Tuesday, May 10, 2011

All Cooped Up

Chicken Coop
The "new" coop and the roof of the "dog house coop" on the left and that's Boris in the background. And yes, he came from Ukraine.

One day at work I was looking over a pile of discarded lumber and trying to think of ways to get rid of it. The 2x4's and plywood were the remains of a skate park renovation. The wood was all twisted, warped, and full of broken off screws and nails. I had considered running it all through a chipper and turning it into mulch, but all the bits of metal left in the wood made me a little hesitant of that idea. It wasn't until a friend showed me a chicken coop he had built and all the eggs that his chickens produced that I decided to turn all that scrap wood into something useful.

My friend gave me the plans he had used and the promise of one of his young hens to get started. After several weeks of nights spent out in our shop making all those twisted pieces of wood fit together, it was finally finished. (The roofing material by the way was also second hand. It was generously given by a friend at church.) The same day I took delivery of our first hen, Edna stumbled onto a mother hen with seven chicks running loose in a parking lot in town. Animal control rounded them up and said that if no one claimed them, we could have them. The following Monday I brought mama hen and her seven chicks home. They have adapted well to life in the coop although I've had to move our young hen, who Edna named Cotton, into a smaller coop due to differences in opinion with mama hen. The second coop is a converted dog house which started life as a fruit bin that fell off of a truck passing our house when I was a little kid. This didn't start off as a lesson in recycling, but it seems to have ended up that way. We're just putting what we learned in Ukraine into practice, don't waste anything.

Chicken Coop
Mama hen and her chicks

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Snow Day

Snow Capped

Today we made the long anticipated trip up to the mountains to enjoy some time in the snow. We were all a little home sick for the times we played in the snow in Ukraine so a quick trip into Sequoia National Park was just what we needed.

Lyuba in a Snow Cave
Lyuba in a snow cave (she sat out the rest of the snow excursion sitting comfortably in the car)

I promised Joshua a snow cave and quickly went to work carving out a snow shelter adequate for a family of four. Unfortunately, by the time I put the finishing touches on my survival masterpiece, Joshua had decided that he was done being wet and cold. Dominic wanted no part in wallowing in the snow, preferring to take pictures of me doing it instead.

Greg in a Snow Cave
Showing off my handy work

Dominic literally walked up to this buck (one of three) and snapped his photo as we descended below the snow level

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. -Habakkuk 3:19

Friday, January 14, 2011

Back on the Ranch


Today was my day to get things done around the homestead and catch up on some chores. Along with Dominic and my dad, we picked up brush and leaves around our house. I cut up a little bit of oak too. It was a good day to be outside working on the ranch, three generations strong.

The photos are courtesy of DGS Photography (Dominic).


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Empowerment and Ebo

Ebo Elder
Ebo Elder

Today, world champion boxer Ebo Elder taught at all three services at church and then came back to teach at a men's barbecue this evening. He gave two powerful messages today. The first being about how God uses our failures to prepare us for leadership as was the case with Moses. The second message was about how Jesus Christ empowers us to accept His forgiveness and turn from our sins like the woman who was about to be stoned in John chapter 8.

Ebo Elder
Ebo at the men's barbecue

It's always a pleasure to have Ebo visit our church and have a chance to hang out with him. He's a really nice guy and even autographed a photo for Joshua. Please check out Ebo's ministry called Ebo Tribe at http://www.ebotribe.net/.

Ebo and Joshua

Since starting a new job in July of 2010, I haven't had much time for blog posts, but I've decided that I need to make time. I'm so blessed to be a part of the ministry again along with my wife Edna and I want to be able to share that with all of our friends and family. So hopefully I'll be a little more diligent at getting things posted.

Alfalfa Sunset
This is the sunset I saw on the way to see Ebo this evening

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's a Boy! (And Another Boy, And Another Boy)

Lyuba's three puppies

Last night our (Edna's) dog Lyuba had her puppies. Within a few hours she delivered three male puppies. Mother and pups seem to be doing well and for now are sleeping in our bed. Although we are already attached to the little guys, we will be finding homes for them once they are old enough. I know Edna will be sad to see them go for sure.

Lyuba and her three puppies
Lyuba with her three little ones

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

And Then There Were Nine (so far)

More Kittens
New Arrivals

I got up this morning with the intention of taking the four kittens and their mother to the county where they could find homes for them. I was a little surprised to find nine kittens instead of four. Momma kitty had four new kittens during the night. Hopefully they will all find homes eventually. I guess we picked them up at just the right time.

The little black dog slept with Edna last night and she named her Lyubov which is Ukrainian for the word love. It just seemed right since she was so full of love. We call her by the diminutive, Lyuba. I don't think I can pry her out of Edna's arms so it looks like we'll be keeping her.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lost and Found

Four kittens and a very pregnant momma cat

On the way to the Men's Discipleship Evening at church, Joshua and I saw a sad sight. Someone had dumped a little black dog along with four kittens and their pregnant mother. The little dog was standing guard over the cats as it sat under a lone oak tree on the side of the road. We turned around and watched them for awhile and noticed the little black dog diligently herding the kittens away from the road as cars passed. We felt helpless to do anything since it was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and we were supposed to help out serving in the cafe at church. We reluctantly drove on, but Joshua prayed that they would still be there safe and that we could rescue them on our way home.

Four hours later, all six animals were as we had left them. I made a valiant effort to capture the little dog even getting a hold of her several times only to have her struggle free. She refused to leave the kittens so I had to rethink how I was going to capture them all. (I vowed to Joshua that I wouldn't leave any behind.) I scooped up the mother cat thinking the kittens would want to follow. I was wrong. All they wanted to do was run around playing in the grass and running up trees. Did I mention I was doing this in the dark with only the headlights from our Jeep for illumination?

After about an hour I managed to get hold of the last kitten. To Joshua's dismay, they seemed perfectly happy to carry on their playful antics throughout the Jeep leaping from seat to seat chasing each other. With all the cats wrangled up, I finally coaxed the little black dog into letting me pick her up. She was happy to be reunited with the kittens.

Our drive home was anything but uneventful, but we made it. You can only imagine the scene as I tried to drive with one kitten pawing at my legs, one in my lap, and another climbing on my shoulders as I juggled my cell phone to let Edna know why we were so late.

When we got home Edna immediately snatched up the little black dog and informed me that we're keeping her. By the time I got all the cats situated for the night, Edna had already given the little dog a bath and made a spot for her on the sofa (as well as in her heart I suspect). We'll see what happens. All I know is that what was once abandoned and lost is now found.

Happy to be loved