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Important Announcement

“For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done”

The observant reader may notice that this is the first post I have ever made to our family blog. I have elected to start now because something has come about that is so important to me that I simply can’t contain it.

The Lord has been clearly leading me by His Word, His Spirit, and the guidance and counsel of parents which I value tremendously, to the point where I could, in all confidence, approach Mr Taylor to ask for something inestimably valuable – his permission to court his daughter, Samantha Marie Taylor. It is with tremendous joy that I can say that both of Samantha’s parents, as well as my own, have accorded their full blessing on this relationship. To my intense delight, Samantha herself has wholeheartedly agreed to court me – an honour for which I can scarcely count myself worthy. I am brought to my knees in gratefulness to God that He would bring such a rich blessing from Heaven down upon me, due to no merit of my own.

A thousand words would not suffice for me to describe this joy of mine over this turn of events! However, since a picture is worth a thousand words, I will let you in on a bit of it. πŸ™‚

 

happiness

 

:)  :)

And this is my favourite of the bunch πŸ™‚

My personal favourite!\

I thank God for you, Samantha, every day.  May this relationship bring glory to God and cause us to be drawn closer to Him!

Blog is running again!

I am pleased to announce that after several hours of work and searching all over my computer for various backups, I have finally managed to restore most of the blog.  We’ll see how long it takes people to notice.   πŸ™‚

I think all of my posts are related to trouble-shooting this blog, so hopefully someone else will find this and post something more interesting.

Summer Update

   The summer has flown by and while we have been very busy with all sorts of things, our faithful blog readers have been sadly neglected.  I will attempt a quick overview of the highlights from this summer…

   As most years, we have had a garden.  It is doing remarkably well, a fact we attribute to the drier weather.  Under normal circumstances our garden is far too wet which causes a lot of plants to grow mould faster than fruit!

sprouting up weeding

chili peppers tomatoes radishes

unknown compost pile vegetable

We’re looking forward to getting a bountiful harvest, Lord willing!

   Some working has been done on the extension begun three years ago.  The upstairs is finished, but next to nothing had been done on the basement.  Daddy did most of the plastering with an occasional helper.  It is finicky work if one wants it to come out looking nice.  He and his helpers did a wonderful job.

 

sanding after plastering a second coat

   That done, the apartment side of the basement was ready for painting.  The painters made quite a mess, but most of the paint got on the walls. πŸ™‚

the base coat working in the cupboard the finished bedroom

   The painting session was finished with a massive cleanup in the other half of the basement.  Those who didn’t see it as it was before can’t really appreciate the way it is now.

clean!

   The summer has also held opportunities to minister.  A few things include having people over for a Canada Day meal, music at a camp near the border (and the enjoyment of washing dishes afterwards!), and ministry at the Grace Christian Home.  Evelyn and I have also had opportunity to volunteer at the Home.  It has been a delight to work with these people of so much experience.

Canada Day meal Canada Day

Camp Beebee washing dishes

object lesson at GCH

   Thursday evening meetings continued at least part of the time, along with the, now traditional, celebrating of birthdays.

a birthday It is thrilling to have this special lady join us so often!

   Daddy had a week off work this summer.  While some of that time was taken up with making some progress in the basement, he also made time for some family outings.  A visit to a fish hatchery was very interesting and “fishing” in their stocked ponds proved fun even for those who didn’t really care for fishing.  It went so fast that one didn’t have time to become impatient!

fishing Caught it!

   A visit to the Coaticook dairy was also a highlight.  Nothing can beat Coaticook icecream, and getting it directly from the dairy was extra special as they carry flavours there that cannot be obtained even in the local stores.

icecream Mmm...

   Speaking of dairy, we have also been busy managing a lot of dairy products at home due to Mocha producing far more milk than we orginally anticipated.  Butter and cheese making have become an almost daily activity!

packing butter into moulds

   A previous post featured most of the butter making process, but we have not yet shown any pictures of cheesemaking.  Our favourite cheese is Mozzarella, which is actually fairly simple to make.  It starts out with 16 litres of milk whose ph has been lowered by the adding of citric acid, heated to 90 F.  It doesn’t look like much until the rennet (the coagulating factor) is added.

cutting the cheese heating the cheese stretch!

   After cutting, the cheese needs to be heated to 105 F.  Then the fun begins.  The cheese is carefully squeesed into a ball, removed from the pot, and placed in a microwave safe bowl.  Heating in the microwave oven softens the cheese.  Stretching causes the whey to come out.  Our mozzarella is very stringy.

finished cheese

   Only 10% of the milk actually turns into cheese, the rest is left behind as whey.  We soon learned, however, that the whey can be “reused” by boiling.  Another 1/2 kg of cheese can be taken from it in the form of ricotta.

heating the whey ricotta

   We have actually never bought ricotta that I can remember, but it didn’t take us long to discover that it makes excellent cheese cake!

cheese cake

A few other home cheese products…

Stringy macaroni and cheese! It looks like an advertisement

I can’t miss putting on a picture of the one from whom all this milk comes…

Mocha

And a couple of the calf…

Hamburger

Amy liked him especially when he was small

   We had to get some hay for the cows.  It was a lot of fun working together as a team to get it in the barn.  Many thanks to our good friends who made the hay, hauled it, and helped us stack it!

unloading from the trailer passing it up into the loft

refreshment afterwards

   And while we’re on the subject of livestock, I might as well make a report on the chickens.  Yes, I know, we never got around to mentioning that we even had them and now the first batch of 20 are dead.  (That was their destitny. πŸ™‚ )  Though we have raised turkeys several times in the past, raising chichens was a new experience.  We learned a lot the hard way (with a 50% mortality rate – not owing to the butchers).  Consequentially, we made some major changes to our setup which now appear to be paying off – we have not yet lost one of our current 14 chickens.  Nevertheless, the ones of our first batch that survived their full 11 weeks turned out quite large.  The biggest was 10.7 lbs!

as chicks big now plucking

big chicken legs! Mmm... roast chicken

   We now also have 6 turkeys, but the computer insists on putting the picture sideways, and my computer expert isn’t in here, so I’ll let it be.

   So, that has been our summer.  Well… some of it!  I guess I’ll finish off with just a few random photos that demonstrate the “little” things we do too.

a bike trip to the Coaticook Dairy from a bike trip around Mt. Orford

 

playing volley ball

feeding a visiting duck Testing the depth of the well with fishing line - we were having water troubles...  Can you guess what day of the week it was? :) Amy's special time with Daddy on Sundays

   In conclusion, what can I say?  In the midst of all the hectic summer schedule, it is sometimes easy to forget why we are doing what we do.  Colossians 3:23 is often a good reminder to me. “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” (emphasis mine)  May we be constantly reminded that our life is not our own and this world is not our home.

Happy Hotdogs!

Summertime!

Time for watermelon, bonfires, hotdogs, marshmallows…  

Hotdog!

good to the last bite

Thank you, Lord, for special times and special blessings!

The day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun.
Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter.  Ps. 74:16,17

White Mountains Vacation

   Once again for our anniversary, Robert and I headed  south of the border for a few days in the White Mountains of New Hampshire to enjoy some free time, rest, and hiking in the Presidential Range.  In addition to some strolls along our favourite paths (“The Basin” and “Sabbaday Falls”), we hiked two more 4000+ footers in the Presidential Range – Mount Liberty and Mount Jefferson.  Though Mount Liberty was the longer hike, Mount Jefferson was the more challenging due to the very bouldery path, necessitating a lot of scrambling.  During both hikes, Robert managed to read Scripture while we hiked – the gospel of John on the way up Mt. Liberty, Romans on the way down, and Ephesians on the first part of the path up Mt. Jefferson.  When the path started requiring the undivided attention of our eyes, we turned to Scripture memorisation, sharing previously memorised verses, so that by the time we arrived back at the foot of Mt. Jefferson, physically tired but spiritually refreshed, we both had the first chapter of James memorised and had shared many insights that had come to us as we memorised and thought about those verses!  Overall, this anniversary was one of the best – if not the best -ever!  Thank you, Robert!

  Here are a few photos of our trip:

 

     the easy part of the trail      nearing the summit  

Heading up Mt. Jefferson – The first part of the trail was easier, but it got rockier near the summit and at the very top we found ourselves inside a cloud – very damp!

 

Sabbaday falls   R & C

“Sabbaday Falls” – an easy trail to a very pretty waterfall.

Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. 
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God!  Ps. 90:1-2

Maple time

March around here generally means time to tap trees.  I hadn’t really expected to do so so soon, though.  It wasn’t much more than a week before that we took these winter bird pictures.

black-capped chickadee in snowy birch winter goldfinch american goldfinch, winter colours

oh, and some non-bird pictures.

clearing snow - can you guess who it is?

Almost every spring, we get outside to tap a few trees.  Last Saturday I did 16, I think.  I tend to lose track of how many I have actually done, as I generally skip any trees that still have more than one unclosed hole, resulting in most trees being tapped about every other year.

tapping the trees tapping a maple hammering in the tap

I guess it is more of a hobby than anything; we generally turn about half of the sap we get into syrup and the other half into maple sugar on snow.  Yum!  Laughing  

carrying the taps carrying the buckets the pile of buckets

I am very grateful to Elizabeth for assisting me by carrying all the buckets.  She also carried a large pair of pruning shears – something I always mean to do, but never actually end up doing.  

a finished tap tapping trees maple syrup on the way!

We tapped a couple of trees inside the cow’s fence, so we shall see what the inspector thinks.

The inspector

Psalm 119:103-104 “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.”

Friends, Photographs, Valentine’s Day

A lot has happened since we last made a blog post.  I guess I shall start where we left off, but I will not write everything we have done since then, because I don’t have time and neither do you.  Instead, I will just pull the highlights of the past couple of weeks and leave the rest for other to write.  (Or perhaps for me to write on a later date.)  A few days after the events of the last post, we were invited to lunch and to spend some time in fellowship with a godly family.  After lunch, we all got our instruments out and played some hymns.

Playing music together Playing hymns together

It seems inevitable that where there is music being played by a group like this, there will also be an audience.

The listeners It looks like someone is taking notes on what we play... A hymn-singer

the farm

After playing, we went outside to the barn.  Most of us had as yet not seen either their new robotic milker nor their new brown cows.  Certain people were more keen on watching the machine, while others were more interested in the animals.  I will let my readers guess which gender generally prefered which.

cow 18 cow 16

After visiting the cows, several people went to visit the horses.  Elizabeth even got to go bareback riding for a little while.

bareback

One thing I like about winter is the combination of snow, ice, and moonlight.  Here are a few pictures we have taken of this kind of combination.  The road in the picture is not our road, but a road not far from ours.  I love the way the moon’s light is reflected on the icy road.

a cold day outside The moon is being reflected on the ice. the moon looking in between icicles

On Friday the 10th we had several people over for a Valentines Day supper. Evelyn worked very hard to make lots of little gum-drop roses.

hand-made roses chocolate valentines cake

We had several birthdays to celebrate as well, so when dessert was about to be served we brought each of the birthday people a dessert with a candle on top.  After supper, the men had a men’s meeting and the ladies and children talked upstairs – and washed dishes.  I am very grateful for those who do those tasks that are rarely noticed.  It is always good to get together and share with godly people.

Valentine's Day meal Happy Birthday Playing together

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4

A Bug Post…

…and a happy birthday!

William is an amateur entologist.  So, when he said he wanted a surprise for his birthday dessert, Elizabeth and Evelyn decided that he would like some bugs on his birthday cake.

Bugs - can you guess what kinds they are?

Not just anyone would be delighted to see that there were some bugs on their birthday cake, but William seemed to be enthralled.

William was delighted!

Once the birthday bugs cupcakes were eaten (we didn’t eat all of them), it was time for the gifts.  I hope you find a good use for those tools soon, William!

Some useful birthday presents

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” – John 15:11

An Excellent Lumberjack

I have often had the opportunity to cut down trees in locations that are challenging, but rarely have I been able to do so with the precision with which this one was taken down, considering the circumstances – I almost never work in the rain, and try to avoid working in the wind if at all possible, especially 60+ kph winds!

This first picture is taken about 24 hours before the tree was taken down.

The before picture

Notice the new hole in the skyline.

One large poplar is gone

Hmm.  Huricane precision, or the omnipotent hand of God?

Within two feet of knocking the corner off the barn

Psalm 92:4,5 “Thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands.  O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.”