Harvest….Looking Through The Window

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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

 

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Warmed Twice

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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.

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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

 

 

Letter To My Grandkids

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This week my husband and I had a wonderful week.  We celebrated our anniversary (see previous post) and also celebrated the birth of a new grandson. It was a great anniversary gift!

Normally my husband would be in the field at this time of year combining and hauling soybeans to town. Due to the the very rainy weather, we were able to take off a couple days and go meet the newest member of the family.

It is an amazing fact that a new baby can literally hold your heart in their tiny hand. I am not sure how that works…..I just know it is true.

As I worked on mudding and taping in my closet (also see previous post) I had time to think about that little boy. My mind also wandered to our other two grandkids in another city. There are so many hopes, dreams and prayers wrapped around those three little ones. This grandma’s heart is full.

My mind wandered to what I would say to them in the future and I thought a letter might be the way to go:

Dear Grandkids…..yes, you wee ones who hold my heart in your little hands. I want you to know how very much this grandma (and your grandpa love you.) I am not sure you will understand that until you are parents and grandparents yourself. (I know your grandpa loves you because he even helped change your diaper! And yes it did take two grown men to do that task.)

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I cannot deny that you three are probably the smartest and cutest children that God ever placed on this earth. I am quite sure every grandma would say this of her grand-kids….and she would be telling the truth!

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My prayer for you three is that you grow strong physically, emotionally and spiritually. May you be honest, compassionate and willing to help those around you. 

There might be those who try bully you; but I will tell you what your great grandpa told me…..”Kill them with kindness.” He also told me that “smiles are free, money doesn’t grow on trees and hard work never killed anyone.” I think he learned those things from experience and they are good things to know and a good way to live. (He told me lots of other things-like good pranks to pull- but that might have to wait till you are older or you will get in trouble at school!)

Never be afraid to live life fully. Living is different than just surviving…..make sure to live and not just survive. When all else fails…take a deep breath and keep going.

Don’t be afraid to love and help someone. It is a risky and messy thing to love someone because no one is perfect (and…..surprise!!!…..that includes me and you!)

I pray you love the Lord and have a close relationship with Christ. He will never fail you……others might and probably will, but God’s always got your back. Remember to have fun….remember to laugh everyday. It makes the good things better and the hard things easier. 

There are so many things I would tell you…..so many things I would want to warn you to be careful of. I would love to shield you from all the hurts in life…..but I can’t. Don’t let those hurts make you bitter….let them make you better.

Life is an adventure. Make sure you explore, learn and keep your eyes open to the amazing things around you. People are amazing, nature is amazing and life is full of possibilities.

Life isn’t always easy and it is not always fair. I used to tell your dads that when stuff happened. They learned that phrase and later gave me those same words back when I needed to hear them.

I remember the mistakes I made as a mom. There are so many things I would do over but I can’t turn back time….Now as a grandma I have a second chance…..you, my grandchildren, are my do-over. That thought brings a big smile to my face! It is a blessing and a gift.

I want you to know that no matter where you go or what you do in this world you will always be loved, I will always be your biggest cheerleader and my door will always be open. (If you mess up…..I will tell you….because I love you!)

May you be happy, may you be healthy and may you always know that you are loved.

~All my love……Grandma


13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:13-16

“You is kind. You is smart.
You is important.”

― Kathryn StockettThe Help

A Day at a Time

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Birthday Box

I woke up yesterday to the fact that I had reached a milestone day…..I hit the big six zero on the birthday scale. I rolled over and asked my husband how in the world that had happened.  His dry response….”One day at a time”.

He hit that exactly right. Every day just brings us that much closer to the next milestone birthday. I don’t really have a problem hitting those milestones…I just have a problem realizing that I have hit them. I have often told my children that my plan is to get old but just not grow up…..they assure me I am doing fine on that goal.

My sister-in-law sent me a box of goodies from Missouri. Her card made me laugh as it featured two older ladies. I love the fact those ladies are laughing there heads off and enjoying life. The box contained chocolate, teas and candles with the letters spelling Older & Wiser. I am sure I am older I am just not sure on the wiser part!

My sister-in-law and I, have long called each other Milly and Tilly. Years ago we each knew women in their 90’s who were such an inspiration to us. The woman she knew was named Milly and the woman I knew was Tilly. We decided that when we “grew up” we wanted to be just like them.

Those women were fearless in their old age. They learned how to use computers, took the stairs instead of elevators and lived life. They just never gave up enjoying day to day life and kept moving as long as they could.

I am not sure if I spent my birthday in “Tilly fashion” or not. I don’t know that I really got a whole lot done. It was spent in a wonderful way. The day started with going to Coffee Break Bible study in a town nearby. This is my first experience with Coffee Break and I can tell I am going to love it.

After Bible study I ran errands in town and then headed on to the next town to meet a friend. Our plan had been to dig out some perennials that she wanted thinned out. We never made it out of the Fruited Plain where we met for lunch…… we were too focused on visiting and catching up. (I would highly recommend the Fruited Plain and their flatbread….mmmmmm).

I should back up and mention that she met me at the door with a birthday cupcake! It was beautiful. I tried to get a photo of it through its cellophane container.

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Birthday Cupcake

It was beautiful until it fell sideways and smashed the flowers!  Fortunately smashed flowers did not affect the wonderful taste!

It was not exactly a day of pampering but it was pretty close to it. Any day spent with friends in Bible study and/or lunch is pampering in my book. I did not feel the least bit guilty that canning did not get done, grass did not get mowed and the house did not get cleaned. I knew all those things would not disappear and would be waiting for me today.

I came to the conclusion that it was the perfect way to spend a birthday. Bible study was a great way to start it off, lunch with a friend, sharing chocolates out of my birthday box with my husband and a bowl of ice cream with peaches to cap it off.

Life can be a little like my cupcake. We start out fresh and looking pretty good. After a time we get a little smushed up from events and don’t look quite like we started out. The good news is……no matter how smashed our frosting is…..we are still a cupcake and we are still good!

If the weekend finds you feeling a little mashed by life…..may you realize you are still okay……..even if your frosting has taken a different form. Blessings to you all this coming weekend!

And so encourage one another and help one another,
just as you are now doing.
(1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Star Of Hope

 

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Autumn steals in softly
on gentle winds that blow.
The smell of earth around us
with golden fields that glow.

The cries of birds are silent
their songs no longer heard.
They’ve all flown to distant lands
by warmer weather lured.

The trees in all their splendor
have traded leaves of green.
For hues of yellow,orange and rust
and in the breeze they preen.

The flowers are slowly fading
giving up the fight
Except the blazing Star of Hope
Dancing in the night.
Faye K.

I only know this flower by the name my aunt has told me…the Star of Hope. I am quite sure it is of the allium family but I have not been able to google what kind it actually is. It is a bulb that I plant in the spring and dig back out in the fall. It seems to take forever to break through the soil.

About the time you give up on it showing up….there it is!  It grows rapidly to about 4 – 5 feet tall. It is a pretty forgiving bulb. I have forgotten it in my basement for half a summer and then stuck it in the ground. It never fails to grow and bloom…no matter when or where it is planted.

When I went to get a photo of this flower I had to hold the stem because it seemed to want to keep moving in the breeze. (I had to use my phone because I shelled out my other camera lens on vacation). I love the layers of this flower….the waxy white petals, the stamens surrounding the center and the multiple stems that hold all those beautiful blooms.

I would hope to be like that bulb….forgiving and blooming no matter where and when I have been placed. It would be good to be faithful and show up no matter what. I would hope to bring as much joy to those around me; as seeing that tall graceful stem brings to me.

May you bloom no matter where you are.  May hope find you in the place you have been planted. May you bring joy and blessing to others…and may you dance in the night.

God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone,
but also on trees,
and in the flowers and clouds and stars.

Martin Luther

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/martinluth140721.html?src=t_flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change of Seasons

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The calendar tells me it is the first day of fall……the temperature tells me we are stuck in the middle of summer!  We had temperatures in the 90’s today with humidity that literally sucked the energy right out of your body. I am in full agreement with whoever came up with the phrase, “It’s not the heat….it’s the humidity.”

It is easy to tell that we are in the middle of September when you look at the trees. When my husband and I were sitting on the porch yesterday we felt like we were being rained on….by locust leaves. The little yellow leaves just kept floating down onto the porch, the ground and it didn’t take long and we would have a leaf landing on us.

If you listen closely you can hear the rustle of dry leaves from the trees in the gully and from the corn and soybeans in the field. It is a sound distinctive to fall.

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About the only green thing around here would be the weeds and the lawn. It is hard to imagine that just a few weeks ago our lawn was brown and crispy. I was sure it was dead and that we were done mowing for the season….and then it started to rain.

I must confess I do like to see the green again. I am not quite ready to give up summer for what I know will be the cold of winter. We did end up mowing again this week.

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I told my husband that when you can rake windrows in your lawn after mowing, it was high time to mow it! I spent some time gathering up the dry grass to feed to the chickens later this year…when the lawn is actually dead. They love to feast on the fine blades of grass and it will be a wonderful treat when snow is on the ground.

It seems this time of year is spent preparing for the coming winter. Waterways get baled, grass gets stored for chicken feed, garden produce is put up and preserved for future meals, and soon we will hear the sound of combines in the fields and corn dryers running.

It seems like a frantic pace during this season. Perhaps it is because we know time is getting short to get all those tasks done.  It sometimes feels like there are not enough hours in a day…but I am glad when night comes because I am tired!

It has been so busy lately that we didn’t really notice exactly when the birds all disappeared. One morning we were sitting outdoors and noticed how quiet it was. No longer were the swallows swooping about snatching bugs from midair. The robin nests were empty and there wasn’t a wren to be heard.

The birds, or lack of them, are a pretty good indicator of the seasons.  The loud choir of birds in the morning has changed to the quiet rustling of drying leaves. The lushness of summer is quickly giving way to the golds and browns of fall.

Our lives tend to mirror the changing seasons. Some days feel like we are in the midst of the busyness of fall. Other times we feel like we are in the lazy days of summer. And then there are those times in our lives that we feel the sting of those cold days of winter. There is a beauty to each season and it is good to keep our eyes and hearts open to that beauty.

May you take time to enjoy the beauty of this fall season. May you be blessed whatever season of life you are in. And may you be comforted with the thought that if you are in a difficult season….it will change.

The question, “Which is the happiest season of life?”
was asked of an aged man.

And he replied: “When spring comes, and in the soft air the buds are breaking
on the trees, and they are covered with blossoms,
I think, ‘How beautiful is spring’;

and when summer comes and covers the trees with its heavy foliage,
and singing birds 
are among the branches,
I think, ‘How beautiful is summer.’
When autumn loads them

with golden fruit, and their leaves bear the gorgeous tint of frost,
I think, ‘How 
beautiful is autumn.’
And when it is severe winter, and there is neither foliage nor

fruit, then I look up through the leafless branches as I never could
until now, and see the stars shine in God’s home.

unattributed

 

The seasons are what a symphony ought to be:
four perfect movements in harmony with each other.

Artur Rubenstein