Sunday, June 30, 2013

June: Big Night Moths

 "Young people," she said solemnly, "if you're studying science and the elements has ever led you to feel that things just happen, kind of evolve by chance, as it were, this sight will be good for you... It takes the wisdom of the Almighty God to devise the wing of a moth.  If there ever was a miracle, this whole process is one."  
A shivering movement went over the moth.  The wings drooped and spread wider.  Mrs. Comstock sank into soft, awed tones.
"There never was a moment in my life," she said, "when I felt so in the Presence as I do now.  I feel as if the Almighty were so real, and so near, that I could reach out and touch Him, as I could this wonderful work of His if I dared.  I feel like saying to Him, 'To the extent of my brain power I realize Your presence, and all it is in me to comprehend of Your power.  Help me to learn, even this late, the lessons of Your wonderful creations.  Help me to unshackle and expand my soul to the fullest realization of Your wonders.  Almighty God, make me bigger, make me broader!'"

(Though I cannot make a wholesale recommendation of Gene Stratton Porter's works, I did find this passage from "A Girl of the Limberlost" to be particularly true and moving.  May we always see the magnificence of our Creator, in all parts of Nature, and be moved to worship by it.)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Peek into History

The town of Hadley is small and sleepy, yet full of History.  Last week Josiah and I squeezed in a trip down to the Hadley Mill museum, which was open to take a look around.
There was an Thomas Edison gramophone, which truly played!  Absolutely awesome.

Lots of old farm tools.

Upstairs was also full of beautiful items; one a gorgeous dress from a wedding in 1935 with a photo next to it of the lady on her wedding wearing the dress.  Just gorgeous.

I love typewriters, and there was quite the collection here.

It is positively amazing the detailed work on the undergarments and dresses, and to think that it was done all by hand!

One of the main reasons for our trip down, was that we had been informed that the mill had a 1919 Paterson automobile on loan from the Sloan museum.   Absolutely drop dead gorgeous!

Josiah and I agreed that we REALLY wanted a car just like it, and hey, it was only $1197!  Such a deal! :)

On the way home we passed this little old Ford farm truck;  there you go Josiah, a Paterson for comfort and pleasure driving, and a Ford truck for all your farm work :)

Oh, and if anyone is interested, the Hadley mill is to be open on the 4th of July.  Stop by and take a peek into History!


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tis the Season

 ...For Strawberries!
For the past 2 weeks, there has been an item on our to-do list that has never disappeared.  Every single day when we look up at that imposing list, it sits unmoving at the top.  No matter how many times we accomplished it, it was always there to do again. 

"Pick Strawberries" it says, and so out we go, and pick.  And every day it seems as if the rows grow and get longer, the path's skinnier, and the berries more abundant!

The first week it was exciting and tasty!  The number of quarts brought in piled up.  The task did not end with the picking but rather continued into the evening, when we had to top all of them.

Yet despite the hard work, we cannot complain.  It is amazing and we are extremely grateful for the abundance, which we are freezing and canning for this next year.

One of the advantages of the excess berries are the wonderful desserts we can have.

Including but not limited to: Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream with strawberries nuts and chocolate sauce,

Angel food cake with strawberries (which I have made twice now, but somehow have failed to photograph) mini strawberry glace pie (which could not be exceeded for excellence) strawberries over granola, and many, many berries eaten just how God made them. :)


Monday, June 24, 2013

Through the Storm

 This past Monday was quite wild and wooly weather wise.  Surprisingly enough, the day started hot yet placid with blue skies and a blazing sun.  As the day wore on and afternoon came, we began to jeer at the "weather men" who had predicted storms for the day.  "Shows how much they know!" we said as we gazed at the clear sky.  One of the many projects that day was picking the strawberry patch, which was beginning to ripen at full swing.  Mom and I went out to do so, and had to cut 2 snakes out of the berry netting.  The silly snakes had thought they could slide through the small holes in the netting and got themselves stuck.  Poor dears!   This accomplished, we pulled back the netting and began to pick.  What seemed like an eternity later, we had reached the last row and were almost half way down when a bit of wind hit my face and I glanced up and noted huge gray blue storm clouds to the North West, with determination in their look.  I mentioned them to Mother and we both contemplated the rising clouds.  After a bit of discussion we concurred that the storm looked to be quite a bit North of us and would probably just pass us by, never-the-less we picked up our pace, and plucked berries as fast as we dared to get done, just in case the tempest did indeed descend on our little bit of a farm.  We hadn't made it very far when a leaf struck my cheek, and then the strongest blast of wind I had ever experienced beat against us with a fury and came near to knocking us over!  Surprised but not worried Mother and I did what any logical person would have done in the situation; we hunkered down in the middle of the strawberry patch and peeked up at the clouds to see if any looked to be swirling.  We were very thankful to the LORD that none did, and we were going to simply wait for it to blow over, when we heard something odd amidst the loud and gusty wind.  It was Dad, looking for us and telling us that we ought to come in because the storm cells looked to be a bit more than we expected.  So we did, and were very glad that we made that decision because we hardly made it in before the rain came down in torrents.

 As we had suspected though, it didn't last long.  The wild winds blew over, the rain stopped and we were incredulous to see the sky once again blue and the sun visible. We made our way outside to survey the damage.  Our pavilion on the deck was literally smashed to smithereens, there were branches from our big oak tree scattered about the road, one of the neighbor's pine trees had been topped and 10 feet of it lay pointing out into the street, some of the bean poles in the garden had been knocked down, and on top of all that, after the wind stopped, the rain ceased to pour, and the sun began to shine... then... our power went out.

And yet, we were grateful.  Grateful to the Creator of weather, and the One in control of storms, that we weren't visited by any greater destruction then a few broken tree limbs.

We dealt with the power outage as best as possible, cooking fish on the grill, and heating up canned beans on the grill as well.  After our meager supper we began our evening chores, once again noticing clouds gathering in the North.  Despite it, Josiah and Faith ran out with the golf cart to feed Josiah's meat chickens and our turkeys out back.
 As they were finishing up, Faith, looking up at the foreboding sky casually, mentioning to Josiah that she thought that it would most likely "just blow over".   The words were barely liberated from her mouth when "plop, plop" down came some of the biggest drops of rain that had ever crossed our vision.  Quick as they could, Faith and Josiah finished their task, leaped onto the cart and put the pedal to the metal in an effort to arrive at the house in a semi-dry condition.  Mission... unaccomplished.  By the time they reached the garage, Josiah couldn't really tell where he was driving, for the rain was coming down in heavy sheets!  There wasn't a dry spot on their bodies big enough to put a mosquito on!  Meanwhile, Mom had gone out to our tarp shed to try to fix the zipper.  There she was when the deluge began and there she remained.  In an effort to assist her I sprinted across the short distance endeavoring like the proverbial fox to dodge the drops.  Arriving at the shed I slipped in, and our ears were soon serenaded by a sound that spoke of more solidity then rain drops.
We peeked out, sure enough, hail!  They were as large as shooter marbles, and were coming down hard and bouncing around like pop-corn.  Josiah and Faith joined us in the shed for a short time when Faith and I remembered we needed to check on the chicks and ducks.  Out we ran into the ice pellets.  "Ow, ow oooowwwwwww!" we shouted in unison as hail assaulted both the top of our heads and the soles of our feet.  We rushed pel-mel to and fro, then returned to the tent until the battery had ceased it's drumming.

In 15 minutes or so, the gale culminated, leaving behind a yard full of ice, and water.

The garden, much to Faith' chagrin was completely swamped in the pathways, making us think of Venice and as we squelched around the different rows, peering concernedly at the different vegetables, we began to think that some armed militia had made their way through our vegetable patch.  Little bullet holes straight through the celery and rhubarb, tops off a few tomatoes and some flattened onions, told a sad tale of destruction.  Yet once again, we had to admit to ourselves, "well, it could have been much, much worse!"

And as if to confirm our optimistic belief, to the east spread in pale beauty across the sky was a rainbow.  A rainbow which told a tale:  a tale of wickedness, of God's just wrath, and a much, much greater storm than we had ever even let cross our imaginations.  Of flooding that would have made our yard look perfectly dry, of destruction that put everything in perspective.  And yet, of salvation, and promise, for after that horrible storm (which lasted considerably longer than ours) God took the man and his family whom He had saved and showed him a "bow" in the clouds.  It stood for a promise, a promise that never again would God destroy the earth with water as He had just done. 
So no matter what "storm" you go through, remember the rainbow, the promise, and that the Maker of that rainbow can never break His promises, and that He will take you through the Storm.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

In the Garden: Late Spring Update

Our garden plants have progressed a long way since the little spindly seedlings under a lamp. 

They grew, and grew, and graduated out to the porch.

Then, they grew, and grew some more and were promoted to the great outdoors in flats.

Out in the garden the plants we sowed directly in the ground were growing like weeds!  (and so are the weeds)

The radishes and green onions are harvestable, and so tasty with lunches.

The lettuce is doing wonderful as well!  We have had salads, and wraps as much as we liked.

There are a lot of bean plants growing, because we eat SO many green beans.  We are almost out of our canned beans.  Grow little bean plants, grow!

We have multitudes of Chives...everywhere!

Then there are the pole beans, grown on old gazebo corners.

And the pole beans grown on strings tied to bike wheels. :)

This year we are growing tomatoes on cattle panels.  We are trying all sorts of different things.

In fact seeing as this post should have been up about a week ago, things in the garden are even bigger than in the photos!  You should come visit and see!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

This Past Weekend in Review

This past weekend was quite a doozie!  So, I thought I would just share some pictures with you all.
Beginning Thursday, amid all our normal business, we began a garage sale and bake sale!  Also, Thursday evening Josiah and I began farm sitting for a friend, which made for a very full day!!

No, our Zucchini is not producing already (quite a few people asked me that) it was frozen from last year.  But, I will be continuing my bake sale through the summer, and using our very own fresh Zucchini, as well as selling some fresh veggies when they come on!

Thursday went rather well, for the bake sale particularly, but Friday.... Umm... cool, wet, gray, not the best day for a garage sale.   Also, on Friday Faith left with some friends to go volunteer at special camp, at Camp Living Waters, for a week.  So we are left Faithless....

On Saturday, I was busy documenting on camera the graduation of our friend and neighbor, Matthew Bryson.  The rest of the family made it down while some friends, who were selling items at our sale, watched it for us.
After the party was completed, I biked home, and we finished up the last leg of the garage sale.  Then, Josiah and I headed up to the farm we were watching to milk Honey, the cow, but to also.... go riding!!

Mojo, one of the beautiful horses we couldn't ride.

and Reno!!  The beautiful appaloosa mustang, which I was privileged to ride last year.

Chance, pretty jumpy chestnut, also on the no riding list.

Freckles the retired barrel racer, and Josiah.  Those two are quite a pair!

Reno and I.

The herd of horses!  
So, that was our weekend!  How was yours??