It Doesn’t Have To Be One Way Or The Other

     Yesterday I was lamenting the lack of rainfall we’ve had, and this afternoon it sprinkled!  The weatherman is promising light rainfall through the night and into tomorrow morning.  I am so grateful!  (To God, not the weatherman.)  What a blessing it will be to have the pasture our sheep graze green for just a couple more weeks.   

IMG_4708

     Speaking of sheep, I was greeted by this first thing this morning!  I was just thinking, as I opened the blinds over the door to let the dog out, that one of our ewes looked really “close” yesterday.  I was thrilled, but not surprised, to see these two little boys standing with Mama Ewe having a wee bit of breakfast. 

     They were completely dry, but still wobbly, so they were a few hours old.  It’s such a blessing to have these two up and about and healthy after losing our last twin lambs.  These are a bit smaller than we’ve been seeing, but not too small.  They sure are cute.  Lambs are always cute!!   

     You know ladies, things do not have to be just one way or the other.  I remember back, several years ago now, that a good friend and I were referred to as “the balance sisters” by some of the young moms at our church.  You see, they would come to one or the other of us to ask a question.  Perhaps it was concerning homeschooling, or parenting, or homemaking.  Invariably these gals would be disappointed in the answer that they were given and would then come to whichever one of us they hadn’t asked and ask the same question.  The silliness of calling us “the balance sisters” came about because these gals wanted things to be one way or t’other, with no middle ground; and my friend and I would almost always advise them of the wonderful options found in the middle ground.  I can still hear and see one young gal saying, “I knew you’d say that.  Julie just told me the same thing!”, when she asked me a homemaking question. 

     There are times, of course, when a middle road should not be taken.  In our walk with the Lord, there is no middle ground!  We must always take the narrow way, and be careful to not be lukewarm in our faith.  There are other examples, too, of course; but you get my point.

     However, in most areas, there is plenty of room for “balance”.  In your homeschooling you do not need to choose between Unschooling and Hyper-accelerated academics.  There is nothing  wrong with either of those choices, of course, if they are right for your family, but there is of course a lot of very, very good middle ground between the two. 

     I think what I’m trying to say is that there is plenty of room for you to be you as you homeschool your children, as you manage your home, as you shop and cook and care for your family.  Never, ever, let anyone, not even me, sway you from the path you know is right for you.  If what I share with you inspires you or encourages you, then I am thankful that the Lord led me to share it with you.  If sharing what I have learned over thirty years of marriage and almost that many of parenting, and a couple of decades of homeschooling, is of help to you, then to God be the glory! 

     Be careful that you not let every Internet wind that blows your way cause you to veer from the path that the Lord has you on.  If you are inclined to write an hour by hour schedule and are faithful to keep it, and if that works for your family, yee haw!  Good for you!  If you are more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of gal, well then yee haw, and good for you, too!  Honestly!!  God did not create all of us with the same personalities and strengths and weaknesses, and I, for one, am thankful to Him for that!  It only serves to reason, then, that we would all have different styles for running our households.  If you keep your home following a schedule, or if you are a list maker, or if you just tend to things as you see the need, so long as it allows you to keep your home in good order, then that’s the way for you to go.

     We need to extend one another a bit more grace.  We also need to take care to not compare ourselves or our homes or our children or the way we do things with someone else, either in a postive or a negative way.  We should never think we have arrived because we do something just like someone else.  Nor should we ever think that our way is the only way, and that those who do things differently are wrong or somehow less than us.  Be careful.  Both types of comparison can be very damaging, to yourself and to others.  It doesn’t have to be one way or the other!

IMG_4709

     Dani called late this morning.  She was taking just a wee bit of a break and used her time to call home.   We all miss her, of course.  Will wanted to share something with his sister, so I gave him the phone.  Silly boy, he just plopped himself down in the parlor and put his feet up like he was going to chat on the phone all day!!  Will you look at the bottom of that boy’s feet!!  Do I even need to mention that he’d been outside this morning, multiple times, in his bare feet? 

     I was reading your comments from yesterday’s post about keeping salad greens for as long as possible.  You know, I’ve struggled a bit, too, with keeping greens fresh between shopping trips.  Here are a few things I’ve found that have helped.  If I buy the whole heads of lettuces, I do not wash them before putting them in the fridge.  Washing them always seems to set the spoiling process into fast forward.  I wash them when I’ ready to use them.  I also leave the wilted leaves in place on the whole heads until I use them, but I do pull off and put any leaves that are starting to spoil (turning brown or mushy) into my compost bucket.  Any spoiling leaves need to come off before they begin to affect the inner leaves. 

     When I buy packaged greens, I always pay particular attention to a couple of things.  First, the “sell by” date.  I look for one that’s as far out as possible.  If the “sell by” date is less than a week away, I won’t buy more than I can use in that length of time.  I also examine the package to look for signs that the greens have been bruised or damaged in handling.  This last winter, I pulled up packages of greens at the store one day that had obviously been frozen at some point.  Yuck!!!  A few crushed and damaged pieces in the bottom of a sealed bag will begin to spoil and the bacteria from that process will quickly spread. 

      I keep my refrigerator as cold as I can without anything getting icy.  I also use my vegetable crispers as much as I can.  I say “as much as I can” because when I come home from my mega-shop there is too much to fit into the crispers.  The sealed bags of greens, such as I bought this time, would not fit.  I also keep those sealed bags sealed until they are used.  Once they have been opened, it is best to take even the portion you still plan to store out of the plastic bag.  What has worked best for me is to put the greens loosely (don’t pack them in or mash them down to fit) into a lidded, plastic bowl.  Put a dry paper towel on top of the greens, put on the lid and then place the bowl lid side down in the fridge.  If I were a chemist, or perhaps a botanist, I could tell you exactly why this works.  I’m not a scientist, but I have had years of experience with this technique and it works very well.

     One other thing that I do, as I begin using a big bag of greens, is to look through it and remove any pieces that have become bruised or that are beginning to turn brown.  Again, just as with the damaged pieces in the sealed bags, one or two pieces that begin to spoil will quickly turn the whole bag. 

     I do, of course, run into seasons when I just cannot keep the greens for the 10 – 14 days that I’d like.  It’s harder in the summer, and I’m sure it varies with humidity, too.  I’ve come to learn certain brands and stores that I just cannot buy from because their produce does not last.  For a time, our Costco must have been mishandling the produce somewhere along the line because the produce never lasted more than a day or two and the whole produce area was swarming with fruit flies!  Yuck, yuck, yuck!  However, they have, seemingly, taken care of the problem and I’ve been cautiously buying some of my produce there for the last several months with good success.

     My boys have been homeschooling hard this week.  With Dani gone, I’ve fallen a bit behind in recording books read.  The place where they stack their completed work is overflowing!  I really need to give that some attention this evening.

IMG_4736

     I’ve also been putting the finishing touches on our next term’s studies, and making a bit of mess in the school room in the process.  Our “terms” tend to run 2 – 3 months, and I call them “terms” just for my own reference.  My boys haven’t a clue that I use that word in my own mind while I’m planning what they will study next.  I’ve that lovely $48.74 Amazon e-card from my coins, and a bit of budgeted school money and I really do need to place an Amazon order tonight or tomorrow.  Tuesday is the day that I clean the school room.  Other than my piles here and there, the room is clean and neat.  Whoo, boy, did dusting get my allergies stirred up, though!

 

IMG_4710

     It’s been a blessedly busy day.  They all are!  My husband spent his last day off this week doing some odds and ends, like levelling my stove which has not been level since the new flooring went down.  He also trimmed our very shaggy front yard weeping willows.  (We have another peacock in the neighborhood, do you see him under the tree?)

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_4715

      

 

 

 

     I love the look of a neatly trimmed weeping willow.  I kinda like the look of the guy doing the trimming, too! 

 

 

 

IMG_4716

    

 

     Copper also repaired the drip irrigation lines in my berry patch.  My blueberries were glad, glad, glad to have a good, long drink of water today! 

 

 

 

IMG_4718      Our goofy cat!! She’s getting more and more affectionate as she matures.  She’s about ten years old now, which is pretty old for an outdoor, country cat!  She just meowed and meowed and brushed against my skirt and legs as I was out checking on the berries.  How can she not yet know that I am NOT a cat person?  I couldn’t resist her persistence, though, so she got some attention and petting.  And yes, I am in fact wearing a red apron with a purple dress.  You know that poem, “When I am old I will wear purple, with a red hat that doesn’t go….”.   Apparently this old gal is wearing purple with a red apron that doesn’t quite go!

 IMG_4730

     My husband spent quite a bit of time working on some things he’s responsible for within our church as well.  In fact, he was standing on our back porch while on the phone taking care of some of that church business so that he could watch………….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_4720

     THIS!   I couldn’t believe it this afternoon when I realized that we had another ewe laboring!  We knew she was close, too, but she hadn’t really given any indication of being on the brink.  This breed consistently births in the overnight hours.  I’m sure it’s part of God’s design for this breed in the wild so that the lambs are up and sturdy enough to keep up with the herd by daybreak.  This is only the third daytime birth we’ve ever had. 

 

 

IMG_4722

     

 

 

      That first bath is very important!!

 

 

 

 

IMG_4724

    

 

 

      It’s amazing to me, the lamb was on its feet in less than five minutes.  It would have been up much more quickly if Mama Ewe had not been so vigorous in her bathing!

 

 

 

IMG_4727

   

 

 

 

      Hey, Mom?  Mom?  Whatchya doin’ there, Mom? 

 

 

 

IMG_4732

    

 

 

    In less than fifteen minutes, Mama Ewe had delivered two babies and had them both washed up and fed.

 

 

 

 

IMG_4734

      

 

 

 

     She gave them one last look over before they were ready………..

 

 

IMG_4729 

 

………to meet the rest of the family!   (There’s the tail end of one of this morning’s lambs on the left side.)  The afternoon lambs are almost twice as big as this morning’s! 

 

 

 

 

IMG_4741

    

 

    

     Shortly after dinner, my boys went out to see “what” the second set of lambs were.  Two more boys!!!  In just the course of one, blessedly full day, the Lord has increased our little flock from 12 to 16!!!  Four healthy lambs!  What a wonderful gift!

    

 

     Yes, it was a wonderful, blessedly full day today.  Homeschooling, laundry, my husband and boys playing a board game before dinner (sorry the camera battery was dead!), all of my dailies and Tuesday tasks completed, and a loaf of sandwich bread made for the freezer stash.  The work that the Lord has given me to do is pleasant!!  In the words of a dear, old friend (Hi, Mrs. B!), I’m blessed!!!

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27
 

Be Sociable, Share!

15 comments to It Doesn’t Have To Be One Way Or The Other

  • FIRST!!!!!!  😆

    Congratulations on the new lambs!

  • Awww I miss all my farm babies!

    Thanks for the tips on lettuce keeping. My DH loves salads for a snack, so I buy the biggggg bags, sometimes they last well, and sometimes they make a southward turn almost immediately. I get so tired of picking slimy lettuce out so the rest doesn’t ‘turn’ too. I have a huge Tupperware bowl (I call it my Nana Pudding n Tater Salad bowl). I am going to try the bowl/paper towel(s) trick to see if that helps. DH and I have noticed that if you don’t roll the bag top back down, but the leave the bag top ajar, that it lasts better too

    For whole head iceberg, when I was growing up, we would wrap the head in a dry paper towel and then a piece of foil (which got used many times over). That seemed to make it last much better.

  • I am not at all surprised that all 4 babies were boys! A double blessing to replace the 2 baby boys lost recently. He is faithful.

    And so are you. You are faithful to speak out words that edify and build up. Faithful to bring wisdom to her fullness. Faithful to reach out a hand to young women who need guidance. Faithful to not become lukewarm in your presentation of the gospel. Unwavering faith. You are truly blessed, but you are also a blessing!!!:love:

  • Good Morning Cheryl,

    The lambs are so cute. Thank you for a wonderful post. I have learn to be myself and stick with what works for my family. It sure makes life easier.As I have grown older I have learn there is no one right way.I still learn from other people but if it doesn’t work for us I don’t do it.

    Again thanks for the encouragement.

    Have a very blessed day.

    Elizabeth

  • Oh, the lambs are just cute! I’m curious as to what you raise them for, fun or profit?? Do you sell the lambs when they are weaned?

  • I love lambs….ours should start showing up in the next week or so!  They are sooo cute running around our pasture.  Thank you for the lovely post, have a great day!

    Niki

    ruralwritings.blogspot.com

  • Yes, you are very blessed and I feel the same.  I constantly remind myself how really blessed I am.  That is so great that you now have 4 new additions to your herd.  I’m sure it is a joy to see them romping around playing with each other.  Also, glad you are getting some rain coming your way.  I’m from Georgia and they are already setting up water restricitions for us.  Best to you and your family!

  • Hehehe, reading your blog is just as good as The Pioneer Woman and from a Christian perspective! :laugh:

    If I had homeschooled Stephanie, it would have been much different than what I did with Christopher. She was academically brilliant (says she isn’t now that she has had four kids) so she would have definitely been more accelerated as well as using whole books.

    Christopher was so ADHD and a tad bit late on learning to read. We were a little unschooling and a lot whole books.

  • what beautiful lambs!

    You might check out http://www.half.ebay.com/ to see if they have the books you want cheaper than amazon (they are used of course)

  • what beautiful lambs!

    You might check out http://www.half.ebay.com/ to see if they have the books you want cheaper than amazon (they are used of course)

  • Thank you Cheryl for the tips about keeping greens longer.  I’ve struggled to keep them for 14 days also.  I’m going to get some planted so I won’t have to purchase so many at the store.  :spinning:  

    Congratulations on your new lambs!  :sunny: 

    Blessings,

    Regina

  • The lambs are so lovely.
    Thank you once again for your encouragement.
    God Bless,
    CAGmomof2

  • Very good thoughts on balance! :goodjob:

  • I wanna be a Mama Ewe! Five minute births sound good to me! :laugh:

  • I appreciated your post today.  We all may do things differently but what’s important is that we do what is right for our families before God.  I so appreciate that because so often we are made to feel the other way.  You have been an inspiration to me.  I am refreshed by your approach to your home and caring for your family.  Thanks for sharing.

    Rebecca (http://www.rebeccaswalk.blogspot.com)