Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ducklings!

The Muscovy ducklings are here! I thought it would be another two weeks or so, but a local breeder I had given up hearing from, finally messaged me to say she had pied ducklings available. We met halfway between our cities, and she handed off a small box of absolute sweetness. Seven ducklings.

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I’m used to ducklings being relatively loud. Not these guys. They were almost perfectly silent all the way home. They hatched earlier that day, so the first thing we did was clip a tiny bit off the end of their right wings. Clipping one wing like this is called pinioning, and while it’s a major surgery requiring a vet on older birds, day-old ducklings’ bones are super soft, and although a couple of them bled a small amount, they didn’t even seem to notice anything had happened. I live on a small property, and Muscovy ducks are well-known for their ability to fly onto your roof – or your neighbor’s roof! For their own safety, I pinioned them to prevent them from being able to fly.

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I don’t know if this is a Muscovy trait, but these ducklings are inseparable. And they seem to know if one is missing. I moved them outside onto grass yesterday when it was sunny, and because I carried them two by two, I had to leave one solo in the brooder until the last trip. The six outside called loudly for him until I brought him out!

They are super cute. And I think I have three different colors. Black and white, chocolate and white, and possibly blue/lavender and white? Below is the darkest, compared to the lightest.

Muscovys are perching ducks, which means they have feet with claws, for gripping. Their little feet actually curl around my fingers! And those claws are already sharp.img_7292_zps32klucfb

 

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And did I mention they are adorable?

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The Garden is Exploding!

May is when the garden goes crazy. Green, lush, and – after the long winter – just so suddenly packed full of life. I could easily spend my entire day outdoors working, between the animals and the garden…and often, I do. It’s wonderful.

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Nearly everything is fruiting like crazy, too. I don’t know if it’s because of our unusually snowy winter, but the fruit trees and bushes are packed with blooms. Even the ones that normally don’t do all that well in my garden, like the blueberries. We have apples, currants, gooseberries, peaches and so many others, including figs.

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Cherries:

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And plums. This will be the first year I’ve gotten plums!

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That is, I WILL get plums, if Mama Short-Tail doesn’t get them first.  I couldn’t get her to show off her short docked tail (there has to be a tale of adventure there!) but this particular squirrel nests in the tree right against my fence, and spends a lot of her time in my yard. I saw her with two healthy youngsters just the other day. Sigh.

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There are some ornamental flowers blooming as well. Roses and Lily-of-the-Valley are two my favorites.

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Besides the numerous baby chicks running around, I also have a brand-new batch of baby Rex bunnies. These are about 5 days old.

This one is a blue otter. If she’s a doe, I may keep her.

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The pigeons have a new nest of two babies; I’m guessing it’s another male and female pair since one of the them stands up, puffs out its chest and tries to bite my fingers when I pet them, and the other shrinks down and tries to become invisible. The firstborn pair are fully grown, billing and cooing and falling in love, and trying to find their place in the dovecote. That is Esther with the purple legband, and Mordecai in the green. Watching a bit resentfully (he thinks the kids should fly away and find their own dovecote) is the father, Emerson.

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And they aren’t MY babies, but someone chose to make their nest in this house I put up in the chicken coop rafters. I love hearing the sounds of the babies screaming for their supper!

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I’ve been working on lots of projects. I added another box of commonly-used herbs near the kitchen door – I’ve just started really cooking with fresh herbs, and its unbelievably lovely to just open the door and snip off a few leaves!

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I’ve also been working on the future home of the Muscovy ducks.  It doesn’t look like much yet, but I have a plan! Speaking of the Muscovies, I will hopefully finally get them in about two weeks. It’s been a journey, getting these ducks!

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Mom also finished a project. We have this spot just to the left of our front gate that has always had the ugliest concrete floor. One of us had the idea of just getting cedar boards, cutting them to size, then laying them into the space. It worked, and looks wonderful. And super easy, too.

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I’ve also been sprucing up the garden. First, because a blogger friend of mine wanted to come film my garden and interview me for her channel Making It Home  (I’ll put the finished video she made at the end of this blog, if you’d like to see it) and secondly, because I have several tours I’m giving for various people, plus hosting a family party.

The interview Making It Home did was specifically about the method of gardening I use called Back to Eden, where you keep the soil covered at all times by a thick layer of wood chips. We didn’t get into it because of time constraints, but I really do only a modified version of Back to Eden these days. I have found that while wood chips works fantastically in the perennial beds (and in the chicken run!) it is less successful in the annual vegetable beds. And that is largely because the chips are too large. I scrape them aside to plant seeds, but invariably they fall back in and smother my seedlings – either because of the wind, or rampaging squirrels like Mama Short-Tail. So now I use bunny litter on my vegetable beds. It’s a mixture of wood shavings, plus bunny droppings, and it’s a perfect thing. The shavings are small enough not to smother seedlings, and bunny droppings can be used directly in the garden without composting, because it won’t burn your plants like other manures do. Look at the picture below:

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The left side is wood chips. The right is bunny litter.  I tell ya, I wouldn’t know how to garden if it weren’t for my critters. The bunnies are essential for their manure/mulch, and the chickens have absolutely saved my garden from slugs. I used to come out in the morning and find my lettuce destroyed under a tell-tale trail of slime. In the evenings, you could come out with a flashlight, and see literally dozens of slugs crossing the lawn, heading for the vegetable beds. Ducks are good slug patrol, but honestly, chickens are better. Ducks eat slugs, but chickens eat slug eggs. I let my chickens out free range into my garden for a couple hours a week during the winter and early spring, and they just ninja their way through all the slug egg caviar. Come planting time, there are few slugs left…just a handful of super tiny ones spread out through the whole garden. I see a few nibbles on a leaf here and there, but it’s generally not a problem. I don’t remember the last time I saw a slug larger than half an inch.

I love it when things work together in harmony, the way God intended.

New Life Follows Death

It’s the way of life on this earth. One creature dies, another is born…or hatched. I lost one of my sweet hens, Tilda, a couple of weeks ago. She was fine, and then she wasn’t. I don’t know what happened; she was always an extremely busy girl, always foraging and running about, and I noticed pretty quickly that she wasn’t feeling well because she slowed way, way down. I checked her over, but nothing appeared to be wrong. But there was something, because shortly afterward, she developed sour crop. Problems with the crop are often a sign there is something seriously wrong inside the hen’s body. Since this particular hen was a golden sexlink, a variety bred specifically to pump out a huge amount of eggs, I suspect it was something amiss in her egg laying apparatus. These hens aren’t meant to last much longer than two years, and that’s about how long she lived. This is why I really prefer heritage breeds.

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I’ll miss her. She was one of the sweet girls, always jumping up on my lap for a snuggle. I made sure she had one last snuggle before she went.

But following close on the heels of this loss is new life. Just a few days afterward, the one solitary silkie egg in my incubator hatched.

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Meet Lucie.

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She is a miracle chick. In a previous post, I talked about how I got seven silkie eggs in the mail, and the box hadn’t been separated out of the normal non-fragile mail. My mail carrier told me she was very upset that she found the box tossed in the bottom of a mail bag, underneath all the other boxes. I wasn’t sure if anything could survive that! But candling the eggs, one of them was developing. I prayed for that egg. So many things can go wrong. Once, even, we lost power and had to put the silkie egg outside under a broody hen for a few hours.

Since she was the only silkie egg to hatch, I didn’t want to raise her alone, without a mother hen or siblings. I had Mottled Cochin Bantam eggs hatching the same day, underneath my smallest hen, Sansa. I checked on her, and she had two adorable little black and yellow chicks that had hatched so far, with more to come. That night, I put little Lucie out underneath her, praying she’d be ok.

In the morning, I went to check, and found the two hatched cochin chicks dead. Sansa had accidentally stepped on them. Even though she should have been small enough to mother them – I know people put bantam eggs under full-sized hens – she wasn’t gentle enough for such tiny babies. There were three other eggs with pips under her, and one other that had been stepped on while trying to hatch. It was still alive and peeping, but I couldn’t immediately tell if it was ok. There was no sign of Lucie.

I thought she was dead, and being a dark colored chick, was in a corner somewhere. Heartsick, I gathered up the hatching eggs and brought them inside to the incubator. The one that had been stepped on inside the shell needed help getting out the shell, but once out, it was perfectly fine! The rest weren’t ready to come out, so I left them and went to find out what happened to Lucie.

I lifted Sansa up to check underneath her better, and there was little Lucie, right between Sansa’s feet, alive, untouched, and looking up at me like “What?”

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Isn’t she sweet? The breeder I bought the eggs from had a mix of all colors of silkies, so there was no way to know what color would hatch from my eggs: black, white, buff, partridge, or splash. I was particularly wanting a partridge. Guess what color Lucie is? Yep, she’s partridge!

I brought her in the house and put her in the incubator too, until I could get a brooder set up. Sansa, meanwhile, was freaking out. She knew she’d had babies, and she knew I’d stolen them. She was so upset, and of course it wasn’t her fault I couldn’t let her keep them. Mom called around to the local farm store, and they had some Red Ranger chicks left…and one solitary silkie. She bought two of the Red Rangers for Sansa, and the silkie to be Lucie’s friend.

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Meet Lola. She is, I believe, a buff colored silkie.

From the Mottled Cochin eggs, I ended up with five chicks.

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They are such tiny, perfect little creatures.

Sansa, meanwhile, went from being a calm friendly bird, to being a velociraptor. If I go anywhere near those two Red Ranger chicks of hers, if I reach for a nearby water bottle to refill it, she goes berserk. She has not forgotten or forgiven the fact that I stole her previous babies, and she will murder me if I try to take these two! Last year, she raised two chicks for me, and had no problem whatsoever with me holding her babies. This year, wow. I had to move her and the chicks into a different coop, and the only way I could was pick the babies up (one in each hand) and carry them, knowing she’d follow. She not only followed, she flew repeatedly at me, as high as my chest, screaming the curses of her people, and biting me. If she weren’t such a small hen, she’d be terrifying! I hope she settles down, once she realizes I’m not going to steal these chicks.

In addition to the chicks already mentioned, I also have four Freedom Rangers. I’ve heard really good things about these as meat birds. So far, I’m impressed. They are calm, contented birds, that are curious and very easy to keep.

They are obviously a very stocky build, with huge feet and legs, and are already much heavier than the two heritage meat breeds we tried in previous years.

The garden is doing well this year. The fruit trees are loaded with blossoms! Below is a little columnar apple I planted just last year!

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This year I finally followed through and planted comfrey starts throughout my garden, and they are all doing great.

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The dandelions are springing up everywhere, and I love them. I used to try to keep them contained, and grow lots of kale, cabbage, and other greens for the chickens. I’ve since wised up. Dandelions are much easier to grow, and MUCH healthier to eat. They are packed with nutrition! They are one of the best greens for humans as well. And the chickens, rabbits, and other critters love them. Plus, the flowers are gorgeous. Definitely as pretty as domesticated flowers. So I’m letting them go, wherever they want. And this year, I harvested about two cups of dandelion flower petals, and made Dandelion Honey.

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It’s supposed to taste exactly like bee honey. I don’t think it does, but it is very good. Sunshine in a jar!

If I Were Saying Goodbye…

An atheist friend of mine once told me: “If Christians really believe in what they say they do, they would be the biggest a******s in the world if they didn’t tell everyone. Which is why I don’t mind when Christians tell me about God.”

He’s right. We would be the biggest…jerks…in the world if we didn’t share the most amazing story in the world, the truth that not only lifts people today out of the most appalling lives of drug addiction, hopelessness, and anxiety, but also guarantees us an eternal life of absolute abundance and joy. If we believe this, we have to share it, because not sharing it would be the most horrible act of selfishness we could ever do.

Particularly now, when the world as we know it is just about to come to an end. There is not much time left. Perhaps only days. Perhaps this is the last blog post I will ever write – and oh, how I hope that is the truth! And if it is, there are four things I want you to know:

God loves you. Regardless of who you are, or what you’ve done, God loves you so much that he died to save your life.

No matter how good you think you are, you’re not good enough to save yourself. You’ve lied, stolen, and wished evil upon other people – which in God’s view is the same as if you’d actually murdered them. But God loves you anyway.

God wants, more than anything else, to give you a life of joy and utter, complete happiness and abundance. The proof of his existence is literally everywhere you look, and if you genuinely ask him, he will reveal himself to you.

When the genuine Christians are supernaturally taken off this earth, when judgement begins, and all the terrible things I’ve warned you of begin to happen, it’s not too late. The Bible says everyone who cries out to God will be saved. If you won’t cry out to him now, remember this. Please remember this. It’s not too late.

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And if you genuinely don’t know where to begin, if you’ve been raised outside of the church and have only a vague idea of who Jesus is, or why he matters, consider watching the film below. If nothing else, Christianity and Jesus are a major part of history, and the driving force behind everything that has happened here on earth. Aren’t you at least a little bit curious?

A Corgi in Watercolor

I have a weakness for watercolor art. Part of it is how wild and unpredictable it seems, to work with water.  One of my friends, Colette Griffith, recently discovered she has a talent for watercolor, and has been making some gorgeous paintings. One of them is a custom portrait of my corgi, Dexter.

I gave her this photo of Dexter:

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And she painted this portrait:

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I think she truly captured him! (I particularly love how she did his paws…I’m a “paw person” and I always loved Dexter’s big corgi feet!) I’m definitely going to ask her to paint me another…as soon as I settle on which animal/photo.

Colette enjoys doing custom art, and she told me she’s currently doing several paintings of business storefronts. She does amazing architectural watercolors.

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Her animals, as you’ve already seen with Dexter, are wonderful too.

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It’s entirely possible my next request of her will be a chicken. Ellie, my favorite soul-mate chicken, already has one watercolor portrait of her…but what queen doesn’t need more than one official portrait?

If you would like Colette to do a watercolor for you (a pet, storefront, or childhood home, perhaps?) she is accepting commissions, and her prices are extremely reasonable.  It depends on the subject and size, but mine of Dexter was only $20!

She is still working on settling up a website, but you can contact her at colettegriffith@yahoo.com

Spring Babies

You know it’s Spring when all the critters are reproducing!  Before we get to the new babies, here’s an update on the pigeons.

Guys, we have genuine feathers! Below is the one I’m calling Mordecai (they were hatched on Purim).  Although these Kings are supposed to be all-white, this little one has black around his eyes. It would definitely disqualify him as a show bird, but as I don’t show, I don’t care. It makes him interesting. Notice I’m calling him ‘him’.  I don’t have any experience in sexing pigeons, but this one is much more dominate and feisty than the other. He acts just like his father, so I’m guessing it’s a male?

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And here is Esther.  Just like her mother, she is very calm and gentle. I’m guessing female, which is perfect!

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Look how much their wings have grown!

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Emerson and Peabody (the parents) are expressing considerable interest in the second nest I put in the dovecote for them, so I’m hoping another pair of eggs will be laid soon. When the first batch of babies reach a certain age, the male pigeon takes over feeding them, and the female starts sitting on a new clutch of eggs. Ultimately, I want a total of three pairs of adult birds, and then I’ll start eating eggs and/or squabs.

Now…onto to the new babies! I don’t have a picture yet, but one of my Rex rabbits (Thistle) gave birth to her first litter this year. A litter of exactly…ONE kit! Sigh. Rabbits have litters between 1-10 babies, and last time she had 8. So I was hoping for more. One kit can be dangerous, because baby rabbits can’t properly regulate their temperature and use the body heat of their siblings to keep warm. The mother rabbit only goes into the nest to nurse once or twice a day. She doesn’t keep them warm. I was worried, but Thistle made a massive nest this time with LOTS of hay and pulled hair, and the baby has been toasty warm. It’s going to survive. But it does put my breeding schedule off. I have gone ahead and bred my other doe, Blackberry, so hopefully she’ll come through with a large litter to make up for this one…though I’m not entirely sure she’s even pregnant. She was in a MOOD when I put her in with Sorrel, and I don’t know for one hundred percent he were successful in wooing her. I’ll have to re-breed Thistle in a week or two.

My cream legbar chicken, Sansa, went broody right on cue – it only took me a couple of weeks of asking “Do you want babies????” for her to answer “YES!!!!” I ordered a baker’s dozen of bantam mottled cochin eggs for her, and they should hatch sometime around the end of April. The adults should look something like this:

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And just for fun I also ordered seven silkie eggs for my incubator. I’ve only ever used the incubator for quail eggs, which are so small and often so darkly colored that you can’t really shine a light into the eggs and watch them develop inside the shell. Silkie eggs are white and considerably larger than quail eggs. The person I bought the eggs from has a jumbled flock of many colors, so my chicks could be almost any color, not just white.

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The problem is, he packed them in such a small box that despite the “live hatching eggs – handle with care” sticker on it, the post office didn’t see it, and threw the box in with the general mail. Which means it got thrown around a lot more than it should have. Which means my mail delivery person was very angry on my behalf (she has chickens herself) because she knows my chances of hatching chicks from these eggs went way, way down. Normal hatch rates on shipped eggs vary, but generally you get about 50%.

After four days in the incubator I candled mine, and only ONE is developing! So many things can go wrong with eggs, that I might not end up with any. But assuming this little chick manages to beat the odds, I’ll put her out underneath Sansa with the mottled cochins. They will all hatch out at the same time, and that way she won’t be lonely.

And that was supposed to be it for the chicks this year. But then I went to Tractor Supply to pick up some bedding, and they had a sale on Freedom Ranger chicks – $1 each.

I came home with four.

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These are a meat chicken breed, meant to be similar to the Cornish Cross grocery store chicken, only minus the health issues that breed has. We’ve been wanting to experiment with these guys, to see how healthy they are, and how fast they really grow. So far, I’ve had them a couple of days, and they are super strong and stocky. I think three of them are roosters, because they just act like teenaged boys. The fourth is slightly more delicate and I’m sure she’s a hen. Hopefully they reach butcher weight before they all start to crow!

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I’m still waiting on the Muscovy ducks. The person I want to get them from had a problem with her hatch, I think – but she’s got more in the incubator, so hopefully within a month I’ll have ducklings.

I love spring.

Looking Ahead to the Very Near Future

There’s a thing called ‘normalcy bias’. Basically, it’s the assumption people have that since everything is ok right now, that things will continue to be ok. People don’t think that cancer, or a car accident, or a natural disaster will happen to them. That belief is, of course, absolutely wrong. Bad things happen to people all the time, and no one makes it through their life without something happening, at some time.

But more of the time, we recover. We move on. We continue.

For example, we assume that despite everything going in the world right now, that things will somehow still be ok. The government will bail someone out, provide healthcare, build a wall (or prevent a wall being built). We support or despise the man in power, forgetting that the only reason anyone is ever in power is because God chose to put them there. This is true of Trump, this was true of Obama. America is going through a difficult time right now, but normalcy bias tells us we’ll be ok. We’re a world superpower, we’re too big to fail, too important to fall…as Assyria did, as Rome did, as all the world superpowers before us did.

America is great because she is good. When she ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.      – Alexis de Tocqueville

The above statement, written not long after our founding, is absolutely true. America has done some evil things in her past, but always, there has been enough righteous, God-following people within her to change that evil. But now…that isn’t the case. There are very few righteous people left, people who genuinely believe in the God of the Bible, and who seek to follow his will for their lives. A VERY great number profess to be Christians, but doing ‘Christian’ things, and sitting on a church pew doesn’t make you a genuine Christian. There is only one way to God, and it has nothing to do your works.

Most of these false Christians have been swayed by the world into accepting evil as good. The Bible said this would happen.

Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

The Bible also told us what would be the result. Watchmen would recognize the signs of the end, and would sound the alarm to warn the world, but the world would not listen.

2 Peter 3:3-4 
…knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.  They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”

But regardless of what the world believes, the Day of the Lord will come, and it will happen so quickly and so suddenly that the world will be shocked and stunned.

Matthew 24:37-44
For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.

The Bible gives amazing, detailed prophecies regarding what the world will look like at the time right before everything changes forever. These prophecies are so detailed and specific that only about 70 years ago, many people believed they had to be taken “spiritually” rather than literally, because they were about things people thought were absolutely impossible. The regathering of Israel into a nation again. The presence of Russia in Syria, and Russia’s alliance with Turkey and Iran. The exact technology we have now, and the genetic tinkering we are currently doing – even mentioning an ‘abomination’ of swine and mouse. https://futurism.com/scientists-used-genetic-modification-to-create-low-fat-pigs/

The Bible says the warning signs of war, famine, pestilence, natural disasters, and technology will be as the birth pangs of a woman – increasing in frequency and strength until the time of the end. I could write an entire book about just the signs of natural disasters, but here is just one example:

Known Asteroids Passing Less Than One Lunar Distance From Earth (2001 – 2018):
2001 – 1
2002 – 2
2003 — 5
2004 — 10
2005 — 6
2006 —- 12
2007 —– 15
2008 —— 20
2009 —– 19
2010 ——- 22
2011 ——— 27
2012 ——- 22
2013 ——– 23
2014 ————– 32
2015 ——— 27
2016 ——————- 60
2017 —————— 56
2018 —————————— 91

One day, very soon, two massive asteroids will hit the earth.

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Revelation 8: 8-11

The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— the name of the star is Wormwood. A thirds of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

Every genuine Christian who is awake and paying attention knows that the end is coming – and it’s coming very, very, very soon. I just bought some fertile eggs to put underneath one of my hens to hatch, and I truly doubt whether I’ll see those eggs hatch out. Everything I do now, everything I plan is based on this knowledge: JESUS IS COMING FOR US. SOON. I cannot stress this enough. It IS true, it IS happening, and the world has very little time left.

Because while he is coming with great joy to rescue his Church from the world, he is also coming  to deliver righteous wrath on the evil being done in the earth. He has blessed America above most of the world because America was good. But America has turned away, America is actively celebrating horrific evil.

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Abortion is evil, absolutely. And not only do they want to murder the unborn FULL TERM babies, they want to actually deliver babies, then set them aside to ‘rest comfortably’ while the mother decides whether she wants to have her child killed or not. These people who do this…some of the women honestly don’t understand what they are doing, they are brainwashed or ignorant, but the doctors know.

Pedophilia is now being pushed into public acceptance. The new revelations about Michael Jackson’s abuse of children prompted Barbara Streisand to comment: “You can say ‘molested,’ but those children, as you heard them say, they were thrilled to be there,” she said. “They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”

God cannot and will not allow this forever. America (and the rest of the world) will be rightfully and righteously judged, and this judgment will be the worse thing ever to happen to the world. If you’re in America, in particular, I’m not certain you will survive, however much prepping you’re done. More and more I believe America will be completely and absolutely destroyed, wiped forever off the map. I had hope that the people I know who aren’t currently believers would have time to realize the truth and accept Christ after they see the Rapture of the Church happen, after they finally recognize the truth of what I’ve been saying….but I’m not so sure anymore that’s going to be possible. I think the total destruction might be too sudden and too complete.

But the judgement of the world is something that not only will happen, but it has to happen. The world cannot continue going on as it is now, growing more and more evil. God will bring it to an end, so he can remake it into the glorious creation it was before sin entered into it.

After this, there will never again be sin, or death, or pain, or sorrow in the world again.

Maranatha!