Tuesday, March 30, 2010

All Is Quiet on the Home Front

After a busy weekend of prom dress shopping and two performances of our Easter Drama at church, all is finally quiet on the home front. We have settled into spring nicely with temperatures that are in the sixties. We are expecting an eighty degree day later in the week. The initial excitement of spring blooming has settled down a bit and things are growing steadily. Our newest additions to the family are very comfortable in their new surroundings.

Garth loves to snuggle in the soft blankie for a little nap.

Voltaire thinks that Catie needs help with her homework.

The garden is still alive and seems to have grown a little. Boy, does gardening take patience!

My two rows of garlic have finally popped up through the ground. I wasn't sure if they would grow very well here. I have never known anyone to try it.

Finally, my spirea has fully bloomed- much later than usual.

As you can see, things are pretty quiet around here right now. I expect to spend a lot of time working in my flower beds later this week. The prediction of warm, sunny weather makes me realize how much there is to do in the next few weeks. However, I think I'll enjoy the peace and quiet for a little while longer.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

New Life!

There is something magical about watching a fern unfurl its leaves in the spring.
It is a gentle reminder that after a long, hard winter, life will be restored and beauty will once again prevail.

On this Palm Sunday I am especially thankful for the new life that I have in Christ. I can't think of a better time of the year to celebrate the gift of life that has been given to me.

I hope this special day brings you abundant blessings!

"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Girl's Day Out

Although I am perfectly content to spend every moment of every day in the country, It is sometimes necessary for me to visit the big city. Country life does have a few drawbacks, such as a lack of places to buy clothing and specialty items. For those things we have to make a day trip to Charlotte or some of the surrounding towns. Fortunately, Charlotte is only about an hour away from where we live. This makes it fairly easy for us to go into the city for shopping for the day, or for a cultural event in the evening.

Today the girls and I enjoyed a day on the town. Catie's prom is coming up at the end of April and she needed a dress for the occasion, so we ventured out to shop. I love spending the day shopping with my girls. We have so much fun together. Most of the time, they laugh at the fact that their mom is so uncool.

You would know that the first thing they laughed at today was the fact that I couldn't even go into the mall without noticing this beautiful blooming tree. I had to grab the camera and start taking pictures right in the middle of the parking lot. Carson was so embarrassed. I just couldn't help myself! I love pretty flowers, especially ones that grace an otherwise dull landscape.

I don't think taking pictures of a tree in a parking lot is strange. Do you?

Of course my favorite pictures today were the ones of my beautiful Catie in her dress. After trying on numerous dresses, she finally got excited about one.

It suits her personality perfectly! She is certainly not afraid to be different from everyone else. I think she looks beautiful! I can't wait to see her all dolled up for the prom.

After buying Catie a dress for the prom and Carson a dress for an upcoming wedding, We had a nice lunch at the Olive Garden and visited some family who lives in the area.

Driving in the heavy city traffic makes me love the country roads that lead to home more than ever.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pet Day!

Kids just love animals. When I taught public school we used to have a school wide pet day every year. For a couple of hours in the afternoon, parents would be allowed to bring various pets for the children to enjoy. We had all kinds of pets present at this event. Snakes, pigs, horses, goats, birds, and of course dogs and cats were brought to the school for the afternoon. The kids loved it.

Well, yesterday reminded me of pet day at school. As you may know, my day started with the washing of a horse, feeding of the goats, and a walk with the dogs.

I love all of the animals; but I especially love the dogs. Mo, my little hunter, is my vole killer. She has 'taken care' of several voles this spring. She single- handedly sniffs out and digs up the voles that have been plaguing my back boarder for some time.

She is actually very good at what she does. However, after seeing her with several prizes lately, I decided that it was time to call in reinforcements.

We went to the local animal shelter and asked for the most vicious vole killers that they had. We were led to the room that housed the felines, and we chose our weapons carefully.

Aren't they cute? I don't know how much help they will be this summer! In fact, my girls are already so attached that they may never make it outside to even see a vole.

Of course, each of the girls was allowed to name her own kitty.

Catie, the philosopher in the family, named hers Voltaire.

Carson, the country music lover, named hers Garth, after Garth Brooks.

They are awful cute! I guess two more animals on the farm won't hurt at thing!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bath Day!

When you live on a farm, you never know exactly what each day will hold. For example, this morning when I woke up John informed me that Shiloh needed a bath.

"Can't it wait until this weekend?" I asked.
"Nope," John replied.

You see, John noticed that Shiloh had developed some bare patches in his fur. He needed a bath in medicated soap soon to hopefully treat the problem. If several days of baths do not help we will have to call out the vet. Those of you with large animals know what an expense that can be.

Since John had never bathed Shiloh, we were not sure of how he would respond. John made sure to let him see the sponge each time before he used it. Horses do not like surprises; they want to know exactly what is happening to them.

Shiloh was actually pretty well behaved most of the time. He seemed almost curious at times. Whatcha doing down there?

John fed him pieces of apple during the bath. We were hoping that the apple would help him to associate baths with tasty treats.

What do you give a horse at the end of its bath? Grazing privileges in an area that is normally off limits.

After a little special grazing time, Shiloh goes back into the pasture and John showers and goes to the office! What a way to start the day!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Things Are Happening Around Here

During my daily walk around the yard, I realized that things are really starting to happen around here. Things are blooming, budding, and growing all over! This has to be the most exciting time of the year for me. I love the changes that seem to come with the dawning of each day. Am I the only person who finds joy in new discoveries in the garden every day? Regardless of whether I am alone in my feelings or not, I literally can't wait to wake up in the mornings to see what the day holds.

I hope you don't mind my sharing some of these happenings around my house.

I know that spring is really here when I notice my peonies starting to peek through the soil. I happened to mention to my dad that I needed something to support them as they grow; he made me seven of these cages and brought them to me this afternoon. My dad has to be one of best there is!

The loropetalums are blooming. I love the dainty little flowers, and the color is gorgeous.

The star magnolia is in full bloom now. I have enjoyed watching the white flowers sway in the breeze. Fortunately, the nights have not gotten cold enough to damage them yet.

The redbud is getting ready to open its pretty pink flowers any day now.

This time of the year when the sun is setting, even the pond seems to come alive. I love the way shadows come over the water and the last light of day illuminates the trees in the distance. What a peaceful ending to a perfect day!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Things That I Love

As I was taking my morning stroll around the yard, as I do every spring morning to observe new plant growth, I couldn't help but feel a wave of thankfulness rush over me. Everything was beautifully washed from a gentle rain that fell yesterday, the birds were singing sweetly in the trees, and the sun was shining brightly. I started to think about how incredibly blessed I am. God has given me a wonderful family, supportive friends, and beautiful things to enjoy.

The idea of beautiful things takes on many different meanings for people. To me, beautiful things are not the most expensive things, or the latest or newest things; in fact, most of them cost nothing at all and some are quite old. They are simply things that make me happy when I see them. So here it goes - a list of just a few of my favorite things!

--Hellebores humbly swaying in a gentle breeze
(I have always wondered why such a beautiful flower would hang its head.)

--mud on my shoes from a newly planted garden area
(I didn't realize that the dirt on the outside of the bed was so soft.)

--a one hundred year old chest once owned by my husband's great grandparents
(Can you believe that someone once told me that it would be beautiful if I repainted it?)

--a friendly little chick-a-dee that allows me a closer look
(I think he is learning to trust me.)

--early morning dew on a budding camellia
(early morning dew on any flower for that matter)

These are just a few of the little treasures that I enjoy; but none of these can compare to the treasure that I find in my Lord and Savior who said himself, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21

What are some of your favorite things?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Veggies on the Way!

Wow, what a day! The first day of spring brought us some of the prettiest weather yet. The temperature was in the upper seventies and the sky was the most beautiful Carolina blue. We started working on our vegetable beds early and finished up by mid afternoon. Now, those of you who are experts, remember that we are beginners. Our rows may not be perfectly straight, our plants may not be spaced correctly, and in the morning the deer may have totally destroyed it, however, we are extremely proud of our accomplishment. John and I enjoyed our time working together. Our sixteen year old was shopping with friends and our twelve year old decided that grandma's house would be more fun than working in the garden, so it was just the two of us most of the day. We make a pretty good team if I say so myself! If you are looking for perfection, you might not want to view the following pictures. However, if you are curious about gardening by trial and error, please feel free to continue on.

This is how the first bed looked this morning.

This is John wearing his tool belt while finishing the framing of the second bed.

Carson was the shovel holder until she decided to bail out and go to grandma and grandpa's house.

This is one of the beds after everything had been planted and watered.

The funniest thing happened. When I opened the asparagus that I had ordered, I couldn't decide how to plant it. I dug my trenches and planted it just like the package said to do it. The only problem was that I didn't know which side was up. I couldn't tell if the stringy stuff hanging off of it were roots or leaves. I decided to just check the internet for some information before watering them. Low and behold, I had planted them upside down!! Thank goodness for the internet! Now, remember my disclaimer: I am a BEGINNER! We got a good laugh out of that one.

After a busy day working in the vegetable beds, John and I headed down to the pond for a little relaxation. There is nothing like sitting on the pier in the quiet of the evening watching the reflection of the clouds on the water.

Hopefully the deer will stay in the woods and out of the yard tonight. I'll keep you posted! Happy first day of spring!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Has Sprung!

I love this time of the year. The weather today is gorgeous! The temperature is in the seventies and everything is coming to life. I was so excited to see my Star Magnolia starting to bloom. It is the prettiest tree. I just hope we do not have any really cold nights or the blooms will turn brown.

Aren't the fuzzy buds so pretty?

I love the soft white color of the blooms.

I am so excited about my vegetable garden. I have purchased several different things to plant tomorrow. I can't wait!

John finished framing one of our submerged/raised beds this week. He will finish the other tomorrow. We will then back fill around the frame, add more soil, and then plant! Wish me luck. I am very new to this.

I'll be sure to post some pictures of the progress we make! It's going to be a busy weekend!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Some Lessons are Not Taught in a Classroom

Monday afternoon the weather was perfect. The sun was shining brightly and a gentle breeze was blowing. After we finished up our lessons for the day we decided to visit my dad for a little while. He and my mom have lived in the same house for over forty years. He is retired now and loves working outside with his chickens, cows, and garden.

Today we decided to take a walk with him to the creek on his property. This is one of the many advantages of homeschooling. There are just some lessons that cannot be taught in a classroom.

Lesson 1- Spending time with the people you love is always more important than any thing else!

Lesson 2- If you look close enough, you can see evidence of other creatures that share your space.

Lesson 3- Skipping rocks on a creek is a wonderful way to pass the time of day.

Lesson 4- The gentle sound of water running over rocks calms the soul.

Lesson 5- The beauty of the earth can be found all around, even in the smallest detail.

Hope everyone has a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Little Treasures Underfoot

One day not long ago, I was strolling through my dad's yard and noticed some little treasures underfoot. Now many people consider these treasures weeds, but not me. I'm not the type of person who wants a perfectly manicured lawn (good thing I have no close neighbors). I have friends who live in neighborhoods with people who leave letters telling you when to mow, pressure wash, paint, etc. I can't imagine that. I think the lawn has much more character when these little treasures appear.



Henbit (Often confused with Purple Deadnettle)



Am I alone in my opinion?