After moving to Missouri from Arizona and being a lover of the heat, this past warm winter was a welcome wave of comfort. Moving to Arizona was a dream come true for me, a smalltown northeast Missouri native. It was hard to leave the desert, but I wanted Jadon & Kylee to experience some of the good ol’ mid-west childhood that I enjoyed.

We’ve been in Missouri for three years now. The first winter was COLD and snowy. However, the last two winters have been mild. This past winter, we had an ice storm after an unusually warm February. A lot of trees were downed. One of the big oak trees, out in the pasture, split in half. Jason and the kids have been building a tree fort/deer stand on the half of the tree that fell. It is about 6 feet off of the ground. The other half is standing and ALIVE!

The sheep have almost finished springtime lambing, except for one ewe who keeps getting bigger & BIGGER by the day! We check on her many times- morning, afternoon, and evening. Last year she had a single, we are wondering if she is going to have triplets this year!? If so, it will be the only set of triplets born this spring.

Barn kittens and house kittens are scurrying around– they’re so cute! And, the puppies are growing fast! Almost too fast- if you ask me. Only a few more weeks and they will be in their furever homes. We have so enjoyed watching them transform into wiggly, waggly, little furballs! Jason installed a doggy door that goes from the homeschool/game room out into a fenced off area of the yard. The puppies are just starting to learn to move the flaps and go in and out.

There are lots of projects going on around the ranch along with daily chores– and that keeps us all busy. Time has somehow been found to start herding training for Jake and a young lady came out to help halter train the yearling foal, Belle.

Fishing and swimming in the near-by river have been great fun already this spring! We’ve visited Grandma and fished at the pond there, too.

The kids have a lawn mowing job and they collect eggs from the hens and sell farm fresh healthy eggs. The baby chicks are almost ready to leave the barn and head to the coop. Jason is building a new coop like the one we had in Arizona. (I loved that coop!) Pictures will be posted once it’s complete. The local hatchery, Cackle Hathchery, called to let us know the Guinea fowl we ordered will arrive later than originally scheduled- due to a hatching date change. In Arizona we ordered from Murry McMurray Hatchery and the baby chicks arrived in the mail. Those were exciting times! Now we are about 20 minutes from Cackle. We call our order in ahead of time and they have it ready for us when we arrive several weeks later for pick up.

We have had a fox problem lately. Just today, while we were out working in the yard one made off with a hen! Jason and the kids chased after it, but into the woods it went. ‘Sly as a fox’! And brave! We are bringing home a livestock guardian puppy late summer. We have chosen the Maremma Sheepdog to be the farm guardian. We are condsidering bringing home two older pups to help us NOW! LGD’s require training and cannot just be put out by themselves at a young age and expected to know how to fully guard. Therefore we are currently facing a very long drawnout battle with the local ‘fox gang’ while our LGD’s mature.

To end on a positive note, my lovest is working on putting up Purple Martin houses. When I was a little girl my Dad had Purple Martin houses and I loved those birds! (I also love Barn Swallows, the Purple Martin’s cousin, and we have plenty of those- they don’t require special housing or care!) We are looking forward to becoming Purple Martin landlords. There is a lot to learn about these birds and it involves more than putting up houses and letting them be. They must be protected against Starlings, a non-native species who destroy eggs and young. The Purple Martin’s earn their keep by eating BUGS! Go Martins!

A father with his children on the farm with a fawn.