Monday, June 30, 2014

Buck Wheat, Buck Wheat, Buck Wheat!!

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We made the trek to pick up our 3 1/2 dozen Jumbo Pearl Guineas on the 27th of May! We've had them on our farm before and are happy to have added these crazy birds back. I did forget how they sleep "full out" so I had a scare the first morning I checked on them. If I can sneak up on them, I will add a picture of how they sleep. Soon, we will be hearing "buck wheat, buck wheat, buck wheat!!" Their meat is considered a delicacy.

Our goal is to raise a few for gourmet meals, let a few loose to patrol our farm, put a few in tunnels in the garden, and keep a few breeders to lay eggs to hatch in the incubator for keet sales next year. We can also sell the beautiful feathers to local artisans. As with all farm related things, we'll see how it goes!

The guinea fowl we had at Williamsburg's Fat Canary was delicious! We highly recommend the restaurant and their "Free-Range Guinea Fowl, Gnocchi, Root Vegetables, Black Trumpet Mushroom, Scallion."

"Compared to chickens, guinea fowl are low-cost and low-maintenance, and do a standout job as chemical-free pest control." Read more here.

"Do you have snakes? Guineas hate snakes and will kill any they come across. Do you have ticks? That's their favorite food. They are also known as "the farmers watch dog" because they warn you, your live stock, and each other when anything threatening is in sight." Read more here.

"The Guinea hen, presumably happily married, will begin to lay anytime from the end of March through mid-May, and will continue through the end of August, producing 60 to one hundred eggs. Lewis Wright advises setting the April and May eggs, although the guinea hen will usually not go broody until August." Read more here.

"Guineafowl are equipped with strong claws and scratch in loose soil for food much like domestic chickens, but are much less destructive in the garden as they seldom uproot growing plants." read more here.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Do Loved One in Heaven Look Down on Us?

Do Loved Ones in Heaven Look Down on Us?

This is very close to what I believe about our loved ones. If they knew the Lord, they are with Him and are far better off than we are.  We are to look to Christ as a mediator and example. I believe God has told us all we who remain need to know about what happens to saints who die, and we need to trust Him completely in this. If we don't, the problem is in where we have our focus. We are to focus on Him and His will for our lives.  

Philippians 1:21-24 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

I Won't Have to Raise or Lower It

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I am happy with my recent resale shop find. I am tired of the fabric flags degrading so quickly. This should last longer. I won't have to take it down in high winds like the fabric flags. We will have to see how it holds up in the sun, heat, and cold though. If it works, I will find a couple more similar to it for the farm. We are eagerly looking forward to our 4th of July celebration with family and friends.

I like the laurel leaves and berries wrapped around the pole. Laurel symbolizes victory, glory, and to Christians, the resurrection of Christ.

Be thankful for the country you live in because it is where God has placed you.

I Thessalonians 5:8 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Feed Storage Challenges Solved

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We have another place we use for bulk storage when stockpiling for winter, but this is the place where we have "in use" feed. We hope to start mixing our own poultry feed again after getting some of the other work finished but for now appreciate the time savings of the prepared mixes.

If you keep a lot of animals, it can be challenging to store the feed neatly. I only have a certain amount of space I can give to "in use" feed. Even a small farm like ours can have a dozen different types of feed open.

In the two decades we have been here, we have tried all sorts bins and containers. They either could not hold an entire bag or were too flimsy and didn't last long. Trash cans are round, so they wasted space that could have been better used. (Think of squares vs circles positioned on a shelf. Circles take up the same amount of space as larger squares but hold less. This tip works in your family fridge and pantry too. I try to purchase and use square over round containers so my fridge space is wisely utilized.)

Then there were the labeling challenges. After filling one container, feed would be left over in the bag, so people woud put it in any container handy and not take the time to change the label. That made feeding and inventory keeping a hassle. I wanted to keep things in the original bag to eliminate labeling issues. 

Because we have flooded before, I wanted the bulk of the food off the floor.

So far, I love this!! It's working great for our situation! The first shelf comes to the middle of my rib cage. Bags at the second shelf rest at 5'7" which is my height. The space between them was measured to allow three stacked bags. I am going to make a chart with the picture of the feed bag and label it for each animal that receives it. This makes it easier for people who help out while we are on vacation.

I know there will come a day when I can't lift a bag of feed over my head, but hopefully it won't be any time soon. For now, lifting those 50 pound feed bags onto the overhead shelf is helping me "gird my loins with strength." It's far more rewarding and soul satisfying than a gym membership too!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hampton Roads and North Carolina Contractor

My father was a contractor in Hampton Roads. I am thankful for the years he took me to work with him and taught me to work beside him. Not only did it give me many useful skills and confidence in myself, it introduced me to people from all walks of life...from the very, very rich to the very, very poor. I've been in high end mansions that looked like something off a movie set and ramshackle houses that introduced me to needs of the poor. I met wealthy politicians all the way down little old widows and learned good people exist in all walks of life with all sizes of bank accounts.

It is because of my father's excellent name that I am constantly asked about general contractors. 

Right off the bat, I have to say for roof work, I'd choose Duke Roofing of Suffolk, Virginia. I have known this family forever, they have an excellent reputation, and my father hired them to work on his houses. Today, Jon is doing the work his deceased daddy and brothers use to do.

I just learned my friend Larry Porter is doing general contractor work. I attended Suffolk Christian with Larry. He's a nice man. He says he will work "all over Hampton Roads, Isle of Wight, etc., as well as NC. I am happy to send people his way:

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Larry says: "We're a small company providing services that range from the simplest to the complicated....repairs, replacement doors & windows, siding & trim, covered or uncovered decks, kitchen, bath & room remodels, and more. We'd love to earn your business. I've included a before & after photo of one of our latest projects, and can provide more examples of our work. Should you need our services, please give us the opportunity to earn your business. Larry Porter 757-676-6140, or Ken Hayden @ 757-639-4327" 

Are You Tearing Down Your Family Without Realizing It?

updated from an earlier 2009 post

"...I can't stand the children I have." 
"..I can't wait until you grow up and get out of my house."

While I am too polite to say it outloud to the stranger who just said it to me in a public place, isn't saying you can't stand your child a very unloving thing to say? I'm not judging. I've said things I've had to discipline myself over also.

Is that a Christian attitude towards the ones God calls a special gift, a blessing, a reward, a heritage? 

I know "everyone does it." Why would you adopt a worldly attitude that is so negative towards the children you claim you love so dearly? 

Do you want the rebellious teens, unhappy and broken homes "everyone who does it" has as well? 

Why divide your family with hurtful comments when you could build and strengthen them with loving words? 

When you say things like that, don't you realize it reflects poorly on your parenting and your relationship with your child?

If you value your child, let it reflect in your words and stop tearing them down with unkind comments. If you do say something unloving or unkind, apologize to them and work to change.

This goes for spouses and external family as well. If you want to tear down your marriage or cause a division in your family, keep criticizing, nagging or speaking in anger. Don't think your insult disguised as flattery goes unnoticed. People who deal with things inwardly become skittish after being trampled repeatedly. It's impact may not been seen until the gap is too wide to bridge. 

If you want to build relationships, choose your words carefully. Make sure they reflect what you truly feel or you may lose something very valuable. People claim they will do anything for a loved one but won't take control over their own tongue. The Bible says it is the foolish person who tears down their house with their own hands (actions). 

Here's what God has to say about the power of your words:

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit" Proverbs 18:21

"But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment." Matthew 12:36

"For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." Matthew 12:37

"Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand." Matthew 12:25

"But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." Matthew 18:6

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Look, Daddy!!!

After work the day Amanda, Emily, and I went fishing, Clint met us at another spot thinking he could help Emily get onto some fish. The first thing she wanted to do was show him how well she could cast.

"Look, Daddy!!! Mom taught me how to cast!!!"

She put a little more flair into it than what I showed her.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Bluebird Babies in Caleb's Birdhouse

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bluebird mama sitting on eggs

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close up of eggs under her

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Buddy with food for his mate.

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This was taken a few days after they hatched.

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This is taken a few days later than the last photo.

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May 19th

I John 4:12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Other Contentment Acres bluebird picts:

Monday, June 23, 2014

Drab Rubber Doormat Fix

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It didn't look very welcoming, but the rubber was still in good shape.
I had left over paint, so I decided to see if it would work.
It did! The entire project took me about 20 minutes with Emily's, Hannah's, and two puppy dogs' help. Then there was the commentary...

Em, 6: (quietly as if I couldn't hear) "She must have lost her mind. Our mother is painting a rug."
Hannah, 5: "Sigh. (shakes head) I know. People are going to walk all over it."

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I used acrylic paints that you find in the metal tubes in the arts and crafts stores. They had been passed along by another homeschooling family, so it the cost was $0.

It's been a few months, but it has held up just as well as the original colors.

For the lettering, I used an oil based paint that I thinned down.  I pulled it into a syringe and slowly added drops. Then, I used two cotton swabs to push and pull the paint through the letters. It took about half a day in the sun to dry. I'd paint that part and let it dry first next time.

Why yellow and slate? Those were the only two colors I had enough of to do the rug. :)

I know it's not a rug for a perfect home, but I don't have one of those. It is perfect to help keep dirt out of our home a little while longer.

SImple Goat Cheese Recipe

Originally published 4/7/2007:

This is the one I use:

1 quart goat's milk
4 lemons or juice to equal for lemons
Cheesecloth (can be found in the sewing section of Walmart)

Heat milk gently to to 100ºF. Maintain 100ºF for 15 minutes to sterilize milk. Do not let milk get will make the curd smaller. While the milk is heating, spread a piece of cheesecloth about the size of a dishrag inside a bowl or colander. Remove milk from heat and add lemon juice. Stir. Within seconds, the milk should start to curdle. If milk doesn't curdle, add a little more lemon juice. When the milk has fully curdled, strain it through the cheesecloth. Reserve whey for baking biscuits or feed to animals. It's so good for you health food stores now sell it! Tie the ends of the cheesecloth to form bag and hang the curds to drain for 30 minutes to one hour depending on texture you prefer. Longer time gives a harder cheese. Place curds into bowl and add salt to taste and enjoy! If you plan on keeping some in the fridge, keep in mind the salt flavor will intensify. The cheese flavor will also intensify.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Article: The Downward Spiral of Defiance

"I want my own way. I won't quit until I get it. I don't care who it hurts. I will not listen to counsel. I am not concerned about the consequences." Those are the words of a defiant person. And they can come from our lips just as readily as from a person without Christ. They represent selfishness and stubbornness and indifference and resistance and contempt. As I mentioned earlier, defiance begins with carnal attitudes.
Continuing the downward spiral, the second inescapable reality about defiance is this: Defiance leads to personal misery. The defiant person wants freedom, but he finds himself captured. He wants his own way, but he finds himself ensnared by the restrictions that misery brings." Charles R. Swindoll
Read more about defiance and the harm it causes here.

If your god never disagrees with you, you might just be worshiping an idealized version of yourself. -Timothy Keller

Saturday, June 21, 2014

I Don't Even Know How I'd Get Them in the Blender

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credit in image

Emily: "Hannah! Hannah!!! Mom made us strawberry lemur-ade!!!"

While I used real strawberries and lemons, I did NOT use real lemurs.
I used the artificial ones you buy in bulk from Sam's Club. ;-)

Friday, June 20, 2014

I Caught One!

Amanda invited me to do some bank fishing with her one morning. We had a blast together! We went and caught a large quantity of fish in just a few hours. We each had a fish on the line within the first two minutes. We watched an eagle and osprey fighting, had a heron land right next to us, and talked to a nice older man. When we took a break to take the fish home to freeze, I asked Emily (6) if she'd like to fish with us.

When we returned, nurse sharks were feeding by the dozens in the shallow depths, so I knew we'd not catch any fish. It was exciting to watch the nurse sharks feed! The water was churning with them. They were hunting in a pack and forming circles to catch their prey. 

We saw minnows jumping out of the water to get away from the sharks, so I set Emily up with a small hook to see if she could catch one of those. I asked the Lord to let her please catch something so she'd enjoy the trip. She caught an itty bitty one after some effort! Amanda took the picture below with her phone. 

Amanda had set her 55 gallon aquarium up with croakers she had caught (legal here), so she decided to add Emily's little minnow to be nice. I went to the aquarium to get a picture for Emily. I looked and looked all over. Clint came out and helped. We move the castle and big clay pots around. Emily came and helped us look. Then Hannah came and helped us. We called Amanda and asked her if she had meant another tank. Since we couldn't find it, she came to help us look. It finally dawned on me: "Emily, Amanda put a little fish in with her bigger fish that live in the same river. They know each other and aren't friendly." I saw Emily's eyes open wide with awareness. She frowned and looked at the floor for a second. Then, she threw back her head and laughed: "Amanda! You goof! You fed MY fish to YOUR fish!" Emily JOY laughed and laughed, and we laughed with her! 

A tiny fish, an honest mistake, a big laugh, a memory made, and something to tease her big sister over for a lifetime  ...these are fun days! 

(unless you are the minnow)

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Her first fish with absolutely no help whatsoever. 100% Emily!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Graces and His Eyes

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photo credit in image

"If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you!" - Proverbs 11:27

"When you look for the bad in mankind, expecting to find it, you surely will." - Abraham Lincoln

Proverbs 31 posts many uplifting messages to "bring peace, perspective, and purpose to our busy lives." They are also on Facebook. I find their messages and gentle reminders very encouraging and try to share them with other women when I can.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

How I Stopped Changing the Toilet Paper Roll So Frequently

In our family of nine, we go through toilet paper like water. I was changing the toilet paper roll twice a day on some days! Even having a double roll dispenser in one bathroom, it still needed to be changed very frequently. In addition to that, the toilet paper roll holders didn't hold up that well to heavy use. We tried plastic, oak, and metal. I have enough to do already, so I looked for a solution. I found one that is working well for us and am sharing it here for anyone who can benefit from it. 

I use a basket! I fill it with 6-8 rolls of toilet paper in each bathroom, and I am set for almost a week! The baskets that are tall and narrow work better to keep the toilet paper in reach. The wicker magazine racks with legs work nicely also. You can buy a used basket and paint it to whatever accent color you want. I keep it on the wall side vs the bath/shower side of the toilet to keep the children from getting it wet.

I have to mention my appreciation for the big boxes of PomPom toilet paper! It's a favorite with my medium sized (like mine) and large family friends. Yep, it's cheap, but that's not my favorite thing about it. When you have little ones around for 20+ years, you learn to appreciate how thin PomPom is compared to other toilet paper. It doesn't clog up the toilet as easily! What a blessing!

Changing the toilet paper may seem like a small task of little importance. When you have scores of little things that have to be done daily, it makes a difference when you start eliminating the ones you can. Using a basket, along with eliminating other small tasks, helps me save a few minutes to put towards something I value more like going on a bike-in picnic and fishing trip!

Monday, June 16, 2014

You Can't Defend Them if You Don't Know Them

It is sickening to me at how little adults know about what makes our country a wonderful place to live. There was a heavy price paid for our freedoms, but so few today truly appreciate them. People died to give us the opportunities that are being disregarded and thrown away. Many college students can't even come up with list of a few of our precious rights. I am making it easy for you to educate yourself and your child.

Bill of Rights

Bill of Rights for Children I copied and pasted these into a document and printed them out. I hung them in 5 different places in our home for a few weeks. I then offered each of my children a reward for each one they could name. 

Printable Constitution I have had this printed out and hung where my children can read it.

Free Printable Pocket Constitution I own a similar one of these that was given away for free many years ago.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

“Wherever you find a great man, you will find a great mother or a great wife standing behind him—or so they used to say. It would be interesting to know how many great women have had great fathers and husbands behind them.” ―Dorothy L. Sayers

Thank you, Clint, for being an excellent father and husband!!! We love you!!

How to Treat Your Enemies

With love and especially for the ladies in the churches in Pakistan, Philippines, China, and India:

Romans 5:10  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

John 15:12-15 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. 

Matthew 5:43-48 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

God loved us when we were offensive to Him. That is so profound, especially coupled with the verses on how to love each other and love our enemies. 

It is when we make that great effort to love our worst enemies that we understand God's love for us. It is when we grow as Christians. It's not easy, but rarely does anything worth having come with ease. 

I am thankful I have a husband who has exampled this. He is wise enough to see the source of the battle and take steps to do his part in fighting back. He has been a blessing to myself and my children by actively leading us through some very challenging circumstances. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Proverbs 22:1

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t-shirt designed for our family

I am thankful I have married a man who has integrity others notice and speak of as soon as they meet me. What a blessing it is to be married to Clint and what wonderful name his children will inherit!

Friday, June 13, 2014

It Finally Happened

Caleb built a few birdhouses out of scrap wood and hinges. We've been seeing a lot of interest, but no activity so far. I walked out onto the deck after a very productive, but tiring day to give the Lord thanks for the things that had been accomplished when I saw a bird go into the box. I grabbed the binoculars to see what kind it was when it exited. I waited and waited and waited. Did I miss it leaving? I decided to go check it out.

I took camera and walked very slowly. I saw a sweet little face looking back at me.

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I lightened it so you can see it better.

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I got a little closer.

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I would not let everyone go near her, but I did let the young man who built her home go see his new tenant.

I told Caleb to walk slowly and see what was in the box. I knew he'd turn and look at me as soon as he saw her, so I made ready with the camera. It took a year from when he put them up, but it finally happened!

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"Oh, COOL!"

Thursday, June 12, 2014

It's Almost Time

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Each flower will make one berry!
It looks like we are about to have an abundant harvest!

We have acres of wild blackberries that grow on our farm. Each year, we eagerly look forward to when they will be ripe! There are so many wonderful things you can make with blackberries, and they are so incredibly healthy to eat.  We love to give away fresh berries and jars of preserves as gifts to our friends and family.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Faster Way to Compost

We are doing this in conjunction with our worm bin.

Why Bokashi?

  • It is versatile.  You can compost all of your kitchen wastes including dairy, meat, and  baked goods.  Why throw any of that away?
  • No strong putrid odors.
  • No insects or rodents.
  • No nutrients are lost.  Everything is contained within the system.
  • Minimal greenhouse gases are produced.
  • The bokashi process is compact.  No need for a yard or large compost piles.
  • No turning necessary.
  • No need to worry about green to brown ratios.
  • The scraps are inoculated with beneficial microorganisms.
  • Works great in conjunction with vermiculture.
  • It is easy.  Even a child could do it.
  • Great for school projects. to read more, watch the video on how it is done, and see the kit you can buy or make yourself. We simply added bokashi bran to our worm bin, but I thought I'd give you a url where you could learn about the process and buy a kit.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

2 Corinthians 13:11

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copyright: Wendy Asbell
Free to use as long as it is not altered.
A link back is appreciated, but not required.

2 Corinthians 13:11  Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Our Swingset to Chicken Tractor Conversion

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This is where we are raising birds between brooder and the big pen.
They have grown, so we have added two more dog houses for them to get inside of during rain.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

John 4:20

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Image is free to use as long as unaltered. 
A link back would be appreciated, but is not required.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

I Pray He Sends You Swallows and Turtles

Last year, after I lost two babies months apart in one pregnancy due to Vanishing Twin and a still birth, I went through some moments where I wondered if God loved me. "Lord, I have trusted you and given You this part of my life, and You use it to rip my heart out eight times now. Do You still love me? Because right now, I do not feel loved at all. Lord, I am asking You, if there is a purpose to all of this, and if You still love me, send me something so I can KNOW it is from You and will know You still love me in the rough patches I know are going to come."

And I heard that quiet, still voice ask, "What would let you know?"

"Lord, I am simple. I don't know...a turtle, Lord, send me a turtle, and I will know." (I have no idea why turtles popped into my mind at that moment.)

No one knew of my struggle because I didn't want to burden the people who were already hurting for me. So, no one knew of my prayer.

The very next morning people brought me five turtles. I never told them why I was acting so odd that day. The turtles kept coming and as they did, I'd sit down and stare at them. I realize as I am typing this I really didn't expect any to show up. 

Over the course of a few weeks, around 20 turtles were brought to me. When the five came, I had a little cry while thanking God for His love for me, a personal and individual love just for me. Then, I became a little many! "Lord, You are sending so many turtles; I see so much love!" Towards the end, I laughed. "OK, Lord, I get it. You love me without end, but I can't handle any more turtles right now!" I was brought a couple more after that.

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Right on the heels of that, swallows came and nested in the awning over my front door. I have lived here 18 years and swallows have never nested at our door before. In fact, they had left our place three years earlier when we lost the big barn in the fire. The nine of us are in and out of that door dozens of times a day EACH. Very high traffic. It was unusual. I did some research on swallows and learned the symbolism behind them. I knew then it was a God-thing too!

Then the swallows needed help due to the heat, so I helped them. Then a cat ate one of the last two fledglings, and I took the other into the house until I knew it could fly well enough to avoid them. When its parents came again, I took it outside and gave them their last surviving offspring. Even though they nested elsewhere this year, the swallows come visit when I am in the yard, closer to me than anyone else, sit on the wire and "talk" to me, they fly circles over my head (the equivalent of them pointing). If I am in the backyard, that's where they will circle. If I am in the front, that is where they will fly over me. Sometimes I can call "Chip, Chip!!" and he will come from somewhere behind our property and fly over me a few times. I can tell Chip from the other swallows because he chatters at me for long moments. The people who have witnessed it are impressed. 

When I see them, which is very often right now, I think of God's willingness and eagerness to show me His love at a time I needed it most. I also think of how little Chip and I both survived a very hard year. We both needed a little bit of help..him from me and me from my Father, but we overcame some harsh realities of life.

Turtles and's a God and me thing. You might not understand it, but I do, and that is why He sent them to me. 

No matter what comes in your life, God does love you. Surrendering shows a humble heart willing to honor the Lord with a gift however He sees fit. I was naturally hoping for another baby to hold and raise to adulthood, but God had a greater plan. Because I responded to His call in 1995 and trusted whatever His will for me in that area was, He gave me several children to hold now, several more I will hold in the future, spiritual lessons to better equip me, and at the same time, He gave me a ministry to reach others for Him. 

I also learned better how to pray for those who are hurting. When you are at your lowest, hurting and battered by this life, that is when I pray He will send you barn swallows and turtles...or the equivalent of those in your reaffirm His great love for you.

The loss of any good thing in this world by a Christian is meant to reveal that Christ is more precious than all. John Piper

Psalm 145:9 The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Happy Birthday, Caleb!

Happy Birthday, Caleb!

It's official! You are a TeEnAgEr!!! Yay!!!

Your ability to look at pile of parts and one picture of the finished project and know exactly how to put it together continues to amaze us! Even the bluebirds think you are a great builder! Every project you take on helps refine those skills. Dad wishes he had your ability to remember exactly where everything is in his tool shed.

You are a kind, humble, tenderhearted soul who always looks out for the people around him. You possess a quiet strength that others often overlook. You are always willing to share whatever you have and take joy when others receive rewards. You watch over everyone and give a helping hand where needed in any way that you can. Your dedication to your family will make you a blessing to your future wife and children as you are to your parents and your siblings.

Thank you for always being willing to help fix or offer suggestions for whatever is broken around our home and farm. You work so hard and give everything your all from playing the most exciting game to the dullest chore. You do not shirk responsibility, but take it on and run with it. God will allow you to make differences in many people's lives over your lifetime.

God will always be there to guide you and provide for you. Never stop looking to Him as you grow. He is the Master Builder and has a set of blueprints just for your life. Give Him the glory in all you do! 

You are a joy! Dad and I love you and are very proud of you! Our lives would not be complete without you! I am so thankful I did not listen to the doctors and stop having children at two. I would have missed out on something so precious to me...YOU!

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Muscovy Ducks

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Our Muscovy ducks are stock from lines of the French company Grimaud Freres. They are top quality stock. They are a year old and have started laying eggs. We will be offering eggs for hatching, eggs and birds as food, ducklings for raising, and breeding pairs for sale.

Grimaund Feres is world reknowned for their excellent genetics and potential. Their muscovy ducks typically weigh more than average. This line of ducks will make an excellent addition to your farm or homestead.

Muscovy ducks have a softer voice, more like a goose's hiss, than the typical loud quack. This makes them ideal where you have concerns for noise. Their meat is leaner and does not taste like typical duck meat. Many say it can taste like veal or ham depending on how you prepare it. They are excellent mothers, reproduce easily, and can take care of themselves. They do need their wings clipped periodically because the females and juevniles can and will fly. 

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Whitley Reunion

"To all of my Whitley kinfolk…we’re only 30 days away from the 150th anniversary of one of the oldest (if not THE oldest) consecutive family reunions in the history United States. (no one has challenged us yet as the longest consecutive running and oldest reunion!)
When Elisha Everette Whitley returned to his home in the Como/Winborne’s Mill area after the Civil War in the spring of 1865, his family celebrated his homecoming on his birthday which was July 4th. He asked that it be continued every year and since 1865, the descendants of Elisha Everette Whitley gather together each July 4th to celebrate our nation’s freedom as well as the ties that bind our family.
Today hundreds of Whitley heirs trace their roots back to Elisha Everette and Sallie Ann Whitley. They include farmers, storekeepers, doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, contractors, teachers, civil servants, students, housewives, ministers, artists, nurses, technicians, soldiers, athletes, and even an Olympic Gold Medalist.
Come join us on Friday, July 4, 2014 at the Charles R. Younts American Legion Hall (Post 73) at 935 Armory Dr. Franklin, VA 23851. For more details you can go to" Whitley Facebook page

Summer Bowling, Reading, Skating, and Movie Freebies

I was asked if I'd share the links. I am in a hurry, so you'll have to copy and paste the urls.

Free Summer Reading Program:

Free DVD Rentals:

Free Movies Online:

Free Kid's Movies:

Free Kid's Bowling:

Free Kid's Bowling: 

Free Skating:

I hope this blesses someone with some family fun and memory making moments. Clint and I use to drive homeschooled children up to the local bowling alley and movie theatre. We use to go to the local library for the free programs there also. You might want to see what your local library or community center has scheduled.

It's a Fact

We tell our children, "One of the hardest things to deal with in this life is that
you will be hurt by the people you love, and one of the saddest to accept is that you will hurt the people who love you too. It's a part of being a sinful human being in a sinful world. And we tell them:

How quickly you ask forgiveness,
how quickly you are willing to work things out, and 
how quickly you forgive 
are a measure of the love in your heart and your maturity in Christ." 

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Tangled Up Together

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Our newest sign is on the way!

Monday, June 02, 2014

Prayer Request

Please pray for our cousin Katie. She is very, very sick. She is bleeding internally and needs a blood transfusion, but the insurance company will not allow the doctor to give it to her until her numbers drop another point or so. While waiting for that transfusion, a host of other problems have cropped up. Please lift her up. She has had months of a very hard health road including a pregnancy loss and needs so relief.

Around Here June 2014

Clint and I had some of the vinyl siding for the house in the barn when it burned down. When insurance replaced it, we purchased grey because it was readily available, and we had to choose quickly. Since then, we've considered going with a colonial blue. Clint wants to paint part of the house with a similar shade of paint before we commit to it. That will allow us to change our minds easier if it turns out too bright for our tastes. If we do that, we will put the grey on another structure we have here or maybe donate it to Habitat for Humanity. So, we are close to putting on the vinyl siding, but slowing down a little to make sure we like what we do. 

Clint and I had a nice day to remember our miscarried/stillborn babies on May 7th. It was a cooler day, so we didn't catch many fish, but we had a nice time alone on the water. After I knew he was OK, I laughed at seeing my husband break dance when a snake fell from an overhanging tree onto his feet. That was also the first trip out where we have been stopped and checked by the Marine Police. Everything was in order so we traded fishing tips and news with the two officers.

I had a WONDERFUL, FANTASTIC Mother's Day. Besides having everyone with me, I was showered with many thoughtful gifts, flowers, and fine chocolates (which I shared). The most touching part was when Clint thanked me during worship for being a Proverbs 31 wife/mother. I do not like being the focus in a crowd, but it was very nice. I was treated to all of the day's meals and dessert. Clint, Amanda, and I went on a fishing trip where we had a blast pulling in fish left and right while people around us stared in amazement because they weren't catching anything. When we returned home and put away our catch, I was pampered with a long, relaxing massage. 

We have had many wonderful outings and day trips and are looking forward to our week long family vacation at our little hideaway. We'll be fishing, crabbing, beach fire pit cooking, boating, canoeing, swimming, biking, trail hiking, etc. We have a huge crab boil planned and some sightseeing on our list as well. We are thankful for the help we are receiving to keep the incubator running and the livestock fed.

If I had to sum up the first half of the year with one word, it would be "abundance." This spring has been a time of tremendous blessing, fellowship, God's provision, and joy. Every where I look, there is an abundance of blessings. We have accomplished so much, and our plans are falling together. God has been pouring out His love in abundance in so many tangible ways that I feel His close presence often. 

Clint purchased three Flemish Giant, one New Zealand, two Silver Fox/New Zealand crosses, Two New Zealand/Chinchilla crosses. Caleb, Joshua, and I are currently building rabbit "tractors."  Our first three movable pens, we made from recycled materials on the farm. Clint has plans to build a certain type to sell. We have raised rabbits in the past, but are hoping to do a larger scale this time along with a different housing plan. Krzysztof, Brandon told me your family has raised rabbits for years. 

In the last several months, we have added over 100 critters on the farm, two large, movable structures that will serve as large brooders and double as greenhouses in the winter, animal housing, a large garden, several new trees, berry bushes, a new incubator, and will soon be adding more livestock. It's been a time of a great deal of work and long days but also of family bonding and a lot of laughter. We feel very humbled, blessed, and thankful by the Lord's provision.

Our buddy (aka "Da Man") came through with the race tickets (THANK YOU, cookies are en route as requested), but Clint's work schedule changed so he wasn't able to go. Amanda ended up having to work to fill in for a sick co-worker, and Brandon wasn't keen on going. I didn't want to go into a crowd that large with my Fab 5 alone so Clint gave the tickets to some relatives who were very thankful for them and had a wonderful time at the vendor's pre-race tents. They even won prizes in the giveaway. They said the race had some good action. One of our dogs had twice as many puppies (again, an abundance of blessings!!) as normal that day and needed my assistance, so God things worked things out all the way around.

Brandon is salaried so he is able to have more flexibility with his hours. That has been nice because we are able to meet for lunch now and then. He is making friends and fitting in nicely in his new position. I told him I missed our weekly outings together. He said he'll take half a day off soon, and we'll hit the stores together.

Amanda spent nearly all of her savings on her new building, the wiring, and insulation. She is having to do the rest as inexpensively as she can and needs to save for her heating system. She has shown amazing stewardship with her income. She recently tithed $300 to build an access ramp for a family friend who is battling a terminal condition. She has stopped taking orders until she can fulfill what she has now.

Joshua, Caleb, and Bethany are enjoying their trips to Busch Gardens. The boys just dug a trench for Clint and earned $50 each for doing it. My boys are putting on height and muscle quickly! They recently took over cutting down the Black Locust saplings I use for clematis trellises, tomato cages, building poles, and replacement tool handles. These were under where the ospreys are raising chicks. I chuckled at Caleb's concerned, "Hey Mom, do osprey ever swoop down at people?" I am not ready for him to turn 13 this month.

Bethany has frequently taken over the kitchen lately. I enjoy secretly observing her because she has her mama's love of dancing while she works. The stereo is Boomin when Bethany is cooking! She tells me she has a "handful of dreams and a heart full of God." She is a delight and is enjoying the new bedroom Clint added for her! 

A few weeks ago, I looked up from gardening and saw Emily and Hannah had put on their princess costumes and were playing in the tower of their play set. It was too adorable! I had my phone and camera in the house, so I sat there and enjoyed the sight of my littlest playing innocently in their carefree, imaginary world. 

These are precious, joyful days. I am enjoying them immensely and am so thankful to the Lord for them.