Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Hymn for Sunday

We Plow the Fields and Scatter
Words: Matthais Claudius, 1782
Tr. by: Jane M. Campbell, 1861
Music: Johann A.P. Schulz, 1800

We plow the fields and scatter the good seed on the land,
But it is fed and watered by God's almighty hand;
He sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain,
The breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain.
All good gifts around us Are sent from heav'n above;
Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord For all His love.

He only is the Maker of all things near and far;
He paints the wayside flower, He lights the evening star;
The winds and waves obey him, by Him the birds are fed;
Much more to us His children, He gives our daily bread.

All good gifts around us are sent from heav'n above;
Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord for all His love.

We thank Thee, then, O Father, for all things bright and good,
The seed-time and the harvest, our life, our health, our food;
Accept the gifts we offer, for all thy love imparts,
And, what Thou most desirest, our humble, thankful hearts.

All good things around us are sent from heav'n above;
Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord for all His love.

You can hear the music here.
If you have time, and desire to hear a wonderful partial version of this hymn visit here; you will need to scroll down to #21 and click to listen to it. Keep in mind that it is only a partial clip.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Our Thanksgiving

I've been thinking of some of the things that I am thankful for this year. What immediately comes to mind is the work that the Lord has done in my heart over the past ten years. He began a work that turned me completely around, gave me new purpose in life, and changed the way I think. How thankful I am for a kind loving Lord who can work a miracle in peoples' heart!
I'm also thankful for the family that the Lord has given me (what would I do without them?), the ability to garden and tend to the plants that He created, friends-new and old, music to praise the Lord through and bless those listening, the ability to work, the people at our church, and so much more. I have so much to be thankful for!

One of the things that I so enjoyed about this Thanksgiving was the opportunity to work with my Mom on our feast!

"Roll & Pat"
We began preparing our Thanksgiving meal on Wednesday so that we would have more time to enjoy everyone the following day. After a busy day of cleaning, working on small projects, and general household duties, Momma and I entered the kitchen around five o'clock to begin "feast preparations". This is not normal as we like to spread the cooking out over the afternoon.

While Sawyer and I worked on the pies, Momma put together the stuffing, mixed up the wild rice dressing, and got the rolls started. How she managed to do all that is beyond me! Sayre was our extra special helper as he cleaned onions, wiped down counters, washed dishes, and did other "scullery" duties that were a immense help to us!
An hour and a half later we had most of the side dishes for Thanksgiving ready in addition to supper being almost ready! I was surprised to see how much we had accomplished!

"Let's See..."
Sawyer was a big help with the pies... he stirred everything up and even measured some of the ingredients! At one point I caught him in the pantry pulling things off of the shelves and then muttering "wet's see... I nee some ob dis and hmm, i tink some ob dat" He was copying me reading the recipe... "ok, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, and 1/4 cloves"... It reminded me of how he catches everything you say.

"Carving Mr. Gobbledy Good"
We had decided to try soaking the turkey in an apple juice based brine to see if it would help the texture of the meat. We let him soak for twenty-four hours and then baked it for five. It was so good! The meat was juicy and had a very slight flavor of the brine in it. The drippings made some of the best gravy ever! We let Trevor be in charge of carving Mr. Gobbledy Good as he was so willing to help!

As we sat down to eat we realized that Sayre was missing; after ringing bells, honking horns, and yelling for him, we decided that we should just eat.

Oh was it ever good!!!

"After Dinner Activity"
After the meal Trevor, Collin, and Sayre headed out to sight in their guns before going hunting. The dogs greatly dislike the sound of guns going off and run for the dog house or crawl under the vehicles at the first sound of shots.
After getting the guns ready off they went to spend three hours sitting in the woods...

"Wrapping the Garlands"
...while us ladies spent the time pulling out my Christmas decorations! We put a garland over my closet doors and a garland over my window. I will share some pictures when I get enough extension cords to light everything up!

"Evening with Family"
Everyone came trooping back into the house about six o'clock so it was time to pull out the leftovers and set the pie out.
Thelma, Momma, and I had gotten out my mitten project and were working on cutting out, sewing together, and decorating all evening. While working we surrounded with lively talk, jokes, lots of laughter, and the joy that being together brings! It was a wonderful way to end the evening!
I hope you have a wonderful time with family and friends yesterday!

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Glimpse of My Life...

Saturdays are the one day in my week that I let plan itself as the day goes on. The boys are usually over a Bull Run, Momma and I may go yard sale-ing, make bread, cook, or keep up with house hold things in the mornings. Afternoon activities vary widely- from cleaning and washing vehicles, gardening, sewing, spending time at Bull Run, or what have you. We keep a loose schedule!
I have two things that I must do on Saturday; keep up with the laundry and vacuum the downstairs before dinner. Other than those two things I let the day plan itself as I go along!
Let me give you a glimpse into what a random Saturday may look like.

Saturday morning found me making soap. This is not normal as I try to take the weekend "off", but as I had a large block of time free I thought it would be best to make the soap.
The process didn't take as long as it usually does for which I was really thankful for! Soon after I finished the soap, my friend Chelsey came over to see the puppies and other critters that we have running around here! She has a real heart for animals and loves to be around them every chance she gets.

While I was making soap, Sayre was busy pulling things out of the shop and straightening up. He was looking for something but in the process he made the place look better!
Do you notice the four bags of dog food??? Those are fifty pound bags... with the puppies now eating food we are going through more food than ever!

"Winter Plants"
After showing Chelsey all the critters it was time to go in and help with lunch. Trevor and his electrician friends were "electrifying" his house so we cooked a big lunch of chicken fingers, oven fries, apples, and cookies for them. It was delicious!
When lunch was over with I headed out to my garden intent on getting the pansies put into the ground.

I had a little help from Jasper and Buck who enjoyed laying in the warm sun or following me around. I love how they sit around where ever you are working!
I got the pansies planted and mulched, the poppy seeds scattered, blew the pecan leaves out, and planned where I'm going to plant the lavender.

"Extra Bit of Warmth"
Around four o'clock it started getting chilly and the deer hunters were starting to show up. It was the perfect time to head in and get thawed out before supper preparations began! I found Momma and Thelma chatting while waiting for their tea water to boil so I picked up my cross-stitching and joined in. After a while it was time to build a fire and get the dogs fed. We've built a fire most every evening this week and love the warmth it puts out! Thelma enjoys it just as much as we do!

"Time to Go!"
Thelma and I had just gotten the fire really going when, to my surprise, I heard Tristan rattling down the driveway with Mr. T's cattle trailer! It was time for MooCow to be "moooooved" to Bull Run!

After a good hour of bribing the cow with "treats" (dog food and sweet feed) Tristan realized that she wasn't going to get in the trailer so he left truck and trailer in the field over night for her to get used to.
When he went out yesterday morning he found that she was much more willing to get in the trailer. He loaded her up with out a problem and took her over to meet the other "girls" (he also got four new cows Saturday afternoon!).

"Willing Victim #1"
After supper, it was time to cut hair. It's been quite some time since I've cut any one's hair, but Tristan was desperate (he was begging me to do something about his hair!) and didn't care what it looked like so long as I cut it! Thelma has much more experience in this area, so she showed me how to make it look good!

"Willing Victim #2"
Since we had all the hair cutting stuff out, Sayre asked Thelma to cut his hair to which she readily agreed too.
This is just a smattering of things that go on during a Saturday! We stay busy but try to be flexible when things arise!
I love Saturdays as things are so much more relaxed!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

In the Gardens

Things are finally beginning to come to a close in the gardens due to the frosts we've had every night this week. The plants are drooping and it's time to pull them up and mulch the beds over for their long winters sleep.
As I had taken the following pictures a week ago, I think it's fitting to share with you the fruit that we were able to harvest from the fall garden.

Did you know that the herb Coriander is the seed from Cilantro plants? We love fresh Cilantro in salsas as it adds a little "something" which enhances the flavor. The nice thing about Cilantro is that it self seeds and you just need a few plants to get you started!

"Brussel Sprouts"
Daddy is a fan of brussel sprouts, something that Momma kept in mind when planning the fall garden, so these little sprouts will find their way to the table before to much longer! He like them boiled and served with butter on top.

"The Cauliflower"
We have been amazed at the size and delicious taste of our homegrown cauliflower! They are bigger than the cauliflower that you can buy at the store which has astounded those who we have given our surplus of cauliflower to.

"The Broccoli"
After producing a first big harvest of broccoli the plants went back into production but this time, the fruit was smaller. It was still delicious!

Things in my garden have been at a stand still for the past several weeks. Then the frost hit...

...and made a mess for me to clean up! The large pecan tree (pronounced peh-kahn, not p-can!) dropped all of its' small branches and leaves when it got below freezing and caused my garden to look like something had exploded in it! Sayre had just gotten all of the leaves out of the yard when the pecan trees decided to drop everything! It looks like it snowed leaves over night!

"Can I Cut, Ashey?"
Since my garden was overdue for some attention, I decided to dedicate part of my morning to cleaning and tending to it. Sawyer was outside with me and loved using "the scissors" to trim my Amaranth plant!

"Gathering Nutrients"
As I raked, trimmed iris', cut back the plants affected by the cold, mulched, and did a general straightening up, I kept noticing these greens stems sprouting up along the rocks edges. They are most likely daffodils who are coming up to take a peek around and gather the nutrients from the sunlight for next springs show. How exciting to see!
There is still much to be done in my garden; pruning, planting, and weeding are among a few of the tasks that are on my weekend "to do" list!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Recent Going Ons'

The past several days have been chock full of busy things; the way I like it although, I do wish it would slow down enough for me to do some cross-stitching! :o)
Here are some of the highlights.

The puppies turned three weeks old on Saturday and I'm beginning to feel like I'm on the home stretch of this "race". I cleaned out the dog house over the weekend and took off the board that help keep the straw, and the puppies, inside. Now, I not only have straw everywhere, but I also have puppies falling out, climbing in, and falling back out! They are definitely becoming more mobile!

It has been time for me to introduce them to puppy chow for about a week now; today I finally did it! I soaked about a cup and a half of puppy chow in really warm water for about ten minutes; since the temperatures have been in the forties today, I thought they would be more inclined to eat warm food!
It took the pups a minute to realize where that "delicious smell" (soaking dog food is one of the more disgusting smells!) was coming from but when they did... I had a mass of black wriggling fur all over the bowl!

These cute, sweet, and happy little puppies will be ready for their new homes after December sixth and would make terrific Christmas presents!

Trevor's house finally has all the hardy board/siding on it! He and Thelma were agonizing over what color to paint it on Sunday and I must say that it was very entertaining! Now if only the electric could get run...

Upon arriving at Bull Run Saturday, I promptly found this "pre-historic" looking creature out in Trevor's front yard! It turned out to be a snapping turtle but due to the cool temperatures it wasn't aggressive. Daddy used a stick to push on it's shell and it would raise up on all fours. It was really neat! To give you an idea of how big it really was... the shell was at least twelve inches long and six inches wide and I'm making a conservative guess on those measurements.

Tristan is practically done with his cattle fence, hip-hip-horrraaaay! He is hoping to get the cows this weekend and get Moo-Cow out at Bull Run with them! I can't wait! It will really seem like the land is ours when the cows get out there!

He has done a very professional looking job on the fence; it will be so neat to see how the Lord leads him!
I hope y'all have a wonderful evening!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Hymn for Sunday

This Is My Father's World

Words by: Maltbie D. Babcock, 1858-1901
Music by: Franklin L. Sheppard, 1852-1930

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears,
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Fathers' world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied, And earth and Heav’n be one.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Recipe

Ahhhh, another rainy day here in South Carolina was awaiting us as we woke up this morning! As much as I enjoy these rainy days I must admit that I am very anxious for the sunshine to come back and dry things out! Tomorrow appears as though it will be rainy as well so I shall be thankful and rejoice in the rain that the Lord is sending us! We sure do need it...

As I was preparing lunch today (since Momma was gone we had a picnic consisting of peanut butter toast and carrots while watching episodes from ancient Robin Hood shows!) I observed an escapade take place in the living room between Sayre and Sawyer. I find it humorous that one is always able to tell when the boys have been cooped up inside for too long. Things begin to happen...

...the noise level escalates...
(at this point Sawyer was screaming and shrieking while Sayre was bellowing!!)

... and things begin to "go bump"! Today reminded me of "The Cat in the Hat" by Dr. Seuss!
Let me re-assure you that these "antics" were very controlled lest you think that I am irresponsible while Momma is away! They calmed down as soon as I announced it was time to clean up for lunch!
I spent today finishing up some cooling cloths and gift sacks that our neighbor was in need of. I'm so glad that they are behind me as I can now move on to other things. Today was also the day for Jasper and Lila's yearly rabies shots so a trip to the Vet was in order, and since I can't manhandle both of them at once Momma went along to help out! We had a blast! :o)

I'll close this post with a recipe that I have been wanting to post for sometime. It contains cooked fruit to which I feel that I should admit that I am not a fan of. I really do want to like cooked fruit so I have been eating it whenever it is served. Since I really enjoyed this recipe, I know it must be absolutely delicious!

Rustic Autumn Fruit Tart
Found in this months Taste of Home Issue

1/2 cup butter, softened
4ounces cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium pear, peeled and thinly sliced
4-1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cardamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 cup orange juice
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup apricot jam, warmed

In a small mixing bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add flour, beating just until mixture forms a ball. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
In a large bowl, combine apples and pear. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and spices; stir in orange juice until smooth. Stir in brown sugar until blended. Add to apple mixture and stir gently to coat.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 14-in. circle. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Spoon filling over the party to with-in 2 in. of edges. Fold up edges of pastry over filling, leaving center uncovered.
Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly. Spread with apricot jam. Using parchment paper, slide tart onto a wire rack to cool.
Yield 6 servings.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Today is a cool cloudy day. As I've been in and out the back door tending to dogs, fetching the laundry in, or just puttering, I have noticed that the leaves are starting to fall, leaving bare looking trees at the edge of the woods. I also noticed this as I drove back from our small town Post Office and was immediately reminded of the cool wintry evenings that are ahead of us. Seeing the trees with their lonely limbs stretched out reminds me of the "quiet solitude" that winter brings... as I step outside in the evenings to observe the stars I am struck with the extense of the Universe and the quiet calm that surrounds me (until a cars passes that is!). I do enjoy winter, although I have to admit that I prefer to stay where it is warm on most days! :o)

"The Shop Off the Back Porch"
Today we once again began toting our laundry out to the shop to be washed. Yesterday "Mr-Fix-It-Man" came to "fix" our new HE washer. It has been sounding like a plane preparing to take off during the spin cycle for sometime now and come to find out the bearing that the drum sits in is bad, so the drum and bearing both have to be replaced (IF I am understanding this right... which I think I am). It's going to be a week or two before he can get the parts and get back out here, so in the meantime we are thanking the Lord for an extra washer AND for a warranty that should cover the fix-it-process! I find it so amazing to see how He orchestrates things and provides for our needs!
Staying on top of the laundry is crucial now...

"Puppy Love"
Sayre brought in three "little" puppies after lunch... what sweet hearts! They tuck their heads up under your arm and go to sleep or, if you hold them just right, will look at you with their sleepy eyes and yaaawn really big.
Sawyer is becoming more and more attached to them with each passing day. He almost cried when I took them back to their Momma earlier.

"Mother & Daughter Shopping"
Momma and I headed out bright and early yesterday morning for the BIG Sale at Hancock's and had a wonderful time together! We got everything that is needed to finish the quilt top in addition to the other things that were needed. There was quite the sale going on... notions, buttons, thread, quilting supplies, ribbon, certain fabrics, etc... was all fifty percent off. Everything we purchased was fifty percent off AND we got an extra ten percent off each and every item at the register! We came out of there elated and ready to go hibernate in the sewing room!

I've been able to make some progress on my Fall/Winter Projects.

"The Cross-Stitch"
I began working on my cross-stitch pattern a week ago last night and quickly realized that I was going to become "hooked" on it! I've been working on it mainly in the evenings but I have also managed to find time during the day to work on a section or two! :o) Cross-stitch is a great thing to do in attempt to use the bits and pieces of sitting to the best advantage; I've been doing it while a movie plays, while a conversation takes place, during the Sunday drives to church or other places (although it can get tricky on some of the bumpier roads!), or during quick get off my feet for a minute. I LOVE it!

"Saw-wa's Blanket"
Sawyer's Christmas present is also in the works! I was able to sew the edges down last week but had to wait till I was able to get floss before I could really begin work on it.
As a side note: Sawyer knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is his!!! He meandered into the dining room last week with it clutched it in his arms and informed me that "this is mine bing bing"! I definitely underestimated his memory. Oh well, maybe if I remove it from the sewing room and keep it out of sight. I wonder if the saying "out of sight, out of mind" is really true... I suppose I'll be finding out real soon!!!

The rest of this afternoon will be spent in the sewing room as I'm working on some cooling cloths and gifts bags for our neighbor. I hope y'all have a terrific afternoon and evening!

Monday, November 10, 2008


"A Yard Saling We'll Go!"
And so we did this past Saturday morning! Momma, Thelma, Sawyer and I set out on our "hunting and gathering" trip with HIGH hopes for the day. Instead of heading into "the big city", we decided to stick in our neck of the woods. Our plan of action was to drive in the direction of Belton stopping at any and all yard sales!

"Thelma's Loot"
At the very first yard sale we stopped for, we hit the jackpot! The lady had four of these winter themed illuminated (have a light in them) houses for sale...

"Ashley's Loot"
...and priced so reasonably that Thelma and I told her "we'll take them!!!".
I have several of these houses already and love the soft glow that each one emits. I can't wait until I get my decorations out!!! (the flash on my camera makes the houses appear cheap... which they aren't!)

"The Extras"
In addition to the houses, she also threw in-for free- this angel that Thelma had admired and these two figurines that I had looked at! For Free!!! We were/are thrilled!

"More Goodies"
We found various and sundry other items that we can use in decorating inside as well as outside. I'm sure Momma will share some of her finds on her blog in the next few days.
By the time we were officially done, the trunk of the car was full and we were ready to crash!

But the Ultimate finds of the day were...

"Ultimate Find #1"
This handmade quilt!
At the very first sale we stopped at Thelma found this quilt stuffed in a box with odds and ends! After we pulled it out, Momma was asking the lady about it and she told us that it was made by her mother-in-law and knows for a fact that it is at least seventy-five years old! As Momma told Dad "Honey, I bought a piece of American history today!!!" It is in need of some mending and then Momma can't wait to actually use it!

"Ultimate Find #2"
As the morning was getting late we debated on whether we should head into Williamston to see what sales were there. I am sooo glad that we chose to keep going, for had we not, this quilt top would not be in my possession!
It is just the top and from what the lady told me it was pieced together by her mother. The squares were machine sewn together and has been kept really clean. Most of the yellow squares are made of thicker fabric that is almost rough... we wonder if it isn't from an old flour sack as Thelma found a very faint design on one of these squares!
Do I have plans for this???? Oh yes I do! Momma and I are going to finish it this winter so we are heading to Hancock's early tomorrow morning to purchase some batting (it's fifty percent off, how can we pass it up?!) and some quilt backing! I can just imagine how our winter evenings are going to be spent!
I love to yard sale... especially when it's done with good company and light hearts!