My current home doesn't have a verandah but I'd like it to! A long porch surrounding the entire house. With a porch swing, potted blueberry plants, and a long strong dog laying at my feet. The sweet smell of lrosemary and freshly-turned soil wafting across my yard. The chickens clucking contentedly as they scratch for goodies in the fertile dirt. Knowing we have a full root cellar, trees in the orchard about to drop their bounty, and soup made all from hand-picked harvests bubbling in the crockpot. Heaven.

Please move with me over to my current blog, ... thank you!

A Blue Christmas

I was so looking forward to my phone call/skype with family in Kentucky last night. I had put my hair (long - down to my butt) in curlers, and actually applied mascara. We had all dressed up and were feeling great about seeing and talking with family.

Five minutes after we were expecting the skype-call, we got a cell-phone call. Dad. Sorry, everybody left. He was ticked but couldn't do anything about it. Then I got ticked. I gathered up everybody, the pecan pies and the gifts, and went to Mom-In-Law's house. (MIL) (She and Father-in-law are divorced but for some reason, he still expects to be included in everything, especially holidays and running him to doctor appointments and other errands. Ok, don't get me started.)

Nice, comfy time just us, but before we enjoyed ourselves, the Kid and I called Dad back. The Kid sang "Happy Birthday" to Dad then handed over the phone to me. I asked him to explain again what happened and why people left. The details are still vague, but basically, people just weren't in the mood. Selfish moments, I guess.

I never really did cheer up. Hubby was starting to feel sick, tho, so by the time Hubby's father and sister arrives, Hubby was fading and I was very concerned about him. The Kid was in the basement watching TV. Father-in-law (FIL) and Hubby are somewhat estranged and believe me, last night did nothing to help. Made things worse, in fact. FIL barely acknowledged our presence, and had to practically be forced to eat a piece of my pecan pie. Never did say hi to me. Then, after dessert, it was gift time. Very thoughtful presents from sister-in-law and MIL... a gorgeous teapot, a MIL-painted picture, etc., and great gifts for the Kid. FIL brought nothing. Not even a card. Fine if he had at least said: money's tight this year so I just bring you my good wishes, or, forgot all the gifts back at home (in Kansas), or, just didn't have the time. Whatever. But nothing.

I'm not a gift-minded greedy person. I really am not. But I believe in at least giving the children a gift. If you can't afford anything, a card will work fine. Or a squash you grew yourself. Or something that you make yourself. Anything to acknowledge the specialness of the day.

This man hasn't brought gifts to us for 2 years. Nor has he acknowledged the Kid's birthday, or even his own son's b-day (my Hubby).

This year we painted ceramics for them, plus gave a gift card, or in FIL's case, we gave him several packets of heirloom seeds to go with the ceramic flower pot Hubby painted. He threw the seeds onto the couch and laughed at the ceramic pot.

Next year, he gets a card. Only.

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So... yesterday was a sucky day. Thankfully we have our own little blended family, Hubby's mom, and my Dad. We can pretty much count on them to show they care. Meanwhile, we made our way home early last night, arriving from the harrowing trip over iced roads around 9 p.m. Kid went to bed (but I'm sure, not to sleep), Hubby took some medicine and went to sleep, and I stayed up and watched TV. I got up early to wrap the Kid's gifts, and the Kid made his entrance just after I finished the last one. He was thrilled. Hubby went back to bed. I put a turkey breast in the crockpot with olive oil and garlic, and made cinnamon rolls (gluten-free for the kid, and regular for Hubby and me).

I slipped off the gluten-free path, but need to go back on soon. It (gluten) plays with my hormones, and when I fall off the GF path, I'm in perimenopause. Since I finally started my period yesterday (the first time since July), I've decided I absolutely got to get back on it. Monday. That's right. Monday. Not January 1.

= = = =

I just sent an e-mail to a local Nigerian Dwarf goat farm. Wanted to give them a heads up that we want 4 milking does and 1 buck probably sometime in May. And want to visit the farm in the next few weeks to see how they do things so that we can do something similar (so the goats won't feel too out of place). Hope she responds next week so we can talk, and I certainly hope she'll have 4 does and 1 non-related buck when we're ready for them. Of course, we need the house, and then we'll need to build the barn. We COULD wait on the buck until Fall since we won't be breeding anyone till then.

= = = =

After a google search and some research, I came up with some ideas about the barn we'll need to build. Hope getting a permit won't be a difficult job, and we'll be allowed to build what we want. Here's what we need:
  • Each female needs it's own pen, but since Nigerian Dwarf goats don't get taller than 2 feet, they only need about 4 square feet of space, but almost double that for when they kid, so for 4 does, we need 4 pens/stalls, each 8 square feet. They can double up when they aren't kidding or have no kids. Their pens will open up to the east, to the "backyard" where the pastures will be. Each pen will have feed boxes, hay trough and water buckets where we can easily fill them.
  • The chicken coop will be on the same side as the doe pens. Will hold nesting boxes, easily placed to get to the eggs. MIGHT make a separate area for a broody hen so we can hatch some eggs, which will mean we'll need yet another small pen for a rooster.
  • The buck will need to be on the opposite side of the barn, separated by a wall. If the bucks are too close to milking does, it makes the milk have a strong taste. So, we'll have 2 small 4-square feet stalls for the buck (the second just in case we need it later). This side will open to the front yard
  • On the other side of the buck's pens and a large door will be a large feed storage area (feed, hay, veggies, etc.) for all of our critters.
  • In the center, with a wall and a door, will be the quail coop (aviary) and rabbit hutches, all over the worms for vermicomposting.

Did I get everything? Rabbits. Quail. Chickens. Worms. Goats (male and female). Oh, and the milking stand will be in the center too.

= = = =

Guess that's it for now. Hubby's asleep behind me. The Kid's in his room reading one of his new books. I have the TV on to help provide enough glow for me to type.

Hope you all had a good holiday. Blessings, from our family to yours.


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