Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Babies Are Here!

If you are a homesteader, 
you know that when the coldest weather strikes,
 your animals will choose that particular time to birth. 
 Animals are just that way. 
 So, with lows in the teens and even colder nights coming this week,
 our does are due.

  Checking them several times a day, 
we were very surprised to find...on our afternoon check, 
the first kid born-  already standing and doing well, 
despite it being the smallest goat kid we have ever had. 
 She is literally smaller than our cats. 

 Rose named her Mabel, which means "lovable."

So here is Mabel!

Yes, she has a sweater on.
  I have often thought about making baby goat blankets,
 but having never gotten around to it, we just dug through the "newborn" tote in the attic
 till we came up with something warm looking.
 The code of the ruralite, you know, is Observe, Adapt, and Improvise.  (O.A.I.)

Mabel and her mama are strong and healthy, which is certainly a blessing with a first time mama. 
 To keep this tiny one warm,
 and the other kids that will soon arrive as well, 
Joe and Rose turned a plastic barrel into a warming coop. 
 Here is the reason I said kids, as in plural...this doe surely has more than one in there!

Here is the warming coop.
There is a heat lamp set into the top of the barrel. 

 Thankfully, our solar panels are soaking up all this sunny weather-
 thus powering both this heat lamp and the one for the chicken's water.  
 In cloudy weather, (normal for this time of year) we would be hard put to accommodate the output of power without running the generator much more than we typically do.
We are doubly blessed with a safe birth and sun power to keep baby warm.

But wait, that is not all!!!
Besides our tiniest goat baby, Mabel,
 our ADORABLE grand daughter, Shiloh, is here for the weekend!!!

Oh those cute little chompers!  
OOOO and the dimpled hands! 
SOOO sweet!!!
Grandma is having a fantastic time of it!

Of course, everyone wants to hug and kiss and squeeze her, or make her laugh. 
 Shiloh seems to be enjoying being the center of attention. 
 She is such a people person. 

Between the two babies,
 there is a whole lot of laughing and cuddling being done here this weekend.

Blessings to ya' all this weekend,
the giddy grandma

Friday, February 13, 2015

Little Luxuries of Winter

Somehow, in the heart of winter, 
our "January thaw" has lingered on for weeks and weeks, 
an unheard of predicament for North Idaho...the newspaper just reported  that never
 in the historical records has the snowfall here been so low, or the typical "thaw" lasted so long.
While it is lovely out, agrarian folks like us are concerned about the "snow pack" in the mountains that provides us with plenty of water all summer- 
which keeps the landscape a lovely green right into fall, 
and more importantly, minimizes the danger of forest fire.

But, that said, we concur with "Pa" 
(from the Little House series, which we are currently rereading aloud) 
"There is no great loss without some small gain."
These small gains are the blessings of today, 
our little luxuries of winter, such as it is.

 The wood pile blessing:  Our initial 10 cord is holding up well.  This, by the way, is the shed we built last summer, of which, I never did post the finished pictures of, till now.

Egg production blessing:  Ben's hens are so happy with the weather, they have not sloughed off in their laying at all thus far.  He is in business now; selling eggs, purchasing the feed, keeping records daily.  He is very proud of a regular dozen a day.

Blessings In The Dairy:  These two are due to kid in a few weeks.  If the mild weather holds, that will be beneficial for the tiny newborns, giving them a little easier start in life.  Meanwhile, the does are looking especially well and plump.

Blessings For The Children:  They are fully appreciating sunshine and warm temperatures each afternoon as they ramble off to play in the woods.  Yesterday their play was near the creek-

 Today, they are homesteaders-

For me, the soothing continuity of our daily routine, 
curling up by the fire with a fragrant cup of tea,  
the sun shining through the windows,
 these are a few of the blessings I am counting today,

 my little luxuries of winter.

What are yours?

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Joy of Grandbabies

Our first grandchild, Shiloh Anne, is such a joy.
She is the daughter of our oldest son, John, and his beautiful bride, Michelle.
 I see so much of both her parents in her, yet, she is her own person.
  This little cutie pie has stolen our hearts from day one. 
 She is growing sooo fast, she will be wearing her first cowboy boots in no time.
 (every girl needs at least one pair, ya know!)

Shiloh is coming up on 8 months old, cutting several teeth, crawling all over,
 and blessedly, sleeping through the night. 
 She is such a people person, she just lights up when someone talks to her,
 making for great photos.

Our daughter Anna is carrying grandbaby #2.  
She just sent us this picture of her sweet little baby bump.
  Isn't she beautiful?! 
 I have always thought that pregnant women have a special glow about them
 that really makes them lovely.

Scott and Anna are having a girl, which we are so excited to meet in June!!  
Here is a little 3D sneak peek at her:

Isn't she incredible!? 
 Surely, these precious wee ones are fearfully and wonderfully made!
  Marvelous are your works, O God!!  

Grandparenting is an amazing new adventure for us.
We are thrilled with these two bundles of joy,
who are truly a gift from the  Lord. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Loving The January Thaw

Nearly every January we get a little mid winter break known as "the January thaw".
  Newcomers think it is spring, 
but alas, no,
 winter is only half over. 
 It's just a week (or two if we are lucky) of above freezing temperatures
 that cause the snow to melt, the rivers become brimming full, and, rapturously,
 the sun shines. 
(outstanding news for us off grid folks!!)

 We are loving the thaw this year!
  It has been a bit longer than usual, and although the snow is not ALL gone, it is mostly gone,
 and that is enough to get all the girls out.

Happy, happy hens!

The children are out and about in the woods too, 
and I have to drag them back in with the dinner bell to finish their lessons each afternoon. 
They are scouting for antler sheds, slaying imaginary foes,
 basking in the sunshine,
 wandering aimlessly through the woods.

This is just what Ben was doing when he saw something, and that something triggered his creativity.

What goes through a boys mind when he spies a half rotten tree stump? 

Why, a bivouac shelter for a few soldiers shot down behind enemy lines, of course!

Thus engaged, his imagination ran wild with the adventures for days on end. 
 Ahhh, the mind of a ten year old!

 Ben and Gabe also whittled log boats which they have been floating down our little seasonal creek for hours at a time. (I should have taken a picture!)

 I have enjoyed getting out for a few walks in the woods. 
 On my first outing, I saw a little herd of elk and about a dozen deer. 

Bethany, Gabe and Olivia spend most of their outside time
 sloshing through puddles and chasing chickens. 

 Joe and Jim have come up empty so far in the antler search, 
but we three will all surely be vying for who finds the biggest shed, who finds the most sheds, 
and who finds the first shed!  
The snow is likely to return and postpone our sport,
 but in the meantime 
we are sure enjoying the warmer weather, the mud puddles, the pungent forest,
 and  glorious sunshine!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Years Greetings

Well, hello there all my blog friends! 

 I really am still here, and doing fairly well. 
 What has happened the last three months?
  A whole lot, which is why there has been no posting, until now. 
 Here is the scoop:

Last fall I began one of the busiest ministry season's of my life.  It happened bit by bit, and I found myself swimming....then just trying to stay afloat....and something had to give- which, for me, was media.  No more Facebook, no more Pinterest, no more blogging. And...I lived...barely.  Schooling, housecleaning, and our diet all took a big hit.  This winter and spring, my schedule will look more sane, and I am hoping to get back into the swing of how our family usually operates, all beginning this week, with a new daily routine, new menu plan, new schooling schedule,
 and little else.
  You know you are at the end of your capacity when you cannot even keep the children's fingernails is just too overwhelming.  That's where I've been.

We had a steady supply of company through the fall, which was wonderful.  We love company! 
 Some of our guests included a surprise visit from our daughter and son-in-love all the way from New Mexico, here to tell us in person that......yes indeed, they are having a baby!!!  We cried when we first saw them standing in our living room on a Sunday afternoon, and then cried again at the good news and answer to our fervent prayers. This grand baby #2, Scott and Anna's first child,  will make his or her appearance toward the end of June.  We are so excited!!

November brought deer season, adding substantially to an already full schedule.  At the end of the season we were very grateful to have all our tags filled, and 5 deer in the freezer (The short story for me is... the BIG BUCK got away, and a spike took his place in the freezer.) Wow, that was a lot of hard work!  It will be a while before I am ready to clean, butcher, cut and wrap 5 deer.

The end of November, on the way home from church, we were rear-ended by an uninsured drunk driver who was going over 100 miles an hour.  Miraculously, (and I do mean MIRACULOUS) there were no serious injuries.  After numerous trips to the doctor and chiropractor, more than one bottle of ibuprofen, a huge pile of insurance paperwork, the search for a new family rig, I think we finally have humtpy dumpty (or, our family life) back together again.

Thank goodness for new beginnings!  With a huge, huge sigh of relief, that season is over.  It was a rough one, but through it all, God is good. I am beginning 2015 with  a whole new appreciation for a dull daily life now (chuckle), and three things that are never far from my thoughts:

Life is fragile. We have become very aware of that after the wreck that could have taken lives, but for being sheltered in the cleft of the rock.  It is just a few miles from church to home, and anything can happen.  We take such things for granted far too much.

Life is tough.  Sometimes, what you are asked to take on your plate is more than you can swallow... and only by God's grace can you keep going. I believe I was doing what God had asked me to do in ministry last fall, I knew it would be hard, and sometimes God asks us to do hard things and trust Him.

Life is flexible.  What was true in my life three months ago is no longer true today.  Seasons of trial are just that, seasons.  They end, something new is coming, and we just need to be obedient and hang on for dear life.

And now...back to life as usual at Providence lodge,
 where we eagerly watch for the beauty in each day,
 we gather at the table in joyful thanksgiving,
 we work together to learn, 
we stop to have tea midday..just because, 
and we end the day with bedtime stories and a peaceful home.

  Right now, the sun is streaming through the trees, glimmering off the snow, and I see it.
  It is beauty and grace to me.  
That is new..again.  It has been lost in the kerfuffle of a frantic schedule, 
of physical suffering, in the chaos that has been. is good.  It is really, really good. 

Blessings To You in 2015,

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Praying for Babies

This is Charles Owen. 
 He was born yesterday, 9 lbs 4 oz.
 He is the grandson of one of my best friends.

As I was rejoicing over this good news while vacuuming,
 my heart immediately beckoned me to pray for him. 

 Vacuuming the floor is a great time to pray. 

 You see, Charles Owen is in need of prayer...
... and here is the reason: 
 He has been born into a country who has lost its fear of the Almighty God.
  He has been born into a culture where the church goers
 are apathetic to the moral decline of our nation,
 a culture who has given up hope.

When people do not fear the Lord,
 there is moral decline, and hope wains.

Owen needs our prayers.
  His parents need them. 
 They, and all the believing families across the nation,
 need people to lovingly pray for them with endurance,
 that their children would be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, 
that parents would have wisdom and discernment to raise them to be  godly,
 God fearing, Jesus loving men and women.


 Because Owen's parents are swimming up stream.  
And this stream is a raging torrent full of debris to knock one over, 
get one caught in an eddy, or worse....trapped underneath, caught by some branch or rock. 

Because our nation, our churches, our families
 are devoid of faithful Christian men who will stand up and lead like God intended them to...
and lacking women who understand what God values in a woman and then gives her life to pursue His good will instead of her own.

Someone had better pray over this condition-
for it is the ruin of a once Godly nation. 
 It is the ruin of reproductive and spirit filled churches,
 it is the ruin of the Christian Home.

Theologian Karl Barth once said,
 "To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world. "

We all know of babies and little children like Owen, born into Christian families, and we think,
 "Oh that's wonderful."
  Yes, but let's not stop there.   Do we fervently pray for these young families 
struggling to do right in a society that loves wrong; to be faithful, patient, and wise in their parenting despite their young years?
  And how often do we pray for the children to be responsive to the Holy Spirit,
 having a tender heart toward things of the Lord, to grow up loving Jesus above all else?

This is what was impressed upon me this morning, and I felt compelled to share.
Whether it be Owen, or the little people you know personally, let us pray, pray, pray!

  Hope is not lost when there is prayer.

I wrote this prayer/song years is the cry of my heart,
 and the prayer for the morning:

"Build Your kingdom, Lord,
through our children, Lord.
 May this generation know you more.
  Raise up men of God who stand upon Your Word
 with integrity and hearts that are pure.
  Draw our daughters to a life of trusting You. 
 Servant hearted, wholesome, devoted and true. 
 Give us wisdom, we pray, as we train them each day 
with the vision of leaving a legacy of Your way. 
 Immerse us deeply in You so that it's You that shines through,
and by your grace we will see our children's children
 praise thee.
Build Your kingdom, Lord."


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Simple Camping

Desiring to get away for the weekend with our son John and his family,
 we planned for a simple and quick camp trip to our favorite campground. 

 Fall campground camping is wonderful, because the campground is virtually empty, 
the landscape turning fall colors is lovely,
 and the weather is fine, albeit a bit crisp in the mornings.

It was a beautiful, relaxing, and fun weekend.

Our tent site overlooked the play area and the lake, giving us a protective and lovely view.

Sitting around the campfire doing nothing for hours is my kind of relaxing!!

Others find sand an amazing relaxer, and can play in it for hours on end.

For those cool mornings, everyone needs a great hat.

Camping is all about taking time to unwind.

taking time to enjoy one another without the distractions of everyday life

And drink in deeply of the beauty of God's creation

How did we Keep it simple with 11 people?

We did all the cooking in the Dutch Oven, making meals and packing less we took the water kettle, the french press, and the dutch oven, along with a small box of kitchen accessories.

What did we cook in the Dutch oven?
Just easy favorites, nothing fancy, although there are some very scrumptious looking recipes on Pinterest!
Friday night-chili dogs
Saturday morning- hashbrowns with eggs over the top, bagels toasted over the fire.
Lunch- "Pub Platter" our traditional camping lunch of salami, cheese, crackers, apples, pickles, and
Saturday Dinner- pulled roasted meat on hogie buns, cabbage salad
Sunday morning- french toast casserole
Sunday lunch- pub platter again, with fresh picked plums ( a bonus to this particular campground)

Other factors for the keep it simple weekend:
organization for meals-
I keep all the plates, silverware and cups in a plastic washtub so it is handy and not scattered all over.
I have the meal plan written out so I don't forget something.
I precook (before the camp trip) anything I can...sausage for the casserole, made the salad ahead, grate the cheese, etc.

Minimal equipment and clothing-
tents, camp chairs, cooler, camp box, lantern, dutch oven, kettle, sleeping bags, fishing gear, life jackets for littles, towels, and I think that was pretty much all.
For clothing; layers!  We all took quilted shirts for jackets.  fleece pullover, flannel shirt, t-shirt, jeans, one pair shoes, jammies, swim suit, warm socks, and underthings.

And, for extra fun, we took the cutest grandbaby ever!...
  To ensure lots of cuddles, laughs, and endearing moments.

To ensure lasting memories, we took an amazing  photographer to capture the moments-
thank you Rose!

Blessings to you the glorious fall day,