Saturday, May 30, 2009

Prayer for a Little Home

God send us a little home,
To come back to, when we roam.

Low walls and fluted tiles,
Wide windows, a view for miles.

Red firelight and deep chairs,
Small white beds upstairs-

Great talk in little nooks,
Dim colors, rows of books.

One picture on each wall,
Not many things at all.

God send us a little ground,
Tall trees stand round.

Homely flowers in brown sod,
Overhead, thy stars, O God.

God blessed thee, when winds blow,
Our home, and all we know.

~Florence Bone

Dear Friends,

We are enjoying a very beautiful Saturday here in Idaho. And what more enjoyable way to spend it than in your company!

Yesterday we went birthday shopping for AnnaMarie, and found a few items to add to Tasha's Nature Club library (and first aid kit). The little book is a camping journal, to record the times spent in the outdoors. To celebrate the beginning of camping season, Audrey, Tasha, Frankie, and I spent the night in our tent in the back yard last night, to get into practice. The rest of the family would've come, too, but the tent is getting a little cozy for our growing family!
We also found a more powerful microscope for the nature club to observe the tiny bugs and critters floating in the pond water we've been bringing home. Now, to find a nice cabinet to house our Nature Club library and specimens, etc.!

Just in time to prepare for pickling/kraut season, we found this beautiful crock, which matches the one we have of our grandmas perfectly~one for a dill crock (a la Euell Gibbons), and one for sauerkraut.

And how blessed we feel to have found all this homespun wool yarn (plus two more balls that wouldn't fit in the basket) for nine dollars! We should have enough for Tasha Tudor shawls for everyone this winter.
And now we're off to weed, water, sow, and celebrate AnnaMarie's birthday by picnicking and swimming in a local reservoir called Jensen Grove. May you take time to celebrate the little things in life, and may the Lord bless you, wherever you may roam.



Thursday, May 28, 2009

As Merry as the Month of May

Dear Friends,

It's always nice to have you come by; the door is always open! It truly is, which is why the flies are coming in ;) !

Just when we thought we had seen the extent of Mother Nature's wonders, this year we are being visited by houseflies that are three times the size of regular houseflies. Maybe someone put in an order for Jumbo Flies without our knowing!

Yesterday we found a pygmy goat kid in our backyard, and learned that goats don't just stand there and let you pick them up! We (AnnaMarie and I) ended up chasing him through the neighbors' pasture, garden, and backyard, till we decided he'd had enough and cornered him behind a wood pile. We think we must have an invisible sign over our yard that says, "Wandering animals welcome", as we had flashbacks of the turkey we found and returned last year, and the neighbor's blind dog who came into our house and we returned.
Making himself comfortable in the chicken's room.

AnnaMarie was the lucky one who got to hold him while driving!

Frankie dotes on "baby doats".

When Mr. Graham came home, he kindly drove us around the neighborhood, asking everyone we knew about the goat. We finally found his owner, and he was very glad to be home. As cute as he was, we were glad to have him home, too. We do want milk goats some day, but not when we live on a highway!

Today we put in some pretzel cowpeas that we ordered from Underwood Gardens. We planted them along our lattice fence, hoping that it will act as a good trellis for them. A fence is a good place to stick climbing vegetables like peas, beans, and cucumbers. In Ruth Stout's "No Work Garden Book", they suggest growing tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, and beans, all along a backyard fence to make the most use of space. We hope that this year we will be able to see some good results doing this, as last year our tomatoes and cucumbers didn't grow much, with such a long, cold spring.

We have been harvesting the alfalfa that grows on our property to dry to winter usage. Alfalfa is known as the Father of all Foods, as it contains every mineral known to man (And probably some unknowns, as well.). We also like to juice it and then add it to our morning blender drinks (We've tried using the whole plant, but the fibers get tangled in the blender blades.). Perhaps we will juice some and freeze it this year, to enjoy when the alfalfa has passed its prime.

Filaree, or Cranesbill, also grows in the yard, and we are harvesting it to dry, as well. It is supposed to be a good kidney tonic, and full of vitamins, too. This is the first time we've harvested it, instead of admiring its pretty little flowers.

We'll have to take better pictures when the camera batteries recharge!

We did have a gallon of dandelion blossoms steeping to make Dandelion Cordial (Our own term, since "wine" sounds alcoholic), but sadly they molded while we were busy doing other things. The dandelions in the field have gone to seed now, so we'll have to wait a bit before we can make more.

Gratefully, our domestic and wild lettuce are big enough to eat in our daily salads, and we like to throw in some lambs quarters and edible flowers, as well. Dandelion blossoms are surprisingly tasty, if you be sure to pick off the stem.

Lettuce and celtuce happily growing with lamb's quartersDon't forget to toss in some nice fresh mint in that salad!

We have been thoroughly enjoying our newest copy of "Above Rubies", which is a non-profit printed-by-donation Christian family magazine. We are following the included recipe for rye/spelt sourdough bread, which takes seven days to build up the starter. We'll let you know next week how it turns out!

Peace and love to you and yours,



"Imagine if every God-fearing family began to pray together for their nation at the end of every meal! What a mighty power of incense going up before the Throne. This will not only keep the fire of God burning in our families, but it will start a fire in the nation as well. "

~Nancy Campbell, "Above Rubies"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Gift of Friendship

Dear Friends,

We've been busy little bees here, while our poor computer has been feeling under the weather. We hope that the latest dose of computer vaccine will do it good!

Thank you so much for coming by, and for your sweet comments and support. What a lovely thing, indeed, to have so many friends.

We were blessed last week to receive a package from our dear friend Lynn and daughter Michaela. Thank you so much, ladies! We truly treasure each thoughtful gift.

The suspense is mounting!

The paper people were the lucky recipients of a beautiful trundle bed~just the right size!

And Tasha was the lucky recipient of a new play dress!

And here we are using our nifty Whole Foods bag for "shopping" in the woods!

While at the pond, we caught some more of these to bring home and observe (Along with a horse leech and various snails, which declined to have their picture taken.),

And spent time learning a new craft or two,

And planting a few carrots for eating in late summer.

Does she like butter? I believe so!

We also discovered that male pine cone buds are mighty tasty!

And we were sure to take time and smell the flowers.

May your day be blessed and happy, and may the Lord hold you safe in His all-powerful hands.



"Since the beginning, the garden has been a haven of good values, both physical and spiritual. The act of gardening provides a balm for every wound. May your medicine be of the garden, and may it be of benefit to all." ~Richo Cech, "Making Plant Medicine"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"Far From the Madding Crowd"

"It seems to me I'd like to go
Where bells ne'er ring or whistles blow;

Where clocks ne'er strike and gongs ne'er sound,
But where there's stillness all around.

Not real still stillness-just the trees'
Low whisperings or the croon of bees;

The drowsy tinkling of the rill,
Or twilight song of the whippoorwill.

'Twould be a joy could I behold
The dappled fields of green and gold,

Or in the cool, sweet clover lie
And watch the cloud-ships drifting by.

I'd like to find some quaint old boat,
And fold its oars, and with it float

Along the lazy, limpid stream
Where water-lilies drowse and dream.

Sometimes it seems to me I must
Just quit the city's din and dust,

For fields of green and skies of blue;
And say! how does it seem to you?"

~Nixon Waterman

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Little More About Tadpole Shrimp

Dear reader,

Now that we know what our little pond friend is, we've been finding out all sorts of things about his family! We were surprised to learn that their eggs are sold in novelty stores, like sea monkeys. The scientific name of tadpole shrimp is "triops", and there are several internet sites devoted to them. We liked this video, which shows some "triops" swimming around, while sharing information about them (Even if it is evolution-based). We'll have to go down to the pond and get more, now that we know how to take care of them! Maybe we'll go into the triops egg-selling business :) .
You'll want to pause the Playlist before viewing!

(Incidentally, the music brings back memories of watching "Spaghetti Westerns" with my cowboy-loving brothers growing up!)

Enjoy your wonderful Wednesday,




"Nature-study cultivates in the child a love of the beautiful; it brings to him early a perception of color, form, and music. He sees whatever there is in his environment, whether it be the thunder-head piled up in the western sky, or the golden flash of the oriole in the elm; whether it be the purple of the shadows on the snow, or the azure glint on the wing of the little butterfly. Also, what there is of sound, he hears; he reads the music score of the bird orchestra, separating each part and knowing which bird sings it. And the patter of the rain, the gurgle of the brook, the sighing of the wind in the pine, he notes and loves and becomes enriched thereby.

But, more than all, nature-study gives the child of sense of companionship with life out-of-doors and an abiding love of nature."

~Anna Botsford Comstock, "The Handbook of Nature Study"

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Nature Study is Easy in the Spring

Les tulipes Angelique sont tres jolie!

Dear Reader,

Good morning to you! Thank you so much for your friendship and kind comments. We feel so blessed to have discovered so many wonderful friends around the world; you have enriched our lives.

We had to share with you our beautiful Angelique tulips, which thankfully have short stems and can withstand our windy weather. We wish we had planted more and more and more, and could spend all day in a cloud of pink!

The girls have been busy lately, besides playing with Paper People (Their own invention),
having art contests for imaginary children from around the U.S.,

and creating a Twig Folks Town in the backyard (Complete with spruce cone "horses"),

Brother and Sister Twig

Twig horses

the local birds have provided lots of science projects, by building nests in locations which are easily reached!

We have had to rescue one starling fledgling from the cats (We used to despise starlings, being the stinkers that they are, till we learned how many bugs they eat.), and captured a few squabs just for fun. Instead of having to build and put up birdhouses here, we ARE a birdhouse! At last count, there were two pigeon nests in the carport/garage area, and two or three starling nests built right into the outside walls. Now all we have to do is grab our "Handbook of Nature Study", and we have built-in science lessons enough for a long while.

Molly Pigeon?

We have been able to go to our local pond by the river, and caught another frog, but didn't get pictures. We also brought home a tadpole shrimp, which was not in our field guide or on the internet (But was in the good ole' "Handbook of Nature Study" by Anna B. Comstock). We wish we could somehow scan a picture into a search engine and ask the computer to find out what something is! There are some things that the internet cannot do.

Here is a picture we found on the internet~our little guy died the day after we brought him home.
We hope you are having lots of fun exploring this beautiful world, and all that it has for us to discover, wherever we are.



"Nature study cultivate the child's imagination, since there are so many wonderful and true stories that he may read with his own eyes, which affect his imagination as much as does fairy lore; at the same time nature-study cultivates in him a perception and a regard for what is true, and the power to express it. All things seem possible in nature; yet this seeming is always guarded by the eager quest of what is true. Perhaps half the falsehood in the world is due to lack of power to detect the truth and to express it. Nature-study aids both in discernment and in expression of things as they are."

~Anna Botsford Comstock, "Handbook of Nature Study"

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Here's to Another Year of Bliss!

Dear Reader,

We're popping in quickly to wish you a happy Sabbath, and to wish a "Happy Anniversary" to Mister Graham.

This day marks the 13th anniversary of our marriage; it seems like yesterday, but also a lifetime ago that we committed our lives into the care of one another. We have suffered privations, pains, and sickness, as well as the sweetest forms of felicity, and have drawn closer together than we dreamed possible.

I am constantly amazed at what the Lord has done with two sinful, wayward children, through the grace of His Atonement! Each day of our lives has been blessed through His love and forgiveness, and as we in turn have loved and forgiven each other. I can truly say that my husband is my best friend, and I am so very blessed to be his wife and the mother of his children.

Praise be to God for giving us our children, both those whom we are raising, and those who are waiting for us in His Kingdom. What an incredible, soul-wrenching and beautiful thing it is, to be entrusted with an eternal soul, knowing that to you is given a greater power of influence than any other people in that child's life. Truly humbling.

May I continue to be worthy of this great blessing, as I strive each day to be the wife and mother the Lord wants me to be.

Happy anniversary, sweetheart.




"But it is when the wedding ceremony is over, and the two are one, that the life begins which has so many possibilities of happiness, of growth, of nobleness of character, or heroism in living, of tender romance in loving. Angels hover about the marriage alter and hush their songs while hands are clasped and holy vows are plighted and then spread their sheltering wings over the happy pair as they start out together on the voyage of life. The greatest blessedness, the highest development of character, the noblest manhood and womanhood, the most perfect attainments in Christian life, are to be reached in the marriage relation, if it is made what God meant it to be. It will be the fault of those who wed, of one or of both, if marriage proves aught but a blessing, and if the happiness of either is wrecked in the voyage together."

~J. R. Miller, "Homemaking"