Sunday, August 28, 2011

summer evening walk

Blueberries are an excellent dessert!
Quince fruit. Love the little stars on them. These will be ready to harvest in late September.
The still lake. No farm kids splashing around tonight!
Estelle and Stuart removing garden debris. Stuart is just able to push the wheelbarrow, and so proud of himself!
I love the way the silo is framed by the flowers!
The last few weeks have been a delightful whirlwind of parties, visits from friends and family, lesson planning, and the usual farm work. Even though it has been a fun few weeks, I have missed my long, rambling evening walks. Now that things have slowed down a bit, I am enjoying these walks once again. I start by wandering in to the blueberry fields, picking a few handfuls for dessert. Then I walk down the row of plum, quince, and apple trees. The plums are gone, and the apples and quince are not quite ready, so i content myself with some blackberries and cherry tomatoes. Next stop is the lake, and I planned on going for a row but my canoe has drifted over in to the marshy area and I can not get to it! However, the reflection of the trees on the water is beautiful, so I happily take pictures and enjoy the peaceful moment. A little reprieve from the business of life! Next stop is the strawberry field, where our ever bearing strawberries are crowding the plants with ripe berries. I eat a few, and then wander up to the potato rows. The plants have not died yet, so I know the potatoes are not ready to dig, but I push back the dirt around a plant of two and look at the lovely little potatoes I will soon be enjoying! Can't wait! I walk back to the garden, dodging the sprinklers in the blueberry field as I go. A little shower would feel nice, but I don't want to ruin my new camera! Spend a few minutes watching the hummingbirds, and then go inside to work on lesson plans. My evening walks are always the perfect restorative, and I always feel more peaceful and calm upon my return!

Friday, August 19, 2011


Gooseberries look so beautiful, hanging on the bush like little jewels

However, the bushes are covered with large, hard thorns, making the berries so hard to pick!

The results of an hours worth of picking
Today, a customer called and wanted fifteen pounds of gooseberries. I told her I could get them, no problem. What I didn't realize is that gooseberry bushes are covered with very sharp, large thorns. My arms and hands are covered with little scratches, and my poor fingers are sore from being pricked. I should have put on gloves and a long sleeve shirt, but was in a hurry to just get the job done! After picking for an hour, I had seven pounds worth of gooseberries. My customers were satisfied with that amount, and I was happy to be done picking! When the couple came to get their berries, the man told me that he grew thornless gooseberries once, but because there were no thorns, the deer ate his entire crop! So, the thorns may have made picking brutal, but they do serve a purpose, and I am grateful the deer left our bushes alone!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

off of the farm!

Silver Falls State Park

One of the falls

sunflowers along the road

poppies (grown for seed) bathed in evening gold.
I know it is important to try to love where you live. To find the good, and learn contentment right where you are. Honestly, sometimes that is hard. In the middle of February, for example, when the cold, windy rain is pelting down and showing no signs of stopping. Ever. Or, in July when you have a garden party planned and it rains a steady drizzle all morning. In April, when the rest of the country is experiencing lovely blue skies and warmer weather, we are still wrapped up in our blanket of gray, carrying drippy umbrellas and dodging giant puddles.However, most of the time it is easy to love the Willamette Valley. Summertime is usually lovely in the valley, and this summer has been exceptional. Sunny, warm but not hot, crystal clear skies, and a nice cool breeze  every evening. Usually by this time of the year, the grass along the roads is starting to look brown and dusty. This year, everything is still a sparkly emerald green. This is the kind of summer that gives you hope during the dark days of winter, and makes enduring the months of rain totally worthwhile!

Friday, August 5, 2011

garden pictures!

 Honestly, I could spend all day taking and posting pictures of the garden right now. It is in full bloom, and the weather has been lovely- sunny and crystal clear, and everything is drenched in beautiful golden sunlight. Since pictures load on my blog so slooooooowly, I have created a flickr (leaving out the "e" in that word goes against my nature) account to showcase the garden. It can be found at Enjoy!
And, here is some more lovliness found in the garden- the farm children playing together. I am so grateful that my older children play with their little brother so sweetly! Even though they are teenagers, they still run around the garden with him and dig roads in the dirt with him. Here, they are lying in wait for the cat who scratched Stuart, so they can make him apologize. The cat never came by, he usually keeps a pretty safe distance from Stuart!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mr. Hummingbird

Oh Mr. Hummingbird, won't you please sit still so I can take your picture? I wait, slow little point and shoot camera focused and ready. You flit into my viewfinder, and then dart and dash away. You swirl and swoop, wings whirling, and buzz out of my range of vision before I even have a chance to snap your picture! After weeks of trying, this is the best picture I have of you! Does the noisy two year old who accompanies me on my evening walk frighten you away?  Someday, I will get a good picture of you, and then I will be satisfied!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


A little oasis, a place for reading in the evening or coffee in the morning!
I am flying down the driveway, heading to the grocery store with a mile long list. My mother in law is watching my younger three, as it will take all my wits to load all the things I need in to two carts and pack it all home. I do not want to impose on her kindness for too long, so I am trying to hurry. Halfway down the driveway, my phone rings. My employee. We are out of change. I slam the car in to reverse and back up the driveway. Inside, my phone rings again. Same employee, letting me know the person who was supposed to work the afternoon shift had not shown up yet. Look at the schedule and realize that I forgot to call this employee, so start frantically making phone calls to see if someone can cover, trying to fix my mistake. Find someone, cruise back down the driveway, drop off the change, and finally head to the store. Feeling frantic, and not liking this tense feeling of being too busy to catch my breath. I know that, waiting for me at home, are the breakfast and lunch dishes, a pile of laundry, unmopped floors, phone calls to make, and dinner still to be made. What is for dinner anyways, I wonder. My daughter Ella was along to help, and I muttered darkly to her "Peace, Ella! All I want is peace, and it seems as if I will not have it. I just  want peace."

This sequence of events led to some days of thinking about peace, and looking at my life and wondering how I could feel peace when all around me seemed to be chaos. The first thing that came to my mind were the words of our Lord-"Peace I leave you-not as the world gives give I to you, but my peace I leave you." I started to think about this more, and realized that a large part of my inner turmoil came from the fact that I have not completely accepted the life that he has given me. I constantly wish for different circumstances (foolish, I know), a nice 9-5 job for my husband without all of the stress and uncertainty of farming, a cleaner, more beautiful home, and so on. I immediately knew that until I accepted with gratitude that I am living the life God has given me, and that he knows what I need to obtain holiness and happiness, I would never be at peace. There is an enormous sense of peace when we can calmly accept what we are given, and then strive to make the most of it-to live the life we are given as best we can. I have been trading the joys of my current situation for the imaginary good of a different way of living. There are days when the farm work keeps me so busy that my house IS a mess. Days when we eat deli chicken and leftovers for dinner, and my husbands wears yesterdays socks.However, this is what I have been given, and I accept it as being from the hand of God. It no longer makes me feel stressed out or angry. I will have all winter to catch up on work left undone, and I am learning what must be done in order for our home to function and what can be left to slide for a week or so.

The second realization I had is that peace is also about how I respond to the events in my life. I can be calm and cheerful, and just deal with things as they arise, or I can work myself in to a frenzy. By driving up the driveway like a mad woman (clouds of dust and gravel churning up from my wheels) I only saved my self thirty seconds, and I had to wash the car that evening. I am trying to cultivate a sweet, calm response to the things that happen in the day. This is hard for me, as I tend to be impatient and react with sarcastic comments.

I have also come to the conclusion that no matter how much work I have, I need to take time to rest. I have been making a point of spending at least half an hour each evening reading to my three younger children under the hickory tree. They love it, and it helps me to feel better about the business of the day, as I worry about them being lost in the shuffle! We end the day on a peaceful note. The evening skies have been beautiful lately, and as we read we watch the hummingbirds dive and chase,and the sweet smell of lilies and roses drifts our way. We have finished The Wind in the Willows, and I have also been reading Robert Louis Stevenson's poems to them.

Yes, peace can be had amidst the chaos of life. I am grateful for peace within my home-for husband and children who speak pleasantly to each other and treat one another with kindness and respect. I am learning how to accept the events of the day with peace, and not to rant and rail (inwardly) about the circumstances of my life. It is a long, hard road to holiness, it is! But I am determined to find peace, and to live each day with joy and gratitude.