Monday, December 29, 2008

Blessing Number Eight Arrives – 11:36pm, December 28, 2008

Mama and baby are doing very well!!! Thank you for your prayers. Gabriel (Man of God) Leander (Lion Man) Primer (First Reader of the Sacred Scripture at Mass) seems to be a very mellow and laid back lad. He weighs every bit of 9lbs 2oz (according to Julianne ) and is 20 inches long (short and stocky… just like his uncles ). Both he and his mama are looking forward to a long winters nap. Daddy is very pleased and thankful to his Faithful Heavenly Father for another blessed world changer. "Lord, may you grant me the strength and wisdom to lead him, by word and by deed, to the foot of your cross."

I want to thank you all for your prayers. I also want to convey my deepest gratitude to our loving, caring and extremely experienced midwife, Terry Rogers, for her calm and sweet disposition and her deep love for us and for Christ. Also, for our dear sweet friend and sister in Christ, Tracy Berard, who served and served and served us throughout the whole labor, so graciously. We thank God for such wonderful gifts.

We have given him the name Gabriel… to honor the day the angel came to Mary. Our celebration of Christmas is so meaningful to us. This year especially the celebration of the gift of a child has been precious. Gabriel means "Man of God". We pray that Gabe will follow hard after his great Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Leander (Lion Man) in honor of our dear friend, father, brother… Dr. Leander Eckard. May Gabe have the sensitive, evangelistic, stubborn-headed drive of his namesake!! We miss you Doc! Did I mention, Gabe is short, stocky, barrel-chested, has two or three chins, and wrinkles on the back of his neck? It was easy to name him Leander.

For Christ and His Kingdom,


Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Blessings of a Faithful God

As our building fund decreased to nearly nothing, and our fall ministry and activities increased, we began to think perhaps we were going to spend another winter without making any progress on the lodge. But, we are so close to being able to finish! As we prayed about the situation and patiently waited for something, we both became content with letting the progress go in God's timing, not our own. This is something that we have had to do over and over and over since we started.
Well, recently a dear soul called and said they had a check for us, could we stop by. Not only was it enough to make the few final necessities, like sheet rock on the bathroom walls, countertop in the kitchen, and some wiring and septic fixtures, but it looks as though we will be able to purchase a cistern, pump, and all we need to have RUNNING WATER.
Brian has been making calls about what pump to use on our 600 foot well with our solar power system. Then we took a trip to town to look at poly cisterns and see what all that entails. The pump has been ordered and arrived a few days ago, and the pump guy is scheduled to come out next week.
So, as we look forward to celebrating Christmas this week, we have more than a few things to be thankful for. We are still amazed that we are able to build this big, wonderful house, without a bank mortgage, on our modest income and growing family. It is nothing short of a miracle really, which is the whole reason we named our home Providence Lodge.
As the snow has been falling, we imagine how cozy and romantic it will be to observe the winter stillness from within the rustic walls, a cup of our favorite tea ("Preacher's Passion"**) in hand, and little munchkins snuggled in all around us, but alas, we will be happily content with our little parsonage until that momentous day arrives. As with waiting for a baby to be born, it is always NOT my timing, but as God wills, and what a wonderful lesson to learn to sit it out with a rejoicing heart.

May you be encouraged as you read this, of what a great, good, loving God we serve, and be thankful for all the good things He blesses you with each and every day. Merry Christmas!

** Preacher's Passion tea: 1 part of each of the following: chamomile, oat straw, passion flower, peppermint. Each herb calms a specific system within your body, making for a very relaxing, de-stressing drink, and it tastes really good. We encourage our children to drink LOTS of it. ;-)

We got the recipe from THE BULK HERB CO, where we also guy the herbs to make it, 1/2 lb. of each makes a huge batch that lasts (even us) for months.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Beginning the Interior Walls

Our next project is building the bathroom walls and running the plumbing lines. We have one wet wall downstairs, with another directly above on the second floor, allowing our lines to pass through the floors as easily as possible. There will be two bathroom on the second floor with the one wall accessing both. This was a fairly trickly part of our floor plan, as we needed to make sure we would not run into a floor joist, or have drains hanging down into the living areas. We have been pleased with how quickly the walls went up, and hope to be hooked up to the septic lines and drywalling soon.

Just for fun, here are some too-good-not-to-share pics our budding photographer daughters took.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Front Door and Some Heat

Last year we went door shopping and came home with a 7 1/2 foot tall knotty alder used door from a salvage yard for just slightly more money than a standard door from Lowe's.
We were pretty thrilled with it and, now that is installed, we are still thrilled with it. We were blessed to have some expert help from friend and fellow pastor Dave, who helped us build a jam for the door.
Again, it seems everything in connection with a log building is complicated and took longer than expected.
The lock set will establish a tone for more black metal fixtures inside the home, and really makes the door look great.

Meanwhile, Brian and Julianne have been working on a hearth for the wood stove that will be the primary heat in the lodge. We really have our heart set on a Kuma stove, with glass door and turned legs, but that is not in the budget at the moment so we have a free bee Blaze King set up. It is a super stove, but boy it is ugly!
We are modeling the hearth from a photo of a Kuma stove setup in their brochure. It will look like a fireplace with a stove set in it.

For the time being, the hearth is in phase one, with just the wood structure and stove sitting on it.
We have been gathering rock via a friend, and will be wrapping the entire hearth in stone and finishing it off with a log mantle.
Well, the stove is functional for the winter, and with the door on and all the cracks and crannies sealed up we are ready to efficiently heat our home, a good thing with snow in the forecast!
We have been blessed with an unusually pleasant fall, of which we are very thankful.
Now for some firewood!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Making Progress

We are making some progress!!
What we thought would take a week turned into a month long process, but we are mostly done with our immense porch.
It is 12 feet wide and the full 36 feet width of the lodge.
One of the reasons we built it so big, was so that it would be in scale with the rest of the house.
The second reason is that most porches, in my experience, aren't big enough to do what a porch should do.
Our current 8 foot wide dining room isn't big enough to get around the table while everyone is seated, so I figured 8 foot wouldn't be wide enough for seating around a picinic table either, without someone falling off the porch in the process.
We situated the lodge so that the front side is the non weather side, and will be the cool side of the house as well. So in the summer, it will be a fine place for dinner on a hot day. In the winter, it will be the best place to stack an abundance of firewood in a handy out of the weather spot.
By the time we gather a dozen people or so on the porch for a good ol' fashioned pea shelling on a sweet evening, I think we will be happy to have such a a good large porch.
I think a porch adds such an inviting homey character to a house, and in this case, changed the perspective on the exterior immensely.  We are really excited a the dramatic change.  I especially like how well the log gable in the front turned out.  Good job honey!

Now we are working on a front door and some wood heat as it has suddenly turned cold: 20 degrees this morning !! BRRR.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Porch Lends Perspective

We have been anticipating beginning work on the front porch for a LONG time. I think the gable on the porch will add balance to the seemingly really tall box that we have built for our home.

The gable will also allow the rain and snow to drop off away from the steps and entrance, however, it added difficulty to the construction process. We are still working out how the angles work with the roof metal. We began the porch process with Brian's dad, Stan, leveling off the sill log so that we could then bolt on a ledger board.

Brian used our friend's excavator to hoist the beefy columns into place, as well as the horizontal logs which lay on top of the columns.

             Rose, Joe and John helped nail the joist hangers into place, using a palm nailer, a very cool tool!

All the boys worked together to peel the rafters, and various helpers to get them into place.
For the moment, we have plywood laid down for a deck, but a stack of 2x6 doug fir sits next to the porch awaiting installation as the real decking.

As it usually happens, we allotted much less time for this project than we actually needed.
What we thought would take a week has lasted three weeks so far...and we are not done yet.

We did, however, feel like this is home enough to have an afternoon of fellowship and paintball, so we invited over a few families Sunday and had a potluck. This was the first hospitality event not associated with a work crew we have had at the lodge.
The soup, bread and pies were a huge hit.
The chill in the air and no indoor heat was a challenge, and our pink curtain with a tarp over the top made for what one 8 year old called "a very interesting door."
All in all, it was a success,
making us hunger for the days ahead of fellowship in our lodge.
Once the porch is done, we will tackle the wood stove and hearth, as well as a front door, then all will be warm and cozy.
I can almost taste and see it now.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Getting the porch started, multigenerationally.

Brian and Julianne celebrating 19 years of wedded bliss.
another blessing; expecting baby #8 around Christmas!
Quality Control Inspector, Bethany

Brian's dad, Stan (Grampy), flattening the sill log for the front porch ledger

Working together getting the porch joists set.

We had tons of fun at this stage, when there were  a lot more safe ways for the younger children to help.  They have been itching to use power tools and wear their tool belts for some time now.
We are so blessed to have grandparents come and help, 
work alongside the children, 
and be a part of our huge multigenerational project.

The Family at Work

Ma and Rose finishing up the chinking on the outside

Joe and Jim sand the chinking splatters

Jim... working hard!!

Dad, Rose, & John setting joists for the front porch

The boys peeling logs for the rafters to be used on the front porch.

What a joy to work together,
experience this once in a lifetime project together, 
and have the memories that we did it to last us all our lives!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

God Made Us a Family

                    We need one another

                   We love one another

                  We forgive one another

                  We work together

                  We play together

                 We worship together

                 Together we use God's Word

                 Together we grow in Christ

                Together we love all men

                Together we serve our God

                Together we hope for heaven

                These are our hopes and ideals

                 Help us to attain them, O God

                Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Feeding the Locusts

When my four dearest friends and our cumulative 24 children get together for tea
or a workday or a family “get-together”, we lovingly refer to our children as
“the locusts.”
It seems that no matter how much food we bring,
they manage to devour all of it before the end of the day.
I am always on the lookout for economical and yummy ways to feed a crowd,
and I am always delighted to share my findings.
This first one is from Nancy, she has made it with elk roast, or hamburger; I have used elk, deer and beef.
I prefer it done with roasts, but if you don’t have access to our economical elk and deer, hamburger is quite tasty too!!

McAninch Meat Filling

6 lbs. meat
I bunch celery
1 green pepper
3 medium onions
1 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp pepper
1 c. catsup
3 Tbsp bbq sauce
1 Tbsp Worchester
1 ½ c water
1 tsp chili powder

Cook all ingredients in a slow cooker, electric roaster, crock-pot, or larger covered dish at 325 degrees for 8 or more hours. Serve on hamburger buns. This smells incredible and tastes even better!! Feeds a lot of people, maybe 20 or so. Thanks Nancy!

Ham And Potato Crock Pot Dinner

I am not a real fan of canned creamed soups, so I usually make my own, but these days of pregnancy, with less energy and more to do, I have broken down and enjoyed the convenience. It is still wonderfully good, even to my finicky taste.

1 boneless ham, the precooked kind, sliced
20 medium potaotoes, peeled and sliced
4 onions, sliced
2 or 3 cups of grated chedder cheese
2 10 oz cans of cream of mushroom soup, or the equivalent homemade sauce
2 quarts green beans, drained

Layer ham, potato, onions, green beans in xl crock pot or roaster, or xl covered baking dish. Sprinkle cheese over, pour soup on top. Cook at 325 degrees, 6 hours or more. You could half this recipe if you are only feeding a dozen or so people, but I think this is good for around 20, and I will blame my pregnant brain for not remembering just how many.

No Fail Bread
This is a very simple recipe given to me by an older lady in our church. She says this was her mother’s recipe, which would date it in the early 1920’s. They are undoubtedly the best, most beautiful rolls I have ever had. My dear friend Tiffany has taken the risk out of bread baking by teaching me to sponge my dough. Since I started doing that, I have never had heavy, or “unrisen” bread.

4 cups very warm water
2 T. yeast
4 tsp salt
4 T. sugar
4 T. oil

Mix these together in a large bowl. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. This is sponging your yeast. The yeast will activate and get foamy. Add in 2 cups of flour at a time until you have used 10 cups of white flour. Knead for several minutes. Turn into a large greased bowl, cover with a light cloth, and let rise 45 minutes. Divide dough in half, then in half again, keep dividing in halves until you have 32 equal pieces. Use a little flour to dust the pieces and keep them from sticking to you. Shape into rolls and put on baking sheet, or, flatten each piece with the palm of your hand for a bun shape, then put on baking sheet. Cover with a light cloth, Let rise for another 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. I like to use ½ freshly ground whole wheat in my rolls. If you do this, the amount of flour will vary. Try adding one cup of white flour and then one cup of wheat flour, mix, and do this again until your dough is only slightly sticky. Adding too much flour will make your loaf heavy, so leave it on the sticky side. Bread is such a great, cheap way to make a meal go further, and nearly everyone loves homemade bread. For a children’s snack, we like to brush the almost done rolls with butter and sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over the tops. They will be gone before they cool. We did this for our Vacation Bible School snack for the last two years with no complaints. Kids just love homemade bread!

Enjoy!!!! Also, here are a couple of current pictures of the house. With our summer ministry schedule we haven't worked on the Lodge for about 1 1/2 months :-(

Monday, June 9, 2008

Here's the Answer!!

Now for the answers you've been waiting for. Let's see how you did. Did you guess that the first picture in our last post is a White Pine? Pines are typically identifiable by the long slender needles that resemble a bottle brush or chimney brush. We also have Ponderosa Pine (the tallest of the trees in the photo to the left), and Lodgepole Pine (tall slender trees in the photo below).

The second picture in our last post is the needles of a White Fir, also known as a Grand Fir. A White Fir is identifiable by the short flat needles that are set in in two rows on the branch.

Our third photo is of a Red Fir. Look closely at the photos of the White Fir and the Red Fir. They are very similar. Both have short dark green needles. However, the Red Fir needles are set all around the branch like a little bottle brush or the tail hairs on a Pack Rat ;-).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Guess that Tree

We live in the woods, so do critters that eat little kids :-). Last fall, a neighbor's horse was attacked by a cougar. We were not terribly surprised, but it did make me consider the very dense undergrowth of the forest around our house. I resolved to remove as much preditor cover as possible as soon as possible. We also talked about getting a herding dog to watch over the smaller children. The first of May, it finally stopped snowing, and we got to work at the property clearing the woods of smaller trees and brush, and selecting which trees to keep and which to cut. The kids piled the smaller trees, brush and limbs while I cut things down. It really quenches the destructive gene I have in my body :-)!! We have a large percentage of white fir, which is not really good for anything, so we are removing alot of them. We want to keep the white pine, they are the most valuable trees we have. The ponderosa pine get very large and are pretty, we will keep most of them. There are also red fir, a good mill log, and lodgepole pine as well. The house is made of lodgepole, they are very abundant on our property. Someday we hope the market value will go back up, and we will take a few truck loads off to the mill.

In the meantime, we have literally tons of firewood. Our goal is to make the 5 acres around the house very park-like, with little undergrowth, sparse trees, and ultimately, a much greater view base for keeping an eye on our little blessings running around, lest they become cougar bait.

Each of these photos represent a type of tree that we have on our property. One is a White Fir, one is a White Pine, and one is a Red Fir. Can you identify which is which? The answers will be in the next post!! Happy tree identifying!!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Long Awaited Update - Snow, Snow and more Snow

After getting the roof on and getting most of the windows and doors in and the gable ends framed and enclosed we were hoping to get more work done during the winter months. That has not been the case. Just getting out to the lodge has proved difficult at times. We had over a week of subzero temperatures and at the beginning of that time we discovered that a small digital display on our charge controller had drawn the battery charge down to such a point that the batteries froze. We are still not sure how many batteries are ruined. During that time I (Brian) had resurrected my 4WD truck and was busting through the snow drifts trying to get in and out to keep a propane heater running in order to thaw the batteries. On one of the trips I got stuck and as I was working my truck pretty hard to get out I saw a flash in my mirror and looked to see my truck in flames. It was a complete loss but thank God I was able to get out and was not injured.

We have not accomplished as much on the lodge as we had hoped we would this winter, mostly due to a very busy winter schedule and some due to the weather. We did get all the windows in that we had holes cut for. the walls are insulated and we did get about 2/3rds of the outside chinked before it got too cold for the chinking. We also got two french doors installed. We are anticipating getting started again the first part of March, Lord willing.

What we have learned through these last few months is that this house belongs to the Lord and its finish date is in His hands. We will work on it as He provides the time and the finances; our job is to be faithful and patient!!

Living Counter Cultural: Femininity

Popular culture has a decidedly feminist bent.  Recent movies, tv shows and prominent women  are displaying heroins as   to...