Michalskis in the Word

You can also visit us at michalskisintheword.wordpress.com, where we relate God’s Word to our daily surroundings, through scripture and photos.

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Painting the House and Other Random Adventures (July 14)

And so it finally arrived, the week when we painted the house!

We never particularly planned to paint the house when we bought it. We just patched it up and sealed it up, and were largely content to have a little weathered-gray cabin in the woods…And then this winter, we learned something interesting, something that made me quite thankful that the Lord had not put it in our hearts yet to install flooring…We had a couple of heavy rainstorms. And the rain drove against the front of the house. And it seeped in to all the little cracks and crevices of the siding. And it ran down the inside of the walls, And it made a giant puddle on the floor! And so, we realized that this summer, we would be caulking and painting the house to make it weather-tight 🙂 Sometimes, that’s how the Lord shows us what He’s got on the agenda for us!

And now the point in the summer had come when the farmwork was complete and the house-painting would begin! It started with a thorough scrubbing and cleaning and caulking, which unfolded over the course of several days while also visiting with Nonna and Grandpa Scott.

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And then, bright and early on a Monday morning, Nonna and Grandpa Scott came over, and it was all-hands-on-deck painting for a few days!

Just to look back, over the winter, our little house looked like this…

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After priming on Day 2, our little house looked like this…

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After Day 3, with the final coat on the walls, our house looked like this…

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And after we finished out all the trim on Day 4, this was the final result!

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In-and-amongst the house-painting, the kids still had a few free moments to themselves…

“I have here a tiny spring peeper.”

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“A very tiny, very adorable, spring peeper!”

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“Hmmmmm, where did that tiny spring peeper go?”

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“Oh, that’s right, there he is!”

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I’m just not sure which one is cuter!

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We also had a little excitement on the farm, as we looked out one day to see a young porcupine right outside the front door!

This is the porcupine, cheerfully munching on some cabbages.

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This is the porcupine, cheerfully munching on some turnips. 

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This is the porcupine, beginning to notice that we’re watching him munching on our turnips. (See how his little tail quills are raising up?)

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This is the porcupine, all a-bristle, indignantly stalking away as we chased him out of our yummy turnips! 

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Little stinker. Cute as he is, I am glad to say that he has not been back to devour the rest of our crops. Aren’t there enough trees in the forest for you, you little porker!?

And then there was the day that we harvested garlic scapes for breakfast. What, you may ask, is a garlic scape? It’s a fantastic little seed-pod that’s put out in the second year of growth by a hard-neck garlic. It tastes like a garlic-green-onion, and it’s completely lovely, so of course I took this “Portrait of a Garlic Scape” before we ate them 🙂

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And imagine my delight one afternoon on the way to the mailbox when I found this fantastic creature. When I first noticed this little spot of color, I thought it was a maple seed…Maple seeds form in the shape of a pink flower petal, tapering down to a golden seed, and they’re everywhere in the spring…But when I looked closer, it was a lovely pink moth, right next to a lovely pink flower bud! You would never think that bright pink would make for good camouflage, but it worked quite well in this situation!

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Eventually, the kids and I admired it too much, and it fluttered off in search of some peace and quiet, but I followed it for a little while longer, snapping pictures of all of its best angles!

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Just look at those amazing gray eyes! 

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And then came the wonderful morning when we harvested the radishes! It was a little overdue – so much to do lately! – but yielded quite a sink-full of lovely little red radishes…

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…which translated into delicious greens with bacon for lunch, and two jars full of pickled radishes, needing only white vinegar and straight-from-the-Maine-ocean sea salt for future deliciousness!

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Such simple beauty, always to be found in the things the Lord provides from His earth, by the sweat of our brows, to put food on our tables!

Bless the Lord, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the Lord, O my soul! (Psalm 103:22, NASB) 

A Day at the Beach (July 7)

While at home, the Spring Peepers peeped…

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…a warm, sunny day called for another outing! We had promised Nonna and Grandpa Scott to return to nearby Sandy River Beach in Jonesport at low tide, so that we could enjoy the uncommon opportunity of walking out to an island!

The day was warm, and the tide was low, and the island was there waiting 🙂

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The rocky cliffs are beautiful there…

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…and though, in the distance, the grass was greener on another island…

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…we did have a lovely view of a moon jelly and a school of flashing, silver fish!

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The seaweed was waving gently in the golden waters…

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…and a couple of little surprises were in store…This strange, rippling ribbon is the egg case of a nudibranch! They are also known as sea slugs, small, shell-less snails that come in an amazing variety of color patterns, and leave behind these astonishing masses of tiny eggs, patiently woven in a spiral ribbon. I wish these little guys luck, and hope we will get a chance to see them, or their parents, out and about! 

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And then this funny little red blob is a sea squirt! So named, as far as I can tell, because their bodies have two small holes, and when you squeeze them…

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…they squirt!

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What a funny world, this marine wonderland!

Of course, on a warm, sunny day, most of the fun is just being in the water!

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Nonna and Grandpa Scott’s dog, Zoe, added a new element to the usual water-play…

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…but mostly, it was just the usual splashing-good-fun!

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But, don’t forget, we are in Maine, and a warm day at the beach is still a cold day in the water!

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Still, any day that you can walk to an island is a pretty neat day, in my book 🙂

Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them. (Isaiah 42:10-12, NIV)

To Everything a Season (July 6)

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1, KJV)

A time to clear, a time to plant, a time to farm, a time to harvest, a time to weed, a time for laundry, a time for dishes, a time for scrubbing floors, a time to paint the house, and sometimes, a time to visit with family! Nonna and Grandpa Scott continued their time here in Maine, and our days continued to balance between our normal work and school, and some visiting and touring with them!

In a quiet moment at home, I moved the kids’ play fort. They had quite a setup! And, as I moved it, there were several items which came out of the play house, which led to the following conversation:

Genevieve: “Can you leave the things inside? We have it all ready.”

Me: “We have to move them for now, but you can put them back after I scrub the floors.”

Inside were: 2 blankets, for snuggling. 1 lantern, for reading. 1 roll of masking tape, for making repairs to the playhouse, or putting up shelves. 2 rolled up pieces of paper with Bible verses written on them…

Genevieve: “These are so we can love the Lord!” Yay! It was a house built on a good foundation 🙂

Amidst laundry, and school, and scrubbing and caulking the house for painting, we took a day out to visit the Schoodic Peninsula of Acadia National Park. The day started with low-lying clouds, as we wandered around some of the touristy gift-shops on the way, and then cleared up to warm sunshine as we picked a spot to picnic by the water.

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At Schoodic Head, we enjoyed some more iconic pink granite cliffs…

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…and explored the tide pools…

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…where Asher discovered a special treat! Deep in a crevice, in a sheltered little pool, were two anemones and several urchins!

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Urchins are so very lovely…bizarre-looking from a distance, but graceful in all aspects closer-up, and always in motion, ever-so-slowly, rippling their incredible spines gently in all directions!

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Around the peninsula, at the Blueberry Hill overlook, more pink granite shoreline provided a great spot for a leisurely ramble…

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…a little light rock-climbing…

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…and beautiful views!

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Turquoise waters with white-sand bottoms just begged for a cannonball – but no takers! I admired that beautiful, chilly water from a distance!

And the tide pools, as always, with all their incredible, humble beauty, were waiting to be explored…

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Have you ever asked yourself, what’s underneath that limpet shell?

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Well, here it is! A little jelly blob with antennas!

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What could be lovelier? 🙂

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The next day was the 4th of July, and we headed out in the afternoon to Jasper Beach, near Machias, to enjoy one of the hottest days on record before heading back to town for dinner and fireworks. 

The cobbles were wonderfully warm on such a sunny day…

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…warm enough for all of us, (even me and Joe!), to take a dip in the water, knowing that we could quickly warm back up again!

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Spencer, of course, took much more than a dip, swimming as he often does, as though he were part fur-seal!

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Helen’s provided a great viewing point for the Machias parade while we ate dinner, and by sunset, we were settled in across the street…

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…just waiting for the skies to darken and the fireworks to come out!

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Happy 4th of July!

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After a late night, we had an early morning…The kind of morning where the boys get up early, and then I come downstairs and find them like this and take pictures of how cute they are!!!

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And then, we were on our way to spend a day in Lubec!

We began at Quoddy Head State Park, where the Quoddy Head Lighthouse is located.

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It really is such a wonderful old, iconic lighthouse, and on a bright summer morning, we enjoyed sitting next to it and scanning the sparkling waters for ocean life.

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Armed with several pairs of binoculars, and a spotting scope on a tripod, we lounged around and had some snacks while we surveyed the horizons…

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…and watched the Eiders, Harbour Seals… 

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…Harbour Porpoises, and finally spotted the distant fin of a Minke Whale!

Next, we visited Mowry Beach at low tide – and I mean, that was a low tide!

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We walked and walked across the sandy-mud flats, amongst the folks digging clams and folks digging worms…

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…towards the far-off shoreline, to finally set foot in the waters dividing us from Canada!

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A time for tide pools, a time for cobble beaches, a time for fireworks, a time for whales, a time for low tide, a time to get back to normal and do some school and some housework, a time for all things, and thank God, all the time is His!

Sightseeing (June 29)

Sometimes, family visits can have you finally doing that one thing that you’ve often thought about, but never gotten around to…And so it was that, when Nonna asked if we could go someplace local to get lobster, we finally made our way out to Look Lobster Co. in nearby Jonesport. What a great way to finally introduce ourselves to the local lobster industry! The Looks, of course, are generations into the lobster business, and visiting their location down on the wharf was lots of fun on a beautiful summer day.

As the Lord would have it, a missed email turned into a great opportunity…Since the office manager was waiting on a response to an email that I overlooked, we arrived before they packaged up the lobster. Which was absolutely the best, because instead of just picking it up, we got a fantastic tour with the gentleman who packaged them up for us! It never ceases to amaze me how God is in all the little details, even (and maybe especially) the ones that I overlook! Our tour-guide took an immediate liking to Asher, who pitched in right away to help him get some boxes.

We asked lots of questions, checking out the bait, the outdoor holding tank, the indoor holding tanks, feeling the difference between soft-shells and hard-shells, all the things that are common knowledge to all these folks that are from-here 🙂 

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And from Jonesport, we were on our way to a favorite hike called the Great Wass Island Preserve. It’s an amazing place that we’ve only visited once – it’s a 5 mile loop, and while we greatly enjoyed it, and looked forward to returning, the Lord just hasn’t had that kind of hike in the schedule for us again. So we were very excited to be returning! It’s a rare environment, an island projecting far out into the sea, and the marine environment produces a beautiful variety of scenery, from forest, to heath, to exposed granite outcrops, to miles of beautiful shoreland. It is a feast for the eyes at every step, and a constant testimony to the abundant variety of God’s creation, in one little island.

Spencer, particularly, was on a photo-hunt for fungus, wanting to photograph as many different kinds as possible…and this was a great place for it! He was just so excited to find each one, and be amazed that God could make so many different types of mushrooms! I quite agree with him 🙂

(photos courtesy of Spencer)

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Such beauty and elegance in something that is, let’s face it, the ultimate representation of decay! He also marveled over the reindeer lichen, so adorable close-up… 

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…and, even more close-up, so much like a model of molecular structure!

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Yep, that’s my little 9-year-old, looking at the world through God’s eyes!

The sun was bright and the sky was brilliant on this day, and the ash trees waving overhead made it feel like some foreign country, some tropical oasis…

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…while on the forest floor, delicate beauties dotted the pathways…

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…and a few surprises were in-store as well!

This is the Sundew, a small carnivorous plant native to the island, whose sticky droplets trap unsuspecting insects, at which time the leaf rolls up and digests them! Awesome!

(photos courtesy of Spencer)

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Of course, as with all of God’s creations, the closer you look at these little jewels, the more amazingly beautiful they are!

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I was already looking forward to another carnivorous plant that we saw on our last hike – the Pitcher Plant! It is a sweet sense of justice to see mosquitoes floating in their lovely, still waters, being slowly digested 🙂 But, as usual, God had even greater awesome-ness in store for us on this hike, as these marvelous plants were in bloom! 

The blossoms, which again make you think you’ve wandered onto some tropical island, shoot up on high stalks, and bend gracefully to point straight down over their pitchers…

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The sun glows brilliantly on fiery petals…

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…while below, the inviting waters draw in bugs, who are then trapped, unable to navigate their way out of all the downward-pointing hairs!

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Deadly (to all those poor little insects), but oh-so-incredibly-stunning, especially at this time of year!

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There are, perhaps, few places in the world where you will walk through a field of wild Beach-Head Iris on your way to the shore…

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…and few places to enjoy the mix of tidal salt grasslands with granite beaches, looking for all the world like some exotic resort, decorated in gemstone-shades of emerald, garnet, and sapphire!

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It’s a view, and a walk, that is taken in on a large scale…Along the coast, every step affords panoramic views, and it just never gets old! (Though I must say, it’s also impossible to do justice in photos…)

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And for those who set their sights on something smaller, there is great beauty and delight always to be found in the little things as well!

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I don’t know who’s cuter – that happy kiddo, or that crabby crabbie!

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It was, truly, an amazing day on the island. I couldn’t have asked for a better showcase of God’s beauty for a family visit…But He was not done yet, as another picture-perfect day unfolded while we introduced Nonna and Grandpa Scott to Acadia National Park!

The legendary pink-granite cliffs led down into sapphire seas sparkling with diamonds…

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…you know, as usual 🙂

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And there was that ever-present delight of connecting with God’s creatures in the little things, like the limpets in the tide pool, and the wonderful little barnacles waving their tiny fronds to feed!

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At a sandy beach, we could all wiggle our toes in the water….which is, surprise!, still cold!

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But no less enjoyable 🙂 

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The beach roses fill the shores, and the summer air, with their brilliant color and fragrance…

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…and then you can end your afternoon on top of the world at Cadillac Mountain!

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A great spot to just take it all in 🙂

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I am personally biased to believe that this little corner where God has placed us is unusually abounding in beauty…But the truth is, His beauty is always around us, wherever we are, and grows inasmuch as our appreciation of Him grows…So, look around!

Well, what are you waiting for? (photo courtesy of Spencer)

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Set Apart (June 28)

Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 6:17, NIV)

What does it mean to be set apart? In our family, we just are set apart right now. We live in a small town, in our little house, with a little slice of land round-about us. God has us all working together at home, learning together at home, growing together at home, interacting with our small community, but very much about our own daily business with the Lord most of the time. It is really, for the most part, just us and God. We are set apart.

I must say, life is easier this way, in many ways. Easier to simply follow the Lord’s will everyday, to study His Word, learn from His ways, apply them little by little to each and every thing in our family, in myself…There is very little of the way of the world competing for our time and attention. The world’s entertainment, the world’s questions, the world’s answers, the world’s values, have very little voice in a daily life that is simply filled with working with our hands, just as He told us, with training up our children in the way they should go, that when they grow old they will not depart from Him, with being holy as our Heavenly Father is holy…

And yet, here I am, searching my soul again, and wondering a bit more about what it means to be set apart, here, on this journal that I call Michalskis’ Great Adventure…What a delicate balance to keep a record like this one…

I enjoy posting about our experiences, and my intent is to give glory to the Lord…And as I write, I know that each day, our works and our experiences are guided simply by a purposeful choice to follow His will, as written in His Word, as revealed by His Holy Spirit in our lives, all day every day, as we seek to become only more submitted to His wonderful ways…

And yet, does that come through in my writing? Does that come through as I post pictures of my cute children in this beautiful place, as we enjoy all the cool things that we get to do, as I marvel at all the beauty of God’s creation, as we have fun times doing so many wonderful things? I have nothing to complain about; all the things that happen to us are in every way to the good, whether expected or unexpected, whether looked-for or unlooked-for, whether pleasant or unpleasant at the time, I trust at all times that they all work to His perfect way of refining me in the image of His Son until that glorious day when I can meet Him in heaven, the very least of those in the kingdom of God, but only happy to be there at all!

And yet, would someone look at my pictures, and read what I have written, and know that about my heart? Or am I simply one in a million voices across social media that hold up the highlights of my life for the world to admire, that polish up the glossy surfaces of my days to present the best picture of myself? I don’t mean to be. I wouldn’t like to be. Would someone look at this journal of mine, and see more of Jesus Christ, and less of me? I’m not sure that they would…They might only see me, and my family, and an incredibly beautiful life that we greatly enjoy through God’s providence…And while that is something, I am not sure that is enough, and so each time that I write, I pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to instruct my heart and my hands to use our lives to show less of us and very much more of Him…

Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power, who can understand? (Job 26:14, ESV)

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Summertime (June 22)

Isn’t it great when the kids find a way to have fun doing their chores? Here is my sweet boy Spencer, doing dishes…

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Okay, maybe it takes a little longer to get the dishes done sometimes, but it’s a small price to pay!

This month, we have family in town! Joe’s mom and her husband, who the kids call Nonna and Grandpa Scott, are staying at a nearby campground in their RV for a month to explore the area and visit before departing on a nation-wide tour, visiting friends and family, enjoying the beauty of the United States, and deciding on a place to settle down in their retirement years.

For us, it’s good timing, as we were able to finish up all of our major farmwork, clearing and planting, before they arrived. So now, we are on to house-painting, and we can adjust our days and activities around some sightseeing and fun! There’s nothing like having visitors to make you a tourist in your own neighborhood!

And so we visit familiar places with new eyes!

The Pleasant River Town Landing at low tide…

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Sandy River Beach in Jonesport…

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Roque Bluffs State Park…

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…including the forest trail…

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The Cherryfield Days parade…

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…and our own backyard! 

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white admiral butterfly

(photos courtesy of Spencer)

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Summer days, summer sun, summer work, summer fun!

From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised. (Psalm 113:3, NASB)

 

Work and Play (June 17)

You know, this really is a busy season! For us, it’s the final stretch of planting season…Farm days include clearing more land, processing the brush piles into firewood or mulch, preparing beds by loosening them with a spade fork and pulling out roots, planting seeds, transplanting seedlings, mulching, weeding, trellising, watering…It is sometimes hot and buggy work, but certainly rewarding, seeing new spaces develop, watching seedlings develop and grow, marveling at the kindness of a Father who has given us this very cool work to do…

Catching a few moments of rest in the maple tree…

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Smelling the clover…

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Just hangin’ out…

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Watching the butterflies…

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Picking a springtime bouquet 🙂

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Capturing a furry little lemming…

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Delighting, as always, in the sweet salamanders…

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And sometimes, just being amazed at the tiniest of things!

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Late summer sunshine means there’s still time for an evening bike ride at the end of a workday…

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And the Alewife Run means an educational trip to the river on Sunday! Alewives are a small Sea-Run fish, as they call them here, like the smelt that we enjoyed in early spring. Similar to salmon, though a much smaller fish, they spend part of their life at sea, then return up the freshwater rivers to spawn. The runs of these various small fish, including herring, alewives and smelt, provided an abundant and easy food source for early Mainers, though they seem to only be fished in small amounts and mainly as sport today. We just wanted to see them, because they’re cool!

So, off we went to the Town Landing in Columbia Falls, at low tide, where you can walk out to the shallow Pleasant River just below the waterfall.

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The water was rushing and tumbling beautifully over the falls in the summer sunshine…

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…and we clambered up the rocks to a small plunge pool, hoping to catch a glimpse…

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…and there we found them! Impossible to photograph for us, but shimmering just below the surface, gill to gill, flashing silver, pointy snouts pointed uniformly upstream, occasionally breaking ranks and flipping and swirling, only to reform en masse again, a wonderful multitude of migrating fishies!

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So fun to watch! And we, of course, were not the only ones watching! 🙂 All along the shallows, seagulls and raptors watched and waited 🙂

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Most spectacular of all, we watched an osprey perform its signature dive, rising high and plunging down…

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…to snatch a meal out of the river, neatly rearranging him nose-forward for a streamlined flight back to his nest!

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A beautiful day, a beautiful sight…I’m sure the fish don’t find anything spectacular about it, but what an amazing reminder for us humans of God’s unique provision, creating these incredible fish with the mysterious drive that sends them out to sea and calls them back home, without so much as a GPS to guide them 🙂

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And, as much as we are often grateful for this life we have, we also realized that we had come to take some things for granted…The kids, particularly, exhibited the symptoms, but of course, if they were demonstrating a symptom, it applied to our family as a whole…Little things, like expecting a cookie walk each morning…Expecting play-time each day…Disappearing in a free moment without permission to do something they wanted to do, instead of checking what work they still needed to do…Getting gripey with each other when playing with something that they should have simply been glad to have the chance to do…Little things that are important to address! And so, Joe and I prayed, and we were led to enter into a fast! It was a very cool fast – instead of addressing things one-by-one with correction and discipline, the Lord really got to the heart of it with a fast from treats. What is a treat? Anything that is above and beyond what you need…Well, you’d be amazed, when you fast from it, how very many things are treats in the course of a normal day! What an eye-opener! The somewhat obvious ones were food-treats, like cookies, or honey or sugar, or homemade soda, or any type of eating out…But what else? No free-time treats…It’s a privilege to play with toys. It’s privilege to have free reading time, since the only book you need is the Bible. It’s a privilege to ride your bike, or go climb trees, or watch a movie. And so, we determined to undertake this fast for a period of about one-week, or until we had completed a certain to-do list that Joe wanted to accomplish before his mom arrived for a visit on June 17th. We explained it all to the kids, and they took it very solemnly…And they participated in it very carefully! One would ask to do something and another would remind them, “No, don’t ask for that, that’s a treat, remember?” It was a little grumbly at moments…At times, it seemed uncertain if the lesson was sinking in…But in the course of just over a week, by the time we had completed our to-do list with a little time to spare, it really had been an excellent course-correction! I appreciate these moments, uncomfortable as they are in some ways, in which the Lord’s hand of discipline rests on us, reminding us that we are His children, and to strive under His direction to be holy as He is holy!

And so, as our labors came to completion, and our fast came to completion, the timing was just right to take a day off on Saturday and go visit Margaretta days, a historical craft fair in Machias…

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…on a hot, sunny day, when this bullfrog had just the right idea…

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…followed by an afternoon trip to Jasper Beach!

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Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. (Revelation 21:1, NIV)

I find that fascinating, thinking of a perfect world, made new, with no sea…With the sea as glorious as it is, and everything in the new world being exponentially more glorious than what we experience here, I am certainly excited to see what will replace it!

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In the meantime, we enjoy this one that we’ve got!

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And this was also our first venture into a new process…

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…making our own sea salt, haha!

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I mean, all it takes is seawater, and then heat! If it turns out to be easy to do, as it should, then we will be picking up our salt at the beach instead of the grocery store, I mean, why not?!

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I marveled, as usual, over little things like the remarkable structure of the air sacs in seaweed…

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…the endless variation of color and shape in beach cobbles…

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…and God’s original hot stone massage!

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Nest-building…

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Rock-throwing…

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Rock-breaking…

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Targeted rock-throwing…

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Sun-bathing…

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And polar-plunging!

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God’s got better plans in store for us than the sea-shore…

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Doesn’t that just blow your mind?!

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Asher’s Birthday (June 4th)

“Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday, dear Asher-bear! Happy birthday to you!”

On the morning of Asher’s 11th birthday, the kids all rose early, singing “Happy Birthday!”, and ready to get started on the big day! And then, they all took their pillows and blankets downstairs to make a snuggly spot for enjoying birthday festivities…And then, this is how I found them at 6:30 when I said to myself, “Gosh it’s quiet…What did they do, all go outside?!”

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When they woke up (again) and we sang “Happy Birthday!” (again), we sat down to Asher’s standard birthday breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast with hot chocolate! 

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“What should we do next, Asher?”

“Open presents!” Of course 🙂 So we all gathered around as the sweet birthday boy went to work…

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There was a watch from Mommy and Daddy, which Vivi carefully helped him put on…

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Vivi made Asher a book…

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Spencer made Asher a wooden puzzle…

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I made Asher a waxed canvas nature journal, and Daddy made him a box! Asher enjoys making arrowheads out of rocks, and this box replaces the shoebox that he’s been using to store his tools and materials 🙂

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What an upgrade!

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Rounded out with a lovely card and gift from Mimi, and Asher was one very surprised and happy little man!

For his big day, Asher requested a walk at a beach and a meal at the Pickled Wrinkle, where he likes to have a burger and play a game of pool 🙂 And so, we were out the door to Schoodic Point for a walk along the shore. Unlike last year, Asher’s birthday was cool and misty…

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…but that’s what rain jackets are for!

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It was really a beautiful day, and we enjoyed a wonderful ramble through a series of beaches…

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…clambering over rocks…

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…and across meadows…

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…ready to document anything wonderful…

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…gazing out across the waves…

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“What are you looking at, Spencer?”

“The sea gulls! They’re beautiful!”

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…There’s something for everyone at the shore! Bird-watching, nature-journaling, rock-breaking :)…

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…and, of course, being with the ones you love!

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Hmmm….where did that little girl get to this time?!

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Spencer and Vivi found a couple of “dens” under weather-beaten pines…This one is the large den. Vivi would start in her small den, and then say, “Okay, time to do some laundry!” Then she would go over to Spencer’s larger den, where they had plenty of room for an imaginary clothesline!

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They also found the absolute softest piles of moss to sit in, and invited everyone to come try them out! “Come here, you gotta try this! It’s soooo fluffy! Sit on it, sit on it!”

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And then, as the rain settled in for good, we settled in to the Pickled Wrinkle, with burgers for lunch, and that much-anticipated game of pool 🙂 What a big boy!

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Just look at that concentration!

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Back at home, the day wound down with a birthday pudding, topped with sugared violets, chocolate chips, and 11 candles, reminding me just what a big boy my little boy is turning into!

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As a final birthday request, we all snuggled up to watch a movie, and yet another birthday faded into bedtime…”Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday, dear Asher-bear! Happy birthday to you!”

Sunday Morning (June 3rd)

What mysterious shadow is this? Something strange, out in the forest, captured by the morning sunlight…

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….Aha! It’s the shadow of someone enjoying a hot cup of coffee, out under the trees, watching the birds come to the feeder, and the chipmunk stuff his cheek pouches, on a beautiful Sunday morning!

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We had quite a nice Sunday afternoon, enjoying the sunshine and taking a walk out around our property, visiting the vernal pools and the stream, in a vain search for gray tree frogs, who were all silent and hidden, despite their noisy choruses all week long! 

Still, there was a nice little den to curl up in…

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…and a sunny spot to sit and weave grasses…

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 …and a sweet Dwarf Dogwood flower that, upon close inspection, looks just like a little white birthday cake full of candles!

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…and speaking of birthdays…!!!

 

 

 

Sunny Days (June 2)

We’ve had a long string of sunny, warm days, reminiscent of mid-summer, stretching out from 4 am to 9 pm. Days are full of work in the farm, and full of visitors, too!

It’s such a treat to see hummingbirds up close! Three of the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds, the only hummingbird species that lives here in Maine, are regular visitors to our little feeder. There’s a juvenile male, and this little female, who is resting on the feeder during a short rain shower…Just look at that teeny water droplet on her forehead!

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…and a male, with his stunning ruby feathers flashing forth when the light is at the right angle!

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…and we’ve been so happy to see that the hummingbirds are visiting more than just our feeder! They buzz about the apple trees in the most delightful way, chasing each other, and going about their hummingbird business. Spencer even had the exciting experience of having one settle on a branch next to him while he was sitting still in the treetops!

(photo courtesy of Spencer)

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Apple blossom season is something I’ve already come to look forward to with great anticipation. While the leaves are still small and new, blossoms burst forth and cover the branches, in shades of delicate pink and white, filling the air with the scent of roses! There is nothing so delightful as standing beneath the arching branches of an apple tree, gazing up into the cloud of sunlit blossoms, listening to the happy, busy buzzing of thousands of bees, and taking deep breaths of rose-scented air! 

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It’ll put a smile on your face!

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As with so many things that are lovely in God’s creation, they are gone long before I have finished enjoying them, and I look forward to the day when, in their perfected form, they will last eternally!

The birds, of course, enjoy the apple blossoms at least as much as I do!

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We missed the Bohemian Waxwings earlier in the spring. Last year, they spent several days here, eating the previous year’s apples, but this year, there weren’t very many apples left on the trees, and so the waxwings passed right through in a single day…But, surprise! When the apples blossomed, the waxwings visited!

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It turns out, they seem to enjoy the blossoms as much as the apples, and we spent many happy moments watching them work their way among the treetops, chattering to one another and munching on blossoms!

And not only do they find the blossoms delicious, but they also seem to have a unique little family bonding ritual built around them! Joe and I watched it through binoculars, and the kids reported back some first-hand observations from their time spent in nearby treetops 🙂 It would seem that the waxwings have an apple blossom dance! Two waxwings would begin apart from each other on a branch. One would have an apple blossom petal in its beak. Then they would walk towards each other, mimicking steps and head movements. They would click beaks, exchange the petal, and repeat the dance a few times. How adorable! It just broke the kids up! It was so cute, and so funny, and the kids never tired of describing it and mimicking it themselves!

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It’s little experiences like this, the joy of my children observing and recognizing bonding behavior among waxwings, that reminds me just how special their upbringing is in this little place where the Lord has planted us!

Another treat, as season follows season, is getting to recognize new generations as they grow up around us. This juvenile Gray Jay visited the feeder one day, making a hilarious spectacle flapping and swinging, while the mama jay watched calmly from the ground nearby. 

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In the early spring, a male and female Gray Jay were regular visitors, and it’s a great privilege to see them leading their young out into the world!

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And, of course, it’s great fun watching some our favorite forest inhabitants undergo their annual transitions. The bright white bunny of just a few months ago is now woodland bronze, and just as fabulous!

(photo courtesy of Spencer)

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Frog season makes farmwork even more delightful…There you are, planting or seeding or weeding, and suddenly something hops in front of you!

Sometimes it’s a giant American Toad!

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Look at this guy – he’s two handfuls!

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Sometimes it’s a teeny American Toad! Can you believe it! He’s barely a thimble-ful!

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And teenier still, the tiny bugs that catch your eye and makes you look closer…A shimmering blend of pale-green and rose-gold, this little weevil is a leaf-muncher, but he munches on things that we’re willing to share, like alders and other hardwood trees and shrubs, and his numbers are small enough not to be overwhelming…So, luckily for him, I can admire him without having to smash him to save our veggies!

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And the dragonflies have returned, always a welcome sight because of their great beauty, and because they eat the things that bite us!

(photo courtesy of Spencer)

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Sparkling waters and green shores make a nice spot to take a break on a warm afternoon. We came to see if we could watch the alewives making their annual run…We couldn’t see the alewives in the high-tide river, but it was a great view anyway!

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From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised! (Psalm 113:3, ESV)