17 August 2016


Before living in south Texas, I had not encountered salt this way.  I wouldn't have even known to put it on my bucket list (if I had one).

Strong enough to hold up under my steps, white enough to sparkle in the sunlight, concentrated enough to stay in formation under the smooth water's surface.

Sprinkled over the dirt this way, you'd almost think it was a dusting of snow.   Except it's about 100 degrees out, which is the furthest thing from winter you can imagine.

Amazingly, some plants thrive in this salt land.

And amazingly, the salt land helps me thrive, too.

15 August 2016

{Book Review} Ironing Made Easy

Ironing Made Easy:  The Far Easier Way to Iron

The other day I discovered how to find free Kindle books on Amazon, and while I was paging through my search results, I discovered this little gem that has already saved me at least ten minutes over the course of two already-short ironing sessions.  I discovered that my biggest ironing enemy was my set-up, and with a few simple changes, I am on my way to ironing efficiently.  

On the first week of school and piano lessons, I'm grateful for anything that saves me time on household tasks.  This ebook is free at the moment, so take a look, and let me know if it saves you time!

03 May 2016

First Garden Papaya

If you want to get technical, the 'possums got the first couple of papayas from our tree.  This time, though, we out-smarted them, picking the fruits a little bit green.  We've cut the first one open this morning, and the verdict is that papayas straight from your own tree are the best papayas.

30 April 2016

Books: Country Living

I was about eight years old when my parents moved out of a neighborhood and into the country.  Five fertile acres with a big garden plot surrounded by fields and pastures became the world of all kinds of childhood adventures for my brother and me.

If you get us started telling you about the sweetest beets, the tenderest carrots, the loads of potatoes, the plum tree, the rhubarb patch, the piles of basalt rocks that were ours to build fortresses, and the stack of small logs that became our log cabin, it might be a while before you get us to stop.  And I haven't even mentioned the gooseberry bush yet!

And then once you knew all about my childhood homes in the country, it wouldn't surprise you at all that one of my favorite little compilations in the Ellen White section of my bookshelf is called Country Living.

I wasn't sure I had ever read it cover to cover before, so I decided to sit down with it this spring and take it all in.  I pulled a couple copies of it off my shelf, only to discover a gem I hadn't noticed before.  What I first thought was a second copy of the same thing was actually a little book called, From City to Country Living:  A Guide to Those Making the Change.

Perfect!  I could read them both together!

For a little background, the compilation "Country Living" is a collection of Ellen White's statements written in the late 1800s and early 1900s, highlighting not only the physical but also the spiritual benefits of a simple country life.  

What I discovered when I picked up the Guide to Those Making the Change was that when the Country Living compilation was put together and published for the first time in 1946 (yes, right after the second world war, when people all over the world were still shaken by the war-time experiences), the reaction far surpassed anyone's expectations, and the little book got printed over and over again in a few short years.  

People were so inspired and had so many questions about country living that the Guide to Those Making the Change was published to give not only general advice about considering a move to the country, but also historical context to many of the statements found in Country Living itself.

While I of course just soaked up every little detail about the lessons to be learned from working the soil, and the peace and health to be enjoyed in a country environment, perhaps the statements in both booklets touching on how to make good solid decisions as a Christian became my favorite parts.  

In fact, if you needed to make any kind of decision in your life, and you were looking for the best ways to know how to make the best decision, whether it had to do with your home's location or not, I would refer you to these two booklets.

Here are some of my favorite gems.

"Better sacrifice any and every worldly consideration than to imperil the precious souls [in context, children and family] committed to your care."  Country Living, 5

"God will reveal from point to point what to do next."  Country Living, 7

"We are to stand free in God, looking constantly to Christ for instruction."  Country Living, 11

"Those who have felt at last to make a move, let it not be in a rush, in an excitement, or in a rash manner, or in a way that hereafter they will deeply regret that they did move out..."  Country Living, 25

"Let everyone take time to consider carefully; and not to be like the man in the parable who began to build, and was not able to finish.  Not a move should be made but that movement and all that it portends are carefully considered--everything weighed...To every man was given his work according to his several ability.  Then let him not move hesitatingly, but firmly, and yet humbly trusting in God."  Country Living, 26

"Spread every plan before God with fasting, [and] with the humbling of the soul before the Lord Jesus, and commit thy ways unto the Lord.  The sure promise is, He will direct thy paths.  He is infinite in resources.  The Holy One of Israel, who calls the host of heaven by name, and holds the stars of heaven in position, has you individually in His keeping..."  Country Living, 28

"If there was ever time for guarded, intelligent planning, now is such a time."  A Guide, 7

"Too much is involved to take one step in the dark...Get all the counsel you can, but make your own decision."  A Guide, 7, 8

"All rash and careless moves are to be avoided.  We must know where we are to go and what we are going to do for a livelihood when we get there.  On the other hand, we are not to sit idly waiting for an opportunity to present itself."  A Guide, 21

"How do we know what God may have in store for us if we do not begin to look around to see?"  A Guide, 22

And because I'm a homemaker at heart, I can't resist including this last passage, even though it's not directly related to making decisions.

"Make a home worthy of the name, not merely a shelter from heat and storm or from the atomic bomb.  Make it a place of peace and contentment, of progressive development of the intellectual and spiritual nature.  Make it a school for the children and parents, a medical center for the community where all will learn of the broader, fuller joy of right living."  A Guide, 36

Country Living is available free as an audio book or a PDF (actually several different formats) here.  You can also purchase a hard copy here.

From City to Country Living:  A Guide to Those Making the Change is available free as a PDF download here.  You can purchase a hard copy here.

20 April 2016

The Butterflies are Back

The dill patch looks beyond bad, all drying out and making seeds.  But there's just enough life in the patch to support our latest crop of butterflies, and I just don't have the heart to tear out the food source for these tiny friends of mine, merely for the looks of my yard.

I'll just have to wait until the tiniest ones grow big and fat and wander off to make their chyrsalises.

Meanwhile, if the need arises, I'll simply tell people the garden is a mess but there are treasures hidden inside it.

And I'll hope for the chance to see this little jewel all hatched out into a real live adult butterfly.

18 April 2016

Last Day of the Bean

These were all taken days and days ago, and I'm just now getting a moment to share them with you.  The first one was actually the day before the last day of the bean.

I'm excited for how much the beans are spreading over their new twines.  I'm hoping for many more beans to come!

The beans are delicious stir fried with a bit of onion.  We've had a couple of harvests big enough to make a side dish so far.  With beans from our garden and beets from a friend's garden, we've really been spoiled over the weekend!  Yum!

11 April 2016

Day 6 of the Bean

I just had time to grab one photo on a busy day, but here it is, our bean almost ready to pick!  I think it will be ready in one or two more days, and I'm loving how many blossoms and beans the plants have on them--in all stages of growth!  

I'm also really wanting to grow a bit more sesame this summer, but I'm having a hard time deciding where to put them.  They take up quite a bit of space, but I'd say we got at least 3/4 cups of sesame seeds from each plant last year, so they are definitely a good producer and worth the space they take...unless of course I decide to use it for something else that might be a more urgent need.  

Too many plants, too small of a garden!  I wonder how much land I would need before I would not feel that way!