Monday, March 31, 2008

Staking Out the Foundation

Dave came out last night to lay out the outline for our new house. He brought along two helpers.
How 'bout this for trust?!
View from our front porch!
How exciting to see a real beginning. Drew took his friend who is going to dig out the foundation and build the driveway up to see the site this morning. The man from the sewerage department is coming sometime this week. We have to apply for a permit to build a septic system. We are praying they will allow a traditional system with a tank and leech bed. It would be ten to fifteen thousand dollars cheaper than a sand mound. A sand mound is unsightly and a pain in the neck, often not functioning properly.
More later, nap time.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Time Flies or Grace Poured Out

Wow! Seems like just yesterday I was birthin' baby cows. Friday and Saturday have flown past with lightening speed.

I have been VERY busy the last few days...busy not drinking any COFFEE. I visited a few doctor earlier this week and he ordered a ton of tests. Yes, a real live ton. On Wednesday I had 27 tubes of blood drawn. The lab tech did not even get the joke about me needing a cooking and a glass of Orange Juice. Heh, lab rats. Anyway, the 12 hour fast prior to the blood draw, was not big deal since I slept threw 8 hours of it. Here comes the good part though, additionally, I had to give a urine sample. Minor graphic info to follow: the sample had to be collected for 24 hours. Yikes and double yuck! Drew misheard me when I first told him and he thought I was not allowed to pee for 24 hours. Oh yea, like that could happen.

To prepare for this grand mission I needed to fast...hold on, to fast alcohol (no problem), tea (no problem), vanilla (say what?), and yes...COFFEE. Coffee, can you imagine, me no coffee for three days. The very thought of it sent me into a near panic. Drew offered to send me to a hotel so no one else would have to deal with me. I feigned offense and should have taken him up on it, but then I would have missed all the excitement of the last days. No fun there.

Here's the thing though, I am on my way to sleep, pee in the morning and then have my first cup of coffee in four days. I survived. More than survived, it was not all that bad. A few times I caught a whiff of Drew's coffee and nearly broke over, but somehow I persevered. Truth be told, I know it was the Grace of God.

I drink a lot of coffee, way too much I am sure. I only had one headache, the first night. I have probably drank two gallons of hot chocolate, though it came nowhere near satisfying my need for a fix. Still the cravings were minimal and the real pain almost nonexistent. I know it was a miracle. I know it. I believe God used this in my life to show me that I can survive true hardship, OK...a bit of tongue in cheek. But physiologically, this should have been very difficult for me. I decided early on to not look at the grand scheme of the whole four days, but to only take one day or part of a day at a time. To break the ordeal down into manageable time periods. I ate a little extra dark chocolate. I don't drink soda, so Pepsi held not draw. It may have helped with the caffeine, but my coffee addiction goes way beyond a caffeine thing. I gracefully felt the Hand of God in my life easing me through the days.

I only had faith for the moment, for the day at hand, but that was all, enough, of what I needed. When we try to out worry the grace of God then we run in to trouble. Each day has enough worries of its own. Praise God for small lessons that teach us big things. Going without coffee, is not a true hardship, but to me it was difficult. But God is bigger than all our trials and loves us through even the most minuscule. His love shows no partiality to the big or large; He gently covers all.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What a Beautiful a Night

Above we have a calf only a few minutes old, below ah well, don't look if you're squeamish. The little guy was still a fetus. Ha,
Jer got his first experience at "pulling a calf". She tried for several minutes, maybe ten to fifteen when Drew knotted up a couple pieces of twine and made a makeshift set of pulling chains. He tied one piece of twine around each front leg, then he and I pulled, straight back and down a little. We waited until you could see #4 was pushing and then we pull. Jer and I switched places and they pulled and pulled. A little bit at a time the huge calf began to slide out of its straining mama. We could tell as soon as the head emerged that it was a BIG calf. I was so proud of Jer.

I had been to a meeting with some friends, worship and teaching; and feeling kinda up. I had told Drew I would run up to the barn and check on the cows. We had been waiting on this girl for several days. As soon as I turned the corner of the barn I saw the little black and white feet.

Tonight was incredible. I must get some sleep, as it is after midnight, but Jer asked me how it was to go from a worship meeting to birthing a cow. How could I answer otherwise, pretty darn good. The warm fuzzies are still buzzing through my heart and mind, but my body cries out for rest. It was a miracle and we got to be there. Possibly if we had not the new guy may not have made it. God's grace abounded tonight. How exciting to have been a witness and partaker or new life.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cute Baby Pics Coming

Yep, thems my grandbabies. And Allen of course.

Today we lost another baby calf. The mama gave birth to her in a sloppy gully where the water runs off the hill. Calves come out front hooves and nose first. She landed in the mud and drowned. All this death seems so senseless. This was a veteran mother she just picked a really lousy birthing room. Jer found her and she was still warm. A few moments earlier and we may have saved her.

Still, I know God is in control. We walk confident in His Grace and Mercy. Because He promises, I know He will redeem our losses and bind up our grieving hearts. Even though we have challenging trials, we continue to work hard with our living animals. Kia Sunrise is struggling and Drew gave her a couple shots and some stomach medicine. She seemed better already. We sent out to the feedlot the two mothers we had with our little orphan Annie, or 1A as she is now tagged. The cow who lost her baby this morning is the new adopted mother. The other two; 6 & 7(Cheeseburger) were already marked as meat, so we are hoping #1, who we plan on keeping, will take on this poor foster calf. Its an arithmetic thing.
OK, must get some sleep.
Jesus Reigns Supreme

Death Surrounds; LIFE Abounds

Story to follow at eleven...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Kia Sunrise

We had a live birth this morning. Probably while Drew was at the sunrise service at the Plumcreek Brethren Church across our creek this morning. A huge black, gray, and white, mama cow gave birth to the sweetest little red heifer. Drew named her Kia Sunrise. Her mama's nickname is Kia, because she is a Kia/Angus cross breed. Interestingly, Drew does not usually name the cows; Jer has some tag for most of them, but typically Drew sticks to the numbers. We have 5, and 12, and 50. We have a 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. Ha. Number 7 is an old Kia baby. She is the one I have nicknamed, "Cheeseburger" because she bunted me across the shed the other day. Heh...we all know where she is going. Yes Rob, she is MEAT!!

Below is a picture of Jer flying a kite, on the hillside just below where we are going to build our new home. The woods behind and to the left will be directly, like 20 feet, behind our sun porch at the rear of the house, which will be accessed from the kitchen and our master bedroom. The house will face the west and south, overlooking at least half the new farm. The cow barn and pastures will be to the front and lower left of the front porch, and the horses will be due west, or to the right of the house.
The living room and dining room will have excellent views of the farm and because of the height of the property we will be able to see as far as 422 west of Elderton. The sun will set in that direction and be able to be enjoyed from almost anywhere on the farm, but most visibly from the front porch and living room. Also from the master suite, which will include a sitting area, walk-in-closet, and shower ROOM with a ceiling mounted rain shower head. No tub, since I cannot climb in and out of one anyways.

Jer's room, a library, mudroom/cloak room, and a large laundry room that is not also a bathroom. The living room, dining room, and kitchen will be kind of a large open area, with hardwood floors and tongue and groove paneling on the walls, stained a rustic green in the dining/kitchen area, and sort of butter yellow in the living room. Huge windows in the living room to catch the great view and let in lots of vitamin D. NO dead animals or dead animal parts are allowed on the walls, but lots of period lighting, furnishings, and accessories throughout. Late 1900's farm/ranch, the upscale type. Think Ponderosa. Of course.

Saturday morning before I had fifteen people in my home, the old one, for Easter dinner; we had our biggest farm tragedy yet this spring. Drew called me at around 7:15, he had just pulled the feet of a dead bull calf out of the heifer we have been watching all week. She was in the barn because we had been concerned she would have trouble. We had checked one her around nine-thirty the night before and she seemed fine. Because of tonight's late hour, and the gore of the details, just let me say a lot or her that should of stayed in: came out. The calf was completely born, it had not been unable to crawl away, and the mom was paralysed from the hips down.
Climbing out of a deep groggy sleep, I made coffee, collected some cow drugs, clean rags, and extra gloves.
Filled the thermos and lumbered to the truck. Waking up FAST is not an easy task for me. Drew and I got her up with her legs under her, a better position, and propped hay bales around her to keep her upright.
The vet came. We all worked hard. The little mama seemed to rally and was coming around. (the vet got all the "stuff" back in) Nuff said. She was getting an IV and perking up, when she shuddered a few times and passed away. Our dear young vet stood up and said a cuss word. I walked away. Drew leaned back on a post. She was gone just like that.

This weekend we celebrate LIFE because Jesus died and yet lived. So though we were dead we can yet live. And, I believe we can live abundantly; not based on what happens in our lives, for good or for bad. But because a simple country carpenter, was the God of the Universe, and He lived, and died; as a man and as our Saviour. Who can understand it? Not I. But I know it to be true. My life depends on it...on His Life, on His Death. I can rest. I can cry. I can cook, and I can serve. Can have dinner with my young men, their women, and my man. We laugh. We hope. I sin, and I repent. I love my God, and I love my life.

I took this picture a little later after we lost our heifer because these cows made me laugh. I call it "Chop on my Face" and I think it is funny. Drew has a picture of me sitting on some hay bales leaning into our suffering cow. I was trying to help her stay on her belly. I'll not post it. This weekend we Celebrate.

Been Gone too Long

I know I have been away too long. I am going to nap now but will be full of exciting info and updates after while. Big family meal yesteday, cow stuff, shopping with Drew, and yes I will give some thoughts on my new home. Happy Easter Sunday Afternoon!!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

More Down on the Farm

He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, .I KNOW that He will care for me..
Look closely, they are fighting. Must have forgotten who owns them.
Phots by Nathaniel Kimmel

Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday at the Cow Farm

Today was an exciting day. My vet was here this morning. Poco, Jer's pony's eyes were swollen huge this morning, couldn't even see his eyeballs. Turns out it is probably an allergic reaction of some sort. We got some drops and other medicine to give him for a few days. He seems better already this evening; good enough for me to ride for a little while. Janet and Joey, and Jer and Sonny rode up on the hill until I was able to join them.

I had been at the cow farm dealing with a new calf that was born this morning. We were concerned at first that she may not have been feeding or caring for it. We chased the mom all over the hill trying to get her into the barn so we could make sure she was going to nurse the new little bull calf. Drew and I even tried to bottle feed the baby to make sure he got something to eat. His total lack of interest in the milk replacer gave hint to the hope that he had eaten and was better off than we had assumed. I had prayed that God would help the situation to improve and that Drew would see God's goodness and mercy. Just as we were getting into the trucks to head home Ned and Drew caught sight of the baby and mama together; she was licking its back and our new bull was eating heartily.

Dinner was not served until nine this evening, so despite the late hour I am still awake. Time to change that situation. Good night and God Bless you and yours.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Rainy Days n Fridays

No picture today. I am beat. Our adopted baby is doing better, better as in her mama is going quietly into the head gate and kicking at her less passionately. We had two vets at our barn today. They recomended giving her a bottle of milk replacer, calf baby formula,t once a day and to keep sticking her on the mama.

The vets were here today because we had another calf stuck this afternoon. He was a big fella, brave too. He and his mama fought very hard to save his life, but in the end it was not to be. He was all birthed except for his hind quarters. He lay in the hay while Drew and two vets pulled and twisted trying to get his hips released. He blinked a few times and was gone. The pulling chains were moved from his tiny, well not tiny enough, front feet, to his rib cage. Soon the little balck bull with a white belly him lay limp on the shed floor. All attention was turned to the mother who was still down and not moving. We know now that she may have a few pinched nerves that could keep her down for a few days. She should recover. Still she is a small cow and probably will not be rebred. We will feed her out and send her to the butcher. Kind of a sad ending to such a brave little cow.

Another day walking in His Mercy and Trusting His Goodness. Farm life.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Me Make Fun?

Truely Vic, if I was gonna make fun of someone, it would be Robert. Well, I guess there was the whole cow/horse thing. But hey, your neurosis are you problem, I have way enough of my own. Any time you want to slip back into being "Tori" is OK by me. We all need an official alter ego; it just saves time. No sense in pretending.

Below are our two new calves. The little red with a black mama is a replacement for the one we lost. We are working and praying to get #6 to accept the little girl. So far we still have to tie her and twist her tail up over her back (really) to get her to let the wee one nurse. But she is not kicking it near so much as the first day. The second pic is the Big and Little Red, the players in the hillside birth. Both are doing very well. Adopted red is a third the size as "Little Red" and she is three weeks old, not having a mother and only having been bottle fed she is much behind were she should be. It is super way past my bed time. So no profound or funny stories for tonight. Wanted to get the babies pictures up. Too cute huh?

ps notice the tag in "Little Red's" ear...its bigger than her ear :}

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Protection Plus

Due to the recent spam comments I have enabled the word verification system. Lets see if this keeps out nasty intruders. Thanks. Any problems, email me.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Read next post first...

If you are stopping by for the first time today skip back and read what was writted earlier first. Like chapter one.

Chapter two
Rob, the quality is bad, but you still may want to avoid the picture.

We lost our first calf of the season this morning. The vet is pulling a very large bull calf from a very young mama, a worst case scenario. Had the calf been smaller or the first year cow larger a different outcome may have come to pass. A very disappointing first birth.
Only a few hours later our second calf of the year arrived, a healthy red heifer (baby girl cow). The poor little girl in her efforts to stand and nurse kept rolling down the hill much to the chagrin of her bawling mama. Red as she is affectionately called gave birth on a very steep, very goopy hillside. Drew carried the baby up to the back of the barn where we made a little nursery area. They have no roof, but the ground is level and firm. Little Red, or Fire as Jer calls her is strong and nursing off of her third year mama.

While I was toweling off our new baby and coaxing it to stand a two year old steer (neutered boy cow) kept trying to lick my face and chew on my hair. Drew has pics and I will try and post them later. Typically by now this guy would have already taken the long ride to the butcher shop, but because he was a bottle fed orphan his growth is retarded and he is still hardly big enough to produce a very large steak. He has always been a bit of a pet so who knows his future. I am sure he has heard the rumors and was "licking up" today.

As a side note our vet is a home school graduate from Marion Center who attended Penn state and then Cornell University for his vet training. A circle of life kind of thing. All so interesting after this mornings musings that the day would take these kinds of turns. And in the end, a peace reigns. I am sure God is pleased with the day He has make. I am.

New List

I erased Cool's name from the dry erase board in the feed room today. I moved everyone under her up a space. It was not as momentous as I had expected. Just a new season. Passing from one era to the next always means leaving behind and forging ahead. God promises Good will come. In faith I wait.

As spring approaches new life is always around the corner.
I had dug up a bunch of spring bulbs last fall/summer thinking I would replant them somewhere else. I left them lay until they appeared ruined. Thinking I could go ahead and stick them in the ground somewhere I put them away in a safe place. Guessed right? I have no idea where they are. The other day I was heading to the house from the barn. I bent over to clean some leaves and dead stuff out of a the flower bed by the back deck. Searching for signs of new life, daisy spouts or whatever might give a hint towards coming sunshine; what did I see? Yep, several surviving daffodil or tulips or whatever are poking their green heads up out of the frozen ground. I am not sure what will bloom, but despite my carelessness God has redeemed my blunder and allowed fresh growth to appear. As always He is the Creator Redeemer. And I am forever grateful.

Truth be told, their is much in this spring that will bring change in my life. Today I wait for my Jesus to redeem, restore, rebuild, and renew all that lies behind. And with each passing day in the new adventures that are unfolding I trust He will provide courage, mercy, and strength.

Friday, March 07, 2008


Pay attention Vic...this is a cow. I am wondering maybe your screen the contrast or color adjusted. It is a PC so I guess I can see where you might make the mistake, but sheeesh. I may need to send Poco for therapeutic counsel; he is so distraught. I can only say I am glad it was not one of my hormonal mares, especially the filly who caught the dig. I would have to order horsey Midol by the case lot.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Poco n Me Along Plumcreek

Started out as a simple trot around the ring; until I decided to take a stroll around the yard, which led to a tromp across the snow covered corn field, and then a walk along the creek bank. Wow! What a morning. And the Glory of the Lord shown, and rippled, and chirped all around.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sunday Night Lights

The Florida gang in front of one of our favorite restaurants

Oops, just published before I wrote anything. Silly me. I have already backspaced four times and not written twenty words. May be a brief post. Here at Stillwater Farms the lights this Sunday night are dim. Drew is watching rural TV at its best, Jer has retired for the evening and I am due to follow shortly. My energy meter ran out early today and a long nap and two cups of coffe could not refuel it. No worries.

Sadly I missed the benift concert for Ian. I wimped out due to the weather, well there was another reason. Jer had friends over who were going to go with us. Plans changed and they had to go home early so their dad coming to pick them up would conflict with us being in town. The combination of that and everyone being Friday tired kept the Drew Kimmel clan at home. I heard that the concert was a huge success and that many $$ were raised. Praise God!!

I am going to start serious work on preparing to move this week. I may not get past the planning stage, but even that would be a real step in a positive direction. We have lived here over 22 years. Hard to believe really. I had never lived anywhere more than four years prior to this. Compound my 22 years times six other people's stuff and you may have an idea what I am up against. Even with two and one half of the seven having moved out, very little of their "stuff" went with them.

I need to be gentle with myself this week though. Jer has two basketball games, a practice; I have home group, and a doctors appointment. Monday after school we go straight to the Murphy's for Jer's tutoring. Yikes. But Lynne and I have a small plans for Wednesday and Friday morning. Lynn is the woman who has been helping me around the house. OK, she cleans, does laundry and all the other tasks that I don't do. Ali still gets my groceries and comes in a few hours a week but her growing family and work load keeps her from working the hours I need/want. I have already been going from room to room making mental lists of what I want to move and what is going to the garbage or to a moving sale. Considering my mental capacity I would do well to commit theses lists to print of paper.

Nine thirty, time for me to shut off the lights completely. Thank you Lord for being patient with me today. Thank you for a good word this morning from Mark. Thank you for a wonderful family and great friends. Bring all my sons into your Kingdom. In your Name,