Friday, June 21, 2013

Five Things For Friday, Family Goat Edition


We got Jon an unusual Father's Day gift.

A  goat named "Little Red."

About two weeks ago we had FOUR of our chickens get carried away by some foxes (sob). That only left us with three chickens, and since our coop is fairly large we knew that those ladies would freeze this winter without several more chickens to keep them warm. I finally found a lady in a neighboring town who was selling chickens just about the same age as the ones we lost. When we went to go pick them up we  saw that she was also selling some baby goats and lambs.

Oh, man baby goats and lambs are cute.

The kids insisted that Jon would LOVE a goat for Father's Day. It is a running joke in our family that Dad is the "family goat" because he clears the left over food off everyone's plates after dinner. Jon is the opposite of a picky eater, he will eat anything... almost. They also argued that a goat would be a good present because Dad's lawn mower was still broken and the goat could be our lawn mower instead.

Who could argue with that logic?  Besides he was really cute.

So, I ended up loading three kids, 6 chickens, and one goat into the suburban. I really should have gotten a picture of it. Rose up front (because she was scared the goat would eat her hair), chickens and Abe in the middle seat, Asher in the back seat, and a little goat head sticking up in the way back.


The idea was to keep the goat in the barn Friday night and then surprise Dad with him on Saturday morning. The kids made Jon promise that he wouldn't go out to the barn that night, which he promised. Yet later that evening he went out to check on the chickens and came back in with a horrified look on his face.

"Heather!  I can hear a baby crying in the barn. What is in there? What in the world did you get me?"

He looked so confused and so upset that I felt bad for him. To put him out of his misery we gave him his present early. He was definitely surprised that we had gotten him a goat, and maybe just a bit relieved that it wasn't a baby crying in the barn!

Little Red is the sweetest goat.

Though I am afraid the pasture we put him in is a bit much for just one goat to eat. The grass is so tall that we often can't see him until he gets close to the fence. Turns out that goats aren't much at eating grass, mostly weeds. Maybe we should have gotten some of the baby lambs too!

Hmm.... I'm thinking he needs a friend :)


We had unexpected visitor the other night.

A snapping turtle!

Jon found him crawling through our yard. At first we were totally freaked out. I mean what sort of turtle has a tail like a dinosaur! Really?

A man from our ward, who is "corn-fed" (meaning he grew up in Iowa), was over at our house and he wasn't scared by it at all. He picked the thing up with his bare hands and held it as it snapped and bucked around. Jon tried later to pick it up with gloves on and couldn't even get it off the ground.

It hissed at at us.  

Not a nice turtle.

Asher was afraid it was going to eat our chickens, and I could see his point.

The funny part was that he showed up right before the Relief Society ladies showed up in our backyard for an activity. He was the center of attention for awhile because some of the other women (who weren't' from Iowa) hadn't seen one either.

I am pretty sure the "corn fed" Iowans thought we were wacky.

He was pretty incredible, but I am glad he continued on his way... out of our yard!


I discovered a wonderful book. It is called "The Splendor of the Temple: A Pictorial Guide to Herod's Temple and its Ceremonies" by Alec Garrard.

I have always wanted to know more about Herod's Temple. It is the temple that was in Jerusalem when Jesus was alive and so much of Christ's life and ministry centers around it. I had tried to find some good resources online but never found anything reliable. Then I came across an article about Alec Garrard's  and knew I had found a jackpot. Garrard has spent that last 30 years making a scale model of Herod's temple and the result is amazing. It fills an entire barn! You can see pictures of it here, or if you click on the "Click to Look Inside" tab in Amazon it will let you read the first few chapters. 

The book is filled with pictures of his model and explanations about the different parts of the temple and what went on there. It is incredible to see the temple come alive with his model and figurines. Seeing what the actual temple would have looked like and learning more about how the temple was used by the Jews has really enhanced my understanding of the New Testament, especially the events surrounding Christ's life.

I would highly recommend the book for anyone that wants to deepen their New Testament scripture study! 


Rose has a milk allergy, which means that she is allergic to the protein in milk. If she eats or drinks milk it makes her tummy hurt, and if she has too much it makes her throw up. She has done much better the last year or two since we stopped giving her milk, but sometimes it has been really hard on her as well. She seems to feel it the keenest whenever we have ice cream.

Usually when we know we are going to be having ice cream (like for a birthday) we buy her a little pint of Haagen-dazs sorbet, which is one of the only "ice cream" products that doesn't have milk and actually tastes yummy.... really yummy, actually. The only problem has been that I haven't been able to find it (yet) where we live. It is also really expensive.

But I think we might have found an even better alternative. The other night the kids and I were experimenting with making ice cream in a bag. Basically you take a pint bag and add milk, sugar and vanilla, put it inside a gallon bag filled with salt and ice, and shake it for 5 minutes. Voila! Yummy, yummy, ice cream.

I figured we would try the recipe with soy milk just as an experiment.  I wasn't really expecting it to work because soy milk doesn't have cream, but it did! The soy milk turned into really wonderful ice cream. In fact, I think everyone liked the soy milk ice cream better than they liked the regular milk ice cream.

Rose was just thrilled!

I thought I would pass along the tip in case anyone else has a little one (or a big one) with a milk allergy.

Though I will warn you. Once your kids know you can make ice cream that easy they will beg you to make it ALL.... THE.... TIME.

Just a warning.


A friend invited us to go to a local farm where they have a "U-pick" strawberry patch. It was the neatest place. They had a big field just bursting with the biggest, juiciest, tastiest strawberries I have ever seen. The kids and I had a lot of fun picking them, and we filled up two flats with strawberries to take home to make into jam!

Though I am afraid that Abe mostly just filled himself up with strawberries.

He really made lots of people smile because he had a steady stream of strawberry juice running down his face and was just COVERED in strawberry goop. They really should have made me weigh him along with the strawberries we picked, because about half of them ended up in his tummy! Still, I suppose they just take it into consideration that when you have little kids picking strawberries, some of them are bound to get snacked on. That is half the fun of it, really.

I was surprised that when we were getting ready to leave a college-aged Chinese girl ran up to me with her camera. "You kids so beautiful!" she smiled at me, "Can I take picture?" It seemed really weird to me that she would want to take our picture, but she was so sweet that I couldn't say no.

I guess that seeing three blonde haired, blue eyed kids, with a big pregnant momma, picking strawberries in an Iowa field must have just seemed like the idyllic "American" moment to her.  I really can't blame her. If I was in China and saw three black haired kids, with a big pregnant momma, planting rice in a rice field I'd probably ask her for her picture too. Though it does seem a bit strange to think that we might end up in a scrapbook page somewhere in China.

As she was leaving she thanked me for the picture and then looked at me with a  big smile and said, "You just so happy." 

And you know what?

She was right.


  1. I think you are just perfect for Iowa! You seem right at home. I am so happy you are happy!

  2. Sounds like a wonderful week Heather! My kids would love a goat. We have friends with two. They have about 5 acres and a good portion of it is wooded, so they fenced in part of the grassy yard and part of the woods for the goats. Weeds in woods are gone, so now they shifted the fencing to a new section of the woods.

    For nondairy ice cream there are a few brands with soy or coconut base, but they're iffy in flavor if you ask me. What we love - freeze bananas and then use a great blender to make your own all fruit or fruit with soy milk ice cream. Here is a banana peanut butter one: And here is one simply made with frozen bananas:
    As for blenders, cheapie ones may work, but I adore our Blendtec. It's worth it's weight in gold. Truly.

    U-Pick places are great! We go to the local apple orchard most years. They tell you when you come in to eat as many apples as you want on site while you're picking. My kids love it.

  3. Oh welcome sweet little goat friend! You look awesome, Heather!

  4. The goat is so cute. You should truly consider getting him a friend because goats are herd animals. He was probably lonely when you brought him home. Goats are like dogs. They are so social. I love goats but I will probably never own one :(

  5. Have you tried raw milk? My niece has a milk allergy and waß tested for it, but can handle ràw milk just fine. We have no milk allergies but we just love it.

  6. So funny that your husband thought a baby was crying in the barn. My sister in law used to raise meat goats and when my other sister in law was breast feeding, the sound of the goat kids bawling would stimulate her let down reflex. She would fold her arms across her chest and make a mad dash between the house and the car, since the goats were pastured right next to the house during kidding. It was so funny to watch. :)

    Also, my husband couldn't drink cow's milk as a child so his family kept a milk goat for him, along with the family milk cow. Maybe goat milk would be an option for Rose too.

  7. Can I move to Iowa too? Maybe I'll just have to visit. :)

  8. Loved your post today, My son has a dairy allergy too and we love using coconut milk to make Ice cream, you can also use coconut cream instead of whip cream and its very yummy. I have tried goats milk and raw with him and he is allergic to those as well. Its a big journey to have a child with allergies. I have been on mine for 10 yrs and I am so grateful for it, We eat such amazing food because of him.

  9. What a neat place to live! It sounds like you are all settling in really well, which is wonderful.

    Your family picture is just adorable, too. I love strawberry picking!

  10. I am loving the posts about life on the farm. Way to pick those berries with your belly!

  11. Beautiful picture! Love the goat story. We also have milk allergies. Last summer I got a small ice cream maker, and we experimented with making almond and soy ice cream, much to everyone's happiness. Now we're not stuck with only fruit flavors, but create things like mint chip, and (eggless) cookie dough. Here's a hint: Coconut milk - the kind in the can - has fat and will make a smoother ice cream if you blend it with soy or almond milk. Positively yummy! Oops, Christy already told you! :)

  12. Just have to leave a comment telling you how much I love your blog! I would love to have a little farm, it just seems like such a fun life. Your kids are adorable, I love the stories you share. You are such an amazing mom, thanks for sharing your experiences and insights.

  13. What an adventure, getting a goat!

    There are a lot of recipes you can find online to make your own ice cream based on various non-dairy milks (almond milk, rice milk, etc). I've made my own (in a Vitamix - or you could use a food processor) using cashews or brown rice as a base. They're yummy!

    That IS a cute picture of you and the kids in the field. :)

  14. You are so right about baby goats and lambs, its a good thing I live in a little cottage with a little garden or who knows what kind of menagerie we would end up with lol
    I love the photo of you and the children, it is radiating happiness :)

  15. Love the goat story, the turtle story and of course the strawberry story! Love it! I've got a book review (cliff notes really) over at my blog right now.

  16. We had the same thing happen with our family at the grand canyon...a nice Chinese couple asked for our picture (four children plus parents). They said it was wonderful to see such a large family. With the Chinese gov't regulating the number of children allowed, we were a rarity to them. Maybe it was the same for her as well?
    Our daughter is intolerant to all dairy as well. We have a cuisinaire icecream maker (the kind that you freeze the bowl) and make coconut milk icecream all the time. I've found that the whole fat coconut milk has the creamiest texture (at least, we like it best ;) ). It's hard to be little and be left out! Food is such a social thing and it can feel very isolating! I'm glad she enjoyed her treat!=)

  17. Looks like you moved to a farm - congratulations! and a goat, what an exciting gift! He probably does need a friend, and for the joy of your whole family I hope you find one soon.

    There is something about sugar mixed with milk that always does it for me, I can do goat milk but I cannot do ice cream. Allergies can be expensive and inconvenient but I have learned so much from experiencing them!

  18. Getting another great would actually be a great idea because they are pack animals and really like to have a buddy. They almost get depressed without one. :) also, look around at the different gelato ice creams, several of them don't have milk. :)