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

Friday, June 23, 2017



After  a hard days work and a long commute home, the last thing Matt wants to do is stay in the car longer.   But he gets trapped by well-wishers the minute he pulls in.


They thought they would thrill Ineke with a petal shower...

Ineke didn't quite look thrilled.  But it worked for some others!

a cow hoof in the garden is never a good sign

FINALLY!  I canned up the freezer stew meat.  It took the hottest day thus far and many months to finally get it done.  It isn't exactly a pretty picture (looks more like dog food) but it makes me happy looking at it anyway.

Homemade maple yogurt with the few strawberries we'll be able to harvest here.  And mint!  Lots of mint!

I don't know how it happened but the peonies came and went without a single bouquet being brought inside.  What?!?!  The irises too.  Where was I?!?  Between vacation, garden, health stuff and raindrops, this month has pretty much disappeared in a blink.   It is a strange thing indeed to not have had any flowers brought indoors though- very unlike me.  I saw a small late-blooming peony the other day with a swollen bud.  I'll be sure to get that one for my bedside.  

The garden took a lot longer to get in this year for some reason but it is finally in.  I am probably most excited about the carrots- I planted carrots in containers this year to see what would happen.    Carrots have never done very well for me because of all the stones and clay soil.  They come out short, squat and curly from trying to grow around stones.  With deep containers and NO STONES, they should be beautiful.  (I hope!) 

 Probably 90% of the beans were eaten by something as they came up so I had to replant them yesterday.  This happened last year too.  Sprinkling cayenne peppers on them helped so I'll be sure to get that done as soon as I see some growth.  

The weeds are crazy because I couldn't get my hands on any hay mulch this year.  I am trying to get cardboard down to help out but I am fighting a loosing battle.  Thankfully, I have many hands helping me fight.  

The worst pest to the garden?  Our cow Ellie who, the other morning when we all got outside, was found wandering around the yard.  We got her back in the pasture just fine and I was thankful that getting her back in the fence was uneventful.  Good girl! 

But then I started looking around at the damage she had done while on her freedom adventure... and I could have turned her to beef right then and there.  She ate blueberry bushes and trampled a few (of the very few) good strawberry plants I have.  She destroyed my cabbage patch and brussel sprouts (they may not recover) and ate the tops off of 97 corn plants.   97!  And it is probably too late to replant some more corn.  Nothing more destructive than a cow in a garden.

It's funny how gardening keeps you humble.  No matter how hard you try, you inevitably are at the will of forces outside of your control.  It's a good lesson~ a needful one albeit a bit painful too.  We are so not in control.  We are so dependent.  The sooner we realize this truth, the sooner we can find joy and gratitude in the gifts.  

Because that is exactly what they are.

Monday, June 12, 2017

vacation part 2

Gary (Matt's dad) bought a pontoon boat last fall so that the whole family would be able to boat together and one of the purposes of this vacation was to do just that.  A maiden voyage or at least, maiden to us!

It just so happened to be that our trip was planned a year in advance and it turns out, right smack dab in the middle of a state of emergency crisis where substantial high waters were flooding areas, homes and businesses and submerging docks all over the place.  We didn't even know if we'd be able to get the boat in the water.  We had to travel to a nearby town to do it but we found a place.

Day one was too cold, windy and choppy to go out.  Day two was less choppy but still very cold.  It was now or never...

When we were about to put the boat in an excited woman rushed over to us and warned us not to go out.  She said that the waters were filled with debri, broken floating docks, logs, barrels, etc.  and that she had heard stories of boats capsizing, boaters flying head over heels into the water after hitting something, boats being ruined or stranded.

Talk about stressful.  Here we were with more children than adults, going out into freezing waters with a warning like that!  I didn't want to go, I'll be honest.  I was scared!

But my father in law told us we'd be fine-we'd take it slow....  We'd all be spotters for floating debri....  We were a pontoon boat- not a speed boat.... 

and he was right. 

All was well.  (Thank the Lord!)

This is right on the water.  Not on a street.

Secluded in my own little world every day it is easy to forget that some people live entirely different lives than my own.

The huge mansions and estates we passed by, summer homes for the rich, made me feel very small indeed.

I actually felt a bit like rabble.

It's amazing the great wealth that some people have.  Overwhelming, really.  I wonder how many of them find their wealth to be a gift from God?  I wonder how many of them would consider people like me rabble?  I wonder how many of them truly enjoy their wealth?  I wondered what life would be like if I had lions guarding my estate and too many rooms to count and had my own little private island.   I wondered how such wealth could be used for God's glory?

I admit, I imagined how many orphans would be able to live and thrive in some of these homes.

And it was a lot.

One of the destinations of the boat trip was Boldt castle.  Due to docks being under water, we couldn't dock and stay but Gary was able to drop us off and drive around the island while we got a brief tour of the place.  I could have stayed all day.

The story goes: George Boldt, who began as a dishwasher at a motel and worked his way up to the millionaire proprietor of the world famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in NYC decided to build a castle as a monument of love for his wife.  In 1900, he bought "Hart Island" (the previous owner being a Hart) and reconstructed the island to be in the shape of a heart.  He renamed it "Heart Island" and began construction on the 300 room castle.  Everywhere, token of his love were etched into walls and formed into glass and built into crevices.

And then, just four years later,  his wife died.  Heartbroken, he abandoned the project and never returned to the island again.   The castle was never actually completed, the workers just stopped work and left the place abandoned and unfinished.

Years later, and after much vandalism and deterioration had marred the place, it was sold for $1.00 under the obligation to restore it to the original condition it was left in.  Instead, the Thousand Islands bridge commission decided to finish the construction as Boldt had originally intended.

The billiard room

the dining room

The kitchen.  Oh, the kitchen!!!

Such a nice picture if it weren't for sourpuss Adele.  

oooh- I love a good stone tunnel.

the power house

People wed here- and a wedding was taking place during our visit.
The round area under where they are standing is the pool house.  

the entrance gate
the boat house

This was the childrens' playhouse/tower.  SERIOUSLY?!?  

This was also where the family lived during the construction years.  

The playhouse even had an underground bowling alley!

Saint Lawrence, of whom the river is named.  He was burned alive on a grid iron, martyred for his faith during the reign of Emperor Valerian.  He was ordered to turn over the wealth of the church to Rome.  He asked for three days to gather it all and instead gave it to widows, orphans, poor and indigent.  When he showed up to hand over the money to the court, he instead presented the indigent, the crippled the blind and outcasts saying that these were the true treasures of the church. "The Church is truly rich, far richer than your emperor." he said.

For this defiance, he was burned alive on a gridiron.  After enduring the painful torture for a long time he cheerfully said "I'm well done!  Turn me over!"

What an interesting juxtaposition between Saint Lawrence and the river St. Lawrences' self-named "Millionaire's Row".

And that was our trip.  Our wonderful, restful, and fun adventure.

May it not be our last!