A dear friend arrived at my house recently bearing these gifts.Gardening book??!!! Fun gardenind ideas for kids????!!! This friend knows me for sure! These books are lovely. With beautiful illustrations and fun ideas. A couple of my favorite ideas from Sharon Lovejoy are planting a “moon garden” with the children. A garden full of bright white flowers that will attract huge moths in the summer evenings. Or cutting Lemon Verbena leaves as a confetti topping for homemade ice cream. Or fashioning little ballerinas out of Poppy petals. Or purposely planting carrots or radishes in rocky ground only to later unearth strange looking “carrot-people”! The list goes on and on. These books have provided many nights of enjoyable time with the kids excitedly discussing ideas and gardening tips and tricks. For instance, brewing a pot of chamomile tea for all of our seedlings in the greenhouse. Chamomile tea wards off damping off. The dreaded disease when little seedlings just keel over and die. Or how about propagating shrubs or trees by tucking the fresh cutting into a slit in a potato and then planting the whole thing. The potato provides nutrients and minerals for the newly established plant. I could go on and on. Love these books!
Some of the children competed in the Calloway County 4H speech and demonstration contest. Mia did a demonstration on how to make your own laundry soap. Charlotte gave a demonstration on how to tack up a horse. Katie did a demonstration on how to raise a lamb. And she also did a speech entitled, “Are you smarter than a 9th grader?” Watch them! They all did really well, earning first place in each of their division. It takes a lot of nerve to stand up there in front of parents, peers and judges. But the more you do it, the easier it gets. I think public speaking is a valuable tool to have. Even the best ideas are worthless, if you cannot properly communicate them to others.
Our little Jersey bottle-calf. Isn’t he the cutest? He will be a little friend for Clover’s calf. She is due any day now and we are watching her anxiously. This little guy gets fed a bottle (1/2 gallon of milk at a time!) twice a day. After Clover delivers her calf we are hoping to adopt Mocha to her as well. She should have no trouble producing enough milk for the two little calves and us as well. Jerseys are crazy milk producers.
We have always encouraged the young ladies in our home to embrace their high calling of motherhood. There is no more noble thing, than raising up children. Nothing that will have more eternal effects. But we also recognize the fact that God has gifted them with time in their life to pursue other interests. This time, when they do not have a family to care for, is invaluable and should be invested wisely. They have many different areas of interest: photography, baking, sewing, animal training, and more. Lately, they have had the opportunity to invest their time into something lucrative. Katie is gifted (or not, ha!) with an engineering mind. She’s a quick thinker and you rarely have to explain things twice to her. She has taken on an engineering project for her dad that will have quite a sweet payout at the end. She is learning to manage her time more wisely, because household duties and school come before her “work”. She has proved to be a huge blessing to Jeremie, enabling him to accept more work because he knows she’s got his back. And Mia has recently accompanied Jeremie on a trip to Chicago, acting as his personal photographer. He needs pictures taken of all the electrical wiring and things (I don’t even know what) and having Mia along to snap photos cut his time on the job in half. Being an independent contractor means he can bill her hours combined with his, and she walks away with a hefty profit as well. We are constantly searching for creative ways to fill our young adults’ minds and time with productive activity and lately this has fit the bill. We never want them to feel like they are on a one-way road to nowhere. We also want to cultivate a love for God’s calling for their life in them. A delicate balance, indeed.
Today Jeremie was initiated into the Serious Cattle Rancher Society. Up to this point, when we had little boy calves, we took the pansy route and banded them. You have to do this to them to keep them from growing up into bulls. Well, upon inspection, it appeared that one such item that should have been banded had escaped. Because Jeremie runs these little steers with his registered stock of South Polls, he didn’t want to take the chance that he might get a little half breed South Poll/ Holstein cross. So, being an adept rodeo roper, Jeremie lassoed the calf, tied up his leg and castrated the calf the “big boy” way. Slice and pull, Baby. The Pioneer Woman’s MM might be proud…or horrified at our methods! Either way, it got the job done.
Tonight was Tommy’s Medal of Honor Ceremony with the local Boy Scout troop. Jeremie really had to deliberate a long time before deciding to participate in this organization. Some of the decisions being made on the national level are not Biblical. However, we feel that on the local level, there is much knowledge and skills to be gained from the scout leaders. Mr. A, in particular, is tireless in his effort to expose the boys to learning opportunities in the world of chemistry, engineering, outdoor skills, architecture and so much more. Tommy has traveled to a couple different university campuses to participate in day long workshops that have taught him so much in so many different areas. Jeremie and the younger boys usually attend the regular meeting with him, helping out wherever needed. Tonight, Tommy earned a patch for chemistry, architecture and his Tenderfoot badge. Tommy is a leader among his peers and is growing up to be a principled young man with a good work ethic.
The perfect hard boiled egg is not boiled at all, it seems. It is steamed. Fancy that!! My family loves deviled eggs. I mean each kid could eat a dozen without batting an eye. But usually it is so difficult to peel the hard boiled eggs! And if I used our fresh eggs then it was even harder. Sometimes I even resorted to buying store bought eggs, just to ensure that they were a couple months old. Because I had read that really fresh eggs wouldn’t peel nicely, no matter what. I was perusing pinterest the other day and came across an article that recommended steaming eggs, instead of boiling them. It just so happens that tomorrow we are going to a dinner and have volunteered to bring deviled eggs It was the perfect time to try out this new-fangled method. Lo and behold! It works! I put the eggs in the steamer basket insert of my large stock pot. A metal colander would work as well. After the water came to a boil, I put the lid on for 25 minutes. After the timer rang, I rinsed the eggs with cold water to cool them down immediately. Voila’ – the perfectly peeled egg. Dozens of them. Ready to be deviled. Such an easy trick! Now, I only have to remember not to over-salt the filling. Right, Joyful Mother?
These are fresh from the coop, my friends! Didn’t they peel beautifully?
Early April is sheep shearing time at our (not-so) local primitive settlement. We always love to visit the homeplace and learn more about what life was like in the 1800’s. Carding wool, splitting logs, spinning yarn, working horses. It was all so fascinating. It was a beautifully cool day. The kids were able to wash raw sheep’s wool, card it, tease it. Then they learned about spinning it and dyeing it. Later in the afternoon, they learned about splitting fence rails with wooden dogwood mauls and gluts. Everything took so much time, back in the day. But thing were made to last. None of this plastic breakable junk. Our kids are used to farm chores, so they weren’t super thrilled to take a turn at everything. But it was fun to see and fun to visit with friends. Especially in the clear, rock bottomed creek area where we ate lunch. Skipping rocks, building dams, wading. Soaking up the sunshine and the friendship. Couldn’t be beat.