Tuesday, October 6, 2015

My Watermelon Farmer

 My son Aaron loves watermelons! When we are grocery shopping that would be nearly the only thing he would be likely to ask me to buy. I am not quick to buy watermelons however as most we see are not organic and so they tend to soak up toxins and not have a ton of good in them for you so when we do happen to get one or somebody else serves him one he gets pretty excited.

  Because of his love for watermelons Aaron decided to grow some this year. I had a couple of different types of seeds for hardy watermelons (I remember one was MN midget) and I gave him his own spot in the garden to plant them in. He planted them, watched carefully for them, watered them (though nothing else in the garden got watered) and waited excitedly for the day that they would be ready.
 His impatience did cause for a couple of unripe watermelons being cut into. The thing is there had been this little bitty watermelon that was ripe and had split open so then Aaron figured that surely the bigger ones would be ripe - they made a good hollow thumping sound too - but alas, they weren't. They didn't taste that bad though so part of it was eaten anyway.

  He picked those two unripe ones and then declared that no more would be picked until frost (though he did break that for his Dad's birthday on October 1st and that watermelon was good). We have had some chilly nights but no killing frost yet. Tonight looks like it possibly could be the night so Aaron picked his watermelon - all of them. I have a counter full.

We ate a lovely watermelon for supper tonight. Aaron has dutifully been saving seeds from his ripe melons and hopes to have a very large crop next year.

 He has decided to get full use out of them we had better try making watermelon rind pickles so that is on the agenda for tomorrow. I have never made them before but I remember liking them when they were brought to potlucks when I was a child.
This is a picture from earlier in the season. The watermelons are so cute.

 So you have any uses for watermelons beyond the normal eating of them? I would love to hear. Also I imagine we do have more unripe ones among the ones he picked - does anybody have any suggestions for using them?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Planting Trees

Our property is very wooded though we did have to cut down quite a few trees last year to make room for a driveway and building the house but there were still a few places that we wanted more trees. Ken loves the Balsam trees and so we wanted to plant some of those.
   Some friends from church have a place where there were a bunch of trees that were all crowded together to we went and dug a bunch of them out.
  We had a lovely trailer full of them.
Then we came home and planted a bunch. They look so cute along our property line. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Instructing a Child's Heart

I found this encouraging and I thought you all might as well. May we always seek God and His Truth and then share that with our children.

A Visit to My Sister's Place- An Example of Gardening on a Little Lot in a Big City

 A couple of weeks ago Ken had some continuing education (for his Insurance business) down in the cities and so the rest of us went along too and had fun hanging out with my sister Anna and her family.

   My kids have decided that they really like taking instruments along on trips as it can make the miles pass much more quickly if you can play while you drive. Sometimes it can get a little loud and sometimes we did request a break from the music but I think it is pretty fun that they love music the way that they do. The instruments got used quite a bit while we were down there too. Their kids pulled out their instruments as well and there were several jam sessions. We are far from professional musicians yet but practice is the only way to get better and they do enjoy doing that.

We actually added another instrument to our collection while we were down there too. Travis (my brother-in-law) took us to a pawn shop down there where we were able to find a nice Trek bike for Aaron and a guitar as well. The bike was in very nice condition but did have a loose brake and maybe another little thing or two. Travis was able to quickly get it in good condition for us and I was very happy about that find as Aaron had grown out of his bike and I didn't like it that we didn't have good bikes for everybody in our family to ride.

  While down at my sister's I was impressed as always at their ability to garden, heat with wood and stuff like that in the midst of a big city. I love the "simple life" but I live in the country with the space to do it. But even if you live in the city on a small lot or even in an apartment there are ways to garden and practice other "self-sufficient" methods. Here are some of the things they do:

This year they started something new at their church and that was having a community garden which people from the congregation as well as others from the community could get plots in and grow food for themselves. Travis and Anna arranged for a farmer friend to till it up and I believe Anna was in charge of finding out who wanted to have plots and so forth. It was a successful endeavor.

 Went we went to church on Wednesday night we headed out to the garden ahead of time and I helped Anna pick a bunch of beans from her garden there. She also had okra and other things producing. We visited with another lady who had just picked a bunch of eggplant.
 I found it neat that not only did their church have this community garden but I also passed another church building right in the downtown area that had turned a large portion of their yard into a community garden and then I saw another community garden in a park that we passed. So if you live in a small space you could check into have a spot in a community garden.

Anna has also very much gardened the small area around their house. Here is a little photo tour.
 The front flower beds are no longer just decorative - they now also hold swiss chard, kale, herbs and the like.
 On this side there are beans planted that get to grow up and all over the porch rails. I was able to pick a nice big bowlful off of them while I was there. Carrots are planted down below the beans. All along all the sides of their house she had both decorative and edible plants (some veggies and some herbs) planted together.
 Shortly after they moved here, around 10 years ago, they planted a couple of apple trees in the front yard and they are both producing now. One of them bore very well and Anna canned a bunch of applesauce from it.
 This photo shows the grape vine on one side of their porch (and they were producing nicely) and then beyond that a bunch of Echinaccia.
 Here is the "main" garden in the back of the house. She has tomatoes, peppers and more back here.
In their little back-yard they have managed to include a couple of compost bins (one is the black thing in the middle of the picture), a clothes line (which she used regularly), a water barrel that catches the rain water off of the garage roof and which she uses to water her plants and a swing-set that also serves as a grape vine trellis.

Behind their garage they have a lot of wood stacked which they use to heat their home. They get their wood free by cutting down trees that people are wanting to get out of their yards. It is a win-win situation as they get the wood free (the just have to do the working of cutting up and hauling) and the other people get the tree gone that they want gone without having to pay someone to do it.

   Though I am still very glad we don't live in the city it is fun to see how people can live my style of life-style there too.  People in St. Paul can also keep bees if they want. I have heard of some people in crowded areas building a high platform to keep their bees on. I think that is pretty neat.  My sister and family don't really have room for bees though since they do need some spaces for kids to play too.

 Do you live in the city or country? Do you garden where you are?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Why I Believe Our Family Should Homeschool

There are many issues that are not black and white issues as to how everybody should do something or another. There are many principles that are in the Bible that will convict different people in different ways. This is true of Homeschooling. The Bible never says "Thou Shall Homeschool" nor many other things that people believe strongly about in the raising of their children. But that does not stop the Bible from convicting me that what I am supposed to do in the case of my children is homeschool them.

   Here is what causes me to be convicted of that. Perhaps you will agree and have the same conviction for your family but perhaps it will cause you to go in a different direction. I understand that. My prayer is simply that you will seek God's will in the way you raise your children.

  The Bible tells us various places that Children need to obey their parents and that we as parents are responsible for training and discipline their children. Here are some verses on that:

"Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your Father and Mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:1-4

"Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk be the way and when you lie down and when you rise up." Deut. 6:5-7

The reason that this causes me to homeschool is that we have more time to work on these things. If me children were to go off to public school they would be gone for the majority of their waking hours and definitely their most alert hours. Our time to train and instruct them would be quite limited. Also These verses speak of training them in the ways of the Lord - this is something that the public school teaches the opposite off much of the time and so I don't want to have to re-teach and re-train my children after they have been taught in-correctly.

  Another reason I am strongly convicted to homeschool my children is because I want them to Love God and know Truth first of all. This is not what the public school teaches.

Psalm 119:160 says: "The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting."

God's word is where truth is found and the Bible is allowed to be taught out of in public schools so our children would not be able to study God's truth while they are in school. I want the Bible to be a large part of my children's life and their studies and so I homeschool them so that can happen.

There are many other Biblical principles that also guide me in making that decision but I will leave it at this for now.

  What verses have you found that guide you as you raise your children and make decisions about their upbringing?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Home Sweet Home - Ken's Office

 So I had said that I would give you tours of each room as it got finished - well life got busy and that didn't happen so well. There are a few places that aren't ready for tours as they had some finishing work that still needs to be done (a built in desk, built in shelves and cushions covered for our window seat and things like that we are hoping to get done this winter) but for the most part the house is done I just haven't given my room tours as I said I would.

 Ken's office is one of the smallest and simplest rooms in our house so it was also one of the first ones to be complete.

 Ken had made this desk set when we lived in Wichita, KS and it has taken many moves with us. He designed the room to fit his set but being a little nervous that somehow it would end up to tight he made it a couple of inches too big. Well it is a couple of inches too big. Oh well - it still works great!
 Ken thought it would be fun to have a two tone room with a woodsy wallpaper border. He chose this very pretty one of cabins on a river and I had fun putting it up.

  The floors are wood in here as they are throughout the majority of our house.

Ken uses this office everyday as he takes care of our finances/book work, does my business book work, works on things in his role as chair of our county's Republican party, does some of his work for his insurance agency at home along with other random things. My husband is a pretty busy guy and have a nice organized place to work in is important to him.


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