Dateline: 29 May 2006
It’s been awhile since I last blogged here. Things are so busy with us here as I’m sure they are with you too.
Before I fill you in on some happenings, I want to extend a very sincere thank you to the wonderful people who have most recently written reviews of my new book. I am truly blessed when I read how my writings have resonated with and encouraged others. I am also humbled and thankful to the Lord for His goodness.
Thank you Cheri Shelnutt!
Thank you Billy Joe Jim Bob! (I had never heard of Billy Joe Jim Bob until I read his review)
Thank you Christina Fuller!
Thank you Scott Holtzman!
Now, on to a few happenings......
The Lovely Marlene is back to baking and selling her wonderful breads. The farm market starts up next month (June 15) but she has been making and delivering loaves to anxious and dedicated customers. Last week she made and sold 24 loaves to others and made 12 for us. I’ll be installing a second oven in the house for her once the market starts up.
Oh, and James the cookie-making lad has made and sold some of his famous molasses cookies with some of the bread.
This year my wife will be selling her homemade soaps at the market. She has made soap for several years and tried selling it at craft fairs but that is a lot of time spent for little return. There are no soap sellers at the Skaneateles farm market so she will be marketing soap there this year, in addition to the bread. The nice thing about soap is that, unlike bread, it’ll keep for a long time once you’ve made it.
Marlene has needed some sort of brochure to give people who buy the soap—something that tells about her product and explains how to get more. So I spent most of a rainy day last weekend putting that together for her. It’s not real professional looking but it will serve the purpose.
I’ve also designed some wooden soap display holders and am still in the process of getting them made. Tomorrow she will deliver 100 bars to a store that has bought them wholesale. There is another store that wants to sell the soap.
We are endeavoring to plant the rest of our garden this Memorial Day weekend. I have transplanted dill, parsley, onions, lavender, and zucchini seedlings that I started in the house. Yesterday I planted two beds of carrots. I love to grow carrots. There are still beets, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, and beans to plant. And I’m sure there will be more.
Working in the garden is, to me, the absolutely best part of spring, summer and fall!
I see that Emily has been blogging about the new chicks she recently bought through the mail. It has occurred to me that having chicks is like having children in the sense that a person really can’t understand the experience until you’ve had your own.
Speaking of chicks, Marlene (my favorite chick) tried to hatch out another batch of little cheepers in our styrofoam incubator. You may recall that her first attempt earlier this year resulted in only two bird births. Those birds are now enjoying the good life here on our little homestead. But the latest incubator full of eggs was a total failure. We’re doing something wrong and we don’t know what.
But there is also good news on the chick front. Our neighbor Ken called awhile back to tell us that one of his Buff Orphington hens was broody. So Marlene got some Maran eggs from other neighbor, Gail, and Ken put them under the Buff. Guess what? Every single egg hatched!
Ken brought the mother & babies in his house every night to protect them from rats. After a week or so, we brought them here. They run free during the day and we lock them up every night in a plastic dog carrier container, which is rat proof. There are wood shavings in the bottom and a tarp over the top so it’s cozy inside and the mother goes right in there by herself.
The two chicks from Marlene’s first incubator hatch go into another pet carrier each night. We were taking them into the house every night and putting them into a cardboard box, but Marlene found a second pet carrier at a garage sale for five bucks. Very handy, those pet carriers are! Rats don’t bother the older birds, but they will take the smaller ones.
Someday I’ll tell you the story of when I worked on a farm and was “attacked” by by a bunch of rats. Really!
My son, Robert, and a friend helped a neighbor farmer pick rocks for two days last week. He comes home covered from head to toe with a layer of dusty soil, It is in the pockets of his pants and in his shoes. It is a beautiful sight to see my young son working so hard and, better yet, loving it.
Robert recently completed a tractor safety course put on by the state extension. It amounted to two hours of classroom instruction one night a week for five weeks. Then he took a tractor driving test the Saturday before last. Marlene and I watched him take the driving test with some anxiety, especially the backing-up-with-a-trailer part. The fact is, he has hardly ever driven a tractor. But he has driven his grandfather’s lawnmower and has had some experience backing up a little trailer on that. He felt confident going into the test and did just fine. What a relief! We celebrated with ice cream.
Congratulations to Rick Saenz’s son, Chris, who has built a fine looking Whizbang chicken plucker. And it even works! The Saenz family gave it a try last week and I encourage you to read about it here. At the very least, check out the pictures.
Russ Nellis over at Log Cabin Homestead has written a particularly nice blog story that mentions my name. That’s not why I think it is particularly nice. What’s nice is when he says insightful and encouraging things like this:
“God wires each of us differently in order to fulfill specific purposes. When someone is wired for something you can hardly keep them away from it. Musicians gravitate towards singing and or musical instruments. Artists find things to draw, paint and sculpt. Tradesmen gravitate towards tools and building projects. The mechanically inclined towards cars and machinery. Cooks and chefs towards kitchens and food. The list goes on and on. Sure, people can learn most any skill but the best ones seem to be the ones who are born to it. The tasks are not burdensome, they are a joy.”
And like this:
“I’m just saying that we need to put away our addictions to stuff and start living out of our hearts. What has God put on your heart to do? And we all know when it is more than just a good idea. The things God has for us to do are “inspired“. When you can see the vision so strongly you can almost touch it. That I believe, is God given. We didn’t come up with it. In fact it’s too big for us to have come up with anyway. That’s how inspiration works.”
My youngest son, James, went to the library and picked himself out some books to read. One is By The Shores of Silver Lake, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It makes my heart glad when my boys choose and read books on their own. Unfortunately, they do not do this as much as I would like to see. I was more than an avid reader as a boy—I was a voracious reader.
News Flash: My oldest son, Chaz, has bought himself an electric bass guitar. He and some friends are playing music together. This is an interesting development.
Which brings to mind a new and interesting development with the old Moravia Grange Hall. I will report on it here sometime this week......