We are still alive and kickin it out here in the country. We acquired 4 barn cats and acclimated them to the barn before moving ‘the boys’. The cats have worked out wonderfully. They love the kids and follow them all over the property. They are quite comical, super loving, and take their ‘job’ at least half way seriously. Here and there we find mice deposited on the sidewalks like little housewarming presents. They doubled in size since moving out here and look rather plump to me. I think they have it pretty good here. Maybe a little TOO good 😉
We got the dog and the alpaca moved over to the barn before the first cold snap. I was so worried the cats wouldn’t stay with the added presence of a rambunctious puppy. They seem to be happy with their new digs.
In my last post I talked about how every time we do something new it seems to create another problem to solve. Here we are again! Alpacas supposedly ‘use the restroom’ in only one spot. They prefer to have a “community pile” so to speak. Well our sweet Truman has decided that no matter where we house him, he prefers an indoor bathroom experience instead of an outdoor one. He also would rather spread out and use a large area instead of a little pile. Turns out our barn floor doesn’t drain so as soon as spring gets here we get to figure out what to do about all of this. Right now every time we muck out his stall it’s an absolute nightmare. In order to retrain him we either need to lock him out of the barn, which we can’t do unless we have more then one alpaca. Or we need to dig up the entire floor of his stall and put down lime to rid the soil of the scent and replace with a properly draining floor and start training him all over. We were kind of hoping that come spring, we would be focusing on chickens and raised garden beds. So as a short term solution Mike is going to cut his stall in half with a gate. This will save us time when cleaning it. My Aunt suggested that if we give him less space he may prefer to go outside anyway because he will want to “cush” indoors on a clean spot. (cushing is when they lay down) Always something to do around here!
Winter showed up late this year and kind of eased us all in. We have had lots of snow but haven’t struggled with keeping the sidewalk clear or getting in and out of the property and onto the highway. Our neighbor generously plowed our driveway after each snow we have had. What a blessing! Honestly the most difficult thing we have dealt with is getting in and out of the barn. With the constant melting and freezing the doors keep getting stuck open or getting stuck shut. This may not sound like that big of a deal but when you’re running out first thing in the morning leaving 4 children unattended you don’t want to spend 45 minutes un-sticking a stuck door.
The kids have been having a blast sledding down one of our huge hills. Our dog, Hadwin is loving the snow and never seems to be bothered by the cold. The barn has been a cozy place to visit our animals and we are just so thankful for that. We were able to host my parents, my sisters, and my niece after Christmas for 2 weeks! One of our big dreams was to have a house that could host guests comfortably. We were able to spread out and it was a stress free memory making time together. My dad and Mike enjoyed working on several projects. The snowy scenes out here make it look like a Christmas card. We are loving it!
A few weeks ago Mike went out of town leaving me and the 4 kiddos to fend for ourselves out here. (I’m very thankful for his job and he doesn’t have to travel often) The timing was just not good. We got a blizzard. All through the storm I made trips to the barn to keep the doors clear of snow and tried to keep up on the sidewalks. The high winds continued long after the snow stopped and created giant snow drifts everywhere. We were stuck here with no way out of our driveway. The threat of a power outage was real so I had to learn all about living without power “just in case”. Our home is all electric. I filled containers with water to drink, found all the candles and lighters i could and put them on the kitchen counter, filled both bathtubs with water to keep the temperature of the house up, and kept a bucket to fill for flushing toilets. Mike showed me how to use our propane fireplaces in case I needed them though they would only provide minimal warmth. My sweet neighbors offered support in the event that we would need them which was very comforting. We are highly motivated to be more prepared next year. We will definitely be getting our wood burning fireplaces inspected and cleaned. (this is super pricey on a 3 story home) I would also like to get a camping stove and extra propane tanks to keep around.
The day Mike was getting home I had band practice. (I’m a vocalist at my church) Our neighbor’s tractor was having traction challenges and couldn’t clear it for us this time. I was so motivated to go to practice that I shoveled my driveway all by myself. It felt like it was a mile long. I couldn’t get down to the gravel but got all the big drifts and loose stuff. I spent 2 hours getting ready to go and packing up the kids and all their various supplies. I backed the van out of the garage and promptly got it stuck. The tires just spun and created ice beneath them. I tried digging us out and putting sand around my tires. Oh the outrage. I had to wait for Mike to get home from the airport so I could use his truck and thankfully made it to practice in time. This is definitely a lifestyle adjustment. I’ve never not been able to drive my car out of my driveway before. Over the last week the van has been stuck several times and the truck at least once. This is a very out of control feeling. I just keep reminding myself that it’s part of the deal and that it’s worth it. This is the life we want! I have to trust that God will protect us and take care of us and that even when it’s scary or overwhelming He’s with us. It’s a good reality check for me. I say I want Him to be the One in control but am I really surrendering everything? The country has a way of making a really small girl feel even smaller in a really really big world. But I have a really big God. ;P
“The hairs on your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than sparrows” Luke 12:7
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go to the heavens, you are there; If I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me, even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. ..” Psalm 139:7-12