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The Talk

The Beginning of the End

I just had “The Talk” with the boys. Gavin didn’t take it well.

Are you picky when it comes to milk? In my house we smell it, examine it, taste it and are still often leary about it. This week I’m forcing the kids use Almond Milk for their cereal. I have it on hand and I’m trying to save the rest of the Whole Milk for cooking. That didn’t go over well. It almost came down to tears. “Noooo, I hate that stuff,” whined Gavin this morning. Then, I explained that in two weeks, I am never going to buy cow’s milk again. Well, I’m not going to say “never”, but I don’t intend to.

Why?

Well, milk is so stink in’ expensive now. Have you noticed? And I buy the GMO-free milk which makes it so much more expensive than the big plastic gallon jug. I’ve had to limit the milk drinking by the boys to help it last longer. Boys can really drink a lot of milk!

But . . . the real reason, the reason that matters right this second, is that we are finally going to have goats! We have decided on two dairy goats. One is currently in milk, while the other is just living, breathing lawn mower. They are relatively young Alpines and they are sisters. Since goats are social creatures, we opted on getting two. Happy goats, more milk.

Not Just Milk

I’m excited to have the goat milk. Honestly, I’ve never even tried it. Duh, I know! But, we’re going to make it work and we are going to like it! Although having our own milk factory is totally cool, I’m most excited about what you can do with all that milk. Cheese!

I love goat cheese! Love it. Love, love, love.

The Ladies

Of course, my biggest problem right now is their names. Don’t worry. I’m a skilled problem solver.

There have been other considerations, but I think they are in the bag, baby.

The ladies are two years old and they have some interesting names. I’d prefer to rename them, mostly because they’ll be mine and there is something special about a name. At least for me. I don’t think Mateo really cares. Problem is . . . are the goats going to have a problem if I start calling them something different.

The names Cappuccino and Kit Kat just don’t fit for the Barker’s Faux Farm. Maybe Basil and Sage? Or Annabell and Bonnie? Agnes and Edith? The name Kit Kat is definitely going to have to change. Gavin suggested we name her Frappe  (Frapp or Frapper for all those that cannot pronounce it correctly).

I’m so excited! He he he.

Goat Mama,

Ginger

 

 


Middle School Years

The scene: An eight grade boy sitting beside a fifth grade boy at the kitchen table.

Tension? Oh yes, there is some tension.

Giggles? Yep.

Uncontrollable chit-chat? How’d you guess?

It’s hard to believe that we have finished two years of homeschooling at the Barker Academy of Higher Learning. After last year’s start, stop, and restart execution of home education, I thought I’d keel over from emotional turmoil. Turns out . . . our decision to keep the boys home was a good move.

We are now preparing for our third year. This year the boys will be studying Rome to the Reformation from My Father’s World. The boys are diligently working through the summer with a few breaks here and there. Tristan is finishing up his Pre-Algebra and we are quickly drawing closer to the final week of Creation to the Greeks.

Although I am the Mean ol’ School Marm, I have decided that we all need a break before diving into our study of Rome.

Now, quit the chit-chat and get back to work!

Your favorite teacher,

Mrs. Barker

 


Pork: The Other White Meat

What do you call a whole pig that has taken a trip to see the butcher? A pork.

Matt got the call that there was one pork ready for pick up. Not a pork chop, mind you. A pork. I’ve never had to pick up a pork before. Yet, the boys and I are taking a trip with our lovely neighbor Tammy to do just that. We’re taking either Nancy P. or Hillary C. and putting her into our nearly empty freezer.

I am so excited! Wait . . .  that seems weird. But, alas, I am excited to have a freezer full of food. A freezer full of pork.

Our neighbors raised these two pigs. I remember when the girls came home. They were so cute. But how they did grow! And how they could eat! They ate like . . . pigs? Yes, like pigs. There is something very special about knowing where your food comes from. Usually, I focus on the fruits and vegetables, but meat is no less important. A lot of care, time, and compassion went into raising the pigs. We are grateful to be able to partake in this pork endeavor.

On arrival . . .

We paid for our pork and many boxes were loaded up into the vehicle. Many boxes of goodness.

Thankfully, our freezer had room to spare. We had a few things that needed to be consolidated or relegated to another shelf (a.k.a. smashed together to make room for the good stuff).

Sausage – Bacon – Ham Steaks – Ham Hocks – Pork Chops – Ham – And other delicious cuts of Porky Pig

I will say, that we have had some bacon, sausage, and pork chops. Those were the best pork chops I’ve ever eaten. Scrumptious.

*Please note that the packages say “Not For Sale.” I’m pretty sure that means “Don’t share.” I wouldn’t want to break the rules.

GBark

 

 


The New Baby

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We have a new little baby boy in our lives. He was born January 1st, 2014 and he bites. We named this little bundle of teeth, Hank. We named him after a character in one of Gavin’s favorite series of books, Hank the Cow Dog. He is a Blue Heeler (a.k.a. Australian Cattle Dog). Before bringing him home, the boys built Hank and Annie a dog house. I only agreed to have another canine if they stayed outside. Since our weather is mild in the winter, this is acceptable. Matt […]



Ireland

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Living in Europe has given us the opportunity to visit many sites and experience many new things. This year we had the amazing privilege to travel to Ireland for a week. We thought it best to go prepared. We watched a Rick Steves’ video on Ireland and poured over many guidebooks from the library. We decided to spend our time in the southwestern area of the country. Thankfully, Matt is a details kind of guy and he made all the travel arrangements (thanks honey!). We also decided to ditch the […]


What I Want for Christmas

As I was reading an article this morning, I began thinking what I could to do help others out this holiday season. While there are obviously many ways I can help, my answer this season is simple. If you were thinking about giving me a Christmas gift this year, instead make a donation to Compassion International. When I look around my house, I already have everything I could ever need (and I am a bit embarrassed to say a ton of stuff I/we don’t really need).

We have sponsored a little girl named Valerie through Compassion for many years now as well as contributing to Compassion’s Child Survival Program. Valerie has been a huge blessing to us as we read letters from her about her life in Haiti. It is awesome to know that we are making a huge difference in the life of a child in a country that I care very deeply for. I don’t mention any of this to seek kudos, but instead to show how easy it is to make a world of difference in the lives of others not nearly as fortunate as any one of us.

* And if you weren’t planning on getting me a present, PLEASE consider donating just the same.


Slip’n & Slid’n

It is getting a little warm around here, so this morning we broke out the Slip N’ Slide that I picked up for the boys in Norfolk. I always wanted one of these as a kid, but with nothing but rocks in the backyard, it probably wouldn’t have been as much fun.

Tristan giving it a go:

And Gavin:

Makes you want to be a kid again, doesn’t it?


Neighbors

While writing my last post I overheard my neighbors. They kept saying “Maaaa, maaaa, maaaa”. If I didn’t know better I would think they were saying “Maaaatt, Maaaatt, Maaaatt.” Maybe they are.

I usually stop by to chat with them. They are so nice and always have pleasant things to say. Granted, they are goats, known for being much more outgoing than your average sheep.

A few times a year the goats have kids, which are they ones making all the chit-chat lately. They are so cute when they are little. Some have little horn nubs growing out the tops of their heads. Today, since it is quite warm, they were seeking shade underneath their food trough, while their older siblings and mothers grabbed a bite to eat. I must have been relatively stealthy, because the rooster next door to the goats kept quite.

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