Planting Trees

It’s been a tough a year for trees around here.

We lost one in a storm last fall; then 5 more to nasty pine beetles.

Now that Jan and the boys have finally gotten them cleaned up – it was time to replant.

tree stumps

Since we lost a total of six trees, we ordered 500 trees to replace them.

Yes – 500. That is not a typo.

I was half asleep the night Jan placed the order.

I vaguely remember the conversation.

Jan – How about white oaks.

Me – I like oaks.

Jan – How about red oaks?

Me – I like oaks. (yawn)

Jan – How about pin oaks?

Me – I like (massive yawn) oaks.

I must have been asleep when he asked about the chestnuts and hazel nuts.

I was, however, wide awake when the UPS man started delivering trees – hundreds of trees.

And by trees I mean short twigs with long roots.

My heart sunk as I thought of the time and work it would take to plant those things. We’re talking days, weeks, even months, to get 500 trees in the ground!

But I didn’t need to worry – they make a machine for that.
DSC_0040

A handy-dandy tree planting wonder.

And – our county owns one.

And – we could use it for free.

And it was available right then.

Would you believe that in less than 6 hours Jan and Pedro had all 500 trees in the ground?
DSC_0043All of them.

We now have a hard wood windbreak started to replace the rotting silver maples on the north, and east. We have some beautiful oaks planted around the ravines to add some fall color.

And we planted several oaks in the yard, because they’re my favorite.

And because we need a new swing tree – although it will be many years before these twigs will support a swing! But that’s okay – there’s something hopeful about planting  a tree.

Grow little twigs! Grow!

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” ~Martin Luther

 

 

Sowing Seeds

I’ve been sowing seeds this week.

Hundreds of seeds.

Seed

Tiny little bits of black, white, or brown.

Tomato, pepper, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage.

The first of thousands of seeds that I will sow this season – beans, corn, radishes, lettuce, kale….the list goes on and on.

Not every seed will grow.

Seed flats

Of the ones that do – not every one will produce.

Some will be eaten by varmints, ravished by bugs or destroyed by weather.

But still I sow, knowing that some will grow and flourish and bear much fruit.

I sow in faith, believing that in these tiny seeds there is a potential for an abundant harvest.

Tomatos

These aren’t the only seeds we sow in life.

Everyday I have the opportunity to sow seeds of kindness, of love, of grace. Seeds that could have eternal impact. Seeds that could change lives. Seeds that could bring the gospel to hurt and needy people.

Not every seed will sprout.

Not every seed will grow.

But still – I must sow knowing that some will grow and flourish and bear much fruit.

And I must have faith, believing that in each seed of kindness, each seed of love, each seed of grace, there is a potential for an abundant harvest.

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

The Merry Month of May?

This is one momma who will be very glad to turn the calendar page to June.

We knew May was going to be a humdinger – and it was.

Why? Just take a look at the numbers:

Fifteen days away from home.

Three different states – on eight different trips.

Over 2500 miles driven.

Don’t even ask how much we spent on gas.

Four days with Matt home. (Too short!)

One wedding.

One graduation.

One family reunion.

Two nieces and two nephews in a play.

Numerous hugs.

Many laughs.

A few tears.

Two home school conferences.

Two snowstorms.

Too many thunderstorms.

50 some broilers.

One huge bull calf that needed to be pulled and then – after we heroically saved his life – he died anyway.

Two huge gardens planted, including 40 some tomato plants.

Four broken lawnmowers and one really overgrown lawn.

Whew.

We made it.

We started the month in winter and ended it in summer. I guess spring happened at some point, but I think I missed it.

I’d say we filled this month with just about as much as we could! And it was all good.

Now it’s time to move on.

But first – a very long nap.

Chicken Rodeo

We knew that we had the potential for severe weather when we left for my niece’s graduation party yesterday. But we went anyway. Because that’s what you do when you have an amazing niece who does an awesome job and graduates and has a party and invites you. 🙂

We drove the four hours to the party in overcast skies and light rain. All afternoon at the party it was overcast and rainy.  It wasn’t until we were almost half-way home that the clouds started to look a little more ominous.

As we drove through some pretty heavy rain, Jan had me try to find some weather information on the radio.

Oh dear. There was a line of strong storms stretching across the state at an angle. Strong winds. Heavy rain. Hail. Even tornadoes.

We drove a little faster, ahead of the storm momentarily, but we could see it – massive clouds churning and moving.

An hour from home we start worrying about the chickens – 50 some broilers and a few layers that were in an outside pen. They had protection from the rain – but strong winds would destroy their pen in a matter of seconds.

We  drove even faster, watching the clouds darken, all the while formulating our plan to get those birds into safety before the storm hit.

As soon as we pulled into the yard – everyone would exit the van running. We would then all grab our boots and gloves and head to the chicken pen.

Buddy would grab the chicken tubs, Pedro and Jan the portable pens. Then Angel Girl and I would catch chickens, put them in the tubs and the guys would carry them to the pens in coop.

Great plan! We can do this!

As we drove down the gravel road I suddenly remembered that I was wearing my “Sunday best” clothes and would soon be wrangling chickens in a pen full of wet chicken droppings. This is not a good thing.

I removed all my jewelry and revised my plan to include a stop in the basement for a pair of coveralls.

Jan pulled in the driveway – with the clouds hanging overhead. He and the kids race towards the house. I  race, too, but a little slower as I realize that I’ve been in the car for 4 hours and really need to save my bladder before I can save even one chicken.

I’m just leaving the bathroom as the kids are already heading outside. Then – in a massive dash to catch up – I run to the basement and grab the first pair of coveralls I can find – a bright blue pair of my dad’s that say Jim on the pocket.

As I squeeze into them – I notice that one knee is out and material is a little thin. But there’s no time to change. I grab the only pair of boots I can find – and of course they haven’t been worn for some time and are covered with dust and spider webs. I can only imagine what’s inside each one.

It’s then that I remember that I’m barefoot – having worn sandals all day. But there is no time to be squeamish, I turn the boots upside down and shake them out – just praying that any spiders that may be inside are dead. Then push my bare feet into the boots, shuddering as I hear crunching.

I grab a pair of gloves – mismatched of course – and rush out to save the day.

To their credit, none of my children laughed (much) as I showed up in the chicken pen, bent over to grab a chicken and promptly ripped out the entire backside of the coveralls.

But I kept working – everybody did – and we saved all fifty some broilers and the handful of skittish layers as it started to drizzle.

There went my hair. So I’m wearing bright blue coveralls with a ripped out backside and Jim on the pocket,  rubber chore boots full of dead bug parts and a pair of mismatched gloves and now I have Bozo the clown hair.

But at least we saved the chickens.

And I got a blog post.

I hope you at least got a chuckle out of it. 🙂

Catch Up

Have you ever had a week where things just kept piling up?

You just get started on one thing – when something else hits you. Boom.

That was last week.Matt's home

Some of the things were wonderful – like Matt coming home!

And a brother/sisters coffee date.

And a brother road trip to see Iron Man 3 in 3 D.

And my niece’s beautiful wedding. (I cried!)

And seeing family again.

And hearing all the news.

And finding some great deals while thrift shopping.

And absolutely gorgeous temperatures on Monday and Tuesday.

And an amazing date night with my wonderful husband to hear Andrew Peterson in concert!

But there was also the not so wonderful parts.

DSC_0008Like the snow.

Lots of snow.

In May.

And chasing cows off the road because a limb knocked down the fence.

And mud.

Lots of mud.

And another broken burner on my stove.

And late nights and early mornings.

And dropping my son off at the airport and watching him fly away. Again.

Deep sigh.

Today is a day to dig out from last week.

To finally finish up all the things that got suspended in the busyness of life.

To wash the piles of laundry.

Replace the stove.

Repot the poor seedlings who are anxious to be in the ground.

And slow down for a few minutes to savor it all.

To take a deep breath and be thankful.