Tuesday, August 29, 2017

By our love....

 "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  ~John 13:35 

This past Sunday in our humble country church we sang the song, They'll Know We Are Christians by Our Love.  I can't remember when I last sang this song, but I am sure it was in the 1970s with a guitar strumming and a group of young singers singing.  In all truth, I was surprised it was in our hymnal.  I sang it with my whole heart and soul and spirit, just like I remember doing back then.  Hubby and I have been praying for revival in our land and this song reminded me of how crucial it is to love one another right now.  The pastor's message was, "Love Your Enemies."  


We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

We will work with each other, we will work side by side
We will work with each other, we will work side by side
And we'll guard each one's dignity and save each one's pride
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
And together we'll spread the news that God is in our land
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

All praise to the Father from whom all things come
And all praise to Christ Jesus his only son
And all praise to the Spirit who makes us one
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yes they'll know we are Christians by our love.

Do you remember singing this song?
Have you sung it lately?  

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Kids and Chores...

Look here!  One of my pullets is starting to lay.  This is the third egg she has lain this week, one each day so far.  I'm waiting to see how many more will lay.  It shouldn't be long before all 24 of them start laying and then we will be absolutely swamped with eggs from old laying hens and new laying hens.  I do think I might have found a home for my old hens this fall so that'll be nice. 

This picture of my hand-washed eggs and the tiny pullet egg in the middle reminds me of the days when our kids were young and had chores to do.  Washing eggs was one of them.  There were eggs to collect, chickens to feed and water, dishes to wash and dry, floors to sweep, hay to pitch, horses to saddle, and many other things, right down to feeding the cats.  Some chores were fairly easy and relatively painless, but other chores were never-ending or very demanding.  It wouldn't be long before a child lost interest or just got sick of doing the same old things over and over again.

Just the other day I received my Mother Earth News magazine and read an excellent article called:  Transform Children’s Chores into Small BusinessesIt was so good that I read it aloud to Hubby during our morning coffee time.  We both agreed that the author was spot on when it came to kids and chores.  In a nutshell, he encourages us to find ways to make chores into small businesses that kids can run on their own.  Perhaps there might be a little start-up help from parents, but his advice is to allow the child to sink or swim with his or her endeavor.  

I remember back when we had a milk cow.  Goldie came fresh each spring and she always had enough milk for her calf and another calf, and then there was a little extra milk on top of that which came into the house.  I strained it and we drank it and made the best puddings with it.  The kids took turns milking the cow and it really was the dreaded chore because she needed to be milked morning and night at about the same time each day.  The milking chore lasted all spring and through most of the summer.  If you've ever milked a cow in summer, you know what a drudgery it can be.  Tail swishing flies, fresh poop to scoop, flies in the grain, hot and sweaty being up-close-and-personal with a warm bodied cow.  You get the picture.  As time went on, no one wanted the job of milking the cow or tending to the calves until one day Hubby announced that whoever wanted to milk the cow would receive the money from the sale of the calves in the fall.  Wow, everything changed then!  All the kids wanted in on the action.  So in the fall, they all earned a little something for their efforts.

One of our sons decided he wanted to start an egg business.  He was about 10 years old at the time.  He found a few local customers, took orders, and tended to the chickens.  I helped him get started and he did the rest for quite some time.  The money was good and the chickens were fairly simple to care for.  But then that little business fell back into my hands because something better came along.  Aunt Betty wanted to sell her small herd of sheep.  Two of our children emptied their bank accounts to buy the sheep which were lambing in December at the time, a less than ideal time to lamb, but Aunt Betty made them a good deal.  From that time on, the kids had their own sheep business and that little band of ewes allowed them to buy used cars, buy cows, and go to college.  It was one of the best small businesses ever.  Eventually we bought the ewes as the kids moved on in their lives, and I still say it's one of the best small businesses ever, even for adults.  The input cost is very minimal and the income is pretty darn good when you consider you get two crops -- wool and lambs. 

We shared the article above with our own kids who have young families.  I hoped they'd be encouraged by it.  Our daughter talked with me about it and said it wasn't quite so practical for her children since they lived in town.  I disagreed.  There are money earning opportunities wherever you live.  We then discussed ideas that might work for them.  I mentioned baking goodies or breads, and OnlyDaughter said, "Oh, you know what?  One of my friends has an 11 year old daughter who takes orders for homemade bread every week.  She loves to bake bread and she sells it as her own little cottage industry."  The wheels began spinning in her mind and we came up with lots of ideas:  growing and selling pumpkins, a paper route, making rice crispy treats to sell at Daddy's feed store,  growing flowers to sell, shoveling snow, and the list went on.  

When I was a young girl, my friends and I were always trying to figure out a way to make a dime.  We put on plays, sold pumpkins, made kleenex flowers to sell door to door, shoveled snow, and whatever else we could think up -- and we were little squirts then.  As my siblings and I got older, we all had jobs.  I cleaned homes and cleaned rooms for a hotel.  I also worked at a drive-in cooking.  So I say, you don't have to live in the country to earn money or have your own small business.  Find a need or find something you're good at and just do it!

Did you ever have a small business as a child or teen?  How about your own children, did they find ways to earn their own money?  What do you think about children turning chores into cottage industries?  Please post in the comments.  I encourage you to read the article  and share it. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Summer goodness...

This recipe is so magnificent!  I found it on Simply Recipes, where I find lots of delicious recipes.  I constantly refer to it when in doubt about how to fix something.  The flavor combination in this bread is excellent.  I hope you try it, especially if you're loaded with zucchini like I am.

A spade 'o spuds!

Do you see my broken spade handle there?  The spade is perfectly fine, but it needs the right sized handle to replace the old, broken one.  But guess what?  The new handles, this size, are hard to come by and they cost more than a brand new garden spade! Do you ever find this as frustrating as I do?  It used to be that we would replace handles on everything, and we still do, for the most part, but on occasion, the new shovel is cheaper than the handle.

About the potatoes:  I dug a spadeful to check on them and see how they are coming along.  Quite a nice bunch of medium sized red spuds.  And no scab so far this year!  We dined on a nice skillet of fried potatoes this evening along with our green beans with onions and walnuts.  So good!

A bowl o' beans!

The green beans are prolific right now.  Every few days, I can go pick another bowl of beans that feeds us at least twice.  These are the nicest beans I've grown.  They are slender and tender and just the way I want my green beans to be.  Of course, if I don't stay on top of picking them, they get  F A T  and tough, which I do not like at all.  The variety I'm growing this year are from Renee's Garden Seeds and they are called, Rolande Bush French Filet Beans.  They are definitely a "do again" in my garden.

A remuda of horses

On the drive to town last week, I took the short cut on the gravel road.  It's 35 miles of winding gravel road and just 10 miles of paved road into town this way.  It's the scenic route, for sure.  See what I met at one of the car gates?  The neighbor's horses all standing together swatting flies.  Pretty, aren't they?

A herd of ewes

This morning we moved the ewes to greener pastures.  Can you see the green pasture they are going to graze?  It's our hay field which is coming back nicely due to some recent rains.  We won't hay it again, there's not enough there, but we will graze it this fall.  Lucky ewes!  It doesn't look like many sheep now since we weaned the ewe lambs off the ewes two days ago. All the sheep got wormed and checked -- poor teeth and poor bags and any other undesirable features were marked. Those ewes will be culled.  There are 50 ewe lambs and they just got their tags -- red this year.  Each year we put a different color in the ewe lambs ears so we know their age.  It won't be long and we'll be turning the bucks into the mature ewes for breeding.  Time sure does fly!

Yesterday we bought a box of Colorado peaches.  Oh my, but they are juicy and delicious.  I had one for my breakfast this morning and this afternoon I made a pie.  Such summer goodness all around me.  I hope you're enjoying the goodness all around you.

"We might think we are nurturing out garden, but of course it's our garden that is really nurturing us."  ~Jenny Uglow

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Library cards...

My daughter sent this photo to me while she was at our local library.  She and her girls like to go to the library fairly regularly so  I told her to look for the author Mitsumasa Anno who wrote several clever picture books for children, and guess whose name was on the card?  Mine!  And the one above my name is a friend's daughter.  Do you remember signing your actual name to the cards in the library books?  I always thought it was interesting to see who checked out the books before me, but when we were all assigned numbers instead, the fun ended.  Do you see number 334 on this card?  That was my number.  Now notice the number of "renews" there are under it.  I guess we really enjoyed Anno's Aesop.

We were homeschoolers and the library was  basically our school curriculum.  We all read a ton of books and the librarians were so much help to us finding particular books for the periods of history we were studying or science books or art books.  I remember one time our youngest, who was five at the time, went up to the librarian's desk, stepped up on the step stool, and asked if she could find him some books on how to read.  The librarian looked at me with questioning eyes and I said, "Well, can you?"   It was so sweet to see her come around from behind the desk and take him to some picture books about the ABCs.  By the way, Anno had a terrific ABC book called:  Anno's Alphabet and a couple of fun number books called:  Anno's Counting Book and Anno's Math Games which we checked out regularly.  If you have Littles in your life, they might love to read the Anno books with you too!

My married children are now homeschooling their children, our grandchildren, and it's just so much fun to share ideas and books with them.  The older I get, the more I have come to realize that the real learning in life happens naturally out of curiosity and wonder.  Day to day life teaches us many good lessons, but I am ever thankful for the trusty library card.  We could always dive deeply into a subject or choose to float lightly on the surface, finding the perfect library books to quench our thirst for knowledge and understanding.  Nowadays most everything in the library is computerized, and I think that has its many benefits, but it is still quite a lovely and humble thing to hear the stamp of the library date pressing down on a paper card in a paper book that can be held in eager hands.

Cheers to the library!

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.
~Marcus Tullius Cicero
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Marcus Tullius Cicero
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/library.html

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Z is for....

Zinnias! Zucchini!
Now trending at our place.

How about some zucchini bread?

Oh the joy of gardening up north where I live.  You go along watering and weeding forever, so it seems, and then all of the sudden, everything is ready for picking all at once. I'm not complaining, but geez, there's a lot of zucchini (especially when you have four plants) and the cukes are going to literally explode.  I picked a good mess of green beans that we will eat tonight with our supper.  

I planted one cabbage that I just picked.  It's the size of a basketball.  I could probably turn it into a gallon of sauerkraut but we'll probably just eat it as slaw.  I was thinking to myself, "What if I had planted a row of cabbages?"  I would need to make a five gallon crock of sauerkraut.  I guess that's why my Grandma used to make sauerkraut.  Not only was she German, but she probably had a whole row of cabbages that were mature at the same time.  How else do you preserve cabbage?

I just dug up the garlic and it produced beautifully.  It's not as big as Dad's, but I'm happy with my crop. I'll save some back for "seed" to plant this fall and the rest we will eat.  I think I need to plant lots more garlic.

What's trending at your place?

Sunday, August 06, 2017


 Zinnias, glorious zinnias!
Among them left to bloom are the lime green zinnias,
and Bells of Ireland.

 Apples are blushing!
Northern Lights Apple tree.

 Another head of broccoli, my biggest head yet!

 Gobs and gobs of lettuce and new leaves coming up too.
I'm keeping many families in greens.

 Pots of petunias!

 Plums are beginning to turn purple.

 There will be zillions of zukes since I planted 4 plants.
I thought two were not going to come up.
My kids like them so I'll share.
Just picked 3 cukes.  More to come.
The apples were picked illegally 
(says OnlyDaughter) when all the grandkids were here running every which way. 
No one was watching so they picked and tried a few bites.
Sour.  Not ripe.  Illegal picking without asking.

More zinnias.

It was a hard week here.
My brother died the week before this and we waited for family to get here.
He was too young, just 53 years old.
He leaves behind a 9 year old daughter and her mother.
He had a life of struggle. 
I read this version of Psalm 23 from The Message when I heard of his death.
I felt like he was telling me everything's ok.

1-3 God, my shepherd!
    I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
    you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
    you let me catch my breath
    and send me in the right direction.
Even when the way goes through
    Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
    when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
    makes me feel secure.
You serve me a six-course dinner
    right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
    my cup brims with blessing.
Your beauty and love chase after me
    every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
    for the rest of my life.

Peace, brother.


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