of the weekend

What an unusually warm weekend it was, for January. Rather springlike, actually, with patchy drifts of snow and a bit of mud about the barnyard. We spent part of Saturday in the back pasture, checking the fence and basking in the sunshine.

One of the girls found this beautiful rock filled with sparkly white crystals as the kids explored the wide open space that is dotted with many lovely rocks and natural curiosities. So pretty!

Our menfolk fixed the broken wire that we discovered on the fence and checked that all of the posts and braces along the fenceline are secure. We fenced our property with smooth wire, but this dividing fence that was already in place when we moved to our land eighteen years ago is barbed wire with smooth wire patches. {smile}

We walked to the very back of the back pasture as we checked the perimeter, where there are some low-lying bushes stubbornly hanging onto a snow drift.

I hung the day's laundry on the clothesline to dry. The wintry fresh smell can't be achieved any other way! I have been using my clothesline quite often this winter... I like using it year-round.

And my dear hubby and I went out for a special dinner - just the two of us - to celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary. Thirty years as husband and wife! Jack knew we were getting ready to go and tried to deter me from leaving with a kiss.

Thirty years of being the wife of my best friend, the kindest and most wonderful man I have ever known. I thank God for him everyday... what a great joy it is to be this man's love, helper, and wife; and to be the parents together of the eight children we have been blessed with. There have been many ups and downs along the way, and we have experienced them all hand-in-hand. So thankful and blessed I am.

And when we got home from our special date, we were greeted with the surprise of cupcakes! Our girls baked them for us while we were away... our oldest at-home daughter said it was our youngest girl's idea. So sweet.


A Grateful Heart

"Mama, that's your buck!" was the happy announcement made by one of my boys as we paused from our homestead walkabout to view a herd of mule deer that had meandered across our back pasture and grazed in the field next to our property...

Oh my, it was the buck I watched last spring and summer! He is easily recognizable by his 3 x 4 point antlers and his split ear. The joy! I raised my hands to Heaven and thanked God for the blessing of seeing "my deer" once again. I am so thankful that he still resides upon (or visits) this mountain.

Here are a few more snippets from my ongoing gratitude list this week ~

:: Afternoon walks. Our January weather has been quite warm(ish) and the sun has been shining and the kids and I have been spending daily time in the out-of-doors soaking it in.

:: Using my clothesline. I love hanging the freshly laundered clothing on the line in the winter time. There is such an icy wintry blueness to the sky and a crisp freshness to the air. Today, I listened to my hens softly cackle to one another as they pecked about the barnyard nearby.

:: Fresh eggs. We have gotten three lovely large brown eggs from our chickens so far this week. Not bad at all for this time of the year, especially from my ageing flock of seven.

:: Reading... I finished My Dear Hamilton this week. I am mere pages away from finishing The Four Million (I have really enjoyed all of O. Henry's stories that I have read). And I am also nearly finished with a book of poetry that I have been savoring. Poetry thrills me; the way the words weave together in such wonderful ways. I am re-reading The Imitation of Christ and also reading that book aloud to my children, along with our other read alouds. So many books . . . {smile}

Thank you for coming by my blog today, friends. I wish you a cup brimful of gratitude where you are.


those darling ducks

It was such a warm and sunshine-y afternoon, we moved the ducks to their big pen for some waddle-time atop the drifts. They did seem to love it! And how cute are all of those webbed flappy-feet tracks in the snow? {smile}


Rigid Heddle Weaving Discovery

One of the ways I am putting into practice my focus word for the year :: present :: is by sorting through the cards and papers and pictures and keepsakes I have collected through the years. . .

I did the same thing a couple of years ago, and donated or gifted or discarded quite a bit of "stuff" and hand-me-downs and items that I have never missed. In fact, it has been so lovely to have in our midst fewer decorative and even functional items... to own only the things we truly like and want and use and enjoy having in our snug little home.

So my oldest at-home daughter and I spent a recent morning and afternoon strolling down memory lane together. We laughed and reminisced and discussed how quickly time passes. I saved the best pictures and tucked away a few meaningful trinkets, but mostly I discovered that I am not as sentimental over the past as I thought I was. That was then and this is now, and now is pretty fantastic. {smile}

It felt great to empty a bin of unneeded items, to carry out several bags of clutter. Now there is space to fill with better things, or to simply relish as empty space!

A few of the items we found, we chose to begin using and enjoying once again. I would rather use my things, even special things, than leave them packed away. A couple of my children are once again playing with the dolls and stuffed animals I had saved from their youngest days. I discovered two pairs of brand new bootlaces, which came at the perfect time since my dear hubby broke one of his bootlaces just yesterday. And I found a baby blanket that I made long ago on a rigid heddle loom for our boy who turned fifteen on Christmas Eve.

The woven blanket is just the right size to use as a rug in front of our wood stove! So I brought it out from storage and now it is a cheerful spot of homemade color on the floor, and a perfect place for Jack (or the cats, or even one of the kids) to soak up the cozy heat.

Being made of acrylic yarn, it may not be a very durable rug. Perhaps it will even be ruined, but that is okay. Loved ones (people *and* critters!) are so much more important than things. Lord willing, I intend to get back into weaving one day and I can always make another one.


Another Shawl {and a grateful heart}

Howdy and happy Friday to you, from our windy and wintry homestead! Our mountainside property is its usual January mix of towering drifts and bare spots of ground as the wind has done its job of moving and melting much of our Christmas snow.

Things are back to normal around here, after our long holiday staycation. We resumed our homeschooling activities this week, with refreshed enthusiasm all around. I am so happy to be reading aloud to the kids again each day... I have really grown to treasure those regular moments together throughout my twenty-one years (and counting...) of homeschooling our tribe.

We have several books going right now, in addition to our daily reading in the Bible. We decided to finish A Christmas Carol, though I have read it aloud before and didn't quite get through it before Christmas this year. I am re-reading the Little House series so my youngest children will experience it, and I am reading for the first time Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone aloud to the kids. And my younger girls and I are savoring our way through Beautiful Girlhood, slowly.

Did I mention that I *love* reading aloud to my crew? {smile}

And, I have a finished crochet project to show you today. I am calling it *Another Shawl* because I make so many shawls, and I am quite pleased with it . . .

I didn't use a pattern, I simply started at the bottom of the triangle and increased each row until it was the size I wanted. Then, I added a half-double crochet stitch around the edge. Simple indeed.

What I especially love about this shawl is that the "fiesta" colored acrylic yarn that I used to craft it is laden with a blend of my very favorite bright and cheerful colors. It makes me happy just to look at it!

I have been wearing it lots - my preference has shifted from slipping on a jacket when I am chilly to wearing one of my many handmade shawls - and it kept me nice and warm when I wore it as a scarf and headwrap during a homestead walkabout with my little girl and Jack yesterday...

Here are a few more snippets from my ongoing gratitude list this week ~

:: Bible study. We got one of our boys a new study Bible for his recent birthday, and it prompted him to invite me to participate in some studies that he is putting together and leading with the help of his new Bible's notes and resources. How lovely, yes?

:: Ten. Speaking of birthdays, we have *another* one in our family this weekend. One of our girls will be ten years old. The celebrations continue!

:: Resolutions. My one and only specific New Year's Resolution for 2019 was to drink more water. My goal is to fill up my cute, big portable cup three times daily. So far, I have met my goal each day. Yay! 😇

:: Twinkly lights. We have our Christmas tree and decorations packed away until next year, but we decided to leave up for now the strands of lights that we draped around the house. I am glad we did, they do add a fun and festive touch to an ordinary day.

I wish you a cup brimful of blessings and gratitude where you are, friends. God is so good!

Happy New Year

A new year, a fresh start... and a back-to-normal day it is for us as my dear hubby returned to work after a long-and-lovely stretch of days off that flew by all too quickly, and the rest of us resumed our usual rhythm of school and our ordinary tasks and routines.

I am just back inside after a short afternoon walkabout with my youngest daughter and Jack. Jack sniffed and bounded in the snow, very interested in the plentiful magpie tracks that dot the drifts in the front pasture. My little girl and I discussed her upcoming birthday, unicorns, and llamas. And I think she giggled as much as she talked... she is a true ray of sunshine, that youngest daughter of ours.

Yesterday we celebrated another birthday at our place. Our New Year's baby turned thirteen! It was the main focus of our day; making our girl feel extra special and loved, watching a movie together, eating birthday cake... and the last day of our holiday break... and here are a few snippets from our first day of 2019 on the farm.

There was a cattle drive down on the county road. One of my favorite sights!

Jack hopped into my chair, as he likes to do when it's empty. {smile} We had planned to do some birthday sledding on New Year's Day, but it was *so* cold that not even Jack wanted to spend any more time than necessary in the out-of-doors.

I currently only have a few skeins of cotton yarn in my bin, so I am using them to make some more dishcloths for my kitchen. This one is a bit larger than I usually make (I knitted fifty rows before I began to decrease) and I am going to put a single-crochet edge around it to finish it off.

Orange is my *favorite* color so this dishcloth makes me quite happy!

And though the birthday girl chose the menu for her special day, I also made an enormous batch of blackeye pea and ham soup for New Year's Day. It was delicious! And we have lots of soup leftover for tonight's supper. {smile}

joyfully ~

End of December on the Homestead

End-of-the-month (and year!) greetings from our happy gentle homestead to you, friends. It is a frigid day at our place - only 5 degrees (F) when we first checked the outdoor thermometer this morning - and the sky is a clear icy blue and the ground is white with snow for as far as I can see.

We have been watching a large herd of elk on the hillside across the way this week. It was snowing when I took these pictures for you, but I think you can make them out fairly well...

How blessed we are to see elk from our place! It is a wonderful privilege that we do not take for granted, especially since our area seems much less rural than it once did and is getting more and more built up with homes... activity that may eventually cause much of the wildlife to move on.

For this last homesteading review post of the year, I have decided to go through and choose a post from each month of 2018 to revisit...

January: Making Friends
The first introduction of Jack and Matilda. My two best animal friends took to each other right away, and have become true barnyard buddies this year.

February: My First Home Sewn Prairie Skirt
I still have that skirt in my wardrobe and wear it often. My fingers are itching to sew more of my own clothes again... long skirts and modest jumpers, especially! Perhaps I will find the time to do so next year. {smile}

March: Over They Go
Watching deer outside the kitchen window. I *love* the wildlife that we so often see on and around our mountainside farm.

April: Simple Crocheted Dish Scrubbers
A simple tutorial for you... I just made another dish scrubber earlier this week. They are the best, I think, for washing dishes by hand. I like them even better than the scrubbers I used to make with recycled onion bags.

May: Little Foxes
It was so fun to keep an eye on the fox family that lived up the road from us last summer. I am really hoping they will be back to inhabit the log pile in the spring.

June: Weekend Goodness
Just an ordinary weekend on the farm. Moments of our simple life and homesteading adventures.

July: Handknit Graduation Shawl
The shawl I made for our daughter's homeschool graduation.

August: Homemade Sourdough Bread With Homegrown Grain
How thrilled I was to have some homegrown grain to use in my bread baking! A long-time homesteading hope and dream of mine, it was... so thankful!

September: Archery Season
What fun our big family had with our homestead archery range last fall.

October: One Year Old
Jack turned one in October. Oh, how I love love love that dog of mine.

November: Thanking God for His Faithful Provision
One of the many, many times the Lord gave us just what we needed at the perfect time. God is so good!

December: Simply Christmas
A few of the simple decorations and traditions of our family's holiday celebration.

Thank you for visiting my blog and following our family's homesteading adventures, friends. All of the monthly updates for 2018 can be viewed here, in case you missed one.

I love fresh starts and new beginnings, and I am quite looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for our big family and farm in 2019. I trust that whatever it will be, it is for our good and His glory. Wishing you love, peace, and blessings in the new year...


Good News

Dear friends, I do hope you had a lovely Christmas! Ours was simple and quiet... we exchanged gifts, enjoyed family time, watched a few Christmas movies, and ate lots of yummy food. {smile}

I have been thinking about sharing with you the good news of the gospel for awhile now. I have been praying about it... sometimes I am concerned that I might appear smug or prideful in the way that I write... or that I won't be clear, or any of the other excuses that the devil whispers into my thoughts to keep me from telling you about Jesus.

But the message is God's, not mine. I simply want to share with you the good news that I accepted so long ago... it opened my eyes, changed my life, and saved my soul.

We are all sinners.
"for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God."
Romans 3:23
God is holy and perfect beyond what we can even understand. People are sinful... look around, look at me, look in the mirror. Sinfulness abounds, yes? It isn't an insult, it is a fact. Our sin separates us from God and we cannot, by our own effort, change that. Our sin nature is simply part of us - whether we are "good" or "bad" by the world's standards - and God does not tolerate sin. We need a Savior.

Christ died for us.
"But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5:8
Jesus, who is fully God *and* became fully man when He came to dwell among us, paid the price for our sins. He willingly died on the cross to pay the price for our past, present, and future sins. God loves us so much that He gave His only Son so that we can have a way to be with Him forever!

The gift of God is eternal life.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 6:23
Though sin is often pleasurable and may seem fun for a season, it always leads to destruction. Not only the consequences of sin in this life, but in eternal damnation to Hell. But when we trust Jesus as our Lord and Savior, our sins are washed away - just as if they never happened - and we receive the free gift through Jesus of eternal life to be with God forever in Heaven.

Confess and believe.
"that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Romans 10:9-10
To become saved, admit your sinfulness. Admit specific sins, even, and ask God to forgive you. Confess Jesus as Lord and invite Him into your heart to be the King of your life. Accept the free gift of God's grace and be saved.

Being a born-again Christian is not about following rules or doing good works to earn God's favor or salvation. It is simply understanding that we are sinners and putting our trust and faith in the One who paid the price for our sins. We are saved immediately, bought with the price of the precious blood of the risen Christ, and in time - through Bible study and prayer - we develop a close relationship with God... Father, Son, and Holy Spirit... that will endure for eternity.

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new."
2 Corinthians 5:17

Jesus is the one and only way to joy, peace, and Heaven. I pray if you don't know Him that your heart will soften and your eyes will be opened to the truth of God's love and forgiveness and your need for a savior. And if you do know the Lord, I rejoice with you as a sister in Christ!

(The Scripture in this post is from the World English Bible which is in the public domain. The name "World English Bible" is trademarked.)


Good News

Please note . . .
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