April 27, 2010

Bottle Lamb

The Dorset breed is known for being good mothers to their lambs. Because of that fact, we have never had to bottle-raise a dorset lamb. We once had to bottle raise three Icelandic mix lambs whose mother either died or didn't have enough milk. We eventually gave them away to a homeschooling family for their children to raise. But...this rarely happens with Dorsets.

A week ago, Friday, April 16, Charlie checked a ewe before bedtime that was in labor and had probably been in labor for quite a while. He helped her deliver a huge 16 pound lamb. The lamb is a Dorset/Southdown Cross.  Most lambs weigh between 8 and 10 pounds. She seemed to be doing well on Saturday when this picture was taken.

She died on Sunday morning.  We began bottle feeding that day.  Bottle feeding a lamb is a "bittersweet" task.  "Bitter" because it takes so much time out of your day to be committed to feeding a lamb four times a day (at the beginning) and "Sweet" because it is such a good feeling to see that lamb grow and become attached to you.  Yes, our lamb thinks we are his mother.  He follows us around the barnyard and whenever he sees us out in the yard, he begins crying.  Instead of the usual "baa", this one seems to cry "maa".  Sounds like "MOMMMMM!".
These are some shots of the lamb last night that I took before we let him out to feed him.  I promise I took about 25 shots through the gate and only 3 came out.  He was soooo excited he just could not be still!

 This is him five minutes later being totally satisfied.

We will be bottle feeding this lamb for another month at least.  Stop by whenever you have a chance and we would be glad to share the duties.

April 24, 2010

MHBS Soccer Team and Families

Joseph is part of a wonderful team at Mars Hill Bible School:  the Varsity Soccer Team.  These guys have really worked hard and come together as a cohesive team.  They also have two awesome coaches:  Coach Daniel Dixon and Coach Bob Martin.

This photo was taken Tuesday night (with my cell phone) after an intense soccer game against a team that beat us the week before.  The final score this night was 5 to 2.  This was right after their group prayer.  Everyone was so excited!

Then Thursday night came....  We were playing a team that was not a great threat to us.  The game was very calm.  We were winning and the other team had not scored.

This was Joseph during the game.  He is a defensive player so he didn't have much action during the first half.  After the break, the opposing team was close to scoring a goal.  Joseph slid to kick the ball out of the way.  The referee blew his whistle and my son was awarded a red card.  (For those who are not soccer fans, a red card carries with it a stiff fine.)  Coaches and many friends have shared with us that the foul should have been a yellow card (or a verbal warning) neither of these carry a fine.  I and many others believe the referee was wayyyyyyyy out of line, but it is not something we can change.  There are many other issues about the referee that came up after the game, but my purpose in this post is not to crucify the referee instead share how something good can come out of a negative situation.

This is what the teammate's families did for Joseph:

They had a bake sale!  The mother's baked goodies and sold them on Thursday night during the game.  After the game, one of the mothers gave Joseph a popcorn bag full of money.  He counted it when he got home and they had raised $51.00!  What a great group of people showing a wonderful Christian example!  Joseph has much to be thankful for.

April 17, 2010

Nutritious Oatmeal Bran Muffins

I am not much of a sit-down-and-eat-breakfast type person.  I love sit-down-breakfasts, but in the real world I just don't plan out enough time.  I want as much sleep as I can get before leaving the house for the day.  I usually grab something on the run and eat it as I head out or after I get to work with my hot green tea.  The past few weeks I have been perfecting a recipe for healthy muffins.  This recipe actually came about by combining the better parts of three different recipes.  I finally have the consistency, sweetness, and taste down to where I really like them.  Since these muffins have bran in them, they are not light and fluffy, but they aren't too heavy either.  The sweetness is light, but you can always make them sweeter if you like. 

Nutritious Oatmeal Bran Muffins

Whisk together the following dry ingredients:

3/4 cup Oat Bran
3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup Rolled Oats
1/2 cup Brown Sugar, packed
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda

In a separate bowl, whisk together the following wet ingredients:

1/2 cup Plain Yogurt
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Egg
1/4 cup Milk
1/2 tsp Vanilla

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened.

Fold in the following add-ins:

1/3 cup Dried Sour Cherries
1/3 cup Toasted Walnuts
1/3 cup Dark Chocolate Chips

Fill muffin tins 2/3 full.  Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes.  Makes 10-12 muffins.

I know, I know!  Chocolate Chips aren't healthy!!  My excuse is that Dark Chocolate has antioxidants that your body needs and is really good for you in moderation.  This is your moderation for the day.

Seriously, you can change the three add-ins to whatever you would like:  Raisins, Dried Cranberries, Fresh Blueberries, or Banana for the fruits.  Any type of nuts you choose...or no nuts if that's not your thing.  Coconut might be nice.  You could try white chocolate, peanut butter, or milk chocolate chips. 

These are some notes about some of the ingredients:

Oat Bran - You can find this on the cereal aisle where the hot cereal is located.  Sometimes it is called Oat Bran Cereal.  You can substitute wheat bran if you like.  I like the milder flavor of the oat bran.  Be sure to freeze this ingredient if you aren't going to use it in a few weeks.  It will go rank and spoil if you don't.

Rolled Oats - I wanted oatmeal in these muffins besides the oat bran. I used the old-fashioned rolled oats instead of the quick-cooking oats. It takes your body longer to digest the rolled oats since they have not yet been processed. The harder something is to digest, the better it is for your digestive system and the slower the sugar gets into your system (glycemic index).  Feel free to use quick cooking oats if that is all you have.

Plain Yogurt - You could substitute sour cream, but then it wouldn't be as nutritious!  Plain Yogurt is a great substitute for sour cream in most recipes and can also take the place of buttermilk.  I buy a large tub and cook with it often.  It doesn't spoil too easily and will last for a few weeks.

Toasted Walnuts - I do toast my nuts before putting them into the recipe.  It really brings out the flavor.  I chop the nuts and throw them in a dry skillet over medium heat for just a few minutes.  Shake the pan occasionally to keep them from burning on one side.  When you start smelling them, they are done.  Hint:  I buy a huge bag of walnuts at Sam's and keep them in the freezer.  I take out a frozen handful, chop them, and then toast them. 


April 9, 2010

April 15

April 15, the deadline for filing your tax return, is a day dreaded by most Americans.  April 15 for accountants and tax preparers is a day that is looked forward to with great anticipation.  We call April 15 "The Last Day of Tax Season"  almost like you would call July 4 "The Fourth of July".  Only six more days until tax season is over.  Six more days until we will have the luxury of taking a few days off.  For me, that means staying at home and getting caught up on housework, laundry, finances (my own for a change), and beginning all of the spring chores that everyone else already started as soon as the weather warmed up.  The chores I am looking forward to this spring are:  planting our first real garden here (my husband has set aside an acre for this purpose!), sanding and painting our front door and sidelites, refinishing my grandmother's vanity, refinishing the mirror to Charlie's grandfather's dresser, painting the back porch....  I have such a long "to do" list that I will still be working hard come next spring!

Getting information ready for our tax return.

April 1, 2010

Jr/Sr Banquet - Mars Hill Bible School

Tonight is the Junior/Senior Banquet at the high school my son, Joseph attends...a really big night for him and his friends.  He escorted a friend this year that he has known for several years, Mikayla.  Mikayla and Joseph met Joseph's first year at Maywood Bible Camp here in Alabama and have been close friends ever since.  Below are several pictures made at the house of one of her friends.  The house was built on the river (Tennessee) and had beautiful fountains and scenery.

I thought the back of her dress and hairstyle was beautiful.

A close up.  I know they'll have a great time.

Kind of runs chills down your back, when you realize how much your children have grown.  We are proud.