Saturday, November 19, 2016

Winter Storm is Stress on Stock

This is early morning about 5:oo am. The storm was just getting going good.

Took livestock to the sales ring Wednesday just shortly before the big storm hit. The Holstein calf and three goats. We needed more shed room as this storm front was to be a doozy and it was. High winds, cold temperatures, and lots of snow. It made doing chores a real chore as I slugged through knee deep or higher snow drifts, BIG long ones. Animals don't eat or drink much during a storm so I had filled hay feeders extra full the two days before in order to put some extra weight on the animals. With fewer stock, it makes doing chores a bit easier as there is less food to haul.

The two younger calves lost a fair amount of weight during the storm. It takes lots of energy to stay warm. The first few storms are particularly hard on young stock as it stresses them physically and emotionally too. Imagine standing outside or in a three sided shed for the first time with the wind howling and snow pelting. It is particularly risky with calves as young as ours, or even younger to go from warm temperatures like we've had all fall to cold temperatures like 11 Fahrenheit with below zero wind chills.  It leaves them susceptible to pneumonia. Luckily they had huge Sam to calm their nerves and put off heat.

He must be about 1300 pounds now. He needs to go in the freezer as the weight is getting pretty hard on his damaged knees. It will be hard since he is the sweetest thing ever. Usually steers his age are so obnoxious I'm glad to see them go but this one is a real BIG teddy bear. He nuzzled our four year old grand daughter the other day with his huge head and she started to cry. It frightened her. Sam put his head down low and tried his best to check her out and figured out what happened. You could tell he was quite upset. My back was turned at the time of the nudge but I can imagine it was not super gentle even though he meant it as such I'm sure as he loves the kids and me. He has the most massive head I've ever seen on a steer. I've seen lots of steers. Everyone comments on how big it is and how big his eyes are. Surround those gentle beams with long curly reddish brown locks of hair and you have something you just want to cuddle. He loves it so go ahead. I was going to show a picture but he is really uncooperative this morning. Food is all he has on his mind.

I see the goats came through the storm easily. They have rubber matted stall floors which really helps keep the animals warm as tit keeps the cold from seeping up as they bed down at night. Goat are such pansies, shivering at the slightest cold. They barely ate anything during the storm as they huddled under the overhanging shelter just outside their stalls in the day and slept in the stalls at night. One of these first days I'll insulate the stalls to make them extra warm. Dairy goats you don't want stressed physically or mentally as it equates to less milk production. 

The chickens were hilarious. I slogged through the huge drifts to the coop and dug the door out to get it open. The hens rushed by me flying out as normal, only they landed in deep snow sinking down deep. Floundering, flopping and trying to get airborne once more, they screamed in protest. I just stood there and laughed, "Look before you leap girls!" Of course for many of  the young hens this was their first snow storm. The last one hardly counted as it was only a skiff. Now we have another one due Monday night and one later in the week too. They say El Nina has arrived and Siberia is having a harsh, early winter. The wind currents from Siberia brings cold air down our way and east. The northeast getting the brunt of it. Could be an interesting winter.

On a good note, I learned how to put chains on and off the tires of the pickup truck by myself. I also learned that the 4-wheel drive in our truck can freeze up during a storm. Not necessarily pleasant lessons as the wind is sandblasting me but I try to look on the bright side. I had neighbors that got me unstuck with their 4-wheel drive tractor and we survived just fine without Kirk home. Would have been easier with him but we did alright. Remaining here means it will be necessary for me to learn to be lots more self-sufficiency.

I'm getting there. Started making ghee again this week. Have not done that since we moved. I was looking for one more way to save money and since olive oil is rather expensive, I thought it was time to start making ghee again.  Really good for us too. The grandkids like it. A few don't like the smell of it cooking, one does, but they all like the taste of it in food so it is a winner. Now to coordinate all the homemade things going at the same time. I need to get wheat sprouting again too as the weather has turned frosty. The hens could use the nutritional boost and I could use a drop in our feed prices as it fills them up  on less feed than non sprouted grains.

Check it out. I have two blogs up today.

WW2 Thumb Daggers

What's hubby been up to, knives of course. As the weathers turns colder, Kirk has slipped away now and then to work on knives. He needs the reprieve and the extra income would be welcome. One of these thumb daggers is an order and the other something to sell at the SHOT show which is for store retailers. When Kirk learned the history of these small little knives some years back he was fascinated. He has friends that are ex-special forces and navy seals.
These small knives have an appeal to them. Thumb daggers date back to WW2. They were a "last ditch" weapon. Last ditch because if you can use a larger knife or gun then this is not what you reach for. Some military personnel hid them in a slit in the inside of their leather boots, especially those who went behind enemy line. It would be nice to have if you were captured by the enemy.

The size up from this is the lapel dagger. Kirk just makes the thumb dagger size. A few of these find there way into the hands of those in the special forces today.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Latest House Tomato Plant Experiment

Babies see them? They are on the left and there are lots of them. The main plant on the right is from last winter. Note it is blossoming for its third time.
1. The first winter I grew Tiny Tom heirloom tomatoes under grow lights and all but a couple ended up dying from neglect in the summer. That was the first summer the grandkids came to stay. 
2. The second winter I cloned the plants and started some from seed to see the difference in growth.

3. The third winter is around the corner. Right around the corner as we are suppose to get down to 16 degrees F. mid this week. My new experiment for this fall and winter has been cutting the existing plants down and letting the scraggly things grow from a stub. The plants looked pretty sad due to neglect in August and September which is really a hectic time with trying to get kids in school, canning season, and getting everything ready for winter which never fully happens. The plants are presently under the grow lights since the sunlight hours is decreasing and the plants would simply begin to die if I did not. I tried leaving them in the window some plants in the window area last fall. Our sun hits our house from a lower in the sky from a southern direction in the winter months. Then it moves overhead in the summer months and the same winter plants that produced  in the southern window sills had to be moved to the back deck to get adequate sunlight.

 The plants after producing a total of 80 to 100 tomatoes per plant (40 to 50 at a time) died back with neglect. I picked the best plants and reduced the number. They are once more under grow lights as the sunlight decreases. I hear we won't have such a warm winter this year so I'm guessing grow lights is where they will remain  instead of the window sill.
It was not until recently that I started paying serious attention to the poorly neglected plants. I badly need to get some lettuce, spinach, etc. along with herbs growing. We miss the fresh produce and economically could really use them so I'm slowly working on getting things in production once more. Several of the tomato plants had come around and after showing a great deal of new growth were looking pretty sad once more but in a different way. Aphids took over. The cause I know was improper watering and the soil was depleted leaving the plants weakened. I hosed the plants down thoroughly with the water spraying off the kitchen sink, cut away much of the diseased area, pulled a good portion of the soil out from around the roots without completely disturbing the plants since they are blossoming, and rubbed my fingers firmly against the top and under side of the leaves to squish the bugs several days in a row. A week later, the remaining leaves looked pretty healthy.
 In their neglected stage, I had let some of the tomatoes rot on the plant and the seeds fell to the soil and new plants sprung up. As I worked over the parent plants, I transplanted some of the volunteers to smaller pots. Sometimes wonderful things happen all on their own. What a blessing! These new plants I will put in large pots around the south and west side in the windows or in front of them when the sunlight hours increase.

I love the fact that the tomatoes nurtured their own young. I've got more things to do than energy and time to do it. Our goal is to create a permaculture where nature does part of the work. Plants will produce their young or at least seed. Livestock will produce and rear their own offspring. We are finding it impossible to do all things ourselves in a self-sufficient scenario and is that really self-sufficient anyway?

A new experiment idea has sprung up from these neglected tomatoes. The plan is to clone a few of these tomatoes which I know is much faster than starting from seed. A past experiment showed that these cloned tomatoes are smaller than the ones started from seed. Handy when they are needed in the window sills.

 So far the plant size of the tomato plants cut back to nubbins and a few leaves is smaller yet but is it because of the depleted soil? I do know that nubbins, and cloned size works best under my grow lights. The started from seed plants reach at least 4 to 6 inches taller than the cloned and nubbin plants. My sun room plant stand has four horizontal shelves stacked high. It is the same type of shelves I use in the food room to put my canning jars on. Though adjustable, the height between shelves is limited.

My theory has proven correct that the plants started from the nubbins will produce more quickly than the cloned ones. Stands to reason since they have their root system established. Will they produce as many tomatoes as those cloned still remains to be seen. I did notice that even when taken care of the tomato plants after producing their tomato crop naturally die back.

Cloning tomatoes this year will have to wait as I lack room under the grow lights. The transplanted tomatoes, I plan on putting in front of the south windows later in the winter when the sunlight hours increase and they are too tall for the grow light area. 

My next hurtle is figuring out a way to keep this indoor garden going. I must coordinate when we need this garden most, when I an available to do the heavier work load times, and the cycle of the plants. That will be by far the hardest part of this self-sufficient project.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

What Makes Beef Tough?

I have had to buy -- or should I say have chosen to buy some meat from the store lately. Roasts in particular as we are out and I refuse to buy lunch meat loaded with chemicals and a fake flavor. The scary thing is I bought some chuck steak to cook roast like for lunch meat and the stuff increased in size instead of shrunk -- scary! What are they putting in our meat these days? Since the fox cheated us out of some chicken, we have purchased a little of that also. We don't eat much store chicken anymore and interestingly our cholesterol levels are lower than they have been in many, many years. Makes me wonder what they put in them? Motivation to do our own crops up everywhere. Much easier when you are feeding 2 but with the grandkids here most of the week it is 6, making it a much more difficult task.

As I walk the isles on sale day, I notice the only roast in my budget are the tougher cuts. Good thing I like them and know how to cook them to a tender point. The cooking of tougher cuts of beef, pork, and lamb and wild game is the same. We have eaten lots of wild game, yak, and bison which all are cooked in the same manner.
I knew very little about meat and the various cuts until we began cutting our own. Before that I found the meat section of the store confusing. What cuts do you purchase to do what with? In this confusion you might have had a very chewy meat experience because the cut was cooked wrong. Yes, there is some meat that no matter what you do it will be tough but with this meat there can be a flavorful broth made. You just don't want to pay 6 dollars a pound and have something not chewable when you are done. My mom was a pro at cooking a roast to the tough leather stage. She cooked it at too high a temperature, without enough moisture and for too short a period of time. Of course it was a tougher cut of meat to start with. is a great site to see just where different cuts of meat come from. What we learned when we started cutting up our own beef was that you could get different cuts from the same section of beef. Customizing is a great lure of do it yourselfers. For instance, pork chops is the cut from which Canadian Bacon also comes from. Either you cut a little of the section for chops and make Canadian Bacon from the rest or you choose between the two. 

If you look at a beef, the top center of the beef and top of the hip is where the choice cuts come from, the loin, rib, sirloin etc., most of your steak cuts. Prices reflect this. The bottom section is where the animal gains its locomotion, hence, locomotion muscles. This is the hip and shoulder where the legs propel the animal forward. The top of the shoulder is where my favorite tougher cut comes from, Chuck. Chuck has the most awesome flavor. It is my absolute favorite beef meat and I will take it over T-bone steak any day.

There are other factors besides locomotive versus support muscles (the muscles that aren't locomotive muscles) that determine the tenderness of beef. They are Marbling, Stress, Feed, Aging, Slicing Across the Grain, Marinating, and Proper Cooking.
Marbling may be something you avoid because of fears of cholesterol. It is marbling though that gives meat a perceived tenderness because fat acts as a lubrication when chewing and aids in the separation of fibers. Fat lubricates between meat fibers making the fibers easier to pull apart giving those molars an easier time. Fat also stimulates the production of saliva which further stimulates taste. Fat also helps protect against over cooking. Don't avoid fat, just be smart about it and don't over eat.

Stress tightens the muscles and produces tough meat. Most animals travel a long distance to the butcher and if they are not left long enough in pens in order to relax some, then you taste the results. Our livestock die where they lived so they have no travel stress or stress from being corralled in a strange environment. They are placidly eating grain and then dead. It is that quick.

Feed plays a part in that corn fed beef is usually more tender because it increases fat levels and the animal gains weight quicker so it is butchered at a younger age. Younger animals are more tender. Our animals are closer to 2 years of age instead of 18 months. Pasture fed along with hay and a small amount of wheat is what ours eat. The increase in age gives us more natural flavor and because of the relaxed environment, taste testers have all chorused saying the meat is tender. My cousin and her husband came and had steaks with us but complained about how large they were thinking they could never eat it all. To their surprise they devoured it. They buy a half a corn fed beef every year but had not tasted anything quite as good as our beef. Feed choices equates to different flavors and different people like different flavors. In lamb this is especially true as it feed makes a large difference in flavor.

Our favorite beef is Coriante but they are not fun to keep in as they are wonderers by trait and they are much slower growing. This means lots more feed to meat ratio and time, lots more time to get to butcher size. Unless you have mild year round weather so little hay is need plus lots of pasture, it just isn't real cost effective. We bought a good sized Corianted to begin with and may do that again one day because I'm craving it. We eat mostly Angus since it is readily available. That is what will go into the freezer this year and a Angus /Semental calf that will grow and do the same.

Aging, marinating, proper cooking, and slicing across the grain, all help to tenderize meat. There are two kinds of aging, wet and dry. We do only dry and our meat does not hang as long as traditional corn fed beef. Diet plays a role here as does time in order to be able to process the beef. We have to coincide our hanging time with days off in order to get the job done - not necessarily when it is best for the meat. Yet we have been blessed with very tender beef. Dry aging does not work well on pork, lamb, and veal as they do not have the marbling to protect the meat from rotting. Corn fed beef can be aged longer because of the increased fat levels. I have to say our pasture, hay fed are not any less fat but they are babied. Most of you don't process your own meat so I won't go into aging. Marinating and cooking I will talk about in another post.

That leaves slicing across grain. That makes a huge difference as it cuts up the connective tissues in the meat. Fibers in the meat run in a direction. You cut in the opposite direction that the fibers run in order to break up the connective tissue. We cube a lot of our meat, almost all of our wild meat. We have a cuber that has knives that cut through the meat tenderizing it. Unlike the butcher or store meat that runs the meat through once. We run ours through from top to bottom and flip it so it runs through side to side so it gets really tenderized. Great if you have sever TMJ like I do. I have no trouble with mine but the dentist cringes when he works on my teeth.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Bleaching Pine Cones Taught Me a Preparedness Lesson

Pinecones are closed but will open when dry.
My ideas about food storage and being prepared have dramatically changed this past year because of new research. No, I still think there is a need for it, more than ever in fact. Election day will determine the path of the USA for four years. We learned just how much things can change when a president bypasses congress and writes his own laws. If you are happy with the changes Obama made then this approach might appeal to you. BUT this dictator style of leadership sets a precedence for the next president who might have very different ideas. We don't know what Trump will do. We know what he says but few presidents live up to their words. The word politician now has come to mean someone who knows what to say to appeal to a set group of people.

I'm concerned with a government that has the House of Representatives, Senate, and President all Republican. I would be concerned if they all were Democrat too. It is the differences that cause a checks and balances in government. It is what slows things down. Slow allows for more careful thought. It allows for an adjustment of way of thinking. It saves time, money, and insured greater success in the end. In other words fewer redo's because of mistakes. Our green house plans are under going a third revision as we are watching the sun's path, discovering our time allowances and needs at different times of the year. It is a measure twice cut once kind of thing.    
A pinecone opening up to reveal the yellowish white underneath.  
One thing I have found that time is not friendly to is bleach projects. This week I tried bleaching pinecones white for Christmas. I thought it might look pretty with a combination of white and brown cones. I had three jugs of bleach that I had saved with the intent of purifying water if an emergency came up. When the pinecones did not want to change color, I knew something was up with the bleach so I hit the Internet.

Bleach whether opened or not looses its potency over time, a short period of time. Temperature being the primary factor in how long the chemicals are active.

According to Clorox, the amount of sodium hypochlorite added depends on the season it is manufactured. Summer being the time when the most is added as heat weakens it. They try to keep the bleach at 6 percent. If the bleach is stored at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit the potency will last about six months after the manufacturing date. It takes about 4 - 8 weeks before the chlorine bleach makes it to the store so you have only 4 to 5 months that it is at full strength. You don't need bleach at full strength for most cleaning projects around the house so it can hang around a while longer but not several years like mine.

I rarely use bleach as I don't use it in cleaning or laundry unless I absolutely have to as it kills the helpful bacteria that breaks down the sewage in our septic system. I do not need a backed up septic tank thank you so I also do not use a garbage disposal unit in my sink. That is a huge no, no so I disconnected our when I moved in.  Every six months I treat the lines or tank with an additive of healthy bacteria flushed down the toilet. It is time once again to treat our tank with the pro-bacteria formula so I thought using the bleach now to try the pinecone projects would be good timing.
I luckily did not do very many pinecones.
My problem was the experiment did not work as planned. I hit the Internet to see what I was doing wrong and discovered my several years old bleach was pretty dead. I poured out the water/bleach combination I had the pinecones soaking in and used straight bleach.

If you want to bleach pinecones I suggest a trip to the store for some fresher stuff. The instructions said to put 3 part water to 1 part bleach combination then soak the pinecones for 24 hours. Beware the cones will close up when saturated and later open up when dried so don't be alarmed. I've also learned that they are much darker on the outside than the inside. This makes it hard to tell wht the results will be.

Moral of the lesson is don't store bleach long term for water purification.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Buffalo Berries Discovered

Not having the 75 dollars to pay for school pictures, I promised the kids that I would do a photo shoot of them at a later date. Later came a couple Sundays ago. The kids are thrilled with the results and may never go back to school pictures again. That's okay with me since school pictures rarely catch the personality of the child.
The natural girly head tilt of our four year old is so.... her. She is always running on her tip toes with her hands close to her sides in that impractical feminine way. Heels and frills describes our girly girl.

The, I will conquer the world  tilt of our seven-year-old's chin tells you who she is.
The photogenic smile of our nine year old stamps in time her diverse development.
The oldest, just two months from turning twelve, has definite tastes, is confident in who she is, and it show.  

I discovered a wonderful thing as we looked for photo backgrounds on Clear Creek, yu...m, Buffalo Berries! Unpicked buffalo berries and they were just starting to dry out. Since this is the main walking path next to the town park, I have to guess that no one picks them. It could be the thorns which do make gathering the sweet berries a bit of a pain. My guess though is that few people know what these berries are or how yummy they taste. We have become a grocery store dependent society. Few make jelly and jam and fewer yet do so from wild berries, unsure of whether the berries are poisonous or not. That makes these Buffalo Berries an unclaimed treasures. I'm keeping this in mind since this year I've no time to pick.

 Kirk took a handful of berries and shared with the kids. They were not sure what to think. Unsure since, they had refused to take more than a small berry or two. We could not convince them to taste a good size mouthful. Somehow the explosion of flavor is much sweeter. One or two berries seem a bit tart. Since it is late in the year and after a few light frosts, the berries would be sweeter. The getting could not be better. Frost does the same thing with apples. The trick is light frost not the usual killing frost which is often our first one. This fall is exceptionally warm. 

The trees are familiar to me since I picked Buffalo Berries when I was a kid with my step-dad. They made one of his favorite jellies. The trees in his area were scarce since it is farming country but on the back roads you could still find a few.
With Buffalo Berries there is a boy tree and a girl tree. The boy tree fertilizes the blossoms of the girls tree and she in turn produces the berries.

One of the reasons I wanted to move back to this part of Wyoming is because of the drastic increase in edible wild vegetation. I noticed when the long blonde haired survival guy who had a television program came to do a show in Wyoming he traveled hurriedly over the grassy plains to the mountains. If the expert could not find much, I certainly can not. I did not in the 33 years we lived there. Wild game is plentiful and that is probably why we became such meat eaters. I'd like to change that.

Since we've moved back to my husband's roots, I'm discovering where the edible plants are once more. I'm discovering edible things I never knew about before. Kirk's dad, before he died, said he was almost positive that the trees that grow in abundance by us are Hawthorne. Of course not on our property. Neither are the wild plums or the chokecherries. We may have to do something about that. But at least wild edibles are nearby.

Now after my first real taste of buffalo berries, my mind is a buzz with ideas beyond jelly because of my recent chokecherry research. A buffalo berry pie would really be yummy. I had never thought about fruit leather. Why not? I've made lots of the stuff when my kids were young, just not with buffalo berries. Definitely on my to try list.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Chickens and Halloween

It has been quiet around here. Here as in the blog site. That is a sure sign our lives are anything but quiet. I'll give you a quick run down over the next few days going from the present, then back in time. First of all, I hope you had a wonderful Halloween. We did. Kirk and I went to the school parties to help out frazzled mom who attended one party and we the other. One child was a skunk, another a unicorn, and the oldest grade-schooler, an artist's interpretation of a deer, the artist being me.

All three costumes had tutu's. Tutus go with everything you know, or so Pinterest tells me. Thirty some hours of costume building on my part equated to three very happy children so I'd call it a success. The best part came when we sent the kid's and their mom off to meet up with her sister, our oldest daughter, to go trick or treating. We then went home and relaxed by the fire. Aw....., peace and quiet! Our first Halloween in the easy chair and no trick or treaters since we live too far out. I love seeing the joy on our grand daughter's faces but I am not a Halloween fan.

When it got dark, we headed out to gather eggs, plus lock the hens and goats up. I discovered that Rachel was setting. She has set before and I'm getting wise to the look. Besides I saw her in the same basic position earlier in the day. It's my fault really. I've been leaving the light on in the chicken coop at night. It is not that the girls are scared of the dark but egg production has almost ceased. We get two or three eggs a day at most and that is not enough for six hungry mouths. Our light hours have dipped below 14 as we are nearing winter solstice in December. 

Typically, I do not add artificial light in the winter and just put up with decreased egg production. Not this decreased. Last year we got by fine because the 22 hens laid so, so throughout the winter. The chicks came in the mail right before Easter in 2015 and started laying early fall and continue for a couple years before I put them can them and new chickens take their place. That is our normal routine. BUT, this year is different for several reason. We have only eight hens left from last year since the fox came hunting. 

This year we had natural hatches and the first was early April and it was four roosters. Roosters don't lay eggs. We would have normally not had chicks at all but would have waited until next spring and set up the incubator. Due to the addition of a new breed, Easter Eggers, and a new environment more conducive to setting for the Austrolorps, we had natural hatches. So glad we did since the fox reduced our numbers so drastically. But, it is a new experience for us and there are glitches to work out.

 The next two natural hatches began in May, a month later than April and continued through the summer months. That means the earliest batch of hens is due to start production now. Now when hours of light are waning too low. The next batch will mature in December. The darkest month. That is where the problem comes in. It works like this, light passes through the pupil in the eye to the pituitary gland which triggers egg laying by releasing a hormone to the ovaries. It takes 14 hours, or greater, of light hours to do this trick. 

 Of the older hens who survived the fox, the 3 Easter Eggers just completed a molt, having it delayed by hatching out chicks. Now with the light low they don't want to start up again. The non setting Rhode Island hen and the Wyandotte, the two Asian Blue hens who also don't set, and the earliest hen to hatch out chicks (an Austrolorp), are the only ones laying eggs. Now the Austrolorp, Rachel, wants to set again. That would bring us down to four hens laying eggs at a reduced rate so Rachel -- sweetheart-- I know it is my fault because I've given you too much light, but honey-- NO!! I'm not going to let you set.

A week and a half ago we bought a timer. The timer is suppose to plug into the socket in the ceiling light. Another light will then be plugged into the timer. This will increase the light hours to over 14 and yet not require that the main light be left on all night. This will save electricity. This should discourage Rachel. We bought the timer when we bought more fencing materials. Hence, the fence was put up because we desperately needed more pasture to feed the calves and the Halloween costumes needed done so the light was not set up.

Thanks to Rachel, this project has moved up the ladder in importance. Yet, what I really hope is:
1. That next year we will not have a fox problem.
2.That next year, since our hens were born at varying times, that they will molt at different times. I'm told they are suppose to. 
3. That the three hens left -of the five hens setters we started with-- will be better than ever at hatching and raising chicks and new hens will join the ranks. Of course that the hatches will be earlier in the spring also. 

Amazingly after 30 years of raising chickens, I still have no idea what I'm doing. Order chicks from a hatchery and raise them or even hatch them in my own incubator and raise them in a coop and chicken run set up and I'm pretty good. Only pretty good because when you have livestock new things never experienced before have a way of emerging from nowhere. Still that that scenario is pretty comfortable for me. It is when I shifted to free range and self-sufficiency hatching that the --I have no idea what I'm doing feelings emerged. That's okay because I figure if one does not feel that way on a regular basis, one is not stretching and growing by leaps and bounds. It is a humbling experience. And humble means teachable.

I think that is just where the Savior wants me to be. As I discover light and truth, I realize just how incredible this beautiful world is. Everything around me testifies of Him and the more I learn the more I know it was no happenstance that created such an intricately perfect world.