Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Meditation

"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ....  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.... For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before hand that we should walk in them."

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

First Day of Spring - Crocuses

Little spears of green
Pierce the lingering snow,
First flowers to be seen
I wonder how they know?

Who tells them Spring is near
That it's safe to venture forth,
Of Snow they have no fear,
Nor of cold winds from the North.

Tender drops of color
Brightening the barren land,
Formed by God's great power
Placed there by His hand.

Vivid purples, each unique,
And petals of pearly white,
Yellows with their sunny cheek
All fresh and pure and bright!

~ Faith

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March - The Temperamental Month

As February draws to a close and March looms ahead of us, there is always a wondering - what exactly will the month of March bring?  It is truly an unpredictable time, and in the past 10 years alone we have had everything from beach weather, to blizzards all in this middle month which isn't really winter, but not quite spring.  Last year of course was unprecedentedly warm, and if I remember correctly, on this date last year we were basking (or sweating) under the oppressive not-so-spring temperature of 80 degrees!!!  Not this year.  But really we shouldn't complain; truly this is a more normal March (if there is a "normal") and much better for the trees and blossoms then last year.  And of course the ultimate reason is that God is in control of the weather, and knows exactly what he is doing.... so thank God for the snowflakes :)

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

Even though it has definitely not gotten as warm as last year, we have had our March fluctuations.  Below are some of the extremes of this March.

During the warm spells...
Warm (read 40-50) day.

Just right for planting some seeds in the "tunnel" .

Happy little lettuce plants :)

Robins taking a chance and following the warm spell. 
(picture taken by Josiah)

 Running water

Plenty of mud = Happy Ducks

 Full ditch = Ecstatic ducklings!!!!

 Taking a nap after a long "swim" in the ditch.

 Sunny Duckies :)

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And on the other side (or the bottom of) the thermometer..... 
The Cardinals have been singing their Spring song ever since February, and though slightly befuddled, they do not seem ultimately discouraged by the latest down fall of white.

Red-wing Blackbirds are quite belligerent, and refuse to admit that spring truly isn't here.  In fact they sing the loudest when the snow is coming down ;)

I recently was blessed to read "The Hiding Place" by Corrie ten Boom and among other things I was struck by one passage when they are in Ravensbruck, and Corrie is complaining about the conditions. Betsie has her read a passage in 1st Thessalonians "Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus," and then they begin to give thanks, for everything, including the inconveniences.   It made me think.  As Christian, we are to be joyful, thankful people... even for snow and cold weather, because as everything, it comes from God.


An Irish Saint and a........Clover?

Looking back through the blog today, I found this post originally published on March 18th, 2005.  I though it was good enough to share again!   ~Chs :)

Yesterday, March 17th, was what many people celebrate as Saint Patrick's Day, in fact, it is actually a calenderized holiday. (any holiday that is on the calendar:-) But how many people really know who Saint Patrick was, what he did to earn the title of 'Saint,' or why he is associated with clover. First, a little about his life . . . . .
Patrick was born in Scotland at around 387 A.D. At the age of 16, he was kidnapped by a band of Irish pirates who sold him as a slave to a Druid Chief in Ireland. There he lived for the next 6 years, keeping sheep and learning the Irish language and culture. But most important, he received Christ as his savior. He wrote this about his conversion, "I was sixteen years old and knew not the true God and was carried away captive to Ireland, but in that strange land the Lord opened my unbelieving eyes. I called my sins to mind, and was converted with my whole heart to the Lord my God, who regarded my low estate, had pity on my youth and ignorance, and consoled me as a father consoles his children." He goes on to state that his faith and love of God increased more and more, and he would spend countless hours in prayer as he watched the herd. At last a chance came for him to escape, and he was able to board a ship that heading for his homeland. You can just imagine the joyous reunion with his family! He, for all they knew, had perished many years ago, and now he was returned to them.

Wanting to grow more in the grace and knowledge of his Savior, Patrick studied the Scriptures on his own and with traveling monks that came through the area. He then decided to travel to France and enter the monastery of St. Martin there. For the next 18 years of his life, he devoted himself to the study of Scripture and was constantly sharing his faith with any and all who would listen. There he became a priest, and even rose to the position of Bishop.

Then one night, Patrick received a vision from the Lord, that would change his life and the lives of countless others for eternity. He described the incident thus, "I saw a man who was called 'Victorious' coming as if from Ireland, with innumerable Scrolls, and I read what they said, 'The voice of the Irish,' and while I was reading I heard a voice, 'Please, come and walk with us again.'" Patrick realized that he was being called to be a priest to Ireland, and saw God's providence in the circumstances of his previous kidnapping and slavery that had allowed him to learn the Irish language. He also knew all about the pagan Druid religion that had great power over the people there.

In 431, Patrick left for Ireland, and there he served the Lord for 30 years, enduring stoning, and beatings for Christ's sake and for the love of the souls of the Irish people. You can read much more about his work and ministry to the Irish people in Richard "Little Bear" Wheeler's wonderful book, God's Mighty Hand . But I will close now with a quote from that book that tells the story of how Patrick's name came to be associated with clover.
"The Gospel Spread throughout Ireland with power and might. In time, Ireland became known as the most evangelical nation in the world. Many, throughout the then known world, traveled there to receive Biblical instruction.
One concept the Irish found difficult to understand was the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three in one. Once while preaching to a large crowd and trying to explain the reality of the Holy Spirit, a frustrated Patrick bowed his head and prayed in front of the gathered crowd. "Lord, these are Your people . I cannot show them the Trinity. Please help me."
When Patrick opened his eyes, the Holy Spirit directed his attention to a three-leaf clover. Holding up the plucked clover, he said, "Trinity is like this clover; one stem, three leaves," the people's eyes were opened. Having grasped the understanding of that divinely inspired object lesson of the Trinity, they embraced Christianity in droves. Over the years of Patrick's ministry in Ireland, many thousands were baptized and some two hundred churches were established. Truly, God's hand was at work in preparing Ireland for the Gospel."
~Faith Ann 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Meanwhile... In the Sugar Shack

So, the time of year had once again come upon us that the sap was running in the trees.  We were very excited about the tapping time this year, as we had expanded our operation to include some of our friend's trees as well as our own.  One Saturday morning we had enough sap to start and Josiah and Faith headed out to set up our borrowed barrel and begin the boiling process.
We set up our barrel in a different spot from last year, and because the day was nice, began with little to no protection.

The wind picked up a little, so Josiah leaned a few paper filled pallets up to block the breeze while he stoked the fire.   It soon became apparent, however, that the couple of pallets were not going to be satisfactory, especially as Monday, the next day for boiling, was predicted to be rainy.

So by Monday afternoon, sitting on our property, was a first rate sugar shack, complete with a metal roof, (you couldn't hear a thing when the rain came down :) a hole in said roof to let out the smoke, and a dog to guard the front door.

Inside it was dry, mainly, very warm and cozy and even had seating for a visitor.  But Josiah wasn't finished and still had some decorating and renovating to do.

There, now it is official.

Sometimes the guard dog quits her post and comes to warm up by the fire and keep the Maple Master company.

Josiah practically lives out in his shack on boiling days, only coming in for a refreshment or two.

The latest additions to the shack include a mud room/hall where the front door is, and a hat/coat rack, so you can hang up your coat, kick off your boots, and relax.

 No matter the weather, if there is sap to be boiled, out to the shack the boy goes first thing in the morning.  So far he has made syrup during a deluge of rain, in sunshine, and with an inch of snow on his roof.  It just makes it more cozy inside.
So if anyone has an afternoon free and wants to just relax and chat, Josiah will be out in his shack, and happy for some company.

And just maybe, maybe, if you stay long enough and help out enough, you might get a taste of really, truly delicious syrup!!!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Party

Saturday evening we were very excited to have Grace, her husband Tim, and Julian over for a party.  A party to celebrate Grace's 27th Birthday (a day late:)
After showing them all our menagerie of animals, (Julian loved the ducklings and help me give them a bath) we had a scrumptious dinner, of Grace's selection.  

 [Grace showing Tim and Julian a video she had taken of Julian playing with the duckies]

 Julian was so excited to help Grace open her presents, the first one being dark chocolate of course! ;)

Some of us had to run off (farm-sitting season) right after dessert, but even so we had a wonderful evening celebrating another year in Grace's life.

We thank God for you, Grace;  for your creativity, gentle spirit, hard work ethic, and beautiful smile, and pray that God would bless you and your family abundantly, above all you could imagine, come up with or think of.

Love you Grace!!


Monday, March 11, 2013

By Leaps and Bounds Part 3: Multiplying like Rabbits

 So, on Monday last week we bought ducklings, on Tuesday we rescued a chicken, and on Wednesday.....

 we purchased Rabbits!! - four of them to be exact from some farming friends who no longer wanted the rabbits.  We had been thinking and discussing getting into the rabbit business for a little bit, but weren't sure if we were ready.  Nevertheless, last week three does, and one buck joined our farm, adding work and enjoyment as all animals do.  The Rabbits came with names, some of which we took the liberty to change.  The boy (pictured above) we re-named Buck-shot, or Buck for short.

 Josephine, the smallest of the does, has a pretty chinchilla coloration.

Then there is Flopsy (named after Peter Rabbit's sister of course).  She is big with a beautiful wild rabbit color.
Last, but not least, the biggest and most colorful of the girls.... has no name.  Well, some of us are calling her Brunhilda, while others say she is way too pretty of a rabbit for such a name, so we are still up in the air for this rabbits appellation.  Any suggestions?

There you have it, the last in many additions to Lily Spring Farm.  It makes you wonder... what's next?   Stay tuned and I will be sure to inform you of our next venture as soon as we find out about it. :)


Friday, March 08, 2013

Now Spring is coming... For sure

Spring is a fair season, she gives us many signs and warnings of her coming before she actually descends on us in all her intoxicating glory.  Sometimes it is as subtle as a scent on the breeze, the inconspicuous swelling of tree buds, or a small bit of green pushing it's way through still frozen ground.  Then it can also be startling, like a sudden early rainstorm, the deafening sound of rushing water where before there was just silent ice, or.....
the distinctive Oak-a-lee of the male Red-Wing Blackbird scouting out territory for nests.  The first sighting of these heralds of Spring, is always an event at our house to be marked on the calender, and captured on camera if possible.  The date for this year was Tuesday March 5th.

 As Josiah said, there is just something about the call of the blackbird that sends a shiver down your spine, and shouts forth more than anything else that Spring is indeed on it's way.

(All photos taken by Josiah T. Sauve)


Thursday, March 07, 2013

By Leaps and Bounds Part 2: Rescue and Rehabilitation

(Ever since March has come upon us, we seem to be collecting Animals by leaps and bounds.  So I decided to start a blog series focusing on this expanding part of our life.  So if you haven't read about my cheaper than a dozen, ducklings, then you can read about them in the Part 1.  Otherwise here is the story of our Tuesday animal.)
Tuesday morning we were privileged to add yet another animal to our growing "farm".  We had seen a message from a lady who had a chicken with an medical condition that she was told was incurable, and she wanted someone who knew how to "put down" her chicken.  Well, wanting to be helpful we gave her our number and told her we could take care of the chicken. 

 We went and met her in a TSC parking lot (dangerous place I know :P) and after looking at the chicken and talking to the lady, deducted that the chicken could most likely be "fixed".  But when we communicated this information to the lady, she told us that if we wanted to do that, fine, but she wanted no more to do with it!

So this beautiful Silver Laced Wyandotte has come to make Lily Spring Gardens and Farm her home.  Right now she is in the Infirmary (which doubles as the Nursery, and also holds Germination Station, Worm House, and Meal Worm High rises and incubator)  and though requiring medical attention multiple times a day, seems to be doing alright, and hopefully with continual care will become a part of our main flock.

And that was just the second day of the week...... :)


Tuesday, March 05, 2013

By Leaps and Bounds Part 1: What You Can Buy for a $1.50

      As a lover and raiser of Ducks, I am constantly on the look out for opportunities to add to my flock.  After much thought and debate I had put in an order for laying ducks this spring, but they were not scheduled to arrive till the end of April.  So knowing I could fit in a batch of runner ducks (which I raise and sell for pets, layers, 4-H etc.) and desperately wanting to have some ducklings as soon as possible, I began to watch our local Tractor Supply Co.   
      Pretty soon an add on their website announced that Chick Days were here and of course Ducklings along with them!  The first chance I had, we ran into our local TSC and let out a sigh of delight in seeing these absolutely darling part of God's creation.  There were 2 bins just full of ducklings, as well as plenty of chick bins of course.  Alas, I only could enjoy looking at the ducklings within the confines of TSC, because they were outrageously priced.  $4.80 a bird!!  
      Well, being the resourceful person that I am :)  I had picked up the info last year that TSC received it's shipments of Ducklings on Tuesday or Wednesday.  So this past Monday I called the TSC and sweetly asked if they still had ducklings available.  
      "Yes," came the reply, "in fact we have lots of them!"   
      Quickly I followed up with the inquiry of price.  "O, well, if you come into today the ducklings are on special."  
      I held my breath hoping for a $1 but expecting $2, "Ummm, Steph how much are the ducklings?"  She asked a fellow worker. "Oh, they're 50 cents."  
      I was floored....  I desperately tried to keep my head on straight and asked the last and most important question.  "What breeds do you have?"   
      Without missing a beat, she replied, "both Pekins and Runners." 
      Needless to say, I was out the door as quick as possible with Charity and Josiah in tow and a promise to Mother that I wouldn't come back with more then 6 ducklings at max. We made it to TSC and I kept myself at a fast walk all the way to the bins.  They were still full!  
       As I stood there leaning on the gate and staring down at the little fuzzy beaks, one of the workers walking by and hoping to make a sale said "Hey, if you buy 2 I'll give you 2 free!"  Uhuh....
       It took all of my self-control NOT to come out of the store with every single duckling in the tub :)  I was a very good and mature girl and stuck to my word to Mumsie, strolling to the cash register with 6 precious bundles in my box.   The total for all this cuteness............................................................ $1.50
 Yup, each of these cost 25 cents, and somehow I got out of paying a sale tax :D

       So now I am the happy Mother of ducklings again.  At first they were pretty full time, screaming every time I left the room, but they soon settled down, and they have been so fun to watch and interact with.  They love cuddling, crawling as far as they can into the crook of my elbow.

Then last night they had the first swim of their little lives, and absolutely loved it!!  They eat and talk and drink and scream, and drink some more, and in between all of that they take naps.

It's so hard being a duckling.

 "Hey, are you watching me?  Cause I wasn't really sleeping!"

 Surprisingly the babies all got names almost right away.  Of course these monickers are temporary since I will sell them once they are grown up, but for now, let me introduce you to...
 Fritz, (the extremely chubby little dumpling on the left) and Freckles ( who though you can't see it in the picture has little black markings on his head and back)   Please ignore the blur in the right corner :)

 Vic (to be changed to Victor, or Victoria as needed) and Val.

 Vic, and Val are my sleepy ducklings and don't last to long on their feet before plopping down and taking a nap. :)

And last, but certainly not least...  Penny and Pip!  Penny is the smallest of the 6 but very friendly and sweet and one of the best swimmers ;)  Pip is extremely skinny and tall, and very curious.

 They have the funniest expressions.  This is Pips "Duh... Hey whats UP?" face.

 And Vic with his deliriously happy face.

(Fritz and Freckles saying Hi!)
So, if you need a baby animal fix, you know where to find me, and if you are in the running for ducks, come early May I will have some well socialized goofy Runner ducks for sale!!!