Week 34, 2022

August 27, 2022


Warm and muggy again this week; summer hasn’t quite released her grip.

Riley continues to find (and identify) beauty where it is easy to miss:

False sunflower
Carolina elephantsfoot

Down On The Farm

The bounty of creation provided us with a fallen tree (cedar) that we cut up and brought to the woodshed. Cedar makes great kindling, so the plan is to chop this into kindling sticks for the winter.

The blueberries that have survived since being planted in the spring are growing well. We lost 8 out of 20, which is unfortunate, and I’m not sure what happened. I think we could have done a better job of watering them. They were originally planted in peat moss because blueberries need acidic soil, and now we mulched them with fine pine bark, which will give their shallow roots room to grow and add acidity as it breaks down. We’ll try propagating blueberries this winter with hardwood cuttings to hopefully have replacement plants for the spring.

Erica’s flower garden is adding some nice color by the house

Best Thing We Ate

Some friends came over who are very good at identifying plants and trees, and pointed out that we have many pawpaw trees growing along the creek bank. Some even had ripe fruit that we picked. They were delicious – a mix between banana and mango, with a custardy texture. I wish I took a picture. The pawpaw is native to North America and is surprisingly tropical for the climate.

From Family Worship

It is satisfying to see the older children becoming critical thinkers, able to consider multiple views on whatever issue, weigh the merits, and make a decision about what they believe. This comes up all the time when we talk about politics, history, science, government, current events, and of course different theological issue that arise as we read and discuss the Bible. We believe that is the most valuable part of the education we seek to provide for our children.

Other Happenings

On Wednesday, Riley, Sam and Paige were picked up by a friend from church to go shopping and play board games at her house down in Cookeville. I then met them at the prayer meeting to pick them up and come home. It was nice to be at the weekly prayer meeting, which we rarely get to do due to the distance.

Week 33, 2022

August 20, 2022


The report locally is that this summer was hotter, but shorter, than usual. We had a hot and dry June, a hot and wet July, and in mid-August the heat began to break. We instinctively have been spending more time on the porch throughout the day and in the evenings. It is lovely weather. Some leaves are starting to drop from the early-shedding trees, and all manner of plants, grass and weeds are making their last big push to go to seed and reproduce before colder weather comes.

We put up two hummingbird feeders and are shocked at how many show up every day. They spend the whole day, from sun up to sun down, feeding on the sugar water. We’ve been surprised at how noisy and aggressive they are with each other, and they seem to have no fear of humans. We’ll see up to 10 at a time.

Down On The Farm

The last of the potatoes and tomatoes have been harvested, and the area of the garden is getting bigger that will soon be sowed to oats and clover as an over-winter cover crop.

The green beans have finally started growing. We thought we lost them with such a dry June, but they bid their time until better conditions, and now they’re really taking off. The sturdy stalk of the Tennessee red cobb corn we grow makes a good trellis for them.

As we went out before dusk last evening to pick green beans and raspberries, one of the children said with sincerity, “I just love this life!”

This has been a good batch of pigs, no problems
Digging potatoes

Best Thing We Ate

Garlic new potatoes, roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, etc. these homegrown potatoes have a creamy and slightly sweet way about them and are delicious.

From Family Worship

We’ve enjoyed connecting Acts with many of the New Testament letters written by Paul. As we read the real-time chronological account recorded in Acts, we see Paul and his associates traveling to Galatia, Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi. We’re given fascinating detail, like Lydia, the first convert in Philippi, or the Philippian jailer who, along with his family, was surely part of the Philippian church who Paul later wrote to. All of this adds color to our reading of these letter that Paul would go on to write. They background given in Acts has a way of rooting the story, making it much more earthy.

Other Happenings

On a sad note, our old pal Presby was run over and killed this week. He had a terrible habit of chasing cars and it caught up with him. After finding him on the brink of death a few months ago, we are glad to have had him for the summer, and are satisfied that we were able to provide him with love and a full belly. The saddest part is that Anya took to him and they’d play all day. She was there for his burial, and that first day would return to the grave and lay down a while.

We had a chicken snake eat one of our newly hatched chicks, that rascal. Everybody has to eat, but it was the last meal for him.

A local Amish family, headed to the same hardware store as me.

Week 32, 2022

August 13, 2022


Bats flit and dive in the dusk over our pasture, each one eating an incredible number of flies and mosquitoes. I’ve thought about building bat houses to attract them, but it doesn’t seem necessary. I think they must have plenty of nesting sites in the nearby bluffs and dead trees.

Last night and today have been noticeably more comfortable outside. Today feels like early fall weather.

Down On The Farm

Daisy is getting closer to calving, which means we need to get her milking stall built in the barn. We also need to get a secondary chicken coop built to house the new chicks that are outgrowing the brooder. This second coop will come in handy for raising chickens for meat, raising layers to a size where they can defend themselves with the rest of the flock, etc.

18 more quarts of salsa canned this week

Best Thing We Ate

Fried green tomatoes!

From Family Worship

Continuing to make our way through Acts, we had a good discussion one night this week in Acts 13, specifically v. 36 where the Apostle Paul says that David “served the purpose of God in his generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay”. The context is that Paul was comparing David to Jesus, who did not see decay after death. Jesus is the king that David could never have been.

But the simple phrase that David served the purpose of God in his generation got us thinking. Each generation is handed the baton, to run with it until it is time to hand it off to the next. We are each bound by the time and circumstances that God has allotted to us in His perfect wisdom. What will we do with it? Will we serve the purposes of God, or will we serve the purposes of self? How does this affect our planning and thinking about the future?

Other Happenings

I took Samantha with me on a short business trip to Florida where we stayed with my parents. It was a great opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with her, an amazing young lady.

We were invited to join our friends on their trip to the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum. Not being sure what to expect, we were impressed with the size and detail of the place! We had a great time with our friends and learned a lot.

On our way home through Kentucky, we drove through Wendell Berry’s home town of Port Royal. The influence of his writings on our chosen way of life has been significant, and it was surreal to be there – the setting for all of his fiction, poetry and thought. We went to his bookstore in town and I succumbed to the temptation to buy a 1st edition copy of one of his non-fiction works, signed by him, and…from his personal library.

Week 31, 2022

August 6, 2022


Do what we can, summer will have its flies.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

This may have had a deeper meaning for Emerson, but it is true, flies have been our nemesis lately. But flies beware, Erica is lightning-quick with her fly swatter.

Locals say August are the “dog days” because snakes go blind, become more defensive, and are therefore more likely to bite dogs and humans alike. Not sure, might have to research that one more.

Down On The Farm

The hot pepper seedlings we got from our seedling supplier were a substitute because the jalapeños weren’t ready. They came described only as a “wax pepper”, so we put 50 plants in the ground. They have grown beautifully, but we’ve discovered they are HOT. More like a habanero. We wear gloves when we pick them, and the girls have been stringing them for drying and storage. They’ve certainly turned up the heat in our salsa.

We finally got to use our electric incubator we bought last year, but haven’t had the chance to use. We collected 9 eggs from the hens, and got them situated in the incubator for their 21 day incubation period. It worked with 100% success! Sure beats buying chicks at $4-$5 a piece.

I’ve collected a number of old farm books over the years, because I think their advice is much better than any modern manual. In one book, “Farm Management”, published by Cornell University in 1913, Dr. G.F. Warren tells the account of a family who lived on a farm, while the man worked a “city job”. This family kept good records of the retail value of the homestead produce they raised and consumed, and this is what gave me the idea to do the same.

Best Thing We Ate

Homemade toffee: the girls make a caramel and a chocolate sauce, then layer it on saltines before refrigerating.

From Family Worship

In Acts 9, someone introduced only as “a disciple in Damascus named Ananias” was asked to do something incredibly dangerous. He was asked by God to go to Saul who had just been converted on the road to Damascus. He was asked to go to Saul, when most were trying to avoid Saul! Ananias didn’t initially know that Saul had been converted, but only that Saul had been breathing threats and murder against Christians, and imprisoning them. After initially voicing his concern to God, he obeyed. He did what he was commanded to do without knowing the whole picture of what was going on. He walked by faith and not by sight, trusting that God would take care of him as he sought to be obedient in the face of danger.

Other Happenings

A mom and her children came to visit one day this week to check out the farm and play in the creek. They recently moved to the area from Arizona, so it was nice for Erica and the kids to get to know them better. Hopefully we can have another visit as families when the husbands aren’t working.