Welcome to Antler Valley Farm


Not a Normal November

Rain, rain, rain.  That’s about the best way to sum up the beginning, middle and end of November.  Lots and lots of rain all the time.  Thankfully, there were a few small breaks in the weather that allowed us to enjoy the last of the warm weather.  But the rest of the time we pulled on our rubber ducky rain boots and sloshed through our days.  Splash, squish, splash.

 Our normally small creek reached epic heights during one of the monsoons that came through in November.  I tried to hike back to the bigger creeks to see what they looked like, but the rain was so heavy, I surrendered.  After all, I had a cozy house and crazy family awaiting me!  

 When it wasn’t raining and foggy, we had some lovely fall mornings in November.  I even decided to start jogging again.  

 Yep, early morning jogs are about the only quiet time I get.  And I need quiet time to keep my sanity.  Or what’s left of it!

Our fencing finally goes all the way over to the road and then down to the neighbors property line.  I’m so excited to be in the final homestretch!  Whoo-hoo!!  Sadly, this was the last day that I got any fencing work done for quite a while.  Life got a little busy….

Well, Jim and the kids aren’t as excited as I am to finish the fencing.  Or maybe I work them too hard?  I’ll let you answer that question for yourself…They said their pleasant goodbyes and walked to the house.  Hmm, I don’t think they are coming back today…

 One of the coolest finds so far on the farm is this Arrowhead!  I just looked down and there it was.  That’s just so cool!

Maylin and Maleah were in the Rutherford County Arts Council production of Alice in Wonderland.  Actually, they have been in the majority of the plays for the last 5 years or so.  I can’t even pretend to understand that.  I try to avoid being the center of attention at all costs.  They both love being on stage though.  They obviously get that from their dad!

 They were both Alices.  I think their scene was probably my favorite scene in the entire play.  Both my girls were on stage singing and dancing at the same time and looking absolutely beautiful while doing it.  

 Look at that cute little zebra and adorable reindeer.  They always look great in their costumes.  I can just imagine what I would look like in a reindeer costume.  Now, that’s a funny thought!!

Last year and the year before and the year before, Maylin had a birthday.  She keeps insisting that birthdays are an annual thing.  Why?  It seems like just yesterday that she was a precious newborn frowning at everyone she met and giving them the stink eye.  Yes, I have pictures to prove it too!  Maylin has never been very good at hiding her emotions on her face.  Even as a baby she was hilarious to watch when she met someone new.  Oh, the sweet memories.

Yet, somehow Maylin managed to turn 8 this year.  Excuse me, I need to make sure I have enough tissues on hand for the holidays. 

Okay, back to my babies growing up.  Why????

 This might be one of my favorite pictures of Maylin.  She always has an individual style, and an individual way of thinking.  She’s sweet and sassy, smart and sincere, and almost always smiling.  Almost always smiling…when she’s not smiling….well, you can easily see her emotions on her face.  So, watch out!

And that smile of hers melts my heart and never fails to make my day.

 Maylin is such a beautiful gem, but she never misses a chance to get her face painted and let her imagination flow.  She has a particular love of the “fairy” face painting. 

Since Maylin insisted on having a birthday, we let her have her first ever party with friends. 

Maylin chose a unicorn cake of course!

Maylin chose to have her party at the skating rink and invited all her friends. 

 Okay, so, my camera took these kinda blurry pictures that day, but I think they’re kinda cool really.  

 Maylin turned out to be a pretty good little skater!

 Camden wasn’t too sure about the whole skating thing at first.  He chose to run and dart in and out of traffic.  Whew, he likes to live dangerously!

 He finally decided to try the skates and actually liked it.  I showed him this picture and told him he looked like “The Flash”.  He was so thrilled!  

Let’s just say that great fun was had by all!  Of course, Maylin is already planning next year’s skating extravaganza.  By Maylin’s standards it always has to be bigger and better. 

Since we live in such a small house, we decided to give Maylin the gift of riding lessons for her birthday instead of more toys to clutter the house.  She was so excited!  And I was too!  I got to see my little girl riding on a horse.  Of course, she’s a natural.  She was posting the trot in her first lesson and had already found her rhythm beautifully.  I had tears in my eyes!!
 This is Maylin riding Paprika.  She instantly fell in love with this sweet horse.  She’s like me and falls in love with every horse she meets though.  Like mother, like daughter.

After we said goodbye to Bumblebee the rooster, we realized that one of our other chickens stepped up in his shoes.  We had thought for a while that Rey was a rooster, but he showed no signs of crowing or acting “manly”.  However, once the other rooster was gone, he quickly became a ladies man.

Unfortunately, Rey wasn’t enough to keep Spunky safe.  Somehow, Spunky disappeared one morning and we have no idea how. 
 Maleah loved Spunky from the moment she saw her and is still devastated that she’s gone.  Poor Spunky. 

Spunky was there one minute and gone the next without so much as a feather left behind.  She had gotten into the habit of flying over the fence to forage in the woods by herself.  Apparently, something grabbed her quickly and quietly, because we never heard it.  The sad part is that we were outside when it must have happened.  We were outside from the time we let her out until the time we discovered she was missing.  We never heard a sound!

At first, we thought she had just wandered too deep into the woods, but she never came back and we couldn’t find any trace of her.  Since she never returned, we fear the worst happened to her.  Poor Spunky!  Maleah took it pretty hard and still looks for her regularly.  She misses the spunky little rascal.

Well, not having Spunky in the coop to keep everyone in their place really shook up the pecking order.  Rey started doing this crazy chicken dance when the dogs came around.  He would lift one wing and hop sideways.  Then he would shake, lift the other wing and hop the other way.  We started calling it the MC Hammer chicken dance.  It was hilarious!  At least at first, it was. 

Then Rey started dancing his way to attacking Scratchy Black Eyes.   Then Midnight started attacking her as well.  Some days the poor hen would be chased and attacked all day.  Finally, they both tore into her pretty good and we had to separate them.  Scratchy Black Eyes is the sweetest, most docile bird you will ever meet so I really didn’t appreciated them hurting her.  We tried several times to put them all back together but it never worked.
 This is sweet little Scratchy Black Eyes after they attacked her.  I promised her that they wouldn’t hurt her again.  She is just too sweet to be bullied.  

Maylin became terrified of Rey and Midnight after watching them constantly attack Scratchy Black Eyes, so we moved the 2 bullies into the rabbit pen and let Scratchy Black Eyes rejoin the other hens.  Maleah and I now take care of the 2 “mean birds” and Maylin happily loves on the other 4 hens and takes care of them.  Hey, whatever works, right?

 Rey and Midnight aka “The mean birds”.

I tell ya, we have the craziest animals.  Who else seperates their chickens because they can’t get along?  No one.  Just me.  Just silly me with the silly animals.  Yep.  Some things never change.

Around the middle of November we stepped outside one day to find a white dove in our yard.  Our old dog, Rocko, was trying to figure out if it was worth it to try to get the bird or not.  In the end, he decided to just lay down and watch it.  Poor Rocko is around 14 so he picks what he wants to chase anymore.  Who can blame him?
The dove was beautiful.  I thought maybe it had been released at a wedding and might have an ankle bracelet, but it didn’t.  While I was trying to catch it to check it’s feet it flew to the trees in the chicken pen.  Well, that was apparently terrifying for the chickens.  Even for the rooster, Rey, who actually hid in his chicken coop.  Haha!  I couldn’t stop laughing about a big bad rooster who hides when a dove flies by.  It’s just too funny!  

Eventually, the dove flew away and all the chickens came out of hiding.  However, I do still tease Rey, the rooster.  Hey Rey, seen any doves lately?  Hey Rey, is that a dove behind you?  It’s probably a good thing he doesn’t understand English or he might decide to attack me.  Then who would have the last laugh?  Probably not me…

So, Maleah has been saving her money for a long time to buy her first car.  According to her, it’s been a long, long, long, looonnnnggg time.  She has worked with her dad and saved quite a bit of money for years.  We couldn’t be prouder of her.  For years, we didn’t think she would be able to drive, much less work to buy her own car.   But the Lord saw fit to bless Maleah and she has overcome so much.  Yep, proud Mama moment over here!!

Well, the deal was that Maleah would pay for half of her first car and she did.  She even paid for half of her insurance. 

 Maleah’s new car!  It’s a Honda Element and she LOVES it!

We finished up the month of November with Thanksgiving.  We celebrated this year with family at my sister’s house.  The kids had the best time playing in the leaves!

 Camden’s face is precious!  He loved all the leaves!

We almost lost Maylin in the leaves.  Can you see her head??

All Camden had to yell was “Watch out!” and Maylin quickly reappeared.  Good thinking buddy.

 Well, brothers and sisters will always take every chance to clobber each other.  And so Maylin took this chance to start a leaf fight with Camden.   Look at her face.  You can tell exactly what she’s thinking!  

They all had so much fun for Thanksgiving and for every other day in November actually.  I am so thankful for every day with these kiddos and Jim.  I just wish time would slow down!!  It’s all going by too fast!!


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