Sunday, April 23, 2017

Celebrating Dad's Birthday

Dad's birthday was this past week and it also was Aurora's due date so while we had things planned to do for his special day, we also needed to keep an eye on her so came home a couple of times to check on her. We began the day by heading out to one of our favorite conservation areas to do some bird watching and walking. It was a lovely day . . . somewhat cool with a warm sun and a gentle breeze.

It was really enjoyable to be out in it soaking in the sunshine and the beauty in God's creation all around! And of course, spending time together which we always love. :) The conservation area was alive with activity and bird calls . . . ducks, warblers, geese, sparrows, shorebirds, rails, and a definite highlight: Bald Eagles, including young fledglings in the nests and being fed by their parents.

A Red-Winged Blackbird male displaying his colorful wing patches and singing away 

Mom looking at some ducks from the truck 

One of the Bald Eagle nests . . . it had three young eagles in it! We set up our spotting scope and had some neat looks at them. 

Leah took this photo of an adult Bald Eagle using her phone through the spotting scope

She did the same to take one of the young eagles in the nest

After watching the eagles for awhile, we took the scope down and were looking at some other birds when in swooped another adult eagle carrying a fish in its talons . . . .


It was quite the sight to see it fly into the nest and begin feeding its young!

A taste of the beautiful views 

Dad found some shorebirds and was looking at them through the scope and Ivan found . . . me! :) 

Special and fun times together for Ivan and Leah . . . at times talking and at others breaking into smiles and laughter, as they were here in this photo.

Me (phone photo by Leah)

Walking along the road 

We had the treat of seeing an elusive American Bittern! We startled it out of the marshy area, and it flew across landing in a more secluded spot. Here, Ivan, Mom and Leah were attempting to find where it went while Dad talked with another birder who was driving by. 

So peaceful! There is just something relaxing, refreshing and renewing being out in the quiet beauty of God's creation. 

Looking at a Sora Rail . . . these birds are always fun to see when they are migrating through in the spring, and we heard and saw a lot of them! 

Happy sigh . . . one of my favorite things: out for a walk in the peaceful outdoors, breeze blowing, birds singing, sun shining down, and with my favorite people.

Clouds began rolling in making the hills and trees light up whenever the sun peeked through. 

After thoroughly enjoying the conservation area together, we headed home to check on Aurora. There were some possible signs of early labor, but no new changes from what she had had several hours earlier. With that, we headed out to Dad's restaurant of choice: China Garden. We had lunch there (and I discovered I liked at least some Chinese food :), and then we went to the disc golf course to show Dad and Mom how beautiful the area was. 

I didn't take any pictures there, so you'll have to imagine us leisurely walking along the grassy path strewn with wildflowers along the way, climbing down the rocks to the creek, Mom, Leah and I sitting on the rocks and me dangling my feet in the cold flowing water, the guys skipping rocks across the water and then having a competition to see who could hit a branch way up stream with a rock, the laughter that filled the air . . . it was a relaxing and refreshing time!

Eventually Dad reminded us that we just might have a goat in labor so we should probably head home to check on her. Upon arrival, we discovered that we did! And there will be more on that in the next post!

Friday, April 21, 2017

A Disc Golf Outing

What a glorious spring we have been thoroughly enjoying here! With the beautiful weather the last few weeks, we have all been very busy with outdoor projects. It feels so good to be getting so much done! From cleaning out the rabbitry, hauling compost to the garden, planting nearly all the garden, preparing the barn for kidding (and having our first goat kids of the year born!), mulching flower gardens, celebrating Dad's birthday, and much more. Needless to say, there will be quite a bit to post about in the next little while. :)

To start off with, though, . . . a fun disc golf outing! Disc golf was something we had heard of, but never played until Ivan recently introduced us to it. One time when he was at our place, he, Leah, Dad and I threw some discs around our yard, and then earlier this week, he took Leah and I with him and Abel out to a really neat disc golf course.

Exploring a bit before beginning to play

One of the two beautiful creeks

The course is in a beautiful setting of woods, trees, and creeks, which made for a great atmosphere and added to the fun. Just walking through the course and taking in all the beauty around would have been enjoyment enough!

Even though Leah and I are rather lacking in our disc golf skills :), we all had such a blast! I didn't have my camera along so phone pictures will have to suffice . . . .

Ivan was so patient with us! Explaining how to play, helping us improve our throws, etc. There was a fair bit of good-natured teasing going around, too. :)

Abel is quite the little disc golfer!

Whoops! A disc in the creek. And it's not the only time it happened. :)

Helping Leah figure out how to throw better

Since we were running out of time, we skipped a few holes and walked to the ones nearer the end of the course.

There were a great many beautiful wildflowers blooming along the way . . . this one is Sweet William

Wild Violets nestled in the rocks

Abel figuring out where our next hole was located

Tree climbing intermission!

These two clambered up there like monkeys. :)

Abel and I climbing on another tree

Ivan getting ready to throw

Ivan and Leah
~ ❤ ~


We had such a fun time together and are looking forward to going out there again sometime! Our afternoon was finished off by Ivan treating us all to frozen custard, after which we stopped by the grocery store to pick up some things and then headed home.

The fun wasn't over yet, though, as the following day was Dad's birthday and there was a lot planned for then!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Hallelujah for the Cross

Remembering and thanking God especially today for the great gift and sacrifice that Jesus Christ gave to us . . . Himself. Dying on the cross and taking upon Himself the sins of the world, and three days later, rising from the dead, triumphing over and conquering sin and death. Through His death and resurrection, He gives freely to every man by His grace and amazing love, the incredible opportunity of forgiveness and salvation. What an indescribable gift!

As I type this, my heart is overflowing with thankfulness . . . He has bought me, redeemed me, saved me, and has worked so intimately in my life and continues to day by day. What a Savior is Jesus the Lord! Indeed, hallelujah for the cross . . . .

One of my favorite songs . . . so powerful!


"I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if He dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die." John 15:25-26

"'O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord."
1 Corinthians 15:55-58

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Life Lately

Is anyone else finding it hard to believe that it is already April? How quickly the weeks have been flying by!

As spring is awakening here, outdoor work and projects are increasing which has been much enjoyed. With how my business is growing, it has also meant needing to find ways to increase product production and reduce time investment there. I have had success in that department which means more time to spend on other endeavors!

The last several weeks, I have loved having my days filled with a wide array of activities . . . making product ~ packaging orders ~ playing music ~ outdoor work such as clearing brush/hauling branches ~ deep cleaning in the house ~ going for walks ~ working out and running ~ a ladies Bible study that just began that meets every other week ~ correspondences/phone calls with friends ~ farmers market on Saturdays ~ the therapeutic riding center once a week ~ a bit of sewing ~ etc.

Here is a glimpse!

Farmers Market

The outdoor market began several weeks ago and has been going well! Albeit it has been a bit on the cold side those days. This past Saturday, I had to go get some hot chocolate from a booth down the way for Leah and I and the vendor next to us (an older lady we have become friends with), as we were all so cold!

I forgot to bring my camera each time so all I have is this photo of my booth that Leah snapped with her phone on opening day . . . .


It is really nice to be back outdoors and see and talk with many more of the regular customers again (who didn't go to the winter market), the camaraderie with the other vendors, the early morning fun as we all set up, plus selling lots of product is a definite blessing, too. :)

More soap curing . . . 384 bars to be exact


Outdoor Work

Every spring it seems like there is a great deal of winter clean up work to do as well as gardening tasks. As we wait for the rains to lessen and the ground to dry out allowing for the bulk of the garden to be planted, I've been doing other outdoor projects such as raking and picking up a bunch of little branches that had fallen during the numerous winter wind storms, littering a fairly large part of our property.

It is also time to get the barn cleaned out and ready for kidding! Yes, our doe's due dates are just a few weeks away. We are so looking forward to having the little goat kids again!

We recently realized that Sierra's doeling from last year was still nursing which meant separating last year's goat kids from their moms. They were not happy about the new arrangement, though are mostly adjusted to their temporary new pen . . . .

Prairie, Primrose, and Meadow

Of our does that are pregnant, Aurora is due first, and she is huge. She has kidded with twins each time so far, and had two doelings last spring. Here's hoping we have a repeat of that this year!

Aurora


Gardening

While there is only a bit of lettuce, kale, and spinach growing in the garden so far, there are lots of plants growing indoors . . . .


Mom started tomatoes, peppers, and celery several weeks ago, as well as a number of different flower and herb plants that we plan to use in arrangements for Leah's and Ivan's wedding. So far all of those are growing well!

Recently, I reset the rocks around the little front garden and started mulching it. I ran out of mulch so Dad got me some more in town and now there is plenty to finish this little garden and mulch some other ones, too . . . .

It won't be long and this will be filling out with growing plants!

Hostas growing


Working Out

When Leah and I began workout routines at the start of this year (using videos on Youtube), neither of us realized how much we would love it. It feels SO good to workout, be pushing ourselves physically, and building strength, tone, and endurance. It also amazes me once again, the incredible complexity and design of our bodies and how God created all the different muscles to work and function together in perfect harmony.

With running and working out, the Proverbs 31 woman continues to be an inspiration to me:

"She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong."
Proverbs 31:17

Ready for the workout routine

Both Dad and Mom have caught the workout bug as well, and Dad has started lifting dumbbell weights. He used to do a lot of weightlifting back in college and is enjoying doing some again!

Some of Dad's weights

 Mom has her own workout routine she is doing, too. It is so fun to be doing this all together!

Ready for a run with a birthday gift from my parents . . . I love it! It tracks my speed and distance which is easier than what I was doing before of mentally counting laps and keeping track of the time. Plus it helps me push myself further, too!


And to close, there was a Psalm that spoke to my heart the other evening, and I wanted to share part of it here . . . .

"The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot . . . .

"I have set the LORD continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices.
My flesh will dwell securely . . . .

"You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever."
Psalm 165, 8-9, 11

What an encouragement these verses are! God is so good to us . . . so faithful . . . and He pours abundant blessings upon us - simply His upholding us and being at our "right hand" is a great blessing in and of itself. And in Him, we discover true joy, for in Him is the fullness of joy. This reminds me of John 15:1-11 (one of my favorite passages!) about abiding in Christ . . . .

"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 . . . .

"If you keep my commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full." John 15:5, 10-11

Through abiding in Him as our vine and seeking to obey His commandments, then we can experience His joy in us in full. What a gift!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Unexpected Smoky Adventure

The other day, Dad was going to drive to Jefferson City to pick up a couple more rabbits from a breeder. He asked if I would like to ride along which was met with a 'yes!' It would be nice to get out and enjoy a drive, plus to spend some time with my Dad. Those times are always special!

Our drive there was pleasant despite the heavily overcast skies and constant rain/drizzle. After getting there, Dad talked with the guy for a bit, got the rabbits from him, and we headed home. Only about thirty seconds later, I noticed something not good . . . white/gray smoke wafting from the dash vents! I told Dad "There's smoke coming out of the vents . . . .", and the words were no sooner out of my mouth when the smoke began pouring out, quickly filling the cab.

Thankfully, the highway had a wide shoulder right where we were, and Dad was able to see well enough through the smoke to quickly pull over and get the truck turned off. As soon as we were stopped, we got out, checked under the hood, and there was no smoke there thankfully. Back in the truck, though, there was some smoke coming out of the vents for another five minutes or so. We were both so thankful for the Lord's protection and that the truck hadn't gotten to the point of starting on fire!

Next to do was to call Mom and Leah so they could come pick us up. Meanwhile, Dad called AAA, and a tow truck was soon on its way.

 In the truck, waiting for the tow truck to arrive

Dad crying because his truck went up in smoke ; ) : ) . . . needless to say, and as the picture attests, we had quite a bit of fun together while we waited! :) (And the picture was taken after the air cleared.)

 After taking the above photo of Dad, he grabbed my phone and took this one of me :)

Our patient traveling companions

Before long, here came the tow truck! The driver was a really nice man, and we enjoyed visiting with him while he got our truck loaded up.

Being winched on

Ready to make the drive to the mechanic

Dad teased that if the tow truck left before Mom and Leah arrived, we would look like hitchhikers standing on the side of the road with our rabbits. :) The tow truck driver was so kind as to offer to stay until they got there, and shortly after the truck was loaded up, Mom and Leah arrived.

Their comment once we got in the car was something along the lines of "you stink!" I guess we smelled a little smoky. :) We turned our unexpected evening adventure into a fun time or all of us, talking, laughing, teasing, and then stopping at Chick-fil-a to get some dinner since it was well past suppertime.

Now our truck is in the shop and hopefully it will be fixed soon and all ready to head to the farmers market on Saturday. Not to mention, so we can also start the process of cleaning the inside to try to get rid of the strong smoke smell!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Heartwarming Moments

Awhile back when Ivan and Abel were here, there were a couple of times that I couldn't resist taking a picture when I happened upon Abel with Dad and Mom. As my phone was all that was handy, the heartwarming moments were captured in a bit blurry form :) . . . .

Dad was doing some Bible study and Abel went and sat by him, snuggled up close, and asked what he was doing. Dad was using a concordance at the time so he showed Abel how it was used. First, he looked up the name 'Abel' in the concordance and then found the places in the Bible that 'Abel' is referenced (Abel thought it was so neat that someone with his name was in the Bible!) 

Dad read each of the passages aloud, explaining what they meant, about the biblical Abel's faith, etc. Abel listened intently and asked some great questions, too. It was so heartwarming to see them reading and talking about the Bible together with Abel soaking it all up!

Another special moment . . . Abel had woken up from his nap and had a long snuggle time with Mom which they both loved!

Yesterday, Ivan and Abel were here again, and it was an enjoyable day! Here are a few snapshots . . . . 

Their first time doing homeschooling all together! Leah is excited to begin helping with his homeschooling!

I was getting ready to make lip balm, and Abel came over right away asking if he could help. So we had fun making it together! We also worked with numbers as we measured and weighed out ingredients. Then when I measured in all the liquid oils, he carefully watched the numbers on the scale and let me know as soon as enough of each was in the pot. He loved doing that!

He's such a helper! Here he is helping Mom get lunch together by peeling carrots. 

The first day of spring felt almost like summer here! The high was in the low 80's, and partway through the day, Ivan and Leah took a break from budget planning and I took a break from work, and we, Mom, and Abel went for a walk (well, Abel went for a bike ride!) It was so nice to be outdoors, spend some relaxing time together, and soak in the warm sunshine! A pleasant visit with neighbors was an unexpected treat as well. 

 Riding on the driveway

And off we are down the road! 

We had a very hard freeze last week which killed nearly all of the open blossoms on the trees. Some though are just now breaking into bloom and it is lovely to see some of the trees covered in flowers!