Friday, April 28, 2017

Take It Slow

Clint helped a young man, Alex, whose car broke down in our driveway after he drove through water. Alex told Clint he thought the best way to get through water was to drive as fast as he could. Clint was patient and gentle as he encouraged him to go slow through water that can't be avoided to lessen the risk of damage. It was apparent as they diagnosed the problem that the young man didn't have a good working knowledge of his automobile, but he really listened and asked questions when Clint explained things to him.

After Clint talked with him for a while, he learned this young man did not have a father or a mother growing up. Alex aged out of the foster care system. His uncle works him as a waterman for $40 cash a day a few days a week. A day starts very early and can go 8-12 hours. That is very low pay for a very hard and often dangerous job.

Alex bought his car for $200 and has put $300 in it. We could tell he was worried about what it would cost to fix his car. Unlike most young adults, he has no cell phone. He sleeps at his uncle's house so he can get up early and work, but he lives with his aunt.

He was driving alone on a learner's permit because he had no family who was willing to ride with him. He had already been pulled once, but the officer was understanding to the situation and let him go with a warning. Clint drove him to his aunt's so he could go get his driver's license on his day off. He came back later and fixed his car.

The young man was hesitant and seemed to have a confidence problem, but he was polite and has a desire to learn. When Clint let him know his driving method was erroneous, he didn't let his pride get in the way of taking in new information. He clearly isn't afraid of hard work. Instead of making excuses or waiting on a hand out, he is trying to get himself started in life despite the many obstacles in his path. That's a lot of good character qualities that emerged in a few minutes of talking. I am glad we had the opportunity to meet him and hope we see him again.

People who do things that seem foolish might not have had the same opportunity to learn as you did. Slow down and look for the good in people. Try to be patient and gentle with everyone you meet to avoid causing more damage (hurt) in their lives. Some roads in life are harder than others.

If you will please pray for Alex.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I won't let it erase the good memories...

For the first time ever, I am thankful my paternal grandparents are with the Lord so they were spared the pain.
I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it. The quiet time away helped settle my heart a bit.
I lost my cousin Jerry to suicide eight days ago. He was the oldest of the local cousins. When we were children, I thought he could do anything and everything.
When he got his driver's license, he took me and another cousin out driving. I thought he was so cool! I remember him patiently teaching me to throw a crab line at my grandparent's pier. He took me to a little spot he knew would fill his trap with minnows he could use to catch bigger fish. He showed me how to find the path through my grandfather's thick bamboo patch to the well house. To younger me, it was as exciting as going through the wardrobe into Narnia! He and I played horseshoes together at my grandparents. I'm pretty sure he let me win. After Clint and I were married, we spent some time with Jerry in a lake cabin he was renting at the time and created many fun memories. I still use a recipe he gave me and will make sure that I tell my children today who it came from.
Like most of the men in my paternal family, Jerry could do anything with wood from building houses to making furniture. He could fish, hunt, and trap with the best of them and then shared whatever he had. I can't remember him and I ever having a harsh word between us. He was so much fun to be around! I can still see him smiling, cutting up, and laughing. He was a compassionate, gentle, down to earth, give you the shirt off his back country boy.
I've lost so many friends and family to suicide. I can remember crying my heart out for days the first time it happened when I was a teenager. I burst into tears 20 years later when visiting his grave. The sharpness of it so many years later took me by surprise. I still miss him! The pain suicide leaves just sticks around. It's not how we should leave one another. I use to get angry about it, but I soon learned to look past the act to see their pain and forgive them.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to someone, and if they aren't helpful, reach out again to someone else. Keep moving until you get the help you need. The first few people you reach out to might be in the midst of something of their own and not see your need because their own pain. Help IS out there! I have friends who have been there and found their way through with various treatments. I am proud of them!
To my family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances: If you ever need a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, a hug, a swift kick in the pants, a friend, a sister, an aunt, a mama...I am here. Don't make a permanent choice that will end forever the chance of your circumstances changing. You could be missing out on something better that was out of your sight only because it was right around the next corner. Let the pages of your life keep turning, and see where you end up. My heart is very burdened for my aunt, uncle, an cousins. Please pray for them.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Prayer Request

My cousin, Jerry, took his own life. I am heartbroken. Please be in prayer for his parents, siblings, and niece and nephew. I love them all very much and can not imagine the pain they are going through. 

Jerry L. Bailey

Western Tidewater - Jerry Lee Bailey, 52, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday, April 18, 2017. He was a native and lifelong resident of Isle of Wight, a beloved son of D. Marie Talton and Rollis I. Bailey, Jr. He is also survived by a sister, Susan Sauder, and fiancé, Will Greer; a brother, Ronnie Bailey; niece, Bridgette and nephew, Bailey.

Jerry was a passionate carpenter and woodworker and was able to help and care for others with his crafts and hands. He was a caregiver, great cook, gardener, and avid hunter and fisherman.

In addition to his immediate family, Jerry was blessed and was a blessing to O.A and Hazel Spady, Jimmy Turner, Jim and Elizabeth Turner, Shirley Hooker, Bruce Wayne Spady, Jimmy Holland, Steven and Rhonda Culpepper, and two canine pals, Jackson and Buttons.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Bee Progress First Week

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When Brandon got his bees, he did not have a rubber band large enough to attach the queen's box to the frame. So, he removed a frame and sat her box in the hive. He was told by his local bee mentor not to open the roof for a week while the bees set up their home. Since he never put the frame back, he has comb growing between the frames and attached to the roof. This is not a big deal.

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New to beekeeping, we were impressed with their progress in just 6 days.
Brandon has Italian bees supplied by the local bee group. They are known for being very docile.

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Brandon didn't take any chances. I watched their behavior as I walked to the hive, and they remained calm, so I was able to get a really good look.

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The drops are sugar water Brandon sprayed on them. 
It keeps them busy while he works and gives them a boost of energy.

Psalm 16:24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Brandon's Bees

Clicking the pictures will make them larger for easier reading.

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This is about 5 pounds of honey bees.

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There was a board stapled on top of this for shipping.

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I always thought the queen traveled alone, but she is accompanied in her little box by a few others.

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Everything is pretty easy going unless you mush a bee. 
If a bee is harmed, it releases pheromones that tell the others to attack and sting. Brandon was careful, and we had no issues. The bees were very calm and several landed on us peacefully to rest. If we didn't want them on us, we gently brushed them off. Most of us liked having them on us. The entire installation was a very pleasant experience!

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The buzzing noise they make is very soothing.
The queen is in the box at the bottom of the picture above.

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The queen is in the box which is covered in bees as they work to get her out. These are at Brandon's house, but we hope to add hives to our farm next year.

Psalm 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Friday, April 07, 2017

Little Nest

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 I found this tiny nest on the ground under one of our pine trees.
It is made from hog hair, horse hair, grasses, and a few strands of woven plastic feed bags. The penny is for size comparison.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Where Food Comes From

Recently, I was buying ever-bearing strawberries from a department store. Green berries of all sizes were hanging off the plants. The cashier asked me what they were. I was surprised by the question. She was so delighted by those little green berries! She had never seen strawberries growing before! I was reminded how many people have never had the opportunity to see where their food originates. Her genuine enthusiasm made me smile.This isn't stupidity as some people like to call it. It's a lack of knowledge due to lack of opportunity. I am very thankful for my rural upbringing and all of the simple things I often take for granted. 

Don't be puffed up by your knowledge. Understand we have not all had the same opportunities in life. Be thankful for your experiences, and continue learning! 

Monday, April 03, 2017

How We Use Our Brush for Natural Fencing

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natural fence to keep animals in

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more for the pile

A lot of livestock owners use a double fencing system for their animals, but it is cost prohibitive for small family farms. We have been piling our brush right along our property line for years. This creates a dense natural barrier that serves to keep our livestock from leaving our place. 

We have added to it, in a manner where it is not visible from either side, the old rolled wire fencing and other materials we have that can be re-purposed with the same goal in mind. I really like this because the old fencing we paid for is an investment that is still working for us along our brush pile fenced perimeter. That investment is still being returned to us many times over.

When our livestock has escaped, this has worked very well to keep them out of the farmer's field which is directly behind us. So far, we have never had a hog, goat, horse, etc go through or over it. What happens most of the time is the animal follows the path which leads them to the house where we usually see through a window that someone is out.

It's not completely around our property, but we are continually adding to it as we go.

This is our way of using what is naturally around and on hand to accomplish the same goal of a double fence system. This was a better choice for us than burning it off or carting it to the landfill.