Our 2018 In Review + An Unexpected Family Addition

2018 was an incredible year with lots of blessings and a few heart breaks on the farm. We experienced loss from some of our beloved animals, and Isabelle especially took the sting of loss the hardest. She has a big love for animals and caring for them, her motherly ways are always the most precious. She bottle fed two lamancha goat kids this spring, Ka-boom & Ka-pow. In the weaning process Ka-pow just didn’t have the strength and he declined fast. Isabelle prayed her heart out and sat with him many days, but he crossed over to goat heaven and she was heart broken. We lost some ducks and chickens here and there as well. This is something that is part of the home-steading life, and so many lessons to be learned in this process. When our majestic livestock guardian, Bingo, crossed the rainbow bridge…. that one hit us all so unbelievably hard. Todd was in Wyoming on an antelope hunt and the kids and I at Cracker Barrel when I got the call from our vet that there were no other options for Bingo other than a slow suffering. So I made the decision and kept my calm until I got the kids back in the car. I told them what had be done, and we all huddled in the back seat and had a good cry. Isabelle still has a difficult time talking about Bingo with-out tearing up. There was something about the spirit that Bingo possessed. He can never be replaced.

I attempted a project52 ( where you shoot your surroundings at least once a week), and although I didn’t quite get the camera out every single week, I think we got some pretty amazing documented memories from last year. You can see some of my favorites below and also meet our surprise addition to the family!


We weren’t sure when or if we would be ready for another livestock guardian dog to join our farm again. In all the years of trying different methods, Bingo was the only effective one at keeping all our farm animals safe from predators. But they also imprint on their people and in turn we on him, and this time, if there was to be another pup to come here, we would all have to put some separation in there so the pup can bond more with his animals than with us. That takes dedication and not allowing him to come inside or even to the house for quite awhile.

About 3 weeks before Christmas I received a message that Bingo’s parents had another litter. Isabelle had been asking for a Great Pyrenees plush for Christmas and was beside herself when we just could not find one anywhere on the internet. So, Todd & I decided we would say yes to Bingo’s brother and surprise the kids on Christmas morning of the news. I wrapped a box bigger than myself up, taped photos of the puppies inside, and a letter that said, “Bingo’s mom & dad had more puppies and you get to pick one out to keep! Meet Bingo’s brothers and sisters!” They squealed. Isabelle started to cry but then just laughed. A few weeks later we visited the farm where the puppies live, after looking them all over the kids decided on one.

Our very dear Hawaiian friends, which we like to refer to has our Ohana, visit every year in the Spring and Fall. Meeting Bingo, they were in awe at how majestic he was and nicknamed him Mauna Kea {pronounced Moun-ah Kay-ah} which translates White Mountain, and is the tallest mountain in Hawaii. When measured from its base at the ocean floor it is the tallest mountain in the world {just thought I’d throw a little geography lesson in there for ya}. We knew what we would name our new little member of the farm….

Meet Mauna Kea! Kea for short…..

{i-phone snaps} Kea is the one Luke and Isabelle are holding individually.