Friday, July 28, 2017

So Many Animals

We get our fill of animals on this here micro farm, that's for sure!

Who can complain, when they're as cute as this?  

Blossom1 and Blossom2 are really excited about these bunnies, because they are the fruits of breeding their own breeding stock for meat, at home, by themselves.  

Now, that's cool.

These are the girlies' meat pens for the Fair at only a few weeks old.  

It is awfully nice having snuggly baby bunnies around.

Blossom3 and Blossom4 love pesting their older sisters to let them hold a baby bunny.  It's a current favorite pastime, even if the bunnies are much larger now.

We came home from a walk the other day to discover this doe hanging out in the front treeline.

Blossom2 noticed it.  It seems she notices everything.  Details are her "thang."

There was high glee as a result!

This regular little robin visitor came to be known as Stacy.

We kept seeing her around and could hear her parents chirping insistently to her from various vantage points around our yard.

"Can she fly?"  

"Will she be okay?"

Check the top left corner of the above picture.  Stacy is indeed able to fly, though her landings were a tad precarious, if you ask me.

One morning while choring, Blossom2 discovered this exquisite "butterfly."  

Its wings were slightly damaged, but that meant we were able to get an excellent view of its gorgeous coloring.

God is a most creative artist.

The Blossoms informed me that they couldn't find it in the butterfly book. 

Like a good homeschool mom, I let them look long and hard before I offered assistance.  I then doggedly paged through the book myself and stubbornly refused to google it out of sheer pride.  

Finally, I gave up and plopped down at the computer.  Imagine my surprise and consternation upon realizing that this polyphemus moth was not in the butterfly book because it is not a butterfly.  What a beautiful giant silk moth!

One morning the girls awoke to FIVE baby bunnies lippety-lopping around the yard.  (Note the white blob to the right of the feed shed in the picture below - outside a cage!)  Somehow, a whole passel of their Fair meat rabbits were loose.  Of course, this happened on Sunday morning, before church.  They were able to capture four before we left.  They opened a cage door and put out feed and water for the remaining rabbit.  They also set up box traps, but to no avail, this bunny remained on the loose until Monday morning.  

With the heat index rising quickly, we were really starting to get concerned about heatstroke.  While I spent my morning quiet time on the porch swing, that blasted bunny kept peeking his head out from under the feed shed.

  I tiptoed through the dewy grass three times with a net, only to be foisted again and again by that "wascally wabbit."  

Later that morning, I was starting to take his escape tactics personally.  With a stubborn grunt, I postured myself on the ground, in the dirt with a handful of oats.  The maddening coy little sucker just wouldn't be caught.  I dug further and further underneath and the girls shooed him from the other side.  I grabbed hold and did not let go.  

Having freshly showered only an hour previously, I was now covered in dirt, rabbit fur and sweat, 
but since I was now the hero of the day, 
I didn't mind... too much.

I'd valiantly earned my Super 4-H Mom points for the month. 

And now, I'm off to transport 34 animals to the Fairgrounds so we can enjoy a whole ten days of animals.  It's Fair week, ya'll!


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Snatching Family Time

Snatching time seems to be a theme around here lately.  It's a concept I "snatched" from Bonni Greiner's book, Recapturing the Joy of Motherhood, in the last month or two.  

Snatching time is just that - snatching time.  It's taking the small amounts of time you have now to do something good, constructive or meaningful.  It's doing what fits your life goals in those small time increments that sometimes disappear in smoke or get frittered away.  

It's better to take the little bit of time you have now, 
than to wait for the big block of time that never comes.  

I like that snatching time is one of those simple concepts, easy to assimilate into your lifestyle.  Constructive changes that are easy?  I'm heaving a sigh of relief at that happy thought.  

Summer sure can fly by, but despite a busy week, we've managed to snatch some fun family time.  It started after a very hot homeschool meeting at the park.  I decided to be a little spontaneous and let the Blossoms take a dip in the river nearby.  We didn't have sunscreen, swimsuits or towels.  We were just hot.  The girlies grinned, rolled with it, and swam.  The van survived their wet bodies on the ride home and we swiped some 50 cent frosties afterward.  It turned out to be a terrific summer time memory that I know we'll always treasure.

The next day, we dropped by the river and did the frosty thing again before piano lesson.  It was only an hour or more, but oh, so refreshing!  Since the sizzling weather held up, we hit up the river and Wendy's again the very next day for some more great cooling off!  It hit me...

Summer fun doesn't have to be a day trip.

There are just so many expectations for summer and so many demands on mamas.  I think remembering that it doesn't have to be a day trip to be an enjoyable summer activity, helped me realize that I can strike the right balance for summer.  We can prepare for the Fair.  We can take care of the garden.  We can do something cool.  We can just be together.  We can!!!

We've applied that to some family time lately too.  The girlies like their cousin time and I enjoy my sister time.  It's something that's very important to us. 

Just the other day, we ventured to a local park for a few hours.  The girlies and I have really been wanting to explore the creek over there.

The littles enjoyed making "sand angels" in the sand volleyball court.  

We all loved the creek and the wildflowers.  

We walked the nature trail, which took quite a while between all the littles checking things out and the mamas wanting to photograph everything.  It's good we're good with slow.

Snatching family time, now that's a sweet thing for this summer.


PS - For those who might be wondering, my father-in-law came through his heart surgery wonderfully.  He is healing quickly and doing well.  We are so thankful for this answer to prayer.  Thanks for standing with us.

Friday, July 21, 2017

They See; They Remember

"She sure is getting big," my favorite Dollar Store clerk commented 
as I checked out with my crew in tow the other day.  

I blinked, paused and then, agreed.  I'm not surprised that Blossom4 is getting big, but it put my mind in forward motion, straight on the fact that Erica has been watching us over the two years that she's worked there.  True, I've been shopping there since the store opened.  It is also true that Erica witnessed the worst multiple child meltdown in the entire history of my motherhood and yet, she's commented on the girls' good behavior in the store on other trips.  That's humbling, let me tell you.

Sometimes folks think that stay-at-home mamas 
don't get out enough.  

How will they reach their community?  

How can we be a witness for Christ?  

Driving on to our next errand stop, my mind then drifted back to every Walmart clerk I recognize ~ Elizabeth, Laurel, Ida, the dark-haired lady in cosmetics, the quiet man who enjoys my conversation but rarely speaks in anything other than a whisper.  

It helped me see them in a new light.  

My thoughts eventually drifted back to my long-time UPS driver, who recently got promoted to a larger truck which can't make it up my driveway.  It wasn't until he was gone from our route that I realized I didn't even know his name... after ten-plus years of receiving packages from him!

Another Walmart shopper once stopped me at the Fair, to ask how I was doing.  I was confused, until I realized she recognized me from Walmart.  I recollected that I'd enjoyed talking to her in the produce section because she was one of the only people who said how much she enjoyed her children and didn't predict that mine were going to turn into headaches.  Two years later, when she was purchasing something from my parents' business, she put two and two together and asked how the girls and I were.  She remembered us.

We mamas trudge through our errands trying valiantly to avoid meltdowns, blowouts and blowups.  We just want to safely maneuver our way through parking lots and aisles with children of all sizes and attitudes in tow.  

It's easy to assume we'll never see the folks around us again.  

I'm challenging myself to stop thinking like that.  

I frequent the same stores, year after year.  The glimpses they have of me and our children can add up to a beautiful picture of Jesus and what it means to live for Him.  

People remember.

It is assuredly a rapport being built, day after day, year after year.  

It could be that I'm the only one in line NOT getting mad or impatient.  It could be that I'm the only one insisting that my children do not throw balls in the toy aisle.  It could be a smile or a genuine "how are you doing today?"  Or, it could be that sometime I have an opening to share the Good News that is near and dear to my heart.  

My eyes are opened.  These are the ways I reach out to my community, 
by taking this little light of mine everywhere I go.  

Recently, the Rugged Mountain Man and I took an evening jaunt through the delightful small town where we spent our first year of marriage.  Though our long-time favorite restaurant is closing down, we still enjoyed the nostalgic sights of the country roads. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

That Nothing You Did Today

I think I read it in Bonni Greiner's book, Recapturing the Joy of Motherhood.  

"Redefine what you call a good day."

It's so easy to beat ourselves up over tasks undone at the end of the day, 
when we gave motherhood the best try we could for this 24 hours.  

And, I mentioned recently about consuming a regular diet of Godly motherhood Truths.  
I eat it up wherever I can find it.

Perhaps you need some encouragement today.  

All the "nothings" you're doing today, 
are really a whole lotta something.


Thanks to my sister for sharing that terrific post with me. 
All photos from the beautiful hazy stillness of a Fourth of July evening.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Rolling Pizza ~ an Exceedingly Important Life Skill

"Can I he'p you, Mama?"

"Sure, I'm making pizza."  

With a "Roll this out," I plopped the dough on a floured surface, 
handed her a rolling pin and went to fetch a jar of pizza sauce from the basement.  

Upon my return, I discovered that she'd rolled it all out, all by herself!

I was shocked at her progress because pizza dough is one of the hardest dough to roll, in my opinion.  She was super proud when we announced to Daddy that Blossom4 made supper all by herself.  She had spread the sauce and sprinkled on the cheese, while Mama mulled over a very important lesson.  

These Blossoms can do WAY MORE than we think they can.    

I'm applying that to work ethic and home chores lately.  I like to use the summer time to teach the Blossoms how to do almost all of the regular home chores that I know how to do.

Otherwise, when will they learn these things?

Where will they learn how to do home chores efficiently?  

Every day, I'm trying to train them for adult life - 
cleaning, cooking, laundry, grocery shopping, sewing, gardening and a myriad of other things.  It's a big part of my job, passing on these life skills. 

I'm fighting to keep the every day demands on me 
from overtaking their learning how to do the every day tasks.

Monday, July 10, 2017

A Snatched Restful Moment

These last few days have been good, but there's been burdens, burdens I keep casting away on to the back of One who handles things much better than I.  

Along with just life stuff, my father-in-law is in the hospital, getting ready to have major surgery.  It's enough to make you pause, shake off all the extra things that don't really matter 
and remember what really does.  

This life is such a vapor.  It's fragile.  

Those moments of fragility help me to savor the value of people in my life.  
I'm thankful to have such a terrific father-in-law.  

We've all been doing lots of praying lately.  God is mighty.

In times like these, I'm grateful for peaceful times to look back on.  Moments of rest in the last month or so, that are times to recharge for just such times as this.  

We did a short trip to the cabin on Memorial Day weekend.  Though barely more than 24 hours, we soaked up as much peace as we could.  

In the midst of the beautiful breezes and the creek-walking, I stumbled on a favorite of mine - a patch of wild mint.  

What to do!  Why, tuck it above your ear and take a selfie, of course!

There were some family bike rides and walks.  It's neat to think that this is only the first or second trip that Blossom4 walked the entire way down the lane and back, all by herself... without being carried. 

This IS a different season for us.

There's twilight meanderings.

And so many discoveries are waiting to be made!

I guess if you're strange like me, you nonchalantly take pictures of other people's boots.  We took the girls to a children's fishing derby and this lady was attending in style!

Now that I've attended one fishing derby, I'm pretty much set for life.  It's a terrific event, meant to get kids interested in fishing.  A boatload of fish are released in the fishing area and then, kids get to fish til their heart's content!  

The girls had a great time, but it was much too squished for our tastes.

Think lots of tangled fishing lines and hooks flying every which direction.

On the up side, when your kids lands a good-sized fish, everybody starts to cheer, because they're all there for the same thing - to watch kids get fish!

In between baiting hooks and untangling lines, I'm always snapping pics of wildflowers


Not my preference.  This cabin trip was definitely the "snakiest" one we've ever taken.  I hope we're good on that for a while.

But don't worry,

I solaced myself with ice cream and mountains.  

Back at the cabin, I wasn't fooled by Rory's tail.  I'm not sure why I was standing on the picnic table, other than maybe that photographing his skunk-like tail probably struck me as something fun and artistic to do.  

The Rugged Mountain Man doesn't bat an eyelid at this sort of behavior from me anymore.  

At the cabin, the girls just roll with the punches.  Sometimes, they are rock collecting and investigating.

Sometimes they are reading.  The swing is always a favorite spot.  I'm glad there are three now, so I don't have to shoo little people out of my spot.  

While we are "dinging" around by the creek, I usually take deep breaths and whisper little prayers.

I open my spiritual ears and try to clear away the white noise to really listen.

There are less distractions here.  It's so much easier to be in tune to what God is saying.  

The girlies soak up the peace too.

And, so does the Rugged Mountain Man.

Blossom3 is showing Blossom4 just how cool this little toad is.  

I'm pretty sure they were fighting over keeping him when I turned around and took a picture of the chimney, which I've always thought was a handsome piece of masonry straight out of the early 1900s.

In any case, Blossom4 thought it was nifty that her "toady" could "climb trees."  

There is a cable bridge over the creek that Blossom1 and Blossom2 are finally (barely) tall enough to cross.  I held my breath a little.  Rory and Jake weren't all that thrilled about the girlies being up there, barking their worry incessantly.  

This angle is deceiving; it's not just 4 feet off the ground!  I think it's more like 10 feet off the ground.  
I've crossed it many times 
and my Rugged Mountain Man proved his mettle by crossing it with one of our Blossoms in a backpack carrier once upon a time.  

Vacationing at the cabin, for me, is letting the children get dirtier than is socially acceptable, not stressing about it and saying yes, if I can humanly say yes.  

Oh yes, and throwing lots of sticks and balls for Jake to retrieve.

This whole cabin thing is liberating, I tell you.

This is a terrific shot of our swimming hole, a revered and much-frequented location.  We measure how high the creek is, by how submerged that rock is.  The creek is a little on the high side here, though in flash floods, we've seen this rock entirely submerged.

Times of refreshing don't have to be long to refresh us.  

We can snatch those rejuvenating moments that the Lord sends.  Surely He knows what we need.

Snatch a moment of rest today,