Lilly has been practicing for her big day.  DH has been very busy, building this head-lock/gate combo, for one thing.
She is such a good girl, and enjoys getting brushed while she's in the milking parlor.
Today we turned on the vacuum pump while Lilly was snacking.  She didn't even flinch.  Which is excellent news!
DH also built stairs, which are much nicer than the cement blocks that were there.

Maybe now i won't break my neck while milking  Lilly at 6am!

All for Lilly

So far this week....
Water heater installed in milk room.  Check.
Sink plumbed in milk room.  Check.
(although it's not finished in the picture)
Plywood "wall" removed, revealing old cow entry door.  Check.
Exit door also opened up.
New entry and exit doors built, with cute rope handle=).  Check.
New halter put on Lilly, and she started to practice walking through the milk parlor.  Check.

Lilly thinks this is all for her!  She thinks she's special, getting treats each afternoon to walk through the milking parlor.  She is special, but it's not all for her----it's for the wonderful milk she will soon give us!

Two rainbows!

The other day when we were working in the milk barn, it rained.  My first thought was "blehhhh, it's almost feeding time and we'll be doing it in the rain."  The rain stopped YAY! and here's what we saw.
If you look to the right of the brightest rainbow, you will see a second!  Some of the kids had never seen a rainbow, so this was really neat.  And as quick as I could walk from the barns to the house, to make sure all the kids was gone, it only lasted a few minutes.

The Circus!!

(and Arby's afterwards).
Thanks to Magic Moments!  I don't know about other wish- granting organizations, but Magic Moments keeps on giving, even after "the wish".
They have been able to provide families opportunities to attend local events, through ticket donors.
DH and I had been to the circus as children, I think schools used to go as a field trip....too long ago to remember.  
Jenna was only able to see the elephants and lights.  Waid saw a good bit though.  
We had a great time, and are thankful that we got to go!

Can you believe this mom did not even think about taking a camera---these were taken with my phone.

Creative girls

There is no lack of creativity in this house.
We call DH's car Miss Minnie (it's a Mini-Cooper).  She has her very own garage beside the house.  Emmi drew Miss Minnie, complete with lipstick, eyelashes, a necklace and a bow.

Emmi wrote "Welcome home Minnie".  Other chalk drawings are on our many concrete surfaces, but this was one of the best.
One day last week, Sherlock (basset hound on left), decided he wanted to be a sled dog.  Others were harnessed and joined him.
Many other animals wanted to play, many harnesses and saddles were created by Emmi and Avery.
Betsy the cow got to ride Molly the horse, because Betsy is, after all, a cow-girl!

What we accomplished last week : Inside

 No more garage doors in the den!!!
Still work to do, but now our den is totally usable, and insulated!
Laughing at my wall decor hung on framing and insulation?  I decided to test it all out before the pine went up on the remaining walls.  I sort of cringe putting holes in the pine, once a nail is in it, it's there forever.  
The wall behind the piano, and behind the recliners in the above photo, is a large storage room.  It contains the deep-freeze, canning equipment, toys, and all kinds of stuff.
I'm so excited to have my funny acrobat hanging up, and to have all my other accessories finally out of boxes.
Painting the ceiling, installing the remaining pine walls, white washing walls, painting and installing trim, and doing something with the concrete floor are all still to come.  These things will take time, I am just so thankful for the den to feel like a den, AND have an exterior door!

And out

Pictures are in reverse--oops.  DH had to work one day in  below freezing temps.  Thankfully, it warmed up, and we had a couple of beautiful days in the 50's.
The hardi-plank will go all the way up at some point.  We were almost out of hardi-plank, and time restraints determined that this was a good stopping point.
Last garage door coming down.
YAY!!! so glad to have this done.

Bartering P.S.

We also got our two cutie-patootie ponies by bartering.  We traded them for Delilah.  I don't know who got the best end of the deal financially speaking; but that's whats great about bartering.  As long as each party is happy, actual value does not matter.

Bartering in the country

Something that is not done to much in the suburbs.
But that's how I got my new cart.
Shown here next to Jake's Smart.....ha ha.
 (Yeh, it's pretty scary that his car looks smaller.  But thankfully he bought a bigger car last week.)              
                     OK, back to bartering.          
An 18-wheeler trailer came with our farm, it was being used for storage.  It was an eyesore.
It even had good tires still on it, so DH ran an add.
A man wanted to trade it for a 4-wheeler, except we didn't need a 4-wheeler.
 But my smart hubby knew that a 4-wheeler would be easier to sell than an 18-wheeler trailer, so we traded.
So a few weeks later, DH sold the 4-wheeler, and bought a much needed cart!  Now I don't have animal feed in various places, convenient to each group of animals, and also convenient to mice.
Now I have all the feed in one place, a pretty much mouse proof building where Sawyer the cat resided.  I scoop up the proper amounts in various containers, and load it on the cart each day.  Then I drive my happy little cart around and feed all the animals.  Bartering is wonderful.
We have also bartered a LP tank for a chicken incubator.  And
removal of some guard rail fencing,  exchanging the labor for the guard rail.

Emmi's best friends

Ohhh, how she loves these animals!
This shot was taken a few weeks ago.
We were all out working and playing, when I spotted her on top of a hay bale.
I could hear talking? singing? or something.
I walked up quietly behind her.  She had Sawyer, the black cat, in her lap.
She said "oh, hey moma, I was just telling Sawyer all about our trip to Disney World... 
and the cows are listening too!"
And yes, she really has heartfelt conversations with them all=)
This was a pretty day a few weeks ago.
I'll have to remember these nice days next week....when if is supposed to be FOURTEEN degrees at sunrise!  Toto, I don't think we're in the southern half of Alabama any more.
I think I experienced 14 degrees once, in Mongolia.  No wait, that was negative 14.  Oh well, anything below 40 seems all the same to me.
And here's an old picture of Delilah I ran across.  Happy weekend.

A portion of a project

Do you know what these are???  Metal scoops on a conveyor belt, cut into 3 pieces.  That was exactly what you guessed--right?
One of the many treasures left behind on our farm.  They were used in a grain mill.
So after I spent 2 hours getting them off of the barn wall, scrubbed them, and hauled them inside (they weigh at least 30lbs each)'s what I did with one piece.
This is perfect for gloves and hats, each person has their own "scoop".  I love it, especially compared to the daily dig into a laundry basket that we were using before.
Currently, the mud room has maroon carpet, blue trim, and a mauve and blue floral wallboard something or other on the walls.  I know you must be jealous!  In the future, it will have reclaimed barn wood on the walls, or at least part of the walls, depending on how far the wood goes.  The curtain (sheet) at the den door will be removed when the den is finished.  I have also gathered many rusty old hooks and farm equipment parts to use as coat hooks.  DH gets to figure out how to make it all work.
Salvaged feed bins, complete with gnaw marks, hold boots.
Here's the moma and daddy boot box.  Even though this room is UGLY right now.  I am so thankful to have it!!  We have never had a space like this before; when we lived in Montgomery, we never needed such a space.  Here, I would guess that winter morning temperatures are a good 20 degrees colder.  I can't imagine where all the coats and boots would go without this room.

Happy New Year

Ever try to get a good up close photo of a mini-donk?

Sully feeling festive with a new red halter.
Lilly with her custom made Tiara.
Milly and her rather gaudy necklace.
Even Happy gets decorated for the holidays!