Tuesday, July 24, 2012

{Humble Pie} Our Anniversary

This past Saturday was our fifth anniversary. Despite being a nice milestone, we have had lots of travel and busy-ness so far this summer so I was expecting that it would stay "low key". We hadn't made any plans except for a "fancy" dinner for which we'd splurge on ribeye steaks and drink cheap champagne. Oh... and eat at the Mediterranean restaurant on Friday for lunch because I was able to snag a gift certificate through one of those online discount deals. Yeah... super fancy.

This was our anniversary gift from Ivy last year,
in lovely bloom for the occasion this year.

So I was quite surprised to wake up on Saturday morning, make our "gourmet" breakfast of a nectarine and some cinnamon toast, and come back into the bedroom to find a gift. Not just any gift but a brown paper package, tied up with string. What's not to love about that? (And someone's been practicing his package knot.)

The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals
By Gail Damerow
It was this book, which I've daydreamed about for a while now. These past two years in Morgantown have been a bit rough. We have so much to be thankful for and all is going well but its hard to be so far away from family, in what is so obviously "the North," living on a postage stamp, were the stress never ends. We carry on all the time about having a small holding in our next season of life... not a farm, per se, but just enough land to have just enough stuff to keep us good and busy while having fresh, homegrown food. Even though this book seems quite random for anyone else, it hit me hard because it was the first step towards that future we talk about so often. It took the plan out of imaginary-land and into reality, just a bit. I cried. It didn't help my case that the book was accompanied by one of Julian's signature homemade cards which induce sidesplitting laughter, except when I'm already crying.

We did some yardsale-ing since it was Saturday morning and scored a $50 auto timer sprinkler set for the yard for $6, a triumph for Julian. We did other shopping that is outside of the normal realm of "shopping day" and when Julian asked if I wanted to go to Chili's for lunch (we've put the kebash on eating out for a bit) I cried again! For heaven's sake! What is wrong with me?

So we had a great time at Chili's and ate so much we took home the rest in boxes. But alas, that meant that the one sweet thing I HAD planned wouldn't even go off, because there was no way we would have a steak dinner after eating out. So out came the heart shaped pancake tins, it was the very least I could do.

Anniversary pancakes

Throughout the day I just kept thinking, "I've got nothing to give, I don't deserve this." It was a very humbling experience to realize that Julian loves me because he is my groom, the one for whom I was chosen as helpmeet (good thing he didn't need much help on Saturday, cause I wasn't it!) It seemed a perfect picture of the Gospel because we do not deserve anything but God's wrath and yet through Jesus, the groom of the church, we know God's love. 

So the weekend was calm with no great hoo-rah, yet it was full of precious moments I won't soon forget. It was a perfect way to commemorate our happy marriage. How blessed am I!

We finally landed two fish from the Mon River.

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New discovery....

Normally I am so anti-what-everyone-else-has. BUT, in this case, I think I have come around to the popular side of things. You see, I've been following Deb Duty, a photographer /scrapbooker for the past month or so in my Google Reader. She makes the most beautiful scrapbooks and takes the most beautiful pictures. I thought it was actually kind of gross, the obsession she had with these things, because in my head I was envisioning cutting the paper, sticking the stickers, layers upon layer, the whole day gone for one pretty page.
Courtesy Christine Newman through Pinterest

Then today, on Pinterest, (of course) I discovered Becky Higgins and Project Life. I thought, "my how these things look familiar" and snap, crackle, pop! I realized Deb Duty is in cahoots with Becky Higgins.

Julian and I are coming up on five years (count them, five) and since we set up housekeeping, I 've been telling him I'd reorg our photo stash for that long. Still, the pictures just take up the whole shelf under the plants in the "office". I even failed at a scrap-book-documenting our wedding.

Project life gives me hope. I'm not sure I'm going to jump in with both feet, because really, we don't do that many exciting things but I think I'm on board for documenting the most special of occasions this way, surely I can do that! (?) The idea of having those special moments documented so easily IN PAPER instead of the almighty internet just might be what the doctor ordered, even if my scrap book does look like everyone else's... the pictures will be mine!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sweet Nectar of the Birds

This spring was a lesson in humility and patience as far as the hummingbirds are concerned. Our weather was really hot, really early. All the flowers were blooming 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule. I watched this hummingbird tracking website like a hawk. I told everyone I knew who had hummingbirds that they would be here two weeks earlier than our normal date of April 15th and encouraged my friends to put out their feeders (yes, I'm the  CBL of the neighborhood - Crazy Bird Lady).

On par with my predictions, the map showed that the first hummingbird was reported in my area on March 25th. But did I see one? Nope. Not in March... and not in April. Note: My kitchen sink looks out at the feeder same as my dinner table does. Its not like I just never look out there, I spend a good part of my day watching.

Then, as is always the case, I come home and Julian says, "Oh yeah, saw a hummingbird today." What?! Not. Fair.

It was another week or so after he saw the first one that I got my chance. They were waiting for the honeysuckle jungle on the edge of our yard to burst forth with life.

To make a long story longer... my boss, Bonnie, has several feeders, fuchsias, and a trumpet vine so she has more hummers than she can count. In casual conversation, she mentioned that she makes her hummingbird solution 1:1 sugar to water. What, What?? I've always heard to make it 1:4.

So I did a little research. Come to find out, hummingbirds LOVE 1:1 sugar water. Studies show that if a migrating hummer finds a 1:1 feeder right after its migration, it will stop and spend its whole summer in that place. The 1:4 ratio is more like the natural make up of flower nectar, so they tend to "graze" these feeders and move around as territory and temperature fluctuate.  To strike a good balance, I've started making mine 1:2.

Sweet Nectar of the Birds
1 cup almost boiling water
1/2 granulated sugar

Combine and stir until all sugar dissolves, leave on the counter to cool. No need to put any red color in it; unless you are my grandmother and you find it helps you see how much is left in the feeder when it is running low. Even then, don't over do it. :)

Make sure you put it in a clean feeder that is washed/rinsed between each fill up. There you go. Watching these gems is one of the cheapest, highest quality forms of entertainment I know!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

If we faint not.

Just a snippet which serves as a good reminder these days. Thanks to my friend, Stephanie, for posting on FB.
"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Galatians 6:9

Saturday, July 7, 2012

{Sunday Best} Hot Air

It's been a long hard week beginning with a devastating storm and ending with a miserable head cold (not to mention that the thermometer topped 108F in the shade on our back porch). I have so many things about which I could and should blog, but until I get everything in order around here, I just wanted to post this Sunday Best photo. It was likely the high point of my week. You see, Lexington hosts a july 4th Balloon Rally each year and this guy always comes, his balloon has a three dimensional teddy bear on each side, the silhouette of which you can see. We look for him each year and what you're not seeing in this photo is Julian and me on the front steps in our PJs.

The wind blows one of three directions for the balloons each of the three mornings they go up, one of which is straight over my in-laws' house. If we're lucky, we wake up at 7am to the unmistakable, dragon-breathing sound of the balloons over head. It's magical, and this year, I decided it beat out Christmas morning as my favorite of the year.