Friday, December 7, 2012

Winter is Coming . . .

. . . and the garden has been put to bed . . .

The mangel beets all mulched and ready to be harvested as needed 
and fed to the livestock over the winter.

. . . cold frames and a 'greenhouse' of sorts have been made to cover the cool weather crops . . .

Kale . . . a staple in our winter salads!

Spinach and lettuce in the temporary 'greenhouse' that Dad built (you can see it in the background in the photo of the mulched mangel beets.)

. . . the strawberry plants have been covered in a blanket of straw . . .


. . . and a few celery plants and spinach plants persist in growing without having any protective covering despite the cold temperatures we had had! (Before the next cold spell comes, though, I am planning to build something to cover them.)

Celery

Spinach

Yet other than a few days with lows in the teens, unusually warm weather has continued into December with one day even reaching into the 70's! Days like these have made working outdoors on things such as cleaning up, organizing storage areas, hauling branches, getting the beehives all ready for winter, etc. rather enjoyable. Surprisingly, even some dandelions are still blooming here and there . . . in December! Only a few days ago our honeybees were still bringing in their bright yellow pollen . . .


The past few days, though, there has been something in the air which the weather forecast agrees with . . . colder weather is coming! Dad picked up a couple more bales of hay last weekend so now we'll have enough at our place to last through the winter . . .


Some of the cockerels that Leah hatched out

And while the enjoyable busyness of farm life has continued, over the past month we have had the blessing of enjoying special times with both friends and family. Times with Ryan, Ashley and the girls have been frequent including one day having Adelyn and Gracen spend the day here with us, and another day Leah and I went over and helped Ashley which was fun as always!

Then the Saturday before Thanksgiving, we were able to go down and visit a dear family in southern Missouri . . . what a blessing and encouragement that was to all of us! Thank you Joy! We so enjoyed our time with you all! And only wish it could have been longer. :)

Our actual Thanksgiving day was a little different than normal this year as Ryan and Ashley went to South Carolina to spend the week with her family, and then another family that we know (again in southern Missouri) invited us down to their place for the day. The time spent with them was not only much enjoyed, but it was such an encouragement in the Lord for all of us. Times with other believers in Christ are always a blessing!

The neighboring pasture on a beautiful foggy morning

With the calender now on the last month of the year, I am amazed that 2013 is looming just around the corner . . . didn’t 2012 just start yesterday??? :) As the busy days are going by so quickly, I am finding my heart convicted ever more to be heavenly minded and not earthly minded. What am I really doing to further God’s kingdom? To be His light and His witness? To serve Him and glorify Him? To please Him? I find my heart sobered and convicted when considering these questions. It is so easy to be consumed by the day to day cares that one loses sight of what is eternal and truly matters.

These questions have become even more probing as I recently read the book Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot. What amazing and strong men and women of God they were! The men’s lives were short, but what an impact for eternity they have made and on so many lives, my own included.

So that is some of what has been filling our days and my thoughts as of late . . . and I know I am starting to sound like a broken record :), but I really am hoping to start posting a little more frequently!

8 comments:

7 Eagles said...

It was so good to see a post from you again, Sarah! :-) I've missed them. I was thinking of you as we drove through Missouri last week on our way to Texas. It's going to take awhile for our family to adjust to the mild winters! When we got to Texas it was 79 degrees out!

I'm looking forward to starting a new garden and being able to have an extended growing season! I may be emailing you some questions when the time comes on what you plant in the fall, what you cover or don't bother to cover, etc.

~Bianca

Elizabethd said...

Your garden looks as though it is comfortably 'put to bed' for the Winter.
I read Elisabeth Eliot's book many years ago...what an inspiration it is.

Updated by Lila Huggins (grandmother) said...

Sarah,

OVERJOYED to hear from you again. And so glad to know you're going to post more often. I don't think you realize what an encouragement you are. Or what an inspiration you are to so many people. I've learned a great deal from you, my two daughters have as well. I've often mentioned to them that if you wrote a book, it would be a best seller and I'd buy dozens and give them to all my friends. Thank you for sharing your life with us Sarah.

Miss Lila in Atlanta

Vicki said...

What beautiful photos, Sarah, and thank you so much for the encouraging reminders at the end of your post. You're right, it's very easy to get caught up in daily life and lose sight of our higher purpose - may the Lord give us strength to stay heavenly minded.

I can't remember whether you ever do blog tags/awards or not; I have awarded you at my blog, so if you do tags, you're welcome to come on over and take a look. If you don't do that sort of thing, just know that I've mentioned you on my blog as a great blessing! :-)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Love,
Vicki

Sarah said...

~ Bianca . . . I am glad that you enjoyed it! And likewise, I enjoyed your comment. :) What did you think of Missouri? I am excited for you all that you're now at your new home in Texas and settling in! I can well imagine it being quite the ‘weather adjustment, though. :) Texas and Michigan are rather different! If you do ever have any gardening questions, I’d be happy to answer them if I can. I know you’ll enjoy the longer growing season!


~ Elizabeth . . . Thank you! And yes, it is indeed inspirational.


~ Miss Lila . . . what a delight it was to hear from you again!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment! I didn’t realize that you were even still reading so you can imagine the happy smile that spread across my face when seeing your comment. :) Thank you! Thank you also for the sweet words of encouragement that you shared . . . you are so kind! I’m glad that I was able to get to know you through blogging as you have been a blessing!


~ Vicki . . . You're welcome! And thank you for sharing your heart as it was encouraging to me to read your what you shared! Thank you also for the award :) . . . that was thoughtful of you! I hope that you have a wonderful weekend as well!

Joy said...

It was so nice to see another post from you, Sarah!

I love the temporary greenhouse idea. We've been enjoying greens, lettuce, carrots, and radishes from my parents' greenhouse. It's such a treat at this time of year!

I love those cute cockerels. :)

We were so blessed by your visit! Thank you all so much for coming and encouraging us in so many ways. And yes, it was too short! We'll have to do it again sometime. Maybe we can head your way next. :)

Blessings on your week!

♥Joy

7 Eagles said...

I actually enjoyed driving through Missouri more than I was expecting to, Sarah! There really is some beautiful scenery in your state. About an hour outside of St. Louis was really pretty, and also the area around Joplin. There were plenty of rolling hills to enjoy!

The weather adjustment hasn't been as big as we expected. It was only 16 degrees here yesterday morning! It was 80 degrees just a week before that. It seems to vary a lot.

~Bianca

Nabila Grace said...

Your garden is looking like ours! How do you make your cold frames and green house? We are wanting to make some so I wanted to ask how you all made yours. :)