Book Review: What Your Heart Needs For The Hard Days, by Holley Gerth

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Hello again blogworld! This post will be more of a straight-up book review. I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading this summer, and figured it was time to share some of it with you.

The latest: What Your Heart Needs For The Hard Days: 52 Encouraging Truths To Hold On To, by Holley Gerth.

This devotional really spoke to me. It is laid out in 52 short chapters with a theme of encouragement from the Psalms. Each chapter begins with a Scripture verse, followed by an application and a bit of explanation about what the verse can mean for us, in our own personal situations. Finally, each chapter ends with a short starting-point prayer. Then there is a blank space for you to write in your own prayer.

I really appreciated the format, because it wasn’t just a simple read-through-and-be-done type of devotional; it was interactive and encouraged me to actually delve into my heart and ponder what I have really been hearing from God and what I want to talk to Him about. I found it uplifting, comforting, and inspiring. I would highly recommend it to anyone in the market for a devotional.

Not everyone may find this book as wonderful as I did, but neither this book review nor this blog are about debating. I don’t find in the Bible anywhere God says to go around and ram our beliefs down other people’s throats, or beat them over the head with it if they happen to not agree with us on every point. Sharing something that someone, somewhere, someway, might be heartened by in any way is just that – sharing.

Happy reading!

A Crazy Garden And A Crazy Book Review By A Crazy Bandit

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Howdy again, fellow bloggers! Luckily I have not been swallowed alive by the jungle/rainforest/garden that is in my back yard. We’ve had weeks of rain. Grass is going crazy in the pastures (and the goats are fat and sleek), and the weeds have gone from the “wow, I should probably weed” stage to “I think I need a machete” to “OMG I CAN GO HUNT TIGERS IN THERE”. Overnight.

I’m not lazy. Not at all.

In the interest of being truthful, I did let it go far too long. Now it’s away too daunting to knock out in one afternoon. These aren’t just your local fluffy, store-brand, cute little weeds. Nope. We’re talking stalks taller than me (I’m 5′ 9-1/2″ barefooted) and showing no signs of slowing down. Don’t worry, pictures to come. This stuff is too good to not bombard my patient readers with photo after photo after photo… 🙂

I’ve done quite a bit of reading the last few months, too. One book in particular I really appreciated, and I’m going to write a review! So here goes:

It’s called Debt-Proof Living, by Mary Hunt. I would ABSOLUTELY recommend this book to anybody who is either working on getting out of debt, or just wanting to learn about money management. And most folks who know me well know that I don’t dispense praise lightly when reviewing books.

I expected it to be the “38 great new tips to help you save money!!” kind of book, but it was FAR more. The usual “tips” I find in money management literature tend to be things like “quit eating out”, “cut your cable package”, “don’t buy expensive clothes”, etc., none of which we do in the first place. We cook most of our food from scratch, bike to work, eat out maybe a few times a year, and don’t even own a television, mostly from personal preference.

However, we are currently working to get out of debt, and I found the ideas in this book super helpful. It goes beyond just tips, and it focuses on how to have a sound philosophy and lifestyle of money management. There are charts and plans included in the text that are easy to comprehend, and implementable for nearly any situation. You just scale it down to your own needs. The book explains a lot about what is both good and bad about credit cards, investing, loans, and much more.

According to the author, getting to the debt-free stage is not the finish line, but the starting line. Her philosophy makes a LOT of sense. It helps the reader formulate a plan to not only get out of debt, but STAY out of debt.

Plus, it’s well-written and easy to read. A big thumbs up for this book!

So there you go, Bandit readers! Until next time, go forth and have a wonderful day.

Summer Olympics: Bowling For Roosters; Or, The Tale Of Gad McBad

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Welcome back to the Bandit Ranch, tranquil home of the peaceful Bandit Rulers, where serenity reigns, goats rest in the shade chewing their cud, and chickens cluck contentedly as they peck and scratch for juicy bugs to eat.

Actually the serenity that reigns is more of an armed truce between various warring factions: the goats chase the chickens and the chickens chase each other.

And sometimes…

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…dun dun DUNNNN!!!!!!!…

…they chase…

"Everybody huddle! Ok, Bob, you and Joe go to the right. Dan and Bill to the left. While you make a distraction, I'll go straight in for the throat!"

“Everybody huddle! Ok, Bob, you and Joe go to the right. Dan and Bill to the left. While you make a distraction, I’ll go straight in for the throat!”

…US.

*cheerful farmy music plays in the background as the camera pans across a lively barnyard*

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Meet Gad. Yep, that’s right. A handsome Cochin-cross rooster, kindly bestowed on us by a neighbor. A chicken of prospective good fortune, formerly known as the Attacker Of Pet Poodles (which was why we inherited him), he who should be thankful that his probation was extended. I always wanted a Cochin, so we decided that, should he prove to be a good little bird, we would call him Gad. As in, “Leah said, ‘What good fortune! So she named him Gad.’ (Genesis 30:11)”.

So?

Not so.

The cheeky little 5-pound ball of fluff marched in like he owned the place. As the other chickens came running up to meet this new arrival, Gad struck a match on the seat of his pants, lit a cigarette, and loosened the guns in his holsters. Wanna piece of me, do ya! Okay, draw if you think you’re man enough!

Or more like… “SQUAAAAAAAAAWRK!!!!

When the feathers stopped flying, we had 6 little terrified baby hens climbing our legs to escape the fray, 7 thoroughly cowed young cockerels hiding in various places across the property, and 1 member of the Chicken Mafia looking around smugly. Served ’em right. Young whippersnappers. Calmly he dusted off his lapels and strolled away, his feathered legs the chicken equivalent of bell bottoms, the theme from Shaft playing in the background.

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“Yeah, I won the place in a crap game. Gotta problem with that?”

The lowly humans held their peace for the moment, until Gad began to bite the hands (and feet) that fed him.

A 5-month old, 5-pound rooster with no spurs yet can’t really do any serious damage. But once they get aggressive, there’s usually not much hope for rehab, especially with a chain-smoking, smack-talking snot like Gad McBad. I mean, just the detox would cost the taxpayers millions.

Gone were the days of happy chickens pecking in the yard. Gone were the days of the Bandit King and Queen setting foot outside the house without full body armor. Gone also were the days of the Bandits’ friends and family coming over to visit. Gad ruled with an iron claw.

One day the Bandit Queen went out to carry water to some of her goats. It would be only a quick trip, so she slipped on her sandals. The coast was clear, or so she thought. Casually Gad strolled around the corner, puffing on a cigarette.

Oh ho, time for some fun! thought he, flipping away the cigarette, and swaggered up to the Bandit Queen.

Let it here and henceforth be known that the Bandit Queen is a merciful ruler, and will let animals get away with all sorts of shenanigans because she is a softy.

Back to the action.

Looking like the chicken version of Riff from West Side Story, Gad tap-danced up cockily and homed in on the Bandit Queen’s bare toes. Being somewhat attached to those members, she cast about for an escape.

Gad was hovering between her and the house, his beady eyes glowing in triumphant glee.

What EVER would she DO?

Then

something

happened

in the

Bandit Queen’s

mind.

….

I don't own this wonderful gif

I don’t own this wonderful gif

Without a second thought, she upturned the bucket of water.

And a very surprised rooster got the first cold bath of his chickeny life.

What the… Why you mangy good for nothing human! We’ll find out who wears the pants around here!

To wit, the battle was joined. You know what they say about mud wrestling a pig. Who is going to be enjoying it? Thaaaat’s right. The Bandit Queen. In a very few short minutes, after being pelted with dirt, goat marbles, sticks, and anything else handy, Gad’s attitude went from…

I know what it means and I couldn't resist...don't own this one either

I know, I know, but I couldn’t resist…don’t own this one either

…to “OMG GET THE @#$& AWAY FROM THE CRAZY HUMAN!!!!!!”…

I don't own this

I don’t own this

…and he fled ignominiously (don’t you love that word) under a hail of dust and epithets (another one I love) from the Snarling, Foaming Wild Creature Formerly Known As The Bandit Queen.

Peace reigned.

The End.

Unfortunately, whether because of bad breeding or being made mean, Gad just wouldn’t be cured of his aggression. So off he went to Camp Macaroni, where he is currently resting calmly.

I own this one and I own it good.

I own this one and I own it like a boss.

Yum.

🙂

Saving Seeds From Lettuce

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My powerhouse lettuce plants have finally begun to go to seed. While I mourn the loss of any more sweet, tender, juicy leaves this spring, I am greedily awaiting the chance to gather up seeds from the plants for next season. My greenhouse lettuce has already produced seeds, so I’ve practiced in order to do it correctly when I collect seeds from my favorite plants outdoors. It is surprisingly easy to do, which I didn’t expect.

First we have this…

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…and then we have this…

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…in which the seed stalks have developed, as you can see by the weird looking branches on top of the tall plants. There are still leaves attached, but yeesh, are they bitter!

Lettuce plants produce ‘perfect’ flowers, meaning they have both male and female parts, and are self-pollinated. This means that cross-pollination between more than one plant is not required to collect viable seeds. (Score one for homesteading!)

Saving the seeds is a ‘hurry up and wait’ kind of affair. First you’ll see the stalks and flower heads form.

IMG_2514 flower buds forming

Then eventually they will put out a profusion of lovely yellow flowers.

Not the best picture. Taken a little too early, but you can see the yellow petals still furled

Not the best picture. Taken a little too early, but you can see the yellow petals still furled

Then the flowers will wither and die. When they fall off, the bases where they were attached will remain on the stalks, tightly closed. Gradually you will see some tiny little white fluff peeking out of the closed up places.

IMG_2522 fluff tails

Then the fluff will emerge, looking like dandelion fuzz. This is where you have to walk a tightrope – if you pick out the fuzz and seeds too early, they’ll be immature, but wait too long and they’ll fall off or blow away. Generally, I have found that once the flower base has opened wide enough so that the black seeds are clearly visible, rattling around loosely under their tails of fluff, they are ready to be collected, as in the photo below, toward the top left corner.

IMG_2525 seeds under fluff tails

There’s really no wrong way to do it. Either grab the fluff tails (carefully) and pull them out with the seeds attached, or pinch off the head at the base and carry it away. My preference is the latter, so that I can more easily separate the seeds from the chaff on a flat work surface. The seeds will be dry, so the only step left is to pick off the fluff tails (optional) and store them away in a labeled, sealed container, in a cool, dry place. Easy as 1-2-3!

New Baby Goats Are Here!

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It’s that time again!

To go from this…

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Caramel – “Holy cow, I’m so effing pregnant…”

…to THIS!!!!!

5-24-14 buck #1

 

5-24-14 buck #2 (2)

Ta-da! Royal Prince #1 and Royal Prince #2, respectively. These two little guys arrived in state about 1:30 p.m. last Saturday (yes, I know I am dreadful for not posting such delightful pictures earlier…but I’ve been too busy playing with the little rascals!). Caramel didn’t need our help at all, and everything went surprisingly quickly.

On Friday, I noticed that she was more bothered by the other goats than usual, and didn’t want to play with them. Behavior change for her. And the other clue – She Who For The Last Two Weeks Required A Daily Full-Body Massage By Yours Truly now did not want to be touched. At all. No way.

I don't own this gif

I don’t own this gif

Plus the ligaments between her hip and tail bones began to soften. I thought I might be imagining it, but I’d been feeling for them for the last month to get a good idea of what is normal, and they were definitely softer than normal. And her udder began to fill up, so we had a pretty good idea that the time was not far off.

Saturday morning she stayed off by herself, didn’t eat, and just generally acted dopey. At noon, I went in the house for lunch, looked out the window at about 1:15, and HOLY MOLEY PEOPLE, THINGS WERE HAPPENING. AS IN, BABY TIME.

Like Oreo, Caramel would have come right into the house to have her babies if we’d let her. Not being allowed that option, she picked a spot on the porch, right inside the nursery pen we had prepared. Thankfully, everything went according to textbook. Both babies came squirting out head first and were up and cruising in a matter of seconds, literally. I was quite amazed, but hey, strong babies = no complaints from RC.

I think I was more distressed than Caramel was during the whole affair. But she did a fine job. All is well, and there are delightful little squeakings coming from the nursery now, that are more of a draw than a magnet at a scrap metal party. And delightful little fuzzies to go out there and squeeeeeeeeze!!!! Ahem. Why yes, I am nuts over kitten-sized baby goats. Why do you ask?

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Le Proud Mother Caramel: “Thank God you urchins are finally out”

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Le Proud Father Peppernut, who could probably care less, since he doesn’t even know about his new sons yet

Alas, both babies are little bucklings, so we won’t be able to keep them. But perhaps that is a good thing, since it will prevent me from being overrun by goats! Methinks they will make somebody some fine little cuddly pets one of these days…

Little Marshmallow exploring the big, big world

Little Marshmallow exploring the big, big world

We have a shy but photogenic Apricot

We have a shy but photogenic Apricot

Apricot is quite shy, but settles down once he is captured and held close. Marshmallow, on the other hand, is already outgoing, and will come bouncing up to get kisses. And I get to keep and enjoy these little cuties all the way to weaning age! Yay!

Now if you will excuse me, it’s time for my nursery patrol… 🙂

Velociraptor Chickens

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Well, it’s happened. Like you always knew it would. The Bandit Ranch has been thoroughly, completely, absolutely, and in all other ways snookered into the chicken business.

Not that RC really needed ANOTHER project to tackle, when she has so many around her in various stages of completion or lack thereof. But of course one thing leads to another.

First it was the adorable little peeping fuzzballs at the feed store. They waltzed in, took over the brooder box, ate enormous amounts of that weird chick crumble, began sprouting feathers in the oddest places, and finally grew big enough to be gently ushered into the big, scary outside world! Yay!

Actually it was more like RC went into the greenhouse (current location of the brooder box) and caught one naughty little chick brazenly perched on the edge of the box, eyeing the tomato and pea plants growing in their pots mere feet away…

Escapee

The classic beauty that is Adolescent Half-Feathered Vari-Colored Barred Rock Chicken

 

Forget that ‘gently ushered’ stuff. Nobody threatens my fresh tomatoes. So the ringleader and her 5 friends, amid their squawking protestations of innocence and injustice, lost their cushy digs in the brooder box and were promptly booted outside.

They now reside in the grow-out pen, or as it hens-forth (see what I did there?) shall be known, the Bandit Ranch Correctional Center For Wayward Pullets.

Chicks 1

We hear: “Peep peep SQUAWK PEEP squawk chirp!” They say: “I swear, I’m gonna call our lawyer! Anybody got a cell phone? No?? Right then, here’s the plan. We break out at dawn…”

I am sure their incarceration will prove for their good in the long run.

But lest we forget…

Do you chickens realize that I am going to EAT YOU???

Do you chickens realize that I am going to EAT YOU???

…the raptors have arrived.

These guys came free from a neighbor who had too many roosters in her chick shipment. We took them home thinking “DINNER!!!” and they throw us for a loop by being the tamest, nosiest, friendliest chickens you ever saw. Sheesh.

It won’t do them much good though. Chicken Union or not, we don’t need 7 roosters running around. The luckiest (read: best tempered) one might get to apply for a permanent position as Flock Rooster. We’ll see how their temperaments turn out as they grow, since they’re only three months old now and their hormones haven’t begun to kick in yet.

Have to admit, though, right now they are loads of fun. I maintain that chickens are the missing link to dinosaurs. Seriously, they look like little velociraptors when they run. All I have to do is step out the front door and yell “BRAAAAAWK!!” (which according to sundry reports is even more entertaining than the chickens themselves) and wait for the sound of clucking and squawking and running chicken feet as roosters come from every direction and throw themselves at my feet, awaiting a handout. Lazy bums. 🙂

So I think it’s safe to say we will not be lacking for entertainment in the near future.

Springtime On The Homestead, And Baby Chicks!!

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It’s official – spring has come to the Bandit Ranch! In West Texas, this season is attended by boisterous winds, blowing dust, and mumbled curses from the local Bandits regarding said balmy breezes. Ah well, the ranchers in this part of the country thank God for it because it turns their windmills.

It’s getting to be that awkward, impatient time of year – too warm to plant any more cool season garden crops, but too much risk of a late frost to plant any summer veggies yet. But in only a couple more weeks, that risk will be gone and I can plant up a storm.

In between tending 3 healthy little basil seedlings grown from seeds I successfully saved last fall…

Bwahahaaa!! Bow to me! I am the queen of saving and replanting basil seeds!!!! Ahem. Yes. Anyway.

Bwahahaaa!! Bow to me! I am the queen of saving and replanting basil seeds!!!! Ahem. Yes. Anyway.

…watching the progress of my onion patch…

We shall see how well they grow...

We shall see how well they grow…

…picking spinach leaves as big as my hand…

'Tyee' spinach going crazy! Nice and mild taste too. If sitting in the garden and systematically grazing on this luscious stuff makes me weird...I'm guilty!

‘Tyee’ spinach going crazy! Nice and mild taste too. If sitting in the garden and systematically grazing on this luscious stuff makes me weird…I’m guilty!

…grocery bags full of lettuce from three plants gone wild that are only now even starting to think about bolting…

Could only fit into the photo 3 of the teenage mutant ninja lettuces that have been churning out lettuce like crazy all winter and spring

Could only fit into the photo 3 of the teenage mutant ninja lettuces that have been churning out lettuce like crazy all winter and spring

…and golf-ball-sized radishes…

Oh sheesh did they taste good

Oh sheesh did they taste good

…and watching my little kale plant (that got wiped out by the last freeze we had) come back to life and sprout out new leaves (!!!!!!!!!)…

New little green leaves popping out everywhere!

New little green leaves popping out everywhere!

…suffice it to say it’s been a lot of fun on el ranchito.

And behold…

Finallyfinallyfinally!!!!!!!

Finallyfinallyfinally!!!!!!!

We finally really did it!!!!!!!!!! We got baby chicks!!!!!!!!!!!!! *happy dance* We decided to get a small batch from the local feed store so that I could learn how to raise chicks before we go and get the rare breeds that we plan to raise later on. We chose three Buff Orpingtons and three Barred Rocks. They are settling in quite well, which is more than I can say for their frantic and paranoid Bandit mother who thought they were about to die in fearful agonies every time they chirped, for the first two hours after she brought them home.

…In my defense, I’ve never raised chickies before. So sue me. 🙂

So if I can properly care for them and not kill them accidentally, we will be on our way toward having our own flock of chickens!

Yep, I think it’s going to be a lively summer full of homestead projects. I’ll have the big garden too.

Le Big Field

Le Big Field

There you go! Ten thousand square feet of cover-cropped beauty, ready to plow in. Some of it already plowed, some to come later, because I do not need to plant 10,000 square feet of garden all at once. But it is a blessing to have so much space to work with.

The greenhouse veggies are doing right well. Including my very happy tomato cutting that has turned into a shoulder-high plant and has many little tomatoes on it…

Time for some fried green tomatoes!!

Time for some fried green tomatoes!!

…the snow peas of delishusness…

So yummy!

So yummy!

…and I do think those purple snow pea flowers are some of the loveliest things I’ve ever seen…

Finally! My camera actually focused on the flower and not on the background!

Finally! My camera actually focused on the flower and not on the background!

…the snap peas of even more delishusness…

Soon we will eat them! Bwahahaha!

Soon we will eat them! Bwahahaha!

…the bolting lettuce plant that will soon teach me how to save seeds from lettuce…

Lettuce flowers are actually kinda cool

Lettuce flowers are actually kinda cool

…and our newest plant project, four of these…

Supposed to be a dwarf tree! Yay!

Supposed to be a dwarf tree! Yay!

…Manchurian Bush Apricots! There is as yet very little data available as to whether these little guys will grow in a southern climate. But I love apricots so I wanted to try them. And the seed company sent me four for the price of two, so hey! Even better!

The goats are being their fuzzy, nosy, snuggly little selves…

Yes, Brownie, I love you too

Yes, Brownie, I love you too

…and the babies are growing like weeds!!!…

Buffy is getting big enough to slay some vampires if she wanted to

Buffy is getting big enough to slay some vampires if she wanted to

Cookie Monster is turning into a real cuddle bug; I can hardly get a picture of her without her nose in the camera

Cookie Monster is turning into a real cuddle bug; I can hardly get a picture of her without her nose in the camera so this one is quite rare

Little Chewbacca, nearly old enough to go to a new home, though I don't want him to...

Little Chewbacca, nearly old enough to go to a new home, though I don’t want him to…

Caramel is due to have Peppernut’s first babies in just about a month!! I’m so excited!!

I am wondering how many babies she has in there...

I am wondering how many babies she has in there…

Right now Fifi is in the pen with Peppernut in hopes that they will have babies, but right now they don’t even like each other…perhaps that will change…

Somebody is really turning into a handsome guy

Somebody is really turning into a handsome guy

…but right now they pass like ships in the night. Oh well.

And Cocoa is turning into a total camera ham…

Well, hello there

Well, hello there

…so I think we will not lack for entertainment from any quarter.

And now it has been exactly 4 minutes and 32.97 seconds since a certain Bandit Queen went to check on her new little chickies and make sure they did not expire since the last time she looked in on them.

Yep, I think I am a softy. And I love it. 🙂

 

Am I At Peace?

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The desert where we live is barren, dry, and harsh, to be sure. Sometimes it feels as if we are fighting the very soul of the land to eke out our little homestead. But it has moments of startling beauty.

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On a late evening walk yesterday, we found that tiny flower growing right smack in the middle of a bare stretch of a seldom-used gravel driveway. The impossibility of it struck me. Here is a fragile little piece of life, totally exposed to the harsh heat of the day, the blasting winds, driving sheets of dust, surrounded on all sides by shriveling dryness. It is never shaded, never watered or protected. The sun reflects off the white gravel like a mirror. It’s hard to look at.

But that little orange blossom keeps bravely facing up to the elements each morning, like a tiny fire keeping the severity of the desert at bay.

I realized that I could learn something from that flower. The seed had no choice about where it landed, no say in the place it had to grow. But it doesn’t sit and sulk because it could have picked a better spot. It grows.

Day after day it is hammered by every kind of handicap. Yet…it grows. It doesn’t curl up and die just because things get tough.

Out on a lonely stretch of back road, there is no one to see its tiny gem of beauty. It doesn’t wither away sadly, feeling overlooked and abandoned. It keeps its face turned toward its Creator, Who sees it and loves it.

It just keeps quietly growing, right in the middle of a virtual moonscape, even though it may not understand why it has to be there.

The picture of that little flower, no bigger than a grain of sand in the world’s scheme, still keeping its little orange flame of beauty alight, is going to have the place of honor on my mirror from now on. Without words, it reminds me to accept where I am, even though I may not understand why God has brought me here. When a storm hits me broadside without warning, from a direction I never expected, I am tempted to give up and quit. I will be the first to raise my hand and say yes, I do grow weary of doing good.

The raw pain of recent rejection by two beloved friends has offered us a tiny taste of the emotion behind those heartbreaking words of Jesus, “He who shared my bread has lifted up his heel against me” (John 13:18). When efforts at reconciliation are met over and over with condemnation, I don’t want to keep trying.

But hope comes in that old thought: “Forgiveness doesn’t make them right, it makes you free.” The only responsibility I have is toward God – to honor Him by continuing to move forward even when I can’t see where the path is leading. Even when all Paul and I can see is a dry, barren wasteland of loneliness and betrayal, He sees what is beyond, and He will bring us through.

We continue to pray for reconciliation of the broken relationship. Perhaps the rift will be healed, or perhaps we have reached the end of a chapter in our lives. I cannot see God’s plan; I can only trust Him. And when I truly take those words into my heart, it brings peace.

Peace that He holds us in His hand.

Peace that the harder the wind screams and the storm beats at us, it will only strengthen the ties between Paul and myself; it will only bring us closer together.

Peace that we can love and be loved, live, and bring beauty to the place where we are, even if it is only a gravel road in the middle of nowhere.

FAA 100_1269

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” – Mulan

Cookie Fudge Recipe

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Yes, you read that right. We have officially discovered the most amazing dessert recipe to ever have existed on the face of the planet. (You can thank me later.)

First, take 1 beaten egg, 1 cup of sugar (or chosen substitute), and 1 cup of peanut butter. Mix this until smooth.

Then you scoop that smooth, luscious looking dough into a little loaf pan. Slide it into the oven and bake it at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

You do not know yummy until you have tried this.

Taste: exquisite.

Consistency: smooth, chewy, creamy fudgeyness inside a crispy cookie-like crust. Like the most incredible combination for cookie addicts and fudge-aholics.

This little happy accident (because we didn’t have enough cookie sheets to bake the dough as cookies) has now become the honorary dessert of the Bandit household.

As I ate it, one word came to my mind.

NUTELLA.

It’s time to experiment. Off to the kitchen I go. 🙂

In Which I Am (Apparently) A Glutton For Punishment

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We’re very patient people here on the Bandit Ranch, as you know. Especially when it comes to things like waiting for our milk goats to freshen and for the babies to grow old enough so that we can begin milking.

But sometimes we get a little desperate.

That is when we can be found fiendishly eyeing the denizens of our fiendish little domain, and making fiendish plans. Isn’t ‘fiendish’ the awesomest word ever? Like my favorite word in the world. Forever. Or for the next three hours. Proving once again that I may struggle with focusing issues. … Wait. What was I saying?

Anyway, having not had anybody in milk since Christmas, we WANTED some. Caramel? Not for another couple months. Oreo? Hmm. Triplets are 7 weeks old now! Aaaaaaalmost ready!

But wait!

There is…

Oh, that one-eyed look...

Oh, that one-eyed look…

…Le Fifi.

You mean you didn’t know we were officially crazy here?

Being half Pygmy, half Fainting Goat, Fifi isn’t the type you’d expect to be a milk goat. Plus with only one baby, she didn’t have to produce a lot, and Giselle is nursing less and browsing more, so what she does produce is decreasing. And then there’s the small detail of…how do I put this delicately…attention span issues?

But with nothing to lose, we hauled Giselle off to the back pasture to be…gasp!…separated from mom for the night. Note: don’t attempt this unless you live way out in the middle of nowhere with no close neighbors. And by close I mean within 50 square miles. Although, come to think of it, we have neither of those factors in our favor. But we have never been known for our planning skills.

Whether it’s weaning time or just-separate-for-one-night-to-milk-in-the-morning time, it will sound like Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets One Million Years BC in your backyard. And beware, goats are very similar to middle school girls – when one starts talking, they ALL start talking. So last night it was either Jurassic Park or gym class, I’m not sure which.

But we survived the night with our sanity fully intact. I think.

In the morning, I put Fifi on the milking stand, expecting her to pitch a fit. I mean, if you look up ‘bat crazy’ in the dictionary, you will see this girl’s picture. She is Le Dork. Part monkey, part drama queen. Loud. Always on the move. Not a fence in this county that will keep her in. Did I mention LOUD?

I think she out-thunk me today.

Scratch that, I know she out-thunk me.

This formerly wild goat, who has gone from borderline feral to our resident jester with a minor dislike for restraint, and might I add has never been hand milked before, never twitched a muscle. She totally acted like she was napping.

I kept waiting for the rodeo. Which never came.

I think she was laughing up her sleeve (laughing up her hoof?) at me as I triumphantly clutched the jar containing exactly two-thirds of a cup of that precious ambrosia and carried it into the house.

Fifi and Giselle, reunited after a horrible night of separation, quietly snickering at me as goats do...

Fifi and Giselle, reunited after a horrible night of separation, quietly snickering at me as goats do…

Actually it was more than I expected to get from her, and it was enough to have a shot glass of heaven’s nectar along with a cookie. 🙂

So back to the daily grind we go, fortified by the taste of gloriousness. And soon we will be milking Oreo, and then Caramel again, and Cocoa will probably have babies this fall…

And then…

The innocence disguises Giselle's inner rascal so delightfully

The innocence disguises Giselle’s inner rascal so delightfully

…you just never know what kind of trouble we will be getting into after that. 🙂