Friday, January 8, 2010

a 7-day Journal of Living off-grid at Maple Valley Farm WINTER

January 7, 2010 Day 3

I wake up at 6:30 AM to the GG on the phone in a low voice talking of ice day today a few farms away. The neat thing, we help them and they help us. Isn’t that the way it supposed to be? Own 1 ice saw to be used by quite a few, rather than each person own their own and store it in their garage all shiny and new for the one time a year they use it…

GG and I talk about the plans, looks like we will be cutting ice on Saturday here at the farm. This can change of course with the wind but that is when it is looking to be. I immediately mentally start planning on what we will have for the big noon dinner! Last year, this was a highlight of your year of our life actually, ice days!

We bring in today’s wood and stack by both stoves to keep a hot fire. IT’S COLD today!
I really did not sleep that well last night at all. I am realizing I am not getting outside enough. THAT will change TODAY! The fresh air does a body good, the vitamin D and more. I know ice days will help with this to get my “energy” out. I won’t be awake at night after this. I use this time to pray and pray, I figure God has me up for a reason.

For breakfast we eat hot apple dumplings from yesterday with milk on them and coffee.
“Christmas” vacation is getting very old… I can’t wait till Monday for a schedule again. ARGH!
12 yo starts the morning chore routine. The others start with daily inside jobs; I log on computer to post and do some checking and take some phone calls. 1 phone call was very interesting.

I find that GG will be cutting ice for sure and I need to drive him and our son to the farm.
We go to the farm and they invite us in for a BIG dinner at noon. 12 at the table and 5 at least are in school for the day, more or less, I can’t keep track. It’s neat that the mother (of 14) is sitting next to her 20 year old son on one side and her 2 year old on the other side and kitty corner to the 2 year old is her 2 year old granddaughter! The neatest thing, she is beautiful and only looks about 20 something herself. I haven’t figured that out yet. As of late I feel a little beaten down and ok tired…

We talk about family trees. The father of this home is 1 of 21 children (17 living). His parents are still living. They have 175 grandchildren. Some are married and have children as well and they have stopped counting but figure there is at least over 200 so far in the lineage! WOW! 175 grandchildren and counting… WHAT a treasure. They are RICH! And to think, that grandma still sends a birthday card to each one! They say that is what keeps her going, she sends a card every other day at least.

I clean up with the women and then use their new inside toilet. WOW, pretty cool! We want to hire him someday to put an inside toilet in here (off-grid style). Someday…
I leave to finally get to that bulk food grocery store that I was going to on Monday. I should have gone on Monday as it threw the entire week off, but life does go on. Something how 1 small event can goof everything up.

I get to the bulk foods and I buy Sucanat, rye oats, 7 grain oatmeal, dried unsulphured fruits, stevia yogurt and a few more things. Oatmeal is a big morning staple here. Leftover oatmeal is baked for granola. I bought kombucha tea as I somehow even killed my Scooby! And to think I can grow a garden…

The store owner asks me what religion I am… I don’t look different today but I will take this as a God thing and use to witness. I simply state, “I am born again and love the Lord”, and he says, “I thought so!” and then he gave me his testimony as well… I am glad I gave off that feeling to the man that I love the Lord and follow Him. It is not I but He that worketh through me… Some days, well, He might not have gotten those vibes… catch my drift? Yikes.

I come out of the health/bulk food store and it is really snowing and blizzarding actually. I get in the mini-van and pray for safety for the roads are BAD.

I am heading back to get the GG at the farm but have about 2 hours to spare so I decide to park at the local library to do some FAST online research.

I am at the library and cannot believe how fast the internet speed is.

I come out of the library and the blizzard is worse, I can barely see and I head to our friends farm to get the GG.

I finally make it and have traveled only 25 mph for about 7 miles on back country roads praying the fan belt does not fly off on this van, as this happens quite a bit when you drive through drifts.

I get to the farm and see my son’s hat running with the others in the barn. They boys, all ages 13 and under milked 9 cows by hand in about 25 minutes and got about 135 lbs. of milk! Our 12 yo is in his glory with these boys. I walk in; they all talk my ear off, SO CUTE! They show me the miniature horses. I am still nervous in barns. It is pitch dark with only headlamps, loose horses and I walk through a row of milking cows rear ends and pick up the pace in the dark so I will not be kicked.

GG and the father are not back from ice cutting, already an hour late. I pray nothing has happened. I go back in the barn with the boys. They are playing hide and seek. I come out of the barn and can hear in the pitch dark outside the horses (sleigh bells) coming off into the distance. I wait. This team is nothing like ours, young, nervous and unpredictable but these men that drive them are nothing like us. They were born by Belgians. They can handle any horse it seems. They do deal bravely but with caution as his very own brother, “born by a horse” was kicked in the head in his 40’s leaving a wife and family of 10 behind…

As they turn the sleigh and stop I said I was glad to see them here safe as it is quite blizzard. GG and his beard are frozen in snow. They said they broke down. The sleigh back end broke through the ice (9,600 lbs of ice, just shy of 5 tons) with the horses off the ice fortunately. Horses are smart; they really don’t like to go on the ice because they know the danger. They really knew what was going on today after the ice broke. GG and the father had to unload the entire sleigh with the tongs, less only 20 blocks to get the horses to pull the sleigh out of the drink.

Then when he is telling me this, in the pitch dark blizzard mind you, the horses rear up and take off down a hill, sleigh, ice and all and jackknife the sleigh… All this with the father on the sleigh yelling HOA! I ran and prayed.

It all ended up ok but the horses kept acting up.

We left for home on the blizzard roads, all 3 of us to get to our farm and prayed for safety.
We come home and eat homemade pizzas.

We have our nightly family time around the table with a singa (PA deutsch) to end the night. (See the hymn sings beginning below… The Great Him LOVES to sing and we are working about the LOUD part of it but don’t want to squash his sincerity… you will understand) We really end the evening by the couch with a family prayer.

We go to bed way too late. I am thinking next year we are going to celebrate Advent as a family and with our good friends. Evie peaked my interest with the Jessie Tree and more… GG is hurtin and tossin’ and turning from being outside all day in the elements and lifting the iceblocks... I am praying a lot. Praying for people in our path that we have met, praying for protection for our family and praying for our future. GG lies there and says, he has 2 more days this! Wow… we are getting old-ER. 11:45 pm


Fine Linen said...

I had to grin when you commented on one of your sons loud singing. Our middle son loves to sing, and very loudly as well. Like you we don't want to discourage him singing praises to the Lord, but would like for him to tone down just a bit...
I'm really enjoying your journal, thank you so much for sharing with us.
Peace and Grace to you and yours, Fine Linen

JLB said...

God Bless you and yours. What a life you do lead.I tell myself every morning,'This is the day that the lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it for tomorrow is promised to no man.'

JLB said...

God Bless you and yours. What a life you do lead.I tell myself every morning,'This is the day that the lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it for tomorrow is promised to no man.'

Anonymous said...

Bless his little heart for trying so hard to sing praise!
Yes, he may be loud, but oh so cute!

Home Sweet Home said...

LOVE the singing....made me smile. So grateful you all are well and survived the blizzard and horses running. It's so wonderful to know that our God never sleeps and watches over us every single minute.


Melanie said...

I am loving your 7 day journal. It's very inspiring (I bet you haven't heard that one before!!!).
I love how you wrote about being asked what religion you are, that's fantastic that you're able to witness like that. I sometimes wonder how/if I am different as a Christian.
I'm so glad you're blogging again! I really missed you for the time that you were gone. I always read, although I don't comment often.

-Melanie in Canada

Anonymous said...

Your son singing "When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder" is so precious! What a blessing indeed!

Amanda <><
Matthew 6:33

Lisa said...

I just wanted to tell you thank you for your posts. I love reading them.
It would be nice if you gave some tutorials of some of the things you do in your everyday life and gave us some of your recipes. I realize that you do have time constraints, but it would be nice:)
Keep writing, I'll keep reading.
Feel free to check out my blog when you have a minute. Thanks again!

matty said...

What a fortunate and blessed day for you! Thank God the men and horses were fine! How frightening!

Stay warm and joyful!


Anonymous said...

I just can't imagine all that you and GG do. It's unbelievable. I hope that God blesses you and your family and animals very day. Ice days are really dangerous. You just never know what will happen and in the freezing cold too. I hope they didn't lose any ice after all that. All that work and then to lose it all because of a broken cart and spirited horses. It might have been the wind. Horses don't like the wind. I loved the little singer. Made me smile, he is so cute. Blessing to you all...debbie

Sarah said...

Ang, thank you for sharing you life here. Everytime I read one of your posts, there is an ache - a deep longing in my heart - to live as you are living. DH and I are trying to move away from town, and are patiently watching and waiting for God to lead us where He would have us to go. I stop by every day and read, though I don't always comment. Thank you, THANK YOU for letting us get a glimpse of your life. I wish we lived closer - we would be taking part in your Master the Land course! Again, thank you (I can't say it enough) for the inspiration.
Wishing you His richest blessings,

Renata said...

He is just so precious! Sounds like an enormous day there! So glad all went alright when the ice broke.
God bless you
Renata :)

all photos and writing on this blog ©Copyright Maple Valley Farms 2008-2011