Category Archives: Life

Celebrating our January heat wave!

After weeks of gloomy skies and single digit nights, we finally saw the sun today! 44 degrees honestly felt like 75 to my sun-starved psyche.

So this evening before dark, my husband hooked up the hillbilly sleigh–an old pick-up truck hood padded with horse blankets and strapped to the back of the four-wheeler (yes, I know, we’re insane). From then on it was a whirl, ride after ride swooshing down our curvy snow-packed lane,with us spinning halfway around the ATV on each side and oh, we had to hang on tight to jump the ditch into the fields and then: heart in your throat time!  Somehow I still managed to scream plenty. FUN times! Scary times. Reminded me of all the times hubby and I used to goof around like that in our dating days, with his dad and older brother. Hilarious wipe outs galore.

Family bonding of the best sort!

After the wild rides were over, we gathered wood and kindling and built a cozy fire in the grill pit. Though the temperature had dropped to 28 degrees, we were plenty warm inside! I’d thawed a stack of KC Strips and we happened to have half a bag of large marshmallows to roast.  Meat and sweets! I ran inside to put the tea kettle on for hot drinks, when the UPS truck rolled up the drive bearing my Christmas order of Black Currant tea from First Colony Coffee! Happy!

If you’ve never sipped a hot beverage in 28 degree weather, let me say you are missing out! Mmm. And the still night air, so crisp! And snow everywhere…made the steamy, fruity essence that much sweeter!

Oven baked fries will round out our winter frolic here in a bit, eaten inside, of course, with frosted mittens and snowsuits hanging in the laundry room to dry…

And I’m off…

Let’s talk organic!

Okay, the bottom line is age related problems and diseases are widely thought to be caused by two things: consuming insufficient nutrients and adding on top of that, a lifetime truckload of toxic chemicals. This alone is a huge argument for eating organic food when possible–firstly because it is chock full of nutrients, antioxidants and Omega 3’s compared to your non-organic foods and secondly…it contains no toxic chemicals or heavy metals–while unorganic foods are saturated with them in various forms, thanks to fertilizers, pesticides, etc.

(Go read this article at Science Daily for just one example of how toxic chemicals found in pesticides cause things like Parkinson’s disease, and for more stats on just how much healthier organic foods are than their unorganic counterparts visit this article.)

Yet, very few people–at least in my experience here in the mid-west–want their family and friends to label them as organic fanatics! So here’s my disclaimer to all my family and friends: going all organic is my *someday* goal, but never to the point of “bringing my own snacks to parties” etc. Our family loves food, loves fellowship and we have plenty of unhealthy eating habits. That said…I have to write this post. It’s pretty important info in today’s McDonald’s “dumbed down” culture where kids are raised loving refined products made from white flours and sugars, where genetically modified foods abound, and grocery stores sell HFCS everything and milk-flavored drinking beverages. What has happened to real food??? And why aren’t more people demanding answers?

I’ll tell you what happened…this profit driven, fast-turnover, long shelf life agenda happened. Sadly, going “organic” has had a bad rep in past years, but as more people get educated about health, they’re seeing how valuable real food really is. Organic is simply the way people grew food before the chemical ways became the norm. Back when dirt was dirt, and honeybees weren’t dying from all the pesticides.

I recently viewed The Truth about Organic Food, a 75 minute 2007 DVD interview of David Getoff, a Traditional Naturopathic Doctor with a full time health and wellness practice in San Diego, California. Wonderful introduction and overview of what “organic” is, why it’s beneficial and necessary for a long, healthy life, and how to know which “organic” products are worth buying. For instance, grass fed, free range, cage free and natural all mean varying degrees of “good for you”…and certain organic beefs were only organic (hormone & antibiotic free) for their last 90 days on this earth, according to organic standards in labeling. Organic labeling can be tricky, and just because something is organic does not mean it is healthy. Sure an organic candy bar is probably more healthy for you than a normal one, but as David Getoff says, “Cobra venom is organic–mercury, arsenic, and lead get pulled out of the earth and they’re organic!” So do your research, or better yet, grow your own!

Interesting history regarding fertilizers…

Chemical fertilizers replaced “green manure crops” as a way to put minerals and nutrients back into the soil, more time and cost effectively. Farmers and scientists must have put their heads together to find a way to grab back those seasons spent raising rye grass or other “green manure” crops that would then be plowed under as a way to naturally replenish the soil of all the goodies that crops take in their making. Somebody did the research, and found that the top chemicals the soil needed were N, P, and K–the ones found on all the fertilizer bags you buy at the farm store: Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus. So they reasoned, let’s just pour this on, and get things back in the ground. Money talks, and this would be cheaper than growing a green manure crop, not to mention, you’d get those months back for growing a cash crop. Makes a lot of sense. Problem is, there are SO many minerals that our bodies need for health that are not contained in a bag of NPK fertilizer! For instance, one that Getoff shared in the DVD was Boron–Boron is a deficiency duly noted in osteoporosis patients. Selenium is another, if you don’t get enough Selenium, the cancer rate goes way up.

But on the outside, these plants grown with chemical fertilizers look great. They are cheaper for the farmer, but they are not giving the people what they need–trace minerals and nutrients, AND the foods don’t taste as good.

Organic growers have found a wealth of minerals still in the ocean and use soil amendments such as kelp meal, crabshell meal, fish meal to put the minerals and life back into nutrient robbed soil. Visit www.groworganic.com for more info. For even more info, check out the book: Worms Eat My Garbage.

Interesting thoughts regarding pesticides…

Okay, so in the beginning, somebody wanted to keep the bugs from eating plants. As in a lot of things, no one seems to have put a lot of thought into the far-reaching effects of dumping chemicals in the ground. How would insectisides affect beneficial insects, birds, bees and pollination…the soil itself? It is interesting to note, that on big organic farms, pests aren’t a terrible problem. It almost seems as if the pests are attracted to the wilting, unhealthy plants, leaving the others alone. However, if today’s conventional farmer were to give up using his pesticides after years of use, all the insects in the world would demolish his crop. David Getoff likens it to the way a shark is attracted to a dying fish. I know personally, if I remember to put newspaper collars on my tomato seedlings, I never have cutworms. Good-bye Seven’s dust forever…now if only there were an easier remedy for squash bugs than squashing…

Avoid unorganic fats because of pesticide saturation

Another biggie that I took away from watching this DVD was the fact that pesticides are fat soluble. This means that the pesticide residue on our fruits and veggies (which by the way, is not easily washed or soaked off) binds to our fat cells. Fat soluble, NOT water soluble…these buggars are not going to be eliminated via sweat or urination. And so many people are on low-fat diets, that these toxins are going to sit around in their fat cells indefinitely. The good news, is that you can let go of these old fats by eating new, organic ones. And it’s a pretty important step to take in the organic process…switching to organic fats. Because so many toxic chemicals bind to fats, David Getoff recommends definitely switching to using EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil), organic butter, and buying organic eggs for the high-fat content in egg yolks, and organic pastured poultry meat for the good fats found in the skin. Same thing with nuts, since they are very high fat. Buy organic.

To sum up, make changes where you can. Our family has been taking small steps as we’ve found the avenues to support this way of eating. Okay, maybe butchering my own chickens hasn’t been that “small” of a step, but it sure didn’t happen overnight! Switching to organic fats (EVOO, Coconut oil and butter), organic free range eggs and raw milk are things we definitely all should look into, as these things contain more toxic residue that sits around in our bodies causing trouble.

Yes, organic costs more. So put less money into the less important things. Do you really need that new car? Good health is more important. Organically grown foods have more vitamins, no toxins, and thousands of percents more minerals. There are ways around the cost, one of which is to grow your own foods without pesticides, etc. Or find a CSA farm in your area and see if they’ll let you work off part of a season’s food share. Find a food co-op at which you can purchase all your favorite health store goodies at wholesale prices, and so much more!

Finally, if you aren’t yet convinced, a Rutgers University study compared commercially- vs. organically-grown fruits and vegetables. They were astounded at how organic produce whopped the competition!

Commercially grown fruits and vegetables are less expensive, are prettier to look at, contain approximately 10-50% of the nutrients found in organic produce, are often depleted in enzymes, and are contaminated with a variety of herbicides, pesticides and other agricultural chemicals.

In comparing organically and commercially grown wheat, researchers found the organic wheat contained 20-80% less metal residues (aluminum, cadmium, cobalt, lead, mercury), and contained 25-1300% more of specific nutrients (calcium, chromium, copper, iodine, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sulfur, and zinc).

Why should we buy organic? Why indeed…

The Dying to Self Series

stretchingA situation with a dear loved one had me reviewing my blog for the series of posts I did on “Dying to Self”. I thought I’d repost the links for them here, in case anyone else is wanting a refresher.

Here’s a quote from my first one titled, Exploring Dying to Self:

“The path toward humility is death to self. When self is dead, humility has been perfected. Jesus humbled Himself unto death, and by His example the way is opened for us to follow. A dead man or woman does not react to an offense. The truth is, if we become offended by the words of others, then death to self has not been finished. When we humble ourselves despite injustice and there is perfect peace of heart, then death to self is complete. Death is the seed, while humility is the ripened fruit.” Alice Smith

In another one, Dying to Self in Marriage, I share a list of ways we all feel entitled. Taken from Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book Lies Women Believe:

“Today it is assumed that,

  • you have a right to be happy
  • you have a right to be understood
  • you have a right to be loved
  • you have a right to a certain standard of living, to an equitable wage, and to decent benefits
  • you have a right to a good marriage
  • you have a right to companionship and romance
  • you have a right to be treated with respect in the workplace
  • you have a right to be valued by your husband and appreciated by your children
  • you have a right to a good night’s sleep
  • you have a right to have your husband pitch in with the household chores

And most important, if any of your rights are violated, you have the right to protest. You have a right to be angry. You have a right to be depressed. You have a right to take action. You have a right to insist on your rights!”

Lies, indeed. No freedom there.

In The Sting of Dying to Self, we are reminded at what great cost our sins and selfishnesses are to our relationships, and that it all adds up to DENYING God by our DEEDS, even when we profess Him from our lips…we see how important denying SELF is. It helps us proclaim Christ.

Titus 1:15-16,

“To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God but by their deeds they deny Him…”

In Are You Willing? we see through the Messianic prophecies in Isaiah 50:4-9 how the process works:

It’s a process. If you start applying it at the beginning (vs 4) by committing to reading God’s word, and from His word/prayer learning His will for your life (vs 5), practicing being obedient (vs 5 and 6), getting in the habit of bucking this world system in favor of doing right (vs 7), coming back to God to fill you up because suffering is part of Christianity (vs 8 ), and getting to the point that this process is second nature. All your priorities fall in line because of your continual desire to put God and His ways first (vs 9).

And finally, in Grace for the Weary, we see more Messianic prophecies, like this from Isaiah 42:3 and more,

“A bruised reed He (God the Son) will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish.” Isaiah 42:3 (parentheses mine)

Have you ever felt like a dimly burning wick? This post takes the topic of callings, in particular, our family’s calling to homeschool. But I think it applies to whatever your particular “burn out” may be. Get your vision back and go for it!

Be sure to check out these older blog posts for the great scriptures alone. There’s a wealth of encouragement there for every problem known unto man.

Would love to hear your thoughts on dying to self. :O)

Snapshots of the good life!

“Farmgirl livin’ makes for a more cheerful person, no matter where you are. It’s hard to describe in words what that means–you just know; you just live it.” ~Michaela Rosenthal, in the Apr-May issue of MaryJane’s Farm magazine

Check out this adorable Barred Rock chick, one of 156 that arrived this past Thursday morning. Fear not, these chickies are for laying eggs, not for butchering! (and not for possums either!!!!!)

Farmgirl livin’ to me is…

  • planting green beans barefoot in a gentle rain
  • flats full of plants I started from seed under grow lights
  • cute lil chicks with yellow diapered bottoms
  • cute lil girls with garden hoses–watch out!
  • fresh rhubarb crisp with a few dark sweet cherries thrown in
  • grilling steaks over a pile of smoldering logs in the back yard
  • puppies frolicking with chicks
  • letting the goats do the mowing when I don’t want to
  • cast iron skillet cooking–and fried chicken fresh off the broiler I raised myself
  • collecting clean bee-you-ti-ful brown and green farm eggs and having an overabundance for angel food cakes, deviled eggs and egg salad sandwiches
  • running down the road to the neighbors to watch them capture a swarm of wild honeybees

Aren’t these “cackleberries” purty?

Check out our fully critter proofed barn stall. See all the “playpens” outfitted with heat lamps, feeders and waterers? There are six such “stations” in this one barn stall…each with 26 chicks. Four Aldi’s orange boxes, and two large green wooden crates. All in all, a cushy brooder house, completely wrapped in chicken wire so no bad guys can harm the tenants. This project kept dh and I busy till 1 am the night before–nothing like waiting till the last minute…

See the post office boxes atop the green crate? Can you believe those small boxes were home sweet home to 156 chicks? Kept them nice and warm, and we had no casualties! Yay!

Another fun thing to note, the circle of sleeping chicks who’ve found their preferred temperature range…just beyond the radiating heat lamp!

This is the other half of the barn stall full of chicks…the blue barrel is full of organic chicken feed…$100 worth! We’ll see how long it lasts…

Lovely day for mowing, but who needs to? Just turn the goats out…see my irises? They’re the only flower that goats and chickens leave alone…to my knowledge and experience! Behind that grain bin is a nice expanse of green grass, home to our two field pens. When they are full of chicks, I get to traipse down the hill twice a day to check their feed and water, croon at them a bit, and move their pen to fresh grass. Thus the term: Pastured Poultry.

I’m in love with this 10 inch cast iron skillet my mother in law gave us. It’s the best for frying chicken,  scrambling eggs, baking deep dish pies…

By the way, this chicken was my smallest of the broilers, weighing in at 4 lbs 14 oz. Not too shabby! We even had a couple that were close to 7 lbs! One chicken was just enough to feed our family of 5, with one piece leftover. In telling my mom this, she said that in her childhood, one chicken had to feed their family of 8, and  her mom always claimed that her favorite piece was the neck. What a woman.

Saving the best for last…rhubarb crisp! Watch for a post soon in which I explain my reformation from being a rhubarb snob into a rhubarb hog…this is GOOD stuff! We are a family of converts…

This is the life for me! “Have what you want and want what you have”…right?

Hard Life Knocks on the Farm

fieldpenA horrible sight greeted me in the field pen this morning. Let me preface this gory tale by saying I haven’t experienced this scale of blood boiling murderous rage and trembling hysteria ever! And all over a chicken!

That shows you how sheltered a life I’ve lived, if nothing else. Let me remind you, I’m an Austin “pansy” transplanted into this mid-westernly rugged way of life. My husband has kindly dealt with most of our animal euthanization, and up till last fall, I wouldn’t have thought I could even stomach butchering chickens.

Two long days last week were spent helping our neighbors butcher their 100 broilers, along with 12 of our 16 broilers. I left four of my broilers home to “grow up” a bit more. Now I’m wishing I hadn’t.

On Friday night, something got into the field pen (pictured above) and made away with one of my birds. It left a chicken foot and back to tell the tale. Now this only slightly appalled me. The thought of a predator calmly sitting in the pen licking his chops on friend chickie WITH the other 3 chickens cowering in a corner watching?!? The nerve! The other thought for consternation was: Well then, now something has discovered a pen full of tasty treats and he will for sure be back for more! Argh!!!

Hubby assured me he had it under control. Somehow a varmint had popped a couple of zip ties off the base of the tarp and pen, and then had climbed up the inside of the tarp till he could get through the pen’s panels to the chickens. Hubby, an accomplished trapper, set a trap using the chicken remains I’d found, and though I had a few issues with leaving my remaining three birds at the crime scene another night, I decided to leave it in God and hubby’s capable hands.

After all, it was a perky Saturday afternoon, and I was blithely gardening and selfishly didn’t want to think about where to put three homeless broilers. Yes, I could have/should have butchered them, but I had a glorious day for gardening, a dry garden for once this wet spring(!) and lost myself for eight straight hours tilling, planting, making wide raised beds with my fun eight year old’s help…

Along came Sunday morning. Dh went to check his trap. Bad news. The thief  set off the trap, successfully stole the bait AND made away with TWO more chickens!!!

In a snit I stomped down to the field pen to gather up lone birdie intending to put it in a safe spot till I could get around to butchering it in the afternoon.

TOO LATE! Upon arriving at the field pen I caught said varmint in the process of enjoying one last luscious morning snack. In broad daylight!!! Good grief. There goes another fried chicken dinner!

I’m glad no one saw my snarling face as I gave that POSSUM the what for. If Christians had swear words, I would have used them. I mean, I screamed at that mangy, nasty, greasy nosed snot. And then I screamed for my husband!!! Finally he stuck his head out the front door and I yelled, “GET YOUR GUN AND GET OUT HERE!!!”

He kindly obliged.

Meanwhile, Possum is stock still, mildly looking me in the eye, probably wondering what kind of crazy weirdo could make such a racket. I can’t tell whether the chicken is dead or not, so I assume it is. It’s laying inert in the grass in front of Mr. Bad Guy. I’m standing there, shaking like a victim, throat burning from my hollering fit, heart racing, eyes streaming. SO mad and just willing my husband to hurry so Possum will get his just desserts.

Finally hubby arrives, pistol in hand, and possum scrambles for his life. How satisfying. Take that, and that. BANG BANG. We see the chicken move around in the pen and dh is optimistic.

“Maybe the chicken was just playing dead,” he says, opening the door and going in to scope things out.

I’m feeling more and more of my city girl roots. Frozen to the spot. About to melt into a sniffling puddle of writhing anger and grief. Very weird combo. I really think it scared dh because I’m normally cool as a cuke.

“Nope. It’s not playing dead. But it’s not dead either.”

Possum has been eating my live chicken from the feet up. It’s missing its entire back end, and it’s still alive!

Okay. At this point, I’m a bawling mess. I don’t care if I resemble my four year old after a nightmare. Thinking about that stupid possum not even having the decency to kill the chicken first. COME ON.

And you’re thinking…sheesh, you just participated in a killing spree of these same chickens only three days prior! What gives?fieldpeninterior

Well…to that I’d sputter…”But we did it humanely! And-and, that was the purpose behind the past eight weeks of growing up chicks. To feed my family, not a family of possums!”

So I’ve had all day to ponder this ordeal, and have come to some conclusions. Bear with me. You might wonder at my need to make this mean something…but I believe God allows all things for a reason, and that we can learn so much if we just wait on Him to open our eyes and understanding. After all, Jesus used many every-day things to portray his teachings through parables. So here goes. This is what I’ve processed about my emotional upheaval this morning.

The quivering rage I felt towards that possum helping himself so INHUMANELY to my chickens is NOTHING compared to the righteous anger of God when another one of His children dies without Him. The Bible tells us that “He is not willing that ANY should perish, but that all should come to repentance…” How impossible it must seem to such a loving God, that any of His creation could live a life for any purpose other than what God created it for, much less live life rejecting God’s free gift of salvation–free to us, but costing God so great a price–His son’s life.

How angry He must get at our apathy towards people who don’t know Him as their personal Savior. He’s given us very clear directives–the Great Commission,  for Heaven’s sake–and how many of us are actually actively sharing what Christ has done for us with our friends and neighbors and yes, even strangers at the grocery store?

You know, I was pretty apathetic towards my chickens’ plight, preferring to garden the day away. I spent from 2 p.m. till 10 p.m. playing in the dirt, letting hubby deal with the traps, and do the evening chores for my chicks. In retrospect, he thinks he only saw 2 chickens in the pen Saturday night, which means one more was whisked away during the daytime Saturday. I could have been more on top of things. Knowing something had gotten to my chicks was one thing. SEEING it with my own eyes on Sunday morning was an incredible SLAP in the face.

You know, in other countries and continents, mutilations and killings of Christians is something people see on the streets. Subscribe to Voice of the Martyrs if you don’t believe me. It’s one thing for me to tell you about it. But what if you had to watch it happen to your little girl? Or your husband or wife? God sees these horrendous happenings every minute on our planet.

What anguish,  grief and anger He must have towards the evil one, and yes, even those of us who go life’s merry way. Too busy gardening or homeschooling or working to worry about messy things like that happening half a world away.

The Bible says in 1 Peter 4:8, that we need to be sober and vigilant because the devil is like a roaring lion, roaming the earth,  seeking whom he may devour.

God is a real and personal God. We are His creation. He cares about us to the point of knowing how many hairs we have on our heads! He knows every sparrow that falls! This is a loving God–this kind of love none of us can fathom. How He must long for us to exhibit even a blink of compassion for the lost who have before them the yawning hole of everlasting fire! Or the ones that are being martyred for daring to have faith in Him? How much time does it take to remain aware of the persecuted ones and pray for them on a daily basis? Why is it so hard to share the good news with the unsaved people in our lives when taken into account that they will burn in hell forever without it?

It supremely bothered me to see the wasteful demise of something I’d raised for a worthy purpose. It’s been worrying at my mind all day. Hymn singing and my daughter’s homemade brownies have helped somewhat, but I hope this experience stays with me enough to remind me that real Christianity happens in the nitty gritty ugliness of life.

Until next time,

Mary

On the Homeschooling Bulletin Board…

This is a “scrapbook” post for all our family and friends who couldn’t make it to Homeschool Presentation Day this past Saturday! What a great time we had, celebrating all our students’ accomplishments this past school year. I especially appreciated the Christian thread woven throughout the performances, from guitar solos of “Jesus Loves Me” to a cappella renditions of favorite praise songs…and of course, classical piano pieces, amazing and convicting dramas…plenty of budding talent and a great time of being with others who relate tobordercollietalk and appreciate the unique approach of this lifestyle.

My own children were involved in two group skits, yes, even our four year old was tickled to have two lines all to herself! Our 11 year old daughter did a fabulous talk on Training Border Collies, not leaving out a single detail of all the points she’d labored over in practice the week before. She’s come so far since last year’s talk on ornithology (she’s a huge bird lover), exuding confidence and audience rapport…which is especially exciting to her mother, who does much better in *behind the scenes* scenarios! Here she is with her neon green poster board which represents pasture…with cattle and a Border Collie velcroed at crucial points to be used in illustrating various stockdog commands such as “Come by” and “Away to me”…she finished her talk so winningly:

Now you can see why Border Collies are my favorite dogs. First, because they save so much time. Second because they make such great companions. And third, because I happen to own one.

And if you want to own one, see me after refreshments!

(lol, she was so cute saying that last line, wish I knew how to put her talk on youtube! Btw, part of the reason it’s so cute is that she really does  raise and sell Border Collies, and has for the past 3 years)

walkthru2Then the three girls did a ten minute presentation on the first five books of the Old Testament, courtesy of their Grandpa’s teaching them his Walk-Thru-The-Bible this past school year every Friday morning. My oldest prompted her sisters through each book, sharing chapter titles, highlights and easy ways to remember key events and places the Israelites stayed as God moved them through these books. We used a big map of Old Testament lands to trace the life of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Joshua.  The funny/embarrassing moment during this presentation came when our youngest decided–in a fidget–to remove her button up sweater and twirl it around her shoulders and head maddymadelynneskit1and in the air above her…finally our oldest snagged the wayward sweater, amidst giggles and blushings, and they got back on task.

Here’s my middle daughter (on the left) performing “Pray Continually” with a good friend…

And my oldest and youngest daughters performing, “Middle of the Road” with another friend…

skit1But the best part of the evening was the grand finale…a skit done by my good friend and her husband and three kids about the importance of being a good witness when under conviction!

Two more weeks of school left! We’re excited about summer doings which for us will include one day a week working at Farmer John’s CSA farm, tending our own garden and the *big* chicken project–raising 150 chicks to sell as laying hens in the fall. VBS is approaching quickly…as is an Awana Awards Camping Trip to a nearby lake…

May will be over before we know it. What’s up next on your calendar?

Fishing on a Saturday Night

luresandtackleboxesEver since that first unseasonably warm week in February–when in shock and awe we shut the corn stove off and bought a watermelon to celebrate–my three girls have been begging to go fishing.

Saturday happened to be a nice weather day and a day off for my hard workin’ man! So around 5 p.m. we gathered up poles and girls, loaded the 4-wheeler and set off up the steep hill behind our house, through the gate into wide-open prairie and blue skies, giddy at thoughts of fried fish for supper and who knows what adventures in the process of snagging them.

We blazed our trail across the “stone wall pasture”, into the “Burr pasture”, zigzagging hills and creek bottoms across plains that two weeks ago were lightiwhoabigoneng up the evening sky as only prairie fires at the hands of control-burn-happy ranchers do. Already wildflowers and five inch shoots of spring grass green up the rocky hillsides. We have the pasture to ourselves, and entering through the third gate, a mile or so away, destination  pond comes in sight.

Piling off the four-wheeler, the girls grab their poles and hurry as quietly as pre-adolescent girls can manage to the water’s edge. Their poles are ready to go, lures clipped to lines and the first cast snags a fish! It’s going to be a big one! Wow, what a beaut!hugemouthbass

Thirty some fish later we’re having fun! Look at this huge-mouth bass, and while you’re at it, don’t miss the big smile on the little gal who landed him.

funwithfishieWe caught our share of little guys, and not wanting to be “baby killers” we, of course, let them go–humane jokes galore.

Persuaded my hubby to leave this poor  amphibian alone (he’s always wanted to try frog legs)… See Daddy Frog there with only his head sticking out? 4 year old’s special find of the night!

bigfrogdaddyWe fished almost the entire perimeter of the pond, breathing our woo-hoo’s to each other at each catch, unwilling to disturb the peace or scare the fish, either way.  As the sun went down, we packed up and counted the past 3 1/2 hours tipondatsunsetme well spent on a Saturday night…and it wasn’t over yet!

We still had a slow twenty minute ride across pastures with a bucket full of pond water and fish dangling from the rear rack, six keepers to clean, chores to do and then bass to fry. fishbucket

By 10:30 p.m. we were finally sitting down to crumb wrapped fish and home-made fries with apple pie for dessert.

Such fun in our own backyard! Well, practically our own backyard! ;O)

FISH ON!

A stopping place for your child

Today’s my Thursday at Writer…Interrupted. I’m musing about the incredibly delicate balancing act we mothers with “side-interests” face. Hope you come over there and share your thoughts too.

On other fun topics, it’s about baby chick time again! And my original flock of 25 is fine and dandy. Spring must be in the air, as egg production is bumping up even without my daily dosing of their feed with cayenne pepper!

My 4.5 year old is reading! And loving it! All this after discovering she could spell with the kindergartners and first graders at our homeschool co-op’s practice spelling bee. She did so well we dusted off the early readers we had laying around and she’s addicted.

I’ve ordered some beautiful copywork books from queenhomeschool.com, and can’t wait till their arrival! Also have a fun music book on its way from playbyear.com. Fun, fun!

What’s new with you?

Dreaming of Spring

Rainstorms last night and this morning have left the outdoors a bit too muddy for me, personally, to be out there enjoying it! But it’s 60 degrees out there and the wind is whipping,  sure to dry things out soon enough.

Small Comforts

So we’re letting the hope of springtime blow in through the windows. Why not? Rains tamped down any threat of dust, the temperature’s right, and I’ve been in a spring cleaning mood all morning! Windows MUST be open for the enthusiastic spring clean, right? Admittedly, I should say the desire is there, but  it hasn’t progressed beyond wishful thinking as we’ve been too busy doing school and crafting Valentines to get much cleaning accomplished. Quite the opposite, as mothers of crafters know all too well.

But I had to get on here and exclaim about this day! Can it possibly be the middle of February? We’ve had the corn stove turned off for three days! Three days!

What’s the weather like in your hometown? And doesn’t this picture beg you to pack a picnic and take to the woods? Ahh, I can smell the fresh air now!

Mothers and Dresses

Madame Monet and Her SonSo the other day my eleven year old daughter comes up, hugs me hard and long and says, “You are just so lovable when you wear dresses!”

Hmm. I began to wonder if wearing dresses produced a similar magic to that of apron wearing, which never fails to make me want to bake bread and clean house. Not a bad thing.

I’ve always loved the femininity of dresses and skirts, and even once did a “dresses only” experiment on myself for about a year’s time, at the end of which I decided it was being taken wrong by certain family members. Long story. Anyway, my husband always preferred me in jeans, etc, but he’s even come around to saying that he appreciates a certain femininity in a woman that is lacking when they’re never seen in a dress or skirt.

Well, the cute part of this story began with my daughter’s hug and has not ended yet. That same day as I went to prepare supper, I started finding little pink “I love you” notes in out-of-the-way, yet strategically appointed  spots.

  • In the microwave next to the thawed hamburger for the night’s meal.
  • In the silverware drawer, next to the forks, a pink square stating: “Super Mom!”
  • At the top of the black pepper grinder, beneath the clear plastic lid: “I (heart) you”…
  • In the bathroom shower, folded compactly, beneath the lid on the conditioner bottle. *Smile*

Yes, my oldest daughter was supposedly making Valentines for her friends with her little sisters in the kitchen, but must have been wanting to love me instead!

I think I need to wear dresses at home more often!

Have you ever thought of the impact our choice of clothing has on not only us, but those around us?

Drum roll…your thoughts, please!