Saturday, May 11, 2024

Mother's Day Clean-Up

 For Mother's Day, I wanted all my kids to help participate
 in a Stillestead clean-up day. 
I made a list of all the things that needed to be done 
around the yard and in the garden, and other miscellaneous jobs.
At 7 am, Christian was already working with the cattle, 
Gigs was at work, and the girls were still asleep.
 So, I started working on my own. I weeded the flower beds, 
and by the time I finished, everyone was home, awake, and ready to help.
Gigs brought his two new goats, Gump and Ricky, home, this time for good. 
He bought an electric fence, and we set it up.
Except I don't want them in the front yard, and Gigs promised me 
he'd take it down before the day was over.
I also tried doing goat yoga, but they didn't enjoy it.
Lottie drove the truck around the perimeter of the yard
 while Christian and I trimmed the surrounding trees and bushes.
Meanwhile, Jane dismantled the old raised garden beds 
to prepare for a new garden area. 
I have seeds and Dalilah tubers ready to plant! 
I am dying to get them in the ground!!!!
Then we ran out of light and energy.
We still need to finish the flower beds, 
and get bamboo sticks for my sweet pea tepee.

When I lamented to Christian that we didn't quite finish everything,
he said to me,
"We need to save some jobs for next Saturday!".
I guess.

UPDATE: the goats are still in my front yard 
(I'm typing this a week after Gigs promised to move them.)


Friday, May 10, 2024

Greasing His Chin

This afternoon, Claire and I calmly swung on the front porch. 
We chatted over the sound of cicadas and watched
 the chickens peck around the yard.
Suddenly, a sly orange fox dashed in and snatched our beloved hen, 
BB, before running off along the outside of our fence line. 
I was in shock, and the chickens were going wild, clucking loudly.
Without even thinking (and without shoes), I flew off 
my front porch with Angus speeding at full blast next to me.
And we ran and ran after the fox.
I felt like Usain Bolt.
I was determined to catch that sneaky fox or at least scare 
it enough to drop my cute little BB (who laid BLUE EGGS! I'm so sad).
 As I was running, I thought of myself in 2005, living in New Jersey, 
listening to Nickel Creek in the car, singing "The Fox"
 with Claire, Jane, and Ollie buckled up in their car seats.
The girls would beg me to play it over and over again.
Now, nearly 20 years later, I was
surprised that in those seconds of adrenaline and running,
I remembered that lovely memory.
After sprinting full-on for 60 seconds, 
I stopped; my feet were dirty and stained with blood.
I called for Angus, and together, we went back home
with a sad tale to tell.
Christian was on the porch with his Glock ready for action.
But that sly fox knew what he was doing; he was long gone, 
probably back in his den, greasing his chin with BB and all
the other chickens we've lost.

Now we're down to five hens and one rooster.

The Fox:
"The fox went out on a chilly night
He prayed for the moon to give him light
For he had many a mile to go that night
Before he reached the town-o, town-o, town-o
He had many a mile to go that night before he reached the town-o

He ran till he came to the farmers pen
The ducks and the geese were kept therein
He said: a couple of you are gonna grease my chin
Before I leave this town-o, town-o, town-o
A couple of you are going to grease my chin before I leave this town-o

He grabbed the gray goose by the neck
He threw a duck across his back
And he didn't mind the quack-quack
And the legs all danglin' down-o, down-o, down-o
He didn't mind the quack-quack
And the legs all danglin' down-o

Well the old gray women jumped out of bed
Out of the window she popped her head
Cryin': John, John, the gray goose is gone
The fox is on the town-o, town-o, town-o
John, John the gray goose is gone and the fox is on the town-o

He ran till he came to his nice warm den
And there were the little ones eight, nine, ten
Sayin' daddy, daddy, better go back again
It must be a mighty fine town-o, town-o, town-o
Daddy, daddy, go back again for it must be a mighty fine town-o"

Thursday, May 09, 2024

Billions Of Cicadias

It's a Cicada year here. 
Outside is so loud with these super busy
 little awkward flying bugs.  
Two gigantic cicada broods, Brood XIX and Brood XIII,
have emerged in North Carolina from the ground after a long nap.
Because the two broods exist on different timetables, 
having them emerge at the same time is super cool and super rare.
Cicadas are short-lived and will only be around for about six weeks,
and they don’t overlap very often—221 years ago, to be precise.
The last time this phenomenon happened was in 1803
and won't happen again until 2037!!
So I welcome them with open arms,
and all their golden skeletons strewn on my lawn, in my garden, in
my flower pots, and hanging onto trees.
They really are magical little things.

Wednesday, May 08, 2024

He's A Pretty Cool Boy

 Gigs got a haircut!
And he likes it!
I like it!
We all like it!
Change is crucial to growth,
and Gigs is growing up and changing.
He'll be a senior next year!
(I can't believe it!)
And he'll probably have his mission call this time next year.
Wow, that's crazy.

After getting his haircut today, he informed us that he would be
 joining the full-time missionaries to teach a family later in the evening.
Wow, that haircut really lit a fire under his buns!
I didn't want to be overly excited or dramatic, so I was like,
"Oh, ya.  Ok. cool, cool."
But inside, I was like, 
 Later, he and Christian started the incubation process for another
round of baby chicks (since we are losing our flock!).
They'll be hatching around May 29th!
While upstairs with the boys, I took a photo
of his hanging plant shelve.  It's pretty cool.
He's a pretty cool boy.

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

(NO)Dead Ends

It was one of those days.
The hard kind when my deep pleading prayers don't feel like
they are getting any answers, and personal revelation is silent.
There are deadlines relentlessly pounding at the door, and peace 
seems entirely out of reach.
I question all the decisions and the pathways that got me to where I am
today, wondering if they were the right ones
and if they will help me and my family move forward and progress.
Did we turn the wrong way?
Are we at a dead end?
Somedays, I question.
I don't question the Lord and His power and miracles.
I've seen too many of those in my life to wonder.
I know He's capable of anything and everything.
But I wonder if I've used up too many of the miracles,
and he's tired of me asking and pleading.

Claire shared with me a story from Elder Holland:
"He expects us to pray and trust and be believing,
and not give up, and not panic, and not retreat, and not jump ship,
when something doesn't seem to be going just right.
We stay in, we keep working, we keep believing, keep trusting,
following that same path, and we will live to fall in His arms
and feel His embrace and hear Him say, 
"I told you that it'd be okay.
I told you it would be alright."
Those words touched me, 
tomorrow is another day, and I'll wake up like I do every morning,
but I can have peace knowing that He'll NEVER abandon me.
Or my family.
He will never give up on us.
I need to be still and wait.
When we make decisions, God expects us to pray and 
then trust Him—not give up, panic, or “jump ship.”

With God, there are no dead ends.

This evening, Christian and I drove around town with the
windows down in silence.
It was good silence.
Thinking silence.
We drove to a spot we like to visit because we have a dream
at this spot, and we like to talk about it as if it were happening.
And at the end of the day, I pulled out a delicious
can of COCONUT DR. PEPPER (it's amazing),
and saw a message on my phone that Jane had sent me
 that we are officially halfway to Halloween.
The Lord knows I love both of those things and maybe that's my
sign that He loves me and that He knows our situation.
Maybe He's telling me it's ok.

Yes, it's going to be ok.

Monday, May 06, 2024

There's A Snake In The Hytte

It happened after lunch...
I went to the Hytte to gather our ladies' eggs.
However, when I put my head inside the hutch this time, I didn't see eggs.
Instead, I saw something black.
And for some reason (habit), I put my hand inside to gather the eggs
As soon as I realized that what I was feeling was not eggs, 
my hand was already inside, feeling around.
Did you hear me?  
I screamed, slammed the Hytte hatch shut, and fell to my knees,
gathering strength to run away.
I mean, I was dead.
I'm sorry if I sound dramatic, but the thought of my hand inside
 TOUCHING the snake was 
playing and replaying in my head over and over and over again.
It was like a bad dream.
Christian came outside with his welding gloves
and gun and took care of the snake, who,

RIP: me

Sunday, May 05, 2024

Cinco de Mayo Sunday

Every year on Cinco de Mayo, I make my signature Mexican Chocolate Cake, 
and we usually eat out for Mexican food.
  This year, Cinco de Mayo happened to fall on a Sunday, so 
we stayed home to eat, and unfortunately
 I forgot to check my pantry on Saturday to ensure that
 I had all the necessary ingredients for making the cake and the dinner.
And sadly, when it was time to make the cake, 
I couldn't make the delicious frosting for the top.
The reality is that I was the only one who cared since
 I'm the only frosting fan in the family.
But EVERYONE cared that we only had six tortillas for burritos.

Plus, to make it even more disappointing, 
 it was Fast Sunday, which meant that we were all
super hungry!
On a spiritual side note:
Our family fasted together with one purpose for a
very significant and sensitive thing.
We believe in miracles and God's power.
We have faith in His timing and will.
And sometimes IT IS SO HARD to be still and wait.
After dinner, we took a walk in the fields, checked on the cows,
and watched as the sun lowered and the humidity took over the fields.
Jane and Christian walked through the fields with Angus
who jumped around the tall grass like a little puppy.
The rest of us (who were not wearing boots) did not.
It's tick season.  
That would be a death wish.

Saturday, May 04, 2024

Chicken Festival

Each year, our town of Siler City holds a "Chicken Festival." 
hosted by Mountaire Farms.
Mountaire Farms has a huge chicken plant downtown Siler, and this festival brings
out just about everyone for a fun Southern small-town gathering.
Christian jumped on this opportunity and got a booth to represent
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and
along with the full-time missionaries serving in the area, 
we distributed otter pops and copies of The Book of Mormon.
We provided information about who we are and 
where we meet for our Sunday services.
I helped Christian come up with and create ideas for 
 giant posters for the missionaries to hold 
to introduce our faith...kind of a 'Meet the Mormons' type feel.
On one poster, we added scriptures and asked people to decide if it came from 
The Book of Mormon or the Bible.
We also compiled a list of the top 20 questions that people search 
on Google about Mormons like, are Mormons Christian (YES), 
and do Mormon men have more than one wife (NO!).
It was a great way to mostly dispel some weird stuff people
think about members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The missionaries were so fearless and adorable, 
and I got a huge lump in my throat the whole time thinking about
my missionary, my Elder Nielson.
 Man, I miss that boy!
He'd be fearless, too.
The best part of the festival was when our missionaries got to perform 
with up-and-coming Jordan Pickett, a home-grown country star.
Jordan wrote a beautiful song called Faith, Hope, & Love.
It was a perfect song to sing with our faithful, God-loving missionaries!
Last month, Christian messaged Jordan on every social media platform he had 
to see if he would be willing to sing a song with the missionaries. 

He was so cool and said yes.
They practiced at our church and really nailed the performance!

You can watch the performance HERE.

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