I really need to stop writing blogs 90% and leaving them. 😂
I wrote 3/5 of this post two weeks ago and never finished it.
Despite being a stay at home mom of young kids, this quarantine really has thrown a wrench in our schedule.
Aaron is home all day – meaning another mouth to feed, no computer to blog, more projects we are working on, and keeping the kids out of his hair so he can work.
The kids and I are home all day – meaning no preschool, no gym, no socialization.
It COULD be way worse, but this is where we are at.
Our time is filled with baking and cooking, making masks and tending to animals and projects.
My goal is to continue to blog from my phone, despite the pain that comes with that. We are becoming increasingly more busy as the season progresses and it is easier to fall behind updates.
I mean, is there any other way to begin this blog other than announcing the birth of our new lamb-y?
Not my favorite name, to be honest. However, Finn names most of our animals and he was proud of this one. There is a claymation cartoon about a little sheep in preschool and his name is Timmy.
We waited SO LONG for his arrival. It was worth the wait.
Liesl’s vulva was open one day, and it confused me as to what was going on. I figured out lamb would be born that night, so I let it be. The next day resulted in no lamb, and I was nervous for infection. After speaking with another sheep farmer, I called the emergency vet. She diagnosed Liesl with prolapsed vagina and had to put a stitch in to hold it closed. I was instructed to remove the stitch before lambing.
After a sleepless night of wondering if she could lamb overnight with that stitch still in tact, I had to call the vet again for advice. Females will deliver a baby (human or otherwise) regardless of the external circumstances, meaning that the birth would rip the stitch out in order to deliver the lamb. This would cause complications to Liesl, as well as her unborn lamb.
The vet instructed to remove the stitch after 24hrs and if she began to prolapse again, she would need to induced.
Later that evening Aaron and I removed her stitch and continued to watch for prolapse.
The next four days I could tell her body was progressing. Sparing you the gory details, sheep go through a similar body preparation as women. Having bared two children myself, these signs were easily recognized. I checked on her every three waking hours to notice further changes – specifically active labor.
Friday morning I noticed she was leaking a lot of fluid and I figured it was time. You see, when I was pregnant, the nurses told me that significant changes in the weather pressure can induce labor. Friday was significantly colder than any other days and I had a feeling that would be our day. With Liesl’s physical changes, I knew I was right.
After dinner I did a quick peek and noticed her active labor starting. I got the kids situated in bed and sat in the barn. Aaron was on child duty and wasn’t interested in watching the birth.
I began a houseparty call with some of my friends. We sat and sipped wine and watched as Liesl was pacing the barn. On the call, ironically, was a vet tech who previously worked with equine and cattle, someone who grew up on a hobby farm, and a few other animal lovers.
After two hours little Timmy was born. It was such a precious and beautiful experience. With the guidance of more experienced I was able to get Liesl cleaning her lamb, and creating the important bond.
The next step in the journey before I could go to bed was to make sure Timmy nursed. Seeing as we are in quarantine I did not have a plan B in place. I did not want to go to any stores they weren’t necessary so we did not get bottles or lamb formula. He NEEDED to nurse.
I tried everything.
I pushed is nose toward the teat, I sprayed milk in his mouth, I kept placing him by his mother, anything I could think of. He wasn’t nursing and time was ticking. It had been over an hour.
Added to the houseparty call was that sheep farmer I had called with the prolapse. He is friends with all the girls on the call, so it worked out quite well.
His wife’s advice to me was to leave them be, they’ll figure it out.
Liesl seemed disinterested in her lamb. She kept walking away from him. It was cold out. He needed her. He could barely walk yet. He was shaking. She is a poor mom. These were all thoughts winding through my head.
Finally, I listened. I sat far away from Timmy.
Guess what? He finally found his mother’s teat and began suckling.
Not going to lie, I was weepy.
What a statement.
Let it go, and let God take care of it.
Ya know what? He did.
Occasionally we make biscuits and gravy, or chicken and gravy over biscuits. For these recipes I oftentimes purchased premade biscuits, until one day I thought how silly that is.
We have extra buttermilk from making butter – and what tastes better than homemade buttermilk biscuits?! Answer: nothing.
With minimal ingredients–flour, butter, baking powder and buttermilk–it is likely that all ingredients are on-hand and also very frugal and easy to make.
This week I whipped up a double batch of biscuits in a matter of minutes. I like to have a healthy supply of freezer biscuits for a meal that’s in a pinch.
These biscuits are great for breakfast sandwiches or a side to most meals.
The trick to make these elevated is to use cold butter in the mix and to brush with melted butter and salt right after baking.
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Yo. This syrup season has been a WHIRLWIND.
We began on such a high note. Our first boil was successful with two pints of syrup brought to completion.
The next day we pulled SIXTEEN gallons of sap. Aaron and I got cocky and we decided to use the full batch to make maple cream. Then I messed it up. I missed a step in the directions and it turned out grainy. Spoiler alert: I was able to save the cream.
After that Aaron accidentally burned five gallons of sap. He just lost track of time and with our new evaporator we aren’t used to how fast this boils down!
Aaron then proceeded to use chemicals to clean the pan (which you cannot do with syrup). I wasn’t aware and filled the pan with 8 gallons of sap – which had to all be dumped. In my mind that was a loss of 29 gallons of sap, or about a gallon of syrup. That, combined with the fact that we were only pulling two or three gallons of sap a day was SUPER discouraging.
Aaron and I regrouped and discussed we have to get our heads together instead of each working on the project separately. Since the first week we have been able to get the kids on board and turn this into a family project. 6.5 pints of syrup have successfully been boiled and we have a ton more on the way. We had a backlog of 30 gallons of sap which is about 8 pints.
Boiling sap can be tedious when it is raining and windy, but we are always learning. We already have plans for next year to upgrade our system – I am SO thankful to have a husband that is crafty and works with metal.
The best things about boiling syrup is learning and growing each year and the community that surrounds the hobby. There is nothing better than helping other people succeed in the hobby and learning from those more experienced.
Online there is a huge group that will post when sap is flowing in each area.
Boiling sap is one of my favorite times of year.
Go Nuts for Donuts.
Remember those yummy biscuits I spoke about earlier?
Remember that maple cream I worked so hard on?
Well, here they are to collaborate into literally the best thing that will graze your tastebuds. Maple. Donuts.
Any bread dough will be suitable for this recipe, biscuits are just a go-to for us.
First I cut out the holes of the donuts and tested the oil with donut holes. I had the oil on high heat and it got the dough crispy and burnt on the outside before it cooked through the middle. I found the oil needed to be on a low-medium setting to have the biscuit cooked through.
Fry the biscuit on both sides and place promptly on a paper towel. Immediately drizzle maple cream onto the hot donut – this will melt the maple cream and cover the donut.
I did a double layer of maple cream the first time around and I didn’t know it was possible – but you really CAN have too much maple cream. We made our second batch with just one dose of drizzle.
Go try it out – make some donuts. Frost with what you have or top with honey. Fried bread is SUCH A TREAT.
The Truth About Homeschool.
All I can say is that I’m so thankful for my children that are young.
Praise be to all the parents out there trying their best to school older children.
All we can do in the time is our best.
For us, this journey has been pretty easy. Finn is normally in school 2.5hrs a day 4 days a week. He is learning concepts like letters, numbers, relational (above, under, over), number recognition, seasons, etc… these are all things easily discussed in our everyday life without extra effort. Does he learn MORE in school? Probably.
Well, actually, he learns different in school.
Homeschooling has always been an underlying topic in our house. Aaron has always pushed for homeschooling whereas I am on the side of public school. This is not a heated topic, but it is a topic of discussion. We both see each other’s points, and this is a small taste of both sides of the spectrum.
Kids learn so much by doing and despite being in school or schooling at home, the home ‘doing’ is never stopping.
If your kids are schooling at home, please give yourself grace.
While the education is important, it is vastly more important to focus on the things your family does together. If you are unable to sit and do four hours of school, but it’s sunny out, go play! Challenge your children. Teach them something new. Discuss how the schoolwork applies to other things. Talk about grocery budget (for food and money). Discuss time management.
I can’t speak on things that apply to older kids with my own experience, but I know there are things for them to learn.
The computer work is important, but time with you is more important and we are given that now.
If you ever have any questions, or ideas for future blogs, comment below or shoot me an email!
From the farm,