Sunday, July 29, 2012

We've Got Eggs!

It was a usual evening - taking chicken feed and water into the coop for the girls before nightfall.  Earlier in the afternoon I had heard some awfully loud clucking coming from the coop - what our veterinarian friends said was a sure sign of a hen laying an egg.  So I decided to look around a bit...and then I spotted it...a small, but perfectly smooth brown egg!  Then I saw the second one!  The girls had been busy!

I felt like Charlie finding the golden ticket!...

*singing and dancing* "I've got a golden ticket!  I've got a golden twinkle in my eye! 'Cause I've got a golden ticket...It's a golden day!!" 

I feel like we should throw them a coming out party...a Quinceanara...a debutante ball!! Our girls are no longer chicks...they're HENS!!!

Here are the pretty little eggs - 

AND...for some bigger news...

The chickens have their own Twitter feed!  Yep, that's right! You can follow all the drama and hoopla moment by moment!
You'll find the Wood Cluckers at @HenHouseHoopla.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Penn Top 10

To recap our time in Pennsylvania, here are the top 10 highlights of the our trip:

10. Chick-Fil-A Cow Appreciation Day - This got our trip Mooo-ving in the right direction! :) (I just couldn't resist)

9. Realizing the Smuckers are Amish and sell more than just jam.  

 8. Old Town Philly

 The Betsy Ross house

 Independence Hall

Cute historical homes...

 Elfreth's Alley

Christ Church, were many of our Nation's early leaders worshiped.  Ryan is sitting in the pew where George and Martha Washington's family sat.  Later John Adams would also sit in this pew box to worship.   

7. Jim's Steaks - We needed the authentic Philly Cheese Steak experience.  

Come to Mama...

6. Camping at French Creek State Park
Tent up, Check. 
Doesn't it look so happy and cute! 

10 minutes later a thunderstorm hit...

5. Invention of the Sm'Oreo - It tastes good when it's all you've got!

4. Gettysburg Battle Grounds and Military Cemetery - 
   Lots of cannons 

And here's Ryan at the monument in the military cemetery where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address.

Battle of Gettysburg fact: 51,000 Americans died in just 3 days.  It was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.

3. Touring Lancaster County


The most gorgeous farmsteads I've ever seen.  

 WHOA?? WHAT?! Mom, forget you've ever seen this.
Did I tell you about the beautiful and scenic farmsteads?!?!?

And here's the cutting edge of Amish farming - brand new Amish machinery...hook it up to your trusty steed and watch your steel wheels roll, Baby!

2. Meeting Ryan's friends from Brazil - the reason we went to Pennsylvania in the first place was to attend the wedding of Ryan's friend, Nancy, and to see her parents, Steven and Lourdinha.  
 Here we are with the newlyweds, Nancy and Brian.  Ryan and I felt like the old married couple! 

Here's Ryan and Lourdinha!  It was so great to meet some of the people who were Ryan's good friends while in Brazil. 

*Drum Roll.....*

1. It's all about the.....

Nothing tops getting to spend 120 glorious uninterrupted hours with my Sweetheart!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


We are on our way home.  *Sigh*

Ryan and I have spent the last five days traveling to, from, and all around Eastern Pennsylvania.  Time to travel is definitely one of the perks of farmers being self-employed.  When the work is done (or at a stopping point), then the farmers (and their wives) can play.  I have loved every minute, every rolling hill, of it.  I look forward to sharing more about the trip in posts to come. 

But tonight, as we watch the golden glow of the corn roll by in the evening sunlight, I can’t help but feel a bit sentimental.  Equal parts grateful, weary, and melancholy.  It is usually this way for me – grateful for such a rich time with my beloved. Weary from endless hours in the car.  A nagging melancholy about the fun being over and going back to my routine.  Don’t get me wrong, I like my routine and my everyday stuff.  But at the end of trips, or other highly-anticipated events, I feel like a child called in for bedtime in the middle of catching fireflies with his friends on a summer night.  I just don’t want the fun to end. 

Inevitably the end of our journey occurs in the evening as the sun is setting.   It is just another poignant reminder that our trip, this chapter of memories and delightfulness, is coming to a close.  These sentiments are a reminder of how special, how deeply felt, the experiences were.  And for that I feel grateful and satisfied.  These feelings also remind me that we were made for the eternal – to live without endings.  God has set eternity in our hearts.  And I look forward to that Day when there will be no more endings.  When we will be in the presence of Jesus and know the fullness of joy.  But until then, Ecclesiastes 3:11 reminds us, “He has made everything beautiful in its time." 

What has He made beautiful in your life? What makes you sentimental? 

For me - Christ has made the Pennsylvania trip beautiful in its time. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Grazing Across the Midwest

So did you know that today is Chick-Fil-A's Cow Appreciation Day?  They set aside an entire day to celebrate the bovines that have become so much a part of the Chick-Fil-A identity.  Unfortunately, we have no Chick-Fil-A in Sutter.  Nor in Quincy, the nearest mid-sized city.  Some of you shake your heads in is such an existence possible??  I know.  I have no idea how I go on each day without a Chick-Fil-A....and a Target nearby.  But it is my burden to bear.  
Allow me to continue - Yesterday we were visiting with our precious friends, the Gallaghers, who told us that on their way to a family wedding today, they planned to take advantage of Chick-Fil-A's Cow Appreciation Day.  They went on to explain - Anyone who dressed from head to hoof in a cow costume would be rewarded with an entire combo meal, free of charge!!  Chick-Fil-A?!? FREE?!?  Sign me up.   And, as providence would have it, we were going to be on our way to a wedding in Pennsylvania, and would be passing a number of large cities that have a Chick-Fil-A!!!  
So, off we were - Chick-Fil-A....err...Pennsylvania bound at 7:30AM!  

The first CFA (Chick-Fil-A) branch we would be passing was in Urbana, Illinois.  So around 10:30AM, we ran into the U of I student union with our cut-out cow pieces, courtesy of Holly Gallagher and the CFA website.  Fortunately for us, a desk worker at the union allowed us to borrow her tape to adhere the pieces.  
Here we are getting ready to go...

So we shamelessly strolled into the Union CFA and ordered our #1 Combos - FREE!

Back to the car and onward east. Fast-forward to Indianapolis...

We ran into the Circle Centre mall food court...and scored our next two combo meals! 

Head 'em up, move 'em out, Rawhide!! On to Columbus...
Welcome to Ohio!  

And, for our final stop, CFA pulled out all the stops...
Say "hello" to the CFA cow - let's call her Molly.  Molly was so nice...even allowed us to get our pictures with her. 

Basically, Ryan ran up to Molly in a giddy tizzy and begged her to get a picture together. 
It happened.  

Two #1 combos in Urbana - Free.
#7 and #2 combo meals in Indianapolis - Free.
#7 and #2 combo meals in Columbus - Free.
Eating for free across the entire Midwest - Priceless.  

And at home, the chickens are holding down the fort...

Friday, July 6, 2012

Redefined Defined

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary,
REDEFINE transitive verb, \ˌrē-di-ˈfīn\
1: to define (as a concept) againreformulate <had to redefine their terms>
2 a: to reexamine or reevaluate especially with a view to change b: transform 

My boss once told me that I am the most analytical person he knows.  I wasn’t sure how he meant the comment to be taken, but I decided I would take it as a compliment.  And he surely is right.  I am analytical by nature…perhaps to the point of paralysis when it comes to making certain decisions.  Like starting a blog, for instance.  I analyzed the idea from every angle – What would be the focus of my blog? Would I be able to keep it up?  Would people read it?  Would I read it??  How would I make my blog interesting and engaging?  On and on the thoughts went.  Poor Ryan – he didn’t know what he was in for.   

Speaking of Ryan, when we were dating and I began to contemplate (analytical, remember??) the prospect of joining him in our own Green Acres of sorts, I started to observe what I would categorize to be two groups of farm wives – those who were jaded by years of long hours and financial uncertainty and those who were not.   I made up my mind then and there, that by the grace of God, if Ryan and I were going to be married, I was not going to be a jaded wife.  As I began to think about practical steps to avoid becoming embittered, I began to think about how I would change the traditional depiction of farm living.  How I would like to redefine it. 

Fast forward to Monday, June 25th, 2012.  I was on my way home from work and on the phone with my good friend, Rose. Rose and I were catching up on life.  Her husband, Scott, is currently overseas with the military and meanwhile, she is busy stateside.  Rose also has a blog where she chronicles life and Scott’s military updates.  So when I was telling Rose about life after marriage – settling into a rural farmhouse, getting 11 chickens, starting our first garden, shooting 3 rabbits with a 20 gauge shotgun, and the miscellaneous other stories – Rose says, “Lin, you need to start a blog.”  And of course my desire to start a blog was immediately rekindled.
I hesitated though, “But Rose, no one will read it.”
“I will” she says.  “And so will your sisters.”  She did have a point.    
So that got me thinking.  That evening as I was sitting on my lawn mower…errr…lawn tractor mowing the lawn, I prayed and decided – I’m just going to try it!  And I started to get excited. 

 Some of you may be wondering, “How exactly do you intend to redefine farm living?”  Well, as the above definition suggests, I hope to reexamine with a view to change…and maybe even in some way rediscover the heart of the farming lifestyle with regard to -

o       A joyful rather than jaded spirit.  So much of what I associated in the past with farming was drab – Long hours of arduous work. Tight budgets.  Bad years.  Even worse years.  Mud. Straw. Manure. Need I say more?  But I truly believe that the farming lifestyle (and as I have discovered, it is indeed a “lifestyle”) has so much richness to offer. Difficulty, yes.  But also so much to celebrate.  Ultimately, it is my hope that the difficulties and pressures of life will serve to sweeten my spirit rather than embitter it.  And for those of you who have thought of farming as I once did, as dreary and somewhat unappealing, perhaps the glimpses you see here may be enough to convince you of its beauty. 
o       Growth – capturing growth and the process of maturation in all of its forms.
o       To discover and when needed, to introduce, loveliness, femininity, creativity, and a sense of culture to farmstead living.
o       Ryan and me – What does it look like for Ryan and me to make a life of our own on the farm?
o       Jesus – Most importantly, what does a farming family, or an entire farming operation, look like when it is completely centered on loving and adoring Jesus and loving others? Our church recently finished a series about the book of Philippians, "Re:Defining Everything", in which we were challenged to redefine our lives around Christ.  We trust God to work in us for the sake of His good purposes and glory.

And as I seek to redefine the farm life, I realize that in many ways, I will just be defining the essence of it.  Hence, Re:Defining the farm life.

Until next time,
S.D.G. - "Soli Deo Gloria" - "Glory to God alone"

P.S.  You may notice the tabs up top – “The Chicks”, “From the Garden”, etc. – stay tuned for more to be posted there.  Also, if you would like to receive updates whenever I make a post, enter your email address in the box on the right.