Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Outsourcing On The Farm

The Farmer has been busy for the last several months designing and building his little home away from home--his office/workshop. When he made the decision to retire, we both knew that neither one of us wanted each other to be underfoot too much. So it was decided that he had to have a place to escape to (or be sent to). J

During the late spring, summer, and early fall months, hasn't been a problem. If the sun is shining, he's outside. But as the long, dreary days of winter quickly approach, he's going to be needing a place to burrow into to make his phone calls, text his buddies, and plan his endless "to do" lists. (insert workaholic here).

The shed (aka garage) had been built years ago, but never insulated. So we are in the process of transforming it into a dry, warm haven just for him. Earlier we put some tin on the walls and insulated them (you can read about that little adventure >>>Here), but we never finished the ceiling and lights and insulation.

We've talked about it lots, but each time The Farmer would bring it up, I felt dread and despair sink into my very being at the thought of walking on ladders or scaffolding or anything else that would put me 9 feet up off the concrete floors (a little too dramatic? Hey, you ain't heard nothing yet!).

At any rate, I whined, complained, begged, pleaded, plotted and prayed until he promised to hire someone to help. So my job was outsourced to a couple of capable carpenters who has done a fantastic job!

The Farmer inspecting the work

clean-up afterwards

driving lessons

Yeah! She's Cool!!

After they are finished, we will still have a little work to do, but keeping with the outsourcing, I think we can get a neighbor to help with the insulation, and a heating/cooling expert to put in the furnace. Looks like The Farmer will be moving into his office by the end of October!

Moto E

Affordably priced,
without compromise.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Being Content

At sea...

My eyes were barely open, when the first light of day shone through the port hole. Looking out, I assured myself that the sun had not yet made her appearance. Dressing as quickly and as quietly as possible, I slipped out of the room to catch the elevator. Few people were out at this time of the morning, so grabbing a cup of coffee was not a problem.

I rushed through the dining room and out across the deck. The temperature was perfect; a little bite of cool air, yet the warmth of the day was not far behind.

Climbing the stairway to the first level wasn't high enough, so I ran up the second set of steps, and then the third. As my head popped above the staircase rail, the wind threatened to blow me back down, but I held my ground.

I quickly rushed to the starboard side on the forward deck. The wind was wild and tumultuous, but I didn't care. I loved bathing in its warmth. Peering over the side at the ocean, I was once again awestruck with the magnificent sight before me. The deep blue waves seemed as rich as velvet swirling around the ship. And as the sun rose above the horizon, there appeared to be an innumerable amount of sparkling diamonds cast upon the surface of the water. 
Oh! What a glorious sight!


Back on the farm...

I tossed and turned instead of sleeping, and although I could tell that it was morning, I couldn't begin to guess the time. Grabbing my phone, I checked the time--5:45. There was no use in lying there any longer, so I decided to get up and try to catch some quiet time before the rest of the house came to life.

After I stumbled to the kitchen to start the coffee pot, I unlocked and opened the front door and then went back into the kitchen to open the back door, too. As the coffee continued to gurgle, I glanced out the door and saw that the eastern sky was beginning to lighten up. It wouldn't be long now.

A few short minutes later, I had my coffee in hand and I slipped out the back door. Although there was a cool breeze blowing, the warmth of the day was already in the air.

The few clouds that were drifting in the sky were beginning to brighten, and turn pink. Soon the orange orb began to slowly rise upon the horizon, and I watched it grow larger as it continued on its path. The sun's light began to shine upon the dew, and the cows appeared to be nibbling on a field of sparkling diamonds that had been strewn across the pasture. 
Oh! What a glorious day!


In case you can't tell, I'm feeling a little poetic today. What thought inspired this provocative prolific prose? I'm glad you asked!
The other evening as The Farmer and I were sitting out on the front porch (him sitting, me swinging), enjoying the beautiful autumn evening, a thought came to me.

          "…be content with such things as you have…" (Heb. 13:5)

The joy and relaxation I felt at that moment here on the farm was just as glorious as the moments I had enjoyed on my recent cruise.

Speaking my thoughts out loud, I said to The Farmer, "Why would I ever go anyplace else when the farm has everything I need? It's so peaceful and the weather is so beautiful; and it's absolutely free!"

"I know, we're really blessed here," The Farmer quickly agrees. "So, what are you fixing for supper?"

…Oh, yeah, now I remember …J

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Undeniable Victory

I'm not sure where they came from, or how they got here, but I knew what their plans were: to take over, to consume our belongings, to overtake us. And I knew I had to stop them…
In the beginning, I hadn't thought much about them. I had seen a couple of them milling around and hadn't really even cared. I had my own cares and concerns, and really didn't see them as a threat. But as time passed, I noticed that their numbers began increasing; soon there was a small army hanging around. Alarms began going off in my brain, like tingling senses, warning me that an invasion may be inevitable
And as if I had prophesied my own fate, they began coming into our home, invading our privacy, going through all that we owned, as if it were their own, and I couldn't stop it. Nothing was sacred, nothing was out of their reach, and I felt all hope was gone. I had no idea of how to get rid of these invaders. I wasn't a woman of violence, and I knew I would not be able to get a hold of the authorities in time.
But then it came to me…a delicious, delectable plan that would win the hearts of my nemeses and happily send them back to their own land. I would prepare a feast for them. Food is a binding element.  What better way to bring peace and harmony to any situation?
So I busied myself making my "guests" comfortable, quietly preparing what I knew they would love. They seemed to not notice as I busied myself gathering up all the ingredients I would need to prepare them a mouth watering meal of irresistible flavors. When I finished, I knew I couldn't get them all into one room, so I served them wherever they were. Some were in the kitchen, others were in the dining room, but most had gathered in the sitting room.
I placed the food in front of them, being careful not to startle or offend, and to my joy they began consuming all that I gave them. I could see the excitement, none of them held back. I gave them seconds, and they were grateful. How pleased they were that this great feast was given in their honor. They had come expecting to have to work at getting everything they wanted, and found hospitality instead.
As I stood back to watch, I felt a little smile form upon my lips. I had conquered these intruders all by myself. Not with strength, nor power, but with poison! Everything they were eating had been poisoned. Soon they would feel the effects…but not too soon, the poison was slow acting and they would be far away before they knew what I had done. They would take the left-overs back to their families and comrades, who would eventually be overcome as well.
The thrill of victory swelled in my veins as I contemplated the fate of each warrior, wreathing in agony as the poison slowly effected their vital organs. And as their loved ones came to their rescue, or their comfort, they too would be effected and eventually die.
Oh! How sweet the thrill of undeniable victory!
“As long as we have faith in our own cause and an unconquerable will to win, victory will not be denied us.”
― Winston Churchill

Each year we are overrun with ants for a short time. As soon as I see one, I know there are more present, I just have to find their trail. That being done, I place Terro in their path, and after they gather around and consume the sweet liquid, they take it back to their nest to infect the rest of their colony. 

I can't help but feel sweet satisfaction (pun intended) :) 

If they would stay outside where they belong, I wouldn't have to be so vicious! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Home Schooling Moment

I can't believe the summer has ended--well, officially on 9/21--but as far as the season goes and homeschooling, the summer has come to an abrupt end. Daughter #4 is preparing to take college classes, so I only have Daughter #5 to homeschool this year. What a difference! The school closet is cleaned out and I had enough books handed down from previous "students" that I didn't have to purchase any books this year. She's not excited about that, but The Farmer is!

It's kind of a bittersweet moment thinking about all the time and effort we've put into this homeschooling thing. The preparation, the cost, the frustration, the head-butting, (and banging). But all-in-all, it produces a pretty good return on our investment.

What satisfaction to think that I was the one responsible for teaching them their letters and sounds, and hearing them form their first word and listening to them begin to read everything they see; a sign, a note, the back of a cereal box... And watching them as they figure out the curves in cursive writing; writing their name over and over on papers, napkins, and even the plastic table cloths at a church banquet (fortunately, they're disposable). Or the repetition of math facts, spelling words, Scripture memorization, and the constant call (from me) to "get busy". 

Of course the greatest evidence of a successful student is seeing each one becoming an adult, and successfully going on to begin their own life as a wife or a husband, or take on a new job or career. And whichever road they decide to go down, I'm excited for them. Such is the circle of life. 

But as I said, I still have one more learner here, and for at least three more years I'll be a homeschooling mom. So, today being the first day of our new school year, the sweet, familiar sounds of homeschool begin once again: "Aww, come on Mom, do I really need to know this!"

1st day of Algebra 1...Looks like it's going to be a long year!!

Fortunately, a science project always makes the day a little more enjoyable. :)

If you have ever thought about home schooling, here are a few resources you may find helpful:

And if you are in the throes of your own homeschooling experience, here are a few encouraging resources:

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Farmer Has Retired

When I look at people who have been working for a long time, it seems to me that they all fall into at least three different groups when it comes to the subject of retirement: 1) Those who fear retirement, 2) Those who can’t seem to acquire enough for retirement, and 3) Those who use work as a means to retirement.

The Farmer belongs to the last group. He’s a hard worker, and he has used a lot of his hard-working years to save up for retirement. He has never been able to sit and enjoy taking time off. I think it’s because he’s had his eye on a greater goal…retirement.

He typically left the house very early, and had at least a 45-minute drive to work. He was very diligent; working in the rain, snow, sleet and hail (the postman had nothing on him). He would often work late, go to bed early, and get up “Grumpy” (me), so I could fix his lunch for the day.

However, that has all changed. He has retired from his “real” job, and he’s learning to live an entirely different way. He’s sleeping in a bit later (I’m afraid that may change when the weather gets warmer), he refuses to go out and work in the rain or snow, and he’s spending way too much time contemplating.

As a son of a farmer, he learned early to work hard. He began following his father around and helping him with whatever he was doing. In fact, some of his most precious memories are chasing his dad out the door as he went out to do some work on the farm. They were always fixing vehicles and machinery or repairing fences. Lots of time was spent clearing the land, picking up rocks, and creating brush piles. And of course there was always wood to be cut, animals to be tended to, and an occasional building project.

Although he has retired from his real job, he has not retired from farming. These next few years are the years we have both been working towards; the years we can spend enjoying the farm. We are raising cattle, instead of building the herd. We get to look out off our porch at fields of grasses, instead of clearing land. And we get to enjoy the things around us, instead of always wanting more.

Oh, that doesn’t mean there won’t be building projects, and machinery to work on, or fences that will need mending, but for the most part he has plans of putting up hay, watching the cattle grow, and enjoying all that God has allowed us to acquire.

This brings to mind a story in which Christ told concerning covetousness. He said that a farmer spent his whole life building for himself. He had land, built barns, and gained riches. One day he stopped and looked at all he had acquired and decided to tear his barns down and build bigger barns to hold more of the things that he wanted. But before he could do that, God ended his life here on earth.

The Bible records that he was a fool, not because he achieved so much, but because as he gained everything he could to benefit himself, and never gave thought to prepare for eternity. Jesus said, “...beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.” But we are to seek God’s redemption first, and then live according to His blessings.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Mark 8:36

No matter what riches you have this side of Heaven (or lack thereof), if you do not prepare for eternity, in the end you will lose everything.

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:34