Friday, September 28, 2007

Let's Sing!

This morning, we arrived at the Carmi High School and were kindly escorted to the choir classroom by members of the "Singing Six," a select chorale of young ladies we had previously heard at a recent area family fellowship.
After brief introductions, our family proceeded to sing a variety of patriotic, barbershop, spiritual, gospel, and even a few Christmas songs. We had been asked by the teacher, Mrs. Hyla Lamp to sing for the group of 47 students as they were learning a few a capella numbers. Since we enjoy singing a capella music, she thought it would be appropriate for our family to share some of our music with her class, as well as a little history of ourselves and our adventures in singing.
They were a very gracious and attentive class and laughed and participated in what we offered. We did some "doo-wop" improvisational music that everyone was able to join in, picking out harmonic parts as well as vocal percussion. What fun!
We were encouraged to hear one of the spiritual songs that they are working on. Keep up the great work guys! It sounds wonderful! A capella can be such fun!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fall Family Camp 2007

What a wonderful weekend full of worship, fun, and fellowship. Family Camp is a growing event at Dale Christian church. We had the largest attendance yet this year, with around five families staying to camp and many more who attended the numerous activities.

Saturday evening began with a workshop led by Chris that strengthened our hearts. He did an excellent job of teaching on the importance of fellowship within the church body.
The next activity was the yearly apple bobbing tournament. Amanda was last year's reigning champion. She watched and waited until the rest of the bobbers were narrowed down one by one. The judges had a difficult time deciding who to eliminate as both old and young alike took their places at the washtub filled with swirling apples.

After one by one were set down, the competition became one of sister against sister! Amanda and Rachel were to fight the battle- best two out of three.

. . . And our champion is. . . .

. . . Amanda!

While the bobbing went on, the fire had burned down to coals, making it perfect to roast our hot dogs.

Following supper, we started our annual marshmallow stuffing contest.

One by one, marshmallows are stuffed into the contestant's mouth until they can hold no more! Jerry, last year's reigning champion, was defeated this year by William who used an unusual stuffing method which turned him into a sticky mess!

After we cleaned our faces, it was time to re-focus for the campfire devotion and singing, followed by campfire stories.After a good night's sleep, we began the morning with a Prayer Walk. It was a spiritually uplifting time.

Our morning worship time was followed by dinner and fellowship. An exciting treasure hunt was soon to follow. Two ladies from the past visited us as we helped them find their great-great grandpapa's hidden treasure.

They reminded us that our real treasure is the found in the Word of God.

Bill planned the games that followed. They were such fun!

The evening concluded with our quarterly fellowship meal and worship service.

What a wonderful weekend of Family Camp spent with our Christian family!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Hat-Hungry Equine

Wednesday, Trey's time was well spent bush-hogging our south pasture and around the edges of a couple of fields where electric fence would soon be put up. The field looked beautiful after it was mowed; clean and fresh- kind of like a good haircut. Trey hung his hat on a fence post while he completed the job at hand.

In the meantime, Rachel gathered Sumac berries to make Sumac Lemonade. Buddy, our miniature jack decided he wanted to help pick berries as well!It tasted refreshing to have a "wild" drink as the day was very hot!

Molly and Polly, both standard size jennets, decided that since we were going to have a treat, they wanted one too! Theirs was not a beverage of sorts, but rather a pile of straw sitting atop a fence post! Trey's hat looked like a tasty treat!

They totally destroyed his hat in an attempt to get what nourishment they thought there was in the straw! Donkeys are so funny!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Shannon Hayes Benefit

Sunday morning, we prepared ourselves for our singing engagement that afternoon at Gunion Christian church. It was to be a benefit for Shannon Hayes, the young mother of three children, who is battling cancer. The program included our family as well as the Preacher's Quartet, good Christian friends of ours.

Amanda awoke with her face contorted and swollen due to the honey-bee sting the evening before. Since she ignored the stinger that was lodged in the end of her nose, there was considerable swelling. Just the evening before, she had said that the only thing she DID NOT want to happen was to get stung in the face since we were to sing the next afternoon! She had to laugh at the irony of it all. She was a real trooper, and went to church and then attended the benefit. She had a lot of people praying for her swelling to decrease. Needless to say, she wore her hair somewhat covering the right side of her face (to spare the audience from her contorted appearance.) It was one of those "memorable" days that won't quickly be forgotten.

The Preacher's Quartet did a fantastic job of drawing our hearts near to the Lord.

The attentive audience was very gracious and over $1900 was raised for Shannon and her medical bills!

We are continuing to keep her in our prayers. God is almighty!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Harvest Time

Saturday the sun was shining bright, yet the weather was nice and cool- perfect for our harvesting day!
After breakfast was over and daily chores were finished, we headed to the barnyard to butcher thirteen roosters who had grown to fryer size. They were waiting nicely in our "chicken tractors."

The dirty deed being done, we plucked the roosters and finished the process, finally cooling them off in ice cold water, before storing them in the freezer.

While Rachel and Rhonda finished cleaning and cutting the chickens into fryer pieces, Mark and Amanda, our resident bee keepers, started to harvest the honey that the bees had stored all summer. Mark donned his bee suit and they set off. With only two active hives, and without a centrifuge, they scraped the comb and honey from the frames rather than uncapping and spinning it.

All went well except for two stings received by Amanda- one on the end of her nose and one on her ear. Concentrating on scraping the last two frames, she didn't think about removing the stinger. Needless to say, her face swelled considerably. When stung, always remember to remove the stinger as quickly as possible.

Sadly this year was dry, so we harvested only a little over a gallon of honey. Hopefully next year's weather will cooperate more so that the bees can have lots of flowers to visit. Home-grown honey tastes so good! Maybe this winter we will enjoy a little cornbread, butter, and honey! Yum! Yum!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Birthday Visitor!

Providence Prairie welcomed a young man on August 31, who was celebrating his first birthday! Riley, his mom Tina, and his grandma Terry all came to tour Providence Prairie to celebrate his birthday. The barnyard was alive waiting to welcome their visitor!

Happy Birthday Riley!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Work and Play

Saturday was filled with many activities and lots of work. In the morning after our hearty breakfast, Trey left the farmstead early to travel north to the Centralia area to tune three pianos. Dishes being cleaned up, and chili started for the homeschool meeting we were going to later that evening, Mark and Amanda headed out to clean up some old unused electric fence.
It was in their plans to move Dolly and Rio, using the fence they cleaned up to extend her fence. Fresh grass was soon added to her menu. She enjoyed munching as Rio ran as fast as his little legs could carry him to the delight of all. Maggie was enjoying herself as she watched everything from a distance. She is a good dog, helping round up the sheep and protect the animals.

The pigs are growing quickly. The little one has grown so much since she first arrived at Providence Prairie. They thoroughly enjoy the slop they receive every morning, making themselves such a mess!

We are drying off Cinnamon and Buttermilk, as their bellies are growing and they need a rest from milking before having babies. Buttermilk let us know just what she thought of that!

Saturday evening, we traversed north to Piopolis to the Tennyson's home for the annual Fall Homeschool Meeting. We had 51 in attendance! After the chili supper and presentations by several of the children, we played music and sang while the rain poured down outside. A good time was had by all.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Storms are A'Brewin'

The weather has cooled off by several degrees today. Although the humidity is still rather high, you can tell that fall is on its way. Arriving soon will be cool, crisp days, yet still full of warm sunshine as the leaves change into brilliant colors!

Trey finished the chicken house yesterday. It is complete from gates and ramps to gutters and doors. All in all, it is a work well done. The rabbitry on the front houses some of our New Zealand breedstock.

Adorning the outside of the building, is a rustic sign that Rachel painted advertising our "Farm Fresh Eggs."

The Rhode Island Reds are enjoying the garden. We opened the area up so that they could run in and scratch to their heart's content. The bugs and insects are running for cover- much to no avail!

Trey and Mark worked on the Ford 8N this evening, overhauling the hydraulic system.

They were enjoying a moment in mechanics together as they contemplated the next move to make.

The clouds began to build as we proceeded with the evening farm chores. We have had several light rains off and on for a few days, but this storm that was a'brewin' looked like it would last for a while. It is yet to get here, but it is on its way.

The sun outlined the storm clouds in the west with pure gold. It truly was a sight to behold!

Gracing the sky in the east, we beheld a small rainbow, reminding us of God's promise to never flood the earth again! What a wonderful way to end our day.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Pitter-Patter From Under the New Porch

It was such a joy to sit beneath our porch this afternoon and read a book while the rain poured all around.

Over the last couple of weeks, we busily worked on the new porch addition to the cabin. Roofing the porch was part of the job too and we kept ourselves quite busy getting that finished. It was hard, hot, backbreaking work, but the completed project was worth every minute that we toiled. Rhonda cut shingle sets, while those on the roof divided into shingling teams. Amanda handed shingles to Mark while Rachel handed to Trey. After several mornings and evenings of work, the roofing project was complete and very satisfying. We have the ceiling yet to install and trim work to complete, as well as siding on the cabin, but the project is well under way.

It is so gratifying to know that in future downpours that come to Providence Prairie, we can stay dry sitting outside, watching the rain fall, listening to the pitter-patter from under the new porch roof!

King of the Haystack

Southern Illinois has a hay shortage this year due to the drought, so we decided to get our dibs in early and purchase some hay to feed the animals over winter. It was a hot, hard job unloading all the hay, but was well worth the labor.

The goats and sheep were excited to nibble on the hay through the fence and did a thorough job of getting in the way. Hot and sticky, we retired to the house, knowing our animals would be well fed this winter.