Friday, March 30, 2007

From the past to the present…I found God along the way…. (Pt.2)

Joshua and I settled into a routine.  Unless working, we were always together.  It was hard for me....I had such a heart to be at home with him all of the time.  And it was hard for him...why didn't Daddy call or visit? I worked for a man whose close friend managed professional ball players.  My boss helped them invest their money. My boss was also a Christian which made for a very enjoyable work place. He and his wife also took an active interest in Joshua and I and because of this life was much easier for us. When Joshua came down with spinal meningitis my boss was at the hospital with a truckload of gifts from Toys R Us (the nurses especially liked the radio with the PA system!) and the admonition to not worry about work - it would be there when I got back!  How good God was to provide a godly man, with compassion for a single Mom, as a boss!
I got married again and my new husband adopted Joshua.  Life was wonderful for about two years.  I was again a stay-at-home Mom and began homeschooling Josh.  This was early in the homeschooling movement.  Not much curriculum to choose from, you didn't talk about it except to your closest friends and family and you stayed inside during school hours. Then glorious news...I was pregnant again.  This time God graced me with another son, born on Friday the 13th (which appalled the nurses and silly!) by C-section after being allowed to labor.  This little one is now about to turn 17 and stands almost 6 feet tall.  He still has "sparkle-y eyes" as one of his Uncles used to say.  My husband suffered the loss of a job just after the birth of our baby.  A new job required some time apart and subsequently a move to a different state.  Many life changing events in a short time which began to effect change in our home.  It wasn't good but I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong.
As we settled into life in a little town in Georgia, I was thrilled to find myself pregnant again. But the cries of WHY??? followed quickly on the heels of a miscarriage.  I immersed myself in my family and home.  I desired to find other home schoolers and actually put an ad in the paper looking for them.  I found two.  But I had numerous calls from families wanting to know what homeschooling was....I explained (again and again!) and families began to pull their children from the public school system and home school them.  I soon had a large homeschooling support group.  I think we ended up with over 50 families!
Once again I awoke one morning to that inevitable queasy feeling. Yes, pregnant again! About this time I began to get the "don't you know what causes this?" lectures.  I didn't care.  My doctor informed me that my hormone levels indicated twins.  Perhaps something to do with my age which was creeping up there by this time.  I was 36.  Quite a bit past the 30 year mark that most doctors were saying was time to stop having babies.  But I began having trouble at about 12 weeks.  I set up an appointment with my doctors and they performed an ultrasound - they couldn't find either of the babies' heartbeats.  But they were cautious - they wanted to schedule another ultrasound 4 hours later at the hospital.  Do you know how long 4 hours can seem?  Decades!  We lived over an hour from this town so there was no point in going home to we spent time in town until the appointment.  I remember Joshua, who was 10 at the time, saying to me, "Have faith Mom, everything will be fine!"
We got to the hospital and when they found out that the purpose was to see if the babies had died, they cleared the room.  Now, does this make sense?  Wouldn't a woman want her family with her if she was to be told tragic news?  It is things like this that irk me about our medical system! However, about 3 minutes into the test they found one heartbeat!  They brought everyone back into the room!  My doctors informed me that I would need to be very careful for awhile.  That my body would either re-absorb the baby that died or that I might "deliver" it which could be dangerous for the other twin.  We would know in a short amount of time.  What odd feelings I experienced, deep grief and glorious joy simultaneously! I was so thankful to God that I still carried life within my womb!  "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord!" Job. 1:21
We went home and I did take it easy for awhile.  I felt fine, nothing happened and life slowly returned to normal.  Josiah was born right on time and what a surprise he was.  He had blond hair and blue eyes.  His birth was my doctors allowed me to labor as long as I wanted to avoid another c-section, although they warned me that my bone structure just might not allow it.  For the first time I experienced back labor - the pain was beyond what I could ever have imagined.  After many hours, he was born early in the morning by c-section,  and was wide awake for hours.  It was a wonderful and peaceful time. He looked exactly like my Mother did as a child.  His eyes are now either a sky blue or a beautiful green depending on what he wears.  I suppose it is wrong for this brown eyed Mama to covet those beautiful eyes...but it is hard to resist!
Another job loss, and another move...this time back to Florida.  These life changing events also caused the problems to  grow. It was easier going back to people and places that we knew.   I will confess that I was not sorry to leave Georgia.  I know that there are wonderful places in Georgia but we weren't living in one of them :)  It was a small town still infected with much of the racial prejudice so common 50 years ago in the deep south.  I actually sat in a public restaurant with black friends and was spit on, endured nasty comments and was talked about and then later lectured by "well-meaning friends".  This was not the atmosphere that I wanted my boys raised in. I was glad to go.
We rented a small townhouse and met our neighbor lady named Pam.  Pam quickly became a part of our family.  She was going through a deep valley at the time and she spent a great deal of time with us.  My boys fell in love with her and she with them.  She has been a vital part of our family life for 14 years now and eventually joined us here in Tennessee when she needed to make a move to a new area.  We love having her close by again and seeing her often.
After a year we found a home and moved again.  I found out that I was pregnant again...gasp! the age of 42!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

From the past to the present...I found God along the way.... (Pt.1)

I left Hooker Chemical when I got married.  Dr. Hammer was kind enough to lend us the company limo for the wedding and Sylvester did the driving.  it was a wonderful send off.  The plan was to move to Washington state and begin work at Boeing...which we did.

I worked on the 767, before it rolled out.  My job entailed working with the Japanese and the Italian teams.  Talk about different cultures!  I loved working with the Japanese...they were hard working, diligent, polite and respectful.  I lost all femininity in their eyes because I was in the work place and so I was addressed as Cheri-san....Mr. Cheri.

Working with the Italians....well....unfortunately the group I worked with fit all the pre-conceived notions I had of Italian men.  Let us just say that more than one face went home with my hand print embedded along the jaw line!  What they deemed "a compliment" I found highly insulting...keep your hands to yourself became my motto and I learned never to go to the supply closet alone!

It was during this time that I began to feel drawn to church.  I wasn't sure why...but I had a sudden desire to I went.  I visited a little Nazarene church not far from where I lived....although the messages never spoke to me the hymns would make me weep.   I didn't understand at frustrated me so I wouldn't go for awhile until the desire was overwhelming and then it would all start over again.  No matter where I went...I wept.  God was wooing me as the bridegroom seeks His bride.

About this time some women at work approached me to "tell me about God".  Their approach was to tell me all the "things I would get" if I "said yes to God".  Now, this didn't even make sense to me.....sounded like God was a vending machine...put in the right combinations of coins and get your choice of goodies from the menu....even I knew this was wrong.  However there was  a young lady, Jan Ingram, who sat in my area, saw what was going on and brought me a cassette tape of some Christian songs and a small book and just asked if she could tell me about Jesus.  Her message was straight from the Word of God....and I was SO ready and hungry for it!  But wait....she imparted a warning along the way....COUNT THE COST!!

Jan told me not to do anything rash...don't be too quick....don't rush into this....was she trying to talk me out of it when I knew I had finally heard the truth?  She gently explained that my life would have to change...I would have to change...there were things I might have to give up, choices to be made but I would no longer have final say over my life...I would belong to another!  Whoa Nelly!!!  She told me that if I chose God, my life would NOT get would get harder because I could no longer go the way of the world (the popular choices)...that I would have a cross to carry DAILY!  Hey, I had seen the movies....carrying a cross meant pain, suffering, self-denial...yikes!!!

This was on a took me three days to decide .... I chose God.  I knew in my heart the instant I heard about salvation that it was true.  I just needed to decide...was I was willing to give up what the world said was good and desirable....was I willing to seek the paths of God instead?  I am so thankful that Jan told me the wasn't about what I could "get" was about how I could serve!  I believe that the reason I have never faltered in my faith is because I did all the fence sitting during those three days of coming to a decision.  I came to God knowing that it would not be easy, that I would have to change and that I was there not to "use" Him to meet my needs but to serve Him and to be used by Him in whatever manner He deemed would be useful for His kingdom.

I was a different person overnight.  I dressed differently, spoke differently and acted differently.  The change was shocking to those who knew me (especially for my husband) although it was entirely unconscious on my part.  They didn't understand....I WAS different!  How could I be the same when I knew HIM! I found a little church with a wonderful pastor...David this day I remember his laugh!  It was infectious!  I left Boeing when Pastor Grant's secretary left and the call went out for a new one.  I was hired and I LOVED being a Pastor's secretary!  To this day, it was probably one of my most favorite jobs ever....I guess I am just a people person!

I found myself pregnant after 4 years of infertility (and all the horrible testing that goes along with that!) and was heart broken when my baby girl died at about 18 weeks.  I cried out to God so often....WHY????....but God was silent.  I said goodbye to my little daughter and slowly life returned to normal.  Once again I found out I was pregnant....and this time delivered a healthy son, 3 weeks late and huge...almost 9 lbs.!  What joy!   This was one of the reasons I was created....I knew immediately that I wanted a dozen of them!  This also began my journey with herbs.  Some of the vaccinations and other things that were recommended for this precious bundle (and for my recovery from a C-section) just didn't sit well with my heart.  I began to read, research and make different decisions.  Not huge ones at that time...but I was cautiously sticking my toe in the water...
Another pregnancy,  but alas this little girl also went from my womb straight into the arms of God.  Again, I cried WHY??? but again God was silent.  I knew that God had allowed this to come to me and that somehow in the spirit of Romans 8:28 it was for my benefit....but it was so hard!  It was then that I began to read the book of Job....and I found my life verse...Job 13:15 Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. I was so amazed at Job and so inspired by his story.

Another move across country, landing in Florida.  After about 3 years there, my son and I were deserted by my husband.  I was shocked....I never saw it coming...he worked for a church, was attending a Christian college and attended church faithfully but had apparently been living a dual life and the life I wasn't aware of was not compatible with God. I never saw him again.  He returned to the West coast and we very rarely heard from him except to be told he was marrying again. Again the heart felt cry of WHY????  My church at the time was wonderful - we were truly cared for and taken care of in many ways.   I began work again, while my son was cared for by a dear friend from church. She did this until Joshua was old enough to attend Kindergarten at a church school close by.  We lived with a family at church for a year and then were able to find a little apartment...our life was making sense again.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Red Clover questions and answers....

Just to clear up a few can not substitue another type of clover, such as white clover, for red clover.  Different plants have different medicinal qualities.  I can't find any references to white clover in any of the half dozen herbal books I thumbed through quickly. Granted that is not a very thorough research job but it is the best I could do todaySurprised.

Also please note, and I know this is confusing...although white clover blossoms are white and round, red clover blossoms are pink and round and crimson clover blossoms are blood red but have a pointed flower. None of these are interchangeable.

And can buy red clover seeds....just make sure the Latin name is Trifolium pratense and you will know you found the right thing :)

Happy Spring Herb planting!


Monday, March 26, 2007

Red clover....just a reminder!

A quick and gentle reminder that we will soon be approaching red clover season!  This is one of my favorite herbs and is used frequently in our home.  Here is a lovely picture of a field of red clover....a beautiful gift from God!

 Red clover picture

I have written before about red clover and how to use it.  You can read that post here.

Red clover is also one of the herbs you will study if you take my Medicinal Herb Course. You can read about this course here.  Here is an excerpt from the Medicinal Herb Course on using Red Clover as an infusion!

Internal Uses as an Infusion:  
Red clover can be used in combination with other purifying herbs such as burdock and yellow dock. Red clover is an excellent blood purifier either used alone or blended with yellow dock, dandelion root, sassafras or other blood purifiers.  It is soothing to the nerves and acts as a sedative for nervous exhaustion.  Red clover is a useful herb for children because of its mild sedative and mild alterative properties. Strengthens systems of delicate children.  Infuse and make a syrup from the infusion to be used as a cough syrup.  Red clover is good for coughs, colds, spasmodic coughing, stubborn dry coughs, whooping cough, wheezing, and bronchitis    It is an expectorant and is good for ailments involving mucous congestion  Use the tea to gargle with for all throat swellings and infections. Red clover is used for the treatment of tumors and cancers of various types.  It is considered by many to be a powerful remedy for cancerous growths.  It is often used to treat breast cancer.  It may also be helpful in preventing breast cancer.  In laboratory tests, red clover blocks estrogen from stimulating breast cancer cells. Red clover is being studied now by the medical community for its anti-cancer properties.  Red clover has significant phytoestrogenic activity which has led to increasing use of the herbs to relieve menopausal symptoms.   Therapeutic use during menopause helps to reduce the impact of falling estrogen levels and to exert a protective effect on the heart and circulation in menopausal women with low estrogen levels.

Remember that when you gather herbs for medicinal purposes, you want to make sure that they have not been sprayed with any type of chemicals.  Avoid road areas and public parks as these are most likely to be contaminated.  I encourage you to be watching for these lovely pink blooms and begin to gather them each day.  Lay them on a cookie sheet (not aluminum or silicone!) and cover with a light cheese cloth until they are dry.  Then store them in glass canning jars for use during the winter months.  Be sure to use them fresh during the season.  Red clover tea is one of the best teas for women, especially during those menopausal years...and it tastes yummy!  Now is the time to get busy and gather the bounty that God offers us in this wonderful little herb!

Here are a few more up close and personal pictures! 

Red clover blossoms Red clover blossom

Friday, March 23, 2007

Confessions of a Farm girl's past (Pt.4)

Gently and patiently Mr. Miller explained to me that "THE DOCTOR" was none other than Dr. Armand Hammer!  Ok...I confess...I was still clueless!  The first thing that popped into my mind was this thought..."the guy who invented baking soda?"

 I am thankful to this day that I did not share that thought out loud.  Dr. Hammer, at that time, was probably the most powerful man in the world.  Yes....even more so than the President. He was the CEO of Occidental Petroleum also known in our office as "THE COMPAY". He was close personal friends with Lenin and worked tirelessly to end the cold war between the U.S. and Russia.  When he wanted a meeting with almost any world leader, calendars were cleared and the meeting took place.

I remember him as a small man with a very powerful presence.  His entire personality, although quiet at the office, spoke of power.  Dr. Hammer had a plane that was much like a home inside- his wife traveled with him often and this was truly one of their homes away from home. It was not unusual to get a phone call that Dr. Hammer's personal plane was landing at  D.C.'s National Airport (now Reagan National Airport) and we had 60 minutes to prepare a 6 course meal for 20 people, heads of corporations, Congressmen, Senators and more.

I learned quickly that no matter what "THE DOCTOR" wanted "THE DOCTOR" got!  The office transformed into an incredible sight when one of those phone calls came....a "flurry of activity" just doesn't seem to do it justice.  No matter what your job there, we became one large team working for a common goal - the satisfaction of "THE DOCTOR".

Sylvester, the chauffeur, donned his best uniform and headed for the airport to pick up Dr. Hammer. Nick, the chef, began to make sumptuous meals out of the most basic ingredients - it mattered not whether he was preparing lunch for just Dr. Hammer or whether he was working on a huge dinner - he was quick, never flustered and always successful.  It was the first time I was exposed to cooking with fresh herbs. Nick taught me that fresh herbs can transform a meal from common to exotic for very little money. Oh, the smells and tastes - my office was directly across from the kitchen and I often helped Nick in a crunch.  I wish I had cared more for cooking at that time.  Although I have a few recipes, I could have learned so much more! All of us underlings were employed either running errands, helping in the kitchen, getting out the crystal and china and turning the massive conference table into a banquet table fit to serve the notables of D.C., or cleaning bathrooms and vacuuming and dusting - everything needed to be spotless! And we always succeeded....I can't imagine what would have happened had we failed.  It just wasn't an option.

The years I spent working in this office changed my life forever.  I learned re-learned many things.  I went to The Hill a very naive and trusting young lady.  I believed what they taught in high school about how our Congress worked - that the representatives were actually there to represent the views of their constituents.  I came away very disillusioned after seeing how things really worked.  Outside of a few good men (Yeah,  Ron Paul of Texas!!!) most of the people were there to line their pockets and further their own power and interests. There was so much corruption, greed, vice!  The Constitution appeared to be a vague irritant at best. I learned that many votes were traded - "you do this for me and I'll do this for you" is a common occurrence.  There are many ways to get around things....votes can be taken without names being recorded - that way the people don't really know what their representatives did.  I saw politics operating at its best...and...most often.... at its worst.  It left me fully convinced that lobbying should be forbidden, that we have many politicians and very few Statesmen and it left me fully aware that I need to be involved in the political process as much as possible, by voting, by writing and by calling.  I know firsthand that it does make a difference.  I have seen many representatives change their minds because they were afraid that their constituents would find out (or had found out) what they were planning on doing.

I had many adventures and met many famous people.  I had trouble with a particular Senator who felt votes could be bought with a little extra curricular left me quite shaken and upset.  Dr. Hammer wanted to know why and I bluntly told him what had been proposed to me....Dr. Hammer made one phone call....rather a quick one at that....I never...NEVER...had trouble with anyone else....EVER!  I also had a personal apology from the afore mentioned Senator.  Aaaahhhh...the benefits of working for the most powerful man in the world!

I went through a period of time where I seemed to see the same 3 or 4 men wherever I went.  At first I thought I was seeing things.  But when I noticed two of them over a weekend, following me around a mall in a far away city, I became frightened.  I mentioned this to Ginny (of the beehive hairdo) on Monday morning, she assured me that it was just the Secret Service or the F.B.I.....after all they always investigate and put under surveillance anyone that is a frequent visitor to the Russian Embassy.  It lasted a few months and then they just disappeared.  Guess they quickly figured out that I wasn't a spy....

I got to attend diplomatic parties, fancy dinners and other fabulous events.  I was even invited to breakfast at the Whitehouse by one of the President's sons....I far as I was concerned he was a self-centered, conceited, pompous young man...who apparently was quite shocked that a woman would say no!  I guess the lure of "Breakfast at the White House" had been quite a successful line for him.

God also used that time in my life to begin wooing me to Him by showing me the ugliness of the things the world holds dear  I saw that what D.C. valued was "the right".  What I mean by that is "the right" car, the right house....  All the things that God says are not worthy of our desire.....and D.C. cared nothing for Godliness, kindness, honesty, purity, family and...gasp!...the desire to have fact those things were mocked.  Even as a non-Christian at the time, this offended my sensibilities. I was known as a "good girl" and rest assured that phrase was not used in an admirable way!  The oddest thing was that all of these people who had "the right" everything...I discovered that most of them were miserable.  They were always hoping that the next acquisition would bring happiness whether it was another shopping spree, car, home, or spouse...but none of them ever found more than a momentary thrill.  It was sad to see but showed me so much truth!

In most respects my life is very different - I gave up everything to get married and have babies - my heart's desire since I was a little girl.  I was told I was crazy - to give up this job to stay  home and "wipe dirty noses and bottoms" was a waste they said....yet it has been the most satisfying, rewarding and fulfilling thing I have ever done.  I would not give up one minute to go back to the other life. I am so thankful that God allowed me to see the foolishness of the world - even when I didn't belong to made that decision so much easier a few years down the road when I heard the gospel for the first time.  Many of the verses in Proverbs leap out at me because of the years I spent in D.C.  I am so thankful that He did not allow me to get drawn into that lifestyle - to think of what I would have given up sends chills down my spine!  God is so merciful and gracious to me - even when I was yet a sinner not saved by His grace!

I have an aversion to chemicals now...don't use them on the farm, on our bodies, in the kitchen or anyplace else if we can avoid them.  I am a homebody...I am not a big shopper and love the challenge of "making do" through frugality, thrift stores etc. I don't have "the right" anything according to D.C., home, clothes, neighborhood, school or connections....yet I am happier than I have ever been and much happier than those I knew in D.C.

In one respect I am very much like those in D.C........we both shovel a lot of manure!  But at least the manure here on the farm has long lasting benefits!

From a southern gal with love.....

Just a few notes from the the hopes of not boring my readers who care not a whit about my past.  For those of you who do...part 4 is just around the corner.  I actually had it done, sent it off and it landed someplace in cyberspace...aarrrrrgggghhhhh!  

This list is quite true - although the south has come along nicely in the last decade or so....we actually do have coffee houses, salads and other good things Innocent

The North has Bloomingdales, The South has Dollar General.
The North has coffee houses, The South has Waffle Houses.
The North has dating services, The South has family reunions.
The North has switchblade knives, The South has Lee Press-on Nails.
The North has double last names, The South has double first names.
The North has Indy car races, The South has stock car races.
The North has Cream of Wheat, The South has grits.
The North has green salads, The South has collard greens.
The North has lobsters, The South has crawfish.
The North has the rust belt, The South has the Bible Belt.
FOR NORTHERNERS MOVING SOUTH . . . In the South: If you run your car into a ditch, don't panic. Four men in a four-wheel drive pickup truck with a tow chain will be along shortly. Don't try to help them, just stay out of their way. This is what they live for.
Don't be surprised to find movie rentals and bait in the same not buy food at this store.
Remember, "y'all" is singular, "all y'all" is plural, and "all y'all's" is plural possessive. <------VERY IMPORTANT!
Get used to hearing "You ain't from round here, are ya?"
Save all manner of bacon grease. You will be instructed later on how to use it.

Don't be worried at not understanding what people are saying. They can't understand you either.

The first Southern statement to creep into a transplanted Northerner's vocabulary is the adjective "big'ol," truck or big'ol" boy. Most Northerners begin their Southern-influenced dialect this way. All of them are in denial about it.
The proper pronunciation you learned in school is no longer proper.
Be advised that "He needed killin" is a valid defense here.
If you hear a Southerner exclaim, "Hey, y'all, watch this," you should stay out of the way. These are likely to be the last words he'll ever say.
If there is the prediction of the slightest chance of even the smallest accumulation of snow, your presence is required at the local grocery store. It doesn't matter whether you need anything or not. You just have to go there.
Do not be surprised to find that 10-year olds own their own shotguns, they are proficient marksmen, and their mammas taught them how to aim.
In the South, we have found that the best way to grow a lush green lawn is to pour gravel on it and call it a driveway.
AND REMEMBER: If you do settle in the South and bear children, don't think we will accept them as Southerners. After all, if the cat had kittens in the oven, we wouldn't call 'em biscuits.Surprised

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Confessions of a Farm girls' past (Pt.3)

I left Mr. Miller's office in a daze....what to do now?  I found the first pay phone I could (remember this is LONG before cell phones!) and called the headhunter.  I am sure she rarely received a call like this one, "I got the job" (moaning loudly)! "Great" she replied.  "Noooooo, I don't WANT the job - he's a grumpy bear and I don't really understand what I'll be doing...and he is talking about evenings...weekends....entertaining....what kind of job did you send me to?".  And then, she broke into hysterical laughing.

This just made me mad....really mad.  Once she calmed down, and convinced me that I would not be required to do anything illegal or immoral, she asked me to give the job 30 days...then she promised me that if I didn't absolutely LOVE it - she would find me a better one at a higher salary.   Hhmmmm, 30 days......I agreed, I figured I could put up with anything for 30 days.

I spent the weekend looking through my closet trying to find some things that would match the plush carpet, mahogany walls and elegant wasn't as hopeless I thought.  Although I hated the dress code at the Washington School for Secretaries while there, (hey, I am a jeans and cotton top kinda gal!) it left me in good standing as far as business outfits go (gee....perhaps that was the whole point!).  I wouldn't "match" my surroundings, but I certainly wouldn't look like I fell off the "turnip truck" as Grandma used to say!

I reported bright and early Monday morning.  The first thing Mr. Miller did was take me through the offices introducing me to the others (as his new Administrative Assistant?!) I was tempted to ask what happened to the old one but didn't think it appropriate at the time. He explained what their jobs were as we went along.   I met Charles, whose job was to read the Federal Register every day and highlight anything that might affect THE COMPANY or THE DOCTOR (this was always said in a very reverent tone!). Have you ever seen the Federal Register? Let's just say I wouldn't want it to fall on my foot - it would surely break it ...and the contents...BORING for the most part. It comes out every day and it contains, word for word, everything that happened on The Hill (Capitol Hill) the day before...every House Resolution and every Senate Bill.   He was also required to read all the "important" papers, New York, L.A., D.C., Miami, and the Wall Street Journal. I was also informed that I might have to help Charles from time to time or fill in if he was gone.  I began to hope that Charles was a healthy man with little personal life.

I met Nick, who  was one of the chef's at the White House during Nixon's administration.  I had a quick tour of the kitchen and was told that when "THE DOCTOR" was flying in I might have to run to the grocery store for Nick or help in the kitchen. The phrase "THE DOCTOR" was said in a reverent, hushed, awestruck tone of voice.....and I am thinking WHO/WHAT is the doctor? (Oh, to be so naive again :)).

 I met Sylvester who was wearing a snazzy uniform, and was informed that he was the chauffeur and at my disposal when not needed by anyone "more important" or when THE DOCTOR was not in town.  At my disposal....a, oh my! I met Ann, the errand girl.  Her job was to run and fetch for everyone in the office.  It might be lunch, groceries, legislative papers from The Hill.

I met Ginny, an older lady, with a huge and messy beehive hairdo and a makeup job that had to have been applied with a trowel.  She dressed in a manner that my Grandma would have referred to as "a floozy".  In all the years I worked there, I fully expected her bust to come tumbling out of her blouse one never happened and I am not sure how she was able to prevent it since there didn't appear to be much holding things in....perhaps duct tape?  Ginny and I would be sharing an office.  I met the Elegant Lady at the reception desk (to this day I can't think of her name...she is just the Elegant Lady) who turned out to be very nice and never looked down her nose at me again.  In fact, everyone was very nice.

Then I met "the suits".  And what beautiful suits they were wearing....I would hate to guess what these clothes cost.  I met the President and Vice President of Occidental International.  I met the assistant to the President....who I always thought of as "The Shadow" matter where the President was...the shadow was right behind him.  I always wondered if the President was allowed to visit the restroom without "The Shadow". I learned that Mr. Miller was the head of lobbying efforts for a division of Occidental International called Hooker Chemical Company....ring any bells?  It meant nothing to me at the time.

Mr. Miller then took me to his office and began to explain my duties.  He informed me that I would be visiting the State Department every month to determine all import and export statistics for a long list of chemicals - and compiling this data into a report that would be sent to every division of "THE COMPANY".

I would be sitting in on sessions on Capitol Hill and making notes on anything that might affect "THE COMPANY" or "THE DOCTOR".  I would, occasionally, be required to attend social functions after hours, at various places around Washington.  I might, perhaps, be required to attend a luncheon with Congressmen or Senators  and would need to be able to intelligently discuss an important piece of legislation and convince inform them of why it might/ or might not be good for "THE COMPANY" or "THE DOCTOR". 

At this point I could contain myself no longer....I had to ask...."Who is "THE DOCTOR?"   There was an audible gasp and it is probably the first time I saw someone's jaw drop in shock, outside of the movies,...I am sure that at this point Mr. Miller was quickly re-thinking his decision to hire he gathered his wits about him and began to explain to this young, naive girl....who evidently DID just fall off of the turnip truck!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Josiah's in the egg business!

I am so proud of my boy!  Josiah wants to be a farmer and has decided he wants to begin his own business to work towards that goal.  I am thrilled that at 13 he is taking on the responsibility of his own business.  He is a hard worker and very diligent.  I pray that God will bless his efforts in this area. We contacted a dear friend, Richard Spain, who happened to have a lot of hens who had just began to lay.  Josiah invested some of his own hard earned money and purchased 10 hens.  He re-worked one of our chicken tractors - gave them a sun room! And last week we went to visit Richard. 

It was a beautiful evening on one of the prettiest farms I have ever seen.  The moon was full, the crickets were chirping the weather was a delight - a beautiful spring evening.  We followed Richard out to the field that he currently had his portable pen in....and there, on this delightful evening, we began to stealthily sneak up on chickens. (Oh, the things you do for your children!) Lots of chickens....700 chickens!  The tricky part was that Josiah had picked out specific breeds.  He researched to determine which breeds he wanted so that eventually they would provide meat and eggs.  (Josiah is an excellent eviscerator of chickens.) Josiah decided he wanted White Rocks, Buff Orpingtons and a couple of Black Australorps.  We also picked up some Rhode Island Reds for our friends over at 3 Fold Cord.   

I let Richard and Josiah do the catching for the most part - I carried them back to the cages.  The Buffs were the calmest - but also heavy. Richard had just enough White Rocks to fill Josiah's order - but they were the hardest to catch.  The Black Australorps were easy, calm, and beautiful - I had never seen one before.  But, oh, those Rhode Island Reds.  Those were angry hens.  I had one in each hand, holding them by the feet.  They would curl up and peck my hand....HARD....all the way back to the cage.  I lost several small chunks of flesh (but my healing salve took care of that quickly!) Julie, if I didn't love you so much, I would have swung in a circle and let those girls take flight!

So, for my local readers, JOSIAH HAS EGGS FOR SALE! Josiah is asking $2.50 per dozen if you will save him the egg carton...$2.75 if you want a new one each week.  The cartons will cost him about $.27 each. His hens are on green grass, with plenty of sunshine and are fed a natural mix specifically created for us by our wonderful, local, "Mom and Pop" farm store, F & M.  I highly recommend this store to anyone in the Greeneville TN area.  They have been wonderful friends and a true blessing in our lives.  Thanks Fain, Melvin and Betty!  The eggs are brown and have the deep orange yolk that is an indication of a healthy hen.  And, oh, do they ever taste wonderful!

Here is Josiah and the first dozen eggs from his hens!


We will deliver to Johnson City, when we go to church on Wed. evenings and Sunday mornings.  They are always available here on the farm , along with our soaps, salves teas and everything else! Just drop us a line or give us a call if you'd like to purchase eggs from Josiah!


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

God's Gift of Dandelions

Dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale) is one of my favorite weeds herbs! I consider it a little ray of sunshine direct from the hand of our Creator God! It is the first herb to bloom each spring. I'll skip the picture this time...surely ALL of you know what a Dandelion is...also known as puff ball (memories of childhood!) or lion's tooth (because of the shape of the leaves). It is considered to be one of the bitter herbs mentioned in the Bible (the root has a very bitter taste).

Dandelion has been used to aid digestion, relieve liver distress, and is thought to cure warts, psoriasis and kidney problems among other things! You can use all parts of the plant...the pioneers in America often roasted the root and used it as a substitute for coffee. The young leaves are gathered in the spring (before the plant blooms!) and used in salads. It is rich in minerals especially calcium, potassium and iron. Dandelion also contains more carotene than carrots! The high potassium content helps to relieve leg cramps at night or other muscle spasms. The leaves have a highly diuretic effect but are safer than most diuretics because they don't cause the depletion of potassium. Great for flushing out the urinary system!

It has been shown to help relieve the pain associated with IBS, is rich in boron which helps to raise estrogen levels in the blood which then helps to preserve bone. So if you are suffering from osteoporosis, or want to prevent it, start drinking dandelion tea or wine! Dandelion increases bile production and flow in the liver which aids in cleansing the liver. If you have gallstones, you need to avoid Dandelion for this reason!

I use the leaves in salads in the spring or make an infusion with them for a cleansing tonic or mild liver stimulant. I tincture Dandelion to help relieve muscle spasms and leg cramps - something all of my boys seem to suffer from during growth spurts. The high potassium content of the tincture helps them immensely.

Because Dandelion is realted to chamomile and yarrow, if you are allergic to either of those plants you should also avoid Dandelion. Also avoid if you are taking antibiotics.

I encourage each of you to make use of this wonderful, tenacious plant that God has given us for so many of our needs. I am so thankful to Him for this provision....I like to think of dandelions blooming on the hillsides of heaven....along, of course, with many other herbs!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Confessions of a Farm girl's past (Pt.2)

Come on in, sit down and have a cup'a tea. If you are here for the first time, you can find the beginning of this story here.

They told me I would find Mr. Miller at 1717 Pennsylvania Ave, Suite 400.  I don't think I made the connection about the address until I got there. It was a typical D.C. least it looked like the others that are found in close proximity to the Whitehouse.  I pulled into the entrance of the parking garage which was below the building.  A young man, very nicely dressed, took my keys to park my car for me. A doorman ushered me into the building (at this point I am beginning to wonder if I might be a wee bit under dressed in my skirt and blouse and pumps!)

The word luxury doesn't even begin to come close in describing what I observed.  The elevators were nicer than my apartment...heck...they were nicer than any apartment I had ever seen!  The carpet  was so thick my feet seemed to disappear....huge, heavy mahogany doors trimmed with beautiful brass...a hushed silence...wealth and dignity seemed to announce themselves in everything from the original artwork, to the wood and the engraved signs on office doors.....and I was still in the hallway!  I found Suite 400...the sign on the door said Occidental International Corpoartion....and I stepped inside....I would not have thought it possible but this office was  even more luxurious than the hall!

I was greeted by a very well dressed middle age woman whose entire appearance spoke of elegance and class (yikes! I was under dressed!)  I am sure, from her expression, that she thought I had inadvertently wandered into the wrong building.  Perhaps a school field trip gone awry? I asked for Mr. Miller and I was told to wait in the small reception area while Mr. Miller was located.  I was self-conscious, uncomfortable and scared out of my socks. What was this place and what in the world was I doing there? Being a naive early twenty-something girl, I had never heard of this corpoartion. A man in his late 50's rounded the corner - his suit had to cost a fortune.  He was very distinguished looking, graying, but tall and trim.

He looked at me and barked, "Come with me!" He led me past the elegant lady who sat right inside the door (who by the way was STILL looking down her nose at me) to an area that opened into a small suite of offices - no more than 8 or 10 rooms.  He ushered me into his office. 

The interview is still really a blur....he asked lots of questions...gruff would be a kind word to use about his demeanor.  He wanted to know if I was trustworthy, worked well on my own, was I good with numbers?  Could I entertain ( at this point I am completely freaking out!...ENTERTAIN???) and carry on intelligent conversation.  He wanted to know if I had any problems with traveling around the city by myself, if called upon was I willing to run to the grocery store, help in the kitchen (they had a kitchen??) could I attend functions (functions??!!) in the evening or on weekends..could I find my way to the State Department...the Russian Embassy....there were other questions but none were like any interview I had ever had....he never asked about my typing speed, shorthand, filing, organizational this point I am ready to LEAVE!!!  I did NOT like his personality - grumpy bear would be how I would describe him to my headhunter.  I still didn't understand who these people were, what they did or what they wanted me to do.  Looking back on this, I realize that they were so well known around the globe that they felt no need to tell me about themselves.

Have you ever begun a conversation with someone only to find that they speak very broken English and although there are words coming out of their mouth you have no clue what they are saying? The conversation turns into a nightmare while you desperately try to understand them and at the same time try not to look like an idiot! 

That is how I felt.  I was so unprepared for this interview, this corporation, this man.....I just wanted to get out of there.  Towards the end of the interview Mr. Miller asked what  salary I would require....aha! my desperate quick thinking mind found a way to get out of this -  I just reeled off a very high salary - a good $8,000 more than I was making at the law firm.  I figured we would shake hands, part company and the nightmare would be over....and then....the worst thing I could ever imagine happened....

"Fine!" he said...."See you first thing Monday morning!"

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Confessions of a farm girls' past (Pt.1)

I was born into a military family - the first of two children. My younger brother was born just two years later.  My dad was a Marine (Semper Fi!) and my childhood was spent at the typical bases in the south...Camp LeJeune and Norfolk being the predominant ones. Mom was a stay-at-home mom. She was an amazing cook and could sew anything - our school clothes, bathing suits, evening gowns!  My kids still prefer Grandma to mend something instead of me.

I spent about 2 years in Indiana when I was little, close to my grandparents, while Dad was serving over seas in Indonesia. I can remember going to my Aunt Annie's farm in Indiana - probably the closest I ever came to anything agrarian.  I even remember her making me a cup of herb tea one time when I had an upset tummy - peppermint and catnip - funny how things stick in your mind!  I worked with my Grandma in the summers, when we visited, in her rose garden and occasionally with my Grandpa in his tomato and pepper patch.

At the age of 10, we settled in Fairfax, VA while Dad was assigned, at various times, to The National Security Agency, The Pentagon and Marine Corps Headquarters.  My Dad retired from the Marines but was called back to active duty the next day.  He was placed in charge of all the Marine activities involved in Nixon's inauguration.  My Dad, being the super organized Marine he was, showed up and asked for the procedure manual on Marine Corps involvement in Presidential Inaugurations.  There was none!  They had been "winging" it for years. So my Dad wrote the manual...I often wonder if it is still the manual used today. I can remember my parents attending Nixon's Inaugural Ball and the beautiful green beaded gown my Mom wore.  I remember going to watch the Inaugural parade - it was so cold and poured snow that day.  We stayed in Fairfax until Dad retired....again.

We attended a variety of churches growing up - Methodist,  United Church of Christ....we even flirted with the Mormons for a time!  Never did I hear the gospel!  It was the time of the "Jesus Movement".   I had a hunger during high school for things of God but no idea what direction to head in to find Him. I never doubted that God was real...and I can't really tell you why.  I read my Bible daily but never really understood anything - I think God was wooing me even back then.

I graduated from high school in 1974 and went on to Guilford College in N.C. with the desire of earning a teaching degree.  I ended up leaving college in my second year - the teaching market was flooded and my prospects for a job upon graduation looked dismal.  I enrolled in the Washington School for Secretaries - a very prestigious school in Washington D.C. at that time.  I chose the legal secretarial route.  it was a grueling school in the heart of downtown D.C. but I learned a lot and still feel it was extremely beneficial.  This was light years before personal computers so our skills were based on typing, shorthand, filing and organizational skills along with correct "office protocol".  I still use some of those skills today.

After graduating from the secretarial school, I landed a job with a legal firm that specialized in construction contract law....I worked for a Senior partner and a Junior partner.   I enjoyed the work even though the hours were horrific before a trial.  It was there that I had my first ride in a limousine - high falutin' stuff for a little southern gal!  I enjoyed working for the attorneys - until the Jr. partner seemed to feel that "extra-curricular" activities were part of my job description.  Evidently he skipped the class on correct office protocol! The pressure was on - I was in my early twenties and never heard of harassment (did they have that term back then?) but he made my life miserable when I said no.

Finally, I had enough....I told him what I thought of his behavior and went out to pack my desk.  The Sr. partner showed up and was SHOCKED.  They offered me a job in another place in that firm, more money...etc.  I think I was so naive at the time I didn't realize what they knew....they were in trouble!  Instead, I took a very generous severance package that included a wonderful letter of recommendation!
I contacted a headhunter, although I don't think they were called that back then.  I went on several interviews but didn't really care for the jobs.  Then she sent me to a man named Harris life was about to change....incredibly!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Confession Time!

I am frequently asked about my past...."How did you get here?", "What did you do before the farm?", "Have you always had a green thumb?"....and even some very personal questions that will most likely never be answered here

I have not been one of those people who send out newsy holiday letters...too afraid of boring the recipients I guess.  So, it amazes me how many people are interested in what seems to me to be a very ordinary life - not that I haven't enjoyed my life and found it exciting at times, but, I have never considered my life very newsworthy!

After blogging for over a year now, I have decided that it is time for true confessions...I have been trying to decide how to do this.  I think I have come up with an answer. So as not to overwhelm you with a lot of writing in which you may hold no interest at all, I will share my life story in several parts....Past, Present and Future....and in between I'd like to cover spring herbs to be watching for (I think some of us are beginning to have spring!) and what to do with them.

So, tomorrow I will tackle the past (or at least part of it...I am no spring chicken after all!) - prepare to be surprised!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Bisquick copy cat recipe!

Here is the copy cat recipe for Bisquick  - only missing the chemicals!  This is easy to make ahead and keep in the frig so you have it when you need it!

8 1/2 c. flour
1 tbsp. baking powder (without aluminum!)
1 tbsp. salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2  cups dry  milk                                                                                                                          2 1/4 c. vegetable shortening (I prefer coconut!)                                                                                                                                            

Sift together all dry ingredients into a large bowl. Blend well. With pastry blender, cut in shortening. Mixture should resemble corn meal in texture. Put in large airtight container. Label. Date clearly - should be used in 10 to 12 weeks. Store in cool, dry place. Makes about 13 cups of quick mix. Can be used in any recipe that calls for Bisquick.

I have seen a Bisquick copy cat recipe made with liquid oil - I will include it here but I have not used if you try it let me know how it turns out!

9 cups Flour
1/3 cup Baking powder
1 cup Powdered milk
2 tablespoons Powdered milk
4 teaspoons Salt
1 1/2 cup Vegetable oil


Sift all dry ingredients, cut oil into flour until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Store, well covered in cool dry place.

Use just like you would Bisquick, or pancake mix. 

Just a note...make sure your baking powder does not contain aluminum - Rumsfield is a good brand. I use coconut oil quite a bit as shortening - it is solid at room temperature - is good for you and tastes delicious!  Also, powdered mik - good powdered milk should resemble flour but a creamy color - not bleached white!  If you are buying the stuff that resembles really small pebbles....throw it out!  Or at least do some research on how it is made and what it is made from! 


Friday, March 2, 2007

5 Responses to “Two Puzzles for you!”

My readers speak!!!

BrendaM      I’m going to guess yogurt for puzzle 1 and tortillas for puzzle 2.      We don’t want to eat #1 because of the modified(?!) corn starch and high fructose corn syrup, although arguments against the pasturized low fat milk, sugar, and other additives could be made.  We don’t want to eat #2 because of the bleached flour and partially hydrogenated oil. Again, I’m sure arguments against some of the leavening agents could be made, but I don’t know enough about all the ingredients to make them :oops: :?  

 Heidi   I’m guessing yogurt and crackers, and I agree with Brenda’s reasons for not wanting to eat them.

Diane      #1: sherbet      #2: saltine-like crackers. Reasons include the kinds of chemical preservative/coloring agents and the methods of processing these products. Wheat and milk would be good foods, but they’ve been stripped back and processed into less nutritious items. Ick!  

Ellajac      #1-sherbet      #2-Bisquick or something like it?      Scary, certainly. No, I’ll eat something else, thanks! :)

Julie      Hmmm…I think sherbet has egg whites in it, and saltines have no oil.      So my guess is      #1 Some kind of lowfat yogurt (Gogurt maybe? But probably not enough coloring for that)   OR pudding (but I don’t know if that would say *cultured* milk      #2 white tortillas OR some refrigerated pie crusts have leavening.   In any case, it sounds blech!

Wow!  You guys are good!  Yes, the first one was yogurt (or what the grocery store calls yogurt!).  I thought that might be a bit too easy - hence the second puzzle.  Congratulations to Ellajac!!! It was Bisquick! All of the reasons given not to eat this stuff was right on the button ....not healthy!!!   Did you know that you can make  your own Bisquick type mix yourself?  If anyone is interested, I'll post the recipe this weekend!

Have a great weekend! 

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