Sunday, July 31, 2011

with this ring . . .

Marriage is a life long commitment not to be taken lightly.  It is not a "ring," or even a ceremony, it is a life shared.  It is a "for better or worse" perspective that gets worked out daily in the kitchen, family room, AND even the garage.  It is a life spent sharing, caring, forgiving, and living.

For the past several years I have played around with the idea of not wearing my wedding band ring.  Not sure why, it has just been one of those things that I think about occasionally.  The ring does not make me married.  It certainly is a symbol, but it has nothing to do with my attitude or perspective about marriage.  It is just a ring.  And a ring that has lots of dings and scrapes in it as well!

Recently I have been taking my ring off when I am working on my etsy chalkboard orders so as to not scratch the surface of the chalkboards when I am wiping them off before I ship them.  I had to do something because it was too hard for me to try to cup my hand and wipe off hundreds of mini chalkboards always afraid that my ring will scratch the surface, and I would have to make that one chalkboard or so over again. I hate doing the same work twice.  I have been putting it in my pocket when I wipe the boards off and then when I clean up from being in the wood shop, I put it back on.  Until the other day.

I was finishing some boards up and washed my hands with some cleaner I had in the garage.  I reached in my pocket and got my ring out and dropped it on the concrete floor.  No big deal, I have done that before.  Only this time instead of putting it on my finger, I just returned it to my pocket.

The boys and I took off to town to drop off my orders at the post office, and we and needed to run some errands while we were in town.  We went to several places from coffee shops to hardware stores and our last stop was an auto shop store to buy a belt for the mower.  It was when we left the store, and I was reaching in my pocket to get my keys out, that I realized that I had lost my ring.  I wasn't shocked at first thinking that I might have left it in a different pair of pants.  I then remembered that I had specifically left it in my pocket after I dropped it in the shop.  My stomach did a little flip.

On the way home I tried to convince myself that I did not lose it, but in fact, I did.  I tried to justify not having it thinking that I was planning on not wearing it anyway, so it wouldn't matter.  I told myself that I bought it over 19 years ago and it wasn't that expensive, so I could easily replace it.  After all, people often upgrade wedding rings don't they?  But still I had that little pit in my stomach that I had lost my wedding band.  What a bummer. :(

When we got home and were sitting at the supper table I told the children that I had lost my ring.  There was more than one sigh.  I reassured them that it wasn't that big a deal and things like this happen sometimes.  A couple of the children asked me questions about when I had it last, and a couple left the dinner table to check out in the wood shop and the van one more time.  I was sure it was lost.  And probably not where I would find it again.

About half way through supper Nolan asked if he could take the van back to town to look in the parking lots for it.  He said it would make him feel better of he tried to find it.  I agreed, and off he went.  When he came home, it was without the ring.

Fast forward to three days later.  I was up 40 foot on a ladder hanging a FOUTFOLK FARM sign on the horse barn and I hear a faint, shaky voice from afar saying "daddy can you come down please?"  I turned and see Macy walking towards me clutching her hand together and repeating that she wants me to come down from the ladder.  With that kind of voice, and that kind of clutching, I begin to think that she has cut herself really badly and has that panicking kind of reaction to how badly she is hurt.

I rush down the ladder, Macy opens her hand, and she says in that same shaky, and yet excited voice this time, "I found your ring."  FOUND MY RING!  I couldn't believe it!  31 acres we live on.  I had traveled 20 or so miles that day and stopped at several places, and she she has found my ring!  What are the odds!

She then told me that she was walking around the side of the house off the patio and was looking at the ground as she was walking along.  She said she had no idea why she was studying the ground as she walked but she was noticing every detail of the grasses, walnuts, and twigs that were on the ground.  And then she noticed a shiny golden ring.  Her eye was just drawn to it.  And she immediately called to find out where I was to tell me that she had it.

I am still in shock that of the many places I could have lost it that day, I lost it here on the farm.  And I am even more shocked that in the larger perspective of it, the likelyhood of finding a lost ring SOMEWHERE on a 31 acre farm, even if I thought I had lost it here on the farm, is virtually impossible.  It truly is a needle in a hay stack analogy!

The older I get the more I try not to read too deeply into situations.  I am not a hocus pocus type of person.  Losing a ring is not a "sign" of anything.  It is a careless mistake, that's it.  And finding the ring also is not a "sign" of anything either.  It is just finding a ring.  However, I am grateful to God for His grace for me and my family, and I am thankful to Macy for taking the time to study the ground as she was walking that day.

I think when I take my ring off tomorrow to work on chalkboards again I am going to put it on my etsy business desk so as to not lose it again.  :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

updated family collage . . .

Brooke came over one time to buy eggs and we started a conversation about healthy food.  The conversation led to ALL sorts of other interests and me inviting her and her husband over for dinner one night.  Since that night, we have had them over again, and she occasionally pops in for a short visit.

The other night was one of those visits.  In addition to spending time talking, she snapped some candid photos of each of us.  It is great having someone besides myself take photos of the family.  And she is REALLY great at capturing people in a photo! 

This is our updated family collage picture including one of my favorite pictures of our chicken house latch that Maine took.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

thinking it out as I go . . .

I think it would be safe to say that I am addicted to building things!

As if the fence, pergola, and a couple of other smaller projects were not enough, I decided to add a balcony above the garage.  :)

It really isn't my fault.  Someone, who had this place before us, made an outside access door off the front of the garage/wood shop/game room.  It probably had some purpose for it or was part of a planned building project.  I couldn't just leave a doorway which led to a 10 foot drop when I wanted to open the door to allow air to circulate in the game room.  So hence the balcony plan.

I have been working on it, slowly, for the past couple of weeks devoting an hour or two to it every now and again.  I am on the cusp of finishing it now.  Since it is high, and I am planning and making it at the same time, I am also painting it as I go as well.  Screw a few boards on, paint them, and then I go off to another project for the rest of the day.

I have everything in place now and am working on the rail that will encompass the landing.  I am mimicking the existing rail style of the house and am finding it a pleasure to think it out as I go.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

our first calving . . .

Asher got out to do his chores around 9:00 today and came RUNNING back into the house to tell us that Janey was about to give birth.  All of us scurried to go out to see our first calving here at the farm.  For us, it was a lesson in nature, and an educational experience.  She did really well and the whole process took around 30 to 40 minutes.  And thank God, there were no complications at all.  Smooth and beautiful!
 The calf is a heifer and is a jersey/devon mix.  Our intention is to feed it out for our family's beef.
She sure is cute!

Friday, July 15, 2011

on three . . .

Yesterday I added a diving board to the dock to make our swimming time a little (funner) more fun. (Amory hates it when we use that word!) I used an old plank I got from a farmer friend and lag bolted it to the support beams. I then added a little wood to the end of the dock to act as the fulcrum. It's a little "slippery when wet" but a WHOLE lot of fun on a day like this! In fact, all of us, including the animals were swimming today.

This is one of Floppy's puppies that we kept from her last litter. His name is Saxon.
 And this is our duck that my mother nursed from her apartment complex pond.  Since it got too big for her bathtub, she brought it out here to the farm.




Wednesday, July 6, 2011

fun as well . . .

Today we finished the bulk of the haying for this year.  It was a few days in the process of cutting, raking, and baling, then us collecting the bales and storing them in the barn.  Our Gator and wagon came in handy with transporting the bales from the field to the Big Barn.  And I am so glad that we have the animal's food for the winter taken care of.  It always is a little stressful to need hay and not be able to get some for awhile.  Now, we have over 300 bales just waiting for winter to come! 
 People have names.  And so do animals. That's how we identify them.  It is a way to distinguish them from each other besides describing a whole bunch of characteristics about them.  With this in mind, the other day I was talking to Macy about one of the garden plots and that I wanted her to do some work in it for me.  I described what was planted in it, and she understood where I wanted her to work.  It then dawned on me to NAME the garden plots that we have!  Since we have six children, I made six garden plots to grow things in.  (I almost always do things in sixes now to represent them) I spent a couple of days thinking about it and as I was working out in the garden the other morning, I came up with a great garden plot naming plan.

I painted the recycled concrete chuncks that I dragged from the woods with the colors that I assigned to the children years ago.  Each child having a different color. It is one of those art teacher things.  :)   And each color has a herb or flower type of name on the paint.  Got to love the paint names today.  So now I can either use the color reference for which garden I want the children to do work in, or I can use the name that I assigned to each plot!

Nolan's color is blue and that garden area is called Chickory.  Amory's color is red and that plot is named Paprika.  Macy's color is orange and named Cinnamon.  Asher is green and that on is called Oregano.  Maine was given yelllow years ago and that plot is named Strawflower.  And since the consensus was to not give Gresham the color purple (following the rainbow pattern) we all decided that his color would be brown.  That garden plot is named Nutmeg.  Seems easy enough, and fun as well.  :)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

several things to do . . .

Haying is a hot, dusty job that takes some getting used to.  And yesterday we spent some of the day getting HOT and DUSTY with grass.

The boys and I have helped out with putting hay up on other people's places, but this is our very FIRST hay crop from our OWN farm.  In addition to the boys and I working outside, the girls helped out as well heaving the 50lbs bales around!  It was WORK!

Since we don't have large machinery on the farm, we are asking others for help with some of the tasks around the place.  An old, wise farmer/friend came over and mowed, raked, and baled this batch for us the other day.  Being dry enough, today we put it up in the barn for winter feed for the animals.  Total from this small patch of land was 108 bales.  He did some more cutting this past evening and next week he will get to the other 8 or so acres.  No buying hay this year and having it hauled to my farm!

 Asher has been working with Mr. Wilson for some time now.  He is one of the several grandsons that own farm land around my property.  He owns his parents old house around the corner from us and uses it as a bee yard for his bee keeping passion.  His granfather is the man that built my home and farm.  The farm has been in his family for years, until the mid 80's when it was sold to "outsiders."  Since then, it has changed hands a few times with different stewards for the area's historic farm.  He is a kind, generous, helpful grandfatherly man that has taken a liking and interest in Asher sharing the same passion for tending bees and trapping.  He is a WORLD of information for Asher AND our family. They even both share the same birthday!  Yesterday he noticed we were using the push mower to clean up around the fence row and decided to be a helping hand, AGAIN.  He brought down his tractor and bushhog so I could mow the large teasel weeds that cover the woods pasture.  It was fun driving a tractor and taking out the plants in one BIG swoop!  Hopefully it will give the smaller grasses and clover some sun in order to grow. 
 We are also in the process of cleaning up and finishing off the upstairs garage attic turning it into a game room.  Along with the ping pong table I bought years ago, I purchased a foosball table for the children and I to play with.  Since we rarely go to town or do "outings," I wanted to have several things for them to do while they are here on the farm.  Riding and playing with animals, pond swimming and canoeing, bows and arrow/gun shooting in the woods, and now the game room.  I am teaching Nolan some construction skills of drywall on some small pony walls I built.  Next he is going to mud/tape, and then paint them. Currently I am staining the wood floors and will be leaving the walls and the ceiling raw lumber for the rustic look I LOVE.  I am turning the room into a country, turn of the century farm looking homestead room full of drying herbs hanging from the ceiling, bucket lights, and farm knick-knack to adorn the wall space.