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So many blessings in the last couple months!  I don’t even know where to begin and I’m sure I will leave out several of the most wonderful things…  But I am starting to believe that some of the wonderfulness is because of our gratitude.  We are continually saying, “How lucky are we?!?”  It’s like good things just keep coming our way.  And I will keep giving thanks for it all, and hope it keeps delivering.

One of the first signs of spring are baby lambs and goats.  Our friends at Split Oak Farm have both.  Their lambs were rescued triplets from a local farm that keeps the best two of a litter and these sweeties are so small!  I never knew a lamb could be as little as a cat!  And this is at some days old.  I happened to be going for a visit with friend Connie who was helping Angie make an apron from an old linen tablecloth.  That tablecloth never looked so good as when they were finished.  A beautiful upcycle.  Anyhow, the lambs had arrived earlier that week and they were so adorable.  A few days later, Connie and I had a trip to town and so we stopped by the Farm on our way home.  Good thing!  Angie was just bringing out milk for the little lambs and we got to help!  We also got to see baby goats – four of them at the time – two new born and two a few days old, all adorbz!  Connie and I got to play farmer as we helped move two ewes to a birthing pen and relocate a momma and baby that had gotten into a wrong space.  Those goats are sneaky little devils!  All in all, I’m glad we don’t have livestock at our homestead… but I’m sure glad to have lots of farmer friends who do. 🙂

Another farmer couple, Jill & Randy at Merry Gardens Farm, are remodeling their kitchen and we (mostly Dan) are helping with the project.  They pay us good… in food!!  Every time we visit, we end up having a meal and it’s always, in part and sometimes almost in whole, harvest from their land.  We’ve had pork liver and onions, roasted potatoes, beets, and Brussels sprouts, pork chops, and Thai cabbage salad.  Yes, Thai food!!  Jill is an amazing cook and on a recent visit we had both the Thai cabbage salad and Thai noodles.  It was like a dream in rural Minnesota where most of the food tends toward the white and bland.  Her recipes for the two sauces were very similar – a mix of Liquid Aminos (GF soy sauce), garlic, peanut butter, chili sauce, oil and honey – but just different enough to give a nice contrast.  Oh, just yummy!!  And she also makes several varieties of mean tapioca pudding – my favorite.  We never leave their place hungry.

Winter at Merry Gardens is quiet in the fields but Red Wattle Babywe also get to see baby piglets.  These Red Wattles are SO SWEET!! I just love their sleek ruddy coats and their sturdy little frames.  They are really manageable for the first couple weeks and then they are past the cuddle stage.  But they are still fun.  Their market pigs were cracking me up as they ran through the fields rearing up and taking off for no apparent reason.  And even the older sows and boars are wonderful.  Most of them are talkers and they are like little dogs the way they play with Jill when she steps into their pen.  They have some Mangalitsas which are like a velcro pig.  When they are little piglets, they look like sheep in their white fuzzy coats.  And maybe my favorite is Moses, the big boar who, when I call his name, comes running out to meet me like a big kid.  He has the best smile.  And he knows when I call his name I usually have food!  But his real buddy is Randy, as this video shows.  I don’t know who is cuter, Moses or Randy.  Merry Gardens Farm really love their pigs.

But it’s not all fun and games.  The market pigs require castration to prevent “boar taint”, an unfavorable smell or taste caused by the sex hormones testosterone and androstenone.  Though Randy had asked me to help last season, daughter Molly ended up being available.  But this season I got my chance to help.  It was a not difficult process and Randy made it very quick.  I had Danny film us and hope to eventually get a video posted for informational purposes.  Though it may take me a while because I realized it is much harder to watch (a requirement for video editing) than to do the actual castration.  In the moment, I was focused on trying to assure the pig was still for Randy’s process and comforted… as best I could.  Randy says it’s the hardest part of raising these guys.

Crafting has been magically happening in my life as well.  Neighbor Connie and I took a Craft Day to attend the Creative Spirit Fiber Festival and visit Anderson Fabric Outlet.  It was a wonderful event followed by a huge sale.  SO MUCH Creativity and Imagination!! My favorite gal at the fair was Lisa Jordan of Lil Fish Studio. You should check her out. She’s super fun. https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=193090157396798&ref=content_filter

And all that fiber watching ended up being a good inspiration for a project that came about due to Connie mentioning “making puppets”.  Turns out my friend Steph’s son Rook LOVES Boss Baby and I had the crazy idea that I would make him a puppet for one of the characters from the movie.  Steph said Tim was his favorite character but I knew I would have to also make a Boss Baby puppet too.  And we did!

Connie Puppet

How does the Fiber Festival factor in?  Well, when it came to hands and shoes, I decided felted wool might be the easiest option.  And it sure was… Char Puppetwith Char’s help.  Char (of Char’s Yarn Basket just down the road from me) is an amazing artist and I knew she’d be able to help me with my project.  Sure enough, we got it done.  I believe my favorite parts of Tim are the jeans and shoes.  And his head is the best of the two puppets (Connie did the paper mache work on it).

All in all, we are truly blessed.  Even the icky stuff that seems to happen ends up having a positive impact – lessons learned, relationships strengthened.  I hope that you are feeling blessed in your life too!