Up With the Chickens

Raising children and chickens on a little buffalo farm


It has been a while since I’ve done one of these 7 QUICK TAKES, but today is a snow day, so I’m taking advantage of the extra time…

1.  SNOW DAY!!! 

One of the great things about living in Arkansas is the way we handle (or don’t handle) snow.  Here in Northern Arkansas, we get just enough snow that everyone owns a sled and a decent pair of snow (or farm) boots.  But we don’t get enough snow to be really equipped for it.  In other words, at the first sign of a flake, we all rush to the grocery store to stock up on batteries, bottled water, and junk food.  And when it hits, whether its 1/2 an inch or a foot, school is closed, businesses shut down, church services are cancelled, and we all get an unplanned staycation.  When the snow started Wednesday during school, chaos ensued.  Parents showed up at the school in droves to extract their children lest they be stranded.  Those children (and teenagers) who remained could not be restrained from jumping up to look out the window every 30 seconds to check accumulation amounts.  The excitement was electric.  In the end, school was dismissed at 12:45, the roads remained clear, and we received little to no accumulation.  However, by the next morning it had sleeted just enough to give us the rest of the week off!  Here’s the way things look at our place…


We are expecting a litter of rabbits on Sunday.  This is particularly exciting because this doe, Penelope,  is a first-time mother, and this will be our first litter of Flemish Giants.  We are also a little nervous because this is our first time to breed a doe that has never kindled (had babies) before.  I’ve heard horror stories of first-time rabbit mothers eating their babies. What a ghastly surprise that would be down at the barn.


Okay, not really.  For my mother’s birthday this year, I bought us a class at a place called Painting with a Twist.  We attended a Paint Your Pet workshop.  I sent them photos of our dogs, and when we arrived, they had sketched each of them onto a canvas for us to paint.  It was a lot harder than I thought, and the instruction was minimal, but it was incredibly fun.  However, in retrospect, as much as I love our French Bulldog, Lily, I wish I had painted my rooster or a buffalo.  How cool would that have been!  Still, for someone who can’t even draw a straight line, I was pretty proud of my finished product.



I write for another blog called What Kids Are Reading that reviews popular YA books.  This blog is not about what we wish kids were reading.  Otherwise, I would be reviewing Anne of Green Gables and Oliver Twist. As a 9th grade English teacher, I wanted to at least be able to enter into a conversation with my students about their books choices.  But recently when I tried to read Beautiful Creature.  I just couldn’t do it.  Why isn’t the cool new teen genre Historical Fiction?


I am reading Consoling the Heart of Jesus by Father Michael Gaitley, and I cannot recommend it enough.  Fr. Gaitlely combines the Divine Mercy with Ignatian spirituality and the teachings of Saint. Therese of Lisieux.  The result is life altering.  (If these Quick Takes were in order of importance this would be #1.)


Maybe it’s time I accept the fact that I can’t combine all new healthy food obsessions with chocolate.  I have spent untold hours concocting coconut oil chocolate smoothies, coconut oil chocolate bars, coconut oil chocolate ice-cream topping… you get the idea.  Truth is, most of these experiments have been delicious.  Quinoa is proving to be much more difficult to disguise with chocolate.


And for the rest of the youth in our parish.  I’m hoping this will be a good way to enhance our religious education program.  My goal is to post prayers, Catholic trivia and teachings, reminders, and links.  I would appreciate any suggestions – especially good websites and blogs for Catholic teens.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.  God Bless!

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Farm Blessing…

Buffalo Morning

We haven’t gotten much snow in the Southern Ozarks this winter.  In fact, the dusting we got this morning has been about it.  But that was just enough for me to snap this photo.  By noon all the snow was gone, so I am happy I got the shot.

I’ve been feeling especially grateful for all the blessings of farm life lately.   It has put me in mind of the following prayer…

Bless, O Lord, Almighty God,

this farm.

May health and purity,

goodness and meekness 

and every virtue reign here.

May all those who dwell here

be filled with faithfulness to Thy law

and with thanksgiving to God,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

May this blessing remain on this farm 

and all who dwell here.

Through Christ our Lord.


Linke to:  Prairie Homestead Barn Hop


Move Over Elf on the Shelf. The Wise Men are in the House.

This article has been reblogged at my new blog, Charming Farming.  Scroll down to read the whole thing…

We don’t have an Elf on the Shelf, but I’ve read about them on the Internet, and I think I get the idea. Sometime in the weeks before Christmas, this little guy makes an appearance. His job is to keep an eye on the kiddos for Santa – to see who’s being naughty and who’s being nice. But at night, when everyone is sound asleep, the elf goes around causing mischief. The next morning delighted tots wake up and find Santa’s helper has been very busy. I’ve seen pictures of shelf elves drinking syrup from a straw, wallowing in a bag of powdered sugar, and playing Candy Land with Woody and Buzz. I’ve read blogs where parents offer elaborate suggestions for elf antics. One even suggested having the family’s elf sneak around at night swapping the clothes in all the closets. I can assure you, any elf of mine who tried that would himself relocated to the bottom of the Goodwill pile.

But as I’ve said, we don’t have an elf. Oh we love Santa. We write him letters, leave out cookies and milk, and even track his Christmas Eve journey on the NORAD website. At least we used to. This will be the first year that none of the kids even pretend to still believe. Ouch!

Anyway, it’s not that I’m anti-elf, but we do try to keep the spirit of advent during the weeks leading up to Christmas. It might come as a surprise to some people, but mad rushes to the mall, festive parties, and feisty trouble-making elves are not traditionally the way Christians have prepared to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Traditionally Advent has been a time of prayerful reflection as the Church prepares to meet her Lord, not only as a baby in a manger, but also as King of kings at the end of time.

That’s not to say our family doesn’t have fun Advent traditions. We just try to keep the focus on Christ. So instead of a scampish elf roaming about in search of trouble, we have wise kings roaming about in search of Baby Jesus. And instead of Mommy and Daddy having all the fun, everyone gets a wiseman to move/hide. Admittedly, the Magi aren’t as zany as the elves, but they can still turn up is some odd places. And anyone who comes across a wiseman is expected to say quick prayer, then set him back on his journey.

No, you won’t find these guys getting into the Christmas cookies, but they do wind up in some odd places.

I wonder if he’s looking for a gift of spices.


Maybe this is how he got so wise – reading.

20121127-215747.jpg. ”

I see animals, but I don’t think this is the manger.”



Just hanging with the guys.


New Blog…

No better than I’ve kept up with this blog in recent weeks, maybe now isn’t the best time for me to be starting an additional blog.  But I am.  As the mother of two teenagers, an eleven year old, and an emerging reader, I am realizing more and more how important it is for me to be aware of what my kids reading.

Actually, when they were small, I was very selective about what we read.  I selected their picture books, not merely on the basis of their entertainment value, but  based on what these books  could add to my children’s lives – beauty, truth, or humor.  This ruled out a lot of what passes as children’s literature.  Still, we spent hours cuddled up together reading and talking and laughing. (I still try to read to The Littles every night and will continue as long as they’ll let me.)  I’ve tried to instill in all of my children a love of good literature.  Yet, now that they are selecting books and reading on their own, they are naturally drawn to popular fiction.  Fortunately, a lot of popular fiction is very good – but a lot isn’t.  To help me know what I want them to read, what I don’t want them to read, and what questions some of their reading might raise, I’ve started a book review blog.  My goal is not to tell other people what their children should and should not read, but just to give parents a heads up about what’s out there.

So far, I’ve only reviewed two books, but I’ve asked some friends to contribute as well.  I’m also working on the blog’s appearance.  For example, I’d like to include a photo of each book’s cover, but I’m not sure about copyright laws.  (I’ve still got a lot to learn about blogging.) In time, I hope we will have a nice collection of reviews for our readers. Please check out my new blog.  And be sure to click on the ABOUT tab to learn more about why I started whatkidsarereading.wordpress.com .


Praying For Rain….


O God, in Whom we live and move, and have our being, grant us rain, in due abundance, that, being sufficiently helped with temporal, we may the more confidently seek after eternal gifts. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer Source: Novena in Honor of St. Isidore: Patron of Farmers by National Catholic Rural Life Conference, National Catholic Rural Life Conference

(linked to homestead-barn-hop-61.html )

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A Blessing of Eggs…

We pray Thee, O Lord, may the grace of Thy benediction come down upon these eggs, that they may be healthful food for Thy people who eat them in thanksgiving for the Resurrection of Our Lord JesusChrist, who liveth with Thee and ruleth for all eternity. Amen.

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