Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weekend wanderings...

Weekends have never had a special distinction
around here. With the exception of church on Sunday
mornings, our days on the farm run from one to the next.
Until now.
Gracie Jo started grade one this September and weekends
have just taken on a preciousness I've never known...

So what do we do with a lovely Sunday afternoon,
with air so crisp and fresh it reaches way down
into your chest and bursts with expectation...
You put on a thick sweater, tuck in the blankets,
and wander wherever the road leads you!

And we're off! (Looks like Jude is going to need a
new hat - heehee! - time to get out the hooks!)

Ready, Mom!

Country roads, take me home
to the place I belong...

My *second* favorite herd of cows...and 'Curly' the bull :)

And this girl, who has a zest for life like no other.
So like her father...

Yep, not sure what to say about this.
Other than I love him :)

We do not remember days;
we remember moments.
~Cesare Pavese, The Burning Brand


I can do it!!

Can you feel the joy?

That's our girl.
Did I mention she takes after her father ;)


Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love,
the things you are, the things you never want to lose.
~The Wonder Years

We hope your weekend wanderings are
making wonderful memories too.

The Koobs Klan

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Moving Mountains

One week before this video was taken
we were told by one of Jude's doctors that,
because of the sprangles on his collarbone
and misalignment of his shoulderblades,
he would probably not crawl.
Not that there was anything wrong with
him developmentally, he just
was physically incapable of crawling.

Feast your eyes on this.
Because of your prayers.
Because of sheer determination.
And because greater is He...

You, my dear (Jude), are from God
and have overcome them,
than the one who is in the world.

~1 John 4:4~

Make no mistake.
God still moves mountains.

Overwhelmed by grace,
The Koobs Klan

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

'Silly' sauce

As I picked the tomatoes in the cold morning,
rain soaking through my coverall and running
down my neck, I muttered and I mumbled.

Just what I needed today...
more work!

I always feel guilty complaining about the
garden. How can one complain about the
bounty and the goodness it has produced?
But, really, the last thing I wanted to do
today was more tomatoes.

Thankfully, God had other plans.
He knew that all those crazy tomatoes...were
just what I needed today.

At the beginning of the summer my mom
brought me a box full of, what most people
would have passed off as, junk.

For me, it was a priceless treasure.

Old baking pans, a 'vintage' Mix Master,
baggies of cookie cutters and cake decorating tips,
and recipe books. Some in Dutch, some boasting
butcher paper covers, and some old photo albums
full of newspaper clippings with notes carefully jotted
in the margins and favorites starred in the corner.
All in my Oma's handwriting.
This box of my Oma's baking 'junk' couldn't be
any more precious to me. Memories of gingerbread
house making, decorating dozens of shortbread
cookies, and learning the finer art of pudding
making come flooding back every time I
look inside. And when I came across this precious
recipe, I could hardly contain my joy.

Oma VanVliet's Chili Sauce.
Finding this faded recipe, taped to the back cover with
yellow, peeling scotch tape warmed my heart.
I can still hear Opa telling us to run down to the pantry
to grab a jar of 'Oma's chili sauce'. Opa's English was
near perfect, but he always carried that strong Dutch
accent that caused the word 'chili' to be pronounced more
like 'silly'. I'm pretty sure that us grandkids all thought
we were eating 'silly sauce' until we at least 12 :)

Figuring out the recipe put a smile on my face.
I'm pretty sure Oma used cloves...not 1/2 tablespoon of gloves!
And I can just imagine her sharply correcting herself when she
wrote 'fresh' celery instead of 'raw' celery. Like Opa, she was
very determined to be Canadian. I find it funny how
determined my grandparents were to be English, and
how our generation clings so tenaciously to our Dutch roots.

A perfect accompaniment to nasi goreng, 'Oma
VanVliet's macaroni' and other fall casseroles, chili
sauce was always a staple at our tables. The
thought of carrying on Oma's memories in a sauce
may seem strange to some, but I knew right away
that this was one recipe that would find it's
way back to our meals.

Sewn by Oma, this apron was the perfect choice
for today's work. It, too, makes me smile when I see it.
I wonder what she was thinking when she picked out this
fabric?? Probably it was on the clearance rack - there were
certain elements of her 'dutchness' that could never be erased :)

The recipe didn't call for tears, but I'm pretty sure
some found their way in here.

As the smell of the chili sauce wafted through the house
and Oma's favorite hymns played gently on the radio,
special memories and merciful reminders wove through
my thoughts. What will my grand-daughter remember
about me? What will she think of when she hears my name?
What special memories will she hold in her heart?

Will I ever have a grand-daughter of my own?

I'm quickly brought back to the present by the sound of
laughter and squeals coming from the kids' bedroom.
...and LOUD thumping.
'What are those turkeys up to know?' I wonder with a grin.

This is what the boys
do when Mama's busy
crying in the kitchen.
Well, no one's broken
their arm...yet.

I walk away, smiling,
because those boys sure are boys.
Opa would have loved them.
And, oh, how Oma would've
YELLED at them!!

And I'm so thankful for all those
bloomin' tomatoes.
They were just what I needed today.

"...your Father knows what you need

before you even ask him."
~Matthew 6:8~

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tonnes of Tomatoes...or 'Close your Eyes, Marnie!'

What do you do when the garden just won't stop??

If it's a busy day, you chop 'em up...

And throw them in the freezer to deal with later!!

You call your sweet Mama - salsa making queen
and master of the death slicer! Unlike me she
slices away on that thing without any apparent
concern for her digits...when I grow up I want
to be just like her :)

Even dad *appears* happy to end the day's beans for me.
I love my dad :)

And what to do with all the leftover bits?
Smush the goodness out of them, leaving all the delicious
juices behind. I'm not even a fan of tomato juice, but this
stuff is SO GOOD!

Garden fresh tomato juice - scrumpdillyocious!

The Green Zebras :: our favorite heirloom variety
And so beautiful. Each one is like a watercolour canvas.

I'll be honest, I thought Pete was crazy in the spring,
planting all these tomatoes
but it's been worth every ounce of effort.
And still is.

And sometimes,when fun gizmos are involved,
I can even persuade farmer husband to help.
It also helps if I wear a cute little dress :)

Add some of our onions, garlic from Uncle Simon (courtesy
of Pete's mom's garden), a touch of salt and lemon juice
and a most mouth-watering marinara sauce materializes.

The shelves in the pantry are filling up with goodness.

And when all else fails...
send every visitor, delivery person and farmhand
home with a bucketful! If you need some tomato-y
goodness, you know where to find us. Teehee!

Blessed by the bounty,
The Koobs Klan

Monday, August 23, 2010

Kernels of Gold

The sweet corn is ready.
I can't even begin to describe how amazing it is this year.

Needless to say, we are all enjoying it.

Jude will take it any way he can get it :)

Shucking is still an adventure for the kids.
I'll let you know if they still feel this way
after the next 20 dozen!

Gracie Jo is determined to get every last silk.

Well, Silas did 2 cobs and Gracie probably
stuck around for 5...the lure of shenanigans
on the swing set was just too strong!

Cobs bursting with juicy sunshine.

The mountain of corn is filling up the freezer.
There is such a fullness to these late summer
days. So much goodness. So many blessings.
It's busy and full.
I'm tired, but grateful.
As we store up the bounty, I feel the gentle
urge to fill my heart with His treasure as well.

"From the fullness of his grace,
we have all received one blessing after another."
~John 1:16~

What is filling your heart and home these days?

An abundance of blessings to you,
The Koobs Klan

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Back in July, Gracie Jo brought back some caterpillars
from the home farm. We had a lot of fun watching these
little fellas and learning all about the stages of life they
go through before becoming a butterfly.

The swallowtail.

While we've always enjoyed Eric Carle's 'The Hungry, Hungry
Caterpillar' , reading the book just doesn't compare to watching
one of these monstrous eaters in action. You should have
seen him mow down the stalks of dill. It was unbelievable!

The transition from caterpillar to pupa/chrysalis
happens so quickly. Gracie Jo faithfully checked on our
guests first thing every morning, and steadily throughout
the day, but each time we missed the change. One time
she checked before we sat down for lunch and by the
time we finished eating the caterpillar had transformed.

Here is the monarch attaching itself to the top
of the container. We knew it's time was coming
soon. We watched and watched...

And within a half an hour the chrysalis hung
suspended, starting the biggest change of all.

This is the swallowtail in pupa stage.
Very different from the monarch.
I wonder how many times we've seen one of
these on a plant and not even realized it was there
or what it was? Occasionally we'd even see it wiggle and
jiggle and could only imagine all the changes that
were taking place inside.

Both of the butterflies 'hatched' during the night, so
they were dry and ready to fly when we discovered them
in the morning. We brought them outside and got ready to
let them go.

It was so fun to see the amazement and wonder in the kids' faces.

Sorry for the bad picture, but this was the only one I got
of the swallowtail. It flew up and away as soon as Gracie
Jo lifted the lid. It was so incredibly beautiful.

The monarch only flew across the driveway before coming to
rest in the field. Feeling like great adventurers, we trekked through
the long grass and weeds to get a closer look. So amazing!

Going through the life cycle of the butterfly was such a
fun time of teaching and learning with the kids. I loved it
when Gracie Jo would eagerly bring our visitors over to
'come and see the chrysalis!'. But, even more special,
was the time we spent talking about how our lives change
when Jesus comes into our hearts. Watching the visible
transformation of the butterflies and sharing with the kids
how our lives change and grow when give our hearts to
Him was so powerful. It reminded me how important it
is to make these moments of teaching, nurturing the
truth that already lies in their hearts.

And, even more, it challenged me in my own life.
Seeing the radical, beautiful change in the butterfly
made me think about the stages and seasons we go through
in our walk with God.

A fragile egg, full of hope and promise.

A hungry caterpillar, devouring his Word.
Consumed by Him.

A gleaming chrysalis, ruminating and growing on the inside.
Productive rest.

A delicate butterfly, bringing beauty and joy.
Living as we were created. For Him.

We read a lot of books about butterflies during this metamorphosis.
But my favorite, by far, was the story of 'Hermie, a Common Caterpillar'
by Max Lucado. The kids love Hermie and his friend, Wormie, two common
caterpillars who struggle with jealousy of the ant, the snail and the
ladybug compared to their 'plain-ness'. God continually promises to
trust in Him, because He's not finished with them yet.
At the end of the story, Hermie is transformed into a glorious
butterfly, finally realizing the truth of God's Words.

How often do I struggle with sin, hanging onto my
selfish nature, instead of living in freedom because
of who Christ is and what He's done for me?
Is my life changing and growing, reflecting His
Holy Spirit in me?
Who I am, because of what He's done?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has gone, the new has come!
~2 Corinthians 5:17~

If you have a few minutes, listen to
this song (just click on 'this song').

Remember who you are.
And whose you are.

Be blessed.