Sunday, March 21, 2010

Maple Tapping Time

This past week we tapped our maple trees, something we've been doing for several years and really enjoy. It started as something for my husband to do during February and March, which is between all the hunting seasons and farming seasons, pretty much a down time for him. He remembered how all the families around here tapped their sugar trees and made cane molasses when he was growing up (along with raising their own meat and just about everything else the family ate). So he found someone with a vat for sale and we started a yearly tradition.
   We usually do this a lot early than we did this year, but the weather wasn't right for it until the last couple of weeks. Warm days and cold nights make the sap run. This year we also hung fewer buckets, only 23, and ended up with almost 3 gallons. Plenty for us and our family and friends.
  Here are pictures, starting with Richard tapping trees and ending with the finished product. He boils it over a fire until it gets to a certain point, then I take it in the house, strain it and jar it. We had some on pancakes this morning and it was GOOD!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fingerprint Friday

Beki at The Rusted Chain was inspired to start Fingerprint Friday. Her inspiration was a song by Steven Curtis Chapman, and her wish to find out what others saw as the fingerprint of God
I  see God in so many things, in the love of family, the laughter of children, the comfort of home. But the first thing that came to mind was nature.

From the tiniest creature or bit of dirt to stately  trees to mountains, every inch is covered with the fingerprint of God. His majesty, love, and creativity shows in every minute detail.
Every little bug counts forsomething        

Nature isn't always pretty, or kind, but it knits together in an amazing pattern. Proof of God's greatness and plan.

I spend a lot of time outdoors, looking and absorbing, and it's my belief that God's fingerprint is everywhere.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Finally outside again

It's been a month and a half since the weather let me get out into the woods. That is a long time for me. So today, eventhough it was chilly and damp, I decided to take the walk. I'm really glad I did.
When I left home I had two companions with me. Tom, my husband Richard's  Blue tick coon hound, and Porky, our owns-the-household Beagle. Above is Tom, not long before he abandoned me. See, Tom is an almost 4-year old, with the energy of a year old pup. He will start out the walk with me really excited, ready to go, but I bore him. When Richard heads up the old logging road he goes on his 4-wheeler, and that's more exciting to an energy to spare hound. I'm boring. I stop about every 3 minutes to take pictures of look at a tree or leaf or something. So as soon as he figures out he's stuck with me, he high tails it back to the house to look for Richard.
And this is King Porky.
He wasn't a chubby dog when Richard named him as a tiny puppy, but every winter he gets his "winter layer" and lives up to his name. It's amazing, within about a month from now he will be slim and trim again for summer. I wish I new his secret. Anyway he is faithful. He stays close to me and goes into guard mode to watch for anything that moves to protect me. Or not. He's actually just looking for something to run.He'll go ahead of me and stop, turn around and look for me as if to say "will you come on, already?"
I've been on this road countless times over the last 14 years. During all seasons. Every year something different shows up  that I haven't seen before. Depending on the weather, dry or wet, cold or hot, and all combination. Truly amazing.
This is the same road, in about the same spot, as the  Forest road and green ferns photo in my Etsy shop.Quite a difference!
I got some nice shots of some fungi that are already coming up, and some different kinds of tree bark I have an idea of turning into backgound papers.
Spring is coming, it's almost here!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Oh! What a Beautiful Morning

I guess it's because I grew up in the country, but nature always inspires me to remember God's power and love.
I go out every morning to take care of my chickens. I 've gotten into the habit of looking west at the sky every morning when I walk around the end of the house, then east as I go around our tractor shed. Every morning, no matter what the weather, both views are beautiful.
Some mornings the sky is blue and inspiring. Other days it is dark and  foreboding. God's greatness comes through to me in both instances. This morning it was both.

Clouds were coming in but there was a ray of sunshine coming through on the barn and field in the background. The water is from a wet weather spring that is usually about a foot wide, but with the snow melt running off it's become more of a creek. There were robins and sparrows in the trees, singing their hearts out, and more birds all around competing for attention.
On my way to work I saw a gang of wild turkeys, a huge gaggle of wild geese, and more birds everywhere. A mix of clouds and sun, a few sprinkles of rain. Blue sky and gray.
All of this  shows me God's handiwork. And makes me grateful that I have a home where I'm surrounded by it all.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Seems kind of off to say beginnings now that I’m more into the project.I was able to get outside for a while today, it was really nice. Still a lot of snow left, however, so I couldn’t really find pieces of small branch I was looking for. I did,however, find a piece hanging out of a tree that had broken off, and had another idea. This is it so far… (bad pictures, sorry)

20100307_88   20100307_93                                  20100308_1

       20100308_4         20100308_2

Still not a done deal, but this is the way most of my pices progress. Trial and a LOT of error, seeing if this works, or that works. So far I’m liking this idea, need to figure out how to stand it up, and how sell it will stay on the branch. I could attach it permanently, I would rather leave it loose.

Putting on the thinking cap again…

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pro Life re-visited

A while back I posted about my feelings on the abortion issue. I deleted the post shortly after, not because I was ashamed or embarassed about my feelings but because I felt the post had become an emotional rant that would turn off anyone who may be on the fence.
Maya 2004
Laken  2006

These are my granddaughters, and I can't imagine my life without them. But if their mothers or fathers had decided they didn't need to be here, they wouldn't be. After trying to re-write the post  I realized there is no way for me to write about this without being emotional.These are babies, after all, human beings, future toddlers and tweens and teenagers and adults, maybe future parents, maybe future world leaders or teachers, nurses, or factory workers. Maybe they will lead countries or lead  states or cities ,towns, neighborhoods, or households. Maybe they will be mothers or fathers of other children. Any of the above could be the person who cures cancer or who raises an autistic child to a productive life or lives their life as a "nobody " in our eyes..  No matter what their future holds they are children of God, souls who are created by him for a purpose.
As I stated in my previous post I used to be pro choice, I didn't think I had the right to tell another woman what she should do with her body. But I have changed my mind. I still think a woman has to make her peace with God, but there are too many places in this world for a child to have a home for a life to be snuffed out.
9 months seems like a lot of time to some people to give up to nourish and give birth to the child they have created, but as you get older 9 months in perspective is nothing. I realize that this is  huge sacrifice, giving up your life and image to give birth to a baby , but it's a choice that is the right thing to do .
I wish everyone would watch this:
Mike Huckabee interviews ex-planned parenthood employee.
I've finally realized that my aversion to the thought of killing a baby before it can be born is my God speaking through me, telling me that there is no reason for us as humans to decide when a child is worthless.  I wish I could come up with more eloquent words and phrases that would convince women that the life inside them is precious, and worth saving.
I guess I need to keep praying..

Gourd beginings III

The going is slow  on my newest gourd project. Here are some pictures of the dyeing process.
At this stage (wet) the colors are beautiful, deep and rich. as they dry, however, this is what they do.

They dry out and get dull. The challenge for me is to use finishes to bring the depth of color back out so it will look the way I want it. Sometimes it works better than others. 
I'm at a standstill right now with this project, I want to get the stand made before I start decorating or add the hinge for the top so I'll know how it will fit together. I can't get anywhere outside right now, all the snow we've had has melted an re-frozen so that walking anywhere is perilous. I've fallen three times already this winter! Didn't hurt anything but my pride, thank God. Anyway I think I'd better wait for some thawing before I trek out too much. I also noticed that as it dried the pieces have a little more seperation than I'd like for a "lid" so I'm thinking about what to do about that. 
While I'm waiting I'm starting on another:
We'll see how it goes!