Monday, March 22, 2010

Welcome Spring!

Dear Friends,

Thank you for coming to our home today~ Do you like Liberty's new spring gown (He borrowed it from Elsie Dinsmore)? He does not appear to be too sure about it!

Saturday was such a sunshine-filled day, we thought we'd go down to our favorite pond (which was still ice) for a nature walk, and to see if the cottonwood buds were ready to pick~

Last year's cattails are still full of fluff!
If we'd remembered a shovel, we could have harvested their roots to bake like potatoes.

Although it was a little breezy, it was still perfect picnic weather (no yellow jackets, flies, or ants :) )!

The ice on the edge of the pond had formed many beautiful crystals.

Have stick will travel~

Watching the geese on the river~

Meanwhile, back at the cottage, the hens have been picking up on egg production, giving Frankie a chance to play Little Amish Boy :)~

And the packing continues, with no word yet on any new jobs (But still plenty of faith that we'll find something soon!). We're going through fabric and clothing, and really wishing that rag-pickers still existed~ We'd be wealthy, indeed! We can't help but think what the Ingalls family would think, if they were here helping us sort our possessions. Would they be happy for us that we have so many material possessions, or would they pity us for all the work we've created for ourselves? :) To think of not having cds, tapes, records or dvds, nor a computer, printer, and accessories, or boxes of family photos to organize and keep in a safe place! Nor all the appliances that they would not have known what to do with!

We hope in our move to be able to cut back on many possessions, as nice as it is to have them. We remember what Thoreau (or was it Emerson) said: "Our possessions possess us". It is so true, isn't it? It truly IS a gift to be simple and free!

We'd like to share this little bit of a story that we have been enjoying in the "Mother's Magazine", June 1879. It seemed to apply to us at this time!


"On a lovely morning late in April, four Virginia children were out in the woods enjoying their Saturday holiday from school. Their mother, Mrs. Chester, sat at her sewing machine, looking through the open doorway at the hill-field . . .The balmy, bracing air was grateful to inhale; the singing of the birds, and the chirping of the frogs, combined to cheer and animated. But there were tears in Mrs. Chester's eyes as she gazed upon this cheerful scene. She was thinking how "the cares of this world" choke out the "good seed" scattered by the heavenly Sower in the human heart. Oppressed by the mountain of perpetual duties and wearisome tasks, which loomed up before her mental vision, she exclaimed in her depression, "I will look to the hills whence cometh my help," and added, in the exercise of faith and hope, "My help is in the Lord which made heaven and earth." "In Him will I trust."

. . . "She now reverted a little more courageously to the huge pile of outgrown clothing, which must be altered and handed down from the older children to the younger ones, and ventured to recount the whole number of new suits each would require, in order to be made comfortable for the summer. Though a delicate woman, Mrs. Chester possessed indomitable energy and a cheerful disposition, and it was her wont to look on the bright side of everything. So, cutting and basting, she sang, in a brave and hopeful strain;

'Do good do good there's ever a way,
A way where there's ever a will-- a will.'

May we all be like Mrs. Chester today, and look to the Lord for our strength in whatever our cares may be.
Blessings to you all, sweet friends, until next time~



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Curing Spring Fever

Dear Friends,

Since the weather has been so nice the last couple of days, and the forecast is calling for more snow, we thought we'd take the chance to get out and see how our favorite nature spots were doing.

We had hoped to find some nettles peeking up down by the Snake River, but everything was still asleep . . .

Except for the monkeys at the park, of course!

After playing and picnicking for a bit, we decided to go to Wolverine, where we were sure that the watercress would be available for picking!

Watercress is full of vitamin C and other nutrients our bodies need so much after a long winter; just be sure to pick them in a clean area!

We hope that this cottonwood tree survives being munched on by a porcupine~

Farther up the canyon, the creek still lies covered in snow and ice~so beautiful~

AnnaMarie went looking for adventure, and found. . .

Lots of burr babies waiting for a ride!

Evangeline looks pretty happy with the rock she found!

And we found this pioneer girl named Tasha among the rabbit brush.

Tonight looks like a good night to try out potato/watercress soup with watercress salad, and tomorrow we'll try juicing watercress with our carrots and have watercress sandwiches for St. Patrick's Day Tea! That should boost our immune systems, eh?

Thanks for your friendships and sweet spirits; we pray that you are having a wonderful spring-like week, as well!



The Country

"Would you be strong? go follow up the plow;

Would you be thoughtful? study fields and flowers;

Would your be wise? take on yourself a vow,

To go to school in Nature's sunny bowers.

Fly from the city; nothing there can charm:

Seek wisdom, strength and virtue on a farm"

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Happiness is . . .

A sweet gift of a vintage apron and book from dear Suzanne of Blueberry Cottage~

We love the sunshiney colors!

The ground being soft enough to harvest Jerusalem Artichoke tubers~

So good and they taste like water chestnuts~ Yum!

Hearing the girls practicing their piano, without being told, all throughout the day~

AnnaMarie and Audrey have both learned how to read music by themselves!

Dear Friends,

It is snowing a blizzard outside our door right now, but we've had nice sunny days to enjoy, and we are told the temperatures will be up in the 50s next week. It looks like springtime, indeed!

Thank you so much for all your offers to come help pack~ We think we've gone through every book and paper in the house now (whew)! I have to keep reminding myself what a blessing it is to have such creative, active children, and so many wonderful books in our library to choose from! I wouldn't want it any other way. Now for those wonderful piles of clothing . . . . :)

We've been letting the computer have a break every other day, and have found that we actually have more time to go through and read all the things we've been meaning to for so long now! What a concept! We hope that your blogs don't feel too lonely if we can't visit every day; we do think of our friends many times throughout the day, and wish you well this half-winter/half-summer time of year.




"Company.--A man is known by the company he keeps. We take on the thoughts, feelings, and characters of those whom we select as companions. On the same principle, a boy is known by the books and papers he reads, because our thoughts and beliefs and characters are formed by what we read as well as by our company. Parents should look well to what they admit to their homes, for by the trashy novel, the tale of bloody adventure or the obscene book, the child may be led to receive the false in view, to love the low in morals, and the vulgar in thought and language, while yet in the home where from parents and friends he hears only thoughts and words of purity and truth. Watch then the mails, for they bring life or death, blessings or curses.

Mother's Magazine, May 1879

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Little Forced Spring Cleaning :)

Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for your sweet comments and well-wishes on our last post. We haven't been able to visit with you as much as we would like lately, being busy packing/sorting beavers, but you have been in our thoughts and prayers!

We are thankful that we have the motivation, with the future move, to clear out so many things that we would otherwise have procrastinated cleaning! So far, the number of given-away boxes of books and magazines (Who knew that "Highlights" could reproduce so quickly?) is up to sixteen, and we have packed away 21 boxes of books, papers, and binders that we hope we can do without until we are settled. We've lost track of the bags-full of garbage and recycling. The scary thing is, after moving the left-over books and binders into the parlor, it looks as though nothing had been removed at all! But we are undaunted and will continue until a dent is made and all is in order :) .

Meanwhile, the children have been enjoying playing outside when the sun shines (In case you thought differently, they have informed me that 46 degrees is "hot" and requires the removal of jackets, hats, and shoes), and making fun spring crafts when the weather looks like it does today~

I hope that you are enjoying time in your cottages, as well, dear friends, and can find the strength to clear out some of those things that may be weighing you down.

I will leave you with a little poem that I wrote for my children, for this time of year~

The Early Spring

Winter's silver fairyland is fading away fast,
And Jack Frost's frozen reign shall soon be truly past.
The bare, unlovely earth now wears a ruddy, muddy crown,
But soon she will sport daisies upon a verdant gown.

Though the winds may be chilly that blow both night and day,
They are only Nature's harbingers for a season warm and gay.
So bear your lot with patience, my little lad and lass,
For you'll soon enough be barefoot, and running through the grass!



Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fun With Food and Family News

Dear Friends,

It is a cloudy, frosty day today~but we know that Mother Nature is just being coy, and that Spring is on its way! The snow is turning into muddy, mushy slush, the Brewer's blackbirds have returned, and the house finches have begun their springtime song. The days are getting lighter and longer, and our spirits are beginning to awaken to the prospects of the new growth which will soon be upon us!

Yesterday Mr. Graham was informed by his work that his job will be eliminated in one month. Strangely, this news came as a bit of a relief, since we had been praying for guidance in how to find him a new job and us a new home in the near future. Now we just have to find the new job and home ;) ! As some of you know, we are also expecting a baby in a few months, so that should make life interesting, indeed!

We know that whatever the future holds, we are in God's very capable hands, and that His plans are to bless us in every way. We do hope that we can find our dream cottage, with woods nearby, and perhaps a little creek or pond, as well.

Meanwhile, we have begun to go through and get rid of things already (No sense procrastinating!), including six boxes of books (sadly) and a large Christmas cactus to our local library. We wish our blog friends lived closer, as we would gift you with a few books and houseplants, too!

The girls have been looking at creative Bento (Japanese) lunches on the internet, and decided to come up with some creative meals, themselves~

Not bad for starters :) ~

The girls and I are also making monthly magazines for our dolls.

AnnaMarie's is for lady dolls, and is called "Apron Pockets".

Audrey's is for girls and is called "Anna Banana".

Tasha's is the "Nature Bature Newsletter"

And mine is an upside down/right side up magazine for children called "The Merry Little Housekeeper/Harry the Little Mousekeeper"(Illustrated by Audrey and Tasha).

That should keep us out of trouble for a while!

Here is a poem from our Commonplace Book we feel is fitting to our lives at the present:

By John Burroughs

Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea;
I rave no more 'gainst time or fate,
For lo! my own shall come to me.

I stay my haste, I make delays,
For what avails this eager pace?
I stand amid the eternal ways,
And what is mine shall know my face.

The waters know their own, and draw
The brook that springs in yonder heights.
So flowers the good with equal law
Unto the soul of pure delights.

The stars come nightly to the sky;
The tidal wave unto the sea;
Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high,
Can keep my own away from me.

We hope that spring is winging her way near you as well, our dear friends.

Until next time,