Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Bottom Bunk

I slept on the bottom bunk in Claire's room last night.

The Bottom Bunk.

The Bottom Bunk holds a lot of meaning for me, believe it or not.  I have spent a lot of time there.

Not that I ever wanted to.

When my artificial hip went bad, the bottom bunk was one of two places I was able to lay down.  For the better part of a year, from June 20th, 2010, to February 25, 2011 when I had my second hip replacement and then for several weeks afterwards during my recovery from surgery, I lay or slept (when I could sleep) on the floor or on the bottom bunk in my daughter's room.  The partial dislocation of my titanium hip joint was causing severe nerve inflammation that in turn caused constant pain and at times, attacks of pulsating, stabbing, white-hot pain so bad I had to go to the hospital.  For some reason, laying on my stomach was the only position that was even tolerable and would allow the nerve some relief.  So on my stomach I was, nearly 24 hours a day, for the better part of eleven months, with only brief periods of relief here and there along the way.

I could not use my own bed for several reasons.  It was too high for me to get into easily.  I could not have anyone in bed with me because their movement would cause me pain.  Ted needed to get dressed and ready for work in the mornings in our room and that would mean disturbing me if I did happen to be asleep.  So it was decided early on, that if I could lay in a bed and if I could sleep, it would be in Claire's room on the bottom bunk.  When my pain was at its most intense, on my stomach on the floor was my only option.  But when I could tolerate it, I lay on the bottom bunk.

I was never comfortable there. 

Lying on my stomach has never been comfortable for me.  It causes me neck pain, back pain, arm numbness and pain and all over body stiffness.  So even though that position offered me some relief from my hip pain, I was far from comfortable any where else in my body.  There were some times, on the bottom bunk, that I was able to lay on my back with my leg propped on a pillow.  It was a great blessing.  But even then, I was still in some pain and could not move at all.  I felt stiff, paralyzed and claustrophobic.

Most of the time that I was on the bottom bunk, I was on heavy narcotics.  I was nauseous, drowsy, sometimes incoherent.  Even so, I was often unable to sleep.  The rest of the family tended to me lovingly, but they had other things to do too, so in between my med times, which were set on an alarm, I was mostly alone.....for hours.....and days....and weeks....and months. 

I was bored on the bottom bunk.  Sometimes, Kate would set up a movie for me on her laptop if I was able to be on my back for awhile, but for the most part, I had nothing to do.  I could not read or watch TV because of the position I had to be in and the narcotics I was on. 

For eleven months, I could not cuddle my husband.  I could not cuddle with my children.  I could not participate in daily family life.  I could not fix dinner for my family, or do any kind of housework.  For eleven months, I could not see my animals down at the barn.  I could not do my fair share of the work on our farm.  All I could do was lie on my stomach on the floor...or the bottom bunk.  So, in addition to the severe pain I was in, my time on the bottom bunk was filled with feelings of boredom, loneliness, sadness, frustration and uselessness.   

As the months dragged on, I began to feel hopelessness and despair. 

I was afraid on the bottom bunk. 

Would I ever be fixed?  Would I ever walk again?  Would I ever be rid of this torturous pain?

Well, the answer to all those questions was eventually, yes.  I am fixed.  My new hip is great.  I'm back to my normal routine and at night, I am back where I belong in my own bed next to my sweet man.  I haven't been on the bottom bunk in a long time.  ClaireAnna sleeps there now. 

So a few days ago, Ted woke up with a crick in his neck. It had just gotten worse and worse each day till he could barely move.  Last night, I decided to sleep in Claire's room so I would not disturb him or bump him during the middle of the night.  I made her sleep on top. 

And last night, I slept on the bottom bunk. 

That place, that holds so many memories for me. 

Wonderful, precious, joy filled memories........

You see, it was there, on the bottom bunk, that Jesus came to me.  It was there, that he never left me.  While I was on the bottom bunk, in despair and hopelessness, Jesus carried me.  He sustained me.  He comforted me.  It was there that all the negativity of my situation was defeated by the power of His Peace within me.  It is not so much that I'm better that I am grateful for, though I am so very grateful for that. But so much more, it is that while I was sick, and weak, and at the end of myself, He lived within me, and was strong for me. 

When I crawled into bed last night, on the bottom bunk in my daughter's room....I was overwhelmed with memories.....of His faithfulness and Love for me.  His Presence is what I remember.  The rest of it....happened a long time ago. 

I love that bottom bunk.  I'll never forget what He did for me there. 

I slept like a baby. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Apple Crisp

Five pounds of apples.  I use Granny Smith but any baking apple is fine.
1 T Lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
2 T sugar
1 T flour

1 1/2 cups white flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup oats (whole or quick)
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
Dash of salt
1/2 lb butter, cold, diced

Peel, core, and slice the apples.  I use the Pampered Chef Apple Peeler Corer Slicer.  Mix together with the lemon juice, cinnamon, 2 T sugar and 1 T flour.  Pour into a 9X13 baking dish. 

In a large bowl combine topping ingredients.  (I've used all white sugar and all brown sugar when I'm out of either.  It works just fine.)  Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter, knives or food processor.  (But I just use my fingers.)   Sprinkle over apples.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or till apples are tender (depends on how thick you cut them) and topping is browned. 

You can use fresh or frozen peaches instead of apples.  Frozen peaches will be mushy, but still taste delicious! You can sprinkle this topping over any canned fruit pie fillings.  Use two cans for a 9 X 13 pan.  We make cherry, blackberry or peach.  Bake 30 minutes.

You can also sprinkle this topping on a cookie sheet and bake it till browned and crispy.  It is good on apple sauce, yogurt or ice cream. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012


This Quiche is really, really delicious!

2 deep dish pie crusts
1 pound bacon, cooked and chopped
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
   (I squeeze any extra juice out.)
4 green onions, chopped including greens
8 ounces cheese, (Swiss or Colby jack) shredded
12 eggs
2 cups 1/2 & 1/2
salt & pepper

Divide bacon, spinach, onions and cheese evenly into the bottom of each pie crust.  Beat eggs, half and half, salt and pepper and pour over crusts.  (I use a stick blender.) Bake at 375 for 35 to 45 minutes till a toothpick comes out clean.  Makes 2 Quiches. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Trash to Treasure

Last week, at the Ragsdale Auction House, I found a plain wooden tote box for $2.50.  I gave it to ClaireAnna to use for a grooming tool caddy for her horses.  She decided to make it pretty. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Patient Pig

We learned through internet research that unspayed Pot Belly Pigs are ornery Pot Belly Pigs. In addition, a Pot Belly Pig must be spayed while young before excess fat has developed.  So, believe it or not, we got our new pet pig spayed! 
 Kate and Claire got up very early in the freezing cold to get
Penny to her appointment at Morrelton Vet Clinic. 

Penny's ride in the back of the Jeep. 
She has her blankets to comfort her and keep her warm.

The surgery went smoothly and was successful! But it hurts to lay down.

Kate to the rescue.  "I'm taking you home, Pig."
I love this picture! Penny seems so happy to see her new mama!

Thank you to the excellent vets at Morrilton Vet Clinic
for taking such good care of Penny!

Yes, there's a pig in the house.  Why not? 
We've had goats and dogs.  What's a little bacon in the kitchen?
Penny seems to appreciate Kate's comforting.  

Ouch.  Just like a dog, she had an abdominal incision.

Penny is restless. 

Look at those adorable elf ears!

Getting sleepy.

Out cold.

Penny has to spend the night in the house due to the effects of the anesthesia. 
(The general anesthesia makes it hard for the animal to regulate body temperature.)
She will be back out in her pig pen in the barn yard tomorrow afternoon once it warms up outside.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Taming of The Sheep

Ted and ClaireAnna spent some time with the new sheep tonight.  One of them is quite friendly.  The others are coming along. 

What a cute farmer!

Penny's First Walk

This evening we went for a walk on the farm.  Four people.  Three dogs.  One cat. pig.  Yes, Penny took her first family walk with us and she loved it! We really couldn't tell she wasn't a dog!

This one is a dog.

If you click on the youtube link, you'll see the video in a larger size.

Horses and Friends

Last Sunday, ClaireAnna invited her friend Sarah Hooten over for a trail ride.  Sarah had ridden some before, but that was mostly in a round pen and she had never loped.  The girls had a wonderful day and a great ride.  ClaireAnna rode Woodrow and Sarah rode Cindy.  Ted and I were on the 4wheeler some and at the barn some, but they were mostly on their own.  When Sarah was ready to try her first lope, I was ready with the Handicam! This is some of the best fun we have, when we can share what God has given to us with others.  It's especially fun for ClaireAnna and I to share the horses with other horse crazy girls! Sarah says she had a great day and so did we! 


Thursday, December 6, 2012

2012 Russellville Christmas Parade

 Once again, we rode the ponies in the Christmas parade.  They were both really good and we had a great time! Lots of our friends were riding too, some of them 4H friends, some of them just horsey friends.  These pictures are horrible.  I guess I should learn what setting on the camera to use for night time!  But I'm grateful to Ted for taking them regardless. 
ClaireAnna on Cindy, Lisa on Grinch, Libby on Roan Baby.  Waiting for the parade to start. 

This is Grinch's 2nd year in this parade.  He was a very good boy! (A little figity, but nothing too naughty.)  It is Cindy''t count.  We started taking her when ClaireAnna was just 5 years old and I walked along side.  She's been in many, Christmas parades and other parades as well.  Her behavior is always excellent.

Dayna rode double with ClaireAnna on Cindy.

We tacked up and decorated the horses at home, then trailered them to the assigned location for the parade.  Then we mount up and wait for what seems like hours (actually, almost 2 hours) for the horses to move out.  Horses are always last, just before the fire trucks and Santa, so that people walking/ marching in the parade don't have to step in the horse pooh!

Notice the reindeer antlers!

ClaireAnna and I made her a sweater for a tacky Christmas sweater contest at youth group.  She didn't win because everyone said her sweater was too cute!  So she wore it for the parade and sure enough, a total stranger in the "audience" shouted to her, "I love your swearter!"  It is now the designated "parade sweater."

Tuesday, December 4, 2012




This gorgeous group of homeschoolers from REACH (Russellville Education Association of Christian Homeschoolers) attended Oklahoma! today at the Alma Performing Arts Center! We had a wonderful time and the performance was excellent. 

    After the play, some of us ate at Braums and then did some Christmas shopping.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Meet Pumpkin And Spice

At Harmon PFarms, we normally raise a meat hog for the girls to show at the county fair in September, and then have it butchered for the freezer. When Kate was younger, we'd raise two. Since she's out of 4H now, we often have only one, but have gotten two on occation when the breeder has a cheaper runt to sell. This October, when our fall farm parties were pending, (two annual parties we host for our homeschool group and our church) I suggested to Ted that it was too bad the kids who visited wouldn't get to see a pig. As I knew he would, he told me to go out and buy one! So, we found an ad on craigslist and headed to Ozark, AR, to pick up a pig for the petting zoo. When we got there, the farmer explained to us that he had one smaller pig that had some neurological damage from being stepped on by her mother at birth and that he would sell us that one for a reduced price. Well, of course, she came home with us too! So, we ended up with two adorable piglets that were a big hit at the fall parties and are now growing nicely for our freezer.  This is the first time we have had hogs during the winter.  Meet Pumpkin and Spice. (See Pumpkin's "problem" in the video below.)

This is the mother.  She was huge!!

On the way to our new home.

We spent our first few weeks in a cozy pen inside the barn.
We are very proud of the fact that all of the animals we raise for meat here at the farm are treated with respect and kindness. They recieve shelter, food and water and lots of attention. We do name our butcher animals. We interact with them daily and try to make sure they are happy. When it is time for them to go, we feel statisfied that they have lived a healthy and enjoyable life and we are grateful to have had them in ours.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sheep? Why not?

Ted bought some sheep.  Why?  The only reason I can come up with is....Why not?  What's another species when you've already got a herd of everything else!
Here they are, fresh off the trailer and in their new pen.  These are Katahdin Hair Sheep. They are meat sheep that shed and do not require sheering each year.  These girls are from Iron Star Farms in North Fork, AR and are registered and purebred. 

This is Freckles.  She is 2 years old and bred to lamb in April. 

This is Annie Lee.  She is also age 2 and is bred to lamb in April. 
 She is bred to a different ram then Freckles. 

 This one is Clarice.  She's only 8 months old and is not bred. 
So, what are we going to do with these sheep, you ask?  Well, ClaireAnna will show them at the county fair in the breed class and possibly in the market lamb class.  We will sell the lambs for show, breeding or meat.  We may butcher a wether here and there.  We plan to buy a ram in the spring, or maybe keep one that is born from the two bred ewes.  And they will be used in our petting zoo.  We've never had lambs born here at Harmon PFarms, so this spring should be fun!  Be sure to stop by in April and see them!