Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Covering the Garden

Earlier this year we came across a newly released film called "Back to Eden."  So impressed were we by the contents and ideas in it, that we immediately called all our gardening friends and hosted a movie night.
(click on the picture and go to the website to watch the film for free, or borrow a copy from us!)

The film is about the gardening practices of Paul Gautschi, an enthusiastic gardener and Christian.  Over 30 years ago while struggling with the constant work of keeping up a large garden in an area which got so little water per year, he sought God's wisdom and example as to how He "gardens" in nature.  The answer, he found,  was a Covering.  I could go on and on, but you have better just watch the film.  It is definitely worth your time.

After watching the film this Spring, we decided to make ourselves a "Back to Eden" garden this Autumn.  Actually we just revamped part of our already existing garden. 
When we moved here over 5 years ago, we ambitiously cut up a large 30' x 114' section of the lawn and due to the dampness of our property, arranged it into raised beds.  This was just perfect for our soggy garden and has served us well these past years. 

 After  learning that Paul Gautschi's method (or as he would say, "God's method") of gardening worked for water-logged as well as overly dry properties, and acquiring the necessary "covering" (wood chips), we decided to flatten half of the garden rows.  (You can see the wood chips at the top of the garden.) It was a little bitter sweet - destroying something that you worked so hard on for several years, but it was also very exciting to see how this "new" method would work.

After the flattening was complete, we covered the soil with generous layers of chopped Maple leaves and wood ashes (both courtesy of Mr. Reiche), 

a sprinkling of manure (courtesy of our goats and chickens), 

and then the hauling began!  
With Josiah manning the tractor/trailer and Dad and Mom using wheelbarrows - 

 - I was spreading out the wood chips as fast as I could!

The first corner.

They kept dumping, I kept raking,

and the layer kept spreading.

I was mostly eyeballing it, but every once in a while I used a ruler to make sure we were approximately at 6". 

The "un- covered" spot grows steadily smaller!

A quick kiss for our helper - Sadie Rose. 

Closing in the gap!

It's starting to get dark so we must move fast- so close!

The last load!  Just enough wood chips!  We scraped up every last bit.

Here is the finished garden. (photo taken today with a little bit of un-melted snow still on it)
We expect that the chips will settle a bit over winter and be about 3- 4 inches by spring; which will be just about perfect.  
We'll have to let you all know how our "Back to Eden" garden goes next year.  And in the mean time, watch Paul's film for yourself!  

~ Faith

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Strolls

The past two Sunday afternoons, we have been blessed with beautiful weather, just perfect for a stroll out in God's gorgeous and amazing outdoors.

So two Sundays ago three of us children, Josh and Theresa, and Mr. Reiche, packed into the van, along with our two faithful canines, and headed off to Beaver Lake Trails.
We soon realized that our "stroll" was really a full grown hike, but nothing could dampen our spirits, and we trudged on, marveling in the bright blue sky and late November beauty all around us.

A masked woman :)
After much huffing and puffing, we reached pinnacle peak!
We all stopped to survey the land from the summit, and catch our breath before plunging down the hillside.

Her royalty, Miss Baby was carried for several stretches, and seemed quite happy about it :)  (not so Sadie Rose, who darted around in front, behind, with...)
Until I tried to take pictures of her close up...
Being such a gorgeous day, we were not surprised to see other people out and about, many of them on horse back.
We headed back up the trail we came, crossed this bridge which has quite the personality, and headed to our vehicles.
The dogs were happy and worn out, most of the humans were the same, and we once again loaded up and headed homewards, a successful hike behind us.


This Sunday was looking to be just as pretty as last and we were about to call our faithful walking companion Mr. Reiche and ask him if he was available for another adventure, when he walked in the door.  Talk about timing :)
For this next trip into creation, we headed to For-Mar Nature preserve.
Barefoot Hiker
The paths here are much wider and more level then Beaver Lake Trails, but just as beautiful and full of interesting pieces of nature.

Since we were in the area we decided to stop by the Foote Bird Museum, and were quite stunned and impressed with all the birds.  It was very intriguing wandering around all the glass cases built 60 plus years ago, full of birds of all sizes types and variety.
There were also cases of eggs.
It really was a fascinating exhibit  and I would have had many more photos of it and the rest of are hike, but....  my camera battery died :(
We are very grateful for these last few hikeable days, yet look forward to winter, with sledding, snowman, snowballs.......


Friday, November 16, 2012

The First Snowman!!

 It happened, one day later then last year, but it did finally happen.  The first you-can-actually-see-on-the-deck snow!!
It was November 12th, Monday evening when Dad, Mom and Josiah, came back with John from picking him up from the airport.  {He came up for Grandpa's funeral, sadly without his wife} The deck was just barely covered with snow, and of course the first thing on Josiah's mind was building a snowman.
 Sadie Rose looked on at the proceeding with interest.
 First using his hands, and then a broom to collect all the snow, Josiah worked hard to create his snowman before midnight arrived.
Ta-da!  The finished product, was actually a bit bigger than last years snowman.
So much so, that it lasted 3 days, though to be honest by the third day not even the snowman's mother would have recognized him :)


Monday, November 12, 2012

Gone Home

On November 10th George Thomas Learned, Mumsie's Dad and our Grandpa, left us and went to where he had been longing to go ever since his dear wife made the journey two and a half years ago.  He went to the throne room, and is in the presence of his Savior.

When we were gathered as a family Saturday night after Grandpa passed, the mention was made: "That was what Grandpa was passionate about, Christ."  And that is perfectly true.  In the last two years when he has been living with us and despite his mind not being quite clear, there was one thing at the forefront - the gospel.  His prayers, fervent and real, will always be remembered, as well as his amazing tenor voice, always ready to lift up praise to his Father and Savior.  Even later on, when he didn't quite know where he was, he would still preach the gospel of his Savior to everyone and no-one.  When he was in ER Grandpa was witnessing to the doctor, who it turned out was a Christian.  

Another memory of Grandpa was his humor.  He was our "funny" Grandpa, always ready to laugh, constantly telling puns, smiling, and joking.   That was him, and everyone who had the privilege to meet him knows exactly what I am talking about.  He would read us little ones stories and we have a photo of us all piled on and around him, our faces a picture of rapt attention.

A part of Grandpa's life, which I know only about through stories, and which sprung out of his devotion to his LORD was his 41 years as a missionary in Nigeria, and Niger, Africa, with his beautiful and loved wife Millie.  

Here is a very brief glimpse of his life, and some shots I took capturing his last week here on earth.

{To view George Learned's obituary please go here}

{George and Millie Learned}

{Teaching in Africa}

 {With his family: L to R Carmen, Cathy, Mrs. Learned, Mr. Learned, Paul, Tom}


 "Surrendered to the perfect will of God,
I dare not give Him less;
 Though he should lead my steps from here abroad,
I want His will my life to bless,
 Whatever He wants for me
His will, His will I must know;
 Wherever He wants to send me
His way, His way I must go.
 If He but speaks I'll obey at His voice,
I've already decided His will is my choice;
Whatever He wants for me,
His will, His will I must do. "
{One of Grandpa's solos}

 "Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord." ~Matt 25:23

 "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints."  ~Psalm 116:15
""God Himself will be with them and be their God.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."  Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." "   ~Rev: 21 3-5