Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

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This was one of my random selections at B&N...I was intrigued by the cover and then when I saw a WWII setting and an endorsement from the author of the Orphan Train, I had to buy it.  It's a really good book.  I gave it 4 out of 5 stars and what kept me from giving it 5 was that I felt a few storylines were rushed and could have been developed more.  That being said, I don't think you will be disappointed if you read this book especially if you like WWII books.

Summary from amazon.com:
A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan's Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival 
Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night. 
Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

One Big Happy Family

No one knows who predator or prey is around here...but it took a lot of work and patience to get here!
To get all your animals to live together in peace and harmony, it takes WORK on your part.  LOTS of training sessions and LOTS of patience.  The hardest for us was Bubba Bear, but if he can do it, any dog can!!  The payoff for all the hard work is worth it. It sure makes life easier when everyone can be out together!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Just another Monday on the Farm

Today was one of those afternoons where everywhere I looked was a beautiful or cute moment!  
These two got some halter training...I'm determined this time!  Still don't have a halter that fits...it's not as easy as you think!
Checked on the bees...all good there!  Day 2 and good activity! :)
Enjoyed watching these two play together OUTSIDE!  Katniss is doing great!
This afternoon was mainly "goat spa" time!  
Time to trim up hooves...some are easier than others!! LOL!  Poor Crackle, we have to make him pass out and then do his when his feet are in the air! LOL!
LOVE these two!!  LOVE!
We also removed ear tags today.  Look at those cute tag-free basset hound ears!!  Adorable!!!
Crackle forgave us!  I promise he is smiling in this picture...look at him!  With his little beard!
How do you reward a goat for letting you do their feet?  You hold down a fresh branch from a tree and let them "go to town".  Haha!
You see those donkeys in the background drinking out of my pond that they wouldn't use UNTIL I turned it into a pond?!?  Those two...

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Bee Day!

Big Bear was so nervous and excited to get his bees yesterday that he literally spent ALL day at Bee Day out at Bemis Bee Farm.
Every hour on the hour was a different set of presentations.  LOTS of knowledge to be shared and had on beekeeping.
Here are all the nucs lined up to go to homes at 4:30 pm. 
 Luckily, he has a friend from church starting out in the bee business at the same time, so he has someone to go to all this stuff with...my brain can't hold all the information needed for bees. LOL!
And I adore his wife and daughter (who I taught in Sunday School for 2 years), so we stopped in to have lunch and go to ONE class.  Not stay all day! :)
He got home later in the afternoon and of course it was raining, but the bees must still be released into their new home.  So...we started preparing!
The wax frames in the deep box:
Getting the smoker ready to smoke the bees to calm them:
 Spraying each wax frame with sugar water to entice the bees...
And, this is the part where I back Waaaay up! LOL!
Looking for the queen:
Going in their new home:
Adding the sugar water to the top feeder:
And all set...now we hope for the best!
My beekeeper...look at his bees on his jacket! :)

We have an estimated 30,000 Russian honeybees.  Start up costs were about $520. (Not near the start up for chickens! ha!) Day 1 went well and all looks good so far.  No stings to date! LOL!

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

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This was my Book of the Month Club pick for April and I typically don't do non-fiction, but the write-up on this one intrigued me.  This is what I love about BOTM club, it gets me to read books that I might not pick up otherwise.  I was fascinated (and appalled) at the history I learned in this book.  I had never heard of the Osage murders and now I can't stop thinking about the politics and corruption. This is worth a read. 

Summary from amazon.com:
In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
      Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances. 
      In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the “Phantom Terror,” roamed—many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection.  Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. 
      In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling, but also emotionally devastating.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wordless Wednesday


Beauty and the Beast

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This was our library book club pick of the month.  It was at our Spring Book Fair, and even though there isn't an accelerated reader test yet (gasp!), we voted to buy it and read it.  As a bonus, the Top 20 AR points in the school got to go see the movie with me last week.  Great book!  Highly recommend it!!  It would be fun to read together and compare to the movie because there are only very slight differences.  It's like a scavenger hunt to find them. :)

Summary from B&N:
Belle has dreamt of adventures like the ones she reads in her books, of traveling the world outside her small town. But when Belle's father is taken prisoner by a beast in an enchanted castle, her path is forever changed. Enjoy this tale as old as time about adventure and love, about looking past first appearances, and about the inner Beauty and Beast in all of us

Monday, April 17, 2017

How to Make a Pond out of Galvanized Tub

1. Level the ground under the tub.  Make sure level from front to back and side to side.  I used a pick axe and and "drew" a line around perimeter then dug out and moved dirt, then put tub back in the spot to see if I was level.  Repeat until level all around.
2. After I was level, I put a bunch of rocks in the bottom that I found laying around.  And, put two landscape bricks in the middle to build up a spot for the pump.  At this point, I have spent zero dollars because this water trough has sat unused since we moved in.  The donkeys refuse to drink out of it. :)

3. Fill with water.  Periodically checking that you are staying level as you add water.
4. Let water sit for a few days to get chlorine out.  
5. Add pond pump (about $100).  Then, hide electrical wires. I used a log behind the tub and then ran the wire under the siding to the plug in.  I will bury the line that goes across the dirt.
5. Add a few water plants (about $17).  I got one tall one and one that floats on top and will spread.  I put a tall block on one end of tub to make a shelf for the tall plant to sit on.
6.  Add goldfish.  I added 6 to see how it goes first. :)  ($12)

And presto!  A pond that required NO DIGGING! 
Cost for me was only $130 because I used mostly things I already had going unused and put them to a new use. :)
And, those donkeys that refused to drink out of it before...well, you know what happened...of course they are drinking out of it now! LOL!
Here they are running off! Busted!
I did discover in my research for this that if you have the big horse/cattle water troughs, it is actually recommended to add goldfish to them to help keep algae down.  Interesting...

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Lots of little blessings :)

Lots can happen in just a few days! :)
Thursday night, I visited a farm and got to meet baby goats!!!  Let me tell you, pictures do NOT do them justice for how cute or how small they are!!  This is the family that gave us Pop and Cap'n Crunch...so don't be surprised if this little fella ends up here one day! LOL!
They were simply adorable!!
Friday, I finished up a project that I started on last weekend.  My new pond!  I have had a backyard pond at the past two houses I have lived in.  Our previous house is now a rent house for us and I went over to help the new renter get the pond going and it made me miss having one...so I took to Pinterest and found this idea.  I had a horse trough just going to waste because the donkeys wouldn't use it.  So, presto!  (More on the how to later)
We now have 6 goldfish too! :)
Saturday, I was able to visit another farm.  Loving these connections I'm making!  This farm has great danes and miniature horses!!  LOVE!! My favorite is the chunky grey one named Pickles!!
While I was farm hopping, Big Bear was in all-day beekeeping class.  He came home totally pumped about our next adventure.  (more on that to come too!)
We've been working today on the finishing touches to the bee area.  Trying to kill off grass before they get here so we don't have to weedeat or mow by them!  Apparently that ticks them off! LOL!  Can't have angry bees!  
We also decided on an electric fence to keep the donkeys away from the hives.  Big Bear's sister gave us one recently and we think it just might do the trick!
It's another busy week ahead...and then the bees come!  At that point, I will just lose count of how many critters we have! LOL!

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

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I liked her first book better, but this one was good too.  A little too slow starting out, but it satisfied by need for a "who done it" book without being obvious and keeping me guessing.  I struggled with what to rate it and ended up giving a 4 out of 5 stars...it's probably more of a 3.5.  Try it for yourself.  It's not a time waster for sure.

Summary from amazon.com:
When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it's there. There's no explanation: just a grainy image, a website address and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it's just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.
Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .
I See You is an edge-of-your-seat, page-turning psychological thriller from one of the most exciting and successful British debut talents of 2015


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

My peace...

Oh, Cap'n Crunch, I am smitten with that face and those ears already!
At church tonight, we were asked to close our eyes and picture a place in our mind.  Any place.  It was no surprise to my husband that I chose to sit in the goat pen. :)  So, in my mind, I am sitting in the green grass "criss-cross-applesauce" in the middle of the goat pen.  
Then, they said, ask Jesus to join you.  Easy!  How joyful to share my joy with Jesus!!
Then, "What would you say to Jesus?"  I said, "Thank you.  Thank you for this beauty and peace you surround me with daily. I love my life.  I love the honest work that goes into having this land and caring for these animals.  Thank you for the joy each one your critters has brought me.  Thank you for entrusting me to care for them.  Thank you for your sacrifice and always being with me and caring for me."
Then, they asked, "What did Jesus say to you? Be still and listen."  
All you have was a gift from me to you.  It makes me happy to see you happy.  I take care of the birds of the air.  They want for nothing.  I will take care of you.  Do not worry or fear.  I am always with you.  Enjoy my gift and share it with others.
 I pray we all stop and remember the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made for us this week.  Friday is not a "good" day...it is a day to reflect on what God has done for us.  It is a day to thank Him.  A day to be with him.  In his word. In prayer.  Be still.  Listen.  
The good is that we know what is coming...we know what Sunday brings...He LIVES!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Meet Cap'n Crunch!

The newest Benson has arrived!  Yay!  He is from the same family we got Pop from!  Look at that baby face!
His show goat days are behind him now and he is officially in retirement to live out his days on the farm.  His brother, Pop, who retired last year finally has someone his own size!! 
 This is their first momma and she was happy to see both of her boys getting to live together and know they were in a good, loving home. 

It was a stormy, rainy late afternoon but he seems to be fitting right in....with a few head butts from Pop!
And, we officially have a full goat house! LOL!
I bribed them with hay to get out of the rain!
Gotcha Day for Sampson, now Cap'n Crunch ~ April 10, 2017