I've been waist-high in Classical Conversations planning today and it's been very productive. The only time I did anything else was just a little while ago when I went to check on the goats and chickens and give them their second feeding and watering of the day. I was pleasantly surprised to see how well they all were doing in this cold, windy weather. April and Aries, the Alpine goat does, seemed especially happy to see the alfalfa hay and sweet feed I was bringing to them. They let me love on them a little more each day. They arrived here very unsure of the new place and new people, but I am slowly gaining their trust. They are beautiful and graceful to watch. They remind me of deer. I'll post some pictures soon. My dad, a veterinarian, confirmed a few days ago that at least April is pregnant. He felt a kick! So exciting! I believe Aries is, too. They were thought to be pregnant when they came to us. I'm seeing growth in both of them each day. It's like we're all pregnant and growing together. :) The hens were doing well despite having lost one, Henrietta, over the weekend. Allie has named them all according to their appearance and personalities. We let them out to free range during the day, then lock them in the hen house at night to protect them from predators. They were out while we were at church on Sunday, and when we came home Allie went to play with them but could only find four. We found number five, Henrietta, a few feet away. It was just a pile of feathers. She had been eaten by something. We assumed that was number six Anne's fate, because even by Sunday night we only found four chickens. But Monday morning, Allie and I went to check on them, and were thrilled to see Anne trying to peck her way into the hen house. She must have hidden somewhere really well when we were looking for her. And she made it through the cold night and came back home! Anne really is the toughest one. Definitely the meanest. :) Anyway, the five remaining chickens have kept being faithful egg layers for us. We get a consistent five beautiful brown eggs every morning. They are delicious. I've learned that they like to eat egg shells and it makes their next batch of eggs higher in protein, so I went out to give them eggshells from this morning's breakfast and they were ecstatic. I'm not sure how many worms they're finding in this cold, hard ground right now.
As it's getting darker, I'm missing my family. I like to pray out loud when I go outside, partly because it's one place I know that no one is listening, and partly because I just feel closer to God when I'm outside in nature. My prayers went something like this. . . "Thank You God, for our five healthy hens. They are such a blessing. Thank You for keeping them safe today. Thank You also for my five beautiful children. Please bring them all home safely soon from all their travels. I miss them so much when they're gone. It's then when I realize how quiet the house is without them, and that they are really the ones who make it a home. Oh, how I want them to get the best education. I want them to thrive, Lord. Make me a good teacher for them. Show me what they need to know and how to teach it to them. Help me arm them with knowledge and truth and wisdom, and the strength to use it in the world when they leave home. Give me grace to love them well the way each one needs to be loved. Teach me how to be a suitable helpmeet for that man of mine. Show me how to love him well, how to partner with him, how to support him and strengthen him to become an even better man than he is today. Thank You for these people I call family whom You have given me to nurture, teach, train, admonish, nourish, inspire, support. Help me to do it well. Thank You, Father. You are so good."