Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Around Here September 2014

Thanks to a local stunt pilot, we are enjoying a private air show right over our farm every few days. He is doing loops, flying upside down, barrel rolls, spirals, etc. It's very thrilling! We've waved reflective things at him, and he has come closer and waddled the wings at us. 

Clint and I enjoyed attending the livestock auction in the Shenandoah Valley in July. The people of all ages interacting with each other was very interesting. We enjoyed our trips to NC and MD as well.

With every one's schedules, the new routine on the farm, company spending the night, and animals birthing, we didn't think we'd be able to get any time away for our 26th anniversary and were content with doing something special locally. Instead, God opened up opportunities literally at the last moment! We got away for 8 days and 7 nights over two trips which was very nice. We are thankful to the Lord for providing those special times. 

We didn't do very much when our children were younger. While I appreciate the things we can do now that our children are older, I look back on those days with a lot of fondness. Those simple times were so special. For parents of many little ones, keep marching forward. It does get easier as they grow, and doors that you never expected will open if you are faithful to the Lord. Keep your marriage strong by making time for each other in whatever way you can. Enjoy where you are and what you have now.

We have added Nubian and Boer goats to the farm. We had not planned to add goats this year, but the opportunity presented itself. If all goes well, we will be welcoming a new doeling or buckling in late winter or early spring.

Thank you, Donald, for the race tickets! Knowing a crew chief is a good thing! We really enjoyed the race and plan to see another soon. We loved going into the pit, meeting the driver and crew, and sitting in the race car! Thank you so much for giving us a fun evening! It was awesome! 

Clint was able to share his faith with a young man who said he felt Clint set a good example for our family. It is awesome to see my husband counseling another man to lead his family in Bible study. I was able to share about God's grace in the midst of child loss and was told it was very helpful. I've been struggling more lately so it was a big blessing to me to see God using what I went through to help someone else. 

I've been planting our fall garden: beets, collards, kale, beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, winter squashes, etc. I added another carrot patch too. We've lined up our hay for winter, but we are still looking for a good deal on straw. Joshua and I've been cutting branches with leaves to give our goats and rabbits a treat this winter. We've also been dehydrating extra produce from the garden for winter feed.

Brandon was given a very favorable review and another raise! Thank you, Eric, for your compliment on Brandon. Thank you, Donald, for your compliment on Brandon's sense of humor!

Amanda was put into a position where she could really help friends of someone who had been very unkind towards her. This person had publicly and frequently mocked Amanda for her stand as a Christian and had tried leading her to do wrong on many occasions. We kept encouraging Amanda to forgive and respond as best she could in Christ. I feel Amanda did a great job of that. She showed maturity in not responding in kind and also had compassion for the person's horrible home life. Please pray for us that Amanda's witness in serving this person's friends helps them realize their need for Christ.

Joshua, Caleb, and Bethany made biweekly trips to Busch Gardens in August. The last week of the month, they went three days. They were so thankful; they showed their appreciation in a way I love...extra help around the house! They know a way to a mother's heart! They have had a blast there this summer.

Emily and Hannah have enjoyed daily "Easter Egg" hunts for the duck, chicken, and guinea eggs and get so excited when they find one! I love hearing them talk to the hens. When the middles were away, we three girls did crafts and cooked together. I am so thankful to have younger children in this stage of life! It has filled my every day with laughter, joy, and thanksgiving. The Lord did this, and it is very good! I would not trade my life with anyone's!

We had a mother duck hatch out ducklings. She hatched 18 which is a large clutch! One of them was mushed by her foot as she tried to take care of the others. We put the 17 in a brooder to keep them safe from predators. We have two more nests due to hatch later this month if all goes well. Two weeks later, the same hen hatched out another duckling! Joshua found it in the nest. We suspect a duck hen laid it in the nest while the mom was off about three weeks after the hen started sitting. Muscovies have a 35-39 day incubation.

Joshua and Bethany had a special request for a birthday present this year. We'll have to travel a bit to make this one happen!

Our Labor Day was great! We enjoyed some rivah time and ended the summer season with 900 water balloons.

Today, we start back to a full homeschool schedule and something new with me happens too! Please say a prayer that I am successful in both ventures.

We are considering the ant as we harvest and prepare for what is being forecasted to be a wetter and colder than normal winter. We are certainly seeing signs indicating it will be as predicted. Spring and fall are our busiest seasons. If we haven't returned a form of communication, please contact us again and again if necessary. We aren't ignoring you, and you won't be bothering us. 

Proverbs 6:6-8 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Prayer Request

A friend of ours is weary of their extremely difficult battle with cancer. They believe God has clearly shown His will and healing will not take place.  For their own safety, they have had to be strapped down for some of the horrific treatments they have had to endure. In the last 10 days, things have been headed in one direction. It tears my heart out to even ask this, but I want to help them in any way I can. The only way I can aid them is to pray and ask for the prayers they covet. 

They are asking that we pray God will be merciful and send the end quickly and that it will be easy. 

When death is welcomed, you know the suffering has been incredible.


Proverbs 14:23 All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.

It seems like working hard and enjoying your own earnings has fell away in our society. We live in an age where people feel they have a right to certain things without having earned them or without them being given to them. There are videos online telling others how to scheme to get the most out of welfare. The people who star in these videos are quite proud of themselves for their ability to manipulate the system. Even many middle aged and senior adults still have not learned to enjoy what is theirs without coveting what does not rightfully belong to them which is one reason this way of thinking is being multiplied in today's young minds. 

If you have not worked for it, you have not earned it. If God has not allowed you to possess it, it does not belong to you. If He wants you to have it, He will put it into your hand. Believing you are entitled to something that is not yours is coveting. Being angry because someone else received something you felt you were entitled to is a form of rebellion against God. Self control isn't just something you have over your actions. You have the ability to control the mindset you choose to have. Controlling our will to line up with God's brings us joy and thanksgiving. The other way brings anger, greed, resentment, and division which are not fitting qualities for children of the Lord.

"Have you bought into the world's lie that you deserve what you want, when you want it? Dear one, don't go down that path of destruction! Although there may be joy for the moment, pain and suffering will meet you at the end. "An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him" (Proverbs 17:11). Jesus loves you too much to let your pouting spoil things. Trust Him to meet every need you have, and you'll never get burned again by the world's empty promises. "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever" (1 John 2:16-17)." read the rest of the AOP Daily Devotional entitled Pouting Pains here.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hard Heartedness is Not of the Lord

Ezekiel 36:26 KJV A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 36:26 ERV I will also put a new spirit in you to change your way of thinking. I will take out the heart of stone from your body and give you a tender, human heart.

You glorify your pride when you remain hard hearted in any area of or towards anyone in your life. He is compassionate, tender, and loving. To serve Him, he says we must try to be more like Him. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Use Left Over Juice from Canned Fruit

Originally published here on 3/6/07. I am deleting very old posts and reposting some of them.

Natural Syrups

How many times do you drain canned fruit and toss the liquids?Why not make flavored syrup for pancakes, French toast andwaffles? Just add sugar, boil to make a syrup and store ituntil needed in the refrigerator. We also use the liquid from"canned in its own juice" fruit for a refreshing quick pick-me-up. When draining blueberries to make blueberry muffins,save that liquid. Add a little sugar and boil, and you haveblueberry syrup! We like to heat these syrups just beforepouring them on our breakfast.

Dean H. in Illinois


Friday, August 29, 2014

The Can Opener Question

A reader wants to know which can opener I recommend. I am sharing the information here for other moms who are trying to be good stewards. The following are in my kitchen right now, but I may soon phase out the electric can openers for counter space. They are my least favorite.

In addition to the smaller cans, our family uses a great deal of #10 cans. These are the big cans from Sam's Club or other stores that sell the bulk goods. We average about a can a day. They can be a bit rough on normal can openers. The electric one I had last the longest was the Hamilton Beach 76606Z Smooth Touch Can Opener, Black and Chrome. It cut through the can and left a smooth edge safe for my children. With the #10 cans, it lasted a year. When it stopped cutting #10 cans, we were able to still cut the smaller cans for about another year. I purchased another and kept one labeled "Small Cans" and labeled the new "Large Cans." It seemed to be a good system but when I purchased the third, it stopped working rather quickly. The motor seems "sluggish." 

The best can opener for the money I have found is this manual one from New Star Food Service.* It isn't very pretty, but it does the job, does it well, and lasts for years. Then, when it needs a new blade, you can find them online for $6 and up. This one opens cans of all sizes. Everyone who has seen it has told me I found a excellent value because similar can openers are selling for much, much more. 

We had one of these in our kitchen pre-fire for over 10 years. I purchased it from another company about 15 years ago, and it was $60 then. I like this one better. It is made better, sits so the blade is protected from contact, and has a rubber piece that makes it quieter to use. 

It is heavy, but you only lift it enough to slide the can under it. If you are able to lift the #10 can, you can lift the can opener. The metal plate helps protect your counters from the big cans. Mine is mounted on a rolling cart. My 10 year hold has no trouble lifting it or turning the crank. Clint added some food grade grease to the gear mechanism for easier turning. It took less than 30 seconds to install with the provided screws. It's not a portable can opener for on the go families though.

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A few months ago, I purchased this heavy duty, made in America can opener pictured below. It was designed in 1954, and they have reports of some of them lasting over 40 years! When it arrived, it exceeded my expectations in quality. Clint liked it so much, I plan to purchase one for his office as a stocking stuffer. This is not the light, flimsy manual can openers that will barely punch through a can.  There is nothing like this on the shelves at any of my local stores. This can opener has some heft and is very well made. I love that this quality item is made in the USA! It would make a nice, long lasting wedding, housewarming, or off to college gift. It is perfect for the bug out survival bags or storm preparation.

There you have it. That is what is currently in my kitchen and is what I have found that works for my needs. 

*Food Service and restaurant supplies are great ways to find items for your large family kitchen. Those items usually are well worth the money. There are some suppliers that say they won't take small orders, but when I have explained my situation (busy mom of many who cooks nearly all of our meals and frequently cooks in bulk to save time, money, and clean up) they were more than happy to relax that rule for me. It never hurts to politely inquire. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Article: HSLDA's A Line Drawn in the Sand

"What I should not do is claim that my personal views are universal commands of God. Those more conservative or more liberal than I am should not claim that their personal views are universal commands of God. God speaks for Himself, and He does it in the Bible.
People are misled when human ideas are wrapped in false claims of being God’s directives. Different forms of critical analysis are necessary when one is examining God’s words versus man’s words. Innocent people follow teachers in good faith thinking they are following God. And when the directives turn out to be only man’s ideas, the followers often find that someone in their family has been damaged in the process. Only God’s ideas are infallible. Man’s ideas will always fall short.
While people are entitled to personal opinions within a broad range, there are some views within the patriarchy movement that go too far. Women are not to be the de facto slaves of men. Women are created with dignity equal to that of men. Women have direct and unmediated access to God. Daughters should not be taught that their only and ultimate purpose in life is to be the “helpmeet” of a man. While being a godly wife is a worthy ideal, the only statement that is universally true forevery woman is that she should love and serve God as her highest priority. My wife and I raised our own daughters to believe that being a wife and mother was a very high calling but did so in a way that would not crush them if God’s leading had been different.
We have a really easy way to know God’s universal commands. They are written in the Bible."
Read the rest here.
I have said this many times over the years: Go to the Source. Read the Word. Study the Bible. If you are listening to the teachings of men instead of reading your Bible, you are getting it second hand. People are fallible. God is infallible. Test all things people tell you with the Word of God. Knowing the Word can save you a lot of trouble and heartache.

A Little Peacocking

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I moved the peachicks outside and was rewarded with this little one strutting and fanning his tail!
He doesn't have his pretty adult feathers, but it was still neat to see!
They are only a few weeks old. This is the youngest I have ever seen this behavior exhibited.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Rabbit Tractor Chicken Wire Bottom Experiment

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Clint and I were told we couldn't put a chicken wire bottom on the rabbit tractor because the rabbits would not be able to get to the grass through the 1 inch holes. We did it anyway because we know we have foxes and coyotes around. I think you can see from this picture that our rabbits were able to eat through the holes with no problem. They certainly ate down the grass! We are using a 16 x 8 movable pen for 6 rabbits. We move it twice a week with dollies (aka hand trucks). We also feed hay, pellets, fruit off our trees, edible branches we prune, scraps from the house and edible weeds from the garden. Not only can the rabbits eat the grass, but they are very secure from predators. We are able to put this pen right up to the edge of our woods. If you are going to keep rabbits on the ground to cut down feed costs, you will need to check on them daily and move them frequently. Eating grass exposes them to more parasites than the hay, so we have ours on a strict deworming rotation using herbs, ACV, and some vermicide drugs.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

More Chicks

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The ladies at the post office couldn't resist a peek this time!

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Cackle always adds a little something extra.
We received these packets and an extra Mille Fleu D'Uccles Bantam.

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first peek

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Copper Maran chicks
Hens will lay gorgeous "chocolate" colored eggs.

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Welsummer chicks
This breed lays beautiful dark brown eggs.

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Mille Fleu d' Uccle bantam chick
This is a new breed to our farm!
These grow to be beautiful speckled bantams.

We look forward to offering eggs for eating and hatching, chicks, and eventually breeding trios next spring.

Proverbs 12:10 A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.

Proverbs 27:23 Know well the condition of your flocks, And pay attention to your herds;

Monday, August 25, 2014

Authentic Work of the Holy Spirit

"An authentic work of the Holy Spirit is always ultimately accompanied by:
1. The exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. An awareness of sin and a desire for repentance.
3. A burden for lost souls.
4, Reconciliation and unity among believers.
5. The faithful proclamation of, and reverence for, the Word of God.
6. A desire to love and serve others.
7. A maturing growth in holiness and personal sanctification.
If you are not seeing evidence of these earmarks, you may be observing a fleshly, man-made attempt to do something on God's behalf, but it is not the work of God's Spirit." --Israel Wayne

If you see these things missing or signs of the opposite (not glorifying the Lord, no awareness of or repentance of sins, no burden for the lost, no desire for reconciliation/unity, unfaithfulness to the Word of God/lack of knowledge of the Word of God, greed/coveting, focused on self, not others, lack of growth), beware! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Thank You, Lord for 26 wonderful years!

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dolphins at the "rivah" right in front of our get away

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gull breakfast

Today, Clint and I give thanks for our 29 year relationship and 26 year long marriage!! 

Clint and I believe marriage is a covenant between us and God and is intended to last for a lifetime. It is the Lord who put us together, and it is He who keeps us together. To Him belongs all of the glory and honor!

Hebrews 13:4-7 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.  Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."  So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"  Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Thank You!

I had the right day, but the wrong month when I set the post for the first day of fall. That's what happens when you are multi-tasking with interruptions.

In a large family, the days are long, the work is never ending, the chaos makes it crazy, interruptions can be constant, the messes are huge and happen faster than smaller families can imagine, but the many hands of older children make the work lighter and the good things like LAUGHTER, FUN, JOY, LOVE, CONTENTMENT, PEACE are also multiplied. While the workload and craziness diminish as the children grow, the good things continue to increase over the rest of our days. It is worth every single crazy minute, and I would not trade my life for anyone else's.

For the record, I am glad it isn't quite fall yet. There is too much on the to-do list to rush it, and I don't want to miss a single day of this fantastic summer!

Thank you for catching the mistake and letting me know! :-)








Thursday, August 21, 2014


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Joshua stepped on a piece of glass, and it was fairly deep. 
Hannah was so worried it would hurt to get it out, so she tried to comfort him. 
I love how one of her hands is one his head. 
Sweet little sister!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Article: Why I Cannot Accept Ice Bucket Challenge

If you see "everyone doing it," you should slow down and think it over carefully before following. There are too many professed Christians who blend in with the world instead of stand out as God said we should (read these verses). The "follow the herd mentality" could lead you to places you don't want to go. I am thankful for men like Nathan who encourage the rest of us to walk circumspectly.

Why I Cannot Accept the Ice Bucket Challenge (click link to read full article)

"The problem with embryonic stem cell research is two-fold:  first, it is morally reprehensible to anyone who believes that life begins at conception.  Imagine the outrage that would happen if scientists proposed we grew infants and children for the express purpose of performing lethal experiments on them, no matter how scientifically helpful the results would be.  Secondly, if there is a breakthrough involving embryonic stem cell research, then the resulting treatment would involve mass harvesting of embryonic stem cells, and therefore mass abortions.  In short, embryonic stem cell research involves the destruction of innocent human life.  And therefore, I cannot promote donations to this particular organization when it thinks that infanticide is a legitimate way to save other human beings.

Now, I don't think our response as Christians should be to just throw up our hands, check out, and not do anything.  Instead, we should lead the way in helping those who are suffering with ALS, and work towards finding medical treatments that are ethically researched.  So, I would ask anyone who is making a donation to consider donating to an ethically focused organization, like this one:  http://www.jp2mri.org/capital-campaign.htm"

Ephesians 5:15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise

As a Christian who values life and has had several pregnancy losses, I can not support an organization that destroys embryos to help others. Like the author, I can and do support other charities.


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I wish I could go every day, but responsibility gets in the way.

Ecclesiastes 3

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Prayer Requests

I have mentioned Silas's prayer needs in the blog before. His father needs prayer now. Jon was sent to the ER with elevated temp, stomach burning, and nausea. His gall bladder looked fine. He was released at 5 this morning. The surgeon could not believe the ER let him go home and wants him to go back and be admitted. It could be his liver giving him trouble. He is drove himself back to the hospital. Please pray for this family who have gone through many trials and have remained steadfast in their faith.

Miles is the grandson of a friend of Amanda's. He is 6 months old and has been in the region's children's hospital for over a month. He presented with a fever of 105. He was sent to the ER three times and sent home with the thought he had a cold. The fourth time his grandmother took him to a new place. These doctor's looked closer to see why he was running such a high fever. He has sepsis! They have no idea how he got the infection because there was no wound on his leg. They have operated on his leg three times and installed a drain. At this point, he is stable but still being watched. They will keep him in the hospital for at least two more weeks.

Our friend Chris has stage 4 cancer. He has recently lost sight in one eye due to tumor growing behind his eye. Please pray for Chris.

Thank you to my praying friends and family. We love you!

A Shipment of Peeps

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I pray for our chicks while they are being shipped to us. 
I believe God has blessed us for that with the good mortality rates we have.

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The green gel provides fluids and nutrients to help the chicks while they travel.

We enjoy working with breeds on the Livestock Conservancy List in an effort to save and work with the more rare breeds. In the past, we enjoyed it when people visited and said, "I've never seen one of those before!" 

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turkey poults, 5 each of Royal Palm and Bourbon Red, straight run

To get the best odds of getting a pair with the least amount of investment, buy five. This has never failed me when I am trying to get a male and female pair.

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21 Salmon Colored Faverolles 6 cockerels, 15 pullets
The spots on the heads are a marker to identify the cockerels.

Not only are these on the threatened list, but they are very versatile birds. I've wanted this particular breed for a while. They have some distinct advantages. The chicks are able to be sexed by feathers fairly early with a decent accuracy rate. That is important for sales and for separating the flock. They mature quickly and are a dual purpose bird for meat and eggs. They have five toed, feathered feet, and gorgeous plumage. Most people get hung up on how to pronounce their name.

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6 sexed Toulouse Geese

While Toulouse geese are on the watch list, this wasn't our first choice. We have had Toulouse before and while we like them, we were hoping to work with a different breed. Our choice goose breeds were sold out. However, Toulouse do sell well and are enjoyable birds. Geese are wonderful guardians. They patrol the yard and help to keep predators away.

We only lost one turkey poult out of the entire order, but they sent us five extra birds (42 birds total), so we came out ahead. Hatcheries usually send extra in case of losses. 

Ours came from Cackle Hatchery. We were pleased with the order even though our original hatchery given shipping date was changed which put us in a bit of a bind with our busy schedules and upcoming vacation. This is understandable because you can't possibly know what the birds will lay or what will hatch in the future. We had a little trouble confirming the second shipping date. It was also understandable since it was a hatch day so they were incredibly busy, and they are a growing company. When chicks arrive someone needs to be available to pick them up and watch over them the entire first day to make sure they are all eating and drinking. So you need to know well in advance when the chicks are coming so you can make the time to get them off to the best start.

Monday, August 18, 2014


God’s grace does not come to people who morally outperform others, but to those who admit their failure to perform and who acknowledge their need for a Savior. ~Timothy Keller

James 4:6b God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

Luke 5:31-32 Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Startling Thought

How have we learned Christ? It ought to be a startling thought that we may have learned him wrong. George MacDonald

Go to the Source! We should primarily be learning who Christ is through His Word and the Holy Spirit, not other people or human-based teachings. Search and study the Scriptures, and know the Word so you won't be deceived.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Mathew 7:7

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Hannah Bean

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She is crazy about this guy!
He's crazy about her too!

A dad who can do girly things with his little girl and not care what anyone else thinks is a REAL MAN. ~unknown

Friday, August 15, 2014

Remember My Air Layering Post?

Remember this post where I attempted to air-layer my pear tree? I have concrete evidence it is working! I had to change the container I was using. Three times! First, I needed a more stable container that wouldn't slide down during storms. Then, I needed a larger one that would not dry out so fast. My persistence paid off! As of early June, I had roots!

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Hee is how it looks on the tree. Excuse the weeds.
Things were very hectic on the farm with the additions and all of our travels over the spring and summer. It has been a most terrific spring and summer!

Jeremiah 6:16 This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Those Big Boxes of Eggs

In a large family, space is a premium. We really feel that most in a refrigerator! It can be hard getting food for a larger than normal sized family in an average sized fridge! As we use down the box of 15 dozen eggs, kept in our second fridge, the air space in the box is wasted. When we cut the box down, it leaves the eggs vulnerable to breakage. Years ago, we found another way to regain unused space and keep the eggs protected. You can use this idea for boxes in other rooms in the house.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

She Needs a Kidney Donor

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Clint and I went to high school with Bunny. She is a very sweet and kind person.
If you feel led, please see if you are a match for her. The info is in the image.
Please, please pray for her to find a match. Thank you for praying for her.

It's is Such a Beautiful, Beautiful Sight!!

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When I was a younger mother, I would cut the all of grass on our place including about half of the weed eating. It varied from 5-7 acres depending on what we decided to keep clear. This isn't the perfectly smooth manicured LAWNS you see in the suburbs either. I live in the rural south. We don't mow lawns; we CUT GRASS here. It is a hot, bumpy ride cutting tough vegetation that might be better called tiny shrubbery. 

Before we go any further, I want to assure you I am not afflicted. I chose to cut the grass as a way to bless my husband and free him up for more time with the children. It was very, very hard cutting all of that grass with very-estrogen-prejudiced equipment while keeping the needs of my active young children met. 

I'd run outside and cut during nap times. I'd keep the slightly older, non-napping children in sight on the deck while I cut a safe distance away in case a mangled GI Joe shot out from the mower blades. If the baby was awake, I'd put them in a swing in the front door so I could see them through the screen. We used hand signals to tell the oldest child to check on the baby every few minutes or for them to tell me they needed me to change a diaper, help them with something, ...or run in, clean up myself, and breastfeed an infant. Of course, my child that needed potty help would have to go every-stinking-five-minutes! 

I'd hop off the mower, put on a load of laundry in the washer, hang the load I just took out on the lines, and hop back on the mower. It wasn't just cutting the grass but picking up the entire yard of things that had been left behind by little hands and feet...and even the husband I was trying to help. When I failed to spot something, I had another 10 minutes added to pick up all of the pieces. Sometimes I'd have to stop cutting the grass and use the mower to herd the goats who decided it was an opportunistic time to escape and enjoy the buffet we call our vegetable garden..or fruit trees..or berry bushes. They didn't really care which as long as it had a high price tag. Goats have expensive taste buds. The more you value it, the more they want it. 

Then there were the May flies, biting gnats, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, tree frogs, and grass spiders that would land on me. Once, I looked over, and there was a very long black snake keeping pace with me. That really creeped me out! I really did want to help Clint out, but I refused to cut that area for the rest of the year. Nope, nada, no sir, no thank you, done, I quit. 

My fair skin still suffered from the sun despite itchy straw hats and sunblock. As my trainer friend informed me, I am an "efficient perspirer" because I often do the heavy kind of work. My body knows how to cool itself quickly. She says it is a good indication of fitness and health. She hasn't seen me when I am dripping wet and completely covered in bits of grass making my already sensitive skin itch like mad. Between the bug bites, sunburn, sweat, and grass bits, I was literally a hot mess! Of course, that was always the time I'd receive the blessing of company. Sigh.

Then I had moments that took a while to get over like when the frightened fledgling robin flew down from a nest straight between the front tires towards the mower deck! There were the scared-silly bunnies which darted back and forth in front of the tires on every single pass!! I tried to "brake" for a turtle and rolled to a stop with the front tire parked right on its shell. Despite their suicide attempts, I never killed anything I saw other than a poor bullfrog. Between the mowing, children, chores, livestock, and wildlife, there were some insane moments! 

With the interruptions, I knew I barely had enough time to get it done, so I put that mower in FIVE and let her ROLL! I didn't slow down for anything except children and critters. Mindful of the weed eating job that followed, I'd cut as close to flowers, herbs, bushes, and trees as I could. Sadly, the vegetation suffered a few minor casualties. I set that deck as low as I could so I didn't have to cut it again so soon. "You'll kill your grass," a friend warned. "Good!" I replied. That is a myth, by the way. I have had the blades eat earth, and the grass still came back!

I'd have to do my day's worth of chores and clean up the mess the children made on the deck. I'd do my best all day and IF the moody mower would cooperate, I'd be nearly done by time Clint got home. Then I'd pray for strength and sometimes an attitude adjustment during a much needed shower while Clint watched the children. Then, we needed a meal, so if I hadn't put one in the crock pot that morning, I had to cook and clean up from that too. Sometimes Clint would take us out to thank me! 

Those were some very hard and very busy years. No matter how challenging the task became, I never thought "I can't." I thought, "I can do this if I can find a way around the obstacles." If something didn't work, I'd analyze the situation, and try to find a way to make it work. While I certainly lost my cool sometimes, I mostly maintained an attitude of joy and thankfulness for the equally hard working man I love, our land and fertile soil, healthy children, milk producing goats, my health and strength, and our "park like yard" as visitors call it. 

Focusing on the blessings kept me appreciating them enough to want to work hard to maintain them in spite of the challenges. Giving my all for my husband and children like that made my husband fall in love with me in a new way. It also showed him I am more than willing to do my fair share of work to reach the goals we set for our family together. Overcoming obstacles and working through challenges built confidence and patience in me. It was hard and nearly drove me crazy sometimes, but it had a lot of value.

There was the time when the mower made this awful noise while blowing chunks of metal all over the yard. Things like that never stop right there. OF COURSE, that was a time the dog had wandered too close, and she was hit by the sharp debris. And OF COURSE, she was scared and ran like crazy from everything, including me. I had to chase her down to check her over. I couldn't reach Clint by phone because that was the same moment things at work became hectic for him. So I put out the word to a brother-like friend who told me it had FINALLY DIED  a blown motor. Killing the thing didn't work. Clint just bought another one...just as ornery as the other.

After reading a little of what it was like maybe now you can imagine how loudly I rejoiced when one of my children's butts was big enough to keep the mower seat compressed so the motor would run! Shortly afterwards, I nearly died from the combined ecstasy when Brandon was taught how to use the weed eater. While I still help when needed, those days of being the main Cutter of the Grass are well behind me. Even so, I STILL get giddy with happiness when I see my children doing it!! 

...because it's NOT ME!!!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Our Peachick

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production red chick

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black shoulder peachick

We purchased our peachick from our friend Kris. She gave us the Production Red Pullet to keep the peachick company. We won't know what the gender on the chick is until the feathers change in a few months. The pullet grew so much larger, we eventually swapped it out with a guinea.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Happy Kitties

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They sleep on my other plants, but they LOVE their catnip!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Do You Love Him Like This?

Ephesians 6:24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. 
Give and Take

Certain relationships in life require from the parties involved only moderate degrees of devotion. A certain degree of reserve and distance seems to be suitable in such relations as these. But there are other relationships in life where all this is changed when friendship becomes love. Two hearts give themselves to each other to be no longer two, but one. Instead of being separated, their interest and paths are now together. The reserve and the distance suitable to mere friendships is fatal in real love. Love gives all and must have all in return. The wishes of the other party become binding obligations; and the deepest desire of each heart is to know every secret wish and longing of the other, in order that it may do all in its power to gratify those desires. Is that the kind of love, affection, and obedience you have for Christ?

Daily Prayer: Jesus, I say I love You and yet so often it is a selfish, “taking” love. Let me love You in such a way that Your desires will be mine.

from: http://billygraham.org/devotion/give-and-take/


"True worship isn't best shown by the comfortable corporate confessions on Sunday, but by your choices of submission Monday through Saturday." Paul David Tripp