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What Pandemic??

Farm life--and homeschool life--doesn't stop for a pandemic. Animals still have to eat. Fences still need to be repaired. Crops still need to be cared for and harvested. Kids still need to do lessons and chores. But not having to drive to extracurriculars and fine arts classes has been such a blessing for our family. As nervewracking as it has been to watch numbers go ever higher, watch our economy come to a screeching halt, see so much conflicting advice over masks or no masks, and witness the economical, physical, and emotional destruction this virus has had on our relationships with each other as members of the human race, I have been grateful for this forced season of rest. But I have completely neglected blogging and a couple other business-related matters in the process. I don't even know what day it is half the time anymore! Bit by bit, as I continue to adjust to the current situation--which I refuse to call a new normal, because there is absolutely nothing normal about such little human interaction and active avoidance of our fellow God-created brothers and sisters--I am re-prioritizing time and tasks, reorganizing, and purging--like many of you! So, here is what we've been up to the last few months!

During this pandemic, I have decided to make friends with my sewing machine. I am not a woman with a great deal of patience. I feel like God is trying to encourage me towards a greater level of patience--and giving me a glimpse of His sense of humor (which I don't always find quite so humorous!), by blessing me with my last three kiddos--all back to back (which I swore I'd never have back to back babies because that is just insane). To top that off, He gifted the oldest of these last three with a HIGH level of energy! My Lord certainly loves to keep me on my toes, keep me growing in faith in Him, and flooding me with His Grace and Mercy every single day. Adding in pandemic-sewing has certainly been an increase in patience-cultivating!! BUT, tadaaa! I made a really cute bag! I have a gathering apron that I like, but might tweak at some point. I have covered a few cushions. I made a bag. And of course since we're in the middle of this novel coronavirus, I have learned how to make masks. If I have to wear one, I may as well make some pretty ones. No pictures of those yet.

Our town hosts an annual parade and rodeo. We missed the rodeo yet again, but got great seats for the parade--all by ourselves on one side of the route, so no masks required! My 12 year old was in the parade while my oldest was at work (1st job!). But look at their cute faces enjoying the parade!!

This country boy has not a care in the world. When he has to go, he thinks nothing of dropping trou and peeing on a tree. No worries about neighbors seeing his hiney!

Little Miss CraftyPants found a busted guitar somewhere on the road. So she rescued it, and made it into a display shelf. Her imagination--and her curiosity--is endless! She is considering a future as a vet. So when I purchased a locally-raised chicken, and scooped out the neck and insides that were not in tiny bags like when you buy a grocery store chicken, she was fascinated! So what's a girl to do? Dissect the organs, of course!

Driver's Ed for this girl! And more gray hairs for mom!!

My three little musketeers certainly keep me on my toes. But the oldest of the three, the one with more energy than my other 4 children combined, is either hard at work, or working hard to take my house--and everything else on our property--apart bolt by brick by nail... Which makes him GREAT at mowing our gigantic backyard! Took him 3 days to finish it--but that kid persisted until he was done!

Here is part of our harvest! We ended up harvesting an additional 40 lbs of both purple and russet potatoes. We have corn growing, and sweet potato vines growing like crazy! Everything else got annihilated by my chickens. I have a couple escapee chickens that like to hang out in the garden, which keeps the bugs down. So I though my other chickens might enjoy a grasshopper feast as well. Which they did! But then they moved on to my pumpkins, cucumbers, zucchini, and bush beans. Doh!

4th of July sparklers at Grandma and Grandpa's! I didn't get a chance to take pictures of the other fireworks. Having only ever set off sparklers, the other fireworks shooting up, and me not knowing where they'd land, was exciting and a little nervewracking at the same time!

Look at this yummy food! Tomatoes from both our garden and my in-laws' garden; garlic rosemary french fries (rosemary from a friend, potatoes from our garden!!), and locally-sourced pork tenderloin. YUM.

My wild one LOVES farm life, and all the different tasks there are to do here. We measured our perimeter fencing, and inspected it for breaks and gaps, and places where it needs to be reinforced or replaced. This time, we actually recorded where repairs are needed!

It has been quite a task finding custom balers up here to return a phone call, much less come out and mow just half of our field at a time. So, over the course of the last year, we have purchased our own haymaking equipment, in addition to the tractor. For our purposes, and for me to be able to do some of this stuff--including grabbing bales for the goats--on my own, we decided to get a mini round baler. The mini rounds have the advantages of a regular round bale, in that they can sit out in the weather and not rot through, and they can be stacked close together without fear of spontaneous combustion--both drawbacks of square bales. But they have the advantage of the small square bales in that I can move them myself. So, here are a few of the bales all stacked up, with my wild man in front, for perspective!

My oldest is a mophead. And a dork.

We have new additions to our farm, with more on the way! 5 weaned nannies, and a yearling billy, from Gerhardt Ranch, down in Stephenville, TX. They obtained their herd from Crossed Arrows Ranch in Mineral Wells, TX (where we obtained our buck and three of our nannies), from Lynn Akers (another reputable breeder of the pure black Syfan line Spanish goats), and from Three Mill Ranch in Mountain Home, TX, which is the home of the Syfan family, the original breeders of this particular line of Spanish goats. Very excited to see how these goats grow, flesh out, and hopefully breed! The new buck will begin his "job" as goat baby daddy in November-December, which is when our born-here nannies will be ready to be bred, and our other 3 nannies--2 of which are currently expecting any day now--will be ready to breed back.

purple potato harvest! We've never grown potatoes before, so we are really excited for anything we get, much less enough for several meals for our larger-than-average family!!!!

Being in a rural town that is not under a mask order has allowed many things to remain normal-ish. Our city pool remains open, at 50% capacity, and even allowed swim lessons this year! They had fewer and smaller sessions, but what better place to be than in the sanitizing sun, swimming in a chlorinated pool?! These 2 shared an instructor, and improved so much! I wish I had a good picture of my youngest! Last year, he wouldn't even GET IN THE DADGUM POOL, unless I got in, too, which I refused to do. This year? He was READY, and now he's a swimming fool, for a little man!!

There is so much more, but I've probably bored you to tears enough, if you even made it this far! But alas, it is time for the student driver to drive herself to work, and for the teacher to hang on tight and pray!

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