Monthly Archives: February 2013

A Sick Kitty

It was quite the weekend–a teaching weekend to say the least. On Saturday morning our chicks arrived. Though I have done it couple times already it still makes me nervous handling those little chicks and dipping their little beaks in water and releasing them into the brooder. Exciting but scary.

Then we had a sick kitty to take to our vet. Remember here when I talked about getting two kittens for the children right after Mavis was born around 4 years ago. Those kittens became babies and were carried around the house just like them and became part of the family and the children’s best friend. Well one of them had been loosing weight and vitality. I hadn’t really noticed the gradual change since I see him every day. Then it got to the point that it was too noticeable to miss. And we were off the vet with a sick kitty right after being up early with chicks. I thought maybe he just had worms, but after some tests the vet thought he might have feline leukemia or liver problems, but we would have to wait an half hour to find out. So we did our weekly shopping and it was seriously the worst shopping trip of my life. The children kept asking about Austin and I am the type that imagines the worst so I am thinking we might have a dead kitty by the end of the day.

Of course when you have children it is not only your own grief you have to deal with but model healthy grief to teach your children how to deal with the sad things in life they will inevitably have to encounter. I was praying like crazy for the strength to deal with not only my own grief but the childrens.

After the tests came back it was the liver but not a chronic problem. So we are trying to flush him out with fluid and getting him eating and drinking and some energy. This means hourly feedings and some fluid injections. It was quite the weekend, but better then I expected. At one point Avril said to me, “Are you doing all these things for Austin because he is my cat and you know I love him?” Yes baby yes I am.

But also I want to model the care and service that will give you a fulfilling life. Nothing like saving a life over the weekend–even a cat’s life to make you realize that a life of service is not a drudgery but very rewarding. I hope that I can teach to children that taking care of the gifts God has given us is definitely the best use of our time. Austin is not out of the woods yet, but he is successfully eating and drinking through a syringe and I am hopefully that with continued assistance he will soon be his old perky self.

Family Circles

The weather around here is getting a bit warmer. While I of course am looking forward to the coming season I feel a bit sad to leave behind the short days of winter spent close to home and surrounded by family. Nothing like the winter to allow you to slow down and contemplate life a bit. As I said here this year I working on centering and bringing the important things of life into focus.

Part of that is a focus on homeschool. The children are getting older and their work is getting progressively more indepth. Then next year I will add a 3rd child to our homeschooling circle not to mention an infant and pre-schooler. So it is time to get organized and focused. One resource I find invaluable is Family Circles from Doorposts. Doorposts is a Christian resource for families. Family Circles however can be used by everyone. It is a great tool for focusing your attention on spending individualized time with each of your family members.

I started using this and discovered that I really don’t talk to my children. . . I mean really talk like know what they are thinking and dreaming about and taking the time to explore the feelings behind behaviors. Since starting using this and other resources from Doorposts I am happy to say the atmosphere is getting wonderful in our house. It is multi-fold, relationships and intellects growing and children glowing.

So I am hanging on to winter a bit longer, I think it will probably end up being my favorite time of the year. So I encourage you before the warmer weather, and busy traveling and growing season make sure you take some quiet time to sit and talk with your kids–read a great book, play some board games, make a special dinner together, and most importantly talk. And once you develop the habit keep on keeping on.

Incredibly Beautiful

When we were living in the city we would have to drive a ways to get views like this so snow storms were not much fun. But now views like this are right out our back door. Also we have successfully parred down our schedule so it is not difficult for me and children to be home for days or even weeks at a time–plus there is still plenty to do so cabin fever really isn’t an issue.

I was talking with a woman in New York and she was sharing about the massive snow fall. I explained that we lived on a farm and were concerned about our water table. So we welcomed the snow. We even got some extra snow shoes to celebrate. We are loving today!

8th Annual Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference

“If you are not growing you are dying.” – Ellen G. White (paraphrased)

This is one of my favorite quotes. The author preceeds by saying we are much like plants and when we are not growing we are dying. But the author adds that this is the same for our mental and spiritual capacities as well as our physical. I find that there are few better ways to grow as a human being then to spend time with people from a variety of backgrounds.

This weekend we were blessed to participate for our 5th year now in the 8th Annual Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference. This was also my 2nd year on the planning committee and 2nd year as a presenter. It is such a rewarding experience to be surrounded by people from all over the world speaking many many languages but who all acknowledge and crave a connection to the land. For these farmers it is not about trends or politics or ideals that brings them to the land it is about survival. They understand that without this personal connection they would somehow be less then who they were meant to be. That’s why they come to this country as refugees and immigrants–citizens at the lower end of the totem pole if we are honest with ourselves as a country. And then they chose to enter a professional that is not known for it’s financial security.

Along the way they face language and cultural barriers certainly and sometimes discrimination and racism. But they do it because that is who they are.

This year the conference included farmers from Africa, Asia, Central and South America. And there were alot of young farmers. As the USDA acknowledges that the average age of farmers is aging at a fast rate, there are at least some young people interested in farming. Here are some pictures from a great weekend.

Glen Hill, Executive Director, Minnesota Food Association, Ly Vang, Executive Director for the Association for the Advancement of Hmong Women, Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture, Dave Fredrickson, State Senator Foung Hawj, after the welcome on Saturday.

Farmers visiting booths to learn more about resources, funding, organic certification and more.

Aaron Blythe showing farmers a hand transplanter from Japan.

Hmong farmer getting a close up view of t he transplanter.

The conference is held the 1st weekend in February in St. Paul.