that Wayne bought me when we moved into the farmhouse. Books about farming took the place of the tv components.
I'm quite happy with the result!
I don't know why we didn't do it sooner.

Lord, you establish peace for us;
all that we have accomplished you have done for us.
Isaiah 26:12

Monday, December 3, 2012

Back Together

The sheep are back together after being in breeding groups for a little over a month.  If all the ewes are bred we should have about a dozen lambs in the spring.

Being in smaller groups allowed us to work with some of the ewes to make them more tame.  I'm happy that McCarthy will eat out of my hand now!  I hope the scrape on her nose will heal and the hair will grow back.  She's so pretty.  I don't want her to have a bald spot.

It's nice to see them in the pastures instead of split up all over the farm.

The rams have the reputation for scuffling over who is boss but the ewes were actually worse yesterday.  Some of the lambs got put in their place even though they are pretty big girls now.

Some of them are bigger than others!  Daylily is such a butterball but I think it is mostly fleece (at least I hope so). 

The rams are now in a front pasture with the alpacas.  The rams sniffed the alpaca and the alpaca spit on the rams and then they settled in around the hay feeder like they had always been together.

Now we are all ready for winter and hoping for little lambs
(like this one) in the spring.

Daylily earlier this year when she was four days old

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
Luke 12:32


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