Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Days

     All the hours of garden preparation and planting in the spring are paying off. It has been great being able to enjoy fresh lettuce blends, cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes from our garden. This has been a strange year in regards to weather here in KY. All spring and much of summer temperatures alternated between hot and cold. This morning it was 55 degrees, which for July is quite chilly, yet very comfortable for sleeping. I believe these fluctuations have caused some slow growth for my garden, which has not produced near as well as I would like. Of coarse, this is our first spring/summer on this property and I had to begin garden beds without having them prepared during the winter as I would have liked. Hopefully next spring after this years garden beds have been layered with compost, leaves and manure and had time to build rich soil I will have not only less work in preparation but a much better yield.

    Work on our cabin has progressed slowly but we hope to be moved in before winter. Finishing work on the cabin has had to take a backseat to work demands, serious illness in our extended family and the persistent aches and pains that seek to remind us of our advancing age. I often need to remind myself that family and relationships are far more important than progress on any project. The grandchildren are growing up quickly and I have tried to be diligent this summer to spend some one to one time with as many of them as I can. That has proved to produce some very enjoyable times with several of them. I have enjoyed dining out at each child's choice location, including Burger King where Matthew, age 6, wore his crown proudly. We have played in the park, had sleepovers, enjoyed movies and the girls and I even took in several thrift stores and garage sales. I expect I will have some granddaughters who are thrifty shoppers indeed. I want to build as many happy memories for them to be able to look back on someday with a smile, after I am long gone from this life.

    The end of May I took a trip to the beautiful mountains of North Carolina to see one of my grandsons graduate from high school. I love the mountains with their awesome views. Just spending a few days there and being able to visit with several of my older grandsons who live there was such a treat. Later, in June, I took a short trip back to my hometown in Tennessee. It was a bittersweet time as I visited with an aging aunt whose health is quite fragile. I have so many happy memories of times spent at her home or going places with her that are special to my heart. Each time I visit with her and my uncle I leave wondering if it will be the last time I see them. I am brought face to face with the brevity of life and realize that each family member or dear friend that passes from this life causes an empty spot in my own life.
    It is a strange feeling I believe when you have lived long enough to realize that likely your life is well over half over. I find myself thinking back over my many years and all the places and people that have been a part of my life. I so hope I have left more good impressions than bad on those I have known. This past Sunday in church our minister spoke of "finishing well" in life. I realize, more than ever, how important it is to hold dear every day I am given to have a positive effect on those I come in contact with and on the world around me. How easy it is to get caught up in all the every day stresses and circumstances of life and miss out on opportunities to make an impact for good in another's life and on my surroundings. May each of us seize each moment in time that gives us a chance to make a difference in someone's life.

    A few new additions have been made here on our little "homestead". This summer I bought four Barred Rock chicks and two guinea keats. We lost one of the guineas, which was our smallest, not really knowing why it died. All the others are thriving. It has been fun to watch their behavior. The grand kids enjoy digging worms to feed them and watching as they selfishly fight over which one gets the most treats. We have had many ticks here this spring and summer and have been told by many that having guineas will rid us of that problem. Little "Ginny" is a bit small yet to make a difference this season but hopefully next year she will. I look forward to the hens getting old enough to provide fresh eggs. I intend to add a rooster soon and maybe next spring we will have some baby chicks as well.
    Life is good and though my "To Do List" is far too long I find encouragement each time I am able to cross off an item. As I sit looking out my window I enjoy the view and am thankful for the path I am on. What a walk it has been!


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Beautiful Spring!

     It seems that rain is becoming quite routine this spring. As I look back at earlier blogs written this year each has been written amidst rainy, snowy or otherwise gloomy weather. Though I would love to write today while looking out at blue, sunny skies that is not to be. It has been another rainy, cloudy day though earlier in the day there were some brief moments of sunshine. On a happy note though Spring has made it's arrival and I am enjoying all its beauty. First the forsythias and daffodils announced the season with their beautiful yellow blooms. I really think one could never have too many of them growing! A bit later, a little slow arriving it seemed, came the redbuds. These are my all time favorite and seem to awake my being to the wonderful season of new life.

     The past two weeks along with the rain and cool temperatures, dipping to the thirties some nights, the dogwood blossoms arrived. Of coarse! that's why it's been so cold, another "Dogwood Winter". We did manage to get the grass mowed between rains. The fresh green lawn along with all the new green leaves on the trees and the various colors of blooming flowers and trees just causes me once again to soak in all the wondrous beauty around me. How very thankful I am to live in an area that offers such pronounced changes of season.

     Try as I will I can never resist early planting. As a result I usually lose a few plants. This never seems to deter me though and as I am enjoying fresh lettuce blends from my garden the extra work is so worth it. I am still learning so much about gardening and using newer methods such as raised beds and lasagna gardens. I have read so much and created a little gardening notebook for reference as well as plundering Pinterest for new ideas. It would seem every available space in my home is filled with seedlings such as yellow squash, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber and numerous herbs. The little plants are thriving and I am anxious for the next bout of warm days so I can get them planted outside and watch them grow. Then I will enjoy the fruits of my labor as I serve lots of fresh salads and fresh veggies throughout summer. Of coarse all that depends on whether I manage to prevent our neighborhood bunnies and deer from harvesting them first.
     This Spring holds many new challenges and adventures. I am excited. In a couple of weeks we will begin work on our little cabin. It seems so long in the planning stage, I can hardly wait! The past few years have been spent downsizing, with lots more to complete. I so look forward to living in a small cabin, simple in design and allowing for time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Our youngest grandchild recently moved about ten minutes from us and we also have another grandbaby due to arrive in June. Days spend in the yard with little ones playing games, planting flowers and gathering veggies from the garden are precious moments to me. I'm sure many would beg to differ with me on this but I would not trade these sweet times of enjoying nature and relaxing in the peaceful surroundings of these Kentucky hills for life in any city on the planet.
     This path of mine is perfect for me. And so on I will walk, taking the time to enjoy sunrises, sunsets, the blooming of my roses and yes, even the spring rain. Seize every moment and embrace family and friends. This life is short, let's make it count.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

While Waiting For Spring

     It is March 27th as I look out at the partly cloudy sky here in Kentucky. In February I eased my severe bout of "cabin fever" by reminding myself that very soon it would be March and Spring would be here. Well... now near end of March the "fever" lingers still. I think we've had more snow during March than during the whole winter season. Now granted we've had no more than an inch at a time, still the weather has been cold, cloudy and wet. I am so very ready for warm sunshine and blooming flowers to brighten the landscape here.
     As I have tried to use these days of dreary weather in a positive way time has been taken to do some reading, a hobby I love. Last week a friend at the library suggested a book, which I reluctantly checked out. The title," The Insanity of God" didn't really appeal to me at all. In fact I thought, what a strange title. The book has proved to be one of the best I've read in a very long time.

     The story begins with a young man in rural Kentucky, which immediately appealed to me since I live in just such a place myself. Nik, the fellow in the story is preparing to graduate high school and plans to attend the University of Kentucky to study veterinary medicine. A short time before graduation Nik's father finds a job for him which will help with school expenses. During the summer the young man encounters a change that will impact his life forever.
     If you are happy with "religions" status quo believe me, this book is not for you. If however, you sense that there must be something more, I can assure you this book will have a positive impact on your life as well. Nik Ripken, not the writers real name, begins his walk of faith in simplicity. Almost twenty years later he finds himself discouraged and with some seemingly hard questions for God. The answers to his questions come only after he travels around the globe and meets with many people who have powerful stories to tell. They also have some questions for him. I challenge you to read this account in which names and places have been changed, truly to protect the innocent.
     May you be blessed on your path as I have been while reading this story.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Rainy Days and Waiting

    Today is a very cloudy, rainy day here in Kentucky, yet I find myself feeling quite sunny. It has been so very many months since I have had a chance to make my way to my Blog site and write. As I look back over all these months I am once again in awe at all the changes that have taken place in my life. So many new, wonderful opportunities have presented themselves. I won't go into all that today. Instead just a little "catch up".
    In my last post I shared about our two Pygmy goats. After all the preparation for them and trying to get them settled at our place life took a sudden turn. My daughter and her family bought a home almost an hour away. This meant no regular visits from the children to play with the goats. I tried to fill in but realized trying to keep those little darlings in their pen was just more than this Grandma cared to keep up with. I began to look for another home for them. I was so glad to find a family with a farm and other goats as well that were happy to have them. It helped that we knew this family and were sure the goats would be well taken care of.
    When two of our children had bought homes quite a driving distance away we began to question if it might be wise to look for a place closer to our family which would allow for more visiting and for saving quite a bit on gas. I admit in many ways I did not like the idea of moving, yet again. I loved our woods, little pond, small community with lots of Amish neighbors and that we had begun to build a cabin there with a great view. I did like the thoughts of being closer to the grandchildren though.
    So we began the search. Very soon we found a couple of acres bordered by a nice creek and within a few miles of several of the grandchildren. The downside was it being open to a fairly busy state road and very low lying and apt to flooding. The price was great but my "hubby" was not sold on it. I am very thankful today for his reservations. We happened to learn, through an old schoolmate of my hubby's, about a fellow who owned several parcels of land in an area central to much of our family. In no time we were being shown these various tracts of land and found one that seemed to meet most of both our requirements. We just needed to sell our other place now to make it all work. Within two-three weeks we had found the new land and had cash in hand from the sale of our place. It is amazing to see how quickly God can change things around.
   So once again I write from a different place. We now live on six acres that is mostly cleared and gently rolling but still have a couple acres of woodland with lots of wildlife. One of our first times here a red fox ran across what is now our yard. There are lots of deer tracks and hopefully this fall one of them will make its way to my freezer. We have found a spring in the woods below our home site and although there is no pond we have lots of room and could build one. There is lots of room gardening and a few raised beds are in place and my strawberry patch had been transplanted here. We had sold our motorhome last year and since there was no house on our land that was a small problem. Well not so small actually. We were however able to find another that has been quite comfortable for the two of us these winter months. Another winter with very little cleaning!
    One additional bonus to this new bit of land is that it is located less than five miles from my best friend for the past almost thirty years. I would have never imagined living so close. Where before we often struggled to fit a visit for lunch in every few months now we are able to visit most every week and attend our grandchildren's ballgames and such together at times. I have always treasured the gift of a good friend and this has been a "gift" quite unexpected but much enjoyed.
    As we discuss plans for beginning to build, again, I find myself getting restless. Patience, alas is not one of my virtues. As we wait for better weather and try to decide just what will best suit us both I must direct my energy in some way. Since I am also impatiently awaiting spring I decided to get busy starting seedlings. Yesterday I started seeds for over a hundred plants. Hopefully, by planting time I will have lots of tomatoes, peppers, melons, squash, various herbs and lots of flowers ready to put in our garden. I pray for a good growing season this year in order to have lots of fresh produce not only for us but to share with family and friends.
    Fueled once again by the approach of the Spring season I will make another attempt to be more consistent with my blogging. I will end today with a bit of a poem I read earlier today.
          His grace is great enough to meet the great things---
             The crashing waves that overwhelm the soul,
          The roaring winds that leave us stunned and breathless,
             The sudden storms beyond our life's control.

          His grace is great enough to meet the small things---
             The little pin-prick troubles that annoy,
          The insect worries, buzzing and persistent,
             The squeaking wheels that grate upon our joy.
                                                                 Annie Johnson Flint