Week 4, 2022

January 29th, 2022

Weather/Nature

I checked the underground storm shelter to see what the conditions might be during this deep cold spell we’ve been in. In November I did the same during some weather that in hindsight was “cool” now that we’ve experienced some real cold. At that time, the temperature in the shelter showed 47 degrees and the humidity was around 70%. This time, the temp showed 42 degrees, with humidity over 80%.

If it didn’t freeze in the cellar during this January cold stretch, I don’t think it ever will. This is great news as we hope to use the shelter as a root cellar next winter after a fall harvest. Essentially, this gives us one giant refrigerator during the winter months.

Down On The Farm

Back in August we placed our order with a local fruit tree nursery and the day finally came to pick up our dormant, bare root trees and plants. We have to wait for a warm-up next week to be able to get them in the ground, but at least we have them.

Raspberry: “Heritage”, 20 plants

Blackberry: “Chester Thornless”, 20 plants

Blueberry: “Tifblue”, 10 plants, “Climax”, 10 plants, 20 plants total

Currant: “Crandall” x1, “Ben Lamand” x1, 2 plants total

Gooseberry: “Captivator” x1, “Sabine” x1, 2 plants total

Pear: “Olton Broussards”, x2, “Turnbull” x1, 3 trees total

Mayhaw: “Big Red” x1, “Heavy” x1, 2 trees total

Sour Cherry: “CVKL #1”, x2 trees

Apple: “Horse” x1, “Paducah” x1, 2 trees total

Best Thing We Ate

For John’s birthday dinner on Thursday night he requested ham, sweet potatoes and broccoli, followed by a chocolate cake.

From Family Worship

We continue to move through our Westminster Confession of Faith and just finished chapter 3 on God’s eternal decree. Essentially, God has ordained whatsoever comes to pass. This explosive truth is everywhere in Scripture, yet it is prone to error and misunderstanding, not due to any deficiency in the truth, but resulting from the limitations of our minds to comprehend. In this chapter we felt that we were looking out over the Grand Canyon with a sense of awe and wonder at the majesty and glory of God. Mystery abounds, and we’re left to reverently worship.

Other Happenings

John turned 5! We all took full advantage of the opportunity on Thursday to let John know how special he is to us. Our family just wasn’t complete until he entered the world, and we can’t express the fullness in our hearts towards this very special son and brother.

Work on our home continues during these winter months when not much outside is happening. We’ll hopefully have everything done with the house by the end of February. This week we worked on baseboards.

Oh yeah, and RILEY is now a DRIVER!!

Week 3, 2022

January 22nd, 2022

Weather/Nature

There have been enough nights now in the low teens, and daytime highs of 30 or so, to give us an idea of what winter is like. Erica and I were on a walk recently and agreed it is hard to imagine this place NOT in winter. Even though we’ve been up here on vacation during every season, as these weeks of cold weather stack up it can seem hard to imagine sweating in the garden or swimming in the creek. But the seasons will change, and we’re eager to experience the variation that happens every few months. In the meantime, we are thoroughly enjoying our first winter.

Down On The Farm

Our orchard trees and berry plants are coming to us “bare root” versus being potted in soil. Bare root trees need to get in the ground during winter dormancy before waking up in the spring, so our upcoming task will be to prep the orchard area. But this week the ground is frozen solid, so it will have to wait.

Best Thing We Ate

Homemade bagels…cheese, plain and everything.

From Family Worship

Our morning readings in Romans have brought us to chapter 5, where Paul masterfully draws the parallel between the first Adam and the “last Adam”, Jesus Christ. So much of the Bible’s framework becomes clear with this truth. When the first Adam failed to uphold his covenant with God, the whole human race was plunged into darkness, misery and death. But God, in His infinite mercy and kindness, brought forth another Adam, Jesus Christ, who would not fail to keep covenant, but would triumph over sin and death, securing salvation for all His people.

“For if, by the trespass of the one man (Adam), death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! Just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.” – Romans 5:17-18

Other Happenings

More sledding with friends…

Week 2, 2022

January 15th, 2022

Weather/Nature

We can tell we are more in the heart of winter now, with less swings from mild to cold. The saying is true that, “as the days begin to lengthen, the cold begins to strengthen”. Two inches of rain on top of the snow melt caused the creek to rise to the top of the bank, but it did not spill over into our field like it sometimes does. Still, there were several sections of our road that flooded, which caused us to take an indirect route to get to church Sunday evening. The sight of swift and rising water fills with awe and alarm.

Got some good shots of a Red-tailed hawk circling overhead while issuing its famous crying call. The scream fills our valley and grabs the attention.

I also found an interesting fossil down at the creek one day when the water was low. No idea what it is, but it got me thinking about all the unknown things that have occurred here over the course of history.

Down On The Farm

Not much this week. We did remove some small black walnut trees that were growing too close to the future garden and orchard. Black walnut trees are prized for many good reasons, but they exude a chemical called juglone which is toxic to many fruits and vegetables.

Best Thing We Ate

One cold night we had spaghetti and meatballs which warmed us from the inside out. The savory homemade meatballs in Erica’s sauce on a bed of spaghetti, covered in parmesan cheese…delightful.

From Family Worship

I can’t express the sweetness that this time is for us each evening. To gather around God’s holy word, to sing together and to ask God’s blessing on ourselves and others, is the apex of family joy. This week we finished considering chapter 1 of the Westminster Confession of Faith, and I think we all came away with a clearer understanding of, and appreciation for, the Scriptures in which God reveals Himself to man, and has preserved in essential purity down through the ages.

Other Happenings

John and I think we constructed the world’s strongest clothesline.

Down the road from us about two miles live two elderly sisters, who live together quite remarkably, keeping up their home, garden and family cemetery in the back. When you drive by you’ll occasionally find them sweeping the front porch, tending their woodpile, or in a rocking chair, and they’ll always waive. I like them and hope to get to talk with them some time.

Week 1, 2022

January 8st, 2022

Weather/Nature

The First Snow! We knew it might be a possibility Sunday evening, but we guarded our excitement with a dose of skepticism. Turns out there was no need for doubting…around 9:30p it started snowing big flakes of snow and kept on snowing for 5 hours. In the morning we woke to a little over three inches of snow!

This occasion was made more special by the fact that Monday was Riley’s 15th birthday! You just can’t plan this! She was thrilled to have such a treat on her birthday and we all celebrated the day doing the snow things that us Floridians had only read about, including sledding with friends. (Pictures at the bottom)

The first snow melted but then we were below freezing from 10p Wednesday to 10a Saturday including a night with a low of 6 degrees and a second snow on Thursday of 7.5” inches – what a week! (More pictures at the bottom)

Our wood stove proved itself during this cold snap, keeping the house nice and warm. It is satisfying to know we are warm and cozy, with or without electricity.

Down On The Farm

We’ve been inside a lot this week staying warm, with evenings spent reading and planning for this year’s garden and farm ventures.

On one warmer day, Riley and I started an experiment with propagation. We took several hardwood cuttings from four tree species on our property: Eastern Redbud, Autumn Blaze Maple, Red Maple, and Black Walnut. We dipped them in rooting hormone, planted them in potting soil and used a couple of different ways to keep the cutting in a humid condition. If these cuttings actually root, we’ll potentially have new trees to plant around the property – for free!

Best Thing We Ate

Sourdough English muffins with butter and blueberry jam

From Family Worship

Going into a new year, we are resolved to better understand our Westminster Confession of Faith, the summary of Scripture’s teaching that our church holds to. In the evenings, we are reading the Confession one paragraph at a time and looking up the Scripture references that the authors of the Confession used to defend their statements. Good discussion this first week about the need for God’s revealed word (the Bible) and where the authority of the Bible as God’s Word comes from.

Other Happenings

Pictures from the first snow day/Riley’s birthday

Pictures from the second snow day this week

Week 52, 2021

January 1st, 2022 – HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Weather/Nature

Very mild week with overnight lows in the 60s. Days overcast and in the upper 60s. Rainy today with severe weather expected again this evening that is supposed to bring in very cold temps and maybe even some snow tomorrow afternoon. We’re all hoping to wake up Monday the 3rd to a little snow for Riley’s 15th birthday.

Big nature report this week…

Riley was alone down at the creek one day and our resident otters came to check her out. We know they are there, but they are somewhat reclusive. Do you hear them chattering to each other?

On another evening, Quinn and I were talking on the porch and heard an animal sound that was new to us. Our best guess is red foxes calling to each other. Not sure how good the audio will be in this video:

Down On The Farm

This week we started organizing the barn and thinking about how we want to use the interior space for animals. We’ve also begun preparation for receiving our orchard trees and plants next month, but more on this in a couple weeks.

Our family bakes and eats a lot of great bread (thanks to Samantha!), so we decided to invest in a commercial grade mixer to step up our game from the regular home-sized KitchenAid mixer we’ve always used. I took the matter into my own hands and did some shopping online. What came to us was admittedly a little more than I bargained for. It required a freight truck’s liftgate service, weighted 220lb and was bolted to a wooden pallet. That’s right, a 20qt commercial mixer.

Best Thing We Ate

Definitely those Swedish meatballs you see cooling on the counter, which were made, of course, as a triple batch in the mixer.

From Family Worship

In the course of reading through Philippians this week, we spent a couple of evenings in Philippians chapter 2 where the Apostle Paul, inspired by God, exhorts us to not merely look out for our own interests, but also for the interests of others. We talked about the countless opportunities each day to consider one another as more important than ourselves. The “me first” attitude doesn’t need to be taught, but by the grace of God we can serve and bless others from a sincere and joyful heart. And who other than Christ Himself is our supreme example in this? Laying aside His heavenly bliss, he entered the mire of our world, not thinking of Himself, but of those He came to serve and to save.

Other Happenings

Projects continue inside the house. I got the basic shelving built in our master closet, and the girls helped me build a book case to go next to Erica’s kitchen desk.

And some belated Christmas pictures!

Anya and Summer sharing some water.