Monday, June 30, 2008

Favorite Authors

I was recently tagged by Jerusha to do the below book meme . . . enjoy!

Who is your all-time favorite author and why?

How about favorite authors? :) I cannot choose an all-time favorite as I glean so much from many different authors’ writings.

Who was your first favorite author and why? Do you still consider him/her to be among your favorites?

Laura Ingalls Wilder . . . As soon as I learned to read, I began reading the Little House books. I loved the family life and lifestyle portrayed in them. In fact, I still read some of these books on occasion!

Who is the most recent addition to your list of favorite authors, and why?

Christoph von Schmid (The Basket of Flowers and Rosa of Linden Castle) – I read very little fiction, but when coming across these gems, quickly grew to appreciate this author’s writings. These two books in particular encourage so much in regards to godly womanhood. The young ladies portrayed in them display virtues that stir the heart to aspire to the same.

If someone asked you who your favorite authors were right now, which authors would first pop out of your mouth?

It is difficult to say favorite authors, as most times, I read only a handful of books from a particular author, and sometimes only one. So the authors listed here, I do not necessarily endorse all of their works. In listing some of my favorites*, I am also including my favorite book from that author and a bit of what the book is about. That should make it a bit more interesting than just reading names. :)

-Virginia Fugate: On the Other Side of the Garden

This book is an excellent one that is directed towards married women, but is applicable to the unmarried also. It teaches regarding the different roles of men and women (men as the leaders and women as the help-meets), what a scriptural wife is, a heart of submission, and more. This book has challenged my thinking, taught me so much, and given me wisdom in how to better be a godly young lady and daughter to my father. It is one that I read fairly often simply to refresh my heart on the principles that I am striving to apply.

-Dave Hunt: An Urgent Call to a Serious Faith

Yet again an excellent book! This book covers a lot of ground including things such as the sufficiency of Scripture, humility, knowing and loving God (not the touchy-feely, emotional type of love so prevalent today), giving thanks in all circumstances, dying to self and living for Christ, and growing in Christ versus stagnation. This book was very convicting for me (especially Part 3) and is again one that I read from time to time.

-J.R. Miller: Homemaking

I have been reading through this book again, and it greatly renews ones’ focus! It is such an encouraging book and paints a beautiful picture of godly home life. It teaches regarding the roles of the husband, the wife, the children, the brothers and sisters, and it gives insight into what the home life should be like and how it should be centered upon the Lord and His Word.

-Elizabeth Rice Handford: Me? Obey Him?

This book is again directed towards wives, but it is applicable to any woman striving to grow into the godly woman that God desires her to be (for example, the principles can also be applied to the father/daughter relationship). The focus of this book is upon submission. It answers such questions as “Why did God command a wife to obey her husband?”, “What do the Scriptures say about a wife’s obedience?”, “But what about the problems?”, “What if the husband leads in what I believe is the wrong direction?” This book made a great impact on my life and helped me to begin to understand what true and scriptural submission is.

-Christoph von Schmid: The Basket of Flowers; Rosa of Linden Castle

I already shared a bit about these books above (I cannot choose a favorite between them. :) If you are looking for literature that encourages your walk in obedience to the Lord as virtuous ladies, I highly recommend both of these books!

-Christmas Carol Kauffman: Hidden Rainbow

This book is written as told to the author by those closely involved with the story. It relates the spiritual journey of John and Anna Olesh from the beginning of their married life in devoutly Catholic Yugoslavia, to eventually becoming believers in Christ along with their growing family, to the persecution and severe trials that they endured because of their faith, to their immigration to America. When reading this book for the first time, my heart was greatly affected. Not only because of this couple’s deep abiding faith in the Lord in enduring all that they did, but also in Anna’s character - her love, support, submission, and cheerfulness in adverse situations.

What are some of your all's favorite authors and books? I would love to hear! :)

* As with most books, I do not necessarily agree with all of the statements in the ones listed above.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


With taking advantage of spare moments throughout the past month or so, the work on my cross-stitch had been slowly progressing, and this morning I was able to complete it!

Framed and just about ready to hang (the frame still needs the hanger put on the back of it).

Now to begin work on my next projects . . . two lap quilts. I would like to have them completed before mid-September, but with how fast time is going, that may not be possible. As Leah said the other day, "We'll be 50 before we know it!"
(teasing of course!). Though, there just might be some truth in that statement! ;) It does not seem that long ago that Ryan, Leah and I were out building forts in our woods together and here we are now 25, 22, and almost 20. And through those passing years, we have grown so much closer together. How thankful I am for the siblings that the Lord so richly blessed me with!

Drying Flowers

Last year, I tried my hand at drying flowers and dried some goldenrod (the only flowers that we had at the time). I was fairly pleased with the results, so planned to dry more flowers this year. Most of the flowers that we have are for fresh cutting, but we do have a couple of different kinds that are suitable for drying.

Cutting some Larkspur

As we do not have many places that would work for hanging flowers to dry, a few weeks ago I did some brainstorming and ended up clearing out part of my sewing room closet and tried drying some larkspur and grasses there. Though not the best location for this, the results were satisfactory, thus encouraging me to do a bit more flower drying.

Larkspur and Candytuft

Flowers are something that I very much appreciate, and I look forward to having a few simple flower arrangements around our home during the dreary days of winter.

Friday, June 27, 2008

In the Kitchen and a Lesson on Graciousness

Another special day has passed with the girls that we meet with weekly, and the Lord greatly blessed our time together. I was not able to take many photos throughout the afternoon so this post will be a bit shorter than normal. :)

We spent most of our time in the kitchen making No-Bake Cookies
. The girls had a lot of fun making them, and it is a joy to see their kitchen skills improving!

As a few of our girls are still on vacation, we thought it best to hold off on the 'walk through history' study until all of them could be there (we are at the point now of Christ's death and resurrection). We once again looked through our past lessons, and we decided to do one that was based upon Proverbs 11:16:

"A gracious woman attains honor, and ruthless men attain riches."

The definition of 'gracious' is "Favorable; kind; benevolent; merciful; disposed to forgive offenses and impart unmerited blessings. Expressing kindness and favor. Virtuous, good. Excellent." While the definition of 'ruthless' is "without pity or compassion, cruel, merciless". We discussed both of these definitions and then summed it up that, in part, graciousness is having a heart of caring for others. A beautiful quality for a godly young lady to adorn herself with. We then went on to discuss what ways that graciousness could/should be expressed in our lives.

In a book that Leah and I have titled Dear Princess (by Mary M. Landis)*, there is a chapter on graciousness, and a section there seemed fitting to share as a part of our study in regards to having graciousness in our speech:

"Let your speech always be with grace . . ." (Colossians 4:6)

Do Speak:

-Sweet words that edify
-Kind words that comfort
-Warm words that sympathize
-Sincere words that encourage
-Honest words that shun even the hint of deceit
-Words that show mercy and compassion
-Words that show humility and gentleness

-Words that are loving, kind and unselfish

Don't Speak:

-Words that embarrass
-That are unkind, rude or blunt
-That are spiteful or bitter
-That are insincere
-That show pride in yourself and your way of doing things

Don't Be:

-A talebearer or revealer of secrets
-One who teases unkindly
-One who picks on others
-One who is saucy, harsh, or inconsiderate of the feelings of others

The girls had each been given a printed sheet with the above on it, so we went point by point taking turns reading and then discussing. Some of the girls had excellent thoughts to share!

The rain managed to taper off before girls group began, and even though the ground was fairly wet and muddy, the girls were eager to see their flowers. We ventured out after the lesson and cross-stitching, and the girls were very excited to see the blooming zinnias and other flowers that they had planted.

Enjoying the time together and being outside :)

*Although we do not necessarily agree with all that is written in Dear Princess, we have been greatly blessed by much of it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Miscellaneous Garden News

This past week has been a busy one so far! When I have not been helping hay and tending to the regular daily activities, my time has been given to putting up produce. Mostly picking, washing, snapping, blanching, packaging and freezing green beans as the harvest is in full swing. Our freezer is beginning to fill up with tender, delicious beans to be enjoyed over the next year.

One day's harvest

Some of the beets were ready to harvest, so I was able to put up a couple of bags of those into the freezer too.

We also harvested the first few zucchini which were made into a zucchini casserole last night. The yellow squash, acorn squash and pumpkin plants are beginning to set their fruit as are the tomatoes and peppers and . . . the corn is up!

The girls' flowers that they planted this past spring are beginning to bloom, so hopefully the rain will stop before our time together today so that they can see them. I am sure that they will be excited!

We plan to eventually make flower arrangements together using the flowers that they are growing. We already have the vases needed (we found beautiful vases for only $1.00 a piece!), and now we need to wait for a dry day. It has been quite wet the past few days as we have received several inches of rain including around an inch and a half last night. By the weather radar, it looks like we are going to receive quite a bit more again today.

With all the moisture, our flowers gardens have been doing well! My garden is bursting with daylily's getting ready to bloom, and t
he ones that I transplanted down around our mailbox last year are blooming. I love their bright and cheery flowers!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Random Photos

Dad, Ryan, Leah and I went out to Ryan's place the other evening to do a bit more haying work, and I had the opportunity to also do a bit of photography.

One of the plum trees

"O LORD, how many are your works! In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of your possessions." (Psalm 104:24)

"You alone are the LORD. You have made the heavens, the heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to all of them and the heavenly host bows down before you." (Nehemiah 9:6)

"Then God said, 'Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind'; and it was so . . . 'Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.' " (Genesis 1:24 and Revelation 4:11)


And though it does not fit in :) . . . here is a photo of Leah and I that Dad took:


Monday, June 23, 2008


This past Sunday morning, I was feeling just a tad overwhelmed with all that needs to be done around our home, and my heart felt heavy for various other reasons. I began reading my Bible where I had left off the day before, and the words spoke to my heart with conviction ". . . so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer . . . but for the will of God . . . Above all keep fervent in your love for one another . . . as each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God . . . whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies . . . therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God . . . casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." (various verses from 1 Peter). Refreshment was beginning.

For me, during times like this, music always seems to help renew my heart and lift my spirits, especially playing the piano. I pulled out one of my favorite piano songs and began to play while some of the words ran through my head. "You are my all in all". Yes, the Lord is my all in all. No matter what happens in this life, all that I need, all that is necessary to sustain me is my Lord. Nothing else can satisfy. Nothing else can fulfill. I stepped away from the piano feeling very much better. My heart was back where it needed to be. Yes, there are still very many things to keep me busy, and yes, the different issues/situations that our family is dealing with right now still remain, but instead of the focus being on how
I can manage it all, it is upon the Lord. Resting in that He is my Shepherd, He is my Guide, and that I simply need to trust Him.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Another Day of Haying

Our family was quite thankful when today's rain chances dropped to 20% giving us the opportunity to do some more haying, so we spent the day out at Ryan's place doing just that. It was a beautiful day to be outdoors (though a bit hot at times). The sun was shining, the birds were singing cheerily away, the scent of hay filled the air and one could hear the breeze blowing through the tall grasses (a lovely sound!).

We were able to get baled all the rest of what had been mowed and raked which was a blessing as the 10-day forecast has rain for about every single day.

Part of the hayfield

In my last post, in relation to the flooding, I shared how the Lord often allows certain difficult circumstances into our lives . . . including things such as a baler not working. Well, today that is what happened as we spent around 4 hours trying to get the baler to work properly. What we had to show for that time was a few odd-shaped bales and a lot of bales that had only one side tied, thus there were a lot of unintentional haystacks scattered around! :)

The first difficulty that we had to deal with was a sheared shear pin (very aptly named :) . . . and then another one . . . and another . . . the baler was jammed and each time we thought that we had the problem corrected, but upon starting up the baler, found that that was not the case.

Dad working on the baler

We finally were able to get everything reset, the baler emptied of hay, and were quite excited when the baler actually started running again! So, we can get busy with the haying . . . or so we thought. The first or second bale out had only one side tied (we had had this happen the other day a few times, but it had not been a significant difficulty). Ryan re-threaded the twine, everything appeared to be set correctly, and Dad baled a few bales until the same thing happened again. We pulled out the baler manual, and Leah thought that she found what needed to be done. A simple little screw on the bill hook needed to be loosened and after making the adjustment, it worked! It is amazing what havoc one little tiny
piece out of alignment can cause! (Is this not so often the case in our spiritual lives also!?)

Leah sitting on the tractor while Dad and Ryan work on fixing the baler

Four hours and many smiles and encouraging words later, the baler was working. From then on, it ran very smoothly and the rest of the field was baled in no time. One blessing that came from all of these 'problems' was that we learned a great deal more about how the baler works!

Mom and Ryan watching while Dad bales

Then it was time to begin loading the bales in which I drove at first to show Mom the 'system' that we had, and Dad, Ryan and Leah loaded the trailer. I had another opportunity to back the trailer, and it went much smoother than last time. I was quite excited about that! Thank you all for the encouragement! :)

Mom took over driving after awhile, and the rest of us worked on loading.

Due to all the adjustments that had been made on the baler, the bales were much more compact and uniform than the last time. There is still room for improvement with them, but I do not believe that our goats will mind a few oddly shaped or scraggly bales. :) And hopefully the next round of haying will produce bales that will be of a quality high enough for Ryan to sell.

Ryan stacking hay on the trailer

One thing interesting during the haying was finding a corn snake in a bale (it was dead). It was a beautiful snake, though a bit startling to Leah when she picked up the bale and saw it!

Me helping to stack the hay

We finished the haying around 8:00 and were able to get home before dark making it much easier to tend to the animal chores and to get the laundry off of the line. What a wonderful day we had together as a family! I love spending time with my dear parents, brother and sister; especially when it is working together towards a common goal. Family unity and love is a blessing that I am so very thankful for!

A wild primrose that was blooming next to the hayfield

Friday, June 20, 2008

Make Hay While the Sun Shines

For quite some time, Ryan and Dad have been keeping an eye on the extended forecast looking for a stretch of days without rain and this past week fit that description. After waiting for many weeks to get in and hay, we finally had the opportunity. The mowing and raking took place on Tuesday and Wednesday with the plan to bale on Thursday and Friday. On Wednesday morning, the rain percentages raised to 40% for Thursday afternoon and night and then to 50%. Leah and I canceled girls group for the day in order to help Dad and Ryan try to get as much hay as possible baled and stacked before the rain came.

Thursday morning we quickly got things ready, loaded the coolers with drinks, snacks, and lunch and headed out. The day was sunny with the promise of becoming quite warm. When we arrived, Dad checked the windrows and finding them to be a bit damp underneath, decided that it needed one more raking which Ryan did:

And then it was time to try the baler. On Wednesday, when Dad and Ryan were working with it there were significant problems, and after some research and working on the baler yesterday, they believed that they had gotten it fixed. We certainly hoped so! As Dad drove up the first windrow, Ryan, Leah and I eagerly watched and waited as the baler pulled up the hay. Was it going to properly compress and tie the bale?

Yes! What a blessing!

Dad baled first and after he had gone around the mowed and raked area several times, it was time to begin loading the trailer. Dad and Ryan (being the strongest :) were definitely going to be loading, so Leah helped them with that, and I got the job of driving the truck and trailer. I had never driven with a trailer before (save once, and that time does not really count :) so it was a learning experience to be maneuvering between the bales. Before long, I was able to figure it out and the stop, load, drive, sequence picked up pace. Well, stopping and loading might have, but the driving did not especially, as in field work one must drive very . . . s . . . l . . . o . . . w . . . as in the speedometer barely climbing above 0 mph.

At one point, the trailer needed to be backed up in order to turn around, and Dad walked me through that . . . well, he tried to . . . lets just say that I am not very good at backing up with a trailer! Though, I did eventually sort of end up where we needed to go. :)

It was fun listening to Dad, Ryan and Leah as they were loading hay (all the windows were down so I could hear their 'stop' and 'go ahead'.) It did not take long before we had a full load of hay . . . approximately 65 bales.

Then it was time to unload and stack! Dad grew up on a farm and as a boy did a lot of haying so he knew just how to stack the bales to build a good, solid stack. It was somewhat difficult, though, as some of the bales were a bit 'mushy', and we did have a few 'banana bales' (bales that are shaped more like bananas than rectangles - after getting home last night, Ryan and Dad did some research and found out what adjustments need to be made to the baler to hopefully correct those problems for next time.)

Dad hauling hay

The stack is getting taller!



Taking a break

As we were unloading the first trailer load, we could see clouds beginning to darken the northwest horizon. I gave Mom a call, and she checked the weather for us. At that point there was just a bit of green dotting the map, so we picked up the speed in an effort to beat the developing rain. Ryan baled another couple rounds of the field, and we got that all loaded up, brought back to the pile, unloaded and stacked. Meanwhile the clouds were getting darker and darker, and Mom gave us another update on where the rain was. It was not very far away at this point.

While Ryan began covering the hay, Dad, Leah and I went to pick up the remaining 19 bales. After they were all picked up, Leah and I drove up to unload while Dad drove the tractor and baler back to where we store the implements. Dad and Ryan were working on getting the tarp tied down and the tractor and implements chained up when we began to hear thunder rumbl
ing in the distance. Leah and I hurried to get the rest of the trailer unloaded and stacked and then helped tie down the tarp. Thankfully all of our jobs were completed and we were on our way home before the first few sprinkles began to fall.

While we did not get baled all that was raked, we still managed to finish the day with around 150 bales stacked . . . a total weight of around 7,500 lbs. No wonder we were all on the tired side! After all the haying, Leah and I decided that hay hooks are a simply marvelous invention! We would not have been able to haul
nearly as many bales as we did without them!

After we arrived home, Mom greeted us with a delicious fruit salad. Perfect for after a long, hot day working! While we were all sharing our experiences from the day, she told us something that brought a smile to our faces . . . while she was buying the fruit, she was visiting with the checker (one that we see and visit with fairly often when we ladies are running errands). Mom shared with her that she was glad that the fruit was on such a good sale as she had wanted to make a fruit salad for her family (us :) as they were all out haying and would be hot and tired when they got home. The lady looked at my mom in utter surprise and said "Your girls are out haying!?" I guess we do not quite look like the typical farm girl! :)

Even though it was quite hot and tiring, I so enjoyed yesterday! What fun it was! Over the next several weeks, we hope to continue haying as we only have about a 1/5 of Ryan's total property hayed so far. It
looks like it will be at least a couple of days before we can get back out in the field as last night the skies let loose and it poured. That will not help the flooding around here.

On the way out to Ryan's place, we cross a little trickle of a creek, but that little trickle has been transformed with all the rain:

Some of the farmers have been able to get their crops in such as this one:

But others were not as fortunate:

The above photo, while looking like a lake, is actually a farmers field that usually has corn or soybeans standing tall in it right about now; though, the flooding that we have here is not anywhere near what is taking place elsewhere in the country. However, it does help put things into perspective . . . we can get so caught up in our little 'problems', we worry, become anxious, and perhaps even bemoan the circumstances that we find ourselves in. Our plans become frustrated, the dryer is not working, the air conditioning in the vehicle quit . . . or . . . the baler is having difficulties. :) Yet, these things do not even compare with what many are enduring in this world today.

No matter how small or great the difficult circumstances, ultimately they are out of our hands, but what matters is how we respond to them. Are we trusting our almighty God in all things? Knowing that He holds us in His righteous right hand and is working things for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Isaiah 41:10 and Romans 8:28)? Scripture clearly shows that we can rest in the faithfulness of our Lord and in the great love that He has for us . . . and recognizing that, it comes much easier to our hearts to "Consider it all joy my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance" (James 1:2-3). Anyway, those are just some thoughts that came to my mind when thinking about the flooding.

All in all, we had a wonderful day, and I am looking forward to when we can hay again!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Busy and Wonderful Day

Today was going to be quite a full day with planting corn and doing our first green bean harvest (amongst other things). Because of those plans, I got up a bit earlier than normal (5:00), read my Bible, got baked beans in the crock-pot and a layered lettuce salad put together and set away in the fridge (both for dinner tonight), and went right to work.

The first order of business was to get the corn plot staked out as Dad had already tilled it last evening, and then we were ready to plant! While working on this, our friend (whom Leah and I helped clean the house of last week) called to see if we could watch two of her girls for the day. We were more than willing to do that! :)

Before they came, Mom and I were able to get the corn planted. We had a lot of fun together and were able to get it completed fairly quickly. Meanwhile, Leah worked on some weeding, and Dad and Ryan prepared to go out to Ryan's place to hay.

After getting the corn planted, Mom and I started picking beans . . .

My dear mother

And once the girls arrived, we worked on the harvesting together. Last year they had helped us snap beans, but this time they were able to start at the very beginning . . . picking. They greatly enjoyed it, and their enthusiasm when finding a sizable bean was contagious!

One of the many butterflies that was flying around

After we finished picking the beans, the girls enjoyed watching all the butterflies on the flowers, and I also shared with them the treat of fresh picked peas. They loved them! And consequently later in the afternoon asked for more. :)

Once inside, the oldest girl helped me quite a bit with the washing of the beans while Leah played with littlest girl. After all the beans were washed it was snapping time! The girls were such big helpers! And so cheerful, too. :) The littlest one did have some difficulty snapping the beans into pieces, but she kept on trying and her perseverance paid off!

Then came blanching and the oldest girl was again eager to help with that. For a first picking of beans and with only one row harvested (the other two were planted later), I was quite surprised with the number of beans! I saved some back for dinner tonight and then we put up two bags for the freezer and then a bag for the girls to bring home to their family.

At one point during the afternoon, I worked on a craft project with the girls while Leah brought the chicks to their outside pen.
It was the same craft that we did with our girls group not so long ago. Only this time we put on the verse "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right" (Ephesians 5:13) (Though I wrote the littlest ones verse on her paper :) They then decorated them with dried pansy flowers, and we had a little talk about what it means to obey our parents and why we need to do so . . . they were so excited with their finished projects!

So many other wonderful times were had throughout the day . . . many hugs given, sweet and childish antics made, stories told, songs sung, games played, walks taken and many flowers picked
. . . and the girls also loved the chicks and often asked to go out and see them. They would sit there for quite long periods of time and watch them. And the expressions of wonder on their faces was priceless!

When their mother came to pick them up, it was so cute as the littlest one ran to her exclaiming "I picked a bean!" I think that she was just a bit excited about that part of the day. :) I am so thankful that Leah and I have these special opportunities to spend with children . . . they bring so much joy to our lives!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What's in a Day

This morning as I was getting ready to start dinner preparation, I was trying to think of a simple way to prepare thawed chicken using the slow cooker . (The menu was already all planned out, but due to the produce that is ready to harvest, I wanted to make something simpler that would go well with all the vegetables we will have tonight.) Barbecued chicken sounded like it would fit with that, so I endeavored to find a recipe online that my family would like . . . to no avail. So, I kind of experimented. I am usually a by the book (or in this case, recipe!) type of person and do not do a great deal of experimentation in the kitchen (other than with some spices and herbs). It will be interesting to see how it tastes! At least it is smelling pretty good so far . . . that should be a good sign. :)

After taking care of animal chores and getting a load of laundry on the line, I had the pleasure of working with Leah in the garden this morning, and we had a wonderful time together cultivating and weeding. While we were working on that, we saw bees, yes, bees going from flower to flower on our zucchini and cucumber plants! We have seen very few bees this year (even with our abundant flower gardens), so as I had mentioned before, we thought that hand-pollination might be necessary. While that may still prove to be so, it was encouraging to see the bees. We'll have to wait and see what happens!

For the first time this year, we were able to harvest beets which will be a part of our dinner for tonight, along with a salad and the peas that we picked this morning.

Part of my time out in the garden was also spent pulling off and killing worms on the cabbage and cauliflower plants (there is nothing like biological control! :). While doing this, look what was discovered!

Having never grown Cauliflower before, I was quite thrilled to see this when I pulled back the leaves!

After we had finished with the harvesting, Leah borrowed my camera to photograph a bit. She took some beautiful photos of her lilies! Here is one of them:

At some point during the day, we started talking about what was left in the freezer from last year's garden that needed to be used up. The beans have long since run out, the peaches are gone as are the peppers, but we still have some grated zucchini. Upon remembering that, we got the inspiration to make a zucchini cake for tonight.

As we finally have a whole week with very little rain in the forecast, the haying here in mid-Missouri has started up including in the neighboring pasture and also with Dad and Ryan out at Ryan's place. Haying usually begins sometime in April, but the rain has caused the farmers to get a late start. I am looking forward to the baling part of it as that is when Leah and I get to help. Our jobs, I believe, will include driving the truck and trailer and picking up bales. Lots of fun!

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Bit of This and That

Sewing lessons went very well this morning and afternoon . . . I love my times with all the girls on Mondays! One of my students is beginning a new project (a lap quilt) which is going to be a fun, yet challenging, project. :)

This past Saturday while Mom, Leah and I were visiting an elderly friend in a nursing home and running errands, Dad and Ryan did a bit of errand running themselves. They picked up some things that Ryan needed for out at his place and some of the needed supplies for our goat pen. Prices are climbing so quickly (as if you all had not noticed that!), and even though it will be a bit before we actually begin work on the goat pen, we wanted to get everything we needed before prices rise any higher.

Our chicks are all doing very well . . . they enjoyed their romp in a small outdoor pen the other day:

Their wing feathers are pretty much all in, and they are beginning to get their little tails and also feathers across their shoulders. They are so cute! And very much enjoying flying! One flew from the bottom of the pen all the way to the top (it is a good thing that it is not open on the top!)

I think that the time outside tired them out a bit as it was much easier to feed and water them the next morning . . . well, at least they were not bouncing off the walls (and ceiling!) of the brooder like usual!

The grass is always greener on the other side :)

Saturday morning, before we headed to town, I took a walk and had the pleasure of seeing these:

Butterflies are such beautiful and intricate creatures!

One of Leah's blooming Asatic Lilies.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Making Cookies and a Lesson on Diligence

This week we had a very small group for our girls group . . . as in two girls (who are sisters). Most everyone chose to take their vacations the same week! We had a wonderful time, though, and I believe that the girls enjoyed the 'one on one' time as they told us that it was one of their favorite times that they had had with us. :)

As they were the only ones there, we made a quick change of plans as both the activity and lesson that were planned for the day,
we desired for all the girls to be able to be there for. We knew that Anna and Emily greatly enjoy working in the kitchen so we asked them what they would like to make, and they suggested Chocolate Chip cookies. It sounded like a good idea to us! We had so much fun working on this project together!

Getting ready to mix the ingredients

Leah was so kind to finish baking the cookies so that we could have time for our lesson. As the great majority of our lesson plans from the past year and a half are kept together in a binder, I flipped through it to find something that would be fitting to talk about that afternoon. It was decided to use a lesson from the fall of 2006 which was on diligence versus idleness. We first read Proverbs 31:27:

"She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness."

The definition of idle is "Habitually doing nothing or avoiding work, lazy". Something we certainly do not desire to be! We read several more verses and discussed them as we went along.

"Laziness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle man will suffer hunger." Proverbs 19:15

". . . they learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention." 1 Timothy 5:13

"Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully." Proverbs 10:4-5

Diligence is the opposite of idleness and basically means to view each task as given to us by the Lord to do and giving all of our energies towards completing it.

"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve." Colossians 3:23-24

After we had finished reading and discussing the above, we looked at our own lives and shared the areas that we tend to be lazy in and then how we were going to work to improve them.

In addition to making cookies and having our lesson, the girls were able to hold some of our chicks. They enjoyed that!

We also had the opportunity to go out to the gardens and take a look at how everything was doing. Emily even took it upon herself to work on weeding in the flower bed . . . without ever being asked!

Pulling weeds

Picking peas

Trying my first ever fresh from the garden peas while Leah and Emily look for more pods.

There is a bit of a story behind the above photo! Not only do Anna and Emily come to our girls group, but I also teach them sewing lessons. They enjoy gardening and this year planted a vegetable garden at their home that they are working on together. As we both have a mutual interest in this, during sewing lessons we always talk at least a little bit about how our gardens are doing, what has been planted, what is ready to harvest, etc. We have also talked about what our favorite vegetables are. They have always raved about how delicious garden peas are and had asked if I liked peas . . . I had to answer with a truthful 'no'. Growing up my Dad trained us to eat whatever was set before us, so while I eat peas, I do not especially . . . shall we say, enjoy them. :) Well, the girls were adamant that as soon as I ate garden peas I would change my mind, and they were absolutely correct!

While out at the garden, Anna searched to find a pea pod that was ready so she could have me try them. I willingly obliged and was surprised, that yes, just like the girls had told me, they were delicious! We were able to find a few more pods that were ready and shared this treat amongst ourselves.

The time flew by and before long the girls' mom arrived to pick them up, and they left with lots of smiles and a big plate of cookies.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Garden

Due to a recent question by a reader about how our garden is doing, I thought that I would share a few photos with you all. :)

The peas

It will not be long before we begin picking beans!

The beets and onions with potatoes on the right and peas in the foreground.

The zucchini . . . this year looks like it will be much like last year with very few bees to pollinate the plants, so I believe that I will need to hand pollinate again.

The garden (still missing the corn in the very back left . . . all the rain has made it impossible to get it planted so far. Maybe next week). All in all I am quite pleased with how the garden is coming along! :)