Beautiful (October 20)

So many changes arrive with the fall season…The leaves, of course, are a brilliantly obvious signal, but there’s more than that! The nights become cool, and the first sporadic overnight frosts begin, though still interrupted by short bouts of warm weather for a few days at a time drifting up on some southern breeze.

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The birds change. The many warblers and vireos of summertime have departed. The owls are beginning to return, with their hauntingly lovely night calls. The robins are flocking up and moving on, and the woodpeckers are fueling up…

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The rains, and “mud season”, have not yet set in, and our days remain a mix of clearing land, stacking firewood, and a little bit of farm preparation, like ordering seeds, final harvesting, and preparing beds for next year with loose soil and mulch. It’s kind of slow and quiet work, where you do much the same thing day after day, cutting, stacking, raking, wheel-barrowing, repeating, making gradual progress, and knowing that it’s absolutely foundational to the winter ahead and the spring beyond!

On a surprise side-project that developed out of a visit to a friend, we ended up harvesting some cattails, to try our hand later at weaving some rush-seats and baskets and such…

We had a beautiful sunny afternoon at a shallow pond, and the kids enjoyed themselves so much, that they did absolutely all of the harvesting!

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Splashing out into the shallows, amidst the dragonflies and mallard feathers and hopping frogs…

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…slicing the cattails off at the base near the water…

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…and bundling them off to stuff into the back of our truck!

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It was great fun! We spread them out to dry, strung them up in bundles, and hung them under our eaves for a later day 🙂

One Sunday, we enjoyed a little exploration northwards, wandering up the Canadian border to Cobscook State Park…

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…for a misty morning at the shore! What I enjoy about a foggy day is the way that certain colors, like these sea grasses, stand out more brilliant than ever while other colors, like the water, are dim and subdued, shifting gently below the pale sky…

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It’s a great view, no matter the weather!

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And not far away, at the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, we enjoyed a forest hike through the fall foliage!

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Though the day did brighten…

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It never exactly cleared up, but was no less enjoyable!

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It was very quiet out, no rustlings and scoldings of squirrels, no birdsong, no hints of little creatures moving about, and certainly no moose, though I was hopeful! But, there were some astonishingly beautiful insects to behold, like this shiny wasp, with its unique tail, curling and uncurling in a crisp pentagon…

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This little caterpillar, with his striking coloring, seems a standout…

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…until you see him on his preferred autumn maple leaves, where he’s practically inconspicuous!

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And as we reached our half-way point, and enjoyed some lunchtime snacks, a little rain began, and hastened our steps back to the truck!

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So this is what an autumn hike in the rain looks like…

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Not too bad! A little damp, but quite satisfied, we returned to our humble home, where the squirrels rustled and scolded, the birds chattered, and the fall colors also glowed…

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…where the violets sparkled after a fall shower…

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…and the fall ladybugs buzzed about…

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 …where some trees are already bare…

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…and the sunsets blaze…

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…where days outside lead to evenings nodding off while Daddy reads…

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…and where another week of clearing land and stacking firewood, of farm preparation and fall sowing, earned a scoop of ice cream, and life had never been sweeter!

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Autumn Days (September 30)

Autumn days are here, no mistake…The proof, of course, is in the trees!

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It’s also in the sun which, though still often sparkling and bright, has taken on that unmistakable shift away from summer…

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And, it’s in the breeze, which has the delightful crispness that mixes perfectly with warm sunshine, and carries on its currents the blue-fluff-flies that remind me that it was just this time last year that we first began to get to know this property!

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A delicious breeze always makes me think of my Father in Heaven…I can’t see the wind, but He knows exactly where it’s coming from, exactly where it’s going to, and there is both comfort and amazement in that!

For behold, He who forms the mountains and creates the wind and declares to man what are his thoughts, He who makes dawn into darkness and treads on the high places of the earth, the Lord God of Hosts is His name. (Amos 4:13, NASB)

The asters are buzzing with fuzzy little bees, making their last preparations of the season, taking advantage of every warm day to build up their stores.

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They are mild-mannered types that the children love to pet…

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And sometimes even hold! (But watch out, because an accidental bump against the rear end will send you on a bee-line for an ice pack!)

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Our work has settled into a pretty steady rhythm of land-clearing, pulling and piling brush…

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…carting if off to the brush pile in the wheelbarrow, which may or may not serve as an impromptu nest for a little woodland mouse along the way…

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…trimming branches and deadwood and piling them up in the woodpile (unless they are being used for the tee-pee!). It’s great fun getting an area cleared out, open for next year’s planting and this year’s playing…

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There are still little bits of late crops developing, and so it actually looks like we might be eating at least one wee pickle from our own garden this year, lol!

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And there are always odds-and-ends of side projects to tinker with, like using last winter’s ashes to make lye for soap!

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Golden days in the garden, as the season’s winding down…

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…sunny Sunday mornings, barefoot in the trees…

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…and little woodland strolls, before the creatures sleep for winter… 

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…that’s what autumn days are made of!

Oh, Just the Usual! (September 22)

The days are turning to autumn, and life around the Michalski house looks something like…

Early mornings, hitting the books…

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…or the workshop!

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Sunshiny days, with late flowers in bloom…

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,,,while laundry goes out on the line!

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And days outside, at the front of our property, clearing the land of bushy undergrowth, limbing trees, stacking firewood, preparing for this winter and next spring in the same methodical effort that will march us slowly around the front section of our land until the firewood pile is full and the weather is too cold for clearing. It’s a long-term project, not quite like the full-tilt-foundation effort, and the get-it-done-and-covered-septic effort, more of a transition into a way of life that will simply become normal, tending and maintaining the land that will be providing more and more food for us over time. 

And, since we raked up all of the many-years’-accumulation of maple leaves, we had an opportunity to start early on the classic autumn tradition…

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…jumping into a pile of leaves!

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Doesn’t get much better than that!

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We took advantage of a rising storm system to go out and explore a “high-surf” day at the beach, and although the surf wasn’t actually all that high…

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…it’s never a bad place to go for a stroll!

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And we did find an unusual little something-or-other washed up by the surf…A green sponge, I think?

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“What do you guys think it is?”

Vivi: “I don’t know.”

Asher: “Can we keep it?”

Spencer: “Look! It squirts when you squish it!” 

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And so, the stranded sea sponge made its way home with us, for further investigation at a later date (after a long airing-out period outside!)

And, yep, that’s just the usual around the Michalski house 🙂

The Little Things (September 12)

Well, we did it! We finished re-installing and covering the entire septic system! As an added bonus, we now have a lovely flat space to expand our wildflower garden and enjoy a little mini-bocce court 🙂

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Also, for the first time since we’ve owned the property, all piles of debris have been removed from the front of the premises! *sigh of contentment*

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It really strikes me what a blessing it is to have the ability to do this work. It is now coming up on two years since I left my job in Bellingham, in preparation for the next steps that the Lord had planned for us. It has been almost one year since we moved into this little house. In that time, we have spent nearly all of our time, with the exception of my one seasonal job for a few months last year, together as a family, working only on what the Lord had planned for us each day. And here we still are, still living each day in His providence, still doing the work He has planned for us each day, and still finding all that we need and more than we expect!

The little things are always a real treat, the little things that catch your eye when you’re hanging laundry on the line, or pulling weeds in the garden, or moving rocks from one place to another…

Little, funny, slow-moving creatures on the wildflowers…”I’ve got my eye on you!” 

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“Up! and down. Up! and down.” This poor little guy was so tiny that he had to climb up and down over the hairs on the stem of a flower. But, I noticed he had a nice happy face painted on his shell!

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Little, sweet, night-time creatures snoozing underneath a planter full of mint (which was promptly replaced to restore him to snooze-time!)…

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Little, cute, hopping creatures, springing out from beneath approaching footsteps…

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Little, fast, buzzing creatures, shining in the sunlight…

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…but sometimes, not buzzing away quite fast enough…

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…but still shining in the sunlight in chubby-but-careful little mitts! (No dragonflies were harmed in the taking of this picture.)

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Little things like discovering that the little yellow clover growing in your pathway is an oxalis variety…

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…also called woodsorrel…

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…and it’s edible…

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…and it tastes yummy, like a little lemondrop! Mmmmmmm…. 🙂

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Little things like climbing trees in bare feet…

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…and taking morning walks, armed with a cookie, a cup of joe, binoculars, a walking stick, and a slingshot…What else?

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Mmmmmm….Nothing goes better with morning bird-watching than hot coffee!

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And little things like sand-between-your-toes from a late summer afternoon at the beach…About this time last year we were exploring these same beaches as well, for the first time!

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A surprise 80-degree day made for a great opportunity to finish up work early and head to the shore.

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The tide was all the way in, so the beach was narrow and the water was shallow…

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…the sunflowers were blooming…

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…and the adorable little Semipalmated Plovers and Semipalmated Sandpipers were visiting our coastline during their annual migration!

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These are the adorable little Plovers and Pipers, scouring the beach and running away from the waves…

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These are my adorable little children, slowly sneaking up on the adorable little Plovers and Pipers…

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And this is the inevitable result, despite their very best efforts!

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I feel a little bit bad disturbing them, but it’s so beautiful to watch them flash and whirl across the water and re-settle farther down the beach! They don’t seem to mind too much 🙂

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All in all, it was, as always, a splashing good time…

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“Time to turn around, Vivi! You’re heading out to sea!”

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Time to head back home to all those little things we’ve got to look forward to!

…And Filling It In (August 31)

That’s one thing about holes…When you dig them, you usually have to fill them back in with something! And so, our project continues…

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We have installed and leveled all the pipes, and we’re filling in all the gravel now. It takes a long time, but the Lord has a lovely way of inter-weaving projects…See, when we dug out the leach field, we had to remove so much dirt and clay that we needed more gravel to fill it back in. Happily, the mobile home sat on a foundation of gravel, and since we demolished it, we had access to that area. Also, it just so happens that we have planned to build a garage in part of that footprint one day, and so we would need to dig it out to pour a foundation…So, right now, to get the gravel to fill in the hole we just dug, we are digging a new hole that will someday be a garage!  It definitely eases the labor of shoveling rock when you know that you are accomplishing two things at once!

And so, the late summer days continue to roll out around us…The air is scented with apples, the sun is warm, the shade is cool, and the breezes are refreshing! And of course, it’s not all shoveling all the time, and though we work diligently, we still have plenty of opportunities for other things as well! During the hottest part of the day, we sometimes take a break for apple harvesting and cider-making…and one day, we had the privilege of working around a visitor!

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We were quite happy to see this little porcupine. He doesn’t quite look like our regular winter guest, who was much larger, but he is very cute and plump and glossy, and a delight to watch! Though he is very relaxed, he doesn’t miss a thing with those sparkling black eyes, tracking every movement, and his adorable little nose twitching continuously in our direction.  

School Picture Day also arrived at the Michalski Schoolhouse! We haven’t had one since we were in Bellingham, and I was delighted to be able to do the whole photo shoot right on our own property!  So Joe packed up the camera and tripod, and we went from location to location, from wildflowers to ferns to mosses to cedars, for student-shots and teacher-shots and whole-classroom-shots! And this time Spencer took his camera along as well, so we got to see ourselves through his eyes…

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…and see what happens when three kiddos goof off between shots with the “mirror image” setting!

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As usual, I had many favorites, and was happy not to have to settle for just one!  

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And, though they are 10, 8, and 5, all three kids still find the simplest of enjoyment in a cardboard shipping box! Spencer and Vivi particularly enjoy taking in blankets, books, and lights for a “cozy reading time…”

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But, can all three kids fit? Yes, yes they can! Spencer is in the middle holding an iPad so that they can all watch a movie together 🙂

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One Sunday, we took a nature walk right on our own property! We started off following a White Admiral butterfly through the wildflowers and under the apple trees…They must really enjoy the boost of energy from all the downed apples this time of year!

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They move so fast that I had rarely been close enough to see the beautiful blue and orange markings, and never before close enough to appreciate all of the shimmering scales!

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We wandered out to the Meeting Tree and made our way around The Pond (now almost completely dried up, waiting for the fall rains), spotting a few frogs and a garter snake, and then crossed the driveway into the forest. We watched one of our busy little chipmunks, always delightful…

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And then, we spotted a robin fledgling! This was the same family of birds that we watched in the nest while we worked on the septic system, a mama and two little ones, now out in the forest, beginning to learn how to fly and hunt…In the cover of the trees, the two little fledglings waited, each on their own branch in different trees, very still, as their mother gathered food and brought it back to each in turn. She even swooped very near me, calling along the way, a dedicated mama, luring me away from her sweet babies!

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And then, this turned out to be one of those days…On any given day, there are a few birds that we regularly see. Right now, we usually see Robins, Red-Breasted Nuthatches, and Chipping Sparrows…But on some days, the sun is shining and the air is warm and the conditions are just right, and all of the bird world seems to flutter into activity! We wandered slowly around the edge of the forest, watching small groups of birds calling and flittering and chasing and hunting and eating and swooping, many of them with juveniles, and many of them that we hadn’t seen since the last magical Bird Day!

A group of Nashville Warblers were a completely new sight to us…

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… and the Blackburnian Warblers were out with this sweet little juvenile, the pale gray streaks on his head marking the beginnings of where his striking black feathers will soon fill in.

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The Red-Eyed Vireos, which we rarely see, were out in a crowd, hunting and pecking from branch to branch…

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and so were the Black and White Warblers, working their way up and down the trunks right in front of us!

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Yep, it was just one of those days!

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And, with the summer days already trailing off into cooler fall temperatures, Joe picked the warmest day forecasted for the rest of the year, and we went for a visit to Sand Beach at Acadia National Park. It was a beautiful morning, sunny and warm with turquoise waters, and we enjoyed what may very well be a last dip in the ocean for the year!

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The ocean was, of course…still cold! 

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But very fun, and so clear, and the sand was so sparkly, and there were all kinds of little treasures on the shore, tiny shells and sand dollars and sea glass…And then, Asher spotted the remains of a small Lions Mane Jelly that happened to be washing up on shore, as well. It was only the top section, without any of the mass of long tentacles, but we still kept our distance as we admired the amazing colors and patterns. I’ve never actually seen one of these, though they are not uncommon on the Northeast coast, and I was really amazed by the red and orange patterns, like blown glass, so vibrant…It must be quite a sight to come across one in the full force of health in a blue ocean!

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And so, that’s life, out on the Michalski homestead…Digging holes, moving dirt, shoveling gravel, watching birds, picking apples, making cider, hanging out at the beach, and smiling for the camera!

 

 

 

Digging a Hole (August 20)

So, this week, we dug a great big hole. It took the entire week, and all hands on deck, but it’s done!

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I had thought that our dirty jobs were behind us, but there was this one more dirty job to complete, one more time to crinkle up my nose and press on, one more pair of work gloves to replace 🙂 It was dirty work and it was very physically demanding, scraping out shovels of dirt, clay, and gravel, with rocks often so large that only Joe could lift them…The kids typically helped dig on the morning shift, and switched over to apple-picking in the afternoon. It was a welcome refreshment to have a fresh cup of cider delivered to a sweaty afternoon-shoveling crew! One afternoon, they even finished up all their cider making and made us a “Congratulations on your work day!” party! They cleaned the house, hung signs, poured cider, put on some dance music, and shouted “Surprise!” when we came in. Oh happy-end-of-workday!

Another welcome diversion was the robin’s nest overhead of our work zone…The babies hatched early in the week, and all day long, we could watch the mama hunt for food, listen as she called to her hatchlings upon her return, and watch her reward their answering peeps with yummy treats!

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It never gets old, seeing those enormous mouths stretching up for food!

We unraveled most of the mystery of this failed leach field as we excavated. We found the remnants of the pipes, one section crushed under large rocks, another section completely filled with roots, and all of it cracked and splintered and filled with dirt and roots, probably because it had been a parking area for many years, and certainly because no barrier had been installed to protect the gravel below from the dirt filtering down from above. We removed all of the old material, sifted and separated dirt and rocks into separate piles, and ordered our new piping and cover material. Next week, the re-installation will begin!

And as the cider has settled, we bottled it off and put it on the shelf to see if it would carbonate…

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…and it got bubbly!

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More bubbly than I expected, actually! After a couple of days, I thought I had better “burp” one of the bottles, and it erupted champagne-like right out the top and onto the floor! It was such a surprise to see it work so well! So, we had a good laugh, lost a little cider, scrubbed up the floor nicely, and now I’m much more careful with my “burping.” And the bubbly cider, chilled in the freezer, is absolutely delicious!

And amazingly, the kids are still at it! They harvest, they chop, they juice, I make applesauce, and the apples keep coming, and the kids keep asking for more harvesting time!

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But it’s not all shoveling and cider-making around here…Inspired by a PBS special called “Rare: Creatures of the Photo Ark”, the kids have set out to create a photo-ark of their own…Armed with their camera, a small plastic storage box, a white cloth, and a black cloth, they collect our little local creatures one-by-one, and set up a photo shoot!

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The results so far have been really adorable, sometimes surprising, like how I had never fully appreciated the camouflage properties of our sweet little toads…

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…and it’s fun to hear their excitement…”I really tried to get a close-up of the eyes, Mom! You can see, like, their whole little personality in their eyes!”

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And how about that shimmering skin, usually hidden beneath a layer of the moist dirt and leaves where they burrow, but on striking display in this salamander-portrait!

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And who could ever get tired of gazing into the eyes of the little froggies? 🙂

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Along with the apples, the blossoming goldenrod is an icon of the late summer days…

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…as is the return of more frequent rain showers after a couple of dry months!

(photos courtesy of Asher)

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And so, what is the moral of the story of this week…? I guess I’d have to say, a week spent digging a hole is better than a week spent digging yourself out of one!

When Life Gives you Apples (August 12)

When life gives you apples, you make apple cider!

Oh my goodness, the joy and wonder of picking apples! The trees are heavy with them, sunny days bringing more and more ripening, reddening apples, and the kids love to harvest them! The boys climb high in the branches, and Vivi scours for low-hanging fruit…

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Of course, it’s much quicker to pick the apples than it is to make the apple cider! Each tasty apple is pretty small, and so the amount of time it takes to wash, slice, core, and remove the bad spots is pretty significant…Happily, the kids are now old enough to form an assembly line, and so, while Joe and I work outside, our automatic-cider-processing-machine is humming along inside!

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The cider is incredibly delicious, fresh out of the juicer, or popped into the freezer until it is refreshingly chilled, or happy-accidentally-forgotton-about in the freezer until it becomes a decadent cider-slushee!

Outside, the wood pile has begun, yay! We finished leveling a large, flat area, ready to store 10 cords of firewood, and soon we’ll be making our way through the forest, filling it up!

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However, that project is on hold, as something more important has bubbled to the surface, quite literally. Turns out, our septic system leach-field experienced a failure sometime in the far distant past, and over the course of almost a year now, we have filled up the tank enough to discover that it’s not properly draining! It was not a very pleasant discovery, but it is manageable, and I am so grateful for the Lord’s planning and provision that He revealed this to us exactly when we could work on it, and well before winter when it would have become a real disaster! Praise Him for His perfect timing! And so, since the Lord directs us to work with our hands whenever we can, we will be digging out and repairing and improving the leach-field. Armed with our shovels and wheelbarrow and sifter, we’ll be digging out a very large pit, pulling out the old broken pipes, removing clay and dirt, installing a new pipe-system, back-filling with gravel, installing septic-guard fabric, and then topping with a layer of dirt for an expanded wildflower field 🙂 

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This job will not exactly be a bed of roses, but will be another great comfort to complete, once-for-all, fixing it up the right way for many years to come!

The very first hints of fall are in the air, as a chill morning dew set everything to sparkling in almost-frost-like splendor!

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But still, new blossoms are appearing, summertime coreopsis…

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…plenty of cosmos, and lovely little forget-me-nots…

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…and late violets! These little beauties grow only-more-amazing the closer you get!

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Springtime babies are growing up a bit, filling out nicely in their journey to grow into a properly plump little Robin-Redbreast before winter’s chill…

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…or to fuel up for winter hibernation, dreaming of emerging in the spring as a lovely Black Zigzag Moth!

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One night, as we were gathered for dinner time, Vivi was distressed over having bad thoughts. She said, “I keep trying not to think ‘worst’, but it keeps always coming in my head!” It was really upsetting her. So, I started explaining to her that we can’t control all of our thoughts, and that the bad ones can come into our heads from the enemy, even when we don’t choose them…You don’t have to be upset, because it’s not your fault, it’s just what he does, and he’s always doing it. But when a thought like that comes, what you have to do is choose to have a thought about the Lord. So, I was asking her if she could think of a favorite Bible story, or if she could tell me her memory verse, or a favorite song, or if she could just repeat, “I love you, God, I love you, God.” Then Spencer pipes up, “Whenever I have bad thoughts, I think about John’s vision of the kingdom of God! (from Revelation) I usually think about God and Jesus on their thrones and the Holy Spirit standing in front, ready to do the Lord’s will,” and he smiled a big smile. Amen, brother! Then, Asher, my little analytical man, adds, “Sometimes, the enemy tries to tell me God’s not real. But I just point out all the facts that it’s obvious that God’s real, like how God creating everything makes so much more sense than evolution, and how the Bible was given by God, and all the time they discover things that prove the facts in the Bible are true.” Oh my goodness, the joy in my heart to have my little ones learning the difference between the truth of God and the lies of enemy, and what to do about it!

I guess that’s what late summer’s all about – picking apples, making cider, stacking firewood, digging holes, watching the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees, and growing in the knowledge and love and understanding of the Lord!

A Job Well Done (August 6)

And in celebration of a job well-done…a week of steady work, of shoveling and sifting and wheel-barrowing and stump removal and weeding and raking, a week when we asked the kids to work calmly and cheerfully, not to rush, but to be kind and loving to one another, grateful for the chance to do good, honest work for the Lord, a week when lunch was often late, mornings were early, and evenings were dirty and dusty and sweaty, when hot showers were greatly-welcomed and dinner was the last thing standing between tired kiddos and soft pillows, a week when the promise of breakfast at Helen’s if they met their goal had been hanging in the balance…in celebration of such a week a congratulations-outing was in order!

We began at Helen’s, where everyone enjoyed their favorite meals, and the satisfaction of working together to achieve a reward…Vivi: two chocolate chip pancakes…Spencer: french toast with scrambled eggs, sausage, and bacon…Asher: the meat lover’s omelette with white toast…And, with full bellies, we decided to go and see what the ocean was doing!

At Fort O’Brien State Historic Site, the water was silvery under cloudy skies…

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But there were green hills to run on…

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And berries to pick!

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A little farther down the road at Jasper Beach, the sun was shining…

(photo courtesy of Asher)

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(photos courtesy of Genevieve)

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The water was sparkling…

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The waves were mesmerizing…

(photos courtesy of Asher)

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The toes were wiggling…

(photos courtesy of Genevieve)

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And the raspberry pie was delicious! (But that’s not at the beach, you have to bring your own :))

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Way to go, kiddos!

Foundations (July 30)

As I sit in the summer sun, looking out over a few bright wildflowers and a wide expanse of shady forest, I am…

Tired…and…Content…and…Grateful!

Tired because pouring a footing is hard work, lol! We had thought that this work would unfold a little bit at a time, since we couldn’t work in wet weather, and since we would have to wait for one section to dry before continuing on to the next…Buuuuuuut, we’ve had a two-week stretch of warm, dry weather, which has allowed each section to cure overnight, and we’ve been able to continue working every day!

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It’s been quite a process. First, dig a 2-foot-deep trench and install the forms for a 9-foot section. Then, wheel 160 lbs. of concrete over to the work area, add water, mix, shovel it into the forms, and pack it tight by hand. Repeat, 160 lbs. at a time, until the section is filled. Once dry, patch any gaps, then do a final coat of mortar along the seam. Finally, staple a layer of plastic wrap to the baseboard, place the sheet of insulation against the footing and foundation, pack dry concrete under the foam board to level it, and then back-fill the trench and rake it smooth, sloping away from the house. We figured out that we’ve transported over 4 tons of concrete over the course of this project. It’s been awesome! But tiring!

Content because it’s Sunday, a day of rest, and as always on this seventh day, I am relaxing and enjoying a beautiful view with my loving family, soaking up the peaceful feeling of another week of work behind, and a week of work ahead that’s not quite here yet 🙂

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Grateful because, as He always does, the Lord has continued to bring spiritual truths to bear in the midst of physical efforts! As we’ve worked on our home’s foundation, and as we’ve taught the children their homeschool lessons on the importance of foundations in our buildings and in our souls, the Lord has continued to work on my foundation as well! For example, as the weeks pass, I survey our small and struggling plants…They’ve had poor soil and dry days, and it continues to look like we will harvest very little this year. So what do I say about this un-harvest? I say, with great thanks, the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord! Every day that we’ve spent in this house, I can honestly say that we have done what the Lord has led us to do. Each day, each week, each task, each project, we have prayed about and completed in obedience to the Lord, when it made sense to us and even-more-so when it didn’t exactly make sense yet! Now, after having obeyed in planting, I see little fruit coming to bear…and, naturally, it makes me reflect on much more than just gardening, on relationships and interactions, times when I’ve said something or done something at the Lord’s leading only to face rejection or disinterest or nothing at all…times when I’ve planted in obedience, and seen little fruit coming to bear. And so it fills me with hope! Because, what more could I wish for than to ask the question, “Did I obey?”, and answer, truthfully, “Yes!” Will I follow the Lord’s will only when I receive tangible results? Only when it bears visible fruit? Or will I follow the Lord’s will at all times, in all circumstances, regardless of what my eyes tell me about the results, trusting in His perfect plan that, thankfully, requires nothing more of me than to love and obey Him? And so, in a season of planting, without any fruit bearing, I say “Amen!”, and I will hope in You, Lord, and in the perfection of Your plans, all the more! I like foundation work 🙂

These summer days, working on the land and working on the foundation, have been long days of outside work, in the fresh air and sunshine, focused on some physically demanding tasks, but surrounded by the trees and the flowers and the squirrels and the birds and the bees, a truly delightful work environment!

I wish that I could take a picture of the way that warm sunshine feels on cool shoulders, or the way that cool breezes feel on warm foreheads…

I wish I could take a picture of the bright music of the birds singing good morning to the Lord, or the peaceful evening melodies as they wish Him a good night…

I wish I could take a picture of that sweet, flowery scent that drifts into the kitchen window on a sunny afternoon, or the spicy balsam fir smell that welcomes a step into the forest…

I wish I could take a picture of the excitement in voices that cry out, “Look at this, look at this!”, whether it’s a ripe pea-on-the-vine, or a butterfly in the garden, or an apple branch that is the perfect shape for making a bow, or a salamander guarding her eggs…

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But I can’t! So many little joys of daily life just can’t be captured in a picture…but, happily, some can!

Busy bees…

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Happy toads…

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Tiny shining creatures…

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Growing things…

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And things in full bloom…

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Climbing trees…

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And quiet morning snuggles…

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And so, tired and content and grateful, I look forward to each new day full of the many things that can be captured in pictures, and the many-more things that can’t!

Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not…