Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Aunt "AD" (Adrienne) babysits

John, Isaac, and I (along with my parents) had the opportunity to do one of my favorite yearly events (although COVID shut it down for awhile.) We went to the Barry Bales concert. If you aren't familiar with Barry, he is a member of Alison Krauss & Union Station. His wife Aliceson, is one of my dearest friends, and their son Marshall is a good friend to my boys. Once a year, he brings 3-4 other musicians together and without any practice, puts on an AMAZING concert. Here are some videos from the concert:

So, I asked my brother's wife, Adrienne "AD" to babysit. She brought her two daughters and held down the fort with my three kids (Isaac was with us.) She thought it would be HILARIOUS to send a bunch of texts with photos and videos of the kids "breaking all the rules."

Cast iron in the dishwasher?! NO!!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Winter Wonderful Wonderland

We unexpectedly got a little bit of snow overnight -- not even an inch, but it was enough for all the kids staying on our farm to have some fun! Ethan and Eli (John's sister Elizabeth's twin sons -- our first BOI kiddos!) were staying at G&G's house. And Charleigh and Baylee (my brother's girls) have been staying with us. (Their parents and brothers are staying in Greeneville with my parents.)

Firstly, this morning, I went out to do to the chickens (and give Sidge a much needed BREAK!) and Ethan (and our three big doggies) came with us:

Baylee, Abigail, Ethan, Sidge, Hannah, and Charleigh: 
Then, it was time to get out on the frozen pond! This doesn't happen very often around these parts!

We had twins born on Christmas Day and this morning, another set of twins and a single! All mothers doing fantastic. Ethan had SOOOO wanted to hold a little lamb, but I told him they were hard to catch unless they were just born. Lucky him! There were three born this morning! Ethan is SOOO good with animals.

And now ... off to the FROZEN SOLID POND!!!!!

Only bad part of the day? Well, there were two parts. The first? A pipe in our garage burst. UGH! Not good. But second, Baylee did a little sledding, her glove got ripped off, and a bramble left itself very far down in her hand. John actually had to numb it up to get it out. But ..... she used this injury to convince Big Keith (her Dad!) to get everyone ice cream. Not too shabby! :)


First dove!

Elijah shot his first "eat your own dinner" animal late this afternoon. He got a shotgun for Christmas and is learning how to shoot dove during "Dove Season." We think it's very important to shoot for food (unless the animal is a predictor/pest) so after shooting the dove, he and John cooked it up and ate it together. 

Watching our Sidge and his love for nature is so much fun for us. Many kids are "into" a sport or instrument. Sidge is not. He's into animals, nature, anything outdoors. He loves his aquarium/s, is constantly working to improve them, and received many books for Christmas on how to prepare wild game (and other things like that.)

It is so interesting to see children become who God made them be simply by WHO he made them to be. We have raised our boys exactly the same in so many ways. However, Isaac is a musician. He's a night-owl (although we fight him on this!) and he is not a great lover of nature/the outdoors. Sidge is a naturalist and an early bird. 

Being a parent is the greatest and hardest thing EVER. I am fully aware that this will be such a fleeting period of my life. It felt like I waited forever to become a Mama. This Blog started because of INFERTILITY and now that first baby is 14 years old and our biological son is 13!


Monday, December 26, 2022

Joy brings Joy


From the very beginning, little Joy was one of our favorite puppies. The last one born, she just had a look that none of us could not be enthralled by. Even Mr. Tough Guy, JB, admitted she was his favorite in the litter. She just drew you to her. People noticed it online (we had no less than three previous buyers consider buying Joy and adding to their herd), but what she did was more than just pictures. She did it to us in person too. 

Joy was always seeking people. When other pups were eating, she would leave Mama or the food bowl and go and find the people that were close by to snuggle up to. Puppies never leave nursing if they can help it. But Joy did. She chose people over food every single time. 

But ... for some reason, Joy kept "falling through the cracks." Of course, I know the reason now. The reason is: this was supposed to be Ms. Debbie's dog. God knew that! And he wasn't going to let anything stop Joy's destiny. Joy was the second pick for nearly ALL of our buyers. I had probably two dozen people text me expressing interest in Joy, but for one reason or another, decided it wasn't good timing. She just kept not being purchased. 

We had NO doubt Joy's perfect family was out there. Who was it? As I always do, I prayed and "fretted" a bit about who would own Joy. But in the end ...

... That's when suddenly, and I still don't know how, Ms. Debbie stumbled upon my post on Facebook. She was the friend of a friend of mine (and I've since discovered we have quite a few other friends in common), and she really wanted a puppy. She has a little Chihuahua, but, no offense to little tiny dog owners, an Aussie is just a whole different level of puppy.  However, when Debbie asked me the price of the dog, she immediately knew it was out of her reach. 

I really feel that our puppies are a ministry for us. We (sometimes) make some money raising them, but truly, they are an act of love. Love for dogs. Love for the joy they bring our family. But mostly LOVE in seeing these puppies go bring joy to other people. There is just something about a dog that is a beautiful thing in a person's life. I grieve the day that we place our last puppy, as we don't foresee that after Raven finishes her tenure as a Mama, we will be doing this again. 

I truly felt God tell me that Debbie was one that was supposed to own Joy. Money is never a big deal to us when it comes to making sure the doggies have the right nomes. So I told Debbie I would trust her to make payment plans ...

... and the rest was history.

She was sobbing when we placed Joy in her arms today. (So were many of us.) She just said, "I have just always wanted a puppy like this. You cannot imagine how happy you have made me." When they got in Debbie's truck, little Joy climbed onto her lap and up behind her neck. Sooooo sweet!

Since sharing Debbie's story with a few people, I've been asked if they can help with the funds for Ms. Joy. To-date, we've received nearly half of the cost of the dog. (The puppy was $750, Ms. Debbie paid $50 so far, and as of today, I've received $400 in donations!) This means that right now, Ms. Debbie only owes another $300.

I don't know much about Ms. Debbie. But I know from people who know her, that she is a fantastic human, and that she will give Joy a great home. She lives alone, and she said, "Joy is going to bring Joy into my home!"

(If you are interested in making a donation to Ms. Debbie for the cost of the dog -- or for additional vet/food bills -- you can paypal me at She has not asked for ANY help, but I've just fallen so hard for her and Joy.)

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Christmas Lambs

Well, we had baby lambs born this morning -- twins! In sticking with our "bad guy" theme this year, we are naming all the girls superhero villain names. We named these two: Frankenstein and Fenrir Greyback. (I did not choose the theme nor the names.)

When we went out this morning, it was VERY cold but not as cold as it had been. The babies were pretty wet. But we managed to get her moved to the brooder with her little gals so they could dry off and warm up.

As for us? We had a day with just the six of us -- until my nieces joined us midday. Charleigh and Baylee are such sweet girls, and I just LOVE having them around. 

Gramps and Grama spent the day with Elizabeth and her family (staying with them) and John's sister Katie (who lives over the mountain now.) We were supposed to spend the day together tomorrow, but I imagining with our colds here, they won't want to be around us too much.

I'll try to post more pics and such!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Coal goes home

Here are some photos of our last moments with Coal. Also, some pictures of his new home! 

Here is a video of his new Dad!He’s going to be accompanying him on his job as a ferrier on the road. 

Here is a video of his new Dad!

Huisman Christmas

We did a Christmas Eve with my parents and brother and family this evening. It’s been so cold. And now Isaac and I both have colds. And John has been working the last two days. 

Tomorrow, it will just be the six of us hunkering down together. It should be so peaceful! 

Here’s a video of our Christmas adventures: Christmas with Huisman’s

Then and Now

Friday, December 23, 2022

Holy cow is it COLD!


I've done cold a LOT. My husband went to medical school in Rochester, Minnesota. It was freezing like all the time.

But taking care of animals in that freezing cold weather? NOT FUN AT ALL!

We just don't get negative temps here in East TN much at all. It dropped as low as four degrees today. The weird thing is, the HIGH was at about 9am. It just kept getting colder! With the windchill, we were easily into the negative twenties.

We started preparing for the biggest cold snap of our eight years in TN on Thursday afternoon. It was in the 60's as we got ready! What would we do without the weather forecasts?! We would have never seen this coming. But, because we did, we had two major jobs:

Out sheep are actually Katahdin Hair Sheep. They were bread in Maine and we have rarely (if ever!) taken any winter precautions on their behalf. But, we were forecasted to have a lot of rain/snow before the temperature dropped, and not only do we have three little baby lambs already born, we have about a dozen Mamas READY TO POP with more babies.

So we came up with a good plan, and it worked beautifully.

In the evening, we prepared for the winter storm by going into town to see the legendary Barry Bales play in his "annual" (after COVID postponements) Christmas Extravaganza! Here are a couple of quick videos I took of this: overall and overall2 and fiddle amazing!

We woke up this morning to less rain/wetness than was forecasted but absolutely BRUTAL coldness. (And I've lived in Minnesota!)

Isaac was not feeling well (he got what John and Abigail are recovering from and what I am also coming down with). Sidge the amazing, willingly got himself layered up and braced the cold with me. This guy was such a rockstar that when one of our the locks on our gates was frozen shut, he just climbed it to get to his chickens. We had to do chickens, ducks, sheep, and then head over to our friend Anni's farm to tend to her goats and dogs. (I nearly did a happy dance when her well water ran! Oh man I did NOT want to try to figure out how to bucket water to Anni's farm!)

After we were done with the animals, Sidge and I did a quick Yoder's run to get some "supplies" for hunkering down: bread, milk, and "stuff" to make biscuits and cookies and soup!

I also let Sidge pick out a drink to say THANK YOU for how amazing he is on the farm. This kid seriously is amazing with labor jobs: carpentry, fish, creating ... just awesome.

We (everyone but John as he works today and tomorrow) spent the rest of the day with my brother and his family. We also spent a little time with John's sister Elizabeth and her husband and boys. Her boys got to spend some real quality time with the puppies which was a ton of fun! 

Aunt AD babysat while we were at the concert. I have a TON of fun pictures/videos to share of that ... another day!