Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mei-Ling




Please keep Mei-Ling in your prayers...tomorrow morning is her big procedure that will determine what kind of surgery they will be doing. She will be put under pretty early in the morning and it may take most of the day. The thought of her having any pain, just breaks my heart.
We went to the zoo today since the weather was gorgeous and after tomorrow Mei-Ling may not feel much like doing anything for a while.
At one point, some fighter jets flew over pretty low, (a base near-by) and Mei-Ling got scared and hid in the bushes.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring Has Sprung




Being True To Yourself

We often hear the phrase, "be true to yourself" but do we ever sit and consider what that really means ? Being true to yourself is more than just "being yourself" its more about not sweeping the truths we hold dearly under the carpet for a few minutes, for a couple days, for a month or so or for years. Its about not lying to ourselves for whatever reason. Its about doing what we know in our hearts to be right, true etc without regard to what others might think, or about trying to win friends by our actions, our lifestyle, what we own, what we don't own. Its a hard place to stand at times, since we are constantly bombarded by the television and other media forms telling us we are less than, if we don't have this attitude or own this or that. The only problem to these ads is that they never give you more than a glossy picture, they leave out the part that being happy is an internal thing, a heart matter, and yes, being true to yourself, to the truth you hold in your heart. No matter how many things we acquire, they are surface items, decorations with no power to make us better people. Some items can make our life easier, but that's not always in our best interest either. People suffered less diabetes, obesity and heart problems when we sat less, worked harder.
I think that for myself, adding more trappings to my life makes it harder to even remember how to be myself, to be true to myself, the truths I hold dear. Hard to see the forest for the trees sort of thing.
Every once in a while I listen to the rhetoric out there, get caught up in the notions others seem to want to ram down our throats about what success looks like and I find myself wandering off the trail that God has so graciously laid out before me and pretty soon I feel myself wandering down some pretty lane that has no meaning for me personally. I am very human.
I like our simple living, our small house, our land that looks more functional than beautiful. I like my quiet morning rambles around the place, finding beauty in the things God made.
Being true to myself means knowing what truth really is and remembering its not something you can purchase.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Any Day Now !

Licorice is about ready to have her kids. They should arrive any day now. Thursday is her actual due date but she looks more than ready now. Her udder is nice and full and her ligaments are "gone" as we say in the goat world.
I am anxious for new babies around. Love feeding them their bottles and playing with them. They are due the very same day Mei-Ling has a big procedure done, one in which she will have to be orally sedated and there is a lot riding on the results of this particular test, so would love many prayers for her. This test takes a couple hours and the recovery time for it can be up to a week in some children.
I will be watching Yen while Melanie and Casi take Mei-Ling into the hospital, so hopefully no kids will be born while I am watching him. Hard to take care of a couple of new born kids with a tiny baby in my arms !

Soon we will be able to quote Proverbs 27:27 again with accuracy for our family, although I don't happen to have any servants !
"You will have plenty of goats' milk to feed you and your family and to nourish your servant girls."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring Beauty

I used to think winter was my favorite season, but this year, it seems Spring is the most glorious time of the year to me. The air smells so fresh and good. The sunshine so warm and tonic like. The March winds seem to make all of nature dance together perfectly. The skies are so blue and the grass, such deep vibrant green. And the best is yet to come...wildflowers will be appearing all over North Texas in the next few weeks. Some are popping up already. We saw our first indian paintbrush yesterday and the wet cold winter has produced a profusion of grape Hyacinth all over peoples front lawns and the roadsides.
Our garden is doing well, the tender vegetation made it through the cold spell with no harm done and in the warm days since, has grown at a rate almost as noticeable as in time lapse photography. We have been eating collard greens and cabbage as its come to the end of its season for us. Planted in September, it kept us well over the winter months.
Baby goats are due any day now. Licorice looks as if she swallowed a barrel. She groans when she lays down and it takes her longer to get up. Any woman that has had a child can sympathize with her. Faith is not so big, perhaps just one kid for her. But both goats have big full udders already. One of the stray kittens that we have been trying to catch, without success, looks rather fat too. We had hoped to get everyone fixed that wanders into our barn, but this one is a sly cat and is faster than we are. I suspect there will be kittens soon.
I am looking forward to fresh goat milk and goat cheese once again. And in spring, there are always flowers to be picked and placed around the house. The wisteria is about to bloom and there are rose buds on many of my rose bushes. This time of year is full of delight for all the senses and I like that.
grape Hyacinth on our front lawn

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Time Flies







For some reason this week is just flying by and I am having very little time on the computer. I am praying for a quiet day tomorrow so I can catch up with blogging.
Lots of good things happening and lots of things to keep me busy.

Last night I wanted to surprise Emery with a special meal as a thank-you to him...he surprised me with a gorgeous Prada handbag yesterday, its the softest leather shoulder bag I have ever seen.
I am all girl and even though we live simply, I would never turn down a gift like that. So wildly extravagant and certainly a gift that makes me feel a bit spoiled !
Here are a few pictures from our meal and hopefully tomorrow I can catch everyone up with the happenings around our little farm.
Chicken L'orange with sauteed asparagus, not sure why the chicken looks dark in the photo, it wasn't in person !
for dessert, pistachio gelato
served with Champagne of course.

Monday, March 22, 2010

O.K. Now Its Really Springtime

Every spring I experience the same sort of "coming back to life". I love winter for many reasons but it is a time when I want to hibernate and just stay home, layer on the warm woolens and just slow down. Then Spring arrives and something awakens in me that I like, its this youthful enthusiasm that if I could paint a picture of it, it would be spring flowers, blue skies, birds flying, the greenest grass, a child hopping and skipping with ribbons trailing behind her. And if I could add to that the scent of this enthusiasm, it would be of lilacs, jasmine, honey locust and hyacinths all rolled into one marvelous smell.
Spring awakens in me the need to step up my appearance too. I start to think of dresses, of eating better, leaner. I get my hair done and put on make up, not much mind you. I clean out the closet and plan a warm weather wardrobe. Classic style. I start to evaluate what I need around the house. What haven't I used in a year, in the last six months. What am I holding on to that is holding me back. Too much stuff holds us back, makes us feel enslaved. This is the time of the year I sit looking around each room, dreaming of what I would really like it to look like, not just what I think people expect me to have around or what will impress people.
I love this awakening after a long winters nap. Its vibrant, alive, exciting and a time when energy flows through me at super speed. So, time to throw away the old tee shirts, worn out jeans that kept me comfortable in the winter and get out the fashion books. Re-read my all time favorite book of inspiration for life, " French Women Don't Get Fat" which has so much more to do with life than just what and how we eat. Its about living with control yet love of life.
Yes, spring is here and the world feels so alive and I like that !

Saturday, March 20, 2010

All Set for Snow and Cold




Harry followed me around as I worked in the garden...he was looking a bit perplexed by this sudden cold weather and finally gave up being by my side and headed for his warm house on the porch. Plum blossoms on the ground look a bit like huge flakes of snow and birds sit on an old feeder, their size difference reminding me of something that should be on a scale.
Colorful buckets and containers cover tender plants. And while I was outside taking the photos, a few snow flakes were flying. What a strange first day of spring for North Texas !

Lunch For One


Emery is at work today so the table for lunch is set for one. To chase away the dreariness of the day, candles and a pot of coffee.

A Little Visitor




This little Tufted Titmouse gave me some real entertainment !

Its Winter, No Matter What The Calendar Says


No matter what the calendar says, winter is here. We woke to heavy rain and high winds and by the feel of the floor against my bare feet, much colder temperatures. A strong cold front blew in during the early morning hours, with wind so strong that for the first time ever, rain was forced down the chimney and made its way down the stove pipe. At first we though the ceiling around the stove must be leaking, but thankfully no, just rain forced down the pipe and dripping from the stove pipe. Once we had a fire built, there was a bit of a spit and sputtering but the little bit of moisture soon was heated away.
I have spend the better part of the morning covering the plants we put in last weekend. All sorts of plastic containers and plastic sheeting cover the long rows. Its a bit comical looking out there with all the colors and shapes of containers. But, at this point, aesthetics don't count, saving the plants is what matters. So glad I filled all the bird feeders yesterday so the little singers could eat all the food they needed to keep their bodies warm on this wintry day.
The goats and chickens had no interest in stepping out of their warm and cozy homes, for which I don't blame them one bit.
The wind chills are in the 20's today which after a few days of being near 70 degrees, feels mighty cold. There is a chance that our rain will turn to snow later this afternoon into evening with perhaps accumulations of up to 1 inch. What a snowy year this has been for us !
The stove feels so good and I am very happy Emery convinced me to leave at least one pair of wool socks out of the box of winter things that made their way to the attic.
This day calls for some hot chocolate and a good book !

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Weather and Farming

The forecast for the next couple days is not one I wanted to see, not after planting so much of the garden. We just don't have this kind of crazy weather very often and this year we even planted nearly a month later than last year. We decided to hold off since it was so cold and snowy.
The forecast is calling for wind chills in the teens with a possibility of snow flurries. Back east, I knew the last snow flurries to be called, "poor mans fertilizer" but here, with tender tomatoes planted, it means one thing, "hurry to get the plants covered !" The fruit trees are full of blossoms which can also mean disaster for our crops if it gets really cold. I count my blessings that although we try to grow a lot of our food, we don't have to depend on what we grow. We still have money to shop for food and the stores are always full. I do love picking ripe and ready to eat organic fruits and vegetables that we know all about. Know the seeds, know they are not genetically modified and know what the land around the garden is like too.
We have successfully dealt with hard freezes after planting so we know what to do, but still, its not ideal.
With our eating habits changed a bit due to the CHIP way of eating, but we have personally tweeked it to fit our life. The garden has been a huge blessing to us. Freshly picked collard greens, carrots and cabbage fill our plates regularly and boy do they taste good. A few stray potatoes also have appeared when cultivating where they grew last year. The soil has kept them better than any root cellar could.
Licorice looks about ready to deliver and if she is like so many of our goats through history, she will pick this upcoming cold night to give birth, which means I will be out there in the barn, all bundled up...oh wait....we put the winter clothes in the attic already ! Well, I will be layered with clothes I guess, waiting for the blessed event to take place. I like to be there to watch that all goes well and since we milk our does, we take the kids away at birth and bottle feed them. It just works out better for so many reasons. The kids bond with us and make for a more gentle animal to handle. We feed the kids their mothers milk. The way things are done in most dairy's around the world.
I have noticed a few honey bees around my fruit trees in the last couple of days, which to me is a good sign. Hope we see more. We had hives but when killer bees were discovered within 15 miles of us, we opted to not keep bees. With children outside playing all the time, that just presented us with a risk we were not willing to take.
Just filled all my bird feeders and had to chase away a flock of grackles. Those are not birds I want hanging around. Noisy, messy and just plain invasive.

I feel so blessed to be alive, to be so loved and to love. I feel blessed to have faith and hope and to know there is more to life than what we see. Life is good, it really is.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It is for this kind of morning....




It is for this kind of morning that makes living on one income worth it, if for no other reason than that I have the time and the simple lifestyle to enjoy just this kind of moment. All the things we "miss out on" according to the modern social standards, are nothing to what I can see, and experience just by doing my chores. Just to step out the back door onto the porch and be greeted with enthusiasm by Harry, have a trail of three cats follow me to the barn for their breakfast, be surrounded by birdsong and breathe in the clear cool air of a March morning. To walk past a well tended garden and spy a couple of squirrels chasing one another round and round the big trunk of the cotton wood tree, is entertainment money could never buy. It is soul food, and spiritual food.
To walk up to the pasture and catch the faint, yet profound scent of the apricot blossoms. Then to see the most glorious sight, dew hanging on the tips of each blade of vibrant green grass with the golden morning sun shining on each one. No chandelier could ever contain such sparkle.
For just this kind of morning, I am thankful.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

50 Things That Make Me Happy


Every once in a while I sit down and make a list of 50 things in my life that make me happy. It sounds a bit daunting to make up such a large list the first time around, but after that, you begin to see that we have so many things in our lives that put a smile on our faces or give us that quiet deep feeling that comes from the heart felt sort of happy things.
Today, Casi had the day off so he watched the children while Melanie and I went out for coffee. Every mom needs a little grown up time once in a while. We just ran an errand to the store and stopped at Starbucks for a coffee. We weren't gone long at all but it was a sweet moment in time to be able to just chat as adults. It was a special treat for us and it got me thinking about the number of things in my life that make me happy. Here is my list for today.
1. Being in love, and being loved.
2. Emery
3. Being friends with my daughters
4. Mei-Lings running up to me with arms wide open saying, "hugs"
5. Yen smiling
6. Elizabeth's giggles
7. The garden
8. Watching the birds at my feeders
9. Spring time with all the new life around me
10. Windows open
11. Incense burning
12. Tie dye socks
13. My feather bed
14. Feeling healthy
15. Holding hands with Emery
16. Tea time
17. Gathering eggs
18. Being able to walk barefoot again after a long winter
19. Finding the perfect music to match the mood
20. Honesty
21. Optimism
23. Soft green grass
24. That my son in laws are really good people
25. pizza
26. Catching a word or two I know in Chinese
27. Laundry flapping in the breeze on the line
28. Having the dishes done
29. Picking vegetables from the garden
30. Spinning wool
31. When my girls call and say they love me
32. Freedom to be me
33. Long conversations with Emery
34. The sound of my wind chimes
35. The wood stove
36. Hiking
37. Eating healthy
38. Spiral Diner
40. Playing dolls with Mei-Ling
41. My camera
42. My iPhone
43. Being able to talk to Emery throughout the day
44. Silence from time to time
45. No big drama in my life
46. Reading a good book
47. Hope
48. Roses in bloom
49. Wildflowers
50. Running

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sunday Blessings

Soft music, the gentle kind of music that makes you feel content with life... the view from the window as I sit and spin at the wheel makes ...