What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Monday, July 21, 2014



The sky made a perfect cloud ceiling just before coming in for dinner, the children were smitten and occupied with two adorable kittens discovered in the truck engine compartment of a visiting neighbor, the bees were busily buzzing around the bee balm (they don't call it bee balm for nothing!) and Matt was just as busily buzzing around the barn cutting, planing, gluing, figuring, trimming, sanding and working on the secret project for me.  As for me, the only thing I remember was wandering around in a bit of a haze.  I am sure I did things- I just can't remember what.  or how.  or when.

That was our weekend, in a nutshell.

The pictures above are making Matt's secret project a little less "secretive".  Am I right?

If all goes well, it will be ready for the big reunion we are having here this weekend... not that it was made for the reunion, but it was certainly just the perfect bit of incentive needed to get it started and finished- though the week has been pretty intense for him!  He is a trooper and would head out there after dinner each evening and come back in at almost 11 pm, plop into bed and do it all again the next day.

I never suggested Matt get it done in time for the party- that was his own doing- but I am just so amazed at what he was able to accomplish in just one weeks' time.  What a hard worker he is.

And for the week ahead:

 I have some serious work to do in preparation of the reunion.  I stopped counting when the mental headcount reached 45 and I was too overwhelmed to finish.  There is furniture to move around.  A secret thing to make room for.  Painting to do.  Cleaning to do.   Food stuffs to figure out and prepare.  (What will I feed these people!?!?)
Three families have not been to this place since Gram was still alive and living here- a place much different than the place that it has since become- so that adds a bit of pressure, you know?

Last month we had a bit of a false alarm with Penny's due date (we were off a heat cycle and miscounted the days) and realizing our mistake gave us a bit of extra time to prepare (though not enough~ the vacuum pump has worked well until yesterday when it went pop, fizz, bang.  Or something of that nature.  Not sure what that is going to require.  Perfect timing, right?).  Her actual due date is this Sunday and I am just praying, praying, praying she doesn't go into labor early this week.

I am pretty sure I couldn't handle that happening right now.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

This Week In the Garden

I went to throw something in the dumpster right outside of a greenhouse only to discover hundreds of plants had just been dumped there!   Mostly peppers, I grabbed 10 packets- some quite beautiful with peppers ON them- making 60 pepper plants for free!  All of them were spicy peppers so I found homes for some of them.
He had just woken up and come outside to find me in the flower circle, when in a sleepy daze he got the wagon.  I think it is funny that he immediately started lugging around a wagon, even in a sleep stupor.  Boys do things like that, I guess.

Then he saw me- and he did that perfect Judah grin at me.  When he smiles- he REALLY smiles. Golly, I love this boy.


24 pepper plants
a butterfly bush I bought at an auction for $3.00
transplanted calendula plants that self-sowed last year.
transplanted a teeny patch of corn about to be buried in squash to the rest of the corn patch

Worked on:
tied up another level of tomato stakes (they are growing fast!)
thinned beets and kale
surrounded bean plants with coffee grounds and pepper plants with crushed eggshells

flowers for the house
flowers for gift bouquets
summer squash
swiss chard

bacon and swiss chard pizza
sweet pan chili with swiss chard and peppers
fresh broccoli and summer squash with ranch dip

Put Up:
 swiss chard

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Granary Project: Upstairs!

My big summer project is done!

Cleaning out the Granary has been a big deal!  I knew it was going to be.  It has happened little by little, one floor at a time...but it is finally done!

It is the storage barn mostly since there is no other storage area available.  (You people with attics and basements- be thankful!) But Matt said if I got it cleaned out, I could do with it whatever I wanted...so you know, despite the storage, I had to add my own touch to it! 

Here is a recap of what the upper floor looked like when I began:

After bags and bags donated to Salvation Army, passing things along, tossing things in the garbage, burning things, selling stuff at a yard sale, consolidating and organizing... here it is today:

I had hoped to bring out a few bins of craft supplies to free up the cluttered office.  And then the rocking horse really should go because the bedrooms are too small and no one really uses it anymore.  And then, Corynn asked if I get the vanity out of her room because it takes up too much space (yep-small rooms!) and then I looked at my beautiful Matt-made cradle that hasn't rocked any babies in almost four years and thought "Why is this still in the house-reminding me it is empty?" so I brought that out too.  (I admit- there were tears.)

As I brought things out- it began to look almost...homey.

As it began to look homey, I began to become more excited about it.  I decided to go all out and hang curtains (that I bought at Salvation Army for a song a LONG time ago with intentions to put them up in the living room but never actually did) to hide the storage and make it actually, kinda pretty.

Everything up here was taken from around Hopestead...I didn't buy a thing.  Just moved things here and there.

The lights were the cherry on top of the whole thing and actually light- as opposed to when they were hanging by our picnic trees.

Some day I'd like to be able to move that dresser and trunk and get Matt to build me a railing by the stairs instead.

Some day SOONER I'd like to add a window to the stairs side and switch the window it has on the other side to one that opens- the only thing this place needs is some fresh air.

 That would make it just about perfect in my book.

Anyone up for a rustic Granary stay over?  

Monday, July 14, 2014


I love that eerie glow after an evening storm.  First, it is a bright yellow green and then the whole sky turns orange-ish and with it, everything else it touches, then finally, right before giving up to the darkness, it fades into pink.  As the song says, I love a rainy night.  I don't need the glowing aftermath to love it, but that glow has the tendency to draw me outside, standing in the yard~ bare feet soaked, head raised heavenward, turning round and round at the beauty of the sky.

This ever-changing, revolving world is so glorious.  Every day there is something new to take my breath away.

I have lots of things to tell you- lots of 'Hopestead Happenings' that I am eager to share here.

One big one: the GRANARY is completely done!  I finished the upstairs over the weekend and I'm so excited to show you some pictures.  Spoiler:  You can TOTALLY see floor! (I'll do that this week.  Promise.)

Another big one: Matt is working on a project that has been on my "Oh, I wish I had one.  Matt will you make one for me, please?!?" list for a few years.  I won't tell you what it is just yet but here is a little teaser:

 I can tell you... so far, it has exceeded my wildest expectations.  I'm thrilled beyond words!

Okay- maybe that isn't a lot after all~maybe it is only two things... but it seems like a lot since they are biggish things that have been on my mind for a very long time.

Because I am incapable of focusing on more than one large task at a time, the days I spent working in the upper floor of the Granary allowed just enough distraction for the entire house to become entirely trashed. (I say that a lot- don't I?  Well, either my house gets trashed easily or I have a low tolerance for stuff out of place... probably both.)  And I was too busy to even care.  We moved some furniture and bins out to the Granary to hopefully unclutter my life (since this winter I felt so cluttered and claustrophobic of STUFF upstairs) and so there is furniture out of whack and things that need to be put right again.  Plus, boxes of sentimental stuff that I found in the Granary strewn throughout the living room and the evidence of  four childrens' imaginations left unchecked for several days... it's gonna be a big job.

Two days of rain, today and tomorrow, is just the impetus I need to get this house in ship-shape again.  The living room was finished this morning- mopped, furniture-polished, swept... the whole she-bang.  I needed one spot to feel right- and, just in case any random visitors popped by...the living room seemed the place to start.  This afternoon... the office.  I'm particularly excited about the office because it is much emptier now and, once done, will be...downright spacious.

At least, that is the hope.

And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.