Thursday, July 21, 2011

I turned around and he is a teenager.

Today Kellen turns thirteen. Our first teenager in the house.

It certainly doesn't seem like it has been ten years since he was this cute little toddler, and wasn't it just yesterday he was an inquisitive little boy? It is hard to believe he is now such a sensible young man. Sensible, for a teenager anyway.

 I'd love to show you a picture of the handsome young man he has become. Conveniently, he is rarely around when there is a camera in hand. The recent pictures I have of him are candid, and at a distance. A visitor to the farm somehow talked him into standing still, and half smiling for this shot. As you can see, he was already taller than me back in February when this was taken. I would not be surprised if he has grown another couple inches since then.

He has changed so much in the past year. In the homeschool year book pictures from the previous year, he still looks like a little boy. He has decidedly lost that look now. His voice has gotten deeper. He is wearing his dad's shoes, and there is just a tiny bit of peach fuzz on that upper lip.

We are so proud of him. He often was my dad's right hand man working around the farm. He was here to help while Tim was at work. He learned a lot, and has been a huge help to us all on the farm. His specialty is electric fence building. He puts up the new hog pens by himself, or occasionally recruiting a younger sibling to help. Tim will check and sometimes make a couple adjustments, but Kellen really has the skill down. He helps take care of the pigs, and is a big help around the house too.

Though Kellen has changed a lot in the past year or so, he still is the bookworm that we all know and love. He reads, and reads, and reads. Give him fiction. Give him non-fiction. Give him a business magazine. He'll read them all, and likely remember most of the information he read. The things he picks up, and concepts he understand from his massive reading amazes me sometimes. Of course, for pleasure, he'd prefer a good fantasy novel or manga. His slight obsession with manga, I may never understand, but his younger siblings are right behind him.

Today Kellen turns thirteen. Five more years and he will enter adulthood. Five years is nothing. Vivian was born a mere five years ago. We've lived here over five years. Five years fly by in the blink of an eye.

I know these years will likely be full of bumps, growing pains, and letting go pains, but I plan to enjoy them. Kellen is a wonderful child, and I am excited to watch the development of the man he is becoming.

Happy Thirteenth Birthday Kellen.

Friday, July 15, 2011

And a week later.....

I am planning events for September. September! As in, summer is over and it is time for fall activities. Say it isn't so?! I've barely begun my summer!

With the late start this spring, we've harvested very little from the garden. In fact, about all we've harvested is herbs and berries, and most of the berries, like those pictured, are wild berries. I have not canned a single thing yet. My canner and equipment are sitting untouched in the closet. It is sad.

Not as if I know when I'd I have time to can anyway. This summer has been a whirlwind of activity. We've had friends and family in. We are going weekly to a farmer's market, and just trying to catch up from the month or more of work time lost with Tim's melanoma treatment. Maybe it is a good thing I don't have beans or tomatoes ready to harvest yet.

In other happenings around the farm, we have a new foal, which I have yet to get a picture of, and we have lots of kittens. Anyone have a suggestion for how to get our feral females to stop reproducing? Our current overload of cats goes way back to our two original females. We mistakenly thought it would be fun to allow them to have kittens one time.

At least the feral mommas do bring their kittens to the chicken house once they are a few weeks old. The new kittens are fairly tame. Want one? or two? or a half dozen? Lydia took this adorable photo. I have to say this kitten is one of my favorites.

How is your summer going? Did I ask if you wanted a kitten? 

Thursday, July 07, 2011


We are on our way to the park to play with friends. We've stopped at the store to pick up snacks and drinks. I throw some fruit and healthy options in the cart along with a few things that are not so healthy, but the kids consider treats. One child spends the majority of the trip to the store asking for things I haven't put in the cart and then whining when I say no.

I work in a restaurant where most of the items on the menu are made in house. Occasionally, the prep cooks will run behind for whatever reason, and we'll run out of an item for up to an hour. I am always shocked by the reactions of customers. Disappointment, I can understand. Honestly, some people just get down right irate. It is a big menu. Really, you can't find anything else you want to eat?

We sell at a local producers only farmer's market. When we started selling in May, some people just couldn't understand why none of the vendors had tomatoes or peppers. I didn't even have all of those in the ground before June.

Another child pushed the boundaries, and got grounded from a new video game that was on its way in the mail. When the game arrived the rest of the family was allowed to play it. This child was not happy, and argued vehemently with me over the issue. Then suddenly the arguing stopped and the child smiled. When asked what changed, the reply was, "I think about the starving children in Africa and then things in my life doesn't seem so bad."


We are such an incredibly blessed people. Yet, no matter how much we are given, we want more, and we want it now. We are so accustomed to getting whatever we want when we want it, that we pout and throw fits when we don't get our way. We completely forget the many blessings we do have.

Please don't think that I'm being judgmental. My name is right at the top of the ungrateful list. I have spent much of this year thinking how unfair it all is. People have been so wonderful to us, but I've wanted more. I've pouted, and grown a tinge of bitterness. I've forgotten to be thankful for the many blessings we do have while I've focused on the things that we don't.

This has been a terrible year filled with loss, stress, illness, and struggle. It could be said that it is only natural that some of these feelings should develop under these circumstances. My reactions are definitely natural and fleshly. Is that how I want to live?

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives. (Galatians 5:25 NLT)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NIV) 

No. Living by the spirit is so much better. Here I am humbled again.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Our Holiday Morning.

Berry pies, muffins, and biscotti to come!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

And Normal Life Returns

June was a long, hard, month. I am so glad it is over. Tim's treatments were hard on him. He was down for the month, which made it hard on the rest of the family. In addition, it was one of those months were nothing seemed to go right.

Cows got out and wandered far from home. A predator all but wiped out a batch of meat bird chicks. A tree fell and took our power lines and two sections of fence with it. The hot power lines were in the chicken pasture requiring us to move all the meat chickens. We were without power for about 12 hours that day. The garden was behind, and what we did have in didn't look good. The weeds were taking over.  It rained, and rained, and rained all month. By the end of the month I was feeling so frustrated and discouraged.

With the flip of a calendar page, Tim's treatments were finished. Suddenly, our normal life returned and chased away the cloud that seemed to be hanging over my head. Of course, not everything went wrong during the month of June. It only felt like it.

During the month of June we were awarded two grants. With these funds we have purchased a chicken plucker. The plucker will pluck a bird in about 20 seconds. Hand plucking takes me about 20 minutes. I can't wait until this baby arrives and we can take it for a spin.

In June there were play dates. There were camps. There was the support of friends and family. A horse was born. Cows were purchased. Pigs were sold. There was a lot of baking and the selling of bake goods at the farmer's market. Ducks made nests in places they shouldn't. Well, maybe that isn't a good thing, but it is certainly interesting. We're leaving the nest, by the way. The poor duck hens have been having a heck of a time with their clutches this year. They keep getting pushed off the nest by predators. Here is hoping this nest in my garden, right next to the house, will be a safe place to hatch out some ducklings.

With the treatments over, Tim is feeling a world better. He isn't 100% yet, but he is up and doing things. He is back to work, and back to working on the farm. We are all happy about this. The weather has been wonderful. Friends came and helped whip the garden back into shape. Tim has the hay cut, and life feels normal again. It is busy. It is full of hard work and challenges, but it is good. I am so glad to put June and Tim's treatments behind us!