Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Gentle Chickens"

Today was the morning the 3 new roosters were allowed to begin their "free range". As you can see, they don't feel exactly "free" and under the building seems to be the place they feel safest. That is, until Ruger decided to check them out a bit closer. Since Ruger was young he was taught the word "gentle" (he had a stuffed "gentle bunny" that he was not allowed to tear up, just lapped it and got it all soaking wet). We hope that it will pertain to the chickens as well. At lunchtime Mom and I both gave him a good talking to about the "chickens", while his tail wagged. We told him that he needs to be "gentle" with "our chickens" and not eat them. He cocked his head back and forth at each of us. All I know is, while I held him by the collar this morning, talking to him, his whole body quivered. Yet, I have known farms with labs AND free range chickens.

Having already pulled a tick off each dog, we would really desire these guys to keep the ticks and other bugs cleaned up out in the dooryard. I do believe it will be a challenge with the garden and am already figuring ways to keep them out of my raised beds, at least until everything has come up out of the ground. They may become dinner sooner than we think, if my finished plans don't prove efficient enough.

In the early eighties, Syd and I had chickens and a husky named, Shimrith (Hebrew word meaning "watchful", which she WAS). Ocassionally one of the chickens would forget herself and step just inside Shimrith's circle. She would shoot out of her doghouse and come almost to the end of her chain. The chicken would be history. We tried hanging a dead hen around her neck for several days. She didn't seem to mind as much as we did. She never really did get over killing them. They just had to smarten up, which most of them did.

Coco did really well alone and loose in our house this morning. Sturm was in his kennel. Ruger was at work with me, still pining for his chickens, but content to run around and bark at the ducks in the pond. The little shop I work in is out in the country and dogs often come to work. It's a relaxed, happy atmosphere. My boss was here last week and surprised me with a new computer. I no longer have to go upstairs to get on the internet, which is necessary for communication while he's in SC for winters. This was a nice addition to my office! I have felt like I'm on vacation the last couple days, as I've skipped out on work and stayed home. It's been nice, but payroll necessitated my going in yesterday - people like to get paid, including me! so I worked until noon and then worked at a nearby post office from 2-5:00. These are dream jobs, and each are less than 7 miles from home! I am so thankful that the Lord opened them up for me.

 Here are the dogs at work, enjoying the pond

Here's Sturm at work; obviously it's a machine shop. He has to stay hooked in there so he doesn't get metal chips in his feet!

God is so good to us, isn't He!? Today we have had black, cloudy skies with showers; then sun and blue sky; more rain, with a little ice and snow mixed in. That is the way with the Christian life. God knows when to send us sunshine and warmth and He also knows when to send a storm our way to cause us to lean hard on Him and to strengthen our faith. There is always the possibility and sometimes a tendency for complaining, but we ought not to. The surprise hailstorms in Spring are sent for a reason. We can trust, smile and go on with Him.

Don't I look proud of myself!?
I wonder how many times I have had to fix Sturm's halter, shown here. I just hate to spend another $18.00 for a new one. I keep cutting a black, nylon leash and sew it together again! If we forget to take it off when we leave, he gets bored and chews through it.

Later today Mom and Evelyn came up for coffee & cookies. As you can see, Sturm especially has taken to Evelyn!

...and fell asleep on her. He and Coco were both enjoying a snooze while we chatted and watched a slideshow of photos.

Well, it's time to think about what we'll have for supper.  I will say goodbye for now. Thanks for stopping by Darling Hill to see what's going on up here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


"For we are laborers together with God; ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building." I Cor. 3:9

What a privilege, to be a co worker with God! In my Sunday School class I have been teaching the children from Matthew 11:28-30 where we are called to come, yoke up with, and learn of the Lord Jesus. He wants us to take His yoke upon us. This morning I was reading from the book of Acts, the account of Peter who was put in prison and was to be executed after the Passover. He was there in the prison, yoked up with his Lord Jesus Christ, knowing only that he was serving God. In Acts 12:6 it said that Peter was "sleeping between two soldiers" (what a picture of the peace of God) when the angel shined into the prison and smote him on the side. His chains fell off and he followed the angel out of that place!

I read a quote, "Beware of any work for God which enables you to evade concentration on Him". Peter didn't let "trial" take his eyes off his goal. His goal was God Himself. This quote, though, eludes to the fact that even a good work can take our affections off our Lord Jesus if our eyes are focused only upon ourself, our homemaking, our charities, jobs, volunteering, and even knowledge of the Scriptures, and witnessing (ouch!). This was a good reminder for me not to worship my work. The work does not depend upon me, but only upon He Who is my Co-laborer. I have to be absolutely devoted to coming to Him daily and letting Him be the lead Yoke-fellow. He already has the yoke, we need to "take" His yoke upon us.

As a newly married girl, God showed me a verse, "My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him." Ps 62:5. How often my eyes and heart have begun to stray from this. When we have asked God for some specific thing, and He has not provided it, or it has not come in our long are we to wait? I heard in a sermon once, ..."until". That is all. Just wait, and let Him be our expectation. Nothing that is withheld from us in this earthly life will be of any consequence when it comes to eternity.

Today I am reminded that this is the picture of a beautiful, simple life. I don't want Satan (that old serpent) to beguile me so that my mind would be "corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ". II Cor.11:3

It is April 23 and the snow is coming down hard; gathering in the low places and causing us on the hill to smile at the reminder of a winter that is passed. It is a Spring snow and will soon be gone again. I hope that you have a wonderful day between the raindrops and snowdrops, wherever you are. Thank you for stopping by.

Painted Trillium

Dogs and Roosters All Around

We seem to be in between rains this morning. The air is chilly, with 37 degree temperatures.  Coco stayed with me up at Mom's last night so that Syd's morning routine would be normal and he could get off to work by 5:30, as usual. This morning Coco played with Sturm & Ruger for a while then retreated back to her little place under the chair. She does this at times. I guess it's a good place to be alone.

As you can see, last night she'd been out, running with the dogs and laying on the couch. Oh well, the life of a dog...
An odd mix

All we have to say is, "It's five o'clock" and our dogs take their places. Coco caught on when I told her, "it's time to eat", though she doesn't look like she wanted her picture taken here. 

And, yes, the chickens did come. I found out that they're all roosters. Syd chose to leave them in the pen for now. The one that had to be slaughtered had a pouch in his neck where the gravel had gathered. He was having trouble getting anything to go down. Any of you chicken owners out there; is it a good idea to buy those granite blocks and add to the chicken feed? I thought all they really needed was access to sandy/gravel soil? We've had chickens before but had never heard of buying granite block to break up and add to the feed.

As you can see, they have a lot of growing to do. Syd's co worker just got them last month. He was having trouble with these four, as they were attacking the other chickens. We may be able to break them of that. Sturm and Ruger may not appreciate being "attacked" by these little guys.

Mom came down last night. A quiet evening.
Well there is not a lot of news on the hill so far this morning. Sorry if this was a boring post. I can see that the clouds are breaking up and much of the sky is showing blue.  I loved the rain but won't mind if it dries up a little today.

"This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

Monday, April 23, 2012

Granola Bars and Coffee

Today's recipe for Granola Bars turned out really well. In the past I have made "bars" that turned into Granola instead. These held together quite nicely and look like they'll travel to work well.

As you can see I did end up with a bowl of Granola, but it was just the stray edges that browned a bit more and the crumbs that were left from the cutting.  I modified the recipe a little because I did not have enough raisins. The first ingredient it called for was 1 c. granola (I thought that was funny. I did not have a cup of granola (I do NOW), so substituted more oats).

Here's "my" recipe if you care to try:    
This only makes about fourteen  1 1/2" X 4" bars, approx 3/4"thick

2 C rolled oats 
1 C chopped almonds (any nuts)
1/2 C flour (I used whole wheat)
1/2 raisins (or a combination of dried fruit, I like cranberries, but ended up using frozen raspberries)
1 beaten egg
1/3 C honey
1/4 C packed brown sugar
1/3 C cooking oil (here I used mostly coconut oil because we're trying to introduce it into our regular diet, just soften it in the measuring cup -set into a pan of hot water)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Line an 8 X 11 baking pan with foil (though next time I may use parchment so no stray, tiny pieces of foil get stuck to a piece of fruit) then grease the foil. Combine oats, nuts, flour, and raisins. Stir in egg, honey, brown sugar & cinnamon. Mix well and press hard into the greased pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or so, till lightly browned around the edges. Cool completely. Use foil to lift from pan and put on flat surface. Use a large knife to cut into bars.
Enjoy some granola with a fresh cup of coffee!

Now it's time to make a meatloaf. I have been craving it all day. I hope you're having a great afternoon. I am awaiting our "cousin dog", Coco. She is going to stay with us for the next few days. I'm praying for the rain to stop (sorry!) so that there will not be three sets of muddy footprints all over the floor. 

More news: My hubby just called from work. He's bringing home a few more visitors tonight; four free-range chickens. A fellow at work is giving them away because they're aggressive toward the other chickens. One must be slaughtered tonight, as he is having trouble swallowing (oh, dear).  I will post pictures. This could get interesting. Three chickens and three dogs. Perhaps a video will be better!

Welcome, Early Spring Rain!

The welcome rains are here. All night we could hear the soaking rain and we are thankful for this.

This morning I read from a very old book written by S. D. Gordon, published in the early 1900s. The old writers just have a way of saying things that is hard to capture today. The book is entitled Quiet Talks on Following the Christ. I would like to share an excerpt:

"Our Lord Jesus was the face of God looking longingly into men's faces. And they couldn't withstand  the appeal of that gentle strong face. He was the voice of God talking into men's ears; and the music of that low, quiet voice thrilled and thralled their hearts. He was the hand of God, strong and warm, reaching down to take men by their hand in His, they came to feel the little knotted place in the palm of that outstretched hand, and the feel of it went strangely into their inmost being. He was the heart of God, tender and true, beating rhythmically in time and tune with the human heart. And the music had, and has, strange power of appeal to human hearts, and power to sway human lives like a great wind in the trees."

I love reading meaningful words. Prose and Poetry lend themselves to making one think in pictures. I am so thankful that Jesus drew me to Himself one day. I did recognize the shed blood; the death of Him who took the punishment that I deserved because of my sin. As a christian walks with the Lord through the years, we come to know more and more the preciousness of that sacrifice; to understand more fully what that "little knotted place" on His hand really means.

As I sit and look out the window, the maple trees have unfurled their leaves more this morning than yesterday. Seldom do I write in rhyming poetry form but this morning, as one who has received the precious, shed blood of Jesus these words come to my heart and mind:

Early Spring Pictures

Winding down a narrow way,
  soft footsteps fall on moss and earth.
Tiny maple leaves unfurl --more full than yesterday.
'Look at me', they say;
  glory of our great Creator in tiny green on twig of gray.

Each step reminiscent of a daily choice;
  Jesus' personal touch with His nail-scarred hand;
The path is strewn with the Master's voice;
'Walk worthy, stand, evermore rejoice',
  E're rocks would cry out, yea, Rejoice!

A robin preens by the brook; tiny creature rests on the limb of a tree.
  they creep, they jump; stride in a glory all their own;
None created in God's image here, but me;
  to live forever--to nearer be
  and abide with Him for eternity.

Once the rains stop I hope to truly get out for a walk on Darling Hill. I'm thankful that you stopped by and hope you have a beautiful, welcome, rainy day.