Monday, January 31, 2011

Chicken Chatting....A Saturday Poultry Class

   It is almost that time again: time for a broiler pen. Raising chickens for meat is something we strive to improve upon year after year- as a 4-H project and as a way to provide for our family. This past weekend the farm boy and I traveled to our farm co-op to attend a class all about raising broilers. Informative and reassuring, it was well worth our trip, but - that was not all we did.
   We purchased farm seeds for our upcoming planting season; here in the south, we start planting some spring crops now. Touring the garden area and chatting over plots and pottings, farm boy and I scooped and weighed seeds of all kinds: peas, corn, beans, greens and onion sets among the few.
   Along the way we stopped at a few little antique shops to browse and banter over old weapons, tools and farm items. Conversations varied from treadle sewing machines to Old Timer pocket knives and rustic Civil War bayonets.
   All too soon the day ended back at home with chores needing done and dinner to be prepared. The end of day found us all sitting round the living room sharing tid-bits from our day: from the therapy sessions the girls assisted in, farm papa's work day, and our travels. A meal was shared; lives were shared; and our day ended with chatter about chickens.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

It Is Sunday.....

The Dilemma Of Obedience

"And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision."
I Samuel 3:15

   God never speaks to us in startling ways, but in ways that are easy to misunderstand, and we say, "I wonder if that is God's voice?" Isaiah said that the Lord spake to him "with a strong hand." that is, by the pressure of circumstances. Nothing touches our lives but it is God Himself speaking. Do we discern His hand or only mere occurrence?
   Get into the habit of saying, "Speak, Lord," and life will become a romance. Every time circumstances press, say, "Speak, Lord"; make time to listen. Chastening is more than a means of discipline, it is meant to get me to the place of saying, "Speak, Lord." Recall the time when God did speak to you. Have you forgotten what He said? Was it Luke 11:13, or was it I Thessalonians 5:23? As we listen, our ear gets acute, and, like Jesus, we shall hear God all the time. 
   Shall I tell my "Eli" what God has shown to me? That is where the dilemma of obedience comes in. We disobey God by becoming amateur providences- I must shield "Eli," the best people we know. God did not tell Samuel to tell Eli, he had to decide that for himself. God's call to you may hurt your "Eli"; but if you try to prevent the suffering in another life, it will prove an obstruction between your soul and God. It is at your own peril that you prevent the cutting off of the right hand or the plucking out of the eye.
   Never ask the advice of another about anything God makes you decide before Him. If you ask advice, you will nearly always side with Satan. "Immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood."

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sending Birthday Wishes

an iris from her flower bed

   Today we send some special birthday wishes to my mother. Not living nearby, we will not be able to spend this day with we are sending her wishes of joy and happiness on her birthday.
   So, Mom, as you spend this day we challenge you to call to memory some of the wonderful memories we have made over the years:

*sharing lunch together when I worked in office
*sewing together in the afternoons- I cut you stitch
*crocheting with simplyjen and watching me quilt (remember when we finished yours?)
*nrae painting at your kitchen table and the smell of the wood burner as our farm boy made woodland pictures
*hearing the roosters crowing when you stayed with us and seeing chicks grow
*making candy in the kitchen- the year you burned my hand :)
*pulling out that ridiculously big Christmas tree and dressing it up
*build your own taco dinners and home made pizza nights
*shopping at the fabric stores (spending way too much)
* and, of course, those long days together when Dad had the heart attack- we did everything to keep things going
 .....and so many more!

   Next month when she is able to visit we will make up for the time away with dinner and desserts. For now, from far away, "Happy Birthday, Mom (better known as Mimi by the kids)- we wish you happy memories!"

scaife family

Friday, January 28, 2011

Muddy Boot Prints

   Daylight creeps through the windowpanes teasing my eyes to wake. Sleep beckons me to say and  soak up one more moment here before the business begins. Pushing aside my selfish desires I stretch, tossing the sheets away rising with an unwelcome gush of chilly air.
   Willing my feet to touch the cold hardwood floor I am greeted with a crunch- yuck! Focusing my eyes in the bright morning light my irritation rises with the sight of muddy boot prints.

   Funny how things look different depending on which side of them you're standing on. Several years ago, my husband's job caused him to rise and leave long before the children and I. It was his "quiet before the storm" and he appreciated the time to himself before the demands of the day weighed him down. However, he had a nasty habit that irked me to no end; walking back through the house after putting on his heavy, muddy work boots.
   After spending many days sweeping the trail he had left, I finally asked him what was up. To me, these muddy boot prints were uncaring; a disregard for my attempts to keep the house clean. My attitude toward the boot prints changed drastically when I heard what they looked like from his eyes.

   After rising early in the quiet of my home, I walk through the rooms one by one. Brushing my teeth the sink my hands find their way to a fresh hand towel; folded neatly and waiting there for me. In the living room I sit in my favorite chair as my eyes fall upon books and devotionals neatly stacked nearby. In the kitchen my lunch is ready and waiting for me; all I have to do is place it in my box before I go. As I stand near the door: welding cap, keys, lunch box in hand- I stop to lace up my heavy work boots.
   Before opening the door and facing the day I turn and head to my room. Quietly I slip to the bedside- face my sleeping wife- I love you- and place a soft kiss on her cheek. Now, I am ready. Walking back through my house I breathe a quiet goodbye to my sleeping kids and head out for a long day at work. Thousands of choices are made in this one simple choice- to first love my wife, and my family.

   You see, things look quite different from another's eyes. How selfish I felt; how wrong. Such a simple thing- muddy boot prints; such a deep meaning. The trail of dirt became a sweet and playful thing in our married life. Sweeping them each morning- he loves me- I am reminded that he wouldn't leave the house before saying so.

   The days of the muddy boot prints are gone along with the job he had back then. His new employment came with a late shift; and alot of concrete and an indoor weld area. However, now and then, my mind drifts back to those long ago days...days when muddy boot prints were the sweetest sight in the light of morning.


Thursday, January 27, 2011


Felix loves little babies too!

   Far from our home in a town in our state a dear family member welcomes their new baby into the world. My family joins them in rejoicing in this precious blessing; thanking the Lord for her safe delivery into her sweet home. A cousin to my husband, early in his blessed with a precious little girl..may God guide you as you accept this new role "father".


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hadassah, Walk With Me

Hadassah Rose
   The table clears, one book at a time as the afternoon sun calls to me. With leash in hand I make my way across the drive as Hadassah lets me know--it is time. Her entire body wiggles with enthusiasm as I draw near her pen. Bounding and bouncing she bursts through the gate and obediently gives her best effort at sitting while I hook the leash to her collar; looking up at me every few seconds- oh, hurry! We have so much to see; let's go!
   With a jerk and a tug she pulls against the leash and looks back knowingly- I'm not being naughty, just ready to go. We head down the way eager to feel the sun on our faces and breathe the fresh outdoor air. Struggling to keep up with her, I gently chide her- Hadassah, walk with me- hopeful she will slow a bit. She does, but only for a moment.
   Nose to the ground and off the path, Hadassah chases a new and exciting wonder. With her sudden and firm jerk I release the leash- my hands are valuable to me, so I let her go. Again, gently I call- Hadassah, walk with me. In that moment a startling truth; a lesson pierces my heart causing my mind to whirl. My Lord has spoken gently to me- walk with me.
   Just like my dear Hadassah, I have a Master guiding my path-One who walks with me. Sometimes in my excitement or distraction, I pull at His hand eager to run and explore. He safely guides me away from the danger that seeks to lure me away- walk with me. Then with a sudden burst of desire, I break free His hand and run to unfamiliar territory- to places not meant for me; places unfamiliar and deceiving.
   At the sound of my voice, Hadassah stops and turns..she waits- it's okay, I'm just right here. Again, more firmly I beckon- Hadassah, walk with me. With love and obedience she turns and returns to me, anxiously waiting as I take her leash in my hand. As Hadassah has returned to me, in my heart I return to my Master- anxiously wait for Him to take my hand and lovingly walk with me.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Educating....Preparing for the Kinder Years Part I


Time to consider our educating options.

   The early kinder years of educating are by far my favorite (yes, this was my classroom age when I taught outside the home). Discovery and wonder flow so freely at this age of development and learning. Here is an age of vast curiosity and boundless energy eager to be guided and fostered. With every stage of our children's development and growth decisions must be made regarding their education: where and when do we start school.

  As the kinder years creep upon us we are faced with the decision of educating: public, private, home. In each of those three options we have numerous sub-sections to face. Educating is a family decision that must be made by each individual family taking into consideration that family's convictions, time and resources. For some, the decision is easy and requires very little discussion; others are faced with the task of finances and family.

  Making the education decision requires us to look at the commitment each option requires. Some points to consider:

*what is your educational goal for your children
*do both parents work
*if so, do they have to
*what finances are available
*what is your child's natural bend (social, withdrawn, special need, etc)
*has God burdened your heart in a specific direction

   Prayer is the key. Our Lord blessed you with your beautiful family, therefore, it is best to seek His direction for it. Once your heart is clear, it is time to prepare for the leap into the kinder years. If your children are going to public or private schools, schedules and supplies must be gathered. If home education is your goal, then there are  several avenues to consider as you prepare for your kinder year.

   Next week I would love to share some simple items from home and heart that will help prepare for lively and interactive kinder years


Monday, January 24, 2011

This Time of Change

   Breathe. Opening the door of the vehicle, I step into the busy parking lot. Hesitation; there are not familiar faces- there won't be. My pace slows are we near the entryway. I pause, second-guessing all the choices that let us here. On the steps- a complete stop; my eyes close with a breathe of prayer.
   With the gentle breeze that brushes over me my Lord sends His gracious encouragement- my weakness is known. I am with you; you are okay- the reassurance needed to step forward into this new place.

   Change- I postpone it as long as possible, yet sometimes it is forced upon me. My family and I are facing change in the form of a new church home and, needless to say, it is difficult. For the first time in well over a year my heart raced with question: how do they dress, are we too conservative for this place, do we share similar Biblical standards? How will my husband feel this first time out of the pulpit? My teens pondered the idea of other youth and different church layouts. Oh, change...

   In the end, the day was so good. A time of reassurance, rest, and refreshing; a place of shared values and convictions. Arriving home afterward discussions around the table revealed the relief and renewing felt by each of us. Now, I sit relieved- hope is going to be okay. God will guide us through a time of change.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

It is Sunday....

Transformed by Insight

"We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image." 2 Corinthians 3:18

   The outstanding characteristic of a Christian is this unveiled frankness before God so that the life becomes a mirror for others lives. By being filled with the Spirit we are transformed, and by beholding we become mirrors. You always know when a man has been beholding the glory of the Lord; you feel in your inner spirit that he is the mirror of the Lord's own character. Beware of anything which would sully that mirror in you; it is nearly always a good thing, the good that is not the best.
   The golden rule for your life and mine is this concentrated keeping of the life open towards God. Let everything else-work, clothes, food, everything on earth-go by the board, saving that one thing. The rush of other things always tends to obscure this concentration on God. We have to maintain ourselves in the place of beholding, keeping the life absolutely spiritual all through. Let other things come and go as they may, let other people criticize as they will, but never allow anything to obscure the life that is hid with Christ in God. Never be hurried out of the relationship of abiding in Him. It is the one thing that is apt to fluctuate but it ought not to. The severest discipline of a Christan's life is to learn how to keep "beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord."

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Master Gardeners' Fruit and Nut Tree Sale

Beautiful Agastache

   It's that time again. The local Master Gardeners' are hosting a fruit and nut tree sale today. Instead of just shopping, our family is working the sale this year. The members of our 4-H Shotgun Club are volunteering to assist our gardeners with the running of the sale. Starting at 8:00 AM and going until noon, visitors are welcome to stroll the isles of avocado, pecan, olive, almond trees as well as jujubes and pomegranates. In addition to the trees, berry bushes and some herbs are available as well. Local friends, we invite you to drop by and see all the wonderful plants; for those of you far away, check with your local county extension office and see what plant sales are available in your area.
   We're off for a chilly, yet productive, day of work and socializing..maybe we'll see you there.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Today on the Farm....

Goats are sunning,
Coffee we are a sipping,
Cookies are a cooling,
And hens are scratching.
Dogs, they are running,
One is going working,

I am a quilting,

And this one, she is a part of it all.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cast Iron Treasures

   So small and so little cast iron treasures. These small items were originally used as marketing samples by cast iron salesmen. Instead of carrying a supply of the full size iron wares, the salesman would instead tote a box of miniature replicas for clients to view.
   These neat little treasures were found together in an antique store the girls and I visited in December. We each bought one. Currently they set together near our favorite oil lamp atop the piano.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Walk With Me Wednesday....

         It is Time to Teach.....

   Our table is cleared, the Bible is set aside for now as we ready ourselves for today's lessons. Calculators and pencils, paper and books- Algebra is top on this list. Set around the big table together we discuss the section each are facing today..gently they are reminded to read over the lessons from a few days past. Dad works with the older and I work with our younger..sometimes all working together we learn from each other. One by one they finish their task moving forward to literature studies..I marvel at how independent they have become over the past few years needing less of my time and more of my support.
   As they trickle to other lessons, I tend to take on the role of tutor or guide. Reviewing their work as it is complete, I bide my time between by picking up the rag rug that is not yet complete. Stitches and rows go round and round as we chatter a bit about Gulliver and the writing process. The project is set at my feet as diagramming comes to the table...quickly we must be, it is nearly time to ready lunch.
   Giggles and teasing take its form as we move back and forth between the refrigerator, the counter, and the table setting everything in place for our noon meal. No talk of classes here, we discuss the day's news and upcoming events making sure to touch base on each other's schedules.
   As my husband heads off to work we gather again for the afternoon lessons. Once again the rug is in my hand as I sit nearby ready to help if needed. One by one they finish their day and begin to trickle off to other things. Recording our activities and grades; putting everything in their place for now; we come to the end of our time to teach.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Educating.....Biblical Foundations

   In our home, the basis of all learning starts with God's Word. Period. The foundation for all course of study from reading to mathematics to science and humanities is Scripture. My husband and I teach expository Bible learning: line upon line, verse by verse. So when it comes to building Biblical foundations in our childrens' hearts we started at the beginning.
   Beginning Biblical foundations start with simply reading Scripture: to them as infants, toddlers, and beyond. Reading Scripture cover to cover started in our home at our childrens' births and carried through to our current teen years. Straight forward, letting God speak for Himself. Yet, while there is a need for this type of Biblical foundation, left without explanation where will it go in a little heart?
Some tools I found useful:

*the flannel graph; all-time favorite of the young and the old!
*pictures; I prefer not to attune God's Holy Word to cartoon that depicted reality were my preference (after all they are real people and events, right?)
*imaginative play; march the walls of Jericho, part the shaving cream Red Sea, get into it.
*object based lessons; tangible items --a variety of garden foliage to depict the Garden of Eden, the Nativity to teach the birth of Christ, be creative!
*The Bible- either your own study version or a chronological one is nice; I have used both and loved them.

   I started (and still do) every Bible study session stating the plain truth: our Bible is God's Word, it is all pretend stories, every event and every person are real just like you and me. Speaking realistically reinforces the fact the events in the Bible are true (in a world of so much fiction) One pet peeve of mine is teaching from other sources. Lesson books and study guides are great helps and that is all they are. My desire if for those I am teaching to know the Source of my lesson: the Bible.
  Early on, I learned that you cannot teach if you do not have their attention. To engage young students, I started with song (do you know how many children today cannot sing "Jesus Loves Me" or "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands"?). Interacting and moving with the music engages their whole being in learning and attention. With some energy released, we settled down with objects (or pictures, flannel boards, etc.) to read the Scripture and share the lesson. It has always been my practice to reinforce the lesson by asking questions; review what you have just taught; let them tell you. Praise and encouragement is always on hand for their earnest efforts to retell or remember parts or all of the lesson.
   As they grow, so do the lessons. It is an amazing fact that no matter how many times you study the story of Jonah or Daniel or Ester you will always learn something new and different. Biblical foundations are timeless and they never get old. When my children joined various church studies such as Girls in Action, Royal Ambassadors, or Bible drill, our home lessons were complimented by including memory work and study from these classes. As we grow, we glean nuggets of truth and re-instill lessons already learned.
   Teaching God's Word has been the most important and most powerful class ever held in my home. Every other study has its root here and often comes back in discussion to here. When you build a strong foundation, you are setting your home on solid ground.


Monday, January 17, 2011

My Heart is Heavy

   The farm boy and I have been battling a virus. Down with a bug, my heart was drawn to prayer: for my family, for others as they lay on my heart. Prayer that saw me through the shocking events of this weekend. Events that had been burdening my husband's heart. Events that drew him to his knees..that lead him to resign the step down as their pastor. Events thatwill lead to change. Change that will effect our lives, our relationships, our home. Change that is difficult and leaves my heart heavy.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

It is Sunday......

"Do You Walk in White?"

       "Buried with Him...that...even so we also should walk in newness of life."
Romans 6:4

   No one enters into the experience of entire sanctification without going through a "white funeral"-the burial of the old life. If there has never been this crisis of death, sanctification is nothing more than a vision. There must be a "white funeral," a death that has only one resurrection- a resurrection into the life of Jesus Christ. Nothing can upset such a life, it is one with God for one purpose, to be a witness to Him.
   Have you come to your last days really? You have come to them often in sentiment, but have you come to them really? You cannot go to your funeral in excitement, or die in excitement. Death means you stop being. Do you agree with God that you stop being the striving, earnest kind of Christian you have been? We skirt the cemetery and all the time refuse to go to death. It is not striving to go to death, it is dying, "baptized into His death."
   Have you had your "white funeral," or are you sacredly playing the fool with your soul? Is there a place in your life marked as the last day, a place to which the memory goes back with a chastened and extraordinarily grateful remembrance, "Yes, it was then at that 'white funeral,' that I made an agreement with God."
   "This is the will of God, even your sanctification." When you realize what the will of God is, you will enter into sanctification as naturally as can be, Are you willing to go through that "white funeral" now? Do you agree with Hum that this is your last day on earth? The moment of agreement depends upon you.

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Few Days Off

Taking a few days off, for blog posts visit our farmgirl Simply Jen at

Teens Unleashed in the Kitchen

   My growing girls have been spending a few afternoons unleashed in the kitchen. The farm boy and I came home last night to baked rigatoni and two layer devil's food cake. Wow, so that's what happens when teens are unleashed in the kitchen.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Walk With Me Wednesday...

Our day begins:

Glimpse into part of our day....

Faint sounds stir my mind; sunlight is streaming through the curtains; morning has come. Warmth and comfort feed my desire to stay here, wrapped in the security of slumber. My husband gives me a nudge; he knows a day awaits us..a day filled with things that will vie for my attention.
As I coax myself from the toasty covers, feet stinging against the cold wood floor, the creaking overhead tells me the kids have heard it too: calls from the barn- the farm is waking.

Bundled and wrapped we slosh frigidly to the barn as the hungry calls urge us on. Nearing the stalls, familiar scents welcome us: sweet hay mingled with muck and mire. Feed is measured and poured. Hay is thrown into it's trough...the gentle nuzzles of warm noses tickle our cheeks: a gentle thank you for the morning meal. Hens cackle and turkeys gobble, the roosters give their part...their turn now. Wings flutter as grain is poured and their busy scratching begins. The dogs stop barking as the farmboy sets their breakfast out.

Leaving the warmth of the barn we hurry across the wet farmyard to the warmth of the farm kitchen. The bold scent of coffee draws me to the stove as farm kids scatter about to clean up and get ready. Soon the delicious aroma of warm eggs and toasty waffles lures them to the table where steaming plates await them.
Our conversation begins with the "need to's" of the day. Discussions vary from work schedules to gentle reminders of appointments or plans. Our plates empty. The chatter slows. Opening my Bible, our day begins.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Educating.....Through Grief

   It comes into all of our lives...grief. Often unexpected, grief can stop us in our tracks and disrupt even the most calm of homes. When grief comes into our homes, it has profound effects on our children regardless of their age. Here lies an opportunity to evaluate our beliefs, our hearts, and our we share our hearts with our little ones.
When they were toddlers:

-We spoke plainly, with real words about what had happened. Death is real and children will have to know this.
-I didn't hide my tears. Letting them understand my sorrow gave them the freedom to express their own, and to show compassion growing in their own hearts.
-I quickly learned that they were open about it. Death was not a taboo, it was explained in simple truth- age appropriately- and they were accepting it better than we were.
-We seized the opportunity to pray together; to love each other. We held our children close and grew closer as a family.

As they became middles:

-As I shared in grief with my children I had to consider each of them individually: how would each one respond, understand, react..and teach from there.
-Hard questions came that stunned me; there is a need to be prepared and be truthful. Sometimes the truth is a bit embarrassing because we must admit we don't have all the answers and we don't always understand things either.
-As a family, we had to grief together. Some personalities move on faster than others and our house was no different. When one griefs harder than the others there is an opportunity to teach each other to have a tender heart toward one who is hurting.

Now they are teens:

-Death is real and sometimes expected. I have spent numerous hours teaching my children compassion and care for the infirmed and the elderly. During care giving, the question always comes up, "Are they going to die?" Honesty is we have time to prepare for grief.
-When death is unexpected, again we teach. God is sovereign and our tears are precious to Him. One thing that helped us immensely was asking each teen, individually, to explain their understanding of death is. Once we see their understanding we can teach from their.
-On the occasion that we knew the deceased person's testimony, this was an excellent tool in soothing grief. Setting our focus forward to Heaven.
-With every situation of grief, we have taken the time to share our faith in Jesus, to check our teens' faith, and to grow a testimony.

   Until the Lord calls us home, grief will be part of our lives. Each situation is an opportunity to know ourselves and our children better; to see a bit deeper into our hearts; and, yes, to educate the next generation. We never know when the comfort and coping skills we teach our children will in turn be used by them to comfort another and help them cope.

   If you have questions about educating through grief, our would like to hear our testimony concerning the grieving process (relating to stillbirth, close relatives, peers) please email me at We would be blessed to help you.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Let's Get it Together....

   Today is the day. New binding material has been purchased and cut. The quilt has been ironed and sized. It is time to get it together.
   The quilt's owner requested a different binding than was previously prepared for the quilt. Waiting until the holiday madness had passed, we purchased the solid black cotton fabric needed to frame with quilt with a bold boundary.
   Yesterday afternoon the prewashing, ironing and cutting took our goal is to machine stitch the binding to the quilt. The binding will then be ironed and turned to the back for hand stitching in its final place.
   This pretty thing is nearly finished...then on to new projects! I better get going....


Sunday, January 9, 2011

It is Sunday.....

Does My Sacrifice Live?

   "And Abraham built an altar...and bound Isaac his son." Genesis 22:9

   This incident is a picture of the blunder we make in thinking that the final thing God wants of us is the sacrifice of death. What God wants is the sacrifice through death which enables us to do what Jesus did, sacrifice our lives. Not- I am willing to go to death with Thee, but- I am willing to be identified with Thy death so that I may sacrifice my life to God. We seem to think that God wants us to give up things! God purified Abraham from this blunder, and the same discipline goes on in our lives. God nowhere tells us to give up things for the sake of giving them up. He tells us to give them up for the sake of the only thing worth having- life with Himself. It is a question of loosening the bands that hinder the life, and immediately those bands are loosened by identification with the death of Jesus, we enter into a relationship with God whereby we can sacrifice our lives to Him.
   It is of no value to God to give Him your life for death. He wants you to be a "living sacrifice," to let Him have all your powers that have been saved and sanctified through Jesus. This is the things that is acceptable to God.

from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Simple Snacks....Dehydrated Apple Chips

   I love apple chips; always have, but I dislike the price and the preservatives attached to the store bought ones. Over time, I learned to make my own.
   Dehydrating fruit can be done simply with no help at all. Sliced apples can be hung on a string or laid flat on a wire rack and allowed to dry in a warm, dry place. Living in southeast Texas, our humidity levels do not lend themselves well to this method of dehydrating.
   Several years ago I was blessed with a large dehydrator. My goodness, the uses you can find for one of those! Not only dehydrating fruits and vegetables, but granola, jerky, buttermilk and yogurt are wonderfully made in one. If you have the opportunity for one, they are well worth the investment.
   To make our apple chips we simply slice fresh apples in half then in thin slices (approximately an eighth an inch thick). Arrange them in a single layer on a dehydrator rack and dehydrate until desired crispiness. I like mine crunchy and very dry, so we go ten to twelve hours. For variety, the apples can be dipped in citrus juice (orange or pineapple) or dusted with cinnamon. Delicious.
   Apple chips are our favorite and most simple snack here on the home farm, but they are not the only ones. Bananas and pineapples make wonderful and tasty chips, as do carrots and sweet potatoes. Yummy and healthy!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Farm Focus Friday...... What's In the Winter Garden

Swiss Chard





Greens and turnips
   Here in the deep south, we have the blessing of a second growing season. Mild winters afford us the benefit of year round vegetable gardens. Right now our gardens are bursting with beautiful cole and leaf crops along with onions and garlic heads.
   With very few pests to damage them, our winter crops often thrive better than the summer and fall ones. The only real threat to our winter greens is drought, which we have been experiencing this year. Recent rains are strengthening our plants and causing an abundance of growth and glory.
   This week our family has picked four heads of cabbage, four heads of broccoli, four bunches of turnips and daily gleanings of lettuce, kale, chard and onions. With our current freezer full of venison and poultry, side dishes of our harvest and daily egg gatherings our family is eating very well.
   Our farm focus for this Friday is simple garden maintenance. Light weeding, extra mulch, and harvesting are on the to-do list for today. Thanks for joining us today....we're off to tend the veggies!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: Do We Know.......

   Getting ready for the day; before the chores; before my teeth were even of our teens called me aside for a talk. As a mamma, this tells me something very important is about to be discussed...and it was.
   You see, she had received a message from a teen younger than her needing to talk about a terrible situation. This very young teen was just leaving the local free clinic (she can drive) where it was confirmed she had been given the date rape drug and sexually assaulted. She needed help. My daughter's question came because of the kind of help she was asking.
   This young girl had been prescribed the morning after pill and could not pick the prescription up because she was under age. She wanted our help.
   Grief spilled over my heart as I heard this terrible situation. I now had a moment in life to not only teach my teen, but to learn about her as well. My question to us we know?
Do we know:
* our convictions regarding...sexual purity, cohabitation, abortion, birth control , cyber relationships, etc.
* their convictions about such things
* how to respond to situations involving our convictions
* how to teach our youth to respond to such situations
* where helping becomes hindering
                     do we know?

   Moments such as these have come into our lives quite a bit these past months. Home school families are not immune to such situations (the influence of them or the instance of them). As parents it is our God-given responsibility to know our convictions, to teach our children our convictions, and to know their developing convictions. How do we do this?

How do we know?
* seek God's direction and Wisdom through His Word and prayer
* use current events through culture studies, current events and world new as triggers for teachable conversation
* when sharing convictions with our family (or others) always back it up with God's Word..this gives validity making it more than just your opinion
* know why you have this conviction...if you don't know, how can you teach it
* time together lends opportunity for discussion...sometimes the most teachable moments are in the mundane places of our day
 * invest in knowing your kids..share in their interests, know their friends, know their activities (Internet, phone, extra curricular, etc.

   These young people are the adults of tomorrow; have we equipped them for that responsibility? Already in our world today we see the consequences of not knowing:
* young adults who cannot hold a job
* cohabitation without shame or remorse
* unwed pregnancy, abortions, and high foster care situations
                the list is unending..and it's sad.
   We are called to train up our children in the way they should know them; do we? I cannot change the world. I cannot change the hearts of others. I can start with me. I can expand to my family. I can reach to those who reach out to me. I can is tough and it is not easy to refuse to help when it will be a hindrance; when we are giving the impression that we applaud and accept the behavior instead of standing for our convictions.
   I choose to stand...I choose to know.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Blooming In Spite of it All

a winter rose bloom

   I had a mild migraine today. In the midst of it I decided to stroll around the farm, breath in the moist air, and look for something to lighten my heart. Found it. A beautiful sun blush rose blossom- blooming in spite of it all.

In spite of:
* my icky migraine
* tough teen teaching
* the back to school crazy
* ucky weather dull and dreary
* difficult decisions lurking all around
* the fact that roses generally bloom in summer

   It puzzled me. Can we bloom in spite of it all? The past few weeks have brought some difficult, even distressing, situations to my door. Situations that needed compassion, carefully thought out words, and some needed tough love and guidance. Can they bloom?

In spite of:
* choices that broke family relationships
* impurity either by choice or by force
* dangerous cyber relationships
* tough lessons learned the hard way

  Yes, they can. We can. We are all sinners..some saved by grace through our Lord Jesus Christ..some yet to make that decision. When God is your can spite of it all.

seeking to bloom :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A New Direction for a Farmboy

   Over the years, our farm boy has had an interest in mixed martial arts and self defence. My husband (who was one of my instructions when I took classes) has worked with our children on simple defence tactics. We have visited and watched several different places teach their style but the fit just wasn't right.
   This past year, farm boy and daddy have been following from the sidelines a mixed martial art form to see if it was right for them. Many teach the new age meditations and beliefs, which would not be right for us- so careful consideration was needed.

Getting there a bit early to watch others who have been at it longer.
   After taking the time to research, plan, and prepare, the farmboys  have made the leap and started mixed martial arts classes. Before I get mail about steeping my son in violence and aggression, let me explain a few things.
   The goal of a good martial arts group is not violence and aggression, it is self control and discipline. These boys are here to receive instruction that teaches them to respect, to control, and to use as little force as possible to resolve a situation. Students must yield respect to those who have more experience that they do, must dress appropriately and respectfully, must control their actions.
Dad helps with the the belt.
    For my men, it is a passing on a part of us. My husband spent years in training with a mixed martial arts group and it has served him well over the years. I took classes during my teen years to build discipline and be able to defend myself--after all, this is a dangerous world we live in.
Look, listen, learn...because you are next!
   I look forward to this new time of growing and learning for my already seems a good avenue for him. His eagerness is coupled with an awesome respect for the coaches he has met and watched in demonstration and in action. I already see a confidence and self control developing in his manner...a great characteristic for any young man!
   We'll see what this endeavor holds for him...where it takes us. For now, we are enjoying his determination and his enthusiasm as he steps into a new direction.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Stepping into a New Year.....

   Sweet little Gumdrop is pondering with me....stepping into a new year. It feels like standing on the edge of a cliff and trying not to fall. With a new year comes new possibilities; new challenges; new decisions. The not knowing what will come- the ups and downs ahead- it can be quite daunting.
   Before you get the notion I am a glass half empty person,  let me state-there are new joys in a new year; new friends, new events; new life. Opportunities to serve; to share; to lead.
   Here, at the beginning of it all, we stand...hesitating...taking a deep breath in prayer...before, in faith, stepping into a new year.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

It is Sunday......

"My eager desire and hope being that I may never feel ashamed, but that now as ever I may do honour to Christ in my own person by fearless courage." Philippians 1:20

   My Utmost for His Highest. "My eager desire and hope being that I may never feel ashamed." We shall all feel very much ashamed if we do not yield to Jesus on the point He has asked us to yield to Him. Paul says-"My determination is to be my utmost for His Highest." To get there is a question of will, not of debate nor of reasoning, but a surrender of will, an absolute and irrevocable surrender on that point. An over-weaning consideration for ourselves is the thing that keeps us from that decision, though we put it that we are considering others. When we consider what it will cost others if we obey the call of Jesus, we tell God He does not know what our obedience will mean. Keep to the point; He does know. Shut out every other consideration and keep yourself before God for this one thing only-My Utmost for His Highest. I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and for Him alone.
   My Undeterredness for His Holiness. "Whether that means life or death,  no matter:" (see 1:21.) Paul is determined that nothing shall deter him from doing exactly what God wants. God's order has to work up to a crisis in our lives because we will not heed the gentler way. He brings us to the place where He asks us to be our utmost for Him, and we begin to debate; then He produces a providential crisis where we have to decide- for or against, and from that point the "Great Divide" begins.
   If the crisis has come to you on any line, surrender your will to Him absolutely and irrevocably.

*taken from My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year
From Scaife Family Farm