Every time you feel in God's creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: "O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!
- Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

You can’t get to joy by making everything perfect. You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.
-Ann Voscamp

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Counting Blessings #1 through #32

1) time with a good friend
2) line dried laundry
3) Earl Grey tea
4) fresh lettuce
5) a crafty daughter to learn quilting with
6) homemade finger puppets
7) an artsy daughter to practice seascapes with
8) limeade and ice cubes
9) a book loving son to go to bookstores with
10) swimming pools
11) "Mommy, can you read this to me?" Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Make Way for Ducklings, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, If You Give a Pig a Pancake, Fancy Nancy
12) rainbow flock of chickens
13) new days
14) moon out in bright blue sky
15) shallow, sandy bottomed lake on a hot day
16) forgiveness granted
17) freckle faced children
18) cool breezes
19) ice cream
20) Dr. Bronner's Peppermint soap
21) Husband; there just aren't enough good words...
22) empty laundry hamper
23) full dresser drawers
24) weddings
25) baby nieces
26) coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon
27) little girls in outdoor bubble bath, suds on freckled noses
28) little sisters
29) swimming lessons; children growing confident
30) warm, earthy scent of summer
31) clean barn; sweet smell of fresh straw
32) young cockerel's first crow

Please comment and share some of your favorite blessings with us. :) Wishing a peaceful, restful Sunday to all of you.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Blame the Ticks

I've been away for a while, and it's all because of a tick. At least that's what the Doc suspects. I became quite ill on Sunday night with what's suspected to be ehrlichiosis; a viral infection contracted through a tick bite. On Monday I went to the clinic quite ill with sore throat, headache, painful joints, sick stomach, chills and fever. After 24 hrs. on an antibiotic I was feeling quite a bit better. Now I've got a lot of energy back and feel well enough to carry on at about half speed. It's so nice to feel better, and I'm thankful for life and health again. I'm also thankful for a husband willing to step in and be the go to guy for everything. He did a great job, and all's well. Thanks to everyone who knew about this and was praying for us.

After I published that post on things I was thankful for, and found that being thankful really changed my life, I decided to read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, writer of THIS BLOG. The book tells her story about how thankfulness changed her life. At the beginning of her thankfulness journey a friend challenged her to keep a list of one thousand things she was thankful for. I decided it sounded like a good idea, so Sundays will be my "Counting Blessings" post day, until I reach at least one thousand things to be thankful for. I can't wait until Sunday to post the first group of items for my own list! Until then, there may be nothing to read here. I'm thinking of taking a break from blogging until I'm running at full throttle again. :) See ya Sunday!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Answer to the Chicken Rainbow Guessing Game

Our growing new flock is made up of:

12 White Orpington cockerels (future meat birds)
5 Silver Laced Wyandotte pullets
3 Red Star pullets
2 Silver Spangled Hamburg pullets
1 Columbian Wyandotte pullet
1 Black Star pullet
1 Cuckoo Maran, as of yet sex unknown

The Cuckoo Maran is our free rare breed chick from McMurray Hatchery, probably a rooster since I think that's their angle on the rare breed chick deal. They get rid of unwanted male chicks. I'm hoping that I'm wrong and it's a hen this time. I really like this bird! So, if their plan is really to get folks interested in some rare breed chickens, it worked this time. I'd like a few more of these! It's very pretty, calm and quiet.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Chicken Rainbow

I love watching our pullets and cockerels doing their chicken thing. It really relaxes me for some reason. It's just one of those things I find so enjoyable. I love this particular batch of chicks because they make such and exciting rainbow of chicken colors. Who can spot and identify the most chicken breeds in these photos? :

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I just hopped over to Mama Pea's blog and found that for once she hasn't beaten me to a blog post about the weather we had last night. (I don't really mind that she usually gets to it first though, since she has a rain gauge and I get to find out how much rain we got. :)
I wish I'd had my camera with when I went to town today. You'd find this all much more interesting if you could see it.
Last night we had a huge thunder storm. It poured for about 2 1/2 hours or so. I really don't know exactly since I was trying to sleep (through the dog's fit of hysterics. She's terrified of thunder.) It rained about 3 1/2 to 4 inches here. There were a lot of washed out roads and driveways, and rivers running down the hills to the big lake that aren't usually rivers at all. There were children swimming in the Co-op parking lot (the water was up to their waists in some places). Yuck! Hattie wanted to join them, but I didn't think that would be a good idea. That was NOT clean water. I don't think the Co-op could have gotten many customers today. People would have to wade through the "lake" to reach the door. I did see some adventurous folks wading through the water to get there though. Kudos to them! As for me, I'm glad I went yesterday.
I was also wondering if Dan would be able to get home from work, since he'd spent the night at a cabin he was working on north of here, over the hill, and I'd heard the roads were washed out in spots. It was a bit rough going, but he made it home. I was very thankful for that, since I really missed him. I'm thankful he has work now, but I'll be glad when his jobs again keep him closer to home.
It's thundering again as I type this. I wonder if we're in for more tonight? The dog is already acting up. There's just no reasoning with her over gun shots, fire works or thunder storms. Oh, and here comes the rain...

Monday, July 18, 2011


I've been having a hard time being thankful in the business of life lately. I sat down to post a terrific rant that turned into delightful praise and thankfulness. I'm so glad for the change of heart! Two paragraphs of rant erased in favor of the happy soul overflowing with blessing.

Thank you, Lord, for the beautiful garden with so much abundance growing in it. It is beautiful, and encouraging to see. It's a gift, and I am thankful.

Thank you, Creator, for the abundance of animal life on our little homestead. A gift as well. I am thankful.

Thank you, Father, for the blessing of husband and children. They're the most wonderful gift of all. Let me be always thankful.

Thank you for heat to grow tomatoes, little and yellow, big and red, straight from the garden warm and juicy trickling down my chin.

Thank you for the sparrows nest in the old greenhouse fan. Sound of happy baby birds getting full bellies. Pesky insects caught and eaten.

Thank you for summer's colorful pasture-lawn of clover purple, red, and white. Yellow trefoil warm and bright.

sprinkler spraying cool fountain over giggling little ones, toes in the grass, tongues on ice cubes

fences going up to keep awkward teenage chicks contained, scratching in grass, chasing each other over little bits of this and that

fuzzy bunnies with cool white fur

goats happy to see me waiting for sweet scented hay and nutty grain, sparing over the best treats heads butting with gentle thud

spinach pesto in the freezer waiting to grace winter's white with some summer green

summer salads with freshest greens

pea flowers, beet leaves, baby broccoli's

stories in the shade, impromptu skits

picnic table turned art studio, mixing colors, making rainbows

frisbee, kites, campfires, marshmallows

dirty feet, tanned faces, sun kissed hair

fairy hollows, tree forts, secret places

baths, fuzzy towels, clean sweet smelling snuggles, special songs, whispered bedtime prayers

fully lived days and nights of much needed refreshing rest


And, thank you all for your wonderful blogs that inspire me with your many strengths, wisdom and wonderful ideas. I love reading them all! You are a special group of ladies!!! :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Just a Little Bit of Life

Lettuce and Herbs

Hi Blog Pals-

Life's been busy here, so I haven't had time to blog much. We're busy with swimming lessons this summer (8 weeks in all, 2 for each child). Other than that it's just regular life here, except that I can't get as much done as usual.
Today it was up at 6:30, and outside by 7:00. First stop to the chicks to fill 3 feeders and one waterer, open the door and put up the wire "screen" for them.
Then feed, water and hay 17 rabbits; clean one exceptionally messy rabbit hutch; let the chickens out, throw scratch to them, collect eggs; hay the goats, wash their water bucket out, water them, give them each feed, replenish goat minerals, diatomacious earth (a natural, organic wormer and dietary supplement), and baking soda dispensers.
Then it was back to the house, bathe one little girl, make sure we'd all eaten, get to the car and head in to swimming lessons.
After lessons today we had a picnic with another homeschooling family. We had fun talking homeschooling, parenting, gardening, etc.
When we got home we all (the kids and I) headed to the garden to do some weeding, tie up the tomatoes (yet again!), and harvest some tom thumb and deer tongue lettuce, basil and cilantro. I NEED to do something with spinach and chard again soon, so I'll be checking all of your blogs for recipes. The beets need thinning, radishes need pulling up and re-planting...I'm going to stop thinking about it for now before my list gets too overwhelming.
While we were weeding, I put the goats on their tie outs to graze on the "pasture" that's our lawn. We've pretty much perfected out technique for tying them out in a way that's safe as long as we're near by. They each have a stake that twists into the ground with a ten foot dog tie out cable. Between the cable and the stake we added the rubber portion of a bungee cord so if they run it stops them gently. We put them near each other, but not near enough to get tangled. It works really well. They enjoy purple clover, birdsfoot trefoil, dandelions, plantain and grass.
When they'd finished helping me weed, the kids all went across the road to the neighbors. They have a "city" of forts they're building. They're busy creating laws to govern their city, and I'm pretty sure they're getting along better than those whom we've chosen to "govern" us. Maybe they should go to the capitol and straighten the mess out. ;)
So, that's about it so far today. Hope you're all having a wonderful week. I hope to catch up on reading all your blog posts soon. Blessings!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Goats and Good Food

Hi All!
I've been busy since my last post. We had a wonderful (and HOT) 4th of July weekend with my family. Thanks to the awesome family at Mason Jar Farm we were able to get away for a couple of days knowing things were in good hands. It was so good for us, and really energized me so I was ready to get back to work. It's a good thing because when I got back here the garden had grown TONS, and needed attention. That hot weather sure brings out the pests along with all that wonderful growth!

I harvested a bunch of radishes and spinach.

Today, I harvested this Chard...

...and made this Feta Chard Pie from Thy Hand Hath Provided.

Of course, I had to change it. This time it was because I didn't have all the ingredients. I used shredded Swiss instead of the feta and 2 tablespoons of grated Romano instead of the Parmesan. I also used chard and spinach in it and sun dried tomatoes. It was SO GOOD, but I can't wait to try it the way it's supposed to be.

The goats continue to do well. I'm going to be looking for a good buck to breed them to in the next few months. Hopefully then I'll be able to have them bred by November or December and have kids by April or May and milk soon after. I'm loving having the goats. One of my favorite things is putting them on pasture, watching them and listening to the contented crunching as they eat. Their favorites are dandelions and raspberry leaves. Here are a few pics.