Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Planting the Garden

About two weeks ago, we started planting the garden, and between days of rain and some other things, the garden has been getting planted . . . slowly . . . but it's getting in! :) We also ended up having a chilly spell and a frost last week, so we waited for things to warm up again before resuming planting.

Lettuce, Spinach and Radishes waiting to be planted

And then after they sprouted

The week before last, Mom, Leah and I planted the potatoes which was a lot of fun to do together! Leah also brought Mandy out which added some extra entertainment.

Leah and Mandy before we started planting

Me tilling the spot for the potatoes - two 80' rows

Mom and I


Meanwhile Mandy watched us and played some, too

Newly planted onions (150 to be exact)

Looking out across our yard towards the garden, apiary, and some of the goat pens

Lovely smelling blossoms on the lilac bush

For the first year ever thanks to no late hard freezes, our peach tree is covered in little peaches!

Part of the strawberry bed which I weeded and mulched again yesterday

One of my goals this week is to get all the rest of the garden planted save for the tomato, pepper and celery plants (those are not quite big enough yet to put out) and the winter squash and watermelon (which will be planted sometime in May.) In the meantime, we need to finish getting the barn ready for Aurora and Sierra to be moved into it in the next few days in preparation for their kidding next week, there are beehives to inspect and more honey supers to put on, grass to mow, and more!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Encouragement from Colossians

When reading through Colossians earlier this week, these verses from chapter one especially spoke to my heart . . . they are so encouraging! And convicting. I hope that they will be a blessing to you as they were to me!

" . . . that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;"

"strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light."

"For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:9b-14

(the photos are of some of the apple blossoms . . . all of the trees flowered out this year!)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The First Farmers Market and More

This past Saturday was the first Farmers Market of the season, and it went so well! Leah and I had both been looking forward to it and especially seeing everyone again.

It was a beautiful, cool morning when we headed out, and we enjoyed the familiar and pleasant drive . . .

Things are greening up!

The old railroad bridge over the river

At the market, we only took a few photos of the booth right before it started. I had hoped to get more photos there, but forgot about it! Maybe next time . . .

Part of the display . . . I did it different this year, and it was fun to come up with the design! As always Leah helped with the finishing touches. She really has an eye for things like this!

The whole table right after setting up . . . Leah took this one with her phone

The market itself went well, though our favorite part was seeing and visiting with our friends again and the customers! We set up right next to the couple we had become good friends with last year so we had a wonderful time visiting with them during the slow times. There was a lot to catch up on!

Part way through the market, my parents surprised us by coming out which was really nice. My Mom had made chocolate chip cookie bars and brought those for us and to share with the other vendors (whom they have also gotten to know.) Needless to say, the bars were much enjoyed by everyone!

The first market was a definite success, and we are looking forward to another wonderful market season.

Now for a bit of randomness in the form of photos taken over the last week or so . . . 

The days are continuing to count down until goat kids arrive! It's only about three weeks now . . .

My doe, Aurora, is getting bigger and bigger! She's moving slower with it being this late in her pregnancy, but is still doing really well.

Aurora again . . . Leah snapped this photo of her yesterday. And in Leah's words "I'm looking forward to having some cute, floppy-eared babies around here again!" I couldn't agree more. :)

Speaking of Leah . . . we enjoyed some time outdoors together the other day in the few minutes we had before starting to make dinner . . .

Enjoying time with Sierra and Sienna one evening . . . though Leah's goat, Sienna, got a little wound up shortly after this photo was taken! She needed a few lessons in manners. :)

Mom starting the spring deep cleaning in our kitchen

The wild plum trees are blooming now! The honeybees have been loving them, and I'm envisioning all the little red plums we'll hopefully get and be able to turn into syrup and jelly. :)

Pepper plants slowly growing

 The seed potatoes

This morning, I got the seed potatoes cut up and tomorrow, rain or shine, Mom, Leah and I will be planting them. It will be exciting to finally get the first things in the garden!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Springtime on our Little Homestead

Unlike the last few years, spring has arrived on time this year! Consistent temperatures in the 60's and a few 70's has the fruit trees just breaking into blossom. 

We did have a quick cold snap last week bringing the temperature below freezing, but it came early enough that the fruit trees, blueberry bushes, and flowers weren't affected by it, thankfully. Here's hoping it was our last frost/freeze of the season!

With the warm temperatures, it would be a perfect time for planting in the garden, but right now it looks like this . . .

Still not tilled thanks to rain, rain and more rain! I had been hoping that our next batch of rain would hold off long enough for the ground to dry enough to be tilled. Then we could get the potatoes and onions planted and maybe the carrots, too. It looked like tomorrow was going to work, but the forecast changed and rain should be starting again tonight so it will have to wait a little longer! 

While the garden sits idle, other things are growing . . .



I can almost taste that strawberry rhubarb pie! This year we have the area around our strawberries electric fenced so we should get a crop this year instead of the deer enjoying the plants. :)

The blueberry bushes are just about ready to break into blossom

It feels a little unusual to not have any goat kids yet with not having the Alpines anymore. Two of our Boer does are due next month, though! We are really looking forward to that!

Aurora . . . and she is huge! We wouldn't be surprised if she has triplets, but we're hoping for twins.

Sierra . . . the other evening I tried to feel her babies and did! They (at least we're hoping it is a 'they') were very active, and I felt quite a few hard thumps against my hand. What an amazing thing new life is!

Our lilac bush

Last week Dad and I did the first full beehive inspections of the year on the six hives that made it through the winter (we lost two - both of which we thought we would probably lose.) Of the six, five are doing really well! Healthy, bringing in lots of pollen, some nectar, and the queens are laying excellent brood patterns. The sixth hive we aren't sure about . . . we'll have to check it again in a few weeks.

Busy bees!

The peach tree is just beginning to blossom, and the honeybees have been busy gathering nectar

Spring busyness is picking up, and this week will be especially busy! Farmers market starts this Saturday so in addition to some outdoor work and quite a few other things, I'll be getting everything ready for that. There is honey to be bottled and labeled, sugar scrubs to make, soaps to label and more!

Have any of you been able to start planting your gardens yet?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Visiting Friends

After almost a year since our last visit, this past Tuesday found Leah and I on our way to visit our dear friends in Indiana. We had been trying to get together for months, but something always came up (sickness, etc.) to prevent it. Finally our plans worked!

Rainy skies on our way there

Illinois had a lot of flooding!

Entering Indiana! Getting closer!

The tree filled, rolling hills of Indiana are so pretty, even at this time of year.

We knew we were in for a wonderful and encouraging visit, and we were not disappointed! What a blessing our time together was! Late night conversations (or early morning? One night we were up until 1:30!), going for walks, thrifting, praying together, playing some games, going to the movie "Do You Believe?" (which is excellent by the way), and so much more.

Laura and I - so very blessed to call her friend!

Emily and Leah

Laura and Emily are much more than just friends to us, but are like sisters. Our time together was so special, and they were both such an encouragement to us! As was the rest of their family.

Here is a photographic glimpse into our time together . . .

Me enjoying time with little Ezra (their nephew)
(he and his mom, Anna, came over for part of the afternoon - it was so nice to see her again and to meet him!)

Laura and Ezra

Sam and their dog, Shane

Anna (their sister-in-law), Emily, Leah holding Ezra, me and Laura
It was so nice to spend time together with all of these ladies! And Ezra, too. He wasn't too thrilled about the photography part, though! 

Visiting in the kitchen
Anna, Silas, Leah and Ezra and Emily 

Ezra and Leah

Making coleslaw for dinner


Laura, Ezra and Silas

 Ezra was kind of the center of attention for awhile. :)

In the afternoon, Laura, Emily, Leah and I and their brothers Silas and Sam went to a nearby park. The park has a beautiful lake with a walking trail around it. We had so much fun there! Especially as the day was unusually beautiful for this time of year with sunshine and a high around 70.

Laura and I teasing each other about accidentally pushing the other into the lake :)

It was so pleasant sitting out on the dock visiting! Admiring God's beautiful creation and talking about how beautiful heaven must be if this is how beautiful the corrupted creation is.

It was so peaceful there!

They look a little mismatched, don't they?

Walking around the lake and visiting . . . we had wonderful and encouraging conversations! Everything from light-hearted day to day things, to serving our families as adult daughters, to modesty, legalism, faith and trust in the Lord, and just about everything in between.

Silas and Sam playing tennis

Some geese both wild and domestic

We had had such an enjoyable time at the park, that we went back again in the evening after dinner . . .

Laura, Leah and Emily when we started out to walk around the lake again

The sunset was so beautiful over the lake!

Trying to be photographically creative with Laura as a photography subject :)

A lone coot in among the cypress trees

Emily and Leah

And them again :) 

Silas, Sam and Dave were playing frisbee while we went for our walk

And then we sat, visited, laughed and simply had fun together while they played

As darkness fell, we all moved over to the basketball court and the C siblings shot baskets together which was fun (and entertaining!) to watch! 

We made sure to play music together this time! (Last time we had brought our instruments, but ran out of time to play) . . .

Emily, Laura and Leah

We really enjoyed doing this together!

Making lunch together . . . delicious broccoli soup which was perfect for a chilly, drizzly day

Emily playing her guitar and singing . . . the rest of us were in the kitchen at the time and we seriously thought it was a song on a CD. So much so that Mrs. C. asked one of the boys to turn it up so we could hear it better. :) It turned out it was Emily!

Tim, Sam, Silas, Laura, Leah, Emily and I played UNO together . . . and added new rules each round which made it even more fun!

More music. Mrs. C. is a really good pianist! I very much enjoyed hearing her play.

And there is a glimpse into our week! So much more happened and the photos cannot capture the deep conversations, the laughter, and everything that fit in-between. It was really a special time . . . Laura and Emily, and their family, have such sincere and genuine hearts for the Lord and others and what a blessing they were to us! Leah and I left feeling encouraged, refreshed and inspired. Thank you so much for having us!