Monday, September 18, 2017

Finally Here!

Way back on the first of December, our Jersey milk cow was artificially bred. That was over nine months ago...and ever since then we've been waiting. First it was waiting to see if she "took," then it was waiting to see her tummy grow - that took a long time. For the last four weeks or so, we've been waiting for her baby to arrive.


and waiting,

and waiting,

and waiting some more.

It was obvious there was a baby in there, especially when
we took into consideration the size of her udder...

but it seemed as if it would never come.

For weeks Robin checked on her at bedtime, in the middle
of the night, and early in the morning. Yesterday morning it
was the same conversation when Robin came in:
Me: "No baby?" Robin: "No baby."

Robin went back to the farm to shock corn stalks and I sat down
to eat my breakfast. The phone rang: "Hurry up! You've got
a baby and he's trying to stand up!" I gulped my last bite
of toast, flew upstairs and threw on some clothes, and
grabbed the camera. The farm is just under two miles
from our house, and my car didn't piddle. And just look
what was waiting for me!

Mama Star had delivered her baby all on her own,
probably around 6:00 am. When I got there,
around 8:30, he was working hard at standing up.
It didn't take him very long to figure out how to get up,
but staying up was another story. All that effort on an empty
stomach was just too much, so a short nap was in order.

A hungry tummy is a powerful motivator, though,
and it wasn't long before he was up again and searching for breakfast.

He knew which end...

and he knew how to suck...

but he couldn't quite get in the right spot.
After several minutes of trying, he needed some more rest.

This time Mama joined him.

Later, in the afternoon, Robin got both Mama and Baby
in the barn. He helped the little guy out a bit and soon he was
feasting and filling up his empty tummy.

Because Star had so much milk, there was no way this
new baby could drink it all. Mama needed some relief!

Robin milked out over a gallon of the golden colostrum,
the rich first milk that is filled with all a newborn needs.

Although it was probably uncomfortable at first,
Star was mighty glad to give a bucketful of milk.

Later, she got a little treat of grain for all her efforts.

At home, I strained the colostrum and put it in bottles for the freezer.

It is highly prized by fellow farmers to nourish a weak calf or lamb
that needs an extra boost. We're thankful to have so much to share.

By evening, our new baby was stronger and more sure of his legs.

He's a mighty pretty boy!

This afternoon, he could go in and out of the barn by himself.

It's amazing how quickly this baby is gaining independence.
But he still needs his mama.

Just look at those eyelashes! What a miracle to behold!
We're so glad you're finally here, little guy.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Leaf Lessons

It was about right here that I first noticed it,
several yards up the road.

Do you see it?

I couldn't figure out what it was...

until I got closer.

It was a leaf, a tiny red leaf. A little red leaf wouldn't be
unusual in October, but in June?

I looked around, but couldn't find anything with red leaves,
only the vibrant greens of early summer.

A closer inspection revealed not only the brilliant red color,
but a few imperfections as well.

As I walked, I pondered this little red leaf. It was unconcerned about being the only thing red in a world of grey and green. The fact that there were no others like it didn't keep it from being true to its beautiful, red self. Nor was it hiding its blemishes.

The conclusion I came to is this: as a Christian,
I should be more like this tiny leaf!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Touring History: The Major John A. Wallace Cottage

If you had asked me about the Major John A. Wallace Cottage before the Monroe County Historic Homes Tour, I wouldn't have been able to tell you a thing. You see, I didn't know this humble little house from my childhood had a name, let alone any historical significance. This photo was stuck on the refrigerator in the cottage kitchen and it is exactly how I remember the house from 40 years ago, give or take a few.

It sits directly across the street from the Sarver house.

The Sarver House

Like us Martins, the Sarvers had three girls the same ages as my sisters and me. We played together often, as our houses were only two streets apart. There are some good stories of our adventures, but that's another post...

Connie and I walked the short distance from the General John Echols house to the Wallace cottage. As we approached, I could easily tell that sometime after I left Union in the early 1980s, the tiny house received a complete and much-needed makeover. 

The Wallace Cottage was built in 1854, according to the printed tour guide sheet: "John Wallace was the owner/operator of the Wallace Business College in pre-Civil War Union. The current owners of this tiny cottage have restored the building with a Greenbrier Hotel-inspired interior, featuring Dorothy Draper-style colors and details." The Greenbrier Hotel is about 18 miles from Union, where you can see the work of famous decorator Dorothy Draper, but this little place is wonderfully done in her colorful style.

The front door opens right into the small living room. Come to think of it, the front door is the only door!

The first thing I noticed was the fireplace, to the right, maybe because the fire was so welcome on such a chilly day.

To the right of the fireplace was this cabinet:

The lamp caught my eye, too. I like vintage lamps. Vibrant colors were everywhere - check out the surface of the table the lamp is sitting on.

There was an inviting sofa facing the fireplace, and beyond that another interesting cabinet. The open door with the brass handle in the extreme left of this photo is the front door, which gives you an idea of how little the room is.

The doorway under the stairs lead to the kitchen.

Like the living room, it's a little kitchen with color and whimsy everywhere.

To the right of the fireplace was the sink, the stove, and some cabinets.

To the left of the fireplace was another vintage cabinet. The window in this photo is on the front of the house.

You can see the doorway (on the left) that leads back into the living room in this photo.

To the right of the kitchen stove, a door lead to a pink bedroom on the back of the house.

The bedside table had another delightful lamp.

And on top of yet another vintage green cabinet was a nod to the cottage decor's inspiration: a hat box from a shop at The Greenbrier.

Just off this cozy retreat was a tiny, but complete bath.

From here we retraced our steps to the living room. In the front corner was a narrow staircase leading to, believe it or not, a second floor!

A small table sat at the foot of the stairs (behind the front door), adorned with, of all things, a pink and black high-heeled shoe! A Barbie doll was also there. The amazing thing was, all these eclectic things looked completely normal and at home.

At the top of the stairs we found wavy and uneven floors, tell-tale signs of the 163 years of use the cottage has seen. There was a twin bed in the small hallway, and another tiny bath.

Passing through the hallway/bedroom, we came into the last room of the house. Here we found another bedroom, this one with a full size bed.

This little guy held the door open,

and above the fireplace were some very unusual mounts. They appeared to be made of felted wool. And who would have though of decorating the mantle with vintage flower pots!

Throughout the house were white board ceilings, original wood floors, and colorful rugs. Every room exuded welcome, whimsy, and delight. Multiple colors, patterns, and styles came together in a harmonious decor that stimulated the senses and soothed the mind at the same time. It's a style I don't think I could ever achieve, but I had no trouble at all enjoying every inch of it. And to think all of this is now inside that once-neglected little house...who knew??!