Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas Fun Starting

After all of our family left from the Thanksgiving week, I started to decorate for the Christmas holiday. I wanted to do a few decorations, but I could not put up the tree because we were hosting a church meeting in our home. There was not enough space to accommodate a Christmas tree AND 10 extra people. We will be getting the tree tomorrow, and I am hoping that Michael and sons will put up the outside lights.
I am not a shopper by nature. However for the Thanksgiving holiday I did purchase two things that made the Thanksgiving holiday MUCH more enjoyable. First, Michael bought me a crock pot. I have never been able to cook in a crock pot so I have resisted that purchase. Michael saw a good deal on a large crock pot so he purchased it. I ended up using it when our company was here to make spaghetti sauce. It was wonderful to put all the ingredients in and just forget about it. The sauce turned out great because the flavors had blended together nicely after cooking all day. I didn't even have to stir it. That was a good purchase.
The other purchase that turned out so wonderful was something that I have wanted to do for a long time. I just never took the time to set aside the money for this purchase. We have had a nice folding table for along time. We purchased it several years ago as a camping table. It is long like a nursery table that would be used in a church. We have never had folding chairs to go around it. In times past, I have used our patio chairs to place around it. However they are large and bulky and would not have worked this year with all the people. I picked up nice folding chairs to go with the table. This made room for 6 extra people to sit and eat at a table. I bought 8 chairs and spent about $79. That sounds like a lot of money, and it is, but it made our gathering SO much more enjoyable. At Thanksgiving Dinner, everybody had a place to sit down and eat at a table. We used the table and chairs to have another card game going while the other table was being used for Dominoes. Michael has taken that same table into his home office and used it to spread out his work papers. Then when we hosted the church meeting and dinner, I was able to again have room for everyone to sit and eat at a table. This took so much stress from me because it allowed everyone to eat their meals in the kitchen instead of on our couch or love seat in the living room. This too was a very good purchase.
I needed a quick centerpiece for our makeshift table the other evening when we had the church people for dinner. I took a pretty plate, 3 pretty candles, and some branches off a bush in our front yard. I put the branches on the plate, added the candles, and spread around some Christmas ornaments. I had a nice centerpiece that took me about 5 minutes...that included cutting the branches from the yard! You can't beat that. It looked lovely on the table, and the children enjoyed seeing the candles burn. Each candle had peppermint candy throughout. That was a novelty for the children. I hope these ideas might just help someone that will be hosting a lot of extra people this holiday season!
grace and peace,

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Is that a Glass Top Table and 160 pound Dog???

Missy wasn't real thrilled with being stuck outside while we all enjoyed dinner inside. She climbed up on our glass top table outside to get a better view of the food inside.
Maybe she climbed up on the table to cause us all to run outside and let her in to enjoy dinner with us. Seeing how she weighs about 160 pounds, she probably thought it would be a good attention getter.

"Help, I've climbed up and I can't get down."

We did help get her down after taking several pictures. I hope she learned her lesson!!!

grace and peace,


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New Additions

Our mother/daughter Black Angus Cows arrived Sunday evening. A friend had this pair that he needed to sell because of the hay shortage here in our area. I honestly don't know beans about cows, but our neighbor kept going on and on about how good of cows these looked to be. I wanted to ask what made a cow a good looking one and what made it an ugly one, but I just couldn't open my mouth one more time that day. I had already opened it twice and both times I showed my cow ignorance. The first time the farmer who brought the cow said something about the jersey heifer. I said that I wasn't talking about the heifer, but the baby cow. A sly grin came across his face and he said the baby cow WAS the heifer. (Mental note: a heifer apparently is a cow that is 2 years or younger and has NEVER had a calf. A heifer is NOT the Momma cow!!! Who came up with these rules and definitions anyway???)! The next time I opened my mouth was when I announced that I would like to eat the young cow. You know, raise it up for meat. I got both farmers and my husband looking at me as if I had 2 heads and a tail. I was then informed by one of the farmers that people do not eat their heifers...they eat steers. My thoughts are we have no steers on this farm, but we do have 5 huge eaters called children so we might as well eat the baby calf that we do have. My husband also informed me that we would NOT be eating any of our cows that we currently own because they are all females. So after all of that I just couldn't ask them what made a cow a good cow and what made a cow a bad cow. Now I am on the hunt for a cow that we CAN eat!!!

You will notice the ear tags in our cows ears. Michael and I learned from our last cow experience that you always need a way to identify your OWN cows just in case the dog scares the cow into your neighbor's herd. Yes, this happened to us and we lost our cow. Our neighbor did buy her from us, but I was more interested in raising her than selling her. But since my conversation on Sunday with the farmers, I guess we were never going to eat her either!!!

The last picture I posted was of our little jersey calf/heifer that was born on our farm this summer. She has grown a lot since then, and I think she has the most beautiful face. We did not have to tag our jersey cows because we are the only people out here that have jersey cows.

grace and peace,

God's Attitude Adjustments in My Life

This morning I got off to a slow start. My husband muttered something about eating peanut butter again for breakfast. I am hoping to make some whole wheat bread later today so at least he can have homemade bread to toast tomorrow to go with his peanut butter! I don't think that is what he had in mind, but it goes better with my morning plans. I was on the verge of being grumpy myself this morning. I decided to take a moment to read some Bible scriptures while our daughter started school. She had put on a tea kettle with water to make her some hot coco. After a short time, I went back into the kitchen to get another cup of coffee. As I walked in, I smelled the stove and the coffee. It instantly brought me back to my childhood when I would walk into my grandmother's kitchen. Her stove always smelled when it was first turned on, and I knew bacon and biscuits would soon be on the table. She always took down a special coffee cup for me and poured me a cup of coffee complete with more sugar and cream than coffee. Good memories...

As I was pouring my coffee this morning, I glanced out the kitchen window. It is overcast here and the fog is heavy on the mountains which has the look of smoke on the mountains. It is truly a beautiful gift from the Lord. Then I looked at our pond and I saw all of our cows gathered at the pond getting a drink. Our 2 jersey cows were on one side of the pond, and our 2 new black angus cows were on the other side. Each pair is a mother baby combination, and just watching those cows brought such thankfulness to my heart. We have waited so long to see a farm grow in our lives. When we were first married twenty years ago, we use to sit and dream about having a farm. This morning the Lord reminded me that He is giving us the desires of our hearts right before my very eyes. This reminder from the Lord changed my whole attitude for the day. What started out as a grumpy day quickly turned into a day full of thanksgiving for who the Lord is in our life as well as what He has done in our life.

grace and peace,


Monday, November 26, 2007

Birthday Celebration

Here is Josh doing something that he

Here is Josh doing something else that he loves...making people laugh.
Our son is celebrating his birthday today. Josh is our child who is always good for a laugh, but he is the child that is the quietest out of the entire bunch. I have to purposely seek him out to make sure that I have spent time with him. He is not a loner, but he does like his quite times. He was like this even as a baby. He always has something witty to say...sometimes not at the best moments. He is truly like a ray of sunshine in our home with his laughter and his care free spirit. On the other hand, he is the most sensitive child that we have had. He truly cares about others and the things that they are going through. He is the child that reminds me most of my Dad. He has so many of the same personality traits of my father, and his heart is much like my dad's.
He requested for his birthday meal the following: Hot Wings, Fried Cheese Sticks, Veggie Platter (O.K. I always put that in so at least they can have some veggies for the meal), and an Oreo Cake for dessert. (Sounds like just what I need after eating with our family this past week)!
grace and peace,

Monday Routines Return

The Thanksgiving holiday has come to a close for our family. The out of town family members have returned to their homes, and now it is time to once again return to our normal routine of life. I find that very peaceful. When I was younger, I use to be sad when the same old routine was thrust upon me after a holiday. It made me glum. As an adult, I take comfort in our daily routine because I know life has returned back to normal. As the Bible teaches us, there is a time for everything. I am now ready to return to the time of routines. I do have to admit it was a bit harder than normal to crawl out of bed this morning. I had slept in the last few mornings and that was a treat for me.

Today's agenda will be filled with home schooling children, cleaning up the house, LAUNDRY, and cleaning out the frig. I am sure the pigs will be happy to see that one on the list of things to do today. I am not even planning on cooking a large dinner meal this evening, but I will have to fix something for hungry bellies around here.

Off to work on the laundry I go...

grace and peace,

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Fun Still Going On

I pray that your Thanksgiving holiday has been one of happiness and blessings. We are still enjoying family fun. There have been many card games and football games among our time together. It has been a great holiday, and I am thankful for a chance to enjoy family. Here is a picture of me on Thanksgiving day. I think I have taken my apron off this week only to sleep!! We have cooked nonstop and eaten just about the same. I LOVE cooking for lots of people who really enjoy eating good food.
grace and peace,

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Countdown

Much has been accomplished here in our home this Weds. The house is clean, the big dog is taking a nap on the deck, and the children are all taking some time for themselves. We have all pitched in today and tons of things have been accomplished. Tonight's dinner preparations have been made. All there is left to do for tonight's dinner is to grill the Pork Tenderloin. The turkeys are setting in cold ice water in the sink to finish thawing. Mom and I will clean them out later this afternoon so that in the morning they will be ready to pop in the oven. I will also stuff one of the turkeys tomorrow. We are feeding 14 people so I bought two turkeys this year.

My brother and his family should arrive in several hours ready for dinner and fellowship. I am looking so forward to seeing everyone. I have set up extra tables so that everyone will have a place to sit while eating. This has taken up much of extra kitchen space, but it will be worth it in the end. My mom helped clean the carport so we will have a table out there for people to gather at weather permitting. I also put a cooler on the carport filled with ice and sodas. We usually don't buy sodas unless we have company so this will be a huge treat for the kids. I thought it would be handy to have them cold on the carport so people could just help themselves.

I will be getting up around 3:00 a.m. to cook one of the turkeys. My oven won't hold but one turkey at a time. Don't worry, I will be going back to bed while the turkey cooks! We will plan on eating around 1:00 tomorrow afternoon. The rest of the day will be filled with playing games and visiting and being thankful for all the Lord has done in our lives this past year. It has been a remarkable year for our family, and we are truly thankful.

grace and peace,

Monday, November 19, 2007

Study Finds....

I took just a minute to glance at the news on Yahoo. I was intrigued by a study that found that men who had four or more children and lived on a farm were more likely to live to 100 years of age. The study also included that the men should maintain a healthy weight, but we don't have to go there!!! Here is a quote from the article:

"Theoretically, a household full of young kids should deplete a family's resources and undermine the longevity of parents, Mitnitski said. And yet, young dads with many children lived much longer than other men in this sample."

Imagine that!!! Some of us are well on our way to a LONG life!!! I also saw on Yahoo a couple of days ago that there is speculation that chemicals from shampoo and conditioners and other hygiene products are building up in our bodies and causing health problems. TnFarmgirl would agree with that one since she has been preaching this very thing every since I have known her!!!!! You can check her web site out for chemical free soap and shampoos. Her blog is located on our side bar.

grace and peace,

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday Scripture

"Enter His gates with Thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations." Psalm 100: 4-5

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thanksgiving Preperations Continued

It has been a hectic few days in East Tennessee. We are getting ready for Thanksgiving which means a lot of cleaning, cooking, and cleaning some more! Michael and I spent the day getting in groceries and finding a place for them all. I do not normally buy in large quantities, but with all the company heading our way we did just that. Where does one store 20 large rolls of paper towels and 40 large rolls of toilet paper? I am afraid that after I have tucked all of these things in many nooks and crannies that I will forget that I have all of the extras!!!

We also attended our daughter's piano recital this afternoon. It was nice to slow down for a complete hour and listen to some beautiful music. Our daughter has been taking piano for a little over a year. I always enjoy hearing the more accomplished musicians play their pieces, and I love to hear what Hope has achieved in such a short time of lessons.

My mom arrives at our house tomorrow and I still have much left to finish. I decided that tomorrow evening I am going to make Chicken Salad with almonds and grapes. I picked up some croissants at the store to make sandwiches. This should be a simple meal that my mom really enjoys. I am going to try to get the chicken cooked tonight and then get up early to assemble the Chicken Salad in the morning. I would love to have some home made cookies in the cookie jar, but I am starting to run out of steam this evening. That may just have to wait for another day!

I will begin our Thanksgiving pre cooking on Monday, and I will keep you posted on how every thing is going here as long as I have time. For now...
grace and peace,

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fall Garden Update

Our fall garden lettuce bed has really taken off in the last few weeks. Here you can see the beautiful lettuce that our family has been enjoying. I planted buttercrucnch, black seeded simpson, and a mescalin salad mix. I think this has been the best tasting lettuce that we have ever grown. The other plus about fall lettuce is that you don't have the bugs that you have in the summer time. I have been thrilled about our fresh fall salads. Next year, I would like to grow an entire bed of just fall lettuce.

Here is our spinach plants. They too are beautiful, and I have been adding fresh spinach to our salads. Our children all love spinach salad so I am planning on trying a spinach salad with a Raspberry Vinegar Dressing sprinkled with some pecans and fresh strawberries (if I can find them).

Here is a picture of our collard greens. Honestly I don't think any of our children eat collards, but Michael and I sure do love them. I will never forget the first time I ate fresh collard greens. It was Thanksgiving, and Michael was in the Navy. He had to work that day and we had no family to celebrate with in the area. We had just moved to Virginia that summer so we didn't have a lot of friends at that point either. Our neighbors' son was also in the Navy and he was serving over seas at the time. That neighbor took us in as if we were family. We addressed them as Pop and MeeMee, just like their grandchildren. I was helping her cook Thanksgiving Dinner, and Pop came in the house with a mound of greens fresh from the garden. I was skeptical, but he was very proud of his collards so I knew I would be trying them at dinner. I did eat them, and they tasted better to me than any thing on that entire table! I wanted to eat the whole bowl, but I knew I couldn't be such a pig. Thankfully for me there weren't many people who ate collard greens at the meal. That family was such a blessing to me and my son during that period of living in Virginia. They shared their family with me which is something I longed for during Michael's Navy time. I felt as if I had a family of my own right across the road, and that truly was a gift sent from the Lord.

We also grew fall peas, but we didn't grow near enough. Those peas were divine. One of our sons who doesn't eat peas said that they were wonderful. He ate 2 huge helpings of those peas. Next year I would like to grow 3 to 4 beds of fresh peas. They were worth the work, and I know that they would be wonderful put up in the freezer for later uses. With the amount of peas we grew this year, we only ended up with 1 meal worth of peas. It takes a lot of peas to make a bowl large enough to feed 7 people!!!

I cannot share pictures of our fall broccoli and cabbage because the plants are just too small. I don't think they will make it, and I am aggravated with myself that I didn't go to the feed store and buy more plants. I knew they looked pitiful when I planted them, but I thought they would grow out of it. I was wrong. That is what Fall Gardening is all about for me this year... taking time to experiment and find out what will work and what won't work. All in all I have been happy with the results thus far!

grace and peace,


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thanksgiving Planning and Preperations

I am a procrastinator by nature. I work hard to overcome this flaw in my personality. When I was in school, I always worked much better under pressure. I would crank out a wonderful essay or project if the clock was ticking down to the last minute. I spent many long nights in college preparing assignments at the very last minute. It was almost as if having the thrill of wondering if I would make the dead line spurred me on to better performance. That is all well and fine for a college student, but it doesn't work so well for a mother. There are many factors in my life that I can't control so waiting until the last minute can become personal sabotage and failure. I find that I fall back into my old habits of procrastination when I am struggling to do something that I am not in the mood for at the time. This too is a flaw that I am trying to overcome in my life. I was mentally challenged with thinking about all the work of hosting a large Thanksgiving week of company. I am looking so forward to seeing every one, but for some reason this year I was over loaded with the logistics of it all. To add to that feeling, our second born son celebrates his birthday right after Thanksgiving. I want his birthday to be just as special as all of our other kids', but quite frankly it just isn't the best timing!!

Last night I resolved that I just couldn't put everything off till the last minute or this Thanksgiving would be a complete flop. There are too many people depending on me to let this happen. There are times that we as homemakers just can't control situations that come our way. We have to be very flexible and put our trust in the Lord. I remember one of those Thanksgivings at our house. We lived in Florida without any family, and I was VERY pregnant with our third child. I worked so hard to make it a wonderful holiday even though we didn't have other family members to celebrate with us. As I pulled the turkey from the oven, my feet were swelled and I was exhausted. The turkey was the last thing to get finished so we were very close to being ready to eat. The smell of the turkey made our mouths water. I needed to check the temperature to make sure that the turkey was done so I took out the thermometer that my mom had used over the last 20 years. I gently poked it into the turkey, and the thermometer cracked and red liquid oozed into the turkey. I was horrified. I asked my husband what that red liquid in a glass thermometer was and he informed me it was mercury. I casually asked if it would REALLY hurt us if we ate the other side of the turkey, and he was adamant that the turkey could not be consumed. I was nearly in tears when Michael said the unthinkable, "I'll just run to the store and get you another turkey and you can make another one with more dressing". Never mind the fact that the rest of the dinner was already setting in pretty dishes on the table!!!! We ate a vegetarian Thanksgiving meal that year, and it made me long to be with our family in Kentucky all the more. This was a situation that I couldn't control so we had to improvise, adapt, and overcome as the military saying goes!

Large holiday meals go a lot better with careful planning and preparation. This is something that as a homemaker I can control. I sat down last night to get my thoughts together for the holiday week. I planned out all of the meals. I made a separate page for the Thanksgiving meal menu. I made my grocery list for the entire week, and I mentally made preparations for the meal. I decided that we would move our patio table and chair set to the carport so that if it was warm enough some people could dine out there. I also decided that we could move our camping table from the basement into the dining room and that will become the food buffet area for the week. I wrote everything down that I needed to buy, and I planned all the details that I could think to plan while writing down my ideas. I then found my soon to be birthday boy and told him that I needed his birthday meal and cake choice by today. I would also include this meal in my shopping trip so I wouldn't be caught having to do a last minute grocery trip when I was already tired. The only thing that I did not plan out was his birthday gift...that will be his dad's responsibility! I then wrote down all the things that were bothering me that needed to be completed before the company came. This wasn't a list of impossibilities, but a real list of things that stressed me out. I then delegated each chore to a family member to be completed on Saturday. The backyard will be cleaned and straightened up, and the toys will be stored under the deck. One of our older boys will clean out the trash can cabinet while I bleach the trash cans. I have already cleaned the oven, and today I will be working in the laundry room. I know our company will want to be able to wash their clothes so it needs to be neat and tidy for their use. We will go ahead and move the outside table and chairs so we will be prepared if there is rain.

By taking this time to plan, I felt like the weight of the world had been taken off of my shoulders. I have a plan to work through now with help from everybody, and I do not feel overwhelmed anymore. I know the task at hand, and I will be ready when everybody arrives at our home. I know Thanksgiving is about so much more than food and a clean house. It is about the Lord and family and celebrating what God has done in our life. However, if the logistics aren't taken care of properly, the holidays can become very stressful. There are basics in life that have to be taken care of like 14 people needing to have a clean towel for a shower!! I want my home to be in such an order that other people can pitch in and help. If the laundry room is neat and tidy, others can throw in a load of towels instead of having to wait for me to dig out the detergent.

Now it is time for me to get busy tackling my thing to do list so for now...
grace and peace,

Monday, November 12, 2007

Nap Time

Missy learned the only way to take a nap in this house is to contain the three year old. I think she has done a fine job of making sure he doesn't go anywhere!!
grace and peace,

Caught in the Act of an Escape Plot

"Hey, Pig...Don't even think about it"!!!!

"Uh...think about what????"

grace and peace,


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sunday Scripture

"As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God".

Psalm 42:1

Hay...It's a Good Thing

Michael and Jacob went to town today to purchase hay. We have never bought hay for our animals thanks to our neighbor who provided it to us free of charge last year. This year he does not have enough hay for his own animals so we knew that we would have to budget hay money for feeding the cows and horses. As you can see in the first picture, our horse, Sully, is eyeing the truck full of hay. He is ready to dive into it! Our pastures are usually green enough to last us through December before we have to even think about feeding the animals hay. However with the drought this year, our pastures are bare and brown. We have been feeding the animals more grain to supplement for the lack of abundant grass, but it finally came time to purchase hay. Our county is having hay brought in from Kansas as well as other states. The hay prices have doubled from last year, and there just isn't much supply. Many farmers are selling cows by the truck load. We just made a deal with a friend to purchase a Black Angus Cow Calf pair. He has too many cows to feed through the winter. He said this is the first time he has ever rationed hay to his animals, and he is still concerned that he won't have enough to make it through winter.
Our horses couldn't wait until the hay was unloaded to start eating.

Finally, Lizzie and her calf Isabell took a turn at the hay. We had to lure the horses away with a bucket of grain so the cows could take their turn. There is plenty to go around for every body, but the cows needed a moment alone to eat without the greedy gut horses nudging them out.

Yes, indeed it feels and smells like a real farm around here. There is something so special about seeing animals eating and being content. I enjoy the beauty all around. I love the smell of fresh hay, and I love watching all of the animals. It just feels right.

grace and peace,


Friday, November 09, 2007

Holiday Time (Again)???!!

The realization hit me yesterday that Thanksgiving is just 2 weeks away. I don't know where my brain has been, but I just thought Thanksgiving was much farther away than that. After all, it seems like we just celebrated the holidays. My family will be gathering here to celebrate at our home. Since all of our family live out of town, everybody will stay about a week. This year by brother and his family are renting a cabin, and my mom will stay with us. Everybody will gather at our home for meals. I am so looking forward to seeing my family. I haven't seen my mom or my brother since early this summer. I chat with my mom every day on the phone, but it isn't the same as getting to visit in person.

With all of that being said, I am going to share my heart honestly. I am not in the mood to get everything ready for every body's visit. Sometimes when we have company, I am just like Snow White or Cinderella singing while working. My heart is really into it, and it all just flows effortlessly together. Other times, I just seem like Eeyeore dragging my tail behind me. I dread the thought of cooking such huge meals and putting the house in order for guests for close to a week. I am not sharing this so that you feel sorry for me. I am just being honest and telling you that I struggle with normal issues. Sometimes when I read other people's blogs, I think they must truly be the June Cleavers of today's world. They must NEVER struggle with the way they feel, and their house is ALWAYS clean, and there is ALWAYS a nice meal on the table. (My children informed me last night that Hot Dogs with homemade relish should not be classified as dinner)!

I know the truth is that God wants us to do all things with excellence as unto Him. I know I will get everything together, and our Thanksgiving celebration will be filled with family and great food. I just have to get my flesh to line up with the Lord. I know He has called us to be hospitable, and I believe that whole heartily.

I also just want to make sure that I express that this flesh issue has nothing to do with being thankful. I am so thankful to the Lord that at times I can hardly contain myself. He has blessed us in ways this last year beyond even our wildest dreams. I have always loved Thanksgiving. It is truly my favorite holiday. I just am having a hard time believing that it is here around the corner AGAIN!!

grace and peace,

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Pigs Escaped (Twice)

We have had the pigs since Sunday, and on Tuesday they found a way out of their fence. Our son came rushing in to announce the pigs had escaped. We all ran to put them back where they belonged. We did not want to let them get to far from their "home". I had much funnier photos of my husband rushing the pigs. He fell in a quite humorous manner, but I was threatened with my very life if I posted that picture on the Internet. To show all of you that I am a submissive wife, I honored his request. However, he never said anything about NOT talking about the great fall!! He called me the Farm Paparazzi!~! Always looming with a camera to make sure that photographs are shot at just the right moment in time!! The pigs found yet another area to escape later in the day. They have been contained since then so I am hoping that all is well, and they will not escape again. We are always out doing a head count of little piggies. We don't want to lose any!!
grace and peace,

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

More Farm Surprises

I was out feeding our animals the other morning. I am trying to establish a rapport with our pigs without establishing a relationship. I want them to come to me, and do what I want when I want. However, I don't want to fall in love with them and therefore have a hard time butchering them. I know the best way to establish anything with farm animals is to give them a bit of grain. I was all alone in the barn while Michael was working outside of the barn on a fence. I casually grabbed the bucket to dip out grain for the little pigs. I noticed that none of the tops had been put back on the trash cans that we store our feed in, and I remember that one of our son's friends had fed the animals last. I didn't think anything about it until the moment that I reached into the trash can to scoop up the feed. I glanced down, and that is when I saw this thing...
I just about came undone. I screamed and gasped and jumped and ran and screamed some more. It wasn't that I was afraid of the little possum, I just didn't expect to find him in the feed can. Michael thought something major was wrong, and I think he was amused to find a small possum. However for me, I bet that is the last time I casually dip my hands into a feed can without looking first! I also plan on having a chat with the boy who left the tops off the cans...I have a word or ten to share with him!
grace and peace,

Monday, November 05, 2007

Quick Thoughts on Farm Animals and Cultural Irony

It is so nice to again have pigs on our farm. They settled in nicely and began to explore their limited new surroundings. I say limited because it is not as much as we would like them to have, although it is more than they had at their previous home. They met our cows right away as the two Jerseys stuck their snouts through the fence to see what was going on. The horses sniffed from above and eventually pushed them gently with their noses. Missy, our dog simply sat from a distance and whimpered.

The animals seemed to accept them quickly and moved on like this was the way it was supposed to be. The farm is now more complete and closer to whole for both us and the animals. Our goal is to build a farm with a variety of animals, crops, and ecosystems all functioning and flowing together in balance and harmony. Many of the blogs here have the same vision for their farms and lives, but many of us wonder if we will ever achieve it. This lifestyle is a rarity in our society and is not easily acquired.

This lifestyle requires commitment and patience, characteristics that many simply do not have today. We find it hard for ourselves to maintain those traits as we are influenced by the people around us who have opted for life of instant gratification and minimal loyalty to anything but themselves. Isn't it ironic that one must work so hard and overcome so many obstacles, trying to achieve a life of simplicity?

More thoughts on this later, I must get to work now to pay the bills.


Sunday, November 04, 2007

Newest Addition to the Farm

Below are the most recent addition to our farm. More to follow....

God bless,

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Surprises for Saturday

Today has been a great day with many surprises. Michael woke early this morning to tell me that he was picking up pigs today. He had heard about a local place that sells custom mixed animal feed cheaply. He spent some time this morning planning his recipes for pig, cow, chicken, and horse feed. He went and purchased 1000 pounds of feed for all the animals. As he was headed out the door to purchase the pigs, a family came unexpectantly for a visit. We had a great time chatting and catching up on daily happenings. This was the second family to drop in for a visit today. We got to chat with another family earlier in the day. It was the first time they had been out to our home. They too have a small farm and there were many hopes and dreams and ideas to exchange! (Boy, I sure was thankful that I had cleaned the house on Friday)!!!

Earlier this morning as I was taking 3 loaves of Sourdough Bread out of the oven, the phone rang. I heard Michael tell our oldest son that I had not cooked breakfast, but there was always something to be found to eat. Shortly after the conversation, Matthew showed up with one of his friends. My kitchen table became filled with children of all ages. Our 5 children were all there, and 2 more teenage boys. In a matter of moments, 2 loaves of Sourdough Bread, 1 pint of homemade Strawberry Jam, and almost an entire batch of hot chocolate mix had been inhaled. The hot chocolate kept everybody lingering around the table laughing and talking. I enjoyed the moment immensely. I love having the kids' friends come by our home. Most of their friends feel like this is a second home to them. They eat freely in our kitchen, and they laugh and play as one of our own children. It is music to my ears because I know what they are up to. The more time I can spend with all the kids, the more I know what is going on in their lives. This is important to me. I want to be a place that they see the love of Jesus displayed in real everyday people. This is true Christianity to me. Memories are being made and lives are being changed over hot chocolate and sourdough bread!!

For dinner tonight there were 5 extra kids around the dinner table. The remainder of the sourdough bread was consumed, and there are no leftovers for tomorrow. However, I am so thankful because I know that these are the important things in my life during this season of having older kids. I am so thankful for the opportunity to spend time with my kids and their friends. It is truly my ministry, and I love it.

Right when Michael was getting ready to get the pigs for the second time today, our oldest son asked him to go to a power lifting competition with him. Matthew will be lifting tonight, and he wanted his dad to come along for support. I saw Michael's face. He really wanted to get those pigs, but he also felt he should go with his son. He called the pig farmer who told him that he could pick the pigs up tomorrow afternoon. So Michael went with Matthew to the weight lifting competition. He laid down his own desires to do something for his son. I am sure they are having a great time, but I am also glad I didn't have to spend the evening watching all the events.
Maybe tomorrow we can get the pigs...or maybe God has some other plans...

grace and peace,

Friday, November 02, 2007

Weekend Happenings and Honey Do List

I am looking so forward to this weekend. It has been a stressful week for me personally. I have found out a lot about myself this week. I found that I am more emotional than I realized. I am not cut out for business, and quite frankly I don't even want to be oriented in that direction. I LIKE being a wife, mother, and homemaker. The highlight of my week was spending a few hours one morning rearranging dishes on my hutch for a fall display. (Am I boring or what)???!!!

Our son will play his last football game of the season tonight. I will be on guard in prayer for a safe event for him. I have enjoyed once again watching him play football, and I would like to end the season on a good note.

We are planning a laid back weekend with little priorities on anything. I am sure Michael will find his way back into his shop throughout the weekend. I too love being down there with him especially on cool evenings. It is such a peaceful place, and I love to see how things are created. I usually sit and watch him create and listen to his heart. He shares much from his heart when he has a piece of wood in his hands. It is truly one of the treasures in my life. I can connect with my husband while drinking a cup of hot coffee and watch my children "play"/work in the shop.

I am planning a family dinner for tomorrow of Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Hashbrown Casserole, and Jacob's Salad. I am sure there will be a hot loaf of bread to go with that too. I am not so sure about a dessert, but we will see what my hands find to get into tomorrow!!

grace and peace,