Saturday, June 30, 2012


Jeremiah 33

King James Version (KJV)
33 Moreover the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying,
Thus saith the Lord the maker thereof, the Lord that formed it, to establish it; the Lord is his name;
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
For thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are thrown down by the mounts, and by the sword;
They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill them with the dead bodies of men, whom I have slain in mine anger and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hid my face from this city.
Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.
And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first.
And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.
And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.
10 Thus saith the Lord; Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast,
11 The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the Lord.
12 Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.
13 In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the vale, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that telleth them, saith the Lord.
14 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.
15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.
16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness.
17 For thus saith the Lord; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;
18 Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.
19 And the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah, saying,
20 Thus saith the Lord; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season;
21 Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.
22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.
23 Moreover the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying,
24 Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the Lord hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.
25 Thus saith the Lord; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;
26 Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

As of Today...

 The kitchen table is full of canning jars cooling from their stint in the canner.
Little tomatoes, tossed with olive oil and sea salt, are drying in the dehydrator.
Little Jubilee is growing and exploring the wonders of goat life.
Oh my, Benny and June have started stretching their little legs and wandering farther and farther from their mama (and discovered fence jumping..not good).
This little cutie was found under a tomato plant.
My crazy, busy teens and their wonderful friends have come, eaten, and moved on to other things.
I miss them as soon as they leave.
This happens more and more often, since we have so much time to ourselves:)

I have been featured at Hibiscus House
Hop over and read our story..and
Thank you, Miss Dolly.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Today's To-Do's

   Today is a new day; a day filled with lots of things to do.
Garden rows need a good weeding.
Harvest veggies need 'put up'.
The quilt needs attention.
Teens need some chatting.
Husband needs some loving.
And the herds and flocks need some grazing.

Here's to a productive and blessed day...
despite the extremely high temperature:)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Start of a Good Harvest

   An afternoon stroll through the corn field revealed a pleasant surprise: a first harvest. My husband and I gathered in two five gallon buckets of fresh sweet corn! Together at the picnic table we shucked and scrubbed the plumb tender ears before giving them a good salt water soak (to remove all silks and bugs).
   The herd enjoyed nibbling the husks and silks from today's harvest; a welcome treat in this terrible heat!
   The first harvest is cleaned and packaged- into the freezer for delicious summer eating...several more ears remain in the field until they plump just right. I have to say...this was the start of a pretty good harvest!

   What tasty delights are you harvesting today?


Monday, June 25, 2012

Preserving the Harvest: Pepper Relish

   Peppers, peppers, peppers..they survive the heat and often the lack of rainfall. Right now we are harvesting several buckets of peppers every few days. With all this heat sitting around the kitchen it's time for some hot pepper relish.
   This recipe came to be from an afternoon gathering of college kids trying to recall a childhood memory. Tastes and flavors, colors and textures were scribbled onto notebook paper; portions were figured and a relish sauce base was discussed. After a few hours of discussion a test batch was conjured up--sheer joy! It was a hit.

Hot Pepper Relish

the pepper mixture:
4 lbs jalapenos
2 lb onion
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
the sauce:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vinegar
6 cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
 1 teaspoon tumeric
2 teaspoons celery seed
1 tablespoon garlic powder

Prepare the peppers by removing the stems and seeds before chopping them (we used a food processor). Mix sauce ingredients and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Allow the sauce to cool slightly before pouring over the pepper mixture. Stir well and pack into prepared jars. 
We processed our jars in a water bath canner for ten minutes.

   A few notes:
   * I have since made this recipe using a 4 lb mixture of cayenne, pepperochini, sweet banana and jalapenos without the other peppers- it was wonderful.
   * If you run short of peppers (or you just want to cut the heat) add shredded carrot in the place of some of the chopped peppers- we tried it and loved it.
   We have stirred this relish into ranch style dressing for a zippy kick, baked chicken brushed with it, spread it on sandwiches and poured it over cream cheese and crackers--oh, so tasty! 

   How do you use up a massive pepper harvest?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Conversation in the Stairway

The stairs are a challenge; this day more so than the last.
Apology is made for the pace..
and the needed point of rest.
The situation is not foreign to me, but sharing the story..
I always hesitate...what will she think.

As doubt and excuse start to form in my mind
my heart steps in..she will be fine.
Here on the stairway
sharing with this one
my own child's story of struggle;
of pain and surgery,
of therapy and braces.
Here unfolds the reality of frustrations
and the glory of victories.
A nod from his head at every point they share in common.

At last heading down the hall
a pause of reflection.
He turns to me in deep contemplation
revealing a smile that must melt the very heart of God..
she is a lifeguard.
With that revelation
his fists raise in victory...
I knew I could do anything!
Sometimes the sharing of our deepest trials
is all that is needed
to touch the heart of another..
even in a simple conversation
in the stairway.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Simple Sewing Saturday

Vacation Bible School is behind us-
it was a wonderful time..
I learned to stretch a bit and watch God work.
Garden harvest is in-
washed and sorted..
waiting for my attention.
Dishes are washed-
laundry is sorted...
dinner is in the crock.
Now it's time for a bit of
simple sewing
this Saturday.
Have a blessed and wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Scaife Family Values: Being a Complement

   Conversations with my older teens led to a discussion about relationships: how do we complement our mates (or for them, their future mates)? Several moments of silence led them to pose the question to me: how do you complement our dad? Oh, when they do that! My answer:
to do what is needed, 
to help where I can,
to learn and grow
to love even when I don't want to, 
to serve wherever and when ever,
to see past faults,
to forgive;
to compromise- even when it is hard,
 to make the choice to yield to another,
to set aside me for him, 
to let go and let God.
   No, my marriage has not been easy- nor will it ever be. My character is not perfect- nor is my husband's. Willingness is a choice; a challenge; a surrender of self and a yielding of will. My answer may seem so simple, but it is my prayer that our teens grow to be husbands and wives with willing hearts...willing spirits...and long lasting relationships devoted to God and His plan for their future.

   How do you complement your mate?


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Oh It Grows: Garden Update

   This week is full of work and wonder: vacation Bible School is going, goat babies are growing, and the garden is in full swing. Sunflowers tower and sway over the green bean crops below them.

   Tomatoes are ripe and ready; we are at war with the leaf footed stink bug!
   Peppers, peppers, peppers- red or green-  let's just say there is no shortage of peppers! Cayenne, Pepperochini, name it. Hot and spicy mixes are about to hit the canner this weekend:) Meanwhile cucumbers, zucchini and squash have slowed a bit due to the heat. This week's rain may revive them a bit.
   Corn is up and going. Pretty tassels are bursting out of green sleeves- so exciting! Twisted and twirled around each corn stalk is a runner bean vine; they are just starting to bloom.
 Under the tall corn stalks black diamond watermelons are starting to take shape. I can't wait for that first sweet, juicy melon--can't you just taste it?
   Recent rains paired with high temperatures brought blooms to the herb garden: catnip and basil are keeping the little bees very busy!
   Remember these? Swallowtail caterpillars have come and gone; the dill they were on is now blooming with vigor. As for the swallowtails?
    Their beauty is everywhere!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New WIP & a Tip

   The ending of an old project brings in the beginning of a new one. The vintage stars and triangles quilt is heading to its new home, but the frame didn't stay empty for very long. Here is a new work in progress: Vintage Doilies.
   Beautiful thread work makes its home on white cotton panels framed by aqua blue sashes. Hand quilting will accentuate the lovely thread work in echo outlines while a gable stitch will give detail and form to the frame. All stitching will be done in cotton thread matching the fabric; blue for the sash and white for the squares.
   Now, tip 1:
   When basting or pinning a quilt, my fingers get absolutely shredded by the points of the pins. To relieve this little annoyance, I use an everyday kitchen spoon to catch the point and lift it up. This makes the end easy to see and easy to grasp.
   And, tip 2:
   Size is an issue when it comes to laying out a quilt- table size that is. No matter how many tables I seem to set up, there is often a little length lacking. To remedy this situation I use my ironing board.
   Good for any height, the ironing board also allows me to pin fabric in place (or pin the frame poles- they tend to roll off and slam my toes!).

   I shared my WIP...what are you working on?


Our weekend brought us a beautiful little blessing. Floppy long ears and sky blue eyes frame the sweetest brown face.
Ruth was in the field under the shade of the little shelter; Naomi stood on the roof calling for us. This little one didn't come easy and her mamma was very stressed, but after some gentle assistance one tiny baby was born.
Nursing and bonding took some work; in the end Ruth has decided to be a very protective and nurturing mother. We had to move Naomi (her sister) to the pasture near the birthing stall because she just wouldn't settle down. 
Now, little Jubilee has mamma and auntie nearby to watch over her.
We hare enjoying her precious presence as well.
Welcome to the family, Jubilee.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Off the Frame....

   Two years ago right around this time of year, I was dropping my younger teen girl off at a big college for a 4H event. Grief over the realization of her growing up led me to a stroll through several local antique shops. That is where I found it: the vintage star quilt top.

   Other projects and parts of life led this quilt to the 'treasure tub' where it waited to be rediscovered and brought to the frame. A dear friend has purchased this quilt- now complete and ready for relocation.
   Carefully hand quilted to enhance the natural loft of stars and triangles, the quilt is backed with a vintage muslin sheet and bound with 'denim wash' cotton.
   Just for a touch of whimsy, each corner has a three point fan motif quilted in the shadow. With all the stitching complete this pretty vintage treasure is ready for it's new home.

   Satisfaction abounds with the completion of one project...and the start of a new one. Stay tuned for pictures of a new quilt already on the frame!


Psalm 2

King James Version (KJV)
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,
Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's Day: Where'd It Come From?

In June of every year, we honor fathers. The first Mother's Day was celebrated in 1914, but a holiday honoring fathers did not become official until 1966, when President Lyndon Johnson declared that the third Sunday in June would be Father's Day. President Richard Nixon made this proclamation permanent in 1972. But this doesn't mean that the holiday was not celebrated before this time.

Sioux father and child
The idea for Father's Day is attributed to Sonora Dodd, who was raised by her father after her mother's death during childbirth. While listening to a sermon at church on Mother's Day, she thought about all her father had done for her and her siblings and decided fathers should have a day, too. Because Dodd's father was born in June, she encouraged churches in her area, Spokane, Wash., to honor fathers that month. The first Father's Day was celebrated in Spokane in 1910.
Over the years, the idea spread, and people lobbied Congress to establish the holiday. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson, who had signed a proclamation establishing Mother's Day, approved the idea, but never signed a proclamation for it. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge made it a national event to "establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations."

   Hoping you and your family have a safe and blessed Father's Day weekend.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Five Random Things

About the farm boy:

1. He would rather be fishing (or at the range).
2. The boy can cook...just saying.
3. He is taller than me (and one of his sisters).
4. He is the spitting image of his father..really.
5. The boy is solid muscle..he may look small, but he is tough!

Can you tell we miss him?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pondering...Do you value life?

This is a post from 2010- words I really needed to hear again. Sometimes it is easy to forget the value of life.

Seems like a simple question, however, it's not. Do you value life? All life? Human life? Your life? How do you know? What gives evidence of this in your life? These are difficult questions - must they be answered?
Sometimes we are forced to look hard and long at ourselves and answer the tough questions - do we value life. This week, my family has been faced (some individually, some collectively) with several different situations that made us look at how we value life - others' and our own. We were made to realize that our reactions to different situations around us reveal our true value of human life.
If we say we value life, do we react that way when life around us is suffering. The Word tells us we are to do good to others when it is in our power to do so. .. Do we? Let us consider:
When shopping, if you come upon an elderly or older couple struggling with a situation - be it needing assistance with modern shopping or they have become ill in the store - how do you respond? Walk away, get someone else, stop and help them? Our response shows our value of that human life. This is just one example of our encounters this week.. what about when you are heading to work and a car runs the light - do you show grace when you realize that by some miracle you did not collide...or do you seek vengeance? If you witness a hit and run, do you stop to render aid? Even if it makes you late to your next destination? Even if the person is rude or belligerent?
When we value human life, our responses should show that- putting aside our personal emotions, anger, agenda to assist or show compassion on another...if it is in our power to do so. In doing so, what grace are we given? Does this move our Lord's compassion toward us? Does it reveal the Lord in our heart? I believe yes, it does.
Yesterday, in the midst of our daily business, our world was brought to a complete halt. It was our turn to accept the compassion and assistance of others. A time to stop and reflect.. evaluate, challenge our values. In the shock of the situation, strangers rendered aide.. a witness came forth, grace was given; all walked away with only material damages. The tables were turned... we saw things from the other side.. the receiving side. Humbling...
God, in His wisdom, teaches us in many unusual ways. He makes us think, ponder, study deep the life we have been given...the grace unmerited. This week, we are reflecting on our values... and we are .. even when it is inconvenient....we value life.

As Of Today.....

As of today:
Blueberry sauce sits cooling on the counter
Alongside pickles and jam.
 Enchilada sauce simmers in the crock
While chicken roasts nearby in another one.
This quilt if off the frame;
Trimmed up nice;
Binding attached by machine..
Now waiting to be hand stitched to the back.
Farm boy is packed
Traveling to shotgun camp
Far away from home.
Hadassah and I look over the homestead
Wondering how we will manage
with out our boy.
Four days is a long time...
as of today.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Preserving the Harvest: Bread & Butters

   The crisp freshness of garden fresh cucumbers married with the tang and zing of sugar and mustard seed bring to life the wonder of bread and butter pickles. My experience shows when it comes to bread and butters you either absolutely love them or absolutely hate them; no middle ground exists.
   Growing up with large family gardens, bread and butters were part of our regular canning routine. Regular family cookouts brought these beautiful treats out of the pantry and onto the table. Grandpa and I loved them tucked in a burger right between the bread and the chips- delightful! Today my kids have grown up with bread and butters on their burgers, sandwiches, and straight from the jar.
   With wild southern seasons, cucumber harvests can be feast or famine. Last years extreme drought left us with very little to work with...which always stirs the creative juices (smile with me). Out of that terrible year of garden disaster came the flex-recipe version for bread and butter pickles.

Farmhouse Bread & Butters (Flex-Recipe)

For every 6 cucumbers:
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 red cayenne pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoon mustard seed
pinch of ginger
1/4 teaspoon celery seed

 Once the cucumbers are thinly sliced, toss them with the onion and salt in a bow. and allow them to stand at room temp while mixing the liquid.
In a saucepan, stir together the remaining ingredients and bring them to a boil. Remove from heat. Drain any liquid off the cucumber mixture; add to the sauce and give it a good stir.
Place the mixture into a quart jar and chill. They are tasty after only a few hours and will keep nicely for several weeks.

   This year's cucumber harvest has been much more substantial; demanding the traditional canning version to be called into action.

Farmhouse Bread & Butters (full version)

24 medium cucumbers, thin sliced
10 medium onions, thin sliced
4 cayenne peppers, thin sliced
1 tablespoon salt
1 qt. vinegar
2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon celery seed
4 tablespoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric

Toss the cucumbers, onions and peppers with the salt to set while making the vinegar sauce.
Bring remaining ingredients to a boil; remove from heat. 
Rinse cucumber mixture before stirring into the vinegar sauce.
Pack into sterilized jars and process to seal.

   A few notes:
   I use hot peppers and often a clove of garlic or two to add a little extra zip to the pickles.
   If mustard seed is not found in my pantry on pickling day, I use mustard instead.
   Brown sugar is my choice, but white works just as well.
   I choose to water bath process my jars 10 minutes.

   My pantry shelves are well stocked with tasty, tangy bread and butters for all this summer's family cookouts...the question is...
      are you a bread and butter fan? or a bread and butter foe?