Monday, March 2, 2015

5 Words That Can Change Your Life

Come on in where it's warm for a nice visit. See what the Colvin family has been up to in the past month. Can you think of the " 5 Words That Can Change Your Life"?

The sun rises on another snowy day.
This picture shows the collapsed greenhouse.
A snowy welcome to the farmhouse! I'm glad you've come over for a visit. Frankly, I could use a good visit. We've been snowed in for almost a week now. I'm thankful for my warm home, plenty of good conversation, and a slower pace....but it would be nice to visit with someone from "the outside world"...ha ha.

******Before I got to a second paragraph in this post, another snowstorm set in! *******

 I've enjoyed hikes lately in the woods seeing how God so gracefully decorates His creation...nothing is the same from storm to storm this
winter! We've had snow, we've had rain, we've had frosts as thick as snow, we've had ice sandwiched in between snows, and we've had more snow...I know there are many that hate it, but I LOVE it! I marvel in the way snow clings to the pines that bend with its added weight...The artistry of snow clinging to last summer's Queen Anne's lace, or Sumac reassures me how God can bring something beautiful out of the "storms" in my life.

During my walk I stopped midway alongside our curved driveway beside our snowy fields,
and reflected on how BRILLIANTLY WHITE the muddy field looked! My heart, so "muddied" with sin has been "washed and is whiter than snow". It amazes me! I'm also thankful for the fresh, clean look of my world in the middle of a bleak winter. God is good to slow us all down to see the work of his hands!

As I continue on my hike I feel alone...only a single car track has
passed out of the farm as I head down our farm road. As I pass the hogs I can see that they too have taken on a different look in the whiteness of the woods. They usually run from me, but today, they welcomed a visit! (A friend at church said they're scared of me because I see bacon and chops instead of pigs!)

The children have been working in the workshop with their Daddy, the Farmer and have all made sleds. Once they finally make it to the
hill we all realized the snow is too deep for good sledding. Instead they gathered snow for their sister and brother-in-law to make snow cream with! Cold from their tumbles in the deep snow they enjoyed a bowl of more snowy goodness. What memories!

Finally I headed home through the woods, leaving the laughter and
children behind. To me, God seems nearer in the woods. The silent path wound around the hog lot and almost seemed like an arbor as the snow clung to the smaller trees lining the pathway, and bent gracefully over my head.

As I come up on the greenhouses my home looks strangely different through the snow laden limbs of the trees. Home's more than just a structure. It's where hearts grow...where we make memories...and where we struggle against ourselves to become what God has planned for our best. Home...

I know the feelings also of home being a place of heartache and struggle. There have been seasons in our family where the storms of life do not whisper, "Peace" like my walk in the woods today. But God has given me 5 Words That Have Changed my Life.... "This thing is from Me." Insert your current heartache and struggle into the  place of "thing"...This temptation...This relationship problem...This struggle with a child...This financial crunch...This job loss. 

Whenever the Spirit whispers to me that my current heartache is from Him it gives a whole new perspective to my hurt. It becomes my current lesson straight from my Master's hand! I'm in His school to become stronger, more able, and more like Him! I'm learning to thank Him at the outset for my situation, and for the lessons and provision He will give me. Then I set out to look for Him in the conflict...whether it be how He's going to pay a bill, or how He wants me to respond to an emotional teenager, or what lessons He has me to learn about myself in the midst of the "storm".

Seasons of life do change...though be it slowly for some of us.  I've
had 31 years of not being alone on my woodland walks. 31 years of wearing a baby, little feet scurrying to and fro, and the frosty air being filled with cries of delight or cries of discomfort. (This season of being a mother held different blessings in the woods than I experience now.) What a blessing it has been for me this year to hear God in the woods.

The winter weather has slowed the building of Adam and Caleb's new houses. BOTH boys need a house built before their weddings!
Adam and Allison
Adam has 19 days until his wedding, and is feeling the time crunch! Caleb's wedding is in 39 days. He too is still in the middle of building....his building is mixed with raising hogs,                             mushrooms, and filling                    
                                                  the brooder with 320 chicks that we'll raise for our meat CSA and sales. THERE IS SOOOOO MUCH TO BE DONE! Please pray that the men's efforts will be blessed with much work in many areas! We know that the crunch feeling getting prepared for the weddings is another "This thing is from me!", and we're learning how to "press towards the mark" as a family.

Caleb started growing mushrooms for the farm
this winter. It's all new for us!

Getting ready to harvest.
We sell the mushrooms at winter farmer's markets. Visit Oak Ridge Farmer's Market and
Market Squares Winter Market this weekend!

Charity is my little helper drying the leftover
mushrooms. We then package them for sales.
They are SUPER to have on hand in your pantry to throw into soups and stews!

We began the footer for Adam's
house the first week of January...

Farmer Steve trained all his boys while
they worked. The two younger boys had never helped with a house building project, so there's a lot to teach.

One day the men were blessed when
friends from church come to help!
What a blessing of encouragement!!

Adam and Noah hold up a homemade
roof truss to see what it looks like.

As of today when I'm posting this the men
are putting the last half of the forest green
metal roof on Adam's house.
(Sorry, Caleb takes pictures of hogs, chicks, and mushrooms...not his house!)

 As you can probably tell our home school has taken a turn towards an eclectic mixture of a technical school, unschooling and unit studies depending on the child. Noah, (10th) Luke, (7th) and Levi (3rd) are all studying electricity and getting hands on training in wiring Adam's house along with making electro magnets, reading about inventors, working through the 4-H Electricity Projects books, and MORE along with their math and language arts work in the evening. When the weather allows lately they bundle up and spend the day drilling holes, pulling wires, and drawing electrical maps of the wiring at Adam's...or whatever is needed done.

On fair weather days Faith Anne (9th) is able to continue with her studies as usual with the added benefit of a quieter house with all the boys gone. We believe the core of our girl's studies should prepare them for their God-given role of being "keepers at home" Titus 2. This year after the academics, we've been concentrating on sewing. Faith used "You Can Sew" DVD instruction to relieve the pressure that has been building ...IT WORKED! Since finishing the curriculum last week she's sewn 3 A-Line dresses for work and church! With the DVDs she was able to listen to the patient instructions, follow the detailed demonstrations, and work at her own pace on her lessons. I was a cheer leader and "quality control inspector" instead of a discouraged instructor. NOW, we can go on! Tonight she stole down to my room at bedtime and showed me a nightgown she sewed all on her own! I love the glow on her face that reflects the excitement in her heart as the door to the world of sewing is opening for her.

I've also been delving into the mysterious world of fermented foods
more lately. We've spouted wheat for our new line of Sprouted Wheat Bread, This takes sprouting the wheat (2-3 days), then dehydrating the wheat (1 day), next grinding the wheat, and finally making the bread! Whew! What a process! It is far more healthful though for those who are wheat sensitive. The sprouting process predigests
the wheat protein that so many people are growing intolerant to. So, with non-GMO wheat that is sprouted, whole wheat bread should be a welcome addition to everyone's diets! I'm thrilled as I've been on a glutton free diet since last summer.

We've also spouted wheat for a "raw" (baked at 200 degrees which makes it technically "not raw" ) 100% sprouted wheat rolls and sandwich buns from wet ground sprouted wheat. It is made with only 2 ingredients...sprouted wheat and sea salt. The humble wheat berry exploded into a SUPER FOOD and has found it's rightful place in our diet.

"Raw" sprouted wheat bread formed into dinner rolls and "sub" buns.

A sweet shareholder friend has finally nudged me into the realm of sour dough bread. I am definitely not a success in making sour dough bread YET, but I'm trying desperately. I want to model to my girls that when things are difficult to learn, we don't give up! ("This too is from Me!")  So, we've fed the hogs 6 loaves of dough that never made it to the oven, and the cats are enjoying 5 loaves that were marginally eatable when we ran out of cat food during the storms. I'm still learning! 

The final experiment of the month was making Kefir. Why has it
taken me so long to try this?! I was offered kefir grains 2 years ago, and I've put off the idea of trying it all this time! Mitzi Miller, one of our first shareholders, gave me a small jar of Kefir with grains in it a couple of weeks ago. (They look like a white gelatin mass.) Still I hesitated and it sat in my frig. Finally I took the jar out and tried it. IT COULDN'T BE EASIER!!!

 With Kefir there is no heating milk like with yogurt, no wondering if it will thicken, and no disappointing batches! We simply put the grains into a clean mason jar, fill with milk, cover it with a clean cloth, then set it on the counter for a couple of days out of direct sunlight. It's fun to watch!! Tonight we enjoyed blueberry smoothies made with kefir and everyone was delighted! It's even good plain as it's not real tart after a couple of days on the counter like some of our yogurt gets. I'm excited and want to send another big, THANK YOU Mitzi's way!

So you can see the Colvin family is learning in many different areas. Each lesson is from God's hand...designed just for us! ...from mushroom growing, how to control emotions when they storm out of control, how to put a metal roof on a house, how to function after a head injury, sewing, fermenting, baking, algebra, electrical installation, and MUCH, MUCH MORE! Not every lesson is comfortable, and all our children need to learn will come from a textbook. Most lessons in life will NOT come this way....they'll come from seeing what needs to be done, and then learning how to DO it. We're in God's "school" and each lesson in His curricula is personalized!

Always remember...

"This thing is from me..."

Abundant Blessings from Our Home
to Yours,
The Farmer's Wife

"When God wants to make a man, He puts them into some storm. No man is made until he has been out in the surge of the storm and found the sublime fulfillment of the prayer: "O God, take me, break me, make me."

It's time to buy your share!
Visit our website to read about this year's vegetable and meat CSA shares! We need your partnership!Reserve your share now before they're all gone!

The Past Month or So With the Colvins

February's family lesson.

The greenhouses after the first storm. The greenhouse on the left collapsed later after snow and ice built up on the roof...then a high wind took the whole thing down. 

We heat our house with wood, here the Farmer
is feeding our outdoor furnace with wood that Titus (18) has cut and stacked for our use.

While the snows blow outside, inside the greenhouse it looks like spring!

Charity turned 7 on
Valentines Day!

Our family tradition is for
the birthday child to bake their cake
with Momma...until they outgrow me.
Then they're on their own!

Levi gifted Charity with lots of
cooking utensils at the breakfast table.
He could hardly wait to join in on the fun!

He's not the only one who wanted
to help...but Isaac (20) only wanted to lick the spoons
and bowls!  

Charity used her new decorator tips
to ice her Whoopee Pie Cupcakes.

Everyone joined in on the fun that night
as the family gathered for a special birthday
supper. Here Hope is trying to serve the family
when a blow type noise maker got shot in her
face! That was only the beginning of a LOUD 5 minutes until I said, "Enough!" 

We've never had party hats and noise makers before~so before we lost our last chance the Farmer and Charity ordered some for her party. How fun!

Our oldest grandson, Samuel finally warmed up
to wearing his party hat, and still is playing with his noise maker a couple of weeks later. (I had all ours "disappear". ha ha!)

Charity Rose Colvin
~7 years old~

We ended up with a cooking theme
for her presents this year. Here she
unwrapped a child's first

I know the picture is bad, but I wanted to capture my boys/men playing fuse ball together.  After several days inside, the house was rocking with their laughter while playing.
It won't be long until my house seams oddly silent...

We recently had a wedding shower for Allison.  The theme? "The Farmer Takes a Wife" after the old child's song, "The Farmer in the Dell.
Here from left to right: Faith Anne (14) Val, The Farmer's Wife, Allison, Hope (26) and front: Charity Rose (6)

The pictures are bad, but we created an
old farmhouse look with antiques and old quilts.

Mason jars with red napkins and silverware
with a collection of kitchen antiques in the center.

Look what was found budding through the melting snow! Spring is on it's day
before Adam and Allison's wedding!