Monday, June 20, 2016

Father's Day and Father's Party

From our Father's Day / Father Van Vliet's 20th ordination anniversary celebration. 

I really enjoy having people visit us here! This house was made for parties and the property for adventuring. The hills and trees make it feel much bigger. We have dense woods and trails where you might feel lost for a moment until you get to know it.

I didn't take many pictures but visited and soaked it all in. Enjoyed talking to people I really find incredible! I didn't grab the camera but for a few moments. We had a great crowd. A few years back we had a surprise party for Father with many more people, over a hundred.  We had it mostly outdoors at our our old house. It was shady and pleasant and worked well. This year was too humid and I really wanted to spend it inside and sadly, I cut the guest list.  I invited people I knew Father would enjoy and we all would enjoy each other. We have great families in our parish to draw from. We had three large families in addition to ours and enjoyed kids everywhere! We also invited some older couples and individuals who have worked so tirelessly on the church property these almost five years. Betty came, the sweet, generous lady who donated the land to our parish. She loves farm life and spent a lot of time outside looking over the changes we've made since she was here last. She paints and plans on painting pictures from photos she took. 

Many haven't been here since we first moved in and had only recently had the foundation repaired, so then, the sheet rock was still crumbling. So much repair has help ended since then. It is encouraging when someone notices the minor and major changes. 

We had a near miss for a tragic accident when an unused door fell over either a loud bang! It could have been a horrible accident, but an ancient holy water font and a wall stopped the fall. A little one was just under the door, very frightened by the noise and our reactions. The mom applied lavender on her neck and miraculously she was playing again in moments. I couldn't help but think of the alligator tragedy and praise God for every child leaving safely when the party was over. And all our wonderfully strong Guardian Angels! It was an old, solid, heavy, wood door. 

I hated making Craig work as a host on Father's Day, but he didn't mind. He enjoyed visiting with Father and all his friends. We had won a bid at a 4h auction for a Bbq dinner for 25, and added to it local Chappel Hill sausage that Craig cooked Sunday. Then everyone brought something delicious. Salads, dips, cole slaw, potato casserole, cookies, fruit trays, pies, cakes. A feast! Who doesn't love a potluck? 

We had a torrential downfall just as many people were arriving and my sweet girls would go greet with an umbrella. It did subside before all guest arrived and cleared up the remained of the day, but left an extra heavy humidity in its wake. The kids didn't mind, in and out all around, many were muddy and wiped out when the day was over. The teens played cards, went on walks. A joyful day. I'm very thankful.

We have leftovers for days. We have all our big project work done, since we did a big push before the party including re surfacing the road, repairing random doors that didn't close, inside and outside clean up. I have delightful friends who help wash dishes before they left, so we only need to sweep the floor, tend the animals and relax today.

Father's sermon was about vocations, vocation to a priest or married life both require qualities to make a good father. Father of a family or father of a parish. 

A Prayer for Priests 

O Jesus, Eternal Priest, keep Thy priests within the shelter of Thy Sacred Heart, where none may touch them. 
Keep unstained their anointed hands, which daily touch Thy Sacred Body. 
Keep unsullied their lips, daily purpled with Thy Precious Blood. 
Keep pure and unworldly their hearts, sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood. 
Let Thy Holy Love surround them from the world's contagion. 
Bless their labors with abundant fruit, and may the souls to whom they minister 
be their joy and consolation here and their everlasting crown hereafter. 

Mary, Queen of the Clergy, pray for us: obtain for us numerous and holy priests. Amen. 


 









At the end of the day, before Molly had to leave, this is the shape we were in to wish my sweetie a Happy Father's Day!

Spring to Summer Daybook

Outside my window...The rooster is crowing early this morning. It's 5:30 and I've been up with insomnia. It's humid and I know every Texan/southerner will agree once the rains finished, our temperature jumped up faster and higher than we could adjust.
Just outside my bedroom window:


I am thinking...about going through the cost and effort of renewing my CPA license. I retired my Texas license back when I had my fourth child, moving around the country, leaving clients behind and I thought, that's it, that chapter is permanently over.
But I had a seed planted recently and thought, why not see if it is even possible or affordable. I'm not planning on going away to work. I love being with my kids and homeschooling and they need me. But I have worked part time at home before and balanced it for about four year period with a baby in arms. Lilly is now 6, so I might be able to work in a few jobs. But being inactive so long, prioritizing homeschooling and being new to an area aren't really client builders, so it may be a waste of time. 
It's still a pull to my imagination. But then, this:

I am praying for..my kids and their future spouses. Our country. Hearts and souls to be converted.

I am thankful...for Euly who will hop out of bed at 6 to go for a walk with me, even when it has detours, thanks to the peacocks. I'm trying to get health kick going and to stick to it. I had been sick for a long while and lost a lot of previous progress. I have my goals outlined, just need to keep going.

In the kitchen...cooking and baking up a variety of goodies for Father's Day, including Italian cream cake for my sweetie and chocolate sheet cake for the party. 

I am creating...school plans for the next school year. I have a lot to do, and need to get going! I'm teaching a beginning grammar and writing at a Catholic coop and then filling in holes for my kids. I need to get our Ccd schedule planned.

I am reading...Father Brown reader with Cecilia. I'm thinking of using it for our class.

I am watching...I have been binging on English Movies:

One Day on Netflix with Anne Hathoway. I  cried, so I'd recommend it if you need a good cry! It has racier scenes than others below. Needless to say, I didn't watch with kids. :0

Love and Friendship at the theater with Molly. We laughed. It's quirky and not for everyone's humor, but if you love Jane Austen, you'll love it. I'd see it again.

Julian Fellowes Presents Doctor Thorpe on Amazon 
Makes me want to read Trollope. 
I enjoyed the series, the characters were great. Some predictable moments but overall very good. I hope Fellowes does more of this!!

I'm also part way into Bleak House (again) and North and South (the Engkish version).

I am listening to...Ceci has been working on some traditional Catholic hymns on the piano. Right now she's working on Sing of Mary. We all hum the tune all day. Which is a good thing. 

I am hoping...Nick's truck starting troubles are no big deal. Recurring issues are frustrating especially when they happen just past warranty period of last repair. With three old vehicles, one is bound to be complaining about something. The truck usually doesn't complain, so hopefully will be a quick fix.

I am looking forward to...going to Uvalde with Euly for state WHEP 4hcompetition. Wildlife Habitat Enviornment Program. It's a team event, and I'm thinking of riding with my sister, nephew and our coach. It's about a 4 hour drive. I haven't been to Uvalde, I'm looking forward to the change of scenery and,hoping the kids win state, so we can check out West Firginia for nationals in July. I'm leaving my littles at home who have made plans with Molly for a fun girls weekend.

Around the house...just cleaning for a Father's Day party which is also our priest's 20th anniversary. We will celebrate here. We have about 50 coming. 

Around the farm...the two babies are growing. The male is definitely stronger and larger, the female has plenty of spark. I think they will both thrive. What a difference when the mom raises them! 
We still have Hope. Most lambs seem to be getting over the limping illness. Doug. Still has  wounds, even though he's been separated from the males. Not sure if it a skin disease or battle scars. We would like to start selection to reduce the male population and fatten them up for processing. We have a few people interested in buying the meat, so it helps to push us along that direction. There is still at least one pregnant ewe, once she's delivered and her babes are big enough to leave the nursery, we will turn the pen into a fattening pen. 

I saw this on Facebook. My neighbor said he saw our guineas eating a copperhead. We are down half our original guinea population. Maybe I should order more. 

Around our school...we continue various activities through the summer. We finished our last science day of the year and probably done for a while. The girls finished a three year cycle, (except Lilly). We are starting a coop in the fall and 4 h will continue to take up time. Nick starts a computer programming class next Wednesday. I'm excited for him and hope it is challenging and what he is looking for. I started a little Spanish class for Ceci and Lilly and the grammar is blocking Ceci. So we will go back to sing songs while I repeat verb tenses and person until she is comfortable. 

A favorite quote/verse/prayer for today...

One of my favorite things...enjoying simple life with the girls. Reading is my favorite activity, but also playing games, which lately have been card games (math), Apples to apples (vocabulary), people puzzles (hand/eye, thinking skills). I'd like to learn more board games. Lilly and Ceci love to play pretend with calico critters, I've never been good about the pretend conversations. I'm good at building and decorating and dressing the dolls, not having them come to life. We've also had some food presentation competitions with play dough. #summerlife

A few plans for the rest of the week...this week is all about getting ready for Father's Day. We are having Bbq and hopefully just enough mix of parents and kids that the kids don't mind eating outside. Next week we go to Uvalde for Euly's wildlife team to compete in a state competition. A agriculture science camp she was looking forward to attending was cancelled. We need to add a few fun activities this summer, I'm thinking water related. 

Something that made me laugh, chuckle... My baby lost her first tooth today. Nick helped pull it out after it was already flipping around. The next one is loose too. Oh, growing pangs (for me). 

One of our visitors Sunday is a dental hygen
ist and talk to Lilly about teeth, decorated a cup for her tooth and gave her money. I think she heard our tooth fairy can be slow.

A peek into my day... outside looking in.





Have a great week!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I'm In The Garden: Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

~Capturing the context of contentment in every day life ~



Pretty, happy,  funny, real all wrapped up together in our garden we call Hortus Rustica (rustic garden) since we named our farm Pax Rustica (a rustic peace). The kids usually say mom's garden. 

We started on the garden early 2016. We drew up plans, ordered seeds, planted seeds and claimed an area we knew would get enough sunlight. 
It's hard to believe people lived on this property for years but never planted a garden before. 
We fenced the garden area since the sheep have free range over the property and would love the variety of flavors in a garden. Craig thought 6 foot high fence walls would be good, and it has been, except the peacocks who occasionally fly over to get a nibble of my blackberries just before they are ripe.

We used cinder blocks from the old little house for three beds and planted yellow and red onion and garlic in the small spaces. So far so good. 
We made the wooden beds with treated wood and filled with organic dirt mix with fungus from a local provider. I was a purest in the past using non treated lumber, and had to replace annually. We use chicken poo fertilizer, also from a local provider. I still need to get a good system for my own compost. Right now our chickens usually spread any piles I try to start. Plus since mine are pastured chickens, their poo is spread all through the property.

We have the edge bedding with top soil and sand, just by accident of location. It works well with the strawberries, beets, watermelon, carrots, sunflowers, lettuce, marigolds and kale. The corn did not thrive in it. 

I have hobby gardened for years and wanted to get serious and be successful this year. I went to a master garden class, poured over catalogs and garden magazines, studied what worked best where, but the best advice was to try and make notes of how it went and what worked best where, etc. It has been interesting to experiment.

I've enjoyed the process. The smell of tomato plants just makes me happy, even though it a love/hate kind of smell for me.  My next plan, when I can get time on my husband's weekend calendar, is to mulch the downed pine trees to use in garden walkways to keep the weeds down. I weed the walkways more than the beds.  His plan is to bring power and water to his shop, and give me a water spicket for the garden and maybe even power. I'd like a fountain for my flowered area someday.

The beginnings:





If the kids don't know where I am, they look in the garden first. 

I love seeing everything grow and see my "t-post garden" turn into a living green filled space. Unfortunately it isn't producing as much as I had hoped it would at this point. I do have high expectations and I'm thankful for everything it produces!

We had some early peaks like peas, spinach  and quinoa. The corn never really came in strong, one stream of watermelon and cantaloupe didn't even try. 

We have tomatoes, blackberries and strawberries. Okra is coming. I didn't realize asparagus weren't a first year producer, but I had my hopes. Next year.

Celery, cucumber and the herbs are coming up strong. There are flowers on the squash and peppers, let's hope they produce. 

Where we are today:

My mother's day garden seat gift.

Garlic


Figs



Carrots
Sunflower
Marigold 

Limes



Celery

Okra

Basil

Blackberries (just the way the peacocks like them). 

Strawberries were supposed to be a second year producer. I clipped the blossoms and runners, but when I had to ignore the garden during recent torrential rains, the strawberries took off! The berries are small but delicious.

Flowery spot to relax between weeding. It needs a small umbrella, I think.

Outside looking in, so happy to see so much green, but really need to tackle the walkway weeds.

Euly and Ceci took some lavender indoors. It is very fragrant. Hopefully it will flourish indoors as well. 


One of the peacock's nightly perch with the perfect view of the garden.


Monday, June 13, 2016

June Photo Update

I've had a cold for over the last two weeks and I have not been reading or writing about anything lately, but I've still been taking pictures. Just a quick look at what we've had in our lives lately. 

Two babies were born this week:
No names yet. 


The flooding brought in so much sand changing the creek across our property.



 Still voted the most favorite animal on the farm - for four weeks running, the ducks. Nick's enthusiasm influences the vote every time. (Just a sibling vote). 

My colorful yet feeble and ineffective technique to dissuade the peacocks from flying over the gate into the garden where they eat all my blackberries.

  State 4 H Roundup competition was this week. Nick and Euly competed in Meats judging in the Agricultural sciences. It was tough competition. Nick did well with tight competition from around the state, he did not place.
Euly competed in a invitation intermediate class and placed first in meats judging. She has worked hard and come along way since January.


The garden
This tomato bush has been overachieving and out producing everything in the garden. I bought it at a master gardener class and not sure the type - it's not quite a Roma and too big for a grape tomato.


Lilly loves to help pick the strawberries. They aren't too large but very flavorful and fragrant.

My borage seeds have sprouted into pretty flowers. I planted them to keep bugs away, but it has been an interesting experience to see which thrived depending on what they were planted next to and how much sun they received. I'm not sure how they are doing against bugs. 

I finally spy some cucumbers.

 and hopefully these will be watermelons.

  Early morning the sun doesn't reach the garden and it a pleasant place to visit.