Another Crafting Day

 

20171026_143601.jpg

This past week was another busy one.  Some things made for busyness because of the time of year. Things like daisies needing to be dug out, due to night temperatures dipping below freezing to hauling the pie pumpkins into the house from their place on the porch.

Other things, were fun things that were added in. One of those things was a crafting day with friends. This time around we decided to try decorating bottles for the Christmas holiday.

To prepare for this we collected quart mason canning jars, wine bottles, garage sale decorations, ribbon, spray paint, sparkly letters and of course glitter. It is amazing to me how many empty wine bottles people have! I am not sure if that is bad or good….having so many empty wine bottles.

We decided to hold this crafting effort at one of the friend’s lake house.  The plan had been to spend the night but the weather forecast for the following day was “iffy” at best. The four-letter Snow word was tossed about as well as the Ice word. We decided to believe the weatherman and cut it short to one day.

The day dawned grey, cold and windy……really windy. The view from the lake house patio door was white caps on the lake.

20171026_141405.jpg

Coots Riding the Waves

Before we ever got to crafting we had to make a pit stop at the Hobby Lobby in a town nearby. We weren’t even sure what we were really looking for but spent lots of time in the Christmas decoration parts of the store.

It was fun seeing what we all chose to put in our cart at Hobby Lobby. It was also fun to see how we used all those purchases.

Arbor Mist bottle

An Arbor Mist bottle started this project. We used Rustoleum gold paint for the base and then dusted it lightly with a metallic glittery spray paint. (not sure what kind as one of the friends brought that). The tree farm picture on the front was from a tablet of Christmas paper by Paper Studio. (purchased at Hobby Lobby and no…..I do not get anything out of letting you know which products were used or where purchased. I just thought it would be nice for you to know).

We used Mod Podge to glue it to the bottle and rubber bands to keep it stuck there till it dried. We then garnished with second hand shop finds of raffia and berries. I think I will be tweaking mine a little more as I prefer some greenery to use with it.

We spray painted quite a few bottles and it will be interesting to see how we each actually finish them.

20171026_165530.jpg

It was so much fun to spend the day with friends. It is such a blessing to have friends that know exactly who you are and like to spend time with you anyway. It is something to be truly grateful for. I am also full of gratitude for the fact that we actually were able to figure out how to use the timer on my phone to get a photo of us! That is truly amazing!

20171026_170921.jpg

I hope you have someone to call “friend” …..someone who cares how you feel…..someone who laughs with you, cries with you, prays with you, gives you a hug when you need it and who also isn’t afraid to tell you what you need to hear. Those are the best kind of friends and I am blessed.

True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils.
Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island…
to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune;
to keep him is a blessing.
Unknown

 

 

Identity in Photos

20171021_110206.jpg

This past week I was challenged on Facebook to do a Black and White Photo Challenge. The hard part of that challenge was to use only photos to show who I was…my identity.  I wasn’t allowed to use any words….any explanations….any photos of people… to tell the story of my life. It really was a challenge!

I thought I didn’t do too badly….except I could not find a way to include my family. The challenge made me realize that as people, we really have many facets to our lives. Our lives are intricate linkings of so many things….people, places, things, ideas, beliefs etc.

I am going to share with you some of the photos that I posted. If you are a regular reader, a couple of the photos might be familiar to you. They might look slightly different because I changed them from color, to black and white.

The photo up top is pretty self-explanatory….blogging and tea are a part of my life that I thoroughly enjoy. I have never made a dime from it and more than likely never will, but I have met so many wonderful people through blogging. There are so many of you that I would love to sit on the porch and share a cup of tea/coffee with.

20171023_164455~2.jpg

The Girls and Their Home

I thought I should definitely include a photo of my chicken coop, complete with a couple of the girls. (This is one of the photos that may be familiar!) If I am the Chicken Grandma I guess it stands to reason; chickens are a part of my life. I have learned many lessons from the chickens I have known and cared for. I have a feeling they have many more lessons to teach me.

IMG_20171025_223223_576.jpg

Another facet of my life would be my participation in using essential oils and other products from Young Living. I have found them to be useful to me in so many ways. I love to help others learn about them and love using products that contain natural ingredients rather than a lot of man made chemicals. I have been fortunate to meet many great people this way also.

20171023_201531~2.jpg

Solid Ground For Me

My faith is a big part of my life and this year I am participating in a Bible study of the Fruit of the Spirit through Coffee Break Bible Studies. This is my first year with this group and I am finding it to be a great experience.  Once again….so many good people!

The next two pictures were, for me, ways that show life with my husband. My husband loves the thought of being self-sufficient. He loves large gardens, living off the land and burning wood in our wood stove. I love this picture for that very reason.

I also love the texture and the roundness of those logs. Knowing they will make my house nice and warm this coming winter is a great thing too!

20171013_114236~2.jpg

This man that I married 37 years ago was born a farm boy and remains very much a farm guy. The first 6 months of our married life we lived in a very small town. He could not wait to move out to the farm where he didn’t see anyone when he stepped out the front door.

IMG_20171026_193923_025.jpg

The M Farmall is the second tractor we ever owned. Every so often my husband wonders if he should sell it, but then decides it isn’t worth that much money, so he may as well hang on to it. I am always glad he decides to keep it as I am a little sentimental about that old tractor.

When I look at those pictures I realize they portray only a small part of my life. There are so many things I did not get included. Not being able to include photos of family, friends and loved ones leaves a huge hole in the fabric of life.

I realized that objects cannot replace relationships and never will. I also know that one can not really share their entire life in the space that a few photos take…..it takes a lifetime to share a life.  It takes a lifetime to know someone and to be known.

Have a blessed weekend. Take the time to build those relationships…the ones that last and stand the test of time. Those relationships are a wonderful gift and blessing.

 

“Through others we become ourselves.” 
― Lev S. Vygotsky

 

The whole point is to live life and be –
to use all the colors in the crayon box.
RuPaul

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/rupaul818076.html?src=t_live_life

 

 

 

Chicken Coops and Change

20171023_164455.jpg

These last few weeks have seemed to be speeding by. I am pretty sure it isn’t because we are getting older and moving slower.  (It might be, but I am not going to admit to that!) I think it is just the time of year; when time is growing short, to get outside things done.

We seem to be busy from morning light to the sun going down. We have been spending time by my brother-in-law cutting downed ash trees to be used to help heat our home this winter.

We have also been spending time harvesting soybeans, cleaning up the remaining things in the garden, working on our closet (when it rains…and yay…it is finished!), and just generally getting things ready for the winter season.

Yesterday, time was spent prepping the chicken coop for the winter season. The nesting boxes were cleaned out. We scooped up the old bedding from the floor and used my trusty wheelbarrow to transport it to the garden for fertilizer for the next summer crop. Actually my husband is the fertilizer transporter….he has wonderful technique in spreading it in a nice layer over the garden.

During the hot summer months my husband changes out a glass window for a screen window so the girls get a little breeze during those balmy days. Now that those days are gone, he switched the window back to the glass one. I couldn’t believe how much difference it made when I went to lock them in at night.

The coop cleaning is something that is done twice a year….spring and fall. I have come to expect this to happen sometime between  soybean harvest and corn harvest. I try to be prepared for that day when my husband comes in and announces that today is the day for coop cleaning.

20171023_164432.jpg

It is wonderful to go into the chicken coop those first days after it has been cleaned. Everything smells to pine or cedar shavings. The bedding on the floor is clean and dry and the nesting boxes look so inviting.

I don’t know if the girls really appreciate it or not….but I know that I do! I know they kick up a fuss while we are cleaning their home.  They come in and inspect…… often, voicing their opinions with loud clucking and fussing.

Watching them kick up a fuss I started to wonder if we kick up the same fuss when things get cleaned out in our lives? Do we wander about protesting loudly about the changes that are happening? Do we fuss and squawk about it, when in reality, our lives will be so much better when it is finished?

Are we reluctant to release the old way of life for a better one? Or do we firmly dig in our heels and make change more difficult than it needs to be? I know that I, for one, find change is sometimes hard. I like the familiar even if it is not the best for me. Like my girls…..I don’t like the unknown that change can hold.

One of my favorite songs about how hard change can be; is sung by Sara Groves……”Painting Pictures of Egypt.” When I hear that song I realize I am not so different from the Israelites in the wilderness.

Hopefully we learn to not fear the “cleaning” that our lives sometimes need. Hopefully we learn to accept those changes with grace and a curiosity about what life holds next. May we see the blessing in the changes. May we look forward to the future and be grateful for the past.

 

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” 
― Corrie ten Boom

 

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

 

 

 

 

Finding The Treasure

IMG_20171020_193706_419.jpg

This is the season that is spent on harvesting. Soybean fields and soon corn fields will have seen the combine come and harvest all that precious grain. I realized that I was also finishing up my harvesting….on a much smaller scale.

I had one last bucket of apples that needed to be turned into apple pie filling. I also had a bucket of apple peels and cores that had to be made into apple juice. After those first jars of rosy juice stood “pinging” on my counter top I could not resist taking a photo of them.  They were so pretty and they positively glowed!

My grandchildren have discovered that this Chicken Grandma has jars….many jars of apple juice. They love to help me go get a jar from the pantry when they are here for a visit. Most meals, when they are visiting, seem to include at least one jar of juice.

I also spent time finishing up in the garden picking the last of the produce. Fortunately, pumpkins and squash, are hardy enough to take a hard freeze so there was no rush to get them out earlier.

The other day I wheeled my trusty wheelbarrow to the garden and picked what was left of the produce.

IMG_4824 Harvest From the Garden

My husband kind of chuckles about my wheelbarrow.  I will admit, she is not a beauty and has probably seen better days but she has been a loyal, trusty helper these last years. I have found that it is much easier to move things around with her help than trying it without her!

My wheelbarrow really doesn’t owe me a thing.  I got her free at an auction. The auctioneer failed to sell her and I spoke with the owner after the sale about what he would charge for it…..he told me to go ahead and take it home!

The corners in the front have cracks and when I have her loaded with pumpkins and squash….she makes a strange hawonka…hawonka noise as I make my way over the uneven lawn. (I will never be able to sneak up on anyone or anything while pushing that wheelbarrow!)

Earlier I expressed the thought that she is no beauty….I may have been a bit hasty with that comment. She is rusty, she makes strange noises and once in awhile her wheel wobbles around a bit…..but in a strange way, my wheelbarrow is beautiful!

Maybe my wheelbarrow is a lesson for me.  Maybe I need to look closer at things and people in my life. I know there are times I tend to look only at what is on the surface. I need to take a closer look at what lies underneath.

I have a feeling I may be surprised at what I find. Maybe I will find that instead of a bucket of peels and cores, what most of us would consider junk….I will find instead glowing rosy bottles of juice. Maybe I will discover that beneath the rust, wobbly wheels and strange noises is a wonderful beautiful treasure.

May you have a wonderful weekend of discovery. May you, and me, look beneath the surface at what really matters. May we be blessed and may we be a blessing.

 

Everything has beauty,
but not everyone sees it.
Confucius

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/confucius104254.html

 

Harvest….Looking Through The Window

20171017_143206.jpg

Combining Beans~Looking Through The Window

The weather has been beautiful these last couple of days. Instead of rain and gloom we have been blessed with sun and warmer temperatures. It is perfect weather for looking through the window and watching the harvest come in.

We have a neighbor who does our combining for us and so we have to wait our turn. It is not always easy to do…the being patient thing….when the fields are ready and waiting. My husband tends to spend time preparing for the combine to make it’s way to our fields.

The gravity flow wagons need to come out of the shed, have their tires checked, get lined up two by two (kind of like going into the ark), and the tractor fueled up.

IMG_4819 Waiting to be Filled

Waiting To Be Filled~The Girls Enjoying The Shade

It is an exciting time…..the harvest time. It is a time you get to reap the benefits of the hard work put in during the spring and summer. It is a time to see the profits from the risk that was taken when purchasing seed, planting seed and waiting for the weather to do; what it needs to do, so those seeds will grow and produce.

Harvest is a time of long days, late nights and prayers for the safety of those gathering that harvest and bringing it to the elevator in town and for those that they will meet on the road. It is a time of crisp nights, sun-warmed days and the smell of falling leaves.

For some reason, harvest season brings beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The colors are vibrant and glorious. Perhaps it is an added bonus for the hard work of the past season and the long hours still to come.

I am wondering if, perhaps, those sunrises and sunsets are a promise? Perhaps it is the promise of “enough”. Could it be a promise that “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion…” (2 Corinthians 9:11a) I really like that promise….that we are blessed so we can give and be a blessing in return!

Maybe those sunrises are intended to draw us out of our comfortable homes, to quit just looking through the window and to get out and experience harvest time. It is good to look out the window and enjoy the scenery…but it is oh, so much better to get out there and really experience the season.

It is good to feel the warmth of the sun. It is wonderful to smell the dust that swirls as the combine passes through the fields. There is a contentment in hearing the drone of tractors in distant fields and there is a satisfaction in seeing stubble where beans once stood waving in the breeze.

Maybe that is the lesson for all of life….maybe it is time to quit looking through the window and get out there and live. Maybe we need to smell, feel, see, and hear life to really appreciate how wonderful it is. Maybe in the wonder of life, we can be a blessing to those around us.

Take the time this season to live life to the full….to see the beauty that is autumn….and to enjoy your time in that beautiful season.

 

“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting 
and autumn a mosaic of them all.”
–   Stanley Horowitz

 

Warmed Twice

20171013_114236.jpg

We seem to be running behind this season. The harvest is running late due to rain….the grandson came two weeks after his due date and we are cutting wood for the winter season way later than is normal for us.

Usually we try to have wood cutting done in the spring so we can just check that off our list of things to do. This year, due to surgeries, that did not happen. By the time we had both recovered from those surgeries we were full tilt into summer stuff to do.

Things like lawn mowing, gardening, weeding, lawn mowing, walking beans, lawn mowing etc. just seemed to need doing more than wood needed cutting. We are now at that point in time where we can no longer put it off.

We are in that season where the weather can change from one day to the next….sunny one day and snowing the next. We have had our first hard freeze so we know it will really not be long before we do hit the winter season.

We have also had several cold rainy days where we were scrounging around for wood to put in the wood stove to take the chill out of the house. The last couple days we have had a break in the rain so it became time to go cut wood.

20171013_114252.jpg

Wood cutting was chilly and wet this morning and I was feeling a little cold and miserable. My husband had to remind me that heating your house with wood warms you twice. I think he is right because as you are cutting and hauling wood it warms you and once you put it in the wood stove and light it up, you are warmed once again.

I must say that there is something wonderful about seeing that fire in the stove and feeling the warmth it produces. I am quite sure, by the end of the heating season, I will not feel quite the same way. I will be sick of sweeping up bits of twigs, bark and ashes. I will be ready for the warmth of spring and summer.

After re-reading that last paragraph I am beginning to see why time goes faster the older I get. It seems I am wishing my seasons away. That might be a lesson for me to slow down and just enjoy the season I am presently in.

Even though there are uncomfortable parts of those seasons, I guess I should really relish the good parts. There are exceptional parts to each season and I may have to stop and look for those parts.

Changing seasons are so much like life. Good and bad all rolled into one.  The choice is to decide what we are going to focus on…the good or the bad.

I think I will choose to enjoy the damp mornings that smell of fallen leaves melting into the grass….mornings cloaked in that peculiar stillness that is the season of autumn.

My choice will be to stand, at night, on my porch and listen to the sound of the combines in the fields and dryers running to dry corn in the bins.

It will be a good thing to see the fog roll up from the river on a frosty morning and hear the lonesome sound of geese as they fly….following instincts that take them to warmer places for the winter.

I will choose to delight in the cool nights where I can sit by the warm wood stove and drink my tea. I will try to remember the joy of being “warmed twice”……and I will close my eyes, sip my tea, and be grateful.

“One can enjoy a wood fire worthily
only when he warms his thoughts by it as well as his hands and feet.”
Odell Shepherd

 

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: All Things Farm Related

IMG_3407 (2) Home for the Girls

The Chicken Coop ~Because I am the Chicken Grandma!

I thought I would try something different today…..a photo challenge with black and white photos.  To be honest I have no idea if I am doing this correctly or not. I really have no idea what I am doing…this isn’t the first time in my life I have felt this way and I am fairly sure it will not be the last!!

The topic: All Things Farm Related was perfect for me. I dug around in my old photos, looking for ones that I have not posted on the blog yet. I then tried my hand at changing them to black and whites. Hopefully I meet the criteria for the challenge! Some of them still seem to have a slight colored hue to them …… so who knows…..

The first picture is home to my girls…the chicken coop. It only seemed fitting to post that one as I am the Chicken Grandma to a lot of you and to my grand-kids…and you know I am a pushover for those grand-kids.

IMG_3701 The Old and New (2)

The Old and The New

Barns, for me, are the heart of a farmyard. I love seeing the old barn….but then, I love old wooden barns. I believe that there is something magical about those structures with their big haymows full of fragrant hay, grass and straw bales. Seeing it standing next to the new metal shed makes her seem like the matriarch of the farmyard.

IMG_3210 (2) Spring Fieldwork

Preparing the Soil

Spring field work is such an act of faith on our small farm.  My husband purchases those spendy bags of seed in the winter, prepares the ground, plants those seeds and then prays for rain. Sometimes the rains come in a timely manner and sometimes they don’t.

Sometimes living is plentiful and sometimes a little tight…but we have never gone to bed hungry and never had to walk out the door naked for lack of clothing…(and the world can be grateful for that!!) We are indeed blessed.

IMG_3691 (2) The Summer Kitchen

The Summer Kitchen/Gardening Shed

In the corner of my backyard is the old summer kitchen. It used to be in the middle of our farmyard and was kind of in the way so we relocated it. It has now been re-purposed as my garden shed. It is filled with clay flowerpots, gardening tools, chicken equipment and odds and ends.

It needs repair and I have lots of plans for this little shed. It will take my husband to do most of it so I am learning to be patient….I am not always so good at that! At this point in time, pigeons have been raising their young in it. I am quite sure they are very grateful that we are not too speedy.

IMG_0869 The Quiet of Winter Fields

Fields Sleeping Under a Blanket of Snow

I thought I would finish with a photo of our view towards the river in the wintertime.
Life slows down on the farm in the winter….If you don’t have lots of livestock to tend. It is a wonderful time to huddle next to the woodstove with a cup of hot chocolate in hand. It is also a wonderful time for dreaming of the coming planting season.

In it’s own way it is a season of hope. Hope for the coming Spring …hope for another good year…hope, just because hope is what farming is all about.

 

“There are only two reasons to farm:
because you have to, and because you love to.
The ones who choose to farm
choose for love.” 

― Wendell Berry

The land yields its harvest;
God, our God, blesses us. 

Psalms 67:6
NIV

 

 

Cee's Black & White Challenge Badge