Saturday, March 31, 2012

An Increase in Beehives

Last week our beehive order came in . . . six, big cardboard boxes full of pieces and parts. I went through each one making sure everything was there and nothing was damaged, and then Dad and I began assembling the hive bodies and supers. Well, Dad did most of it, and I simply helped him with holding things, handing him nails, and the like. Though, I did do some nailing, too. :) Dad was a lot faster than I was, though! In short order, he had all five boxes of one hive put together, and then the next day, he put together the boxes for the second one.

Three sides of a honey super ready to be nailed together. It was helpful that these pieces came with already pre-drilled holes! That made Dad's job easier.

The pile is growing smaller! (And on the floor on the left are the pieces of the hive stands. Dad put those together as well.)

Two hive bodies finished! And I put frames in one of them just because. :) They had to come out again when it was time to paint.

Daddy nailing another super together

Once everything was assembled, then it was time to paint everything. A rather big job since there are so many pieces. Dad started the project with priming one of the hives and then Mom finished it all . . . she is a fast painter!


Now both hives are all finished and are drying, and hopefully they will have bees in them before too long. We have a package of bees on order, and we are hoping to do a split with our one hive soon. It is near bursting at the seams with bees, and it looks like it is large enough now to be split into two hives. Then we would have three! If you can't tell, I'm just a little excited. :) I love beekeeping!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Beauty in Detail


When our peach trees were in blossom and the honeybees were out foraging in full force (and the latter still are), I had the delight of attempting to capture them in photos. Evenings were the best with the light from the setting sun, so after chores were finished, I would walk out to the orchard with my camera, put on a macro lens, wait until a honeybee landed on a flower down near where I could get up close to it, and then snap away . . .


It was amazing being up that close to the bees and watching them gather pollen and nectar. I was so close, that with just my eyes, I could see the tiny little hairs on their bodies and their legs and could see their little proboscis gathering up nectar from the center of the flowers. Then, once the photos were taken and on the computer, the detail could be seen to an even greater depth.


The Lord's hand is so clearly seen in these tiny, and incredibly fascinating, creatures!


"O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches." Psalm 104:24

Monday, March 26, 2012

Meet Teddy

The past two weeks, my days have been full to overflowing! Up early in the morning at 5:30 (most days anyway!) and go, go, go all day . . . planting in the garden, cleaning, sewing, outdoor work, sewing, caring for animals, baking bread, sewing, and more. In addition to the wonderful and regular spring busyness, sewing orders have been keeping me very busy (as you can see from the previous sentence. :)

All of this led me to setting up a little sewing area in the living room so that I can get another hour or two of sewing in before bed while still being with the rest of my family. With those extra hours, I have been able to keep up with sewing orders and was able to finish one the other day. This one was a Betsy Doll and a Teddy Bear for a lady's grandchildren. I have never sewn a stuffed animal before, and it was fun to do!


I really like how it turned out and once the sewing orders are all finished, I would like to spend some time sewing more things for my Etsy shop . . . and I think that another "Teddy" will be one of them. :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"One Another"


Our family has been studying various scriptural topics together, and one area that we looked at recently was the “one another” verses of Scripture and especially how they relate within the family unit, and then also to our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Having read the Bible many times (and some passages/books a great many times), I thought I was fairly familiar with the instruction given for how we are to specifically treat one another . . . love one another, encourage one another, and things along those lines.

I was amazed, though, to discover just how many specific commands are given! And how far reaching those commands are. As I looked through the long list that Dad had compiled and studied the verses therein, I found my heart humbled and convicted . . . how far short I was falling in so many areas of where the Lord has called me to be!


As our family then gathered together and discussed among ourselves the different things that we learned and which particular areas spoke to our hearts, the thought came to mind that these “one another” verses would be an excellent blog post. Perhaps you have already studied these, perhaps you have never even heard of them, or perhaps you are like me and had known in part, but had not fully realized the broad scope and the great depth that a true one another love encompasses. I do hope that whichever one you are, that what is shared here will be a blessing and encouragement to you . . . and remember, these are not simply suggestions, but are commands from God to those of us who are His children . . .


~ Love one another
(John 13:34, 13:35, 15:12, 15:17; Romans 13:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 John 3:11, 3:23, 4:7, 4:11, 4:12; 2 John 1:5)

~ Increase and abound in love toward one another (1 Thessalonians 3:12)


~ Fervently love one another (1 Peter 1:22, 4:8)


~ Keep fervent in your love for one another (1 Peter 4:8)


~ Be devoted to one another in brotherly love (Romans 12:10)


~ Be of the same mind toward one another (Romans 12:16)


~ Give preference to one another in honor (Romans 12:10)


~ Build up one another (Romans 14:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:11)


~ Accept one another (Romans 15:7)


~ Admonish one another (Romans 15:14)


~ Care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25)


~ Serve one another (through love) (Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 4:10)


~ Bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:1-2)


~ Be kind to one another (Ephesians 4:32)

~ Be tender-hearted to one another (Ephesians 4:32)


~ Be forgiving of one another (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13)


~ Show tolerance for one another with humility, gentleness, and patience and in love (Ephesians 4:2)


~ Be subject to one another in the fear of Christ (Ephesians 5:21)


~ Teach and admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)


~ Regard one another as more important than yourselves (Philippians 2:3)


~ Bear with one another (Colossians 3:13)

~ Comfort one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18)


~ Encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 3:13; Hebrews 10:25)


~ Live in peace with one another (1 Thessalonians 5:13)


~ Seek after that which is good for one another (1 Thessalonians 5:15)


~ Confess sins to one another (James 5:16)


~ Pray for one another (James 5:16)


~ Be hospitable to one another without complaint (1 Peter 4:9)


~ Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another (1 Peter 5:5)


~ Stimulate one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)



And then the “do nots”


~ Do not judge one another (
Romans 14:13; though this does not negate the need for discernment and righteous judgment – context on this verse is important!)

~ Do not challenge one another (Galatians 5:26)


~ Do not envy one another (Galatians 5:26)


~ Do not lie to one another (Colossians 3:9)


~ Do not repay evil for evil to another (1 Thessalonians 5:15)


~ Do not hate one another (Titus 3:3)


~ Do not speak against one another (James 4:11)


~ Do not complain against one another (James 5:9)


How convicting this list is! And I found it especially interesting how many times “love one another” is mentioned (at least 16 times); and also how few “do nots” there are compared to the “dos”. It is much easier to simply refrain from doing something (though it still can be quite difficult!), but it takes much more effort, commitment, forethought, and perseverance to actively do those things that God has commanded us.


One particular “one another” especially convicted my heart, and it led to a bit further investigation on my part as to what it means . . . “give preference to one another in honor” (Romans 12:10.)


'Preference' as defined by Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language is


The act of preferring one thing before another; estimation of one thing above another.

While 'prefer' is:

To bear or carry in advance, in the mind, affections or choice; hence to regard more than another

These definitions really convicted and spoke to my heart . . . and they bring to mind another “one another” . . . “regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3.)


Since doing this study, all of this has really been on my heart, and I am striving to practice what was learned. To learn and grow in each of these “one anothers” . . . to my family . . . friends . . . brothers and sisters in the Lord. It is a journey that is for certain! But even the tiniest of baby steps bring one closer to the journey’s goal . . . would you care to join me?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Two New Favorites

It's so enjoyable trying new recipes, and especially when they are a success! Such as these two that Leah and I made for dinner awhile back and which have now become family favorites . . .


Shepherd's Pie

--2-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cooked
--1 to 1-1/2 cups (8 to 12 ounces) sour cream (we used about 1 cup)
--Salt and pepper to taste
--2 pounds ground beef
--1/2 cup chopped onion
--1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
--1 teaspoon garlic salt
--1 can (15 1/4 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
--1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
--1/2 cup milk
--2 tablespoons butter, melted
--Chopped fresh parsley, optional (we used dried)

In a large bowl, mash potatoes with sour cream. Add salt and pepper; set aside. In a large skillet, cook beef with onion and red pepper until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender; drain. Add corn, soup, milk and garlic; mix well. Stir in the soup, corn and milk. Spread meat mixture in an ungreased 3qt. baking dish. Top with mashed potatoes; drizzle with butter. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until heated through. For additional browning, place under broiler for a few minutes. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.




I was excited to find this recipe! Finally a roll that I can make with 100% whole wheat that is so light and fluffy and tastes so good . . . these are definitely melt in your mouth rolls!

(The recipe is for a bread machine, though I am sure you can make it by hand. Or with using a mixer such as a KitchenAid and then simply making it as my bread machine would [this worked with my regular bread recipe] -
layering the ingredients in the order given, mixing and then kneading for 21 minutes, letting it rise for 45 minutes, stirring/punching down the dough, letting it rise for another 22 minutes, and then following the remainder of the recipe.)


Sweet Dinner Rolls


-1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
-1/2 cup warm milk
(110 degrees F)
-1 egg
-1/3 cup butter, softened
-3 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (approximately)
-1/3 cup white sugar
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 package
(2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast

For later:
-1/4 cup butter, softened

Place water, milk, egg, 1/3 cup butter, flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough Cycle; press Start.

When cycle finishes, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 12 inch circle, spread 1/4 cup softened butter over entire round. Cut each circle into 8 wedges. Roll wedges starting at wide end; roll gently but tightly. Place point side down on ungreased cookie sheet. Cover with clean kitchen towel and put in a warm place, let rise 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Enjoy!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Growing

The seedlings that I planted awhile back are growing quite well so far! The lettuce, spinach and broccoli are in the process of being hardened of before being planted out in the garden, while the tomatoes, celery, and peppers continue to grow indoors underneath the lights . . .


54 tomato plants were started and 22 peppers, and the tomatoes had excellent germination and all of the peppers save a few came up . . .


Only a couple more weeks, and all of these will be hardened off as well and will be planted out in the vegetable garden!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Welcoming Spring

In the same way that winter slowly crept in, it has crept away again leaving beautiful spring in its wake . . . and oh the joy in welcoming my favorite time of year again! Every day seems to bring a new reminder that spring is here, and each new sight is very much welcomed and enjoyed . . .
~ Robins filling the air with their cheery song ~

~ The arrival of the first Eastern Phoebes (one of the earliest spring birds) ~

~ Spring peepers making their chorus of noise down in the little farm ponds ~

~ Flowers blooming in an array of colors ~

Daffodils just about ready to break into bloom

A crocus with one of our honeybees gathering pollen and nectar

A sure sign of spring . . . blooming daffodils

~ Many trees flowering and some, like our peach trees, nearing that point ~
Both of our peach trees are loaded with blossoms . . . barring a late frost, we should have our own peaches this year!

~ Leaves beginning to grow on some plants, trees and bushes ~
Our lilac bush

~ The rhubarb made its appearance ~

And life continues on our little farm as the days grow
longer and the hours become busier . . .

Legacy

During the day, we have been moving the goat kids outdoors, and they have loved that! Playing in the warm sunshine, learning to munch on the fresh green grass, sleeping the afternoon away, and munching on hay . . .

Aurora

And as March days slip away and April draws nearer, so does Dixie's kidding date . . .


She is definitely looking pregnant now! And she is feeling it, too, and is enjoying spending more time lying down than she used to. Pregnancy seems to agree with her as she has gotten a lot sweeter the past weeks. She loves to be petted now and simply to be close by us. Not only are we anticipating having more goat kids, but then we'll also be able to begin milking! Which is something that I am quite excited about. :)

With warmer weather here, much work outdoors has been able to be done including a renovation of one of our flower beds . . .

The bed extends a ways to the right of this as well

It had been lined with brick, but I went down in our woods and found a bunch of rocks, hauled them up and edged the garden with those instead. Then, since the soil was so poor here, I hauled up quite a few bucket loads of top soil that I had scraped off the top of the ground down in the woods and also mixed in several bucket loads of compost as well. Once it is assured that winter is truly gone and there is no chance of a late frost, more planting will begin in here. So far all that is in it are the early daffodils and irises.
This week I uncovered the strawberries of their winter blanket of mulch, and for the most part, they are looking great! I can almost taste those fresh from the garden strawberries . . . :)


Part of our rabbit set-up

Recently Dad was able to butcher a bunch of the rabbits that we had raised up, and it was so nice to have that meat put up in the freezer! We had bred three of our does awhile back and two of them kindled in the past few days and one more is due to any moment now. (Edited to add: Leah just came up and told me that doe #3 had kindled and had six!)
 

It's always exciting to have new life on the farm! Each of the does had large litters, and they are doing a great job caring for their babies. One of the does we were a bit skeptical about how she would do as her last (and first) litter that she had had, she scratched them all up and none of them survived. She's proving to be an excellent mother this time around.

Still waiting on this one (Edited to add: not any more! :)

The chickens enjoyed free ranging all winter, but now that we are preparing to plant grass in our yard (there might be more about that later), they haven't had that pleasure anymore. Though, we have two bales of bad/weedy hay that we have been giving them to scratch around in, and they have been enjoying that.



Dad and I did another beehive inspection this past Saturday and were really pleased with the results! The hive population is increasing dramatically, the hive looks very healthy, the queen is doing her job beautifully, and there is a lot of pollen and nectar coming in. Maybe, just maybe, we'll be able to harvest honey this fall!

Busy bees bringing in loads of pollen and nectar! (And the yellow/orange near the entrance is propolis [something the bees make to seal up their hive, etc.])

This spring we are planning on adding another hive, and that was ordered this week. Once it arrives, Leah and I will get it all assembled and painted and then come mid-April, we'll have another hive of bees!

The next two photos were taken quite a few weeks ago, but they fit in well with the theme of this post, so I thought I would share them here . . .

Leah with Aurora and Lacy in the barn - they love attention!

Me holding Gunner - he has gotten a lot bigger since this was taken

How thankful I am for the life the Lord has blessed me with! A life full of simple pleasures . . . the joys of family . . . the satisfaction after a long day of work . . . enjoying the fruits of our labors . . . and so much more.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Kitchen Tip - Bacon Prep Made Easier

For years when recipes would call for bacon to be cut into small pieces and then fried, out would come the cutting board and a knife and after awhile of not the easiest cutting (which always resulted in a mess of sticky fat on the cutting board), the bacon would be in the frying pan. But thanks to my friend, Joy, we now have a much easier method using . . .


Scissors! In just a few quick minutes, a package of bacon is all cut up and in the pan, and the only things in need of washing are a pair of hands and the scissors. The latter have become a regularly used 'utensil' in our kitchen now, and I don't know why we didn't think of using them for things like this before! (Thank you again, Joy, for sharing this idea with me!)

Do any of you have simple kitchen tips or hints like this to share? If so, I would love to hear!


I am working on a post about some of what has been going on around here lately, but ran out of time this morning to finish it up so you are getting this post instead. :) So stay tuned for an update of our life on the farm the past few weeks!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Sunday Hymn ~ 'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, "Thus saith the Lord."

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!

O for grace to trust Him more!


O how sweet to trust in Jesus,

Just to trust His cleansing blood;
Just in simple faith to plunge me
'Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!



Yes, 'tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!

O for grace to trust Him more!


I'm so glad I learned to trust Him,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that He is with me,
Will be with me to the end.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!


Words by: Lousia M. R. Stead

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3:5-6

"And those who know Your name will put their trust in You,
For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.
"
Psalm 9:10


"Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD
and whose trust is the LORD.
For He will be like a tree planted by the water,
that extends its roots by a stream
and will not fear when the heat comes;
but its leaves will be green,
and it will not be anxious in a year of drought
nor cease to yield fruit.
"
Jeremiah 17:7-8

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Leah's New Venture - Making Mei Tais

After a conversation with one of our cousins who had made Mei Tai baby carriers and after thinking for awhile about trying to make one herself, Leah decided to give it a try . . .


And it was a success! Prior to this, she had looked at photos of different designs online, read about their construction, etc., and then designed her own, taking what she liked from various ones and adding her own touches to it as well. How she figured it all out, I don't know, but the carrier is really nice! I loved wearing it with Adelyn as it was so comfortable and cozy with her snuggled up to me and all secure . . .and Adelyn loved it, too, and was happily content to be in it.


After seeing how well this one turned out, Leah is exploring the possibility of beginning an Etsy shop and selling Mei Tais through that venue . . . and once she gets her shop up and running, I will be sharing the link here!

The same day that the above photos were taken (which was quite a few weeks ago), the ones below were taken as well when Dad, Mom and Adelyn were enjoying time together. Dad was reading to Adelyn out of the Answers in Genesis newsletter, and she was fascinated by it! Or perhaps it was more the feel of the paper as she rubbed her fingers on it. :) Either way, it was cute to watch!



Aww . . . :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Week with Ashley and Adelyn

Most of last week and the first two days of this week, we had the pleasure of having Ashley and Adelyn come and spend the days with us. Ryan and Ashley were having some work done on their house so when Ryan went to work, he would drop them off here and then pick them up on his way home. And of course, stop and visit for a bit, too. :) (And then one evening they joined us for homemade pizza, too, which was fun!)

Ashley had made some homemade baby food to begin giving to Adelyn, and here Ryan is feeding her carrots . . . she loved those! After the first bite or two that is. :) She wasn't sure about them at first!

Someone's getting sleepy while her Grandma rocks her

It was such an an enjoyable week! The conversations we had were wonderful and looking back, I think the primary topic was home management, homemaking, schedules, and the like. We are all working through the same book right now and are in the process of setting up daily schedules/plans (I use those terms loosely as they are rather fluid), so it was especially fun to talk about it together and to give inspiration and encouragement to one another as well.


Leah and Adelyn playing together

Then one day was spent up in the sewing room, another in the kitchen baking, another we all planned our menus and grocery lists, and then there were a few trips to town as well. It was amazing how quickly the hours of the days would fly by!

Ashley working on hemming a blouse

Meanwhile, Adelyn played contentedly on the floor

And Leah was working on hemming a skirt that she had made

It was also so enjoyable and special being able to spend so much time with Adelyn! We all loved that . . . snuggling with her, playing, getting her to laugh and smile (which isn't very difficult to do :), talking with her, and then simply watching all of her cute antics.

Ashley made the hair clip that Adelyn is wearing . . . they are so cute in her hair!

She has a fascination with her hands and fingers, and it almost seems like she is purposefully trying to wave sometimes

Ashley encouraging Adelyn to try to figure out how to come to her

Eventually Mommy helped her. :) It is so sweet watching these two together!

So happy in her Mommy's lap . . . all I had to do was say her name, and she would just grin and laugh

Adelyn also did so many 'new' things during these days! She solidified being able to sit up all by herself (as the photos attest to), she began standing some with holding onto only one of our hands instead of two (though she was a little wobbly :), by holding onto something she pulled herself up into a standing position, and more. She's also working on her second tooth . . . it's so fun watching her growing and changing!

Precious Adelyn