Thursday, September 28, 2006

What Do You Think?

I really would like to hear from you Grandma's especially, but I would like to hear from others as well. It seems like children are raised differently these days. I was having a discussion with someone about when people come to your house with their children. I was raised with 4 brothers. My Mom could take the 5 of us anywhere. If we went to someone's house, we stayed right with my Mom unless the hostess told us we could go play and provided toys, etc. Now, if it was a good friend's that we went to often and they had children, we could go off with their children and play, but we knew the rules. We did not touch things on their tables or counters, etc. We knew that was off limits. I raised Joshua pretty much the same way. One of my rules was... If it is not yours, don't touch it. I left some things around the house on coffee tables or end tables, or the centerpiece on my table. He was allowed to look, but not touch. I occasionally gave him something that he could touch. I had a glass nativity set that was off limits to hands. However, I also had a plastic one, that I left on the coffee table that he was allowed to handle and play with. Now, I realize he was not perfect, and I was "training".

I am pretty hands on when it is my house. I do state the rules and expect the children to follow them. However, I have had children ask to play with things that are for sure not toys (I do have tons of toys for them). The parent has told the child to ask Miss Marci if you can play with it. Now, why should they ask Miss Marci. Why doesn't the Mom tell them that it is not a toy and they need to play with toys? Am I a weirdo here? I have pretty much child proofed my house as I have friends with lots of children. I love for the children to come to my house. I have many things they can play with. I do have rules though and most of the children that are in my house on a regular basis know the rules and follow them. I have one friend who calls me "Couch Cautious" because I only allow children to sit on my couch, not walk, stand or jump. =) It is a joke between her and I. I also don't allow cars or trucks to be run on the furniture. However, I have lots of good floor space for cars, trucks and tractors. I want people to be comfortable to come in my home, children included. I want them to know that I LOVE having them there. I am just looking for what is the right side of this issue, or is there one?

Do you allow your children to touch other people's things? Do you think they should be allowed to? Do you expect the hostess to tell your child what to do and how far it can go? Do you Grandma's think that the hostess should have to tell the child or parent? Let me hear your thoughts? I am getting some interesting feedback on this. =)

God's World

We had our very first God's World meeting yesterday. My high school agriculture teacher came out and did a tree identification class. I have been out of high school for 30 years and he didn't look much different to me. =) Anyway, I had hurt my foot and was unable to tramp through the woods with the rest of them. I was really bummed about that. He was very good and I think most of the children really enjoyed it. Our other meetings will be a bit more structured than this one was. The class is for 7 to 18 year olds. The Moms come and bring the younger children, so we had quite a group. Starting with the meeting next month, the children will begin to give demonstrations. My Sister-In-Law and I have a really neat craft planned for this next time we meet.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Great Contest Going On

There is a contest going on over at Life in a Shoe. You can enter to win $700 worth of Vision Forum products. They have wonderful items for the family. We have gotten Joshua things from them in the past that he loved. They have lots of good tapes and books as well.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Barn Greeters

When we go out to milk twice a day, we are now greeted as we enter the goat shed. These 4 kittens come tumbling out from behind the board that you see in the first picture. Some of them come over the hay bale in front of the board and some come around. The little black and white one comes in the milk parlor with the 2 dogs and the momma cat. When I squirt some milk on the floor for the momma cat, she or he is right in there with the momma cleaning it up. The other ones have come in, but they are more interested in trying to nurse. The kittens are being handled so they will be tame. We may get rid of the 2 mommas and keep one male kitten. The white and black one is most like our first barn cat that Joshua really liked. Her name was Ginny. It is hard to tell if kittens are boys or girls. If we do keep the kitten, we may run a contest for picking a name for it. I have 4 books that are brand new that I could give away. Hmmm........ I will ask my husband what he thinks. Be thinking!!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

What are These Plants?

This one grows mostly on the edge of the woods. It has a bright yellow flower and the flowers work their way up the stem to the end.

This is a weed at the edge of the woods. There are clusters of red berries.

This one looks very similar to iron weed, except the flowers are white. I have never heard of white iron weed though.

If you can help me identify these plants, I would sure appreciate it.

Tramp Through the Woods

This picture is where you go into the woods. It's hard to tell that it is the beginning of a pathway. There are a couple of other entrances, but this is the most used one. You see a couple of our apple trees in the foreground.

This is an actual wee tiny maple tree. It was at the most 5 inches high. It has already changed its colors to a brilliant red to stand out on the floor of the woods. It is warning people that it is there and please step lightly around it.

This picture is looking up through the canopy of the trees. The trees down below are changing their colors, but they have a very thin coat. I think they are so thinned out because they don't get that much sun down in the woods.

Here is a picture of the cabin from a distance. I was out there checking the cabin. We had bad storms last night with lots of wind. The storm caused some damage. The neighbor children and I will have to do repairs.

This is where we come out of the woods. The colors were much more dramatic than this picture shows. The sun was shining, the clouds were dark and it was a bit dark around us. I loved the contrasts.

I have more pictures from our walk that I will post in a separate post. I am wanting to know what the plants are. So, if you know your plants and wildflowers, help me out. =)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Two More Cabin Pictures

The first picture is inside the lean-to. The second picture is looking inside the front door.

Log Cabin

When we moved here, there was a log cabin in the woods. The children of the family we bought the property from had built it. It has a loft in it and a lean-to on the back of it. They played in it often. My neighbor children now use it regularly to play in. They dream of Little House on the Prairie days and cowboys and indians. I am thrilled that I have this little cabin. It is a place that children love to come and play, but it also shows what can be done with a little imagination. There are paths through the woods, and some of those near the cabin are lined with rocks. In the summer, you can't be seen from the road or the house. It is a secluded setting to pretend that you live in the wilds. I know several of you and your children are doing Prairie Days and dressing up like Laura and Mary. I thought I would share my little cabin with you. Come and visit and you can have a place to act out your dream!!!

The first picture is of the front of the cabin. Just inside the door if you would look up, there is a trap door to the loft.

The second picture is of the back of the cabin with the lean-to showing.

Then there is a side view and the cooking area.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Gourds, Seeds & Strawberries

We went to my Aunt's funeral yesterday. It was truly a celebration of her life. There were a lot of the family there that we don't see very often. It was good to see them and hug their necks.

There was a possibility of a frost last night. We did not get home in time for us to bring anything in. I went out this morning to see if there was damage. I don't believe that we actually got a frost, although it was chilly. I went out today and cut off the heads of some of my sunflowers. I will remove the seeds from many of these. We will eat some of the seeds and other seeds will be bird food for the winter. I still have quite a few heads to cut off the stems. I need to find a place to sit them.

I bought some strawberry plants from a friend in Maine this spring. I was just growing them in pots, since my strawberry bed was never tilled. My Mom had a terra cotta strawberry planter that was not being used. My Dad brought it to me the last time he came up here. I have planted the plants in it and they are thriving. I am wondering if I should bring it in for the winter or just leave it outside. I would hate to kill the plants.

I did bring one birdhouse gourd and one luffa gourd in the house. I am not sure how or where I will put them to dry. It would be great to hang them somewhere so that the air circulates all the way around them.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Another Goodbye in our Family

My dear, sweet Aunt Ruth went home to glory on Sunday. She was surrounded by her family and went peacefully.

We had a family reunion this summer and we all got to be with her. She loved to have visitors at her house and even made it over to the old house for the main reunion meal. She was always so proud of her children and how they turned out and how they loved the Lord. She was always quick to share with you the goings on in their lives. She loved her grandchildren too. From what I saw and heard she was a wonderful Grandma.

This was my Dad's last sibling. The goodbyes are always hard. She will be greatly missed, but oh, I know she gave my Mom a big hug and gave her my love and a hello. Please pray for her husband of 52 years, Uncle Noel and the family.

The top picture is from the reunion earlier this summer. The second picture is from her 50th wedding anniversary party.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Fog and Spider Webs

We woke up to a morning shrouded in mystery. When we looked out the window, we could not see the barn. A heavy fog had settled in overnight. Pretty soon, you could see a light beginning in the east. The sun was trying to challenge and chase off the dampness and thickness of the fog. They were going to compete. The sun eventually won, but the fog left everything damp and dripping as if to remind us it was here.
The first picture above is a spider web drenched in dew drops. It twinkled and sparkled in the sun. I think lots of spiders were out doing their work under cover of the fog. I am not sure what kind of spider made the web in the next picture, but it too was covered in dew drops. Maybe it is a spider hostel... The Dew Drop Inn. =) These webs were everywhere. It looked as if the sheep had been romping and left tufts of their wool lying all over the grass and on the weeds. The third picture if you click on it and make it bigger shows that there were all sizes of these webs and they really were everywhere you looked.

The dogwood is so showy and beautiful in the spring with it's heart shaped petals on the flowers. However, it is also showy in the fall. It puts forth these bright red berries to share its bits of color with God's masterpiece of colors. It looks as though the berries have dripped bits of color onto the edges of the leaves as they become a rosy pink.

The last picture is of my echinacea. Most of them are dead and brown, but this one plant keeps giving me new flowers. The sedum behind it is finally turning from the white into a beautiful pale pink.

Friday, September 15, 2006

More Time To Unwind

There is so much busyness on the farm in the summer. There is the garden to tend, the veggies to harvest and then put up some how. There seems to be more activities to take part in with friends. We do broilers in the summer and we start turkeys for Thanksgiving in the first week of August. We usually get our pigs in the summer. We have to get hay made and put up. Normally, someone makes the hay and we put it up, but this year with the help of friends we did the second cutting ourselves with borrowed equipment. We move the fencing to rotate pasture for the cows, the calves, the sheep and the goats. We have yards to mow. It always seem there are way too many things to fit into the day.

Now things will slow down a bit. Autumn is in the air for sure. There is a crispness about it. The colors are different, there is a different lighting. So much of nature is getting ready to go to bed for a long winters nap. The grass has slowed up on needing a hair cut. The garden is basically done other than the birdhouse and luffa gourds. The animals are more alive and out jumping around a bit more. Their coats are finally not too much for the heat. On the first really cold morning, the sheep and goats are so much fun to watch. They almost do a delightful dance to welcome the cold air. All the broilers are done for the year. We will be getting rid of our old layers soon.

Then we will build our first fire in the stove this year. We heat our whole house with the cookstove that you see in the first picture. That hickory rocker beside it is my favorite spot in the winter. It's warm and cozy. I can sit and read, or crochet or spin to my hearts content. There will be candles on the table to scent the air.

Come on over, I'll put a pot of coffee on!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wet Cold Kittens

Our cats keep moving their babies around. We have 2 barn cats and they both have kittens. They steal each others babies and when they know we have found the kittens they move them again. We try to keep tabs on where they are, so that we can handle them and get them used to people.

This morning, my husband found one kitten behind a board leaning up against the wall in the goatshed. He told me about his discovery. I went out to milk later and there were 2 kittens behind the board. Later in the day, I heard a kitten crying outside the window in the office where I was sitting working on my Bible study. I looked and there went one of the momma cats with one in her mouth and she was headed for the goatshed. We had watched her put her kittens on the south side of our house, up against the foundation. Right after supper, I was out on our storage porch and heard a kitten crying outside the window in that room, which is on the south side. So as we went back to milk this evening, my husband went to see if there was still a kitten over against that side of the house. It has rained off and on for a few days and been a bit on the chilly side today. The first picture shows you what he found. Obviously the momma cat shown in the third picture either didn't want to claim these 3 or she knew they were not hers. They were cold and wet. We put them all together in the straw.

Michael went out again before we got ready for bed. He was going to bring in the kittens if they were still cold and wet. He said they were all in a pile together nursing off of one momma. So, he left them out there. He is such a softy!!! =)

The last picture is of my baby ewe lamb (who is growing quickly), whose name is Grace. I love the color of her wool. I had another sheep named Grace that was much darker and had a black face. I try and breed for creams and browns. I may try for a bit different color this next year.

Susan Godfrey Update

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remember To Pray For Susan

Remember to pray for Susan Godfrey and her family. See my September 7th post below the Hoe Down post. She goes in tonight to deliver tomorrow. She really does not want to have a C-section, because they get so little time with their precious little one. She wants to be alert and able to spend that time with her baby.


We do not have many squirrels that we see around our house. We do have several acres of woods, but my dogs LOVE to chase squirrels, so we rarely get to see one. These pictures were sent to me from my Dad this weekend. He lives in Florida. It appears that the momma squirrel is moving her babies to a new location. He got some really good pictures. In the last picture you can see the baby's head really well. There is always something to see if you look around.

I had been thinking about doing something last fall. I had prayed about it, talked to my husband about it and even did some preliminary checking into things. I wanted to start a sort of 4-H type of group, although it would not be related to the 4-H program. Then I got sick in August of 2005 and was unable to do it. I really love children, and God has blessed me with some talents in the artistic realm. I love to do crafts with children. My baby is now 22, and not to into sitting down and doing crafts with his mom. =) There are many families within just a couple of miles from us. Six of these families (including us) all live within a mile of each other. God has blessed them with lots of children. We no longer homeschool (its kind of hard when he goes to work each day.... =) ). I used to be a 4-H leader and really love the program, but would rather have my own flexibility and not have to attend meetings for leaders, etc. I want this group to be centered around nature. I was thinking of calling it God's World or something like that. If you have suggestions for a name, please leave them in the comments section. I have talked to 4 of the families and they all seem to be excited about it. I will have them keep a nature journal.

In high school, I took agriculture and horticulture. The agriculture I took was Ag Conservation. My teacher was really good. He gave me a love of trees. I had called him last year to ask about a book that we had used in class. He offered to come out and do a class, which never happened because I got sick. I have called and left a message for him to see if he will come out this year and do one. I also have a couple of other people lined up to come and share something with us. I am not sure when we will start. I gave a short paragraph about what we will be doing with some questions regarding how often the parents thought we should meet (once a month or twice a month) and what days were not good. I have not heard back from them all yet. As in 4-H, I will have the children 7-18 give a demonstration of something during the meetings. This gives them some experience in sharing publically and allows them to show us something they like.

I am really excited about this and hope it turns out. If you have some interesting craft ideas, I would love to hear them. I have a couple of books on order as well.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Sumac Is Starting

Today I was out with my husband. I saw several maple trees already have a large cloak of orange around their shoulders. With the dry summer we had, it looks like the trees lost lots of leaves. Their cloaks are very thin this year. The two pictures here are of sumac leaves starting to turn. They turn bright red and then where a dark burgandy seed head like a stocking cap on top. In the second picture there is also a dogwood tree on the left. It is showing forth its red berries.

The weather was hotter than it has been, but still very bearable. The high was supposed to be 85, but I think it got hotter than that.

Tonight we need to trim the goat hooves. We bought peanuts to see if the calves will eat them. We like to keep them friendly with us and we are no longer giving them bottles. We don't feed grain, so we are going to try an occasional treat. We went to get some alfalfa cubes, but they only sold them in huge bags and we are not sure they would even like them.

We have a buck worked out for this year. He is the same one we used last year. He is very sweet although extremely smelly. I do believe of all the animals I have been around, a male goat in rut is by far the grossest!!!! I now need to work out a deal on a ram. We breed in November for April babies. We like April because it is not bitter cold anymore and the flies are not out yet.

It is very quiet on the farm today. I picked some comfrey leaves and some echinacea leaves to dry. I need to get out there and get some jewel weed as well. I will mush it and freeze it in an ice cube tray. I am hoping to add it to my home made salve recipe. I also put the dried onions and tomatoes in the food processor to chop them up. I did the onions first. They taste like candy. The tomatoes came out pretty well. They are not a really fine powder, but I would say they came out as a powder with some chunks and that will work.

I want to ask everyone that reads this post to please leave a comment about one thing you are thankful for. I am thankful for a God who gave us beautiful seasons instead of one black and white one.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Lessons in Nature

Oh, the lessons we can learn when we look all around us in the world. These are my sunflowers. Remember how tall and straight they stood. The one was at least 11 feet tall. Its face was looking at the sun. We are to stand straight and tall as children of the King and keep our face to the Son. Then a vine (the birdhouse gourd vine) began to grow and was not pruned. It began to coil around the stalks of those sunflowers. Its fruits began to grow and get bigger and heavier to carry around. Because it was left unchecked, it has brought the tall proud sunflowers down low. It has killed some of them by breaking the stem. Oh, think of how a wee little sin will sprout in our hearts. We don't think it is that bad. We don't allow the Master Gardener to prune it. It continues to grow and coil itself around us. The fruits of that sin begin to grow and weigh us down with the guilt. Pretty soon, we are brought low or even broken. Let's ask the Master Gardener to prune all those little sprouts while they are little. Let's repent of them. Repent means to turn and go in the exact opposite direction.

These two pictures remind me to bloom where I am planted. This little sunflower seed was dropped off by itself. It could have never flourished because after all, it was not over with those of like mind and looks. However, that is not where it got placed. It decided to go ahead and do what God intended for it to do... BLOOM. Also, maybe because it is not over with its like kind, it was spared from being strangled by the birdhouse gourd vine. The second of these pictures is of one of the birdhouse gourds. It is all alone hanging suspended in the compost bin. However, that did not hinder it from growing and maturing. Many times we feel so all alone in our convictions or beliefs or trials or whatever. However, that is where we are in life. We need to do what God intended for us to do... to BLOOM, to grow, to mature, to do the task that He has given us. Many times people say that they are not sure what God would have them to do. I always tell them to get back to the basics. Are you a Wife?... The Bible gives good instruction on what to do. Are you a Mom? Again, the Bible gives instruction. Once we are faithful in the basics that He has given us, He will entrust us with more.

This picture is of one of my luffa gourds. If you look really close there is a praying mantis on it. Many of these gourds have started to grow and then they die. This one has kept in the sheltering protection of the leaves and seems to be growing. We can look at the guidelines that God has given us as a fence that keeps us trapped from all the fun things of the world. Or, we can see it as a sheltering protection that will allow us to flourish. I often times am reminded of a fence. We can look at it as a barrier to going out and beyond it, or look at it like a safe haven. You can go anywhere you want within this fence and be safe. I could get a bit cocky here and say that the gourd has someone praying for it, but I won't go there. =)

My friend came over for a short visit this afternoon. Her and I sat out in the yard and watched her two youngest play, while the two oldest got busy in the garden. I thought I was about done. Praise the Lord for the bountiful harvest He has given us this year. I will have to figure out what I will make with this new batch.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I enjoy reading all your comments and visiting your blogs.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Hoe Down Time

I thought I would throw this in here so you did not think that all we ever did had to do with animals and gardens. =) I was raised on bluegrass music. My Mom said that she listened to it when she ironed way back before she was married. She called it hillbilly music then. Our son loves bluegrass as well. God has really given him a musical talent. Friends of friends were having a HUGE hog roast. There was so many people there. Their property was beautiful and just made for this sort of thing. They had several acres and it was all park like. Every where you looked, you could see they had artistic talent at the way everything was decorated and layed out.

Well, they asked the little group my son plays with to be the entertainment. Here are some pictures from the hog roast. My son Joshua is the tallest in the group. He has on the light green shirt and is playing a guitar. He is also teaching himself the mandolin. They do a great job together and have a good time.

Besides bluegrass, Joshua is very talented with wood. He has an eye for the different patterns and flames in wood. He has a cabinet makers eye. I keep hoping for a Hoosier Cabinet one day. =)