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Monday, March 10, 2014

Sewing Snapshots

I haven't shared what's been making my sewing machine stitch miles lately. It's been running ragged as ever though. And though I thought I had been great at figuring out my sewing to-do list for this year, I keep adding more and more to it! Then, of course, I need fabric for the new projects listed... I tell ya, it's a good thing Farmer loves me...

So, Baby girl needed some new pajamas and I got out my favorite flannel line (I had been hoarding it... LOVE Buttercup Babies) and sewed her 3 new pajama gowns (that sometimes turn into day dresses) and a couple pajama bottoms (not shown). I was saving the fabric for baby blankets, baby clothes, and such, in case Farmer gave the go-ahead to add a new little farm kid to our brood, but it's been a year and a half of storing this fabric and it was time to use it. I don't know what this means about a 5th baby... and I'm okay with that right now. :)



I have a Valentine's Day tradition with Farmer's 2 nieces, in which I sew them a Valentine's Day dress or skirt. This year, I chose to sew 2 dresses...



Baby Girl's Valentine's Day Dress is below. She wanted to wear her new doggie dress I sewed her on the big day though. I didn't realize 2 year old girls started wanting a say in what they wear so young! I have a lot to learn.


 I hosted a Little House on the Prairie Day and had the pleasure of teaching 2 sweet girls a little about sewing. It was so fun and has me so excited for when Baby Girl is old enough to learn!


We sewed pillows...



I finished 3 quilts that are very dear to my heart... after the 3rd one though, I started contemplating the value of sending a quilt off to get professionally quilted. Or the value of upgrading to a sewing machine with a long throat. That would make quilting so much easier! I am in the process of researching... Here are some random glimpses of the 3 quilts:




I've picked up embroidery again. It had been years and I forgot how relaxing and fun it was! Finished some gifts for loved ones and am working on a special project for one of my favorite people. 

Farmer prefers I work on non-sewing machine crafts when he is home. To be fair, my machine is loud and we were finishing up the series "Burn Notice"... intense! It was the perfect week to make a stack of fleece blankets for our Children's Hospital.This is a great project for even non-sew-ers and kids love them!

Now we are watching "Murdoch's Mysteries" which is much more conducive to sewing at the machine. Perfect timing as I'm churning out 2 John Deere quilts this week! 

It feels good to have a hobby I enjoy so much and a husband who is (usually) more than happy (okay, okay: just happy) to create a bigger fabric budget some months. 




Monday, February 24, 2014

Farm Happenings

 It's been a busy few weeks on the farm.

Lots of sheep happenings... Sorting out and selling lambs. Keeping alive new lambs. Sorting out and selling old ewes and some more lambs. Shearing ewes. Bottlefeeding lambs. Doing perimeter checks in the lambing barns (those little dears like to find any space they can fit into to get stuck). Shearing more ewes. Dosing ewes.  Feeding ewes.

Then there is oil well happenings... Pumps needing fixed, wells needing maintenance.

Farm Tax happenings... Done and Done! Turned into the accountant. I sincerely hate math (it is my least favorite 4 letter word) and I sincerely love there are people in this world who enjoy it so much they become accountants.

Chicken happenings... they are now producing 13-14 eggs a day. I need to cull 3 of the older chickens that are just eating food, but I'm waiting till the weather warms up a bit. I need to order another 10-15 layers this Spring and am trying to decide if I want to stick with the trusty Golden Comet or branch out and try another breed. Thoughts? All I care about is consistency and the most eggs.

Cattle Happenings... Farmer does most of their caring, but he did forget to shut the Evil Gate and 25 head of cattle got out on the road... while I was on the phone. Slamming the phone down, pulling on my mud boots, I ran outside. In the van I hopped, laying on the horn. Got a few cows to come in just by this, but most were booking it. A hay truck appeared to be coming down from the hill and, not caring if they had some place to be, I decided to race past the cattle moving away from the truck. I jack knifed the van a distance from the cattle and using the other truck as a detourant to go up the road, we corralled them back into the evil, open gate. As I went over to say "thank you", I realized it was "the boys"... the men who serviced our oil wells for many months. I felt much better about inconveniencing them then! Gate shut, we won. Stupid cows!

Milk Cow happenings... Rosie and BamBam are sold. Shockingly, I shed a few tears when I told Rosie goodbye. There is just something about a jersey milk cow... dogs dying, cats getting ran over, never bothered me much. But Ms. Rosie, the big, teat-dragging milk cow... turned me all sentimental.  They fetched a very nice price and we are trying to decide if we should wait for our Holstein to calve in a couple months or buy a new milk cow, in milk, in March. My frugal side says to just wait, but my love of fresh milk side is saying to buy a fresh jersey! We'll probably wait because Farmer is always more logical than I am.

The biggest news is that our local high school's FFA Auction is coming up in a month. We've sold some farm equipment there before, but they also take other stuff. I usually bake cinnamon rolls for them to sell, but this year I decided to sew a farm-themed crib quilt. Because there is no Allis Chalmers fabric, I asked Farmer what material to buy: New Holland, International, or John Deere. My jaw dropped when he said, "John Deere." He said it would sell the best. Baby Girl hid her face in her hands at the news.
 So I ordered John Deere fabric... and it will be inside this house. An Allis Chalmers house. Big news indeed... considered Farm News because of the polarized, tractor fan clubs.

I must be off. Jack, the lamb, heard me go grab a cup of coffee and he is bleating for his bottle. Years of motherhood have taught me how to tune noises out, but to tune back in when earnestness enters their vocal chords.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Baaaaaa-d House Guests

Jack and Star came to live with us a few days ago.


Bruiser named them. He also learned how to tell the difference between a buck and a ewe. 

"Jack has tentacles". Duh.



While I was doing my farm chores, I saw these two lambs being bullied by some nieces (what my husband's family calls yearling lambs... don't ask, I have no clue why they are called that). Pregnant ewes and nieces are usually kept separated, but we had a group ready to be loaded up to take to auction and the ewe was part of the group to go (as she is getting a touch too old). She had the twins before expected, but the nieces wouldn't even let them get close enough to the ewe to let them nurse. They kept nudging them into the ground. Evil nieces. 

I shoo'd the ewe and lambs into a barn to separate them and gave them a couple hours to try to get back in the groove of life, but it was too late. The ewe wouldn't let them nurse anymore. 

So Jack and Star became my house guests... They reside in a chicken brooder in the warmth of my livingroom.

I have to say that lambs make baaaaa-d house guests though.

Reason #1: They need bottlefed every 3 to 4 hours for awhile.

Reason #2: They force you out of your warm, cozy bed by incessantly bleating in the middle of the night because of reason #1.

Reason #3: They bleat just for fun during very serious episodes of Downton Abbey. 

Reason #4: They make my house smell like a barn... I know, I know, what's new? At least I can now point at little lambs and say, "See...." So maybe this is not a reason. But I'm going to count it as one because maybe your house doesn't usually smell like a barn and I don't want you to say that I didn't warn you.

Reason #5: They treat your house like a barn. In every manner. I won't say more... Okay, I will because it gives me an excuse to use my one and only, favorite cuss word... Lambs will $hit on anything in their way. There I said it, I'm at peace. The perk is that this act forces me to never let an article of clothing touch our floors. 

(P.S. Don't tell Farmer this is the reason for my recent Martha Stewart-like vigilance with laundry.. I hate to think of the plan he'd devise to keep it going once lambing season is over). 

Reason #6: They will up and die on you at any moment. Without rhyme or reason. And then leave you to take care of their body! The nerve! 

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Even though these lambs leave manners wanting, you can bet I will keep taking in un-owned or orphaned lambs because that's what any respectable farmwife has and will ever do. Every year. No matter how many die on me or how many of them are weathers (ones that must be took to butcher). 

These baaaaaa-d house guests have a way of stealing your heart while peeing on your leg. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What's Wrong With These Pictures?

Can anyone tell me what is wrong with this picture?


Why yes, that is a lamb... in the snow... in February. 

Last year, Farmer's Dad got disoriented and let the bucks out early. Before we could get Bucky 1 and Bucky 2 back into their barn of celibacy, they managed to breed a number of the ewes. It was like Spring Break-Bucky Style. 

Which means, lambing season got bumped up by 2 months... in the freezing cold... in the ice and snow. We are not happy. And there are 2 more reasons we are not happy.

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Now, can anyone figure out what is wrong with THIS picture?


Why yes, these sheep are not sheared! You win a set of shears and a lesson in shearing! Between everything Farmer had on his agenda, we completely forgot he needed to start shearing early! Plus, we figured that the Buckys only bred a couple ewes and so he wasn't too worried. Major oops on our part, which means major sag in the bags when Farmer and I start shearing.

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The last picture for today...

Can anyone guess what's wrong with this picture?


Yes, those are twin lambs in my bathroom! They now reside in our livingroom, in the chicken brooder, and I feed them every 3 hours. We are hoping at least one of them lives. Stupid, adorable things.

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This is one baaaaaaaa-d lambing season.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Farm ABC's: E is for

E is for Elevator


E is for Eggs


E is for Ewes



~photos taken from Farmer and RCB's farm

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Farm ABCs: D is for


D is for Discing:




D is for Dogs


~photos taken on Farmer and RCB's farm

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Post in Which I Lay Out My Homebirth Thoughts

  I'm a little... okay, a lot... nervous to write this post. After talking with a friend this week, I decided to just write it. Because my brain is killing me and I have things I want to share and I just don't feel right about not sharing them. And because I was inspired by her courage to discuss this issue with others.

  My friend (who was told she was the perfect pregnant woman... most in shape, best diet, etc) experienced a homebirth turned hospital transfer during a scary shoulder dystocia. The baby was safely delivered at the hospital and everyone was thankful, but my friend suffered some pain from it for quite awhile. The kicker: her midwife (who was also my midwife) tells people she had a shoulder dystocia because she was emotional. Yep... Meanwhile the doctors who actually delivered her baby said her shoulder dystocia was because her 9lbs+ baby was too big to fit through her pelvis without complication. Imagine that.

  I feel for her. I was also told my shoulder dystocia happened because I didn't trust birth enough. Not by the midwife, but by some other "trust in nature and it will never fail you" sorts.

It never fails: when nature is proven to be fallible, blame the mother.

  My coming around story:

  Amazingly, it doesn't start with my son's homebirth injury (I'm stubborn and proud and lived in denial a lot longer than my above friend did). The following took place 2 years ago...

  Around the time I started mildly waivering in my homebirth beliefs, a blogger by the name of Dr. Amy posted about a different woman I know who had a traumatic homebirth with my old midwife... her baby wasn't as blessed as my son. Her daughter was much, much, much worse off. I was mad at this blogger. I went on her site and she seemed harsh and she sounded mean, but I couldn't stop myself from going back to her blog over and over again. Some posts seemed harsh (I think it's for shock value and some of her opinion posts I do not agree with), but then she'd post about statistics and debunking homebirth propaganda and rates of brain injuries and this and that... I could not ignore these posts. They stewed in my brain for nights after I read them.

  She challenged so much of what I had previously thought and believed... and she was right. I was so mad at her for this, at first. I began to realize that so much of what I previously believed and quoted time and time again had had omissions to it, had been twisted around. Sigh. And so many questions I had were finally answered.   They weren't answered in the way I wanted. Believe me, I wanted to keep going with my support of homebirth for low-risk women... I truly wanted to. But after going through the real statistics and risk percentage comparisons... I just couldn't.

 I was humbled. But it was real. And I was thankful to know these things.

-For instance: I didn't understand how the U.S. and other countries tallied infant mortality rates. They do it very differently. Homebirth books constantly quote infant mortality rates instead of the U.S.'s perinatal mortality rate, which is actually quite low. I had also not even thought about how different races are more at risk for premature babies that raise mortality rates and how that plays into it all. Interested? Homebirth Papers and Statistics

-When I read the recently collected homebirth data from Oregon and Arizona and Colorado recently, my heart sank. But truth hurts sometimes: Oregon's Homebirth Mortality Rates and Arizona's and Colorado's . Not to mention the bad rates with Dutch Midwives.

-The Risk Of Brain Injury Treatment was really eye opening as well.

-I didn't understand why MANA refuses to release their death rates (birth data is not even required by 48 state's MANA midwives). Apparently I'm not the only one concerned about that: MANA

- I had never thought about the lack of accountability homebirth midwives have. How they don't have to have new, up-to-date training every year or so like nurse-midwives and doctors and nurses do. How their skills don't have to be reassessed. About how they can take high risk patients on with no consequences... and they do. My old midwife delivers breech babies, vbacs, suspected GBS+ women, extremely overdue women, advanced maternal aged women, women with high blood pressure, women who are under 37 wks pregnant, and women who smoke. I don't know if she has ever tried to deliver twins or other high risk women categories, but I wouldn't doubt it (I only listed the ones I was positive in). Because she has no oversight and no one to answer to, she can "go with her gut" and take on whoever, at whatever risk and cost, unfortunately. And, unfortunately, she has had a number of tragic births under her belt.

There were other things I learned... things that made my stomach lurch. Such as this a day after I posted this post:

Edited to Add: Here is another take on the increase in death rates from another site: New MANA Study
Homebirth Death Rate 450% Higher than Hospital
And another take on it from a Midwife Who Entered Information into the MANA "Study" (hard to call if that when only 20-30 % of midwives entered their data) Naval-Gazing Midwife

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  I recently found a blog that I really like about a former homebirth fan who found that whenever she asked questions, they were brushed off. Whenever she'd post a "what if" on a homebirth website, the comments were immediately deleted (been there!). After experiencing homebirths, as a doula, she would be accused of spreading fear when wanting to talk about issues that had come up. The writer is more mellow in her writing than Dr. Amy and she has good things to say. I find her thoughts so similar to mine. Here is her link if you are curious: http://whatifsandfears.blogspot.com/

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  All this to say... I just can't support homebirth. I wish I could, but I can not. At all. (and yes, this is coming from a woman who once studied under Ina May Gaskin and her fellow midwives... aw, the humbling...).

Many of my friends choose to birth at home. That's why I was mostly scared to write this blog post (hurt feelings are the worst and totally NOT my intent). But I couldn't help but think that maybe they didn't know about the differences in statistic gathering or that they hadn't seen the recent reports from Oregon, Arizona, and Colorado (because so much is omitted in homebirth webstes) or maybe they never thought about some stuff I had not thought about previously, either. I hated saying to myself, "I didn't know." and I wanted to share because I don't want anyone to say that they didn't know or didn't understand because of my lack of courage.
   SO if you are one of those dear friends of mine reading this: I love you! I worry and I pray for you whenever I think of you and we do not have to talk about this stuff unless you want to in real life.

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 Anyway, this is not meant to be a debate blog or anything like that. Especially seeing as how I've been on both sides... Just a former homebirth trauma mama who had something on her heart and mind that she had to share, so she can feel at peace with herself.  Blessings, Raising Crops and Babies