Sunday, September 07, 2014

Making a comeback

It's been a couple of years since I blogged.

There - I said it. I have confessed my transgression. If anyone is still following me it will be simply because you forgot to stop following but I am going to try to regain your favor. I will endeavor to blog items of interest - books I've read, sewing projects attempted (successfully completed or miserably failed), plant-strong menus, the quest for fitness, life with a middle schooler and elementary kids while also learning the ropes as a grandma.

Actually there will most likely be more. I'm a bit distracted and life comes through that way when blogging happens. Life can get a little messy in this neck of the woods but it's all good. The uphill, the level, the downhill.. it's all part of the journey.

Photos are always good, aren't they? I'll include some of those as well - as soon as I've conquered the wonderful point and shoot camera my sons gave me years ago. It's a nice camera and capable of much more than I ask of it. Going to try to learn how to ask more of it.

So who's with me? Give me another chance? It may not be a good excuse but I don't have internet at home any longer. The public library is my 'go to' for a connection. We do visit a couple of days a week so that's when the blogs go down.. er.. or up as the case may be.

Thanks for your time. See you soon.

Friday, April 26, 2013


Ladies, there are weeds in my garden.

Looking out over last year's sadly neglected garden spot I noticed the over abundance of weeds growing. They are everywhere. Chickweed, Dandelion, Plantain and a host of others I can not name. Surveying the forsaken mess makes it difficult to believe it was ever anything other than a breeding ground for weeds. There is some relentless mint growing. I noticed some cucumber making it's appearance - and an onion. Must not forget the onion.

We had decided to allow this patch of garden to rest this year. We weren't going to tend it at all.

But growth doesn't stop. Even if you don't cultivate, plant and tend, the garden will still produce. It may not be what you want, but it will produce. It will look like a wild, haggard, forsaken place. It won't produce much food to speak of. Maybe a few volunteers here and there. Eventually they will be choked out by the weeds.

I can't help but feel a bit sad.

It was a decision to allow this particular ground to fallow this year but it makes me think of a different garden - a garden we can never allow to fallow. There are weeds there as well. Sometimes you don't realize how prolific they have become until much time has passed. Sometimes the weeds are insidious, waiting a while to present themselves. To catch them you must look below the
bountiful growth of healthy plants before they do their worst.

This can be an overwhelming thought. It's enough to make the thought of gardening completely repulsive. Until you realize an important truth - the most blessed news of all. We may think we are the main gardeners, but we're not. There is a Master Gardener who never misses anything. If weeds are growing even those can be used to our benefit. Dandelion, chickweed and plantain are edible and full of health promoting properties. Our fruit may not be beautiful in the fallow season but the ground beneath is being fed with important nutrients that will aid in future harvests.

He will work all things together for good - for the benefit of our garden.

I need to remember that today.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sunday, September 09, 2012

School Room 2012

This year we needed to completely revamp the school room. Both kids needed a larger desk (they grew like weeds over the summer!) and books needed to be removed so new books could be added. It turned into a 4 day project, even though we didn't paint or do major reno! It was in desperate need of re-organization. I should paint. There's much that could be done, but for now.. this is the room.

Our daughter's desk has the computer on it since she will be using that some this year. 

Opposite side of the room.

Our son's desk.

It may not be a "dream" school room, but I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. I feel fortunate to have a separate space for schooling. Not pictured is the window and my chair that's in front of the window. 

That's it! The abbreviated tour. :)

Monday, September 03, 2012

A List

I will blog again some day. Good Lord willing and the creek don't rise!

Until I do here's a list:
*Our hens just started laying eggs. Well, should say "egglets." They are always so tiny when they first start laying. Isn't it cute?? I have really short fingers so the egg looks bigger than it is. This one was only about 1 1/2 inches tall.

*Actually did a little bit of canning this summer and hope to do more in the Autumn. Lots of yummy pickles on the shelf thanks to a friend who had a prolific cucumber harvest!

*I learned to make ice cream with our Vitamix. We made these on National Ice Cream Sandwich Day. Yes, there is such a thing. These were made with homemade almond milk and organic, soy free chocolate chips.

*Our little apple tree produced a few apples this year... seven to be exact. They are granny smith and one of these years we may have enough for a yummy apple pie!

*This summer my daughter started learning to sew. I think she is doing very well. I found her a used machine last year and she is enjoying using it.

*I did a little sewing over the summer too. One project was to make "not paper towels." They turned our pretty well, but putting them back on the roll after using/washing them was kind of a pain. So now they are folded and stacked. They are handy though.

*We're taking our first ever family beach vacation later this month. First ever!

*I sold my grain mill and Bosch Concept 7 mixer.. getting out of the bread making business. If I ever do need to grind grains our Vitamix will do the job.

*Trying a new curriculum this year. First packaged curriculum we've tried in a bunch of years. Excited about it. Also pretty thrilled that a friend is selling me her used curriculum at a reduced price! What a blessing!

*Our family grew by one this summer. A little Yorkie pup joined our ranks. He likes green smoothies.

*I made him some belly bands because he's the most difficult dog I have ever tried to house break. Seriously difficult. Good thing he's adorable.

And last, but certainly not least...

*I'm going to be a Grammy this year. Our son and his wife are expecting their first baby in November.  We don't know if it will be a boy or girl as they want to be surprised. I love that! Can't wait to meet little him or her. :)

Thanks for reading my list. :-)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lessons Learned in the Dark

Our family was one of the millions who lost power during the Derecho of 2012. It was out for a very, very long 8 days. To say it was challenging would be an understatement. When we lose power we also lose water since we're on a well. We have chickens who needed water at least twice a day, two dogs (who are currently battling fleas) and two kids so going away and staying somewhere wasn't really an option for us.

Thankfully after our power had been out a few days and other folks were getting their power back, we were loaned a generator so we would have a way to turn on a light, run our fridge and a very small air conditioner so we could at least sleep. We were also loaned a large water tank so we would have water to give the animals and something with which to flush toilets. Others gave us flats of bottled water for drinking and since it was insanely hot (temps over the 100 mark) we definitely put that to good use!

Apart from just surviving through this experience, I have decided that difficulty is a wonderful school master. The lessons we learned were invaluable.

1) It educated us on how unprepared we are for calamity. We were able to come up with a very good checklist on things we needed to do to be prepared in the future and have already started working on that list.

2) It showed us how dependent we are on modern conveniences. Many parts of the world have none of the modern conveniences we have here. It gave us a narrow view of how others live out their daily lives. I say narrow because even while we were missing running water and a/c, we still had a sturdy home to live in and a way to gather water and get away in an air conditioned car. We have no idea how spoiled we are.

3) Losing power was an excellent way to wean off of video entertainment and actually talk to each other. The TV and Wii have been off since power returned. Think we're going to keep it that way for a while.

4) It was humbling. We had to learn to ask people if we could come over for a shower, get water, accept food that was offered.

5) We learned that God is not hindered by our circumstances. We saw God provide through the kindnesses of others. He provided our every need and then some.

6) Even a loss can be a good thing. We lost everything in our fridge. It all rotted. Once everything was out of the fridge, we gave it a very good cleaning so it wouldn't smell badly. Sure we lost some food, which can be replaced, but we gained a very clean fridge!

7) Hidden stuff is brought out. Our house is old and so is the carpet that was there when we bought the house. Most of the time I can keep the smell down, but when the carpet gets wet it doesn't smell good at all. We discovered this when we had the carpet cleaned shortly after moving in. It's been on our list of things to replace but wasn't a priority item so we haven't gotten to it yet.

Well, when it's nearly 100 degrees and humid in the house, apparently the stench from whatever is under there is affected just as if someone poured a bucket over water over it. It was so bad it made my eyes water. I found this concept didn't only apply to our carpet it also applied to me. As the heat and humidity rose so did my stench. I was an impatient, grumpy, complaining mess of a human! I'm grateful God gave me a good look at my heart and the many areas that need attention.

8) All that being said the overarching lesson from this experience is that it produced an attitude of gratefulness and reminded us that Jesus is more than enough. All that's been given us are grace gifts. They could be removed anytime. If we lost our homes, our comforts, our health, would He still be enough for us or would it turn us into hardened, bitter individuals? The first half of week I would have been the latter. However our loving Father allowed me to see that about myself. I'm thankful He began a good work in me and will be faithful to complete it and to be dependent on nothing but Him.

Now here's hoping we won't be having another class any time soon! :-)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Gotta Have It!

Years ago there was this product I used to want so badly. I would sit and try to devise a way to save money to buy it. I followed the sales, looked for used ones in good condition, put it on birthday and Christmas lists. Priorities and life changes entered in. Never got it.

Today I saw the price on the item had dropped drastically. There was a big sale going on as well. It was finally in my price range. Only.. I didn't want it anymore. In fact I hadn't even thought of it for quite sometime. I had even stopped searching sale papers for it.

I started thinking of all the items I had wanted over the years. Items I thought I couldn't do without. Did I get them all? Definitely not. However life was moving along fine without them. Yet sometimes it seems the desire for certain things is overwhelming, becoming my motivating drive. But then I have to ask myself these questions: "Are you willing to sacrifice time with your children? Your spouse? Your friends? How is the desire for that item affecting your generosity?"

The answers always bring me back to reality. No thing will ever replace the value of relationships. The item will be long sold at a yard sale before we would ever let go of the people we love.

That's the nature of "things." They are just things. We want them. Think they will make our lives easier, more fun, healthier, more envious, but they don't really have any kind of staying power. No real satisfaction comes from them.

The only items we really hang on to are those sentimental things. The ones that remind us of family, love, hope. The other items, the ones that bring us convenience, prestige or entertainment are quickly outdated and tossed.

It opens the door on the verse of scripture, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-20

It's only the eternal investments that truly matter. May those items we already own and those we acquire simply be tools in making those investments.