Friday, June 26, 2015

What's in Your Hands?

"What's in  your hand" this week? What do you mean? Come for a virtual visit in the farmhouse to see what I mean...and how God answered my prayer! I'm the Farmer's Wife, Mamma to 13 children & 3 Grandblessings!

The men have lots of tiny transplants "in their hands" this week. 

Sometimes I have a desire for something that seems to be "just what I need"! This spring I've had this feeling. I wanted new curtain fabric, new paint on the walls of my farmhouse dining room, and just a finished look!

Years ago when I was pining away in prayer for a
farm to raise our family on, God asked me, "What's in  your hand?" At first, I was stunned. I just sat there and looked at my pen as I wrote in my journal that morning. He wanted me to look past the pen of course, and see all He had put into my hands to work with all ready. No, He hadn't given me a farm yet, but He had given me a one acre "homestead" to farm on.

That was the beginning of a journey for me. In the quiet of my living room I left my discontentment at His feet, and began to look anew at all He had blessed me with to serve Him and my family.

With this fresh perspective I learned new methods of gardening, the postage stamp garden I had with the children. We also built raised beds on the solid rock in our yard to increase  the amount of vegetables we could grow.

Our oldest son Matthew (now 31) began to raise bees
for honey, and Adam (24, was about 6 at the time) began to raise a small patch of strawberries. We planted pear and apple trees...We raised 4-H chickens...and the list could go on! All this was done on one acre with 9 children to help!

It was about the time when Farmer Steve began to research digging a pond to raise catfish that the Lord seemed to say, "That's enough!" It was then when we were busily content with "what was in our hand" that the Lord Jesus Christ gave us our farm...40 times what we had on our "homestead" debt free!

This lesson of "What's in your hand?" has been
learned time and time again in all areas of our lives. My most recent lesson was in the seemingly insignificant area of decorating my home. 

We've lived in our farmhouse now for almost 10 years, after 5 years of living in a small, old mountain "cabin". We've been focusing on fields, vegetables, livestock, and of course children for so long, that my desire for finishing our home seemed impossible. But now I "needed" to make the inside of our home reflect me...and be finished. I'm definitely NOT a decorator, but my God is, and He once again whispered, "What's in your hands?"

What's in your hands this week? "My share", you

say? "Vegetables from the farmer's market.", another may say. A few will say, "There's a ton of lettuce in garden ready to bolt!" Well, that's what's in your hand...will you be faithful to use it? Or will you miss the opportunity, and feel the guilt of throwing away your hard-earned purchases?

When I peered into my fridge this week there was an abundance of greens (as usual in the spring)! Here's a great way to use Swiss chard or spinach this week. It's real easy and quick. You can use your favorite pie crust or simply grease the pan, and make a crust-less quiche!

Spring Greens Quiche

7 eggs
1 C. Mozzarella Cheese
1 C. Cottage Cheese
1 1/2 C. milk or half & half
salt & pepper to taste
1 lb. Spinach or Swiss Chard, lightly sauteed and drained
2 Pie Crusts, pre-cooked (optional)
Optional: leftover ham or bacon diced small

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bender. Arrange vegetables and meat on the bottom of a well greased pan or pie crust.  Pour the contents of the blender over the vegetable mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees until a knife inserted comes out clean. Let set 5 minutes before serving. 

This theme of "using what's in your hands" has been "haunting" my thoughts this week as I plan my meals. I knew clearly that this is what the Lord wanted me to write about! 

I have a "formula" recipe that helps me be a wise steward of leftover or small amounts of food. We call it "Whatever Casserole", but I'm renaming it as of now...

"What's in Your Hand Casserole"

2 C. Meat: leftover ham, tuna, chicken, hamburger, or bits of Sunday's roast!
4 C. Starch: boiled potatoes, rice, cooked noodles, Quiona, beans, etc.
2-4 C. Sauce:  Most folks use Cream of...Soups, I use a white sauce with mushrooms or herbs in it, cheese sauce, tomato sauce, gravy, etc. 

Layer the three categories into a greased  9X12" pan.  Layer the meat, starch, and sauce. Top with bread or cracker crumbs, or your favorite raw biscuits. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve bubbly hot with a fresh salad or other seasonal vegetable.

Here's what my casserole looked like this week. My bottom layer was rice, next leftover roast pieces (not enough to feed the whole family, but enough to say there's meat in this dish :) The next layer was leftover green beans, sauteed onion, and carrots. Now I had a use for the leftover gravy as it became my sauce. Really, it looked like a deconstructed Yankee Pot Roast Sunday dinner! 

Summer vegetables are now beginning to mature! Squash recipes to come.
Search this website for past recipes this week.

I've used broccoli and chicken with noodles and cheese sauce, Quinoa with pepperoni, onions, peppers, and pizza sauce, and the list could go on. This simple "formula" has been handy when God whispers, "What's in your hand"?

Back in the farmhouse this week I've taken some time to see "what was in my hand" as I went about my day in regards to giving my home the finished look without major outlay of funds. I had no real theme, unless old & odd things is a theme. My Saviour knew my needs...even the insignificant ones like this, and helped me to create this...

I know my style is a bit odd...

My Mamma gave me these tea towels, and I love the country feel of clothesline curtains.

All the little things that I gathered around my home I grouped together to give the dining room a touch of me!

What a joy to see what God did "put in my hand" come together and reflect His provision for me!

Have you ever thought about what's in God's hands? As I gaze upon Him in my heart, I see His love written on His hands. The nail prints there were for me despite my sin, even despite how He knew I'd fail Him after I was saved. This kind of love is humbling, and motivates me to obey Him and serve Him daily. 

There's a lot in our hands this time of year...seeds, transplants, share boxes to be filled, leftover vegetables from markets, and all that goes into family life! May God find us all faithful to use what He has placed in our hands this week! 

Early Wednesday morning before breakfast
the boys are busy packing shares for Chattanooga and Knoxville shareholders.

We gather 15 dozen eggs a day...
Gently hand washed and packaged for sale within 24-48 hours from gathering.

We've moved our flock of laying hens to their new permanent pasture.

When the new chicken coop was made
it was to be moved by our smallest tractor.
NOT! After the first rains it just sank deeper into the ground. We finally got it moved the end of last month to it's new pasture that will be divided out into paddocks for continual rotational grazing...a "controlled free range".

Moving a flock of over 300 hens can be quite a challenge IF they aren't in the chicken
coop when moved! Sometimes we just do things the hard way!

Our ducks are one year

"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present  you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever more. Amen."
Jude 1:24,25

Abundant Blessings,
The Farmer's Wife,

Farmer Steve