3 Day Quote Challenge – Day #3

Erma Bombeck Quote.jpg

This is my last day for the 3 day Quote Challenge. I was nominated by the gal who writes the blog – In The Autumn Of My Life. This has been a lot of fun hunting for some of my favorite quotes!

The rules are as follows:
Post 1 quote each day for 3 days.
A theme for each day would be nice (though not necessary)
Nominate 3 blogs to pick up the challenge and pass it on….
Don’t forget to let your nominees know that you have chosen them.

For this third day I nominate:

  1. Alheri
  2. Floating Speck
  3. kindergartenknowledge

Explaining why you chose a certain quote is not part of the rules but  I do like to let you know why I chose the ones I did.

Today our kids came to visit and brought our two grandchildren with them. These two little bits of heaven are 2 and 5. After their evening baths I offered to sit with them till they fell asleep. It did take a looooong time. Small children are definitely perpetual motion machines.

I have a feeling that they are worried that life is short and they need to fit every bit of living into one day. Their enthusiasm for life and the living of life is catchy. They use up every bit of energy on everything they do. By the time their heads hit the pillow at night they have nothing left and are exhausted.

Every minute they give 100% of their efforts.  I hope I can say the same when I am at the end of my days. That I did not waste what I was given, that I used the time I had been given that I loved and lived to the full and that I served where and when I was called.

“The Master was full of praise.
‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.'”
Matthew 25:21a

 

 

 

3 Day Quote Challenge Day #2

Douglas Adams Quote.jpg

I am now in day 2 of the 3 Day Quote Challenge which was given to me by the writer of the very interesting blog In The Autumn Of My Life.  Go and take a visit over her way!

Rules for the challenge are as follows:

  • Post 1 quote each day for 3 days.
  • A theme for each day would be nice (although not necessary)
  • Nominate 3 blogs to pick up the challenge and pass on…
  • Let your nominees know they have been chosen.

The three blogs I nominate today are:

  1. Paperpuff
  2. Heartclosetblog
  3. Nene’s Life

 

 Again, explaining why I chose a particular quote is not a part of the challenge but I always kind of like background on things!

When I was in high school I thought I was going to go to college and study to be a teacher. Due to the cost of college I decided I would work for a year and earn some of the tuition expense. Somewhere in that year the paycheck started to look better than the education. By the time I looked back and wondered where the time went I was married and had 3 sons.

In looking back, I do not regret missing college. I do think I would have enjoyed being a teacher but I did get to do that every day that I had my boys at home with me. There are so many life lessons to be taught when your kids are young. Those days are so important, not only for kids but for parents also and I am so grateful I got to have those days.

I really do believe I am exactly where God intended me to be at this time in my life.

“For I know the plans
I
have for you…..”
Jeremiah 29:11

 

3 Day Quote Challenge – Day #1

Family Quote.jpg

Hello!!! A big thank you to  Autumn x for nominating me for this 3 Day Quote Challenge. You can check out her wonderful blog “in The Autumn of My Life” by clicking right here

According to the rules I now need to nominate 3 other blogs to participate and for today I choose:

  1. helbergfarmstories
  2.  the Journey of a Million Miles
  3. Bee Organized With Pamela

The rules for this challenge are as follows:

Rules:

  • Post one quote each day for 3 days.
  • A theme for each day would be nice (although not necessary)
  • Nominate 3 blogs to pick up the challenge and pass on…
  • Don’t forget to let your nominees know on their blog…

 

IMG_6532.JPG

This is not part of the rules but I wanted you to know why I chose the quote I did. First……because I love it.  I look at my family and my husbands family and realize what a blessing they all are to me.

They are not perfect (but neither am I) but they are all perfect for me. I know there are families who are not blessed in this way and my heart goes out to those people. I pray someday they may know the blessing of loving family.

My family, immediate and extended, love me not because of what I can do for them but for who I am. They hold me accountable to be a better person than I could ever be on my own.  And when I fail they are there to pick me up, dust me off, and give me a shove to try again.

My family is indeed a gift,
rare and priceless,
and I am blessed.
Faye K.

Beneath the Beans

 

Under the Beans

While walking beans this morning my shoe came undone; I bent over to retie the lace and discovered an amazing place.

I told my husband that he should really take a look- he did not take me up on that. On the surface all you could see was green waving leaves and some little grasshoppers (which I have learned bite viciously). The sun beats down on you when you stand above those leaves and you hope to catch a cool breeze.

Once you get down under the canopy of leaves it is a rather sun-dappled world. A light breeze ruffles the yellowing leaves underneath. Small bugs walk around totally oblivious to the world above and the smell of dirt and leaves is rich.

Sparkling Sunlight Through The Leaves

You also see the pods that have formed and the little purple blooms drying up to become the pods that will fill with soybeans. It is ripe with the promise of abundance that will take care of us for the coming year.

I cannot say I love walking beans as it is usually hot; but I will say that there is a sense of season and continuity that comes with doing certain tasks during the different seasons. It is also a time that my husband and I spend hashing out the problems of the world and life in general.

When walking beans, it is better to focus on the harvest to come and to focus on the rows already cleaned than to focus on what rows are yet left to do. I think much of life is like that…..looking behind to see how far you have actually come. It makes going through the hard places so much easier to see how many you have already made it through.There is also a sense of fulfillment when looking over a bean field that has been totally cleaned.

My husband made the comment that bean fields are a lot like life.  We all want the biggest, cleanest, most productive “field” that we can have.  You start out, you plant the field with great hopes and wait for the spring rains.  Once they are growing you wait for the rains to stop so you can get in there and get rid of the weeds. When you have done everything you can for that field you just have to wait and remember that God is in control and all you can do is, once again, wait and pray.

As farmers and people who live our lives we sometimes have a tough time being patient for the harvest.  We cringe when the weather turns ugly with hail, storms, high winds and generally things that seem hurtful.

I have told people that we may not always have had the biggest crop, we may not always have it “easy” but we have never been hungry or had to walk out of our home naked.  I think that makes us fortunate. (I will not say blessed because I have a tough time tying blessing to wealth.)

I am indeed grateful for this life that lets me find lessons in the small things. I love the lessons I can find (with my husband’s help) under the beans.

If you so choose,
even the unexpected setbacks can bring new and positive possibilities.
If you so choose,
you can find value and fulfillment in every circumstance.
Ralph Marston

Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/fulfillment.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swisms

Beans

I will tell you right up front do not go looking in any dictionary for the word swism. It should be in there as it is the perfect word for what happens on a hot summer day.

When I was out picking my beans in the garden the other night I was experiencing issues with swism. For those of you who wear glasses this will make sense. Swism is that drop of sweat that rolls off your forehead when you are bending over and it then lands on your glasses to create a swism.

When you try looking through this swism you get the same effect as looking through the swism’s better known relative- the prism. It might be a little fuzzier than that.

I have also heard it said that women don’t sweat……I will tell you this is a falsehood.  When the weather is as hot as it has been (108º heat index) women no longer glisten; it really is sweat.

As I write this my husband reminded me of my enthusiasm when those seed catalogs arrived in the mailbox back in January and February. As he was throwing wood into the woodstove back then, to keep us warm, I was dreaming of produce and a beautiful organized garden.

Nowhere is those glossy photos of clean abundant produce did I see a drop of sweat on the people holding those gorgeous pumpkins, beans and carrots. (Who are those people and where do they get them from??)  Nowhere did I see earwigs munching on the leaves or rabbits chewing those peas to nubs.  Maybe I should have bought the packages of repellant that were advertised?  You would think I would learn after this many years of gardening!!

I do have to say that once you get the beans picked the next part is actually pretty relaxing as you can sit on the porch and listen to the birds and watch the chickens as you snip beans. You can even enjoy a great cup of tea. Yes I still enjoy a cup of tea even when it is hot. You just have some chocolate mint tea that has a hint of cool to it.

Green Beans

After years of using the hot water bath method for canning my beans I finally purchased my first pressure canner  a few years ago.( My mom still cannot believe that I use a pressure canner and I often hear the story of how Grandma had chicken soup all over the kitchen because the pressure canner blew.) After using the pressure canner these last couple years I would not go back, especially when it comes to beans. I must admit I reread the instruction book every year and do not leave my kitchen while it is in operation.

I also need to admit that when those jars come out of the canner it is very satisfying. Hearing that pinging sound of lids sealing is one of the best sounds around.

It is a great feeling to begin to fill the empty jars from the pantry shelves with produce. I know that by the time that last jar gets filled and on the shelves I will have forgotten the effort it took to get them all there.

My husband just grins when I stand in my pantry and admire all the filled shelves in the fall. My youngest son usually takes a look and comments, “Yup, mom is ready for the apocalypse.”

 

 A sensible person gathers the crops when they are ready;
it is a disgrace to sleep through the time of harvest.
Proverbs 10:5  (GNT)

 

Memories of Bean Walking

Foggy Morning in the Bean Field.JPG

A Hazy Humid Morning in the Bean Field

 

I am starting to believe that my sister and I brought the hot, humid weather back to Iowa from D.C. It is humid and stifling. It is great corn growing weather; but not so much for people comfort weather.

Once again, I am back in the swing of gardening, caring for chickens, walking the soybean field and all the other summer tasks that need to be done. Though I think I will wait for cooler weather for mowing the back yard. It is just too hot and there is zero breeze back there.

While I was gone my husband had started walking beans. For those of you who have no idea what that is…..I will tell you what it isn’t.  It is not putting a teeny tiny leash on a bean and taking it for a walk around the block or section. What it is… usually hot work that involves the oldest tennis shoes you have, a hoe or corn knife, volunteer corn and weeds in the soybean field and muggy Iowa weather.

The sprays of today do help with most of the weeds but my husband hesitates to “over spray” so we end up walking to chop out the ones that escape the spray boom.  We also chop out the volunteer corn that always seems to crop up from last season. I am not sure what these corns are volunteering to do but I wish they would quit!

Walking beans was the foundation of my employment back when I was in high school. Back then we worked for $2.65 an hour. We started at 6:00 in the morning and worked all morning to avoid the heat of the afternoon. We would start down the rows of the soybean fields wearing shorts and t-shirts and by noon be down to our swimsuits. With the dew on the beans running down your legs and pooling in your shoes; you could accumulate a couple inches of mud on the bottom of your tennies. By noon, in the heat, it had dried and fallen off.

Once the morning of hoeing and chopping was done our crew headed back home to peel off dirty clothes, hose off shoes and hang them on the line, sharpen hoes, pack lunches for the next day and head for the local sandpit to swim and cool off.

During my bean walking career I worked for many different farmers. Some of them were real “characters”. I will never forget the one who instructed us to only chop weeds to the top of the hill and not to worry about the weeds beyond the hill.  He figured his neighbors could not see those; so it was not a problem.  This same farmer gave us blank signed checks when we turned in our hours for payment!  We told him the amount he should put on them but he told us to just write it in ourselves. I found out later that he did this to many kids, my husband included. From what I know, the kids who received these checks were always honest and put the correct amount. We would shake our heads, grin and imagine what we could do with all that income had we been dishonest…..

For some reason, walking beans seemed a lot easier back then.  The weather seemed cooler (in my memory only perhaps?).  Maybe it was because of unexpected things that seemed to happen…..things like goats jumping all over the car of a friend who drove that day? Maybe it was the Hostess cream filled cupcakes and susy-q’s?  Maybe it was the incentive of the paycheck at the end? I am not really sure….I just know it seemed easier back then.

I am starting to suspect that age may have something to do with my level of enthusiasm when it comes to walking beans. I know that, now, when my husband and I take a water break our  5 minutes of sitting usually turns into 10 minutes. (I cannot get him convinced that we really need to recuperate longer than that.) I know that we do not start at 6:00 in the morning as we prefer the leaves of the beans to be dry so we can avoid the inch of mud on our shoes and pants dragging and heavy from the dew that has run down them. I know that we quit sooner than noon time and that is okay. Maybe if I purchased some Hostess treats the magic would return?  Nope……pretty sure not.

The rhythm of the hours of our days has definitely changed from when we were younger. The need to get “it” all done in a hurry so we can move on to the next thing has all but disappeared. There is a contentment in seeing progress in the bean field but unless we hear that rain is coming, the urgency to finish in a couple days is gone.

I am kind of loving this phase of our lives…..where time is not hurried but rather used, lived and enjoyed.  Yes, even walking beans in the heat and humidity is looked back on with a smile.  It might be that we are smiling because we are done for the day!  But we are smiling.

 

I don’t know too many kids who ask to weed the garden.
Tom Douglas

Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/t/tomdouglas680441.html?src=t_weed

 

 

 

Sightseeing in D.C.

First View of D.C..JPG

For some reason I am having extreme difficulty gathering my thoughts and energy after this last road trip. I am not sure if sleep deprivation, age, or the heat is to blame. Perhaps it is a mish mash of all of those things put together.

I have a feeling some of the problem comes from seeing so much in such a short space of time. During our time in our nation’s capitol we logged many miles on foot (12 on Thursday according to the Fitbit) and saw so many things that my brain may be slightly on overload.  I spoke with my sister and she was commenting on the same phenomenon.

The Thursday we were there, we were given the opportunity to go sight seeing.  We started out with a bus ride to Arlington National Cemetery. Once there we were able to find the marker of our relative, Julian. We also saw, from afar, families laying their loved ones to rest.

As we walked past the endless white gravestones and memorials we knew that we were indeed on hallowed ground. The sacrifices made by our soldiers and their families were very evident all around us. The sound of the 21 gun salutes and bagpipes drifted over the acres of headstones. It was beautiful in a quiet, sad, haunting way.

Once our bus left Arlington, we were dropped off near the National Mall to do some sight-seeing on our own. My sister and I headed towards the White House as our first stop.  Fortunately another gal on our bus gave us a map so we could find our way around. (We are slightly directionally challenged and I am sure our husbands were amazed that we did not get lost that week! I will admit that our map was kind of in shreds by the end of our trip.)

It was interesting to see all the different people that come to visit this city and also those who make their living here. We encountered tourist, like ourselves, street dancers, water peddlers, food stand vendors and more. It was so neat to be able to talk with them.

The buildings in D.C. are truly amazing.  It always makes me wonder how they did that with the equipment they had at the time.

Once we made it around the White House area we headed for the memorials along the Tidal Basin. We were able to visit the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, see the statue “The Brotherhood”, Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Martin Luther King  Jr. Memorial,  Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument. We were very fortunate to get in on the tail end of some tour groups so we learned a lot of new things about the history of the memorials.

By the time we made it to see Mr. Jefferson I was pooped, hot and my feet hurt.  I sat in the shade and told my sister to go on up and hang out with him awhile and I would be with her shortly.

We strolled our way back to the Smithsonian as that was the assigned meeting place for the bus. Once there, we decided to go in and cool off in the air-conditioned museum. It felt wonderful!

We were able to see a small tidbit of American History. We looked through the pictures and memorabilia of the protests of the 60s that began paving the way for equal rights and desegregation. It was good to see how far we have come but also to acknowledge how far we still need to go.

It would be interesting to ask the founding fathers what they think of this country that they fought so hard for. I wonder if they would be proud, sad, disturbed, happy or a blend of every emotion out there. I also wonder what we will look like in the years to come.

History is a relentless master.
It has no present,
only the past rushing into the future.
To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.
John F. Kennedy

Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_history.html

 

History,
despite its wrenching pain,
cannot be unlived,
but if faced with courage,
need not be lived again.
Maya Angelou

Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_history.html

Meeting Mr. Roosevelt

Spending some time with Mr. Roosevelt.JPG

I just returned in the wee hours of the morning from a road trip with my sister that lasted from July 12-18. Due to the lack of sleep and the very fuzzy feeling of my brain this might be a short, hello I am back from DC post.

While we were there I had the opportunity to visit a lot of memorials with lots of metal and stone statues of former presidents. When my sister posed next to President Roosevelt she informed me that he was “hot”.  When it was my turn for a photo op with him, I found he was indeed hot…..literally. (What happens in DC ….. stays in DC.) The poor man was sitting in the full sun on a 95+ degree day.

I had no idea, a couple weeks ago, that I would be making a trip to Washington DC. My sister asked me to go with her as her husband could not make it. I had two days to decide and then 4 days to prepare.

I talked it over with my husband before deciding and the conversation went something like this:

Me:  So……what do you think? Do I say yes?
Husband: Why would you not?
Me: Well….it is like 6-7 days.  That’s kind of a long time to be gone…..without you….
Husband: Pshhhh  just make sure there is milk and cereal in the house. I can take care of myself. ( He is pretty self-sufficient)
Me: Hmmmmm…..I guess I am going to DC!

Five days later I boarded a bus and spent hours, (did I say hours?) on the road with my sister and a bunch of people I had never met before. I am here to testify that buses taken on long distance trips are not meant for anyone over 20. I think they had contortionist in mind when the seats were designed for people with shorter legs than mine (and I am not tall!)

We did survive and spent 4 amazing days in our nations capitol. I discovered that the people of this country are wonderful, kind people and everyone I met seemed to be colorblind and were so helpful to a couple women from the Midwest.  Our husbands are probably amazed that we did not get lost while we were there. We are slightly directionally challenged.

The highlight of our stay (and there were many) was Saturday. We spent most of the day volunteering, praising and worshipping with thousands and thousands of people at the National Mall. It was an amazing experience to pray and sing with others who love God, others and this country. The Together 2016 Reset event was something that was over too soon.

Together 2016

Note: This photo was not taken by me but posted on the facebook page of Rise Ministries which helped line up the buses that we took to DC.

I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to make this trip with my sister. The people we met, the sites we saw, the feeling of being “together” was awesome.

Don’t let the media fool you……this nation has people that care regardless of race, gender, age, etc. This nation has so much more potential and so much hope and we are indeed “Better Together”.

#Jesus Changes Everything
Together 2016 Reset

 

Pineapple Slush and Shed Raising

Pineapple Slush

We seem to be in the “dog days” of summer around here.  The days that are hot, muggy and generally uncomfortable if you are outside too long.

To prepare for these days I made Pineapple Slush so we would have a cool refreshing treat after a day of working outside. Especially after an afternoon of baling, or hand weeding in the garden or pretty much anything outside.

I haven’t made this recipe in a few years.  I think the last time I made slush was for a “shed raising” at our farm.  A few years back; we decided it was time to put up a machine shed. Instead of just hiring someone, my husband went to a DIY (do it yourself) type store and ordered the materials he would need to put one up.

IMG_5587.JPG

The Materials Have Arrived!

We found someone in our area willing to rent out their  telehandler thing, talked to our daughter in law’s brother (who had worked construction) and set out to build a shed.  As our sons would be around on the 4th of July weekend that year we decided that was the optimum time to get started.

Of course the day they set the poles, July 5,  it was blisteringly hot and muggy…..a fairly typical Iowa summer day in July. I am not sure why we thought the weather would be comfortable at that point?? You would think after living our entire lives in this area we would know how hot it can get.

By the time it was afternoon and time for a much needed lunch break; the guys were ready for something cool and the Pineapple Slush was just the ticket.  The recipe makes an ice cream bucket full plus a little extra.

Pineapple Slush
6 cups water
4 cups white sugar
1- 46 oz. can pineapple juice

2 – 12 oz. cans frozen orange juice
1 – 12 oz.  can frozen lemonade

6 bananas – mashed
Bring water and sugar to a boil.
Chill till cold.
Add remaining ingredients.
Mix  and freeze in a 5 quart pail.
Stir once during freezing.
To serve, put a scoop (or more) in a glass and fill with soda
7-Up, Sprite, Orange soda are all good.

(Palm Breeze is also pretty good in this)
Note:  I usually forget to stir during freezing
and my mashed bananas tend to float to the top.

The shed was a weekend building project….multiple weekends; because everyone had other full-time jobs they needed to be at. Calendars would get checked often as to when was the best weekend to get the most guys to help. It took most of the summer, lots of persistence, buckets of slush, watermelon and a few tubes of aloe vera gel for the sunburnt shoulders …..but the shed did eventually get done.

The guys loved the tele handler and it sure made the job a lot easier and safer.

IMG_5954

I also know that my sons had a good time taking pictures from waaay up when they were in that basket of the tele handler. They all seemed to think owning one of them would be pretty handy.

IMG_5875

Old and New

I am not sure how many hours were spent or how many weekends were taken up with shed building or how much slush was consumed while putting the shed up …. I do know that it was a lot of fun having family and friends around to help out.  We did a lot of work on the shed, a lot of laughing and lots of eating on those weekends. We also really enjoy being able to get pretty much all the farm equipment under cover.

Two people are better off than one,
for they can help each other succeed.
Ecclesiastes 4:9

Monarchs and Milkweeds

Sweet Smelling Bloom

The other day my husband and I were outdoors and noticed a wonderfully sweet, almost lilac, smell drifting past. We were not sure where it came from as none of the trees were flowering anymore. We kept sniffing and wondered if the abundance of clover in our lawn was giving off that really nice smell.

Later in the day we saw the sky getting really blue to the west.  We knew they had forecasted rain for our area and it looked like it was going to be coming. We decided to take a little walk up the road, past the grove so we could check it out. We have very little open view to the west due to the thick old-fashioned grove.

As we walked past the milkweed patch on the edge of the grove, the origin of our sweet smell became clear. We waded through the grass to the patch of milkweed growing there,  and leaned over to take a whiff. Aaaaahhhhh………milkweed was definitely the source.

My husband has let this little patch grow in an effort to help out the local monarch butterflies.  We have noticed that the population seems to be dwindling  these last years and have read that loss of habitat may have something to do with that.  My husband figured that leaving a food source for them couldn’t hurt.

Some people, and farmers included, might think we are a little nuts leaving a weed growing but some weeds are good to leave around. (My sister in law informed us that wealthy people are eccentric and poor people are odd……hmmmmm…..that leaves out eccentric and I wonder where we fit in between there!) We figure the location of our little weed patch is perfect.  It is contained and will not spread anywhere else.

We have been noticing more monarch butterflies float past as we sit outside this year.We aren’t sure if it is due to our milkweed patch but we like to think has made a difference.

As I was taking the pictures for this post a butterfly was flitting around the patch but wouldn’t land. I waited patiently but could not get picture of a plant with a butterfly on it. I have found there is no way to convince a butterfly to land where you want it to; so you can have a great photo op.

My husband does like to hunt; but he does have a soft spot for wildlife. He feeds the birds with birdseed and the squirrels get ears of corn on a stand my youngest made when he was a 4-H member. We do have one squirrel who persists in peeling the kernals off the cob and then burying them in the ground for future meals. We now have corn growing here and there in the lawn. It could be it is his own little garden.

Thistles.JPG

We have also left a few thistles along a fence line and have noticed the goldfinches absolutely love them, as do the butterflies. I have a feeling that our place will never make it into the magazines of perfectly manicured lawns and landscaping but the wildlife seems to enjoy coming to visit.

“When life is not coming up roses
Look to the weeds
and find the beauty hidden within them.”
L.F.Young

“The woman loved everything that grew on God’s earth,
even weeds.
She knew that even the weeds
were capable of doing miracles she never could.”

Emily Flim