Outfox the Fox

Mom Fox

My girls are not happy with me. I don’t blame them for feeling that way as I am never happy when I am cooped up either.

A little back history as to why they are stuck in the chicken coop/run these last days…..

A while back we noticed a fox hanging around our place. My husband was pretty excited as the last years fox have been very scarce in our area. Coyotes had moved in and the fox population had moved out.

This particular fox seemed to have taken a fancy to the old schoolhouse that is on our acreage. We would see her darting under the building at random times of the day. Last week my husband came to the house to let me know he had seen her with fox pups.

To be honest I was not sure how I felt about a den of foxes right on our yard. My thoughts were that my chicken flock was going to be rapidly disappearing. For a bit, Mom Fox seemed to ignore the girls. In fact the girls would fearlessly run as a group toward the fox! (There has got to be a lesson in stupidity in there somewhere!) Mom Fox would look startled and head under the schoolhouse.

This past week the dynamic changed….Mom Fox found out that a chicken is a very tasty meal. My husband thought I would want the fox family cleared out;…..but I am torn. I want my girls safe….but I also really enjoy watching this fox family. (That is when I can catch a glimpse of them).

At this point in time the girls are stuck in their chicken coop/run area while we try figure out how to keep them safe, let them roam a bit and still have the fun of watching the family of foxes grow up.

My hope is that when we get busy mowing lawn and doing the busy outdoor work of summer, that the Mom Fox will decide it is no longer safe and move her family elsewhere…like far enough away that she won’t come back hunting a chicken dinner.

I am not sure how this will all turn out…..but I have always been an optomist and really don’t feel like changing that veiwpoint any time soon. I have a feeling there are lessons to be learned, while we wait for the fox family to move on. Lessons in patience, lessons in enjoying what is put before us even though it comes at a price.

I am not sure if we will be outfoxing the fox or just out-lasting the fox…..either way…it should prove interesting.

“With foxes we must play the fox.” 
– Thomas Fuller

Small Beginnings


Last fall we planted a quaking aspen tree in the back yard. I wanted an aspen tree because I love the sound of those leaves dancing in the wind in the summertime. My nephew found a tree for me that was less than perfect so it was a bargain.

We did not care about perfection when it came to a tree as I think there is a lot of beauty in imperfect things. For me that tree was perfect!  When we planted the tree, we saw there were a lot of little shoots coming from the root ball. Lots of “baby” quaking aspens.

I carefully untangled a couple of those tiny trees from the main root ball and planted them also. I put flags by them so I would not lose them come this spring.

Once the snow had melted and the regular sized quaking aspen started budding out I carefully started to monitor those very tiny twigs. At first I was sure those sticks were dead and had not made it through the winter. (It was a good thing there were flags by them or I would never have found them back!)

Then came the day that they both had very small shoots coming out of them. I still wasn’t sure if these were actually the twigs I had planted….so I watched and waited some more.

Finally there were the tiniest little leaves and I made my husband come take a look. He assured me they were aspens….it was a good day!

Waiting for those little twigs to show signs of life took patience. They were not going to be hurried just to satisfy me and my curiosity. It was a good reminder that all things happen in their appointed time.

I wondered if that is how God feels about me. Does He keep peering at me and marvel that it takes me so long to show any growth? I have a feeling that His patience far exceeds mine when it comes to waiting for results.

It is perhaps a good reminder to show grace and patience to ourselves and to those around us. It is good to remember that we are not all at the same place in our growth and we are all growing at the rate He has planned for us.

We are not perfect but, like my tree, there can be a beauty in that imperfection. We just need the grace to realize we are not the same….and don’t need to be.

May your weekend be filled with grace. May you find contentment in the small things like leaves that rustle and dance in the breeze. And I hope we give ourselves time to bloom when we are supposed to.


is the calm acceptance
that things can happen
in a different order
than the one you have in your mind.”
David G. Allen





It is already December 13 and the tree is finally up and it actually is totally decorated…..except for the candy canes that will get put on at the last minute. For some reason Christmas decorating at our home seems to take a while to wind up and get started.

I am thinking it is because I kind of hate to take down the fall decorations and give in to the fact that it is the winter season. But…..the day arrived and my husband retrieved the totes that held the tree and all that is needed to make our house festive and lit for the holiday.

As I took the strands of lights out of the freezer bags I had stored them in; my husband started laughing. He thought my balls of light strands resembled something from the movie Christmas Vacation. Since he was right on that thought, I let him share in the joy of untangling those strands of lights.20191211_165750125099464.jpg

My Thanksgiving holiday and Christmas holiday seem to tangle all through each other and this year has been no exception. As I was making Christmas cookies I was also finishing up baking out my pumpkins from the garden.

I can probably justify the pumpkin baking as I do make a pumpkin pie for dessert for Christmas dinner. We have some die-hard pumpkin pie lovers at our house that day.

There is something wonderful about the tangling of seasons and holidays. It seems to reflect the tangling of life and the tangling of days. At least my days and my life sometimes resemble that strand of lights that come out of the bag as a ball.

It takes patience to unsnarl that strand of lights. It takes a gentle touch and a sense of calm. There is a lot to be learned when untangling strands of Christmas lights. Things like handling life with patience.  Treating others with a gentle touch.  Remaining calm when faced with situations that look impossible to straighten out.

Let’s take time this holiday season to deal gently with those around us…..you never know what they are dealing with or how snarled their life is. Let’s be patient and calm when the world seems to be going to fast and seems cruel…..let’s untangle those strands and let our lights shine.


I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a man
by the way he handles these three things:
a rainy holiday,
lost luggage,
and tangled Christmas tree lights.
~Anonymous 52-year-old,
quoted in H. Jackson Brown, Jr.,
Live and Learn and Pass It On, 1991





Someday Just Might Be Today


There is an old song by CCR (Credence Clearwater Revival) titled “Someday Never Comes”.  It might be true for the lyrics in that song but I have found that Someday is Today!

I am going to back up a bit….well a long bit. When we first moved here about 15 years ago we had sheep in our back yard. Yes, you read that right…sheep. It was hard packed dirt and when you slept with the windows open at night the sheep were right by the window.

We decided we should probably have a back yard, so the sheep got penned in somewhere else and my husband chewed up that hard earth and we planted grass seed. That first crop of grass was promptly eaten by a small flock of chickens.

We went back to the farm store and purchased some more grass seed. The seed was planted and it did not take long and those same chickens had once again cleared it off as it came up.

At that point my husband decided we would seed it one more time and if they ate it again he was done….no grass….no backyard.  I petitioned for a fence to keep the girls out.

We put up a fence quickly, as we figured, someday we would do it right. Someday we would make it nice and straight and put a gate in that actually swung easily and wasn’t just wired to the fence.

This time the grass grew as it was protected by our temporary fence. The years kind of slid past, as they tend to do, and temporary was starting to look kind of permanent.

This past spring my husband purchased a very nice garden gate at a farm consignment auction with the intention that someday we would put that in when we redid that piece of backyard fence.

The somedays seemed to go past and this week my husband decided that someday had arrived! Yesterday the gate was put in with cement around the poles to make it sturdy. Today we redid the piece of fence that attaches to the garden gate and goes to the chicken coop.

To say I am excited about it is a bit of an understatement. I am excited to have a fence that is straight and stands firm. I am excited to have a gate that will latch and swings easily in both directions. (It is amazing what using the correct hardware will do for a garden gate!)

I love the look of the old gate and the old fence. The fence was some that used to go around the front yard when we bought this place many years ago. I have a feeling that piece of fence could tell a lot of stories about the children it kept in and the critters it kept out. (Probably chickens!)

There is probably a lesson in here somewhere. It probably has to do with being patient and how that is a virtue or something like that. I must confess I did not feel virtuous. I just kind of got used to the wobbly fence and less than stellar gate set up.

There is probably a lesson in that somewhere too!  It probably is a lesson that we should not get so complacent when things are not as they should be. Maybe we should work a bit harder to make them right. This is true with fences as well as things like relationships and other things needing to be straightened out.

Whatever the lesson. I am just happy that someday did come to our farm! May your someday show up soon and may it leave you as excited as my someday did for me.

One day,
you’re 17 and you’re planning for someday.
And then quietly,
without you ever really noticing,
someday is today.
And then someday is yesterday.
And this is your life.

John Green


Gardens and Patience


It seems like the last few weeks have been a time of playing catch-up. The fields are growing and green and the lawn and weeds have also been growing profusely.

We use a push mower; so mowing our farm yard takes pretty much an entire day with my husband and I kind of tag teaming the job. For some reason we kind of have our own “zones” that we seem to be in charge of mowing.

The areas I mow….I tend to bag, so I can use the grass on my garden. I have also been spending time weeding and hoeing and trying to stay ahead of those same weeds  so those weeds don’t take over my garden.

In my last post I mentioned we had a nest of baby bunnies in our back yard…not really too far from our garden! As anyone, who gardens, knows….bunnies and gardens don’t mix at all!

My husband has come up with a wonderful solution and has been making garden panels from 10 foot pieces of lumber and chicken wire. I absolutely love those panels as they are easy to handle and work great for keeping the rabbits from eating the produce.

This has been a strange year for gardening. The winter seemed to last forever so most of my seeds and plants got in very late. We usually get our potatoes in Easter weekend…this year we were an entire month later!


My potatoes look pretty dismal. They came up so spotty and I finally became impatient and took a spade to dig where a potato should be. I discovered that the seed potatoes were rotting in the soil!

I ended up replanting in all those spaces because having potatoes come up late is preferable to weeds taking over that space. Now it looks like I am growing orange flags…..at least this way I will know where to look for those tiny shoots once they decide to come up.

I found it hard to understand why some of those plants were doing so well and a little ways away the other ones were rotting. There is probably a life lesson there somewhere. Why do some people do wonderful in a situation and the next person does not? Sometimes the answer to those questions…garden and otherwise are not so easy to find.

I have also found that a garden is a great place to talk over life with yourself and with God. For some reason it seems like the perfect place to hold those conversations. I always kind of wonder if it is because it is quiet out in my back yard. The sounds I hear are the little wren irately scolding me, the wind in the evergreen trees and the distant sounds of tractors and equipment in the fields.

There is a slower pace in a garden. Spending time hand picking weeds from around tiny pea and bean plants forces me to slow down and persevere. Time spent in a garden gives me lots of time to ponder things.

I love the end product of my garden…but truth be told…I also love the process of getting to those canned goods. It is time well spent…it is time that is good for my soul.

May your week be filled with things that require patience and may that patience give you time to ponder. May your life also be filled with growth…lush and green…even with a few weeds tossed in!


Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.
— May Sarton


The best place to find God is in a garden.
You can dig for him there.
George Bernard Shaw

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New Trees and Dead Wood

My husband went to a sale yesterday. I thought it was a farm machinery sale but it turned out to be a consignment auction for pretty much anything and everything. When he drove on the yard and walked through the door the first words he spoke were, “I bought something you will like!”

That really made me curious because I could see the parts of a cultivator on the back of the pickup and I was pretty sure that had never been on my list of “wants. He then dropped the checkbook, ticket stubs and some other stuff on the table and headed back outside.

I couldn’t take it; and curiosity got the best of me so I wandered outside onto the porch. It didn’t take long and, with a huge grin, he hauled out 5 pots of baby Colorado Blue Spruce trees!

To be honest, I was excited! For the last years I have been nagging asking for some more evergreen trees so we could plant another row in our back yard. When I would nag ask for those trees I would typically get the response, “We aren’t that young anymore….we will not see them as big trees.” To which I answered, “Well we AREN”T getting any younger so we should plant some now!”

At this point those baby trees are safely in our garage, waiting for us to make up our minds as to exactly where they should be planted. There is a permanency about planting trees. You have to think ahead to the future and try visualize how big they will get, how much space they are going to take and to stay away from the power lines!

Maybe that permanency is what I like about planting trees. Maybe the fact that you need to have patience, intrigues me? I love thinking ahead to leaving something for the next family that will live here. I also know the reality, that at some point those trees will get old and die, as all things do.

When that happens, I sincerely hope that whoever lives here will let a few of them stand, for the birds and wildlife that need some dead trees. In looking at my little trees, hanging out in the garage tonight, I started thinking about them someday being dead wood.

At first thought, dead wood seems like it would be worthless as it is dead. It always seems like something that is lush, green and growing would have infinitely more value. I started considering that there are beautiful pieces of wooden furniture made from dead wood. I thought about the beautiful carvings made from blocks of dead wood and all those homes made from trees that have become dead wood.

Then my thoughts wandered to today….Good Friday. I thought of that cross that held Jesus as He willingly gave His life so we could have eternal life. The cross, that was at face value an ugly piece of dead wood.

When looking beyond that face value and realizing what happened on that piece of dead wood, I am struck by the fact of the holiness of those pieces of dead wood. They  held the Son of God…..who died for us while we were yet sinners. (Romans 5:8)

If this Good Friday finds you feeling less than worthless….if it finds you thinking that you have no value…if it finds you frustrated and overwhelmed…Do Not Fear! You, like dead wood, have beauty. You have value and you are so worthwhile that the Son of God willingly gave His life for you!

May you be blessed this weekend and may you rejoice in the fact of your great worth. May you look at the promise in the trees that grow around you and know that even when those trees have gone the way of all trees…..there is still a beauty to be found in them……and in you.

God proved His love on the Cross.
When Christ hung, and bled, and died,
it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’
Billy Graham
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“We live to die
We die to live”
Ruth Fondse

Harvest….Looking Through The Window


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


Missing Candy Canes


I have been having a senior moment today. Actually it has been the last few days of senior moment-itis. (Yes, I realize that is really not a word or condition….but it should be.)  Yesterday I purchased another box of candy canes.  I say another, because a few weeks ago I also purchased a box.

Every Christmas I put candy canes on the tree so we can snack on one every so often. This year I purchased the initial box before the tree was put up. I wanted to make sure that we did not eat them before the tree went up so I put them in a very “special” place to “keep them safe”.

Unfortunately I put them in a place that was too safe.  It is safe, even from my mind.  It is really, really maddening to not remember where that place is! I asked my husband if he knew where they were.  All I got was a blank look.

He remembered we had purchased them. (that was not helpful).  He remembered they had been put away……somewhere. (Also not helpful).  I did feel some better that he did not know where they were either……some….but not much.

Years ago my sister-in-law and I agreed that our brains could only hold so much information at a time.  When the brain got full some information just needed to be kicked out. I think with the busyness of the season my brain decided the hiding place of candy canes was not important and just deleted that information.

I don’t know if there is a life lesson to be found in my missing candy canes. Maybe it is the fact that life is too short to stress over candy canes? Maybe the lesson is that candy canes are not the focus of Christmas? Perhaps the lesson is patience….those candy canes will show up when the time is right for them to show up.  Maybe they will be found when the grandkids come and are scrounging around in only places grandkids look.

I suspect they will be found when I get the house ready for the kids to come next week for the Christmas holiday.  At least that is what I am hoping for.  If this does not occur I have a feeling they will show up at some odd, random time and be a very nice surprise.

I do wonder if anyone else has problems with this particular issue of putting things away too “safely”. I have a feeling the canes will probably show up when I put some other item in that “very safe place”. At least candy canes are not too perishable….it would have been much worse if the turkey went missing…..


As you get older three things happen.
The first is your memory goes, and I can’t remember the other two.



Peas, Patience and Pulling Weeds

Sugar Snap Peas

I wandered past my garden the other day and noticed that I really should be picking some peas. (I also noticed I really needed to be pulling some weeds!)

I was very happy to see I actually had peas.  This gardening season has been a battle for my peas against rabbits, ground hogs, earwigs, weeds and grasshoppers.  The plants are shorter than normal, due to all the pruning they have had.  This makes it a little harder to pick them but they are so worth the effort.

This year I made sure to get the correct seed.  Last year I purchased seed to late and ended up settling for snow peas. I know many people love snow peas but we thought the pods were kind of crunchy and I really wanted to steam them and be able to eat the pods.

My husband and I discovered that neither of us were very fond of the snow peas so when the seeds came out late this past winter I  quickly purchased a couple packs of the Sugar Snap Peas that we like. My husband still asks me if we got the right ones.


We planted them on time and they quickly came up. Then the battles began. (Note to self: Next year plant them close to the beans, lettuce and other stuff that we put chicken wire around to keep out “nature’s self-appointed pruners”.)  Due to the limited amount of plants that survived we will probably only get enough for meals now and then ……no freezing any. At this point that is good enough for me!

I also spent some time weeding today, even though it was incredibly hot and muggy . The melon patch was starting to look pretty bad and definitely required attention.

Melon Patch

I am going to be gone for the rest of this week, with my sister, to attend and volunteer at  Together 2016, that is taking place at the National Mall in Washington, DC. I knew if I didn’t get some of the weeding done before I left the garden was going to get ugly pretty fast in this heat and humidity. There may or may not be a life lesson in there for me!

This trip was on short notice so I seem to be running around to get things done before I go. Perhaps the time spent in the garden was exactly what I needed; to slow down and take things one at a time. Lesson learned….for now.



Everything that slows us down and forces patience,
everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature,
is a help.
Gardening is an instrument of grace.
May Sarton

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