Our Easter was a bit different this year–to say the least! 

First, we woke up to almost 2 inches of snow (it melts quick around here).  By mid-day, the snow was totally melted, and then by dinnertime (suppertime for you southerners), it was snowing again. I’m just thankful our current church didn’t plan some sort of Easter morning outdoor sunrise service like they did when I was kid!  I do believe we would have gone hypothermic!

Unfortunately, for the first time that I can recall, I missed the Sunday Easter service.  One of the kiddos wasn’t feeling quite up-to-par the night before or that morning, so we decided it would be best if I stayed home with child and the baby, and S took the other 3 children to church with him.  The following photo is for my mom, as the dress is one I wore when I was M’s age.  Oh, and Mom, I know I made a total fashion faux pas with the black shoes, but I think you were with me when her white ones were stolen at the mall.  I haven’t had a ton of free time available to take her shoe shopping, sorry.

   I decided to use the opportunity to take a much-needed easy day of rest that morning.  As many projects as I would love to have been working on, I forced myself to just sit down, relax, hold my babies, catch up on some reading, and I must admit, it felt WONDERFUL!   After the rest of the family arrived home from church, we fed everyone, put the kids down for naps, and S decided we should both continue our day of rest.  When the kiddos started waking up, we did some tidying up, and I began preparing dinner in anticipation of our first dinner guests since moving here. 

Note to self:  Entertaining dinner guests on a farm is not the same as in the city.  There are a lot more things folks want to see, and a WHOLE LOT more not-so-great things that can happen. 

After S gave our guests a quick tour of the place, we enjoyed dinner, then chatted a while while the kids played together — 6 kids between the ages of 2 and 6, mind you.  Things were going along great until they were getting ready to go, and thought it would be fun to see me milk the goat.  So, since it was close enough to milk time, I grabbed my pail, and we all headed down to the garage.  I trudged out in the snow, collected the goat, and brought her into the garage.  After cleaning her up a bit, I proceeded to start milking.  Then, I got the great idea to let them give it a try.  This goat, Lilac, happens to be one that was used to teach milking classes (which is where I first met her), so she was plenty used to beginner hands on her.  She seemed perfectly comfortable, chomping away at her grain, and they jumped at the chance to try.  We switched places, and after the wife had no luck, her husband tried.  I don’t know if it was the unusual commotion in the garage (6 kids playing and 4 adults chatting away), or just a fluke, but suddenly, as soon as he got the first squirt, for the first time since her arrival, Lilac proceeded to plant her foot squarely into the milk bucket!  Uugh!  I think my guests were mortified.  I quickly thought about the situation, knew the risks of hoof-tainted milk, and decided to make a quick call.  I only had one milk pail, her feet were clean (for a goat) since we had just trudged quite a distance through fresh snow, and there hadn’t been but a few squirts in the pail to begin with.  The big delimma I faced was that, since we are a fairly chemical-free home, my method of sterilizing my bucket requires a run through an extra hot (hottest water in the house) and soapy dishwasher cycle followed by a heated dry cycle, which takes about 2 hours.  I didn’t exactly have that kind of time.  I decided to toss what was in the pail, go ahead and finish milking, filter as usual, then just freeze that batch of milk for cooking with later, rather than drinking.   I think that may have mortified my guests even more.  I tried to explain that nothing would survive freezing and cooking at high temps.  I can only hope that they aren’t afraid to eat food at our house again. 

After the milking, my children decided to introduce our guests to the poultry.  After passing around a few chicks, someone grabbed a turkey and set it on one of the other kid’s lap.  Everyone was thinking how cute it was, and the parents were wishing they had a camera.  Then, without warning we realized that a 5 pound turkey poult produces very large poops!  And they seem all the larger when they land in a 2 year-old visitor’s lap.  I think the poor child is so traumatized, Thanksgiving may never be the same for them. 

The bad situation quickly turned worse.  We left the oldest children playing with bunnies, and went upstairs to collect coats and boots.  Their daughter walked upstairs talking about how yummy the salt tasted.  They were puzzled, and then it dawned on me that my daughter must have introduced her to the rabbit salt lick!  Uugh, again!  For some strange reason, my oldest 2 children have decided that they love licking rabbit salt licks.  When I found out, I immediately told them to stop doing that, and assumed they had.  Apparently not.  Needless to say, I apologized to our guests, and after they left, had a nice long talk with my children. 

Thankfully, these guests were neighbors at our last house, and we are pretty good friends.  At least we were.  Time will tell if we ever hear from them again!  We have more guests coming over on Tuesday for dinner, so hopefully things will go a little smoother.   If any of you experienced farm folks have suggestions for making guests’ experiences here more pleasant (and hygienic), PLEASE let me know!  In the mean time, perhaps I could at least invest in some hand sanitizer for their children.

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