Monday, April 30, 2007

please pray . .

This morning I received an email from a fellow blogger friend. Demara emailed me to request prayer for her mom. She is in intensive care in the hospital. Please pray for Demara and her Mom and her family. I just didn't feel right posting happy things today when someone linked to me is in the middle of a crisis. If you would like to encourage Demara with your comments, you can find her on my link list. Her blog name is Yokoso. Isn't it wonderful to be able to carry one another in this way? My email is working again, you can find it in my complete profile. I welcome your hello.

Have a wonderful day my friends.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

joyful joyful we adore Thee . .

Joyful, Joyful we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of Love,
Hearts unfold like flower's before Thee,
Hail thee as the sun above,
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness,
Drive the doubt of dark away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day.
Henry Van Dyke 1908
Sometime ago, I shared with you the hearts desire
of my niece Tanya along with her husband Chris and daughter Anneliese.
They have been waiting for the Lord to bless them with an addition to their family.
This week they received the wonderful news that a little boy will be
born soon and will be the answer to their prayers.

We want to congratulate them and assure them of our continued prayer and love as they
wait the final few weeks.
Well, I'm off to do my Saturday work. The sheets are in the wash,
I'm going to bake some buns and some Rhubarb Bar.
Have a wonderful day my friends.

Friday, April 27, 2007

learning to farm

Since today's topic is not for the squeamish and since I don't have any pictures to document my story I thought I would post beautiful spring pictures. If discussions on spiders and bugs and mice are upsetting, . . . don't read, just look at the pictures and move onto my link list for a better read. How is that for a disclaimer? So, . . .what was in those barns?

The people that we bought the farm from were into loving all living things. Now don't get me wrong, I also believe that God created all animals and everything he created he called good and who am I to question God. However, he created me a woman and I have issues with . ..rodents.
Not mice . . .RATS. Our farm was infested. Really infested. Stop reading if this is disturbing.

We were so infested that when Terry would go check the barns in the evening, he would turn on the lights and then wait until the floors would clear before entering. They say that a rat eats its weight in body weight every day. We were being eaten out of (well not house . .thank goodness . .) barn. The rats would climb up the electrical wires and squeeze through little holes into the ceiling, they had highways inside the walls. We eventually had to reinsulate the attic becuase the insulation was completly flattened.

Enjoying the pictures? Even when you couldn't see them, you could hear them. Squealing and screeching. It was awful. Now , remember I told you that Terry worked at Safeway during the day? It was me and the boys gathering the eggs during the day and one had to constantly look over ones shoulder to be sure that a rat wasn't peering at you. It still gives me the creeps. Our farm became the amusement park for the boys friends. They would come over and literally go hunting. On one occasion, when one of the friends went home, he asked out the car window, . ."you won't get rid of them all before next weekend will you?". Nice.

Even sweet little Adrienne and Carissa came over with their Dad to participate in the hunting action. To this day, we don't know why we didn't take a picture of the wheelbarrow full of . . .you guessed it . . .rats, that had met their demise. Our boys turned into men that summer. They learned to protect their mother. We hired pest control people to come assist in the eradication and soon the numbers began to decline.
We still hear stories from our neighbors about how they had to batten down the hatches in order to prevent and infestation themselves. Word was out there that the farm was being cleaned up and look out if your farm is unprotected.

So, the summer was finally over and the boys went back to school and Terry still worked full time and suddenly I was it . . the farmerette. The morning gathering was my gig. I learned to pray in those barns. I say that quite seriously. I prayed for the 3 hours it took me to do the chores. It kept me calm. On more than one occasion, I would reach for an egg only to . . .touch something furry and still. Dead rat. I couldn't scream. Chickens are not much for screaming. I would take a shovel and maneuver the horrid little beast out of the way and continue on. I grew up a bit during that time as well. Eventually Terry got the upper hand and the barns only housed chickens. I still prayed when I gathered the eggs, but I was a bit calmer about it.

So, there you have it. I hope I didn't turn you away for good. Tomorrow, I will share some good news. In the meantime, I'm off for my 30 minute walk and then I'll have lunch with a friend. I'm infinitely blessed.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

painting the house

If you have ever bought a home before, you will know what it is like to drive by it daily until your moving day. . . . . It was in the Spring of 1994 when the talk began of moving our family to the farm. Terry's dad had just passed away and we were all missing him so much. The opportunity to move to a farm came at a time when Terry in particular needed a change and a challenge to keep moving forward. I had grown up on a farm and Terry and I had always dreamt of raising our sons on a farm as well. We felt incredibly blessed to have this chance at a different lifestyle. We jumped in feet first and saw the run down, delapidated farm as a challenge and a chance for Terrence and Stuart to be kept busy in their teen years.
Terry never actually saw the inside of the house before we moved there. When buying an operating farm, it's the barns that are the focal point not the house. My Auntie Betty and I were allowed to go inside the house "once" and we took a few Polaroid pictures so that Terry could have an instant view. He asked when I went to see him at Safeway . . . "well, is it fixable?" . .I replied . .."you can do it". Once the farm was purchased we were amazed at the willingness of friends and family to lend us a hand in renovations. Auntie Betty came to help with the painting and the cleaning. There is much I could say about her, she is an amazing and wonderful aunt and is a blessing to our entire family. I have already mentioned her earilier in the "Hula Girl Story".

The exterior of the house had not seen a coat of paint in as many years as it had been standing, and we set to work to scrape off the remainder of the paint. We accepted any volunteers we could get. My dad who was 76 at the time even he scraped and painted. My mom made some suppers and brought them to the farm so we could continue to work.

The back yard really wasn't a back yard at all. The people parked willy-nilly where ever they liked. It nearly drove Terry mad. The barns were in need of as much repair as the house inside and out. That first year is a bit of a blur. Its amazing what you can do when you have a vision and a drive to work hard. It is amazing what you can do when your friends and family step up to offer their help and support.

That summer, the boys learned to work. Stuart was 13 and Terrence was 15. They worked in the barns in the morning and in the afternoon helped to make the house livable.

Daily we saw small improvements and slowly our dream began to emerge.

When we talk about raising our family we always speak in terms of before the farm and after the farm. It really was a pivotal point in our lives. Terry worked hard for those first few years. He got up at four in the morning, went to work, came home early in the afternoon and worked in the barns until nine or ten in the evening. While the work seemed endless most of the time, it was such satisfying work. We saw daily improvements and we began to appreciate the lifestyle of country living.
I don't have many pictures to show you of the interior, next time that I post the "moving to the farm saga" I will show you exactly what I showed Terry.
I'm off for my 30 minute walk. Later on today, my friend Monica is coming over to tell me her story. I plan to post a part of it tomorrow. Have a wonderful day my friends.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

growing up with a neighbor girl

I grew up on a farm and lived there from the time I was born until I was married. There was a little girl that lived on a farm about a mile away. Her family attended the same church as we did and we both attended the same school. Shirley is pictured above in the middle of the picture. No doubt my mom was attempting to capture my brother Gerry in the sand pile with Shirley and me as well. Taking pictures was not an every day event in our home and this one is special since it is one of the very few that was taken of us this young.
This picture is typical of a day that Shirley and I would spend together. Judging by the clothes we are wearing, it appears we were in grade nine. We are both wearing Seafarer jeans and although it is blurry we both have one the same style shoes, shirts and sweater vests.
Don't you just love the color of the house in the background? That was quite typical in the 60's to have a multicolored house. I guess they didn't know what color they liked best? I have no idea. This picture would have been 1974 I think, I guess they were still enjoying multicolor houses then as well.
Shirley and I were quite inseparable until grade 10 when she left the school we were both attending. We still remained close and she was my maid of honour. Since then there have been countless dinners and much reminiscing each time. Our husbands have put up with a good deal of listening to us talk about a time long before they entered the picture.
We still live in the same town and now and then find one another at Starbucks and then do the quick catch up. It always ends with . . .OK . . . we really have to get together, and one of these days it wil happen. Her family is almost grown up, and then perhaps we'll have that dinner.
In the meantime to the one friend I have had my whole life . . .Have a very Happy Birthday Shirley.
I'm off to do my 30 minute walk. My email isn't working right now and so if you have tried to email me and haven't had a response, bear with me, I'll hopefully figure out what the problem is soon. Have a wonderful day my friends.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

puppy bath

The Japanese Blossoming Cherry trees are at their peak right now. Thank you Japan for gifting Vancouver with 500 Cherry trees in 1930 to honour the Japanese Canadians who served in WW1. Since then we have had a love affair with the beautiful blossom trees.
At the risk of boring you with a few more puppy pictures, I thought I would share a few more. Indee had her first bath yesterday, and smelled a lot better afterwards.

I snapped this pictures before she was drenched, a minute later the camera had to be put down so that I could assist. Quite the handful.

All cleaned up and time to do some farm work. Normally Otis sleeps the day away on the porch. He hasn't had this much awake time in a few years.

Indee has made her choice. She is Terry's dog. She is stuck to him like glue.

He was trying to put a post in for a run for her and couldn't see what he was doing for all the assistance he was getting.

This picture isn't at all related but it's my blog and so you'll just have to humor me. Last night we remembered what it is like to raise children. Indee cried and whimpered a good part of the night and I was wishing I had paid more attention to what the young moms are now saying about baby wise. Surely the whimpering will stop soon. Right? I was reminded of the 15 months that Terrence didn't sleep through the night . . .and the fact that they were 19 months apart. I can't remember how long Stuart took to sleep through the night, I wised up a bit by then. I was reminded that it is one thing to not be able to sleep because your body refuses to regulate its temperature and you just can't sleep and the sleep that does not happen because there is crying and whimpering in the night. I hardly remember those days, when I remember I generally remember their playing and being rough and tough like boys will be.
So tell me, did you sleep through the night last night? If not . . .why?
Thank you so much for visiting again today, I'm off for my 30 minute walk my friends.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

indee comes to the farm

Meet our new German Shepherd Puppy . . . .Indee.
We bought her yesterday afternoon.

She is 16 weeks old.

We were so curious to know what Otis would think of her. We just laughed. He sat a little straighter and walked a little faster and pretended to know how to sit on command.

It was just a hoot. Every time Terry told the puppy to sit, Otis was right there sitting. That boy might be a bit daft but he can smell a treat a mile away. So Terry was holding puppy class with the big galoot and the little pup. Poor Otis never got a moments rest from the time she got out of the truck. Within 10 minutes they were drinking out of the same pail of water. . . together.

Tobee (aka Mr. Stinky licker . . nicknamed by Stuart) came right over to check out the puppy. Poor Tobee (aka Mr. Stinky licker) did his best to be assertive. He charged Indee and barked to let her know that Indee was indeed the bottom of the totem pole. I really have to start posting videos. It was too funny. Tobee (aka Mr. Stinkylicker) brought over a pink Tshirt for the required Tshirt for puppy class. Tobee (aka Mr. Stinkylicker) had no idea how big puppies can be. The Tshirt had to go back to be exchange for a big puppy Tshirt.

So, as you can imagine we'll be into puppy training on the farm. Otis and Indie at puppy class. Otis has decided to share his blog as well. Such a good boy, he's so good natured. From every indication it appears that Otis is really happy with his new little friend.

On a completely different topic and one that is very close to our hearts, as I have earlier posted my niece Tanya and her husband Chris are waiting to adopt a child. They have a meeting this morning with a birth mother. This meeting is so important to them. You can read a little more about them and this morning on my brother Gerry's blog. Please pray for them.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

rhubarb bar

For this recipe you'll need 6 cups of cut up rhubarb. You'll want to chop it into at least 1/2 chop.
If you have a food processor, you'll put your flour cut up butter and salt, otherwise use a pastry blender. (and put a food processor on your wish list)

You will need two eggs that have been separated.

Let the dough chill in the fridge while you chop up the rhubarb. I wrap mine in plastic wrap and give it a bit of a roll to help chill it faster.

Add the flour and sugar to the rhubarb in the measuring cup.

Once the dough is chilled put it on a well floured counter top. This dough is very forgiving because it is so rich. That richness also makes it easier to work with.

Roll the very thin dough onto your rolling pin to transfer it to a 10 X 15 inch cookie sheet. I have a dark cookie sheet and that helps make the bar nice and evenly browned.

Add the rhubarb into the dough lined pan.

Add the top crust and roll the two edges together and press them with a fork so that the filling stay in. Give the tart a poke with a fork so that the steam can come out and your crust will stay crispy.

Beat the two remaining egg whites (don't add any sugar to them) and just spread it out so that all the crust has been swept with them.

This is what it looks like when it comes out of the oven. After this you'll make a thin icing and drizzle it on while the bar is still warm.

Let the bar cool completely so that the filling can set up. I took out a piece while it was still warm so that I could show you the finished bar.

Rhubarb Bar
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup of real butter
Blend these together until you have a coarse crumb.
Add to this
2 egg yolks and enough milk to make 2/3 of a cup.
Stir this in and roll up into a ball, flatten it down, wrap it in plastic wrap . .
Give it a bit of a roll and let it chill in the fridge.
6 cups of cut up rhubarb
1 3/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of flour
Mix the filling together.
Take half of the dough and roll it out to fit a 10 X 15 inch jelly roll pan.
Add the filling into the crust lined pan.
Roll out the other half and cover and seal and prick the crust.
Beat the 2 egg whites and spread this over the crust.
Bake this in a preheated oven. I do 400 F. or 375 in the convection oven.
Bake this for about 35 minutes until it is nicely browned.
While it is still warm mix 1 cup of icing sugar and 3 tbsp of warm water and a 1/2 tsp. of vanilla.
Drizzle this on top of the warm bar.
Well, I'm off to finish my Saturday chores, and then I think I'll mosey over to the kids house and bring them 1/4 of the bar each. Terry and I get half. (because we can)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

eating bread . .and the garden

Earlier this morning I posted that I was making Jill's bread recipe. I thought I would quickly post our lunch. OK . . .are you making the bread yet? It is so crusty on the outside and wonderfully chewy and soft on the inside. Does Terry look happy?
We were supposed to wait until it was completely cooled but we didn't quite make it that long. The only thing I did different, is I let it sit on floured parchment paper instead of a Tea Towel.

This is where I started this morning's post.

Today I'm making the bread that Jill posted yesterday. I started it in the afternoon and it is now having its final rise on the counter. It's easy peasy and you must give it a try. It should be called bread for beginner bakers. I smile when I read some of the young blogger moms and remember when . . .girls, give this one a try, there is nothing like the smell of bread baking, to make your home feel homey.

In a few minutes my friend Kathy is coming with her daughter Adrienne . . .who is coming with her daughter Summer . . . .to see the baby chicks. Three generations of girls. Mothers and daughters . . .

I'm terribly excited to see them. Kathy I see regularly but I haven't seen Adrienne and Summer in a while. Such fun.

When I walk around my garden I thank my Heavenly Father for all the beauty. I thank Him for my family. I thank Him for my friends . . .what special gifts . .each one of them.

I thank Him for my husband who loves me . . . O Lord . . .I have so much. You know my heart Lord.

This morning the chorus . . ."Blessed Jesus, come to me . . .fill my soul with songs of peace. As I come to you alone fill me with your love."

Do you have a song in your heart this morning?

Is it overflowing with joy . . .or bleeding with sadness?

Is your burden heavy? Do you bear it all alone?

Sometimes I wonder about all of us blogging together, who are we and what fills our days when we walk away from our computers? I wonder about the people who read my blog everyday and I'll never know or meet.
I'm so encouraged by so many of you. So many encouraging comments. I'm truly grateful.

Please don't think that my life is perfect or that my heart knows no pain. I'm just like you . . .

These are my random thoughts . . .this is who I am.
If you ever want to visit but don't feel comfortable leaving a public comment, please feel free to email me. My email is in my profile. I'd love to hear from you.