Stone Manger

Quoted from the Brant Hansen page on Facebook. I found this article very insightful!

Mangers are odd little things. They’re feeding troughs, of course. In ancient Israel, they were made of stone.

They’re not super-comfortable, but you know what? In a pinch, they can be kind of protective.

That’s why experts -priests who lived near Bethlehem, near a hill known for raising sacrificial lambs- would put lambs in them.

Not all the lambs; just the ones they thought were without blemish and suitable for the blood sacrifices that took place twice a day. Sacrifices to cover sin.

These were the lambs Bethlehem was famous for. There was a hill there with a tower, “Migdal Eder”, and the flocks nearby were the ones that yielded lambs for sacrifice.

The priests wanted to keep the lambs without bumps and bruises. So they’d wrap them up tightly. They’d swaddle them, wrapping them in cloths, like precious and terribly fragile bottles of wine.

And they’d lay them in a manger.

“Manger” is only mentioned in one account of Jesus’ birth. (It’s in Luke.) And it makes sense. There’s really only a small group of people who would understand it’s significance. And they are the very ones who hear the words:

“You will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.”

Shepherds! The shepherds of the sacrificial flock.

They knew what the cloths and the manger meant.

“This will be a sign to you,” the angel said. And it was. It wouldn’t have been a sign to many. But to them? Most definitely. And this sign was staggering.

The long-expected King wasn’t headed to a palace. No, this was going to be different.

He was going to be sacrificed.

They knew where the Messiah was born… but they also knew where He was headed.

“Peace on earth

and mercy mild

God and sinners, reconciled.”

I found this article to be amazing- I never knew that piece of history!

God bless!

Darrick and Kay

Religion vs. relationship

There is a distinct difference between “religious” and “relationship”. Jesus even writes about this in the story of Martha and Mary. Jesus loved both Martha and Mary, and they loved him. There was a distinct difference between these two women though. (Luke 10)

Martha was “distracted with much serving”. She was a busy body- she did all the right things: cleaned, cooked food, readied the house, but she did so with anxiety, fear, and that transferred to her getting after her sister Mary for not helping her. We all know the busy bodies who get worked up about the little things- the food, the cleaning, everything else but they forget to greet the guests and make them feel welcomed. The simple hospitality that goes beyond preparing the food.

Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and just listened to him. She spent time with him and built the relationship; She learned things Martha couldn’t. Martha was stressed with her busyness and jealous of the relationship Mary had with Jesus, she lashed out and asked Jesus to send Mary to help her- but Jesus defended Mary and said she did well and that her time spent with him wouldn’t be taken from her.

We see this in our churches. There’s some churches that are busy with bake sales, parades, missionaries, etc.- all good things on the outside. But on the inside what most don’t see is the stress, the annoyance, the pride that their church is better than others because they do more. Jesus seen this in Martha.

Than you have small churches with a small congregation. They are simple, gentle, but the relationship inside the church is strong. Everyone knows everyone else, and their families, and their health, even their pets. If one person is sick- there’s many who bring them food, visit, and pray for them while not in church. No one is stressed, or angry at anyone else. Everyone is just there to help everyone else. This is like Mary and Jesus. The relationship is strong. Jesus could simply lick his lips and Mary would have jumped to grab him something to drink joyfully. Martha, in her distraction, would never notice such things and might even see it as an annoyance to be pulled from her task.

Those that have a true relationship with Jesus are obvious. They are the “Clara’s” in the movie “War Room”, they are the Martin Luther’s (Protestant reformation), and they are the Mary’s who sat at Jesus feet. They hunger for His teachings, have no fear in declaring the truth, and no shame in spending time with Him.

Relationship with the Lord is very important. Jesus stated over 20 times in the gospel “follow me”. It’s very simple and childlike. “and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew‬ ‭18:3-4‬). God wants us to be His children, He wants us to come to Him, to spend time with Him just like a small child listening on their parents lap, even if they don’t understand all the teachings. To trust just as a child holding their parents hand as they cross a busy street. To love as if the child got hurt and run to the parent to hold them close. Finally, to rejoice as if the child ran to look at a toy and got lost in a busy shopping mall and came back to the parents just as the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32)

The parable of weeds (Mathew 13:24-30), I feel, describes the Martha’s And Mary’s of our churches. The parable talks about the kingdom of God is like a farmer who sows good wheat in his field, but an enemy throws weed seeds in too. The wheat and weeds grow together (to pull the weeds would uproot the wheat) until harvest. A funny thing about wheat is when it’s ready to be harvested it bows at the stem just like the believers bow to Our Lord. Just as weeds are in the field the religious come to church but they do so pridefully merely just to try and proclaim that they go to church so therefore must be a good person. They do works, but have no faith. They seek no relationship with Jesus, daydream during sermons, and can’t wait until church is done so they can get on with their lives. Just as the weeds, they do not bow, but stand proud at the harvest time. Jesus doesn’t make another entrance in their life until the next Sunday when they drag their feet to church. these are the same people Jesus has warned,

“Later the other virgins arrived and said, ‘Lord, lord, open the door for us!’
1But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’

Matthew 25: 11-12

The parable of the ten virgins also describes ten believers who had their lamps but only five were prepared with oil (the relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit). When Jesus came only 5 of them had oil to light their way. Jesus said to the rest of them that came later “Truly I say to you, I do not know you.” Matthew 25:12

True relationship with Jesus is essential. He loves every one of us, and has prepared a place for us in heaven, but in his journey he never made anyone follow him. He never turned anyone away who wanted to listen. He never dragged them to his sermons and never waited while they finished their task for them to follow. He always told them- leave everything behind and follow me. If they paused than Jesus said they weren’t ready to follow him (they had no oil like the Virgins, they did not bow like the wheat). Jesus was not hesitant to correct anyone either, not because he was mean, but because he loved them. He wanted them to know the right teachings so they were not lead astray. Just as a shepherd corrects the direction of His sheep, He corrects us in our ways because He loves us.

God Bless,

Darrick and Kay

How to make Hummingbird nectar

Spring is here, and so are the birds!

We currently have a black bear in our land so to not encourage him too much to visit we don’t put bird feeders out, except for the hummingbird feeder. Nectar in the store can be a little expensive for basically just colored sugar water. The red dye in the liquid might not be so healthy for the birds either. Luckily, it’s so easy to make your own in less than 5 minutes!

What you will need is:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup sugar (regular white baking sugar)
  • Cup and spoon
  • Hummingbird feeder

Simply pour your sugar into your water (it helps if it’s room temperature or warm) and stir until all the crystals dissolve. Pour in your feeder, hang it up, and enjoy your birds! It’s that simple!

Make sure you clean it weekly as can get sticky and icky.

God bless!

Darrick and Kay

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.

-Song of Solomon 2:12

Building a chicken coop

We are building our first chicken coop! When we were starting out we intended to colonize the rabbits and chickens together, but decided against it as rabbits can get sick, dirty with chicken poop, and the chickens might peck at the baby bunnies. In cages the rabbits are kept safe and clean.

We wanted to share our experience with building our first coop.

The area was previously used to store firewood. It had a roof and simple vertical framing.

After day one of the build: March 17, 2019

Structure is framed in on 2 sides and siding placed on one side. We picked red because we loved the idea of it looking like a little barn. We are so grateful for several good friends who really helped with this project.

Burning holes in ground to dig in posts !!! What we do to survive in northern Minnesota!

One more step closer… windows. we found these windows at Menards and liked that they had a screen and could open to let in fresh air.

Darrick had to take a pick axe to the ground- it was still frozen but needed those bottom boards to be level!!

March 22: One more day along the process. We had to figure out how to do j-trim but once we figured it out it went pretty good. Set the posts for the main door. It’ll be two 3 foot doors that are Dutch doors, so the top can open up to let air in.

Got the posts set for the double Dutch door. We got the j-trim around the windows done. That was a learning experience

Darrick’s task this week is to build the two Dutch doors and hopefully get them stained too. If we can get the siding started this week that should put us in a good spot to finish insulating by the following week and move the birds and rabbits in.

March 30: Darrick built the doors and moved them inside so Kay and her friend could paint them.

The Doors are finished.

Looking like a barn!! Darrick and his friend have been working tirelessly to enclose the siding on the coop. Next is insulation, plywood, and putting the doors on. Nearly done!

Two wall panels up. Styrofoam behind the plywood.

April 7: Doors hung and plywood on the back wall. The left door will be a Dutch door but that will be finished at a later date.

April 10: insulation and framing by the door.

Next step is to add handles, latches, locking mechanisms, and bury chicken wire on the outside so animals don’t try to dig in. We also added lights to keep the chicks warm if needed.

Last step: add chickens (and a mini farmer)

Thank you for following our journey. Our next step will be to add rabbit cages to the chicken coop (we have a small stackable in the right side of this photo) and turn one of the doors into a Dutch door.

God Bless,

Darrick and Kay

Baby bunny birth

We have been on bunny watch all week. Our champagne D’argent “grey” started carrying straw last week so we were on the alert. A few days after that Hattie (our red doe) was carrying straw too)

May 2 Darrick found Hattie’s litter of 5 cold on the wire. We tried to bring them back by warming them but it was too late. At 11am Kay went to bunny check and grey doe was in labor! Kay ran to get Bee so they could all watch together. Kay and Bee got to watch all three of the bunnies be born! What a blessing!

The problem was that grey doe also had her babies on the wire. Kay waited to see if she would put them in the nest but there were soon shivering babies all over the cage so we decided to move mama and babies all inside. In the past grey has been our best mama with pulling a lot of hair and having them in the box, but not this time. Instead of risking 3 more bunny’s lives we decided to bring them in the house to stay warm.

Mama and bunnies are doing well. We did record the last bunny being born! A very neat blessing to be able to witness! A great learning experience for Bee as well. Warning for the video: it’s birth, there’s some blood involved and yes, rabbits eat the placenta.

The loud noises are another rabbit hopping around above her. If you listen closely you can hear the squeal of the baby rabbits first breath! (About 30 second in)

Thank you for following us through this journey. If you would like to see more bunny updates, or have any suggestions for future topics, please post them below.

God bless!

Darrick and Kay

“Do you know the time the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the calving of the deer? “Can you count the months they fulfill, Or do you know the time they give birth? “They kneel down, they bring forth their young, They get rid of their labor pains.”

~Job 39: 1-3