Monday, May 30, 2011

His Endless Gifts....

So many gifts...

#837 - #855

plants recovering

tomatoes in the greenhouse

Torah study with my boys

Halleluyah Scriptures

a day on the water with friends

brothers having fun together

riding behind

a little boy growing up

the excitement he expressed when he heard the words "jet ski"

godly men who counsel, teach, love and mentor my boys

the beauty of lakes ringed by mountains

His creation - beauty everywhere!

chatting with friends all through the lazy afternoon


lightening bugs - thousands this year!

godly men helping my boys pick out their first vehicles



We are learning to see His gfits as a continual love note that reminds us that He is always here.  He is faithful and He loves us passionately! Will you worship Him with gratitude by counting His gifts with me?  You will discover that He is your source.  He is your healer.  He is your provider.

He never fails...

He never forsakes...

He leaves me breathless....

Saturday, May 28, 2011

In an instant....

We had just spent the day working in the garden - all of the aisles were mulched, weeds were gone, plants had been taken from the greenhouse and planted in the garden.  The cukes were lush and blooming, we were tasting our first snow peas, there were little squashes and zucchini throughout those beds.  The peppers and potatoes were growing and the bush and pole beans were full and blooming.  We had been enjoying strawberries and lettuce everyday - it was by far the best looking garden we've ever had....

We were all cleaned up and looking forward to an evening of family time.

Then it happened...

The sky darkened, the wind began to blow and the rain fell. I remember thinking  "this will be wonderful for the plants we just put in the garden!"

Then I heard the wind pick up, the roar began....and the loud rattle....hail. BIG hail.

Lots. of. hail.

The drain pipes couldn't keep up with what fell on the roof!

I wonder if Faith thought she was being shot at again?
We found her shivering and shaking.

Our yard filled with hail.

Good thing these beds weren't ready for the tomatoes!
They are still safe in my greenhouse.

Our poor garden!

Our squash and zucchini took quite a hit.

Our straw aisles were filled with ice!

The cucumbers took the worst of it!

Our lettuce was shredded for us!
We harvested what we could right away.

 I think the onions will recover.

Before the storm had  completely passed, we were busy pulling the ice away from the plants!

It was a gentle reminder that we aren't in control of anything!  Weeks of work were undone in minutes.  We depend completely on our Father for our weather, our garden, our food supply!  We've repented of any pride we may have had, and we've replanted again in the greenhouse. 

We are thankful for His protection and provision.  We heard later that a tornado went through our area  (about 5 miles away!) and we caught the edge of the storm.  Our front doors will be repainted since they were hit hard by the hail. Our garden will be replanted....truthfully it was disappointing but not earth shattering.  Our family has helped with clean up from the tornadoes that went through our area weeks ago - my boys have seen first hand those families that lost everything.

This keeps us mindful of Who holds us in His hands. It reminds us to lean on Him for everything, to pray continually for all aspects of our life, and to be grateful for all He gives us each day.

Singing the hard hallelu-yah!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Catching up!

Wow, it's been a busy week.  Josiah's surgery went well.  We had a few complications when we got home and ended up in the ER that night for bleeding that wouldn't stop. But, all is well now and he is recovering nicely.

Before his surgery, we had the pleasure of seeing two friends graduate from high school.  They had been home schooled all their lives.  As I listened to their parents speak it was very bitter sweet.  Time flies so quickly...are we making the most of it?

Josiah has one more year of high school and the time I enjoy teaching him will be over.  Elijah begins his eighth grade studies next year. Such a short amount of time left with my boys.  Although I am looking forward to that new season for each of my sons, gone will be the hours we get to spend together...bitter sweet.  It was a good reminder to make the most of it.

We've been busy moving plants from the greenhouse to the garden. Potatoes are growing, peas and pole beans are climbing the trellis, the cukes look great, bush beans and squash are blooming and we're harvesting lots of greens and strawberries. The garden looks wonderful and I'm perusing my canning books looking for new ideas.  I want to greatly increase the amount of food I preserve this year.  It starts next week with jams and jelly's.  My canner will be busy off and on until fall. I'm going to attempt some new things this year - canning meats, soups, stews, potatoes and more.

A sweet friend came to be a "slave for a day"...her words not mine!  We enjoyed fellowshipping while we worked in my herb border - it's weeded, covered with wet newspaper and the mulch goes down this weekend.  I've already started picking and drying herbs for winter.

I had a call yesterday and am excited that someone special just received an unexpected leave and will be visiting from Germany!

I have family coming in July and again in September!

The boys are looking forward to a barn dance this weekend with's a beautiful barn!  It will be a lovely evening spent with good friends!

Life is good, we're happy and we are blessed by our loving Father who provides for us, protects us, loves us passionately...we who are so unlovable!

May your weekend be a blessed one!

Monday, May 16, 2011

His Endless Gifts....

Please pray today for Josiah.  He's undergoing oral surgery to remove 4 impacted wisdom teeth and two additional teeth. Wow! Six at once! It will be an uncomfortable few days for him to say the least.

I'm grateful today for the peace that I have...

#824 - #836

that He goes with us everywhere - even into surgery

pain medicine

caring doctors

brothers who take over

peace that passes all understanding


ice packs

soft foods for tender mouths

praise music

restful sleep

the lighthearted phone call from friends who are praying

a body who prays for my children

my elders - always there for us

We are learning to see His gfits as a continual love note that reminds us that He is always here.  He is faithful and He loves us passionately! Will you worship Him with gratitude by counting His gifts with me?  You will discover that He is your source.  He is your healer.  He is your provider.

He never fails...

He never forsakes...

He leaves me breathless....

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Joy of the Lord!

Won't you trade in your sorrows today?


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Meat Glue? Seriously?

One more reason to either raise your own meat, buy from a farmer you trust, pay a farmer to raise something for you or buy organic.

It's all about the money...selling you something cheap while making you think it's something else...and charging you more for it?  Should this be legal?  Call your representatives and demand labeling.

Not only are you being cheated...your health is in danger! It's time to ask questions people...lots and lots of questions when you are shopping for meat.

Are you as disgusted as I am?


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Poison Ivy? How about some Sweet Relief?

I've lost count of the people who have approached me at festivals or called me here at the farm looking for "some sort of poison ivy remedy" in the last 2 months.  They shoved up their sleeves, hiked up their pants and showed me places they were covered with it! One poor guy had a vine go across his face and over his head....his bald head...need I say more?

I wanted to hide Doodle! He gets poison ivy all the time...I'm pretty sure all he has to do is look at it and some strange connection is made and he becomes covered with it...even in the winter.... even in the snow...even when he is in a full snow suit and promises me he never unzipped it....weird, I know.

I think I have tried EVERY (and I do mean every) remedy on the market over the years to try to help Doodle.  Nothing was very effective so that left me no alternative but to create something myself.  I had the perfect test subject living under my roof!

Jewelweed is our Father's natural antidote for poison ivy.  

If you know you've been in it and can find Jewelweed in bloom, crush it and "wash" yourself with the plant you could just avoid breaking out. If you can't find Jewelweed, or it's the wrong time of year, make and use a Jewelweed tincture. I make gallons (literally!) every summer!

*NOTE* Jewelweed is poisonous if you take it internally!  
NEVER ingest a Jewelweed Tincture!
It is for external use ONLY!!!!!
Keep it out of the reach of small children!

I have a three step protocol for dealing with Doodle's outbreaks of poison ivy.  If we know he's been in it, we can usually eliminate it before he breaks out by using a Jewelweed tincture. You can read how to make that here. Unfortunately, he never seems to remember being in poison ivy. I think it's that strange connection thingy!

Once he breaks out we do three things:

First: He bathes and soaks in the tub with the Jewelweed soap that I make.

  Sweet Relief is now available on my website! It has been a best seller here for sometime.  
It's been hard to keep in stock long enough to put it on the website.
This year I made 4 batches so that I could offer it to you.

This soap is made with oils infused with Jewelweed and Plantain.  I added essential oils that help with the itching and speed the "drying" of the rash.

Second: He uses my Jewelweed Salve

This is also hard to keep on the shelf because of local sales.  However, I was determined to keep a large supply this year so I could put it on my website.

Third: Before each application of salve, we pat Jewelweed Tincture on the rash.  You can read how to make that at the link above.

Please note that Jewelweed Tincture is for external use only - internally it's very poisonous! 

Use something 100% cotton - preferable something non-absorbent like sheet or pillowcase material, soak the cloth and pat over the rash.  Allow to air dry.  We do this just before applying the salve each time.

We've found that this greatly reduces the size and length of his bouts with poison ivy. I pray it will do the same for you!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Do you have a Green Thumb?

Then you might be interested in my new soap..

This is the ultimate bar for gardeners!  This soap is moisturizing..packed with aloe vera oil, jojoba oil and aloe vera leaf, this soap helps your hands endure frequent washing on garden days.  

I swirled a bit of sand into the soap for exfoliation - it really helps get the dirt! Tinted with ground organic sage leaves from my garden and scented lightly with sage essential oil this bar is a complete delight!

look forward to can endure the weeding knowing this is waiting at the end of the day! Although I created it especially for hand washing, I use it as a bath soap too - after a day in the garden it isn't just my hands that need washing!

Green Thumbs is wonderful to use on feet too...even if you've never walked in a garden! Think pedicure!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Soaps!

I've been behind in getting things on the website and I apologize to y'all for that. Today is my first normal day in a month and I'll be getting all of the new soaps and lip balms up a little each day from now on.

Here's my first, and most requested, soap...

This creamy soap is perfect for those of you who love the outdoors but hate those nasty insects that live there!

You can also grate this soap into hot water, melt it and then wash your clothes with it before leaving on a day's hike or a camping trip. Rub this soap across the brims of your hats to keep bugs out of your face!

Now, remember...this soap is not packed with Deet or other chemical pesticides...instead is it full of wonderful essential oils that have properties and scents that are repugnant to biting and stinging insects.

It lathers well and isn't drying to your skin - best of all it is all natural!

I'm setting dates now for the next soap making class here on the farm where you can learn to make a soap just like Bug OFF in your own kitchen! If you can't wait, or live to far away, please check out my book that teaches you step-by-step how to make soap in your own kitchen. You won't believe how simple it is! I'll be by your side for 30 days to answer questions and hold your hand as you make your first batches of soap.

There will be more items being added to the website this week - I'll give them all a mention here too!


Monday, May 9, 2011

His Endless Gifts....

In the busyness of life, may I encourage you to take the time to notice all of the incredible gifts He sends your way?  Here are a few of mine this week....

#785 - #823

potatoes hoed in beautiful rows

bird nests being built all around us

early morning fog in the hollows

plants reaching for the sky on the trellises

spring flowers on my table

green everywhere I look

beautiful weddings

dinner with friends

strawberries - fresh from the garden every day

gentle rain

Sabbath rest


my church

favorite foods

boys all dressed up

sleeping in

the men who love & guide my boys

freshly whipped cream on berries

being together in the garden

laundry all caught up

the 1st lightening bug - the dance of lights begins!

the moon rising over the ridge

the coming summer break - just one more month!

a dear friend who always encourages me - she's my drink of cold water!

my boys' "little sister"

used book sales

John Piper

clean windows

weeding companions

the miracle of seeds

finding a forgotten treasure

the special smell of a new baby

the smell of rain coming

drowsing in late afternoon while reading

life slowing down a bit

the women in my life

His love letter to us - the Word

a special day set aside to honor mama

We are learning to see His gfits as a continual love note that reminds us that He is always here.  He is faithful and He loves us passionately! Will you worship Him with gratitude by counting His gifts with me?  You will discover that He is your source.  He is your healer.  He is your provider.

He never fails...

He never forsakes...

He leaves me breathless....

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Will you be at the wedding?

My prayer for you?

That you will be there at the wedding..His beloved...His bride...


Thursday, May 5, 2011


It feels like winter has arrived again! Yesterday I wore my heavy coat to the greenhouse to work and even the greenhouse was a bit nippy. Probably because we put the shade cloth on last week because it was so hot.

I wore my wool coat to town for church.The smell of woodsmoke was in the air and it felt like late November.

Last night they called for a frost in our area.There is an old saying that the date of your last thunderstorm in February, will be the date of your last frost in April. We had a thunderstorm February 28th. Our frost is a few days late but pretty close.

I'm off to uncover the squash, pole beans, bush beans, and zucchinni.  I figured the lettuce, peas, potatoes and cukes should be ok.  We closed the greenhouse early yesterday afternoon so it could accumulate some heat.  Hopefully that provided enough protection.

Last night at church, a friend told me that her Grandpa use to put a marble in a jar every time there was a thunderstorm in February.  When April rolled around, he took a marble out of the jar each time there was a frost.  He always knew if there was another frost coming because there would still be a marble in the jar. He never planted anything tender in his garden until the jar was empty.

My friend said he was right every year.

I'll be raiding the marble tin next year.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Test

I'd been thinking about this for years.  I'd been encouraged by others to do it.  I just didn't think I wanted I'd heard about the test.  It was supposed to be a tough test.  And...I didn't want to deal with all of the pesticide, fungicide, herbicide (ad nauseum) issues.

I decided this year that I'd just do it.  Then I broke my foot. I almost decided not to...but then...I had lots of extra time so maybe that test wouldn't be so bad!

I entered the Master Gardeners program through our local extension office in February.  Twice a week, for the next couple of months, Jeremy drove me there and wheeled me into the classroom.

I learned a lot before I even entered the building. I learned that the wheelchair accessible ramp was not accessible since it was behind the parking area - no room between cars to get a wheelchair through...and that large cement border sort of blocked things.  I learned that the door was impossibly heavy for me to hold open and try to wheel myself through with one hand. I learned that there was no bathroom for women that was wheelchair accessible...and I had to be there from 9am to 1pm...and they served yummy food, coffee, tea and drinks each day.

I quickly learned where the Mayor's office was upstairs.  I expressed my views of the problems.  I found out that our Mayor is receptive to suggestions and am now happy to report a new wheelchair parking space next to the wheelchair accessible ramp into the building...which is also now completely accessible.  The men's room was converted into a wheelchair accessible bathroom for all - it's a huge room.  This made classes so much more enjoyable.  The door is still an issue but I'm hoping it's on their list. Just shows you that one voice can make a difference!

Once I got into the classroom, I really enjoyed the classes!  I learned about landscape architecture, fruit trees, vines and bushes, weed control, composting, soil health, perennials, annuals, and yes a bit about all of those "cides"!  Experts in each subject were brought in from the University of Tennessee and from other extension office around the area.  They even had a day devoted to organic agriculture!

The test was open book and not scary at all...and I'm happy to report....

I passed!

Although I received this shirt after passing my test...

I'm considered a "sprout" until I have given 40 hours to continuing education and community service.

I'm well on my way! I spent Saturday afternoon doing a cooking demonstration to show people how to use herbs and spices in their kitchens.  We made herbal tea, herbed vinegar, cheese, butter, lavender glaze and finished up with spices to make homemade taco seasoning and ranch dip mix.  What a fun day!

I spent yesterday volunteering for "Farm Days" which introduced 800 local third graders to all aspects of agriculture.  What an experience.  I loved the part where they used an ultra-sound machine on pregnant cows so the kids could see the babies inside. They were thrilled...the kids...not the cows.  I was praying that they would make the connection to the value of babies in their mommy's tummies.  In fact, the veterinarian told them it was just like when they were in their mommy's tummy!

I'm glad I went through the course.  I'm now working with a great group of men and women and enjoying it all.  If you have any interest in gardening and agriculture, I encourage you to see if your local extension office offers a Master Gardeners course.

Now it is time to get busy in our own garden and get caught up.  We've had so much rain the weeds have taken over!  I'm having "slave for a day" here on Monday if the weather is good.  You come and work (mainly weeding) and while we are working together, I share my knowledge in whatever area you like.  I'm really looking forward to herb border is disappearing under the weed load!

Happy Weeding!

Monday, May 2, 2011

His Endless Gifts....

After three incredibly busy weeks...tornados, speaking engagements, festivals...and everything that those entail, I'm ever so grateful for His protection and His provision. I continue counting His endless gifts.....

#741 - #784

all of my family - safe

a son serving those caught in the path of the tornados

minimal storm damage on our farm

friends whose lives were spared


animals....all safe

speaking and teaching

busy festivals

seeing old friends in new places

making new friends

a garden that survived the hail...twice!

a greenhouse with minimal damage

learning opportunities at U.T.

faithful customers

seeing home again at the end of a long weekend

heating pads

the beautiful weather

faithful, hard-working sons

our fresh strawberries on my counter in the morning

herbs filling my kitchen already!

a big basket of  farm eggs

life back to normal

plans to double (or maybe triple?!) our canning this year

finishing up a new book!

calm winds

sunny skies

hearing the stories of survivors - so miraculous!

a friend coming to work in my herb garden

His sacrifices and promises...He loves wildly!

potatoes coming up

plants climbing their trellises

a week to get "caught up"

my pain relieving back is so grateful today!

inventory finished!

the news of family coming to visit

jewelweed...soap, salve and tincture!

hearing customers praise what I each other :)

an "A" on my final test!

weddings to celebrate

comfrey gone wild

chives needing "haircuts" already!

showing others how to cook with herbs...and watching their faces light up

watching my "baby" be a young man...

my mama...always by my side to help

We are learning (this past week especially!) to see His gfits as a continual love note that reminds us that He is always here.  He is faithful and He loves us passionately! Will you worship Him with gratitude by counting His gifts with me?  You will discover that He is your source.  He is your healer.  He is your provider.

He never fails...

He never forsakes...

He leaves me breathless....

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