Category Archives: Farm

Jesus Christ is Risen Today….

…..at our farm.

Some of you may know that Pops and I have felt that along with this here farm came a responsibility to glorify God.  We felt it when we bought the property and have taken it very seriously.  We want to share this property with others, that they may also come and be in nature and use the land for renewal, refreshment and relaxation.  Our idea is to provide others with a place to retreat whether it be a formal, facilitated retreat, a meeting place for the good of others, or simply a place for families and friends to gather to renew their spirit with each other.

Phase I  was to get us here and up and running.  We have done that.  Phase II  is under way and thankfully is a whole lot less back-breaking….. but emotionally?  The most exciting.  When we bought the property we chose (or I think rather, He chose) a spot for our outdoor chapel.  A place where one can go and pray.  Lay down their sorrows.  Lift up their thanks.  And praise His Holy Name.  The chapel will consist of a crucifix and a stone wall that you can belly up to and pray.

We began last year by making a clay model of the corpus and cut wood from our beloved front yard trees that died.

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I took the model up to Indianapolis this Spring to have it cast in bronze at a foundry who work with artists.  Was a totally cool place.   Almost made me want to change mediums.

This week we put it all together and to the chapel area it went.   The thought of having a place to worship on our property tickles me to no end.  Maybe I can take my cot up there and have a sleep over.

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Helper

Helper

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We packed our tools into our gator when through and turned around to see this stunning sight.

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The light at the base of the tree BLEW our mind.  Thank you, God, for accepting our invitation.  Pops and I were dumbstruck.

Phase III is a cabin for da people.  God will provide when He thinks we are ready to handle it.  My heart has been feeling a tickly sensation in the past few weeks.  I wonder if it means we are ready.  Or maybe He was readying me for today’s miracle.

God bless,

Karen

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Augie Doggie Bloggie

Auggie. The new kid on the block.

Augie. The new kid on the block.

We picked up Augie wandering the streets of our nearby village a week ago today on our way to church.   The people of the village said he showed up about a week before and had been wandering since.  Our county is known for dumping dogs.  Can you imagine?   The poor thing had ticks all over him and was very scared.   The village people said  we were the only people that he would come up to.  He picked us, I guess.   He has been introduced to all the Shieling village “people”.  And he checks out fine.  Although, I am missing a cat as we speak.  ??

Today,  we walked the property to get him more comfortable with the lay of the land.

Augie met the fishies.

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Fishie

Virginia tried to teach him how to swim.

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We have not been able to enjoy the lake as of recent.  We have had white-faced hornets taking up residency on the dock.  A few days ago, our good ol’ Mr. Shady showed up all decked out to give those old hornets a taste of their own medicine.    He came donned in a bullet proof vest and what not. Of course.   It comforts us to have Mr. Shady come around once a week to kill hornets,  step on mice, moles and voles, among many other household chores.  Is stepping on mice, moles and voles one of your household chores?

Mr. Shady

Mr. Shady

I am happy to report the dock is free and clear.  Whew.

We discovered living cities of beings contained in large basketball sized bubbles in the lake.   Augie was quite impressed by the lake visit.

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Augie and I were amazed at how nicely the cow pasture has adjusted to becoming a shooting range for golf balls.

Golf ball hitting range

Golf ball hitting range

And we ended our tour by checking on our young apple trees that are fruiting for the first time this year.   We are giving organic a go.  They may not look like the big shiny apples in the store, but they taste every bit as delicious.  I am relieved because I am not spraying them.  Did you know apples are top on the list of “Dirty” produce?  Meaning they are highly contaminated by chemicals if not organic.   Although, I  just learned a frightening factoid about organic apples and pears.  Some farms use antibiotics on their “organic” fruit.  More reason to buy as local as you can.  If you can, try buying them from your back yard.

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Enjoy the following list of the Dirty Dozen produce.  Try to buy organic when purchasing the following foods:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries (sometimes sprayed up to fifty times in its short little tiny life)
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (Imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

The 12 LEAST contaminated are:

  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Corn (Frozen)
  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Papaya

It was a glorious day on the farm.  Augie is happy to be here and we are happy to have him.  I  would just like him to tell me where my precious black cat disappeared to .

God bless,

Karen

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The Early Birds Catch The Miracles.

I wanted desperately to stay in bed on this holiday morning. No one had to work today, so  last night was partay time.  Splurged  on TV and dessert and stayed up past my bed time.   I was hoping Pops was going to volunteer to get up to do the animals.   Puulleeease??  I peeled myself from the sheets and waddled to the door.  Old people waddle.  I am a waddler.  Everything all creaky and rusty.  At least I didn’t get resentful for something he didn’t even know I was thinking.  I am good at that. Resenting him for things he is unaware of.

Boy, I was glad I got up.  Little baby bluebirds fluttering everywhere I looked.   3 or 4 of our bird houses have had babies very recently and they are all making their way into the world.  They were strutting their stuff.  Watching them fly is like watching the gem, Lapis, flying through the air.  I ran in to get my camera to capture this wonder but, of course, they were done showing  off.

It seems my senses are heightened when I have my camera around my neck.

Our weather has been so wet.  Mushrooms abound.  Pops was going to throw some in a pan last week to sautee.  I said, uh, no thank you.  I think people die eating certain mushrooms.   They are a plenty however.

Early morning walk with some of the peeps:

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It is really worth getting up early to just smell earthly scents.  It is all so rich and inviting right now.  When I walk out in the early morning hours, it is almost as if I am sneaking into another world where they have their own gig goin’ on.  I consider myself lucky to be witness  of it before the day takes over their world.

Try venturing outside with your camera.  It may help you see and hear more than usual like it did me.

As I sit and write, I hear fireworks from afar.  Too bad I am too tired to go see.  Got up too early.

I pray you are having a safe and wonderful holiday.

God bless,

Karen

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Wedding Bell Blues?

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I can only blog from my perspective and this girl has been in a state of trauma this past week.  They say there is always a “let down”  for all involved in the planning of a wedding.  I can say my let down began when we exited the church last Saturday to a down pour of 3 inches of rain in an hour.  I know you’ve all been there.  You’ve planned an event and had a vision of how it would play out.  I had visions of Lori’s cookies and fancy cupcakes dancing in my head.  Moonlight dancing under the beautiful lighted canopy constructed from saplings  by our son’s now father-in-law.  Etceteraaaa.  Etceteraaaa.  You name it.  We had it figured out.

SOO many beautiful flowers put together very thoughtfully by sisters.

SOO many beautiful flowers put together very thoughtfully by sisters.

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The ceremony was spectacular. I felt a peace and calm from the whole congregation.  I could have sat there the entire day.  THEN…….

We arrived at our house where the reception was to be held.

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Flashflooding

Flashflooding

It wasn’t a bad deal if you didn’t mind swimming with moles, voles, snakes and near extinct turtles.

Oh, and adding the wet/dry vac activity to the agenda  so  all the people could suck  the water and mud out of their cars.

Every vision and plan was thrown by the wayside in a matter of 30 minutes.   In my head, I just wanted to go to bed and hide from what my eyes were looking at.

The great thing was that I didn’t meet a person all  day that did not have a great sense of humor and many thought it only added to the festive atmosphere.  “Really?”  I kept saying.  One gal came up and said, “I LOVE rain at weddings.  It means that God is washing over the couple with many blessings!”  That quote was my life-preserver that day.  No pun intended.

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The bride and groom, along with all of their friends, had a ball.  I think they were a little dumbstruck, as we were,  but I think age was on their side considering it has taken me a week to stop staring out the window paralyzed.

I had to bat myself on the head midweek finally.   I was so fixated on all the wasn’t and should have been.   What about the mountain of blessings that took place?  What about the killer ceremony that took place that united my son to Emily forever.  They are now one.  What about the fact that Eric and Emily’s faith in God is growing?  What about the weekend of huge fun (and challenge) with our new in-laws that are just awesome?  They came three days early and worked their tails off with us and stayed three days after and worked their tails off.   What about all the people who were here that obviously care so much for us?  What about all the people, many of whom I do not know, that pitched in and helped out when they saw we so desperately needed their help that day?  That blew my mind.

I was working in my studio yesterday when I felt God speak to me.  I love when that happens.  Sometimes it is clear and wonderful.  (wonderful doesn’t mean warm and cozy.  Many times it is “oh no” wonderful.  It’s wonderful cuz I actually hear  when He is speaking)  He said, “What makes you think that what you had planned was what was supposed to happen? What makes you think it was the right thing?”  Ouch.  But, you know what?  It was a relief to hear that.  Took the pressure off.     So I said back, ” Yeah.  What made me think?  Forgit that, man.”


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God bless,

Karen

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You Can Take A Farm Girl Out Of Routine…

……But you cant expect it to last long without going insane.

Posts have been coming far and few between.

We have been like little busy mice scurrying around preparing for our wedding.  It is an awesome experience that has brought our family together in great ways.   Our very sad news is that our middle son, who is in the Army, cannot be with us for the big day.   He will be greatly missed.   But we are working on a fun way to  make sure he is a part of the memories created this weekend.

A storm brought great signs yesterday for this union of  Eric and Emily.

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And the night before  we had yet another crazy vision from above.    Quite something.  One of the most dramatic sunsets I have seen out here.

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We are feeling blessed.

BUT……..burlap has been the bane of our existence.  I ordered 300 feet of burlap on ebay about 6 months ago so that we could make table runners.  I did not open the box until this past weekend and the rolls reeked of kerosene.  huh?  Yeah.  In my research, I cannot find out why burlap is treated with kerosene.  Please enlighten me if you know.  It felt wet, and it stunk terribly.

So we hung them on the fence to air out.

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It became very clear that airing was not going to do the trick.  And airing them out on the fence was resulting in many of them ending up in the pasture being enjoyed by the goats and dogs.   My son and I ended up at the laundry mat at midnight with the idea that breaking the washing machines there would be better than breaking ours at home.  We brought them home wrinkled to death.  If you ever get the idea to wash burlap, please know they shed, fray, and create an immense amount of lint.  I had to spend the better part of the next day ironing.  My generous neighbor came over to help.  I would still be in garage ironing had she not.  Total unforseen nightmare with the burlap.  On the bright side, I will have lots of burlap after next week to create…….. a burlap….. something or other.   Got ideas?

We have two more days of pulling this all together before the big day and am quite certain that we will have more challenges that will be memorable.  But most of all, I am quite certain the memories  will be treasured for years to come.

I have greatly missed routine so far this summer and look forward to getting back to it.  Posting here is a big part of my routine.  I will be back in touch.

I pray you are having a super summer.

P.S.  Lots of snake sightings.  Am thinking there is one in particular that wants a friendship with me.

God bless,

Karen

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Homegrown

The sun comes up
in the morning,
Shines that light around.
One day, without no warning,
Things start jumping up
from the ground.

Well, homegrown’s
all right with me.

 – Neil Young

Ain’t that the truth.

Last year at this time, while I was delivering little kid goats,  the weather in the midwest was atrocious.   As early as mid June, I remember walking the animals at dawn and there was not a drop of dew on the ground.  That has never happened.   The dirt was fine like sand.  It felt “deserty”.   That scared me.  I had to ask -What is the worst that can happen?  We live in a desert?  All the plant species that have surrounded us forever die?  Our critters choke to death of thirst?  Scorpians and other desert creatures come to roost?

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  People from Phoenix will venture east?  Weather changes for some reason scare me.  When a season doesn’t behave the way it should, I get this oh-no-the-world-is-going-to-end  sensation in my heart.

But this season?  Has been fantastic in my estimation.  Cool.  Rain.  Sun.  Not too hot too early.   Everything is growing like gangbusters and we have been able to enjoy lettuce, spinach and asparagus in abundance.   There have been a few plates served up with homegrown beef or chicken, salad and asparagus so far this season.  We have never felt that accomplishment before.  It feels great to put dinner on the table without having to go to the grocery store.  That is probably the best part of the whole deal.

Livin’ out he’a in the country we don’t feel much like driving in everyday to do the shoppin’.  Just like anything else, I usually do have to jump into town daily for one thing or another though.

This homegrown thing obviously is a first for us.  Our efforts the past five years is paying off finaaalllly.   We will continue to plow through with the unknown and have fun.

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If you have ever homegrowed  your own food,  you know the feeling.  It feels good.

I have had a few snake sitings so far.

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This is a tiny one and the other two were not so much.  I saw  a black one that was about 5 feet.  And last night, I was walking Francis around the perimeter of her pasture and I saw another blacky that was about 2-3 foot.   I walk her twice ’round and this was my first pass.   I got the courage to go around again, ONLY because I had my big boots on.   She was still there so I snuck up on her to get a better look and she slithered away into an invisible hole.  Is that why they are so creepy?  They can just disappear.  LIke that.

God is good.  For sure.

Our wedding is in 2 weeks.  Talk about homegrown.  We are down to getting final numbers and compiling the mile long list of things that needs to be down last minute.  We have lots of good helpers so I am not fretting.  Too much.  That is another reason God is so good.  He put these two lovely people together and will make them one.  That is a miracle, baby.  That is a miracle.    They are perfectly yoked.  I am grateful for that.

I am not sure my posts have been showing up on Facebook for some reason.  I have not jumped shipped as some of you may think.  The posts are there, they just aren’t showing up on the social media stuff like I asked.  What is wrong wit them?

God bless,

Karen

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What In The Heck Is A Lawn?

Life is busy here on the farm.  The grass is slowing down though.  It’s only growing a foot a day instead of two.  Woah.  It was intense there for a while.  Do you ever wonder why we fertilize our yards so that we can cut them more often.  I want to feed my yard a growing agent so I can cut my grass 2 – 3 times a week.  What?  Are we nuts?  Do I have that much free time?   Does that sound funny to you as it does to me?  And now that I have moved from the suburbs, I feed weeds so that I can cut them more often.   Which brings me to the next question.   How and where was it   determined that  one plant species holds more value than another to fill space and to color our lawn.  What is wrong with clover filling the space in my lawn (which is what we have) as opposed to grass?

Last year our newly established yard was filled with crab grass.  It was coming in lush and beautiful.  I said that this was good.  I wanted crab grass to take over my lawn.  It had long reaching roots and it was thick and looked great cut.  But for some reason it didn’t come back lush and beautiful as last year and clover has taken the driver seat.  I would bet  money that if I was still in the burbs, that crabgrass would have come back full bore, don’t you?  Why is a blade of green better than a 3 or 4 leaf clover?

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BEEEaUUtifull

Bottom line.  I ain’t spraying my lawn for weeds.  We just have to love what we get.

Other cool things that are happening…. Apples and blueberries are growing on our plants.  Imagine that.  Did I know that apples grew on trees?  Hmm.

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I feel fairly certain that these buggers will not look as beautiful as this for very long.  Keeping my fingers crossed.

Blueberries grow on bushes, I have discovered.

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We have to put netting over the bushes here in a few days or weeks so birds will not eat them.   I am very very protective of my blueberry bushes.  I am not willing to share.

Last but not least, our sweet Virginia had surgery today.  It is a total bummer.  We bought a dog for the first time in our life from a “Champion bloodline” breeder.  The poor girl has had nothing but trouble and has been under the weather since we got her.   She has Entropian.  Her eye lids roll inward causing inflammation and infection in her eyes.  The  vet man said that she inherited it from her champion mom or dad.  Thanks  champion Mom and Dad.  He also said worse case ever.  ugh.   She came home with one of those cone collars on her head and she WILL kill herself or me.  She is going to rip her head off and/or cut my legs off at the knees.

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She is very very sad.   We just pray the surgery will work and give her eyes some relief.

 God bless our sweet Virginia.   The Rolling Stones sing a great song called Sweet Virginia.

Have a super weekend.

God bless,

Karen

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