Sunday, November 30, 2014

What 'Papa' Learned from Two Little Girls

We had Daughter #2 with our new son-in-law and two granddaughters from Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon.  Daughter #1 is staying a few days with us, too.  It was so nice to see them all again!  I got to spent time with all of them and enjoyed every minute.  There were, however, a few stand-out moments with the young ones where I was reminded of some very important things.

  • There are lessons to be learned at the bird feeder, watching blue jays, cardinals, chickadees, finches, woodpeckers, nuthatches and all the other winter visitors come and go.  The different birds may not always get along perfectly, but with a little patience and persistence everyone gets what they need and no one goes without.
  • Happiness can be found in the most common of places if we just take the time to find it. A muddy winter chicken yard becomes a place of smiles, laughter, and joy when seen through the wide eyes of a 4 year old.

  • There is wonder to be found in common 'indoor' things too.  The older one (six) loves to help Papa make breakfast in the morning.  She's learning to crack open eggs she collected the day before, whisk them up in a bowl, and help stir them in the pan as they cook.  As the liquid concoction begins to turn into the scrambled eggs she's familiar with I hear "Papa look!  I see the eggs!".   It's easy to under-appreciate the joy in "making", even in making something as simple as breakfast.
  • All treasures are not necessarily valuables.  Garden tools and a sandy spot on the homestead are far more interesting than any toy on the property.  A handful of stone 'treasures' dug out of the sand and hidden under leaves (guarded by Papa so that Abby the cat and Zyla the dog don't get them) become the precious fruits of a little girl's labor.  No natter how simple, there is joy and satisfaction to be found in that which is earned above that which is given. 

This weekend 'Papa' was reminded that the eyes of a child are the most wonderful lens through which to view life.  We gain much when take the time to see through their eyes and lose much when pass them by.

Matt. 18:3 (NIV)  And He said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

We are so blessed!

Col. 3:9-12


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, all! 

Ours was a wonderful day spent with our large, extended family! 

As for me:
  • I am thankful first and foremost that Jesus Christ thought so much of me that he chose to die on a cross and bring us all salvation.
  • I am thankful for the family that has been a constant blessing for 54 years.  The closeness and love we share is a rare gift in a 'me' centered world.
  • I am thankful for a Church community that has been an anchor for my parents, De and I, our children, our small group, and many others over the years.  I hope that we have brought to them a small portion of what they have offered to us.
  • I am thankful for the blessings of being raised relatively poor on a small farm by Christian parents who to taught me how to work, how to give, how to love, how to discern the things that are important from those that are distractions, how to hunt, how to grow green beans and tomatoes, how to milk a cow by hand, and that it is ok to leave home, but not ok to forget it.
  • I am thankful for a job that for 26 years has been interesting, challenging, makes a positive difference in the world, and has provided me the opportunity to provide for a wife and three kids.
  • I am thankful for the opportunity to steward a small bit of land and be blessed by the work and by that which it produces.
  • I am thankful for a new Christian son-in-law and the two little granddaughters that come with him.
  • I am thankful for a country that, despite it's flaws, is still the most free society on earth, and enables me to worship, raise a family, work, and live in relative peace.
  • I am thankful for blog friends I have never met face-to-face that have been a source of joy and encouragement.
We are blessed!  May God bless and keep you all.

Col. 1:9-12,


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Winter Arrives!

We have our first shot of winter '14-'15 on the Hoosier Country Homestead!  This first round is just a bit of snow, maybe an inch or so.  This is far less than our neighbors 40 miles to the west who catch a lot more of the Lake Michigan lake-effect snow: They got over a foot over the course of an evening and night. After the snow dropped in, the temperature dropped down and we spent the better part of a week in the low teens, which is rare for this early in the season here.  Today it warmed up enough to rain for an hour or so and melt most of what we had.

The chickens are still figuring out what do with winter.  On the coldest days (11-14F) they never left the coop but they do enjoy getting out when it warms up a bit.  We've chosen not to push the egg production by adding lights to the coop on the theory that producing a few fewer eggs during week will help them stay a little healthier. We still get at least 8 eggs a day out of the 13 hens and usually more.

They do enjoy getting out and about.  They also really enjoy the chicken compost box.

My grand plans for a 30 gallon, heated chicken waterer came not to fruition, so we have fallen back on the local favorite for small flocks:  A heated dog bowl.  It actually works really well!  We take a gallon of water down every morning when we let the ladies out and everybody stays happy and hydrated.  I still have hopes for the fancy waterer, but likely not this winter.

The blue heated  dog bowl has worked out great.

I can say with a fair amount of certainty the garden is done, done, done!  There's nothing like an inch of snow the day before the temperatures are due to plummet to motivate you to get it all done.
Well... This is embarrassing...
So here I am, digging the last 15 pounds of potatoes out of the garden.  They were actually just fine.  The only issue was figuring out where to dig.  I ended up turning over a 4 foot wide swath of garden to locate the two wide rows.  Still all good!

I will try to be a little better about getting posts up more often.  Though I am working more hours, things have settled out a bit here on the homestead and I should be able spend more time after work on the computer. 

Take care all,  Col. 1:9-12,


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Wedding a success!

Daughter #2's Big Day went wonderfully well.  Surrounded by their closest friends and family members, they had a beautiful ceremony in a rustic, converted barn venue.  The reception was held on another floor of the same place, so his out-of-town family wouldn't have to navigate too much of rural NE Indiana.  The venue is in a local Amish community, and navigating around buggies and poultry on the roads was a new experience for many of them.  That being said, his family is close-knit like ours and are amazing, truly wonderful, Christian people.  That makes letting her go so much easier for De and I.

The bride was beautiful (as was her mother) and so was the rest of the wedding party in a somewhat casual camouflage theme.  The granddaughters, aged 4 and 6, did great for their part in the ceremony.  Our minister had a wonderful message and ceremony.  The caterer was excellent.  The cake, made by a family friend who does that professionally, looked and tasted great. The photographer and the DJ, also both family friends, were amazing.  Spending the afternoon and evening with friends and family members, old and new, capped off the day.

The weather was crisp and clear all day long. After the bride and groom left we had so many family and friends helping with cleaning and gathering and packing it was done in about 45 minutes.  A small caravan of friends got everything back at our house in time for a few moments of quiet before bedtime.

The new Mr. and Mrs. spent the night in a local, somewhat upscale inn.  They came back to our place for lunch and to open presents, then packed everything up, shared hugs and kisses all around, and were off to start their new life together.

As for the Father of the Bride, any reports of him tearing up during the Daddy-Daughter dance might be exaggerated. Any stories of him dancing the Macarena, hokey-pokey, and some slide-slide-slide, kick-kick-kick thing might not be accurate.  Any photographic and video evidence of said behavior might be "photo-shopped".  Or it all might be completely accurate.

It was a wonderful day.  We have a wonderful new son who loves our daughter with all his heart, and wonderful new extended family that comes with him.  Once again we were reminded of how wonderful it is to have such a close family.

D & K - God bless you in your new life.  Know that 'Daddy' will be praying for you.

We are sooo blessed!

Col. 1:9-12,


Melissa, professional photographer and family friend, was once a baby-sitter for our kids.  She gave us permission to post this pic of the bride and groom.