Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Of Boys and Dogs...

The past few days have been busy but fun too! Collin and Sayre are keeping me on my toes with their goofy quips and random acts. For example...

"Ingenuity"
This is what I found several minutes ago! I'm not sure why a towel is being taped across a window but it sure tickled my funny bone when I started up the stairs!

"The Things I Find..."
I'm trying to learn to not sweat the small stuff! Since they can't put it in the Laundry Room, it goes on the back porch!
We've had the opportunity to host "guests" the past several days. Ezra, Luke, and Samuel were here on Sunday and then once again yesterday afternoon. With all the rain we've had recently, mud pits and ponds have a tantalizing "aroma" for all five of the boys.
I've included a video taken on one of the digital cameras'; you should get the general idea of what goes on when these boys get together!

video

I've had such a blast with my brothers and the visiting Greene boys! Even if it does mean that I have to get creative with dinner, I'm loving every minute of it! :o)


It's been some time since I posted pictures of the dogs and puppies...

"I'm DONE!"
Do you notice those long ears???!
At nine and a half weeks of age they are getting to be quite a handful! Two have found homes away from here but it is still a challenge to get into the dog pen with six puppies clamoring around your feet. They are little cuddle bugs and will lick or nip your face as you hold them.

"Miss Personality"
This little lady is the most affectionate of all the puppies. She's the first to come running and the biggest licker ever! She's very playful (I caught her batting Buck's tail yesterday!) and loves a good romp with the other dogs.

"The Gangs' All Here"
Jasper, Lila, and Buck are as goofy as ever and, as you can tell, they have a hard time "co-operating" for the camera! Buck just wanted to nap, Lila had a hard time controlling herself, and Jasper was in one of his "ugh, I don't want my picture taken" moods. This was the best we could do!

"Jasper"
So far today the boys and I have been to town and back. Supper preparations are mostly ready and I'll just need to mix up some French Bread dough about an hour before dinner. The rest of the afternoon will be spent... cutting out John John's or maybe finishing my blouse.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ramblings...

Today is a "dreary day" perfect for curling up with a soft blanket and a good book for the rest of the afternoon. As much as I would love to do this, common sense tells me that I had better "make hay while the sun shines". I've been asked to help with inventory at a friends home business in the next day or so, and I really need to get a sewing project done before she calls for my aid. Sew, part of this morning and what's left of this afternoon is being spent in the sewing room working on a blouse that has been in the works for several weeks now.

"Sunset from the Hill at Bull Run"
As I sit here the house is quiet; the boys are all outside working on various projects and I've put on several Christmas CD's to help with "the lack of noise". Thelma will coming over this evening, we will crack open the gallon bucket of fudge ripple ice cream, brew some French Vanilla coffee, finish off the steam pudding, and watch "It's a Wonderful Life". Ahh...Simple life here at the home place!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Recent Projects

Lots of projects have been in the works not only this week but also during the past several weeks!

"Spreading Gravel"
Our driveway has been in desperate need of some fresh gravel for some time now despite Collin "grading" it out several times. Yesterday, fresh gravel was delivered and Collin has spent a good part of today spreading and smoothing it out. Sawyer has really enjoyed the gravel; the piles are the perfect place to play with dump trucks, back-hoes, and tractors! It's a little boys' dream come true!

"Lots of Progress"
Oh Friends... Trevor's' house passed its' inspection on the inspectors first visit! Wow! Trevor must be an incredible carpenter!
Trevor had someone all lined up to come hang the drywall and since he was "in the neighborhood" Daddy had him come hang drywall in the framed up closets. This room has just been sitting for months and it's so neat to see something done to it! Next on the list is to put the trim and baseboard up, prime and then paint it! It's almost done!

"Anybody Need a Puppy?"
We slowly but surely getting our act together on the puppy sign. After Momma wrote the words out for me (I cannot write in a straight line with large letters) I traced the letters with black paint. Both sides have been done and one side looks much better than the other! :o)
Would anyone like a puppy? They're really cute!

"Ham-Mans' Blanket"
I finished the blanket stitching on Sawyers' blanket weeks ago and have it all wrapped up and under the Christmas tree. I think it's safe to say that he has forgotten that this is his! He can't figure out what's in the package! He's thrilled that there is something for him under the tree and points in out (or drag it out) to us when ever he thinks about it! You should see his eyes...!

"Mittens, Mittens, and More Mittens"
I have mittens oozing out my ears. The finished ones are hanging off of various items through out the living room and kitchen area. The halfway done mittens were residing on an end table with the buttons and floss. The yet to be done mittens live in a box that is sitting in my sewing chair. Mittens are everywhere!

"Finished!"
I've been trying to get this framed for several weeks but have been unable to locate the perfect frame. I'll be taking it to a frame shop next week in hopes that they can help me locate the frame I need. Mom and I can't wait to see how it looks framed!
With these hand projects done, I can now focus on others such as a bag, another cross-stitch, and the pile of fabric that has accumulated in the past month. I love staying busy!
I hope each of you have a wonderful Christmas with your family!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Family Picture...

Yesterday was family picture day here at the Castlebury's. The boys dread hearing this announcement as it means they must don dress shirts and ties instead of car-harts and t-shirts.
We had a few minutes before heading to church, so we rushed outside, thrust the camera into Thelma's waiting hands, and got lined up!
Here are the results...

Do you notice Buck?! Most of the pictures have Buck in them... belly up, feet in the air, sitting at attention, or peeking through Tristan's legs. Try having your picture taken when the normally laid back dog decides to get lively!

COLLLLLLLLIN!

"The Last Picture"
Finally, a half way decent picture! Buck is gone, we're all looking at the camera, and we look somewhat presentable.
Now that I think about it, this is the only decent picture that was taken!-this was not Thelma's fault! It was ours... and Bucks!

Then it was time to leave for church... No, Tristan is not angry- that's his "happy" face!
I do believe Trevor is all pictured out.

Then there is Sawyer who has taken to making goofy faces for the camera!
The drive to church is always full of his conversation... "What's dat?", "Dat's mine cow" (meaning he wants the cow in the pasture), "where we going?", "we going to see deer?", and "look at dat twuck!" are all things that we hear! He chatters the whole way to church, the whole way home, and would chatter during the service if he was allowed!

As we headed out the door for the evening service Sawyer asked me to help him get his coat on. The only catch was green bear had to be in it with him! I managed to fit them both in the coat although green bear had to come out if Sawyer was going to get buckled in properly!

Another family picture session is over with and the boys are back in their car-harts, t-shirts, and boots. One day soon "It's time for another picture of our family" will ring through the house and we'll go through this process again! At least we have hilarious memories even if the pictures don't turn out!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Mother~My Friend

When I think of my Mother my mind goes immediately to the kitchen where she and I work together most often. We have a system worked out... She cooks and I keep the kitchen cleaned-up and do what she needs to have done while the meal is being prepared. Many is the time that we've "run into" each other, "tripped" over each others' feet, or put something away just as the other needed it! We have a wonderful time talking about the serious and the fun things, goofing off, and laughing until our sides ache while preparing the meal! I love these times together and, as a result of working with my Mother, she has become my dearest friend.

"A Sawyer-Sized Breakfast"
My Mother enjoys making things special for people even if it means extra work on her part. In the past few months she has begun using her own Mothers' china for our Sunday dinner and though it means more effort on our part, the effort is worth it! With the "antique" table cloths and special china the meal becomes more than just a meal, it becomes a memory.

From the youngest to the oldest Momma loves to make things extra special. It could be a Tea Party where the "tea" is creamer and the "crumpets" are graham cracker's with left over frosting spread on top for the younger children, or it might possibly be fellowship over a cup tea in one of her antique store finds for the adults. Either way Momma will make it special.

"Mother and Daughter"
I am so thankful for my Mother and the example that she sets not only for me but for all those, young and old, around her. Her example has made me consider my own actions, whether they be pleasing to the Lord or not.

Just to list a few things that I love about my Mother:
~She is an example of Biblical womanhood.
~She is a servant to her family, putting her own wants and desires aside to serve those she loves.
~She is an endless source of creative ideas. Where they come from is beyond me!
~She loves to be with her family.
~She loves it when people come to visit.
~She isn't afraid to take a stand for what's right.

My Mother is more than just my Mother... She's my friend. My dear friend.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Bit of Catching Up

As Sunday was drawing to a close and I started making the list of things to accomplish for this week, I realized that this was going to be a busy busy week. With Grandma coming to visit there are just some things that need to get done, and the sooner I started working on them the better!

Monday dawned cool, cloudy, and dreary looking, not very promising, but it turned into a very productive day! Momma had Sayre working with me and between the two of us we spent the morning scrubbing the upstairs bathroom from floor to ceiling in addition to going through, re-arranging, and cleaning up the shop.

As we cleaned my mind kept coming back to the thought "we probably ought to go ahead and paint the bathroom" and as I shared this thought with Momma she agreed. She made a comment about the green I painted my room being a good color for the bathroom so I went searching to see if we had enough paint left over from that project to do something with. We had almost a whole gallon left, just enough for the bathroom! Collin volunteered himself to roll the walls when he heard what we were up to and we were set!

"Our Volunteer Roller"
To make a long story short, the bathroom got painted on Monday! Painting wasn't even on the "to do list" for the week, but things just worked out that way!

"Finished!"
Tuesday found Sayre and I painting the trim a glossy white and re-installing all the hardware that we had taken off of the walls. The glossy white trim really pulled the room together and will make keeping the baseboards a lot easier! I'm so pleased with how it turned out; as Trevor described the end result "It looks so cheerful now!"

"Working Together"
Sayre's job for today was cleaning out the stone room in anticipation of getting the new part sheet rocked in the next few days. This room has been the catch all for the tools, paint, and stuff we don't know what to do with ever since we moved in and he had his hands full with sorting it all out! He got Sawyer involved after lunch and the two of them had fun running in and out the back door with arm loads of stuff!

In the midst of all the painting, cleaning, organizing, and everyday happenings that are going on, we have still found time to put up some Christmas decorations. I put the lights on the tree yesterday and Momma has pulled out the manger scene, candle wreaths, and various other decorations.

"Free Puppies"
The puppies are officially up for adoption. At almost eight weeks old the are nothing but bundles of energy and sweetness! They can be trouble but I think the sweetness outweighs the trouble! :o) Sam was adopted by some friends of ours on Monday and I'm so happy that he has gone to such a good home! Collin has adopted one for his own...

... and we're now reliving the whole puppy experience! He's crate training him and last night was his first night in the house. He didn't stop howling until sometime between one and two o'clock this morning so I was eagerly anticipating my early morning cup of coffee (which is my one and only cup of the day)! We know why he was crying/howling and have since rectified the problem; we're hoping that he's much quieter tonight!
He's such a good puppy and has taken to crate training even better than Jasper did. He's very sociable, very playful, and just a bundle of sweetness!
That pretty much wraps up the past several days. If there is a large amount of time between this post and the next it's probably because we're in the midst of getting sheet rock put up, have a project going, or just so busy that I have no time for leisure!
Have a terrific evening!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Just a Moment...

Look what's beginning to bloom!

I've been able to observe one of my amaryllis buds slowly begin to open all week! Yesterday I noticed a change every several hours so I brought it downstairs for everyone to watch and enjoy!

This morning we found it almost open and another well on it's way to opening! I believe that it still has a little farther to open as the edges of the petals are still "crinkly" looking and some of them just haven't flared out enough. I don't know about the rest of my family, but I sure love watching these flowers open!
I thought this amaryllis was going to be white... apparently not! It's still a beautiful color!
I have two more bulbs in the refrigerator; I think it's time to pot one of them for more blooms in a month. Excitement, Excitement!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Book Review

I recently added "The Children of Cloverley" by Hesba Stretton to my Lamplighter Book collection. Since I've finished my cross-stitch project (pictures coming after I get it framed!) I've had a little time to read in the evenings and chose to start this book. As I began to read, I realized that I had bought a real treasure for in each and every chapter I was pointed to God; not that other Lamplighter books don't point you to the Lord, but this one made me sit and think about His goodness is everything.


Ben and Annie are siblings whose Mother has recently passed away and whose Father is fighting in the Civil War. They have been sent to live with relatives in England as there is no one readily available in the States to care for them. Before their Mother died and in a letter which she wrote them to be read after her death, she impressed on them the need to do the will of the Lord; this theme runs through the book.
As they begin to understand that the things that have happened are the will of their Heavenly Father and submit their own wills to Him, they begin to have a profound influence on those around them. Hope springs up among the coal miners, those who have become "laid back" in their faith are given a fresh perspective, and some are even saved! As you read, you will begin to understand what doing the will of God is, submitting to the duties and trials that come your way.
This is a wonderful book and, as usual, I highly recommend it!

Monday, December 8, 2008

At Bull Run

Bull Run has been busy the past few weeks and the gravel road leading to it, which is a dead end, is beginning to look rather packed and used. Between well drilling rigs, cattle trailers, cars, four-wheelers, and hunting vehicles it's been a busy place!

"Welcome"
One has to simply love Trevor's sense of humor! The house is still progressing, slowly but surely.

"Offering Advice"
Trevor's electrician friends were able to begin wiring the house several weekends ago and have just a little left to do! Trevor has gotten the laundry room framed up (pictured above), part of the siding on the back put up, and worked on some technical details while waiting for the electric to get finished. With he and the electricians working on the house on the weekends, things seem to go slow, but progress is being made!

"Finally!"
After weeks of waiting, the well drillers arrived bright and early the Tuesday before Thanksgiving! The well wound up being two hundred and sixty feet deep and took five to hours to drill. Sadly, I wasn't able to watch the process but Daddy was there and said that everything had a grey dust on it due to the ground up rock they were blasting out as they drilled.
Everything but the electric and "plumbing" is hooked up to the well and then we'll have flowing water!

"The Girls"
Tristan was able to get his heifers several weekends ago! He bought four more and then moved MooCow out there with them. Due to the good grass that she has been eating the past several months, she is much plumper than the other girls.

This should give you an idea as to how things are placed over there. Trevor's' house looks out over the pasture that the girls are in. Tristan is rotationally grazing them and has divided the pasture into several different paddocks with "electrical tape".
I'm still getting used to seeing cows out there!

"Back at the Home Front"
Little B-Moo is the only bovine left at the home place. Isn't he enough to melt your heart?! His neck and head are incredibly soft and he loves to get scratched under his chin! Sayre has finally weaned him and is now putting hay out for him to eat in addition to all the grazing he does. He and Lila are "friends" and I'll see him sleeping out in front of her dog house at times!

"Don't be Deceived..."
...this puppy is full of life and licks! They have found a new way to get your attention... it's called playing tug of war with your skirt! I had four of them doing it at once in addition to others squirming around trying to lick and chew on me. My favorite thing to do with them is to carry them around while I do stuff (one at a time mind you!). I enjoy taking them into Lila's pen and it's been interesting to see the mixture of excitement and curiosity that she exudes as we sit down.
The cat has fallen asleep in my lap and it's time for me to be off. The sewing room, and Mother, calls! Have a terrific afternoon!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Winter "Gardening"

Since winter is upon us and outdoor gardening has come to a close, my mind begins to focus more on the plants that I have inside. I have plants that are strictly indoors, plants that I'm rooting as an experiment, and plants that I have brought in from the back porch. Having plants indoors makes the house to look more relaxing and inviting.

"Left to Right: Jade Plant, Orchid, Confederate Rose"
As I perused through a gardening book, I came across a list of plants that are easy to root , so I thought "let's see if I can do this"! So far I've rooted a Jade plant and a Confederate Rose. The Jade plant has been a easy plant to root, to which I'm thrilled (the cutting was taken from my Grandpa's plant that was given to my Mom). I've had to stake it as it has a tendency to grow crooked, but it is looking really good!
The Confederate Rose was easy to root as well but I think it is dying back for the winter as the leaves have withered but the stem is still green when you scrape bark off.
No, I did not root the orchid! I bought it from Home Depot four years ago and have enjoyed it so much! It hasn't bloomed in over a year so I re potted it and started regularly "feeding" it orchid "food". Early last week I found that it was sending up a "flower stalk" (I'm not sure what you call it), so I should have blooms in a month or so!!! Yay!

"Christmas Blooms"
I love Amaryllis' and always pick up a bulb from the Jackson Perkins store when I have the chance (they are on sale mind you)! The amaryllis on the right bloomed last year and even though I know it won't bloom this year (they bloom every three years) I thought it would be neat to see what it did.
The amaryllis on the left was planted about three weeks ago and I've been astounded at it's rapid growth! I haven't measured the stalk but it's over two feet tall now and continues to grow! The bud has begun to open and you can see the flowers inside! I love to observe plants growing; I feel like I'm a part of the process!

"Last Year's After Christmas Find"
For the past several years, I cleaned house for a lady who was "in society" and I had the chance to observe what kind of gifts were given at Christmas among these folks. I found that Rosemary Trees and these really cute Norfolk Island Pine trees were often giving as gifts. I found a Norfolk Island pine in the clearance section at Home Depot last year and quickly picked it up. The feathery structure of this plant is so beautiful!
Monday's are watering day for all the plants (amaryllis' get watered every other day) and I'm finding that the shower head in the bathtub gets the job done really quick!

The following pictures have nothing to do with plants but I just had to include them!

"What's Next?"
I took two of the "blobs" out to visit Momma and Sawyer as they worked in her garden. They enjoyed weaving their way through the brussel sprout plants and dragging cauliflower leaves all over the place!

"Takin' a Break"
Look at how big their paws are! Yikes...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Of Puppies & Christmas Music

Yes, I am aware that the title to this post is rather interesting! However, my mind has been cooking up posts about both of these subjects and I need to free up "the little grey cells" in order to for me to think about other things!

Let me show you the puppies first!

"She's got Foooooood!"
I love going out to the dog pen now that the puppies are roaming around! All I have to do I yell "Here Pups!" and I'll see eight little heads pop up, watch me come in, and then charge at me!

"Puppy Excitement
This is what it looks like as we walk over to the house. They have a tendency to get underfoot and get stepped on, but more often than not I will have a long line of black excited pups strung out behind me!

"Attention"
I'm learning that if you want to keep your clothes clean you must leave the pen as soon as they have finished eating. Otherwise you will have tan nose marks all over your skirtwhich are a result of them eating soggy dog food!

"Contentment"
They are teething and chew anything that they can get. I like to let them crawl all over me, but I have to watch out as they chew/pull your clothes, bite your ankles, and lick to no end!

"Sweetness"
This little girl is the ringleader of the bunch. She's one of the first to come running as I enter the pen, she's the most playful, and stays awake the longest.

"Sleepy-ness"
This is "Sam-I-Am" who is the one I've gotten a little attached to. He's very laid back but loves to play and wrestle. He seems to know who I am as he's the only one who will voluntarily crawl in my lap and sit for a time. He loves to be to be cuddled and carried around in your arms. He is a sweet heart!

"Maggie"
Momma dog is doing well but I think she's rather anxious for her pups to leave. I'm cutting her food back a little more each day as the puppies are going through the weaning process. If Maggie looks a little melancholy in this picture, it is because she got in trouble earlier in the day which led to her being more subdued than normal.
The puppies will be six weeks old this Saturday; I can't believe how fast the time has gone by. It's amazing the different personalities and physical traits that are all mixed together. There are three that are of the "blob" build (thick, eat allot, rolly-polly, the biggest of the bunch), three that are of medium build, and two that are smaller in stature. Most of them have long floppy ears while several of them have "normal" looking ears. All eight of them have big paws so it shall be interesting to see what they look like as they get older! I've had so much fun with them!

Now onto Christmas Music portion of this post! :o)
I love listening to Christmas music so I have had to make a rule for myself..."no Christmas music until after Thanksgiving"! As I was looking through my Cd's I realized that I have some good recordings and thought I would share them with you!

For years I had heard carols from this recording on the local radio station but was unable to find the recording. Three winters ago my search ended and I found this in the most unsuspecting of places. This CD is my all time favorite for Christmas! (note: if you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the link, you can listen to clips of the songs)
Christmas Meditations
Done by Sacred Music Services and features full orchestra. I love the rich tones that the orchestra has, and my mind is always drawn to the words as I hum along.
The Irish Tenors: Home for Christmas
The "activity" in many of the carols, the harmony, and the selection of carols are terrific! My favorites on this CD are "While Shepherd Watch Their Flocks", "O Holy Night", "Silent Night", and the "Medley". It is a rather loud CD which is perfect for singing as you do housework!
A Christmas Star
The Cambridge Singers and Orchestra directed by John Rutter is the perfect "background" CD. As I listen my mind paints the picture of the stable in Bethlehem with the star shining above it.
I hope you have a wonderful day!