Saturday, June 30, 2007

Enjoying Saturday

Today there hasn't been much "have to's" on the list of chores to complete. There are many chores there still remaining, but none too pressing. While we were at a baseball tournament last night, my husband was informed that the fish were biting. This bit of news caused him to rearrange his Saturday. He took 2 of our boys and went to the river today for a little relaxation. I am so glad that they all enjoy fishing. I HATE to fish. I blame this on my dad who never had enough room to take me when I was a child. He always took my two older brothers and that was enough to fill the boat. Now my husband is reaping the benefits of my dad's bad decision. I feel like I have done my job by contributing 5 children to my husband's hobbies of hunting and fishing. Michael asked me one early cold morning while he was getting ready to go hunt deer if I would "just this once come with him". I thought about was very cold outside, the tree stand was very high up in the tree, and if a deer did come in his path I would witness the death....I promptly said "NO"! Thank God that this isn't the only time that he wants me to spend time with him or I guess I would have to muster up the courage to go hunting. I do love to shoot guns, and I think I would really enjoy shooting a bow. However, I like to shoot at targets not animals. I am not opposed to hunting in the least, I just have too big of a heart to participate in it. I will cook whatever meat is brought our way. When he was in the Navy stationed in New York, there was a man that loved to hunt. He was not interested in eating anything he killed so he always brought it to our house. He and Michael worked opposite shifts, so he would bring the squirrels in a bread bag and place them in our refrigerator until Michael got home to clean them. One of Michael's favorite breakfasts is fried squirrel and biscuits and gravy. (Thank God I am not a big breakfast eater)! This same guy knocked on our door around 10:00 p.m. one Sunday night. Michael opened the door and on our front stoop was Greg and a dead salmon. He wanted to clean it, but his wife wouldn't let him use their bath tub. He figured if I could have dead squirrels in my frig then I wouldn't mind a dead salmon in my bath tub. Such is the life of a woman married to a man that enjoys hunting and fishing. I wouldn't have it any other way.

grace and peace,

Friday, June 29, 2007

A Teenager's View of a Little Mess

Teenagers are strange creatures. I heard a joke that goes something like this: Why did God have Abraham offer Issac as a sacrifice when he was 12? If He had waited until he was a teenager it wouldn't have been a sacrifice!

I have had a few of those moments with our teenagers. Our oldest son is 16 and our next son is 13. They see things a bit differently from me at times. Sometimes it is a good thing, but most of the time it isn't. Recently we were out of town for a funeral. We left our oldest son in town to stay with his best friend's family. He came out to the farm twice a day to check on the animals. Due to the fact that the death was unexpected, we had to leave suddenly which did not allow us any time to board our English Mastiff. We made the decision to leave her in Michael's shop with plenty of food and water. Everyday we talked to our son, and he said she was doing great. She had only destroyed one bag of potting soil. Imagine for yourself a clean shop with one bag of potting soil strewn about. That wasn't that big of deal. We came home that evening to the pictures above. Matthew's response to the above mess was that since Missy didn't eat the important stuff...table saw, planer, drill press, he didn't think it was a big deal. He thought he must only report the things of value to us that she had gotten into. I guess a bag of potting soil was valuable in his mind, but two huge trash cans held no significance!!! We all pitched in and got the mess cleaned up fairly quickly. The lesson I learned is to ask questions of teenagers....lots and lots of questions.....very specific questions!!!!
grace and peace,

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Let it Rain!!

We have had a very dry summer here so far. I am so thankful that this last week the Lord has sent His rain. My son called me outside the other evening to witness these beautiful rainbows. This picture is nothing compared to the real thing, but I wanted to share a glimpse of their beauty with you. Rainbows are a sign to us as believers from God Himself, and I always feel instantly close to the Lord whenever I see His rainbow. All of my children get equally excited whenever they see a rainbow. I never really cared about the science behind the rainbow, I just know that for me I always felt that a rainbow was like God blowing me a kiss here on Earth.
grace and peace,

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Enjoying the Beauty of Flowers

Here are a few arrangements that I made last week with my daughter. Flowers are one of my great pleasures of life. I have always loved them. To grow them myself adds another dimension of pleasure for me. Growing flowers and making flower arrangements is probably the most creative thing that I do. I have flowers all over the house. My favorite flower to grow is by far zinnias, but I do love to grow several different flowers. Several years ago Michael and I thought about growing and selling flowers at the farmer's market. We bought The Flower Farmer by Lynn Byczynski. This is a great book full of all kinds of information. I still think that we could be successful flower farmers, but we also came to the conclusion it just wasn't the right season in our life. That idea has been put on hold until our youngest child grows up just a bit more.
I have a plaque in my kitchen that says "Children are the flowers in the garden of life". Wow, I couldn't agree more!!! Two of our children are off to Ky visiting grandparents. It seems odd without them here, but I know that they need some "Meemaw" time to enjoy. I always loved going to my grandmother's farm when I was a child. I loved having her all to myself, and I know that being on her farm was the catalyst for wanting a farm of my own. Since two of our children are off having fun, I am taking our 3rd child for a special day with just me and him. He loves history and we have some great historical things to do right here in our own town. We are going to do that and enjoy lunch out somewhere together. It should be an enjoyable day.
grace and peace,

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Great is Your faithfulness

Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed. Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul. "Therefore I hope in Him!"

Lamentations 3:22-24

Saturday, June 23, 2007

How does your garden grow?

Gardening has become one of my passions in life. I truly enjoy the whole process of having a garden. Perhaps that is because I have a wonderful husband and several sons to help do all the "back breaking" work! Last year began our journey with planting in "beds" rather than the old way of planting in a large field. This has made it even easier and more enjoyable for me. Michael and I will be heading out shortly this morning to get another truck load of the most beautiful composted dirt/horse manure that you ever did see. God has blessed us with friends who clean their stalls out and then dump the manure into a wooded area. After some time, the composted dirt has become a lush growing environment. They allow us to take all the dirt we could ever need. In return, I take them flowers and garden produce. It is a win win situation all around.

We are enjoying an abundance of squash, zucchini, green beans, green onions, many different types of lettuce, broccoli, and many different flowers. Tnfarmgirl (her link is at our sidebar) has taught me so much about gardening. I can't even thank her enough for sharing her ideas and methods with us. She is always willing to help and answer the many questions that we pass along her way. She taught me about succession gardening. We planted green beans earlier this year, and I have already canned 14 quarts of green beans plus we have eaten several meals with a big pot of green beans as the center attraction. I will be planting another bed of green beans soon. I will have beans continuously throughout the summer instead of just in one huge amount for a shorter season. Every week or two, I plant new lettuce seed in the garden. I then harvest the lettuce when it is young and tender, but I have plenty new plants coming on for the next bowl of salad. This whole process has changed the way I approach gardening. I still can and freeze all that is available, but now our family enjoys fresh produce longer in the season.

I have already started planning our fall garden. This is a new concept to me. I used to think a fall garden consisted of pumpkins and collard greens. Boy was I wrong there. There are many vegies that can be grown in the fall with great success, plus you don't have the bugs to contend with as much.

Bugs...that is another passion of mine. They became a passion for me after we planted our first potato plants. Several years ago we had a huge potato plot, and I was so excited about this new adventure. The plants were beautiful. Then one day I went over there for something, and one entire row of potatoes had no leaves left. They were nothing more than just stems poking out of the ground. I quickly learned the ways of potato bugs, and in no time flat the bugs ate all of our potato leaves. Then the bugs went onto our tomato plants! I spent the whole garden season picking bugs off my plants. The problem was that I had let the bugs overtake the garden. Out of ignorance, I didn't know what to look for earlier on to help combat this problem. Now I am out early looking for evidence of bugs. I turn the leaves of my plants over and look for tiny yellow eggs. As soon as any are spotted, I smash them. This helps keep the bug population down before they ever get good and started. I also look for any bugs that might have hatched without us knowing. Now, here is where I enlist the help of our 3 year old. I have him look for bugs and smash them. This has a two-fold purpose. A few bugs are killed, and his little hands are busy and staying out of trouble.

Gardening with little people can be very rewarding, but it also brings many challenges. This year when I was out planting seeds, Seth was very excited to help. (None of my older children had this same passion so I thought I would take what I could get). I showed him how to sprinkle the seeds and cover them up with dirt. He quickly lost all patience with me and decided to move on to his own independent maneuvers. I looked and he was pouring seeds from my well ordered seed box! I was getting very impatient with his latest planting endeavors. I then saw a sack of onion sets. I had already planted many of them so I quickly took the sack and his little fingers and showed him how to plant onions. He enjoyed this job so much that it kept him busy for the rest of the time I was in the garden that day. Now we are enjoying his green onions that he planted. Granted I find green onions in every one of our beds mixed in here and there, but we can still use the most of them, and he had a positive experience in the garden.

Off to the garden I go!!!

grace and peace,


Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Rest of the Story

Yesterday was a normal Saturday on our farm. However, Michael was busy working on the computer to meet a deadline for his job. Jacob and Hope each had a friend over for the day. That was were the excitement began. Jacob and his friend came running in the house screaming something about Lizzy the cow. I could not decipher what they were saying because they were so excited and loud. I finally calmed them down enough to hear that Lizzy had her calf. This was very shocking news because we were told by Tnfarmgirl that Lizzy was due in August. We weren't even sure until recently that she was with calf because she didn't look as big as we expected her to be. We all ran outside to find this calf that these boys swore up and down that they had seen. Sure enough...they knew enough to know that it was a calf. They told us it was a boy, and by this time I believed that we had a boy calf. We loaded all the children up in the truck to go take a better look at the new baby. I looked, and I too believed we had a boy calf. After all there was something hanging down that looked like it would be a male part. I was a little sad because Michael had already told me that if it was a boy we would raise him for meat. After much gazing and discussing, Michael determined that this boy calf was very much a girl calf. I still wasn't convinced. What exactly was that thing hanging down that looked like a boy part???? After we came home, Michael called me downstairs to the computer. He had a picture of the calf on the computer, and it was a back end shot. He proceeded to give me an anatomy lesson. Let's just say I now agree that it is a girl calf too. Apparently that thing hanging down had been where her cord was!! Can you believe I am a Mom of 5 kids...and 4 of them are boys!!!!

Of course I called Tnfarmgirl and asked her "What about August?" She was confused until I told her about the calf. She then explained that Lizzy had been a.i. and should have been due in June. However, they didn't think that she conceived so they did the procedure again giving her an August due date. Apparently the first time DID take.

I am so thankful to the Lord for this new addition to our farm. Somehow having a new calf makes it seem more like a "real" farm to me. Sounds crazy I know, but honest none the less.

grace and peace,

Saturday, June 16, 2007

New Addition to the Farm

Meet our newest farm family member, born sometime in the last 36 hours. More to follow....