Sunday Psalms

Sunday, July 20, 2014



The blameless spend their days under the Lord's care,
and their inheritance will endure forever.
Psalm 37:18

June Days

Friday, July 18, 2014

While it seems so far away & so much has happened since the changing of the calendar from June to July, it's always good for me to briefly record the happenings of the month if only for my personal record.  
June began with gorgeous, mild, winter days which slowly turned cooler until the end of the month which saw a freezing cold change showering the mountains with snow & us with bitterly cold days.  


Family:
The end of May saw me sick in bed & as often happens in families, the illness slowly wove it's way through the whole family with the exception of Dave.  How he missed it, I don't know.  He's touting good immune system ~ I say he's the carrier!  :)

My sister Cor arrived for a visit & we had a lovely time with her.  We even snuck in a girl's shopping trip which was a great break away from the normal!  We visited so many op shops that we were almost (note: almost) sick of them.  We had fun finding vintage records for our other sister who has an old/new record player.
  Unfortunately Zai came down with another vomiting bug while Cor was here & we sent her home with it.  I also came down with this one ( that was slightly different from the last) and spent the week after her visit in bed.  I don't believe we've ever had a month so filled with illness in our family.  I'm looking at natural ways to boost our immune systems so it doesn't happen again.

Chocco

Farm: 
We continue to milk Bessy daily.  She is still yielding well & providing both us & the pigs ( who get the leftovers) with enough milk to keep us all happy.  I had wondered if we would slowly see a decline in her production as we are only milking once a day, but she's been very consistent so far. By the end of June she was so used to our schedule that she no longer required locking up at night, but happily came for milking when called in the morning (often-times she is waiting for us).  We did leave her for one milking while we were at church camp.  I was really nervous about this, but everything I read said it should be alright.  It turns out she was fine although she gave us 18L at the next milking.  I watched her closely for signs of mastitis, but thankfully she hasn't had any problems.

One of last years poddy lambs with Eli!
The end of June also saw us watching Delores (our sow) closely as her udder began to fill in preparation for her third litter of piglets.  We never know exactly when she is due ( although this time we had a fairly good idea) so it is always exciting watching & waiting!  We also began to watch our sheep closely as they were due to lamb come July.  
We did have one ewe with major problems & in the end we knew she needed to be put down.  We decided to c-section her lamb in the hopes that it was strong enough to survive as a poddy.  Unfortunately what would have been one good sized lamb ended up being two preemie twins.   I was covered in amniotic fluid as I cuddled them in the freezing wind while we sped to the house to get them as warm as possible.  Sadly they died within the hour, snuggled together.  They were so early that they never even opened their eyes.  There was nothing we could do, but it's always hard to loose not just one animal, but three all in one night.
Twin preemie lambs all snuggled in together.

During June we had 9 eggs in the incubator & were able to successfully hatch 6 of them.  This is one more than last month & the children were so excited about their success.  Our other chicks continued to develop well & we moved them outside to ensure the smaller, warmer brooder was able to house this newest batch.

We excitedly watched our barley crop continue to grow.  This year we are using an Exhaust Fertiliser System which stimulates the biology in the soil.  This is in place ( at least for us) of any fertiliser.  We are so very pleased with the difference in the quality of the crop so far & we have been able to grow crop in places that have previously been bare ground.  Apparently the biology continues to be stimulated & you get even better results in subsequent years of using this system!
Our cats asleep in the sun!

Twin boys sitting in the sunniest place doing schoolwork :)

Homeschool:
Our NSW Board of Studies inspection occurred with very little warning early in the month.  In hindsight it was better that way as it's all over & done with & I don't have to spend weeks organising & rearranging & rewriting my learning program (which I am very likely to have done).  It was a rather intense time of writing though, as I had one weekend to be ready (all while manning vomit bowls).  We were approved for two years so I don't have to worry about this again until 2016 which sounds like a long way away, but I'm sure will be here before we know it. I'm thankful that they are happy with everything I'm doing.  Note to self:  Next time be ready for the inspection before you send in the reapplication letter.  

We had some branches grow from under the graft of one of our orange trees.  It turns out they are a bush lemon and are producing fruit!  
Garden:
My winter garden is making me believe that maybe I am not blessed with the 'black thumb' my husband has teased me about!  It is wonderful to have plants growing in the garden!  I am thankful for them & certainly no longer take it for granted.  We began to harvest the earliest salad greens in late June.  It was so nice to have garden fresh produce even if it isn't really salad season!


Kitchen:
We had quite a time of eating pancetta after the current lot of bacon ran out.  (We always make one slab of pancetta when we make bacon.)  We were regularly enjoying our homegrown eggs, homemade pancetta complete with coffee made with our home-produced milk for breakfast .  When we weren't eating pancetta, we were enjoying our beef & pork!  We are abundantly blessed to produce our own meat.    We also sampled our salami  (just the tiniest bit & no, it is not responsible for the vomiting), but found it much too soft.  We fried up that batch, but left the rest hanging in the cool room (modified fridge).


June was a month that has seemed to pass in a random flurry of activity, although there were certainly some days that lagged!  I am thankful to report we are all in good health again!

Have a lovely day friends
Blessings




8 + 8 =

Monday, July 14, 2014

a. A fun double birthday celebration!
b. Two boys who are growing up far too quickly!
c. Too much cake in the house!
d. All of the above

It's hard to believe that our precious twins have recently celebrated their 8th birthday!  Considering I began this blog when they were little 1 year olds, the years have certainly flown by.  These boys are best of friends and have so much fun together.  In fact both of their siblings wish they had an identical twin to share life with. Their bond with each other is amazing.  As a mother you are generally (at least during their childhood years) the closest person to your children, but these two have a bond that surpasses even that of a mother-child and while I have the same bond with each boy as I have with my other children, their twin bond is even stronger!


As the boys continue to grow & mature, it is so interesting watching their development.  At the moment they are at very similar levels in most areas. Physically they are very close in their development.  Mentally they seem to play catch up where one soars ahead & the other follows, but eventually catches up & often surpasses his brother who then will catch up.  It's going to be so interesting seeing them as adults ~ their similarities & differences!



As is our custom, we began the day before daylight with their 'birthday hunt'!  It's so much fun to put together the night before & come up with original clues for often 'not so original' hiding places.  I do try to at least make a couple that are different!



We took them to see the "Lego Movie" on their actual birthday.  Since the tiny local cinema was sold out of their one & only session of it ( on their birthday which would have been perfect had I known about the ability to prebook tickets...) we had to drive to the city an hour away.  I was so thankful that they only requested tacos for their dinner celebrations!  I certainly hadn't anticipated the extra drive to see the movie.  The cakes were subsequently decorated very quickly, but the boys were happy  (what boy isn't happy with cake??!!??).


These boys have always been such a blessing to us!  We are so thankful God decided to allow us these years with them.  
Happy Birthday Eli & Jud!

Blessings


Sunday Psalms

Sunday, July 13, 2014

It's been a while as life has been flying by in leaps & bounds, piglets, lambs, visitors & winter holidays....no time to spend in front of this computer & finish a complete blog post (although a few are half written and I hope to press the 'publish' button on them soon).



One thing that keeps me grounded when the hectic pace threatens to send me airborne is God's Word.  I am so thankful for the strength, peace & guidance it provides me with. I am currently reading through the Psalms.  I read this just the other day & find it's beauty, it's wisdom & it's counsel so applicable for me this week...



Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, 
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does 
not count against them 
and in whose spirit is no deceit.

You are my hiding place;
You will protect me from trouble and 
surround me with songs of deliverance.


I will instruct you and teach you 
in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye.

Many are the woes of the wicked, 
but the Lord's unfailing love surrounds 
the one who trusts in Him.

Psalm 32:1-2, 7-8, 10

How to get bitten by a friendly pig...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sometimes I have those moments...you know what I mean: those times when my amazing ability to proceed without any thought whatsoever surprises even me.  Those moments when the logic (that is generally so much a part of me) dissolves and I proceed ahead with something resembling total foolishness.
Long time readers may remember one such time when I wrote a matching post 'How to get bitten by a cow in one easy lesson'. Oh the thoughtlessness of that moment still stumps me. 

It seems that pigs like ashiatsu massage...

This was such a time..... 

To start with, it's important to point out that while pigs do not have a mouth full of sharp teeth, their jaws are incredibly strong.  Anyone who's had free ranging pigs will understand their ability to crush sticks with very little effort at all.  Their strength really is amazing, although I previously comprehended this with very little care, but that all changed when I found my arm in a pig's mouth.  Then, only then, did I truly tremble at the power of this amazing animal.

And goats enjoy climbing on anything that resembles a rock?
But I'm ahead of myself. "How?" You may ask, "How on earth did Renata end up with her arm in a pigs mouth?"  Well the answer is very simple really...the best (possibly only) way to get bitten by a very placid, very tame pig  is to simply put your arm into their feeding trough at feeding time.

It's amazing how they can co-exist together, both quite happily!
Oh, yes! As I said, lacking any prior thought and a complete loss of logic.

I did have my reason though.  While I obviously didn't think about the arm in the feeding trough, I did think about the mounds of left over whipped cream & butter mixtures that were stuck in the scrap bucket.  A good bang would have dislodged these & instead of wasting it on the ground away from the pigs as my children would do, I decided to bang it into the feeding trough.  Note: Sometimes the children are smart...

This went on for hours (although the goats are now locked in 'jail' as they got into my garden)!
Poor old Delores, our sow (who is again expecting piglets ~ we are so excited!!), has a decided loss of manners when it comes to food & was gorging herself in the daily race to eat as much as possible for herself of the multitudes of kitchen scraps, leftover dairy products & milk that compliments their free ranging diet.  Gorging is instinctual for a pig and it doesn't matter if there is one or 10 pigs, it is as fast & as much as possible in each mouthful.   She was happily eating at the pig trough, enjoying the left overs of the day when I reached into bang the bucket into the trough.  This happened as she took a bite, only this time instead of the pumpkin skins she was enjoying, it was a little more alive than she was hoping for.  She was certainly surprised at my scream as her jaw clamped.  Thankfully she had the presence of mind to let go (I'd hate to think otherwise).  I was able to scramble away & although the tingling travelling up & down my arm stayed for two days & the bruising has only just gone over 2 weeks later, I am happy to say I had very little injury for the experience. I'm only happy it wasn't Boris....
During last summer...Delores got out, but followed Zai right back to where she was meant to be!

And now you know why we do not keep lions here at Sunnyside, for surely, surely  I would have lost my head by now!

Have a happy, safe day friends
Blessings




May Days

Monday, June 9, 2014

As hard as summer tried to push us away, May turned on all it's charm & cajoled us into falling in love with Sunnyside all over again! It is hard to imagine that a more beautiful month could possibly exist.  The temperatures were unseasonably warm.  Not the scorching warmth of our true summers, but rather, warmth that reminded me of March days, warm enough to see us in t shirts & bare feet as we danced through a rare 'Indian summer' enjoying every moment of it! 


We  greeted each day early in the milking shed.  Every single morning the sunrises were just glorious (although this is not unique to May). It may have been because of the green beauty all around that we seemed to appreciate them so much more! 

The unseasonable warmth seemed to throw all the trees out of routine &  we are still seeing unexpected flowers around the farm.  Our orange tree is covered in blossoms as well as half grown fruit ( which should come to maturity in late winter, although they look a little small to me).  One of my favourite scents is orange blossom & I can't help but slow down each time I walk past the tree, enjoying the sweet aroma wafting in the breeze!

Albeit a little later than normal, I finally planted our winter garden  for this year.  We have been abundantly blessed with our garlic harvest the past few years & I was able to use some of the leftover garlic from our  2013 harvest as seed for this year.  We still have enough leftover in the pantry to tide us through until October which will mean 12 months of using just from our own harvest!

I also planted peas, silverbeet, kale, roquette, spinach & a selection of broccoli, cauliflower & cabbages.  I may have been slightly ambitious, but after summer's garden disaster of epic proportions (the only way I can describe gardening when the water runs out), I couldn't help but plant a few beds of green, growing things!  It is wonderful to see them all emerging. Even the weeding is less of a chore & more of a joy this year (although the above picture was taken before I did the weeding, thus the haphazard look of the garden beds that I like to generally be in neat rows.)!

Late in the month I transplanted some of our mint & planted some herb seeds in one of our new garden beds. Only time will tell at how successful this is as the soil really needs to be worked on.



We are still working out how to use the 10L of milk we are blessed with each day.  We are certainly enjoying the rich, jersey cream that generously tops the milk.  It is being made into all sorts of delicacies.  I am finding our butter is amazing to cook with as well as eat!  Tuesday is my kitchen day & each week I make a batch of slow cooker yoghurt, a batch of farmers cheese & some beautiful, yellow butter.  Whenever I have excessive cream I try to make extra butter to put into the freezer for leaner times.  This endeavour was very successful until I broke my food processor ( it seems they are not made to make numerous lots of butter one after the other).  We are still making butter, but I am after sometime a little more structurally enduring than the last machine.  
A typical sight come Tuesday afternoon ~ yoghurt in the slow cooker & cheese in the press!


We have also been using our borrowed cream separator since we currently have more than enough milk to justify using it ( & if you saw all the many parts that need washing up after you use one of these you would understand this statement).  
This produces the most amazing cream ~ ever!
What a blessing to have all of this milk to use for our family!  




Oh & in case you're wondering, our pigs are loving all the excess milk!


Another first for us happened this month.  We hatched our first lot of chicks from eggs collected from our flock of chickens.  It was so exciting seeing them hatch out after the anticipation & uncertainty with this being our first time.  I was worried I had cooked them as I was unaware of the correct location for the turning mechanism, but thankfully we successfully hatched 5 cute, healthy chicks.  We are fairly sure that three came from our Wyandotte hen & two from one of our Isa Browns (the other 6 hens were still producing their tiny 'first' eggs when we collected these).  So far we are crossing our fingers hoping for more layers than chicken dinners, but you never know!




We also looked after some poddy lambs for a friend.  It's a gentle reminder of the rush of  lambing season that will be upon us soon!  These guys were easy though ~ down to just two feeds a day before they even arrived here!

Homeschooling continued in all it's busyness.  It seems that the older the children get, the more fun it is though!  On the very last Friday of May our Board of Studies inspector called to let me know she would like to come out the following Monday for our registration inspection.  Since I wasn't expecting it until August (which is when my registration runs out) the last day of May was spent compiling proposed learning programs for the next two years.  (This included high school for Zai & Ellie (gulp).) I went through a whole ream of paper printing out learning programs & outcomes & so many other sheets to gain permission to educate my children at home.  It is a huge job, but in the end she was very happy with everything I proposed & gave us two years registration (which is the longest we can get).    

Science ~ studying convection.

Did I mention that a nasty vomiting/flu bug was making it's way through the family that week as well?  In fact I was up with a vomiting child the night before the registration.  In the end the children & I all came down with it, but thankfully Dave has managed to dodge it so far! (Zai is even into his second round as of last night ~ yuck).


May was a delightful month (well, except for the illness), filled with all manner of days that begged us to be 'outside' even when duty required us to be 'in'!  Many evenings lullabied us to sleep with light rainfall  ~ just enough to water the plants, although not fill the dams.  The local farmers are happy with such a wonderful start to the cropping season and we have entered winter with a new appreciation for this beautiful place we call home!

Have a lovely day
Blessings



Little Lads and Ladies of Virtue (Review & GIVEAWAY)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Teaching children good character should be a priority for most parents.  It is something that will help a child throughout their whole life. It is so sad when you see character lacking in an adult.  Recently I was given a review copy of a brand new character curriculum for the little people in our lives, Little Lads and Ladies of Virtue by Kathie Morrissey of The Character Corner.   
Little Lads and Ladies of Virtue is a character curriculum written especially for preschool & early primary school children. It is a Christian curriculum and assists parents in teaching Godly character to their young children.  Little Lads and Ladies of Virtue covers 24 different character traits throughout the six month course.  It is written to be used 5 days a week.  The lessons hold a selection of various activities.  The character trait definition and a corresponding memory verse are always taught at the start of the week .  This is followed by some "I will" sentences which assist the child in learning how to use this character in real life.  These are then reviewed daily with the goal that they will be fully memorised by the fifth day. The lessons also contain some practical teaching on what the character is & how it can be used in life.  Each lesson takes just 5 to 10 minutes and any addition materials required are easily located around the house.  A sweet colouring picture for each character trait is also included.



 Kathie Morrissey has also written a copywork book for school students to complement the curriculum .  This includes a short sentence for the student to replicate each day.  Throughout the week they will copy out the definition, memory verse & the 'I will' sentences that they are memorising.   


samples

I used Little Lads and Ladies of Virtue with my two littlest lads Eli & Jud.  My boys are at the top end of the age this is recommended for (they are eight).  I found it a wonderful tool to teach them character trait definitions which is something I've been wanting to do for a while.  I found the lessons were very easy to teach with minimal preparation.  Eli & Jud did find the copywork book very easy.  On the first day I didn't explain to complete just one sentence so they filled in two pages before I realised what was happening.  I only wish I had this curriculum and copywork book a few years ago so I could complete it with all four of my children. 


The Character Corner is celebrating the release of Little Lads and Ladies of Virtue by generously giving away one copy of Little Lads and Ladies: Preschool and Early Elementary Character Curriculum as well as one copy of the coordinating copywork book right here at Sunnyside Farm Fun.  To enter please use the rafflecopter form below.


The winner will be emailed & details will be passed to The Character Corner.

Have a wonderful day friends
Blessings

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Little Lads and Ladies of Virtue character curriculum and copywork book in exchange for my honest review of the product. 

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