My dream is to eventually make it so that my farm is my business and my career. It’s where my heart is, and it is what makes me feel fulfilled. As I work towards making that dream closer and closer to a reality, there are many hurdles to cross on the way. Like, for instance, to make time for one thing, time has to come from somewhere else. In order for me to put the time and commitment into my dream, I have to take time away from my work. My goal is to be able to have my farm eventually begin making that money for me, but I have to invest the time and work into it. And that can be a terrifying thing. To realize the paycheck you will be bringing home will be much smaller than the one you’ve grown accustomed to for quite awhile. As I start this journey towards building my business, I have many doubts and fears. I don’t know how it will all work out, but I am placing my hope and trust in Christ, and trusting that He has a plan for me in all of this, and that He will continue to provide for me and my needs as He has been my whole life. I may have to get used to not having the comforts and luxuries that I have been able to enjoy, but I’m willing to give those up for a while in hopes that soon, I can become self sufficient and sustainable. It is going to be huge challenge for me, and I will try as hard as I can to keep you updated on my progress. Prayers are appreciated through this endeavor, but I am hopeful on the outcome!
Winter Weather Predictability
As always, Michigan has once again shown us that the rules of the weather do not apply here! As we finally near the end of the winter season, our wonderful weather system decided to throw one more winter storm, for the ages, as a final farewell. Our state ended up declaring a state of emergency for a day, and many and most were unable to make it to their jobs. I guess that’s what you call a SNOW DAY! I believe for many places here in Michigan, we got about 12-13 inches. It felt like waaaaaaay more! How many did ya’ll get where you are? I’m curious to see the different amounts! Let’s ask a more important question, though. How did your animals handle the weather? I know ours did pretty well. They are used to freak weather “episodes” here. During the worst of it, they pretty much just tried to stay in their stall and huddle together. And for our two babies, this was their first real snow storm. I don’t think they are fans! An awesome fun fact about cattle! Did you know that if you see snow built up on your cow’s back, that actually means they are staying warm enough? Who would have thought?! But what that actually means is that her winter fur coat is thick enough that it is holding all of her body heat in and keeping her plenty warm and comfy. If you were to see your cow with melting snow on her back, that means her body heat is escaping, and her coat is not thick enough. Often times, if you move a cow up from the south to colder climates than what she is used to, you will often see this problem. See now, everytime you see your snow covered cows, you’ll be glad and grateful that you have happy, healthy bovine! But I am seriously hoping that we’ve seen the last of the winter storms at least for the rest of this season! Here’s to hoping spring will come quickly!! I’m definitely already wishing summer was here!
We are getting ready to clean out our big, ole’ barn, and I can’t help but not throw out all those quirky antiques! From antique windows, to antique mirrors, to antique farm equipment! I guess I’m way more nostalgic than I thought! I asked my kids, yesterday, to clean out one of the rooms in the barn, and, this morning, I see an antique window sitting out by the road! NO!!!! I can do something cool with that! And, that! And, that, too! Yeah, so cleaning out the barn may become more difficult for them than just simply cleaning out their rooms. That’s so much simpler! I’m seeing all kinds of quirky ideas for that window. Of course, like I have time? This is the person who just decided that she wants to get a dairy cow so that she can make cheese and yogurt and butter! Right! Mm hmm. Warmer weather, you just can’t get here fast enough! In the frustrating meantime, I will just continue to stash all these cool ideas away, and still try to get the barn clean enough to start our farming business coming up this Spring!
What kind of cool ideas do you like to do with antiques?
New journeys beginning!
We are just about ready to fully get this farm underway in making it pay for itself! We are hoping to start breeding chickens as well as growing heirloom vegetables and creating beautiful flower arrangements!
My daughter, Laurie, is also planning to start blogging regularly on this website, and I’m sure she will keep everyone up to date with what’s new and all the happenings here on the farm!
Eric’s 5th acupuncture appointment
Today, Eric had a procedure called “cupping” done at his acupuncture appointment. This picture is just what I found online to show what it looks like. His looked much worse! She said that it would suck out the stagnation in his deep muscles. I’m thinking a bit more scientifically – it just encourages blood flow from deep tissue to the outer tissue. Still not sure if that’s a good thing.
Yesterday, Eric’s day was as though he had gone backwards several weeks. Very discouraging. He was in so much pain he was struggling just to even think clearly. He spent most of his day on the couch being depressed from so much limitation.
Today, he woke up feeling a good bit better, but still has no stamina or strength to walk very far or do very much. He is not in as much pain as he was yesterday, but the pain has changed. He is now, once again, having nerve pain shooting down his left leg into his foot. It seems like with every little advancement, there seems to be more facets of difficulty and struggle.
I am going to try to encourage him to do more reading, rather than online stuff, so that he can try to stimulate his brain in more productive ways. Hopefully, that will keep his mind busy and positive and he can actually get the books read that he’s always wanted to read.
It’s not as pretty, yet as it will be, but imagine the left side of the grass that runs up the middle (temporary until I can till it under) is all herbs and flowers, and, hopefully eventually, strawberries. The right side has all my vegetables marked in rows with marigolds marking the ends of the rows, and where I have only seeds planted, I also planted a marigold in the center to help mark the row. Along the inside of the fence are planted my cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, melons, green beans, and peas. I’ll probably have to put in a few or more extra supports for the fence where the pumpkins and squash are growing, but it’ll be fun to keep them growing upwards! Along the outside of the fence we planted flowers and perennials and sunflowers. I also have a few tall perennials near the herbs inside the garden. We also set up some chairs and I’m hoping to set up a small bistro table in the herb garden. We’re lining the herb garden circles with stones and rocks to create a fun border. As with most herbs, they will overtake the whole side of the garden, so there’s plenty of room for tilling in between the herb garden circles. I’ll post pictures as we go along. I’m super excited about this garden!
Cutworms, Oh My!
My first batch of baby tomato plants were completely destroyed. So were all my baby pepper plants, but my cabbage, brussels sprouts, and broccoli were left alone. That was a sad day for me! Now that I have my final garden all tilled up, and let my chickens roam about for a day or two picking what they wanted out of the freshly worked up ground, I now have the garden fenced in to keep it protected from rabbits and deer, but I’m still getting these nasty little buggers hurting my new tomato plants! I’ve read that I need to add in used coffee grounds, which is good as a fertilizer for most of my plants, anyway, and to add in diatemaceous earth. I’ll also add in some dissolved epsom salts. I saw some cool ideas to protect the plants from the cutworms. See below:
Any thoughts from those of you who have had to deal with these deadly killer bugs?
Second Acupuncture Visit
Eric had his second visit to the acupuncturist, this afternoon. His first visit had him in just as much pain as when he started, but this afternoon, after he was finished, he was actually able to slowly stand up straight! Moving in the right direction! It didn’t last, and he was bent over and in pain again by the time we got home, but it was just nice to see him stand tall. The acupuncturist agreed with our chiropractor that we may very likely need a second opinion from a different neurosurgeon. Once I get all the insurance stuff figured out, we can start pursuing that direction.
The chiropractor believes that there may be a possibility that there is something really wrong, and that something happened during surgery. We don’t know how long the acupuncture benefits will last, especially if there really is something wrong. Another MRI is the next thing that needs to be done after the insurance is figured out.
This afternoon, Eric and I were remembering the difference from a week ago to today. Last week, he came home from work very tired and in quite a bit of pain, and this week, he can’t stand up and has trouble getting dressed. Whatever this is, it’s happening very fast for him. Hopefully, the acupuncture will slow the decline down and maybe even make the pain more manageable, but we both feel like we have to have some answers. So far, from the surgeon and others, we have heard only a sympathetic nod and a comment about just having to deal with the pain and work through it and strengthen the core.
As I was praying during class tonight, I was reminded that God allows these trials into our lives not to destroy us, but to sanctify us. Sometimes as we seek God’s will for our lives and endeavor to do it with all our hearts, we find that the road to God’s will is not what we expected it to be. I think that we often think God’s will for us is not difficulty, pain, or persecution, or even death. But sometimes, it is. If we are truly willing to give our whole lives to God, we must remember not to take it back when it no longer suits us or does not bring about the results we wish for. Eric and I are learning about surrender. Not just surrendering our goals and dreams, but also our independence, our talents, and even our physical bodies. Allowing God to take everything away without complaint. I’m still struggling with that. We’ve been reading the book of Job in church as part of our scripture reading, and a few times I have nearly cried in hearing the frustration in Job’s voice with the pain and suffering he was going through, and the hopelessness in his heart. Yet, God had a bigger plan for Job, and, although the path was hard and painful, Job came face to face with God speaking to him, and Job came through the trial. Trials come, and we shouldn’t ask for an ending. We need to ask for strength to go through them. It’s not the destination or the end of a long road. It’s the journey and what we learn along the way. May God be glorified in our lives as we walk this journey that He has chosen for us.
Eric’s journey in back pain
Our journey through back pain started many years ago, but became substantially worse in November of 2016. We’re pretty sure it was due to our recent move to the farm in August. Anyway, we had an MRI done in February after our chiropractor said that there was very little left that he could do for him, as he just continued to get worse even with adjustments, supplements, massage, stretching, etc. The MRI showed a substantial amount of damage to his L5/S1 disc, and some damage throughout all of his lower back. His symptoms rapidly declined daily, but he was able to manage a trip to California for the Shepherd’s Conference. He got back on March 4, and continued to decline, and March 7, we took him into the hospital due to severe pain. His first surgery was incredibly successful on March 9, and all of his pain was gone!
One week later, on March 16, he was back in the hospital for a spinal fluid leak repair. Again, surgery was incredibly successful, but his pain after surgery was intense. He healed well, although sore, and gradually was able to get back on his feet to some degree.
April 3, he was again back in the hospital for severe muscle spasms that had his back badly contorted like a pretzel. We were told to go into physical therapy and walk off the pain. Physical therapy did not do anything for him, and the pain, while it went away for a while, was always in the background.
May saw his nearly completely back on his feet and working almost as before, although with some pain. However, in mid-May, his back began worsening. On Monday, May 15, he said his back and his hip began to hurt and he went back to our chiropractor for an adjustment. The adjustment was gentle and successful, but his muscles were beginning to worsen. Wednesday, he had a deep massage, but felt even worse. By the end of that week, he was hurting so badly that he could no longer walk without help or extreme pain.
Monday, May 22, I took Eric in to see our family doctor, as he was just in so much pain that he could not bear it any longer. We had to find a solution. Nothing was working. Our doctor referred us to an acupuncture specialist he knew that was very experienced with Eric’s type of pain.
Tuesday, May 23, Eric had his first acupuncture appointment. The specialist was loudly horrified at the condition of Eric’s back when he took off his shirt for her to see. I could see in her eyes that she was extremely concerned. Later, while Eric was resting with the needles, the specialist spoke with me and told me that he was in much worse condition than she expected. Her facial expressions and the way she spoke told me more. Her eyes were worried and she looked almost as if she didn’t know if she could help him. He was in no better condition when we left than when we had gotten there. He has 2 more appointments this week, so my hope is that we can start breaking apart the muscle structure to get it to relax and he can start gaining relief from the intense pain.
Our family is doing whatever we can to encourage him, and we don’t really talk about the future, as we’re really not sure what that is going to look like, this summer.
I will update as things progress. Thank you all for praying. God is in control, and I am praying that He will make it plain what we need to do, and that we would glorify Him through this time.
First Blog Post
I have been thinking about starting a blog for months, now. I kept stalling, because I felt like there just was nothing about our lives that was interesting enough for anyone else to read about. That thinking has changed! Sometimes exciting or interesting things don’t have to happen for someone to want to be part of. That’s when I realized that our lives are composed of many small aspects that seem to make up one large aspect. I’m calling these “journeys.” I hope our journeys will be an encouragement to you!