Monday, July 26, 2010

What To Do With Swiss Chard

OK, get ready to plant, grow, or buy Swiss chard because I have a nummy recipe that uses this leafy green.

You will need a skillet, fresh basil, and Swiss chard (or spinach). Toss all these things together for about three minutes. (The chard should outnumber the basil 4 to 1. The one recipe I found suggested 16 cups of chard to one cup of basil, but I just estimated and it worked out.) Then sprinkle in some salt and pepper to your liking. Stir a bit more and serve. It tasted fresh and alive and much better than the basic boiling with loads of butter or mayo. (Pst: chard is known as the leafy beet....who knew!?)

Just curious? Anyone out there ever eat Swiss chard? I think it is an older veggie that has been forgotten, but shouldn't be.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A La Summer

These are fairly clean compared to most evenings on the farm.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Just Not That Good

Usually I tried to only mention the books I find and love, but I just couldn't let this warning pass me by. Plus, I'd love to know if it is just me, and Good-bye Sheepie is really a good book.

The dog is old. The dog dies. The dog is buried. The boy cries. The boy remembers happy days.

The boys were disengaged and so was I. And I love a good dog story: Love that Dog, Old Yeller.....but this one was lacking, and I can't quite put my figure on it. Maybe because my boys weren't connecting with the main character. I think starting from the first page wit the dog being sick and old and then by page three the dog dies doesn't create much empathy between reader and dying.

Love to know if anyone else has read this. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood.

This is nothing against Robert Burleigh's other books, like:

This was a book I came across a while back and would highly recommend.

Monday, July 19, 2010

God-Sighting 10,401....

The life of my grandparents is a huge rock/support in my belief of the Gospel. They oozed Christ's truth in their words, actions, and commitment. Even in their failings I saw only their heart desire to love God and love others....even if this was far from perfect. God's grace was bigger than their own humanness, and his spirit worked greatly through them.

My grandfather died this last fall, but my grandmother is still with us....sort of. She has dementia. I used to say that the two remaining bits of her former self were her sense of humor and her faith in God. Now it is just her faith in God.

Recently, she told my mom that she wanted to go to her, "Home, God's home." Once she informed us that she didn't have anything left to do here (I'd agree.) and she just wanted to leave. Then she lifted her hands upward to show us how she thought she wanted to make her exit. She still cries, in that deep spiritual place, when familar hymns are played or sung, and she will surprise us all with completely coherant prayers. It is the one thing she still has. Jesus.

I want it for her, heaven. I want her to be able to move on, no longer just be waiting for it to happen....complete redemption, a making new. I ache for her to receive a new body and mind. The one person she always knew, my grandpa, is no longer here. "I just never thought he'd leave me." She misses him. Shouldn't she? They were married for 70 years.

I miss my grandma. I think I miss her more seeing the person she really isn't. I think my good memories are a bit blocked when I go and see the dementia that has taken over her. Maybe when she is reunited with those who've gone to heaven first, my older memories will regain their strength. I hope so. But still, even this dementia is part of her, her life experience, and I'm learning much from it. She would have wanted still be used by God. And she is. Her retained faith reassure my own belief.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Anthology Update

Observation: Melanie and I are feeling a sense of community and togetherness as we are reading and editing submissions for our anthology. This is exciting because this is the goal of the book...encouragement.

I feel like I'm creating the best surprise gift ever. You know the kind---you are giddy as you hand the much anticipated present to the receiver, watching their face for the perfect reaction of joy and thankfulness and wonder.

I'm even getting brave and talking about the project to people I know, when it fits naturally into a conversation. This happened this morning when I went to pick up goat's milk for my son. The woman was talking about the Vineyard church. I told her that the guy who started that denomination had actually been a Quaker. (Yicks, correct me if I'm wrong.) Anyway, then she said, "Oh I've always liked Quakers." Yep, then I told her about my book. See, totally natural. She seemed interested to read it, excited to read about other mom's and their mothering journeys with a Quaker/Mennonite value system.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Unusual Pets

Tarantulas, flesh eating flies, scorpions, turtles, hissing cockroaches, chickens, cats, and a dog have all be called pets by my boys. That is why we love Extraordinary Pets by Barroux.

Enough said, add it to your summer reading list! Plus it is a flip book! Interactive.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Do you consider yourself rural or urban? That might make or break your love of Elisha Cooper's picture book Farm. He sums up what it means to be rural, to be farm. He must be a secret lover of Steinbeck and Willa Cather---both lovers of the earth.

Anyone who respects setting and place, who's encountered peace by just being---will enjoy this read with their children.

Truthfully, the written words were a bit beyond their attention spans, but their visuals captivated them. We are rural; we related.

Elisha got his settings from actual farms, and I can tell. It made me feel like I was driving in Easter Washington on our way to the family cabin. The weather was the major character. All depends on the weather...planting, pollinating, cutting, harvesting, plowing....waiting....

It made me want to know more about him. I'm including a link to his own words, where he got the idea for his book.

It is a must read.

We also found the Country Road ABC by Arthur Geisert.

I loved this read; much more at my boys' attention levels. Arthur celebrated it all: there were the nice farms, complete with proper out buildings, and then there was the decapitated trailer...a viable farmhouse option that are equally part of the farm landscape. I also could appreciate the picture of the farmers "conversating" at the local coffee shop. The still of winter and the frantic pace of summer was all capture accurately in Geisert's telling.

Monday, July 5, 2010

"Kick It, Kick It....Home Run!"

I threw up my arms in sweet pride and victory. My oldest had kicked the ball perfectly and scored! The problem was that he’d kicked the baseball perfectly to 1st base. But I didn’t care. I was impressed. It made sense. It was way more efficient to kick a ball instead of bending over to pick it up and throw it. Plus, since he was able to walk, he’s been playing soccer, not baseball. And it is obvious.

While all the other five-year-old boys know how to throw overhand, Bren awkwardly attempts to mimic this skill. I feel a little bad for him. I know how it feels to not be good at a sport. Mine was field hockey, fifth grade.

My best friend and I loathed it together. We had P.E. with the boys, and the boys were rough. Those plastic hockey sticks could really leave bruises. We concluded it was better to injure each other and be sent to the office for ice, than to be pelted repeatedly by aggressive male classmates.

Looking back, I’m sure our theatrics were not believable. But we sure thought we were convincing and would laugh our way to the office, replaying our field-hockey-injury-scene.

I don’t want Bren to get a complex at this young age. I want him to feel confident about his T-ball skills. My husband disagrees---mainly because he finds the sport boring: really it is. It is a little slow. My middle son play on the team too, and he’s figured out that it is really only fun when you are up to bat. Because of this, he’s often coming up with excuses for needing to sit on the bench while our team is in the field...he positions himself close to the team snacks.

I don’t think my husband needs to worry. They both seem quite in love with the world sport of soccer. They know all the names of the best players in the world. They reenact the great matches of Liverpool in our living room. The sit on their daddy’s lap and watch games in Spanish, even though they can’t understand a word anyone is saying. It is for the love of the game.

“But honey, I just don’t want the other kids thinking he’s not athletic because he can’t throw a baseball. Can’t you work with him on it?”

“Rebekah, you know he’ll figure it out when he wants too. Remember the bike.”

Yep. I do. Bren got it in his mind that he needed to be five to ride a bike without training wheels. Even though we knew he could do it, he refused. Then his birthday came. We were driving home from church and he announced, “I’m going to ride my bike today.”

I was nervous. What if it didn’t work? Would all confidence be dashed?

Lucky for us and him, it did. So, I think will be the case with throwing a pitch overhand. One day he’ll just do it, or maybe he won’t. Maybe he doesn’t really care. Maybe he was as pleased as I was when he kicked the ball to first base. Goal!

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Successful Adoption-Friday Photos July 2nd

Oh the anticipation! Our mama hen has been wanting baby chicks for weeks now. I had great empathy for her. She was like Sarah of the Bible, just wanting a baby so bad. She'd sit all day and all night on eggs, but no chicks would ever come; we do not have a rooster.

Lucky for us and lucky for our hen, a friend placed an order for 25 chicks, and let us have two of them.

Both have been named: Squeak and Favorite Lightning Squeak---after the chicken Grandpa so ruthlessly butchered.

My middle son announced that his, "Has a hair dude." Guess the feathers on the top of the chick's head stand up a bit.

We were told to wait until the dark of night to slip the babies under the fluffy mama's wings, but none of us could wait, so we did it around 6 pm. It took. She clucked and poofed out her feathers and is sitting quite contently on her brood. She hardly lets them out for food. I think she's in hen heaven.

Oscar, the dog, is also very interested. He sits right by their cage dreaming of chicken salad.

Two of the aunts, two of the other hens, went into the hen house to check it all out and made quite a lot of ruckus.

Ah farm life....small things are so exciting.