Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spring Gardening

We've been busy this spring trying to get our garden in order. We don't have much in the way of natural soil here so we have to make our soil. We've been using contained raised beds for years but several years ago the system we had gave out. For the next few years we made "lasagna beds" but found that we lost a lot of square footage at the top of each bed so this year we are making a return to wooden raised beds. Chris and the boys generously made me four of 4'x6' beds. One is for Marissa's strawberries, one we have in spring crops, one has row cover over it for tomatoes (it is still 4 weeks early for our growing season), one is still in process, and they are making a 3'x6' one for rhubarb and what ever else might fit with that. The other beds will continue to be uncontained for another year. Those will be home to pole beans, peas, dry beans (black and red), and onions. Here are some pictures of the garden as it is today.

Scott is updating our orchard, making the wells bigger for the growing needs of the trees and doing the annual fix on the trenches that allow water to flow from one tree well to the next.

I've still got a lot of work to do. I'm determined to get my raspberries moved to where I want them but have yet to improve the soil where they are going. I also need to get a fence system up to contain the raspberries. They get really tall and then lean, making it difficult to get in to harvest. My blackberries have been neglected for years and it is time to tend them a bit.

All said we are having a great spring (minus the wind) and enjoying spending so much time outdoors.

Sorry there is no rhyme or reason for the order of the pictures. I have no idea how to do this blog thing, which is why I don't post (well, that and time). :-)

Happy Spring and happy gardening.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Leaves Change, Snow Falls, Flowers Bud, and People Move

I'm moving folks! Ok, don't have a heart attack. I haven't decided to move up to Moscow or anything, I'm just moving over a couple blocks to my own blog. Click here to head on over and check it out!

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Adventures in Moscow, Idaho!

I aways have great ambitions to keep up our blog better, but as many of you have probably noticed it hasn't been working so well. I know there are many people eager to hear about my trip to Moscow, Idaho. All this could end up being more than one post, stay tuned. Ok now, let me see, where does this start? I'll start with Christmas break.

Curtis and Caity were home for three weeks for Christmas. We all loved having them home for more than a week! We spent lots of time together playing games, talking, relaxing, watching movies, shopping, etc. Dad, and us olders drove down to Ruidoso, NM to visit our grandma and some cousins. On Christmas day we spent the morning as a family celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, and there were joined by our pastors family for Christmas dinner and an evening of fellowship and continued celebration. New Years, though not spent in Ruidoso as usual, was fabulous. We had a week filled with dear friends, games, great conversations, lots of laughter, cooking and eating delicious foods, late nights, puzzles, and wonderful fellowship.

Early morning of January 10th found Curtis, Caity, and I loading the car and beginning our journey northward; Curtis and Caity for the purpose of returning to college, and me, well, I just went to tag along in Moscow for a while, experience the "college life" as well as a non-college student can do, and just spend time with my siblings. We split the 21 hour drive into two days, stopping the night on the north end of Salt Lake City, Utah. The long, cold, snowy miles were passes listening to lots of music, talking and laughing, listening to audio dramas, and a bit of sleeping here and there.

I was in Moscow, staying with Caity, for three and a half weeks; the longest I've ever been away from my home and family. I won't go into the detail about every single day, I'd lose your attention after day 3 (if I haven't already), not because the first three days were boring, but because 1) a lot of day-to-day things were the same, and 2) because lots of the details have all meshed together and I can't differentiate between all 24 days. =) So in stead, here are some of the highlights.

I attended classes with Curtis and Caity (music theory and choir being my favorite), heard both Pastor Doug Wilson and Pastor Toby Sumpter preach, met many wonderful friends, sang at a nursing home each week with a group of students, studied in Bucers Coffee shop (got a couple coffee drinks too, of course), One World Café, and the Tyndale Library (NSA library), went swimming with Caity twice, played soccer and frisbee, went to a swing dance =), had pinkeye for about 48 hours, passed out once, spent time with friends, stayed up with my own studies, went to a couple Bible studies, played games, watched a few movies, cooked in Caity's kitchen (mostly making cookies for Curtis), walked around downtown Moscow, and talked Caity's ear off every chance I got. =) It was an incredible trip, a highlight of my year for sure (yes, I am aware the year has just started), one that I will always have great memories of.

Even though I had such a wonderful time and so thoroughly enjoyed my time in Moscow, I am glad to be back home. I missed my parents and brothers, my church family, and the structure of a normal routine. As per request, I'll be writing another post shortly about what I love about being home which I will tie into my post-high school plans, which many people have asked me about.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

God is so good!

11. for God's faithful provision long before it was needed
12. daughters whose hearts long to be at home
13. the joy and blessing of being a keeper at home
14. beautiful blue skies
15. the promise of spring
16. scented candles (don't they just look happy too!)
17. labrador retrievers
18. a bag of just cinnamon and spearmint gum drops (thank you dear daughter!)
19. industrious sons
20. children who love to learn, even when life is hard

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tonight's Menu

Tonight we had spicy meatballs with BBQ sauce, egg noodles, peas, and home made applesauce. You'll notice I used the meatballs from one recipe and the BBQ sauce from another. It all went together anyway and everyone really enjoyed it.

Now for a Civil War video. I love family time.

Maning Up

For a month now all six kids have been home. When everyone is home life is smooth and easy. Many hands working together to make light work. Today the three oldest kids headed north. Curtis and Caity return to college and Marissa went with them just to experience their world a bit. Today we have six fewer hands.

The little boys have really "manned up" though. On this, their first day back to school, they worked diligently, completing all their work in the allotted time. They cheerfully loaded up all their stuff to head to piano, only to realize that we are all sick with something that is clearly contagious and we couldn't expose the teacher and her family (what was mom thinking?) so we just headed back to more school. New subjects added, no problem. Take down the trash for early am pickup, "let me". Extra chores to cover for those older siblings, "I'd be glad to!" What a blessing these sweet boys have been, making happy an otherwise sad heart.

We've been reading "Boyhood and Beyond", if you have aspiring young men in your family ( in the 8-15 age range), I'd highly recommend this book. You, too, may be amazed at how your little guys start "manning up". :-)


Yikes, it's been a long time since we posted. We'll try to get better at that.

In my daily Bible study time I use TableTalk by Ligonier Ministries (I highly recommend it!) Anyway, today there was this quote from The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton (pg 463, just in case you have that book):
" I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought: and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."
For quite sometime I've been trying to be more aware of the many ways God blesses me and my family. We write down blessings on a white board in our laundry room to make note of them. If you read Caity's blog then you know she is keeping a record of her thankfulness there. I thought we should start recording them here too. I know some people post these on a certain day of the week, and perhaps we'll get to that as well. For now, I'll just be happy that we are posting them at all and hope that they are an encouragement to you to see God blessing you in many ways as well.

Here we go:
1. A wonderful Christmas break with all 8 of us together at home.
2. Children who love each other.
3. Older siblings who take the time to teach, train, instruct, and nurture their younger siblings.
4. A faithful and dependable husband!
5. A great start to our 2011 school year.
6. A dishwasher that cleans well.
7. Earl Grey tea from Mountain Rose Herbs (really, it's better than any others I know of)
8. A wonderful church family.
9. A warm fire in our wood burning stove on a cold day.
10. Godly parents who taught me to love the Lord.

Friday, October 22, 2010

the way she likes it

Yesterday morning as I was reading my Bible in the recliner, Mandy, who had been laying near me, got up and came over to be petted. Nothing unusual there, she does that frequently, but this time, she decided that my cozy blanket and open lap were just too much to resist. Before I could do anything, up she hopped into my lap. Even though she's a 70 pound lab, she secretly wishes she were a lap dog. =)

'course she brought her bone, which she hadn't chewed on since I gave it to her, laid down, and began to chew. I just had to laugh and called Mom who took the pictures.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Leadership: Tyranny or Humility?

Titus Livius, or Livy as he is more commonly known, was a great historian who lived from around 60 BC till about 17 AD. His works included over 140 volumes of Roman History, 35 of which are still in existence today. In his first book, starting with the foundation of Rome, Livy very wisely says, "The study of history is the best medicine for a sick mind; for in history you have a record of the infinite variety of human experience plainly set out for all to see, and in that record you can find for yourself and your country both examples and warnings, fine things to take as models, base things, rotten through and through, to avoid" (pg 30). Livy's goal in writing these accounts is not only for the purpose of knowing the history of Rome, but also that we may identify and separate the good from the bad and learn from the victories and mistakes of our ancestors.

In the early days of Rome, a man named Tarquinius Superbus elected himself to the throne as king and literally threw Servius, the previous king, out of the Senate and down the steps. Some of Tarquinius’ supporters then assassinated Servius. Neither the people nor the Senate had approved of his accession to the throne and thus Tarquin’s strategy to obtain compliance was to rule by instilling fear in the people. He began as Livy says, “To punish with death, exile, or confiscation of property not only such men as he happened to suspect or dislike, but also innocent people from whose conviction he had nothing to gain but their money.” Superbus took it upon himself to decide what treaties and alliances should be made without consulting either the commons or the Senate and by doing so broke long-held tradition. Rome’s self-elected king daily lived up to his well suited nickname of Tarquin the Proud. Though quite competent in the realm of war, Tarquin’s lack of character and love of cruelty, hurt the whole empire of Rome.

Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, a stark contrast to Tarquinius Superbus, was a just man of honor and highly respected by the people. One of his sons, Caeso, acted rashly and committed homicide. The night before his trial date, Caeso fled from Rome. Though the people rejoiced they no longer had this rash man in their town, his departure consequently forced Cincinnatus to sell all that he owned to pay his son’s sureties. After relinquishing his savings on his son’s behalf, he moved outside of town to a small plot of farmland where he contentedly worked to support his wife. Cincinnatus had made a name for himself in regards to his character and was known throughout the land as an honest man of virtue. His prestigious character had left a mark on the people and when the invasion in 458 BC came, military leaders flocked to him seeking his prowess as Dictator. His foresight, judgment, and military skill all made him suitable for the mission. He arranged his troops and led them with such excellence that within days of assuming his position, they had defeated their enemy and were rejoicing in their victory. Cincinnatus is famous for his next move; instead of continuing in his position as ruler and dictator, which he could have held for six months, he resigned after 15 days and humbly went back to his farm. This action made Cincinnatus even more heroic in the eyes of the people; they had become accustom to ruthless, power-hungry dictators.

Though Tarquin had little character to recommend him, he revealed many shortcomings from which we can learn and, as Livy suggests, avoid. Tarquin’s unmerited hatred for the innocent, passion for violence, and unrestrained love of tyrannical power are prime examples of character flaws to evade in our lives, avoid in friends, and steer clear of when voting for political leaders. Cincinnatus on the other hand portrays many estimable qualities. He is a loving and patient father, a hard and honest worker, a strong and humble leader -- all qualities worthy of respect and admiration. These two men set before us, through their contrasting traits, great examples of what to strive for or what to avoid. Not only should we strive to be men and women of character, but we want to do as Livy suggests and learn from the mistakes in history, training up a generation of Cincinnatus’ and not Tarquins.

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This is a paper I wrote for my Great Books history/lit class. I'd love feed back and comments. You know you have something to say about it.... =D

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Flower "happy"

Sunday some new friends came over for dinner and fellowship. They brought some beautiful flowers. Yesterday, after a difficult day, one of my sweet sons was setting the table as he is supposed to do for dinner each day. This day he decided to make the table beautiful. The result, and the heart behind it, brought tears to my eyes.

(Caity, when you come home I really need a blog posting tutorial!)