Sustainability

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This was written last Friday.

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The wood stove hums away with pots of water heating on top and the youngest children are engaged in a lively game of chase. Stewart has gone to pick up hay and I will split my day between bringing in firewood, answering questions about diagramming sentences, snuggling little Joshie, and cleaning… probably in that order.

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We will mix up sourdough bread this morning and big pots of soup later as we make it through the few days of Texas winter that seem to come and go. As for the happenings…

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This guy is now a fixture in the goat pasture. Which means, Lord willing, Abby, Daisy, and Kitty may be mamas next summer.

And we are still harvesting bits and bobs from the garden. Stewart covered the lettuce last night and I need to check on the cabbages. The green onions, kale,and cilantro have been blessed additions to our meals. I was thinking the other day that this is the first year we’ve had something, even if small, fresh to harvest from the garden from spring until now. Thank the Lord!

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It’s hard to believe, but right now this cabin – the one we inhabited for three years, the one in which both our daughters were born – is coming down. Lord willing the camper will also be coming out, making room for animal shelter. I suppose I may share more about that coming up but for now it is at once exciting and melancholic.

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And oh, this boy… he turned one and decided, without once asking my permission, that standing up was the next logical step. He likes to eat a homegrown egg most mornings and washes it back with fresh goat milk… and potatoes, this boy loves his potatoes.

Maybe it’s the fifth baby, or maybe I’ve done exactly the same thing the four times prior, but I’m thinking if he could just hold off on growing up that would be alright.

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But it’s not looking likely that he’ll be listening to me on that subject… and that’s probably for the best.

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We’ve had a buildup of roosters and now old laying hens so the past few weeks we have been butchering 2-4 per week for meat and broth. It’s been a real blessing.

The boys have been asking about learning to butcher for some time now. We’ve been trying to give them their own homestead domains, both to give them something of their own to work towards and to foster a sense of responsibility. So far this has looked like gardens and chickens but more animals is high on their list of requests.

First, I suppose, is learning to go from flock to food with what we already have. So last week Stewart stood by them at the counter and talked them through the gutting of the chickens. These photos are of Abram’s time at the butchering block but Elijah, ever the extrovert, came directly to me after his turn and proclaimed it “Fun!” with two eyebrows up.

So I’m thinking they’ll want to continue helping with this for the foreseeable future. Which is great since I learned to butcher roosters at 29 and they, at eight and ten, would do well to get a jump start on me in just about all areas of life.