Monday, March 23, 2015

Planting Trees

Spring is really here! Not only does the calendar say it is spring, but one need only step outdoors and breathe in that fresh, warm spring air, see the buds breaking open on some of the trees, hear the call of Eastern Phoebes (the first spring birds to arrive), see the green grass growing and the first flowers blooming, and you know that spring is here to stay. And I am so enjoying my favorite time of year!

While we have yet to start planting anything in the garden, last evening we did planting of another kind . . . fruit trees! Dad had ordered eight more apple trees and two peach trees (some of which are to replace trees we lost due to the bad hail storm we had a few years ago), so he dug holes for them on Saturday and then we all planted them together . . .

 Dad showing Leah the graft point on an apple tree

Leah holding a tree in place while Dad started filling in the hole

Dad, Mom and Leah planting trees

All the apple trees are planted!

Before long, all ten trees were in the ground, and it was fun to plant them together! Albeit a bit muddy at times. :) Now we can look forward to these trees growing, and hopefully, eventually bearing fruit!

As I typed that last sentence, a word picture used so often in Scripture came to mind . . . us, believers in Christ, bearing fruit for Jesus Christ. One of my favorite passages of Scripture speaks about this very thing:

"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser . . . every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit . . . Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." John 15:1, 2b, 4-5

Just as the branches of the fruit trees need to abide in their 'vine' in order to produce fruit, so we, too, need to abide in our vine, Jesus Christ, in order to bear fruit. May that be the earnest desire of each of us . . . abiding closely in our Savior, Jesus Christ, letting Him work through us so that we can bear abundant fruit for Him!

 Last year's peaches

"My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples." (John 15:8)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Birding at a Conservation Area

One day this week, we loaded up the truck with binoculars, bird books, cameras, and the spotting scope and headed out to our favorite conservation area for a refreshing time together out in God's beautiful creation. The sun was shining and the temperature was warm making it perfect weather!

We had such a wonderful time together! It was so restful to just get away for a bit, to spend time together, to enjoy the beautiful day, and to see so many birds. My camera was busy during our time there! Here is some of what was captured (plus a few photos from Dad and Leah, too) . . . and be forewarned, there are a lot of photos! :)

 Dad looking through the spotting scope at Black Ducks

One of the Bald Eagle nests . . . with a pair of Eagles on it building the nest!

We set up the spotting scope, and it was amazing watching these incredible birds up so close! We put the camera attachment on the scope, attached my camera to it, and then took the below photos through the scope . . .



This one is more blurry, but I wanted to include it as it shows them working on the nest 

Seeing them was a definite highlight of the day!

Looking out across one of the pools at the ducks

A pair of Hooded Mergansers in the middle and then two Common Mergansers. I had never seen the latter before so it was really neat to be able to see them! Their colors were so striking in the sunlight.

A blurry Canvasback :) 
(with a Mallard in the back left)

Looking out across one of the pools

An immature Bald Eagle coming in for a landing

The same Bald Eagle after landing on the ice

Dad walking along one of the pools

A Great Blue Heron and its reflection

A bunch of Ring-Billed Gulls on the ice

And a loner :)

It was so peaceful there!

Dad and Mom looking through the scope at hundreds, if not thousands, of ducks and geese way in a back pool

Dad took this photo of them taking the below one :) . . . .

Mom and Leah

Me (photo by Leah)

Mom and I looking out across the water (photo by Dad)

Dad was scanning the cliffs with the scope and spotted a pair of geese nesting in a hole in the rocks! Leah took this photo with her phone through the spotting scope (hence the black ring around it)

The next few photos are just scenery photos . . . I love capturing a taste of the beauty in God's creation!




It was really neat watching and listening to all of these ducks and geese! They were rather noisy. :)

Leah, Dad and Mom looking at more birds

A flock of Snow Geese flying over

Dad putting things away in preparation for heading home . . . with a flock of Snow Geese in the background.

 Leah looking for sparrows

And thus concluded our much enjoyed time at the conservation area!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spring is Coming!

As I type, the sun is shining, a warm breeze is blowing, and the temperature is 60 degrees! The weather has been simply glorious, and we have been thoroughly enjoying it!

Signs of spring are beginning to be seen . . . buds are beginning to swell on some of the trees, some of the grass is getting a tinge of green, the daffodils are growing . . .


 . . . and the first pollen was seen coming into the beehives!


Out of curiosity, I had to check to see what could possibly blooming right now, and it looks like the pollen is likely coming from maples.

The first seeds are also started! For us, celery is always the first to be planted . . .

Celery seeds that had soaked in water overnight

 All planted!

This week I am planning to get the broccoli and cabbage going as well, and then the tomatoes and peppers will be planted towards the end of March. After several years of having very cool Aprils, we decided to once again start these a little later this year.

Then in just a few weeks, we'll go get the seed potatoes and onion plants, and the first things will be planted in the garden! (If the weather holds that is. :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Introducing . . .

After many hours of work, I am excited to be able to share with you all my new website!

www.NiobraraFarmsBathandBody.com

www.NiobraraFarmsBathandBody.com

With it being the 'grand opening' of the website, here is a '10% off your order' coupon code that is good through March 23rd:

NFBBGrandOpening315

Simply insert the coupon code at checkout!

(And I am sorry to all of my overseas readers, but currently I only ship to the United States and Canada.)

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Thank you all for your encouragement on the post I had done a few weeks ago about working on the website! It was a fun (though sometimes challenging :) process. There are still quite a few things that I would like to add such as an FAQ page, a page for ingredient information and more, but I am excited to get it to this point and to be able to share it with you!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Springtime on my Mind

A few weeks ago, out came the box of seeds leftover from last year, lists of what we had planted in the garden last year, and Baker Creek's seed catalog. It was snowy and cold outdoors, but warm and cozy inside while I had fun planning for our spring garden . . .

Seeds sorted and a list in progress

Some of the seeds I had saved (the ones in the jars) . . . green onions, kale and lima beans

 Looking through the tomatoes

Right now spring seems like it is a long way off what with another beautiful 6+ inch snowfall that we had yesterday . . .



And while I always like snowfalls like this, I am also very much looking forward to this again . . .

 Green, and Garden, and Growing things!

In the meantime while we wait for those first signs of spring, we have all been keeping busy and enjoying these winter days (for the most part anyway :) . . . I think all of us wouldn't mind if it was just a little warmer!)

For me, these days have included things such as continuing to work on my website, celebrating my 29th birthday last week with my family (which they made so special for me!) . . .

 Having some sister time together shopping/thrifting on my birthday

 . . . making soap . . . putting together more cross-stitch kits . . .


. . . making sugar scrubs and adding them to my shop . . .


 . . . and then all the regular little things that fill one's days such as making dinner . . .

 Photo by Leah when we were making potato soup for dinner

And now March has come, and it is less than three weeks until the official start of spring! Is anyone else ready for spring and gardening again?