What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Christmas in July. Now, August.

I always think I will have time to take pictures of things before a party begins but I never do.  I fully intended on taking pictures of the food I made to put on my sorely neglected food blog.  (But I didn't.) I always tell myself I need to take pictures during a party of the people who have come...the people who are part of our lives.  Their laughter.  Their smiles.  The moments of deep conversation and silly goofing off.  These people who are a part of our lives and who we are...they deserve some photographs right alongside those flowers, food and corners that I normally snap pictures of- in moments of boredom when I have nothing to do but take out my camera.

Well intentioned or not, I never take before party pictures.  No matter how well-prepared I am for partying or how early I begin the prep work, I am always working up until the last minute.  I rarely take during party pictures.  At least not the caliber I would like.

These few are my rather stunted attempt at doing better at snapping photos during the party.  The above photos (excepting the ones with rain) were all taken in one five-minute span of "Oh!  The camera!  I should take some pictures!"  And then the camera was forgotten. I got on with the eating, visiting and playing a few games of volleyball.  I'm not very good at volleyball, mind you, but I do love playing that game.

We had out of town guests spend time at our home on the days leading up the party.   At the beginning of last week, I got a sty on my eye.  Anyone who has ever had a sty knows they love to hang on for a week or more... so not fun to get right before a large gathering of people.  Then, the day before company arrived, the farmer down the road FINALLY mowed the hay.  (YAY!)  This resulted in waking up the next morning to allergy meltdown full force. (SO not yay.)

 I had to run to the store (I forgot our dog ate our other volleyball!) with handkerchief firmly pressed against my nose throughout Walmart.   Glasses.  No makeup (because, really, WHY?!?) Drippy.  Swollen.  I saw a few people I knew while shopping. (Of course.)   I was a watery, raw and red-faced girl when company came.  I made stir-fry and rice for supper that night and the making of it took twice as long as usual due to the five minute gaps of sneezing/washing my hands before touching food again.  Had it been my own family, they would have gotten the sneeze germs... but with company and all, I decided to be more high-class during the food production.

I spent the week holding chamomile tea compresses on my eye which eased the pain but not the ugliness of the sty and the day of the party my face was raw and chapped on my lips and under my nose from my bad allergy day and my eye was swollen and red.

Vanity.  All is vanity.  Got it, Lord.  Thanks for the lesson.

Sunday afternoon the rain poured buckets and buckets as I cleaned up the tables, chairs, sawhorses, etc. from the party.  There is something supremely comforting about summer rain under the protection of a porch.  And a picnic table full of canning jars full of flowers, too.

July is over.  The July parties are over.   It was a fun month, it was a busy month.  But I am excited for August.

I have not a single commitment on the calendar for August so far (I know this will not last) and it feels pretty great.  My hopes for the month are to swim, to finish some long overdue baby gifts, to swim, to sort through some bins of clothes in the Granary, to pick blueberries (that's tomorrow!), to swim (did I mention swim?), to sew something-anything! (my sewing machine awaits on the dining room table as I type) and to fit in a date with my Mister.  I am dreaming about a kayaking on the lake at sunset sort of date. Sounds pretty perfect.

 August!  Come quickly!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


It is so hard to believe that Judah is two years younger than Adele'.  What a Hoss.

Well, the heat finally came though the rains can't stay away for more than three days at a time- as can be attested by the frustrated farmers in our area and the fields still waving around the now dead, brown grasses of first cutting.  We've been wondering when the mowers would come for our own field for about two months and still they haven't.  This is going to put pressure on our hay needs this winter as we were supposed to get second cutting and well, without a first cutting there won't be a second...or at least a very hearty one.

The heat is good for the garden- though it may come too late for the hot peppers.  They were in a low spot in the garden and may not be able to be resuscitated.  It is good for us too- I wanted to have a few good sweats before cold weather came again- and was wondering if we would go from winter to cool summer to winter again without a bit of heat to spice things up.  I love these sweltering days...even if the sleeping is almost unbearable and the days are long and sweaty.  With the heat, the rains are turning more fierce and thunderous.  I love lightening too.  And I don't mind at all that the power was out for over 7 hours yesterday...except that I was worried about the $45.00 worth of meat inside of it awaiting this weekend.  (That was a bit stressful.)

This weekend we are hosting our annual "Christmas In July" picnic for the Newman side of the family.  It's kind of a big deal.  People come from out of state.  Lots of mouths to feed.  A few people coming a few days early for an extended visit.  The house needs to be clean.  (OH BOY, does it!) The yard needs to be mowed.  Food plans needs to be made and then prepared.  There is A LOT to do!

So- what do I decide to do?  Get the house company ready?    No.  (That would have been the smart thing to do.)  I decide to empty out the entire laundry room/pantry, clean it, reorganize it, go through all the expired medicines and toss them, build a shelf, get all the dusty bottles of cooking wines, vinegars and oils as well as bulky food items off of the floor (where I have been wading through them for the last few months) and onto a shelving unit.  Laundry room stuff extended from kitchen to living room to dining room.

Right in the middle of it all, I stood there- surrounded by dusty grossness and STUFF everywhere and I thought how I foolishly get myself into these messes.  I always do it- I pick the most absurd time to tackle something that has been bugging me (but I've been ignoring) for days, weeks, or even months right before another deadline approaches.  Something is wrong with me.  My inner clock is screwed up.

But!  The laundry room is clean!  The potato bin with rotten potatoes is out!  The bottles I've been tripping on are off the floor.  The Bandaids are in a canning jar instead of flung hither and yon in a drawer mixed with empty BandAid wrappers.  (We have a bit of a Band-Aid thief.  His name is Judah.)  All the missing socks that got shoved under the dirty laundry basket has been found.  The dryer is white!  I had forgotten.

It was worth it.

Now, for the rest of the house. Let's hope that was the only major overhaul I feel inclined to tackle because company comes tomorrow and Saturday is just a blink away.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

First Harvests


We've gotten two beautiful heads of broccoli which Adele' promptly chopped up for a party dish a few minutes before company arrived so I never got a picture of them in their glory.  But they were beautiful.  

I have been slowly but surely thinning the beets, radishes, carrots, lettuces which has been resulting in just the perfect amount of greens per meal.  Radishes are a new crop for me.  I planted some several years ago- more to distinguish the rows of carrots than anything else- but I just wanted to give it a go.  They are so beautiful and vibrant!  Turns out, Judah loves them raw and roasting them in a cast iron pan on the grill makes for a totally delicious vegetable.  I put some of the radish greens on top of our pizza Friday night and in pasta with scampi sauce on Sunday.  How do you eat your radishes?

I made myself a salad the other day and I thought Wow.  This looks delicious.  And then I looked again and realized it may only look delicious to a pregnant woman...a salad with both raisins and olives on it?  At the same time?  For this pregnant lady, it hit the spot.

Oh- feasting like kings.  First cucumbers never taste better.  First peppers- sublime.  That first brush of fresh basil after so long of the frozen, sloppy pesto.  Still waiting for first tomatoes and squash but there will be nothing like them when they get here.  

Now is the fun part.   Enjoying the goodness from the garden but not being overwhelmed by the chores of stuffing the abundance into jars or crevices in the freezers.  It begins!

Also- I need to begin the yearly cleaning out of the freezers.  I am not sure how it happened exactly, but there is a remarkable amount of food left in our (several) freezers and I'll be needing to make some room for, Lord willing, lots of garden abundance, in the near future!

Monday, July 13, 2015

4th of July

"Mama!  Make sure you get the beak!"

He does this every time a camera is pointed at him.  I call it the GQ with a bit of rage look.

Independence Day Shindig.  
July 4th, 2015

 There was face painting, decorations made almost single-handedly by Corynn, a hot dog bar with tons of dressing-up options, a porch full of people and a yard thick with sulfury firework smoke by the end of the night.  Strings of bistro lights (Matt loves calling them that) and perfectly suited red, white and blue flowers from the flower circle to plunk in vases for tables.  Cousins.  Family.  Tattoos.  Fun.

An exhausted eagleboy fell asleep on the couch, where we left him all night (YOU try picking the boy up and carrying him upstairs to bed!), and he woke up swollen with pride at his nighttime accommodations.  I made a quadruple batch of vanilla ice cream along with both strawberry and huckleberry sauces to drizzle on top for dessert- but the evening was so chilly (see sweater photos above) no one was really feeling the ice cream eating.

Oh drat.  A freezer full of ice cream and fruit sauces to boot.  What a dilemma!

A quote that I pondered throughout that day, and often since...

"Fellow citizens, clouds and darkness are round about Him.  His pavilion is dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.  Justice and judgment are the establishment of His throne.  Mercy and truth shall go before His face.  
Fellow citizens, God reigns, e'en o'er a government in Washington-despite all appearances."  
                                                                       ~ James A. Garfield