Our good friends Todd and Kristie and their boys came over and helped us milk Buttercup last night.
This is the milk machine all set up and ready to go. I don't have a good shot of the machine actually on the cow. I'll get that soon, because I'm sure you're just dying to see it.Todd grew up using a milking machine to milk their family cows, so he gave us some pointers on ours, which we have put into good use. He's one of the few people we know that did farming when they were growing up, that wants to do it now as an adult with their children. But that's a subject for another discussion...
After the milking was done, it was time to feed the calf. Yes! He has not yet perished, and we're still on a roll!Each of the boys took a turn feeding Slobber-face. This is Parker. I might as well introduce him now, and note well, because Parker and Libby have known for the last four years that they are intended for each other and will without a doubt get married when they get old enough. Ask either one who they will marry, and there is no hesitation in their answer. It's quite entertaining!
Anyone that comes in from feeding Slobber-face agrees that this is a particularly apt name for this calf. After we got done with the milking, we went over to Todd and Kristie's and just spent the night talking. She was due with their 5th yesterday, so what more need be said? They are such great friends - we love them so much.
I forgot to report that on Wednesday, we took Natalie (the Jersey cow we've been milking by hand) back to Lane and Tammy's. We milked her for about six weeks, four of which were with Buttercup also. Before she left, I patted her on the back and said, "Good job sister!" It has been nice just to have Buttercup to milk!
Soccer started bright and early this morning. Bruce, Josh, Joseph and Jesse all refereed games today. Whenever they referee the younger kids' games, there are funny stories to tell. Jesse said in a U-6 game a boy and a girl were skipping down the field holding hands!
And Joseph had to call a hand ball on blue right in front of yellow's own goal. So yellow was supposed to kick the other way. When Joseph said, "Yellow kick!", nobody did anything for a minute, and then a yellow kid came barging in and kicked the ball right into his own goal! We get to laughing so hard about these games.
I needed it because Mary and I had a TOUGH game today. Sheesh. By halftime I was just wishing it would be over. Most painful for me was that a lot of what hurt us was lack of conditioning, which, as a coach, is my responsibility. It was one of those cases where going "easy" on the girls ends up hurting them more than helping. Lesson learned, I hope!
Peter had his first soccer game today and played great defense. One time as a forward, he had an open shot about five feet from the goal, and managed to do a chip shot right over the top of the goal. Ha ha. We had a good laugh (him included) about that one too.
Guess what we did today?!? We actually did it - unbelievable - we did the early spring planting for our garden today. This year Bruce is on the bandwagon, and the garden has become a joint family project, whereas in the past, the garden has been left up to me, and frankly, it just didn't happen.
That's why I'm so excited about the garden. Somebody else is doing it!!
No, just kidding. We're all doing it together. But having Bruce involved is SUCH a good thing. :)
We are using two methods.
This is a raised bed that Bruce and Peter built. They filled it all with dirt that was straight from our compost pit that has been going since we moved here 9 years ago. The dirt looks awesome!! I'm a bit concerned that it will be too "hot" because of all the manure, but I guess we'll see. I know you can buy one of those pH testers for the soil, but haven't wanted to spend the money on it. I'm also worried about the weed barrier Bruce put down underneath the raised bed. I know carrots need a deep root system, but I don't know about anything else we planted. This is a 4'x8' bed that is a foot deep. In the green bag we planted five red seed potatoes. This is supposed to be a good method for growing potatoes. There is a flap on the side of the bag that you can open and check on how the potatoes are doing.
We planted Lake Lettuce (I think that was the name), Romaine lettuce, onions, and spinach here. Are the onions supposed to be spread out, or do you plant them just in the clump like that? I bought all these as starts. Anyone know?
We had a memorable moment, Bruce & I, Jesse, Mary, Peter and Libby, sitting around this raised bed and looking at the freshly planted starts, chatting about the plants, who was going to take care of what, and different stuff. It was one of those moments of unplanned, spontaneous family time that you want to put a capsule around and just keep in a special place in your memory.
Jesse and I worked on planting this cherry tomato plant upside down. Another interesting method that I'll report on later! It's supposed to work really well because the bag keeps the soil and water warm inside and the roots grow well. We'll bring it in until the last snow goes off of the local ski resort (that is the old-timers marker for when you can plant without danger of frost.)
The other method is just the regular rows. We planted two rows of peas. Bruce and Peter added some of that good compost over the top of the rows. We had a very kind ward member, Alan, come and rototill this part of the garden for us. Thank you! It had compost on it from previous applications that got rototilled in. Peter helped Bruce so much this weekend with all these jobs.
And then here's what he did for me tonight - he made this butter all by himself!! Well, with a little help from Buttercup, of course, and the milkers yesterday, but from the time the cream was skimmed into the jar to the finished product, this was all Peter's doing. I was reading on the Internet about all kinds of churns, machines, etc. to shake up the cream, and I thought, "Why do I need those when I've got Peter?"
He begs to do it, and gets mad when anybody else wants a shake at it (literally)! And tonight he took it one step further and finished it off by pressing the buttermilk out of the butter until it was all finished. Good job Peter! And thanks for the butter we'll use tomorrow. (Does he realize he just worked himself into a new chore, I wonder?)
In the meantime cute little Miss Libby was writing in her Journal. She enjoyed hearing what we had written about her (the pitifully little we had written about her) when she was a baby and through the years. She was excited that she was old enough now to know how to write more.
And here's Bruce ready to try some straight cream on some Corn Chex.
He decided he liked just the regular milk better. Ha ha
The chicks are doing just fine! Bruce has them in an old, rusted out waterer (yes - this is a word in the farm world) in his shop. There are pine shavings on the bottom (they smell so good), and they have food, water and a heat lamp on them to keep them warm. Libby and Peter check on them just about every hour! FYI, I have been corrected on the names. The one at the top of the picture here is "Sunny", not Yellowie.
And Jesse likes to get her head in there with them. Ha ha
Saturday ended with the baptism of Erik and Sarah. Both of their families are good friends of ours, and Erik is my piano student. It was a baptism with a beautiful spirit present.
Jesse and I also enjoyed the Young Woman's broadcast. What a wonderful meeting! Sister Dalton quoted Winston Churchill, saying, "To every man (and young woman), there comes a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder, and offered a chance to do a very special thing unique to them. What a tragedy, if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour." Wow, that is so powerful to me. Her whole talk was powerful. I sensed the mantle of being the President of this organization in her talk. And Pres. Monson spoke powerfully as well. What a feast!
I am so grateful for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the way I feel when I attend these Church meetings. I feel the Spirit deeply, and feel such gratitude for it. I can't wait for General Conference!