Friday, July 31, 2015


A couple of weeks ago Mr. Marvelous and I went to Mount Cheaha to celebrate twenty-eight years of marriage.  Mr. Marvelous ~ being marvelous! ~ took the scenic route home.  He pulled over to let me jump out and take pictures, he slowed down and angled the car to let me get pictures out of the window, and we both oohed and ahhed over the scenery. 

This is one of the ways I experience God. 
Seeing His creation feeds my soul and reminds me of all that He is. 

May the glory and wonder of what He created and maintains for us every day fill your heart with wonder at His magnificence and glory.

His peace to your homes.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


Summer time.

It is a busy time of year for us.  It is challenging to get the summer work done when it is so hot.  Yet the feeling of sitting around all day waiting for cooler weather is worse than the feeling of being out and working in summer time heat.  So we spur each other to keeping on and getting things done.

The basement babies are now the front yard babies.  I confess that I go out there periodically, walk in the pen, turn a bucket upside down, and sit and visit with them for a while.  All four are pretty quick to get up in my lap for a little snuggle.  Yes, I am hopeless!

It is a very different world out here.
Mr. Marvelous has replanted squash, 
and green beans.
Do you remember my story about the super-hot peppers?  We planted the seeds (I can't remember if we got 5 or 10) and waited.  And waited.  One plant survived.  We put it outside and waited.  And waited.  It has finally leafed out but we are still waiting for blossoms.  
We have a neat new system for when plants stop producing. 
We turn them into eggs.

This system also works well for when the grass out front gets out of hand.
 They mow, fertilize, control pests AND turn it all into eggs.
Now that's efficiency!

Sometimes they spill the corn from their feeder.

 Maybe we will get enough for supper tonight.

Soon we will start getting ready for our fall garden.  Broccoli, potatoes, spinach, lettuce, kohlrabi, beets, cabbage....there's always something to grow!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wednesday Prayers

Good morning Prayer Warriors.  Thank you for your constancy in remembering these needs ~ even when I miss a week!
  1. Chris' team has worked through the insurance difficulties for his heart transplant.  They did have to place an LVAD last week and this should help him get through until a heart is available.  Please continue in prayer for him.  You may follow his facebook page here
  2. Jody will get to the one-year milestone since the death of her husband Danny in two weeks.
  3. Tara is getting ready to be the leader/director of a women's spiritual weekend in the next few weeks.  These weekends are usually preceded by some interesting spiritual warfare.  Please pray for strength of soul and purpose for her, the other women working with her, and the women who will be attending the weekend.
  4. Fred's church will have their annual VBS next week.  Please pray for the church and the children who will be attending.
  5. Faith is a little girl with multiple medical problems and is now fighting brain cancer.  Her chemo is on hold due to her lab results being off.
  6. While news cycles move on, grief does not.  Please continue to pray for Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston.  Pray especially this week for his wife and two daughters.  They lost their husband, Daddy and Pastor.
  7. Remember this week to thank God for His answered prayers, for those who have been saved, those who have been healed, and even for the answers that were "No" or "Wait".  God's goodness and lovingkindness to His children is something we can count on.
I am continuing to work through Paul's Letters to the churches.  In opening his letters, Paul writes salutations that are worth a lifetime of study in themselves.  Over and over in these openings, he refers to God as "Our Father".  Over the years I have spoken to many people who have not had good earthly fathers.  When your earthly father is absent, or abusive, or negligent, or trapped in his own sin, it is hard to hear that God is your Father.  The word "Father" does not have a good meaning and memory for you.  Yet I think that even those with the worst of fathers have an image in their heart of what they wish their father could have been.  That image was given to you by God.  It is a picture that He wants you to have.  That image of the man you wish your father could have been ~ loving, kind, patient, just, merciful, wise, affirming, and someone who loved you and defended you with every fiber of his being ~ that is the kind of Father that God is.  It is not a fairy-tale or a wistful dream.  It is God.  He is not only the perfect Father, He is a Father Who is intimately involved in every detail of our lives.  There is nothing too trivial to tell Him.  He is never too busy; in fact, He longs for even more time with you! 

I pray that you will remember this every time you find the word "Father" as you read His word.

His peace to your homes. 

Image from

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Traveling Gnome

Jack has hit the road again, going to the beach with a friend of mine and her grandparents.  They are spoiling him!

Thinking about going out to the beach, Jack decides

to have a little smackerel of something first.

Tastes just like chicken....

While Jack loves the beach, He is concerned about the effects of salt water on his tattoo.  That's his story, anyway.

The beach in time for a lovely sunset.

He does know how to strike a noble pose.
Have fun, Jack!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Company and "Oops" Brownies

Mr. Marvelous and I had company for dinner Sunday.  I love having people over after church; it is how I was raised.  There may have been 7 in our family, but it seems like there were always 10+ at the dinner table on Sundays.  That's just how things were done in the preacher's house back then and Mom still has company over more often than not.

Saturday I spent cleaning and getting ready.  I couldn't decide what to make for dessert but by the time I got the housework ~ and oh yeah I was making watermelon pickles ~ finished, I decided to go the easy, popular route and make brownies.  I modified my old stand-by brownie recipe and cut it in half.  You know what's coming, don't you?  I pulled them out of the oven, set them on the counter to cool, and went to bed.

Sunday morning as I was putting a few final touches on everything, I decided to go ahead and cut the brownies and put them on a pretty plate to serve.  Fortunately I made this decision early.  They cut fine, but when I tried to pull them out of the baking dish they looked like this:

These were not going on a plate; they were nothing but crumbs.  And I had nothing else to offer.  Not even any fruit or ice cream.  I started thinking.  What does one do with brownie crumbs??  Perhaps a brownie trifle?

I started thinking some more.  I have a great recipe for pudding that I found here (this lady has some fantastic recipes).  I started making the pudding.

While I was stirring, I thought about how good strawberries are with chocolate.  It just so happens that I have one or two (!) jars of strawberry jam.

The final product was crumbled brownies, a thin layer of strawberry jam (and I think raspberry would have been delicious too),

topped with one recipe of vanilla pudding.

It was a hit!

 Maybe next time I'll add some whipped cream on top....

Friday, July 24, 2015


The heavens declare the glory of God,

and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.
May we join with creation in proclaiming Him.

His peace to your hearts and homes.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Adventures of Jack South.

Jack DID come home....

Well.  Jack did come home from Colorado.  I won't say he is none the worse for wear.  Take a good look at this guy...
We went over to our friends home Sunday evening to spend some time with them and to pick Jack up.  We heard quite a tale about Mr. Jack.  You may recall that once the family got to Colorado Jack spent the first day there sleeping in, watching cartoons, and drinking coffee out of a Dr. Who mug (he contends it had less caffeine than those Diet Mt. Dew).  

After that day, it has been reported to me that Jack....disappeared.  Yes, that's right.  Jack took off, left his host family and just disappeared for several days.  As you can see, he came back with:
  1. a new ear-ring (ruby red slippers to commemorate his time in Kansas)
  2. a scar on his face
  3. rings under his eyes   AND
  4. a new tattoo on his wrist.
 Oh Jack!

Jack is still not saying anything about where he was during that time.  I do understand that there are some more pictures waiting for download that might solve the mystery.  I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt and for now (!) assume that he spent his time rescuing damsels in distress.  I can't help thinking about the adventures of Prince Corin in The Horse and His Boy.

Jack seems happy to be back home again.
He is very proud of his new tractor that he found in Kansas.

Gracie Kittie is also relieved to have Jack back.
She is hoping that he will let her play with his new tractor.

Yes, Jack is back.  But Jack has caught the pioneer spirit.  He enjoyed his trip so much that he has asked me about the possibility of making another one in the near future.  He thought perhaps some of his readers might enjoy his company.  I told him I would ask.  So if you are going on a trip and would like the pleasure of Jack's company, leave a comment and let me know.  We'll see if we can arrange to get him to you.  

He already has his bags packed!

Friday, July 17, 2015


A few entertaining pictures for your weekend....

In the heat of summer, this cat loves the a/c vent 

A day playing in Auntie 'Ginia's pool does wear out even the most energetic of four year olds.

And two-year-olds too!

Enjoy the blessings of summer, and abandon yourself to a Sabbath rest this weekend!

God's peace to your homes.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

About Roosters....

I promise that this is not going to be one of those Watch-Us-Slaughter-Our-Chickens-Because-We-Are-Survivalists, complete with gory pictures kinds of posts.  If that is what you are looking for Google has too many suggestions.  However I am aware that some of you prefer to believe that all meat comes in little pink styrofoam containers from the grocery store.  You might want to skip this post.

Recently in one of my homestead updates, I made the comment that we had 29 chickens and that was too many. 

One of the reasons we had so many is that we raise our own chickens.  We hatch out eggs periodically.

The hens replace the older girls who aren't laying anymore. 

The males, on the other hand, are raised for one reason.  Meat.  We keep one rooster around for breeding and for protection.  If he gets too aggressive, than the next time we hatch one we keep it and slaughter the aggressive one.  But the primary reason we raise roosters is for meat.  Or as my Dad says, "for expeditions to the North Pole".  Because they go into the freezer.

A couple of weeks ago we looked at the calendar.  The boys were 16 weeks old, which is a good age to harvest them.  They were having Crow-Offs every morning starting at 4 am.  They were definitely the right age to harvest!  So one weekend we got busy.  We had six to harvest and one to keep (he had the prettiest tail-feathers and was the most gentle). 
On the steep side of the hill behind the house, Mr. Marvelous has set up a killing cone on one of the trees (it is also known as the Cone of Silence). 
He does his part and after a few more minutes brings them over to me to pluck.  Things were going smoothly; it wasn't the first time we had done this and we have our little routine.  After the fourth roo was introduced to the Cone of Silence, Mr. Marvelous wandered over to see if I needed any help.  Yes, as a matter of fact, I did!  There were yellow jackets buzzing around and making a nuisance of themselves and my hands were full of feathers.  Would he please kill them?  He did and all was well; no stings to either of us.  He walked back over to the cone to retrieve #4 only to discover was not there!!!

Have you ever heard the expression, "Running around like a chicken with its head cut off"?  That stupid rooster had jumped out of the cone and started running!  We looked all through the back garden.  I started pulling up the weeds to see if it was under them.  We finally realized that the idiot rooster had gone down the hill!  Did I mention that we were set up on the steepest part of the hill?!
Not the greatest picture, but hopefully it gives you some idea of what we were dealing with.

Poor Mr. Marvelous had to make the trip down the hill, hanging on to the trees for dear life.  I was tramping around the greenhouse hoping that it was still at the top and not in the poison ivy.

Mr. Marvelous finally found it about 3/4 of the way to the bottom of the hill.  Then he had to try and come back up with a rooster in one hand and hanging onto the trees with the other.

We now have six chickens in the freezer.  And we know not to leave them in the Cone of Silence even if they are already dead.  Even if the wife is being bothered by yellow-jackets!

And now here is my favorite recipe for home-raised chickens.

Brine the bird overnight in the Pioneer Woman Turkey Brine.  She has the best recipe for this.

Take the bird out of the brine and let it dry off for a few minutes.  I don't rinse mine.
Make a rub using the following.  If you don't have the fresh cut herbs, you may substitute dried herbs or just omit what you don't have (it's called making-do).

2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 Tbsp fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
fresh cut rosemary
fresh cut sage
fresh cut thyme

Drizzle the chicken with olive oil, then rub the rub all over it.  I usually stuff the bird with an onion sliced in half, some celery (if I have it) and an orange or an apple (if I have it).  Place a rack in the bottom of your large crock-pot.  I use a 6 quart.  If you don't have a rack, take an aluminum pie plate and cut slits in it and lay it in the pot, or crumple up 3 pieces or so of aluminum foil and put those in the bottom.  Place the chicken in the crock-pot breast-side up, cover, and cook on low for a minimum of 4-5 hours.  The nice thing about crock pots is that you can leave it longer if you need to.  Be aware that if you leave it too long you will be eating your chicken in chunks instead of nicely sliced.  You could also place it in the oven at 350 I suppose, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Because of the time to make the brine and soak it in the brine, this is something you need to plan ahead.  It is worth every moment of time it takes to make!