It was a Saturday morning in Kentucky about fifteen years ago. My husband and I were driving out to the Amish community to buy a handwoven basket. I remember that Spring day with the sun reflecting against the rolling hills of green. I also remember thinking what a well-kept secret this beautiful place was.
As we arrived at the young Amish couple’s small farm, we were greeted by five tow-headed blondes…little stair steps. The oldest looked to be about ten. My husband knocked on the door of the small house. I could see inside through the screen door. I couldn’t help myself – I was taking it all in…the polished wood floors…the wood burning stove…the oak table and chairs…the lantern on the table…the dark window shades rolled up to let the sunlight in. I was standing on the ground beside the front porch within arms reach of one of the small boys standing on the porch. He stared at me for the longest with those enormous blue eyes and then reached out to stroke my hair. He was just as curious about me, as I was about him. I smiled at him and asked him his name. Samuel. His name was Samuel.
We bought the small basket and a loaf of bread and continued our drive through the beautiful countryside. I don’t know what it is about the Amish, but I’m drawn to them. I want to know more about them…their way of life…their customs. I have an immense appreciation and respect for them. Once after that particular day, I had an Amish patient at the hospital, which is a rare case. I was amused that the entire family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) came and stayed practically the entire time she was hospitalized. They spoke quietly to one another in Pennsylvania Dutch and spoke briefly to me in English.
After Kentucky, we would live fairly close to the Amish again in Indiana. We would travel to buy Amish baked goods and to an Amish market. I loved it. I’ve read everything I can find about the Amish…both fiction and non-fiction. I’ve especially enjoyed collecting Amish cookbooks and was very happy with the wonderful addition the postman brought today.
I’ve made several dishes out of this Amish & Mennonite cookbook…all delicious.
If you haven’t read Beverly Lewis’ fiction series about the Amish, you should…they’re wonderful books. I’ve also enjoyed her cookbook…
It’s the perfect shape and the perfect size. According to geologist macho logger, it’s siltstone. It’s steady with no movement, and the perfect step into our “Mountain Chicken Cottage”!
The walls and trim are painted but the front door still has to receive a coat of green paint (which matches the stained glass in the front door of our house). Oh, and I still have to make the lace valances (I already have the lace); but Mr. Macho Logger Tree Farmer said “no” to the chickens having curtains before he did. I still have to FINISH the balloon curtain for the master bath!
Did you ever see the 1956 version of The Body Snatchers? Every time I go out to check on the chicks and give them food and water…or turn on/off their warming light…or raise and lower their windows (which is like morning, afternoon and evening)…they’ve CHANGED. Yep, right before my very eyes. If you’ll look in the pic below you’ll see their new “coats” or “bodies” taking over their baby chick bodies! The photo is a little fuzzy for they’re not holding still for anyone…even their benefactor of fresh food and water!
And THIS little chicken has an attitude! She (or he?) sees me coming and hops quickly up on the water container and starts “peeping” loudly. Sometimes I find her (or him?) there when I come in. The farm store said it was a 20% possibility of having a rooster in the bunch…hmmm. As long as this chicken remembers that I’M the alpha chick, we’ll get along just fine. Otherwise, we might just have chicken ‘n dumplings.
Well, here “the girls” are about a month old, and they are definitely looking more like CHICKENS! The electrician was here yesterday and there is now electricity in the Hen House…and warmth for the growing chicks.
I have my suspicions that there may be a rooster in the bunch. I have, on more than occasion, found one of the little Barred Rock Plymouths standing on top of the vertical water container (which is about a foot high) looking longingly at the room beyond. Plus, this particular chick is much larger than all the others and seems to dominate the food container…bossy little thing! We’ll see how this turns out… At any rate, it’s time to move the chicks OUT of the entry hall and into their Mountain Chick Cottage BEFORE I find one on top of the chippendale chairs in my studio!
For this city girl, watching these chicks develop has been an education. For example, in the picture above you can see their little ears…which are not really ears at all, but rather “ear holes” surrounded by a disc. These will be covered with tiny feathers when they’re grown. They have a lot of other peculiar characteristics too…like pecking everything in sight, including each other! We’ll have to talk about that when they get bigger and those beaks are sharper!
Their house is finished, including the exterior walls primed, except for painting the outside…hopefully this week if the sun will stay out, the outside will be finished. So, yesterday was moving day and they did very well in their first night in their permanent home.
They appear to be “listening” in the photo below. I actually was talking to them…so who knows!
If you compare this photo to the earlier photos of the chicks around the food bar, you can see how much they’ve grown!
Their food container (below) for when they are out of the brooder and on the floor of their house. The floor will be covered with fir chips. The food container is suspended by a chain and will be raised as they grow…hopefully, to help keep the fir chips out of their food. They are great at scratching up the fir chips into their food!
Here is the cute little door to the little storage area. I couldn’t get back far enough to get the entire door in the pic, but the top of the door is shaped like the lower part. Here I store the packages of fir chips, their chick starter food and future hay for their nests and the floor.
The photo below shows the nest boxes with carpet squares in them and on top of that will go fresh hay when they’re old enough to start laying those eggs! In front of the boxes are the little perches to hop on and then from there into their nests.
This photo is of their “roosts” where they’ll sleep safe and secure…
Now, if you’re really interested in seeing the girls, here’s a video clip of them…you’ll see why I’m laughing…they’re funny creatures!
I’ve been sitting here this morning enjoying a cup of fresh hot coffee and a slice of this delicious, Zucchini Pineapple Bread (my daughter’s recipe) and reflecting a little…
Prior to six months ago, I hadn’t given the country of Ethiopia much thought…no more so than any other place. I knew, of course, that Ethiopia is a country on the continent of Africa, known mostly to many of us for its poverty, droughts and famines. Amazing that within these past few months, I’ve come to learn so much more about Ethiopia.
Right now, my daughter and her husband are awaiting news about their adoption of a child from Ethiopia. They’ve asked for twins, but will be thankful for the baby they receive. Their dossier, which took months to complete, is finally now in Ethiopia. Now, we wait for the news that a court date will be set and travel plans to Ethiopia may be made. I look forward to traveling to the Midwest to spend time with my new grandchild…or grandchildren!
To further capture my attention, my oldest child is in Ethiopia at this very moment as I write this. As I’ve mentioned before, he is a missionary doctor in Peru through Mission to the World and has been asked by the Peruvian government to help with a tuberculosis project in Peru. Evidently, MTW has a tuberculosis clinic in Ethiopia which has met with success using a special microscope for diagnosis. My son and his wife (who has a Ph.D. in molecular biology) are now visiting the MTW mission clinic in Ethiopia to learn more about this project.
I’m always amazed when I remember that our lives are a weaving – a tapestry – and, this time, my Heavenly Father is weaving in threads of Ethiopia…
It was official on March 20: Spring is HERE! Isn’t it? I awoke this morning to the sight of big, fat snowflakes coming down…again. I knew it wouldn’t last. So I tried to enjoy the beauty of the winter wonderland…hopefully, one last time for this season. Underneath the white, icy fluff are the daffodils, hyacinths and tulips. Still waiting to come up are the wild irises…
Snow on the mountain lasted about two hours and then, thankfully, the sun came out as you can see in the photo below. I was glad to see it. I like having four seasons. I like my share of snow, but I’m READY for Spring!
The photo below of snow on Mt. Scott was taken with a zoom lens…the Callahans across the Umpqua River.
I can only imagine what the disciples and Jesus’ other followers must have felt that Friday after the crucifixion. They had watched as Jesus had been condemned by Pilate. They had watched as Jesus had been forced to carry the rough, heavy cross along the Via Dolorosa and had fallen three times under the weight of it. The pain of seeing him beaten and ridiculed was great, but the pain of watching the huge spikes being driven through his hands and feet was unbearable. To hear him call out to his Heavenly Father must have wrenched their hearts and souls indeed.
Jesus was dead. They had seen him die with their own eyes. They had never known such deep despair. The skies were dark as the Roman soldiers had secured Jesus’ body in a tomb and set an enormous boulder in front of it. Guards had been placed in front of the tomb to protect it even further…perhaps in their minds to insure that the disciples would not take Jesus’ body.
Knowing what we know now, you and I want so badly to remind the disciples that Jesus had told them he would return…that he would rise again. Even though they had been in the upper room and had heard the words for themselves, they didn’t remember…or didn’t believe it. Would we have been any different? Had we seen with our own eyes the Saviour die, would we have been waiting by the tomb on the morning of the third day? Just in case we’re too hard on the wavering disciples, remember the promise that He has given to us. He’s coming AGAIN for us…are we waiting expectantly?
The simple truth is that Jesus CONQUERED death and rose to live again on the third day just as He promised. He BECAME my sacrifice…and yours…in order that, through repentance of our sins and belief in Him, we might have eternal life.
I love the stories of Jesus’ appearing to his disciples and followers after his resurrection. One of my favorite stories, is when he appeared to Peter. Remember, Peter had done just what Jesus had told him that he would do: he had denied Jesus three times. Ashamed and brokenhearted, Peter had return to his fishing…his old way of life. There, at the Sea of Galilee, Jesus spoke to Peter and asked him three times if Peter loved Him more than these (his old life). It broke Peter’s heart that Jesus questioned three times…when Peter had answered him, “yes, Lord, you know that I love You”. After the third answer, Jesus said to Peter, “Tend My sheep”. Imagine the weight that was lifted from Peter’s shoulders at that moment…the forgiveness that he felt…the determination. I wonder if Peter had an inkling then of the role he would play in the development of the early church.
So, on this Easter morning, I’m reminded that it’s no longer Friday and Jesus is ALIVE! Praise God! I love the songs in the youtube videos below. First, scroll to the bottom of the page and pause the other music (the two vertical bars within a circle) and then click the play button on the videos. Turn the speakers up, sit back and enjoy, my friends!
Hi! I’m Panda. Remember the song, “Under the boardwalk”? You’ve heard the song before, we know you have. We’d sing it for you if we could, but that’s a little out of our repertoire…anyway, our song is called “On the Boardwalk“.
Hmmm…doesn’t she know this glass top on the desk is slick?!
For some reason, no one seems to believe this city girl – wannabe farm girl has chickens! Trust me. They’re (temporarily) just a few feet from me as I type…waiting anxiously (or not) for their Mountain Chic Cottage to be completed. As you can see in the photo below, the roof is finished.
There are still a few things left for Mr. Macho Logger Tree Farmer to do…caulking, trim work, putting the handle on the door, building a small step or porch and painting to match our house. He also kindly agreed to build two small window boxes for flowers.
So, from the outside, it will look like a fancy little chicken house. From the inside, it looks like a barn. He has built eight nest boxes and high roosting perches. When I questioned him about having only eight nest boxes for a dozen chickens, Mr. Tree Farmer said with a grin, “now, honey, you don’t think they say ‘c’mon girls, hop in, it’s time to lay eggs’, do you?!”
Hmmmm….sounds like a plan to me. What do you think?!
So, as long as the inside looks like a barn, I’ll have fun decorating the outside. Did some shopping at Jo-Ann Fabrics and Michael’s yesterday and found these cute items…
The adorable yellow metal “pocket” above came from Michael’s. It will go on the door of my Mountain Chic Cottage in place of a wreath…
I found this really cute metal yard stake at Jo-Anne Fabrics. It will go in the yard next to the little porch once we’ve landscaped some.
This cute little metal sign (about 6″ x 10″) will go on the wall next to the front door.
The roof is finished!
Even though their little “cottage chic” house isn’t quite ready, the baby chicks have arrived! In the meantime, they’re in their warm container in the entry hall! Yep, I have a horse watering trough in the entry hall…right by the stained glass. (Don’t worry, it has been freshly painted!) There’s the sound of soft little peeps echoing through the house…though they did sleep peacefully through the night.
We had planned to have six Buff Orpingtons, but that breed appears to be more difficult for the farm stores to get right now. Instead, we chose six Rhode Island Reds. They’re beautiful with their soft light red down at the moment, but will definitely get a darker mahogany red. They’re excellent layers of brown eggs.
Also coming home with us were six baby Barred Rock Plymouths. They’re so cute with their penquin-like colors right now! They will be black and white “speckled”. They’re also dependable layers of brown eggs.
The photo below was taken just as I’d put them in the container after their trip home from town. They all quickly huddled together for warmth under the light…looking around as if to say, “oh boy, NOW where are we”?!
Looking down upon their little temporary domain…everything they need for now: warmth, fresh fir shavings, water, baby chick starter food.
Just in case you thought I was kidding…
If it has been a while since you’ve heard the soft sound of baby chicks, check out the 82 second video clip of the little peepers….then please feel free to suggest some names for them!
I moved to the Callahan Mountains of Oregon two years ago when I married Mr. Macho Logger Tree Farmer. I’m a people person…he’s an introvert. I’m a night owl…he’s an earlybird. Go figure. What was that? Opposites attract? hmmm….really?
At any rate, my kids, apparently, are keeping track of how many friends I’ve made since I’ve been here and are not happy with the fact I’m turning into a hermit. Contrary to my past Southern entertainer of the year track record, there haven’t been that many dinner parties up here on the mountain, but I’m willing to try harder. There’s a sweet little 80+ year old widow who lives in the tiny turquoise house just down the mountain on 200+ acres and leases her land to a cattle rancher. I should invite her. Just above us, there’s the young couple with the three small boys…definitely want to invite them. He’s the park ranger and sorta looks like a young Sean Connery. Maybe I should just get in the car and drive up and down the mountain and hand out invitations…what do you think? I should get out more?! I know.
You’ll be happy to know I AM making a lot of cyber friends. These are REAL people who live in wonderful REAL places. I just haven’t met them in person, but I do know about their lives and have enjoyed getting to “know” them. Some of them are living my “farm dream life” and I confess I’m a wee bit jealous.
It is my privilege to introduce you to just a few of them today…
http://thepioneerwoman.com/ Ree won the blogger of the year award and I can certainly see why! She lives on an ENORMOUS ranch in Oklahoma and is married to her good looking “Marlboro Man” as she calls him (although he never has smoked thankfully). Don’t miss her story about how she met her husband. If you’re lucky, maybe one of these days I’ll write about how I met Mr. Macho Logger Tree Farmer…
http://thecottonwife.com/ Jennifer is a wife and mom who lives on 600 acres of beautiful Virginia (one of my favorite places!) farmland! She’s also a great photographer and you will love her photos and blog! So, take your time and enjoy!
http://www.foodiefarmgirl.blogspot.com/ Susan was one brave girl…moving from the life of restaurant and gallery openings in California to 240 remote acres in Missouri. You will love her descriptions of the early days on the farm and how far she’s come. You’ll will definitely love the animals…I sure do.
http://razorfamilyfarms.com/ Lacy and Josh are a young military family who would love to have lived in earlier times…they love the simple farm life and that’s what they’re building now…currently in the deep South. You’ll love Lacy’s humor and insightful posts about family life and their journey into trying to adopt. You’ll also want to try her recipes!
I’d advise you to get a cup of something you’ll enjoy…tea or coffee, you choose…then sit back and enjoy these great blogs. It will take a little while…