Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Day After

Here we are at the starting line of our 14th year and I have to say my husband did an amazing job of closing out our 13th.

I had wanted to plan a special anniversary celebration for him and I, since we don't usually celebrate. I had gone so far as to find someone who could watch our children and take them to church. My plan was to take our "old car" and go for a picnic. Problem was, one of the kids was on the calendar as having playoffs, so I shrugged off my idea.

Must've been meant to be, in some form, because I never told my husband and yet he planned something similar, only better.

Yesterday, he smoked up some bbq chicken legs, made deviled eggs, and packed up a bag. I somehow managed to miss him packing a bag. He invited me to go out back and check on the bees, which I agreed to hoping for the best and trying not to fear the worst of possibilities. As we headed out, I began praying in my heart, that all was well. As I said yesterday, it's been a stormy year. It took me a few minutes to notice the bag and much went through my mind.

As we walked along the path, he walked by my side, which gave me hope that the end of this walk would be pleasant, since usually he walks far ahead of me. We talked about plans for the land and checked out different plants we had growing a long the path. We really need to go harvest mulberries, they are everywhere! We also stopped and checked on our bees.

Then he took me a little past the bees to another circle of pines and asked if I'd like to have a picnic. I excitedly said yes and we laid out a sheet and he set out the food. We sat there, eating, talking, listening to the birds, and watching the clouds. Such a simple and beautiful time yet it's the first time I can think of, at least in a long time, that we've done anything really like it and I must say, I look forward to doing it again much sooner.

I admire the courage it took him to put it together, not knowing for sure if I'd go along with it. I appreciate the sentiment, because I know it took planning and that he had taken time to find the best spot. I'm amazed at his thinking of something similar to my own plan. (God is good, all the time!) And I'm thankful that he did this.

Honestly it was the best anniversary, I think, we've had in a very long time, possibly ever. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Thirteen Years

Today marks thirteen years of marriage for my husband and I. I can definitely look back over the years and see many trials and tribulations as well as joyful moments. It certainly has been a growing experience. We've had our seasons of doubts and our seasons of security. Yet here we are, 13 years after we started this journey, still together, against the odds.

You see we married when I was 19 and 4 months or so pregnant with our oldest. We'd met in September and married the following June. Both of us come from dysfunctional families and both of us helped raise younger siblings. Quite frankly, statistics would've had us done for long ago. Thank God, He, is more powerful than numbers.

I can't say it's been all sunshine and rainbows. I can't say we've always been fully committed. I can say, we are fighters and that, in truth, we do love each other. Not the kind of love that's all tingles and butterflies. I'm talking about love. The kind of love that chooses, works hard, and is willing to grow even when it hurts, when it isn't easy. It is that love that holds us together against all odds. It is the hope that that love brings to each of us, when times are rougher than the most tempestuous seas, that gives us the strength to persevere.

This year has been a stormy one in our marriage, but there is a light at the end of this tunnel, and growth to be had. I thank the Lord, that He has brought people into my life who are not afraid to play devil's advocate, in my husband's favor, instead of just agreeing with me on everything I feel. I thank Him, for bringing people into my life, who speak hope, faith, and revelations into my heart.  

Through these friends, God has been able to show me where my focus should be and the changes I should be concerned with. Letting go of what I can not control and trusting in, Him, to take care of it all. Looking past my feelings to the facts and my role in everything.

I pray that as the next chapter of this love story begins, I will continue to allow God to move within me into this life we share. That I will continue to grow into the wife my husband longs for, the one I long to be. To let the past lay dead where it is, in the graveyard of unchangeable things, as I move into the light of the right here and now and appreciate all that is, in this very moment. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Officially Summer

    In our family, we love parties. We don't feel the need to go all out, extravagant, etc, however we do like to do so in our own simple way.

    Today was no exception. In honor of it being such a special day, we put up streamers, banners, and drawings. We also baked a cake. It was supposed to look like a banjo, but my chocolate ganache turned out to be more of a chocolate syrup. I used milk chocolate instead of bittersweet bakers chocolate, which the recipe called for. The syrup was still pretty delicious, even though, like all my cakes, it didn't quite match up with what I had imagined.

     We had intended to make packzis as well, but I think I got my milk too warm, because the dough never rose. I also forgot to make the crescent rolls I'd planned on, this morning. I've been forgetting a lot of things lately. I don't know if I just need to clear my thoughts and focus, or if my brain is turning to mush inside my skull.

      Anyway. Today was also the first time, I think, I've ever grilled up a New York strip. It was certainly the first time I've ever made lobster, which I also decided to grill. I can not tell you how juicy and delicious these were. Paired up with a good spring salad and some roasted rosemary and thyme potatoes. Man oh man! What a great lunch. haha If only I could afford to make dishes like that more often.

     I'd have to say in all our years of celebrating this blessed day, this was probably my favorite, so far. I look forward to the years to come as we embrace summer and celebrate life with passion and joy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mulberry Lane

    I've recently discovered and abundance of mulberry trees on our property. I knew we had 3 around our swamp and another one or two on our trail. Turns out there a many more than that all around the place! Some will need to be relocated, as they are currently trying to grow against buildings and fences. I'm considering only keeping 4 or 5 of them and selling the rest.

     Last year I cracked my ribs trying to pick the mulberries. I have heard of shaking the tree, but the ones in the swamp have poison ivy growing up them and around their base. I don't know if I am sensitive to it at all, but my husband is. Now that I know there are many more around, hopefully I can get more than 5lbs, this year.  I'd like to try making jam again. Last years mulberry jam ended up more like syrup. And I'm interested in trying a pie. My sour cherry pies from last year were pretty delicious.

     In fact, hopefully I'll have some cherries ready for the picking in a few weeks. I keep hoping to be surprised by more cherry trees. So far, I haven't been.

     At least we've had a bit of rain this summer. I've been horrible about going out and watering my garden. I have broccoli growing and a stalk of corn. Last I knew I had one tomato and 2 pepper plants also. As well as a couple of peanut and celery plants. I may or may not have watermelon and potatoes. Oh and I have some beans growing too.

     In the mean time, I've started bulk ordering produce with a group of friends. Sometimes it's been worth it, other times, it's been a little disappointing. All in all, though, I'm glad we're able to do it. It's nice to know that there is so much healthy stuff my family has so readily available. Now to get them to appreciate it too!


Friday, June 6, 2014

Just an Update

Apples! One of our apple trees is actually growing some apples this year! I just pray we will get to harvest at least one!

The bees seem to have settled in well, which is fantastic news. I look forward to seeing how our property blossoms with their help. Of course, I'm also excited about the honey!

The sheep are all doing well. We've almost weaned our bottle lamb. All the lambs are getting big. I don't know when we will separate them from the mothers or if I'll even bother trying to milk them. We don't really have a set up for it, yet.

We had 2 turkey hens go missing weeks ago. We assumed they either died, ran off with the wild turkeys, or were actually nesting. It's been long enough now, that I don't think they are coming back. I'm pretty sure at least one was eaten out on our trail. However, our fantastic mother turkey from last year, appears, to be sitting upon a nest in our swamp. Hopefully that goes well. Another hen just went missing this week and I'm hoping that she too has a nest somewhere.

Our chicks are all big enough to run around now. We've locked the run so the big chickens can't get out, but the chicks are all running around. Last I knew, we haven't lost anymore, though. Our neighbor just planted his wheat, which is why our chickens have to stay in the run. However the grass between his field and our property is long enough, the chicks haven't really gone over there.

My gardens are doing ok. I have beans that are actually growing from seeds. Unfortunately all my tomato plants are gone. The broccoli, pepper, celery, and peanut transplants seem to be doing well, though. My strawberry transplants are too. My herbs are looking really good, but I have them potted. I would love it if I could do raised beds next year. I think part of our problem is our rocky, sandy soil.

Our school year is almost over. I'm looking forward to the break, although, I have a lot prepping to do before next fall. I'm excited though.