Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Twas The Day Before Christmas

Twas the Day Before Christmas and all through the house, there was a last minute project waiting for its final touch !    Sewing still on the dinning room table, wrapping paper on the floor of the living room, with piles of ribbon strewn all about.  Cookies were baking and bread was rising.   Christmas music was playing and I was singing.   A perfect morning. 
I have had bronchitis, so getting things done in the time frame I had planned, just didn't happen, but I am on the mend, and my hands are busy once again, just as I like.   Mei-Ling is doing well, a change in medication and still waiting on tests and all those Doctors meeting to discuss what they think, hoping to find the reason and a fix for her high ammonia levels.  Mei-Ling feels a bit uneasy, knowing and understanding what happened and wondering if it will happen again.  A lot for a child of 7 to have on her mind. 
We have no snow, not even winter cold weather, but it will come in time, I have no doubt.  Its just nice to have it feel like Christmas at Christmas time.  I really should live in the north !
Today, I wish you all, a Very Merry Christmas, a day of love, of family and friends, and of joy for what the day is really about.  
Merry Christmas !

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December Morning

A gray winter sky, cold and damp air reminds me of a wool fleece fly high in the sky.   Woolly clouds that beg to be carded and spun into magical yarn.   The smell of wood smoke filling the land with a homey kind of scent.  Chores take a bit longer this morning, my eyes cast upward, watching the clouds zoom by, changing by the second.  I smile thinking about the phrase, "head in the clouds" because that's where mine is today.  Dreamy kind of morning.  The cold, fresh air feels to incredibly good filling my lungs.  I breathe deeply, inhaling extra long.  The critters act as if they understand.  I hear the sounds of the chain saw being started and know, its the morning for wood cutting at our house.  Logs needing to be shortened and later split.  Its good working outside.  Mistletoe above me, loaded with berries.  Seems like there is more of it around this year.   A few red leaves cling to the Red Oak tree, a pretty contrast to the gray sky.  Nature is the perfect decorator.   Smiling to myself I think of how right at this moment my dinning room table has a white and gray table cloth, with a touch of red to it.  Same colors as the view from where I stand.  
If we look around, take the time to really see things in nature, we become filled with a sense of wonder and appreciation for the perfection of color blending, for the perfection of shapes and sounds.  Life is good.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Prayer Needed For Mei-Ling

Yesterday, Mei-Ling was admitted into the Children's hospital with high ammonia levels once again.   She is one sick little girl.   As of yet, they have not discovered the cause of the high ammonia levels, many tests have been done and they are now waiting for the results of some testing done a couple weeks ago to see if its a metabolic problem.  We would so appreciate prayer for her.  She feels terrible and we are all worried for her, yet we rest in knowing God is in control and He is a loving God.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Edgar, The Watch Crow

This is a picture of Edgar, our resident, friendly and somewhat tame Crow.   We have fed him for several years and he has a couple of buddies that come daily with him to the Crow feeder, we named them, Allen and Poe.   Edgar is huge by Crow standards.  He likes his food and comes in three times a day, breakfast is about 8 am, lunch at 12 and supper at 5.  You could set a watch by him.  He hops around with the ducks, has been know to take a cooling bath in the ducks pool on a hot summer day.  Hangs out with the chickens at times and provides us with hours of entertainment.  Not once has he ever touched our garden or fruit trees.   He likes what we feed him and is content with that.  Yesterday, Edgar gained immense respect from us.  Emery was in the kitchen and heard a real ruckus from the chickens in the yard.  He looked out to see two Red Tailed Hawks going after the chickens.  The female hawk was probably the largest Red Tailed we had ever seen.  She was sitting on the roof of Emery's work shop, maybe 25 ft from our back door.  On the cottonwood tree, was the smaller male hawk, ready to help in the kill, that is until Edgar, Allen and Poe arrived.  Edgar swooped in to attack the female hawk. Allen and Poe went after the smaller male. The crows were great at chasing off the Hawks and keeping the chickens safe.  No I know the crows were no doubt just protecting their territory but it worked out for us as well.  Today, Edgar got a special treat for keeping all our chickens safe.   Love my crows !

Monday, December 01, 2014

A Treat For Me

The little girls went into the Fiber Arts building with me to pick out some roving for spinning and they came up with a lovely wool/silk blend that is spinning up quite nicely.   I had to finish a bobbin of some merino that I had started first though.
Emery found an apple peeler for me, so my hands will not get so tired next year when it comes time to can apples.  Fun  treats for me to enjoy !

Family Fun At Homestead Heritage

What fun we all had.  The children made clay pots, have a hay ride, see lots of animals, enjoy a healthy lunch, and run and play.  Mei-Ling has a wheel chair for when her legs begin to hurt from too much walking.  The children were tired by the end of the day and most of them slept all the way home.

Some Handcrafted Items from Homestead Heritage 2014

These are done by children or young adults in the community

Thanksgiving Thankfulness

The entire family was here for Thanksgiving dinner, which we did celebrate a day late, so that everyone could be here.  What fun we had !  So much to be thankful for.  I made plenty of pies, so that each family could take one home with them.  On Saturday, we all met at Homestead Heritage, a family tradition for the past 25 years !   How fun it was to see another generation of little ones enjoy seeing the animals and going on a hayride.  Our family nearly took up the entire wagon.  How blessed we feel to have such a close family, and that we enjoy being together.   Life is good and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on all the blessings we have in our lives. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

"Thankful For What ? "

Thankful for What ?
Not for the mighty world, oh, Lord, tonight,
Nations and kingdoms in their fearful might;
Let me be glad the kettle gently sings,
Let me be thankful... just for the little things.
Thankful for simple food and supper spread,
Thankful for shelter and a warm, clean bed,
For little joyful feet that gladly run
To welcome me when my day's work is done.
Thankful for friends who share my joy and mirth,
Glad for the warm, sweet fragrance of the earth,
For golden pools of sunlight on the floor,
For peace that bends above my lowly door.
For little friendly days that slip away
With only meals and bed, and work and play,
A rocking-chair and kindly shining light,
For little things... let me be glad tonight
~Edna Jaques~

Looking out the living room window, watching the smoke from the chimney mix in with the branches of the Red Oak
More color in the trees than I have seen in many years here.

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Busy Week

Its been a busy week, as most of my weeks are.  By choice.  I like to be busy.  Working hard during the day, always gives me sweet sleep at night and there is something very comforting to me, knowing I did not waste the hours given me.  Now, I know how to take breaks and rest too, and my busy-ness is at my own pace these days, but still, I am no fan of idle moments.  I can thank my Mennonite years for this mindset.  I grew up spoiled in regard to working.  I never did dishes growing up or picked my toys up.  I learned how to do many crafts as a young lady, and learned to cook but never had to clean up after myself. Living on our homestead and seeing the other Mennonite women, work joyfully and with a contentment I had never known in my youth, was a major turning point in my life.   I am forever grateful for learning what it means to work with joy in my heart.  This week, I had fun making a Sami style jacket and hat for Axel.  Celebrating his Sami roots. His other Grandmother is Finnish heritage and Emery has Sami roots way back in his family line.  It was fun sewing all those beautiful trims on the outfit for Axel. (my childhood doll, now 56 years old, is the model)  I had been collecting these woven trims for several years and this seemed to be the perfect project to use them on.
Yesterday, I spent time in the kitchen making Gingered Cranberry Sauce with Maple Syrup
It tastes wonderful and doubling the recipe yielded 6 pints.    
After a busy afternoon, I sat down for an old fashioned treat.  My grandmother, a fine woman from Nova Scotia, taught me to love this simple fare.  Bread, butter and molasses.  Perfect treat for a busy afternoon.   I think its a bit unfortunate that we have forgotten so many of those simple treats of days gone by.  Time for me to get busy with the chores of the day.  On the sewing table, two skirts to be made and a flannel blanket for Axel.   May your day be blessed.

Monday, November 17, 2014

First Snow

Snow flurries in North Texas always creates a big stir.  Snow flurries in November creates big news.  It was only a dusting for us but still, it was exciting. My old New England sensibilities, make me chuckle a bit, thinking about folks getting excited about some snow flurries that just sprinkle the ground like powdered sugar.  Granted, it was cold this morning and I did enjoy seeing the white stuff around but inside I am thinking about the blizzards I have been through and wind chills to -50 F.   We had a low of 23 F this morning with a wind chill of 13 and it felt plenty cold getting out of bed.   Getting the fire going in the stove was the first order of business.  Two pieces of newspaper and two pine cones to get it going quick.  I didn't want to have to baby those flames along.   Emery was busy hauling out hot water for the critters to drink.  They were all very appreciative.   As soon as the fire was holding its own, I was out in the kitchen stirring oatmeal and making coffee.  At the breakfast table, we had a bit of a laugh.  Our layers of clothes, nothing really matching, made us look like a couple of hobos.  We were warm and content, not the least bit concerned about fashion.  There is a great deal a freedom in that.  Not concerned with style just comfort.  Well, I do draw the line with the new mindset that allows you to shop in your pajama's.  That's just wrong to me.  Not wanting to crawl into bed in pants whose cuffs have mopped the floor of a store !  And, even I think that look is tacky.  We see it all too often at our Wal-Mart.   Just isn't proper.  
We have been burning through the wood this morning at a high rate, but its warming up outside and the house is toasty warm now.  Bread in the oven and the canner is bubbling up great puffs of steam as the man jars of green tomato jelly gets their bath.   Life is good.  God is good.  

A New Year

It is a silent sort of morning, sitting next to the wood stove in my rocker, watching the birds outside my windo...