Friday, October 30, 2009


Finally, after seemingly months of eager anticipating and wondering "when will it happen"...... it happened!!!

Nestled amongst the golf balls...
We got out first egg!!!!

Posing for a picture...
I headed out to the pen late yesterday afternoon just to see how the chicky-doos were doing. This involves checking the food, water AND, most importantly of late, the 'nest tub' (which is a blue barrel cut in half length wise) for 'treasures'; as well as standing around and watching the flock hunt for grubs, sun themselves, or take dust baths. It's always entertaining to see!!!
This particular afternoon there was a twist to it all. There was an EGG in a NEST that a HEN had made!!!! Talk about the culmination of all that we've put into these girls!

After I dumped the feeder out...
One of these lovely ladies, not the rooster in the middle of the photo, gave us our first egg. We believe her to be of the Australorpe breed which are the black hens in the above photo- their are fourteen of them.

Showing off the egg!
We were pretty excited over the egg!!! It's tiny but it's a start!!! I'm already restraining myself from tromping out to the pen every hour just to see if there might be any more out there!!! It's hard, but as long as I stay busy I will manage!!! EXCITEMENT!!! :o)

Ruler of the Roost...
I'll end the post with Mr. Rooster. He's a wreck. He can't crow... it's more like a one syllable squawk that sounds atrocious!!! He normally crows while they are still penned up in the mornings, when he's feeling really good during the late afternoons, and now, as of last night around 8:30, he crows in the dark! I sure hope his vocal chord growth catches up with the growth that his body is doing!!! I'm not sure how much longer of the squawking we can take! :o)

If you look close enough at the area behind the rooster you will see the beginnings of the chicken coop!! Daddy has the posts and a board for one side of the coop all ready and this weekend he'll be working on it, if it doesn't rain! I'm so excited!! Eggs and the beginnings of a coop all at the same time! :o)

Thursday, October 29, 2009


The sun is shining here at our place and it's simply delightful outdoors! The widows are open upstairs, and in various room throughout the house, letting in the fresh air from outside! It makes the room feel crisp and fresh after being shut up for so long due to rain or humidity.

View from the barn and chicken pen...
After spending quite a bit of time indoors last week, I was surprised to see how much the leaves had changed color!!! The River Birches are beautiful with their yellowing leaves which are quickly calling to the ground... pretty soon the trees will be completely bare and will look quite desolate until next spring.

Fresh from the oven...
With the windows open and the back door rotating between an open and closed state this morning, I jumped into some baking. We were on our last loaf of whole wheat bread so a new batch was on the agenda. For the past month or so, I have had quite a time with the bread... it's been dry and has risen only to fall when it's baked. I've used the same recipe and done nothing different than in times past, but it still turns out... to the eye unappealing. There has been a new recipe that I've been working with as well, and I've had the exact same results. Yesterday, Momma and I got to wondering if our yeast couldn't be 'bad' so she picked a new package up when she stopped at the Pantry Shoppe yesterday. So this morning, once the bread had risen beautifully, I turned the oven on and held my breath willing myself to NOT look at the oven for at least ten minutes (a watched pot never boils). Finally, I could take it no longer and just had to take a peek... the bread had pretty much STAYED risen!!!! Yes, there was a bit of 'settling' but there was a bouncy little person runinng around. I'm tickled pink!!! This is the first 'decent' rising I've had in a month!!! Granted, it could be better but I'm thrilled with what it did!!!

Michelle's Peanut Butter Marbled Brownies...
While the bread was baking I mixed up a batch of brownies. This is a new recipe but it sounded really good per the reviews I read. The 'white swirls' is a peanut butter and cream cheese mixture that tasted really good!! I have high hopes for these brownies... they are sitting on the counter at the moment. I wonder if they will make it to the table without anyone pilfering a bite!!! :o) We like to pilfer!!! Especially if it's good!!!

There is such a sense of satisfaction in seeing jobs well done; and I'm really looking forward to seeing how tasty both the bread and the brownies are!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Week Full of Projects!

This past week was a busy yet delightful and productive week! We had revival services at church Tuesday through Saturday evenings, I had rehearsals on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, a performance on Friday evening, and the time in between it all was spent staying busy with all sorts of things!

I decided to dedicate last week to working on a few projects that had become 'unbearable' and we're starting to hang over my head. I was ready to begin work on them and I even had help on one of them!

Pinning the lining and curtain together
Just over a week ago now, a friend that I hadn't seen in quite a few years came to visit for a few days and, as it would turn out, she discovered that I was getting ready to begin assembling curtains for my room. Somehow or another we began working on them the last day she was here, but didn't finish them as we ran into a 'the curtain-rod-won't-fit-into-the-'sleeve'' type of problem. We did get the hardest part done and it would be easy sailing to finish them.

Pausing for the camera...
Please pardon our laundry... rainy days and freshly laundered 'hanging clothes' don't mix very well!
So Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were dedicated to me finishing them!!! Yes, it took a while but see, I ran into a 'one curtain is longer than the other and everything is already sewn up' wall and as my Momma was rather wrapped up in getting the living room put back together, I thought it best to wait until she had a free moment.

Finally, the free moment arrived and we looked/measured/compared curtains only to find that there was no problem!!!! Whatever was wrong had apparently fixed itself while I worked on other things!! So, that afternoon I was able to finish them and get them hung!!!

While waiting for the free moment with Momma, I worked on several other projects. Piecing my quilt backing together was something that I've been aching to do for quite some time.
In this photo I'm measuring to see how wide the fabric will be once it's unfolded.

Once I had cut the lining in half lengthwise, it was time for me to pin the two pieces together length wise (the fabric was about 40 inches wide and I needed to widths... I wound up with the back being about 80 inches wide and about six feet long! :o) and then sew them together. Then it was back in the storage bag the quilt back and top went to await the next step... which is pinning.

Finishing a project...
Momma has been faithful to remind me, over the past several weeks, to finish my black dress. All that was left was to sew what I'll call 'contrast binding', made up of some black shiny material, along the neckline and sleeves. It wasn't much and I knew it wouldn't take long... it was the idea of sitting still and hand sewing that I wasn't keen on; especially since it meant doing it during the day. But the dress needed to be finished in time for the concert, so I focused my attentions on it and completed it, much to my joy!! It looks terrific... and finished! The little details add so much to a garment, do they not?

Folding out fabric...
After all of the above mentioned projects were done, I chose to put a skirt together. I had a pattern that I wanted to sew again, this time making a few changes, so I rummaged around in my fabric stash and found a cheerful print that was perfect.

I used Simplicity 2609 view D and simply shortened the 'yoke' by about two inches; next time I plan on shortening it only by 1-1/2 inches. I had to add extra length to the skirt which was a process... but I think I may be able to do it again.
My all time favorite skirt pattern is Simplicity 9825 view D. One of these days I'm going to get adventurous and do view E which is the same thing just with all the stitching!
Do you have a favorite skirt patter?

Friday I spent mending a few items and shocking my Mother in the process!! She never thought she would see the day that her daughter would actually be concerned about picking out seams, re-pinning/re-aligning, and finally sewing it all back together! It was quite the treat to see her shocked face when I told her what I'd been up to!! :o)

I am not at all sure as to what this week holds. I still have some mending to work on, a cross-stitch that desperately needs attention, a quilt that is working it's charm on me (which means that I'm getting in the mood to put it together!) and any number of other projects that I could dive into!!!
I hope y'all have a splendid day!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Hymn for Sunday

How Great Thou Art

Words by: Stuart K. Hine, 1899-1989
Music by: Swedish folk melody; revised by Jean Staneschi: arr. Stuart K Hine

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy pow'r throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my savior God, to Thee:
How great Thou Art, how great Thou art!

When thru the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze.

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savor God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art!

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What we are up to... in pictures!

Day in and day out find us doing some of the same everyday tasks; chores, cooking, animals, etc. but the days do differ in what we occupy our time with. Here's a quick look at some ordinary and not so ordinary tasks that we do.

Helping Feed the Critters- let's see... five dogs, twenty-nine chickens, and who knows how many rabbits. Oh should I count the tank of mice that Sayre was keeping out in the shop? Who knows where it is now!

Working on the always accumulating baskets of laundry! This is most definitely a task that must be done daily!

"Roll pat, roll pat, we're making a treat for Daddy" Cooking or baking is something that Momma and I do on a daily basis. Sawyer loves to help, as you can tell!

Chicken wrangling... do you know that chickens scatter when you try to catch them? Makes catching the roosters verrrry challenging! We had to butcher our roosters due to them becoming increasingly aggressive towards the hens. I miss their crowing that began before five in the morning as well as their afternoon crowing. Hopefully the Australorpe rooster that we kept will soon find his voice!

Sewing during any free time I have... I haven't had much free time this week and I'm aching to sew!

Painting... this project has been underway for several weeks now. The boys worked on the trim this past Thursday and I must say that it looks quite sharp!

Heading off to a rehearsal. The performance is in less than a week so in addition to practicing every day I've been attending rehearsals. It's been quite fun!

And that's a peek into what's keeping us busy these days! I'll be taking the next week off from blogging as we have a busy week ahead of us. I'll get back to regular posting the following week.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lesson from a Dog

Jasper is the only dog that is allowed to run around loose without constant supervision. However, due to different circumstances lately, I have been putting him out in the pen with the other three- Lila, Buck, and Rueger. He greatly dislikes being put out there and I usually have to drag him out to the pen; once out there, he pokes around for a bit and then spends the remainder of the time sitting at the gate waiting for me to reappear.

Patiently Waiting...
One recent afternoon, when Jasper had been in the pen all day, I happened to look out the sewing room window to see what the dogs were up to. I couldn't see anything specific... so I made a slight noise, and I do mean slight, to see where 'everyone' was. Up pops ONE head by the gate. Yes, that head belonged to Jasper and as soon as he saw me in the window he jumped up. "Goodness" I laughed, "that dog is always watching for me. It doesn't matter what time of day it is or how much fun it is to run around, he's always there waiting and hoping that I'll come get him!"

After the Rain...
All of a sudden I had several thoughts go through my mind: "Are you always looking for the Lord? Are you constantly seeking His guidance in your life? Are you endeavoring to become more like Him everyday? What has the Lord been working on in your life?"

As a child of God we need to be listening to the Lord. Listening and heeding what the Lord shows us through His Word. The Lord doesn't speak to us like we speak to each other... instead He opens our eyes as we read and study His Word, He impresses His will upon our hearts, and as we seek His will He will give us the discernment to see it.
I've begun to realize that Gods' children are constantly growing and seeing things in their lives which are not pleasing to the Lord. For me, this can be overwhelming as I am the type of person who likes problems fixed now. But this isn't how the Lord works; He opens our eyes to these things and will then give us the strength to work on them. It's hard and at times very discouraging to see how we fail, but through these times we have the opportunity to lean on the Lord while choosing to do right. In the end, the victory is sweet and we've drawn even closer to our Lord!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Recent Shopping Trips with Momma

I have had a hankering to visit our local Antique Mall for several weeks now. The building has over 27,000 square feet filled to overflowing with antiques and collectibles!!! I usually find and come away with a new found 'treasure' each time I visit! This past Friday, Momma and I headed out there for a long overdue perusal of the booths.

Pieces of History
While we browsed the aisles, we kept our eyes open for old books, magazines, sewing things, bottles, and whatever the other was interested in finding. I was particularly in the market for old books while Momma always focuses on linens and old magazines. I am always drawn to blue ball jars, and at one booth I found 'the' ball jar. Pictured above, on the left, I was amazed to see it in such wonderful condition... top and porcelain 'insulator' were even intact and appear to have never been used! I put it in our collective shopping basket and we continued our journey through the mall.

(note: the clear Atlas jar on the right was found at a local thrift store later on in the day. It too is old; it came with the top, but is missing the metal 'wiring' that held the top in place, but you can the brown markings where it sat.)

The mall is made up of different 'rooms', so to speak. It's a huge metal building yet has walls dividing it into five different sections. As Momma and I began meandering through the third section, my eyes were drawn to several shelves of old books... with-in the shelves I found two wonderful old books that I would have bought, but I'm afraid that Ashley was on a budget and had to pass these books up. I'll admit that I was just a little downcast as I stepped away from the booth, as they were exactly what I was looking for. Moments later, my eyes caught sight of a basket of books in a neighboring booth- as I went through them I almost put the basket aside as they were the mechanical/technical type of literature; however, I have learned from my Momma that you go through everything in search of treasure, and so I heeded her advice. I sure am glad I did, for one of the very last books to be looked at was a volume from "The Riverside Library for Young People" that was printed in 1891! It has one or two pages that I need to repair and then I'll be reading it. It appears to be an autobiography of the authors growing up years.

Momma walked away with a few more items than I did, mainly in the linen category. I love these Mother and Daughter antique and thrift store shopping trips! We have such wonderful times together and always aid each other in our search for 'treasures'!

Replenishing the Supply
Yesterday, as it was raining, Momma and I headed into Greenwood for a small shopping trip. Hancocks' Fabric was running an amazing sale (fabric, buttons, needles, and some notions were 50% off and patterns were $0.99!!!! ), we needed dog food, thrift stores were in need of visiting, and of course a stop at Aldi was in order so off we went. Hancocks' was our main interest and we duly interested ourselves in it for an hour and a half!!! We perused patterns, agonized over what 'indoor/outdoor' fabric would be best for the porch furniture, scoured the shelves of fabric for the 'perfect' piece, and came away with most of our items being half off which excited us to no end!!! Momma was so proud of herself for not buying any fabric while I got several pieces to replenish my winter wardrobe with. Her find for the day was getting the foam for the porch furniture cushions half off!

An Afternoon Romp
We made it home around 3:30 where we were greeted by a wet dog and a thirteen year old hollering "IT'S ABOUT TIME!!!! Where on EARTH have y'all BEEN???!" He made up for all his noise by helping us unload the 'burb. :o) I spent the remainder of the afternoon washing my fabric, putting our goodies away, and finishing up the things that I had dropped earlier that morning to go with Momma.

I love shopping with Mom even though it can get tendious, but it's always worth it! We have fun together, laugh together, have wonderful conversation together, and enjoy being together! I think I have a terrific Momma!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Hymn for Sunday

Our Great Savior

Words by: J. Wilbur Chapman, 1859-1918
Music by: Rowland H. Prichard, 1811-1887

Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul!
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.

Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Jesus! what a Strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him;
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
He, my Strength, my vict'ry wins.

Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Jesus! what a Help in sorrow!
While the billows o'er me roll;
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my Comfort, helps my soul.

Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Jesus! what a Guide and Keeper!
Wile the tempest still is high;
Storms about me, night o'er-takes me,
He, my Pilot, hears my cry.

Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Jesus! I do now receive Him,
More than all in Him I find;
He hath granted me forgiveness,
I am His, and He is mine.

Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Garden Preparation for Winter

As we watch the leaves on the trees begin to change colors, enjoy the cooler days, and begin to wrap up the gardening season, my mind begins wandering to next years garden and different things I'd like to try.

As caladiums, elephant ears, nasturtiums, dahlia's, cosmos, zinnia's, sunflowers, and a host of other plants drift through my mind, I'm suddenly reminded that there are plants that need to be dug up before the first frost. Namely my elephant ear and amaryllis bulbs. The elephant ears can wait for a few more weeks, but the amaryllis need tending to right now if I want to possibly have blooms this spring.

Trimming the tops of the amaryllis off
I planted the amaryllis, pot and all, in my garden early this past spring with the intent to dig them up and bring them indoors this fall. This afternoon, after pulling up other plants and doing a bit of weeding, I dug up the amaryllis and took them into the shop. I cleaned the pots up just a bit and then began trimming the leaves off of the plants.

Stashed away for the next few months.
Then I placed them, still in the pots, in a cardboard box and set them on "Ashley's Gardening/Dog Stuff/Outdoor Stuff" shelf, where they will reside till January. I've read and been told that if you keep the plants in a cool dark place you can bring them out after a certain number of weeks and begin to tend to them (ie. feed, water, give them conditions that are right for growth). They will then, supposedly, bloom again- although it won't be anything like it was last year. Amaryllis put on a prolific show every three years and the bulbs or flowers that we buy from the store are 'first year bloomers' which is why they cost more. In January I will re-pot the bulbs and then begin another cycle of amaryllis care. I can't wait to see the results!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Laid Back Days

Finally, after ten days of separation, my family is back together again!!! The house always seems empty when just one or two people are gone, so I'm thrilled that it is once again filled with people and 'homey noises'. Right now, Mom and Sayre are doing school, Sawyer is playing with a fire truck, and Collin (with the help of his friend Seth) are painting in the front room. These sounds mean that there is a family in this house!!

So far, this week has been a laid back week and we're enjoying catching up with life. The rainy and cloudy weather has been perfect for doing this, and we've been able to focus on various tasks. The big task for me was to take all the 'piles' that have been accumulating in my room and dump on my bed so that I could then clean my room. Afterwards, I sorted through everything (I even got rid of some stuff!!) and dug some fall decoration/s out.

In the sewing room
Mom and I are also endeavoring to get into the sewing room for a bit each day. Momma was able to get quite a few sewing projects finished while she was gone (she took her sewing machine with her) and now she's doing some altering in addition to some mending.
I've been contemplating what I should use several pieces of stashed fabric for; in particular a piece of black cotton/polyester. I finally decided on a skirt and was able to get it cut out yesterday! My plan is to spend some time working on it this afternoon!

The 'To Read' Books
In the midst of it all, I'm working on my stack of 'to read' books. This stack is continually changing as different books come my way and take precedence over others. I three of these books started... "Darwin's Plantation", "Safely Home", and "The Hobbit". My goal is to finish Darwin's Plantation by the end of the month as it belongs to Trevor and it's been on my stack since before last Christmas!!
I love to read and if I don't watch out I'll easily spend an entire day reading!! Not good when there are other things that I should be doing.

So, this is a bit of what's been going on here at the Castlebury's. I'm so glad that we're all back together again!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Hymn for Sunday

Such Love

Words by C. Bishop
Music by: Robert Harkness

That God should love a sinner such as I,
Should yearn to change my sorrow into bliss
Nor rest till He had planned to bring me nigh,
How wonderful is love like this!

Such love, such wondrous love!
Such love, such wondrous love!
That God should love a sinner such as I,
How wonderful is love like this!

That Christ should join so freely in the scheme,
Although it meant His death on Calvary-
Did ever human tongue find nobler theme,
Than love divine that ransomed me?

Such love, such wondrous love!
Such love, such wondrous love!
That God should love a sinner such as I,
How wonderful is love like this!

That for a willful outcast such as I
The Father planned, the Saviour bled and died,

Temptation for a worthless slave to buy,

Who long had law and grace defied!

Such love, such wondrous love!

Such love, such wondrous love!

That God should love a sinner such as I,

How wonderful is love like this!

And now He takes me to His heart-a son;
He asks me not to fill a servants place.

The "far off country" wand'rings all are done;
Wide open are His arms of grace.

Such love, such wondrous love!
Such love, such wondrous love!
That God should love a sinner such as I,

How wonderful is love like this!

Friday, October 2, 2009

An Award...

Recently, LaSara awarded me this "Honest Scrap" award which means that I get to list ten honest things, not necessarily random facts I suppose, about myself. The thought "why am I doing this? My brothers would be better able to fulfill this request than I can", crosses my mind, but I'll try to do my best! :o)

1) I have the hardest time getting up in the morning and am very prone to sleeping through the alarm! A friend recommended placing the alarm clock on the opposite side of the room... wow!!! It's amazing!!! I'm up the moment the alarm starts going off, and I stay up!
You know, the alarm sounds louder on that side of the room.

2) I love puzzles! Currently I have a three thousand piece puzzle, that has been in the works for six weeks, about a third of the way done. I usually work on the puzzles during phone calls with a certain person, as it helps to have my hands busy while we talk, but I have been known to 'drop in' on it during the day. Once I sit down and start fitting pieces together, it's hard to stop! :o)

3) I'm not a shopper by nature. My method of shopping is to go in, get what I need, and leave. I have a plan of action- where I'm starting in the store and where I'll end. I DON'T stop in between, unless I see that item I've been searching for ages for.
With that said, do I enjoy walking through an antique store/mall or the thrift store. AND I don't mind 'going along for the ride' with others.

4) Ernest T. Bass was my 'hero' when I was quite a bit younger. Trevor and I would play 'Andy Griffith' and, since he is two years younger than I, he got to be Andy (because Andy can't run very fast) and I was Ernest T. (because Ernest T. can run faster than Andy). I had great fun jumping over walls and running around like a 'maniac', but it never lasted very long seeing how 'Andy' couldn't catch me!

5) I have just come to the wonderful realization that walnuts are the perfect addition to brownies!! I've often wondered how the bakeries can make such delicious brownies... Thanks to Sayre, who stirred up an impromptu batch of brownies last night and added walnuts just on a whim, I have had my taste buds 'enlightened'! They are delicious!

6) I own three heifers that are due to calve in December or January. Two of them are pictured here. It's exciting to see the heifers getting larger and then, when they calve, it will be neat to see mother's and calves all together!

7) I like to see a book and flip through it, before I purchase it online. I usually will request the book from our library and peruse it to see if it is something that I really want. It works this way with music books (I head to the music store to see those) and reading material.

8) I am so truly thankful for the Lord and His working in my heart even when I was a rebellious young person. He has done a mighty work in my life over the past ten or so years; it can only be explained by our loving Lord and Savior. You can read more about it here.

9) There are many times that I wish for a sister to help and have fun with while 'we' work! I can only imagine the enjoyment that comes from working together- the fun, the singing, the laughter, and the good conversations that would come of it. Instead of a sister, though, I have my Momma who has taken the place of a sister and is my friend! I don't know what I would do without her!

10) My timer is going off... that means the bread is done rising and it's time for me to get the evening started!

Have a wonderful evening!