Monday, April 23, 2012

A Day Away

So much to see and do in this amazing place!

In spite of wet, windy, and inhospitable spring weather, we ventured away from the farm for a whole day to explore, enjoy, and knit ourselves together with shared experience.

Intricate beauty.  Wondrous design.  Masterful color.  Incandescent wing.  Warm tropical breath.  Eyes searching for flutter and lifting to capture one more glimpse.

Although we live in the cradle of our own farm love, it is good for us to seek and see beauty and wonder elsewhere.

Mindful of it here, we discover that it's true everywhere:

The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it.
Psalm 24:1

Eager to list gifts as I missed being here last week:

-All of us behaving nicely, sitting through an entire meal, at a restaurant!
-Continued positive reports from my dad as he journeys through the effects of his stem cell transplant.
-Holy Spirit reminders that I am loved, by God, and many of His image bearers.
-Deep deep woundedness at the surface, demanding attention, forcing me to surrender myself again and again at the cross to rely completely on Christ.  Suffering produces great gain for those that love God. Not for self.  For Him.
-Wisdom to solve some early signs of trouble with our new cows.  All is well.
-Beautiful sunshine.  Solar panels aglow.
-A letter from Alicia's mother in Peru..  An important reminder to truly care for the widowed, orphaned,and poor among us.  
-Grateful for a family at church sponsoring Compassion Sunday yesterday.
-Hard parenting struggles reminding me that gray hair is a crown! ;-)
-Oh how easy it is to get in my car, pull my debit card in and out of my wallet, frequent different stores, and easily feed my family.  
-And when we are thirsty, we drink.  Thank you, Lord, for such comforts and meeting our physical needs.
-Piano and guitar practice - lovely strains throughout the day.
-Standing on the promises of God, finding His foundation firm, and glorying in Christ Alone.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Happy Together

What an idyllic scene.  And, in many ways, it is what it seems.  These girls just eat, ruminate, rest, drink, and what remains I'll leave to your imagination gentle reader. *wink*

They're happy here, and I feel reconnected with so many pieces of what's good about living this adventure of ours.

Yesterday I identified them as Simmental Heifers because that's what I thought Weekend Farmer Husband had arranged with our broker.  The updated version is that the two with black bodies and white faces are indeed, cross bred Simmentals.  Black beauty is an Angus Limousin cross.  The white one, well she's pretty special.  Turns out her sire was in part, (although not completely), White Park.

Hope you enjoy looking and learning as much as I do. As we get to know them and them us, I'm sure I'll get some stunning close ups and they'll be featured here again!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

An Answer to your Question...

Weekend Farmer Husband checked in here today and had a question for me.  Although he didn't have to suffer the long list, like you will if you keep reading, he and I did have fun conducting a brief review.

103 Freedom Ranger chicks in the brooder.

24 Mature Laying Hens - temporarily fenced in the veggie garden, clearing weeds, scratching around, leaving their droppings in preparation for May planting.

48 baby chicks in yet more brooders - we have taken to not eating eggs around here since so many friends and family wish to buy farm fresh eggs.  Dumb, huh?  You'd think we'd have more eggs than we'd ever want to eat.  Not so.  So, we increased our flock by double hoping to meet customer desire and eat some of the farm freshness ourselves!

6 Khaki Campbell ducklings- yup, you guessed it.  They have their own brooder too.

4 Simmental Heifers

Baby kittens in the barn and their new Mama Kitty





Increased work hours outside the home for the teenagers, and although I'm grateful they have work, it does mean more of the supporting work of the farm is shouldered by me - gladly.

Pick up custom framing orders, new contact lenses, prescriptions, and return library books on time, taxes.

Grocery shopping.

Home Educating.

Heart Discipling.

Precious little sleeping, eating, pleasure reading, computer time wasting, forty something fitnessing, discretionary time anything.

And, that my dear Weekend Farmer Husband, just begins to explain why I've not updated here in some time.

Isn't spring grand?

Monday, April 9, 2012


Funny thing this Monday habit.  All week long I think about what I might write.  Content spins, turns, sorts in my head.  Stories weave and moments stand out as "possibilities".  Most of it is probably too personal for my comfort and won't ever give shape to words here.  And then, when in the quiet space of the afternoon I'm free to be here...nothing.

Like the flattening wind outside, something in the day has pushed all thoughts away and no words rush in to fill.

Compulsion to have something of merit - something of substance - causes me to push at keys.  Still nothing.

It's not writer's block.  And, it's not that I have nothing to say.  Certainly any of you who know me in real life bear witness to the flow of words.

No, it's different.  It's quiet.  And it's welcome.

Busy. Difficult. Challenging. These have been the markers on the path of late.  Threats push from the outside in - will the barn hold?  Work for Weekend Farmer Husband - the income kind - has made a deep crease even deeper between his eyes.  Children have had difficulty, (and parents), adjusting to new medicines that help with chronic conditions.  Just when we make one tiny step forward on lingering expenses, another bill arrives. Sweet friends are facing heartbreaking struggles and offering prayers and providing meals don't seem like enough. All these and more clamor, and quiet is elusive.

Yesterday was loud celebration.  Easter "Alleluias" rang boldly in sweet fellowship and joyous praise.  And the day was rich with feasting - food, family, new friends, lingering fellowship.  No more messy Lent with it's struggles and self filled with shortcomings.  Only a neat napkin folded and left behind in the tomb, purposeful, silently shouting "He is not here!"

Purposefully making less of myself here, on Facebook, Pinterest - all the online places that compete with my attention that likely should be elsewhere, I had a noisy rebellious struggle.  With myself, that is.  With time - the gift of a day.  With craving recognition, wanting an identity here.  With my willingness (frightening) to feed my family scraps and pretend that I might thrive in a virtual world with plans, dreams, accolades that noisily make more of me.

It is not magic that on Resurrection Sunday, sitting amongst the saints I'm stunned by quiet. I realize I'm right upon "re-entry". My lenten practice of less is lifted by the turn of a calendar page.  In the storm of our spring with so many demands and trouble enough of its own, I've been hoping - praying - that the practice of less of me will make way for more of Him.  And, I wanted it to be obvious.  Loud even.  The answer like the struggle.

Not even a whisper.  I'm jealous of Moses - while he hid in the cleft of the rock the breath of God made sound.

Just quiet.

And, it's not uncomfortable.  If I try to describe it, I have to use the word "full".

Really, this many words to finally uncover it?  If the quiet is Him, then the lesser is me.  It is my voice that is no longer clamoring.

So, come Monday.  Even if I've "nothing to say", I'll be here.  Being quiet here gives voice to thanks.  Giving thanks gives weight to contentment.  Contentment, currently hard fought and bought at great price, brings me to the cross where He made all things new and I am daily restored by His good grace gifts.

-The post "Exceedingly Abundantly" on my Dad's CaringBridge Site shares good news of a stellar stem cell count and gives yet another reason to chronicle thanks for God's tender care in his life.
-"Play Instant" on Netflix for the times when the youngers and the momma need a break.
-Liberty to worship freely and proclaim the Risen Lord!
-Deep green grass blowing in the wide open wind.
-Privilege of spending extra time with a "new" family from church.  What a blessing hospitality is.
-Yum! Savory leftovers, making supper easy tonight.
Weekend Farmer Husband's regular Monday morning call with Firstborn Son - staying connecting, urging him on.
-Four brand new mewing kittens in the barn - so cute.
-Eastery finery - girls in dresses, boys all tucked in.  No, I didn't get a photo.
-Playroom sounds - a tiny space carved out of our home for girls to play house, babies, blocks, and build friendship.
-Constant friend who takes my kids to a park for a "rare" treat. (Playground equipment makes me jittery... weird, I know.)
-Safe return to MI for snowbird Gramma.
-Looking forward to a spontaneous visit from a far away brother, sister, and their family later this week.
-Fresh flowers throughout the house.  Lovely gifts from Weekend Farmer Husband and a new friend.

Monday, April 2, 2012


One of the many things I never anticipated when we left our bustling city (well - suburban), life behind for the quiet of the farm was the epic sunsets we'd be invited to view.  I was so wrapped up in selling our former house, renovating our current house - it WAS uninhabitable for us when we closed on the purchase - caring for the youngest of our children often separated from their father and older siblings because of the project, teaching and administrating for my former employer, and in general trying to just hang on, that I'm not sure I would have thought to look up or around no matter where we lived.

 And, then, the big push was all over.  We'd birthed this new life and there's been a long season of newborn wonder for us first timers.  I used to wonder if I'd stop noticing at some point - the glory all around me.  Does even the most grateful tenderest of hearts grow accustomed to the indescribable?

I think I'm coming to understand that I won't grow accustomed to it.  As a mother holding newborns, bringing them home, nurturing and seeking to capture the essence of being in their presence, gazing deeply into their faces, counting toes, fingers, and each breath I didn't want to miss a moment.  I knew and I still know not to take anything for granted.  Although I know now in a rough sense what to expect - like I did with our second born and subsequent children -  each day brings something new.

Perhaps we're growing out of infancy here.  It will be our 3rd summer and shortly we'll mark the 2nd anniversary of our move.  We are expanding our enterprise with more animals and we hope a substantially more ambitious garden.  Although we renovate the house at a snail's pace, we're having to aggressively forge new skills as we save the barn and rebuild its foundation.  I don't think we'd be able to do those things if we were still so green.

There is one thing that is super brand spanking new each day - the sky.  Even though I cast my gaze in the same direction each morning for the sunrise and again in the opposite direction for the sunset, I'm stunned each time by the heart soaring spirit searing beauty of the sky.

So, like I've done with every baby, I've kept my camera close.  How many pictures can a momma take of each tiny curl, each wisp of cloud?  Each chubby fist, each silhouetted tree?  Each soul splitting smile, each technicolor evening?

I've not yet reached my limit.

-Unceasing ability (God created...) to give thanks, conceive gratitude, nurture thanks, and daily labor and birth contentment.
-2nd born son - so pleasant to be with.  fun. witty. striving. tenderhearted and made alive in Christ.
-First concrete pour completed in foundation of barn.  Hundreds more to go, but this milestone moves us forward.
-Oh happy news - 4 Simmetal cows arriving soon.  Maybe this week?
-Beautiful, rich, aged manure regenerating garden soil.  
-Young bones and body as firstborn girls mucks animal shelters.
-Sweet heart that joyfully and obediently "scoops poop"
-An unconventional thank you gift in response to an offhand comment.  The true joy is a friend who listens.
-Achy back heals itself and when I do healthy things my fearfully and wonderfully made frame responds positively.
-Hum, or perhaps roar, of lawnmower slicing off spring's first flush of grass, pungent sweet smell in the air.
-Weekend Farmer Husband's generous spirit as we appliance shop for the first time in our 1/4 century together - he says nothing of the sticker shock.  No purchase yet...will require a whole kitchen remodel once we get started.  Perhaps that's why we creep forward at a snail's pace - it's some form of self preservation?
- 4th round of chemo almost complete for my father.  Stem cell transplant begins this week.  He's quiet.  No news, no updates, no communication.  I receive this as good news.
-A spring break of sorts.  Not planned, but we've completed much of our work.  Will plan, update, and refresh sources while enjoying the space.
-Six baby chicks peeping in the barn.  Early arrivals thanks to a weak moment in the feed store.  They produce such joy in the little girls - who could say "no"?
-Eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart alive because of the gospel of Christ.  Is it too early in the week for "Alleluia!"?