Pre-Winter Preparations

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In the midst of an irksome election season, there is joy to be found in the regular seasonal tasks that need to be done on a farm….. at least on our farm.  The past days have been perfect for catching up and getting the pre-winter things done.

My husband and I have planted raspberry bushes (thanks to a friend who was getting rid of her bushes). We have cut and stacked more fire wood to use for the woodstove this winter. The   garage door installation has been finished! (Yay for us!!). And today was spent in putting away gravity flow wagons and harvest equipment and cleaning my chicken coop.

Putting away the equipment sounds like a small matter of just parking the wagons in the shed and good to go…….not so.  My husband has a very particular way he parks his equipment in the machine shed.  The space is limited so it is like putting a gigantic puzzle together, using a tractor to put the pieces in place.

Wagons are parked with only inches to spare between them. The planter is placed “just so”….that way the baler can fit in the space between the planter tongue and the gravity flows. I love jigsaw puzzles, but this is like a puzzle on steroids!

When we finally had the equipment parked to the proper specifications, it was time to move on to one of my seasonal tasks…….chicken coop cleaning!  It is an incredibly dusty job; but I love how the finished product looks and smells. The eggs look so nice nestled in the clean pine shavings that get put in the nesting boxes.


To clean the coop one of the first things that we need to do is remove the chicken roost. My husband made an amazing roost for the girls a few years ago.  It is the perfect size and easy for us to remove for cleaning.

Once the roost is out, my job is to scoop the old bedding and chicken manure onto my wheelbarrow.  This is where the dusty part comes in. The old bedding is dry and the dust fluffs up everywhere as you scoop it up. My husband then spreads it on the garden as fertilizer.  This is a definite win-win for the girls and the garden.

The fun part is putting in the bags of new bedding.  Once it is all spread over the floor; the pine shavings look so fluffy and clean and smell even better.  It doesn’t even smell like chickens!

The girls are never very impressed when we do this cleaning job. I am never sure if they think we are throwing out something valuable or if they just do not like change. I can understand their fear of change.

Change can be hard. Sometimes it is easier to stay exactly where and how we are….even if it is like my girl’s dirty chicken coop. Even when life is less than perfect, there is a comfort in the old familiar places. They are places we know and are our “normal”.

If you are like me, you tend to drag your feet when God has something different planned for you. You know, that to make that change; it might involve a lot of heavy lifting, dust and scooping out of the old “stuff”. You also know that His is a much better plan than you can imagine and that in the long run you will be grateful for what He has done.

I am reminded of this fact when I clean the coop.  When I see how great it looks and smells when we are done; I am reminded that when God makes changes in my life….it is good and I am blessed.  I wonder why this is a lesson I seem to have to relearn over and over again….and then learn again…..


Don’t worry about anything; instead,
pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.
Philippians 4:6-8 (NLT)



Tranquility and Grace Moments


A Grace Moment ~ October 31,2016

I have been wanting to blog about this picture ever since I took it. To be quite honest I was overjoyed when I took a look at the Daily Post Prompt and saw the word “Chaos”.  I thought what a perfect time to use this photo… is the total opposite of chaos and to me speaks tranquility. I was going to showcase what chaos is not.

Then I took another look at the Daily Post and realized my mistake…..chaos was the prompt for the picture challenge.  The word prompt for today was “Base“.  I really wondered how I would work that word into this post but……look at that……I just did! I am so glad I got that out of the way.

This last week I have been helping out at our high school.  One of the cooks had to be gone  and I have been filling in for her. (she is on vacation and technically, that is kind of like having to be gone!) Going to this job means getting up on time and seeing the sun rise. I do have to admit that at this time of year you really do not have to get up that early to see the sun come up.  The daylight hours are starting to get so short.

On that early morning I went outside to let the girls out(my chickens for those of you visiting this site for the first time) the sun was just starting to paint the eastern sky in narrow ribbons of pink.  There was a low-lying fog hanging in the river bottom and it had rolled into the corn field. The utter stillness of it stopped me in my tracks.

There was not a breath of wind and the haze just hung there waiting for the sun to chase it away. The world was silent other than the sound of moisture dripping off the rooftops. The air was heavy with the fog and muted any sound that dared intrude.

It was hard to tell where the sky ended and the earth started. The horizon blended in blues, pinks and swirls of mist.  It was such a moment of quiet beauty that it made me want to hold my breath for fear of disturbing it.

It was a grace moment….it was a gratitude moment. In that hushed time it felt like God had gifted me with a moment in time to just “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). It was that moment between night and day, between heartbeats, where time seems to stop and the world is able to take a deep breath in, breathe a prayer out and just be.

These are the moments to cherish.  These are the moments to remember; when the world seems in chaos around you.  These are the moments to base your hope on. The hope that life is still good, even if it does not seem to be at this point in time. These are the moments that are God’s gift to humanity……and I am grateful.

May you be gifted with a grace moment this weekend.

Grace is available for each of us every day
-our spiritual daily bread
– but we’ve got to remember to ask for it with a grateful heart
and not worry about whether there will be enough for tomorrow.

 Sarah Ban Breathnach quotes

Potting Plants and Sorting Potatoes

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Potato Sorting Time


Fall is a funny type of season.  It seems to be made up of the concept, “hurry up and wait”.  The rainy gray days are the wait days.  Harvest progress grinds to a halt as the fields become too damp to be in them and the crop gets too tough to run through a combine.

Today turned out to be a beautiful sunny day……a hurry up day. My husband hurried to haul wagon loads of corn to the elevator in town. He hurried to make sure there were empty wagons waiting for the neighbor who combines our corn. The trip to town is 20 miles round trip and driving time alone takes a bit of time. He has a lot of time to ponder life during those miles. Though, by the time the day is done, he tells me he is sick of driving the same 10 mile stretch…….and I believe him!

This afternoon I decided I had better hurry and get some seasonal chores taken care of. The potatoes that had been dug out last week had dried nicely and it was time to sort through them. Some looked like they had been bludgeoned with the pitchfork rather than dug up with that pitchfork (Perhaps we should invest in an actual potato fork?).  Those potatoes had stab holes and were missing pieces.  They got stored in a separate pail to be used quickly before they go bad.

The rest of the potatoes were sorted by size and bagged in burlap sacks. It will be a wonderful thing this winter when the snow is flying and I can just go to the basement to get some potatoes for a meal.

It was also time to dig some of the more tender plants out of the ground and put them into pots. The gerber daisies are not a perennial around here and need to be potted up and put indoors so they can survive, bloom and be enjoyed next summer. I had, had them covered up the last weeks due to nights of frost. I was surprised to see one was still blooming cheerfully under it’s blanket. It was a really nice leftover piece of summer.


There were also calla lilies bulbs and star of hope bulbs that needed to be dug up. After raking the leaves off them I discovered the ground was really damp. This was not going to be a tidy task today.  (It will definitely be time to haul out the fingernail scrubber.)

I took the large geranium pots out of the garage, where they had been stored so they would not freeze. They had gotten pretty gangly while in there and definitely needed a “haircut”. After potting plants, cutting plants and cleaning dirt off of bulbs I loaded all the pots of flowers into the trunk of my car. It was very satisfying to check these items off the seasonal to-do list I have tucked away in the back of my brain.

I am very fortunate that my folks have a plumbing shop in town with huge south facing windows.  My dad has benches that are perfect for potted plants. It is a treat to drive past the shop in the wintertime and see the bright splash of blooming flowers in those windows. I am at a loss as to what I will do with my plants, in the winter, once dad decides to sell that shop!

All these tasks are a part of the changing seasons and the visible sign of passing time. I am finding that the older I get, these tasks take me longer than they used to…..and I am okay with that.

I find I also cherish these things more than I used to. Maybe that is why it is okay that it all takes me longer….It gives me more time to cherish life. When I am digging up bulbs and potting plants it reminds me that though this season of growth is done and the cold winter is coming, God is faithful and Spring will arrive again at the appointed time.

There is a promise in the bulbs that are stored for the winter and the plants that are moved indoors….the promise of life, of renewal, of hope. Perhaps that is why I love flowers so much…they speak of faithfulness and perseverance. They speak without using words, but they speak. They tell me God loves us, not because we have earned it. They tell me He loves us just because He does and that no matter how cold and wintry it gets….Spring will come again.

“God does not love us because we are valuable.
We are valuable because God loves us.”

Fulton Sheen

And why take ye thought for raiment?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;
they toil not, neither do they spin.
Matthew 6:28