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Archive for May, 2013


My post office man called me yesterday morning at 6:15 am to let me know my chicks were in.

I was skeered.

I’d read horror stories about chicks being shipped and all of them DOA. Or many of them dead. Or a few dead.

I haven’t lost a chick yet. BUT. I’ve not ever had them shipped to me. This doesn’t mean they weren’t shipped at all- they actually were, but the hatchery was also in NM and about an hour away.

This time, though, they were coming from across the country- from NM. 😆

I was totally thrilled that they were coming from the same hatchery that I had gotten all my other NM chickies from, because I knew they were healthy to begin with. {And, I’m pretty sure the bantams less the local silkies came from that same hatchery, too!}

Even though I knew the hatchery and had good luck before, I was still worried.

We got there and could hear the cheeping before the main door was even open. 😆

We had him cut the bands so we could have a witness when we opened the box for the first time.

Everyone was alive!

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We trucked on home with the heater on full blast because they were cold. And then, before we counted them, we put them into the brooder under the heat lamp.

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Honestly, we should have counted then because when they are zipping all over the place, it’s hard to know if you counted some twice. I think that’s what happening, even though I seem to pretty consistently count 43…………….

I spent all of yesterday watching them. No joke. It’s important to observe them as much as you can early on because things can happen quickly.

I came down this morning to a bloody chick. Initially, we thought one was pecking the other, but when we picked her up, the other chick wouldn’t let go, and was literally dangling in the air. It was clear the one chick was distressed and was being hurt.

I flipped her over and she was all bloody. 😥

Once I cleaned her up, I took these pictures.

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Seems to me her umbilical cord hadn’t detached from the yolk sac. How I didn’t see this yesterday is a mystery to me, except she was dry and fluffy and acting normal.

The yolk sac in a chick acts like a placenta does in a human- it’s full of nutrients and is attached to the body. This is why chicks don’t “need” to eat for about 2-3 days because they have the needed nutrients from the absorbed yolk sac.

One thing to know is that yes, they can bleed from them. If you yank on the umbilical cord, you can essentially disembowel a chick and kill it. Yanking can also cause heniation, which is also bad. The best thing to do is to leave it alone.

While we haven’t hatched out our own chicks, we do have some experience {very limited} with hatchlings. We babysat some pea fowl that were hatching a few years ago. In that case, his belly button stump was rubbing on the grate of the bottom of the incubator, causing it to bleed.

So, I wasn’t totally clueless. 😆

After cleaning the blood up, I needed to assess and determine what, if anything, I needed to do.

In the meantime, her leg got stuck on it and she started to yank, which made it start bleeding again.

I needed to get it off.

I soaked her in a dish of warm water to soften it up to see if it would come loose, since it was around her neck, too. Once it was soft enough to get off her body without plucking any feathers, I went ahead and snipped the outer edge of each point. This part was already dried so I knew it wouldn’t be messy.

Once that part came free, I got to really looking at the bottom end, knowing I needed to snip somewhere so it wouldn’t be dragged around causing attention. Lucky for us, there was a very thin spot that was just hanging on by a thread, so that’s where I snipped.

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I applied pressure to prevent any further bleeding, but it was a little oozy.

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Fortunately, I always have some blood stop powder on hand, so I made sure she was coated on any part that could bleed.

I put her in a separate box in the brooder, but she kept hopping out. I figured she was happier with everyone else, and as long as they didn’t pick at her, it should be ok.

The only thing I need to watch for is hernia. She is a bit sleepy, but is still eating and drinking. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

I’ve got another Buff Orpington that has a wee bald spot on the side of her head that today looks a little bruised. She’s also eating and drinking just fine. I’m not worried, but it bears observing.

If you’ve been wondering what my weekend is looking like, now you know. 😦

*** Updating to share that she just passed a few minutes ago. She didn’t bleed out, though. There was some clear stuff that came out of her nose. She had gotten very cold, too, even being under the lamp. A day of some sad firsts. 😥

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I think I mentioned it before, but when you live on a farm, there are never-ending things to do, even if you aren’t actually farming. 😉

You may recall that when we moved, we ended up with 5 abandoned horses in our front yard. A few months later, we did the horsey shuffle. It actually was remarkably like the Hokey Pokey, but with horses. At the end of the day, no one had gotten really injured and we all still had our teeth, so that was a win. 😆 And our roster was set.

Around Thanksgiving, our kitty went missing. We later discovered her deceased. 😦 When her brother had to be put down for intestinal cancer, we had gotten Little Dog. As luck would have it, a short-haired border collie became available from a gentleman who used them with his cattle and had gotten a large amount from a breeder/trainer friend of his who decided he was too old and passed on his border collie ‘stock.’ Anyhow. Puppy was the runt of the litter and he felt would be too small to handle the cattle, so he was trying to find her a good home. We got her the next day.

Christmas rolled around, and we were still missing having a cat. I don’t think in the last 20+ years we’ve gone very long without some kind of cat. We like our kittens in pairs. Then chicken math hit, and we got three babies from the same litter. {Actually, I have a whole category on Chicken Math………… :lol:} That’s how we ended up with Los Tres Amigos.

At some point, we had a lovely orange kitty come and visit us for several months. He’s actually been over at our horse trainer‘s house for the last several weeks. I wonder if he got tired of the dogs barking at him. We hope he comes back because we miss him………

Then we got the bantams and I ordered my large fowl and guineas. 😀

Two weeks ago, my newly “adopted” 19 year-old daughter/neighbor came by on her way home from the vet’s office where she worked. Someone had dumped off a litter of 4 kittens to be put down. Well, there was no way she was going to let that happen! So she took them home. Seeing as the little girls were outside, she thought she’d stop and show them the babies.

When she left a while later, she had one kitten with her. 😆 We kept the other 3 3-week-old kitties. So, we’ve been busy bottle feeding, ect. I had no idea that when they are that little, you need to stimulate them to go to the bathroom. 😯

Because the other kitties became solely indoor kitties, we are thinking these will be our barn kitties. I’ve got some great pics in with the other kitties and today in with the chicks. Hilarious!

This morning, the post office called at 6:15 am to let me know my chickies were here. I was back home around 7 am with all live chickies!!! ♥♥♥

{And you wonder why I’m not writing much…………….  :lol:}

We’re missing guineas, which will come next month.

Don’t laugh or roll your eyes, but here’s what we have right now:

3 dogs

5 horses

6.5 cats

14 bantams

40 large fowl

4 kids

2 completely crazy parents; {one obviously more crazy than the other 😉 }

And a partridge in a pear tree. {No, not really, silly- not yet, anyhow. 😉 } 😆

Because y’all have been so patient with me, here are some pictures. I’ve added a category for Around the Farm stuff, which will probably end up being mostly pictures. You’ve been warned! 😀

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Herman

Herman

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Spawn of Herman?

Spawn of Herman?

Go Navy!

Go Navy!

Creepy quiet those are- didn't bother the horses and the dogs never even barked!

Creepy quiet those are- didn’t bother the horses and the dogs never even barked!

Fog rolls in an hovers over the fields.

Fog rolls in and hovers over the fields.

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How many horses do you see?

How many horses do you see?

From the balcony off the bedroom.

From the balcony off the bedroom.

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Finally enough weight to be ridden!

Finally enough weight to be ridden!

My girl. ♥

My girl. ♥

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So there you have it- a taste of 6 months on the farm! 😀

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It’s 1865 and prejudice against the Irish runs surprising deep, as Emile finds out.

Her childhood friend- and Irishman- Quaid McFarland has returned home from the war. Emile didn’t plan on having any feelings, but she was curious to see him again after so many years. Bending Toward the Sun

As both Quaid and Emile realize their feelings toward one another, they both find themselves torn between love and obeying Emile’s German father.

~~~~~~~~

That’s the plot in a nutshell. I know this is a novella, but it didn’t do anything for me. This could have been a good book as a novel, although the premise of just being obedient for the sake of being obedient doesn’t set well with me, regardless of what year it’s supposed to be.

I won’t spoil it if you decide to read it- it’s a fast read- but let me just say the ending was terribly ‘canned,’ in my opinion. I’ve reviewed another title by this author, and both have been let-downs, I’m sorry to say. I really want to like the story; the plots are decent, but the writing just leaves me disappointed, because there’s just not enough substance there.

I hate to do it, but this one gets 2 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Please click and rank my review!

Rank this Review!

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Giggle. Growl. Hum; hiccup. Whisper. Murmur. Sigh. Plop, plop. Dribble, dribble. Trickle; run. Whistle, whistle, whistle. Giggle. Whisper. Chatter. Chant. Snarl. Shriek. Slap!

“Enough! Get out of my head! I’m trying to sleep!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Because I have nothing better to do; thinking about the snake scaling the railing on the porch out front; wondering and hoping it won’t make it up to the second story and greet me outside my bedroom door on the balcony, or, heaven forbid, slither all the way up to the roof and then down the chimney to join whatever it is we think might be in there………………..

Welcome to spring. {gagging smiley here} 😆

Here’s my 33 words for this weekend’s Trifecta challenge; week sixty-seven.

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Macy sucked in her breath as awareness dawned.

“This cannot be happening!”

“Um, Macy?” Frank cleared his throat. “Besides your hair still smokin’ like a pissed-on cigar, ah, am I the only one who hears that weird chanting? And your eyes are, uh, seriously buggin’ me out. What the hell is going on?”

The background swirled around her; the blackness threatening to envelop her. She nodded in acknowledgement. She could hear it, too.

This cannot be happening! That wasn’t real prophesy! It was just a tale passed down through the generations! Macy fought her panic.

Macy turned back to Frank, her eyes flat. In a quiet voice, she started,

“The blood is passed nigh on five hundred years;

From one to one, until completion nears.

Ancestors alive;

The blood’s life does strive.

It searches; it settles, it finds its home;

Complete with mate, it halts its roam.”

She stopped and shook her head. “It can’t be!”

Frank sighed.

“Shit, Macy. What now? Damn. They could’ve at least given me a manual before sending me out this time,” he grumbled.

For the first time, Frank’s swearing didn’t faze her. She had bigger problems to deal with.

“Ok. We’re on a stake-out. Then you start chanting, in the midst of your alarm clock going off. Your hair catches on fire, and now I’m starting to hear weird chanting that is not coming from you while I see fires reflected in your eyes. Do I even want to know? Is this going to get me killed?”

Macy twisted the nearly dried wipe in her hands. Drawing a breath to fortify her explanation, she began, as calmly as her shocked nerves would allow,

“I think it’s the curse.”

Frank’s snort was cut off as she continued, “The blood “prophesy,” to be exact. You can blame my mother’s lineage for all of this. If it’s true, don’t hate me or shoot me, Frank, but you’re part of it, too. And yeah, it just might get us killed.”

Trifecta

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hiya. It’s been a while. Lots of stuff has happened since Frank and Macy last occupied these pages. We moved, which means a ton of stuff has been taking my time- painting, horses, kitties, chickens, etc etc. When you live on a farm, there is no shortage of stuff to do. 😆

I’m hoping I can get back into the swing of things, because Frank and Macy have been patiently waiting for their story to be told. 😆

If you’re new or have missed parts to this never-ending saga of fun, start with the last part here or click on this Gunz-N-Roses link here or the tab on each page to read the rest of the story.

In case if you haven’t figured out this week’s word, here it is:

BLOOD (noun)

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a (1) : the fluid that circulates in the heart, arteries, capillaries, and veins of a vertebrate animal carrying nourishment and oxygen to and bringing away waste products from all parts of the body (2) : a comparable fluid of an invertebrate

b : a fluid resembling blood

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: the shedding of blood; also : the taking of life
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • If your post doesn’t meet our requirements, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone. Please join us.

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That’s what I heard when I finally figured out the number that had been calling me repeatedly was my home phone and I called back.

My 11-year-old daughter was panicked. I was able to get out of her that she thought one of the chickens had a broken neck and was flopping around in the brooder.

Because we were nearly done at the one store, I figured the rest of the grocery shopping would have to wait. It was going to take me at least 45 minutes to get home, since we still had to check out.

My response was, “Separate her out and I’ll be home as soon as I can.”

You may have figured out by now that while I’m not writing as much as I used to, it doesn’t mean that nothing is going on around here. I’ve come to learn that when you live on a farm, there is never-ending stuff to do. 😆

This is some of that stuff.

I pretty well knew what I was going to walk into, but there was still a chance that it was an actual broken neck, so I didn’t pick anything up at the time. I probably should have, because sending Hunny to buy baby vitamins on the way home was something neither of us thought we’d ever be doing again. 😆

When I got home, I was surprised to see that my favorite silkie, Silver, was not only not dead, but actually wasn’t as poorly off as I had expected. My relief was short-lived.

It took me a while, but I finally managed to get a picture:

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Go ahead and click and enlarge the picture. I’ll wait. 😀

Yes, her feet are flat on the ground. She is not upside-down. And yes, her head is completely on backwards.

This, my friends, is what wry neck looks like.

It didn’t seem to be hurting her; she just seemed more confused than anything else.

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Because I research things endlessly even when they don’t apply to me at the time, I knew that wry neck was not usually fatal, and that there was a way to treat it. The most critical issue was going to be making sure she had adequate food and water intake.

Wry neck {sometimes called “crook neck”} seems to most often affect Silkies. Some thinking is that because silkies have a vaulted skull (a hole in the top of the skull), this makes them more susceptible to injury.

Some believe it can have a neurological cause, and sometimes, diseases like Marek’s and Newcastle’s can have wry neck as a symptom.

Others believe there is a genetic component to it; and others think it’s a vitamin deficiency.

In our case, I think it’s injury.

I’ve had silkies before; I’ve got 8 right now, and this is the first time we’ve had a baby affected. I wasn’t there to see what happened, but we’ve got at least 3 boys in there right now, and well, boys will be boys. 😉 {I am not fond of adolescent cockerels, but usually they grow out of the obnoxiousness relatively quickly}

Once I got home, I was surprised to see her preening and eating and drinking. I was hoping we would have a mild case of it, and I’d be able to get her back in with the others in a few days.

By evening, I knew it was going to take longer than a few days.

Hunny had been called and was bringing home baby vitamins; Poly Vi Sol *without* iron, to be exact. He had to go to two different places to find them, and when he did, wow- $10 for a 1.75 fl oz bottle. He reminded me that the vitamins cost more than the chicken did. 😆

By the time he got home, Silver had already been switched over to a yogurt/crumble mash with added vitamin E capsule squeezed out.

The following morning, I went back into town to get some selenium, which is needed to help the vitamin E absorption. I also went ahead and went back to Tractor Supply and got some 20% protein chick feed and some electrolytes for her water.

I am not a big believer in extra added stuff as a rule- unless it’s needed. I figured electrolytes in the water couldn’t hurt.

I always give my babies yogurt. Yogurt has extra protein for growing chicks, and it helps give them good intestinal bugs, of the probiotic kind. Got a chick with pasty butt? Give them yogurt.

I always give my chicks yogurt by day 2, and I have never had an issue with pasty butt. I’ve gotten chicks that came pasty, and the yogurt cleared it right up.

Yogurt is a triple whammy- probiotics + good for additional protein, and also a help in keeping hydrated, because it’s not quite solid.

The electrolyte powder comes in a packet, for one gallon of water. I confess  I did not measure out a gallon, since the packet says to use fresh every day. Now, I assume some of that is to get you to buy more product, but I wasn’t going to risk it. I put a couple of pinches in the water mix.

The first few days, I crushed the selenium and mixed it in with the electrolyte water, in which I put a dropper full of Poly Vi Sol {without iron}, and I also added the vitamin E, to make sure she was actually getting some.

I had read that they should get 50 mcgs of selenium. The dosage I had was 200 mcgs. I got a pill crusher and crushed it into quarters. I had read one situation where the lady crushed some and put it in the entire bottle of vitamins, but I didn’t really want to go that route.

I did a heavy dose of selenium on day 2- 50 mcgs in the water and another 50 mcgs crushed into the food.

The vitamin E capsules are 400 I.U.s, which I gave twice a day. I just snipped the capsule enough to squeeze out the contents and put on the food and in the water a few days.

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The wry neck was exhausting.

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She often had to rest.

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Then she’d perk back up a little and eat some.

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And then another rest.

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She was lonely, that first day, so I added a friend for her; one I knew couldn’t hurt her.

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By the time I got up on day 2, things were not looking good. Her head was completely dragging on the ground {which was nasty, because they still poo….} and she was going in circles. She could only go in reverse, which resulted in her getting wedged into the corner much of the time because she could only go so far.

I also knew she needed to be alone so as not to stress out another chick, and so she could just rest without having anything else in the same space.

By day 3, I was feeling really sad. She was clearly distressed, and wrestling around with her neck was wiping her out. Her balance had gotten worse, and she was also now falling over. I have to be honest and say I didn’t have a lot of hope for her at that point. 😦

But, I had read that while progress was slow, it would happen. So, I tried not to despair and just waited.

In addition to the yogurt, I added some scrambled egg. She got more egg and yogurt than crumble those days, since I was really trying to bump her protein. Eggs are not only full of protein, but they also have vitamin E and selenium in them.

I also made a point to get the liquids in her. I had initially dipped her beak in her water the first day, to make sure she was getting enough, but by days 2 and 3, she had deteriorated enough that I knew it was more stressful to do that then just have her on my lap and use the dropper.

Medicine droppers are easy to find, and they don’t cost much; just like the 88 cent pill crusher I had gotten.

It’s important to just dribble the water drops on the end of the beak so that the chicken doesn’t aspirate {inhale} the water into its lungs. I basically camped out in the office those first few days, watching, watering, and researching. I didn’t want to miss anything.

Day 5 was the day there was actual noticeable progress. Silver had her head up more and more, and her appetite had dramatically improved.

Today, we’re at the 17 day mark. I could probably put her back in with the others, but the boys are still too rambunctious for me to be relaxed about it. Plus, while her preening has improved and is back to normal, I think I want to give her a bath and clean her head throughly.

She’s also got a buddy in with her again. When she started hopping out when we left the ‘lid’ off, we knew it was time to get her some company. We’re rotating chicks out, so when she goes back in the big brooder, she won’t be a total stranger to them.

If you ever think about getting into chickens, know this: there are abundant resources online to help you with whatever: coop design, identifying chicks, predator information and control suggestions; feeding, and yes, illnesses and emergencies.

Here are a few pages that I used as templates for our situation:

A success story that gave me hope: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/662850/a-happy-ending-to-a-wry-neck-chick-story-with-pics-with-update

More clinical information, including treatment suggestions: http://dlhunicorn.conforums.com/index.cgi?board=casestudiesemergencies&action=display&num=1160927052

You’ll notice that we didn’t use prednisone. While there are some that swear that using it in addition to the other treatment is necessary, I thought I would give the other suggestions a go before giving a steroid that would compromise her immune system.

Let me recap what I did:

Poly Vi Sol WITHOUT iron– comes in a purple box and I found it with the baby/child vitamins at Walmart. You should be able to find this just about anywhere they sell baby stuff. I gave a full dropper full in the water dish and an added boost of a solid dropper-full of just vitamins for the first few days. By the end of the first week, I was just adding it to her water.

Vitamin E capsules– 400 I.U.s x 2 a day

Selenium– 200 microgram pills, cut into 4 pieces. I used an entire pill in with her water/vitamins the first day; most of it going into her water. If you think this is too much, by all means, stick to a lower dosage. I thought a boost on the first day (which was day 2 of injury) wouldn’t hurt her, especially since she had gotten worse.

Yogurt– good for protein and hydration. I always use plain, non-diet yogurt. Anything with flavor just seems to really stink, since I add some crumble to the top so it doesn’t get flung as far. 😆

Egg- I used both scrambled, and also boiled. The key is to mash it so the pieces are small enough to be eaten, because they can’t smash it on the ground to break it into smaller bits.

Electrolytes– this should be next to the Save-A-Chick stuff; not quite the same, as this is more vitamins/minerals as opposed to sugar/pick-me-up-go-go stuff.

Patience- you’ll probably need it, along with a good dose of hope. I’m pretty sure prayer helps, too. 😉

Time– I am fortunate that I’m home and that the kids are willing to help. It has been hugely helpful to have the kids tag-team with me to make sure she always had food and water, and wasn’t getting too distressed. Because we had her water in bowls instead of a regular waterer, drowning was a concern, because in theory, she could get her head in there and not have the strength to get it out.

As you do with baby chicks, you can add some rocks or large marbles to the water so that they can’t get the whole head in and drown. I took the lid off of an old sports bottle and floated it in the condiment dish. Because I had such little liquid in there, I kept the bowl tipped so the liquid was more on one side than the other, if that makes sense.

Another thing I did was to use a small box and put her food plate on it. I used a saucer for her food. Because she could only go either in circles or in reverse, she was again, dragging her head through her food- and the shavings were getting dragged into everything, too. Having the dish on the little box helped keep her head and the shavings out it, and also helped to encourage her to get her head up a little higher.

I used the dish to better keep track of what she was eating; plus, yogurt is gooey. 😆

I will also confess to giving some massage. In people, we call this condition torticollis. I know massage has been helpful in infants, so I thought, why not try it on my chicken? 😆

While I am absolutely not angling to have more wry neck, I think it was overall less stressful than I imagine coccidiosis would be; having an egg-bound hen, or some other unknown situation.

So. That’s what I’ve been up to. What about you? 😆

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1880. That was the year everything changed.

Annalisa wasn’t really sorry when her husband, Hans, was found dead, burning in a brush pile, his face partially melted off. There was no love between the two of them; especially since he’d taken to stealing her hidden egg and butter money to feed his gambling habit. She’d spent so much time trying to save what she could for her and her daughter.ANobleGroom

And now the saved money and her husband were gone.

Yet, Annalisa knew it could be worse. She could have a husband like her 17-year-old sister’s husband, who beat her.

The lingering question of accident or murder didn’t need to be addressed. Saving the farm was all that mattered.

Without a husband- well, probably WITH her deadbeat husband, too- she’d never be able to pay back the loan for their land, and she’d lose her home. There was no place for a husband-less woman with a two-year old to go, and she wouldn’t be a burden to her parents.

As was typical in the immigrant, tight-knit community, her Vater would find a solution. As was also typical, that solution came in the form of a cousin from the Old Country.

But the man who came in the interim was not her cousin, and his identity would be far more dangerous not just to himself, but to Annalisa’s heart. The German immigrant community of displaced miners forced to leave and move across the ocean to Michigan had a long memory, along with long grudges.

Carl wasn’t expecting the lifeline he was thrown. It was his only chance to save his head- literally. The one covertly freeing him was the same that sentenced him to death for a crime he didn’t commit- his father.

Carl also wasn’t expecting to stay long in the immigrant community of miners-turned-farmers. He was expecting to be relieved by his manservant’s son, Dirk, who was to marry the pregnant Annalisa and take on Han’s responsibility of farm and family.

Can Carl help save the farm- and his heart- before it’s too late?

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This was a complex story that had me cheering “Go, Carl, go!” and giving other direction to the characters, like, “Just tell him already!” and other words of wisdom. 😆

Seriously, though, the intricacies of this story where not overwhelming, and certain details were based on historical fact. Character development was fantastic, and the climax was one of the best I’ve read in a while.

You have probably figured out that this title was a slam dunk for me, and gets 5 out of 5 stars, no questions asked. 😀

I don’t know that I’ve read any of Jody Hedlund’s other books, but I’m going to do some digging and see if I have, because I thoroughly enjoyed this title.

I received this book for free from Bethany House publishers (www.bethanyhouse.com) for this review.

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