Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Surprise Snow!

Last Friday, the weather report was that there was going to be uncommonly cold and snowy weather hitting from mid-Georgia all the way down to Florida.  We live in the North Georgia Mountains so were told it would totally miss us.  By Sunday they said we might get some flurries from it but no accumulation.  It started snowing hard and fast yesterday at around 11:00 a.m.  Authorities announced they were sending children home from school at noon.  By 3:00 p.m. there was trouble.

I was raised in Upstate New York so grew up with lots of lake effect snow and long drawn out cold winters.  If it snowed you just kept moving and living.  People used studded tires in winter or had chains on your tires.  The roads were salted and plowed round the clock in snowy weather.  There were times we got so much in a blizzard or storm it did stop things for a short while.  But we lived in it and it was part of normal winters.  Everyone prepared for them.

Down here in the South it happens so rarely and often fast, as it did  yesterday.  It cripples our state.  It does not matter if you drove on snow and ice your whole life.  The roads are not salted and cleared as easily down here.  Most people down here don't have experience driving on it at all.  If we get an ice storm it is even worse as we often loose power from downed limbs and trees or wrecks into poles.  Praise God we still have power this time.  This time it was bad enough.  Roads gridlocked. People stranded and taking hours upon hours to get home or to a safe place.  Many wrecks.  Praise God for cell phones to keep in contact with our many family members that were stuck and trying to get home.  Needless to say most everything in town is closed for the day today as it is not supposed to get above freezing. 

On a happier note my children are all southerners and rarely see snow like this.  I think the last time was five years ago or so.  It brings them great joy and although they don't have the snow pants and heavy snow gear, they bundle up as best they can and enjoy the fun.  I used to go out and play with them in it but now they are older and play hard in the snow and I prefer to stay in and watch from where it is warm.  I don't enjoy snow balls fights anymore like I used to.
Of course we have no snow toys so sand toys work.
Or a chair from the play house makes a pretty good sled.

Of course William could not resist a lego shot.  He sent this to my dads phone as a text.  My dad sent back.. Send the little guy down and I will give him a spoon to shovel the drive way with.
William sent him back this picture and need for the spoon he will bring his own shovel.  ;)
Kids can have such special relationships with their grandparents and relatives that they could never have in the past with these cell phones.

The ponies were ready to come up to the barn and get into their nice, dry, warm stall for the night.

It is not supposed to get above freezing today but as the sun hits the roads it should melt some of the snow and ice off and with the wind blowing hopefully dry a bit.  It is supposed to get to 7 degrees tonight.  I have three appointments tomorrow so hoping for better driving conditions tomorrow. 

Romans 15:13   Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

May the God in heaven, maker of all things, be with us all as we go thru things in life.  May He provide abundantly for our needs with protection and peace as we live and grow in Him. 




Sunday, January 26, 2014

Leopard Gecko

Ok..I admit it...I think he's cute.

Over the holidays, Antonio asked if he could spend the money he had saved up, on a lizard.  We have never had a lizard before as a pet.  I am not fond of snakes or spiders for sure and am pretty sure I would never let my children have a rat or mouse.  But lizard was right there behind that list of "I don't think I want one in my house" pets.  We all try to please Antonio here.  If you knew him in person you would see why.  He is such a precious, sweet soul.  So I did a lot of research on the easiest to care for lizard and time and time again the leopard gecko kept coming up.  Tim and I talked about it and then showed Antonio what they were.  He was very excited about the prospect. We then spent the next many weeks watching Youtube videos about them and reading as much about them as we could.  We thought and planned and spent a lot of time slowly buying all Antonio needed to give his pet the best possible home.  I built a background for him and last week we finally went and picked up the Leopard Gecko he wanted.  One with spots and was striped. He named it Franklin.  :)

At first I was not so sure about feeding the little guy.  As they eat only live food.  But I will be the first to admit it...this little Leopard Gecko is a very interesting and entertaining pet to watch.  We all even like to watch him eat his insects.  He is even cute when he sleeps.  Really.  I mean it.  I never thought anything without fur or feathers could be cute.  But this little guy curls up and puts his little hands under his chin and looks very sweet when he sleeps. 

I knew from our research that leopard Geckos are nocturnal and are not awake a lot during the day.  So when I made his "moist hide box" or den they spend most of their time in.  (out of an upside down tupperware container with a hole cut in the top) I made a window in it so Antonio could watch it sleep and move around in its "den".  It has been a huge hit.  We call it Geckovision.  Like television but where we can watch the gecko all day long thru the little window.  Sorry, all the pictures are red, since they are nocturnal we use a red bulb for heat and as it is not as bright as a daylight bulb.

Tupperware hide box with hole in the top.

We have the tank set up right in front of Antonio's desk so he can watch it all day long.  It comes out a few time during the day to climb around and eat and drink.  Antonio loves it and calls everyone to come and see. 

So here's Franklin.
Eating meal worms.  The powder is his vitamins.  

Climbing on our fake rock background.

Exploring the other little rock den we made for him.

On a different note, we went to visit Stephen last weekend.  We ate at Steak and Shake all together and then went to his apartment for a visit.
We also shopped in his town a bit before returning home.  It was a fun outing and so nice to see Stephen on his own turf.  He usually comes to visit us here at home. 

On Thursday we took Antonio in for his circulation test that the "not so nice to us" doctor ordered.  I leave all the results and surgery on Antonio's toe, he needs, in Gods hands and pray it will all come together in the way that is best.

We also went yesterday to watch a ballet recital of our friend "A".  She is the young lady that got my girls interested in ballet many years ago and also gives riding lessons to Carolyn.  (picture taken last spring)

"A" has taken ballet for  many years and is very good.  My children all love going to the recitals she is in.  She was in many of the numbers preformed and we all enjoyed the recital very much.  Great job "A"!   I don't see how you do it but every year you get better and better.  Makes my girls want to work even harder!

The weather here is still uncommonly cold for our area and this time of year.  We are having to keep on top of the frozen water buckets so the farm animals all have something to drink every day.
Here are a few pictures of the sky that I took over the last few days.
The sun coming up one morning over our field.

We are keeping warm in the house by using our wood stove.  There really is nothing like the deep heat you get from being by a wood stove.  We are so very blessed!

May God be meeting your needs every day in every way.  May we give Him glory for all things in our life and may He lead and guide us down the paths in life that He has set before us to travel.

2 Corinthians 9:8-11  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:  (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.  Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)  Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.


God be with you, blessings,


Wednesday, January 22, 2014


When Tim and I fostered our first child with special needs it was an eye opening experience.  We never knew, never, what a blessing it was to raise these children.  How God loves these kids and moves on their behalf daily.  How much they change your life.  How they bring out the best in us and the other children in our home.  The biggest thing that we learned is that children are children are children and that these children are normal and need as much of a normal type life as possible.  Normal family routine and normal outings and functionings even if it means a lot more effort to get them there.

As we took in child after child we learned the ropes of therapy and IEP's, wheel chairs and braces.  We poured over magazines and websites that carried equipment and assistive devices for children with special needs.  There was a whole world out there that we never knew anything about.  So many wonderful inventions of ways to get a child into prone standing or into a gait trainer so they could practice walking fully-supported.  Time after time we would find just the right thing and then see the price tag.  Time after time we would find the one piece of equipment that we knew would change our child's life in a major way and then find out that there was no way to pay for it or no one willing to write up a script for it...

As we took a new child to a doctor, they would have concerns about this or that and it would send us spiraling to many specialists that would send us to even more specialist because of what they would find.

One of the hardest aspects of fostering, adopting or birthing a child with special needs is having to fight and sometimes fight hard and long for the things they need.  Advocacy.  It is a constant that never seems to stop.  From finding funding for equipment to fighting to get coverage for therapy.  From fighting to get to the best specialist in a field to fighting with a specialist for what you know your child needs.  It can be exhausting.

You guessed it.  I am in one of those long drawn out places of advocating for what I know one of my children needs and not seeing any end to it. 

The last go around happened last year.  It took us a good six months to get settled.  Antonio was turning 18 years old.  At 18 he was going to loose his insurance unless he furthered his education. (college)   If he was furthering his education he could keep his insurance till he was 21.  It was months of making phone calls to find the right person who knew what would be considered furthering ones education in Antonio's situation.  What we could do in order to meet that requirement, in his condition, to still keep his insurance.  It was horrible.  I finally gave it all to God and it all came together and is settled. 

This time it is medical.  Antonio for the last 3 years or so has had a toe that is very hard to keep healed.  He has poor circulation in his legs and feet. It is an ingrown toe nail.  We have it removed and it comes back again, each time they remove it, we have a hard time getting it to heal.  He has spent most of the last several years with an infected toe or a toe that we were having a hard time to get to heal.  We have even went to Wound Clinic for it.  The pediatrician and I have talked about it quite a bit and what can be done.  The solution is to get the nail bed cauterized.  It will stop the vicious cycle with his toe.  The nail will no longer grow down the side causing irritation and infection over and over again, once this is done.  Enter Dr. S.  (the specialist we were sent to, to cauterize the nail bed.)
I could tell from our first meeting he did not like us. Not a good thing.  He said the toe was to infected to do the procedure and does not believe me that we could not get the toe to heal all this time.  So  he just does the procedure to remove the offending part of the nail.  Something that has been done time and time again and not solved anything.  He says he wants to watch and see that it heals for himself this time, like he can do something Wound Clinic could not. He makes me sign a paper saying I will do everything he says to get it to heal.  As if I have not been caring for it well at home.   He makes us drive to his clinic very frequently, 45 minutes away so he can check on the toe.  It does not heal well and is now infected again because over the last many months the nail is growing down the side again.  Now he wants vascular testing done before he makes any more decisions or proceeds.  Sigh.  (Sorry, didn't mean to vent) I feel better.  :)

I just shake my head and pray.

I know in the big over view of things, this is not a huge deal.  We have been thru many very hard things, many life threatening things. But how some of these situations drag on and on, are hard on our family and can be difficult.  I also don't like seeing Antonio or any child with an on going problem.

So, what to do now.  I have been praying but now I hand it off to God. The whole thing.  All of it.  Even my dislike for this doctor.   God is a huge God.  Nothing ever occurs to God.  Nothing ever dawns on God.  He never gets an idea.   He knows all things. 

I so often forget to just let Him have it all from the begining.  If I would, I would save myself a lot of frustration and sometimes anger or anxiety.  Defenately would have saved myself a lot of stress just to let Him handle it all.

When I finally get to this point in times past.  Equipment got donated to us we needed, surgeries got moved up we were waiting for and children were healed.  When I let go of my controlling self and give it to a God that is in control, things happen!  Praise God!

I don't know why I keep having to learn this same lesson over and over again but it sure feels good to not own it anymore and give it to the one that can actually do something about it all.

May we all give to God our whole selves.  Holding nothing back.  May we all give to God all things.  Especially the things in life we have no control over anyways, so He can do what needs doing, in His will, in His time. 

Luke 18:27  And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.


Hebrews 13:5  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.





Saturday, January 18, 2014

Winter - Freezing and Flooding

We have had the most unsusal weather this winter.  It has been quite cold.  We even had temperatures down to 4 degrees one night.  After that spell of very cold night temperatures we had a tremendous amount of rain which has resulted in flooding.  We live in the mountains but up in a dip or valley.  So when it rains in the spring we get everyones excess run off.  We have two dry creekbeds down each side of the property that only run in the spring when we have excessive rain.  If we really have alot of rain we will actually get a huge creek running right down the middle of our property as well.

We usually only have this kind of flooding in the spring but are experiancing it this winter.  We are quite soggy right now and the temperatures are still getting down to around freezing most nights and lower in the twenties some nights.  I guess this winter is going to be remembered by us as very cold and wet.  If you wish to see more pictures of the flooding you can see them here on a farm blog post.

Most days this winter have been over cast, often with rain or drizzle.  We have enjoyed it when we get a few warmer sunny days thrown in here or there.  William and dad cut firewood on those days and the kids can get outside for a little while to play. 

I am looking forward to spring when things will green up a bit and we will have more sunny days than rainy days.

But we enjoy and love all seasons around here.  Winter is such a season of rest for us.  In winter we have no baby farm animals to tend to.  No gardens to plan, plant or weed.  We have no vegetables to use up quick, can or freeze.  So really this is our down time and we are loving it.

This is the time of year that I have free time.  I mean really, times I can not work outside and the inside is fine.  So in the winter months I bake and cook a lot.  I sometimes read with the kids and do projects.

Now that we have gotten past the holidays, the flu that went thru and Elizabeths hospital stay... things have settled into a nice, boring quiet.   :)

God is so good to us no matter the weather or season.  Thank you God for this time of year.

Ecclesiastes 3:1  To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:


May God be your high tower in your storms and your place of rest in all struggles.  May you always know that He is near as He never leaves us nor forsakes us.




Tuesday, January 14, 2014

DYI Terrarium background

Antonio is such a special and wonderful son.  We all love him dearly and cater to him a bit, his needs, wants and desires.  He is just so precious and caring to us all and he rarely asks for anything.  So when he does, we try to make it happen for him. our children are given money for holidays and birthdays, they choose something they really, really want and save for it.  But Antonio is so limited in what he can do or spend his money on, that when he chooses an animal, we also try to make it happen for him.  He does a lot of sitting.  He loves to sit and watch his animals, especially reptiles. (but not snakes he is quick to say!)
So when he asked for a lizard, to spend his birthday/holiday money on, I started to do some research.  Yes, I am the one to care for his animals so my search was for the easiest to care for lizard out there.  Time and time again leopard geckos kept coming up.  So I told him if he wanted a lizard how about a leopard gecko as I could easily care for it and they were interesting and came in very nice colors.  He got very excited about it and so, as a project together, we have spent hours on line researching and watching videos about leopard geckos.  We have been slowly buying all the things to set up a very nice gecko cage.  It has been slow going, as part of the fun in getting the pet is the preparation and learning.  He has bought what was needed as we learned about it all.

He then got very excited about the nice backgrounds available that people were making.  So since I am a project person, I told him I would do the background for him as he watched.  He has enjoyed it all very much.  I will show you what we have done.  I must put a disclaimer here as anything you build for any pet, do research and use all pet safe, tried and true methods so as not to kill your animal.  In other words, if you are making this for a reptile terrarium, make it at your own risk.

First, I went to Home Depot and bought these square insulation boards.

Then I cut a piece to fit the back of his tank.  I cut it about a half an inch shorter top and sides, because I knew I was going to use tile for the flooring and that would raise it up some.  The large sheets were a lot more expensive than these small squares.  I did not want to pay the price of the huge sheets of board and these were a bit short for his tank so I did glue two pieces together to make it long enough, so there is a seam in our background.  Antonio and I am sure the gecko will not care.  I was trying to save money and do this as inexpensively as possible.

Then I cut two pieces (the same shape) in the basic shape I wanted (like a rock) and glued them on top of each other with Lock-tite and let them dry/cure for 24 hours.  I made four of these.

Once the three rock pieces were dry I took a very sharp utility knife and started to carve them into rocks.
Just very carefully start carving off little slivers till you have the shape that looks like a rock.  It does not have to look perfect as rocks are

Once I had the rocks shaped, I took the background and just randomly cut the front edge all the way around to make it beveled.

I wanted the rocks to be placed on the background so that the lizard could climb up from one to another like stairs.  So I started gluing them on in order from the bottom in the pattern I wanted.  William made me little lego scaffolding the right height to hold the rocks on the background straight till they dried/cured.
You can see in the above picture the beveled edge on the background itself.  I also made a freestanding rock and carved a little cave inside for under the right side in the space at the bottom as leopard geckos like to hide.

I understand there is many ways to go forward from here.  Some people texturize the whole thing with a hot torch or heat gun.  Some people use several thin layers of watered down grout to make it almost rock like.  Doing that fills in any faults and cracks.  I went with the spray paint approach.  According to those who have done this before as long as you use water clean up/based spray paint you are ok.  So I then took Rust-o-leum home accents "stone" paint and spray painted each piece with several coats.  Then went over the whole thing with a thick layer of water based polycrylic.  (again use at your own risk)  Some people sprinkled sand onto the last coat of polycrylic for texture and to take some of the shine off it.  But I figure the shinier, the easier to clean.
So here it is all done with the tile down and the background curing for a week or so.

Antonio is very excited and has really enjoyed this project.  I have enjoyed spending the quality time with him working on this for him, with him supervising, telling me suggestions and asking questions.  We have learned a lot.

May everyone be settling into a good routine after the holidays and enjoying this brand new year.

Hebrews 6:10  For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.