Friday, September 28, 2007

A Pup With No Name

We arrived home after a long days drive, with our new addition to the farm.
Here are a couple pictures of our new little girl that we have not named. She is so little yet, only 7 weeks old, but some day just might be bigger than Killick. At least 1/2 of her genetic make up indicates she should be.

More later.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Oh Most Holy St. Sergius, please pray unto God for us.

September 25th
(Tone 4)
Champion of virtue and warrior of Christ, thou didst contend against earthly passions; thou wast a model to thy disciples in vigil, chant and fasting and the Holy Spirit came and dwelt in thee. As thou hast boldness towards the Trinity remember thy flock and visit thy children as thou didst promise, O holy Father Sergius.

St. Sergius was the second son of Sts. Cyril and Mary, nobles of Rostov. They later fled to Radonezh during the Tatar wars in Russia. Having trouble learning how to read and write as a child, he sought understanding through prayer. An angel in the form of a monk blessed him and gave him understanding. He studied the Holy Scriptures relentlessly. After taking care of his parents until they died, St. Sergius sought the ascetic life in the wilderness. He was tonsured a monk at the age of twenty-three. Through prayer, he survived many years of solitude with nothing to eat but a scarce supply of bread and water. Eventually, many came to join him and a monastery was established. St. Sergius was ordained as a priest and was appointed as abbot. He protested, not wishing for any title or honor, but accepted in humility and obedience. He lived an extremely pious life, dressing in worn clothing, working hard, and spending hours in prayer every day. He established countless churches and monasteries and performed many miracles through prayer and fasting. St. Sergius reposed in 1393. Through his intercessions, the faithful have been healed of blindness and delivered from devils.

Icon and Story found on Come and See Icons website.

Today there was a special reading from the OCA calendar for St. Sergius.
One verse inparticular spoke to me....God spoke to me.

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
Galatians 6:1

Monday, September 24, 2007

Love of a sister

At the age of 10 one is hard pressed to tolerate a younger sister very often, let alone show unselfish love. So when this morning, out of the blue, Kelsey chose to do just that I was stunned and proud! It is in times like this God gives you a boost of confidence to say "Way to go, good and faithful servant." At breakfast this morning Kelsey lingered at the table after the others left. After a few minutes she said, "Mom, I want to make Charissa happy. Can I wear a patch with her?"
(In case you don't know Charissa has Amblyopia (lazy eye) and needs to wear a patch everyday! She HATES it!)

The boys wanted to join in the picture as well so I thought I'd put that here. It is cute!
The fantastic four!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Very long Post....feelings and FARM UPDATE

Since it’s been nearly a month since the last farm “update” I feel I need to write. But I’m not sure what to say. I’m feeling so disconnected from the world lately. This really isn’t a new feeling. Farming/homeschooling/mothering/housekeeping is hard work! No, I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I have all that I’ve ever wanted. I love it here. I just wish it weren’t so…so, isolating. With our society as it is, it has made this sort of lifestyle very isolating. Very few people have time to commune together in any way, shape or form. It became very apparent to me when my mom left after being here for a whole month, then James was home from Uganda and spent over a week at home, that I don’t LIKE being so isolated. I LOVE communing, sharing, laughing, singing and well, just being with other people. Yes, I’m with “people” all day, four of them in fact….but I must clarify… when I say “other people” I really mean people around about MY age! Adults, those people I do not need to instruct, discipline, care for, read to, clean up after, cook for, etc.

I need to clarify what I mean when I say “this sort of lifestyle”. I do not mean living out in the country on acreage with few neighbors. What I mean is the housewife/mother/teacher/helpmeet lifestyle. You can live in the heart of Seattle and feel the same way. I think I’m just now realizing what it all means and why. I'm realizing it is nearly impossible to NOT FEEL isolated due to the society we live in. EVERYONE is SO busy!!!! Busy with work, with school, with homes. We taught ourselves to be independent and not rely on anyone!!!!! It's a failure, in a sense, to show yourself as NEEDING anyone. We live in our 3000 sq. ft. homes on our 2000 sq. ft lots (or 2.54 acres) and do not know the name of the person we can see through the window cooking dinner. We isolate ourselves. It used to be that the women of the neighborhood would gather for coffee/tea each afternoon before the hubbies arrived home or before the children arrived home. Not anymore. It came with the feminist movement. Strong independent women don't need anyone else! But because of this mentality no one knows how to build a community that needs one another, that helps one another, that works together. I’m not even sure what it would look like if I saw it. All I know is that WE DO NEED IT!!!!

* heart.*

But, if I was a diligent worker, self-disciplined, wise manager of time, in other words COMPLETELY organized, maybe this wouldn’t be an issue. I’d be so busy every second of every day that I wouldn’t have time to think about it. But I’m not those things most of the time. I’m disorganized which is a complete distraction all day long. I become overwhelmed and then paralyzed which leads to perplexed looks and thoughts like “where do I start?” “What do I do now?” “I can’t do it all so why begin.” It’s actually ridiculous! There are awesome books to help those like me. Managers of Their Homes and Mother’s Rule of Life have both been paramount in helping me recognize this tendency in myself. That’s the first step I guess. And slowly, each day, I try to put it into practice. It’s just that when your slothful, undisciplined, and altogether unorganized (for nearly 37 years---am I really almost 37?), it’s hard to change.

I feel the only way to do so is by the grace of God!!!

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9a

Now that I have sufficiently revealed my innermost being to the world, would anyone like to read a FARM UPDATE?

Chickens: We NEED more chickens! Our current flock has started laying fewer and fewer eggs! This week the average has been 11!! It dawned on me early this morning that it is probably LIGHT! We are now down to almost exactly 12 hours of sunlight a day! I’ve read that chickens need a consistent 14 hours of light a day to produce. So I will need to get the lights out again! Hopefully that will increase production. I also desperately want to increase the size of the flock but it is such hard work to make that happen. We need another coop to bring them to. We’ve already decided we can build one for next to nothing using pallets (see here if you wonder what I’m talking about). It’s just finding the time while also schooling, cooking, cleaning, gardening, milking AND finishing up the cabin before the rain hits( the siding needs to be put on ASAP for protection). We are gathering pallets and I know where I want it. Now, time.

Goats: Butter is still suckling her mama!!! Come on now, she is nearly old enough to breed and she still nurses her mama! Gross! But I cannot find it in my heart to separate them ALL DAY. They only have each other and goats are VERY social animals. They both would do nothing but cry all day long! I hope to breed in a month and that should stop it for sure! I’m still not sure how to go about breeding but I know I need to. I’m toying with the idea of mixing them with a Saanan. Saanans are know to be very docile and mellow while Nubians (what they are) are very skittish and noisy (we’ve learned firsthand). I just need to find a saanan buck. We still get about 3-4 # of milk a day. Every once in awhile I have enough to make cheese. One day last week I made mozzarella and then with the whey from the mozzarella I made ricotta cheese. We had lasagna that night! It was delicious and it felt so good to know I made both cheeses that went into it!

Garden: Garden season is almost done. We pick green beans nearly everyday for dinner. I do not however have enough to can/freeze for winter. I’m sad about that. Next year the rows double! We have squash to eat as well and I’m so happy that some of the children love the steamed squash. The tomatoes look good but are slow to ripen!! We get just a few cherry tomatoes a day. The plants, all 8 of them, are covered in GREEN fruit and I’m anxious for them to ripen!!
I hope to fence the garden area soon so that I an let the chickens in there over the winter to eat all the weeds and grass and to fertilize. I will kick them out in February, let it sit a month and then till it ALL up!!! I look forward to that time, it will great expand the garden area to have them it all the grass away.

To Do List:
Side the cabin
Build a new, bigger coop
Breed the goats
Fence the garden
Can tomatoes!

All by November 15th (just picked that date in the middle of fall as a goal!)

Ha ha ha ha ha, right!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Well, I'll be!!! It's been 3 weeks since I've written anything. Wow! Time flies! Life is crazy busy. I'll update soon. Today I wanted to share with you the story of one of my favorite Saints. As yesterday was her commemoration...St. Sophia. It's long but well worth the read!!

The Holy Martyrs Saint Sophia and her Daughters Faith, Hope and Love were born in Italy. Their mother was a pious Christian widow who named her daughters for the three Christian virtues. Faith was twelve, Hope was ten, and Love was nine. St Sophia raised them in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. St Sophia and her daughters did not hide their faith in Christ, but openly confessed it before everyone. An official named Antiochus denounced them to the emperor Hadrian (117-138), who ordered that they be brought to Rome. Realizing that they would be taken before the emperor, the holy virgins prayed fervently to the Lord Jesus Christ, asking that He give them the strength not to fear torture and death. When the holy virgins and their mother came before the emperor, everyone present was amazed at their composure. They looked as though they had been brought to some happy festival, rather than to torture. Summoning each of the sisters in turn, Hadrian urged them to offer sacrifice to the goddess Artemis. The young girls remained unyielding. Then the emperor ordered them to be tortured. They burned the holy virgins over an iron grating, then threw them into a red-hot oven, and finally into a cauldron with boiling tar, but the Lord preserved them. The youngest child, Love, was tied to a wheel and they beat her with rods until her body was covered all over with bloody welts. After undergoing unspeakable torments, the holy virgins glorified their Heavenly Bridegroom and remained steadfast in the Faith. They subjected St Sophia to another grievous torture: the mother was forced to watch the suffering of her daughters. She displayed adamant courage, and urged her daughters to endure their torments for the sake of the Heavenly Bridegroom. All three maidens were beheaded, and joyfully bent their necks beneath the sword. In order to intensify St Sophia's inner suffering, the emperor permitted her to take the bodies of her daughters. She placed their remains in coffins and loaded them on a wagon. She drove beyond the city limits and reverently buried them on a high hill. St Sophia sat there by the graves of her daughters for three days, and finally she gave up her soul to the Lord. Even though she did not suffer for Christ in the flesh, she was not deprived of a martyr's crown. Instead, she suffered in her heart. Believers buried her body there beside her daughters.

Oh, Most Holy St. Sophia, please pray unto God for us.

The Church celebrates and rejoices
In the feast of the three daughters: Faith, Hope, and Love
And their Mother Sophia, named for her wisdom:
For in them she gave birth to the three godly virtues.
Now they eternally behold their bridegroom, God the Word.
Let us rejoice spiritually in their memory and cry:
O our three Heavenly Protectors,
Establish, confirm and strengthen us
In Faith, Hope and Love.