It has been a really long week. Even though it was a four day work week, it felt more like an eight day week. I couldn't wait until Friday at 5:00.
As usual, there is more work to do than time to do it, and this weekend is no different. I still don't have my garden planted and most of the ground hasn't even been worked. I had planned to come home last night and at least get a head start so that I could get a few of my wilting tomato plants in the ground before the rain returns.
Well....I should just quit making plans.
Daniel called me at work Friday and said "do you want the good news or the bad news?" That is never what I want to hear.
"You know that shady corner at the bottom of the pasture where the cows always lay? Well, a huge tree fell. The good news is that the cows are still alive."
Papa had been out running errands and when he got home he saw that a tree had fallen at the bottom of the pasture. He immediately called Daniel because he didn't see any cows. Fortunately, as they were on the phone, the cows made their way up the pasture. I think Papa's heart started beating again.
I stopped and picked up a pizza on the way home from work. We changed into our work clothes and then headed to Papa's. After pizza we made our way to the bottom of the field.
The base of the tree was rotten.
Grandma and Papa came down to supervise.
The boys and I made a pile of branches...
And Papa supervised.
Before long, the cows came down to supervise the clean up.
And have a snack.
An hour-and-a-half later, we had a pile of branches....
And a job for another day.
Do you ever feel like you don't have any idea what you are doing? Do you feel like everything you do goes badly? Did it all make sense in your head, but not work like you had envisioned?
When it all seems too much, don't give up. Here are five steps to help you get back on track and accomplish what you set out to do.
Life is a journey, a process and a continual learning experience. Don't act like you know-it-all, because you don't. We all continue to grow and learn with each day. There is always someone who knows more than you do, but don't let that intimidate you. Choose instead to glean from their knowledge. It only makes you look smarter and pads someone else's ego in the process.
They probably won't think you are dumb when you are making them look smarter.
And in other news.....
Isaac and Walker made the front page of the Morrow County Sentinel for their participation in the OCA BEST program this year.
As parents, we are always looking for ways that we can teach our children to look outside of themselves and think of others first. This week our boys took advantage of an opportunity to show kindness to two of their friends. What happened this week will stick with them, and me, for the rest of their lives.
It really is better to give than to receive.
Our Pastor's daughter and her family have been missionaries to Mexico for many years. This week they moved back to the States and will be spending the summer here with family before they settle on a permanent home. They have two boys that are very close in age to our boys. Throughout the years, the boys have developed a friendship that has spanned the miles and language barriers.
The family arrived in the States with only what was in their suitcases. Several months ago, when we found out that the family would be coming home, we knew that they would be leaving most of their worldly possessions behind in Mexico. We knew that we wanted to do something special for the two boys to make the transition a little easier and to welcome them home. Isaac and Walker decided on a basketball and a football. Besides, we knew that their grandma would be wanting to kick them outside before long so that she could have some peace and quiet.
The night before their arrival, our Pastor asked to borrow our car so that they would have enough room to pick the family up from the airport. It was the perfect opportunity for us to prepare the boy's gifts. We wrapped the basketball and football and placed them on the seats of the car so that they would be there to welcome them as soon as they arrived.
Isaac and Walker could hardly contain themselves the entire day just waiting to greet their friends. They had a long and sometimes very dangerous two day trip, but we were fortunate to be able to visit with them that very night when they returned the car. Needless to say, the two boys really liked the balls.
What we didn't know was that while we were at the store buying the basketball and football, something special was happening in Mexico. As they were packing and preparing to leave Mexico, the youngest boy gave his own basketball and American football to his neighbor (remember that in Mexico a football is a soccer ball). You can only imagine the emotions that he was feeling as he was giving away his toys and saying goodbye to his friend. You can also imagine the surprise when the very things that he had given away were now given back to him. His dad said "when you bless someone, God blesses you in return."
To us, it was so much more than just giving a gift. My heart was blessed, not just by the smiles on the boys faces, but by knowing that God used our simple thought to really bless someone in such a specific way. How were we to know what a special blessing and lesson it would be to all four boys.
Look around this weekend for an opportunity to bless someone else. Even the little things matter. You might just find that you receive the bigger blessing from it.
It is the time of year that everyone is more than ready for summer break. The kids are burnt out on the school work and burnt out on the boring lunch box. It is just the same old thing that they have been eating for months and months.
This year as I am planting the garden, I am specifically thinking about things that I can preserve to go into lunch boxes next fall. We have found several items that work really well for us and are planning on trying some new things this year.
My kids never pack potato chips any I try not to buy any pre-packaged food items for them. While pre-packaged items are quick and convenient, they just don't have much nutritional content. All the kids at school think that my kids are weird, but I think we have come up with some pretty good alternatives to pack in their lunch boxes.
Canned Fruit is pretty easy to pack. I always have applesauce on hand and when we have good years, we have canned pears from the trees in our yard. Invest is some small, reusable containers with well fitting lids. Open a quart of applesauce on Monday and it should last all week.
We had a bumper crop of cucumbers last year so we have many types of pickles in our pantry. The boys favorite is the sweet pickle slices. It is hard to get them to pack the pickles in their lunches because they stand at the table and won't stop eating them out of the jar. We also have dill pickle spears that are great finger food. By the end of the cucumber cycle, I was so sick of slicing pickles that I decided to make some whole dills. It turns out that the whole pickles are a huge hit and really fill them up. I cheat and just use Mrs. Wages pickle seasonings. Why mess with the best?
We were invited over to a friends house for dinner last year and she pulled out a can of dilly beans. Dilly beans are just pickled green beans. My boys forgot all their manners and made pigs of themselves. I didn't really have the right beans, but I went ahead and canned a bunch of dilly beans anyway. Dilly beans are great for those nights that you don't have time to make a vegetable. Just run over to the pantry, pop the lid and plop the jar on the table. Finger food at its best...which also makes it great for the lunch box. No preparation, no refrigeration...just a crunchy, healthy snack.
This year we are going to try pickled cherry tomatoes. That is, if I can keep Walker out of the garden. We typically don't have a problem with the need to preserve the cherry tomatoes because they are usually all gone before I even get out to the garden each night. I am going to plant an abundance of cherry tomato plants. This will also be a great snack and vegetable for lunches.
I am not a fan of sandwiches. I think my dislike for sandwiches began in Kindergarten when my mom packed peanut butter and jelly every single day. My teacher used to stand over me to make sure that I ate my sandwich. I still won't eat peanut butter and I am not a much bigger fan of a lunch meat sandwich.
We are a bread loving family. We had to put rules in place because all that Walker cares about is the bread. When the boys were really little, we would buy a $1 hot dog at the fair and have them split it. We quickly learned that the best way to split the hot dog was to give Isaac the dog and Walker the bun. Everyone was happy (maybe not healthy...but happy).
A couple of years ago we realized that we needed to cut down on the amount of bread items that we were eating. One of the easiest ways that we found to cut down on bread was to not pack sandwiches for lunch. This frees us from guilt when we indulge in the really good homemade bread and our weekly pizza splurge. The boys pack deer bologna with hot pepper cheese already mixed in it for lunch most days. There is no need to add a piece of bread to the meat. Just grab a slice and eat it.
In the spring, when the chickens are laying well, we almost always have times that our refrigerator is overflowing with eggs. I grab the oldest 2 dozen (so that they peel better) and make pickled eggs. They need to pickle for 2 weeks, so I try to do a bunch at a time. We have found the pickled eggs to be a great break from the deer bologna while providing the needed protein to get them through the day. They are also a great snack to grab on the way out to do evening chores or for breakfast on the go.
It has taken some trial and error, planning and an open mind, but we have been able to mix up the lunch box with some healthy alternatives. Besides, it is always fun to open that lunch box and know that it is all a product of your hard work.
Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.