Sunday, September 30, 2012

First Cut

 Haste. Hurry. Hustle. This is how I feel when we do HAYLAGE. This year I was definitely less stressed out than last year but I really hope that each year I will become more and more relaxed during these harvests. I mean, goodness, all I have to do is make meals and coffees for the guys. And baking. Everyone loves baking. Somehow everyone's always a little bit happier when they've got some lovin' from the oven in their tummy. But that's just my personal opinion. Needless to say, the extra time keeping the guys fed and watered and helping Peter do chores in the barn definitely keeps things busy around here. I'm so thankful for my mother-in-law, who still helps with all of this. I couldn't imagine doing it without her! And Grandpa. Grandpa, who turned 81 this year and drives harvestor Grandpa knows how to keep things in perspective. He was finished in the field for the day and came to see how we were making out in the barn. Grandma had picked up Silas and Levi earlier to take them to swimming lessons so I could help with chores and Gracie Jo was keeping an eye on Jude outside. Katie was playing happily (for the moment) in her stroller while I fed calves and Grandpa strolled over, hands in his pockets with a big smile on his face.
"Happy to be done for the day?", I ask, squinting from the sweat running into my eyes.
"Well," says Grandpa, pausing, with a shrug and eyes shining, "it's not every day that I can help my sons on the farm, while my wife takes her GREAT-grandsons to swimming lessons and come back to the barn to find my grandson and his wife taking care of the cows. Even my youngest great-granddaughter is here. Not everyone is this lucky you know."
I look up, wipe the sweaty hair away from my face, take a deep breath...and smile.
Because he's right. Even in the craziness, the 'Thanks for the coffee, babe, I love you. See you tonight...if you're not already sleeping', the "Just let me feed the baby quick and I'll be right out." , the "Hold on, I just need to bring the guys their lunch and THEN we'll eat", and the "No you can't go to the barn! Stay away from the barn AND the sand pile, they're doing haylage." ...
Even in all this.


So thankful for the wisdom of Grandpa, for his perspective that overflows from a grateful heart.
His words echoed in my mind all summer. And on those crazy days, when I felt overwhelmed and overdone and like I was just barely holding it all together, I would remember those sweet words. I would stop and look around; at this crew of wild and wonderful kids who think everyday is an incredible adventure, this farm that provides not just a living but a lifestyle of family and togetherness, and my husband - a constant rock in my wavy seas, always there holding me up with his love and support. Putting smiles on his weary wife's face with a single look. And Grandpa's joy and pride would fill my heart. Because, really, 
"Not everyone is this lucky, you know?"

Gray hair is a mark of distinction, 
the award for a God-loyal life. 
~Proberbs 16:31~

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bits + Pieces of June

 // Summer days = laundry on the line. Always.

 // 4 different kinds of onions this year means lots of weeding. I tend to get a little behind...

 // The clematis. Extravagant yet simple beauty.

 //Planting zinnias with Silas. Bit of a daydreamer but such a sweet and pleasant helper :)

 // Big plans for a new fort

 // Our summer nature table. So many egg shells!

 //The mock orange is just starting to blossom. My opa cut this bush waaaaay back when we first moved in here ten years ago. Really, I thought he'd done it in. But, really, don't we all sometimes need a good pruning before we can put forth our best? Taking Opa's cue, I went to town on the overgrown branches this spring and we're being treated to a riot of delicate and fragrant blossoms and growth this year. Even sitting on the porch, if the wind is blowing the right way, their scent dances through the air. Just a whiff and sweet memories of Opa balanced precariously atop a ladder, hiding among in the branches, and having a hay-day with our pruners comes to mind. Always puts a smile on my face.

 //Freshly picked rhubarb, blueberries and the last of our canned peaches made for a very yummy treat.

 //Cousin Dave came for a visit with his boys (second cousins? cousins once removed? anybody? )and there were a lot of boys around here! Thankfully there's always room for more friends in the sand pile.

 //The dads discuss fatherhood, farming...and beer :)

 //Check it out!
 //A beautiful moth

 //Hanging a tarzan rope above the trampoline just upped the crazy factor. But, oh, so much fun!!

 //Stealing some beauty from the flowerbeds to share with a dear friend from church. She loves flowers but, at 78, her garden is not quite as large as it used to be. That being said, I'm pretty sure she could still out work me any day! I will definitely take you up on your offer to help me can some elderberry jelly later this summer, Nancy! You are such a blessing to us!

 //Sweet Darling. Thanks for the dress, Aunt Marnie! xo

//Baking blueberry pies with my best ninja bud :)

These are the days that the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in them.
~Psalm 118:24~

Friday, September 21, 2012

A family affair :: May 18th

These busy spring days have everyone outside. There is definitely an element of craziness to doing chores with 5 little people as 'helpers' but, when I stop and take a breath and look around, it sure makes me smile.

 // Katie doesn't seem to mind hanging out in the barn. So far, so good.

 // Hello!

 // Silas' Anna

// Check out my wheels, Mom!
// Lots of sweet new calves

 // Lots of dandelions, too

 // Big brother, little brother

 //The curtains are done! Lots to do before the shed is ready - the pressure's on!

 //Planting beans and praying for rain

...for your Father knows exactly what you need 
even before you ask him!
~Matthew 6:8~

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Brocksden School

 In the end of May we took a class trip with our homeschool group to the Brocksden School Museum.  What an amazing day!! A wonderful woman comes in a re-enacts a day of school in a one-room schoolhouse back in the 1800's.  She was a student in a one-room school herself and, later on, a teacher in the public school system and she does a phenomenal job! I learned so much from her in that one day. In our group we had students in each grade, from K to 8, and she balanced all their lessons, used the older students to help the younger ones, and kept every one busy through out the morning and afternoon. I'm not sure who had the most fun - the teacher, the students, or us parents! Regardless, it was an incredible experience and I'm so thankful Gracie, Silas and I had the opportunity to go. The school itself had been restored immaculately with many of the original contents and I found myself feeling very nostalgic for a time that is so very far away from the the busy, plugged-in lives we live today. Here's a few pictures from our time there. Feel free to cue the 'Little House on the Prairie' soundtrack in your mind and enjoy! :)