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.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower.

~ Albert Camus ~

looking out my living room window

A Taste of Winter

Flannel shirt, jeans, wool socks and a warm cozy fire.  Our first winter like day.  Eggs just gathered, frying on the wood stove, hot cocoa with marshmallows in steaming cups on the table.  Toasted slices of cranberry pistachio bread, sit on the plates.  Its a perfect morning.  Wind blowing outside, tossing leaves from their branches and flying through the air like wondrous confetti.  Acorns, walnuts, pecans and pine cones falling on the tin roof of the barn, causing me to jump each time a new one falls. This is my second most favorite time of the year.  Winter holding first place.  This is the time of preparations, of settling in for the cold weather ahead.  Soon enough, the brief but welcome by me, snow will fly for a day or two here in Texas and I will sit and enjoy the blanket of purity that will cover the land and create that winter silence that delights my soul.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

An Ordinary Day, Or Is It ?

For me, ordinary days are not always so ordinary.  To be honest I am not even sure I know what an ordinary day would look like.  There are just too many variables in my life to have much of a routine.  But there is a theme through each day, and perhaps that is where I can claim some connection to the word "ordinary"    Well, after I wrote that, I shook my head and thought aloud, "no, it seems to me that each and every day is honestly "extraordinary". 
Just waking up, makes each day so much more than ordinary.   Seeing the blue sky with clouds that look like wool stuck to a fence makes the day special.  Hearing my grandson tell me, "Grammie, you have a good "program" going here, you can watch birds right from the porch" or seeing jars of bright red candy jelly, sparkle in the sunlight as I remove them from their hot bath. Its just the simple things, things that money doesn't buy that make each day extraordinary.  Rocking a little one to sleep.  Holding hands with the one you love.  Hearing a bird sing.  To sit in silence, with time to talk to God.  So many things we often take for granted are the very things that make our day, something more than ordinary. 

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Creating A Life You Don't Need A Vacation From

Now that my husband is retired, it seems that many folks assume we will be heading off on one adventure after another, travelling the world, seeing new things etc etc etc.  And, yes, we have spent a few hours thinking we would love to go here or there but then we always seem to end up laughing about our plans because they have a theme, the same theme, over and over.  Go so place nice and quiet, where we can sit by the fire, sit on a porch and watch the beauty of nature all around us.  Do some hiking and just enjoy each others company.  Sounds wonderful, and then we realize that we are making these plans while sitting on the back porch, watching Red Shouldered Hawks fly past us.  Observe our friendly crows, Edgar, Allen and Poe, come in for their meals, three times a day, like clockwork.  Or in the evening we listen to the coyotes yip and hear the foxes scream off in the distance, while the Great Horned Owls call one another from their respective trees.  We often make these amazing trip plans while sitting by our own fire.  We laugh, because in reality, we have created a life right here, that we have no need to escape from.  Both of us have traveled and seen the places  we wanted to see for the most part.  When our children were young, we showed them the bigger world around them, and now, we have just the haven we want to spend our time at.   How we love our gardens, and watching our chickens and ducks.  How we enjoy the bird watching we get to do right here from the comfort of our home.  How we love to sleep soundly in our own feather bed, comfy and warm, with no fear of bed bugs !  
I remember reading a story once about this very busy wealthy man that NEEDED a vacation bad,  He had to get away from the rush and demands of his executive life.  So, he booked a trip to a obscure fishing village in the south seas.   He savored each and every moment of this solitude and each morning he would watch this lone fisherman, take off in his tiny boat, fish for a few hours, come back with his daily catch before noon and then spend the rest of his day playing with his children and even taking a nap on a hammock hanging off the porch of his simple home.   The wealthy man approached him one day and said, this place is a goldmine waiting to be discovered.   If you would just invest some money in making a big resort hotel, you would have thousands of guests and make so much money, you would have everything you want.   The wise fisherman, paused a moment and relied, "If I do as you suggest, then I would be too busy to enjoy all the things you have come here to enjoy.  I would then have to take a vacation like you to a place that is exactly like the one I already have".  The wealthy man understood.  The richest people on earth are the ones that have a life, they don't need a vacation from.   As I strolled around our homestead this morning and went about my chores, I think we have created just such a life for ourselves and I think, we don't need to get away to anywhere.  We have it all right here.  

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Prayers Please

Our daughter Melanie was admitted to the hospital yesterday.  She is very sick, fever, vomiting, rapid heart rate, and she was having trouble breathing.  As of tonight, they have no idea what is causing her to be so sick.  Would appreciate prayer for her and for the doctors so that our girl can be feeling good again.   Her little ones are missing her so much. And, its so hard to see her so sick.  

Saturday, November 01, 2014

A Morning Ramble

Its been a very busy morning.  Emery is down the road building a chicken house for our daughter and I have been busy peeling apples for more apple pie filling to can.  We woke to a rather chilly morning, 36 F (2 C) so the first order of business was to get chores done and build a good fire in the stove.  While doing chores we discovered a mole seems to like the nice soft soil of our back garden as well as we do.   Naturally, it will be a territory war at some point.    
I love being busy, which you would know instantly if you were to visit us.  Next to my corner of the sofa is a large basket of knitting projects and in another corner of the room you would see wool needed to be spun into yarn and some just waiting to be needle felted into toys for the little ones.   At present, our dinning room table has three cases of canning jars on one end and the sewing machine on the other end with a quilting project laid out.  On the chair next to the sewing machine, more diapers to be sewn for grandson.  By next weekend, the projects will be finished and more will take their place.   Emery has just as many projects going and we like it that way.   Never time to be bored or be anything other than Thankful for a full and busy life.   Each day, more now than ever, I thank God for the richness of my life.  Daily feeling fulfilled, content and complete.   And best of all, we now have the time to realize all of our blessings.   There are some real benefits to getting old !

Much To Catch Up....

In mid January, we saw the passing of my father and after nearly two years of caring for him, it was so hard to see him leave u...