It Finally Caught Up With Me

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     All the digging, and planting, and lifting has finally caught up with me.  My joints are protesting mightily today!  Sore muscles can be worked out, but painful, arthritic joints cannot.  Several years ago I was diagnosed with an unnamed disorder of some sort.  It tends to flare up when the weather begins to warm up.  However, given the two choices of sitting and hurting or working and hurting, I’m choosing the working and hurting.  Productivity is what I prefer, and Saturdays in my home offer up an ample supply of productive possibilities!

 

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    Saturday morning means changing the bed linens, and I enjoy drying them outside on the line.  There is nothing like the smell of clean, fresh, line-dried sheets! 

 

 

 

 

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     Saturday is also a big yard work day.  Aaron is responsible for raking up the sheep and goat yards.  This is really important now that the weather is warmer to keep down that barnyard smell.  We let our hens free range so they help with fly control, but keeping the yards clean is a must! 

 

 

 

 

 

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      Of course, that wonderful dirty straw and the rich droppings go into our compost pile for next year’s garden.  I love watching our compost pile grow!  We are constantly working to build our soil here.  The more compost we have each spring, the better!!  Keep fillin’ up that wheelbarrow, son!

 

 

 

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     Will is the guy who puts fresh straw down over the dirty straw in the goat and sheep sleeping areas, building up those layers of bedding that will keep the animals warm next winter.  He also empties the grass catcher after Aaron has mowed our very small back yard.  He places fresh, new mown grass in the laying boxes for the hens and any extra goes to the compost pile. 

 

 

 

 

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     Never fear, though.  It’s not ALL work on Saturday.  I spied Aaron sitting in the shade this afternoon carving a green willow branch.  When he was done carving, he strung it and it became a bow.  There was some heavy-duty Lord of the Rings play activity around here in the cool of the evening. 

     Dani and I did our every-other-week Mega Shop yesterday.  We are fixed on that every-other-Friday schedule, which is tied to my husband’s pay days.  We happily set out and are always surprised to find ourselves in a crowd when our regular shopping day also falls on a Friday at the very beginning of the month!  The stores were packed, but it did seem to me that folks were evaluating their purchases more carefully yesterday.  We did have our frustrations, though; and you can read Dani’s account of things if you’d like a chuckle, and be sure to read the comments, too! 

     My girls enjoy giving me a hard time because folks seem to single me out in a crowd for conversation.  They are forever giggling about “mom’s new best friend” from one recent outing or another.  But you know what?  If I can offer a few words of encouragement to someone and perhaps share my faith with them conversationally, then I don’t mind the time spent chatting with a stranger in a store.  Yesterday it was one of the young men who maintains the bulk foods section of our store.  I sought him out, actually, to see if there was anymore blueberry-flax granola.  There might have been a pound or two left in the bin, but someone had picked out all but four of the dried blueberries.  Gross, I know.  He was sorry, but they were all out of blueberry-flax granola until the next truck.  I thanked him and moved on.

     I ran into him again as I was scooping some whole wheat noodles out of one of the big barrels.  He had the bins next to the noodle barrel pulled out and he was sweeping and cleaning under and behind them.  I had spoken to him last fall when I placed a special order for organic sugar, and he told me then that he was working almost full time at the grocery store and taking quite a few college classes, too.  So as I scooped and he swept yesterday, I asked him how his classes were going.  He stopped sweeping, and looked….almost emotional.  I stopped scooping, too.  He said that he’d had to drop out of college because it was just too much with working fulltime and having the sole care of his three year old son.  I mentioned that sometimes choices were hard, and he said, “yeah”.  Then he told me he was now enrolled in truck driving school.

      I congratulated him on his new career and told him America would always need her truck drivers. He smiled.  Then he really smiled!  He was encouraged just to have someone show an interest, I guess.  Next thing I knew, he had pulled out his wallet and was unfolding his big rig training permit to show me!  Well, I oooooohed and aaaaahhhhed over that, and knew that he was just yearning for encouragement.  So, I encouraged. 

     It was then that he told me that what he really wanted to do was to go into law enforcement.  He had already passed the written exam for the Department of Corrections and had picked up an application for a police department in a large city 90 minutes or so away.  I told him that my husband has been a deputy sheriff for about 28 years now and that it was certainly a good profession for a young man to enter.  Apparently the truck driving is just a step to pay the bills until he can find a position in law enforcement.  I complimented him again on his ambition and wished him well and Dani I moved on.

     Dani and I spoke quite a bit about this young man in the next few minutes.  We both found it refreshing to see a young man so motivated to work, even in a job that is not his ideal, to support himself and his son, but still pursuing that dream job in the process.  Several minutes later, the young man  was looking for us and he found us in another part of the store.  He handed me a slip of paper with his name and phone number on it and with humility, but not shyness, asked if I thought my husband would be willing to give him a call.  He was feeling very overwhelmed by the 16 page application to the big city police department and wanted to be sure to put his best foot forward on that all important first application.  Perhaps, he thought, he might be able to ask my husband a few questions or glean a few pointers.  My husband took the phone number and name with him today.  I hope he has a chance to call and encourage this young man.  

     So, despite my daughters’ ongoing giggling, I will continue to chat with folks I meet up with in the stores. 

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     It was a big job this morning to vacuum seal and put away a lot of the bulk food items that were purchased yesterday.  We don’t eat a lot of cold cereal here.  We all love it, of course; but it’s expensive.  I also don’t care for all of the additives in the cereals that my family enjoys the most.  I do, however, try to pick up the large bags when they are on sale; but we don’t just open up the bag and eat it until it’s gone!  Instead, I plan for one, maybe two, days of cold cereal on our weekly menu.  Then I repackage those big bags of cereal into half gallon jars and then vacuum seal the jars.  It will keep for months this way.  A good quality vacuum sealer is certainly a good thing to have.  I’ve had mine for at least ten years, and I still love it and use it frequently.

 

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     I love being able to take advantage of the super huge size of pretzels, too!  The jars are re-useable, of course; and the lids can usually be used at least twice for vacuum sealing.  If you are ever able to swing a vacuum sealer, or if you are fortunate enough to find one at a thrift store, splurge for the attachment that allows you to seal wide mouth canning jars.  This is the feature I use most often with mine.  You don’t want the specialty cannisters, you want to be able to use regular, glass canning jars.   

     I had really intended to add some pictures to my post yesterday.  Here is just a taste of the last few days.

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     The tilled garden ready for planting. 

 

 

 

 

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     I spent a few minutes deciding how best to place everything in this year’s garden, and then Dani and Aaron went to work with the garden rakes, forming the raised beds for each crop in the place that I showed them.  They were able to work barefoot in the soft, warm tilled soil!

 

 

 

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     As the raised beds took shape, Will and I set out the transplants and planted the seeds.  Here we are each planting a row of corn on either side of a long, narrow raised bed.  The trough in the middle will water the corn stalks once they have sprouted.  We have some great, wire row covers to keep the crows out of our corn. 

 

 

 

 

 

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     William carefully watered all of the transplants and seeded areas when we were done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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     The planted garden a couple of hours later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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      And then, of course, we put in our strawberry field that same day!  Copper came home from his class and tilled this area, and we worked in what little bit of compost we still had available.  Dani, Will and I (mostly Dani) raked up the rows.

 

 

 

 

 

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     We planted every other row.  Once these strawberry plants mature and begin sending out runners, we will transplant the new, little plants to the empty rows.  At the end of the season, this year’s strawberry plants will be turned under, the row will be composted and reformed and we’ll repeat the process next year, allowing this year’s transplanted runners to grow into healthy plants that form the runners to be transplanted next year.  Okay, that’s the theory…..we’ll see how it works out!

 

 

 

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     I cannot wait for those first, juicy strawberries!!  We planted Quinalt strawberries, because that is what we grew several years ago before we moved to the country.  I hope they do well for us.

 

 

 

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     Thursday, of course, is normally Library Day at Grandma’s house, but we enjoy taking all of the kids to a park in the city near by from time to time.  We have not been to the park together since last fall!!  It was a bit windy, but the kids had a blast.  We had to move to the shade shortly after this picture was taken because the baby’s little legs were getting too much sun!  I cannot believe that our little Pixie Girl is 11 months old already!  (Corin looked so pretty with her hair up!)

          William and I sat out a couple of additional plants in the garden this afternoon.  I’d forgotten them when I bought everything else somehow.  Aaron laid out the soaker hose I bought for the strawberry plants, and those were watered well this afternoon, along with irrigating the orchard and all of our other berries.  I helped Dani water the garden this evening, too.  We watered it late so that even the seed beds will be moist until we get home from church tomorrow late in the afternoon. 

     The early evening found me outside, on my hands and knees, digging buried sprinklers out of the front lawn and testing all of the rest to be sure they were all working.  The only area we have on automatic, timed sprinklers is our large front grass area.  These are set to run very early in the morning.  Several dry spots appearing in May (instead of their normal July) let me know that something was amiss.  Sure enough, a couple of sprinklers were covered with dirt and/or a layer of mulched lawn clippings, or were broken.  I dug out the buried sprinklers, but my husband will have to change out the broken ones for me this week. 

     Just as the sun set, I brought the last of the laundry in from the clothes line and turned off the last of the valves for the day’s watering.  I ironed quite a bit this afternoon, so Aaron was able to choose his clothes for church and hang them out ready for morning.  I still need to pick out Will’s clothes.  The boys packed their play clothes and shoes for after church, and Dani not only repaired our church basket, but she also packed it ready to go in the morning. 

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     My achey body kept me from moving quickly today, but I kept moving just the same.  There is always more that I could have done, of course, but I am satisfied with what was accomplished today.  I am dog tired, though, and ready for bed.  Have a blessed Lord’s Day tomorrow.

 

 

 

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

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15 comments to It Finally Caught Up With Me

  • I do hope you feel better soon!

    Your pictures and descriptions are so vivid! They make me wish that I was there right along with you.

    Lauren

  • I do hope you feel better soon!

    Your pictures and descriptions are so vivid! They make me wish that I was there right along with you.

    Lauren

  • I believe that the Lord placed you in that young man’s path on Friday, Cheryl.  I’m sure that your wonderful encouragement and caring heart meant more to him than you’ll ever know. 

  • Cheryl, I also believe you were a mighty encouragement to that young man!!
    I am so interested in your mega-shop!! SO… do you plan 2 weeks menus at a time, then?
    I do have a vacuum sealer that I am going to get out and see if I have the jar attachment for! thanks for the VERY informative posts!!!!
    Diana in Illinois

  • Mama Cheryl,

    My Mom and I never met a stranger either. After Mom had passed away, before the days of DH or even DBF LOL, Papa and I were eating out, and the woman in the booth beside us and I started talking. He said I was just like my Mother, and that I could talk to anyone about anything and I never met a stranger. What a compliment!

    I always try to remember:

    Hebrews 13:2(KJV) Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

    To me, that verse doesn’t mean just at home, but wherever we are.

    I have found some really good messages and sermons on line lately when I was reading Hebrews, and it also said that you could be entertaining fallen angels aware. Not the Lucifer kind of fallen angel, but rather one that has lost their walk with the Lord.

    You never know when you talk to someone, what an impact you may have on their lives. When you give to someone of your time, like you did with that young man, it will come back to you tenfold. Who knows, those few minutes you shared with him in conversation might change the course of his whole life, and thereby also change the life of his son through him.

    My Mother always used to tell me:

    “You are writing a Gospel, a chapter a day, By deeds that you do, by words that you say. Men read what you write, whether faithless or true; Say, what is the Gospel according to you?”

    I know sometimes she thought I was not listening (I could be kinda hardheaded *gasp* LOL) but I was. I think she would be proud of the woman that I have become.

    I need to order that jar sealer to go on my FoodSaver.

    I will say that it is a little costly for that first expenditure, but the money it will save you on food that you don’t have to toss out from freezer burn, moldy cheese, etc. will more than pay for itself very quickly.

    Have a blessed week,
    Tamara

  • What a blessing you were to that young man. I have prayed that as my son goes over the road, he would encounter people of God to give him a squeeze or a word of encouragement. What an honor to be given this gift from God…a ministry, really. I too can talk to a stranger, but I think I miss so many opportunities with being in a rush, or thinking, “no, I can’t Lord, I have all these kids with me…” Your heart is open to His leading!:heartbeat:

    I loved the pics of the garden. What a ton of work, but you will have great rewards coming to you because of it!:yes:

    Take care of your body. Give it the rest and nutrition it needs. The pic of you in the park was beautiful…both you AND Corin. Yes I do like her hair up, but she has the most beautiful long hair. I still think that pic Dani took of her (at Easter) from behind is one of my all time favorites…it could be a note card, or a poster.

  • I have a vacuum sealer, but I haven’t used it much due to the bags it calls for.  I’m going to get it out and see if I can get attachments like you mentioned for the mason jars.  I always wondered if I could do that!  🙂 

    Sounds like you’ve been extremely busy.  I’m always encouraged to see how you’re planting your gardens and such because I know that within a month we’ll be able to plant our gardens too.  I look so forward to getting our garden ready and planted in a month.  :sunny:

    Have a wonderful day!

    Regina

  • Good post! :coolman:

    I’m glad you talked to that guy at Winco!  Someone who wants to go into law enforcement (it’s not just another job), AND has a good work ethic, has got to be a good catch for whoever hires him!

    Oh, and in case you wondered…  Pixie Girl didn’t get sun pinked after all.  I think her legs had just rosied up from the warmth, it was gone by the time we got home.

  • So good to hear from you!  I think of you often and wonder what you and Dani are up to.  I’m chomping at the bit to get my garden going this year.  It’s been so cold here still.  Our growing season is so short!  But I am longing to dig in the dirt!  Jeni is so excited about helping me this year.  She asks everyday when we’ll be working on the garden.  My little duckling!

  • Cheryl,

    You are really are an encouragement!  Your industriousness is amazing – and when you are sore, too.

    Hmmm, I’m really interested in the vacuum sealer now.  I was a little while ago but then I thought that having to buy those bag things would be too expensive.  Your idea of jars is excellent!  Just wondering though, do you use it for muffins, buns, bread etc.?

    Thanks!

  • @kozimom – I rarely use the bags for the vacuum sealer.  They are just too expensive.  I do not use the vacuum sealer for muffins, bread, etc. in jars.  Was that what you meant?  There is too much moisture in those products for vacuum sealing in jars.  I freeze those types of things, either in Tupperware containers, or carefully wrapped in freezer paper, foil, etc.  Vacuum sealing in jars is perfect for dry items – chips, cereals, oatmeal, spices & herbs, crackers, dry cookies (like unfrosted animal cookies or Vanilla wafers), dry pastas, flours, beans, loose leaf teas, etc.   

  • I just wondered if you used the bags for freezing breadtype products.

    Thanks, though!  🙂

  • I find your blogs so inspiring!! I have a vacuum sealer but don’t have the attachment. I will have to look into one.

  • Hi Cheryl,

    Souds like you have been a busy little bee.:) I pray you feel better soon.

    Blessning,

    Elizabeth

  • What an encouraging post Cheryl! Love that God has Winco missionaries. Love seeing your garden too. I never even thought of using a vacuum sealer for large mason jars. Brilliant idea~ and my new thrift store challenge. ; ) Love, Rebecca J.