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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Counting Blessings

There is a challenge going on at Frugal Family Food. It's "low spend month" where we are challenged to use from pantry, fridge and freezer instead of getting as much from the grocery store. (Subscribe to their newsletter here.)

When the challenge was announced I thought there would be no way for me to participate. This is the time of year when my canned and frozen food is nearly depleted. Out with the old, time for some new.

But then I began to realize how much I had. One day I took pictures of things I was given and that came from our own farm. It has happened more than once that I decide to not buy as much and then God begins to shower me with food from sources I never thought of.

Peas and strawberries from the garden.
 20 lb bag of potatoes for $4.
 Milk from the cow.
Free cheese from my bro-in-law, who drives a food truck.
 Green things from our garden.
 Shucked peas (from our garden).
 Carrots from our friends' garden.
 Honey from our friends' bees.
 Eggs from our chickens.
 Blueberries from friends.
 Black raspberries from our orchard.
 Blueberries from our orchard.
Homemade butter.
Basil from the garden.
It is good to count one's blessings!

For a bonus here's a video of our youngest son mowing the yard. He has been bugging us for awhile to be allowed to do it. Our oldest was mowing with this same machine at 8 yrs of age. Why are we reluctant to allow the nearly 13 yr old youngest one to do it?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

June 18


Outside my window...
...it is very warm. Amazing. It has been a mostly cool and rainy spring with unusual flooding. There have been occasional warm days though.
I am thinking…
...about relationships. About unhealthy attachments to earthly possessions. About how to educate our children. About how we judge people. Too many thoughts...
I am thankful for…
...fresh garden things. Lots of milk. A cool house. A washing machine.
From the learning rooms…
The whole household is learning, learning. Learning on the construction site. Learning in the garden. Learning from books. Learning from people. Learning from mistakes.
From the kitchen…
I am trying to be more saving. To buy what is on sale. To use what I have on hand and not try to "keep up with the Joneses" by making fancy meals or worrying about what people think of simple food.
I am wearing…
...normal, everyday clothes. Here's what I look like today. (Would you know? I took a selfie!)
I am creating…
...meals. Blog posts. 
I am going…
...to a family reunion, Lord willing. Yippee!
I am reading…
...the Bible. somehow I haven't been able to get into another book lately.
I am hoping…
...the garden will be productive after a late start.
I am hearing…
...the washing machine. The AC unit. The dryer. My keyboard.
Around the house…
We are working on cleaning, repairs, repainting, and etc. We have so many ideas and so little time. Christopher is into redoing furniture. That's his latest inspiration.
He decided to redo a twin bed frame we had setting around here to use in his room. There were four layers of paint and some stain to take off. I remember when my brothers painted it blue for their use and then we girls painted it pink for ourselves. Underneath those layers were black and white. (It had a twin that we gave away years ago.)
The head board had flowers and leaves. He opted to chisel those off and he'll probably do a picture with wood burning in that space.
Sample of the layers of paint
 

Christopher is using dark stain and white paint.
One of my favorite things…
Chocolate pie.
A few plans for the rest of the week…
The peas, strawberries and blueberries need to be picked. Picking means doing something with them after the picking.
There is a constant supply of milk that needs to be made into yogurt, butter, cheese and puddings, or eaten with cobbler, muffins or pie. 
The pantry needs to be restocked, which means a trip to town. 
I want to clean a few areas and do some mending.  
Here is picture thought I am sharing….
Homemade yogurt with local honey, fresh blueberries and strawberries from our garden/orchard.

Monday, June 18, 2018

May

May was quite the full and busy month. The younger boys had program practice at school most days in the beginning.

Thomas and sons also did some work at a retreat in PA, being gone a few days and leaving Melvin, Christopher and I to see after things here. This included mowing the church lawn. Inexperienced me took Melvin and mower to church with truck and trailer. He did the mowing.

One Monday Verina and I with a few of our children and Mama did up a cow. That means we cut the meat off the bones, ground some of it and packaged it all for the freezer. It is so nice to have meat in the freezer once again.

Stephen spent a week in Texas May 8-15. His friend Samuel teaches school in Lott. Stephen has been wanting to visit him for quite some time so he decided this was the time.

To his dismay as he took in Samuel's year-end events he missed everything here at home. Year-end school events were in progress here as well. And we had a baptism at church that Sunday for four young people.
Christopher, Melvin and Matthew dressed up for the program. 
(I'm not good with photography. The lamp appears to sprout from Christopher's head. :( )

The whole group, singing
Two of my sisters from TX planned to spend a week here in May to help our parents move into their new abode across the yard. Thomas' brother Caleb planned to come to WV for a couple of weeks. 
My niece from TX (right) came along and spent time with Verina's daughter (left). Christopher looks on
This is an unusual sight in my kitchen :)
We asked these travelers if they could plan their arrivals at approximately the same time so we could make only one trip to DC. This they did, with all flights potentially arriving on the evening of May 15.

Things didn't work out quite so well in real life. Caleb's and my sisters' flights came in late and Stephen's was delayed. As we sat around eating and waiting for him, he kept being delayed. He boarded his flight and then all were deplaned.

We finally decided we would head for home and when he came in later, his friend from home would come get him. As we traveled homeward, he called and said his flight was cancelled and rescheduled for the next night at 10:30 PM.

The cause for all the delays was thunderstorms in DC. No flights were coming in and none were going out. Stephen stayed on standby from early morning the following day until 3 PM when they gave him a seat.

Melvin and I went to pick him up. We were thankful that his flight was a bit earlier in the day. With all the evening storms, we were afraid the scenario would repeat if he came later.

The week was a very rainy one. We slogged through lots of mud and water as we worked on final things at the new dwelling and pulled the moving trailer in there.
Freshly painted bedroom with a blue accent wall
There was painting to do and brother Tim came to replace the carpeted bathroom floor with marble tile (he had leftovers from a job). 

This shows the new floor as well as the cabinets that Matthew painted
Work completed and time to rest
My role during this time was to feed everyone. This was a full -time job. Sister Verina helped by making some meals. One evening we enjoyed a mother-daughter banquet our church put on.
Verina, Rosetta, Mama, Rachel, Me
During this week Thomas' mother was also preparing for a yard sale. I asked a friend to help her out and Caleb helped as well. We had church spring cleaning which we are responsible to oversee. Verina's father-in-law was also very ill, so the family was a bit stretched, with outside cares on top of the heavy load here.

The Lord always makes a way through.

I had an interesting experience that week. We had been praying that the power company would come and get electricity hooked up to the trailer. I woke up Friday morning and thought about it. I don't remember if I was praying but in my spirit I had a knowing, "The power company is coming today." 

After awhile I decided to share that conviction. Thomas doubted me. "It's been so rainy and they have power outages to deal with." But as he headed out to a job a while later, he called back to report that they were indeed on their way! 

How happy we were to have lights in the new place. Dim, rainy days and loud generators don't make work situations the most pleasant.

We ended the month in PA. Thomas and sons had one more floor of the hotel to paint and they wanted me to go along. I did and thoroughly enjoyed the time there. 

And I've been working on this post way too long. Here it is the middle of June already. 😊

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Bunnies

The boys' friend Dakoda found a nest of bunnies in the garden. He gave the boys two of them.




For perspective- the bunny is in Christopher's softball glove. It rode home from P.E. that way.
No perspective here. They are in a large pet carrier. The one in the front is the same one that was in the glove. The second one that came was always a bit more shy.

They kept them for awhile but when we needed to all leave recently for a few days they decided to release them in the wild. 

They were such cute little creatures. Big eaters too! It took a lot of plantain, clover and dandelion to keep them fed. The boys were sad to let them go but knew it was for the best.

Quote of the day on dictionary.com-
Men come and go as leaves year by year upon the trees. Those of autumn the wind sheds upon the ground, but when spring returns the forest buds forth with fresh vines. Plato

From God's Word-
For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away. 1 Peter 1:24

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Southwest Pizza

For something different we enjoy a Southwest version of pizza. Make your favorite pizza crust.
This one isn't my favorite but it's grain free, made for me. I made a regular yeast dough with spelt for the rest of the family. They ate some of mine too.
Put a good layer of salsa over it. Medium was my choice. Use what you like.
Add a layer of burger. I like to use chicken or turkey burger but only had one pound of chicken burger so I added a pound of ground beef.
Next put on the onions and peppers.
Top it off with a good layer of Colby cheese. (Mine was free- from my bro-in-law who drives a food truck. We get rejected cheese and it's pretty good!)
The ooey-gooey goodness. Make one for yourself!

True story-
On Sunday we were baby-sitting a young family's children. The oldest is 9, the next is 5 or 6 and the youngest is 3. I remarked to the middle one that they could appear to be our own, stair-stepped down from Christopher. The youngest, who is fairly new to speaking, was listening and he surprised me by asking, "Do you want me?" 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Things in nature

 The strawberries are ripening. 
 Green berries we hope to harvest once they're blue.
Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear. That's what I thought when I saw them.
 A sun dog overhead. Have you ever seen one in the sky above you?

There was a "normal" one in the western sky to the left of the sun at the same time.
And to the right of the sun there was just a bright spot with the faintest color that the camera hardly picked up.
 One of the azalea bushes around here.
 Individual flowers of the same.
Raspberry starts. The chickens have destroyed all but one. Hindsight is better than foresight. We should have put a fence around them.
Rhubarb. A family favorite.

A funny bone tickler-
I came into the living room where Stephen sat with his head phones on and the computer on his lap. Having heard him speaking, I thought maybe he's on his phone with someone.

But then he ceased speaking and was staring at his computer. Supposing he wasn't on his phone after all, I queried, "Are you going to eat supper?"

"I so would, if I thought I had the knowledge," he immediately replied. 

I burst out laughing as I realized he was speaking to someone other than me.