What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Days Harvest (and the July Garden)

Just for kicks, some pictures of the July garden. This one was taken the first week of July... 

...and that one, the last.  
It is amazing what a few good July weeks can do for a garden. 

 The potatoes are nearly ready to be dug, the tomato plants are falling all over the place and the sweet corn is taller than me in spots. 
The rows aren't so prim and tidy anymore!    In fact, the garden is reaching its JUNGLE phase...when harvesting makes you wonder if you will make it out alive and where productivity wins over beauty.   

And productive, it surely is.  

Here is yesterdays' harvest:

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Summer Gathering

Christmases were always celebrated here when Gram was living, but we had only just moved in before last Christmas- and what rooms weren't being fixed up were barely unpacked, so for the first year, this house didn't host Christmas.  Aunt Margie, Matt's not-quite-70 year old aunt, said it was the first Christmas she had ever spent outside of these four walls.

So Matt and I determined to have a Summer Gathering, where people could roam out of doors and I could fill bellies with garden things.  A sort of "Christmas in July".  Saturday was the day.  Not everyone could make it, but a good many did, despite the busyness of summer.  Days before I had prepared and cleaned and planned--everything had to be "just so" because this would be the first time many of the people coming would see the house since Gram was living in it.

 I painted a sign.  Matt fixed the bathroom faucet after months of not working.  Corynn gathered basketfuls of Lace.  Andrew brought in armloads of vegetables.  Every square inch of the house was organized-even closets and bookshelves~ just days before.  Matt took down the half-down-already ceiling in the mudroom and replaced it.  I made batches and batches of lemonade and Peppermint Tea.  Matt mowed the lawn.  I hollowed out cucumbers and marinated chicken and Frank Sinatra serenaded me as I sliced squash.  I admired the most beautiful salad ever in which all ingredients save two were from my own garden and lamented that I was1-2 weeks shy of using my own fresh tomatoes.

I took no pictures during the party.  I was too busy flitting from person to person, refilling drinks and serving chocolate cake...but I enjoyed watching people stroll through my garden and Mattie, sweating over the grills.  I enjoyed sitting under the hanging lights of the tree and visiting with family across the picnic tables and watching Nathan swinging sleepily in one of the hammocks.

And now, two days later and the party over, I am washing dotted glass and floating robin's egg blue on the wind and gathering up canning jars of flowers and serving leftovers with every meal and wondering how will I ever use the extra 40+ hotdogs buns I bought?? 

And also wondering~ how in just two days there are smudges on the bathroom mirror and dollhouse clothes under the girls' bed and man clothes on the floor of our bedroom?

Sometimes it is good to have a party every now and then, if just to have a clean house for two seconds. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Middle Barn

Tonight we had to make an emergency chicken feed run, despite a looming storm in the forecast.  The sun was shining when we left and it was supposed to be a very quick trip.  Quick there, quick back.

Not quick enough, unfortunately. 

The children and I got caught in tornado storm warnings and had to drive for 25 minutes with tree branches falling all around us, half-an-inch hail pelting us, lightening cracking on all sides of the car, thunder booming in our ears, 55 mile an hour winds blowing us all over the road and dark, ominous terrible skies.  It was very, very scary.  I have never been so scared driving.  I was all nerves and even stopped to seek shelter at a home (not our own) only to find no one was there (this, my friends, is HUGE!).  The radio man said "get into hallways", "get into basements", "get away from windows" and that would have been swell if we were near a hallway and not completely surrounded by windows.  He said "Do NOT go OUTSIDE!"  Hmph.  Instead, we were smack dab in the eye of the storm and I was praying...praying we would make it home in one piece.

We did (praise God!) but when we did, where once was found this: 


Instead I found this:


The Middle Barn, which was in a very sad state of disrepair, had finally succumbed to its fate.  I knew that it was bound to happen~ the years of saving it had long past~ and I know if ever it were to have fallen-there was no better time than when no one was nearby to get hurt. And I am incredibly grateful that though it fell, it did not damage any other outbuildings (or equipment) on the way down.

But even with all of that, it felt very much like a death had occurred.  That a  piece of the Place had died.  And in a very real way, it did. 


All those muscled and sweaty men and horses working together to build this barn, hoist all those immense hand-hewn beams, all those homemade wooden pins, all that stone hauled in....all the wood prepared...all those Newmans working for a purpose and now it is gone.  Rubble.


I was recently shown a picture from when my father-in-law was just a baby of a large picnic gathering where everyone was standing in front of the barns.  We are having one such gathering on Saturday...  I told my father-in-law I would like to plan to take a picture just like that, standing in that very spot with all the family around us.  "Before the barn falls down."  Two days shy of the party, I guess that idea wasn't meant to be.


Now it is just the  little Granary with a very broken down cow barn across the road.  It is sad and lonely across the road now. 

I never thought I would be the kind of person to mourn a barn...but I guess it turns out...I am.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


For the last huckleberry picking of the season (and incidentally, on the hottest day of the week), I had to up the ante a bit to get a good working crew.  Not only was there swimming, but the promise of whole wheat pancakes with blueberry syrup sauce made on the grill.  That sealed the deal.

Since I never got out to go strawberry picking this spring ( the u-pick prices were terrible this year!) and my own plants didn't fare well, my hope was to have a few extra huckleberries set up for winter to make up for it.  We wound up, when all is said and done, to have 22.25 pounds under our belt....which for HUCKLEBERRIES (a much smaller berry than blueberries), is pretty impressive evenifIdosaysomyself. 

I posted the recipe (what?!?!  you actually posted a recipe?!?!) for the huckleberry syrup over at Kitchen Riches, btw.  If you can believe it!)

Monday, July 23, 2012

The What IF game

The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.
- G. K. Chesterton

 A secret to thanksgiving is really quite simple.  Think of something you hate to do.  Then think about not being able to do it.

For example:

Standing at the sink doing (yet another) round of dirty dishes in hot soapy water-when you really just wish to be rinsing off your sweat in a cool shower.  

But then you think, as you stand there, hands in suds... What if I didn't have hands TO wash?  What if I didn't have RUNNING WATER?  What if I didn't have food to put on the plates that I am presently washing?  What if I had to make my own soap in order to wash these dishes?

Or this one:

Changing a nasty stinky diaper for the hundredth time and realizing that you have been changing diapers for the last ten years straight. 

But then you think:  what if I had no children to put these diapers on?  What if my children were so ill that each dirty diaper was a triumph?  What if I had no money for diapers?  What if I had to handwash cloth diapers?

Or what about this:

Spending hours over a hot canner in the summertime.

But then you realize it is because of ABUNDANCE that you are doing this.  What if there was no food to can?  What would we eat this winter?

Of course, not everyone cans, not everyone gardens, not everyone has children.  But it works no matter what your circumstances in life.  Go on---try it.  Pick a bad circumstance in your life and think about what would happen if you didn't have it (or the tools to deal with it.)  It works like a charm.

:::: Counting the many blessings in my life, one by one :::

A "tough guy" baby... #883... a one year old with muscle definition
#884... a boy who will become a strong man
#885...  a leader

  Dozens of eggs to use up...and fast.  #887...egg shucking "helpers"
#887... funny little chickens out back
#888... an abundance of farm fresh eggs
#889....a new batch of pickled beet eggs
#890...fingers to shuck with
#891... a stove to boil on
Loads of wood (literally) to split before winter....

# 892...a boy who is old enough to help (how can this be?)
#893...lessons on how to work hard
#894...a fine example for a boy
#895...a woodsplitter that makes the job easier
#896....woods of our own to get trees of our own to get logs of our own to get wood of our own.

a VERY hot day of huckleberry picking....

#897... children who work alongside Mama without (too many) complaint(s).
#899... hours of kerplunking
#900.... access to free wild huckleberries for the taking
#901... a well earned swim in the lake
#902...lake mermaids and lily crowns

sweaty, dirty afternoons...
#903... days of unadulterated PLAY
#904.... children outside DOING instead of inside WATCHING
#905... after dinner hose-showers

a poor boy who gets stung daily...
# 906... the last few baby cuddles I will get from him.
#907... that he comes to me for comfort.
#908... a boy that is not allergic

toys, hats, shoes thrown everywhere, every day. 
# 909...clothes, when some people have none
# 910... clothes, that I didn't have to sew, or sheer, or weave or grow.
# 911...a woolen hat on a summer day that looks *almost* like hair
#  912...toys for my children to play with and shoes.  Luxuries to many.

a living room destroyed.

#913... a living room tent town
#914... imaginations being exercised
#915....four children playing together without bickering
#916...an hour where I knew right where every child was
# 917...lots of pretty blankets

Still diaper-changing...
#918... that darling belly button

 holy experience

Friday, July 20, 2012

Happy July


My computer has been giving me fits for the last few weeks, allowing me only very small pockets of time before shutting down again for the unforeseeable future.  Husband-dear finally decided he missed my blogging enough that he fixed the problem (yes, he reads my blog.  Hiya Mattie! *muah*This is why my blogging/emailing has been sporadic lately.

My camera, though having been in a sorry state for some time, has become even more sorry after having a jug of ice water poured all over it in the van coming home from a state park.  Yes.  Lovely.

Before, the camera was
~ not allowing for other lenses to be put on (no macro, my friends)
~ no automatic settings---everything must be manual.
~ random ERR 99 codes every few days, forcing the camera to shut down.

And since the water spill,  the brokenness includes:
~ the manual aperture can no longer be changed (!!!)
~ SOMETIMES the shutter speed gets stuck too
~ a newly charged battery needs to be put in EVERY SINGLE TIME the camera is turned off.

It is really, REALLY a pain and rarely results in a decent photo.  Incidentally, it is also really, REALLY hard to commit to saving for something that you really, really want/need!  You know I am a "don't buy it if you don't have the money first kind of girl"....this is where the rubber meets the road.  Saving up for things before buying them is no problem when it comes to a pair of shoes or a couch, but for a camera?  That takes some serious discipline.   This is why I rarely pick up my camera anymore.

It is all good though~ even with less blogging and less picture-snapping, time still seems to slip through my fingers.  Tell me it isn't just me?? 

            Garden harvesting is a must now....a very happy must.   We eat like kings and I put all the extras up.  Still in the flash-freezing stages of food preservation though, and blessedly so, since who wants to can when it is almost 100 degrees every day for a week?  Not I.  

I have no less than 12 bouquets of flowers around the house.  I pluck and I pick from our yard every day and the children have grown accustomed to me swerving to the roadside by a particularly lovely patch of color.  It is just what I do.  The other day Matt brought me home a bouquet of bee balm that he had picked along the creek (saying, "I don't have any idea what they are but there are tons of them along the creek and I thought you would like them..."  um...YEAH.) A happy surprise.  A patch of creek-grown bee balm?!  It is like a present just for me!  

It has been crazy hot here and terribly dry and each day I have to decide whether a dry well or a watered garden is more important.  But today it is raining and there is nothing so pretty and happy than to see a sky of gray and practically *feel* the earth heave a sigh of relief as it slurps up the rain.  I will celebrate by cleaning.  Because, in all truth, cleaning a hot house by my hot self on a hot day wasn't on my agenda for the last week.  Instead, I opted to read-even then, working up a sweat.  So the fresh and cool rainy outdoors has me ready to make things fresh indoors too.  I'll be tackling the School Room and the Spare Oom today. 

How are you spending your day today?  

 Be happy!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I've got some 'splainin to do.

My last soapbox post has spurred me to write a little qualifier here on the blog lest my blog be taken wrongly.  Bear with me.  Unlike the start of this blog, I most often post little trifles and lots of pictures, sharing the moments of my days~ less often I write of the deep churnings of my mind.  The reasons for this are varied: from lack of time, to lack of wit, to almost always getting myself into trouble in some way; it can be just easier and SAFER to post trifles. Nevertheless, this blog is my own personal record and a record for my children and so I continue, every so often, to write a little truth in a whole lot of words.  So that my children might know me.  So that I might know myself.

I can plainly see how easy it could be, especially for those friends and family with whom I have contact on a daily/weekly basis, to read what I write here on my blog and to link my words with them, wondering if I might be writing subtle messages for them to hear and so forth.  The last post had that effect (and as a result, hurt feelings) and many a soapbox before that, so I think now is as good a time as any to clear things up. 

The fact is, when I write here on my blog, I am writing about things that are happening within ME and things that I am directly or indirectly, pleasantly or unpleasantly, learning about myself, my heart and my own growth (or lack thereof.)  The tangents I go on from time to time (though admittedly less these days!) are my way of working through my own weaknesses, struggles and less occasionally~ moments of clarity.  They are, in effect, me giving myself pep-talks to becoming the godly woman I really long to be.  I write them down to cement them in my mind and to one day, perhaps, show my children the deep pieces of who I am/was.


When I am talking about the short-comings of people, I am almost always speaking from my own personal experiences and never have anyone except my very own self in mind.  If you think I don't struggle with the things I write about, it is simply a matter of me not showing you the 100 million convoluted characteristics in my soul that I like to keep hidden from view. If you happen to be struggling with the same things that I am struggling with, then praise be-we can struggle together!  But the fact is if my writings poke you, call it the Holy Spirit, because I wrote it to poke me.