Monday, March 23, 2015

Life at the Lodge Last Week

Last week went by in a is why:

The new goat babies are here...
Marshall and Moses joined little Mabel in the goat pen last week, 
They are just her size, only she is two weeks older. 
 Rose had to play midwife and pull both of these babies,
 who are doing very well along with their mama.  

Aren't they adorable??
  We will be rich in goat milk in a few short weeks.

Besides playing and gentling these cuties, we have been doing some big cooking.

I enjoy cooking and hospitality. 
 Here is one way that I serve in the church body with these gifts:

Every Wednesday, I cook dinner for about 30 people
 who come to our "Family Fellowship" night at the church. 
 Last week, we ( myself and with the children's help)  oven fried 20 lbs of chicken,
according to my dear friend, Enola Gay's recipe, 
and oh, was it good!!! 
 Enola is a very good cook who has her own cookbook. 
 I highly recommend it.  
We served the chicken with baked potatoes, and,
having bought the chicken (thighs) on sale,
 the total cost was approximately $2.00/person,
just so you know, 
if you are planning on cooking for a crowd soon.


 There were many raves over the chicken, so it was a big success.  But, then...

Toward the end of the week, the family began coming down with INFLUENZA B. 
 This we have been battling with home remedies with some success.  
 Oil of Oregano, taken in the early stages of illness worked very well on three of us. 
 Grandma Gladys had a special recipe for cough syrup-one of those hillbilly potions-  
implemented at night that always works well...but ICK!!
  Perhaps it is the nastiness of the syrup that motivates one to get well real quick?!  :-)
 Then, giving comfort is Vicks on the chest, honey lemon tea throughout the day,
as well as Immune Booster tea
and lots of rest are the natural treatments we have used. 
 The poor littles have just slept and slept...
here, there, and everywhere!

 The stealth napper...

the burrito style napper...

I find them to be adorable --illness and all!
Today is our first day up and at em. 
My, but it feels good!

 The pouring rain outside makes it feel like a great day for tea...
(but then, every day is a great day for tea in my book)
 and extra reading to catch up from a week lost to illness..
..maybe some board games as well.  

If you're of a mind to wander across the visit our daughter Anna here...
..she's a resourceful, sweet, gem making a lovely home life for her wonderful hubby in NM
 and expecting a baby in June...
and our vivacious, beautiful days from departing for Africa again...
she is so excited and will tell you all about  the ministry opportunities awaiting.
I know you will be blessed by both of these blogs.

Wishing you well...

Friday, March 13, 2015

Birthday Blessings

Benjamin Creed

March is a big birthday month in our family.  
I counted six birthdays in the extended family.
After putting up the crepe paper, balloons and birthday banner, 
we started fixing pizzas for the 20 some guests, mostly family.
  Rose and Joe are the main pizza chefs. 
 Joe prepared his specialty:  BBQ chicken pizza, 
Rose made the Pepperoni, and we all worked on the Jalapeno Popper Pizza, 
which we copied from Anna, who had just tried it the week before with great success.

 When the food was ready,
 Daddy prayed a special blessing on the birthday boy, Ben, who is turning 11 years old.

 After dinner-- cake, of course...except our boy wanted banana splits instead,
 so we put his candles in his ice cream.  
He was quite pleased with it.

Long ago we started a tradition of giving the same gifts to each boy at a certain age.
  This has worked very well...and the children look forward 
to the day they will be old enough to get  ______, as if it has become a right of passage.
 It also keeps things fair.
Once our boys are nine, 
we leave toys behind and enter the age of tools that will last, hopefully, a lifetime.

When they turn nine, we give them a foot locker.
 At ten, they get their first pocket knife.
  At eleven, a hatchet.
  For twelve they get a hunting knife.  
Thirteen, a .22,
 and fourteen- a gift especially for their particular interests.
 Fifteen- a fishing vest. 
 When sixteen, they receive  a dinner date with parents, with a "becoming a man ceremony".
 Seventeen, a tool kit for a car,
  And eighteen, a "senior trip" with daddy.

We have a whole different list for girls, but that will be told another time.
Here, you can see, 
that this little woodsman is happy as can be to have yet more camo and a fishing net,
 gifts from grandparents. 

After stuffing ourselves with pizza AND banana splits,
 enjoying all the company...which somehow consistently includes a dress up party for the little girls  (always amusing), opening presents, visiting some more...
...and the guests have left...sigh...
we settled the children down and read a few more chapters in Little House On Plum Creek 
before tucking them in, then seeking our own happy slumbering place.

  Another birthday.. more year added to the many years we have been blessed with our children. 
 Each one has their own gifts and talents, bents, and love language.
 Each one so unique, so precious in their own way,
 and  yes, challenging in their own way.
 Yet each one, certainly a reward (Psalm 127).

 We concluded the day feeling overly full and abundantly blessed..
...the perfect ending for a birthday.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Babies Are Here!

If you are a homesteader, 
you know that when the coldest weather strikes,
 your animals will choose that particular time to birth. 
 Animals are just that way. 
 So, with lows in the teens and even colder nights coming this week,
 our does are due.

  Checking them several times a day, 
we were very surprised to find...on our afternoon check, 
the first kid born-  already standing and doing well, 
despite it being the smallest goat kid we have ever had. 
 She is literally smaller than our cats. 

 Rose named her Mabel, which means "lovable."

So here is Mabel!

Yes, she has a sweater on.
  I have often thought about making baby goat blankets,
 but having never gotten around to it, we just dug through the "newborn" tote in the attic
 till we came up with something warm looking.
 The code of the ruralite, you know, is Observe, Adapt, and Improvise.  (O.A.I.)

Mabel and her mama are strong and healthy, which is certainly a blessing with a first time mama. 
 To keep this tiny one warm,
 and the other kids that will soon arrive as well, 
Joe and Rose turned a plastic barrel into a warming coop. 
 Here is the reason I said kids, as in plural...this doe surely has more than one in there!

Here is the warming coop.
There is a heat lamp set into the top of the barrel. 

 Thankfully, our solar panels are soaking up all this sunny weather-
 thus powering both this heat lamp and the one for the chicken's water.  
 In cloudy weather, (normal for this time of year) we would be hard put to accommodate the output of power without running the generator much more than we typically do.
We are doubly blessed with a safe birth and sun power to keep baby warm.

But wait, that is not all!!!
Besides our tiniest goat baby, Mabel,
 our ADORABLE grand daughter, Shiloh, is here for the weekend!!!

Oh those cute little chompers!  
OOOO and the dimpled hands! 
SOOO sweet!!!
Grandma is having a fantastic time of it!

Of course, everyone wants to hug and kiss and squeeze her, or make her laugh. 
 Shiloh seems to be enjoying being the center of attention. 
 She is such a people person. 

Between the two babies,
 there is a whole lot of laughing and cuddling being done here this weekend.

Blessings to ya' all this weekend,
the giddy grandma

Friday, February 13, 2015

Little Luxuries of Winter

Somehow, in the heart of winter, 
our "January thaw" has lingered on for weeks and weeks, 
an unheard of predicament for North Idaho...the newspaper just reported  that never
 in the historical records has the snowfall here been so low, or the typical "thaw" lasted so long.
While it is lovely out, agrarian folks like us are concerned about the "snow pack" in the mountains that provides us with plenty of water all summer- 
which keeps the landscape a lovely green right into fall, 
and more importantly, minimizes the danger of forest fire.

But, that said, we concur with "Pa" 
(from the Little House series, which we are currently rereading aloud) 
"There is no great loss without some small gain."
These small gains are the blessings of today, 
our little luxuries of winter, such as it is.

 The wood pile blessing:  Our initial 10 cord is holding up well.  This, by the way, is the shed we built last summer, of which, I never did post the finished pictures of, till now.

Egg production blessing:  Ben's hens are so happy with the weather, they have not sloughed off in their laying at all thus far.  He is in business now; selling eggs, purchasing the feed, keeping records daily.  He is very proud of a regular dozen a day.

Blessings In The Dairy:  These two are due to kid in a few weeks.  If the mild weather holds, that will be beneficial for the tiny newborns, giving them a little easier start in life.  Meanwhile, the does are looking especially well and plump.

Blessings For The Children:  They are fully appreciating sunshine and warm temperatures each afternoon as they ramble off to play in the woods.  Yesterday their play was near the creek-

 Today, they are homesteaders-

For me, the soothing continuity of our daily routine, 
curling up by the fire with a fragrant cup of tea,  
the sun shining through the windows,
 these are a few of the blessings I am counting today,

 my little luxuries of winter.

What are yours?

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Joy of Grandbabies

Our first grandchild, Shiloh Anne, is such a joy.
She is the daughter of our oldest son, John, and his beautiful bride, Michelle.
 I see so much of both her parents in her, yet, she is her own person.
  This little cutie pie has stolen our hearts from day one. 
 She is growing sooo fast, she will be wearing her first cowboy boots in no time.
 (every girl needs at least one pair, ya know!)

Shiloh is coming up on 8 months old, cutting several teeth, crawling all over,
 and blessedly, sleeping through the night. 
 She is such a people person, she just lights up when someone talks to her,
 making for great photos.

Our daughter Anna is carrying grandbaby #2.  
She just sent us this picture of her sweet little baby bump.
  Isn't she beautiful?! 
 I have always thought that pregnant women have a special glow about them
 that really makes them lovely.

Scott and Anna are having a girl, which we are so excited to meet in June!!  
Here is a little 3D sneak peek at her:

Isn't she incredible!? 
 Surely, these precious wee ones are fearfully and wonderfully made!
  Marvelous are your works, O God!!  

Grandparenting is an amazing new adventure for us.
We are thrilled with these two bundles of joy,
who are truly a gift from the  Lord. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Loving The January Thaw

Nearly every January we get a little mid winter break known as "the January thaw".
  Newcomers think it is spring, 
but alas, no,
 winter is only half over. 
 It's just a week (or two if we are lucky) of above freezing temperatures
 that cause the snow to melt, the rivers become brimming full, and, rapturously,
 the sun shines. 
(outstanding news for us off grid folks!!)

 We are loving the thaw this year!
  It has been a bit longer than usual, and although the snow is not ALL gone, it is mostly gone,
 and that is enough to get all the girls out.

Happy, happy hens!

The children are out and about in the woods too, 
and I have to drag them back in with the dinner bell to finish their lessons each afternoon. 
They are scouting for antler sheds, slaying imaginary foes,
 basking in the sunshine,
 wandering aimlessly through the woods.

This is just what Ben was doing when he saw something, and that something triggered his creativity.

What goes through a boys mind when he spies a half rotten tree stump? 

Why, a bivouac shelter for a few soldiers shot down behind enemy lines, of course!

Thus engaged, his imagination ran wild with the adventures for days on end. 
 Ahhh, the mind of a ten year old!

 Ben and Gabe also whittled log boats which they have been floating down our little seasonal creek for hours at a time. (I should have taken a picture!)

 I have enjoyed getting out for a few walks in the woods. 
 On my first outing, I saw a little herd of elk and about a dozen deer. 

Bethany, Gabe and Olivia spend most of their outside time
 sloshing through puddles and chasing chickens. 

 Joe and Jim have come up empty so far in the antler search, 
but we three will all surely be vying for who finds the biggest shed, who finds the most sheds, 
and who finds the first shed!  
The snow is likely to return and postpone our sport,
 but in the meantime 
we are sure enjoying the warmer weather, the mud puddles, the pungent forest,
 and  glorious sunshine!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Years Greetings

Well, hello there all my blog friends! 

 I really am still here, and doing fairly well. 
 What has happened the last three months?
  A whole lot, which is why there has been no posting, until now. 
 Here is the scoop:

Last fall I began one of the busiest ministry season's of my life.  It happened bit by bit, and I found myself swimming....then just trying to stay afloat....and something had to give- which, for me, was media.  No more Facebook, no more Pinterest, no more blogging. And...I lived...barely.  Schooling, housecleaning, and our diet all took a big hit.  This winter and spring, my schedule will look more sane, and I am hoping to get back into the swing of how our family usually operates, all beginning this week, with a new daily routine, new menu plan, new schooling schedule,
 and little else.
  You know you are at the end of your capacity when you cannot even keep the children's fingernails is just too overwhelming.  That's where I've been.

We had a steady supply of company through the fall, which was wonderful.  We love company! 
 Some of our guests included a surprise visit from our daughter and son-in-love all the way from New Mexico, here to tell us in person that......yes indeed, they are having a baby!!!  We cried when we first saw them standing in our living room on a Sunday afternoon, and then cried again at the good news and answer to our fervent prayers. This grand baby #2, Scott and Anna's first child,  will make his or her appearance toward the end of June.  We are so excited!!

November brought deer season, adding substantially to an already full schedule.  At the end of the season we were very grateful to have all our tags filled, and 5 deer in the freezer (The short story for me is... the BIG BUCK got away, and a spike took his place in the freezer.) Wow, that was a lot of hard work!  It will be a while before I am ready to clean, butcher, cut and wrap 5 deer.

The end of November, on the way home from church, we were rear-ended by an uninsured drunk driver who was going over 100 miles an hour.  Miraculously, (and I do mean MIRACULOUS) there were no serious injuries.  After numerous trips to the doctor and chiropractor, more than one bottle of ibuprofen, a huge pile of insurance paperwork, the search for a new family rig, I think we finally have humtpy dumpty (or, our family life) back together again.

Thank goodness for new beginnings!  With a huge, huge sigh of relief, that season is over.  It was a rough one, but through it all, God is good. I am beginning 2015 with  a whole new appreciation for a dull daily life now (chuckle), and three things that are never far from my thoughts:

Life is fragile. We have become very aware of that after the wreck that could have taken lives, but for being sheltered in the cleft of the rock.  It is just a few miles from church to home, and anything can happen.  We take such things for granted far too much.

Life is tough.  Sometimes, what you are asked to take on your plate is more than you can swallow... and only by God's grace can you keep going. I believe I was doing what God had asked me to do in ministry last fall, I knew it would be hard, and sometimes God asks us to do hard things and trust Him.

Life is flexible.  What was true in my life three months ago is no longer true today.  Seasons of trial are just that, seasons.  They end, something new is coming, and we just need to be obedient and hang on for dear life.

And now...back to life as usual at Providence lodge,
 where we eagerly watch for the beauty in each day,
 we gather at the table in joyful thanksgiving,
 we work together to learn, 
we stop to have tea midday..just because, 
and we end the day with bedtime stories and a peaceful home.

  Right now, the sun is streaming through the trees, glimmering off the snow, and I see it.
  It is beauty and grace to me.  
That is new..again.  It has been lost in the kerfuffle of a frantic schedule, 
of physical suffering, in the chaos that has been. is good.  It is really, really good. 

Blessings To You in 2015,