Thursday, September 30, 2010

Moving Day for Maggie

This past Saturday, Ryan and Ashley came over in the morning to help dismantle our kennel set-up, load up on the trailer the two kennels that belong to Ryan, and then to bring Maggie (Ryan's dog) back with them. It was a fun morning, but a lot of work getting everything taken apart! And as always, it was very nice to see Ryan and Ashley again!

Ashley, Ryan and Leah in the process of taking apart the kennels

Part of the time while the kennel disassembling was going on, Mom pulled weeds in her iris garden nearby

Ashley, Me, and Leah

Dad's dog, Gale, wondering what all is going on (during this process, she stayed in the only kennel that didn't have to be taken apart; Maggie was in a crate by the house; Mandy was in a little pen in our entryway; and Lassie was loose in the entryway - it's funny, though, as she didn't want to wander anywhere, but wanted to lay right up close to where Mandy was!)

The newlyweds :)

Daddy tying down the kennels to the trailer

After all of this was finished, we had lunch together, and then Ryan and Ashley drove back to their place with Maggie, and Dad and Mom pulled the trailer with the kennels (they also had Maggie's dog house in their truck.) Leah and I stayed back to take care of some things around here (like making bread for the church meal the following day) and working on putting our kennels back together again for our dogs . . . that was a bit interesting! :) It took some figuring before we came up with something that would work (we had to use a number of chain link panels that we had had), but thanks to help from Daddy, all of the dogs have kennels now!

So now Maggie is enjoying being out at Ryan and Ashley's place, and it's nice to be dow
n to three dogs here. Leah is especially enjoying it as now she is back to just having her dog, Mandy, to be taking care of. (Leah was so sweet to take care of Maggie ever since the wedding until Ryan and Ashley were able to move her out to their place.)

Our new kennel set-up (and in case you were wondering, Mandy is holding her bone in her mouth. She does that, along with wagging her tail quite emphatically, when she especially wants to be petted.)

We still have a bit of work left to do on our kennels (putting a cover back on over top of them), but other than that, it's all done! Now onto other projects . . . . :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Life at Home

A view of the pasture this past Friday morning . . . what beauty the Lord has placed in His creation!

These fall days have been pleasantly busy with a number of activities for us, and this past Friday, I paused for a bit from sewing (on a customer order) to photograph some of the 'happenings' that were going on elsewhere in the house. This is some of what I ended up with . . .


Leah peeling apples with our new handy-dandy apple peeler/corer/slicer. Putting up apples for the freezer is a much faster process now!

Dad was so kind as to wash most of the bushel of apples for Leah (we had gotten the apples the day before at an Amish bulk food store, and Leah was putting them up in the freezer to later be used for apple pies and crisps.)


It is so nice to have all of those apples in the freezer (thanks Leah! :), and now we can look forward to fresh baked apple pies and apple crisp! This week, we're also planning on going back to the bulk food store to get a couple more bushels of apples which I'll make into apple butter and applesauce. It will be fun to do that again!

And while apples were being processed in the kitchen, Mom was defrosting the freezer and organizing it in preparation for the apples, the coming green bean harvest (Lord willing), and possibly, fresh venison as well . . .

Mom organizing everything after getting the freezer defrosted
 
And before I bring this post to a close, when going through photos the other day, I found a few recent ones that were taken before we left for the reunion that hadn't been posted yet . . .


Lassie and I during a Sunday evening walk . . . her age seems to be catching up with her now and she can't get around as well as she used to, but she still loves going for walks!

My wonderful parents :)

As for this week now, I am hoping to finish up the large sewing order that I am currently working on (or at least get close to finishing), and then instead of having girls group today, a mother that we know is needing us to watch her children for her so we'll be doing that today (in fact, they'll be here in just a bit.) And if we're able to get up to the bulk food store and get more apples, I'll be putting up those probably at the end of the week. We also have some other outdoor projects that need to be worked on; maybe the headlight for our car will arrive (it's on order) and then Dad can get that put in; there is still some garden clean-up to do, and I'd like to finish the mowing before it is time to start over again (with all the rain, the grass just keeps growing and growing!) and I'm not sure what all else will be going on, but I know it will be another busy and enjoyable week!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Family Reunion Weekend

A week ago yesterday, Dad, Mom, Leah and I loaded up our truck early in the morning and headed to Nebraska. The reason: Our annual Family Reunion. This is always something that we look forward to and eagerly plan and prepare for! It was still dark when we left, and the air was thick with fog. By the time the sun had risen, the fog had begun to dissipate . . .

The Missouri River shortly after the sun rose

After about 6 hours of driving, we made a slight detour to the little town where my Mom went to Jr. High. She had wanted to see if her old school building was still there, and as it was, we photographed it for her. The building has not been kept up nor used for many, many years, and it looks like it probably won't be allowed to remain standing much longer . . .

Mom in front of her old school . . . she enjoyed seeing it as well as reminiscing about her days there

Our drive continued, then, for awhile longer until we arrived at my grandparent's house. We stopped in to spend several hours there, and it was a wonderful time of visiting, looking at photos, and more! We so enjoyed our time there with our grandparents, two of our aunts, and two of our cousins for a bit as well.

Aunt Marci is wanting to do some remodeling in the kitchen and had some questions so Dad was giving her some advice here
Me, Grandpa and Leah . . . while it doesn't seem that he recognizes us any more due to the Picks disease that he has, he sure was happy to have his photo taken with us! :)

Me, Grandma and Leah . . . special times!

Dad and Grandma (Aunt Marci was taking their photo here so that is what they are looking at. :)

Time continued to tick away, and much too soon, it was time to get back in the truck and finish the drive to the tiny little town where the reunion was going to be held at the following day. As always, we very much enjoyed the drive . . . it is so beautiful along the stretch of highway that we go on!

I love how you can see so far in the distance! And it is much more beautiful 'in person' than what can be captured in a photo

Cattle grazing underneath a single large tree in their pasture

Haystacks

A rainbow in the clouds . . . the colors were much more defined and vibrant in 'real life'

By the time we arrived at the motel, we were all quite tired so we unpacked and called it a day. The next morning we were up fairly early and were greeted by an impressive temperature drop. From near 80 the day before to 42 degrees with a wind chill of 36. Yes, a cold front had come through, the skies were heavy with gray clouds, and a fine drizzle was falling from the sky. Thankfully, we had brought warm clothes along as well as our coats!

The drive from the little country motel to the park where the reunion is held at is but a f
ew minutes, and it was so nice to get there and to see the family that had already gathered. Hugs, laughter, visiting, catching up, getting things ready . . . what a very enjoyable few hours it was! We loved seeing everyone again! It was also a very special treat to see that Great-Aunt Muriel had come. She is 93 years old, and we hadn't seen her since the last time she came to the reunion six years ago. Her memory is still so good, and we very much enjoyed visiting with her and hearing her many, many stories that she had to share.

After enjoying a light lunch, a bunch of us, despite the cold, continued with tradition and headed out to the family homestead (which is no longer in the family now, but we have a standing invitation to visit it every reunion.) It was still quite windy out, and the temperature had climbed into the low 50's, but it still felt cold!



Dad and Great-Aunt Muriel . . . here they were headed to the old farmhouse

We all went into the farmhouse and looked around in it a bit, but it is really getting run down inside now, plus the gentleman who owns the buildings and land, has stored a bunch of junk in it as well. The floors are beginning to feel 'spongy', and one of my aunts, at the entrance to the house when we were leaving, broke through the floor so this is probably going to be the last year that we are able to go inside.

While we were inside this time, it was enjoyable hearing Aunt Muriel sharing stories! As well as all of the memories that others had to share . . .


Listening to Aunt Muriel share

The barn continues to lean over further and further . . . I am so glad that when it was in better shape that I took so many photos of it then!

The best looking building on the place now . . . the chicken house

Me photographing

The man who currently owns the homestead has a bunch of bee hives out there, and as I am interested in getting bees sometime, I was curious to see what they were like. It doesn't look like they are taken care of very often, and one of the hives had part of it offset so I could see inside a bit . . .

The poor bees were so cold that they could hardly move

After spending quite a bit of time out at the farm (and getting rather cold, too!), we headed back to the park and spent the rest of the day enjoying time with family . . .

(Dad and Mom are in the foreground and I am on the right)

Something must be funny! I think it was Dad's cousin Lenny telling a story. :)
(Mom and Leah are the ones sitting)

One thing that was different about this reunion from all the others was the absence of our special Great Aunt Frances who went home to be with the Lord this past April. She was greatly missed! It was so nice, though, to be able to see her husband, dear Uncle Otto, again as well as many of their children who came . . .

Uncle Otto with their children who had come to the reunion (this is a fun bunch of people! As always, we all greatly enjoyed visiting with them and spending time with them! :)
Dad talking with his sister, Aunt Judy . . . it was more story telling, and this time about their childhood days. I love hearing about that! :)

We stayed at the reunion site fairly late into the evening until most everybody had left, and then we headed back to our motel. We went right to bed as we were going to be up early in the morning to get everything packed back up, and then to have an 'adventure.' As a little preface to that . . . one of Dad's cousins, Arnie, we have really grown close to over the years, and we always enjoy the times visiting with him! In the below photo, he is the one to the left of my Dad . . .


Well, this past weekend, he had asked us if we would like to go see his farm, and of course, we wanted to! So early Sunday morning we met him at the park, and he took us out to his farm and also to his parents' old farm which is now his. It was so fun and especially seeing his beautiful horses and their foals! There was the most beautiful little colt there, and he had the prettiest and most alert little face. We all enjoyed watching him! (And I think Leah wouldn't have minded bringing him home with us. :)

Arnie was quite the 'tour guide' and made the next two hours so enjoyable as we dr
ove around his place, drove on some back country roads, had a tour of the little town of Butte, got to see his auto body shop, and more. And as I didn't think to get my camera out of our truck before we left, there are no photos of our morning with Arnie, but it was certainly very much enjoyed!!

By the time we got back to the reunion site, people had begun to arrive, and we had again, a wonderful time with everyone before it was time to head back for home. As always, it took quite some time to get through all of the goodbyes! :) And now another year will go by, and Lord willing, we'll be back next year and seeing everyone again. I am already looking forward to it!



This was taken during our drive home . . . we took a scenic route which actually ended up being faster!

The day is almost done and we were almost home . . . something we were all glad for at this point!

Friday, September 24, 2010

They're Blooming!

As of a few days ago, the fall crop of bean plants have begun blooming and are looking great so far. The plants stand about knee high now, and the leaves are thick and lush. As long as the first frost of the season holds off for about three or four more weeks, it looks like we are going to be able to have a good harvest of beans. I am looking forward to the picking and preserving of them as well as having beans in the freezer again

The green bean patch

A close-up of the flowers

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Day at Rock Bridge State Park

One day last week, Ryan once again dropped Ashley off at our house on his way to work, and Mom, Leah, Ashley, and I spent a few hours enjoying visiting together and packing up a picnic lunch. We then left to meet Lori and her girls in order to spend the day at a local state park. What a fantastic time we had! In fact, I'm not sure words could even describe how wonderful it was. :) So the photos will have to tell the story here . . . and just as a warning, there are a lot of them!

Mom and the oldest girl enjoying time together while walking on the first trail that we went on

An underground tunnel through which the creek runs. There used to be a boardwalk that went all the way through it, but with the flooding that we had this spring, it was washed out.

Lori and her youngest daughter looking at the tunnel

The littlest girls gazing into the creek, Ashley and Leah reading the sign (which is in the photo below), and the oldest girl and Mom talking together

Wouldn't it be neat if this old mill was still there?!

Off we go again . . . Lori and Leah helping the two youngest girls up the hill

Enjoying looking through the binoculars at a bird

Me trying to help the girls see a bird over on one of the trees - I think it was a woodpecker, but we looked at so many birds, I can't remember when we saw what! (You can see Ashley in the background, too, taking a photo. :)


Leah and the littlest girl

 The Cave
 
The stairs leading down to a small cave that we went into. It was amazing the temperature drop as we descended the stairs! About halfway down, the littlest girl told Leah that she needed a coat!

A little friend and I getting ready to go down into the cave

Looking across the way opposite the stairs

Me photographing at the entrance to the cave

Inside . . . and no, it was not this light in there! A camera flash works wonders. :) In the cave, we older girls helped the little ones maneuver over the rocks, and as there was water in the bottom, we had to be careful where we stepped so our feet didn't get wet in ice cold water!

Ashley exploring . . . it was fun looking back at the photos as then we could actually see what it looked like in there due to the camera flash lighting up the photos!

Mom and Leah helping one of the girls get out of the cave

Way down there is where we were! This is the crack that we looked up while down in the cave

Off we go again!

Leah and Mom

The creek (love this photo Ashley! :)

Lichen on a tree branch

The first trail we walked on was almost entirely a boardwalk such as is in this photo

Looking up another trail . . . this looks like it would be fun to explore!


Lunchtime!

The little girls were thrilled to be able to have a picnic lunch! 



We enjoyed our time there, and then after we were finished eating, examined the map to try to figure out which trail to go on next . . .


Trail #2

We started off on "trail #2" and were waylaid by the creek which we spent a lot of time at! The girls loved throwing rocks into the water and could have stayed there all day playing, I think!

Everyone down by the creek

Looking up the creek where we stopped

It was so beautiful there, with a gorgeous canopy of trees spreading over the creek

I like the variety and contrast in color here! A rock, moss, leaves, sticks, etc.

Hmm . . . I wonder what was discovered now?

A fossil in the rock!

Attempting to cross the creek by stepping on rocks so as not to get my feet wet :)

Looking across from the opposite bank while Leah and the oldest girl make their way across the creek as well

And this was my reason for crossing the creek (the main one anyway :) . . . photographing this impressive tree!

And the result of that.

My sweet little friend and I

We finally managed to pull ourselves away from the creek and headed back to the trail

Which way to go??? We had to laugh when we saw this sign! The trails are marked by color and so you are supposed to just follow the color of the trail you are on. We were on 'red trail', but here there were red arrows pointing both directions! We opted for the trail on the left and greatly enjoyed it.

Leah with the two youngest girls on the bridge over the creek

The winding trail that we were walking on . . . to the immediate right it dropped off down to the creek quite a ways below

The base of a fallen tree - I didn't take too many 'scenery' shots on this outing, but it was fun photographing the few that I did!

I love this photo! Leah and her bestest little buddy walking down the flower lined trail

A science lesson! I discovered this moth on the trail, and then found that there was an ant that had killed it and was dragging it back to its nest. The children all gathered around as we watched this, talked a bit about ants, how they gather food, etc. During this outing, we had many, many opportunities such as this one for learning about God's creation !

Colorful moss

Looking down towards the creek from up on the trail

One more science lesson before we reached the trail head . . . this time it was a large snail that kept us all enthralled for quite some time


After getting back to the vehicles, we talked for a bit and then piled in and we all headed home. Though Mom, Leah, Ashley and I took a slight 'detour' through Eagle Bluffs Conservation area and had an enjoyable time driving through there and watching all of the Egrets and Herons. What a very fun, special, enjoyable and memory-filled day it was! We are all already eagerly looking forward to when we can go back and explore more of the trails!


*Thank you, Ashley, for sharing your photos with us as well! Quite a few of them made it into the post. :)